WonderCon 2013

Mama Jedi, HNG, Geek Outlaw

Mama Jedi, HNG, Geek Outlaw

Hope y’all had a very happy and nerderific Easter! I apologize for the lack of posts recently. Between working full-time (yes, I have a “real” job!), out of town guests, and just plain old life, I just haven’t much time to blog. But I’ll try to be better.

So, a lot of cool crap happened this past weekend. There was new Doctor Who, the season premier of Game of Thrones, and the season finale of The Walking Dead. And, of course, WonderCon.

I mentioned in my wrap-up of last year’s WonderCon that WC was the first comic book convention I ever went to (back when it was in Oakland) and it holds a very special place in my hearts. It’s a nice combination of comic books and TV/movies. San Diego Comic Con is great, but it focuses so much on the Hollywood stuff that the comic books tend to get a little lost. A comic book vendor and I were joking on Saturday about the audacity of the people who actually buy comic books at a comic book convention! Inconceivable!

After cosplaying as Thor for a day at SDCC last year, I honestly didn’t think I would cosplay in public again for a very long time. I’m quite shy, especially around large groups of strangers, and my instinct is to blend in. Cosplaying is the opposite of blending in. Because of the timing of the day, I didn’t spend much time at SDCC walking around as Thor. But in the brief times that I did, it garnered a lot of attention. Attention that I’m not used to and that made me a bit panicky. I was very uncomfortable and not just because of the corset. I’ve been putting together a Tenth Doctor costume for quite a while now. He’s my favorite of the Doctor incarnations (followed by Eleven, Four, Nine, and Five) and, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I was looking for an excuse to buy a sonic screwdriver. Because of last year’s experience, I almost didn’t wear it, but I’m glad that I did. It was comfortable and fun and was a great ice breaker (that and the flask of liquor I kept in my backpack *ahem*)

Enough rambling, on to the panels I attended. Sadly, the TV show panel I was most excited about was the Vikings one and I missed it thanks to the traffic around the convention center. I was very, very sad because, as many of you know, I’m very proud of my Viking heritage. But I sat in on a bunch of really cool ones that made up for it.

Allons-y!

Geeking Out with the League of Extraordinary Ladies

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Panelists: Autumn Massey, Dina Kampmeyer, Emily Heyer, Geek Girl Diva, Jenn Fujikawa (Just Jenn), Sarah Kuhn, Stephanie Thorpe, Theresa Wollenstein

These geektacular ladies are very much in line with my favorite motto: “nerd girls of the world unite.” They are a positive group of strong, independent, intelligent women who love to geek out together and support each other. As someone who can’t stand cattiness, these ladies are right up my alley. The first thing I did when I got home was to join their facebook group. I encourage everyone (men are also welcome) to join as well.  Unfortunately, we had to leave their panel early to make it to the next one. What I wouldn’t give for a time-turner so that I could go to multiple panels that are scheduled for the same time.

Falling Skies

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Panelists: Drew Roy (Hal), Sarah Carter (Maggie), Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes), Remi Aubuchon (Executive Producer)

I’ve been a fan of Falling Skies from the get go. As my NerdBFF Geek Outlaw says, “if it’s got aliens in it, I’ll watch it!” And it keeps getting better. We got to see some clips from the first episode premiering June 9th on TNT, including a new baby girl, some more Karen, a badass new punk rock haircut for Matt, promotions for Tom and Lourdes, new alien technology, conflict for Maggie, and some pretty epic looking battle scenes. It definitely got me excited.

Oddball Comics Live: Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll

HNG Oddball

Panelist: Scott Shaw

I’ve never laughed harder at a panel than I did at this one. Scott Shaw has collected some of the most bizarre comic books imaginable over the course of the last 50 years. It’s filled with crotches, boobs, phallic symbols, crazy concepts, and hidden-in-plain-sight imagery (kind of like the dirty stuff found in every Disney movie made from 1989 to 1992). It’s hard to tell if they were done intentionally or unintentionally.  He’s compiled them into a power point presentation that he complements with witty commentary. It’s hysterical and I highly recommend checking it out if you ever see him on a convention schedule.

Roddenberry Presents

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Panelists: Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Tory Mell

As a life-long Trekker, I always enjoy checking out the Roddenberry Presents panel. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Rod and Trevor a few times now and even interviewed Rod at SDCC last year (I’m still perfecting my interviewing skills, mmmkay?) They are super nice and working on some seriously awesome stuff.

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Rod Roddenberry, HNG, Trevor Roth. I have no idea why I look bored in this picture, I SWEAR I wasn’t. I was probably wondering if Mama Jedi knew how to operate my camera.

