Thursday, 14 April 2016

Marvel's Daredevil Season 2: Episode 8

This episode is like a blast back to season one with so many elements barge their way into season two like a steam train. In an episode that see's friendships crumble, Matt and Elektra facing some of their most difficult foes yet, oh and did I mention Stick? Well he joins in to and we also see a huge change in the 'Trial of the Century'. This episode really is just as compelling as the last and it's safe to say that this season is nothing like season one in terms of story arc's!

With the return of Stick as he jumps into help Matt and Elektra out with The Hands men, Matt finds it extremely difficult to fight them with only hearing their swords as I presume they have been trained to have a low heart rate and hardly to ever exhale. Which is pretty cool as it looked like Matt would
be unstoppable but this brings us to the realisation that even Daredevil has his limits and this proving to be quite a worrying one. But when Stick jumped in I felt quite relieved to see him as Matt was getting beaten and Elektra was bleeding out on the floor. Although his appearance usually sparks problems for Matt to deal with, problems that Matt can't deal with right now and low and behold it does as he finds out Elektra's true intentions to befriending him ten years ago. It turns out Elektra has known Stick for some time and he made it her mission to convince Matt to come to their side for 'The War'. The whole concept of the war is still a little hazy but a lot was explained about the organisation they are fighting and why Stick wants Matt to join him. It was a nice surprise finding out why Elektra came back to Matt after so many years and a nice tie to the overarching storyline. Although now it makes it very difficult for Matt to commit to his night life and job as a lawyer, if him and Foggy ever recover from the row they had.

Karen walking in on Matt with Elektra in his bed and Stick answering the door must have been a strange situation for Karen. But considering how bad it looked it's safe to say the two aren't together anymore and it officially means that Matt has now pissed off both of his closest friends which is rather sad. It didn't particularly last very long but it was just starting to really work for the two of them and it was sad to see it all turn sour. As for Foggy, well, I do think him and Matt aren't going to be partners anymore after Foggy invited Matt to come and question Frank at his own trial. Whilst doing this Matt gave a very promising speech in his name but Frank being manipulated by an officer ignored this and confirmed his jail sentence and the end of Nelson and Murdock Law Firm. All of this and Foggy blames it on Matt, only that this time it wasn't Matt's fault but it see's the rift getting worse between them.

The end of the episode saw probably the best return suitable for the 'King Pin' of Marvel. Not much of a clue? Well Frank walks into the Jail Gym to meet Wilson Fisk (obviously the man behind him getting Frank in jail), Fisk is currently lifting very heavy weights as he stops and turns to meet Frank. For me this was a great way for the great villain to return and boy am I happy to see him!

This episode was great in the sense that characters returned and more is added to the main storyline, also with Frank meeting Fisk it raises questions as to what Fisk would want with Frank. To be honest I really cannot wait to see in the next episode!

I Salute you for reading! :)

Monday, 11 April 2016

Marvel's Daredevil Season 2: Episode 7

For the first time in the show we see the two story lines collide as Foggy, Karen and Matt go to trial in the defence of Frank Castle and Elektra meddling with some of the witnesses. Although there isn't a lot of action in this episode there certainly is a lot of information and story progression that near enough turns the lives and friendships of our three most loved characters on their heads!

I think we'll start with Matt and how his night life nearly screwed Karen and Foggy over on the first day of the Frank Castle Case. Supposedly practising his statements Matt is out assisting Elektra in
their endeavour, despite how close the two are becoming, Matt doesn't seem to let it cloud his judgement of how he feels about Karen. Or maybe he does as the two clash over their personal views of Frank Castle's actions. This is a really great scene as it shows the differences between both characters, with Karen having already killed someone in season one she can sympathise with Frank and explaining how she understands his actions, whilst Matt is fixed on believing that those of higher power decide the fate of someone's life, referring to God. This is something that the show tackles quite frequently but not usually to this intensity, but I think with more characters that Matt comes into contact with who kill people, questions about morality are becoming more important!

