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Review DC TV shows 2016-2017 seasons

It’s time to review DC Comics’ Television properties, and how they fared this season.  I’ll keep it fairly simple this time around, but will take an overall look at the following: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow season 2, The Flash season 3, Arrow season 5, Supergirl season 2, Powerless season 1, and Gotham season 3.  I’ll also mention the crossover episode “Invasion” as a separate entity.

First up is Legends of Tomorrow Season 2:

dctvWhile the first season was subpar, the concept improved for the second season.  The good: The characters were all done well.  They were really the focus of what made this year work.  Finally seeing a version of the Legion of Doom was a much better antagonist than Vandal Savage the year before.  The cliff hanger at the end of the finale was also really great segue into making me want to come back for at least the premier of ssn 3.  The Bad: The writers of this show have no idea what they are doing with time travel.  They talk about time aberrations and how they are supposed to stop them from happening, but the characters have no problem sleeping with other people from different timelines or killing them.  Then they worry about one mistake that Stein made by talking to his younger self which created a daughter he never had.  I call B.S. that this would be their worst problem.  Overall: This show is just painful to watch.  I keep watching because the comic book nerd in me desires to see these great characters.  There are moments that make me smile, but overall it’s not something a regular audience of non-comic book fans would want to see.  If they could understand a little more about the potential of traveling through time, then it’d have potential, but otherwise it’s just sloppy writing.  I give season 2 a sCrypt rating of 2.5/5.

Supergirl Season 2:

Where to begin… hmmm… The transition of this show to the CW really hurt it, but I can’t just blame the station move.  The Good: Martian Manhunter, Superman, Mon-El, The Guardian and Teri Hatcher were the best things about the season.  Their stories were good, and though I had reservations about the Guardian, he turned out to be quite enjoyable.  The Bad:  Oh where to begin.  Fire all the writers.  It’s the only thing that will save this show because it’s downright hard to watch.  First off is the Alex and Maggie relationship.  I get it.  They are an item.  I have no problem with a lesbian couple in the show, but this was so forced and hard to watch it made me cringe.  They spent more time focusing on this unnatural progression into a gay relationship that it often overshadowed the main narrative.  I knew we’d have Maggie in some sort of relationship with a woman too, but it could have been anyone else.  They changed Alex (who showed that she had an attraction to men in the first season) to being an item with Maggie.  The two characters on their own could be great, but the way this was forced was so bad the writers seemed like amateurs.  And before anyone claims that I’m bashing the LGBTQRSTUV community, that is not the case at all.  I’ve got friends and family who fall into that category.  I would have the exact same issues if they did this with straight characters because it was so badly done and took center stage over the rest of the plot.  Then they cut Cat Grant out of the picture… then they had Supergirl beat Superman in a really lame fighting scene that went on way too long for its lack of showmanship, then they changed Cat from one political standing to another without explanation and tried to force a message, then they had Lynda Carter as an alien president without much explanation as to why they would not feel threatened by a president who had the biggest lie of any president (and that’s saying a lot nowadays), then there’s that weird ending which I can only assume means we are getting Doomsday on a TV budget when they couldn’t even do it right in the movies.  WTF writers?  Did anyone watch this heaping bag of horse manure before they decided to air it on television?  Ugh I’m done my rant.  Overall: When a hero like Supergirl with some major characters is worse than watching a show with bad time travel in its writing, there is something amiss.  I can barely give this second season a 1 out of 5 sCrypt Ratings.

Arrow Season 5:

Thank goodness this got better.  While last season was subpar, this season was my favorite by far.  The Good: Everything in the latter half of the season was great.  I was upset at first that they were going to do ANOTHER Black Canary instead of reforming Laurel of Earth 2, but when it turned out her name was Dinah Drake, I accepted it.  Hopefully we see her and Oliver as an item and keep that Arrow / Black Canary love story.  Deathstroke’s return and the whole final episode was very emotional.  Season 6 could quite literally be a reboot to the whole series with just Oliver and his son, but I’m assuming one or two people will escape the island.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Diggle, Dinah, Speedy, and Slade to have survived.  The Bad: In the beginning of the season it was very rushed.  They jam packed all these new recruits onto the team, and it took away from story.  Wild Dog was annoying at first, but I grew to really like the character.  Other than the expansion of “Team Arrow”, I didn’t find much wrong here.  Overall: There’s a lot they can do for the next season now that the flashbacks are all caught up.  I have no idea where they will go with it, but if they continue this approach it’d be more than welcome.  I give season 5 of arrow a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Invasion Crossover episode:

