marvel versus DC: my thoughts

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In the past week or so, I’ve explained to three different people that when I say I love DC more than Marvel, I’m not referring to the DCEU.  So I figured I might as well write a whole post explaining my reasons for liking DC above Marvel, what I actually mean by ‘DC’, and slipping in any other random thoughts that come to me.  Hope you enjoy. (And I’m always up for a good Marvel vs DC conversation in the comments!)

First, a disclaimer.

I have not read any Marvel or DC comics.  Every character or plot line I talk about in this post will be based on the various movies, TV shows, and novels I’ve watched/read that are based on the original comics.

DC vs DCEU

I actually find it kind of embarrassing that people thought I preferred the DCEU to the MCU.  I’m sure there are some who do like the first more than the second (and I don’t mean to diss you if you do) but, in my opinion, the the MCU is vastly, objectively superior to its darker cousin. 

Sure, the DCEU is just getting started (compared to the MCU) but it hasn’t really even started to lay the groundwork for the kind of enormous, magnificent universe that could compete with the MCU.  Besides Wonder Woman (which is in my top five, possibly top three, favorite superhero movies), DCEU hasn’t found its footing yet.

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So when I talk about DC and loving DC, I’m talking about a bunch of different things/mediums.  I’m talking about Batman Begins (best superhero movie ever, IMO) and CW’s Arrow and The Flash.  I’m talking about The LEGO Batman Movie and Wonder Woman and the tiny snatches I saw of Gotham (the TV show, you know).  I’m talking about Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu and Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas.  The DCEU holds little to no interest for me but I love patchwork quilt of DC works that do have my heart.

DC is darker – for the win.

This is completely subjective.  A lot of people prefer humor to gritty, depressing tragedies and I totally get that.  But for me personally, the darkness of DC is My Thing.  The villains are a little more twisted, the superheroes battle fear and corruption and black hearts both in themselves and out in the world, and there are betrayals and heartbreaking backstories galore.

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one of the most complex DC characters everrrrrr.

Okay, that all kind of sounds bad.  But I just find DC to be a little more realistic and less ‘out there’ (in certain aspects) than some of the Marvel movies I’ve seen.  DC feels completely grounded in the real world, whereas Marvel has always felt a little like sci-fi fantasy?  It’s hard to explain! (The Winter Soldier and Captain Marvel are two exceptions to the fantastical vibe.  And I totally get that superheroes are, in themselves, fantastical.  But DC seems more real, to me.)

To illustrate my point: you know how so many die-hard Marvel fans actively dislike/hate Avengers: Age of Ultron?  Well, I actually loved it.  Really epic, awesome movie (except for that gag-worthy ‘romance’ between Natasha and Bruce) and after giving it some thought, I think I know why I enjoyed it when so many other Marvel fans didn’t. (And, yes, I still totally consider myself a Marvel fan.)  It’s because AoU almost felt like a DC movie.  The color palette, the creepy villain, Wanda and Quicksilver as villains-turned-heroes…it was so DC (to me anyway).

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On the flip side though, I feel that I disliked Aquaman because it was trying so hard to be cool and funny the way Marvel movies often are…and it fell short.  Really short.  DC should stick with what they know. (Wonder Woman wasn’t so dark and grim, I admit, but it had its moments.)

Unlike many superhero fans I’ve met, I don’t watch/read superhero stuff to escape reality so much as to find ways to interpret reality.  To be reminded of both the darkness and the light in this world and how people – even superheroes – can’t always be the best, most perfect versions of themselves.  But they can still do heroic, noble, sacrificial things. (And YES Marvel does say similar stuff – like in Thor’s conversation with his mom in Endgame.  But I prefer DC’s take.)

Although, yeah, there’s a little escapism too. 😉

Love the characters (Marvel), love the movies (DC).

Okay.  I adore/admire/love to hate Marvel’s heroes/side characters/many of the villains.  There isn’t a single Avenger that doesn’t have a super special place in my heart and I stan (no pun intended) so many minor characters in the MCU.  Even some of the villains are very cool. 

