Thursday, May 18, 2017

Comic Book TV recap (5/15/2017 - 5/17/2017)

Agents of SHIELD sees its season finale this week. It has officially been renewed for a fifth season with, although it will not begin as usual with Inhumans taking its slot, which has been moved to Friday night. Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow will be wrapping up for the season next week.

Supergirl: "Resist" - Reya's invasion of Earth begins and Cat Grant and the President return to Central City to face off against her along with the DEO.

Gotham: "Light the Wick" - The Court of Owls grows suspicious of their new recruit, Jim Gordon, as he investigates what they're doing with the Alice Tetch virus, being assisted by Oswald. Ivy tries to revive Selina using plants.

Lucifer: "God Johnson" - Investigating another murder, Lucifer meets a man who claims to be God, and he becomes convinced this is actually his father.

The Flash: "Infantino Street" - The day that Savitar will kill Iris has arrived and Barry has to recruit the help of a past version of Leonard Snart to steal the power source for a cannon that will trap Savitar in the Speed Force.

iZombie: "Dirt Nap Time" - Infuriated at the theft of the remaining doses of the zombie cure, Liv eats the brains of a friendly teacher who also slept around. Major attempts to find the thief.

Agents of SHIELD: "World's End" - The agents reunite with Robbie Reyes in a last ditch effort to shut down the Framework, defeat Aida and stop anyone from using the Darkhold again. The finale wraps up the storylines of Season 4 nicely while setting up new possibilities for Season 5.

Arrow: "Missing" - With Adrian Chase in jail, Team Arrow believes they can breathe easy until they realize Chase's true plans are yet to be realized.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Comic Book Shows Recap (5/8/2017 - 5/11/2017)

Supergirl: "City of Lost Children" - Jimmy befriends an alien boy after his mother is put in custody after causing chaos in public. But what made her act up? The DEO and Kara investigate, linking it to the machine Lena Luthor has been duped into helping Mon-El's mother build.

Gotham: "The Primal Riddle" - Eddie decides to figure out who controls Gotham with a series of deathly riddles aimed at Gotham's elite. Gordon decides to use his connection to the Court of Owls to sort things out. Bruce's impostor confronts Selina. Oswald and Ivy recruit Bridgit Pike and Victor Fries for their army of freaks.

Lucifer: "Deceptive Little Parasite" - Chloe and Lucifer investigate the murder of an admissions officer for a high-class elementary school. Lucifer retrieves the blade of Azrael, which only he can light to allow a return to heaven for himself, his mother and brother.

The Flash: "Cause and Effect" - With Savitar's identity out there, Cisco wipes Barry's memory to prevent Savitar from knowing anything. However, this proves more problematic than helpful.

iZombie: "Some Like It Hot Mess" - Major recovers from taking the zombie cure, but Ravi is anxious to try to test his memory serum to prevent Major from losing his memories. Peyton gets an important secret from Blaine. Liv eats the brain of an irresponsible DJ to solve her murder.

Agents of SHIELD: "The Return" - The SHIELD team has to work on two fronts to take down Ivanov and his LMDs. Ophelia—AIDA's name for her new human self—helps rescue everyone before being captured by SHIELD in a facility that limits her powers. However, when she discovers that Fitz doesn't love her, she returns to Ivanov.

Arrow: "Honor Thy Fathers" - Oliver discovers something disturbing about his father's legacy as he finally tracks down Chase. Rene decides where he should side in a court case.

Riverdale: "The Sweet Hereafter" - As Betty breaks the word that Jughead's father is innocent, tensions rise between Cheryl and her mother. Jughead re-evaluates his place in Riverdale. Season finale.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Comic Book TV Recap (5/1/2017 - 5/4/2017)

Supergirl: "Alex" - A mysterious villain captures Alex, forcing Maggie and Kara to join forces to find her. Thing is, the kidnapper also knows that Kara is Supergirl. His ultimatum is to get his father out of jail, or Alex dies. Mon-El's mother makes a proposition to Lena.

Gotham: "These Delicate and Dark Obsessions" - After calling in former henchman Gabe, Oswald and Ivy are betrayed and are captured. Despite imprisonment, Bruce begins psychological training to become a beacon of hope in Gotham. Gordon realizes the Court of Owls was behind his father's murder.

Lucifer: "Candy Morningstar" - Lucifer returns from Vegas (and hiatus) with his new wife, Candy, which forces confrontations with the women in his life.

