spreading the talent

Pick Of The Week

Review: X-Men Days Of Future Past

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_posterFox studios has just released its seventh movie in the massively popular X-Men franchise, and it looks to be another hit based on ticket sales.  One of the biggest complaints by comic book fans about Fox’s version of the X-Men is that it strays too far from the comics and there are so many continuity issues.  I’m tired of going to blogs and hearing someone say “Marvel needs the rights to X-Men back”.  I’m telling you right now, that while I want to see X-men with Marvel characters on screen, if they do this it wouldn’t be a good thing at this time.  Why?  Because everyone who isn’t a comic fan knows what the movies have brought to our eye.  Don’t forget that Bryan Singer brought us X-Men and X2: X-Men United at a time where comic book movies were just becoming popular.  X-2 is one of the BEST of the whole franchise.

Then X-Men The Last Stand came along.  I enjoyed that movie for its high points, but I do acknowledge its flaws.  Of course at the end of that movie, the only confirmed “Death” was that of Jean Grey.  We never saw Cyclops’ body, and his glasses were left floating in the air.  To me, this always meant that she never killed him.  Everyone got their powers back that lost them, and Professor X transferred his mind to a new body.

Of course, this was followed by the X-Men Origins Wolverine.  Again, there were parts that were strong, but what they did with all these characters left a bad taste in most people’s mouths.  X-Men First Class and The Wolverine finally came about and reinstilled energy in the franchise.  It gave faith back to those who had lost it, except for the whiny die hard X-Men comic fans who can’t imagine that the movies won’t be EXACTLY what they read in the pages.  Those are the same people who claim that the Avengers is a perfect comic movie, and yet don’t realize that most of what Marvel has put on the screen has strayed from core source material.

I’m one of those fans who is a comic fan AND a movie lover.  I go into these with a very open mind, and yes I get upset when I see certain things that don’t do justice.  When I saw some of the trailers for Days Of Future Past I shook my head.  Then I started hearing talk about it and became enraged.  “Why would they do this and ruin it more?”  I learned my lesson however to NEVER assume anything from a trailer.  Everything this movie presented corrected most of what people whined about, while creating another flaw that is gladly accepted over the appaling other ones that were there and are now gone.  From here on out in this review there will be MAJOR SPOILERS.  I’m also going to speculate where this will take the franchise.  If you want to know my review, scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

The future we are given to kick off the movie is dismal and dark.  We are shown over and over how deadly the sentinels are, and presented with some moderately graphic death scenes.  It is everything that I pictured the future to be in this story.  Then we go to the past, which picks up a few years after the First Class movie.  It’s the 1970s, and the X-Men aren’t even together anymore.  Two different periods of time, and both very effective.  Let’s check out the characters involved.

Wolverine/Logan:  One flaw I found with Wolverine is that they don’t explain how, after the events of The Wolverine, that he has metal on his claws again.  We can only assume from a comment made by a young Magneto, that the older Magneto put the metal back.  It makes sense and probably would have confused anyone that didn’t see The Wolverine as to why they just let this go.  It’s implied, but not flat out explained.  Regardless, Hugh Jackman continues to own this role.  He’s at his largest in body size, and you can tell he genuinely cares about the role.  Whether talking about the old Logan or the pre-Weapon X young counterpart, Wolverine is cleverly used here.  In his future version we see yellow and blue in his “costume” as a little nod to his classic comic book outfit.  Another Easter egg thrown in was when Magneto impales him with the rebar and bends it around his body.  This closely resembles the scene in the comics when Magneto stripped the adamantium from Logan’s bones.  My only issue with Logan here is that he is pulled out of the water after what is obviously a few hours at minimum, and he suddenly just starts coughing the water from his lungs.  Does his healing factor just do that?  Every few minutes the lungs try to work?  If so, then that could be an eternally painful death for Wolverine were that the case.  I don’t know what it is, but it is a scary thought.

Professor Xavier:  Patrick Stewart’s portrayal in the future is classic.  He’s always done well in this role, and I loved that he had a hover chair as well.  James McAvoy not only could pass off looking like a younger Patrick Stewart, but he equally owns the part.  I was kind of turned off at first by the self pity he was wallowing in, and the fact that Hank made a drug to help him to walk might explain how Xavier could walk in his brief cameo at the end of Origins Wolverine.  Then again, because his face was so badly CGIed in Origins, perhaps it was supposed to be a projected image of himself just like he did with Mystique in the airport.  DOFP was more of an established origin for Professor X than first class was because he also accepts that he will become the man he was meant to be.

Magneto / Erik Lensherr: Ian McKellen had little screen time in the future, but like everyone I felt he was utilized well.  If he had a little more dialogue I’d have been happier, but maybe less is more, and they sent him off well.  Michael Fassbender easily became the villain in this more than almost the sentinels.  I liked the nod to him being Quicksilver’s father, and the plastic prison that will again become a part of X2.  I am wondering how far magnetism can go however.  Does he have an engineering background where he suddenly knows how to control robots?  I can see him gaining control of the sentinels (he did often in the comics), but he sort of just let’s them loose on the “mutants”.  He’s a mutant too, so why wouldn’t it just attack him?  I also thought it was flawed that he was just able to leave at the end.  Xavier should have stopped him.  Wouldn’t the government people who watched Mystique stand up against him suddenly believe that they helped him escape if he could have been stopped?  Or did Xavier place a thought in their minds?

Raven Darkholme / Mystique: Jennifer Lawrence is a MUCH better Mystique than her predecessor, and she looks equally as menacing.  The fight choreography of the character and her becoming the unpredictable “hero” really had me smile.  I was glad that they did what they did with her.  My question is this…. does her appearance as Stryker at the end mean that she killed him?  I have a theory about this that I’ll mention in my speculation at the end.

Storm: Of all the characters in the X movies, Halle Berry was never one of my favorite choices to play a role.  Storm was sent off well here as well.  She didn’t need much dialogue.  They gave her shorter hair (a mowhawk would have been a good nod, but what she had was nice).  Her taking out the Sentinel carriers the way that she did showed how powerful she really can be, and her impalement by the sentinel’s spear hand was a relief.  My favorite part is that Logan flat out tells a younger Xavier to remember Storm and seek her out along with Scott and Jean.  That means most likely a recast as younger versions in the next movie.

Rogue, Cyclops, & Jean Grey: Their cameos as well as Kelsey Grammar as Beast was a great way to acknowledge all of the past mistakes.  It means that them being there confirms that the everything is open for the future.  Origins Wolverine, X-men, X2, The Last Stand, & The Wolverine will no longer happen.  They can literally do anything with a younger cast and the results of this movie give us a fresh beginning, only keeping First Class & DOFP (the past elements) as something that is continuity.

Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat: Ellen Page had a minor, but significant role.  Her time phasing powers are not part of the comics, but being as she was the one to go back in time in the comics instead of Logan, I felt this was a good way to include her in the whole segment.  There was no other way to do this because of all of the prior continuity errors, and adding a mental time phase to her existing phase powers felt naturally logical.  I also liked the slight nod at the end to her and Colossus’ relationship from the comics.

Hank McCoy / Beast:  One of my issues before seeing this movie was hearing that Hank would be very “Hulk” like and only turn to beast when he became angry.  The way they explain it is redeemable though.  He created a serum to give him the appearance, but he obviously will embrace his inner beast as Grammar is in full Beast makeup at the end.  It’s a good tool to use, but I hope they get rid of this for the next movie.

Bolivar Trask: Bryan Singer explained that this is not Trask from X2.  So who is Trask from X2?  Is he Peter Dinklage’s son?  Doubtful.  I guess he is just another Trask.  Aside from this continuity issue, Trask was perfect.  His purpose and usage was not over or underdone.  The slight change from the comics is that the future is caused by Senator Kelly’s assassination.  In this case, they had to change it to Bolivar Trask because Kelly was already established in X-1, and there couldn’t have been a better substitute for character swaps.

