I’ll be honest, some may be surprised to hear, that I’ve had some big reservations about Spider-Man: No Way Home. After all, I’m an MCU super-fan and Tom Holland is without a doubt my favorite live action Spider-Man. When I’ve expressed my trepidation about this new movie I’ve been met with some pretty strong responses. Like this recent exchange for example, “What’s this guy’s fuckin’ problem?! Does this prick think he’s BETTER than Spider-Man?! You and little fucking website and your shitty podcast can GO FUCK YOURSELF!”. To which I replied, “Jeez Mom, that a bit much, don’t you think?”
However, in my defense, I think I had a few good reasons to be concerned. Far From Home had such a spectacular cliffhanger ending. Not only was I beyond thrilled too see J.K. Simmons return as J. Jonah Jameson, in The MCU no less, but Mysterio framing Peter for his murder, streaming the doctored footage, and revealing that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, for all the worlds to see. That is one hell of a way to end a movie!
I loved that J. Jonah Jameson was the one to get the scoop. Their decision to make Ole’ J.J., a controversial, fringe, Alex Jones-esque, online news outlet that broke the story was only the icing on the cake. I was really curious to see how this story would play out. But then as proctions was ramping up, rumors and information about No Way Home begin to trickle in. Jaimie Foxx was returning as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, then the great Alfred Molina would be appearing as Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2. They were playing the same versions of their characters that we had already seen in other Spider-Man franchises that didn’t take place in The MCU.
The last piece of the puzzle fell into place for me when Benedict Cumberbatch signed on for a size-able role in movie as Doctor Strange. After No Way Home, the next MCU film is Doctor Strange and The Multiverse of Madness (You don’t have to be a genius to figure out the type of thing Doctor Strange will be dealing with that movie). As the months went on and more rumors about casting continue to swirl, it was sounding more and more to me like this was essentially going to be a live action version of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Don’t get me wrong, I love Into The Spider-Verse. It’s easily one of the best superhero movies ever made Live-Action, Animated, or otherwise. That’s just not what I wanted to see from a third MCU Spider-Man movie. I was very excited to see what, I imagined was, a more grounded Spider-Man film that dealt with the fallout of the last movie. At this point I should simply learn to trust Marvel and Kevin Feige because this trailer laid my fears to rest. Not only is Peter’s identity becoming public a huge part of this upcoming film, it is the event that movies the entire story forward. It’s the catalyst for the whole movie.
I was pleasantly surprised how excited I was after watching this teaser. Now that it’s finally available for our viewing pleasure, I was really blown away by it and I thought the best way to cover it, would be a Trailer Commentary. Below, you will see the 1st trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, If you’d like, you can sync up with me and follow along, as I give my commentary and my insights on this new teaser for The MCU’s third Spider-Man movie. I have a lot of fun stuff to cover so I hope you join the ride! When rumors and bits of information about this movie were hitting the Internet, it was clear that this was going to be a film that dealt with the multiverse and some other big, sci-fi concepts. Which is all well and good, but I was afraid that they were taking this route, at the expense of the story set up at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. I gotta admit my fears were laid to rest after watching this teaser. I mean…Wow.! What a trailer! This baby was certainly worth the wait! Watch it here:
There were so many things I loved in this. The return of J. Jonah Jameson! The pumpkin bomb! Goddamn it’s good to see Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock again. I can wait to see this Peter Parker fight those tentacles. They naturally lend themselves to interesting action sequences. I could be wrong, but it seeemed like Peter sees Doc Ock in the same place we see the pumpkin bomb and hear the unmistakable laugh of Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. I was very critical of Dafoe’s Norman Osborn in the original film, so I’m surprised by how happy i was by the trailer’s suggestion of his return.
The set up of the film is reminiscent of the much maligned “One More Day” story arc in which Aunt May is shot after Peter’s identity becomes public. He then makes a deal with the demon Mephisto to put Spider-Man’s secret identity back in the bottle in exchange for his marriage to MJ. It’s pretty fucking stupid, but I love what they’re attempting to do here. Of course, it’s always a pleasure to see Jon Faverau, the man who started it all, return as Happy Hogan. Also, l’m calling it right now. This is going to be the biggest superhero blockbuster of all time. This is going to break box office records left and right. So pull up the trailer, sync it up with mine, and let’s dive into this Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Commentary!
Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/46225075 Or subscribe/listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…
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Let me start off by saying something that, I think, everyone needs to hear in this crazy time we’re all going through…. WE’RE FUCKED! THE GODDAMN SHIP IS GOING DOWN AND THERE AREN’T ENOUGH FUCKING LIFE JACKETS! In the immortal words of the late, great Bill Paxton: GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!
Phew! Well… now that I got that out of my system, down to business! Most of us (with the exception of a significant number of morons) are holed up inside, waiting for this shit storm to blow over before they murder their family. On a side note: this little GLOBAL PANDEMIC, is just a preview of things to come in the 21st century. There are more than a few existential threats heading our way in the coming decades. Unfortunately, just like the federal government’s abysmal preparation for Covid-19, we’re doing jack shit to prepare for global threats that will make this epidemic look like a picnic in the park (Climate Change, The Exponential Advancement of A. I., more Pandemics). To quote Ultron “When the Earth starts to settle, God throws a stone at it. And, believe me, he’s winding up.”
On that happy note, I’m sure people are doing whatever the can to pass the time. What better way to while away the hours than to binge watch some great TV series? So today I give you Paul’s Quarantine TV Binge Guide! These are my picks for the best shows available, to give you a fun escape from life’s crushing misery! I tried to offer up variety in my picks.Some of these are well known show’s that you may not have watched yet, a few series to watch with the family, and I also have some hidden gems that folks might not be as familiar with. Each series is available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO (along with the HBO steaming services), or On Demand. Each of these excellent shows get my personal seal of approval and I’m sure there’s something on this list for everyone. Let’s dive in!
Daredevil: Seasons 1-3 (Available On Netflix)
Many of you may have already seen this series, but it bares repeating for those who haven’t. Daredevil is a masterpiece, plain and simple. I absolutely love The MCU, so even compared to movies like Infinity War and Endgame, Daredevil could be the best content to come out of The Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ll even go as far as to say that the 3 seasons of Daredevil, amount to the very best live-, comic book adaptation done in any medium. Daredevil redefined superhero fight scenes with the now iconic Season 1 Hallway Fight. The “Single Take” fight scene became a staple of the show, with “The Stairway Fight” in Season 2 and “The Prison Fight” in Season 3. The incredible cast is anchored by Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock and Vincent D’Nofrio as Wilson Fisk, whose rivalry is electric. This is the most riveting and complex hero/villain dynamic since Nolan put Bale and Ledger on screen together. Though Netflix ended the series 2 years ago, the Season 3 finale works very well as a series finale. It brings the characters and the story full circle. So even if we never see a Daredevil adaptation with this phenomenal cast again, the 3 seasons of Daredevil tell one complete story that is a MUST WATCH.
If You Like That, Watch This:Jessica Jones Season 1 (Netflix)
Locke & Key: Season 1 (Netflix)
This is a great show to watch with the family, especially if you have kids over 10 years old. After a terrible personal tragedy, The Locke Family moves to their ancestral home, Key House. Relocating to a small Massachusetts town, each member of The Locke Family is looking to start over with a clean slate. Mother, Nina, her teenager children Tyler and Kinsey, little brother Bodie, and their paternal Uncle Duncan. As they try to build new lives, it becomes clear that Key House and it’s surrounding grounds are much more than an old family mansion. The Locke siblings begin to discover magical keys throughout the estate. Each key possess its own amazing and unique power. All the while dark, supernatural forces conspire to steal the keys for their own sinister means. Like I said, this is a great show to watch with the family because not only is it a great new series, I’d say the series never gets more intense or violent than any of the darker Harry Potter films. Locke & Key is definitely one of my favorite new shows of the year.
