Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

kubo headeradam reviewKubo and the Two Strings.

Laika is a film studio in Oregon that focuses on somewhat of a lost art form. They do stop motion animation, in the vein of Ray Harryhausen who was known for classics like the Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts films of the 1950s and 60s. When you see a movie that they create, you may assume that it’s computer-generated animation (like most movies these days) but it will absolutely blow your mind when you realize that these are physical models that are being recorded one frame at a time. With all this effort, does the end product manage to impress?

The gist.

We meet a young boy named Kubo (voiced by Game of Thrones’ Rickon Stark, Art Parkinson) who is being raised by his mother in a small village, on the run from his evil grandfather. During the day, Kubo travels into the village and wows people with his storytelling, accompanied by his ability to control paper with the strum of a guitar. However, things turn for the worse when his grandfathers’ minions find him and send him on an adventure, where his only help is from a talking monkey (Charlize Theron) and a samurai cursed into the body of a beetle (Matthew McConaughey).

kubo 2What works?

Kubo and the Two Strings is a masterpiece. I don’t use that word lightly.

Let’s start at a technical level. This movie is gorgeous and vivid and full of color and all of that is made even more impressive when you consider the stop motion techniques they had to use to make this happen. The rippling waves of water, the ornate origami figures that Kubo can bring to life, and the massive monsters he has to often face. They all look stunning.

In terms of design, this movie is unrivaled. The cities and the landscapes all look fully fleshed out and detailed. The characters all have little details that make them stand out. This movie is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, managing to walk a fine line between style and substance. The movie I’d likely compare it to most would be something like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, another movie that managed to blend style, action, and adventure in a perfect combination.

Another thing that unites these two movies is music. The music in Kubo is vastly important, as it’s his guitar that allows him to fight back against these massive odds. The first time he begins to play and tells an adventure story to the villagers, my jaw dropped. The music is enchanting and perfect and manages to become a core pillar of this film.

While the story is a fairly traditional adventure story, it makes a few decisions that shocked me with how bold and nontraditional they were. It feels very familiar, but in the best way possible. The movie is about storytelling and essentially writing the perfect ending to a story, so the finale is especially poignant.

I’m five paragraphs in and still talking about stuff that I absolutely loved about this movie. I can’t dismiss the voice talent here. Carrying the entire thing is Art Parkinson, familiar to some of you as the youngest brother Rickon in Game of Thrones. He’s complemented perfectly by both Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey, who both deliver absolutely astounding and deep performances.

2100.0400.still.laika.0004_R Monkey (voiced by Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) finds herself struggling against the grip of the Giant Skeleton to protect Kubo in animation studio LAIKA’s epic action-adventure KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Laika Studios/Focus Features

What doesn’t work?

I really can’t think of much. You need to see this.

Overall…

We need to reward good behavior. This is an original movie (in an era of reboots and sequels) and it’s done in an art style that is incredibly unique. Please go see this. It’s great for all ages, as adults will find it very touching but kids will love it as well. This is a masterpiece, with beautiful animation, great voice talent, and fantastic action.

Go see this. Now.

5 star

Posted in 5 Stars, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Sausage Party

sausage party headeradam reviewSausage Party.

Here’s some context. I like Seth Rogen and I tend to even like his stoner-comedies that he’s known for. Movies like Knocked Up, Super Bad, and This is the End were all awesome. I’m also not especially prudish, I don’t mind things that might be offensive or things that might be especially provocative. For the sake of satire, I totally get it and can appreciate it.

This movie though… was too much.

The gist.

Frank (Seth Rogen) is a hot dog. He’s madly in love with a hot dog bun by the name of Brenda (Kristen Wiig). They’re anxiously awaiting for the Fourth of July, where all the humans will show up, buy them, and then bring them to the wonderful “beyond.” Things start to go crazy when a bottle of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned to the store and breaks the bad news that the “beyond” is really a horrifying place, where humans murder and eat all the food. This triggers a whole adventure to find the truth.

Along the way, they cross paths with a very literal douche (Nick Kroll), who becomes the villain of the story.

