In the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I breakdown Netflix’s Iron Fist Season 2! After a lackluster first season, Iron Fist returns with a vengeance, having massively improved in its second season! This season opened up the mythology and characters of The Immortal Iron Fist in a huge way. With my encyclopedic knowledge of the comics, on this episode I give you my thoughts on the season and explain the deal with some of the season’s biggest moments and characters. Including the show’s game changing ending and where the story of the Iron Fist could go from here. Plus, I ramble on about a bunch of other bullshit too! Below, I also put some pictures of some of the characters and places from the comics we may see in upcoming seasons. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes Enjoy!:
It was announced today, that Henry Cavill is no longer going to be the live action Superman in the DCEU. It was recently confirmed (and long rumored) that Ben Affleck was not going to be Batman in the DCEU. So, the DCEU is down 2 of their three most iconic characters, and many people are speculating a ‘soft reboot’ of the DCEU in general. Of their 5 films so far, the only success across the board (critics/fans/box office) has been Wonder Woman, and so this might make sense to do. Especially since Wonder Woman and the upcoming sequel take place before the events of the other 4 films released so far.
Has Aquaman ever looked cooler?
Now, I personally think this reboot idea will likely take some of its cues from what happens with December’s Aquaman film. We already saw Jason Mamoa as the character in Justice League, and I’ve heard virtually no complaints about him, but an Aquaman stand-alone will be a completely different thing, and so we really won’t know until it comes out.
There is also the forthcoming Shazam, scheduled for next April. Now, Shazam hasn’t appeared in the DCEU previously, so if Aquaman tanks and they go full steam ahead on the reboot, Shazam could be part of the ‘new’ universe, or if Aquaman is a success, it could be tailored into the ‘newish/soft reboot/whatever they’re going to call it.’
I knew nothing about this character, and the trailer sold me.
So let’s make the assumption that some kind of reboot is going to happen, and I will tell you what I want to see with that. Ok?
I want to see this reboot build characters individually. I’m not saying not to put Easter eggs, or slight references to each other, but let’s not get to the second movie before we have a full blown cross over. If in Wonder Woman ’84 we see some story about a ‘meteorological event’ which implies Kal El’s (Superman) arrival, that’s fine, but I don’t want Jason Mamoa or Shazam or anyone else to show up. Get several stand alone films under your belts, like you should have done the first time around.
Thanos’ snap was more powerful than we all realized.
The second thing that I want to see happen, is I don’t want Superman and Batman to show up for a while. It might sound dumb, and I’m sure people hate hearing about the MCU as a model, but Marvel didn’t have access to their A listers when they started, and it forced them to build characters and not assume we knew who they were, it forced them to get creative and be better story tellers. I think Batman and Superman are too iconic to start. Let’s deal with Shazam, and Cyborg, and other characters that the general film going audience that aren’t comic book readers aren’t familiar with, and start world building through them. There is some brand recognition with characters like Flash and Green Lantern, but use those characters to bridge the gap between the audience who know nothing, and the audience who totally get it. Then once you’re several successes deep, you can start introducing Superman and Batman. This exercise, will also help you to understand how to create those characters more memorably, to not be coming at them as the icons they are to the general public, but to fill in and establish all of the layers that have comic book fans hooked.
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, this week’s guest co-host, Paul Sr. and I look back, discuss, and review some of the late summer TV shows! We also look at some upcoming returning series that look pretty interesting. We review Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime, talk about Preacher Season 3 on AMC, Castle Rock on Hulu, and premiering tonight Iron Fist Season 2 on Netflix! Beware of some light spoilers! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
I finally saw Ant-Man and The Wasp yesterday, and I realized something, Hope Van Dyne is my favorite female character in the MCU. Realizing that made me reflect on the role of women in the MCU.
