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Marvel & DC Movie & TV Universes
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overall, Justice League is getting crapped on by critics:

TomatoMeter - Top Critics
50% Man of Steel
23% Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
20% Suicide Squad
92% Wonder Woman
26% Justice League
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's admit:

* The Man of Steel rating doesn't really well reflect what critics thought of it at the time. That 50% is a low number relative to MCU movies:

90% Iron Man (2008)
59% The Incredible Hulk (2008)
59% Iron Man 2 (2010)
63% Thor (2011)
76% Captain America (2011)
82% The Avengers (2012)
62% Iron Man 3 (2013)
47% Thor 2 (2013)
82% Captain America 2 (2014)
84% Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
73% Avengers 2 (2015)
71% Ant-Man (2015)
89% Captain America 3 (2016)
85% Doctor Strange (2016)
71% Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
91% Spider-Man (2017)
89% Thor 3 (2017)

Only Thor 2 has had a worse Top Critics number, and it's even worse than the mediocre Hulk and IM2. Then mix in the other comic book blockbusters in the same time period:

69% X-Men: First Class (2011)
78% The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
64% The Wolverine (2013)
34% The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
94% X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Only TASM2 rates worse... and it's not like the first two X-Men in that cycle were well loved. [Setting aside how insanely overrated DoFP has always been].

So Man of Steel was effectively thought to be something of a stinker when released, but critics were completely shitting on it since they didn't even crap totally on the weakest MCU movies or most subpar X-Men movies. It wasn't until BvS and Suicide Squad that they felt liberated enough to just take a massive dump on bad DCU movies.

* We need to be honest that Wonder Woman, like DoFP, hits a higher TomatoMeter TC number than it warranted due to the mediocrity of the franchises movies just prior to it

I like Wonder Woman a good deal. I popped for a lot of it, and really enjoy finally having a woman as a lead of one of these movies. Long overdue, and Marvel blew it by not doing one long ago. But...

WW isn't better than the best of the MCU movies, anymore than DoFP is. Look at those ratings for Avengers and Cap 2. It's was, and is, kind of okay to split hairs on Marvel spectacles. In contrast, the DC Murderverse pretty much sucked hard until Diana got her own movie and shinned some sunshine into the stinkhole of a universe. It was going to get universal love.

I just watched both the MCU Spidey and Wonder Woman on blueray on back-to-back nights. The third time for watching each, with the first two times being in the theaters. I still really like WW. Spidey is better. Quite a bit better... except it's "another Spidey movie" that's "another MCU movie". Those are two sets of movies that circle it with a good number of movies that folks like a lot. People spend time trying to figure out where different movies rank in each series. With WW, there baggage of its series doesn't hurt it, but rather makes it look great in contrast.

As a side note, after watching Thor 3 on the big screen along with another viewing of MCU Spidey, I need to update my MCU rankings.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Current MCU rankings:

Captain America 2
The Avengers
Guardians of the Galaxy
Captain America 3
Doctor Strange
Iron Man 3
Iron Man
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Captain America
Thor 3
Avengers 2
Iron Man 2
Thor 2
The Incredible Hulk

I still find the bottom three to be painful to watch.

IM2 was disappointing off the first IM. Of all the movies, it's the one that strikes the strongest "going through the motions" tone. Even the introduction of Johansson couldn't save it.

Thor 2 struck me as an Action-O-Rama with a threadbare storyline/plot that made the Dark Elves boring jobbers.

Hulk has a terrific lead actor who is stuck in a poor movie.

* * * * *

The tier above that are ones that are kinda "doing the job". I liked Thor, though it's a goofy flick. I think Branagh knew he was dealing with goofy material, and had some goofy fun with it. It lowkeyed the action, which is fine by me. I liked Thor removed from his power. It just worked for me, without being a truly excellent Marvel movie.

Avengers 2 is similar, without the goofy fun. There really was too much plot to cover and Whedon in deciding to go 140 minutes seems to have trimmed off / condensed / rushed through plotting to get to ACTION~! There was enough story for a pair of 2 hour movies and some sort of break. I don't think a split would have been satisfying, but the rush job wasn't either. It made Ultron little more than a jobber rather than give him time to build things up. It also rushed through what Tony & Bruce were working on at lightening pace, and had to rush through how this screwed up the Team Dynamic. I don't hate the movie, but it's not likely one where I'll be popping it in the blu ray player much.

