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The Female Perspective: The Women of the Marvel Netflix Universe

Welcome! This is a 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


It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for superhero films and TV shows. I, like so many others, have been enjoying everything Marvel, including their foray into the world of binge watching on Netflix. Recently my boyfriend and I sat down and watched Luke Cage and I have to say, it was phenomenal. It also got me thinking, how come Marvel, and by extension, Netflix, can get this stuff so right and so many others get it so, so wrong?

The awesome women on "Luke Cage" on Netflix now!
The awesome women on “Luke Cage” on Netflix now!

What am I talking about? Not the content necessarily, though they nail that, but more specifically I’m talking about the women. The female characters are well thought out, they’re developed in fascinating and engaging ways and they walk around fully clothed and act like the grown ups they are.  It particularly struck me during Luke Cage as something that is a pleasure to see. Women who are powerful and smart, not just sex objects.

Take Rosario Dawson’s character for example, Claire, she its he connecting character between Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and in all the shows she’s tough, she’s no-nonsense and she’s brave as all get out, especially when surrounded by larger than life enhanced people. She doesn’t wuss out when things get tough, she grabs the closest weapon she can find and she fights, or she used her words, which she’s more than capable of stringing into full sentences and fights that way. The women of the Netflix Marvel Universe are so much more than just women, they’re partners to the crime fighters they stand by. They’re equals. 

"Jessica Jones" on Netflix.
“Jessica Jones” on Netflix.

Of course, it’s not just in the Netflix programming either, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is equally as impressive in its female roles. No quiet wallflowers here, they’re all out to protect those that they love, keep themselves safe and fight toe-to-toe with some of Earth’s greatest hero’s. It’s something that strikes me as at odds in today’s world of angry anti-feminist rhetoric. It’s amazing when you look at the toy lines and the fight that it’s been to get the female characters represented alongside the male characters. How can Marvel and the studios get it so right on the screen, but so wrong in other places?

Now I can’t pretend to be knowledgeable about comic books since I haven’t read most of the ones that are the basis of these shows, but the comics I have read have struggled with representing women as equals to their male counterparts. I will never, ever understand why someone thinks it makes sense to draw a woman who is in a life or death fight as wearing a strapless top and a skirt. I know comics aren’t meant to be realistic and I love being sunk into  fantasy world of super hero’s and super villains, but still, I want my super ladies to wear pants, is that so much of a stretch? And shirts with sleeves and stuff would be good too, but one thing at at time. Pants would be great.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

Anyway … What do you think? Have you watched any of these shows? What do you think about the portrayal of women in the Marvel universe? Sound off in the comments! Tell me what you think!

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The Female Perspective: Character Drama In Adaptations

Welcome! This is a 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


This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: My Fave Comic Con Trailers!

Welcome! This is a 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


Like many, I was not at San Diego Comic Con last week, but like many, I got to enjoy the trailers and videos that came out of it with nerdy abandon. Today I thought I’d go over some of my favorites in case you haven’t seen them and to find out what other people enjoyed.

American Gods

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I read the Neil Gaiman book a year or so ago and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t overly ecstatic about it. That being said, I was curious when I heard that Starz was developing a TV show based on the book. It’s a fascinating premise so I thought, well holy heck, this might be a cool TV show!

If you haven’t read the book, here’s a short synopsis:

The central premise of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them (a form of thoughtform). Immigrants to the United States brought with them spirits and gods. The power of these mythological beings has diminished as people’s beliefs wane. New gods have arisen, reflecting America’s obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among other things. ~Wikipedia

The trailer released at SDCC did NOT disappoint. Besides this being an amazing cast, I think it having a home on Starz is the perfect place for it. Not to mention, the guy playing Shadow, who I adored on The 100, is perfect casting for the quiet felon who is thrust back into the world after this best friend and his wife are both killed in a car accident.

Watch the trailer HERE.

Justice League

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Okay, this look pretty cool. I was a bit hesitant on the new Flash since I love the TV kid so much, but there appears there is some humor to break up the darkness. More than anything, I cannot possibly get enough of seeing a posse of superhero’s all together, there is something so amazing about it that I honestly will watch anything just to get my fix of that. Maybe it’s wish-fulfillment, where are our superhero’s?

Check out the trailer HERE.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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I love me some Harry Potter magic, and really, magic in general. Not to mention the vast void of emptiness left in my life since the final book and movie were released so you can imagine my joy about seeing this trailer. The first trailer left me feeling a bit cold, but this one looks awesome. Plus, that familiar Harry Potter music brings back all the feels.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Doctor Strange

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Holy smokes, I can’t even … This look so flipping amazing I can’t even! Here, watch the trailer and tell me this doesn’t fill you with all the feels when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Now, I know virtually nothing about Dr. Strange, but I can tell you two things with certainty.

