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Review: Agents of SHIELD Ghost Rider S4Pt1

francesco_francavilla_ghost_rider_poster

Francisco Francavilla’s Ghost Rider promo art.

Season 4 Part 1 of Agents of SHIELD focuses on Ghost Rider, and it made me enjoy a take I wasn’t sure about.  Read my spoiler filled review of the first half of this season.  If you don’t want spoilers, then scroll to the bottom paragraph for my rating.

 

The Agents: We are getting more of the same here with slightly adjusted roles, but they are less of a focus this season, and seem more of a supporting cast to those with powers.

Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider – let’s get this out of the way now.  I never thought I’d like the Robbie Reyes version.  I grew up on Dan Ketch and Johnny Blaze.  I was completely unfamiliar with him except I knew he had a cool car.  That being said, Robbie’s Ghost Rider is the best thing about this show so far.  His origin even brought in who we can only assume by his attire and motorcycle is Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider.  And he gets a face to face with the demon itself.  Mac gained the GR abilities briefly making us really see how desperate this demon is.  While we’ve seen his story end in SHIELD’s current season, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him come back soon or get the rumored spinoff.  Either way we know there’s more to come.

Gabe Reyes – Unlike his brother, Gabe’s role was only supporting to serve for an origin story.  At times it felt like the actor was merely present on set, but there wasn’t much more for him to do.  It was wise to work it the way that they did.

Yo-Yo / Slingshot – While she took a slight backseat role this season, they used her when it was necessary.  She even pulled a cool Quicksilver moment, and is now getting a 6 episode mini-series on the web.  What was initially to me an unknown character, I feel has become a staple in the show.

Dr. Radcliffe and AIDA – I was worried that they were going to pull another Ultron event, but the creators are handling this quite well.  AIDA has already replaced May with a Life Model Decoy (LMD), so it begs to question how she did it, and what’s her motive?  We still have yet to find out if she’s going to help or hinder everything, but this will be the focus of the second half of the season.

Jeffrey Mace – Known as the Patriot (and one time replacement Captain America for Steve Rogers) his timing couldn’t have been more appropriate.  Now that Steve is no longer Cap, it’ll be interesting to see where they take this Inhuman.  In the comics he didn’t have powers, but his enhanced strength and athletic abilities here make sense as an addition.  We could very well see him suit up as Cap or at the least, the Patriot.  What are his motives though?  He’s done good, but also shady things.

Quake / Daisy – While I enjoyed her being a vigilante I was getting sick of her arms constantly breaking.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think this was a good story element, but it made no sense that she had shattered arms, yet she was still fighting without any issue.  She should have been an invalid for the most part based on the description of what was happening to her with every use of her powers.  Now that she’s back as an agent of SHIELD, we don’t have to worry about it, but it still feels like a weak plot point.

Eli Morrow / Darkhold – For a very small villain, he played a very intimidating role.  This half of the season presented us with a threat that seemed to put everything on the line.  We haven’t truly had that before, so despite his lack of grandeur, Eli was a great antagonist (as well as the ghosts of Darkhold and their link to the afterlife).

Agents of SHIELD Ghost Rider started season 6 off with a bang, and ended it on a high note.  When it returns next year I hope to see it continue on this high note.  For this part I give it 4 out of 5 sCrypt logos as my rating.  What did you think?  As always it’s open for discussion.


Review: Once Upon A Time Season 6 part 1

once_upon_a_time_season_6Well the winter finale has happened, so how is this season shaping up so far?  Last year we were left with a mostly unwatchable series, but now we seem to be going back to what originally made this show great.  Below will be spoilers, so be warned.  If you want my rating without the spoilery material, then scroll down to the last paragraph.

The Snow White family: Snow White, Prince Charming, Emma, and Henry are exactly what they started out as.  Henry’s holding everything together, Emma is doubting herself, Snow and the Prince are acting like real leaders.  My question is what happened to their other baby?  Has he been written out of the show?  This seems like a plot point that needs to be addressed.  Other than that, I have no complaints so far.  Even the return of the sleeping curse (with a major twist) was very creative.

Regina vs The Evil Queen and where the Wicked Witch lies: This just reminds me how much I missed the Evil Queen.  I love Regina as a good guy, but she’s so much better when she’s bad.  I’m not sure I like the dynamic between her and Rumple, but it doesn’t take away from anything.  Zelena is always better showing her wicked side, and we’ve gotten away from that a bit, but it’s starting to return, which I love.

Captain Hook and Nemo – Hook has proven to be quite the hero all around.  Even his past seems to haunt him in ways I didn’t think possible.  The 20,000 Leagues under the sea episode was one of my favorite this season.  It proved Hook can be like a father to Henry, and leaves me with no doubt that he has good intentions.

Belle and the Beast: Rumplestiltskin proves to be a thorn in his own side.  As evil as he is, he still doesn’t seem like the threat he used to be.  Instead of everyone fearing him, it is really Belle who does for their baby.  Rumple is a beast to himself more than anything and causes much of his own sorrow.  I want the secure beast to return and be the ultimate bad with his ways.  Otherwise the portrayal falls a little flat for me at times.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – What a twist!  I had no idea the roles would be reversed, but they did it in traditional Once Upon a Time fashion.  They were a short lived arc, but given just the right amount of time.

Aladdin, Jasmine, & Jafaar – Even Iago the parrot got his little cameo this time.  Jafaar has been recast since Wonderland, but the transition was smooth.  I only question when this happens in the timeline.  Since Wonderland a few seasons ago seemed off time wise, it makes for confusion for long time fans.  Aside from that, I like how they told the story of these three, and look forward to more.  There were nods to the late Robin Williams (who played the Genie in the animated film), and to Abu the monkey.  I think Aladdin deciding to put on the cuffs and becoming the next Genie was an interesting approach.

Morpheus: He appears in a dream to Rumple and Belle as their unborn son.  It was a small nod to the Greek leftovers from last season, but it didn’t feel forced or out of place any of the times he was there.

The Count Of Monte Cristo – This was the first episode in a few seasons that had me feeling refreshed.  It finally focused on something new, and added to the already great arc of Jekyll and Hyde.  It may have been a one timer, but the land of untold stories is great source material for many one shots.

The return of Cinderella, Dr. Frankenstein, & Jiminy Cricket – Ella’s back story was a great episode, and finally answered some things that were left hanging since the first season.  The Cricket and Doctor have supporting roles, but I’m happy to have them back, since they’ve been virtually missing since 2 seasons ago.

The Woodcutter (Huntsman) – A small villain role that served as a very interesting addition to a crowded snow white back story.  It shoehorned in nicely as filler material to the main couple’s true love.

The Black Fairy and Blue Fairy – I always enjoy the Blue fairy, but the addition and identity of the Black Fairy was decent.  It shows that Gold has ancestry of an evil entity, and this contributes to why he is the way he is.

The Mirror and the Dragon – If you missed earlier seasons, it is implied that the Dragon is Mushu from Mulan.  The episode with the Mirror trapping, and how the original entity was trying to escape took us to another dimension entirely.  It also showed the power that the evil Queen really does hold.

The Wish Realm, and the return of a hero? – Emma and Regina are trapped in an alternate world where Emma was never the savior.  It took some convincing, but as they are ready to return, Robin Hood arrives.  In this universe he never died, which leaves us waiting until March to see what will happen.  With Emma and Regina trapped away from Storybrooke, how will the real world get through it all?

In conclusion, Once Upon a Time Season 6 part 1 has utilized some of the old, and brought in some untold stories anew.  The potential for this show could continue for years, and I’d like to see that happen if they keep on this route.  I’m sad that I have to wait until March to find out what happens, but at the same time I feel the break is needed to keep the show going like this.  Dare I say season 6 could be the best season yet?  Yes.  I dare to.  If you haven’t watched in a while, then you should tune back in, and if you never have watched, then now is the time to.  Cheers to the writers this season.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

 


Review: Gotham Season 3 pt 1 Mad City

gotham-season-3-poster-mad-city-gotham-39872020-333-500Since seasons of TV shows seem to be split into two mini seasons with certain ones, I figured I’d review this fur the break.  Gotham Season 3 has so far made some good decisions, but some very very bad ones.  Let’s take a look at the characters and what worked or what didn’t.  There will be spoilers, so if you want my non-spoilery rating, scroll down to the last paragraph.

James Gordon – I’m a little disappointed so far.  This is not the guy who becomes commissioner.  This is a guy who is lost in every sense of the way.  They really need to step up his character in the second half of the season to rectify what they are doing here.  Prime example of this culminates at the end of the winter finale.  WHY would he go alone to find Mario?  He has to be the dumbest detective ever to see how many ways this would go wrong.  Plus it felt rushed.  Everything he’s done so far this season is very amateur, and I hope we aren’t seeing him go back to prison again because of his actions.

Lee Thompkins: Now that she isn’t attached to Gordon, she’s much more bearable to watch.  So far her story arc is convincing and enjoyable.  The aftermath of this last episode will be interesting to see.

Harvey Bullock: Easily one of my favorite parts of the show, though I don’t get him being Captain all the time.  Sure he’s the highest ranking officer at the force after Barnes, but it doesn’t work well for his persona.

Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy): I’m not sure of how she’ll play into the future of the show, but there’s good character development here.  Her rapid aging to a mature woman fits well with her adolescent demeanor.  I can’t wait til she throws another temper tantrum and goes full on Ivy.  So far so good here, and they are playing up her sexuality which is a key part of her character.

Valerie Val, Lucius Fox, Alfred Pennyworth, and Carmine Falcone – all seem to have a solid role in the season.  The first of the group I was wondering how they’d use her.  Is she related to Vicki Vale?  Who knows, but her short lived presence worked well.  Lucius and Alfred were as they should be.  Carmine’s return was amazing, because I feel he really is the most convincing person to be in that role.

Tabitha, Barbara, and Butch: While in prior seasons these three annoyed me, but this season is doing much better.  In fact, Barbara, who was my least favorite character (aside from Fish), is shaping up to having a much better place.  She’s no longer annoying, but more of a Harley Quinn.  I hope she doesn’t end up becoming the Joker’s love interest, but she’s starting to be interesting to say the least, and the three of them teaming with Riddler has potential to make the second half of the season a wild ride.  Will we see more of the Red Hood gang?

Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle – Both are beginning to take on more of the characters they will one day become.  They don’t act the best in the show, but as the actors mature, so do their skills.  Wayne’s doppleganger was strange to me.  What is he supposed to be?  Is he a precursor to Hush?  It felt a little strange, but the possibilities are intriguing.

Isabella – speaking of look alikes, WTF was this?  Worst story arc ever.  I don’t even want to go into it.  Sure it served a purpose, but the writers on this show make some really stupid decisions that make no sense.  Motive for Riddler could have been handled much better.

Riddler – Edward is just awesome.  He IS the Riddler already, just not calling himself that.  What he did to Tabitha and Butch was a classic scenario that made him even more fun to watch.  Can’t wait to see how he exacts vengeance on Penguin.

Penguin – AAAAnd here’s where I got really upset.  F You, DC!  This is stupid!  Again, you’ve changed a character.  Penguin now is gay and is in love with Riddler.  If you spent half the time focused on who Penguin is rather than his infatuation with another man, then you’d realize you butchered one of the best characters in the show.  This has nothing to do with the focus on the sexuality, but rather the fact that he was an intimidating and interesting character to watch because he was so unpredictable.  Now he’s very predictable, and a bit of a tantrum thrower without much of a cause.  Penguin doesn’t need to have any romantic interest (male or female) to make him work, and here we are seeing someone stray away from what made him great (a loner who relied on only himself, and his henchmen).

Fish Mooney: Do I really need to revisit how much I hate this character, and the need for her to stay dead or off the show?  Horrendous acting on Jada Pinkett’s part, and now that she’s got powers it has made the cheese factor with her unbearable.

Mario Calvi: Although a smaller role, he was crucial to the story for this first half.  I was sad to see him die, but it served a greater purpose in the long run.  Perhaps now we will see Carmine in full mob mode again, making him the antithesis to Gordon and the GCPD.

Chief Barnes – Michael Chiklis plays his roles well.  It seems like he’s a proto version of the Executioner here.  I thought it felt a little forced when it all happened, but his swift turn of motives made for interesting TV.

Zzasz and the Court of Owls – Zzasz needs to become more like his comic counterpart in order for him to be interesting.  This hired gun thing doesn’t feel right and its time for him to become full blown serial killer.  Perhaps Gordon’s punch to his head will change his personality to become that darker version.  Otherwise it’s just a name on a different person.  There isn’t much to say about the Court other than their presence is well known now.  It’ll be interesting to see what exactly Selina and Bruce stole, and how her mom plays into the whole story.  Even Falcone seems to be afraid of the Court.  So the question needs to be answered “Why are they so intimidating?”

Jervis Tech (Mad Hatter), Alice, White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum: I put them all together because it plays hand in hand.  Alice’s story gave us a little history of Jervis and how he is.  He’s a sick man that it is implied raped his own sister.  He’s so mentally disturbed that he’s easily one of the best villains so far.  The minor roles of the White Rabbit and the Tweedles fit well and worked.  For this I can say the writers did something right.

Assessment: I’ve many unanswered questions… for instance: Was that supposed to be Man-Bat or a vampire early on in the season?  Who are all these other “freaks?”  I’m glad they’ve killed a few off.  Where does this all lead?  It truly did end on a cliffhanger.

In conclusion I have to say this.  These writers are out of their minds and clearly don’t care for source material.  There’s enough here to keep me watching, but I don’t know for how long.  The Batman universe is so vast that there is no need to add countless new characters, short of a few here and there.  To top it off they need to stop changing key characters into something they aren’t, or adding pointless story arcs.  As a writer I’m appalled that this show even continues with its countless plot holes and rushed nature.  As a Batman fan I’m aggravated at what they’ve done to the existing characters.  As a comic book fan, I’m always interested in seeing what they will do, but I have my limits.

I will continue to watch in the hopes that they keep the things that work, and fix the things that don’t.  For part 1 of Season 3 (Gotham: Mad City), I give it 2 sCrypt logos out of 5.  It’s certainly not the worst comic adaptation, but it could quickly become that.  It has potential to get better though, so here’s hoping.


Review: Star Trek Beyond

star-trek-beyond-living-one-sheeI finally had time to sit down and watch the newest Star Trek film, and came out of it with mixed feelings.  It was not a bad movie at all, but instead a slower paced installment than most of the others in the series.  So what made the 13th movie work, and what didn’t?  Here’s my brief review with some spoilery material.  If you just want my rating and skip all of the other comments, then scroll down to the last paragraph.

As I mentioned, the narrative was slow.  It felt like the first half of the movie was void of energy.  I was surprised at this, but it didn’t turn me away.  I wanted to see what was going on, and though the second half more than satisfied me I was left with a few questions unanswered.

Idris Elba’s character was a decent villain, but I felt like we didn’t get enough explanation as to how he’d extended his life and why he changed appearances.  It was awkward at times.  We also didn’t get further explanation on the weapon he was using.  We only got a brief origin of both of these and they could have used more clarity.

Those were my complaints.  It’s not a lot, but then again I don’t have many compliments either.  Here’s what I felt really worked… The feeling of a family.  They used the Kirk, Spock, McCoy connection to its finest.  Their feelings of doubt and wanting something other than what they had ended up being replaced by knowing that they are all a family of sorts, and it’d be dull without each other.

Leonard Nimoy’s death was addressed by having Spock learn of Spock Prime’s death.  It was written in well, and served as the catalyst for younger Spock’s feelings on life.  The picture of the original crew in Prime’s belongings was a surreal moment, that probably is the best tribute to the original series we will ever get.

Finally, onto Chekov.  Sadly Anton Yelchin has passed tragically at a young age.  He did such an amazing job bringing the character to life.  I don’t know how they will write him out of the series.  In the original series he was absent from season 1.  However they go about it I could see them tastefully replacing the character with Jayla as she easily shined in this film.  Plus it would be good to see more of her species and back story.

All in all it was far from the best Trek film, but certainly not the worst.  Its low moments were balanced by nostalgiac high moments making it a worthwhile rental.  I will always be a trek fan, so my hopes for the 14th movie are even higher now, as it will have to step up.  My final rating is 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think of Star Trek Beyond?

original-star-trek-crew


Review: Doctor Strange

doctor_strange_posterAnother Marvel movie that proves relatively unknown mainstream characters can hold their own has arrived.  Is this the best Marvel movie yet?  No.  In fact I wouldn’t say it is in the top 5, but that isn’t saying much.  Marvel has gotten to the point where each film holds its own, and just because it hasn’t made a top 5 doesn’t mean it was not worth seeing.  In fact, for this movie I think you almost need to see it in the theater.

I must warn you though… if you have vertigo or any type of motion sickness it is possible you’ll feel a bit woozy.  Visually its stunning, but a lot to process.  Okay down to the review.  There will be spoilers, so if you don’t wish to know anything going in, then you might want to scroll down to the last paragraph to see my overall rating.  As usual I’ll focus on the characters and how they made or didn’t make the movie…  Here goes:

Dr. Stephen Strange – Benedict Cumberpatch is one of those few actors who really excels in all he does.  While the movie itself dragged a little bit in narrative, the character of Dr. Strange made it interesting.  This is a whole new type of persona in the Marvel Cinematic universe.  Yes, Tony Stark has an ego, but Strange’s comes from a different background.  It will be interesting to see the two meet for the first time.  My only complaint is not knowing the timeline here.  It seems that with all he learned while on his healing journey, he had to have been away for years.  Despite time travel being involved we really don’t get an idea of how much the length of time is during this film.

Karl Mordo – Chiwetel Ejiofor was great in the role of Mordo.  I was disappointed to see him as an ally, but it was set up for him to return as the big bad in a follow up.  Because of this I can be forgiving.  This film serves as an origin of sorts for him becoming the man who will be against everything Strange does.  I look forward to seeing him again.  His race here is a change from the comics, but I feel like we’re getting an updated version, so it’ll be interesting to see how he comes into play later.

Christine Palmer – Rachel McAdams had a supporting role, but one of much importance.  She is officially the second Night Nurse in the Marvel film world.  The first would be Rosario Dawson’s character in the Netflix shows.  Both Christine and Claire had similar roles in the comics, and it’d be nice to see McAdams return again to serve that role for what’s to come.

Wong – I find it amusing that Benedict “Wong” is the actor playing this role.  Surely that must have been on purpose.  He was an almost direct interpretation of what I remember from the comics.  His role was one crucial to the story, and obviously he will serve as a great ally to Strange from here on out.  I liked how the Time Infinity Stone was incorporated into the Eye of Agomotto.  It is a slight change, but one worth having.  I only wonder how long Wong had been guarding it.  His predecessor was killed, so having a slight back story to what Wong’s origin is would be a great idea for the sequel if we ever get one.

Kaecilius – Mads Mikkelsen is one of those actors that is the perfect bad guy.  He’s so badass in this role, but I feel Marvel is following a pattern with their origin stories.  It always seems the villains have a less than interesting reason for their actions.  Maybe it’s just become redundant as to how the story progresses, but regardless Kaecilius was a decent henchman for the big bad here.

The Ancient One – Unfortunately going into this I already knew Tilda Swinton was playing the role.  This isn’t a bad thing as I think she was easily a great highlight of the movie, but knowing the comics I was expecting an old Chinese guy.  When Strange first appeared in Tibet Marvel should have done better at hiding the trailer giveaways.  It would have been a good approach to have her as a shocker to the audience, just as Strange was shocked that the elderly oriental guy wasn’t the real Ancient One.