Things worth checking out right now: Days Missing, Mission Log podcast, and White Room: 02B3. Things worth checking out in the near future: Worth. We were teased about exciting new things TBA at SDCC this year. One of the highlights of the panel? Winning this awesome “Cool as Kirk” t-shirt for answering one of the trivia questions correctly.

HNG Star Trek tshirt

Geeks Get Published

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Panelists: SG Browne, Katrina Hill, Alan Kistler, Alex Langley, Dr. Travis Langley. Moderated by Jenna Busch.

This panel was extremely informative. It was a panel full of geek-centric authors offering up free advice on how to get published. The main thing I took away from it was that I’d like to get a literary agent and that I’m doing the right thing by writing what I love. Afterwards, Alan Kistler found me downstairs and wanted a picture (he’s a big Doctor Who fan and is coming out with a Doctor Who book later this year.

Alan Kistler and HNG

Alan Kistler and HNG

He graciously stayed and chatted with Geek Outlaw and I for a good 10-15 minutes about writing while his friends wandered off to the bar without him. Thanks again, Alan!

Here’s some of what happened down on the Floor…

One of the first booths we noticed was that of Lion Forge Comics. It was a mighty impressive booth.

Geek Outlaw oohing and ahhing

Geek Outlaw oohing and ahhing

They had a healthy line for the slot machine which we were talked into joining. It was manned by this lovely lady armed with a sonic screwdriver.

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Mama Jedi went first and won a giant bag.

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Then it was my turn.

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The machine didn’t seem to be working properly so I fixed it when no one was paying attention and won a bracelet.

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Then Geek Outlaw went and won a bracelet. I totally took a picture of him doing it but he didn’t send it to me so blame him for the empty space here.

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Based out of St. Louis, MO, Lion Forge has a lot of projects in the works and were some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We chatted with a number of the people involved, including the Creative Director, the YouTube channel host, one of the primary writers, and even the guy who’s in charge of Licensing who was kind enough to help me get Mama Jedi into the giant bag she’d won.

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It seemed like a good idea at the time

There was a large “celebrity row” including Boomer aka Herbert Jefferson Jr. from the Classic Battlestar Galactica.

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Star Wars staple Chewbacca aka Peter Mayhew.

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The ghost of Richard Hatch aka OG Apollo and reboot Zarek.

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The Soup Nazi aka Larry Thomas, who’s decision to sign soup ladles convinced Geek Outlaw to buy an autographed one for his parents who LOVE the Soup Nazi.

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And then there was this guy who Mama Jedi made a beeline for. I still have absolutely no idea who he is or what he does besides sitting there shirtless.

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We ran into SDCC buddy Daniel who was holding down the fort at the booth of a friend.

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We also visited a buddy from this past Long Beach Comic Con. Artist Matt Stevens creates metal fan art. Last time I bought Tenth Doctor and Wash. This time I got an Eleventh Doctor and River Song bookmark. They sit right by my desk and I LOVE them. Not only is Matt a fantastic artist but he’s a super cool dude so you should definitely check him out HERE.

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That’s a mighty fine t-shirt you got there, Matt

One of the ships from Oblivion.

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There was a parade of R2 units lead by a small child.

Where were those brakes again?

Where were those brakes again?

They got into a fight with a couple of WALL-E‘s.

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There was some spitting and at one point the Black R2 unit totally flipped off one of the WALL-E’s as you can see in this video I took:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/gfu_uFi_W6E]

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It wouldn’t be an HNG convention wrap up without the costume pictures!

One of the very first cosplayers we ran into was Toni Darling, better known to the interwebz as Lady Thor. She’s a friend of Daniel’s and the artist who’s booth he was manning (see the posters and artwork behind him?)

I have no idea why I'm making that stupid face

I have no idea why I’m making that stupid face

On our way to the Falling Skies panel I time crashed into my future self in the form of a delightful guy with a very convincing British accent named Jack.

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Something’s up with the universe because we ran into each other again at the end of the night while Geek Outlaw and I were chatting with Alan Kistler and took some more pics.

This is Alan's friend who took off for the bar while we were deep in conversation about writing and stuff

This is Alan’s friend who took off for the bar while we were deep in conversation about writing and stuff

Jack even helped us out by taking the picture of our little group in front of the WonderCon sign.

WonderCon Hot Nerd Girl

Time crash number two occurred down on the Floor. This time I ran into my Fourth incarnation.

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Four is my favorite of the Classic Doctors so he gave me a jelly baby which I totally ate, because, heck, it’s a jelly baby from the Doctor! It was delicious.

