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The Female Perspective: Ant-Man!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Last week I promised to give you all a review on the movie Ant-Man and I did not tell a lie. What follows are my thoughts on the movie and its female character. Before I get into that though, I must warn, there are SPOILERS! If you haven’t seen the movie and WANT to see the movie then stop reading. Like, now.

Still with me? Cool.

Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!
Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!

First off I’ll admit that I had never heard of Ant-man before this movie. I read comics, sure, but Ant-Man, lost on me. The name is lackluster and ants have a tendency to creep me out a tad. But then I saw the trailer for the movie and I started to get excited, this movie looked fun. The kind of fun that Guardians of the Galaxy had. The kind of fun that I have come to expect from Marvel movies.

It did not disappoint.

Let’s start off with the fact that the lead character, Scott Lang, is played by one of my personal favorites, Paul Rudd. I remember Rudd back from his days in the movie Clueless  and I thought he was both hysterical and cute back then. I have since come to enjoy his dry humor in movies and on TV. I was interested to see someone like Rudd take on a Marvel superhero (it worked for Chris Pratt right?). I am also a huge of Micheal Douglas (as Hank Pym) and Evangeline Lilly (as Pym’s daughter Hope). I’ve liked Lilly since her days on Lost so this flick was shaping up nicely.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope.

The story is a simple one, Lang is an ex-con trying to set his life in order (and befriended by a ridiculously funny cast of misfits) to be a better dad to his daughter. He hooks up with Pym who convinces him to help with a heist. The heist is to get the Pym Particle technology away from Darren Cross. Hank sees it as too dangerous for wide use (he himself has kept it a secret and used the Ant-Man suit to save lives these many years), he is right.

Ant-Man manages to take the best of the Marvel-verse and add in some surprises, we see an Avenger and we also get to see Agent Carter and a few other familiar faces. I have to say, the way that Marvel is weaving all these stories together makes it an even better experience for moviegoers.

Rudd does a really good job of being the down on his luck Lang while also infusing the character with his trademark wit and dry delivery. It’s a perfect fit for a guy who stumbled upon the superhero life. Douglas is solid as Pym and it’s really nice to see him having some fun a few times in the movie as he tries to teach Lang how to handle the suit.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.

The only hitch (for me) was Hank’s daughter Hope. When first you meet her she is the typical, call your dad by his first name because he ignored you while you were growing up female cast member. Then we dig in a little deeper and we see that she actually does get along with her father, sort of, and wants to be in charge of the heist herself because she already knows how to harness the powers of Ant-Man. Which begs the question, why bring Lang in if Hope already knows how to do it?

The answer comes simply and beautifully, because Hank can’t stomach the idea of putting his daughter into the line of fire whereas Lang is expendable. It’s a really well-done and well thought out scene when Lang himself explains this to an angry Hope. Is it believable? Sure. In the context of the Marvel Universe I bought it. Especially when we realize that Hank’s wife was killed because he let her suit up and join him on missions. It makes sense.

I read an article that had a very confused argument about the whole situation between Hank and Hope. At one point it asks why she isn’t the star of the movie and cries sexism and then goes on to say that Hank’s reasoning is actually pretty sensible.

Huh?

Make up your mind Daily Dot article. Is it sexism or is not?

I have to go with not.

The fact is, this movie isn’t just about Ant-Man and his adventures. It’s about superheroes and saving the world from factions of Hydra but it’s also about Fatherss and Daughters. Lang is motivated to do all that he does in order to make his daughter proud of him and Hank wants nothing more than to keep Hope safe from harm. What Hank begins to realize is that after a certain point, you can’t do that anymore. He realizes by the end of the movie that the best way to keep his daughter safe AND have a relationship with her is to give her what she wants (no, she doesn’t don the Ant-Man suit but if you stay for the credits scene, you’ll see what happens!)

Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket
Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket

I love that this movie was about more than just a fancy suit and ant charming, I love that it was about relationships and family as well as being about saving the world from Hydra getting Pym Particles to wreak havoc. It’s why I enjoy these Marvel movies so much, they constantly surprise me.

Not to mention, the special effects were phenomenal! The scene with Lang and the villainous Cross duking it out in Lang’s daughter’s bedroom is hysterical and amazingly well done.

Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine
Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine

All-in-all, two thumbs up from this lady. Ant-Man is a great addition to the Marvel Universe and I can’t wait to see more of Rudd as Scott Lang!

What about you? Did you see Ant-Man? Did you love it, hate it, have nightmares about ants? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: “Mad Max: Fury Road” – Does It Go Furiously Into Film History or Is It Feminist Propaganda?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


VROOOM. VROOOM!
VROOOM. VROOOM!

I’m going to start this article off with the following warning, if you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road than you are 1) Missing out on a seriously fun film and 2) There may be spoilers ahead.

You have been warned!

That out-of-the-way I want to also say that I loved this movie. Seriously, I loved it. I would go see it again in the theater, which is not something I normally say (theater prices are HIGH) so that’s a high compliment coming from me. Let me begin to list the reasons WHY I enjoyed this movie.

  1. It stays true to the Mad Max mythos. This is mostly because George Miller was at the helm and if anyone is going to keep Max where he belongs, it’s going to be his creator. Besides that though, they managed to keep this new movie (that was what, 30 years after the last one?) in tone, look and feel without blinking an eye. Tom Hardy as Max couldn’t be better casting. He managed to imitate Gibson’s Max without it seeming like an imitation. It seemed flawless, like Hardy was meant to be Mad Max.
  2. Charlize Theron is awesome in everything she does.
  3. The cars. Oh my good lord, the CARS were amazing.

The beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road is that it tricks you. When you see the trailer you think it’s going to be a Mad Max movie with cars, sexy ladies and big chase sequences with little in the way of plot and heavy in action and destruction.

mad-max-fury-road-poster2

Well Fury Road delivers more than that, it has the sexy ladies but they aren’t just set dressing. They do stuff, even if it’s little things like load a gun or a cool stunt. They aren’t “things” as they say often in the film and damn if that isn’t true. This film is a nod to feminism in the most wonderful way, by not being overtly feminist. Well, it’s not overtly feminist to me, but to some menfolk, it seems to have struck a nerve.

In a post on the blog Return of Kings, Aaron Clarey is calling for men to boycott the new Mad Max movie:

Not only REFUSE to see the movie, but spread the word to as many men as possible. … Because if [men] sheepishly attend and Fury Road is a blockbuster, then you, me, and all the other men (and real women) in the world will never be able to see a real action movie ever again that doesn’t contain some damn political lecture or moray about feminism, SJW-ing, and socialism.

[…] men in America and around the world are going to be duped by explosions, fire tornadoes, and desert raiders into seeing what is guaranteed to be nothing more than feminist propaganda, while at the same time being insulted AND tricked into viewing a piece of American culture ruined and rewritten right in front of their very eyes.

This is fantastically laughable. This guy not only gives credence to the fact that men SHOULD go see the movie (I mean, seriously, FIRE TORNADOES people) but it also makes men sound like very simple, stupid creatures who are easily confused by movies featuring strong female characters and that there is no fate worse than becoming a male feminist and learning to (gasp) respect women.

The fact is, Fury Road does NOT contain any “political lectures” or “moray’s on feminism,” it’s simply a story about a group of women who are tired of being brutally used and ask the (ever-awesome) Charlize Theron, as Imperator Furiosa, to get them away from the evil leadership of Immortan Joe (played to diabolically disgusting perfection by Hugh Keays-Byrne). That’s it, that’s the plot folks. Simple and not nearly as feminist as Aaron Clarey would have you believe. 

Charlize, you are my favorite ever.
Charlize, you are my favorite ever.

Let’s all take a step back to realize that this movie isn’t about shoving feminism down the collective throats of the masses, it’s about telling a story. A crazy story about the end of civilization and of a world bathed in blood, fire and dust. I think that the reason these folks are so bent on calling Fury Road a feminist film is because women are at the forefront of the story, instead of Max or other male characters. I suppose, to some extent, that does make it a feminist film but for some reason that irritates the holy heck out of me. Why do we have to label everything? Why can’t this simply be an insane film about insane people doing insane things and leave it at that without making it something else?

Oh, that’s right, because we have to obsess and label everything. That’s right. I forgot for a second.

