Healthcare and the AHCA

I can’t find words to describe the inhumanity of the GOP’s idea of a good healthcare bill. Yes, the vote has been delayed, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. It seems very probable to me that it will pass. And when it does, it’ll cause huge harm to our most vulnerable people.

The Canadian healthcare system is far from perfect, what with it not including universal pharmacare and dental. There are other systems in the world that are better. But compared to the US, its closest neighbour, Canada’s seems like a dream. I grew up there. I know the flaws. I also know that the flaws American politicians claim exist in the Canadian system either don’t or aren’t nearly the problem rhetoric would claim them to be.

The GOP has a lot to say about freedom and individual responsibility and liberty from a tyrannical government that oversteps its bounds, but when it comes down to it, this bill shows us pretty clearly what their values actually are, what they really believe – that life is a privilege that should only be afforded to the wealthy.

The Affordable Care Act was a step towards a greater goal. It was flawed and imperfect, but it was something. We can debate its effectiveness, and we can debate how to improve it, and we can debate whether other systems would be better, but what we shouldn’t debate is whether or not the goal was a worthy one. Health care shouldn’t be up for debate. What conservative value is there to justify this?

By crying socialism whenever someone suggests universal coverage, by claiming that it’s a violation of individual freedoms, the GOP demonstrates that they are more afraid of a word than they are of living in a country where people get sick and die because they cannot afford insurance. If affordable health care is a socialist ideal, then so be it. I’d rather live in a socialist country than one where our leadership is cruel and regressive enough to allow something like this to pass.

Things About Majoring In Engineering that Always Seemed Like Jokes But Are Actually Painfully True

A repost from my deleted blog, edited with updates.

1. The overwhelming male majority

Yes, I knew going in that electrical engineering is a male dominated major. But there’s a huge difference between knowing something intellectually and being able to comprehend what that means. My intro to electronics class was maybe fifteen percent female. The ratios in my engineering classes since then haven’t gotten better.

2. Forgetting how to write

My sister is four years older than me. She majored in neuroscience during her undergrad, and for years, she’s been making fun of me for wanting to go into engineering and telling me about how all the engineering students she knows have terrible grammar and can’t write anything comprehensible. I always thought that was just a stereotype.

I placed out of the freshman writing and research course, and the writing components of my gen eds up until second semester sophomore year were not remotely strenuous. As such, when I started writing my final paper for my Geography of Globalization class, I realized that I’d begun to lose any writing skills I ever had, a year and a half after starting university. If it’s already gotten this bad, I can only imagine it’s going to get worse when I have even fewer classes involving writing.

3. Feeling like you may have just joined a cult

At my school, the ECE building is pretty much the northernmost building on campus. It’s far away from everything else. It has its own coffee shop and its own store. People are there at all hours of the day and night. Most of my friends are other people in ECE, because for several reasons, despite next semester being the first in which I’ll have more than one actual ECE course at a time, these are the people I end up spending the most time around.

History, Hamilton, Music,and Pop Culture

I may not always love taking history classes – there’s a reason I’m in engineering – but reading about history is a lot of fun. When you choose a historical topic you want to know more about, you get to read stories about it that people found interesting or important enough to document. And maybe that’s less significant in recent times, since the advent of recording technology and the Internet – everything is documented – but you’re still reading about events that shaped the world as we know it today.

I went to see Hamilton last Saturday, and I loved it. I’d heard the soundtrack, of course, but that doesn’t compare to actually going and watching it. Something that struck me both when I first listened to the soundtrack and again when I was sitting in the theatre watching the show was that I was legitimately surprised at how much I was enjoying it. I was born in the US, and at this point, in total, I’ve been nearly as long here as I have in Canada, but I spent the formative years of my life in Ontario. I still consider myself Canadian above all else. This is an incredibly American production – not just the subject matter, but the focus on the individual rather than the results.