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It was a little freakier when I saw myself. I’m just going to assume that he’s the Meta-Crisis Doctor 😉

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Mini me. Seriously, this kid was adorable. He was a bit upset with his Mom because she ruined his jacket. It’s not easy being the mother of a Time Lord, mmmkay kiddo?

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There were many, many, many ladies dressed up as the TARDIS. Apparently a Time Lord dropped some TARDIS coral on Earth at some point in the past.  This one was one of my favorites because it was so unique.

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Let’s move away from Gallifrey and check out some of the other costumes, shall we?

This Lady Thor sat next to us during the Roddenberry panel.

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I ran into this walker at least three times. It freaked me out just as much each time. *shudder* He obviously ran into Haley from Woodbury because there’s no way Daryl would have missed that badly. Twice.

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There are always a few Ghostbusters wandering around conventions. This time they were everywhere. We chatted with a group from Sacramento for quite a while. I like the Ghostbusters groups, they do great things in their communities.

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The Ecto-truck (behind Ecto-1) belongs to one of the guys from the Sacramento group.

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The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was the Dad of the Mini Tenth Doctor (see him down in the right hand corner? He’s totally thinking he has the coolest Dad ever).

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Stay Puft helped me out by posing with Flat Stanley. I was put in charge of Flat Stanley by a friend who’s kid read the book. I honestly have no idea what the heck Flat Stanley is all about but I returned him to his owner yesterday. Apparently I’m getting him back when I go to Wisconsin for my family reunion next month,

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Rad.

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Steam Punk Snow White can kick your ass.

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Disney Princesses + Rainbow Brite = every little girl’s fantasy come true.

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Jon Snow admiring Daenerys’ …uh…eggs. Riiiight…..

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THIS.

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COBRA Command from GI Joe. I’m pulling this entirely from memory here but the group seems to include Serpentor, Destro, The Baroness, and I think Zarana, a BAT and a Night Creeper. Please correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been more than a few years.

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Marvel goodies vs. DC baddies.

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LEGO Darth Maul!

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This fellow HNG was mighty hot for a scruffy looking nerf herder.

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That’s a nice multipass you got there, Leeloo (and a view from the rear for anyone who’s interested).DSC00511Finally, there’s CMDR William T. Riker as portrayed by a guy who’s name really is William (no joke). He was very nice and we chatted for a few minutes about how much we love Star Trek. It was only after I got home that I realize we’d already met and taken a picture together at Long Beach Comic Con back in November. Kismet!

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And that concludes my wrap up of WonderCon 2013. It was loads of fun and I’m looking forward to next year!

Avengers Assemble!

Thor is my favoritest Hero ever in case you didn’t know that by now

OMFG.

I don’t know how else to adequately describe how much I loved this movie.

I saw The Avengers twice in 2 days.  The first time after an epic all-day Marvel Movie Marathon with my NBFF Geek Outlaw.

And the second time on Sunday morning with my Mom and SO. Afterwards we went to Smash Burger which I thought was really funny. I’m not gonna lie, I’m probably going to go back a third time and see it in 3D. I don’t normally watch 3D movies that were converted in post-production but I’ve heard the 3D is pretty good so I’m willing to give it a shot. It was also one of the funniest movies I’ve seen. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard since Bridesmaids.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead! So don’t read past this if you don’t want to be, umm, spoiled.

When Thor came out I predicted that Loki would be the main villain in The Avengers (that much was obvious from the teaser after the end credits) and that the plot would center on preventing Ragnarök, a major plot point in the Thor comics. And while it wasn’t exactly an apocalypse (unless you were on the island of Manhattan), the end of the world as we know it was a real possibility so I’m going to consider myself 12% right, with an argument being made for 15%.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOrNdBpGMv8]

The basic plot line is as follows: After letting himself fall (not being pushed…but nice word twisting there Loki) Loki explores the tree of life for a bit before forming a partnership with The Other (frequent Whedon collaborator Alexis Denisof) and the Chitauri. Loki agrees to give The Other the Tesseract (aka Cosmic Cube) seen in Captain America in return for an army to conquer Earth. We humans aren’t too big on that and we fight back as usual, this time relying on The Avengers, a hodge podge team of superheroes led by Nick Fury and SHIELD, a super secret agency. Loki uses that brilliantly deceptive tongue of his to divide our heroes before they see the big picture and come together to save mankind and Manahattan (with the help of some real life Army Reservists by the by).

Now, I’m going to be nitpicky for just a second and point out a few things that differ from the comics. Nick Fury/SHIELD did not assemble The Avengers. We don’t get to see Avengers founding members Ant-Man (Henry Pym) and Wasp (Janet van Dyne). Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye are later additions to the team. The Chitauri are a race of history-meddling shapeshifters and we never really see their true form. This shapeshifting ability was apparently tossed for the movie.

