Ms. Marvel (2022)

My friend reached out to me and asked me if I watched Ms. Marvel yet. I told her I haven’t as I’m a bit behind in my Marvel Disney+ TV series. She encouraged me to watch it because she felt it was her all-time favorite Marvel show. I had this on my list to watch down the road, but since she set such high expectations, I started watching the show right away. I adored Ms. Marvel and honestly, it might be up there with WandaVision as being the top Marvel TV show that I have watched.

Ms. Marvel is centered around Kamala Khan (played by Iman Vellani) who is an average teenager growing up in Jersey City. She’s a big Avengers fangirl and she tries to convince her parents to let her go to AvengerCon, a comic book convention for fans of the Avengers. She brings along her friend Bruno (played by Matt Lintz) to AvengerCon, so she doesn’t have to go by herself. As Kamala enters the Captain Marvel Cosplay Contest, she slips on a family heirloom that grants her powers. She accidentally destroys portions of the convention and flees. With Bruno’s help, she starts to get a handle on her powers while also understanding her family’s history.

I loved Kamala! I’m biased because I did read Ms. Marvel comics before watching the show. Kamala’s fandom is front and center which is a big part of her backstory. It’s not often that I watch a show and see a character on TV going to a comic book convention without it being a thing to make fun of. Ms. Marvel also highlights Kamala finding out about her family and why she has the powers that she does. I thought this story developed in a really interesting way. I also like Kamala’s friends. Ms. Marvel wouldn’t have come to be without Bruno. He’s the science best friend who helps Kamala. There’s Nakia (played by Yasmeen Fletcher) who Kamala encourages to run for a position on the mosque board. The three of them each have different qualities to them that work well together.

Similar to She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel received online hate when it was released on Disney+. I genuinely do not understand the hatred for this series. I think if I had to guess, it would come down to the target audience. Ms. Marvel is aimed at a younger audience, it’s not gritty like Moon Knight was. Some of the hate could come from those who didn’t like Captain Marvel which is silly because Ms. Marvel is a different story entirely. While I understand that not everyone will like the same things, I do find it obnoxious whenever I see positive comments about Ms. Marvel and there are Facebook reactions with the laughing face.

Ms. Marvel was so good! I’m contemplating rewatching the series again because that’s how much I liked the show. Ms. Marvel is available to stream on Disney+ and The Marvels is set to air in 2023.

Gossip Girl in Victorian Times – Bridgerton (2022)

I was scrolling through Facebook earlier this year and Bridgerton kept popping up on my feed. I would see video clips of the seasons along with cast interviews. There was so much hype around Bridgerton and it seemed like everyone loved this show. I was going through Netflix the other day looking for a new show to watch and guess what popped up. I’m not normally a fan of Victorian-era content, but I figured I’d watch one episode of Bridgerton to at least see what it’s all about. From watching that first episode, I was enthralled by the series. Bridgerton is so good and I cannot wait for season #3.

Bridgerton takes place in the 1800s and centers around various famous and rich families. Each season centers around one member of the family and finding love in the London social scene. In season #1, the story centers around Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon (played by Regé-Jean Page). In season #2, the story centers around Daphne’s older brother; Anthony (played by Jonathan Bailey), and Kate Sharma (played by Simone Ashley). In between all the romance and the balls, there’s a gossip column published by Lady Whistledown who repeats the gossip she hears in a pamphlet. This is where the Gossip Girl comparison comes in. The voice of Lady Whistledown is Julie Andrews who has the most lovely and soothing voice which adds to the mystery of Lady Whistledown and her identity.

While the romances are the main draw of the show, I personally find it more interesting to keep track of the side characters. There is Eloise Bridgerton (played by Claudia Jessie). Eloise is shortly coming of age, but she clearly pushes back on what is expected of her. She’s a voracious reader and wants someone to have an intellectual conversation with. She has no interest in holding down a household and I find that Eloise gets more character growth in the second season. Besides Eloise, there’s Penelope Featherington (played by Nicola Coughlan) Penelope is one of Eloise’s best friends and there’s a lot more to her than what is initially revealed. The third season of Bridgerton will focus on Penelope finding love. Throughout the series, Penelope was infatuated with Colin Bridgerton (played by Luke Newton) Anthony’s younger brother. I hope Penelope’s romance is with someone else because, towards the end of season #2, Colin makes some cruel comments about Penelope which she overhears. I can’t see the two of them romantically linked and Penelope deserves someone who authentically loves every part of her.

