REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 4

MAIN CAST

Clark Gregg (Iron Man)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Iain De Caestecker (Filfth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Wolves At The Door)
Henry Simmons (The Insurgents)
John Hannah (Spartacus)

Gabriel Luna in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gabriel Luna (Wicked City)
Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Bates Motel)
Lorenzo James Henrie (Star Trek)
Mallory Jansen (American Housewife)
Lilli Birdsell (Dreamland)
Jason O’Mara (Son of Batman)
Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham)
Patrick Cavanaugh (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
José Zúñiga (The Dark Tower)
Adrian Pasdar (Supergirl)
Zach McGowan (The Scorpian King 5)
Brett Dalton (lost In Florence)
Axle Whitehead (Home and Away)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
B.J. Britt (Vampires Suck))
Simon Kassianides (Quantum of Solace)
Briana Venskus (Let’s be Cops)
Maximilian Osinski (Love & Other Drugs)
Daniel Zacapa (Seven)
Kerr Smith (Final Destination)
Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Joel Stoffer (Indiana Jones 4)

Chloe Bennet in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)With its fourth season, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the best it’s ever been, maturing as a show and learning the right lessons from what’s come before. Network scheduling shifts prompted some of the best creative changes for the series, with its move back to 10 p.m. allowing for darker tones and story material, and multiple breaks throughout the year inspiring the writers to lean into a three-pod format. Because of those two key changes, Agents of SHIELD was able to dig deeper into its introduction of Ghost Rider and exploration of artificial intelligence, to successful results.Clark Gregg and Jason O'Mara in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)Season 4 was broken into three pods tied together by the central plot device of the Darkhold: “Ghost Rider,” which introduced Robbie Reyes and his conflict with his Uncle Eli; “L.M.D.,” which saw Radcliffe and AIDA’s experiments with artificial intelligence take a dark turn when the Darkhold became involved; and “Agents of Hydra,” which threw SHIELD’s agents into an alternate reality that they needed to escape. Each was more successful than the pod that came before, with the arrival in the Framework being the strongest arc of the season.Gabriel Luna in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)The pod format helped tighten the season and give it a stronger throughline; while Agents of SHIELD tends to do a great job sticking its respective premieres/finales (and midseason premieres/finales), it sometimes gets lost in the stretches of episodes in between as it attempts to keep the momentum of the season up and keep the audience guessing. Having less time between each big shift in the season made for a tighter story overall.Ming-Na Wen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)Agents of SHIELD has always been a science-based show, so incorporating magic and the supernatural into the series in the form of Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider was a bit of a gamble going in. While the science-based storylines that came later in the season still were stronger, the inclusion of the Ghost Rider character stuck the landing, largely because of Gabriel Luna’s excellent performance and the great CGI work from Mark Kolpack and his team. Though Ghost Rider looked good and was an effective character, some other elements of this arc weren’t as strong. The Darkhold-affected ghostly scientists didn’t look great and Eli wasn’t a particularly standout villain. But if that’s the cost of getting Robbie into the MCU, then so be it; here’s hoping he’ll return in future seasons as well.Mallory Jansen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)Though Ghost Rider’s introduction was trumpeted as the standout new character of Season 4, it was Mallory Jansen’s AIDA that was the season’s main villain. All of the guest stars — from Luna and Natalie Cordova to John Hannah and Jason O’Mara — were stellar, but Jansen, in particular, stole the show. The conversation about the rights and wrongs of creating artificial intelligence have been explored time and again in pop culture, but the way Jansen humanized AIDA from conception to villainzation and back again made the character and the storyline work.Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)If Ghost Rider was an experiment, then the AIDA/L.M.D./Framework storyline was back to Agents of SHIELD’s bread and butter. Grounding the story in science, having a shorter and tighter time to tell stories and incorporating more gravitas with the 10 p.m. timeslot allowed this series to really dig into the more mature facets of the story the show wanted to tell, and it benefited from it. The writers also swung for the fences in many ways, from turning all of their characters into L.M.D.s to bringing back thought dead characters like Ward and Trip in refreshing, emotional ways. Agents of SHIELD really hit its stride in the Framework pod, which I’d consider the strongest arc the series has ever done. This story allowed SHIELD to showcase just how far it’s come over the past few seasons, and challenge the characters by showing them how things could have been.Chloe Bennet in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)There were some missteps with the L.M.D./Framework arcs, including the implementation of the Superior as a villain. He never was as imposing or terrifying as he should have been, and if he was supposed to be a riff on M.O.D.O.K. then the show did a too subtle job of incorporating that Easter egg. Fortunately the strengths of the season outshadow the weaker elements, like Eli, the Superior and some of the effects work. Even better, the main characters are the best and most interesting they’ve ever been, and the show is leaning into some of the more fan-desired moments — like Philinda, for example — in ways that don’t feel contrived. Four seasons in, the SHIELD writing and showrunning team have cracked their core characters and know the right way to push them and challenge them.Mallory Jansen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)All the main characters of this show felt like they grew and changed in significant ways over the course of this year, which I touched on in my finale recap. Season 3 left characters like Daisy and Coulson in places where they were unsure of how to move forward, and over the course of Season 4’s madcap adventures they had substantive growth to become more confident in who they are. Alternately, people like Fitz and Mack have since been challenged in their belief and understanding of who they are and what they stand for, and there’s certainly the sentiment that that emotional baggage will carry over into Season 5. Iain de Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge continue to be this series’ secret weapons, consistently delivering powerful performances and effectively grounding FitzSimmons’ relationship with what feel like real world, emotional stakes.JOHN HANNAH, MALLORY JANSENWith its later time slot and three-pod season arc, Agents of SHIELD delved into more mature territory and was the better for it. The later storylines — specifically the Framework pod — were stronger than the “Ghost Rider” arc, but across the board Season 4 is the best season of SHIELD to date. Excellent guest stars and well-crafted supporting characters helped elevate this season above the previous three, and even though there were some elements that weren’t as effective in Season 4, overall Agents of SHIELD is better than it’s ever been.