Other than her conversation with Matt, Karen goes to the prison to speak with Frank to discuss what kind of approach he would agree to take with his case, denying going with a PTSD strategy is kind of shows how much Frank is in his own mind as he favours honesty over his trial. Also the fact that he's a proud soldier and would not like to people to think that his time in the forces has had an effect on his mind. He still feels that the only person he can talk to is Karen which is still quite a nice thing as it gives Karen a reason to be at the trial. Considering she isn't a lawyer she can't fight for Frank but she can speak for him to Matt and Foggy to help his case. More than anyone she is dedicated to the trial!

As for Foggy, who never wanted to take the Frank Castle case on in the first place, he saved the case him and Karen were working on when Matt didn't show up to open the case at the start of the trial. So far Foggy is yet to do something wrong. He may be viewed as Matt's funny sidekick by some people but that really isn't the case, he is the unsung hero of the show and when he shouts at Matt in the toilets it really shows how unhappy he is with him. This scene is a very good scene and both actors played their parts perfectly. For once Foggy is in the driving seat and puts Matt on the stop by listing everything he's done wrong. It is frustrating to see a rift arise between the two, but then a barrier between Matt and Karen pops up when he doesn't tell her about what they were arguing about. It's great how this show puts emphasise on how the life of a superhero can have a huge strain on the work and personal life of the individual and the people around them. In this case Matt, as he is trying to handle more than he actually can!

The episode ends with an angry Matt confronting Elektra about the witness tampering and them both breaking into the mysterious "blueprint" building from season one. Then discovering a bottomless pit that nobody knows what it's for. Diving further into strange new territory as more questions arise about 'The Hand'. I hope some of these questions are asked soon, I presume they will be as the episode ends with them staring into the black hole.

As I said, not a lot of action in this episode but a lot of information to take in. So far no episode has disappointed and each one has been engaging and kept asking questions from the viewers. Soon it'll all be answered!

I Salute you for reading! :D

Oh yeah, sorry I took a week off. I was launching my YouTube Channel and wanted to focus on that, so if you like gaming videos then why not check it out! :D

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Marvel's Daredevil Season 2: Episode 6

So including this and the last episode the season has slowed down a bit following the bloodshed of the earlier episodes. This episode manages to bring The Punisher story back into the mix as Nelson and Murdock are now defending Frank Castle from the death penalty as Reyes pushes to clear up business with Castle as quickly as possible. There hasn't really been a clear main antagonist in this season so far, the closest who steps up to the mark in my opinion would be Reyes despite the fact The Hand has been hinted. But until more evidence is about to confirm this Reyes sits upon that perch quite nicely for the moment.

Although it has slowed down we did get an awesome opening fight scene with Daredevil and Elektra as they beat up some men invading Elektra's apartment. Their mission to steal information from the gala was enjoyable to watch, we saw both Matt and Elektra work well together as they cruised their
way to the room containing the Roxxon Ledger. They both showed individual assets and how they worked well together, almost like the couple they were meant to be over ten years ago. I can't help but think the appearance of Elektra is going to be the one thing that'll damage Matt the most and the people around him. It was him and Karen who took on Frank's case and he was forced to leave half way through very important proceedings to go on this heist, leaving Karen and Foggy to deal with it all. I think Matt has bitten off more than he can chew and is trying to be more than the hero he actually is. This may lead to being distanced from Foggy and Karen which is something Matt can't have.

It was great to see Matt take Foggy's place for a bit and tell Reyes where she can shove it... in a more professional manner obviously. Foggy took more of a back seat in this episode and understandable, he was the only one who didn't want to take the Frank Castle case on and was unfortunately stuck with it. Although they managed to get death penalty off the cards he didn't manage to convince Frank to plead guilty which opens up the door for the 'Trial of the Century', or in other words, the biggest shit-storm of the Century. We see this right at the end of the episode as Foggy confronts Matt and tells him he needs to clear his schedule and focus on the trial. Which inevitably conflicts with everything Matt is doing with Elektra. Right at the beginning of the season we saw how the bond between the three was strong and how happy they were, now we are starting to see that bond tear particularly between Matt and Foggy which is quite sad.

