Thursday, March 19, 2015

MCU Rewatch: Phase 1

I am rewatching (almost) the entire MCU catalog in anticipation of Avengers: Age of Ultron. I am following /r/marvelstudios' viewing order, adding Agents of SHIELD to the list. Not Agent Carter, though, since I doubt it would have any impact on AoU, and I've very recently watched it. Still unsure about Guardians of the Galaxy, with similar reasons to Agent Carter. According to my calculation, assuming 42 minutes per episode for Agents of SHIELD and 50 minutes per episode for Netflix's upcoming Daredevil, this totals to 3,615 minutes of content, or 60 and a quarter hours.

I think I enjoy Captain America: The First Avenger more now than I previously did. Much helped by how much I love The Winter Soldier, no doubt. Also by Agent Carter because I now love Peggy Carter very much. I really enjoy Dominic Cooper's Howard Stark, so I'm hoping for more Agent Carter with a bigger role for him. The issue I have is still the same; I don't care much for the action sequences, so I barely watched the last fight.

Iron Man never fails to entertain me. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect. The part I love most about this first installment is how much time he spent in his garage, building and tinkering with his suit. Trying it on, "flying before walking," and just...having fun. Again, I don't really care about the big fight, between Iron Man and the Iron Monger. Things were more interesting when it was Tony Stark vs. Obadiah Stane.

This is where I cheated. I skipped The Incredible Hulk. I do like the movie in general, and I think Edward Norton was great, but I just...wasn't in the mood... I did watch the after credit scene though, with Tony Stark, which I probably shouldn't because it didn't make sense for the following events.

Iron Man 2, while not fantastic, was enjoyable at the very least because of Sam Rockwell. I still think that they should make Justin Hammer a much more competent rival to Tony Stark, instead of the joke that he was. Not a big fan of Whiplash, so I think it would have benefited from more Hammer and less Vanko; although, depending on if they get to flesh out Anton Vanko's story, it might be satisfying.

Thor is the surprising one. It was definitely my least favorite movie in Phase 1, previously. But, as a few others have mentioned, it actually holds up better than most others. I might be biased because I now love Tom Hiddleston, but it might also just be because I accept the fantastical aspect of it more than I did when I first watched it. I previously thought that Loki would have made a better king than Thor, who's more suited to be a warrior, but the short time when Loki was king of Asgard, he was kind of a dick. I guess Odin was right after all...

And we've arrived to the main course: The Avengers. It was still great fun. One of the best parts about watching this right after Thor is you see how different Loki is in both movies. And, I have to say, I still haven't figured out how he really feels about all this. I can't tell when he's being genuine or when he's trying to manipulate people. There were also so many one liners that were just so much fun. I think it's just because I haven't watched any Joss Whedon stuff in a while though, so I really missed his writing.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter

The first 2 episodes were a lot of fun. I saw a comment on Reddit that puts Agent Carter as James Bond meets Alias meets Mad Men. James Bond with the secret agent with gadgets, Alias with the kick-ass female spy, and Mad Men with the period (even though Agent Carter is technically set two decades earlier than Mad Men). I happen to like all three of these things, and I am definitely liking Agent Carter very much so far.

The show is set right after Captain America: The First Avenger, and I believe it will end at the "Agent Carter" Marvel One-Shot. It's 1946; World War II has just ended and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is still grieving over the loss of Steve Rogers. Peggy, seemingly the only female agent at the SSR, was getting tired of being pushed towards administrative work instead of being allowed more prominent duties. In comes old pal Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), who was being suspected as a traitor. He enlisted Peggy's help to clear his name, running secret missions from within the SSR. Howard loaned Peggy his personal, faithful butler in Edwin Jarvis (James D'Arcy) to help her.

Of course, with a Marvel Cinematic Universe show, they must throw references around. I mean, the first episode started with clips from The First Avenger, and it never stops. My favorite is definitely Dominic Cooper's Howard Stark, and how Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony is pretty much the same as Howard, whether he likes it or not. I guess, in reality, it's Cooper who based his performance on RDJ's, but it's still amazing to see two very different, but very similar performances. The scene of Howard joking around in front of the Congress made me want to rewatch Iron Man. Love the snarky Starks.

