Review – The Defenders

The Defenders have finally arrived to Netflix and thanks to being sick I was able to stay home and binge watch the whole show in one day and as such I am ready to bring to you my review of the season and I will keep the spoilers to a minimum. The Defenders are basically the street level Avengers and its members are Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Daredevil. All of this characters have had their own series and most of them, except perhaps Iron Fist, to critical acclaim. This series was the unification of all the Netflix Marvel characters and the culmination of many plots and sub plots that have started in the other individual series.

the-defenders

The Hand are the antagonists in this show and we have seen them prepare their plan since Daredevil Season One. They seek power, influence and to obliterate New York. However to complete their plan and to return to K’un-Lun they need one more thing, The Iron Fist. In the show we are introduced to the Five Fingers of The Hand, amongst which we see some familiar faces such as Madame Gao, and their leader, Alexandria (Sigourney Weaver), a woman who has lived lives upon lives. It is she who resurrects the dead Elektra Natchios with the power of the Black Sky, and the last of the substance that makes the Five Fingers cheat death. Falling in line with the other Netflix shows (save for maybe Iron Fist), we are given a villain worthy of her status. With Elektra as her “muscle” we watch the unlikely heroes struggle to match her, even when they have her outnumbered, making every fight scene that much more compelling.

The show without a doubt delivers and it does a great job in setting up the story. The four titular characters are very different to each other and it takes a long time for them to come together, especially considering Daredevil at the start of the show is attempting to leave that part of his life behind.  However when they finally come together the pace really picks up and the show is incredibly satisfying, especially the interactions between the characters (highlighted by the wonderful Kristen Ritter as Jessica Jones and her snide but hilarious comments). The action scenes are wonderful, especially the one in the hallway (a classic now in the Marvel Netflix Universe) and the one in the last episode.

maxresdefault

The characters are wonderful and everything is anchored in my opinion around Daredevil and his relation with Elektra who is played by Élodie Yung perfectly and is able to steal many of the scenes she is in. Sigourney Weaver is also excellent and joins the excellent list of Marvel Netflix villains, as she portrays a ruthless, timeless, powerful villain. The main cast does a great job as well, the chemistry between the Defenders is great and the rapport between the heroes is entertaining. Iron Fist, played by Finn Jones, who was the weak link coming into this show is much improved in this series. Both the actor and the writers seem to have found a more appropriate tone for him and his interactions with Luke Cage are a great throwback to their comics. The main cast is well complimented by all of the side characters we have come to know in the other series but Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing and Rosario Dawson as Claire Templeton (and the character who has been in every show) stand out particularly.

I enjoyed the story that was presented although I will admit that at some parts it dragged a little, however this was a minor issue that was offset by the great interactions between the characters that form the heart of this series. Another excellent point is the use of different colours to present each character, which gives us that comic book tone that is just great to see. The colour schemes change from character to character. Jessica Jones’ scenes are blue and dark, with Luke we are shown yellow lighting and a hip hop theme, while Iron Fist’s scenes are green, and lastly the scenes with Daredevil are often red. When they are all together we get a different tone to show us that it is no longer about the individual but about the team.

the-defenders-netflix-new-photos

I have really enjoyed this show and its ending is spectacular, heart-breaking and ideal to set up the next of the series with the Defenders, Daredevil Season 3, in which we seem to be heading towards one of the most classic Daredevil comic book stories. The ending had me feeling a myriad of sensations but most of all it left me feeling satisfied with the show as a whole. This first season of The Defenders has in my opinion lived up to the hype. It is entertaining, fun, gritty, dark and captures perfectly the tone of the different shows. We are perfectly primed to see now the next seasons of the individual shows of this characters and I can’t wait for the Defenders to come back. Meanwhile we can get ready for the arrival of The Punisher.

