Captain Marvel continues Marvel’s excellent reinvigoration of space opera

As usual, I’m behind the conversation; over Avengers: Endgame‘s opening weekend, I went to see Captain Marvel. I had no particular interest in seeing it, but it was the end point of a leisurely walk along the White River and through downtown on a personal day. I don’t get particularly excited about Marvel movies anymore, and I have minimal familiarity with the Captain Marvel character. The trailers didn’t do anything for me, either. But this film was a surprising joy for me, and I’m glad I saw it.

There are many things to like about Captain Marvel. I like its refreshingly pure-hearted and good-willed protagonist as portrayed by Brie Larson. I like the introduction story here, less an origin (though it contains that, in flashbacks) and more a recognition of one’s true capability and the overturning of years of built-in cultural indoctrination. I liked the appearance of young(ish) agents Coulson and Fury. I liked the sci-fi story, and I liked the big twist, and I liked how it wasn’t just a big twist but actually helped with Carol Danvers’s character growth and full acceptance of her new, heroic, independent identity. I even liked how the potential display of how Fury lost his eye becomes a running gag and ultimately a solidly landed brick joke.

I especially liked that Captain Marvel leaned into being its own thing. Set in the nineties, with a hero character unfamiliar to the existing superhero community of Infinity War and with events that couldn’t have an obvious impact on the state of the world (because why wouldn’t we know about it already?), Captain Marvel seemed like it would be an exceedingly unnecessary and pointless film in a franchise already full of such unnecessary productions. But while Captain Marvel does actually have some nice connective tissue to the Avengers films and draws a direct path to Endgame, it largely succeeds because it focuses on big a good movie instead of another tangle in the web of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, the connections were there, but you could go into this fresh and enjoy a great superhero sci-fi story.

The sci-fi elements were especially fun, and I hope that this serves as a sign that Marvel will continue to incorporate more and more wild space opera into its films. We saw the faintest glimmer of what was to come in the original Thor, but Captain Marvel feels like a sibling of Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok in being so wildly, ridiculously over-the-top in its depiction of galaxy-spanning empires and alien cultures. It also feels like a movie that has spiritual roots in the eighties or nineties, with the premise of an Earth-born human hero clandestinely becoming entangled in an intergalactic conflict echoing Flash Gordon or The Last Starfighter.

I hope that Marvel continues to release wild, wacky, cosmic epics. I’d love to see a sequel to Captain Marvel that details her adventures taking down the Kree empire. But I also hope that we can see some other, original, high-quality space opera films come out. It’s a rare treat, and the plots are often a little half-baked, but I love the colossal scale and alien settings, and when these things have the budget for a decent cinematic experience, it’s truly wonderful.

So many pictures!

Oh boy, I have a lot of pictures I want to share. I have to restrain myself a little bit. I’ll begin with just a handful of the many, many pictures from a day trip with my wife last week to Turkey Run State Park:

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I have a lot. Way too many. That’s just a sample. So much beauty out there. And separately, still from Turkey Run, here’s another collection of shots of/around the covered bridge there:

Lastly from Turkey Run, here’s this guy:

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I was walking less the past few weeks because my wife very sweetly kept offering rides while on break from teaching, and it’s hard to say no to being dropped off right outside the door and spending a little extra time with my favorite person every day. But I still have some pictures that I think are at least interesting. Like so:

I also saw a beautiful double rainbow in Fountain Square after heavy rains, when going to a metal/punk show with my wife. You can sort of see both in this photo:

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And it wouldn’t be a photo collection here without some animal, and especially bird, pictures:

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Rusty blackbird? Brown-headed cowbird? Something else?

Those animal pictures include some truly atrocious bird pictures. Good luck identifying whatever these guys are:

Finally, just for fun, look how my little far-shore spot from my “adventure” was completely flooded by the heavy rains:

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That’s all for now, folks!

Walking to work

I started walking to and from work over the past week. It’s been fun. I intend to keep it up. It’s a little over two and a half miles from home to work and vice versa, giving me plenty of time to simply enjoy the stroll. Mornings, when it’s cool and quiet, I take time for relaxation, introspection, and appreciation of my surroundings. Afternoons are a little more hectic–warmer, sometimes humid, and with a lot more people and cars out. I use that time for some distraction; I’ve suddenly started increasing levels in Pokemon Go again, after stalling out on the game for a long while, for instance.

At either time of day, I’ve intermittently snapped some pictures with my phone. Some of those pictures are included below. You’ll notice many are from similar routes and similar vantage points, sometimes separated by a few moments or a few days.

I really love snapping pictures of downtown Indy from the White River State Park Promenade. Very photogenic, even for a stubborn amateur using his digital phone’s camera lens and some basic filters, I think.

All along the Promenade is gorgeous, though, especially in spring. It’s not only visually beautiful, though; the sound of birdsong is prominent, especially in the morning. I couldn’t ask for a more soothing way to wake up and start my day (after my hot shower, of course).

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Special shout-out to that squirrel, who was almost as interested in me as I was in him (or her).

The pedestrian walkway connecting the Promenade to the main body of White River State Park offers some great views, too. Some of them are just goofy: in the lower-right image above, you’ll see a goose nesting atop an old pier, one of many, as each pier had its own goose.

I took a lot less pictures downtown, but maybe in future weeks I’ll take more.

Final shot for today, some cool ducks nesting near our home:

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That’s it. I love these walks!