Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD – pt2 – With My Mother

Movie Review – Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD, pt1


I knew I’d find that notebook eventually. Additional pics are not included in this for the reason of time.

Fury goes to the lab of not-Q, (“Who is that guy? He’s not James Earl Jones….No.” “Nooo…” “No, don’t you recognize him?” “No, who is he?” “He’s the guy who’s in everything!” “What’s his name?” “….Not James Earl Jones.”) and instroduced to the Life Model Decoy: “I don’t know whether to congratulate you or stick a stake in its heart.”

“Why would it repeat what he says? They’re trying to get his voice?…They cloning him?”

Then gets briefed. Or, to be more accurate, briefs Rookie and Mindreader. Instead of being someone who gets spoonfed the plot by the experts, our hero is instead someone who does know what’s going on, and what to do with it. Competence! (also exposition.)

The current villainess, Blondie, is the daughter of the prior supervillain, whom Fury killed in the early 1990s. The raid at the beginning was to recover Daddy’s body and from it, with the help of Dr. McEvil, turn it into Bioweapon Very Dangerous: the Death’s-Head virus.

Fury and Co. head out–

“Where they going?”
“To go talk to the Doctor.”
“They have him?”
“But he’s not on their side! Is he?”

Meanwhile, Blondie is asserting her authority on her organization.

“Who all this?”
“She called all her henchmen.”
“Those are henchmen?”
“They’re lieutenants.”

If you guessed that this involves an elderly but lower-ranking member of said organization expressing his doubts about her leadership abilities (to say nothing of sanity, which is optional), her shooting a man in cold blood, getting off on it, and then laughing maniacally, you were spot on.

“Who is he, though?”
“He was one of the lieutenants.”
“Why’d she shoot him!”
“To make an example out of him?”

“That laugh was stupid….it’s not stupid. I can’t find a word. It was cartoony.”

(It really was, though.)

“A mind reader. Oh gosh.”

So off they go to somewhere else to go talk to the good (bad) doctor.

Nick and the Countess, finding themselves alone, exchange a few words concerning their breakup, but the real highlight of this part (“Oh, watch this, watch this, watch this!” “Watch what?”) is the password exchange between the SHIELD agents and their Interpol contact….

Contact: “I died for beauty, but was scarce adjusted (sp?) in the tomb–”
Nick: “–When one who died for truth was laid to rest in the adjoining room.”
Contact: [rounds corner, is a glamorous blonde in a beret and trenchcoat. Y’know, standard policing gear.] “Colonel Fury? Contessa? Inspector Gail Runceter. Interpol….is something wrong?”
Nick: [checks out] “Truth is beauty and beauty truth. That’s all ye on this Earth know and all ye need to know.”
Contact: “….is that part of the password?”
Nick: “Nah, I just felt like saying it.”

This was the point at which, the first time I saw this movie, the switch flipped from “Heh” to “Oh this is Awesome.”

“You got to admit that was funny.”
“It’s funny!”
“It is not realistic. They don’t do those codes any more. Might as well just use a thingy in the lapel.”

Haste is indicated; the Inspector has stumbled over a dead body. So they head for the safe house…

“What does the Countess do?”
“She’s Nick’s ex and his sidekick. Also the second in command on the strike team.”
“The blonde woman?”
“No, the black haired one!”
“Who is the blonde?”
“She’s with Interpol.”

The doctor is being held in the safehouse; he’s not cooperative.

“All they need is some scopalamine!”

They don’t have scopalamine, since it’s no longer 1944, but they do have a mind reader. She has some trouble getting through, but does manage to pull the required information. The Inspector subsequently pulls Fury aside with an urgent message.

“They’re inside, here?”
“So one of them is a traitor?”
“What? Her! Why?”

“Oh, it’s the other girl.”

The Mother of Skaith had a bit of trouble with this twist, since it’s hard to tell a black-haired woman who has been in the movie from the beginning from a blonde who hasn’t.

“So what happened to the Countess?”
“That girl was the Inspector. She was pretending to be the Inspector. The Countess is the girlfriend.”
“Oh! She’s a countess?….why?”

