Tag Archives: Marvel

Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix Review

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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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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

Marvel Studio’s second stand alone Captain America film starred Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, and Robert Redford.

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Marvel has spent years building continuity between their films. Everyone fretted when Disney stepped in, but as a comic and movie fan this may have been a match made in heaven. Marvel’s The Avengers has been written multiple times in the box office record books and its multiple tie-in have nearly washed James Cameron’s Avatar away from people’s minds. Disney and Marvel films bring their “A” game with this sequel. As an audience member you can feel the chemistry and genuine background of the universe present in this film.

The Winter Soldier is a comic run from the masterful Ed Brubaker which has become a modern classic. Directors of this film knew that in order to re-create that epic on film would take the help of the industry and who other than Ed himself joined to help them craft this story and it shows. The comic and cinematic universes began to merge with this powerful sequel.

Anyone listening to the radio, watching the news, or in a class about political science knows about the current climate of American security policies, most of all terrorism and cybersecurity. With things like Snowden and Heartbleed flooding the news media everyday we are uniquely prepared for this type of plot. Captain America both as a character and as a film deals with those issues and how we, the citizens, fit into that equation.

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Chris Evans returns in spades to relive the star spangled boyscout. His torment and struggles with the ghosts from his past as well as the deadly secrets of friends place this performance the best of his tenure in the role and perhaps of all of the characters in the 8 other Marvel films.

Scarlett Johansson makes her third appearance as the “sidekick” Black Widow, but this time played second fiddle rather than fourth or fifth a la The Avengers. This spotlight however brought to light some flaws in her characterization that had not been evident. These flaws worked very well in the film but would detract from future films if not addressed.

Anthony Mackie makes his first outing in the Marvel Universe an interesting one. His character, Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, is introduced organically. Much about this character is left out or held off, but unlike many characters in this film and in that case any other Marvel film, he could not survive in a stand alone feature, even just a Marvel One-Shot or one of the upcoming Netflix serials. He hopefully will get more focus in the films to come, as he seems like a good addition to the team.

The Winter Soldier quickly dominates the film as he becomes the primary antagonist. His performance mainly toward the climax of the film is one of the driving reasons the film works as both as a great Marvel movie and a good political thriller.

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Robotic arms, bird flight suits, and shield tossing in combat all sound like crazy ideas on their own, but all look perfectly normal in this film. Chris Evans and the special effects team, Lucas’s ILM (another Disney acquisition), clearly have learned from their previous outings as the shield wielding avenger. No one makes it look odd, even attaching it to his back or retrieving it during combat seems seamless. Winter Soldier’s robotic limb moves like a well oiled machine in every scene it is used in. Falcon’s top secret flight suit was the hardest to swallow but it flew here because honestly we have come up with stranger stuff for the military.

More so than anything else the visual effects department excels in fight choreography. The fight scenes in this film make even some martial arts movies look slow and pre-planned. Don’t trust commercials, they have slowed some scenes down and have cut up others as to not spoil the film. This is a feat of fight-filming at the very least, and hopefully this will carry over into the future Marvel studio films.

Dat Knife Flip!

Dat Knife Flip!

Overall EAO gives Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier a solid 4.5 stars and stripes out of 5!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same.

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