The Defenders: 8.5/10

Advertisements

Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

The first of the MCU movies that will be released this year has finally arrived and it is one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. The first Guardians of the Galaxy was an incredible movie that surprised us all with its humour and heart. It was a great space opera and still stands in my opinion as one of the best films in the MCU. Thus this new entry into the story of Star-Lord and company had a big shoes to fill and a hard challenge ahead. As I give a short review of this film I will attempt to give the minimum amount of spoilers.

new-guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-trailer-world-premiere-2837-still001

So did it manage to maintain the excellent level of the first one? Well in my humble opinion, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 was as good as the first one, although different in many ways. First of all the music was great, but that was to be expected. Whilst perhaps not as famous as the ones we got to see in the first film the song choice was perfect and they were a great reflection of the tone of the film as well as what the characters were facing. I for one loved the more subdued song choice in this film and thought it really reflected tone of the film.

The humour was great. The film was fun and had great dialogue with, Drax the Destroyer, played by Dave Bautista, (yay wrestling!) stealing the show with the humour, as he was impeccable in his delivery. The film was fun and had great action scenes, although it was a bit slower than the other one. The start of the film is great and it already sets you up for a great fun film that will entertain you and make time fly.

gallery-1476894614-guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-gamora

However what makes this film so good is the characters and its heart. In this film we are already familiar with the characters so we can immediately delve into them and their emotional state. This film despite the action, the humor, superheroes…is really about family and how family is defined, almost all the Guardians in this movie face that question and this provides a lot of heart and emotion to this movie. This is something that they are able to do great in the movie, they combine humour with emotion perfectly, showing us that a fun movie can be also emotional. This is what I am seeking in comic book films (except in Batman). Comic books are a fun media, a media that is entertaining and colourful with occasional emotional moments and high stakes that add to the story. I feel like Marvel comics could really learn from the MCU in adapting this tone that has been sorely lacking in comics over the past couple of years.

In conclusion I loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. It was a fun movie that had me laughing but also crying at some points. Most importantly it had me hooked and invested in it. The new additions are great, Kurt Russell did a phenomenal job, the cameos throughout the film are fun, the easter eggs for us comic book fans were awesome (The Watchers exist in the MCU!) and the story was great, allowing you to learn more about the characters. This movie does have its flaws but in my opinion it did everything it was supposed to do, entertain me and make me fall in love with the characters even more (Baby Groot is incredible, and I loved Gamora in this film). I recommend you all go and watch this movie as soon as you can!

NEyBIeikIvt4BE_5_b

Trailer Review – Thor Ragnarok

descarga

Over the past few weeks a number of amazing trailers have dropped including some from comic book franchises that promise to be amongst the most talked about movies of the year. The trailers for “Wonder Woman”, “Batman v Superman” and “Spiderman Homecoming” all came with much hype and expectation and those trailers in more ways than not delivered upon the expectations. This week the trailer for “Thor Ragnarok” came out in a surprising manner since Marvel had not announced that the trailer would come out this week. With that in mind I have decided to give my quick thoughts about the trailer and the impression I got from it.

Thor Ragnarok gave us a trailer which shows that they have completely overhauled the tone and look of the Thor movies as in this one we see it become more light hearted and colourful. The colour palette of the movie is completely changed from the previous Thor movies and it has a feel similar to that of old Jack Kirby comics. I have not been a big fan of Thor movies before this one as I felt they were a bit boring and that Thor as a character on his own was not working, although he was great in The Avengers movies, so I for one do welcome this change.

The trailer is action packed and looks really great as it promises to tell a very intriguing story. In the trailer we see how Hela, goddess of death, attacks Asgard and destroys Mjolnir in an incredible shocking moment of the trailer leading to Thor being captured and having to fight in a gladiator arena against Hulk in a short scene that might have stolen the whole trailer as it highlighted the new tone of the Thor universe, colourful, fun and with epic action.

Cate Blanchett has been one of my favourite actresses since I discovered her in “Lord of the Rings” and in this movie she looks incredible as Hela and I believe is going to portray a character that will quickly become iconic and break the pattern of weak Marvel villains (with Loki as an exception). The trailer has me really excited for this movie and I love the fact that it is expanding the MCU and introducing us to new characters as well as taking us to new locations around the galaxy. This movie looks action packed, Thor is wearing his classic helmet, Hela looks awesome, Loki is back and the Hulk vs Thor fight promises to be such a great fun and epic fight that I think we will all be talking about it for a long time!

