Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mary Winchester Explained!

OMG! I just got done watching S4xE3 - "In The Beginning"! 

My sister and I have been waiting to know how Mary Winchester was entangled with Azazel, and I knew that she was the hunter, not John, but I never expected that her whole beautiful life with her husband and her boys came from a making deal with him! All to save John, who ended up doing the same for Dean, and then Dean for Sam...I'm just wow!!!

Mary Campbell Winchester is such a beautiful character and the more she's developed in the show, the more I love her : ) Normally I don't go crazy fan-girl about episodes, but this one was a real shocking explainer.

Oh, I also kind of like the way Castiel has no problem telling Dean off. He did creep me out a bit when Dean woke up at night and saw his silhouette in the kitchen. So far I like Cas. 

Assemble & Unite: Love Changes Everything

     Love really can change everything, at least if it’s the right kind of love. Romantic love in stories can be tricky and sometimes, downright impossible. There needs to be romance without sentimentality, there have to be characters that are real and human to be able to convincingly portray the advantages and downfalls of love. Sometimes love is written in the stars and sometimes it is hardly seen at all. There are times when you can love more than one person and times where you have to find the courage to say goodbye.

      However love may be portrayed, in the superhero universe, love and the stories created by love is the most real and personable way that the reader is able to identify with the character. Everyone at one point in time has been in love with the guy or girl who never notices them, or have waited for someone for months or even years, believing them to return one day and there are those who find there lives compromised by the questions who and when and why?

      Love is what can make or break a hero. It’s what heals and damages the soul. It gives peace and incites war. Love resounds strongly in words of wisdom and acts of courage. Love can turn the ordinary into extraordinary, can make a selfish prince a worthy king, turn a soldier into a legend and help the lost find their way back home.

~ ~ ~
Tony Stark & Pepper Potts
A Devoted Love

     We all need the one person who is always going to be one step ahead of us, but in the case of Tony Stark, he needs someone that is 6 months ahead of him. In Iron Man, Pepper is introduced as Tony’s clever, no-nonsense secretary that does anything and everything her boss requires. And what Tony Stark requires is 24/7 moderating and management as well as someone to run his company, put out all his public fires, keep his ego under control as well as caring for his alter-ego, bring him coffee and sometimes take out the trash. Pepper pulls it all off, effortlessly and with no complaints. So, why does she remain in this job, working for a chauvinistic playboy whose ego is the size of the company building? Simple. She’s in love with him.

     Pepper is beautiful and intelligent and could probably find a good job elsewhere, but she chooses to stay because Tony is only ever himself when he’s around her. She is only person who is able to see a good man behind the facade of arrogance. Pepper wants Tony to see that same goodness as well. Tony fears that he will always live in the shadow of his father, but Pepper believes that Tony does just fine casting his own shadow over people.

     Also, Pepper is only one of two people (the other being Rhodey) that Tony really respects and listens to. When Tony gets out of line, Pepper has no problem telling him off. Tony seeks her opinion on every company issue and he trusts her with ever ounce of his convictions, believing the will always get the job done.

     Because Pepper and Tony have known each other for almost seven years, their relationship line has blurred somewhat. They’re not entirely professional nor are they entirely casual. In the beginning Pepper worked for Tony, in Iron Man 2, Pepper was Tony’s equal in the company business and by The Avengers and Iron Man 3, Pepper and Tony have now created a business/personal relationship that is built on trust, hard work, a little fun from time to time, and of course love; all forgiving, unselfish, never-ending love that breaks boundaries and gives the world something to believe in.

~ ~ ~

 Thor Odinson & Jane Foster
A Fairy Tale Love

     Every little girl at some point in her life has dreamt of meeting a prince. Maybe even dreamt of falling in love with a prince and maybe…just maybe…marry a prince. Jane Foster may or may not have been one of these little girls, but she probably never imagined that one day she would actually meet a prince, just not in the way the storybooks have written it.

     Thor and Jane’s romance can easily be described as superhero fairy tale. Ordinary girl living an ordinary life runs into a prince (or hits him with her car), finds him to be arrogant and rude, goes off on a dangerous adventure with him where he ends up getting into trouble, she fights to save him, gets to know him as a genuinely nice guy trying to get his life under control and unexpectedly finds herself in love with him. And that is in the space of 24 hrs. Of course, between those 24 hrs. were other moments that lent to Jane and Thor’s blossoming love story. Thor getting Jane out of her comfort zone and rescuing Jane’s journal for her. Jane realizing that work isn’t always important and love isn’t so scary.

     Not all fairy tales have the happy endings we all hope for. In the end of Thor, the Bifrost Bridge is broken, barring Thor from seeing Jane. In Thor: The Dark World, Thor returns to Jane where they rekindle their love for each other, but find that her mortal life is can be detrimental to his destiny as future king of Asgard. People accuse Thor and Jane of falling to quickly for each other, but after the escapade they pulled with S.H.I.E.L.D. and what Thor and Jane discovered about one another, love tends to come whether you want it to or not.

