REVIEW: BLACK PANTHER

CAST

Chadwick Boseman (Gods of Egypt)
Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave)
Danai Gurira (The Visitor)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Letitia Wright (The Commuter)
Winston Duke (The Messengers)
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Angela Bassett (Green Lantrn)
Forest Whitaker (Rogue One)
Andy Serkis (Kong Kong)
Sydelle Noel (Arrow)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya)
John Kani (Endgame)
Florence Kasumba (Wonder Woman)

Florence Kasumba, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong'o in Black Panther (2018)Five African tribes war over a meteorite containing vibranium. One warrior ingests a “heart-shaped herb” affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first “Black Panther”. He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. Over centuries, the Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his brother N’Jobu, who is working undercover in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.Angela Bassett, Connie Chiume, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, and Danai Gurira in Black Panther (2018)In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death, his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment, extract T’Challa’s ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and persuades him to yield rather than die.Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Connie Chiume, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, and Daniel Kaluuya in Black Panther (2018)When Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a London museum T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover W’Kabi urges him to bring Klaue back alive. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea, where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T’Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross’ custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is gravely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T’Challa takes Ross to Wakanda where their technology can save him.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T’Chaka arrested N’Jobu, the latter attacked Zuri and forced T’Chaka to kill him. T’Chaka ordered Zuri to lie that N’Jobu had disappeared and left behind N’Jobu’s American son in order to maintain the lie. This boy grew up to be Stevens, a U.S. black ops soldier who adopted the name “Killmonger”. Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne. Killmonger challenges T’Challa to ritual combat, where he kills Zuri, defeats T’Challa, and hurls him over a waterfall to his presumed death. Killmonger ingests the heart-shaped herb and orders the rest incinerated, but Nakia extracts one first. Killmonger, supported by W’Kabi and his army, prepares to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world.Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda, and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe for aid. They find a comatose T’Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M’Baku’s life. Healed by Nakia’s herb, T’Challa returns to fight Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit and commands W’Kabi and his army to attack. Shuri, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje join T’Challa, while Ross remotely pilots a jet and shoots down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M’Baku and the Jabari arrive to reinforce T’Challa. Confronted by Okoye, W’Kabi and his army stand down. Fighting in Wakanda’s vibranium mine, T’Challa disrupts Killmonger’s suit and stabs him. Killmonger refuses to be healed, choosing to die a free man rather than be incarcerated.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)T’Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N’Jobu died, to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri helps Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)Like many others, i have waited for months for Black Panther to come out. Although i was incredibly excited, a little part of was worried that the movie wouldn’t live up to the expectations placed upon it. But boy, did it blow my mind. It ended up surpassing my expectation by miles (and i was expecting a lot). It was truly an exquisite film. Chad Boswick acting as the Black Panther was perfection…not one thing was forced, everything he did, he did with grace and ease. Danai Gurira as Okoye was beyond words; she was fierce, elegant and a total badass. Lupita Nypngo, Letita Wright, Micheal B Jordan, Martin Freeman etc..were incredibly as well. The heartfelt acting shined through every actor and actress. The visuals were glorious, the portrayal of African culture in all its beautiful halo was something of a sight to behold.  This is a film that is educational, honest, visually stunning, humbling and historical. It does not bullshit or gloss up. Do yourself a favor and go watch it.

 

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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.

REVIEW: THOR: RAGNAROK

CAST

Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman)
Tom Hiddleston (Kong: Skull Island)
Cate Blanchett (Lord of The Rings)
Idris Elba (Prometheus)
Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Karl Urban (Star Trek)
Mark Ruffalo (Just Like Heaven)
Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal)
Tadanobu Asano (47 Ronin)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Benedict Cumberbatch (12 Years a Slave)
Rachel House (Eagle vs Shark)
Stan Lee (Avengers Asssemble)
Luke Hemsworth (Westworld)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Taika Waititi (Green Lantern)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park)

Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)Two years after the battle of Sokovia, Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur in Muspelheim. Surtur reveals that Thor’s father Odin is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns in Odin’s vault. Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök.Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, and Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki posing as Odin. Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange on Earth, they locate Odin in Norway. Odin explains that he is dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was sealed in long ago. Hela had been the leader of Asgard’s armies, and had conquered the Nine Realms with Odin, but she had been imprisoned and written out of history after Odin feared that she had become too ambitious. Odin subsequently dies, and Hela, released from her imprisonment, appears. She destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and when Thor and Loki attempt to flee through the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard, destroying its army and killing the Warriors Three; resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, including her giant wolf Fenris; and appoints the Asgardian Skurge as her executioner. She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard’s empire, but Heimdall covertly steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard’s citizens.Thor crash-lands on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes. He is captured by a slave trader named Scrapper 142, and sold to serve as a gladiator for the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster, with whom Loki has already become ingratiated. Thor recognizes 142 as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female warriors who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago. Thor is forced to compete in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions, facing his old friend Hulk. Summoning lightning, Thor gets the upper hand on Hulk, but the Grandmaster sabotages the fight to ensure Hulk’s victory. Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and 142 to help him save Asgard, but neither is willing. He soon manages to escape the palace and finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar. Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Natasha Romanoff makes him transform back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)The Grandmaster orders 142 and Loki to find Thor and Hulk, but the pair come to blows and Loki forces her to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrie at the hands of Hela. Deciding to help Thor, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill. Unwilling to be left behind, Loki provides the group with the means to steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships. They then liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a revolution. Loki attempts to betray his brother to gain a reward from the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him. Thor, Banner, and 142 escape through a wormhole to Asgard, where Hela’s forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard’s citizens for the sword that controls Bifröst. Banner becomes Hulk again, fighting Fenris, while Thor and 142 battle Skurge and the resurrected warriors. Loki and the gladiators arrive to help, and the citizens board their large ship; a repentant Skurge sacrifices himself to allow their escape. Thor, facing Hela, loses his right eye and then has a vision of Odin that helps him realize only Ragnarök can stop Hela. While Hela is distracted, Loki locates Surtur’s crown and places it in the Eternal Flame. Surtur is reborn and destroys Asgard, seemingly killing Hela.Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)Thor and the others escape with Asgard’s remaining citizens aboard the Grandmaster’s vessel. Thor, crowned king, decides to take his people to Earth. In a mid-credits scene, they are intercepted by a large spacecraft. In a post-credits scene, the Grandmaster encounters a group of his former subjects, who are still rebelling.Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)Thor: Ragnarok finally gives Thor the solo film he deserves as one of the original Avengers, full of laughs and plenty of heart, the road to Avengers: Infinity War is nearly complete. I, for one, cannot wait.

REVIEW: THE GIFTED – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Stephen Moyer (True Blood)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Sean Teale (Reign)
Natalie Alyn Lind (Gotham)
Percy Hynes White (Rupture)
Coby Bell (Burn Notice)
Jamie Chung (Office Christmas Party)
Blair Redford (Satisfaction)
Emma Dumont (Aquarius)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Hayley Lovitt (Ant-Man)
Toks Olagundoye  (The Neighbors)
Joe Nemmers (American Crime)
Jeff Daniel Phillips (Westworld)
Elena Satine (Revenge)
Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave)
Sharon Gless  (Cagney & Lacey)
Jeffrey Nordling  (Nashville)
Zach Roerig (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Veintimilla  (Gotham)
Frances Turner (The Exes)
Danny Ramirez (Assassination Nation)
Skyler Samuels (Scream Queens)
Raymond J. Barry (Falling Down)
Ray Campbell (Breaking Bad)
David Norona  (The Mentalist)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

