Daredevil. Netflix. Love.

Daredevil-TV.1

I don’t know if its because I recently read the TPB Daredevil: Born Again or if its because I was so pissed off with the Iron Fist TV series, but I’ve started to re-watch Daredevil on Netflix.  This will be my 3rd-go-round with Season 1 and, once done, I will dive back into Season 2 for the first time since I initially saw it a year ago.

I remember being totally enamored with Season 1.  Admittedly, I know that some of the source material of Season 1 was pulled from The Man Without Fear storyline written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr., but I never read the books so I went in to the show with virgin eyes.

I was blown away by a lot of what the show was able to do or, more aptly, get away with.  I had no clue that Marvel would have allowed the show-runners to take that property and make is so…well, violent.  I honestly assumed that Marvel would want to protect its identity as family-friendly given that their movies were between PG-and-PG13.  But the Netflix show holds nothing back and it plays out exactly how it should.  I mean, that hallway fight in episode 2 is out of this world.

I remember getting antsy towards the end as I wanted to see how they were going to do the suit, and while its not a giant red unitard….hey, at least its not a giant red unitard!

Daredevil-TV.2Overall I was really happy with the show and I felt that it was a great accompaniment to the movies in the MCU.   I don’t believe that Daredevil would work as a movie (hello, Ben Affleck) as well as it did as a TV series.  It was grounded in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.  Some of the best TV series are at street level (The Wire and those first 10 seasons of Law & Order), eschewing the fantastical.  Daredevil brings you down to its level so much, you can almost feel the pain of every punch thrown.

Season 2 came out in March 2016 and just like Season 1, I ate it all up in a weekend.  How do you expand on the rawness of the first season?  Well, you can introduce The Punisher, that’s how.  I remember when Marvel & Netflix announced that The Punisher would be part of Season 2, the geek collective’s brains exploded.  Yes, we have two (Ok, fine…three) Punisher movies to watch but this version of Frank Castle was the best of the three.

And remember that hallway scene in episode 2 of the first season?  Yeah, and remember how I said I was shocked that Marvel would let the show-runners get away with the violence in the show? Ok, so lets ratchet that up 100 times greater and you’ve got episode 9.  I am telling you, this may be the most bloodiest thing that has been filmed for TV and I loved every splattery moment of it.

Daredevil-TV.3

Finally, to round it out, they introduce Electra to the series and I couldn’t be happier (sorry, Jennifer Garner).  Listen, the reality is if you’re reading this blog, you likely are a fan of comics or comic book movies/TV shows and have probably watched both seasons of Daredevil.  There is nothing that I am going to say that you don’t already know.

But what I appreciate most about what these shows have done is, you don’t have to be a comic book fan to appreciate and love the shows.  I am not a big fantasy book reader, or really, at all, but I can’t get enough of Game of Thrones! A good TV show will take its sourced-from genre and make it compelling to those who are unfamiliar and also make it appealing to those who are.

Daredevil, both seasons, nails it.  Hard.

And again, I will never tire of saying this – we are getting to see our comic book heroes come to life!  This is a crazy time for comic book fans, wherein our wildest dreams are being realized.  But also, its just damn fine TV.

Uncharted 4: Am I Bored?

Uncharted 4

I’ve previously written about how much I love my PS4 and that gaming at 40 (almost 41) is a wonderful experience. When I got my PS4 for my 40th last year, I was determined to buy the Uncharted Series because I had heard so many great things about it.  In the summer, I saw it was on sale for about $30 for 3 games.  That, my friends, is the Monty Hall of deals.  Sold!

I played the three Uncharted games back-to-back-to-back and loved them, with each game improving in quality than its predecessor.  I couldn’t believe how much fun these games were! Of course, in April 2016 the final entry in the series, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was released. I have an issue paying full price for a game (about $70-$80 in Canada) and that issue is my wife.  So, really, she has the issue and I personally enjoy the ability to breath without the assistance of a ventilator so…we’ve decided that I wont buy games at full price.