But here’s the thing: I don’t always like Marvel’s movies as much.  I find more than a few of them boring, especially on rewatches (Captain Marvel for one *cries*) but I do rewatch them because I love, love, love the characters. 

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Like, in Captain Marvel I actually find a lot of it quite boring (sorry!) but because I think Carol is cool and her and Fury’s banter is funny and TALOS IS THE BEST FOREVER AND EVER, I’ll watch it a bunch of times.  Same with the first Avengers movie or Civil War.  The main plot might bore me, but I will forever love the characters so I tolerate the dull parts.

Then there’s DC.  I find that, overall, the DC movies and TV shows that I’ve watched have been able to grip me every time (+ multiple rewatches).  Super interesting and intense. (Exceptions would be Aquaman and a couple older Superman movies.)  And, I mean, I totally love a lot of the characters as well but I feel that Marvel has way more truly amazing heroes and heroines – just not as many awesome plots.

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However, I will say that DC has Marvel beat when it comes to great villains.  Obviously, there are some DC villains that aren’t so good (and there are Marvel villains that are wickedly great) but I’d say that overall, DC is pretty on point with their bad guys.  And since I’m rather obsessed with villains – well, it’s just another reason for me to appreciate DC.

To conclude…

Marvel is brilliant.  Infinity War and Endgame blew me away like no other film experience ever has (and I’m not just saying that).  I can’t express how much I love so many of Marvel’s beautiful characters and I’ll always be indebted to the MCU for introducing me to superheroes in the first place.

But DC – the broad, messy, unique-to-me version of DC – does something for me that Marvel doesn’t.  It’s my kind of aesthetic.  So many of their films, books, and TV shows hit all the right notes for me, for what I personally enjoy in stories.  DC captures my attention and imagination even more so than Marvel does and, yeah, I’m just a huge fan.

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bahahahahaha.  totally agree.

Do you prefer Marvel or DC…or is it impossible to decide? (There are times when that’s almost the case for me, tbh.)  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

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book review: the string

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A sociopath is running a deadly social experiment on a university campus. Markus Haas is the first to refuse to play the game. What unravels is a sequence of impossible decisions and a race against time to stop the sociopath before others pay the ultimate price.

I keep wanting to call this book ‘The Sting’ for some reason. (Isn’t that an old Robert Redford movie or something?)  ANYWAY.  This was a pretty good book.  Some of the more thrilling scenes with the Conductor gave me horror movie vibes and actually had me wishing that the author had gone full-tilt into creepiness (I do like being scared sometimes).  The line-up of characters going against the Conductor were mainly The Good Guys (with a few twist betrayals, because of course).  I think Haas was a good protagonist for the book and Cody was my fav.

There was one thing about The String that did seriously bug me: the fact that, although this book is put out by a Christian publisher, there’s really no Christian content to speak of (except for a couple vague references to God/praying).  Sure, there’s no swearing in situations where these unsaved characters would be blistering the air with curse words.  And despite the villain’s creepiness and general villainy, there really isn’t much gore or violence.  But this book is, for the most part, secular.  I’m fine reading secular books – I’m just disappointed that a Christian publisher wouldn’t have more faith content in one of theirs. (Ugh.  I sound legalistic or something.  It’s hard to explain my thoughts properly…but basically, I do want to see how Christians would react in these situations.  How integral their faith in God would be as their lives are threatened by a madman.  So yeah.)

Overall, I’d totally recommend this book to fans of slightly creepy thrillers that aren’t chock full of bad language. (I’ve already recommended it to one of my brothers, so that shows you that I think it’s actually quite good.)

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Eva

the ‘Do I Have That Book?’ challenge

Found this on Kate Willis’s blog and it looked incredibly fun, so…here I go!

1. Do you have a book with tattered edges?

The Catch Colt by Mary O’Hara has certainly seen better days.  The spine is pretty much ripped off and there are creases and nicked spots all over the front and back covers.  It’s been very well loved – first by Library People, and then by me.

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2. Do you have a book with 3+ people on the cover?

The Penultimate Peril, a Series of Unfortunate Events book, has a cover chock-full of intriguing (and creepy) people.  I’ve read most of the books in the series (though not this one) and I think the cover perfectly fits the weird tone of the set.

3. Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

Do I! 😉  I’m going with Dancing & Doughnuts by Rachel Kovaciny – it’s my newest book acquisition and it’s a great retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

4. Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?

This was harder than I expected but I finally found Ender’s Game.  I’m really due to reread that one…

5. Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter?

The Case for Christ.  I read this book quite a while ago and recently picked up my own copy at a thrift store in the States.  Looking forward to reading it again in the future.

6. Do you have a mass market paperback book?

I believe that my copy of Emma qualifies as a mass market paperback.  It’s very pretty and feminine and I love it.

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7. Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

I do!  Twelve of them, actually, because I own every book in The Series of Unfortunate Events except the last one.  They are all written by Lemony Snicket, whose real name is Daniel Handler.

8. Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter… 😉

9. Do you have a book with 2 maps in it?

The Adversaries by Jack Cavanaugh has three maps.  I think most, if not all, of the books in the American Family Portrait series have at least one.

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10. Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

I have Pride & Prejudice, which has been turned into at least two TV shows.  Probably more.

11. Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (Celebrity/Athlete/Politician/TV Personality…)

Yep!  I own Leonard, which is written by William Shatner and it’s chock-full of his reminisces about Leonard Nimoy.  It’s quite good and I reread it every now and then.

12. Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

This is a bit unconventional but it’s all I had: the cover of A Time to Die has numbers on it, recreating Parvin’s digital/sci-fi Clock.  So I’m going with it!

13. Do you have a poetry book?

Nope.  Poetry is Not My Thing.

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not even this beautiful movie could make me love poetry.  or The Outsiders, for that matter.

14. Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

A Monster Calls has two award stamps on the front cover: the Kate Greenaway award and the Carnegie award.  IT TOTALLY DESERVED ALL THE AWARDS. *weeps*

15. Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

E.S. or E.R.S.  Hmmm…the closest I’ve got is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  And neither of those really works.

16. Do you have a book of short stories?

Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which is an anthology of stories based on Jane Austen’s life and works (except Mansfield Park – I Am Miffed).  It was one of the first books I ever won in a giveaway and I like/love almost all the stories in it.  Also, Because You Love To Hate Me which is stuffed with epic villain retellings that I can’t get enough of.

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17. Do you have a book that is in between 500-510 pages?

The Patriots (Jack Cavanaugh) is 507 pages long, not counting back matter.

18. Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

Um…yeah.  Because Hollywood can’t come up with oRIGinaL iDeAS.  I’m going to narrow it down though and pick The Case of the Missing Marquess/Enola Holmes series in general (by Nancy Springer) which is in the process of being turned into a movie and I’M SO EXCITED.  The cast looks completely on point (especially Helena Bonham-Carter as Mrs. Holmes) and I couldn’t be happier.

19. Do you have a graphic novel?

No.  I do have a few novels based on comic book characters though.

20. Do you have a book written by 2 or more authors?

Besides anthologies, I’m assuming.  I’d have to go with Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.  A good, inspiring read that I think everyone should read once in their life.

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Clean list of questions:

1. Do you have a book with tattered edges?

2. Do you have a book with 3+ people on the cover?

3. Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

4. Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?

5. Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter?

6. Do you have a mass market paperback book?

7. Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

8. Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?

9. Do you have a book with 2 maps in it?

10. Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

11. Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (Celebrity/Athlete/Politician/TV Personality…)

12. Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

13. Do you have a poetry book?

14. Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

15. Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

16. Do you have a book of short stories?

17. Do you have a book that is in between 500-510 pages?

18. Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

19. Do you have a graphic novel?

20. Do you have a book written by 2 or more authors?

Are your bookshelves gloriously messy or meticulously organized?  What’s the prettiest book on your shelf?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

mini book review: yours truly, thomas (+ mini book rant)

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For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.

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I requested this book for review because I like stories that are centered around letters + the power of the written word.  It started out solidly enough, mainly because I’d never heard of the Dead Letter Office.  Really interesting and I wish more of the story had been focused in and around the office.  But instead, Penny leaves really quickly for the town of Azure Springs…and that’s where Yours Truly, Thomas became too cliched for my tastes.