What ingredients are necessary for a successful show about powered individuals? Cool abilities? Flashy visuals? Likable characters? Interestingly, Fox’s The Gifted manages to have them all despite following some formulaic paths to tell its story. Any worries viewers might have about the young, good-looking, CW-like cast should be tossed aside. Everyone from the headstrong but calculating mutants to the strangely sympathetic government enforcers to the argumentative but caring siblings in the Strucker family have levels of complexity not often seen in comic book shows.It helps that there are powers on display right away that we haven’t seen on previous superhero-as-outcast shows. Of particular interest is Jamie Chung’s character, Claire a.k.a. Blink, whose ability involves creating writhing purple portals that allow her to travel instanteously from one point to another. Having her character join the Mutant Underground as someone still new to her abilities is something we’ve seen in shows like The Tomorrow People or Alphas, but that trope is usually reserved for the main character. Here, her burgeoning powers and escape from the law are merely used to set up one of the big motivations for the mutants to come out of hiding.The Gifted’s main story, arguably, revolves around the Struckers, who live in a world where anti-mutant laws are in effect and the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have gone off the grid. Public fear of the dangers of super-powered individuals has led to strict government control and prejudice in the form of derogatory terms like “mutey.” Reed Strucker, played powerfully by Stephen Moyer of True Blood, helps prosecute those mutants who use their power to break the law, and the initial concern that he and his wife (Amy Acker of Person Of Interest) share centers around their son Andrew, who’s being bullied at school almost to the breaking point.Viewers can probably guess what happens next, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch unfold. The irony of Reed working against mutants and then finding out about his son’s powers being awakened by the strong emotions associated with abuse by his peers is richly nuanced and informs everything the family does afterwards. There are some surprises for the family along the way as well to sweeten the pot, but as Reed seeks help from the Mutant Underground, his discoveries concerning the Magneto-like Lorna a.k.a. Polaris (Emma Dumont of Aquarius) provide a pleasantly paradoxical reluctance and incentive for Lorna’s boyfriend, the light-manipulating Marcos a.k.a. Eclipse (Sean Teale of Reign), to help the Struckers.What they’re escaping from is the Sentinel Services, a group of elite enforcers who apparently go after those with particularly destructive or potentially game-changing abilities. Two things stand out about the introduction of these mutant hunters. First, the lead agent, Jace Turner (Coby Bell of Burn Notice), is oddly sympathetic while being coldly rigid in rounding up mutants; and second, the Sentinel Services have mysterious ways of tracking the seemingly untrackable and bring a lot of high-tech toys to take down those with powers. The combination makes for a very interesting, dynamic enemy opposite quite flawed protagonists — just how we like it.Characters in the background felt strong and full of promise as well. Although Acker’s Caitlin Strucker didn’t have quite enough to do in the pilot, her screen presence has always been unmatched and as the season goes on she becomes a more prominent character and crucial to the mutant underground, her daughter Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind of The Goldbergs), who could have easily disappeared into the background as just another pretty face, is wonderful both when she was fighting with her brother and when she was supporting him with secrets of her own. And a mutant to keep an eye on, just from the sheer awesomeness of his powers, is John (Blair Redford of Satisfaction), who has a number of abilities hinted at by his alias “Thunderbird” that will not be spoiled here.The Gifted has what it takes to be another “X-Men adjacent” hit for Fox Television alongside FX’s Legion. The latter is much more esoteric but does have several things in common with this new mutant offering, including the manner in which Andy Strucker’s (Percy Hynes White of Murdoch Mysteries) powers manifest. The series builds towards a great finale that changes the entire dynamic of the show and leads into what should be an awesome Season 2 later in the year.

REVIEW: RUNAWAYS – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Rhenzy Feliz (Teen Wolf)
Lyrica Okano (Pimp)
Virginia Gardner (Project Almanac)
Ariela Barer (New Girl)
Gregg Sulkin (Affluenza)
Allegra Acosta (Just Add Magic)
Angel Parker (Trial and Error)
Ryan Sands (Shadowboxer)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Kip Pardue (Driven)
Ever Carradine (Once and Again)
James Marsters (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Brittany Ishibashi (TMNT: Out of The Shadows)
James Yaegashi (Man on A Ledge)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck)
Nicole Wolf (La la Land)
Devan Long (S.W.A.T.)
Danielle Campbell (The Originals)
DeVaughn Nixon (Terminator 2)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate ABout You)
Stan Lee (Avengers)
Amanda Suk (Pretty Dudes)

