Who the F*** is That?!?!- Black Panther

Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for claws on superhero costumes.

In the past few weeks, we’ve been treated to trailers for Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, meaning that I get to drag out this series again. As far as new characters go through,  there’s really only one from each trailer (Except X-Men, but I’ll get to that trailer later), and the character from Dawn of Justice is kind of a huge spoiler, so for now, I’ll stick with talking about Marvel’s first black superhero, the Black Panther.

Subtle, Marvel.

Continue reading

Who the F*** is That?!?!- Jessica Jones (Part 1 of 2)

Judging by this image, you think this is going to be a light, fun edition of WTF, don’t you? Oh, you sad, naive fools…

On November 20, Netflix and Marvel will release their second television show together after the first season of Daredevil, which everybody loved, and if you think you didn’t love it, stop lying to yourself. This new show will focus on America’s sweetheart, the international icon known as Jessica Jones.

Cheerful, isn’t it? You know… If abject human misery cheers you up.

Since Jessica Jones definitely qualifies as one of the more obscure characters in the Marvel Comics library, and her amazing-looking show comes out in exactly one week, I figured this was as good a time as any to put off doing part two of that DeathMatch that I started whenever the fuck ago and continue my “WTF!?!?” series. Both first parts of the entries I did for Deadpool and the Suicide Squad can be found here and here, respectively.

I’m not one to delay (*Cough*), so let’s get started.

Patsy Walker/Hellcat

First appearances: Miss America Magazine #2 (Nov. 1944, as Patsy Walker) The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976, as Hellcat)

Created by: Ruth Atkinson (Patsy Walker) David Michelinie & Mike Harris (Hellcat)

Portrayed by: Rachael Taylor (headLand, Transformers, Red Dog)

Other portrayals: N/A

One of the few remaining original Marvel characters from the 40’s that Marvel (Then known as “Timely Comics”) hasn’t put out of their misery, Patsy Walker started out as some Betty/Veronica-esque character in one of those comics aimed at teenage girls that is almost certainly horribly sexist in retrospect.

Like Betty and Veronica, but sociopathic lunatics.

Later, Patsy appeared in Fantastic Four cementing her as a canonical character in the Marvel Universe. It was later revealed that Patsy was a child model and actress whose mother drew those Betty & Veronica-esque comics, whose characters were based on Patsy and her friends. Not necessarily the biggest fan of having her childhood exploited for the sake of a few catty giggles from teenyboppers, Patsy preferred to devote her time to admiring superheroes, even having a crush on Reed Richards for a while.

I’m sorry- “Charming lady’s man Reed Richards!!!”

After graduating from high school, Patsy married her fictional/non-fictional boyfriend, Robert Baxter, and embarked on a glamorous career as a homemaker. This may be the least progressive “WTF?!?!” entry ever. On cue, here are more pictures of Reed Richards being a misogynist!

Proof that as bad as the Fantastic Four movie was, it could’ve been SO much worse…

Eventually drifting away from her husband, Patsy left his sorry ass and miraculously linked up with the Avengers. Tagging along with the team while they investigated criminal links at the corporation that her ex-husband worked security for, Patsy, a natural athlete, apparently, adopted a costume formerly worn by Tigra before she let her new uniform be designed by a hormonal 16-year old. After the mission proceeded successfully, Patsy joined the Avengers as Hellcat. One wild career on and off the Avengers later (Which included her getting manipulated by Damion Hellstrom, the son of Satan, into committing suicide, and subsequently coming back to life), she is currently working as a private investigator for Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) and has a new solo series coming out in December. As far as I know, she’s not going to become Hellcat in the Jessica Jones TV show, being a former child actress and childhood friend of Jessica’s, and if recent trailers are any indication, she won’t become Hellcat until at least the second season.

Honestly, I’m just wondering how they’re justifying using the name “Patsy” in a modern context.

Luke Cage

First appearance: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972)

Created by: Archie Goodwin & John Romita Sr.

Portrayed by: Mike Colter (Million Dollar Baby, Halo)

Other portrayals: Lil’ JJ (The Super Hero Squad) Ogie Banks (Ultimate Spider-Man, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes), Christopher B. Duncan (The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), Ryokan Koyanagi (Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers), Greg Eagles (Marvel: Ultimate Alliance), Robert Wisdom (Spider-Man: Web of Shadows) Khary Payton (Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2), James C. Mathis III (Marvel Heroes), John Eric Bentley (Lego Marvel Super Heroes)

A young gangbanger from Harlem, Carl Lucas realized that his lifestyle was affecting his family in a negative way, and decided to get his life back on track, seeking legitimate employment and going straight, though he still maintained contact with his buddy, Willis Stryker , who was rising rapidly through the ranks of their gang, the Rivals.

