Category Archives: Shows

Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix Review

Daredevil Top image

Netflix brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the Streets. New York City has never looked Redder.

Review By Skylar Stone. Scores by Skylar and Javin Stone

Disney’s Marvel buyout has had a long list of effects for the Marvel franchise, most surprisingly has been the Netflix connection which will result in 5 different 13 episode series. First in this series was Marvel Studios‘ reboot of New York’s blind brawler Daredevil.

The original Daredevil live action adaption was not taken well. Ben Affleck has only built up his movie profile since then but back in 2003 he was not a powerful superhero and the movie’s plot line did not help. Netflix and Marvel Studio’s new take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe reinvents not only the american devil but also the scope of the MCU.

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Fox’s first attempt at Marvel’s Man Without Fear starring Ben Affleck. There is a reason there was not a Daredevil 2.

This review is based only on the first 6 episodes of the mini-series and warning the series is rated TV-MA.

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In the series so far, very little has been given to as why Matt Murdock’s hooded alter-ego is crime fighting but he does it well. The Netflix series takes notes from serious cable drama shows like Sons of Anarchy and Boardwalk Empire. Dark, gritty, and personal stories about struggle intertwine to create a compelling story but is still confusing. It seems odd to say but not much is needed in the way of back-story because so much happens in the episode to push the story organically through out the whole episode and the series still has time to complete the story.

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Good thing he cant see how long the fall is, because if he could he would not be standing that close.

Unlike Agents of SHIELD, the series doesn’t rely on the MCU to make the plot relevant or important. I would like that Daredevil show a bit more of the MCU since it seems at this point to purposely avoid it to make Daredevil seem more out of place. Not a huge hit but definite room for improvement in a new vehicle for the Marvel Universe.

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Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is played in a way reminiscent to the Bruce Wayne/ Batman style, in which Batman is the true persona. Matt Murdock is used to further “Daredevil”, or as the series has called up to this point “Man in the Black Mask”, often to a painful end for Matt. Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) is actually a very welcomed lighter character in the dark gritty New York filled with corrupt cops, dead bystanders, and gangs. This where the praise ends.

Kingpin

Vincent D’Onofrio is an impressive, imposing figure and great actor but is he a crime “Kingpin”?

Wilson Fisk or as any Marvel comic fan is aware “Kingpin”, is the hardest character to swallow. He is secretive, bumbling, and troubled while still being terrifying which I think is what they wanted and for that Vincent D’Onofrio was a perfect choice, except that he is a Super Mob Boss. A mob boss with enough power to own police, politicians, and the majority of the movers and shakers; can not also be small enough to be a background figure with crazy quirks. I know I am biased to the 90’s Spider-Man animated series portrayal of the white suited business giant which I feel was better portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan in the 2003 film and out of the hated film seemingly withstood critics.

The other characters like Deborah Ann Woll‘s Karen Page and Vondie Curtis-Hall‘s Ben Urich seem to be Ok characters if in a show like Mad Men or a movie like State of Play, but stand out in Marvel Cinematic Universe. They seem added to add depth to the overall plot but just create more for the audience to wait through to get to the “Daredevil” plot.

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Gritty is a mild description of this series given that the ABC shows Agents of SHIELD and Marvel’s Agent Carter look like Yo Gabba Gabba in comparison. While “Daredevil” has frequently been a dark series in the marvel comic universe, this seems almost too dark to be in the same space as Robert Downey Jr.‘s “Iron Man”.

Full black suit against a black sky. Any darker and it would become a radio play!

Full black suit against a black sky. Any darker and it would become a radio play!

Visually the series benefits from two aspects, the fighting and camera. Martial arts and fighting scenes have been changed with the improved choreography in movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and John Wick. This series is well aware of that is uses lots of martial arts scenes to show the skill of the fights and to keep the action level at max. Since Matt is blind the focus of the camera is sometimes not on the action but instead plays with the audio or range of vision and this works to show a more artsy impression to mindless action scenes.

Overall while the story is not fleshed out, some characters are a miss, and its a bit too dark Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix breaks the mold and is doing it well. EAO gives Marvel’s Daredevil  3 and ½ horns out of 5.

Black is the new Red.

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Marvel’s Agent Carter Review

Hayley Atwell returns as Marvel's Agent Carter!

Hayley Atwell returns as Marvel’s Agent Carter!

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Even though the premiere was 2 separate episodes we are basing our review on the full two hours. This mini-series fits extremely well within the Marvel cinematic universe by not only having the same actors and using footage from both the One-shot and Captain America: The First Avenger but the quality of writing seems to far surpass Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. From the serious themes and to the period attitudes the plot seemed that of a cable series. While implosion devices, vocal surgery, and steampunk emails are a bit hard to swallow the plot was as cheezy as it could have been. It clearly was its own story not relying on only previous conceived ideas from the movies but included enough to make it relevant.

