Welcome to Geekdom 075: 2017 in Film

Welcome To Geekdom

Mitchell McDonald returns to Welcome to Geekdom to chat about 2017 films. We discuss our top lists, what we didn’t enjoy, and more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.

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Monday Musings: Jessica Jones Season 2 and Annihilation

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Photo Credit: Ian Baldwin

Last week, I spent a good chunk of Thursday and Friday watching the second season of Jessica Jones. I recently watched Annihilation in theaters, too. These two are worlds apart, but feature strong female characters. Here are some articles on each that I wanted to share.

JESSICA JONES Season Two Review: Moms Are Complicated

Mommy issues aside, season two’s overall narrative of women reclaiming their power made it mostly worthwhile. The mother stuff will leave some viewers gnashing their teeth, and some of the arguments are more exhausting than intriguing, but we finally see Jessica learning how to be a person and not just a drunk punching machine.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the decision to resurrect Jessica’s mom (you can read about that here), but I agree on what we see from Jessica. This season changes her and there’s no reason it shouldn’t. She’s been through more trauma than most. I do disagree with the section on Jeri in this review, but it’s still worth the read.

Flaws And All, ‘Jessica Jones’ Season Two Gets Better As It Goes Along

Jessica’s roller coaster of emotions about her mother (not to be confused with the Ferris wheel on which they spend their final moments together) improves one of season one’s biggest weak spots. Last time out, the trend of “Jessica has finally captured Kilgrave! ZOMG, he got away again!” grew tired very quickly, despite how good Ritter and Tennant were together.

Alan Sepinwall is a must-read when it comes to any of the shows he covers that I happen to watch. Jessica is the biggest reason why this season works. It makes introducing her mom more reasonable. Sepinwall discusses the Trish,  Malcolm, and Jeri storylines, too. They largely act is filler and for the most part, I only enjoyed a handful of things about all of their parts put together.

Annihilation & The Horrors of Change

To say that the language of cancer is written into the DNA of Annihilation is an understatement. Not just with Dr. Ventress, who literally has the disease and pursues a battle / non-battle with it to her own ends. But cancer even comes up right in the first (chronological) scene, where Lena (Natalie Portman) describes the process of cellular division and generation and how the goal of their work is nothing short of curing cancer. This detail is not accident. She is about the path of medication. And we can all understand the medical instinct to cure. To heal. To mend. To make well again and regain our former self. And how so much of that urge comes from the deep understanding of the terrifying possibility that you may not be able to cure it at all.

Just do yourself a favor and go read this FilmCritHulk review. I enjoyed this movie and it was visually stunning.

Monday Musings: Black Panther Reigns

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Marvel released Black Panther on February 16th and it’s seen a lot of well-deserved buzz. I was able to see it on Friday and it was a fantastic movie. Marvel hasn’t been perfect, but they’ve had a solid run since starting the MCU with Iron Man. Here are some articles to check out on Black Panther if you’ve seen the movie already.

Black Panther isn’t just politically conscious, but is also a fantastic pop culture artifact

This isn’t the first black-led superhero film, but it is perhaps the highest profile ever given to a film so celebratory of black American culture and its African roots, which in itself feels revelatory as a breath of creative fresh air in a genre commonly bemoaned as resting too much on comfortable laurels.

Leigh Monson reviewed the film for The Eagan Enterprise. This review is a quick read that points out how it hits on a pop culture level and what that means for the film.

Black Panther’s Right Thing

The truth is that they didn’t dare put the same kinds of handcuffs they did in the past on Coogler. They trusted him largely because they had to trust him. The optics of doing the alternative were too risky. And that was terrifying to them, but they still gave up control and were prepared to take the loss, never expecting in a million years that this film would be the mega-success they’re seeing now (hopefully Hollywood is finally picking up how their modern audience actually works).

Film Crit Hulk is always worth reading.  This one is definitely more of a long read, but it’s as entertaining and insightful as you’d expect it to be.

‘Black Panther’ Is Marvel’s First Genuine Masterpiece

I’m trying to imagine being Ryan Coogler, the movie’s 31-year-old superstar director, at the start of this project, tasked with a job as monumental as this, burdened by a keen sense of the inherent inability to please everyone, and still having to make the movie.

Writing for The Ringer, K. Austin Collins has a nice article on the film. He discusses how you can love something, but have complicated feelings about it at the same time.

If you’re reading this and haven’t seen Black Panther yet, go do that. It’s worth your time.

You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.

Welcome to Geekdom 068: Batman Begins

Welcome To Geekdom

Welcome to Geekdom returns this week with a discussion on Batman Begins. Jason Tate joins and we discuss the plot, villains, cinematography, and much more about the film. You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.

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Monday Musings: Whatever A Spider Can

I started a new “job” today as editor of Whatever A Spider Can. I’m only putting that in quotations because it’s paid based on page views instead of an actual income and it’s fun, so it hasn’t felt like much of a job on day one. However, I’m still quite excited about it because now I get to do a ton of writing about Spider-Man and everything in that universe. Here are a couple of the articles I’ve posted today to kick off the relaunch of the site.

Brian Michael Bendis finished his run on Spider-Man

Brian Michael Bendis started writing Spider-Man comics back in 2000 with his long run on Ultimate Spider-Man. The series ran until 2009 and is a fantastic read. He’s also known for being the co-creator of Miles Morales, who has become quite the fan favorite. His work in the Spider-Verse didn’t end there, though. He also wrote Spider-Woman in 2009, which was a seven issue mini-series.

If you haven’t read any of his Spider-Man work, you’re definitely missing out.

Spider-Man’s next live action appearance and what to expect

In the trailer, Peter has the hair on his arm stand up when he senses trouble. Spider-sense is one of Peter’s abilities that gives him an advantage most heroes don’t have. In the comics, it’s been portrayed a variety of ways. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter wasn’t totally confident in his abilities and how to handle himself. Avengers: Infinity Warshows that he’ll continue to learn more about his powers.

Even though Homecoming came out in 2017, I’m already looking forward to what role Spider-Man will play in Avengers: Infinity War. 

You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.