Category Archives: TV Shows

Actors Who Have Played Multiple Comic Book Characters

Comic book movies are all the rage these days. They aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there is no denying their commercial success in recent years, especially since the introduction of the MCU in 2008 with Iron Man.

The sheer number of comic book related movies (CBMS) in recent memory is daunting. Numerous franchises have already been rebooted since the current wave of CBMs, with studios not even giving them a decade to cool down.

With so many new CBMS and reboots, and graphic novels being converted to movies, it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing some recurring faces on the big screen. Many actors have dawned the spandex multiple times, even as different characters. Here’s a quick list of actors and actresses who have played multiple comic book characters on film and TV.

Brandon Routh

Roles:

  • Clark Kent / Superman (Superman Returns, 2006)
  • Ray Palmer / The Atom (Arrow, TV)

Aaron Taylor-Johnson

It seems like every actor from Kick-Ass has at one point been in another CMB. Aaron Taylor-Johnson started his comic book fame in the small cult-classic flick Kick-Ass (and it’s sequel) as a wannabe super hero. A couple years later he would emerge as a bona fide superhero with super-speed in the Marvel hit Avengers: Age of Ultron. With the Kick-Ass franchise over, and his MCU character killed off, his CBM future looks bleak.

Roles:

  • Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass (Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2)
  • Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Evan Peters

Interestingly, Evan Peters and fellow Kick-Ass co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson both played different versions of Quicksilver in separate franchises. Quicksilver was killed off in Age of Ultron, but expect to see Evan Peters reprising his super speedy role again in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

Roles:

  • Todd / Ass Kicker (Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2)
  • Peter / Quicksilver (X-Men: Days of Future Past)

Nicholas Cage

Ghost Rider was a failure of a movie, but I feel like Cage got an ounce of redemption in Kick-Ass when he played the cop-framed-as-a-criminal turned crime-fighting-Batman-lookalike. You have to admit, this scene is bad ass.

Roles:

Rebecca Romjin

Another Punisher cast member, Rebecca Romjin, is perhaps better known by starring as X-Men franchise regular Mystique, the blue, shape shifting, femme fatale.

Bluuooobbbbs. -Honest Trailers

Roles:

Ray Stevenson

This is the first actor on our list to play three comic book roles.

stevenson

Roles:

  • Frank Castle / Punisher (Punisher: War Zone, 2008)
  • Volstagg (Thor, Thor: The Dark World)
  • Firefly (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, 2013)

 

Vinnie Jones

Despite being one of the lesser known, and less acclaimed actors on this list, Jones actually sported two very cool comic book roles. The first was the unstoppable Juggernaut in X-Men 3, where he actually had some decent fight scenes against the likes of Wolverine and the X-Men. Almost a decade later he finally returned to the realm of comic books and starred as another villain opposite Green Arrow on the small screen as criminal overlord Danny Brickwell. Again, Vinnie Jones delivers a level of physicality to his role, which comes from his background as a professional footballer.

vinnie-jones

Roles:

  • Cain Marko / Juggernaut (X-Men: The Last Stand, 2006)
  • Danny Brickwell (Arrow, TV)

Ron Perlman

You may know Ron Perlman was Hellboy, but you may have forgotten he starred opposite Wesley Snipes in Blade II as Reinhardt.

Even more impressive is how many comic book characters he’s voiced over the years. Perlman has a rough, unmistakable voice that makes him well suited to voice a wide range or characters, especially villains. Other smaller acting and voicing roles and projects include Jax-Ur (Superman, TV), Clayface and Orion (Justice League, TV), Static Shock (TV), Emil Blonsky / Abomination (The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Game), Slade Wilson /Deathstroke (Teen Titans, TV), Killer Croc and Bane (The Batman, TV), Sinestro (Green Lantern: The Animated Series, TV). He’s even voiced Batman in a Justice League video game.

perlman

Roles:

  • Reinhardt (Blade II, 2002)
  • Hellboy (Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army)

Ryan Reynolds

Like Stevenson, he’s the only other actor in this list to play three comic book characters, but they were all very important characters in their respective stories. He’s snagged some great roles, unfortunately under the leadership of some shitty directors. He might also be one of only a handful of actors to ever play the same character twice, under two different continuities.

