Lessons of Joy, Hope, and Love: The Gift of Wonder Woman 1984

This month marks the 80th Anniversary of Wonder Woman!!!  I didn’t read her comics as a kid but Diana of Themyscria is a character who’s come to mean very much to me.  As Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017) was my gateway to Diana and her world, it felt apropos to mark this occasion by (finally) posting the piece I wrote after seeing Wonder Woman 1984.  I LOVE the movies.  Since I got my driver’s license, rarely more than a week went by in between trips to the theatre.  However, after a 10:05 pm showing of Brahms: The Boy 2 on 7 March 2020, lockdown hit.  So when I saw Wonder Woman 1984, it’d been over TEN MONTHS since I’d went to the movies.  I wanted my return to be special and WW84 was the logical choice.  I wasn’t disappointed!  Wonder Woman 1984 was a worthy successor to the masterpiece that was Wonder Woman.  Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot did it again!  They captured lightning in a bottle twice…at least as far as I was concerned.  I was stunned when I began talking to friends – close friends who often share my opinion of films – and learned not everyone felt the same.  Some did, but some didn’t.  Granting all art is subjective, I still became curious, wondering what they saw in this film.  Many conversations followed and this piece was born of my side of those conversations.  This is an exploration of all I see in WW84.

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Batwoman: Free of Guilt, Driven by Faith

Kate Kane, the Batwoman, is a remarkable character.  Even after a lifetime of being bored by Batman, I found her so compelling James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics – with Batwoman leading Batman’s team in Gotham – became a permanent part of my pull list.  Her solo Rebirth Batwoman title, penned by Marguerite Bennette and Tynion IV, soon followed.  Last Christmas I was excited to find trade collections of her earlier New 52 adventures had made their way under the tree.  What draws me to Batwoman is, while she wears the bat symbol, she transcends the most serious faults we see in the Batman.  In so doing, she’s not just a character I connect with and love reading about.  She’s also one who instructs and inspires transformation in her readers, as only the most important characters do. Continue reading

The Last Jedi and Star Wars’ Movement from Mythology to Folk Tale

When I came out of my first showing of The Last Jedi, I was ready to say I liked it.  By the time I exited my third showing of The Last Jedi, I was ready to say I really liked it.  I was still struggling to figure out where to place this film in my larger emotional and intellectual experience of the Star Wars Saga but I was able to say, as a film, The Last Jedi was well done.  I was not ready for the heatedly divisive storm that followed.  As someone who needed a year and a half to be able to like The Force Awakens, I certainly appreciate the pain many feel over this film.  I’m just a bit surprised, given reactions to The Force Awakens, this film caused such an uproar.  Anyway, I’m finally ready to delve into my thoughts and feelings on The Last Jedi.  Be warned MASSIVE SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.  So if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you come back and read this once you have. Continue reading

Teaching Star Wars 101

I’ll keep this short so you’ll actually click the link.  On Monday, Hannah and I were guests on Hyperspace PodBlast (A Star Wars Podcast) to talk about our Star Wars & Contemporary Myth class!  For real.  How amazing is that?!?  We had so much fun with Bryan and Shelby and it was a nerd dream come true.  So please (pretty please), click on this link and bounce over to their site so you can hear us all geek out about Star Wars and talk about the nature of our course!  Best.  Day.  Ever :). Continue reading

Thor’s Day Salutes: The Thor Comics I Fell In Love With

I’m back with another installment in this (clearly random in occurrence (but c’mon…the school year is back (and that means grading and lesson planning (so blogging itself becomes more random (to make room for other obligations))))) series saluting my love of Thor as I continue to get excited for Thor: Ragnarök.  As makes total sense to yours truly, there’s really no better day of the week to celebrate Thor than on the day named in his honor.  So let’s celebrate Thursday by remembering it literally means Thor’s Day and looking at why Thor comics captivated me as a kid! Continue reading

Who is Rey?: An Avatar as a (Possible) Answer

As we inch ever closer to The Last Jedi, my excitement continues to mount.  No matter how much I tell myself not to get my expectations too high, I can’t help but speculate!  As I’ve said before, this random and excited speculating is part of the fun of Star Wars.  I remember the months leading up to The Force Awakens were filled with hours and hours of pondering and hypothesizing.  What will happen??  Who are these new characters??  How will the fit into the world of Star Wars?!?  Geeking out with other Star Wars fans is one of life’s great joys :).  And like many fans of the Saga, I’ve been spending a lot of time puzzling over who Rey really is and how she fits into the Force.  Somewhat unexpectedly, the answer I keep coming back to that makes the most sense comes care of Hinduism. Continue reading

The Superior Spider-Man : Confronting the Darkness Within

Of the many tropes to regularly wind their way through the Spider-Man comics over the years, the one that always wears on me is when some chain of events cause the “friendly neighborhood” attitude to drop from Spidey’s modus operandi and we see Peter become a dark, serious vigilante.  What can I say?  I like my Spider-Man to be a light, happy, inspiring character.  If I wanted glum and grim I’d read more Batman.  However, Dan Slott (who I’m learning more and more is nothing if not an inventive writer (who really loves Spider-Man)) upended this approach with The Superior Spider-Man.  One of the many things to happen to the web-head during the nineteen years I wasn’t reading his comics was Doctor Octopus stole his body and life for a time.  With Ock wearing the webs, we find our angrier Spider-Man but wrapped inside a tale of transformation and redemption. Continue reading

Wonder Woman: A Salvific Triumph

Even with the Rotten Tomatoes score, I wasn’t ready for this.  Wonder Woman is a revelation.  We now have a new standard bearer for what a superhero movie can do.  There are no spoilers here, obviously.  The movie just came out last night!  Everyone needs to see this and experience for themselves just how inspiring a comic book movie can be.  Marvel, and the world, need take notice too.  DC’s cinematic comic book universe has arrived and Wonder Woman is their flagship hero, carrying both the DCEU forward and the possible potential for all comic book movies.  Finding what I did in watching Wonder Woman was the most incredible surprise.  And you deserve that surprise too!  So I’m not talking spoilers but I will speak of the film thematically and speak to how it managed to move me so profoundly. Continue reading

Logan – Elegy to an Era

After three viewings and two weeks, I’m finally ready to talk about Logan.  I had high expectations.  I tried to manage them but it was impossible!  Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for seventeen years.  He ushered in the modern era of cinematic superheroes.  I couldn’t keep my expectations for his swansong from growing.  The film was absolutely nothing like I expected but it was brilliantly executed.  Hugh Jackman and James Mangold delivered a finale that deeply moved me.  Fair warning, this post will be filled with spoilers.  It will also be filled with emotions! Continue reading

Many Faces, One Symbol

On July 6th, Marvel announced that after the conclusion of Civil War II a young woman named Riri Williams will take over for Tony Stark as Iron Man.  Fandom reacted as it always does.  There was intrigue.  There was optimism.  There was excitement.  Annnd there were the usual (tired) cries of it being a p.c.-driven agenda or proof that Marvel is out of ideas, echoed in the familiar refrain of, “I don’t mind a female/minority/etc. superhero…but why can’t they have their own identity??”  But I’d like to argue if you think Spider-Man is simply Peter Parker, you’ve missed the entire point.  Spider-Man represents so much more than Peter Parker.  Spider-Man is a symbol, an ideal.  The more people we see picking up that mantle, the more people we see embodying that symbol, the better.  This is as true for Spider-Man as it is for Iron Man or any comic book superhero. Continue reading