*I know nothing of the content of the original comic book that Hawkeye is based on. This review is strictly based on the television series.
After a long-running movie or television series has run its course, it is not surprising if fans need a break. If the narrative is to continue, it is important that the writer(s) and creative teams find new plots that they might not have considered before.
Earlier this week, the MCU/DisneyPlus, Hawkeye premiered. In the opening scene, young Kate Bishop (Clara Stack) is witness to the destruction of New York City during the first Avengers movie. Losing both her home and her beloved father, Derek (Brian d’Arcy James) will forever change her life. We then flash forward to the college-age Kate (Hailee Steinfeld). She returns for winter break after accidentally destroying a building on campus and is unhappy that her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) is engaged to Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton).
Meanwhile, Hawkeye/Clint Black (Jeremy Renner) is in the city with his kids to enjoy the Christmas season. He hopes that his only interaction with his superhero past is a dreadful musical adaptation. It’s supposed to be an ordinary family vacation. But fate, his past, and Kate Bishop force him to pick up his bow and arrow once more.
So far, only the first two episodes have been released. What I have seen so far, I like. There is a nice balance of action and comedy. Clint’s reluctance to become Hawkeye again is the yin to the yang of Kate’s eagerness to show that she can be as badass as he is. The emotional hook is not the physical aspect of the story, but how both Kate and Clint have to deal with the issues in their personal lives.
The beauty of a world like the MCU universe is that the number of stories that can be told is nearly endless. Over the last year or so, DisneyPlus has released four different series that extend the narrative beyond the ones that exist on the big screen. The list below is my ranking of the existing series.
Loki: Tom Hiddleston shines once more as the trickster g-d turned hero. With Owen Wilson as a mid-level bureaucrat and Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie/the Variant, the program takes one of Marvel’s most beloved and iconic characters in surprising directions.
WandaVision: A loving rip-off of the family sitcom over the decades, Elisabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany returned to the roles of Wanda Maximoff and Vision. An allegory of grief and loss, it speaks to how difficult it is to lose the ones we love. The highlight at least for me, was Kathryn Hahn as nosy neighbor/baddie Agatha Harkness. That is a character for the ages
What If…: This animated series takes the narrative into new directions, introducing new storylines and mixing characters in ways that do not fit into the big screen timeline. From a writing perspective, this program is completely unique and a lovely way to take this world to places where it had not been before.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Taking place after Avengers: Endgame, this is sort of a buddy comedy meets series with a not-so-subtle political message. Though it was did not quite hit the mark as other series did, it was still relatively engaging. The addition of Erin Kellyman’s character, who turns from baddie to hero was a nice twist that I happily did not see coming.
The truth about men and women is that neither is better or has more rights than the other. Both are equal and both deserve the same treatment. But it is only in recent memory has this idea start to take hold and become accepted practice.
The new FX series, Y: The Last Man, is based on the comic book of the same name. It is set in a futuristic world in which all men have suddenly died. The only man to survive is Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer). With Senator turned President Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane) in control of country, a new order must be established. While Jennifer has her hands on the wheel of the nation, Yorick is on a voyage to understand why every other male is deceased and he is still in the land of the living.
The concept of this show is certainly interesting. The idea of women being forced to stand on their own two feet is always an interesting one. The problem is that the slow burn is too slow. I would have preferred less of a buildup to the inciting incident instead of waiting to the end of the first episode.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
Y: The Last Manairs on FX on Monday and is available for streaming on Hulu.
Audiences love a good antagonist. They have the ability to make the narrative more interesting and challenge both the protagonist and the audience.
The new DisneyPlus series, Loki, premiered on Wednesday. It start where Avengers: Endgame left off. When Loki (a glorious Tom Hiddleston) is able to get his hands on the Tesseract, he evades justice. But it is a short escape. Captured by the Time Variance Authority or TVA, he is accused of changing the timeline. His minder, Mobius (Owen Wilson) is in charge of building the TVA’s case against the prisoner. But when a greater evil emerges, Loki may turn from villain to hero.
What a way to kick off a new series. Hiddleston, Wilson, and company are having fun and it shows. I loved the transition from Loki being a straight up baddie to a complicated character who you want to root for, in spite of his past. Kudos goes to the production design team who created a set colored by shades of 1970’s brown and burnt orange. It is a nice change from the bright and colorful world that the Avengers live in.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
New episodes are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.
As children, all we want is to please our parents and make them proud of us. When that wish stays with us as adults, it holds a power over our lives as few things can.
The new Netflix series, Jupiter’s Legacy, is based on the comic book by Mark Millar of the same name. Sheldon Sampson/The Utopian (Josh Duhamel) is not the young man he was once was. Part of a society of superheroes, he has lived by a code of ethics that has been his moral backbone for decades. Married to Grace Kennedy Sampson/Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb), they have two grown children. Their son Brandon, known as the Paragon (Andrew Horton) is doing everything he can to live up to his father’s expectations. But no matter what he does, nothing feels like it will ever be enough. Their daughter, Chloe (Elena Kampouris) has chosen another life entirely.
It is up to Brandon and Chloe’s generation to continue the legacy of their parents generation going. But as it usually happens between parents and children, that continuation is complicated.
