Friday, April 21, 2017

TV Talk - Marvel's Netflix Series

If you haven’t kept up with Twitter, then you’d know that Marvel’s Iron Fist has been released on Netflix. The early reviews didn’t paint a good picture. This was one I was already worried about since I’m not a big Iron Fist fan. By now, I’ve finished all of Season 1 of that show. Today’s post will actually be about it and the other Marvel shows on Netflix. I already talked about Season 1 of Daredevil, so it’s time to move on to Season 2 of DD, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the released Iron Fist.

With Season 2 of DD, I was on board day one. It took me a while to get through the season but I got through it. As for Jessica Jones, I actually didn’t get to this one until sometime before Luke Cage was released. I pretty much binged it one weekend. As for Luke Cage, this was also a bit of a binge. I pretty much saw it all when it was released. My dad even checked in on this one, so I’ve seen bits and pieces of it more than once. It took a couple of weeks to get through Iron Fist, though.

Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones was the second show to be released on Netflix. It aired after Season 1 of Daredevil. It follows Jessica Jones, a private eye with her own set of superhuman abilities. She’s trying doing her thing when her past has come back to haunt her. During her time as a small-time superhero, she was under the control of Kilgrave, a man who has the ability to control people with his speech. Luckily, she has some help in the form of Trish Walker and some black dude named Luke Cage. Oh yeah, there’s a lot of other craziness with weird neighbors, a cold-blooded client, and some crazy cop with a pill problem.
Jessica: Yeah, I'm listening. I'm just helping the Red Ranger kick his drug habit. 

While this probably my least favorite Netflix show (it's either that or Iron Fist), I did like this one. After seeing IF, this is definitely the darkest of the four shows. It deals with personal subject matter like rape, substance abuse, and PSTD. It also wasn’t afraid to earn that MA rating. I thought the cast for the most part was good. While I wasn’t a big fan of Jessica Jones as a character (I liked Trish more), Krysten Ritter was good as the damaged P.I. Carrie-Ann Moss also did a nice job as the utterly unlikable Jeri Hogarth. Pretty much everyone else like Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker) and Mike Colter (Luke Cage) did a good job. It was even cool to see another Power Ranger alumni (Eka Darville from RPM) show up here. We even get a little bit of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) in here too.

Of course, the biggest boon to the show was David Tennant as Kilgrave/The Purple Man. He was the right blend of slimy and charismatic with the actions he took. Even though they give him a tragic backstory, he’s still a messed up psycho who’s done some horrible things. The stuff between Kilgrave and Jessica was definitely a highlight. I also liked that this didn’t take the stereotypical route in it being a superhero show. Yeah, it had the powers and fight scenes, but it had something that you don’t see on the live-action side.
Man... what a performance.

While it has good stuff, it also had some “meh” moments. I thought there were too many characters running around in this show especially when they didn’t add much to the overall plot. Jessica’s neighbors and the cop who helps them are examples. The pacing was also a problem here. While I liked Kilgrave’s and Jessica’s interactions, the cat-and-mouse game between those two does drag on for too long. A part of me feels like the show could have been much shorter. I think this is a problem for most of the Marvel shows since this show wasn’t the only one that had that problem. Lastly, the fight scenes were okay. They didn’t really showcase what Jessica could do but they weren’t the focus here anyway. Overall, it may not be the best show, but it tries a lot and mostly succeeds.

Daredevil Season 2
Season 2 of Daredevil takes place a few months after the previous season.  Matt, Foggy, and Karen are trying to get the law firm more notoriety. He’s even getting closer to Karen. His Daredevil activities are keeping him busy and in danger too. He goes up against new vigilante known as the Punisher. He also has to deal with a troublesome ex-girlfriend coming back to town. It all culminates in Matt and his allies taking on a powerful organization known as the Hand.

While I can’t say that it was better than the previous season, it had a lot of good things. The new editions to the cast were good. I thought that Daredevil vs. the Punisher was quite possibly the best “vs.” story we got in 2016. Yeah, I went there. One of the best things about this season was the Punisher. Not only is it the best version of the character we’ve gotten story-wise, Jon Beranthal (who I actually share a birthday with) was great in the role. Pretty much everything involving his character was good. As for Elektra, she was pretty interesting for the most part. I thought Elodie Young did the role well. The fight scenes were on par with last season’s and that stair case scene was awesome.

As for our regular leads, they get a lot to do. Matt is still doing the lawyer-by-day, ninja-by-night role and he gets a better mask. It’s here where his double life really gets to mess with him especially when Elektra, Stick, and the Hand show up in the second half of the season. He does come off a little unlikable at points but it works since he is under tons of pressure. Foggy and Karen get a lot to do as well. I liked that Foggy was literally the voice of reason this season and that he got to outshine Matt lawyer-wise. I also though Karen’s new role as a writer was interesting but it did make me miss Ben Urich. We even get more of Claire Temple meeting up with Matt and that’s always good. Another person also shows up in the ninth episode that had me go “Oh ####!” Just guess who.
You may not make healthy choices but you do tend to say the right thing, Foggy.

As for the negatives, the show does get a little bogged down in the second half of the season. It’s not bad, but after those first few episodes, things get a little disjointed. It definitely felt like that with the Punisher and Elektra storylines towards the end. Also, while it’s cool to see some ninjas show up, the Hand were alright. A former villain from last season returns to lead them and he was a little bland.  I also wasn’t too fond of some aspects of Matt’s and Karen’s courtship. It was nice seeing them together, but some things didn’t gel too well. Overall, it’s as about on par with Season 1.

