Movie Review: Justice League

Details: Released in 2017. About two hours long. Stars Ben AffleckGal GadotJason Momoa. Directed by Zac Snyder and partially by Joss Whedon.

I had a lot of fear and low expectations walking into this movie. Though not a masterpiece by any margin, Justice League is a fun movie for fans of the superhero/comic book genre and a nice opportunity to shut off your brain and enjoy some special effects and pretty shots.

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Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Details: Released in 2017. Directed by Taika Waititi. Stars Chris HemsworthTom HiddlestonCate Blanchett. Over two hours long.

Among Marvel’s movie properties, I think Thor is the franchise that they’ve had the hardest time figuring out how to approach. The last two films weren’t great, at least not as good or character redefining as Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Thor: Ragnarok takes the franchise in a different direction and does it mostly successfully. This new direction feels like they took Guardians of the Galaxy and mashed it with that comedic short clip where Thor moves in with Darryl the office worker. I’ll provide the clip below.

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Video Game Review: Batman: The Telltale Series

Details: Released in 2016. Spent nine hours playing through all five episodes for an average of a little under two hours per episode. Purchased for $6.25 through Steam.

Batman: The Telltale Series is an adventure game from Telltale studios that retells some classic Batman tales as well as a whole new story. This game makes significant changes to the Batman mythos and also keeps some things the same. As a big fan of all things Batman, I enjoyed this game and the story it told.

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TV Show Review: The Defenders

Details: Released in 2017. Eight episodes at around an hour each. Aired on Netflix.

The Defenders is the culmination of all the Marvel, comic book, superhero shows that have been airing on Netflix over the last couple of years. It takes the characters from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist and smashes them all into one big crossover event of a show. Despite the anticipation and hype that the show was trying to build up, The Defenders is just okay.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Details: Released in 2017. Over two hours long. Stars Tom HollandMichael KeatonRobert Downey Jr.

Spider-Man returns and we finally get a look at the kind of Spider-Man movie the Marvel movie machine would make. Before getting into specifics, I’m going to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a good movie that takes a very slightly different take on the character as compared to the prior Spider-Man movies.

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Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Details: Released in 2017. About two hours and twenty minutes long. Stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright.

I didn’t read any reviews before watching this movie in order to avoid spoilers. After seeing the movie, I went and scavenged over all the reviews on the internet to see what other people thought. Generally, people love this movie. I’ve even heard it called a perfect superhero movie. Personally, I enjoyed the movie, but I think it is far, far away from a masterpiece. I also think there are many existing comic book movies that are easily superior to this one. No spoilers except a brief summary of the premise.

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TV Show Review: Arrow, Season 5

Details: Airs on the CW. Twenty-three episodes this season at an hour a piece, including commercials.

At this point in my life, if there’s a superhero in the show, I will watch it. I can’t help it. I just like superhero stuff and I’m too curious to do otherwise. So after the last season of Arrow, I wasn’t expecting much this season. I didn’t enjoy the last season. Fortunately, while this season does make a few of the same narrative mistakes as last season, I generally enjoyed it.

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TV Show Review: Iron Fist, Season 1

Details: Aired on Netflix. Thirteen episodes at about an hour each.

The unfortunate part about Iron Fist and its most attractive quality is that it is part of the Marvel cinematic, superhero universe. People like watching Marvel superhero stuff. Unfortunately, when compared with the other Netflix/Marvel superhero shows, this is clearly the worst of the bunch.

The story is about the return of Danny Rand. Years ago, Danny Rand and his parents were all presumed dead after their plane crashed in the Himalayas. Turns out that while his parents apparently died, Danny survived and became a martial artist with the power to turn his fists into indestructible weapons. Now he returns to New York City to find his place in the world and fight new threats.

I think the primary reason why this show is lacking compared to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage is because there doesn’t seem to be any goal for the show to focus on. With Daredevil, they already established a kick ass, gritty, martial arts, action show. With Jessica Jones, you had this focus on a Noir, detective story with superhero twist and also told from the perspective of a victimized woman who’s been raped in body and mind, but tries to overcome it and empower herself. Luke Cage is your attempt at a black, crime drama, similar in tone to The Wire or Empire, with a superhero twist. I think the draw of the Netflix superhero shows was that they took a genre of fiction and injected superpowers into them. That made the shows familiar, yet new and interesting. It also helped that comic book fans got to see their favorite superheroes in live action.

And now we land on Iron Fist. What’s the twist here? What’s the focus? I’m not sure what tone or atmosphere they were trying to achieve here. There was some articles written on how Iron Fist should have starred an Asian protagonist. It could have gone into what life as an Asian immigrant was like and how having super powers would spin that. It certainly would have made sense and shown yet another side of the Marvel movie universe. It would also go along with their themes of diversity (Daredevil is disabled; Jessica Jones is a woman; Luke Cage is black).

However, that’s not what we got. Everything I saw in this series I saw done better in Daredevil. The whole series felt like Daredevil-lite. There were a lot of action scenes, but they felt slow and empty. The action, the acting, and the story were not impressive. I’m not saying this is an awful show, it’s just cringy and not at the level of the other Netflix superhero stuff.

I think the primary problem here is the casting. The performances and dialogue made me cringe many times. None of the people here were too great and they didn’t really fit… which I guess leads to the writing. The motivations for a lot of these characters were hard to believe. The whole story felt mostly pointless, which would be fine to me if only the action scenes were better choreographed or had some emotion in them. Unfortunately, they did not.

Overall, Iron Fist isn’t great. I was mostly bored. It might still be worth watching if you’re bored and need something to pass the time. Otherwise, I think you can just skip it.

Score: 5/10