Iron Fist Returns in Luke Cage Season 2

https://heroichollywood.com/jones-iron-fist-luke-cage-season/

Say what you will about the Iron Fist character on television and there is a lot to say. But one of the highlights of The Defenders was the interaction between Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The big brother/little brother dynamic that they had was great. Since the release of The Defenders, it has been a little vague on how the Netflix shows were going to proceed afterwards. The second season of Jessica Jones does not look to feature any of other Defenders. So it’s nice to see Luke Cage continuing threads from that series. Possible lead up to a Heroes for Hire? Luke does need a job after all. The big question is…what brings Danny Rand to Harlem?

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Marvel’s The Punisher Trailer Takeaway

It should be noted from the get go that I am not the biggest fan of The Punisher. Personally, the character works best for me in guest appearances and limited series. I have never been able to tolerate reading an ongoing Punisher book for more than six months. So when The Punisher was announced as getting his inevitable Netflix series after a recurring role in the second season of Daredevil, I was just “meh” about it. I’m really not sure as to what they can do with the character for thirteen episodes. So the trailer came out today and it really did nothing for me.

  • We see more of Frank’s life before his family was killed. It seems to be retconning the events of Frank’s family being murdered. Either that or he might be hallucinating and mixing things up. There are some definite Max Payne vibes here.
  • Apparently there is a conspiracy around Frank and why his family was murdered. This was one of my major criticisms surrounding The Punisher in Daredevil. Instead of simply just making Frank’s family victims in a random act of violence, there has to be this whole thing going on behind the scenes. It seems to unnecessarily complicate things.
  • Karen Page is back and I’m no fan of that character. Constantly chastising Matt Murdock for being secretive yet always defending Frank Castle, a known mass murderer, who even tells her point blank not to defend him.
  • There are scenes of the actor who plays Micro. I’m not the biggest fan of Micro but hey Frank has to have some sort of supporting cast to talk to.
  • A lot of the imagery shows that Frank is definitely a disturbed individual, which is appreciated.

I still don’t get a sense as to what this show is going to be about. What the overarching story of the season is. I know that an actor has been cast as the man who will become Jigsaw. But who knows? That could be something that happens in the last scene of the last episode. I’m not too excited for the show but I’ll give it a fair shake.

Thor: Ragnarok Character Portraits Released

With tickets going on sale today for the November release, Disney released these characters portraits for the major characters

Chris Hemsworth Thor Odinson
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo The Incredible Hulk
Mark Ruffalo as The Incredible Hulk

 

Tessa Thompson Valkyrie
Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
Tom Hiddleston Loki
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Cate Blanchett Hela
Cate Blanchett as Hela
Idris Elba Heimdall
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Anthony Hopkins Odin
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Jeff Goldblum The Grandmaster
Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster

The Defenders Has Me Anticipating Iron Fist Season Two

The Defenders has come and gone and now it is time to deal with the repercussions from the series. One in particular would have to be Danny Rand aka Iron Fist. Inspired by Daredevil’s (supposed) sacrifice, the final shot we see of Danny is a classic bait and switch. Hearing police sirens ring out and a lone figure in the shadows overlooking the city. We are at first led to believe that it is Daredevil but the figure’s fist lights up and we see that it is Iron Fist. Not only that but he is wearing a similar tracksuit to what he currently wears in the comics now.

Of course they kind of blew it with him not wearing the bandanna.

But now Danny seems to have a purpose, which is something that he was lacking in his own series. Since he is a public figure, he will no doubt have to start wearing the bandanna around his face. He did see Matt Murdock wearing it during the fight in Midland Circle. Becoming an actual hero in New York City will also give him a way to make up for not being there for K’un Lun. But there may be more to that than what has been revealed. We do know that there are forces now going out of their way to get revenge on Danny for “ruining” their lives.

There are many ways that the second season can go. That’s something that was missing from the first season. The producers also know all the problems that happened in the first season. The biggest problem with all Netflix series is that they are made in a bubble. So they cannot course correct if things are going wrong until after the series is released. I do go into the second season with trepidation but I’m not going to be down and out on the show either. I like Iron Fist and want the character to prosper and hopefully have a Heroes for Hire show down the line.