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Hayley Atwell’s Agent Peggy Carter has not only been previously established but has already been in 3 different points in her career so her character development was not really a point of contention and she does well to embellish her already full character. The welcomed addition was the straight-man to Carter’s take-no-prisoner personality which was in the form of Edwin Jarvis played by James D’Arcy in this series (Paul Bettany‘s robotic voice commanded AI’s namesake in the Iron Man/Avengers movie franchise). A major problem with the characters in this series so far has been almost everyone else, the villains seemed a bit like cheezy 60s comic book lackeys with a crime drama makeover and worse still were the almost faceless SSR agents that seemed included only to add sexism and to complicate Carter’s spy work.

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The addition of the Captain America radio play and the constant jazz overtone definitely made it seem like late 40s America. Sets in the series were reminiscent to the those in Captain America: The First Avenger but did not do much to expand other than adding some steampunk level spy gear. Not much here other than a clear bigger budget than Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

Overall EAO gives ABC’s Agent Carter Mini-series gets 4 SSR shields out of 5. Rather you are a fan of Comic Books, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spy TV Shows, or even just period pieces this Mini-series is a must see.

Marvel’s Agent Carter airs on ABC at 8pm CST on Tuesdays.

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DC’s Fall TV Takeover

Scores by EAO, Article by Javin Stone

Marvel may have the theaters in their pockets, but DC is trying to take the living room by storm. This review is over the premiere episodes of each of the three new shows being put out by DC this Fall season.

Gotham

FOX Monday 9/8c

Plot

★★1/2

The weakest part of the show. Lots of room for improvement and it has gotten better in more recent episodes, but from the premiere alone it is a weak start.

Characters

★★★

The show may sell itself as a Bruce Wayne/Batman-less Gotham that is seething with corruption which is true. What is does not sell is the much more interesting aspect of seeing Bruce slowly killing is childhood innocence and becoming the brooding Dark Knight we all know and love. These scenes are usually brief and concise but could make the show worth it in the long run.

Visuals

★★1/2

Marginally average in the modern age of TV. Nothing spectacular, besides the occasional mix of 1940’s atmosphere with modern devices. Nothing clicks in terms of the overall impression besides “gritty”.

Gotham Cast

The main cast of Gotham with Ben McKenzie as Gordon and Donal Logue as Bullock in the lead.

Overall

Fox’s take on the iconic city of Gotham before the rise of Batman definitely has room to improve, but could pan out to be a interesting show so be sure to keep an eye on it. The premiere is a bit weak but it does pick up and hopefully will continue the trend. EAO gives Gotham’s premiere 2 1/2 detectives out of 5.

 

The Flash

CW Tuesday 8/7c

Plot

★★★★

Coming from the high of the first two seasons of Arrow, the Flash was doing better than most of this season’s premieres before it even aired. The hype did not hinder the plot as it is not afraid to show superpowers or full body suits; something most shows get heckled off TV for doing.

Characters

★★★★

Again, a pretty solid display from Barry and the gang. In classic comic book fashion, some characters can be a bit bland or static, but the overlap to Arrow gives a larger chance to flesh out characters as well as the universe they live in. The potential for improvement as both shows continue is massive.

Visuals

★★★★

Yes, the Flash is probably the most likely of superheroes to have a legitimate reason to need a special suit, but the way it looks is where it stands above the rest. It isn’t cheesy, it looks better than velvet, and is accurate. A difficult trifecta for produces to wrap their heads around. Not to mention the visual difference of filming between Arrow and the Flash makes it feel different enough for it’s brighter world view, but still connected.

Grant Gustin as the Flash.

Grant Gustin decked out in costume as the Flash.

Overall

The Flash is an easy and obvious favorite in the DC shows coming out this season. The only thing to worry is if they can keep the winning streak rolling. EAO gives the Flash’s premiere 4 lighting bolts out of 5.

 

Constantine

NBC Friday 10/9c

Plot

★★★

Overwhelmingly solid, yet a bit rough on the edges. If you’ve seen the first couple of seasons of Supernatural, then you have a good idea of how Constantine is going to play out. Not to say the plot episode and monster-of-the-week episodes pace of Supernatural is a bad way to do things, but it lacks the originality to push the score up higher.

Characters

★★★★

An excellent display of an antihero practicing good the only way he knows how. The biggest downside is the character made to experience the world along with the viewers. She is flat and dull, but hopefully (no spoilers) it can improve.

Visuals

★★★★

Matt Ryan is John Constantine. No question, one of the best casted character in all of the comic book movies and TV shows. In contrast to Supernatural, the glyphs and symbols used in Constantine are much cleaner and precise. It may be a bit less practical, but as a designer it is pleasing to look at.

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

Matt Ryan as John Constantine in what could be a comic book cover.

Overall

A very promising show showcasing the paranormal side of the DC universe. We can only hope that Ryan reprises his role in the Justice League Dark movie (supposedly) in the works. EAO gives Constantine’s premiere 4 cigarettes out of 5.

