Flash Facts: 12 Random Thoughts on the Flash S03E02

After a mixed season debut, Barry Allen’s adventures continue in The Flash S03E02. Unfortunately, the show has gone from mixed to worse. Hopefully it’s just a bumpy start and the show will go back to being The Flash we loved during the excellent first season. Two episodes in, things aren’t looking great. It hasn’t been as bad as Arrow season four, but it’s a long ways off from its former glory (so far). Now kindly switch on your spoiler shields and get ready for 12 random thoughts on The Flash S03E02.

Felicity Smoak, Plot Device (Good): After the requisite “previously on The Flash” summary, Barry runs to the Arrow Cave to chat with the Felicity. I’m a complete mark for her nerdy hotness, so I love that she was in The Flash S03E02. Unfortunately, she’s just there as a plot device so that Barry can explain the mistakes he made while trying to fix Flashpoint. After some back and forth cuts between then and now, Felicity comes up with a brilliant plan of, “Fix this.” Yeah, her appearance was mostly meaningless…but it’s Felicity and I’m in love with her. (For the record, I refuse to believe that Emily Bett Rickards isn’t a sexy nerd IRL even though I really know she’s not.)

The Flash S03E02 Felicity Smoak
Felicity Smoak is the hottest nerd on television.

Barry Has Created Earth No-Fun (Bad): In trying to fix Flashpoint, Barry has come back to a world that’s sorta kinda like the one he came from. The chief differences (to his life, anyway) are with Cisco, Joe, and Iris. Let’s start with Mr. Ramon. After being Billionaire Dick Cisco in Flashpoint, we get Morose and Moribund Cisco Ramon. He’s not the fun, clever, and witty boy genius we’ve enjoyed for two seasons. Instead, he’s hung up on his brother being killed by a drunk driver and Barry’s refusal to go back in time to save him.

While Cisco’s angst is understandable, the friction between Papa and Daughter West is less so. Similar to the original world, Joe lied to Iris about her mother still being alive. In this timeline, she’s still angry about it. She doesn’t talk to Joe unless it’s necessary and refuses to go to Chateau West.

Also, Diggle has a son instead of a daughter.

Malfoy is a Dick in Every Universe (Good): Tom Felton, best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, joins the fun as Julian Albert in The Flash S03E02. He’s a CSI that specializes in metahuman activity. He also hates Barry and treats him like crap. At the end of the episode, he confesses that it’s because he doesn’t trust Barry and knows there’s something off about him. The great thing about this is that Felton gets to play a dick, which he’s wonderful at portraying. It also shows that not everyone in Central City PD is a complete idiot. You’d think a building full of detectives would figure out that something is amiss with their coworker and, I don’t know, maybe start to connect the dots between him and The Flash. Perhaps this is why British people are perceived to be smarter than Americans….

The Flash S03E02 Julian Albert
No matter what universe he’s in, Draco Malfoy is a knob.

Dr. Alchemy Lost His Doctorate (Bad): Like WWE’s Randy Orton, Edward Clariss hears voices in his head. They council him. They understand. They talk to him. The voices lead Clariss to a cult that hangs out in a sewer (I guess hygiene is a non-issue for these guys). The cult is lead by a cat named Alchemy (who has…interesting taste in headwear). He offers to restore Clariss’ life and powers as the Rival. Naturally, Clariss is all for it.

There are two things I didn’t like about Arrowverse Alchemy. First, he wasn’t Dr. Alchemy. Plain “Alchemy” is a crappy name for a villain. Who are his contemporaries? Chemistry, Astrology, Metallurgy, and Zoology? Secondly, television Alchemy doesn’t have the enjoyable campiness and cool powers of his comic-book counterpart. Instead, he’s a guy that wears a silly mask, talks in a goofy voice, and zaps people with a rock. As a fan of comic Flash’s rogues gallery, I was disappointed in the version of Alchemy that was introduced in The Flash S03E02.

Barry Has a Stupid Dinner Idea (Bad): In trying to fix the social dysfunction plaguing Team Flash, Barry gets everyone together for dinner. His hope is that the issues Cisco has with him, as well as the issues between Joe and Iris, can be fixed with Grandma Esther’s noodles at Chez West. This, of course, is an idiotic idea. It has been illustrated throughout the history of television that cure-all dinners never ever work. Why Barry thought this was a good idea in The Flash S03E02 is beyond me. Seriously, dude. Go watch a sitcom and learn something. The CW has several mediocre ones to choose from.

Wally Reverts (Bad): After being impressed with Wally in the season debut, the character regressed in The Flash S03E02. Instead of the spunky and sarcastic Wally that I had hopes for, the dull and wooden Wally returned. Hopefully this gets fixed when (if?) he becomes Kid Flash in the “fixed” timeline.

The “Can I Talk to You?” Technique Lives! (Bad): One of the most annoying techniques that’s amazingly overused in both Arrow and The Flash is when a character says, “Can I talk to you for a second?” It’s such a lazy way to force a transition. What it really means is, “Hey, can we get everyone else off camera? We need to have a scene with just us.” It’s fine to use as a crutch every now and then, but the Arrowverse writers abuse this technique.

The Flash S03E02 Jay Garrick
Jay Garrick shows up to school Barry Allen.

Jay Garrick Returns! (Good): The Silver Age Flash returns to the show and brings Barry back to a Central City diner circa 1998. Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” is playing on the radio and Dawson’s Creek is on TV. Jay gives Barry a lesson on the repercussions of time travel through the clever (not really) use of a coffee mug. Goofy lecture aside, it was nice to see Jay Garrick come back in The Flash S03E02. He’s a great character with a fantastic costume. Besides, in the comics, the Rival was originally one of Jay’s villain’s, not Barry’s.