Luke Cage
Luke Cage pretty much spins off from Jessica Jones. For those who don’t know, Luke has invulnerable skin and super-strength. Luke heads to Harlem since he’s on the run from the law.  He hides out with his father-in-law. He ends up getting embroiled in the mess going on there with the law and a gangster known as Cottonmouth. After someone close to him is gunned down, Luke has to come out of hiding and try to take Cottonmouth’s empire down.  Things get tougher when another player by the name of Diamondback enters the battle.

Even though it has its flaws, I really enjoyed Luke Cage. It’s rare that we get to see any superhero shows that have a primarily black cast. I was impressed by the whole cast for the most part. Everyone from the leads to the side characters were pretty good. Mike Colter was cool as Luke Cage. I was also impressed with Simone McKissick’s Misty Knight, Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth, and a few others. I was also glad to see Rosario Dawson show up here too. She’s literally the Coulson to these shows.

The stories were pretty good for the most part. I also liked some of the social commentary used as well. I liked the overall setting with it taking place in Harlem. It was like a Blaxploitation movie only modern and done better. I’ve seen some bad ones, man. Another thing that stands out here is the music. Everything from the main theme to the stuff in the episodes was good. I liked that a lot of genres were used and we even got some professional performers in there. We even got some old-school doo-wop stuff in there. It was great. Lastly, the fight scenes were fine. They weren’t great but the one that stands out to me is Luke’s takedown of Cottonmouth’s storehouse.
While we didn't get a former Power Ranger, we do have a guy who looks like he stepped out of a Super Sentai.

As for the flaws, there are a few. Once again, the pacing is a problem. This shows up more in the second half of the show when Cottonmouth is taken off the board. After that, it’s like the show dips down for a bit. Even the finale, while fine, felt lacking in a couple of places. After Cottonmouth is gone, he ends up getting replaced by Diamondback. While Diamondback was a more threatening opponent for Luke, he just didn’t have what Cottonmouth had. If I could describe it, Cottonmouth is your Netflix Marvel villain while Diamondback is you stereotypical MCU villain. Lastly, the writing didn’t always hit the mark it needed to. Overall, even with its flaws, Luke Cage is one to see.

Iron Fist
The last one for the night is the recently released Iron Fist. In this one, Danny Rand returns to New York after being declared dead for 15 years. As he tries to prove his identity and re-acclimate to modern society, we find out that he is the Iron Fist, an Immortal Weapon of K’un L’un. He also starts a friendship with another martial artist named Colleen Wing. Danny eventually learns that that the Hand, the enemy of K’un L’un, is up to some tricks in New York. Not only does he have to deal with them, he also has to do deal with Harold Meacham, one of his father’s closest friends.
Man, he did not take those reviews well. Also, what does he have against doors?

While Iron Fist isn’t as good as most of the other shows, it’s better than the ratings the critics gave it. I’m not going to comment on the whole race thing here since, honestly, I don’t care about it much. Besides, Danny’s race isn’t the reason this show isn’t as good as the others.  I liked most the cast here. Jessica Henwrick as Colleen Wing is probably the best character here. I also liked the Meachams especially Harold Meacham. You didn’t know what or where he would be during it. I was also glad to see Madam Gau return since she was one of the best parts of Daredevil.

I actually did like some of the corporate drama with Danny and the Meachams. Since Danny is a rich boy, it’d have to go there. I also liked the stuff involving the Hand since it went down paths I wasn’t expecting. Also, it’s always cool to see Claire Temple show up. I wonder if they’ll do a Claire Temple show or something. Lastly, there were some decent fight scenes especially in the latter half of the show. The standouts for me were Danny vs the kung fu drunken master and this big fight at an academy.
Yes, this is crass to show here, but this was actually funny. I guess he saw Rotten Tomatoes too.

Now, here’s the not-so-great. It takes a long time for this show to get moving… too long, in fact. I can see why critics were down on the early episodes but the show did get better. It wasn’t by a lot, though. There were also times where things got a little jumbled story-wise. It kind of felt like that towards the end. There wasn’t really a central villain to the show, so stuff felt kind of scatterbrained.  I get the idea that they’re setting up a lot for The Defenders, so that may be why things felt a little rushed in places.

While I enjoyed some fight scenes, something felt weird about a lot of them. I don’t know if it was the stunt team or the camera work. It bet it would have helped to find a lead star who knew martial arts! That is probably my biggest sticking point with the show there. I know they have to find a credible actor, but I like seeing stuntmen flex their acting chops. As for Finn Jones, he was okay but I wasn’t really a fan of Danny here. I don’t know if it was the actor or the direction. He seemed too uptight at points but fine around Colleen and Claire. Maybe if they get him around the other heroes, he may lighten up like he is in the comics. Overall, I liked it but I felt it could have been much better.


Overall, Marvel’s Netflix series have done pretty good. There have been dips here and there, but they’ve stuck to the course. In August, we should be seeing all of these characters come together in The Defenders. Not much is known about what’s going to happen, but I bet a lot of the things that was set up in the other shows will come into play. Just know that I’ll definitely be checking it out. I just hope it is as good as most MCU team-ups. Well, that’s all I got for now. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there.
I guess Danny has to stick out somehow...

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