Farewell Peggy Carter

Today is a sad day indeed, for today we have received the news that Marvel’s Agent Carter has been cancelled by abc in a frankly terrible decision. Peggy is sadly, no more in the MCU, apart from possible movie cameos from Hayley Atwell, and quite frankly, I am not pleased by this in the slightest.
Agent Carter is, for me at least, a big show. I love it dearly. I fell in love with Peggy during Captain America: The First Avenger, and have continued to love her since. I loved her spirit, her keen sense of adventure, and her devotion to saving people, no matter what she was told. Peggy didn’t give up in times of hardship, and never let someone tell her what to do. If she wanted to do it, she did it, without caring for the consequences of her career. As long as the world and the people in it were safe, Peggy did not worry about the repercussions of her actions. She did what had to be done, time and time again.
So when it was announced that she had her own tv show, exploring her life post Steve Rogers, I was ecstatic, and could not wait to see what she would get up to at the SSR. To say the least, I was not disappointed in the result. Agent Carter was a tv show with strong morals, great adventures, and one hell of a dynamic leading lady. Every week Peggy kicked ass, saved New York or LA, all the while coming up with great sass and looking great. It was funny, and silly in places, like all the best Marvel films, but it was also a great drama. I love every single second of it.
But what was even more epic was the message this show had. It carried over the message that Peggy has always had – that women are just as good as men. That even in the most sexist of times and work places, a woman can not only succeed, but she can do it without sleeping with anybody to her where she wants, without the help of a man, and without having to sacrifice her femininity. The show broke the mould in every way it could. It showed a regular human woman could save the world without a man doing it for her, that female friendship is so important, that women do not have to constantly be at war with each other, and so many other things.
Peggy Carter, to say the least, was a feminist hero, sort of like a non-powered version of Buffy set in the 40s. She gave so many important messages, the most important being ‘know your value, anybody else’s opinion doesn’t matter.’
Peggy broke the usual rules of tv, she was smart, beautiful, feminine, and saved the world. She didn’t have special powers, wasn’t an expert at combat, and didn’t let anybody stand in her way. To say the least I will miss her, and of course the ever wonderful Mr Jarvis, and her adventures. I can only hope that something like Netflix will pick up the series, and that she isn’t left to die like this.
Peggy will be sorely missed in this household, and many more across the world.
Farewell Agent Carter.