This show is one of the best instalments of Marvel yet. Agents of Shield is still the best Marvel has done, including the movies, and this is actually not far away from that high level of greatness.Having now seen the entire season it comes across as a very compelling and original storyline together with very good actors make this show a must see in today’s landscape. There is so much crap on TV and it is good to see something this fun and engaging. The parents are super creepy. Normal, but rich, well behaved parents engaging in ritual sacrifice and although a couple of them have reservations, they do murder folk and then hey go home and put on dinner… Almost a scary story kind of a vibe.The Season finale Hostile wrapped up Runaways’ first season (and yes, there will be a second) with a game-changing move that fully melded our heroes with the title of the series. Fortunately, this finale had the good sense to not have anyone say “You know what? Runaways actually is a good name for us after all.” Or something to that effect. Maybe it’s still coming. Who knows? I’m just saying that I appreciated it being left unsaid for now.Hostile was an exciting episode-on-the-move, as our teens went underground,hiding out from their evil parents with no real plan for retaliation or reconciliation. Unbeknownst to most them though (save for Alex, who overheard his parents’ intentions), Pride, after the showdown with their own kids at the construction site, are finally all on the same page. Except this time they’re forming a united front against Jonah. Even Leslie came around this week, after admitting not only her hand in Molly’s parents’ death but also her part in Amy’s “suicide” – her saving grace being that she didn’t actually pull the trigger and also tried to warn Amy about Jonah.With Pride now all realizing that they’ve been duped and that Jonah’s been behind the actual murder of one of their children, where does Runaways go? Jonah is a formidable force, who seems to have his own Gibborim army of stooges at his disposal (including Frank and a boxed-up Victor), but is he a big enough foe, is he enough narrative-wise, to take on both the teens and the parents? Sure, it’ll probably take both factions to take him down but it’s going be a while before the kids and grown-ups see eye to eye. Is that what Season 2 will focus on? Obviously, I’d like the teens to remain on the run for a while. Not just so they can live up to the show’s namesake but also so they can exist outside of their comfort zones for a stretch. The time away from their mansions and malaise seems to be doing wonders for them. Now actually facing the prospect of leaving their lives behind for wherever the first bus will take them, the grim cloud that’s loomed over all their heads, because of Pride and how that deal affected their parents for almost two decades, has lifted a bit. Nico and Karolina are free to explore whatever it is they’d like their relationship to become. Chase and Gert can clarify their coupling and not hide behind insecurities and social status stigma. With nothing to lose, and no immediate recourse, the show just might be able to become their show again. Because – let’s face it – Runaways has mostly been a showcase for Pride for a while now. There’s more of them and they hold all the secrets.Questions still linger though. Odds and ends to carry us into a second season. What’s living down in that pit? Some separate entity or is it Jonah’s true form? There must be a reason he withers and wilts out in the world so quickly (it’s happening again). Also, who was Jonah texting? The editing would have us believe it was Frank, but that’s not big reveal. I feels like there’s some slight of hand going on. Finally here, who framed the kids for Destiny’s murder? Was it Jonah? Was that the phone call Geoffrey made right at the end? He said he wanted to keep his kids safe, so was having them rounded up by the cops and brought home the best way to do that possibly?Runaways ended its first season with a busy, bustling episode that helped free the teens from the shackles of their parents. With a second season coming it will be interesting where the series will go and I’m sure it will just as awesome as the first season.

 

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: DEADPOOL

CAST
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones)
Karin Soni (Goosebumps)
Stefan Kapicic (tears for Sale)
Michael Benyaer (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Brianna Hildebrand (First Girl I Loved)
Kyle Cassie (Andromeda)
Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Wade Wilson is a former special forces operative who works as a mercenary in New York City. He meets escort Vanessa Carlysle at a local bar and they become romantically attached. One year later, Wade proposes to marry her and she accepts, but he suddenly collapses. Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and though Vanessa remains by his side, he does not want her to watch him die.
A mysterious recruiter from a secret program approaches Wade, offering an experimental cure for his cancer. He reluctantly decides to leave Vanessa and undergo the procedure. At a laboratory, Wade meets Ajax and Angel Dust, whom he instantly resents. Ajax injects Wade with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes, and then subjects him to days of torture to induce stress and trigger the mutation, but without success. Ajax straps Wade into an airtight chamber which raises and lowers the oxygen level to keep Wade constantly on the verge of asphyxiation. Before leaving him over the weekend, Ajax reveals to Wade that their true purpose is to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers. While inside the chamber, Wade develops a mutant healing factor that cures his cancer but leaves him severely disfigured with burn-like scars over his entire body as a side effect. He escapes from the chamber and attacks Ajax, but relents when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Ajax subdues Wade, impales him with a piece of rebar and leaves him for dead in the burning laboratory.
Wade survives the ordeal and attempts to return to Vanessa, but is afraid of her suffering because of his appearance, and stays away from her. After consulting his best friend Weasel, Wade decides to hunt down Ajax and cure his disfigurement. He becomes a masked vigilante, takes the alias “Deadpool”, and moves into the home of an elderly blind woman named Blind Al. Following a string of leads, Wade tracks down Ajax to a convoy of cars on an expressway. He kills everyone but Ajax, and demands a cure to his disfigurement. The confrontation is interrupted by the two X-Men members Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who have been trying to recruit Wade to join the team. Taking advantage of the distraction, Ajax escapes. Colossus handcuffs his and Wade’s wrists together and drags him away, planning to take him to Professor Xavier back at the X-Mansion. Wade cuts off his hand to escape, and his hand slowly regenerates overnight.
Ajax goes to Weasel’s bar and learns about Vanessa. Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger. Wade goes to the strip club where she works, but he hesitates before he can face her, allowing Ajax to kidnap her. He and Angel Dust tell Wade to meet them on a decommissioned helicarrier in a scrapyard.
Wade convinces Colossus and Negasonic to help him, and the trio take a cab to the scrapyard. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel and several soldiers, Wade fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in a lengthy and violent fight. After Angel defeats Colossus, Negasonic attacks her and accidentally destroys the equipment holding the helicarrier upright. As the helicarrier tips over, Colossus carries Negasonic and Angel to safety, while Wade saves Vanessa. Ajax survives and attacks Wade, but is subdued and reveals there is no cure for Wade’s disfigurement. Wade kills Ajax in response. Vanessa is angered that Wade left her, but still loves him. The two reconcile and kiss.
In a post-credits scene, Wade tells the audience that the film is over and announces a sequel featuring Cable.
Deadpool is great. Ryan Reynolds is mouthy, but never annoying and totally owns the role.  The supporting cast all do their bit, but it’s Deadpool himself all the way. With a sequel already announced this is only the beginning.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANTA SUIT