Watch This, If You Like:Stranger Things (Netflix)
The Outsider: Season 1 (HBO)
This riveting supernatural mystery thriller based on the novel by Stephen King stars Ben Mendelsohn as Det. Ralph Anderson, a small town Georgia Detective. When a young boy is found brutally murdered, all the evidence points to Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a beloved local teacher and baseball coach. After eyewitness, fingerprint, video, and DNA evidence all paint a damning picture of Maitland as the killer, Ralph thinks he has his man and stages a very public arrest of Terry Maitland. Case closed, right? Well, Terry is shocked and insists his innocence after his arrest. In fact, Maitland claims he was a hundred miles away at the time of the murder. He was at a hotel for a conference with dozens of witnesses. Even more baffling is the video evidence backing up Maitland’s story along with physical evidence at the hotel he was staying at. So Det. Anderson is faced with evidence that proves the suspect committed the crime AND simultaneously proves his innocence. So what the hell happened? Is Maitland innocent? and if so, who or what committed the crime? How can one man seemingly be in two places at once? As Stephen King put it, the central concept behind this story is how does a normal, intelligent, down to earth man like Ralph Anderson come to terms with the realization that the supernatural is real and the creature that committed the crimes he’s investigating isn’t human? We’ve seen this trope in hundreds of film and television shows over the years: the down the earth cop has to come to terms that monsters are real. Yet it has never been so well acted and well written as it is in The Outsider. Ben Mendelsohn, is already an excellent and versatile character actor, but his work here as Det. Ralph Anderson is among the very best of his career. The rest of the cast is fantastic as well but Mendelsohn is the stand out here. A suspenseful and atmospheric home run for HBO.
Watch This If You Like:True Detective, The X-Files
Guillermo Del Toro’s Trollhunters: Seasons 1-3 (Available On Netflix)
Here’s another TV show that you can watch as a family, especially if you have younger children, that won’t make you want to blow your fucking brains out while watching it. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to very young children, I would say at least eight years old and up would be appropriate for this series. Trollhunters is a classic coming-of-age, “heroes journey” type story. The series follows high school student Jim Lake as he and his best friend Toby discover an entire hidden world of trolls and other magical creatures, secretly living alongside us. This, mostly, peaceful magical community, has their own protector called The Trollhunter. When one Trollhunter dies, the next one is magically chosen to protect the Troll and human world. The Trollhunter’s primary weapon is an amulet created by the wizard Merlin himself. It grants the wearer armor and weapons like swords and shields, as well as enhanced strength and agility. By some magical fluke, (or is it?) the amulet chooses Jim to be the first human Trollhunter and it’s not some job you can just quit. This is a real destiny type of thing. Jim, along with help from his friends both human and troll alike, has to come to terms with his responsibility as a hero and a young man. It’s colorful, funny, and adventurous enough to appeal to the kids in the family. However, the deep, well realized characters, great voice performances, rich mythology, and action/fight sequences intense and real enough to keep an adult watchers interested. With beautiful, unique animation and fantastic characters, Trollhunters is a great binge for the whole family.
If You Like That, Watch This:3 Below: Tales of Arcadia, a spinoff of Trollhunters about three alien refugees, a teenage brother and sister as well as their warrior protector, posing as human while hiding out on Earth in Arcadia, the same town that Trollhunters takes place in. Hence the “Tales of Arcadia” subtitle (Available On Netflix), Star Wars: The Clone Wars Seasons 2-7 [Season 1 sucks] (Disney+), Star Wars: Rebels Seasons 1-4 (Disney+)
Watchmen: Season 1 (HBO)
This season of television is an absolute masterpiece. I mentioned earlier in the article that I thought the Daredevil television series on Netflix was the best live action comic book adaptation of all time well, this might be the new contender. Created by show runner Damon Lindelöf, who had previously created or co-created such television series as LOST and The Leftovers, HBO’s Watchmen is basically a sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s classic 1985 graphic novel. considering that watchmen is considered by many to be the greatest comic book or graphic novel ever written, some would consider an attempt at a sequel of any kind is sacrosanct. Which is what makes the fact that this television series is so spectacular, that much more incredible. This is a once in a lifetime creative homerun for show runner Damon Lindelöf. Season 1 of the series is so brilliant that many fans don’t even want a second season, everything was done so well in the first season, how could they possibly top it in Season 2? A creator doesn’t just pull a show like this out of their ass. They gave it their all. They made this series is if it was the last story they