Captain America: Secret War (ELEVEN)

Sam Wilson was flying the Quinjet south, his eyes peeled for random jets tailing them. Thankfully, that never transpired. They sped through the sky over the white film of cumulous clouds that had gathered over the land below. He heard footsteps behind him and turned to find Natasha Romanoff leaning against his seat.

“How’s Cap doing?” he asked.

“He’s having the best sleep of his life right now. Well, besides that time he was in a near-70-year coma,” she said.

Sam chuckled. He took a glance at her, noticing the bloodied scratches on her face.

“You okay?” he asked.

She fingered the scratches. “It’s nothing a bit of ointment can’t help.”

He nodded. “Scratches and bruises, it’s nothing new.” He pressed a button. “So, what have you been doing these last six months?”

“Reevaluating my life,” she said humorlessly, falling into the seat behind him.

“That sounds tough.”

She focused on the clouds. Despite their beauty, she suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of despair wash over her. Growing up she didn’t have many friends in the Red Room. Every girl had a hidden agenda or a plan to eliminate her. It was simple; survival of the fittest. Natasha rose to the top and then was thrust into society, not as a normal teenager but as a world-class assassin. Joining The Avengers had finally provided her the opportunity to build true relationships with people. Now some of those friends were her enemies. Even Barton had joined the other side.

For the past six months, she had felt more alone than she had in a long while and she didn’t like that feeling. That sense of abandonment that made her feel like a caged animal. When she was in that state of mind she could become…dangerous. Bad things could happen by her hand and she didn’t want to go back to that world. She vowed she wouldn’t but she could feel her past impulses returning inside of her. She just had to control them.

“Yeah,” she finally obliged. “It hasn’t been easy.”

Sam nodded, remaining silent. He knew Natasha well enough to know when to leave her alone. She wasn’t a very open person. She often kept her true feelings bottled up behind a carefree facade. The only people she sometimes opened up to was Steve and, before he disappeared, Bruce Banner. If she added him to that list he would be honored but he wouldn’t press her, lest he ends up getting a painful kick to the back of the head.

He heard footsteps followed by Sharon’s voice.

“We should be landing soon,” she said.

Sam acknowledged her command, starting the jet’s descent as he veered beneath the clouds. His eyes widened as he beheld the sea of green trees that reached as far as the eye could see in every direction. Sprinkled throughout the tree-covered mountains were patches of small towns and random homes located deep within the woods.

“A little further,” Sharon said, pointing ahead.

They zoomed over the mountains for a little longer before Sharon told him to touch down on a small strip of green grass that sat in the middle of a thick swath of trees. He did as she said, landing the jet on the perfectly mown lawn. A mansion slightly hidden by beautiful oak trees sat at the end of the clearing.

“Wow, what is this place?” Sam asked.

“The Carter Estate,” Sharon said. “My grand-aunt built it when she needed a place to get away. I’ve been here a couple of times with my parents but there’s never been a better reason to come.”

“Does anyone live here?” Natasha said. “I mean, this grass seems like it was just cut.” She looked at Sharon. “This mansion isn’t haunted is it?”

Sharon laughed. “No. My grandfather lives here with his wife and they have servants that help around the house.”

Natasha seemed relieved.

“Well let’s go then.”

Sharon began walking out of the jet while Sam and Natasha woke Steve from his medicine-induced slumber. They helped him sit up and put on a spare shirt over his bandaged torso before helping him stand.

“Are you okay?” Natasha asked him.

Steve nodded. “I’ve been through worse.”

Sam smiled, clapping him on the shoulder. “Good to see you feeling better, Cap.”

Steve nodded, a hint of a smile touching his lips. They left the jet before following Sharon across the lawn.

When they got to the curved brick driveway Sharon suddenly stopped in her tracks.

“Sharon, what’s wrong?” Natasha asked.

She pointed at the black car that sat parked before the stairs of the mansion. “That’s not my grandfather’s car.”

Sam’s eyebrows furrowed. “Are you sure he hasn’t bought another one?”

She looked back at him with an exasperated expression. “My grandfather has had the same car since the 60s’.” She faced forward. “Someone’s here.”

Natasha’s expression turned serious. “Then stay on your P’s and Q’s.”

Sharon, Sam, and Steve acknowledged her warning. They slowly climbed the stairs, their gazes alertly scanning the area, and their hands poised to pull the guns from their holsters.

