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

Posts tagged “Marvel

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.

Advertisements

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?


Review: Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD ssn 4

Agents_of_S_H_I_E_L_D__season_4_posterMy season end reviews kick off with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season 4.  I did a review mid season, so I won’t get into too much detail other than a few minor spoilery things, and general thoughts.

Overall, this season was superb.  The writing strayed from campiness and into darker territory.  While this can be a curse for a lot of shows or movies, the darkness worked here because of Ghost Rider’s inclusion and the Dark Hold.  Both were handled very well.

The second half of the season gave us an alternate “What If” world created by AIDA.  Her role as Madame Hydra was surprising, but also a welcome addition to the plot.  Usually I’m not for the combination of characters, but in this case it was handled well.  The emotional buildup especially with Mack and the loss of The Patriot, gave the show a more realistic feel.

It’ll be interesting to see where it all leads next season.  There’s Mack and Yo-Yo who will obviously be in a strained relationship, but they aren’t the only ones.  Fitz and Simmons have an interesting new dynamic with Fitz’s dark side having affected everyone, and Coulson and May also have some places to go.

We are left wondering a few things: 1) Where are they at the end?  Is this a SWORD installation in space?  2) With the Inhumans on the run again, will this be how they introduce the new Inhumans show?  I’d like to see Daisy make an appearance somehow.  3) Where did Ghost Rider go exactly?  and finally 4) Who will be the big bad of season 5?

Time will tell.  From what was once a cringeable series, it has now become something I look forward to.  It’s not quite up there with Netflix shows, but that’s to be expected.  Season 4 gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts and speculation.


Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2

GotG_Vol2_posterThis is one of those movies where the trailer doesn’t do it justice.  I went into this thinking there was going to be a corny forced humor that wouldn’t sit well with an overall semi-serious Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I was proven wrong.  Is that to say there weren’t some moments like that?  No, of course there were, but those moments were done tactfully and worked for the moment.

There will be spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

A flashback to 1980 has us seeing a young Kurt Russell and how his character of Ego met StarLord’s mom.  I can’t help but notice something here, and let me know if you think the same.  In the 80s there was a movie called “Starman.”  It was about an alien man who fell in love with a woman and drove cross country with her.  At the end of that movie the Starman left and she was assumingly pregnant because of the sexual scenes in it.  The movie to me was a good movie, but left too many open ends never to be addressed.  The character in Starman was played by Jeff Bridges.  Kurt Russell’s younger CGI self looked almost identical to Bridges in that film.  I know they are two different universes, but could James Gunn have used this as inspiration to give answers to a film that never gave them?  Who knows, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax were pretty much spot on with how they were at the end of the last movie.  Star-Lord realizing he is part Celestial was worrisome, but what was a risky maneuver of changing his comic book history, really played out well.  Toddler Groot was a waste to me.  I know it was done for the cute factor, and it made sense as he’s more grown than the end of the last movie.  I don’t think any other way would have been good for him to be presented, but at the same time he just felt like he was there.  There really wasn’t much for him to do.  My main example is the battle in the beginning with the alien squid like creature.  All Groot did was dance, like Star Lord did in the opening sequence of the first one, which to me was the worst part of the first movie.

Skipping back to Ego, who was my second biggest concern going into this, we get an actual comic book representation of the character plus more.  Ego always fascinated me, and to see that they actually showed his full on form and gave him a good origin, made the film.  He was easily my favorite part of the whole movie.  Everything about Ego made sense and didn’t feel stale.

The true father figure in Yondu was heartwarming, and I think it was wise to have Yondu sent off that way.  Michael Rooker is always enjoyable to watch, but his character’s death brings together what was a falling apart team, and then some.  Oh, and he had his longer head fin, which was my gripe about his appearance not having it before.

The Gamora vs Nebula story felt strange in a way.  I’m still not sure I believe that Nebula would have spared her sister, but the explanation worked.  I just think that she’d have been better beside Thanos during Infinity War than against him.

