Daredevil Season 2
Marvel Studios debuted the second season of Daredevil on Netflix this month. By and large, it has been well received, garnering a 77% Positive Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (This is, however, a slight drop from the 98% Positive the first season had.)
The general critical consensus seems to be that the story is more disjointed by not having a central antagonist in the way, in the way that Wilson Fisk operated in Season 1. Without delving into spoiler territory, in Season 2 it feels as though everyone is more or less doing their own thing, rather than everyone going after Fisk.
This does seem to be the natural movement with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; outward expansion. The films started off as just Iron Man, and now it’s Captain America and Iron Man and Black Widow and the Vision and Spiderman (More on that later). A similar expansion is seen on the Netlix shows: originally it was just Daredevil versus Fisk, but now it’s Daredevil and Punisher and Elektra with Fisk in prison somewhere, and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage just on the other side of town. Just as the films move towards Infinity War, the Netflix shows move towards being their own lively subsection of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with various heroes and villains likely headlining the crossover series, The Defenders.
This month, Captain America: Civil War debuted a new trailer. The footage looks wonderful, and I’m highly excited for the debut of the Black Panther character, but it almost feels as though nothing is worth talking about, except what was revealed at the end of the trailer: Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spiderman.
There’s not a whole lot to say about all this. The appearance is similar to Spiderman’s traditional appearance in the comic books, given the big, white, emotive eyes. The eyes are markedly different from that of Tobey Macguire or Andrew Garfield, which appeared to shine, as though they were goggles. These seem closer to actual eyes.
Spiderman 2 still ranks among the best superhero movies made, but with Spiderman 3, Amazing Spiderman, and Amazing Spiderman 2 all failing to please, there is concern that this character is difficult to film. Hopefully, now that Sony is licensing out Spiderman (A Marvel Comics character) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (A Marvel Studios production) maybe things will get better. Will the character improve from being a secondary character? Or will the different direction help it? We’ll have to wait and see.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of a Franchise?
Well, one of the year’s most anticipated movies debuted this month. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has opened to weak reviews, garnering a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. Having seen it, I can attest to the fact that there are a few… problems.
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge the strength of the cast. Ben Affleck does an excellent job as Batman, Gal Gadot does a great job in Wonder Woman’s screen debut, and Jeremy Irons is a humorous and fun Alfred.
But then there’s Jesse Eisenberg. Hoo boy. What to say about that. At best, he was odd. At worst, he was a joke. His performance was campy and poorly-directed.
Then… and this might delve into spoiler territory, so I’ll put a formal
*Light Spoiler Warning*
There are quite a few dream sequences. I counted three and a half, (the half being a dead character who comes back to offer a character wisdom). Perhaps the most frustrating is the opening sequence, which goes over Batman’s origin story. This was great, it was a wonderful re-introduction to the character which would have been sufficient for people who knew nothing about the character and wouldn’t feel tedious for core fans. This sequence was paired with current day Bruce Wayne in the wreckage of the Superman-Zod battle. Then, the Wayne parents funeral, which had young Bruce run off and fall into a well, where things begin to feel very Batman Begins. A bunch of bats begin to circle young Bruce Wayne, who begins to levitate. At this point, many people in the theater, including myself, began to laugh. It just seemed too silly. Sure, the Ben Affleck voiceover lets us know, “in the dreams, the bats take me towards the light,” but that doesn’t change how absurd the whole thing seems. Then there’s a scene in which Bruce is dreaming and is visited by what appears to be the Flash, who has traveled back in time before but never into dreams? He says something about Lois Lane being the key, which is vague, and probably a set up for the next film.
Dream sequences, if they need to be used, ought to be used to build a character’s psyche, and not reveal plot information. Usually, there should be no need for more than one, let alone three. Honestly, it just feels as though this movie cheated.
It definitely did too much to try and set up subsequent films; as promised, we get a brief look at Cyborg, the Flash, and Aquaman, but these glimpses take away from what’s going on. Essentially, Batman v. Superman was put on hold just to show us brief character trailers for Justice League. This gets in the way of the film standing alone.
Anyhow, those were my major gripes. Other than that, the performances were pretty good, and the title fight was pretty cool.
I do look forward to seeing more Wonder Woman in the future. As I said before, Gal Gadot performs well. It should be great to see the character finally getting a film of her own. A picture was recently released of Wonder Woman and other Amazonians, and it looks pretty cool.
10 Cloverfield Lane
In my Captain’s Log for January, I mentioned the viral marketing of the film 10 Cloverfield Lane, which was announced only months before its theatrical release. I had the pleasure of going to see it, and let me tell you, it was worth the watch.
For those who did not see the film Cloverfield, fear not. The connection is only in name and theme. By titling it 10 Cloverfield Lane, the writers play with the motif of monsters, and also helps to establish a post-apocalyptic setting. The use of the Cloverfield name is more for establishing tone than it is any kind of franchise continuity.
But that’s not the point. This movie does beautiful things with tension and mystery. The plot centers around Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Howard (the illustrious John Goodman), and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.). Howard has built an apocalypse bunker, where he has brought Michelle, whom he discovers unconscious after a car accident. Michelle is our main character, and as she was unconscious during the apocalyptic event, she, and therefore the audience, are left to wonder if it ever truly happened. For the duration of the movie, the audience is made to wonder if there truly was something that happened, or if Howard is just a predatory person, keeping Michelle in the bunker for his own amusement. This tension, with beautiful use of misdirection, propels the movie towards an amazing conclusion, complete with a wonderful character arc.
If 10 Cloverfield Lane is any indication of the kind of movies we’ll see in 2016, then we’re in for a good year.
Well, that was this month’s Captain’s Log. I’m sorry if you’re not a fan of superheroes, in which case you likely skipped 90-100% of the above content.
I’ve been trying to one post a week since the New Year, and I’ve kept to that goal for the most part, but due to the end of the semester coming to an end, there might be fewer posts in April. In January, I took a trip to Walt Disney World, so expect posts about that. Thanks for bearing with me.
On a very serious note, the world has seen a tremendous amount of tragedy recently. Notably in Brussels and Lahore. There’s so much hate in the world, and I only hope that we may one day eventually overcome it.