Dick Jokes, Humorous Deaths, Lots of Luck, and Cable: A Deadpool 2 Movie Review (No Spoilers)

There’s a surprising amount of controversy over whether or not Deadpool 2 is worth seeing.  I really liked watching the first one in theaters.  Deadpool as a movie wasn’t without its flaws, but it was a whole lot of fun.  Deadpool 2 is more of the same, plus some actually fun and engaging characters.

If you’ve seen the first one, then you know what you’re getting into with this one.  It has the R rating for a reason.  If you’re not familiar with Deadpool, he’s sort of a cross between Johnny Knoxville and Wolverine.  So lots of dick jokes combined with super-human regeneration.  You might be able to see where some of this is going.

Deadpool 2 brings to the stage X-Force, Deadpool’s version of the X-Men.  They’re like the X-Men in every way, except they kill people for fun and profit.  So not really much like the X Men from the movies, I guess.

The movie has a ton of jokes, easter-eggs, and breaking the fourth wall moments.  What makes the whole thing work and stop from becoming it’s own punch line is that they have a couple of characters playing things straight.  God only knows how, at times, but they manage.  Domino and Cable in particular really stole the show.

The movie isn’t without its flaws.  At times, Ryan Reynolds goes a bit too far chasing a joke.  As my wife said, they don’t just beat the dead horse, they beat the dead horse with another dead horse.  The story has some… interesting issues with time travel and the kid actor is channeling a bit too much Rebel Wilson (Like, seriously, you could have swapped their characters from Pitch Perfect and this and no one would have noticed).  He does a good enough job, but he could have toned it down just a little.

There’s been some internet curfuffle about “ERMAGERD LESBIANS.”  Frankly, it’s far less than I’ve seen in PG-13 movies, so I don’t really give a damn.  The two characters in question didn’t really add much to the movie, you pretty much could have had the entire movie without them, but they put the one in because she was good in the last movie.  I wish they’d given her a bit more screen time or done something more with her, at least.

For the good: Cable and Domino really stole the show.  I mean, seriously.  I want a Cable movie.  Hell, I want a Domino movie!  The actress was spot on, her ability is awesome, and it would be hilarious to have her do her thing with Deadpool occasionally crashing the party.  Cable, same thing, he’s a bad-ass with no-sense of humor and a tragic backstory.  What’s not to like?

All in all, I really enjoyed the movie.  I could have done without as much naked Ryan Reynolds and a few less jokes being rode into the ground, but those issues were balanced by the general humor and the great acting.  Go see it yourself.  Plus, stick around for the mid-credits scene.

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Prisoner of the Mind Discounted This Weekend

Prisoner of the Mind will be available for $0.99 all weekend.  If you haven’t got your copy yet, here is your chance to get it for cheap.

https://amzn.to/2s02F1B

How do you know right from wrong if every memory, every thought in your head was put there by your enemies?

In a near-future, when humanity has begun to spread throughout the stars.  In the process, they’ve awakened abilities hidden within their own DNA.  Psychics have begun to appear at ever-increasing rates with abilities that range from mental manipulation to mass destruction and beyond.  Empowered by public hysteria and fear of psychics, Amalgamated Worlds has taken over.  Their powerful combination of military and security forces, control of media and communications, and manipulation of internal threats has created a police state that spans all of human space.

Shaden Kirroy is a product of that police state.  Designed to be a weapon for use against his fellow psychics as well as any civilians who step out of line, he is an artificially enhanced psychic.  He is a blank slate, his past erased and replaced with engineered loyalty to Amalgamated Worlds.
 
Yet Shaden realizes that something is terribly wrong.  As his world begins to unravel, as he realizes the horrors of what was done to him, Shaden must find a way to free himself, to unlock the prison of his own mind.
 

Booknado!

A bunch of new books and Valor’s Duty is one of them, check it out

Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance

With sirens wailing in the distance, the May Booknado tears across a darkened landscape. Unstoppable winds of improvement rip tired, old establishment fiction from the minds of readers, and fresh, new fiction rushes in to fill the void!