In my opinion, Reynolds is the first heavy hitter on this list. Cage and Perlman certainly had their time in the sun, but Reynolds has had some memorable roles in the last decade or so, and he’s popular. He’s also had some total flops. Green lantern bombed at the box office, and is the shame of the CBM crowd. I will still always remember Reynolds as Van Wilder, and Monty from Waiting.

Luckily, his cinematic future is bright. Reynolds career will kick into 6th gear when he stars as Wade Wilson / Deadpool in 2016.

Roles:

  • Hannibal King (Blade: Trinity, 2004)
  • Wade Wilson (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2009)
  • Hal Jordan / Green Lantern (Green Lantern, 2011)
  • Wade Wilson / Deadpool [different continuity] (Deadpool, 2016)

Chris Evans

Now we’re really moving into the big leagues. Evan’s first CMB role as Johnny Storm was good, not great, but put his foot in the door for the comic genre. Thought Fantastic Four was a memorable movie that has since been relaunched, it won’t be the movie Chris Evans is known for decades from now. His role as Captain America however, is already at legendary status alongside Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man.

His role as the Human Torch couldn’t be more different than his current role as Captain America. Johnny Storm was a young, arrogant, loud mouth, womanizer, and Steve Rogers is an old, humble, and reserved, and possible a 95 year old virgin.

Roles:

Ben Affleck

Rounding out the list is Ben Affleck who has starred as two very important characters from DC and Marvel.

Many claim that paying Daredevil was basically a warm up to play Batman. The two characters actually have a lot in common, both in regards to their character and their origins. While Bruce Wayne dresses like a bat, Daredevil is blind as a bat. Both patrol their cities, almost exclusively at night, and cover their face to protect their secret identities. Both characters are considered to be among the best male martial artists in their respective universes.

Frank Miller played a pivotal role in both of these characters current success. In 1986 Frank Miller injected a new level of blood, grit, and darkness into the Daredevil comic book series, Daredevil: Born Again. Miller took this same story telling recipe and used it to rejuvenate the Batman comic book series, which up until the late 80’s had always been campy and goofy. Frank Miller’s reboots of both characters in the late 80’s is now considered to be the definitive story in each series.

Another interesting factoid, is Affleck will be playing Batman in not just one, but TWO movies in 2016, which might be a first.

Roles

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Game of Thrones: Season Finale Review

SPOILER ALERTS! BE WARNED!

Oh, and profanity, a lot of that ahead too.

Like every other person on the planet with a TV and pirated access to HBOGO, I just watched Game of Thrones’ Season 5 season finale.

Here’s what I got to say, in a nutshell:

Arya Stark is a Champ

Arya Stark is a mother fucking champ. Did you see how she took that beating with the stick without a wince? And then she pounces up and stabs that douche bag right in the face? That was one of those Bob Barker coming back from the dead and beating up Happy Gilmore type moments. Just when you aren’t sure what’s about to happen, she springs to life and pounces on you like a tiger!

Arya was my # 1 favorite character of the episode.

The price is wrong, bitch!

Cersei Lannister deserved what happened to her

If Cersei hasn’t been a total bitch the entire series this episode might have been hard to watch, but it wasn’t. She got what she deserved. She probably deserved worse, actually.

Can we please get an encore?

Myrcella Baratheon did not

Man, Ellaria Sand is such a bitch. Like really. Yeah, Oberyn dying was a low point for me in the series. But he wasn’t murdered or anything. He sorta signed himself up for a death match against a guy called The Mountain, and got his head crushed in fair and square.

So her revenge is… take it out on a girl who knows jack about jack?

Given, Myrcella wasn’t anyone’s favorite character but killing her was unnecessary, stupid and is probably going to start a war now.

Ellaria Sand

Would someone kill this bitch already?

Bitchy McBitcherson

Tyene Sand and Bronn

Tyene Sand is legit. She’s crazy. But she’s legit.

Bronn is legit too. A dick, but legit.

I like the Tyene-Bronn romance we got going on. I’m hoping to see some more action between these two. If the Lannisters don’t go to war with Martells and force them to kill each other first. Which would be some Mr. and Mrs. Stuff sex violence stuff, so I guess it’s a win win either way.

