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Showing posts from April, 2017

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4, Episode 14 Review

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"The Man Behind the Shield" is an episode of Agents of SHIELD that I wish was made earlier in the show's run, or perhaps at a later date when the producers decide to lighten the hell up already. The fourteenth episode of this season shows a younger Coulson and May on-mission together, setting up romantic tension between the two long before Agent May's experiences shortly before the start of the series, but also serving as the Superior's back-story. Regrettably the former aspect doesn't work too well, and comes across as weak to say the least. It's probably best summed-up by Coulson's "cool origin story bro" comment. The Superior is such a flat villain though that having a flat origin story almost makes sense, but the series is almost aware at how bland an antagonist he is, with characters joking about how he's a typical Bond villain with laser sharks and death-traps. If the characters can't take him seriously, why should we?
The way…

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) - Review

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is here, and I think it's safe to say that it is one of 2017's biggest and most anticipated releases, so after the first film's phenomenal success, can Vol. 2 possibly hope to top that? Well, I guess the spoiler-free summary of that is: no. Vol. 2 is great: it's a funny, energetic and well-made film, but it can't possibly hope to top the original, in my opinion. Perhaps it's because Guardians shouldn't have a sequel at all. Maybe it should have become a cult hit as opposed to a global mega-franchise, to save us from the inevitable disappoint of a sequel, no matter how good it is. As far as sequels go though, Vol. 2 is great! Perhaps the real problem this film suffers from is moving various pieces around in a grander Guardians of the Galaxy story without trying to necessarily top that first film. It wants to be its own thing, and that's fantastic, even if perhaps what this film wants to be isn't something that will int…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4, Episode 13 Review

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Everything goes "BOOM" in this week's Agents of SHIELD, as the series continues to build on the "LMD" arc to mixed success. Introducing a real-life person in the form of Agnes, who served as the inspiration for Aida's physical appearance is an interesting idea, but given how little actual character focus the series delivers, its unlikely this will ever be explored to its full potential. The actress Mallory Jansen was very good at playing both Aida and Agnes as two very distinct characters, although sadly she wasn't given enough of a dynamic in her Agnes form with Radcliffe. She felt like she had a role to play in this episode, but only in this episode, which I found particularly disappointing. Important plot-points in long-running narrative arcs shouldn't just last an episode all the time, and despite no real reason for this, Agents of SHIELD makes this mistake in "BOOM". I think there was something interesting between Coulson and Agnes, …

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4, Episode 12 Review

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What is this? Twelve consecutive reviews of Agents of SHIELD? I guess I'm upping my game a little, given how in the past two seasons I've paired episodes up for review. Despite not reviewing the episodes weekly (I don't watch the series weekly), I'm quite pleased that I've managed to write twelve reviews for this season - especially given how much the show loves crafting episodes that rarely stand on their own.
"Hot Potato Soup" sees the return of the Koenigs to Agents of SHIELD - an aspect of the show that's been dropped since Season 2, and even then I don't remember Patton Oswalt being a regular then. The whole idea of the characters is really fun, and I have missed them as regulars on the show, but they've returned to a very different Agents of SHIELD that isn't nearly as fun or upbeat as Season 1 (when the characters were introduced, and featured the most), creating far too much tonal whiplash with their reintroduction. To save my nec…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4, Episode 11 Review

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"Wake Up" opens with Agent May fighting her way through a variety of Framework simulations devised by Dr. Radcliffe, and proves to be some of the most trippy stuff Agents of SHIELD has ever delved into. I've heard that the Framework is going to play an important part later on this season, so I hope to see more, even trippier stuff there. The way the simulations build on with the episode was cool though, starting off with May breaking out of a spa, then thinking she's breaking out of Radcliffe's lair, fighting Aida, and then an alternate timeline where May saved the little girl she killed (thus changing her character quite substantially).
The LMD May, however, realizes that she is in fact not real, and after confronting Radcliffe realizes she is responsible for SHIELD leaks, unbeknownst to her. Fitz realizes that Aida was in fact being programmed by Radcliffe and had not become self-aware, leading SHIELD to arrest Radcliffe - but the doctor has another LMD hidden…

