Monday, August 31, 2015

Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 5, "The Iron Ceiling" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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So I think that “The Iron Ceiling” (1x05) may be my absolute favorite episode of Agent Carter season 1.  And the reason for that is pretty straightforward.  Three words:  “The Howling Commandos.”  Dum Dum Dugan, Happy Sam, Pinky, and Junior make this episode a blast in terms of humor, action, and character development for the two main characters who get the most screen time (Peggy and Thompson).  Can we see these guys again in Agent Carter season 2?  Please?

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for everything to-date.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekly MCU Review for 8/29

Another week, and more MCU news!  Civil War finished filming, sides were announced, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made some announcements, and Jeremy Renner opened up at Wizard Con.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 6 RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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For an episode with a ton of action and a ton of fight scenes, “A Fractured House” is surprisingly character-driven.  Bobbi and Hunter, Fitz and Simmons, and especially Ward all have their relationships developed to a huge extent in this episode.  And that focus on character really helps to push the action.

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews may contain potential spoilers for all of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Possible Expectations for MCU Phase 3

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Today’s blog post is the somewhat-belated (about a week late, though I published my Union Jack thoughts last week) look ahead to Marvel’s Phase 3.  Unfortunately, at this point we really don’t know that much about Phase 3 beyond the movies and most of the TV series.  However, I do have a couple of ideas for what we can expect to see.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 5, "A Hen in the Wolf House" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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You know how you might be expecting things to go a certain way, but you’re worried that it will not?  And you know how the story might take a sharp left turn and make you think that it will pull the rug completely out from under you?  And then you know how the story can turn around and give you exactly what you were expecting all along but it still feels new and surprising?  That’s pretty much this episode.

“A Hen in the Wolf House” has a ton of stuff going on, but it is impressive just how well it handles all of its different subplots, and especially its introduction of a fan-favorite comic book character and Avenger.  It gets pretty exhausting trying to keep everything straight, but I think that the final product makes it all worth it.

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for all of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons 1 and 2 (plus everything else to-date).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Marvel TV Series: Marvel's Most Wanted

Yeah, I know it's got a different title.
I'll do a new one some time.

It’s official:  There is a third Marvel series coming to ABC!  Yes, that heavily-rumored Mockingbird/Hunter spinoff from April has been ordered to pilot, with a full-season order likely to follow.  The series is titled Marvel’s Most Wanted, which doesn’t tell us too much about it—though maybe John Walsh will be joining the cast as the show’s host!—but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate on what this show will be about.

Let the speculation begin!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 4, "The Blitzkrieg Button" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Peggy’s been having a terrible time lately.  She is ignored and taken advantage of at work, her roommate was killed, she’s been shot at least once in the series, and it seems like everyone she’s close to has been taken away.  However, up until this episode she’s been able to count on Howard Stark trusting her and giving her all the information she needed to complete his mission.  Or so she thought.  Turns out, Howard doesn’t trust her and is taking advantage of her almost as much as the S.S.R. does.  What’s a girl going to do?

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for everything to-date.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekly MCU Review for 8/22

Another week, and more MCU news!  D23 premiered Civil War footage and this week saw some major Marvel TV announcements.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 4, "Face My Enemy" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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“Face My Enemy,” the next episode up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, is definitely one of the more fun episodes of the season, particularly because it embraces the James Bond-esque spy thriller genre so much.  The random spy tools are out in full force in this one, including the “Return of the Mask” from Captain America: The Winter Soldier—you thought that thing was just a deus ex machina, didn’t you?  Additionally, this episode gives us one of the most technically-impressive fight sequences on the series (if not for the year).  However, for as impressive as that fight was and as much fun as the James Bond-inspired mission was, the character scenes may have been the most powerful elements of this episode.

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons 1 and 2, as well as everything else that's come out already.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rumor Has It... Union Jack in Civil War

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According to a rumor from Comic Book Cast, someone who looks like Union Jack may have appeared in the Captain America: Civil War footage shown at D23.  Is this rumor based on fact?  We don’t know right now, but I suspect it might be an overreaction to another character in a different costume (or something like that—I also saw a completely different explanation).  However, considering how massive this movie already is, I don’t see why the Russo brothers couldn’t be using it to at least tease the even larger universe of superheroes which may be necessary for Thanos to be defeated in their next Marvel movie, the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.  And what better way to do that than by introducing us to a British equivalent of the Avengers?

