Deadpool is Back!

Ryan Reynolds is back and he is kickin’ ass and takin’ names. After you are done watching the film be sure to watch the extended after credits scenes where Mr. Reynolds “fixes” a few things…

I am avoiding spoilers here since this is a day one review. Deadpool 2 lives up to the hype but falls short of the original. This movie gives us all the Deadpool-isms, shattering the fourth wall, and making pop culture references throughout the movie. DP2 may have more Easter eggs than any Marvel character based movie ever.

As it was with the first movie this one isn’t for the kiddies. They make full use of the R rating and the blood and mayhem is much more prevalent than round one. But it is done in a comic style, somewhat like ‘Kick Ass’. This Tarantino-esque movie however is better than Kick Ass.

Deadpool 2 is not just a funny superhero movie, it’s an adult comedy with super hero themes. Like the first installment this one continues to be a parody of the super hero genre. It is however a non-stop laugh maker and one may have to see the movie twice to take in all the jokes. A dozen screenings may be needed for all the pop-culture, Easter eggs, and non-fiction references in this movie. You may see the references to The Goonies, DC Comics, Darkhorse, Marvel Comics , even specific issues of Marvel comics, Green Lantern, X-Men Origins, a Brad Pitt cameo, and so much more.

Twentieth Century Fox doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, they hit a home run with the first movie on a small budget, and this time they spent more cash and gave us more of the same. Maybe a little too much more of the same and not enough more in-depth. But that’s all fine, the film gives the audience and big bag full of all the expectations they had when they bought the ticket.

The rest of the movie after taking out the humor and lack of seriousness, is just sort of so-so. There is a decent story with an iffy plot, but overall the film is pretty good. It is once again Ryan Reynold’s excellent delivery as Deadpool and the solid funny writing that carries the day.

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To Infinity and Beyond!

No this is not a preview of Toy Story 4 coming out in 2019. This is a no spoilers review of the Avengers: Infinity War.

Before I dive into Marvel’s biggest character fest ever, I want to mention that I have watched several of the movies I reviewed last year on BluRay now they are out. Wonder Woman is the best Super Hero movie of 2017. Thor: Ragnorok is still the best Thor movie ever climbing a bit on the charts, Justice League is still a let down but not terrible like Batman V Superman, and Star Wars Episode XIII is about the same as last time.

So Marvel/Disney had one tall order to fill with this latest installment of the Avengers. In a fashion the likes of which only Marvel can pull off they manage to merge nearly every single Marvel Universe character ever to flicker across the silver screen. Well at least the ones they still hold license to. How is it even possible to make a movie featuring the entire hero cast of Guardians of the Galaxy, The extended version of the Avengers, Doctor Strange and the ‘wizards’, and still manage to hold a movie together with a reasonable amount of continuity and a good flow? How do they do that? Seriously, Warner Brothers needed only to bring Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and Aquaman to Justice League and that was a bit messy for them. Marvel manages to bring an entire UNIVERSE of heroes onto the screen in a movie that was more coherent than Justice League. Unbelievable.

Now this new Avengers movie is not without fault. It is not the best Marvel film by any stretch, but it is outstanding. There are a few issues I have with it. One is Thanos. Thanos is the villain that has been lurking in the background of Marvel movies and after credit scenes for half a dozen years. Thanos in this movie has times when he seems virtually Godlike all-powerful, yet in other scenes he is slapped around like a two-bit cattle thief in a B western. Look the villain is either a badass untouchable, or he is vulnerable, but once you play the untouchable card you can’t have him tripping on his cape.

That said I have a major issue with Doctor Strange in the scene on Titan. He clearly uses his portal ability a few times in that battle with Thanos yet in that same battle, he easily could have used it numerous times to great effect and conveniently does not. Leading to some dire consequences, no spoilers, you will get it when you see it.ย  He also could have used the time tweak feature in that scene to great effect and yet he does not. Hmm, serious plot holes methinks.

All that aside Marvel delivers another great adventure and we get all the classic Marvel banter, funny one liners, and scene stealing moments from the usual suspects. Friends I don’t have to tell you that your ticket price is money well spent.

I will warn you that there is a dump truck load of death, the ending of the film is dark, but there is also a strong hint that the ending is not set in the stone of time. This film has such a profound end, I am not 100% sure I like they way they end it, but it is rather un-Marvel-like. Watch the after credit scene, seriously WATCH IT. See if you recognize the symbol at the end.

