‘Iron Fist’ Announcement Teaser

On the heels of Luke Cage comes a new teaser for Iron Fist.

Finn Jones as Danny Rand is going to be an excellent addition to the already fantastic Netflix corner of the MCU. The series will introduce the billionaire kung fu master into the mix of the street level heroes in New York City.

In the comics, after years spent in the mythical city of K’un-Lun, Danny Rand— the son of Wendell Rand, co-founder of Rand-Meachum Inc.— returns home vowing revenge for the murder of his father at the hands of his business partner, Harold Meachum. Meachum saw an opportunity to take over control of Rand-Meachum and he seized it when he cut Wendell’s safety rope as the two were crossing a crevasse in the Himalayas on their way to K’un-Lun.

It’s also possible we will get to learn more about The Hand as the series will likely include The Chaste.

The Chaste is an ancient organization created to fight The Hand and stop them from deploying Black Sky. Their warriors have extraordinary mental and physical abilities and their names derive from powers or weapons they have mastered. Maybe we won’t have to wait until season three of Daredevil to see Elektra (Elodie Yung) again as she was resurrected as Black Sky at the end of Daredevil season two.

Iron Fist Premieres March 17th 2017 on Netflix.

Billionaire Danny Rand (Finn Jones) returns to New York City after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fights against the criminal element corrupting New York City with his kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist.

SOURCE: MARVEL

‘Luke Cage’ Season 1 Spoiler Review

Sweet Christmas. Harlem’s hero is here and its about damn time. The new Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage made it’s debut over the weekend, crashing Netflix’s servers along with it. The bulletproof superhero is a well-written, well-cast series that continues to push the bounds of what is achievable on television. Mike Colter is a force as Luke. He wasn’t just playing Luke Cage. He is Luke Cage.

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A hero meant to inspire hope and the battle for Harlem’s soul.

Sweet Christmas. Harlem’s hero is here and it’s about damn time. The new Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage made its debut over the weekend, crashing Netflix’s servers along with it. The bulletproof superhero is a well-written, well-casted series that continues to push the bounds of what is achievable on television. Mike Colter is a force as Luke. He wasn’t just playing Luke Cage. He is Luke Cage.

The first episode takes its time introducing us to the world of Harlem and the culture that is integral to the show. This is the first Marvel series that feels as if it not only takes place in our world, Luke Cage is now.

By the end of episode two, the story kicked into high gear and Luke began his journey to become a hero. The loss of Pops (Frankie Faison) was tragic but necessary. Luke needed his call to action and there couldn’t have been a more powerful way of thrusting him into the center of the drama. Luke knew the only way to shut down Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) was to destroy him one piece at a time until there was nothing left. But you could tell the clock was already ticking for the villains. These gangsters were doing a good enough job at tearing each other apart. Luke helped accelerate their downfall.

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Mike Colter as Luke Cage. (Netflix)

The fourth episode was no doubt one of the best in the series. The flashbacks were seamlessly integrated with the present day storyline and featured some incredible editing in the sequence where Luke punched his way out of prison in the past and the rubble in the present.

The villains of the show are a mixed bag but for the most part positive. Theo Rossi is a talented actor, however. His performance as Shades wasn’t that great at first. I don’t think he realized it, but the moment he stepped into the room with Mahershala Ali, he was gobbled up by Ali’s talent. Rossi was cheesy and seemed out of place. But as the episodes went on, especially once he started having scenes with Alfre Woodard, he evolved and elevated his performance to the same level as the cast around him.

Mahershala Ali as Cottonmouth gives Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk a run for his money. He was brilliantly unpredictable as the suave gangster at the top of Harlem. His sense of humor provided a levity that made him likable so when it came time for his origin story you truly felt for him. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the guy. It didn’t matter how high he rose in power; he would always be standing on that balcony looking down on the club’s musicians with envy. What moved me most about his character was the look of admiration in his eye whenever Luke was in the room. Luke possessed the integrity that he lost forever when he was forced to murder his Uncle.

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Mahershala Ali as Cornell Stokes A.K.A. Cottonmouth. (Netflix)

Where the series faltered was the way in which its criminals were handled. Cottonmouth was dangerous. His goons, not so much. They were cheesy and it takes you out of the gritty realism that is present throughout much of the show. They sure did some shady stuff out in the daytime huh? But in a way that cheese factor helped lend itself to a Marvel meets The Wire sort of feel.

