Justice League + Star Wars – Trailers Galore

Coming off Thanksgiving weekend and the multitude of trailers that were released, I am going to focus on two in particular and those would be the Justice League and Star Wars trailers.  In preparation for writing this post, I spent a solid half an hour of my morning routine watching and re-watching both trailers to have them both fresh in my memory. So let’s dive right in.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Justice-League-SDCC-Poster

This Justice League trailer  showcased each of the Heroes in their own little spotlights. It also included some more spot on humour courtesy of Ezra Miller as Barry Allen. But the meat of the trailer comes from the showcasing of the invasion.

The trailer starts off with Lois looking out of the Kent farm and seeing Clark standing in the field looking towards the sun. He remarks about how the fact she has the ring on her finger means yes, but then Lois wakes up alone from her dream, in a world without Superman.  News is played in the background citing that terrorism and war are at an all time high and that the world is without hope now that Superman is gone.

As the voice over from Bruce begins talking about his nightmare (the Knightmare sequence from Batman V. Superman), we are shown close ups of the Parademons as well as an ancient battle in which a man is being turned into a Parademon. We also get to see some of the power the big bad Steppenwolf can toss down when he decimates what appears to be a scouting party of Amazons, with one strike of his weapon (hammer/axe) on the ground. We also get another shot of what I assume to be the opening battle between the forces of Apocalypse and the united armies of man, Atlantis, and the Amazons.  We are then shown snippets of each of the respective heroes, most notably Wonder Woman standing on a Statue of Lady Justice. Snippets of the final battle begin with intermingling dialogue from Bruce Wayne and inter-cut humour and jokes from Aquaman and Flash.  This movie does appear to bring the colour out of the darkness and is shown to be very rich in reds and oranges as colour tones. We get to see the Justice League doing battle with some Parademons and the Batmobile in action as it smashes through a blockade set up. The trailer also shows us shots of each member of the league failing to fight the enemies by themselves while the narration states ” Alone we are weak… Together we are strong”. The final scene is great bit of humour from Flash when the Bat signal is thrown in the air and helps to make this movie a lot lighter in tone than the previous entries in the DCEU.

WHAT THIS TRAILER TELLS US

As an avid comic fan, the story is pretty clear when you look at all the trailers and teasers that have been released.

An ancient battle took place on Earth in which the Amazons, Atlanteans, and Man had to unite against the dark forces of Apocalypse. The alliance was victorious and as such each race claimed a motherbox. The motherboxes were hidden without the other races knowing their locations. Steppenwolf is sent to Earth to find the motherboxes and activate them which will allow the Apocalyptan army to invade Earth.

Batman and Wonder Woman are trying to recruit other meta humans to fight for humanity should the need arise and to honour the sacrifice of Superman. Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg are thrust into this team up in order to save the world from destruction.

Regardless of what all the promotional work might say Superman will be showing up in this film. I don’t think he will appear until the final act, but I could be wrong. The fake cop-out of Superman’s death in Batman V. Superman was the biggest waste of time for any movie goer because there can’t be a Justice League without Superman, there just can’t.

 

Here is the trailer that was released on Saturday for those that haven’t seen it themselves yet.

Let’s move on to Star Wars!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

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This trailer was a little more cryptic than that of the Justice League movie. While it still does showcase a lot of what the potential plot could be, it still leads quite a bit up to the imagination.

The trailer starts with an individual staring out some windows while water is running down them and we can see some sort of machinery in the background. We are shown different cuts of new footage like the Gorilla walkers for the first order and what looks to be Kylo Ren leading a large contingent of storm troopers into a cavern where the floor in made of volcanic looking rock with red highlights.  While all of these shots are appearing one right after the other we are told by Snoke that ” When I found you, I saw raw untamed power and beyond that something truly special”. It’s unclear who he is referring to but it is led to believe he is talking to Kylo Ren. We are then quickly transferred to Rey’s training at the hands of Luke, where he is amazed at her raw power (she is able to crack the rock upon which she is meditating by using the force). Luke quickly tells her that he has only seen power like that once before and it didn’t scare him then, but it does now. As he delivers this line we are shown what can only be Luke’s temple he was training the new generation of Jedi in up in flames as he collapses beside R2D2.

The trailer pans up to space battle and we are shown Kylo Ren’s personal fighter ship as he destroys the defenses on a Resistance Frigate and prepares to target the power core to blow the ship. He hesitates as his mother is on the ship. We see the Millenium Falcon in action evading some Tie fighters as Chewie performs his trademark Wookie call and one of the new creatures (pooko?) screams in surprise. Poe delivers a line of hope saying “they have the spark that will light the fire that can burn down the First Order”, and we see Finn in a First Order uniform battling Captain Phasma with one of the shock batons. We are shown more training by Luke while he says “This isn’t going to go the way you want it to”. The First Order and the Resistance do battle, and Snoke is shown to be torturing Rey while she is suspended in the air by the force. The trailer ends with Rey saying she needs someone to help her find her place in all of this and then we switch to a cut of Kylo Ren in what appears to be the same scene holding out his hand.

WHAT THIS TRAILER TELLS US

This trailer is a lot harder to read than the Justice League one, only for the fact that this story is 100% original whereas the Justice League Story was based of the New 52 Justice League Origin by Geoff Johns. It appears that Rey is deep in her training with Luke and Kylo Ren has recovered from his wounds he received during the Force Awakens. My guess is that story is going to take a left field turn. It would be a refreshing change of pace for the Star Wars universe and would bring a more realistic approach by making it less black and white and adding a few shades of grey into it.

My guess is that Kylo Ren is going to be unable to kill his mother and she will survive until the end of the movie when she will be killed by her ship being blown up in a space battle. It’s not a very fitting ending for Carrie Fischer but with her passing I don’t think they would disrespect her memory by having her face added digitally to a different actor’s body.  Luke and Rey are going to grow frustrated with each other because of Luke’s unwillingness to train her for fear of making another Kylo Ren.