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. I don’t care. He’s awesome.
  2. Magic and mind-twisting magic. Dude. MAGIC.

This is one of those trailers that gets you all goose-pimply and excited for the movie to come, but as excited as I am to see Doctor Strange I am even more excited for the next on my list of SDCC wonders. Can you guess what it is? Or who?

WONDER WOMAN

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I am one of the people who thought that Superman V. Batman: Dawn of Justice was a good movie. Not great, not perfect, but really good. Having just watched the “Ultimate Edition” I realize that it’s even better than I remembered it and one of my favorite parts is the introduction of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. Seeing Wonder Woman on the big screen like this, tall, proud and powerful, makes me feel all weepy. Add to that being able to finally see the trailer for her movie and I was a total mess.

For years, those in power in the movie world said that a woman-centered stand-alone film wouldn’t do good in the theater so they avoided it like the plague. Now, to see it actually happening is almost overwhelming. Will Wonder Woman outdo her male counterparts? Hard to say, but from the looks of the trailer, it looks like she is going to kick some serious butt and do it in wonderfully awesome fashion.

Also, the line, “What I do is not up to you.” BOOM! That’s my Wonder Woman!

Wonder woman was obviously my favorite of the trailers, I can’t lie. Not to mention, the poster is phenomenal, “Power. Grace. Wisdom. Wonder.” AAAAAAHHHHH!! They are doing so right by this I cannot imagine it will go wrong (my fingers and toes are crossed anyway).

A few honorable mentions in terms of fun videos that came our way are below. These aren’t high profile movie trailers, but they are a bit of fun.

Honorable Mentions:

Rick Grimes tries to Glitter Bomb Daryl and becomes the dread pirate Glitter Beard!

Superman goes undercover!

There you have it folks, some of my fave videos from SDCC 2016. Did you have different ones? Show them to me in the comments and let me know what YOU think of the upcoming slew of movies and TV coming our way!

 

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The Female Perspective: Ode To “Agent Carter”

Welcome! This is a 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


It’s been a few weeks now so I have been able to process my sadness at the fact that after only two (dynamite) seasons, Agent Carter was cancelled by ABC. I’m sure they have their reasons but to them I say, “You ABC people are a bunch of doodie-heads.” I know, I know, this is a family blog nd such strong language shouldn’t be used but I’m darn angry about the loss of Agent Carter so I just don’t care anymore!

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Joking aside, I am annoyed that ABC cancelled it. I wasn’t shocked, Haley Atwell had signed onto another show so it was looking as if Carter’s days were numbered, but I was sad. Agent Carter was really the first TV show to focus on a female character. Unheard of in the Marvel Cinematic (or TV) Universe. It was a story about a woman who battled tremendous grief at the loss of her love Captain America, along with massive waves of sexism as well as the pain of survivor guilt (not just because of the loss of the Captain, but also, as we find out in season two of the show, her brother’s death). Peggy Carter is the hero we ladies always wanted but never got. She didn’t have super powers, she was just wicked smart, incredibly brave and amazingly talented. She was the kind of “superhero” I want to be as an adult. When I was a kid I wanted powers like Wonder Woman or even Batman, I wanted gadgets and seemingly super human strength. With Peggy Carter, it was different. She was the kind of woman that most women aspire to be. Smart, sassy and respected.

“… [T]hat’s what I love about Peggy and why I’m not ready to let her go. She’s easy to relate to: Her spunk, sass, determination, brawler fighting style—all of it is special and everyday at the same time. Peggy is utterly human and completely wonderful, and it’s a state I both aspire to and am inspired by.” – AMY RATCLIFFE for The Nerdist

The fact is, when we first meet Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger we don’t really see her at first. We see a pretty British woman who seems smart and uninterested in Steve Rogers. We’re so focused on the Captain that we don’t see Carter right away. Then, when the poop hits the fan, we see a woman brave enough to stand in the street shooting at a car that is driving right at her. Then she shoots at Rogers’ shield in a fit of anger. It was both a funny moment and also one that is extremely telling of her character. In a world full of men, Carter wants to be seen as tough and above “typical” female emotions, but she likes Steve and doesn’t like seeing him kissing another woman. It’s a wonderfully human response, but in the best, most comedic way.

It’s a moment that makes her memorable. It’s that moment that I wanted to know more about Agent Carter.

Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.
Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.