We’ve got other voices such as Michael Cera, Salma Hayak, James Franco, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Paul Rudd.

This is an R-rated movie and would be an X-rated movie if it wasn’t animated food products, so please do not bring your children.

sausage party 2What works?

It’s a fun idea. You can tell they literally had a list of funny moments and tried to come up with a plotline to make all those things happen. An entire list of puns. The trailer is enough to satiate that need though, an entire movie of obvious jokes was a bit too much.

Okay, my brain is hurting from trying to think of other stuff that worked here.

What didn’t work?

This just might be the worst movie I’ve ever paid money to see.

Let me clarify. Some of you might love this, if you find that you like stupid movies. The audience was full of teenage kids snickering everytime a hot dog cursed, so the level of humor here is relatively low. Those people were howling with laughter though. Me, not so much.

I chuckled probably two or three times legitimately, where some gag worked (there was a Terminator 2 reference that was probably the funniest joke of the movie for me). Some times when I chuckled though, it was because I couldn’t believe how bad this was. The humor was flat for me, from the very beginning. The movie opens with a musical number that was painful to listen to and the “jokes” were just inserting a food pun and then adding some sort of sex innuendo. Even if you found yourself laughing at those, it would likely get old extremely quick. I get why the language would be funny. It’s a contrast to the fact that it’s 1.) a cartoon and 2.) about hot dogs. I get it. However the language became a crutch and stopped this movie from ever really becoming witty or clever.

Again, I’m not a prude, but this movie made my stomach churn. The sex wasn’t just sex but it was like… incredibly gross. The ending scene, which many people are talking about, is some of the most vile and grotesque stuff I’ve ever seen. Some of the audience was howling, but I almost had nightmares last night. It pushed beyond what has ever been done in a mainstream movie with things I’m surprised even an R-rated movie could get away with. The pseudoviolence and massive sexual encounters, mixed with this cartoon food motif, just grossed me out and I probably would have walked out, if not for the fact that I wanted to review it and tell you to save your money.

sausage party 1I’m really surprised that other reviewers that I’m usually pretty on-par with are all saying this movie was about average. I found very little redeeming here.

The animation looks like it’s a high school kid’s project. The plot is about as cliche as I’ve ever seen, though replaced with food instead of people. The “jokes” are just puns played out over and over. “It’s a Muslim food and a Jewish food fighting, that’s funny right? No?” It all just felt very lazy. Some people are claiming this movie talks about “important things” but it’s not. We’ve seen movies that criticize religion before, but in much smarter ways (see: The Invention of Lying). This felt lazy, amateur, and incredibly superficial.

But again, I emphasize. Some of you might love this. For me, it was an absolute dumpster on fire. For you, this could be your new favorite movie.

Overall…

Sausage Party was a funny commercial when it only lasted two minutes. A whole movie takes that idea and hits you over the head with it, with superficial plotlines, lazy jokes, and attempts at shock humor that will not only offend most of you, but will potentially traumatize you. This movie was not for me at all, and I like to think I have a good eye for satire. And this wasn’t it.

Rating 1 Star

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Nine Lives

nine lives headeradam review

Nine Lives.

Yes, I really went and saw this and now I’m really going to review it.

The gist.

For some reason, Kevin Spacey signed on to a movie where he would play a dad who is a workaholic and must live in the body of a cat until he learns how to be a better father, to both his wife (Jennifer Garner) and his daughter (Malina Weissman). While this is happening, his older son (Robbie Amell) must try to stop a takeover at his father’s business from a traitor (Mark Consuelos). We also have Cheryl Hines as his ex-wife and Christopher Walken as the mysterious pet shop owner who starts this whole chain of events.

What works?

Let me start with this: I thought this movie was going to be a trainwreck (and I love reviewing trainwrecks) but surprisingly this movie was fairly average. With names like Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Garner, I expected half-assed performances but everyone here gave 110%, especially Garner as she shares many scenes with this cat. And before Spacey is lost in the body of this cat, he gives a decent performance (although the plot is incredibly predictable from the start). Christopher Walken is his usual self but it totally works.