Snoke is going to try and take Rey as his apprentice and induct her into the Knights of Ren. This is going to sever the tie between Snoke and Kylo and I think Kylo and Rey are going to forge their own path as Grey Jedi instead of the typical Sith and Jedi.

Poe and Finn are working heavily for the resistance and it looks like Finn is going to go undercover in an attempt to steal secrets/sabotage a base. He will obviously get found out by Phasma which will lead to the showdown with the stun baton and Poe having to rescue him, furthering the bromance.

Here is the new trailer for those that haven’t seen it.

 

All of this is obviously just speculation but I can’t help to hope that Star Wars might do something other than the typical good vs. bad for once.

 

Any comments leave them below! Otherwise see you next week!

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Infinity Stone Rundown – Locations and Powers

In wake of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, I have decided to postpone the article I had written as it would be in poor taste to publish it currently. Instead I have moved up a post planned for later this month to fill the spot. My deepest sympathies go out to those affected by this event, and I hope some change can finally happen to stop something like this from happening again.

This week’s blog post I have decided that prior to receiving the highly anticipated Infinity War trailer I would do a complete rundown of each Infinity Stone, their locations and the powers granted by each one. We know that Thanos will have at least 2 stones when the movie reaches it’s climax, but hopefully by the end he will have all of them and we can finally see the Infinity War in full swing. I’m going to put this list in production order so that it’s easier for those who might not be as versed with the MCU and it’s inner working to follow when each stone showed up.

#1 – The Tesseract – The Space Stone

Tesseract

The Tesseract first showed up in Captain America: The First Avenger and has been a recurring theme in the MCU ever since. Originally found by the Red Skull in a German occupied town in Norway, the Red Skull and Zola used the Tesseract as a power source to help give the Nazis and Hydra an edge in WWII. It wasn’t until the culmination of the movie and the beginning of the Avengers when we realized that the Tesseract was in fact the Space Stone.

The Space stone allows the user to teleport themselves and others anywhere regardless of distance or protections such as walls or spells, change the relative distance of 2 objects regardless of physics, warp and rearrange space, and increases the speed of the user. When it is used in conjunction with the rest of the stones and the gauntlet it allows the user to exist in all locations simultaneously.

The last time we saw this stone it was being used by Thor to return himself and Loki to Asgard following the failed invasion of New York by the Chitauri.

#2 – The Scepter – The Mind Stone

Mind_Stone-Clean

The second stone which we were introduced to was a bit of a curve ball since it wasn’t revealed until Avengers: Age of Ultron that it was in fact the mind stone. Throughout the first Avengers movie eagle eye fans assumed it was the mind stone while many other just assumed ti was an extension of Loki’s magical powers. In Age of Ultron we were gifted with the inclusion of the mind stone and it’s subsequent creation of Vision.

The Mind Stone allows for the user to: telepathically control other beings, control the dreams of other beings, psionic powers, and some telekinetic abilities. When used with the other stones and the gauntlet it allows the user all of the listed above powers as well as being psychically linked with every being in the universe simultaneously.

The last time we saw this stone it was firmly ensconced in Vision’s forehead at the end of Captain America: Civil War. The saddening part is that since the power stone is what gave Vision his life and abilities, when it is removed he will most likely die making him the first probable casualty of the Infinity War.

#3 – The Aether – The Reality Stone

Aether

The Third stone that was included in the MCU was the Aether, otherwise known as the Reality Stone. The Aether was the main plot line of Thor: The Dark World when Jane Foster accidentally stumbled across it investigating ways to find Asgard. The villain of the movie Malekith the Dark Elf, was attempting to use the Aether to cast the universe into and eternal darkness so his people could flourish and rule over the universe.

The Reality stone permits the user to: see each person’s darkest wishes and make them a reality, create dreamlike sequences that trap individuals in their own dream worlds, and create alternate realities to the user’s liking. When paired with the other stones and the gauntlet it allows the user to influence reality on a universal scale meaning anything the user wants can happen regardless of the laws of physics and magic.

The Aether was last seen being delivered to the Collector by Lady Sif and the Warriors Three for safe keeping.

Interesting Side note: While it was stated in the MCU that the Scepter (Mind stone) was used to give the Maximoff’s (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) their powers; Scarlet Witch’s powers appear to be an extension of the Reality stone and not the Mind stone.

#4 – The Orb – The Power Stone

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The fourth stone that was brought into the MCU was the Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy aka the Power Stone. The Stone was the main focal point of the plot for the entire movie being sought after by both Ronan the Accuser and Thanos. This is also the first time that we as the audience witness a Celestial (the race of Ego from GotG 2 and Peter’s half lineage) use the Power Stone to destroy and entire planet. This is also the first time that a non-celestial has held an Infinity Stone without dying immediately.

The Power Stone allows the user: to enhance their physical strength, energy manipulation, ability to duplicate any physical or superhuman attack, control any form of energy that has or will ever exist, and boosts the effect of all other stones. When used in conjunction with the other stones and the gauntlet it grants the user the above mentioned abilities and Omnipotence.

The last time we saw this tone is was being held in the Nova Corps Vault on Xandar. Due to the spoiler from SDCC and the Infinity War trailer being shown, Thanos somehow is in possession of this stone at the beginning of the film, though it is unclear how.

#5 – The Eye of Agamotto – The Time Stone

Eye_of_Agamotto_-_Doctor_Strange

The final stone that we have been introduced to in the MCU comes from the Dr. Strange movie and that would be the Time Stone. The time stone was located in the center of the necklace that Dr. Strange uses for most of the second half of the film. The reason we know it’s an Infinity Stone is because Wong tell us at the end of the movie. I thought this was really just a cop-out to spoon feed people the fact that it was a stone and not just a powerful magical artifact, but that’s just me.

The Time Stone grants the user: control over all points in the timestream, stop, speed up, slow down, and reverse the flow of time, time travel, age and de-age anything the user wants, change the past and future, and trap beings or whole universes in time loops. When used together with the other Infinity Stones it grants the user the above listed abilities as well as the ability to exist at all points in time simultaneously and grants Omniscience.