In his defense, with a name like “Willis Stryker”, his only options were “criminal” or “80’s Action Hero.”

When Stryker’s girlfriend. Reva Connors, broke up with him because of his career choices, she sought consolation from Lucas. Convinced that Lucas had conspired to steal her away from him, Stryker decided to frame him, planting heroin on him and calling the cops. Understandably pissed about this development, Lucas contacted the Maggia (Because”Mafia” was trademarked, apparently) and put a hit out on Stryker, but the hit was botched, and Reva was killed while Stryker survived.

In prison, Cage was drafted into a Super Soldier cell-regeneration experiment, because apparently that’s standard procedure in the prisons of the Marvel Universe (Come to think of it, that explains a lot of things,). The experiment was sabotaged by a racist guard who held a grudge against him, and Lucas ended up with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin. Breaking out of prison, Lucas changed his name to “Luke Cage”, adopted the horrendous (Yet not exactly incorrect, per se) moniker of “Power Man” and became, as the title of his debut comic would suggest, a “Hero for Hire”, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Luke Cage (Earth-616) 001

Ha ha. No, seriously, what’s his costume?

While Cage started off as a profiteer, he eventually became a legitimate ally of superheroes like Daredevil and Spider-Man, and even had short stints on the Defenders and the Fantastic Four. Along with his good friend Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, cage formed the wildly successful “Heroes for Hire” organisation, but when that eventually fell through, Cage joined the the Anti-Registration Avengers (More on that when Civil War comes out), fighting Norman Osborn during Dark Reign  and leading a team of Avengers (As well as the Thunderbolts) for a period called the “Heroic Age”. Cage has risen from a character that was little more than a cynical cash grab directed at the blaxploitation audience has ascended to… at least C-list status in the Marvel Universe. Although he’s getting the bump from the Cinematic Universe, so that’ll help him out.

Case in point.

To be concluded in Part 2

Ant-Man (Movie Review)

“They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it shrinks… every time!

When this movie inevitably dominates the box office, we all need to learn to stop doubting the film potential of the bottom of Marvel’s barrel. Really, Guardians of the Galaxy should’ve been the first hint that we should stop being so damn cynical about unknown IP’s anyways.

 Ant-Man

Directed by: Peyton Reed

Produced by: Kevin Feige

Screenplay by: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd

Story by: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish

Genres: Superhero, Heist comedy

Based on: Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, T.I.

Music by: Christophe Beck

Plot: After serving several years of a jail sentence for breaking into his corrupt ex-employer’s home and wrecking his car, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) just wants to go straight and spend time with his estranged daughter, who loves him to death. Unfortunately, Lang’s ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her new husband (Bobby Cannavale) won’t let him see her until he proves that he can lead a stable life, which is tough to do when you’re a convicted felon who nobody will hire after spending three years in San Quentin. Who knew, right?

Down on his luck, Lang meets a retired, genius scientist named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who wants him to to utilize his excellent burglary skills (As well as a suit that allows him to shrink to the size of a motherfucking ant) in order to break into Pym’s old company and stop the new owner, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), from weaponizing a similar technology to the Ant-Man suit and selling it to less-than savoury criminal elements.

It would be an understatement to say that the announcement of a film based on a Marvel D-lister like Ant-Man caught some people off guard.

He’s not even one of the cool D-listers.

Even more bizarre was the announcement of the director: Edgar Wright, the near-genius behind the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy an Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which are both must-see comedies, in my correct opinion.

I fucking adore this scene.

Fanboys the world over were were intrigued by this tantalizing possibility for a potentially totally different superhero movie in a genre that is prone to serious repetition over time.

And then, Wright got shit-canned over creative differences and was replaced by the director of Yes Man.

The tremendous success of Guardians of the Galaxy restored some faith in Marvel’s ability to sell its second (Or third, or fourth, or fifth…) string character, but what if that was just lightning in a bottle? What if the production problems behind the screen were too much for Paul Rudd and the Wright-penned script to overcome?