     What is a fairy tale? When first impressions are proven to be wrong, taking a risk that help you to better understand who you are, courage that can be found in acts of kindness and moments of sacrifice or it could simply be when something very good can come from something very bad. For Thor and Jane, they found something very good with each other.

~ ~ ~

Capt. Steve Rogers & Agent Peggy Carter
A Legendary Love

     War can separate people, but it can also unite them as allies, companions and even love relationships. For Steve Rogers, he was the war as his opportunity to do something with his life and serve his country. For Agent Peggy Carter, it was to break the social gender boundaries and live in a world once formerly reserved for men. Neither entered this war looking for love, but they both left the war made better by it.

     Steve and Peggy’s slow burning relationship that started out as strangers with an immediate respect for one another, which turned into friendship and then ended with heartbreak. There was nothing really epic or even romantic about Steve and Peggy’s love story. They were two co-workers that immediately understood one another, understood what is was like to have dreams that seemed like an impossibility to accomplish, understand being judged constantly on appearance and understand the longing to make the world a better place.

     What makes their love legendary is that it remained for over seventy years. Although Peggy remarried and had a happy life, she still remembered the gawky soldier who sat next to her in the car and had no idea how he was going to change her life. Steve will always remember Peggy as the first woman he ever had a conversation with as well as the first one to try and kill him. The hardships of war and the desire for peace brought these two very different, but like minded people together and together they knew they could make a difference for the generation that followed.

     Their love story is legendary because their love was real. Their love story started with breaking the rules and overcoming the impossible, but ended with pain, tears and anger. It’s real because they were soldiers. Soldiers who fought and died for their country and knew what they may have to sacrifice in the process. Legendary love isn’t always the most romantic, usually it’s the most painful, but while it was there it was also the most beautiful.

~ ~ ~

 Dr. Jean Grey & Scott Summers & Logan
A Divided Love

     Quite frankly, I believe love triangles to be overrated and outdated, but we put up with them anyway. In X-Men, the most popular (and most debatable) love triangle is between Dr. Jean Gray and her fiancĂ©, Scott Summers and mysterious Logan; two very different men who have their hearts captured by one very complex woman.

     To start out, Scott Summers and Jean had known each other since they were students at the school. They grew up there, trained there, taught there and ultimately fell in love. It seemed inevitable. When you’re in a controversial and feared genetic minority it’s usually best to stay with your own kind. Scott and Jean seem perfect for one another, a match made in heaven. Jean is intelligent and beautiful with a deep love for the children and great amount of respect for Professor X and the safe world he has created. Scott is the type of guy any young girl should consider marrying. Generous, calm, clear minded and a leader who everyone believes will run the school one day; you would find it difficult not to fall in love with him.

     Enter Logan. A broody bad boy from the other side of the tracks who has no memory of who he is or where he came from. Immediately Logan falls hard for Jean, ignoring the fact she is engaged, he wastes no time in pursuing what he wants. At first Jean (naturally) wards him off, but then his true character of strength, sacrifice and courage draws her heart closer to him. Yet, she is still faithful to Scott, the man she has loved since she was a teenager.

     Jean is hardly one to be ruled by her emotion, but she finds her love divided. Scott can give her a happy and successful life with children and a home. Logan, however, is dark and confusing, never knowing where he’s been and where he’s going end up. Just because Scott is the most obvious doesn’t mean that Jean should dump him for Logan. While Jean loves Scott, her feelings for Logan become nothing more than lust for a kind of man she has never met. This doesn’t make Logan evil in any way, though. There can oftentimes be a thin line between love and lust, but Jean knows which side she’s on and will not let anyone lead her astray.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dracula Untold

     This was an unexpected find…my friend had put it onto my external hard drive, telling me that it was a good movie. After several weeks (and out of sheer boredom), I sat down and watched it on my computer. Not 15 min. into the film and I was utterly taken surprise by the depth and quality of this story! What Dracula Untold does is go back and weave fantasy into history. It gives the origins of Prince Vlad’s transformation into the most feared of creatures, but also portrays deep emotion and humanity in this one man’s struggle to protect his family, his country and his soul.

~ ~ ~

     In 15th century Transylvania, Prince Vladimir or Vlad (Luke Evans), Son of the Dragon, is one of the most feared warriors of his age. While Transylvania was ruled by the Turks, the king took young boys over the age of ten and trained them in brutal and unmerciful regimes to prepare them for war. Vlad rose to become the notorious Vlad the Impaler because of his uncanny ability to drive stakes though his enemies and then plant them in the ground for the world to see and take fear. After years of fighting, Vlad puts down the stake and chooses the Cross, repenting his sins of brutality and murder. He returns home to Transylvania and brings peace and prosperity to his people and unending happiness to his wife, Mirena (Sara Gadon) and son, Ingeras (Art Parkinson).