Stannis Baratheon

Who didn’t see this guys fall coming? He’s an asshole that few people like, he’s a religious fanatic who chops off his best friends fingers, kills his own brother, and burns his daughter alive. If his army wasn’t slaughtered in the field, they would have eventually mutinied against him or just been all “fuck this guy…” and left in the middle of the night.

Brienne of Tarth

She finally got to exact justice for the murder of Remly Baratheon. Except, ya know, Stannis was already dying in a pool of his own blood and shit. And, well… it took her 4 goddamn seasons to find him.

But score one for Brienne! Now her true moment of redemption will be if/when she ever saves Sansa Stark.

Brienne was my # 3 favorite character of the episode.

Christian Grey

Err… I mean Ramsay Bolton. When is someone gonna kill this fucking guy already? Granted I don’t think he’s as bad as Geoffrey (yet) but still, we got no closure on this character in the last episode. Hopefully Brienne of Tarth gets to him before he gets to Sansa.

Sansa Stark

She was never my fave, but she earned pity points after that scene a couple episodes back. The girl’s strong, I’ll give her that. And she’s no longer an idiot like she was in the first four seasons, so it’s been less annoying to watch her this season.

Oh, and a lot of people were probably wondering how she planned on surviving a jump off a six story castle wall… It’s been snowing like crazy in Winterfell. There’s probably 7-8 feet of fresh powder at the bottom of the wall. Her and Reek/Theon will be just fine. Cold as hell, but fine.

Theon  Greyjoy

He had a moment of redemption saving Sansa and throwing that jelly hoe off the balcony to her much needed death.

Is it weird that Theon is my # 2 favorite character of this episode?

Well he is. Suck it.

The Daenerys Entourage

I’ll be stoned for this one, but Daenerys isn’t really all that interesting. Her entourage is super cool, but she’s kinda meh.

Better than HBO’s other Entourage.

She definitely inspires a lot of awe, but of alllll the characters in the show, is she really on anyone’s top 3 list of people they would want to have a beer with?

(BTW, my list for drinking buddies goes Tyrion, Bronn, and that assassin dude, Daario Naharis.)

Anywho, I’m glad Jorah Mormont is back in the picture. That dude is hardcore. It’ll be interesting to see how Tyrion adjusts to his new position in charge of Meereen. Oh, and Greyworm is up and about! WOOHOO!

Last but not least….

Jon motherfuckin’ Snow

What…. the…. fuck? Seriously? Just like that? Valar Morghulis be damned!!!!!

But I don’t think he’s actually dead. Here’s why.

That super hot, super crazy Lord of Light chick, Melisandre, has had the hots for Jon Snow since she first met him this season. She’s always eye raping him and she tried to actually rape him just a few episodes back.

We also know that the Lord of Light has brought people back from the dead in this show. Remember that one eyes dude from the Lord of Light clan who was killed by the hound? He was brought back to life… like 8 times!

Plus, we all kind of suspect that Jon has some royal blood in him. Whether it’s Baratheon, Stark, Targaryen or some combination thereof.

AND, we know that Melisandre is now at Castle Black, she arrived there shortly before Snow was betrayed.

I bet $20 Melisandre brings him back from the grave. And then I hope he goes town on all the people who betrayed him, including the kid Olly.

Who is John Snow?

Everyone everywhere is eagerly awaiting the second to last episode of Game of Thrones Season 5 which airs later today.

Last week’s episode, Hardhome, was dedicated almost entirely to John Snow’s story arc, concerning his attempts to unify the Wildlings with those south of the wall. Any time John Snow comes up in discussion between Jenny and I also comes a heated debated about who John’s parents really are.

Of course the common consensus in Westeros and the story the audience is led to believe is that John Snow is the bastard son (hence the last name Snow) of Eddard Stark, and presumably some whore he met during Roberts’s rebellion.

John Snow is Not Ned’s Son

But this doesn’t quite settle with me. First off, Ned Stark is (was) probably the only honorable man in all the Seven Kingdoms. War or not I don’t see him cheating on his wife. So I’ve ruled out Ned Stark as his father entirely.