The Flash: "I Know Who You Are" - Thanks to a tip from the future, Barry goes to see Tracy Brand, who is working on a Speed Force trap that can stop Savitar. Thing is, Savitar and Caitlin—now Killer Frost—are dead set on stopping them, and aren't afraid of shedding some blood. And Cisco is having trouble bringing himself to harm his former friend.

iZombie: "Spanking the Zombie" - Liv has to eat the brain of a dominatrix to solve a murder. Meanwhile, Major works on a mission for Fillmore Graves, discovering their barbaric methods of ensuring their ranks are fed.

Agents of SHIELD: "Farewell, Cruel World" - Daisy and Jemma have found the "back door" of the Framework, allowing them to escape. Now to round up everyone and get them to go through. Only problem is Fitz, who still believes himself to be a head of HYDRA.

Arrow: "Underneath" - Oliver and Felicity are trapped in a powerless Arrow Cave, thanks to an EMP that also disabled the chip that allows Felicity to walk. They have to do their best to find the exit along with the rest of Team Arrow doing all they can.

Riverdale: "Anatomy of a Murder" - As it becomes clear that Jughead's father was framed for Jason's murder, mysteries and tensions rise and Archie and his friends scramble to finally discover the truth.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - The sequel to 2014's surprise hit Marvel movie is now in theaters, as colorful and full of excellent tunes and fun and action as a fan would hope.

After recovering Nebula (Karen Gillan) from the Sovereigns, the Guardians run into Ego (Kurt Russell), who reveals himself to be Peter Quill's father and is eager to reconnect with his son. After being betrayed by his team of Ravagers, Yondu (Michael Rooker) joins up with Rocket, Baby Groot and Nebula. None of the Guardians suspect a plot that threatens the entire galaxy.

It's a little difficult to describe the plot without spoiling the movie. As I guessed early on in promotional stages, parenting is a big theme in the movie, with the Guardians caring for Baby Groot, Nebula and Gamora confronting how they've turned out, being the daughters of Thanos, and the comparison of Yondu and Ego, who are both father figures to Star Lord: one is the person who cared for him (admittedly after abducting him from Earth) and brought him up, the other is his biological father.

I was also impressed at the use of female characters in the movie. We once again have a strong leader of a society who is female, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). The Guardians also add Mantis (Pom Klementieff), whose power is actually her empathy, enhancing a usually considered feminine trait into a superpower. While Peter is revealed to be falling for Gamora, her own story in the film doesn't revolve around him.

And of course, it's as full of fun and humor and action as you've come to expect from a Marvel Studios film and The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Excellent entry to the MCU, definitely check it out.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Comic Book TV Recap (4/24/2017 - 4/27/2017)

Gotham makes its return along with the CW shows this week (except, of course, Legends of Tomorrow). Lucifer is coming back next week. I will be seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Thursday night next week, so my recap blog will likely be posted Friday.

Supergirl: "Ace Reporter" - Jack Spheer (Rahul Kohli) arrives in National City to debut his nanobots that appear to have revolutionary medical advances, as well to reconnect with his ex, Lena Luthor. However, Kara spots the nanobots attacking people. Anxious to return to Cat Co., Kara approaches Snapper Carr again. James takes issue with Winn having his girlfriend nearby when they're working nights.

Gotham: "How the Riddler Got His Name" - Proving to himself that he doesn't need Oswald, Eddie begins committing crimes, giving his victims or the GCPD clues via riddles. The Court of Owls finishes grooming their Bruce Wayne clone and kidnaps the actual Bruce. Jim reconnects with his Uncle Frank who invites him to join the Court of Owls.

The Flash: "The Once and Future Flash" - Trying to discover the identity of Savitar, Barry goes to the future to discover his surviving friends and future self broken, and himself unable to return to the past. Finding Central City under the thrall of Mirror Master and the Top, Barry finally realizes that he has to remind the future of what it means to be a hero.

iZombie: "Wag the Tongue Slowly" - As Ravi tries to perfect his memory serum by using Blaine as a guinea pig, Liv uses the brain of a murdered office gossip to try and figure out whodunit. Clive gets a lead. Major's condition continues to get worse.

Agents of SHIELD: "All the Madame's Men" - May and Daisy—now with her powers returned—escape the HYDRA base as the plans of Madame HYDRA becomes clear, and Fitz is working hard to see them completed as Coulson prepares to hijack a pro-HYDRA television program to spread the truth about HYDRA. Daisy sorts out her feelings about Ward.

