Tag Archives: Marvel

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


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.


Lightining Speed Stub Review: Round II

I’m a little behind on my usual weekend Stub-Reviews, but this is for good reason, I’ve been eyes glued to both the internet watching the constant updating coverage of the San Diego Comic-Con , which trust me will get it’s own post on this sight with all my thoughts on all the big things, but also getting hooked on the long finished, but just making my radar The West Wing.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching everything that has come out and here are my thoughts on them, besides a few films that came out this weekend that I haven’t’ seen yet, which will be in my next lightning round session. You can tell when the summer spectacular of the film season is coming to the end, because you have box office bombs like Red 2 and R.I.P.D extinguishing the box office charts; not lightening them up.

Pacific Rim – 7.5/10

Awesome. Its a leave your mind at the door type of movie, its a simple concept of monsters vs. mechanical robots and throw in some Charlie Day and Ron Perlman awesomeness to keep you through all the technical stuff. I was completely thinking about Power Ranger fights when the buildings were getting destroyed too. I’ve heard they want to make this into a franchise, but seeing how the film ending, I’m curious how they would tackle a sequel.

The Lone Ranger – 7/10

I have to be honest, I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would. It’s easily better than any of the Pirate sequels that have been turned out over the last few years, it does run a bit long and gets tedious here and there, but Depp and Hammer both work well together and the final act is a really fun and well done action piece. Its budget probably was bloated way more than needed, but still thought it was a good summer popcorn flick.\

Grown Ups 2 – 3/10

It is sooo bad. Not as bad as Jack and Jill or some of Sander’s latest, but its still so bad. If you look back at all the films that Sander has made in the past ten year, everything that hasn’t been associated with his Happy Madison company has been pretty good, but his “typical” comedies have all just been getting worse and worse. I just wish Sandler took some time and just got into a Robin Williams groove and just accept drama’s for his next few films.

Despicable Me 2 – 7.5/10

I actually think the first movie is just really boring. But I dug the second film a little bit more, the plot is really paper thin in terms of importance to the film, but Steve Carell and Kristen Wig do a great job with their characters and the minions actually serve a reasonable role in this film. Better jokes and moves quickly.

The Heat – 5/10

I’m one of the rare people that didn’t like Bridesmaids or didn’t find it to be crazy hilarious, so I wasn’t going into this with high expectations at all. And that was pretty well suited since the movie wasn’t that funny. There are good jokes, some really hilarious gags…but they feel so far separated from each other, mixed in with Melissa McCarthy just using her wicked Boston accent and Bullocks typical straight lace character. I’d like the film more if they switch characters, maybe seeing Bullock play the messy, foul mouth detective instead.

White House Down – 6/10

The movie is a easy leave your brain at the door film. White House is taken over and Jamie Foxx’s president and Channing Tatum’s John McClane have to defend it. Its a film so easy to make for Roland Emmerich by now he could of done it with his eyes closed. Its a bit longer than it has to be, but still if you just want to see a modern day Die Hard in the White House film, it’s probably better than the last actual Die Hard in Russia film.

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain – 8/10

I find it really hard to properly do a Stand Up comedy film, there are only a few that I think are amazing, Delirious and Raw by Eddie Murphy and ‘The Original Kings of Comedy’ which managed to put focus both on the comedy itself and its stand up. Kevin Hart is easily becoming one of the best stand up in the country and has a string of successful stand up specials to back up that claim. Let Me Explain is just the financially and critically success that could push him to the next level.

Red 2 – 4/10

I really didn’t like the first movie, the trailer for the sequel I thought did a good job of displaying a sequel that I would enjoy…and that was so not the result. This movie was just a jumble of scenes and no real plot, and a lot of explosion. Hellen Mirren and John Malkovich are as good as it gets, same goes with the first film too.

….My last Lightning Round session of these reviews averaged to a above average rating for all the films, sadly not so much this time around. Like I said before, when we get to the end of the summer, you really see some big named, small scripted ideas coming out the tunnel. How the hell did Grown Ups not only get a sequel, but made MORE money than Pacific Rim at the domestic box office?

In a day’s time or so, I will post my big time Comic-Con extravaganza post, last years (Right Here) saw the introduction of Guardians of the Galaxy, official titles to Captain America 2 and Thor 2, and a clear road for the Second Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This years has gone above that to not only help SHOW us what that second phase will look like visually, but give us the most crystal clear idea of how it will finish with Avengers 2: …

Oh, you have to wait for my next post to see what the subtitle will be (…or just Google it, whatever is your choice. )

Stub Review: Iron Man 3

IronMan3Iron Man 3

Iron Man is back and he brought with him…a serious case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder!~

Marvel’s Phase 2 is officially been kicked off and so has the 2013 Summer Box Office. Iron Man 3 is the first Marvel Studios film to come out since last years mega-ultra-super-duper blockbuster The Avengers broke almost every record standing in it’s way to become Marvel’s first ever billion dollar film.