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4, Episode 10 Review

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In 'The Patriot', Agents of SHIELD delves into the character of Jeffrey Mace - the current director of SHIELD. I've not quite warmed to Mace as a character over the course of this season, but I think this episode has finally actually explained him. He isn't the hero SHIELD wanted to sell him as, but at the same time he does have the ambitions of being a hero. I think making him a fake, but turning this twist into a character-revealing moment about Mace wanting to become a Captain America-esque character makes the twist more endearing than anything.
This episode felt strengthened by Mace's character development, as otherwise there's a lot of treading water. May discovers her robotic nature, Daisy does some badass stuff, Coulson and Mack have some fun interactions, and everyone discusses the aftermath of Aida's attack. This actually works quite well, as the episode has a central focus and everything else is still present, but simply background additions to k…

First Thoughts on 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' Season 2 (Episodes 9-17)

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So, here we are at the first DC Television finale for this year in the latter half of DC's Legends of Tomorrow: season 2, and its fair to say that its a rather underwhelming one at that. Oh, Legends, you were going so well...
Just as the season started wrapping up its loose ends, Legends of Tomorrow went and explored a whole alternate reality concept - always fun, especially as the Legion of Doom have control over the reality - but sadly, nothing much is explored with it. Perhaps this is because Legends already has so many characters that it can't possibly hope to give this new world justice in one episode, or perhaps its because they reach a satisfying ending before the ending to Episode 16, meaning that we have a whole other episode to go before we get a satisfying resolution. While last season felt understandably padded at points, this season has mostly been all the better for its planning, but the finale felt both oddly-underdeveloped and also overlong.
The actual season …

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4, Episode 9 Review

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Here we are onto the second third of Agents of SHIELD's fourth (and rumoured penultimate) season, subtitled 'LMD'. With the threat already established in the previous episodes, it looks like this section of the season can crack on with telling its story.
'Broken Promises' opens with Aida seemingly have been given full "life" by the Darkhold, which, as Mack states, was always going to happen when a mad scientist creates such a lifelike robot. Actually, Mack's probably the best thing about this episode, saying the things that, let's be honest, we were all thinking of. I also really liked how Yo-Yo was the only one who agreed with him, saying "we need to get Radcliffe to watch all of 'The Terminator' movies". I guess I miss a bit of humour in this series, and having little self-aware comments like that show the characters to not be complete idiots. Aida is a genuinely interesting threat, at least until the episode ends with Radclif…

Doctor Who: The Pilot (2017) - Written Review

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So, Doctor Who is back in a brand-new series, and kicking things off is Steven Moffat's series opener, 'The Pilot' - introducing Pearl Mackie as new companion Bill Potts. Oh, and what an introduction we got. I really liked Bill - she added a necessary human element to the episode, and while a few bits of her dialogue went from in-character to "why the hell is Steven Moffat talking out of her", Pearl Mackie herself really shined, and the episode's central focus on her made it all the better. She brings a new dynamic to the table, and her dynamic with Peter Capaldi really brought the whole thing to life. The two work wonderfully together, with Capaldi seemingly given a new lease of life (and several new leases on costumes). He's more energetic than ever, but not in a frustratingly out-of-character way. He's much more friendly and welcoming, but still retains his sharp wit and the slight emotional awkwardness that's become one of his best character …

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) - Teaser Trailer Reaction

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Yup, it's time. Today, Lucasfilm and Disney dropped the very first teaser trailer for the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga, 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'. And it looks pretty darn great.
Firstly, let me just say how much I LOVED 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015). Aside from some structural issues in the second act, that film did everything right in bringing back the franchise thirty years on from 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi'. It introduced a new cast of characters, new planets and a new story, and to see this continue in a follow-up is exciting in itself. And this teaser trailer gives us a nice return to them, not revealing more than we already new. Poe and BB-8 are doing some cool Resistance stuff, Finn in chilling out, Kylo Ren is still a moody badass and Rey's learning some Jedi stuff with Luke. Except...Luke wants to get rid of the Jedi?! Part of me is wondering if they're going with the whole fan theory that the Jedi aren't actuall…