Dormammu – was a character that this movie needed, but I don’t like how he was portrayed.  The CGI seemed a little off to me, but maybe that is because my focus was on everything else.  Don’t get me wrong, the visuals were absolutely stunning, but I guess I didn’t see him being portrayed in quite the manner he was.  Benedict Cumberpatch also voiced Dormammu, but questions are left open.  If Strange used the Infinity Stone to loop time, then how long was he actually facing off against the dark creature?  I read that it was implied Dormammu had killed Strange over 1,000 times, but we never get an accurate portrayal of that.  On a positive note, this was one of the best final fight scenes in a Marvel Movie for the mere fact that it was so different from the rest, and really focused on the use of the Infinity Stone by a hero.

Stan Lee – Okay, so he was just a bus passenger in this movie, but we can’t ignore his cameo.  He is after all “the Man”.

Thor – the first credit scene shows Thor consulting with Doctor Strange.  This was probably one of the most significant credit scenes to date.  Why?  Well, we got a half answer to the aftermath of Thor the Dark World.  We now know that Odin was missing from Asgard and that is how Loki got the throne.  Details are still slim, but it gets rid of certain speculation and preps us for Thor Ragnarok’s events.  Plus we seem to get confirmation that not only are Thor and Hulk teaming up for the movie, but Doctor Strange will be there in some way as well.

Speculation from here: as usual, I like to throw my thoughts out on where this will go and what can be done.  Keep in mind, it is just speculation, but as an avid fan of these stories I have to let my inner geek out.  Baron Mordo will probably be the villain saved for Doctor Strange 2.  Perhaps it will have the subtitle of “The Sorcerer Supreme” because now that the Ancient One is no longer around, Strange can earn that title.  Mordo bargaining with Dormammu would be easy to do because he could tell Dormammu that he doesn’t approve of how Strange is using his powers, so their “deal” can be broken (if even for a little extra boost of power.)  The Time Stone will be taken at some point for Infinity War, but let’s look beyond that.  After the showdown with Thanos there will have to be some sort of protection of the stone usage.  Could Avengers 4 be subtitled “Illuminati?”  Think about it.  Vision would regain the Mind Stone.  The Time Stone would remain with Doctor Strange. And the others could be scattered to different characters (one of which probably Adam Warlock).  Add to all of this the fact that a “multi-verse” was mentioned and this is the way that you can bring in a Marvel/Fox studios crossover event.  It’s well overdue, and could explain the difference between the universes interpretations.  Finally, Stan Lee.  His presence in everything should be addressed.  I’d love to see him revealed as some sort of character.  Is he the Beyonder?  Is he Impossible Man?  A Watcher perhaps?  Who knows, but it would make his role that much more important to it all.

My rating: Doctor Strange was not the best Marvel movie, but it was a unique one that was done well.  We now have a surgeon in the group who is well versed in magic.  The ride was a visual rollercoaster of excitement, and while there were slow narrative moments, they were placed well with a build up towards the magic shown.  To some it may be confusing, but for others its a highly well thought out story that introduces a whole new fun batch of elements to an already booming film continuity.  Doctor Strange gets 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins from me.  What were your thoughts?  Any speculation?  Feel free to chime in with your comments.

 


Peaceful Politics… and all else

argueAh, it’s almost over.  The wait that is.  Here in the United States Facebook feeds are filled with rhetoric, memes, links, and jokes that are all in bad taste toward other candidates.  Yes, I’m talking about election time.  We are about to elect our 45th President, and it is downright ugly.

The divide is more than its ever been, and people seem to have forgotten that our founding Presidents tried to find a common ground.  That isn’t the case any more.  Now it’s a very angry right and a hateful left.  Things have gotten violent in some cases.  It’s almost as if you are no longer allowed to have an opinion because someone will scream at you if it’s different from theirs.

In all honesty we are at a scary point in history.  If something can’t be agreed upon we may end up in dare I say another Civil War.  (Some already claim this is happening).  Thomas Jefferson once said, “Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.”  That was 200 years ago, and it couldn’t be more fitting now.

Part of what makes this country an amazing place is that no matter if you are Black, White, Straight, Gay, Christian, Jewish, or of any other denomination or group, you are ALL American.  So why is it that our passions have gone and made us embarrass ourselves?  Why can’t I sit at a holiday dinner with family or friends, and have a conversation that is rational and respectful toward other stances?

I blame this on the media as a whole.  If you’re watching CNN, Fox News, or any of the other mainstream go tos, you’ve probably only gotten a biased reporting.  I say probably, but we know that’s the case.  The fact is as Americans we have the right to vote, but we have the DUTY to do it responsibly.  Taking someone else’s word for it (media or not) is irresponsible.

So how do you figure out the facts?  They are out there if you look.  Stop voting for Hillary because she’s a Democrat… Stop voting for Trump because he’s Republican.  START voting AMERICAN… if you do your research and feel that either of the above, or a third party are what is best for America, then I encourage you to vote that way, but ONLY if you do your research.  Otherwise you’re just one of the irresponsible angry or hateful ones.

I want a country fit for my children and generations to come, but politics seem to divide us more each time.  I was asked by a friend, “How do you do proper research on the candidates?” The answer is simple.  Click on those links you don’t want to view.  If you’re an avid Left or Right of center person challenge yourself to honestly look at what the other side is offering.  It may irritate you, but you may actually gain a piece of information that your side isn’t giving.

Look, I’m using politics as my main line here, because it is what is happening right now.  But this goes for anything.  No matter how correct you think you are, you aren’t perfect.  No one is.  If you’re sitting there behind a screen sharing “information” about how bad the other side is, then you should be looking at your own candidate’s flaws too.  If you’re constantly on the offense, then no one will ever take you serious.  You will NEVER win an argument or convince someone of your ways because you will seem irrational, and in most cases no one will want to be around you.

I wrote a book a few years ago about arguing, where I presented some facts from both sides of common disputes.  I presented it without bias despite having strong feelings about some of the issues.  Each chapter is introduced and ended with a humorous experience from my own life.  I hope to update it one day soon as it could use an extra fact or two added because of changes in events.

The goal of the book is to find a common ground, or something near common so that we can be civil with each other instead of civil warring each other.  Sure there is a chapter about Conservative vs Liberal, but other arguments (some silly and some serious) are presented as well… Cats vs Dogs, Star Wars vs Star Trek, Religion, Sports, Music.  The list continues on.

NO, IT’S NOT. YES, IT IS: ARGUMENTS is available in print at lulu.com and in digital at Amazon.  Feel free to check it out.

In the meantime, let’s all get along or at least try.  Stop doing things such as “voting for the lesser of two evils.”  That’s still evil.  Stop voting AGAINST a candidate, because if you are doing that, then you aren’t voting FOR someone.  Vote for something in which you believe.    If you aren’t fighting for something you believe in, then you are just fighting because you’re intolerant of other people.

As a side note, yes I AM voting in this election.  I do lean toward one side more.  I have toyed with voting third party.  I’ve taken into account ALL angles and have decided on one that I believe is the correct choice to lead.  I hope this post helps you realize that it is important to negotiate with facts, and not bias.  If not facts, then at least have common sense in your stance.

Wrapping up my rant I’d like to say that those who claim “Third party voting is throwing your vote away,” well I agree and disagree.  I agree because let’s face it… one of the big two will win (at least in this election).  I disagree because if you are voting for someone who isn’t Republican or Democrat, then you are telling the establishment that you don’t like their choices.  I’m by no means saying to do that, but if you are then I don’t believe your vote is being wasted.  Again, research is the key, not what media and others tell you.

I haven’t pushed my view in this post or who I’m voting for, because that would go against everything I’ve mentioned.  Stating my stance would negate the purpose of forgetting outside influence.  I encourage comments below.  Please do not go off on political rants for or against your choice.  Let’s see how civil we can be in a forum, and maybe there is hope for the future.  And with that I say cheers.


Review: Ghostbusters 2016

ghostbusters_2016_film_posterFor a change I’m going to do a virtually spoiler free review.  I’ll mention some minor things that could be considered spoilery, but they aren’t crucial to the story.  What can I say about this movie?  The trailers did not do it justice.  I frankly was slightly irritated at the previews because it looked downright terrible.  I thought they’d gone and just remade the original movie with a different cast of characters and some other minor subplots.  I am happy I was wrong.

Now, was this a great movie?  No.  Was it a bad movie?  No.  In fact I’d say it was as good or slightly better than Ghostbusters 2.  To some of you that isn’t saying much, but bear with me.  I loved both the original movies.  Here’s my main problem with the reboot.  It should have been a sequel.  A loose one perhaps, but a sequel nonetheless.  Here’s why…

As a total reboot it felt disrespectful to disregard the original movie which had nothing wrong with it.  We’ve got a totally different story and people here, so why not change some VERY minor things about it to make it a third entry?  It could still be a reboot and distance itself, while honoring what made the first one work.  This would have made the fans of the originals happy with the new one, and turn a new generation onto the old ones.

My kids (ages 6 and 8) even said, “Daddy, why aren’t they (the cameos) the original characters?”  I had no good answer.  How could they have made it part 3 and a reboot?  Here’s my answer (slight spoiler warning)…

The plot involves the Mayor of New York basically telling the new team that they had to keep ghost existence quiet.  This could have explained why the original ghostbusters were no where to be found.  They could have referenced that someone tried to hoax people 30 years ago and where are they now?  Sure, it’s a long shot, but THAT would have worked.  The cameos tie into this line of thinking…

Bill Murray could have still been Peter Venkman, who now worked for the Mayor as a paid skeptic.  He’d been bought to prove that it wasn’t real.  As one of the original Ghostbusters, this would have been a smart move.  He had a falling out with the other guys, and was broke from no more business after GB2.  He was desperate.  The best part about this would have been that they wouldn’t have had to change his role at all.  He still could have acted EXACTLY the same with the same role, and it would have worked.

Harold Ramis’ bust is seen.  The actor is dead, so this was a very nice tribute.  It could have easily been Dr. Egon Spengler’s bust, and had mention of that on a plaque.

Dan Aykroyd was a cab driver.  He had no name.  Why couldn’t this have been Ray Stantz current job?  Nothing needed to be changed, and he was afraid of dealing with the ghosts from him being threatened by the Mayor’s office to keep quiet.

Ernie Hudson could have just as easily been Uncle Winston instead of Uncle Bill, and they could have kept him in the same role.

Annie Potts did exactly what she did in the originals.  Why couldn’t this have been Jeanine Melnitz’s current job?

Slimer was Slimer.  He never really spoke, so his presence wouldn’t need to be explained at all, even Mrs. Slimer wouldn’t have needed to be explained.

The ONLY one of the original characters who’d have to have a few little rewrites to fit in would have been Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett.  With a little ingenuity this could have been an easy tweak.

(End of spoilers)

Okay, so those are my thoughts on that.  It all goes back to WHY.  To me it is a slap in the face to fans.  All of that aside, let’s look at the rest of the movie.

Acting wise it was decent.  All of the ladies did a great job, and made some of the over the top campiness work.  It was funny, and highly enjoyable.

The special effects were also on par with being amazing.

The slight remix of the original Ghostbusters theme song was great, though the Fall Out Boy Ghostbusters song was downright terrible.

One final thing about that final scene at the end of the credits.  It was a nice nod, but if a sequel happens (and I hope it does), then I really hope they don’t go down that route.  We need to see something entirely new for the girls in order for it to work right and last.

If this was a sequel to the originals not much would have to have been changed, and then I’d give the movie an extra point, but because it wasn’t, it won’t get 4 points… Instead I’ll award it a 3 sCrypt Coffins out of 5.  It’s enough to say it wasn’t bad by any means, but was no way near as good as it could have been.  It deserves a second shot, so I’m holding out for a follow up to this one.

What did you think of Ghostbusters 2016?  Did you like it?  Hate it?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Day 30 -Inspiration in different times

img_6813The possibility of time travel has always fascinated me.  In college I took a class called “Paradox”, and mid semester I came up with an idea for a book on it.  That was about sixteen years ago, and the book is finally in the works (well three books to be specific).  Can I go back and retract that typo?  Sure, that’s what the backspace key is for, but what if we could go back and change something in our past?

When I was ten years old I read H.G. Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE.  It was the first book that really had me thinking about the subject.  The classic movie from the 60s wasn’t as good as the book, but it’s still one of my favorites to this day.  Even the remake done in the 2000s holds a special place in my heart.  Am I bold enough to say it is one of the best science fiction novels ever written?  Yes, and I’ll stand by that statement.  Wells came up with an idea to quell his own curiosity about what the future held.  While the book doesn’t go into alternate realities or changing the past (it is hinted at, but not a major component), it instead looks forward.  In certain aspects it shows a bleak future (far ahead of our own time), but there is something to be taken away from it all.  I feel the lesson written here is that we should appreciate what we have now.  No matter how bad things can get, it can always be worse.

Once I reached my teenage years there was a show on called QUANTUM LEAP.  It involved a character who was from the future and stepped into a time chamber.  He woke up in the past in someone else’s body.  The fun thing about this show was that each episode had him trying to figure out what he needed to make sure happened in order for him to leap to the next random time period.  The show was limited only to years in which the actual character had been alive on earth.  If he were to leap to another time he’d cease to exist, so it kept it very grounded in modern times (or at least the last 35 years prior to the show).  This series had me tuning in every week, but sadly it fell victim to what I call the “final episode”.  At the end of the series we are left with a cliffhanger of not knowing if he ever made it home or not.  Was Sam stuck in time?  Where did he go?  I still hold out hope for a reboot/sequel that will explain it all and maybe re-launch the series.

Lastly is the TIME PATROL series by Bob Mayer.  Mayer’s series takes a similar concept to leaping into a historical person’s body, but goes beyond that to actual events.  He isn’t limited to one time period, but instead has a selection of multiple in each individual novel.  One date throughout history is being affected by the mostly unseen antagonist in different ways.  It’s difficult to go into detail about it without being spoilery, but the Time Patrol is a fun and interesting ride.  It may even have you wanting to do some research on certain days or events in history.  I haven’t just been entertained by the highly anticipated novels, but have learned from them.  Where else can you have one story with multiple subplots going on in a book?

With the holidays fast approaching I’m frantically working on A COURSE FOR HUMANITY.  It won’t be out until early 2017, but in the meantime if you are looking for a great time travel story, I highly recommend all three of the above; especially Time Patrol, since it’s a current series.

So what are some of your favorite time travel stories?  Use the hashtag #scrypthalloween and you may be one of the lucky winners chosen to receive a free copy of one of my novels.

halloween

 


Day 27 -Inspiration in Space

thumbnail_img_6784I can’t say I’m a hardcore science fiction fan, but there are some franchises that I have the utmost respect for when it comes to space exploration.  Those are what inspired me to write my novel DEVOURED UNIVERSE, and its spinoff short COSMIC ORBITS.

When I say I can’t stand Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, I mean it.  It was a horrifically slow movie that didn’t do the book justice at all.  Arthur C. Clark’s novel was much more entertaining, and holds a top place in my list of epic science fiction in space.  It had 3 sequel books: 2010 ODYSSEY TWO, 2061 ODYSSEY THREE, and 3001 THE FINAL ODYSSEY.  Although outdated in terms of mention of year, it isn’t as far fetched as it seems.  If you’re a fan of the movie (or not) then I recommend checking out the books because they are much better.  The unlimited potential of outer space is depicted in a way that really makes you want to know what is out there.

Next up is the ALIEN franchise.  Sure, there are countless books and comics based on the series, but I’m referencing the main films.  ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN 3, & ALIEN: RESURRECTION fell victim to the sequel not being as good as the preceding entry, but that said, they are still fantastic movies.  I would count the two ALIEN vs PREDATOR movies, but since that includes the PREDATOR franchise I’ll refrain (Predator is also a series I love, but that’s going off on another).  The prequel movie PROMETHEUS is getting a follow up called ALIEN COVENANT.  So far so good with those.  What makes these movies great isn’t the characters as much as it is the threat of such a frightening alien.

A series that has fans always in anticipation of the next release is STAR WARS.  In all honesty I love the main films, but the spinoff series, cartoons, and books never grabbed my interest.  Let’s face it… what makes this franchise great is the heart of the story.  Don’t hate me fanboys and girls… I’m just seeing it from a writing perspective.  The core here is good vs evil..  There really is no in between in this saga, but that’s what makes it so good.  Each chapter holds its own, even though the prequels were widely hated by fans.  They really aren’t bad when it comes down to it.  We’ve got a handful of them: THE PHANTOM MENACE, ATTACK OF THE CLONES, REVENGE OF THE SITH, A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and episode 8 and 9 coming as well as some crucial backstory starting with ROGUE ONE.  Since Disney has taken over it seems to be headed in the right direction, and will hopefully expand to include a simpler, yet less two dimensional narrative.

The other fan eager series is STAR TREK.  We’ve got The ORIGNAL SERIES, THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, VOYAGER, ENTERPRISE, and the new series DISCOVERY.  Like Wars, Trek’s spinoff novels and comics do nothing for me, but the movies have been hit or miss.  THE MOTION PICTURE, THE WRATH OF KAHN, THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, THE VOYAGE HOME, THE FINAL FRONTIER, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, GENERATIONS, FIRST CONTACT, INSURRECTION, NEMESIS, STAR TREK, INTO DARKNESS, and BEYOND all have a way of telling a much broader story.   Trek has a way of displaying how vast the universe is, and how each different race perceives and handles events.

My goal was to incorporate what was best about all of these: The vastness of the universe, a frightening alien threat, characters that are cared about, and various stances on how things should be handled.  DEVOURED UNIVERSE really utilizes these to tell a fresh new type of story that closes out a trilogy and sets way for a future cast to deal with something beyond.

So what are some of your favorite space related or alien movies, films, TV, drinks, food, games, etc etc?  Make sure to hashtag #scrypthalloween and you may win a copy of one of my novels.

halloween


Review: Luke Cage Season 1 Netflix

luke_cage_netflixNetflix and Marvel successfully do it again.  The question is whether it was as good as the other shows, and if it warrants a second season.  Here’s my breakdown of the characters in the show, how they factored in, and a little bit of speculation on where it could go from here.  There are spoilers, so if you don’t want to see them, scroll down to the final paragraph for my rating.

Luke Cage/Power Man/Carl Lucas: I said it before and this series backs that claim… Mike Colter is the perfect pick for the main character.  He looks as if he enjoys his character, and Cage was presented without flaw in my opinion.  The back story of Carl Lucas, the references to his classic Power Man costume and name, and the evolution of Luke Cage was spot on.  If there was anything I thought could have made it better would be Pop’s barbershop becoming a new place with Heroes For Hire.  Although they didn’t show that, the H4H was certainly set up that way.  Luke was always a character I liked, but never spent much time thinking about.  Now I wonder why he wouldn’t have been the new Captain America instead of Falcon in the comics, but that’s going off on another tangent.

Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes: I’ve never seen Mahershala Ali in anything before, but his acting made Cottonmouth worth watching.  He turned what was a very lame character in the comics into a badass.  I didn’t see his death coming as early as it did, and who’d caused it.  His actions were always a surprise, and though he wasn’t as much a crime lord as Kingpin in Daredevil, he certainly had a great presence.  If I’d have changed anything, it would have been how he didn’t seem like much of a threat in the episode he died.  I felt he should have gone out stronger than he did.  I see why they did it however.  It was a way of making you feel for the character right before ripping him away.  All in all?  Great storytelling regardless of how it was approached.

