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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.

 

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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: 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 – 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?

 

 


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.


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.


Review: Marvel Universe Live On Tour

MARVELWhat do you get when you mix comic book characters with a circus, a motocross, and a martial arts tournament?  Marvel Universe Live.  This week sCrypt comics was able to attend the event here in Philadelphia.  The tour is currently hitting major cities across the United States, so check http://www.marveluniverselive.com for tickets and dates.  Okay, now let’s get down to the review.  I’ll avoid major spoilery material, as the plot to the show isn’t what I want to focus on, though I will touch on it.

Attending for sCrypt Comics was myself (Rick Pipito), co-founder and lead artist Dan Pipito, my 4 year old son and my 5 year old daughter.  When I say that this is a show for all ages, I’m not lying.  It is aimed at a younger audience, but has enough other fantastic elements that visually alone it is fun for anyone.

Sound Effects and Dialogue:  Okay, so some of the dialogue was cheesy bad, but not bad in a repulsive way.  Bad like in a comic book way, where certain things were done just to appease the audience.  Who doesn’t like a laugh?  Thor saying “It’s Hammer Time” was a bit much, but the campiness works as if it were a stage play.  The voices were prerecorded as the Lokicharacters acted the lines out (sort of in an exaggerated Power Rangers type of way).  The best part about the voices was that they literally sounded EXACTLY like the actors who voiced these characters in the 90s animated cartoons.  For any fan of those, and lets face it, who isn’t a fan, you will be quite pleased at the nostalgia it brings.  Sound effects wise, the lasers and explosions were as expected to be, and not hard to make perfect.  The soundtrack itself was also impressive, and JARVIS as the narrator to introduce the beginning of the show and after the intermission made a lot of sense.

Acting and choreography:  The acting was as mentioned above with an exaggerated movement of the characters speaking.  Although visually seeing this is somewhat distancing from real life, it has to be done to show who is the one doing the speaking.  I mean you can’t have a show like this and not; otherwise there would be dead space.  That being said, the acting isn’t what makes this show amazing.  I cannot express how exciting and action packed it Spideyis.  The fighting sequences were as if you were watching it on the silver screen, and while the punches and kicks didn’t literally connect with the other characters, the distance from the stage makes up for that.  Remember that scene in Ironman 2 when Black Widow kicks a dozen asses without batting an eyelash?  Yep… the actress playing Widow in this tour does those moves in the same manner.  Even the aerial fights (Green Goblin vs Spiderman) were well done.  What made my jaw drop was watching these stunt people drop a good fifteen to twenty feet after being “punched” off of balconies or catwalks.  There were no ropes in those sequences, so they freefell onto inflatable mats.  I can’t emphasize how much coordination this must take because one small misstep and they’d be splattered all over the floor.

Visual effects:  Right from the beginning we get Thor using his hammer to smash the Tesseract.  As he does, lightning comes down from above and the cube shatters outward in a dazzling display of particles.  From Ironman’s repulsor blasts, to Aldrich Killian’s fire body of extremis virus, to Spiderman’s webs, it was stunning and breathtaking.  The fight with the sinister six at the Statue of Liberty was especially hydraexciting because while there was a battle inside the head of the statue, there was more in the air outside, and the transition back and forth between the two scenes was seamless.  The highlight of the show was perhaps the Hulk element.  A green light focuses on Bruce Banner when he is getting angry, but when Hulk finally shows up he is a good ten feet tall.  The actor in this huge Hulk costume obviously walked on stilts but that was hidden by the design of the legs, and although his facial features couldn’t move, it was the sheer power you felt having him on the scene and destroying things, smashing and raging out.

Motorcycles and stunts:  Kudos to the man who is Spiderman.  He didn’t stay put for five minutes.  Most of his stage time was either from a high wire, swinging above or him doing flips on the ground, running up walls, and just being the best acrobat around.  Coordination and balance are both an understatement when it comes to him.  The motorcycle and vehicle rides were impressive with the space they had on stage, but what made me gasp was the unexpected cap bikebackflips and long jumps across “chasms”.  This part of the show alone could have stood by itself.

Stage:  The design of the stage, the shape of it, and its ever changing scenery leaves no room for complaining.  It worked well for every part of the show, and some of it made me wonder exactly how the hell they break down and set up after each city tour.  It’s a lot of moving parts.

Character usage and costumes:  While each character had an equal amount of show time, and looked great in their comic cloned costumes, there were some issues I had.  First, the costumes:  Ironman’s suit looked entirely too bulky, Red Skull’s head looked a bit oversized, and Captain America’s shield bent during one of the shield throwings, so it was a bit odd.  In the case of underwhelming characters, I choose three:  With all of the visual effects and build up of the show, I really wanted to see Storm go crazy at the end and summon some of her weather abilities.  I also wanted to see Cyclops unleash his optic blasts.  I got neither, and I don’t understand why.  Ironman had plenty of lasers going off, so a few shots of red light from Cyclops would have been easy to do.  Smoke effects and lightning were abound, so making some smoke look like a tornado or have Storm firing lightning or wind would not have been that much of a stretch.  To me, the lack thereof of these elements made me feel as if the creators of the show got lazy in the last five minutes and wanted it to end.  Captain Marvel also only flew Thorand fought.  In the scenes she was a part of, her comic book counterpart would have blasted the thugs around in seconds.  Instead they focused on her fighting, which made her a useless character.  If they wanted to focus on fighting, they could have used Punisher or someone else like that.

Concessions and Other attractions:  Like any of these type of shows, the ticket prices are through the roof at times, but worth it.  The price you pay to see this show goes to making it happen, so I can get by that.  What I can’t get by is how outrageous concessions are.  I’m not talking about popcorn or anything like that, because we all know at these events you spend ten dollars on a hotdog.  What I AM talking about are the plush toys and cheap gimmicks.  Light up toys that twirl around and the plush dolls look like something that you’d win at a carnival or buy at a five below, but the price of one costs between 20 and 25 dollars!  And the program would have been nice to have, but I wasn’t spending that money either.  Sorry.  I’ll go spend half the price somewhere else and get something four times as good.  One cool thing is that (and you can see from my pic of Dan and my kids) you can dress up as characters and stand in for pictures.  There are a few of these lying around, so you can take your pick of which to do.

photoOverall, this show is something new and fresh.  You’ve never seen anything like it before.  Sure, there are elements you have probably scene, but the combination of everything together is out of this world.  Marvel Universe Live on Tour is an event that you do NOT want to miss.  The sold out arena was proof of that alone, and I hope that this leads to many more similar incarnations.  A Marvel Universe Live sequel focusing on X-Men, Fantastic Four, or other heroes than the Avengers would have me grabbing tickets right away.  With over 32 characters from the comics it is a job well done.  For an arena performance, I give it 8 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.

What did you think?  Feel free to comment if you saw it.  I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts.

 

*MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE is a production of Feld Entertainment (C) 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Review: Avengers Confidential Punisher and Black Widow

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

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

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

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

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

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


Review: The Wolverine

The-Wolverine-wallpaperJust to state where I stand with the X-Men movies, I’ll say that I’ve been entertained thoroughly, but am well aware of the issues and flaws they have made.  X-Men 3 the last stand was bad because of the errors made, but in the end none of it mattered because Cyclops was never shown as killed, Jean is the Phoenix and has come back before, Xavier transferred his mind to another body that looked just like him, and the mutants that had lost their powers all got them back.  With X-men Origins Wolverine, we got a whole mess of things, and while I enjoyed the story, I felt they crammed way too much in, destroyed what we knew of Deadpool, and had terrible fake plastic claws with too much ridiculous CGI.  The other 3 movies I loved (particularly X-2 and First Class, the prior being my favorite).

So where does The Wolverine come in?  Let me tell you, I was really skeptical going in.  Origins left a bad taste in my mouth, and let’s face it the trailers for The Wolverine had me upset.  I didn’t want to see a completely CG looking bullet train fight, and With Silver Samurai being a robot?!?!?  WTF?!?!  Thankfully, I was wrong on BOTH of these accounts.  Warning there are major spoilers ahead, so if you want my rating skip to the last paragraph.

First with the negative:

1) VIPER:  Why?  Why? Why?  There was no need (I mean ABSOLUTELY NO NEED) to make her a mutant.  It served no purpose.  She would have been just as deadly as a toxin making biochemist, as she was made here.  Her powers were pointless, and other than the green outfit, she didn’t resemble her comic counterpart in looks.

2) Explaining the tapping of the healing factor.  Silver Samurai drilled into Logan’s bone to steal his healing, but it isn’t explained how that works or how it just reversed once those drills were removed.

3) Wait, there was no #3… Yes I said it.  If I had to pick something, I’d just say that I wish the 12 minutes of extra footage that would have made this movie a bloody rated R, would have been there, but I guess I’ll be okay with waiting for the DVD to see this.

My brother did point out that he did not like the CGI bear in the beginning, but I honestly didn’t have a problem with it because at times, it looked really cool, and I’m a more forgiving person when it comes to that.

And on to the positive:

1) Silver Samurai:  Although he was altered slightly from the comics (in this case, being an adamantium suit of armor, I LOVED what they did.  Yashida (the elderly one) was still this character, and I enjoyed that he used his technology to work with Adamantium, so much so that he was able to create a superheated lightsaber type sword to cut through the nearly indestructable metal.

2) Japan and the Japanese story ark:  Sure, they altered some things (Yukio was never a mutant in the comics), but what they changed served a purpose.  Yukio having a minor ability actually needed to be in this movie otherwise it wouldn’t have flowed as well, and certain things wouldn’t have worked (I.E. Yashida still being alive, and wolverine cutting out his own heart).

3) No healing factor:  This, along with the constant emotional drama he had going on, made Logan an extremely deadly weapon.  He killed.  He killed a lot.  He was very violent, and you got to see his berzerker rage kick in through most of the action sequences.  My spine tingles thinking of how awesome the fights were.

4) Shingen, Mariko, and the Yashida Jr.:  Okay, I’m getting lazy on the third one’s first name, but his part was so small it was only to serve a purpose.  The three of them seemed to be taken right from the pages of the comics.  Mariko was beautiful.  She looked almost exactly like certain artwork done of her in the past, and she was a good companion for Logan.

5) Jean Grey:  Yes, she’s back, only in his dreams…. or is she?  I’m wondering if a part of the dark phoenix transferred itself to Logan’s mind when he killed her in X3.  It seemed so much more than a dream at points, but helped to progress the story.  Also, her part was much larger than the simple cameo I thought she’d have.  Plus, I’ll never have a problem seeing Famke Jansen on screen.  Especially when her cleavage is so prominently shown.

6) Bone Claws: I have no problem at all with where this story left us.  He still has an adamantium skeleton, and is deadly regardless of whether his claws are metal or not.  I actually like that they did this because of it making him a little more human.  Besides, he did get his healing factor back, so why not give him a slight disadvantage?

7) The mid credits Scene:  Magneto and Xavier showing up with Trask industries plastered all over the screen?  Wolverine acknowledging that he wants to know how it is possible (referring to the results of X3), and Xavier telling him that famous line from X1?  Magneto as an ally?  This perfectly set up and led into X-Men Days of Future Past.

So where do we go from here?  Well, we know DOFP is coming.  We know they’ve announced an X-Force movie with Apocalypse as a villain.  My dream lineup for this would be (Cable, Deadpool, Archangel, Domino, and Cyclops).  They could fix the rest of the problems people have with the X films and assist in the reboot of the franchise alongside DOFP with this.  (Sinister taking Cyclops right before the moment of his “Death” in X-3.  Angel being taken by apocalypse.)  Downside is that using Psylocke wouldn’t be smart because she was already in X-3.  All that speculation and wishful thinking aside, where do we go with Wolverine?  Should it end here?  It would be a good last solo outing, but can they do more?  They left it open.  I’d like to see a movie that takes place between this and DOFP.  He and Yukio go to Canada and meet the Alpha Flight.  Together they take on Omega Red.  Sabretooth returns, and they address the lack of communication between the two in X1.  This time, he wants to kill Logan’s new friends (just like the team in Origins), and in the end Yukio stays with Alpha Flight.  It is the ONLY what I think they can go to top this movie or be on par with it, and I’d welcome it.

My analysis?  The Wolverine had great performances all around.  The story was solid.  It was a love story with PLENTY OF WOLVERINE RAGE ACTION.  And I think it made up for any mistakes made in the past, though like I mentioned, it is not perfect.  It Does however now kick X-2 into second place, and The Wolverine is now my favorite of the X-Films (even though it doesn’t feel like an X-film at all.)  I’m giving it an 8 out of 10, only for the reason that Viper still leaves a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended).  Kudos to Hugh Jackman, Fox, and all involved.  What did you think?