Pep Talk Iris Fixes Everything (Bad): After Barry confesses to his timeline meddling, the rest of Team Flash talks it out at STAR Labs. Iris gives a “family” speech that she stole from Vin Diesel’s Fast & Furious playbook. On the plus side, I like that Iris continued to be a useful character in The Flash S03E02, instead of serving as attractive scenery. Unfortunately, her pep talk was contrived. I didn’t believe for a second that a short heartfelt speech was enough to fix a year of relationship damage.

The effects of the speech seemed especially silly when Cisco goes from being so angry at Barry that he barely talks to him to running out to save him from powerful metahumans. That’s one of the quickest 180s from “I hate you!” to “I’ll die for you!” that I’ve ever seen.

Alchemy is Awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Good): On the plus side, the Iris West one-woman pep rally snapped Cisco out of his funk. He’s clearly back on the path to goofiness and naming bad guys. And thus, Dr. Alchemy was born. It’s good to have you back, Cisco!

The Flash S03E02 Vibe
You think Cisco’s superheroics as Vibe will continue?

Caitlin is Getting Cold (Good): On the surface, the lovable and dependable Caitlin Snow seemed unchanged in The Flash S03E02. At the end of the episode, her hand appeared to be radiating cold powers. I’m torn about this. I enjoy earnest Caitlin. She’s completely adorable. I enjoyed a small dose of angsty Earth Two Killer Frost Caitlin last season. I hope that Caitlin’s personality isn’t changed by the Killer Frost powers. It would be even worse if the writers decided to do a “split personality” thing with her. Hold me, Felicity. I’m scared.

Where the Hell is Harrison Wells?!? (Bad): The biggest disappointment with The Flash season three is that Tom Cavanagh hasn’t been in the first two episodes. He was great as Evil Fake Harrison Wells in season one. He crushed it as Sardonic Tool-Throwing Actual Harry Wells in season two. I was greatly looking forward to a third version of Harrison Wells and am disappointed that Cavanagh hasn’t been in the mix. If The Flash S03E02 viewing audience were like a live WWE audience, I’d start a “We Want Harry!!!” chant. Say it with me. We want Harry!!! *clap* *clap* *clap*clap*clap*

Arrow Points: 11 Random Thoughts on Arrow S05E01

After a terribly inconsistent fourth season (which many fans felt was the worst since season one), Arrow is back. Last year, Ollie found true love and an expanded super team. By the end of season four, he lost it all. Arrow S05E01 kicks off an attempt at going back to basics. He’s mayor of Star City by day and a lone vigilante by night. Sexy nerd Felicity still serves as his operation manager, but has Ollie in the friend zone. This season’s flashback sequences take place in Russia. Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, turn on your spoiler shields. It’s time for some Arrow Points on Arrow S05E01, using the RPad.TV binary system.

Arrow is Back to Full A-Hole Mode (Good): After becoming a nice, well-adjusted vigilante in season four, Oliver Queen is back to being a dick in Arrow S05E01. He’s argumentative and brooding. Four seasons of evolution and positive change have been killed in one episode. While some might feel that reverting Arrow back to a wannabe Batman is a bad thing, I prefer him this way. As he gets happier, Ollie also becomes less interesting. Besides, the more Arrow plays up the gloom and doom, the better it contrasts with The Flash.

The best part about A-Hole Arrow is that we’re spared from Dramatic Arrow. This show is at its worst when the character gets dramatic and emotional. Grant Gustin pulls it off with aplomb in The Flash. When Stephen Amell tries any kind of acting that doesn’t involve punching, kicking, or being a dick, the scenes are unintentionally funny. While I’m certain that Dramatic Arrow will pop up a few times during season five, I hope his appearances are infrequent.

Arrow S05E01 B
Oliver Queen is back to being a brooding dick.

Oliver Queen Sucks as Mayor (Bad): Brooding Arrow also means disinterested Mayor Oliver Queen. He’s late for meetings and doesn’t seem to care too much about governing. For someone that has killed people for “failing this city,” he’s failing it himself.

Arrow Keeps Whining About the Past (Bad): Spoilers have already shown that Arrow gets a new team of super buddies this season. Felicity even has them picked out on her computer. Before the new Arrowettes are assembled, Ollie has to whine about needing a team. He desperately wants John Diggle to return and for his sister to resume her crime-fighting life as Speedy. Thankfully, he gets the message that those things aren’t happening by the end of Arrow S05E01.

Quentin Lance is Drunk Again (Good): The former drunk has turned into a current drunk after losing his daughter, job, and girlfriend. He’s back on the wagon, but the show does’t really convey the severity of alcoholism. Instead, he seems to rebound pretty quickly after a pep talk centered around a Russian proverb. While I would have liked to have seen more of Broken Matt Hardy Quentin Lance, his character is more interesting when the world sh*ts on him.

Arrow S05E01 Tobias Church
Why should Arrow be afraid of Tobias Church?

Why is Tobias Church a Threat? (Bad): While I understand that the producers wanted a “back to basics” season, the bad guy in Arrow S05E01 seems totally flaccid. Arrow has taken down a legion of super soldiers fueled by Miraclo Mirakuru. He’s taken down an army of assassins lead by a man with centuries of combat training. Last season, he brought down a most charming sociopath with mystical powers. Tobias Church, while charismatic and menacing, appears to be nothing more than a gangster. In TV and movies, the threats normally escalate. Fighting a gangster seems too easy for Arrow at this stage of his career. Tobias Church is a mid-boss, at best. Hopefully there’s more to him than meets the eye or there’s a much bigger villain coming.