 

 

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REVIEW: MARVEL KNIGHTS – BLACK PANTHER

CAST (VOICES)

Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Kerry Washington (Django Unchained)
Alfrie Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact)
Jill Scott (Girlfriends)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
JB Blanc (War Dogs)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Taye Diggs (Equilibrium)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Stan Lee (Chuck)

The concept of the motion comic is controversial to say the least. Many comic purists would argue they are pointless endeavors, while others, like myself find them an interesting supplement and even more a way to get those uninterested in comics to seek them out, provided they enjoy the program.

The newest release in the series may be their biggest yet, produced not just for DVD but as six-episode animated series. With “Black Panther,” Marvel adapts Hudlin’s own take on the character from 2005 and the end result will induce much headshaking and confusion.

Unlike the previous two installments in the Marvel Knights Animation line, I had not read the original source material, however, it’s safe to say, with the author being directly involved in the adaptation, it likely follows the comics quite closely. The most apparent change viewers familiar with the motion comic concept will notice is the consistency in runtime. Each episode runs around 18 minutes long and is paced like an episode of a TV-series. There are no more abrupt endings as before and this is a truly welcome change. Also worth noting is the star power in the voice cast. Hudlin has secured veteran voice actors Kevin Michael Richardson and Nolan North, as well as Hollywood stars Alfre Woodard, Kerry Washington, and in the title role Djimon Hounsou. It’s all downhill from this point, with Hounsou’s involvement being the only positive memorable aspect of a disaster of a series.


“Black Panther” is a muddled mess, attempting to weave an origin story amidst a half-baked plot against our hero’s life by a band of largely second (or even third) rate villains. The tone of the entire series is wildly inconsistent; one minute our villains will be bickering with each other in classic Saturday morning cartoon fashion, giving the impression the series is lighthearted, but all this comes following an intro that is decidedly more mature, featuring tribal warriors getting impaled on sinister traps and severed Nazi heads on pikes. Add to that a very mean spirited tone, resulting from most characters not related to Black Panther being either stupid, bigoted, or both and the 132 minute runtime feels achingly brutal.