I like how Frank only wanted to talk to Karen as she is the only one that has visited his family home since he left, in that one scene where they were both talking in private we can see that Frank has compressed the memories of his family and Karen talking about his kids brings up some nice memories for Frank. Amongst everything that the show has the last thing you expect are close intimate scenes like this, but they still manage to get them right and it's lovely to see it. This fits in with what I said in an earlier review about how Karen can do things the other two can't, unlike Foggy and Matt, Karen is someone The Punisher wants to connect with because she is the last person that has seen anything from his old life.

An eventful episode that sets up, possibly the rest of the season as a huge trial awaits Matt and company and also the people of Hell's Kitchen. As much as I am excited to see how it all plays out I don't want to see my three favourite TV characters split up and part ways. We will just have to see what happens!

I Salute you for reading! :)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Marvel's Daredevil Season 2: Episode 5

Episode five see's the beginning of a new story with the introduction of Elektra, and like Frank Castle they got her right. The episode kept bringing up new questions about how her and Matt knew each other and how Matt came to hate her. This mixed with the new Matt and Karen relationship puts Matt in a very difficult position as Elektra forces her way back into his life!

Little did I know but Elektra got a little nod in season one in a flashback scene with Foggy and Matt at college with one of them mentioning Matt's Greek girlfriend. I noticed this when I was reading up on her character and remembered that scene after watching this episode, as a series of flashback scenes occur with a college Matt and Elektra. It was nice to find out a little bit more about Matt's past and more obstacles for him to overcome so to not break his code and take a life. As we see with him and Elektra in one of the flashback sequences, she successfully caught the man who killed Matt's father and nearly had him end his life. But Matt saw different in quite an emotional scene and parting ways with Elektra there and then. Similar to The Punisher, Matt's no kill code is relevant to the story, especially in this case as a relationship between the two makes sense as they both understood each other. But one major difference changed the way they saw each other. Her flirtatious attitude towards Matt plays in well with Matt rejecting her as we can definitely see that the two have history and great chemistry on screen!

Karen headed to Ben Urich's old workplace as she tries to question his old boss about the fact that Frank Castle's job in the army was left out of the article they wrote. Eventually she got herself into the backroom and spent hours finding links to the day Castle's family was murdered. A quote from Ben's old boss "Somewhere Ben Urich's looking down and getting a real kick out of this" - Which made me think about how similar Ben and Karen are with their investigative nature, only Karen didn't meet a horrible demise by the hands of Wilson Fisk. It was also a nice nod to him as he was a great character in season one and was probably the saddest death in that season too!

Meanwhile Foggy helps defend Nelson and Murdock as the firm come under fire from the giant that is Reyes, being a salty member of the justice system she has targeted the firm and stripped them of any new clients coming in. Although it's the start of a new chapter the old one is not finished yet and I reckon it is something that will carry on for the rest of the season. I feel for Foggy a bit because he is left to deal with the firm without Matt or Karen as they are off on their own personal ventures. It shows that Foggy does need help as he is restricted to very little and feels like he's being left out of Matt's and Karen's lives. With the two in a relationship he is now the third wheel of the group. Also as it has done throughout the season, Matt's vigilante life is causing a rift between Matt and Foggy, leaving Foggy to worry about him constantly!

Not too much to talk about in this episode but still a very good episode, I'm enjoying this more than season one and definitely more than Jessica Jones. Despite how fast everything is going in this season, there is still a lot of detail and emphasis put into the areas that matter making it a great show!