Arrow: "Dangerous Liasions" - As Oliver deals with bad PR while exposing Adrian Chase, Felicity's new hacker friends try to break someone who can trace Chase out of jail, which Team Arrow carefully monitors in case anything goes wrong.

Powerless: "No Consequence Day" - While this episode was advertised as the staff of Wayne Security celebrating "No Consequence Day" (Lois Lane was killed, so from that point onward, anything goes as Superman will reverse time to save her), NBC has pulled Powerless from the lineup, which seems to effectively cancel the show. The remaining episodes will be released, we have been told, but how and when is a mystery.

Riverdale: "To Riverdale and Back Again" - Archie's mom is back in town to reconnect with her son as well as the school homecoming. There's a lot of suspicion on Jughead's dad, and despite Betty's wishes, Archie and Veronica sneak away to search his trailer. Polly discovers some secrets about the Blossom family.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Comic Book TV Recap (4/18/2017)

Most of the shows are not on this week. Powerless is scheduled to air "Emergency Punch Up," which I wrote about two weeks ago.

iZombie: "Eat, Pray, Liv" - As Major works undercover for Filmore Graves, he begins to feel his condition getting worse. Liv eats the brain of a yoga guru as they solve his murder. Blaine and his friends attempt business endeavors as Peyton is confronted with the truth about Blaine as Ravi tries to prevent memory loss when Major must finally take the cure.

Agents of SHIELD: "No Regrets" - After the shocking reveal of Fitz last week, the agents band together to infiltrate HYDRA inside the Framework under the leadership of Mace as the Patriot. Can they gain more support? Can Daisy be recovered from HYDRA's prison?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Comic Book TV Recap (4/11/2017 - 4/13/2017)

iZombie: "Zombie Knows Best" - Clive is asked about being a recently killed (zombie) boy's emergency contact and remembers how he was the boy's neighbor. Trying to solve a double homicide, Liv and Major use the brains of the victims: a teenage girl and her father. Except Liv takes the father's brain, leaving Major to take the daughter's, and they take on their personalities.

Agents of SHIELD: "Identity and Change" - Daisy and Jemma, realizing that their device to escape the Framework doesn't work, have managed to convince Coulson that they are in a world that is not real. They find Mace, who is running SHIELD, an underground resistance to HYDRA. However, HYDRA is on their trail as they find Mack and Radcliffe, and they will realize that the people they knew are no longer who they thought.

Powerless: "Van v Emily: Dawn of Justice" - Emily tries to claim her own office, but Van decides to challenge her for it. Most of the office supports Emily, but it's anyone's game. After Green Fury (better known as Fire as part of Fire and Ice in the comics) rescues Teddy, he believes she's into him.

An aside, what has been up with Powerless? A couple weeks ago, an episode was expected, but an episode of another NBC show aired instead. Last week, my TV series app said an episode titled "Van of the Year" would air. Day of airing, it had revised to this episode, but "Emergency Punch-Up" aired instead. This episode was on Hulu the following day and sites such as Wikipedia claimed it had aired. I'm getting a bad feeling about chances of a Season 2. And now for the episode that aired this week...

 Powerless: "Green Furious" - Emily befriends Green Fury, who gives her a device to call for her help. Emily uses it to get the superheroine's help for a marketing campaign. Teddy tries to make the moves on Green Fury again. Jackie objects to her daughter becoming friends with Wendy.

Riverdale: "The Lost Weekend" - Archie and Betty plan a party for Jughead's birthday. Betty tells Veronica about how Clifford Blossom seems to have gotten Hiram Lodge in jail, information she attempts to use for legal assistance. Chuck's return to school reawakens negativity in Betty and frustrated with her other cheerleaders, Cheryl takes advantage of this as they crash Jughead's birthday.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract - The latest DC animated film adapts a landmark Teen Titans story, updating it from the original story to a more modern version of the DC universe.

As the Titans handle moving on with their lives—such as Nightwing and Starfire moving in together and bringing in a new member—they are unaware that Brother Blood and his cult have sent Deathstroke to capture them to absorb their powers.

