This is pretty interesting as the huge crossover miniseries The Defenders arrives on the streaming service. A Variety article from 18 August 2017, the day the show was released, highlights the success of the Marvel Shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist) as they have all been among the top five most-viewed recently released Netflix originals in the first 30 days after their premiere. Netflix does not share viewership data but using these trends it seems likely that this show will also be among the most watched shows in its first 30 days. Now I am among the crowds of people who watched it the first weekend sure it is that late summer season wasteland on television so why not binge this show and the new season of shows doesn’t start for like a month still.
The latest Superhero to join Marvel’s fold is Dr. Stephen Strange. Marvel has dipped some toes in the mystical/magical with Vision and Scarlet Witch but here they dive right in. There are some Tony Stark vibes going on with Strange, a brash egotistical guy who wants everything for himself. Sure, this is the about the 14th film in the MCU and Robert Downey Jr. is nearing the end of his time as Iron Man so they are looking for a new “star” to fill the role. Clearly Benedict Cumberbatch is a very likeable person and we’ve seen him in just about everything the past couple of year. Spoilers to follow.
The film begins with a monk stealing some pages from a book and then we are introduced to Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), he is a brilliant neurosurgeon and his hands are his life. Unfortunately on the way to a speaking engagement he is talking on his phone and subsequently crashes his car and his hand go through the dashboard. It’s not looking nice until one day at therapy Strange hears about a paraplegic Jonathan Pangborn who went away and came back able to walk, he searches Pangborn out and finds out about Kamar-Taj. This lead Strange to go on a journey to find Kamar-Taj. He finds it and learn from the Ancient One (Tida Swindon) about the general idea of mystical things, Strange is taught by Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) how to harness these powers. The bad guy who stole the pages from the book at the beginning are trying to connect with the dark dimension to overthrow the Ancient One. Things happen and Strange learns how to be a sorcerer, but we all expected that to happen in the film. Other things happen as well but Dr. Strange will return in the new Thor movie this November and the next Avengers film next May.
I enjoyed this film more than the Guardians Vol. 2 but perhaps that’s just the cool action bits in this one provide a better story. You should probably see this one before the next Thor or at least before the big team up film coming next May.
In Captain America: Civil War the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that I have seen we are treated with something that should have been called Avenger 2.5. It deals with the consequences of the events in Age of Ultron. Spoilers to follow.
The film begins in 1991 with Bucky killing Iron Man’s parents and stealing some Super solider serum for Hydra. Then we return a year after the events in the last Avengers movie the Avengers are confronted by the World saying that there needs to be some sort of agency behind the organization, as when the Avengers show up there is going to be a big mess to clean up. As after their latest mission they accidentally blow up a building and kill several civilians. This is the Sokovia Accords, where a UN panel will over see and control the team. This idea causes friction between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark as Tony is all for the oversight and Steve wants the independence. At the signing of the Accords Bucky or so we are lead to believe sets off a bomb and all hell break loose. Captain America and Falcon go off and with the help of Agent 13 (Sharon Carter) locate Bucky Barnes, the Winter Solider, since they want to help Bucky. Cap and Falcon get some help from Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Ant-man. Stark on the other side want Bucky in custody, so he get the UN approval to set up his own group with War Machine, Vision, T’Challa (The Black Panther), Spiderman and Black Widow although she doesn’t really care who wins and help Cap and Bucky get away at the airport. So they go after the bad guys what’s his name, Baron Zemo, who wore a Bucky mask when he planted the bomb. He also found a video tape of Bucky killing Tony’s parents which Tony watches. Tony, Steve and Bucky get into a big fight. This film really does nothing as several people have pointed out it is basically Batman V Superman all over again it’s a weak story with an even weaker reason behind the fight.
It’s been 13 film so if you’ve been watching you are stuck currently as there doesn’t seem to be any end until at least the Untitled Avengers movie in 2019 or 20. If this story was told over several films it would have had a better impact overall there was just not enough time for Tony and Steve disagreement to really matter. So it seems like the Secret Avengers are a thing with Cap and his crew perhaps now living on the Raft, while Tony and the Avengers with UN oversight will be the Avengers. Since it seems like everyone who has ever been in one of these MCU films will be back fro the Avengers 3 and 4. If you haven’t watched any of the Marvel movies good for you, but don’t start now as you have a lot to catch up on before really understanding what’s going on. I mean I’ve seen them all and am still a bit confused as to why things happened.
The latest of the Marvel/Netflix Comic Book television programs is a change of pace for the whole superhero genre. First of all it is about African Americans and for once it’s not about white people. Sure Iron Man and Captain America have black friends (War Machine and Falcon) but that’s about all we know about these two characters. Yes, we do have a Black Panther movie coming in 2018 but that just seems too long to wait for someone who isn’t a white person to be the Superhero in a movie as Wonder Woman comes out in 2017. Then we have the whole notion that seems to be in all first seasons of the Netflix MCU shows the “Should I be a hero? and if so how can I be a hero?”