Both seasons of Agent Carter are excellent, but season two of Agent Carter was hands-down some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on TV. It was a complicated tale of two women going up against each other, trying to find their power in a male-dominated world. One, Peggy Carter, chooses to do it by fighting against the darkness. The other, Whitney Frost, chooses to do it by becoming the darkness.

Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.
Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.

In the midst of their battle, people get hurt (Mrs. Jarvis almost died for goodness sake!) and Peggy and Jarvis are constantly at odds with one another as he fears that Peggy will do whatever it takes to take down the bad guys, without concern for her life or others, and Peggy desperately wants to keep Jarvis safe, even if it doesn’t always look like that.

Now that I’ve mentioned him, let’s talk about Jarvis a bit, he’s blundering and wonderful comic relief but the chemistry between him and Peggy is electric and wonderful to watch (as is her interactions between her and Stark). I could watch them put together a stereo and be highly entertained. It’s a marvelous dynamic because even though Jarvis helps Peggy in many ways, she ultimately saves him time and time again. Jarvis keeps her grounded in her humanity, he gives her a reason to survive the missions. That push and pull is part of what makes Peggy so compelling to watch. Like so many of her male counterparts, Peggy wants to do what is right and save the world, but at what cost to her life and her humanity? Peggy deserves a third (and fourth, and fifth!) season to work this stuff out. Not to mention, don’t we want to watch her found S.H.I.E.L.D? I know I do!

Bring Peggy BACK!
Bring Peggy BACK!

I don’t usually get too upset over the cancellation of TV shows, the exceptions being Firefly and Constantine, but now I have to sadly add Agent Carter to that list. It’s a big loss for women and for TV viewers to lose such a smartly written, engaging show. There’s been a lot of talk lately of Netflix picking up the show as well as Atwell herself saying she would do “whatever it takes” to bring Agent Carter back to the small screen, fingers crossed people!

Here’s hoping Netflix picks it up!

Did you enjoy Agent Carter? How do you feel about the shows cancellation? Should Netflix bring it back? Sound off in the comments!

 

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The Female Perspective: It’s About Dang Time!

Welcome! This is a 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


I’ve made no secret of my annoyance and frustration that it seems to take forever for companies like Marvel and DC Comics to come out with female-centered superhero movies, or more accurately, the fact that they don’t have any right now.

In fact, I’ve written about Wonder Woman many times now, along with Black Widow and others that are not in the comic world. The lack of merchandise is also a problem, but ladies and gents, all that is changing because of one biggish announcement by Kevin Feige recently.

The fact is, our society is changing, women are taking up the comic book action hero mantle and other woman, i.e. ME, want to see those women kick butt in their own movies, not as a sidekick to a bunch of dudes.

Black Widow is ready for her own movie...
Black Widow is ready for her own movie…

It is a happy day when you see the seeds of your wishing coming to fruition. With the Wonder Woman movie on its way to theaters soon (woohoo!), it was awesome to hear Kevin Feige say recently that they are fully committed to a standalone Black Widow movie!

“We’ve announced the next nine movies, ten counting Civil War, through the end of 2019. Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.” –Den of Geek

Sure, that means we’ll still have to wait a few years to see Black Widow kick ass all on her own on screen, but the very fact that Marvel has realized she should have her own movie is a huge win for fans everywhere and it’s clear that it’s what fans actually want.

In fact, a recent poll amongst Captain America: Civil War advance ticketholders asking which Avenger should get a solo film saw Black Widow with a dominant 48 percent victory out of the six choices. –Den of Geek

48 percent is a pretty good number! I for one am tickled red and black that Black Widow is finally going to get her own film. For a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that she’s a really cool female character. There’s a lot of cool female characters in both the DC and Marvel universes so there is literally no real end to the amount of movies they could make telling their stories, but the fact is, since her debut in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson has been doing an absolutely amazing job portraying a complex female character surrounded by and constantly fighting alongside her male counterparts. She is no less powerful in Captain America: Civil War where she attempts to be diplomatic when torn between two of her respected and loved friends, Iron Man and Captain America. In fact, Black Widow is at her best in Civil War because she is troubled by having to “pick a side” in the argument, when essentially all she wants is her friends to get along and do what’s right for the world they protect. In Civil War things are not that easy though, and Natasha finds herself battling her own sense of what is wrong and right and ultimately doing what she think’s is best, even if it’s going against her own “team”.