Well, as Box Office Mojo and Rotten Tomatoes can testify, superhero fans probably aren’t giving the Marvel Machine enough credit.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the fact that this movie essentially had two directors and two sets of writers (Wright/Cornish and Rudd/McKay) doesn’t affect the movie, because it does. During the first act of Ant-Man, it feels either disoriented or slow. It was very entertaining, sure, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was taking too much time to get to the cool action and humour, while it was focusing too long on Paul /rudd’s relationship with his daughter (Who, I swear, was genetically engineered in a lab somewhere in order to create the most adorable kid ever). It’s not bad, per se, it just gets to the point where the obligatory establishment of Scott’s flawed family dynamic kind of wears out its welcome.

That isn’t to say that it’s poorly written, though. I mean, the story’s predictable as hell, but the character dialogue is very, very entertaining. Marvel movies have always been funny, but the humour has always taken a backseat to the superheroing. Ant-Man is a straight-up heist comedy. Think Ocean’s Eleven meets Iron Man. Now, think of a movie that’s exactly as awesome as that sounds.

Ant-Man is consistently funny, as well as downright hilarious on several occasions, without stepping on the more dramatic or action-oriented moments.

Of course, a script as sharp as this one is really only as effective as its cast and, thankfully, they all brought their A-game (With one exception that we’ll get to later). Much like Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, Paul Rudd brings plenty of energy, humour and charisma , which, y’know, is to be expected from the Sex Panther himself, but he also establishes himself as a convincing superhero. Admittedly, the fact that this movie makes use of a lot of CGI helps (Albeit, not nearly as much as the other MCU productions), but the point is, I definitely bought him as Ant-Man. There, I said it. I buy Paul Rudd as the goddamn Ant-Man.

There’s another thing to add to the list of things most people never expect to say in their lifetime.

Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost) does a fine job as Hope Van Dyne, Hank Pym’s daughter, though I can’t help but feel that she could’ve been utilized a bit more. She’s a good, solid actress and it’s nice that she’s getting a fairly prominent role in this enormous franchise. Michael Pena (Anybody know how to put the Spanish accent on the N? I’m too lazy to look it up) is downright hilarious, especially in one scene that seems very Edgar-Wright-esque to me (I won’t spoil it). He gets some good chemistry going with Rudd and his criminal buddies, David Dastmalchian and T.I., who are both great, and get some good lines in, never mind the fact that one is unknown and the other is, you know, a rapper.

With all due respect to 50 Cent.

Actually, fuck 50 Cent. That guy’s a skeeve.

It would’ve been easy for Michael Douglas to phone this one in, but he also brings it to this one, serving as the emotional lightning rod of the movie, and he even gets a few badass moments of his own.

Wow, I’m just realizing now that this is the first Marvel movie in a while whose main characters are mostly normal, non-powered people.

One of the reasons Ant-Man is so obscure is that his power set isn’t exactly the sexiest. Sure, he’s a founding Avenger (In the comics), but compared to, say, Hulk or Thor, the power to shrink to the size of a dime isn’t the most appealing, so this movie really had to sell me on that skill set. Specifically, by not simply copying/pasting the effects from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Whatever happened to Rick Moranis, anyways?

I had no reason to fear, though, because the visual effects are excellent. At only one or two points did I feel like the CGI was a bit more noticeable than it should’ve been, and believability is extremely important when the entire premise of the movie is Paul Rudd shrinking to the size of an M&M and interacting with CG insects. Thankfully, the shrinking mechanism (Heh) works absolutely seamlessly, and makes for some extremely creative action scenes that prove that even a hero with as “boring” a skill set as Ant-Man’s can be a total badass.

On an unrelated note, is Judy Greer just shooting for forgettable ancillary characters now?

I didn’t say that, I’m just saying your career choices have been- Ah, fuck it. Moving on.

Unfortunately, my biggest problem with the film (And it is a pretty big one) is the villain, Yellowjacket.

Okay, this is completely unrelated, and you can skip this section of bold text if you really want, but the geek in me can’t resist talking about this. 

So, Scott Lang is this movie’s Ant-Man, but the original Ant-Man (In both the comics and the movie) is Hank Pym, and, in the comics, he’s a founding Avenger, being about the same age as, say, Tony Stark. While his original moniker was Ant-Man, he eventually learned to grow to enormous sizes, and adopted the name Giant-Man, and then Goliath. When he was going through some issues (His guilt over creating Ultron, both his bipolar disorder and heart problems due to prolonged exposure to the particles that give him his power) he adopted the name Yellowjacket (Darren Cross is an entirely different character from Yellowjacket in the comics). It was during this period that he left his most notable mark on comic book hist- OH MY GOD!!!