John Snow is the Son of Lyanna Stark

If John isn’t Ned’s son, then why bring the child home to Winterfell? Snow must have had some kind of significance or value to Ned to not only be brought to the North, but also raised as one of his sons, and not only that, but as an equal among them. My guess is that John is the son of his sister, Lyanna who was killed during rebellion, making John Ned’s nephew.

But Who is the Father?

Robert Baratheon?

This is where the point of debate comes up. I think John Snow is the child of Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon. His dark hair and curls remind me of the late, great Robert’s hair, as well as Renly Baratheon. Stannis isn’t a good indicator since he always keeps his hair short. A couple holes in this argument are that Robert and Lyanna barely knew each other, they were betrothed to one another but were not officially wed. And if John was Robert’s son, you think he’s have known or at last suspected, and raised him in Kings Landing.

Rhaegar Targaryen?

Jenny thinks John is the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, which is admittedly a hell of a lot more interesting, and might make sense. Ned tells John in Season 1 that he knows who his mother is and will tell him one day. What reason would there be to keep a secret about John’s identity unless it could endanger him? Being a son of Lyanna Stark is no crime, but being the son of Rhargar Targaryen or any Targaryen for that matter would have resulted in John Snow having been strangled in his crib if anyone had found out. Lyanna must have given her son to Ned for protection, under the guise that it was actually his.

But that’s not the story is it? Everyone in Westeros knows that Rhaegar Targaryen violently kidnapped Lyanna, and that’s what started the rebellion. Right?

Maybe. Apparently growing up, Daenerys was told a different story, one of a secret love between Rhaegar and Lyanna. In parts of Essos, it’s told that Lyanna was not kidnapped, but that she fled with her lover, Prince Rhaegar.

This is interesting because it’s a direct analogy to the story of Helen of Troy, and goes to show how history is written by the victors. In Homer’s Illiad, Helen runs off with Prince Paris, but King Menelaus tells Agamemnon that Paris kidnapped her. Touché, George R. R. Martin.

Why It Matters

What difference does it make who the parents of a bastard child are?

It makes a difference because if either of our theories are correct, it means that John Snow is heir to the Iron Throne. Either he’s a Targaryen and technically has direct lineage to the original Mad King, or is a Baratheon should have been the rightful heir instead of Geoffrey.

Dragon’s Blood

The John Snow-Targaryen theory pushes us into one more fun direction. Last week we saw John Snow show down against the White Walkers and their army of dead. Last week we learned that Valyrian steel can kill a White Walker and stop their magic. We’ve learned in previous seasons that dragon glass can also kill a White Walker, as can fire. What’s the common denominator here? Valyrian Steel and dragon glass are both created by dragons.

It’s said that some Targaryens have dragon’s blood in them, and this bestows upon them magical powers. Daenerys already proved this, and just like dragons, she cannot be harmed by fire.

If John Snow is in fact a Targaryen, what if he also has this dragon blood trait? And if he does, perhaps he is somehow less vulnerable to damage and magic from White Walkers.

This would be very fortuitous for him since the White Walkers have started their march south and all of Westeros will soon be at war. The only thing stopping their march on the wall is winter, but as the North always reminds us: Winter is Coming.

Summer 2015 TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To

It has been a turbulent past 7 years in the realm of TV. We saw the rise (and fall) of some very notable and much applauded series. Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Justified, Dexter, Trueblood, How I Met Your Mother, Boardwalk Empire and other door buster shows started, soared to stardom, and ended though on very good notes.

With so many of the biggest names on TV now relegated to the dusty binge watching archives of Netflix and Hulu, one has to wonder, what is there to look forward to on TV these days?

Game of Thrones continues to get better and better with each season, and each episode. But with just two episodes left, audiences are about to have their favorite dish knocked rudely off the table. After that, it will take almost 10 months to cook up another serving of GOT. Likewise Gotham, Arrow, Flash and Supernatural are over. We’re doomed. Or are we?

I have not given up hope. It’s going to take TV providers some time to gain traction with new series and only time will tell what the next fan favorites are going to be, but here is what I am personally looking forward to in 2015.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

This show is truly like no other show on television. First of all it’s a Netflix series which means all the episodes are released at once for immediate binge watching pleasure. Another peculiarity is that the cast is almost entirely female, giving the show a much needed unique perspective and attitude.