William Stryker:  He is only a major in military rank in this one, and there IS a continuity flaw with him.  In Origins Wolverine, Stryker and Logan met during Vietnam.  Here it is a few years later and it doesn’t seem like he knows him at all when he sees him.  The mention of his son Jason was nice (Jason Stryker was the mutant “Mastermind” in X2 who cast illusions into Xavier’s mind).  His purpose could have been filled by any other military character.  Why they chose to throw him in and cause another continuity issue is beyond me, but at this point I’ll bet they were just trigger happy with the cameos.  I really wish they hadn’t used him.

Quicksilver / Pietro “Peter” Maximoff: Nightcrawler was my favorite in an X-film so far, but Quicksilver has replaced him.  At first I hated the costume he wore from the ads, but now it makes sense after seeing it.  His main scene was so beautifully executed and the nod to him being Magneto’s son was awesome too.  As much faith as I have in Marvel for cinematic excellence, I don’t know how their Quicksilver will top this one.  I can’t wait to see more of him in Apocalypse.

Cameo X-Men: While most of these had no or little dialogue, they were all utilized well.  Bishop was awesome!  Colossus finally got some epic battle time.  Blink’s powers looked awesome, so much so that I made sure I wasn’t blinking so I could fully capture what was going on.  Sunspot and Warpath were nice additions, though were of very little use.  The same could almost be said about Iceman, but we finally got to see his ice slide move, which gave plenty of chills I’m sure.  Havok, Toad, Ink, & Spyke had a fun little scene and I wonder where they will be headed off to.

Mystery mutants:  If anyone knows who the white haired guy was at the beginning, who found the X symbol and then was killed, please let me know.  I assumed this was a young Cable, but it could have just been a generic mutant.  Also, Bryan singer confirmed that the little sister with Pietro was NOT his twin, Scarlet Witch.  But if not her, then perhaps it was younger sister, Lorna Dane?  I know that might be a stretch, but it is the movies, and since Polaris (Lorna Dane) is also the daughter of Magneto, maybe they planned that.

Sentinels: This was just plain awesome.  The Sentinels in the 1970s reminded me of watching the old cartoon from the 90s.  They were fun to watch destroy and I waited for the “Surrender Mutant” line of dialogue somewhere, but it never happened.  In the future, the Nimrod sentinels were downright terrifying.  Just plain amazing!

The Chris Clairmont (He wrote DOFP storyline in the comics) cameo, and mentions of other characters here and there were fun easter eggs for any comic book fan, but my favorite was En Sabah Nur.  I have wanted to see Apocalypse as a villain since Xmen 1.  Now we are getting him.  His post credits scene had my jaw dropping, and I noticed that his 4 horsemen were sitting in the background while the young mutant pharaoh built the pyramids.  I cannot wait til Apocalypse.

My only real regret with this movie is that they killed Azazel and White Queen.  The problem isn’t with Azazel, because he could have impregnated Mystique somewhere along the way and still had Nightcrawler.  The issue is with Emma.  With her dead, there is no way she’d ever be a part of the X-Men later down the line.  It’s nothing that will make me lose sleep, but they could have thought of another way.

Now that I’ve exhausted my opinions of the characters and plots, I want to speculate on where this could all lead based on what we know as fact from where we stand at the end of Days of Future past.  X-Men Apocalypse will have Xavier’s new recruits taking on Apocalypse and his horsemen.  Who will be with Xavier?  They set it up for a young Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey to accompany Professor X and Beast.  It is also confirmed that Quicksilver and maybe Scarlet Witch will play a role somehow, in addition to Gambit, played by Channing Tatum.  We also know that it takes  place in the 1980s.  Who will the horsemen be?  Here’s my theory… I think Mystique killed Stryker and rescued Logan from the water.  Why?  She is working for Apocalypse who has been watching from the sidelines.  Wolverine will get metal back on his bones, but not from Weapon X now… instead he will become the Horseman of death.  There was a brief stint in the comics where this happened.  Making Logan a bad guy would be so smart because it will really put the team to the test, and he finally won’t be a hero.  Wolverine, Mystique and two others as horsemen (sorry, no archangel, because he’d be too young in the 80s).  I also believe that Nathanial Essex would be a servant to Apocalypse, setting up the next movie where he could be Mr. Sinister and take young cyke and jean.

Wolverine 3: With no weapon X program, he’d probably (after being released from Apocalypse’s control) join up with Alpha Flight.  They could take on Omega Red and have Sabretooth return to turn against his “brother”, Jimmy (Wolverine’s birth name).

Deadpool: MAKE THIS MOVIE RATED “R” and Give Ryan Reynolds the chance to show what he has as this character.

Sorry for such a lengthy review.  I’m sure I even missed stuff, but there was just so much scale to this movie.  After just over 2 hours, I felt I could have watched another 2 hours and not gotten tired.  This was non-stop action and suspense from the beginning until the end, and executed really well.  While fixing a plethora of mistakes, they created only 2 real flaws, and neither of them matter.  I have to rate this at a 9 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.  What did you think of the movie? Did I leave something out?  Where do you see it going from here?  Fox has earned the rights to use these characters and I am not disappointed by the scope of what they’ve accomplished.  Well done, Singer and crew.

 


Review: The Amazing Spiderman 2

thIf anyone has caught my previous review for The Amazing Spiderman 1, then you know I gave it high praises; except for the fact that it didn’t feel very fresh and original because it was another origin story.  Now before I go ripping this apart or commending it for being a delightful movie, I have to state that I was a huge Spiderman fan growing up.  He is one of the iconic memories of my childhood.  Therefore, I am both very critical, AND acceptant of what is presented on screen.  I realize things can’t be exactly from the pages of comics.  This review will be loaded with Spoilers, so if you don’t want to see any, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my score.

The overall darker tone of this series is not something I enjoy.  Spider-man is a lot like Superman in many aspects.  I want to see a bright and colorful display.  I don’t want to see a whole lot of night battles.  If I wanted that, I’d watch Batman or Blade.  The whole parents of Peter Parker storyline seemed to flesh out in this one, which made for an interesting reason why Peter being bitten by the spider would have altered his DNA that way.  I enjoyed this very much, and am glad they sort of put an end to it.  It served it’s purpose so let’s move on.  My character breakdowns from previous reviews seem to be attracting attention, so I’ll review the movie like that.

Spider-man / Peter Parker: Andrew Garfield is a wonderful actor, but I still don’t like him as Spiderman.  I hate to compare, but overall, the more I watch this series, the more I want Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi back.  Don’t get me wrong, there was tons wrong with the original trilogy, but Garfield’s Peter doesn’t seem right.  It’s almost like they don’t know what to do with him.  Parker is supposed to be a nerdy kid who wise cracks cheesy lines with his enemies.  It is his staple.  Instead, in this series, we get a punk Brooklyn kid who seems more like a douchy bully than anything else.  At times he conveys what Spiderman should be, but I am not sure where they are going with him.  This parker is a punk, then loveable, then wise cracking, and then emo.  PICK A FRIGGIN’ EMOTION ALREADY!  Everyone has mood changes, but this is ridiculous.  It’s like he is four different characters.  I was however happy with the updated classic look of the suit, and WHY he had a new suit.  Spidey’s outfit here is the BEST costume overall in ALL the existing Spiderman films.  I still can’t fathom how he can fit so much web fluid in those little cartridges, but I can suspend disbelief because it’s a comic book film.

Gwen Stacy:  Emma Stone is a major highlight of this film.  Or should I say was?  Her purpose was meaningful, and although her dialogue was often horrible (As was most of the dialogue in the film), she was believable.  My issue would be that they decided to make this genius level student a complete idiot in the end.  She thinks she can help Spiderman take on Electro, and that’s just moronic.  Yeah okay she overall did, but it’s not a smart move.  She was that annoying girlfriend that just doesn’t go away.  This leads to her ultimate death at the hands of the Green Goblin.  In the comics she was thrown from a bridge by the Goblin (Norman, not Harry), and Peter tried to stop her fall with a web, breaking her neck.  Here, she was thrown from a clock tower by Harry’s Goblin, and Peter snapped her spine with a sudden jerking stop.  The scene was VERY effective and one of the best recreations of comic book lore to date.  You felt the impact before, during and after her death.  Gwen really is the one who let’s Peter know posthumously that he is destined to be Spiderman (even if those exact words weren’t used).

