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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

As most of you know, I'm a huge Marvel fan, and Captain America is my favorite avenger. 
Because this movie came out in Korea before the USA, I will keep the review spoiler free, but there are a few spoilers I will talk about, that will make no sense until you've seen the movie. 
In the first Avengers, these characters were just getting to know each other, and although they were already individual leaders, they had to find a way to work as a team. 
This movie sets up that dynamic really well, and we see each hero playing their part in the action. 
With six major characters, the movie had a decent plot, and we see each character face an inner conflict, and learn a little more about who they are. 
Captain America's inner conflict was heart breaking, while everyone else's focused on fear. 
In terms of the characters and conflict, I thought it was well balanced at the begining, but some conflicts were never addressed later in the film, though it may have been a setup for story in the sequel. 
This movie was more serious than the first Avengers. I didn't mind that too much, because the plot was philosophical and intriguing. We also see a lot of places around the world, and team work is a big theme in the film's story. 
The big bad of this film is someone unexpected, and the way Iron Man handles that bad guy seemed a little too convenient. A lot of the conflict in this film involves Iron Man's ideals for the world, and Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawk Eye and The Hulk have to deal with much of his actions. 
This is natural for his character, but at times, I felt it shifted the balance of the plot. 
Iron Man carried most of the comedy in the film, but his dark moments were so dark that it didn't quite make sense. I felt he had almost lost the character development we saw in the first one, as he makes so many selfish decisions that the others don't agree with. 
Hawk Eye had a wonderful part to play in this film, and some of the best lines of dialogue. He even has a mentor role in one scene that showed how mentally strong and heroic he is. I enjoyed his storyline in the film, and I felt like it was a heart of the story. 
Black Widow was amazing as usual, but we see a softer side of her character in this movie. Her story revolves around moving forward instead of looking back. She has a very confident prescence in the film, and she seems to be more comfortable in her own skin. 
The Hulk was very hestitant in this film. His inner conflict was a constant theme in the story, and it seems he has much more to learn. 
Thor was Thor, and his plot didn't really make a lot of sense, but I believe his story was really a set up for the next film. 
Captain America had the most heroic role, until close to the end, but much of his leadership, wisdom and morality was overshadowed by Iron Man's plot. In terms of the inner conflict, I think he handled his very well, and he ends the movie as a stronger and more confident character. 
Now for the spoilers. 
Many people have said that the romance subplot of the film was unecessary. I didn't mind it, but I will say that it was a little bit of a shock in terms of the back story for three major characters. I do disagree with the fact that people beleived there was no build up. I think there was a little potential for that in the first film, and there are a few moments between the characters that were endearing. 
For one character in particular, people say that this subplot weakens their character.  I disagree. In fact, I think this character is more balanced in terms of heart and mind. They are able to hold their own, and still admit what matters to them. 
Another spoiler, I loved the introduction of the newest Avenger, and how the character weighed in to the main plot. They may even be up there with Captain America as my favorite hero. 

Overall this movie was intense, entertaining and the story telling was very deep. Having so many characters can be difficult in terms of a solid plot, but I thought the themes, conflict and the philosophical elements of the story were well done. 
In my personal opinion, I would have liked to see more of Captain America, but that's just because he's amazing. 
I would give this movie four out of five space gems. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Rainy Day

Perhaps the rain drops that fall
Entrance instead of hinder
Radiant souls dancing in the 
Splash of the murky waters
Placed on the path
Enamored by the elements of
The way we view the world
Influences the journey more than
Viewing the world
Enclosed in one focus

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Serene Sanctuary

It was a place to get away from it all. Away from the crowd, the tourists, and many people that came to the island. 
Not many people knew about this place, or walked down this path, but I was grateful for that. Here I could spend some time surrounded by the beauty of nature. I could listen to the water lap on the shore, watch the people walk across the bridge towards Dragon Head rock, and I could just be for a little while. 
At the top of the stair, not far from the path, an orange fruit stand was waiting for me, my mother impatiently setting up our daily display of crops and crafts. The hemp bracelets were mine, and some people bought them, but all I really wanted to do, as they prattled on about their day, or what country they were from was go down toward the water and listen to the waves. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: A review

"Time waits for no one."