Now, I didn’t know much about Luke Cage when I began watching but like the other shows I feel like I know him a bit better. Luke Cage is a story of Harlem and Black Lives Matter which is something that needs to be told. The show is a wonderful blend of the Blacksploitation films which originally inspired Luke Cage, Hero for Hire as well as the Hood films of today. It leans on the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance but it seems that’s where most of us think African American culture comes from and remains to this day but a lot has changed since then. It’s a fun show and I am sure that if you have watched any of the Marvel movies you are bound to have some passing interest in this new show.
I finally got around to seeing the R-rated Superhero movie Deadpool. Spoilers to follow.
I like most people who saw the film weren’t as versed with Deadpool before seeing the movie. The film takes what I like about superhero movies and being Deadpool it breaks the fourth wall. It is meant for the 18-perhaps 40s and fans of the comic book, as I’m not sure there is a market for those any older. The movie itself is very unconventional as it starts in the middle and goes to the beginning and comes back a couple time. Deadpool is Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a former special forces operative who has become a mercenary for hire. He finds out he has terminal cancer and is approached by Agent Smith who offers Wilson that they can cure his cancer. Francis, known as Ajax is in charge of this and after it Wilson changes Francis says that he can fix Wilson’s appearance as he has been disfigured by the mutation and explosion. As his friend Weasel (TJ Miller) comments “You look like an avocado had sex with an older, more disgusting avocado.” Deadpool is approached by Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, two X-men, to join up with them. Deadpool refuses as Francis escapes. Francis goes to the bar owned by Weasel and finds out that Deadpool/Wilson had a girlfriend so Francis kidnaps her. Deadpool goes to the X-Mansion and asks for some help in getting Vanessa back. Will they be able to find Francis and rescue Vanessa.
It was a fun movie and all especially with how most of the other comic book movies are so serious these days. There were great jokes about like the X-universe who Professor X is, and the ending of Ferris Bueller. If you are looking for a fun Superhero movie this is for you, it’s not as predictable as some of the MCU films have gotten.
The forgotten Marvel movie from last year and the final film in the second Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ant-Man tells the story of Scott Lang a reformed convict who is tasked to steal the Ant-Man suit by Hank Pym. It also sets up a Superhero from the west coast. Spoilers to follow.
This is the Marvel heist film and it’s got some funny elements in it but those just might be what Edgar Wright would have done if Marvel actually let his direct the film he wanted to make. The film itself begin back in the wild year of 1989 with Pym resigning from SHIELD after he discovers they are trying to find the Pym Particle. There is some great CG work here as it looks like they just picked up Michael Douglas from Wall Street and had him act the scene. The story then begins back in the present as Darren Cross, the guy who tossed Pym out of Pym Technologies is working on his own suit that can do the same thing that the Ant-Man suit can do. When Hank Pym gets Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to actually wear the suit he lets them into the big plan to destroy the suit that Cross is making. Lang says why not just call the Avengers. Pym has a huge problem with Stark and doesn’t want his suit to get into the hands of SHIELD, but they have to go to get some piece of tech from the Avengers new compound as we saw in Age of Ultron. Scott fights Falcon since it needs to have some cameos to make it a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. After this incident Hank finally tells his daughter Hope what happened to Janet, as if we really all cared. Then the whole plan happens but there is a hitch in it as Scott is trapped and Cross get’s his Yellowjacket armor to work, there is a huge fight and more stuff happens.
The one problem I had with the film was although it was a interesting film we get the same basic fight as we did in Iron Man and Hulk where the villain is basically the evil version of the hero. Another big problem is soon there’s going to be three Marvel films coming out in the same year as well as a pair or so from DC comic and now the annual Star Wars film around Christmas. Sure I’ll see them all eventually at least up to the end of Phase Three in the MCU, but eventually these films are going to be over bloated just fitting in all the characters, I read that the Russo’s say that in the next Avengers film there are going to be like 67 main characters. Oh and there is a Captain America sequel coming out soon which it seems Ant-Man will make an appearance
New version of Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song has been released. Sure it’s a bit early but I’ve always like these. The last edition was released with the film Eight Crazy Nights way back in 2002.
The first trailer for the new Marvel film Captain America: Civil War has been released and it looks cool. This marks the beginning of Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the film equivalent of the Civil War arc in the comics where Superheroes needed to register and be under government control. We will have to wait to see if Cap or Iron Man comes out on top, perhaps the conflict won’t be resolved in just one film.
Black Friday: If you are going shopping, I hope that you keep safe and try not to kill anyone over some crazy deal.
Netflix released their new Marvel show Jessica Jones last Friday and I like many other people have already watch through the series. Jessica Jones is not your average hero in fact she was first introduced in the Marvel MAX imprint, which is a place where Marvel could tell more adult stories as the Marvel Rating System generally put it this is like a film that is R-rated. So the stories are more mature then most other comic books. Spoilers to follow.
