Daredevil Back to Complete the Trifecta

Netflix released Daredevil, season 3 last weekend and I managed to get all thirteen episodes done this week. It took me a while to really get into this season of Daredevil. It is a bit more introspective than the previous two seasons, but they came at us with a different approach. Our villain is right in front of us but it is unclear whether the villain is truly the villain until later in the season.

This Daredevil spends a whole episode bringing us the back story on Karen Page as well as a deep dive into sub-plot characters that are solidly tied to the overall story. The story telling here is a twisted web of uncertainly that is well tied together at the end of the story.

Although I was a bit underwhelmed for the first half, the second half was gripping and a fair bit of the edge of my seat was worn. This story gets tightly wound at the end and the story delivers a solid crescendo to finish the season.

I love the back story elements and the character development here. Short of any spoilers some of the breakaway in season 2 is resolved in season 3. The season also ties the defenders ending and wraps up some of the loose ends about what happened at and after Midland Circle. We will also learn some telling secrets about Matt Murdock, his father, and mother along with the development of an amazing villain.

The end of the last episode also shows a bit of foreshadowing for a future villain in the next season of Daredevil or perhaps the second season of Defenders.

In summary, I liked season 3 but I don’t think I liked it as much as the first 2 seasons. There was much to like, but also maybe just a tad too much going on for a 13 episode season. Netflix continues to impress with their excellent production values, solid acting and top-tier directing. Bravo, again.

It is amazing to think about how in a short span of three-year Netflix has produced ten seasons of Marvel based shows with well over 100 hours of content. Here is my list of favorite top to bottom. They are all quality shows though.

  1. Daredevil I
  2. Daredevil II
  3. Jessica Jones II
  4. Jessica Jones I
  5. Daredevil III
  6. Luke Cage
  7. Punisher
  8. Defenders
  9. Iron Fist II
  10. Iron Fist I
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The Glowing Fist is Back!

Netflix released season two of Marvel’s The Iron Fist last week and I watched all ten episodes over the weekend. I am a bit mixed on this second season. The first season was the least favorite of the Netflix shows and I will say this second go with Danny Rand wielding the power of dragon is better than the first.

There is a lot working in this second season. Many stories are being told in a cavalcade of sub plots. The relationship between Ward and Joy is a major sub plot that is also a key element in the primary “team” of antagonists. I like the character development we see here, some of the deepest you will see in any 10 episode season.

My problem with Fist II is that the story line has a great deal of potential for amazing story telling yet the director chooses to play it out in a rather predictable fashion. It seems like they dropped a touchdown pass here.

The last two episodes set us up for an interesting potential for new powered heroes with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing possibly becoming the Daughters of the Dragon. We also see an interesting development at the very end with Danny and Ward in Asia chasing leads on some mysterious secrets of K’un-L’un including revelations about Orson Randall. We are seeing a great setup for a fantastic third season or a maybe a whole new show.

Misty makes specific reference to Luke Cage and that she is not pleased with him in a foreshadowing scene with Colleen. The next season of Luke Cage is on deck for Netflix that could be really good. I am very optimistic about the future of Marvel on Netflix but this Iron Fist series remains the weakest of the very good bunch. There is so much to love in the characters in this show, Colleen, Ward, Joy, and our side villain/anti-hero Mary Walker all deliver excellent performances. The whole thing just fails to really come together. It seems like a setup show for other shows and that is unfortunate. What happened to the Iron Fist we saw making a cameo-ish appearances in the second season of Luke Cage. I am however, truly excited about the Danny Rand I saw at the very end of the last episode.

Netflix is still serving up great stuff and I like it 🙂


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I finally Got to see it!

I have been real estating my tail off the last several weeks and have not had the time to get to the theater to see Ant-Man and the Wasp. I generally see Marvel and DC releases on opening day, but this time I barely got to the theater in time, the movie is now running on limited screens. It was well worth the effort as once again Marvel Studios puts on a clinic for movie making.