Taserface was exactly what Rocket pointed him out to be.  He was nothing more than that, but served his purpose for humor and the slight bump in the road that he provided.

Finally we get the other characters.  A Cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was only in the scrolling credits, which makes me wonder if he originally had a role in this and in Thor Ragnarok.  It was strange placement.  Cosmo the Space Dog also only shows up in the scrolling credits.  Howard the Duck is present again in another great few seconds of appearance.  I love that they do things like this for the fans.  The quick spots by David Hasselhoff and Pac-man were silly, but for my generation were great additions.

The post credits scenes were quite a mix.  1) Yondu’s dart impaling Drax by accident was funny, but not really necessary.  2) The reveal of Adam Warlock’s cocoon is huge.  Although it was in the last movie as a post credit thing, this time we actually get a good look and confirmation of who is inside.  I’m assuming he will start off as a villain for Volume 3.  3) Teenage Groot, while unnecessary, showed purpose.  While only a funny throw away, it pretty much confirms that from here on out we will see adult Groot.  Teenage Groot was great, but I really think this was done to transition the character. 4) The Ravagers original team headed by Sylvester Stallone was awesome.  This sets up a potential union between them and the Guardians for either Infinity War or Guardians 3.  If you didn’t know who they were, then the characters (played by well known actors) were: Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie 27, Aleta, Kruggar, and Mainframe.

5) Stan Lee being revealed as one of the Watchers makes a lot of sense, but I feel ripped off.  He should have been in Watcher form here like the others.  So it begs to question… was he just an informant to the Watchers, or is he an actual Watcher.  It’s something that will probably never be addressed again, but time will tell.  At least they are tying this in.  This also makes for an interesting thought.  Watchers can see many realities.  This basically says that anything Stan Lee has cameoed in could in some way be tied into the Marvel universe.  This includes other studios, versions of characters, etc.

So what did you think?  The soundtrack to me wasn’t as good as the first, but is bound to be open to many more things from here on out.  Overall it was a very funny, action packed, and visually stunning film that is worthy of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

 


Review: Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix

Iron_Fist_NetflixUnlike most of my reviews, I’m going to keep this one straight to the point and less in depth.  The reason is because of the amounts of positive vs negative the show had.  My negatives are NOT what other people complained about.  I guess I’m a purist and less concerned about appeasing to the masses, because the negatives that I’ve read is more along those lines.  That being said, there is a lot of positive too, that isn’t given enough credit.

Let’s set the record straight.  This is not the best Marvel Netflix show.  It is in my opinion tied with Jessica Jones for last place, but certainly not bad.  The controversial casting is absolute crap.  Danny Rand as a white guy has always been.  The actor did a great job with what he was given, and I’m hoping his mannerisms are corrected as this is sort of an origin to the Iron Fist character.  My complaints?  Use a razor.  I’m tired of the scruffy look.  Danny should in my mind be clean and youthful looking.  He was with monks after all.  We already have Daredevil, Jessica, and Luke being total badasses.  He should be just as kick ass, but not so tough looking.

The Hand played a decent role in the show, with the highlight easily being Madame Gao, and Davos.  The latter of these two also had a good set up for becoming the next villain (Steel Serpent).  Claire is obviously the glue to bring the Defenders together, so her role although it felt sort of forced, worked for what it was.  Colleen and the Meachums were also very good in every scene.

Action wise this played out just like a classic kung fu movie, with heavy story and not a lot of fighting until the end.  The problem here is that the fighting seemed subpar.  For someone who is supposedly the best fighter in the world, he sure gets beat up a lot.

The first five episodes really had me hooked.  Then episode six came and it slowly went down hill.  The final episode was great, but then they threw on that extra two minute ending and I wanted to forget everything else.  That ending was not good.  They threw it there to get people to come back and see what happens next, but it felt disrespectful to everything else it had done over 13 episodes.

In my opinion Iron Fist doesn’t really work on its own.  I think it has to be Powerman and Iron fist or a heroes for Hire.  That would be worth the time.  I wanted to really love this show, and though I liked it, I can’t claim I’d ever rewatch it.  Other reviews say Danny should have been an Asian guy.  Stop changing races and looks of characters!!!  We get that enough.  If any thing I’d think that’d be offensive to Asians to be typecast in that role.  Danny being trained by Asian monks is what makes the idea work.  They just need to figure out how to do all of that.

One final thought… they could have done a little better of explaining how he got his powers.  I know, and comic readers know, but any new comer will be left slightly confused by the lack of information.

Iron Fist gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  It is enjoyable at its good moments, and disappointing at its bad ones.  These fall 50/50 throughout the whole thing, so I’ve voted right down the middle.

What did you think?  Comment below.


Review: Logan

loganDafne Keen.  Remember that name, because she’s a talented young actress in a movie filled with every aspect of the emotional spectrum.  I’m going to review Logan in my typical breakdown, so if you don’t want spoilers, then skip down to the final paragraph for my rating.  Otherwise, stick around for my character break down and feel free to share your thoughts on the film.

James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman gave us what we wanted.  He may not have always had the best material with which to work, but the man cared about what he did.  His portrayal of the character in this movie is the best out of them all.  The dynamic of his healing factor being practically gone made him very vulnerable.  Combine that with his care free attitude, and you’ve got a grumpy old man who is being poisoned by his own adamantium.  I must say that I’m happy he perished in the end.  I don’t want to see anyone take up the mantle of wolverine for a very long time after this (UNLESS it’s X-23).  We will get to that in a moment.

Professor Charles Xavier – As with Hugh, Patrick Stewart always shined in his role as the psychic mutant, but in this movie we are given another shift in the standard.  He’s got borderline alzheimers, and needs caring for.  I love that they addressed this disease in a mutant.  Imagine if in real life, one had his abilities and had no idea what they were doing with them.  There was a brief mention that he was the one responsible for the X-Men dying.  I’d have loved to have gotten a little more explanation on that, but I think it would have been unnecessary in the long run.  I was surprised he died the way that he did, which is a good thing.  It happened at a moment that was him confessing his own guilt.  What a perfect way to go (not in the manner that he died, but the fact that he’d gotten it all off his chest.

Zander Rice – Although a small role, it suited its purpose.  This was more about the characters, than the actual story, so he didn’t need to be doing more than he was.  We got his back story, and a nice tie in to the original weapon X program that his father ran.  In a way they respected all of the previous movies to an extent, despite the timeline being reset.  It shows that some of those original events may have happened the same or slightly different.

Donald Pierce and the Reavers – I was really hoping for Omega Red, a return of Lady Deathstrike, or Sabertooth as the villain.  When I heard the reavers were the antagonists, I shook my head and thought it was going to be a failure.  I am SO glad I was wrong.  They managed to make decent villains that matched the tone of this film in a way that was akin to Mad Max.  It worked really well.

Caliban – I loved Stephen Merchant in this role.  I don’t know why they recast him since Apocalypse, but he looked very similar, and for anyone not paying attention I’m sure they didn’t notice.  He played the part better than his predecessor, but I wish we’d have gotten a mention of his younger years in that way.  We were also presented with Zander Rice saying to gather the body, when Caliban sacrificed himself.  It set up 2 possible scenarios.  1) Caliban could be cloned and come back as a more deformed version (like in the comics) or 2) in the original Days of Future past storyline (in the comics) they used mutant hound trackers to locate the mutants.  This would make sense, as the anti-mutant sentiment was strong in this film.

Laura/X-23 – Remember that name I mentioned, Dafne Keen?  Well she played this part so well, that I think we can have a very VERY good version of wolverine from here on out.  In the comics, she’s the current Wolverine after the death of her father.  They’ve set it up, so I think she’d be perfect in all future incarnations.  I’d love to see her as part of the X-Force movie.  She did an outstanding job with her rage, caring, and rebellious nature, but when she was crying, “Daddy,” at the end I lost it.  I never cry in movies, and I could feel the tears trickling.  Excellent job, little lady.

Rictor and the New Mutants – Who were the new mutants?  Who knows, but the presence of Rictor could mean an X-Factor reference or set up.  While I’ve no real care for these characters in the comics, it’s nice to have this sort of nod in the movies, and despite James Mangold constantly saying this is a stand alone movie, the references to the greater universe seem to be abundant.  The use of the children here wasn’t overwhelming, but a decent nod to what’s possibly to come.  Could they be X-Factor like I said, or maybe recruits for Cable, or even a set up to what eventually could be an X-Men 2099?  Like I said, these don’t need to be all made into movies, but it’s fun for continuity and discussion sake.

X-24 – Here’s what I feel was a low point at first, but then my mind changed.  Hugh Jackman is basically younger here and more primal.  He’s even got a haircut and style to match what Sabretooth had in the first Wolverine movie.  Why then wasn’t Sabretooth used?  We never got a final showdown between the two.  It would have worked just as well as X-24.  Hell he could even have gotten his wish and become X-24 with Adamantium skeleton.  (Remember that is what he wanted originally).  So I complain about this, but then think to my childhood and how there was once a character named “Albert.”  Albert was a robot created by the Reavers that looked like Wolverine.  His storyline also involved a little girl that Logan had to take care of.  Okay, it got way more complicated than that, but I feel like this is not a coincidence.  I believe they used this angle to replace the elements they couldn’t use from the original Old Man Logan storyline.

Enough rambling from me.  Here are my final thoughts for potential on what this movie COULD mean for the X universe.  Here’s my speculation:  GAMBIT is in the works.  Where he falls into this all remains to be seen, but he could be a good element to X-Force since Archangel was killed off in Apocalypse.  Now that Wolverine is dead, perhaps the film could see this lineup: Cable, Deadpool, Domino, X-23, and Gambit… NEW MUTANTS is in the works as well.  Maybe this will center around the new team of kids, but who would lead them?  Again, there’s no telling, but if James McAvoy’s run ends then we could see Cyclops, Jean, and Storm leading the new team.  I realize there is a time problem here, but when hasn’t there been in these movies, and with Cable involved this is all possible.

In conclusion: Logan was a film made for comic book fans, and movie goers.  It reminded me of an old western with comic elements.  It was a roller coaster of emotion that didn’t disappoint.  There will be bigger nerds than me complaining about certain little things, but who cares?  This was the best interpretation of Wolverine yet.  Stewart and Jackman played the roles better than they ever have, and Keen showed talent rare for even veteran actors.  She’s a natural.  I’ll give the movie 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  How would you rate it?  Comment below.


Day 23 #authorlifemonth – 5 Star reads

There’s a few 5 star books I’ve read recently, and they range in genre.

First up is “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.”  I’ve been reading L. Frank Baum’s Oz novels along with my daughter.  I have her choose a character in the book to be, and she reads those lines, while I read the rest aloud to her.  For this book she was Scraps, the patchwork girl; Bungle, the glass cat; and Dorothy Gale.  It’s one of my favorite books in the series so far, second only to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Second is a return to my childhood, as I read “Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage” with my son.  He is the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and has loved every page.  It’s one of my favorite Spidey stories to date.

Next is H.G. Well’s “The Time Machine.”  It was the first classic movie I remember watching, and one of my favorite all time books.  When I began writing my next novel (A COURSE FOR HUMANITY – will be available next month), I wanted to check out some already existing time travel stories, and this was one of them.  I always find researching through fiction is just as important as through fact, because you don’t want to do something someone else has already done.  What fun would that be and where would be the originality?

As research goes, I do always try to base as much of my Fiction work in fact, so I also read “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy”.  If you’re a science geek, then this is for you, but if you aren’t this is still an interesting and informative book.

What is on your shelf?  What have you read recently?  Share in the comments below.

16807055_10154876012525731_3631698078530928530_n


Review: Luke Cage Season 1 Netflix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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