When they reached the front door Sharon grabbed the circular brass knocker and knocked three times. Sam noticed a doorbell on the side.

“Shouldn’t you have rung the doorbell?” he asked.

Sharon shook her head. “If there’s an intruder that’ll alert them to our presence. If no one comes to the door within a minute something’s definitely wrong.”

A second after she said that the door opened, revealing a slender man in a butler’s suit with greying hair and bright blue eyes that brightened, even more, when he saw her.

“Sharon!” he exclaimed. He stepped forward, giving her a warm hug. “How long it has been.”

She grinned. “Evan. It’s so good to see you.”

He released her and immediately noticed Steve Rogers.

“Oh my,” he exclaimed. “Captain Steve Rogers, it is an honor to finally meet you in person.”

Steve smiled. The butler turned his attention to Sam and Natasha.

“And you two must be Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson.”

They nodded.

“It’s such an honor to meet all of you. But surely you must be tired. Come, come.”

He ushered them into the house where they entered a beautiful foyer lined with painted portraits of the Carter family tree dating back to the early 1800s’. In the distance, they could hear jovial chatter and rambunctious laughter.

“Is that Grandfather?” Sharon asked.

Evan the Butler nodded. “He’s in the sitting room talking with two agents that got here yesterday.”

Alert immediately spread throughout the four of them.

“Agents?” Sharon asked.

The butler smiled. “Mmm-hmm.”

Sharon didn’t need to be told another word. She hurried to the sitting room, her hand resting on the gun in her thigh holster. If a Deputy Task Force agent or someone even worse dared try to hurt her family there would be deadly consequences.

She rushed down the short hall with her friends behind her, turned the corner, thus entering the sitting room, and her jaw dropped.

There was her grandfather dressed in an expensive velvet robe over simple pajamas holding a glass of red wine as he stood behind his favorite armchair. His wife, a gorgeous Italian model just a few years older than Sharon, sat on the comfy sofa. And there, sitting in the other two armchairs on the right side of the large room, was Nick Fury and Agent Maria Hill.

When Nick Fury saw them he smiled. “You’re late.”

 

Header Photo Courtesy: Marvel Studios

A Movie Ranking: Scarlett Johansson (Updated)

The last time I wrote this post I hadn’t seen Ghost in the ShellJojo Rabbit, and Marriage Story. So, with no further delay, let me update this list.

13. Ghost in the Shell

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell (2017)

To be fair, I haven’t seen this movie all the way through but I did see enough of it and it is pretty terrible. It’s cultural appropriation on steroids (the character that she plays is supposed to be Asian and even has an Asian mother!) The bodysuit is so flesh-colored and tight that it honestly feels like you’re watching Johansson traipse through a movie naked, minus the explicit lady parts. This was just not my style.

12. Lucy

Scarlett Johansson in Lucy (2014)

From Luc Besson, the mind behind the critically-acclaimed wonder, The Professional, comes Lucy, the story of a normal American woman who, by accident, is exposed to a drug that slowly opens 100% of her brain.

The first third of the movie was actually pretty entertaining but with a story as complex as the idea of a human possessing that much knowledge and power, the film turned south real fast. But hey, you should check it out.

12. Iron Man 2

Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 (2010)

Scarlet Johansson’s debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was nothing short of exciting and it wouldn’t be long before she would become a fan favorite.

11. The Jungle Book

Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley, Giancarlo Esposito, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Neel Sethi in The Jungle Book (2016)

Voicing the wise snake of the jungle, Kaa, The Jungle Book is a delightful remake of a Disney classic.

10. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Avengers: Age of Ultron is pretty good but compared to these next six films it pales in comparison.

9. The Avengers

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Scarlet Johansson’s second dive into the MCU was even better as she became the hero we didn’t get to see in full detail in Iron Man 2.

8. Captain America: Civil War

Scarlett Johansson in Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War was the film that turned Black Widow from Avenger to a leader. Gone was the flirtiness that partly dominated her story replaced with a steely resolve to have to make the right choice. This version of Black Widow is the one we’ll see in greater detail next summer with Black Widow and I couldn’t be more excited.

7. The Prestige

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An amazing movie from beginning to end, The Prestige is unlike any film you’ll ever watch and Scarlet Johansson’s Olivia Wenscombe is the puzzle piece that brings it all together. However, it is a tad bit confusing and it would be easy to lose interest because it takes its own time to establish the mystery.

