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Reviews

So far, the Marvel/Netflix partnership seems to be a proverbial match made in heaven. The Netflix shows serve as a darker, grittier companion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and offer up consistently binge-worthy action and drama.

We’ve met the blind lawyer-by-day and conflicted-vigilante-by-night Daredevil; the tough detective Jessica Jones; and the champion of justice with bullet-proof skin Luke Cage. Now, Marvel and Netflix are introducing us to mystical martial arts master Iron First.

“Iron First” generated a lot of buzz before it was released, but unfortunately, a lot of that buzz wasn’t good. It hasn’t received the same praise as the previous Netflix/Marvel offerings and became part of a larger Hollywood discussion on whitewashing. As we gear up for the Defenders team-up later this year, is “Iron First” still worth binge-watching?

While some of Netflix’s previous Marvel shows had their weaknesses — the first season of “Daredevil” was stronger than the second (I loved the Punisher; Elektra, not as much) and the best villain in “Luke Cage” leaves the show too soon — I loved all these shows and generally couldn’t wait to watch the next episode. “Iron Fist” is the first show from this series where I debated whether or not I wanted to keep watching.

Sadly, the first episode of “Iron Fist” is one of the weakest first episodes I’ve seen from a TV series in a long time. The narrative drags, the dialogue falls flat, and the characters don’t click the way they do in the other Marvel/Netflix series. Whether it’s fair or not, it’s tough to watch “Iron Fist” without thinking of the CW’s currently running (and currently better) “Arrow.” Like Oliver Queen, Danny Rand (a.k.a. Iron Fist) was presumed dead by the world, only to return home years later with an unusual set of skills. Unlike Oliver, however, Danny can harness a touch of the supernatural.

The first two episodes didn’t hook me in the way other superhero shows have, and “Iron Fist” takes too long to find its footing. Too much of the early narrative is caught up with Danny just trying to prove his identity. We don’t see enough flashbacks to get the proper context for his character and how he got his powers. I think they also wait a little too long to reveal the full extent of Danny’s magical abilities. It almost feels like the script was rushed and we’re seeing an early draft of something that could have packed a greater punch if it had been more polished.

Even though I kind of wanted to quit watching after the second episode, I’d already decided to watch at least three for my review. While the third episode was an improvement (and I went ahead and watched the fourth), I’d still list “Iron Fist” as the weakest of the Defenders tie-ins.

By now I’m starting to warm up to Finn Jones as Iron Fist. The character is innocent, optimistic, and almost childlike, which I think makes sense considering his background; he had a traumatic event in his childhood and grew up off the grid. He’s struggling to fit back into his old life. I think it will be interesting to see him in a line-up with the other Defenders. Right now, Jessica Henwick as fellow martial arts expert Colleen Wing is the only other stand-out character for me. While there’s a lot of potential for development with some of the other side characters, the series hasn’t given us a truly compelling villain yet who’s on par with the fantastic villains from the other Marvel/Netflix shows: Kingpin, Kilgrave, and Cottonmouth.

Overall, I feel the showrunners missed an opportunity to make “Iron Fist” the “Doctor Strange” of the Netflix Defenders series. So far, “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” and “Luke Cage” have been pretty grounded; “Iron Fist” was a chance to start working more mystical elements into the franchise. It’s possible those elements are more prominently featured in the later episodes; however, I think seeing them sooner would have upped the stakes in the first couple episodes, which are rather languidly paced.

Final verdict? I’m planning to keep watching beyond episode four, not only because I don’t want to miss out on any details that will be featured in the Defenders team-up show, but also because I did see promise in the two most recent episodes I watched. However, it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed that the show doesn’t take full advantage of its potential.

The post TV review: Is ‘Iron Fist’ the weak link in the Marvel/Netflix line-up? appeared first on The ESO Broadcasting Network.

This Scifi News podcast is going to be a bit more adult in content; at least in the beginning. When you listen to the show, you will quickly understand my RAGE!!!!!

I mentioned on the podcast a video podcast with a Young Adults author; Ibi Zoboi. Click here for the link to view the interview.

Now, for the good stuff, what were the “BIG” 3 topics for this week’s Scifi News:

  • Indiana Jones 5 confirmed
  • Thor Ragnarok Entertainment Weekly cover
  • Saturn Awards 2017 Nominations

The post The Monster Scifi Show Podcast – Scifi News for 3/10/2017 appeared first on The ESO Broadcasting Network.

For this week’s Scifi News podcast, Mr. Gene is on the show. As such, this is a heads up warning, Gene and I get graphic and crude with our language and humor. Please be aware, this episode is NSFW nor should it be played with small children around.

So now you must be asking yourself, what are we going to talk about:

Aquaman test footage
Oscars Fail
Bill Paxton passing

The post The Monster Scifi Show Podcast – Scifi News for 3/3/2017 appeared first on The ESO Broadcasting Network.