This kind of topic is something that could very easily come across as dry, not so much because of what it is – I wouldn’t consider that boring at all, because it’s a significant part of how this country got to the point it’s at today – but because of how dense it is. There’s just so much information that condensing it to a two and a half hour musical would be a daunting task. Lin Manuel Miranda did an excellent job doing that, keeping a lot of important information while glossing over details that weren’t directly related to what he was talking about and having an engaging story that didn’t drag at all.

As a musician, I adore soundtracks – whether they’re strictly instrumental or have vocals – and this was incredible to hear. I had heard the recording of the original New York cast before, so I got thrown off a few times by the different voices, especially the woman that played Angelica, but it wasn’t a bad surprise at all, just different. I haven’t gone to many musicals, and this was a wonderful one to go to. The music stood on its own so well that I never once felt like there needed to be something else going on on the stage.

I’m generally wary of people getting historical knowledge from pop culture. I’ve found that it leads to vague knowledge of a topic, but no more.Of course media and works of fiction have a role in piquing a person’s interest in a topic or a person, but it’s important to read. To question the conventional wisdom, to form your own opinions. To listen to what other people have to say, but focus on the facts and the argument, not the mythology.

In this regard, one of my opinions that’s furthest from conventional wisdom is mine of Jimmy Carter. I think that he was and is a very good man whose flaws included micromanagement and being loyal to a fault. I still think he did as good job as could be expected under the circumstances.

Carter took responsibility for failures. He brought back the confidence in the presidency that had been lost with the Vietnam and Korean wars, with Watergate. He had the courage and strength of character to tell people the blunt truth and not what they wanted to hear. And for all the complaints people have about him, it’s undeniable that he was squeaky clean ethically, and in 1976, the US really needed that. Just like how in 2008, it needed Obama’s message of hope and change, in 1976, it needed the peanut farmer and nuclear engineer from Georgia that believed in the goodness of the American people and had no scandals or controversies to speak of.

I only got this opinion from reading, from being fascinated by Carter and wanting to learn more. His presidency was over long before I was born. I don’t remember how long I’ve been interested in him, his presidency, and his post-presidential work, or how that interest was first sparked, but it’s been years now. I read everything, all sorts of articles, even if I have to sometimes have to grit my teeth to get through a piece of rhetoric that I can counter easily, just to know what people are saying. So many people, even if they do their research for current events and politics, accept what’s generally accepted about the past as true.Had I just considered the image of Carter presented in popular culture, I’d be one of the people considering him a complete disaster. I didn’t, so I’m not.

Hamilton is one thing. For all that it’s a positive take on Alexander Hamilton, it doesn’t gloss over his flaws to the same extent as a lot of fiction focusing on a historical figure does. It was also vague enough to pique a person’s interest without giving them misinformation. In most similar works, however, the writer’s biases come through even more clearly, altering the perception viewers or readers have of whatever historical figure is the topic at hand. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad, but I do think people should keep that in mind when consuming media.

Food Elitism

I really can’t stand when someone complains about the “Americanization” of food, because so often, that’s used as the sole justification for why it’s not good. Inauthentic is not always synonymous with bad, and Americanization is being used as a blanket term for something as simple as catering food for regional tastes.

I’ve seen it a lot with regards to Italian food. While I personally may find some aspects of the traditional Italian more appealing than I do Italian American, I think it’s important to remember that food in America is very different from food anywhere else, because the restaurants have been built by immigrants. Oftentimes, the food can be classified as authentic – it’s just become something entirely different than what it was originally. Italian American food is now something that has Italian roots, but is distinctly American, and something good. Thick, rich, deeply flavourful tomato sauce that’s been cooked for a long time and smells amazing? That’s not traditional, but it’s delicious. Authenticity isn’t always better. It may not even exist at all – how could it, when today, everyone all over the world has easy access to ingredients and cooking methods that didn’t even exist a hundred years ago?