It’s been pretty well discussed among critics and fans that for a while the MCU had a female problem. Despite Black Widow having been introduced in the third (of 20 so far) MCU films, she took a long time to gain prominence in screen time, or plot relevance (I’m not sure we’ve even seen her have more screen time or relevance to the story, than anyone but Hawkeye). Fans were asking for a Black Widow film, and Marvel Studios’ response was something along the lines of “when it’s right we’ll do it”. which at the time probably felt like a cop-out, but they were having the same complaints made about having a non-white main character and they were giving the same response. At the time, it really felt like the MCU had a diversity problem, but in fairness they tried to address the problem. They quickly began to introduce characters like Sam Wilson as the Falcon, Rhodey to be War Machine/Iron Patriot started to have a larger role and more screen time, they added Scarlett Witch to the team, for example. Many argued this was a half measure, they were all secondary characters and not a solution to the problem. They were definitely steps in the right direction and they filled in some gaps. It was very clear that women and non-white males needed to be the titles characters of their own movies.
The MCU started using crossovers and the team films to be able to add new characters, layer their universe, and make it more three dimensional. In Civil War, we were introduced to the MCU version of Spider-Man and finally Black Panther. Pretty quickly, it was clear that both would be getting their own films, but the MCU as a single cohesive piece was more important, so they tend not to rush into things and it payed off.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a big success, but Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon. Black Panther showed us that the MCU could handle a film with a non-white main character, a majority non-white cast, and come out with a critical and box office smash. Black Panther not only stood on its own two feet, but it absolutely crushed the competition. The two most prominent white characters are played by Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman. Both are well established actors, but they’re certainly not mega-stars like Tom Cruise or Matt Damon.
The second crucial thing Black Panther did, was almost double the MCU’s roster current of important, strong female characters. Prior to this what did we have? Scarlett Witch, is a decent character, but I personally don’t think she’s nearly as fleshed out as she could be. Black Widow, tends to be used more in her relationship with which ever male hero needs her (i.e. in Winter Soldier with Cap, or in Age of Ultron with Bruce/Hulk). Pepper? I think we’re all honestly surprised when Pepper pops up for a cameo anymore, but really she isn’t much more fleshed out than Friday. Jane Foster, might have been a good addition, except it seems that Natalie Portmant doesnt have much interest in playing Jane Foster anymore. So that’s not entirely the fault of the MCU. The only two pre-Black Panther characters that seemed to be totally realized and fleshed out female characters were Gamora and Hope Van Dyne. In Ant-Man, Hope is the most capable character, the main character arc belongs to Scott Lang.
In Black Panther, we got three really great female characters in; Shuri (who is strong willed, intelligent, competitive, funny); Nakia who almost forces T’Challa to play the ‘fawning love-interest’ character due to her commitment to bettering Africa and the world; and Okoye who is one of the fiercest normal humans in the MCU. Would you want to fight Okoye? Do you think you could outsmart Shuri on literally anything? Do you have more compassion for any group of people than Nakia does? They’re all incredible, and while they have their ‘defining’ attributes, they’re not only those things. Shuri is funny, and brave. Nakia is in love with T’Challa, but refuses to let that be her guiding principal. Okoye, despite being a total bad-ass is also a loving girlfriend/wife (they don’t really say) who also stands up to her love when he is on the wrong side.
Black Panther pushed us further toward the MCU ‘sweet spot. Now we have Ant-Man and The Wasp and it’s the first time in the MCU that a woman is one of the title characters. The Wasp does not disappoint. She’s the most bad-ass fighter in the film, she totally shows up Ant-Man and even the pseudo-villain Ghost. She’s a dedicated, intelligent woman trying to be reunited her mother.
Something Hope/Wasp and the women of Black Panther manage to do, is balance the characters between being what we want in super-heroes while not removing their femininity. They also don’t play on any female stereotypes or tropes. We don’t see any of the female characters being played as ’emotionally erratic,’ while also not playing them off as unfeeling. It’s a hard balance that Hollywood in general has difficulty was and the MCU has done pretty well avoiding those pitfalls. Which is really impressive considering that so far, all the directors in the MCU has been mad.