Who says DC has all the dark, disturbed heroes?

And now you see why they maybe didn’t use Hank Pym as the protagonist. Moving right along!!!

Corey Stoll’s performance is over-the-top, which is fine, but i’d rather that energy be spent on an entertaining villain. This character. Just. Does. Not. Do it for me. After Ultron, Marvel appears to be receding back into Generic Boring Villain Syndrome again. All that I said before about this movie being well-written doesn’t really apply to Yellowjacket. I guess, if you’re not tired of the “Unstable genius wants to be evil for some unspecified reason) trope, then Darren Cross might do it for you. If not, then, well, he’s probably not what you came to see, anyways.

Cool character design, though.

Overall; A refreshing take on the genre amidst the aliens, robots and explosions, Ant-Man is perfect for those who may be going through a dreaded case of superhero fatigue.

Rating: 8.0/10

Next from Marvel: Squirrel Girl- The Movie!!!

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Movie Review)

This movie is 141 minutes long. And they had to cut an hour. Think about that for a sec, will ya?

Before Age of Ultron, I had to do four major exams and a French oral presentation. That made May 1st one of those days that was simultaneously the best and worst day ever.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Produced by: Kevin Feige

Written by: Joss Whedon

Based on: The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Genre: Superhero

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany

Music by: Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman

Plot: The Avengers; Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, have been at their superheroing ways for a while now, fighting evil wherever it may rear its ugly head. However, after a somewhat traumatic mission in the fictional Eastern European nation of Sokovia or whatever (Where the official language is apparently heavily accented English),Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) decides that what the world needs is not the Avengers, but a super-powerful artificial intelligence whose goal is to achieve world peace by any means necessary. This is a wholly original concept that has never been attempted before in fiction, right?

Right!

Stark and Dr. Banner (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally create an A.I. named Ultron (James Spader) who, as anybody with half a brain could predict, is overwhelmed with a god complex, concluding that, since humans are the ones screwing up the world, the only way to ensure world peace is to destroy all humans, particularly the Avengers. Not exactly taking his kindly, the Avengers set out to defeat Ultron, but find themselves contending with divisions within the team, two mysterious twins working with Ultron, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) and the mysterious android named the Vision (Paul Bettany).

If that sounds like a lot of stuff going on, it’s because it kind of is. It’s become a growing trend among superhero movies lately to really up the amount of complicated subplots. I guess it makes sense that an extended universe would have more complicated storylines. You can’t merely have Superman saving Lois Lane anymore, you must have Captain America destroying HYDRA, have that tie in with a damn TV show, and have THAT tie into a movie that stars Vin Diesel as a fucking talking tree.

While I wouldn’t go so far as saying that you needed to have watched the other Marvel movies in order to understand this one, there are still some issues to be found in Age of Ultron. Joss Whedon has said that there is one hour of footage that had to be cut in order to get the movie down to a manageable length, and I commend him for that, because who wants to see a three and a half hour long superhero movie?

Besides me, I mean.

That said, during the second act, the movie starts feeling a bit rushed, trying to squeeze in development  and plot points that kind of come out of nowhere. There’s an entire sequence involving Thor that tries to serve as both an advancement of the plot and a setup for Thor: Ragnarok (Get hyped for that November 3, 2017 release date!!!) and… It doesn’t work. There’s just not enough explained. I understand part of the conclusion that Thor comes to during the subplot, but I’ll be damned if I know what happened up until that point. Something about Asgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Chris Hemsworth shirtless in a pool of water, whatever. Until the extended edition comes our on Blu-Ray (Please???), I can’t really give this movie points for flawlessly cohesive storytelling.

Also, while I’ll get into Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch a little later, their accents didn’t do it for me at all. Who knows though, maybe the official language of Sokovia is English spoken with a cartoonish Russian accent? Fuck if I know.

I’m done dicking around, though. What did I think of Age of Ultron as a whole?

I fucking love it.

I know, I know, I’m predictable, but this movie…. It’s just so cool, you guys.

Yes, in terms of story, it’s not the most narratively well done, and the “Evil A.I” has been done to death, but if you’re really bothered by that when watching… You were probably too far gone to enjoy the movie in the first place.