Mercedes “Misty” Knight: Simone Missick was just proof of more great casting choices.  I love the buildup and portrayal of Misty, and felt sorry for her along the way.  She was the single character in this whole series that had more to deal with than anyone else.  Constantly being stuck in a hard place didn’t mean she couldn’t kick ass either.  Aside from her central role in the story we also got a few other comic references with her.  When she was shot in the arm there was even mention that she could lose it.  This was in reference to her bionic arms in the comics.  Her outfit at the end, when she reentered the club undercover was straight from the pages of Marvel, and her tearing the piece of paper from the light post also gave a nod to another character whom she’ll eventually meet, Colleen Wing.

Hernan “Shades” Alvarez: Theo Rossi was irritating in a good way.  This was THE character that you hated to love.  He’s the type of antagonist that makes the viewer want to see punched in the face, but also never go away.  In the comics, Shades had a visor similar to Cyclops from X-Men.  I’m extremely happy that they took away that aspect and left him as a right hand man for the bosses.  He seemed to have no particular allegiance to anyone, which makes me question one thing… He could pull off being a mob boss on his own, so why does he always end up being someone’s lackey?  And what is it about him that scares his bosses?  I say that because it seemed he could say anything he wanted to them, and there’d be no consequence.

Willis Stryker/Diamondback: Erik LaRay Harvey was a good pick for the character, but I don’t feel Diamondback was one to be taken seriously.  Sure, he was crazy, but that’s what made it seemed out of place to me.  His motivations were lacking and childish, and I can’t see why Cottonmouth was afraid of him.  Okay, that aside, he was a major threat to everyone in the story, including Cage.  The Chitauri metal being used as bullets that could penetrate Luke’s skin was an interesting addition, especially since we got to see how they could possibly do surgery on him.  The final battle with Luke gave Diamondback a comic appropriate costume that made sense, and we’re obviously going to have him getting similar powers to his half brother in the second season or Defenders, after that ending.  I look forward to seeing him return in a less mentally awkward role, and more of a physical threat.

Claire Temple/Nightnurse: Rosario Dawson’s character finally got some good screen time.  She received some more back story, and even talked about how she wanted to help people with powers.  This set up her role as the Night Nurse in Defenders.

Mariah Dillard/Black Mariah: Alfre Woodard has to take the prize for best acting in the series.  She’s stellar in her performance of the corrupt politician.  She’s got motivation and I’m glad to see her overall role remaining a presence.  This woman came off as more of a threat than Wilson Fisk did in DD.  I’m eager to see what will happen with her if she returns.

Comic book cameo roles: Trish Walker was heard over a radio broadcast briefly.  Turk Barrett returned, and though it felt like a forced placement it was welcomed.  Comanche played a role as Shades’ partner in prison, and though I can honestly say I know nothing about that character’s comic book portrayal, it was cool to see another D-lister appear in some way.  Stan Lee’s poster was seen again in the background, just like in the other Netflix shows, and the references to the incident in Avengers as well as the other Netflix heroes brought it all together.

Various other roles: Detective Scarfe, Pop, and the countless other thug and police roles, as well as the countless musicians involved were nothing but pleasing to see.  Method Man’s appearance was downright awesome!

Speculation: here’s what I think.  Defenders are set up (all but Iron Fist, but he’s coming).  We’ve got Luke Cage, who will obviously get out of prison due to a certain Daredevil lawyer.  Aside from those two heroes there’s Misty Knight, The Night Nurse, Jessica Jones, Punisher, and the soon addition of Iron Fist and Colleen Wing.  We might even get Trish as Hellcat.  But who will be the threat?  It was just announced that Sigourney Weaver will be the main villain for Defenders.  Who she will be remains to be seen… Perhaps Madame Hydra?… regardless she has a ripe picking of villains to add to her antagonist army… Diamondback will now have abilities, Mariah Dillard, Shades, Kingpin, Turk and I’m sure I’m missing a few.  I thought Avengers was highly anticipated when it was coming out, but now I’m beginning to think Defenders will be much the same.

Overall review: The music and acting were superior.  Comic book references made old school fans happy.  Real world events fit into the storytelling without pushing an agenda.  This was some great storytelling with some flaws.  It didn’t drag out like Jessica Jones did, and it did give us a good origin for multiple characters.  It’s not perfect, but its earned one of the top places in my book for great action and attention.  This was the first series of ALL of the Netflix shows that I think I could have literally watched all the way through without stopping in one sitting.  I’d never do that, nor have the time to, but it was compelling and really decent.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my review.  Keep them coming, Netflix and Marvel.


Review: Once Upon A Time season 5

onceuponatime_season5_poster1While I feel this season was the worst this show had to offer, it had its moments and built towards a finale that was worth the wait.  Season 6 is sure to return the show to what once made it so great, but what was it about season 5 that just didn’t match par?  Below is my spoiler filled review.  As usual if you don’t want to see the spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

The main characters: Emma / Dark Swann wasn’t convincing as the Dark One for the first half of the season.  There was no personality change short of having different motives, and even that is a stretch.  It wasn’t the switch that we’ve seen with Mr. Gold so well, and felt boring from start to mid season.  Speaking of Mr. Gold… Rumplestiltskin even felt boring for the first half of the season.  It wasn’t until the final three episodes where he began to be interesting again.  I’m hoping season 6 really returns him to that role in the way that makes him a great villain.  Snow White & Prince Charming are questionable at best.  They should never have gone to the underworld with Emma while leaving their daughter behind.  Does someone want to tell them that at this point they are insignificant?  At the end it started to feel like the couple was going to be useful again, but to me they didn’t feel like themselves.  Henry was all over the place, but for some reason this works.  Perhaps its his age and making decisions on his own that brings the realistic feel of his actions into play.  My only critique here is his speech to the New York crowd.  I doubt he’d have gotten that type of response in real life, at least with the verbage used.  Belle was a hinge in the way that directly her presence did nothing to make the show better, but indirectly she served as a pivot for Rumple’s teetering.  Hook and Regina both remained interesting and without them the show may have fallen apart.  I’m happy with where they both started and ended.  Robin Hood was the biggest surprise, and I’m left wondering what will happen to his son after all that’s gone down.  Regina just sent him back to the enchanted forest with the Merry men.

The newcomers:

King Arthur was frustrating for me.  It worked when they made Peter Pan a villain, but Arthur felt like a slap in the face.  This legendary king was nothing more than a thug with power.  Guinevere didn’t even matter in the long run, and Lancelot was as close to the real thing as we were going to get.  The interesting parts were with Excalibur being a part of the Dark One’s dagger.  That alone was the most interesting part of the first half of the season.  And then there is Merlin… Am I wrong to have wanted an old guy to play this part?  I didn’t care about the race change.  What I wanted was someone who seemed to be ancient, and this was a role completely miscast.

Nimue was extremely interesting and great while she lasted, though I feel I wanted to really see what she was capable of as the Dark One.  We only got a tease of that, but she had a nice back story which helped move it along.

Violet came as a surprise.  Her addition gave Henry a love interest, but her reveal of her origins (or at least her father’s) at the end of the season was exciting.  I hope she returns making Henry’s decisions more of a focal point as at this point I think they can take the reigns and run with it.  It’ll be nice to see younger heroes matter more.

Hades was amazing, and his Underworld bringing back many of the dead characters worked well too.  What didn’t work was Hercules and Megara.  Their stories were good, but if they’d have been more utilized then I think the second half would have been more exciting.  Instead the Underworld made me wonder if the writers had been from there with the bland and drawn out narrative.  Zeus‘ quick appearance was a pleasant surprise though and made for a good ending to that part of the season.

Merida and her parents, her story, and her village was absolutely perfect!  In fact I might say she was the best new addition we had all season.  She stole every scene and the source material was well respected.

Dorothy Gale oh Dorothy Gale.  (long sigh).  Anyone who knows me knows that the Wizard of Oz and those L Frank Baum books were a huge inspiration into my writing career.  I love the interpretation of the Wicked Witch in OUAT, but Dorothy made me a bit upset.  Look, I get that you need to put gay characters into the show.  In fact I welcome it.  But the writers not only took creative freedom with her sexuality, they made her a little too much of a warrior in my opinion.  Dorothy in the books was always a sweet girl, and nothing about this actress echoed that.  She looked miserable the entire time, and didn’t seem like Dorothy at all.  To top that off, it wasn’t so much that she was attracted to women, but she fell in love with Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby.  So is it safe to say that she is no longer in the gay community, but into bestiality instead?  Bottom line is the decision made here was a public relations ploy that is insulting to straight and gay alike.  If you’re going to make a person gay, then don’t have them making out with a human/wolf hybrid.  Bestiality is not cool even if Ruby is smoking hot.  All rant aside it was cool to see the cameo by the Scarecrow.

Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde – now THIS is where the show started to feel like it had gone back to its roots.  I love Disney in every way, but the overkill of Disney related stories was getting to me and I think the audiences.  Storybrooke and what made this show work was that ALL story book characters were alluded to.  We got Frankenstein and a few others, so my question was always where are all the other books?  There should be no limits.  I realize rights issues are a problem, but not with all.  Jekyll and Hyde were good interpretations with the separation twist that set up a potentially great season.  I’m curious to see where they go now that Hyde’s minions are in town.  Who are they?  They made references in the book Henry found that showed Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s travels, but who else?  The suspense is killing me.  Top that with wanting to know how Hyde and Rumplestiltskin knew each other, AND Regina now being a separate entity from the Evil Queen and season 6 could be better than all prior seasons combined.  Other than Granny, all of the other characters have returned home leaving a virtually blank slate for those coming on board.

In Conclusion I realize my review is a bit rough in spots, but as a writer source material is important, a compelling story is important, and some sort of suspense or anticipation is important.  Season 5 fell flat on all of these except in some special places.  That aside, I will be returning for season 6 and can’t wait to see what’s in store.  Season 5 gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my rating.


Review: Marvel TV shows 2015-2016

Since I did the DC post it’s time to review the Marvel TV and Netflix shows for the 2015-2016.  Like all of my reviews I will break it down by character giving my honest thoughts as a comic fan and viewer.  There will be spoilers, so if you want my rating on each show scroll down to the final paragraph of each section (which ends with a solid line).

Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts below.  I will be reviewing Jessica Jones season 1, Daredevil season 2, Agent Carter season 2, and Agents of SHIELD season 3.

First up Jessica Jones season 1:

jessica-jones-season-1-poster-691x1024Jessica Jones – She’s raunchy, she’s a drunk, she’s sexual, she’s got a bad attitude, she’s everything that a superhero isn’t, but she leaves her mark as one.  Jessica is the most interesting character to watch as of yet.  My only problem with this show was the extreme amounts of sexual scenes.  I’m no prude by any means, but by the fourth gratuitous softcore porn scene I was tired of it.  It’s as if there was nothing else that the writers had to do with their time.  We get it.  We get the type of character she is, but seriously it was overkill.

Luke Cage – was one of the two best things about this show.  Casting was perfect and his acting superb.  I actually got chills during the first bar fight scene that made me want to skip right to his show coming this fall.  I found it predictable that he’d be controlled by Killgrave at one point, so I wasn’t surprised.  I WAS however shocked by the shotgun blast to the face.  That part of the story was intense and brought in the help of Claire Temple who made reference to Daredevil.

Kilgrave – The Purple man was an absolutely delightful villain to see.  He is right up there with villains you want to hate but love (like Loki, the Joker, and Hannibal Lecter).  He’s downright creepy and his ability to control others actions adds to that.  By far he was one of the top villains in Marvel live action.  It’s just a shame that he’s now dead.

Trish “Patsy” Walker – I loved her in the show, and she’s another perfect casting.  In fact all of the cast was perfectly picked.  They obviously are building her up to become Hellcat at some point, so we shall see what they do in season 2.

Simpson / Nuke – The officer gone rogue was basically an abusive addict by season end.  He really embodied the rage that his comic book counterpart portrayed and the viewer is left really wanting him to be hurt for his actions.

Jeri Hogarth – I feel this part of the show could have been better written.  We get that she likes women, but we don’t need a reference every two seconds.  None of the straight characters are doing that, so it seems forced a bit.  I’m all for equal portrayal of characters, but it got a bit over the top in parts… then again most of this show was over the boundaries.  Regardless of my opinion she served a great purpose to the narrative, and I hope we see more of her.

In conclusion: Season 1 of Jessica Jones frustrated me not on the soft core porn sense, but it could have been just as effective if it were 4 episodes shorter.  It was drawn out to a point where I was yelling at the tv for her to finish the job already.  Other than those two complaints I really did enjoy it, and it brought a new feel to the Marvel cinematic universe.  I give the show a 3 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins


Daredevil Season 2:dd ssn2

Daredevil / Matt Murdock – To me DD took a back seat this season as Castle was the highlight of the show, but that doesn’t mean he was bad by any means.  We got to see a conflicted side of Matt Murdock, and while he mostly stuck with his own judicial and moral code he waivered at times making him unpredictable.  This was a great decision on the writing end.

Foggy and Karen – I put them together because they each had their own equally interesting story arcs.  Foggy is even going to work for Jeri Hogarth now, so I’m sure we will see him crossing over into the other shows.  The trio is no longer a team, but each has their own little corner in the story.  I’d like to see Karen and Matt work on their relationship because it left in a strange place.

Melvin Potter and Claire Temple – again I had to put these together as they were very small roles as opposed to the pair above.  I’d like to see Potter become the Gladiator and I think they are building it towards that.  He would be an excellent villain as he knows DD’s weaknesses.  Claire is just Claire.  She’s doing what she does best and it should be kept that way.  Rosario Dawson can do no wrong here.

Elektra – Why Matt ever was attracted to her other than looks is beyond me.  She’s clearly got little morals.  But her beauty and bad nature clearly had its wrap on him.  Elektra was great.  I’ve no complaints other than I’m kind of hoping she’s brought back somehow.  To me it made no sense to kill her off.  I’d have rather seen Karen or Foggy wiped out instead.

Stick and the Hand – Both the old man and the ninjas were completely badass.  There isn’t much more to say other than I’m hoping everything established in season 2 with these will bring about Daredevil in a Shadowland story.  Him in charge of the Hand would be very interesting to see.

Kingpin – Wilson Fisk’s role is small, but that’s all it needed to be.  Even behind bars he clearly has control of everything.  His manipulation of Punisher and no fear of Murdock puts him in a place where you know he’s coming back better and badder than ever.

Frank Castle / The Punisher – He is my favorite comic book character of all time, and he was done so right here that there’s no way it could get better other than seeing his own series next year.  From his brutality to his purpose he had it all nailed.  Kudos to Jon Bernthal for kicking ass and taking names.

In Conclusion: DD season 2 was by far my favorite of the Marvel seasons to watch.  Perhaps even more so than the movies as well.  I am rating it with a full 5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.


ustv-agent-carter-season-2-posterAgent Carter Season 2:

Peggy Carter – It’s always a delight to see Hayley Atwell do anything, so I feel bad for how this season turned out.  I don’t think it was the worst it could have been, but it lacked heart.  Peggy was one of two parts that were good about it.  Everything else really didn’t work for me.

Black Widow (Dottie Underwood) – was underused.  Jarvis – was all over the place with who he was in love with and his own morals.  Howard Stark – was no way near as good as he was in season 1 and it almost didn’t even feel like his character.

Joseph Manfredi – was decent enough, but never felt like a true threat, while constantly being overthrown by the Zero Matter plot.

Whitney Frost / Madame Masque – was the other part I felt was worth seeing.  She played the villain role well and it made sense.  I just feel as though it could have been better.

In conclusion: I said at the end of Season 1 (which I liked) that season 2 would not be needed.  It should have stayed that way.  We had a great hero and a great villain, but everything else was forgettable.  If a show can’t hold my interest I’m out, but I forced myself through this entire season only to be sorely disappointed at my wasted hours.  I have to rate it with a 1.5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.  It wasn’t quite a 1, but didn’t deserve 2.


Agents-of-SHIELD-season-3-poster-600x923Agents of SHIELD season 3:

The agents: Phil Couson continues to be a pleasure to watch, though his constant smirk makes it difficult at times to take him seriously.  Hunter fell flat this season due to his relationship with Mockingbird / Bobbi Morse.  The pair worked great together, but individually only she worked.  I realize they were written off of the show due to a potential spinoff, but now that that isn’t happening I hope we still get to see Bobbi’s return in some manner.  Fitz/Simmons became slightly less annoying as the season went on and for the first time in the series I actually didn’t mind both of them.  I still feel as though Fitz is better when he’s driven to make solo decisions, and that Simmons acts exactly the same no matter what situation she’s in.  That’s good for him, but bad for her.  Melinda May continues to be a badass, but we got to see a softer side of her which was nice for a change.  It enabled viewers to see that she isn’t all work.  At least she didn’t used to be anyway.  Mack by far is my favorite agent to watch.  He’s the perfect embodiment of what an agent should be, although he does tend to have issues with authority at times.  All around the entire SHIELD team are like pieces of a puzzle.  They are great as a whole, but individually have flaws.

Secret Warriors: Daisy Johnson / Quake – Well she finally took on her codename by season end, but I was left confused.  She is on the run or running solo?  Why is SHIELD hunting her?  She was obviously left scarred by her actions against the team, but if SHIELD is after her to make her accountable for what she did, then how did she escape in the first place?  There is too much left unanswered.  Lincoln on the other hand had a surprising fate.  I did not for one second believe he’d be the one to die.  I really grew to like him throughout the season so it makes sense as he said he didn’t want to be an agent after all.  Despite that statement he still died a hero.  Meltdown was underused in my opinion.  The first episode was great when they hunted him down, but after that he didn’t get used nearly enough.  I’m hoping this changes.  Yo-Yo was great as well but I think they are rushing with her and Mack’s “relationship” if that’s what you want to call it.  It is possible however that they are gearing up for her to be Mack’s new partner in place of Daisy on the team.  The question then is… What happened to the Secret Warriors?  Are they now defunct?

Lash was great until the reveal of his true identity.  I feel he lost some bit of mystery there, but it was redeemed when he fully became Lash again.  The fact that he saved Daisy makes me believe he was a combination of both personalities and that in the end the decision was made by his human half and not his bestial one.

Hive – What makes Agent Ward even better?  Make him a heartless alien bringer of death.  Everything from his powers to his true appearance looked superb.  I’m glad he was destroyed as I didn’t want this story to drag on, but it makes me wonder who could possibly be brought in to be a great villain for next season.  His deformed lackeys were terrible looking thugs with no purpose other than to be henchmen.  That part I’m not sure I liked too much.

Talbot  and Absorbing Man – I love the recurring presence of Talbot, and the smart use of Crusher Creel.  I could see this whole thing leading into a “Dark Warriors” storyline, something akin to what the comics did with the Avengers, only having Talbot in charge.

Hellfire was great though I’m not sure I like his origin.  My pickiness aside he was fun to watch and had a lot of character to him.

Holden Radcliffe was  as the Machine Teen in the comics, and I’m glad to see they changed this for the show.  He works better as a man with age and wisdom.  I can see how his creations could prove to be a future threat, even if he did leave on good terms with SHIELD.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a more significant villain.