     Ten years later, the Turkish sultan, Mehmed (Dominic Cooper), informs Vlad that he requires 1,000 boys for his genocides corps, Vlad now risks losing his beloved son. When he defies the sultan and saves his son, Vlad runs to the hills where he finds a monster that is said to be the immortal vampire (Charles Dance). He gives Vlad a chance to save his son and his people by making him an all powerful creature with advanced senses, speed and shapeshifting. All Vlad has to do is resist the urge to drink human blood for three days. If he succeeds, then he can defeat his enemies and return back to human form. If he doesn’t then he dooms himself to the life of the legendary vampire.

~ ~ ~

Top: Luke Evans as Princ Vlad//Dracula and Sarah Gadon as Mirena
Bottom: Dominic Cooper as Mehmed and Charles Dance as the Master Vampire
     Luke Evans as Prince Vlad//Dracula: To say that Luke Evans was good would be an understatement. What I loved about his character, was his absolute devotion and love for his wife and son. After years of war and bloodshed, Vlad has now found peace in his family. So when his family is threatened, it’s understandable why Vlad would take such drastic measures to ensure his family’s safety. There was such warmth to his character that is definitely a step back from other Dracula portrayals. Luke Evans was also remarkable in his ability to convey such a wide away of emotions that came with the challenge of playing Dracula. He played a handsome prince whose fairy tale life becomes a catastrophic nightmare and in the effort to bring hope, he must go through hell.

     Sarah Gadon as Princess Mirena: Vlad’s beautiful and devoted wife who remains by her husband’s side when he reveals his secret vampiric form. Mirena’s loyalty to her family and her people is just as strong as Vlad’s and she will fight to her last breath for the safety of her son. Although she might look like a china doll, Mirena possesses a steel strength and dignity that forever compels her husband to keep fighting, to always move forward and never look back. Sarah Gadon was just beautiful and wonderful throughout the whole film! A perfect example of marital devotion and loyalty and of motherly love and sacrifice, which really changes the whole perspective of the Dracula story.

     Dominic Cooper as Sultan Mehmed: A cruel and heartless tyrant whose brutality knows no boundaries. Although Mehmed and Vlad were childhood friends, time and war has changed them into enemies. While Vlad believes in peace negotiations, Mehmed only wants to kill, annihilate and take what he believes to be rightfully his. Mehmed is truly a villainous demon that has no humanity or belief in dignity, honor, or even love. Dominic Cooper was terrifying as Mehmed!!! He may not look that scary, but he’s one of those evil characters that is cool and calm on the outside and all hellfire and blazes on the inside.

     Charles Dance as the Master Vampire: A prophesied monster of evil, which dwells in the caves of Broken Tooth Mountain, this hideous creature has been the stuff of horror stories for centuries. As his story goes, he was once a mortal man, who summoned a demon for dark power, but the demon tricked him and although the man was given superhuman powers, he was made prisoner for eternity in the cave he now inhabits. Now Vlad has turned to this creature for aid to stop Mehmed from destroying his home. The Master gives him blood to drink which enhances all of Vlad’s senses as well hone dark powers, but warns Vlad that if he gives into blood lust he will remain a slave to this vampiric nature forever.

~ ~ ~

Vlad with his son Ingeras
     A great story that had an unbelievable ending! It was neither happy nor sad, but gave insight for better days to come. Although I’ve never been a big Dracula fan, Dracula Untold was a great prequel storyline that finally saw the story from Vlad’s POV. To see the infamous creature who was once a loving husband and father that was at risk of losing everything he loved, gives a different perspective on the legend as a whole. It was good to see a Dracula film that wasn’t gory or sexed up and focused on Vlad’s mission to defeat the evil of his enemies as well as suppress the growing evil inside of himself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Downton Abbey Confession #21

I believe that one of the reasons Rose fell so in love with Atticus is because he reminded her so much of Branson.

She's admired Branson for his independence and progressive thinking, but also his willingness to hold on to traditional values.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Assemble & Unite: Defending Fathers

      As I said in my first A&U post, The Voice of The Father, the role of the father figure is a key component in the molding of future superheroes. For the most part, MARVEL has portrayed father figures in a moral and positive light, but there is always that character or two that just loves to cause controversy amongst the fans and I’m primarily talking about Howard Stark and Odin Allfather.

     Speaking from former bad-dad hate for both men, I overtime began to have a different view of who these men were as fathers, leaders and legends. Odin especially has been the source of major debate in the superhero fandom due to his (supposed) abhorrent treatment of Loki. After quite a few years of resentment, but thanks to the success of the Captain America film and ABC’s Agent Carter, Howard Stark has really found a place among the MARVEL fandom. No father is perfect, whether in fantasy or real life, but sometimes it’s the father’s imperfections that are the best lessons for the heroes to learn from.

~ ~ ~

Howard Stark

     The original genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, whose brilliant mind in physics, engineering, weapon design and business literally helped America win WWII and believed help bring down HYDRA. To the world, Howard Stark is a legacy, but to his own son, Tony, Howard is a shadow from his past.

