The Phoenix has Risen…and it was Worth the Wait! (Dark Phoenix review)

Let me start off by saying that this was probably the movie that I’ve most anticipated in my entire life.

Since I discovered that it was happening about a year ago, I was absolutely over the moon excited. I counted down the days, I squealed every time I saw the poster by the movie theater, I made my parents take a picture of me next to said movie poster(s), set all my wallpapers to the various posters (which all belong in the MoMA, honestly)…you get the idea. I was a very, very excited little mutant.

As the reviews started pouring in, I got a little worried. I told myself, time and time again, not to listen to the critics. I also tried to tell myself not to expect another First Class or X2, but…I couldn’t really help myself up until the end.

Then, I saw it on Saturday night. I haven’t felt such a surge of joy in a long, long time, not like I did when the “feature presentation” screen finally came up.

And?

It didn’t deserve such hate-filled reviews from the critics. Nor did it deserve as high praise as some of the other films. But even still, an incredible film, and a beautiful ending to a masterful franchise.

*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD–I ADVISE THAT YOU DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DARK PHOENIX*

 

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“I Want All of These Posters Framed in a Museum” and other stories, part one. This one gives off some wonderfully Stranger Things vibes. 

 

 

Dark Phoenix has always been one of the most revered stories in the whole of the X-Men universe. Full of raw emotion not usually seen in a superhero story (at the time, at least), it was a groundbreaking series that changed the X-Men forever. I doubt any film will ever come close to portraying it perfectly, but Dark Phoenix sure came close. Some alterations were made to the plot, but they made enough sense that they worked with the story. (ex. instead of Jean consuming the mother star of the D’Bari and wiping the entire race out, they nearly went extinct in another way and sought Jean’s Phoenix Force to resurrect what was left of them. A bit cliche, but again, it worked.)

Perfectly paced, stunning FX (especially when it came to Jean), and a plethora of fun Easter Eggs that…yeah, I had a bunch of Chris Pratt-esque, gaping moments in the theater. FOR EXAMPLE…

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–Dazzler. DAAAZZZZZZLEERRRRRR!!! I mean…okay, she’s not my favorite, but it was pretty cool to see her show up briefly after all these X-Men films. Plus, she was originally introduced in the Dark Phoenix Saga, so…nice touch.

 

 

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–GENOSHA. Such a beautiful set. I really liked the approach they took with it–instead of being super high-tech, the structures and buildings were largely made up of scrap parts. Magneto’s house was also really pretty. (I mean, who wouldn’t put it past him to have a matching tea set?)

 

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Another little Easter egg was the addition of Red Lotus (behind Storm) and Selene (in front of Nightcrawler). Though I can see why they were added in, they didn’t have much screen time at all, and seemed almost unneccesary, other than being throwaway allies of Magneto. Selene does look pretty cool, though. I’ll give them that.

 

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What truly made this film, as it did in the comics, was the emotion and the themes of family. Dark Phoenix masterfully captured the raw, unfettered feelings of each of the mutants, showing their conflicts, their sorrow, their anger. Most prominent of all was Jean herself, and her internal struggle with her newfound abilities. I got choked up at the end–no spoilers, but it’s bittersweet, with a heartbreaking loss, followed by something more hopeful. A fitting farewell for the 20th Century Fox X-Men.

 

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And to top it all off, there’s always the classic fun that comes along with watching an X-Men movie. The battle scenes are over-the-top, but in the best way possible. The final one was one of my favorite X-Men battle scenes, period.

No spoilers for this portion, but I’ll tell you one thing–

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The context for that scene is…darkly hilarious.

 

Of course, every movie has it’s flaws. Dark Phoenix was in no way perfect, and I wished we’d had these aspects in it at some point:

 

–Quicksilver never told Magneto that he was his son. It ALMOST happened in Apocalypse, but alas…nada.

–On the subject of estranged relatives, there was a similar problem with Mystique and Nightcrawler. The only hint we get of their mother-son relationship is also in Apocalypse--she gives him some degree of special treatment, but not much beyond the rescue from the mutant fight ring.

