A Quick Review of Deadpool

Deadpool

Deadpool is not one of the characters I’d want to read about in Comic books. But for Valentine’s Day, Mike and I went to see it. Yes, we are so romantic.

Here are my VERY quick thoughts on the movie.

Surprisingly Awesome. I can’t believe that I really liked this movie. This was the perfect role for Ryan Reynolds and I think everyone making this movie realized that.

Definitely NOT a Kids movie. You would have to be insane to bring a child – and by that, I mean anyone under the age of 18 to this movie. This was an adult movie. Do not bring a child to this movie. Do not let your young teen go to this movie. I am seriously surprised this movie did not get an NC-17 rating. Don’t bring a kid to this movie! Too much torture, violence and sex for young eyes. Not to mention, kids won’t get the 80s and 90s pop culture jokes.

That being said, when The Boy is old enough, Mike has said he’d enjoy watching it with him. But again, not until he’s 18 and with the understanding he’d have to explain the jokes.

So weird seeing Morena Baccarin like this. Granted, she’s technically playing a sex worker just like she did in Firefly, but Inara was nothing like this. She does tough very well and I would like to see how they grow her character in the sequel.

Humor. Any movie that does not one but TWO Sinéad O’Connor jokes that are not mean-spirited and has so many jokes referencing 80s and 90s pop is just a winner in my book. I loved the humor in this. It’s what made the film for me.

Worth full-price and a re-see on matinee.

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Sexism and Disney

Truly, this is not just about Disney. But this post is related to the Sexism and Marvel post from a few weeks back and since most of the toys The Boy has are Disney related, they are going to get picked on here. This could really be a rant on most toy companies and attitudes in general towards what should be boy and girl toys.

The Boy absolutely loves the following three movie franchises in this order: Toy Story, Cars, Planes. These are Pixar/Disney films but it is Disney that handles the merchandising. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when we looked for the 20″ Toy Story dolls for him that we were able to find a Jessie doll. At least those were something we could find. Maybe because both boys and girls are allowed to love those movies. But let’s look at Cars and Planes.

When The Boy let us know he wanted the characters from Cars (he is unaware Cars 2 exists except as a short-story that I edit as a read to him) we started looking for them – they made great potty training rewards and Christmas was coming up. It took awhile, but eventually, we found all of the Radiator Springs members. This was an old movie. We expected it would be difficult to find the cars. It was not impossible. Though, the only set we could find Miss Sally in was with her having dinner with Lightning.

But when it comes to the Planes movies, we noticed something odd. We could not find any of the female characters easily. These are PLANES, they are not gendered in real life. But it was very difficult to find Dottie. It was nearly impossible to find Lil’ Dipper – we finally had to settle for a larger, expensive version of her from the Disney store rather than finding the smaller version (like the other characters have) available at other stores. Pinecone (one of the Smoke Jumpers) is easier to find – but I think that might be because unless you pay close attention to the one line she has in the movie, you might not realize she’s female. But Dynamite? The leader of the Smoke Jumpers? The obviously strong female character? Impossible to find in any store. Oh yes, she’s available if you want to pay an arm and a leg from a collector on Amazon, but she is NEVER hanging on the shelf at Walmart or Target, or Kroger, or Toys R Us, or any of the other stores we diligently check to try to find female Planes and Cars characters.

I was even willing to buy the $100 set (later reduced and then discontinued) from the Disney Store that included all the characters in Planes Fire and Rescue in an attempt to get Dynamite. But, since many of the toys sold by the Disney Store are terrible quality, we had to return it after I dropped one of the cars on our rug while carrying it to the Christmas tree and it broke.

Note to Disney: I love most of  your merchandise. I love the quality of the t-shirts, kitchen items, beach towels, etc. But your toys are often pieces of junk. It’s depressing thinking I can find a better made toy at Walmart than I can at the Disney Store.

 

I was very glad I’d over-bought for his Christmas since this happened on Christmas Eve and we decided to not give him that set.

Not being able to find female characters in “boy” toys is common to all toy manufacturers, but it is really obvious in Disney and Marvel toys. Years ago, you could buy adorable prince outfits at the Disney Store that were similar to the princess costumes you see today. What do you see at the stores now? The Avengers. Hot, bulky costumes that a boy would never be able to wear to Disney World and would get uncomfortable wearing for the length of time it takes to Trick or Treat. If they have one of the other male characters, like Jake from The Neverland Pirates, the quality of the costume is so bad that it makes a not-very-creative mom like me decide to learn to sew it myself. (That Jake vest I made out of felt is still in use two years later and one of his favorite dress-up items. Thanks for the pattern!)