Orange is already coming into its junior year and I am looking forward to a third serving of Taylor Schilling at the tenacious Piper Chapman as she scrambles to learn the ropes in the US Penitentiary System.

See Also: How ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Revolutionized TV

The show features such a wide range of characters that there is something for everyone. The show also stars Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show) as the femme fatale Alex Vause, Uzo Aduba as Crazy Eyes (no explanation needed), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie) as the scrapper Nicole Nichols, Kate Mulgrew as prison yard honcho Red Reznikov, and the gorgeous Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington.

The 3rd season will be released by Netflix on June 12, 2015, and this season while be one episode longer than the previous two.

Ballers (HBO)

Every episode of GOT this season on HBOGO featured a trailer for this new show Ballers coming to HBO.

It’s safe to assume I will give anything a shot if it has Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) in it. The guys is just cool as hell. I would love to see how The Rock performs when he is taken off the big screen and into the living room.

I don’t know much about the show, but from the trailers I have seen I imagine the show is about a former professional football player who is looking for new ways to grow his fortune. His ambition sends him on a wild journey of wealth, debauchery and crime which I am thoroughly looking forward to watching.

After all, who doesn’t want a piece of the American Dream? Grab a slice when Ballers premiers on June 21, 2015.

Tyrant (FX)

I think FX is the single best network on television these days when it comes to original series. Archer, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Wilfred, in my book FX can do no wrong.

Following on the heels of these shows is Tyrant. Entering its second season, the show focuses on Barry Al-Fayeed (played by Adam Rayner), an expatriate, and son of a Middle Eastern tyrant of the country Abbudin, a fictional country mashup of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Barry returns home to help steer his family, the country they rule, towards democracy.

The show wasn’t particularly well received by critics, but I enjoyed it plenty. FX did grace it with a second season and I am looking for to seeing where the writers take the show in light of all the strife happening in the region currently.

The second season premiers on June 16, 2015.

The Strain (FX)

Another FX show being granted a second season is The Strain, a fantasy-sci-fi horror series created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Del Toro’s brushstrokes are all over the canvas of this show about a virus caused by vampires in a centuries old plot to dominate humanity. A rogue group of CDC doctors team up with a holocaust survivor, a gangbanger, and a pest exterminator to vanquish the vampire threat while the government fails to act.

The show is creepy, suspension, and has a fair amount of action. Most interesting is how the show blends the folklore with science and with history. The combination of Nazi occultism, ancient mythology and modern science makes for a fun cocktail.

The series frontrunners are Corey Stoll as CDC head Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian, a Jewish Holocaust survivor turned New York pawn-shop owner, Mía Maestro, Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, and Miguel Gomez.

The second season premiers on July 12, 2015.

The Brink (HBO)

With Trueblood gone and Game of Thrones approaching its offseason, HBO needed more than just one show to fill the summer void. In addition to Ballers, I am looking forward to another HBO franchise, The Brink, starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins.

Again, I am not fully versed on this show but it looks like Black plays a diplomat of sorts stuck in the armpit that is the Middle East in this comedic-action-packed-political steaming mess of a show.

Jack Black has been acting a long time and despite his popularity and name recognition, he’s always been somewhat of a B movie actor. Note, I didn’t say B actor, but rather an actor who is in B movies.

I am also looking forward to taking a peek at this show which also premiers on June 21, 2015.

Sen. Claire McCaskill Ditches Game of Thrones After Sansa Scene

Possible Spoiler Alert: Last night May 24, 2015 was the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. But the Sunday prior was an episode that shook GOT audiences everywhere. To put it concisely, Sansa Stark, a series original character was brutally raped.

Relative to TV at large, the scene itself wasn’t that graphic compared to other movies/series I’ve seen. The rape was entirely off camera. I think Sons of Anarchy had a much more explicit rape scene in Season 2 Episode 1 when Gemma Teller was raped by a white supremacist gang.

Either way, the point is that it was a scene that left a horrible feeling in your stomach, especially watching it happen to such an innocent, young character like Sansa Stark.