Meanwhile, in the confusion, the false-Inspector has infected Fury with the Death’s-head virus and made a clean getaway. Death is expected within 48 hours.

“Death….don’t they have a thingy?”

The antidote is only possible if they get a sample of Blondie/Viper’s DNA. Fury vows to get it, even if he has to “suck blood out of that vampire’s neck.”

“Oh! This is so…so…dramatic! I hope no children look at this!”
“Y’know, I would have loved this movie when I was a kid.”

It really is awesome, though.

The Contessa and Fury share another scene. In light of the fact that they have a Shared Past, and that he is Now Dying, you’d think it’d be a reconciliation….and you’d be wrong. We’re still only a third of the way through.

“What’s this? I thought you said she was his girlfriend.”
“Ex. And future.”
“I mean, they’re gonna get back together.”
“After he treated her like that?”
“Like what?”
“He was sleeping around!”
“She was, too! Look, they’re just mad at each other and hurling insults.”
“Hmph. Well, maybe he will learn. Maybe there will be character development and he will be a different person at the end.”

Now that the danger has gone global, there is another debriefing, this one with all the top brass and not just the team members and rookies. Fury has just exchanged sneers with the Officious Boss when he spots Officious Boss’s double. He shoots it.

“What! What! Who is he? What’s going on!”

It doesn’t seem to do any good; the double is a robot who projects a hologram of Blondie/Viper, issuing an ultimatum. A Lot of Money, or Manhattan gets the Death’s-Head. And, there’s a pretty cool line to cap it off:

“Against a force such as ours, there is no protection. Against Hydra, there is no SHIELD.”

That’s badass. It’s awesome, it’s cheesy, it’s simple and to the point and it works perfectly in context. Man, this movie rocks. I’d have loved it when I was a kid.

So. New threat equals new mission.

(Oh, and the robot double self-destructs. “Aha! It is like Mission impossible! It burned up the thingy!” There is also some amount of trouble with this twist as well… “How did he know which one to shoot?” “One of them was walking up and ignoring him and the other one was chewing him out.”)

Also, to prove the seriousness of her threat, Viper has sent an example: the real Inspector Runciter, infected with the Death’s-head.

“Why is she screaming now? She should have been screaming all along?”

They brief the President, who gives them (Fury) effective carte blanche on his plan. This pisses off Officious Boss, who wasn’t consulted about this plan. To be fair, Nick did undermine him a bit there. But most importantly, what the President signs off with is, “Our prayers are with you.”

“They wouldn’t say that these days.”

What is Nick’s plan? Part 1) find the virus launch platform. The Countess will do that. Part 2) find Viper, stop her and get the virus launch codes to stop it. Nick and his strike team of Mindreader and Rookie, will get that. Get it? Got it. Good.

“Did you hear that?”
“They said, ‘get it’, ‘got it,’ ‘good.'”

Despite Officious Boss’s disapproval (and the fact that post-poison Fury is not operating on all cylinders), the teams gear up and head out.

“Hero shot!”

They also take the LMD.

“The what?”
“The robot double.”

This leads to some interesting philosophical considerations.

“If the robot was leading them, would the people know? Who wants to be lead by a robot?”

Due to some handwavy detective work, Fury’s team has a location, though the Countess’s only has leads.

“How did they figure this truck was the one?”
“They’re the government. They have satellites.”
“It’s the wrong one!”
“They’re not necessarily good satellites….”

Aside from being sent the wrong coordinates by the HQ desk jockeys, the Countess’s team works with flawless professionalism, which gives me nothing of substance to complain about.

“I don’t think the Countess is pretty.”
“She is pretty.”
“She is, but her makeup is ugly.”

The real virus truck, under command of Viper’s brother, is parked in a warehouse somewhere, guarded by the pale minions who look like robots.

“That looks like a robot.”

Anyhow, so, long story short: the Contessa’s team finds and contains the virus truck,
(“What is it?”
“It’s too easy.”)
–but can’t risk pulling the plug on the missiles or pushing any buttons in case of a failsafe. So the countdown is still on. This is a stupid Hollywood cliche, and if they were really that worried about it, either the Countess’s team should have had a bomb disposal expert ON HAND, or someone from HQ should have been able to walk them through disarming it. Ah well. It’s the one and only sour note in this whole movie, so I’ll let it slide.

