I’ve been on a Jane the Virgin kick (more like obsession) since my cousin recommended me the show.  I binged all three or four Netflix seasons literally as fast as I could.  It was especially helpful I was also home sick in the middle of the binge for four days, so it was quite optimal binging-netflix conditions.  A little background here: I’ve always been interested in actual telenovelas.  I wanted to learn Spanish better and the first thing I was going to do once I did that – in all seriousness – was watch a telenovela.  I could apply for bilingual jobs, but, of course I would watch a telenovela…

And you know what?  In all honesty, I have no idea why.  They’re just so dramatic and over the top, from what I’ve heard, that the pull is significant.  Even if they appear to be entirely ridiculous, there’s still some comedic value in ridiculousness, even if it’s not intentional.  I think this mild obsession to watch one stems from my Spanish high school teacher, who very much loved the language and the various aspects of the culture along with it.  Maybe it was just so I could say I could watch a Spanish telenovela, I don’t fucking know why I had such a thing with it.  The point is, it hasn’t gone away, and here I was binging Jane The Virgin, in all of it’s occasional insanity, hilarity, and utter ridiculousness.  And, it’s fair to say, I was hooked from the 5th episode.  Lucky for me my graduate school work hadn’t taken off horribly, so I had extra time at my disposal to just binge, and binge, and binge, until I realized the Netflix portion was over and I had to actually watch it on T.V., and wait like a normal goddamn human being.

Regardless, as much as I was falling in love with the show, I was also frequently evolving my emotions on certain characters.  I will try to keep this spoiler free, HOWEVER, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES.  SO SPOILERS AHEAD.  

What I can say I love about this show is that your feelings toward a character, or their predicament, is constantly changing.  Everything is fluid and it’s one of those shows where missing an episode really is not an option.  Were I to miss one of the new season, I would not watch the week after.  Past a certain point the narrator can’t even keep up with everything, because he’s slowly cut out Petra’s and Raf’s divorce and entire history.  Or where Rogelio came from.  Because some attitudes in the present, at least of this post, are inexplicable without some context, and that context is no longer being explained by the narrator.  So, you really need to start from the beginning.

And that’s precisely what I will be doing.

My now favorite character, hands down, without a shadow of a doubt, is Petra.  Yes, THE Petra.  The evil villain one.  The master manipulator one.  The one who sleeps with men to get them to agree to her demands.  The one who fakes emotions better than she actually deals with them, and is more convincing she cares when she actually doesn’t – because once she does, she doesn’t know what to do with it.  Yes.  That Petra.

Image result for petra gif jane the virgin shock

You.  Right now.

Here’s the thing: Petra initially starts off as nothing more than the crazy ex-wife.  She literally starts off as nothing more than a trope – the gold-digger sexy blonde who thinks she can just get away with anything she wants, and get anything she wants, because she is a sexy blonde and more importantly, is aware she is a sexy blonde.  If Petra is confident in nothing else, it’s that she’s too sexy for her shirt.  It’s only once she takes in a particular hostage at her mother’s urging that we start to see the real Petra.  Her mother is, as it seems, extremely toxic to Petra – as it stands, she only took in Ivan from what I recall because her mother urged her to.  Then her mother fed him the food he was allergic to in order to either kill him, or make it seem as though they saved him to get him to trust them.  So basically, you might think Petra is the master manipulator, but her mother really is.  Because her mother did, indeed, manipulate her all those times.  If she were as masterful as the viewer might think, she would have no problem with dealing with her mother.  Simply, that’s just not the case.  The only time I remember Petra really, truly, without a plan, it was because of her mother.

And this is where we delve into the rest of Petra’s problems.

We learn that Petra left her native country because of an abusive stalker boyfriend who threw acid at her mother, who she seemed to care about, genuinely.  The problem is, this is where all of her problems lie. Petra cared about her mother, who did nothing more than manipulate her to get what she wanted in the end, even willing to throw Petra under the bus to do so.  So, essentially, she escapes a boyfriend who, stereotypically, is supposed to care about you with her mother, and an incident regarding her mother is what prompts this.  Then her mother plays her own tricks on Petra, who is now left broke (a la the split with Rafael) and clamoring for the same stability – not necessarily love.  Petra had to become someone else to escape her abusive ex, in a war-torn country, in a family without a father.  Even if she did love Rafael, well, that’s not really what she’s after.  She’s not necessarily just after his money – she’s after his stability, and maybe even was after that the whole time during their courtship.  She can’t figure out what she wants – but that’s because she’s never had a chance to be Petra or Natalia.  Natalia was, as previously mentioned, stuck in a war-torn country with an abusive ex-boyfriend after her and a manipulative mother.  Petra is now just the first-world-problems version of Natalia.

Then, to really get things going, Petra’s twin sister Aneska shows up, and forcibly puts Petra in a coma.  Now most people do not have a coma-crazy sibling no matter how bad your siblings may be, but all of this is why I truly adore Petra as a character.  Everyone Petra knows she is supposed to care about is constantly throwing her emotions for a loop – her mother manipulates her, her sister is a bit out of her mind, and even her lover wasn’t really who he said he was.  Regardless if you view those events as ridiculous telenovela events, this speaks to why Petra is the way she is.  She even so much as teams up with her abusive boyfriend from five years ago to determine if he was correct, and see if her mother was lying to her – and if you must know, he pretended to kill her, at that (which is always a possibility in abusive relationships).  Perhaps more than anything else, it is apparent Petra is a woman trying to just do one thing, and that’s look out for herself, in between all of the manipulation and wrongdoing done to her.  After you’ve been through so much, it’s easy to simply remove your feelings from a situation and just sit and smile and pretend you actually give a shit.  Which she does incredibly well… and just about all she does with the exception of a few situations when she’s first introduced.  Even when Petra is nice, she reverts back to being manipulative and angry after nobody realizes SPOILERS Aneska isn’t Petra.  It’s just another way of protecting herself.

Image result for petra gif jane the virgin

One thing I noticed about Petra when she and Jane were trying to get a friendship together was that Petra was really bad with emotions.   We never really saw her and Rafael’s  marriage while it was happy – we simply saw it in snippets – but you can imagine, perhaps, her problems with emotions probably played some part in it’s inevitable downfall.  Petra is more convincing she cares about you and whatever situation is there when she is lying.  The times she was sleeping with Locklan? Convincing.  The times she was playing the hotel owner next door? Also convincing.  Her becoming friends with Jane,  even temporarily,  opened a new door to Petra we never really saw: how hardcore emotional she really is, which is a testament to just how affected she probably was by her mother and her sister. She’s even so much as mean to Jane when Jane is nice to her, probably because she’s a little like “what the hell”.  It is worthy to note she also doesn’t have any friends.

Petra now gains her own real, genuine power by playing the field and obtaining shares of the hotel, initially as a means to get back at Rafael.   The thing is, this is when I truly loved Petra as a character and when I – yes, I’m going to say this – related  to her.  She didn’t want to be a mother,  but out of sheer desperation to keep someone in her life, she made that happen (not that part).  Upon finding her footing in the hotel, I finally feel like I have a Petra that belongs.  I feel like Petra fits in.  It is Petra, not Rafael,  the so-called hotel owner who gets the hotel back on track and she is aware of that.  She is at home in her office,  she’s extremely analytical and even more complicated.  Put simply, this is the exact moment I knew Petra was one of two favorite characters in this show.  She didn’t fit the role of motherhood, she was manipulative our of desperation, and now that her own situation has changed she has all the power – and is finally feeling sure of herself.  She stepped into the role of motherhood and got used to it, but I would definitely say not as much as Jane has.  No – Petra is the badass kind of mother.  She doesn’t fit the usual stereotype anymore, does she?

And that, is in part thanks to Rafael.   When Petra is pregnant,  Rafael becomes less of the former spouse Petra is pining over and more of her life coach.  How to respond to things,  how to handle Jane,  etc.  He encourages her to try her best at motherhood and that she can handle the hotel and kids at the same time.  And she listens.

Teaching us how to take our shirts off.