     In Iron Man 2, Tony described his father as cold and calculating who never said he loved or even liked him; a man who was a hero to everyone, but his son. For years, Tony has resented his father for his distant behavior and even after Howard’s death nothing changed Tony’s opinion of him. Then Tony watches a lost film reel where Howard relays a message to his son, telling him that his dreams for a better future were held back because of the technology of the time (the 1960s), but that Tony would find a way to finish what he had started.

     All nice and sweet, but the real heartbreak comes when his father tells him that of all of his creations, his son was his greatest. Now, I remember watching this movie for the first time and thinking, “How does one simpering statement make up for almost twenty years of cold and distant behavior?” There were many other fans that thought this way as well. They blamed Howard for being the primary cause of Tony’s loneliness. Then I realized I was looking at this from a female’s POV.

     Most of the time, woman want the deep and emotional heartbreaking speeches that would be the stuff of the Bronte’s writing. For men though, they simply want honesty and respect. No tears (even though Tony was about to cry), no drama, just the truth. All Tony wanted was to know that his father spared at least a thought for him, that his father believed in him and trusted him to carry on his legacy.

     In the Iron Man trilogy, Howard Stark was an admired and revered inventor, but really wasn’t looked into that deeply; so it was understandable why Howard wasn’t liked that much. Captain America and ABC’s Agent Carter (as well as brilliantly casting Dominic Cooper) have thankfully redeemed the character of Howard Stark in the past couple of years. In Captain America: The First Avenger, we are given the great opportunity to see a young and handsome Howard Stark who is always looking to the future with his weapon designs and never ending drive to bring down both Hitler and HYDRA.

     In ABC’s Agent Carter, Howard reveals his childhood in the lower east side in New York. He was born into a poor Jewish family where his father sold fruit and his mother sewed waistcoats. Howard was the ultimate rags to riches story, but he worked to get to where he was and believed that he had every right to be there regardless of his social background and bloodline.

~ ~ ~

Odin Allfather

     If there was anyone meant to be king, then it would have to be Odin. Shrewd, benevolent, wise and fearless, Odin Allfather has protected, guided and loved the realm of Asgard ever since he ascended to the throne. Odin’s whole life has revolved around the safekeeping of Asgard and he would sacrifice himself on the altar of his enemies than ever see his beloved realm destroyed. Although, he is also a husband and father, Odin is above all a king. That is who he was born to be, brought up to be and will ultimately die that way. Like in all history, great and powerful leaders that ruled successful kingdoms and empires, tended to be terrible fathers. It was either the throne or your children and normally that former was the preferred choice (and at times it wasn’t even a choice; think Czar Nicholas).

     Odin has been on the ultimate bad-dad radar because of his treatment of his adopted son Loki. The only reason that Odin took Loki in was to establish peace between Asgard and Jotunheim. Ok, fair enough. Odin could have simply raised Loki as a ward and told him about whom and what he was, and risk Loki always being seen as different and never fitting in. Instead, he took this baby into his home, made him a prince and gave him all the advantages that his biological son, Thor, had.

     In the beginning of Thor we see Odin as a genuinely loving father who adores his sons and sees great potential in both of them. Yet, Odin still thinks as a king. In royal history, kings did not have children; they had lines of succession (primarily sons) and peace negotiations (usually daughters). That was the way royal families were seen. This was how Odin thought, as a king. One son would rule Asgard and hopefully the other would rule Jotenheim and finally there would be peace between the two realms.

     After Odin finally reveals to Loki his true history, then proceeds to tell him that everything he hoped for would never happen, Loki (naturally) flies into a rage. What’s not revealed in the story, however, is the fact that Loki has always been a troublemaker and Odin, by that time, was assured that he could never rule Asgard or any realm for that matter. While Odin is in his Odinsleep, Loki has the opportunity to become king, to prove to his father that he has that right. When he well and truly blows it and almost destroys everything in anger and rage, Odin knows that Loki could never be a king. He had the chance to be the king his brother might have been, but was so focused on revenge that he missed the mark of true worth. All that Odin taught him was gone.

     Yes, Odin lied to his son, but so did Frigga and Heimdall, why don’t they get called into questioning? Odin may come off as cold and uncaring, but there is so much that one man (let alone a dying man) can carry. Asgard is Odin’s birthright and he will see that birthright is placed in the right hands. Odin has no sentiment about him; he doesn’t waste time with tears and sadness. He has a realm to rule and people to protect. That is what made Odin a true king; duty first, self second and self normally meant family. Of course, he loved Frigga dearly, but she had also been raised in the same manner of royal duty; she knew the duties and expectations of a king.

     If Thor and Loki wanted to be successful kings, they would have to know the price of sacrifice. If a mortal woman (Jane Foster) was a threat to the throne, then Thor would either leave her or give up the throne. If an adopted son who had a chance and wastes that chance because he is to ungrateful for the life that was mercifully given him, then he should probably belong in jail.

~ ~ ~

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Deleted Scenes from Captain America

Captain America: The First Avenger vintage poster
     Yet another video post : ) 

I was scrolling around on Pinterest when I came across some gifs that were from deleted scenes from Captain America: The First Avenger. There's only three, but two of them were great and really should have been left in the movie.