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Also, after seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was most certainly interested in hearing more of the story of Black Widow. We were given a small taste, ala Scarlett Witches powers, of what Natasha’s life had been like as she trained (and became brainwashed) to become the super bad ass spy/assassin/superhero she is today. Not only that, but we were teased with some more of what the training was like for Black Widow’s on the TV show Agent Carter when we got to see what “life” was like for Dottie Greenwood (spoiler alert: it’s bad to be trained as  a Black Widow spy). The fact is, there is a rich, complicated and brutal backstory to tell when it comes to Natasha and her other women spy comrades, one that deserves to be told on screen.

Wonder Woman may have her movie out first, but I have no doubt Black Widow's film will be kick-ass.
Wonder Woman may have her movie out first, but I have no doubt Black Widow’s film will be kick-ass.

Not to mention, it’s about dang time that a woman superhero gets her own movie. Yes, I’m greedy for it, we have seen men ruling over the superhero franchises forever now, I mean, for pete’s sake, Batman gets a new movie every couple of years, but only after decades do we finally get to see Wonder Woman up on the big screen, fighting toe-to-toe with the guys in some of the best scenes of Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice. Seeing WW up there got me all sorts of jazzed up for her movie and I am very excited and hopeful that she will be the start of some really awesome female-led superhero films.

It’s time folks. It’s way past time.

How do you feel about Black Widow? Do you think she’s ready for a standalone film? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: What Is Civil War?

Welcome! This is a 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


If you’re like me and you love superhero’s but haven’t fully delved into all the comics then you might also be a bit confused by the story of Captain America: Civil War. I’ve been asked a couple times what “side” I’m on and I have found myself struggling with an answer. When I did some research around the books, I realized that the answer is hard. It’s not as simple as picking one side and sitting comfortably with it. The sides of anti and pro-superhero registration are fraught with wrong and right. Good and bad.

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The Beginning

Civil War starts simply enough (as all wars do, right?). After a series of events that cause world-wide damage there are those who seek to register all people with powers in order to keep them in check. To make sure that they receive proper training with their powers and how to fight in a more urban setting so as to minimize casualties. Understandably there are heroes who are for and against such registration and the sides begin to form. At the head of each side is Captain American (on the anti-registration side) and Iron Man (on the pro-registration side).

Iron Man, with Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym, argued that the changing political landscape meant that resisting the law was pointless, and that it is reasonable for heroes to have proper training and oversight, whereas Captain America, alongside Luke Cage and Falcon argued that heroes required secrecy in order to protect aspects of their ‘normal’ life, such as spouses and children, and to allow them to act in whatever means are needed against threats which the ordinary emergency services couldn’t cope with.  – Wikipedia

The War

Once the war began it seems as if it was fairly brutal in terms of backstabbing and subterfuge on both sides. You can learn more about it on the Wikipedia page I linked to above, but it appears that in the comics Captain American was eventually captured when it became apparent that not surrendering would cause more damage and loss of life and he was imprisoned by Iron Man and his cohorts in the Negative Zone.

It's super sad when your friends start fighting...
It’s super sad when your friends start fighting…

What Side Are You On?

It’s not easy for me to pick a side, on one hand I see what the pro-registration movement is trying to say. They want people with powers to be in control, not rampaging out in the world destroying property and accidentally killing those they are sworn to protect. On the other hand, it seems extremely discriminatory to make all those with powers register, it also seems like a lame attempt to try and control people who are ultimately uncontrollable. People with powers are scary to those of us without them because we cannot control them even if we do know they exist. Besides that, having a registry like that puts those that love and live with these heroes at risk for capture or worse.

It’s a tricky question and one that is extremely poignant in our politically hyper-charged climate right now. How do we pick a side? How do we make a choice when we have no idea what the repercussions of that choice will be until they actually occur? Do we force people to register, to be known, when being unknown is part of what keeps people safe? Do we let them run rampant, doing whatever they want without any consequences for their actions?

I definitely have to think on this one…It’s not so easy as, “hey I love Iron Man, let me choose him!” In truth, I do love Iron Man, but his lack of a moral compass and his insistence that the is always right make him extremely dangerous. One man does not know it all. On the other hand, Captain America is super cool and good and extremely moral, but he was frozen in ice for a few hundred years and therefore, does he really understand the current world and climate? It’s definitely a tough choice for me…

If you’re curious about what side I choose, check out the Trailer Snark blog this Thursday! I will reveal my choice then!

In the meantime…

What Side Are YOU On?

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The Female Perspective: In Defense of “Superman v. Batman”

Welcome! This is a 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.


I’m not going to pull any punches here, I really, really enjoyed Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and I am going to tell you why. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and want no spoilers I’d say stop reading, I’ll try to keep the important stuff out of here, but if you’re like me and want to know NOTHING about a movie before watching it, then stop reading. You’ve been warned!