And this, in the end, benefits her enough that she finds herself.  His absence, both in his hotel and seemingly in Petra’s life, forces her to find who she is and what she wants.  As you learned last episode SPOILERS Petra dumps Rafael after spending so long pining after him.  She already rejected him once already, saying she feels second-best to Jane and always has.  She realizes she will never be anything more than a cheater and a manipulator to Rafael, who threw some shade at her behavior for manipulating men to get what she wants.  And this is when I realized Petra had her own stability and life she created for herself.  We even see a little bit of a sisterhood – albeit very dramatic, pothole-laden one – between she and Jane.  Petra lashed out to Rafael on Jane’s behalf, and Jane did the same for Petra to ensure she wasn’t hurt by Rafael.  And this is a thing women actually do, as a woman: when it comes to a man hurting another woman, we put everything aside, because fuck that. She cares, but she also holds people accountable for their actions, now.

And I think we all have something to learn from both Petra and Jane, who are both extremely different people.  Petra learns how she should be treated and how she should be valued, and clearly she has not found that yet.  There are valuable lessons to learn from their, er, whatever it is at this point., and whatever Rafael is to them both.  In the eyes of them both, Rafael is no longer seen, well, awfully favorably (can’t say I didn’t see that coming – more on that later).  And although their strong attitudes clash and don’t necessarily mesh – as Petra is the no-bullshit woman people fear when she’s angry – and Jane is the forgiving sweetheart who takes a little while to be pushed to the point of anger, when they work together they’re a strong team (as shown by the birth scene and the book scene).

And truly, in the end, we are always stronger together.

Especially when it comes to men.

Because fuck that.

Except Rogelio.

Image result for rogelio de la vega gif

He’s acceptable.

 

 

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It has been longer than I care to admit than I have been here.  I’ve gotten more health problems, more life problems, more problems in general.  But I felt the need to publish this on my blog.  I thought I was going to submit to another platform I’ve been writing for, but I changed my mind and decided to submit it to my blog instead, since it’s one of my better pieces that I think deserves a larger audience.

Jimmy Kimmel has reaffirmed his place as my favorite late-night talk show host, for the very same reasons you probably don’t like him right now. That’s right – Jimmy Kimmel has been on an entire new plane of respect ever since his monologues about the Cassidy-Graham healthcare bill. Regardless of your political views, whether Republican, Democrat, Independent, or the Rent is Too Damn High Party (it’s real), Jimmy Kimmel is doing something important and it’s about time you looked at it directly in the eyes.  He gave an emotional monologue back in May when his child was born with a heart disease that can only be fixed through many expensive surgeries.  It’s a congenital heart condition that often requires lifelong care, and what better way to spread awareness for a problem than to use your A-list fame?

Now, it seems, he’s taken it one step further, literally picking a fight with Senators and other political talking heads because of what happened to his son.  He’s making America look at this problem right in the eye, not as a politician, but as a father.  Jimmy Kimmel, in essence, has become the face of worried family and friends when someone is diagnosed with a life-altering disorder, that often times never go away.  And some of us, at least, are happy he is.  Politics are an issue people avoid – it ruins Thanksgiving Day dinner, it causes fights on Facebook, and ultimately is just never a fun topic for people to engage in.  The problem is, the very issues you’re arguing over with Aunt Tilly living in Idaho is the very issue that is going to affect somebody in a very real way – and Jimmy’s child is just one example of that.

Being disabled in America is inherently political, as much as you’d like to stick your head in the sand and pretend it’s not.  Let me clarify:  It shouldn’t be political, but it is.  Nobody, really, wants to kill a disabled person. After all, we’re told we are inspiring and amazing and all of this romanticized crap about what it’s like to wake up with pain every day.  Except, it’s all romanticized.

And Jimmy Kimmel is reminding you of that.

He’s showing you how your inability to have a dialogue about a problem is affecting real people and how your romanticized view is nothing more than a feel-good story you made up in your head while ignoring the very real struggles someone experiences.  Critics will say he’s politicizing his son’s health problems. And anyone who is sick, or has a sick child, knows being sick is political, not inspirational.  After all, we needed an actual bill to win rights for disabled people.  If it wasn’t political, we wouldn’t need to have the Americans with Disabilities Act to ​literally be treated decently.

Sorry to be the one to break the news.

Aside from that, it’s also a highly underrepresented group of people who even within liberal circles are often forgotten to exist.  I’ve been surrounded by numerous talks regarding groups of people that are in the minority, and it often took a very long time for disabled to be mentioned.  In fact, disabled people are often forgotten entirely whenever I attended such a talk.  The only people who always included them were, well, disabled people.  It’s well known LGBT people, people of different races, people of certain religions, etc., are in minority groups.  But the problem is that “disabled” is often not a qualifier that is remembered.  

Someone who has a life changing or rare disorder does not have the luxury of sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring a bill like the Graham-Cassidy bill.  Because the passage of such a bill could literally mean life or death, and your sick friends want you to know that.  I tend to avoid political conversation, but wanting to kill me is generally where I draw the line (pretty fair, don’t you think?).

They want you to pay attention to these bills that are attempted to be passed, because we don’t have the luxury of calling it political hosh-kosh and saying how difficult healthcare is to resolve.  We don’t have the luxury of analyzing the details of how kinda-sorta pre-existing conditions might be covered, mostly because we will definitely wake up the next day feeling our pains, attending our treatments, and being scared about our futures.  We have to pay attention.

This isn’t about Democrat vs Republican.  This isn’t about the fine details of Obamacare and whether it’s good or bad or neutral or apocalyptic.  This is about pre-existing conditions.  This is about lifetime caps.  This is about that I didn’t want to get an official diagnosis because I knew that insurance companies wouldn’t want to insure me.  This is about peoples lives, which is inherently political, because it involves all of that.  However, there is another side to this.

It’s time to start remembering that nothing is complicated about not allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions (such as raising premiums).  It’s time to start remembering nothing is complicated about giving a person a life cap and subsequently letting them die at 35 if they’re not rich.  It’s time to remember that you probably have a pre-existing condition, or will get one in your lifetime. Nothing about any of that is inherently political.  Taxes are political, not whether or not a cancer survivor can be priced out of insurance, or the 15 year old can get heart surgery.  It’s only political because it’s made to be.

And the sickest of people, currently, are fighting your battle. The people I see paying attention to this bill are the sickest of people I know, or people who are very politically savvy.  It’s not like when there were protests in the streets for rights for other groups of people.  People I know and people you know aren’t paying attention, unless this bill can end their lives.

Still, we are forgotten in mainstream dialogue.

Thank you, Jimmy Kimmel, for attempting to change that, and becoming the face of parents with chronically sick children, and the face of the worries, stress, and sleepless nights we experience as adults.  Thank you for becoming the face of the fear of being chronically sick and unable to work and the face of a scary treatment.  Thank you for trying to get people to pay attention.

Because until now, nobody else has.

Unless they’re calling us inspirational, of course.

I have a friend who is an extreme movie-goer.  Loves movies.  Loves reviewing them.  Does not have a blog.  One of his common complaints is that there’s just too many superhero movies, and too many of them are flops for the “genre” to still be considered legitimate and not beaten to a pulp.  He says, what gives?  Suicide Squad was maybe decent at best.  Batman VS Superman is something we don’t talk about (literally never going to review that movie), the X-Men movies are slowly deteriorating, etc.  Now, this is his argument – it is not mine.  The last few Spider-Man movies had split personalities, with some people adoring them and some others wanting to puncture their eardrums, although I don’t remember them getting particularly high reviews.  I fall into the latter category to the extent where I also wanted to gouge my eyes out.

So, why do we need so many of them? If you don’t like even a slight mention of politics, look away now.  Move your mouse, have it hover the X button, press it, and get up and walk away.  Don’t have No Chill.  Although I hate to tell you – superhero movies very often get political.  X-Men can be (mutant registry, hello?).  Captain America can be.  America as in *AMERICA* (THE COUNTRY, AMERICA).  Batman can be.  The comics can be even more so.

