Daredevil: In the Blood First Impressions

Well, that ending happened.

  • Russian prisons are no joke apparently.  Witch would make Hell’s Kitchen a definite step up.
  • More Claire!  I was hoping we’d see more of her!
  • The dynamic between the two Russian brothers is interesting.  Anitoli seems to be the more sensible of the two, at least he’s more aware of just how much damage Matt is doing to their business and how much Fisk could help with that.  Also, glasses guy has a name!  Wesley!  Sounds suitibly dorky.
  • Urich seems to know just how dangerous getting involved in the Union Allied thing could be, but of course as we saw in the last episode, letting it go just isn’t an option for Karen.
  • I think that the scene with Fisk and Vanessa is more interesting in light of what happens at the end of the episode, but more on that later.
  • Claire and the Russians: Damn good scene, from beginning to end.  My favorite part?  “You want to know his name?  As him yourself.”
  • Apropos of nothing, methinks I see something of a romance blooming between Claire and Matt.  Not sure if want.
  • Speaking of romance, the date between Fisk and Vanessa is somewhat endearingly akward.  Even if it does end rather badly.
  • There’s an interesting parallel between Matt and Fisk that I want to point out.  They both say that they want to make the city better.  Of course, they ways that they go about making it better are wildly different, at least in terms of morality.  In terms of methodology, they’re surprisingly similar.
  • Now then, the ending.  It’s brutal, really brutal.  I didn’t even think that you could decapitate someone with a car door.  Just goes to show what I know.  And all because Fisk got embarrassed at the restaurant.  Clearly Fisk needs some anger management classes.

This was a very villain-centric episode.  It gave us a little more insight into how the villains of the show think and how they view the world.  I think that that makes them more interesting to watch and I’m very much looking forward to how things will pan out.

Daredevil: Rabbit in a Snowstorm First Impressions

Episode three and things are getting interesting.

  • Won’t Jam, Guaranteed: So, of course, in the very next shot, it jams.
  • The fight that came after that was brutal; I actually like that they make the fights as brutal as they are, it grounds the whole series.
  • Enter the Priest: I really wonder what’s going on between Matt and the priest.  Clearly they have a history together, and not just in the confessional.
  • What happened to Matt’s eye: I like how they didn’t just hand-wave away how beat up Matt got in the last episode.  Again, realism for the win.
  • Fair Compensation: I know the guy who hires Foggy and Matt has a name, I just haven’t heard it yet.  That said, this scene was really interesting just from a story telling point of view.  It managed to get a lot across with just acting and what has been already established about the characters in the scene.
  • Foggy’s Interview: Is it just me, or does Foggy not do as well when Matt isn’t around?  Still, we again get to see that Foggy isn’t as mercenary as he seems.
  • And once again I get to gush about character interactions, this time between Foggy and Matt!  I really like how they’ve made the character stuff that has very little to do with the plot just as interesting as the plot stuff.
  • Karen’s Choice: Typical corporate lawyer stuff, but it can only end badly for Karen.
  • Signs of the Times: Ben’s sub-plots in this episode might as well have been titled “Ways in Which the Modern World Sucks”.
  • I get the feeling that aside from Foggy and Matt being clean, they were also being tested throughout the trial.  It should be interesting to see what the bad guys gleaned from all of that.
  • “Bang on the Router”: It’s always the simple fixes that are the most effective.
  • Healey’s Slip:  So maybe I should call Fisk “He Who Must Not be Named” for the rest of the series?
  • Speaking of Wilson Fisk, I knew D’Onofrio was going to be good, but just that little bit of him at the end really made me want to see more.

Overall, this was an important bridge episode to the rest of the series.  Now that the major players have been established, we’re ready for the plot to really start moving and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Daredevil: Cut Man First Impressions

Hooray for well done character development!

  • This is what I meant when I was talking about Matt getting the crap kicked out of him.  He’s a normal human, he doesn’t have super strength or a healing factor, but the fact that he can still keep fighting when another person has given up makes him the best kind of superhero.
  • Foggy’s singing: I didn’t quite catch what Foggy was singing about (pirate ships?  I think?) but Karen was right, he did not sound good.
  • Claire the Nurse: I really hope that we see more of her as the show goes on.  She’s an interesting character.  Also, I can’t help but wonder who Mike was.
  • Karen’s Fears and Foggy’s Humanity: I really liked the interactions between Foggy and Karen, they felt real and authentic.  Karen’s fears about the city are totally understandable given what she’s been through.  And Foggy staying with her and taking her bar hopping so she didn’t have to go home was really sweet.
  • Speaking of character interactions, I also liked the interactions between Matt and his father.  Jack Murdock did whatever he had to to make his son’s life just a little bit better, but in the end what he decided was more important was that Matt was proud of him.  I think that there’s a lot of his father in Matt, and not just the getting beaten up part.
  • Rooftop Interrogation: I have to side with Claire on this one, I think Matt might have gone a bit too far, but then again there was a child involved and time was of the essence.  Good scene either way though.
  • Final Fight: Wow this was good.  It was real while still being impressive and I was genuinely worried about our hero at certain points, damn good stuff.

And that’s episode two!  I’ll try to get to episode three tomorrow, but don’t hold your breath.  Also the rest of the series might have to wait until later next week.  But I’ll do my best.

Daredevil First Impressions: Into the Ring

So here we are with the first of Netflix’s Marvel shows.  And so far, I’m pretty impressed.

