Thursday, April 30, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron EXPECTATIONS!

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At long last, Avengers: Age of Ultron officially comes out in theaters tomorrow—at least in America!  There are a few showings tonight in select theaters, but the official American opening day is May 1.  It’s been a long wait for it to come out—three years since the first Avengers movie, seven years since Iron Man introduced us to this universe.  On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. they’ve been building to this since right around the midseason premiere.  And the first U.S. showings are very soon!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 19, "The Dirty Half Dozen" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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“The Dirty Half Dozen,” the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. lead-in to Avengers: Age of Ultron aired last night, and all I can say is “wow.”  I think this was my favorite episode yet for the incredible character development we got thanks to Ward’s inclusion on the team (spoiler alert!  But not much of one), the furthering of the conflict between Coulson and Gonzales, and the incredible action scenes.  That this episode was airing just three days before the U.S. premiere of the biggest movie of the year was obvious all through, but it did not feel distracting.  In fact, the lead-in which Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. provides actually helps make me even more excited for Avengers: Age of Ultron—if that’s even possible.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Defense of Agent Carter Season Two

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In May, network executives will decide which TV shows they are going to bring back for another season, which new series they are going to add, and which old shows they are going to cancel.  Simply put, this is the time of the year when new shows and risky shows and shows on the bubble have to be on edge because they might not make it.

Agent Carter, the MCU’s newest network TV series, is easily the second-best MCU network TV series—and that’s not a knock on Agent Carter so much as a commendation of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s second season.  That being said, Agent Carter is an excellent TV series which fills in an important gap in the MCU’s history.  And according to some reports, Agent Carter only has a 60% chance of being renewed.  In light of that, here is my defense of Agent Carter and why it needs a second season.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 19, "The Dirty Half Dozen" EXPECTATIONS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight with “The Dirty Half Dozen” (2x19) at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific.  What do we expect from tonight's episode?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 3, "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Can you believe it?  Daredevil has been out for a little over three weeks now, and they’ve already announced a second season which will be coming out around this time next year.  It’s incredible just how well the series has done.  Of course, everything about this show is so good that a second season was inevitable.

Continuing my series of reviews of Daredevil, we come to one of my favorite episodes, because we get to see Matt as more than a masked vigilante with preternaturally heightened senses.  We also see him as a lawyer, and some of the tension he feels between his vigilantism and legal career.  Daredevil’s third episode, “Rabbit in a Snowstorm,” serves to build up the tension of the show and raise the stakes for Matt and his friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Age of Ultron Tie-In Episode: Who's Involved?

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This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air just three days before the U.S. premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it looks like AoS is gearing up to provide a major lead-in to the Age of Ultron—specifically its first Act, when the Avengers will (most likely; I haven’t seen it yet) be taking on the Hydra forces of Baron von Strucker.  I think we can safely say that this is the crossover Marvel has been teasing between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Who’s excited?  I’m excited!

If you don’t remember the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., here is a quick summary of where we are and how we got here.  Obviously, there will be spoilers for every Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode to date.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bobbi/Hunter Spinoff Ideas

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You know how I wrote an article two weeks ago about the announced Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff potentially coming this fall?  Well, we’ve had a couple developments on that front this week, one a casting rumor, and the other a line from the episode which may have been a reference to it.  The rumor going around this week is that Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi Morse, aka “Mockingbird”) and Nick Blood (Lance Hunter) have been in negotiations to headline the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff.  Apparently this spinoff would have a “Mr. and Mrs. Smith vibe” to it.  The reference in the episode, “The Frenemy of My Enemy” (2x18), came while Hunter and Fitz were discussing Coulson’s plan to work with Ward against Hydra.  Fitz asked Hunter if he would be willing to work with Bobbi again, to which Hunter replied “No, not a chance.”  Was I the only one who thought that could be teasing the two of them getting back together in some fashion as part of this spinoff?