Speaking of the romances, I think I enjoyed watching season #2 more. While Daphne and Simon’s romance had a lot of chemistry, I liked how Kate challenged Anthony. It felt more like a tug of war between the two of them which was more satisfying when they finally linked together. Kate and Anthony were couple goals and I’m looking forward to Penelope’s season.

I did not think that I would like Bridgerton as much as I did. Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix and season #3 hasn’t been given a release date thus far.

Black Adam (2022)

My husband and I go see every DC film as soon as it’s released in theaters. I have always been a devoted DC fan even though DC has had quite a few hiccups in creating its own cinematic universe. As far as Black Adam, I completely forgot that this movie was being released this year. For what it’s worth, Black Adam was an enjoyable film, however, I think it emphasizes one of DC’s greatest weaknesses in the way they make their films.

Black Adam opens in ancient times when a civilization attempts to overthrow a tyrannical king. A boy leading the rebellion gets transported to a secretive place where he gains powers. In the present day, archaeologist Adrianna Tomaz (played by Sarah Shahi) leads a team to a mountain searching for the Crown of Sabbac. As her team is ambushed by a rival group, Adrianna whispers a phrase that coincidentally released Black Adam (played by Dwayne Johnson). Black Adam has been imprisoned for some time and is worshipped by the city as a hero. Meanwhile, Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) calls in on the Justice Society to stop Black Adam. Hawkman (played by Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (played by Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (played by Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (played by Noah Centineo) come together to capture Black Adam before he does too much damage.

The film itself was fun to watch. I felt myself coasting throughout the film and not getting bored in the slightest. I think Dwayne Johnson was a perfect cast as he fully embodies Black Adam as a character. I loved seeing Amanda Waller / Viola Davis in this as it helps build this cohesiveness that DC is missing. I was a huge fan of Doctor Fate as I thought he brought reason to the group and helped the group see that there may be another option instead of solely bringing Black Adam to prison. It seemed like Cyclone and Atom Smasher had good chemistry together. Each character served a purpose in this team and I liked watching them come together.

The one flaw in Black Adam and in DC’s movies is being able to bring these characters to life for everyone. I think DC in a lot of ways makes their films assuming that people will know who these characters are. If I were to bring my friend to see this movie with me, she probably wouldn’t be able to fully invest in the story because there wasn’t any backstory brought to the characters. It wasn’t discussed how Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher came to be. There were a few conversations in passing where Atom Smasher talks to his uncle who used to have the suit or how Cyclone was experimented on. I would have liked to see more backstories or flashback scenes of pivotal moments in their lives. Marvel on the other hand is excellent at this. They build these characters into their own solo movies, so fans start to connect with them. I don’t think the characters in Black Adam are on that level because they weren’t introduced in other live-action films. DC should make these movies that appeal to both fans of the comics and fans of superhero content who may not read comics on a regular basis.

Black Adam by DC film standards was a fantastic film. I’m partial to Doctor Fate as there’s a lot of comic book crossover between Doctor Fate and another favorite character of mine, Zatanna. If you see Black Adam, make sure you stay for the extra credit scene, you won’t want to miss it!

The Fate of Laudna – Critical Role

Spoilers for Campaign #3 of Critical Role

I have talked about Critical Role many times and I plan to keep doing so. I have been watching both Campaign #3 Bells Hells along with Campaign #1 Vox Machina simultaneously as I hope to eventually be fully caught up on all things Critical Role. Campaign #3 has been having a major moment and the fate of one major character is unknown. I wanted to talk about Laudna (played and voiced by Marisha Ray) and her fate.

Spoilers for Campaign #3 of Critical Role Ahead

Before I talk about the episode, I wanted to talk a little bit about Dungeons & Dragons mechanics, so summarizing a moment in Critical Role, it will make more sense. In Dungeons & Dragons, when a character loses all of their hit points (or health points if you will) they go “unconscious” If the player isn’t healed, they roll a death saving throw which is completed by rolling a 20-sided die. Rolling a 1-10 counts as a failure while rolling an 11-20 is a success. If a player rolls a 1, they get two failed death-saving throws in one roll. With three death-saving throws accrued, a character dies.