While the action is great, as one would expect from most summer blockbusters nowadays, and the CGI is on point (… Save for some moments in the opening action sequence), this movie, even more than the first Avengers, lives and dies on its larger than-life characters and personalities.

Some people assumed from the trailers that Age of Ultron was going to be yet another goddamn “dark and gritty” superhero movie, and while it does have some heavy moments, its not a dark movie. Like, at all. It has more or less the same tone and atmosphere as the first one, just with, you know, a threatening villain.

Again, thanks to the trailer, many people assumed that Ultron would be the most threatening villain in the MCU to date, based on his menacing appearance and penchant for monologuing. Once again, that’s kind of misleading. While Ultron is really cool, and James Spader is downright fantastic, he was also, completely unexpectedly, really damn funny in an appropriately twisted, dark way, which makes sense, when you consider that he was created by Tony Stark. In addition to that, he’s not entirely a creature of logic, he could be seen as a child with a very black-and-white view of morality. That’s a pretty good way to distinguish him from the humorless “Evil A.I.” archetype that fiction has beaten to death at this point.

“Dave…. Pull my finger…”

What I’m most impressed with, though, is what they did with the main characters. Actually, scratch that, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are just as awesome and well-written as they were before, but the secondary Avengers, for lack of a better term, get a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Hulk and Black Widow have a relationship that some people are calling forced, but I think it helps develop their character arcs a little more. especially since we haven’t had a solo Hulk movie for a while, and fans are still holding out for the Black Widow solo movie that is growing more and more unlikely by the minute.

IT’S SCARLETT JOHANSSON AS A SEXY RUSSIAN SPY!!! HOW DOES THIS NOT WRITE ITSELF!!!!????

There was definitely a more PC way to phrase that caption, but my point still stands.

The surprising one for me (And a whole lot of other people) was Hawkeye, who was pretty much nondescript in the first movie, was my favourite character in this movie. Without getting spoiler-y… He’s a scene stealer. Hawkeye is a scene stealer. God, this movie is bizarre.

Lastly, the new characters are, big surprise, pretty damn great. The Vision, without spoiling any details, is fucking awesome, and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are also good. While I wouldn’t say that this Quicksilver is as entertaining as the one in Days of Future Past, but this one has a pretty enjoyable personality that Aaron Taylor-Johnson has a lot of fun with. (Fun fact: Taylor-Johnson was the star of Kick-Ass, while Evan Peters, who played Quicksilver in Days of Future Past, played Taylor-Johnson’s friend in Kick-Ass. Full circle, or whatever.

Also, I have a crush on Elizabeth Olsen. I didn’t know that before today.

Her performance makes this movie the best project an Olsen sister has ever been associated with.

Overall: Age of Ultron delivers as a summer blockbuster on every sustainable level, being almost as good as the first movie. Shame the mid-credits scene sucks balls.

Rating: 9/10

“Wait’ll they get a load of me…”

Daredevil (Season 1 Review)

This ain’t your, uh, slightly older brother’s Daredevil. Or something. 

In March 2014, I went with some friends of mine to take in what would eventually become one of my favourite movies of the year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Like the rest of the world, I loved it, but I was kind of surprised by just how dark that movie was. Fools were getting assassinated, people’s necks were getting broken, others were getting shot in the face, and a post-9/11 allegory was violently drilling its way into the audience’s skull.

SYMBOLISM!!!! SYMBOLISM!!!! LOOK AT THE GODDAMN SYMBOLISM!!!!

 Being a bloodthirsty sociopath, I was a fan, but some of the parents who brought younger kids expecting a bright, colourful Avengers-style movie probably weren’t as enthusiastic about the grittiness as I was. Hell, I heard some kids break out in tears. In a movie where the protagonist wears an American flag, no less. After that experience, I was pretty sure the Marvel Cinematic Universe would get much darker.

Boy was I completely and utterly wrong.

