Benz Eye View: Inhumans IMAX (First Two Episodes)

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Inhumans

Pros: 

1.) There is a somewhat interesting lore/world that is shown in this TV series.  True that these types of worlds have existed before in other media (coughX-Mencough), but there are some things that kind of differentiate them a bit, such as how these people receive their powers (and a huge freaking dog).  It is one of the few things that help this show stand on its own…

2.) …The other thing that helps this show is the main lead: Black Bolt.  The actor playing the character does a good job acting as a character that has to lead his kingdom, but cannot talk due to how powerful his voice can be, and has to reduce his speech with hand signals.  I can tell through the actor’s facial reactions that the character has to restrain himself from using powers, and lead his kingdom and family with leadership and inner strength…

 

Cons: 

1.) …While Black Bolt is slightly interesting, I cannot really say the same thing about the other characters.  When the inciting incident occurs, they cannot seem to figure out how to deal with the problems properly.  Some of them just wait it out with idiotic consequences, others try to do something resulting those characters being utterly incompetent.  Even Black Bolt suffers this problem, but I can withstand the character’s idiocy due to his inability to speak.  Even the antagonist is a cliched jealous brother who wants to take over the kingdom of the Inhumans.  Other than Black Bolt, nothing about these characters stand out.

2.) These two episodes are annoyingly predictable.  First, the show has a jealous brother who wants to lead the kingdom.  What do you think is going to happen?  The main characters are forced to leave their kingdom, and head towards Earth.  Predict what is going to happen next.  I swear, if what I think of how this show’s season is going to end happens, it shows how poor the writing is for this series.  The writing is so poor that Iron Fist can do a better job.  Maybe the show will get better with future episodes, but as it stands, this is not how you capture the audience’s interest.

3.) I can list a few more things wrong with these first two episodes of the show, so here are a few I can list.  The CG is pretty bad, but since this is a TV series, I will give it a slight pass (although, Doctor Who had better CG).  Some actors are terrible in their performances, there are moments in the show that are not needed (although, they may be building it up to something that I do not really care for), and certain moments that are meant to be serious end up being funny.  First impressions are important, and this is not how you do it.

 

Overall: 

With the MCU rising in movies and Netflix series, its weakest area is arguably their TV series (with the somewhat exception of Agent Carter).  I have only seen a couple of episodes of Agents of SHIELD, and it did not really capture my attention.  Now, Marvel recently released the first two episodes of their new show: Inhumans in theaters before the show gets released a few weeks later.  Originally a film that was going to be released in Phase 3 of the MCU, this superhero group was built up in Agents of SHIELD, and they get their own show.  How well did its first two episodes leave their impression?  Two words: not well.  If this is how the MCU is going to introduce their alternate version of X-Men (admit it, they are thanks to certain film studio that is too stubborn to let go or at least share ALL of the film rights of those characters), their first impressions are not good.  The show is predictable, the characters are unbearable (other than Black Bolt to an extent), and so many other errors that keep this show down.  Maybe the show gets better as it progresses, and I admit that some part of me wants to continue watching it despite its huge amounts of flaws, but as it stands, the first two episodes of the Inhumans makes you want to watch another group of superheroes that stand out from society.

Skip It*

*I am changing the Pass rating with a Skip It to avoid confusion.

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Benz Eye View: Marvel’s The Defenders

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Marvel’s The Defenders

Pros: 

1.) All four members of the Defenders: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have their own character arcs that actually converge into the main plot: four heroes have to fight an evil organization before they deal their evil power to the world (in this case, New York).  It is written well enough to give these people reasons why they have to join together to stop one big organization that has built up in two of the Marvel Netflix series.  Not only that, all four characters have their own plot lines involving their own personal problems.  Overall, the narrative is written well enough to give these four heroes an excuse on why they have to join together to become the Defenders.

2.) For the first couple of episodes, I really like how each of the main characters have their own visual tones.  Those tones are red (Daredevil), purple (Jessica Jones), yellow (Luke Cage), and green (Iron Fist).  While it is not that noticeable as the episodes progress, I do like the visual color symbolism that represents these characters that we have been following for a couple of years now.