Because the actors and actresses were actually putting in effort and trying to pull this off, the movie had a surprising amount of heart. I actually teared up at a few parts. To be fair, I cry at most movies… but still. While you may see the resolution coming from a mile away, that didn’t detract from the emotional impact.

nine lives 2

What didn’t work?

This movie, even though it has some decent performances and pulls at your heartstrings, is still a stupid movie and I’m not quite sure why any of these actors signed on for this. The weakest link was probably child star Malina Weissman. I don’t usually hold this against them but Melina here had a very distinct “child actor” vibe which rubbed me the wrong way in every scene she was in. Over-enunciation, exaggerated movements, all stuff straight from an acting lesson that takes you completely out of any heartfelt moments, which undercuts the potential of these emotional climaxes.

When I say this movie is stupid… here’s what I mean. Kevin Spacey voices this cat, that no one else can hear. He rips apart his home, goes on crazy adventures through the city, and is constantly peeing on things to prove a point. It’s a stupid movie that hopes to exploit kids laughing at stupid things. I don’t blame it for that, that’s what this movie was always intended to do. The amount of these slapstick moments is incredible. He gets drunk as a cat at one point and is constantly falling, flying, dropping, everywhere. It’s like a cartoon.

And it looks like a cartoon. The actual cat is in some scenes and the trainers did an exceptional job. But these crazy antics? They’re all computer effects and they look horrible. I don’t know how you’d make it look good though, when you’re trying to create a cat that is struggling to open a bourbon decanter.

nine lives 1

Overall…

This isn’t horrible. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Kids will laugh and parents might even find themselves enjoying some parts of it. Be warned though, it’s super cartoony, the effects are sloppy, and it’s generally predictable. Decent performances, while overdone to match the tone of the film, might make this film not a horrible experience for you.

Rating 2 star

 

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Suicide Squad

squad headeradam reviewSuicide Squad.

I’ll get straight to it. This movie is divisive and some people absolutely loved it. I’m not quite sure why though.

The gist.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits a team of villains to go on covert ops that can’t be traced back to the US government. It’s led by a normal dude (Joel Kinnaman) who tries to keep these personalities in check. On our villain roster, we’ve got the marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), the psychotic Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the human reptile Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the Australian madman Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the man who can create fire El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and the mystical Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). We also have Katana (Karen Fukuhara) who shows up but isn’t really part of the Squad. We also have Joker (Jared Leto), whose fascination with Harley means he crosses paths with the Suicide Squad a few times.

What works?

If anything, these characters are interesting and a few of them get decent backstory, most notably Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. We get extended flashbacks, we get motivation, and the two of them really carry this movie. Their performances are great and they’re used properly in the story. Jai Courtney and Jared Leto are both good as well, though both of them criminally underused.

I also appreciated some aesthetic choices and style decisions made, including how they handled the Enchantress some of the time, like when she was creepy and smokey like the girl from The Ring. I thought those effects were interesting but it soon evolved into something else entirely.

squad 1What doesn’t work?

Unfortunately a lot. I don’t know what movie some of these fans saw, that are signing a petition to (somehow) get rid of Rotten Tomatoes. I wanted this movie to be awesome and fun and exciting and it’s literally none of those things.

This movie was supposed to be different but it ended up becoming extremely cliche, with a finale that looks just like the rebooted Fantastic Four (or Ghostbusters or Avengers or any movie that revolves around a giant death beam from the sky). I sometimes forgive cliches, if the characters are interesting. Aside from 2 or 3 people, the rest are forgettable or just downright done poorly. Killer Croc? His prosthetics don’t work, his voice is garbled, and his “witty” one-liners are cringe-worthy. Joel Kinnaman here is incredibly painful, delivering a horrible performance and his character shows zero common sense (and has a romance that felt really unnecessary and convoluted). Katana? She shows up (why?) and does very little. They should have aimed for quality over quantity. And Slipknot? Who’s that? Don’t worry about it, he doesn’t matter.

squad 2But let’s pretend that you don’t mind that. Let’s pretend the characters are decent and the writing is good (which it’s not).

