October's Fiction

So, I thought two books in September was sad.

Unless my memory fails me, I only read two books in October.

What's happening to me, guys?

Image credits go to Pinterest.

And Then There Were None


Agatha Christie, Queen of Crime! "And Then There Were None" is a fast moving read that is sure to draw in readers.

This was the first Agatha Christie novel I'd ever read. Originally I wanted to read Murder on the Orient Express, but I could not find it in my library and thus it remains on my TBR. 

Anywho. This was an enjoyable, fast-paced read which kept me delightfully absorbed for a day or two. I would say I loved it except for one little detail: the ending. The ending, you see, depressed me.

Of course, I knew from the beginning that a murder mystery entitled "And Then There Were None" would probably not end on a very cheerful note. However. I was also expecting a climactic twist so stunning that it would shock all the depression out of me. I was very much looking forward to the sense of supreme surprise which made G. K. Chesterton so fond of detective stories. But for some reason, the twist at the end left me flat.

Perhaps that was because the answer to the riddle was revealed so gradually...or perhaps it was because I accidentally saw the last sentence of the book before I was done reading. Oops.

So I'm gonna give Agatha Christie another try as soon as I can secure a copy of Murder on the Orient Express.

When Christmas Comes Again 


Kept me engaged for an afternoon! Finished in October; favorite character, um, maybe Will. Or Sam. Not that I didn't like Simone.

I'd seen and heard of the Dear America Series, but I'd never tried it for myself . . . so when I walked into the library and saw this one with "World War I" in the subtitle, I grabbed it. I'm glad I did. It wasn't very deep or anything, but the story was cute and I attached to the characters enough to be on my edge of my seat around the climax. You can't go wrong with a romantic WWI story, now can you? And I learned a lot about "hello girls," the existence of whom I was never before aware.

Simone's feminist "I'm rebelling against the old ways! Women can do just as much as men in a war!" felt typical of an educational book to me. But that wasn't enough to spoil the story.

And, unless my memory fails me, that exhausts the number of books I finished in October.

On to movies!

This post could be entitled "The Continuing Marvel Report."

The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) - Click Movie Poster to Watch full Movie Online

My sister likes to point out that the entire reason we watched The Avengers and Thor was so we could watch The Winter Soldier

'Tis a painful reminder. 

We wanted to love this movie. We wanted so desperately to love it.

It was a major disappointment.

The level of violence was the primary thing that turned me off. I mean, this is the sequel to Captain America! We wanted something as funny and heartfelt and gentle as the original. Alas, there shall never be another Marvel movie as adorable as the first Captain America. I have resigned myself to that fact.

On the plus side, I did love Sam (the Falcon). I also loved the moments referencing the original movie. (Peggggyyyy! Shrimpy pre-experiment Stever Rodgers! Bucky...) And the conclusion was kinda cool. It ended where I would have liked the movie to begin.

The bad guy annoyed me to the point of insanity. Some bad guys are fun to hate, but this bad guy just got under my skin.

Black Widow rather annoyed me, too. She was much cooler in The Avengers, if you ask me. 

Age of Ultron

A guest post from Sr Hosea Rupprecht​, a review of Avengers: Age of Ultron: "Despite the unfortunate use of religious language, Avengers: Age of Ultron carries strong messages in the area of teamwork and family life."

Thankfully, this one revived our dying faith in Marvel.

Not that we loved it as much as the first Captain America or Thor or anything, but it was quite good! Very good, actually. It wasn't as violent as The Winter Soldier (was it?), and it had a good deal of humor sprinkled throughout even the most action-packed scenes, which I loved. 

And the characterization! Captain America's back to his good old self. So is Black Widow, curly hair-do and all. Iron Man continues to be a very amusing jerk...more amusing than ever, and even a little sympathetic. Thor is heavily present--yay!--and still a delightful cross between a na├»ve child and a battle-hardened warrior. Hawkeye...oh, Hawkeye. I never expected to love him, but now I do. And the Maximoff Twins! Oh I adored them. They were so cute together. 

The Hulk and Natasha make an interesting pair. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about them, except that it's fun to change the words of "Sweet Caroline" to "Sweet Romanoff" and sing it with my siblings during that scene where they're "touchin' hands." (It's weird, yes. But it's also perfect.)

Vision. I did not like Vision. Not only because he utterly confused me the first time I watched it, but also because there seems something really off about a creature supposedly more powerful than its creators. I almost feel like he's supposed to be a Christ-like figure, but--but--he's just too weird. I would be delighted to find out at some point that he is evil.

I suppose it sounds strange to make theological quibbles about a Marvel movie, huh? The thing is, I feel like this movie was supposed to be religious. Did you notice how much Ultron talks about God? How many Biblical references he makes? His allusions to the Church? There's something significant about that.

Ultron has an obsession with religion. Why? Is it because he fears it? Does he understand that if people cling to a belief in a loving God, they're going to fight against tyrants like him with all their might? I'd like to think so. But I'm not sure.

Speaking of themes (and this paragraph will contain spoilers), there was a lovely pro-family, pro-life thread running through this whole story. Hawkeye's family...Black Widow's regret that she can't be a mother...Ultron's desire to wipe out human life in order to make the world "new"...the climactic scene where the Avengers refuse to leave a single insignificant civilian in danger...the culmination of it all when Quicksilver and Hawkeye show themselves willing to trade their lives for that of one little boy. It was perfect.

Civil War

Captain America Civil War poster  Leaving this as a note to do Captain America VS Iron Man makeup project

Hmm, my memories of this one are quite fuzzy and fragmented. Therefore my review of it shall be as well.

I vaguely remember a lot of action, and more language than I'd come to expect from these movies. That gives it some demerits.