The last time we saw this stone is was being held in the Sanctum Sanctorum and being protected by Dr. strange himself now the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.

#6 – The Soul Stone – MIA

The final stone which we have yet to be introduced to is the Soul Stone. There are many interesting theories as to where this stone is going to be located in the MCU. Personally I think that it is somehow either incorporated in Heimdall’s armour or his person. During the first Thor movie he says a line that for me confirms he has it, Heimdall states that he “…can see every soul in the nine realms” . I don’t think they would’ve used the word soul if it wasn’t significant. They could have easily said “being” or “person” but instead opted for the word “soul”. That’s just my theory though.

The Soul Stone grants the user the ability to: Steal, control and manipulate souls both living and dead, is a gateway to a pocket idyllic universe much similar to Heaven, and steal the powers and abilities of others. When used together with the other stones and the gauntlet it grants the user the ability to control all life in the universe.

We have no last known location for this stone as of yet, but during the comics it was firmly placed on Adam Warlock’s head. Since Adam isn’t due to show up until GotG 3… my money is on Heimdall.

That concludes the location and abilities of all the Infinity Stones in the MCU! If you have any comments or questions don’t be afraid to ask!

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Most Underrated Heroes Vol.3 – Hawkeye

This month for the most underrated hero inclusion I decided to go with someone that a lot of people know but very few know anything about, that hero is Hawkeye.  Hawkeye shot to stardom with his inclusion in the MCU, first appearing as a backdoor cameo in the first Thor, he didn’t appear again until Avengers. Clint Barton aka. Hawkeye, is an agent of SHIELD, former circus performer and full-time Avenger.

Side bar, Hawkeye is the only person in all of comics to belong to both the Justice League and the Avengers.

Let’s take a look at his background…

HISTORY

Clint Barton was created by none other than Stan the man Lee and artist Don Heck, and in his first appearance Hawkeye was the villain of the story. His first appearance was in Tales of Suspense #57 in September of 1964; it wasn’t until May 1965 that he became a member of the Avengers.

Clint was born in Waverly Iowa, but lost both of his parents in a tragic car accident when he was young. After spending over six years in an orphanage Clint and his brother Barney ran away to join the Carson Carnival of Travelling Wonders. Impressed with Clint, Swordsman took him under his wing and with the help of Trick Shot, they trained Clint to become a master archer. When Clint discovered his mentor and father figure, Swordsman was embezzling money from the Carnival he resigned to turn him in, but before he could accomplish this, he was beaten and left for dead. Clint bounced from circus to circus and eventually adopted the title of Hawkeye the World’s Greatest Marksman. When he witnessed Iron Man in action he decided to become a costumed superhero himself, but was mistaken for a thief on his first outing. He ran into Black Widow (who was spying for the Soviet union at the time) and fell in love with her going so far as to aid her in stealing tech from Stark Industries. After a battle with Iron Man, in which Widow was seriously injured, Hawkeye broke off the battle to help her only to find she had disappeared, it was at this time that he decided to be a “Straight Shooter”.

After saving Edwin Jarvis and his mother from a mugger, Hawkeye was invited back to Avengers mansion to force a confrontation to allow him to clear his name. He was eventually invited to join the Avengers along with new recruits Scarlet With and Quicksilver, the latter of which he clashed with constantly.

Classic Hawkeye

During a pitched battle with the Avengers, Hawkeye’s bow was broken. He adopted a new costume and identity and succeeded Hank Pym as Goliath. Several adventures occur involving Clint’s brother Barney (who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent) and Swordsman in which Swordsman is captured bringing Clint justice for his brother’s death. At the end of Kree/Skrull War Vision and Hawkeye butt heads over their affections for Scarlet Witch causing Clint to return to his original costume and go solo.

LOSS OF HEARING

Clint held many positions in his many years of comic publications from Avenger to solo hero, Head of Security of Cross Technological Enterprises, It was during his time as the head of security for Cross Technological that he met and fell in love with Barbara “Bobbi” Morse aka Mokingbird. When the two of them battle Crossfire to save the superhero community Hawkeye was rendered deaf by a combination of a sonic arrow and the sonic weapon being used by Crossfire. They briefly established the West Coast Avengers, and battle Mephisto and Satannish. During the battle with Satannish and Mephisto Mockingbird is killed and dies in Hawkeye’s arms. Hawkeye leaves the West Coast Avengers and disbands the team. He rejoins the original Avengers right before the Onslaught event and has his hearing restored by Franklin Richards because when Franklin remade the Avengers he remade them how he remembered them, which was when Hawkeye wasn’t deaf.

DEATH + RESURRECTION

He leaves to head up the first iteration of the Thunderbolts, but quickly returns to the team in time for the House of M. During the House of M he sacrifices himself to save his fellow Avengers only to be reborn by Scarlet Witch’s powers with no memory of his previous death. When he is given the ability to remember he is horrified at what Wanda has done and during the final confrontation shoots her in the back with an arrow. In retaliation one of Wanda’s children wipes Hawkeye from existence killing him once more. When House of M is fixed and reality re-written Hawkeye is still presumed dead.

Death of Hawkeye #1

Death of Hawkeye #2

Unknown to the rest of the Avengers Hawkeye was resurrected when Wanda fixed reality. he traveled the Earth for several months, finding a Wanda with no memory of her life as Scarlet Witch and no powers. The two get it on and then Hawkeye leaves and returns to New York when he hears of the assassination of Captain America. He joins the New Avengers as Ronin and keeps this identity for several months until the Secret Invasion story line where Mockingbird is revealed to have been alive for years as a captive of the Skrulls.

So many things happen since Secret Invasion it’s hard to list them all, he begins losing his sight, his brother is alive, he kills Bruce Banner in Civil War II. Yes.. he kills Bruce Banner and is found not guilty during a full criminal trial.

Let’s move onto his powers..