6. Marriage Story

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I just watched this the other day and I was thrilled to discover it lived up to the hype. The film was perfectly written, balancing humor with real-life problems that brought a sense of moroseness to the movie that never ceased. Scarlett Johansson tried to garner an Oscar win for her role in this film but ultimately, it wasn’t even her strongest performance last year. I’ll get to that performance later. But, this was a great movie that left me very satisfied.

4. Jojo Rabbit

Sam Rockwell, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson, Thomasin McKenzie, and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit (2019)

When I learned that Jojo Rabbit, a comedy written and directed by Taika Waititi, was actually getting a bunch of praise I wanted to see it. I finally watched it the other week and I LOVED IT! It was darkly comedic and yet it was so striking in its assessment of the Nazis and their evil beliefs, as well as vilifying hatred that still lingers to this day.

Scarlett Johansson received her second Oscar nomination for her supporting role in this movie and if not for Laura Dern’s impeccable portrayal of Johansson’s lawyer in Marriage Story she could’ve won.

3. Avengers: Endgame

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While Black Widow’s role in Avengers: Endgame was much smaller than I expected it doesn’t take away from the impact she had on the story or the MCU overall. Without her sacrifice, The Avengers would not have been able to defeat Thanos, and while it was a sad turn of events for such a beloved character it was the right choice made by the Russo Brothers and the writers of the film, Christopher Markus and Stephen Mcfeely.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Scarlett Johansson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

This film was the first time we got to see the spotlight placed on Black Widow and it was fascinating. We got to grasp a deeper side to Natasha Romanoff that had only been sparsely touched in The Avengers and it made her character that much more interesting. Plus, we got to see her in super-spy mode and it was awesome! This was the movie that made me love Black Widow.

1. Avengers: Infinity War

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Honestly, is this even a surprise? Avengers: Infinity War is my favorite Marvel movie and, subsequently, this is my favorite role of Black Widow’s as well. The new hairdo, the awesome new outfit, and the stern-no-nonsense persona, Black Widow shined in Infinity War in ways that I hope will be replicated in the Black Widow movie.

So, there you have it, folks! My updated movie ranking of Scarlet Johansson.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a spectacular day.

Counting Down My 20 Favorite Trailers: #12-‘The Mandalorian’

The Mandalorian‘s first trailer was so much fun to watch. I remember being blown away by how good the show looked and how its tone was so different than anything else I’d seen in Star Wars.

Even now, watching the trailer provides a sense of ethereal joy that most trailers have never been able to give me. So, with no further delay, here’s the trailer.

It’s fitting to remember this trailer when the trailer for the second season is almost upon us. The Mandalorian is featured, of course, heavily in this official first look at the show but who’s missing? Baby Yoda!

The show’s true star is not in this trailer one bit, showcasing Disney’s incredible attention to secrecy that helped make this show the special occasion that it was last year. This story the trailer is conveying is a completely different plot than the one we got and it’s kind of fascinating.

This show was depicted as a raw bounty hunter story, not the super-cute story of a rad bounty hunter protecting an uber-cute baby for seven episodes. It’s fascinating stuff.

And can we talk about the excellent use of music for this trailer? The way it builds along with the trailer delivers an exhilarating experience that seems to raise my heart rate every time I watch it. By the time the music goes off, I’m pressed against my couch, a grin on my face and my breath hurried. I love this trailer.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day. May the Force be with you.

I’m So Excited for DC Fandome!

One week from today the first truly exciting movie event of the year is taking place and that is DC Fandome, an online virtual comic-con of sorts that will provide everything DC Comics-related.

That means we’ll be getting a new trailer of Wonder Woman 1984, some new looks at The Batman, a trailer for the Snyder Cut of Justice League, and a bunch of other announcements for Shazam! 2, Black Adam, The Flash, Aquaman 2, and so much more.

It is a 24-hour event that will be nonstop fun for nerds in desperate need of some good entertainment news. It’s been so long since any substantial movie news circulated through the internet that this feels like Christmas (and I’m not even a full-blown DC Comics fan but hey, I’ll take it.)

Of course, with so much attention surrounding DC Comics and thus Warner Bros. in the next week, it seems we’ll be getting other movie news later this month. Continue reading I’m So Excited for DC Fandome!