But, it was more lighthearted/humorous than Winter Soldier, so I liked it much more. 

Vision actually amused me to such a degree that I began to consider liking him.

But not to such a degree that I wasn't delighted when Hawkeye and Wanda blasted him.

My heart aches for Cap and Peggy. I shall never forgive my brother for laughing through the saddest scene in the movie.

What happened to Steve's waiting for the right partner? He's gotten a lot less selective about the girls he kisses, it seems to me.

But I still love Cap the best.

Oh! Spider-Man! Spider-Man is adorable! The scenes with him were probably my favorite. 

Who's this Ant Man guy again?

Black Panther is cool.

Bucky and Cap had one adorable little conversation about a redhead at Coney Island. It was precious. I want things to go back to the way they were in 1943!

Especially once we find out what happened to Tony Stark's parents. Meep my heart. I can't take it. It's not nice.

But overall I can't say anything intelligent about Civil War. Possibly because right after finishing it at midnight we jumped right into...


Spider-Man: Homecoming

Nuevo poster de Spider-Man: Homecoming

This was my first Spider-Man movie (unless you count the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon TV series). And I quite loved it.

I'm noticing a pattern in my love of Marvel movies: when the story centers around one superhero instead of many, I tend to enjoy it a lot more. When there's only one main character, the story will of necessity center more around his development as a hero than when there are five. I loved watching Peter's transformation from a kid who wants to be an Avenger into a sacrificial hero. And in addition to that core good point, the movie was very funny, relatively low on violence, and had engaging supporting characters.

The big plot twist about took the wind out of me. It put a great emotional spin on the climax.

Seeing Iron Man as a mentor was really interesting. How does someone who needs a mentor himself fill that role, exactly? I think Peter Parker taught Tony Stark more than Tony Stark taught Peter.

There are several reasons (besides Captain America) it isn't my favorite of the movies. One is the language. (Come on, Marvel. It was so close to being a family movie.) Another is...let's call it lost potential. I felt like Peter's background wasn't brought into play half as much as it should have been. Note that I'm not asking for the story of how he became Spider-Man. I want to know what's going on in Peter's life right now besides the whole superhero thing.

Now and then we get a hint of regular old human heartache in the background. For instance, Peter once says something along the lines of, "I can't do that to Aunt May, not right now, not with all she's going through." Unless I missed something key, we're never shown what "all she's going through right now" is in the movie. Of course, long-time Spider-Man fans will probably know from other sources. But I feel like it's kinda cheap for a new movie to depend on older material for backstory and emotional punch.

Overall, though, Spider-Man is up there when it comes to my "favorites" list. Not over the first Captain America, and perhaps not over the Thor movies, but up there.

And now I'm caught up on Marvel? How did this happen? I suppose there is nothing left for me but to go see Ragnarok. Unless of course I decide to watch Iron Man or Ant Man or something...but I don't see that happening at this point.

And now that this post has gotten much longer than I expected it to be, it's your turn to talk! Tell me, what were your opinions on these Marvel movies? (And the books, too, if you've read them.) Did you like The Winter Soldier? Tell me if I'm missing something that makes it awesome! How about Age of Ultron? Any thoughts on the meaning behind Ultron's preoccupation with religion? And Spider-Man! Do you like him? Isn't it nice to have a teenage kid struggling for heroism? Coming-of-age stories are the best! 

I'll be out of town this weekend, but I'll reply to any comments as soon as I can once I get home!

Comments

  1. I NOTICED THOSE RELIGIOUS OVERTONES TOO. Everybody that I've talked to thinks I'm crazy, but I have a sneaky feeling that those lines are for an evil purpose...
    I like the Hulk-Natasha pairing better than the other ship that has been passed around (hem....Hawkeye-Natasha...yick. I'd rather consider them good friends and colleagues especially under the circumstances.)
    I agree with you, Winter Soldier was definitely more violent. Age of Ultron was also fairly violent.
    I've seen Ant-Man. While I like the character, especially in Age of Ultron, there were some....hem....rather disturbing scenes in Ant-Man. Just a fair warning.

    I've read some of Christie, including And Then There Were None ( back when it was called 10 Little Indians). Haven't read Murder on the Orient Express, but my gosh, that movie that's coming out has an A-List cast!!!

    I also have read a lot of the Dear America books, though not that particular one.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think you're crazy, Catherine!! :) I think I was on the alert for religious motifs thanks to one of your comments, actually. But yes. There's something about the whole thing that doesn't *feel* right.

      Ugh, no way to Hawkeye-Natasha! How could anyone want that after seeing his adorable family?? They were so perfect!!

      My sisters went and saw Ant-Man without me. They seemed to like it well enough, so maybe I'll try it sooner or later.

      The movie looks interesting! I have a friend who's really excited about it, and she's the reason I want to read the book.

      I might read more Dear America books in the near future! We'll see.

      Delete
  2. I've never read And Then There Were None, but I remember reading Murder on the Orient Express. I think it was one of her better stories. I hope you like it.
    I used to read Dear America's sister series, Dear Canada. I remember also seeing some attitudes that seemed too modern, throwing the story off a bit, but they were still well written.
    But I haven't seen any of those movies you mention.

    may you have a good Veteran's Day

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    Replies
    1. I hope so, too!

      Ooh, I like the idea of a sister series. Modern attitudes marring historical fiction...no book can be perfect, right? :)

      Thanks, Blue! I hope your Veteran's Day was wonderful!

      Delete
  3. Haha, who knew there was another Spiderman cartoon fan out there?! I thought I was the only one!!! :D

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Actually I only watched fragments of the Spider-Man cartoon. But I think I should watch it in earnest, now. I'd probably love it.

      Delete

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