Black Panther ~ Movie Review

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Over spring break, my dad and I went to see Black Panther. It was my second time seeing it, and his first. With the upcoming Infinity War, I thought I would hurry on up and get in my review of this movie first! 🙂

Black Panther takes place after Civil War, with T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, returning to Wakanda, after the death of his father, to take his place as king. Wakanda is a nation in Africa, however, its actual country is concealed from the world. Most people believe that it is a poor nation, that happens to have a small amount of the strongest metal on earth – vibranium.

The truth, though, is that Wakanda is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and is far from being helpless.

During the course of the movie, T’Challa’s reign gets challenged by a foe that is surprisingly connected to Wakanda, and he is forced into a difficult position of what to do when your entire worldview and belief about your country and family is rocked on its axis.

His family is there to support him each step of the way however, with his sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright (I did a post on her here), and his mother, Queen Romanda, played by Angela Bassett. With their help, T’Challa strives to do the right thing, while having the weight of Wakanda on his shoulders in the process.

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Black Panther is an amazing movie that combines action, humor, and culture into a two hour and fourteen minute film, and if you haven’t seen it, you definitely need to.

Alright, as per usual, there’s the spoiler-free version 😉

SPOILERS AHEAD.

WARNING Y’ALL.

ANYTHING BELOW WILL HAVE SPOILERS.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

With that out of the way, full-speed ahead into spoiler territory!

There’s so much to unpack in this movie, that I’m just going to jump right in and ask that y’all bear with me.

 First of all, can I just say that Marvel does sibling relationships fabulously??? I love Shuri and T’Challa’s relationship. There’s Shuri, who at sixteen, gets a huge kick out of the fact that her brother is being made king. This is never more apparent than at the ceremony, when she asks, “can we get on with it already?” and mentions that the corset is really killing her.

And T’Challa, who bless his soul, finds himself continually roasted by his little sis. I saw something on Tumblr that I just have to restate here – “being a good older brother: reassuring your sister after she unknowingly ran over someone in the street.” xD

So funny.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie, is at the very end, when the antagonist of the movie, Erik Killmonger (also I LOVE NAMES WITH PUNS, and like the fact that his last name has the world “kill” in it is hilariously ironic considering his reputation), is about to attack Shuri. At this point, Shuri has used all the firepower in her weapons and stumbles to the ground.

In the distance, T’Challa is taking some serious hits from basically the entire tribe under W’Kabi. You can see him getting tired and becoming weary, when all of a sudden, in his line of sight, he catches view of Erik about to attack Shuri.

Pretty sure you can guess what happens. T’Challa ain’t having NONE of that dude hurting his little sister, and instantly, you can physically see him becoming reinvigorated as he races toward them and knocks Erik away from Shuri.

It reminded me so much of in Star Wars, when Vader is taunting Luke. And Luke is doing an awesome job of keeping his cool, until Vader mentions Leia…starts threatening her. Farewell calm persona, hello protective anger.

Lesson of the day, ladies and gentlemen, don’t mess with someone’s siblings. Just. Don’t. Seriously, you will live a much longer life if you listen to this piece of advice xD

On the mention of Star Wars, I can’t help but also notice that there were some other elements that echoed the space series. For one, did anyone else get Padme Amidala vibes from Queen Romanda’s outfit, when she greets T’Challa upon him arriving home? Cause I totally did. The more obvious touch, I think, were Shuri’s buns – reminiscing of Princess Leia.

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I thought Black Panther also did a great job of showcasing the culture of Africa. You can tell they really put a lot of thought and effort into the research for the different tribes and such.

Additionally, they did a great job of showing so many different type of women. There’s not just one stereotype. You have Nakia, who has a compassionate spirit, desire to help others, and is a spy for Wakanda. You have Okoye, who has strong leadership qualities, not very emotional, and is the general of the Dora Milaje, an elite female special force that protects the king. You have Queen Romanda, who is wise, more traditionally feminine (if that makes sense), and an advisor to T’Challa. You have Shuri, a light-hearted teen, who has one of the most brilliant minds in the world.

In terms of the villain, I did not see Erik Killmonger being related to T’Challa coming at all! So, I think they set that up very well to be a surprise. I liked how they tied in the storyline of helping others with the villain, without making what Erik did right.