* * * * *

The next five are the ones that I would call the Good Marvel Movies.

I like a lot of the first Captain America. My only knock is that the War stuff once the Howling Commandos are formed gets rushed through. On some level, I should be thankful for movies that aren't bloated. In this case, I kind of wanted more from the Commandos... more missions, I guess. It's also the common issue with movies like this: Red Skull is Cap's Big Baddy. And he has to bite it in the end. In life you get annoying things like Red John living too long in The Mentalist, and in contrast things like Red Skull biting the farm in one movie. :) Still... it's a good movie. I had extremely low expectations, wasn't a massive Cap Fan growing up, and thought it could be corny-bad. Instead, it was good and entertaining, treated Cap with a lot of respect and pulled it off.

I'm probably the only person who likes Iron Man 3 more than Iron Man. I like the core plot element of Tony dealing with New York and just not being able to handle it. This seems to be the sole Marvel movie with a strong psychological foundation, that while trying to dish out enough action to be satisfying that it also has a plot and it's hero dealing with some serious mental issues. I liked that. I also liked his trip out of the city where he dealt with The Kid and had lower level action scenes that actually were more interesting that a lot of the over-the-top stuff Marvel feels like they need to dish out. To a degree you can feel Downey's hands on the movie: we're not just going to be going through the motions here, but try to tell a personal story about Tony. I for one dug it a lot.

I get that hardcore fans of the IM comics would be cheesed at how the Mandarin was used and cast aside. I wouldn't argue with any of them who said that's a make/break issue with them. I'm not an IM reader, so I don't have a reference point. This is the flip side of how I look at Lord of the Rings, since I am a hardcore fan of the books. :/

The first Iron Man was a solid good movie to get the MCU launched. Fun, wise ass, good action, it made a character that was never big mainstream in my youth (where the big ones were Super Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spidey, etc) into the anchor of the whole MCU. I know that he has a long Marvel history, but outside comic book fandom, he really meant zero. Pretty amazing how they pulled off making him the anchor.

GotG2 and Thor 3 are "fun" movies more than strong storytelling. They do move things along, and have okay plots. But I have IM3 the tops in this class specifically because Tony is dealing with a lot of stuff post-New York. GotG2 and Thor 3 don't come close to that level of psychological depth and instead focus on giving you a good fun ride.

* * * * *

A new tier here. Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are "these have no business being any good" movies. You look over at the DCEU and see them not being able to pull off Superman and Batman, the two most iconic comic book heroes in American history and who have been pulled off well several times over the years in the movies. Here you have the MCU taking smaller characters with concepts that are hard to pull off (tiny ant powers and Magic)... and pull off movies that are both fun and have decent stories. Miracle movies.

* * * * *

Cap 3 is the Avengers 2 that we all really wanted. It does a terrific job of introducing Panther and Peter to the MCU. The Cap-Tony tension from Avengers pays off nicely here, while the Steve-Bucky storyline pays off as well. Even small things like Vision & Wanda are done well. It doesn't have the "fresh" feel of GotG or Avengers 1, but that's not the point 13 movies into the MCU. Instead, it's the opening act of Phase 3 with (mostly) characters we know coming apart. It actually has a stronger storyline than either Avengers 1 or GotG, playing off the history of the characters.

GotG still feels unique in the MCU: it's a wacky fun goofy Space Movie as much as it's a super hero movie. I still feel like a 12 year old watching it. GotG2 tries to capture that, and deal with the concept of Family... and frankly pulls it off pretty well. But it's also a sequel where you've already bought into these characters. I fine GotG a strong success because it sold us on this wacky collection of people in their own corner of the MCU.