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I, like so many people, have been looking forward to Superman v. Batman for awhile. I am a big fan of Man of Steel as well so yeah, there’s that. I will also say that when I heard that Ben Affleck was going to play Batman, I was a bit … disappointed.

I’m over that now.

Here’s what I think is good about Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and why the haters really do need to shut up.

The Casting 

Yep, Affleck at the older, more world-weary Batman is perfect (and huge). As much as I loved Christian Bale’s portrayal, Affleck does the Caped Crusader justice. Having read The Dark Knight and other comics that feature this older, grumpier Batman, I feel like Affleck really managed to capture that essence. This is a man who has been through a lot of crap, has watched a lot of people he love die and who isn’t about to let some dude in a cape take over the world. Affleck is at times so earnest in his hatred toward Superman that you feel uncomfortable, not because the acting is bad but because the acting is so good. You want to shake him and make him see reason, Superman is not going to turn on the humans, he wants to help for goodness sake, just like you do Bats. Just like you do.

I find Henry Cavill as Superman a continued great choice. He’s got the gravitas, the looks and the persona to pull off the titular character. He was great in Man of Steel and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future permutations of Superman. In this film he did not disappoint, this was a different Superman than in Man of Steel, he’s conflicted. He wants to do the right thing but the more he tries, the more crap he seems to get. He also seems to revel in the love and adoration of the people he saves, a dangerous combination for a mortal, but as an alien, is Superman immune to an inflated ego? Only time will tell.

"Don't worry fellas, I'll protect you." - Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman … Oh man did she rock this big time. Not only is she beautiful, but she is also tough as all get out. She’s as tall as the fellas and very easily stands with them in the final battle. When verbally sparring with Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince doesn’t flinch from his steely gaze, nor does she cow-tow in anyway. She stands tall and walks off without a care in the world. Unimpressed by the billionaire. When she finally shows up in her full costume, it’s wonderful because she saves Batman. SHE SAVES BATMAN! I love it. It made me VERY excited about her upcoming feature film, I have ZERO doubts that Gadot can pull it off. She’s going to be amazing.

Can you see it? The madness underneath?
Can you see it? The madness underneath?

Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Oh man, this kid. This kid rocked Luthor. The overall tone of the movie is much darker than a lot of  the other comic book films and Luthor is the ultimate epitome of that. He is nuts. Totally batsh*t crazy nuts. Eisenberg plays it perfectly. At times being an adorable jokester before finally revealing the massive smarts and diabolical brain behind that boyish exterior (when he feeds another man a Jolly Rancher, I laughed out loud. It was amazing). I cannot wait to see what else he does as Luthor.

The Story Is Dark and Wonderful

What I loved most about Superman v. Batman is the fact that they don’t shy away form what happened in Man of Steel, instead it’s the focus for everything happens in SvB. We are pushed 18 months after Superman battles General Zod and we see how Bruce Wayne was  part of the action, watching one of his buildings crumble to the ground with people in it that he cared about still inside. We see the anger, the fury building in Wayne’s eyes and we know, oh yes, we KNOW that he is not going to let Superman pass by unscathed after the massive destruction.

Superman himself is being both lauded and lambasted by the government and the people. They see him as a God, and that fills people with both joy and terrible fear. What if he decides to kill everyone? Could he destroy the world? Should someone have that kind of power and be allowed to run loose around the world? When Superman finally shows up at the capitol to answer for his “crimes”, all Hell breaks loose and the anguish on his face, when he is witness to death on a massive scale, is clear. He doesn’t know who he is, he doesn’t know what he’s doing … Superman is having an existential crises on the Superhero level.

It’s a dark movie. It’s not for kids and it’s not a Marvel movie. This doesn’t make it bad, in fact, I loved that it was “real world” (and I know people hate that term) because you know what? If Superman showed up one day, this is what would happen to the world. We would be split in half, those who see Superman as a God-like figure here to save humanity and there would be those who see him as the Devil, here to destroy humanity. It’s good and smart film making and writing.

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The Battles!

The battles are awesome. That’s all I can really say about that. Not too much CGI to make it annoying and enough chaos and excitement to make you hover on the edge of your seat, not sure what’s going to happen. Though Lois Lane needs to get a brain in her head! Her throwing away Batman’s spear made me nuts! I know it had a plot reason behind it but for pete’s sake woman, hold on to that! You KNOW they’re going to need it later.

Besides that, watching costumed superhero’s duke it out always fills me with geek-ish glee. I LOVE IT. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, together at last.