I for one can’t wait to see this movie that will drop around the same time as the Justice League in what promises to be a great month for comic book fans! Hopefully this movie will not disappoint us and this new foray into the mythos of Thor in the MCU proves to be entertaining and fun.

 

Review – Iron Fist

iron-fist

The last of the Defenders has arrived as Iron Fist came out on Netflix last Friday and so far it has drawn a lot of criticism from critics whilst fans have been more forgiving and accepting of the show. The show is without a doubt a flawed show but it is not as bad as people are claiming it to be. Before I get into the official review of the show please be aware that I will not be talking about any of the racist issues that have risen about this show. As someone who is not directly affected I do not think my voice is qualified to talk about it. Also be aware that there are going to be spoilers on the review.

First of all, let’s talk about the negatives of the show. The show has a flawed pacing, and although the pace of the TV show does pick up towards the middle of the show, some episodes drag a lot, especially the first five episodes. The first five episodes are slow with not much development beyond corporate fights which makes it hard to follow this first episodes. Furthermore the fights in most of the episodes are not well done (although recent declarations by Finn Jones in which he says he learned the choreography 15 minutes before they were shot shed light on this) and lack passion and are not very smooth. The major flaw of the show lies in many ways in the character of Danny Rand. Most of the times Danny Rand does not feel like the “ultimate weapon” he is supposed to be, he is beaten easily (too easily) by others and in many episodes feel a bit too dumb as he keeps trusting people who have lied and done awful things to him. The choice of the villain at the end, Harold Meachum is a poor choice as he should not poise the physical challenge that he does in the finale. Lastly the fact that no one mentions clearly other members of “The Defenders”, especially Claire (shoe-horned into the show) who when she learns about the Hand does not tell Danny Rand about Daredevil, is really starting to hurt the Netflix Marvel Universe as it is not realistic.

Iron-Fist-set-photo-Finn-Jones-as-Danny-Rand

That said the show also had some great moments. Finn Jones does grow into the characters as the series progresses and by the end of it his portrayal of the Iron Fist is quite enjoyable. Rosario Dawson as Claire is once again great and shows how comfortable she feels in this Netflix Marvel Universe and her character. The latter half of the show is pretty good and the episode in which they travel to China and Danny Rand faces Zhou Cheng, the master of the Drunken Style, has a great fighting sequence. The challenge by the Hand to Iron Fist in Episode 6 is pretty good and entertaining as is the character development of Ward Meachum. However the best part of this show is the portrayal of Colleen Wing by Jessica Henwick. Jessica Henwick is able to express the vulnerability and power of Colleen Wing and every time she appears on screen the show improves and she steals the spotlight from everybody. She is without a doubt the breakout star of this show. The show, whilst plagued with issues, does end up setting a somewhat compelling story and is a good set up for the Defenders that will drop later this year.

5472159-3603070599-tumbl

The show is entertaining enough yet we now seem to live in a society where either something is great or the worst. Critics and people on social media tend to review everything by extremes and I believe that is a huge mistake. Some shows are neither great nor bad, they are just entertaining and good and that should be embraced and not criticized. Iron Fist is a show that fits this description, a show with many problems, a show that is probably too long and has too many episodes but not a horrible show. It has fun moments and is good enough that most episodes are entertaining to watch. I have enjoyed the show for what it is and I am expectant to see how the characters of Danny Rand and Colleen Wing develop in The Defenders which comes out on Netflix on November.