Personally, my enjoyment of the movie was hampered by the fact that I'd had little sleep the previous night and wasn't feeling up to watching a movie, and had said as much, but it was played anyway. Still, there's a reason why Warner Brothers keeps making these movies: they keep selling. And they sell because they show respect to the characters and to good storytelling, which is continued here. The animation is good, never spectacular, but that's really all that's required of it. The voice cast does well, too.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Comic Book TV Recap (4/4/2017 - 4/6/2017)

Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow are on a short break as Legends of Tomorrow has its season finale. iZombie and Agents of SHIELD return.

Legends of Tomorrow: "Aruba" - The Legends have to go back in their own time to stop Eobard Thawne from using and destroying the Spear of Destiny. Thing is, interacting with their past selves may cause severe damage to time itself.

iZombie: "Heaven Just Got A Little Smoother" - "Team Z" gathers after the public exposure of Max Rager and prepare to face the new threat of the CEO of Filmore Graves, who wants to turn Seattle into a zombie homeland.

Agents of SHIELD: "What If..." - Jemma and Daisy find themselves in the Framework, experiencing a virtual world where HYDRA is in charge. Daisy works with her boyfriend Grant Ward, along with their supervisor agent May and their commander Fitz. Jemma finds Coulson working as a teacher, telling kids about how Inhumans are a danger and how HYDRA has helped the world. Just one more twist: in this world, Jemma's records say that she's dead.

Powerless: "Emergency Punch Up" - A gas bomb attack on Charm City cancels a retreat for the staff of Wayne Security. How long can the team stay chipper? And what happens when Emily gets exposed?

Riverdale: "La Grande Illusion" - Veronica befriends Midge and discovers the effects of the Lodge brand on Riverdale. Archie is befriended by the Blossoms, being invited to family events. Jughead finds another possible link to Jason's murder.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Comic Book TV recap (3/27/2017 - 3/30/2017)

Supergirl: "Distant Sun" - Someone has set a bounty on Kara, and Mon-El suspects his parents. Alex discovers that Maggie hasn't been forthcoming about her exes. Some excellent action scenes and a few twists.

The Flash: "Abra Kadabra" - Abra Kadabra—a villain from the future who uses methods and tech so advanced it's like magic—attacks Central City. He makes an offer to Barry: let him go, and he will tell him the identity of Savitar. Julian eventually has to operate on Caitlin and is faced with letting her unleash her Killer Frost powers to help her survive.

Legends of Tomorrow: "Doomworld" - The Legion of Doom has used the Spear of Destiny to rewrite reality to their liking. Mick Rory decides to find the other Legends, who have been put in subservient positions and are unaware of who they really are.

Arrow: "Disbanded" - Oliver decides to disband Team Arrow, too bad he can't stop Adrian Chase from gloating in his face... So he turns to the Bratva, the criminal organization he fought against long ago. But Diggle isn't willing to let Oliver turn to criminal action.

Legion: "Chapter 8" - David finally faces Shadow King as a mysterious face from his past reappears in a mind-bending, exciting and downright weird conclusion that leaves us looking forward to Season 2!

Powerless: "I'm a Friend You" - Emily tries to help a coworker who isn't forthcoming about what she's doing. Van tries to discover who used his private bathroom.

Riverdale: "The Outsiders" - Archie discovers that Jason was running drugs for the Southside Serpents before he died. Fred loses his crew before starting a big construction job. Veronica throws a baby shower for Polly, causing a confrontation between the Coopers and the Blossoms in which some new revelations are made.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Comic Book TV recap (3/20/2017 - 3/23/2017)

Riverdale continues its mini hiatus before its final three episodes. In addition to the regular shows we watch every week, we also got in the complete first (?) season of Iron Fist.

Supergirl: "Star-Crossed" - Couples are having problems this week as Mon-El's parents (Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo) arrive, revealing that he is the royal prince of Daxam. Winn's alien girlfriend gets caught in an art theft, and Winn could be arrested if he can't figure out what happened.

The Flash: "Duet" - The long awaited musical crossover of Supergirl and The Flash sees the Music Meister (Darren Criss) put Kara and Barry into a sepia-toned alternate world where familiar faces are characters in a musical they're living in. Just two catches: they must see the show to the end, and if they die in the musical, they will die in their world.

With all the musical talent that have been featured in The Flash and Supergirl, doing a musical episode was basically inevitable. John Barrowman, Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, Jeremy Jordan, Jesse L. Martin, Victor Garber, Carlos Valdes and Darren Criss have all done musical theater, so finding a clever way to do a one-off musical episode (that thankfully isn't all-singing all the time and didn't forget about the currently running plots of the two shows) was brilliant and quite welcome.