would ever tell in their lives. It’s that good. The fantastic cast includes standouts like the amazing Regina King and Jeremy Irons looking like he’s having the time of his life. They’re far from the only standouts in an incredible ensemble cast. The performances from the cast across the board are inspired. With multiple actors giving awards worthy performances. The story is incredibly complex and multilayered, yet every piece fits together perfectly. The mysteries are intriguing without ever being confusing. Just like the graphic novel it’s based on, when rewatching episodes of the series you pick up on new details that you missed the first time aroundottom line, the series is fucking spectacular. However, there are some things you should know going into the series. I will say that if you have not read the original graphic novel or watched Zack Snyder‘s 2009 adaptation you may be a bit lost. This is a sequel to the graphic novel first and foremost, not Snyders film. As such, certain key differences in the film and the comic book are important to understand and fully appreciate the television series. Below, I included two videos, the first gives an overview and explains the broad strokes of the original graphic novel, which you can watch right here:
This second video explains the major differences between the graphic novel and the film. For the most part, the 2009 Watchmen film is an extremely faithful adaptation except for one MAJOR change the film makes to the ending of the film. The series serves as a sequel to original graphic and multiple major plot points from the show revolve around a concept that was otherwise absent from the 2009 movie. Watch it here:
More To Check Out…
The Mandalorian: Season 1 (Disney+)
OZARK: Seasons 1-3 (Netflix)
Good Omens: Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
Community: Seasons 1-6 (Netflix)
*Bookmark this page because I will be posting updates!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
Jessica Jones Season 3 is coming to Netflix very soon and today I have everything you need to get ready for Season 3! New trailer! Posters! Plot Synopsis! Season 3 photos! and more! But before we dive in, Jessica Jones Season 3 marks the end of the Marvel/Netflix partnership. This season will be the final piece of original Marvel content produced with Netflix. So I wanted to take a minuet to talk about the Marvel/Netflix shows as a whole, as well as their impact and legacy within The MCU.
I was so excited when this was first announced. Netflix and Marvel doing a set of TV series’ focusing on the street level heroes of The MCU was, and still is, a fantastic idea. To top it all off, the shows would feature Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, some of my favorite Marvel characters of all time (Daredevil is #2on my list of Greatest Superheroes of All Time). All three Seasons of Daredevil and the First Season of Jessica Jones stand up with movies like The Dark Knight, Logan, and Captain America: Civil War as live action masterpieces of super hero story telling. Not all of the shows were as successful as DD and Jessica Jones. Luke Cage Season 1 started out fantastic, but lost it’s way towards the end of the season. I’m not certain about the critical and public perception on Luke Cage Season 2, but I thought it was a little better than Season One. Iron Fist was ripped apart when it premiered, as the weakest show in the franchise by far, but made a massive improvement in quality, acting, fight choreography, and storytelling in Season 2. Even The Punisher received 2 successful seasons coming off his memorable debut in Daredevil Season 2. Unfortunately, the team up miniseries The Defenders, was no small screen Avengers. The series largely disappointed critics and fans alike. Going into Jessica Jones Season 3 the enthusiasm for the franchise isn’t where it once was.
To be fair the quality of some of the shows could be inconsistent. None of the Marvel/Netflix series’ suffered from a decline in quality between seasons more than Jessica Jones. Daredevil stayed consistently excellent throughout its 3 season run, Luke Cage followed up it’s first season with an equally solid Season 2, and Iron Fist (the red headed step child of the Marvel/Netflix shows) massively improved between seasons 1 & 2, Jessica Jones was the only Marvel/Netflix show to show large drop in quality.
As we look at the overall place of the Marvel/Netflix shows in the greater context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a shame that Marvel/Netflix characters didn’t have a larger role in The MCU, especially considering how most of the characters were handled so well. Millions of fans wanted to see Daredevil, The Punisher and more of the street level characters show up in an Avengers movie or a film with a large cast of heroes, like Civil War. When asked by journalists, the creative people involved in the MCU films like the directors, writers, and actors, loved the possibility of the Marvel/Netflix characters showing up in one of their movies. However, the higher ups at Marvel weren’t as optimistic. Kevin Feige would say things like “We don’t have any plans for the characters at the moment. But anything’s possible.”. That’s basically a very nice way of saying, it ain’t gonna fucking happen. Fans were never even given a cameo or reference to the TV heroes on the big screen.