Daredevil

Created by: Drew Goddard

Directed by: Phil Abraham, Adam Kane, Ken Girotti, Farren Blackburn, Guy Ferland, Brad Turner, Stephen Surjik, Nelson McCormick, Nick Gomez, Euros Lyn, Steven S. DeKnight

Producer: Kati Johnson

Written by: Drew Goddard, Marco Ramirez, Joe Pokaski, Luke Kalteux, Douglas Petrie, Steven S. DeKnight, Christos Gage, Ruth Fletcher Gage

Based on: Daredevil by Stan Lee and Bill Everett

Genres: Superhero, crime drama

Starring: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn

Music by: John Paesano

Plot: After the events of The Avengers, much of the real estate in the unfortunately named Hell’s Kitchen district of New York City was crushed by alien invaders (Which nobody seems to be dwelling on. Weird.). Already a fairly decrepit, crime-ridden neighbourhood, Hell’s Kitchen is now even more of a crap hole.

Have no fear though, because Matthew Murdock & Foggy Nelson, attorneys at law, are on the scene! Well, actually, maybe have a little bit of fear, because they’re pretty small-time, having turned down a well-paying corporate job since, y’know, they have souls.

1x17 Justice is Blind (08)

Barry Zuckerkorn is more high profile than them. 

Interestingly enough, Matt (Charlie Cox), along with being a kick-ass lawyer, is also completely blind… Mostly.

Bullshit comic book science coming up!!!

See, when Matt was but a wee boy, he was walking down the streets of Hell’s Kitchen when he saw a man about to get creamed by a truck. Being the upstanding citizen that he is, little Matt pushed the old man out of harm’s way, taking the hit for hi. While Matt survived, the truck’s cargo, some kind of chemical something-or-other got into his eyes, blinding him.

And then the chemical shit leaked into the sewers, and that’s how the Ninja Turtles were born. The end.

However, when he lost his sight, his other senses were enhanced to superhuman levels to make up for his lack of sight.

Bullshit, I know. But it’s cool, so whatever.

Matt doesn’t sit idly by with his, uh, we’ll call it a gift, I suppose. A lawyer by day, he dons a kickass all-black outfit at night and goes out to beat the shit out of those who would prey on the innocent as a vigilante known as… Nothing.

Y’know, because that would be silly.

Matt is only human though, and he struggles to reconcile his secret life with his job and his relationship with his friends, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). It doesn’t exactly help matters that a new criminal element has taken over every nook and cranny of Hell’s Kitchen, uniting the Bratva, Triads, Yakuza, and the shithead warden from The Shawshank Redemption into a dangerous cabal, led by the enigmatic Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).

It helps matters even less when you consider that Fisk is goddamn terrifying.

Daredevil is a well-respected Marvel property, but he hasn’t ever been done justice in movies or TV. While a fairly major character in the comics, he’s hardly an A-lister, though he was an Avenger for like, 3 seconds. He finally got a movie in 2003, but, long story short, that movie’s the reason why some people were so pissy about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman, even though they had no real call to be that way.

While that movie had a dark, brooding atmosphere in the vein of the comics, it was pretty inconsistent (See: Murdock fighting Elektra in the middle of a fucking playground. During DAYTIME). This show, on the other hand, feels completely justified in it’s dark environments and bleakness. You FEEL the specter of doom and gloom looming over this version of Hell’s Kitchen rearing it’s ugly head, ready to swallow every and anybody in its way. It actually feels a lot like Batman Begin‘s Gotham City, which makes sense considering the two protagonists are so similar.

In every respect except wallet size.

Speaking of the protagonist, Charlie Cox plays Daredevil very, very well, and the character of Matt Murdock is handled ably by Cox and the writers (Who, I should mention, also provide the best justification for a no-kill policy that I’ve ever heard. From a religious perspective too. I didn’t expect that.). While the movie Daredevil just came off as a smarmy jackass (Insert outdated Ben Affleck joke here), Cox comes off as a little more grounded and disturbed. Sure, he’s witty and intelligent (Par for the course for Marvel heroes, admittedly), but he also has a dark side that refuses to go away even though he fights on the side of the angels. He frequently contemplates murder, he’s an extremely brutal, even possibly sadistic, fighter, he’s emotionally unavailable to his friends and he’s kind of a masochist.

This has nothing to do with anything, but this costume is pretty damn awesome.

The supporting characters are well-written and performed, if probably too much of a focus at some points of the season. Foggy starts off kind of grating, but he gets to be a necessity, nicely contrasting the show’s relentless cruelty with his offbeat sense of humour. Karen Page, while not terribly interesting, is a fine character as well. The only supporting hero that I feel was wasted is Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), who, although portrayed super well, doesn’t appear all that much, and the scenes where he teams up with Karen are kind of the weak point of the season. Not that they’re bad, they’re just the scenes that made me miss Daredevil smashing the shit out of the Russian mob.