The Defenders Season One Review

Ever since 2015 and the launch of Daredevil, the Marvel Netflix universe has been slowly building towards The Defenders. A second season of Daredevil followed as well as inaugural seasons for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Now the time has come for the four main heroes of the series to come together and take on The Hand. They are joined by a majority of their supporting cast members from their respective series to help flesh out this side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Does it succeed or does it fail?

Well this is not the same thing as The Avengers did for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact it’s a pretty underwhelming affair. The four heroes don’t even all meet up until the end of episode three. What ultimately drives the series down is a lackluster villain. The Hand has been present in both seasons of Daredevil as well as the first season of Iron Fist. Now they are front and center here with Sigourney Weaver playing the head or should I say the main finger of The Hand. Playing the steely villain who we meet as she is just learning that she is set to die in the next few months and so has to advance The Hand’s plans. Elodie Yung reprises her role as Elektra and last we left off with the character, she was dead. Needless to say, she is back and does not get to do…at first but her role ramps up as the episodes go along.

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It has been a while since we’ve seen some of the main quartet that makes up The Defenders especially Jessica Jones. So the first two episodes helps to reestablish where these characters are since we last saw them. Luke Cage is being released from prison, Jessica Jones has not progressed that much, Matt Murdock has given up being Daredevil and is clearly suffering from trauma and Danny Rand is returning to New York after hunting down those responsible for K’un Lun’s disappearance. The first two episodes are unique in that each character has their background illuminated by the primary color associated with their character, i.e. Matt Murdock usually has a red background. As the characters slowly come together, the colors blend together.

This event series essentially focuses as an Iron Fist season two. Depending on how you felt about that first season, this could be a negative or positive. I was not a fan of that season but the cracks in the overall Netflix side of the MCU show in this series. It’s clear that there was no real clear plan about what would happen when this show happened. As all the loose ends from the previous seasons, don’t totally mesh with one another. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones since those two series were so separate, it is easy to plop them into a situation. But with everything we learned about The Hand from Daredevil and Iron Fist, it is a mess and doesn’t totally make sense.

The main four actors; Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist reprise their roles. The actors all do a fine and even one in particular do a better job in their role. Finn Jones is probably the most improved as this show is much improved and better written so he is able to match the material. His chemistry with Mike Colter is great and makes you want to see a Heroes for Hire show. The bond between the very secretive Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones, whose job is to invade people’s privacy, is also noteworthy. The four do really spark when interacting with each other.

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The supporting cast for me was a little unnecessary for me. While it was nice to see some pop in and out, there seemed to be too much time. I still can’t believe Karen Page is a top reporter. The only ones who were necessary were Colleen Wing, Claire Temple and Misty Knight who basically could be considered Defenders. Special mention goes to Stick, played by Scott Glenn, who reprises his role. Playing the very pragmatic and ruthless blind man who knows more than he lets on. Stick is also an example of making things up as they go as some revelations by the character don’t really make that much sense in retrospect.

The action scenes are pretty much on par with Daredevil season two. It is cool seeing the different fighting styles in the heroes. Daredevil is a brawler with martial arts training. Iron Fist is pure martial arts. Luke Cage has fighting experience due to be a former marine and cop. Jessica Jones just relies on her super strength more than anything. When all four are in fight scenes together, it’s fun watching them mix and match. Luke Cage and Iron Fist seem to have the best fighting chemistry as they compliment one another very well.

Out of all the Netflic Marvel shows so far, this would probably be somewhere in the middle. The shorter episode count definitely helps as there is not that much padding. But the muddled plot and lackluster villains really drag down the season. It does a good job of helping to redeem Iron Fist and hopefully that wave continues into that character’s second season. The conclusion obviously helps set up the next phase (minus The Punisher) of the Netflix Marvel shows. So it does it’s job and now that the characters know one another, more crossovers would be appreciated. So it’s the end of phase one and onto phase two. The future is exciting.

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SCORE: 7/10

Avengers: Infinity War Concept Art

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

Fifteen years ago, we were introduced to Spider-Man on the big screens with the Sam Raimi iteration. Three movies in that franchise was followed up with a reboot in 2012 with the Marc Webb iteration. After a somewhat failed sequel, Sony Pictures did the unthinkable and teamed with Marvel Studios to integrate Spider-Man with the ongoing and vastly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. After a introduction in Captain America: Civil War, we are getting the third Spider-Man franchise and one intertwined with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. What are the results when Spider-Man has finally come back home?