  • Foggy: He’s going to be the breakout side character that everyone loves, I can pretty much guarantee it.
  • I like how they show off Matt’s abilities.  Bringing up the sound of the things he’s listening for gives the audience a way to get Matt’s perspective across in a visual medium.
  • Speaking of Matt’s abilities, other than his exceptional hearing he doesn’t have any “super-powers” per se.  Which means that he gets beaten up a lot during the course of the episode, and I liked that.
  • Bad Guys: Typical Corporate Douche (I forget his name) being less worried about the vigilante taking out his partners because superheroes are good for business was amusing.
  • I also liked how Kingpin stayed off-screen for the entire episode.  D’Onofrio is probably the most recognizable name in the cast, and I know that he’s a phenomenal actor and keeping him out of sight for the first episode gives the rest of the cast the chance to shine.
  • I liked that Karen joined Team Nelson & Murdock (can someone please come up with a catchy nickname for our heroes please?) at the end of the episode.  She seems to be a good balance between Foggy’s slightly mercenary attitude and Matt’s overwhelming desire to do good.

So that’s the first episode in the bag.  I have to admit that I’m interested in seeing how well this grittier take on the MCU gels with the rest of it.  The good thing about having it on Netflix is that I don’t have to wait a week to find out.

The Sky is Falling! Or Something Like That…

One could be forgiven for thinking that something truly terrible had happened over at Marvel Studios the way that some fans have been taking to social media to express their anger and distress this afternoon.  So what happened to make a part of the fandom loose their collective minds?  Well, if you believe the internet, Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast as the title character in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange movie.  The problem is, that isn’t exactly true.

To quote from the article that broke this news earlier today, “I’m hearing Benedict Cumberbatch is the studio’s choice for the superhero pic, and negotiations are about to begin.”  To point out the obvious, the fact that Marvel would like Cumberbatch to play the role, and that they’re just starting to talk to him about that does not make it a done deal.  Marvel’s negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix broke down right around Comic Con, so there’s no reason to believe that it might not happen again.  Cumberbatch is a busy man these days, so he might turn it down for scheduling reasons.  That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea for Cumberbatch to play the role, in fact I think he would do quite well, but let’s break down exactly why this casting is causing so much frustration.

Northern Overexposure

So one of the most common complaints about this casting I’ve seen is, “He’s overexposed.”  Now, I feel that this is a valid complaint.  As I said, the man’s busy.  Not only is he dealing with the final Hobbit movie, he’s also got the second Hollow Crown series, and The Penguins of Madagascar and a whole slew of other projects.  So I can certainly see how a bit of Cumberfatigue might be setting in.  But there are still plenty of people who like the guy and who will happily shell out to see him on the big screen.

White Knight?

Diversity in casting is a big problem in the movie industry right now.  And the problem isn’t any better over in the comics industry.  And a lot of fans are disappointed that Marvel hasn’t been talking to any POC actors about the role.  Now, not to sound like a massive dick, but Stephen Strange isn’t a POC.  If you look at his Marvel Wiki character page, it lists his parents as Eugene and Beverly Strange and his birthplace as Philadelphia, PA; and he spent his childhood at the family farm in Nebraska.  Not to say that he couldn’t be cast as a POC, but if they’ve decided that they want to stick to cannon, yeah, they’re gonna cast the guy as white.

Now before anyone starts screaming about White Privilege, let me say this.  I would like to see a POC actor in the role myself, I’d really like Alexander Siddig to take the role; but it isn’t my decision, it’s Marvel’s.  And in the end, we’re all going to have to live with that and decide whether or not casting a white actor in a role that a lot of people would have liked to see a POC actor take is worth not going to see it.

Safety First

The third most common complaint I’ve seen is that Cumberbatch is too safe a choice.  I think that this ties in with the overexposure complaint.  He’s a bankable star name, and that’s true.  But here’s the thing, Doctor Strange isn’t a character that most people outside of the comic fandom are familiar with.  To be honest, he seems a bit second string to me.  Important yes, but not someone a lot of fans would know really well.

Now Marvel has done well casting unknowns in the past, but maybe they feel that the movie might do better if it has a name star attached to it.  And lightning seldom strikes twice.  Still, Hollywood does have a reputation for not taking chances when they should, and this might be one of those times.  But I still think that Cumberbatch would do well in the role, and I’d like to see fans give him a chance.

TL;DR

In the end, this is just another rumor.  And as such, I’m taking it with a few pounds of salt.  Marvel will announce who they’ve decided to cast when they’re ready to do so.  And all the metaphorical gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair in the world probably won’t have much of an effect on their decision.  So just calm down, take a breath, and wait.  Marvel might just surprise us.

Guardians of the Galaxy: An Awesome Mix of a Movie

I’m sure that no one needs me to tell them that Guardians of the Galaxy is really good.  Really, really good.  Well worth seeing.  And all that stuff.  Every critic that I’ve heard of has said the same thing.  And it really is that good.  So go see it already!

But if you want a little more than that, Marvel has hit it out of the park again.  At some point they’ll mess it up (Ant Man isn’t looking too good right now, but they may yet salvage that one), but until then Marvel will continue to widen the gap between themselves and DC.

The movie itself sound kind of silly at first.  A human, an assassin, a walking revenge film, a genetically enhanced raccoon, and a talking tree all going up against one very angry alien with a massive chip on his shoulder who has one of the extremely powerful Infinity Stones to help him get his revenge on the planet Xandar.  There is a nice mix of action, pathos and comedy going on here.  The characters are engaging (Rocket and Groot are real stand-outs, but the whole cast works really well.), the pacing is well done, and (of course) the soundtrack is, in the words of the movie, Awesome.

So if you haven’t seen it yet, or were wondering if it really is that good; yes it is, and you should quit stalling and go see it.