Tag Archives: TV

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?

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CW’s Arrow is Batman

I started watching the CW show Arrow during season 3, several years after it debuted in 2012. From the start I thought it looked interesting but thought it might have been a spin-off of Smallville, a show which was way too campy for my taste.

arrow ad

After having finished up Orange is the New Black, I needed another show to binge watch and stumbled on this. Despite the Abercrombie and Fitch advertisement, this show is actually pretty cool and fun to watch, and it has a fairly dark tone to it at times, which I appreciate in show about a guy who hunts down criminals at night.

Episode after episode I watched and watched. Season 1 done, Season 2, gone, I love that dang show, it’s almost like I’ve seen it before…. It’s because I have. As awesome as this show is, it’s a total knock off of Batman. Given, the Green Arrow/Oliver Queen and Batman/Bruce Wayne actually do live in the same fictional universe in the DC comics, and have shared the pages before, the writers at CW really took some liberties with the show.

Arrow isn’t so much a show about Green Arrow, as much as it is a show about Batman that they call and dressed up to be like Green Arrow. Instead of Gotham City, it takes place in Star City, and instead of Bruce Wayne, it’s about Oliver Queen. Beyond that, Arrow is the story of Batman.

The Plot

The Arrow show seems to have taken the last 30 years of Batman lore from Frank Miller to Christopher Nolan to New 52, tossed it all in a blender, baked it in the oven, and stamped a green arrow on it.

In the Nolan series, Bruce Wayne spends years away from his home town in the seedier places of the world, gets martial arts training, comes back home, assumes control of his family’s business and birthright, and driven by the death of a parent, takes on a secret identity as a crime fighter. Our hero’s first major costumed exploit is stopping a former friend and colleague turned villain from using WMD’s to destroy his city. The villain is defeated, but massive damage has already been inflicted on the city, and the hero spends the duration of his costumed career dealing with the aftermath.

That was the premise for Batman Begins.

That was also the premise for Arrow.

The City

Gotham City and Star City, completely different right? Wrong. Both are wrought with corruption and crime, and both seem to have geographically isolated neighborhood where the poor and disenfranchised live in seemingly third-world conditions. In Batman Begins, this part of Gotham is called The Narrows. In Arrow, it’s called The Glades.

train scene

Just as Wayne Enterprises is the economic heart and soul of Gotham, Queen Consolidated is for Star City, and the respective families are well known, and tantamount to local royalty.

The Drugs

Throughout the series a recurring villain has been Count Vertigo. Completely changed from his comic book character, the series adaptation couldn’t be any more of an obvious knock off of Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Scarecrow/Jonathan Crane in the Nolan Batman series. A physically un-intimidating character who uses his advanced knowledge of the mind and bio-pharmaceuticals to create a toxin that invokes fear in those exposed to it.

In one episode, our hero is exposed to the poison just like in Batman Begins, and his helpful sidekick must come up with an antidote before the effects become permanent.

Later on, the recreational drug is weaponized, and part of a plot to terrorize the city.

Oh, and in the end, each villain gets a ‘taste of their own medicine’ and become completely incapacitated as a result.

scarecrow Unfinished Business

The Villains

Superman has Lex Luthor. Captain America has Red Skull. Every hero has their arch nemesis. The Arrow writers have ransacked the Batman archives and used a lot of his common villains. Okay – I’ll concede I’m exaggerating – they haven’t used any household Batman villains like The Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Two Face, or Bane, but they have used plenty others, such as Ra’s al Ghul, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Dollmaker, Lester Buchinsky/The Electrocutioner, The Royal Flush Gang, and Deadshot. These characters might be the second-stringers of Batman’s villainous lineup, but they are Bat’s nonetheless.

deathstroke

The Head of the Demon

And finally, as of season 3, the single biggest Batman rip off has been the usage of Ra’s al Ghul. Most people will remember Ra’s al Ghul from the Christopher Nolan trilogy, played by Liam Neeson.

What you might not know is that this character is very entangled in the Batman mythos. Ra’s has a love-hate relationship with Batman. On one hand, Ra’s is a villain and kills people, yada yada. But on the other hand Ra’s is also the grandfather of Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian. Say whhaaaatttt? Yeah, Ra’s’ daughter Talia knocked boots with Batman and had a little bat baby.

ras-al-ghul

Where it becomes interesting is that in spite of the fact that Batman always thwarts Ras al Ghul’s efforts to destroy Gotham or the world, Ra’s al Ghul greatly admires Batman, and insists – er, demands – that Batman marry his daughter and succeed him as the next leader of the League of Assassins.

This story was almost copied pound for pound in Arrow, Season 3, Episode 19 The Offer, in which Ra’s al Ghul spares Queen’s life, and asks him to take over the throne.

My biggest quarrel with this is that it pretty much seals the deal in terms of CW ever mixing the Arrow-Flash-Universe with Batman. With the last episode, the CW writers stopped beating around the bush, and pretty much shown down there ever being a chance of Batman being introduced to the show – which is a damn shame.

That being said, Arrow is still an incredibly fun show to watch, and I am super excited for next week’s episode where Suicide Squad and The Atom are officially revealed. If you like what Marvel is doing with their shared universe (the MCU), then you’ll get a kick out of watching Arrow and Flash on CW.