Other references/characters: Werner Von Strucker was no way near as threatening as his father, and for that reason I’m glad he was only a small role.  Manifold was referenced quickly for any comic fan who may have picked up on it.  Civil War had also affected the show on a minor level but then it was left to hang.  There was no real reveal as to whether Coulson’s team would be forced to sign the accords or not.

In Conclusion – Agents of SHIELD season 3 was the best season of the show yet, but still had some irritating qualities.  It was a good build up for a season 4 that could potentially be really great.  Still, despite what it lead into it fell flat enough to make it less than great.  Overall I’m rating it with a 3 out of 5 as it has established itself as a fun show that can exist successfully without relying on the much better films in the same universe.


So there’s my take.  What did you think?  This gives Marvel TV 2015-2016 an average sCrypt rating of 3 out of 5.  Clearly aside from Netflix DC rules the contest with their TV shows, but Marvel’s strong suit remains on the big screen leaving DC in the dust.  I only want both to succeed and am happy for what we get, so here’s hoping it all gets better.


Review: DC Comics TV shows 2015-2016

This review will cover all of DC’s Television shows for the 2015-2016 season.  It includes Gotham, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl.  Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below, and be warned that there will be spoilers.  If you want to know my review of each show individually, then skip down to the last paragraph of each section (sections end with a solid line ______).  I will do a quick character breakdown as I feel that is the best way to rate a show.  Plot points etc will be mentioned there as well.

gothamFirst up… GOTHAM Season 2:

James Gordon – The story arc this season was all over the place.  I didn’t like his actions at the end of the first half of this season because I didn’t feel it was in his character, but I accepted it.  Then this season we get Gordon as a cop, Gordon on the run, Gordon as an inmate, and Gordon as a broken hearted self shaming man.  Very little did we see the James Gordon that becomes Batman’s biggest ally.  With his departure at the end of the season I don’t know how he will be when he returns for season 3, but I hope this is corrected.

Harvey Bullock – If anything Harvey played a better role than Gordon.  But what bothers me is that he was more of a role model than his partner.  He played a badass who broke the rules but did what was right and is now in charge of the police force.  I’m not sure I like that leadership role for him, but Bullock was still fun to watch in every scene.

Tabitha Galavan /Tigress – Again here is another character who felt right in the beginning and fell apart.  She was a cold hearted assassin and then suddenly just a henchman.  The last we see of her she’s in a hospital bed.  I’m sure she’ll be making an appearance again, but if we don’t see her it won’t be that much of a loss.  If she does return I’m hoping for the cold hearted assassin again.

Butch – There isn’t much bad I can say about him.  I think some of his story arcs are lame and he’s a bit of a quirky character, but as a henchman he’s fitting.  As a leader he is not, so I’m glad they got away from that quickly.  When he used the gatling gun at the end and shot up the school bus I thought to myself that he’s finally returning to being the “muscle” of the villains.

Jerome Valeska – He was easily the highlight of the season.  I would have been happy if he turned out to be the Joker one day.  The perfect amalgamation of all joker incarnations so far he really played that psychotic part well.  If there is one character I do hope to see return from the dead I hope its him.  I realize that the basement in Arkham has been shut down, but I hold out hope that he was one of the escapees on the bus, because no one could play that part better.  Whether he ends up being alive and the Joker remains to be seen, but he left behind a legacy of laughter that obviously set seed for the main villain to be born.

Richard Sionis / Black Mask – What a waste.  I had to mention him because he’s a key character in the mythos, but they killed him so fast I am a little irritated at how they handled it.

Chief Nathaniel Barnes – I’ve no complaints but more a question here… Did Barnes die?  They said he was rushed off to the hospital but I’m not sure he was ever declared dead.  Either way his presence helped to make the first half of the season enjoyable.

Silver St. Cloud – For once a female character in the show didn’t annoy me.  Sorry, not to sound sexist, but the writers tend to make feminine characters cringe worthy.  Silver however seemed like her comic counterpart and the actress played the part well.  It was an interesting plot point adding her in so early with her Bruce Wayne relationship.

Bridgit / Firefly – And she’s the second intro I really enjoyed.  From her origin until the end of the season I thoroughly enjoyed her evolution into the female version of Firefly.  Nothing felt forced and I look forward to seeing her again.

Eduardo Flamingo – Batshit crazy comes to mind, but in a whole other way than Jerome.  His short stint for an episode was another highlight, and while I didn’t think the acting was done all that well I feel as though the character served his purpose.

Professor Hugo Strange – It was good to see a live action version of this character who in my opinion is one of Batman’s greatest foes.  I think they kept him close to the trueness of who he is supposed to be, but while he always fed into the psychosis of the villains he never actually created them.  That’s where this falls short for me.  I’m not sure I like just about every villain being his creation.  For some it works, but not all, and because of that I was split down the center with him in this season.

Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze – His story arc was handled well, but I’m not sure what his motivation is from here on out.  With his wife dead that part of his persona and purpose is mute.  Mr. Freeze always did what he did to find a cure for his wife, but now she’s dead, so the character really has no meaning other than being a common criminal with an ice gun.  At first I didn’t like the look with his hair, but loved the eyes.  The look grew on me by the end of the season though and the special effects were nice.

Patrick “Matches” Malone – I like that Bruce came face to face with a persona that he will adapt one day while undercover trying to gather information.  I don’t like how they handled this character though and ignored the Joe Chill killing Bruce’s parents.  It seemed like the writers just wanted to throw another name into the mythos way too early in the game.

Azrael – Theo Galavan being resurrected was the only part of this that made sense, but as Azrael he felt close to being acceptable.  The look was right, but I really hope this is just a precursor to the real Azrael.  With him being dead it is to be believed that the Order of Saint Dumas would continue using that legend to recruit newer versions of the character.  Time will tell, but for now we can lay this one to rest.

Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin – When he is acting as The Penguin he’s easily still one of the best parts of this show, but I’m sick of this back and forth with him.  He was all over the place, and with Mooney’s return at the end I fear once again we won’t be getting what they keep building him up to be.  The nonsense needs to stop once and for all.  Get this character right as we have seen can be done in this show, and keep him that way.

Edward Nygma / The Riddler – Now THIS is a character who is the best part of this show hands down.  We actually have a true Riddler now and I look forward to him more.  We definitely haven’t seen the last of him.  All he needs now is a costume and name.

Clayface / Basil Karlo – A quick and pleasant use of the character.  He was never my favorite Clayface (the Matt Hagen version is), but I enjoyed his addition and will be eager to see him used again and the extent of his shapeshifting abilities.

Fish Mooney – WHY?  WHY?  WHY?  KEEP HER DEAD!!!!  Jada Pinkett is the worst actress on this show.  It is so painful I can’t take it.  They had to bring her back and now she’s got the powers to control people by a single touch?  Ugh!!!  I can’t… I just can’t…  Horrendous.

Bruce Wayne – In the first season he wasn’t handled too well, but each episode with him gets better and closer to the Bruce/Batman that I love.  As he matures I feel the acting gets better and his story continues to flourish.  I do one day hope to see him take up the mantle, but in order for that to happen we need about 8 more years of this show, which I’m not sure is possible; unless the writing improves.

Alfred Pennyworth & Lucius Fox – I put these two together because of the size of their roles as supporting characters.  Alfred has become a slight annoyance at times, but seems to be turning in to more of Bruce’s sidekick rather than his protective guardian, so I like that.  Lucius is perfect in every way.  The actor nails the part and the writing works well.

Selina Kyle / Catwoman – She, like Bruce, has grown in her acting and the way she’s being written.  By the end of the season she’s not only got a better look about her, but a better handling as well.  As a character who once annoyed me I have been swayed into really enjoying her on screen.

Other characters: The Mad Hatter was hinted at as well as a brief cameo by Killer CrocIvy was underused but I’m glad they handled her that way as overcrowding would have been more so.  She’s being set up for better use in the future, so this is smart.  The Court of Owls will obviously be the antagonist of season 3.  Barbara Kean was slightly better than last season, but needs to be killed off for good as she’s not needed and not handled well.  And finally Hush.  I am not sure if that was Tommy Elliot who looked like Bruce Wayne at the end, but it would make sense to introduce us to the boy who would be Hush.  It’ll be interesting to see.

Final Rating: All in all I keep watching Gotham because for its many faults it does have some great highlights.  The first half of this season was done really well, but went downhill in the second half with some great moments scattered here and there.  I want this show to succeed and wonder if it will at some point tie in to the rest of the DC tv properties.  Season 3 will be interesting because of what is obviously coming with the ending of season 2, but I do hope for better writing, less overcrowding of characters, and more coordination.  Season 2 gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins for my rating.


Zoom-The-FlashTHE FLASH season 2:

Barry Allen / The Flash – I thoroughly enjoyed his path this season, as well as Iris West‘s.  The pair grew toward their future selves and have great on screen chemistry together.  I will discuss something here though that bothers me.  Everything in season 1 and 2 no longer matter as Barry went back and changed it all at the end.  So with a complete reset button hit, what does that mean for season 3?  Will the alternate earths all merge (being as Supergirl is now on the CW)?  This would make sense and enable Wells, Jesse, and Jay Garrick to remain as characters on the show.

The Legends: Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Vandal Savage, & the New Firestorm (Jefferson Jackson) have been introduced kicking off Legends of Tomorrow.  The two episode crossover this season introducing the first three characters was a good stepping stone to start it all.

Returning Rogues: The Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne) still lives due to time travel, which is refreshing.  I am not sure it would make sense to have him return, but with this reset to the Flash world I’m sure we will see him again.  Gorilla Grodd had a better episode this season and was left with Gorilla City potentially lined up for the future.  Girder returned as a zombie, which was a fun take on the character.  The Trickster and Weather Wizard also returned and felt like real rogues for our hero.  Finally, Pied Piper had another appearance, but I’m not sure I like the decision to make him a hero of sorts.  He basically gave up his villainous nature to save the day, and I don’t think I can get on board with that.

Supporting Roles: Joe West and Harrison Wells continue to be solid characters on the show.  They never feel forced and each scene with them is believable.  Jesse Quick and Wally West have been set in place both gaining likeability.  It’ll be interesting to see if and when they become speedsters.  Patty Spivot was a good temporary love interest for Barry, though I was sorry to see her go.  Jay Garrick (the real Jay) was my favorite part of the season.  I grew up watching John Wesley Shipp as the Flash in the 90s, so seeing him as The Flash again gave me chills.  It was handled well with the alternate Earths in a way to bring him in that way.  I really hope we get a lot more of Jay to come.

Vibe / Reverb – Cisco continues to be perfect comic relief.  His nerdiness only got better with his evolving powers, and the portrayal of his doppleganger helped the character evolve more towards his Justice League persona.

Kaitlyn Snow / Killer Frost – I’m hoping the reset merges these two dopplegangers because I really enjoyed Killer Frost over the Kaitlyn Snow personality.  Her redesigned look worked well too.

Zoom / Hunter Zolomon: I didn’t like the way Hunter started out as a false Jay Garrick.  I didn’t like it before I didn’t know he wasn’t Jay.  Even at the end it seemed his reason behind his actions was a little lacking in purpose.  It didn’t feel right writing wise.  I do however like that his actions caused the Time Wraiths to bring him into their fold creating The Black Flash / Death Racer. Now that this has happened I’m very eager to see the return.  He actually would have a purpose now as Barry altered time itself.

New villains: Atom Smasher was a disappointment as the CGI fell flat and I wanted to see the hero version of this character, not a bad guy.  On the other hand the CGI on King Shark was superb.  I never thought we’d get to see him in live action and I’ve been proven wrong.  Geomancer, Tokamak, Dr. Light, Trajectory, Rupture, The Griffin, Tar Pit, and Turtle all served their one episode arcs really well.  Some would be a welcome return, but not necessary.  Black Siren (the villainous doppleganger of Earth 2) is a major relief.  I feel that if Barry did merge universes together that this could correct the writers killing off Black Canary in Arrow, seeing as Siren is still alive.   Deathstorm was a disappointment in a way.  Ronnie Raymond in Earth 2 didn’t look or feel like the character, and I assume that’s why they killed him off so quickly.  I’m still hoping for the original Firestorm to return though.

Overall Summary: The Flash wasn’t as solid this season as the first, but had so many great moments it is easy to overlook the flaws in storytelling.  It got very confusing at times with the multiple earth dopplegangers; even for someone who was watching every episode.  Barry resetting the timeline may have been a conscious decision to fix this problem.  All in all though I give season 2 of the Flash 4 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.


Supergirl_poster-600x900SUPERGIRL season 1:

Kara Zor-El Danvers – Melissa Benoist deserves an award for her outstanding acting capability.  Her range of emotion was not only believable, but brought to life Supergirl in a way no other character on the small screen has.  Kara showed her short fuse on numerous occasions, but also her torment and willingness to do what is right.  The team up of her and The Flash was more than fun, but she remained pleasant throughout the series.

James “Jimmy” Olsen – I feel like this is such a miscast it hurts.  The actor portraying him does a wonderful job, but to me this isn’t Jimmy Olsen.  If this role and the role of Winn were switched by actors it would make more sense.  Instead we get a version of Jimmy that isn’t anywhere near what he needs to be or should be.

Winn Schott Jr – Winn again I echo my sentiments about Jimmy.  This character is exactly how I’d perceive Jimmy Olsen, but instead we are just given another shy guy who has the added twist of being the son of the villain Toyman.  His arc with his father made for very interesting storytelling and leads me to believe that what has happened to him throughout his life may bring him to one day being a second version of Toyman.

Jonn Jonnz / Martian Manhunter – What a relief and surprise it was to find out that he wasn’t in fact Hank Henshaw.  It isn’t that I don’t want to see Henshaw as Cyborg Superman, but it just makes more sense this way.  It not only was an unexpected surprise, but brought a true interpretation of Jonn to audiences.

Cat Grant – She not only broke the “4th wall” on many occasions (which was witty writing by the creators), but Calista Flockhart is perfect in the role of mentor and boss to Kara.  I wasn’t sure of her in the first episode, but by mid season I found myself enjoying her screen time.

Astra and Non – I feel as though these were just a pale imitation of General Zod.  Non turned out nothing like the brute I wanted him to be, but instead was a strong leader.  Astra (and her sister Alura) fit well into the plot, but again seemed forced.

Lesser villains: Hellgrammite, Vartox, Reactron, Jemm, The Master Jailer, and Guardian were decent enough, but easily forgettable.  I feel that with project Cadmus obviously being key to season 2, that we will see more of James Harper (Guardian’s) involvement.

Maxwell Lord – started off strong enough, but seemed (like Non and Astra) to just be a second rate version of a known Superman villain.  The Lex Luthor rip off is acted well enough, but I’m not sure where they intend to go with Max.  I understand his willingness to ally with his enemies toward a common enemy, but he seems lost in translation.  Hopefully season 2 will make this more clear as it is fun to watch his interactions with the others.

Lucy and Sam Lane – what can I say?  Both were good supporting characters that could have been removed and replaced by unknown generics.  Their names are the only thing that made them stand out.

Livewire – I’m glad to have seen her in live action.  She was written well and looked great, as opposed to her team up with Silver Banshee who’s motivation made sense, but the reason for her look over the top and ridiculous (even if she did closely resemble her comic version).

Red Tornado – WTF?  I just don’t know.  T.O. Morrow created this strange version that is very wrong.  I’d have rather have seen his other creations take on Supergirl and then their parts reconstructed to make Red Tornado into a hero.  With the tech still around who knows…. maybe we will get a good version of the loved character, but until then what we got was garbage.

White Martian – The entire episode with the White Martian served as an origin of sorts for Martian Manhunter.  While I never really liked the White Martians in the comics, it was portrayed well here and felt like a real threat.

Bizarro Supergirl – Another copy of a great Superman villain, but unlike Lord and the Kryptonians mentioned above I’m more acceptable of this version.  Why?  Because there are Bizarro versions of the other characters not just Superman, so Bizarro Supergirl was the best interpretation we could have gotten short of Bizarro himself.

Black Mercy Plant – I’d like to see a version of this used on a grander scale.  If not, the best next thing would be Starro, but what we ended up with here was good for an introduction and fit well into the continuity.

Indigo / Brainiac 8 – She was the best villain of the season with one major problem… She looked like a rip off of mystique.  They could just as easily used the greenish hue that she was in the comics, but other than look she was outstanding.  Add in the fact that she was played by a former Supergirl, Indigo rocked.

Other notables: Fortress of Solitude was used on a sparing level that cemented Kara’s cousin’s established heroics.  They even included the key outside the door that was part of the lore in the comics.  My only issue is that Jonn describes the key as having the weight of hundreds of tons.  Supergirl lifts it with ease, yet there are times when she is struggling to lift things that are much lighter than that, so there’s a slight discrepancy here.  Superman & Lois Lane are both mentioned numerous times.  Clark is even seen briefly in a few places, and though we never see his face in season 1 (other than him as a child) his presence is felt as he communicates via email and texts to Kara.  Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers don’t have very big roles, but the fact that they are played by a former Superman and Supergirl brings together fans of old and new.  And finally the Kryptonite in Red and Green.  I’m not sure I like the fact that Red K was invented by Max Lord, but the effect was the same as in the comics.  When Kara went bad from it she was very fun to watch.

In conclusion: Whatever Kara confronted at the end leaves all of us on the edge of our seats.  Who or what did she see?  With Supergirl coming to the CW for season 2 I see a lot of potential for better story telling.  Let’s just hope it continues to get better and not fall to the plague of writers getting lazy.  I give Season 1 of Supergirl 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.


legends-of-tomorrow-posterLEGENDS OF TOMORROW season 1:

Rip Hunter – He’s definitely the leader of this motley crew, but I’m glad he’s questionable at times.  I feel as if this series sets groundwork for him to become a great leader of the new Time Masters.

Ray Palmer / Atom – While Brandon Routh is one of the best parts of this series, the Atom is not.  If I wanted to watch Iron-man I’d do it right and go to Marvel movies.  Nothing can top Ironman, so why attempt a cheap and horrible looking knockoff when you could focus on Ray’s genius and shrinking powers and make it more interesting?  I really hate this version of Atom and hope they ditch the ridiculous looking suit and laser blasts for something more size appropriate (pun intended).

White Canary – She’s much better placed in this show than she was in Arrow, and by the end of the season I actually started liking her character.

Firestorm II – While Martin Stein is still great I feel that they’ve done a disservice to Jax.  No, this isn’t a race thing, as I most certainly am NOT racist.  I just feel that the actor portraying Jefferson over acts.  He’s not much fun to watch and at times even annoying.

Heatwave – Mick was the best part of the season.  I still don’t know how I feel about him being a “heroic” character.  Sure he still acted like a villain, but I didn’t like his usage here and would much rather see him in the villain role permanently.

Captain Cold – Well like Heatwave I’m sad about him not being cold and instead having a warm side.  He’s supposed to be a villain, yet sacrificed himself for the team and all the world.  So now we have a Flash universe where there is no Captain Cold?  UNACCEPTABLE.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl – Kendra and Carter were great.  Their story was key in this series and we even got a mention of Thandagar as well as Nighthawk, so we may get more hawk people further down the line.

Chronos – it’s no secret who Chronos is now, but it still felt like a different person all together, so I’m including it that way.  I actually liked him better before the reveal as he was the one villain aside from Savage consistent throughout the season.

Vandal Savage – I’m torn with this one.  I love the villain and actor portraying him did a wonderful job, but I think the season got old fast.  We could have had 6 episodes and been just as effective as the 12 that ran.  It was a bit of an overkill.  The addition of his daughter Scandal Savage did nothing to add to the show either.