Ant-Man and the Wasp are lower tier characters in the Marvel Universe. They are fun however and Marvel manages to make them feel like top shelf Avengers.

So now back tot he movie… Marvel has absolutely hit its stride on the basic art of film making. They really seem to pay attention to details in a story and the dialog. The superhero / action genre has never been one to garner any serious looks by the high-brow crowd at the academy awards or others in the fine art arena. Marvel however does what few other action franchises can, they really wrap up the looses ends. They manage to give us characters that are excellent, even when they’re freshly introduced. Somehow Marvel can flesh out subtleties in behavior with not much more than ten minutes of screen time.

How do they do it, so often and so well? There is some voodoo happening, or perhaps Stan Lee is dating the Fairy Godmother and she’s working the old school Disney magic that seems to have died in other Disney franchises. I do not have the answer, but I see the results and they are good.

Now before I get my fanboy flames too stoked, there are some caveats. The whole premise of shrinking and enlarging things is a major technological stretch… pun, pun, pun, even for the super hero genre. And even accepting the idea that through quantum science Dr. Pym could create the tech to do all these things, the whole idea of shrinking a building and then just popping it back into place anywhere, even Fisherman’s Wharf, is a laughable plot hole. The building is 10 stories tall for heaven’s sake. You don’t just pull the tab and pop it onto a street in a 250-year-old city without some major issues. Like the whole street caving in. The science of this plot looks a lot like a block of Swiss cheese, but that’s OK with me.

Back for an encore is Luis, played brilliantly by Michael Peña. In this installment we get more of his “tip montages” but with a new twist. Luis as a supporting character is absolutely top-tier. I loved the bit about him getting his own suit. “Even one without powers.”

Peyton Reed tied up the loose ends by looping comedic bits together throughout the film. Our hero has been under house arrest for nearly two years and has kept himself busy by among other things, learning magic tricks. The magic trick humor is inserted in several key places in the story that nicely ties the whole bit together without feeling over played.  These are details that are often overlooked in the action genre, but not when Marvel is in charge. we get to see Michelle Pfeiffer (Catwoman in Batman Returns 1992) join the short list of actors playing a superhero / anti-hero in both DC and Marvel universes. Yes it’s Janet van Dyne the “original” Wasp. The lovely Michelle is 60 years old and she looks stunning.

We see a fantastic adversarial relationship develop between the FBI lead Randall Park played by Jimmy Woo and Scott Lang (AKA Ant-Man) that also is kept tidy throughout the film. The dialog and interaction from start to finish is very well done and wonderfully acted by both actors.

We multiple unrelated antagonists including a dirty FBI agent, that all tie together in the bouncy plot without spilling a drop. Speaking of the bad “guys”, we have the “Ghost” who is actually a lovely lady with a sympathetic situation. That character portrayed by Hannah John-Kamen is well done but been done before… many times actually. She is never really developed as a character but I suspect we haven’t seen the last of her. Then we have the side bad guy, one Mister Sonny Birch. This guy comes off early as a badass southern mafioso type but develops nicely into a cross between mean and nasty and the keystone cops. He is weaved into the plot in a rather predictable pattern, but it is done smoothly enough that it still works. The actor playing Sonny is Walton Goggins, a seasoned actor; he pulls the role off well and honestly he is the reason you forgive the predictable plot elements he is in.

It is a rare occasion for me to prefer a sequel to the original in this genre, but as good as Ant-Man was back in 2015, this is a better film. Paul Rudd is fantastic and the returning cast members are all in top form. Michael Douglas has some very funny lines in the script and for me the whole movie clicked. There were Easter Eggs all over the place and even a nod towards the quasi A-line bob haircut with the bowl-cut bangs that Hope van Dyne was sporting in the first film. Oddly I hated that haircut int he first scene she’s in but then that haircut really grew on me, she kind of rocked it. It was mysteriously gone in this installment.

