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.

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones Renewed for Season Three!

img_0069For those of you have seen Season Two of Netflix’s Jessica Jones you might have wondered the same thing I did, namely was it the last for Marvel’s acerbic, misanthropic super-powered detective as it tied up a lot of loose ends introduced in Season One.

Apparently, my fears–while not groundless–have proven to be unfounded as Netflix has renewed the series for a third season!

This makes me happy because it shows that–like Jessica Jones herself–the series is taking steps to move beyond the trauma that drove and defined her and it for two seasons, and trying to bring her to a place where she’s better able to face up to her demons (and who knows, maybe even acquire a bit of empathy toward others in the process).

As you might have guessed, I have no idea how the upcoming will go, though I certainly think the journey should be interesting.

‘Game Over, Man!’ – Review

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Netflix has been making a lot of movies, but their output is extremely uneven, to put it kindly.  For every Gerald’s Game or Okja they seem to double-down on the terrible, with movies like The Babysitter or just about anything featuring Adam Sandler.

And Game Over, Man! fits firmly in the latter category.

As far as I am aware it’s the first feature starring all the members of the Workaholics (Adam Devine, Anders Holm and Blake Anderson, whom are really, really funny on that show) yet here are only intermittently so.

And then there’s the curious fascination with cocks–male genitalia, not the bird–that would be, at it’s best, infantile if it weren’t done in such a fashion that is so thoroughly off-putting.

It’s worth mentioning that there are a lot of celebrity “cameos” in Game Over, Man! where actors appear and then are dispatched so quickly you’d think that they were aware of how potentially a career killing move they were making, and did whatever they possibly could to minimize the fallout.

And while I wasn’t privy to any contract negotiations, it does explain a lot.

 

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.

Lost In Space – Date Announcement Trailer

Lost In Space–a series originally created by Irwin Allen–ran from 1965 to 1968 and apparently has more lives than a cat.

I grew up watching it, though truth be told that was more due to there not being much else available in sci-fi at the time.  Clearly low budget–though not as low as British series like Doctor Who, another long-running series–I was glued to the television whenever the adventures of the Robinson family aired.

The problem–at least for me–was while time advanced, visually the show didn’t.

Though in 2003 a new series based on the original series, The Robinsons: Lost In Space made it to pilot stage (directed by John Woo) but never went to series.

It wasn’t terrible, but seeing that’s Woo’s strengths lie in Asian action movies, the pilot followed a similar route, which was a significant change from the original series.

It was eventually relaunched as a movie in 1998.

The Lost In Space movie (directed in workman-like fashion by Stephen Hopkins) was actually pretty accurate to the original series, which is probably why it wasn’t particularly well-received and somewhat boring (with the original series you didn’t have much in the way of options on a Saturday afternoon if you were looking for your science fiction fix.  A feature film?  The options were somewhat greater).

Though you’d be excused if you thought that that was the end for the crew of the Jupiter 2 till Netflix recently dropped a trailer for another reboot.

And it’s an odd bird in that you don’t see much (the Robinsons are boarding what I assume is the Jupider 2 (against a very obvious green screen) while a voice over tells of humanity eventually leaving an earth that apparently can no longer keep us safe.

The implication is geological collapse, though there’s a scene of black and white footage where an African-American receives a injection that was a bit off-putting (Tuskegee Experiments and all that), though that might have just been me.

Where Marvel’s Iron Fist Went Wrong, And How To Set It Right

With a new season of Marvel’s Iron Fist currently shooting, I’ve started to speculate where it was that the first season went wrong.

1.  Iron Fist Was Guest-Starring In His Own Story

The Rand Corporation (as well as his siblings) are important to Danny Rand/Iron Fist’s narrative, but the series often felt like Rand was a guest-star in his own story.

In a 2-hour movie you can (arguably) get away with an under-developed hero or villain (and in fact there’s often only time to develop one or the other.  To do otherwise runs the risk of diminishing both, to the detriment of the story).

But in a thirteen hour series?  There’s no excuse for both parts of the equation to be balanced

2. Danny Rand Was A Bit Of A Whiner

While Finn Jones was cast as Danny Rand/Iron Fist I was okay with the choice, though he would likely not have been mine (that would have been Cam Gigadet, who would have not only brought a welcome bit of world-weariness to the role but actually knows martial arts–Krav Maga–which could have lent a greater authenticity to the role) though the character felt a bit like a truculent child at times, which made him a bit off-putting

3. Showrunner A-Go-Go!

For better or worse, the showrunner sets the tone and direction that a series takes.

They may not write it (though if that’s their area of strength, they could), but they’ll likely chose the writers who will.

They may not direct, but will end up being the decider in terms of whom actually  ends up doing so.

in other words, it’s a very influential position and likely why Scott Buck will not be returning to a second season of Marvel’s Iron Fist (he’s replaced in Season Two by Raven Metzger, who worked on Falling Skies, Heroes Reborn, Sleepy Hollow and movies like Elektra).

And a new showrunner is a great start, though–and this is stating the obvious–there had to be more martial arts.

One of my favorite martial arts movies is The Five Deadly Venoms and frankly, it’s ridiculous, particularly from a martial arts standpoint though ironically enough, that’s why it works so well.  It revels in the  rediculousness, while playing it relatively straight. 

Now, I’m not saying that Iron Fist needs to go quite that far, but it is called ‘Iron Fist,’ not ‘Familial Squabbles with a Little Martial Arts Thrown In.’

And I’m not saying that Iron Fist needs to be as fanciful as that movie, but there should be a joyfulness, a level of dexterity for the most part missing from the first season.

Some of the changes I’ve mentioned–such as a new showrunner–have already been initiated, though arguably the most important–is the fighting because keep in mind that Danny Rand’s martial art abilities are to him what The Punisher’s penchant for violence are to him: an indispensable part of the character’s makeup.