Avengers simply for (i) being able to pull off dragging all the characters into a movie together, (ii) tell the tale of them coming together, (iii) give them all high spots and moments, (iv) find ways to both use the fact that Downey/Tony is the Biggest Star but also weave around it to get everyone over, (v) find a way to grow Cap in stature far beyond his original movie was able to, (vi) find a way to get Widow over far better than IM2 had... it's was a major miracle that it all worked out. Fun, more than a bit over-the-top but one could expect that if it needed all of the Avengers to Save The World. This is an exceptionally easy movie to re-watch, or to stay with if you come across it on TV.

* * * * *

Spidey pulls off a back-to-back homer run being instantly part of the MCU while also creating its own Spideyverse for our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. A wonderful lead who captures being a "kid", countered by perhaps the best MCU heel so far who is completely justified in all of his heel actions. Not only justified in the sense of being able to convince himself, but it's actually reasonable that he took and makes all of the choices in his decisions tree that lead him to what he is and what he does. The movie is fun, joyous, surprising, filled with action while not falling into the trap of Blowing Lots Of Stuff Up. In rewatching it off the disc, I'm just blown away how it hits pretty much every note that it should. Really as good of a comic book blockbuster as I've seen.

Cap 2 had the balance of loads of action with so much plotting that you often forget how much action there was. If Avengers helped "make" Evans as a modern Cap, then Cap 2 just hit one out of the park to make him extremely relevant. We have a plot straight out of the headlines, and Cap taking the side against (essentially) Bush/Obama American Policy. It's a subversive movie. It leads well into the not-touched-upon-enough issues that Cap has with Tony over Ultron, and plays another movie down the road in setting up Cap's position in Civil Wars. This Cap is a helluva a character. Plus... Robert Redford as a Heel! :)

Cap2 remains the best "story" of the MCU, and I'm a story fan over an action fan. In turn, Spidey checks off so many boxes for me on what I hoped for out of the movie that it feels damn near perfect. I have no idea which of these is number 1, so they go on a tier by themselves.

Last edited by jdw on Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are going to be a lot of articles in the coming weeks of the entire non-Wonder Woman DCU being torn down and rebuilt. Mr. & Mrs. Snyder were already having their power scaled back. Likely a lot of the other people in charge are going to head for the wood chipper.

Here's the coming release schedule:

12/21/2018 Aquaman (Post-production)
04/05/2019 Shazam! (Pre-production)
06/14/2019 Untitled DC Film (June 2019)
11/01/2019 Wonder Woman 2 (In development)
02/14/2020 Untitled DC Film (Feb 2020)
04/03/2020 Cyborg (In development)
06/05/2020 Untitled DC Film (June 2020)
07/24/2020 Green Lantern Corps (In development)

That's already gotten moved around. Aquaman was suppose to be in the Summer next year, and got moved back to December. The summer date was replaced by an animated non-DCEU movie.

It's almost certain that the overly ambitious scheduled os 3 movies in 2019 and 4 movies in 2020 will get massively scaled back.

Of course they will do a WW2, and it's likely that WW Creative (largely Patty) will have an even greater free hand in doing what they want to do.

Shazam is going into shooting in February. I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing stories that it might be pushed back a few months to rethink it. They could movie shooting back two months and likely hit the June 2019 date of the other DCEU movie (which could get canned), or move it back four months to hit an August release date like SS made a ton of money in.

Joss Whedon has been given Batgirl. There's talk this will go into production in 2018. Given the success of WW, Whedon's history of success in comics (Avengers) and with woman leads (Buffy on TV), my guess is they're going to try to make sure this one happens. There may not be enough time to get it release in 2019 before WW is it's not even in production year, and rushing it would be insane. Maybe that means they force themselve to stick to Shazam in 2019 since they're so far down the road on it, followed by the (hopefully) additional feel good vibe of WW2. Then have Batgirl one of the 2020 movies.

Other than that, this is a total mess.

Whether Cybog or Green Latern Corps happen, who knows. I get the GL was teased in JL. That doesn't matter if the Snyderverse is over and the who thing gets redone.

On the most obvious level, they need to get either Superman or Batman fixed / relaunched on a solo level. They are the two biggest Super Heroes in US history. That MCU can nail things like Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and GotG while DC screws up Superman and tosses out low end Batman is a horror show. We all get that there can be bad Batman movies - we saw them in the original Batman cycle, and even the finale of Nolan's series is debatable on whether it was any good. But those are the core of any DCU, so they need to be done well.
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Steve Yohe

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shazam! is a bomb waiting to blow up. They better make them real cheap.

