THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SEASON TWO OF DAREDEVIL. DO NOT READ IT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SHOW AND DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SEASON TWO OF DAREDEVIL. DO NOT READ IT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SHOW AND DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED.
Young Justice was a show on Cartoon Network that followed a group of younger heroes in the DC universe. It was loosely based on the concept of the Young Justice comic, and it was fantastic. It was one of the best written and produced superhero television shows, let alone cartoons. It had gorgeous art, and a compelling plot, and, in addition , it offers a diverse cast with solid representation for both racial minorities and women. And Cartoon Network canceled it in 2013 after two great season. The reasons why Cartoon Network canceled it despite good ratings and critical acclaim have been long speculated. Some say, it didn’t sell enough toys. There has been speculation through some inside sources that the fact that the show had a high female viewership meant that it didn’t meet Cartoon Network’s expectation of an audience of young boys, and so they didn’t know how to market it. Regardless, ever since then, there have been petitions, request for crowd funding, letters, and social network outcry for there to be a third season of the show. And it looks like, we might finally be getting somewhere.
For a while now, season 1 of Young Justice has been on Netflix, but they have just recently added season 2, and once they did, the creators of the show Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti made it clear that if fans wanted a third season of the show, now is the time to binge it on Netflix. Because, if it does well, Netflix might pick it up and do a third season themselves. So this is what fans did. They took to twitter and blasted the hashtag #RenewYoungJustice and #keepbingingyj to get some attention for the show. Fans were joined by the cast of the show and the creators of the show as they shared personal experiences, great television moments, and fan art while waiting to hear news of a possible renewal. In addition, some people took it upon themselves to contact Netflix itself. And this is the source of most of the news that we are getting now. Now, I want to offer a word of warning that often customer service representatives do not have all the information, or misunderstand the question. They are very busy, don’t have a lot of power, and it’s really hard to keep everything straight. So these are not a set in stone confirmation of a renewal. But, they do offer some hope.
Here DC_Animated, a fan twitter account that shares art, news and moments from the DC universe shares an interaction with Netflix where the Netflix representative says they are working with Cartoon Network to try to get the rights to takeover the show. Similarly:
So @SnivyLink’s conversation with Netflix went similarly, except it seems even more specific and hopeful. They are working on licensing it, and they may have an announcement soon.
What the YJ fans are doing this time around seems to be working and getting traction. Netflix is following hashtags, they are being responsive to fans, and they are working to do something to continue Young Justice. If there is any official announcement, I’ll let you guys know, but, for now, I think we can all be a little more hopeful than we have been about this show in the last three years.
Until we hear something, though, keep on binging Young Justice so Netflix knows how popular it is.
So… Given the nature of this blog, I would be remiss if I did not write a bit about the new Captain America: Civil War trailer that dropped today, because it features our first look at Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, including, our first look at the suit. Most of the rest of the trailer is stuff we have seen before with a few additional spoilery bits. I covered most of what I want to say with regards to that stuff here. So let’s talk about the webslinger, then!
First, the suit. Let’s get that right out of the way. I love the suit. It keeps with everything the MCU has stuck to so far. It looks like a comic book come to life. It’s bright, it’s sleek, it doesn’t feel the need to look gritty or real. It still has its own unique look to it with the black accents (which maybe is a slight nod to the black and red Miles Morales costume?). It’s better than I expected, and, as soon as I saw it, I breathed a sigh of relief.
The second most important point to talk about is his allegiance. At least at the point where he shows up in the trailer, he is on Tony’s side. Why is this important? Well, it further solidifies the point that Marvel does not want everyone to walk away from this movie hating Tony Stark. We now have both Black Panther and Spider-Man on his side, and these are two heroes who have their own solo films coming up. We need to walk out of the theater thinking of these guys as heroes, and so we need to walk out not vilifying Tony’s side of the war. All good things, as far as I am concerned. This doesn’t mean that one or both of them couldn’t change sides. This happened in the comics a few times (one of those times with Spidey, as a matter of fact), and the fact that he does not appear to be showing up right at the end of the film allows for a change of allegiance. Even so, I think the point here is people we like are on both sides of this, and Disney and Marvel are trying really hard to make sure that both sides are sympathetic. Let’s not forget whose name is in the title, though. I would imagine Steve will still have some advantage with regards to audience sympathies.