While Steve tours the U.S.A. as Captain America, Sergeant Barnes (Bucky) and the 107th (and soon-to-be Howlin' Commandos) are captured by HYDRA

Colonel Philips chews Steve's ass (sort of) for not receiving his medal of honor and Howard Stark tries to identify HYDRA's weapon. (I loved this scene!!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Scorch Trials Trailer!

YAHHH! I can tell that the movie is going to be different from the book, but I think I might enjoy that because the book was really complex and very disjointed at certain points. So hopefully there will be a stronger and steadier story flow. As long as they keep the primary storyline of Thomas' mental and psychological progression. 

Vlog #5 - May (feat. Emmy)

My sister Emmy and I fangirl about Arrow (her favorite show), superheros, the Avengers and hopes for upcoming MARVEL films.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Stefan Salvatore Appreciation Post

     Oh, my love for The Vampire Diaries and it’s menagerie of well-written and complex characters! I don’t think any character is as deeply complex as immortal seventeen year old Stefan Salvatore of Mystic Falls, Virginia. Admittedly, I started watching the show because of Damon and I was wary of Stefan, because he appeared to have a broody, woe-is-me, Edward Cullen complex (I say that with the complete knowledge of the Twilight book and movie series; so I’m not just parroting off of what anti-Twilighters say). Stefan surprised me though as I watched S1 of TVD and overtime, I began to see incredible comparisons between him and Edward’s brother, Jasper Hale (a great, great character!).

     When we meet him, he’s a quiet but engaging guy who is trying to start over in his life. From the time Stefan transitioned from human to vampire, he has had a blood lust that is stronger than most vampires. In the show, the vampire blood lust is oftentimes portrayed as an addiction, like a human would have for alcohol or medications.

     There are those that can get off of those addictions and never get back on, and then there are those that have a lifelong struggle with staying off. Stefan would be the latter. He needs blood to survive, but his past as a ‘ripper’ (a notorious vampire type that kills for blood and fun) never seems to let him go. Also, vampires have the ability to switch off their humanity, so when Stefan gets into Ripper mode, sans the humanity, very little can stand in his way.

Loyal and courageous Stefan Salvatore
     That was what I loved so much about Stefan. He wasn't just trying to be a ‘good vampire’ he was trying to redeem himself from the life he lived before and to make a new name for himself. For those who say that Stefan pretended to be good, clearly have not grasped the concept that Stefan’s blood lust is comparative to drug/medication addiction. You know it’s wrong to indulge, you know it’s going to destroy you, but still, you can’t stay away.

     Stefan doesn't see himself as a monster, but he is aware of the monster he can become (i.e. the Ripper) if he doesn't remain in constant control. Once Stefan earns someone’s trust, there is no one else you could call a better ally then him. He is always loyal and tries to stay on the moral righteous path. His humanity is very important to him and is his point of reference in his life.

Brothers, competitors, friends and legends.
     His relationship with his older brother, Damon, can be straining from time to time, especially when Stefan knows that Damon is purposely putting on the performance of being the bad brother. Yet, Stefan loves him dearly and will stand by his side when he needs him to. Also, Stefan knows that Damon really does love him or else, why would he always be on the constant lookout for him? So, they've been fighting over the same girls for over 200 years, that’s normal.

     The Salvatore brother relationship is really my favorite relationship on the show. One minute they’re fighting each other and the next they’re fighting together; just like two regular brothers. It’s obvious they care about one another, even though they would take stakes through their hearts before they let anyone know.

Elena Gilbert. The girl he loved and lost.
     Of all of Stefan’s gifts, his ability to love deeply is his greatest. His love for Elena fuels him to suppress his blood lust and heighten his humanity. Although, he may have questioned Elena’s judgments at time, he still respected her decisions (unlike Damon who comes off sexist and misogynist). He always thinks of what’s best for her, even when it means losing her to his brother. 

     Stefan always gives people the benefit of the doubt and will work hard to gain their respect and their trust. He also has a wonderful ability to teach, train and guide new vampires. Using his own life experiences as lessons for others is how Stefan is able to atone for the wrongs of his pasts; to let people know that he has been down many dark roads and survived.

    His incredible generous nature is also what sets him apart from the rest of the supernatural world, especially Damon. Stefan’s accepts people as they are, not as he wants them to be. If he believes they can be better, he’ll let them know, but in the end it’s their choice. He is very protective of Elena’s friends and assists them whenever they need his help, and also becomes a nurturing older brother figure to Elena’s younger brother, Jeremy. Even Elena’s ex-boyfriend befriends him and overtime, comes to greatly respect him.

     Really, by the time Stefan goes back into Ripper mode in S3 (due to a deal he made with Klaus to save his brother’s life), Elena, Damon, Alaric, Caroline, Bonnie, Jeremy, Matt and Tyler all rally together to save him. Because they know that Stefan is worth saving and they all remember that at one point in their lives since knowing him, Stefan had been there when they needed him.

