Spider-Man: Homecoming is easily the cutest (damn you Baby Groot!) most innocent movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unless your heart is made out of coal, it’s hard not to be charmed by the film’s “Aw Shucks” attitude. The captivating innocence is created by a combination of an inexperienced hero that’s eager to please, an idyllic high-school setting, and a wonderfully wholesome actor. In many ways, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the MCU equivalent of Glee (as a Gleek, I consider this an excellent thing).
Show choir analogies aside, Spider-Man: Homecoming is flat-out good and loads of fun. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is objectively one of the best MCU movies. Many geek tastemakers consider it one of the best superhero movies ever made. While I absolutely agree with that opinion, I’ve rewatched Captain America: Civil War much, much more. Civil War isn’t as good as The Winter Soldier, but it’s way more fun. What impressed me about Spider-Man: Homecoming was that it’s a top-tier MCU movie that’s also highly rewatchable. Prior to seeing this movie, I considered Guardians of the Galaxy to have the best blend of quality and rewatchability, as far as MCU movies go. Well move over Star Lord, because Spidey just stole your throne.
Whether you’re a hardcore comics nerd or someone with a marginal interest in teenagers that have been bitten by radioactive spiders, I highly recommend Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s a great superhero movie that will enchant you with its innocence.
Now it’s time for some random thoughts on the movie, using the RPadTV battle-tested binary system. (That’s your cue to use your web shooters to craft yourself an arachnid spoiler shield.)
Logan is easily one of the two best comic-book movies Fox has ever released. It would be difficult to argue with anyone that says it’s the best. For me, it’s not (more on that later), but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Logan is a fantastic movie that serves as a bittersweet farewell to Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine. Before I go any further, activate your X-gene’s spoiler-blocking abilities, because it’s time for some random thoughts on Logan.
Marvel has unveiled a pair of official trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming — a US version and an international clip. After a stellar debut in Captain America: Civil War, everyone’s favorite superhero with the proportional strength and agility of a spider is set for an all-new, all-different (and all-rebooted) solo film. Although most fanboys were delighted by Tom Holland’s take on Spider-Man in Civil War, the character has an uneven cinematic history, which made some fans temper their excitement with caution. If the trailers (embedded below for your convenience) are any indication, that caution is unnecessary. The Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers just feels right.
Naturally, it’s time for some random thoughts on the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers using the RPadTV binary system. Let’s do this!
The latest teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (embedded below) is glorious. It has elements of what people loved about the original movie, but with several new twists. Since we’re still in the “teaser trailer” stage, you don’t have to worry about spoilers or clips that give away too much (the latter of which is a concern of several RPadholics). The new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun video that doesn’t give away the farm. Now it’s time for some random thoughts on teaser trailer two!
Batista Brings It: It pains me to say it, but Dave Batista shines in this clip as Drax the Destroyer. As much as I hated his WWE career, he’s been utterly delightful in Guardians of the Galaxy. From cursing the skies to his hilarious comedic bit at the end, Batista was my favorite part of the new teaser trailer. Considering how much I disliked him as pro-wrestler, I never imagined Batista being my favorite part of anything. Well done, Sir.
The mid-season finale of Lucifer was the best thing I’ve watched on television in 2016. The writers, directors, and actors did a stellar job of deftly mixing comedy, drama, and action. The big reveal at the end was fantastic…though a bit evil (*snicker*) considering that the next episode won’t air for seven weeks. Lucifer S02E10 was, quite simply, the show at its best. Here are some random thoughts on the mid-season finale. (Kindly put on your spoiler wings!)
The outstanding comic book series Rat Queens is returning on March 1, 2017, according to writer/creator Kurt Wiebe. The book has been on hiatus since May 2016. Owen Gieni will be the new Rat Queens artist.