Image result for CHUCK TV LOGO

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mekenna Melvin (The Bad Guys)
Mo Collins (Knocked Up)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

chuck-vs-the-crown-vic-chuck-and-sarah-677994_400_225It’s Christmas Eve at the Buy More and customer panic abounds because the Omen has infected the world’s computers. A local television reporter conducting a live newscast from the store explains the situation to the viewing audience. Big Mike interrupts, stepping in front of the camera and telling the reporter he thinks the virus is really a gag and isn’t dangerous. He tells everyone not to panic and to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Buying stuff. He announces there are no virus problems at Buy More. Lester then takes his own cue in front of the camera and neuters Mike’s pronouncement by admitting the virus is everywhere at Buy More. In a high security penitentiary, two guards watch the live newscast from the Buy More and discuss the danger of the Omen since every cell at the prison is locked via electronic doors connected to a mainframe. With their attention focused on the television, they fail to notice one of the prison doors opening. An unseen inmate quietly gets out, then ambushes and kills the two guards. The mystery prisoner then puts on one of their uniforms and takes their weapons.
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At the Woodcombs’, Ellie is panicked because they’re six hours away from a Christmas party and have yet to even put up a tree. As she scrambles to find the Christmas tree topper her father gave her years ago, Awesome tells her to relax and be Zen about it. Ellie explains that Christmas was her first memory, and she wants Clara’s first memory to be special. Awesome asks what he needs to do in order to make her happy. Ellie asks for a real tree, lights, fake snow and a picture of Clara on Santa’s lap. He admits it’s a tall order, and Ellie agrees. That’s why she recruited someone to help. She picks up the phone and speed dials Sarah. Sarah picks up and tells Ellie “Project Santa” is under control. They just need to get the tree and snow. Chuck calls Sarah via video conference from Morgan and Casey’s place. She tells him Ellie is freaking about Christmas Eve. Chuck tells her it wouldn’t be Christmas without a little Bartowski drama. He tells her there’s still no progress on finding the origins of the Omen virus. Sarah thinks whoever is behind it will slip up eventually. She promises no one will ruin their Christmas. Before signing off, she tells Chuck to tell Casey his “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” has arrived. Morgan gets on the screen and says that’s probably one of their favorite childhood toys but why did Casey buy one? Casey tells them he bought it on eBay for Alex because her mom told him it was something she used to play with as a kid. Casey wonders if it’s a dumb idea. Chuck and Morgan think it’s touching. Morgan tells Casey he thinks he’s actually beginning to exhibit signs of real human emotion.
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Just then Beckman pops up on the screen and tells them she knows who is behind the Omen virus. Sarah is leaving Castle loaded with Christmas stuff when the elevator door unexpectedly opens to reveal… Shaw! He says, “Merry Christmas, Sarah. Did you miss me?” Sarah immediately takes a defensive posture while Shaw initiates the Intersect, and they begin to fight. Sarah is no match for an Intersect-loaded Shaw, and she’s pummelled into unconsciousness. She awakens to find herself bound and hanging from the Castle ceiling. Shaw asks if she’s comfy and checks the progress of the virus. He tells her it will only be a few hours before the virus fully launches. Sarah asks why he initiated the Omen. He tells her, “Why stay in jail when I can break out, release the virus and take over the CIA” before duct taping her mouth. Sarah’s phone rings and Shaw picks up. It’s Chuck. “Hello nerd,” Shaw tells Chuck. He orders Chuck to turn on the monitor. With Casey and Morgan standing behind him, Chuck turns on the monitor to see Shaw standing in front of a helpless bound and gagged Sarah. Shaw tells Chuck the story of Krampus, the German Santa Claus. Krampus visits kids on Christmas Eve, but instead of giving the bad kids a lump of coal, he makes sure they don’t wake up to see Christmas morning. Chuck demands he let her go. Shaw tells him he has no Sarah, no Intersect so he’s got nothing. He orders Chuck to lock down Castle and break into Decker’s CIA office to retrieve the Macau device. He’s got three hours or Sarah dies. Shaw stops the transmission and asks Sarah if she’s impressed. He’s implicated Chuck in a massive conspiracy and has captured his girl all from an 8 x 8 prison cell. Sarah asks how he connected with Decker. He tells her during his integration he was able to disseminate all of Decker’s secrets and, after a little blackmail, was able to recruit him.