Iron Fist: 6.5/10

Emma Frost – An Iconic Character

As I recently wrote on a blog post, I was very disappointed in how Marvel has handled Emma Frost in recent times and I especially hated the ending of Inhumans vs X-men where I felt like they destroyed the great work and excellent characterization achieved over the past 20 years for this excellent character. Emma Frost has been over almost the past 20 years a staple of X-Men comics, a leader and one of the most iconic members of the Marvel Universe. As I reminisce over how awesome she has been I have decided that it might be therapeutic to write a post explaining why she is such an iconic character.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_1_502_page_12_Emma_Frost_(Earth-616)

Like many comic characters and several X-Men members, Emma Frost was originally a villain. She was the White Queen in the Hellfire Club and played a big role in making Jean Grey become the Dark Phoenix. For years she was a thorn in the side of the X-Men although as a villain she was full of shades of grey, even taking time to open a school to teach new mutant students. Emma moved to Genosha where was one of the few survivors from the genocide that happened which resulted in the death of 16 million mutants including the students in her classroom. After this traumatic event Emma Frost would join the X-Men, becoming one of the leaders of the team, entering a relationship with Cyclops and with the death of Jean Grey she became the strongest telepath on the team. Since 2001, Emma has, until recently, been one of the figureheads of the group, leading them and guiding them through some of the most difficult times the mutant species has lived through, including House of M and the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn.

Emma_Frost

Her character throughout those years became one of the most, if not the most, entertaining ones in the X-Men cast, not a small feat in a series full of amazing characters. She proved that redemption was possible and that no matter your past deeds there was always hope someone could improve. She was a strong woman who became a partner, both romantically and professionally, to the leader of the X-Men; Scott Summers. Her relationship with Cyclops made him become more confident and improved drastically his character. She was a strong feminist characters whose wit, intelligence and prowess made all of us fall in love with her and be invested in her story. To this day her role during Utopia in which the X-Men were able to defeat Norman Osborn at the height of his powers is a personal favourite as it highlighted the intelligence, power and vulnerability behind this well written character. Another favourite moment was during Civil War, when she was able to stand toe to toe with Tony Stark, calling him out for not helping mutants during the Genosha genocide.

f52779373b356b8fda371c5c2b4d320a

It is those reason and her run since 2001 that made Emma Frost such an iconic character. She followed the tradition in X-Men stories of having strong female characters. She made the stories she was involved better and was a fun, relatable character. Her latest run and her return to being a villain is disappointing to say the least but I remain hopeful that someday the character of Emma Frost will return to what made it one of the best and most iconic characters in all of comics.

Spider-Man – Bring Back Mary Jane Watson!

f27039a384050786245f685f4cb53515

Spider-Man has for a very long time been the cornerstone of Marvel, especially in the comic sense. During the 90s when Marvel almost went bankrupt it was the comics of the X-Men and Spider-Man that saved the company. This was partially because of the appeal of the characters but also because of the great stories we were generally given. Peter Parker was presented as the quintessential nerd and as such it was incredibly easy to relate to. As the character grew and became more mature, us the readers grew up with him and in a way we felt his successes were our successes.

Over the past few years Marvel, in order to rejuvenate the character decided to end the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in the much maligned “One More Day” story. This decision was met with much hate by fans around the world. Ever since her first appearance in “The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Nov. 1966)” in which MJ pronounced her now famous and iconic line; “Face it Tiger… You just hit the jackpot” fans of the web-slinger have been in love with her. For many years she was the perfect foil for Peter, providing a strong backbone for him to come back to. We all rejoiced as their relationship developed, were joyous when we read about the wedding, suffered through their crisis and in general loved their stories. That is why, moving to separate them was met by such vitriol from fans. Peter marrying MJ made us as fans think that we could also find someone like her.

Photo_by_Iikka_Korhonen

At the time I hated the decision. I loved the pairing and I felt she added much to the stories. Furthermore, the way it was done by having Peter make a pact with Mephisto went against almost everything the characters stood for. Whilst I hated it, I understood the reasons for doing, an adult married Peter Parker is harder to relate to for younger and newer fans. The stories they produced after this were interesting and it was fun to see Peter dating others and interacting with other love interests. However, all of us wanted the return of the couple and this led to the creating of “Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows” a story set in an Alternate Universe where they remained married and have a daughter. After seeing this great fun story it is high time Marvel brings back the marriage into the official stories.