This one ranks well, it was a lot to absorb and I will have to screen it again to cement its place in the hall of Super Hero Movies on my list. For now it sits pretty high. OH, P.S. Peter Dinklage (yes that Peter Dinklage, Tyrion Lanaster in Game of Thrones).ย makes an appearance in this film and I just have to know, did Dinklage come up with the idea of a giant dwarf or did someone actually pitch that to him? If it was the latter, oh to be the proverbial fly on the wall during that meeting ๐Ÿ˜‰

Coming soon:

  • May 18th – Deadpool 2
  • May 25th – Solo, A Star Wars Story
  • June 15th – Incredibles 2
  • July 6th – Ant Man and the Wasp
  • November 2nd – X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • December 21st – Aquaman

 

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Jessica Jones is Back!

Following up on the outstanding, if not a bit dark and gritty, season one is a tall order. I was excited to dive into another Netflix binge watch, and after a couple of days managed to soak up the entire 13 episode season.

I’m not sure if this new season matched the heights of the first, but it is still none-the-less another dark and gritty peek into the life of a reluctant super powered protagonist that is not quite a heroine and yet not so much an anti-heroine. What exactly is Jessica Jones? That is the question that makes her so damn appealing as a character. Like the first season, this is not for the kiddies. Netflix likes to dive into the dark and creepy rabbit hole and adds a bunch of loveless sex as a saucy side dressing to the salacious salad that is Jessica Jones.

We get a much-needed peek into the origin of the Miss Jones and will see some of last season’s characters become deeply developed. There is a bit of a twist mid-season that some of you may see coming, I’ll admit I didn’t see it coming.

I am not sure how this stacks up against the first season. In some ways I like the first season better and that is partly because it was fresh and new. But also because the villain, Kilgrave, was just so deliciously evil and twisted. Who would have thought the lovable 10th Doctor (David Tennant) could be so devilishly devious.

Janet McTeer

This season our villain is something different and saving any spoilers the villain is excellent but not quite as dastardly as Kilgrave. Initially our Season 2 villain is something rather raw and bestial, but as the season progresses we find a more sympathetic villain. As good as Tennant was with Kilgrave, Janet McTeer delivers the goods every bit as well.

I think when I remove the initial novelty of season one, I feel like season two was a little better.

 

Below is my current feelings on the best of the Marvel on Netflix series.

  1. Daredevil I, II
  2. Jessica Jones II, I
  3. Luke Cage
  4. Punisher
  5. Defenders
  6. Iron Fist
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Vibranium and the Panther

Black Panther opened this past weekend to very large crowds and the strongest February Box office opening ever, surpassing Marvel’s own Deadpool. Deadpool still remains the biggest R rated movie opening in history however.

I was pretty stoked to receive a Black Panther IMAX collector ticket upon entering the show. Didn’t see that coming, nice.

This review doesn’t reveal any “spoilers” but does reveal some of the pretense of some plot elements. If you want a pure unspoiled experience, I can’t guarantee that if you read beyond this point. Honestly though if you wanted the pure experience you needed to see it on Thursday night ๐Ÿ˜‰

Marvel gave us a snippet into the mystery of Wakanda in both ‘Ultron’ and ‘Civil War’. This movie however will expose it all to us. Marvel has pulled away the curtain to reveal not a tiny man pulling levers and switches, but a complex and ancient society, yet technologically sophisticated beyond most of the rest of the world. Tech that would make Tony Stark blush.

Wakanda has had access to Vibranium and we learn about how it is much more than just a super strong metal. It has almost mystical power. The Wakanda scientists have mastered the metal and have created a wide range of amazing tech, all of which they have hidden from the rest of the world for centuries. The belief was that if Vibranium and the associated tech were revealed to the world, theย  world would destroy itself. But some in Wakanda are starting to see things differently as the world is “catching up” to them on tech.

This movie has some nice twists. The cast is solid and the story is pretty good. I was concerned that Marvel / Disney might bury us in political propaganda but was nicely surprised to see the rhetoric was toned way down. Kudos to the producers for that.

I don’t want to spoil things for those who have yet to see this film, but I will say there are some characters I really like in the movie. I like our leading man. Chadwick Boseman pulls off the compassionate King, the insecurity of being the “new” king, and the badass. All melded together with a smooth polish.