So what do I want to see when it comes to females in the MCU? That leads us to Captain Marvel. For Captain Marvel, we’re going to get our first female (solo) title character. We’re also going to get our first female director (co-director, but to be fair, Anna Boden has directed all of her films with her husband Ryan Fleck). I really want Captain Marvel to be great. I want it to be as great as Black Panther and a game changer in the same way Black Panther was. I want Captain Marvel to be an amazing character with depth, but also a total bad-ass. The DCEU had their only smash success to date with Wonder Woman because it’s a genuinely good film. I hope Captain Marvel is at least as good (perhaps with a better villain). Because Captain Marvel will not have the momentum of being the first like Wonder Woman was, but it does need to be successful. One of the major takeaways from Black Panther and Wonder Woman was that people respond to diversity in their entertainment. However, if a movie like Captain Marvel fails, Hollywood probably won’t learn the right lesson from it. They won’t say “oh Captain Marvel sucked, let’s try a Black Widow film instead!”, they’re more likely to say “oh maybe Wonder Woman was an anomaly and the audiences don’t really want female lead superhero movies.” It’s bullshit logic, but as I’ve written before Hollywood almost always learns the wrong lessons.
If Captain Marvel has some great action set pieces and the character is as well developed and well acted as Hope Van Dyne, Okoye, Nakia, Shuri, and Gamora, I think they’ll have a hit on their hands. If that happens Hollywood will do more to replicate it. The MCU has done a great job creating this universe and I’m confident that Captain Marvel will not be an exception to that rule. I know I’m really excited.
Because, honestly? I love watching great women characters, especially when they kick ass. That’s so much more interesting to me than the damsel in distress. I don’t know maybe I’m not ‘alpha’ enough, but something I find attractive (not just on a romantic/sexual level, but attractive in a friend, or in my wife, or when I’m proud of my sister ) is characters/people who have passion. It’s what we admire about male characters right? You love that Tony Stark is pursuing (albeit awfully) the betterment of human kind through science, or that Captain America is passionate about the ideals of freedom and what America is supposed to be. Why wouldn’t we look for the same in our female characters? I never understood that.
So, what I want to see, is an excellent Captain Marvel movie, and if there is a love interest, I hope it’s not shoe-horned in. After that, I hope that Captain Marvel opens us up to more female lead films in the MCU. I’m patient, I know it won’t be overnight, but with a few more hits in Phase Four, and then they’ll be on a roll.
Guest co-host Mike Cole returns to The World’s Best Podcast to finish Part 2 of our discussion of the work of filmmaker Kevin Smith! The best part is, we actually talk about Kevin Smith in this episode! As opposed to the last episode where we just bullshitted for most of the show. But it was fun! In this episode Mike and I cover Kevin Smiths’ comic book work on books like Daredevil and Green Arrow! As well as, his work on the screenplay for the never made Tim Burton Superman film ( concept art below ), our favorite lines from his films, his podcast work, and upcoming work Smith currently has in the pipe! We had a blast recording this episode, so please enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
In the episode we mention the Superman movie that Tim Burton was going to make with Nic Cage as Superman, involving The Death Of Superman story, Brainiac, and Doomsday. Here’s some of the early concept art:
I wanted to touch on a casting rumor that’s been going around recently: Jensen Ackles playing The Red Hood in one of the upcoming Batman film projects. Regardless of what you think of the final film, the inclusion of the suit of a dead Robin in The Batcave caught everyone’s attention in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. As soon as the image was shown in the trailer for BvS, fans immediately speculated what this meant in the larger context of the DCEU.
As a weird side note that I think is indicative of the state of DC’s cinematic universe, the DCEU (or the DC Extended Universe) didn’t originate with Warner Bros. or DC. They never actually had a name for this cinematic universe they were creating. Apparently, it the name came from a writer at Entertainment Weekly and it just stuck. So, the powers that be finally got around to naming this shit show of a universe, with the official title now being: The Worlds of DC. Wow, there really is no one flying the fucking plane here…
Anyway, when fans saw the Robin suit displayed in The Batcave with “HA HA HA JOKE’S ON YOU BATMAN” spray painted on it, it was assumed that this was the former suit of Jason Todd. Jason Todd was the second Robin after Dick Grayson got tired of Bruce’s bullshit and went off to follow his own path as Nightwing. In the comics, after Jason died, Bruce eventually took in Tim Drake who became the new Robin. What do you get for the billionaire who has everything? Young boys to put in mortal danger every night!
