Tag Archives: Joss Whedon

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D — “Pilot”

SHIELD1

Welcome to Level 7.

Usually I save my big reviews for films…not TV shows. But last night was a very big occasion not only for Television, but for all fanboys around the world. For the first time in history…we had a comic book based live action televisions show (I could just stop right there and be impressed) … debut on a major network that is…yes…IS canonically connected a film franchise.

Littered throughout the pilot episode of SHIELD was references to all the major players in the Marvel films. Tony Stark was named dropped, Thor was talked about, Hulk was brought up, Captain America and his super solider serum, Black Widow was used as the measuring stick towards all other combative agents…and even more impressively, one of the key elements and plot points of this summer’s Iron Man 3, played a role in the very first episode of SHIELD.

SHIELD2Besides an opening cameo appearance by Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, the true core of the team we are introduced to is headed by fan favorite and death beater, Agent Phil Coulson played greatly by Clark Gregg. We are given what seems like a lame excuse for Coulson’s resurrection at the start of the film, but a quick line turns that on its head in a split second. We are now under the first tease and storyline to be followed up about…what REALLY happened to Phil Coulson to bring him back to life?

The rest of the team consist of a pilot with fighting skills in Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), a scientific pairing of  Agents Leo Fitz and Jenna Simmons (Iain De Casestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge), glorified hands on combat Agent Grand Ward (Brett Dalton) and a civilian that is newly recruited to join the team for her expert hacking abilities, Skye (Chloe Bennet).

So how well does Joss Whedon and co. do in adapting a live action series without the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster? … actually very well. There are some big action moments in the first episode and separating them as usual with any Whedon TV project is a lot of character development. You will never say that a Whedon project is left with one dimensional characters, from the get go, we learn not only everything we need to know for the core group of Agents, but also a little backstory and idea of where they can develop into the future.

Most importantly…Extremis. The key plot point of Iron Man 3, is also the key plot point of this pilot episode. We are introduced to what we think is a new “hero” early on, but only to find out this Michael Peterson is nothing but a down on his luck average Joe that put his body on the line for experimentation with a mysterious group. We are given the term “Centipede Project” which is enough mystery to make us wonder who else has been part of this project. But what is really deep inside of Michael Peterson that makes him super strong and heroic…is a vile dose of Extremis.

CLARK GREGG, BRETT DALTON, CHLOE BENNETWithout the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers, how well do our new group of SHIELD agents do in taking down their first perp as a team…pretty well. It isn’t just as simple as a man that turns bad and has to be killed…its so much more. Its about an average person who has had nothing but bad luck on his side and thinking with help and a good spirit he can be a hero like the ones he has seen on TV. Its that idea that makes me love this show from the start, because everyone wants to be that hero at some point in their life. Agent Culson doesn’t have a suit of armor, a serum running through is veins, and isn’t a god of mythical perorations. Agent Culson is just a man. A man with a goal, a man with a sense of humor, and more important a man with a heart and that is why he is who he is and why his “death” was important enough to make a group of heroes come together and fight…for a normal man.

I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

I give Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D a NINE out of TEN, on  the merit of great writing and exciting action.

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Stub Review: Marvel’s The Avengers

Marvel’s The Avengers

There once came a time when heroes were needed to stop a force, no one could fight…

…And those heroes are known as The Avengers. It is May 4th, 2012 and aside from being the unofficial “Star Wars Day”, it for at least this year be known as Avengers Day, because after 5 years of a set up with solo movies, Marvel studio took the biggest names they had the rights too (damn you Sony and Fox), and put together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk together in …wait for it… ONE MOVIE! It still feels very unreal and unbelievable to me, because I remember back in ’00 when the first X-Men film came out and just how mind shattering it was to see a team of superheroes on the screen. For the first time ever we saw the likes of Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, and Prof. X all on the screen at the same time doing battle. That felt like it was impressive.

Avengers are IMPRESSIVE!

Its one thing to cast a team and put them on the screen, it is a whole other thing to do what Marvel Studios did and establish a cinematic universe. DC for ages could of done this with Batman and Superman and… well, it’s not like they make movies for anyone else but those two, but they never did. Marvel for a long time dealt out their characters to other studios, only to see the likes of Fox and Sony bring in the big bucks on X-Men and Spider-Man, while Marvel was left in the dark. So when producer extraordinar Kevin Feige realized what untapped potential he had waiting in his company, he righted that wrong and maybe changed the superhero genre in films forever.

