The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Posts tagged “Marvel

Think, Sip, Write: ep 56 – Marvel vs DC

In this episode of #thinksipwrite, my son Tony sits in for Roberta as we talk about all things Marvel and DC. Who is the better comic book universe and why? What are your thoughts and favorite characters?

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Review: Luke Cage season 2

luke-cage-season-2-poster-1107525Luke Cage continues to be one of my favorite Netflix marvel shows.  This season took what made the first season good, and made it better.  It doesn’t drag as much, and the story continued to draw me in.  Could it have been a few episodes shorter?  Sure, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t chock full of good writing.

The use of the characters was executed well to where the viewer can feel a connection with them all.  Bushmaster, Nightshade, Shades, Misty Knight, and Maria Stokes (Dillard) all served an equal part of the plot.  Some were set up for more future usage, but the most interesting part is how Luke was left at the end of the season.  Will he become a villain?  It’s doubtful, but it sure as heck looks like he’ll be going down a darker path.

I refuse to say much more than this because it really summarizes how I feel about the season.  One thing I can add though is the episode with Danny Rand showing up really has me excited for Iron Fist Season 2.  In the meantime, I’ll be happy with Luke Cage and give season 2 of his show 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What were your thoughts?  Comment below, so we can discuss.


Review: Ant-man and The Wasp

Ant-Man_and_the_Wasp_posterI didn’t expect much more than a fun popcorn flick going into Ant-man and The Wasp, and that’s exactly what I got.  As far as Marvel movies go, it doesn’t rank that high on the scale, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad movie.  In fact, it is a lot of fun from start to finish.

Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) shine as both Ant-Mans, but Evangeline Lilly is really the one who makes the movie that much more enjoyable.  As the Wasp, a hero long overdue in the eyes of Marvel fanatics, she is the balance to the chaotic men of the story.  While Hank Pym is an overeager scientist who holds one too many grudges, Scott Lang is a goofy dad who comes off as a bit of a dolt.  Hope (Lilly’s character) seems to be the only one who can bring either of these men to focus on the task ahead.

Herein lies my problem with the film… In the first movie, Lang had a bit of knowledge of how engineering and science work, but in the sequel they seemed to have scrapped all of that.  Also in the first film, Pym mentioned that he couldn’t shrink any more because of the many years of doing it taking a toll on his body.  It could be fatal to him.  But then we see him step into the quantum realm in a new Ant-Man suit.  Now maybe this suit cancels those negative effects, but without mentioning it is a slight issue for those who have seen both.  If you haven’t seen the first and only see this one, then these aren’t real problems.

Other notable points of interest in the movie were Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne/Wasp and Laurence Fishburn’s Bill Foster/Goliath.  I love how both were introduced with a past, even if they were a bit underutilized in the film.

As far as villains go, well Sonny Burch was not much of a challenge but worked well to counter Luis and the X-Con security guys.  Ghost is less a villain than she is an obstacle, and it’ll be interesting to see where they take her from here on out.

With all Marvel movies, Stan Lee’s cameo was funny as usual, and the mid credits scene brought a heavy weight with it.  Slight spoiler, it has to do with Infinity War’s Thanos snap, and is almost as if everything Ant-Man worked for in this movie is gone (at least for the time being).  The post credit scene was less than amusing.  As a matter of fact it is one that actually irritated me because it was just a throwaway gag that made little sense.

Overall I give Ant-Man and the Wasp a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It was fun, non-stop action, and a different feel to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What did you think?  Did you see anything in the quantum realm?  Supposedly there are hidden things there (I think I spotted one, but am not really sure what it was).  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Avengers Infinity War

avengers-infinity-war-1I’m a little late with the review for this because I really didn’t want to say much after seeing it.  This will be a short overlook, as I feel that people need to see this with as little spoilers as possible.

