Thursday, February 23, 2017

Comic Book TV recap (2/20/2017 - 2/23/2017)

Heads up for next week: I'll be watching the miniseries When We Rise on ABC, so recaps of Powerless and Riverdale will be posted as a separate blog as I won't be watching the night that they air. Also, Legends of Tomorrow will be taking a week off next week and Agents of SHIELD is taking a hiatus before they get into their third storyline of the season.

Supergirl: "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk" - Mr. Mxyzptlk arrives from the Fifth Dimension to take Kara as his bride, trying to woo her. But Mon-El is ready to fight. Alex wants to celebrate Valentine's Day with Maggie, who doesn't care for the holiday. Winn gets a date with an alien.

The Flash: "Attack on Gorilla City" - Jessie Quick comes to STAR Labs from Earth-2 to report that her father is being held in Gorilla City, where the gang left Grodd last season. Arriving there, they are captured and are told that they must fight in an arena against the leader of the City and defeat him or they will be killed. Wally and Jessie patrol Central City and Wally confesses his feelings for Jessie.

Legends of Tomorrow: "Camelot/3000" - The quest for the Spear of Destiny takes the Legends back to Camelot, where mind control devices have been used to turn Arthur and some of his knights against the rest of the kingdom by the Legion of Doom. Ray gets a little too involved in the heroics of the day as Mick helps Jax and Dr. Stein reverse engineer the devices.

Agents of SHIELD: "Self Control" - Most of the team at SHIELD have been replaced by LMDs, and Daisy and Simmons have to find who hasn't been replaced and try to find a way to rescue their team mates in an engaging winter finale.

Arrow: "The Sin-Eater" - As some of Oliver's previous (female) baddies escape prison, Oliver's world gets a little more difficult as a reporter has been clued in that he is the Green Arrow. Also, word gets out that Oliver's office covered up the death of an officer who was killed by Prometheus, but made to look like the Green Arrow's victim.

Legion: "Chapter 3" - David and his friends journey deeper into his memories and find many new puzzles as the story begins to come together.

Powerless: "Emily Dates a Henchman" - Emily gets swept off her feet by a dashing gentleman she meets in a bar, only for her coworkers to reveal to her that he's a henchman. After Teddy and Ron find a batarang, Van tries to use it to get Batman to pay up for repairs on a damaged car.

Riverdale: "Heart of Darkness" - As the Blossoms have a funeral for Jason, tensions rise about how his killer is still walking free. Archie is offered the chance to become captain of the football team and has to decide how to balance his place on the team and his musical pursuits. Hermione Lodge gets a shocking message while Veronica gets to know Cheryl better. Jughead and Betty stumble upon new information in their investigation of Jason's death.

Iron Man: Rise of Technovore - This is one of two Marvel anime movies by Madhouse Studios, following several anime series. This one finds the launch of a Stark satellite called Howard is sabotaged, and Rhodey is feared killed. Tony discovers it's the work of Ezekiel Stane, who has merged with his nanobots he calls Technovore. As Tony works on his own to stop Ezekiel's plot, Nick Fury sends Black Widow and Hawkeye after him, forcing him to turn to the assistance of Frank Castle, the Punisher.

This is clearly meant to be in a continuity all its own, though it's easy to see the MCU films (this was released just before Iron Man 3) as backstory. I found the story rather odd, some scenes rather dreamlike, and the tone pretty dark. I'm not an anime fan, but I don't object to it. This is not one for younger viewers, but viewers should be aware of what they're getting into.

The Lego Batman Movie - After four movies that present a dark, grim Batman, The Lego Batman Movie comes as a breath of fresh air. It's a spinoff of The Lego Movie, which is set in a somewhat self-aware world made of LEGO pieces and characters, where virtually every property that was ever made into a LEGO set can and do crossover. After several direct-to-video shorts and films featuring the DC heroes in LEGO form, this one focuses on Batman, offering a tongue-in-cheek new Batman adventure that celebrates Batman's history.

