Agents of SHIELD has been on fire this fourth season, which I shall SPOIL for you. One of its strengths has been splitting its narrative into discrete yet interlocking thirds to keep the momentum wound tight. I’ve complained that the show feels like the MCU’s redheaded stepchild, but ironically this season may be its strongest for having the least direct interconnectivity with Marvel’s movies. The series has built itself up enough that it can now stand on its own.
Remember when Captain America: The Winter Soldier excitingly set-up HYDRA as a major force of modern day villainy? Then how disappointing, albeit believable, it was that the Avengers flattened them out like tortillas under a steamroller in the prologue to Avengers: Age of Ultron? Then recall how HYDRA’s leftovers were somehow even more pathetic in the third season of Agents of SHIELD? Well the Framework’s VR simulation has HYDRA back to being a formidable foe. Not only is this a clever way to reintroduce HYDRA without rolling back the MCU’s stance that it’s been utterly destroyed for real this time, having them in charge feels eerily topical. The HYDRA propaganda posters are a nice touch. I love how the start this arc was named “What If…?” just like the comic series. This is the closest the MCU has come to doing an alternate reality since they’re not ready to dip their toes into an official multiverse like The Flash. It had plenty of callbacks to past seasons including a Bill Paxton tribute. Quit teasing us about Griffin!
Remember when I asked them not to make AIDA evil or seduce Fitz? Well the writers did both! Thankfully it’s executed much more deftly than I’d feared. Then this LMD 3-D prints herself a real human body to acquire free will & unsimulated sensations. She wisely gave herself all the inhuman powers because not only is she Madame HYDRA (unlike AIDA, it’s not actually an acronym), she’s also Super-Adaptoid! After being repressed all season, Mallory Jansen let out all the emotions like a fire hydrant! She honestly deserves an Emmy for doing the most acting!
AIDA as Ophelia as Madame Hydra may be the show’s first costumed supervillain. (That’s kind of sad, albeit less so than giving that honor to Deathlok.) Just like Dr. Strange’s training outfit, her shirt has weird elbow gaps before the cuffs. She even wears a cape in one scene like Veronica Lodge! While far superior to Polaris’s hair in the generic The Gifted, it’s too bad they didn’t dye her hair completely green like
Fire Green Fury on Powerless. (Please get Natalie Morales to reprise that role on a CW show!) Sadly the color grading makes her outfit look practically gray most of the time. Of course she’s also not really Viper as Madame Hydra, but she’s closer than The Wolverine’s version. Whatever her name is, she’s one of the most compelling foes in the MCU.
After my off-brand (?) foray into limited edition food, & Zack Snyder’s reclusive axes, I’m back with a much more mainstream collaboreview of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2! The Wages of Cinema had me back to remember names & tell me I’ve been pronouncing esoteric wrong my whole life!
The first Guardians of the Galaxy may be my favorite MCU movie. This may be because it felt like a Farscape relaunch, the clearest parallel being Star-Lord retooled to be more like John Crichton. (Ben Browder has a cameo in this one!) It’s one of the rare adaptations that change almost everything from the source material while managing to be wonderful. (Meanwhile the 2017 Free Comic Book Day issue of GOTG has Marvel rejigger the team to be even closer to the movie.) It even works as a stand alone space opera without needing to worry about the other Marvel movies. Fortunately this sequel maintains the magic of the first installment without falling into the trap of just rehashing it. Even the credits are fun! The trailers did a great job not spoiling the movie so I would have something to do here!
What I am about to tell you may shock delicate sensibilities: I find pizza to be overrated. What’s wore is that both vegetarians & omnivores have found common ground in not shutting up about how great pizza is. As someone that generally avoids the stuff, I found myself improbably intrigued by the commercials for Little Caesar’s smokehouse pizza. It reminded me of the barbacoa pizza I had at Telepizza. The problem was the nearest Little Caesar’s is over an
owl hour away.
Eventually, I did find an excuse to be in the neighborhood. Do all Little Caesar’s resemble fortified bank lobbies without tables on the inside? Due to the lack of seating & scenery, I had to drive to the nearest comic book shop & eat it in my car like some kind of criminal! (Do criminals often eat pizza in cars? I only ask because what I don’t know about crime could fit in a phone book. Meanwhile what I don’t know about cars could fit in two.) It was delicious! The three barbecued meats (brisket, bacon, & pulled pork) were savory & high quality for the price. I was forced to eat the entire thing by myself! I didn’t know Big Moe Cason was a person before, but now I have reason to implicitly trust him.