RE-reboot Batman..... 2 Batman movies ago...they were doing real well.--Yohe
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Bob Morris

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Late reply to this thread, but I noticed John didn't rank Captain America 3. Oversight?

As for the DC universe, again, the best thing to do is roll out Aquaman and Shazam and see if they get over with the public or not. They can go forward with Wonder Woman 2.

Superman is a franchise they can revisit down the road. Henry Cavill has said he'd be interested in staying with the role and he has shown at times he can pull off Superman closer to what the character is all about, so I'd be open to giving him another chance.

I'm not as down on Affleck as Batman as some people are, but it's clear from everything outside of DC promotions that he's not interested in sticking with the role, so best to put Batman on the backburner for the time being. They can certainly explore other characters who are related to Batman and see how that works.

Probably best not to do a shared universe for a while, though. Let the films stand on their own and they can revisit the shared concept once they know what properties people like.
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Bob Morris

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meanwhile, DC has done better work with its CW shows and is going to have its first major crossover, Crisis on Earth-X.

The premise: Barry Allen and Iris West have their wedding, but it's interrupted by Nazi storm troopers from Earth-X, who are backed by evil versions of Green Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. The heroes team up to assist Earth-X resistance members in the fight against the Nazis.

What is Earth-X: A parallel Earth on which Nazi Germany won World War II. There's been a resistance led by superheroes called the Freedom Fighters who do battle against the Nazis. In the comics, this was how DC incorporated the Freedom Fighters into their multiverse after acquiring the rights to the characters.

In the comics, the long story short is that Superman and a couple other heroes crossed over to Earth-X to aid the Freedom Fighters against the Nazis, who were backed by a Kryptonian called Overman -- essentially, what Kal-El became when his spaceship landed on Nazi-dominated Earth. In the end, Overman is convinced to turn against the Nazis and helps the others to end Nazi rule.

Roll call of characters from each show to appear in the crossover in some capacity, explained mainly because John probably isn't familiar with most of them and there are a few Yohe probably doesn't know anything about.


Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow -- self explanatory
Felicity Smoak, aka Overwatch -- minor character associated with Firestorm in the comics; in TV, she's the computer nerd and hacker for Team Arrow.
Dinah Drake, aka Black Canary -- not Oliver Queen's girlfriend, as was the case in the comics.
Curtis Holt, aka Mr. Terrific -- another computer nerd, but he uses his tech in the field rather than hacking. Similar to the comics character, only a different first name.
Rene Ramirez, aka Wild Dog -- minor character from the comics


Barry Allen, aka The Flash -- self explanatory
Iris West -- Barry's fiancee. She's been a journalist on the TV series, but is now the leader of Team Flash.
Joe West -- Iris' father and Barry's adoptive father. He's a police detective.
Wally West -- in this version, Wally is Iris' younger brother rather than her nephew.
Harrison Wells -- founder of Star Labs. He was a character created specifically for the TV series.
Cisco Ramon, aka Vibe -- the computer nerd of Team Flash. Loosely based off the minor character from the comics.
Caitlin Snow, aka Killer Frost -- in this version, she's a doctor who works for Star Labs, whose alter ego behaves more like an antihero than a villain.


Kara Danvers, aka Kara Zor-El/Supergirl -- self explanatory
Alex Danvers -- agent for the Department of Extranormal Operations. She is Supergirl's adoptive sister and was created for the series.

Legends of Tomorrow:

Sara Lance, aka White Canary -- Character created for the Arrow series, got spun off into Legends. Former League of Assassins member turned hero.
Ray Palmer, aka The Atom -- self explanatory. Fun fact: Brandon Routh, who played Superman once, is Ray's portrayer.
Jefferson "Jax" Jackson and Martin Stein, aka Firestorm -- different version of Firestrom from the comics. Jackson was created for the series.
Amaya Jiwe, aka Vixen -- One of the versions of the character from the comics.
Nate Heywood, aka Commander Steel -- Minor character from the comics.
Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave -- Flash villain turned antihero.
Zari Tomaz -- Created for the series, her character is based on the Isis character tied into the Shazam comics.

