Summary of a Saga

June 30, 2020 at 12:27 am (funny, MegaList of Awesomeness, Reviews, Top Ten, TV/movie review, With a list)

So.

I just watched the entire MCU Infinity Saga in five days. With twenty-three movies in the saga, I averaged ten hours of movie-watching time a day. I’m keeping a neat-o summary here to remind myself who’s who and what’s what next time I dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Australia, they’re all on Disney + except The Incredible Hulk (I rented it from YouTube; feel free to skip it), Spider-Man: Homecoming (Netflix), and Spider-Man: Far From Home (Amazon Prime).

Phase 1 (all reviewed in full here)

***Iron Man

Stark swears off weapons then immediately makes the best one ever.

*The Incredible Hulk

Dr Banner is found by the government but eventually manages to go back into hiding.

***Iron Man 2

Stark promises that bad people definitely won’t be able to make any iron man suits; two different baddies make iron man suits.

**Thor

The god of thunder becomes less of a dickhead.

***Captain America: The First Avenger

A good-hearted weakling turns into a good-hearted superhero.

***Marvel’s The Avengers

Loki tries and fails to use a shiny to get more shinies for big bad Thanos.

 

Phase 1 summary: S.H.I.E.L.D. (specifically Nick Fury) puts together a superhero team made up of playboy genius Iron Man; part time rage-monster Hulk; jock god Thor; honourable 40s man Captain America; and well-trained humans Hawkeye (arrows) and Black Widow (assassin). They defeat various baddies including an alien hoard led by god of mischief Loki (aka Thor’s adopted brother and temporary minion of big bad Thanos).

Our original six heroes, left to right: Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man.

And here’s Loki.

Phase 2 (part 1 and part 2)

***Iron Man 3

Stark makes way too many suits then blows them all up.

**Thor: The Dark World

Thor and Jane get back together; Loki is slightly less evil.

***Captain America: The Winter Soldier

S.H.I.E.L.D. turns out to be mostly Hydra (oh no), but Cap’s best friend gets partially un-brainwashed (yay).

***Guardians of the Galaxy

Star-Lord makes friends, and together they keep a shiny orb away from assorted baddies.

*Avengers: Age of Ultron

Stark makes then breaks a bad robot, killing a bunch of people in the process.

**Ant-Man

An ex-con becomes a superhero in exchange for stealing stuff for a cranky good guy instead of amiable bad guys.

Phase 2 summary: Our superheroes (now including semi-reformed Loki and Winter Soldier) add iron-suited War Machine, flying robot Vision, superfast Quicksilver (already dead), his twin sister Scarlet Witch (who has ill-defined but impressive powers and no personality to speak of); and loveable schmuck Ant-Man to their ranks. They also get (but don’t yet meet) the Guardians of the Galaxy: insecure but music-loving Star-Lord (human); righteously driven ex-baddie Gamora (green); trisyllabic Groot (tree thing; it dies but sprouts another Groot); twisted and damaged Rocket (mutated racoon thing); and literal-minded muscleman Drax (humanoid). They mean well (mostly), but commit various crimes including major property damage, theft, and mass manslaughter.

Picture 1: Scarlet Witch, Falcon (who gets those wings in the next movie), Vision, War Machine (in his Iron Patriot phase; usually he’s not so colourful).

Picture 2: Bucky (recovered from being the Winter Soldier) and Ant-Man (Scott).

And the Guardians, left to right: Groot, Rocket, Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax

Phase 3 (part 1, part 2, part 3 aka Infinity War, part 4, part 5 aka Endgame, part 6)

***Captain America: Civil War

Running low on baddies, the Avengers fight each other.

**Doctor Strange

Dr Strange learns to use his annoyingness for good.

***Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Star-Lord finds and then kills his dad (who is a murderer and also a planet).

***Spider-Man: Homecoming

A dorky teen with superpowers has to save the day alone when the grown-ups get sick of him.

***Thor: Ragnarok

Thor blows up his home planet so his big sister stops playing with it.

***Black Panther

King T’Challa kills a baddie and then does what the baddie wanted.

***Avengers: Infinity War

Thanos gets all the infinity stones and instantly erases half of all living creatures.

***Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp rescue Wasp’s mother from the quantum realm.

***Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel realises she’s Captain friggin’ Marvel.

***Avengers: Endgame

The Avengers kill Thanos (twice).

***Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man gives a potent weapon to a baddie then gets it back again.

 

Phase 3 summary, excluding Infinity War and Endgame: The goodies add the following to their roster: adorkable kid Spider-Man; witty sidekick Falcon; arrogant wizard Dr Strange (and similarly-powered sorcerer Wong); half-mecha ex-villain Nebula (Gamora’s green sister); empath alien Mantis (also a Guardian); long-frustrated heroine Wasp; superhero squared Captain Marvel; and the Black Panther and a bunch of epic Wakandan people and weapons (gracious noncombatant Queen Ramonda; genius teenager Princess Shuri; and Okoye, who is the righteous leader of the bald-headed Dora Milaje all-female army).

Summary of Infinity War and Endgame: Thanos erases half of all living creatures. The heroes get everyone back, except:

a) There’s a five year gap when the world is half empty.

b) Gamora, Loki, Vision, Black Widow and Loki are dead; and Captain America is old and retired. Past versions of Gamora and Loki are likely to be around in future.

c) Thanos is definitely for sure gone now.

 

Picture 1: Spider-Man and Dr Strange

Picture 2: Nebula and Mantis

Picture 3: Captain Marvel (she cuts her hair later) and Black Panther (Wasp not pictured because she’ll be hanging out with Ant-Man, and her look is very similar to his except she has wings):

Thanos is big and purple, and also dead. Not pictured.

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I’m in the process of writing a bunch of best-of (or sometimes worst-of) lists, which I may or may not remember to link here. Here’s one, at least:

Top 5 Best-Written Villains

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For those concerned about my health, I had a very calm day today. TJ was lonely in the living room, but he was fine with me sleeping as long as I was in the room with him. I’d warned him I needed to rest today, so he very carefully made the living room couch “super comfy” for me so I slept there during the day.

Pictured: super comfy.

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MCU Infinity Saga: Top 5 Best-Written Villains

June 29, 2020 at 1:51 am (Reviews, Top Ten, TV/movie review, With a list)

The MCU has a bad reputation for forgettable villains, and it’s often justified. While attempting to explain every plot twist to my six year-old, I realised that every movie has several villains. Of course a lot of them aren’t well-developed.

But a bunch of them are brilliant. Here are my top picks, based purely on the quality of the writing (and acting), and the depth of emotion they inspire.

5. Thanos.

Not because his plan makes sense, or because he’s so powerful (powerful schmowerful, as so often happens). He gets on the list because his treatment of his daughters is so twisted and so painful that I truly hate his guts.

And he actually thinks he loves them, too. Sure, he grieves Gamora. People often grieve useful or beautiful or expensive objects, especially when they’re spent a lot of time getting them just the way they want them. That’s not love.

4. Ghost

I’d be angry too, if other people’s incompetence led to constant pain for me—particularly if I also had only days to live. As a disabled person with chronic pain in an ableist world, Ghost is just too relatable. Which, for a murderer, is a mighty achievement. It doesn’t hurt that Hanna John-Kamen is one of the most beautiful people on the planet. I hope we see more of her in future movies.

3. Grandmaster

He is so adorable and hilarious and charming you forget he’s a slaver (sorry, I meant to say, “employer of prisoners with jobs”) and a villain. Every second he’s on screen is a delight. It doesn’t hurt that everyone in the room with him is clearly having a blast—Jeff Goldblum most of all.

2. Loki

But you knew he’d be on the list, didn’t you? Joy, mischief, pain, humour, and redemption in one very pretty package.

Honorable Mentions:

Klaue (played by Andy Serkis) because of his manic glee.

Hela (Cate Blanchett), for dark joy, shocking power, and for exposing Odin’s awful treatment of her—and his war-mongering/colonialising ways. She has good reason to be angry.

Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), except that they’re much more interesting as they’re becoming good. As villains, they’re dull (the Winter Soldier is basically a blank slate, which is the point).