In episode #34 of Campaign #3, Fearne (played by Ashley Johnson) and Orym (played by Liam O’Brien) are dead as they were killed in battle. Fresh Cut Grass (played by Sam Riegel) had a spell that he used to bring back Fearne and once Fearne was alive, Fearne would bring back Orym using a similar spell. Before all of this happened, Laudna was down and had to roll death saves. Unfortunately, Marisha had a failed death save already, and ended up rolling a natural 1 meaning her character, Laudna dies. Once Fearne was brought back to life, she had to pick which character to save: Laudna or Orym. Fearne picked Orym and Laudna permanently died. I’m probably not doing the best job at explaining this, but the whole cast was emotional. As I was listening to this episode, I also became a little emotional too.

I mentioned it multiple times before, but I’m playing in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign that occurs every other Thursday. When I created my character, Laudna was a big inspiration for me. To see that Laudna may be permanently dead was gut-wrenching as she was one of my favorite characters throughout this campaign. I’m bummed because I like the other characters, but Laudna was special to me.

Character death can happen in Dungeons & Dragons. It doesn’t make me want to stop watching Critical Role by any means, but as mentioned, I’m a little bummed that one of my favorite characters isn’t going to appear anymore. There’s a part of me that is holding out for Laudna to come back, but it’s not likely. If you’re watching Critical Role, let me know in the comments how this felt for you or who your favorite character is in Campaign #3.

Is there too much Superhero Content? – Thoughts

I love reading comics which shouldn’t be a surprise considering what I write on BizarreBrunette. I wrote about She-Hulk last weekend and when I mention the negative reviews, another theme that I’m seeing is people who feel that there’s too much superhero content specifically Marvel releasing their shows on Disney+ I wanted to dive into this as I think it’s an interesting topic to address.

Personally, I’m all for the Marvel, DC, or comics-related movies or TV series. I like living in an era where we are seeing beloved characters and their stories being adapted. As a DC Comics fan, I never thought I would see Doctor Fate in a live-action movie especially when Doctor Fate is being played by Pierce Brosnan. I’m also excited for Captain America New World Order coming out in 2024, The Marvels coming out in 2023, and Thunderbolts coming out in 2024. I want to see more Bucky Barnes (played by Sebastian Stan) appearances throughout the Marvel universe. I’m also curious if Joaquin Torres (played by Danny Ramirez) will have a bigger role in Captain America New World Order.

I can understand if someone isn’t a big comics or superhero fan, I can see where this is a lot of content to keep up with. It seems like there is always something new coming out and it’s easy to get behind on watching every movie or TV series. I think it’s normal to feel some sort of fatigue. While I am a big fan of superhero content, I do sometimes have to take a break and watch a completely unrelated movie or TV series, so I can dive back in when I’m ready.

As mentioned, I’m all for the superhero content. It’s been awesome to see comics so heavily represented and I enjoy hearing about people who are getting into comics for the first time. I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments; do you feel that there is too much? just enough? or what would you like to see be adapted if it’s not already?

She-Hulk (2022)

SheHulk: Attorney at Law has been getting a lot of hate online. Currently, the show is listed with an average 2.2-star rating on Google. I don’t know much about She-Hulk as a character, so I’m not exactly sure how comic book accurate the TV series is. After watching all episodes on Disney+, I think She-Hulk isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. It’s not my all-time favorite Marvel series, but I think it’s a fun show to watch as long as you don’t go into it trying to nitpick every scene.

She-Hulk stars Jennifer Walters (played by Tatiana Maslany) as she navigates her stressful job as an attorney. In an unfortunate accident, she is exposed to Bruce Banner’s (played by Mark Ruffalo) blood. As such, she transforms into She-Hulk. Unlike the Hulk, She-Hulk retains her identity and controls her transformation at will. She tries to return to her regular life, but it’s quickly revealed that she has powers. Now that her powers are known, Jennifer is struggling to find anonymity and protect her privacy.

As mentioned, I don’t think She-Hulk is a bad show. I like all the guest appearances from Wong (played by Benedict Wong), Bruce, and Abomination (played by Tim Roth) who was in Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk movie back in 2008. I watched the latest episode which features Madisynn King (played by Patty Guggenheim) and she’s a funny addition to the series.

