Let’s talk about Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel

As is often the case, I’m late to the party on both of these shows.  Full disclosure, I have no knowledge of the Moon Knight character whatsoever, all I knew was that he existed, because Wizard magazine once made a joke about him being mistaken for Space Ghost, but otherwise, I went into the show with absolutely zero knowledge of the character, at all.  As for Ms. Marvel, this is a lot of gray area, because in the comics, Ms. Marvel is Carol Danvers, which movie goers have already been introduced to as Captain Marvel, so again, I went in blind to the adventures of Kamala Khan, the teenager.

By virtue of living under the rock of parenthood, I’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided the vast majority of chatter when it comes to both of these shows.  I’d only heard bits and pieces, like subjective opinions of Moon Knight, and I knew that Ms. Marvel has been somewhat completely re-imagined to feature a teenager, and a Muslim one at that, but neither really deterred me from going into them, because as a fan of the MCU, I still feel that it’s somewhat necessary to watch every piece of Marvel programming that is released, with the expectation that the knowledge will be useful when they converge storylines in the future.

Going in chronological order, I finished Moon Knight before going into Ms. Marvel, and I have to say that in more ways than one, one of these is very much not like the other.  One show I thought was good, entertaining and refreshing, while the other one was completely horrendous, and I would dare say be arguably one of the worst editions into the entire MCU, and all of its extended reaching properties.

Continue reading “Let’s talk about Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel”

I am all in for Gus Fring as Professor X

Impetus: Giancarlo Esposito reveals that he has had meetings with Marvel people for a future role, expresses desire to be Professor X

My knee-jerk reaction to the idea of Gus Fring being Professor X, was absolutely all aboard the train.  I get that aside from Captain Picard, the role of Charles Xavier was basically designed to be for Patrick Stewart, but in the age and in light of pursuing change and pursuing the future, I’m hard pressed to imagine anyone more succinctly qualified for the role of Professor X than Giancarlo Esposito.

Like many, my first real exposure to Esposito was him playing Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, and as far as characters go, he’s easily up there as some of my all-time favorites, because I love characters that are cerebral, command respect, and play the long game like a chess grandmaster.  I get that throughout his career since, he’s basically been bad guy after bad guy after bad guy, but there’s absolutely no reason to believe that he wouldn’t be capable of playing the cerebral, respect commanding, long game-player like Professor X, plus it’s not like Xavier didn’t make some fucked up choices in his life either.

Esposito is polished, annunciates intelligently and in the manner you’d expect to hear from Professor X, and has been entrenched in sci-fi/comics long enough to where it probably wouldn’t feel inorganic or phony on his part when playing the role.  There is absolutely zero reason why he wouldn’t make an excellent Professor X.

Unfortunately, to no surprise, there are plenty of people out there that don’t agree with my enthusiasm for the idea of Gus Fring as Professor X.  And the funny-not-really-funny thing about the internet and social media and how we’re spoon-fed occasional comments, is when you see the remarks from people you know, and you’re reading words that don’t really sound that intelligent or, in the case of what I saw, were good examples of peoples’ white privilege soaking through the sponge.

Because in spite of many peoples’ best attempts to try not to be racist but not doing a very good job of doing it, the seemingly number one reason for any sort of opposition of the idea of Giancarlo Esposito as Professor X, really boils down to the fact that he’s not white.  I understand that there’s an expectation set by decades of seeing a lily-white Caucasian Professor X in comics and FOX properties, but we live in a world where change is inevitable and is happening very rapidly.  But you could go back to 1963 and change the skin tone of Professor X to absolutely any color at all, and it wouldn’t have altered the course of history one bit.

He’d still have has had his legs crushed by the Shadow King.  He still would have gone toe-to-toe with Phoenix on the psychic plane.  He still would’ve gotten shot by Stryfe and been the first guy to have the Legacy Virus.  He still would’ve mind-fucked hundreds of people and become Onslaught.  And so forth and so forth.  A black Xavier, Hispanic Xavier, Asian Xavier wouldn’t have changed the course of the character’s history one bit.  Just because he was white in six decades worth of comic books doesn’t mean he couldn’t be presented as non-white in what would be at the very most, a series of films.