POWERS AND ABILITIES

Hawkeye is a human man with exceptional aim.

He is trained to the peak of human conditioning and is bale to battle many meta-human foes with just his body and his bow with trick arrows.

He is an exceptional fencer, acrobat and has considerable strength for someone who is not meta.

It is revealed that Hawkeye’s bow has a 250lb draw weight which is considerable when you take into account the average long bow has a 75-100lb weight draw.

As I said before he uses a variety of trick arrows much like Green Arrow from DC comics. Some of these arrows include: sonic arrows, explosive arrows, shock arrows, disruptor arrows, EMP arrows, and good old fashioned broadtipped.

During his tenure as Ronin he was also proficient with several melee weapons including the Katana.

He is also shown to have the ability to turn any object into a weapon by throwing it.

REASONS HE’S UNDERRATED

Hawkeye is vastly underrated because on a team that boasts a demi-god, a hulk, a tech genius, immortal warrior with metal claws, spider-man, and Captain America… he is just a guy with a bow an arrows.

There is a scene from Avengers Age of Ultron wherein Hawkeye tells Scarlet Witch that “there is an army of evil robots attacking the city, the city is flying, and I have a bow and arrow… none of this makes sense. But if you step out that door you are an Avenger…” This scene shows Hawkeye’s true power and that is to inspire his fellow teammates. When the super human teammates are down and feeling like they can’t win Hawkeye is there to bring them back into the fight. Most of the time it consists of him saying “…how can you be down and I’m not?! Get up!”.

Modern Hawkeye

Not only does Hawkeye provide the pick me up that some of the heroes need in the fight but he also doesn’t back down from a challenge. Hawkeye is a man, a man with a bow and arrow who never misses, but still just a man. Yet, he fights people like Ultron, Thanos and even Hulk on occasion without batting an eye because he knows he has to. Hawkeye will take on whoever is challenging him because as an Avenger you don’t get to pick your enemies, he knows he might not make it but he believes in himself and his team that they will win in the end.

Currently Hawkeye is portrayed by Jeremy Renner in the MCU and he does a fantastic job. In Age of Ultron we were introduced to his family which is a sad point as well. The Russo brothers confirmed that Hawkeye will be in Avengers 4 but he will adopt the persona of Ronin, this means there’s probably a good chance that his family is going to die in the third Avengers.

This concludes the third issue of Most underrated heroes. Let me know who you think an underrated hero is!

 

Jurassic Park – None Of It Was Real

This week I’m going to deviate from the comic topic for a bit and talk about something a good friend of mine Malcolm showed me, a theory surrounding the original Jurassic Park. If you were like me and saw it at a very early age then you probably grew up loving dinosaurs and everything about them. The original film directed by Steven Spielberg was released on June 9, 1993; I was a whopping 1.5 years old at that point. The movie is based on a novel written by Michael Crichton who also co-wrote the screenplay showing you how faithful the movie is to the source material. Crichton is famous for his work with Jurassic Park but two of his other works that i thoroughly enjoy are The Andromeda Strain and Timeline. Sadly Michael Crichton passed away in November of 2008, but a new novel was just published posthumously titled Dragon Teeth which features dinosaur bones and gunslingers… if that’s not a great combination then I don’t know what is.

Before we get to the theory let’s give a bit of a background on the plot of the movie/book.

BACKGROUND

The entire premise of the movie is that a wealthy businessman named John Hammond (CEO of InGen) discovers a way that by using modern technology they can bring dinosaurs back to life. By hunting for fossilized mosquitoes that have been trapped in amber (fossilized tree sap) they extract the DNA of the last dinosaur that particular mosquito bit, and use a species of frog, fill in the DNA gaps to get viable dinosaur DNA. They then use this DNA along with modern genetic research to clone dinosaurs and alter their genetic structure to ensure all the dinosaurs are female to avoid uncontrolled breeding. InGen purchased an island in Costa Rica called Isla Nublar where they opened a theme park to showcase their dinosaurs.  When a park dino handler is killed by a Velociraptor the investors order Hammond to bring in some outside experts to validate the park and their security measures. Things obviously do not go according to plan and the dinosaurs get loose. Not only are the dinosaurs loose but it is later revealed that the species of frog they used to fill the DNA gaps can actually change it’s sex for mating and thus the dinosaurs have been breeding uncontrolled.

Now that the background is explained let’s move onto the theory…

So the theory comes from Redditor Brownra04, and the theory goes like this, there were never any actual dinosaurs at Jurassic Park. The entire idea of Jurassic Park centers around the idea that geneticists extrapolated usable dinosaur DNA from the fossilized mosquitoes which we know is not possible, even within the realm of the movie. The DNA has a half life that would’ve decayed beyond any reasonable form prior to the 65 million year discovery. Not only that but the theory also adds that the mosquitoes would have bitten more than one dinosaur and that would have contaminated the sample. Having DNA from potentially hundreds of different dinosaurs with no way to distinguish them is a geneticists nightmare. In order to cover this up InGen used DNA from known reptiles to create the “dinosaurs” on display at Jurassic Park.

size of raptor

This is also explained that we know Velociraptors are roughly three feet tall and covered in feathers, not the nine foot man-eating killing machines from the movies.  We also learn in subsequent movies that all the births of the dinosaurs take place on the second island Isla Sorna. This directly contradicts John Hammond when he says that insists on being present for every birth. Hammond also tells Dr. Ellie Sattler that he started his career with a travelling flea circus that (despite the testimony of the kids he performed his circus for) had no actual fleas in it at all. The theory continues that the whole point of the visit from Drs. Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm was that if Hammond could fool a paleontologist and a paleobotanist into believing he had brought dinosaurs and extinct plants back to life and a mathematician into believing the science all added up, then he could fool the general public. The entirety of Jurassic Park was fabricated and the whole thing was a sham!