In other words, this article is all about speculation on the Brit-Vengers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 3, "Making Friends and Influencing People" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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“Making Friends and Influencing People (2x03) is the episode when Hydra’s methods start to come into clearer focus.  We find out how Hydra “Influences People,” even as Simmons starts working to “Make Friends” with Hydra.  Wait… what?  Hold on tight; this is a wild one!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Might John Ridley's Marvel Project Be?

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If you remember from a while back, there were reports that John Ridley was in the process of actively developing a TV series for Marvel and Disney which would air on ABC.  Evidently, this is still happening, and according to Ridley himself all the rumors and speculation to-date has been off.  So here is my idea for a TV series that John Ridley could bring to ABC.  I actually mentioned this as a possibility a while ago, but I’m going to take a wild guess that I’m not quite mainstream enough for John Ridley to notice!  So in other words, maybe I’m right!  (Probably not, but I can dream…)

John Ridley is known for his portrayal of characters who need to overcome adversity and prejudice, as seen in such movies as 12 Years a Slave and Red Tails; this has fueled the speculation that he would be bringing characters like Kamala Khan and Cloak and Dagger to life.  However, one character which I do not think anyone else has suggested is the “original” African-American superhero.  I’m not talking about the first black superhero to appear in Marvel Comics; Black Panther is already appearing in Captain America: Civil War before receiving his own feature film in 2018.  Besides, Black Panther isn’t actually African-American; he’s African-African (so… “African”)!  I’m also not talking about the first African-American hero to appear in Marvel Comics; the Falcon first appeared in 1969, but his story starts in the 1960s.  Instead, I’m talking about the chronologically-first African-American superhero in Marvel Comics, whose story begins during World War II, though it was not published until 2003.  I’m talking, of course, about Isaiah Bradley, the (first) Black Captain America.

While you may think it’s racist to call this character the “Black Captain America,” once you understand the character’s back story, the moniker will make a lot of sense.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 3, "Time and Tide" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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You know, after this series spent two episodes dealing with a single one of Howard Stark’s inventions—the weaponized nitramene bombs—I was pretty certain that the rest of the series would focus on a single invention each episode, with the cache of weapons finally being discovered in the season finale.  But what am I saying?  This is Marvel TV, and they are pretty much synonymous with “frenetic pacing” (especially after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, amiright?), so of course they wrap up the question of where the weapons are by the end of the third episode, after killing the thief himself in the second episode!

Now, that phrasing may make it sound like I’m disappointed by how quickly they wrapped up the perceived-major plot of the season in the first third, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, the rest of the season is absolutely amazing for the amount of character development that each of the main characters receives and for the way in which it builds up the history of the MCU while simultaneously growing the suspense until the dramatic finale.  I’m just saying that there are some surprises in store in this episode… at least if this is your first experience with Marvel TV!

Reminder:  Retro-reviews contain potential spoilers for everything that has come out to-date.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weekly MCU Review for 8/15

Another week, and more MCU news!  Fant4stic news, Constantine on Arrow, and even D23 happening this weekend.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 2, "Heavy Is the Head" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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The first two episodes of season 2 really feel more like a full-length movie (if you add the commercial breaks) in the way they fit together.  Both episodes deal with Carl “Crusher” Creel, aka the Absorbing Man, and the Diviner/Obelisk/“Original 0-8-4.”  Both episodes involve S.H.I.E.L.D.’s attempts to gain some recognition (or at least breathing room) from the U.S. military and its top S.H.I.E.L.D.-hunter, General Talbot.  These two episodes also together help to define Fitz’ handicap and show him working to overcome it and move forward.  Finally, this episode begins pretty much from the moment the season premiere left off.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Marvel Expectations for D23

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Sadly, Marvel skipped out on San Diego Comic-Con this year, but they are going to be at the D23 starting tomorrow, so hopefully we will be getting more Marvel news this week than we did with Comic-Con!