It's a really interesting question. What would you do if you could go back in time? Matoko, a seventeen year old girl is able to leap through time and change the outcome of her future, but she only has the ability to leap for a limited time. 
At first she relives her favorite moments with her two friends Chiaki and Kosuke, trival things to others, but meaningful to her, but the more she leaps, the more things change, and one particular moment she keeps coming back to is the science classroom where a single line is written on the black board: "Time waits for no one." 
As Matoko discovers, her powers have consequences, and what she enjoys makes others suffer. She must decide what time is worth spending, and how to use this gift, but the people around Matoko have secrets of their own. Her aunt Kazuko knows about time travel, and her goal to restore a painting ties in to the events that Makoto keeps reliving: a fatal train accident, the blackboard in the science classroom and the mysterious painting her aunt is trying to restore for the future. 

This is a movie that makes you think, and the story is left up to the viewers interpretation. But the underlying theme of time creates an interesting perspective, as well as the repeated phrase "Time waits for no one." Many people have argued over how this movie really ends, and that what order the events are shown is not the actual timeline in the film, but the ambiguity of this story is what makes it special. You must decide in the end what Makoto choses to do with her time. 
I give it a solid four out of five leaps. 
(Chiaki was a mysterious character, but I believe he was supposed to be. I just wasn't a fan of him calling Makoto stupid even if it was meant to be endearing)  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cherry Blossoms: A poem

So the trees bloom,
And their sweet scent fills the air.
Kings and queens of the past
Understood their secrets.
Raining their white and pink 
Aura down upon them.

Beauty in the form of
Laughter falling from trees
Observed through petals.
Slow down, they whisper
Softening the rocks and pavement
Of which the road is made.
More and more
Subtly singing a new beginning.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


As many people that know me have said, I am a thinker. I think a lot. About everything. The universe, the world, books, movies, coffee, tea, rain, what to have for breakfast. And my current thought pattern has involved the panic of what to do when my journey in South Korea comes to an end. My long-term goal is a big one, and to be fair, I have made quite a lot of progress in terms of where I want to be financially. It's the process of being an adult. To make these decisions that determine where you will be in life is a daunting and frightening concept. But there are some things in life you just can't control, and worrying doesn't change the situation. 
In talking with a good friend, she brought up this concept called divine timing. Similar to destiny or fate, what is meant to be will fall into place. 
This reminded me of the concept of hitsuzen in one of my favorite mangas Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP.
Hitsuzen is defined as a type of inevitability
Yuuko says hitsuzen is "a naturally foreordained event. A state in which other outcomes are impossible. A result which can only be obtained by a single casuality, and all other casualities would necessarily create different results." 
This is not exactly the same concept as destiny or fate, where regardless of what you do, it will happen. Instead it is the concept that one action is a ripple effect that causes a series of bigger events that will eventually fall into place. 
This is a difficult concept to grasp in a world where most of the things we want are now instantly available. But in terms of career, life and love, I believe that a certain amount of patience is required. 
A while ago, while working at the book store, I found this book about something called the quarter life crisis, and how it effects my generation more than the previous one due to the lack of economic support that twenty-somethings can get. 
Let's face it, most of us recent or even late former graduates are still paying back student loans, trying to go for the job we were promised in college, and meet all of society's demands for what is defined as an adult. 
But life doesn't work that way. Sure there's a path, but it's not straight. It's paved with risks, failures, obstacles and bridges that cross the everflowing rivers of disappointment and sadness that come with the process of achieving a goal. 
Life is full of surprises. Hardly anything goes to plan. But, opportunities come in their own time, and you must be willing to meet them. 
Currently, I'm drifting in this sea of uncertainty, not sure what the future will hold in a few months is something I haven't really experienced before on this grand a scale. 
But I do think there is something to be said about divine timing and hitsuzen. As long as you work towards a goal, and you don't let failure, rejection and criticism stop you, you will reach it. But in the meantime, along the path towards your goal, sometimes you will have to accept the uncertainty and just allow things to happen. 
So I am done with constantly worrying about my future to the point of exhaustion. Everyday I take a small step on a greater journey that I can't predict. But as long as the steps I take mean something to me, and they help me reach the goal I've set, hitzusen will work its magic and I will be there before I know it. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Tsubasa!

Today is April 1st, which most people know as April Fool's Day, but for me, it is the shared birthday between two amazing characters created by CLAMP. Sakura and Syoaran. In Tsubasa, because Syoaran doesn't know when his birthday is, Sakura offers to share her birthday with him, and then they celebrated their birthday on April 1st every year. 
These two characters are very strong, and they have been through so much. I'm excited to see where their road will lead, now that I know we will be getting a new anime, and another manga for the Tsubasa series. It was such an epic tale, and it will be great to see these characters again. 
Happy birthday to the CLAMP power couple ^_^