So when the holidays rolled around and it was on sale, I grabbed a copy of Uncharted 4 along with some other titles (including the outstanding Titanfall 2!). I started playing Uncharted in early February, expecting that I would be hooked, addicted…and….and I’m not.  I mean, the game is good.  Its damn, damn good.  And when I do play it, I really enjoy it but I havent had the hook to fire it up each night like I did when I played Titanfall 2 or The Last of Us (listen to me: play this game.  Play it!).

So, what does it all mean?  Does it mean anything at all?  Likely not.  But maybe.  Shit, I don’t know.  All I do know is that I really enjoy playing the game when I am playing, but I haven’t fired it up in about 3 weeks and the thought of doing so last night, tonight or even tomorrow night sounds more like work than fun.

Uncharted 4.2The game is gorgeous.  The gameplay is great.  This game has been given 9/10 and 10/10 scores on numerous gaming sites.  I get it.  Its good.  But something….something isnt hooking me to want to go play it again.  Selfishly…I somewhat thought that by writing this would give me the urge to ditch the family and fire up the adventures of Nathan Drake.

But instead, I kinda want go go back to continuing my third trip down Neflix’s Daredevil (season 1).  Now for that, I am a total junkie.

 

Power Rangers.

Power Rangers LogoMy son is 8 and discovered Power Rangers on Netflix a few years ago and fell in love with it. He watched almost every episode of the series that are on Netlflix, except – strangely enough – the original series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (MMPR).  I tried to get him to watch it but he thought it was weird looking.

Huh? Compared to the Dino Thunder series? And what the hell is the Mystic Force series?  What is happening??  But I digress…

When the MMPR dropped on TV audiences in 1993, I was working at Rogers Video (Canada’s sorta-answer to Blockbuster) and vividly remember the phenomenon that was the Power Rangers, exploding onto the lexicon.  The video store carried baseball cards of the characters and posters, selling them to kids and adults alike.  The show was so weird, but it was also weirdly entertaining because, anyone like me who grew up in the 80’s, immediately thought of Voltron.

And we derided MMPR as being a piece of shit Voltron ripoff and yet we all watched it because, ironically, it was a live-action Voltron and it was geek-tastic!  Nerds…we’re never happy.

I remember going to the theatre in 1995 to see the movie but soon realized that the show had most definitely jumped the shark, for me at least, and I was done.  I never thought about the Power Rangers again until, some 18 years later when my son started to watch all the shows on Netflix. I watched a few with him but soon found myself wishing for death by any means…a bullet, asphyxiation, blunt force trauma.  I didn’t care, I just couldn’t handle this stupidity that the later series of Power Rangers had become.

Then last year I heard that a new movie was coming out.  Ugh.  But then I head it was a reboot and as much as I think that reboots are overdone and uncalled for most times (hello, thrice-rebooted in 13 years Spider-Man!), I had to agree that a reboot of the Power Rangers was needed, especially as there are 20-something versions of Power Rangers.  No shit…check it out.

I wasn’t overly hopeful that this reboot would be any good.  I mean, I really thought it was going to be a crapfest and I was dreading the inevitable grovelling of my son to take him to see it.  But then something weird happened – he still begged and grovelled, mind you – I actually enjoyed it.  And I mean, I really enjoyed it.  Holy shit.

Power RangersI know the film has gotten mixed reviews and there are some legitimate complaints about the movie taking too long for any real action to happen but you know what?  I don’t care.  I didn’t care about that one bit.  The movie clocks in at just over two hours and it flew by.  And as I sit and write this, I still cannot believe how much I enjoyed this film.  But then I remember the reasons why – the messages that are strung throughout are really, really empowering and smart.

One of the characters is gay, but shes not playing up every stereotype you can think of.  Instead, she describes what its like to be the “different” member of her family; a perfect family that all fit into a certain mold and she doesn’t.  She refuses to conform to her parents’ ideals and she feels like an outcast but knows that she needs to be who she is – to be true to herself.

Another character is autistic.  In fact, this is spoken about within the first 10 minutes of the movie when he tells another character that he’s on the spectrum and then describes that his brain sees and understands things slightly differently; however, there isn’t anything wrong with him but he asks and expects that people will understand and be patient with him.

Both of these characters become two of our 5-member teamed heroes and it showed that anyone, no matter their race, gender, sexuality or differences could be a hero.  And then on top of that?  They cant work as a team and become the heroes, the Power Rangers, until they truly understand what friendship is, that acceptance is not needed but required.