You’ve got the impossibly perfect hero who bares his innermost soul via dialogue in a way no self-respecting guy in Ye Olde West would (especially not to almost total strangers).  You’ve got the quirky, cLumSY heroine who is radiantly beautiful (a fact everyone comments on all the time).  There’s the Evil Villain who has, like, almost zero motivation.  There’s also the homespun, tough love wisdom of The Small Town Wise Woman.  It’s just…too much, you guys.  Too cliched.  And pretty boring. (Because the plot + declarations of love + ending are also run-of-the-mill.)

Give me depth in Christian historical fiction.  Give me romances that spans months and years and have actual problems and forgiveness and passionate love that makes you actually believe in the happily ever after ending.  Give me twisted villains with a boatload of hurt and harm and scar tissue a mile deep (yet who aren’t beyond redemption because this is supposed to be Christian fiction).  Give me heroes and heroines who face Real World Problems and are their own people (even – especially – if you took away the romantical aspect of the plot).  Give me small towns where not everything and everyone is perfect, but people still care for each other in spite their differences.

I feel like P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks: “This entire [genre] is flim-flam! Where is its heart? Where is its reality? Where… is the gravitas?”

Anyway.  That’s my rant for the day.  Enjoy. 😛

Oh, and I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my [brutally] honest review.

Eva

i watched Infinity War & Endgame in one day (for the very first time)

It almost feels unnecessary to say this, but spoilers for Infinity War and Endgame ahead.  Also, this post ended up being ridiculously long.  So fair warning.

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I stayed up until four to finish Avengers: Endgame.  How was it?  Well, everything starts to feel a little surreal when it’s three in the morning and you’re watching Hulk put the Gauntlet on and try to snap and then it works – but there’s still, like, an hour and a half left of the movie.

But anyway…unless I do a list-thingy, this post is going to be all over the place.  So here are just some of my thoughts and observations and fangirling, for you all to read.  I’ll break it up into the two different films (though watching them so close together honestly felt like watching one, huge almost six hour movie and I highly recommend that viewing method if you ever get the time).

INFINITY WAR

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I was not expecting to be thrown into the action so quickly – in fact, I checked to see if Netflix had accidentally skipped a scene or something.  But nope.  You’ve got Loki helping Thanos and then tricking Thanos and then DYING AND THOR’S REACTION MADE ME CRY.  I had only previously seen these characters in Thor (the first movie, you know) but because I have a friend who loves Thor/I’m online so I Know Things, I was able to fill in a lot of the blanks about Thor and Loki and their relationship.  So Loki’s death still had an impact on me.

Never seen Doctor Strange (movie or character) but I instantly liked him.  I think his powers are cool, his cape is super cool, and he’s also played by Benedict Cumberbatch so that doesn’t hurt matters. (Except I miss his British accent.  I’ve observed that if a British actor is snatched up by Hollywood, they force them to talk in American accents the rest of their career.)  I found it hilarious how he and Tony played off each other.

By the way, the Russo brothers did NOT have my permission to make me laugh with genuinely funny dialogue and then RIP MY HEART OUT a moment later with extremely sad, poignant dialogue.  NOT ALLOWED.  This is just one example, but when Tony breaks the news of the Avenger’s break-up to Bruce and Bruce is like “You broke up?  Like a band?  Like the Beatles?” that made me laugh.  And then Tony says “Cap and I…we fell out hard” (or words to that effect) and it was SO SAD.

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The action scenes were all interesting and I didn’t feel bored at all.  That’s pretty much essential for action scenes (for me, at least) so that was good.

I didn’t allow myself to get attached to the Wanda/Vision ship because I knew what was going to happen OKAY ACTUALLY I DID.  It’s impossible not to.  And a word about spoilers and knowing what was going to happen: I’m a spoiler junkie, especially when I don’t plan to see a movie but want to know What’s Up.  So I knew basically all the major stuff that happened in Infinity War and Endgame (even watched some clips on Youtube).  But seeing everything in its proper context was so much better.  Love it.

WHEN STEVE SHOWED UP TO HELP WANDA AND VISION I WAS FREAKING OUT INSIDE.  I thought he’d only have a couple scenes in Infinity War so YES.  And that whole “forgiveness/permission” quote?  I feel ya, Cap.

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Quick sidebar: I have no idea why I thought this, but I thought that Ebony Maw was actually the Red Skull (’cause I knew he was in IW) and he just looked like that because of the effects of holding the tesseract in The First Avenger.  So I was obviously confused when the actual Red Skull showed up on Vormir…but then I figured it out. (It’s weird, the misconceptions you can get about a movie you’ve never seen before.)

Anyway.  Moving on.  Never seen a Guardians movie but I connected quickly with all of the cast except Peter Quill.  It reeeeally annoyed me how he couldn’t manage to stay serious EVER except for the scene where he had to kill Gamora and then when he learned of her death.  Like, even when Gamora was telling Quill to kill her he couldn’t remain serious!  Characters like that bug me.  Also, I’d heard that a lot of people were mad at him for…something and, yeah, I’m mad at him too. (I was also briefly mad at Doctor Strange for giving Thanos the time stone but then I realized it was all part of the one good outcome that he saw.  Right?)

All the one-upping between Thor and Quill was pretty hilarious though. 😀

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The themes of sacrifice were strong in Infinity War.  Yes, there’s all these characters running around and telling other people to kill them so the world doesn’t end.  Doctor Strange was willing to sacrifice Tony and/or Peter to keep the time stone safe.  Thanos sacrificed Gamora for the soul stone.  But another sacrifice was the one T’Challa made to keep Vision/the mind stone safe.  He was prepared to sacrifice Wakanda/himself/everyone – and so were the other Avengers.  Pretty amazing. (And of course I’m glad that Wakanda didn’t actually burn to the ground.)

And then…The Snap.  When I first heard of it and all the characters who died I rolled my eyes because I felt like it was a cheap trick by Marvel.  Of course they’re not going to kill off Spider-Man or Black Panther or Doctor Strange.  I still think it was kind of lame, in terms of shock value.  But in storytelling terms, I think it more than worked.  Sets up a goal for Part 2, gives the six main Avengers plenty of trauma to work through, and yeah, it really does work.  But even though I knew they’d all be back, it was still super sad. (Especially, you know, Peter Parker’s death.  GAH.)

One more thing about Infinity War and then it’s on to Endgame: several reviews I’ve read for the film say that it’s choppy in its pacing.  But I personally thought the pacing was really good and engaging and there was just the right focus on the different characters and plot elements.  That’s what I thought anyway.

ENDGAME

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Where do I even start?

I inwardly cheered when Captain Marvel showed up to rescue Tony and Nebula. (I saw Captain Marvel – the movie – just a few days ago.)  In fact, throughout both Infinity War and Endgame my brain was constantly on cheer/cry/freak out mode.  It was an emotional roller-coaster.

Even though I knew he’d come back to torment everyone later, it was hugely satisfying to see Thanos getting beaten so early in the film. 

And then…the fallout.  Everyone’s trying hard to look good on the outside but falling to pieces on the inside and I know from personal experience what that’s like (I think most of us do).  You might start to assume that Steve is taking it the best of them all but just think: ever since he woke up from that ice (what was it? Seven years?) he’s had experience with grief.  With processing it, trying to move past it, having old wounds and hurts reappear (the Winter Soldier, Peggy’s death), yet still holding it together for the good of the team/the world.  So now that everyone else is really going through it, he’s maybe slightly better able to offer them support as they grieve. (As evidenced by the support group he started.)  But it’s still not easy at ALL for him. (HE LOST BUCKY AGAIN.  AND SAM.)

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So.  Scott shows up with a crazy idea to build a time machine and they all go to Tony.  Morgan is so sweet and Tony has such a good marriage with Pepper and I completely understand him not wanting any part in the scheme.  He could die.  They all could.  And that’s the last thing he wants to happen. (But of course he agrees to it in the end because you probably wouldn’t have a movie otherwise.)

I’ve seen very little of Clint (same for every MCU fan, tbh) but I really ‘got’ him in Endgame.  I really understood and sympathized and felt all the things for him.  No, it definitely wasn’t right what he was doing.  Definitely not.  But I get where he’s coming from and the fact that he became this sort of dark anti-hero was pretty cool.  And I’ll just jump ahead right now and say that his fight with Natasha/her death/his reaction was one of THE most awful movie scenes ever (in a good way).  Heart shattering.

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I thought the Time Heist was very cool, except that the Nebula scenes bored me because I don’t really have context for that part of the heist. 😛  I’m sure Guardians fans thought it was good though.  As for the other heist scenes…I found it amusing how Loki just snatched up the tesseract and disappeared.  I LOVED THE ELEVATOR SCENE AND HOW CAP TRICKED THEM.  It was an obvious throwback to the elevator scene in The Winter Soldier and, yeah, so awesome.  His little smirk and all that.

Thor’s scene with his mom made me cry and don’t even get me started with Tony meeting his dad and Steve seeing Peggy again.  It was all too much.

The final battle was beyond epic and there are really no words to describe it.  I felt like cheering pretty much every moment and CAP WAS WORTHY and there are just so many awesome little moments throughout the final battle that you really have to see for yourself.  I thought Spider-Man, T’Challa, Wanda, and Cap really, especially did good. 

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And Tony.  I’m assuming it was the Snap that killed him?  Like, his body/armor couldn’t take the power of the Snap and his heart gave out?  Whatever the case (and I’m going to sound like a broken record), it was incredibly heartbreaking.  I’m actually tearing up remembering his death scene.

I’m going to run past all the remaining scenes (even though I did really, really like them) to talk about Steve.  HE GETS HIS HAPPILY EVER AFTER WITH PEGGY.  I remember when that felt like such a tearjerking impossibility when I watched The First Avenger and then The Winter Soldier and especially Civil War.  BUT IT HAPPENED.  It really happened.  And I don’t even care that it erased the events of Agent Carter because Steve + Peggy is really what was supposed to happen and I think it’s enormously special and important that their dance (finally!) was the closing shot of the Infinity Saga.  Because that’s always what the Avengers were fighting for: to keep the earth safe so that people like Steve and Peggy and countless others could enjoy freedom and peace and happiness.

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And then he came back and gave the shield to Sam.  I was miffed for about two seconds that he didn’t give it to Bucky but Bucky has been through so much and he’s got to still be dealing with a lot of that, a lot of the brainwashing and figuring out how to heal.  I know that Sam can’t be free from PTSD or regrets or anything like that, but I think he makes the most sense as the next Captain America.  I just hope the MCU utilizes him as such in their upcoming films and that Disney+ show.

Overall, I came out of Infinity War and Endgame a little dazed, a little tear-stained, and a lot happy and satisfied and more firmly a Marvel fan than ever. (I think DC still wins, but not by nearly as much anymore.  I know – I’m fickle. :P)

THANK YOU for reading all my ramblings.  What did you think of Infinity War and/or Endgame?  I’d love to discuss them with you in the comments!

Eva

interview with author Angela R. Watts + THE DIVIDED NATION book tour & giveaway!

The Divided Nation

Angela R. Watts’ newest book, The Divided Nation, releases TODAY.  I haven’t yet read it but I’ll always support good Christian dystopia…and I’m pretty excited for this one. (If you remember, I helped with the cover reveal for TDN a while back.)  You can check out the full schedule of book tour posts on Angela’s website.

The Divided Nation (The Infidel Books #1)

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WHEN THE NATION DIVIDES, THE INFIDELS MUST RISE.

The United States has fallen. Three years after the 2024 presidential election and the declaration of martial law, the nation is at war against itself. Gangs battle, civilians struggle for survival, and officials of the United Nations  thrive. West Johnston, heir to the most powerful ganglord in the country, refuses to continue the family legacy. But, in order to defeat his father, he must become him: bloodthirsty and willing to do whatever it takes for control.

West gains control by helping fellow gangsters, Nate and Simon, when they form an alliance with one of the last remaining townships in America. After years of surviving and winter fast approaching, Springtown is in desperate need of supplies from the two teenagers. When the town leader’s daughter, Rene, is kidnapped by an unknown rival, Nate and Simon risk their reputations to save her and the town they now love. But without help from West, their rescue mission will fail.

Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE DIVIDED NATION steps into a future where brotherhood bonds must be stronger than iron to survive a broken world, and faith without courage is dust in the wind.

The Divided Nation is available on Amazon, starting today!  You can also add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

Author Interview

Angela allowed me to interview her for the book tour and I loved all her answers.  I hope you do too!

Welcome to the blog, Angela!  To start things off, I’m super interested to know what inspired you to write faith-based dystopia.

This world is wicked. God is Holy. Most dystopian novels are without Jesus and thus, very morbid, dark, and non satisfactory. Lots of Christians dislike the genre because of this. Lots of readers are tired of the genre because if this.

I like the genre, but I’m not all for the “end days means there is no hope, no fix, no love!”… I’m all for the end days fiction that look at the book of Revelation and say, “Hey, things are evil, but God wins.” Since there isn’t much of it, I decided to write it.

It’s so important to show people that there is still hope for the future.  Yet even with so much hope, Christian dystopias can still be heartwrenching.  Did you ever cry while writing The Divided Nation?

I… think so… yes. Some scenes hurt but I didn’t allow myself tears. Some scenes… I agonized over… I can confirm I’ve cried more than once over this series as a whole.

I’ve cried over my own writing, so I definitely feel your pain.  On the brighter side…is there a song or album that reminds you of The Divided Nation?

IS THERE EVER. I have a Spotify and Youtube playlists, both still lacking songs that remind me of the book, but here are the links…

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGzmN7fP4KCFL_ZPyHPuQoodU1wxTIc26

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3uh18Bqv3Me2p9o3kze0c7

I’ll have to check those out!  How many rewrites did you go through?

One first draft, a second draft rewrite, then no rewrites from there. Just betas and edits.

That amount of rewrites is what I aspire to in my own writing. 😀  Any advice for Christian writers hoping to break into dystopian fiction?

Be bold and hold fast to God. The fact is, not every Christian reader wants a novel that glorifies Christ when it scares them. And dystopian is terrifying. So don’t write with the mindset of “I’m going to please people because this genre is lacking!”. Write with the mindset of, “God gave me this story and I will glorify Him with it, even if this is unknown water.”

People are going to scrutinize our work because we’re Christians so, yes, we should definitely put out our best work and pray that it inspires and helps others.  What is the number one thing you hope people take away from The Divided Nation?

I hope they’re encouraged that we’re all sinners and broken and scared… But God is more powerful than our demons. We each must make a choice… Good or evil. I hope this novel helps each of us answer this question.

And lastly, just for fun: what is your favorite dystopian book or movie (besides your own!)?

Jericho is one of the BEST TV shows ever about apoc times. Alas, Babylon was a cute dystopian novel. In general, I didn’t get into Divergent, The Hunger Games, etc… I’m trying The Maze Runner series but it is more virus oriented and I’m often more interested in political dystopias.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Angela!  It was great talking with you.

rsz_17597325Angela R. Watts is a Christian fiction author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She’s a homeschooled highschooler living at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.

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The Divided Nation (3)

IMPORTANT DETAILS: US shipping only. If an international winner is drawn, they will receive an ebook only.  1st place: hardback copy of The Divided Nation. A custom mug with a quote from the book, bookmark, and an exclusive snippet from The Infidel Books.  2nd place: paperback copy of The Divided Nation, bookmark.  3rd place: ebook copy of The Divided Nation.  You can enter the giveaway HERE.

Do you enjoy Christian dystopian novels – or dystopian novels in general?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

why I love Beauty and the Beast (2017)

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THIS POSTER IS TOO AWESOME.

“Why Beauty and the Beast (2017) Actually SUCKS!”