The countdown being still on and controlled from Nick’s side of the globe is important, because Nick and his team get thrown into the brig in about ten minutes, to Viper’s disgust.

“Just don’t let me hear her laugh again. It’s too foolish.”

Luckily, Nick’s eyepatch contains an electronic lockpick. Unluckily, that gets confiscated. What does not get confiscated is the fake eye beneath it. That’s made out of C4.

So they break free and go for round 2.

Round 2 is more successful; the LMD makes its reappearance, as does the gun Not-Q gave Nick. They take Viper prisoner, Mind Reader extracts the all-important code from her mind, and the Contessa is able to shut down the missiles in the nick (heh heh heh, get it?) of time. Manhattan and most of the Northeastern US is saved. Horay!

Viper does escape to villain another day, but on the plus side, Nick gets his antiserum, his old position back, his girlfriend back, and a Cuban cigar. The Helicarrier drifts into the sunset.

This movie rocks. Watch it.

Rated: Ten LMDs out of ten.

MidJourney: can you illustrate it?

So can you make MidJourney / AI art generators illustrate your stories for you? Yes and no–not yet. Will you be able to? Yes, soon. Did it draw me a picture of a caracal in a trench coat? Yes. Lots. (“Oh, that’s nice, that’s a lynx.” “That’s a caracal.” “Oh.” “That one’s a lynx.” “Ok, ok, ok, I see, I see, so, now, just for my benefit, Riders?” “Yes?” “In the future, how do I know which one’s a lynx and which one is a caracal?”) Did it also put eyepatches on them? No, for some reason it completely refused to put eyepatches on them, weird.Can I describe an isolated scene or mental image and have it 100% fulfilled?

No, not yet–and also YES TOTALLY.

Today’s MidJourney creations

no, I don’t know when I’m going to read them, either

They were free on the library free bookshelf, OKAY?

  • The Sands of Mars – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Cheaper by the Dozen – Gilbreth & Carey (do I have a copy of this already? Whatever, it free.)
  • Julius Caesar – Shakespeare
  • The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Homeworld – Harry Harrison
  • Tales from the “White Hart” – Arthur C. Clarke

Not actually free, but only 50 cents was

  • The Children of Hurin – Tolkien

That’ll learn me to play hooky, I guess. Send help.

Caroline Furlong considers the element of darkness

–in a very well put-together Substack column discussing The Shadow and The Dark Knight, their similarities, their literary and mythological underpinnings, and their (when you line them up and compare them, after all) quite evident differences. Of course, it’s never a matter of one being inferior to the other or one being superior.

Of course not….

via TheShadowcastKnows twitter (aka Raz0rfist)

PSA: Dresden Files Short Story out

heroic-hearts“Little Things” is Jim Butcher’s contribution to the Heroic Hearts anthology, released, uh, a couple days ago.

Protip: If you do not want to sign up for your free Audible download and/or fork over money for this, your free Overdrive library account has a “read an excerpt” option, which apparently includes the full length of the story.

It stars, as the cover denotes, Major General Toot-Toot Minimus and his not-girlfriend, Lacuna. Also appearing are the Za Lord, Dresden; his castellan, Sir William; the guardian spirit Bob, and the dread beast Mister of the fell paws and stubby tail.

The plot?

The conomee is bad. The Lord Dresden is in mourning. The troops are worried and restless. And there is a sudden, present threat to the pizza!