Legends of Tomorrow: "Fellowship of the Spear" - The Legends are determined to destroy the now completed Spear of Destiny. But in order to do so, they need some of the blood of Christ. There's one man who knows where to find a sample: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. In order to counter the Legends, the Legion of Doom adds a new member: Leonard Snart. Vixen, meanwhile, has other ideas about what to do with the Spear.

Arrow: "Kapiushon" - As Adrian Chase tortures Oliver, we're shown an adventure from Oliver's past that built to some of his defining moments.

Legion: "Chapter 7" - David's friends finally understand the very real threat of the Shadow King/Lenny as David works with his rationality (depicted as Dan Stevens with his British accent) to understand the threat himself and what he needs to do to be a hero.

Powerless: "I'm a Friend You" - This is strange, but it seems the episode was pulled at the last minute. I randomly selected the above promo picture, but now it seems most appropriate for my reaction.

Iron Fist - This is Marvel's fourth show on Netflix, the final one before the crossover event The Defenders. It also wound up being controversial for casting a white actor as a white character. This follows from a distinct lack of Asian-American led properties on film and television, and the fact that the character of Danny Rand learns a traditionally Asian (or Asian-like) skill and takes an honored title and special ability. No one raised a fuss when the character was introduced in the comics in the 1970s, but the movement for better representation wasn't quite there then. Also, the character has never been a major one for Marvel.

Keeping Danny white falls into problematic tropes about white characters taking part in non-white cultures and becoming a leading example of that skill. Marvel and Netflix decided to continue with the character as established. I don't think the show deserves the extremely negative criticism on this point, but the issue does deserve to be brought forward. The lack of representation for Asian-Americans as lead characters should be addressed.

Well, going in with the problematic premise, how is Iron Fist itself?

The Rand family was reported dead fifteen years ago when their plane wrecked over China, leaving Rand Industries in the hands of Harold Meachum (David Wenham) and his family. However, young Danny Rand survived and was brought to the mystical realm of K'un-Lun, a city in another dimension, where he spent the next fifteen years learning to fight and claiming the power of the Immortal Iron Fist. But now, Danny (Finn Jones) has returned to New York to take his place as his father's heir at Rand Industries.

It's not so easy, however. As it seems, forces inside Rand Industries were responsible for the plane wreck, and the way the company's grown since, Danny's return is inconvenient. Danny is also on the lookout for the cult known as The Hand, which he's looking to destroy. He winds up meeting and enlisting the help of Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) returns.

The Marvel Netflix shows have had a problem of being thirteen-hour long movies with long plots and subplots running through them. Daredevil and Jessica Jones were able to fill the episodes with enough drama and supporting characters to keep us happy. Luke Cage began to show signs of suffering due to needing to fill thirteen hours. Iron Fist really shows that weakness. Fans are suggesting Marvel and Netflix change up after The Defenders, incorporating Danny into Luke Cage and creating Heroes for Hire, and having Colleen and Misty Knight team up for their own show, Daughters of the Dragon. Others feel that 13 episodes is too much and future seasons should look into fewer episodes.

Iron Fist spends little time on the expected martial arts, despite it being very present. A lot of the show is spent inside with board meetings and talks about how to move forward with Rand Industries. The acting is fine, the pacing is slow, and fans looking forward to an energetic series are disappointed. If you're a Marvel fan and want to keep up, find some time to watch it. It's all right enough if you're fine with a slow pace. It seems some issues were tied to Iron Fist having the smallest budget of the Netflix shows and being contracted for 13 episodes. Still, smaller budgets should force creative talents to make a better show without spending more money. The writing certainly suffers by never saying exactly why Danny came back to New York, with a kind of clue being given late in the series. Perhaps the next Netflix/Marvel series, The Defenders, can improve on this take on one of Marvel's more obscure heroes.

Pryde of the X-Men - This week's throwback is the pilot for an animated TV series based on the X-Men. Using Kitty Pryde, we are introduced to the X-Men as she joins their fight against Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants.

I'm not a big X-Men comics reader, but I thought it was a rather nice start for an 80s X-Men cartoon, but it seems fans thought the tone was too campy and there were too many changes with the characters. However, if you don't mind that, it's just fine. This stands as an obvious forerunner of the popular X-Men animated of the 1990s, even some of the animation designs are similar.