I Salute you for reading! :)

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Marvel's Daredevil Season 2: Episode 4

This episode got intense and very emotional towards the end. As the Irish seek revenge for the death of many of their leaders in the first episode, we learn more about the man who is Frank Castle and why he is intent on destroying the Irish gang of Hell's Kitchen. The past three episodes have been great in showing what The Punisher can do and have kept us wondering about his past. I can tell you now that in this episode I really felt sorry for him, I also like how he can withstand a horrific amount of pain which is where I can't help but feel he is almost as bad-ass at Daredevil!

This episode acts as a sort of conclusion to the Punisher arc but I'm sure he'll come back later in the season, considering we didn't find out Frank's complete story which helped turn him from a senseless murderer to a poor man seeking revenge. The torture scene including him and a guy named Finn
(Tony Curran) drilling into his foot and threatening to kill his dog just showed resilient The Punisher is in almost any situation. Eventually he was saved by the one vigilante who he had captured just an episode before as the two finally team up and escape the Irish stronghold. I do particularly like the part where Daredevil stops The Punisher from killing one of the henchman and Frank concedes leaving him unconscious, this showed that he is capable of change or he was just in so much pain that he had to agree with what Matt was saying. Then that amazing scene at the graveyard where Frank tells Matt about the story of the death of his family. It was probably some of the best acting that John Bernthal has ever done, it was so emotional and sad, managing to turn him into the most loved killer in the whole of Hell's Kitchen!

Matt and Karen grow a lot closer in this episode as we finally see the two kiss. I know I said in the first episode review that I wouldn't like to see a relationship so soon but it seems to have tied itself into the Matt's story quite well. The episode ends with the introduction of Elektra in Matt's apartment. One thing we do know from it is that both the characters know each other at this point which suggests that they have history and that could jeopardise Matt's and Karen's relationship. It's like one main story ends and another one begins, the format of this season is very different to the first season with many different stories to be told rather than just one dragged out over thirteen episodes.

Karen played a big part in finding out about Frank's past was good as she uncovers extremely important information on The Punisher by visiting his old family home, discovering he served in the armed forces . She's a very useful character in this season and does her own thing, giving her a sense of individualism that is very different to Matt and Foggy as she takes time to focus on details that are important. Like with The Punisher she went and found out about his past, putting her job on the line in doing so, unlike Matt who's first intention is to confront him in combat and Foggy does his lawyer stuff. But the way this characteristic is portrayed is not overdone as it can come across as quite cheesy and a story can become quite reliant on it.

Tony Curran was a good choice to play Finn, being a merciless Irishman (even though Tony was born in Glasgow), seeking revenge for his son. To take down the Punisher the show needed something bigger than him to capture and torture him in a way that matches how he spilled the blood of many of their men. As much as I would have loved to have seen more of Finn the shotgun to the face was brutal but not as surprising considering the drill to the foot happened just moments before!

What an episode this was, I can see why it started strong and kept the intensity up because the Punisher arc was ending quite quickly so they can begin Elekra's one. It's unbelievably exciting at the moment and I can't wait to review the rest of the season!

Also if The Punisher's dog was hurt I would have flipped many biscuits!

I Salute you for reading! :)

Friday, 25 March 2016

Film Review: Batman V.S Superman: Dawn of Justice

I went into this movie with mixed feelings hoping that they will be resolved within the next 2 hours and 33 minutes. Well there were resolved and I felt that the film was good, but it could have been better in a lot of places. But in my opinion from what this film has it shows some potential for the DC Cinematic Universe to do well and be totally different from the format Marvel have. I have to say though, Rotten Tomatoes current rating of 30% for this film is not an accurate projection of how the film actually is. Although I wouldn't say the film should be up there with 90% or 99%, it definitely deserves a higher rating than that. 