#blackpanther #erikkillmonger #tchalla #marvel #mcu #michaelbjordan #chadwickboseman

And Everett Ross was such a great addition. I felt like he was pretty much everyone in the audience if we were in the movie: “Hey, don’t know what I’m doing, or what’s going on, but I’ll totally help with anything.”

Personally, Shuri was one of my favorite characters in the movie. I loved her humor and the light-heartedness she brought to the film, which was much needed with some of the seriousness.

If you’ve seen Black Panther, what did you think about it? Favorite scenes, characters? If you haven’t, I encourage you to go watch it! And definitely see it before Infinity War!

~ Southern Dreamer

Revenge of the Sith ~ Part 4

Disclaimer: All Star Wars characters/locations/etc belong to LucasFilm, but the storyline (once it derives from the movies) is mine, so pretty please give credit if you decide to use any ideas or repost 🙂


The skyline of crimson and darkening clouds only gave the tiniest glimpse into the battle that was being fought on Mustafar. Hot air bellowed out from the lava that bubbled up to the surface, the heat creating a stifling, suffocating canopy over the planet.

Sweat beaded on Anakin’s forehead, yet even the exploding fire in the distance did nothing to deter his focus. His focus on the Sith. With a cry of outrage and anger, he swung his saber in an arc that came down heavily onto his opponent. How dare you try and take MY family from me! screamed his mind, emotion alighting his veins and fueling him against the counter-strikes from Palpatine.

“Such anger young Skywalker.” Darth Sidious grinned, yellow, crooked teeth showing. His eyes, so dark and empty, stared at Anakin with the confidence of one whose plans are falling perfectly into place. The red blade came within an inch of Skywalker’s neck, a warning from the Force being the only thing that saved him from a painful, deadly wound.

Anakin dropped into a roll to avoid the collision of sparking saber meeting his skin, and came to his feet with one jump. Using the momentum, he dashed forward and with a firm hand on the Force leapt into the air. Sending a quick succession of swipes at Sidious, he did not wait for the Sith Lord to retaliate, preferring to go on the offensive instead.

The energy he used from this feat, left him the slightest bit winded, and the Sith took his shot. With a quick speed that shocked Anakin, Sidious scathed the skin of his right arm – every move intentional. There would be no quick death for this menace in the Darth Lord’s side, on the contrary, the ex-Chancellor planned to draw this out and make every action as painful as possible. Anakin Skywalker would be shattered into nothing more than a barely breathing structure, and then, oh yes, Sidious let his lips turn up in evil glee, then, when the boy could only beg for mercy and plead for forgiveness, he would take his chance. He would treasure each moment, letting the last thoughts of the foolish child’s mind be that he failed, and because of his failure, the Sith would never stop hunting for his family…until they were dead, or turned into Palpatine’s own puppets. Then, and only then, would Darth Sidious take the final strike and end Anakin Skywalker’s life.

Letting his mind return to the battle, Sidious chortled at the battle stances Skywalker chose. How adorable, how utterly immature. Someone needed to be taught a lesson, and Sidious thought of himself as perfectly qualified to do so. With a practiced swing that did not give any indication he had been sitting in an office for years, he allowed the red blade to sashay past the boy’s face – a warning, of who he was dealing with. Drawing the Dark Side close to him, Sidious used it to hold Skywalker in place.

Anakin twitched, muscles tense in adrenaline and fury. He had sorely underestimated the Chancellor, but how could he have possibly known of Palpatine’s ridiculous aptitude at combat? Ever since he could remember, the only activity the Chancellor was involved in included paperwork, speaking in front of large groups, discussions, diplomacy – nothing pertaining in the least to battle. He glared at said person.

Stalking from one side of him to the other, Sidious flipped the saber’s handle easily. “Such emotion, loss of control,” he started, hood hiding many of his features for which appreciated, “quite unbecoming for a Jedi. I wonder what the Council would say about this, hm?” Sidious paused, letting the seconds tick by as he ever so slowly turned around. A smirk appeared on his face. “Oh dear, I fear a significant fact slipped my mind only now. The Council can never give you an answer, do you know why boy?” He came closer. “Because of you. You killed them, every death rests on your conscience.”

As Sidious cackled madly, Anakin’s blood, which had already begun to boil, erupted into a frenzy of irate anger. In all truth, he did not know if he was a Jedi or a Sith. Anakin did not seem to meet the mold for either, and that left him alone in a world where the Force was apparently black and white. I really couldn’t give a kriff about that right now! and with that Anakin broke out of the Force hold and made good use of the precious few seconds of surprise.

One underhand swipe aimed at the Sith’s middle.

Overhand – the shoulders.

A flurry of sharp movements that materialized as a blue blur.

Through every jab sent his way, Sidious retaliated with equal or greater force. He appeared unconcerned and as Anakin’s energy lessened, the Sith’s grip on the Dark Side grew.

Ok. Clearly need a new plan. Offense is not happening…mused Anakin, grumbling internally at the stupid Sith’s skill. He had underestimated Palpatine. Breathing in deeply, he tried to focus on calming himself – not exactly easy when everything you thought you knew turned out to be a lie, not to mention the emotions that threatened to drown him. Nevertheless, Anakin made himself focus and draw on the Force, not through anger, but remembering the love of Padme. And sure, some rage he was unable to hold back, but all things considered, Anakin thought he faired pretty well.

As Sidious increased his offensive strikes, aiming for critical limbs and toying with Anakin physically and psychologically, he matched the Sith’s saber – blow for blow. Though Sidious had more years of experience than Anakin, the effects of his battle with Windu and Yoda were still being felt.

He’s still a man…Anakin reminded himself, when he ducked to avoid an especially violent move. Part of him wondered how the Sith was even keeping up, considering his age, but whatever the reason may be, Anakin was coming to the realization that Sidious, at least at this moment, could not be defeated.

“You will never defeat me!”

“Like I said,” a Force push, “earlier,” the red saber swung high, “I don’t have to defeat,” his blue blade met it, “you,” he drew on the Force firmly and shoved every weight of it towards Palpatine, “to win.”

ANAKIN.

Not. Now.

Quit being an idiot! If you do not make it onto this ship, Padme has threatened to come back down to the surface herself.

Anakin rolled his eyes, gritting his teeth as he tried to hold Sidious back.

I am being completely serious. She said to tell you that if you do not get up here in ten seconds, then she is coming down and dragging you back.

The sound of an engine roaring overhead caught his attention. Briefly, his eyes flickered up and saw the ramp being lowered. Part of him screamed that no, he did not need to get on that ship. He needed to stay on Mustafar and finish Palpatine for good. Yet, Anakin knew his wife well and if what Obi-Wan was saying was the truth, then nothing would stand in her way, not even a Jedi Master.

Making a quick decision, Anakin used the last remains of his energy to make the far leap onto the ship’s ramp. As soon as his feet touched it, the ramp began closing and he walked into the Naboo star skiff.


Let me know what y’all thought! 🙂

~ Southern Dreamer

Midnight Sun ~ Movie Review

Recently, I went to see Midnight Sun with one of my friend’s. I had seen the trailer and was really excited to see the movie. For one, there was going to be a romance, and anyone who knows me, knows that Hallmark Channel-like movies are my cup of tea. And besides that, I was super happy that another film about someone with an illness other than cancer was being showcased.

The National Institute of Health says that 23.5 million Americans suffer from auto-immune diseases (https://www.aarda.org/news-information/statistics/#1488234345468-3bf2d325-1052). I do think that it is important to look at other types of illnesses and have more light shed on them. My entire point with the statistic was to show that many people would relate to a character in a film who has another type of disorder/illness. I believe that Hollywood should branch out a little more and make more movies about people with other unseen illnesses like diabetes, lupus, narcolepsy, etc…

ANYWHO.

Apologies for the semi-rabbit trail xD

See the source imageMidnight Sun is a movie about Katie Price, played by Bella Thorne, who has a rare disorder: a life-threatening sensitivity to the sun. Because of her disease, she can never go outside during the day, and has been homeschooled her entire life. During the first few minutes, a flashback details how she met her bestfriend – Morgan, played by Quinn Shephard, and shows the most important person in her life – her father, played by Rob Riggle.

The premise of the movie is that she is faced with the decision to tell her long-time crush, Charlie – played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, about her illness…or keep it a secret and play normal for a while, risking her life in the process.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.

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LAST WARNING.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Now that that’s out of the way! 😉 Onto the spoiler part of the movie review.

One of my favorite things about the movie was Katie’s relationship with her father. For reasons I will never understand, many times Hollywood seems to enjoy giving dads and men in general a bad rap, so it was really refreshing to see this close, healthy relationship.

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I loved the genuine honesty in their relationship. There was no lying or tricking the other person. The one time that Katie tries to lie; she doesn’t even make it half a day before telling her dad.

I absolutely love that.

Katie is genuinely a good teenager. She’s not perfect by any means, but she doesn’t lie to her dad or sneak behind his back. Her heart is in the right place, and I really love how they portrayed her character.

On that note, I seriously adored her entire interactions with Charlie. For one, maybe it’s just me, but like so relatable??? I feel like a lot of times in movies people are all smooth and not-awkward when it comes to crushes and dating. I’m sure that definitely applies to some people – like Morgan, but for the rest of us out there aka Katie, well, it doesn’t come quite as easily.

I thought Charlie was a great character. The twist of popular guy, who does something stupid, gets injured in the process, and pretty much loses everything he had been working towards, making him wiser and put a stop to getting wasted/drunk was a refreshing change. Not to mention, that he was really sweet to Katie. Even after he learned about her disease – knowing that she would likely die, Charlie did not leave her.

See the source imageHe could have and I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if he did, after all, pure logic says that what would be the point if the end is inevitable anyway? But he didn’t, and that entire scene and monologue is wonderful.

The movie also has some funny moments. Like when Katie is amazed at the “party,” and Morgan heaves a sigh, mumbling that no this is not a real party, and no Garver do not listen to her – she has never been to a party before and has no idea what she’s talking about. I also loved the Taylor Swift comment, relating to Katie’s boy troubles xD

Unfortunately, I now must discuss the ending. Grab your tissues, go ahead. I promise I won’t judge. Alright, tissues at the ready? Here we go.

Not going to lie, I was in complete denial that the movie was going to end the way it started to look like it would. I kept telling myself, ‘nope. they’re going to find some miraculous cure and everything’s going to be a happily ever after.’

Yeah, that did not happen.

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But gosh y’all, the way the constructed the ending was so like heart-wrenching??? In terms of storytelling, they did a great job of tying everything together and giving the viewer a punch to the heart. Of course, as a viewer, I also did not want it to end that way, so, take that with what you will.

The song Katie recorded as she started to decline – “Charlie’s Song.” How Charlie used the money he had been saving for his truck, to rent out a real recording studio so she could record her song.

How her song stared playing on the radio as Charlie was driving, after she had died. How it had gone viral. How her dad turned on his radio and started to shout, “That’s my girl! That’s my girl!”

Yep, both horrible and beautiful at the same time.

If you haven’t seen Midnight Sun, I would encourage you to go see it! But be warned, you should probably bring tissues. If you have seen the movie, what did you think? Did the ending leave you satisfied?

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Revenge of the Sith ~ Part 3

Disclaimer: All Star Wars characters/worlds/etc belong to LucasFilm, but the plot and events are mine, so pretty please don’t steal and give credit if you use any ideas 🙂

See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


Palpatine started to chortle, hysterical laughter exploding from him – wave after wave. The old man could barely stand up, so great was his amusement. Beady eyes finally looking back up at Anakin’s defensive position, a smirk appeared on his face. “You. You truly believe you can defeat me? Foolish boy! Not even your Master Yoda could come out victorious! And yet, somehow your childish mind, fantasizes that you, not even a master, could win such a duel?”

There were several things, that Obi-Wan, having known Anakin for so long, knew could get his padawan worked up into a tizzy. One – threatening those he cared for, which the Sith had managed to do splendidly, and two – treating him like a child, something Palpatine had also brilliantly succeeded at.

Force help them all.

Gripping the hilt of his lightsaber tightly, the blue beam shimmering against the red and orange landscape of Mustafar, Anakin made himself take a deep breath – never losing sight of the hooded figure. “Well, it’s certainly a good thing that I am not Master Yoda then, isn’t it?”

Palpatine’s lips curled up into an evil grin. “Ah, such arrogance! Such poorly placed confidence!”

“It’s not poorly placed if it’s true. And,” Anakin took a step forward, “I don’t have to defeat you to win.” This time, he was the one who gave the other a smirking expression.