Earth-X heroes:

The Ray -- Member of the Freedom Fighters
Leo Snart, aka Citizen Cold -- doppelganger of Captain Cold, who was featured on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
Winn Schott -- character on Supergirl, will appear as his Earth-X version.

Promotional image released a few months ago.

And here's your trailer.

So, yeah, I'm geeked up in a way that the Justice League film didn't have me geeked up.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob Morris wrote:
Late reply to this thread, but I noticed John didn't rank Captain America 3. Oversight?

Probably deleted it off the list in the various cutting & pastings to put the movies in order. :)

Added. I think very highly of it.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to see you and Dave geeked up about the DCTVU. Please write about stuff that you guys pop for as it happens. I will eventually get to binge watching stuff, and your posts are helpful. :)
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it comes to the CW "Arrow-verse" Arrow is a show that I got away from when it got too soap opera-like, but I still catch the odd episode here and there. I often consider going back and binge-watching the show to catch up. Apparently, Arrow's ratings have been sliding the past couple of seasons and are really going down this season - as much as 30%. Since they are in Season 6, you have to wonder how much longer they will continue. The Flash has pretty much become the flagship show of this franchise now.

I really liked the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, but it pretty much fell off a cliff last season. The writing got so bad, I quit watching, came back and tried again, and then quit one last time in disgust. I have heard this new season is even worse than the last. Very disappointing, because it was so much fun at first and had so much potential.

I love The Flash. It helps that I read the comic book for years, I suppose. The show is exactly what it needs to be, goofy fun. The kid who plays Barry Allen does a very good job. However, the show is propped up by excellent performances by Jesse L. Martin, Carlos Valdes, and most of all, Tom Cavanagh who pretty much makes the entire show for me.

My favorite character when I read the comic book was the original Flash, Jay Garrick. The fact that they have the guy who played the Flash on CBS back in the 80's, John Wesley Shipp, now playing the original Flash Jay Garrick, (complete with winged helmet, no less) made me so happy, I love it whenever he shows up.

The show has had it's ups and downs, and can be repetitive at times, but I still enjoy it when I watch it.

I don't watch Supergirl. It debuted on CBS originally and wasn't even part of the "Arrowverse" until it got moved to the CW. I catch the show when they do cross-overs (like this week) but as it's own show Supergirl has never done anything for me.

I hear that Black Lightning will be debuting soon (mid-season maybe?) and I will give that a try and see how it is. I liked the character when he was a member of The Outsiders when I read that comic as a kid.

I'm not going to lie, I watch a fair bit of television but tend to be pretty picky regarding what shows I watch. If a show ends up becoming a chore to keep up with, I tend to stop watching it because I usually have a ton of episodes of something else on my PVR. For example, I recently gave up on The Walking Dead. It got old for me, so I took it out of the rotation, but I have this entire season of Mr. Robot saved and waiting to go.

So far, only The Flash has been good enough to stay on my "must watch every week" list.

Just like Marvel seems to have it all over DC when it comes to movies, they do to a degree with television shows. I am not talking about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Inhumans, and the stuff on ABC. I don't watch that. However, the original shows Marvel has produced for Netflix so far have been outstanding. Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders and I just finished binge-watching The Punisher in two days. At their worst those shows are average, at best I would stack then up against the Marvel movies as far as quality goes.
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Bob Morris

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I have a chance to sit down and compose my thoughts about the DC-CW verse, here they are.

Arrow: Season 1 had some rough patches but it's worth watching to get the general understanding about what's going on and how the world of the series came to be. You get familiar with the characters who take on integral roles throughout the series run. Oliver Queen, in this season, has no qualms with killing, but it's established he's more interested in vengeance than justice.

