Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher REVIEW

Image Courtesy en.wikipedia.org

So last week I found out that a Marvel movie was being pulled from Netflix on September 1.  I happened to have a little time on my hands, so I decided to give it a watch while I can still do that for free.  What movie was it?  If you read the title of this article, you know the answer:  Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher.

You see, before Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures decided to team up to bring Spider-Man into the MCU, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures teamed up with the Japanese animation studio Madhouse to produce an animated movie based on the Avengers property.  This movie is one of a number of collaborations between these studios, a collaboration which also produced four animated TV series and another animated movie, all of which (presumably) take place in a shared universe since at least a few of the voice actors reprise their roles from one to the next.  Obviously the only connection between these projects and the MCU is that Iron Man’s success probably helped the decision to create them.  Well, that and there are a lot of the same characters.

So how does this movie hold up for American audiences?  That’s a question…

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weekly MCU Review for 8/27

Another week, and more MCU news!  Not a ton of stuff, but there are a few movie-related things this week.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up on your Marvel news!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Potential New Spinoffs for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Part 1

Image Courtesy

Unfortunately, back in April word broke that ABC had decided to pass on the Marvel’s Most Wanted spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This was extremely disappointing news since this show looked like a really good and interesting change of pace from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which would expand on two really good characters.  At the time the powers that be didn’t explain their reasoning for passing on the spinoff (they have since stated that it “wasn’t as strong” as other ideas), but a rumor did surface shortly thereafter that this was part of a major shakeup at ABC.  The old executive was trying to market shows with the “Marvel” logo which did not connect directly with the movie universe—essentially using “Marvel” to boost ratings.  The new executive did not want to do that and instead wanted to focus on Marvel shows that would expand on and connect directly to the Marvel movies.

Personally, while the idea of just using the “Marvel” logo to boost ratings is problematic, I also think it’s a stupid idea to focus on just connecting to the movies (if it’s true).  In my opinion, what’s interesting about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (excepting the Winter Soldier tie-in, which belongs in its own category) isn’t the 2-5 episodes each season which directly connect to movies.  What’s interesting about the show is the interesting characters and the plots which expand the movie universe in ways that the movies would not be able to (due to time, scope, and the like).  Agent Carter was interesting specifically because it could expand on things like the origin of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra infiltration, and initial experimentation with Darkforce, things which help to give the movie universe depth.  Marvel’s Most Wanted would have been interesting because it could expand on the “seedy underbelly” of the MCU in ways that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the movies really can’t.  Just because a show doesn’t directly tie into the movies doesn’t make it bad; just look at Netflix and The Defenders shows.


However, that being said, it seems that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in need of a new spinoff to set up this year.  For the sake of argument, I will introduce these spinoff ideas under the assumption that they need room to make direct connections to the movies.  Considering the number of ideas involved, I decided to break them up into 2 groups.  This week’s ideas are the “easy ones” (meaning that they use characters/concepts already on the show).  Next week’s ideas will use new characters and themes.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Runaways are coming to Hulu

Image Courtesy en.wikipedia.org
This week news broke that Marvel and Hulu are teaming up for a Runaways TV series.  As of now they have a showrunner lined up and they are going to shoot a pilot as well as write scripts for several additional episodes.  Just about all of this sounds really exciting—the only thing I’m not as excited about is the prospect of it airing on Hulu Plus rather than a network which I already get, or even on Freeform, which is already going to be home to a Marvel TV series.  Hopefully it will be available a week later on regular Hulu or something…

In any event, the Runaways are a property which Marvel has expressed interest in adapting into the MCU for quite some time.  They were originally planned to hit the big screen in 2012 alongside The Avengers, but that never happened.  Since then the movie has been stuck in development hell.

Now, however, it looks like it has found a home with Hulu.  This could be a great decision for them, but I think the ideal situation with it would be to connect it in some way with the recently-announced upcoming Cloak and Dagger series.  When I originally wrote this article, I was suggesting it as a potential spinoff to that show; while that is probably not going to be the case, I still think there should be some connections between the two shows, considering that they represent two of Marvel’s first three forays into the “teen superhero” demographic (alongside Spider-Man).