The Haters

There have been a lot of bad reviews of Superman v. Batman and I get it, some people are just Hell-bent on hating on the movie, just like they did with Man of Steel and that is totally their prerogative. In my (humble) opinion, they’re wrong. This is a good movie. It’s a lot of fun in it’s own dark way, but it’s a great addition to the superhero genre of films. Is it for everybody? No. Some people are going to really hate it (as we’ve seen) and some people are going to really love it. It’s that kind of movie I think, you either really love it or you really hate it. But don’t let the critics make that decision for you, go, see for yourself if you’re so inclined and decide for yourself.

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Did you see Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice? What did you think??? 

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The Female Perspective: Superhero Toys For Girls Are Here!

Welcome! This is a 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.


I’ve written before about the lack of superhero toys for girls. The almost complete absence of Black Widow merchandise for the last few Captain America and Avengers movies has been insulting to say the least. That seems to be changing for the better, thank goodness!

After a fairly big backlash against Hasbro for not having Rey toys from the newest Star Wars film (which they rectified asap after giving us all the lame excuse that it would give away plot secrets, puh-leese) we have recently been made aware that they will FINALLY have Black Widow toys to align with the Captain America: Civil War and I am pleased as punch.

One of the few Rey toys released prior to the film. (Courtesy of Erik Kain from Forbes.com/http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/01/25/excluding-rey-from-star-wars-the-force-awakens-toys-is-really-dumb/#37119cb55c1a)
One of the few Rey toys released prior to the film. (Courtesy of Erik Kain from Forbes.com/http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/01/25/excluding-rey-from-star-wars-the-force-awakens-toys-is-really-dumb/#37119cb55c1a)

I remember when I was a kid being sorely disappointed in the lack of superhero toys for girls. I had every single Princess Leia figure there was (wish I still had them!) and one lone Boba Fett, but my brother had all the other characters so we managed to make it work (when we were getting along), but I struggle to remember any other toys that I could have played with as a child, sure there was She-Ra, female Thundercats characters and the like, but I spent a lot of time playing with My Little Pony and Barbie toys, I just made them into superheroes. They rocked some pretty awesome ensembles, except for JEM because darn her, she was twice the size of Barbie so they couldn’t share their clothes! Ahh the trials and tribulations of a small child…

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that I am REALLY happy to see the growing hoard of positive superhero toys for girls, but more than that, Black Widow is finally getting her due. Is this because of the upcoming appearance of Wonder Woman in the Batman/Superman movie? Does Marvel finally see that DC might have the beat in terms of movie merchandise? Because DC hasn’t had much of an issue with making sure WW makes her presence known in toy aisles. Of course, WW is a much more well-known and established character in the minds of young girls/grown woman. Hard to say, but regardless, accordion to Movieweb.com Black Widow will be “dominating” the toy markets with the release of the newest Marvel movie monster.

Leading up to the release of last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, a controversy started brewing when none of Marvel’s merchandise for the movie featured Scarlett Johansson’s popular character Black Widow. The studioseems to have learned from its past mistakes, with Entertainment Weekly unveiling a slew of new products for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, which prominently feature this beloved character. These items even correct a few mistakes from the Avengers: Age of Ultron merchandise. –Movieweb.com

YAY! The first time I saw Black Widow I was impressed with her general bad-assery and I was totally confused by her lack of presence for toys. Newsflash world, little girls like to play with toys based on their role models! Sure, I enjoyed playing with the “boy” toys all the time, Han Solo was one of my fave’s from Star Wars and I preferred some He-Man characters over my She-Ra dolls (but She-Ra toys really did rock, again, where did those go???? I’d almost kill to have them back!). I don’t believe that toys need to be segregated into boy and girl toys, I think they should just be TOYS. Some girls like to play with cars and swords, some boys like to play with Barbie, nothing should be taboo and it would be great to see all stores adopt the toy aisle idea, rather than splitting them between the sexes.

Black Widow will feature prominently in the toy marketing of "Captain America: Civil War", a big change after Marvel received a lot of complaints for her lack of presence in previous movies toy marketing campaigns.
Black Widow will feature prominently in the toy marketing of “Captain America: Civil War”, a big change after Marvel received a lot of complaints for her lack of presence in previous movies toy marketing campaigns.

Regardless, I am also impressed with Target’s newest line of toys, from DC Comics we have a pretty awesome line of female superhero toys. They range from Batgirl to Harley Quinn but I have ONE issue with them, in every description it says, “DC Hero Girls Action Figure” – leave off the girls and it would be perfection I say, but even that’s nit-picking. These toys are kind of amazing and I would totally want these if I was a kid (I kind of want them as an “adult)!