As Batman celebrates a long career of keeping Gotham safe, Alfred points out that he still has issues about having a family, which gets complicated when he accidentally adopts orphan Dick Grayson. Commissioner Gordon retires and is replaced by his daughter Barbara, who proposes that Batman work with the police for more effective crimefighting. Batman decides that to stop the Joker once and for all, he needs to send him to the Phantom Zone.

This satirical, high energy and just plain fun take on Batman delivers in much the same way the 1966 Batman TV series starring Adam West did, except this has some character development for Batman. It's imaginative but not stupid and has laughs for all ages. Definitely recommended, and a great start for the superhero movies of 2017.

Iron Man 3 - The third Iron Man film launched Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and currently seems to have set the standard that there will be no more than three solo films per character. It could change, however. This installment was directed by Shane Black, taking over from Jon Favreau, who still appears in the film as Happy Hogan.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is dealing with PTSD from his heroic acts at the end of The Avengers and he's not dealing with it well as he spends much of his time in his workshop building new suits of Iron Man armor, even discovering how to use his armor remotely. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) makes a proposal to Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) about working with his new Extremis technology to hack DNA and improve humanity. Meanwhile, the United States is threatened by a mysterious terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) via video messages. All is certainly not as it seems to be, and when Tony's California home is attacked and destroyed, he finds himself in Tennessee without a fully functioning suit and believed to be dead. Tony must finally address what makes him Iron Man and a hero: his armor or something else?

Again, Iron Man 3 fails to satisfy as a sequel but works better as a chapter of the MCU. The film is well done and brings more of the world of Iron Man to the big screen, but a lot of fans were disappointed at the use of the Mandarin character. (Marvel would reveal that there is actually a more mysterious, secretive Mandarin, but they have yet to be seen.) The film gives a good wrap up to focusing on Tony's story, though it will continue in later films, wisely leaving it open-ended. Perhaps it is because it leaves us wanting a bit more that the movie doesn't get a lot of love...

All Hail The King - A Marvel One-Shot found on the bonus features of Thor: The Dark World follows Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) as he spends time in prison and is questioned about his career and what he knows about the Mandarin. I wasn't watching the other One Shots this time around, but this one sets up a tantalizing possibility for a future MCU villain.

Thor: The Dark World - As Loki (Tom Hiddleston) sits in prison in Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) works to bring peace back to the Nine Realms. However, there is a convergence of the Realms happening, reawakening Malekith the Dark Elf (Christopher Ecclestion), who wants to use a mystical substance called the Aether to plunge the whole of reality back into darkness. Thing is, the Aether has joined with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who Thor has taken to Asgard. When the Dark Elves attack Asgard and cause a devastating loss, Thor has to pull together a last ditch effort to save not just themselves but all of the Nine Realms. He calls on Heimdall (Idris Elba), Jane, Lady Sif (Jamie Alexander), the Warriors Three and his adopted brother and former enemy Loki.

Thor's second film gets even less love than the first one. Despite the stakes of the story, the film never feels that serious. In addition, Malekith gets little screentime much less development, fans pointing to Loki's presence diminishing the character. It's hard to argue with that, but despite those shortcomings, the film is still another enjoyable and often exciting Marvel adventure, and sets up further things to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Thor's own story.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Still adjusting to the 21st century, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) works closely with SHIELD, making a new friend in Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and going on missions with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). That said, Steve questions a global surveillance program called Project Insight. When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has his own questions about the project, he's suddenly attacked. Steve and Natasha join forces and go on the run as they discover the Red Skull's organization HYDRA might not be as dead as they thought. In addition, a face from Steve's past that he never expected to see again shows up.

Few fans were complaining about this film! A tightly focused plot and exciting action, good character development for the characters, plus the introduction of Falcon and the Winter Soldier to the big screen all left audiences very satisfied.

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