Advertisements

Captain America: Civil War – A Spoiler Free Review

Last night I saw the midnight showing of the new Captain America movie – and my God it was one hell of a roller coaster ride! The title is not kidding when it says ‘Civil War’ because this really is a war between the Avenger team. Friends are fighting friends, and they’re not holding punches, to say the least, Marvel were not holding back when making this movie. It has to be seen to be believed.
You may be thinking just why I’m saying that – the trailer gives the plot away right? They’re all fighting over the Sokovian Accords. Wrong!
Well, half right, there’s other things at play here too, which I won’t go into for spoiler reasons. What I will say is that the trailers are completely misleading, Marvel have presented every clip to look one way, when in the actual film, it’s going another. They’ve actually used different takes in some cases than they do in the film, to mislead it’s audience. And somehow, that really, really works. You expect a scene to be going in one direction, then Marvel throw the curve ball at you and leave you reeling.
To say the least, this film is two and a half hours of tense fighting, mainly focusing on Chris Evan’s Captain America, and Robert Downey Jnr’s Iron Man. Characters like Black Widow, Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye and Vision are involved, but the argument is centered around Cap and Tony Stark. It’s agonising to watch their friendship deteriorate, even as they desperately try to stay friends, while remaining on opposite sides. What I enjoyed about this was that the character did try to talk it out, and that both sides of the argument were shown.
In this film, there is no right and wrong, there is just Steve Roger’s opinion, and Tony Stark’s, and you as the audience member can choose which side you are on. It’s a tough one to call though, both sides have their good arguments, and both sides also have their bad. Both make mistakes along the way, both try to do what they think is the right thing, and they are both right in their own ways. Even now, I’m still on the fence about which side I’m on, I still honestly do not know. I don’t think I ever will choose a side for definite, it’s just too difficult to call.
Besides all this angst and pain, the film is also surprisingly funny in places. Paul Rudd’s Ant Man is as funny as his solo film, Bucky and Falcon have sort of teamed to make a great double act, who bounce off each other, and Steve Roger’s well.
And, who’d have thought it, but Spiderman is hilarious in places. Honestly, I never find Spiderman funny, in fact, I generally find him a bit tedious and boring. But this film really brings him to the fore, in some ways he and Black Panther steal the show. For once Peter Parker is compelling, actually looks like a teenage boy, and acts like it too. Tom Holland did a fantastic job playing him, and I feel like after his own solo film, I may actually become a Spiderman fan.
Likewise, Black Panther was not what I was expecting. For some reason, I was expecting a more wild character, someone who would not listen to anybody and would act within his own needs, but I was wrong. T’Challa is incredibly regal and calm, willing to listen, yet absolutely lethal in his search for revenge. I don’t know much about his character history, but his future in the MCU is going to be very interesting to say the least.
All in all, Captain America: Civil War is a masterpiece, possibly the best Marvel movie to date. The ending is unexpected in a lot of ways, and is going to lead perfectly into Avengers: Infinity War. There’s brilliant light and shade throughout, you will laugh and cry for the entire film. There’s only a few niggles I have with the film, and those are either down to personal preference, or because I was expecting something different (mostly at the end credit scenes, of which there are two. The scenes are good, but I was expecting a different character to be in one, but that’s just me). But this film is incredibly, honest to God amazing.
And one thing is for certain, the Avengers will never be the same again after this.

Pointless Character Death

Hey, long time no see. Blame the damn assignments for uni. Anyway, I want to talk in this blog post about a problem. Something that is a major problem in so many really good franchises, that don’t just annoy me, it annoys a lot of people. I’m talking about pointless character death.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with character death… sort of. But only when it is a necessary death that serves a purpose. When it doesn’t serve a purpose and it was simply done for either shock value or to create tension between characters, it really winds me up.
Take Sam on How To Get Away With Murder, his death was necessary because the entire show is built around Keating and her students getting away with his murder. His death was semi-justified too, he was an absolutely horrible human being, for reasons I won’t get into for people who plan on watching the show, and his death is the premise of the first season.
Another example is Rue from The Hunger Games. Its a horrendously painful character death, but it serves a purpose of sparking off the revolution and forces Katniss to fight back and get revenge on that Capital.
But when a character death is utterly pointless, I just get so annoyed. Recently, I was watching season 10 of Supernatural, and it got to – spoiler alert here guys if you’re not on season 10 – where Charlie Bradbury died. And her death was so completely and utterly pointless and wrong that I was angry about it for days afterwards. Basically, she died to drive a wedge between Sam and Dean, that was it. She died for that single reason, there was no other reason whatsoever. And it was incredibly annoying.
I mean, the writers could have not killed her, and just injured her instead, easily! The whole reason why her death caused the wedge was because she was helping Sam find a cure for Dean and they were lying to him about it. But because she was in danger, Sam had to tell Dean what was happening, and it caused a huge wedge between them because she died. But the same effect would have been caused if the writers had saved her, but she was badly injured instead. She could have easily been badly injured and the wedge would have still been made. Hell, Cas could have saved her, because he can teleport because he’s an angel and the wedge between the brothers would have still been there.
But no, the writers killed her off. And now she probably isn’t coming back. 
This happens time and time again in things, TV shows especially, where characters are killed off for no reason. I understand it when an actor wants to leave, like with Derek and Greys Anatomy, but even then that death could have been avoided. Derek could have simply just stayed in DC and asked for a divorce or something instead of dying in one of the worst character death scenes I have ever seen. I cried after that one. Actually cried, and I rarely cry over character death, I generally end up just getting annoyed.
Because characters aren’t supposed to just die to create tension, or to be a shock that creates hype on the internet. It’s supposed to really mean something. It’s supposed to be like Buffy’s mum, who died to force Buffy to grow up and stand on her own two feet. Like Dobby, who died saving Harry. Like probably Captain America, who’s death will hopefully force Tony to see the extent of what he’s doing and stop the war.
It’s supposed to be like that, not a death just for hype. When it’s for hype, it’s just pathetic, and clear that the writers are lazy and have no idea on what to do with a character anymore. It’s stupid, and I hate it. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand when writers have to rapidly change story lines because actors are pregnant, like in Bones, so they have to write something like Vincent dying to force Booth and Brennan to finally sleep together out of shock or something, so Brennan gets pregnant. That I can totally understand, but surely it doesn’t always have to end in death?
Can’t a character just be injured for once? Or can’t they come back as a ghost? Or decide to move away? Or something that isn’t them dying for once?! Killing someone off isn’t the only way to get rid of them, it is entirely possible for characters to leave through other means and still have it hurt like hell. Look at the Doctor and Rose at Bad Wolf Bay, Christina leaving Greys Anatomy, Zack turning out to be Gormagon in Bones!
All of those hurt like hell, and with Rose and Zack alike, created great plot twists people weren’t expecting. It’s entirely possible to create a feels inducing moment without killing people off. Writers, take note of that, and stop killing people like Charlie Bradbury off. Please, before I lose my mind.
What do you guys think about character death like this? Do you think any of the people I’ve mentioned had a good send off, if so, why? Or are there any other characters you pretend didn’t die because their deaths were so utterly pointless? Or did you see a really great character send off that didn’t involve them dying? Let me know down in the comments, it would be great to hear from you!

