Matt Murdock is back.
Is the best superhero show on TV, still the best?
Short answer, yes.
Season Two of Daredevil has landed, let the bingeing commence. At first glance the second season isn’t a repeat of the first. It moves faster, it doesn’t linger quite so much on long conversations with priests or mentors, and it certainly doesn’t have a central villain of the stature of Wilson Fisk. Instead there’s new characters, and broader questions about the vigilante actions of Daredevil, who is now well and truly established in Hell’s Kitchen.
Of the new kids, John Bernthal gives us perhaps the best Punisher yet. Without a doubt it’s the most interesting take on the character. Almost immediately he clashes with Daredevil and sparks fly as two different ideologies go head to head. Much of this season rests on the shoulders of Frank Castle, and Bernthal handles it without missing a beat.
Add to that Elodie Yung as Elektra and suddenly Matt Murdock’s world looks very different. Sadly, Elektra struggles to reach the heights of the Punisher, and her character is probably the weak link of this series. Also in keeping with the slightly different tone, the show veers away from organized crime, and into ancient cults, and ninjas which may seem a little jarring for those not already fans of the Man without Fear.
Some things haven’t changed though, and the fight choreography is still the best of any superhero TV show, probably the best of any TV show, period. If anything, the sheer amount of fighting is more and the Punisher introduces a bloodier element to it all.
Daredevil, Elektra, Punisher, ninjas… You had me at hello.
I can’t help but wonder how Ben Affleck feels. The story always was that Affleck took the role of Daredevil in the movie, because he thought he’d never get to play Batman. Ironically, now he’s playing Batman, it’s not going so well, while Charlie Cox is knocking Daredevil out of the park.
Overall, if you’re worried that season two won’t live up to season one – relax. The DNA of Season One is still there, it still elevates the material to new heights, but this is not an exact copy and it delves even deeper into comicbook lore. Was Season One better? Hard to say, but one thing we can all agree on… bring on Season Three.
At no expense spared I flew two of my top reviewers to London and Australia to cover the premiers of Batman vs Superman Dawn of justice. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the quality of the beer, perhaps it was the ladies underwear they were wearing, but I ended up with two distinctly different reviews. Here they are, follow the bitch fight as they continue to argue in the comments. Feel free to pitch in.
BATMAN VS SUPERMAN ; DAWN OF JUSTICE by Rob Deb
Rating : 4/5
Almost three years on from its initial announcement this has probably been one of the most hotly anticipated films since with the exception of the Force Awakens. With this level of scrutiny one cannot help but feel that you have seen the film already and made your judgement call. Firstly you haven’t and second, it was Brave and the Bold wasn’t it?
From the outset Snyder returns to his favourite themes; that of Man vs. God. With an opening set piece reminiscent of Cloverfield the film starts during the final scenes of Man of Steel as we watch Bruce Wayne do his utmost to save all he can in the plight of the often commented on destruction.
The film sets a collision course from this point between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel; you will get to see the fight night bout you have been waiting for but there are a good 12 rounds to go before you see the final blow.
Wasting very little time on anything but the most elemental aspects of ‘Batman’ his character is a great take on the caped crusader; a little weary and very lost and still increasingly consumed by rage, Affleck does a great job of bringing out the feral charm of our anti-hero. He is painted almost as a timeless batman with scenes cut and cribbed from his entire publication run while boiling it down to a man driven to the edge for justice.
The film is primarily, first and foremost a Superman film. As Clark deals with the consequences of his actions and the scrutiny of the world. As the world comes to both see him as a Saviour and a menace at the same time.
The film is grandiose, colourful, audacious and admittedly absurd. But the through line and the plot exist on an operatic scale that is built for such things.
In regards to ‘world building’ there is a whole sense of a universe and alien worlds here.
Wonder Woman brings a much needed dimension to the piece while also creating more questions than answers and leaves me eager to see where that character goes. My reasons for not giving it five are more in the detail; ironically while the story is relatively linear, it’s when it attempts to restrain itself to plot in certain scenes it struggles. It’s a messy film ‘but a glorious ‘Eton Mess’ of a film and I would have liked to see it be allowed to expand on that aspect.
