Tag: Marvel

Holy Failed Cinematic Universe, Batman!

 

Suicide_Squad_(film)_PosterIf the reviews are accurate — and I imagine they are — Suicide Squad is now the latest in a string of big-screen misfires from DC Comics. To find the last unambiguously good movie set a DC universe (though not in the this current one) you probably have to go back a full eight years to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Many of the offerings since then have been indefensible; I can confirm this with Green Lantern, and I gather that both Jonah Hex and Batman v. Superman were trainwrecks, albeit of different sorts. The better offering, including The Dark Knight Rises, Watchmen, and Man of Steel are all worth watching, albeit with caveats. During the same period, however, Marvel has churned out more than a score of films which — a few duds aside — have tended to fall somewhere between serviceable (Thor II and Ant-Man come to mind) to excellent (Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy*Captain America II).

What gives?

The conventional wisdom is that DC has gone for dark and gritty while Marvel has gone for fun and spectacle. There’s a lot to be said for this; if your intent is to convince a lot of people to get off their couches and go to a theater, simply showing them a good time is probably a smarter bet than trying to depress them. (Interestingly, the gritty-vs-fun dynamic is largely reversed on the small screen, with DC’s television offerings tending for camp while Marvel’s have been gritty and violent; curiously, both are quite good). But I think the bigger problem is that Marvel’s made better choices in leadership while DC blundered in choosing Zach Synder to helm its franchise.

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The latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, Captain America: Civil War released this past weekend to critical acclaim and huge box office numbers. I saw the movie and loved it. It’s definitely worth seeing for the amazing action set pieces alone. I was surprised that I also found the film’s central disagreement (which […]

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So I’ve been writing about the new season of Daredevil. Go to my website if you’ve seen it or at least know a bit about the character. Daredevil is the most realistic hero, because he is realistic about who we are: Both individuals with rights & freedoms–& human beings defined by our love of each […]

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Heroes, Violence, and the Devil’s Tempation

 

marvels-daredevilnEditors’ Note: This post contains spoilers regarding the first seasons of “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones”, as well as references to other superhero movies and shows.

Given its dependence on violence, the superhero genre struggles under a childish reluctance to explore its implications. As a general rule, superheroes — exemplified by Batman and Superman — are not allowed to kill their antagonists, but are expected to bring them to justice and (hopefully) repentance. Villains don’t always live to commit another crime or threaten another city, but they are far more likely to meet their end through suicide or their own hubris, rather than at the end of a hero’s fists, blade, or — God forbid — gun. And even when this hero’s rule is broken (even Superman and Batman have killed), it’s rarely give the weight it deserves, and is often undone by the genre’s reliance on resurrection and reboots.

https://youtu.be/m5_A0Wx0jU4

Small Screen Review: “Jessica Jones”

 

jjIn a comparison between the two giants of comic book entertainment, I’ve seen it stated that DC presents stories of gods and demigods – myths for modern time – while Marvel presents stories of human beings who happen to have powers. If any recent storyline presents that latter concept well it has to be the Netflix series, “Jessica Jones.”

In fact, “Jessica Jones” is a very human story. Super-powered beings are integral to the tale, but initially the powers seem to be incidental to the characters. It takes some time for any powers to be used in earnest and in all honesty I think it does the series well. By using a slow burn, we get time to learn about the players in this tale. The powers don’t distract us from who these people are and what’s going on at the first.

Krysten Ritter plays the title character. She is a private investigator working in Hell’s Kitchen (a familiar location for those who saw “Daredevil”) in a dingy little office that is also her apartment. Ritter is a waif of a person, which contrasts well with her character’s super strength and attitude. Occasionally she does a job or two for attorney Jeri Hogarth (played by Carrie-Anne Moss). A nice, wholesome Midwestern couple approaches Jones in the first episode. She was recommended to them and they need Jones to help them find their missing daughter, Hope.

AKA: A Review

 

Jessica_Jones_NetflixThe Marvel Cinematic Universe represents perhaps the greatest money-making movie franchise in the history of cinema, pumping out one high-budget, high-grossing action spectacular after another, all set in a single cinematic universe replete with crossovers, cameos, and team-ups. It came to the small screen with Marvel’s Agents of Shield and Marvel’s Agent Carter, and the debut of Daredevil on Netflix earlier this year saw them break through into Internet-only entraining. The concept of an interconnected cinematic and TV universe offers viewers an analog of the traditional comic book experience. Everyone can have their favorite characters and follow them in their various appearances, appreciate the work of various artist each offering their own interpretation of the iconic characters in discrete stories that, together, help create an overarching fictional history filled with action and delightful melodrama.

A few weeks ago Netflix released the second of its four superhero shows: Jessica Jones (while under development, the show was titled “AKA Jessica Jones and the episodes all begin with the “Also Known As” abbreviation). Who is Jessica Jones you may be wondering? Well, until I saw the show I didn’t really know much about her. She isn’t one of the famous Marvel characters, not even one of the famous B-list characters like Luke Cage or Iron Fist (who will each get their own Netflix show in the coming years). But, her obscurity works for the show brilliantly. Knowing who Daredevil was, who his villains were, and what to expect plot-wise, I watched his series with anticipation for a fidelity to the comics. Jessica Jones was a blank slate to me, so there was nothing to anticipate, only a story to experience. And what a story.

Netflix’s Daredevil clearly establishes a gritty, almost Noir-like felling for the world of Hell’s Kitchen following the events of the first Avengers movie. That tone that is carried on — and expanded in — Jessica Jones, who like all good Noir characters, is a private investigator. Her jobs mostly consist of following cheating men around and getting pictures of them in the act. She lives in her office, and seems to subsist on a diet of booze and cigarettes.

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I am a big Captain America fan, but I wasn’t always.  When I was a kid, and comics were still sold at the drugstore, I amassed a modest collection of a little more than fifty, notably the original Secret Wars series and a healthy run of Iron Man at about the time that Tony Stark […]

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It’s been my pleasure to introduce Ant-man, Marvel’s new interest in social class in America to a near-unanimous gasp of disapproval & incomprehension. But in the way of show business, I’ve got a sequel, & it’s going to be worse. The best new drama on TV is not the ever-elusive conservative darling of a show […]

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Hello, Ricochet, & have you heard about the new Marvel / Disney blockbuster, Ant-man? A hero for the little guy? Size doesn’t matter? (Because we don’t know what matter even is?) This is singlehandedly the weirdest movie Marvel has made & they’ve thrown about two billion into making weird movies & made more than eight for […]

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Retroactively Gay

 

4404433-3521185277-0b43a4a4f569aaee9e3e094c770fb9b1I grew up reading comic books, as did my husband. Marvel is the universe I wanted to grow up to live in. The revival of the Marvel universe on film and TV has been a treat! I think this is why, despite great differences in our origins, we can relate so well to each other. We are both living in some variation of the Marvel universe.

The hubby and I just recently finished watching the Daredevil series. After I got over the initial shock of a brunette Matt, we ended up enjoying it quite a bit. One cannot keep up the complaints about Charlie Cox for long, after all. And I am looking forward to the remaining three series to be launched on Netflix — and remaining mum on the specifics of Daredevil for those who have yet to watch.

Last evening, the hubby and I were looking though the YouTube on “Easter eggs in Daredevil” when he dropped the bombshell. “Did you hear Bobby Drake came out as gay?” Hmmmm. Et tu, Marvel?