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Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is feeling himself a little too much. Tony Stark/Iron Man dragged him into this big mission but effectively kicks him to the curb when he no longer has a use for him. So being restless and aching for some action, Peter is also trying to juggle being Spider-Man with his personal life. The life of a teenager is not easy so add being a superhero onto that is another stress factor. Then there is Adrian Toomes whose life was ruined by inadvertently ruined by Tony Stark. A blue collar worker who has a grudge against the rich and powerful and thus turning to crime and becoming The Vulture to just put food onto the table. Spider-Man is the friendly neighborhood hero with aspirations to be bigger while the Vulture is someone who is comfortable with his slice of the pie and doesn’t want to really rock the boat.

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Tom Holland is great as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. You really understand his teenage angst as wanting to be treated like an adult but not fully grasping the gravity of the situation. Trying to juggle his teenage life with his superhero life is clearly affecting him as sacrifices need to be made. Since he is fifteen, Peter Parker brings a youthful energy to the MCU that is a nice change of pace from what has come before. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is not in the movie all that much. He does have a presence and serve a purpose but despite what advertisements made it seem, he does not overshadow the movie. Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture is great in the role. The biggest downside is that he is not in the movie as you might want him. There are a couple of scenes later on between he and Holland that are great. Marisa Tomei as May Parker is definitely a different kind of Aunt May. In fact, Peter rarely refers to her as his Aunt but simply “May”. She is good but I would have liked to see one or two scenes more with her in it. Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan returns and has more screen time than his boss. I always enjoyed Favreau as an actor so it was nice to see. The rest of the supporting cast is filled with Peter’s classmates. Zendaya is that presence that’s always in scenes but a lot of the time not doing much. It will be interesting to see where they take the character in the future. Jacob Batalon as Ned, Peter’s best friend, is great and they even get to poke fun at the whole superhero has a sidekick who just sits at a computer.

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This film does not rock the Spider-Man boat. Playing it pretty straight in an effect to align this Spider-Man with the rest of the MCU. So while the film takes no real risks, it does a good job of setting up the character and his corner of the universe. There were a lot of screenwriters for this movie including the director, Jon Watts. For someone who has only directed low budget movies beforehand, he did a good job with this major franchise movie. Of course most Marvel movies are effectively cranked out on a machine but still, the movie could have floundered but it doesn’t. At about two hours and fourteen minutes, the movie moves at a good pace. I was never bored or wanted to look at my watch. The only major knock is that while the film was relatively grounded, the ending set piece had to be something in the air and a big explosion. They did reign it in but seemed a little extraneous but that may have been the point. One good job they did was establish The Vulture as a threat. I never really liked The Vulture in the comics but this movie does make him a genuine great villain who could probably make Iron Man struggle if they went toe to toe.

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There are easter eggs galore in this film. Much of The Vulture’s tech is derived from previous battles caused by previous MCU films. In fact the film opens in the immediate aftermath of The Avengers (2012). Not only does it help the film feel natural within the Marvel Cinematic Universe as why wouldn’t criminals start using tech from the super villains? Now that super heroes and villains are the norm, a lot of people aren’t even rattled by the appearance of Spider-Man in their neighborhood. It also helps set up future Spider-Man films as there are tons of Spider-Man villains in this film but it never feels forced. I think almost every character with a speaking line is a character from Spider-Man comics, whether big or small.

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Out of all the six Spider-Man movies, this is probably my favorite. It finds the right balance between the Peter Parker and Spider-Man of it all. It doesn’t go the route of the Sam Raimi movies where the bad guys all had to have some sort of accident or something to be a bad guys. The Vulture is a bad guy. He may be wanting to do right by his family but he is a bad guy. Definitely one of the more memorable bad guys in the MCU lately. Spider-Man: Homecoming achieves what it needed to do. Establish this Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also serving as a good first film in the individual franchise. The future for the web slinger is bright and can’t wait to see where they take the character in his new surroundings.

SCORE: 9/10