1. Erik Killmonger

Killmonger is fundamentally right, both in his personal anger towards the hero (because of the actions of T’Challa’s father and uncle), and in his wider anger about Wakanda’s isolationism when African people around the world are crying out for justice. It is all too close to home for anyone living in the real world right now. He also plays beautifully with stereotypes, deliberately dressing in a way that makes white Americans see him as a thug. And his death breaks our hearts. Put all those elements together, and you have an unforgettable villain.

Do you agree with the list?

Did I forget someone I shouldn’t have?

Sound off in the comics! Let the nerd wars commence.

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Best Playgrounds in Canberra

February 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm (Daily Awesomeness, I get paid for this, MegaList of Awesomeness, Top Ten, Well written)

Earlier this year (and adding to previous experience) I set out to become the world expert on Canberra playgrounds. I think I succeeded, and I have the travel articles to prove it. First, a not-very-plausible Tour of Canberra (seriously, all of it) through playgrounds. It really does work for seeing all Canberra’s best bits in a single day, and it involves art, science, culture, history, and music! pic12   Secondly, the best ten playgrounds rated – by imaginative fun, parental seating, safety, toilet facilities, fatal flaws, likelihood of crowding, and more! I write a LOT of travel articles. These two are the best by far, hence being put on the blog. Louisette’s godmother saw the Epic Tour and said she’d like to attempt it! I’ll let you know how far we get before Louisette begs to go home 🙂   pic8

NB These picture are the property of WeekendNotes.

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2011 Top Ten Awesomenesses

December 25, 2011 at 8:49 am (Daily Awesomeness, Top Ten, With a list)

Hot air balloon

World Map of Food

Horseriding

Zombie Walk 

Steam Train

6. Beach (for our second honeymoon/pre-emptive babymoon) and sandcastle

Skyfire

Young Symphonists

Get pregnant

Getting rescued by firemen was cool too.

2011 was somewhat dominated by pregnancy and pregnancy-related illness, but there were a few other really cool things going on: I wrote and edited a steampunk novel; CJ’s brother got engaged (CJ and Louisette and I will all be visiting Hong Kong and Beijing next year for the wedding – and blogging about it, naturally); and my sister and her family told me they’ll be living in Canberra (for at least a year) from June 2012. We had dramas with disappearing cats, a ceiling collapse, and nearly going to court over a paperwork issue – but it all worked out in the end.

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Top Ten FREE Awesomenesses

April 18, 2011 at 11:37 am (Daily Awesomeness, Top Ten, With a list)

It’s finally here! The ultimate awesomenesses for my poverty-striken peeps. I’ve marked with an asterisk those I think are worth clicking on (either for stylish writing or for pictures). And without further ado. . .

10. Feed ducks

9. Blob/No Plans

8. Join the Library and Read Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy*

7. Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon*

6. Sculpture Garden or The National Carillon or whatever’s free in your area*

5. Kidnap your date (or a friend)

4. Light a Fire

3. Steal Flowers*

2. Bubbles!*

1. Frolic in a Fountain*

This is it. . . the youtube clip that’ll soon reach 13,000 views. I can only conclude that the internet was expecting something else.

I have a special treat for next Monday. You’ll never guess what it is, but here’s some random clues all the same:

1. It involves a visitor from China (who is not Chinese).

2. Americans should find it especially entertaining/horrifying/insulting, depending on their personality (but it’s not at all mean in any way).

3. It is, allegedly, educational.

4. It is very, very funny.

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Top Ten Awesome Pics

April 11, 2011 at 9:11 am (Daily Awesomeness, Top Ten, With a list)

Here they are, the pictures that in my opinion are the most peculiar/troublesome/unique/spectacular from the year of Daily Awesomeness. A few also appear in the other top ten lists. I’ve marked with an asterisk those that are attached to well-written or interesting blog articles, and pointed out for your benefit when the awesomeness in question has several excellent pictures for your enjoyment.

10. Skyfire 2011

9. Tattoo a baby

8. Macabre expression of love*

7. Sarcastic Christmas Letter (this photo is from the Great Wall)*

6. Wedding photos (plenty more beautiful/funny pictures)

5. Play with a cat

4. World map of food (all of which are listed in the article)

3. Hot air balloon ride (more beautiful pictures in the article, naturally)

2. Bubbles! (lots of beautiful pictures if you click through)

1. Octopus in an unexpected place (so many awesome pictures it was hard to pick this one – if you like it, click through for the rest)

Special thanks to my mum for the use of her bird bath.