So if it is true that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff will feature Bobbi and Hunter, I think we need to do a little speculating.  Here are a couple of my ideas for how this could work:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The MCU Pre-Age of Ultron: TL;DW

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Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in U.S. theaters next Friday, and just about everyone in the world is going to go see it.  There is the chance that at least some of these will be completely new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  So to help these people out, I decided to write a “Too Long; Didn’t Watch” summary of the MCU to date, focusing especially on what is relevant to Age of Ultron.  At the end I will offer my three suggestions for movies that you should watch (or rewatch) before going to see Age of Ultron, and why those three.  We’ll start from the beginning, with Iron Man.

Note:  There will (obviously) be spoilers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 18, "The Frenemy of My Enemy" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. raises the stakes to an all-time high (even higher than last year in “Turn, Turn, Turn” (1x17), if that’s even possible) in its most recent episode, “The Frenemy of My Enemy” (2x18).  Coulson turned for help to the most unlikely source—Grant Ward.  Skye took a trip down memory lane with dear old dad… which did not end well for anyone involved.  The two S.H.I.E.L.D.s have been on a collision course ever since Coulson escaped from the Playground, and their little game of “cat and mouse” is pretty much at an end—confrontation is coming, and it won’t be sunshine and roses.  And funny enough, it’s all happening just in time for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to tie in with Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will hit U.S. theaters next Friday.  It is truly a good time to be a Marvel fan!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 18, "The Frenemy of My Enemy" EXPECTATIONS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight with “The Frenemy of My Enemy” (2x18) at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific.  What do we expect from tonight's episode?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 2, "Cut Man" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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The most fascinating part of Daredevil episode 2 is that it focuses so much on his humanity.  Everything that happens in “Cut Man” is as a result of Matt having made a terrible, careless, costly mistake.  He spends half the episode on Claire Temple’s couch bleeding out because he is so badly injured.  By the end of the episode, Matt is visibly exhausted, almost unable to complete his mission—or even stand up straight.  This is something we don’t get in a lot of superhero movies and TV shows:  A superhero whose human side is on full display.  Daredevil is clearly made better by its emphasis on Matt’s limitations.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Antiheroes in the MCU

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When it comes to heroes and villains, they can come in many different varieties.  Some heroes, like Captain America, are pillars of virtue who would never do something morally questionable, even if it is for the right reasons.  These are not blind followers, but they have a respect for authority.  Others, like Hawkeye and Black Widow, are doing the right thing now in an effort to atone for the sins of the past.  These characters are a little more willing to do things that are morally questionable, because they’ve done so in the past.  Looking at villains, some are like Red Skull or Ronan:  Willing to do anything—including genocide—to achieve power.  Others are more like Ivan Vanko:  They are villains because circumstances pushed them in that direction.

Heroes and villains come in a variety of forms.  However, there is one indisputable fact about true heroes and true villains:  you can tell which category they are in.  You take one look at Red Skull and you know that he’s a villain; you take one look at Captain America and you know that he’s a hero.  However, there is a third category of characters:  the antihero.  Though the MCU has explored heroes and villains at length, it has not done so to the same extent with antiheroes.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Another New Marvel/ABC TV Series!

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When it rains, it pours Marvel TV news!  Last week we got the report that Marvel and ABC were working on a spinoff series from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that would build on some of the themes from the second half of this season.  Then there was the release of Daredevil on Netflix.  Now, there’s another report about a Marvel TV project!  When will the news stop coming?

According to this article, Marvel is working on a new TV series for ABC, which would have John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) as one of the showrunners or producers.  The Entertainment Weekly article breaking the story offers some clues as to what this TV series could be:  “the deal involves reinventing an existing Marvel superhero character or property for ABC.” suggests that this sounds like a different project from the previously announced Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff.  Awesome!  So what could it be?  I have a few thoughts, but I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

The Inhumans – I already talked about this in my previous article about the AoS spinoff.  Essentially this would be a series focusing on the identification, training, and culture of the Inhumans.  However, I don’t know if this is the series that John Ridley will be working on; this would be more of a spinoff from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Runaways – A team consisting of the children of super villains, The Runaways have been in the news quite a bit as a property which Marvel is looking to bring to the MCU.  The Runaways find out that their parents are super villains, run away from home, and work to stop their parents’ evil plan.  I think this would be an interesting team to bring to the big screen, not in the least because one member’s parents are time travelers and she has a pet dinosaur!