Alfre Woodard was exceptional as she played Mariah Dillard with tremendous conviction. As corrupt and as criminal as she was, I had so much respect for how far she was willing to go to improve Harlem. It was truly shocking when she murdered her cousin Cottonmouth. Nobody expected his death so early. It was disappointing to see such a talent exit with six episodes left to go but it made sense. Cottonmouths death was crucial to the destabilization of the criminal climate in Harlem. The show would have also risked feeling overcrowded with villains if he was still in the mix once Diamondback finally made his debut.

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Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage. (Marvel/Netflix)

The midpoint of this series was unbelievable. From Luke being shot to Cottonmouths death, it was twist after twist after twist. My head was spinning. It felt like anything could happen at that point. No one was safe.

As grounded as this series was, even with super strength and cellular regeneration in the mix, it was the introduction of bullets made from alien technology that helped take this show to the next level while still remaining inherently street. Episode six felt like it could have been a finale but the twists of the sixth, seventh, and eighth installments helped set a new stage and rejuvenate the series’ life for the final five episodes, making this one of the most binge-worthy shows ever. (Daredevil should take note of this.)

The final five episodes were exceptional. We got to fully discover Luke’s backstory in Georgia and out came the heartbreaking truth about Reva. It had been frustrating me that we didn’t know more about the history of these characters as I was watching but the brilliant writers held back, waiting for the perfect moments to dole out the truth of the past, having the most impactful effect possible on the present.

Luke coming to the understanding that he wasn’t in love with Reva, rather he was infatuated with the idea of Reva was probably the most real moment in the entire show. Luke is good, though. He and Claire are already Mom and Dad.

The dynamic between Misty Knight and her Lieutenant was also impressive. Instead of Misty butting heads with the L.T. for the duration of the series, instead, she began to learn from her superior and grew because of it. Without that, I don’t think Misty would have been able to survive the series. Thank god she did because she is amazing. The way she was edited back into the crime scenes for her visions was incredible.

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The end of the series was incredibly powerful and inspirational as a bulletproof black man in a hoodie became a hero. Luke battled for his and Harlem’s soul in the street with Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey), sporting a hammer tech suit that was a perfect adaption of his look from the comics. Diamondback was scary and entertaining but I thought he overplayed most of the time, however. He did come to play ball in the climactic showdown with Luke. The action in the Netflix corner of the MCU isn’t as epic as the feature films but that’s what makes it stand out. It’s raw and the fights are much more creative and artistic with the stunts and camera operation. How awesome was it when Luke delivered that last hit launching Diamond back into the air and leaving him nothing more but a broke ass?

What I loved the most about the finale is that all of the villains who were alive at the beginning were still alive at the end. In Luke Cage, the bad guys can win. We can assume we’ll see the return of Mariah Dillard and Diamondback in the inevitable second season.

Luke is heading back to prison but we know that isn’t going to last.

8.9 – GREAT

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‘Star Wars Rebels’: Holocrons of Fate Spoiler Review

Season 3 continues with the return of Darth Maul and includes some very intriguing developments. The episode which airs tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET is already available on DisneyXD and Xfinity On Demand.

Season three continues with the return of Darth Maul and includes some very intriguing developments. The episode which airs tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET is already available on DisneyXD and Xfinity On Demand.

After Maul takes the Ghost Crew hostage, Kanin and Ezra must work together to retrieve the Sith Holocron back from the Bendu. The two share a touching moment when Kanin helps Ezra to forgive himself for the events on Malachor, seemingly restoring the balance in their relationship.

Ezra took a step in the right direction when he refused to open up the Sith Holocron. Is there still Hope for Ezra? Or is it already too late? Once down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

We also learn Holocrons are more than just libraries of information. When joined together, a Jedi and Sith Holocron provide clairvoyance. They can reveal the answer to any secret, provide wisdom, and reveal every destiny through the force. But the Bendu warns such knowledge comes with a price…

The episode was solid as a whole but what makes this one special was the end. Maul and Ezra work to join the Sith and Jedi Holocrons together. Maul seeks hope while Ezra wants to know how to defeat the Sith. They struggle to see what the force is showing them as Kanin attempts to stop the two from learning anything that could come with a price. But before he can reach them Ezra speaks the words “Twin Suns”. Ezra has to be seeing Luke as he looks out at the binary sunset from his homestead.

Maul and Ezra lose control of the Holocrons connection resulting in a burst of energy that blasts everyone back. Maul uses this opportunity to escape. As he does he seems shook. He repeats the words “He lives” twice as he boards his ship and takes off. If Ezra was seeing Luke on Tatooine then its seems likely Maul saw Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Maul also revealed that he knows Kanins true identity to Hera. What kind of repercussions could this have for Kanin?

The only negative for this episode is that it was completely implausible for Kanin to survive when Maul ejected him out the airlock. He would have been dead in seconds. Other than that it was a fine episode that advanced the story nicely.

3.9/5 – Solid

‘Luke Cage’ Showrunner On The Shows ‘Inclusive Blackness’

Luke Cage comes at a time when a bulletproof black man couldn’t be any more relevant. Speaking with students at Morgan State University on Thursday, Showrunner Cheo Hodari Choker discussed the shows ‘inclusive blackness’.

Luke Cage comes at a time when a bulletproof black man couldn’t be any more relevant. Speaking with students at Morgan State University on Thursday, Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker discussed the shows ‘inclusive blackness.’

I see ‘Luke Cage’ as what I call ‘inclusive blackness.’ When I say that the show is ‘inclusively black.’ I mean that it is a deep meditation on our culture, but it’s done in such a way that when people watch the show, they don’t feel like they’re excluded from the story or the experience of watching the story.

The show features a mostly African-American cast and it’s incredibly refreshing. Even though the show is dealing with superpowers, theres something about it that feels more true to life than anything else Marvel has done in the past.

Coker also commented on the current state of racism in Hollywood.

The racism in Hollywood is not usually just ‘Oh, you’re black, you can’t do it.’ The new racism is not getting the benefit of the doubt, meaning that you’re not considered for projects because you’re black.

My hope is that the show will be looked back on as a milestone in entertainment history. One that paved the way for superheroes of all races leading their own films or television shows.

I’m currently nine episodes deep into the series and thoroughly enjoying it. Mike Colter is fantastic as Luke and Misty Knight(Simone Missick) is sure to be the fan favorite, however. The stand out performances are coming from the antagonists Mariah Stokes (Alfre Woodard) and Cornell Stokes a.k.a. Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali).

To see what else Coker had to say head on over to the Baltimore City Paper.

Luke Cage is now streaming on Netflix.

SOURCE: BALTIMORE CITY PAPER

Indy and Short Round Are Back!

Released today by Artist Patrick Schoenmaker, comes a video short titled “The Adventures of Indiana Jones”. Based upon “Escaping The Tomb”, a piece commissioned by Lucasfilm for the abysmal “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. Five years in the making, this animated short features Indy accompanied by his beloved sidekick, Short Round as he swings his way through several adventures.

Released today by Artist Patrick Schoenmaker, comes a video short titled “The Adventures of Indiana Jones”. Based upon “Escaping The Tomb,” a piece commissioned by Lucasfilm for the abysmal “Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. Five years in the making, this animated short features Indy accompanied by his beloved sidekick, Short Round as he swings his way through several adventures. While it doesn’t include the voices of Harrison Ford or Ke Huy Quan, it has a wonderful John Williams -esque score by composers Alexander Reumers and Jorrit Kleijnen.

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Image via Patrick Schoenmaker

In an interview with Inverse.com, Schoenmaker details the process of creating the first ever cartoon version of the iconic hero.

They didn’t ask me to do a print in an animated style, but it was just the natural approach for me. My background is in animation, and the seed for how you’d translate the Indiana Jones character into an animated style was already somewhere in my mind. The print was the best chance to explore that.

The preliminary sketches I had were really cartoony, and I felt that it broke with the Indiana Jones world. If it’s too much of a cartoon, it loses the danger and thrill. It becomes too slapstick. Each draft, I started over with what worked in the previous attempts to keep making it better.

After seeing this short, I’m left wondering why there hasn’t been an Indiana Jones cartoon before? Indy seems ripe for a Saturday morning cartoon series. Can you imagine if someone like Dave Filoni or DisneyXD got behind this?

To read the rest of the interview with Schoenmaker, head on over to Inverse.com.

SOURCES: INVERSE.COM, PATRICK SCHOENMAKER

‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season 3 Premiere Spoiler Review

Star Wars Rebels kicks off the season with a fun and exciting mission developed and lead by Ezra to save Hondo, who is in possession of valuable information that could help the rebels to recover a fleet of Y-wings.

Enter Thrawn! Well, sort of…

Star Wars Rebels kicks off the season with a fun and exciting mission developed and lead by Ezra to save Hondo, who is in possession of valuable information that could help the rebels to recover a fleet of Y-wings. We’re welcomed back into the Star Wars universe quickly as we’re reminded that Stormtroopers still can’t hit anything and it feels great! Right off the bat we are shown just how strong Ezra has grown since we last saw him as he ruthlessly cuts down several Stormtroopers and sends an AT-DP plummeting to its demise. It’s clear he’s chosen the quick and easy path and there’s most certainly going to be consequences for him and the team.

