Monday, December 23, 2019

Dumbo (2019) - reviewed.

I'll give Dumbo credit.

While Aladdin made unnecessary changes from the 90s version and The Lion King was pretty much an awkward, lesser CGI'd version from that 90s version, Dumbo told an original story. The problem is: that it just wasn't very good.

To me, there's still no better live action movie than Maleficent. It reminded me of 'The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs.' It told the story from the opposite perspective.

Dumbo added several characters that weren't in Disney's classic animated version, but most of them weren't that exciting. The movie had some predictable greedy characters and some dull heroes.

Michael Keaton, Danny Devito, Colin Farrell and Eva Green weren't bad casting choices, but their characters weren't that exciting.

The children meant nothing to me. I had zero cares for them. They had way too much screen time.

The writers actually gave one of the kids a line in the movie where she said, 'Dad, that's Mrs. Dumbo!' as though it was some sort of revelation.

This was after they just saw Dumbo and his mother holding reuniting, holding their trunks together. Well, no kidding that's 'Mrs. Dumbo.' The entire crowd of 50 people around you should have figured that out.

The Jungle Book provided some great CGI, but Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King all left a lot to be desired in terms of the CGI. I don't know if they are using different studios, but they need to replicate The Jungle Book if they are going to bring all of their animated characters to life.

I'm kind of worried about how The Little Mermaid will look after watching Dumbo, Aladdin and The Lion King this year.

I was impressed with how they incorporated the pink elephants into the live action version. I wasn't sure how they'd get some of the original content into a 2019 live action movie, but they did. Kudos on that.

I didn't have much of an emotional attachment to this Dumbo character though. The animated version was never at the top of my Disney movies list and this version didn't improve the character's standing.

The ending was fun, a plan the characters came up with, that had a purpose and that came together well.  But you have to get through the first half of the movie to get there.

I appreciate the effort to tell a new, entertaining story. They tried to tell too many stories all at once and it wasn't enough. It wasn't cohesive.

Like I said in the beginning of this blog, the problem is: the story just wasn't that compelling.

Dumbo was set in a circus, but there wasn't much magic in this movie.

Related Content:
Aladdin (2019) - reviewed.
Avengers: Endgame - reviewed.
Captain Marvel - reviewed.
Aquaman - reviewed.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - reviewed.

I was not looking forward to seeing this movie. I thought about skipping it until it was released for renting, but I caved in and saw it in the theater.

I'm glad I did! Rise of Skywalker was a good movie. J.J. Abrams fixed a lot of what Rian Johnson messed up in The Last Jedi.

I mentioned my disappointment on The Last Jedi in my review two years ago. Now, I wouldn't have disliked that movie so much had it not taken such an odd turn from The Force Awakens. Also, I would've had a different reaction if there was some indication that some of the unanswered questions I and a lot of other fans had were going to actually be answered.

That wasn't the case. There was no hint that there's more to come. I remember walking out of the theater when the movie was over and everyone was just silent. No applause. Nobody talking about how good it was or discussing their favorite part. The excitement was drained out of all 100+ people in that theater.

I gave The Last Jedi a 3-star rating. Possibly too generous at the time. But, I think that's still probably about right.

Now, as the middle part of the trilogy (having seen all three movies ... and having just re-watched The Last Jedi), I would maybe add half a star to The Last Jedi, so 3 and a half stars.

While they had to have had some of these plans in place given that Carrie Fisher is deceased and she already filmed some of these scenes, I don't think they had a clear plan in place. Kathleen Kennedy is probably more to blame for that than Rian Johnson, but Rian Johnson's pompous 'I do no wrong' attitude he seems to exude doesn't gain him any points with me.

After watching the entire trilogy, I think they should've been titled:
- The Force Awakens (great title, good movie)
- The Rise of Skywalker -- instead of The Last Jedi (still not a great movie)
- The Last Jedi -- instead of The Rise of Skywalker.

Swapping the titles of the second and third movies in this trilogy helps explain the story a bit more in my opinion.

Anyway, questions are answered! I'll elaborate more in the spoiler section below.

First up, the NON-SPOILER notes:

Abrams did a good job in helping to wrap this story and saga up. It didn't have the epic feel that an Avengers: Endgame did (the culmination of a multi-movie journey). The Rise of Skywalker did put a bow on some things though.

True, some things are predictable. Some things are cheesy. There are a few new questions that weren't really answered. Overall, though, after the mess that The Last Jedi was, this movie was good.

It's kind of like the X-Men movies, where they didn't really have a solid direction. It was more of a 'This movie did well? Great! Let's make another.' Marvel still leads the way (over DC, over Transformers, over Star Wars/Disney, over Sony, over Fox) when it comes to mapping out a game plan and telling compelling stories that make sense. All the space chases, blasts and visual effects in the world can't save a story that isn't thought through.

C-3PO had a bigger role in this movie. Finally, he was given a purpose.  He seemed more like an after thought in the last couple of movies but I laughed at a lot of his lines here.

Leia's character was handled well considering Fisher wasn't around to do reshoots.  They had to use previously unreleased footage with her and they made it work quite well under the circumstances.

Chewbacca is still a great character.

Rose was fine in this movie. I liked the actress in the last one and I somewhat liked the character until she prevented Finn from saving the day. Thankfully, they didn't make that same mistake twice.

Lando returning was a welcome addition.  there were a couple of additional characters that fit well for the parts of the story they were involved with.  It was easy to establish a quick connection to them.  I'm not sure what all Disney+ has in store for them, but those characters could easily be used in that area.

BB-8 didn't get as much screen time and I was OK with that. They also introduced a new droid.  His appearance was fine as well, but some respect needs to be given to R2D2.  His inclusion felt lackluster.  The OG save-the-day droid needs some love!

Poe, Rey and Finn aren't a bad replacement trio for Han, Leia and Luke. Those are big shoes to fill, but now that this new trio finally had a chance to work together as a team, it was entertaining. I wish we'd have seen more of that in the previous couple of movies.

General Hux was better this time around. He wasn't the Hitler rip-off (something that made me feel uncomfortable anyway) that he was in the last two movies.

Darth Sidious is still one of the best villains out there --- I'd say even better than Vader. He delivers every time!

There were some great fight scenes in The Last Jedi --- namely the Kylo / Luke battle on the salt planet and the showdown in Snoke's throne room. The Rise of Skywalker doesn't disappoint either.

They have a fun chase on a desert planet with a few Storm Troopers.

 There's the scene you've probably seen on posters and in trailers --- where Kylo and Rey duel it out with their lightsabers on the wreckage of the Death Star while incredibly powerful waves crash upon them.

There's a fun warp speed / hyper speed scene with the Millennium Falcon.  Rey has a cool training sequence as well.

Lastly, one of my favorite scenes, involved our heroes atop horses that were galloping towards battle on a destroyer.