Where do we start? Why not with Ben Affleck's Batman! Let's just say the film has a lot more pace whenever he is on screen, in a lot of ways it is reliant on his story and is slightly different to other portrayals of the Dark Knight we have seen. Ben Affleck is confident and strong in the role; we can see that he is damaged by his past which seems to play a big role in the way he plays the part.
I do particularly like one part where he's eyeing up Diana Prince whilst talking to Clarke and says "Pretty women, old habits" (not a correct reference I can't remember the actual quote). But it did make me giggle a bit as it shows a Batman who is less interested in women and more focused on his priorities. I did particularly enjoy the flashback scenes within the first half an hour as we see a young Bruce witness the death of his Mother and Father and that dream with the bats, although an odd dream it is it does have some symbolic nature to it as it shows Bruce becoming Batman in a way. Another flashback scene shows the events of 'Man of Steel' from Bruce's point of view as he saves people’s lives. Showing a grittier side to Superman saving the World as his success has consequences that come in the form of people’s lives. Also showing how Bruce comes to hate Superman, but why didn't he go there in his bat suit and Batmobile? Surely he could have been more useful if he did!

Unfortunately, a lot of focus on Batman meant that not a lot of focus was put on Superman. The first hour we don't see much of Henry Cavill. The hate Bruce has for Superman is clear throughout and
some would say a little overdeveloped, whereas Superman's hate for Batman is a little unclear and underdeveloped as we don't see much of how he perceives Batman as a problem. We see him question Bruce himself about the bat vigilante and take some interest into The Dark Knight but it didn't feel like he any real motive to go after him until the last 20 minutes or so of the film. Although he definitely was the centre piece of everything, every action he would make would provoke another reaction even greater than the last. You couldn't help but feel sorry for him, especially with the scene in the middle-east as he is framed for causing a lot of destruction. Even I didn't understand that until sometime afterwards as it was kind of unclear that that's why he was scrutinised quite heavily; although it did serve as something for Lois Lane to do in the movie, without her investigation into it she would have had nothing to do for the entire movie!

It was nice to see quite a lot of Gal Gadot, although she had hardly any relevance to the story she helped set up the Justice League side of the movie. Seeing her join the battle at the end with
Doomsday did feel a little underwhelming though. After joining Batman and Superman the three hadn't really got to know each other that much and it didn't feel like there was much chemistry between them. However, the fight scene was epic and spectacle to behold with Wonder Woman showing us her bracelets, sword, shield and even her whip, which I felt were nice additions compared to the usual gadgets we see Batman with and Superman's laser eyes and fists.

Surprisingly one of my favourite performances had to be Jesse Eisenberg who gave a terrific performance as a very different Lex Luthor to one that we are used to seeing. Instead of being the greedy billionaire
we're all used to seeing, we see a psychologically troubled character that puts a whole new perspective on how he is portrayed. As it clearly shows why he would like to see the World burn and also his hatred for Superman being visible throughout. He did also mention at one point something about his father which suggested he was abused, adding to his psycho side of things. If anything it's more of a modern day villain people like to see in films and I think a lot of people had doubts about Jesse Eisenberg including myself, but I really enjoyed this portrayal and was definitely my favourite thing about the movie. I can understand why people would dislike his character though being very different and at times out of place in this movie. He did come across as quite bratty and at times annoying but I rather enjoyed it!

Zac Snyder is quite a frustrating director, although he is good and has produced some great work in the past, I can't help but feel... nothing after watching this film. Like something was missing or something didn't gel right. Although the visual aspects of this film were brilliant, the earlier scenes could have been edited and directed a bit better as some parts felt disjointed and unclear at times. This film definitely has the potential to be great and is a pretty decent foundation for future films in this cinematic universe. There's a fair bit for them to learn about and improve upon in future films but at least I'm not dreading any future DC movies! 

I Salute you for reading! :)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

MCU Filmathon: Ant-Man

So I have gone through the last seven years of Marvel movies and along the way a lot of Superheroes have been thrown into the mix. From a man in an iron suit to a raccoon in space people have accepted the fact that Marvel, no matter how big or small the characters were could turn them into beloved sensations. So along comes Ant-Man and one would wonder how Marvel would adapt him into a great superhero for audiences to love. I think a lot of you would agree that it was done correctly and in traditional Marvel style. But one thing I have learnt from analysing the Marvel movies is that there are recurring flaws in the traditional Marvel narrative!