Life-Threatening Flashback Scenes Don’t Work (Bad): One of the cutaways had Ollie tied to a chair while a Russian gangster held a gun to his forehead. This was stupid. We obviously know that he made it of the chair alive. The cutaway was supposed to be dramatic, but since the outcome was never in question, it completely lacked drama.

arrow-s05e01-f
Oh noes! Will Ollie survive this flashback scene from five years ago?!?

Star City Didn’t Love Black Canary (Bad): For a hero that stopped hundreds of criminals and helped save the city a number of times, Black Canary didn’t get much love. There were like 30 people at her memorial service. At least five of the attendants were part of Mayor Ollie’s security detail. I guess the citizens of Star City are a bunch of ingrates (or the show didn’t have the budget for hundreds of extras). Also, Laurel’s statue looked more like Stargirl than Black Canary.

Staying on the Black Canary tip, one of Laurel’s dying wishes was for Ollie to make sure there would always be a Black Canary. She’s basically saying, “I’m dying because I wanted to dress up and play superhero. Please make sure another young woman has the opportunity to die dressing up and playing superhero.” Perhaps that was the morphine speaking….

Willa Holland Has Hot Legs (Good): Willa Holland has grown up to become a sexy women. Yeah, I’m being a stereotypical male, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her legs. Yum.

Arrow S05E01 Willa Holland Legs
Helloooooooooo Legs!

Arrow is Cool With Killing Again (Bad): Continuing Arrow’s path of regression, dude just straight up killed a guy to protect his secret identity in Arrow S05E01. After promising his best friend, Tommy Merlyn, that he wouldn’t kill again after season one, Arrow is back to his murderous ways. Maybe killing Damien Darhk at the end of season four has him back on the wagon. Ollie and Quentin should probably go to an AA meeting together to discuss their respective relapses.

Anatoli is the Most Interesting Person on the Show (Bad): Aside from Willa Holland’s legs, the best part of Arrow S05E01 was Anatoli Knyazev. Some of you will remember him as the wise-cracking Russian fellow that was trapped with Ollie on Lian Yu. Others will recognize the name as KGBeast from the comics. Whatever the case, it turns out that he’s responsible for Ollie’s connection to the Bratva. As funny as he was as a castaway on Oliver’s Island, he’s even funnier as a full-on Russian mobster. The bad news is that a supporting character from a flashback sequence was the second-best part of the show. That’s a problem.

There’s a New Dark Archer in Town (Good): The show ends with a archer dressed in black killing a cop. This is potentially interesting. Hopefully it’s someone from the League of Assassins or another menacing group. The show needs a bigger threat than a well organized gangster. In addition to adding some mystery, the new Dark Archer offers hope for bigger and better things to come.

Arrow S05E01 Dark Archer
Excuse me, are you the Singing Bush?

Flash Facts: 10 Random Thoughts on Flash S03E01

The Flash has zoomed back to The CW after a thrilling first season and a very good (but uneven) second season. With lots of changes set up after season two, the show’s writers and directors have a blank canvas to paint on. If the first episode of The Flash season three is any indication, the entire CW Arrowverse will be changed forever. Now kindly turn on your spoiler shields, so that I can share Flash Facts (opinions, really) on The Flash S03E01.

When we last saw the Scarlet Speedster, he mucked around with Earth-One’s timeline in order to save his parents. This season will borrow from the “Flashpoint” storyline from the comics. The Flash S03E01 kicks off in a world where both of Barry Allen’s parents are alive and he’s not the Flash. He’s been living in this world for three months. Now that you have the setup, it’s time for some Flash Facts using the Speedforce-tested RPad.TV binary system.

flash-s03e01c
Apparently Barry Allen sucks at talking now.

Bumbling Barry is…Not So Good (Bad): After two years as a superhero and saving Central City from countless threats, Barry Allen has become…bumbling and incompetent. He struggles to talk to his true love (on Earth-One) Iris West and stumbles as the Flash. How the hell did this happen?!? Perhaps three months in Pleasantville negated the confidence that two years of superheroics built. Whatever the case may be, I can’t wait to get confident and capable Barry back. Yeah, Flash is supposed to be more vulnerable than Arrow, but he’s also supposed to be, you know, good.

The CG Looks Better Than Ever (Good): I loved the CG from the speed battles between the good speedsters and the Rival in The Flash S3E01. The high-speed combat looked thrilling and better than what I expect from television (especially CW television). Hopefully the CG budget was spent evenly and the special effects are consistent episode to episode.

Keiynan Lonsdale Surprised (Good): As a total mark for the comics version of Wally West, I wasn’t big on season two’s TV Wally West. At his best, Keiynan Lonsdale was wooden and boring. At his worst, he made Channing Tatum look like Daniel Day Lewis. Lonsdale got off to a great start in Flash S3E01. As the Kid Flash version of Wally, he was charmingly cocky and surprisingly funny. He killed the delivery when he responded to Caitlin’s question of whether she was kidnapped or not. While I didn’t care for him in season two, I’m rooting for this version of Wally West to remain throughout season three.

flash-s03e01b
This was the best TV Wally West has ever been.

