Shang-Chi and a Breath of Fresh Air

Marvel’s Phase Four is different. There’s no denying that. Starting off with WandaVision, a bonkers sitcom, leading us into the politically charged Falcon and the Winter Soldier, only to take another left turn with the Loki series, Marvel is boldy saying “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

And that brings us to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Here’s how IMDB describes it:

“Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.”

Let me tell you how much of an undersell this is. Shang-Chi, as a character, is as big as Tony Stark was to Phase one. Destin Daniel Cretton laid down the gauntlet with this film, boldly declaring the old rules are not our rules, and then took the best parts of martial arts films, family dramas, buddy comedies and Star Wars (yeah, you heard me “Heroes Journey” fans) and made a better superhero movie than most of those that came before.

Simu Liu is not only a superhero, but he’s a leading man, in the best kind of Hollywood way. I can’t wait to watch him in everything he does moving forward–especially Shang-Chi 2. Like, I’m ready for it.

And just in case that wasn’t enough for you, Tony Leung (one of my favorite actors–period–full stop) plays the leader of the titular Ten Rings organization. And for Marvel, this yet another step in the right direction as his Wenwu is as heartbreakingly sympathetic as he is dangerous–yet, another good Marvel villain. (If they keep this up, we may have like five. ;))

Lastly, let’s talk about the women in this movie: I love Awkwafina, and she does not disappoint in this movie–she’s funny, competent, and above all, a real person–she grounds this very fantastical movie, as does Shang-Chi’s sister, played by Meng’er Zhang, who is not under utilized in this movie and whose part is only going to be greater as the MCU continues to expand.

EDIT: I forgot to mention Michelle Yeoh–who should be a national treasure to not only China, but to the world–and she always delivers!

So let’s try this ourselves:

“In a world where forces from across the universe can strike at any moment, Shang-Chi–trained as an assassin from childhood–just wants to live a normal life with his found family. But by chance or destiny, the Ten Rings Crime Syndicate greatest killers have finally found him.”

There… first try is already better. It’s not even a good description, but it’s better. IMDB, I’m available.

IN SHORT – Watch this movie and get hyped, phase four isn’t pulling it’s punches, nor do I want it to.

Oh, I’m on Letterboxd now… You should check it out and we can vote on movies together: My profile.

To my wife, on our 15th Anniversary:

Wow.  Fifteen years of marriage, and seventeen years as a couple.  From twenty years old until thirty-seven (come this Saturday).  So much has happened, and yet, not really.

Got engaged.
Got through cancer.
Got married.
Got a dog.
Got pregnant.
Had a kid.
Got pregnant again.
Lost a kid.
Got pregnant again.

That’s it.  16 things, 6 of which were moving.  But it is also so much more.  Every day is special.  You’ve taught me that.  We’ve taught each other, about each other, and about ourselves.  I’ve grown so much being married to you.  You have made me a better man; a happy man.

I turn so easily to depression.  But you are and have always been my anchor.

The picture my mother drew of us, a lioness holding a red balloon is completely accurate.  You keep me grounded, and in touch with reality.  You keep me present and alive in the moment.  I enjoy life more because you are in it.

We have nothing in common and everything in common with one another.  Opposites attract and they did so in the most spectacular way with you, April Dawn Brown.  When I’m angry, you cheer me up.  When I’m overly excited, you remind me that I need a plan in order to accomplish my goals.  I fold the laundry, because you have washed it.

When I lose my patience with our five-year-old (OMG, he’s 5!), you provide the steady hand.

April, you haven’t just been the better part of the last two decades, you’ve been the best part.

I love you.




Jumping in to the Deep End

I don’t like to say “no” to people. I don’t like receiving “no’s” from people. So, I go out of my way to ensure other people don’t get them from me. That being said, I am doing a good job here, in 2013, at not taking on so much that I get overwhelmed and projects fall short of where I want them. Three projects is good. Four, not so much.

When I got back from my family vacation to “sunny” Indiana, I dove headfirst into two real projects and one not so real project. The first of the projects is my aforementioned web-series I’ve entitled Ripley Madison. I’ve written the first few episodes and am moving right along. In the next few weeks I will be organizing a casting call as well as interviewing crew, which I will probably have to field from my fellow Brooks alumni, or simply post something up at the school to get current students looking to add a web-series to their resumes (wow, run-on-sentence). I say this, because until I’m able to make these first few episodes to help sell a kickstarter page, I’ll need people who are willing to work for free.

I will keep y’all updated as this process moves along.

The next project I dove into is that of my church’s website. They need a new one. I’m working on it on another web address, which I will share at a later date–once I have a more completed, less ugly thing to show you.  But it’s gonna be awesome.  The theory is to streamline the way the viewer views and uses the site, while taking the design forward into the 21st century.  Yeah.

And the third project, which really isn’t a project, so much as it’s me hanging out in Tamriel, has been a great escape.


Yes I play an orc, and yes I punch things to death.  Can’t wait for Elder Scrolls Online.

Anywho, I’m glad to be back.  More later.