I really enjoyed the character Shuri, played by Letticia Wright. She is part Q from MI-6 in the Bond films and part Lucius Fox from Batman. A young female in a tech role is refreshing and well done here. In fact the ladies steal the show a bit in this film and it’s about time. The entire compliment of royal guards for the King of Wakanda are double Xย  chromosone badasses that pull off their duties to protect the king with authority, grace, and cunning. These women have excellent costumes and are led by actress Florence Kasumba and her character, Ayo.

We see the return ofย Ulysses Klaue in this film, that was welcome and well played by actor Andy Serkis. That isn’t really a spoiler though since he was the guy stealing the Vibranium in Avengers: Age of Ultron. So it isn’t hard to figure he’d be back in this one. I do like Klaue as a villain. I also like another villain in the film that I will not talk about here as it may be a spoiler. But you will know who it is later. He is dark, and disturbed, yet his hate is filled from a passion of love and loss. Not the best dramatic role you’ll see this year, but he is a part of a twist in the plot and I liked how it plays out right to the very end.

There are some general things I like very much about Black Panther. I do like the generous use of ladies in roles typically reserved for men. This is a bold move and for me another welcome move. This is the 21st century, and although some physiological differences exist between men and women, there are no limits to what either gender can do.

The cinematography was brilliant. I really liked the scenery and the CGI city that looked a little bit like something out of Star Wars. Overall Black Panther is a fabulous entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it manages to overcome its shortcomings with visual charm and a fine set of actors across the board. It seems to meld well with the rest of the MCU but overall I didn’t leave the house with BUZZ. I left thinking “that was a solid movie” but not, “holy shit , that’s going to the top of the list!” I do very much look forward to seeing the Panther return in Infinity War later this year. Not only is the character solid but the addition of Wakanda’s secrets should help the Avengers face the ultimate villain in a finale that represents the culmination of more than a dozen films.

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Your Punishment Awaits on Netflix

I got a late start on the Punisher which released on Netflix before the holidays but I was just too busy for a 13 episode binge. Well I am still busy, but my friend Frank called me and among the topics of our conversation was in fact the Punisher show. So I got on my binjin’ slippers and took a 3 day 13 episode romp through the Punisher.

Warning: there are a few spoilers here. The Punisher character originated in the Bronze age of comics around 1974. This character was never warm and fuzzy. The dark and violent world that Netflix gave us for Daredevil isn’t quite dark enough for the Punisher.

However it was season two of Daredevil where Frank Castle makes his Netflix debut. True to form, Netflix continues to do a remarkable job of tying all of these Marvel characters together to create a continuity of story across multiple series that is simply unparalleled in all of television.

Punisher in Comics 1970s

The first episode clearly sets the tone for this show. This is a gritty and brutally violent show. The episode gives us a scene where we will witness three assholes whose lives end at the mercy of a 10 pound sledgehammer. The director does not spare us much mercy from the brutality of that end. This is not a show for the faint of heart or the squeamish.

The Punisher was always one of Marvel’s darkest and most violent characters. In fact a strong case can be made that this character was a start to a long series of dark and brooding characters that spilled onto the silver screen in the 1980s.

Netflix is unshackled from the FCC regulatory body that governs broadcast television, and they utilize that freedom to deliver a bloody and brutal world that is a visceral experience to the viewer. For fans of the comics the story is broadly intact but the fine details have been somewhat politicized as is the case with almost all media today. Rather than the original story of Castle’s family being killed by the mob because he witnessed a mob hit, they changed it to a bad Americans in Afghanistan story line. I generally don’t mind some creative liberty when the stories of old no longer fit the modern world, but the mob is still around and they did not need to change that narrative. This was simply a political hack job. That is a negative in my view. It is however one of the few things to fault this show.

Jon Bernthal as the Punisher

Frank Castle has dived into his deep depression brought on by the things he has seen and done. Experiences so horrific, he cannot cope with them inside the “norms” of society. He resides in a mental dark hole and the only light is at the conclusion of his punishment for those who have done the evil. Castle rarely see shades of gray.

There is an amazing story that unravels in this series and we see some very complex relationship developments that are brilliantly crafted by the team of writers. Netflix continues to impress with their ability to produce a motion picture caliber production for the small screen.