Unfortunately, this policy didn’t have anything to do with the quality of the shows, but behind the scenes drama between producers working for a Marvel Studios. This was mainly due to the fact that Marvel’s film and television division were run by different people, Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb, respectively. The rumor was that the relationship between the two divisions wasn’t good. This just made the idea of The Defenders or The Punisher making appearances on the big screen much less likely. This is just speculation, but I’d bet Jeph Loeb was the asshole of this situation. Kevin Feige did and continues to do the impossible by building the MCU. He has a reputation for being down to earth and very measured. Jeph Loeb, on the other hand, is well-known for being egotistical, without having much respect for the fans. Loeb has also written a lot of comics at DC and Marvel over the last 30 years. A few of them are admittedly great, but for the most part he’s a complete hack of a writer, behind such atrocities as Marvel’s Ultimatum. Oh well, if only the stars had aligned properly… At the end of the day we’ve received some mind blowing movies and TV shows from Marvel. So, sometimes this stuff can sound like nitpicking, but I do hope Marvel figures out a way to work these characters into their films in the future. I just hope if they make a Daredevil movie, they keep Charlie Cox as Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio as The Kingpin because they are the PERFECT FUCKING DAREDEVIL AND KINGPIN! Let’s hope Jessica Jones rallies in Season 3 and ends the Marvel/Netflix run on a high note.
With all of that out of the way, back to Jessica Jones Season 3. Now, here’s what’s been released for the upcoming season…
First off, here’s the official synopsis of Jessica Jones Season 3 from Marvel and Netflix:
“When Jessica crosses paths with a highly intelligent psychopath, she and Trish (Rachael Taylor) must repair their fractured relationship and team up to take him down. But a devastating loss reveals their conflicting ideas of heroism and sets them on a collision course that will forever change them both.”
We have more photos from Season 3 below and you can watch the new full trailer right here. This trailer is the first indication of what type of story season three is it telling and what direction it may go in. I think it looks pretty damn interesting, take a look:
Based on the trailer, it looks like the series is attempting to return to that intense, thriller vibe that made season one so great. It’s also nice to a genuinely creepy villain, the trailer has a real “Seven” feel to it. Speaking of the villain, Gregory Salinger is certainly on the D-list, Marvel often does great things with relatively obscure villains. The Purple Man wasn’t on anyone’s favorite villain list until Season One and David Tennent’s performance made Killgrave into one of the all time great, on screen, comic book villains. In the comics, Gregory Salinger is also known as Foolkiller, a mantel worn by multiple men in the comics.
I think the show will probably take bits and pieces from each incarnation of the character in the comics for whatever works for the show. Basically he’s a psychopathic serial killer who think he’s some kind of vigilante (another parallel with the film Seven).
It also looks like Trish is continuing on her path to becoming the vigilante Hellcat. Judging from the trailer and the plot synopsis, Jessica and Trish don’t exactly see eye to eye on the subject.
Here are some additional pictures from the upcoming season:
Regardless of how the season turns out, I’ll be watching all of Jessica Jones Season 3. When I finish the final episode,The Marvel/Netflix Era of The MCU will have ended. It’s bittersweet. On one hand I’m so happy these shows existed in the first place and on the other it’s sad to see them go. I just hope that Marvel finds a way to keep these incredible characters (especially Charlie Cox as Daredevil) as a vital part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Daredevil is by far one of my favorite shows. When Season 1 premiered on Netflix, I was blown away. This was superhero storytelling in a format I’d always wanted, but hadn’t seen before. An adult, character driven show that took the amazing characters from the comic books and told a dark, complex story. With the first two seasons of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones, superhero storytelling had reached a new level of excellence, these shows were game changers. Even though we got a decent dose of Matt Murdock in The Defenders, it’s been far too long between Season 2 and 3. With the future of Marvel and Netflix in doubt, I’m happy to say Daredevil Season 3 delivers BIG TIME. In this episode, we discuss characters, story, deaths, twists, connections to the comic and more. So this episode is FULL SPOILERS. We had a blast recording this one, so we hope you enjoy listening to it. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
I also wanted to include some graphic novel recommendations. Daredevil Season 3 draws heavily from a few different Daredevil stories, but they’re all phenomenal. You can pick them up on Amazon at the links below.
This weekend was the New York Comic-Con. Probably the second largest Comic-Con in the world after the San Diego Comic-Con. Much like SDCC, this Con premiered some very cool trailers. Though there were a few interesting movie trailers, most of the big trailers for NYCC were for shows on TV or streaming services. Below I’ve rounded up all of my favorites so you don’t have to go looking yourself! It’s your best stop for all the coolest trailers! Enjoy!