Don’t waste your precious leisure time reading crappy PC pap from Big Publishing. Titillate your brain with choice selections from this month’s vast array of new books and special discounts!

NEW RELEASES

The Narrative by Deplora Boule
Read the shocking satirical look inside the elite media and the battle to control the truth!

Becoming Mia by Wendy Teller
Can Mia find the determination and strength to succeed on her own terms, even as 1960s culture tears itself apart and puts her friends and her family in danger?

I, Charles, from the Camps: A Novel by Joel D. Hirst
In this powerful story, a young Ugandan on a quest to survive his unfortunate…

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Valor’s Duty: Reviews Wanted

Valor’s Duty by Kal Spriggs

Thanks to everyone who purchased copies of Valor’s Duty!  It has been hanging out in the top ten of its category on Amazon and the initial feedback looks great.  I’m really grateful that everyone seems to enjoy the book, especially since I love writing this series.

If you’ve read the book, I would love to hear your feedback, either by email or through Amazon or Goodreads.  Reviews help to sell books, so please help other people find these books and leave reviews!

If you haven’t got your copy yet, you can find it here: https://amzn.to/2Lc19Bw

Thanks again for reading!

Now Available: Valor’s Duty!

Valor’s Duty is now live!  You can get your ebook copy exclusively from Amazon.

Link:  https://amzn.to/2Lc19Bw

Duty is heavier than a mountain; death is lighter than a feather. 

Jiden’s life at the Century Military Academy is forever changed when she is asked to volunteer for a special program.  They want to implant her and other cadets with a special, prototype neural computer.  It will make them smarter, more capable, and able to split their attention between dozens of activities.  Her friends jump at the opportunity… but Jiden isn’t so certain.

She sees it as her duty to volunteer. Despite all of her doubts, it’s a duty she owes to her world and to her friends.  But as things begin to go wrong, as her life is put in danger once again, Jiden quickly realizes that she may have shouldered a duty that she can’t bear.  The implants might be driving her fellow cadets violently insane… and Jiden may be next. 
She will need to muster every ounce of courage, every bit of intelligence, in order to save her friends.  Even then, her own survival might be too much to ask.  But Jiden doesn’t know how to back down, and she’ll do her duty no matter the cost

 

Valor’s Duty Snippet 3

Valor’s Duty goes live in just 2 days on May 18th.  In the meantime, here’s the third and final snippet.  If you missed the first two, you can find them here (Link) and here (Link)

***

Back in the private room, we all just sort of slumped.  I found myself sitting next to Sashi, who still hadn’t said anything.  I could see her thinking, but I wasn’t really sure what was running through her head.  I’d always had a problem reading her, even when she’d been my roommate.

“You okay?” I asked quietly.

“What do you think?” Sashi shot me a look.  I didn’t really have a response for that.  I’d been at odds with my parents once before, but not with my whole family.  Even then, it hadn’t been like what Sashi was going through.  With me, they’d shipped me off to my mom’s mother, the Admiral, who had enrolled me in the Academy Prep School.  “They think I’m going to fail out,” Sashi said in a miserable voice.

“Well, sorry, but I think your brothers are jerks,” I replied.

She snorted, “Yeah, they’re my brothers, it kind of goes with the territory.”  She wiped at her eyes.  “It’s just so frustrating, you know?  They think they know what’s best for me and for the family.  They’re angry because I’m not doing what they tell me.”  Her brow furrowed, “I am worried that they are right.”

“You’ll be fine,” I assured her.

She shot me a look, one part grateful and one part angry.  “You don’t know what it was like,” she hissed.  “Last year, I had no help.  I had no support.  I was tolerated by Ogre Company, but that was it.  I’m coming back to Sand Dragon.  Do you think it will be a warm welcome?  Who will want to room with me?  Who will want to study with me?”

I hadn’t really thought about that.  I’d talked with Sara Salter, this year’s Company Commander for Sand Dragon, and she’d approved Sashi’s transfer back.  But that didn’t mean there would necessarily be a place for her.  Sashi and I had roomed together during Academy Prep School.  She’d gone over to Ogre for our plebe year.  I’d probably been the closest thing she had to a friend in Sand Dragon… and she’d very publicly betrayed me during the final exercise.