Max Dillon / Electro: Jamie Foxx really played this role well.  I feel that this WAS the electro from the comics, despite the fact that they made him a genius engineer with obvious social and mental disabilities.  The lack of social and mental normalcy made him seem like the dimwit from the comics.  The fight scenes and effects with him too were just visually stunning.  Is he dead?  No I doubt it.  He’s probably reserved in that little battery that was strapped to his head, at least as some kind of spark.  I wouldn’t mind them bringing him back at some point in a lesser capacity.

Green Goblin / Harry Osborn: Dane Dehaan played the role of Harry well.  He even played Goblin well.  Let me say this though.  Aside from the design being utterly horrible, I’m sick of seeing Green Goblin.  This one is more akin to the ultimate version, but its just overdone.  If you use a goblin, then for the love of God, please use hobgoblin or even demogoblin, because this is just getting redundant, and that is probably one of the biggest flaw’s that director Marc Webb has in these films…. nothing is NEW.  BTW, I’m not believing that Norman is dead.  His hands and look in his “final” scenes made me believe he’d be back as the Ultimate “hulking like” version of the character.  Only time will tell.

Felicia Hardy: She has a minor role in the movie, but you can see that she would practically do anything for Harry.  This is a perfect setup for her to become BlackCat in the next movie.  I really think that is the way they need to go.  Make her a villain who will eventually pick a side and team with Spiderman.

Rhino: SMH.  I love Paul Giamatti, but his Russian accent is overplayed and not believeable here.  AND I’m sick of seeing mechanical exosuit villains.  WHY did we get a giant robot rhino with guns?  All I have to say is that for the next movie or sinister six, he better have an updated form of the suit that is more akin to the comics, because this is just the WORST design EVER!  Instead of the headfirst charging Rhino, we got a walking tank with machine guns, and a tease of a fight.

Aunt May, The Ravencroft Institute, Richard and Mary Parker, The head of Oscorp: all of these were delightful to see on screen and had a clear purpose.  Nothing much can be said because they were practically flawless.

Alistair Smythe: An awesome cameo that I didn’t expect.  In the comics, he creates the Spider Slayers.  this is all a setup for future I believe, and since he was placed in a cryo type freeze tank, I believe he will be back (maybe with some cyber enhancements).

The man in the shadows: okay, so we still have no idea who this is, or do we?  He showed up in the post credits from the first film.  Now he shows up at the end to assist Harry in putting together a “team”.  Who can he be?  They called him Gustav Fiers.  He must be none other than Chameleon, who was a key player in the comics in forming the Sinister Six.  If this is the case, then perhaps we will actually have more than six villains.  Here is my speculation as to where this will all go….

There are more films coming.  It is confirmed that we are getting: The Amazing Spiderman 3, Venom, and Sinister Six movies, followed by The Amazing Spiderman 4.  It is also confirmed that Andrew Garfield is playing the character through the year 2020.  Now, with that being said, here is where I see it going.

TASM3: Felicia becomes Black Cat.  She breaks Harry out of prison, and he and her team up to take on Spiderman.  He is still coping with the death of Gwen, but this is where Felicia and Mary Jane being introduced into his life will cause conflict.  He won’t know who to trust.  In the end, I believe that Black Cat will turn against a super charged (more ultimate form of the goblin) and Harry will probably die.  This movie is all about conflict… Felicia choosing a side, Peter moving on, Harry realizing his best friend is his worst enemy.  There will also be setups here to the spinoff films.

I know I said that I don’t want to see Green Goblin anymore, but this is the only logical way to go at this point.  To make him different, his DNA could be altered further to really fit that Ultimate Goblin look.  Black Cat will be the first female villain for spiderman, and everything will feel a little fresh.

Venom: there were some easter eggs in the film.  We had the mention of the Spidervenom which is the arachnid’s blood.  In the ultimate comics, Venom isn’t an alien symbiote… it is instead a derivative symbiote from Spiderman’s blood.  There is also a Morbius easter egg, but that probably wouldn’t apply.  In the venom movie, we could see a classic Eddie Brock taking on the mantle of the villain, and going up against his own offspring, Carnage.  This HAS to be a venom vs carnage movie.  it has been something the fans have wanted for years.  It could be a one and done movie, where in the end, Eddie Brock either becomes anti-venom for a future film where Flash Thompson takes over as venom, or something else.

Sinister Six: Chameleon will take on the reigns of moving forward with Harry’s original plans.  Who should be in this movie?  TASM 2 set up: Doctor Octopus, Vulture, and Rhino.  Smythe would be a good add on, while bringing in Scorpion or Kraven the Hunter.  actually, there are lots of things that they could do…. I could speculate for hours on what the GOOD thing to do would be.  If only they’d hire me to correct the issues, I’d be able to set them straight.

TASM 4: could be a whole fresh start.  The spiderman verse is fully established at this point and we can go back to one villain only…. bring in Mysterio.  He’s a big enough threat on his own.

Sorry if I strayed with my speculations, but this is something I’ve been mulling over, and I’d like to hear your comments.  All in all, with TASM 2, we had okay plot, GREAT character setup and building, HORRIBLE dialogue, and AMAZING action scenes.  It wasn’t by any means a bad movie, but it certainly wasn’t a great movie.  I have to rate it with a 6 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  Good?  Bad?  Did I miss something?  Where do you think the series will go?  One final thought.  I felt gypped by the post credits scene.  It was a scene from X-Men Days of Future Past, and while I’m excited to see the movie, an advertisement serves no purpose to the fans unless there is a potential crossover at some point… I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Spiderman and The X-Men on screen together?

 


Review: Arrow Season 2

480px-Arrow_TV_Series_Season_2_Promo_Poster-8The comic book geek in me is ecstatic from watching the 5 minute Flash trailer that debuted during the season finale of Arrow.  So what better fitting review than to talk about the show it is spinning off from?  Be warned… there are spoilers ahead.  If you want my review without spoilers, scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.  Begin spoilery now…

This show keeps getting better.  It still has minor flaws here and there.  The forced CW mushy romance still rears its head, and just an excuse to have Stephen Amell’s shirt off during each episode seems to be a bit over done, but there is a good balance.  Here is a show that started off sub par and made its way to becoming the BEST adaptation of a comic book TV series.  The writers of the show aim to throw in easter eggs for the fans, and a good compelling story for those who are not fans of the comic books.

Let’s take a look at who we got to meet this season, and touch on our main characters:

Team Arrow (Oliver, Diggle, Felicity): This trio works well together and keeps each other on their toes.  Felicity has proven to be a key in the team.  Diggle being the muscle, serves more of a purpose with his connections, while Oliver is out in the field.  Felicity though, she is the one who verbally gives Oliver a reality check when he needs it most.

Canary / Sarah Lance:  Okay, so she only had the canary cry once, using a device to do it, but she didn’t need it.  She kicked ass when it counted, and her dark history drove part of this story along.  I’m glad to see her go back to the League of Assassins at the end.  She basically passed the reigns on to Laurel (who will become the real Black Canary).  To me, Sarah never felt like Canary except when she was fighting.  Her attitude was off, and I didn’t like her being Oliver’s love interest.  It wasn’t a good pairing.

Laurel “Dinah” Lance: Aside from needing to eat a sandwich and gain about fifteen pounds, Laurel was an annoyance most of the season.  It wasn’t until she got her head out of drinking and drugs that she began to prove her worth.  At the end of the season I was glad to see the Laurel I loved from Season 1 return, but in a better way.  She is set up to take on the mantle she is destined as Black Canary.  Sure she needs some combat training and a Canary Cry, but that’s what season 3 is for.