Spider-Man: Homecoming Rumor

Image Courtesy www.superherohype.com

So here is a surprising bit of Spider-Man: Homecoming news that I kind of passed over in putting together today’s Weekly MCU Review:  A cast sheet for the movie was posted on Twitter and then captured on Reddit before the Marvel S.W.A.T. Team could take the leaker out.  Most of the characters are ones we already knew about, but there is one little surprise in there:  Tiffany Espensen is playing a character named Cindy, who is rumored to be...

(Possible Spoilers below)

Weekly MCU Review for 8/20

Another week, and more MCU news!  A bunch of little bits of news for everything, along with the major bomb that The Runaways is coming to Hulu.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up on your Marvel news!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Marvel's Ultimate Cloak and Dagger and Freeform

Image Courtesy marvel.wikia.com

Note:  I was originally going to publish this article in 3 weeks after talking about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff possibilities.  However, the recent news that Marvel and Hulu are teaming up for The Runaways TV series pushed this article ahead to this week.

A while back when it was first announced that the Freeform network had ordered a Cloak and Dagger series, I wrote an article with some thoughts of how such a series could go in terms of characters and plots.  And since we still haven’t heard anything new about that series, everything I said in that article is still valid.

So what changed to warrant this follow-up article?

I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited and spent about an entire weekend reading Miles Morales’ entire comic history up until the beginning of Secret Wars.

Whoa, that’s a lot of reading for a single weekend!  In fact, that’s only been outdone by the time I read the entire Civil War arc in 3 days!

Ahem.  [puts head back together]  Moving on.

As part of that sequence of comics, I also came across Cloak and Dagger’s Ultimate Universe origin, something which I already knew but hadn’t given much thought to.  However, after reading their Ultimate Universe origins—as well as knowing where their story goes from there—I have some new thoughts as far as where this Freeform show could go.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Image Courtesy en.wikipedia.org

I’m not sure exactly how I missed reviewing this movie when it came out.  I remember thinking about reviewing it after I saw it, but things just got in the way.  Big Hero 6 is a little bit outside the purview of this blog—it’s “Mostly MCU Reviews,” after all, and Big Hero 6 is not part of the MCU—but it is based on an intellectual property from Marvel Comics, so it’s still within the “orbit” of my blog.  Hence I’m reviewing it now, alongside “Retro-Reviews” of the MCU movies.

Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel Comics superhero team from Japan, but the movie version bears very little resemblance to the original comic book team.  Where the comic book team is the Japanese counterpart to the Avengers, based in Tokyo and comprising the official heroes of Japan, the movie version is a group of college kids who decide to stop a super-villain in “San Fransokyo” (an Asian-fusion amalgam of Tokyo and San Francisco).  All of the heroes in the movie version have essentially the same simplified origin—their powers are exclusively technological in nature.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rumor Has It... White Tiger on Netflix

Image Courtesy www.netflix.com

Just a couple days ago, Bleeding Cool broke a rumor suggesting that Marvel and Netflix have shot pilot shorts for four different potential series.  Presumably these series would not enter active development until after The Defenders has been finished.  This is not the first rumor to this effect to come out—the last one suggested Punisher, Deathlok, Spider-Woman, and Moon Knight as the four series to follow The Defenders.  Of course, thus far the only thing to come from that previous rumor was the announcement of The Punisher following Jon Bernthal’s turn in the role during Daredevil season 2.

This time around the rumor is a little lighter on the details as far as the characters involved, but it does suggest that development has progressed at least a little further than the last rumor suggested.  In fact, the only character specified in the rumor is Angela del Toro, a.k.a. White Tiger.  There are plenty of possibilities for the other characters involved, and I will give my ideas at the end, but for now let’s focus on the single character we “know” from the rumor.

Weekly MCU Review for 8/13

Another week, and more MCU news!  Marvel and Netflix have a lot of stuff going on, particularly with Luke Cage only about 6 weeks away.  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up on your Marvel news!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Potential New Magic Users in the MCU

Image Courtesy www.twitter.com/
With Doctor Strange ushering a New Magical Age into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, suddenly a whole world of new possibilities opens up for our favorite movies and TV shows.  Now, it’s not as though we haven’t seen magic before in the MCU; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has introduced (and promptly killed off) two separate Darkforce users (manipulators of extra-dimensional energy), and Agent Carter season 2 was all about the MCU’s first encounter with the Darkforce Dimension.  Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, is (properly speaking) a magic user, though her powers have thus far been limited (for the most part) to mental manipulation and telekinesis.  However, all of these examples have been given scientific explanations (less so in the case of Scarlet Witch):  extra-dimensional energy and Mind Stone experimentation, respectively.