A few weeks later, I had another opportunity to pass by a Little Caesar’s. They told me they don’t make the smokehouse pizza anymore. WHAT? Not only did the commercial fail to mention this concoction was a limited time offer, it wasn’t even available for a full two months? This comes on the heels of Blimpie’s & Wendy’s not reviving their explicitly limited offer BBQ pork items. Why is it so difficult for fast food restaurants to keep pulled pork on the menu? There aren’t any chains that specialize in it, so you’d think one of these trial runs would be a grand slam.
Of course the most agonizing of limited edition edibles remains the McDonald’s shamrock shake. This year was even worse because they added an array of mint-chocolate drinks with it & didn’t haven enough STRAWs to go around. (Will they have enough Frorks for Cinco de Mayo?) McDonald’s knows there’s an insane demand for these, so why only make them available around St. Patrick’s Day? They’ve got over forty years worth of market research to show it’s popular enough to keep around. Why does McDonald’s only want my patronage in the spring? I WANT TO DRINK MINTY THINGS ALL YEAR!
Step one: Create demand for your exclusive product. Step two: Abruptly cut off this popular product’s supply. Step three: Profit?
Our long international nightmare is finally over! As the prophecy foretold by last week’s entry brought to you by the letter T, DC shows (well, not Legends of Tomorrow) have returned! Dare ye brave assorted
Stephanie Browns SPOILERS below?
Had he named himself the Griddler, DC could’ve made a mint on licensed waffle irons!
This week, I was invited to two advance movie screenings. One starred Scarlet Witch, Shadow King, & Mantis. The other starred Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, & Punisher. So I went to the first. Not only did I enjoy it very much, it’s tangentially in the nerdy wheelhouse. Unfortunately I’m not supposed to tell you about it because of a stupid NDA which prevents me from building advance buzz for the movie without being subject to legal action. Unless the point of that clause is reverse psychology. Even with the astronomical odds of the studio reading my blog, I’ll err on the side of paranoia & talk toys today.
The Bradford Exchange of Canada is producing a talking 12″ Justin Trudeau doll! Several articles are reporting that this is a bizarre product, seemingly oblivious to the fact that replicas of prominent political leaders are quite common in the high end 1/6 scale doll world. What’s actually bizarre is that the Bradford Exchange & its international affiliate websites refuse to sell this Prime Minister effigy outside of Canada!
Speaking of dreamy world leaders, here’s T’Challa!
Includes authentic Wakandan jungle diorama!
BREAK IT DOWN NOW!
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’s trailer isn’t being unveiled until Friday. It matters not, for Disney let slip the hounds of awesome with the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok! It looks Hela good! (Look forward to me recycling this pun for my review of the whole movie!) Wardrobe committed to Hela’s insane antlers! She had better be getting a Marvel Legends toy unlike most MCU villains! The fact that Loki’s got his horns back instantly makes this a superior film to The Dark World. And instead of focusing on a floating truck, this one’s stuffed to the gills with stuff that fans actually want to see in a Thor adaptation including Jack Kirby wall murals! My concern now is how they’re going to have enough time to introduce Hela, Valkyrie, Executioner, Grandmaster, & maybe Surtur (but no Enchantress or Balder) since Marvel Studios’ master plan didn’t have the foresight to set up any of them previously. I preemptively resent “Planet Hulk” being grafted onto Thor’s final solo movie when so much Asgardian mythos needs fleshing out, but Thor is just so adorable when he sees his friend from work! Please subvert the superheroes pointlessly battling each other trope! The colors are so pretty! The important thing is Taika Waititi’s movie looks like oodles of fun!
Legends of Tomorrow is the most improved DC TV show, but I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it’s the best. It’s still too inconsistent. But when it’s fun, like the last few season two episodes I’m about to SPOIL, it’s very fun!
After being naively sporting with the fate of reality at stake, I really appreciated the Legends taking the initiative to steal the rest of the
Holy Lance Spear of Destiny from the misnomered Legion of Doom’s lair. Firestorm transmuting its obelisk safe into jellybeans was keen! Too bad Reverse-Flash didn’t do a full table flip!
When it was revealed that Christ’s blood could nullify its powers, the show got very close to breaking the fourth wall. Sara Lance: “So we can just go back to the Crucifixion to end this threat to all reality with some fresh Jesus blood?” Rip Hunter: “Wow, the writers didn’t think this Biblical plot device through. We absolutely cannot go back to an established historical event to depower this touched relic lickety-split! Can you imagine how many angry letters we’d get? We’re already borderline sacrilegious enough as it is!”
“My new codename will take you to the bank , Mr. Thawne. To THE BLOOD BANK!”