I didn’t think they’d be able to pull off crossing over Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, but they managed… sort of.  Obviously their budget had limitations, but the story worked and each character was utilized well.  If I had one complaint it would be that it really wasn’t a 4 part episode, because it began as a stinger at the end of the Supergirl episode, which was rehashed in Flash.  Despite this false advertisement in my mind, it was enjoyable.  I give it a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash Season 3:

This season had its ups and downs.  The Good: Jay Garrick and Wally West were very welcome in this season.  The Flashpoint approach was done well, and Killer Frost’s story really hit the mark; even if I wanted to see her become a full fledged villain at the end.  Who knows where that’ll go.  They hit an emotional level with the viewers too that won’t be forgotten.  The Bad: Savitar, while not all that horrible of a villain just looked really stupid.  I hated the costume, and wasn’t really sold on the true reveal of his identity.  The story felt drawn out with some great filler episodes to break it up, but that detracted from the continual plot.  There was a point during the Grodd storyline (which I loved, so it’s not all bad), that I almost forgot about Savitar’s threat.  Overall: They managed to clear up some of the cluster-F that was last season, and created a pretty decent flow.  The twists and shocking reveals really held it high on the standards chart.  If there is any season finale that sets up the premier of next season it would be this one.  I hope we see more of Jay Garrick and even Wally suiting up as the Flash would be great.  As long as there isn’t another speedster as the main villain I think Flash can do a whole lot more.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Powerless-S01E04-1080p-HDTVPowerless Season 1:

I’ll get straight to it.  The Good: If you enjoy the Office, and it’s type of humor, then this show is for you.  It’s funny and creative.  I loved the characters, and the fact that they are a little over the top.  It sounds like a dumb idea, but the show really worked for me.  It was a break from all the other comic book shows on television right now.  The Bad: Aside from very horrible budget effects and cosplay looking costumes, the only other bad thing I can say is that it was cancelled.  Overall: If I had to say that there was one show that paid homage to the comics, while feeling refreshing it was this one.  I only got to see the first 9 episodes, as the final 3 were pulled when the show was cancelled.  If more people gave it a chance, I think it’d have been a hit.  I give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have gotten a whole other point if not for the costumes and effects.

gotham-season-3Gotham Season 3:

The latter half of the season renewed my faith in the show, but it’s still got a lot of work to do.  The Good: The way the villains were handled, and Bruce’s evolution were great.  I feel like the creators are starting to get that Batman feel without the Bat.  I can’t emphasize more that The Riddler and Jerome/The Joker were the best thing all season.  The Bad: Penguin being gay isn’t the issue, but the way they made him during that story arc was flat out pathetic.  He didn’t even seem like the Penguin during that batch of episodes.  It makes sense to make him gay if they were going to because he’s one character that never really had a love interest in the comics.  I just wish they could have made him as good a character as he was before this season, and after Ivy saved him.  Gordon still seems flat to me as well.  Every scene with him and Lee made me cringe.  There are also inconsistencies in the writing.  Why did Freeze’s gun not kill his last victim, when it did so to everyone else?  There was also an opportunity to use the same casting for Ra’s Al Ghul as with Arrow to connect the shows in some way, but they failed to do that.  Overall: It’s starting to really feel like it fits in with the rest of the shows, even to the point where I wouldn’t mind having a crossover if it made sense to do so.  There’s a lot of things set up that make it convoluted, but can be handled well.  At this point I’m not sure how they can keep with the current path without a Batman in there, and though we saw Bruce suit up as some vigilante he’s still way too young and immature with his thinking to become the full fledged Bat.  Time will tell.  I give the season 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think of these shows?  What were the high and low moments for you and where do you see them going?  Comment below, and let’s discuss.  P.S. I realize I didn’t put Izombie in here.  The reason is because I just can’t watch it.  It’s appalling.  Maybe you disagree.


Review: DC on TV Fall 2016

I feel like I have to review all of these shows in one article, as they co-exist in the same universe.  Notice I kept Gotham separate, because it’s its own entity.  This will cover the first half of Supergirl Season 2, The Flash Season 3, Arrow Season 5, & Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.  This brings everything up to the winter finales of these shows, so I’ll review the latter halves later. There will be spoilers, so if you’d like my full review without those, then scroll down to the last paragraph of each section to get my ratings.