And in the spirit of the occasion, here are my expectations for Marvel news from D23.  You may remember that I published a list of expectations for Comic-Con, but we didn’t really get too much.  Maybe this time around we’ll get more!

Like last time, I will break down my expectations based on the Marvel branch.  However, I am going to skip Marvel Comics since we've gotten so much "All New All Different" information recently that I'm not entirely sure what there is left for them to announce!  I suppose they could announce what's happening with Reed and Sue Richards, but I think they're planning to keep that a mystery until the last possible moment.

Anyways, on to the Expectations!

Looking Back at MCU Phase 2

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Now that Ant-Man is over and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to start its third season at the end of next month (thus kicking off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), this seems like as good a time as any to look back at MCU Phase 2 and see just what happened.  Next week I will have another article looking ahead to Phase 3, but before we get there, let’s take a look at Phase 2 and see what themes it explored.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 1, "Shadows" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 premiere really had a lot on its plate.  It introduced us to the main villain for the first half of the season.  It filled in some details on the mysterious blue body from season 1.  It laid some of the groundwork for Agent Carter and the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. via flashback.  It introduced us to most of the major plots for the first half of the season.  And on top of all that it also had to fill in the details on what happened between the 2 seasons.  All in all, the episode does a really good job of balancing all of these different requirements.

Remember:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for everything to-date.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What was Steve and Peggy's Relationship?

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When I first read Hayley Atwell’s comment to the effect that she thinks Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter did have sex back during the war, I wasn’t entirely sure what to think.  Okay, my immediate knee-jerk reaction was to think, “of course they didn’t:  He’s Captain America!”

After mulling over the question for a while, however, I came to the conclusion that it isn’t quite so cut-and-dry.  So I’m going to quickly go through the arguments in favor of and against the proposition that Cap and Carter were sleeping together.  Why?  I’m not entirely sure.  But let’s do it anyways.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 2, "Bridge and Tunnel" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Just about every episode of Agent Carter can be seen in terms of how strong Peggy is.  Peggy is a strong, capable, independent woman.  In fact, occasionally she proves to be far more resourceful and intelligent than her male colleagues.  This stands in direct contrast to the “damsel in distress” motif which is so prevalent in the culture of Peggy’s era, from the way that the male agents treat Peggy to the way that men consistently ignore, underestimate, and even demean the women on the show in general.  However, nowhere is this more obvious and exaggerated than in the “Captain America Adventure Program,” a radio show embellishing Captain America’s supposed exploits during the war for a peacetime audience.

And that is really what makes Peggy’s story in this episode so interesting:  she does not want to fall into that “damsel in distress” trope and she does not want to put those close to her in danger.  But in this episode she discovers that regardless of how capable she may be, she still needs others.  She can’t cut herself off from everyone to avoid suffering another loss like Steve Rogers or Colleen.

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for all of season 1.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Rumor Has It... X-Men TV Series

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Rumor has it that FOX is actively developing its own TV answer to Arrow, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the rest of the comic book TV series.  According to the rumor, this is a “long-running” series which may be based on the X-Factor, a team of mutants who run a special investigations office.  However, there is one slight problem with their plan:  They don’t actually own the live-action rights to their characters.  No, those rights rest with Marvel Studios.

So what does that mean for FOX’s plans?  Simply put, it means that they need to make nice with Marvel.

Yeah, good luck with that, guys…

But in the spirit of optimism, let’s talk about our ideal results for the ongoing negotiations between Marvel and FOX.  The goal here is to come up with a scenario which would be mutually beneficial, meaning that both studios gain something they can use.  We’re not talking about FOX kneeling, kissing Kevin Feige’s ring, apologizing for destroying the Fantastic Four (again), and begging him to accept their humble offering of all the Marvel rights FOX currently owns!

So without further ado, here are two possible proposals for what I think would be a fair deal between Marvel and FOX.

Weekly MCU Review for 8/8

Note:  I apologize for how late I’m posting this.  We had a major storm last night which knocked out our power for a bit.  We didn’t suffer any serious damage, but the rest of the town wasn’t so lucky.  Oh, and we don’t have internet at home.  Hopefully everything will be back to normal tomorrow, though.

But now, onto the MCU Review!

