Posts tagged ‘Marvel’

Jessica Jones

With my recent disappointment with Luke Cage, I realized another level of disappointment: that I never took the time to write up all of my thoughts about Jessica Jones.  Time to dig back into my backlog and post some of these older thoughts.

If Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the best film to come out of the MCU, I have to say that Jessica Jones is the best TV series to come out of it.  As wonderful as Krysten Ritter was in the title role and as fantastic as Mike Colter was as Luke Cage, David Tennant was at his swarmiest, creepiest, get-under-your-skin-est best as Kilgrave.  He even outdid James Nesbitt’s performance in Jekyll.  As much as I enjoyed Tennant in his time as the tenth Doctor, Kilgrave — for me — is Tennant’s defining role.  I never expected Marvel to outdo Vincent D’Onfrio’s Kingpin in villainy, but Kilgrave boosted it up to a whole ‘nother level.

My only complaints?  There are a few rough spots in the middle of the storytelling arc (Jones trying to get herself imprisoned in order to trap Kilgrave?  Handcuffing a cop at gunpoint in front of a lawyer?  Really?!?).  And my only real disappointment with this show is the final resolution with Kilgrave; that was just a little too final.  I know they were going for some semblance of personal resolution to allow Jones to move on with her life, but … it’s still disappointing.

In spite of that, I enjoyed it tremendously.  It’s good to see a superhero with flaws, because that reminds us that these superheros (or at least some of them) are still human.  So I’ll accept the complaints that I listed above as being due to the various human flaws in Jones’ character, especially considering this is really the first time we’ve seen a superhero depicted as struggling with the super equivalent of PTSD.  So yes, I’m really looking forward to the next season, but I’m concerned about how they could possibly one-up what they’ve done with Kilgrave.

 

Luke Cage

There’s a first for everything.  In this case, this is the first Netflix/Marvel series that disappointed me.  Both seasons of Daredevil were fun and Jessica Jones was surprisingly compelling.  But not Luke Cage.

I was really hoping it would live up to the hype.  The first three episodes were great, and I can see how people would describe that as the MCU’s take on The Wire.  Unfortunately, episode four was packed with an unnecessary and not-quite-relevant flashback/origin story that derailed the main storytelling arc.  Then they up and kill the show’s best antagonist, while the next couple of “major twists” are telegraphed ahead of time.  And the one thing that is not telegraphed is a blast from Luke’s past that essentially pops up out of nowhere.  I mean, c’mon, if you’re going to pack a whole lot of expositionary flashbackery into the fourth ep anyway, why not drop a hint or two of foreshadowing for what eventually forms the climax of the story?  The next few eps tried to recover but then it all pretty much went downhill after that one particular death.

And is it just me, or does scene after scene after scene of thugs shooting at a bulletproof super-strong guy just get boring?  Action scenes are supposed to be exciting, not dull.  Yeah, I see how they added a sequence in the third ep that was reminiscent of Daredevil‘s hallway fight (or stairway fight, depending on what season you’re watching), but Luke Cage‘s big action piece there was nowhere nearly as exciting as the corresponding scenes in Daredevil.

Then further flashbackery ends up interfering with the climactic fight itself.  No, dammit, we don’t need that.  Let the fight play out the way it will play out, as it is.  Throwing further flashbacks into the middle of the action ends up interrupting the action, which interrupts the storytelling, which pulls this viewer out of the moment and makes him wonder what new stories might be out there on Google News.

I am particularly disappointed here because of how powerful Mike Colter’s performance was in Jessica Jones.  He was fantastic in that.  He was … okay … here.

Another first: this is the first Netflix/Marvel series that had me watching it on one monitor whilst I was actively using a web browser in another monitor.  Daredevil entertained me enough to keep my attention.  Jessica Jones had me riveted to the screen for the most part.  Luke Cage had me reading the news, my email, and forum posts with one eye during a solid two-thirds of it.  That’s not a good sign for Iron Fist, whenever that ends up being released, since I was a whole lot more hyped for Luke Cage than I ever was for Iron Fist.

Sigh.  Bring on The Defenders already, please.  And Jessica Jones season two.

 

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Sigh.  Word of mouth told me going into this that it wasn’t quite as good as the first one, so this is another film that I went into with lowered expectations.  Apparently I didn’t lower them low enough.  It was good, and bits of it were excellent, but it could’ve been so much better.

(Incidentally, I almost did not bother seeing this in the cinema.  The quickest way to kill my desire to see something on the big screen is to tell me that an extended cut will be released later on disc.  In retrospect, considering how choppy some of the storytelling was here, I should’ve stayed home and waited for the blu-ray.)