Detective Lance: Finally!  After being a complete dick in season 1, he stepped up to the plate and became a great guy who was good at his job.  Of course I will be sad to see him go if they kill him off.  The season ended with him bleeding internally from an injury.  If he does die however, this will set Laurel on her path of destiny.

Sebastian “Brother” Blood: Running for mayor of a city is a big enough task, but when you are a villain working for Deathstroke in the process, well things become more complicated.  His role was a supporting one at best, but necessary in what was happening throughout the season.  I am not sure I liked his “conscience” decisions in the end to help out, but I guess he realized how evil Slade really was.  I did NOT like his mask.  It screamed too “scarecrow” for me, but I’m glad he had some sort of attire to work as Brother Blood.  I was surprised to see him killed off, but in the real world, people have to die at times, and his death was played well.

Barton Mathis / Dollmaker: As a guest villain, he was perhaps the creepiest of the season.  We won’t see him again because of his death, but the way he was making people into “dolls” was downright terrifying and had me on the edge of my seat.

Sin and Roy Harper / Red Arrow: I paired these two because they were part of each other in a way.  Sin’s role was just there to assist Roy in his troubles and be a friend to Canary.  Roy’s Mirakuru injection sent him down a dark path just like in the comics.  I loved the “Don’t ever call me Speedy” line when Arrow called him that, and seeing him suit up as Red Arrow was a giddy moment to say the least.  Now that he is back to being a normal human without Mirakuru, I think we will see him move more on to being Arsenal soon.

Professor Ivo: I’m not sure I liked the use of Ivo in this way.  His ship being called the AMAZO is a nice nod to the comics, but pretty much confirms that this is all we will EVER see of AMAZO and Ivo.  The part was played well but the role felt forced.

Cyrus Gold: Okay, it was a small role, but why was it important?  Because he died with the serum in his veins.  What does this mean?  Well, comic book fans… Cyrus Gold comes back from the dead as Solomon Grundy.  The little poem was even recited in the episode, so I hope to see him back from the dead in season 3.

Barry Allen:  We saw overeager police scientist Barry talking about his past and referring to the yellow storm (Professor Zoom) that killed his mother when he was a kid.  He’s all about heroism and is the one to give Oliver his mask.  Not only that, but we actually see the origin of the Flash.  He gets struck by lightning that will give him the powers from the chemical bath he landed in.  And yes, he is in a coma, but it was all set up for Flash TV show.  I loved every moment of him on screen.

Mark Scheffer / Shrapnel: A very minor role, but it was nice to have a second rate comic villain appear, albeit briefly.

Nyssa Raatko: I had only ever thought that Talia was Ra’s Al Ghul’s only daughter, but then I did my research.  Nyssa was a daughter as well, and her role as an assassin felt real.  She was deadly with a lack of emotion (except her fascination with Sarah).  I give her extra kudos for saying Ra’s Al Ghul the way it is supposed to be pronounced.

William Tockman / Clock King: Like the Doll maker, the Clock King was a welcome guest villain.  He was much more manevolent than I’d have pictured him to be from the comics, but they had to do that to make him work.  I’ll be excited to see more of him hopefully soon.

Bronze Tiger: Does Michael Jai White ever age?  He looks the same as he did in that horrible Spawn movie from the 90s.  His purpose in season 2 was equivelant to China White’s in season 1.  Not much was said, but he is a trained killer, so dialogue isn’t something needed.  His fight scenes were fun to watch too.

ARGUS, HIVE, Suicide Squad, Task Force X: All of these were mentioned and linked together.  Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, & Shrapnel kicked ass on this team with Waller in charge.  The episode where they went out on their first suicide mission with Diggle was a change of pace for the show, and I’m glad.  We needed that episode in there.  Best part though is probably that Harley Quinn’s voice was heard and you catch a glimpse of her hair.  We now know that she is a potential for the show at some point.

Amanda Waller:  What can I say?  Other than I’m glad that she’s an attractive woman instead of the overweight one from the comics (I never bought an overweight government agent of her power).  She was exactly what her comic book counterpart was.  A pain in the ass, with good intentions, but a messed up thought process on how to go about delivering the goods.

Birds Of Prey: Okay, sort of.  Not really.  It is just that Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) got to meet Canary.  No they didn’t get along, but they didn’t always in the comics either.  Let’s just say this was a good set up to what might eventually appear as a trio (Canary, Huntress, Oracle).  By Oracle, I can only assume Felicity at this point, UNLESS, they definitely tie this in with the movies, in which case Batman Incorporated is supposed to be part of Man of Steel, and Barbara could be a part of that in some form.  That’s straying from the review though so I won’t elaborate.

Ravager: I thought Isabel was just an annoyance for most of the season, but knowing she worked for Slade the whole time, when they revealed that I immedately knew who she was.  Her costume was cheesy, but matched the comic book one to the details.  Her death was priceless in mid sentence.

Slade Wilson / Deathstroke: His army of super soldiers was a nice addition, but Slade himself is just the perfect villain.  He is Oliver’s Lex Luthor.  Slade will escape from his prison I’m sure.  The classic costume and his updated one were nice touches.  I have NOTHING negative at all.  Every moment that Manu Bennett is on screen as Slade is priceless.  You just want to see what he is going to do next.

So there is your character breakdown of season 2.  I believe this show keeps getting better and better.  Moira’s death, Malcom Merlyn (Dark Archer) coming back as a season 3 regular, and Thea Queen joining him are drastic points for the series.  I believe (and this is just a theory of mine) that Thea will take her mother’s maiden name since she really isn’t a queen.  She may also change her name.  What am I saying?  My theory is that she will become Mia Dearden and be trained by Merlyn.  Mia in the comics is a sidekick of Oliver’s at one point and takes on the mantle of “Speedy”.  Also, not to forget that Oliver did knock a girl up in the past.  I’ll bet that her last name was Hawke.  At some point we may see his son in a few seasons showing up.  Connor Hawke took over the mantle of Green Arrow for a while in the comics, and was a sidekick.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.  Like it?  Hate it?  Think I was wrong or have something to add?  Speculations you have for season 3 or the Flash series (since it is technically a tie in).  Did I leave something out?  Chime in.  I’m giving Arrow Season two 8 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.  I’d like to give it more, but there are just certain things that don’t make it perfect in my opinion.  It does however remain one of my most anticipated shows to watch and I can’t wait til september.


Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1

Marvel-Agents-of-ShieldAfter 22 episodes I decided to do a brief review of the season as a whole.  Having faith in Marvel has proven to be a good thing, because in all honesty, the first nine episodes of this season were utter garbage.  Then there was a break and someone woke the hell up on the writing staff.  Warning… Spoilers ahead, so if you want my rating skip down to the last paragraph.

Low budget effects?  yes for the most part, but that’s what to expect from a television show, and they got better sans a few, toward the end of the season.  When this show started, I actually could not stand most of the characters.  Clark Gregg’s Phillip Coulson was the ONLY reason I hung on.  The tie ins with the existing universe really only worked with Captain America The Winter Soldier, because for the most part, all of the name drops felt forced.  That being said, there are some exceptions to that rule.  Let’s look at the characters, both main and guest spots.

Agent Coulson: Clark Gregg is easily the highlight of this show.  He has proven his adaptability from bad scripts to good ones, and plays the role well.  Sure, there were a few moments that felt off, but I don’t think this was him more than it was the direction of the show.  The huge build up to find out how he was still alive after Avengers, came at somewhat a relief and a let down; but now I’m more intrigued to see where this will take him as a character.  Something in his brain is obviously amiss, based on what happened at the end of the season finale with him writing on the walls.  There is still something mysterious about him, and I’m eager to find out what.