“You can be my roommate,” I said on impulse.

I saw Ashiri look over at me as I said it.  From the way her expression shifted, I knew that she wanted to say something, but she didn’t.  I thought about what I’d overheard between her and her mother.  Maybe if I’m not her roommate any more, it’ll take some pressure off of her, too.

“Are you sure about that?” Sashi asked.

“Yeah,” I said.  I’d had her stay at my parent’s house with me for two weeks.  How much worse could it be?

“Well, thanks,” Sashi said.  She seemed taken aback.  “I really hope this all works out.”

“Don’t worry,” I said, clapping her on the shoulder impulsively, “I’ve got a good feeling about this year.”  I should have kept my stupid mouth shut.

***

 

We arrived at the Academy without any further trouble and after the initial formation, I knocked out my in-processing checklist and found myself in the large amphitheater where it seemed like so many of my life’s major events had occurred.  This was where they held the first in-briefing from the Admiral.  This was where they had held my Academy Prep School Final Exercise. It had been here that Sashi had betrayed me.  It was here that the psychotic Commander Scarpitti had tried to kill me.

Despite the dim lights and the quiet, I found my heart starting to race in anticipation.

“Attention on Deck!” Someone bellowed.

As one, the entire Regiment of Cadets rose to their feet.  Again, the central platform lit up, and the Admiral, my grandmother, stepped forward, her khaki uniform crisp, her expression stern.  “Cadets, welcome back to the Academy.  Today begins the one-hundred and seventy first year of this institution.  I welcome our new Plebe Class, Class Two Ninety One.  I also welcome our First Class, Class Two Eighty Eight.  You Cadets First Class will graduate this year and go on to your follow-on assignments in our Planetary Militia.”

Her already stern voice hardened.  “Last year we suffered a number of unfortunate incidents.  As a result, we will all of us, Cadets and Instructors, be under additional monitoring.  All of you will be under constant supervision.  We will not tolerate violations of the school’s Honor Code, nor will we tolerate ethical or legal violations.  You are one day to be Officers within Century’s Planetary Militia, and you are expected to set the example.  Any of you who cannot do so will be removed.”

“That said, honest mistakes are a part of your learning experience.  We do not expect you all to be perfect.  Leadership and command are skills that must be learned.  Take the opportunities you are given to excel.  Accept risks.  Show your instructors that you are able to recover from failure, and you will do well.”

“Now then,” the Admiral said, “We’ve had some turn-over of personnel.  Commander Weisfeldt joins us as one of our new Engineering instructors.”  The short, stocky, and dark-haired officer stepped forward, his expression stern.  “Commander Weisfeldt has just completed a tour at Century Station, where he managed the station’s military prototyping department.”

“Additionally, joining our staff is Commander Stirling,” the Admiral went on.  A heavy-set officer stepped forward.  He had a pleasant smile and gave a slight wave.  “Commander Stirling has just finished a tour with the Guard Fleet as an officer observer at their shipyards at Harlequin Station.”

I perked up a bit at that.  Getting a slot like that would be impressive, the Guard rarely allowed non-signatory nations any access to their shipyards.  He would have had a chance to watch ship construction across a huge range of ship classes and sizes.

“Also joining the Academy Staff at this time is Lieutenant General Corgan, of Century’s Enforcer Service,” the Admiral said.  “Lieutenant Commander Corgan will not be teaching any classes, but she will be observing how we conduct our training and our overall operations.”

The way that the Admiral said that and the polite yet cool tone in her voice gave me a shiver.  That wasn’t the way I would have expected her to welcome someone.  It felt more like a warning, to all of us.  What was a senior member of Century’s national police service doing at the school?  As far as I knew, they had no connection to the Planetary Militia.  They operated entirely planet-side and they answered to the Security Director and Charter Council.

“Now, then, I’ll remind you all that companies, sections, and individual cadets are ranked on a points system.  As always, your grades, your performance in training, your punishments and successes, are all counted towards your totals.  Last year, Sand Dragon Company managed to win again, for a second year, by a slim margin.  The Honor Graduates, Mackenzie, Ingvald, and Attabera, were ahead by a few percentage points.  Those who graduate in the top ranks are often given the choice positions upon graduation.”

