Does WandaVision Deserve Derision?

D+ means Disney used to have a higher average before absorbing Fox. Wand Division is the new math. WandaVision was supposed to be bumped it forward to 2020 to make a perfect 20/20 vision joke. Although it completed filming before the pandemic production pauses, unlike Falcon & Winter Soldier, it then got pushed back to its original 2021 slot so it wouldn’t compete with The Mandalorian’s second season. Viewers are supposed to be excited for bona fide Marvel Cinematic Universe characters appearing on a televison show instead of a movie, as if Phil Coulson, Peggy Carter, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Sif, Jasper Sitwell, Edwin Jarvis, Gideon Malick, Dr. List, & the Howling Commandos didn’t already on Agents of SHIELD & Peggy Carter. Remember when SHIELD premiered & people were mad they’d have to watch one series on free network television to fully understand the Marvel movies they paid for? Now that there’s a bunch of more directly influential series that behind a subscription service paywall, fans are excited?

Marvel Studios’ movies are sometimes described as television in cinemas since they link to form a larger story. This time it could argued that MCU’s lucky thirteenth television series is a long movie split into weekly installments. (So are these Disney+ Marvel series going to be event series? I don’t feel like making new tags for them if they’re each one & done. So this’ll just get the standard “Avengers” & like it. If renewed, we can consider making unique tags.) SPOILER warning for nine episodes of the most popular television series of the moment. You really deserve a prize if you’d made it unspoiled this far.

WandaVision Wanda Maximoff defies her name by being a witch who doesn’t wield a wand. Her Zatanna cosplay was actually scarlet. Continue reading

It’s The Most Marvelous Time Of The Year!

After last week’s commissioned deep dive into Stormfront the proverbial milkshake duck, I figured it’s time to clear out some of the Marvel content cluttering my drafts. I won’t be finished editing my X Of Swords review until nobody cares, so this is light on X-Men content. It does have a surfeit of pre-Christmas action figure photos if that’s your bag. (I will regret this if Santa only delivers coal this year.) After the MCU news musings not involving She-Hulk, my comic book thoughts are separated by superfluous tildes!

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“Now I have The Phoenix Force! Ho ho ho!”

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Black Tom Cassidy, Now With Color Veracity!

Last time I said I’d see if NYCC 2020 was anything to write home about. As it turns out: No! Much like SDCC, this year’s New York Comic Con went virtual as a self-proclaimed “Metaverse.” The new NYCC emails were too busy. I thought SDCC had the better panels this year. Hellstrom premiered, & not a single damn was given. So instead of blogging last week, I just watched the delightful third season of Kipo & The Age Of Wonderbeasts! (Should I write a whole blog on that, or do you already know it’s great?)

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So this week brings another custom of a mid-tier character. There’s finally a Marvel Legends of Juggernaut’s “hetero-life-mate!” (Once you get into fanfic, there’s an even bigger question mark over that dubious descriptor. Also consider Avalanche & Pyro.) Thanks to Deadpool 2 for finally raising Black Tom Cassidy’s profile sufficiently for Hasbro to take action!

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“I cane do it!”

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Customizing Shuri Is No Worry

I was going to write an esoteric blog about Cats (the poems, musical, & movie), but that’s become way too popular a topic what with the dearth of new media. So until that becomes obscure again, I’ve picked a different feline adjacent topic. I’ll cut off my nose to spite my face to keep this blog a novel destination for The Time Being, which is oddly not a Doctor Who character.

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Behold the best Disney Princess! Despite being one of the breakout characters of Black Panther, Princess Shuri didn’t get a Marvel Legends figure in either of that movie’s two assortments. When it finally made her in conjunction with the last Avengers movie she was barely in, Hasbro went with drab Avengers: Endgame colors over the bright BP ones shown on the box. This was a mistake! I customized her like her big brother! It went relatively quickly. It was even easier than upgrading MCU Elektra.

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SDCC Turned Fifty?

HUZAH! It’s the fiftieth anniversary of San Diego Comic Convention! I didn’t attend, thanks for asking. (I took last week off anyway after reviewing Stranger Things 3.) Did you? Here is my armchair event coverage (loosely arranged by DC, Marvel, & miscellaneous mess) that’s rapidly losing topicality! Wait, shouldn’t it be celebrating it golden anniversary next year?

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How Lame Is Avengers: Endgame?