Happy World Book Day!

I love books, always have done, ever since I was a small kid. I was lucky enough to be brought up by a Mum who is a true bookworm, and so was always being read to, and reading by myself. It was to a point where I was reading on twenty minute car journey’s (without feeling sick, might I add), and I ran out of room on my shelves, so had to get rid of a load (which hurt, a lot). I read so much that by the time I was ten, I had run out of children’s books to read and so started on Kathy Reiches – and I’m really not joking on that one either. At ten, I was reading Kathy Reiches’ Bones series.
As a high schooler, I read nearly the entire Angus, Thongs, And Perfect Snogging books in two weeks, which inspired several more trips to Waterstones to pick up book-to-film/film-to-book adaptions. I had to slow down a bit for my GCSE’s and A levels (and to start writing too, of course), but I still kept at it really quite diligently.
Even now, I’m a big fan of books, I want to be an author when I graduate, so of course I love books. As I write this, I’m listening to a song called Boys In Books Are Better by Carrie Hope Fletcher, because I relate to it so much. If you haven’t heard that song, here’s the link:

But what is it about books that I love so much? Well, that’s a hard question, because there’s so much. 
There’s the escapism element, for a start. I love getting lost in a story line, being completely and utterly swept up in it all. I tend to read teen fiction and things about the supernatural, I love getting so lost in it, I forget that vampires/werewolves/whichever mythical creature is involved isn’t real. 
Falling for the characters is another reason, because as Carrie above says, boys in books really are better. Who wants a real guy when you can read about Finnick Odair or Draco Malfoy? (I’m a Slytherin, what can I say?) Nobody! Fictional men may not be perfect, they may have their flaws, but damn it I love them anyway (even when most of them are dead… and not coming back). 
Finding strength in characters too, I have always looked up to strong female characters. So while I fall for Kili, Draco and Shane Collins, I’m also looking up to Katniss, Eve Rosser and Valkyrie Cain. I love to read about these brilliant outcasts, who come in and save the world. Sometimes I like to imagine that I’d be as amazing as them in the same situation, even when I know that I’d die within five minutes. It’s fun to pretend for a little while, after all. 
Before I spend the next six years telling you all the reasons why I love books, I should probably wrap this up. Basically, I love it all. Books are an incredible thing. They provide hours of entertainment, introduce us to new concepts, inspire us, and so much more. And all of it with just words, just 26 letters, rearranged again and again, to make sentences, which make paragraphs, which makes stories. Honestly, where would we be without stories? Without Harry Potter, without Bilbo Baggins, without Skullduggery Pleasant? Nowhere, we would be bored, we wouldn’t know what adventure and bravery was. 
But with books, we can sail the high seas, fight the Capital, stop Valentine. We fall in love, solve mysteries and crimes, travel to far off places – some of which don’t even exist. We can do all of that and more. For someone like me, who’s socially awkward and doesn’t like to leave the house all too often, a book is a godsend. 
So what is it that I love about books? Everything, really. I love it all. Books are magical things, and if everybody spent more time reading them, I think we would all be that little bit more magical ourselves. 