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Back at Casey and Morgan’s, Chuck is in a quasi-catatonic state thinking about his next move while Casey and Morgan look on with concern. Chuck snaps out of it and announces he has a plan. He tells Morgan to have the nerds (Jeff and Lester) reverse engineer the Omen. He needs to know what will happen when it activates. He tells Casey to find alternate routes into Castle so they have options in case he can’t get the Macau device. Casey reminds Chuck that breaking into the CIA alone is suicide. Chuck, Casey and Morgan speak to Beckman on the monitor. Chuck asks her what’s the best way to get into the CIA. She tells him there’s only one way, with her.  Shaw has Sarah tied up and that he is behind the Omen. Chuck tries to call Sarah, but Shaw answers the phone call. Shaw tells Chuck that he wants him break into Decker office to steal something. Chuck then tells Casey & Morgan’s plan.Shaw lowered the temperature at Castle to make Sarah freeze to death. While talking to Sarah, Shaw tricks her so he can record her voice. Meanwhile Jeff & Lester work on the Omen. Meanwhile Chuck tries to steal Caroline’s id card.Shaw finds out that Sarah has escaped. Casey and Sarah tries to take Shaw down, but failed.Chuck & Beckman break into Decker’s office, but have set off the alarm. Beckman kisses Chuck to make it look like the officer’s think they were making out in Decker’s office.
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The store is inundated with angry shoppers frustrated with the Omen. Chuck gets another call from Shaw disguised as Sarah telling him that Shaw’s been captured by Casey and to hurry up and get to Castle. At the end of the conversation, Shaw makes the mistake of calling Chuck “dear.” Chuck immediately knows it isn’t really Sarah because she never calls him that. Chuck tells Morgan about the bogus call, and Morgan reminds him that last time Shaw was around he blew up the Buy More. Chuck looks around the store and realizes it’s filled with people and tells Morgan to close for the day. Morgan makes an announcement, and the place clears. As the store empties, Ellie sees Chuck and tells him about the botched Santa photo and wonders why Sarah isn’t answering her phone. Although initially reluctant to tell her about Shaw, he fesses up. She tells him she wants to help. Chuck demands she go home because he has to know she’s safe. Shaw has Sarah tied up again but this time on a chair chained to the floor. Hypothermia is creeping in and she’s slipping in and out of consciousness. Shaw comes up to her and plants a kiss on her mouth, repulsing Sarah who calls him a sick S.O.B. Shaw tells her he was checking to see if there was any spark there. “No,” he says. “Ice cold.” Sarah tries to plead with Shaw, telling him she didn’t know she was killing his wife. She was a young agent only trying to do her job. Shaw ignores her. Back at the Buy More, Jeff and Lester are amped on endless cups of Subway coffee. They explain to Chuck and Morgan they think Omen is a hoax. In fact, the virus is only infecting government computers. But they’re not sure where all that info is going. Chuck and Morgan guess it’s Shaw trying to create Intersect 3.0 using all the CIA databases.