Image result for captain america punching hitler

Real subtle.

Superheroes show us that (^), even when it’s not deliberate.  Superheroes show us Captain America punching Hitler.  Superheroes show us the X-Men fighting to not be put on a “list of mutants” type deal.  Superheroes show us alien Superman isn’t all that different except he’s really buff.  In the current divisive political climate, regardless  of what you think, superheroes show us that their situations aren’t actually all that different from ours.  And you know what?  We need to see that.  We need to be reminded to be everyday heroes.  We need to be reminded how the struggles truly are similar in some respects, and what we can do about it.  Sure, we aren’t rich and have a personal butler, and we don’t have superhuman serum, but we have something.  We have the power to organize, to fight back, and to argue with those in power.  We have the power to resist, even if it ends without a success.

With American politics being so shitty, my advice is to take solace in the fictional who undoubtedly harbor more power than we do.  Each movie, each comic, each character – has a statement to bring to the table.  Comic books are also a medium that do not shy from political commentary.  That’s why we still need superhero movies.  They can say things to a mass group of people, masked in a playful cloth.  They can comment – hell, their actors can also comment – unapologetically and brutally, but just subtle enough to not alienate.  We need them because, despite all this, they still bring people together.  But, they make them talk, too.

But why superheroes?  Can’t we just make a CIA movie?

No.  Superheroes give people hope.  Superheroes are people we look up to.  Superheroes are something bigger than all of us and everything we know if they were real.  You can fire a CIA agent.  A cop.  An FBI agent.  A masked vigilante can’t be fired.  They’re controlled by their morals and their power.  Since when did you look at a CIA agent and feel a sense of hope?

My advice is to harness that power for what you believe in.

But, just like divisive superhero movies – another takeaway – don’t forget who your friends are, even if you disagree with them.  Speak softly and carry a big stick.

But now, more than ever, we should be looking to them.

The fuck happened?

Posted: January 30, 2017 in Updates/Gen. Info

It has been significantly longer than I’d care to admit to with this blog.  I still love this blog.  I think about this blog a lot.  It’s shitty to not have the time.

So, where have I been?

To the few loyal people who have stuck around – I thank you.  To the new followers – I thank you even more, because I am basically the WordPress blog version of Batman, except way less cooler and definitely not as famous, and you still came on board anyway.  I thank you for seeing my potential even when, in my opinion, my potential has been dead in the water, floating like a lifeless body. That’s oddly graphic, I apologize.

I always give explanation as to where I’ve been, though.  So, where have I been?

Busting my ass.

I hate to say that, because you wouldn’t think so.  You truly would not, because this blog is dead, and I hate myself for it (I mean, I don’t actually, but you get it).  It sucks this is not something I’ve made time for.  Please bear in mind, I have barely ate or slept the last six months.  Aside from the usual health problems, I took 21 credits and worked three jobs, one of which was seasonal.  21 credits.  three jobs.  Maybe a meal if I’m lucky.  A few hours of sleep at best.  I’m hoping to jump back into it now because I’m taking a paltry 16 credits.  I’m not happy.  I need to re-find my footing. I still want to publish my own creations.  I still want this blog to be the absolute biggest it can be.

 

But, two degrees will do that to you.

*I do not speak for all chronically ill people.

Well, I’ve been sick again and it’s fun.  I miss my blog, I love you guys for being patient.  However,, I am writing a five minute post.  I am chronically ill and that’s part of why getting long, thought out, perfectly timed posts is so difficult.  I may actually start an audio YouTube channel because it will be easier a and quicker to get things done.  I just prefer writing – but I guess I can’t have everything.

Over the last few days I have experienced things people should not say to the chronically ill.  Things that have decidedly pissed me off.  Things that make me wonder if the people I’m talking to need to go see the Wizard for a brain.

Without further waiting, here we go, in no particular order:

1.  I know exactly how you feel.  I once sprained my ankle and I had a lot of pain!

Let me get this straight.  You sprained your ankle, once, maybe a couple of years ago, and that equates to a life long, life changing illness that needs to be constantly managed for the rest of your life.  You do not know exactly how I feel.  Unless you are me, and you have the illnesses I do, you cannot know exactly how I feel.  You don’t know how I feel.  What I have in particular is like spraining every area of your body every day.  That said, please stop pretending you understand, please stop being condescending, and please start listening. 

2. Nothing at all.

Society, really, I notice when you are hiding the fact the chronically ill make you uncomfortable.  Why is talking about it such taboo?  Bullshit.  I have health problems.  They are a part of who I am but do not define me as a person either.  You could ask me how I feel, just like I – or any other person chronically ill or not – would ask you if you had like, a 12 hour stomach virus, which is decidedly not life changing.

3.  That sucks.

So do you. 

(this one should be self explanatory)

4.  Just get some sleep.  You’ll be fine.

If only sleep cured idiocy, too.  I sleep more than the average person.  If I don’t get 9 hours of sleep (sometimes I sleep 12 hours, like today) I feel like a zombie.  I feel like I have been out drinking in the city when in reality I just got less sleep than my body demands.  Telling someone shut up and sleep and you’ll be fine is really pretty fucking insensitive.  Listen to us.  Let us talk.  Next time you get into an argument with your brother or sister or parents and have to vent, we are going to say just get some sleep and you’ll be fine.  It’s just not appropriate.  If sleep fixed what I have, I’d break the fucking Guinness book record.

5.  I heard about this Dr. Oz remedy if you eat dog shit and take a bath in deodorant you’ll feel better!

We really dont want to hear about the remedy Dr. Oz talked about because if we knew of a remedy we would probably use it.  A doctor would probably suggest it and if they didn’t, we probably would find it ourselves or ask a support group their thoughts.  You will not fix us.  Sorry, white knight.

Point in case:  LISTEN.  BE SUPPORTIVE.  TREAT IT LIKE ITS REAL. Don’t take us for granted.

There’s more, but I’ll make a part 2.

I’m going to just make out with my screen now.

I have missed this blog more than you have missed your extended family at Christmas.  I have missed this blog more than *my* extended family at Christmas.

What gives?

Well, the truth is, I am dating somebody.  While you have no business in knowing anything else, just know that blogging was really hard between school, two jobs (one seasonal, but getting another), a significant other, a dying cat (my cat died), and a fish tank that needed weekly changes.

Some things have changed.  My desire to blog, however, has not.  I wrote that bitchy post because I needed to break facade on why I haven’t been here.

Now.  I’m going to go month by month like last time and go through the movies.  I’m going to primarily focus on Superhero movies, but I may do a separate post for other movies.

DEADPOOL

Marvel is basically kicking off 2016 with Deadpool.  So many people, myself included, have been pining for the release of this movie back before it was even considered to be made.  Now, here we are, perhaps a little more than a month away from seeing Deadpool on the big screen, complete with Ryan Reynolds, breaking the 4th wall, and all the not-so-lovely (but lovely) things associated with Deadpool.  I’m not sure if I ever put this on my blog, but I really happened to like that Deadpool starts off sickly, and becoming Deadpool is his trade off to stay alive.  As a person who is chronically (though not terminally) ill, I can really appreciate the sick humor in this film.  For example, Captain America, who is sickly and just wants a chance to prove himself, becomes a goodie-two shoes.  Deadpool makes disturbing jokes from the beginning – as I often do about myself.  He doesn’t become a goodie-two-shoes. He becomes an antihero.  He doesn’t suddenly start trying to do right in the world like Captain America.  Nope.  He’s still sarcastic, still snarky, and perhaps a bit more brutal after all the events, and doesn’t become a villain.  And I like that.  Because just as doctors have a dark sense of humor because of the amount of awful crap they see, often times people who have health problems can also have a really dark, sick sense of humor.  The way he becomes Deadpool really appeals to that sense of humor (I have a very dark sense of humor).  I did not have such a dark sense of humor prior to my diagnoses.  After I got them, though, sarcasm literally became a second language, and I didn’t exactly hate everyone (aka, not like a villain).