The other villains are fine as well, but the standout is Wilson Fisk’s faithful attendant, Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), who is already the frontrunner for “Most punchable character of 2015”.

No Bullseye, though. Thank god for season 2, I guess.

“But Kenny, nobody gives a shit about these people! What about Kingpin!? WHAT ABOUT KINGPIN?!?!?!”

Alright, let’s talk about Wilson Fisk.

As enjoyable as the MCU continues to be, its villains have been surprisingly weak. Aside from Loki, Red Skull, Winter Soldier and almost certainly Ultron, we’ve mostly been stuck with mediocrity like Whiplash, Malekith and Ronan. Unlike these guys though, Fisk is more grounded a bad guy than the other schmucks, being neither an alien nor a superhero. Just a socially awkward behemoth with a god complex.

I fucking love him. You can keep Loki, this is the best MCU villain to date.

Don’t ever change, you beautiful boy.

In the comics (As well as the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon that was/is my life) Kingpin was a very tall, corpulent man who was highly intelligent, manipulative and collected. However, the backstory and portrayal of Fisk in Daredevil paint a much more deep, disturbing picture of a truly fucked-up, shy child trapped inside the imposing body of a very threatening man. Yes, he’s intelligent, manipulative and collected, but he’s liable to let his unstable emotions get the better of him, and he won’t think twice about beating you to death if you step out of line. D’Onofrio plays him perfectly (Albeit oddly) and I can’t take my eyes off the screen whenever he’s doing his thing.

It also bears mentioning that Ayelet Zurer is terrific as Wilson Fisk’s love interest, Vanessa. Yeah, you heard me right, a fully developed romantic story arc for the villain (And not the hero!), you don’t see that very often, do you?

As you might expect (Because I straight-up told you), Daredevil is much darker than the other MCU stuff, which makes sense, considering the source material is very dark (In fact, grit-meister Frank Miller wrote the comic for a while, and also wrote some great, dark Batman stories as well as some cartoonishly bad dark Batman stories).

Send your angry fanboy rant to pleasekillthemessenger@gmail.com.

In terms of dark visuals, this show can’t be beat. It’s fucking beautiful. Not since Tim Burton’s Batman movies has there been a stylistically dark superhero story this, I dunno, appealingly flashy, if that makes any sense whatsoever. I dunno, just watch the damn show, you’ll see what I mean.

If you’re a fan of good action (Aren’t we all?), this show’s for you, being both well-shot and really, REALLY brutal, with folks getting heads crushed, impaled and/or otherwise maimed throughout the duration. This is the first MCU property to really say “screw the kids.” It’s beautiful, really.

The only real problem that I have with the show is that it can get kind of slow at times throughout the middle of the season, leading me to believe that it would’ve worked better with a couple less episodes. A minor complaint, but my only one.

Overall: Dark, ultraviolent, stylish and well-acted, Daredevil ranks among the better projects from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s not exactly faint praise.

Rating: 9/10

Seriously though, if Bullseye isn’t in the next season, we riot.

Mighty Marvel Movie Month

My alliteration game is off the goddamn charts.

For the past week or so, I had been suffering through the worst case of artistic blue balls that I’ve had since I started to write somewhat consistently. Nothing I was drafting, aside from my pretty damn good critique of Boyhood (Humility is not one of my more prominent qualities)  was amounting to much more than a mediocre rough draft in my notepad, and the only things I was posting semi-consistently were frigging quotes, which, again, I really shouldn’t be using to replace original content.

So, I decided to retreat to my mind palace and figure out just what exactly the hell I was going to do next. None of the movies coming out interest me in particular, Game of Thrones isn’t till April, DeathMatches take too long to set up…. I guess the new Avengers movie is coming out soon, so I could do some Marvel-related thing, but what, exactly? It’s a little early to do a Top 10 Marvel Whatever list, and  think everybody and their moose have made a Top 10 superhero list…

And then, it hit me like Suge Knight. A stroke of genius unlike the world has ever seen before. What is it, you ask?  Well, for the next month or so, until the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I will review every single Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that I haven’t already reviewed.

…At least, that was my original idea.

See, there aren’t quite that much Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as it can sometimes feel like, and I’ve already reviewed a fair bit of them. So, the next logical step?