Good Deadpool? Bad Deadpool? GOOD DEADPOOL!

I’ve literally just come back from watching Deadpool and I have to get out my feelings right now, because my God Deadpool is amazing! I loved every single second of this madcap, fourth-wall breaking, swearing, gory, laugh out loud funny origin film, and I’d highly recommend that everybody go and see it… Unless you’re squeamish, or have a delicate disposition, then I’d say stay away as far as possible. If you’re into this sort of stuff, then you’re going to LOVE this film.
Going into Deadpool, all I knew about him was the basics – he breaks the fourth wall, swears a lot, and is known as the ‘Merc With A Mouth,’ other than that, I knew nothing. I’d seen Wolverine Origins (which gets ripped to shreds in this film, or at least Hugh Jackman does anyway) but my knowledge was so skin thin I could have gone in completely ignorant. What I got in return was absolute genius – a completely new take on the ‘hero origin’ story, where the hero doesn’t even want to be a hero. Wade Wilson (the man behind the mask) just wants revenge on the man who gave him his powers and destroyed his skin, and to save his girlfriend from the same man, he doesn’t want to be a hero, and he makes sure everybody knows it.
To be honest, this is more of a revenge story than anything else, it’s nearly two hours of Wade seeking revenge, with pieces of flashback to explain why Wade is after this guy in the first place. And somehow, that works, and more importantly, you fall in love with Wade as he does this.
From the opening scene, Wade Wilson is having gory shoot outs with his enemies henchman, destroying cars and turning one guy into a shish-kabob. The audience knows straight away that Wade is not a good person at all, and yet, as his story is told, you fall in love with him. It’s all through his wise cracks and his love for his girlfriend Vanessa. He’s ridiculous in so many ways, but absolutely lovable, not in a way that you’d take him home to meet your mum, but still very lovable. His jokes about Hugh Jackman (of which there are many), the X-Men in general, and pop culture are completely on point and hilarious.
At points, he gets a bit near the mark with his sex jokes, but that was the whole point of Deadpool in the first place – he’s not supposed to be correct all the time. He’s supposed to be absolutely insane, rude and dangerous, the antithesis of the anti-hero. And in this film, it’s perfect for him. No other hero could pull this off at all, Wade Wilson is the least politically correct super hero ever, and it’s absolutely perfect.
Deadpool in fact doesn’t pull any punches, or hold back in any shape or form. The fourth wall breaks are everywhere, some so subtle you nearly miss them, and others right in your face. Swear words fly around so damn often you forget that this is a Marvel film, they’re not at all bleeped out like they are in the comics. The blood and guts are absolutely everywhere, hell even the naked shots aren’t held back either. Where other films would use tasteful angles to avoid showing someone’s manhood in the middle of a fight, Deadpool doesn’t shy away at all. Nothing in Deadpool is shy, or chaste, or anything of the sort. It’s loud, in your face, hilarious, and absolutely brilliant. I only have two objections – 1) Hugh Jackman doesn’t actually turn up, and neither does Wolverine, even though both are mentioned, and 2) Deadpool never physically meets Stan Lee, which could have been epic. Oh well, there’s always next time for these two wishes!
In all seriousness though, Deadpool is an incredible film, and the perfect way to start this year’s superhero offerings from Marvel. I can’t wait to see what Wade will get up to next, all I can say is that it’ll be absolutely epic.