Target's newest line of Superhero toys is pretty awesome and girl-centric!
Target’s newest line of Superhero toys is pretty awesome and girl-centric!

I am happy to see that even in the short time I’ve been writing this blog, that positive changes like this are happening in the toy world. Those marketing people are starting to see that woman/girls/ladies do in fact like toys, they buy them, they collect them and it is more then appropriate that they become a part of the marketing machine of the big comic blockbusters coming up this year.

Change is slow but it IS happening.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go play with my toys.

Did you have a favorite toy as a child? What do you think of Target’s new line of Superhero toys? Sound off about toys in the comments section!

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The Female Perspective: Oh Agent Carter, You Wiley Devil You

Welcome! This is a 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.


I’ve written about Agent Carter before and gosh dang it, the show is so good, I’m going to do it again, because it deserves more attention than it seems to be getting. If you haven’t watched the first season, go, now, do that and then come back and read this!

Onward and upward as they say…

My fave TV couple, Peggy Carter and Jarvis!
My fave TV couple, Peggy Carter and Jarvis!

In season one of Agent Carter we got to know SSR Agent Peggy Carter a bit better, we knew about her love for good ole Captain America and we know how that romance ended, but what about the woman behind SHIELD? The woman that shot Captain America multiple times to make sure his shield worked? What is her story? How did she fare after WWII was over and the “womenfolk” were sent back to the kitchens?

Well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Agent Carter had a rough go of it after the war but if nothing else, she is tenacious. You cannot stop her and that, I absolutely adore. She makes me want to be just like her. Never give up on what’s right and above all, don’t give up on what you want.

It’s a perfect message for female viewers, young and old.

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I’ll admit right here that I haven’t checked the ratings on Agent Carter but I’ve begun hearing pesky rumors that she won’t be back for a season 3 and that really makes me angry. If the dang Kardashians (gag) can be on TV season after season, than Agent Carter, at the very least deserves a 3rd season.

Why is one of the best shows on TV not getting the attention it deserves?

In one of the recent episodes a character named Whitney Frost declares that she is trying to find a place of power for those that are treated as unequal (namely, women and African-Americans), it’s a poignant message in this time of both racial and feminist inequality.  Unfortunately, Frost is taking a bad path, she doesn’t just want equality, she wants power. ALL the power. She wants to rule. She wants to take over. Unfortunately, that’s not the way to do it. Luckily for the world, Agent Carter and her team is on the job and they are going to do everything they can to stop Frost from enacting what I am sure is a truly evil plan. I can’t wait for the season finale (I’ll be watching it tonight) to see what Frost tries next!

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER - "Better Angels" - Peggy's search for the truth about Zero Matter puts her on a collision course with her superiors as Howard Stark barnstorms in, on "Marvel's Agent Carter," TUESDAY, JANUARY 26 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) WYNN EVERETT
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER – “Better Angels” – Peggy’s search for the truth about Zero Matter puts her on a collision course with her superiors as Howard Stark barnstorms in, on “Marvel’s Agent Carter”.

I was excited about Agent Carter when it came on for it’s “special run” last year and was even more thrilled when season two was announced. This season has actually been even better than season one because we have distanced quite a bit from Captain America and Peggy is standing on her own stylish two feet as she runs, jumps and quips with Jarvis (can I take a moment to say I adore Jarvis) on a weekly basis. It’s a smart show and each episode is full of meaningful moments and important statements that directly impact our own politically-charged world.  The last 2 weeks have aired back-to-back episodes that almost feel like little movies and it’s been a joy, it’s also been quite a bit to take in all at once (this is certainly a show I want on DVD to enjoy over and over again) and you can feel the intensity building with each episode, I have no doubt we are racing towards a fairly epic conclusion and I cannot wait to see where we go.

Season 2 of "Agent Carter" has been full of politically important moments, including an interracial romance.
Season 2 of “Agent Carter” has been full of politically important moments, including an interracial romance.

The show is well-written, well-acted and darn-it, it’s important. In a TV landscape that can be quite iffy when it comes to great female leads Agent Carter is chock full of women taking care of business and standing up for themselves. The idea that it might be cancelled and a show like Supergirl (that I started out loving and have since become fairly bored with due to it’s trite treatment of its female characters) or a show like … Well, at the moment I can’t think of another show with a strong female lead (wait, there’s my newfound love of The 100 which I will get into next week) so therein I make my point, we simply don’t have enough TV programs with really great, strong, interesting female leads that aren’t about romance but are about action, getting things done and making a difference. Everything about Agent Carter is refreshing and fun. I sure hope it comes back for a season 3.