I often wonder if Frank Castle is what Bruce Wayne would have become,ย were he not rich. Frank Castle is a one man wrecking crew but Netflix gives us more than bloody stomp in face. We get a devious scandals at high levels of government, and a few twists one might not see coming. We get not just one villain, but two and they are very different animals. They will meet the Punisher’s justice and it isn’t pretty. I didn’t feel like they gave me villains that were “bad” enough to wish the end they got. Honestly, if we are going to see the villain laid out with gruesome and vicious violence, we need to truly hate that villain. They need to be as vile and disgusting and humans can get. You know, Hilteresque. These villains were deceptive and diabolical but they could have been even more evil. To be subjected to what they faced in the end they need to be so horrible, we can dehumanize them and we almost accept the agonizing fate they face. I don’t want to feel bad for the bad guy, you know? But that is all part of the Punisher lore I suppose. He dispenses the justice that society is unable to.

The show is excellent but you have to be prepared forย a whole lot of liquid red. The story line is solid and the acting is pretty good. I rate this in the middle of the pack of Netflix Marvel shows.

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The Last Jedi? Maybe.

Star Wars is back and the professional critics are all over it like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert. I however am less impressed than many of them. Don’t get me wrong here friends, this is a good movie and well worth the trip to the theater.

As this is opening day, I will spare you all any spoilers. This movie like its predecessor will make some key revelations that I will shield you from in this review. What I can say is that this movie, also like its progenerator, will check off a series of scenes. It’s like Disney said, be sure it has, this, this, and this…

  • Epic scene with the Millennium Falcon being chased through narrow passages and TIE fighters exploding as they try to follow: check
  • Rebels sneaking about an “empire facility” to shut down the evil ‘whatchamacallit’: check
  • Battle scene with good guys in Falcon gunner chair, blowing up bad guy fighters: check
  • Light and Dark side characters each trying to turn the other: check

I feel the same way about this film as the Force Awakens, two years ago. Good film, well done, seen it before. 7 times before, in fact. I’ll ask the same question I asked in my review of “awakens”. “Is there not an original idea left in the universe”?

Disney is simply regurgitating the same old plots over, and over, and over. They are using the exact same scenes, over, and over, and over again with just minor setting changes. I suppose it works, right? The Force Awakens did nearly a BILLION dollars domestically and over $2 billion worldwide. Who are we the fans to argue with that?

The Last Jedi is more of the same and it is well done. But what if Lucas had let Disney do the prequels? Those three films Phantom, Clone, and Revenge, could have been the best of all nine films. You see, the prequel films lacked a cohesive story, had sketchy dialog, and perhaps the worst romantic attempt in the history of film . BUT the settings in all three prequel films were nothing less than masterpieces. The attention to detail in the worlds, the scope of the cinematography, the whole feeling of place, was vastly superior to these new efforts from Disney.

In the end, the better story and dialog will win out over the pretty pictures, and that is exactly what is happening here. My point is that why the hell can’t Disney give us both. They are more than capable, yet they fall short here. These first two movies appear to be play it safe efforts to retell the same tired tale and collect on that $4 billion they paid Lucas for the rights. Disney could have given us fresh and inspiring movies for the ages, and instead they give us just enough to keep us complacent. Just enough to ensure we show up again in 2019.

So far in my opinion the best movie Disney has given us out of the Star Wars franchise was Rouge One. We’ll just have to see how the Han Solo origin story movie pans out next year.

At the end of this movie there is a scene that suggests Disney will continue the stories of the Jedi into a new generation of characters after completing the Lucas based films with Episode IX in 2019.

On an anecdotal note: Mark Hamill delivers his funniest moment in the Star Wars franchise with a scene where he tries to help Rey understand the “force.” That may go down as one of the funniest scenes in Star Wars history. The audience unloaded the laughs like we were watching a comedy romp.

Overall this movie lands in the middle just like Awakens, I think I like this latest effort a bit more than Episode VII, just a bit.

Here they are in my highly subjective order:

  1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, 1983ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  4. Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, 2016ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  5. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, 2017ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  6. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, 2015ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  7. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  8. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
  9. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
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Will History place Elon Musk next to Henry Ford?