Some fans of the show were apparently really upset, and one such fan, a senator who admittedly I never heard of before has stopped watching because of the scene. See her recent tweet.

I’m not saying the scene wasn’t horrible, but I am a little surprised that this was the “last straw” that ended her viewership in light of everything else that has happened. I mean, we’ve seen people murdered, skinned alive, burned alive, eaten alive, castrated, tortured (A LOT), had their hands cut off, beheaded, and thrown off cliffs. We’ve seen animal cruelty. We’ve seen women get their throats sliced open and children being murdered and hung in town squares. We’ve seen heads on spikes. Men crush each others skulls in with their bare hands (long live Prince Oberyn!) We’ve seen pregnant women get stabbed dozens of times in the belly. We’ve seen incest, and cruelty. Heck, this wasn’t even the first (or second) time we’ve seen rape in the series.

I guess I’m just a little confused as to why of allllllll the horrible things that have happened on and off camera, this scene was the Richter 8.0 event for some viewers, and sent some away from the series entirely.

What’s Next for Marvel MCU

When I speak of Marvel in this blog, I am speaking exclusively about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which encompasses the movie/film franchises owned by Disney.

Just Happened

Just this month, Marvel released their Netflix original series Daredevil which focuses on Matt Murdock, the lawyer turned vigilante who fights crime in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Just several days old and the series already has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes (certified fresh) from critics, and a 98% from audiences. After binge watching the entire series myself, I give the show a 9 / 10, and you can read my review here.

About to Happen

But an entire series being released in one day isn’t enough, not for Marvel and Disney who have quite the roller coaster planned for fans over the next several months, and years.

Next month, one of the most anticipated movies of the year comes out, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Audiences have waiting three years for the big four to team up again on the silver screen, and Marvel is repaying that anticipation with interest. The next Marvel cinematic installment will have Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Maria Hill from the previous Avengers, and they’ll be adding to the roster Quicksilver, Scarlett Witch, Vision, War Machine, Falcon, and let’s not forget Ultron. And these are just the ones we know about. Who knows what tricks Marvel has up its’ sleeve.

And Then…

Then just a few weeks later Marvel is broadening the MCU with the theatrical release of Ant Man starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. While the name is not very inspiring, and most non comic book fans won’t know who this is, Ant Man is a very important keg in the Marvel machine. In the comics, the original Ant Man, Hank Pym, is responsible for creating the maniacal villain Ultron.

The commonly accepted narrative right now is that the story is being rewritten so that Tony Stark is credited for screwing over the world. However with Ant Man the movie following so closely on the heels of Age of Ultron, I suspect there might be more to the story than we’ve been told. My guess is that the central Ant Man characters will be revealed in Age of Ultron and somehow tied into his origins – meaning Marvel isn’t simply broadening their universe, they are entangling it.

Let’s Not Forget About TV

Enough with the silver screen, let’s get back to TV land for a second. If you’ve learned anything about Marvel over the past decade, it’s that they don’t flash and fizzle. Daredevil is the first Netflix series they’ve made, but it is by no means the only one. In fact, a quick look at IMDB would reveal that Charlie Cox will be reprising his role as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen again in another Netflix series The Defenders – Netflix’s shot at their own Superhero team up.

By 2016, Netflix and Marvel intend to release four series in total – I am sure with more on the way. The first three shows are Daredevil, Luke Cage, and A.K.A. Jessica Jones. The title characters of those shows will then join up and form The Defenders – Marvel’s television comeback to the Avengers – a group of heroes starring in a fourth Netflix show of the same name. This is huge news, because in the next year, the number of Marvel/Disney franchises will mushroom 50% from the current tally of eight, up to 12.

Risk Taking

Marvel is doubling down on a recipe that has already worked for them when they tied together four franchises for 2012’s Avengers. Will it work out for them on TV like it did in theaters? Time will tell.

But all of this is working towards something even bigger. As we all know, Captain America: Civil War is just around the corner which will focus on the fictional Superhero Registration Act from the comics several years ago. With only about a year to go, can audiences expect all the familiar faces both old and new to take sides in the divisive and controversial tug-of-war between Captain America/Steve Rogers and Iron Man/Tony Stark?