Wasp, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Considering that Marvel has been expanding the history of the MCU on TV, a Wasp TV series would be a good way to build up the Ant-Man franchise.  A series starring Wasp would focus on Janet Van Dyn-Pym and her work going on missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. during the Cold War.  This could either be a series during the midseason break or one that runs alongside Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and the spinoff).  It would feature at least a few cameos from Hank Pym, aka Ant Man, especially if the actor they case for young Hank in Ant-Man (assuming they cast one) has a contract friendly to TV appearances.

Black Captain America – If this series airs during the midseason break—either alongside Agent Carter or in place of it—it might be another exploration of Marvel’s history.  Given that Marvel has already hinted at one attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum (The Incredible Hulk) and another is on its way (Luke Cage), what if Marvel is planning to go back to the beginning—the first attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum?  The so-called “Black Captain America,” Isaiah Bradley, was the survivor of the first such attempt.  Like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment during World War II, the U.S. Army/SSR conducted experiments on African-American soldiers in an effort to create more super soldiers.  When the experiments were discovered, all the survivors were killed as part of a cover-up—all except Isaiah Bradley.  Bradley went to conduct a mission against the Nazis, destroying a Nazi super soldier program.  Chronologically, he is the first black superhero, depicted as a legend in the African-American superhero community.  I think a series following his missions—either during World War II or shortly thereafter, crossing over with Agent Carter—would be fascinating, and a good way to give depth to the MCU.  It doesn’t hurt that John Ridley is best known for his work on 12 Years a Slave.

I can’t think of any other ideas for what this series could be, so what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear your ideas for what this series might be.  One thing I am certain of is that I am really excited to see how much is happening with Marvel TV right now.

If you want to get an email whenever I publish a new article, go to the top of the page and enter your email address in the box labeled “Subscribe to Mostly MCU Reviews” and click “Submit.”

It occurred to me after I published this article that my thoughts on a couple other articles could be useful to this discussion.
This is my article on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoff from last week
This is my article on the Future of The Defenders on Netflix.  Some of these ideas could also work on network TV.

The MCU Timeline 1.0

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This was originally part of my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 17, “Melinda” review.  However, the review started getting too long, so I cut this part out to publish separately.  I’m planning to update it as more information becomes available.

The episode “Melinda” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2x17), helped to fill in a lot more of the chronology of the MCU.  In the episode we finally learn the full story of May’s nickname “The Cavalry,” along with more information about the Inhumans and how are connected to events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We’ve been able to piece a number of events into Marvel history before, but this expanded the timeline very substantially.  Here’s what we can piece together so far:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Are MCU Characters Too Weak?

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As I was trying to figure out what to do for my miniseries leading up to Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was thinking about an article discussing the characters in the movie, their powers, and their background—what’s happened to them so far in the MCU.  However, I got a question on Monday about the recent Daredevil series, and specifically about Daredevil’s relative weakness in that series compared to the comic books.  So my first article leading up to Age of Ultron will discuss the powers of characters in the MCU, and specifically how the MCU has been dialing down many of the characters.

Warning:  There will be some spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil, and I will also be talking about a couple of the characters in Age of Ultron and their abilities.  You have been warned.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 17, "Melinda" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Melinda,” gives us a far more detailed understanding of the origin of “The Cavalry” than we ever expected to get.  As a matter of fact, the connections between the Bahrain incident and the present-day events on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are surprisingly deep—and very much appreciated.  One of the biggest challenges I can see in an episode like this which puts the primary emphasis on filling in a character’s back story as that it can break the rhythm of the season-long plot by taking the focus off of current events.  However, the use of the flashbacks in this episode (and in the Bobbi-centric episode, “One Door Closes,” 2x15) feels very natural to the plot.  In this episode in particular the flashbacks feel like bad memories of one character dredged up by the current events she is experiencing—memories simultaneously being shared with another character by a third character.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 17, "Melinda" EXPECTATIONS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight with “Melinda” (2x17) at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific.  What do we expect from tonight's episode?