If you’re not familiar with Rat Queens, the comics tell the adventures of four very different friends that are outcasts, but have found love and acceptance in each other. The setting is swords-and-sorcery fantasy, but with a hilarious satirical edge. The swords are sharp, but the humor is even sharper. The way it pokes fun at Dungeons & Dragons and fantasy conventions is fantastic. Beyond that, the books have a lot of heart and portray four strong women. The humor and satire are Rat Queens’ obvious hooks, but the portrayal of their friendship is touching.
After an almost shockingly strong second episode, Arrow S05E03 was a mild letdown. The show wasn’t bad, but it moved things in a direction where the writers have failed before. There were too many characters and too many storylines going on. The show is best when it has a clear focus and often falls apart when it tries to do too many things at once. Certainly there were several elements introduced in Arrow S05E03 that are meant to pay off later in the season, It will be interesting to see if the writers will be able to keep all the plates spinning. Oh yeah, WWE fans also had a special treat this week. Now it’s time to wield your anti-spoiler recurve bow and get ready for 10 random thoughts on Arrow S05E03.
After a supremely successful cinematic debut, the Guardians of the Galaxy will return to the big screen next year. Slated for a May 5, 2017 release date, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brings the lovable intergalactic rogues back together for an all-new adventure. As you can see from the trailer below, it looks like Peter Quill’s crew will be teaming up with some old friends (frenemies?) this time around. I’m super-psyched for the Guardians sequel and it’s most definitely on my must-watch list for next year. For those of you that aren’t averse to trailers, kindly check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser trailer and let me know what you think (please!).
After two relatively weak episodes, The Flash strikes back with its strongest effort this season. A large part of why The Flash S03E03 rocked was that an outstanding character finally returned. It goes beyond that though. Most of the characters have more or less rebounded from “Flashpoint” and things are back to normal — or as normal as it ever gets for Barry Allen and his friends at STAR Labs. An excellent new villain (with one major flaw) debuted and a new hero showed up as well. Whether it was due to the first two episodes being weak or The Flash S03E03 being a genuinely good show, I was very much satisfied with this week’s outing. Now zip on your spoiler hoodie, because it’s time for nine random thoughts on The Flash S03E03 using the RPad.TV binary system!
I’m So Wild About Harry (Good): Usually I try to do these things in chronological order, but the return of Harry Wells destroys order. Early in the episode, Harry pops out of breach from Earth-Two and immediately goes about dominating the show. Going into season three, I was hoping that Flashpoint would create a third version of Harrison Wells, but after one episode, I’m thrilled that Earth-Two Harry is back. He’s funny, complex, formidably intelligent, excellent at throwing tools, and disarmingly endearing. Tom Cavanagh is fantastic at playing this character and makes the other actors he has scenes with better. Think of The Flash as the Los Angeles Clippers and Cavanagh as Chris Paul. Yeah, the Clippers are a decent team without CP3, but they’re so much better with him (until the second round of the playoffs, anyway *snicker*).
Oh yeah, Harry Wells’ angry use of “Not!” jokes completely ruled.
Barry and Iris Suck at Dating (Bad): The show kicked off with Barry and Iris having an awkward date. We’re supposed to believe that they’re true loves, no matter what multiverse they’re in. Instead, they’re romance seems forced and uncomfortable. As I’ve noted in my previous “Flash Facts” columns, I’m not a fan of bumbling Barry. Unfortunately, that’s the guy Iris was on a date with.
The Debut of Jesse Quick (Good): Harry Wells came back to Earth-One because his daughter is now a speedster. Naturally, the overprotective Harry doesn’t want Jesse to be running around as a superhero. His paternal efforts to thwart her heroic aspirations were fantastic. While TV Jesse Quick’s origin is completely different from the comics’ version, I enjoy the actress and am looking forward to the seeing her in costume. Besides, any character or storyline that keeps Harry Wells involved is an excellent thing for The Flash.
Magenta Characterization (Good): This character was a pleasant surprise. I was concerned going into the episode, since Magenta is a Wally/Flash villain and not a Barry/Flash villain. Magenta also suffers from mental illness, which is easier to write about sensitively in print and more difficult to do in a television script. My worry was that the writers would butcher the nuance and simple make her a crazy bitch. Instead, the writers and actress delivered a great character. Joey King was wonderful at showing a damaged and frightened Frankie Kane. She was also good at playing the sociopathic Magenta. Playing split personalities can be tricky and I enjoyed the job that King did with the material she was given.