Comic book fans may immediately take issue with the series’ sad attempt to establish dominance of the Black Panther by having him swiftly defeat Captain America in hand-to-hand combat. The character doesn’t need such a wildly unbelievable fight to appeal to audiences, nor does he need the sympathy formed from broad stereotypes attempting to hold him down because he’s the leader of a small African nation. What should be a fun fantasy tale is instead drenched in an underhanded political theme that is downright tiresome and boring; if more time was given to developing supporting characters, a little bit of preaching would have been tolerable. To Hudlin’s credit, his take on Black Panther or T’Challa (Hounsou) is a fascinating, three-dimensional creation, and his home country of Wakanda is given admirable life and scope. Hounsou brings strong balance of kindness and fierceness to the role, and a scene midway through the series where he removes his mask to speak to a boy who worships him as a god, is one of the more heroic and humble moments I’ve seen in a superhero adaptation.
On the flipside, Kerry Washington, delivers a strangely overacted vocal performance as T’Challa’s sister, while Stephen Stanton is in full on, evil for evil’s sake mode, as Klaw, the main villain, an assassin responsible for murdering T’Challa’s father decades earlier, who returns to finish killing the royal family. The less said of Klaw’s inept cadre of support, the better, but the Vatican Black Knight is worth mentioning of only for the fact his character adds another layer into the theme of the evil Western world; not only does a rival nation want Wakanda overthrown, but so does the US (led by a cartoonish and ignorant General voiced by Stan Lee), and yes, the Pope. As a final insult to comic fans, Hudlin shoehorns in the story of T’Challa’s romance with Ororo Munroe, or Storm as she’s more commonly known. The addition is nothing more than a way to artificially extend the overly long runtime of the series and find an excuse for a few worthless X-Men cameos.

“Black Panther” is heavily dissappointing, and it’s a damn shame, as there is great potential with the character. The writing has a bad pace to it; dialogue driven scenes are sometimes choppy, flashbacks are overused (even as an origin story), and the action sequences often have great buildup but result in a sad whimper in terms of execution; a half-assed inclusion of zombies in the final episode tempts me to a giant stamp of “fail” on the series, but there are more than a few Panther centric moments to elevate it from the lowest possible rating. Animation wise, John Romita Jr’s art style translates horribly to the motion comic format, and some sequences are animated in a amateurish fashion at best; the fact I waited this long to mention it, is a strong indicator of how forgettable it is. There are strong talks that the Black Panther will see life on the big screen and I’ll reiterate again, Hounsou deserves a shot at the role, however, I hope this series is used as an example of what not to do.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – REIGN

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MAIN CAST

Melissa Benoist (Homeland)
Mehcad Brooks (Dollhouse)
Chyler Leigh (That 80s Show)
Jeremy Jordan (Smash)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Grimsby)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chasd Lowe (Pretty Little Liars)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
Amy Jackson (Gethu)
Briana Venskus (Agents of SHIELD)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)

Reign capped off the first half of Supergirl’s third season, and in the process encapsulated so much of what’s good about this series right now. The series is really thriving on the strength of its new main villain at the moment. First things first – Reign may well be the best thing to happen to this series since its move from CBS to The CW. She’s definitely the best villain Supergirl has had.This episode reinforced how wise it was for the writers to spend the first half of Season 3 fleshing out Samantha as a character before diving into her corruption. The early holiday party scene reinforced how close Kara, Lena and Samantha have grown in recent months. That only added more weight to Samantha’s downfall this week. As Reign, she’s clearly a physical threat to the Girl of Steel. But more importantly, she has the deep, compelling connection to Kara that so few villains in this series have shared.I was actually starting to worry that this episode would end without a major confrontation between the two characters. There was a lot of teasing and comparatively little focus on Reign herself. Fortunately, we got that epic throwdown to cap off 2017. That fight did feel a bit formulaic in a Flash-sort of way. It seems like Barry has had to go through that moment every season where he squares off against his doppelganger speedster villain of the year and gets his butt handed to him. Now it’s Kara’s turn. Still, that battle was handled very effectively. It created a real, palpable sense of danger for Kara, while the tide shifted often enough that it was never quite apparent till the end which combatant would emerge victorious. It actually reminded me a lot of a good professional wrestling match, complete with Reign playing the heel and whacking Kara over the head with rubble while her back was turned. In short, the main conflict this week was pretty swell, and a great way to leave things hanging for the next month.