HOW IT WORKS

As the theory previously stated the subsequent movies that were released as sequels to this provide more and more future insight to the validity of the theory.  The Lost World the sequel to the original Jurassic Park shows the protagonists and antagonists travel to the first island and discover that the first island was only a show for the tourists and that everything was actually done on the second island. The third film shows Dr. Grant travel to the second island and see for himself that everything was done there and that the nightmare of the Jurassic Park was far from over. The fourth film (and the newest Jurassic World) shows the geneticist from the first movie Dr. Henry Wu ( played by B.D. Wong) working with the new park and cross breeding dinosaurs DNA with modern animals to create new dinos.  The biggest example of this is the big bad dino from the film the Indominus Rex which was an amalgamation of T-Rex, Gigantosaurus, Rugops, Majungasaurus, Carnotaurus, Tree Frog and Cuttlefish DNA to breed the perfect killing machine.

Indominus

The reason that the cross breeding went as smoothly as it did for the whole 4th movie was that the geneticists had been doing it all along and that when all their research was lost when InGen abandoned the islands, they didn’t lose their access to dino DNA samples because they never existed in the first place. This also explains why all the dinosaurs in the movies look how we imagine them to, giant pi-pedal killing lizards; when in reality, they probably all had feathers and most were probably smaller than we picture them to be.

IMPACT

I’m not going to lie, this theory had me sitting there scratching my head and trying to find ways to prove it wrong. Like the theory that Indiana Jones is not essential to the Plot of Raiders of the Lost Ark at all. I will be the first to admit, this theory actually makes sense and can work in the context of the series. Do I believe that this is what Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg wanted to convey when they started this franchise all those years ago? absoloutely not. That being said I can very much appreciate the amount of thought and work that went into this theory and I commend Brownra04 for bringing this to the world. For myself, and I think many others, the magic of Jurassic Park will always be about the tenacity of man playing God. I like my dinosaurs coming from Amber and I like them cloning them back to life. the entire series is (as the tagline of the original movie said) and adventure 65 million years in the making.

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Defenders – The Marvel Team Up We All Needed

*This will be a spoiler free review of the Netflix series, The Defenders*

The first season of Marvel’s Netflix team up, The Defenders, released on Friday. Unlike with most of the other series I was unable to watch it all right away as I was catching up on my Game of Thrones and visiting a good friend. I started by watching the first 5 episodes on Sunday night and I can honestly say that I was blown away by how good the series is. I had a discussion with a good friend of mine, Malcolm, once we had both finished watching the season and we both agreed that Superhero media works best as a season of TV as opposed to big blockbuster films. When you strip away the massive green screen and the exorbitant CGI you are left with a story and characters that don’t really do anything. Let me explain…

 

Let’s take Avengers (2012) the first instance of massive team up for either major comic company in a live action big screen film, it was a great film but was it? I will be the first to tell you that Avengers is amazing and I love it to death but there are definitely some major problems with it. It focuses solely on 2 characters and their growth throughout the film and the rest are there to add diversity and change of pace. It’s not question about it that Loki, Iron Man, and Captain America are the focal points of that movie, even Coulson who’s murder unifies the Avengers is relegated to secondary or tertiary character and plot device. None of the characters grow as people or even as heroes, they do what they always have and that’s it. Age of Ultron is a different story altogether, but that’s for another time. The reason that this happens is not on the fault of the writers solely, it’s the fact that they only have so much time to work with. You can’t have massive character growth and everything else to keep the plot moving in a 2 hour movie. stretch that out over 10 or even 13 hour long episodes and you sure can. Marvel’s Netflix universe has used this idea and ran with it delivering amazing shows since Daredevil first aired in 2015.  Critics didn’t really like Iron Fist, but I have already talked about that in a previous post so I won’t repeat myself.  With that being said, back to the topic of this post, The Defenders.

 

Plot

The story from the season of Defenders is amazing, it works with all the characters and brings their specific traits and quirks into a perfectly melded series. The main story is a little Daredevil and Iron Fist heavy, but that’s understandable when you find out who the main villains are and what they want. Sigourney Weaver is particularly well cast as the main villain Alexandra, with Scott Glenn making an appearance as Stick. The supporting cast are amazing as well, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Claire Temple, Foggy, Karen Paige all make appearances and help to push the story forward.  One thing that I will say as a fan of comics is that I HATE when they mix and match story arcs just to fit. They did this a little bit at the end of the season but for everything else it was a small nit picky thing that really only irked me. The main story revolves around Sigourney Weaver’s character Alexandra and her crusade to bring the city of New York to it’s knees. With only the team of Defenders standing between her and the destruction of the city, the heroes must learn to trust each other before everything they know and love is destroyed.

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Camera Work/ Editing

One of the coolest things that I found when watching the series is that when all the heroes are together they use a standard shot and standard lighting, etc. When each hero ventures off onto their own side quest you get the shooting style of each individual show.  In the first episode when we are introduced to each character as they go about their lives, we are shown 4 distinct filming, editing, and musical styles. The Jessica Jones shots use a much more stark and blue hue to the shots she’s the focal point of along with the patented scene changes involving camera shutters, Luke Cage uses a much warmer and yellow filter to the shots and the trademark psychedelic/funk music played in the background grounds him with his staunch sense of right and wrong. Daredevil/ Matt Murdoch uses a very standard filter but makes sure to pop out the colour of red and black whenever possible, and Iron Fist uses a stark filter which focuses on yellow and green for their colour pops. I really liked the way they blended each individual show’s styles together and moved flawlessly between them. That aspect alone put it far above anything the MCU or even the DCEU has put out thus far.