In one of The Joker’s many acts of horrific violence, he brutally beat Jason with a crowbar in a warehouse and then left him for dead as the warehouse exploded with Jason inside. Arguably, Jason’s death was as much of a defining traumatic loss for Bruce Wayne as the death of his parents. Bruce (very rightly) felt responsible for Jason’s death and blamed himself for not being able to save him. But that didn’t stop Bruce from continuing to churn out Robin’s! No, sir! At least 3 or 4 of these poor little bastards have bit the dust since Jason. What’s that? Another Robin is dead? Must be Wednesday!
In comics, no one stays dead forever. So, after several years and an insanely convoluted series of events, but for the sake of this article lets just keep it simple and say Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit was involved, Jason was resurrected. (if you want, you can look up the whole story of EXACTLY how Jason came back to life, good luck and God be with you). The point is that Jason Todd was back.
So the story of Jason’s return to Gotham and taking on the persona of The Red Hood, was told in Judd Winnick’s excellent Batman: Under The Red Hood. I highly recommend you check it out, it’s a great read and I put the Amazon link below if you want to pick up the graphic novel. https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Under-Hood-Judd-Winick/dp/1401231454/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1535344301&sr=8-3&keywords=batman+under+the+red+hood
At this point, you guys probably know that I’m a big fan of the direct to Blu Ray and Digital DC Animated Movies, like The Death of Superman (you can read my review for that film right here: https://best-media-world.com/2018/07/29/movie-review-the-death-of-superman/ )
One of the best DC Animated movies is Batman: Under The Red Hood, based on the graphic novel of the same name. Again, I highly recommend this one so here’s the Amazon link to the Blu Ray: https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Under-Red-Hood-Blu-ray/dp/B003ITZBVI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1535344301&sr=8-2&keywords=batman+under+the+red+hood
From here on in I’m going to be specifically referring to the Animated Movie version of Batman: Under The Red Hood, which combines story elements from A Death In The Family into the narrative. A new and brutal vigilante going by The Red Hood shows up in Gotham and starts killing criminals and crime bosses left and right. Batman can’t have this shit going on in his town, so he confronts the very well trained Red Hood and is horrified to find out that The Red Hood is his formally dead ward, Jason Todd.
Jason had always been a more violent Robin, but getting killed playing by Bruce’s rules seriously changed his perspective on dealing with criminals. Basically he subscribes to the “see bad guy, kill bad guy” philosophy of crime fighting. More than anything Jason isn’t angry at Bruce because he was killed. He forgives him for that, what he can’t forgive is: Why the fuck didn’t Bruce kill The Joker? Jason doesn’t think Bruce should go all Charles Bronson on the Gotham Rogues gallery, but if ever there was an exception to Bruce’s (bullshit) “No Killing” rule, it’s The Joker. As you can imagine Jason is pretty fucking pissed. I don’t want to go into too much more of the story in case you want to watch the movie or read the graphic novel.
I should probably point out that one of the reasons this movie is great is the voice performances. Bruce Greenwood is probably the second best actor behind Kevin Conroy to voice Batman. He plays him in the soon to be returning Young Justice animated series as well. Aaaaaaand finally we come to the point: Jason Todd is perfectly played by Jensen Ackles who plays Dean Winchester on one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural.
If any of you listen to my podcast, The World’s Best Podcast, you may find this funny because my love of the show Supernatural is sort of a running joke on the show. But, like I said, the whole point of this article is that Jensen Ackels would make a fucking great live action Jason Todd. About a week ago a picture went viral of Ackles standing next to a Red Hood statue or costume or something.