REVIEW: LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES: MAXIMUM OVERLOAD

CAST

Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Laura Bailey (Justice League vs Teen Titans)
Barry Dennen (Titanic)
Steve Blum (Wolverine & The X-Men)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Troy Baker (Justice League Action)
Drake Bell (Superhero Movie)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Roger Craig Smith (Batman Unlimited)
Travis Willingham (Sonic Boom)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

lego-marvel-super-heroes-maximum-overload-post-6The mischievous Loki challenges the Marvel Super Heroes yet again. But this time, he’s cast a snowball-themed spell that has Norn Frost in it to “Overload” various villains. At a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base in New Jersey, Doctor Octopus raids it in order to obtain the Beta Burst Missile. Using the Norn Frost obtained by his Chitauri minion, Loki “overloads” Doctor Octopus. In Manhattan, Nick Fury calls upon Spider-Man to help defeat Doctor Octopus. Before Doctor Octopus can use the Beta Burst Missile on the trapped S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, Spider-Man arrives and tricks Doctor Octopus into shocking himself on a nearby power generator. The next morning, Spider-Man brings a bound Doctor Octopus back to Manhattan in a truck upon running out of web fluid on the Garden State Parkway. Nick Fury takes Doctor Octopus to be locked up as Spider-Man is left walking back to Queens, New York. Loki is not pleased that his Doctor Octopus “Overload” was defeated and vows that it’s not over.
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Some time later, news articles are shown about the “Overloads” like the rise of the Red Skull “Overload,” the Wizard “Overload” forming the Frightful Sixteen which outnumbers the Fantastic Four, and the Green Goblin “Overload.” J. Jonah Jameson reports on the “Overloads” and claims that Spider-Man is behind this. Loki then uses the Norn Frost on Venom since he is a creature worth overloading. Appearing near the stand of the Hot Dog Vendor, Venom is overloaded as Loki commands Venom to attack Spider-Man. Their fight takes them through the Daily Bugle much to the dismay of J. Jonah Jameson. Spider-Man manages to defeat Venom by getting one of Venom’s tendrils into the Linotype machine where Venom ends up flattened onto a bunch of newspapers. Venom’s body is taken away by Nick Fury, Captain America, and Wolverine. As Spider-Man swings away from the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson rants about his newsroom getting trashed as he vows to get Spider-Man for this. Spider-Man runs out of web fluid and falls into a dumpster leaving him to walk back to Queens again.
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While reprimanding his Chitauri henchman for sitting in his chair, Loki sees a helicopter carrying Mandarin flying to Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion to attack it. Loki then throws the Norn Frost at Mandarin who then prepares to attack. Iron Man saves Pepper Potts by getting her into an Iron Man armor. Iron Man then begins to fight Mandarin. As Loki plans to overload Mandarin further, his Chitauri minion slips and causes the Norn Frosts to fall into the nearby crevices. Iron Man uses his left glove to knock Mandarin out of his helicopter as he is grabbed by Falcon who takes Mandarin to the Helicarrier. Iron Man is then helped out of the rubble by his left glove before leaving with Pepper to eat out somewhere. Spider-Man suddenly finds himself at an offshore oil platform wondering how he got there. While his Scrying Mirror is getting fixed, Loki reaches out with his mind where he finds Iron Man and Iron Fist looking for Abomination. Loki finds Abomination on top of a passing airplane as he overloads Abomination. Upon Abomination breaking the airplane, Iron Man and Iron Fist rescue the passengers and land them safely on the offshore oil platform while Hulk arrives to fight Abomination. With help from Iron Fist, Hulk knocks Abomination into the ocean. When Loki plans to overload Hulk to serve him, Hulk notices his floating eyes and punches it as Loki feels the pain while getting a black eye.
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Loki declares that his plans are almost complete as his Chitauri minions sweep the floor. On the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Wolverine, Captain America, and Black Widow do a roll-call on the captive supervillains Doctor Octopus, Venom, Abomination, Mandarin, Red Skull, and Wizard. Loki then commands the supervillains to arise as they all end up overloaded again while being ordered to hop. The constant hopping causes the Helicarrier to fall onto Tony Stark’s rebuilt mansion. The supervillains then go on a rampage as Iron Man, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Wolverine, and Hulk fight them. Thor arrives with Spider-Man upon finding him whining outside Avengers Tower. Spider-Man claims that he was angsting. Upon taking down Doctor Octopus, Thor traces the Norn Frost back to Loki. Thor brings Iron Man and Spider-Man to Asgard to confront Loki while the others fight the supervillains.