The time has come to do my 2nd to last Monster Scifi Show for this year. Normally, my Scifi News episodes run about 20-30 minutes but I add more to the show. What will I be discussing? I’ve included 4 movie trailer reviews, 3 Scifi News items, and 5 midseason finale.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Movie Trailers
    • Spiderman Homecoming
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    • Transformers The Last Knight
    • The Mummy
  • Scifi News
    • Van Williams Passing
    • Inhumans Casting News
    • Rogue One Boycott*
  • Midseason Finales
    • Gotham
    • Agents of SHIELD
    • The Flash
    • Arrow
    • Legends of Tomorrow

* There is a slight correction which I need to make. I referred to the Jimmy Smits’ character on Star Wars Rogue One as Antilles and not Bail Organa. This is totally my fault due to hibernation sickness or a lack thereof

By Ashley Pauls/Box Office Buzz

The destruction of the first Death Star was the beginning of the end for the Empire. Not only was it a huge tactical setback, it was also a major morale booster for the Rebellion. Without that key moment, the Death Star would have kept terrorizing and destroying worlds, and the Rebellion likely would have been crushed.

The destruction of the Death Star wouldn’t have been possible without a brave band of rebels stealing the plans, and until now that particular event has been a mere footnote in the Star Wars franchise. “Rogue One” finally tells that story, giving us a glimpse into the birth of the Rebellion and the brave sacrifices that were made to end the tyranny of the Empire.

The story is told through the eyes of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of an Imperial scientist who helped design the Death Star and may or may not still sympathize with the Rebellion. Jyn doesn’t have a lot of love for either side, but when a group of rebels rescue her from an Imperial labor camp, she finds herself caught up in the conflict. Gradually, she comes to believe in the cause and eventually decides to stage a daring break-in at an Imperial records facility. Supposedly, Jyn’s father built a weakness into the Imperials’ super weapon, and if the rebels can steal the plans for the Death Star, they have a shot at bringing the Empire to its knees.

“Rogue One” is a risky Star Wars film. It’s darker and grittier than we’re used to seeing from the franchise, and some of the hallmarks of the series — like lightsabers, Jedi and the Force — play little to no role in the film. Although it definitely still has a Star Wars feel, it’s really more of a traditional war movie, with characters from both sides operating in a moral gray zone. However, it’s a gamble that absolutely pays off, and “Rogue One” ends up being a fresh and exciting addition to the classic franchise. Even though we all know how the story ends (i.e. “A New Hope”), there are still plenty of surprises along the way.

While there are a few familiar faces that show up in this film, the narrative primarily focuses on a new group of characters. It was great to see such a diverse cast, and I wish we had gotten even more background and maybe even a few flashbacks for these characters. For me, the standout characters were the droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) and the blind warrior, Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen). K-2SO is very much a fighter in his own right, and I loved his sense of sarcasm (he gets some of the movie’s best lines). He also has an act of heroism in the film’s final act that is very moving. I also really liked the uniqueness of Chirrut’s character. Although he isn’t a Jedi and doesn’t have traditional Force powers, he remains a devoted follower of the Force and the Jedi teachings. I just thought it was really fascinating that a person who didn’t have the power of the Force himself still believed in it enough to dedicate his life to following it. Even though his official bio says he isn’t Force sensitive, there’s a scene towards the end of the movie that makes me believe the Force actually was guiding him.

The film is a bit of a slow burn at first, and it takes its time to set up the story, gradually raising the stakes. But when you get to the third act — wow. The finale is packed with suspense, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The thrilling battle sequence that takes place on a beach — the one featured so heavily in the trailers — does not disappoint, and there’s also an exciting starship battle taking place above the planet at the same time.

The challenging part of “Rogue One” was always going to be the ending, and I’m sure it’s something the filmmakers spent a long time mulling over. They knew fans were going to be watching the movie and rooting for the rebels. However, a happy ending would have cheapened the film and wouldn’t have communicated the gravity of the sacrifices made by the Rebellion. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I’ll just say that the ending was gut-wrenching and perfect. There are so many emotional moments, and the ending really contributes to the overall poignancy of the franchise.

Finally, no review of “Rogue One” would be complete without mentioning the film’s most anticipated cameo: Darth Vader. I felt they used just the right amount of Vader — not too much and not too little. You’ll see him once, and then the movie will go on. But don’t forget about him, because his second scene — wow (I’m using that word again). I really want to spoil this scene but I won’t; the surprise adds to the whole horror and amazement of his final appearance.

In short, this Star Wars fan left the theater feeling pleased and excited. I want to see “Rogue One” again so I can decide where it ranks in terms of my favorite Star Wars films, but overall I’m very happy and looking forward to more of these Star Wars standalone movies. The Force really does seem to be with Disney!