What do YOU think? Do you watch Agent Carter? Tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Women of “Deadpool”

Welcome! This is a 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.


First off, yes, there will probably be a few spoilers so if you’d prefer not to know anything about Deadpool, I’d recommend not reading any further!

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I got to see Deadpool last Friday and I have to say, it did not disappoint me. I knew virtually nothing about the character except what I saw in the Wolverine movie a couple years ago. At that point Wade Wilson/Deadpool was played by Ryan Reynolds, but they changed the character quite a bit since then.

For one, his mouth isn’t sewn shut and thank God for that! Without the trademark snark, this movie would not have been nearly as much fun, but I get ahead of myself. Let’s begin at the beginning shall we?

You know a movie is going to be something special (good or bad) when it starts off in slow-motion and with “Angel In The Morning” playing while people are being tossed around, shot and more. Not to mention, we see a few tell-tale swipes at previous Reynolds characters like his forgettable Green Lantern and a cover of People magazine with a smiling Reynolds on the front.

I’m already happy.

Much like with Guardians of the Galaxy you realize you are seeing a movie that’s not afraid to make fun of itself. That you’re seeing a movie that’s not afraid to have some fun and that is sorely missing from the wider selection of films these days. I’m not saying every movie should mock itself and it’s universe openly, but it’s refreshing when it does happen.

Much has been made of the R-rating for Deadpool and it’s well earned. From the carnage to the language and nudity, this is not a movie for kids under the age of 16 or 17. Parents who take their kids to this and are then peeved that it’s totally inappropriate are asking for mockery, plain and simple.  I personally, as an adult (mostly) thought it was fantastic to see a superhero movie that pulls no punches and goes for the gross joke without shame. I enjoyed it in Kick-Ass and I enjoy it here.

Women? There’s WOMEN In This? Awesome.

This isn’t really a movie review though, I liked the movie and enjoyed Reynolds as Wade Wilson, I can’t wait to see him as Wilson/Deadpool again, but what I really want to talk about is how kick ass the women are in this movie. Seriously. The women hero’s are fantastic and it honestly surprised me. I know there isn’t a lack of strong female characters out there (obviously Black Widow/Agent Carter/Wonder Woman are all prime examples) but having no expectations of what kind of characters I would get from this movie, I can say that I honestly didn’t expect two such fun female hero’s.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Deadpool have a chat.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Deadpool have a chat.

First off is Negasonic Teenage Warhead, she’s a grumpy teenager (duh) and she doesn’t talk much but when she gets to work, she is no one to be trifled with, turning into a fire ball that … Well I won’t ruin it for you, sufficed it to say, she kicks butt without any apologies and I hope to see more of her in future films. Even a grumpy teenager has a place in the superhero world.

My hands-down favorite though was Angel Dust, Ajax’s number one henchman. I don’t think she utters more than 10 words the entire film but she packs a huge punch. She goes toe-to-toe with Colossus and it’s dang impressive. Played by Gina Carano, who is an MMA fighter, we are given a woman who is not afraid to fight, who is not teeny-tiny and who packs a mean punch. I absolutely loved that she was right there with Ajax and her fight with Colossus is just as important as Deadpool’s battle with Ajax at the end of the film. Not to mention, she is carried off by Colossus so there’s hope we’ll see her again in the near future, whether in an X-Men movie or another Deadpool film.

Angel Dust.
Angel Dust.

As a woman it is wonderful to be able to see women being treated (on film at least) as equals in these high-profile films. Maybe not everyone will remember Angel Dust like I do but the fact is, the more we see these strong female characters, the more mainstream they will become and the more likely we will be to see some kind of equality between men and women in the film industry, on screen and beyond.

Why Women Matter

So why do I bother to write a blog topic about the few female characters in Deadpool? Because they matter. Why do they matter? Because it wasn’t that long ago that the women were shuffled off to the side, to be ignored but because someone somewhere has realized that guess what? Women do go to see these movies. Women do go to conventions and women do buy comic books! Making some of the important characters women means that some of your biggest fans (and yes, have no doubt, women make up a huge part of the comic con/movie/books audience these days) will have a character (or two) to identify with, cosplay and therefore, buy more merchandise. It’s smart marketing and it’s smart film making.

In the end, it’s moments like this along with putting a size 16 women on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition or a woman running for president that mean that equality is coming, even if it’s coming slowly.

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What did you think of Deadpool? Who was YOUR favorite character? Tell me!