Thursday, April 23, 2015

How my faith in Star Wars has been restored

Yes, that may seem like a bold statement, but it is true.

It isn’t even that my faith in SW had been destroyed, but after years of nothing all that exciting (at least to me), the sudden surge of it has made me very happy.

I find myself more excited by The Force Awakens, than I have been since I was a child. I was only marginally excited by the prequels before they came out, but that is mostly cuz I don’t like prequels in almost any form. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t excitement, but they were telling the story I already knew the ending to and I could only get so excited about that. This may go a long way as to why I really did not enjoy those movies. Hell, Revenge of the Sith bothered me so much, I walked out of it.

I could go on and on about how much I don’t like the prequels, but I don’t want this to be about that. Some people like them, some people did not. That is just how it is and everyone has the right to their own opinion, whether I agree with them or not. This is more about the awesome of Star Wars and not the negative.

I have been a HUGE fan since I saw A New Hope at age 6. It was what started me on my nerd path and it is something that will stay with me forever. But over the years it has diminished quite a bit as mediocre movies and books have been made and Star Wars just seemed enter an age of indifference. Now, that is only how it felt for me and you may not have had that feeling at all.

The biggest part of the SW universe I held on to where the books and the tabletop rpg’s. Now the books in the Star Wars universe are a mixed bag s there are great ones (than you Timothy Zahn and Rogue Squadron), and too many awful ones to even mention. But they did give me another window into a universe that I loved. The rpg’s were another window and getting to play a Jedi, or an x-wing pilot have been some of my favorite rpg’s moments.

But now, Marvel took control and over time I have seen things they do that have slowly won me back over. Things that have made me so damn excited about the setting again. Here is what they have done right.

Star Wars Rebels. This is such a great show. Taking place before a new hope, it is about the beginning of the rebel alliance. New Jedi, likable characters, and the inclusion of existing characters in the sw universe (yoda, darth vader, etc.). Yes, it is on the Disney channel, but the show has been great, and the trailer for the second season seems even more awesome.

Star Wars comics. I have never been a comics guy as I did not have access to them as a child. But lately I have been reading them and there are four different series. Star Wars, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and Kanan (I have only read some of SW, and Princess Leia but will get out to get the rest).

Star Wars novels. Since the old books are not considered canon anymore, they area writing new ones. It is an odd mix to look at so far. There is one about the origins of Star Wars Rebels. One about Tarkin, and one where Vader and the Emperor kick some ass. Sadly, I did not like the one about Kanan from rebels, but you take the good with the bad. A LOT more coming later in the year as well.

Star Wars Battlefront. How good did THIS look. Wow. I wish there was a single player campaign as I don’t do online games, but there is at least as single player mode. Not to mention this game is canon and you get the DLC of the battle of Jakku, which is where a lot of the last trailer took place. Not to mention the crashed star destroyer!

The Force Awakens. Wow, this looks amazing. One, I love how they are going back to practical props instead of everything being CGI. I always felt like the prequels were TOO dependent on cgi. But beyond that, it just looks amazing and it just FEELS like Star Wars. Love the people that are cast in the movie and the trailer blew me away. Could be a female Jedi. OR a black Jedi, either way it is nice to see some diversity in the world. That first scene where you see the Star Destroyer embedded in the sand of Jakku? HOLY HELL. Was not prepared for the Han/Chewie scene at the end. Teared up a bit.

I know it is a gamble to be this excited, but I cannot help it. Love everything I have seen so far and cannot wait to see more.

Rogue One: Anthology I love the idea of this movie being about getting the plans for the death star. I also love the fact there are no Jedi in this story, which is a gamble. It is about what is the heart of the rebel alliance, the soldiers. Not much info on it yet, but I am ridiculously excited about this, almost as much as for Ep 7. Yeah, I know.

In conclusion. I just feel like Marvel has done a masterful job since taking over Star Wars. Does that mean the movie still could be awful? Yes. It could. If that happens, it will crush me. But I feel so much better about it with each day that passes. The love I have always had for this universe is coming back stronger than ever, and I have to say that brings a smile to my face.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How good is Daredevil?

I feel like I say this a lot, but I am not a comic book person. Being a teenager in rural Oklahoma in the mid 80’s, I did not have access to comic books without driving an hour to Oklahoma City. So, I turned to novels and other things to start my road toward nerd.
Hell, the first time I actually bough a comic book was last week when I bought a handful of the new Star Wars comics that they have done recently. I have bought stuff in graphic novel form, but not actual comic books. My nerd is evolving! 
So, I know almost nothing about Daredevil at all, other than what I learned in the previous movie that EVERYONE hates.
So, my expectations were not high going in, even though they started to raise a bit when I saw how much IGN loved the show. This will be as spoiler free as I can make it, but there are minor potential spoilers, so beware. 
First of all the setting. I have a pet peeve about how things that are supposed to take place in NYC, rarely feels like the city. Whether it is spiderman movies, or even just sitcoms. It feels like the people that created said thing has never even been to the city before they started filming. I have spent a bit of time in Hell’s Kitchen and the show felt like NYC to me. But setting was just dark, which really worked for this kind of show, especially with it being on Netflix and not having to worry as much about reigning it in. 
Superhero shows can be really over the top. Cuz of the fact that some of them have such outlandish powers. That isn’t a bad thing, but realism is always a good thing as well. Yes, Murdock has heightened senses, but it isn’t like he can fly, or has super strength. I am not saying that to diminish what he can do, but to explain how grounded it felt.  The show is about his struggle to take down Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin). How far across the line is he willing to go before losing himself in the process? Morality is not exactly a new thing in super hero stories, but this one was handled really well. Especially later in the season when shit really starts to go down. 
The other thing I like is that people die. Characters in the show. You never really feel like anyone is safe (other than maybe daredevil, but it is HIS show). Saying that, he gets his ass kicked. I love that. He isn’t just some vigilante that beats people up and never suffers. The show was really smart in showing that no matter how badass he was, there was someone that could hurt him. The fight scenes were also a highlight of the show. Very well done. 
What made the show great were the characters. Karen was a lot of fun to watch her grow. The show could have easily thrown her in and made a very typical tripe and make her the damsel or just a love interest, but it did not do that. She added something to the show and her own sense of right and wrong pushed others as well. Foggy was there for comedic relief as Murdock’s business partner, but he shined too as someone that wanted justice. He got much stronger as the show went along.
The other thing that made it great was Fisk. They spent a lot of time with him and you got to understand that he truly felt like he could make the city better once he had his way. He was not a typical villain in the sense of how kind of shy and awkward he was and it made him look vulnerable. Also, things did not always go smoothly and the sheer rage he would unleash was kind of terrifying. But his arc was done so well and there were times you actually felt for him. I think that is a damn hard thing to do to get you to sympathize with the villain, but they made that work. Also, how often do you get to have a villain that has his own sort of love story? Bizarre, but awesome. 
Overall, this show was amazing. The stories were done very well and it was just written so masterfully. Murdock’s need to take out Fisk was challenged by his faith and trying not to become the darkness he was fighting. I love that shit. Also, you eventually got to the suit which was both ridiculous and awesome at the same time. 
Is this the best show I have ever watched? Maybe not. But it was amazing enough and they had my jaw drop the floor on numerous occasions, and that makes for it at least being in the conversation.