I won't explain anything else about that scene or when it happens in the movie. I'll just leave it at that.

The Force versus The Dark Side --- that's what the entire saga has really been about, told with the personal Skywalker stories, so it was fitting that it wrapped up this way.

A unique element that was brought to this movie was the ability to fight each other despite being in two different places.  The link Kylo and Rey had in The Last Jedi is increased.  They battle each other while being in two different places --- because of their connection I guess.  It's interesting.  I don't know that it follows what we've seen before (other than Luke doing this in The Last Jedi) but it's interesting and creative anyway.

My problem with the entire trilogy is that it's been very emo.  Kylo and Rey don't come off as endearing characters who are trying to overcome their personal struggle -- at least not always.  Instead of being a romantic link of some kind or balances to The Force, they come off as a little too into their emotions.

I laugh out loud to the people that claim Kylo is a better villain than Vader.  Kylo is much better than Anakin from Episodes I-III, but he doesn't even touch the fully-turned Dark Side Vader.

When you break it all down, though, Star Wars isn't one cohesive 9-movie unit.  It's bits and pieces of awesomeness that are sewn together through sometimes bad acting, sometimes bad writing, sometimes annoying characters and sometimes pointless missions.

The Rise of Skywalker finishes up what it can and leaves a satisfying conclusion to what's been a bumpy ride at times.  It's fun, there are some creative fight scenes and it's not as all over the place as The Last Jedi was.

You can't ask for much more given the road traveled to get here.

Oh -- and the final scene was very fitting.  Very well done.

If Star Wars continues on with some new stories (with these characters or others), please, for the love of God, get a writer's room and map it out!  Gone are the days of the disjointed X-Men movies or the contractual disputes that prevent Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill from continuing on in their roles as Batman / Superman.  Marvel is kicking your butt when it comes to foreshadowing and storytelling.

They'll continue to do so if you don't even give them some competition.

SPOILER section below (scroll down a little).

..... ok, here we go:

  • The Kylo / Han scene was nice.  There was some repetition in the dialogue, which I appreciated.  For a moment, I thought he was going to turn the lightsaber on the memory of his dead father.
  • The yellow lightsaber at the end was cool.  I'm not entirely sure where it came from.  But it's a new take on a lightsaber and that was fun.
  • Rey being Palpatine's granddaughter was fine.  It wasn't exactly what I'd have probably chosen if given free reign to craft a story but it's better than her parents being 'nobody.'
  • Is it bad that I'm kind of glad to be rid of Kylo?  He was too emotional and back-and-forth for me to really connect to.
  • There was a little too much life giving / Force giving in this movie.  Rey gives to the sand worm thing.  She gives to Kylo.  Kylo gives back to her.  Had seeds been planted in previous movies, that'd be one thing.  But 3 times in one movie?  I get that this wasn't mapped out very well to begin with, but it was a bit much.
  • The planet killing weapons attached directly to the destroyers were a cool progression.
  • The visuals for the way the planet exploded could've been much better
  • Darth Sidious' lair was really cool with all the lightning and electricity
  • The new group with the horses (with tusks on their gear) were really cool.  It was Native American-esque and was something we haven't really seen in a Star Wars movie before.
  • I liked the voices that gave Rey the strength to rise up, but it would've been cool to see some Force ghosts there --- Leia, Luke, Yoda, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, etc.  It probably would've taken away from the Luke / Leia Force Ghosts in the final scene, but I think they could've come up with a cool way to make those two scenes different.

Questions that are finally answered:

  • Who the Hell was Supreme Leader Snoke? That is answered. Darth Sidious created him. I'll accept that answer.
  • How did Darth Sidious return from the dead? He's a Sith Lord. Ok. I'll accept that, too.
  • Who are Rey's parents? No, they aren't 'nobody.' They were Palpatine's daughter/son and the in-law.
  • Who would Rey have ended up with (Finn or Kylo)?   -   based on the kiss, I guess Kylo, but I prefer to think it'd have been Finn
  • Where did Leia get her Jedi powers?   -   she was finally shown training and using a lightsaber, so that whole coming back to life in space scene from The Last Jedi is a little more acceptable (not not much)

New questions that this movie left unanswered:

  • Did Palpatine really want Rey dead?   -   I'm still not sure
  • What was Finn going to say to Rey?   -   Apparently he was going to reveal that he's 'Force sensitive,' but I'll pretend that silly statement wasn't going to happen and that he was going to tell her 'I love you.'
  • Where did all those Sith come from?  Why didn't they at least try to help Palpatine while he was doing battle?   -   I guess I'll just accept that they weren't fully 'risen' yet and that they were trying to come back from the dead too?

Not too bad, overall.  Not too bad, J.J.

Related Content:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - reviewed.
Justice League - reviewed.
Aladdin - reviewed.
Avengers: Endgame - reviewed.
Captain Marvel - reviewed.

The Lion King (2019) - reviewed.

I'm torn on the Disney live action movies. There are a couple (Maleficent, The Jungle Book) that have been surprisingly good. Some (Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast) that have been just OK. Then there are some (Aladdin, Maleficent 2) that haven't been that impressive at all.

The Lion King falls into the 'OK' category.

While those in charge of this movie didn't make the same mistakes that Aladdin did in deviating much from the original script, they had mistakes of their own.

If you're not telling a new story (like in Maleficent or Dumbo), then why exactly are you making the movie?

If I want to watch The Lion King, then wouldn't I just watch the 90's version? What's the point? So that I can see overdone CGI instead of colorful animation? Sure, I guess it has the 3-D aspect going for it, but I couldn't care less about that.

Disney is really in a no win situation. They can make a live action version of the same 90s classics we love (again, what's the point?) or they can change the 90s classics we love (and be met with resistance from fans).

They're making money, but that's more due to the fact that they are Disney (it's a well-oiled marketing and money-making machine) than producing quality content.

Alright, onto the movie.

A lot of people claimed that they had an issue seeing the CGI animals speak. I didn't have an issue with that. It didn't seem off-putting to me for the most part.

My biggest issue is that, just like with Disney's Christopher Robin, the CGI really has a negative impact on the color.

Zazu was a colorful blue Dodo bird in the animated version. But he's bland in this version --- both in color and voice, actually. John Oliver was alright, but not as good as the 90s version.

Scar wasn't as good as the movie version either. The color wasn't as vibrant. His black mane from the animated version wasn't probably realistic, but it sure made him stand out. Chiwetel Ejiofor's vocal performance was OK, but nothing compared to the classic version. Nothing at all compared to that version.

The rest of the voice actors were fine. I didn't take issue with any of their performances.

Actually, Seth Rogan was a great choice for Pumba!

While I'm glad they followed the classic, I kept thinking to myself, 'I should really watch the animated version again.'

I could've done without some of the updated lines of dialogue.