That was just some damn good entertainment and that my friends is why we go to the movies! Marvel continues to Marvel. Be sure to check the Super Hero movie list to see where this little gem lands.

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Solo Better than Last Jedi

Solo is considered to be a box office flop. Of course a flop in the Star Wars franchise is a smash hit for most movies. Worldwide box office totals are well above 350 million dollars. But that puts it at the bottom of the franchise when factoring in inflation. I think Solo got a raw deal. Ron Howard did a nice job bringing this thing together but the relatively low box office receipts are more likely a result of fan anger with head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy than the actual film itself.

Solo is actually a very good movie. It is much better than episode VIII. I think it is a tad better than Rogue One, although my Han Solo fanboy status could be causing some bias.

I am not a fan of the dark lighting used in both Last Jedi and Solo. Some scenes need that low light for mood and such, but some should be bright and crisp and Solo gives us no such sunshine. The story is cohesive and has a fabulous plot twist. Over all, the acting is well done but the dialog falls a bit short of my expectations. I think they wrote a great story and the screenplay was pretty solid. It just needed some of that Harrison Ford swagger, and a bit more of his classic dialog.

Lando Calrissian is played by Donald Glover and he nails it! He even sounds like Billy Dee Williams. A solid ‘A’ performance for Mr. Glover. Emilia Clarke plays Han’s girlfriend who is much more than she seems. I don’t think we have seen the last of her. She delivers the goods as well. Woody Harrelson is amazing bringing some ‘A’ paper work here in Solo, but our title character is a bit underwhelming. Many bloggers and youtubers lamented the casting of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo.

The movie flows well, something Last Jedi didn’t do. The story is easy to follow yet offers some intriguing developments and the aforementioned big twist. Solo should have performed at least as well as Rogue One, and that is too bad.

The movie was solid, so why didn’t it do better financially? Let’s just get right to the crux of the matter. Ms. Kennedy has been on a mission to feminize Star Wars. I don’t mind that so much actually, so don’t scream at me in the comments. I like strong female leads. I think the original trilogy was a product of it’s era with strong leading men and soft and squishy females. Hey Kathleen, we all get it, the 21st Century is here, been here for 18 years in fact, it’s time to jettison the old way of thinking. I’m down with that.

The problem lies in that it seems her desire to introduce a wide range of social justice politics into the stories is MORE important than the stories themselves. She created a horrible division at Lucasfilm between those loyal to the franchise and her team she brought in after the Disney purchase. Rumor has it Disney wants her head on a platter but no one wants her job. Disney is getting exactly what it deserves in my opinion. When you pay 4 billion dollars for a product that has proven over 40 years to shit nothing but gold bricks, you don’t put some radical yahoo at the helm that alienates the fan base and changes the dynamic for the sake of her own politics.

Ms. Kennedy sits at the top of Lucasfilm, she doesn’t get to blame anyone but herself for the backlash from fans or the softer earnings. The sad thing is, she could have had it all. There is no reason she could not have created all of these great female characters in the four movies they have made in the Disney era, and still focused on the Star Wars story and legacy themes that made the franchise one of the biggest and arguably best in history. In fact it seemed she pulled it all off in the first effort, Force Awakens. But Last Jedi went a bit off the rails. When the social politics are MORE important than the characters and stories, the fans will retaliate, and so they did. She signed off on all of this stuff, she gets to shoulder the consequences.

OK Spoiler ALERT: 

The movie has been out since May 10, you should have seen it by now if you are worried about spoilers. Darth Maul makes a cameo in this movie. Yes this movie takes place AFTER the events of Phantom Menace. 20 years later most likely. So you can watch the animated series Clone Wars to get some insight on how he may have survived, but in Star Wars canon, he did. The ending of this film leads us to believe another is coming, not another Han Solo movie but perhaps this is leading us to the Obi-Won movie that is rumored.