There weaknesses lie in Lois Lane, who is acted gamely by Amy Adams but does little to add to the story except in the most perfunctory manner, in many ways a wry ‘Alfred’ to the big blue boy scout. Jessie Eisenberg ..Well…I’m not a fan of his acting choices and while it’s a refreshing take on Lex Luther he lacks the sense of menace that I feel is so intrinsic to the character.
This film is a film of the heart and will leave you punch drunk with its audacity, a great one to see.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by Nik Coppin 2.5/5
Two things I said from the start. Ben Affleck will be a better Batman than people think. He was.
They have decided to put too much and too many characters in the movie. They did.
For a movie that was meant to be Batman versus Superman, we took a very long, convoluted and confusing time getting there, and when we did – courtesy of a quite ridiculous plan by Lex Luthor, they didn’t go at it very long.
Of course then Zack Snyder decided to have yet another darkness and flashing light show of levelling buildings. Why-oh-why with all of that, Zack? Again.
The characterisation of Diana Prince was good and our new Wonder Woman clearly has an interesting back story and potential for her movie, but her getting involved in the mass destruction dust-up with Doomsday the way she did was needless. She would’ve been better saved for later and just portrayed as an interesting and mysterious woman for now.
Too much about this movie didn’t make sense, but if they’d concentrated on what the title of the movie said it was going to be about and not getting all pre-Justice League on it, it could have done. It would have been a lot better too.
Sorry DC, but if anything, this has just proved again that you are simply too far behind Marvel and are not getting any closer to catching up.
Considering this was a match-up we’ve all been hoping and waiting for on the big screen for so long, it was very messy and disappointing.
Battle of the Superheroes: Brighton
So, Friday 29th May. The time 19:00 , the place the Quadrant in Brighton.
I am to compete in the Star Trek arena that is the superhero battle show. The audience the court of geek.
If you have never seen the show the premise is simple. 3 acts choose their best superhero to state their case and show how righteous they are. There is a short recess from the opening arguments where the audience are tested and then ask questions of them. Then it comes to the final where all the heroes stand up in front of the court and win via round of applause.
Now this is a multiverse competition, heroes from any publisher and medium are welcome. I had played the role Uatu in a number of the challenges in Edinburgh . I had tried to avoid doing this competition as it’s not really my thing, but the continual derision and comments about how I could be a judge without ever being a contestant was growing. Personally I feel that like when acts complain that reviewers are scum because they never did a gig but, mob rules in this world.
So I needed to win this, and win it with a character that would be so obscure, but not too obscure, so I chose Rom: Spaceknight.
Admittedly I felt Rom would not be that obscure because Andrew had already won with him once, and it also heightened the tension as if he succeeded where I had failed I would be relegated to the zone of continued with the Primark poseurs of comic books for thinking I could judge.
So With 40 odd issues of Rom comics, bagged and boarded in my hand I set off on my epic voyage.
I would be competing against Rik Carranza who was bringing ‘Batman’ and Ant McEwan who would be bringing ‘Ant-Man’ two movie deal bastards against my simple rubber toy.
Paul Revill was MC and thus the adventure begins;
PART THE FIRST.
Paul started the show with his high energy ways, I had gotten my bag ready of ROM but I came overloaded. Paul asked a few questions and established this was a bunch of cinematic universe goers, although he did not notice the reference to David Hasselhoff one true believer threw in as the best Nick Fury ever.
I walked onto the stage with a Forbidden Planet bag in hand and started. I pulled out bagged and boarded ROMs to what I was hoping to be gasps of surprise.
No, they seemed scared and confused. I had overblown them by actually talking about comics. Then when trying to explain Rom and his work I slowly realised when explaining dire wraiths as a form of SKRULL. They did not know what SKRULLS were. I bleakly started just showing them covers to bring back the room with some vigour, even misnoticing one lead villain as Absorbing Man in my haste.
I left the stage tepid, and feared the future of the Spaceknight.