IM2The word of mouth about the box office Iron Man 3 will bring in is already high up there, the film alone has brought in 300 million dollars over seas before even OPENING in the US. Usually I go see these films at their midnight showing, but I don’t know if this was just one rare occurrence or the new standard, but AMC theater was offering not only midnight viewings, but 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm shows for Iron Man 3 in both normal and 3D viewings. I can get behind that.

Ok…to spoil or not to spoil? I’ll put it this way, if you read this review, I wont spoil the BIG stuff in this film that will be talked about for time to come…but I will not fully not speak about some of the big moments of the film. So we begin…

…to party like its 1999. We kick the film off in a throw back to a moment talked about in the first Iron Man film, where we get a cameo of Shaun Toub who played Ho Yinsen. We are also introduced to Dr. Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian, two people that will soon become the thorn of Tony’s existence for the next two hours.

The basis of Iron Man 3 comes off the excellent comic book arch “Extremis” written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Adi Granov. The name Adi Granov should sound familiar because its his design that help create the look of Iron Man’s armor over the last three films.

The film shows Tony post-Avengers and more importantly in a PTSD situation where even more like the inspiration of his character, Howard Hughes, he is always in his basement tinkering away at his suits. And we aren’t up to Mark VI or VII anymore…Tony has up to 42 different pieces of armor to play with, his own personal Iron Legion. These suits are keeping him away from his life, away from Pepper, and away from sleeping, as every time Tony puts his head down to a pillow, the images of invading Aliens, chaos, and destruction take over his mind and memories.

I absolutely love the first Iron Man film and feel a bit indifferent for the second film, where I think the focus is unclear and plays more of a film going towards Avengers, than just a stand alone Iron Man film. Iron Man 3 falls somewhere in the middle for me, it plays off of so many great things and characters, Guy Pearce’s role as Killian is the best villain we have had in this franchise since Jeff Bridges role as Obadiah Stane aka the Iron Monger. Pearce plays the role of Killian with such bravado and scene chewing evilness, he comes off as an equal to RDJ’s Tony Stark.

IM3Now the question is why no mention of The Mandarin so far? And well that is a tricky nut to crack in a review that doesn’t want to reveal too much. “The Mandarin” has a fantastic look and his presence in the film for the most part is terrifying for every character that see’s his face pop on their television. The fear of “The Mandarin” is very real amongst the people and especially Tony. The idea of “The Mandarin” is that nobody is safe and nobody can trust in Iron Man or in heroes to truly save them from the evil and destruction he can unleash. How that plays out? And how that all comes to a resolution…you should see for yourself and make up your OWN mind about after seeing the film.

Iron Man 3 is easily a stand a lone film that Iron Man 2 wasn’t and that has a lot to do with Shane Black taking the helms of director and writer from fan favorite Jon Faveru, who still plays Happy Hogan in this film and plays Happy with a lot more vigor and fun, I guess having the pressure of the world off your shoulders helps you revel in the fact that you get to play a comic book character. Both Happy and Pepper have much more to do in this film than they ever had in the previous two, especially Pepper who’s role of now CEO of Stark Industries is more important than just being “Tony Stark’s girlfriend.” Both Gwyneth and her character Pepper Potts get something more to do in Iron Man 3 and take a step up in a much bigger way toward the final act.

Iron ManIron Man 3 both delivers and continues the tradition of Marvel putting out their best effort in a post-Avengers world, both figuratively with the marketing of the films and literally with the characters that live in this universe we now come to expect and are anxious to see every summer.

I feel that the big twist of the film is going to polarize the people that see the film and maybe will be the only thing they take away from it, but it shouldn’t be. This is Tony Starks film…and at the end of the film, just like at the end of the first film, Tony helps to clearly inform the audience and himself…”That I am Iron Man.”

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

But I also give it a “DON’T BE A PUSSY” out of TEN, on the scale of the great dialogue spoken by RDJ and all the actors in this film. Lot of laughs, lot of great serious, and important moments.

BUT WAIT…It isn’t a Marvel movie….or a Marvel movie review without a post credit scene…




Bruce Banner Iron Man 3

That pretty image is of a great post-credit scene where we get for the first time in movie history…an actor reprising their role as Bruce Banner. A small cameo from Mark Ruffalo as the not-so jolly green giant, but just Tony’s science buddy.

Disney owns Star Wars + The entire East Coast is sunked away!

I have no power. Luckily I have a gas oven and heat, but still no power makes you go kinda stir crazy in your own house pretty quickly.