Now this might mean nothing, but sometimes pictures like this are posted when actors are in talks with a studio to take a role. Or sometimes actors will post pictures like these to get conversations exactly like this one started, so they get on filmmakers radar. Regardless, this photo prompted a lot of fans to jockey for Ackles to be cast as The Red Hood in an upcoming Worlds of DC film. Rumor has it, Matt Reeve’s Batman film may contain elements of the Under The Red Hood story. With multiple Joker movies, a Nightwing film, and Gotham City Sirens all in different points of development, there are plenty of places The Red Hood could pop up. The flames of fandom were fanned when this fucking spectacular piece of artwork, featuring Ackles as The Red Hood, made the rounds online. The very cool piece was done by artist BossLogic, who’s done some incredible artwork over the years.
Supernatural is going into it’s 14th season this fall and there’s a reason a show like that has such staying power. Especially the last few season have been among the best in the show’s run. Jensen Ackles is a huge part of that. He’s an incredibly underrated actor who’s given some amazing performances on the show.
This isn’t the first time he’s been associated with a superhero project either. He was one of the front runners for Captain America before Chris Evans ultimately took up the shield. He was offered the role of Hawkeye in the MCU, but turned it down (I love Supernatural, but I bet he regrets that move a little bit). Personally, I always thought he would make a great Hal Jordan. Bottom line is, anyone familiar with Supernatural knows he would crush it as The Red Hood. He has the physicality for the role and he’s a great fucking actor. He has a raw edge to him that would work great for a character like Jason as opposed to say, Nightwing. Not to mention He already knows the character of The Red Hood well. He’s the appropriate age, because we’re dealing with an older Batman. Interestingly, Supernatural is producing 20 episodes this season instead of it’s usual 23. They gave a very plausible reason for this, basically that it’s easier on the cast. The main actors have families and they shoot the show in Vancouver, but they live in Texas. Or perhaps one of the two leads needed a few extra months off to shoot a high profile film project? Hmmm..
Nothing official has come from Warner Bros or DC about this potential casting, but DC fans seem to have really gotten behind it. The World’s of DC need solid, talented actors to fill out their universe. Whatever form the new Batman movie takes, I’ve always wanted to see more of the Bat Family in a Batman film. I don’t think Under The Red Hood would be the Batman story I’d like to see DC make, but that doesn’t mean Jason Todd couldn’t be a part of the film. Jensen Ackles would be a fucking awesome Red Hood. As always, thanks for reading!
Without a doubt one of my favorite things that I look forward to each year is The CW’s Arrowverse Crossover Event. They hit a new high last year with Crisis On Earth-X and this year looks to be just as exciting with the crossover involving “the world” of Gotham City and the debut of Ruby Rose as Batwoman. But that’s not all, which I’ll get to in a minute.
No Batman though. Warner Bros. just will not let them play with Batman for some reason on live action TV (No, Gotham doesn’t count). Which is weird because they’ve established that Batman exists in this universe:
*(If you’re curious I’ve put a longer video with all of the Batman/Bruce Wayne references in the Arrowverse so far at the end if this article)
Also, it seems problematic from a storytelling standpoint to introduce Batwoman as a major new character in this universe (she’s getting her own show next year in case you didn’t know) and not reference Batman AT ALL. I mean, sure it’s not impossible, but it seems like unnecessarily complicated writing. People don’t know the deal with Batwoman like they do with Batgirl, Robin, or Nightwing. She is a fucking awesome character, FYI and anyone who’s curious about her should check out this fantastic graphic novel by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams:
(Here’ the link to buy it on amazon, which I highly recommend)
This has been an annoying line in the sand that WB drew a long time ago. I remember for years fans of that Smallville clamored for a young Bruce Wayne cameo to no avail. Fortunately, they did allow the Arrowverse to have a pretty fucking awesome Superman with Tyler Hoechlin in the role as Clark Kent. To make this crossover 100 time more exciting, SUPERMAN and LOIS LANE are joining the crossover for all 3 episodes! This isn’t a cameo either, they will be major players in the entire story. Hoechlin is an excellent Superman, and almost more importantly, a great Clark Kent. So it’s great to see him back in the role in a big way.