But seeing people take shots at his polish, his acting ability and other reasons to criticize the guy when they’re really just objecting to the fact that his skin tone doesn’t match Ben Affleck’s, is insulting and is bullshit.  When the day is over, the right performer should be the one to get the role, regardless of the color of their skin.  I mean, look at the shitty 2003 Daredevil speaking of Ben Affleck.  The film was horrendous, but one of the few things they did get right was casting a very black Michael Clarke Duncan as the role of the historically very white Kingpin.  Regardless of skin color, Duncan is a tank of a man who commands a room, has swag and is convincingly physically invincible, much like the character he portrayed.  Naturally, there was much complaints about that as well, but to its credit it still came to fruition.

Plus, Patrick Stewart isn’t getting any younger.  Y’all remember seeing his cameo in [spoiler redaction]?  Eyes all sinking in with age, not entirely sure the wheelchair was just a prop.  When he was a layup for the role of Professor X, those Bryan Singer X-Men flicks were literally two decades ago.  Stewart is 82 years old.  Eighty-two years old.  At the very most, Professor X was probably in his early fifties in the comics, in “present” canon.  Absolutely no disrespect to Picard.  He is the living embodiment of how Professor X was originally portrayed.  But my man is getting old.  He is old.  He doesn’t need to be continued to be trotted out, and then get the digital Luke Skywalker treatment.  Let the change happen.  Change.  Is.  Needed.

Hopefully the stiffs at Disney/Marvel/ESPN/FOX will be capable of not caving into their white racist brethren when it comes time to eventually start casting for the introduction of mutants into the MCU, and make the right fucking call: Giancarlo Esposito as Professor X.

The Clock King is most definitely the worst villain ever

A long time ago, I posed the question if The Clock King really was a villain, in the grand spectrum of things.  That he really was just a punctual and time-considerate individual in a world full of shitheads that don’t have such qualities, and he’s the one that gets painted to look like the bad guy, and eventually a member of Batman’s rogues gallery.  Back then, it didn’t really seem fair to me that he was considered a villain and I wanted to open that discussion to my then-six readers.

But after a weekend like this past one, and 2+ years of parenting, all I can really think of now is that not only is The Clock King most definitely a villain, he’s without a shadow of a doubt the greatest evil in all of comics.  Worse than Darkseid, worse than Doomsday, worse than the Joker.  Worse than Thanos, worse than Kang, worse than Onslaught.  Shit, it transcends comic books, and The Clock King is the greatest evil in the history of, history.  Worse than Hitler, worse than bin Laden, worse than Trump.

Obviously this goes into the obvious notion that there is no greater force in existence than the passage of time, and how it’s unfeeling, unbiased, impervious by nobody, and never ending.  Which means those who wields it to greatest effect, like The Clock King, are basically the worst people ever.

At this current juncture of my life, there’s seldom any time in which I am not up against a clock on a fairly regular basis, and there are times in which it becomes absolutely maddening and fills me with despair and levels of stress that I have a hard time coping with.  By individual nature, I am a punctual person who believes in punctuality and adequate lead time; I hate to rush, I like getting to my destinations early, and as a worker I believe that 15 minutes early is on time and on time is late.

But since I’ve gotten older and had kids, my agenda is always packed full of things for other people, I’m routinely stretched past capacity, and I’m way more prone to being late to things, and I concern myself that I’m developing a reputation of being flaky and unreliable.  Or just a typical parent maybe.  Regardless, it goes against everything that I’ve always put a lot of conscionable effort into maintaining, and I have a hard time dealing with the seemingly endless stress that comes with being up against the clock.

Continue reading “The Clock King is most definitely the worst villain ever”

The forced watching of Doctor Strange 2

The worst part about big blockbuster and/or Marvel films is the feeling that if you don’t see it immediately, as in opening night immediately, you will inevitably get spoiled in some capacity within the next 24 hours.  Be it some passing graphic on social media, a news feed analyzing a massive spoiling plot point, or some rando internet friend who thinks they’re way more clever than they actually are and giving away something critical, if you don’t watch the film with some sense of urgency, you will without uncertainty, have something ruined for you.