I’ve been excited for Deadpool since Day 1.   After all the hoopla it’s experienced with being rated R, having sex scenes, breaking the 4th wall, and plot possibilities, I’d say this is going to be in the top 3 superhero films of 2016.  He sounds so much like the comic Deadpool and the fight for Reynolds to renew being Deadpool was well worth it.  And now, after all this time, we aren’t that far away from this Deadpool being the Deadpool to remember – not the Wolverine one.  Everything looks great – the acting, the character of Deadpool, the CGI.  I think this movie will be one of those where there’s lines everyone remembers.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

I want to apologize in advance.

I want to start by saying Wonder Woman has been horribly miscast.  I feel like the only reason they cast the person they did is because she was in the military and she’s skinny and cute.  Sorry – saying this from a perspective of a woman who works out quite a bit.  In fact, truthfully, I at one point had bigger biceps than the current actress.  I understand the rationale behind casting a woman who was in the military, but as someone who knows quite a bit about exercising and the human body, I can tell you being in the military five years ago might not mean much in terms of how fast someone deconditions.  Deconditioning is the gradual loss of muscle and ability of organs to perform (ie, running for 2 minutes or 20).  So while she may be disciplined to follow a rigorous exercise plan, that isn’t exactly the point of movies.  Movies don’t make men get buff, they just pick the muscles that make them look buff and exercise those, or just shape the muscles themselves without doing weight training (if anyone knows better than me, let me know, this is just what I know).  They exercise the biceps, the pectorals, and probably the trapezius on men.  Women don’t usually need to get buff for roles (let’s face it – Michael Bay is not doing women in action flicks any justice), so there might even be a lack of knowledge about how women gain muscle vs. how men gain muscle and how our physical anatomy might slightly differ.  This actress does not fit the role at all in my opinion, and her body type, in my opinion, does not match that of Wonder Woman’s.  And please do not say it’s because comics make people bigger than they realistically can be – which is true.  However:

 

 

The fact that I just posted three buff men on this blog is proving a bigger point than they’re all incredibly good looking.  Yes, the characters they portray are bigger than normal humans, but especially with Chris Evans in that photo, it wasn’t too hard for anybody to at least attempt getting as close as they could to an accurate physical representation.  Why am I arguing this?  Because I think Wonder Woman was cast for her looks, and not because she might resemble Wonder Woman.  There are physically better options out there, because Wonder Woman standing next to these three guys – she looks tiny and looks like she can’t hold her own.  Wonder Woman’s shoulders are broad, and her upper body torso is clearly toned by muscle/shape.  I’m sorry, but, the actress doesn’t have that.  And don’t tell me I’m being nitpicky or superficial or “just be happy a woman is involved”, because:

 

Unless you wanted Captain America to look like this the entire movie, too, you should stop talking.

Otherwise the movie looks very explosive, and I haven’t decided if that’s a good or bad thing.  Sometimes the CGI looks a little iffy, like a video game.  The plot looks like it’s two buff guys fighting to figure out who’s better than each other and the entire city is their schoolyard (ironically destroying things among the people who worship/hate them).  Maybe I am wrong.  Maybe I will be completely blown away (by everything other than Wonder Woman).  And please, don’t show us his parents dying again – please… please.

Because we already have enough characters in this.  Apparently, Cyborg, Aquaman, and of course Lex Luthor are all in this too.  It feels like they’re trying to plan for the Justice League while also trying to cash in on everyone who has ever said “What if Batman and Superman got into a fight?”.  I don’t particularly like Lex Luthor either, for many of the same reasons I don’t like Wonder Woman, but I’ll give him a pass on creative expression on part for the movie makers. For the record, I do like Affleck as a Batman (nobody will ever be Bale), I just think the circumstances he’s in isn’t ideal.  Also for the record I love Batman and somewhat prefer DC characters to Marvel characters, but just.. their movies.. someone fell asleep at the wheel…

Still one of the three in the top 3, though.

ONWARD!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

At first, for this movie, I was concerned about it getting stuffed.  And it still is.  The problem is, it still has the Avengers 2.5 feel.

Give Cap his own movie.  You’ve managed to renew the love of Cap in the public sphere.  Why would you include that many people?  I mean, yes, it will make a good movie, and I’m going to say this is my second choice for the top 3 of 2016 of superhero movies.  But give Cap his own spotlight.  Bucky, Black Widow, Falcon, and even Iron Man all get a pass from me (although I don’t think BW is necessary).  But Cap should get his own movie without so many others stealing his spotlight.  I understand the plot mostly centers around what he refuses to do – hence it being a Cap movie – but what kind of screen time does he get?

If this were an Avengers movie, that complaint would not be there.  And that is a big complaint for such a little section.  A Captain America movie should be about Captain America.

Otherwise, everyone looks good.  The movie looks solid.

… And all like, 34 characters.  Still will be in the top 3.  I just think they will need to give us some Cap later on to compensate for this.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

 

What some might love about this movie – and some may hate – is Wolverine not being there.  I have to say this movie couldn’t have came at a better time as Hugh Jackman is getting ready to hang up his metal claws.  It’ll get us used to life without Wolverine for a little bit, because there’s no way he’s immediately going to be recasted right after Jackman retires.  It’ll spell it’s own failure, if they do, in my opinion, just because Jackman has become Wolverine.  He was even in a cameo in another movie as Wolverine (Believe it was a Night at the Museum).  When I see Hugh Jackman, I think Wolverine.  It’s going to take time and a good recasting to get me to think of another actor and see Wolverine in them.  That’s why this movie is such a breath of fresh air – we can reconnect with the other X-Men.  A lot of the X-Men movies have a heavy Wolverine presence.  Regardless if you love or hate it, Wolverine is going to go now.  It’s time for us to reconnect with the other X-Men.

And what better way to do that, is making them all young again without Wolverine?

I absolutely adore Michael Fassbender Magneto.  Ian McKellen is great, but Fassbender Magneto is a certain intensity I haven’t felt from a villain since The Joker in The Dark Knight.  He is electrifying.  Ian McKellen is very, very charismatic, while Fassbender makes you go “oh ****”.

I’m interested in seeing Cyclops and Jean Gray’s past as well as Magneto and Mystique if they touch on it, but I just hope it doesn’t overtake the film like another superhero movie I can recall…

This feels like the Civil War version of X-Men. But what I did like is that instead of hordes of armies like in Days of Future Past, we literally get natural disaster images that would, maybe, accompany the end of the world.  Apocalypse seems utterly terrifying, and evoking religious images or references would normally get a “guys, what the hell” sort of response.  But Egypt in itself is a nod to religion, and seeing him talk about religious references is a bit on the creepy side, as well as the dying worship he gets.  I don’t know too much about these characters otherwise, so this section might be short.  Either way I’m happy Apocalypse isn’t a big bumblefuck of CGI, and I’m happy they’re introducing us to different X-Men.  I’m also glad Magneto isn’t the main villain.

SUICIDE SQUAD

I, personally, am excited about this movie.  However, I know it’s going to receive flak for a lot of the characters looking a bit different than what we would consider traditional, especially since it has already.  What I originally said about this movie is coming true – the “villains” are technically the heroes, waiting to be the government’s scapegoat.  There isn’t totally too much to say about it other than I’m not yet impressed with the Joker, but I can’t judge yet because I haven’t seen him in action.  I remember somebody else by the name of Heath Ledger we wrote off, but I have a feeling about this guy that I won’t like him – and not because he’s not Heath Ledger. I understand people like the tattoos, but you don’t need tattoos to be a fucking maniac, so let’s see if they put as much detail into his personality as they have into his looks, regardless if you like it or not. Otherwise I’m excited for Harley probably the most.

 

Doctor Strange and Gambit will warrant their own post, I am slowly losing my sanity as I am trying to type this with two kittens who currently have the attention span of a squirrel.  No kittens were harmed in the making of this post, however, a cooling pad gave it’s life at the paws of kittens and my power adapter now is at 80% health.

Godspeed.

IT’S BACK.

Finding Nemo has swam his back into the recent times!