If you want to see the pilot, it's on YouTube.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Something Sweet and Almost Kind: Queer Theory and Interpretation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast

In 1991, Walt Disney Animation Studios brought their follow up to their previous musical animated adaptation of a fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.

The story had initially been a parable to encourage women into learning to love their husbands they were made to marry by arranged marriage. Ever one to eschew source material for a more marketable story, Disney heavily reworked the story to give both of the title characters more of a sense of agency to the proceedings. Beauty became Belle, a strong, intelligent young woman who speaks for herself. The Beast becomes a vulnerable figure who lashes out in rage but opens up to kindness and eventually, love.

Rounding out the cast were a villain, Gaston, inspired by the character Avenant in Jean Cocteau's 1946 film adaptation of the story, and his sidekick, the buffoon LeFou. Belle has her father Maurice, her horse Philippe, and the Beast's castle is staffed with people who have been transformed into objects, most notably Lumiere the candelabra, Cogsworth the clock, Mrs. Potts the teapot, and Chip the childish teacup.

The storytelling of Disney's version would use a good number of songs that would move the story along or establish the characters (the lone exception "Be Our Guest" being a welcome showstopping spectacular). Key to these and the overall story process was lyricist Howard Ashman, who had worked on the predecessor, The Little Mermaid.

The movie became a hit and became the first and only animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. A couple of years later, a Broadway musical adaptation premiered, and a few direct to video midquels were released, telling more stories of Belle's time in the castle during the enchantment. Last week, Disney's live action/CGI remake was released.

The remake courted controversy during its press tour when director Bill Condon revealed the character LeFou was gay in this version. Although some balked that a character previously depicted as a comedic buffoon whose name literally means "the fool" would be Disney's first canonical LGBT character, others saw this as pushing a dangerous agenda and called for boycotts. Regardless, the film has already made over twice its budget in its first weekend.

LeFou's story in the new film has been rewritten. While still comedic, he is not such a buffoon, now clearly in love with Gaston, frustrated that Gaston goes after Belle. During the climax of the film when the villagers attack the castle, LeFou is pinned down and left behind by Gaston and decides to change sides, highlighted by saving Mrs. Potts when she falls. LeFou's story is one that many LGBT people know too well, loving someone who doesn't love you in return.

But the queer influence in Beauty and the Beast was already there. Howard Ashman was a gay man who had AIDS and died before the animated film was completed. And it's believed that the Beast's living under the enchantment became an allegory for living with AIDS.

Life for people with AIDS was lonely, and finding love appeared to be impossible because not only was it a contagious death sentence (access to more effective medication was a few years away), but public knowledge of it was so poor. It was a scary thing, just like the Beast's appearance. In addition, the Beast's curse is depicted as degenerative: if he doesn't love and earn love in a certain amount of time, he will become a Beast forever with no hope of recovery. (The musical adaptation suggests that his violent outbursts are a symptom of the curse about to become permanent.) It is not until the Beast recognizes Belle as an equal that he can hope to have the curse broken.

Belle's love as a cure for AIDS might not be the easiest analogy, but the allegory really becomes strong in the third act when Belle reveals the existence of the Beast to the villagers. Despite her claim that the Beast is kind and gentle and her friend, the toxic male Gaston makes the baseless claim that "The Beast will make off with your children! He'll come after them in the night! ... I say we kill the Beast!" This launches "The Mob Song," in which the villagers give into fear, and inflate the believed threat the Beast poses, ending with the line, "And fifty Frenchmen can't be wrong," suggesting that as a majority, they must be right.

Substitute the idea of the Beast with the LGBT community, and the parallel draws itself. The Beast and his servants seek only to live peacefully and better their lives, but they're being made out to be a danger and being unfairly persecuted. (The new film makes it clear that the villagers would be the friends, family and neighbors of the staff if not for the curse.) One might even try to compare the raid on the Beast's castle to the Stonewall Riots.

Gaston's defeat is by the Beast having Gaston at his mercy but choosing to let him live, proving that he is not the monster he has been made out to be. Gaston, however, stabs the Beast in the back (a traditionally cowardly move), then loses his footing and falls to his presumed death. Perhaps this is hopeful thinking on Ashman's part when the allegory is considered.

I could say more about the LGBT people who have worked on the various iterations of the Disney version of the story, or the cross-dressing attack the Wardrobe uses ("Be free!" she cheers in the new film), but that's really going into semantics. The point is that Disney's version of the story already has queer fingerprints and they aren't going anywhere.