Henry Ford didn’t invent the assembly line, he did however use it to mass produce automobiles and fundamentally changed the world forever. Elon Musk certainly did not invent the electric car. In fact electric cars were around in the days of Henry Ford and the earliest times of the automotive industry. But Elon Musk and his fantastic company, Tesla has me thinking the internal combustion engine is taking its final gasps of air, soon to find itself alongside the Brontosaurus, Chariot, and Abacus.

Tesla is best known for its luxury sedan, the Model S. This car has managed to overcome many issues and is now a top selling high end luxury car. It has a variety of trim and power levels from $70,000 to around $100,000. They have since launched a small luxury crossover SUV as well.

Tesla has three new vehicles very recently. The Model 3 which is their first foray into the “entry-level” car market. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 but with government incentives ends up at a fairly pedestrian $27,500. That car however is not really ground breaking as it’s competitors from both Ford and Chevrolet are well matched.

Tesla has announced two vehicles that have my attention firmly focused on the ash heap of gasoline. Mind you I am not trying to push the mighty internal combustion engine into its grave. I do so love the roar of an American pushrod V-8. But these two vehicles are more than just intriguing, they are mind bendingly real and it is something I thought was still a decade or more away.

First, Elon Musk announced his companies introduction of an all-electric semi-tractor truck. Yes my friends, a “Big Rig” hauling truck capable of towing the DOT maximum 80,000 lbs. The truck will have 500 miles of range and will accelerate from a dead stop to 60 mph fully loaded in 20 seconds. Could clean and quiet big rig trucks be on our highways, right now? Yes more or less.

But what was just as amazing and was announced at the Truck presentation is Tesla’s new flagship supercar. Tesla has a sexy supercar that in one sweep has cleared the record books. This car has knocked the 1200hp Hennessy Venom of the perch as fastest accelerating production street car in the world. It is not even close, the Venom and it’s million dollar price tag will rocket you from a dead stop to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds. Tesla roadster? 1.9 seconds. This new car also knocked Dodge of the top of the podium for fastest street production car in the 1/4 mile. The Hemi Challenger Demon did a 9.65 second run in factory trim. Tesla? 8.8 seconds. The new roadster from Mr. Musk is also expected to have a top speed exceeding 250 mph, placing it in rarefied air among the legends of car culture. Here’s the really amazing part… what, fastest, quickest isn’t enough? Not for Tesla apparently, because the new roadster will go 620 miles on a single charge. Now let’s be clear this is a supercar and it does have a super price. But it is cheaper than most Ferrari or Lamborghini models and will smoke those into dust all while whispering along under library approved noise levels. This is the ultimate eco-car that destroys super cars or hyper cars on its way to a Sierra Club rally.

We have often been told you can’t have it all, pick your poison slow and pokey Nissan Leaf or Rocket Ship destroyer of worlds fast car. Elon Musk says, “Bullshit” because you can apparently have it all. For 200 large you can cruise for 620 miles sipping light loads of electricity with a big fat zero emissions. When that cocky Lambo starts riding your ass, you can show him what warp drive looks like and disappear on his horizon. Yes you will be that guy… making that other guy seek a new form of compensation all while saving the planet from some form of eco-disaster brought about from burning fossil fuels in cars. Oh and get this, after your done dusting the Lambo’s dingle, you can pick up your two kids at school, yes it’s a two plus two. WTF just happened?

The internal combustion engine is about to be replaced by the very thing it replaced 100 years ago. Wow circle of life, Mufasa was right ๐Ÿ˜‰

So will history place Elon Musk alongside Henry Ford? Hell yes it will. ‘Merica.

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Justice is Served!

First of all, never mind the professional critics because they all suck. Well, they suck at reviewing super hero movies at least.ย The professional critics had this movie on Rotten Tomatoes as a smelly 27% fresh. Metacritic has a score of 47.ย  OK gang it is not the Avengers and it falls short of the greatness of Wonder Woman, but it is way more fresh than 27%

Justice League is way better than Dawn of Justice. It is however not as good as Wonder Woman. Nor is it going toe to toe with the best Marvel Studios efforts. But ladies and gentlemen, Warner Brothers took off the gloves and gave us a bare knuckle winner with Wonder Woman and Zack Snyder seems to have learned his lesson from the poorly crafted Dawn of Justice. Although Joss Whedon took over direction at the end due to a family crisis for Zack Snyder. DC is ready to rise and whether you prefer Marvel or DC we all win in the end.