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Upon the Chitauri minions fixing the Scrying Mirror, Loki views it and sees Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man approaching his lair. Upon the arrival of Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, Loki eats all the Norn Frost in the possession of one of his Chitauri minions and fights them. After throwing Spider-Man into a wall, Loki states to Iron Man and Thor that he is meddling in the affairs of Earth and take the throne of Asgard (Loki whispered that part which the Chitauri minion said out loud). Upon Loki slipping, Thor throws Mjolnir at Loki as he hangs over the crevasse. Thor then demands that Loki removes his enchantment and vow to never disturb the peace of Midgard under the threat of the hammer noogie. Loki surrenders where the Norn Frost’s enchantment wears off enabling the supervillains to be defeated. Thor then plans to tell Odin what Loki was doing. Loki begs for Thor not to tell their father or to tell him that he was watching the Scrying Mirror since Odin took away his scrying privelages 3 centuries ago. After Thor, Iron Man, and Spider-Man leave, Loki changes the channel on the Scrying Mirror before Hulk can do another attack on him.
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On the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, the supervillains are locked up as they plan their revenge. On the deck of the Helicarrier, it was mentioned that Iron Man’s mansion has been repaired and the Helicarrier is back on the air. To get the angst out of Spider-Man, Nick Fury gives Spider-Man a S.H.I.E.L.D. Security Card and a Spider-Bike. As Spider-Man rides the web line off the Helicarrier, the superheroes celebrate their victory. As the Helicarrier takes off, the web line breaks causing Spider-Man and the Spider-Bike to fall. In the post-credits, J. Jonah Jameson is visiting the Hot Dog Vendor’s cart ordering a hot dog from him. Spider-Man lands safely on the nearby streets as his Spider-Bike falls on the Hot Dog Vendor’s cart. Getting mustard on him from the resulting incident, J. Jonah Jameson states that Spider-Man must be responsible as Spider-Man sneaks away.image_39e1ade4The animation is pretty amazing and one of the best Lego films I have seen with great attention to detail the effects are pretty good as well it just nice that they took the time to make the animation work and it’s better when you watch it in High Definition to better enjoy the attention of the art work It just a good film that I think the family would enjoy and fans of Lego and Marvel

REVIEW: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)
Drake Bell (Sueprhero Movie)
Ogie Banks (Superman vs The Elite)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Matt Lanter (Heroes)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Caitlyn Taylor Love (I’m With The Band)
Logan Miller (Deep Powder)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Misty Lee (Killer Kids)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Tara Strong (The New Batman Adventures)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkam)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Kevin Michael richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Troy Baker (Lego Batman: The Movie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rob Paulsen (Teenae Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterpise)
Travis Willingham (Shelf Life)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Roger Craig Smith (Wreck-it Ralph)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Stan Lee (Avengers Aseesmble)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Cameron Boyce (The Descendants)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Billy West (Futurama)

I recently watched  Ultimate Spider-Man and I can honestly say that I have never wanted to stop watching a Spider-Man cartoon before in my life… until now. I have been a big fan of the Spider-Man comic series for many years and have liked almost all of the cartoon iterations of him, but this one just hurts to watch. I understand that Spider-Man is supposed to be a smart-mouthed teen who likes to make jokes while fighting crime, which is my favorite part about the character, but this show just takes it to an extreme.