 

The takeaway from this is enjoy the DC limelight while you can. Marvel may dominate three times a year, but DC will be in you living room more than three times every week.

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The Legend of Korra: Book 3 Review

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Korra returns to deal with keeping the spirit world open and faces off a whole new threat, The Red Lotus.

With the amazing response from Legend of Korra Book 1: Air producers not only funded Book 2 but Book 3 and 4 as well. Honestly I think that the network saw this as an immense pressure and forced the Korra production team to complete Book 2 as fast as possible. The production team spoke quite openly about working on Books 2, 3, & 4 simultaneously and I think as a way to insure a better ending for the series than Book 2, because Book 2 saw a dip in quality and as a result a massive drop in ratings.

This plus some Mexican leaks caused Nick to scrap all of their promotional plans for Book 3 and released it extremely early with only one week notice for fans to tune in. The short notice was the first in a domino effect that lead to the 13 episode season completing online only 8 weeks after premiering. While it was clearly a better season, I fear that this network Snafu will hurt the Book 4 release.

Plot: Korra chibiKorra chibiKorra chibiKorra chibi

Book 3 opens with the fallout of keeping the spirit world open, this thematic connective nature was something that Book 2 never tried. Sadly this evolved only to the introduction of the new airbenders and the Red Lotus, which take over the series. With all of that aside the new threat and the new nation bring in a lot of the amazing writing that put Book 1 and the original series Avatar:the Last Airbender on the map.

One of the darkest seasons of not only the Korra series but of any western animation, lets just say there are more on-screen deaths in just this season than in the all of the original series or of the combined total of the previous Two Books!

Beards, Tattoos and the voice of Black Flag's Lead singer Henry Rollins No wonder they are more brutal!

Beards, Tattoos, and voice of Black Flag’s lead singer Henry Rollins, no wonder they are more brutal!

Characters: Korra chibiKorra chibiKorra chibi

Henry Rollins joins the voice cast as Zaheer the leader of the terrorist group, Red Lotus, bent on capturing the avatar. While his motives even after the season completes are still a bit grey, he is still one of the most powerful foes in the history of the Avatar universe. Peter Giles, Grey DeLisle, and Kristy Wu round out the voice cast as Ghazan, Ming-Hua, and P’Li which make up the muscle of the Red Lotus. These crazy characters are wildly dedicated to their cause and are some of the strongest benders ever faced, one even sports a brand new type of bending. This adversity creates some great character development for Team Avatar and for newcomer Suyin, the sister of fan favorite Lin Beifong. The new airbenders also add some levity and prove that this series will have a great impact in the Avatar universe. Most of all, I really wish more was revealed about the terrorists’ background and motivation which is why the category falls short of an otherwise great season.

Visuals:

Studio Mir, who also works on the Boondocks, takes the lead seat for animation and the action packed season shows that it’s a great partnership. Designs on par with any anime, and more martial arts references than any western animation truly blurs the lines between East and West. The action animation really has its ‘A’ game during the final bout in the finale. This category must be witnessed to really grasp its full effect.

So watch the trailer below!

Overall EAO gives The Legend of Korra Book 3: Change 4 new airbenders out of 5.

Watch the entire series for free on nick.com and stay tuned for Book 4 in October!

 

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Space Dandy Review

On January 4th, 2014 history was made. For the first time ever a Japanese anime had a world premiere on American TV…with English voices.

That brave new explorer was none other than Shinichiro Watanabe’s (Of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo fame) newest project  SPACE☆DANDY!

Space Dandy is an adventure story of a space explorer who collects rare alien species for profit. He is joined by his ragtag crew of QT, a robot and Meow, a Betelgeusean or basically a space cat.

This review is an average based on the first 7 episodes.

Plot:☆☆

The show has yet to settle a progressive plot. It randomly jumps around from story to story with little to no connection to other episodes and often ends with the crew dying. Only episode 5 has carried the same level of writing that the crew behind Space Dandy is known for.

Characters:☆☆☆

Space Dandy, and Meow have instant chemistry. The voice actors really embody the goofy nature of the Aloha Oe’s crew but overall while the characters are play goofy well, they are not deep or realistic. Sometimes static nature of the characters cause the lack of plot progression.

Visuals:☆☆☆☆1/2

Visuals and Music are really the only carry overs from the crew’s previous work. The colors and pulp style(similar to that of Buck Rodgers) make the show look great and can sometimes distract from the lack of quality plot. Yoko Kanno, famous for the Jazz music in Watanabe’s Cowboy Bebop and Kids on the Slope brings an eclectic mix of jazz, pop, and electronica that feels space age, which creates a great atmosphere. Sadly Dandy and the crew shatter that with the lack of dynamic story telling.

Overall EAO gives Space Dandy 3.5 pompadours out of 5.

While no one out out-dandies Space Dandy; several anime out-write, out-think, and out-entertain Space Dandy. But don’t take our word for it check it out every Saturday Night at 10:30pm only on Toonami from Adult Swim

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