Valentina Vostok & Per Degaton were used well as villains for their short arcs making me wish they were more of a focus than Savage in parts.

Ra’s Al Ghul – was good to see again at an earlier time.  This episode was one of the best of the season because it felt like it belonged.

Jonah Hex – was in an episode and while he looked great I feel as though the focus should have been more on him.  Instead they made him seem like just another plain character.  I hope we get another episode with him and they correct this.

Oliver Queen / Green Arrow – Ollie is old and has a one arm in the future, which is straight from the pages of the comics.  This episode was decent enough and introduced an alternate version of Connor Hawke Green Arrow as John Diggle’s son.  Both G.A.’s were great.

Ravager – Deathstroke had a son, but instead of fighting the Teen Titans he was wreaking havoc on Star City and that’s okay.  His addition didn’t make the show better or worse, but flowed nicely.

Gideon – Should I even include the computer?  I have to.  In The Flash season 1 Gideon said that Barry Allen created her, yet there is no mention of this anywhere and we are just to assume she’s an A.I. built for the Time Masters.

Hourman – okay, he was only in it for the last few seconds, but his presence and mention of the J.S.A. breathed life into the series.  It actually makes me excited for season 2 whereas otherwise I wouldn’t have been.

In conclusion: Legends of Tomorrow was a spinoff that could have been a movie or miniseries.  It went on too long and felt very out of place.  I’d rather go back and watch old episodes of Star Trek.  That being said however, it did have its good moments, and I feel as though season 1 was an origin, where as season 2 would take it in many interesting directions.  I’ll give it a sub par rating of 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  I just feel that my complaints listed above would make it more watchable.


Arrow-season-4-episode-5-Black-Canary-Green-ArrowARROW season 4:

Oliver Queen / Green Arrow – This year was certainly better than last with him taking up the actual title “the Green Arrow”.  I’m still waiting for him to be less Batman like though, and this is a small step in that direction.  With him becoming mayor of Star City at the end of the season I think it will open things up to a whole different area of corruption.  His flashback scenes were okay too.  They seemed more entertaining, but drawn out.  Now he’ll be headed to Russia somewhere for his flashbacks, and it should be his final year before returning to Star City.  Does this mean if we get a season 6 there would be no flashbacks?  Time will tell.  Either way, Stephen Amell has evolved in his few years as the character and I’m happy to see him continue to grow.  I’m now wondering if he will be more solo like in the beginning now that his team is gone.

Speedy / Thea Queen – The best choreographed fighter of the season, yet her character was lacking.  Arsenal was a much better sidekick, but Thea has grown on me.  I doubt her departure from the team at the end will stick, but it should for a while in my opinion.

John Diggle / Spartan – John is the best acting wise.  He’s the most believable as far as story goes, but at what point do you call it quits and make your daughter a priority?  I’m not saying all soldiers should retire, but clearly he and Lyla/Harbinger are career oriented and not thinking about the picture in the long run.  I guess it just bothers me because what if he and Lyla both die in the line of duty?  There are no family for the baby to go to.  It isn’t like he can just call his traitor of a brother Andy Diggle to care for her.  Speaking of Andy though his and John’s story arc this season was great.  The emotional torment John is going through will be interesting to see how it carries into the next season, as he is no longer part of the team.  Please pray that his ridiculous helmet is gone next season.  Magneto would be pissed.

Dinah Laurel Lance / Black Canary – Oh Dinah (sorry I refuse to call her Laurel) why are you dead?  This was the biggest gut blow to the fans ever.  There are a half a dozen other characters who could have been offed permanently, and yet they pick one of the two key characters to kill?  I’m so outraged.  Half of the season I wondered who the death would be and from a writing standpoint I realize why they did it because it was the least expected death.  But after that it seemed like I didn’t care much about any of the other characters.  This was a big mistake for the show.  She finally earned her place and was making that connection on certain levels with Oliver, but we will never get to see that.  I’m hoping that Flash resetting his timeline will alter this as well (as much as I hate people coming back from the dead).  This is the one case where it needs to happen.

Felicity / Overwatch / Proxy – Quite possibly the most annoying aspect of this show.  I loved the old Felicity who was quirky and nerdy.  Now she’s become whiny and too serious with only moments of the old Felicity coming through.  I was worried about her being shot and them turning her into Oracle, but instead we got a smart move with making her Proxy.  Sure they don’t call her that, but that is who she is in the comics, at least if you look at her father, situation and skills.  Of course the only member other than Green Arrow himself left on the team is her, so things are about to get more annoying for season 5…. unless they get more interesting and create a divide between the two characters.  I don’t think I’m the only one who doesn’t want these two together.  But maybe I’m just upset about Laurel.

Curtis Holt / Mr. Terrific – He’s a good replacement for Felicity as he and Oliver working together could be the beginning of a Justice League alliance.  He may not have donned the moniker Mr. Terrific yet, but he’s got all of the ingredients to make it work (T-Spheres, Decathlete, smart).  I also have to add in that he may have Vibe topped on the nerd reference factor, and I love it.

John Constantine – I was extremely disappointed when Constantine was cancelled, and am appreciative that the CW is using him when they can.  My only complaint was that he should have been in the show again to help against the main villain’s magic.  Still, the one episode we got with him was wonderful.

Vixen – I’ve yet to see more than one episode of the Vixen animated shorts that take place in this universe, but she fit in quite well.  The effects used for her powers and her persona made her a total badass.

Damien Darhk – Neal McDonough just keeps getting better and better.  I can’t remember the last time I saw this guy in a role he can’t totally rock.  Damien Darhk was definitely the biggest threat to date.  Even without his magic he still had H.I.V.E. afraid of him.  His over the top plan actually made sense if you thought about his reasons behind it.  I’m not saying I want to see this in real life, but for a comic book show he’s the villain we need.  That being said, now that he is dead I hope we get a more grounded villain next season.  We have to get away from “oh Star City is going to be destroyed” or in this case the world.  I want to see something a little more original, but regardless of the repetitive results Darhk brought something new to the show.

The Calculator – I actually wouldn’t mind seeing him as the main baddie next season.  Think about it.  He knows who the entire Arrow team is.  He’s proven to put himself above others, and he’s a major threat.  Put all of that aside and we still had a great few appearances this season.

Double Down – I list him as a major villain because he was one of my favorites this season.  His introduction made it feel less  grounded and more supernatural, which is what it needed in the beginning.  The effects were done well, and his acting wasn’t all that bad either.

Anarky – Now here is a serious psycho.  I’m not sure about why he’s such a decent fighter, but the core of his character is solid.  They stayed pretty true to the source material with him, and I’d like to see him return as well.

Returning villains or small roles: Cupid was back and as psycho as ever, but still a great villain.  Bug Eyed Bandit returned with an equally threatening and decent role.  Brick‘s return wasn’t anything spectacular, in fact it was unnecessary, but was for a purpose.  Murmur was downright creepy and awesome, though how the hell does this guy eat?  Will someone please explain that?  The Demolition Team and Lady Cop Liza Warner appeared but were easily forgettable by the end of the season. Amanda Waller’s death was a surprise but a good move.  The Black Canary II was made for the show and only a plot point to keep the viewer wondering if Laurel was still alive.  It was a cheap trick, and though I didn’t like it it helped show Laurel’s legacy.

In conclusion Arrow Season 4 was better than the previous season, but is still lacking something that makes it unique.  Because of the issue I mentioned above with one of the characters I am rating it lower than I want to, but feel it is more accurate that way.  If that decision hadn’t been made I’d have rated it higher.  So for now it gets 3 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.


So there you have it.  DC is clearly spread out with their shows and have established a decent sized universe hopefully for years to come if the writing inconsistencies improve.  Overall the DC tv shows for 2015-2016 season score a 3 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think of the shows?  Comment below and stay tuned for my Marvel tv show review.

 

 

 


Review: Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice_Through_the_Looking_Glass_(film)_posterIn the second of my two reviews I felt it necessary to write this one for two reasons… 1) I don’t understand the critics of this film, and 2) Lewis Carroll was a huge inspiration in my own writing career.

That being said this review won’t have spoilers, but will be brief and to the point.  Critics have panned this movie so hard, and I just don’t get why.  Did they go into it thinking it was going to be an interpretation of the novel “Through The Looking Glass” and came out realizing it was nothing like it and had an older Alice?  Did they not see the previous movie and understand that Wonderland is supposed to be a little bit weird?

That’s exactly what this movie is.  It’s weird.  It’s strange.  It’s colorful.  The original two novels were all of that and more.  This isn’t the second part of Alice’s story, it’s the 4th.  This and its predecessor are sequels to the original novels where Alice is grown up now.  I give Hollywood credit for making an original story, and I can honestly say this was refreshing.

Would I see I again in the theaters?  No.  Would I tell you to see it in the theaters?  no.  But I do think anyone who enjoyed those stories growing up should rent it when it comes out on dvd and blu ray.  Don’t see it if you haven’t seen the previous movie because it might make you feel as though you missed something.  It references the other movie and doesn’t stand on its own if you’re unfamiliar with its predecessor.

I think what made me like this film, other than seeing it with my daughter, is that it goes out of its way to explain why certain characters are the way they are.  Why is the Queen of Hearts so bitter?  Why is the Hatter so mad?  It does this and more while having a good moral to the story.

It isn’t a movie to be taken seriously.  It’s a movie about friendship and fun.  A movie about dealing with real life stresses and escaping to a fantasy world.  It emphasizes that you cannot change the past, but only deal with it, learn from it and make the best of what’s to come.  And most of all it teaches that no matter how bad family feuds can be there will always be a way to patch up those things and find a common respect and love for one another.

The novels were better than the two sequel movies, but I feel as though the sequels fit into and respect the source material.  I give Through The Looking Glass 3 out of 5 sCrypt logos for decent story, character and visually stunning effects.


Review: X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men_-_ApocalypseThere’s been a lot of negative talk about this latest installment in Fox’s X-Men movies, but then again there always has.  The negativity comes from die hard X-Men fans who are angry that Marvel doesn’t have the rights at the moment.  I’m a die hard X-Men fan of old, and while I see the critics’ points, I also look at it from a writing standpoint as well.

Could the movies be better?  Absolutely.  Should the core characters be closer to their comic book counterparts?  Yes… 100%.  But I finally feel like while stupid mistakes or downright ignorance of the source material is done on the writer/directors parts, I believe they are listening and trying to make it right.

You see, there are a total of 9 X-Men movies in this continuity now with more in development.  The earlier ones left a bad taste in many people’s mouths who are comic fans.  The last movie (Days of Future Past) hit a semi-reset button on most of what is wrong with the series.  While Apocalypse is not perfect by any means, it certainly is the first movie truly headed in the right direction with the characters.

Here is my spoiler filled review of the movie, so if you just want to know my overall rating, then skip to the bottom paragraph.  I will discuss the continuity issues and fan problems, but the positive as well.  Feel free to comment.

Professor Charles Xavier: James McAvoy continues to be an excellent choice for the leader of the X-Men, and for the first time we really get to see him do battle with a foe on a mental level.  His fight inside Apocalypse’s mind caused a few geekgasms.  My only question here is if Apocalypse is the one who causes Xavier to lose his hair, then did Xavier and the X-Men face off against him in the original continuity?  If so, then who was the main team of X-Men?  Where was Stryker and company in that timeline?  It’s a plot hole that needs to be ignored to make the series complete, but I can’t see past it as a fan wanting to know what happened to his hair originally.  I did love the full circle with him and Magneto here.  Their speech at the end was verbatim the same speech between the two in the first X movie.

Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto: Michael Fassbender owns the role again far surpassing what his predecessor did.  He felt like Magneto in this movie, and as one of Apocalypse’s horsemen I feel he was utilized well.  Here comes my issue.  We already know Quicksilver is his son.  In this movie he has a daughter, but it is not Scarlet Witch.  At the very least, Bryan Singer and company could have done what Marvel did in the Avengers AOU and used her quickly.  It would have upset less fans and been a nice way to acknowledge what Marvel did to their quicksilver.  In other words, when Magneto’s daughter died, all they had to do was claim that her name was Wanda and make her powers something other than talking to the animals, but more akin to her comic counterpart.  It’s stupid I know, but I just did not like that this whole chapter of Magneto’s history was basically thrown away.  I do however like that Magneto has been set up to be a hero character as one interpretation of him in the comics had him as leader of the X-Men.  With Wolverine departing the movie world soon he’d be a great new focus.

Raven Darkholme / Mystique: Ugh where do I begin?  When Rebecca R. played the role I was upset that she had basically no dialogue and was just a henchman of sorts.  But Rebecca played the role well in terms of Mystique’s sexuality and her cold hearted killer personality.  So WTF is Jennifer Lawrence doing?  Her version of the character was barely blue in this movie.  She had none of that cold heartedness.  And unlike the fact that I liked Magneto’s heroics, I do NOT like her as a hero at all.  She has no place with the X-Men unless for some deceptive purpose.  I just don’t buy her in the role, and it is ashame to see what the original trilogy’s Mystique has been downsized to.  (Not downsized in terms of role, but character)

En Sabah Nur / Apocalypse: Oscar Issac stole the show.  Apocalypse was my favorite villain in all of Marvel comics.  That being said I took issue and pleasure in seeing him on screen.  Issac portrayed easily the best villain in the X-Men series of movies yet.  He had purpose and echoed much of what he was about in the source material.  I would have liked him to have been a little bit bigger than the other characters, but his intentions overshadowed all of that.  His abilities to manipulate and rearrange matter was done well, and his recruitment of the horsemen was not far off from how he did it in the comics.  Actually if anything the way that he altered Archangel especially made more sense in the films.  My issue comes with his technology.  Because of rights issues Fox ignored the fact that his armor and pyramid tech was of alien origin.  Well okay, maybe they didn’t ignore it, but failed to mention it.  After all they did not say anything about it.  The audience is just led to believe he had it whether by his own creation or something else.  Also in the comics we never really see how his lazarus chamber worked, so the transference of his soul to a new body was acceptable where I was originally upset about hearing this.  My problem is less with Apocalypse and more with his horsemen.  None of them seemed dedicated to his cause (as evidenced by their betrayal or abandonment of him).  Except Archangel of course.  I don’t know how they will top him as a villain because you really got to feel his threat.  His look and voice also made me happy and I was not pleased when I’d first started seeing and hearing him in trailers.

Hank McCoy / Beast: While I like Nicholas Holt in the role, and that he finally doesn’t look like CGI garbage like he did in First Class, I absolutely despise the lack of his true form.  He’s still taking a serum to make him look normal, and then when he does become Beast again he’s in a flight suit most of the time.  Still his character seems close to the comics, but I’d like to hear more obscure quoting of classical literature, as this version of Beast is more of a genius and less of a genius with classic appreciation.

Moira MacTaggart: Other than being happy with her role in this movie I was glad that they set up the introduction of her son.  Singer has said that he’d like to make Proteus a villain in a future film, so it was only logical to acknowledge she had a son here.  My issue is that her son was also the son of Charles Xavier in the comics, so why not just mention that he had a son with her?  or since the father wasn’t in the pictures does that mean that she was indeed pregnant with Xavier’s son the last time we saw her?  I guess time will tell, but it was a good way to bring her back into the fold.

Scott Summers / Cyclops: FINALLY!  Cyclops isn’t a sissy.  In the original trilogy he was overshadowed by Wolverine and portrayed as a crybaby.  Here we got the classic leader of the X-Men with his actual 90s comic book costume at the end.  I’m overly happy with this version being introduced.

Jean Grey: I feel like we’ve been down this road with Jean, but she was ruined by Last Stand and even her appearance in Wolverine 2.  This gives her a fresh start and a younger face to go with it.  The chemistry between her and Cyclops is perfect, and there was even that nod to her and Logan’s connection as well.  I was surprised that they decided to foreshadow the Dark Phoenix aspect of her character.  I’m not sure I care to see the Dark Phoenix saga portrayed on screen as I was never a big fan of it, but after Last Stand I could see why they’d want to leave the possibility open.  It also was thrilling to see her final attack on Apocalypse in her Phoenix mode.

Ororo Munroe/ Storm: Haircut?  I hated that hair in the comics and I do in the movie, but for the 80s it made sense, but the true focus is that finally we got a true Storm.  Halle Berry was awful in the role.  I can’t say that enough.  But Alexandra Shipp has brought life back to the character from her accent to her origins.  I can’t wait to see more of her.

Psylocke: Another character that was ruined in the Last Stand was finally brought front and center in the right way.  While her role was not a huge one it was meant to introduce her to audiences in a way that she will be remembered.  Olivia Munn is not only gorgeous in the role, but she did a great job, and they left it open for her to be there for Deadpool or any other number of X roles.

Alex Summers/Havok: One issue that the new timeline creates is one of age.  Havok in this movie has to be 40 years old, while Cyclops is 20 years younger.  It does happen sure, but they fail to address why aging doesn’t seem to affect the mutants on a normal level.  All that aside I think his death was chosen wisely as it set up his younger brother’s role as leader and with a purpose.  RIP Havok and your terrible 80s mullet.

Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver: Okay so you still have a really bad outfit (semi acceptable by the end of the movie), but every second he spends on screen is pure pleasure.  Quicksilver stole the show again.

Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler: I was surprised to see Nightcrawler work so well in this movie.  He was as much comic relief as Quicksilver and was a very crucial part to the team.  And like Cyclops seeing him in his 90s comic garb brought moments of joy to me.

Colonel William Stryker: I think his role in the movie felt strange.  Aside from the fact that in the first Wolverine movie Stryker was older looking he didn’t age much here.  For the mutants I can accept that sort of, but he’s a normal human.  All that aside I want to know how he got a hold of Logan for the Weapon X program.  Mystique had grabbed him in the guise of Stryker at the end of the last movie, so did she just deliver Logan to Stryker’s doorstep and tell him to go all Weapon X with him?  There is a flaw here that I’m not sure is worth talking about because it really doesn’t affect anything, but as a viewer it’d be nice to know.

Warren Worthington III / Angel / Archangel: As angel I felt he was more fun to watch, but we didn’t get his wealthy background here, which was a little upsetting.  That is one thing that Last Stand got right.  Angel’s transformation into Archangel was cool to watch, as it visually stood out as a memorable scene, but it’s as if Singer has a problem with the color blue.  Like Mystique and Beast, Archangel never gets his blue skin.  At the least I’d have liked them to make him paler, but instead we got some strange tattoo like strands on his face.  Also disappointing was the decision to kill him off.  He was badass in the fight scenes, and I’d have liked to see him in an X-Force movie at some point.  Too bad.

Jubilee: Knowing that this was going to be in the 80s Fox had the perfect opportunity to utilize this character, and while she had a decent amount of small role screen time we never actually saw her use her abilities.  Hopefully they correct this in the next one, but the decision was probably made to reduce the amount of overcrowding of characters.

Weapon X: Yes! Yes! Yes!  We will be getting an R rated wolverine movie and this was the perfect setup for classic wolverine.  For the first time we really got to see him go on a berserker killing spree and all the animalistic rage was let loose.  Even the Weapon X head gear proved that some semblance of the comic pages can come to life.  Now to hopefully see him in his suit at some point.  My question is how much did Jean reveal to him in their brief mental bond.  She said she helped him remember, so is this Wolverine knowing who he is or is he still Logan looking for his past?  Time will tell.

