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Summer TV and movie recap

by Sahana Srinivasan, Winged Post and Wingspan Editor-in-Chief

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The Bold Type 4/5

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Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

This show came recommended by significant internet hype about its abundance of feminism and focus on female friendships. Inspired by Cosmopolitan magazine and its former editor-in-chief, the show focuses on three twenty-something women working in the magazine, and admittedly does portray a diversity of characters and perspectives, with the budding relationship between Kat Edison, social media director at the magazine and an African-American woman, and Adena El-Amin, a photographer showing her work in New York who is both Muslim and a lesbian, generating buzz.

The show’s no-holds-barred, frank discussion of oft-overlooked topics like breast cancer gene testing, menstruation and all facets of sexuality is refreshing, and the healthy and supportive friendship between the three main characters, as well as the supportive, dynamic leadership of the magazine’s editor-in-chief Jacqueline Carlyle binds the show together. It’s unique in today’s TV landscape and all the better for it. However, aside from its points on the empowerment of women, the show runs a little dry, focusing on the goings-on of the lives of magazine employees that may hold little interest to most audiences. And although the show does talk about topics that are usually taboo, it doesn’t mention the other side of the debate, even in controversy, which could have been a source of great enrichment for the show

If you’re looking for feminism, for representation, or for light, frank fun, this is the show for you, but a binge-worthy drama it is not, nor does it try to be.

 

Shadowhunters 2.5/5

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Rotten Tomatoes: 46%

Based on Cassandra Clare’s book series, Shadowhunters depicts a world of angels and demons, vampires and werewolves, magicians and fairies, and the part-human, part-angel Shadowhunters that attempt to keep a fantastical world in order and separate from the rest of society. The show had a lot to prove in its first season in 2016, following an unsuccessful film adaptation of the books in 2013.

Despite its intriguing premise and the abundance of content available in the books, the show falls relatively flat, with the plot often falling back on a kidnapping gimmick and the stakes of the main characters’ quests lacking the amount of gravitas necessary. Although by and large the characters have been done justice, this show provides no great acting moments or scenes, often feeling like everyone is trying too earnestly. Nevertheless, it has just enough action and drama that it was quite easy to binge and to entertain, although source of great reflection it is not.

 

Wonder Woman 4.5/5

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Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Wonder Woman was a whole lot of firsts in the superhero film industry: first directed by a woman, first in 10 years and first female solo film in the Marvel and DC franchises.

It also had a markedly different pace and type of storytelling than most 21st century superhero films. It opens in Wonder Woman aka Princess Diana of Themyscira’s island home with the rest of the Amazons and incorporates just the right amount of warrior training, cute baby Diana moments and DC universe background. The opening of the film, in both its frank and badass depiction of woman and the easy and natural banter between Diana and Steve Trevor, grounds the movie in reality and makes it an enjoyable watch. Even as more of the action plot is woven in, Diana’s combination of innocence, heroic aspirations, conviction and inherent desire to do good for humanity makes the movie a breath of fresh air.

Although the ending escalates into a generic (and admittedly disappointing) superhero ending, Diana stays the same character she was before, one who can just as easily praise ice cream vendors as a she can defeat her enemies and one who unashamedly values love as a triumphant asset. Her complexity is admirable and her transformation into Wonder Woman proves a thrill to watch, bolstered by an open discussion of the reality of World War I and laudable directing and acting.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming 4/5

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Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Spider-Man: Homecoming, being the third recent reboot of the franchise, had a lot to live up to and certainly didn’t disappoint. Tom Holland as the titular character played a fairly convincing 15-year-old who alternates between overwhelmed by his situation and unflinchingly excited and prepared to be a superhero. He plays a teenager more realistically than previous versions, partially because, at least compared to the Amazing Spider-man, this Peter Parker has to deal with school problems, social concerns and friends.

Another of the movie’s highlights was Zendaya’s performance of MJ, a sarcastic, biting, unapologetic student also on Peter’s Academic Decathlon team who spends her time protesting and doodling other students’ caricatures.

The hero plot left something to be desired insofar as it wasn’t particularly special in a sea of other superhero movie plots, but it was engaging and realistic and definitely an entertaining, worthy movie as a whole.

 

The Big Sick 4.5/5

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Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Based on the real-life relationship of the movie’s writers, The Big Sick is a rom-com that focuses on a Pakistani comedian and a grad student who meet at one of his shows, emphasizing the cultural divide and his discomfort at either of them meeting the parents. When she gets sick and ends up in a coma, he does face her parents, and their relationship is one the movie spends a significant amount of time detailing.

The movie definitely earns the title of “comedy”; it’s funny start to finish, even when the plot or romance runs slow, with all the main characters pitching in with great comedic timing and instincts to deliver non-stop laughs.

Many critics and fans alike have denounced the film’s portrayal of South Asian women, but this South Asian woman found nothing particularly offensive. The movie does depict Nanjiani’s discomfort with the process of arranged marriage and the suitors his mother tries to foist upon him, but the suitors themselves aren’t portrayed negatively, just as caught up in the arranged marriage problem as Kumail himself is.

Overall, although running boringly slow in the middle and being about twenty minutes too long, The Big Sick is a refreshing rom-com that frankly discusses an American cultural divide and shows the raw realities of modern relationships.

A shorter version of this piece was published in the pages of the Winged Post on September 6, 2017.

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Summer TV and movie recap