Audiences will get tired of the same old routine of splitting apart and bringing back together the four Avengers every couple years to fight the Bad Guy of the Week. My guess is Marvel is well aware of this, which means that in order to keep the party going they’re going to need to up the stakes. Expect to see an ever increasing number of heroes flying around and blasting their way through Earth and the cosmos.

Spider-Man

And to top it all off, Marvel and Sony have reached a nail biting agreement, which will allow Marvel to feature Spider-Man in their movies. Fans are happier than ever that Disney magic can breathe some fresh life into the Spidey saga that thus far has inspired no awe even after two relaunches in the past decade. The big question on nerds’ minds now, is will there be enough time to write Spiderman into the Civil War moving coming out in 2016? In the comics Peter Parker played a huge role in the events of the Civil War story arc, so fingers crossed Kevin Feige can work the web slinger in artistically.

Distant Future

Here is a timeline of recent events and events to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

  • 2010-April-10: [Netflix Series]Daredevil series airs on Netflix
  • 2015-May-01: Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • 2015-July-17: Ant-Man
  • 2015-Sep-Late: [TV Series] Agents of Shield: Season 3
  • 2015 Unknown: [Netflix Series] A.K.A. Jessica Jones
  • 2015 Unknown: [Netflix Series] Iron Fist
  • 2016-May-06: Captain America: Civil War
  • 2016-Nov-04: Doctor Strange
  • 2016 Unknown: [Netflix Series] Luke Cage
  • 2016 Unknown: [Netflix Series] Defenders
  • 2017-May-05: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
  • 2017-July-28: Thor Ragnarok
  • 2017-Nov-3: Black Panther
  • 2018-May-4: Avengers: Infiniti War Part I
  • 2018-July-6: Captain Marvel
  • 2018-Nov-2: Inhumans
  • 2019-May-3: Avengers: Infiniti War Part II

And with Marvel brass saying they have plans out to 2028, we can expect years – no – decades of more fun.

Who are your Favorite Marvel MCU Characters?

Daredevil: Series Review

My apologies in advance as this is one of my longer blogs.

On Friday April 10th, the long awaited Marvel series, Daredevil, was exclusively released on Netflix. As with other Netflix original series such as Orange is the New Black, the online cinema mogul released all episodes of the first season simultaneously meaning viewers could binge watch all 13 episodes in one go. By Saturday April 11, 2015, I had finished the entire first season. And I already wish there was a second season to finish binge watching by April 12.

For those not in the know, the Daredevil series is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), meaning that it exists in the same fictional story universe as the Captain America, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Avengers franchises, and the network television shows Agents of Shield and Agent Carter.

Daredevil Dares to be Different

Despite being in the same fictional universe, Daredevil varies wildly both in tone and approach from the other Marvel franchises – most of all its’ TV siblings. Whereas Agents of Shield is very campy and at times even childish, Daredevil strikes a much more serious tone. Netflix original series don’t have FCC ratings, but if they did Daredevil would be inches shy of an R rating. Some of the bloody beat downs Daredevil lays on his enemies approaches a level of gratuitous violence usually reserved for villains.

Daredevil series is no stranger to bloody violence.

 

Agents of Shield makes regular – if not too many – references to the other series, or characters in the MCU. Daredevil on the other hand made very, very few. People dorkier than I may have caught some that I missed, but I only counted two Easter eggs in total. There were several mentions of the ‘attack on New York’ from 2012’s Avengers. The other was a comment about “an iron suit or a magic hammer”, alluding to Iron Man and Thor, though no names are ever used directly.

Daredevil is a dark show, but it steps out of Marvel’s shadow.

Plot and Setting

True to Marvel form – with the exception of Agent Carter – Daredevil take’s place in the chronological order in which it was released. It takes place in Marvel Phase 2, after Avengers and Winter Soldier, but before Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The show focuses on Matthew Murdock, an attorney turned vigilante who fights crime on his home turf of Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Few references are made to other Marvel characters but the jury is still out as to whether Captain America or Spiderman will ever cameo in the show, given that all three masked heroes hail from the city that never sleeps.