Ironically, I’m not even really that big of a fan of Doctor Strange.  I wasn’t ever a fan of his in the actual comic books, despite knowing he was something of a big deal considering just how many crossovers he ended up in.  The MCU, as it has demonstrated on numerous occasions, made him somewhat cool and digestible, and I think Benedict Cumberbatch has breathed adequate life into the character. 

The first film, I didn’t even see in a theater and instead watched it on an international flight, since I had 8-13 hours to kill in the air, which wasn’t too bad.  The funny thing is that he’s way more interesting in other characters’ films than his own, but obviously for the sake of moving the entire MCU phase plot along, of course he’s going to get his own film(s) from time to time.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was a no-brainer of a film that had to have been seen with urgency and I’m glad that I did.  And Doctor Strange was pretty good in that film as well as an extremely critical player in the grand spectrum of the plot.  But ultimately, it ended up being more obnoxious and feeling like a sense of inconvenience that I had to put forth the same effort in order to see Doctor Strange 2, even if it seemed like this was going to be a critical film in the overarching MCU phase storyline; it’s still Doctor Strange, a character that I’ve always been kind of ambivalent about, in general.

Regardless, mythical wife and I made a point and made some arrangements to where we were actually able to go out for a night and watch Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness.  My general theater experience was tarnished by the shitty quality of service we had and I never got my actual fucking entrée and they had the audacity to try and get me to pay for it, but as far as the film itself went, it wasn’t that bad.

Cumberbatch once again makes Doctor Strange not so much of a square, and injects some actual personality into the character.  And I suppose it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that the film basically ends up becoming the film sequel to WandaVision, seeing as the Scarlet Witch was primarily featured in the post-credit preview of the film after Spider-Man, not to mention Elizabeth Olsen is very predominantly featured on all film advertising.

As predicted, the film does kind of blow open the MCU in general, and between this film, the events from the Loki television series, and a lot of the shit alluded to in No Way Home, it’s almost brain-bending on how Marvel is even going to proceed from here, not to mention they’ve unlocked the ultimate plot devices that effectively allows any and all properties to be retconned and revised at a moment’s notice.

But as a standalone film, I’d say that DS2 is about a 6-7 out of ten.  A lot of crowd-popping cameos and ah-ha moments don’t really mask that the core plot of the film was a little on the weaker side of things, and there’s some pretty big plot holes that are poked open in WandaVision that beg to be asked.  The film effectively acts more like a vehicle to the overarching phase and tends to lose track of the fact that it’s still supposed to be about Doctor Strange, but all in all, I was still entertained and walked out of the theater ready to discuss and try to suppress excessively mansplaining anything that mythical wife might not have been familiar with.

However, back to the original hypothetical, on whether or not Doctor Strange 2 is worthy of being a must-see on an opening day?  I wouldn’t say so.  But solely because of the fact that I didn’t want to be spoiled to any MCU-isms and ah-has, I still felt like I was forced to do so, which makes me feel a little bit resentful of the way social media and the internet has created such a dynamic.  Fuckin’ ruins everything.

Morbius bad film??  How can that be??

Shocker of the century: Morbius starring Jared Leto is not garnering favorable reviews

Who would’ve imagined that??  (Me)  That a film based on Morbius the Living Vampire, a D-class Spider-Man villain would have any modicum of success, especially in a film universe where it will have nothing to do with, Spider-Man?

I mean Jesus Christ, this was about as predictable as the internet exploding over Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.  Anyone who had any inkling of idea of what these properties originated from, or even just followed comic books or movies in general probably knew that Morbius was a terrible idea from the start. 

It was the very definition of scraping the barrel looking for ideas to make into films, and someone over at Sony was probably like, “eh, who’s this Morbius guy?  He’s in Spider-Man, and he’s a vampire!  People like Spider-Man and maybe people are still into shit like Twilight, so let’s green light this!”  But having zero idea that Morbius is a fifth-rate villain and basically was more of a vehicle for Blade to come in than anything else.