Then Rik ‘The Kid’ Carranza walked on, shouted ‘I’m Batman’ did a mic drop and walked off. This alone could have won it for him. He went on to espouse everything people like about Batman and even a few things they don’t, particularly his lack of keeping sidekicks alive. He even threw in real stories not just movies to prove himself. Although it was as he mentioned ‘Tower of Babel’ I knew that could be his undoing.
Ant McEwan , who did pop in and had only knew a little as he came in as a substitute. Ant-Man is never to be underestimated though and Ants own charm gave him more then a small chance of putting me in third place.
I knew I would have to work hard in the debate but before that came the audience quiz. Time for me to regroup my best covers of Rom and watch what happened.
PART THE SECOND.
More an intermission then an Interval as Paul started to test the crowd on their knowledge of comics. Name a few places, name a few films. But the best was three randoms who came up and each declaring a special ability , two guys who said “getting a round in” and “catching the bus” respectively and one lady who claimed her super power was “her chest”.
Unfortunately her chest was deflated after the opening heat question, name five black superheroes.
She could not think of one, came off stage, thought of one, then came back said Storm, then fluffed the 2nd round. It almost went wrong when one of the contestants said Green Lantern and Paul did not know that there were black Green Lanterns. Technically speaking they’re all green but you get the drift.
But after this interval of distraction trinkets we moved on to the bit I had to do my best for the legacy of all Spaceknights. The debate.
PART THE THIRD: ROMS REVENGE.
So it begins. We each talk a bit more about our characters. Batman pointed out I began as a toy, claiming I was a cheap 70’s rampant rabbit. I countered after he banged on about the charity work of the Wayne Foundation that Batman was the Jimmy Savile of superheroes given the abuse of the Ward’s. Ant-Man tried to say he does “like good stuff and that” to which I said “like beating your wife”. Things got tense and harsh and the questions required us to give a manifesto. I pulled out all the stops, name checking Bill Mantlo, saying if you don’t like toys you don’t like proper Transformers. And even when Paul thought it was getting too heated pointing out the strength of the other contenders. It was an even race until Batman pulled out a Rom replant water pistol and blasted me. Imagine Batman reduced to using a gun. I ignored it and went on with dignity but it was now in the hands of the mob.
PART THE FOURTH.
Applause came for Batman and Ant-Man, then it got to me….I WON! Well I say me, ROM won! By a clear margin, I was delighted, vindicated and happy I would never have to deal with the question about would I win. I DID
It was a delight and the never ending battle continues for Rom, not in movies, not in key chains, but simply, in comics.
The best place of them all!
After it’s Australian escapades Battle of Superheroes returned to UK shores, specifically to the Brighton Fringe. And in a room above a small pub in Brighton, the comic book universe would be rocked by an upset of oceanic proportions.
With regular show host Nik Coppin galavanting on the other side of the world, it was left to Robyn Perkins to host the proceedings. Yet despite her criminal lack of superhero knowledge, she ably guided the audience and two new acts through the debate.
The two newbies were James Bennison representing Hawkeye and Kahn Johnson representing Daredevil. Completing the line up was me, the perennial loser, yet to record a single victory in countless attempts. If this was to change I would clearly have to up my game but, always up for a challenge, and yet almost already conceding defeat, I opted to represent the joke of the comic universe. Yes, I decided to represent Aquaman.
Surely two characters from the more popular Marvel universe. Two characters who were popular in the mainstream thanks to the Avengers movies and the new Daredevil series. Surely these two would have no problem against a character who’s main weakness is dehydration.
Despite their attempts to play the disability card, with Daredevil’s blindness and Hawkeye’s deafness, both of them fell to the ruler of the sea, whose only weapon on the day was a Poundland bought water pistol.
All that was left was for me to question why did Brighton vote for Aquaman to win that night when 24 hours previously they had voted for ROM Spaceknight over the Dark Knight himself. The answer was quickly provided by Kahn Johnson, ‘Brighton’s by the sea isn’t it.’
Sadly, do to the absence of a hero having to pull out at the last minute due to personal issues, heat 3 could not take place.
Therefore, Rob Deb’s Rom and Rik Carranza’s Aquaman may be invited back in September, along with the winner or the Edinburgh season to do battle with each other for the brighton crown.
Watch this space!