The movie fails again on some very technical levels. The editing? Horrible. It cuts from scene to scene in a jarring way that feels like entire scenes were removed. Sometimes I had no idea where they were and what they were doing. Visually, most of the effects here don’t work. Enchantress looks fine early on but she eventually adopts a very different persona, one that the trailers don’t show you (for good reason). She literally looks like they photoshopped her face onto someone else. The main foot soldiers that the Squad must defeat are just faceless blobs, lacking any sort of creativity and executed poorly. There is a character that looks like a badly done version of Gods of Egypt. The effects are just really subpar and it’s inexcusable for a movie with this sort of budget.

Then there’s the music. There are (not lying) probably 30 licensed songs that play, meaning they’re recognizable songs you’ve likely heard. That is absurd. A song will play for 20-30 seconds and then a new song will start. Maybe that’s where their budget went, buying all this music. It’s distracting and only works a few times, usually it’s really out of place and a normal score would’ve been a better choice. It worked for the trailers (kind of) but for a full movie… Not so much.

Like I mentioned the movie is fairly cliche, but this big climax happens incredibly early (like 30 minutes in or something ridiculous) so the 2nd and 3rd act of the movie run together and all look the same. We’re in the same setting (dark nighttime alleyways) for a majority of the movie, losing any visual flair that the movie might’ve initially had. For such a colorful marketing scheme, the movie is drab and boring to look at. And even the action scenes lacked excitement, which is a bummer considering David Ayer directed Training Day and End of Watch.

Overall…

This is a bummer. I didn’t want it to be this way. The movie has a few standout performances, notably Smith and Robbie, but it’s also bloated with forgettable characters and cringeworthy performances. The movie’s plot is extremely cliche and it’s not even done well. The villain makes no sense, the final climax is ridiculous, and the visual effects across the board are really subpar. Some people are raving about this movie but I think they must’ve seen something else, because I find very little to enjoy here. Moments, yes. Cool moments and some interesting characters. But the movie they’re in? Bad.

Rating 2 starAnd below… enjoy a spoiler-filled discussion I shot right after seeing the movie.

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Xbox One S is 3 Years Too Late

Xbox One S-7article daven

The Xbox One S is the Xbox One Microsoft should have built in the first place.

Late one July evening, I bit the bullet and preordered an Xbox One S. I’m not sure why, as I already owned a perfectly-functional Xbox One, but it probably had something to do with that $200 Best Buy gift card that had been lying around my house for half a year. It was also likely because I wanted an excuse to write this opinion piece. Yes, this is an opinion piece, and it’s totally cool if you don’t agree with me about any of it. Basically it says this: Microsoft was lazy and motivated only by money when they developed the original Xbox One.

But let’s start with some goodies about the new S. Even in the shipping box, I immediately noticed how much lighter it was compared to the original. This may not actually matter for a product that spends the entirety of its life just lying there, but it still makes it seem better.

Xbox One S-6

After I opened the box, I discovered something else: a single power cord, delicately coiled up by itself. Gone is the bulky monstrosity of an external power supply that has plagued every Microsoft console save the original Xbox. I mean, holy shit, the One S just plugs straight into the wall, like every other goddamned component that connects to your TV. For any other manufacturer, this wouldn’t even approach newsworthiness. But there’s no way Microsoft put an internal power supply in a console that’s smaller and lighter than the original model without at least enlisting the help of a low-level blood mage.

Then there’s the design of the console itself. While looking at its clean lines, the pristine white polycarbonate contrasted by glossy black accents, a word came to mind that I’d never used to describe an Xbox before: elegant.

Xbox One S-5

Yes, it’s true, the Xbox One S is a thing of beauty, simultaneously utilitarian and exquisite. But the thing is, we’ve seen an elegant console before. It came out in 2013 and it’s called the PlayStation 4. It basically has the same dimensions (slightly more depth, slightly less width) as the new-for-2016 Xbox One S. So while I applaud Microsoft for finally solving the power supply issue and making something that looks good, it’s about three years too late.

To be sure, the Xbox One S is a solid piece of hardware. And if it had been the console that Microsoft shipped in 2013, I would have even called it commendable. Because the only problem with the Xbox One S isn’t a problem with the S at all; it’s a problem with the original.

