Stories Matter: The Critic’s Thoughts on Captain America

If you were on the Internet yesterday, you probably saw the news that, in the new comic run that just came out, Captain America is really an undercover Hydra agent.

Just typing that sentence makes me vaguely sick to my stomach for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that Captain America was created by two Jewish guys during World War II specifically because they were “morally repulsed” by the actions of Nazi Germany. But there are so many more reasons I am angry than just that.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

This is something we forget sometimes, I think.

Everything we choose to create, everything we bring into this world comes with myriad connections we may never have considered. And as responsible human beings, it is our JOB to consider all the implications we possibly can and to be aware of how our art can hurt people.

Because it can, and it does. And unfortunately, the people it hurts are usually the people who have been hurt time and again already.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

Others have explained why this particular gimmick (it’s a gimmick; I don’t care what the PTB says) is tone-deaf and ignorant at best and downright hurtful and frankly enraging at worst, and they’ve explained it better than I can. (I would encourage you to read all of those links, especially the Twitter threads and the article.)

Suffice it to say it doesn’t matter if this is a clone or an impostor or Evil Steve from a parallel universe or he’s being mind-controlled or if Marvel will retcon it at the end of the year (or, hell, even in the next issue). This “narrative twist” goes against everything Captain America has ever stood for, it spits in the face of his original creators and the Jewish community at large, and it does so at a time when we, as a global community, need real, good heroes more than ever. Even if the run finishes and it turns out Cap isn’t REALLY Hydra (and honestly, the editors are pushing the idea that he is SUPER HARD), the damage is done.

I am just so TIRED of this bullshit. I’m so tired of creators pushing the idea that morally gray antiheroes or actual villains are more interesting than people who try their best to do what’s right, no matter how hard it is. I’m so tired of ~edgy~ and ~gritty~. I’m so tired of evil characters being glorified, of good characters being gruesomely murdered or turned into evil characters for shock, publicity, and sales.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

Right now, Marvel has forgotten both of those things.

Trailer Park: Captain America: Civil War

I am alternately excited and kind of terrified for Captain America: Civil War. On the one hand, it’s once again directed by the Russo brothers, who did Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which hopefully means that it will be just as good as its predecessor.

On the other hand, I don’t like the whole “Team Cap” or “Team Iron Man” dichotomy they’ve got going on with the marketing, in part because I dislike seeing my favorite characters fight like this and in part because I don’t like the idea that one side is “wrong,” when both have their merits.

Regardless, May 6 can’t come soon enough.

Movie Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

capt-america-posterI remember being surprised by how much I enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger, especially considering the good Captain was never one of my favorite superheroes.

If The First Avenger surprised me, Captain America: The Winter Soldier blew me away.

Short version of the review, sans spoilers: Between the great acting, the great story, and the great fight scenes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is everything we’ve come to expect from Marvel and just about everything you could want from a superhero movie. I absolutely loved it. If you haven’t seen it, put it on your list to catch before it leaves theaters.

For a longer, more spoilerific review, read on!

Continue reading

Trailer Park: Captain America, Annie, and The Maze Runner

Holy cow, the past few weeks have been great for movie trailers.

First up, there’s a new Captain America clip, in which Black Widow is better at multitasking than I will ever be.

Seriously, I am so stoked for this, you have no idea. I’ve enjoyed the hell out of all the Marvel movies, and The Winter Soldier looks like it’ll live up to its predecessors. April 4 can’t get here fast enough.

Next up is the trailer for Annie. The 1982 movie was one of my favorites when I was a kid, so I am all KINDS of excited that they’re doing a modern remake. (I didn’t even realize it was happening until the trailer came out, which, you know. Bad film nerd, no cookie!) The trailer makes me bounce with glee, so here’s hoping the movie itself lives up to it:

Sadly, we’ve got a bit of a wait, as Annie doesn’t come out until December 19.

Finally, last night the trailer for The Maze Runner finally debuted. I’ve heard very good things about the books (though I haven’t read them), and the trailer’s pretty tense:

Yes, I’m a little excited. The Maze Runner comes out on September 19.

See anything you guys like? Any movies on your radar for this year?

Trailer Park: Marvel Movie Extravaganza

Probably one of the best things to come out of the Super Bowl were the new movie trailers, including this excellent one for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Anybody else excited? Because I sure am.

As if that weren’t enough, we got a nearly 4-minute trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well:

I’m just going to sit back here and squeal over both of these, all right? Anybody else joining me?

NaNoWriMo Week 2 and #WriteMotivation Update

I blame Victoria for this:

Scenes of Iron Man and Captain America from The Avengers. Set to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King.

I laughed so hard I cried the first time I watched it. And thus, I share it with you.

On to the important stuff!

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

1. Finish Buzz stuff by November 12.
Movies are done. Weird news is 3/4 of the way done, and the TV notes are about halfway done. With any luck, I will finish them before or at the write-in tonight.

2. Write 50,000 words in November.

Minimum word count for November 11: 18,333/50,000

My word count: 18,481/50,000

Adventures in NaNoing: For the second week in a row, I didn’t go to bed till almost 2:30 Saturday morning (because I’m dumb), which meant as soon as I got back from the write-in at the library (which was Saturday afternoon), I fell sound asleep for three solid hours. Fortunately, THIS week I don’t have something on Friday night, so I should be able to get to bed at a decent hour for once.

(Yes, you can all laugh at me next week when it turns out I didn’t go to bed until 3 a.m.)

Plus, remember the interview that Rebekah and I did? The article ran in yesterday’s paper! Here’s the link.

The writing itself has been off and on; between work and other obligations, I haven’t had much opportunity to write outside of the write-ins. Writing every single day isn’t as important to me this year as it was last year. Then, I had to get myself in the habit of it because I hadn’t been able to work on anything consistently for most of 2011.

This year, I’ve finished a third draft of a novel and started on the fourth draft. Writing is part of my daily habits now, which is very good. However, I am going to have to start working on the NaNo novel on a more regular basis or I’m going to kill myself at the write-ins trying to play catch-up.

Also, I managed to write 4,000 words of a steamy scene…where the characters DIDN’T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING (there was kissing and a bit of touching and then a siren went off). I’m almost afraid to see what happens when I actually write a sex scene. It’s going to take up half the novel.

Very Short Excerpt:
Completely unedited.

I make my way to the door and, after some investigation of the panels, manage to open it.

All right, I have found the bathroom. Wrong door.

I close the bathroom door and search the room for another way out. I find another panel and push it. This time, the door slides open to reveal a hallway. The sound of the sirens is even louder now.


I jump half a mile into the air and turn around. Waddling across the floor in front of me is a duckling. A small, fluffy yellow duckling wearing a top hat, a monocle, and a tiny wooden cross. He looks up at me and cocks his head to one side. “Quack!”