She gave a wintry smile, “Failure early on can be overcome.  Becoming overconfident early on can lead to a drop in your ranking.  Ambition and hard work are rewarded, complacency is your enemy, far more than anything else.  Good luck, Cadets, let’s have a good year.”

***

Movie Review (Spoilers): Avengers Infinity War

This review contains spoilers.  So reader beware, I’m going to go analytical on this one… but first I’m going to preface the spoilers with some generic comments.  Yes, I enjoyed the movie.  I think people should see it themselves.   Other (mostly) non-spoilery comments: I think Cap’s new shield(s) are lame.   I want a Wakandan energy shield.   Spider Man steals the show.

So, now into the actual review.  It starts out with a bang and with a mass murder of Asgardian survivors.  There’s a bit of continuity issues here (as later on in the film, Thor says that Thanos killed half his people, but Thanos blew up the ship and we don’t really see any survivors).  So there’s an issue.  Loki’s death was interesting, but there was an inevitable element of it, it wasn’t really a surprise and frankly, was pretty stupid of Loki.  I would have rather seen him join up with Thanos to betray him at a truly opportune moment, maybe even chuck Thor out an airlock.  Instead, we could see it coming.  There was no surprise in it.  Heimdal sort of stole the scene, too, in his sacrifice to send Hulk to Earth to give them warning.

The introductions and initial confrontations on Earth were good.  They set the scene well, and there’s enough humor and mixed desperation to make it all entertaining and engaging.  I would have liked to see Vision in full fighting form.  Having him barely limping along through most of the movie was a bit of a disappointment.  I get it, he was injured, but you would think they’d try to fix that.

The Guardians of the Galaxy really stole the show, them and Thor, anyway.  Pretty much every scene with them was highly entertaining.  The pace through the whole movie was fast, faster than I would have liked, but it wasn’t as frantic as people have complained about.  No, there’s not a lot of time for character growth and such, but that’s not what this movie is about.  It’s about the end of the world, it’s a disaster film more than anything else, and if there’s one thing that this movie does very well is to show the cost of a terrible disaster.

I’ve got to say, it’s almost Wagnerian Opera, at times.  From Heimdal through to the very end, we see the cost of fighting evil.  It doesn’t pull any punches and it doesn’t let up.  It’s dark, but the strong point of this film is that the heroes don’t flinch.  Most of them realize that they’re not going to survive, that they’re fighting to save others and not themselves.

The middle act is full of that sort of thing.  We lose a few characters, we see Thanos toy with some of them, letting them think they’ve done well, only to pull victory away from them, often in comical fashions.   Bubbles in Starlord’s pistol was the most brutal, I think.  The torment on Quill’s face as he worked himself up, only to have all that effort pulled away was heart-wrenching.  The return of Red Skull was a nice touch, but I would have liked to see more done with that.  Make him join up with Thanos, give Thanos a minion we actually recognize and already dislike.  Give Cap an enemy to fight that he knows and already hates (oh, and Bucky, too).

That brings us up to the final battle where Wakandan warriors start dying in droves.  We see them almost take the Gauntlet from Thanos (so close, yet I can’t help but think that Strange planned it, planned for them to lose so that Thanos could take the Time Stone, so he could then take the Mind Stone).  We see Thanos toss the mightiest heroes of Earth around like they are children.  Then he rips the Mind Stone right out of Vision’s head.  It’s all brutal, very metal, and terribly operatic.  The choices they made on who lives and dies were telling, though.  We knew the Hulk wouldn’t be one, not since Bruce Banner has character growth to figure out why the Hulk is gone all cowardly lion.  They kept Ant Man out of it all since he has a movie coming out in a couple months.  Scarlet Witch was obviously grateful to die after having killed Vision for no reason.  Doctor Strange was an interesting choice, especially since he saw this all coming.  He knew and planned for it, which makes me wonder what Wong is doing back on Earth as this all happens.  Bucky and Falcon just felt like cheap shots.  Neither of them have had enough screen time, their characters are both interesting, but Marvel doesn’t seem to know what to do with them, to give them a movie or what.