Agent May: When she kicks ass, she is fun to watch, but her dull lack of emotion for the most part, didn’t seem believable at all times.  Thankfully, in the last few episodes, she lightened up slightly.

Ward:  I don’t put agent in front of his name because he has been revealed as part of HYDRA.  I liked this turn because he was a likable character with a seemingly good heart.  I do see that there is internal conflict there though.  He NEEDS to stay as a bad guy.  His actions are not redeemable, so if they decide at one point to have him back on the team, then I will be really pissed off and probably lose interest all together.

Skye: Easily the best looking person on the show, she is gorgeous and intriging.  I didn’t buy into her becoming a member of the “team” at first, but I don’t mind it now that they made up for that.  There is obviously something about her that is super powered, but we don’t know yet what it is.  I just hope they don’t hold onto this information for too much longer.  My guess?  Her real name will be revealed soon enough, and we will find out she will become Spider Woman.  I think this because it fits her profile for the most part.

Fitz and Simmons:  Ugh.  In the first half of the season I just wanted these characters to die off.  They are NOT government like agents.  Honestly they sucked bad.  By the end of this season I at least have grown to like Fitz.  Simmons… not so much.  I just don’t think her quirkiness works.

John Garrett: Bill Paxton probably saved this series.  I was NOT happy with the lackluster reveal of him being the Clairvoyant that was a huge buildup to another disappointment.  I AM happy that he is John Garrett from the comics, who is a cyborg.  We see the full reveal of his comic book costume at the end of the season finale, but his life is quickly ended.  This is a good thing.  He played his purpose, and we can move on.

Viktoria Hand: For the little screen time she had, it was enjoyable.  She WAS her comic counterpart.  I was just shocked to see her killed at the hands of Ward.  IF this is somehow a “faked” death, then I’ll be pissed at that too.  They’ve used the fake death enough.  It’s overplayed.  Let it die… literally.

Deathlok / Mike Peterson: I predicted him being Deathlok 2 episodes before it happened, and I’m glad he is there.  He is finally free with his own will power after Garrett’s death, and I want to see more of him.  His costume however needs to evolve.  I want to still see the real Deathlok look, or at least some of it.  This gaudy chest armor does nothing for me.  The leg is cool, but update his face to half cyborg.  Make him look the part, because he plays the part well.

Agent Triplett: The PERFECT replacement for Ward on the team.  He’s a much better character as a hero, and is likable as well.

Raina and Ian Quinn: Both of these characters have similar antagonist roles, but I only find Ian Quinn as enjoyable.  The Raina character bothers me and I can’t quite figure out why.  She feels forced where she is at.  Quinn on the other hand is serving a purpose.

Blackout / Marcus Daniels: His role, while a small guest spot, was awesome.  I liked what they did here, though honestly, I’d rather him have been the Blackout that is Ghost Rider’s enemy, but all the same, it was done well.

Blizzard / Donnie Gill: His origin as the Ironman villain was set.  Now bring him back as Blizzard full on.  I want to see it.

Graviton / Franklin Hall: Same as Blizzard.  origin featured, but we need a return and with him as the comic villain.

Maria Hill and Nick Fury: I LOVED both of these cameos, especially toward the end of the season and in the finale.  Nick handed the reigns over to Coulson to reform SHIELD, but I’d love to see him back at some point.  Maria will definitely be seen again, probably in Avengers 2 as well.

Lorelei: This was the BEST guest villain to date.  She was right spot on with the comics, and believeable as well.  It was refreshing to say the least.

Lady Sif: Similar feel that I got with Lorelei.  Best hero cameo, and a shift of pace for the show.

Sitwell and Koenig: I’ll put it this way… I was glad to see Sitwell as a member of HYDRA in Cap 2.  I don’t want to see him again, because he isn’t believable.  Koenig is just annoying and I was excited to see him die in the show…. but of course he had a twin brother, so we are stuck with him for at least another episode.  SMH.  NOT a good role… NOT a good character… NOT a convinceable agent of SHIELD.

Colonel Glenn Talbot: I hope we see more of him in the future.  They have the perfect actor for the role, and although his appearance was limited, it made me think more about the possibility of seeing Bruce Banner in a future episode… after all, they did mention the Leader & Abomination’s statuses after the events of the Incredible Hulk.

So what did you think?  Am I wrong?  Do you have more to add?  Did you give up on the show and if so, will you muscle through to earn back your respect for what will come of this show?  All in all I have high hopes for season 2.  If they don’t continue with better scripts and get rid of stupid characters like Koenig, then this show WILL fail.  I think they are smart enough to correct their past mistakes however, and I’m highly anticipating season 2.  All in all I have to give it a low rating.  4 out of 10 sCrypt coffins because of a really crappy first half and a redeemable second half.  Trust me… the redeemable part is worth it.  Just because I gave it a low rating doesn’t mean the show sucks anymore.  In fact I think it has become actually really good, but the first half and quirkiness, plus lack of actual comic book “looking” attire, I had to give it a low score.  Remember, this is rating for the WHOLE season, not just the last half.  Were I to break it down by halves, I’d say first half of the season would score a 1 out of 10, while the second half would get a 7 out of 10.  Here’s to hoping for season 2 to go above and beyond with more comic related material.


Review: Once Upon A Time Season 3 (& Wonderland)

Once-Upon-a-Time-Season-3-Promotional-Poster-once-upon-a-time-35567250-375-500There is a LOT to cover here, but I’ll make it as brief as possible.  First off, if you AREN’T watching Once Upon a Time, then you need to stop reading and start at season 1.  I guarantee you will get so wrapped up in the characters and stories that you will not stop until you are caught up.  There will be spoilers in here so skip to the end paragraph if you want my rating of both shows.  Yes, I threw Once in Wonderland in here because to me it is part of season 3 albeit on its own.

I’ll start with part 1 of season 3 Once Upon a Time.  The main villain here is Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  The reveal of who Peter truly is in relation to Rumplestiltskin really shows why Rumple is the way he is.  Wendy’s story arc is good here, and Peter as a villain works surprisingly really well.  He was the villain you loved to hate.

We also see a turn for the better with Rumple and Regina here, that leads to them being more heroic than ever.  In fact, it is safe to say they are now heroes for season 3, and likeable ones at that.  Neil (aka Baelfire) however becomes the ultimate hero by sacrificing himself to save everyone.

What took me by surprise is that at the mid season break, it finished up that storyline, so instead of one long season arc, we actually got 2 shorter arcs, but I think this was a good thing to keep the show fresh.  The episode with Ariel and Eric was satisfying, and seeing that the Evil Queen Regina took on the form of Ursula the sea Witch was fun as well.

Now we get on to Once Upon A Time In Wonderland.  It really is ashame that this didn’t get renewed for a second season.  I think the time slot was a bad choice.  This should have aired at the mid season break slot of Once Upon A Time, but instead was on a different night where not many people tuned in.  It DID however give us a good look at Wonderland and those characters, and they wrapped the whole storyline up.  Basically, they didn’t leave us hanging to wonder what happened, and they left it open to include the remaining characters in the main show at some point.

89814-once-upon-a-time-season-3-spoilersAnyway, so we have Alice being taken back to Wonderland to save her lost love, who is a genie.  Now keep in mind that this genie, AND the Sultan, are NOT the genie and Sultan from Aladdin, BUT, Jafar is the main villain.  Speaking of which, Jafar is one of the best villains on this or the main show to date.  His portrayal and agenda echoed what is known of the character, and he is not limited by simple morals.  There is a soft side to him, however, which keeps the human part of him real.

Anastasia/The Red Queen was an annoyance at first, but the last few episodes had me liking her.  The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, The Bandersnatch, The Knave of Hearts (Will Scarlet), and Alice herself all had great purposes in the series and I enjoyed every moment they had on screen.  We even had a little back story with Robin hood and his merry men, which was a break from the norm of the show.  The character of Elizabeth “Lizard” was odd at first, but a welcome sight…. until she died, which choked me up a little (I’ll be honest… I never like seeing a pretty woman die).

Cora appearing as the Queen of Hearts was expected, and she lived up to the menacing person she portrayed in the main series.  Of course this was all in flashback here, but it was needed for back story.  The Well of Wonders and the genies had a nice little plot thrown in there, but we could have probably skipped over that whole angle (though the demon of the well was creepy as hell).

At first I was disappointed by the Jaberwocky, but five minutes after her first appearance on screen, I grew to really like her as a creepy, fear inducing villain, and I hope she comes back at some point.

My only problem with characters here are the Tweedles.  I didn’t like how they looked, and I felt they were used inappropriately for the most part.  Their roles could have been better planned.  As far as overall plot, Jafar trying (and succeeding) in rewriting the laws of magic seems to directly affect the events in the main series.  In other words, despite the connection being little to both shows, they seem to acknowledge the events of one another to some extent. One last thing to mention is that there were definite ties to Storybrooke and the real world.  I doubt we will ever see Alice again or the Genie, but Wonderland will be back in some form in the main show, I’m sure of it.

Returning to the main series, let’s talk about part 2 of Season 3.  Here is where I was highly interested, perhaps more than I’ve been in the whole series.  Why?  I’ve personally read all 15 of the original L Frank Baum Oz novels, so bringing that in here was more than a welcome sight for me.  Before I get into the main plot of this half, I’ll touch on the characters.  Aurora, Phillip and Mulan were underused as usual.  I almost don’t even want to see them in the show anymore unless some kind of good use -Season-3-once-upon-a-time-35653447-960-720for them is found.  Rapunzel’s addition felt rushed, and I HATE when they change the race or sex of a character.  (IE I don’t want to see a Black Indiana Jones or a white Blade).  It annoys me, and especially with Tangled being so fresh in my mind of Disney movies, I had an image of Rapunzel in my head.  Other than that, I don’t have an issue.

The new take on Lumiere (the candleabra) was interesting and refreshing.  Blackbeard and Glinda, though minor roles, served their purposes and worked well in the story.  Dorothy Gale coming to Oz was both hit and miss for me.  I liked what they did with her, and how the fairy tale was twisted, but again, this felt rushed.  I only hope we see more of her and Oz characters because in the long run, there is a lot of Oz that could still be used (even from the original characters we all know and love, that have yet to appear).

Now on to Zelena (The Wicked Witch of The West).  She truly was wicked.  I like the explanation of her green appearance (envy) and why she was so wicked.  She had similar goals as Jafar in Wonderland, but for different reasons.  The use of the flying monkeys and even the great wizard of Oz himself helped her to achieve her goals, but she still met her demise at the hands of Rumplestiltskin.

Of course, then we had the whole Captain Hook and Emma going back in time, but they sorted out the past and returned to a wonderful future.  Charming and Snow White named their newborn son Neil.  Emma embraced her magic and purpose and decided that her and Henry were going to stay in Storybrooke.  Rumplestiltskin and Belle married.  Regina and Robin Hood were happy together.

It was all a peaceful ending that made me worry.  I worried because I thought “This is it.”  Everyone has a happy ending.  There is no need for another season.  I’m so glad I was proven wrong, but now I have to wait until the Fall for more episodes.  Like Once Upon a Time normally does, we are left with massive cliffhangers.  In the last two minutes of the show’s season, we learn this.  Rumplestiltskin still has his own dagger, even though his wife believes that she is the one that has it.  This is sure to cause a problem in the future.  Regina, finally void of her Evil Queen status is suddenly screwed by Snow White’s family again, because the one person that Emma saved in the past was supposed to die.  That person was the Maiden Marion, who was married to Robin Hood and mother of his child.  This then takes Robin Hood away from Regina, and her vengeful “Evil Queen” may or may not emerge to exact vengeance upon Emma for ruining her happiness.

Somehow I think they will avoid this mostly.  Why?  Henry still believes and loves his step mother, Regina, as a good person now.  His love for her will stop her from being as vicious as she used to be.  Also Tinkerbelle predicted that Regina is destined to find happiness with the man with the wrist tattoo.  Now of course, this could have been redacted because of the whole time travel alteration, but I think that somehow they will work on getting Robin and Regina back on track.  After all, he can’t just ignore the feelings he has for her.

Let’s see.  What else?  Other than a fun Back to the Future reference, and a cameo by a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, there was perhaps the biggest reveal of all.  Regina tells Emma that “You better hope you didn’t bring anything else from the past back with you.”  We find out that one of Rumplestiltskin’s artifacts came through the portal.  From it escapes a woman in a flowing blue dress and pale skin.  We don’t know what her face looks like, but if anyone has seen Frozen, then you know it is the Snow Queen herself, Elsa, as she freezes and shatters the artifact from which she emerged.

Other than the Frozen story coming to season 4, it has also been confirmed that the Knave of Hearts will be making his way onto the main show, and that Disney’s Brave and Princess and the Frog (retelling of the Frog Prince) will all be included in some manner.

This show keeps getting better, and I’ve learned to expect nothing except greatness and frustration on waiting for the next episode.  I give season 3 of Once Upon a time 9 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland gets 6 out of 10 coffins.  The reason I rate Wonderland lower is because of the obviously limited budget for the effects, and it really didn’t get compelling enough for me until the last 7 episodes.  What did you think of these shows and what do you speculate for the future of the series?


Review: Son Of Batman

Son-of-BatmanAfter the abomination of Justice League War, my hopes were teetering with this dc animated movie. Thankfully, I found that they redeemed themselves here. This review will have some spoilers, so if you are looking for my graded rating, skip down to the last paragraph, because spoilery begins here. Animation and sound seemed flawless, so I’ll break the movie down by character and focus on the plot points with them as a whole.
Ra’s Al Ghul: I have to say that I was slightly disappointed in his arc.  I had always been under the impression that the Lazarus Pit could heal any wound.  Yet he dies in the first five minutes of the film.  His grandson and daughter show up minutes after he is burned to death, mere feet from the Lazarus pit, and they didn’t push him into it.  Okay, maybe Damian tried, but I don’t see why Talia wouldn’t have.  Instead, she stopped her son and said that Ra’s is dead.  I found this as a flaw that isn’t forgivable. Otherwise, his swordsmanship was fun to watch in his battle with Slade.  It just would have been nice to see a little more back story between the two.

Damian Wayne / Robin: Damian is the perfect material to be a Robin right off the bat. (Pun intended).  He’s got an attitude, skills, and the brains suited to make a great sidekick to Batman, but he still needs guidance as he lets brash decisions take over his actions.  He grows in this movie from being a rebellious child into understanding (slightly) the error of his ways.  Arguably, you could say that Damian in this movie is on his way to becoming the best Robin yet.

Slade Wilson/Deathstroke: Slade has become one of my favorite characters of all time.  Between watching the original Teen Titans cartoon from a few years back, and now with Arrow, Deathstroke time and again proves to be a mastermind villain.  He takes down the League of Assassins with his own league of mercenary ninjas, and single handedly defeats his old master Ra’s Al Ghul.  My only problem here is that I really wanted to know more about WHY he wanted to take over the league.  He could have just formed his own, or perhaps come up with another plan, but there really wasn’t much as to why he was doing what he was doing other than he thought he was more worthy of the mantle that had now been passed down to Damian by Ra’s.

Killer Croc: okay so he was only in it for five minutes, but I’m sort of glad.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Croc as a character, but this design is downright awful.  I understand he was on a new steroid that caused him to grow a tail, but it was just bad.  Was he a problem for Batman?  Yes.  But I just can’t get the fact that he looked like Lizard from The Amazing Spiderman.

Alfred Pennyworth: After seeing what they did with Alfred in Beware The Batman, I’m glad they took a step back and made him what he is known for in this movie.  He played a great supporting mentor role to both Batman and Robin.

Dr. Kirk Langstrom / Manbat: More like Man Bats plural.  Langstrom being kidnapped and forced to work by Deathstroke was a great story line, but I have a slight issue with the many Man-Bats.  I was hoping to just see the one best Man-Bat as him, but instead we had ninja MenBats.  I’m not saying this was a bad thing, it just wasn’t up to par with how I would have liked to have seen him portrayed.

Dick Grayson / Nightwing: His role here is perhaps just as important as Damian’s.  He arrives as sort of a guide to Damian, even though at first he believes he is one of the badguys.  They butt heads quite a bit, but being the original Robin, for him to finally accept Damian in the role just proves that the younger of the pair is meant to be in that costume.

Commisioner Gordon: For the first time in a DC animation, I didn’t feel like the Gotham Police department were all that useless.  Did they do much?  no.  But Gordon seemed to have his head on his shoulders realistically and I can’t wait to see if they continue down this route with future DC animations.

Talia Al Ghul: Talia has always been a problem for me, but not necessarily all in a bad way.  In this movie she hasn’t changed the way I feel about her, so here are my thoughts as a whole.  I HATE the fact that she kept Damian from his true father for all this time, and then just leaves him in Bruce’s hands.  BUT I love the dedicated and badass person she is.  The scene in the beginning where she is just kicking ninja ass all over the place shows why there is such an attraction between her and Bruce, but still I’m torn.  Part of me likes her and part of me can’t stand her.

Bruce Wayne/Batman: We didn’t see too much of Bruce to judge his role, but as Batman the part was nailed.  There isn’t much else to say here.  Batman lived up to his namesake yet again.

All in all, I was pleased by Son Of Batman.  Deathstroke escaping from his fate might be impossible, but We’ve now got a suitable Robin in the DC animated universe, and Nightwing as well.  If they were to do a Batman Incorporated movie, this is the way to kick a few stones in that direction.  I give Son of Batman 6 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins mainly for animation and voice direction, but also because it was enjoyable.  It would have been higher if those few plot points were tackled in a different manner.  I recommend it to any Batman fan.

 


Book Review: The Granny Cop

It’s not often that I do an actual book review, but coming from Philadelphia and knowing quite a few police officers, this one caught my attention.  “The Granny Cop” is the true story of Philadelphia’s own James McGrath.  He was dubbed the “Granny Cop” because he would walk the streets dressed as an elderly woman for the Philadelphia Police Department Stake Out unit.

James was a highly decorated Police Officer in his hayday. During his career, he made over 125 arrests. Over 50 of those arrests were made while he walked the streets as the “Granny Cop”. James was awarded the Medal of Valor from the city of Philadelphia and the Police department, the highest award. He has been on TV and radio talking about his experience.

With a foreward by Frank Rizzo, and tons of scans of actual newspaper articles, I found this book a fun read, and am impressed at what this man did to help rid the streets of scum bags.  Move over, “Big Momma’s House,” because James McGrath is the real thing.

To find out more about James and his magnificent career, I recommend checking out http://www.grannycop.com.  It has more details on where you can purchase the book, merchandise, and includes some cool extras.


Review: Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-600x375This review will be filled with spoilers and major ones at that, so if you just want my overall non-spoilery review, scroll down to the last paragraph, otherwise you’ve been warned :)  Also, if you are a fan of the Agents of SHIELD show, then I advise you stop watching it now until you see The Winter Soldier.  It changes everything.  On with the review.

Where do I even begin?  Great comic book movie?  yes… Great action movie?  yes…  Greatest action movie of all time?  Maybe…  You can tell where I’m going with this.  There is not much (other than the suspension of disbelief) that is not great about this movie.  Sound, music, dialogue of characters, plot, Everything was nailed perfectly.  Slight issue?  well, let’s just say some of the things like Captain America breaking his fall with a skylight and his shield probably wasn’t realistic… let’s just say that the pounding his brains took from Winter Soldier’s bionic arm probably would leave his brain in mush…  let’s just say that Falcon jumping from a building and perfectly landing in a tilting helicopter without being chopped into a million pieces, falling to his death, or breaking any bones is probably not realistic, BUT… it is a comic book movie, so that kind of nitpicky stuff is allowed in small doses.

Let’s touch on the characters:

Captain America/Steve Rogers: Chris Evans really makes this character likable and realistic.  It is as if Cap has jumped straight from the books onto the screen.  His dedication to his country, and defending what is right, while maintaining his core values is what makes him so perfect.  Some of his fight scenes were a bit too “Bourne Identity” for me, where the camera was too shaky or close, but there was enough choreography in them, that you still got to see plenty of great action shots.  What really hit a soft spot for me was that this out of place guy finally begins to feel at home and make new friends (Sam Wilson), and then his past comes back to haunt him.  What he deals with physically only shadows in comparission to his mental struggles.

Black Widow/Natasha Romanov: Scarlett Johansson is gorgeous, yes, but she really stepped up the game here with her acting ability.  I originally was opposed to her being in this role, as I didn’t think she fit the profile, but she has redefined the character while staying true to the comic book roots.  Her role in this movie alone put her on an almost equal playing field with Chris Evans.  She was basically the sidekick with tons of screen time and a great purpose for being there.  If you even noticed, she had an arrow necklace around her neck that she wore, hinting at the relationship her and Hawkeye have.  It will be interesting to see where she goes in future movies now that everyone knows about her shady past.

Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes: Sebastian Stan had such a minor role in the first movie, but now that purpose has been revealed.  They did the Winter Soldier justice by making him a deadly threat.  A little foreshadowing to the character’s future was even thrown in when he stood holding Cap’s shield.  (in the comics Bucky becomes the new Captain America after Steve Rogers “dies”).  He plays a deadly villain, and his look was perfect.  The bionic arm was really cool, and better than what I’d pictured from reading the character, and his realization at the end of his past was the perfect set up for the next movie.

Falcon/Sam Wilson: Anthony Mackie took a second rate character and amplified him to stand with the top brass.  I always liked Falcon, but after this movie, he no longer stands as a B character for me.  The lack of red and white in his “uniform” is fine with me because the wings he had were designed like a military design.  Since they were destroyed, and he is moving on with Cap to the third movie, I only assume they will probably paint his wings a more vibrant color.  Time will tell, but the hunt for Winter Soldier is on.

Maria Hill and Nick Fury: Faking deaths, finding the moles, and doing what they do best all came into play here.  Fury’s “death” was a bit far fetched for me, as he is very lucky to be alive.  I do like that he programed (I only assume) his bad eye into the system as a backup plan to take down Pierce’s operation.  Hill’s role, although smaller, supported him, and at the end we even get a glimpse of her at Stark Towers.  Maybe they are setting up a new SHIELD now that it has fallen.  And what can I say about Nick Fury without a patch now?  I’m cool with that.  He doesn’t need it with the shades.  Oh, did anyone else notice the Pulp Fiction quote on his headstone?

Sharon Carter/Agent 13 & Peggy Carter: I’m glad they closed Peggy’s story here.  Hayley Atwell is a wonderful actress, and the makeup and CG of her elderly self was convincing 100%.  Sharon being introduced as a potential love interest for Steve was a welcome addition too.

Alexander Pierce: I half expected Robert Redford to rip his face off and reveal that he is the Red Skull, but I’m SOOO glad they didn’t go that route.  Skull still exists, we know that.  The character of Pierce was a good way to show a reflection on today’s society.  He reflected as many politicians in office do today.  people think they are good, but have ulterior motives.  To hear Redford say “Hail Hydra” sent chills of excitement down my spine.  It was perhaps the BEST moment of the movie because of delivery alone (and the fact that Redford will not say any lines that he feels are ridiculous).  Clearly he approved.

Arnim Zola: Okay, his role was brief, but that’s all it needed to be.  Like his comic counterpart, he uploaded his awareness into machines.  Yes they were destroyed, but do you think he is dead?  I don’t.  Remember, they grabbed the flash drive, and I’m sure he downloaded himself onto there or somewhere else.  He was connected to a network after all.  The way he was designed was really cool too.  I do believe he will be back in some form.