 

Character Development

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The series starts off where all of the others have left off plus several months. Jessica is trying to blend into the background and not be made a celebrity or what happened with Killgrave. Luke is just being released from Seagate for time served and is coming back to New York. Danny and Colleen have been roaming the world trying to find the central HQ of the Hand and end them, and Matt has given up being Daredevil and focusing on doing pro-bono work. Each member of the team is fighting in their own right against their failings and sins of their past as they forge ahead together on a crusade to save the city. IN my opinion the one who does the most growth is Jessica. She goes from wanting to be a nobody in behind the scenes to accepting that she can be a hero and help people. Danny does a lot of growth himself not just as the Iron Fist but as a person in general. After his debacle of a return in his solo series he is starting to learn the corporate world and the power he wields as one of the most profitable CEOs in the world. There is one scene in particular where Danny flexes his corporate muscle and shows the viewers that he isn’t some naive kid anymore that he is learning to navigate the corporate world and play the Game of Companies (doesn’t have the same ring to it as Game of Thrones…). Most of the development that is shown in this series comes from the relatively lone heroes learning to trust each other and work together as a unit. Let me tell you, in the finale when they start working together and functioning as a singular unit they are unstoppable.

 

Costumes

There isn’t much to say about costumes for this series. The only person who gets a costume that’s different from the one in their solo series is Danny, and even then it’s more just clothing for the appropriate climate where we first find him at the start of the show. The Black Sky does get a pretty awesome suit that is a lot more comic accurate than anything else, but even then it’s not 100% accurate. Matt Murdoch, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones all wear their normal outfits and the Daredevil suit is the same one as in the finale of Season 2.

 

Choreography

The fight choreography impressed me very much. It blended all the styles from previous shows and there are several instances where puns and jokes are made by the team members based on what is going on. One particular instance is when Jessica remarks (after stopping a drone in the employ of the villain) “Am I the only one who doesn’t know karate?!”. The choreography that is displayed is very martial arts centric and focuses mostly on the fighting abilities of Daredevil and Iron Fist. It does seem to be a lot more brutal in the fact that there is less finesse to it than there was in Iron Fist, but the visceral and brutal fighting adds to the credence that these aren’t your typical superheroes that these are people of the streets. Danny also has greatly improved his fighting style and character since the end of Iron Fist. It was not done as a response to fan backlash but as general growth as a fighter and a person. Iron Fist aired roughly around the same time they were filming the final episode of Defenders so there really wasn’t time to address most of the critiques raised about the show. Danny has been fighting with Colleen against the hand for several months so it makes sense that his fighting style and character would progress naturally to the point he was at during the opening of the Defenders.

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Conclusion

The Defenders show is the culmination of the four character seasons that Netflix have released thus far and boy… does it show. They took the best parts of each show and blended them together into the perfect piece. The only gripe that I have against the show as a fan was that they combined comic arcs and made them mash together. I can’t tell you which comic arcs they mashed together without spoiling the finale so I won’t but just know it’s nothing major. The only other kind of issue I have is that it’s only 8 episodes. Every other season that marvel and Netflix have produced is 13 episodes and this one was cut to 8. I understand that the production value is higher with a show like this but come on, at least give us 10 episodes!

My feelings on the number of episodes aside I would highly recommend this show to anyone who is a fan of gritty grounded drama. The Marvel Netflix Universe has crafted itself a dark and visceral identity separate from the MCU and that is what give it the distinction it has. I would rate this series 91/100 and recommend that anyone who is a fan of the Netflix universe binge this immediately!

Top 10 DC Animated Movies

With the animated movies on Netflix growing every single day, I thought I should drop what I believe to be the top 10 DC animated movies of all time. I will confess that I haven’t seen all of them (a travesty in and itself I know), but I have seen the vast majority of them. You’re not going to find any Superman titles on this list frankly because I think he is a horrible hero, but his character is essential for the League if that makes any sense.

So let’s start this list off at #10!

#10 – Justice League Gods and Monsters

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Coming in at #10 is none other than Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Taking place in  an alternate universe this movie is a great change of pace from the classic heroes we’ve grown to love. The League is only composed of the three core members: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Batman is no longer Bruce Wayne but Kirk Langstrom (Man-bat in normal continuity), a college student who took an experimental serum and became a vampire. Superman is now not opposed to lethal force and is no longer the son of Jor-El but that of general Zod. Wonder Woman is not the princess of Themyscira and Greek Olympian but wife of Orion son of Darkseid. The three of them operate as a kill squad and have a reputation for maximum casualties. When scientists around the US start dying and the Justice League is framed, it’s up to the trinity to clear their names and find the culprits. The movie was created by Bruce Timm who is famous for Batman the Animated Series which is probably why I enjoyed this movie as much as I did.

 

#9 – Batman: Bad Blood

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Taking the #9 spot is none other than the most recent addition to the Batman arc of the DCAU Batman: Bad Blood. The reason that this story didn’t come in higher on the list is because it falls into the same problem many big blockbuster superhero films have, too many plot lines and villains. The main villains of the film is a squad of fairly (in my opinion) B and C list Rogues along with Talia Al’Ghul and the Heretic. The movie also introduces us to Batwoman, Batwing and a VERY brief time of Dick as Batman. When Batman is missing and presumed dead after an explosion at a warehouse where he saved Batwoman, Dick must take up the mantle of the Bat and find out what is going on in Gotham city. With Batwoman, and Batwing getting 10 minute introductions, and the Heretic being the main villain of the film none of their origins are fully explored and if you miss a couple lines of dialogue then the story falls apart.  That being said the final act of the film is great and the choreography is astounding as with all the entries on this list; the only issue is the convoluted and excessive number of plot lines.

 

#8 – The Dark Knight Returns Part I & II

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There is no secret why these movies are on the list, Batman V. Superman. The reason they are lower on the list than some might put them is the one off nature that they have. Yes, they were made of a comic book from the late 80’s and it was a direct to film adaptation, but they came out around the same time the first Avengers movie came out and DC Comics had launched headlong into the New 52. The story is great, an aging Bruce Wayne retired after the death of Jason Todd. A ruthless gang called the Mutants has taken over Gotham City, and begins to terrorize the people. Batman comes out of retirement which causes problems for some villains Two-Face and Joker. The drawing style is very iconic of Frank Miller and the animation team kept as close to the source material as possible. The first part concentrates on Batman’s battle to take out the Mutant gang and the introduction of Carrie Kelly to the title of Robin. The second part is centered around the use of Superman by the US government to end conflicts and to remove stubborn superheroes who refuse to retire. The final confrontation between Batman and Superman is iconic and was a major influence for the Batman V. Superman film by Zack Snyder.