Season 2 is by far the best season of Arrow. It builds nicely off the events of Season 1 and you see the transformation of Oliver Queen from only seeking vengeance to being more interested in justice. And you get an excellent payoff to the storyline established in the Season 1 flashbacks about a relationship between Oliver and Slade Wilson, which takes a much larger focus in Season 2. Plus Manu Bennett is terrific in the role of Slade -- they do just enough with his character to make him a bit sympathetic, but make him unhinged enough that you can't side with him on everything. And Caity Lotz, as Sara Lance, is one of the unsung heroes of the season.

Season 3 is rather forgettable, aside from a few episodes. Season 4 was a bad season, with the writers not really knowing how to handle things ranging from magic to the various storylines they wanted to advance throughout the season. It's a shame in many ways because they had a competing villain in Damien Dahrk -- Neil McDonough was good at portraying the bad guy with a twisted sense of humor about him.

Season 5 was a better effort -- not as good as Season 2, but they had a compelling villain and direction. There were some loose ends that didn't get tied up, but it was a much better execution and worth watching.

Flash: Season 1 is easily the best of any of the seasons of any of the shows. Like Dave said, they have some good cast members, but it's Tom Cavanaugh who hits it out of the park with Harrison Wells. The entire storyline about the mystery surrounding Wells was not only great acting by Cavanaugh, but great writing, too. They took a premise that's, in some ways, similar to the Terminator and made it work so well. I can watch this season over and over and it never gets old.

This was also where you got the first crossover episodes -- technically, there was a "crossover" in Season 2 Arrow because that's when they introduced Barry Allen for the first time. But this is the first true crossover in which you get superheroes working together. The good part about the crossover is you don't have to watch both the Flash and Arrow episodes to get everything about the relationship between Barry and Oliver, though it's worth tracking down the Arrow episode in which Flash appears.

Season 2 isn't as good as Season 1, but the writers set such a high bar to clear, I can forgive them for it. There are some cool moments such as the trip to Earth 2, the deeper backstory for Captain Cold and the episode that Kevin Smith directed toward the end of the season. I think what Season 2 lacked, though, was a more compelling villain.

Season 3 is one I need to watch all the episodes to judge it, but I did catch recaps and a few episodes down the stretch and it suffers from two problems: It didn't do that good of a job in addressing the ramifications of the Season 2 cliffhanger (not spoiling it for those who haven't seen it yet) and it took too long to reveal who the big bad really was. The musical episode in which Supergirl crossed over is fun and I enjoyed the main crossover, but based on the episodes I did catch and the overarching storyline, it was lacking in some ways.

Legends of Tomorrow: I thought Season 1 was good overall and it's fun to watch the characters grow. I wasn't sure how they'd pull this concept off, but it proved a good way to get some of the minor characters they introduced on Flash and Arrow and flesh them out a bit more.

I'm not as down on Season 2 as Dave is, but I don't put it on a pedestal like others do. While I liked the idea of the writers just going over the top with the concept of time travel, and the Legion of Doom was a fun group of villains, it didn't click for me in other ways. The best thing about the season was the development of Sara Lance, who takes a more prominent role and who really grew on me as a character.

Supergirl: I liked Season 1 overall, though I'm not compelled to watch it again and again. But there were a few good episodes, it's cool to see them introduce Martian Manhunter into this universe, and I liked the crossover episode with Flash. I'm starting on Season 2 and the first two episodes, in which Superman appears for the first time, are fun to watch for the Superman-Supergirl team-up.

The episodes I've caught for Flash thus far have been fine, although I think they've been too goofy at times. Flash does its best work with the Guardians of the Galaxy approach, with a light tone overall, but a dark tone underneath. And so far, it looks like they'll have a compelling villain. Arrow hasn't been as good as last year, but Stephen Amell has been putting out better work this season.

I suspect that Arrow will get phased out if Amell decides he can't do the physical work any longer, but they can have him be a recurring character on another show.

It will be interesting to see what they do with Black Lightning. I know the writers and directors want the show to stand on its own for a while before any crossovers take place.

So... if I were to recommend to John where to start, I'd start with Arrow Seasons 1 and 2 and Flash Season 1. Arrow Seasons 3 and 4 can be skipped, but you may want to watch the episodes that are part of the crossovers. Then go from there about what you think you may want to experience from the other shows/seasons.
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Dave Dymond

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post Bob. :)

We are only halfway through the Crisis on Earth-X 4 Episode Crossover Event, and I already like it much more than I liked the Invasion event from last year. They have done an excellent job of balancing all of the characters, giving everybody screen time, and the action scenes have been superior to last year as well.