In 2008 we saw Iron Man blast on to the screen with the rock star personality of Robert Downey Jr. A few months later, Ed Norton help find his inner green rage and brought a newly looking CGI version of Hulk back to the screen. From the moment you heard AD/DC sound off in Iron Man it was off to the races for Marvel, as RDJ brought credibility and star power to a once unknown character to the mass public. From there we saw Iron Man get a sequel, we saw a newcomer named Chris Hemsworth become the god of thunder, in Thor and saw the formerly fantastic Chris Evans, brand the red, white, and blue in Captain America. Through those films, we were also steadily introduced to characters like Black Widow (Iron Man 2), Hawkeye (Thor), Agent Culson, Nick Fury and the organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.

So five years of planning, five years of hard work and casting these roles, just to put them all together in one of the biggest superhero teams up of all time…so how did it do?

Well that was a lot of exposition for a film review, but I deemed it necessary, for you to realize I’m a comic book geek. So while maybe I shouldn’t, I take things like this really seriously and overly personal. So I HAD to be there at midnight (thanks to a lovely and amazing girlfriend) to see this all come together, because like any comic geek, as much as you are hoping for the best…you secretly are awaiting the worse.

I’ll try to make this as spoiler free…but I can’t make any guarantees. So if I feel like I’m going into a spoiler heavy zone, ill warn you. The plot is this simple, Loki has made a deal with other worldly creatures to help rule earth. He needs the Cosmic Cube (previously seen in Captain America) to open a portal to let those creatures into our planet and start a war of wars. Fury not wanting this to happen, dusts off the Avengers Initiative he talked oh so highly about and brings together the likes of Iron Man, Thor, Cap, Bruce Banner, Black Widow and Hawkeye to combat this terrorism. There it is…your plot. So how does it all go down?

…actually pretty amazingly. Which is in no part thanks to its director, Joss Whedon. Who is a comic god to nerds, but now just a plain god for making this film work without it seemingly like a clusterfuck of a mess. He gives everyone their own time, works characterization into the plot, and gives us action and real action, not that mindless Michael Bay blow-it-up-until-its-dead type of action. We have conflict. We have resolution. We have … STORY!

Everyone knows what type of film this is and they are all come ready to go, we get hints to how things have progressed from the last time we saw these characters. Pepper Potts and Tony Start are living comfortably together as a couple in love, Cap is still cold to this new world he woke up in, Thor is sent by Odin to Earth to repair the damage Loki is causing, and Bruce Banner is still on the run until SHIELD brings him back into the fold. One aspect of the film that I was looking forward to was conflict and confrontation and we get a load of it. From Tony/Cap to Thor/Tony to Thor/Hulk to Banner/Widow…we see that these people for all purposes shouldn’t be in the same room, but are and make it work. Once the third act begins and we get some real team action going…the movie hits a new gear and doesn’t stop till the credits. We get great fights, big explosions, aliens, heros, smashing, lighting, shields, arrows, bullets and repulsor rays. Its everything you wanted form an Avengers movie in spades.

So in conclusion…

I give it a TEN out of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.

But I also give it a giants HULK SMASH!!!! out of TEN, on the scale of how amazing the whole film is overall.

Oh and stay for the post credits because…well…

STOP READING RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED

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STOP READING! LAST WARNING!

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THANOS!

Stub Review: The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin In The Woods

So a stoner, geek, whore, jock, and virgin walk into a cabin…

So lets run with those horror film stereotypes for a second and see how they usually work out in any horror film. Well off the bat, the “whore” and “jock” are automatically an item. The whore is most likely a blonde (making the virgin a brunette) and she and the jock will be throwing around their sexuality ad nauseum around the others. The stoner is the obvious loner type with no female companion…besides his joint, as he cracks hysterics and usually realizes the trouble sooner than the others. The geek and virgin are connected because of their outsider personalities…and will probably be ridiculed by the jock and whore to hook up or stand punishment of their puns and quips about virginity and penis entering vagina’s.