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Sauce I made a couple months ago

Some of my favourite things to cook are hearty, tomato based pasta sauces. I don’t like chunks of tomato – I really am not a fan of raw tomatoes at all – but I love the taste of them when they’re roasted or slow cooked. So a tomato sauce with garlic, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and a tiny bit of cream? Sign me up.

Something I find strange though is that people tend to complain about the Americanization of European food more than anything else. Tex Mex is pretty universally acknowledged to be its own thing separate from traditional Mexican. A lot of Asian foods are never seen outside of whatever country they come from. In the US, there’s a narrow range of foods from non-European countries that’s considered acceptable and worth eating.

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Spinach and mushroom enchiladas I had in Chicago

Indian food sold in American restaurants is heavy and rich, based on the dishes commonly served in the north of India. It’s not even close to representing the entire range of Indian cuisine, and that’s perfectly fine. I’m Indian. I like traditional Indian food. My mother’s family is Tamilian, and that type of food is something that you can find in Toronto and New York and a few other major cities, but very few places aside from that in North America. I also enjoy the standard fare served in just about every Indian restaurant in the country that no one ever complains about being inauthentic, despite it being so. Would it be nice if more authentic food was available? Sure. But not everything has to be authentic to be tasty.

This fixation on authenticity only in regards to certain cuisines ties into the idea that cuisines such as French and Italian are somehow intrinsically superior to foods from other parts of the world. I’m not a fan of French food. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with French food or that it’s not good, it’s just not to my personal tastes. I like Italian food, I do. But I don’t find Italian better than, say, Thai or Lebanese. I think it’s ludicrous to claim that Italian or French cuisine requires more skill or effort than dishes from other parts of the world, and in fact, it’s demonstrably false. There’s nothing special about authentic Italian that isn’t also true about authentic food of any culture. Food can and should evolve because of new tastes, to use new ingredients, or even from just experimentation and trying something different. It’s both pretentious and ridiculous to never stray from a set of recipes that have been declared authentic just because anything else would be inauthentic. Italian food purists don’t recognize that.

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Pasta I had in Michigan with mushrooms and fava beans

This double standard extends to the cost of food as well. We still view food from non-Western cultures as inherently inferior, as something that, while tasty, isn’t worth a lot of money or time. They’re considered poor countries, meaning that the food should be cheap. I’m thinking about things like small Vietnamese restaurants – no matter how much effort each dish takes, people get upset and call it overpriced if a meal is more than, like, ten dollars, even if it is a large amount of delicious food. These same people don’t bat an eye at paying the same amount for a meal at Panera, despite none of what’s offered there being remotely difficult to prepare at home.

Food is amazing. There’s so much to enjoy about it, no matter where what you’re eating comes from. But it becomes much, much more enjoyable when you let go of the idea of doing it “right”, and instead focus on what tastes good.

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Chocolate chiffon with browned butter and caramel

ABC’s Quantico And Why It Matters

I’ve had my share of issues with Quantico in the past – the constant soap opera drama sometimes overshadowing the plot, lots of plot threads that never went anywhere, unsatisfying conclusions to some subplots, excessive focus on certain characters and relationships at the expense of the story. But despite all of those issues, Quantico still mattered to me.

This is a story where the main character is an Indian American woman that’s a non devout Hindu, and the first season was about her being used as a scapegoat for a domestic terror attack. Because it was easy to frame the brown girl. Alex Parrish is an incredibly important character. She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s beautiful. People are attracted to her throughout the series, but her ethnicity is never fetishized or even brought up in that aspect of the show. She’s a beautiful brown woman. But people aren’t attracted to her because she’s brown or despite it.

I stopped being excited about the season three renewal when I learned that Nimah and Raina won’t be in it, because aside from Alex, the Amin sisters were the other main reason why the show mattered to me. These were two Lebanese immigrants from a Muslim family. They were twins. And as Simon put it, they may look alike, but they were very different people.