Kong: Skull Island (2017) - Written Review

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The loose follow-up to 2014's 'Godzilla', 'Kong: Skull Island' is a reboot of the 'King Kong' franchise which started back in 1933, directed by virtual newcomer Jordan Vogt-Roberts and starring an all-star cast. The film has subtly hinted at its interconnected universe, but thankfully Warner Bros have handled this particular franchise with more care than their DC films, ensuring first and foremost that 'Kong: Skull Island' is a King Kong movie first, and a Universe-builder second (if it is that at all).
Shortly after the end of the Vietnam war, secret government organisation Monarch has been investigating the mysterious Skull Island - a land lost in the mists of time. In an effort to beat the Russians to uncovering its secrets, the US Government funds an expedition to investigate the island, with a military escort led by Colonel Packard, tracker James Conrad and anti-war photographer Mason Weaver. When they arrive on the island, however, they find …

Marvel's Agent Carter - Season 2 Review

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Marvel's Agent Carter is probably one of the best fluff shows I've ever watched. It's light-hearted, silly and often a bit bizarre with its meshing of 1940's spy thriller and superheroics mixed into one, but it is a real shame to see it go. It's taken me a long time to get a chance to, but I finally watched the second and final season of the show, and I'm missing it already.
While Agent Carter was always a show I wanted to watch, for some reason in the UK they put it on Fox, so I had to wait for the complete season release on Blu-ray - even if it took them almost a whole year to release it. Season 1 was a fun little distraction and a nice return to a corner of the Marvel Universe barely touched before, and had a whole host of cameos and guest stars to help sell the series as being part of the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe - certainly more so than the other Marvel Television Series, Agents of SHIELD.
How is the second season then? Well, its not quite as speci…

Marvel's Iron Fist - Episodes 5-13 Review

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Whoah...I didn't get round to doing an article on the middle chunk of this series, did I? Oh well. Time to play catch-up.
So I just finished Marvel's Iron Fist, and unlike most of the reviews I'd read previously I can now judge this 13-part series as a whole. I will try and make a proper, full-length spoiler-free review at some point, but for now I will be talking spoilers - so if you don't want the show spoiled for you, either read my earlier reviews or just give the series a watch yourself. I'm not convinced there'll be a second season, so there's plenty of time.
Iron Fist did seem to be going quite well until about Episode 9. While the pacing has definitely been a bit difficult to get through, we did get a big fight club episode with Danny fighting his way through three opponents to rescue...some person's daughter from Madame Gao. That daughter sub-plot got dropped pretty quickly, but the episode was more focused on showing Danny facing literal demo…

Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders (1974) - Written Review

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Planet of the Spiders marked the end for Jon Pertwee's era on Doctor Who, developing the show into its truly iconic status - which would kick-in with the next few seasons. After a having to drop the original Pertwee swan-song, the production team developed this story as a replacement - and a rather questionable one at that. Planet of the Spiders is a hugely enjoyable, constantly entertaining and is filled with memorable moments - but regrettably moments are no substitute for story. Planet of the Spiders is also far too long, badly padded-out and ultimately underwhelming, if it wasn't for the serial's exciting end.
All of Pertwee's key elements are here: a modern day-set story with UNIT, a key human villain in Lupton, plenty of gadgets and an alien threat made creepy through audience recognition. Surely this should be a fantastic farewell party to this fantastic Doctor's tenure? Yet, despite this, UNIT is barely present. Yates is a key character, but even he falls …

Marvel's Iron Fist - Episodes 2-4 Review

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Marvel's Iron Fist begins to get somewhere in the following three episodes of its debut season, following Danny proving his identity to Joy and Ward with some help from Jerry Hogarth (Carrie Anne Moss returning from Jessica Jones), while Harold Meachum is threatened by the Madame Gao and the Hand.
Making the Hand prominent villains in Iron Fist is both a pro and con for the series, as while they are a big threat we want to see more of in the Netflix shows, and certainly makes Iron Fist feel less passable as a binge-watch before The Defenders later in the year, it does confirm that Danny can't defeat the Hand before the end of this series, so the stakes feel somewhat weak, and I have doubts as to whether Iron Fist, much like Daredevil: season 2 and Luke Cage, will be at all conclusive.
Harold Meachum though works as a more down-to-Earth antagonist, and while he's clearly not one to be trusted, he's been developed so far as a less "evil" character and more bus…