Agent Sitwell and Senator Stern: I never liked Sitwell as a character, and Stern was Gary Shandling’s character from the second Ironman movie.  I’m glad they were revealed to be Hydra operatives, because I most likely wont have to see them again.  (no offense to the actors)  I like Shandling a lot, and I think Hernandez acts well, I just was not keen on the characters.

The Leaper/Georges Batroc:  Remember what I said about Falcon being a B rate character upgraded to an A?  Well it applies here too.  The intense fight scene and brief subplot with Batroc upgraded this lame D rate character to a B in my opinion.  I’d like to see him appear in Agents of SHIELD to follow up with his role.  I don’t think he belongs in any more big budget movies, but they should follow up with him.

Brock Rumlow: He was badass, and dedicated to Hydra.  With him being badly scarred at the end, I can only assume that this was a setup for him to return in part 3 as Crossbones.  (Crossbones btw was the one who killed Captain America in the comics).  It is fitting for him to do so in Cap 3 so that Bucky can take over.

Stan Lee: Always a welcome cameo, so I had to include him.  Do you think he lost his job at the Smithsonian?

Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver & Baron Wolfgang von Strucker: What a mid credits scene this was.  The Baron apparently has been trying to use Loki’s staff to control others with abilities.  He mentions the others died, and that the two in the cage were Miracles.  Trial and error to make the staff work right?  Who knows… all we do know is that this sets up all three of their roles for Avengers Age Of Ultron, and after seeing this scene, I am even more eager to see Age of Ultron.

Stephen Strange: Okay, so Doctor Strange is not IN the movie, but his name was mentioned as a potential future threat to Hydra, hinting at what we are going to get at some point in the near future.  Awesomeness.

So there you have it.  My little breakdown has come to an end and definitely had an impact on EVERYTHING in the Marvel Movie universe.  If I gave Avengers the score that I did, then I can only rate this on even playing ground.  Avengers was the perfect movie, but a lot of that thrill and excitement I think comes from seeing all of those characters on the screen at a time.  With Captain America The Winter Soldier, it not only redefined an entire movie universe, but set a standard for action movies and comic book movies alike.  Will the sequel stand well against Batman vs Superman when they are released on the same dates in 2016?  I absolutely think so.  I personally will be seeing both, and can’t wait, but DC really needs to step up their game to keep up now, and I hope they do because I enjoy DC and Marvel.  Cap 2 gets 10 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins from me.  I’m not sure anything could have been done to make it better.


Review: Avengers Confidential Punisher and Black Widow

Marvel-Avengers-Confidentials-CoverI won’t get too wrapped up in spoilers, but there will be some spoilery things in my review, so if you just want my rating, skip down to the last paragraph now.  Unlike MOST of Marvel’s animation, this one looked and felt great.  I’m a huge Punisher fan, and enjoy the way that he was brought into this and represented.  That being said, I’d still like a solo Punisher animation that really does him justice.

Animation breakdown – The animation in this was outstanding.  The Japanese style art flowed well and although the characters had certain characteristics that felt different from the traditional versions we are used to, everything worked.  One flaw I did find was that in the beginning of the movie, the Punisher broke a man’s arm and hand violently…  Two scenes later, that man’s arm was in a sling, only it was the OPPOSITE arm that had been broken.  I don’t know if the frames got reversed or what, but this was an amateur mistake that was very noticeable.  There were also a few scenes where Black Widow’s breasts looked extremely large and not fitting with her look in other scenes, but that was brief.

Voice acting – I’ll just say that I was convinced that these were real character voices.  Excellent job by the cast and voice direction.

Plot – The story was original.  It was refreshing and really showed the turmoil that goes through Frank Castle’s (and even Black Widow’s) minds.  They are a perfect team up because their pasts are so hazy on the “right side of the law”.  My big problem?…  The campiness in parts.  The hacker kid working for SHIELD was stupid.  I didn’t buy it, and it was unnecessary and annoying.  As for the Avengers showing up, that annoyed me too.  It felt forced.  Sure, there was a need for them at that point, but it seemed more like a SHIELD operation than an avengers gig, and yet there they were.  Oh, and the kid was dangling from Hulk’s back too like a school bag.  dumb.  I also felt that the villains were forced as well, but on a good note at least they forced both sides and it balanced out.  They also didn’t overshadow what Punisher and Black Widow were doing either.  They both got to take down the main threat.  Just when I was getting irritated at Natasha telling Frank not to kill anyone, he did deliver the final blow in tradition Castle style.

Music and sound – meh.  I’m neither happy nor upset.  It seemed like a metal techno soundtrack, but it worked.

Overall rating… This is perhaps one of the BETTER Marvel animations yet, despite its flaws.  If you don’t like the two main characters though, you won’t like this movie.  I’d like to see if they continue on with it from here and do more Avengers confidentials or a follow up Punisher animation.  Call me satisfied, with some complaints.  6 out of 10 sCrypt coffins get awarded to this one.  What are your thoughts?


More toys for your kids

photoLast year I introduced my son to action figures, and the year before that, my daughter began collecting figurines to play with.  When I was a kid, I recall wanting more characters than I had, but was always satisfied with what my parents had been able to afford.  Then there was the occasional figure that came in a cereal box or a happy meal toy.  Those figures were redundant to me, and I often used them as clones or dopplegangers.  Now that my kids are in the same boat, I got to thinking.

My mind went to work and I began using model paints to alter the appearances of them.  After all, most comic characters have some similarity with others.  Because it is model paint, it is best to use a flat paint, as glossy tends to chip off easier.  Keep in mind that it might not be possible to get the costumes exact, but you can fake it, and they’ll love it.

Anyway, here are the repaints I did for my kids (the original figures that I used are double characters, so they still have the original characters in their collections):  Robocop 3.0 (a repaint of an old 1980s Robocop), The Penguin (a fisher price figure that had no use otherwise), Brainiac (repaint of Lexcorp guard), Beta Ray Bill (repaint of mini Thor figure), Red Lantern ship, (repaint of Aia Green Lantern ship),  U.S. Agent (repaint of Captain America), Sinestro (repaint of green sinestro), Professor Zoom (repaint of The Flash), Merlyn The Dark Archer (repaint of Green Arrow), Impulse (repaint of Kid Flash), Antman (repaint of Spiderman from a gumball machine), Krypto (repaint of Fisher Price Dog),  Red Hulk (repaint of Hulk), Scorpion (Repaint of Noob Saibot), Scarlet Spider (repaint of Spiderman), Chameleon (repaint of Noob Saibot), Owlman (repaint of Batman), Ultraman (repaint of Superman), Power Ring (repaint of Green Lantern), Shazam aka Captain Marvel (repaint of Superman), Silver Surfer (repaint of Iceman and I also cut a board out for him from fiberglass sheeting), Rainbow Sherbert (repaint of Blueberry Muffin), Ginger Snap (repaint of Orange Creamsicle), Ironclad (repaint of Sandman), Pip The Troll (repaint of gumball machine Nightcrawler), Grey Hulk Mr Fixit (repaint of Hulk), Bumblebee (Repaint of Wasp Heroclix), Frosty (Repaint of Strawberry Shortcake), Apple Dumplin’ (repaint of Strawberry Shortcake), Cyborg Superman (Repaint of Superman), Iron Patriot (repaint of Ironman), Dark Fairy (repaint of Tooth Fairy), Black Flash aka Death Racer (repaint of The Flash), Hydro-Man (repaint of Sandman), Glinda the Good Witch (absent from pic but I repainted Sofia the First for this), and Bear-Bear (a repaint of Winnie the Pooh and a mini version of my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal).

So there you have it.  Its an easy way to show your love without breaking your wallet.  The kids get excited and it gives you an accomplished feeling as a parent.  What are your thoughts?  Have you done something similar for your kids or even yourself?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 223 other followers