What about at the actual parks? There are plenty of dress up opportunities for girls. They can go to Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and get multiple versions of being a princess. Boys can choose a knight – that only includes the sword and not the outfit. At the Pirates League, boys can be a pirate (that usually includes scary face make-up) while girls can choose pirate princess or mermaid look. Why are girls always required to be a beautiful princess and boys are always required to be a protector with a weapon or a villain with a weapon? Yes, I know, boys can make swords and guns out of sticks. One of The Boy’s and my favorite games is to fight dragons in our front yard with special sticks we’ve collected. But boys and girls want to be able to do other things too.

This indoctrination happens young. We brought The Boy to the local Disney outlet a few weeks ago. He was picking up one of those cheap fans they have near the checkout counter. It had Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf, but was obviously geared more towards a feminine aesthetic. A little girl of about 5 years old explained to me that he shouldn’t play with that since it was a girl toy. She then picked up an Iron Man fan and said he could play with that one. How sad. There were other toys at the store that were so frustrating. Boys had bowling ball sets that were Mickey Mouse and blue. Girls could have the garden set that was Minnie Mouse and pink. What if a girl wants to bowl or a boy wants to garden? I think Disney actually does make opposite sex versions of these – but they are hard to find. This store certainly had none. Why not make them neutral?

Are we so afraid that by letting a boy play with a doll or letting a girl pretend she’s a firefighter that we are going to cause society to crumble? Sadly, many people in charge of toy companies either believe this or believe society feels this way to such an extent that they have to constantly categorize everything as feminine or masculine. Even things that shouldn’t be. I think things are changing. Slowly, but it’s beginning. Many parents are tired of the stereotypes.

I think our toy companies need to realize this. Wouldn’t it cost less to make gender neutral toys in some cases than specific boy and girl versions? Why alienate half your population who might buy a toy by making them feel like they shouldn’t get it for their child? Why are superhero toys or cars and planes considered to be boy only toys? Why is it such a terrible thing to think that a boy might want to play with a female car or superhero <or gasp!-> plant a garden or cook? Or a girl might enjoy race cars or want to pretend she’s a superhero, or play sports? The sexism goes both ways.

 

Stop offering only toys that have weapons to boys. Stop telling boys they can’t have feelings or take care of children. Stop suggesting that girls need to be either sexy or maternal but can’t be a hero and that they must ALWAYS be beautiful and smile. Just Stop It.

Sexism and Marvel

Note: Originally, I was planning on making this one post covering both Disney and Marvel and the issues they have with sexist attitudes. But I decided to split it up into two. Consider this part 1

 

I’m a fan of both Disney and Marvel. I love them. So this is coming from someone who wants to see something I really enjoy improve.

Sexism and Marvel

I do not believe that the folks at Marvel are all misogynistic pigs as some people truly do. But there are problems in Marvel movies and merchandising. I will address the merchandising issue in the second post since that is also a Disney issue.

Yes, Age of Ultron had some glaring problems. Many people probably missed the Prima Nocta joke. I missed it at first because I couldn’t hear what Stark said clearly. When I leaned over and asked Mike what he said, I was a bit surprised. Rape jokes are never funny. The only thing I can think is the folks at Marvel were thinking this is Tony Stark’s character. You expect him to make a stupid and ill-conceived joke like that. I would also like to think that if he tried something like that with Lady Sif, he’d discover how stupid it really was. I truly hope that is the take away that the folks writing and directing this movie had in mind.  But what it came off as was a crude and stupid joke about something that 20% of their female audience has probably experienced.  Yes. 1 in 5 women have been raped. Think about that.

The second big issue that I had with Age of Ultron was with Black Widow, the only strong female in the group. Yes, she makes a silly joke about having to always clean up after the boys, putting her in the mother role. That can be considered cute and funny. But, contrasted with her comparing her inability to have children to making her a monster like The Hulk, that joke takes on another meaning. Comparing herself to a monster because she can’t have children offended me. Here is a woman, who as part of a spy indoctrination is forcibly sterilized as a child. She is no longer able to produce a baby. That makes her a monster. Boil this down to the base thought: A woman who can’t become pregnant is no woman. I truly hope that was not what the folks at Marvel were thinking. But when the company has had so many issues with how they portray and treat women, one has to think there is a tone deafness that needs to be fixed at the company.