Regardless, the project survived the pitch and concepting and actually came into fruition.  And to nobody’s surprise, the reviews are not doing so hot, and are currently at the time I’m writing this, on a historically bad pace, but again, it’s more surprising that gas prices have actually dropped below a leading 4, than finding out that Morbius is garbage.

In the past, I used to makes jokes about how I wouldn’t see this thing even if it were pirated, or I’d watch something pirated and state how I wanted my money back despite seeing it for free.  But with as little time I have these days, it would be a tremendous offense for me to even consider wasting any bit of my precious free time on a turd like Morbius.

But this post still must come to fruition to point out the obvious fact that I called this two years ago when it was announced, but Hollywood most certainly doesn’t let perception, facts or just plain bad ideas stand in their way of their pursuit for a buck here and there.

Just because it’s a Marvel property doesn’t automatically make it a key to the money printer.  And as more and more major properties get gobbled up by the film industry, there are bound to be more and more Morbius-shaped turds to come into existence in the future.  The bar appears to have been re-set by Morbius and it’s anyone’s guess to what the next shitty Marvel installment will be; but at least Jared Leto is off the table for a little while.

Spider-Man: No Way Home thoughts

It goes without saying that there are going to be spoilers galore here.  Short of saying it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it a lot, it’s going to be difficult to really talk about the film without there being any spoilers.

So, it was a fun movie, and I did enjoy it a lot.  This was the first film that I saw in a movie theater in over two years, and I couldn’t have picked a better film to go out and feel like a human being, albeit masked one, for an evening again.

Continue reading “Spider-Man: No Way Home thoughts”

You know, Hawkeye’s not that turrible

It’s really no surprise though, considering how often chicken shit is spun into palatable, digestible chicken salad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I started watching Hawkeye recently, and three episodes in, I have to say that it’s not the worst property ever turned into a show or movie.

Let’s be real here, it’s not uncommon knowledge that Hawkeye is one of the lamest Avengers in the history of the Avengers, and by himself among the lamest IPs of the Marvel universe.  When it became apparent that just about everyone in the phase one of the MCU was going to get some degree of spotlight, one of the most common queries was probably, “even Hawkeye?”

And most likely in the spirit of equitability, we have a Hawkeye series, which is kind of ironic seeing as how the longform storytelling of a television series seems far preferable to a standalone film, and it’s hard to believe that of all the guys to get a prominent spotlight, Hawkeye would be among them.

But if there’s anyone who is aware of the stigma of the lameness that is Hawkeye, it’s the show itself, all the way from the writers, show runners and characters themselves.  As a whole, everyone seems very aware that Hawkeye is lame, to where it’s so far been kind of a theme of the show itself, and by doing so, actually earns a little bit of credit and endearment from watchers like me just waiting for the show to even sniff jumping the shark or wrestling with DJ Tanner, to get ready to point the finger and say I told you so.

By doing such, the show seems to earn a little bit of bullet protection from harsher criticisms, and it doesn’t hurt that the show really isn’t that so much about Hawkeye as much as it’s about Clint Barton the man, and his former alter-ego in Ronin, as well as sharing the spotlight with Kate Bishop, who serves to be the personality sidekick that Barton need to not give into the lameness so often. 

I’m only three episodes in, but it hasn’t been all that bad.  The show moves at a steady pace and doesn’t feel too drug out, and regardless of what the title of the show is, all MCU television series are all concurrently working towards larger storylines, so it’s only a matter of time before some hard hints, or a cameo or appearance from another property crops up to make viewers react like they’re NBA players watching a dunk contest when it becomes apparent of what is in the works.

As I’ve said before (I think), in MCU we trust, because if this is any indication, those writers and show runners really know how to make even the lamest properties tolerable.  The Netflix crew demonstrated it by making Iron Fist watchable, and now the Disney+ squad has made even Hawkeye tolerable.  That, is pretty impressive, and makes me not feel pessimistic about the remainder of the series.