But I was luckily enough not to have any bad damage happen to my home, but those in South Jersey and large parts of New York can’t say the same. For all those effected, hope the best for you and your safety…
….but in other news.

Disney’s attempt to own and take over the world is about almost complete. They have officially bought out LucasFilm for a very tiny amount of 4 billion dollars. Disney reps report that Star Wars: Episode 7 will be released by 2015 part of a new trilogy and a live action TV show to follow.

We can only hope that after years and years of people talking how they would make a better Star Wars film than Lucas and would direct actors better….they can back those words up. So many writers and directors will be swimming (too soon?) at the chance to get to Disney HQ and attempt to be hired for the job.

Will Luke and Leia return? Han and Chewie? C3-Po and R2-D2….of course they are, but WHAT ABOUT JAR-JAR BINKS! WILL HE MAKE HIS TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO THE STAR WARS!

Who knows? But after all Disney’s plan of purchasing Marvel turned out to be a pretty smart move so far, so maybe they have something up their sleeve ready to go with Star Wars and give us that experience that you only remember in a galaxy far far away … in 3 years.

Iron Man 3 Teaser Trailer

Today is the beginning of a new look, not just for the Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but of Iron Man himself.

In his last solo outing, Iron Man faced off against Whiplash (Mickey Rouke), Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and had the added assistance of War Machine (now played by Don Cheadle).  Iron Man 2 was a film that more or less a pretty disappointing follow up to the ground breaking and awesome first Iron Man film.

Since the second film though there has been not only big changes in the characters life (…uhhh THE AVENGERS HAPPENED!!!) but also behind the camera as Jon Favreau has stepped down as director and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang writer/director Shane Black has stepped up. From this trailer alone you can see a new visual style take over Tony Stark’s life, its a little bit more drearier.

This is the official start of Phase 2. Iron Man 3 will see Iron Man finally face off against the Joker to his Batman; the Green Goblin to his Spidey; the Lex Luthor to his Superman. Iron Man is finally going to meet…

….The Mandarin!

Traditionally an East Asian character, The Mandarin this time around is going to be played by the Indian born Ben Kingsley. And just after being fresh off the presses no longer than a few hours, the trailer is already starting up rumors and speculation of its own, especially…one key frame that shows that The Mandarin has a tattoo of Captain America’s shield on the back of his neck.

Whatever the use of the symbol can not be good especially when it comes to The Mandarin. Iron Man 3 hits theaters May of next year and after this one lil ol’ teaser trailer, I know me and millions of other fan boys can’t wait.

MCU Phase 2: aka “Marvel blows their money shot and we approve.”

The lead in to The Avengers film was called “Phase One” by Kevin Feige. Phase One included: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America, and Thor. After the Avengers came out, we were told to be in store for what was called “Phase 2.” We had ideas for what Phase 2 would be, obviously sequels to Iron Man, Cap, and Thor. But what else?

Black Panther film? A NEW Incredible Hulk movie with Mark Ruffalo, after stealing the show in The Avengers? The ever talked about, but never updated on Ant-Man film by Edgar Wright? Could we see solo spinoff films for Black Widow, Hawkeye or S.H.I.E.L.D? Maybe something new and not talked about? Like The Punisher, or Blade, both of which film rights has been recently acquired back by Marvel Film.

Yesterday at the annual San Diego Comic-Con Marvel film had their presentation and let us all know what would be in store for in regards to Phase Two and it will look like this…


Wait a moment as I pick my jaw up from the floor.

*Picks it up.*

Where do we begin? From the word at Comic-Con both pieces of footage shown for Ant-Man and Iron Man 3 were met with great fan fare and fan boy approval. Thor sequel is just great news, because Hemsworth was a joy to see as the God of Thunder. Captain America sequel with Winter Soldier should be just amazing if Winter Soldier is just 1/8th as badass and interesting as Ed Brubaker made him be in the comics.

The real stand out news is that we are going to go into the cosmics of space with Guardians of the Galaxy, a relatively new updated concept of an old idea from Marvel. The cast of characters for this adventure will be Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. … Yes you read that correctly, Raccoon as in … a raccoon, with a gun, that is badass and fucks shit up.

Then we have the long talked about Ant-Man, where Edgar Wright of Hot Fuzz and Shaunof the Dead fame helms the pint size superhero. Ant-Man in the comics was a founding member of The Avengers, but was sadly missing from the film this summer. So Edgar and his British style of film making will tackle the superhero and as he quoted “Ant Man will kick your ass-one inch at a time.”

That is Phase 2. Two brand new films and three sequels to three previously awesome characters and films. The time leading from Iron Man 3 until The Avengers 2 will be heaven for all of geekdom.

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…