I think one of the biggest problems for me was how much the stories are broken up by all of the “cut away” scenes.  I understand that Spider-Man is a show made for children and I get that the characters aren’t going to be nearly as serious as they are in the comics, but I feel like this was just too far from the source material for me to enjoy it. Another thing that bothered me was how just a few years ago we had, in my opinion, one of the best Spider-Man shows to date, Spectacular Spider-Man, and it was canceled in only it’s second season. I had really high hopes for Ultimate Spider-Man to fill the void that Spectacular Spider-Man left, but it just didn’t deliver at all.

As far as the voice acting on the show goes, they all seem to have done a really good job… with what they were given to read. So much of the writing in this show just seems so forced.why was Spectacular Spider-Man so much better and the most honest answer that I can give you is that it seems as though Marvel actually put a lot of work into Spectacular Spider-Man. I’m not saying that they didn’t put a lot of work into Ultimate Spider-Man, but it’s much harder to see in this one. The character designs in Spectacular Spider-Man may not have hit all of the right points for some people, but I really enjoyed it. The action in the show looked really good and it was easy to follow exactly what was happening, because you didn’t have a bunch of blur that you had to try and see everything through. The story for Spectacular Spider-Man was your standard Spider-Man fare, but while it was a show essentially for kids, it also appealed to many adults as well.


I really wanted to like Ultimate Spider-Man, but I just didn’t. I feel like if this show was about just another teen superhero other than Spider-Man it would have been much more forgivable, but for it to take such a dump on such a beloved character, it is just really sad to see. Now all that I can do is hope that the new Spider-Man movie can really bring something good to the table.

REVIEW: IRON MAN AND CAPTAIN AMERICA: HEORES UNITED

CAST

Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Roger Craig Smith (Batman Unlimited)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Liam O’Brien (Planet Hulk)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)

While Tony Stark and Steve Rogers playfully challenge each other on the merits of their own ways of problem solving, things take their own hands into the contest. That comes in the form of the Taskmaster who is sent by the Red Skull to capture Stark’s technology and abduct Rogers himself. With Taskmaster successful in both objectives, The Red Skull puts his scheme of world domination into operation with Rogers being the key to that. Now, Stark must find his friend and together, they must stop the Red Skull.I thought that the story was actually pretty good. I liked how Red Skull was able to take the Captain’s powers and the way he did it. I also liked that he was, at least at first, able to convert him to Hydra. This made for an exciting story line. I wondered how Captain America and Iron Man were going to be able to defeat Red Skull. I was also wondering how they were going to get Captain America to not be following Hydra any longer. I felt they did a good job with that. There were a couple of moments near the end when the Hulk showed up and was fighting that I found stretched believability.

REVIEW: AGENTS OF SHIELD – SEASON 3

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MAIN CAST

Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Brett Dalton (Lost In Florence)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Iain De Caestecker (Filfth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)
Nick Blood (Trollied)
Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue)
Luke Mitchell (The Tomorrow People)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
Constance Zimmer (UnReal)
Andrew Howard (Bates Motel)
Matthew Willig (Year One)
Juan Pablo Raba (The 33)
Spencer Treat Clark (Mystic River)
Blair Underwood (Gattaca)
Daniel Roebuck (The Man In High Castle)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Jack Guzman (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Dillon Casey (Nikita)
Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Los Minondo)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Bethany Joy Lenz (One Tree Hill)
Ravil Isyanov (Bones)
Titus Welliver (Lost)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Alicia Vela-Bailey (Lights Out)
John Hannah (The Mummy)

