N.O.T.: Marvel’s ‘The Defenders’ Ep 5-8

nacion.comI finished the series Saturday evening and I must say, after the slow start Marvel’s The Defenders found it’s pace and never ceased to amaze. Once our foursome finally faced their enemy – The Hand – things popped off. Some highlights from the latter episodes without spoiling everything.

  1. Sowande should have been Diamondback | The mysterious man in the white suit recruiting footmen in Harlem should have been Luke’s arch nemesis. It would have connected the Cage series to The Hand from jump, and given us a far more formidable villain after Cottonmouth. He was menacing and cruel without coming off hokey. And he could fight Luke without the help of exploding bullets or juiced up armor. A definite missed opportunity to make Luke Cage a great series rather than just good.
  2. Matt Murdock doesn’t deserve Karen or Foggy | At every turn Matt has to dodge their criticism of him wearing the Daredevil mask. As if he does not know the risk. I don’t know why they could not accept what Matt had long ago realized. It’s who he is and will forever be. Can’t stand the heat, get out of Hell’s Kitchen.
  3. We have to get Daughters of the Dragon | Misty and Colleen have met. The inevitable better be coming. Especially since Rand is handling Misty in her time of need near the end of the series. Give us their show and let us watch Misty and Ms. Wing put in work. They both deserve.
  4. A Problem Like Iron Fist | I still haven’t watched the series, but Danny Rand — at least this iteration — is annoying AF. If he isn’t proclaiming his name like Captain Obvious to anyone who will listen, he’s self-sabotaging his namesake by being a complete idiot. How can the catalyst for this series be the weakest link? By the end he’s more tolerable, but he’s also missing from at least three episodes which helps.
  5. Bring on Jessica Jones S2 | The nonchalant delinquent detective shines throughout the series. Krysten Ritter nails Jones’ perfectly unbothered by everything mentality. And made me thirsty for her story again, which is hands down the best single season of any of the series. ARGUE WITH YOUR MOTHER!

Those are all my points. Let me know what you thought in the comments. Oh, and btw – The Punisher is coming….

Hate Is a Strong Word: ‘The Defenders’ Ep 1-4

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Marvel set a tone for their mature Netflix series beginning with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the somewhat lukewarm Luke Cage. Accompanying that tone was a level of hype and anticipation with each new series. It’s peak definitely soared with the groundbreaking debut of Cage’s edition. Sadly it was missed with the tumultuous release of the latest hero-for-hire — Iron Fist.  Continue reading →

No Concessions: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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I sat in anticipation as the theater began to fill. Kids aged three to 43 filed in with their overpriced popcorn, candy and sodas to view the newest Marvel entry — Spider-Man: Homecoming. It had been a few years since the last reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield. It was even longer for me, last seeing Toby McGuire in his final go as Peter Parker. With that memory in my database, I hadn’t been the least bit interested in another installment.

But Spidey’s cameo in Captain America: Civil War peaked my interest. The subsequent campaign for his solo film sounded more promising, with a coveted bonus: diversity. Marvel Studios and Sony promised a true reflection of our bustling, multi-colored world. One that always existed despite media’s depiction of a paler place.

After the half hour of trailers, I sat concessions-free immersed into this familiar narrative. Luckily it was totally refreshing. Being the story has existed since the 1960’s, it felt as new and daring as it had been for me back in the early 2000’s. Now a new generation of fans could appreciate Peter Parker in a contemporary light.

When a dutiful construction manager (Michael Keaton) is shafted by Stark Industries, he takes matters into his own hands to provide for his family. Wanting to prove he’s more than Tony’s understudy, Peter (Tom Holland) makes it his mission to bring these thugs to justice. Simultaneously Parker is balancing life as a fifteen-year-old kid with crushes (Laura Harrier), bullies (Tony Revolori) and besties (Jacob Batalon, Zendaya).

The film is as much a superhero story as it is a high school dramedy. In hindsight its a coming-of-age tale. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a brilliant mind at a school for the STEM gifted. As if perils of being a teenager aren’t enough, his hormonal sophomore year is compounded with the fact he’s now the newest member of The Avengers. A secret identity that places him and loved ones in danger’s cross-hairs.

Tom Holland perfects this balance with ease, charming viewers along the way. He has great comedic timing and holds his own in action sequences. When the time is right, he pulls the drama. Keaton is brilliant as the resourceful Toomes/Vulture. His goal isn’t pure evil, which makes his villainy a grey area.

Just as strong is Batalon who plays Ned, Peter’s best friend. As his first major role, Batalon isn’t just an ordinary sidekick, he’s the best man to the union that is Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Zendaya is perfect as nerd Michelle, the millennial MJ. A secret held tightly by Marvel, the reveal is a feel-good moment in the film. Fans cannot wait for her and Peter’s relationship to flourish.

Overall, Spider-Man’s return to the MCU is a fun, action-packed look at the future of the superhero film. One that looks a lot like the neighborhood in which you may reside.

 

N.O.T.: Supergirl, S2

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Recently completed season two of The CW’s Supergirl starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El. The show originally aired on CBS before making the shift to the more viewer-friendly sister channel, also home of The Flash and Arrow. This season was much stronger with the arrival of Cadmus, White Martians and other aliens threatening Earth. I’ll highlight my highs and lows, and what I hope to see in season three. Continue reading →

No Concessions | Wonder Woman

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My introduction to the Wonder Woman universe was the syndicated 70’s series starring Lynda Carter. I watched in amazement as Diana Prince – in a twirl of light – would transform into her alter ego, the super heroine Amazon. With her bullet-blocking wrist-lets and Lasso of Truth, she fought for justice.

Naturally I was excited to hear WW was finally hitting the big screen. After decades of defunct attempts and that horrible NBC reboot, the first female superhero was going to tell her story. And despite doubt patriarchy conjured at every turn, Wonder Woman exceeded expectations commercially and critically.

First off Gal Gadot was great. The best part of Batman vs Superman continued her streak, doing the role justice. She was equally strong-willed and naive as she entered a world more complicated than the home she knew. Her chemistry with Chris Pine was on point, as he never seemed to outshine her. As Steve Trevor he played greatly as second fiddle to her protagonist.

The fight scenes were awesome and accurately spread out. The opening battle on Themyscira was brilliant, pitting our Amazons against their first sight of man. Also enjoyed Diana’s battle within the village, where she triumphantly leaped into a church steeple taking down a sniper.

As for the villains, they weren’t as menacing as I’d hope. Dr. Poison didn’t have much of a backstory, and neither did her German counterpart. Other than being a part of the Nazi regime, they were pretty basic. I guess this is because Aries remained the ultimate adversary.

I did side-eye the depth of representation. There were WOC on Themyscira, but minimal. I think more time on the oasis may have opened opportunities for more appearances. Also once in London, very little people of color in general. Hopefully we see a stronger effort in the sequel.

Overall I enjoyed the message of hope in the face doubt. Love in the time of war. D.C. hit it out the park, hopefully this continues with the winter debut of Justice League.

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Courtesy of variety.com