I have one major complaint and it echos a complaint I had with Legends of Tomorrow from last season. I think certain issues or events should not be used as fodder for comic book stories, unless they are treated with a great deal of gravitas. Quite frankly, I don't think the writers for these shows have the ability to do that.

Last season, there was an episode where The Legends traveled back in time to the Civil War. A couple of the members of the team are African-American, so they were lumped in with the slaves who worked on the plantation. If we are to believe the way this episode portrayed slavery, then the main indignities slaves had to endure was that they were kept tied up in the barn, and when working in the main house, their owners were slightly rude to them.

There is no possible way that you can portray slavery on a show like Legends of Tomorrow and do it justice. I don't feel slavery is a story-telling device or something that should be trivialized in such a manner. I found the way the show portrayed slavery to be insulting, quite frankly.

Now this year for the crossover, we get the villains who are doppelgangers of all the heroes on the CW shows, except they come from a place called Earth-X, an alternative dimension where the Nazis won World War II.

Yes, the villains in this crossover are Nazis.

I find this to be in very poor taste. Of course, it doesn't take a comic book rocket scientist to figure out what ham-handed point the writers are trying to make. Especially when one of the heroes makes a comment that the Nazis are trying to "Make America Aryan Again." Bravo, how witty.

I have never been a fan of science fiction writers using Nazis as a go-to villain. I didn't like it when the original Star Trek did it, and I don't like it now. It's lazy writing, and as I said it is in very poor taste. I know I am expecting too much from the writers of a Comic Book television show on the CW, but still.

I maintain that if you are such a bad writer that you can't get your villains across without painting swastikas everywhere (which they did) then perhaps you should admit you're just not a very good writer and stick to aliens from outer space, giant apes, and the like.

This is not a deal-breaker for me. I will watch the second half of the crossover tonight. But I won't be surprised if some people complain about the rampant Nazi symbolism during this show, and the levity with which the issue is being treated. And I would support them if they did complain.
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Bob Morris

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2884
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be sorting out thoughts later tonight as it pertains to why I believe those behind the DC CW-verse do a better job of building to the crossovers than those who are behind the DC Cinematic Universe did in building up to their first Justice League film for a blog post (which I'll link to) but let me gather some initial thoughts about this year's crossover.

The premise: I can understand some people not liking the Nazis being rolled out as the big bag in this crossover -- it's certainly an angle you have to tread carefully with. I will say two things in defense of it, though.

First, it's based on an actual storyline from the comics and the first one came out in the 1970s -- a time in which the civil rights movement was still in force and things weren't pretty. Second, many of the heroes and premises put forward are the types of people or ideas that Nazi ideology opposes and demonstrate why Nazi ideology is terrible in the first place.

The problem I had was that it lent itself to villains who were too one-dimensional at times, though they tried to go deeper with Dark Arrow and Overgirl and the storyline with Dark Arrow trying to save his wife. And we never really got a sense as to why Reverse-Flash was willing to work alongside the villains.

I'll get another issue I have out of the way before I get into what I liked -- that's the episode didn't end with some hope for Earth X. The major villains are defeated, but you have The Ray (who's actually from Earth 1 and ended up on Earth X somehow) go back and Citizen Cold (who is, in fact, from Earth X) stick around? Seems to me they'd be better serve with having Citizen Cold go back and The Ray trying to figure out if he'd be better staying on Earth 1 or going back to Earth X.

Instead, we're left with the Freedom Fighters general coming off as so selfish that they don't care who else gets harmed in their quest to be rid of Overgirl and Dark Arrow. That just didn't work for me. In the comics, they gave Earth X some hope and portrayed the Freedom Fighters as wanting to do what's right, rather than acting like the consequences of what happens to those not of Earth X is irrelevant, as long as they get rid of their own enemies.