 

#7 – The Batman Vs. Dracula

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This movie is not that well known, at least among comic fans that I know. I was a huge fan of The Batman series that aired on teletoon for 5 seasons. The villains were excellently drawn and it brought a newer younger inexperienced Batman to the front. Rino Romano did excellent as the voice of Bruce Wayne and Kevin Michael Richardson added a new darker voice to an already more animalistic Joker, the series also featured Adam West as Mayor Grange. The movie takes place after the fifth season of the show but without any of Batman’s supporting cast i.e. Batgirl or Robin. The movie focuses on a young woman being pursued by Penguin through a Cemetary who accidentally awakens Dracula. Dracula then hypnotizes Penguin and turns Joker before making an army of vampires to try and take over Gotham. One of the scenes that stands out is when Batman and Joker fight in a blood bank after Joker has been turned. In order to get away with the EXCESSIVE amounts of blood, they had the lights knocked out in the film. This allowed for a pale blue light to illuminate the fight having the blood appear as a black liquid; although it was very obvious what the substance was. The movie used the exact same animation style and choreography from the show and kept all the subtle nods that made the show great.

#6 – Justice League Vs. Teen Titans

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One of the newer additions to the DCAU is Justice League Vs. Teen Titans. The movie itself is pretty generic but what sets it apart from the rest is that chemistry that is shown between the Titans. This movie introduces us to a new version of the team consisting of: Starfire, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, Raven, and Robin (Damian). Initially Damian is placed on the team to learn to work as part of team and during his first sparring match with Blue Beetle he is horribly burned. Raven uses her magic to heal him and the team begin to bond and trust each other. The Demon Lord Trigon uses his power to take over the League and forces the Titans to combat those that they idolize while trying to find a way to stop Trigon and save the League. As with all the newer additions to the DCAU the choreography  and animation is top notch and even the limited GCI is used well. The true heart of the film comes from the carnival scene where the Titans learn to bond and become friends. The Sequel Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was good, but it wasn’t as good as this one or the rest on the list.

#5 – Justice League Crisis on Two Earth

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Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is the second DC animated movie that I ever watched, the first being Batman Beyond the Return of the Joker. This movie solidified the DC multiverse and brought some of the greatest voice actors in to voice characters. Gina Torres delivers a stellar performance as Superwoman (evil Wonder Woman), but the standout role for me was James Woods as Owlman (evil Batman). The story is that on Earth-3 the roles are reversed, the heroes are the villains and the villains are the heroes. Earth-3 Lex Luthor steals a Quantum Trigger from the Crime Syndicate (Earth-3 evil Justice League) and  teleports to Earth-1 and requests to meet the Justice League. When the League discovers he is telling the truth they agree to help him and are teleported to Earth-3. the final confrontation comes between Batman and Owlman who have both travelled to Earth Prime (the center of all reality). In the ensuing fight Batman delivers one of the most chilling lines from any DC animated movie “You’re right, we both stared into the abyss… but when it stared back at us… you blinked”. Like I said before the voice acting on this film is spectacular and the story does a great job of introducing new viewers to the extended DC multiverse.

#4 – Justice League Doom

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Justice League Doom is based on the Tower of Babel story. In this story Ras Al’Ghul breaks into the Batcave and steals plans that Batman has prepared for taking down individual members of the Justice League should they become rogue. The plans are referred to as Agamemno contingencies (in case you are curious). In the film version it is Vandal Savage and a group of villains that become the Legion of Doom who steal the plans. Savage plans to direct a massive Solar Flare to the earth cooking “2/3 at most” of the planet and becoming tyrannical leader of the remaining 1/3. In order to do this he needs the Justice League incapacitated and recruits villains from a multitude of Rogues galleries to aid him in his fight. Some of the dialogue in this film is quite exemplary and several voice actors were perfectly cast (looking at Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan). The overall story and each individual members’ personal growth and acceptance of the plans makes for a very compelling movie that ends in what can only be termed as obvious. This movie definitely has replay value just like every movie on the list and the recording of some of the Agamemno Contingencies that are on Youtube is just amazing.

#3 – Batman V Robin

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I will be the first to admit that I really don’t like Damian as Robin. He is a pompous arrogant child who thinks that he is entitled the world because of who his parents are, and he needs to be taken down a peg (like they did in Batman Inc. #3). This story brings in one of the greatest Batman arcs since Knightfall and that would be the Court of Owls. This is the starting point of Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder’s run on Batman that also included Death of the Family and Endgame.  In this film Batman is pitted against the mysterious and legendary Court of Owls while he struggles to bond with his son. Damian believes that Bruce will never trust him and lashes out by frequently running off into the night on his own where he encounters Talon, the hitman for the Court of Owls. Batman must not only save his son from Talon, and his city from the clutches of the court; but he must also save his own mind from the assault of the Owls. This movie continues into the modern DCAU which is heavily influenced by the New 52 and features Jason O’Mara again in the titular role as Batman.

#2 – Flashpoint Paradox

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The Flashpoint Paradox is probably the best Justice League movie ever to have been made. The movie follows the comic of the same name which helped to restart the DC comic universe into the New 52. In this film Barry is taunted by Reverse Flash that no matter how fast he is, he can never save the one person who mattered. Barry then uses his powers to travel back in time and save his mom from being murdered, and in doing so creates an alternate timeline. One where everything is almost the same but slightly different, for example… Bruce Wayne was shot in the alley that night, and his father became Batman while his mother went insane and became the Joker. Barry must find a way to get his powers back, unite what heroes he can and stop the global extinction. While I am not a huge fan of the animation style of this film (the males look like HUGE V’s with all their muscles and thick necks) it does have an original quality to it. The dialogue amongst characters is top notch and it’s interesting to see just how if things had played out slightly different how much everything changes.  I have personally watched this movie over 10 times and I’m still entertained by it to this day.