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First up….

SUPERGIRL SEASON 2 PART 1:

Kara / Supergirl is easily the strong point of this show.  Her and Martian Manhunter are what really makes it fun to watch.

Sadly Cat Grant has left for at least a little while, but she’s been replaced with a decent interpretation of Snapper Carr.  He adds a little more to the dynamic.

Miss Tessmacher and The President (played by Lynda Carter) were fun little throw backs to the Superman and Wonder Woman movies and show.  Plus we got a little Batman reference in there as well.

Superman was a very pleasant addition, and though I didn’t feel the actor quite had the look down, we ended up with arguably the best interpretation of Superman for the fans.  He was a cross between Chris Reeve and Tom Welling’s portrayals in their best moments.  Hopefully he’ll return for more.

Miss Martian and Mon-El are welcome additions though they are likeable to the point of making me wonder who they are going to turn bad or kill first.  Still each scene is done well with these two, and their origin stories are pretty close to the comic versions.

Scorch, Roulette, and Parasite were done very well with the latter two easily being the highlights.  Even though Parasite’s history was altered, I can’t tell you how excited I was to see a good version of him on screen.  Of course then they killed him off, so that’s a bit upsetting.

Jimmy /Guardian & Wynn – having James take on the role of Guardian was initially upsetting to me.  After it played out a bit I realized that he’s better off in this role.  Let’s face it… this isn’t the Jimmy Olsen we know and love.  He fits in the Guardian shoes better.  Wynn works well as a compliment here, so all I’d like to say is I hope they add some color to his outfit to reflect the comic counterpart well.  I am eager to see how Supergirl will take the news of these two working behind her back.

Lena Luthor – Something makes me want to believe her, but the Luthor name just has me skeptical.  Lena’s presence feels a bit off.  I think Lillian plays a better fitted role as the director of Cadmus, and that should be the focus… not redeeming the company’s name by Lena.

Speaking of Cadmus… we were given two great comic book villains that came off quite differently.  Metallo was perfect in every way, but Cyborg Superman was downright stupid.  First off…. it was stupid to call himself that because he isn’t Superman at all, nor does he have any connection to him in this universe.  Secondly he’s more of a Cyborg Martian at this point than anything else.  I know this is me being nitpicky, but the actor playing Superman could have easily done this as the real Cyborg Superman and it’d have been much better.  OR they could have turned Mon-El into him. Instead we were left with a pretty lame take on the character.

And finally we get to the part that makes me cringe.  When Maggie Sawyer stepped onto the scene I was excited.  I love her in the comics.  Her sexual preference doesn’t feel forced in the comic pages, and it really doesn’t here either.  My problem isn’t with Maggie.  It’s with Alex Danvers.  Her coming out wasn’t handled well at all.  Instead we got 5 episodes of her realizing she was gay, having very uncomfortable dialogue (it would have been uncomfortable were she straight too), and a drawn out forced plot line that fell short.  What does this mean?  It means the writers saw an opportunity to introduce a gay character, but didn’t take time to flesh out the scenes.  Instead of a natural flow we get a very forced, and very bad dialogued few scenes that are almost unwatchable.  I’m glad she’s found her true feelings, but the constant focus on this is too much.  It should only be a minor side thing, and not a primary focus.  This is SUPERGIRL after all.

Despite the villains being high points, and the appearance of Superman, this season has so far been bad.  I feel as though they didn’t take time to develop anything, and are just throwing characters and situations in without giving the viewer time to understand or adjust to what’s going on.  So far this season gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Let’s hope when it returns on January 16th they get their heads on straight and deliver some really fun and good writing.

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THE FLASH SEASON 3 PART 1

The Flash (Barry Allen) is struggling this season with his decisions to alter the past.  By creating Flashpoint, he managed to really screw things up for everyone.  What I don’t understand is everyone being pissed at him, but we will get into that down bottom during the crossover event.  Grant Gustin continues to shine in the role.

Iris & Joe – Sometimes feel out of place, but they are necessary over all.  I love their presence here, so while it isn’t always written well, they make up for it in their delivery and support of Barry.