Was it worth it?  Yes yes and yes.  The film was outstanding in so many ways, BUT I wonder if someone who isn’t familiar with the other Marvel movies will be somewhat lost.  There’s so many characters that its hard to keep track, but the Russos did a great job of not making it feel crowded.

The narrative played out quite well and unexpected with plenty of surprises and shocking moments.  Thanos IS THE BEST MARVEL Villain yet.  I literally have no complaints about the film, except that I have to wait for the next movie to see what happens.

Here’s where we get into little SPOILERS with my speculation:

– Is Red Skull the movie version of Death now or after the Soul Stone was grabbed did he revert to his former human status?  I’d like to think the latter would be better, but it isn’t necessary.  At least we got closure to that.

– The stones are at least drained of power, which makes me think that the snap will be reversed.  The Russos did claim that the deaths will stay, so that means goodbye to Loki and Heimdall.  Notice how I didn’t say any others.  Here’s why.  The snap only erased people from existence.  It didn’t technically kill them.  Gamora was sacrificed to retrieve the soul stone, so if it’s anything like the comics she wasn’t killed but instead trapped within it.  And Vision, well he was a grayed out husk at the end, but Shuri probably retrieved enough to have a less emotional version of him live on without so much color.  Maybe she will even use what’s left to build Jocasta or something.  Either way, Vision as we know him is gone, but there is room for an offspring of sorts.

I give the movie 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It made me laugh, get choked up and had me on the edge of my seat for the non stop thrill ride.  What did you think of Infinity War?  What do you think will happen next?


Review: Black Panther

new-black-panther-movie-poster-2018--1064120When it comes to Marvel movies, it’s no secret I’ve been entertained every time.  Going into this one I had high hopes as usual, and I wasn’t let down.  Minor Spoilers ahead.

The Good:

This is a totally fresh movie that is far different than the other comic book superhero films out there.  It’s political without pushing any agendas.  It’s got a great mix of action, humor, and sincerity that make it an all around great standalone movie.  You don’t need to see any of the other films in the MCU to see this one (although you might get confused by the final end credit scene if you are not watching all of the films).  The main characters of T’Challa and Killmonger are perfect with the latter even donning his comic accurate costume in the beginning, only to get a much better upgrade.  Finally, the usage of characters like Klaw, Man-Ape, Shuri, Nakia, Everett Ross, and Okoye are done well as a supporting cast.  Oh, and how could I forget another outstanding cameo by Stan Lee.

The Bad:

I am a little upset with Klaw’s fate, but realize why they did what they did.  Some of the things like Black Panther jumping from a plane without a parachute don’t sit well with me, but the explanation of how Vibranium absorbs kinetic energy makes me suspend disbelief just enough to let the ridiculousness pass.

Overall:

Black Panther was just fun from opening until end.  It had weight in the series, and was relatable to the real world on some levels.  I put it up there with the Captain America Trilogy as my favorite so far giving it a 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  So what did you think?

On a side note here’s some speculation and clarity btw:

Antman and The Wasp will be here soon, and it looks like that will be another stand alone movie to give us more back story and introduction of characters.  Bucky is looking like he will get a cybernetic vibranium arm and is a hero again.  Maybe we will see him as Captain America.  And though people are saying “Where is the 6th Infinity Stone?” let me explain to you where they all are.  The Tesseract is the SPACE Stone, and is floating in space with the SOUL stone, which was the Eternal flame from Thor Ragnarok.  Thanos shows up at the end of that, so I’m assuming he has both now.  The REALITY stone Aether is in the Collector’s possession after Malekith was defeated.  The MIND stone is in Vision’s head.  Doctor Strange has the TIME stone in his Eye of Agamotto amulet.  This leaves the POWER stone with the Nova Corps after they got it back from Ronan.  All the stones are there.  I don’t get why people are saying the Soul stone hasn’t been represented yet.  They did the same thing with the mind stone when it was still in Loki’s staff.  Think about what the Souls stone might do…  It restores or takes life presumably.  That is exactly what the flame did in Ragnarok.