This show mattered because their minority characters were never tokens. Nimah and Raina were allowed to be vastly different. Nimah was the more outwardly rebellious one, but Raina was just impulsive and would do whatever she thought was right without wasting time arguing about it with anyone. Raina was religious, Nimah wasn’t. In the first season, Nimah spent most of her time with Alex, Shelby, and Natalie, while Raina was closer to Simon and the other male trainees.

Quantico mattered because despite how often the white characters – Shelby, Caleb, Clay, even Harry, a little – got excessive focus and irrelevant sideplots, the women of colour still got to be characters and not stereotypes or racist caricatures. This was a show about terrorism where the terrorists weren’t the Muslim characters or the brown characters. Where Raina was probably the most moral character on the show while still allowed to be flawed and human and real.

Simon and Raina’s relationship was one of the most poignant ones written in recent shows, and certainly the most important in Quantico itself, despite how little screentime it got as compared to Shelby and Caleb, or Alex and Ryan, or even Alex and Drew. These were two people from different backgrounds, different races, different faiths. But their story never tried to be an “accepting others” Aesop. It was just a story about two people that loved each other, and as such, it was a step towards normalizing interracial relationships in fiction, to getting a romantic relationship featuring a person of colour that’s more than just the token minority couple. There wasn’t drama for the sake of drama. They got to be characters, not cheap storytelling props. They were the characters through which both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict were criticized, but their relationship was never about that.

The representation in the first two seasons was far from flawless. But it was a product of people that tried. It was a result of people wanting to make a show about people, not stereotypes. It clearly came from people that cared about not being racist or subscribing to hurtful cliches. It was unapologetically liberal, and it pointed out clearly, and often through actions and not words, that the statistically most dangerous demographic in the United States is the white male. The writers and the showrunner proved themselves to me in the first season, proved that they were doing their best and that I should be forgiving of missteps because they were trying. It let me be much less wary while watching season two.

am nervous about season three. Two of the main characters are going to be gone. There’ll be a new showrunner. I have no way of knowing whether or not the season while remain true to the spirit of the first two seasons. I’m not asking for perfect – the first two seasons weren’t perfect, but they still good, still clearly trying. So until I see an episode and see that it’s not the show I enjoyed, the one that treated its female minority characters with as much respect as they would any white male one, I’m going to say that Quantico still matters.

Justice League, Anticipation, and Geeking Out A Ridiculous Amount

When Wonder Woman came out, it felt surreal. It didn’t feel like it was actually happening until I was sitting in that theatre. It felt like a movie I’d been waiting for forever that I was in shock I was actually getting to see. Justice League? It’s going to be that feeling times ten.

The movie isn’t coming out until November. That’s five months.  That’s still a long time to wait. But compared to how long I’ve been waiting to see it, it’s no time at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly excited to see Wonder Woman. And I loved it. But that was just Wonder Woman. Justice League is going to have her, Superman, and Batman together again in the same movie, like in Batman v Superman, except there’ll be more, because she’ll be more than an extended cameo, she’ll be a character. It’s going to have Aquaman and the Flash and Cyborg, for the first time ever on the big screen. It’s going to have Mera. The League is going to fight Parademons together.

Thinking about this movie – and the fact that we’re getting another trailer in a month – makes me grin like an idiot. It’s going to come out on the anniversary of the Justice League cartoon first airing. The Justice League is finally going to come together, and we’re going to get to see all of them together. I’m going to be there opening night.

Even aside from the this is so awesome geeking out, it’s going to be so satisfying to watch this movie. It’ll be the epic conclusion to a three part story. We’ll finally get to see the entirety of Zack Snyder’s vision brought to fruition. Wonder Woman was excellent, and Suicide Squad was entertaining, even if it was a bit messy compared to the other entries in the DCEU, but Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League are/will be the core of this universe. Superman is the heart, and he was the catalyst for the formation of the League.

…Can it be November yet?