Jay Garrick / Flash, Wally West / Kid Flash, and Jesse Quick in no way feel like they are overshadowing Barry.  They work well as compliments to him.  To me however, I want to constantly see Jay Garrick.  John Wesley Shipp is the flash I grew up with and the cameo of “his” earth’s Trickster (Mark Hamill) was really fun to see.  He’s playing Jay the way he played Barry back in the day, so for fans of the old series this is a very pleasing thing to see.  I can’t get enough Jay Garrick in this show.

The Rival, Magenta, Top, Reverse Flash, and Alchemy were good villains for an episode or two.  Though the Rival’s costume reminded me of Bale’s Batman, I still liked the villain he played.  My favorites so far are Mirror Master and Shade.  The first of those two should really have had some closer costume to his comic book one, but I’m glad to have finally see him debut.  Although Shade was a bit underwhelming, he was always a character I liked, so performance didn’t matter because the threat was there.

Killer Frost and Vibe – are now direct results of Barry’s altering of the timeline.  I love the slow shift of Kaitlyn into her evil half, but am a little upset at how much of a dick Cisco has become.  I understand him being upset at his brother’s death, but he was the comic relief on the show, and now we’ve barely got that.  It leaves us with a very serious season, that is great for story, but brings the tone too close to that of Arrow (which is meant to be that way).

Savitar is finally an interesting villain, but he looks like a Transformer.  I’m not sure why only Barry can see him, but perhaps its the speed his molecules vibrate at that makes this possible.  Will we find out if he really is a god like he says?  Time will tell.

Overall this season has become too dark.  It’s not bad at all and the additions were done well on the hero and villain side.  Flashpoint was touched upon in a way that worked nicely, but I hope we get some more lighthearted moments back for the second half of the season in January.  I give Season 3 part 1 a 4 out of 5 sCrypt rating.

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ARROW SEASON 5 PART 1

Let’s start with Green Arrow, Diggle, Felicity, and Speedy.  These staples in the series remain the way they have been with not much change to them.  From acting to character arcs I find them at times annoying, but overall enjoyable.  It is Quentin Lance that bothers me.  Grow up, man.  I get it.  You’re heart broken and on multiple levels, but the city can use you and that is a way to distract you from it.  The drunk issue is a real issue, but we can move on from that.  Plus how much longer is Oliver going to be able to have dual roles of Mayor and Green Arrow?  When does he sleep?  Oh, and Thea just decides during Invasion that she’s in?  WTF?  You’ll fight aliens, but not save your city?  Seems like they just wanted to throw her in there. (Still it was nice to see her back in action).

The new team is a mess. Wild Dog is nothing but a thug who doesn’t care for the rules.  How many times does this guy have to screw up?  Mr. Terrific needs to be more like his comic counterpart.  Instead, he feels like he’s just shoved in there to be another character.  Don’t get me wrong… I love what they are doing with Curtis, but as Mr. Terrific I don’t buy it.  Artemis?  Well who didn’t see that coming?  I only wish they’d have used Sportsmaster (since he’s her dad) instead of Prometheus for her betrayal twist.  Finally Ragman.  While I love that he’s on the team, I also hate it.  It’s almost like he could do it all himself because of his powers.  Why wouldn’t he have been more of a help during Invasion?  There’s just many plot holes with these characters because we were bombarded with them all at once.

Adrian Chase / Vigilante – is not quite like the comic version, and to be honest, I’m not sure I like him either.  So far he’s just someone who kills anybody in his way.  I mean he tried to murder team Arrow even though he knew they were doing the right thing.  The guy is a nutcase that makes all gun owners look bad.

On another note, Christopher Chance aka Human Target, was awesome!  He was used perfectly, and with no fanfare. I hope we see him again at some point.

Anatoli is the KG Beast in the comics.  He’s less of that and more of a mob boss here.  This is neither a good nor a bad thing, as the actor does well.

If anything, the awesome cameo from Dolph Lundgren should have been in the KG Beast role.  I was waiting for him to whip out some Rocky 4 lines, but for a role on TV, I have to admit, this was some of Dolph’s best acting so far.

Tobias Church was an intimidating villain who seemed to be too easy a pickoff when Prometheus was done with him, but the latter character gives me mixed feelings.  I don’t like the costume or the rehashed feel of this season, but I love that it all ties back to season 1 here.

Black Canary is back!?  Is this a result of Flashpoint somehow or the time travel in the Invasion episode?  Who knows?  But I really don’t care!  I Love that Laurel is back, and she better stay that way.

All in all this season is shaping up to be mediocre.  It’s better than the last season, but feels rushed at points.  I am eager to see where it all leads, and for the first time in the history of the show I want to know how it will affect everything.  I feel like there is way more on the line, other than crazy villain trying to destroy a city.  It’s a breath of fresh air in most places, while still stale in others.  Arrow Season 5 Part 1 gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.

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LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SEASON 2 PART 1

Firestorm finally has an interesting turmoil plot point where Stein is dealing with the existence of a daughter that initially wasn’t there.

Atom is all over the place.  First he’s Iron Man, then he’s a brief Captain Cold replacement, then he’s got a suit again, but there is hope… He mentioned that he needs to update the suit, so maybe we will be getting a more Atom appropriate costume soon.

White Canary must have every STD ever known because she just sleeps with every woman she meets in history, instead of focusing on her being the new leader of the team.

Heatwave is perfect the way he is, and always has been the stronger point of this show.

Both newcomers Vixen and Citizen Steel have been given interesting stories and their substance hashed out well.  If anything I enjoy this show for these two the most.

Rip Hunter just up and left?  WTF?  And to top it off now he seems to be just a movie producer?  It makes little sense at this point, but hopefully we get some resolution as to why he left in the first place, and why he has no recollection as a time master.

The Justice Society of America was placed well with decent representations of Commander Steel, Stargirl, Obsidian, Dr. Midnight, and Hourman.  Likewise was the utilization and return of Jonah Hex done well.

Damien Dahrk and the Reverse Flash are interesting villains in this.  With Dark Archer/Malcom Merlyn coming on board, it’s bound to be not just a legenday hero team up, but also a villain team up.  Throw in Captain Cold, and have Rory betray the team, and we’ll have a Legion of Doom that will be way better than the heroes they are facing.

Captain Nazi Baron Krieger and Quentin Turnbull were nice comic book cameo villains.  The zombies and historical figures were a welcome addition too, but I sometimes feel like this show only has to do with time travel so that they can throw stuff like that in there.  It’s called subpar writing, something DC struggles with recently.

In all I am enjoying Legends much more this season than the previous one.  It’s a little more developed.  While it shines in some areas, it’s still lackluster in others.  I think with the Legion coming on that it will become much more interesting the rest of the season.  I’ll give Season 2 Part 1 of Legends Of Tomorrow 3 out of 5 sCrypt logos.

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The 4 part crossover “Invasion”

I wanted to include this as a separate entity because it really remains a standalone miniseries without affecting much of the main shows’ content.

Invasion was a lot of fun.  Supergirl’s episode was really only a stepping stone.  Arrow’s 100th episode was filled with cameos.  Flash’s episode was filled with everyone hating on Barry.  And Legends’ episode was downright kick ass.

I have to address two major problems with this whole thing.  1) They are not the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, that’s the Avengers, but even if that wasn’t an already taken tagline, they still aren’t.  A true crossover of this scale would have brought Superman & Martian Manhunter to fight against the Dominators.

The Dominator storyline was actually a bit interesting, and the CGI was good in most parts.  My second complaint isn’t with that though.  It’s with time travel.  Everyone is blaming Barry for everything, yet these idiots in Legends are traveling through time every week and killing countless people in history.  How is their tampering not having ramifications?  Even Vibe said he felt guilty realizing he changed the past a little.  But this whole future Barry sending a message back to blame himself is BS.  If anyone’s to blame for screwing up the timeline while trying to protect it, it’s the Legends.  Every. Single. One of Them.

It was a kickass team up though, and I think handled better in the future (pun intended), that they can get rid of the problems I had with it.  On a side note that doesn’t affect my rating.  Don’t they all look like a bunch of cosplayers above?  Just saying.  🙂

Invasion gets 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  So what did you think of the 4 shows and the crossover?  Chime in with your comments below.


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.


Day 21 – Superior Inspiration

superInspiration for my novel GENETIC MORSELS and its spinoff EVOLVED MUTATIONS began before I could even hold a pen.  Since then it has grown to various different outlets.  Something about super human beings fascinates me.  In real life we’ve seen cases that have been unexplained.  Spontaneous human combustion, clairvoyants, feats of strength and survival that are above the norm.  The fact is that a great deal of the human brain is dormant.  We’ve yet to unlock the potential of utilizing the full capacity of our brains.

This is where my novel came in.  I wanted to present a story where the people in it had abilities in a real world setting and environment.  Imagine a generation of super powered people.  How did they get these abilities?  Is it the next step in evolution?  These are questions answered in the plot.

As I said my fascination began before I could hold a pen.  I grew up reading MARVEL and DC comics.  Unlike most comic book “fan boys” I typically don’t hate a movie or side with one company because I equally enjoy both.  I find the faults in these movies and tv shows, but the bottom line is MOST of them are very enjoyable to different degrees.

But Marvel, DC, and other comic book companies aside, there have been some other great movies that have a similar idea of putting the characters into a real world scenario.  Two of my favorites of these are UNBREAKABLE and CHRONICLE.

Unbreakable caught me off guard.  Back when M. Night Shyamalan was producing some really great content, he showed trailers for this film and they didn’t reveal a thing.  I had no idea what to expect going into this, and had no inclination that this was a “superhero” movie at all.  I knew nothing, and it turned out to be a really decent film.

I had a similar reaction with Chronicle.  I’d heard very little about it other than I needed to see it.  I knew this was a found footage superhero movie, and to me it was very refreshing (in ways different from Unbreakable and other movies).  If there is one superhero movie you should watch that is underrated, it’s this one.

When it came time to write GENETIC MORSELS, I had been swept up in endless hours of research.  As fascinating as superheroes are to me, my one problem is that comic books fail to recognize real world physics.  In my research I found the book THE PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES by James Kakalios.  It is presented by a number of physicists who answer such questions as “How much food would the Flash need to consume in order to keep up his speed” and “How would Spiderman’s webs hold him to buildings without ripping chunks off or dislocating his arms?”  They use scientific fact and equations to show the answers.  I took much of this into account while creating some of my characters and the situations they’d be in.

While EVOLVED MUTATIONS seems a little bit more over the top than the novel it came from, it too uses real world common sense to keep everything as grounded as possible.  Prime example?  Bernie Johns.  He’s a character I created who has the ability to generate fire from his hands.  The problem is that his skin is not immune to fire.  He is a horribly scarred and misfigured man with a good heart and tragic story.  Daryl Dartmouth is another character who has super speed, but gravity and friction makes a speedster have difficulty in stopping.  In real life while moving at over a hundred miles an hour you’d have to slow down first to stop.  Comics don’t take that into account.  Someone moving at that speed could easily slam into a wall if they weren’t careful.

So what are some of your favorite super hero or villain stories?  What kind of freaks do you find intriguing?  If you’ve read Genetic Morsels, who is your favorite character?  Make sure to hashtag #scrypthalloween in your response and you may win a copy of one of my books. 🙂

halloween

 


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.

 

 


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: The Flash (2014) TV Pilot

the-flash-2014-01The CW network has really convinced me of quality programing in one of its shows (Arrow).  Now with the backdoor pilot set in the Arrow universe, Barry Allen will become the Flash in his own show.  I was able to catch an early screening of the pilot that will air in the Fall, and let me say that it has already begun much better than most pilot episodes for a series.  Here is my review with minor spoilers included.  I will not spoil anything from the plot itself, so the spoilery info will be kept to the minimum.

Plot:

To cram all of this in 42 minutes is impressive when it doesn’t feel rushed.  We have Barry’s lab accident that gives him superspeed.  A reason for his suit to be what it is.  His mother being murdered when he was a child, and you most certainly see the reverse flash (Professor Zoom) in the chaos that kills her.  And a search for other meta-humans who have powers or abilities beyond normal.  Oh, and we also have the Weather Wizard (kind of).  Overall, it flowed well.  Some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy in parts, and the easter eggs seemed forced, but it was pleasing above all else.

Flash/Barry Allen: Grant Gustin IS Barry.  His presence on screen, really personifies the role, and though I was skeptical at first, I’m convinced they made the right choice.  I also really like how he analyzes the crime scene.  It is a unique take on visually showing what he has in his mind.  I hope we see a lot more of this.  As far as the costume goes… I’m glad that they referenced it was a prototype design.  This probably means that it will evolve over time.

Iris West:  Eventually Iris and Barry will be married (if we assume they follow the comics).  Like any CW show however, they had to put in a different love interest to make it soap opera-y.  That annoys me to a certain extent, and though I also hate when they change the race of a character, Candice Patton works well for this role.  She’s attractive, and has great on screen chemistry with Gustin.