How Did Barry Not Know Wally Was Kid Flash? (Bad): I have no idea why Barry had to unmask Kid Flash to figure out he was Wally. Barry is a CSI by trade. He has more than two years of experience using super speed (and the heightened senses that come with it). He knows Wally. He’s lived the guy. It made no sense for him to be surprised by the reveal.

Billionaire Cisco is Okay (Good…ish): I was entertained by arrogant and condescending Cisco Ramon in Flash S03E01. It was a nice change of pace for a character that’s normally so lovable. That said, Cisco is the heart of the show. I need goofy, sarcastic Cisco back ASAP. Hopefully the temporary fix to Flashpoint brings back the Cisco we all know and love.

flash-s03e01d
Flashpoint Caitlin is too cute to exist for more than one episode.

Kiddie Eye Doctor Caitlin is Adorable (Good): Caitlin has always been the most saccharine character on The Flash. The Flashpoint version of Caitlin turned her goofy goodness up to 11. She was silly, but enjoyable. This pediatric ophthalmologist version of Caitilin was fun for an episode. As with Cisco, I hope the real deal is back next week (even though I secretly have a crush on Flashpoint Caitlin).

Drunken Joe West is Disturbing (Good): The Flashpoint version of Joe West is angry and drunk. He’s not the strong and loving father figure we’ve seen for the last two seasons. This was, perhaps, the most disturbing part of Flash S03E01. I’m used to Joe being the backbone for the entire Flash family. Several other characters draw strength from him. Seeing him as a bitter drunk was off-putting. Kudos to the writers and the excellent Jesse L. Martin for pulling this off so effectively.

flash-s03e01e
Iris West serves a purpose!

Iris West Has a Purpose! (Good): For much of season two, Iris served as…attractive background decor. She served no purpose for many episodes. She’d give a silly inspirational speech every now and again, but more often than not she was there to look beautiful. In Flash S03E01, she was integral to the plot and gave a silly inspirational speech. I was so used to her being useless that I forgot that she could be an effective key character.

Prepare For Wacky Rogues (Good): The end of Flash S03E01 set up the coming of Flash villain Dr. Alchemy. I absolutely loved this. Flash has always had a colorfully bizarre rogues gallery and Dr. Alchemy is as weird as any of his contemporaries. Rumor has it that Mirror Master (one of my personal favorites) will be in season three as well. I’m looking forward to the Arrowverse versions of both of these longtime Flash characters.

Where Does Reverse Flash Go to the Bathroom? (Bad): I didn’t see a toilet in his makeshift prison cell, did you?

Flash S03E01 Reverse Flash
Bonus Image: Where does Reverse Flash go to the bathroom?

Suicide Squad: Grading the Cast

Suicide Squad is Warner Bros.’ latest attempt at breathing life into its DC Comics cinematic universe. The movie has been getting a lot of attention, and most of it isn’t the kind the studio wants. Several friends and colleagues that I respect hated the movie. I didn’t think it was that bad. It certainly wasn’t a great superhero movie, but I’d watch it again on cable. Compared to this year’s superhero movies, I found it much better than Batman v Superman (aka Murderous Batman vs. Mopey-Ass Superman), but not nearly as good as Deadpool or Captain America: Civil War.

Having said that, I don’t feel like writing a proper movie review. Instead, I’m going to rate the Suicide Squad team members (as well as the puppet master and villains) individually. Let’s do this!

[Activate your spoiler shields, please.]

Suicide Squad Deadshot Harley Quinn
Suicide Squad: Deadshot and Harley Quinn

Deadshot (Will Smith) F: For me, Will Smith’s portrayal of Deadshot was the worst part of Suicide Squad. I’m a big fan of the character — both from the Suicide Squad and the Secret Six books. Smith’s performance was incredibly lazy and uninspired. He acted like Will Smith instead of Floyd Lawton. The guy that played Deadshot on Arrow did a much better job with the character. It’s amazing that a huge Hollywood star was considerably outperformed by a television actor on a CW show — a frickin’ CW show!

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) B+: Robbie is unbelievably sexy and gets an extra half-grade for that. Heterosexual male bias aside, she was one of the best parts of Suicide Squad. She did a fine job at portraying Harley as equal parts keenly intelligent and mentally unstable. While the accent was similar to the one she used in The Wolf of Wall Street, it totally worked for the character. I appreciated how she turned the severity of the accent up and down situationally throughout the movie. The biggest problem I had with her character had nothing to do with the actress, but how she was written and directed. Super Harley — the one that deftly dispatched supernatural beings with her fists and a baseball bat — threw me for a loop. When the hell did Harley become psychotic Wonder Woman?!?

Suicide Squad Amanda Waller
Suicide Squad Amanda Waller

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) A: Suicide Squad’s government puppet master was outstanding. Davis completely owned this role, serving up a Waller that was razor sharp, manipulative, and terrifying. She left you with a feeling of, “You do not want to f*ck with this woman.” From the comfort of the other side of the screen, it was fun enjoying her cold and calculating portrayal. Waller is one of my favorite characters in the DCU and I was thrilled that David brought her to life so perfectly.

The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) B-: Again, my heterosexual maleness requires me to give an extra half-grade boost to Miss Delevingne for being astonishingly beautiful. She also gets another half-grade for coming from a wealthy family. In my dreams, Cara Delevingne makes me a kept man. In Suicide Squad, she was a little bit silly. She played the victim, June Moon, well enough. As the Enchantress, the director had her doing some ridiculous things. While I was mostly enjoying watching her gyrate like a stripper as she was casting spells, there was a point where I thought, “Come on man. You’re just exploiting her hotness.” Still, she’s gorgeous, she’s rich, and she has incredible eyebrows; it’s tough for me to criticize anything she does. #truth

Suicide Squad Joker
Suicide Squad Joker

The Joker (Jared Leto) B+: Several of my friends have bashed Leto’s performance as the Joker, but I loved it. He gave the Clown Prince of Crime a modern and edgy feel. I found Leto’s Joker much scarier and more realistic than Ledger’s Joker. I’d love to see more of him in a proper Batman movie.

Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) C: I’m actually not sure what to do with this grade. I am of the opinion that Jai Courtney sucks and has the best management team in Hollywood. I’m baffled that he gets so many big roles with such little talent. My friend Solomon pointed out that Captain Boomerang sucks in the comics (many writers have portrayed Boomer as a joke among DC villains). From that perspective, hiring an actor that sucks to play a villain that sucks could be considered inspired casting. However, I’m certain that the studio didn’t think that deeply. Courtney was surprisingly acceptable in this limited role, which is probably his best “acting” to date.

Suicide Squad Rick Flag
Suicide Squad Rick Flag

Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) B: I’ve never seen this actor before, but left the movie impressed by his performance. He did a good job of playing the straight-laced protagonist surrounded by insane people. His role might of been the trickiest of all, because Suicide Squad is all about letting the villains shine. He had his moments when appropriate, but otherwise let the baddies do their thing.

On a side note, Kinnaman kind of looks like WWE Edge. Whenever Flag popped up onscreen I thought, “You think you know me.”

Katana (Karen Fukuhara) D+: As a Katana fan, this performance was disappointing. She added nothing to Suicide Squad. Take out all of her scenes and the movie is pretty much the same. You’re not given a reason to care about Katana, so when she had her big crying scene, it felt empty. She added nothing of consequence to the movie, which is a shame because Tatsu is a cool character. Similar to movie Deadshot, movie Katana is inferior to CW Arrow Katana.

Diablo (Jay Hernandez) C+: I liked this character up until the end of the movie. He was fun as the super-powerful but reluctant villain enlisted to do good. I’m not sure how, but hours (in movie time) of doing nothing and whining caused him to think of the other Suicide Squad members as family. Uh…okay. Expectedly, he got all sentimental and sacrificial, but his face turn lacked weight.

Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) C-: The character looked really cool, so he gets an extra half-grade on behalf of the makeup team. However, he was almost as useless as Katana. He was instrumental in a scene that required swimming…and that’s about it.

Slipknot (Adam Beach) Incomplete: I love that the movie played on Slipknot’s mishap with the implants from the comics (but in a much deadlier way), with Captain Boomerang as the impetus. In the immortal words of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, “Bwahahahahahaha!!!”

Random Thoughts on Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is the best Avengers movie Marvel Studios has made. That was an easy conclusion to arrive to. It’s quite possibly the best or, at the very least, one of the three best movies from the studio. After seeing the movie last night, that seemed like a reasonable opinion, but I wanted to sleep on it in order to give my movierection (a medical term) a chance to settle down. After reflecting a bit on Captain America: Civil War, I can totally understand the argument that it’s the best Marvel Studios film to date and also accept the opinion that it’s not. Let’s keep the examination going, with the RPadTV binary not-a-review of Captain America: Civil War.

[Turn on your spoiler shields!]

It’s An Avengers Movie, Not a Cap Movie (Good): Although he’s the titular character in Captain America: Civil War, this is very much an ensemble movie. Sure, Cap and Iron Man are at the forefront, but many characters get a chance to shine. Some help drive the plot forward (The Winter Soldier, Black Panther), while others are comedic scene stealers (Ant-Man, Spider-Man). Whatever the case may be, this is definitely an Avengers film…and the best one ever, at that.

Scarlet Witch Still Sucks (Bad): I’ve been high on Elizabeth Olsen for years, but was puzzled by her portrayal of the Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Once you get past her hotness, I’m not sure what she does for the movie. Speaking with a bad accent and doing funny things with her fingers doesn’t add much to the film. That said, these are very minor criticisms of Captain America: Civil War. That’s how good the movie is — you have to actively look for flaws and it’s difficult to find anything significant.

Tony Stark is a Dick (Good): Similar to his heel turn in the Civil War comics, Iron Man is pretty much a dick in the movie. His emotions are manipulated (perhaps too easily), leading to irrational thoughts and actions. I suppose your political leanings come into play on whether you’re #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan, but to me, Tony is clearly the villain in Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America Civil War
Avengers, Disassemble!

Wonderfully Diverse Comedy (Good): I loved the humor in this movie. It’s frequent and diverse, without getting in the way of a serious conflict. Ant-Man’s bits were wonderful. Spider-Man will win the hearts of millions. I even enjoyed the deadpan rapport between Falcon and Winter Soldier. For me, this is what separates Captain America: Civil War from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Many cite the latter as Marvel Studios’ best, but I prefer Civil War. I won’t argue with anyone that thinks The Winter Soldier is Better, because that’s an understandable opinion, but I’ll watch Civil War exponentially more in the future, simply because the comedy balances the drama. Also, the jokes about Marisa Tomei’s age and beauty were excellent…though I’m still not sure the world is ready for Hot Aunt May.

Lack of Anger Management (Bad): While I understand that they needed to be Cap’s antagonists, it was somewhat disappointing to see Iron Man and Black Panther suffer from ridiculous mad-ons. The former is supposed to be one of the smartest people in the world, while the latter is supposed to be one of the noblest Avengers. For most of the movie, both gave into their anger and went full Sith. Much of the conflict would have been avoided if everyone — those two in particular — calmed down and applied some rational thought to the situation. Of course, the movie would have been much shorter….

