For Valentine’s Day, Mary suggested we watch an old favorite of hers that she hadn’t seen in a while and I hadn’t seen at all. Ever After is a semi-realist take on the Cinderella story, in which Drew Barrymore suffers under the yoke of her dissatisfied stepmother Angelica Huston, but then ends up in the mistaken identity trope of a romantic comedy when she inadvertently encounters the prince of France while trying to free a family servant from being indentured to the Americas.
And I do not use “trope” advisedly; it’s more like a term of art here, because the plot never rises above its rom-com trope roots, and indeed it never tries to. But it’s also the kind of movie you’d watch on Valentine’s Day, you know? Plus, and this is technically a spoiler, any movie that turns Leonardo Da Vinci into a fairy godmother is a-okay in my book.
 By way of seeing one of the stepsisters in the latest episode of The Last of Us, and being reminded of the movie’s existence
 Perversely, she’s quite a bit less nice than when she played Morticia Addams
It’s impossible to think about a sequel to Black Panther without thinking about Chadwick Boseman. I don’t mean because he died, or I don’t only mean that. I mean that every aspect of the movie’s plot is wholly informed by the fact of his loss. I try to imagine a movie with any shared plot point but also T’Challa is the main character, and… I just cannot.
Instead of whatever might have been, we got one of the grimmest MCU movies I can remember, in which a series of unlikable politicians face off against an unlikable Queen Ramonda faces off against the goddamned Submariner.
I want to have more to say, but… I kind of don’t. Wakanda Forever ended up feeling like exactly the movie it was, in which the MCU architects were forced to spend an entire movie shifting around pieces on the chess board to explain why there’s still a Black Panther even though the actor died and they were smart enough to not replace him in the same role with a new actor.
The best part of the movie was the payoff of that conundrum, where the most deserving justification and the most deserving character came together very neatly to solve the problem and save the day. The second best part of the movie was that they managed to convince me Namor’s ankle wings are not entirely ridiculous in every way, via Mayan mythology. The second worst part of the movie is that I think if Boseman had lived, we would not have gotten the goddamned Submariner into the MCU yet, or maybe ever. (The worst part of the movie is that Chadwick Boseman died, of course. Even if it happened before they settled the script.)
 Because, see, they want vibranium, and there’s no longer a Black Panther to protect Wakanda. (I mean, there’s still piles of Wakandan futuretech and those badass Dora Milaje, which you’d think would be plenty enough to give anyone pause.)
 A lot of the time, she has good reason to be angry. But she’s just not nice to anyone, and it definitely adds to the grim feel of things.
 T’Challa’s mother, the new ruler of the nation since he had to be written out of the story.