Dawn of Justice was a mess. I liked Batman’s bad ass kill Superman suit, that was cool, but we don’t see it in this film because, well, Superman is dead, remember. Oh yeah they killed Superman in the last movie.

What we do get is more of Ben Affleck’s well portrayed mature Batman / Bruce Wayne and a lot more of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Ok, let’s be clear on this one particular point : Gal Gadot is rocking the shit out of the Wonder Woman role. She continues to impress as Diana Prince and if she appears in a movie as Wonder Woman the movie is automatically at least 50% fresh just with her awesome presence on the screen. Read my Wonder Woman review here for more details on that. This movie is more of the same from Ms. Gadot, and that my friends is a big bonus.

Justice League has a cohesive plot. This is something every movie SHOULD have but Dawn of Justice, did not. This story isn’t really all that great, but it does connect the Amazons, Atlantians, and Humans together.

The plot is a predictable basic evil alien/god type baddie hell-bent on destroying the Earth, yada, yada, yada. So how does this thing go from yada, yada, to a warm applause from the audience at the end. Well, aside from Wonder Woman it is our three newbies: First, Ezra Miller. This young man was charged with portraying Barry Allen, AKA the Flash. This is one of those I’m not sure whether it was the acting or the direction, but it was a bit of both most likely. This kid lights up every scene he appears in and the movie can’t be only 27% fresh? Seriously. They seem to be treating Barry Allen a bit like they did Spiderman in Civil War and even a bit in Homecoming. He’s the new kid, rookie, etc. In awe of the legend of Batman.

Now some people don’t like the new Barry Allen. In fact many don’t like him. Maybe they wanted Grant Gustin from the excellent CW TV show, The Flash. But there was no way to really tie him in and Gustin’s Flash is too serious. This film needed some comic relief and he delivers here.

What of Aquaman? Jason Momoa actually is good in this role. This is definately not the Super Friends clean cut version of Aquaman. He is quite the spectacle. I liked him and how about that torpedo swim speed? How does that work? Mamoa’s take on the Aquaman is not only interesting but he is rather diverse. He is Stern, Heavy Handed and then later relaxed and even funny. He pulls off the transitions seamlessly. Nice job Khal Drogo ๐Ÿ˜‰

I like Cyborg. We get very little backstory at all on any of these characters added into this film. The Flash didn’t really need an introduction, but we could have had a better understanding of how Cyborg came to be. They tossed that together like a cheap salad. Ray Fisher is admirable in the role and the character is a plot mover. I hope we see more of Cyborg in the future.

Justice League isn’t going to knock down any of the top films on the list, but it is much better than Rotten Tomatoes 27% from the “Pros”.

One thing on the negative and this is a pretty big blunder. Batman is supposed to be the leader and in this movie he is not the central focus of the “League” at all, aside from bankrolling it. As good as Affleck was in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice, which he and Gal Gadot saved from stinking up the theater, he is under utilized here and a bit cold. He isn’t the tactical minded, super detective we expect from Batman. Rather he is portrayed as battle weary and even a bit self doubting. He does however make the hard call at an important plot development point and pushes the others to fall in with the plan. Overall, I still like Affleck as the Batman and even more as Bruce Wayne, but I may be among the few. This wasn’t all on Affleck, the character was written this way. This is more on Mr. Snyder.

There was some really good material to work with and Justice League missed out on opportunities to go from good movie to great movie. I did like the movie and do recommend seeing it in the theater.

Stay for the after credits, a short scene with Flash and Superman and then all the way to the very last credit to see a very important foreshadowing scene. Stay to the end.

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There’s no stopping Ragnarok

The Thor movies have not exactly been my favorite Marvel movies. Ragnarok however is the best of the three in my opinion. It seems the team at Marvel Studios decided to go a little less serious and give us a film more akin to Guardians of the Galaxy. The lighter tone makes for a fun romp.

The cast of actors in this film is rather spectacular as well. Sure, Sir Anthony Hopkins has appeared in the previous two incarnations and is again in this film. But we get a full dose of Jeff Goldbloom and Cate Blanchett to thicken the sauce on the marquee. That’s three best actor/actress Oscars between Sir Anthony and Ms. Blanchett.

Goldbloom is perfectly cast as the eccentric sadist overlord of Sakaar. I always liked Jeff and he deliverers here in Ragnarok. As for Ms. Blanchett she serves as the primary antagonist in this movie and she is up to the task.