The first time the brothers became a united front.
    So, Stefan Salvatore is a multifaceted character of sides in various shades of black and white. He is ultimately good, while suppressing his inner born tendencies of blood obsession that can turn him into ultimate evil. He has no desire for power, but really for normalcy, acceptance and love. He doesn’t bemoan his life as a vampire, he embraces who and what he is, while continuing to develop a greater sense of humanity that he believes will not only benefit him, but also others around him.

I Love You, Stefan Salvatore!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier

I was hidden in the deep

No need to think, no need to speak

Darkness was my friend and enemy

I can call to no other

And as the snow falls to my feet

I hear a distant memory

Is this what I was born to be?

Before I was taken under

Emotion threatens to break free

So many years taken away from me

There is always another life to live.

From the depths of this hell

I can’t believe,

You would take such a fall

To redeem a monster like me.

Through the crashes of lightening,

For a sinner who knows no peace.

In the shadow of your hope,

Would you rescue me?

So frightened of this world I hate

Seems a like such a cruel fate 

This is all I have to face.

A soldier who lives without wonder

Am I still part of the human race?

Or a machine who has no place?

Have I fallen so far from grace?

All I know is blood and thunder

From the depths of this hell,

I can’t believe

That you would take such a fall

To redeem a monster like me.

Through the crashes of lightening

For a sinner who knows no peace.

In shadow of your hope,

Can you rescue me?

 - Ivy M. Spargur

Inspired by Never Let Me Go by Florence and the Machine

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Assemble & Unite: One Man's Victim, Another Man's Villain

     “Every fairy tale needs a good, old-fashioned villain,” quotes Jim Moriarity in the season 2 finale of BBC’s Sherlock. That is an absolute truth, too. Wherever there is good in the world, there will always be evil to challenge it. In these turbulent and confusing times, we often ask, “Why do bad things happen? Why do people do bad things?” Well, for an evangelical Christian, the response is because we live in a sinful world that was created by a God that gave every human the gift of free will or the ability to choose right or wrong.

     My pastor once said that instead of complaining about how there are so many terrible things in the world, maybe it’s your chance to do something good. Society whines about how God is cruel, unjust and unfair to people. Fair enough, that’s your choice to think that way. These same people also fuel their time and money into watching and supporting superhero films. So, look at it this way, if there was no evil in the world, what would we need superheroes for? Where would we get our moral inspiration? Where would get the rush of excitement when the hero finally defeats the villain?

     The point of the villain is to challenge the hero, to see what they are made of, to push them to absolute limit of moral belief. No franchise does villains better than comic books. Without the villain, our heroes would have nothing to do, nothing to fight for and live in a world that doesn’t need them. In X-Men and the Avengers, there have been three villains that have molded the villain/hero complex to a whole new level, by starting their lives with one crucial step, the victim; a person who overtime turns on the people that could have been their salvation and instead become their targets of hate.

     We’re all born fallen and evil, but we are not born villains; that is a decision we make on our own. One made the conscience decision to remain a personal victim as he grew into his role as a public villain, one is an anti-hero who cannot forget the past and one is a true victim that has no choice and increasingly no hope in the hell he has been forced to live in.

~ ~ ~

Bucky Barnes//The Winter Soldier

     Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes, or otherwise simply known as Bucky, had a life that was the stuff of military fairy tales, which ended in a nightmare. Born to a poor family in Brooklyn, New York; not much is known about Bucky's family life except he was the oldest of four children. Growing up, Bucky was closest to his best friend, scrawny but stubborn, Steve Rogers. Both were as different as two guys could be. Bucky was tall, handsome, charming, athletic and a born leader. Steve was short, homely, awkward, sickly and a social outcast. Yet, there was a bond between these two lonely boys that brought them together on the schoolyard playground which extended onto the battlefield.

     Bucky may have come off as to good to be true, but he greatly possessed a compassionate heart that reached out to the hurt, the lost and the lonely. It’s what made him a good leader and a good second in-command. When Steve Rogers, now the world famous, Captain America, creates the Howlin’ Commandos, a special elite operation in the Strategic Science Reserve and makes Bucky his right hand man, who can say no? Together, Steve and Bucky bring down secret HYDRA factions all over Europe and they seem unstoppable. That is until a terrible accident throws Bucky down into a mountainous range, rendering him dead to his grieving best friend and the world.

     Only, he didn’t die. The super serum experimentation that was done on him as a POW in Austria saved his life, but also brought him into a new life dominated by darkness, fear and terror. In the accident, Bucky’s left arm was severely damaged so HYDRA recreated a new, functional, cybernetic arm made from vibranium, the same metal Captain America’s shield is made of. They then wipe his mind and control, manipulate and abuse him until they have created the ultimate weapon against humanity, an indestructible super soldier that has no free will or choice. Simply a machine that is given orders and must carry them out, lest he gets a bullet in his head.

