Cloak & Dagger – Trailer

The trailer for Marvel Television’s Cloak & Dagger dropped today, and I really liked it.

Sure, it went a bit heavy on the whole YA (Young Adult) angle, though when you take into account that it’s airing on Freeform–a name that sounds more like a type of women’s undergarment than a television network–which was formerly known as ABC Family.

What the trailer does well is set up a contrast between Tandy Bowen/Dagger (Olivia Holt), a well-to-do white girl and Tyrone Johnson/Cloak (Aubrey Joseph) a poor, struggling black teenager.

Iron Fist Revealed!

I understand that Marvel Television in its ‘street-level’ heroes tends to seek a more grounded, realistic esthetic than those typically employed by Marvel Studios.

That probably has a lot to do with why of all the Defenders only one, Daredevil, has a costume (which is more in the vein of tactical armor than a costume, per se).

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage wear civilian clothes, as does Iron Fist (at least in the first season of his series).

And for awhile I thought that the latter in his civvies that might be a good decision, till I saw this image from the series.

 That’s Johnny Yang as an ‘Iron Fist’–which is less an individual than an honorific, though only one seems to exist in any given period of time–and he looks pretty awesome.

The way they muted the colors and gave the costume a very real-world feel works really well, and I would have been glad to see it in more detail.  It was technically in the series, though the footage of it was so (deliberately) blurry you couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

Maybe they kept it under wraps because Danny Rand (Finn Jones) in–hopefully The Defenders–tries to capture some of his lost history, and dons the costume as a result.

 

Fists of Mud

I have to admit, I’m a bit concerned.

None of the three series Marvel has produced for Netflix thus far (two seasons of Daredevil, one of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) have been without criticism, but typically it’s muted by the heaps of praise they receive.

Regrettably that had not been the case with Marvel’s Iron Fist, which out of the box is getting some scathingly negative reviews, something that the prior three series didn’t have to deal with.

The Hollywood Reporter says: ‘the partnership between Marvel and Netflix was due a dud.’

Variety claims that ‘Not one element of this plodding piece works.  The action scenes lack spark, snap, and originality.’

Now keep in mind that’s just two reviews–there’s a thrid, but Twitter keeps crashing on me when I’m linking to it–but while I am sure that there will be many more positive reviews, it’s the tone of the negative ones that rankle.

Iron Fist Official Trailer

Marvel Studios was the first studio to create a interlinked series of movies– known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU–based upon preexisting properties (like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk) that culminated in event movies (such as The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) that featured all (or the bulk of) the characters introduced prior.  

Marvel Television?   A bit of a late bloomer.  Their first shows were Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, the latter of which lasted only one season.  

This is while DC Comics has made significant inroads into the television space with shows like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends Of Tomorrow, with more on the way.  

Though a curious thing happened.  Marvel Television began developing Daredevil as a television series on Netflix and it did well enough to warrant a second season.  

Then came Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and most recently, Iron Fist

And since all the Marvel Television series were on Netflix, as opposed to regular television, there was less of a need to appeal to everyone so they possess a grittiness, an edge the Marvel movies can’t touch. 

Oddly enough, Marvel’s television arm seems to be employing a strategy that didn’t work too successfully for DC Entertainment on the big screen–which is building a more noir-ish world –but appears to be paying dividends on the small one. 

Iron Fist revolves around Danny Rand (Finn Jones) who reappeared after having vanished for over ten years to claim the company started by his parents, Rand Enterprises.

Though the people running Rand Enterprises have somehow become involved with the deadly Madame Gao, and she thinks Danny Rand needs to vanish again… 

Marvel Television & Netflix: Sound & Vision In Harmony

While Marvel Studios is doing some amazing things in the movie space, we sometimes forget that Marvel Television is making waves of their own on the small screen.

And while they have been doing solid work with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter arguably their strongest work so far has been the series that have have done with Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

Along with a distinctive visual palate, each series is aurally unique was well, each evocative of different places and/or eras.   

Daredevil opening sequence

Jessica Jones opening sequence

Luke Cage opening sequence

Daredevil’s theme was composed by John Paesano, Jessica Jones’ by Sean Callery and Luke Cage’s by Ali Shaeed Muhammad and Adrian Younge.

At this point I can’t wait to see and hear what Iron Fist and The Punisher bring!

 Is Marvel Studios Still Producing An Inhumans Movie?

Numerous sites have declared Marvel Studios’ movie based on the Inhumans as either dead or removed from the Phase Three production slate

Though there are reasons to suspect that the former isn’t true and a feature–while removed from Phase Three–is still very much alive. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter with Channing Dungey, ABC Entertainment Group president,  a interesting bit of information was revealed.

“ABC also hopes that Inhumans — which is not a spinoff of the network’s Agents of SHIELD and does not replace the planned feature film (italics mine).”

Whether or not The Inhumans remains in development at Marvel Studios remains to be seen, but the possibility that it does suddenly looks a little bit brighter.  

Marvel’s Luke Cage – Review

At this point, if you’re a Netflix subscriber you’ve probably already started watching Marvel’s Luke Cage (if you haven’t binged all 13 episodes, that is) so I don’t have any intention of spoiling it for you.

Except to say that the series is damn good television; so good in fact that–which I mention in my video review–you almost regret when a costumed villain is introduced.

Because before that moment, things were tight–which isn’t to imply that the appearance of Diamondback (Eric LaRay Harvey) ruined things because it doesn’t though the action and interplay between the characters was so engrossing that it wasn’t necessary.

And speaking of character interplay, Mike Colter, Alfre Wooddard, Rosario Dawson, Simone Missick, Eric LaRay Harvey and Theo Rossi stick out among one of the stronger casts in television.

The contrast between Marvel Studios’ more fantastical worlds compared to Marvel Television’s more grounded and realistic one is pretty interesting and provides a welcome and refreshing difference in approaches.

Next up, Marvel’s Iron Fist!