After its rocky start, Agents of SHIELD had turned into a much more entertaining, involving series by its second season. Season 3 of the Marvel series found the show operating on as strong a level as the year before, There was a lot to enjoy. The show used the mid-season split to essentially divide between two villains – both played by Brett Dalton. In the fall, Dalton was still playing Ward and in the spring, he was Hive (walking around in Ward’s dead body). Overall, the fall run was very Strong and cohesive. The rising threats, including Gideon Malick and Lash, were intriguing, the storyline about Simmons’ time on another planet really compelling and the tragically short love story between Coulson and Ros (a very strong Constance Zimmer) played well – even if his quest for revenge after Ward shockingly killed her was a bit heightened, given how quick their relationship was.That aforementioned Simmons storyline was a standout, with Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker both doing excellent work, as Fitz did all he could to rescue Simmons, only to find she had changed while she was gone. It all led up to the phenomenal episode “4,722 Hours,” which is the best hour of Agents of SHIELD to date. A very offbeat, ambitious episode, “4,722 Hours” took place almost entirely on the alien planet Simmons was trapped on, with only her and the Earthling astronaut she discovered there, Will (Dillon Casey), anchoring the story. The reveals in this episode set up a love triangle that felt earned (something that often isn’t the case on TV shows), as we could understand the pain this situation was causing both Fitz and Simmons, and feel sympathetic towards both of them. Once more, I have to note that these two characters have come a long way since the show began, backed by two great performances.You really can’t go wrong with Powers Boothe as a villain and it was very fun to see the veteran actor greatly expand upon his shadowy role in the Avengers as Hydra leader Gideon Malick. The way they used Malick to connect some dots on Hydra history from the MCU was cool and in his final episodes, he did a great job showing the loving father beneath the scary façade – who realized too late he was messing with the wrong Inhuman alien-god creature.We also had Lincoln and the Secret Warriors. The idea of the Secret Warriors was cool, as Agents of SHIELD amped up its superhero side and we met characters like Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) and Elena/Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), There was a lot of teasing and set up here with some payoff. When this team within the team finally went on their first mission, in “The Team,” it was immediately followed by them turning on one another, with no time to really see what their dynamic might be like.Lincoln’s character got an expanded role, His best material was early in the season, when he was on the run and refusing to join SHIELD. But once he was part of the team (officially or not). Daisy herself however, fared better. Now fully aware of and embracing her Inhuman heritage and superpowers, she was re-introduced as a kick ass, capable superhero. The early days of Agents of SHIELD pushed “Skye” too much as being special when she hadn’t earned it, but now, it was much easier to buy into her transformation and Chloe Bennet flourished showing off Daisy’s dangerous physicality, which allowed her to blend martial arts with those increasingly powerful earthquake powers.Among the rest of the cast, Mack (Henry Simmons) was a very likable, easy too root for part of the team in Season 3, and making him and Daisy field partners turned out to be a clever pairing. May’s storyline was mostly cantered around Lash and the reveal he was truly Andrew, which initially was very compelling. Hunter and Bobbi continued to be a cool couple, and getting Bobbi back in the field after the early episodes was easy too root for. The two got a big, sad  send off for a spinoff that now isn’t happening. As for Coulson, his aforementioned romance with Ros worked well, and him killing Ward was a suitably big moment. Some of his angst and guilt over that murder felt a bit unfocused in the spring run, but there was some good material here as well – including the show retroactively accounting for Coulson being so damn adoring and protective of Daisy since the beginning.Brett Dalton had done great work on SHIELD since we learned Ward was a Hydra agent, taking the bland boy scout he appeared to be and subverting it in a big way. And I was glad that SHIELD’s creators never tried to redeem Ward or put him back on the team somehow – we understood what shaped him, but also never forgot he was a broken, bad person. However, it was time for Ward to go and the Hive storyline allowed them to put him to rest for good.Season 3 was a great season to a continuing great addition to the MCU.