Jarvis, who's the inspiration behind Tony's AI that powers everything J.A.R.V.I.S., is also full of snark. I really would love to see Jarvis meet J.A.R.V.I.S. and see how they would react to each other. At the end of the first episode, Jarvis was on the phone with Howard, and it was revealed that they were keeping a secret from Peggy. The one theory I like, and it seems very plausible, is that it wasn't anything bad like the scene made it seem like. Instead, they were just talking about the possibility of appointing Peggy as the first Director of SHIELD. As I've mentioned earlier, the season is set up to the One-Shot, which is when Howard invited Peggy to run SHIELD. Hopefully, this means that season 2 will feature more of Howard Stark! And lots and lots of Peggy-Jarvis action, because I love their relationship.

Speaking of Jarvis, I find it interesting that James D'Arcy stars in the only two shows that I'm currently following weekly: Agent Carter and Broadchurch.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'm actually watching new shows!

I've just watched the first episode of Orange Is the New Black, and I'm definitely in. I'm currently wondering if I could survive even a day in prison. Anyways, I'm still waiting for the next episodes to be...ready.

In the mean time, I'm giving Arrow a second shot. I have faith, seeing how highly rated it now is, but I'd have to be patient and go through the early episodes. Hopefully I can keep myself interested enough to then watch The Flash, maybe Gotham as well. Constantine is also getting decent ratings so I'm adding it to my future-watch list.

Speaking of comic book shows, I am insanely excited for tomorrow's/tonight's (timezone confusion) Agent Carter! Reviews have been very good and my expectations are high, but I'm confident they will deliver. I just wish for lots and lots of Dominic Cooper/Howard Stark.

Other than Agent Carter, the other show I'm following weekly will be Broadchurch season 2. I'm currently watching the first episode and it's as good as season 1. I have yet to watch the American adaptation, Gracepoint, mostly because the mixed reviews. And I don't know if I'm ready for David Tennant in an American accent.

Hopefully, all of these new, shiny things will keep me from going back to rewatching old shows!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This is difficult...

I've finally managed to gather enough courage to continue watching The Good Wife. I'm watching it incredibly slowly, especially compared to how quickly I went through the first 4 seasons. I'm probably only watching one episode a day.

The first episode I watched after my month long break was "Hitting the Fan" in which Will finds out that Alicia is leaving the firm. I would say that Josh Charles' acting is amazing when walking towards Alicia's office to confront her; he was hurt, sad, and angry, and I could see all that just from the closeup of him walking. Then again, maybe I was seeing what I wanted to see because I really don't know much about good acting vs. bad acting. It was quite unbearable, the breakup. This one actually hurts, unlike the actual breakup of Will and Alicia's relationship. This one is final. The betrayal irrevocable.

If there's one thing I didn't like about the last few episodes I've watched, it's the fact that they focus too much on Lockhart/Gardner vs Florrick/Agos. I understand that it's an interesting dynamic, but there's no way two law firms in a city like Chicago keep going against each other, even if it's partially intentional. It also means that we're missing out on some awesome guest stars that we've had in earlier seasons. Those other lawyers are one of the best things about the show, in my opinion.

Right before I started writing this post, I had watched "The Decision Tree." It's one of the most talked about episodes of season 5, and it lived up to my expectation. Again, I'm quite impressed by Josh Charles, just him sitting there, charting his decision tree. A little look to the distance, holding back a few tears in his eyes; it seemed so subtle and simple, yet so impactful. The thing that I've gotten from the last handful of episodes is how hurt Will really is, while Alicia seems stronger. I know that it was Alicia who left so it makes sense for her to be less distressed, but sometimes it looks like she's not affected at all. It makes her seem cold at times. A part of me wants to see Alicia sadder or remorseful, for what she did to Will. It makes me want to write a fanfiction about it; interestingly, this episode actually feels like (a much better version of) a fanfiction I would write for Will, imagining that Alicia would have been far more rattled than she actually was in court. Just a lot of imagined emotions.

I just don't know if I can go on. I'm only 4-5 episodes away from that episode. It's just very hard to continue watching knowing that something horrible is about to happen. I'm not ready for Josh Charles to leave.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Kind of Day Has It Been?

First of all, I'm pleased that the series finale is titled what it's titled. The series in general has had its fair share of critics. The finale, in particular, was very divisive, even amongst fans. From what I've read, I think the biggest criticism was that the finale didn't really end with a bang. Instead, it was very mellow and tied up a few loose threads. I understand people's disappointments in this type of endings, but I enjoyed it.