The television show begins with Jessica as a Private Eye running Alias Investigation, this is after her time with Killgrave. This first season like Daredevil’s is about embracing the heroic side, which Jessica decides if enough people think she’s a hero perhaps if she does it long enough she will feel the same. People across the internet have been raving about the series with the talk about rape and PTSD, as well as tackling the big problem the lack of females in the MCU. I like the article from Vox about how Jessica Jones even subverts the Bechdel test.
One of the stand out elements of this show for me is that there is a focus on some of the non super heroes that are alongside these superheroes. In particular the role of Trish and Malcolm I think that these people are among the most important in the series as Jessica need these people in her life to relate to the real world. As these were some of the more interesting relationships in the show. Let’s hope that this shows depiction of female relationships (Trish and Jessica, Jessica and Hogarth, Hogarth and her ex\lover) can inspire other shows and movies to treat women as actual characters and not just objects that the men get to act around. If you enjoyed Daredevil you are bound to like Jessica Jones, and if you are sick and tired of only men being superheroes this is a must watch. Especially if you need to escape from Thanksgiving.
Since Avengers: Age of Ultron came out on DVD, I got a chance to watch it again and I really wasn’t that impressed, sure it was a decent and exciting film but it felt bloated and there were times when the film dragged on and on. The major flaw is that everyone expected it to be a huge movie akin to the first Avengers film. Spoilers to follow.
The Avengers Assemble again, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Black Widow are on a mission to attack a Hydra facility to retrieve Loki’s scepter. On this mission they are attacked by the Maximoff twins, Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Pietro (Quicksiver), Wanda can manipulate minds and throw energy and Pietro can run fast. So the Avengers win the scepter and bring it back home with them. Tony Stark decides it would be a good idea to look into the scepter and he finds some artificial intelligence and Tony decides to “builds” Ultron, as a way to end the Avengers and to do so Ultron wants to kill the Avengers. Clearly Ultron is the bad guy, he takes the scepter and goes rogue, he attack the Avengers who were have a victory party for some reason. Ultron then recruits the twins to help him since Stark killed their parents. So the Avengers get into a fight with Ultron again and Wanda uses her mind manipulation skills and gives most of the Avengers visions. Many of these cause members to freak out and Hulk goes crazy and smashes some towns hurting people as well. This causes the world to start hating The Avengers so they go into hiding.
They enter into Hawkeye’s house and meet his wife and kids. Nick Fury shows up and gives a pep talk about how they need to work together as a team to stop Ultron. While this is going on Ultron goes to a synthetic tissue printer that Dr. Cho who was at the victory party has and Ultron tries to make a perfect version of himself using the Mind Gem which was inside Loki’s Scepter but the Avengers attack before Ultron can upload himself completely into the body. and he loses the body, but captures Black Widow. During this Wanda sees a vision of Ultron destroying the world so they decide to join the Avengers. Having captured the body Tony Stark being the huge dick he is decides to upload JARVIS into the body as he was the thing that was preventing Ultron from getting any launch codes. This is Vision. They win in the end and set up a new version of The Avengers (War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Falcon, with Captain America and Black Widow) Hawkeye goes back to his family, Thor goes back home, Tony goes somewhere and Hulk has taken off to space or someplace like that.
During the credits Thanos shows up and says he;ll have to do it himself and puts on an Infinity Gauntlet.
Now I think that the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe is something that you need to be caught up on for all the following movies since they all play off one another and build to things like the Avengers. If you want to see next year’s Captain America you have to see this movie and it sets up the divide that leads to the Civil War or something. As for who has the best Quicksilver that goes to X-Men.
I finally made my way through the first season on Netflix and it is a good show. I didn’t see the movie when it came out with Ben Affleck so I have nothing to really compare to it. It was a well put together season unlike some other Marvel Cinematic Universe shows (Agents of SHIELD) which seem to get stuck due to the movies Daredevil is loosely connected to the Universe at this time. However I’ve read rumors that the Netflix shows might eventually make their way onto the big screen. Spoilers to follow
Daredevil is Matt Murdoch the son of a boxer who was blinded at a young age. Matt and his best friend Foggy Nelson are lawyers and have a law firm together. If you haven’t gotten around to watching the show sure you can wait until after the Avengers movie comes out, but you are missing an exciting show. So Matt lawyers by day and fights crime by night in Hell’s Kitchen, NY. Matt and Foggy’s first case brings in Karen Page who becomes Matt and Foggy’s secretary. The first season is about the rise of Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) and Daredevil after the destruction of New York in the first Avengers movie. I wonder if we might see Kingpin in an upcoming Spider-man movie. This first Netflix\Marvel venture worked out well hopefully the other show do the same.