Detective West: I’m hoping that they don’t make him another Detective Lance (from Arrow).  It seems like they might be doing that a little bit, but since Barry is a cop, we have to have some sort of veteran on the job.  He came off as a bit of a prick but in a good way.

Caitlin Snow & Cisco Ramon: Their roles seemed to be placed forcefully into Barry’s life, but I think it will work.  We already see a dark side to Caitlin (who in the comics becomes the villain, Killer Frost)… And Cisco has an overeager nerdy side, that you would only see in a protagonist character.  He of course becomes (Vibe) in the comics, and of all the justice league characters I’m not sure why they’d choose him as a focal point, but I guess they are trying to push sales with that character.  It’ll be interesting how their fates pan out.

Dr. Harrison Wells: Speaking of fates…wow, what a twist at the end.  All I’ll say is that his purpose is of a much grander scheme, and like Malcom Merlyn in Arrow, I think that he will serve a similar role.  And not to say too much, but his name is not really Harrison Wells, but I’ll bet that wheelchair really moves fast and I wonder how much tech Star Labs has gotten from the future (Yes, you comic fans might know what I’m saying here).

Henry Allen: Seeing John Wesley Ship in this role was awesome from the moment he appeared on screen.  Sure it is minor, but I enjoyed the original live action Flash series in the nineties, so to see the original Barry Allen in a Flash series again is nice to see a passing of the torch in a way.  I can’t wait to see what sort of person he will be as the series progresses.

Eddie Thawne:  Okay, so I originally thought this was Eobard Thawne (Professor Zoom) from the comics, but apparently he may be a great great ancestor or something.  I’m not sure, but all I know is he will definitely be connected to the twist at the end of the pilot episode.  It’ll be interesting to see his placement and purpose.

Clyde Mardon: He’s the brother of the Weather Wizard (Mark Mardon), but exhibits the same powers.  His role as villain of the week was only a minor part of the episode, but to see Barry racing against a tornado was pretty awesome.  With him dead now, I am only assuming that his brother Mark will take over the role of the true Weather Wizard.  The effects for the weather abilities looked pretty natural too, so it was quite welcome to see this.

The Easter Eggs (Hidden things):

Some seemed forced, but here are the ones I caught…  Caitlyn referenced something called the ATOM SMASHER… could this be a forshadowing to the character of the same name being on the series?  Of course there were the ZOOM tributes and presence in the beginning and end…  A cage in Star Labs was bent out of shape with a tag on it that said GRODD…  I only assume that we will get Gorilla Grodd in the show at some point soon….  In the futuristic newspaper that was during the twist at the end, one of the headlines said “Waynetech and Queen Consolidated”… It talked about a merger between the two companies, which means that Bruce Wayne (hopefully Affleck) may appear in one of these two shows at some point.  In the same paper, we also see a hint at Barry Allen’s fate during the Crisis.  Could this 10 year forshadowing be a way of thinking ahead.  Smallville ran for 10 years.  If The Flash has the same strength in its legs, could we get a series finale with a crisis storyline?  Or perhaps this could be tying in to the thoughts of a Justice League movie with similar plots?  Finally, I had to include Oliver Queen/Green Arrow.  It’s more of a cameo than an easter egg, but having him in it with words of encouragement for the new hero was really cool.  I’m not sure about his swan dive over the edge at the end, but hell, it was awesome to see that they will maintain that crossing over to some effect.

There are so many what ifs and what will happen running amok in my head right now as I still spin from a really delightful first episode.  There are flaws in dialogue, but for a first episode, this really hit the ball out of the park.  I’m going to give it an 8 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.  Did you see it?  If so, what did you think?  What are your speculations and hopes for this show?  Comment below.


Review: Arrow Season 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Review: Son Of Batman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Review: Justice League War

Justice-League-War-2013-Movie-PosterDC comics has put out some of the BEST animations dating all the way back to Batman The Animated Series.  Sure there have been a few duds here and there, but overall they’ve been nice.  Here’s how I believe Justice League War fared.  Be warned… There ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!  If you don’t want to be spoiled, scroll down to the final paragraph for my rating.

Where to begin?  How about voice acting?  Batman was a bit different than normally, but I liked what was brough here.  The new voice is easily catchy and works well.  Darkseid’s voice was perhaps the BEST in a long time.  I loved how the gravelly look of his skin sort of echoed through his booming voice.  Other than those two, I didn’t feel anyone stood out as different enough to mention or necessarily bad, so once again I give Andrea Romano my approval for voice casting.

Animation:  The new 52 outfits were okay.  I didn’t mind the modern look, but I did have a few things that bothered me.  Parademons looked like garbage, as did Cyborg’s initial design.  I wanted to know what was going on.  My son was confused as well, and said, “Daddy, that’s not Cyborg.  It’s a giant robot.”  My daughter, more fascinated with Wonder Woman wondered a few things as well.  One of her comments echoed in my mind before she said it.  Wonder Woman didn’t look all that beautiful.  I’m not saying she has to be a sex symbol, but Wonder Woman is supposed to appear pretty.  I get the amazonian warrior thing, but to me, her face wasn’t animated all that well.  At least not as good as past interpretations.  Some of the CG didn’t gel with the animation in parts of the battle, but overall the animation wasn’t bad.  I had more of a problem with the designs than anything.

Story:  Sigh.  I now know why people despise the New 52.  This was NOT a good story, and had many flaws.  First off, why was a Parademon dressed like Batman in the beginning?  It made no sense and was ignored throughout the rest of the story.  Then Wonder Woman again.  I know she’s new to our world and customs, but damn if she didn’t seem like an idiot.  If a tempermental and ill educated 16 year old (not an Amazonian leader) wore the wonder woman attire, that is what you’d have here.  Flat out?  She seemed like a moron with a teenage crush on Superman because he was “so strong.”  Green Lantern’s outbursts were another thing.  I know Hal Jordan is a sarcastic and cocky guy, but this version of Hal was not very bright despite his emerald glow.  Even with an untended broken arm, he was going to go back into battle against Darkseid… oh, and since when did he know how to set a broken limb?  I didn’t know that the green Lantern ring could perfectly set broken bones too.  Then there is Superman….

So Superman now just attacks people he doesn’t know?  Green Lantern and Batman were immediately perceived as threats, and he damn near tried to kill them.  Speaking of, he killed Desaad (the Emperor Palpatine look alike) with a neck snap.  WTF?!   And Billy Batson is now a punk thief who just so happened to shout “Shazam” as he was going to bludgeon a parademon.  Oh, right, I guess Captain Marvel (Shazam) is now just an accidental origin that suddenly knows how to be a hero.  Wisdom of Solomon or Wit of bad writers?  I’m going with the latter.  I wasn’t aware he could shoot lightning from his hands now either.

Flash, Batman and Cyborg were all good in the movie, but as I mentioned I hated Cyborg’s initial design.  Darkseid was less threat and more destroyer however.  I enjoyed seeing him destroy everything, but he seemed too powerful to allow a stab in both eyes.  Yes, they stabbed his eyes out.  Common sense would tell you that Wonder Woman’s first sword thrust into his right eye would also shish kabob his brain judging by how deep the blade went, but I guess Darkseid has no brain now either.  The other question is if Wonder Woman and the others don’t hesitate to kill the Parademons, why wouldn’t then they just kill Darkseid too.  They could have at this point… instead they stuck a crowbar in his other eye.  Ugh.  Should I continue?

Oh yes, then Cyborg (who basically is one of Darkseid’s computers at this point) closes the portals to Apokolips, but upon closing them, they act as black holes, but they only suck in the Parademons.. nothing else.  No cars, nothing.  Just Parademons.  The final battle against Darkseid was weak too.  I felt as though I was watching 7 Ghostbusters try to wrangle a ghost into a trap with their combined crossing of streams.  Oh wait, that’s another franchise.  And don’t get me started on that Super 7 comment.

Yes, I’ve become increasingly angrier as I’ve written this just thinking about it all.  Maybe it was because I just reviewed JLA Trapped In Time as well.  One GOOD thing that can be said is that there was a post credits scene that showed Ocean Master rising from the depths with a dead Atlantean in his arms.  I guess this means we are getting a New 52 shared dcanimated universe now.  I am eager to see an Aquaman stand alone animated movie that follows this up, but I really don’t care to see this League again on screen unless something is done to correct the monstrosity that was War.

I feel as if DC has hired a bunch of high school kids to do their work at this point.  Poor dialogue and a shoddy plotline scream inexperience and lack of care.  Call me extremely disappointed.  3 out of 10 sCrypt coffins is all I can give this one, and the animation is really why I rate it that high.  What did you think?  Did you agree or do you feel my review is too harsh?