Top 5 Most Important Editing Points

Hey, so here’s the start of my series of blogs/vlogs on editing your novels! I thought I’d start off with a check list of the most important things you need to check for in your work. It’s so important that you get these things right, as these are the basics of a novel that you have to get right in order to get anywhere else.
11)      Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. That’s an obvious one really, because spelling and grammar are very important things. Spelling should be relatively easy thanks to spell check, but grammar is a bit harder to deal with, but there’s a few things you can do to help yourself out. One is to read your work allowed to yourself, speaking and reading engages different parts of the brain, so you pick up more mistakes if you’re reading aloud. It sounds nuts, I know, but it actually works. I’ve done it before, and have had it recommended by several tutors so I know it works a treat.  And two, you can use a website called Hemingway, which checks through your work and clearly highlights sentences that need improving. I’ve used it loads and it works great.
22)      Check your story for coherency. Make sure that your story makes sense and that it is easy to understand. I’m not saying you can’t have a convoluted plot, if you want that, go for it, but you have to make it easy to understand, or you will lose your readers. Make sure that you’ve explained your plot fully in your story as you’ve gone along, and not suddenly including an important element with no explanation as to how it got there.
33)      Make sure you have tied up all loose ends. Unless you’re writing a series and are planning on tying up loose ends in a further book, all the fragments of the story have to come together to make sense by the end. Go through and make a list of all your plot points, and check off each thing you resolve and see if you have anything left over by the end. If you do, you’re probably going to have to go back and resolve that point somewhere. Obviously, if you’re planning a series out, you can resolve plot points in a further book, but make sure that by the end of the series you have actually done that. As for one off books, then you have to resolve all plot points or you’re going to anger a lot of readers, as they will want answers.
44)      Make sure you’re consistent. If you’ve started writing in first person, make sure you’ve stayed in first person throughout, unless you have a specific reason to change it. Check to make sure your characters physical attributes are consistent and haven’t suddenly changed for no reason, make sure you’ve kept to the same tense throughout (a flashback/memory is mostly where a change from present to past tense is allowed, everything else should be in the same tense). All of these things are really important, and you have to make sure you have kept everything like that the exact same way throughout the novel, unless there’s reason for things to change. If there’s no need for things to suddenly jump from present to past tense, then make sure you’ve stayed in the original tense.
55)      Keep your story line on the right track. You have to be certain that you’ve kept to your story line from the beginning until the end. A story is going to go nowhere if your character starts off trying to find their parents at the beginning, and ends up battling demons by the end, unless they have been drawn into doing that while on their original quest. If they’ve completed their original quest and have had to go on another straight away, fair enough, but you have to make sure that that original quest has come to completion by the end.
It’s all about consistency people; every single thing has to be consistent and kept on a similar path. And yes, editing is boring, I know. But it’s an incredibly important part of the writing process, and will be the thing that sharpens your story into the incredible epic it can be. The editing is so, so important, and you have to check for these things and change anything that is wrong, or your novel won’t go anywhere.

If you guys have anything else you check for when you’re editing your stories, please comment below, I’ll add anything to this main post, or start a new one, so we can create one massive checklist of editing! 