The Guardians… damn, if anyone paid a price for fighting Thanos, the Guardians sure as hell did.  Rocket is the only survivor.  Gamora’s death was similar to Loki’s, we saw it coming, it still had emotional impact, but her death was for Thanos’s sake, to humanize him somewhat, and it achieved that.  Peter, Drax, and Mantis *all* dying on Titan seemed rather harsh.  It would have been nice to see Drax and Mantis running around trying to save the universe without Peter Quill.

Spiderman… well, we know he’ll be back.  He’s got a movie due next year, after all.  (For that matter, we know many if not all of them will be back, because comics) his death was meant to humanize Stark, to humanize the cost of fighting Thanos… but it just let me down a bit on the writing.

Stark’s survival is the thing that leaves me shaking my head.  I get it, RDJ is sort of the backbone of this universe.  It all started with him… but come on, let some of the younger generation step up.  Tony Stark’s story and character have been complete.  There’s not much more for them to do with him.  I get it, I realize that Doctor Strange orchestrated Stark’s survival, getting a promise out of Thanos because of whatever he saw in those multitude of futures…but still, the writers made that choice because they wanted RDJ in the lead… again.

For the rest of it, Black Panther going down was a nice touch.  An emotional impact that I wasn’t expecting.  The others, including at the post-credits scene, showed the impact, well enough.

In the end, however, what do we come away with?  The fight isn’t over.  There can be no doubt about that.  Thanos may have had his way, but that means little when they left heroes like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.  They’ll go after him and they’re going to find a way to fix things (in as much as that’s possible).  Avengers 4 is going to be focused on fixing all of this, and with the power of the Infinity Gauntlet, anything is possible.

I think that something many critics missed is that despite the title, this isn’t just an Avengers movie, this was very much a Thanos movie.  Thanos showed the biggest character arc, the most growth, and in the end, it was Thanos who achieved his goals.  We can argue all day about the rationality of his motivations (ridiculous in so many ways as to be utterly insane), but his drive and implacable resolve made the movie.

What would I have changed?  Oh my word, so very much.  I would have used Red Skull for more than a throw away here and gone character.  It would have been great if he joined Thanos and worked with him from then on.  The motivations for Thanos are a bit silly, but Josh Brolin lived it up well enough that we can accept them, the character was far more interesting in play than as a concept.  Stealing a few more moments for character growth, a scene with Banner and Natasha (Widow) would have been nice.  Use of some of the earlier enemies: Red Skull, Loki, Baron Nemo (whose motivations are similar to Thanos’s) and even an Ultron robot (whose motivation was basically the same as Thanos) as his lieutenants would have been interesting, especially with the scheming they would have done against one another and Thanos.  That would have also given us some real emotional hooks when one of them were taken down or switched sides.  Red Skull facing off against Steve Rogers and Bucky, backed with Thanos and Hydra goons would have been great.  Baron Nemo, granted powers by Thanos, would have been terrifying.  Ultron with alien tech?  Yes, please.

All in all, it’s a fun, fast-paced movie.  It hits you hard in the feels, though I think the writers played it safe a couple times near the end.  They’ve built the House of Marvel on RDJ’s shoulders and I think they’re terrified that if they kill him off, they’ll kill the franchise.  Overall, it was basically what I expected of the movie.  I enjoyed it, I give them props for managing so many characters and giving many of them engaging and awesome scenes.  I really want to see the impact of Thanos’s victory in the upcoming movies (plus the TV shows, which I need to get back to watching, assuming I ever have free time again).  I think it’ll hold up well, better than Age of Ultron.  It’s not my favorite Marvel movie, but it still beats the socks off of the DC cinematic universe.

Oh, and as a final thought, who else thinks they’ll use “fixing” everything as a chance to bring the Marvel X Men into the MCU?  I mean, continuity issues, Time Stone… what better way to get Wolverine and Hulk into a drinking contest?  Here’s to hoping.