'Let's do this' was a line Simba used before going off to make the rounds with his father. It seemed pointless -- as though it was just for the purpose of updating the movie.

Some of the updated lines of dialogue actually made me feel sorry for Scar.

At one point, Simba says something along the lines of, 'My dad says when I'm king, I'll give you orders. How weird is that?'

Nothing like being a spoiled, little brat. The original dialogue goes like this:

   Simba: Hey Uncle Scar, guess what?
   Scar: I despise guessing games
   Simba: I'm going to be king of pride rock
   Scar: Oh goodie ...
   Simba: My dad just showed me the whole kingdom and I'm going to rule it all (chuckles)
   Scar: Yes, well, forgive me for not leaping for joy. Bad back and all
   Simba: Hey Uncle Scar, when I'm king, what will that make you?
   Scar: A monkey's uncle
   Simba: (laughs) You're so weird.
   Scar: You have no idea

Now, I admit, the part where he says he's going to rule it all --- that's a little brat-like as well. But Simba genuinely wants to know what Scar is when Simba is king. There's no curiosity in the new line of dialogue where kid Simba comes to visit Scar just to brag about being his future ruler.

Another updated bit of dialogue that comes off as juvenile is the scene where Simba confronts Scar at Pride Rock.

The lioness' come to Simba's aid and Nala says, "Simba is the rightful king (just like in the animated version)," but then adds "If you want to get to him, you have to go through us!"

Why add that? We've heard that line (or some version of it) in so many movies. Why add something so lame -- just for the sake of updating it? The way it was done in the animated version trumps the 2019 live action sequence.

Overall, the 2019 version of The Lion King paid a lot of homage to the original by not going too far from the original movie, but it made me want to watch the original (and better version) instead of the movie I was watching.

I'm assuming that wasn't the intended point of making this movie.

Related Content:
Aladdin - reviewed.
Avengers: Endgame - reviewed.
Captain Marvel - reviewed.
Aquaman - reviewed.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Aladdin (2019) - reviewed.

Where to start with this one, huh?

When I heard that Will Smith was cast as Genie, I was actually pretty happy about it. He is close enough to Robin Williams in the ability to deliver an over-the-top performance but he's not a complete replica. He's got his own style.

Then I saw the horrible Entertainment Weekly cover with no blue makeup and I, like many others, was not irritated that they weren't making him blue.

Then I saw the horrible makeup job with the blue paint and I thought, 'Maybe he shouldn't be blue.'

Besides Genie and his lack of blue / poorly done blue makeup, the costumes looked like cheaply made (but still overpriced) Halloween costumes you'd find at The Disney Store.

Lastly, the casting is way off here. Mena Massoud looks like Aladdin, but he doesn't have half the style or swagger that the animated version does. Marwan Kenzari neither looks like Jafar or has his demeanor.

Oh --- and the animated version of Abu > the crappy CGI version of Abu.

Those were my issues after seeing the first full trailer --- long before the movie came out -- so this movie had an uphill climb to win me over.

I can't say that it really did. The movie was as I expected.

Will Smith did well in the Genie role. He really did, despite the bad blue CGI.  He stole the show here.

Robin Williams made Aladdin a really good movie, but Aladdin, Iago, Jasmine, Jafar and the non-speaking magic carpet all had more personality and value than this new cast did.

Most of the performances were wooden.  It was disappointing to sit through, wishing I was watching the original version instead.

Some of the musical numbers were good.  I'll say that.

The flying carpet looked pretty cool in CGI form -- much better than Abu or Iago.

Outside of those few things, I don't have much positive to say.

Naomi Scott's performance as Princess Jasmine made the character even more annoying than the original Jasmine. Scott doesn't look Jasmine at all.

Personally, Jameela Jamil would've been my choice to play Jasmine. She looks like her and seems like she'd deliver a good performance as well.

Bad casting choices aside, the story wasn't very compelling. They changed some things but they were all off the mark.

Jasmine, as a strong 2019 woman, isn't rescued. She saves herself. Congrats to you, but it didn't make for a good story.

I'm fine with changes so long as they are done right, resulting in improvements.  Instead, all the changes made in this movie made it a far inferior product than the animated version.

For example, they added Dalia as a servant / confidant for Jasmine and a love interest for Genie. Her role didn't add anything genuine, comedic or entertaining to the movie.

There's an extra dance / musical sequence added, but it lacks any of the magic the other (original) performances had.

Despite making box office bank, this movie is not worth your time if you're particularly enjoyed the original movie.

I guess you could look at it as though it were an adaptation from a book --- making changes to the original content rather than doing a live action version of the same content.

Then again, that doesn't do much for me because I generally prefer the books to the movies when changes are made.

Two and a half stars may be a little harsh.

I'd probably give it three or three and a half if I weren't comparing it to the original, but that's the box Disney put itself into with these live action movies: it has to be better than the original because people will be comparing these movies to the animated versions.

Related Content:
Avengers: Endgame - reviewed.
Captain Marvel - reviewed.
Aquaman - reviewed.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A solo Sony Spider-Man might be a good direction

Everyone is talking about the Disney (Marvel) / Sony feud right now.

It's a complicated situation, especially since we don't really know what the tone of all the discussions is like. There are some conflicting reports.

Based on what I've seen, Sony and Disney made a deal. Spider-Man was successful in the MCU, so Disney wanted to renegotiate so that they had better terms in the deal.

I don't blame Sony for saying 'Hold up' because legally they've been doing everything right.

But the MCU is where all the action is, so of course fans want Spider-Man there.

That being said, I think now may be the best time for Spidey to go solo with Sony. Both of Spider-Man's movies so far benefitted from having Nick Fury, Happy Hogan and Iron Man (or at least references to him in the second movie). Spider-Man got a huge rub from Fury and Iron Man.

It's time to take that and move on and do his own thing.

The crowded, crossover-filled MCU:

It's honestly kind of irritating that every single Disney / Marvel movie these days has to feature a whole host of other MCU characters. It's not just Thor anymore. It's Thor featuring Hulk. Or Dr. Strange featuring Scarlet Witch. Or Guardians of the Galaxy + Thor. Or Captain America 3, starring The Avengers.

What Marvel and Disney did so well in the initial MCU films was build characters. Avengers is where the fun came in. They built the characters in the solo films and then the Avengers movies is where they got to interact with each other. It was a great formula.

It was a lot of fun to see them all interact with each other in a way that you can't see anywhere else. It's not as though we ever get to see James Bond interact with Ethan Hunt. Marvel gives us Hulk and Iron Man (plus dozens of other characters) on the same screen at the same time.

Ever since Captain America 3, however, it seems like you have a hard time getting a solo superhero movie. That's a shame because as much fun as the interactions are, it also doesn't mean as much when you see them in every movie.

I understand the mindset on the team-ups and the interactions. They are profitable.