Next week: The top ten FREE awesomenesses, including a surprising number of my personal favourites (and featuring the youtube video I made that now has over 12,000 hits).

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Top Ten Awesomenesses

April 4, 2011 at 8:13 am (Daily Awesomeness, Top Ten, With a list)

I’ve now sorted ALL 365 awesomenesses into three top tens – the top ten that cost money, the top ten that are free, and the top ten pictures from the year.

Here’s the first list, leading up to my personal favourite.

10. Home Made Lemonade – with SCIENCE!

Cost: Perhaps $10 for lemons, sugar, and the secret ingredient.

Deliciousness: Yes.

Feeling: A mix of home-cooking pride, childhood nostalgia, and mad science.

Danger: Er. . . not getting scurvy?

9. Home-Delivered Meal

Cost: $20-$50

Deliciousness: Yes.

Feeling: All the luxury of a restaurant – but you can do it in your pajamas. Win.

Danger: Minimal.

8. A Whole Meal of One Colour

Cost: Perhaps a dollar or two more than the meal would already cost.

Deliciousness: Medium.

Feeling: You get the benefit of messing with the head of whoever you live with, plus the surreal joy of a meal that Just Looks Wrong.

Danger: Minimal. Increased slightly if you don’t tell your housemates what you’re doing in advance.

7. Cake and Chopsticks (the more participants the merrier)

Cost: Maybe $20.

Deliciousness: Sure.

Feeling: Chaos – as you gleefully play with your food AND make a huge mess. Also, chopstick battles.

Danger: Splinters.

6. Go Mad in a Lolly Shop

Cost: $20-$50

Deliciousness: Absolutely.

Feeling: The best parts of being an adult combined. You can buy AS MUCH AS YOU WANT and then you can eat AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. And then you can feel AS SICK AS YOU WANT and YOUR MOTHER WILL NEVER KNOW.

Danger: Nausea, diabetes, heart disease. Mother showing up unexpectedly and looking askanse at you.

5. Go to the Beach and Eat Fish and Chips There.

Cost: $20 + travel (and possibly accommodation)

Deliciousness: Mmm. . . salty laaaarrrrrdddd. . .

Feeling: All the sunshine and freedom and beauty of the best holiday you’ve ever been on – because here in the antipodes, “holiday” is a synonym for “go to the beach”.

Danger: Sharks, jellyfish, coral. Lard.

4. Diet Coke and Mentos Rocket.

Cost: $10

Deliciousness: No! No, you moron, stop trying to drink that!

Feeling: ROCKET! Aieeeee!

Danger: Bruising, blindness, death. Disappointment (the rocket thing was a fluke – the wild spraying, however, is entirely reliable).

3. Adopt a Pet 

Cost: $50-$300 (goldfish versus the colourful ones) – lots more for fluffy animals.

Deliciousnes: How could you say such a thing? What kind of a monster are you?

Feeling: This is the other good side to being an adult – the feeling that you have somehow evolved to be able to take care of others as well as yourself. Also, pets are entertaining and good-looking. I hear some are also affectionate.

Danger: Death (the pet, not you – but it’s devastating).

2. Become an Aeronaut.

Cost: About $250 per person.

Deliciousness: Do not eat the balloon.

Feeling: Exactly like flying should feel. Also, gorgeous views. Sheer serenity. I definitely recommend ballooning in your own town rather than elsewhere.

Danger: Crashing into the sea or elsewhere – but that possibility is extremely low.

1. Horseriding.

Cost: $50 per person.

Deliciousness: Not permitted unless you are caught up in medieval battle, then have to make an epic journey of some kind. And you’re all out of serfs.

Feeling: Like very uncomfortable flying, but also a wonderful sense of attempting communication with a highly intelligent creature – and of course learning the skills of two hundred years ago.

Danger: Falling.

And here’s a repeat of the top awesomenesses music video – because I can. (Some of these are represented here, and some elsewhere.)

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