So enter Joss Whedon.

The geek god known as the creator of such cult classics like Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly. His skilled writing isn’t only chained to television, he has penned many successful comic books like “The Astonishing X-Men” and “Buffy: TVS – Season 8”. He is known for not only for keeping his thumb of the pulse of pop culture, but also writing strong women roles. He will quickly become infamously known as the director of The Avengers in a month’s time, but right now he still is somewhat tucked under the carpet of nerdism. So when you give someone like Joss Whedon the standard and honestly, tired and worn out scenario of a “Cabin in the Woods horror film”….what do you expect, other than a genre bending, one step ahead of you adventure.

You would except the film to play out like a modern day Evil Dead…but no, Whedon from the start throws you a curve by sending you into a government style facility, where men played brilliantly by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are talking about some set up and are speaking in such a way that you the viewer have no idea what is happening. And from there on, you the viewer are slowly realizing that we are not set in modern day, while it is never spoken in the film there are various hints that the setting of this film is taking place way in the future. We get the typical “cabin in the woods” horror set up as these kids are looking for a fun weekend, while the evil government is betting on the way they will die. Will it be Werewolf? Zombies? Merman? … NO, it’s cannibalistic inbred hillbilly Zombies…which are different then regular zombies, trust me.

What Joss brings to this film in his writing ins un-expectability. When  you are ready for something to happen…it doesn’t, when you feel safe…you aren’t, and when you feel like you know what the overall story is…you have no fuckin’ idea. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, cause if you take away anything from this movie than it is this, the final 30 minutes of the film is one of the most exciting, mind blowing, entertaining and just pure fun you will every see. It gives you a nice bow on the story, while giving you all the carnage and dark humor you can handle. My girlfriend who I attended the film with, who was pretty not impressed with the overall film, thought it was alright, but when that last 30 minutes came…she was hooked. It is a great finale for a film.

I give it a SEVEN out of a TEN, on the merit of film quality and overall quality.

But I also give it a HUGE GIANT SNAKE out of TEN, on the scale of how fuckin’ amazing those last thirty minutes were.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!~ …. AGAIN!!!

First, just watch….

Ok…did you watch? Good. Now let me allow you like myself enough time to go to your closet so you can change your underwear and put on new stain free pair of paints.

I’ll meet you back here.

..

..

Back? Great me too and if you are like me, then A) you have a new pair of pants on and B) are in preparation to clean up your sitting area cause YOUR MIND WAS FUCKIN BLOWN!~

It is rare for a trailer to have that big of an impact on me. I haven’t felt such joy and excitement and …I wont lie tingles … since probably I first saw the teaser trailer for the 2002 Spider-Man film. But this? This is the live action Avengers film. We will be seeing Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Hulk, Widow, Hawkeye, Fury, and even Maria Hill in live action..on screen together..in a film directed by Joss Whedon. Holy shit.

There is no real rhyme or reason for this post, just to get my excitement out and on a public forum, but while I’m typing let me just run down a few key points of the trailer that stood out to be…

1) Inner Team Fighting. IF there is one thing that is a staple of comic book hero team-ups, it is that before you can work together, you must fight. So seeing Cap’s shield withstand a shot by Thor’s hammer. Or seeing the tech based Iron Man versus the God of Thunder. Or the quick snippet of Widow vs. Hawkeye are going to be dreams come true.

2) Heroic Hulk. Seeing Iron Man falling from the sky only to be rescued by Hulk gives value to the idea that Banner/Hulk will be a bit more brainer than per-usual for the previous Hulk incarnations on film. It’s going to be great to see Hulk aware of his surroundings and his capabilities for once instead of just mindless smashing…

3) SMASHING! But fuck that, we love explosions! Buildings being blown up, gun fire, stuff collapsing. How does it get better?

4) WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT THING AT THE END~! Oh hell yeah, Loki starting a war? Might as well bring a robotic serpent looking destroyer.

5) Assemble. I know this visual has been seen before…but I just can’t get over that amazing 180 degree shot of the entire team backed up next to each other ready to fight. It just FEELS like a comic book page come to life.

I can’t wait for May 4th!