And Then There Was One Massive Plot Twist

Hey everyone, I hope your Christmas’ were fun and you got everything you wanted! I had a pretty good time, and have mostly been sitting on my arse doing nothing all week. Well, when I say nothing, I mean watching TV, and my God did I stumble upon one hell of a TV special.
Of course, I’m talking about And Then There Were None, the BBC’s latest adaption of Agatha Christie’s novel, and over three nights I was utterly hooked on it. I’d been looking forward to watching this show ever since I saw the advert for it a while back, to be honest, I probably would have watched anyway because a) Aiden Turner is in it and I love that man a lot, and b) it’s a murder mystery. If there’s one thing I love to watch, it’s a murder mystery, or really anything to do with murder. So, I sat down and watched it, and I fallen in love.
First of all, the plot is amazing, ten strangers are invited to an island, each one with a secret, and slowly they get killed off one by one, not knowing who is behind it. Each person is killed according to poem that hangs in every persons room in the house, and when a body is found, the ten statues in the dining room reduce numbers. This could have gotten very monotonous after the third murder, possibly even predictable, but it never did. I was on tender hooks the entire time, wondering who was going to die next, and how it was going to be done. For the first two episodes, I resisted looking up the whole poem, but I had to by the end episode, just to see if I could get any clues from it, all I got instead was the creepy factor amping up further.
Secondly, the characters were incredibly cleverly written. Each one is hiding a common secret – they’re all guilty of murder in some way or other, and none of them have been caught for it. Between a doctor who drunk on the job during a surgery, to a cop who killed a gay man simply for being gay, every single one has killed at least one person and none feel the least bit guilty for it. And while some characters are sort of likable, you as the audience don’t really warm to anyone. Not to say that they all deserved to die (though let’s be honest, Douglas’ Booth’s character was a complete asshole and was pegged to be ‘the first to go’ from the start) but you don’t actually route for anybody, not really. I found myself liking Aiden’s character, not just for his face (or his body, dear lord that towel scene was a nice edition, thank you producers that one) but because he was honest. He admitted to his killings, and while showing no sign of remorse, he did show some brain, and some kindness at times. He didn’t just think of getting himself off the island, he did try to help the others he trusted to. So I liked him. Which (spoiler alert) made his death quite painful in the end, at least he was second to last to go, so it wasn’t too bad.
Nothing is all too obvious in plot line either, nothing is revealed straight away. You have to watch all three episodes to get everyone’s story, and to figure out who is behind all this. It is never made clear, or even hinted at, whether the killer is part of the ten or if they is another player in the mix. Trying to figure it out is nigh impossible, as at every turn you find out something new that creates a new theory. I had so many I lost count, and never once was I right in my deductions. At one point I went so far as to think that maybe this was all happening in someone’s head, and that this was some sort of psychotic break Shutter Island style, which seemed very plausible. Every theory seemed plausible as I went along, and I never expected the plot twist at the end.
Now, I’m going warn you SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, SCROLL PAST THIS BIT RIGHT NOW. I HAVE WARNED YOU.

At the end, just when I thought I would never find out who was behind all the murder (let me tell you right now, if that had happened, I would have hit the roof in anger and this review would be very different) to find out that it was the judge all along – I never saw that coming in a million years! In hindsight, I probably should have, judge/jury/executioner and all that, but I honestly didn’t! I immediately discounted him after he faked his death, thinking him as just another victim, and possibly the sanest one of the lot. So to see him actually reveal that he was behind all of it, as a sort of ‘get the uncaught bad guys’ before dying himself, wow I had never even considered it. I actually screamed a little when I did if I’m honest.

SPOILER FREE ZONE STARTS AGAIN HERE.
Truly, And Then There Were None was a brilliant thrill ride of a TV show. Combing suspense, gore, murder and wonderful plot twists into a beautiful three hours. It distinctly reminded me of an old fashioned How To Get Away With Murder mini series, set in the space of a few days instead of a few months. I love every single second of it, and wish to see more things like this in the future! BBC get right on it, I need more!
Did anybody else see anything good over the holidays? If so, let me know, I need more things to watch to distract me from my essays and currently not much is working. Also, if you watched this show, let me know some of your theories, were you as shocked as I was when the killer was revealed? Let’s start a discussion going, I sure as hell don’t want to let this show end so soon!