What Doctor Strange brings to the table is a form of magic we have not seen before, which will defy most scientific explanation.  I expect that characters will attempt to give it a scientific explanation (Strange is a doctor, after all!), but at some point they will just have to acknowledge that there are some things they will never fully comprehend.

Once Doctor Strange introduces magic in a big way, I expect that we will start to see a lot of magic users appear in various MCU offerings, a theory to which I alluded last week while talking about Tie-In possibilities between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Doctor Strange.  This week I will expand on that by talking about magical characters who could appear in as many upcoming announced MCU offerings as I can.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Biggest Flaw with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

Image Courtesy www.facebook.com/

I had been planning to post my review of Big Hero 6 this week, but I decided to put that on the backburner for a week.  You see, the last few weeks I’ve been watching the first two seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  There are a lot of really good moments in those seasons that you don’t notice until you know where the story is going.  I would actually recommend rewatching the series before season 4 starts in about 6 weeks.

If you remember from my reviews last summer, I personally think that season 1 is a lot better than most people gave it credit for at the time.  The writers do a fantastic job of introducing the characters, exploring the dynamics between them, and laying just enough groundwork for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  When they get to the Hydra uprising, all of that groundwork pays off in a big way when the agents are left in utter confusion trying to figure out who’s on which side.  And when Ward is revealed as a Hydra mole it may be the single defining moment of the entire season.

All of that being said, season 2 does a lot of things better than season 1.  The series moves forward at a much faster pace.  The reveal of Skye’s/Daisy’s powers positions the show much better in terms of its place in a superhero universe.  They work in a lot of good espionage elements.  Both Whitehall and Jiaying make for compelling adversaries in their own right, with Jiaying making for an incredible villain at the end of the season.

However, something about season 2 has bugged me for over a year, but I could never quite figure out exactly what it was.  Fortunately, while watching through it for the third time or so I finally figured out just what it is that bugs me so much.  What is it?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Weekly MCU Review for 8/6

Another week, and more MCU news!  We got some news on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. released a synopsis, and there's quite a bit of other TV news, too!  Put some ketchup on your eggs, and catch-up on your Marvel news!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

How Can AoS Tie-In with the Upcoming Movies?

Image Courtesy www.facebook.
This was originally going to be included in last week’s article defining Tie-Ins and Crossovers.  However, it got particularly long (that seems to be a theme this summer), so I decided to split it up.  Last week we talked about Tie-Ins in a general sense and gave some concrete examples from previous Tie-Ins between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the movies.  Now, let’s talk about possible specific Tie-Ins with the upcoming MCU movies during the 2016-2017 TV season.  Neither of the upcoming movies really begs a Major, Direct Tie-In™ like we saw from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some intriguing possibilities.

In my opinion, a good Tie-In should take the events of the movie and apply them to the larger MCU.  If the movie expands the scope of the MCU in some definite way, the Tie-In should show how that expansion affects Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy RETRO-REVIEW

Image Courtesy marvel.wikia.com

I remember when this movie was first announced.  I wasn’t really up on Marvel Comics, though I could vaguely remember reading about a team of heroes from the future led by a human astronaut who underwent body modifications and carried Captain America’s shield.  After Guardians of the Galaxy was announced, I went back and looked up the team and discovered a newer version of the team with a talking tree and a raccoon.

“Psh,” I thought.  “There’s no way Marvel’s going to try to make us buy a talking raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree when they could have a somewhat more realistic concept like the last survivors of several alien races teaming up with a human to prevent any other races from being destroyed.”

Oh, how wrong I was.

Then I thought there was no way that a raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, a tree that sounds like Vin Diesel, and the funny guy from Parks and Recreation could actually succeed and make sense as part of a world where the craziest thing to-date is the Hulk.

Again:  Oh, how wrong I was.