Caliban: The decision to include him in the movie was wise, and though he didn’t get enough screen time they definitely portrayed him correctly as far as powers go.  The question I have is that since he can sense and track other mutants why didn’t Apocalypse take him with them?  It seems he was tracking his horsemen recruits, so were they returning to Caliban after each portal jump?

CAMEO ROLES: Stan Lee appeared in the most serious cameo he’s ever done, and with his real life wife too.  It’s always a pleasure to see him in these movies even if forced in at times, but he didn’t feel forced here and worked well.  Dazzler was on the cover of a record album, but I am still holding out hope for Taylor Swift or someone to make a cameo as her at some point.  The Blob kept with his original trilogy storyline in that he was in a fighting circuit.  We don’t see much of him other than his defeat, but got the classic Blob spandex and all, so it was a welcome addition and well placed.  Pestilence, Famine, War, & Death were introduced in the beginning in ancient Egypt and while not much was shown of them and their abilities it was a more dedicated set of horsemen than Apocalypse got in the 80s.  This brings to question why they were so much more dedicated and if Apocalypse was the first mutant, then where did these 4 get their powers?  Were they too mutants or did he create them much in the same way that he enhanced the others’ powers? Sentinels appeared in the danger room sequence which makes one wonder how and why Xavier kept some of the mutant hunting robots, but it was still a cool cameo.

That end credits scene: The man from the “Essex Corporation” was collecting samples of blood.  Weapon X’s was the vial showed here so we can conclude a few things… 1) Mr. Sinister aka Nathaniel Essex will be a villain in one of the next movies.  He is a character known for his genetic tampering.  With Logan’s blood this can only lead to one conclusion… Hugh Jackman is said to be retiring from the role after Wolverine 3.  I’ve no desire to see them recast this role, but this would be a way to do it… however the best way to do it is to introduce X-23.  In the comics she is Wolverine’s clone/daughter.  It would still give a wolverine character and not negate all that Hugh has done, since he afterall was the man practically carrying this series.

Where do they go from here?

This is an important question, so here’s some thought.  There is still plenty they can do.  We know there is going to be a Legion tv series.  Deadpool will be teaming with Cable in the sequel of the former.  X-Force is in the works, presumably with the team: Deadpool, Cable, Psylocke, X-23 & Gamit?  Perhaps that is how Sinister will be brought in as a villain.  Of course a Gambit movie is also in the works, which I wonder what can be done here.  We still have the Brood, Dark Phoenix saga, & Shiar (Singer has stated he wants to take the X-Men to space).  And then there is the Savage land that has been unused, but perhaps can be the base of operations for Sinister.  And could (going out on a limb here) the Avengers Infinity War bring a merger of different Earths where we get an Avengers/X-men crossover?  Actors on both sides have voiced interest.

Final analysis: X-Men Apocalypse is not perfect by any means, but it does help to bring in some people who’ve been so hateful of this series because they were die hard fans.  It has also replaced X-Men 2 as my favorite of the whole franchise (Deadpool being the exception, as nothing will touch that anytime soon at least in the Fox-men universe).  With a threat that felt genuine, the introduction of characters true to the source, and a story that kept viewers surprised and on edge, I give the movie 4 out of 5 on my ratings scale.  What did you think?  Comment below and thanks for reading.

 


Review – Captain America: Civil War

Captain-America-Civil-War-25Wow.  That’s really what I can say.  While I don’t think this is the best Marvel movie to date it rounds out the best trilogy in film in my opinion.  There is not much that I can find wrong with the movie, and anything that would be considered “bad” is really nitpicking by someone who doesn’t enjoy movies.

Do I even need to say that it easily makes one forget that Batman vs Superman DOJ came out last month?  It does.  After watching this I almost forgot entirely about that movie, and it was one I also enjoyed.  As usual I’ll break it down by characters and it will be filled with spoilers, so if you want my honest rating without that scroll down to the last paragraph, otherwise let the spoilers begin.

Steve Rogers/Captain America/(Nomad?) – Yes I included Nomad as one of his identities because he basically gave up the shield, and even said in his letter to Tony that he’d always been a “wanderer.”  Chris Evans shined once again.  I’m glad the rumors were false about his death like in the comics, because despite me really liking the characters who could/would take over the Cap mantle, I don’t really want to see anyone but him in that role.  #TeamCap is there for a reason.  My only problem is his line to Tony about “Bucky was my friend.”  The most logical response was Tony’s “So was I.”  Cap was wrong in his delivery here, but in the heat of the moment we often don’t let our brain think about what we are saying before saying it.  To me it still comes off as a big screw you to Iron man who has been there more for Cap recently than Bucky was regardless of history.

Tony Stark/Ironman – Like Chris Evans in his role, Robert Downey Jr is superb as Stark.  He has motivation and good reasoning for his side of the argument. #Teamironman might not be all that just in their haste to sign the accords that Tony believes need to happen, but he honestly feels guilt for the lives lost, whereas the opposing faction shows little of this.  I am happy that RDJ delivered the line about “I don’t want to give up.”  It further cements that Marvel most likely won’t recast this role anytime soon, nor should they.  Here’s for hoping Ironman 4 comes along with a proper Mandarin.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow – Scarlett Johansson has gone beyond her obvious attractiveness and really showed audiences that more of this character is in demand.  Her fight scenes were breathtaking.  In fact, every scene with Black Widow shined as much as the main two characters.  From the fights to her switching sides as you would expect her to she kicked ass all the way!

Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier – Sebastian Stan is on par with the Winter Soldier.  While the last movie showed him slowly realizing what had been done to him, Civil War focuses on him dealing with it all.  He’s a tortured soul, but shows little remorse when it comes to what happened to Stark’s parents.  There is little in the way of an apology, which I felt would have at least shown his morals shining through.

Sam Wilson/Falcon & Redwing – I never liked Redwing’s “mental connection” with Falcon in the comics, so the interpretation in this movie made sense.  Falcon has become one of my favorite Avengers to watch on the screen as I feel Anthony Mackie loves the role.  The use of his wings as shields also foreshadowed what could happen as him being a future Captain America.  Even if he doesn’t I liked that they did this because it pays homage to the comics.

James “Rhodey” Rodes/War Machine – Again I’m reminded why Don Cheadle was the perfect replacement for Terrence Howard.  While Howard seemed arrogant and boring in the role, Cheadle has always showed character.  I liked his take on how many missions he’d flown, and that this was his first real crash.  Despite his injury he affirmed he’s not giving up anytime soon because he believes in the cause.  It shows that no matter what he fights for what he believes in.

Clint Barton/Hawkeye – Okay Clint, I have a serious problem with your placement here, but not because I didn’t think you were awesome.  On the contrary, this movie needed Hawekeye.  His entrance was unexpected and I loved the role he played, even if a small one.  My problem is he doesn’t seem to care much about his family.  At one point he even admitted that he needed to get away.  Well, now he’s on the run from the authorities, so what good did that do?  Marvel either needs to make him a full time Avenger or a family man.  One doesn’t really work with the other, and even Tony alluded to that with his relationship with Pepper.

T’Challa/Black Panther – Newcomer Chad Boseman was a total badass.  We even got a brief origin story with the mantle being passed to him once T’Chaka was killed.  While they didn’t say T’Chaka had been running around in Wakanda as the Black Panther they didn’t need to.  His son T’Challa was the focus.  My question is how long he will be able to hide the refugee Avengers and still stay allied with the main group.  Talk about playing both sides in the end.  His reasoning is decent, but it was really unclear where he stood in the end.  I’m now more eager to see his solo outing.

Vision – Not much can be said except that I hope Paul Bettany continues on in this role for many years.  Every scene with him was fun to watch even when not in combat, and I loved that we got a glimpse of what he feels for Wanda.  He also mentioned that he didn’t know exactly what the Mind Gem was in his forehead.  It seemed to fascinate and frighten him.  He operates on logic which made sense that he was on team Ironman, even if the logic was flawed by the lack of details on the rushed government program.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch – Just how old is she supposed to be?  Cap almost belittles her by calling her a kid all the time, yet she’s proven to be a complete asset to the team.  Yes, she made a few mistakes along the way, and some of those caused death.  She’s forced to struggle with this ability that goes beyond anyone’s in the current Marvel movie Universe.  I really think she will be one of the people who will pose a threat to Thanos as no one can really compare at this point.  I’m glad we aren’t going to get the classic spandex costume she wore in the comics, because this goth version sits perfectly in a modern day world.

Scott Lang/Antman/Giantman – Poor Scott turns his life around and becomes a hero, gets his criminal history expunged, and now is on the run again.  Seeing him as an Avenger and back as Antman was fun enough, but his decision to grow into Giantman made it that much more enjoyable.  That whole scene I could watch over and over again, and I couldn’t help but laugh when he fell over asking if anyone had any orange slices.  I could imagine the toll on his metabolism would happen in real life, so it was smart to thrown the one liner in there.

Sharon Carter/Agent 13 – I still find it weird that Cap dates his ex girlfriend’s great neice, but who cares.  haha.  Glad we finally got to see her kick some ass briefly in the Winter Soldier fight scene.

Peter Parker/Spiderman – Tom Holland is my new favorite Spidey.  I never really enjoyed Garfield’s portrayal, and while I liked Tobey Maguire in the first two movies, he got too whiney for me.  This Peter Parker was easily the highlight of the movie.  I’m glad Marvel got him back.  From his wisecracks to his personality it’s spot on.  We even got his spider light at the end, which is something I never thought I’d see.  Oh, and anyone complaining about Tony Stark making him the costume that has eyes that move, well they obviously didn’t pay attention.  Parker addressed this when meeting Stark the first time about his senses being on overload.  It’s a new twist, but one that is warranted.  While he unmasked in the comics, I’m glad the Russo’s decided to eliminate that part of the story.  It takes away the risk factor of being a hero, and would sincerely hinder any future solo outing for webhead especially.  Another bonus is that Aunt May is now eye candy in the form of Marissa Tomei.

Brock Rumlow/Crossbones – I was shocked at his fate, but killing him off was a good thing.  No longer will Marvel have to hear fan theories about him killing Captain America.  His role was small, but smart.  I hate to see him not used again, but am glad to see him go if that makes sense.  He served his purpose already in both movies, and it would get redundant really fast.

General Ross – Hooray we finally get Thunderbolt back.  It’s only been how many years since Incredible Hulk?  My only surprise is that it took him this long to get involved.  Yes he mentions he had a heart attack, but that doesn’t seem like something that would keep him down for the better part of a decade.  It makes one wonder what he’d been doing in all that time.

Baron Helmut Zemo – Quite possibly the best and worst marvel villain to date.  He manipulated the heroes into nearly killing one another.  That gives him the best title.  But then he tries to kill himself.  Bad move Russo’s.  It didn’t fit in with his motive.  And then we see him in the cell at the end and he’s back to being a clear thinking villain.  All they had to do was eliminate the two second pulling of the trigger and had him aim it at Black panther instead.  It would have made a little more sense to the character to me.  I do hope we see him again, even if he pops up in Agents of SHIELD.

Overall the movie was spectacular.  The impact on the Marvel Movie universe is both minimal and large.  It won’t really affect any of the solo outings coming up.  Doctor Strange, Spiderman Homecoming, and Thor Ragnarok probably won’t need to reference the events if at all.  Even Black Panther’s solo outing won’t really be an issue.  What WILL be affected is Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and the next Avengers movie.  Time will tell what is decided, but I can’t wait for more.  I give it a full 5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for being one of the best comic book movies to date.  What were your thoughts?  Were you team Cap or Ironman?

 

 


Review: Batman v Superman Dawn Of Justice

Batman_v_Superman_posterLet’s start by saying that the reviews from critics sent me into this movie expecting to be upset at something.  I was bothered by a couple of things, but before coming to conclusions on someone else’s word, go see the movie yourself.  Many of the complaints out there are flat out wrong and made by people who either weren’t paying attention to what was really going on or just like to cause problems by hating on something; or they just need to complain like so many do.

With that out of the way I will say that the movie could have been better, but by no means did it even come close to being bad.  What I thought would bother me actually surprised me in good ways, so let’s get down to my breakdown of what went on per character.  Yes, there will be spoilers, so if you want my numerical rating without knowing what will happen, then scroll down to the last paragraph.  Here we go:

Batman/Bruce Wayne: Ben Affleck is the best Batman and Bruce Wayne combo I’ve ever seen.  Yes, I dare say it is even comparable to Kevin Conroy’s animated character.  He embodied everything the character should be from extraordinary fight skills, personality, intimidation, detective work, and gadgets.  People complained that they didn’t like him using guns and murdering in cold blood.  Those people obviously didn’t watch the movie.  He did not once murder anyone.  Yes, there were a few guns he’d used while grappling with thugs, but it was in their hands, and it didn’t look like he was shooting to kill.  Even the guy he stabbed was still alive and you could see that.  There was a dream sequence in the dessert where he was using firearms, but it was also a nightmare of a future (similar to that in the Injustice Gods Among Us video game) where drastic measures had to be taken.  The bat armor and suit were perfect visually and integral to the story.

Superman/Clark Kent/Kal El: Henry Cavill picked up the character right where we’d seen him last.  You saw his struggles internally and that was important to the whole picture.  There were similar complaints with him which blows my mind because he chose the path Superman always chose.  He wanted to do the right thing.  Even when it came to the hero duel, he was trying to convince Batman to help him.  I was shocked at his death, but I’m glad it went down as it did.  I will post my thoughts on where that will take us towards the end of the article.

Lois Lane: Amy Adams seemed more like Lois Lane in this one than in Man of Steel.  It shows how important she is to the mythology, and my issues with the way Man of Steel was handled with her were rectified.

Lex Luthor:I was probably the most skeptical person going into this.  I never liked Jesse Eisenberg as the choice to play the villain, and while many people compared him to Heath Ledger’s Joker I’d say they just didn’t get it.  He is completely different than the Joker in every way.  No, he is not the Lex we’ve gotten used to since the Superman animated series in the 90s.  He is more of a cross between the scientist he originally was in the comics, and what Gene Hackman did in the original movies.  I am now in a position of wrong because my skepticism was blown away.  Eisenberg did an outstanding job and I am sold on this new/old take on Luthor.  Can’t wait to see more of what he will do.  My complaint would be that his overall plan (although well thought out) didn’t make total sense.  Did he have a backup plan if Doomsday beat Superman?  How would Doomsday then be stopped from destroying everything else?  It wasn’t explained, and there I see a fault.

Alfred Pennyworth: Like Affleck, I feel Jeremy Irons fully brought Alfred to life.  I’m eager to see the universe unfold as the older characters have already dealt with Batman’s rogues (as evidenced by references in the movie).

Anatoli Knyazev/KGBeast: although this was more of a glorified cameo, it was worth noting in the review.  He wasn’t exactly like his comic counterpart, but what was there was all that was needed.  Anything else would have been overkill.

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman: Is anyone still complaining about this casting because Gal Gadot kicked ass!  She was written into the plot well, and utilized as necessary.  Without her the whole movie wouldn’t have had the same outcome.

Perry White/ The Kents/The Waynes/Senator Finch/Mercy Graves: Small roles, but integral to the world.  I like that Perry was a bit grumpier than he’d been in MOS.  It seemed more his part.  The killing of Mercy was a shocker for me, but it shows Luthor’s determination to meet his goals regardless of the cost.

Doomsday: His origin may have been altered, but it was only done so slightly.  In some parts the CGI looked a bit off, but overall he made the perfect villain.  Here is my major issue with the film though.  The fight was superb, but the emission of those nuclear type blasts were overkill.  Doomsday is powerful enough, but Zack Snyder decided to demolish everything in existence.  The mass destruction is understandable, but it was too much this time.  Doomsday doesn’t need eyebeams and explosive pulses.  I did however really enjoy the character’s evolutions.  It could have utilized 1 more just to make him appear exactly like his comic book self, but I might be getting too picky there.  Despite my complaints I think he was done well for the most part, and by him killing Superman it made the whole struggle throughout the movie make more sense.

Summary: Both sides of the argument for and against Superman’s god like power were presented evenly.  The buildup to Justice League was paced out well.  The Easter Eggs galore weren’t unnecessary and thrown in there, because they play into the whole picture.  People need to realize that there is over 70 years of material to work with.  There have to be creative freedoms in making such a movie.  Even with that freedom, I don’t think Snyder strayed too far from source material (The Dark Knight Returns, Injustice GAU, Death of Superman, etc etc.)  If anything I’m more eager now to see where it goes.  Aquaman and Cyborg look awesome, and I can’t wait to see them.  Ezra Miller is a terrible choice for the Flash in my current opinion, but that could change.

Theories on where it could lead: I have many thoughts on where everything is going, and I could be wrong, but from a writing perspective I think this would be wise.  We know Wonder Woman’s outing will be a WW1 setting.  It’ll be good to have that back story.  Cyborg was definitely created with a Mother Box, not to mention the Parademons and Omega sybmbol in Bruce’s dream, along with Lex’s dark predictions inevitably lead to Darkseid being the villain for at least 1 part of Justice League.  How?  Did you notice at the end the soil rising from Clark’s casket as if some antigravity field occurred?  I feel that Darkseid may be using Superman’s body as his earthly host.  This would make sense as it is strong enough to withstand the evil being.  It would stray from the comics, but would work for the movies, and is a way to ultimately bring back the good Superman for part 2.  Who would part 2 involve?  Brainiac.  If you noticed inside the Kryptonian ship there were not only three circles of light in a formation, but the ship said that it contained knowledge throughout the universe.  Brainiac is already on Earth.  It just is a matter of time.  Flash was in Bruce’s dream as well.  The breach of time and dimensions has been addressed in DC’s tv universe.  It only makes sense that at some point DC’s answer to Marvel’s Infinity War would be to make a Crisis movie.  Crossing over ALL DC properties would blow minds and be a huge way to even the Marvel/DC competition.

In the end there are many ways this could go.  Dawn Of Justice could have been better in very few ways, but it also could have been much worse.  I give it an 8 out of 10 on my rating scale.  What were your thoughts?  Theories?  Complaints?  Comment below so we can discuss.

 

 


Day 3 of #Authorlifemonth : 5 star read

day 3

For day 3 of #authorlifemonth I’m posting the last book I reviewed at 5 stars.  I don’t have much time to read lately as writing takes up most of my time, but I do get to enjoy a good audiobook, and this whole series has blown my mind.

Brad Thor’s Act of War is one of the best of the Scot Harvath saga.  *****


NY Times Best Selling author, Bob Mayer, and his legacy

Bob Mayer & GusI’ve been asked countless times about which authors I look up to, and while I could give the typical responses, I’d be more honest by narrowing it down to one who has crossed multiple genres in his writing.  Bob Mayer is an accomplished author of Sci-Fi, thrillers, and informational works.  Because of the influence he’s had on me I’d like to review some of the novels that really made me want to write, particularly his Area 51 and Atlantis series, but others as well.

Realizing that all my readers may not be familiar with Mr. Mayer, I reached out to him with a little Q and A.  Despite his busy schedule he took the time to answer a brief interview.  The questions I asked were based on things I wanted to know as a fan and author, but also what makes him so unique.  Here are his responses and following that will be my reviews of his works, as well as links to more info on him.  My questions are in bold.

1) At which point in your career did you decide you wanted to get into writing?  What was your inspiration?

Bob: I was living in the Orient studying martial arts and other than that had some time on my hands. So I began writing; I had no thoughts of being published. I just wrote.