The biggest surprise of the show is definitely Olivia Munn, and her portrayal of my favorite Newsroom character Sloan Sabbith. Interestingly, Don Keefer, who at the beginning was presented to be somewhat of an asshole, ended up being my second favorite character. I, and many others, would love a Sloan and Don spinoff show (yes, I know Sorkin has said he's done writing TV shows, but I can hope). Olivia Munn is perfect for Sorkin's writing. Or, if he prefers movies, I would love a Sports Night movie. The handful of references they threw during the final episode made it that much harder to not rewatch Sports Night!

You will be missed, Newsroom! I've enjoyed the ride.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I can't seem to stop watching Sports Night

I'm currently at the beginning of season 2, and I believe that this is the third time through the show THIS MONTH. I just keep coming back to Sports Night when I have some free time.

The first (few) time(s) I've watched the show, I'm always more drawn to Peter Krause's Casey McCall. I think he's very cute and charming. And a little broken. He's also tall and handsome and has that deep voice that I find insanely attractive. Also, the frustrating will-they-won't-they romantic plot involving Casey and Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman) hooked me in.

However, having recently watched Josh Charles on The Good Wife (which I have yet to continue), and Dead Poets Society, means that this time around I'm more focused on Dan Rydell. Strangely, this is the first time it occurred to me that Dan might actually be the main character of the show, seeing as how Josh Charles gets first billing and Dan gets the more complicated storylines. I find him very endearing. Obviously, the Sorkin-monologue of Dan's apology was beautiful. I also started to appreciate the way Josh portrayed Dan. There's a subtlety and perfectly placed pauses that I had previously missed. Also, Josh Charles was damn cute back then!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Good Wife

I haven't really watched any new shows lately, and Agents of SHIELD is the only show I'm following every week. I became interested the The Good Wife because Josh Charles was on Sports Night, one of my favorite shows.

I didn't think I was going to watch this show, so I wasn't too careful about avoiding spoilers. I watched Charles' appearances on late night talk show, in which he talked about...what happened to his character. That, and Julianna Marguiles' Emmy win speech. I didn't think much of it, because I honestly thought I'd learned my lesson after Game of Thrones, to not get too attached to TV characters. I thought I was desensitized by character deaths. I guess I wasn't.

Back to the beginning. Alicia Florrick, wife of disgraced politician who had to go back to work as a lawyer after 14 years of being away, raising her children. 14 years is quite a long time to be away from a profession, and she found it quite difficult to find a job. In comes Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles. He and Alicia were friends when they were in Georgetown. At the beginning, it seemed like they were just close friends who lost touch after law school. But you know they would turn him into a love interest. And, just as expected, I fell in love with Will. Or at least I shipped their pairing. Does that make me the  predictable viewer? They keep dangling their potential relationship to keep me coming back to the show?

In any case, they ended up together, and they ended up breaking up. Again, as you would expected. These things never end well on TV. Honestly, I thought their breakup was the adult, smart thing to do. It was too much for her and she needed to put her children ahead of her own happiness. However, I thought their relationship could have been explored further. Of course, this is the thing that I hate. Or I hate that I love it so much. It's never a clean breakup. They're still hung up on each other, even years later. The thing is, Will has done nothing wrong, in my opinion. Sure he's taken the money but that was 15 years ago and he has done nothing wrong to the people around him. I feel like Alicia has been keeping him on a leash; reels him in, and shuts the door in front of his face, one too many times.

Season 5: Where it all ends

I honestly don't know Alicia's reason to stay with Peter. Then again, the title of the show is The Good Wife. Being the wife is part of who she is. It's good for Peter's political career, but I don't know what good it is for her. That's one of the reasons why I just want her to go back to Will. They were happy together. So what happened at the end of season 4 was devastating. She's really leaving Will this time (his firm, at least), and she's doing it behind his back while stealing his top clients. I'm currently still watching the beginning of season 5. I'm too scared to go on. Will is about to find out that Alicia is leaving and I don't know if I want to see how he'd react. I don't want Will to get his heart broken again.

What's worse is that in about 10 episodes or so, Will will be killed. With Game of Thrones, I avoid spoilers like the plague. Now, I don't know which is worse, getting your favorite killed off when you least expect it, or when you know it's coming. I'm doing the same thing as I did when I was watching the end of Daivd Tennant's run on Doctor Who. I can't watch Will die so I've stopped watching season 5 a few days ago. I don't know if I can continue, but I really want to know what happens. I honestly think that this might be worse, expecting his death. Maybe I should be careful about spoilers not because I like the unexpected, but because knowing hurts more.