Another week, and more MCU news!  News about Marvel ABC, Captain America and Doctor Strange rumors, and even some news about a certain movie that premiered yesterday.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 22, "Beginning of the End" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Here it is at long last:  the season 1 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This is what the entire season was building toward, and it is pretty awesome.  I think the season 2 finale may have been even more epic and “huge,” but the first season finale had some fun action scenes, and exciting fight between May and Ward, and some great “crazy Garrett” moments.

Reminder:  This retro-review contains potential spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons 1 and 2.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My Ant-Man One-Shot Proposal

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If you remember from the Weekly MCU Review a couple weeks ago, Peyton Reed and company shot an entire opening sequence for Ant-Man set in the 1980s with Hank Pym as Ant-Man completing a mission.  In the article, Reed said that he liked the footage, but decided against using that opening sequence in the final cut of the movie because it did not fit the tone.  However, he is considering ways to show it.  So here is my proposal for a way that Peyton Reed can put that footage to use:  an Ant-Man prequel One-Shot.

This One-Shot would primarily make use of the footage that they already shot for Ant-Man, but there might be some need for a couple additional scenes to be shot.  Think of this like “The Consultant,” the One-Shot attached to the Thor Blu-Ray:  That one uses several quick shots from The Incredible Hulk, including the “pre-credits scene” with Tony Stark and General Ross, along with a scene of Coulson and Sitwell sitting in a diner cut in with the existing footage.  That would be an extremely easy way to produce a One-Shot, and would not require much additional filming or casting.

Warning:  the rest of this article will contain spoilers from Ant-Man, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, go and watch it!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 21, "Ragtag" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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“Ragtag,” the episode right before the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale, doesn’t waste any time.  Everything seems to be in overdrive as they put the pieces into place for the action-packed season finale.  However, even with all of that there is still time to explore Ward’s back story and learn just what he owes to Garrett and why he is so loyal to him.  The episode ends with a major cliffhanger as there is no telling which of the characters is in the most danger.  And at the same time, the villains look to be one step away from victory.

Reminder:  Retro-Reviews contain potential spoilers for all of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons 1 and 2.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 1, "Now is Not the End" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Conveniently, there are 9 weeks left before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns, and there are eight episodes of Agent Carter season 1.  So since I’m done reviewing Daredevil, I’m going to replace Daredevil (and other assorted Netflix-related articles) with Agent Carter reviews on Mondays!

Simply put, Agent Carter may be one of the most underappreciated installments in the MCU.  It is not an action series—I don’t expect there to be too many sequences on Agent Carter that rival the best of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  What it is instead is a very strong character-driven series.  The plot and character development are the most important elements of the series, and the pilot episode, “Now is Not the End,” does an excellent job of setting everything up for the season.  Most of the characters fall into somewhat stereotypical roles in this episode—Thompson and Krzeminski as the tough guys who underestimate/don’t appreciate women, Dooley as the boss who doesn’t appreciate Peggy’s talents and relegates her to a secretary, Sousa as the only man in the office who sees Peggy as more than just a woman in a man’s role.  However, these stereotypes do not carry through the entire season; the characters become much more defined over time as their relationships with Peggy become more defined.

Additionally, Agent Carter very much benefits from having the same budget as a full 22-episode season on network TV:  this allows them to put a lot of detail into the setting of the series as well as bringing in special guests like Dominic Cooper reprising his role as Howard Stark from Captain America: The First Avenger.  The scenery is very well done in my opinion, and I really like how they use the color palette to set Peggy apart in some scenes as the most colorful element in the shot.  Overall, the period elements of the series are very well done.

However, by far the best aspect of this season is how strong and cohesive the plot is.  There are a few twists and turns, but everything holds together very well.  You can really see the progression not only for Peggy but also for the other main characters as they all try to unravel the mystery of Howard Stark’s inventions which got into the wrong hands.

Reminder:  These Retro-Reviews will contain spoilers for all of Agent Carter season 1.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekly MCU Review for 8/1

Another week, and more MCU news!  A few more stories about Ant-Man, a whole lot of Marvel Netflix rumors and reports, and even some Star Wars rumors.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up (*ducks*) on your Marvel news!