3.) I love how the characters interact with each other thanks to the written dialogue and acting.  It shows how these actors (particularly the four main leads) are having fun with each other while acting out in their roles.  Iron Fist and Luke Cage are great friends despite a rocky start, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have a rocky relationship since they were former lovers, Daredevil and Jessica Jones are in a not-so-great lawyer-client relationship, and so many more.  That is just including the main characters; some of the side characters get some time to shine as well.  However, the series knows how to focus on what is important: the four main leads, and they did so wonderfully.

 

Cons: 

1.) While the heroes are well-realized, I cannot say the same thing with the villains.  It is a shame since despite having great performances from actors like Sigourney Weaver, none of the villains have a shred of compelling moments whatsoever.  I really wanted to like them, but their motivations are so cliched and typical that I lost interest in them as the series went on.  In contrast, the past Marvel Netflix antagonists (i.e. Wilson Fisk, Kilgrave, and Diamondback) are compelling enough to be a match with the other heroes.  While the villains in this series are still a competent threat, they are not as interesting as the past villains we had in each of the series.

2.) There are some great action scenes, but there are also some poor ones as well.  I blame it on the cinematography on certain action moments, because they use the low-lighting shots that are way too close to see what is actually happening in these fights.  The worst action moments involve Madame Gao, because all she does is some sort of Force Push-like attack that looks lame, because the actress is way too old to move like a karate master (and I cannot really blame her).  Also, there are attack blows that clearly did not hit, and some people do not seem to take the fight seriously and just flail the bodies around just to look like they are attacking.  I did say that there are some good action scenes, but the bad ones are really obvious.

3.) I found the last half of the series to be the least interesting compared to the first half.  Whereas the first half was establishing the events of the series (the first episode is admittedly a catch-up episode, which is nice if slightly boring), the second half does not really hold up as much.  It reminds me of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies.  The first one is a mystery movie while the second one is not since the characters know who the criminal is and they have to stop his evil plan.  This parallels with this series: the first half is a mystery while the second half is stopping the villains, except not as interesting as the mystery portion.  The pace is slow (the first half had slow pacing, but the series took advantage of it), it is kind of predictable, and I have seen other shows and movies that do the same thing, but better (coughAvengerscough).

 

Overall: 

Two years ago, the first season of Daredevil was aired on Netflix as part of Marvel’s Netflix series coinciding with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  From those past two years, Jessica Jones, Daredevil (Season 2), Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were released on Netflix as well.  All of those shows were building up to the newly released The Defenders.  Does all that build-up work as well as The Avengers five years ago?  To a certain extent, yes, but it could have been done better.  I enjoyed all four main characters (three to be exact, because Iron Fist still kind of sucks) and I like how they joined together to face a huge threat that they cannot fight alone.  That is the main reason why this series is pretty good to begin with: the four main characters.  Their interactions, heroism, and characteristics are what makes anyone appreciate this series and its build-up for the past couple of years.  However, it does have some noticeable flaws like the antagonists and the narrative falling apart in the second half.  If you wanted to have four of the Marvel Netflix heroes join together to fight an evil organization, you will get it here.  However, with the flaws that I have pointed out, it could have been so much better.  Here’s hoping the second season is much better, as well as the other Marvel Netflix series and the upcoming Punisher series.

Occasional Viewing

Benz Eye View: Iron Fist

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Iron Fist

Pros: 

1.) I do appreciate the references on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (particularly the Marvel Netflix Series).  It reminds me that this takes place in world with Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Man, etc.  It is a nice touch (especially since returning characters like Claire Temple and Jeri Hogarth are in this series).

2.) Um…the last few episodes are tolerable.  That is just fine…

 

Cons: 

1.) …Unfortunately, I cannot really say the same thing to the series as a whole.  Where do I begin?  Let’s start with the characters: None of them are compelling.  Either I have seen these characters before, or they are not interesting enough for me to care.  There are moments when I start caring, but they are brief and get replaced by something stupid.  The only characters I actually truly care are the returning characters from previous Marvel Netflix series like Claire Temple or Jeri Hogarth.

2.) This series is excruciatingly slow.  If you want to see plenty of action, or a mixture of dialogue scenes and action scenes, you are going to be very disappointed.  There is more talk than action, and it is written poorly.  It would be fine if the characters are not stale, and some of the events are at least slightly unpredictable.  Not to mention since Danny Rand keeps mentioning K’un-Lun so much, I rather watch the series that takes place in that ancient city instead of New York.