–In the other films, there was lots of care taken to make the time period believable. Dark Phoenix is set in 1992, but if we weren’t told that, I’m not sure that I would’ve figured it out. Not even a band shirt or a running soundtrack for Quicksilver. *single tear slides down cheek*

 

But, all in all, Dark Phoenix was worth the long wait. Solid 8.5/10 from me. Go see it, X-Fans–you won’t regret it. Mutant and proud. 😉

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Higher, Further, Faster…FANTASTIC! (Captain Marvel review)

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

Bad news–the roads around Black Canyon of the Gunnison were too snowy, so they closed down the park yesterday, when we had planned to go. 😦

VERY good news–I saw Captain Marvel instead!

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My expectations were…slightly above average for this movie. It looked fun, at least–not as great as Black Panther or Infinity War, but not as much of a disappointment as Thor: Ragnarok (Unpopular opinion, I know). But man, my expectations were GREATLY exceeded! A healthy balance of action, heart, and pure fun that made for some much-needed levity in the MCU, especially after Infinity War. Also…first female-led MCU movie? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. COUNT ME IN!

 

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I was a little nervous for how Captain Marvel would turn out. Some of her lines in the trailer were…yes, I’ll admit, they made me cringe. (Namely, her tone of voice when she said “I’m gonna end it.” Oof.) But, lo and behold, overall, Brie Larson did a great job of capturing the ferocity, heart, and independent spirit of the iconic hero. Her chemistry with the other characters (Nick Fury, Maria, the Kree, among others) was obvious and very well-done, and the cast seemed to work very well together as a whole. (Also, no spoilers, but…I’m wholeheartedly shipping Maria and Carol. Couple of the year.) The characters were all very unique, and many of them had pivotal–and sometimes very unexpected–roles in the unfolding of the plot.

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This might have just been me, but I LOVED seeing this suit as well. After seeing it a few times in the comics (and thinking about how AWESOME it looked), I was so happy to see that they pulled it off very well in the movies. Captain Marvel’s Kree suit was also very sleek and well-designed, and–joy of joys–she’s not super scantily clad, either!

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The plot was also very well executed and put-together–unpredictable, detailed, but not so complicated and convoluted that it was difficult to understand. Every little detail had a purpose, many of which factor into the later Avengers films, as well as Endgame, which is coming out…shall I say frighteningly soon. I’m prepared to come out of the theater sobbing again, a la Infinity War…sheeeeeeesh, that was a rough ride.

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Another element that I really loved was the music–both score-wise and soundtrack-wise. The score was very modern and synth-y, reminiscent of the Stranger Things score. It was balanced perfectly, with a fair amount of electronic elements, but not so much that you’d think the movie was an EDM rave. The soundtrack was SPECTACULAR as well; because the movie is set in the 90s, we get to hear everything from Nirvana to No Doubt. I’ll admit that I was bopping my head through some of the fight scenes. 🤘

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And one more thing–can we all take a moment to appreciate this adorable furball that is GOOSE??? What a CUTE KITTY!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! This guy honestly stole the show, and I’m 100% here for it. Also, you’ve probably heard some rumors about what Goose really is…no spoilers, but I’ve got a little hint:

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…just wait for it…

 

Anyway, an INCREDIBLE film, perfect for old and new Marvel fans, or for anyone who’d like a little fun. PLEASE go see it.

Have a great rest of your day–and, in some cases, your Spring Break! Enjoy it while it lasts! 😉

I know the expression is usually the other way around, but this is basically a sheep in wolf’s clothing

Alright. First off, here’s the “wolf” part, if we’re sticking to my pitiful excuse for a flipped metaphor.

As you’ve probably gathered, I forgot to do a Book Review Tuesday yesterday. I got home a little later from a doctor’s appointment, and I was REALLY tired. So, I just spent the rest of the night drawing, re-reading The Hazel Wood, and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. So, sorry about that. I promise I’ll get around to making a review next Tuesday. 😉

Now, for the “sheep”.

Instead of a lame excuse/apology, I’ve got something for you…MORE FAN ARTS! (Because you know I was never going to come up with a creative name for a fan art post anytime soon, riiiiiight?) So, we have one kind of post disguised as another, and a little art dump. Enjoy…?