This review is solely based on the series. I had never heard of the comic book until last night, when I sat down to watch the program. What I liked was that the characters are emotionally and physically fallible, and not the images of perfection that other characters in the genre are made out to be. The first two episodes were fine, but I was lost by the third episode. Whatever emotional connections I made with the characters dissapeared.
Do I recommend it? Maybe
Jupiter’s Legacy is available for streaming on Netflix.
Warning: this post contains spoilers about the finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the episode.
First impressions are just that, especially when it comes to movie or television reviews. Sometimes it takes repeated viewing for a movie or watching multiple episodes of a television show to change the reviewers mind.
I do have to admit that the narrative is a bit messy, but when it came together, it came together beautifully. What started out as an odd couple/buddy comedy/standard MCU fare turned into a partial treatise on the state of the world. Though Sam is known as The Falcon, he is not above dealing everyday racism.
My favorite character is Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman). In my limited experience of this genre, most villains have one goal: to take over the world. They’re pretty cut and dry without room for subtlety. Depending on one’s point of view, Karli and her people are either terrorists or freedom fighters. This murky line has been drawn time and again throughout human history, forcing us to take sides, and determine who is good and who is bad. It is a generality that at best has created enmity and at worst, has led to murder and destruction.
I also appreciate that the character was changed to a woman (and a redhead, for obvious reasons ;)). There are still too many female characters that are boxed in by “traditional roles” and not given the room to be anything else.
It is the type of series that grows on you, which at the end of the day, is never a bad thing.
There comes a point in which a brand has to realize that not every IP needs multiple spinoffs. After the massive success of Endgame and WandaVision, the next logical step is to greenlight other offshoots with other characters from within the same universe. The problem is not every one of them is worthy of it’s predecessor. The problem with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is that while it is entertaining, it is not as good as WandaVision.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.
Warning: This post contains spoilers about the final episode of WandaVision. Read at your own risk if you have not seen it.
The MCU is not known for clean, “they lived happily ever after” endings. The pain and the joy of watching any MCU piece are the dangling story threads, especially are the tantalizing clues that come out of the mid-credit scenes.
If there was ever a guidebook on how to create a season finale, the 9th episode of WandaVision would be found within the first five pages. Kudos to Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Paul Bettany (Vision), Kathryn Hahn (Agnes/Agatha Harkness), and the rest of the cast. The action and the emotion were given equal weight, creating a perfect balance that was equally heart-pounding and heartbreaking.
My favorite moment was when Wanda comes back down to Earth (literally and physically) and realizes what she has done. It was a human moment in a superhuman narrative, forcing the characters and the audience down to take an honest look at the difficult choices that must be made.
If I had to choose between the mid-credit scenes, it would be the final one. The split between Wanda Maximoff as a human being and Scarlet Witch as the magical superhero was a nice representation of the two sides of the same person.
Is anyone else’s head still spinning? Season 2 better come quick.
March is Women’s History Month. This year, I would like to shine a spotlight on some of the female characters who both push against the glass ceiling and inspire us.
Behind Her Eyes (Netflix): It would have been easy to peg Adele (Eve Hewson) as the wronged wife and Louise (Simona Brown) as a modern version of Glenn Close’s character from Fatal Attraction. But both women are given the opportunity to be fully fledged characters that go well beyond the stereotypes.
Bridgerton (Netflix): For non-fans of the BPD (British Period Drama), Bridgerton would just another Jane Austen-ish historical romance/drama. But fans know that though women are second class citizens in this world, they have other abilities that are not obvious to the naked eye. My favorite characters are Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Lady Danbury (Adjoah Andoh). Instead of mindlessly following in her elder sister’s footsteps, Eloise would love to be free of the constrictions that women are placed under in the 19th century. For her part, Lady Danbury is a badass who knows of her place in society and uses her experiences wisely.
WandaVision (DisneyPlus): Every female character in this series is fully formed. As we learn more about this world and the women who inhabit it, their humanity is revealed in a manner that is normal and natural. They are allowed to be who they are without being pegged as certain character types and forced into boxes that can be easily checked off.
P.S. That series finale last night was nothing short of mind blowing. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for season 2.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC): For a television show to last twenty plus years, it has to have a certain something about it. In a nutshell, what makes it stand out is the difficult subject the show brings to the forefront and the capable female detectives whose job it is to solve the crimes. At the head of the unit is Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Though she has been working sex crimes for decades, the job has not hardened her. She can be tough when she has to be, but she can also be compassion and humane. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) has fought against her demons and survived. That alone is worth its weight in gold. The newest and youngest member of the squad is Katriona Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). Though she still has a lot to learn, she has the passion and the drive to bring the criminals to justice.
Readers, what other female characters inspire you? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
An onscreen or onstage translation of a beloved work of fiction is not as simple as it appears to be. On paper, transforming the narrative and the characters from the page to the screen or the stage seems like a simple process. But the reality is that is difficult task to complete.
WandaVision premiered on Friday on DisneyPlus. Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) are newlyweds. Living in the world of classic family television comedies, it looks like their world is perfect. But there is a dark force hidden beneath the surface.
Before I go further, I have to warn that my knowledge of these characters extends only to the movies. I know nothing of the content in the comic books. That being said, this show is fantastic. I love that the creators used classic television shows to juxtapose the danger that is rumbling under Wanda and Vision’s feet.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely?
New episodes of WandaVision are released every Friday on DisneyPlus.