Good Omens (Amazon Prime)
This one caught me by surprise and is probably my favorite trailer of the Con. Good Omens was a fantasy/comedy novel written by Neil Gaiman (American Gods, The Sandman) and Terry Pratchett and published in 1990. For years people have tried turning the novel into a movie, most notably director Terry Gilliam. Television being what it is now, where it’s able to bring big screen production values, casting, and talent to long form story telling, Amazon Prime seems perfect for Good Omens. With a cast that includes Michael Sheen, David Tennant, and Jon Hamm, Good Omens has just become one of my most anticipated television projects in 2019.
American Gods Season 2 (Starz)
Speaking of Neil Gaiman, we also got our first look at Season 2 of American Gods. Season 1 was pretty damn great, but by no means perfect. I’m a little concerned about some behind the scenes issues the show has had. They changed Showrunners between seasons, for example. However, a lot of shows go through growing pains and this trailer looks like they’ve kicked things up a notch for Season 2. I definitely recommend checking out Season 1 if you haven’t already.
Daredevil Season 3 (Netflix)
Now we’re talking! We have two trailers here. There have already been a few trailers for Daredevil Season 3, but this is the first real story trailer we’ve seen for this season. It looks to be largely borrowing from the graphic novels “Born Again” and “Guardian Devil”. However, the Showrunner has said that the season is its own unique tale while still borrowing elements from those classic stories.
This is a quick character trailer focusing on Bullseye! I’ve been waiting since Season 1 for them to introduce this villain. Bullseye is probably Matt Murdock’s greatest rival besides Wilson Fisk. I can’t wait to see The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen face off against the Assassin Who Never Misses. October 19th can’t come soon enough.
TheBoys (Amazon Prime)
The Boys is based on a comic book by writer Garth Ennis (the creator of Preacher) and artist Darick Robertson. It’s an extremely fucked up, but fantastic story about a group of CIA black ops psychos who “deal” with out of control superheroes. And when is say “deal” I mean brutally fucking kill. The cast is certainly good and it looks like Amazon Prime is really upping their game.
Finally, we have an extended look at Aquaman. I think this looks fantastic and I hope they knock it out of the park. I LOVE Black Manta’s costume and Aquaman’s more classic look that we see in the comics. James Wan is a spectacular and versatile director. This definitely has the potential to be something truly unique in the genre. Aquaman opens on 12/21.
I was ecstatic when Marvel and Netflix announced they’d partnered up to produce multiple TV shows that would be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, focusing on the gritty, street level heroes of the MCU. The original plan was to start with five series. Four focusing on the individual heroes, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, with the fifth series culminating in an epic superhero crossover, called The Defenders. These are probably my 4 personal favorite Marvel characters, so it’s always been exciting when one of these new shows premiere.
Each series ended up being much more successful than Netflix expected. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage in particular were big hits with audiences and critics. As a result this already ambitious undertaking grew larger. What was originally a 5 series model, added second seasons for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, as well as a spinoff series for The Punisher (with more seasons to come including Daredevil Season 3 later this year). The first two season of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones are among the best pieces of fiction to come out of the MCU PERIOD and that includes the movies. Luke Cage Season 1 was excellent as well, but a terrible villain who popped up in the second half of the season, really brought down the show’s average. Fortunately, the creators seemed to have learned from that particular mistake, but I’ll get back to that in a minute…
It was the kind of superhero storytelling I was always looking for. These stories aren’t about saving the world, they’re about saving a neighborhood. With fantastic character work and mature content that we’d never see on the big screen in the MCU. When these shows are firing on all cylinders they are spectacular. Sadly, there’s been a dip in quality in the last few Marvel/Netflix outings. However, I’m very happy to say that Luke Cage has returned with a phenomenal second season that surpasses the first and reminds us just how good these shows can be.