What happened in the last episode, “Afterlife”?
“Afterlife” saw Skye wake up following her teleportation away from the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.”s forces at the end of the previous episode.  Skye wakes up at “Afterlife” (an Inhuman sanctuary) in a room where the Inhumans perform treatments designed to assist the newly-transformed through the transformation process.  Gordon introduces Skye to Lincoln, her “Transitioner”—the one responsible for her treatments and for determining her new abilities so a “Guide” can be assigned.  At the end of the episode Skye discovers that Raina is also at Afterlife, causing her to attempt to kill Raina.  Her (unknown to her) mother Jiaying walks in and tells her to stop before informing Skye that she has chosen to be her (Skye’s) Guide if she decides to stay at Afterlife for a while.

Meanwhile, Coulson and Hunter attempt to track down Skye, which leads them to the Retreat, where they call in the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.” in order to capture a quinjet.  They eventually manage to capture the quinjet, but only with assistance from an upgraded Mike Peterson—Deathlok’s back!  They go off to track down the final Hydra Head in an effort to use his knowledge to locate Skye.

Back at the Playground, Gonzales, Bobbi, and Mack try to persuade May, Simmons, and Fitz (respectively) to join the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.”  In the end Simmons elects to stay with them (after helping Fitz to smuggle Fury’s Toolbox out).  Fitz leaves with the Toolbox to find Coulson.  May’s decision is unclear, though looks to be resolved in this episode.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Daredevil Season 1, Episode 1, "Into the Ring" REVIEW (SPOILERS for first episode)

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Marvel entered a whole new world on Friday with the release of Daredevil season 1 on Netflix, and I can’t be happier with the show so far—at least once I managed to get Netflix figured out on my PS3!  The grittiness of the show is absolutely palpable; it is obvious from the start that Daredevil is tonally different from everything else Marvel has produced thus far.  The human aspect of Matt Murdock—and all of the characters, really—is abundantly clear in every aspect of the show.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Age of Ultron Tie-In Revealed?

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Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out in less than a month, and before then, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be doing its part to build up the shared universe brand by tying in with the movie.  We don’t know exactly how it’s going to happen yet, but I think the latest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, “Afterlife” (2x16), may have given us a hint for what the tie-in will be.  It’s all in the scene when Coulson, Hunter, and Deathlok lay out their plans.

Remember, the three of them are on the run from Gonzales’ team in a stolen quinjet.  Coulson believes they need to find Skye if they’re going to have any hope of victory in a confrontation with Gonzales.  As such they need to find Gordon, the teleporting Inhuman who has whisked away Raina, Cal, and Skye.  However, they can’t just call for him the way Skye did; they don’t know where he goes or how to find him.  Their best bet is to track down someone who might know about Gordon.  Deathlok, who has been trailing the last remaining Hydra Head (Liszt) for the last six months, intercepted a message suggesting that Liszt was hunting down powered people and experimenting on them.  If Liszt is hunting down people like Skye, then Coulson reasons that Liszt must at least be aware of Gordon’s existence.  And any information Liszt has about Gordon could help Coulson find Skye.  So now Coulson, Hunter, and Deathlok are off to track down Liszt and find out what he knows.

So how does this plot line tie in to Age of Ultron?  Simply put, Liszt is the linchpin that connects the two properties.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daredevil Full Season One NON-SPOILER Review

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I just finished watching Daredevil Season 1 tonight, and had to share my thoughts on the series.  I'm going to write individual episode recaps each week for the next 3 months or so (until I'm through the season), but here's my non-spoiler review:

This show is AWESOME!  If you don't have Netflix yet, then you need to sign up for the free month just to watch Daredevil.  If you do have Netflix and haven't watched it yet, then what are you doing reading reviews?  Go watch it already!

One word of caution:  Daredevil is not for the faint of heart.  It has a rating of TV-MA (the show runners said they were going for something along the lines of PG-16), and it really does earn its rating.  There is no sexual content (the most they show is a couple of women taking of their shirts, and we only see their backs).  However, there is a lot of cursing.  Blood... I'm pretty sure they spent more on fake blood than anything else!  There are some extremely graphic scenes, though most of the time they don't show more than blood dripping from wounds and the like.  If you don't like a lot of violence, I would use extreme caution in watching this show.