And I am completely OK with all of those changes.

Avengers assemble!

Iron Man (Tony Stark):

Tony (Robert Downey Jr) got most of the best lines in the film.  His nicknames for the other heroes were HI-larious.  The ones that immediately come to mind are Legolas (Hawkeye) and Point Break (Thor) but there were so many others that I can’t think of off the top of my head. He had a great bromance going on with Bruce Banner and I was happy to see the two wunderkinds drive off together at the end of the film. I thought it was interesting that they chose to completely ignore Rhodey (War Machine) since he would probably only skip this fight if he were trapped in an underground bunker somewhere, but I can’t say that I’m surprised.  There was already so much going on and you can only say “we sent them halfway around the world for their own safety” so many times. They did feature Pepper Potts quite prominently though. I’m not a big Gwyneth Paltrow fan but I do enjoy her as Pepper so that was fine. Anyone else notice that Tony wore a Black Sabbath t-shirt for a large chunk of the film? A nice little reference to their song “Iron Man” that I found amusing.

Hulk (Bruce Banner):

Mark Ruffalo is officially my favorite Bruce Banner. He was positively adorkable. His shy, soft-spoken good naturedness (is that even a word?) was so appealing that I never want to see anyone else play him ever again.  It was a very good call to model Hulk after Ruffalo using the same technology used for Avatar as opposed to having him be pure CGI. I read  that Hulk was a combination of Ruffalo and a male stripper from Long Island which is awesome. At the end of The Incredible Hulk it seemed like Bruce was working on controlling his alter ego. It appears that he succeeded. Much like his evolution in the comics, we see Hulk being uncontrollable when he’s caught off guard and in control when it’s his choice to change. I’m not surprised that we didn’t see Betty Ross but I was expecting some kind of reference to General Ross, especially after watching the Agent Coulson one-shot “The Consultant.” Hulk had so many great moments in this film but my favorite is probably when he picked up Loki and started smashing him back and forth before calling him a “puny god.” Harry Dean Stanton had a funny little cameo as a security guard that witnesses Hulk’s plummet to Earth and solemnly informs Bruce that he has “a condition.”

Thor (Thor):

How they planned on getting Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to Earth after the destruction of the Bifröst was something I was very interested to see. Loki comments that it must have taken a lot of dark magic on Odin’s part to make it happen. I’m looking forward to seeing the repercussions of that in Thor 2. Now that the cosmic cube resides in Asgard, Thor should be able to return to Earth and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) at will until the Bifröst can be remade. Jane was one of those “we sent her far, far away” quickies and that’s too bad. I would have liked to have seen her go up against flying monkey Erik and her (sure to be hilarious) reaction to Loki in all his Asgardian finery. This ordeal was so much more personal for Thor.  Within a very short time he lost his kingship, was betrayed by his brother, changed his whole mentality, fell in love, lost his brother, and had to save Midgard. The fact that he has an “only I can be mad at and deal with my brother” attitude in the beginning is certainly understandable. And his comment about Loki being adopted made me LOL. It was fun to see Thor duke it out with Hulk. It’s made clear in the movie that he’s one of the few individuals who CAN be a match for Hulk. Go figure that it would take a god. The best part; however, was the conclusion of that fight. Having been interrupted by a fighter jet distraction the first time around, Hulk took the opportunity of punching Thor across Grand Central after they worked together to bring down a Chitauri mega monster. Brilliant.

Captain America (Steve Rogers):

Poor Cap. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is such a smart and instinctive guy but the fact that he’s a fish out of water and placed next to two of the world’s foremost geniuses, makes him seem a bit dense (his excitement at understanding the flying monkey reference was endearingly adorable). But his leadership skills and strategic ability are never questioned by his fellow heroes once the fighting begins. This is a guy whose entire world has been flipped upside down and yet he doesn’t even flinch. People need saving and by God, he’s going to save them. This includes a cute blonde waitress (Ashley Johnson). Anyone else find it interesting that her nametag said “Beth” which is a nickname for Elizabeth? You know what else is a nickname for Elizabeth? Betsy. As in Betsy Ross aka Golden Girl, Cap’s onetime partner and girlfriend. I can’t help but wonder if that is a coincidence. Considering it’s Joss Whedon, I’m thinking it had to be intentional.