The New Guys (Good): Although he was irrationally angry for much of the film, Black Panther was pretty frickin’ cool. His fight scenes were dynamic and his costume looked great. Ant-Man (new in The Avengers movie sense) was pretty awesome on several levels. I mentioned his comedic bits before, but I love the way the movies portray his shrinking powers and it was brilliant to see him as Giant Man for a bit. Spider-Man lived up to his comic-book adjectives — amazing and spectacular. Spidey’s CG was fantastic and it was fun having an innocent character around for a heavy conflict.

You're either #TeamCap or a communist traitor
You’re either #TeamCap or a communist traitor

Second Comings (Good): Winter Soldier and Falcon have grown into their characters nicely. I’m a huge mark for the comics version of Winter Soldier and Bucky Cap. Sebastian Stan was very good in that role. Falcon, who’s pretty lame in the comics, was great in the movie. Anthony Mackie did an admirable job as the Avenger’s birdman. His new tech made him look cool and he brought a confidence to the role that makes him much more than Captain America’s token African-American friend. That said, I will always see him as Papa Doc from 8-Mile. It would have been awesome if the Civil War conflict came down to a freestyle rap battle between Falcon and Vision.

Wanton Violence (Good): In previous Avengers movies, the good guys spent most of their time beating up aliens and robots. You never really felt the weight of the violence. Seeing Captain America and Iron Man bloodied, bruised, and battered hit much closer to home. The violence was borderline shocking, especially because former friends and allies were truly taking it to each other.

Best Action Ever (Good): Marvel Studios has really upped the ante on its action sequences. Whether it’s visceral melee combat, thrilling chase scenes, or fanboy-squeal inducing super-power sequences, Captain America: Civil War has raised the bar for Marvel action. I enjoyed every bit of action in the movie and will certainly pay to see it again.

Masterful Pacing (Good): I was shocked to see that the runtime of Captain America: Civil War is 146 minutes. The directors and writers did an incredible job of weaving action and comedy into a dramatic conflict, allowing the film to move at a zippy pace. While I loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that movie feels like it’s 136 minutes.

Captain America Civil War Spider-Man
Spidey-Cap?

Bottom Line: As I was leaving the movie, I said to my excellent friend Paul, “It’s hard to think of anything wrong with that movie.” While I understand that abandoning logic was necessary for the hero vs. hero conflict, the worst thing I can say about Captain America: Civil War is that Scarlet Witch’s accent and finger motions were silly. For me, it’s definitely in my top three Marvel Studios films, along with Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There’s a good chance that it’ll end up being my favorite (I need to see it a few more times). Its combination of amazing action, excellent comedy, and a weighty conflict completely worked for me.

For another take on Captain America: Civil War, check out this PaulSemel.com review.

Green Arrow Oliver Queen: Worst. Boyfriend. Ever.

Two nights ago in the RPadTV Google Hangout, RPadholic Tokz and I were discussing what an amazingly crappy boyfriend Oliver Queen (Green Arrow on The CW’s Arrow) is to his lady friends. If you go through his romantic history, you’ll find a list of women that have ended up dead, crippled, and jailed. On last night’s episode of Arrow, Laurel Lance (Black Canary II) became the latest victim. With her death fresh on comics nerds’ minds, I thought it would be a good time to go down the list of Oliver Queen’s girlfriends in order to illustrate why no woman should date him. It’s just dangerous.

Laurel Lance (Deceased)Arrow introduced Laurel as Ollie’s first love interest on the show…and promptly shows him running away on a boat to have a sexual cruise with her sister. For some reason, she decides to run back into his arms five years later. Once a lawyer with a promising future, Laurel has neglected her legal career to run around Star City as the least capable member of Team Arrow. As of last night’s episode, she’s dead.

Shado (Deceased): While Oliver was still a wuss during his early days on Lian Yu, this strong and capable woman was instrumental in his survival. Oliver returned the favor by electing not to save her life when she was held at gunpoint by the nefarious Dr. Anthony Ivo. Romance is dead…and so is Shado.

Helena Bertinelli (Jailed, Nuts): Oliver was kind enough to take this mentally unbalanced young lady and attempt to turn her into a vigilante. With Green Arrow’s “guidance,” she became the Huntress and went on one hell of a crime spree. She’s guilty of murder, theft, kidnapping, extortion, and more.

McKenna Hall Arrow
McKenna Hall — The first woman Oliver Queen crippled on Arrow .

McKenna Hall (Crippled): A dashing SCPD detective, Ms. Hall exercised poor judgement in pursuing a relationship with Oliver Queen. In something of a crossover, Hall took and arrow from Arrow’s ex, the Huntress. This left her crippled. A few seasons later, Oliver has access to a cure for paralysis and never mentions helping out Hall. At least he’s consistently inconsiderate.

Isabel Rochev (Deceased): The situation with this woman is all kinds of messed up. Rochev was having an affair with Oliver Queen’s father, Robert. Years later, she returned to Star City as a pawn in an elaborate revenge plot against Oliver. She ends up boning Oliver. Later, powered by Miraclo Mirakuru, she attempts to kill Oliver, but ultimately ends up getting killed herself.