2) Your Green Beret experience shows in the way you write certain things (Military terminology etc.).  Did a lot of what you did help to inspire the thought process of your story concepts? 

Bob: I use a lot of my Special Forces experience in Write It Forward, where I apply it to the world of being an author. There’s two sides; the creative side (process) and the business side. I think an author has to integrate the two in order to be successful.

3) You’ve done everything from military thrillers, to science fiction, to historical, collaborative and informative works.  Which genre is your favorite to write?

Bob: I’m leaning more and more into speculative fiction. I don’t think I’ll be going back to military fiction as I have a lot of titles there.

4) You’ve collaborated with Jennifer Crusie on a few books now.  The both of you seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly in that it really feels as though it is seamless work.  How does working with someone else differ than your normal approach and time constraints?

Bob: You need trust. And it helps if you have different strengths and allow the other person their expertise. Going back to what I said earlier, a key is to know your own process and then understand the other person’s process.  I work with my wife on everything and she is quite brilliant.  The last group at my Write on the River workshop got a glimpse of that when she worked with them for a while.

5) Your Area 51 series is just one of your notables on the New York Times Bestseller list, and continues on through the Nightstalkers series.  Since it seems (after the latest Nightstalkers) that you are linking together it and the Atlantis series, do you plan to do so with the original characters as well?  There are places as a fan I still would have liked to have seen Mike Turcotte and Company tackle or answer. 

Bob: I don’t think I’ll dip back into the original Area 51 world.  I have linked a lot of series though with my new Time Patrol books: first, the Nightstalker team evolved into the Time Patrol, so that links those three books; then I have the Cellar, which links those two; and lastly, I have the concept from the Atlantis series, where there are parallel Earths that are battling. Essentially in Time Patrol, they have to keep another time line from changing out timeline and wiping us out.  And even with that, I’m bringing in the Rule of 7 from my Shit Doesn’t Just Happen: The Gift of Failure books. So I’ve really connected a lot!

6) Speaking of Area 51 I know a while back you were working on a screenplay and movie rights for it.  Is this still something in the works or is there another Bob Mayer title coming to theaters or TV in the future?

Bob: Right now that seems dead in the water. I have a screenplay written by the guy who wrote Alien and Total recall and worked on Minority report.  Maybe interest will be renewed.

7) Dave Riley and Horace Chase have finally met in your Green Beret books.  They are worn soldiers who stand the test of time.  What are some books, movies or authors that have stood the test of time for you, either as entertainment or inspiration?

Bob: It’s hard to believe that my first book was published in 1991. I age my characters—Dave Riley is now retired from the Army. And Horace Chase—well I won’t say what happens to him in my last book The Green Berets: Chasing the Son

8) You do a write on the river and have your own publishing company now (Cool Gus Publishing).  Other than getting your past catalog from pen names out in the open again, it seems like your goal was/is to help others along the way.  Do you plan to expand Cool Gus?

Bob: We’ve actually contracted Cool Gus. At one point I think we had 16 authors; now we’re down to 7. We have to focus. Our goal now is to get 2 or 3 well-established traditional authors and help them go hybrid. We have the expertise that they need and make that transition very easy for them as we do all the work and they just have to write and get final say on every step of the process.

9) Every hero needs a sidekick.  You’ve been an inspiration for writers and fans, and are a hero from your military background.  Tell us about your sidekick dogs.  They are beautiful pets.

Bob: Gus and Becca are English Yellow Labs. He’s her uncle and we got them from the same breeder on Whidbey Island.  They actually have been a tourist attraction in Whidbey and everywhere people come up to the Jeep when I get out because they both just sit there, Becca in the driver’s seat and Gus in the passenger seat and are very calm.

10) What are you working on right now and what are you planning for future releases?

Bob: I just finished a draft of Burners, which will be out 6 October.  I’m very excited about it because it comes out of the best idea my wife and I have had; we started it four years ago and it only all came together this year. It’s the first book in a new series and I’m already outlining the follow-on book.  It’s post-apocalyptic, about a society in Puget Sound where society is divided into four classes based on life expectancy.  And it’s all run by Dealer, a super-computer. I don’t want to say much more, but I’ll have the pre-order up soon and more information on my web site at http://www.coolgus.com

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area51Reviews: Instead of focusing on the individual novels, I’ll touch on the series I’m reviewing as a whole.

Area 51 series: Originally Mayer wrote this under his Robert Doherty penname.  Area 51 follows the adventures of Special forces officer Mike Turcotte and Dr. Lisa Duncan.  This is the series that made me really want to write.  It made me enjoy reading more than I already had.  Mayer’s visual descriptions and knack for unraveling ancient and more modern mysteries make these all a compelling read.  Each book deals with a threat, but continue through until the overall plot is revealed.  I remember waiting for the next books to be released while reading these because I couldn’t/can’t get enough.  After the original series story was completed he began anew with his Nightstalkers series.  New characters and situations in an alternate world are presented here.  Despite being science fiction, both series are believable and a lot of fun.  His next novel begins the Area 51 Time Patrol books and will be out later this month.  The books in order are: AREA 51, AREA 51 THE REPLY, AREA 51 THE MISSION, AREA 51 THE SPHINX, AREA 51 THE GRAIL, AREA 51 EXCALIBUR, AREA 51 THE TRUTH, AREA 51 NOSFERATU, AREA 51 LEGEND, NIGHTSTALKERS, NIGHTSTALKERS THE BOOK OF TRUTHS, NIGHTSTALKERS THE RIFT, NIGHTSTALKERS TIME PATROL, TIME PATROL BLACK TUESDAY

Atlantis Series: If you plan on reading the Area 51 books then make sure to read this series as well before you get to the Nightstalkers.  I won’t say how, but they do tie in at some point, so it’d be better to familiarize yourself with them.  Plus, like Area 51 I find this series one of the best series of all time.  From characters to plot to outright unexpected twists and turns there isn’t a rating high enough to give.  The books in order are: ATLANTIS, BERMUDA TRIANGLE, DEVIL’S SEA, ATLANTIS GATE, ASSAULT ON ATLANTIS, BATTLE FOR ATLANTIS

Psychic Warrior and Project Aura: This really makes you wonder about what the government is working on behind closed doors.  Astral projection always intrigued me, but this series takes it to the next level.  It’s been years since I’ve read these, but they stick with me to this day.  I highly recommend them.

Agnes and The Hitman: Co-written with Jennifer Crusie, this book appeals to male and female audiences equally.  Romance, action, and humor make this feel like a true mob story that’s a hell of a lot of fun.  The dynamic that Mayer and Crusie have makes the reader smile and laugh out loud at times while still giving a thrill ride full of adrenaline.

chasingGreen Beret series: Despite having worked for the government alongside various branches of military service I had no particular interest in reading military thrillers.  My respect for our military goes beyond words, so I gave it a try, and again I couldn’t put it down.  While I felt the series started a little slow the characters really drove it home.  They are relatable and very human with decisions that push them to the limits.  Each installment is better than the one before it, and I can’t wait to see where it ends.  The beauty about these characters is they age as the books were written over years.  Although the situations in the earlier books might be dated by events in real time, that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.  What I mean is younger audiences might not be able to relate to having anything other than touch phones etc.  The novels begin in the early 90s and the latest was just released a few months ago.  The novels in order are: EYES OF THE HAMMER, DRAGON SIM-13, SYNBAT, CUTOUT, ETERNITY BASE, Z, CHASING THE GHOST, CHASING THE LOST, CHASING THE SON

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I’ve read a handful of Bob’s other novels as well, and hope to catch up on the few I’ve missed due to my own writing projects.  I’d be all day if I kept going on every one I’ve read, but you get the point.  Bob Mayer is an author you don’t want to miss.  No matter what your tastes in reading he has something for everyone, and also an informative selection of non-fiction books you might want to check out as well.

Have you read any of his works?  If so, comment below and share your thoughts.

More info on Bob and his books can be found at http://www.coolgus.com and http://www.bobmayer.org .  He can also be found on Twitter @Bob_Mayer.

I’d like to thank Mr. Mayer for his time and countless hours of great reads.  Keep up the great work, and I look forward to what’s still to come for many years.


Review: Ant-man

Ant-Man-71I’m a bit late on this one as I’d seen it weeks ago, but got tied up with multiple projects.  I’ll post some spoilers in here, so if you just want the basic review, scroll down to the final paragraph.

At first I’ll admit (much like I did with Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy) that I wondered how they were going to make a movie from a background character and make it work.  I have always loved the character of Ant-Man, but to stand alone in a feature film was another whole story.  I had faith in Marvel, and was pleasantly surprised with one major problem in story writing.  Here’s my breakdown:

Scott Lang / Ant-Man II: Paul Rudd did an amazing job.  He was a criminal with a purpose.  He stole in order to pay child support so he could see his daughter.  Sure this seems like something a derelict would do, and does, but in this case you could actually see Lang cares immensely for his little girl.  She’s his world.  Once he is unexpectedly in this micro sized world of Ant-Man it takes a lot for him to become a hero.  I like his struggles and lightheartedness despite the serious situation.  It was also set up for him to become Giant-man later down the line because of the fact that he was able to make it to the feared micro-verse and come back.  Supposedly there was an easter egg hidden in the microscopic world, but there was so much to take in I missed it.  The visuals were absolutely stunning.

Hope Van Dyne / Wasp II: Evangeline Lilly played the part well, and I echo her words in the mid credits scene “It’s about time.”  This is in reference to her becoming the Wasp, much like her mother before her but in an updated suit.  I have no problem that this skips over the whole original Wasp for the most part.  It makes sense in this movie universe.

Paxton, Luis, Kurt & Dave:  The Paxton character made sense and was a welcome part, but Luis and Dave seemed a bit too goofy for me.  Sure I know it was supposed to be (and IS) humorous, but I couldn’t take them seriously… especially Luis.  Kurt also bothered me because his accent seemed off.  They were fun supporting characters, but short of Paxton I could have done without the others.  They DO work in the lightheartedness of it all however, so its less a complaint than it is an observation.

Sam Wilson / Falcon: Anthony Mackie’s surprise appearance in the film tied it in perfectly to the rest of what has happened so far.  The fight between Falcon and Ant-Man was epic and a great tease to letting the fans want to see more hero vs hero… He not only setup Civil War in that way, but with Bucky and Captain America at the end it all fell in nicely.  Mackie’s character was the perfect choice to take the role here.

Hank Pym / Ant-Man I: Michael Douglas said a while back that he wanted to be in a Marvel movie.  I’ll admit at first that I was skeptical of him being Hank Pym.  Not because of his acting, but because that meant the Ant-Man I grew up with was going to be much older.  They appeased me however by doing some flashbacks.  We saw Peggy Carter and Howard Stark in the beginning of the film, and even Pym working along side a costumed Wasp I / Janet Van Dyne.  The passing of the torch was played well, and the reason for Janet’s absence was well written.

Darren Cross / Yellowjacket: I thought originally Yellowjacket would be the villain way back when this movie was still in development, but I figured it’d have been Scott Lang in the role with Hank Pym defeating him and making him realize the err in his ways.  While I enjoyed the way the character looked in suit and the epic final battle between him and Lang, I was really disappointed.  Here we got another repeat villain.  A bald mad scientist who is trying to take over a corporation by his own means, and becomes the villain.  We saw this in Ironman 1 & 2 practically.  We see it in countless other superhero films as well, so why did they go this route?  To me it felt lazy.  Were the effects and both Ant-Man incarnations not in it, this would have ruined the movie for me.  Darren Cross was too predictable and unoriginal for me.

Stan Lee: Probably the briefest cameo he’s ever had, but still fun to see his face.  This was for me one of his worst cameos though.  This is not a complaint at all.  I’m just stating that it wasn’t the best use of such an icon.

All in all Ant-Man was a fun ride.  Aside from the villain it felt like a fresh and original movie that still fit in with the rest of the Marvel Universe.  I can’t wait to see him link up again as an Avenger in Captain America 3.  Scott Lang is the new Tony Stark as far as wit and personality, and it’ll be good to see the onscreen interaction among them all.  Marvel does it again!  7 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins for a fun and visually stimulating time.


Marvel TV shows review: Daredevil, Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Daredevil-Character-Poster-Matt-MurdockI decided this year to review all of the live action shows related to Marvel Comics in one article, so it will be more brief, but will contain some spoilers.  If you just want my ratings then scroll down to the final paragraph of each break, which will be spoiler free.

First up, Daredevil.  What is there to say?  A lot, but so little.  To me, this is the best Marvel live action thing to date, and that is saying a LOT.  Never once have they nailed a character and realism as well as they had with this series.  It also opens up opportunities for so much more, and yet still pays tribute to that which is already established.  It connects the existing cinematic universe without using it as a springboard and does it tastefully.  So, on to the characters:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock is played by Charlie Cox.  From the acting, the abuse that the character takes both mentally and physically, and the way he perceives the world through his senses, you can really get a feel for what it is like to be in his shoes.  His first costume is on point with one of the comic versions, while his final costume and why he dons it are closer to what we all know and love.  Cox really takes us on the ride of not just knowing DD’s origin, but why he does what he does.  He’s not just a hero because he has to be… he’s a hero because he WANTS to be.

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin , played by Vincent D’Onofrio, is believable from the start.  This isn’t just Murdock’s origin as the hero, but moreso Fisk’s origin as the Kingpin.  The look into his childhood says a lot as to why he is who he is, and what he goes through in these 13 episodes shows us why he will become what he has by the end of the season.  He is cunning and powerful in more ways than one, and I doubt those bars will hold him for long.

Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, & Ben Urich: These three drive the series home, and while Foggy was quirky at times he grew on me.  Ben was absolutely outstanding and I wish we could have seen more of him in the future.  Karen proved that she will do what is necessary to survive, and support her friends.  Daredevil would not have been complete without these three supporting characters.

Vanessa & Wesley: Like the above 3, supporting characters I can’t stress how much these two were needed for Fisk.  Vanessa although falling a bit too fast has a dark side that is well balanced with a lighter side, making the perfect compliment for the lead villain.  Every scene that included Wesley was enjoyable because of his dedication and coldness.

Leland Owlsley/The Owl:  Bob Gunton always seems to play the same character no matter what his role, but his acting perfection in that role gave Owlsley the life he needed.  My only regret is that we didn’t get to see the full comic book adaptation of The Owl, but I understand why.  There was no room or need for him to become his better known comic half other than to serve the role he already did in the series.

Claire Temple/Nightnurse played by Rosario Dawson was utilized to the perfect amount.  She didn’t need to do anymore than what she was there for, and I’m glad that they got away from the romance between her and Matt that I thought was going to begin.

Stan Lee: Yes I have to include his cameo, because he’s the man. I can understand if you missed it but he’s there in spirit.  Behind the main desk of the Police office building there is a framed photo on the wall of who might be the chief of police or some retired police hero.  The photo is of Stan Lee in uniform.  His cameo and the avengers references were enough to make any fan boy smile.

Stick: Aside from the brief cameo we see by his partner Stone, Stick was crucial to the history of the man who would become DD.  His persona is countered by the Catholic Priest and I believe it is both of these things that shape our hero and allow him to know what is right and wrong and which lines to cross.

Madame Gao: There are many speculations as to her actually being the Crane Mother, and they are justified.  She knocked DD on his ass and barely had to break a sweat.  Then she claimed that she was from a place much farther than China, so the only thing that could be is another realm… not to mention the symbol that is known to be part of the Iron Fist background.  All of this aside, her role, and the brief Hand ninja appearance became ground work for the future of this series, and others to come.

All in all, I have to rate DD with a 10 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.  This is definitely NOT for young children, evident by the language and violence, but I think us adults needed something more mature to enjoy in this amazing universe.  Kudos to the writers, producers and cast for an outstanding job.

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Agent-Carter-02Marvel’s Agent Carter is our second review, and while I was very skeptical at first, I found myself surprised by this 8 episode series.  Here are the highlights:

Hayley Atwell breathes life once again into Peggy Carter.  From coping with the “death” of Steve Rogers to dealing with the sexism of the time, she proves herself worthy in so many ways.  With Edwin Jarvis and Howard Stark there to support her, she rises against the odds, kicks ass, and all while feeling real.

Doctor Faustus The Black Widow program prove to be the perfect villains for the series while The Howling Commandoes become a wanted sight to assist Carter.

Stan Lee once again appears as a guy getting his shoes shined, and again you can’t help but smile at his presence.

All in all I found the series to be unnecessary, but enjoyable.  The cast and setting were a decent escape from the norm, and it provided an origin to the organization that would one day be called SHIELD.  That being said, I wish this was a one shot.  There is no need to further tackle this subject in another miniseries, but ABC has officially announced season 2.  Overall I give Agent Carter 6 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.

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Marvels-Agents-Of-SHIELD-Season-2-posterAnd finally Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2…

It began with a bang, progressed on to more boring issues, then got interesting, but not necessarily great.   Then the ending came and the finale went out with a bang.  Here are some of the more notable things:

Phil Coulson has become less interesting, and while I’m a fan of everything Clark Greg does, I’m convinced the newly appointed director of SHIELD may have his days numbered.

Carl Creel/Absorbing Man was easily the BEST thing about this season.  He was given a mention in Daredevil as well, so I think the powers that be know his worth.  The special effects and interesting way that they made him appear (yes even with his ball and chain) had me convinced that this season was going to be absolutely amazing.

The second best thing about this season was the introduction of Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird.  She is what the SHIELD team needed to feel more connected to Marvel’s universe.  She’s an enjoyable character to watch and more likeable than most of the characters.

FitzSimmons is annoying on a whole different level than they were last season.  Fitz has become more likeable, but his memory issue seems to have been a bit overdone.  Simmons on the other hand; for the love of God, she needs to go.  There was no point to her even being there other than being a very annoying character.

Agent 33 is a mystery.  I’m not sure where I stand as of yet on her reliance with Ward, but could she be Madame Masque?  If she isn’t I dont see much of a point to her either.

Raina took a back seat through most of this season, but I like that they introduced her as the Raina character from the comics.  Sure she may have been a C-rate character, but the usage was done nicely.

Daisy/Skye/Quake is the primary focus of the season, and while she has been revealed as being one of the Inhumans, she is not up to her full capacity yet.  This needed to be done with Skye, because if not she’d be another person that would have felt forced if anything at all.  I’m interested in seeing her develop more especially since she will be on a team of powered people working for SHIELD next season (at least that’s what they led you to believe).

Cal/Mr. Hyde Definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects of the season.  He’s a bit nerdy, a bit psychotic, and a bit melodramatic, but I’d never in a million years have thought I’d see him in a live action adaptation.  While I hope for more known characters to appear, Hyde is what this show needs.  It is a less than perfect show, so why not use less than perfect characters that will enhance it?  He is exactly that but it works well.

Deathlok 2.0 is still meh.  I like Mike Peterson, but he is still not the Deathlok I want to see.  I only hope that this version of him will continue to evolve into what he should be.  We know they can pull it off, so they need to make it happen.  I’d much rather see him and mockingbird than the lesser inhuman people.

From characters, to Age of Ultron and movie/tv show tie ins, to the Kree and SHIELD rising and falling, this season had a lot going for it, but also a lot of room for improvement.  It has been renewed for season 3, but if they don’t do something interesting fast then it will get the boot.  I give it 5 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins for season 2.  There was enough to make me interested, but much to forget about.


DC TV Shows Review 2015: Constantine, The Flash, Arrow, Gotham

constantine-sezon-1-constantine-season-1-cover-okladkaAs with the Marvel TV review, I included all the DC shows I’ve been watching for review in this article.  It will be broken down into 3 sections: Constantine Season 1, The Flash Season 1, Gotham Season 1 & Arrow Season 3.  There will be spoilers, so if you’d like to avoid them, then scroll down to the last paragraph of each section for my ratings.  Also feel free to add your own thoughts/speculations.  Here goes:

First up is Constantine Season 1…

While I was familiar with Constantine I had not read the comics at all, so my knowledge was limited.  With any comic series or characters I always tend to research them.  So I did, and soon after I realized how much I enjoyed the character and setting of his world.  For DC this is a very unique world in which to delve, and I’m happy that they have.

The show began a little too cheesy in places for me, but I soon grew to really enjoy it.  The jumpy horror feel aside, the characters and appearances of other DC universe things made it worth while.

John Constantine could not have been done better IMO.  Matt Ryan is the perfect person to play this role, and he set the tone for what the show was.  With a supporting cast featuring Chas, Zed, and Manny (an angel), they work well protecting the world from supernatural threats, all while making it an enjoyable watch.

Papa Midnight was an extremely fun villain to watch, and I’m glad that he was a recurring role.

Unfortunate however were the uses of Felix Faust and Dr. Mist.  Faust’s story was great, but I don’t feel they chose the right actor (though he did a decent job) to play the part.  I felt Faust should have been more intimidating, but that might just be me.  Mist (Nommo) was almost forgettable.

The only other comic book persona that was present was Jim Corrigan, who (as forseen by Zed), will one day become The Spectre.  To me he stole every scene and I’d love to see his eventual death and reveal at becoming that entity.

Other notable references were Dr. Fate’s helmet and Astra.  Both of which were utilized wisely for the fans.

In all, I’m upset that they cancelled this.  Well NBC did.  It appears as though there is a push from Stephen Amell and others to get another network to pick it up and include it in the “arrowverse”.  I don’t think it was given a fair run.  It took ten of 13 episodes to really establish what it was, and just when it got really interesting it was taken away.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for some sort of renewal, but for Season 1 I’ll give it 5 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.

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Gotham-season-1-FOX-poster-2014Gotham season 1 was equally frustrating and fun.  I love that they are tackling the origins of Gotham city, but at times it feels too forced.  Let’s break it down.

GCPD is the most incompetent police force on the planet, and Gotham just made it more unlikeable.  They are corrupt beyond belief, and yet somehow still manage to make you feel bad for them.

Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are the two likeable things within the department.  As partners they compliment and contradict each other well.  Two sides of the coin seem to come together and balance each other out.  Harvey pushes Gordon to do things a little less moral, while Jim pulls in on Bullock’s rebellious reigns.  Every scene with these two is what really makes this show enjoyable.

Bruce Wayne’s detective skills already surpass that which was shown in the dark knight trilogy, so he’s well on his way to becoming the man he one day will.  He is portrayed well and its fun to watch him develop. Alfred Pennyworth is oddly done here however.  While I like the portrayal, I’m hoping to see a more laid back butler soon.  He’s a bit too harsh for me but I can see it as he’s a standin father for young Bruce.

Falcone and Maroni are two sides to a mob war that have me constantly cheering for the former.  Maroni is unbelievable in his delivery and is somewhat offensive to any Italian.  He seems more wannabe than a threat, and I’m glad he met his fate.  Falcone on the other hand is the real deal, and while he leaves for better ventures, I feel we haven’t seen the last of him.

Easily stealing the show is Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot.  To see the rise of such an underrated villain is interesting to say the least, but it makes one of my least favorite Batman villains very likeable.  His struggles and how he comes to manipulate and in the end achieve his goals is one of the more compelling story plots going on in the series.  The same can be said for Edward Nygma “The Riddler”.  His final scene in the finale was a bit rushed in my opinion, and it almost felt like scenes were cut out before that, but overall he’s highly entertaining to the point of cheering for him (almost).

Now onto the parts I hate about this show, and I don’t want to sound sexist, but for the love of God, the females are horrible!  I don’t know what the writers are doing here.  In Batman the females are always the more likeable people, but they are shown as annoying and incompetent at the least.  Poison Ivy (Ivy Pepper) is the exception but she was shown little.  At first she felt forced, but it works the way she is used.  Sarah Essen also tends to work really well, as did Renee Montoya (and her partner Crispus Allen), but there wasn’t enough of them in the season to make noteworthy.  Barbara Kean, Leslie Thompkins and Selina Kyle are downright hard to watch at times.  Barbara seems like an immature college girl, Thompkins is an obsessive controlling person, and Selina is a snot nosed brat.  My skin curls when these three appear because they don’t at all echo their comic book counterparts.  And don’t get me started on Fish Mooney.  I hope she’s dead.  Jada Pinkett Smith is a horrible actress, and her terrible mannerisms are enough to make me want to puke.  Am I being too harsh?  No.  She doesn’t seem realistic, and while we are dealing with a non realistic show, it doesn’t matter.  She’s as forced as Maroni if not more.

But alas I digress.  Easily I can say that appearances by Mr. Zsasz, Harvey Dent, Lucius Fox, Copperhead, Richard Sionis, Electrocutioner, Amygdala, Jonathan Crane, The Graysons, and The Ogre were all well done, especially The Ogre and Crane stories.  Should I even mention the outstanding performance of Jerome (The Joker)?  He isn’t the iconic villain yet, but to get a back story is exciting.

My last complaint is that the visual effects are terrible, but these are purely budgetary restraints.  The Dollmaker’s experimental Frankenstein like person was only briefly seen, but it didn’t look believeable.  Neither did the people who were using the precursor to the drug that will one day be known as venom (used by Bane).  The CG just didn’t line up.

Was the show enjoyable?  Yes, but I don’t hold out much hope unless it stops feeling forced and starts focusing on the world they have to work with.  I want to see this last until Bruce becomes the man he once will, but for that to happen they really need to stop cramming things in.  An older Gordon appearing in the “Arrowverse” or finding the right story for Barry Allen to travel back in time into this series is a fanboy wish I’d like to see.  I’ll give season 1 of Gotham 5 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.  It is more interesting than annoying, but barely.

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Flash-Season-1-493x700Now onto something a bit more appetizing.  The Flash is a pleasant surprise worthy of any fan of the character, and I may go as far as saying it had the best season finale of any tv show I’ve ever seen.  It was emotional on so many levels, geektastic on so many levels, and the cliffhanger will make the summer months feel longer.

Grant Gustin IS Barry Allen/The Flash.  From his debut in Arrow last season to constantly proving he is right for the role, Grant has gone above and beyond any expectations for the character.  DC casting other characters in their movie universe is flat out stupid, because we’ve got perfection here.

Candice Patton as Iris West is not only a gorgeous person to watch on screen, but she really helped to establish the hows and whys of Barry Allen.  At times, she is naïve and slightly irritating, but she’s overall a likeable and great character.

The same can be said about Detective Joe West and Eddie Thawne.  The moments that they are on screen are perfectly executed.  My only complaint would be that Eddie doesn’t really convey a feeling of true “love” toward Iris until the final episode.  His exit was shocking to say the least, but after seeing him get pulled into the black hole I wonder if that means we’ll see him in some form as Cobalt Blue.

Caitlyn Snow and Cisco Ramon are bound to become Killer Frost and Vibe at one point (as foreshadowed and hinted at in the finale), and it Is great to see their destinies unfold.  Cisco, while a bit dorky, is perhaps THE BEST character on TV.  He is very relatable and doesn’t take his work so seriously that he’s a recluse.  That role is better saved for Snow, who has quite the (pardon the pun) cold demeanor.

Tom Cavanaugh as Dr.Wells/Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne is every bit what makes Hannibal Lecter and The Joker fun villains.  YOu almost want to see this guy succeed and continue to be a thorn in Barry’s side.  The way his story unfolded was unpredictable in details and I hope we see a lot more of Tom in the future. (yes, another pun)

Ronnie Raymond & Martin Stein becoming Firestorm is also a plot point that worked.  While Robbie Amell’s stiff acting as Firestorm leaves much to be desired, this version of a great character has a lot of potential.  My complaint would be that we need to see his true abilities of rearranging matter.  Otherwise he’s just another human torch with dual identities.

Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold is the same as Cavanaugh in terms of stealing the show.  He’s made to be much more than his comic book counterpart but in a respectful manner true to source material.  His often team ups with Heatwave and Golden Glider click well together and make for a threatening force.  I can’t wait to see where they take Cold.

Other villains who appeared in lesser but still likeable rolls were General Wade Eiling, Prism, Blackout, Mist, Multiplex, Simon Stagg, Plastique, Bug Eyed Bandit, Girder, Deathbolt, and Peek-A-Boo .  It didn’t feel jam packed with comic references and really gave the opportunity to focus on lesser known characters.  I like being introduced to them on some level because it creates more freedom for the show writers to bring to light some of these often overlooked villains.

The Weather Wizard and Gorilla Grodd especially were pleasant surprises that I didn’t think would be doable on TV (especially in the latter’s case), but I was proven wrong.  It wouldn’t be a Flash show without them.  Instead it would be more like the less than notable 90s Flash TV show.  Speaking of that… The 90s show was a childhood favorite for me, and while it wasn’t too true to the comics, I liked it because it brought one of my favorite characters to life.  So, when I saw that Tina McGee was going to return with the same actress, as well as John Wesley Shipp, and the ever awesome Mark Hammil reprising his role as The Trickster I was over excited.  Without crediting or discrediting the 90s series they made great efforts to pass the torch to this new show.

Rip Hunter and Jay Garrick also got shout outs in the finale.

From the crossovers and the buildup to what could be a potential Flashpoint Paradox storyline (look it up if you’re unfamiliar), I’d say we have a series that will last a decade.  The foreshadowing, time travel, and references to the Crisis could make any fan giddy.  I’m giving this show a 9 out of 10 with sCrypt Coffins.  There is room for improvement, but it isn’t far from perfection.

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Arrow-season-3-promo-posterFinally we get to Arrow.  This is the show that started it all and established the term “Arrowverse”.  While we still have yet to get the true version of Green Arrow and others, the cast is beginning to take a step in that direction.  The third season had its ups and downs.  At one point I even worried that The Flash was getting all of the writers’ attentions because Arrow slipped mid to late season in my opinion.  Then the finale came and while the final fight seemed a bit sub par, I think it ended on a high note for everyone.

Black Canary/Dinah Laurel Lance finally came upon her destiny.  Laurel was not just likeable this season, but badass.  And when she finally gave her “canary cry” I couldn’t help but smile at the greatness of it.

Ray Palmer/The Atom was introduced in a great way, and he even dubbed the city “Star” instead of “Starling”, but I’m not sure why that wasn’t mentioned again.  While he was awesome addition to the cast I hate what they did with his heroic side.  I don’t want to see an Ironman rip off.  I want the Atom that I know and love.  Of course I went through 2 and a half seasons waiting for the Black Canary, so I can hold out until next season to see the inevitable shrinking abilities come about.

Thea/Red Arrow/Speedy was finally given a usefulness.  She was pivotal to everything this season and with the departure of Arsenal, it’s nice to see her pick up the reigns.  Plus her outfit is perfect.

Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer had a less than perfect role, but it was substantial and a good enough set up to see what he will do now that he is the new leader of the League of Assassins.

Ra’s Al Ghul was no way near as good as Liam Neeson’s version of the character.  I feel that he and Nyssa were just a plot point used to turn Oliver into more of a Batman figure than anything else.  It was wrong and irritating every step of the way, but the Lazarus Pit and mythology surrounding the characters made up for it.

And of course with that mention I’ll rant about our hero.  When is Oliver Queen/Green Arrow going to stop being Batman?  He’s not Batman!  It frustrates me that the writers are taking the personality of Queen and making it something else.  My only hope is that season 4 now has the opportunity to correct this.

Which brings me to Felicity Smoak.  I love the girl, and she’s stunning to look at, but what a cry baby.  It seemed all she did was cry or sleep with someone different every episode.  The ending with her and Oliver seemed misplaced and I hope they start next season well, because this really felt like a series finale.  Diggle has become a favorite of mine, and I’m hoping that he comes back with an even fuller role, perhaps battling H.I.V.E. and bringing the team together again.

While Ted Grant/Wildcat had a nifty little arc it was also great to see other known characters crossover and make their debuts.  New additions to Arrow were: Komodo, Manhunter, Captain Boomerang, Brick, Cupid, Katana, and the mention of Damien Darhk who is bound to be the villain of next season.  There were also numerous references to Green Lantern that were made in both this and The Flash.

I still think Arrow is one of the best comic book shows on TV, but if they really don’t define who he is supposed to be in season 4, then what’s the point?   I’ll give season 3 of Arrow 6 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.


Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron

Avengers_Age_of_UltronReview season is just about upon us for TV shows, so I figured I’d kick it off with a review of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.  If you haven’t seen it, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating… unless you want to be spoiled.  Yes, there will be spoilers mentioned.  You’ve been warned. 🙂

Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr as (Ironman) Tony Stark and Chris Evans as (Captain America) Steve Rogers.  If you can’t see Civil War coming out of this, then you missed a lot.  Tony and Steve don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but Stark’s actions in this movie put them on separate paths toward a common goal.  RDJ was once again perfect as Stark.  In the comics it was Antman who had created Ultron, but they changed it for the movie.  Having Stark create Ultron made a lot of sense here.  It was done well overall and it brought out the character flaws this team had.  Tony had already created the  Iron Legion robo police force and his reasons for wanting to go further were justified.  Steve is still trying to adjust to modern times, so being left in the dark about such a bold move was not something he felt was wise.  The dynamic here was less about Ultron and the threat than it was about setting up Cap 3.

Chris Hemsworth shined as Thor.  More focus was put on the true power that he wields, specifically Mjolnir.  Thor’s confidence is almost a cockiness in his abilities and if Captain America almost lifting the hammer wasn’t bothersome enough to THor’s ego, then certainly Vision’s actions were.  Heimdall‘s brief cameo fit well and I like how they set up what looks to be Thor 3: Ragnarok.  Thor’s role here was to inform about the power of the infinity stones and the role they play in the universe.

Hulk (Bruce Banner) took more of a back seat for me in this movie.  Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal was spot on, and though the Hulk shined we got to see more of the struggle Banner has coping with his alter ego.  He accepts it less and fears it more than in the last movie.  So much so that he is solely responsible for helping Ironman develop the Hulkbuster (veronica) armor.  The presence of both Banner and Hulk were equally important this time, but I feel as though he was bullied a bit by Tony.  I was a little caught off guard by the sexual tension between him and Natasha, but I’m glad that they strayed from that.  Who knows where he ended up in the end.  Fury mentioned the craft MIGHT have crashed into the ocean, but you can’t help but wonder if it was all a setup for another Hulk movie (Planet Hulk).  I hope not as I don’t particularly like that story.

Scarlett Johansson has proven my initial thoughts on her in the role to be completely false.  I love her as Black Widow (Natasha Romanov), though I do have one issue.  Whedon could have corrected the lack of RUssian accent in the flashback to her ballet days, but he chose to ignore it.  I was pleased that we got a little more of her background though and everything that was hinted at in her prior appearances.  Her crush on Banner was strange to me, but then again I was blown away that her relationship with Clint was less intimate than I’d rightfully assumed.

Jeremy Renner really took the lead in this movie. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) was finally called his codename and it was fun how it was done and the reasoning.  I was blown away by the reveal of his family but it was a welcome change.  There needed to be someone with some kind of personal life and he being the choice made sense.  While Cap was the leader and Tony the funding of the team, Hawkeye was the glue that held them together.

War Machine (James Rhodes) and Falcon (Sam Wilson), played by Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie cameoed in important minor roles that by the ending you realize will become much more in the next installment.

Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) were perfect.  Aaron Taylor Johnson was a much better Quicksilver than the already likeable one that was in X-Men DOFP.  My only regrets are that he had to die because of the dual studios usage of the character.  In a battle like this however there are bound to be casualties, so I’m fine with the choice.  Elizabeth Olsen was both sexy and creepy in her role, and I’m happy with the portrayal of her powers.  The slight modification worked well and the hint at the twins’ past can be touched upon more if Marvel ever ended up with rights to X-men.  The twins beginning as antagonists and becoming heroes was everything I wanted to see with them.

Vision is both the evolution of JARVIS and the creation of Ultron.  His origin was similar to the comics and his presence and sleek look were a very welcome addition.  He was to this movie as Hulk was to the last, and earned his place quickly.  Although his solar gem atop his head was changed to the mind gem, the origin and use of that which was once in Loki’s scepter placed well.  It was a primary reason why he became so powerful and heroic.  As part machine with organic matter in him, he is able to wield it without being corrupted by temptation or control.  They even gave a nod to the romance that will be eventual between him and Scarlet Witch.

Samuel L Jackson is always great to see as Nick Fury, and with him and Maria Hill back on the scene with SHIELD it will be interesting to see where this takes the agents of shield series.

Finally, on to the villains…

Baron Von Strucker while having a minor role was a good starting point for the film.  Why not have a minor subplot with HYDRA before kicking into another threat?  I’ve welcomed this with the Spiderman movies and any characters that have a huge rogues gallery.

Ulyses S. Klau played by Andy Serkis had a story element that will directly lead in to Black Panther.  They mentioned Wakanda, he had his arm torn off, and he’d stolen vibranium.  It is an excellent lead in that didn’t feel forced.

Ultron was easily the highlight of this film.  James Spader gave off the vibe that this robot was like a child with a god complex.  Designed to eliminate threats, the cliched “robot thinks it knows better by eliminating the human race” felt fresh here because of Ultron’s personality.  There were hints of logic, and Tony’s personality that made him unique in many ways.  So much so that it almost felt like Tony Stark was the villain at times.

Thanos had only a brief scene.  While it was not anywhere near one of the better credits scenes, it was something that laid ground for the next installment.

What else is there to say?  From the plot to the set ups of the next few movies and where the characters go personally, there is a lot packed in to 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Stan Lee‘s cameo was my favorite of them all, and that says something right there.  People have complained that Age of Ultron is not as good as the first Avengers movie, but it’s an unfair assessment.  These movies are entirely different from one another.  I feel that this tied up a lot of loose ends and opened the movie universe up to so much more potential.  In my opinion it exceeded Avengers 1 in many ways while not surpassing it in others.  It isn’t a perfect comic book movie, but it is damn close.  I give it 9.5 sCrypt Coffins out of 10.

If you have anything to add, please comment below.


Day 31: Happy Halloween 2014

2005Well, finally the 31 Days of Halloween has concluded.  We’ve shared some insights, information, teasers, had a hell of a lot of fun, and it all leads up to tonight.  Halloween has always been a big tradition in the Pipito houses.  We’ve had neighbors working with us on building attractions for the kids in the area to trick-r-treat through, and while we no longer have time to do that sort of thing, we still look forward to creating our own costumes.

 

Here’s a collage of our costumes over the years.  The only exception is that this year, Roberta (of http://www.homemadedelish.com) will be Malificent, and I and my son will be Sabretooth and Wolverine respectively.  My daughter already had her dress up with daddy, so Dracula and Draculaura make an appearance in the picture above.

 

I’ve also included a picture of Dan and Tara, since Dan is the other half of sCrypt Comics.  He really goes all out being the artist that he is, so you can see the designs he’s done below.  You can click on either image to make it larger.

 

What are you being for Halloween?

dan