And finally, Tom Holland. We get two words from our new Spider-Man actor: “Hey Everyone.” Which, yes, is almost 4th wall breaking in the trailer, as Spidey is essentially saying “hi” to the audience. That’s cute, but the first thing that struck me is how young he sounds. I mean, I knew going into this that Tom Holland is young, and I am pretty on board with that. There is a large portion of Spider-Man history when he is in high-school that is largely ignored on film. It would be nice to see some of that early superheroing explored. Even so, I’m not sure I was prepared for Spider-Man to sound that young, and I would bet good money that Cap is going to have something to say to Tony about recruiting kids to fight in his war.
So we only saw him for a few seconds, but so far, I am on board with what we have seen of our new Spider-Man. In fact, the more I see about this film in general, the better I feel about it, and the more excited I get. May 6th can’t come soon enough!
Nerd Reactor has reported that a source inside ABC claims Agent Carter will be returning for a third season despite its low ratings. While we are still likely to not hear any official word before the upfronts in May, this is good, if surprising, news. While this remains just a rumor, it is not one without precedent. As I said earlier in my review of season 2 of the show, the first season also received low ratings and was renewed by popular demand. Season 2 of Agent Carter continued to receive low ratings, but positive reviews. If this rumor is true, ABC would be renewing the show essentially to continue receiving the high marks from critics and fans. This is an interesting turn of events, as it means that the studio is placing a certain value on critical acclaim that is not tied to the financial success of the series. An additional rationale for the renewal may be the fact that Agent Carter airs during the mid-season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and, therefore, is not really taking up space that would be bringing in much money otherwise. Regardless, I am pleased by this rumor. Let’s all hope it turns out to be true.
This review contains spoilers for Season 2 of Agent Carter. If you have not yet seen this show, and you care about being spoiled, please do not read this review.
Hello, everyone! Sorry I was gone for a while. I was finishing up my Master’s degree and dealing with some other stuff that had come up, but I am going to try to get back in the swing of things here starting today!
Sorry I’ve been gone for so long! Holidays happened and then other things happened, and I got bogged down! But I’m back now and I have SO MUCH to talk about. But for now, let me start by giving you my list of the five best comics I read 2015. I am using the term “comics” here pretty loosely. Some of these are comic events, some are graphic novels, some are just a title in its entirety, and also these are the comics I READ in 2015, but they didn’t necessarily all come out in 2015. Anyway, onto the list!
So you guys know how much I like this comic, so the other four must be PRETTY good to stick this one at #5. Spider-Gwen is a marvelous book (see what I did there?). Its art is unique and stylized, its characters are interesting both in their own rights and as a different take on characters we are already familiar with, and, perhaps most importantly, the book takes a character that only ever existed to be Peter Parker’s girlfriend, who then died, and gave her the richly developed story she deserves. What is really fascinating about this comic is that it is a testament to the power of internet fandoms. Marvel had no intention of expanding Gwen’s character into her own full run comic, but fans loved her so much that they did anyway! Now she is popping up everywhere, so kudos to Marvel for listening to the fans and to the fans for not giving up until we got more Gwen Stacy!
#4 Sex Criminals
Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals has one of the most ridiculous premises I have ever encountered in a comic book. I wish I was in the pitch meeting when he came up with it, because I want to know what he said to sell a comic about people who stop time when they have orgasms. I’m glad he did, though, because what we got was an incredibly funny and human look at sex and relationships alongside a crazy fun sci-fi plot. The first volume of this comic follows both a man and woman with this power through their respective discoveries during adolescence and how they dealt with it individually before eventually allowing them to find each other. In the process, the comic also opens up a dialogue with its readers about the uncomfortableness of discussing sex as an adolescent, and how that is different for men and women. I am excited to read more of this comic as it comes out, and I would recommend it to anyone who is not turned off by explicit discussions of sex.
#3 Young Avengers
This comic came out in 2005, but I didn’t read it until this year, and man did I wish I read it earlier. I love a good ensemble comic, and this is a GREAT one. It’s funny, it has smart writing and good reveals, it ties into the existing Marvel universe in interesting ways without being reliant on it. Every character on that team is interesting to me and are rounder and fuller characters than most of the established “main stream” heroes. But what really solidifies its place on the list is the way it treats Hulkling and Wiccan, its two gay male characters. It’s obvious that they are in a relationship, but the comic doesn’t feel the need to make that their central source of angst or struggle. They struggle with other things, and they lean on each other when they need to, as people in a relationship would. The one time that their sexuality IS a source of tension of them (when they are coming out), it is immediately dismissed by overwhelming acceptance. This is not the world we live in, necessarily, but the degree of normalcy with which their relationship is treated is refreshing, and the fact that it exists in a comic that is already amazing really puts this comic over the edge.