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With the CIA’s databases wiped clean and in Shaw’s head, the agency will be forced to rely on him for intel. They’d have to reinstate him as an agent. Chuck tells Morgan he has a plan.The elevator door at Castle opens, alarming Shaw who draws his gun. He finds the Macau device on the elevator floor. At that moment Chuck calls Shaw and tells him that now, since he has the device, he can let Sarah go. He tells him the Buy More is empty, and he can come up and kill him. Before Shaw goes up to meet Chuck, he uses the Macau device to upload the Omen data into his Intersect glasses. He will now be virtually unstoppable. He slaps Sarah awake and tells her to watch the monitor because he wants her to watch as he kills Chuck. He tells Sarah because she killed his wife, she’ll pay by not having Chuck anymore. In the locked Castle interrogation room, Casey struggles on the floor, nursing his gunshot wound. He discovers the “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” Sarah was to deliver to him before Shaw showed. He realizes he can record a message on the bear for Alex to hear if he should die. He begins by apologizing for not always being there for her through the years and says he’s sorry he has to say it to an electronic bear. He then realizes he can probably cannibalize the electronics of the bear to try and disengage the door and get out. He gets to work taking Mr. Pippers apart.Shaw goes upstairs and enters the Buy More. He walks past a hidden Morgan who sneaks into the elevator and goes downstairs to get Sarah. Once in the store, Chuck reveals himself to Shaw and tells him if he wants to shoot him now he can, but he doesn’t think that’s what he has in mind. Shaw confirms Chuck’s assumptions and puts his gun down. He then puts the Intersect glasses on assuming he will download the Intersect 3.0. After he’s done, he tells Chuck he’s been thinking about this moment for a long time. With that, Chuck punches him right in the face, and it’s then Shaw realizes Chuck put the Omen on the Macau device, and he’s actually just uploaded the virus into his brain.
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Without the Intersect, they’re evenly matched.While Shaw and Chuck battle to the death upstairs, Morgan arrives at Castle to see Sarah near frozen. He tries to wake her up but gets no response. Casey manages to rewire the door using the talking bear parts and escapes. Morgan tries to pick her up but she’s tied to the chair and the chair is locked to the ground. Just then Casey emerges and shoots the lock, freeing the chair. They both grab Sarah and carry her away. Upstairs, Chuck has Shaw where he wants him, but Shaw manages to grab the gun. He points the gun at Chuck and tells him, “You’re good Chuck, but you’re not lucky” and just when he’s about to fire, Ellie smacks him on the back of the head and knocks him out. She never left the store like Chuck had asked. The whole team including Beckman is at the Buy More watching a newscast about the Omen and how it’s no longer a threat. Beckman tells the team they all have an open invitation to rejoin the CIA. She wishes everyone a nice holiday. Before she leaves, Sarah asks Beckman if she has somewhere to go for the holiday and invites her to Ellie’s party. Ellie reminds everyone that her party’s now a bust. Chuck asks Beckman if she’d consider helping to make the party happen after all. She’s reluctant, citing “taxpayer dollars” but succumbs to the holiday sprit. Back at the Woodcombs’ place, Ellie’s getting everything she wished for: a Christmas tree, Santa, fake snow and family. Chuck tells Ellie he knows without their mom and dad it can never be a perfect Christmas, but she’ll always have him around. She admits it felt pretty good taking down Shaw. She thinks their dad would be proud. Casey gives Alex the “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” and tells her she probably shouldn’t listen to the recording because things got pretty grim.
He should just tell her in person that he loves her. He knows the bear won’t make up for all the lost holidays. Alex disagrees and thinks it’s perfect. Casey then tells her she should reconsider Morgan because he’s not such a bad guy. Sarah thanks Chuck and tells him when she was captive Shaw kissed her. Chuck tells her that he had to kiss Beckman. Beckman then asks Chuck for a private word with Sarah. Beckman tells Sarah that Shaw has asked her to visit him in prison. Beckman thinks she shouldn’t go. Sarah goes anyway. In the visitors’ room, Shaw tells her that, in Hungary, he set something in motion she can’t do anything about. He asks her, “Does Chuck know about the baby?”thumb_chuckversusthesantasuit6A great Christmas episode, thou a darker one, it was great to see Brandon Routh Back playing a delighfully evil character and we get tosee just how much Chuck has grown from the the first Season. All in all a great Xmas episode.