Disney's Marvel is moving onto a new phase without Captain America or Iron Man or Black Widow so I imagine the team-ups may continue because those were established names that drew at the box office and Dr. Strange, Captain Marvel and Black Panther aren't as established.

I don't think people (outside of hardcore comic book fans) are excited for the Eternals or Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That's why they need a heavyweight like Thor and a Black Widow prequel.

This may change. People may fall in love with the new set of characters we'll be presented with. Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy were gambles because they weren't the more well-known characters and both have done very well in the MCU and in their own films.

But the MCU may have peaked with Avengers: Endgame. Once you've established great characters and then teamed them up in an epic conclusion to a 22-movie build, it's hard to top. It'll be especially hard if they don't focus on these characters solo before throwing them into cameos and crossovers.

In all fairness, it's also not as though there's an endless amount of time to create these movies with fun interactions. Actors have different projects, contract disputes happen, actors age, actors get pregnant and actors get tired of playing the same characters. So you have to strike while the iron is hot. Still, a little more focus on the individual characters first (before team-ups and crossovers and cameos) is my preferred method of building to something meaningful.

A Sony Spider-Man:

Back to Spider-Man, though. How are Sony Spider-Man movies a good thing? Because Spider-Man will be the focus of his movies. It won't be Iron Man Jr. in a Spider-Man costume. It won't be Nick Fury's lackey. It'll be Spider-Man.

He's got a whole host of villains he could interact with, too. I'm looking forward to Tom Hardy's Venom and Tom Holland's Spider-Man coming face-to-face at some point.

 Sure, we had Venom and Spider-Man face off once before in Spider-Man 3, but that was so long ago and there's much more that could be done with these two Toms.

Now, if they build it right, their interaction will be a big crossover movie itself. That's good strategy right there. Build them up separately and then pair them together for a blockbuster.

That was Marvel and Disney's very first formula with phase one and it worked like a charm. DC tried to do it with Justice League, but were too quick to jump on that ship. Wonder Woman and Superman were the only two with solo movies before that movie.

 They should've waited until Aquaman and The Flash had solo movies before doing the big Justice League team-up. It didn't mean nearly as much to see them all together because Justice League was introducing us to a lot of those characters for the first time.

I'm excited to see what a solo Spider-Man can do in Sony's realm instead of trying to outrun an Iron Man shadow in the MCU.

Sure, the Fury and Iron Man relationships helped Spider-Man's character and helped the movie perform at the box office, but Spider-Man is ready to graduate from the MCU and soar with his own webbing.

A deal could still (and will likely) be reached:

Let's not forget that a deal could still be reached. Regardless of whether a deal is reached, I want more of a focus on Spider-Man going forward.

No more Skrulls. No more Happy Hogan. Just Spider-Man and his foes, his family and his friends.

If a deal is reached, rumors are it could include Venom. So we'll see what happens there.

In the end it may be a win-win for everyone.

Sure, it may take a while before everything is finalized and sorted out, but the result could be good for everyone.  Let's say a deal isn't reached right away.  There's still potential that a deal could be reached to allow Spider-Man to appear in another big Avengers movie, but for him to primarily remain solo with Sony.  That could work, too.

One thing is for certain: Spider-Man has to perform after all this media attention. Nobody can argue that fans don't care about Spider-Man, that's for sure. But it has to translate at the box office.

 After being featured in the MCU, I have a feeling Tom Holland's Spider-Man will be fine on his own.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

X-Men: Dark Phoenix - reviewed.

I like to stay pretty out of the loop these days when it comes to superhero movies.

I don't want to know who is playing what characters will be in the movie or who is expected to live and die or who makes a cameo.

The superhero movies have improved so much that I have enough faith it will be good without having to go to the spoilers.

I went into Dark Phoenix the same way. I knew it wasn't going to be a gigantic blockbuster, based on the preview I'd seen, but I was hoping for the best.

Let me say right out: this movie was awful! It's the only movie I can remember seeing in the theater where I sat there and thought 'Is this movie over yet??'

It was that bad.

I'm not even sure where to start. I was excited about seeing the Dark Phoenix saga told well -- even if it was crammed into one movie.

Instead, we got a strange half-reboot of X3 (because that worked so well the first time) and poor man's Captain Marvel.

I've read some reports about the movie being changed due to similarities to Captain Marvel (leaving the Dark Phoenix script worse for wear), but I don't think it would've mattered. That's not what the Dark Phoenix saga is about. It's not Captain Marvel. So if it was basically Captain Marvel before the script changes, then they still weren't on the right track.

I noticed some changes in filming. It seemed like they cut the budget because Storm's lightning looked like crap and the train scene at the end of the movie had a lot of blatantly obvious green screen aspects to it.

They must've cut back on the makeup budget as well. Mystique's blue tint was not up to part. Beast looked more cartoonish than ever -- and not in a good one.

I know it's a movie called 'Dark Phoenix' but once again it was too much Jean Grey in this movie. It was too similar to X3, where every other character took a back seat.

Jean Grey and Mystique didn't have a relationship that built movie upon movie so when the big, dramatic scene occurred with the two of them (I won't spoil exactly what happened ... in case anyone wants to watch this train wreck), it felt antic-climactic.

I think Jennifer Lawrence must have known that this movie wasn't as good as the others because she mailed in the performance here.

The fight scene in New York City was lackluster.

Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Xavier (James McAvoy) delivered when it comes to acting, but the writing didn't leave them much to work with.  Beast (Nicholas Hoult) was just kind of there.

Storm looked awesome, but she didn't even have a line (that I can remember anyway).  That character needs a solo movie now that X-Men are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I'd love to see them introduce maybe a solo Storm, solo Wolverine and solo Professor X / Magneto movies before they all unite.  Then, when they all team up, it'd be like the first Avengers movie --- seeing these awesome characters together for the first time on the big screen.

But enough about the potential that lies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Back to this dud.

Nightcrawler would've been cool but his makeup wasn't as good as in the past either.  Speaking of makeup and special effects, how about Jean Grey?  Her skin was basically crackling throughout the entire movie --- as though the Phoenix was going to burst out of her.

Believe it or not, the Phoenix was never really explained throughout the entire movie.  Where did it come from?  What purpose does it serve?  Why did it choose Jean?  Those are really basic questions, but none of them were answered.

That kind of thing leaves a moviegoer exiting the theater feeling unhappy instead of raving about how good the movie was.

Oh, and Jessica Chastain's character?  Completely pointless.  Completely!  Shouldn't have even been in the movie in the first place.  There wasn't much of a backstory there either, but I didn't care because I just wanted that character to disappear.

I left the theater and immediately logged onto Twitter, thinking there had to be someone out there who thought this movie was the snore fest that I thought it was.  Sure enough, tweet after tweet about the disappointing end of the X-Men movie franchise under 20th Century Fox's umbrella.