Then there’s this:

Anybody who has seen the original three Mad Max movies knows that women exist for one of four man-created reasons: to be raped so Mel Gibson can get mad, to be sexual partners with a guy trying to kill Mel Gibson, to be murdered so Mel Gibson can get mad, and to force Mel Gibson to fight in the Thunderdome.

I for one, am so HAPPY that Miller decided to add another category to this list. Now women in the Mad Max world can be tough, bad-ass broads who actually save the day. There is no better example of this than with Imperator Furiosa’s character.  Her sole purpose in this film is to help the wives of Joe and get them to “the green place.”

If there was a better choice out there for the role of Furiosa than Charlize Theron, than I don’t think any of us have heard of her. Theron embraces her roles like few actresses working today. The mess that was that Kristen Stewart Snow White story was only watchable because of Theron being the evil Queen. Theron doesn’t slack off in Fury Road, she powers through the role, giving her character softness, depth and power without us ever thinking that she is less powerful than her male counterparts. In fact, she is what keeps everyone moving, even in the face of unendurable loss.

Tom Hardy as Max is perfection.
Tom Hardy as Max is perfection.

Does this also make it feminist film? I suppose it does. You know what? I’m perfectly fine with that because it means an ACTION MOVIE just also became a FEMINIST movie. That’s pretty darn awesome if you ask me.

Let’s not forget about Tom Hardy as our beloved apocalyptic bad boy, Max. He is perfection. Yep, I said it, PERFECTION (and you can tell I’m excited because I keep using ALL CAPS). There were times where he sounded like Mel Gibson and there was even one time where he actually looked like him. It was perfect casting. Hardy barely spoke in the movie (I’m pretty sure his entire dialogue in the movie took up no more than one page) but when he did, he made it count and he was every inch the Mad Max we have all come to enjoy watching.

I want one of these vehicles. Imagine how quick I would get everywhere!
I want one of these vehicles. Imagine how quick I would get everywhere!

This movie was (and get ready for some cliche’s!) action-packed, super fun and totally bad-ass. The soundtrack kept you on the edge of your seat and the chase sequences were so engaging that I felt tense while I watched them (which is a great compliment). The few quiet moments were an opportunity for the audience to catch its breath and move the plot along a bit (and let me tell you, those were few and far between). Well done George Miller. WELL DONE.

Now go see it if you haven’t yet. Seriously. Go. Now.

Did you see Mad Max: Fury Road? What did YOU think of it? Feminist Tour-De-Force, Awesome Action Film or Something Else? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: A Movie Review…Vroom Vroom Vrooooooom!

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!


Yesterday I saw “Furious Seven”, the 7th (but hopefully not the last) installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. In the spirit of full disclosure I will say that I LOVE these movies (with the exception of 2 & 3 which were barely mediocre). Ever since the first one I fell in love with the insanity, the stupidity and the machismo. As the movies have grown up, we see the characters turn into real people, not just caricatures. They are more than just street racing thugs, they’re a family, they’re people.

All of that being said, this is still an action movie, it basically goes from zero to insane in about ten seconds. But it does it in the most delightful way possible. Watching the movie, you know they all had a blast making it, knowing that the stunts were getting more and more insane (all I have to say is flying cars…FLYING cars…you gotta see it to understand). As the stunts reach insanity levels you cannot help but wonder how they could possibly top themselves…and then they do.

"Furious Seven" in theaters NOW!
“Furious Seven” in theaters NOW!

The death of Paul Walker does dampen the fun slightly (especially at the end) but only because you know you won’t be seeing him in the 8th installment (that Vin Diesel teased on Jimmy Kimmel recently), the dynamic between Walker and Diesel is fantastic. They are truly brothers on and off-screen. The family bond between the actors is part of what makes the Furious Franchise so much fun, you can tell that they all genuinely love each other on and off screen.

The addition of The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) to the mix adds another level of fun to the whole ridiculous romp. He actually FLEXES his way out of a cast. It was amazing.

The story is a simple one, if you saw the 6th movie you know that the Furious Crew took on a London terrorist and his brother (the ever wonderful Jason Statham) is out seeking revenge for his brother. Statham’s character is a bad-ass “Shadow” from British Secret Ops and he will stop at nothing to kill the Furious Crew, one at a time. Once the crew realizes what’s happening they immediately go on the defensive (with the help of Kurt-Freaking-Russel!) to take care of the problem. Because, as they say over and over, they are family and you don’t mess with a family.