     Bucky’s stripping of independent free will makes him the helpless victim that becomes the heartless villain. The serum takes what is good and makes it better, so if Bucky was already a good and honorable man, then the serum only heightened his humanity and HYDRA was fully aware of that when they took him underground. By consistently wiping his memory and then proceeding to tell him that his acts of terror are a gift to the world, therefore making him believe that he is performing good, Bucky by no admission of his own has become both victim and villain to mankind.

~ ~ ~

Erik Lensherr//Magneto

     An anti-hero is a person that commits the wrong actions for what they consider the right reasons. If any villain in the comic book universe is the epitome of this, then it’s Erik Lensherr. For Erik, he has been fighting for himself and in the name of others since he was a child. Born into a Jewish family in Nazi Germany, Erik faced discrimination as a Jew and then was herded into a concentration camp (probably Auschwitz) where he is separated from his loving parents.

     When his mother is murdered by an insane scientists who was trying to provoke Erik’s magnetic mutation, Erik flies into an utter rage which allows his powers to manifest at an uncontrollable rate. That rage for the loss of his mother and his hatred toward the prejudice, the intolerable and the discriminatory is what creates in Erik a monster that is ruled by his passion to extract revenge in the name of justice.

     Erik is forever on the balancing edge between hero and villain. In many ways he has a great deal of validations for what he does, but he when begins to punish the majority for the sins of the minority, then his actions come into questioning. What Erik cannot do is forget and move on. He believes that his rage is what controls his abilities and to harness that rage he must remember his pain, his agony and his fear. He wants to inflict on others what was inflicted on him, regardless of if they are innocent people or not. If there are not in his genetic realm, then they must be destroyed. Erik technically becomes a mutant Hitler by believing the mutant race to be superior and the humans inferior.

     Like Bucky, Erik started out as one man’s victim, but overtime, became his own villain. Unlike Bucky, Erik had the choice to choose between good evil and he thought he was choosing good, but evil was always in the background of his mind, whether he was aware of it or not. He always believes that he his fighting to preserve his kind, but how can he do that when half of his kind are trying to protect those that he is trying to kill? For Erik, there is only black and white. There is good and evil, and he truly believes that evil must be served if it means to bring about good.

~ ~ ~


          In the 2011 film Thor, Tom Hiddleston took the world by storm with his characterization of the tragic villain Loki. The younger un-worthier prince that lived in his older brother’s shadow, abandoned by his biological father, rescued by Odin only to feel that he was never loved enough and somehow those reasons are all viable for Loki to create chaos and disorder. Loki’s problem is that he believed his own personal issues made him a victim, therefore were acceptable to become a villain in his own right.

     Tom Hiddleston once quoted about his on screen alto ego that all villains are heroes in their own minds. For the case of Loki Laufeyson (Odinson) he sets out to accomplish the one goal he could never obtain, true greatness. Loki believes that greatness can be found in what makes you happy or successful and as the former god of mischief, Loki’s life has always been about him and no one else.

     All of this stems back to one man, his adopted father, Odin and the trails of ‘if onlys’ that could have paved a different road for Loki. If only Odin had shown Loki a little more attention, if only Odin could accept Loki as a magician and not as a warrior, if only Odin had a little more compassion when he told Loki of his true parentage, if only Odin wasn’t ruler of a great realm that depended on him constantly then maybe he could be the unrealistic father rabid Loki fans want him to be (that escalated quickly). Odin made mistakes, but those mistakes did not make Loki a victim; that image only existed in Loki’s mind. That victimized image pushed him to the absolute transition of a true villain.

     Loki was both villain and victim by his own choice. He ended up getting the sympathy vote because he clearly seemed to have this terrible adopted daddy that didn’t love him and so it validates the madness he generates. In by purposely and independently choosing to become both victim and villain, Loki has only become what his father was trying to protect him from, a monster that destroys anything and everything for the glory of their own selfish purpose.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ten Favorite Screen Characters Tag

     Jamie at Through Two Blue Eyes nominated for the Ten Favorite Screen Characters Tag! Thank you Jamie!! Surprisingly enough, allof my favorite characters were supporting characters that all had one similar trait, the loyal friend. I've just always loved that role and characterization. So here are my 10 favorites!

Lionel Logue – The King’s Speech
Colin Firth as Bertie and Geofrey Rush as Lionel Logue
     This man epitomizes what a true doctor and friend should be. Lionel Logue was a man who saw greatness when no one else did. He was non-judgmental and lived a very simple life that added to his humble nature. In The King’s Speech, you wouldn’t think a speech therapist of all people to make a difference, but that was what I loved about the story; that anyone has the possibility to be whatever they want, if they are willing to work hard enough to achieve it. 

Leonardo Da Vinci – Ever After
Patrick Godfrey as Leonardo DaVinci and Drew Barrymore as Danielle
     The fairy-godmother of this beautiful rendition of the classic Cinderella story. Leonardo Da Vinci is the artist in residence at the palace of France where he befriends that young and rebellious Crown Prince Henry. Soon he becomes Henry’s confidante in all matters concerning love, Danielle’s savior who rescues her from her step-mother’s prison and the voice of reason in a very confusing love story. A painter, architect, designer and inventor, Leonardo sees the world very differently; he sees it as it can be, with no obligations to bloodlines or names, but rather to honesty and courage. 

Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy – The Kennedys
Rachel Booth as Ethel Kennedy and Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy
     As a long time Kennedy fan, I found this mini-series to be absolutely breathtaking! The acting on all fronts was spectacular, but Barry Pepper’s portrayal as Bobby Kennedy was above and beyond the best performance. I’ve admired Bobby Kennedy for many years and in The Kennedys he is exactly the kind of man that you would want by your side, whether in politics or marriage. Bobby is devoted to his country and will take any means necessary to ensure that his brother is able to fulfill his duties. When he’s off the clock, Bobby is a faithful husband to his beloved wife Ethel, a devoted father to his ever-growing brood of children and a devout Catholic that always trusts in God’s will for his life, his family and his country. 

Francois Pienaar – Invictus
Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar
     A man who believes that true leadership is found in leading by example. In 1992, newly freed Nelson Mandela wants to bring peace to apartheid divided South Africa. To do that, he must give all his people something to believe in, and if not in politics, then maybe in sports. He enlists the help of the Francois Pienaar, the captain of Spring Boks rugby team and asks his to do one thing, win the Rugby World Cup. Although, he may think it impossibility at first, Francois convinces his team that the world is changing and they must change with it. A true definition of leadership and strength, Francois is more than just a captain of a rugby team, he is a champion of believing in the impossible and changing the hearts and minds of millions around the world. 

(L-R) Shirley Knight as Neecie, Maggie Smith as Caro and Fionulla Flanagan as Teensy
     Otherwise known as Princess Naked-as-a-Jaybird, Teensy Whitman is a wealthy Louisiana socialite that he seen her far share of loss in her lifetime. Losing both her beloved older brother and extraordinary mother, Teensie identifies with loss more than anyone else in the story. Yet, it doesn't weaken her, but makes her a stronger person. From childhood, Teensy has always had a strong sense of right and wrong and doesn’t care how many ‘social’ rules she has to break for people to understand moral virtue.

Geoffrey Chaucer – A Knight’s Tale
Paul Bettany as Geoffrey Chaucher and Allan Tudyk as Wat
     The actual author of "A Knight’s Tale" (taken from his Canterbury Tales collection), Geoffrey or Geoff is “trudging” the lonely open road to absolutely nowhere when he is given a chance to break the law, create a fake patent of nobility and allow a poor squire to achieve his dream of becoming a knight. A man of many talents, which also includes extraordinary public speaking skills, Geoff is a brilliant public relations manager that gets Will’s name off the ground and into the competitive air of jousting. As funny, clever and charming as the tales he eventually writes, Geoffrey Chaucer is an unforgettable character.

Anne Howard Martin – The Patriot
Lisa Brenner as Anne Howard Martin and Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin
     As ardent a patriot as any man, Anne is a woman who believes passionately in the fight for America’s independence and that passion leads straight to the heart of Gabriel Martin. Anne was a fantastic love interest character, who wasn’t just a docile face in pretty dresses; she was intelligent and lively, while maintaining the elegant feminine grace of young ladies at the time. Anne was probably loosely inspired by Abigail Adams and I enjoy seeing a young woman of that time period who is independent in her beliefs, but was still well-grounded in her upbringing.

Bailey Tallet – Real Steel
Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton and Evangeline Lilly as Bailey Tallet
     A tough, but generous gym owner that mediates between a distant father and his stubborn son, Bailey sometimes finds family fights to be worse than any bot fighting she’s witnessed. Although, she didn’t have a very large role in the film and was really just the love interest, Bailey brought a breath of fresh air to the drama between Charlie and Max, and you could definitely see the immediate mother figure coming from her and how she believes that Charlie and Max can truly have a relationship with each other.

Rahim Khan – The Kite Runner
Zekeria Ebrahimi as young Amir and Shaun Toub as Rahim Kahn
     A soft-spoken man whose words are powerful enough to change two lives. Rahim is the business partner to Amir's father as well as a close friend. What closeness Amir lacks with his father he has in Rahim. "There is a way to be good again," says a man who has harbored many secrets over the years and knows that only Amir cam make right what was wrong when he was a child. Rahim is deep in his convictions and morals as well as a constant guide to the two lost children of the story. A wonderful surrogate father figure in a story where father's are imperfect and make mistakes.

Kitty Brydon – The Jungle Book
Lena Headey as Kitty Brydon and Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli
     A beautiful and energetic young woman who has no problem defying the social norm in Edwardian India. After she finds her old childhood friend Mowgli who is unable to talk or understand human interaction, Kitty takes upon herself to bring him back to the world of humans. In return, Mowgli shows her the secret world of the jungle and she begins to slowly see her once restricted world begin to widen around her. An inspiring heroine to admire for her courage to break the rules and courage to to lost hope in life and in love. 

I nominate: