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

Posts tagged “review

Review and Aftermath: Avengers Endgame

I will spare the “Oh it’s the best movie ever” line, because I feel this film is in a category all of its own.  There are few words that can describe what I saw in Avengers Endgame.  It’s a movie that will have you processing what happened for days.  It’s also a flick that you’ll want to know as little as possible about going into it.  Let me just say that I give Endgame 6 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Yes, that’s right.  I have it above 100% mainly because of how well it closes out the past 21 movies and sets up the next era.  I am curious as to how someone who hasn’t invested the time I have into the Marvel Cinematic Universe would feel watching it.  Certainly it wouldn’t have the same impact, but there is so much there for everyone that it really is something unique.  Hands down it’s the best comic book movie to date, and I don’t think that’s a title that will be taken by another any time soon.

As I mentioned there is a lot to process, so let me break down what this sets up for the future.  I don’t want to focus on what’s in the film because its something unique for everyone.  Instead, I’ll talk about how things will shape up from here on out.  This contains some speculation and SPOILERS, so be warned.  If you have seen it I’d like to know what you think…  Ready?  Final SPOILER WARNING….

avengers-endgame-poster.jpgLOKI: Disney+ has announced a live action Loki miniseries.  We now know that this will center around the much more malevolent trickster than we’ve seen recently.  This isn’t the semi-hero Loki, but the one who tried to destroy New York in Avengers 1.  It’ll make for very interesting storytelling to see what the god of mischief will be up to.

Sin: This one is just my mind as a writer, but it answers the question of what happens to Red Skull.  He is now just a wraith with no purpose or stone to guard.  Could he inhabit the dead body of Black Widow and return to Earth as a villain for current times?  They don’t need Scarlet Johansen to play the role as her corpse would decay giving her a skull like appearance.  Sin in the comics was Red Skull’s daughter and villain.  This would be a good passing of the torch and make for an interesting story and proper closure for Red Skull.

Falcon and Winter Soldier: With Sin as a possible villain at some point just speculation, we know for certain that Bucky and Sam have lots more to come in the Disney+ show.  Sam being the new Cap could go many places.  My only issue with Endgame was how Bucky really didn’t go to visit his friend on the bench.  It just seemed to convenient and not as believable, but it’s a minor gripe.  Either way I look forward to this show.

X-Men: While there is no real connection to mutants, there is a line explaining that since Thanos used the stones there has been a spike in meta-human abilities around the globe.  Could that have caused mutants to begin exhibiting abilities?  Who knows, but I can’t imaging this line was used as a throwaway.

Spiderman Far From Home: This is said to actually be the final Phase 3 film, serving as an epilogue of sorts.  Spiderman clearly needs a vacation at the end of Endgame, so it’ll be good to see some final tie in references here.

Captain America 4: Well I didn’t think this would happen, but we could see a Captain America 4 with Chris Evans.  Now that he stayed in the past with Peggy there certainly is room for him to fill this role well into his older years.  We could also see Steve be a mentor to Sam in the years to come and present day.  Another thing that could be done is he and Peggy have a daughter who becomes Captain America for a time.  In the comics there was an alternate Earth where this happened, so it’d work as a nice prequel of sorts in the alternate timeline created by him staying in the past.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3: The search for Gamora?  Certainly seems like the case.  Keep in mind we have chubby Thor with Stormbreaker.  Could this be how they introduce Beta Ray Bill?  It is after all about time to do so and Thor is clearly at the end of his part of the saga.

Young Avengers: Cassie Lang is older now and able to soon take up the mantle of Stature alongside Wasp and Antman.  Hawkeye has a show coming out on Disney+ where Clint Barton will be training a replacement female Hawkeye.  They could easily change his daughter’s name to Kate Bishop in a witness protection sort of way and have her take up her father’s mantle.  Iron Lad could be introduced with Harley Keener (the young boy from Ironman 3).  He came in as an unexpected cameo at Tony Stark’s funeral.  Also there’s Morgan Stark.  In the comics Morgan was Tony’s cousin and a male who became Ironman 3000.  In the films, Morgan is his young daughter.  I can’t imagine her not becoming IronHeart once she is old enough and using her mother’s rescue armor as a beginning to her tenure.  Throw Spiderman in a lead role here and you could have a well rounded set of heroes.

A-Force: It goes without saying that one of the coolest scenes was seeing all of the female heroes assemble in the final battle.  They could easily make a spinoff revolving around them, though they’d have to take caution in doing so.  It wouldn’t make sense for only the females to be involved as it would seem forced, but there are ways to pull this off in a very cool and exciting way.

Maestro and She-Hulk: This is more speculation on my part, but She-Hulk needs to be introduced.  We could also see the lesser liked Red Hulk if Banner goes rogue.  Why would he?  Well Professor Hulk being scarred by the stones could also be internally.  If they tainted his mental state, we could see him become the villain in a future hulk movie as Maestro.  This is something I’d actually love to see more than most of the others with She-Hulk teaming up with Red Hulk and the former of the two ending up as the new Hulk character.

Valkyrie:  Valkyrie is now in charge of New Asgard on Earth.  Maybe Thor will find a suitable planet for them to inhabit along his journeys with the Guardians.  They could do it so that Thor transfers some of his power into her sword.  It wouldn’t be Mjolnir, but could set her up as the new female Thor.  It’s a stray from the comics, but it’d be just as interesting as bringing in Beta Ray Bill as I mentioned earlier.

Doctor Strange 2: Wong has been Sorcerer Supreme for 5 years and Strange no longer has the Time Stone.  The power struggle between the 2 and it’s been said that they’d like to introduce Nightmare as a villain could be very fun and dare I say… Strange?

Black Panther 2: M’Baku has been in charge of Wakanda for 5 years.  Surely he made some changes and they haven’t always seen eye to eye.  Black Panther’s return makes for a lot of exciting political conflict.

WandaVision: Another Disney+ confirmed series.  The question is will this be when Scarlet Witch and Vision lived together before the events of Infinity War?  Or will she somehow use her powers to bring back a less colorful (like in the comics) version of Vision, where the story revolves around her trying to reconnect with a very cold emotionless version of her former android lover?

Black Widow: Well, this movie will obviously take place before the first Avengers movie.  I’m assuming with the references to Budapest between her and Hawkeye that this will occur there, or we’ll have more clarification on what those events were.

What If: Although this is animated and a confirmed Disney+ series with the original actors voicing the roles, it’s hard to imagine that some of the timelines spinning off from the actions in the past won’t be addressed here.

Cameos: Stan Lee’s final cameo was in this film, and what a way to make him eternally young with his appearance.  Sadly he has passed, but now that the Fox/Disney merger is completed I could see Ryan Reynolds suiting up as Deadpool and breaking the 4th wall in every movie after this.  I think Stan would approve.

What are your thoughts?  Did I miss anything?  Am I overthinking this? Did you like Endgame and where do you think it will go?  Comment below.


Review: The Punisher season 2

punisher-season-2-posterWell Frank Castle is back and better than ever in the Marvel Netflix team up that’s better than its first season.  Season 2 does have some minor things that bother me, but for the most part, this is what I would expect for this character.

If you go into this season thinking that there is going to be a straight forward simple story, then you’ll find yourself mistaken.  There are two arcs that run throughout the entirety, and they both wrap up nicely.

Without focusing too much on the plot, so that I avoid spoilers, I do want to point out my one slight issue.  Jigsaw.  Billy Russo was not quite taken from source material, but with a new take on him.  Instead of his face really being the scarred part, it was his psyche that was shattered from the events at the end of season 1.  On that note as well, the amount of trauma that the Punisher himself experiences physically should have had him just as scarred as Billy, but at the end Frank is unmarred when he fully dons the vigilante persona.  Okay, so there is suspension of disbelief with that, and the way that everything flowed during this season was better than ANY of the other Marvel/Netflix shows.

Amy, Madoni, Curtis, John Pilgrim, and the rest of the cast were just as exemplary in their roles as Frank and Billy.  It was a job well done by all.

It didn’t drag on in parts and wrapped up everything nicely.  I hope we see more of the character soon.  Personally, I’d like a Nick Fury/Winter Soldier/Punisher team up, but that’s just me.

What were your thoughts?  I give season 2 of the Punisher 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.


Review: First Man

firstmanMy son has had a fascination with space this year, so when an eight year old comes out of a true story movie loving every second, that says something.  First Man was a bit slow in parts.  There were some scenes where if you have vertigo, you may want to close your eyes.  Despite thinking you know what’s going to happen because you may know a lot about the Apollo program, well think again.

Ryan Gosling was not the only stellar cast member.  Everyone in the film did such a fantastic job that I’m shocked it hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  The Oscars only put what and who they want up there even if no one has seen the films.  Okay, ranting aside, First Man definitely deserved a nomination on so many levels.

Yes, it’s based on the true story of Neil Armstrong, but it delves into his family life, and the stresses he went through.  It wasn’t an easy trek for him to achieve the status he did and become the first man on the moon.

I had no complaints about this film, other than the fact that the conspiracy loving part of me wishes they would have touched on some of those doctored NASA photos of the moon and flight recordings of him and Buzz Aldrin talking about seeing objects outside of the shuttle.  That would have detracted from what they were going for, so I understand why they didn’t… but still..  we all want and need answers.

I may have shed a tear of joy when he stepped on the moon after seeing all that built up to it.  Kudos to the director and cast for a job well done.  I give the movie 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of First Man?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Bird Box

bird-box-poster-405x600Bird Box was something I decided to check out when I had a rare few hours to burn when I wasn’t writing.  I had heard about the stupid challenge people have been getting hurt doing, and figured I’d check out the source material.

As far as a movie with suspense, this has plenty of it.  There’s a good dynamic of flashback and present telling that make it flow well.  I was hooked in the first five minutes.  Sandra Bullock and cast really made the film, and I felt for the child actors involved.  It was an emotionally charged plot.

The story itself was decent enough, but I feel it fell flat in a few places.  There really was no explanation as to what the “creatures” were other than the aspiring author character’s thoughts on it.  That wasn’t presented as fact, so you are just left assuming he knew all about it.  Why were some people committing suicide, while others were trying to convince people to open their minds to the “demons?”  Again… there was no explanation for this.

Despite that, there was enough to keep me interested all the way until the credits rolled.  The ending itself was a little underwhelming.  Without explanations and too many questions left up in the air, I desired to see one of these things.  Obviously the directors chose not to show because for the characters, they all saw something different.  It just had too abrupt an ending with loose ends obviously designed to rope in enough interest for a sequel.

If you’re bored and want something interesting, then this is a must see, but if you’re looking for closure and something substantial, then I’d skip it.  I give Bird Box a 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have lost another point if the acting wasn’t so superb.

What were your thoughts?  Comment below.


Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout

mi6I grew up watching reruns of the original series, and the remake series that came out briefly in the late 80s.  The films have also been a guilty pleasure of mine.  In some cases I thought they fell a little flat, but for the most part this film series has been a lot of fun.  So how do I think the sixth installment turned out?

Fallout was definitely a strong entry in the series.  I don’t think it was the best of the batch, but it ranks high on the list.  Tom Cruise again does an amazing job as Ethan Hunt.  The returning cast members also excel in their roles, and I’m glad to finally see Ving Rhames’ character Luther get some more screen time.  Lacking however was Jeremy Renner’s role.  Like other MI movies, he was the character that somehow wasn’t present (probably saving the world as an Avenger or something).  The additions made up for it though.  Angela Basset and Henry Cavill were great additions, and for the first time we have the return of a previous film’s villain.

I don’t want to give away too much about that, so I’ll move on.  Stunt wise the movie was on par with being a little over the top unbelievable, but that is what makes these films so fun to watch.  They also wrapped up a previous story line that dates back to a few movies ago with Ethan’s love life.  I’m glad to see closure there.  There were a couple surprises especially with the fate of a certain character.

Overall, I enjoyed it and it will fit nicely on my dvd shelf next to the other 5 films.  Audiences must have loved it too because they are filming the 7th and 8th movie back to back from what I hear.  I don’t know how many more Cruise has in him, but with the way they bring in new characters I could see this lasting a long time, and it’s a franchise I hope sticks around the way that 007 does.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of Mission Impossible: Fallout?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Creed II

MV5BMTcxMjUwNjQ5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjk4MzI4NjM@__V1_As a lifelong fan of the Rocky franchise, it was inevitable that I’d see Creed 2.  Throw in the bonus that my wife was in the movie, made it that much more enjoyable for me to watch.

While the first Creed movie did a good job of showing the origin of Michael B Jordan’s character, the second film goes beyond that and firmly sets him into the lead role.  No longer is he overshadowed by Sly Stallone’s Rocky Balboa.  Adonis Creed now stands on his own.  He’s set firmly in place, and in a way that I hope will continue to carry this franchise for years to come.

Creed 2 is almost a direct sequel to Rocky 4 in many ways, and while Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago didn’t have much substance in that prior movie, he’s given much more to work with here.  In fact they humanize him and his son in a way where I could see fans wanting to see more of the pair in a spinoff or return further down the line.

The drama in this film plays nicely with the brutal action, humor, and touching moments.  My only complaint is that I wish there would have been a physical confrontation of some sorts between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa, but in a way I’m glad they didn’t.  It would have just taken away from establishing Adonis Creed’s legacy.

I give Creed 2 a score of 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Here’s to hoping for Creed III soon, and maybe even a prequel about Mickey in the early 1900s.


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: Tomb Raider

Tomb_Raider_(2018_film)The Tomb Raider movies prior to this year’s film of the same name with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, weren’t much to remember.  They were just fun popcorn flicks.  It’s because of those that I went into this movie with low expectations, but as a huge fan of the video games I had to give it a shot.  I’m glad that I did.

With a surprisingly long run time for this film (just under 2 hours), it felt refreshing and human.  Vikander’s Croft is much more relatable, giving the audience a character they care about.  You can see her humanity.  She’s not a super hero, and while she does perform some impossible things, she doesn’t come out of it unscathed.

This really shows the origin of a great character, and how she became wrapped up in the archaeological world.  Tomb Raider 2018 may not be as good as the Indiana Jones movies, but it separates itself as a solid stand alone piece that is highly enjoyable.

I personally look forward to a sequel, and who knows… with all these crossovers, and an inevitable Indiana Jones reboot some day, maybe we will see Indy and Lara team up.  In the mean time this will keep audiences pleased.  I rate it with 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It’s not the best movie out there, but it certainly ranks high on the fun film scale.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Gotham season 4

GOTHAMUnlike the other DC TV shows that I reviewed a few days ago, Gotham has potential.  Sure, it’s been eye rolling and frustrating to comic book fans at times, but season 4 makes up for a lot of that.  Warning that there are some spoilers ahead.

This season did a great job of really delving into some of the lore that makes Batman who he is.  Although there were some episodes that dragged (Barbara getting the Demon’s Head was a horrible plot point), most of them kept me wanting to watch more.

By the season’s end we get to see who will actually become the Joker.  He isn’t the Joker yet, but this take on him really shows him as the Red Hood without wearing the hood.  We’ve got multiple cliffhangers.  Butch will surely become Solomon Grundy again, Penguin will have his empire back, Riddler and Lee will be in debted to Hugo Strange and Penguin, Selina will undoubtedly have survived and used up one of her nine lives, Gotham is looking to be “No Man’s Land” straight from the comics, villains like Firefly and Mr. Freeze are on the loose and ready to make their marks, Bruce Wayne and Gordon standing on the rooftop near the spotlight is a bit of a foreshadowing, and everything is set up for a good conclusion to the prequel show.  The next season is said to be the final one with Bruce finally becoming Batman, probably resulting in Jeremiah becoming the Joker, and so much more anticipated comic book accurate points.  At least that’s what we can hope for.

For Season 4 of Gotham, I have to give it a high score of 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Perhaps it’s because the CW has left such a bad watching experience that I’m willing to accept what Gotham has given us, but I think that the writers of this show really care about what they are working with, at least to some degree.  What did you think of this season?  Do you agree or disagree?  Comment below and share your thoughts.

 


Review: Lethal Weapon season 2

Lethal-Weapon-season-2-poster-Fox-key-artWhile the first season was a great interpretation and reinvention of one of my favorite movie franchises, Lethal Weapon season 2 goes beyond that.

In a quick review that will have some spoilers I must say that season 2 makes a very emotional connection with the audience.  I’ve found myself invested in the characters and really enjoying the story telling.  The mixture of action, humor, and ongoing plot points continues to reel me in.

Then I heard that co-lead actor Clayne Crawford would not be returning as Martin Riggs after being fired.  Originally I was mortified that this was true.  How could you have Lethal Weapon without Riggs and Murtaugh?  Well while we don’t have definitive answers short of Seann William Scott replacing Crawford as a lead, I think the finale of season 2 gives us a hint of what we will have.  Perhaps there will be a new Riggs coming aboard, related to the main character and in a tasteful and hopefully non-forced sort of way.  We can only hope there will be chemistry between him and Wayons (who continues to be outstanding in his role).  I’m assuming Murtaugh will not take the Captain position in order to solve the murder of his former partner?

For season 2 I give it 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show and where do you think they can and will go from here?


Review: DC CW TV shows 2018

arrowThis review will cover the current “Arrowverse” seasons including: Arrow (season 6), The Flash (season 4), Supergirl (season 3), Legends of Tomorrow (season 3), & Black Lightning (season 1).  This excludes the crossover episode that I reviewed a few months back, but focuses on the main series’ separate story arcs.

Arrow this season had quite a few high points, and very little low.  High points are Ricardo Diaz (Richard Dragon), the breakup of team Arrow, Ollie’s solo crusade, Detective Lance’s goal to turn Black Siren into someone more like his Laurel, Black Siren’s story arc, Oliver as a father, Diggle becoming an Argus agent, Rene being more like a father and his emotional side, Christopher Chance as the Human Target, and the pace of the season leading up to an explosive and shocking finale with some really great decisions albeit heartbreaking ones.  The parts of this season that didn’t work… Everyone complaining about Oliver as the Green Arrow.  His decisions might not all have been perfect, but the man’s crusade has definitely been for the greater good.  Oliver and Felicity getting married.  Just stop already.  It’s annoying, and she works better as a separate entity not with him.  Also are we just supposed to believe she will jump in and play mommy role to Oliver’s son?  I guess so.  Two Black Canary type figures.  They need to decide who to get rid of because it’s too much.  Make the new Laurel what the old was supposed to be, and it’ll work better.  And finally, Mister the-flash-season-4-poster-amunet-1106525Terrific.  He’s so clichéd at this point its not even enjoyable to watch him.  He barely has a role other than to fill in the gay guy part, and that is over played in bad taste.  All in all, I give the season 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash like arrow this season was overall enjoyable.  The good parts of the show were the mystery girl who turned out to be Iris and Barry’s daughter from the future.  It was short but kept me wondering.  Ralph Dibney (Elongated Man) as an addition to the team is far more enjoyable than some of the other members.  He adds a new personality that differs from the rest of the cast making him a breath of fresh air.  The Mad Thinker as the villain worked in so many ways and finally gave us someone who wasn’t a speedster.  Here’s what didn’t work… The whole Killer Frost thing.  It felt very forced as if they just didn’t know whether to choose to keep her as a hero and piss everyone off or have her stone cold villain and lose their precious Kaitlyn.  Get over it already and do the thing actual comic fans want.  Iris as team leader is just stupid and takes away from that character.  H.R. was great as usual, but there were times where I felt he just didn’t fit into the story.  I give this season 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings for the fact that they finally did something different, and didn’t get too involved in controversial things.

legendsLegends of Tomorrow was better than its previous seasons but I still wonder why it’s on.  It began strong with me thinking they were going to address how they have no concept of time travel and how it logically would work, but they scrapped that right after the first episode and went back to pure garbage.  If anything at this point they shouldn’t even exist in the same reality as the other shows because they’ve screwed things up from their actions… but that is all ignored by lazy story telling.  The writers only care to push their agendas from anti-Trump nonsense to shoving lesbian plots into places where a relationship doesn’t work no matter what the character’s orientation.  As a man who is very middle ground, open minded to all, and offended at any extreme left or right political push, this bothers me a lot.  It’s to the point where a guy who has loved comics from when he was a kid can’t even get away from this real life problem by watching a show that’s supposed to be enjoyable.  One good thing they did was to bring Constantine in for a few episodes, and give Wally West a role that is much better suited than on The Flash.  I give Legends 1 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

supergirlSupergirl is slightly better now that they’ve focused less on relationships and more on story.  My problem with this season is that it fell flat with the rip off Smallville Doomsday plot.  They just keep reusing Superman’s villains or doing a new take.  It’s not even creative at this point.  What saved the show this year was the introduction of the Legion, and having Martian Manhunter’s father losing his memory.  That is something that connects with all viewers and not just a certain crowd.  Supergirl was overly hard to watch though because it focuses less on the main character and more on her supporting ones.  I give it 1 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Black Lightning is the new addition to the universe, but he’s not much more than a wannabe Luke Cage.  Sure, the characters are different, but the theme of the show goes for that feel.  Here’s where it shines… The actors are all very excellent in their roles and Tobias Whale is a great villain.  Where it falls is everywhere else.  The political things that I’ve mentioned earlier go even more here to the point of making it seem like every cop is bad, most people are racist, and in order to stand up for what we believe we should condone violent protests.  It’s just downright appalling to me that the writers Black-Lightning-Season-1-Poster-Key-Artreally think this is okay.  Touching on a subject is fine, but making it something for you to spread your message is not entertaining by any means.  Black Lightning is a little bit better than the other two shows, but not by much.  I give it 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

In Conclusion I must admit that I don’t know if I’ll be watching the last three shows mentioned next season.  I’ve almost given up on Arrow a few times, but it reels me back in.  The Flash is stale at times, but has interesting rogues.  These others though are just a platform for close minded liberal attacks on anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  I mean who are they gearing this toward?  I honestly think that they believe everyone needs to think like they do or F%#$ off.  From a man who is open to all beliefs and people, who is also a comic book nerd from youth, people like me should be one of the target audiences.  Sadly we are not.  In fact I’m sure most people can’t even stomach watching it even when we agree (and yes there were times when I agreed).  It just shouldn’t be what it is and they’ve taken a great idea and universe and made it painful to watch.  Even worse is that I just don’t care about it any more.  I have seen how many people have just stopped watching these things, and now I know why.  For what might be my last review of these shows with writers who have no concept of how entertainment works, I give the whole DCTVCWverse this season a 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think?  Feel free to comment below whether you agree or disagree.


Review: Deadpool 2

Deadpool-2-International-PosterThe Merc With A Mouth is back, but did the sequel keep up with expectations?  The answer could go either way.  If you have knowledge of the other comic book movies out there, or are just a comic fan, then yes yes yes… this was as good if not better than the first.  For those who might not be up to speed on all the spandex wearing superhero films, some of the jokes may go over your head… but it would still be a fun and enjoyable movie to see.

There are a few spoilers I’ll mention, so if you just want the rating, then scroll down to the bottom, otherwise… be warned.

Loaded with shocking moments, and cameos by actors and other comic book characters, Deadpool 2 literally had me laughing so hard I was in tears.  This time though, it isn’t just Wade Wilson who is the highlight of the film.  Cable, Domino, and Colossus equally dominate with their own unique personalities.  This works well with Deadpool, and I especially can’t wait for this to come out for home release.

I know a lot of people complained about Juggernaut’s CGI effects, but I barely noticed because I was thrilled to see him portrayed properly, and it’s still way better than some of the other CG I’ve seen in recent films.  I do have one complaint however, and this is the common themed problem throughout all of the X-Men films.  The continuity.

When does this take place and in which time line?  For example… Deadpool’s music box in the beginning directly references the Logan movie.  Is this just him breaking the 4th wall (which was done expertly a dozen times or so)? The answer is no… it’s not after Logan, but before.  How do I know?  Because all of the X-Men are still alive, and it’s very evident that they are.  Then we just assume that it is running along side a modern day theme, but then again, the X-Men aren’t portrayed by their older actors, but by the younger ones.  hmmm.  Oh, and then the time travel thing during the credits adds to the confusion because in the current timeline X-Men origins Wolverine never happens.  So, that being the case, does time travel let them go to different pasts?

The continuity thing can be forgiven and overlooked.  It doesn’t bother me that much because of Wade and his 4th wall breaching.  It sort of makes things better in some ways.  The other issue is that they killed of Black Tom Cassidy before he even got to be a threat.  That was a huge disappointment for me.  Other than that I’ve no complaints.

From here I guess they’d do an X-Force movie over a Deadpool 3 because it would just make more sense.  The name “Essex” has been in 3 movies so far, so having the X-Force up against a villain like Mister Sinister would probably end up being the best film in this universe yet.

Deadpool 2 gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  I loved it and will definitely own it at some point.  What were your thoughts?  Comment below and let’s discuss.


Review: Once Upon a Time Ssn 7

170914-onceuponatimeseason7posterOnce Upon a Time there was a show that caught a lot of attention from episode 1.  It was hugely successful with its take on fairy tales and other books of legend by incorporating those characters in the real world.  Flash backs to their lives in the enchanted forest captivated young and old.  It was strong for 4 seasons but hit a lull in story telling that became repetitive.

Season 7 returned to its roots by hitting a reboot by aging some of the characters, and bringing in different versions of ones that already existed.  It was confusing to say the least, but for the long time fan, it was a breath of fresh air.

The format was roughly similar, but with a little tweaking made it less predictable and with new likeable characters.  The main complaint I have about this final season is that it didn’t utilize non-fairy tale characters as they had done in the past.  Centering mostly around Rapunzel, Mother Gothel, Cinderella, and Princess Tiana, the show could have used something else.

That being said, as far as series finales go, Once Upon A Time ended in one of the best ways.  There was closure to everything.  There were flashbacks to many characters stories that I’d forgotten, and there was even a little hint that maybe… just maybe… there might be a reunion miniseries or made for TV movie at some point.

Season 7 stood out as a little above average, but that’s far from bad.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show’s farewell season?  Comment below.


Review: MacGyver season 2

macgyver_big_58861MacGyver was one of my favorite childhood shows.  After being pleasantly surprised by season 1 of the reboot, I kept with it and watched season 2.  So how does it hold up?

Let me say this…. there are very few shows that I can watch any more with my kids.  There’s either too much sexual content, language or graphic violence to subject them to at their current ages.  But that’s the kind of stuff I also enjoy seeing in moderation.  When MacGyver came along I wanted them to watch it as I had when I was younger.  The original doesn’t hold up as much, so this modern take makes it fresh and new.  Happily, it is written in a way where all ages can appreciate and enjoy it.

From its non-stop funny moments, thrilling story telling, interesting dilemnas, and character interactions, this show really has become a favorite again.  Season 2 of MacGyver brings more of the same, but throws in a few guest appearances of actors from the original (Jack Dalton and Murdoch original actors cameoed).

This season put a lot on the line, and had a great build up to a point where I thought I could predict where it would lead.  I’m glad in a way that I didn’t but was also half way disappointed.  When MacGyver finds his father (I’ll stay away from spoilers on that) I was expecting Mac Sr. to be played by actor Richard Dean Anderson (the original show’s MacGyver).  When he wasn’t there as that character I was sadly let down, but I can see why they didn’t get him for the role.  Mac’s dad probably has a more significant role from here on out, so getting Anderson to do the spot was probably too hard with his schedule.  Still, I hope he pops in for an episode as some other character.

All in all season 2 was a blast.  It was highly enjoyable for myself and my two kids, and with that cliffhanger of an ending I really can’t wait until it’s back in the Fall.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of season 2?  Comment below and let’s discuss.


Review: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season 5

shield.jpgThis show has come a long way since it’s freshman year.  Characters that were once annoying and served little purpose have become favorites.  Season 5 cements this show firmly in the Marvel cinematic universe in my opinion.

Where it faults is only in things I feel they could have done.  That isn’t to say that the story was bad at all.  In fact, the Graviton twist with Talbot, and use of Absorbing man was unexpected and movie villain worthy.  So where is my complaint?

It’s not really a complaint but instead a missed opportunity.  As a comic book fan, I loved the idea of the 2099 comics.  For those who may not know, this was a line of stories that took place in the year 2099 (which later we find out doesn’t necessarily mean it is our 2099 A.D.)  I won’t go into that, but what I can say is that the whole premise to the first half of this season took place in an alternate future.  I wish they’d have tied it into the comics with those specific stories, instead of what we got.

That being said… What we did get was highly entertaining on a Star Trek level.  The show didn’t feel like the SHIELD of old, but kept true to its nature.  When they finally returned to present day, it was like they hit the reset button.

With plenty of twists and turns, references to what has happened in the movies (including Infinity War) and all out shocking moments (no one is safe in this show), I feel that this was the best season of the show.

I look forward to season 6, and rate season 5 with 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?  Where do you think they can go from here?  Comment below and let’s discuss.


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?


Knocking out the Rocky / Creed movies: Review

KDRS3126[1]I grew up watching Sly Stallone’s movies, and since my hometown Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs in the SuperBowl this year, I wanted my kids to see some great underdog stories.  We watched the whole franchise, so instead of rating individual movies, I’m going to go with the boxers in each, and rate them that way.  I’ll give a spoiler warning, but if you haven’t seen these movies shame on you anyway 😛

In the first ROCKY film, Sly’s character had a decent story.  Rocky “The Italian Stallion” Balboa struggled to make ends meet.  He was relatable in every sense of the term, albeit a bit annoying at times with his incessant ramblings.  That just added to the character.  He comes off a bit strong, and even uncomfortable in his approach to Adrian.  Now I won’t get into Adrian as I’m focusing on the boxers themselves, but she is Rocky’s backbone, and their relationship is fun to watch and build.  The build of getting to see him rise up to take on a challenge from the Boxing champion of the world, is a long but enjoyable journey starting with his bout against Spider Rico (who shows up later in the 6th film again).

Apollo Creed is a cocky type of character, but it’s hard to hate him.  He has used his fame to give a nobody a chance.  Although he wins by split decision, he knows he was underestimate Rocky.  This is where ROCKY 2 comes in for the rematch.  My problem with the first movie is that Rocky doesn’t guard his head at all.  I boxed for a short time, and know that leaving yourself open the way he does in the first film makes for quick matches.  This was slightly corrected in the second movie, and the fight is a bit closer to realistic.  Apollo, despite being angry at Rocky throughout the film still respects the man.

We will skip ROCKY 3’s opening match with Hulk Hogan’s “Thunderlips,” because although entertaining it’s obviously done with humor, and not to be taken seriously.  On to Clubber Lang.  Now the movies have gone from boxers for sport to having a real bad guy, and it works.  Mr. T is way more intimidating than Apollo was, but having Apollo at Rocky’s side as trainer brings a nice full circle to it all.  And yes the beach scene with them training is downright hilariously cheesy, but when you’ve got “Eye of the Tiger” playing you can’t lose.  Literally in this case.

ROCKY 4 takes a drastic turn here by killing off the still pompous Apollo Creed.  I meanCPVC6752[1] we haven’t recovered from Mickey’s death yet, and another favorite bites the dust.  There is purpose though because it fuels the hate for the seemingly unstoppable Ivan Drago.  Of all the series, this one was always my favorite because it had my attention as a kid and stayed with me.  It’s now my son’s favorite of them all as well.

ROCKY 5 is definitely the low point of the series, but it’s not one you should skip.  Tommy “The Machine” Gunn is a turd right from the start, but that’s not what these films are all about.  It’s about Rocky’s struggle with returning to a normal life after being told he has brain damage, losing his house, and being betrayed by a kid he takes in as his own.  It also shows the heart of fatherhood, and how he doesn’t realize he is failing with his son, by taking in this other youth.  In the end it sorts out well for the Balboa family, or so it seems.  The street fight with Balboa and Gunn is probably what turned people off the most.  It isn’t really a boxing story, despite having that as a root element.  Still, it’s fun to watch the beat down.

ROCKY BALBOA was an unexpected return to the series over a decade later, and it makes up for what 5 wasn’t in plot.  Rocky’s wife Adrian is dead, his best friend Paulie  loses his job, his son Robert Jr does what he can to get out of his father’s shadow, and Rocky deals with a lonely life of pain while managing a restaurant.  When I saw this in the theater I was overjoyed at having the character return, but in rewatching it I realize how it doesn’t quite hold up as well as the older ones.  Sure, it’s one of the best stories about Rocky’s life, but I’m talking about the fight.  Rocky jumping back into the ring at 60 years old is a bit of a stretch.  Even the training sequences show that he’s no way near as in peak shape as he used to be.  His body just can’t do what it used to.  Still, watching him trade blows with Mason “The Line” Dixon was fun enough.  The much older boxer was able to prove that age shouldn’t hold you down from what you enjoy, and the younger boxer was able to prove to the world that he could handle an icon and isn’t just fighting nobodies.

Now comes CREED, and just when you think the franchise might get stale, we have a successful reboot that brings the saga to a whole new generation.  For one, I hope it keeps going, because Adonis Johnson Creed is a very likeable character in much the same way that Rocky is.  I find the fight with “Pretty Ricky” Conlan an entertaining enough bout.  Apollo Creed’s son seems to have his father’s footwork and some of Rocky’s power.  It’s the best of both worlds making each new match feel unique.  I love the throwbacks and references, I hate Pretty Ricky because he’s a punk, and even more so I love that Rocky fights once again (though this time against cancer and not an opponent in the ring).  The ending is touching, and brings everything full circle.  Rocky is the new Mick, and Adonis “Donnie” is the new Rocky.

Speaking of Mickey “Mick” Goldmill, I could easily see a prequel movie about the rise of Jewish boxers in Philadelphia.  I have a great story idea that would be a perfect tie in to the franchise featuring a younger Mick, but be separated enough to be something totally new.  Call me, Sly!

This franchise is about heart, never giving up, and dealing with the struggles of life.  It can’t get any more real than that.  After watching the movies, I took my family down to the Art Museum in Philly to run the steps, pose with the Rocky statue, and see the sights.  I didn’t even realize that Rocky’s (Stallone’s) footprints are there.  My wife grabbed this shot of the city from the top of the steps with the plaque.  It was fun to see countless people doing the same thing that we did, and it’s still over 40 years since the original movie came out.

IMG_9431[1]

Photo credit: Roberta Pipito @homemadedelish.  Rocky’s footprints at the top of the art museum steps looking out over Philadelphia.

I’ll do a review of CREED 2 when it comes out in October of this year.  If you haven’t heard, Ivan Drago is returning sure to put up an interesting interaction between him and Rocky, while Donnie Creed takes on Drago’s son.

What do you think of this series?  Which one is your favorite?  Do you want to see it continue for years to come?  Chime in with your thoughts below.


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: Crisis on Earth X (TV crossover)

supergirl-crisis-on-earth-x-cover-imageWhen watching any of the CW DC comics shows you have to keep in mind the network that they are on.  The writers are targeting a single market, and alienating others.  People who have been fans of the comics and these characters for years (myself included) will often cringe at some of the decisions made by the writers.  Children that should be able to watch a comic book show just simply can’t because they are all too adult oriented.  And if you’ve got a political view that isn’t what the writers want to push, then you’ll be dissatisfied as well.  These are shows aimed at millennials, and I’m not using that in a negative term towards that generation.  I get a network wanting to appeal to a certain audience, but as a man who went to school for learning how to gain an audience, I know it isn’t a wise decision to exclude any others.  If I were making a show I’d want it to reach as many people as possible (especially the long time fans and the next generation of youth).  Sadly, this isn’t the case with Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.

Anyone who has been following me for a while knows that I follow and watch these shows each week.  Do I do it because they are great?  No.  But there is a small element that gives me hope I will eventually see what I know the DC comics shows could be.  After this crossover it could go either way.

Stay with me a moment while I explain.  When Supergirl was in its freshman season it was lacking a budget, but the stories were told well.  Then it was moved to the CW, and it became something entirely different.  It got rid of good characters and changed the sexuality of another.  It went from focusing on Kara Zor-El of Krypton to focusing on love lives.  This wouldn’t be a bad thing if it was done right, but the problem is none of the dialogue in the relationships is realistic, and the scenarios feel forced if not acted out.

I preface with that because that is EXACTLY what we got in this crossover.  Now, I’m not entirely hating because there were good things about it.  For example:  The Nazi Earth storyline, the death of beloved character Martin Stein, the return of Red Tornado, Barry and Iris finally getting married, and some pretty fun action scenes to watch with all the shows’ characters coming together in a Justice League B-Team sort of way.

But that is about it.  The rest is riddled with plot holes that make no sense, corny moments, ridiculous relationship moments, and a forced political message.  Let’s skip the corny moments because they can be forgiven, and talk about the plot holes…

Plot hole 1, 2, and 3: If Nazis won World War II and ruled another Earth, then why is the sky Red there?  It’s still Earth right?  And to add to that history would have been entirely changed.  There’s a good chance that Oliver Queen wouldn’t even exist.  Even IF that was possible how would he have become the Fuhrer?  Is he a descendant of some high ranking German officer?  That wouldn’t make sense either considering his family’s legacy.  Not to mention that all existing character dopplegangers should have looked much different, whether it be facial hair, lipstick or whatever.  Something would be different.

Plot hole 4: The Nazis have a wave rider.  Why wouldn’t they use it to travel back in time on Earth One and change things?  Instead they use it to attack civilians running in panic.  It’s instead portrayed as less a doomsday weapon that Overgirl was.

Plot hole 5: Overgirl or Nazi Supergirl exploding also made no sense.  The yellow sun powers her and Supergirl.  Why would flying close to it irradiate her heart and cause her to be dying?  Is this a lost plotline from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace?  Even that movie had less plot holes.

Plot hole 6: How did this Nazi army do anything to stay in power.  It seems that they aren’t very loyal to taking commands.  When their Fuhrer says, “Kill them,” multiple times, they just march forward.  They have automatic weapons in their hands.  All they had to do to listen to orders was to aim and fire.  Sure, there would have been some bullet proof people or those who could avoid the barrage of projectiles, but the Nazis would have at least tried.  And they would have succeeded in killing a few.  Instead we get a group fist fight with little to no guns being used, but lots of superpowers.

Plot hole 7: If Earth One is the Ray’s real home and Earth X is Citizen Cold’s real home, then why would Cold stay on One, and Ray return to X?  Relationship aside, this makes no sense whatsoever.

Plot hole 8: Why is Thawne on Earth X?  And to top it off, why is he even taking orders?  He could easily kill evil Oliver, and outrun Supergirl to other worlds.  This just seems stupid.

Plot hole 9, 10 & 11: These are less plot holes and more of unanswered issues, but who was the girl holding the drinks at the wedding?  She acted like she knew Barry and is obviously someone from the future, but who?  This doesn’t fit in a crossover episode, but should have been in a Flash episode.  We have no answer at the conclusion of this arc though and are left wondering.  Red Tornado’s return was much better than he appeared before, but are him and Metallo now dead?  They both exploded as if they were just henchmen, and I’m still left wanting more of both for Supergirl or whatever show they fit in.  Martin Stein’s death leaves another unanswered thing in his wake.  Will Jax be useless from now on?  My guess is that Stein’s daughter will be able to bond with Jax because of genetic code, and I’d be fine with that.  There is a down side to this… it will become yet another relationship to watch on these shows.

That takes us to the relationship part of all of this… Straight or gay it doesn’t matter… the way they were written in felt forced and didn’t make anyone care at all for them.  In fact, the only relationship that anyone should care about in this crossover is disrespected.

Relationship 1: Nazi Oliver and Nazi Supergirl – I actually enjoyed this one.  It was as much a shock as it was to see Tommy Merlin appear as Prometheus, and it was executed quite well.  The only down side is that this chemistry feels off for a so called dictator and a goddess of another world.  It weakens their status and while they can and should love each other no matter how evil, it is something that would be done in private, not in public.

Relationship 2: Alex and White Canary – Let’s take the whiniest indecisive character (Alex) and focus more on her fake love life.  They spent a season of Supergirl making me hate this character and it wasn’t because she was gay, but because her love life didn’t seem authentic.  Everything with her and Maggie was forced from bad dialogue to interactions.  So it’s not a surprise when it carries over to hear, and even the characters feel funny about it in the show.  Then they put her with White Canary, who at this point must have every STD in the history of mankind.  How many women has she slept with throughout history and NOT affected the time line?  It’s been way too many to count or make sense.  This was my final straw for both these characters, especially Alex.  They need to kill her off already because she brings nothing to the show.  White Canary is fine when she is acting like a leader, but how disrespectful can you be at a friend’s wedding rehearsal to just ignore the bride and groom because you want a one night stand?  ugh.

Relationship 3: Barry and Iris –  Poor Barry and Iris.  This is one relationship I really care about.  I want to see them together, and when they get their chance at a wedding it is all about everyone else and not them (including the point where they get married finally).  Thankfully they had their moment, but the writers royally screwed them in the process.  It’s a slap in the face to the actors and characters.

Relationship 4: Oliver and Felicity – WTF?!  Any respect I had for Felicity is gone after that crap she pulled.  Some best friends you are if you can’t even respect their wedding.  But no… instead of Green Arrow and Black Canary we get Ollicity… a forced and unsteady relationship that just shows why many marriages end up in divorce.  They have no respect for what should matter (the wedding of their friends).

Relationship 5: The Ray and Citizen Cold – I get that the Ray is a gay character.  I get that the actor playing Captain Cold is gay as well.  What I don’t get is why we had to see this portrayed so forcibly.  Put all the sexuality aside and it really doesn’t make sense.  Two people in love supposedly, but the one is in prison camp.  The other finally shows up to help out?  How long did that take?  Then they kiss, and there is a drastic change in the mannerisms of Citizen Cold.  He goes from being cool and badass to almost acted out like he’s prancing around and smiling all the time.  I mean they quite literally stereotyped him right there and changed the character mid scene.  Then the end comes and they just decide that they aren’t going to be together on the same Earth?  WTF?

This brings me to my final point.  The CW is trying very hard to get across a few political messages.  Whether you love or hate what is going on in the world, the last place I want to see politics is on a show I want to see.  Television is supposed to be a relief from the corruption and political bullcrap that is our current real society.  The constant push to make comments like “Make America Aryan again” just doesn’t bring anything to the show.  And the primary focus to be on relationships that seem way more forced than natural (gay or straight) comes off as more a message than anything else.

Extra questions I’m left with are “Where is the Hall of Justice introduced in last season’s crossover Invasion?” and “If this world was such a threat then why didn’t they recruit Martian Manhunter and Superman into it, not to mention the rest of the Time Bureau?”

We will see how the rest of the individual shows work out when I do my review at the end of the seasons, but for this crossover it is one you can easily skip.  I’ll give it 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, and that really comes down to a good concept and cool characters being screwed by poor writing and nonsense.

What did you think of Crisis on Earth X?  I’d love to hear if I’m the only one who felt this way or you agree.


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: Justice League

justice-league-posterI’ll give you a heads up now.  There will be some spoilers in this review, but I will try to keep it to a minimum.  If you’d like my rating of the movie without all the intricacies you can scroll down to the final paragraph.

Justice League has finally happened, but the reception is once again split down the middle.  DC and Warner Brothers are having a rough streak at keeping the audiences happy overall.  I could get into why, but perhaps that’s another article.  Here’s what I can say…

This movie will make longtime fans of the characters happy.  For those who look at plot and effects, well that may be a different story.  Here’s a brief character breakdown:

Batman: Affleck looks tired in the role.  Perhaps part of what the negativity is comes from him.  I still think he’s a great batman and Bruce Wayne, but there’s no passion in the actor’s eyes.  That being said, Batman was very enjoyable and seems to have been set up to eventually phase into either an Alfred like role for the team or being replaced by perhaps Dick Grayson at some point under the cowl.

Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot rocks the role again, and she really is the glue to this whole team.  I feel they could have used her more in the film, but there’s only so much you can do with this many characters in a two hour movie.

The Flash: I was very skeptical about the casting of Ezra Miller in this part.  He doesn’t look like the Barry Allen that fans have come to know, and the one on TV has been prominent in everyone’s minds.  From the second he took to the screen however, I was pleasantly surprised.  I hate his suit with a passion.  For a character that can run at super speeds, you’d think it’d be more aerodynamic and uniform.  This looks like a machine more than something a hero would wear.  Other than that, I think he is portrayed quite well in the movie as an up and coming hero.

Cyborg: If it weren’t for the horrible CGI on him, I really think he’d have been great.  Unfortunately because he is hard to look at at times, and there is not much about him learning each of his upgrades, it’s difficult to enjoy the time he’s on screen.

Aquaman: This is another casting that I thought was strange, but am completely on board with now.  He is easily one of the best things about the movie.  Like Wonder Woman, he has limited screen time, but I think he was presented well as far as quickly learning back story.  He brings quite a bit of humor and badassery to the plot.  I also like how they mention it isn’t the fish he talks to, but the water itself.  This actually makes a lot more sense.

Superman: Finally, we get a Superman that is closer to what he is in the comics.  He has a brighter costume, and less brooding persona.  That may not be the case when he is first brought back from the dead, but what we do get is a very cool few scenes.  The moment when he is brought back and faces the League is my favorite part of the whole movie.  I could watch it over and over and never get bored.  It made the comic book geek in me happy that Joss Whedon took over to give it what fans have wanted.  If I had to offer one complaint it would be that I really hoped we’d have seen him in his black and silver suit with a slight mullet.  In all reality hair does continue to grow after death for a bit, so him being clean cut made no sense.

Steppenwolf: I was surprised to hear he was going to be the main villain, but excited as well.  He was one of my favorite villains when I was a kid, and seeing a proper interpretation of him got me stoked.  While the Parademons really worked, however, he wasn’t as memorable.  The back story we got felt like it was missing quite a bit, but that could have been forgiven if we’d had something visually fun to look at.  The biggest problem I had with the movie was him.  The CGI was absolutely horrible.  When you are given movies like Star Wars and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and you have these visually stunning fake people, why would computer graphics that look like they belong in the early 2000s be involved.  All I could see while watching him was the way Hulk looked way back when Eric Bana played him.  It was very very hard to watch him speak or see any close up of his face.

The small roles and cameos of a Green Lantern from ages ago, plus Zeus, Lois, Commisioner Gordon, Marc McClure’s appearance, and the post credits with Lex Luthor and Deathstroke were all welcome additions to enhance the story.

A side note… Whoever markets the toylines for these movies should be shot.  All my son wants for Christmas is a Steppenwolf action figure to face off against his League.  In order to get one, I’d have to buy all the heroes he currently owns.  Needless to say I’m not doing that and ebay will hold the answers for me as I get an older version of the character with no stupid CGI barf face.

All the problems with CGI aside, I really found the movie to be a fun time.  Would I say see it in the theater?  No.  I’d say wait to rent it, but don’t miss out.  People who enjoyed Batman vs Superman should enjoy what it has evolved into here.  People who hated Batman vs Superman should feel happy that it’s evolved into something better.  It is not better than Wonder Woman, but I’ll place it above BvS, Man Of Steel, and that God awful Suicide Squad movie.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It would have had another star from me if the effects were done right, and another if they’d managed the story better, but I don’t think it deserves some of the hate it is getting.  If this is what the DC extended universe is going to start to shape up to be with its characters, then I’m all for it.  What did you think of Justice League?