Review every single movie starring Marvel characters, obviously, be they MCU or not.

Before starting, for those of you about to claim hat I’m ripping off CineMassacre’s Monster Madness and Nostalgia Critic’s Disneycember (Albeit, with the written word)… You’re right. I thought it was a cool idea, and I decided to do something similar with something I really care about, specifically, a bunch of costumed Ubermensch saving the world from the greatest threats humanity’s ever seen.

Of course, by “the world”, I mean “New York”.

The only problem with this? There are a goddamn ton of these movies, and there are only so many days until Avengers 2, with so many hours of free time at my disposal. So, I won’t see movies that I have already reviewed (Guardians of the Galaxy, Days of Future Past, etc.). Not only that, but I’m only reviewing movies that had a theatrical wide release (No animated movies, no serials, etc.) as well as only movies that are based off of characters from the main Marvel comics imprint. That means no Kick-Ass (Which is published by Icon) or Men in Black (Aircel Comics). If this upsets you, then a) you get upset at strange things, and b) bite me. It still adds up to 32 movies, what more do you want from me!?

My first review, being of the first ever movie based off of a Marvel character, should be out within the next day or two, and, surprisingly enough, this film does not start one of Marvel’s ticket characters, but instead stars an obscure hero known as… Wait, what does that say? Howard the-

…. Oh no.

God help us all.

A Quick Look at the Revealed DC Cinematic Universe: Part 1 of 4

‘The Guardians of the Galaxy can suck it.”

Last week, likely in response to Marvel’s announcement of the plot details to Captain America 3, Warner Bros. decided to go one further by announcing all of the movies planned for the DC Cinematic universe up to the year 2020, along with some casting details and a couple director announcements. So, was this really a hasty, impulsive announcement that doesn’t really bode well for DC’s ongoing rivalry with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, or is this a genius publicity  move by WB that will get people to forget all about the MCU?

Definitely the former. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested though. So, after getting through the last of my TV reviews until this week’s Legend of Korra episode, I decided to take a quick look at the movie announcements, with each movie accompanied by a short blurb. Let’s do this!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I dunno if this is official art or not, but I really like it.

Release date: March 25, 2016

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder

Screenplay by: Chris Terrio (Argo)

Story by: David S. Goyer

Cast: Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) Amy Adams (Lois Lane) Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) Diane Lane (Martha Kent) Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor) Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) Holly Hunter (U.S. Senator) Tao Okamoto (Mercy Graves)

Cameos: Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman) Ray Fisher (Cyborg/Victor Stone)

This is the movie that we currently have the most information on, as it’s currently the only movie that’s in production. Really, there isn’t much more to say about it. I still liked Man of Steel more than most and think that the returning cast from that movie could do a great job, I still have faith that Ben Affleck can pull Batman off (Even more so now that the photos of him in the batsuit have been released), and Jesse Eisenberg is still kinda iffy for me. I guess this is where you pull the Heath Ledger card on me, because “You don’t now if he’s gonna be great until you see him.” That’s true enough, I suppose. I guess we’ll just wait and see.

Also, high fucking time that Wonder Woman appears on the big screen. We had a damn Steel movie with Shaquille O’Neal and no Wonder Woman? Bullshit.

Suicide Squad 

I’m not sure what the fact that I find a psychopath murderess attractive? Well, I find Harley Quinn really hot. There, I said it.

Release date: August 5, 2016

Directed by: David Ayer

Screenplay by: Justin Marks

This…. This announcement really threw me off.

I just don’t get it. There was no solo Batman or Superman movie announced, and yet, a Suicide Squad movie?

The only possible reason that I can imagine why this was green-lit is that Warner Bros. saw Marvel and Disney make all the money because of Guardians of the Galaxy and thought “Hey, we can make a movie starring charming criminals who become reluctant heroes!!! Let’s do that!”

“But edgy!!!”

Regardless, I’m still pretty pumped about the movie, although I’m kinda pissed off that it doesn’t look like Harley Quinn’s gonna be in it as, morbid sexual attraction aside, I think she’s a great character. But hey, Deadshot’s gonna be there, and even if he’s got a bunch of nobodies behind him, they’re in negotiations to bring in an A-list cast of Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie (Who, just saying, would be a great Harley Quinn). Also, David Ayer is a pretty highly regarded director, having helmed movies like Fury and End of Watch. I dunno, it’s bizarre, but it could pay off.

 To be continued…