Week of Geek: Ranking Marvel’s Films… Can it be done?

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Hiya Geeklings.

So, this weekend I got to see Thor: Ragnarok for my birthday.  Squeal!

LOVED IT!  Funny, action packed, had Doctor Strange in it for a little bit.  So much Loki!  And just awesome.  So much to love!  Ali happy!

And it got me thinking about the MCU, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe if you want to skip the shorthand, Marvel Studios’ wackadoodle dream of creating connected films over a broad scale and bringing all the characters and storylines together for a single goal.  It’s had a succession of great directors and top-notch talent in acting, special effects, costuming, writing (one thing I like to say is that, eventually, Everyone Joins the MCU).  They’ve changed and adapted their original plan when certain properties became really popular or they got the rights back to certain characters (welcome back Spidey!)

17 films so far.  Let’s break it down.

Phase 1 – 6 Films

Iron ManThe Incredible HulkIron Man 2ThorCaptain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers

Phase 2 – 6 Films

Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man

Phase 3 – 10 Films

Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok

That takes us to right now.  I’ve got the links above for everything you can sign out but here’s a handy list of what we have in our libraries.  I like lists (clearly).

And then the next ones coming up are…

Black Panther (click that link, it looks amazing), Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Another Avengers Film as yet untitled.

That’ll end Phase 3, and then there’s also a Spider-Man sequel and a 3rd Guardians of the Galaxy movie announced, so I guess that’ll be Phase 4?  Or maybe they’ll just start a new set of phases?  That’s still a few years off, so we’ll see.

So I liked Ragnarok so much that I knew I’d put it up in one of the top spots of favorite Marvel films.  Which got me thinking; how would I rank the other ones?  No small feat, seeing as how there’s almost 20 of them.  So how to go about it?  How I did it was split them up into four different categories and then rank them from there, which made more sense in my own head; a head which is not overly inclined to numbers.

So here they are, my order of released Marvel films from best to worst.  This list is comprised of my own personal preferences.  Some you may agree with.  Some of you may disagree vehemently.  But here they are…

Top Marks

The Avengers – This one may not technically be the absolute best of Marvel’s films, but I’m giving it the top spot because in my little fangirl heart, this moment in cinematic history was a game changer for me and for so many other fans.  This was the first time we got to see Marvel’s plan really come to fruition.  This was something new, something delightful, something that FIVE other films had built to.  And it didn’t let us down.  It was a great film and it proved that what Marvel was on to, this crazy plan of an extended universe, was just crazy enough to work.  It’s left so many other studios scrambling to follow suit.  This was the gold standard for shared universes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier –  Not only was Cap’s 2nd solo outing probably the best one to date, it was one of the most well made of Marvel’s films, from writing to pacing to acting to effects to… everything.  It gave more screen time to Black Widow and introduced the Falcon.  And it packs one of the biggest emotional punches in the series and two of the biggest twists, completely changing the direction for the rest of the films to follow.

Iron Man – The one that started it all, the face that launched a thousand ships (use whatever double meanings you want there).  It made Robert Downey Jr a household name again (come on, he IS Tony Stark), took a superhero that hardly anyone knew anything about and made him an essential component of the Marvel Universe, and with that one end-credits scene not only started a tradition of waiting in a darkened theater until credits have rolled but hinted at a larger universe.  Plus, it was just a great movie.

Thor: Ragnarok – The third film in the Thor trilogy is, I think, the best one.  Though it gave us some real stakes and some far-reaching consequences for the MCU, it was also a ton of fun, with a lot of humor, some great action sequences and candy for your eyeballs.  It’s really a cultivation of what Marvel’s done so far and how good it can be.

Doctor Strange – This would rank high on my list just for granting me one of my deepest wishes; for Benedict Cumberbatch to join the MCU.  But it was just a great movie anyway, so it’s up here.  One of the trippiest films Marvel’s ever done, it completely worked and gave us a real heroes journey with a whole ton of magic.

Guardians of the Galaxy – One thing I’ve read about as to why Marvel is so successful is that it doesn’t just make great superhero movies.  It makes great films from different genres that happen to feature superheroes.  And Guardians proved that they could tackle a real Sci Fi tale and make it work.  With some great characters, funny lines and eye-popping cosmic romps, Guardians was solid from first take off to last.

Thor – This movie gave us our first introduction to Loki.  Even if the rest of the film wasn’t fantastical fun (and it is) that introduction would be enough for me.

Captain America: The First Avenger – A great intro to Cap, the film had an awesome retro feel and led into the first Avengers film nicely.

Not as good but still great

Spider-Man: Homecoming –  This one was a bit of a last-minute addition to the MCU after they unexpectedly got the rights to Spider-Man back from Sony.  But after a great intro in Civil War, Marvel Studios took the character back to his roots by making him a full-fledged high school student with all the nerdy awkwardness that entails.  Add Tony Stark as a mentor and the Vulture as a somewhat sympathetic villain, and you’ve got a great Spidey solo flick.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – It didn’t quite have the same magic as the first one, but it had me in tears by the end of it and it was still visually awesome, smart and had a lot of interesting observations about the nature of families.

The Incredible Hulk – I’ve found that a lot of people genuinely forget this movie exists, or often mistake it for The Hulk, which is a totally different film and has nothing to do with the MCU (and I hear it’s pretty bad).  But the Hulk does have his own MCU film with Incredible Hulk and it’s actually pretty good.  Mark Ruffalo has been a great Bruce Banner from The Avengers onward, but Edward Norton did well the first time out.  Plus I liked Liv Tyler‘s Betty Ross, and villain Thunderbolt Ross would appear again in Civil War.

Ant-Man – Ant-Man’s always been a weird superhero, and this film did not shy away from the weirdness.  By giving the reigns to conflicted petty criminal Scott Lang, they gave us an interesting main character, and seeing the world from a perspective of being tiny was really neat.  And it was funny.  All good.

Meh

Thor: The Dark World – This one gets a lot of hate, but I can’t hate anything that has Loki in it.  Sorry.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A good movie that I still enjoyed but it just didn’t have the spark or the cohesion that the first full Avengers film did.  It did give us Vision though, so that’s awesome.  And I like James Spader a lot, so I was happy to hear him as Ultron.

Iron Man 3 – Still fun but not overly noteworthy.  But it did have some interesting looks at mental illness, which doesn’t come up often enough in film, so there’s that.

Least favorites

Iron Man 2 – Still fun but not overly memorable, less so than Iron Man 3 for me, so it goes here.  Points for introducing the Black Widow, one of the most awesome heroines to ever awesome.

Captain America: Civil War – Yeah, I know.  I KNOW this is a good film.  A great film even, possibly one of the best in the series.  It brought a lot of our favorite characters together, it brought Spidey back, brought Bucky back, introduced the Black Panther, introduced Martin Freeman‘s character Everett K Ross, and was just really well done over all.  But I don’t like it.  It’s devastating, watching these characters I love go through such awful things, having to grapple with moral quandaries that really don’t have right or wrong answers, and see everyone’s loyalties divided over them.  And then to have to watch them fight each other?!  I know movies like this need to have stakes, but COME ON!  This was way to much!  I didn’t like it, darn it, so I’m putting it last.  Sue me.

*Deep Breath*

So, there we go.  What do we think Geeklings?  Was I on the mark?  Way off?  Did I do any films major injustices?  Post in the comments section or head over to WriteIt to create your own list.

Quick mention: It’s NaNoWriMo time, and if you’re looking for places to write be sure to check out the Teen Writer’s Club!

Have a great week guys, keep watching the skies (rhyming!) and until next time, End of Line.

International Games Day November 18th!

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Click on the image to see more.  Gonna be super fun!

Happy Halloween!

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Image result for halloween

The day is finally here!  Candy!  Costumes!  Creature Features!  Creepy Campfire Tales!  How many words that start with ‘c’ can I use?!  Maybe that’s enough.

Anyhoo, in honor of this most festive and frightening night, here’s some fun vids…

And some fun stuff to check out…

Have a great time!  Be safe!  Stay Spooky!

Week of Geek: Halloween with Clowns, Classics and Cartoons…

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Hi again Geeklings!

First thing’s first; a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out for our first ever Vaughan Fan Con.  There were some amazing cosplays and a whole lot of enthusiasm.  We had a great day last Saturday, and that was in no small part due to everyone who came, so THANK YOU!

Now, we’re about a week away from one of my all-time favorite holidays.  Yup, Halloween is nearly upon us.  *happy noises*  I love everything about this holiday.  The costumes.  The spookiness.  The fall weather.  The excuse to binge as much horror entertainment as possible.  All the pumpkin-related food.  All the candy.  That shivery, orange, red, yellow, fiery, spicy feeling that comes with it.  That sense that you’re continuing something ancient, something ironic (laughing in the face of our inevitable demise) and something awesome.  So much love!

I’ve written before on the Fandom of Horror.  This year I thought I’d bring up some new Pop Culture experiences I’ve had over this season thus far, to offer my humble suggestions to brighten your Halloween fun.

IT: Clowns are scary.  You know it.  I know it.  Everyone knows it.  There was a whole clown scare last year with people dressing up just to freak other people out.  And yet, we perpetuate this common belief that these heavily painted terrors are perfectly acceptable for kids birthday parties and other benign activities.  STOP THIS CLOWN AGENDA WE KNOW THE TRUTH!

Anyway, one of the biggest things out there brave enough to speak true about the terror of clowns is IT.  Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, there was a recent film adaptation that blew everyone away.  We have in the system one of the first adaptations, a miniseries released in 1990 starring the irreplaceable Tim Curry.  Sure, it looks a little dated by today’s standards but it’s still one of Curry’s most iconic performances and it still brings the scares.  If you weren’t scared of clowns before you will be after this.

Hammer Horror Films: After Universal Studios reigned supreme with their classic monsters, Hammer Films emerged from England with their own take on scary movies.  I watched one of their earliest films the other night and quite enjoyed it, so I’m passing the message on.  We’ve got a collection of their horror films in the system, and be sure to give this iconic version of Dracula starring Christopher Lee a try.  Get ready for shivers.

The Munsters: Switching gears from outright scary to funny with scary overtones, we’re going all the way back to 1960s sitcoms and the creepiest family since The Addams Family.  The Munsters were a typical extended family always up for wacky antics, except they were pretty much all monsters.  Dad Herman was a Frankenstein’s monster-type creature.  Mom Lily was a vampire, as was her father Grandpa Munster.  Lily and Herman’s son, Eddie, was a werewolf.  And then there was niece Marilyn, who was… human.  Totally normal.  One thing about each and every Munster is that they don’t see anything weird about themselves.  They assume everyone lives in haunted mansions and has kids who howl at the moon, which makes for fun misunderstandings.  But the bottom line, they’re quite endearing.  And it’s always fun to see how TV looked back in the day.

(P.S. I’m going as Lily Munster this year for Halloween.  So excited!)

Regular Show: One of Cartoon Network‘s weirder offerings (and that’s saying something), Regular Show is about anthropomorphic creatures who who live together and work at a park.  Despite the main characters being a blue jay and a raccoon, they are your typical slackers, much more interested in playing video games and goofing off.  And getting into misadventures involving zombies, aliens, ghosts, curses and food challenges.  It’s weird but it’s fun, and totally relatable if you’ve been in the workforce for longer than 2 seconds.  And the show goes nuts on it’s Halloween episodes, as the characters gather around and try to outdo themselves with scary stories.  There’s a DVD collection of some of their spookier episodes here.

How about you guys?  What are some things you can recommend for a chilling yet fun Halloween?  Post away or write it out on the WriteIt site.

And since no Halloween season is complete without Disney’s Haunted Mansion, here’s a clip from Disney XD featuring Star and Marco from Star vs the Forces of Evil.  Have fun, be safe, be spooky, and until next time, End of Line.

Ready Player One שחקן מספר אחת

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Hebrew to follow עברית בהמשך…

Hello friends!

I do this on For Your Leisure sometimes, but haven’t here yet. So welcome to the Teen Vortex’s first ever English-Hebrew post!

One of my responsibilities at VPL is the library’s Hebrew collection. The collection is housed at Bathurst Clark Resource Library, Dufferin Clark Library, and Pleasant Ridge Library (our three east area libraries). It’s an awesome collection and we are constantly adding to it, which is to say that if you want to read a book in Hebrew look no further than this link to find it. And if it’s not there, send out a request here and we will try to get it for you.

Okay. Enough shop talk. What I really came here to talk about is Ready Player One.

As you might know, this book by Ernest Cline has been adapted into a major motion picture that will be in theatres soon. Yay! I am so excited about this! Can you tell?

For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is the trailer for the film:

I highly recommend reading this book before the movie comes out (and also just in general because it’s great!). And now, if you wish, you can read it in Hebrew.

And that was basically the point of this post…

So, without further ado, the Hebrew portion of our day.

שלום חברים/ות!

אני כותבת פוסטים כאילו לפעמים בבלוג הראשי, אבל פה עדיין לא יצא לי. אז ברוכים/ות הבאים/ות לפוסט האנגלי-עברי הראשון של בלוג הנוער שלנו.

דבר ראשון, קצת קונטקסט: אחד התפקידים שלי בספרייה הוא האוסף העברי של הספרייה. האוסף נמצא בספריית בת’רסט קלארק, ספריית דפרין קלארק וספריית פלסנט רידג’ (שלושת הספריות באיזור מזרח). יש לנו אוסף מעולה ואנחנו מוסיפים ומעדכנים אותו כל הזמן, משמע אם יש משהו בעברית שאתם רוצים לקרוא או לראות כל שעליכם לעשות זה ללחוץ על הלינק הזה ולהתחיל לחפש. בנוסף, אם אתם/ן לא מוצאים/ות משהו שאתם/ן רוצים/ות תלחצו פה, תמלאו את טופס בקשה ואנחנו ננסה להוסיף אותו.

אוקיי, אז מספיק ענייני עבודה. מה שבאמת רציתי לדבר עליו זה שחקן מספר אחת.

ייתכן שכבר שמעתם/ן את השם הזה. מדובר בספר של ארנסט קליין שבקרוב מאוד הגרסה הקולנועית שלו יצא לאקרנים. יאיי!! אני ממש מתרגשת מזה!! שמתם/ן לב?

אם לא ראיתם/ן או אם בא לכם/ן לראות שוב, הטריילר לסרט נמצא למעלה.

אני ממש ממש ממש ממליצה על הספר הזה. גם אם אין לכם/ן רצון לראות את הסרט, כדאי לכם/ן לקרוא אותו. הוא מרגש, כיף וסחוף ומליון דברים אחרים!! ועכשיו אפשר לקרוא אותו גם בעברית.

וזהו… בעקרון זה כל מה שהיה לי לומר.