Magenta Physical Acting (Bad): The one aspect of Magenta that really bothered me was King’s arm motions. It was…bad. King’s arm-magnetism-powers acting in The Flash S03E03 reminded of Sophie Turner’s wretched fingers-on-the-temple telepathy acting from X-Men: Apocalypse.
Caitlin Dazzles (Good): First off, props to Danielle Panabaker’s stylist. Her hair looked amazing in The Flash S03E03. More importantly, Caitlin Snow had some good material to work with. Her reluctant talk-her-out-of-being-a-hero speech to Jesse was awkwardly cute. When Harry tries to chide her for failing, she lays into him and tells him what’s what. It was nice to see the forceful and logical side of Caitlin Snow come out. Or is that Killer Frost’s personality creeping to the forefront….
Malfoy is Still a Dick (Good): Although he didn’t have too much to do this week, I’m happy that Tom Felton is still around and still being a dick to Barry. British people excel at being snarky.
Wally Becomes Idiotically Reckless (Bad): Wally is still being mopey, but it appears he’s getting dumber too. The kid really wants to be a superhero. After hearing how Jesse’s powers activated, he runs in front of a car to try to replicate the process. Moron. Towards the end of the The Flash S03E03, you can see the wheels in his head turning when Frankie reveals how Dr. Alchemy activated her Magenta powers. It looks like a safe bet that Wally is going to do something extraordinarily stupid in order to become a superhero. (Like, I don’t know, make a deal with Dr. Alchemy?!?) He’s lucky that Barry is there to bail his mopey ass out.
Barry and Iris Git Gud at Dating (Good): Barry was so much better during his second date with Iris. He was more confident and had a rational (yet heartfelt) explanation for why the first date bombed. Grant Gustin is great at being confident and sensitive at the same time, and it really showed in this scene. This is his wheelhouse. Hopefully he stays in it for the remainder of the The Flash season three. Bumbling Barry only works in alternate timelines. Long live Confident-Yet-Vulnerable Barry!
Big surprise — Arrow was better than Flash this week! Color me shocked (which, in my head, is a bright combination of red and yellow). Arrow S05E02 was full of action, heart, and intrigue. When the writers skillfully weave these elements together, the show is at its best. While I doubt that Arrow S05E02 will be remembered as one of the show’s all-time great episodes, it was much better than the vast majority of season four. More importantly, it’s a glimmer of hope that Arrow is pointed in the right direction (get it?!?). Now don your spoiler cowl, as it’s time for 10 random thoughts on the latest episode of The Bipolar Adventures of Oliver Queen using the scientifically sound RPad.TV binary system.
Oliver Gets the Band Back Together (Good): After being convinced by Felicity and Diggle to put a new team together, Oliver starts to assemble the new gang in Arrow S05E02. The expected candidates, as seen in last week’s episode, are Curtis Holt (who will eventually be Mr. Terrific), Rene Ramirez (Wild Dog), and Evelyn Sharp (former Black Canary impersonator and future Artemis). Initially, Ollie is a complete dick to the recruits. He trains them harshly and refuses to divulge his secret identity. After a pep talk from Felicity (more on that later), he realizes that he has to earn their trust. Arrow reveals that he’s Oliver Queen and starts using his real voice with the recruits (instead of his crap Batman voice). While some of this plot was predictable, it’s an important step forward for this season. I’m excited to see how the new team shapes up, particularly Curtis, as I’m a mark for Mr. Terrific (fair play!).
The Ragman Cometh (Good): One surprise in Arrow S05E02 was the introduction of Ragman. In the wrong hands, this character would seem goofy on TV. The director and special effects artists did a good job of making his powers look cool. The writers did a nice job of weaving Ragman’s origin into Havenrock and Genesis Day from season four. As a fan of DC’s occult comics like Justice League Dark and John Constantine: Hellblazer, I’m pleased that Ragman is being handled well (so far). I hope he makes a nice addition to Team Arrow v2.