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Rumor (comic version), Umbrella Academy

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Jubilee (X-Men: Apocalypse)

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Mystique/Raven Darkholme (X-Men)

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Forager (Young Justice: Outsiders)

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Lenny Busker/what my hair kind of looked like in Florida (Legion)

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Halo (Young Justice: Outsiders)

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Number Five (Netflix version) (Umbrella Academy)

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Pogo (Netflix version) (Umbrella Academy)

 

So, I hope this post was a pleasant surprise. Again, I promise I’ll get to another book review next week, if conditions are favorable. Thanks so much for reading, and have a great rest of your day! 🙂

 

Fan-Art-Man, Fan-Art-Man, does whatever a…fan art can? (If you couldn’t tell, I’m running out of title ideas.)

Hello, everybody!

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“Kanye’s my main man!” 

Sorry, I had to slip that in somewhere.

 

Alrightly. First of all, happy Martin Luther King Jr day to all! We have so much to thank this incredible man for, and I am eternally grateful for all that he has done to contribute to our society. Thank you.

 

Now…oh, hey! This is the first fan art post of 2019, isn’t it! Niiiiice! Most of these fan arts are technically from December 2018, but we’re just gonna ignore that. WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS LOTS OF MUTANTS.

Enjoy the fan arts!

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Storm, X-Men Apocalypse. Aside from Nightcrawler, she’s my favorite of the X-Men. 🙂

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Talky-Walky, Black Hammer (shown with a blending stump). You guys also really need to read Black Hammer-it’s OUTRAGEOUSLY weird, but you’ll be better for it.

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My first drawing of 2019! Johann (B.P.R.D.) is looking a little blue here. Poor guy.

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Vision in his human clothes. (Captain America: Civil War).

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Rogue, X2: X-Men United. I watched it again about two weeks ago, and I enjoyed myself waaaaay too much. 😉

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Storm, X2: X-Men United. (See above; I enjoyed myself.)

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“Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich Circus, I was known as the Incredible Nightcrawler!” (X2: X-Men United)

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This isn’t really a fan art, per se, but I still figured that I’d show it here. Behold my spidersona. I based her color scheme/costume largely off of the colors of the Peacock spider. 🙂

 

 

Well, thanks so much for reading, and have a wonderful rest of your day! I’ll be back with a book review tomorrow! 🙂

 

 

2018

Whew.

The past 2 or so years have both been dumpster fires, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Mostly 2016, but you know what I mean.

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And this year?

Weeeell…I wouldn’t quite go so far to say that it was good, but it was less of a dumpster fire. You get my drift?

I’d be lying if I said that 2018 was easy. I had to face many daunting obstacles, make some difficult transitions, and come to terms with some truths about myself. But you know what? I managed to overcome those challenges, and I bet that you were able to do the same with yours. But if we look past all that we’d like to forget about this year, parts have been pretty awesome. I got to have so many new and wonderful experiences (Chicago, Sequoia National Park), discovered LOADS of new and spectacular books (some notable 2018 releases included Heart of Iron, Thunderhead, Honor Among Thieves, A Conspiracy of Stars, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and a few others), some amazing films (Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Antman and the Wasp, and I haven’t seen Aquaman but I’ve heard that it’s great), incredible music (Lush, Twin Fantasy, etc.) and much more. Of course, we’ve had some not-so-great moments in those respects (The Light Between Worlds, Venom, etc.), but overall, it’s been alright. And regardless of what kind of year we had in 2018, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2019.

I saw a meme the other day that was kind of hopeful, however silly it was.

 

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Fingers crossed. 

 

And I’m really hoping that this will be the way things are. If it gets too bad, I’ll just remember that Dark Phoenix, Avengers: Endgame, Soul of Stars, Honor Bound, King of Scars, and An Anatomy of Beasts are in our futures. So let’s try to make 2019 the inverse of 2016, everyone. Make it good. 🙂

 

“Go to madelinetodd.com…they’ve got a new thing called…uh… FR E SH F AN AR TS…*wheezy laughter*”

Yep, I’ve got some FRESH FAN ARTS for you guys!

I haven’t really posted any of my art since late June (oops), and I feel like I’ve improved a lot since then, what with the art class at my school and just a little more experience in general. I’m excited to share some of these with you guys, I hope you enjoy them!

 

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My interpretation of the Darkling from Shadow and Bone.

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A little porg, who is now quite traumatized after seeing his brethren being roasted on a spit by Chewbacca.

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Johann Krauss, in his newest suit. (B.P.R.D.)

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My interpretation of the wonderful Jax, from Heart of Iron. 