So much has already been said about Brian K Vaughan’s sci-fi epic Saga, I can’t really say much to add to the conversation here. Certainly not in one paragraph, but this is Vaughan at his best. The best I have seen him, in fact, since Y The Last Man. The universe of Saga is so interesting that I constantly find myself wanting MORE information about it than I am getting. Combine that with a story that has a lot of heart about a family struggling to save themselves and their child (narrated by said child) and you have one of the best sci-fi comics I’ve read… maybe ever. And it only gets better every issue. Check this one out.
Okay, I really struggled with this. All of the comics on this list were #1 at some point or another when I was making it, but I am a Spider-Man fan at heart, and this event was like the collective fanboy dreams of my 10-year old self combined with my present-day self’s love of interesting narrative styles. When I heard the concept of Spider-Verse, I remember thinking “There is no way this is going to go well.” We were talking about so many characters, both existing and new being thrown into this plot, and it had all the warning signs of “gimmicky money-grabbing comic event.” But somehow, that wasn’t what it was. What it turned out to be was a wonderful at times sad, at times touching, often funny and always exciting story that tugged on every fanboy and nostalgia fiber I had. I can’t remember the last time a major comic event was actually worth the hype put into it, but this one was it. So it nabs the #1 slot. As a bonus, it has been more than six months now, it should be on Marvel Unlimited. If you have a subscription, check it out! You won’t be disappointed.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS. DO NOT READ IT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED.
I should mention that while I will refrain from spoiling anything important, the very nature of reviews means that you will have SOME information that you did not have before. If you don’t want that, don’t read this review. Go see the movie first, and then come back. Also please avoid spoilers in comments of this post so that you don’t ruin it for someone else. Thanks.
I’ll start by saying what pretty much every review has said that I have seen. You can stop worrying. It’s good. It’s better than the prequels. Yes, even that one you don’t remember as being that bad.
Now, that out of the way, let’s talk about it. It seems to me that Disney’s primary objective with this film is to prove to fans that they will not make the same mistakes Lucas did with the prequels. They wanted people to believe in Star Wars again (films, that is, people have been praising and buying other Star Wars properties like video games for years), and they wanted to show that they had what it takes to bring the series back to its old glory. This is obvious without even walking into the theater. They returned to practical effects, they brought back the old actors, they wanted this movie to say to people before they even saw it “this is Star Wars again! Please, believe us!” And it worked. In fact, I realized when I was walking into the theater on Saturday that the reason I was so excited about this film and also so afraid of spoilers was that it was the first film in a long time that I was this invested in (because it was Star Wars and had the old cast and practical effects, and it really looked good), and yet… I had no idea what was going to happen. That’s almost never the case. The movies I really care about (Comic book movies, movies based on novels I like, Star Wars movies even) I typically go into with some foreknowledge. Even Marvel movies are pretty much taken from comic story lines, so while I may not know EXACTLY what is going to happen, I have a pretty good idea, because I know the source material. With The Force Awakens I had no idea what was going to happen, except that I felt pretty sure it was going to be good. And it was.
A lot of the reason it was good actually DOESN’T have to do with the old cast. Don’t get me wrong. They have some GREAT scenes, and it was amazing to see them again, but they were pretty much there to crank up the nostalgia factor for fans, and boy did they do THAT. In fact, this movie is all about Star Wars nostalgia, but I digress. The NEW cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver are marvelous in their roles. Ridley, especially, makes me LOVE her character, who I will say right now is one of the best written female characters in sci-fi. Especially in Star Wars, which has a notable lack of female characters on film. I will talk more about all of these characters in a later, much more spoiler-y review (I’m seeing the film again on Monday, so I am going to wait to write that until my second viewing, when I will almost certainly pick up some new things). For now, let me just say that the new cast does a great job creating these new interesting characters, and the old guard are great to see, but they also do a good job of staying out of the way so the new generation can shine. Oh sure, they get their moments, but Disney is trying to relaunch the franchise with this new generation, and that is very clear in the movie, as it should be.