Padme watched all of this with wide-eyed anxiety, grateful that her idiot husband and his ridiculous friend had stopped fighting, but at the same time, now encased with an entire new thing to worry about – namely, whether they would all survive to escape this planet.

Next to her, Obi-Wan was still trying to process everything. His mind was going into overdrive, and the only thought that kept passing through was Force help us. Force help us. Force help us.

Obi-Wan!

Said Jedi started suddenly, glancing around, before his eyes came to rest on Anakin. Anakin?

Yes. Of course it’s me! Listen, I’m going to hold Sidious off. I want you to get Padme and the babies – force that’s still weird – off this planet. Don’t worry about me.

Are you insane?! He’s going to kill you!

Thanks for the vote of confidence. You’re not going to change my mind, all that matters now is getting Padme and my kids to safety.

Obi-Wan attempted to persuade Anakin, but it was now clear that his padawan had, at least temporarily, closed off the connection in order to focus. Kriff, if Jedis took vacations, he was seriously going to need one once this was all over and done with.

Turning to Padme, he gave her a tight-lipped smile and gently picked up one of the babies. Force help us all…he thought for the thousandth time, as the Jedi helped the young twins and Padme into the ship, while in the distance, red and blue lightsabers sparked violently.

Lover’s Ballad

Several days ago, I was sitting in my bed at night and that ancient battle of whether or not to go with what my flesh was wanting, or what I knew my spirit needed commenced. I had not spent time with the Lord or read the Scriptures much that week, and realized I needed to, though a large part of me wanted to do other things then – looking on social media, reading, etc…All things that are not bad in and of themselves, but as believers, we’re supposed to keep the Lord first and foremost in our lives.

I’m not going to say that it was easy to do the right thing, because it wasn’t. However, I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit helped me to overcome that and do what needed to be done even if I didn’t “feel” like it.

The devotional I used was an app called “First 5.” If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a short devotional that takes about five minutes of your time. The Proverbs 31 team put together the app and devotionals, and they usually go through different books of the Bible – at least, that’s what I’ve observed so far.

Anyway, right now, they are going through Hosea.

When I opened the app, the main verse out of chapter 11 of Hosea that they were focusing on was…

“I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath,” ~ Hosea 11:9

At first glance, you might be like, ‘ok. so, what’s the significance here?’ The part that really stuck out to me was the very end of the passage: the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath. 

I read this the day before Easter. And in my mind, I kept thinking how ridiculous it was that I was struggling with wanting to read the Bible, to spend time with God. He literally died for me – nails stabbed into his hands, thorns shoved onto his head, betrayed by his closest friends. 

Then, here I am, having a difficult time deciding whether or not to spend time with Him or go scrolling on my cellphone.

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So, when I read that passage – “I will not come in wrath” – my entire brain was kinda overwhelmed. Humans, imperfect as we are, are not forgiving creatures and when someone doesn’t respond correctly after we have sacrificed everything, well, I would say that the majority of us are probably going to be pretty mad.

God is perfect. He has not sinned at all. If anyone had the right to be angry after the sacrifice Jesus gave for us, it would be Him.

But that’s not how He responds. Instead, He makes several statements that I think we all need to remember. One, God is not man – sounds straightforward, yet many times, I know I think that He will react the same way that humans do. The Holy One in your midst, reminding us that He is here. Lastly, I will not come in wrath.

I especially love this verse, and really the entire passage, not only because of what it says, but where it is located…Hosea. The Old Testament. A lot of times, the Old Testament is categorized into the section where God’s power is shown and not His love and mercy. While there is some truth to that, I don’t think it’s the whole story.

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
3
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4
I led them with cords of kindness,[a]
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

Then verses five through seven cover the consequences of Israel’s actions. What will happen because they refused to come back to God.

8
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.[c]

I find this passage beautiful. It really shows the Lord’s heart, I think. It reminds me almost of a lover’s ballad – someone who knows what they need to do, and yet, the very thought of hurting their love is unbearable. The tone is definite, yet broken – resigned, nostalgic, adoring.

Reading this helped me to see a different side of God that I had not really thought of before, and I hope that some portion of this Scripture will touch your heart like it did mine.

~ Southern Dreamer