Honestly, I will outright admit that I am not sure if these messages hit home to me because I am a father vs. a non-parent.  Would I still have enjoyed the movie if I didn’t view it through the eyes of my son and think of what the narrative is saying to him?  I don’t know.  I really don’t.  But what I do know is that his legs were shaking the last 30 minutes out of sheer excitement (and not, like I had thought, because he had to take a leak).

I really enjoyed Power Rangers. I know that its not for everyone and maybe I am a small minority. But it was fun and above that, it had great messages for kids.  And I think that in today’s world of online bullying and undeserved anger and emotional outbursts…I think a good moral message, while kicking Rita Repulsa’s ass, is more than ok.

 

Read This: Daredevil: Born Again

DD Born Again 1.5

Recently I discussed how much I had been enjoying reading the collected editions of 100 Bullets.  A couple weekends ago, I picked up two trade paperback/collected editions of comics I had always heard about but never read.

DD Born Again 2Daredevil: Born Again was originally published in 1986, written by comics legend Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzuccelli, spanning Daredevil issues #227-#231. For those who are unfamiliar with the character of Daredevil – and that should be few of you given the amazing Netflix series –  he is Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer-by-day and an acrobatic vigilante by night.

Wow, that really simplifies who Daredevil is.  Shit. Ok, don’t pay attention to my inability to give a proper summary of Daredevil, but trust me when I say he’s a pretty cool character who has had some amazing stories written.

In Born Again, Daredevil’s ex-girlfriend, who is now a heroin junkie (typical, right?), has no more cash for her next fix so she sells the one thing she knows will get her lots of coin – the identity of Daredevil.  This is then passed onto the Kingpin, DD’s arch nemesis, who uses this newly acquired information to destroy our hero but not in a way you would expect.

Instead of going after loved ones or publicly outing him, the Kingpin instead destroys Daredevil by attacking Matt Murdock’s life. He discredits him as a lawyer, as a person.  He freezes Matt’s bank accounts and he loses his licence to practice law.  He takes away every ability to live his life, removing friends and co-workers and even destroying Matt’s home.  He is literally left with nothing.  And its brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.

I was really taken aback at how much I loved this story.  I read some Daredevil comics when I was younger but I think a lot of the really good stories just went over my head as a kid.  Reading Born Again last week, I can appreciate that the subject material is better served to an adult than to a 10-year old kid.

I’ll leave you with this, which contains a sentence that completely rocked me when I read it.  Enjoy!

DD Born Again 1

Iron Fist of Shame.

Iron Fist BannerA couple weekends ago, Netflix unveiled its 4th series with Marvel TV, following the adventures of Daredevil (2-seasons worth), Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Iron Fist is the last character to be introduced before all four appear together this summer in The Defenders.

But there’s a problem: Iron Fist is a hot pile of mess.

I’m not going to review each individual episodes because I don’t have the patience to watch all 13 episodes again, but you can find a good review of the whole show here.  You can also go online and read a multitude of other reviews done by people way smarter than I.  But I have gripes about the show that I just cant accept.

  1. You’re Iron Fist.  You’ve defeated the dragon Shou Lou and granted the mystical power of the Iron Fist.  So then use your damn iron fists, man!  Use your powers!  What person, when granted with powers to use during a fight, doesn’t use them when in a fight??  For fucks sake…
  2. Speaking of fights…this show has the worst fight scene since the Incredible Hulk battled Thor in 1988. Again, Iron Fist is supposed to be the king of kung fu in the Marvel universe and instead he comes across as the king of getting his ass kicked.  When you’re not distracted by the horrible fight scene editing between Finn Jones, who plays Iron Fist, and his stunt double, then you’re scratching your head wondering why every single person can almost get the better of Iron Fist. I mean, he beat a dragon but cant stop some low-level thug without taking some licks first?  What is this?!?!?
  3. Finally, what is the purpose of Danny Rand/Iron Fist?  What the hell is his….his mission?  Why is he in New York?  Yes, I understand that he wants to be a part of the company his father built.  But so what?  What do you want to do?!?