In addition to the characters and cast, everything else about this movie screams Star Wars, too. The return to practical effects does wonders for making this look and feel like Star Wars, and, most importantly, ensure that this film will look great for future generations in a way that the prequels just won’t. The only problem is that the presence of practical effects does make the few CGI effects much more obvious. It’s not a huge deal, but it is something that I noticed while watching and took note of. Additionally, the story does more to capture the tone and imagination of Star Wars than any of the prequels ever did, but I can’t talk about why without spoiling, so I will save an in-depth analysis of that for the next post. The film also just sounds great. Of course, the first chord of John Williams’ score got my heart beating with excitement, but even the sound effects are suburb here. It make me remember just how good Star Wars should sound. It seems that everything to do with this movie: casting, effects, story, and sound are a specially-designed tactical nuke programmed to hit Star Wars fans in their nostalgia centers, and it works! I am NOT unbiased in my watching of this film, and I think it is impossible for me to be, so take that as you will.
Overall, this film is fun, exciting, funny, and cool. It’s Star Wars. Go see it!
There are spoilers in this review up through episode 8 of Supergirl. If you have not seen up through episode 8, and you don’t want to be spoiled. Don’t read this until you do. I won’t be offended, I promise.
The mid-season finale of Supergirl aired on Monday, and this seemed like a good opportunity to take another look at this show. You will remember that I had almost nothing but positive things to say about the pilot. Now, seven episodes later, does Supergirl deliver on what that pilot promised? Kind of. Supergirl remains the most unapologetically comic book show on television, and it’s still light and funny and endearing, but some of the minor problems that occurred in the pilot have become bigger problems as the series has gone on. Let’s break it down.
First off, the casting is, in general, amazing. Melissa Benoist is incredibly charming as Kara, and there are really great moments of the show demonstrating how it’s progressive without having to say it (but it still says it. More on that in the next section). We see a little boy looking up to Supergirl (okay, sure. He has a crush on her, but he still looks up to her as a hero), we see Supergirl training not with some macho male trainer, but, instead, with her Sister who is ALSO badass, we see Supergirl hurt and betrayed, but instead of breaking down or shutting down, she uses that anger to accomplish what she needs to, and there are so many other great moments in the show that really demonstrate how wonderfully Kara’s character is presented to the audience. Calista Flockhart continues to be really powerful in her own way as Cat Grant and still have some genuine heartfelt moments when you least expect it, and Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen is a refreshing and different spin on that character. And he adds a great dynamic as the normal guy who happens to be friends with superheroes, and also has some experience under his belt working with Superman. He is, in essence, a tool through which the show explains to the audience (and Kara) what Superman has been doing before the show started and how this world has interacted with superhumans in the past, but he manages to do all of that without sounding like exposition, and he’s just fun to watch.
The show is just phenomenal at female representation in general. Kara, Cat, and Alex are all incredibly strong and complicated in their own ways. Kara fights like a warrior, and people treat her like she is the hero that she is, she isn’t used for sex appeal by the showrunners, and the times when she is at her weakest, it’s never BECAUSE she is a girl. We also get to see the ways that Kara is different than Superman (although, I would still argue that this is, effectively, a female Superman show, but I’m fine with that). And the showrunners never shy away from highlighting where societal gender roles DO get in the way, and why it’s dumb.
Finally, the show is just fun. I can’t think of a single episode I did not enjoy watching. There are some a liked more than others, and it still lacks a sort of cohesive overarching plot (which wasn’t helped by a episode swap half-way through. More on that later), but it’s fun to watch week to week, and that’s not something I can always say about other shows on television.
The worst thing I can say about this show is that its attitude towards the protagonist seems… inconsistent. There are times when in one episode, Supergirl is heralded as the savior National City desperately needs, and in the next she is being berated for breaking a man’s hand who was trying to hit her after ALMOST RUNNING OVER SCHOOL CHILDREN. This isn’t helped by CBS’s decision to swap episodes 4 and 5, because Episode 4 involved dealing with what were, essentially, terrorist attacks the Monday after the Paris attacks. I totally understand and support this decision, but I do hope that when this is released in a full-season form, they swap those episodes back, because it DOES make a difference. So, if I got sick of anything during this first half of the season it was this shifting of attitude, not just in Supergirl’s public image, but also in her ability to handle herself. Not that I expect her to be a pro superhero out of the gate, but I just got a little tired of “Kara is making a rookie superhero mistake” being the major plot point in the episode. That said, I do appreciate that they give her the opportunity to learn, and we do get to see her journey to becoming a more fully-formed superhero. She is certainly stronger and more capable in episode 8 than in episode 2, I just wish that progression took more a back seat than it seems to.