I would’ve loved to have seen Whedon’s original cut of the film.  First of all it would’ve fleshed out Thor’s silly cave sequence.  Hopefully it would also provide a better explanation for Quicksilver and his sister flip-flopping allegiances so quickly and how Nick Fury was suddenly able to pull a helicarrier out of his ass.  (Okay, yes, I know there’s a throwaway line or two in Agents Of SHIELD referencing that, but it still doesn’t explain how Coulson & Fury were able to cobble it together get it on station to help the Avengers that fast.  Consider it a suspension of disbelief problem for me here.)

Do I have good things to say about it?  Yeah.  It was fun.  The early scenes of the Avengers just hanging out were the best bits in the film.  I would love Marvel to make an Avengers film that consists entirely of them spending time together in their off time.  Avengers: Downtime, maybe?  And James Spader frakkin’ nailed it as Ultron – I adored his level of snarkiness.

So … yeah, worth watching, could’ve been a lot better, hopefully the rumored forthcoming extended cut will make up for it.

 

Iron Man 3

I really should’ve posted this weeks ago, but life got busy.  Blame my workstation dying, having to take the time to build a new workstation, family issues, a trip to the North American Taiko Conference and more family issues.  But now I’m (once again) able to work through my backlog.

I went into Iron Man 3 with some pretty low expectations.  Friends told me it wasn’t a great Marvel movie, but my family and I felt the need to sit down and watch it before we went out to see Avengers: Age Of Ultron.  So I lowered my expectations down to somewhere around Iron Man 2‘s level and got comfy.

Y’know what?  I enjoyed it.  A lot.  Far far more than I expected to.  I’m not that familiar with The Mandarin from the comics, so the film’s twist there did not bother me the way it bothered some die hard comic fans.  Downey Jr’s take on PTSD was pretty refreshing for a comic book adaptation.  And overall I think it’s a much better film than Iron Man 2.

Is that a matter of improved storytelling or my significantly lowered expectations?  I’m not sure about that, but I am sure that I’ll definitely take the time to rewatch Iron Man 3 again before I bother rewatching Iron Man 2.

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy

More catching up here – yet another flick that I saw quite a while back and I never posted the review.

Now this was an extremely pleasant surprise.  I went into this film knowing absolutely nothing about the source material.  The comic is a Marvel title that I had never bothered to read.  When the first trailer was released, I heard mixed messages – people I knew who were familiar with the source material didn’t like it because they said they were playing it too much for laughs, but people I knew who had not read the comics were really looking forward to seeing it because it looked like a fun sci-fi romp.

What did I think of it?

It was a fun sci-fi romp!  With a fantastic soundtrack!

Up until now, I had considered Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film.  Now it’s tied with Guardians Of The Galaxy.  I think Winter Soldier is a better film than Guardians, but I also think Guardians is a whole lot more fun.  Winter Soldier is a well-made paranoic thriller at heart, whereas Guardians is more of a happy-go-lucky romp through sci-fi tropes that is elevated several levels by the impeccable soundtrack, Michael Rooker, and two fantastically realized CGI characters.

Guardians 2 cannot get here fast enough.  Again, this is making me less interested in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.  I’m really hoping that a future Avengers film will bring the Guardians together with the rest of the team.  We’ll see.

 

X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Pfffft.  Not bad, but not great either.  I had a similar feeling towards this as I did when I saw Inception: it was nowhere nearly as groundbreaking nor as mindfuckery as the hype led me to expect.  In one respect I feel cheated, thinking that I should’ve waited to watch this until the supposed extended cut is released next year.  Not quite as bad as The Last Stand, but certainly never came close to being as good as First Class.  Yawn.  When I see the sentinels on screen, I don’t think ooooh what a nasty and compelling threat, I think ooooh mediocre CGI.  And Peter Dinklage was utterly wasted in his role.  Oh well.

At some point I really need to sit down and watch Superman Returns to see if it’s actually as bad as people tell me it is.  I miss the Bryan Singer that gave me The Usual Suspects.  Man, what happened to you?

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Time to play catch-up again – here’s another flick that I saw a while back and I never posted the review.

Up until now, I had considered The Avengers to be my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film.  In the words of John Hurt’s Doctor, “No more.”  Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit all the right notes at all of the right times, and it had a devastatingly beneficial effect on the first season of Agents Of SHIELD.

I really appreciate them playing up the ’70s style political thriller aspects, and I think the highlight of the film for me was the supercomputer that Cap and Black Widow stumble across that is cobbled together out of ’70s era computing equipment.  Plus a certain epitath on a certain tombstone at the end – that was a particularly nice touch.

The heck with Avengers: Age Of Ultron.  I, for one, can’t wait until Captain America 3 comes out!