We get some Karl Urban aka Bones in the reboot Star Trek as well. His part is small but a critical element in the plot development. We get a bit of a Doctor Strange cameo that is rather entertaining.

Overall this movie has some very funny sequences to compliment the action sequences. Director, Taika Waititi does a masterful job of blending the sequences together and the two plot lines that merge towards the end of the film. This is Mr. Waititi’s biggest effort ever and he should do rather well. This movie has enough pure entertainment value to carry it deep into blockbuster status. It isn’t likely to threaten any of Marvel’s juggernaut productions as far as box office numbers go, but it should do well.

It is hard to put my finger on any one thing I really like about the movie, but the sum of its parts make a great show. I never felt lost in the story line, the flow was good and the mix of humor, action, and darkness was near perfect. This movie does not take itself nearly as serious as the other two Thor films and that works here where we have a great number of characters to follow.

I will not offer any spoilers here, but I will say that Thor will emerge at the end of this film more powerful than we ever thought. He will likely be a big part of the Infinity War movie. I am looking forward to that and 2018 is just around the corner ๐Ÿ™‚ Check the updated movie list with the tab above.

Justice League in two weeks, holy super friends reunion, Batman!

 

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The Defenders Have Assembled

Netflix released the whole Defenders mini-series on the 18th of this month and I decided to try a full series single session binge. Well, I failed; I watched the first six and then finished up the next day. The series is eight episodes and they refer to it as a mini-series which to me implies it’s a one-off. Yet the ending, which I will not spoil today, is nebulous enough to suggest more Defenders could be in the future.

Now comic fans may take some exception to this cast of heroes since the original “Defenders” in the Comics were Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor, and Silver Surfer. According to sources at Marvel, quoted by a number of news outlets, “there was no apprehension..” regarding the change in lineup. It could be that Silver Surfer and Namor are controlled cinematically by 20th Century Fox which would make a Defenders movie or TV series more challenging to tie in with the MCU. That said this group of New York City based characters made sense. Marvel and Netflix meshed them together brilliantly and made enough references to the Avengers events in NYC to blend it all quite well.

Netflix delivered amazing content with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. These two series were absolutely fantastic. They followed with Luke cage and Iron Fist which were also very good, but somehow they were a notch under the first two efforts. All four of those series were well tied in and this has become a trademark of all things Marvel. They are really good at tying together the whole Marvel Universe across all media platforms. I think that is a large piece of the reason they have become one of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood.

The Defenders could have been, and may actually be the culmination of the overarching evil plot that was permeating the background in Daredevil and Jessica Jones and moved to the foreground during the Iron Fist. I’ll have to assume that readers have seen the four series leading up to this new Defenders show. The Hand is veiled in mystery during the bulk of the first three shows and becomes the primary antagonist in Iron Fist. This was done brilliantly as the Iron Fist gives us an origin story for the title character and an origin story for the mysterious Hand.

I said I would not offer spoilers but I will say this, Madam Gao is just one finger of the Hand. This show will provide us with a view of the other four ‘fingers’. Compared to the two seasons of Daredevil and the one full season of Jessica Jones, I am not convinced this show has bested them but it is nearly as good and is certainly an equal to Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

There is a great deal of satisfaction having a crescendo to all the weaving of story lines and seeing the plots of four shows and some 65 episodes of content come together. I am quite pleased with the secondary characters in this show. Jessica Henwick is outstanding as the Colleen Wing. I have mentioned that Misty Knight and Claire Temple are excellent supporting characters in these shows and again in Defenders.

I was disappointed in the lack of screen time for Foggy Nelson and he was a much more serious character and lacked the ‘Foggy Funny’ comic relief we got in Daredevil. They underplayed him as well. I love Hogarth, the character is classic American lawyer and played by Carrie-Anne Moss.

We have a newly introduced Character, Alexandra that is absolutely brilliant. She is portrayed by Sigourney Weaver who is nothing short of excellent in giving us masterful peek into the mind of a diabolical villain that she makes almost likable. At 67 years old, Ms. Weaver still has the chops to pull off a lead role. She was solid in this eight episode series.

The nagging question I have is simply this: Will we get more ‘Defenders’?

We will get a third season of Daredevil which is filming now. It’s good to be a fan these days ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the trailer just in case you haven’t… wait: seriously, you haven’t started watching this yet?

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