It’s so childish how excited I am for this movie. I don’t know if you know, but I have three fish tanks.  One is 90 gallons, another is 10, and another is ten.  I don’t know if I’ve ever shown them on my blog, but I think it’s time:

11403134_10203229277612850_243331312310508707_n

The babies!

I have a ten gallon with a betta also, but that tank is really my show tank (it’s also understocked).  My other ten gallon has baby Pictus catfish.

So.. Finding Dory.

Well, Disney has made it pretty clear they know Millennials have a weakness:  And that weakness is nostalgia.  Millennials love nostalgia.  In fact, as a Millennial, I was reading about how much we love nostalgia last night before bed.  I was searching for the reason why we love it as much as we do.  There is no doubt Disney is riding that train and milking it for what they can – and my generation certainly isn’t protesting.

Onto Finding Dory, now, for real, though.

I really love what Finding Nemo does.  As you can see, I have a fish tank.  As you can see, my tank is well taken care of.  But, in Finding Nemo, if you recall, the fish are placed into a small tank and want to escape.  Well, the thing is, that can actually happen (minus the escaping).  I have a betta fish, which is one of the most abused fish out there.  Betta fish typically need water in the high 70s or low 80s,a filter, and at least 3-5 gallons to swim in.  Fish, too, get bored. My betta resides in his own ten gallon tank, all to himself – he has two filters, rock substrate, gets frozen/freeze dried/pellet food, and tons of plants to explore and hide in. I also bought him his own toys and special floating hiding spots.  I also saved him from death – a child was about to buy him and put him back on the shelf.  I snabbed him the minute they put him back.

But I want to tell you what Finding Nemo does right about fish.

You’re gonna hate me now.

Fish only get loony as they do in Finding Nemo for one reason – the tank is too small.  Yes, I am saying fish can get loony.  If you screw something up, make the tank too small, add too many fish, or add fish that aren’t the appropriate size for the tank (say, you know, goldfish in a bowl.. or ten gallon tank), fish will be batshit crazy.  Fish will not be happy.  Fish will be aggressive, lethargic, and just generally unhappy.  I know because I have kept fish since I was 4.  I have had 20 gallons, 10 gallons, 40 gallons, and 90 gallons (and I hope to get a 125 gallon next).  I have raised fish and given them away, I have kept individual fish for years (5 years on one Tetra, now deceased; I am now raising a 6 inch, 3 year old catfish, who I have had for all 3 years), and I know if they aren’t happy.  I can tell if an altercation is about to begin, I can tell if one fish doesn’t like another, and I can tell if something is bothering them and what that is.

Point being, fish are really fucking complicated, and a bowl is not an adequate living space for a goldfish, betta, or rock, even.  And that’s what I liked about Finding Nemo.  Finding Nemo put them in a small tank and they weren’t happy.  But the problem is, the public took something entirely different away from it.  Like most movies that feature certain dog breeds, such as German Shepherds, the same happened with Finding Nemo.  When a certain movie about a dog is popular, the first thing people do after seeing the movie is go and adopt a dog of that breed – which is asinine.  That happened to Finding Nemo, too.  People went out and bought Hippo Tangs (Dory), Clownfish (Nemo), Moorish idols (Gill), and Yellow Tangs (Bubbles) without actually knowing a thing about fish or what they require because of Finding Nemo.  There is a reason they want to escape the tank.  Fish are living, breathing beings.  They have requirements just like any dog, cat, bird, horse, or lizard.  I liked that the movie highlighted the mistreatment of fish and how they are often crammed into small spaces inappropriate for them to live in – the problem is, it only made the problem worse.  That’s why I’m including this paragraph.  When you see Finding Nemo, or Finding Dory, or any movie about any animal, do not go and buy one because the Pixar or Disney version is cute. 

SPOILERS.

MINOR SPOILER BELOW.

And it seems to hit on this in Finding Dory, according to this still:

Fish need stimulation (Dory’s tank is empty).  Fish need others of their kind (she’s alone).  Fish need an appropriate sized tank (unknown tank size).  Fish need you to take care of them properly.  But for fuck’s sake, please don’t get an octopus.

The trailer, though, starts out with Dory sleeping while apparently dreaming about her origins.  Soon, she swims off.  The next few clips is Dory trying to find her family, and soon, she starts remembering things, which is character development for Dory.  Ultimately, the trailer is about how the story begins.  I know, apparently, there will be new characters.  Particularly Hank the Octopus, Bailey the Beluga, and Destiny the whale shark (source below).  There isn’t a whole lot to say about Finding Dory, other than the lovable Hippo Tang seems to be back in action.  The trailer doesn’t reveal much, which is a good thing.  I can only hope they manage to make the same sort of statements about fish, the ocean, and how we treat them.  The animations look solid, and the soundtrack seems quite exciting.

Overall, whether you have a fish tank or not, you’ll be excited for Dory’s next adventures.

Sadly I applied to Marvel Comics for an internship multiple times, and I never was quite let in.  I constantly debated including my Psychology degree on my resume.  Little did I know the person who created Wonder Woman, was, in fact, a psychologist, and psychology plays a huge role in comic books and how we relate to them.  I was never quite let in to Marvel’s writing areas of the internship (or like, five other areas)… which sucked greatly, since I live in New York City and busted my fucking bum to get it in early.  But, now I can safely say I will include it if I ever apply again (sidenote: I don’t know.)

Holy Sigmund Freud, Batman.

A little story for you first, as I always did:  Psychologically analyzing people is fun.  It’s slightly addictive for the psychology nerds of the world, in my humble opinion.  Psychologically analyzing fictional people is probably even more fun. 

But in all seriousness, there is now a legitimate psychologically therapy called comic book therapy.  I am not lying.  Go to Wikipedia, type it in, and read it.  There are mounds of books published on this.  Literally everyone takes these things seriously.

Now, I’m sorry, S type fans (Superman type), I’m focusing on B-type heroes (which, if you don’t know what that is, it’s heroes without a super-power).  S-types are very much defined by their ability, not what they’ve been through.  Yes, what they’ve been through can be shaped by their circumstances, but I mean purely being affected by something that might have happened to them without a power inducing that situation.

Firstly, and this is pretty cool: They make us comfortable with uncomfortable topics.  They talk about all the taboo shit society avoids.  Death, mass killings, murders, sexual assault, disability (as a technically disabled person I can say society hates talking about it).  And it’s cool, because comic books/comic movies shove it in your face and you’re cool with it.  They shove so much uncomfortable shit at you.  Everything from discrimination to death to disability is in a comic book.  But it makes you wonder why we’re cool with, like, seeing Barbara Gordon be disabled by the Joker and not an actual physically disabled person.  I wouldn’t call it empowering, but I’d say once it seeps into a comic book it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s a way of talking about things we don’t want to talk about, and it’s a way of simply opening up dialogue about things we don’t want to talk about.  Hell, this is so true, that it can be used in therapy sessions to portray something that happened to someone.  If someone doesn’t want to talk about a particular traumatic event, according to Wikipedia, “Comic book therapy is a form of art therapy in which those undergoing rehabilitation express their experiences through personal narratives in a graphic novel/sequential art format that enables them to process their memories and emotions.”  It’s still a form of communication, and it’s still a form of talking about things.  According to another article (cited below), a psychologist used superheroes as a means of therapy for kids who had gone through traumatic events.  It got them to talk about things they didn’t want to talk about.  They are literally used to analyze their deepest fears and traumas – and I can’t help but get the feeling every time you watch a movie or pick up a book you are doing the same to yourself for free because that is what these things feature.  We face fears without talking about it.