#1 – Batman Under the Red Hood

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This movie right here, this is the best DCAU movie to ever have been made. I could spend an entire post talking just about this movie alone (and I might in the future). It’s no secret how much I like this movie just based on the number of times I have referenced it in the past on other posts. The movie follows the Death in the Family story line and continues with it. It opens with the murder of Jason Todd and ends with a confrontation that went down in history. A mysterious figure known as the Red Hood shows up in Gotham and starts taking over the drug trade, no matter what Batman does his adversary always seems to be one step ahead of him and knows his every move.  This movie features Jensen Ackles as the voice of Red Hood and Bruce Greenwood as the voice of Batman. Greenwood would later go on to continue voicing the Bat in the animated series Young Justice of which I am also a huge fan (and super excited for season 3). The choreography in this movie is astounding and it highlights one of the darkest times in Batman’s past making him appear even more human.

 

There you have it my top 10 animated DCAU movies of all time, agree or not it’s all relative ,but if you have any good comments post them below!

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Best Spider-Man film to date

*This article will contain some Easter Egg spoilers. You have been warned!!! *

If you’re like me, an avid Spider-Man fan, then you’ve probably been to see the latest installment to the MCU which is Spider-Man: Homecoming. I will flat out say that while the original 2000’s Sam Raimi films hold a very special place in my heart, this film is the best Spider-Man movie ever made.  They took Spider-Man back to his roots without forcing another origin story down our throats. Gone are the days of Peter Parker being a struggling photographer for the Daily Bugle. Back are the days of awkward teenage flirtation and social awkwardness we all experienced in high school. Tom Holland was amazing in his role as Peter Parker, he brought all the charisma and hilarity of his Civil War role into his full length role.

In addition to Tom Holland killing it at Peter Parker we were also given Michael Keaton in the role of Adrian Toomes aka. The Vulture. The story does a great job of maintaining the seriousness of a superhero flick without getting too over dramatic. In addition to the vulture there are several great nods and cameos of some other members of Spidey’s rogues gallery: The Tinkerer, Shocker and Prowler. One of my personal favourites was the inclusion of Mac Gargan into the MCU. Mac Gargan is the real name of the villain Scorpion who is one of Spider-Man’s most prominent foes. He hasn’t gotten his exo-suit yet and right now he just has a small role, but it’s obvious that this movie is meant to set up a larger Spider-Man universe.

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One of the best Easter Eggs from the movie comes from Donald Glover’s character, Aaron Davis. Fans of the Ultimate universe of Marvel comics will note who this character is and his significance to the story. Aaron Davis is the Prowler, a thief who likes to steal tech from major companies. In the ultimate universe he has a nephew, Miles Morales. Miles is bitten by the same spider that bit Peter all those years ago (Oscorp kept the spider for unclear reasons). While Miles gets roughly the same Power set as Peter he is also given the ability to camouflage himself and his clothing into his environment, his spider sense is weaker and only warns him of immediate danger as well as a “Venom Sting” in which he can paralyze anyone with just a touch. In the film Aaron actually goes as far as to say that he has a nephew in this neighbourhood which is why he will help.  This one scene gave so many people what they wanted which was the inclusion of Miles in the MCU, though now we will not be able to see fan favourite Donald Glover portray the character as he is far too old and he was cast as his uncle.

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One of my favourite Easter Eggs in the film comes when Peter is trying to track down some bad guys and disables the “training wheels protocol” Tony installed in his suit. When preparing to apprehend some bad guys the suit asks Peter if he would like to ” Instant lethal”. When the suit asks this the eyes turn red and narrow, and the placement of the shadows make the blue of his suit look red. This Easter Egg will be familiar for fans of the 90’s Clone Saga comic run. Kaine Parker, one of the clones made by the Jackal took on the moniker of Scarlet Spider, after the original Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider died. Kaine suffered from murderous tendencies and due to him being an imperfect clone he was supposed to die, but he didn’t. He healed and left New York moving down to Texas where he became the vigilante of Scarlet Spider with a precondition to lethal force.  Of all the Parker Clones that came out of that convoluted mess of a story arc, Kaine undergoes the biggest character development and is in my opinion the best one.

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Without giving any of the plot away I will say this, Michael Keaton played Adrian Toomes so well! there is a scene where he and Peter are i n a car and Toomes is laying down how things are going to play out and it is one of the best scenes of the entire MCU to date. Keaton has such a demanding presence in the film without being over dramatic. This might just be my personal opinion, but his time as Batman (however brief) provided him with a stoic ability to express his point without using many words. The Vulture suit is also just awesome. The studio moved away from a pair of bird winds on a green leotard and made him a rig which is basically a personal jet engine that straps to his back. They also gave him gripping claws for picking up large amounts of weight which is important to the plot of the movie.

The supporting cast of the film was stellar as well. Peter’s best friend Ned played by Jacob Batalon is one of the funniest characters in the MCU. This is coming from a guy who thinks both Deadpool and Rocket Raccoon are comedic gold and memorized most of their lines the first time I saw their respective movies. Batalon and Holland have a great chemistry that most actors try to emulate but few ever can. He is situationally funny as well as delivering some killer one liners throughout the film. I am very excited to see some more of him in the future installments of the Spider-Man stories as well as possibly a cameo or two in some upcoming Avengers movies. A shown in the trailer for the film Ned learns pretty early on that Peter is Spider-Man which leads to some great shenanigans on his part and some of the most hilarious grilling Peter could ever receive about his night time endeavours.

All in all the film ranks (for me) as one of the top 5 films in the MCU so far. It’s a great family film with some very serious undertone. I would rate this movie as a 9 out of 10 and recommend everyone goes to see it. It’s not just your typical good guy wins and everyone is happy story. It’s about Peter becoming the hero he wants to be and the hero others believe he can be. He has to find the balance to his life as Peter and his responsibility as Spider-Man. After all, we all know… with great power, comes great responsibility.