Thoughts?


Review: The Gifted season 1

The_Gifted_TV_title_cardA freshman season of a superhero tv show that isn’t horrible?  That could never happen, right?  Wrong.  The Gifted made its way in for 13 episodes of really compelling story telling.  This is tied in to the already existing X-Men movies, but does a great job of distancing itself.

I do have to clarify the timeline a little.  This story takes place as Blink and Thunderbird first meet, but in the new timeline established at the end of Days of Future Past.  Confused yet?  I’m not done.  If you recall, Blink and Warbird (Thunderbird’s brother) were characters in DOFP, so this is a really great way to connect the films to the show.  Let’s add in that it seems to take place before Logan, but after the (SPOILER ALERT) X-Men and Brotherhood are apparently killed off by Xavier’s out of control powers referenced in the Logan movie.

So the show plays out with an underground network of mutants trying to survive in a world that hates them.  They don’t know what happened to the X-Men or Brotherhood, but it no longer matters.  Sentinel Services is on their backs.  The organization is tied to Trask industries, but they have acknowledged that the giant robot sentinels were an issue in the past (Days of Future Past), and have moved to smaller robotic drones and hound mutants (brainwashed mutants) to help them.

Comic characters Pulse, Dreamer, Trader, Fenris, and Evangeline Whedon play small roles, while a brand new character Eclipse takes center stage as one of the co-leaders of the mutant underground.

The season plays out a little slow at times, but builds as it goes, and doesn’t make the mistake of harboring on one story line or cliffhangers for too long.  It does have a theme throughout the season, which seems to be resolved at the end.  (More Spoilers)  Polaris seems to be following in her father’s footsteps (Magneto) and joining the Hellfire Club with the Stepford Cuckoos.  The remaining mutants are homeless with nowhere to go.  Presumably they will take refuge in the sewers and become the Morlocks of comic fame, but that is something for season 2 to tackle.  And I’m hoping Dr. Campbell is not dead (He’s Ahab in the comics, so I’m sure he’ll be back in some form.)

What we have is a great X-Men B-list of mutants and humans who are surrounded by decent story telling.  The great part of the show, however, is the Strucker family.  Not only is their back story very deeply rooted in the source material, but they are characters you care about.  All four of them really steal the show along with Agent Turner of the Sentinel Services.  They are believable (at least their situations) and solid all around.  The comic book connections are just icing on an already good cake.

I can’t wait to see what season 2 brings, as it looks to be more related to the comic books, but until then this was a good breath of fresh air for the superhero genre on TV.  I give The Gifted first season, 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?  Where do you think it will go from here?  Chime in with your comments below.


Review: Inhumans TV series

marvel-inhumansI won’t spend much time on this because it has already sucked the life out of me.  I watched every episode hoping for some pay off, but to no avail.  Here’s the basic gist…

  • Heroic characters who can’t use their abilities (Medusa gets her hair cut off and Blackbolt is too powerful to show his powers more than three times.)
  • Other heroic characters who are not well developed (Lockjaw the dog with horrible CGI, Crystal the teenage girl who could have stopped the problem on her own, but didn’t for some reason, Gorgon the man who you never actually see his hooved legs clearly, and Triton who dies and then is suddenly not dead because of a plan that no one really knows about even when it is revealed.)
  • A villain who is basically more hero than the heroes (Maximus is portrayed in just that way, so at the end it almost feels as if the bad guys have won, even though it shouldn’t)
  • Karnak was enjoyable to watch, but every scene he was in felt like it brought his character down.
  • Atillan, the city on the moon, was the best thing about the show and even that gets destroyed at the end.
  • And the Inhumans are now on Earth, so will they cameo in Agents of SHIELD or will we forget about them entirely?  If they do cameo, then I hope its done in a way to completely not refer to this show at all because I’m trying hard to forget.

I hate to be the bringer of bad news.  I’m not one of those comic nerds who sit in their basement and act like keyboard warriors hating all things done.  If anything I’m the opposite.  I’m a fan who grew up reading this stuff and am happy to see it on screen, and most of the time forgive the “problems” others have with it all.  This was the exception.  It was just boring from start to finish, and had no climax at all.

This officially marks the lowest score I’ve ever given to a show or movie, and I feel a pang of guilt for doing it, but I have to be honest.  I give this show a 0.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, and that’s only because a zero would mean I hadn’t watched it.

What did you think?  Have you seen Marvel’s Inhumans?  Am I being too harsh?  Chime in with your comments.


Review: Marvel’s Punisher

mtpunsdf-700x400The Marvel and Netflix combo hit again with their newest series The Punisher.  My expectations were very high for this show, because I was an avid reader of the gratuitously violent anti-hero vigilante.  There was something about the character that went beyond just the gore and killing.  He was a decent human being that lost his family.  He wasn’t just a murdering psychopath.

We already got a taste of Frank Castle during Daredevil season 2, so going into this I was worried that the audience wouldn’t be able to connect with him.  With all the violence in today’s society it is hard to find a reason to see him as a hero, but this show was done perfectly to exude that feeling.

While some may complain that it was way too slow, I think most will agree that the paced narrative was necessary to make the audience cheer for the main character and feel for him.  He’s not out for revenge.  He’s out for justice.  It may not be what the government deems as just, but for the people he’s taking out, it is what he feels needs to be done.

There is a suspension of disbelief seeing him get tortured, beaten, and shot beyond a level suitable for any one human to take, but isn’t that how any show like this would go?  There were some references to the comics that were done tastefully.  The final three episodes go from story telling to hard core (at some moments almost unwatchable combat).  Yes, there was more than one moment where I had a difficult time seeing what was on screen, but it held my attention because at that point in the story the villains really needed to have that done to them.

SPOILER ALERT:  The final battle with Billy Russo and Punisher was my favorite scene.  I got worried at one point that they’d kill off the big bad.  I knew that in the comics he becomes Jigsaw (basically the antithesis to Frank Castle with a horribly scarred face.  At one point he even wore a costume similar to Punisher’s).  Thankfully, Frank had reason to let him live, and with all the foreshadowing done throughout the episodes, how could he not?

Will we see The Punisher and Daredevil team up again to take down a Kingpin/Jigsaw/Bullseye combo?  Who knows, but it’s something that I hope happens at some point.  END SPOILERS

At the end of the day it comes down to this… The Punisher season 1 is a well told story.  It is a tragic story.  It is a love story.  It is a story about corruption and justice.  It is a story about political agendas and dealing with PTSD.  Throw in some really action packed scenes to live up to the name Frank Castle bears, and you end up with something completely new for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.  I give it a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It went beyond my expectations for a good story, and appeased the comic book fan in me.

What did you think of Punisher season 1?  Comment with your thoughts and predictions of where they may take the character(s) after this.

 


Review: Spider-man Homecoming

spider-man-homecoming-trailer-3Spider-Man is back at Marvel, but how did he fare swinging into action on home turf?  I’ll say this.  It was not the movie I wanted it to be.  I expected it to be the best of the existing Spidey films so far, but it fell just shy of Spider-man 2, which I feel remains at the top of the list.  So what was good and bad about it?

The Bad:

The Shocker felt like a rip off.  Which one?  It doesn’t matter.  Were either of these guys Herman Schultz?  Again, it doesn’t matter.  It was explained that the technology could shatter their arms, so that’s why the quilted yellow jacket was used.  Is it so hard then to put a mask on the men?  I’m just tired of half assed villain appearances.  Hopefully they bring him back soon.

Zendaya’s character was a waste.  Why was she even there?  She’s clearly not the MJ that we know as in Mary Jane Watson (At least she better not be).  And the whole team going to Washington DC?  How did anyone else not figure out that Parker and Spider-Man happen to be in both places?  Flash Thompson didn’t seem like Flash Thompson at all.

The Spider-Man A.I. suit is just stupid.  Get rid of the computer and give him spider-sense already.  This isn’t the hero comic book fans want. And Aunt May is hot of course, but her presence was lacking.  No mention of Uncle Ben either, but Peter did say his Aunt had been through a lot, so that can slide.

The Good:

I know I said the AI suit is a bad thing, but I do like the different web settings.  This actually can explain a lot.  The spider-tracers were also awesome to see, as well as the search light.  I liked the mentor being Tony Stark too.  It worked really well.

Adrian Toomes/Vulture, and The Tinkerer were perfect.  The way they were handled was done quite well, though I feel the final battle was a bit anti-climactic.  Ned was also a good friend for Peter to have and share his secret with.

The scene with Adrian Toomes in the car with Peter was very cool.  The little speech Keaton gave was chilling.  I’m not sure Liz as his daughter felt right, but it didn’t matter because she too was a welcome addition.

From Damage Control, to Spider-man/Peter Parker himself were great.  And shall I say that I think Tom Holland is our best Spidey/Parker yet!  I look forward to seeing him many more times in the role.

Overall assessment:

Homecoming is not the best Spidey movie because so much more could have been done to correct the minor plot holes.  That being said, it is certainly not the worst, and comes in right up there with Spider-man 2 as a close favorite.  I give it 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Where can it go from here?  I can easily see Spidey battling the Sinister Six with an ally or two.  I realize he’s got a role in Infinity War and more, but why not see what he can do against the likes of: Vulture, Scorpion, Tinkerer, Shocker, and two others.  I suggest a proper Rhino and Prowler.  It’s clear that Miles Morales exists in this universe, so make him Spidey’s ally and give the fans something to remember.  What did you think of Spider-man Homecoming?


Review: Marvel’s The Defenders ssn 1

Defenders_NetflixNetflix surely has a hit with its Marvel TV shows, but that doesn’t mean they have all been great.  Daredevil season 1 and 2 as well as Luke Cage were outstanding.  Iron Fist started strong, but underwhelmed in the latter half of the season.  Jessica Jones had a great concept, but could have been done in 4 episodes because 13 was much too long and drawn out.  So with the Defenders coming out I had a bag of mixed emotions.  How did it fare?

The Defenders had an amazing first two episodes.  They filled in the gap of what was happening with each character after we last saw them all.  It was story building at its finest.  People complained that they all don’t even meet until episode 3, but they obviously have no desire for substance.  It is well worth the wait.

At that point I was worried that with such a great buildup, that the last 4 episodes would fall short.  They did not.  The action sequences and story held up to standards, and even though the post climax was drawn out, the 8 episodes made for in my opinion the best Marvel Netflix show yet.  Even at the end of the credits we get a surprise teaser trailer for the Punisher coming later this year.

There were plenty of twists and turns, and a few things left unsaid.  The ending left me wondering whether the Hand was done, and who survived of the four stuck at the bottom of the shaft?  Surely Matt Murdock could not have escaped on his own.  So, who got him to the surface?

As for the characters individually here’s how I see them:

Luke Cage & Daredevil were as expected.  I think both were flawless and exactly how portrayed before.  Jessica Jones was still herself at the core, but her interactions with the other characters, in particular Matt Murdock, were so much more likeable.  She worked better with a team than alone.  Iron Fist finally made that transition to hero.  He was much more deserving of the title in this than his own show, making it more exciting anticipation for his next season.  Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, Karen Page, Foggy, Trish, and Stick were all used sparingly enough to not overcrowd the plot.

Overall it was an enjoyable and fun ride.  I’d call it the Avengers for adults, and am eager to see them all team up again.  I’ll give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?