This is really cool for a few reason, first this will be the first time Superman has interacted with any characters in the Arrowverse besides Supergirl characters. Supergirl technically lives on another Earth than all of the other Arrowverse heroes and Superman has only ever appeared on Supergirl. Though on last years crossover, Eobard Thawne AKA Reverse-Flash makes a comment to Supergirl that he fought he cousin in the future and smugly says “He’s fast. But I’m faster.” Could this mean Thawne could pop up as well in the crossover? I know I’d love to see him fight Superman. Anyway, it will be so cool to see the MAN OF STEEL finally fighting along side Green Arrow, Flash, Vibe, and all the other heroes of the Arrowverse. Unfortunately, Legends of Tomorrow will NOT be a part of this crossover. As much as I would have liked to see the crew of The Waverider and especially John Constantine as a part of all this, I understand why they chose to exclude the show this year.
Which brings me the other reason this is a really cool piece of news, coming over to Earth-1 along with her husband is iconic DC character Lois Lane, making her Arrowverse debut! Lois hasn’t been cast yet, but the fact that she’s a big part of the crossover as well is really thrilling to this old comic book fan!
Now, we just need an awesome DC villain (Or Villains?) worthy to go up against these iconic characters…
The 3 Episode Crossover begins with a special Sunday night premiere on 12/9 at 8pm and wraps up Tuesday 12/11 at 8pm! I cant fucking wait!
* (Oh and here’s that video with ALL of the Arrowverse references to Batman)
Netflix released an cool new trailer for Iron Fist Season 2! Check it out here and then read my trailer breakdown with pics from EW.com below:
Now THIS is more like it! After a somewhat disappointing first season, Iron First has been steadily improving as a character with each appearance in the MCU. From The Defenders to Luke Cage Season 2 to this awesome trailer for Iron Fist Season 2, it seems like we’re getting closer and closer to Danny Rand from the comics that we all want to see.
To finally see Davos (Danny’s best friend from K’un L’un, who we met in Season 1) become his own “immortal weapon” as The Steel Serpent is so fucking cool. Many of you may not remember, but this a character that was teased as far back as Daredevil Season 1. I can’t wait to see the backstory behind Davos’ new abilities and I wouldn’t be surprised if Madam Goa had a hand in creating The Steel Serpent.
After all, Season 1 ended with Davos and Joy Meachum discussing the destruction of Danny with Madam Goa listening intently near by. I also loved seeing the Iron Fist being used so much, I honestly think we saw the Iron Fist used more in this trailer than in all of Season 1. To my delight, much like Daredevil, it seems that Iron Fist is slowly developing a costume of his own.
We don’t see much of the Season’s other big villain Typhoid Mary (played by Alice Eve) except for some brief fight shots. We do get to see a lot of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. I know for a fact they’re going full Daughter’s of The Dragon team-up this season, which is exciting for any hardcore Marvel fan. Now we just need HEROES FOR HIRE, DAMMIT!
The fight choreography looks like it’s improved in a big way, especially when it comes to Danny. Not to mention the fights look like they’ve upped the brutality to Daredevil levels. The Immortal Iron Fist should be the greatest martial artist in the world and I hope we finally get to see that in Season 2.
Marvel and Netflix made another very smart move and went from 13 episodes in Season 1 to 10 episodes in Season 2. Considering the show faced some criticism for pacing issues, I think this is a smart move. As much as I love most of the Marvel Netflix shows, each Season of each show usually has one or two episodes that drag the season down, basically filler episodes. A tighter 10 episode season could add excitement and drama, giving the show the momentum that was missing in Season 1. It will be interesting to see if Netflix uses this new 10 episode model for all of their Marvel shows. It makes sense because, from 2018 going forward we’re getting 4 Marvel Netflix shows each year. This year, it was Jessica Jones Season 2, the excellent Luke Cage Season 2, Iron Fist Season 2, and Daredevil Season 3 in December.
I went from cautiously optimistic to very excited for Iron Fist Season 2. Now, I know Rule #1 at World’s Best Media is: DON’T TRUST TRAILERS! However, despite my better judgement, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this could be the Iron Fist series we all hoped for when Season 1 premiered.
Iron Fist Season 2 premiers September 7 on Netflix.