Sara Lance (Deceased, Resurrected, Nuts): Presumed dead throughout Arrow season one, the superior Lance sister returned in season two. After some initial reluctance, she resumed her relationship with her sister’s ex. Hardened by her experiences on Lian Yu and with the League of Assassins, Lance became the kick-ass vigilante known as the Black Canary. Unfortunately, she died…and was resurrected with mystical waters, only to become battier than ever. While she has to live with an insane bloodlust for the rest of her life, Sara made the wise decision to get the f*ck away from Green Arrow…and go time traveling with a group of heroes that pose far less danger than a relationship with Oliver Queen.

Isabel Rochev Arrow Summer Glau
Oliver Queen even sleeps with his father’s leftovers…and gets them killed.

Felicity Smoak (Paralyzed, Healed, Emotionally Damaged): After pining for Oliver for three seasons years, Felicity gets her turn on the Arrow express at the end of season three. Their relationship features lots of secrets and lies, peaking with a bombing by a Green Arrow enemy that leaves Felicity paralyzed. Thankfully, she has a genius working for her at Palmer Tech and receives a “Terrific Chip” implant that enables her to walk again. She made the smart decision to walk out on Oliver Queen, figuratively and literally. While she has genius-level intellect, all signs point to her eventually coming back to the Oliver Queen nightmare.

Taiana Venediktov (Most Likely to Die Next): A character from the season four flashbacks to Lian Yu, all signs point to her having a fling with Oliver Queen. This also means that all signs point to her becoming a corpse before the season is over.

Bottom Line: Dating Oliver Queen always ends up in disaster. Certainly his life a Green Arrow has a great deal to do with that, but the guy was dangerous well before he donned the hood. Women should know that dating Oliver Queen means that there’s a great chance that they’ll die earlier than they ought to, a good chance that they’ll end up crippled, and a slight chance of them being jailed. To the fictional ladies of the CW Arrowverse — don’t do it!

Olivia Munn is the Worst, Exhibit Q: Lying About Her Stunts

For years, I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that Olivia Munn is pretty much the worst person alive today. Although her popularity is booming, more and more people are starting to realize the truth about Olivia Munn — she’s a horrendous human being. The latest news comes from The Golden Lasso, that bravely pointed out how The Newsroom actress lied about doing her own stunts. The succubus has been making the media rounds promoting X-Men: Apocalypse and told reporters, “It was important to me that I was able to do all of the stunts.” The only problem is that she had a highly capable stunt double.

I strongly recommend checking out The Golden Lasso article for the full details on Olivia Munn’s big lie and information on the amazing stunt actress (Julia Rekaikyna) that was denied credit. I’ll use the rest of this space to reinforce what you should already know — Olivia Munn is wretched.

First, it’s appalling that she tried to take credit for someone else’s work and pretended to be something she’s not. That said, most people I know that worked with her at G4tv would say that’s typical behavior for Munn. In her G4tv days, she pretended to be an uber-nerd in order to make herself more appealing. Now she’s pretending to be an acrobatic sword master in order to make her seem like a legitimate action star.

As my pal Cliff Bleszinski noted, “Folks, Olivia Munn is a bad person. She is the embodiment of appropriating nerd culture and using it for her gain. Don’t trust her.” That tweet is bursting with accuracy and wisdom.

If you’re a proud male heterosexual nerd or a proud female homosexual nerd then please, please, please don’t be fooled by Olivia Munn. While she’s physically attractive and can be an entertaining actress, she’s simply a terrible person that’s trying to take advantage of your awesome nerdiness. In the immortal words of Public Enemy, “Don’t believe the hype!”

[Special thanks to my excellent friends Tom and Tricia for making me aware of this instance of Olivia Munn being awful!]

Source

The Tick Coming to Amazon (Spoon!!!)

Amazon has ordered a pilot for The Tick. The show will, of course, star Ben Edlund’s wonderful comic-book creation. In addition to excellent comics, The Tick has previously starred in an animated series and a live-action series. The live-action show was lauded for Patrick Warburton’s fantastic portrayal of the bumbling hero. While Warburton won’t be returning to star as The Tick on Amazon, he’s expected to be one of the show’s executive producers, according to Deadline.

For those of you not familiar with the character, The Tick is an incredibly powerful superhero that’s supremely kind hearted and supremely dimwitted. He was originally created as a parody of popular comics heroes. Fans loved his misadventures, attracted to the comedic tales of an amnesiac hero that always has the best intentions and seldom has an idea of how to optimally use his formidable powers.

While the protagonist hasn’t been cast, the sidekick has. Deadline reported that Griffin Newman will be playing Arthur. An accountant with a moth costume that enables him to fly, Arthur tries to serve as the brains of Tick’s operations, but is often exasperated by the hero’s stupidity. The two have a strong bond and their dynamic is one of the main ingredients of The Tick’s charm.

Ben Edlund will be writing and producing The Tick for Amazon. Wally Pfister is in negotiations to direct the pilot, which will hopefully be given the green light to become a proper series.

While I’ll miss Patrick Warburton as The Tick and David Burke as Arthur, I’m greatly looking forward to the upcoming Amazon pilot. There’s something about the character that just makes you feel good. The world is always a better place when new content featuring The Tick is being created. With some luck, the lovable blue hero will be starring on Amazon for years to come.

Source

Daredevil Season Two Trailer is Full of Elektra

The lovely (and deadly) Elektra Natchios gets the spotlight in the latest trailer for Daredevil season two. Elektra  was mentioned in passing during a flashback scene in season one. This year, she’ll be brought to life by Elodie Yung. (Don’t ask me why a Greek assassin is being played by a Cambodian-French actress. White people take roles from minorities all the time!) The new Daredevil trailer shows Elektra asking for Matt Murdock’s help, kicking ass alongside the hero, and getting some sexual healing. Hopefully she ends up reconnecting (biblically) with Murdock. That guy needs to get laid.