There was no audience applause in this movie either.  Unlike the last superhero movie I saw (Avengers: Endgame), where there were several moments of laughter and applause, this movie was almost like sitting in church or at a funeral.

I felt guilty every time I rustled through my popcorn bag because, other than the movie itself playing, there was silence throughout the theater.

I liked the actors and the concept of a Dark Phoenix movie, but it was done all wrong here.  The actors didn't have enough good material to work with, the plot was awful and the execution of computer graphics and makeup was sad to see.

Worst superhero movie of the year so far.  If you are going to watch it because you're a huge fan of X-Men and superhero movies (like me), save your money and wait for the Redbox.

I'd like to say that my 2-star rating was an exaggeration, but it feels fair to me.

The only thing I can say is that maybe it seemed worse than it was because Avengers: Endgame was so good.

In 2000, this may have been a fun movie.  But not in 2019.

That's the price you pay when you put out a movie in the era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Step up to the plate and hit a home run or have yourself a seat.

Related Content:
Avengers: Endgame - reviewed.
Captain Marvel - reviewed.
Bumblebee - reviewed.
Aquaman - reviewed.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Avengers: Endgame - reviewed. (the spoiler-free version)

Wow! Wow!! On so many levels.

Unlike some Star Wars movies, unlike The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, Avengers: Endgame is not disappointing in any way. There are maybe two very minor things I could pick at, but that's it. Maybe two minor things in an entire 3 hour movie.

Without giving spoilers, the most important thing I'd say is that nobody will be disappointed in this movie. You can't be disappointed if you liked any of the other Marvel movies ... at all.

Some characters got more screen time than others, so fans of one particular character may not be happy about that, but the movie made sense for every character that so there's just no legitimate complaining about it.

That's probably the most impressive thing about the movie: the writing.

Sure, visuals were great (though I think I was more impressed by Aquaman in that aspect). Sure, the fight scenes (one in particular) was amazing. Yeah, the music was spot on --- taking you on a rollercoaster ride throughout. The music leaves you feeling happy when you're supposed to feel happy, excited when you need to be excited and makes you dab your eyes a bit in certain parts (who knew that a superhero movie would tug at your emotions a bit?).

The best thing about it all was the writing though. Marvel spent over 10 years successfully developing two dozen characters who fans care about, relate to and cheer for.

There are so many small moments in Endgame that show such incredible attention to detail. Each character had a moment or moments to shine, to evolve or to give a nod to the incredible history that Marvel has created in the past 10 years.

At the same time, they definitely set up some characters for the future of Marvel movies. I think I can safely write that without spoiling anything. Nobody expected Marvel movies to end after Endgame, right? The future is in good hands.

It's not just the writing that was detailed either! Sometimes it was just a facial expression, a glance between characters or body language.

Black Widow and Captain America feel comfortable around each other because they've been teammates for the past half a dozen years. Hawkeye and Widow's friendship is continued. Captain America and Iron Man have some closure after the events in Civil War.

There were some moments that visually echoed other scenes in previous Avengers movies. Other times there were verbal references.

Marvel paid homage to several moments in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers, they recall storylines from Age of Ultron and gave us closure to storylines from Captain America, Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok.

Avengers was the first time we'd seen such a big team-up movie. Civil War took it to another level. Infinity War said 'hold my beer' and took it even higher.

Some people have said that Endgame should win an Oscar (or Oscars). While that may be true, I'm not concerned with that. In a way, I'd prefer it doesn't. It seems a bit odd that a movie with a talking raccoon and a big, purple, evil alien would be an Oscar contender.

Why not just let this be the pop culture phenomenon, box office juggernaut and epic superhero movie that it is?

As for a star rating? Five stars, easily.

Related Content:
Captain Marvel - reviewed.
Bumblebee - reviewed.
Aquaman - reviewed.
The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Captain Marvel - reviewed.

All the controversy about Captain Marvel. Who knew?

If you've been paying attention to Twitter and other forms of social media, you probably did know about it.

I heard bits and pieces a couple of weeks ago, but didn't bother to give it much research.

I did take a look at the reports. I guess actress Brie Larson said while she was on a press tour promoting the movie that she wanted more diversity (specifically women) in the reviewers who get to see movies early.

I can see why that may make some people upset. But then she clarified and said that she's not asking to take anyone's seat away from the table --- just asking for more to be added.

I don't see an issue with that. That's a good way to put it.

Then people tried to bomb the movie on Rotten Tomatoes, which caused the website to make some changes.

Ehh, it is what it is.

Let's get to the movie (no spoilers in this review).

First, I really liked the way the movie handled the flashback scenes. Most of the movie took place in current time (well ... it was set in the 90s, but 'current time' for the movie).

The flashbacks were intertwined very nicely.

Unlike Aquaman (which also handled flashbacks very well), this movie showed bits and pieces and quick flashes --- not really full-on flashback scenes.

Eventually there was a twist when we finally saw the full flashback. It was almost like a thriller with a twist (but not as intense).

The flashbacks helped distinguish between Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and her human identity of Carol Danvers.

Second, I liked seeing Agent Coulson and Fury (with both eyes) again. While Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Captain Marvel's buddy cop routine felt a little bit forced, their chemistry worked well enough.

Captain Marvel is odd. She's not your typical hero (male or female). She's almost like Thor was in the first Thor --- new to Earth. She's advanced enough, in many ways, to figure out technology, but she walks around in her space suit like it's no big deal.

 It's kind of a fish-out-of-water story with an almost robotic-like Captain Marvel wandering around Earth, looking for her shapeshifting foes.

It does provide for some humorous moments.

The cat -- Goose -- also added some levity to several scenes.

While there was humor in this movie, I don't think I laughed out loud once. I hadn't thought of that until just now. That's not to say that it's bad --- just not as funny as an Aquaman or Thor or Guardians of the Galaxy.

There was also drama in this movie. Carol's best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) brought out the emotions on a couple of scenes.

She seemed genuine in her tears and really made a regular moment in the movie stand out as being impactful.

On the opposite side of the coin, some of Marvel's interactions with Maria and her daughter Monica Rambeau (Akira Akbar) were cringeworthy to say the least.

Fury had a few cringeworthy moments as well.

The characters just didn't react the way a normal person would in a situation that involves aliens and space battles.

Maria correctly assesses that she should probably sit the space battle out so that she's there to take care of her young daughter.

Her daughter, Monica, says 'Mom, you're not being a very good role model for me' --- implying that she should go be brave and show her daughter that she can do anything.

I'm all for women's empowerment, but that's just stupid. Since when do you take your adulting cues from your 12-year-old?

You're the child's only parent. She has grandparents, so that's good. I'm not sure what the situation is with the father, but he's not part of her life.

So going into space to battle a group of aliens with possibly no way to return is good parenting? Inspiring, is it?

It wasn't inspiring. It was a little too cheesy.

There were Stargate SG-1 levels of hokey in some other scenes (like the dishwashing scene with Fury and Marvel).