When I read about She-Hulk and hate online, I usually see two types of arguments. The first is the idea that the series hates men. There’s a scene from episode #1 when Bruce and Jennifer are talking about anger and being in control. Jennifer makes a comment somewhere along the lines of how being a woman in the world always prompts anger and fear. When I watched this episode, it didn’t pull me out of the watching experience as I didn’t think this comment was out of line. I think this was added because Jennifer is a lawyer and one of her co-workers is sexist which is why Jennifer would think this. To me, it didn’t feel out of place.

The second argument I see online is bashing Megan Thee Stallion’s guest appearance. If you watch the episode, everything makes sense. Jennifer’s co-worker, Dennis Bukowski (played by Drew Matthews) is fooled into thinking he’s dating Megan The Stallion when really it was a shape-shifting elf from New Asgard. In one of the after-credits scenes, Megan Thee Stallion is showing Jennifer how to twerk. I’m not following the backlash, I think the after-credits scene is entertaining. It’s supposed to be fun and lighthearted. If I had to guess, I think viewers were looking for a more serious She-Hulk series whereas this series is more about Jennifer having fun with her powers and how they mix with her life as a lawyer along with being single and dating.

Honestly, I like She-Hulk. I’m curious to see how the show will play out especially with a potential cameo from Daredevil.

Andor – Discussion & Thoughts

Rogue One is easily in my top three favorite Star Wars movies. When it was announced that Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) was getting his own series, I was ecstatic! Cassian was a character that I wanted to learn more about as it’s clear that his character was pulled into this war at a young age. I wanted to talk about the series especially since the first episode is airing next month.

Andor was co-written by Tony Gilroy who wrote the screenplays for The Bourne Franchise. I think this was an excellent choice as Cassian is a spy. In Rogue One, he helps Jyn infiltrate Scarif to steal the Deathstar plans. Cassian’s character is about being unseen and fitting in to achieve a goal. I’m curious as to whether this series will feel like a Star Wars series or if this will feel like a spy series set in the Star Wars lore. I’m hoping it’s the latter as I think it will be more fitting for Cassian.

Diego Luna is set to star as Cassian along with Forest Whitaker returning as the infamous Saw Gerrera. The cast of Andor also includes Fiona Shaw, Stellan Skarsgård, and Genevieve O’Reilly who’s returning as Mon Mothma. I’m a big fan of Fiona Shaw as I think she’s talented in any project she’s a part of.

Before writing this post, I watched the trailer. The trailer does an excellent job at revealing portions of the series without the plot. I have an idea as to the aesthetic the show is going for, but no idea as to what will happen. I do feel that some trailers reveal too much at times, and Andor is an example of how to create a trailer without spoiling major plot details.

I’m so excited for this series to air! I wouldn’t be surprised if I stayed up late watching the first episode because I’m not going to let the internet spoil this for me.

Should Thor Love & Thunder Issue Content Warnings?

CW: cancer, cancer storylines, and chemotherapy.

I went to see Thor Love & Thunder with a friend of mine a month ago. While Thor is the main character, I really was there to see Valkyrie and Jane Foster’s return to the Marvel franchise. After the movie was released, I was browsing the internet and I read an interesting article. The article was referring to Thor Love & Thunder and whether it should have included content warnings for viewers. If you couldn’t tell from the content warning I posted earlier, the content warning that viewers were asking for was regarding cancer, cancer diagnosis, and chemotherapy.

In Thor Love & Thunder, it’s revealed that Jane was diagnosed with cancer and her outcome was grim. She seeks out Mjölnir (Thor’s old Hammer) to see if this type of magic could help cure her. When Jane connects with Mjölnir, she’s given powers related to Thor, however, it’s at a cost. While Jane is Thor, her body is suppressed to fight cancer. For many viewers, they would have liked a heads up that this was a storyline happening in this movie.