Final thoughts:

Here are two free suggestions for Marvel:

  1. Understand that women are your fans as well. Stop offending us.
  2. Take some of that giant profit you have and spend it to hire a consultant to read your scripts rather than the pre-pubescent boy you currently have. You might be surprised that they can still be great movies while not encouraging rape jokes or comments about what makes a woman a human being or a monster.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Required Warning: This is going to have spoilers for this and possibly future movies.

These are my thoughts of the 2D version of the film. Mike and I got to see this movie last week. We saw this in 2D, mainly because we didn’t have a lot of choices in times since we had to get back to daycare to get The Boy, but also because it’s a bit annoying for me to watch 3D movies. When you wear glasses, having to wear a second pair over your eyes is a pain. Literally. The beginning of the film with the introductory fight scene was obviously designed with 3D in mind and probably would have looked awesome. The same holds true for the scene where Ultron is fighting his way around the ring of Avengers to get to the button. However, to me, it wasn’t worth the additional cost or hassle for two scenes to warrant 3D.

My creds:

To give an idea of where I’m coming from in looking at this movie, I’ve read some of the comics, but not a ton in recent years. I grew up watching all the Saturday morning cartoons, and have seen all the movies. We also watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter. I’ve read a lot of the back-stories online to try to catch up with what I’ve missed in the comics and I’ve talked about the stories with Mike, who has read all the comics and gives me the low-down on the story-lines. So I’m familiar with the universe, but not so much that seeing a photo in the background on someone’s desk would immediately give me a hint of a future character. I do miss things, for example, I had to poke Mike to find out why Wakanda was important after I heard him chuckle.

Overall thoughts:

This is definitely a film directed by Joss Whedon. The characters have a quick wit and humor that most people wish they had when replaying conversations in their heads. Like all of Whedon’s projects, we get to see actors that he’s worked with before. He seems to be a pretty loyal director when it comes to working with talent. He also gives a good amount of screen time not only to the big names, but to the entire ensemble and that is pretty hard to do for most directors.

I liked the movie. It had everything an Avengers movie should have: lots of explosions, lots of action, great banter between characters and hints of future tie-ins. Best line in the entire movie: Hawkeye giving a pep talk to Scarlet Witch. He’s the normal dude who goes to war with superheros armed with a bow.

Speaking of Hawkeye, I both loved and hated that they brought Barton’s family in as characters. I loved that they put the effort to develop his character and family –  since it seems he’s not going to get his own movie. I hated that this brings in the possibility for their deaths. I seriously don’t think Marvel could do that on the big screen. It’s one thing to have that happen in the comics, but when it’s splashed on a big budget action movie, that could really tear it apart. Please, please Marvel, don’t kill them off, especially the way it was done in the comics!

Nit picks:

Talk about over the top melodrama imagined death scene. Cap grabs Tony, saying “you could have saved us!” In this terrible interjection that is surprisingly loud and hale-sounding only to immediately fall back dead. On one hand, it could have been handled with a bit more understatement, but then again, this was in Tony Stark’s head. So maybe, the over-the-topness fits. Still, I don’t think  I was supposed to giggle at Cap dying. It was like watching the “I’m not dead yet!” scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

Ultron:

I can accept the god complex since he’s Tony’s creation in this instance. But he also seemed to be a bit half-hearted about some things. This was a supervillain, who could split himself into hundreds of versions of himself, and decided to put all his eggs in one basket rather than splitting it amongst several world-destroying flying city plans (which seems a bit complicated when typed out). Who knows, maybe that’s also a by-product of being Tony’s “son.”  But when Raina makes her prediction in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, she specifically indicates multiple cities. So I had to think it was more a side-effect of movie budget and wanting to have all the heroes in one place than anything else. I also thought it was rather cute how they tried to make it look like not a single civilian was going to die as the city dropped to the ground below, or that the mass of the city was still falling and that blowing it into smaller chunks didn’t change that or affect all the people in the rest of the city that was still on the ground.

Marvel and women:

Marvel has taken some black eyes over their portrayal of women and the utter lack of female toys. I was going to write something here, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. Coming soon.

The Ending:

I was quite happy with the last scene. I loved how Whedon cut off Cap’s sentence at the perfect spot. Great way to lay the groundwork for future movies -which is exactly what a good Marvel movie should do. After watching this movie and all the others, it makes me so happy that Marvel created their own studio for these films rather than entrust their characters to another studio as they and DC had done in the past. These are the folks who know how to make a good story and that is what makes a great movie.

My recommendation:  Worth the price of full admission, once. (Though we paid matinee prices and preferred that)