I don't know that it was agenda-pushing, but it did feel a little 'try too hard' between the strong female hero, the release on International Women's Day and the attempted inspirational 'you can do anything' dialogue.

It felt a little forced, which is too bad because Captain Marvel is definitely an interesting character.

It's always interesting to see serious actors and actresses like Annette Bening in superhero movies.  Bening played Dr. Wendy Lawson.  She did a good job.

It still catches me off guard sometimes though.  I'm used to Masters of the Universe and Beast Master and Teenage Mutant Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze.  You didn't get a cast with big acting chops in those movies.

It shows how far we've come in the superhero genre when you can have Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Julie Andrews, Russell Crowe and other Oscar winners as regular parts of the cast.

Jude Law was also in this movie, playing Captain Marvel's Kree instructor: Yon-Rogg.

Visually, this movie was good. I accidentally purchased a 3D ticket, so it wasn't my usual viewing experience.

There weren't any moments where I thought 'that looks like too many computer graphics.'

The Skrull costuming could've been a little more realistic, I guess, but I can't complain about that too much.

I'm not sure that their characters will really stand out in the big picture, but they served their purpose for this particular movie.

I don't remember any of their names despite the fact that they were in the movie from almost the beginning all the way to the end, so the individual character development could've been a little bit better.

As a whole, the Skrulls were developed however.

Two fight scenes that stand out to me are when Marvel is captured on a Skrull ship near the beginning of the movie and a battle on Earth (on an above-ground train).

The final fight scene was a little bit anticlimactic for me.

Marvel utilizes her awesome powers, but I would've appreciated more struggle honestly. I don't think Thor or Thanos or Hulk have won battles with such ease.

And, I guess we may as well talk about one SPOILER from the mid-credit scene ... (scroll down for the spoiler)

... keep going ...

... almost there ...

... Captain Marvel wasn't destroyed by Thanos' snap of the fingers and she's joined the Avengers to help battle Thanos in Avengers Endgame (big surprise, huh?)

Overall, it was kind of what I expected. It was a Marvel movie (meaning it looked good, the production was on point, the script was good, the acting wasn't bad and there was a mix of comedy, drama and action).

Will it do well at the box office? It already is. I'm sure it will continue to do well.

I don't know where it will finish at the box office, but I don't think it will have the natural momentum that Aquaman or Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man or Wonder Woman had.

Those were hits because fans loved the movies. This is a movie that will do well because it has all of Disney and Marvel's marketing and money behind it. It's expected to do big numbers.

It'd be a disappointment if it didn't.  I'm not a hater either.

When I went to see Black Panther on the first Saturday it was out, I caught a 9:30 or 9:45 am showing.  The theater was completely full.

I saw Captain Marvel on the first Friday it was out at 4 pm and there were maybe 12 people in the theater.

While this isn't a bad movie, it's not groundbreaking.  The positive and negative media coverage of Captain Marvel before it was even released will probably make it hard to judge the movie's actual success and footprint on the movie landscape (and superhero genre) until the end of the year.

Like I said in my Most Anticipated Movies of 2019 blog, it's not the movie I'm most excited to see this year.

In a year with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dark Phoenix, Shazam, Avengers Endgame and a Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker, I think this will be a movie that I watched and enjoyed, but wasn't a favorite in the somewhat crowded superhero movie field.

Related Content:
Life of the Party - reviewed.
Bumblebee - reviewed.
Aquaman - reviewed.
The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What should the qualifications be for a WWE Hall of Fame induction?

WWE's Hall of Fame has become one of the fans' favorite nights of the year.

Why wouldn't it be? You get to see legends and childhood heroes get the respect they deserve and hear some (hopefully) funny road stories.

There are some glaring omissions from WWE's Hall of Fame that hurt its credibility: Owen Hart, Vader, Davey Boy Smith, etc.

There have also been some questionable inductees that also hurt its credibility: Koko B. Ware, The Godfather and Rikishi.

It's understandable that each year, come Hall of Fame time, there will be debate amongst fans. Each group of fans is hoping their favorite gets the nod.

The inductions this year have caused some controversy as well. Chyna, for example, is being inducted. After the way Triple H's comments about Chyna on Stone Cold's podcast went viral a few years ago, seeing her name as a Hall of Fame inductee was a little surprising.

It was also a little shady -- giving Chyna an induction, but not a solo induction (like every other woman before her).

Instead, Chyna's induction is part of a group.

 Is that the only way Chyna is going to end up in the Hall of Fame? Possibly.

I don't know that I believe WWE intended to be shady, but the optics aren't great.

In a way it's actually fitting that Chyna is inducted alongside her fellow members of DX. Triple H is one of the biggest names in the business. The New Age Outlaws are one of the most decorated and celebrated tag teams in the business. And X-Pac is one of the best and most underrated workers there's been (especially for a smaller guy).

Then you have The Honky Tonk Man. He's never put on mat classics like Savage vs. Steamboat, but he is one of the longest reigning Intercontinental Champions of all time. He certainly lasted a long time in the industry. He was a solid mid-card character in the late '80s.

Who has caused the most controversy though? Torrie Wilson. Some of her fans are rightfully happy that she's being inducted. A lot of fans have been vocal about their opposition to this induction. The former 2-time Playboy cover girl is certainly easy on the eyes and was very popular at the time she was in WWE.

That being said, I, too, question her merits.

Does Torrie deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

I started watching wrestling in 1997, so I remember Torrie's debut in WCW and the WWF. She provided some memorable segments over the years, but it was all entertainment / t&a / fluff stuff.

True, she did try to wrestle (and did eventually improve to the point of putting on a passable match), but does that equal a Hall of Fame induction?

True, she did become a C-list celebrity after leaving WWE (dating Alex Rodriguez and appearing on a reality show competition), but does that equal a Hall of Fame induction?

True, she was very welcoming to new girls in the locker room (by all accounts) and wasn't problematic, but does that equal a Hall of Fame induction?

True, she was the poster girl for WWE's Smackdown brand, but does that equal a Hall of Fame induction?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Hardee's Fruit Loop mini-donuts - reviewed.

Fruit Loops donuts?  Say what?!?

They first popped up last Fall at Hardee's for a limited time, but I guess that was a successful trial run because they're back.

I read that they were only available as a breakfast item, but the Hardee's I called and spoke to said they were available all day long -- at least at their location.

So I had myself a cheeseburger slider and 5 mini Fruit Loop-inspired and flavored donuts!

I have to say, they were all really good.

Now, apparently the 5 Fruit Loops colors -- red, green, yellow, blue and purple -- all taste the same in cereal form.

Maybe it's in my head, but I swear the different colored donuts each had their own, somewhat distinct taste.

For example, I thought the yellow had more of a lemon flavor than the other donuts.  The green colored donut had the traditional Fruit Loops taste, for sure.  It was kind of dry without as much frosting, though.