Only furthering this, I see a lot of people who were relentlessly bullied who take to the haven of comic books. They usually feature a classic underdog story.  It’s like everyone and their mother has been in some situation that they can relate to because of these things.  Like, some guy’s parents did actually die and that’s why Batman is their go-to.  I always find people explaining why a superhero is their favorite is a major league, deeply personal question.  I’m not asking for your social security number, I’m asking why Superman is your man.  It’s almost as if they become woven into the cores of us much like they become woven into the core of pop culture (and as such, that’s why comic con is so fucking crowded).  And maybe our parents didn’t die in an alley because of a guy named Joe Chill, but, maybe they were absent for things.  Maybe they missed your graduation, shit, I don’t know.  We can relate to the psychology of superheroes.  We can relate to their psyche… and maybe that’s why we all have our personal favorites.  We’re emotionally similar to them.  I find The Flash annoying because he’s hyperactive – which I am not.

Now the really morbid part comes.

You know, almost all of them have some kind of thing they want to fix or escape.  And if you tell me you have no regrets in your life, tell me your secrets.

Oh, please.

We all regret something.  And most of the time, a superhero is working off of a regret, an event, or something they wish they could’ve changed.  Isn’t that like, half of the population’s motivation?  Make something better?  Improve something?  Like, people pick certain careers because they want to be better than their experience sometimes.  Sometimes they like what they see and want to make it better.  And we can feel an undying pain of guilt for things we might regret.  They’re super, sure, but they have regrets just like the rest of us.  And we want to run from them, but we’re not a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.  Maybe we want to fix something that happened to us.  And you know what?  You’re completely fucking powerless to fix it most the time.  The guy who sexually harassed you is somewhere in the world, the dying 6 year old is still dying, you still suck at math (I needed to lighten this mood).  Sometimes you can fix it, but sometimes you can’t.  Things stay with us – and things stay with them.  It’s okay to be a little fucked up (coming from someone who is, decidedly, fucked up a little bit).  It’s taboo to admit these things, but in this world?  It’s all good.

And wouldn’t we all like to live in a world where fixing the wrongs of the world was as simple as putting on a suit and knocking out a few teeth.

Citation:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/17/the-rise-of-superhero-therapy-comic-books-as-psychological-treatment.html

This sort of just panned out this way.  I come back the same time I attend NYCC for the first time ever.  First, really, I want to say thanks.  My hell that is college is almost over (not the college part, the hell part).  I needed to take a semester or two away from this, which was depressing as anything.  I missed writing even as I’m taking enough writing classes to successfully make me sick of writing.  The upside to taking writing classes, though, is prepping for MR writing.  I get to practice as much as I possibly can before I embark on this.  I have a few storylines in mind, and although I draw I will need an artist because I barely have time to eat dinner nowadays.   (sidenote: if you’re unaware I have a character I want to write a comic book for).

I want to say something:  This blog is a hobby and a job.  In other words, I’d love to see it turn into a job.  But if it doesn’t, I will always come back to it.  I enjoy it too much to fully ever let it go, and I’ll probably do some form of professional writing whether it be a comic book, a novel, poetry, fictional/non-fiction essays, or anthology of short stories.  And you will know about it.  But mostly, I want people to just read it and have a good time with it as much as I do.

So where did I go besides comic con?  I’m a double major, first off, so naturally I’m double the strapped and stressed as you if you’re a liberal arts.  I’m half (sort of) science.  This doesn’t apply if you’re a biology/psychics/math/STEM related major: my apologies, but you shouldn’t be reading my blog and trying to eat, sleep, or shower.  I also was hiding out to avoid reviewing the new Shitastic Four movie so I didn’t need to attend anger management classes.

But onward to Comic Con.

First let me say I am lucky to live in the land of the second largest comic con in the United States.  At the same time, a New York Minute is no joke, and most days of my life lunch doesn’t exist.

My land, right here.

My land, right here.

Living here is part of why writing is so difficult.  My life never stops, its a never ending merry go round of shit to do. I’ve wanted to get back to this, I’ve wanted to write again both for myself and for Comic Frontline.  I’m going to strike a balance.  I’m considering some combination of movies and comic book arcs (I don’t do that cliffhanger stuff) and one post that is solely more like my Christine post perhaps once a week each.  Regardless, I went to Comic Con Saturday and Sunday.  I wanted to go on Friday, but that horrible queue system made it hard to do and slowly getting the tickets became The Hunger Games and the scalpers were Mr. Snow.

imageI still went despite the slightly traumatizing experience of getting the tickets.  I did not go to any panels, but I wish I went to writing panels.  Apparently there was information regarding publishing your own comic book, and that could’ve been useful.  I went for myself and for my blog.  I mean, honestly, it’s all kind of a blur to me.  I mostly went to booths and bought way too much shit and figured out who everyone was cosplaying as.  I did do a cosplay on Sunday, but not Saturday.  It was Jurassic Park related (duh).  Unfortunately nobody guessed what I was (or cared very much at all about what I was), but if you saw somebody in a pink shirt with a JP cap it was yours truly, you creeper.

My first thoughts upon going was, well, it’s just fucking crowded.  Really crowded.  I kind of wish they’d do something about that, but I don’t imagine what they could possibly do.  It just seems like a bit of a hazard to have hoards of people who are barely moving their feet.  The booths were rather interactive, and if nothing else, really interesting.

I'm set. I can leave NYCC now.

I’m set. I can leave NYCC now.  It’s coming with me, though.

While at NYCC, I honestly realized how poor I was.  I saw posters signed by celebrities (Ahem, Hayley Atwell) and Sideshow statues that I wish I had 400 bucks lying around to buy.  They featured Batman statues and an amazing Joker statue so amazing that the price was TBD.  It was that gorgeous that they couldn’t even decide on a price yet.  I went into NYCC with the mindset I wanted one thing related to a small group of people:  Batman, The Joker, Batgirl, Nightwing, Captain America/The Avengers, Peggy, and Catwoman.  I found Batman, Joker, Avengers, and Batgirl fairly easily.  Nightwing wasn’t too tough but it required some searching, same with Peggy.  Guess who’s still the only character I can find nothing for?

That's right.

That’s right.

Yep.  Catwoman.  I could find next to nothing Catwoman.  I found one mediocre t-shirt, this statue, and a few other things, but that’s basically it.  While the statue is a great mention, it’s not economically practical.  I mean, I blew over 100 bucks in this place.  I can’t just drop 400 bucks on a statue.  It was frustrating.  There were some amazing cosplayers, but I was undercover.  I wanted to take a photo of them and put them on here (like a top ten cosplayers type thing), but I was with people who I don’t want to see this blog because I’m intensely private that way.  Next year I will be doing that.  The ones that come to mind are the Hulk Buster, Ghost Busters, and the woman dressed as Claire from JW (or at least a JW scientist).

Speaking of JW.. how disappointing.

They’ve already announced another movie, and had a corner dedicated to the movie, but that’s it.  Now mind you, I liked Jurassic Park before it was cool.  I waited for JW for 14 years.  I scoured the floor for more JW related things, but nothing.  It was all superheroes and anime, and a bit of Pokemon but even that was lacking a bit.

imageThis was the extent of JW-related things.  I wish it wasn’t, but it was.  All the booths had impressive displays, don’t get me wrong – but if you want to keep the hype going for a movie (a JW sequel) that everyone is collectively like “what now?” at, I don’t know, any more merch would help out.  Buy something.  Limited edition something.  A bunch of guys in costumes is nice, but ship out some shit to sell.  I LOVED the amount of Civil War, Deadpool, and Avengers stuff around.  It was utterly everywhere.  And even Peggy got her share of time:

image

Like some other people we know.

800 bucks.. that hurts.

Regardless, I was happy with my prints and my lithographs.  The booths, while expensive, were wonderful eye candy.  The murals might not have come home with me, but they were immersive nonetheless.  You really knew where you were.  You really felt the excitement for future movies and comics and games and whatever else.  It was very superhero heavy, and actually a good bit Star Wars heavy.  It being superhero heavy is why I lost as much money as I did. There were also exclusive Harry Potter statues and The Hunger Games – unfortunately I am not reporting on anime because I have no clue who anyone is.  Pokemon was lacking a bit, but I feel we’re in the age of superheroes – and with references to Civil War, Bat v Supes, and Deadpool utterly everywhere, NYCC didn’t disappoint.  For the JP nerds – they had old school JP toys from The Lost World and the original Jurassic Park in the box.  For sale.  There.  I wish.