There's another minor gripe: Barry Allen opting to let Eobard Thawne go rather than at least taking him in. Obviously, Barry wasn't going to kill Thawne, but him just letting Thawne go rather than, say, taking him down with a final blow and ensuring he's taken into custody would have been a more satisfying resolution there.

All right, with that out of the way, I'll talk about what I liked.

* This was a much smoother crossover, in which each part seamlessly transitioned from one to the next. It was amazing to see how well the writers and directors got that done, knowing that they would have to juggle everyone's production schedule around

I need to find that interview Stephen Amell did about scheduling the crossovers as a separate project, rather than trying to work them into the regular series schedules, so everyone can devote the time they need toward the crossover. But with that said, it's still a credit to how everyone got together to make it work.

* I think the overall theme of love and relationships worked well. You not only focus on Barry and Iris' wedding and how their relationship evolved, but others as well. With the Barry-Iris relationship, you had an excellent speech from Joe West during the wedding rehearsal party, then when the marriage was finally made official, a great speech from Barry off the top of his head, then Iris reading her own speech. And they finally tied up the loose ends with the Oliver-Felicity relationship -- it was one that got dragged around too much in Season 4, but they got back to a better direction in Season 5, and now Oliver realizing he needs to make a serious commitment, but Felicity worried that things could fall apart again, made for a better build to the resolution in which Felicity realizes she shouldn't worry again about what will happen, especially with Oliver being much calmer with how he handled her initial rejection.

But there were other things touched upon as well. They got Alex Danvers to find peace over her breakup and Sara Lance was the right person to help Alex find that peace.

And then there was the father-son dynamic between Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson. Victor Garber has always been good in his role as Stein, but this was where Franz Drameh got his chance to shine. And when Stein sacrificed himself so that Jackson could live -- they didn't go over the top with how it happened, but kept it straightforward, that Stein was doing exactly what a father would do for his son. I was close to tears with that scene.

* Wentworth Miller has always been fun with Captain Cold, which made the twist on the Earth X version even more fun. I liked how Miller hit the right notes in his portrait of Citizen Cold as someone who remains optimistic, light hearted and full of quips despite the situation on Earth X, but he's serious when the moment calls for it. That's why I really wished Citizen Cold had gone back, because you can tell he's the one that gives the sense of hope to that earth.

* Melissa Benoist was great to watch in her portrayals of Overgirl and Supergirl. You get the sense that Supergirl still believes there has to be something good in Overgirl and is steadfast in being the symbol of hope despite Overgirl clearly being corrupted by ideology.

* I think Stephen Amell did well with his portrayals of both version of Oliver Queen. You get the sense that Dark Arrow is what Oliver Queen would have become if he had continued down that dark path in Season One, and Amell's portrayal of Green Arrow gives the sense that Green Arrow knows this. So you find Green Arrow toeing that line again as he goes about his work, to the final confrontation in which he's thinking about not putting the arrow into Dark Arrow's heart, only to do so once Dark Arrow tries to catch him off guard.

* I think Sara Lance came into her own throughout the crossover, not only with how she helped Alex Danvers cope, but how she maintained a strong demeanor despite going through a lot, ranging from seeing the Earth-X version of her father being a Nazi lieutenant to the death of Martin Stein -- you get enough sense that she's conflicted but stays strong despite it all. I do hope they'll explore her relationship with Stein more in Legends of Tomorrow -- I think there's material that can be touched upon, along with the obvious material with Jefferson Jackson.

* They did a great job working in a lot of homages to various geek films without making it too obvious, along with giving everybody a big moment. I marked out the most for Killer Frost -- with other heroes, we've seen them in action a lot, but this was the first big action for her.

Overall, I enjoyed the crossover despite the flaws. I just hope if they do another crossover involving a Crisis on another earth, that they leave that earth with hope rather than leaving people hanging with wondering what's going to happen there.
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Bob Morris

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2884
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And we interrupt this discussion of the DC universe to go to something important in the Marvel universe.

Between this and Black Panther, 2018 is going to be an interesting year for the MCU. :)
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Bob Morris

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2884
Location: New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found the article in which Stephen Amell talked about the production schedules for the crossover and how they'll need to do them in the future.
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