The frosting on the red donut wasn't amazing.

The frosting on the blue donut was OK, but the donut definitely had the instantly recognizable Fruit Loops flavor to it.

The purple donut was OK, but the flavor wasn't as strong with this one.  I don't know if  that's just happenstance or if the food coloring somehow impacted the taste.

I don't know that I'll rush out to purchase these again, but I love the idea behind it and the fact that they exist.  It's smart marketing.

I'm a fan of when different brands team up for a unique product, whether it's Yoplait and Dunkin' Donuts or Oreo and Swedish Fish.

While these donuts weren't the most amazing things I've ever eaten, I'd order them again if they brought them back again 6 months or a year down the road.

Monday, February 25, 2019

My dream Wrestlemania 35 card ... based in reality

Wrestlemania is just a few weeks away and it seems like it's going to be a lengthy show.

After the Royal Rumble's main show was approximately 5 hours, there's no way that Wrestlemania won't be just as long.

I'd like to see them place several matches on the pre-show (and start early so that the East Coast doesn't get done watching it at Midnight) so that it's not such a chore to sit through.

Anything over 5 hours and it's bordering leg cramps, people going home from viewing parties so they can get up for work the next day and losing interest.

So how would you book Wrestlemania?

To be honest there aren't a lot of matches I'm really looking forward to seeing.  There are some matches I'd like to see happen but I know they're not going to.

I have a dream card, but, realistically, it probably won't happen.  For example, I think this year would've been a great time to do The Undertaker vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.  I can say with 99.9% certainty that it's not going to happen.

So, when coming up with this, I tried to base most of the booking in reality.

The main card:

Raw Women's Title Match (Main Event):
Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch

This should be the main event.  Becky Lynch is at an all-time career high.  Ronda Rousey is a star.

Rumors are that Ronda Rousey is going to be taking time off to spend time with her husband and possibly become a mom.

There's no better time to let two women main event Wrestlemania than this.

WWE will likely keep Charlotte in that mix (making it a triple threat), but I'd let her sit this one out.  Let Ronda and Becky tell their story without that additional element.

WWE Universal Title Match:
Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar

I don't know if I'm excited for this or not.  I'd say give Rollins the win, but he's got some nagging injuries so maybe not?  Still, it's time for Brock to lose the title.  Seth is a safe babyface candidate to win the title and lead the Raw brand for a couple of months before losing the title to someone else.

Whoever wins, I expect it to be a 10 - 15 minute Brock Lesnar match.  I don't think there's much of a reason to spend more time on it than that.

WWE Heavyweight Title Match:
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

WWE just did an Elimination Chamber match with 6 competitors, but they've booked themselves into a corner here.  Unless they have several one-on-one matches without titles on the line (and they'd need to build up the feuds pretty quickly to make that happen), they're going to have to do a multi-man WWE Title match.

Give Kofi the shot since fans want it to happen.  Randy is reliable and seems to be entering a feud with Styles, so may as well throw them in there.  Rey and Samoa Joe are two good additional options.

You could put Jeff Hardy or Mustafa Ali in there too, but why rush Mustafa.  He could main event Summerslam if need be.  Wait on him a little bit.

Smackdown Women's Title Match
Asuka vs. Charlotte (the rematch)

Instead of inserting Charlotte into the Becky Lynch / Ronda Rousey match, I'd give her and Asuka a good amount of time to work another great match for the Smackdown Women's Title.  Asuka needs a win and the Smackdown Women's Title needs some credibility after all the focus has been on Raw's Women's Title.  A memorable match is just the thing to revive some interest on the blue brand.

4 Corner WWE Women's Tag Team Title Match:
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. The IIconics vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville

I'd prefer Sasha and Bayley vs. one tag team from each brand:
 - Nia Jax and Tamina (good heel team from Raw)
 - The IIconics (from Smackdown)
 - Io Shirai and Kairi Sane (representing NXT)

You could remove Nia and Tamina to throw NXT UK's Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley (who are feuding) in for their brand, but Nia and Tamina are big and could probably take more of Io and Kairi's aerial offense.

I realize that the match I want to happen probably won't, so let's just make it a 4 corner bout with Mandy and Sonya in there instead of Io and Kairi.

I don't think I'd make a title switch just yet.

Save that for after Wrestlemania.

Cruiserweight Title Match:
Buddy Murphy vs. ???

I'm not sure who will end up facing Buddy Murphy.  WWE has done zero to get fans interested in 205 Live.  They just released a couple of their main roster guys, too.

I'd turn Murphy face (he's got the moveset to make it work) or at least make him a tweener and have him go up against Noam Dar.  Or maybe Noam Dar and Cedric Alexander in a triple threat.

The cruiserweights always get the short end of the stick so they'll probably end up on the pre-show, but I'd love to see them on the main card this year.

4 Corner WWE Tag Team Champions Match (no titles on the line):
The Usos vs. The Revival vs. The War Raiders vs. James Drake and Zack Gibson

Not sure how to get the tag team champions on the card, so I figured may as well do a champion vs. champion thing.  WWE actually has 4 sets of male tag team champions between all of their brands, so may as well throw them all out there to make it a little more interesting.

The Usos vs. The Revival would be a good match by itself too.

Shane McMahon vs. The Miz

I'm not interested in this feud.  I'm not interested in Shane McMahon wrestling (at the big shows or on weekly TV).  I know I'm stuck with it though.

Miz will turn on Shane before 'Mania and they'll have a big match there.

It's not that I don't like Shane.  I do.  It's that he's not a wrestler and he's taking up a spot that someone else could have.  This can be the one non-title match they have on the card.

Let's not give them 25 minutes for it though, huh?  15 is more than enough.

Intercontinental Title Match:
Finn Balor vs. Lashley (with Lio Rush)

Finn hasn't really had an interesting feud for most of 2018.  Going for a rematch here is easy but may as well do it.  Either that or Drew McIntyre vs. Finn vs. Lashley?  Or Drew vs. Finn?

Raw has a lot of guys who are floating right now --- ready to main event but not being given the opportunity to do so.  Braun, Drew, Lashley, Finn and even Elias could all be main eventing Raw each week.

Remember in 1999 when Mankind, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and The Big Show were all main event ready and could step up as a challenger on any given night?

WWE has that same kind of situation here.  The only difference is that Lesnar has the WWE Universal Title.

I'm a fan of the  guy, for sure.  But it's time to take it off of him and then let the new crop of guys emerge.

They can still use Brock at their big events.  He doesn't need the championship to be an attraction though.  He is an attraction all by himself.


Women's Battle Royal (they should rename it the Chyna Memorial Battle Royal or the Sherri Martel Memorial Battle Royal)

Not much to say about this one.  It gets the other women on the card.  Naomi could win it two years in a row.