Black Widow (Natsha Romanoff) / Hawkeye (Clint Barton):

I seriously want to see more of the Hawkeye/Black Widow relationship.  I think they should give the two of them their own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. There is plenty of history (and sexual tension) between the two of them to make it interesting and entertaining. I don’t know what it is about Jeremy Renner, but there is something very appealing about him. He’s not your stereotypically handsome action star but I kinda wanna jump his bones anyways. I think I’ll add him to the runners up list. I’ve always been told that Scarlett Johansson is a bit of a bee-yatch but I’ve seen her perform on Broadway (in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge) and she is a fantastic actress. I also think she’s one of the sexiest actresses working today (Geek Outlaw thinks so too). She certainly holds her own with the boys in this movie. Considering Black Widow and Hawkeye are ordinary humans (albeit with extraordinary skill sets), you have to suspend belief a bit when watching them survive falls and body slams that would normally kill a person instantly but barely leave a scratch on them. And yet, I didn’t care about the improbability of it all. The awesomeness outweighed the practicality for me.

SHIELD:

Samuel L. Jackson is having way too much fun playing Nick Fury, creator and director of SHIELD (sorry, I don’t like putting periods between the letters, I think it looks weird) and I’m having way too much fun watching him. It’s nice to see him have more to do than scold Tony or show up in the end credits. Nick Fury started SHIELD after WWII (he mentions his friend Howard Stark as a fellow founding member during Iron Man 2) so if you’re not a reader of the comics you might be wondering why he looks 45 years old. They don’t explain it in any of the movies but his aging has been slowed by the Infinity Formula. Just so you know.

I started getting nervous when they got personal with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) at the beginning of the movie. That never bodes well for someone as cryptic as him. My psychic movie skills kicked in and I figured out what was going to happen to him pretty quickly. I’m in mourning. Even though his character was manufactured purely for the screen and doesn’t appear in the comics, I’m going to miss not seeing him weave in and out of the various individual films. If you haven’t seen it, watch “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.” It’s Agent Coulson showing off more than his wit for once. RIP Phil.

Had Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman flick taken off, Cobie Smulders would most likely have been cast as Diana. But that project was shelved and instead she won the role of Agent Maria Hill (beating out Firefly alum Morena Baccarin). Boy, is she a looker. Wow. She also stars on How I Met Your Mother with Alexis Denisof’s wife and Whedon regular, Alyson Hannigan. Cobie wasn’t given a trainer for the movie so she hired one herself to teach her how to act like an agent. I like a girl who does her homework.

The 12-person SHIELD Council should be more in shadow, we shouldn’t be able to see their faces. No one knows who they are, not Nick Fury, not even each other. If we can see their faces, we can use facial recognition software to find out who they are. But that’s me being nitpicky.

The guy on the bridge playing Galaga? Classic.

The Helicarrier is a character in its own right and plays a huge part in the film. It exists because a mobile headquarters is much more difficult for an evil organization *coughHYDRAcough* to find and destroy and protects any potential host nations from being a target. They took it one step further in the movie and gave it cloaking technology which was totally badass and a nice little treat for this Trekkie.

Loki:

I’m very quickly becoming a huge fan of Tom Hiddleston. I had never seen him before Thor but he’s perfection as Loki. And this is coming from someone whose way into anything related to Norse mythology. In the comics Loki is the first villain The Avengers go up against so I was happy to see that they kept that. It would have been much easier to pick a different villain and avoid the whole magic vs. science conundrum. The various directors, producers, writers, Marvel Execs, etc. did an excellent job of making the magic scientific and the science magical so it didn’t feel forced and it made sense to the laymen. They get an A+ for teamwork.

Anyone who leaves the movie theatre before a Marvel movie’s end credits are over is an idiot. There’s always some little nugget of awesomesauce just waiting to delight our senses. In this case we got two of them.  The first one shows The Other talking to a mysterious master about the fact that humans are not to be trifled with.  They don’t say who this master is but I’m thinking its Thanos. If anyone has another theory I’d like to hear it but I’d bet money that I’m right. The second one has our heroes sitting around eating shawarma just after the battle while the employees clean up debris in the background. No one speaks (although Bruce does start chuckling) and it’s hilarious.

I’m a massive Whedonite so I’m probably totally biased but I have to give Joss Whedon mad props for this movie. It’ll probably go down as one of my top 5 favorite movies ever and a lot of that is due to him.  He rewrote the script and had a vision that wove together four different franchises into one seamless and elegant package.  The combination of action, drama and humor is classic Joss. I think that one of the other directors would have made an excellent film as well but Joss made it magical and I hope they are smart enough to keep him as the director of all future Avenger films.

I hope so, Joss. I hope so.

“These people shouldn’t be in the same room let alone on the same team—and that is the definition of family” – Joss Whedon

5 out of 5 Sci-Fives!

Five out of Five Sci-Five