Also Lando is romantically involved with a droid. Seems a bit off character for Lando and I am not sure I buy into the notion that particular character would travel that particular path. But who the hell really knows, right? After all this takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

I do hope that the under-performance of Solo doesn’t ruin the opportunity for more of these back story movies about the characters George Lucas brought to life in the first three films. Just fire Kennedy already and get someone in charage that understands what Star Wars IS and what it IS NOT. Then Disney will get back to making a billion or more per picture.

I prepped a list of my favorite Star Wars movies again and if you read my last Star Wars review you will see this list has dramatically changed. I watched both Awakens and Last Jedi recently and Awakens still holds my attention, but Last Jedi is falling down.

Here they are in my highly subjective order:

  1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 ★★★★★
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977 ★★★★★
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, 1983 ★★★★☆
  4. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, 2015 ★★★★☆
  5. Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2018 ★★★★☆
  6. Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, 2016 ★★★★☆
  7. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999 ★★★★☆
  8. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005 ★★★☆☆
  9. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, 2017 ★★★☆☆
  10. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002 ★★★☆☆
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An Incredible Experience, Again

Solo a Star Wars Story came out a couple of weeks ago and I have yet to see it. Disney has managed to suck out the joy of the rich atmosphere of the franchise, but I do intend to see the movie soon any way, because who doesn’t want to see the story of making the Kessel run in 12 parsecs 😉 Disney however seems to have kept Pixar producing fantastic movies and this weekend’s Incredibles 2 is no exception.

I am an absolute fan of the first Incredibles that hit the screen two touchdown-years ago in 2004. That amazing effort by the team at Pixar, then independent from the juggernaut tycoons at Disney remains very high on my super hero movie list, still ranking number 9 over all out of the 89 movies on the list. This new version is every bit as good a movie, but is it better than the original?

Those who know me and this movie review side of me, know I am rarely favorable towards a sequel. That is not to say that I don’t like a good second shot, just that often when you have a great movie like the Incredibles it is hard to duplicate the walk out of the theatre buzz, because you went in knowing to some extent what to expect. The bar is set high for round two when the first effort is so damn good like Pixar gave us back in ’04.

The first movie was amazing, the characters, the idea of the old supers longing for the good ‘ole days, the fantastic score music which remains one of my all time favs. That first film just had it ALL.

This new film picks up where the first one left off, more or less, when the Underminer is making his dastardly entrance and delivering the obligatory villain monologue. From there we see some similarities in plot development to the first movie and a decent plot twist that kids won’t see coming but adults will. I will avoid spoiling the events, but we are introduced to a whole cast of superheros in this movie outside of the Parr family and Frozone. Somehow Pixar manages to do what Warner Brothers cannot, which is make a coherent movie with a ton of characters ie: Justice League.

In every way I feel the Incredibles 2 is just as well made and well delivered as the first installment.  Yes, we get more of Michael Giacchino’s brilliant music, yet it is missing just one thing that will keep it behind its forebearer, and that is ‘freshness.’ When Incredibles came out in 2004 it was a crisp new concept in the superhero genre and we had not yet reached the heights of superhero movie fatigue that we have now. Think about it, other than the X-men and Spiderman franchises, the superhero genre was a bit sparse. But Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies and Marvel Studios grand entrance with Ironman and dozens of movies since has brought us to a 2018 where 4 star superhero movies are just another day at the office.

Pixar did everything right with this movie and it is excellent by every measure, but it isn’t exactly the neoteric new face we got in 2004 and that leaves it a few ticks behind the original. I do eagerly await Incredibles 3, should they choose to make it, because this movie and its predecessor are genuinely entertaining works that are a great experience for all ages. That my friends, it what Walt Disney believed in and what Disney Studios is supposed to make. That may very well be the reason it just broke the opening weekend box office record for an animated film; no politics, not a single politically charged rant, just good old-fashioned entertainment. Well done Pixar, more please.

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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.  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). 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 😉

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 😉

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, the  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 X  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 of 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, 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 for 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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