The two-and-a-half minute clip shows much more than Elektra. It also has clips of Matt having issues with longtime companion Foggy Nelson and nurse Claire Temple. The former laments walking up to Matt’s apartment and eventually finding him dead, while the latter chastises the hero and tells him that Manhattan is no longer his city. Bits of the Punisher and Karen Page are shown as well.

The juicy stuff is, of course, the ninja stuff. Elektra tells Matt that Daredevil didn’t defeat the Yakuza; they’re just hanging out in the background while DD beats up their enemies. The Yakuza appears to be back with a vengeance, accompanied by some menacing buddies — the Hand. In the comics, many of Daredevil’s best stories have to do with the Hand. The trailer shows the mystical ninja clan storming up a building. Daredevil’s mentor Stick makes a brief appearance, warning his disciple about the Hand. Glimpses of fight scenes are shown, with Daredevil and Elektra taking on Hand ninja.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Daredevil season one was its realistic and bone-crunching combat. While I’m greatly looking forward to glorious ninja battles in season two, I hope that the fights retain the impact of their forerunners and aren’t overly choreographed.

Anyway, please check out the new Daredevil season two trailer when you have a chance and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Zoom Theories Revisited (The Flash CW)

After hypothesizing on the identity of archfiend Zoom on The Flash last week, this week’s episode straight-up revealed his face. While more information was given to viewers, more questions were raised. Let’s use this space to continue to figure out the mysteries behind the identities of Zoom, Jay Garrick, and Dude in a Mask that’s stuck on Earth-2. Naturally, it’s time to activate your spoiler shields. Let’s use a Dothraki theme to indicate the things that are known for sure.

It is known: Zoom, Earth-2 Jay Garrick, and Earth-1 Hunter Zolomon have the same face

That was one helluva way to end a very cool episode of The Flash (the King Shark CG and Barry’s interpretive water-lightning dance were phenomenal)! Zoom returned to his lair, carrying Jay’s body while Dude in Mask continued to whimper in his cell. Zoom unmasked and revealed the visage of Jay Garrick!

Zoom Jay

As I mentioned last week, many people believe that Zoom is Earth-2 Hunter Zolomon. The new question is, “Why the hell does Zoom have the same face as Earth-2 Jay Garrick?”

Theory: Jay Garrick and Hunter Zolomon are twins

This is a popular theory that’s floating around on The Flash Reddit page. I’m not quite sold on it yet, but it would explain why Earth-2 Jay Garrick, Earth-1 Hunter Zolomon, and Zoom all have the same face. It would also explain why Guy in a Mask is being kept under wraps. Most fans are certain that it will be Teddy Sears under the iron mask, when all is said and done. (If that’s the case, hopefully Teddy Sears’ agent got him some nice money for playing four roles.) Perhaps I’ve watched too many episodes of WWE programming over the years, but having two sets of twins from multiple version of Earth seems a little too neat.

Theory: Guy in the Mask is Earth-1 Jay Garrick

By the process of elimination, it makes sense for this man to be Earth-1 Jay. That is, of course, assuming that you believe that Earth-2 Jay was who he said he was and Earth-1 Hunter Zolomon was who Earth-2 Jay said he was. (Confused yet?) Another interesting tidbit is that in the episode where Earth-1 Hunter Zolomon was revealed (season 2, episode 11), Earth-2 Jay said, “I couldn’t find a Jay Garrick anywhere on this planet.” That seems like a swerve. Surely there had to be some record of a man named Jay Garrick, unless Earth-2 Jay was a baddie all along.

Hunter Zolomon Flash

In a recent piece on VarietyThe Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said, “Jay had been watching them and knew that so he was able to masterfully step into the role each of them needed. He became a friend and mentor to Barry. A love interest to the heartbroken Caitlin. He skillfully played them all.” What Earth-2 Jay said in episode 11 and what Kreisberg said to Variety has me sticking to my theory that Zoom is Earth-2 Hunter Zolomon, as well as the guy parading around Earth-1 as Earth-2 Jay. Of course that doesn’t explain the corpse Zoom carried to his hideout.

It is known: Earth-2 Jay Garrick is dead…

…or at least a guy that looked like him is dead. At the end of tonight’s episode, Zoom drops Earth-2 Jay’s lifeless body and says, “Well this…is a complication.” I’m not certain that Zoom was talking about Jay’s death; he could have been talking about all the breaches being closed. Keeping in mind that Kreisberg implied that Zoom and Jay are the same person, I’m not convinced that the corpse was actually in the Garrick or Zolomon gene pool. This season has a lot symmetry with last season, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the “Jay” that died (while standing in front of an ominous portal like an asshat) was a shapeshifter working with Zoom. Remember, the Reverse Flash had Everyman posing as him to distract the good guys. Symmetry!

Theory: The “Jay” corpse isn’t actually Jay

Jay Garrick Idiot

Even though Zoom was unmasked in this episode, there are still so many questions about the true identities of multiple characters. The first season of The Flash played around with time paradoxes. This season is playing around with the multiverse. Is it possible that the writers are combining the two in order to surprise the audience along about the “real” identities of Zoom, Jay Garrick, and Dude in a Mask? I’m still not completely sure, but I can’t wait for more episodes of The Flash to start in late March!

Given the big Zoom reveal at the end of this episode, what are your new theories on the true identities of Zoom, Jay Garrick (both versions), and Dude in a Mask? Please leave a comment and let me know!