The first Xbox One felt like a near-final prototype to me. It was feature complete, but there were still a few kinks to work out in order to make it all come together as a cohesive whole. Design-wise, it looked more like something assembled out of spare parts bought at a retired electrical engineer’s yard sale than a marketable product that had been through numerous design iterations. It was massive, made even larger by an unsightly external power supply. And the noise! The power brick had its own fan, with another inside the console. Add the grinding sound from the disk drive, and the thing sounded like it was about to take off. One needn’t worry, though: it was much too heavy to fly.

Xbox One S-8

Like bourbon served before its time, there was a hint of greatness hidden in the original Xbox One, but it felt rushed and unfinished. The S, by contrast, is refined (and whisper-quiet, I’ll add). It actually feels like Microsoft took its time with it, and that’s refreshing to see. I hope the practice sticks, because I’d rather not pay to beta test the next console for three years while they work out the kinks.

This is also an issues with Microsoft, in general. The tech giant has always had trouble presenting a unified front with its hardware. Take a look at any Apple product, and you know it’s an Apple product. Not so with Microsoft. The original Xbox One looked awkward and out of place coming from the company that produced the sleek Surface tablet. It just didn’t make sense.

Or maybe it did, only on a different level.

I have no doubt that Microsoft’s engineers and designers could have built a better box back in the day, but why put extra effort into making a device elegant when you know people are going to buy it, anyway? Consoles have horrendously low profit margins (they’re negative), and consumers, even early adopters, are only willing to pay so much for a new one, even after waiting over half a decade for an upgrade. That means reducing development costs was probably priority numero uno leading up to the Xbox One’s launch in 2013.

Fast forward three years, and it seems that Microsoft finally had the financial breathing room to make a smaller, more refined machine. Combined with slightly beefed-up specs, this allowed them to raise the price again.

Xbox One S-4

Let me be clear: I’m quite happy with the Xbox One S (other than having to re-download all of Halo 5’s ridiculous 80-plus gigabytes). It’s a great design, with a few subtle enhancements that go a long way to improving the user experience. The mechanical power button prevents me from accidentally turning the console off with my foot in the middle of a game, and the lighted home button on the controller is no longer bright enough to blind me when playing in a dark room. I also like that Microsoft brought back the option to stand the console on end, rather than having to lay it flat, which gives more options to those of us working in cramped quarters.

But it also reminds me of what the original Xbox One could have — should have — been. And that’s a little maddening. It’s almost like we were duped into buying the first one. Don’t get me wrong, though: I have really enjoyed playing games on the Xbox One and, after all, I suppose that’s what it’s all about. Also, at least it never failed on me; over the duration of the previous console generation, I owned four Xbox 360s because the things kept going kaput. Still, I don’t believe for a second that Microsoft wasn’t capable of building the Xbox One S three years ago.

Xbox One S-1

As tempting as the Xbox One S is, with Microsoft’s high-performance Scorpio and Sony’s mysterious PlayStation Neo on the horizon, console gamers have plenty of reason to be patient. That said, if you’ve wanted an Xbox One but have held off, you could certainly do worse than to buy the Xbox One S now. However, for someone who already owns an Xbox One, the upgrade to the S probably doesn’t make much sense — unless, like I was, you’re just really frustrated with the damn noise.

 

 

*

Article written by Daven Mathies, published 8/4/16. Make sure to follow @iaytd on Twitter for more reviews and articles about all things entertainment.

Posted in Gaming, Guest Authors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Bad Moms

bad moms headeradam reviewBad Moms.

I had super low expectations going into this movie. I’ve been kind of jaded by a series of utterly forgettable comedies over the past few months, with things like The Boss, Central Intelligence, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Some of those movies I liked but I can’t recall much about any of them. So this movie looked like another entry into that series, one I might chuckle at but won’t ever feel inclined to watch again. Was I right?

The gist.