I love all the character relationships they develop through this season, especially between Matt and Foggy.  Wilson Fisk is probably the most well-developed villain in the MCU, perhaps even more so than Loki.  However, my favorite aspect of the entire show is how well they show the two sides of Matt Murdock:  He is a "superhuman" gifted with incredibly well-honed senses (vision aside), but at the same time he is only human.  The human aspect of him always manages to show through in what he does.

There really weren't a lot of negatives in the season.  Everything resolves satisfactorily, but at the same time there is enormous potential for a second season (and for The Defenders to explore).

Long story short, this is an awesome series, and I can't wait until Marvel expands this universe and gives us the next chapter in Hell's Kitchen with A.K.A. Jessica Jones sometime this fall.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The New S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoff!

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Note for those who were looking for my idea about the Avengers: Age of Ultron tie-in:  Sorry.  I was fully planning to publish that article today, but when this news broke yesterday I decided to put it on hold.  That article will be out on Sunday.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is spinning off a new series!  The announcement came out yesterday that Marvel and ABC are working on a spinoff series from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which will premier either this coming fall or during the 2015-2016 midseason break.  To be honest, this really does not surprise me at all.  I’ve been expecting an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff almost since they announced Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place!  The Marvel universe is large enough to support a ton of movies, network TV series, Netflix TV series, tie-in comics… you name it.  And given that DC has been building its own live-action TV universe lately—Arrow spawned Flash, which is spawning a midseason show next year; then there’s also Constantine (#SaveConstantine) and Supergirl, which aren’t connected to Arrow and Flash, but could maybe be later on, to say nothing of the in-development Teen Titans series…—it was only inevitable that Marvel and ABC would want to get in on some of that action.  Given the inevitability of a spinoff, it was only a question of when and what.

Daredevil Season 1 EXPECTATIONS

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Marvel’s latest offering, Daredevil, is being released in bulk on Netflix today, and I think everyone is excited to see it!  Remember, you need to have Netflix to watch it, and if you’re worried about the expense, you can sign up for a free month and then cancel at any time.  So what do we expect from the series?

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Synopsis for Daredevil:
Marvel’s first Netflix series, Daredevil follows the exploits of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer whose other senses are superhumanly enhanced, which helps him fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. The origin story is the first step is an expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is being positioned as a means of setting up a Defenders series down the road.

Expected season-long plot points:

  • Matt Murdock’s Origin Story
  • Wilson Fisk’s Origin Story
  • Building blocks being laid for future Marvel Netflix TV series, specifically A.K.A. Jessica Jones—the next to be released—and The Defenders—the team-up

What I am looking for in the season:

  • A couple episodes focused on each of the characters, especially Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
  • Matt Murdock working to keep his secret identity
  • Matt Murdock’s legal practice interfering with his crime fighting and vice versa
  • A couple of different suit and weapon options being tested out before Matt settles on the red with horns and custom billy club in one of the last two episodes
  • Kingpin is set up as a long-term villain for the Defenders, as well as for Spider-Man
  • And on that note, groundwork being laid for Spider-Man’s MCU debut

What would be awesome but probably won’t happen:
Iron Man drops out of the sky to have coffee with Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson.  Alternatively, Steve Rogers stops by to ask for help with a landlord that evicted him.

So what are you looking for in Daredevil season 1?  What is there that you really want to see but may not see at all?

If you want to get an email whenever I publish a new article, go to the top of the page and enter your email address in the box labeled “Subscribe to Mostly MCU Reviews” and click “Submit.”  Since the entire season is being released at once, my plan right now is to publish a Daredevil review every Monday (that day is free so far).  If you want to see reviews more frequently, let me know in the comments and I will see about publishing them sooner.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Future of the Defenders on Netflix

Note:  We're going to be signing up for Netflix tomorrow, so we will be able to watch Daredevil!  My plan is to post 1 expectations article tomorrow for the entire season before I watch the show. Then I plan to post 1 review each week until I get through the season, but if you would like to see reviews more frequently, let me know (but no guarantees).