Sigh.  I’m so frustrated with this show.  And yet I have to take a moment and remind myself that, holy-shit, we are seeing an Iron Fist TV series.  I mean, compared to what we had when I was a kid in terms of superheros on TV (here’s looking at you, Electric Company Spider-Man), I suppose I shouldn’t be so picky.  But when you’re following on two phenomenal seasons of Daredevil, then you have to step up and kick some ass.  Especially if the character is supposed to be one bad-ass dude.  EC Spidey

Anyway.  I’m frustrated.  I watched all 13 episodes of the first season and if I had to score the overall season…I would, out of 10, have to give it a 4/10.  Sigh.  Here’s hoping the Defenders can pull it back in and kick some ass.

 

 

Read This: 100 Bullets 

100 Bullets

Comic books don’t always have to be about super powered beings or vigilantes in capes and cowls. There are many comics that have non-super powered protagonists and antagonists – which is a fancy way of saying good guys and bad guys.

I think comics get a bad rap for the most part because people automatically assume if you’re reading a comic, it’s about a dude with a cape and/or mask.  And while they may be right in some cases, that closed-minded thinking robs them of the understanding that great stories can be told in comic book format that don’t include typical heroes in tights.

I bring this up because I’m in the middle of reading 100 Bullets and I think it’s something that you should be reading too, if you’re into crime stories that have that old school 40’s noir crime feeling.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was absent from comic reading for a good number of years and while I had heard about 100 Bullets, I really had no idea of the concept of it. And as ridiculous as this sounds…I didn’t really get educated until this past summer when actress Leslie Jones tweeted about it, in response to being on the receiving end of some horrendous Twitter abuse.  And because she mentioned it, the story gained steam and the book was discussed in a number of websites that I visit.  And as crazy stupid as that story about how I found 100 Bullets sound…it doesn’t really matter how you found a good comic, its just that you did, right?

100 Bullets Book 1So here’s the (quick) premise of 100 Bullets:  Imagine if your life took a shitty turn or you were the victim of some horrible crime.  What would you do if a stranger gave you a briefcase with information that led you back to the person/people responsible for that change in your life…and in that briefcase? There are 100 bullets for you to use to exact your revenge. Oh, and those bullets?  If found at the crime scene, all investigation stops by any and all police forces.  Essentially, you have immunity.

How amazing does that sound?  Of course, the plot and the characters and the interwoven stories have much more depth to them than what I am describing, but that basic premise had me hooked and I wanted in!   There are secret societies and crime families and crazy violence and pure ruckus and…yeah, you have to read it to really appreciate and understand why I love this book so much.

I asked my wife for the 1st Volume for Christmas and was fortunate enough to get it. Since then, I have purchased Volumes 2 & 3.  Full disclosure: She isn’t aware of said purchases and I while I may be taking a chance publishing that piece of info on this site, the odds of her actually reading this far into a post about comic books is slim to nil.

100 Bullets is not for kids. I’m just saying.  But as a 40-year old comic fan, I like my superhero books but I am also discovering some really good, heavy graphic novels and its really expanding my love of comics.

100 Bullets ran from 1999-2009 and consisted of 100 issues. They have been collected in 5 Collected Editions and I highly recommend that you seek them out at your local comic shop.

Logan.

I’m a movie fan.  I’m a comic book fan. This has been well established on this site so its no surprise that I went and saw Logan on opening weekend.  When I got back to work on Monday, everyone was asking whether I had seen the movie and, if so, my thoughts.

I’m not a film critic, dear readers.  And the reality is, my opinion isn’t really going to sway your decision to either see it or not. You’ve likely made up your mind by the time you’re reading this.   As I’ve said previously, when you’re a parent of two kids, its hard to get out to the movies as often as you did when you had no kids.  And when you do go, you want to make sure its worth the money you’re gonna spend.

So, from that perspective –  Logan is worth the coin you’re going to drop on the ticket(s) and popcorn. It’s a great, fun, amazing movie.  I’ll comment later on the fact that I like ‘R’-rated comic movies…and make no mistake, Logan hits the ‘R’ rating HARD. But for this moment, for this movie, Logan is worth the time and money.  Go see it.  Logan 1