I have no further comments to add except that the Little Folk thinking that the tarp dropcloths all over the castle are tacky, poorly-made tapestries = magnifique.

what I did on my holidays

So the Gigantic Semi-Annual Booksale is on, and I had comp leave today (HR is apparently trying to decide whether or how much OT I get for last month’s patroling of the chicken-haunted wastelands.) God being merciful, I walked away with only ten dollars spent (the scifi/fantasy book section is downright skeletal these days.) But they were dollars well spent:

  • Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle & Tarzan & the Lost Empire – Edgar Rice Burroughs – I am slowly but surely compiling the Tarzan series in print.
  • First Aid for Horses – Eleanor Kellon, VMD (My childhood steed died of old age about two years ago, but….)
    • I almost got Marguerite Henry’s Stormy, Misty’s Foal for some of the schoolkids I know…but then decided that the brats wouldn’t appreciate it, anyhow.
  • A Stainless Steel Trio – Harry Harrison (A Stainless Steel Rat is Born, The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted, and The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues)
  • Son of the Black Sword – Larry Correia and yes, I do have it as an ebook; I just wanted a hardback copy. SotBS edged out Terry Pratchett’s Nation on account of costing a dollar less.

Down in the paperback section, I grabbed:

  • The Magician’s Nephew – C. S. Lewis
  • The Song of Roland – Translated by Robert Harrison and also with Guy Gavriel Kay’s name slapped on the cover for some reason.
  • Measure for Measure – Shakespeare
  • Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare, also.

Show me what you love

(Alucard is watching Adventure Time in his room)
(TV suddenly explodes as Luke enters.)

Alucard: That was a 70-inch… plasma screen TV. (smacks his lips and inhales deeply) So… how can I help you?
Luke: You must be the great Alucard…
Alucard: ‘Suup.
Luke: I’ve heard quite a lot about you.
Alucard: Oh, really?
Luke: The nightwalker…who glides through oceans of blood… beyond human, a monster whose power radiates with a darkness that casts a shadow on darkness itself—
Alucard: Oh, you dirty bitch! Work the shaft!
Luke: …Excuse you?
Alucard: Oh, I’m sorry, I like the dirty talk when someone’s sucking my dick.
Luke: Perhaps I should just skip to my point. My name is Luke Valentine.
Alucard: And I’m Carmen Sandiego. Guess where I am.
Luke: I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you here.
Alucard: Oh, so am I, and I’m failing, and I’m sorry for that. It’s just that I’m so agitated, because this blond little shit just strolled into my room, destroyed my 70-inch plasma TV, and is trying to impress me like I’m his alcoholic father.
(Both draw and point their guns at each other’s heads from point-blank range)
Alucard: Be a sport and grab Daddy another beer, would you?

I’m also highly partial to:
Alucard: Get that bitch a cannon! Bitches love cannons!
TV Announcer: The terrorist duo inside is comprised of a young British woman and some Ozzy Osbourne-looking motherfucker
seras_with_dead_bernadotteBut the thing that, at the end of the day, makes this show actually kind of worth it (I mean…arguably….) is the fact that, aside from being completely consistent with the characters’….somewhat exaggerated….personalities for shits and giggles throughout, it still knows when to sober up and take matters seriously. So when our big-tittied police girl has lost her arm, her eyes, her love interest, her duty post, and almost her sanity–not to mention that Nazi vampires have overrun London, and the Catholic Church, Mexican Inquisition, and the Salvation Army decided to “kill them all and let God sort them out”–we get a scene that is very genuine, emotional, and meaningful. 
Alucard: Listen to me, Draculina! You are so much stronger than you let yourself be!
Seras: (sobbing) ‘Ow do you know?!
Alucard: Because behind those eyes, I saw something I lost long ago: the will to live. Now, stop running from who you are. Confront it! Embrace it! And go for its fucking throat. Like a REAL FUCKING VAMPIRE!
Honestly, I hate secret government organizations that hunt supernatural threats, I hate vampires, and I hate sexy vampires….but thing is, so does everyone in this show, including the secret government organization and the sexy vampires. Put that together with oodles of stylized violence, fancy costumes, drama, melodrama, angst, blacked-out silhouettes with glowing/reflective eyes, guns, violence, more violence, no seriously the amount of anime gorn is what kept me from watching either the original or the abridged series for the longest time–you can’t get better than this. And I mean either the original, which plays things absolutely seriously, or…y’know, this version, which doesn’t.
Anderson: Time the fuck out! If we’re doing this — and WE ARE DOING THIS — I’m not gonna come swinging at DRACULA! I’M KILLING ALUCARD!
Dracula: You do know that it’s just my name spelled–