Iron Fist – Season 2 Trailer (SDCC)

imageThe Season Two trailer for Marvel’s Iron Fist dropped at San Diego Comic-Con and it’s…okay and manages to tell us relatively little about the upcoming season.

And that’t okay because who wants any surprises spoiled this early (though Iron Fist had better wear a comic-accurate costume.  At this point we need something to link these ‘street level heroes’ to the greater Marvel Universe than just knowing that they’re characters from Marvel Comics)?

Which reminds me of what many apparently thought was the problem with Season One, namely it felt that Danny Rand/Iron Fist was a secondary character in his own story.

He felt too indecisive and ending up being the least interesting character in the series–in HIS series–which is never a good thing.

As a result, Scott Buck is no longer the showrunner–though it took Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb long enough to notice that it wasn’t working–having been replaced by Raven Metzner (Elektra–interesting and scary at the same time, Falling Skies, Sleepy Hollow, Heroes Reborn)..

 

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Marvel’s Luke Cage – Season 2 Official Trailer

Screenshot 2018-05-08 12.26.36.pngYesterday Netflix released a trailer for the second season of Luke Cage, one of the four series from Marvel Television and it looks…okay.

Cage seems to have accepted a degree of notoriety in his life–which truth be told is unavoidable when you take into account everyone is running around with technology that makes them their own network.

And we’re introduced to Bushmaster (who thankfully doesn’t appear to be wearing any sort of costume.  For some reason tropes native to the genre–such as costumes–does not benefit the show)and Misty Knight received her bionic arm (like in the comics.  Yay!).

Truth be told I’d be happy to get this series of Luke Cage and another Iron Fist (the first series wasn’t nearly as terrible as people make it out to be.  In fact it’s greatest problem is was that it made Danny Rand/Iron Fist a secondary character in his own story though the 13-epsisode structure of the season may have had a lot to do with that) culminating not in The Defenders, but in Heroes For Hire.

And speaking of Iron Fist, he needs a costume (or at least some sort of uniform) because if there’s something underwhelming it should be the costume, not the person wearing it.

Deadpool Animation Test Footage

Footage from Donald Glover’s aborted take on Fox’s Deadpool was released a while ago, and it not only looks awesome and captures the feel of the movie–it’s gloriously and unrepentantly violent–but oddly enough feels more ‘Deadpool’ than Deadpool actually was.

And I know this is simply an animation test, but it feels like Marvel Television screwed the pooch on this one.

What Cloak & Dagger Needs (To Do) To Succeed

Marvel Television, unlike their stablemates at Marvel Studios are very hit and miss as far as translating their characters goes.

So far–when they’ve dealt with ‘street-level’ characters like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, they’ve been relatively successful.

The problems arise when they try to tackle characters that exist is a more fantastical context than the streets of Hell’s Kitchen  (it’s worth mentioning that, budget-wise, Marvel’s Agents  of S.H.I.E.L.D. is likeliest the most expensive Marvel Television production thus far) where all roads lead to Inhumans, quite possibly their worst received production yet (including Iron Fist) which seemingly required more in the way of a budget than Marvel Television was willing to spend.

Which leads to Freeform’s upcoming series based on Cloak & Dagger.  They’re also street-level characters (the story is essentially Romeo and Juliet with superpowers) so they’re not far from what Marvel Television typically tackles.

The (potential) problems do with the depiction of their powers–with Cloak being much more problematic–in that on top of an ability to transport himself and Dagger he’s literally a walking doorway to another dimension.

And if that potentially weren’t enough of a hurdle, there’s a creature within that dimension that feeds of the ‘light’–which should be equated to ‘life’–of other living beings.

Now there’s no way of knowing if the series will stick closely to canon, but for it to not do so would be a wasted opportunity–the creature within Cloak could be treated as the physical manifestation of his own addiction, making his efforts to deny it the sustenance it needs all more poignant.

But that’s also not the cheapest way to approach the subject matter, which is where the concern comes in.

The greatest single expense of Cloak & Dagger is likely the depiction of his powers, and if Marvel Television tries to do it on the cheap the series will suffer for it.

 

Cloak & Dagger premieres on Freeform June 7.

Luke Cage Season 2 – Teaser Trailer

While I don’t think that it’s disputable that Marvel on Netflix has upped the ante on superheroes on television immensely that’s not for a moment to imply that there aren’t problems.

The biggest of which (in my eyes) is that no matter the series–Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones or Luke Cage–they never seem to quite know how to end a season, which typically means you end up with more than a few episodes that feel either extraneous or even worse, like filler.

The Defenders in this regard was a bit leaner (if I recall, at only 10 episodes as opposed to the usual 13) and the series was the better for it.

Let’s hope the upcoming second season of Luke Cage learns the lesson.

This November, Marvel and Netflix Unleash The Punisher

imageMarvel’s The Punisher will premiere November 17, which we didn’t learn during Marvel Television’s presentation at the 2017 New York Comic-Con because if never actually happened.

The panel for the latest Marvel Television/Netflix co-production was cancelled  out of respect for those who were killed in Las Vegas (which makes sense considering the Punisher is particularly fond of guns.  And while the violence that he projects is typically directed at various shades of criminal–and isn’t real–I applaud Marvel for being wise enough to see that it would have been in particularly bad taste).

Though what’s worse than ‘bad taste’ is willfully neglecting the issue, which is the ready availability of guns combined with the moral cowardice of our so-called representatives–who respond to almost monthly mass shootings with condolences and regret, but never with legislation that actually does anything to prevent such violence in the first place (so forget about anything as commonsensical as limiting the amount of guns one person can own–or ways to make them even deadlier, like bump stocks).

Let’s be honest: if we had rules to limit the amount of weapons a person could own, if conversion kits (which change a semi-automatic rifle to, essentially a full automatic) were illegal to sell or own, if background checks to purchase weapons were thorough and rigorous and if buying a gun meant you were registered in a national database (which would flag ‘unusual’ purchasing patterns) it likely wouldn’t be the end of gun violence.

But it would (probably) be lessened considerably, and mass shootings would be significantly less ‘massy.’

Though even if it did nothing at all, it would be better than burying our collective heads in the sand, waiting for the next time.

And isn’t that a bit more important than whether or not the Punisher appears at Comic-Con?

Marvel’s The Punisher – Teaser Trailer

There have been three movie incarnations of The Punisher since he was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. in 1974, and while a popular character in comics, his movies never quite seemed to connect with audiences.

The first movie was in 1978, with Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle/The Punisher.  It was okay, though he never displayed the the iconic skull emblem the character is known for (this lack of fidelity to the character was made up by it being somewhat gory).

The next version was in 2004 with Thomas Jane (who while physically is probably a bit short, he brought acting chops beyond Lundgren’s). It was okay, but failed in some really peculiar ways, such as as some underwhelming special effects and odd story beats (what I like to call the ‘fire hydrant scene’ is pretty bizarre).

Though at least he wore the iconic skull.

Thomas Jane also appeared in a short as The Punisher in 2012 (The Punisher: Dirty Laundry).

The Punisher next made another appearance in 2008 (This time played by Ray Stevenson) in Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone.  

Easily the best interpretation of the character in movies–though some of the violence was way over the top and more cartoonish than anything seen prior–Stevenson brought the size of Lundgren, and the acting chops of Jane to the role.

Though it still underperformed in theaters.

Enter 2017, and the Punisher is back.  Introduced in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil and graduating to his own series (a better format for the character than movies) Jon Bernthal brings us a Punisher worthy of the name.