This isn’t just New York with it’s lights and skyscrapers. This show welcomes you to Hell’s Kitchen, an unforgiving and downtrodden part of the city where street thugs are the least of your problem. Corrupt cops, dirty politicians, and crime lords reign supreme. The city is dark, dirty, and gritty.

Hell’s Kitchen is one of the leading characters of the show.

 

The antagonist of the first season is one of Daredevil and Spidey’s arch nemesis – Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin played by Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket). Though not as physically intimidating as Michael Clarke Duncan in the 2003 feature film of the same name, D’Onofrio plays a frightening, cunning, brutal and resolute version Kingpin that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and dominates every scene he’s in. Oh, but he can still throw down and is not someone you’d want to meddle with in an alley.

Cast and Characters

The show focuses as much on Matthew Murdock (Charlie Cox) as it does on the Daredevil, which makes for some very interesting story telling and character development. What’s most interesting about the show is Murdock’s history. He has a back story that make’s Bruce Wayne’s sound almost pleasant by comparison.

As a child, Matt’s mom left him and his dad as they scraped to get by. His dad was a professional boxer – but not a very good one – and would come home bloodied and beaten on a regular basis, to which young Matt had to stich him up. Matt was later blinded in an accident which left him traumatized as he struggled with walking, reading, and adjusting to everyday life. Shortly thereafter his father was murdered after a fixed boxing match went south. Now Matt was not only an orphan, but a poor blind orphan living in the government system.

The fight that would indirectly take the life of Matt Murdock’s father.

 

There was no trust fund, no Alfred, no Wayne Manor, no multinational corporation to fall back on. Matt Murdock had nothing but his will and his wit – and pulled himself from the gutter with amazing tenacity.

As awe inspiring as his story may be, you forget just how fear inspiring Murdock can be when donning his mask. He’s no chump. He’s quiet, watchful, brooding, and very dangerous. The show does a fantastic job of making Matt look like a normal (albeit blind) guy in the day, while surrounding him with an air of mystique and dread at night.

Foggy Nelson and Karen Paige.

 

Murdock has the benefit of some strong supporting characters Karen Page played by Deborah Ann Woll (Trueblood) and best friend Foggy Nelson played by Elden Henson (Butterfly Effect). Woll and Henson offer amazing performances making their characters that much more interesting, and the story that much more believable. Thank the heavens Hollywood has taken us out of the age of the useless sidekick. Karen and Foggy are loyal friends, and although they aren’t MMA fighters, they should not be easily dismissed.

Rosario Dawson does a great job playing Claire Temple, also known as the Night Nurse in the comics. Unfortunately, she was relegated to just 2 episodes out of the entire 13 episode season. I hope to see more of her in Season 2, or in the other Marvel Netflix series coming out soon.

Claire Temple / Night Nurse patching up Daredevil after a bout in the concrete jungle.

 

Overview

There is a ton of action and violence, but it does a good job at not crossing the line into cheesy. The characters are very real, and very vulnerable both emotionally and physically. On many occasions Murdock gets himself into a situation where this time feels like it’s going to be the last time. He might crawl his way out of a tough spot, but the show makes sure that he has to claw and scratch for every inch. There is no cavalry, no backup, no lucky breaks. Nothing comes easy, which makes the show that much more suspenseful and dramatic.

No easy day for Daredevil.

 

The settings are real. The acting and character portrayal is believable. The drama is relatable. The action is grounded. The show doesn’t gloss over any detail, grand or minute. Most importantly the show is honest.

My Take

15 minutes into the pilot episode I knew this show was right up my Hell’s Kitchen alley. I thought it would be good, but I didn’t think it would be this good. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know that when it comes to my taste, the grittier the better.

Daredevil exists in the MCU, but it could very well exist in the same world as Sons of Anarchy or Law and Order – two other shows I enjoyed. This show stands on its’ own two feet, and doesn’t need to use the rest of the Marvel universe as a crutch. Fans who haven’t seen all the other movies or shows can appreciate being able to dive into a new show without being totally lost. I will without a doubt be watching and highly anticipating season 2 of Daredevil when it comes out. If you want a Disney quality TV show without the Disney movie rating, then this show is for you. I love the action, I love the violence, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I give this show a 9 out 10.