The thing that annoyed me in the first episode about the showrunners constantly patting themselves on the back for creating a progressive female character on television hasn’t… gone away, really. They continue to insert moments like having Cat’s mother say “Should she be named Superwoman?” throughout the series. This works well when it is making a new point about gender equality. For example, Cat Grant explaining to Kara why it’s not okay for women to get mad publicly the same way it is okay for men. And it works less well at other times when it just feels like they are being kind of self-congratulatory. I had originally figured that this would kind of go away after the first couple episodes, but it hasn’t, so I am expecting, at this point, that this will just be part of the show, and I’m mostly okay with that as long as I know it going in. As we discussed in the comments of that initial post, I would rather be beat over the head with social progress than see none. So if those are my options, I’ll take this.
That said, the concerns people had about Kara being a little too focused on the men in her life? That may have more credibility now than it had in the pilot. I still think it is handled well. She explains how she has never had any luck romantically, and now that she’s Supergirl, she doesn’t feel like she ever will. That seems like a fine reason for her to be pining after the romantic relationship she thinks she COULD have, but the show seems more focused on the romantic drama than I would like. Although, I would argue less so than either The Flash or Arrow, which are both male-led shows. So it’s still ahead of the curve there, and I’m mostly okay with it.
Maxwell Lord. Man, this guy just makes no sense to me. I hope he WILL make sense later, but right now, he is the weakest recurring part of the show for me. I don’t mean scene to scene. Peter Facinelli does a fine job in the role, and I actually quite like some of his interactions with other characters. What I mean is, I don’t understand his larger character motivation or even what he is doing here. He’s been effectively built as this show’s Lex Luthor: A brilliant billionaire scientist who for some reason has decided to be antagonistic towards Supergirl, and I get that. He arranges elaborate tests to see the extent of her power, he tries to figure out who she is, he creates an anti-alien gun, he constantly tears her down to the press, and he refuses to publicly acknowledge when she saves him. But why? What does he have to gain from this? What is his motivation for being an antagonist? I am hoping they explain this soon, but right now, I just don’t get this character beyond “we need a Lex Luthor character. Let’s make it this guy.”
This show has GUTS. It is 100% committed to being a comic book show, which isn’t something I can say about ANY other show on television, not even The Flash (which comes very close). In its first season, Supergirl showed both Red Tornado AND Martian Manhunter on screen in live action. I mean, props to The Flash for having the guts to do a giant telepathic gorilla, but Red Tornado? With the “T” on his chest and everything! And they even CALLED him that! It was glorious! One of the reasons why I love this show week to week is that it feels like watching a comic book. Sure, there’s a bit more of the secret identity life shenanigans than you would normally see, but they never shy away from what a lot of shows would consider too “unrealistic” or “silly” to be on a television show. And they don’t feel the need for everything to be able to be explained with real life science. There’s a suspension of disbelief in comics that carries over to the Supergirl show. Maxwell Lord developed an anti-alien gun. How? I don’t know. He’s smart. It’s a comic book. Leave it alone. I love that attitude, and it makes me love this show. I wish that the people making DC movies were as courageous as the show runners of this show.
And the gutsiest thing of all might be that mid-season finale with Cat Grant deducing (not discovering, mind you, deducing) Supergirl’s identity. This gets me so excited for the back half of this season. I love that she figured it out. She didn’t just stumble in on Kara with her glasses off, no one slipped up and called Supergirl “Kara” (though, I loved when that happened with Superman earlier in the season. It’s not a bad tactic, it’s just important that it didn’t happen here). Cat Grant figured it out, because she’s smart. And she didn’t do something dumb. She didn’t go and say “I’m going to publish this immediately.” Instead, she thanked Kara for all her help. If this goes where I think it is going to go (and oh I HOPE it does), we are going to have a Superhero show where the hero’s secret identity is STILL a secret, but is known by her secret ID boss, and that is just so cool and original that I can’t wait. Of course, maybe they will find a way to mess it up. Maybe Cat will have her mind wiped, or she will threaten to expose Kara, and the D.E.O. will have to step in and arrest her or something dumb, but I really hope not. I really hope this just alters their relationship and we see what comes of it. That would be super.