Overall, I feel there could be more emphasis on female characters.  Tap into that reserve.  More Batgirl, Peggy, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy could prove useful.  You might even make a buck (or a couple hundred thousand).  It felt male character centric, with some extra emphasis on Wonder Woman.  I just want to see that happen.  Maybe Wonder Woman will help change it.

No Fantastic Four, though, of course.

So I saw Jurassic World.  As some of you might know, I was cautiously optimistic about it (leaning a bit on the side of negativity).  But I saw it last night and unfortunately couldn’t post sooner due to a day job.  I really, really wanted to write last night because I had such strong emotions following Jurassic World.  The premise of the movie is something everyone knows by now it seems: A working, 21st century version of Jurassic Park is made by Simon Masrani, who bought out InGen from Hammond.

As always, a little story for you first.

Jurassic Park and I have a love-hate relationship.  The fandom can be a bit dramatic, and I’ve truly met some less-than-desirable people while navigating my way through it writing this blog.  If there was one thing I wish for this fandom it would be that everyone shuts the fuck up and gets along.  We have something new, don’t ruin it with unneeded drama.  We have waited for 14 years for this movie.

That ultimately brings me to my next point, here.

How did I even get into this Jurassic Park thing to begin with?

Well, it wasn’t some epically major introduction.  I had been a huge dinosaur nerd while I was a kid (I still have a whole bin full of dinosaur toys I refuse to get rid of much to my parent’s dismay).  My dad was watching it in the living room, and I happened to walk in on the part when Dr. Grant and Ellie Sattler first see the Brachiosaurus for the first time.  I stopped for a minute, and was completely taken aback.  I wish I could make it up that I walked in on that moment, but I actually really did.  So I had a JP Chasmosaurus toy someone gave me, and I always looked at the symbol on the leg wondering what it meant (the J and P together).  It was the only JP toy I had and the only original one I owned.  Finally a few years after wondering what it was, I noticed it in the movie my dad was watching.  I had seen The Lost World and hadn’t realized that movie and the movie my dad watched were related.  Then I saw that it was Jurassic Park.

Dinosaurs in particular got me through some rough times.  During one hard time, I was waiting for someone to arrive and I knew it wouldn’t be fun.  Before they came, I watched a documentary about T. rex.  I always had dinosaur toys, I was teased in school because I liked dinosaurs.  I had no friends in school, and still, I had dinosaur toys.  That’s part of why I liked Jurassic Park.  Dinosaurs led me to Jurassic Park.  The old scaly raptors, the big, lumbering T. rex… they led me to it.

At first I wasn’t a huge JP fan, but it grew on me, mostly because of how prominent T. rex is.

A lot.

So when JW happened, I was skeptical if it should be brought back at all.

It didn’t disappoint.

Spoilers here on out.

From the opening, the link between dinosaurs and birds is made with a crow.  We are linked with the past of dinosaurs through Gray’s little toy thingy that flipped through the drawings and pictures of dinosaurs back when they were thought to be big lumbering dumb beasts.  This scene I loved.  It set just such a great tone and gave a nod to science – something so many people decided to bitch about (by the way, if you want astronomy information, you don’t watch Star Wars).  Then later on with Dr. Wu admitting they may look very different if they were pure dinosaur genetics was another nod to science.  As a self-proclaimed weather nerd, geologist/earth science junkie, dino lover, and psychology person (so many thoughts right now on that) I enjoyed the nods to science.  It was just enough to be recognizable, as there was no reason to get carried away and begin proclaiming science as if it was a GEO 225 course.  Because it’s not.  It’s Hollywood, and it’s a movie, and it worries about artistic message and articulation – not if the T. rex head is slightly bulkier than the real one.  Obviously some research is always good, as well as some explanation in some cases, but not everything can be as it is in the real world.  Because if Hollywood was the real world, most of this wouldn’t be known or be a thing.

We continue on through the movie, seeing bits and pieces of the park.  I will say the beginning felt rushed, as if the directors and writers knew we were expecting a failing park.  But – The park is gorgeous, really – any JP fan was probably overwhelmed by it completely.  The park really seems to embody what Hammond wanted.  There was a lot of turmoil about the fact it’s a new park – and I’m sure there’s still people around who insist it was a bad idea.  But, mind you, the original Jurassic Park happened twenty years ago.  The original book happened even farther away.  Do you really think many people remember the novel and original movie in great detail?  Maybe the movie.  Maybe.  But not The Lost World or even Jurassic Park 3.  They don’t.  Casual fans and general audience don’t remember what Jurassic Park even is.  When I mentioned it to a friend a year or two ago, it was referred to as the movie where dinosaurs eat people.

He learned this the hard way.

So while your idea for a movie about how DX overtakes Isla Sorna (wait, there’s two islands?) and a whole team of researchers need to be assembled by Dr. Wu (wait, he was in the first one?) and like Ludlow’s half brother (who the fuck is Ludlow?) to find stuff on Isla Nublar to cure Isla Sorna and the Costa Rican government and blah blah blah… nobody would care.  People don’t know about DX, people don’t realize there’s two islands, and people don’t realize everything the super-fans do in general.  Which is part of the only reason I was cautiously optimistic at all about the new park plot – I knew if we gunned for some elaborate plot, the general audience wouldn’t know what it was.  Critics would maybe, but you can’t please everyone.  Ultimately, critics aren’t going to make it rake in 100 million on opening weekend.  The general audience, and making dinosaurs cool again (and in the 21st century) will.  I liked that the film nodded to the original JP many, many times, without making it too much.  i liked the old Jeeps (even if I think it’s ridiculous they found an old battery and managed to start it – I considered it unrealistic).  I liked seeing the Visitor’s Center ruins.  It reminded the viewers why they were there, even as the film struggled to explain to us why it was important.

So the new park is fully operational, and Claire, the person in control of the park, knows she must keep interest in the park for it to be successful.  Claire and Wu go on to make the Indominus Rex, a hybrid creature of raptor, cuttlefish, and T. rex.  She needs to ensure the safety of the visitors while preparing Indominus, so Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is called on to inspect the walls.  Claire is initially painted as stiff.  Originally, I thought, oh great, another bitch woman to fulfill stereotype.  Then I realized something.

While conversating with Owen about Indominus, it’s made apparent she knows a thing or two about these animals.  She knows Indominus ate her sibling.  She knows how Indominus acts – saying things like she’ll come out.  She knows how dangerous Indominus is.  But yet we are constantly calling Claire stiff.

Claire is not stiff.  And that moment, when she was talking about the Indominus, did I realize that.  Claire is a woman in a man’s world (seriously, they’re all men except Zara).  She has a position to maintain.  She has a job to keep, which someone may say a man could do just as good if not better than her.  She needs to play her cards correctly.  Perhaps the reason for her stiffness goes well beyond the so called stereotype – I mean, hell, Masrani flies a helicopter without a license yet on an island full of dinosaurs that could kill him or thousands of others should he crash (kind of like, you know, the Aviary).  She has a right to be concerned with his lax attitude – he’s like a kid in a candy store, all while housing extinct creatures that could escape or kill anyone at any moment should something go wrong.  Claire, in my eyes, doesn’t underestimate the creatures she has on the island – she simply tries to keep up with Masrani.  Masrani seems super relaxed about his creatures and his occupants.  Even when Owen suggests to kill the I. rex to save lives, the person who objects is MASRANI – not Claire.  He states it costs millions of dollars to make the I. rex, hence not wanting to kill it.  Claire freaks out when the Indominus escapes, clearly worrying about the park and the people on it – she’s torn.  Owen has nothing on the line.  He could leave Isla Nublar, maybe go to college courtesy of the Navy, find a nice IT job.  No.  Claire has something on the line, she knows her boss does not want the island evacuated.  She knows her boss doesn’t want Indominus to be killed.  In the corporate world, it doesn’t take much to be fired.  All it takes is a little disagreement or a little disobedience.  Should she show she cares about the creatures that much, it could come off as being anti-profit or anti-guest.  Even when Masrani asks her if the dinosaurs are happy: how can she know if she’s in a huge security office every day, running the park, gathering sponsors, and trying to make money?