First of all, as I said before, this is just better than Season One. Luke’s arc in Season Two is complex and interesting in the best way. He’s more or less accepted his roll as the “Hero of Harlem”, but he carries a rage inside of him because of everything he’s seen and been through. Luke’s struggle to find out how to channel that anger in a healthy way is a big part of his journey in Season 2. With characters like Claire Temple, Danny Rand, and the late, great Reg E. Cathy as Luke’s father, helping him deal with that anger along the way. Luke is right up there with Matt Murdock as one of the most morally interesting characters on the Netflix shows. His rage, the responsibility he feels to Harlem, his growing lack of faith in the justice system, how race affects how he views himself as a hero, and more all add up to one of the most unique protagonists on TV.
Speaking of Danny Rand, this is probably the best use of The Immortal Iron First we’ve seen in the MCU so far. Even though he doesn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked, his presence is felt throughout the season. I wish we saw him more in the season, his big team up episode with Luke is everything you’d hope for. Of course, I was very happy to see the writers planting the seeds for “Heroes For Hire” in a big way.
While we’re on the topic of cool stuff from the comics making their way to the show. After losing her right arm in The Defender’s, we finally see Misty Knight get her badass robot arm like she has in the comics (though in this version the arm is provided by Rand Industries instead of Tony Stark). The arm gives Misty a degree of super-strength and it’s just enough to bump her up into superhero territory. She also has a few great scenes with Colleen Wing, who’s always a delight to see, setting up “Daughters of The Dragon” much like “Heroes For Hire” is teased with Danny and Luke.
As fun all the Marvel Easter Eggs are and as great a hero Luke is, it’s the so called “villains” that bring this series to the next level. Mustafa Shakir as Bushmaster, Theo Rossi as Shades, and the legendary Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard elevate the show to another level as the so called antagonists. Each of them are layered and anchored in very real, human emotions. One of the biggest strengths of this series is that each of these villains have done evil, horrible things, yet at certain points you’ll find yourself sympathize with them and maybe even root for them. At times the lines between hero and villain are blurred, with cops that don’t follow the rules and villains that genuinely want to help their community, it can be hard to decide who to root for. There simply isn’t any other show right now that has such complex villains and it’s one of the best things about the series.
Bushmaster is a force of nature, who more than makes up for Diamondback, the Season One villain that really hurt the quality of the second part of the first season. It was great to see a new villain who could go toe to toe with Luke and was also as strong a character as Bushmaster. His motivations are very personal. He’s not looking to become a Kingpin, he just REALLY, REALLY wants to kill Mariah Stokes as he insists on calling her. His history with Mariah and her family is revealed throughout the season and I wont spoil it hear.
Alfre Woodard is fantastic in pretty much anything, but I don’t think she’s ever played a character like Mariah Dillard. She’s magnetic in the role. She terrifying, vulnerable, fierce, sexy, charming, brutal, manipulative, and more. Sometimes you’re not even sure which side of Mariah you’re seeing in any given moment. Is she being genuine or is this a manipulation? She is absolutely one of the MCU’s best villains.
Her relationship with Shades is complex and layered in it’s own right. These two mix business and pleasure. Their on screen chemistry is fantastic and adds something big to both of the characters. Shades, like Mariah, has continued to grow as a character from Season One. I’ve been a big fan of Theo Rossi since his days playing Juice on Sons of Anarchy and his Shades is someone you’ll find yourself love and hate in equal measure.
Lastly, one of the biggest things people will talk about after watching Season Two is how the season ends and where it leaves Luke as a character. SLIGHT SPOILERS HERE The show did a fantastic job of making this turn for the character feel earned. It wasn’t some twist that came out of nowhere. You can see over the course of the season, after everything he’s been through, why Luke would make a decision like this. In the comics, Matt Murdock does a very similar thing when declares himself Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Daredevil. It was something I always hoped they’d get to on Daredevil’s series, but in the context of the universe Netflix has built, it makes more sense for Luke to be going down this path. I really like the idea whether it’s Matt Murdock or Luke Cage because it’s a unique direction for Luke’s journey as a hero. END SPOILERS
So, Luke Cage Season Two is real return to form for the Marvel/Netflix shows. Season Two improves upon it’s already strong first season with its rich mix of music and setting, unique and compelling hero, and captivating villains. Finally, the end of the season leaves the show in an exciting place with the potential to go in a number of cool directions. If you thought the Marvel/Netflix shows were beginning to lose a step, watch Luke Cage Season Two and you’ll see there’s still some great stories to be told through this format.