Cars, Pontiac, and Good Design: I Miss My High School Grand Prix

When I was in high school, I drove a Grand Prix. I learned to drive on a Cruze, so it was a little bit of an adjustment at first, but I loved that car.

It wasn’t something I really fully appreciated then, but since then, after driving other cars, I’ve realized just how well that car handled. It was very wide, which made it kind of a pain to park when I first starting driving it, but that and its low centre of gravity made it beautifully stable. It handled turns at speed excellently. It looked great. It was a performance vehicle with an excellent design – practical and functional without sacrificing the aesthetics.

I drive a Buick Lacrosse now. There’s nothing wrong with it at all. It drives fine. It’s somewhere between the Cruze and the Grand Prix for me – it’s a solid car, not difficult to drive at all, very comfortable for long distances, but none of the specific advantages of either of the other two. It’s very middle of the road, decent in everything, but nothing about it sticks out to me. It’s bigger than the Cruze, so it’s less easy to park anywhere. It’s heavier, too, so driving in the snow down the dirt road to my house isn’t as scary, but it doesn’t have as low a centre of gravity as the Grand Prix.

GM stopped manufacturing the Pontiac brand in 2010, and I understand why. They weren’t doing well, and it made sense to cut Pontiac loose instead of any of the four they kept making. But I seriously wish they were still being made, because my Grand Prix was a great car and I miss it.

Animorphs: A Children’s Series That Deserves To Be Remembered As a Science Fiction Classic

Remember Animorphs? That super ridiculous nineties series about kids turning into animals fighting parasitic aliens that opened with a character being eaten alive and ended with most of the main characters dead that was somehow ubiquitous in just about every library, even if no library had all the books because there were more than sixty of them? Yeah. That was fantastic.

Something that’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things that I still love about it -it had some of the most creative aliens ever. There was no all aliens speak English – the universal standard was something else; aliens were equipped with translators so they could understand each other; and they learned English when they were on Earth, some better than others. They didn’t all look humanoid – in fact, none of them did. Giant, cannibalistic centipedes with insatiable and uncontrollable hunger. Seven foot tall herbivores that solely ate bark and were covered with blades so that they could better harvest it. Mouthless centaurs with two additional stalk eyes and scorpionlike blades on their tails. Parasitic slugs that lived in the heads of other sentient creatures and controlled their every action. They were all different and fascinating and some of them were absolutely terrifying.

Animorphs had all the basic hallmarks of a traditional science fiction story. Freshman year, I took a class on Eastern European sci fi, and it struck me just how well Animorphs adheres to the main tenants of the genre, while not being confined to standard in any way. What is the nature of good and evil? What is love? What is life? What does it mean to be human? The books questioned the nature of right and wrong again and again. The fierce protectiveness and love the main characters felt for each other was constantly brought up. One of the supporting characters was an android, and the constant undertone when he was around was if he was really alive, and if his pacifism was at all justifiable next to the actions of the living things doing the fighting. A running theme was maintaining one’s humanity when fighting a war.

Animorphs is top tier fiction, because it’s completely accessible while embracing darker themes and working through hope, tragedy, humour, and heartwarming friendship moments in every book without it ever feeling rushed.

Animorphs makes me feel all kinds of emotions. There are scenes that I find horrifying and tragic and gutwrenching and all that, but they’re juxtaposed with some of the most ridiculously funny scenes I’ve ever read in anything. I’ll reread the books, and I’ll never not laugh at things like the lead characters’ incompetent rescue of an android using clothes from Tommy Hilfiger, a Bill Clinton mask, and a misspelled sandwich board sign, while they argue something stupid in the middle of a dangerous situation. It’s so hilariously nineties, that now even lines that would have been pretty neutral twenty years ago have me laughing. Then I turn the page, and it’s dead serious again. The same book that had an alien driving a yellow Mustang across a planet that neither he nor Mustangs come from while drinking Dr. Pepper had the same alien run away to Earth because he didn’t want to fight a war anymore.