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A blind Kanin Jarrus meets The Bendu in the Season 3 premiere of “Star Wars Rebels”. (Disney XD)

Kanin is off meditating, being summoned by an unknown voice later to be revealed as the Bendu. It is a real treat when Kanin meets the Bendu face to face. The scene was fantastically written and extremely well performed. Most definitely one of the best scenes in the series to date. The only thing negative I’ll say about this encounter is that it seems a bit convenient that the Bendu happens to be on the same planet as the current rebel base but the force works in mysterious ways, right?

As someone who doesn’t have a strong attachment to Grand Admiral Thrawn, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by his introduction. The scenes he was in were absolutely chilling. This calm and calculated genius could very well be the demise of our beloved rebels. My issue was that I wanted more of him. Maybe it was the marketing that made me think he was going to be featured front and center this episode rather than looming from the shadows, mostly…

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Grand Admiral Thrawn makes his debut in the Season 3 premiere of “Star Wars Rebels”. (Disney XD)

The opening and closing action sequences were some of the best action sequences I have ever seen in animation, however. The best thing about this episode was that it featured some great character development for Ezra and Kanin. I found it surprising, T.V. shows don’t normally pack this much character development into a season premiere. Obviously, Ezra has grown a lot in the last few months but he still has a long way to go and he definitely got an idea for just how much on the mission to recover the Y-wings. Kanin reached an incredible turning point with his lesson from the Bendu. Healing from his loss and moving forward. I am so excited to continue on his journey with him! Freddie Prinze Jr. does a truly incredible job conveying the doubt a great warrior would feel after the loss of their sight.

Oh, and one last thing…

Never trust Hondo.

4/5 – Awesome

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‘Rogue One’ Celebration Reel Impressions

Hold on to your butts. In just three months we’ll be fully engrossed in another Star Wars Christmas season being yet again introduced to a slew of new characters, ships and planets never before seen in the ever expanding Star Wars galaxy.

Hold on to your butts. In just three months we’ll be fully engrossed in another Star Wars Christmas season being yet again introduced to a slew of new characters, ships and planets never before seen in the ever expanding Star Wars galaxy. Only time will tell whether or not Garreth Edwards was the right choice to helm the first of many Star Wars spinoffs but as it stands Edwards looks to have crafted what could be the most immersive experience yet in the film franchise. Even the biggest skeptics, including myself, who were left bored by Edwards’ other films are scratching their heads wondering how the hell this film could be boring after that action-packed sizzle reel.

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Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Cap. Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Lucasfilm)

The reel opens showcasing a battle scene that is no doubt the Star Wars version of Omaha beach. The film looks to have pulled many visual influences from war films such as Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, and Platoon. Yet the film still feels unquestionably Star Wars. This has many of us wondering what other kinds of genres could be blended into the Star Wars universe going forward. The possibilities really are endless.

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Garreth Edwards behind the camera. (Lucasfilm)

As with any Lucasfilm production, you would expect there to be some incredible filmmaking behind this project and Rogue One looks to be no different. In much of the reel Garreth Edwards can be seen being a boss behind the lens during sequences featuring practical effects. In some shots, rather than using green screen, Edwards has chosen to use projection screens giving the actors something to look at as well as act off of. This will surely help to avoid the wooden performances captured in the blue screen vacuums the prequels were filmed inside of.

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Ben Mendelsohn as Director Orson Krennic. (Lucasfilm)

What might be most exciting is how many new things we will see for the first time in the Star Wars universe. In the Skywalker Saga things are usually black and white. However, some of the new canon novels have delved into grey area of the galaxy. As we learned in Lost Stars, there are good people in the empire. Good people who end up on the wrong side. Rogue one will explore the grey area. Fans of the Clone Wars are familiar with the character of Saw Gerrara but in December, Forrest Whittaker will introduce a wider audience to a rebel freedom fighter whose tactics are considered too extreme for the rebellion.

We will also be treated to the first hand to hand combat action scene in the franchise. In past Star Wars films we have experienced the most jaw dropping and breathtaking action sequences in history. From the trench run to the lightsaber duel on Mustafar, the action has always been epic. Maybe that’s what makes the action in Rogue One look so refreshing. Sure, punches have been thrown throughout lightsaber duels in the past but never has anyone just ripped off their gloves and gone fist for first.

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Felicity Jones and Diego Luna taking on Stormtroopers. (Lucasfilm)

While Godzilla and Monsters weren’t very good, one impressive quality about both films is how Edwards managed to hone in and focus on the characters against the backdrop of something large and fantastical. Judging from the teaser trailer and the celebration reel, it certainly seems Edwards has managed to do that again. Maybe that’s why he was Kathleen Kennedy’s choice to helm the first spinoff of the franchise.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16, 2016.