If WWE is going with Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Ronda, then put Asuka's title on the line, put this on the main card and let her dominate the thing.

If Asuka is not involved in this match, then it's a pre-show match.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Put Braun in this match and let him destroy everyone.  I'm talking 12+ eliminations.
WWE needs to build him up as a monster again.  This would at least be a step in the right direction.

Related Content:
Who could, should, won't and shouldn't show up at WWE's 2019 men's Royal Rumble?
Who could, should, won't and shouldn't show up at WWE's 2nd women's Royal Rumble?

Goodbye to TV superheroes

For a while there you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing some kind of superhero show.

It seems that the end of a TV superhero era is upon us, however.

Rumors are that Arrow (on the CW Network) will be cancelled after the next season. Along with that, Legends of Tomorrow is also apparently on the way out.

There are even rumors that Supergirl may be replaced by a Superman TV show.

Netflix just announced the cancellation of Jessica Jones and The Punisher.

This is after Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage were all cancelled last Fall.

And any Gotham fan knows that this show is going away after the end of this season, too.

Relax --- it's all cyclical:

While many fans are probably upset by the abundance of cancellation news, I'm not.

I'll miss Daredevil and Gotham. To be honest, I haven't had the chance to keep up with Jessica Jones' second season, Luke Cage's second season, the last season and a half of Arrow or finish the first season of The Punisher.

It's just a lot to keep up with (especially when I'm watching The Good Place and Manifest in real time each week).

Also, I grew up in the 1990s. The only (non-animated) show we got back then was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Before that (in the late 80s), there was The Flash and The Swamp Thing (though neither lasted for very many seasons).

Smallville came around in the early 2000s (though I never watched it) during another lull in superhero TV programming.

Then Marvel changed everything with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was a big boom with superheroes on the big screen, so, naturally, that trend migrated to the small screen.

Just think about all of the shows we got in the past 5 years:

  - Arrow  |  CW Network
       Oct. 2012 – present

  - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. | ABC Network
       Sept. 2013 – present

  - The Flash  |  CW Network
       Oct. 2014 – present

  - Gotham  |   FOX
       Sept. 2014 – May 2019

  - Agent Carter  |   ABC
       Jan. 2015 – March 2016

  - Daredevil  |   Netflix
       April 2015 – Oct. 2018

  - Supergirl  |   CBS (and then CW Network)
       Oct. 2015 – present

  - Jessica Jones   |   Netflix
       Nov. 2015 – 2019

  - DC's Legend's of Tomorrow  |   CW Network
       Jan. 2016 – present

  - The Iron Fist  |  Netflix
       March 2017 – Nov. 2018

  - Inhumans   |   ABC
       Sept. 2017 – Nov. 2017

  - The Punisher   |   Netflix
       Nov. 2017 – Jan. 2019

  - Black Lightning  |  CW Network
       Jan. 2018 – present

  - Cloak & Dagger  |  Freeform
       June 7, 2018 – present

What a time to be a fan of superheroes!  We had a good 7 years -- really good!  Plus, the Arrowverse gave us several crossover events.

I really enjoyed The Defenders (the Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage team-up) too.

All things come to an end, though, so it makes sense that an overly saturated market on the superhero front couldn't sustain itself.

There's more to come --- but you'll have to pay for it:

Unfortunately the trend these days seems to be each network or company having their own streaming service like Netflix and Hulu (I have my own thoughts on that for another blog post at another time).

The good thing is that the DC and Disney (and therefore Marvel) platforms need content for their services.

DC Universe launched in Sept. 2018 and already has a couple of TV shows that are available to watch:

  - Titans  |  DC Universe
       Sept. 2018 – present
       based on DC's Teen Titans, this show has been renewed for a second season

  - Doom Patrol  |  DC Universe
       Feb. 2019 – present
       it's a spin-off of Titans

They have a handful more that are in development:

  - Swamp Thing  |  DC Universe
       Scheduled to debut sometime in 2019

  - Stargirl  |  DC Universe
       Scheduled to debut in Aug. 2019

Disney+ is probably going to be one of the new homes for a lot of superhero content.

There's a good likelihood that Daredevil and Luke Cage will be revived on Disney+.  That would mean viewers would have to follow the show from Netflix to Disney+.  Fans did that with other shows in the past, however, so it could work.

They also have 3 exciting shows at various stages of development:

  - The Vision and Scarlet Witch  |  Disney+
       Scheduled to debut sometime in 2019
       this will be a limited series that explores the relationship between Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)

  - Untitled Falcon and Winter Soldier project  |  Disney+
       In development
       Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will reprise their roles as Falcon and Winter Soldier in this live-action series.  It's apparently going to be kind of a buddy cop series with a superhero flavor.

  - Loki  |  Disney+
       In development
       Lastly (and perhaps most exciting), there is a limited series on Loki that is being worked on.  So even if Tom Hiddleston doesn't return in Avengers Endgame, he'll be reprising his now iconic character at some point.

While all of this means we'll have to pay for content, it is going to be available.

I'm a fan of DVDs because I like to have a copy to watch when the internet goes down or when programs are removed from Netflix or other streaming services, so I'm hoping they release some of these series on DVD.

Then I can purchase them (and watch them over and over) without having to pay that monthly fee.  I'm not sure if DVD releases will happen though.

What does the future hold?

I wouldn't be surprised to see some new superhero shows end up on the mainstream networks again.  DC Universe and Disney+ almost need to keep shows on their platforms in order for them to be successful.

It's one thing to get someone to watch network television, but it's another to get them to pay $10 - $15 a month to watch your shows.

I anticipate additional shows coming soon on both platforms, especially on DC Universe since it consists entirely of superheroes.  Disney+ can utilize Mary Poppins, Aladdin, etc., etc.

DC Universe doesn't have a library of ready-made content that vast, so they need to create new shows.

New superhero shows on the main networks probably won't debut within the next couple of years, but give it another 5 years and we may see an entirely new crop of superhero television.

With such a vast library of characters in Marvel and DC's extensive comic book archives, some of the lesser known characters are perfect for TV.  They can be developed into something bigger.

The Green Arrow was never an extremely popular character, but just look at what Arrow did for the character.

It spawned an entire Arrowverse.

CW has always been a superhero-friendly, but they're also focused on ratings.

If they think a show will do well, they've proven that they'll take the chance and pick it up.  If the show doesn't perform, it will get cancelled.

That's how TV networks operate.

While this may be the end of one era, it's sure to lead to another.

Maybe a Fantastic Four television series?  Or a series about Amanda Waller and her rise to the top of A.R.G.U.S.?

I could see either of those shows airing on the CW.

Superhero movies aren't going away anytime soon, so superheroes on TV aren't going away either.  I'm sure there are several TV networks that would love to cash in on the popularity of the superhero genre as much as they possibly can.

It's just a matter of finding the right characters to tell a good story to garner ratings.

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