Tag Archives: The Force Awakens

A few quick words on Season 2 of “Daredevil”

As though you hadn’t guessed, I absolutely loved Netflix’ second season of “Daredevil.”  It might have had a problem with its concluding Elektra storyline, but I’d still rate it a perfect 10 — I just can’t give a lower rating to a season that made me cheer out loud while watching it.

I really loved it that much.  I’ve started to think of this gritty little corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as my own “Star Wars” — these are characters that I grew up with, and to whom I’ve developed an emotional attachment, however strange or childlike that may seem to non-fans.  If adults can cheer during the opening crawl of “The Force Awakens,” then I can cheer “KICK THEIR ASSES, MATT!!” when the ninjas of “The Hand” noiselessly and acrobatically swarm Daredevil.

It’s just a superb show.  On one level, it’s a good character drama and legal thriller that can easily please a modern mainstream television audience.  On another level, one of those characters just happens to be a low-level hero in the Marvel Comics universe.

The show succeeds nicely on the first level and goddam brilliantly at the second.The martial arts and costuming are perfect.  John Bernthal is perfectly cast as The Punisher.  It’s a cliche, and something I’ve written here before, as well, but I’ll say it again anyway — Netflix succeeded in bringing some of my favorite comic book characters from page to screen.

My only minor criticism is that the Elektra storyline was muddled, and understandably confusing for those who haven’t read the source material.  (And if memory serves, it wasn’t all that easily understood in the original comics.)

Now bring on Bullseye!!



My spoiler-free review of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)

This review of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be necessarily brief, for fear of spoilers.  And when I say “fear of spoilers,” I really do mean FEAR of spoilers.  There are people out there who will burn your house down if you ruin this long-awaited film’s surprises.

I really liked it.  I would somewhat grudgingly give it a 9 out of 10, as I can’t match the sheer ardor of its global legions of fans.  (Yes, “Star Wars” was a big part of my childhood, but I have more or less gotten over it.  I read last night, for example, that filmmaker Kevin Smith actually cried upon stepping aboard the Millennium Falcon when he visited the set; I am not quite as nostalgic as that.)

In short, it absolutely succeeds as a fun space fantasy, and recaptures the spirit of the original “Holy Trilogy.”  It easily surpasses the much-maligned prequels on nearly every level, including screenwriting, acting and special effects.  The predominance of practical effects over those that are exclusively digital make this movie’s universe feel “real” and “lived in.”

We finally have relatable characters again who sound real, and who can invite viewer sympathy.  The dramatic interaction among our newer heroes and returning icons is both logical and emotionally involving.  I was surprised at how well this movie handled the passing of the torch.  It was a kind of skilled storytelling that was almost entirely absent from the last three films.  And the special effects were top notch.

My only mild quibbles might reflect a greater degree of objectivity that you might hear from someone who is not a raging fan of the series.  This film so closely parallels the original “Star Wars” (1977) that at times it started to feel like a remake.  Were the similarities in structure, characters, plot points, planets and villains all an intentional homage?  I suggest that our bad guys here, for example, sometimes feel interchangeable with those of past “Star Wars” films.  I want to say more, but can’t, because of spoilers.  Am I the only person who noticed these things?

I also submit that, like a few other “Star Wars” movies, our characters are rendered with little depth, with sparse information about their skills, motivations, backgrounds or ideosyncrasies.  The dialogue is thin.  Consider lines like “He’s my friend!” and “Because it’s the right thing to do.”   And we are presented with no information about why the speaker here is so noble, when others are not.  Even if the screenwriting here is better than the prequels, it’s still not Tennessee Williams.

It’s all very forgivable, I guess, just so long as the viewer remembers that they’re sitting down to an installment in a film franchise originally intended for young people.  It’s kid stuff.  It’s really, really good kid stuff, but it’s kid stuff.  (Don’t burn my house down!)

And the reason I chose a 9 rating instead of an 8 was primarily the enjoyment I got from seeing familiar faces.  The return of our icons was surprisingly well depicted and, if you loved “Star Wars” as a kid, then that should be enough to make this a “must-see” movie.




I’m already kinda tired of hearing about “Star Wars,” but …

… when I travel through Union Station this week, I’ll damn sure scope out the locations where “Manhunter” (1986) and Ridley Scott’s “Hannibal” (2000) were filmed.  Because I’m a different kind of nerd.

Not gonna ride the carousel and touch some girl’s hair, though.  That would be taking things too far.






New “Star Wars” TV spot with additional footage!

And its final shot is a badass view of the Millennium Falcon just barely cresting a treeline.  What a nice change from the special effects of the prequel trilogy, which sometimes looked like a videogame.

I am strongly getting the sense that the coming trilogy will not disappoint, as the prequels did.