I have never been diagnosed with cancer, so this isn’t a lived experience I’m able to speak to. However, I have had a loved one pass away from cancer, so I can at least relate to that aspect of this conversation. I personally didn’t have a problem watching this film. I’m sensing that there might be someone reading this who would think “people should stop being so sensitive”. I don’t see content warnings as being too sensitive. It’s simply saying that “this media contains x,y,z. If that’s something you want to avoid, don’t watch this film, TV show, etc.” The way that anyone handles trauma is so varied. I can see why others would have appreciated the heads up as Jane’s backstory includes her cancer diagnosis.

I will say that Jane’s cancer is a storyline in the comics, so it can be argued that this is comic book accurate. Some fans aren’t thrilled with the idea of bringing Jane back, giving her a cancer diagnosis, she gets powers and ultimately ends up dying in the end. I’m not sure how I feel about it as I go back and forth.

Anyway, I thought this was an interesting article and conversation to write about. I would be curious as to your thoughts. Should Thor Love & Thunder have included a content warning? or is cancer so common that it isn’t worth it to include it?

Cancelled Batgirl Movie – Thoughts

I love Batgirl. She’s one of my favorite superheroes in the DC Comics universe. Whether it was Barbara Gordon evolving into Oracle or Cassandra Cain, I loved the character. I was looking forward to the release of the Batgirl movie that we would finally see her big screen debut. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be the case as the Batgirl film was permanently shelved by Warner Bros. meaning the film will never be released in theaters or on streaming platforms.

When I first heard the news, my first thoughts were how badly I felt for the cast and crew. Leslie Grace, Michael Keaton, and JK Simmons were all big names who put their time and effort into this movie. I think it’s easy to drift into the thought of “Why would you feel bad for the actors? They’re rich. They will be fine if this movie isn’t released”. I understand feeling this way, but they’re still human beings who put their time and effort into a project. I was excited to see Leslie Grace’s portrayal of the character. The fact that it won’t even be released on HBO Max is honestly so disappointing.

There are rumors going around that Batgirl didn’t do well in test screenings. If that were the case, it still isn’t a good enough reason to not release the film. I think back to Birds of Prey and that movie didn’t do as well commercially yet it’s still an all-time favorite for me. I probably would have still loved the movie even if it was a flawed film because of how much I love Batgirl as a character.

As a DC Comics fan, I feel Warner Bros. constantly lets down the fans. It’s tough to stay committed to the franchise when the movie universe is falling apart. I’m trying to remain unbiased and enjoy what I can. Peacemaker was such a great TV show, and Black Adam is being released in October. I truly hope that Batgirl can finally get the film that the character so rightfully deserves.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

The Star Wars prequels hold a special place in my heart. As such, I was ecstatic that Obi-Wan was getting his own series. Every time I re-watch Revenge of the Sith, I always tear up. Seeing Obi-Wan (played by Ewan McGregor) spill his heart out to Anakin (played by Hayden Christiansen) about how he was his brother and how he was supposed to destroy the Sith and not join them. It’s heart-wrenching. Like many other fans, I was nervously waiting for ObiWan Kenobi to drop episodes on Disney+ This series was well worth the wait. I wanted to talk about some of the highlights of the series instead of doing a full review of the show.

Young Leia

I was not expecting a young Leia to appear in Obi-Wan Kenobi. I liked this aspect of the show because I felt it helped link Revenge of the Sith to A New Hope. It gives more background as to why Leia requests Obi-Wan’s help. Little Leia is portrayed as this sassy child who wants to see more of the world. I thought she complimented Obi-Wan’s journey and helped provide levity to the series.

The Environment

Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after Order 66. Jedi are being hunted by Inquisitors and are driven into isolation. I liked that Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals what this post-Order 66 galaxy is like. There isn’t a lot of Star Wars canon content that talks about this part of Star Wars history. The show felt more adult because of the heavy themes it tackled. There were a few scenes from Order 66, and allies to Obi-Wan are dispatched (RIP Tala, played by Indira Varma). The whole aesthetic of the show was intriguing.

Fan Service

There is so much content within the show that feels like it’s for the fans. Obi-Wan meets Luke and says his infamous line, “Hello There”. There’s a scene where Anakin and Obi-Wan are fighting in a training session. There’s the cameo of all cameos! Obi-Wan finally being able to see the force ghost of Qui-Gon (reprised by Liam Neeson). The show felt like it was created for the super fans of the prequels and I was here for it.

Obi-Wan Kenobi was so worth the wait. Episodes can be streamed on Disney+