The writing is geared toward children, and it’s blunt and direct and very far from subtle, but it doesn’t matter at all, because it’s effective. It’s simplistic and it gets the point across without ever getting bogged down in flowery language or needing elaborate symbolism. There are plenty of allusions to classics which allows for some really fun analysis, but the series stands perfectly well alone without needing to understand those references. Before all else, it’s an entertaining story. Most of the books are very short, but they still both address serious issues and entertain.

Animorphs is indisputably kind of weird and unexpected, but it’s fantastic. Sure, there’s some inconsistent quality issues and plot holes/contradictions – that’s to be expected when there’s so many of them and a large chunk of the series was ghostwritten. But the weirdness contributes to making it memorable, because it never holds back. It’s so, so good, and everyone should read it.

The Dark Phoenix Announcement

Fox announced their plans for X-Men: Dark Phoenix yesterday, and as excited as I want to be for another X-Men movie, one in which Wolverine will not be the focus, I can’t bring myself to really care.

I’ve talked before about how I have very mixed feelings about the X-Men movies, and I mentioned there how The Last Stand ruined the Dark Phoenix saga for me by missing the point. So shouldn’t I be excited for this? They have a chance to fix their mistakes and do it right! Wolverine won’t be in it, so it won’t become all about him again. But…I’m not. I can’t be. And there are a lot of reasons for that.

The release date being next year makes no sense to me. It’s almost impossible for them to meet it, and if they do, at what cost? It’d be ridiculously rushed, and I doubt it’d be good. It’ll be a cobbled together script and shot as quickly as possible, rather than allowing for time for improvements. It’ll be made because they said they’d do it and people will go see it regardless of whether or not it’s good.

Jean has been involved in a lot more stories than just the Dark Phoenix. I’d like adaptations to stop pretending like it’s the only thing that she’s ever done and that her only good story ended with her death. I want a story that actually explores Jean. This franchise already adapted the Dark Phoenix, and it wasn’t good. Why not make something else instead of trying it again? These characters have existed for half a century. It would be so easy to pick something else instead of adapting the same story again and again.

Some of my issues with the idea of this movie go deeper and are tied to my issues with the X-Men movie franchise as a whole. McAvoy Xavier and Fassbender Magneto are great to watch, but they’re getting to be almost as frustratingly everpresent to me as Jackman Wolverine was. I don’t even like Lawrence’s Mystique, but she’s coming back, too, and why should she or Magneto be in this film at all? The creators seem so afraid of trying something new, they refuse to venture away from the status quo, regardless of whether or not it’s good.

I would have been so excited to get this movie with Famke Janssen as Jean and James Marsden as Scott. Those two embodied their characters to me. They were such excellent, underrated casting, and in a movie without Wolverine, we could finally get more focus on their relationship, both as romantic partners and as teammates/friends. That would be the second chance at a storyline that was bungled the first time. Not this.

Marsden had the poise, the confidence, necessary to pull off Scott, the leader that forces himself to repress all doubt and insecurity. He had the charisma that would have been perfect for stories about him becoming the general of mutantkind like he does in the comics. And in general, he has the talent to carry a movie. He just never got enough screentime. Despite that, he still tried – his scenes in the beginning of The Last Stand were some of the most emotional in the movie for me. Can you imagine what it’d be like to see him deliver the iconic, Jean, you are love?

Janssen had all the necessary gravitas for Jean. She could do both the uncertain, scared, still coming into her powers Jean from most of X2 as well as the confident, bold, do-what-she-has-to-do Jean at the end. She could pull off the Phoenix. She got a little more material to work with than Marsden, if not much, and despite the script treating Jean mostly like an aside that existed because Logan thought she was hot, Janssen still put in the effort and made the character her own.