3.) Let’s talk about the Iron Fist himself: Danny Rand played by Finn Jones.  You would think that since this is his own series, he would stand out more than any of the characters in a good way.  Not true in this case.  Before I explain, I like to explain the casting controversy.  Many people were not happy that Iron Fist was going to be played by a white actor instead of an Asian actor.  Two things I like to say about that.  First, Iron Fist is white in the comics, so they are just following the source material.  Second, as an Asian person myself, I really do not care.  He could have been played by a black actor for all I care as long as he performs well.  In this case, Finn Jones is probably the worst actor in the series.  In certain cases, I can tell he is trying, but his acting conviction seems to be lacking in many scenes, especially when he tries to look sad and angry, but he ends up looking like he needs to go to the bathroom.  Ironically, there is a minor villain played by an Asian actor that performed pretty well in his role, and he actually auditioned to play the Iron Fist.  I prefer him over Finn Jones any day.  As for the character, you might as well call him Batman or Iron Man except he only has kung-fu powers, and he is kind of stupid.  And if I hear him say “Because I am the Iron Fist” one more time, I will call Jackie Chan and ask him to show Iron Fist how a true martial artist works.

 

Overall: 

While Marvel is busy with their cinematic movies, they also have created their own TV series.  In the case of Netflix, they created four series to eventually coincide in a crossover series called The Defenders.  Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are all great in their own ways, and now we have the last Defender in this new Marvel Netflix series: Iron Fist.  Does this new series punches hard in the right place to earn its place alongside the other Marvel Netflix series?  Unfortunately, I have to say that this series is one big blunder.  I feel like they were obligated to make this series so they can finally have that Defenders crossover.  This series is so bad that there are more cons that I can talk about here.  The series can be preachy, there are plenty of poor fight coordination, annoying repetition, and moments that are built up well with poor execution.  The series is not completely terrible since there are moments where I actually started to care what is happening, especially in the last few episodes.  The only reason I would recommend this show is to prepare for the upcoming Defenders series.  Otherwise, watch the other Marvel Netflix series or even Agents of SHIELD.  For the Iron Fist, its fist ends up with a serious damaging bruise.

Pass

 

Benz Eye View: Luke Cage

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Luke Cage

Pros: 

1.) Luke Cage has invulnerable skin, correct?  So I wondered, “How are they going to make a conflict on a character with that ability?”  Turns out, they found a way.  Give him legitimate and well-written emotional conflicts.  He may be bulletproof, but that does not mean he is invulnerable to emotions.  Not to mention that his friends do not have those powers, so that gives him a bigger reason why ends up being a hero in this series.

2.) Speaking of Luke Cage, the characters throughout the entire series are well-written and interesting.  Added to the fact that they all acted very well, they all have purpose on what happens to each other, and at Harlem.  Even Claire Temple from Daredevil and Jessica Jones fits well in this series.

3.) Speaking of Harlem, they surely got the atmosphere and setting of the series well enough.  They mention so much black and Harlem culture, it feels like I entered a new world, and enjoyed the good and bad people in it (even if I do not understand some of the people that they are talking about).

 

Cons: 

1.) This is a minor con, so it is not that bad.  I understand why Luke Cage is not exactly happy with his life all the time, but that can go on for so long.  I am a bit tired of him complaining that his powers are a curse or something.  I get why you are unhappy, but you need to lighten up.

2.) Something happens in the middle of the series that I will not spoil.  I will say what happens is…extreme, and I like it.  However, that ends up changing…something.  I am OK with it, but it dulls the series a little bit.

3.) I find the ending a bit anti-climactic, and the final battle is a little bit silly.  I am not going into detail on what happened, just to say that it goes a bit into the comic book exaggeration, and the battle between Luke Cage and the main villain is not exactly satisfying.

 

Overall: 

The Marvel Netflix series continues with this new superhero, Luke Cage.  He appeared in Jessica Jones, and he finally gets his own series…and it is great.  Marvel is doing an excellent job with its Netflix series, and with Iron Fist, the Defenders, and even Punisher series coming up, they do not seem to be stopping.  With great themes, writing, and acting, Luke Cage may not have that many super-heroic moments, but it is another welcoming addition to the Marvel Netflix series.  We await for the Immortal Iron Fist!