But first we will start with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who is the man in the suit. At first audiences
questioned an Ant-Man movie, but to the surprise of many he became one of the most relatable characters in the MCU. Being a man from prison, struggling with his finance and wants nothing more than to prove he is a worthy father for his daughter. He is possibly the most down to Earth and run down hero we've come across. Yet he's incredibly intelligent and has a unique set of skills that few others possess and this is what leads him to the World of a superhero. But what keeps it believable is his hilarious approach to becoming one of the World's finest heroes and how he comes to terms with it. Paul Rudd is a very fine actor and manages to balance out seriousness and comedy well in this film, being a likeable actor and character it makes it easy to follow Scott throughout the film and keep engaged with his character!

Other great casting comments go to Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, the man responsible for the Ant-Man suit and for putting Scott in it. He has a certain level of authority about him but also a playful side which allows the audience to connect with him on a certain level as well.
Being a man who lost his wife because of the suit and then forced out of his own company, you wouldn't expect him to be like that. But the serious side falls upon his daughter Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly), working for her father she acts as a spy by working for the man who forced her father out of his company, then feeding the information she gets to Hank. So wants nothing more than to be the one in that suit but is held back by Hank because he fears losing her the way that he lost her mother. She also connects with the audience on a certain level, making the three characters a great trio to lead the film. This is a different level of character development that Marvel have gone through with protagonists and seemed to work for them. For me this helped drive the movie forward and kept me engaged in the story when Scott fully committed to the suit!

Other elements of this film work well to keep the audience engaged, like the growing threat of the main antagonist Darren Cross, Scott's daughter being his motive, his engagement with his friend Luis
(Michael Pena) who contributes to the comedy really well and even a small fight scene with Anthony Mackie's Falcon reminds us that this is still a Marvel film. All these things help drive the film forward and divert us from the fact that the narrative is quite simple and much like the first Iron Man film. At the end of the day it's a man in a suit preparing to fight another man in a suit and although it is different in so many ways it still has a plot that has been used before and not just in the first Iron Man film. I feel that Marvel should change it for upcoming opening films because it it a very predictable plot and favours the protagonist heavily!

I feel like I'm saying this too much but a lack of Darren Cross in this film led to a lot of hate being felt for the antagonist without any justification. This bugged me for a little while but after he
senselessly killed a lamb for the sake of perfecting the yellow jacket, then I just hated him. Although in an interview with zap2it after the film, Corey Stoll said that working on the suit may have affected Cross' mind, also stating that it affected Hank Pym's mind after he lost his wife. This gives some justification and it is explained in deleted scenes of the film. But he only worked on the suit when Pym didn't give away any secrets he had about the suit, giving some reason as to why he was pushed out of the company. If this is true, then why would this be left out of the film? If anything it is quite disappointing and I feel it is fairly crucial information. Corey Stoll is a great actor as he proved in 'House of Cards' and what little of him is in this film he proves to be very formidable. Although his inclusion is somewhat lacklustre and whatever action he takes it is almost ineffective. Which is another reason why it's quite annoying that information about Hank's time at the company is not given!

The films comedy is definitely on point. Not just being quick and snappy it is also relevant and enjoyable to follow. One example would be the lip sync scenes with Luis voicing over what everyone is saying, it is perfectly timed, unique and turns serious situations with a lot of information into funny moments and they are easy to follow!

I hope I didn't miss anything out with this film, even with the simple story there is a lot of information in it and definitely a strong Marvel movie. Although in my opinion one of the better MCU movies as it never seems to escape reality, almost everything in this film seems like something that can happen in real life (I hope it isn't just me that thinks that) and I like that about this film!

I Salute you for reading! :)