“I Hate the New Beauty and the Beast Live Action Movie and Here’s Why”

“Let’s Not Mince Words: Beauty and the Beast is a Terrible Movie”

“The Beauty and the Beast Remake is a Long Series of Wasted Opportunities”

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Remake Misunderstood Everything About the Original”

These and a dozen other posts convinced me that Beauty and the Beast (2017) was quite possibly the worst Disney film ever put to screen.  Emma Watson was ugly + a bad singer + a bad actor!  The CGI was horrific nightmare fuel!  The plot was long, boring, and sucked dry of everything that made the original film magical!

Um.

Did we all watch the same movie?

Because I watched a Beauty and the Beast that was gorgeous and full of emotion and deeper characterization and so many good themes that resonated with me.  When I finished the film, I messaged Katie and said “This is my Beauty and the Beast.”  I do like the original but I loved the remake.  So much.  There are a couple places where I felt it wasn’t as great as it could have been – ‘Be Our Guest’s tempo was slower and it threw off my enjoyment of the scene and the ballroom dance was surprisingly lackluster. (And there’s the whole gay controversy which I am NOT getting into, but…I didn’t appreciate it. :P)

But overall…I LOVE IT.  And I’m going to make a list of reasons why because that’s how I do things around here.

THE CHARACTERS

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The remake is forty-five minutes longer than the original film and none of that time is wasted.  There are a few new songs but, for the most part, that time is taken up with bringing different characters to life in ways that the original didn’t.  Emma Watson’s Belle is a more well-rounded heroine (which is saying something, since OG Belle is pretty amazing) – she’s made a few friends in the village, she invents things, she takes a more active role in her relationship with the Beast, and you learn more of her backstory too.  I always thought that Belle and her father had come from Paris and that’s partly why she was upset with her ‘provincial life’ so it was nice to see that confirmed. (Though she didn’t really remember Paris since she was a baby when she left.)

I LOVED how the Beast’s backstory was changed!  Instead of being a spoiled child when he was cursed, he was the kind of aristocrat that made the French Revolution ?necessary?  The opening scene, with how villainous he is, is actually kind of chilling.  And then you learn more about his super tragic past and…it’s sooooo good.  Adds a whole new depth to his character.

I also appreciated how Maurice wasn’t a buffoon, Gaston wasn’t clownish, and the townspeople were multi-faceted. (I cried when they were all reunited with their families at the end.)  The castle servants were pretty much the same?  I like how Plumette had a larger role.

THE CINEMATOGRAPHY

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I want to live in this film.  It’s so vibrant and darkly tragic by turns with glorious sunsets and gloomy rooms and everything in between.  I get that a lot of it is CGI, but STILL.  Disney live action remakes satisfy a deep aesthetic longing in me – everything from The Jungle Book to Cinderella to Maleficent…and now this.  (Even The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was eye candy, if boring.)  It’s all so perfect and gorgeous and beautifully lit.

And this isn’t really cinematography-related, but can we all stop and appreciate the Beast’s maze-like front yard?  It’s so cool and creepy!

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A TALE AS OLD AS TIME, MADE NEW

I have had a LOT of discussions with One Particular Person (you know who you are) about Disney remakes and why they seem to split Disney fans into two camps (#love/#hate).  I think most of it comes down to nostalgia.  I know from experience that if you watch/enjoy a movie as a little kid you will often unconditionally love it as an adult + be very possessive and protective of it.

In my case, I didn’t watch movies from Disney’s ‘Golden Age’ until I was quite a bit older (some of them, like The Lion King, not until this year) and so often I can’t see why they are so universally, undyingly beloved.  Yes, they are good – even great – movies.  But they haven’t captured me with their magic, unlike the remakes which delve more deeply into character motivation and they’re great to look at and they tend to take everything I liked about the OG films and do more with it.

Beauty and the Beast - Poster Gallery

So that’s why I love Beauty and the Beast (2017).  The filmmakers took a familiar story and put their own spin on it, deepening some elements and tying the whole thing together with stunning costumes and new songs and beautiful scenery.  It’s almost like a retelling and I love those so…yeah. 

Have you seen Beauty and the Beast (2017)?  What did you think of it?  Which version of the film do you prefer?

Eva