James Marsden as Cyclops, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Halle Berry as Storm – these were the X-Men I grew up with. All of them are excellent actors, and they’ll forever be the ones I picture when I think about Scott, Jean, and Ororo. It was fantastic casting. It seems way too soon to replace them. I’m not ready to let go just yet. I remember when I saw Days of Future Past for the first time, remember that excitement and delight at seeing them back. I thought that would mean we’d get more of them. That we’d actually get them back. But no. Just a cameo that was their last appearance in the franchise. It’s so frustrating. Hugh Jackman got Logan as his swan song. He got an entire movie and a dramatic death. The other three? Just a brief cameo that brought them all the way back to the status quo of the first movie. Nothing real. Nothing conclusive. Logan could have been a great final adventure for all of them,  but they were unceremoniously killed offscreen.

DoFP brought back the X-Men and the school and stopped the Sentinels from ravaging the world. It  was beautiful and felt amazing to see. I legitimately loved the movie. But what happened at the end? Logan went right back to obsessing over Jean, despite her having been gone for years. I’d love to regard that as just him being amazed that it actually worked and that she was back and everything was okay, except he didn’t have that strong of a reaction to seeing Scott, who’d been dead for just as long. No look cast over to Ororo, despite the kiss in that deleted scene. It’s as if the creators think that undoing a bad decision is good enough, rather than having the characters learn or grow or change as a result of them.

I know I shouldn’t cling this much to the original cast. I don’t want to be like the Christopher Reeve fans who are unwilling to give any other version of Superman a chance.  But this feels different to me, because it’s new actors in the same franchise. It’s not a reboot, it’s just an altered timeline. It’s not just the new actors playing the younger version of the characters, it’s them replacing the originals. It’s barely been ten years since the last movie with all of the original cast. It feels too soon. And since they didn’t all leave together – Hugh Jackman got more solos, as well as a cameo in Apocalypse, and Patrick Stewart was in Logan – it doesn’t even feel right for them to be gone. Their stories feel unfinished. A Dark Phoenix movie with the new actors? It’s going to force me to accept that that era is over. I can do that, it just sucks to have to without proper closure.

Nothing against Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan, but the two of them seem too young to me for this story. They’re in that age where they’re technically adults, but they don’t really look it. It’s the awkward, haven’t quite grown into themselves look of people that are college age or a little bit older, like recent grads. They could probably be good in the roles – they weren’t bad in Apocalypse – but the Jean and Scott in the Dark Phoenix saga should be adults, not kids. It reminds me a little of Brandon Routh back when he played Superman – a good actor, even a good choice for the role, but still too young for the version he was given.

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Turner doesn’t look like an adult yet. She doesn’t have Janssen’s experience, or her ability to embody the character and completely take over a scene. It still seems to me that she got cast for her name and fanbase, rather than for being a good fit for the role. I’m not saying she’s a bad actress or that she can’t pull it off, but I still barely see her as Jean. I can’t imagine her as the Phoenix.

The original trilogy meant a lot to me. X-Men (2000) pretty much invented the modern superhero movie. It was flawed, it was a little clunky and awkward, and some of it just didn’t make sense, but as a groundbreaking movie for the genre and through nostalgia, it still holds up. It was a pretty solid character intro. X2, First Class, DoFP, even Logan – those are still good movies as well. But I think the majority of the X-Men franchise has been an attempt to make a badass epic movie, an action adventure, rather than making something legitimately good. The timeline for this movie feels like it’s just going to be more of the same – just marking time, pushing out another movie that doesn’t have any reason to exist.

I don’t agree with people complaining about superhero fatigue. I love superhero movies. I love comicbooks and seeing them brought to life. But when I hear about movies like this one, I start to understand. I’m not sick of superheroes. But I am tired of studios making movies that fit the same mold again and again and never venturing into anything different. I’ve been torn about the X-Men movies for a long time, and as much as I don’t want it to be true, I think this one will be the one that pushes me over the edge into not enjoying them anymore.