And she may just not like children, or be too fucking busy to deal with it.  Corporations void people of their humanity, their feelings.  Claire is a victim of it.  That’s why it takes a dead Apatosaurus for her to realize they’re living creatures.

Claire is the brains of Jurassic World.  Not Masrani.  And perhaps, she’s just too busy.

That leads me to my next point: The acting.

Other than some cheesy lines (“What kind of dinosaur they cooked up in that lab”) and some cheesy acting (see Beanie Guy in JW pressing the big red button to release the raptors as if he’s just beat someone on Xbox 360) I was pleasantly surprised by the acting.  Chris Pratt did… good.  Bryce Dallas Howard did.. good.  Ty Simpkins was perhaps a bit too over the top at times, and I really hated Nick Robinson staring at women (seriously what even is that shit?).  That was the only bit of acting that truly bothered me.  He could’ve been the grungy kid without staring at women constantly.  Just because it’s frequently done in culture does not mean it is right.  It would’ve also been nice for the kids to recognize how badass Claire was too for shooting a gun and doing everything she has done to save them.  It wasn’t all Owen.  Regardless, they were perhaps a bit cliched, but I could kind of overlook it because Claire took no shit from Owen.

But both characters had their badass moments.  Owen is the raptor trainer.  They were not kidding about it resembling real, wild animals.  I actually really got into it as a person who is into psychology (and dog training).  Owen was using a clicker.  The raptors must’ve been conditioned to think that the clicker means food, and food means they did something good, which you don’t necessarily need to be near the animal to do.  It’s simply conditioning, as is imprinting.  Imprinting actually makes a lot of sense for dinosaurs.  Now, I am not getting into a scientific debate (because this isn’t a fucking science blog thanks), but birds very much utilize imprinting.  It’s the only reason I can buy imprinting being effective.  These animals aren’t like other animals, and I know John Hammond tried to do conditioning via imprinting on the JP animals but we never really saw it in action.  These raptors are not his pets.  Most intelligent animals can be clicker trained – sharks, crocodiles, goldfish, dogs, cats.  Just about anything with a half functioning brain.  I have actually clicker trained (granted, it was a 40 pound dog) but I was very, very excited to see Owen using a clicker. That also brings me to that Vic dude (and some characters being underdeveloped).

The dude has like an OCD obsession with military.  Okay, I get it both he and Owen are former military guys – but it almost felt like too easy of a plot device.  I mean come on, most people with functioning brains can realize that wild raptors – or any animals – don’t generally function well as militarized animals.  Even if he proposed editing their genetic code, I highly doubt Wu would be able to get the exact qualities.  While in the end it was sort of why the Indominus was killed, it also felt like too easy of a plot device.  In addition to that, he really just ignores Claire’s authority after Masrani’s death.  At first, I didn’t see why they needed to kill Masrani, but now I get it.  Masrani needed to die for Claire to show herself – who she truly is.  She is quite obviously concerned for the families in the control room, but Masrani knows the profits will take a hit.  She quite obviously knows a thing or two about the creatures, but Masrani bogs her down with running the entire park herself practically.  She quite obviously could be up tight because of how chill Masrani is.  With Masrani gone, Claire can release herself.  Her boss is dead.  She can take the action she feels she needs to.  She can see the creatures and realize what they are without being in a control room.  She can let loose.  She can show Owen she can kick ass without the risk of being fired.

And she does.

That’s her badass moment.  Don’t lie to yourself.  This movie is about Claire.  Claire is the main character.  Not Owen, not the kids, not Masrani.  Claire.  I hear a lot of bitching about how she’s wearing heels – let me give you a quick lesson in feminism and realism.  Let’s be real, a lot of action movies with kick ass women do have heels on.  While it’s not the most practical footwear, I won’t bitch about it.

Oh.. oh god, are her shoes raised?

Wait.. maybe I’m missing someone.

… More heels ….

…. Seriously, I’ve had it.

The fact is, men do not generally wear heels but they are more than welcome to.  Claire is wearing heels, big whoop guys.  Women wear heels.  They can wear heels because they want to wear heels.  It is not for you.  In an interview with Colin Trevorrow with a news source, Bryce Dallas Howard insisted on wearing the heels for the scene (I can find it later).

Do you know why?

Because women wear heels.  And they can wear heels because they want to wear heels.  We do need to learn how to walk in those things, you know.  I have actually seen women run in them as well… and beat people up while wearing them. Wearing heels can be a part of being a woman (IF YOU WANT IT TO BE).  We don’t want to be men.  We want to be equal to men, and that includes wearing whatever the fuck we want to lure a T. rex out of a paddock.  If it’s unrealistic, please go ahead and erase all of Hollywood.  Drop a nuke on it (or would that be unrealistic?).  But, do not expect a woman to wear heels.  She needs to do it.  And she needs to want to do it.  It is part of our choices as women.  When you wear heels, you’re not the goddamn secretary anymore.  Of course there’s better footwear.  But if Owen led the rex out of the paddock barefoot and in his fucking pajamas, nobody would say shit and you know it.  Don’t lie to yourself.  She is a woman, she is wearing heels because she WANTS to wear heels.  And she is the one who saved the day.

Not Owen.

And if you think she suddenly wants kids now, the director himself more or less said he had no idea where the audience got that from.  You can be a nice person (ahem, woman) and not want kids.  You can be a person who is drowning in your work, and once you get out of that work, you’re nicer.  Maybe even be friendlier to kids.  But it doesn’t mean you want kids. It just means you’re nicer to the kids.  Still, I thought the ending was sexist, and I hated how Owen used cheesy pick up lines on Claire, which was basically workplace sexual harassment.  It did have sexist undertones.  Everyone being shocked at Claire using a gun was sexist.  Her suddenly loving kids, regardless of the reasons involved, was sexist.  Her sounding like an immature kid to Owen while looking for the kids – also sexist.  Something can be unintentionally sexist.

Overall, it was a fun movie, and I loved how such insignificant things too on big roles.  The Mosasaur at the end put the kabash on the I. rex.  The Dilophosaurus hologram bought our characters more time to escape as they slowly reconciled with each other in a non-creepy way (a theme a few noticed).

It was a good way to reintroduce the franchise, and T. rex.  It was apparent the director and writers were trying to do right by the fandom after JP3. While I didn’t want another dino fight, I think this one was the most appropriate.  The Spinosaurus skeleton was smashed, the T. rex once again comes out on top, and they even scare you a little – you fear that Rexy won’t make it.  But she does.  I need to add, I was so happy seeing my original girl back.  The fight scene, perhaps a bit cheesy, was completely overlooked for the most part by Rexy making an appearance.  She just saved it in every sense of the word.

The score was generally very good, especially with the tidbits that related it to the first few movies.  But I had a few complaints on top of what I already said. The CGI, generally, was okay, with some parts that it wasn’t as good.  Rexy in the beginning didn’t look so great but it got better.  In addition, instinct could have been emphasized more in the final battle – it doesn’t matter that, the raptors and T. rex have never seen anything like the I. rex.  Even digging into their instincts they wouldn’t be able to place the smell.  I didn’t like much the raptors communicating with the I. rex and turning on Owen – I think that could have just been done by the utter confusion of the park going to shit and the raptors associating it with Owen.  Or, perhaps, the fight or flight response – when an animal is scared they can redirect aggression.  The raptors, simply, could have redirected the aggression toward Owen in their fear until he is able to calm them down.  I just don’t consider it plausible for them to be able to communicate.  In general, instincts could have been emphasized more in the final battle. That’s the only reason indominus worked as a rampaging dinosaur who is confused. Instinct or lack thereof.

Still, I’ve never been so happy to see a goat.

Ultimately, the movie had it’s problems, but for a franchise on the brink of extinction, this was a hybrid of the past and the future. I can only hope things keep going as they are.

Because this time, the Kirbys aren’t here.