Now that Gotham is gone (sniff), I guess we’re in the Avengers: Endgame now. (It’s pronounced End-gah-may much like SHAZAM! rhymes with chasm.) I was not impressed by Avengers: Infinity War, so I went into its continuation with disgruntled resignation. Even though I wasn’t excited for the movie, I didn’t want want little enjoyment I might have sapped by spoilers.

This is like a Dagwood sandwich of Marvel Studios movies. Having five mini-films compressed together justifies its three hour length. (Despite the mass hysteria, my bladder made it all way through even as I ate an Alamo Drafthouse dinner.) The pacing glides by. The Russo brothers hold everything together despite ever-shifting tones. Their ability to juggle dozens of characters remains impeccable.

Here comes another SPOILERY collaboreview with The Wages of Cinema! The marketing for this movie shrewd enough to reveal so little that talking about practically anything is a spoiler. So you have nobody to blame but yourself if you keep reading/listening without having seen it. (There’s plenty to critique, so who knows whether anything is presented in coherent order.) Since it made $1.2 billion worldwide in its opening weekend, however, I wager you’ve already been inoculated.

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Does Avengers: Infinity War Bore?

Last time I did a collaboreview with The Wages of Cinema, it was just Jack & I on Pacific Rim: Uprising. This time we’ve got the whole kooky quartet back together! Forsooth this is the most ambitious crossover event in history! Alas, they can’t all be odes to dirigible crime! Infinite Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War would be a lie because I eventually run out of them. I did throw in some for Agents of SHIELD because everything is tenuously connected.

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Thor Ragnarok (& Roll) Is Hela Good!

You ever go to a barbecue joint you haven’t been to in a while & decide you might as well splurge on a full rack of baby back  ribs? Then when they bring out your food, it looks like almost too much food? But then you start on the first rib & it’s even more delicious than you remembered. So you quickly strip the flesh from a second rib. Then a haze sweeps over you. Once it passes you see your glass of sangria is empty, your plate of ribs contains naught but a heap of bones, the other patrons have expired with large chunks missing, & your hands are covered in red goo of assorted viscosity. Then you declare that it was really yummy! Luckily the kitchen staff appears intact so you may return. That’s what Thor Ragnarok is like!

The Wages of Cinema invited me back to collaboreview it with them. I agreed since they had nice things to say about me in their retrospective podcast of favorite episodes. Verily doth SPOILERS roam free onward!

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So … How About Them DC Shows?

Nightmare was going to be the villain of Doctor Strange but Marvel Studios predicted it’d be too on the nose for reality.

So let’s dive right back into fantasy! Since my last entry was thoroughly Marvel-centric, this week’s topic will be DC-focused. Except when I write about about other things. I still insist I have a topic.

One of my favorite bits about Legends of Tomorrow season two is how much the team isn’t a well oiled machine. It’s not that they’re terribly incompetent; it’s just that they’re still not used to working with each other. Not only does this prevent the team of superpowered specialists from seeming automatically unbeatable, it allows for more humor & dynamic character interactions.

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All of Heatwave’s dialogue in the cliche-ridden “Shogun” was solid fried gold! (“League of Assassins, class of ’09,” was the the only memorable competition.) Wouldn’t atomizing a real life political figure, Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, be the sort of time crime the Legends are supposed to avert?

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What’s The Diagnosis Of Doctor Strange?

As a doctor (of not medicine), I prescribe listening to my latest collaboreview of Doctor Strange with The Wages of Cinema! It’s as the prophecy foretold!

Benedict “malapropism generator” Cumberbatch may be slightly overexposed, but he’s actually a great Doctor Strange! I didn’t need him to affect a American accent, but I guess he wanted to show he’s not just coasting on his Sherlock reputation. Sadly he never utters “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!” It’s a missed opportunity for Marvel to subvert the white savior trope by casting someone that’s not a WASP, yet Cumberbatch still knocks it out of the park. His Dr. Stephen Strange is Marvel’s cockiest protagonist since Iron Man Thor Star-Lord. Despite or because of his supreme arrogance, he’s always compelling if not necessarily likable. Cumberbatch definitely earns his starring role.

The special effects are superb. There’s plenty of Inception geography tessellation on steroids. Applying gravity to these shifts leads to some fun sight gag action. Other spells look generated from firecrackers & shards of molten glass. There’s a fight across the Astral Plane while both participant’s bodies are unconscious. The best scene is a psychedelic tour across dimensions. The plot may be cookie cutter, but the visuals are a feast for the eyes.

Now journey with me beyond the veil of the page break for movie spoilers, source material nitpicks, & social commentary!

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