The time to do so is now. The introduction of Miles Morales into the 616 universe provides an excellent opportunity. Miles Morales can be used as the new Spider-Man to which new and younger readers can relate to, whilst us veteran readers can focus on the original Spider-Man; Peter Parker. By doing this we can once again focus on more adult, mature stories with Peter Parker, stories that we can all relate to as adults. In this stories MJ can be brought back as his love interest and the relationship we all loved can be resumed. The character of MJ is barely being used by Marvel (she is in Iron Man but she barely makes an impact) and for many of us it is weird to see her outside the Spider-Man universe.

After years of not seeing this relationship, of them teasing us with alternate universe stories, it would be a gift to us fans to see this storied relationship back in action. We have all loved them and clearly fans wish to see Peter Parker back with her. After all, Spider-Man might have other relationships, he might date other women, but deep in our hearts we know there is only one woman who is a true match for Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson.   

spideywedding-456

Make Cyclops Great Again

Ever since I can remember reading comics I have always loved, loved the X-Men. I love their stories, the underdog theme, the stakes of their race being in danger, their arcs, their villains, the challenges they face and the reflection of it in our society, their message and most of all I have always loved the characters. From the strong ahead of their time female characters that I loved like Jean Grey and Storm to the leader of the X-Men, Scott Summers. See while I know most people like the anti-hero, the Wolverine, in regards to comics I have always liked the straight up heroes, the good nice guys, just like Cyclops (Spider-Man, Luke Skywalker…)

Those characters have always appealed to me and Cyclops is perhaps my favourite because he is an XMan. Lately however, in my opinion, they have gone from having him at his best some years ago to destroying his character in favor of Wolverine. To start we need to go back to the early 2000s and Joss Weedons magical and incredible run throughout the Astonishing X-Men (point to corner). See although Cyclops had great moments before this for me this is when his character became kick-ass. Through his pairing with prob my fave Xwomen (whom I miss) Emma Frost he became an awesome assertive leader. They presented him to us as the guy who always has a plan and it was AWESOME (show some comic panels). His character was really cool, alongside Emma they were a strong powerful and assertive couple capable of leading mutants. This only continued throughout the next years with House of M and him facing mutant extinction. I mean he was such a cool character, and for me his greatest moment came when he beat with his plan Norman Osborn during X-Men Utopia which was beautifully followed by Second Coming perhaps my favourite modern X-Men story.

But then came AvX and that is what killed Cyclops as a character. They decided to turn him villain and destroy him just so that they could push the Avengers and Wolverine. Wolverine as a man who did not want kids to be trained to fight….right….wolverine….the man who murders….who trained Jubilee and others….yes that makes sense. The worst thing though was that Cyclops actions were correct! He was fighting to save a whole species with just 300 members who was being targeted for destruction! And the Phoenix did come for what he said, restore mutants! SO DESPITE EVERYTHING HE WAS RIGHT OVERALL

Cyclops being portrayed like that is the result of Marvel not being capable of produce good X-Men Stories. Nowadays because they lost the rights to the movies, all they do is give Inhumans amazing storie, have them be important, but lets be honest, they are not the X-Men. Yes, they are cool but they are not the XMen characters that for years and years have entertained us and given us some of the best stories, and this fall of the Xmen is seen in Cyclops.

Nowadays after what seemed to be them stepping in the right direction in the last issue of Uncanny X-Men before Secret Wars, with Cyclops giving a message of hope to the world, a classic X-Men message they decided to throw it all away and have him die a meaningless death. This is wrong. Cyclops should not be used like that, he is one of the most amazing characters in Comics mythos, and the leader of the X-Men, the man who throughout all the crisis lead them, the man who was involved with two of the most powerful telepaths ever, the man who defeated Norman Osborn and the man who saved mutantkind from extinction. Cyclops represents the classic awesome hero, the one that is always ready to sacrifice himself for the weak, not this villain who is not even in the comics anymore. Let’s make the X-Men great again, let’s give them classic X-Men stories where they can thrive, let’s remember what made them the most popular Marvel comic, let’s make Cylops remember great again, and remember Cyclops was right.