Watch It

Benz Eye View: Daredevil (Season 2)

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Daredevil (Season 2)

Pros:

1.) The action scenes are well-choreographed and painful in certain moments.  Although it can be a bit ridiculous at times, those scenes are much bigger than last season, and they still managed to pull it off (for the most part).

2.) All the original characters are back and better than ever.  Even the new characters are interesting.  Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) has an awesome backstory and motivation on what he is doing, and Elektra Natchios is a great femme fatale who is Daredevil’s equal.

3.) The plot line with Daredevil and the Punisher is the best part of the entire second season.  In one episode, they spout out their ideologies and beliefs on how they want to stop the criminals in Hell’s Kitchen.  It stresses how these two are different from each other, and it makes it a moral dilemma for Daredevil.

 

Cons: 

1.) On the other hand, Elektra’s plot line seems a bit forced in the show, making this season having a bit too many plot lines.  Even though the character is engaging, it would have been better if she’d appear in the third season of Daredevil, because it is interfering with the much better plot line with the Punisher.  

2.) Even though I mentioned that the action scenes are great, I cannot say the same thing with its cinematography.  There are plenty of moments where I can tell that the punches and kicks did not land on the person.  It is very distracting, and it makes these characters look like wimps.

3.) Some of the cons I had with the first season are still relevant in the second one.  I do not know, but maybe there is something about the show that does not make me a big fan.  It is not because of the characters or writing (although the writing in this season is not as good), it is probably because I am not a fan of the atmosphere.  Not too sure, but I will get back on that when I can.

 

Overall: 

With the success of the first season of Daredevil, it is only natural for Marvel and Netflix to make another season.  I stated before that I like the first season of Daredevil, but not as much as everyone.  With the second season, I thought it is not as good as the first one, but only by a slight bit.  The best thing about this season is the conflict between the Punisher and Daredevil.  The one between Elektra and Daredevil is fine, but it seems like that the creators of the show are shoving in a bit too many plot lines that have little to no relations with each other.  Not to mention that some of the issues I had on the first season are still noticeable in the second season.  It is not a bad season, just not as good.  Not enough to make me sway with the much better Jessica Jones.  Go and watch the show if you have the time, and we will see how Luke Cage will do in a few months.

Occasional Viewing

Benz Eye View: Marvel’s Jessica Jones

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Pros:

Most, if not all the characters are very interesting, and compelling.  They all have their own reasons why they do what they do, and good motivations to reinforce their actions.

There are some amazing acting going on this Netflix series.  The best actors of the bunch are Kryistin Ritter as Jessica Jones, and David Tennant as Kilgrave.

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I mean, come on!  You got the Tenth Doctor to play one of the most terrifying villains I have ever seen.  Also, his performance is a great example of acting.

There is great tension and a real sense of danger throughout the entire series.  There are even moments where you cringe, because they are really disturbing and dark.

Cons:

Jeri Hogarth’s subplot is the only one that I do not really care about, especially since I do not like this character (you will see why when you watch it).

Just like every Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins, there are some foreshadowing on what is going to happen in future installments (i.e. Jessica Jones’s origins of her powers is not fully explained), and that may not make some people happy.

The ending is a bit anti-climactic for me.  I understand what they are doing, and how the climax is meant to happen, but I kind of hoped that it would have been a bit better.

Overall:

Marvel’s Netflix series is certainly doing well, especially with Daredevil being such a huge success.  Now, here is the next installment of the series that just came out yesterday.  With a dark and brazen tone, fantastic yet disturbing story, wonderful yet grim characters, and powerful yet understandable villain, Jessica Jones is another great addition to Marvel’s Netflix series if not the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, this IS a dark series.  How dark?  Dark enough to make me want to watch Daredevil again, because that series pales in comparison with this one.  Despite that (and some of its themes that I question), Jessica Jones is a fantastic Netflix series, and probably the only female superhero to do well in TV/film media (correct me if I am wrong on that).  Keep in mind, this IS very dark, so this is not for everyone.  I only recommend it to adults, and people who can handle its themes.

For those who are new, I rate TV series differently (if I do TV reviews at all).  The ratings will go on like this: Pass, Occasional Viewing, or Watch It.

Watch It