The final post in my mini-series leading up to the release of Daredevil on Netflix tomorrow will be a look ahead to the future of the Defenders/Marvel/Netflix corner of the MCU.  Considering that one of the Defenders (Iron Fist) still hasn’t been cast, 3 of the shows still haven’t entered production, 2 still lack showrunners, and none of them have actually been released yet, it is very early to start talking about the future of this corner of the MCU.  Nevertheless, since they are going to start laying some of the groundwork for their “Phase 2” through these series—and I’m pretty sure this experiment will be successful enough to warrant a “Phase 2”—I think it is still relevant to talk about the ways in which this will grow and expand after The Defenders comes out in 2016, 2017, or 2018 (my best guess is 2017).

For the purpose of this article, I will assume that Marvel and Netflix are going to structure “Netflix Phase 2” with about the same number of series as “Phase 1,” but I will add at least 1 (for a total of 5 character-centric seasons, all leading up to an event-focused The Defenders Season 2).  Presumably, it would be entirely possible for them to produce and release all of these in about 3 years, following roughly the same schedule as the movies are:  2 per year, gearing up toward 3 per year.  I project that all of the “Phase 1 Defenders” will appear in series leading up to The Defenders Season 2, but not necessarily in their own series.  Instead, a few of the series will be combined together, leaving room to explore other characters in their own series in anticipation of the inevitable team-up.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 16, "Afterlife" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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At some point, I will probably have to stop saying that the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the best one (or one of the best) yet.  But that day still has not come.  “Afterlife” (2x16) continued every plot line I’ve been looking for and did so very well.  I did not feel as though things were disconnected through the episode.  And perhaps most importantly, I think I finally have a good idea of how the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie-in with The Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to work.  I will touch on that briefly in my review, but if you want the full idea, come back on Friday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 16, "Afterlife" EXPECTATIONS

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight with “Afterlife” (2x16) at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific.  What do we expect from tonight's episode?

What happened in the last episode, “One of Us”?
Through flashbacks we saw what Bobbi, Hartley, Mack, and Gonzales were up to on the day that S.H.I.E.L.D. fell.  In the present, Bobbi stole Fury’s Toolbox after fighting with May, though Simmons managed to trick and stun her.  Gonzales’ team gassed the Playground, breached one of the walls (nearly killing Fitz but for Mack’s intervention), and captured all of Coulson’s agents except Hunter and May.  Gordon visited Skye at her cabin (called “the Retreat” and “the house that Banner built” at different times) and explained more of how her powers work before offering to take her away somewhere to learn to control her powers.  Skye remained at the Retreat and experimented a bit with her powers before being warned by May that Gonzales was sending a team to capture (or kill) her.
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Skye fought off one STRIKE member before Calderon tried to shoot her.  Skye instinctively deflected the bullet, knocked Bobbi (who was on the assault team) and Calderon back, leveled the forest, and impaled Calderon through the shoulder with a tree limb.  On seeing what had happened, Skye called for Gordon, who teleported in and whisked her away.  Meanwhile, May got Coulson out of Gonzales’ hands, and Coulson met up with Hunter to start working on their plans to save S.H.I.E.L.D.

Episode Synopsis for “Love in the Time of Hydra”:
“As Robert Gonzales makes his move, Coulson must do whatever it takes to protect the future of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Meanwhile, Skye's journey to control her powers takes a surprising turn when she meets the enigmatic Inhuman named Lincoln.”

Continuing plot points:
  • Skye learning to use her powers with assistance from The Inhumans
  • The “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.” vs. Coulson and Hunter
  • The impending tie-in between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • So what are Ward and 33 up to?

What I am looking for tonight:
  • Skye experimenting further with her powers under the direction of Lincoln and/or Gordon
  • Learning a lot more about the Inhumans as Skye is introduced into their culture
  • Coulson and Hunter searching for Skye to use her powers as part of their plan to resist Gonzales’ takeover of their S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Gonzales, Bobbi, Mack, and Weaver trying to seduce/tempt Fitz and Simmons into joining their side in the S.H.I.E.L.D.-vs.-S.H.I.E.L.D. conflict

What would be awesome but probably won’t happen:
Skye meets the leader of this small group of Inhumans, who turns out to be… Crystal!
Image Courtesy
This would be setting up a Royal Family reveal around the end of the season.

So what are you looking for in tonight’s episode?  What is there that you really want to see but may not see at all?

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