Diggle’s Latvian Adventures (Good): A few of my friends had an issue with John Diggle’s plot in Arrow S05E02, but I think it mirrored Oliver’s activities nicely. Dig is betrayed by a superior officer and set up when a shady arms deal falls apart. Prior to getting betrayed, Diggle was lecturing a new soldier on how trust is a core component of the military. Dig’s trust storyline was a nice contrast to Ollie’s trust storyline.
From Russia, With Line (Good): I’m enjoying the Russian flashback sequences so far (especially compared to season four’s crap flashbacks). As I mentioned last week, Anatoli Knyazev was one of the best parts of the season premiere. While the charming Bratva gangster didn’t have much to work with this week, Oliver Queen’s initiation into the Bratva was fun to watch. The whole “Get on the Line” exercise from Russia was used on the new recruits in Star City. I was shocked, perhaps naively, when the Bratva baddies killed all the other Bratva prospectives. The grimness of it all reminded me of the best parts of season one and two.
Arrow Throws a Fight (Good): Initially, I was annoyed when Tobias Church was going toe-to-toe with Ollie in Arrow S05E02. While he’s large and menacing, he’s just a glorified street thug. Arrow has gone up against Slade Wilson, Ra’s Al Ghul, and Damien Darhk. Church should be a warmup exercise for him. Later he revealed that he was throwing the fight in order to test Ragman’s morals and gain his trust. It was a cunning ruse that pleasantly surprised me. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Oliver can do more than punch, kick, and shoot arrows.
Friend-Zone Felicity (Good): For most of Arrow S05E02, Felicity Smoak was dazzling. She was quirky, funny, intelligent, and beautiful. With Diggle taking a timeout from the gang, she even filled in as the voice of reason. Her speech about the old gang sticking together because they believed in Oliver, not Green Arrow, helped give this episode a lot of heart. This was a sterling example of why Felicity is the most captivating (pretend) nerd on television.
Bad Liar Felicity (Bad): You’d think being around crafty people and facing off against devious villains would have helped Felicity become better at deception. When she lied to her new policeman boyfriend about why she needed a sample of Ragman’s rags analyzed, she became a bumbling mess. I understand that the writers are trying to play up her cuteness, but this felt like Season One Felicity. I’m confident that the lady has learned a trick or two after being part of Team Arrow for four years.
Drunk Quentin Lance (Bad): The world continues to sh*t on Quentin Lance. Still succumbing to his alcoholism, Lance missed a key security assignment that allowed Ragman to waltz into a building undetected. He was chatting with Thea about working for Mayor Queen, but decided to give up. He’s in a dark place and doesn’t see anything to live for. While I enjoyed how well Paul Blackthorne portrayed Lance as a drunk at the end of his rope, it was all rather depressing.
Thea Queen, Chance Giver (Good): Thankfully, Thea was there to save the day. The chief of staff formerly known as Speedy offered Lance a job as deputy mayor. While Ollie doesn’t believe that it’s a good idea to give a functioning alcoholic a position of responsibility, Thea believes that Lance can be better than he is now. She wants to be the one that gives Lance something to stay sober for and help him rise up. Her “we can do better that” speech was genuinely touching. Also, Willa Holland is pretty and has a sexy voice.
Prometheus Unbound (Good): The dark archer from last week was revealed to be Prometheus. This isn’t comics Prometheus — the flippant rogue that singlehandedly took down the Justice League. The made-for-TV version is obviously different. I’m intrigued, but a little scared. The character from the comics was incredibly cool — one of those villains that you couldn’t help rooting for. TV Prometheus has presence and certainly knowns how to make an entrance, but beyond that…who knows?!? Here’s an off-the-wall theory that almost certainly won’t pan out — wouldn’t it be cool if the Flash’s irritating timeline manipulation brought back an angry version of Tommy Merlyn as Prometheus?