The Furious Crew Gets Fancy.
The Furious Crew Gets Fancy.

I don’t want to spoil too much so I’ll leave it at this, what we experience with “Furious Seven” is a fun romp through multiple countries with the required awesome cars, beautiful women and machismo that we have come to expect from this group. They do not disappoint in any way.

Oh, and there is a KICK ASS lady fight between Michele Rodriguez and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. What I really enjoy about the Furious movies is that they don’t shy away from letting the women kick some butt. Women aren’t just eye candy in these movies, Gal Gadot and Michelle Rodriquez especially prove that, time and time again.

The movie is a non-stop action powerhouse…and then we get to the end. Unless you have been living under a rock you know that Paul Walker died tragically during the filming of the movie and they had to use both CGI and his brother to fill in some of his scenes (If you can tell what scenes those are, you’re better than me, I couldn’t see it) so you know that the end is going to be sad in some way. And it does not disappoint. I’ll admit to weeping openly (I was not the only one) at the touching tribute to Walker that Diesel and the Crew created.

Walker and Diesel in Furious Seven.
Walker and Diesel in Furious Seven.

If you are looking for a movie with fun, sexy ladies, spectacular and pretty insane action and cars than I’d say that “Furious Seven” is for you. It’s in theaters now so get out there and enjoy the crap outta some monster cars and action!

Did you see “Furious Seven”? If so, what did YOU think? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Yes Please, Agent Carter!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Agent Carter = Awesome
Agent Carter = Awesome

Yes Please, Agent Carter!

Yesterday I wrote about why we need a Wonder Woman movie, today, it seemed appropriate to write a short review about the premier of the seven week mini-series “Agent Carter” on ABC. Here we have a woman carrying an entire show and she does it with grace and dignity. While also kicking lots and lots of bad man butt.

This mini-series is a big gamble for Marvel (and for those of us who pine for a Wonder Woman movie). The success of Agent Carter will tell the studio mucky-mucks that maybe, just maybe a woman can, in fact, hold the attention of an audience while also showing the world that a woman can kick butt and still retain her femininity and humanity. You can bet that the studio heads are paying close attention to the reviews and viewership of this mini-series.

Agent Carter herself is played by actress Hayley Atwell, who also played Agent Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger” along with a short film on the “Iron Man 3” DVD extras. She gives Agent Carter the grace and dignity that the character needs to make her likable. Not to mention, she is not the usual blond, stick-thin starlet we see in so many movies and televisions shows these days. She’s a normal sized, curvy woman who manages to beautifully toe the line between being sexy and being tough. Everything she does is with great style and poise.

The fight scenes during “Agent Carter” are beautifully choreographed. Especially the one when they flash back and forth between the “Captain America” radio program and Agent Carter’s fight scene. That was a work of pure genius, the silly dialogue and inventive sound effects interspersed with “real life” fighting was fun to watch and wildly inventive.

What I also enjoyed was that the show didn’t shy away from showing Agent Carter as having emotions. She cried at the death of her friend and she is clearly still grieving the loss of Steve Rogers. Not to mention, she is very careful about allowing anyone to get close to her for fear of them dying as well. It takes a stern talking to from Jarvis to remind her that even Steve Rogers needed her to keep him grounded.

She is a human superhero. An unusual, complex and delightful character. She can kick serious butt when she needs to (there is nothing quite like watching a woman slug a guy, knocking him to the floor. I’m not a violent woman but I have to say that was quite a bit of fun when she first meets Jarvis) but she also uses her brain and her feminine wiles when needed. The scene were she excuses herself from work for “lady issues” was wonderfully comic (because even to this day, women can still do this and fill men with fear that they’ll start telling them what their “women issues” are!).

All-in-all, I am quite excited for the next few episodes of “Agent Carter”, I think she has the potential to move the studio execs in the right direction, that direction being a full-length movie about a female superhero. Until then, I am excited to have five more episodes of Agent Carter to watch!

She is stylish, beautiful and tough as nails. Love me some Agent Carter.
She is stylish, beautiful and tough as nails. Love me some Agent Carter.

Did you watch “Agent Carter”?  What did you think? Tell me in your comments!