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Professor X, X-Men: First Class . (I watched it for the first time in about three or four years in September; I felt the judging eyes of my cats on me as I cried during the “I can’t feel my legs” scene.)

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Mystique, from the new Dark Phoenix trailer. (*LOUD SCREAMING*)

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Nightcrawler, X2: X-Men United. (Which celebrated its 15th anniversary this May! Yay!)

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Abe Sapien, Hellboy (2004). 

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Newt Scamander, The Crimes of Grindelwald. (I saw it a few weeks ago, and it was ASTOUNDING. Certainly didn’t deserve that low of a rating from Rotten Tomatoes.)

 

Well, thank you for sticking around long enough to see more of my art and endure the deluge of book reviews! Once I get some more done, I will definitely post some more. Have a nice day, and stay safe!

Chicago!

Hey, everyone, I’m back from Chicago! I had SUCH a wonderful time there, and I did so many fun things there that I doubt I’ll forget. So I’ll give you the run-down of the vacation. I hope you enjoy my pictures!

 

DAY 1: 

After arriving in Chicago and settling into our hotel room, we visited the Shedd Aquarium, which was definitely one of my favorites things we did. I’m a total geek for marine life, so…

 

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These were the electric eels. We got to see them being fed while we were there!

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A European Cuttlefish. I COULD NOT HANDLE THE CUTENESS. I LOVE CUTTLEFISH SO MUCH…

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A female wolffish (or wolf eel). After seeing clips of them on documentaries for years, I was pretty psyched to see a real one.

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Some snuggling seahorses. ❤

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GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUS!!!

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A beautiful butterflyfish picture. I’m really surprised at how good the picture turned out.

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A ribbon eel that looks like it’s perpetually screaming. It kind of reminded me of the “that’s my opINION!!!” vine.

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BELUGAS! There were five of them in all, and it was such a treasure to see them.

 

DAY 2: 

We spent the second day at the Field Museum. Definitely one of the major highlights of the trip.

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Máximo, the world’s largest dinosaur.

 

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“Excuthe me, thir…but where are your fathilitieth located?”

 

 

 

 

 

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After watching Walking with Monsters for much of my childhood, it was pretty crazy to see a real Edaphosaurus skeleton.

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Funny story…this is Daspletosaurus. But at first, I read the name on the plaque as “Despacitosaurus”. So that’s basically what I’m referring it to as now…

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TRICERATOPSSSSS

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A pregnant stringray. Pretty stunning, if you ask me.

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A short-faced bear that looks like it’s reciting Shakespeare. “To be, or not to be? That is the question…”

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Mammoth!!!

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We also visited the traveling Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit. This is the Cryolophosaurus. (Fingers crossed that I spelled that right…)

DAY 3:

We spent the third day at the Art Institute of Chicago. And yes, I did zoom in on that one space in that one painting in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (I can’t remember the painting’s name) a la Cameron.

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The view from outside the institute.

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Roy Lichtenstein in the Contemporart Art exhibit.

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Miró. I believe this one is called “Circus Horse”.

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After visiting the Dalí museum in Florida, it was really exciting to see some Dalí that I’d never seen before.

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Van Gogh. Sweet ‘stache, bro.

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It was pretty amazing to see “The Old Guitarist” after studying Picasso in Spanish class so much last year.

DAY 4:

On the morning of day 4, we took a river architecture tour. It was all really intersting and beautiful, and I loved seeing all of the different buildings.

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This was probably the highlight of the morning. “Yankee…hotel…foxtrot…”

That afternoon, we saw the live recording of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me in Millenium Park. I don’t have any pictures of this, but it was HYSTERICAL. (I swear, every single word that came out of Bobcat Goldthwait’s mouth made me die laughing…)

DAY 5:

Our last full day in Chicago consisted of a visit to the campus of the University of Chicago. Or, in other words, we visited Hogwarts. Absolutely beautiful.

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Don’t tell me this isn’t Hogwarts. Don’t you dare.

 

We visited Powell’s books, and then spent the afternoon relaxing in the hotel room. The next morning, we flew out of Chicago and back into Denver.

 

So, all in all, a SPECTACULAR vacation! I hope you enjoyed all of the pictures. I’m excited to get to next week’s Book Review Tuesday, as I read a certain book in Chicago that might just be my favorite…

See you soon!