Amy (Mila Kunis) is a mom of two kids who has it pretty rough. Her husband (David Walton) doesn’t contribute, which leaves her to doing almost everything, including taking her kids to school and doing all their homework for them. She’s also overworked and completely stressed out. When the President of the PTA Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) finally pushes her too far, Amy flips and decides to just be a bad mom. What ensues is a crazy adventure about three moms (including Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) deciding to live for themselves. We’ve also got Jada Pinkett-Smith and Annie Mumolo as Gwendolyn’s two most loyal followers.

What works?

While my expectations were low, I soon found myself laughing. A lot. When Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell entered the picture, I couldn’t stop laughing. This movie is hilarious, in a way I was not at all expecting. It’s got its share of shock value and crude humor, but it also has a surprising amount of wit, especially as it relates to the role of women in parenting and turning that on its head. It’s got moments that are not only smart but maybe even genius.

bad moms 1

So if you want a movie that will make you laugh, this movie has got you covered. Kristen Bell delivers a performance unlike anything I’ve seen her do, which is refreshing. Usually she’s the semi-normal one (see The Boss and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) but here, she’s quirky and weird in just the right ways to deliver some killer moments.

The woman who steals the show though… is Kathryn Hahn. She’s been in tons of movies, most notably Step Brothers and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days but here… this is her breakout role. This will be her moment. Her character absolutely takes advantage of this movie’s R rating but it’s her outlandishness that will leave you in stitches.

What doesn’t work?

This movie tries to have emotional resonance. I appreciate the effort but I’m not sure it really pulls it off. Kunis, for me, was the weakest link in the main cast and those quiet moments of her and her family felt hollow. Other people didn’t have a problem with her, so this might just be me. To be fair, I think she’s fine in other movies (like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Black Swan) but here, I don’t know if she was able to carry the entire emotional weight of this movie.

Bad Moms also walks a fine line between realism and absolute crazytown, so you need to be fairly forgiving of plot holes. Everytime Kunis goes wild, I couldn’t help but think where the kids were, who was watching them, etc. You’ll need to turn a blind eye to some of these things to enjoy the chaos.

bad moms 2Overall…

This movie is hilarious. For a summer fun night out at the movies, this will do the trick. In order to make this movie funny, it can tend to veer towards the crude and it can have gaping plot holes, but if you can learn to accept it, you will love this. Kunis is fine but the real highlights are Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell, both of which deliver some of the best comedic performances of their careers. This isn’t a great movie though, as a fair bit of the movie is dedicated to a sentimental story about Kunis’ character and her two kids, which ultimately fell a bit flat for me. Compared to other similar raunchy comedies of recent years, this one is a just tad above the average.

Rating 4 star

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recap DC/Marvel SDCC Announcements

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 has just wrapped up and with it came tons of announcements. Specifically here, I’m going to recap the big ones as it relates to movies and television and only from Marvel and DC Comics.

DC Comics – Television

The CW is chock full of DC Comics adaptations, especially now that Supergirl has moved from CBS to the CW. They released teasers for all of their shows, minus Supergirl.

So what do these mean?

Let’s start with The Flash. This is probably my favorite show from this roster and this next season looks to be just as incredible, putting a spin on the classic comic book arc “Flashpoint,” which imagines an alternate world and Flash slowly starts to uncover why and how this timeline came to be (in a nutshell). Exploring things like this via the television show opens up the possibility to bring back dead characters or explore alternate versions of the characters we love, which is always cool to see.

Over on Arrow, we’re struggling a bit. The last two seasons of Arrow have been a little lackluster, which is a bummer considering how good the first two seasons were. One of my big complaints was that there are too many heroes in the mix (everyone has an alias and an outfit now it seems). I don’t think adding more vigilantes to the show will solve this, so I’m hesitant about this next season.

Lastly we have Legends of Tomorrow, which is a bit of an odd show to begin with. They’re out of space and time, so they’re also able to explore alternate histories and alternate futures. It looks like season two will even more wild than season one, as we get nods to several new heroes and villains that we likely wouldn’t see on any other show.

And while we didn’t get a trailer for Supergirl, they did talk about the reveal that Clark Kent/Superman will be joining the show starting with season two. This is an interesting choice, meaning that Superman now exists in this world (and brings up questions of where he’s been this whole time).

powerless.png

Lastly, we have another series not on CW but instead on NBC. This stars Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, and Alan Tudyk. It’s premiering midseason (so not Fall) and will focus on the normal average people that live in the larger DC world. It likely won’t connect to either the CW shows or the movies, so expect it to kind of live in its own little world.

Marvel Comics – Television

We have quite a few things here to discuss, as Marvel has shows across all sorts of different networks.

Let’s begin with Netflix, which is home of The Defenders. This is the Avengers of the small screen, where we’ll get four independent franchises that all come together for an epic teamup season.

We’ve already gotten two seasons of Daredevil and a season of Jessica Jones but Marvel unleashed trailers for both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, as well as a teaser for The Defenders.

This is the first that we’ve seen Iron Fist in anything, so that’s super exciting. Luke Cage looks great but we got quite a bit of his character in Jessica Jones so it’s not as unknown.

The big question now is if Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle will appear and how his recently announced spinoff series will tie into The Defenders.

Now let’s move over to ABC, home of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Their big announcement for season four was the arrival of a new character, Robbie Reyes (aka the latest iteration of the Ghost Rider).

robbie reyes

As you can tell by the picture, this Ghost Rider is very different (most notably because he drives a flaming car instead of riding a flaming motorcycle). It’s actually a smart move to use Robbie, as it can introduce some magical elements into Agents of SHIELD but they can still do a series about one of the more popular Ghost Riders later. It’s unsure if he’ll be a reoccurring character or a one-shot kind of thing.

The last tidbit we got from Marvel was a trailer for a show not connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The FX series Legion focuses on a mutant with some extraordinary abilities, starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, The Guest). It’s unsure if the series will connect to the X-Men franchise or be standalone. In the comics, our lead character David is the son of X-Men leader Charles Xavier.

DC Comics – Movies

And here we go to the good stuff. DC Comics has some big stuff coming up. Suicide Squad is opening soon, so we got some basic info but there’s not too much to show. The big news here is a full trailer for both Wonder Woman and Justice League.

Let me start by saying that both of these trailers are awesome. In hindsight though, I also thought the Batman v Superman trailers were great. The trailer for Wonder Woman intrigues me more, especially the fight sequences of her in the trenches of the first World War. The trailer for Justice League is full of great imagery, but that’s what Zack Snyder does, so I’m still hesitant that these cool moments will be connected with a coherent story. The humor looks refreshing though and I’m starting to really buy into Ezra Miller’s The Flash.

And Jason Momoa as Aquaman? Best casting choice in years. I’ve been rooting for that guy since he was on Stargate: Atlantis. Wait a minute… Atlantis? It’s been in front of us this whole time!

Marvel Comics – Movies

Now Marvel has a lot coming up but they didn’t release much to the public but I’ll try to recap what we learned.

First off, we did get a new trailer for Doctor Strange, focusing much more on his magic and other abilities.

We also got a bit of Black Panther news, as director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) brought up the four main cast members. We already knew about Chadwick Boseman as the title character, but we got confirmation on the others. Michael B. Jordan is the villain Erik Killmonger (what a name), Lupita Nyong’o is an obsessive villainess named Malice, and Danai Gurira (Michonne from The Walking Dead) as one of the Panther’s bodyguards Okoye.

While audiences got some looks at Guardians of the Galaxy 2, that footage hasn’t been released online (yet). The big takeaway is the reveal of Kurt Russel’s character. He’ll be playing a role called Ego, which in the comics was a giant sentient planet. Director James Gunn assured us that in the context of the movie, it’ll all make sense.

russel

There were a few other panels, including one for Spider-ManHomecoming which confirmed that Michael Keaton was playing the villain Vulture, but the biggest announcement of the night came when they announced who would be playing the lead in Marvel’s first female-centric movie Captain Marvel.

Brie Larson, if you’ve somehow not heard of her, is the most recent Oscar winner for Best Actress for her role in Room.

In conclusion…

It’s an exciting time to be alive! That’s all I can say!

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment