Legion, Season 2

This season is even crazier than the last, and it leaves a lot of stuff in mystery. This is one of those shows I try not to think to heavily on and just go along for the ride. Okay, I’ll admit I don’t tend to analyze any show too deeply, but I think this one gets especially strange if you do. There’s just so much going on and so much weird imagery. It gets totally strange.

This time, David and his friends are working with Division 3 against the Shadow King. Their goal is to find the Shadow King’s body and destroy it before the Shadow King can get back to it. To start of with, we get a dance battle. They upped the style this time around.

I liked the little lectures on human psychology they put in the episodes. I’m sure they have something to do with what’s going on in the season.

The show is strange in more than one. A lot of the episodes don’t really feel like they have a lot happening. It’s more style than things. But each episode still feels engaging. When taken together, though, I think a whole bunch of things could be cut out without changing anything. And the side characters feel really underutilized this time around. Melanie is barely there for the first 3/4s of the season. Ptonomy drops off later. I’m glad Cary and Kerry have a bit more staying power.

Lenny, though. She’s around and she plays a larger part. That’s great since she was engaging before and she’s probably more engaging now. I’m liking what they did with her, and I’m enjoying her interactions with both David and David’s sister.

I am enjoying Clark, and I really want more of him around. He acts as the normal man of Division 3, because the rest of Division 3 is wacky. They have androids running around all controlled by a mysterious man with a basket on his head. The entire place feels surreal. Really, the entire season feels surreal, more than season 1.

I think season 2 has some pacing problems with a lot of stylish episodes. When things happen, it’s great. When things aren’t happening, it’s entertaining, but afterwards I’m sort of questioning why it happened. Still, it was quite a great end to the season, so I’m interesting in what’s going to happen next.


Ocean’s 8

I really enjoyed the Ocean’s 11 trilogy. Yes, that includes 12. No, I did not watch the original one all the way back when. I’m talking about Georgy Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and the rest of them. So when I heard about a female heist team with the same style and pizazz, I wanted in.

This movie stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, Danny’s (younger?) sister. Apparently, the whole family comes from slick heist crime. For the most part, this movie is great fun. It works well with a similar style, but there are enough differences to give it a new identity.

As for the new heist group, all of them are fun to watch in their own way. Perhaps my favorite of the group is Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil, a fashion designer. The one that I felt was the most wasted was Cate Blanchett as Lou. I’ll go into my thoughts on the new cast later on. But they come together well when they have interaction scenes. There just weren’t enough of them. I wanted more random interaction woven in through the plot parts. Just slide it in there somewhere.

There are a lot of glamorous shots in the movie. And, for some reason, a glamour shot of all of the heist team at the end. It’s like their victory walk. I’m not sure what it has to do with the plan, but it was slick and gorgeous to watch. There were a lot of cool musical pieces throughout, too.

There are some problems with the movie, though. Hmm, it might be considered spoilery, so from now on, the spoiler section is a go. But first, let me say that I enjoyed the film and felt it follows the spirit of the previous Ocean films. And I want the crew back for a new heist!

Anyway, onto the spoiler section and some problems with the movie.

Everything goes off too smoothly. In Ocean’s 11, there were a few points where it seems like the plan is going to fail before showing it did work. Here, they try to do that, but don’t really capture that feeling. The plan pretty much goes off without an issue. The second issue is that the main bad guy, the one Debbie is trying to take down, feels kind of like a wimp. He’s not talked up as threatening or dangerous like Terry Benedict. This guy, upon seeing Debbie Ocean fresh out of jail, whimpers about calling the police. A dangerous villain, he is not. And thus, it’s not that satisfying to see him get taken down in the end.

Now, on to the new cast. Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) is a movie star and more of a mark in the movie. The crew is using her to get what they need. She’s a fun character, especially the times when she turns into a ball of stress. She mentioned that she is lonely, but they really don’t show that much through the movie. Maybe put a few scenes to show she is lonely earlier on.

Debbi Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is the sister of Daniel Ocean. She’s a cool main character. From the start, we get several shots of how she operates. She’s different from Danny but from the same cloth.

Lou (Cate Blanchett). I feel like she’s supposed to be the second-in-command, but overall, she feels underutilized. She’s the one Debbie goes to for help and the one that finds most of the crew. However, after that, the team works well enough that she become sort of an extra body doing whatever needs to be done. She’s the one that was supposed to rein in Debbie from going too far into the revenge part of the plan, but Debbie doesn’t go off the rail that much, so that part didn’t amount to much. Lou needs to be more invovled with things.

Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), my favorite of the group. I think there must be a scene missing or something, because out of the group, she is not a criminal. She’s a fashion designer that has fallen on hard times and sort of a nervous wreck. I really wanted a scene that showed her reaction to finding out her new friends were actually planning a heist. That could have been spun into her growth, such as later on when she was thinking on her feet in getting a shot of the necklace’s special unlocking mechanism. But I found her really fun.

Amita (Mindy Kaling). I liked the introduction scene with her. I think a running plot about her trying to find a date through the film would have been fun to see.

Nine Ball (Rihanna). She’s the hacker of the group and she’s fine. I wanted a bit more to her. Out of the group, she’s the only one that wasn’t shown being recruited, just already recruited.

Constance (Awkwafina) is a somewhat awkward street hustler. She has some fun interactions all around.

Tawny (Sarah Paulson) has a fun introduction. I liked that she has settled down and has a family. She does a lot of work through the heist.

Ocean’s 8 is a fun heist film that needed more things to go wrong. I wanted to see the crew scramble a bit. As it is, the plan went off too well. Make it a bit more challenging for them!

Once Upon a Time, Series Finale

A magical and charming show closes it’s pages and perhaps lives happily ever after. Once Upon a Time is what happens when fairy tales are mixed together. It’s not necessarily more dark, since plenty of fairy tales were dark. But it is fun and adds several twists along the way. The fun was watching the magic, the hope and the fairy tale characters interact, though it recently moved more to the Disney version of characters. I’m fine with that.

For the final season, it acted as a next chapter, so to speak. Henry is now grown up with his adventures in a new city, new curse, mostly new characters. Regina and Gold are still around. And Hook is there, too. But Emma, Snow and Charming have all retired peacefully.

I actually enjoyed this season. I don’t put too much thought into things, just go along and enjoy the magical ride. If you seriously examine things, there will be a lot of stuff that doesn’t add up, and not even magic can explain it away. As long as it works in the moment, I’m fine with it as I’ve already expected it with this show.

So if you want to see all of your favorite characters, half of them will be gone. But I enjoyed most of the new cast. I’ll go into each character individually later on in the spoiler section.

For the final two episodes, as a series finale, they brought things back a bit to what the original show was like, and it was great. I think it did cut into their original plans, so the new stuff kind of get brushed aside easily, but seeing all of the old group is like revisiting a magical cottage after some time away. It’s a place to kick up ones feet and enjoy.

I think the story ended in a good way. There’s always going to be more adventures, but we know the characters can get through them.

I enjoyed this final season about the same as I did the rest. It has the same problems and the same charm. But with a new location and a lot of new characters, it might not have the pull for long time fans. The plotlines are just as messy and intersects in strange ways, but I enjoyed the individual threads. Even with most of the season spent under a new curse, they still keep things interesting by having certain characters regain their memory.

Time for some spoilers! This will be about the new and different characters added to the cast for this season. The format will be curse name/real name assuming they have two names. Otherwise it’s just their name.

Henry, now all grown up. I think he’s a fine main character. I enjoyed his character, though there’s not that much to say about him.

Jacinda/Cinderella. She’s Henry’s wife, but the two of them don’t really gel together. The actress playing her seems forced in her interactions with everyone, actually. She doesn’t have that spark of magic, unfortunately.

Lucy. Henry’s daughter. Cute and determined. Somewhat annoying, but I didn’t mind that.

Sabine/Tiana. I felt she was underused most of the time, but a good character when she’s around.

Victoria/Lady Tremaine. I enjoyed her a lot. She was the villain for the first half of the season, and she does it well.

Ivy/Drizella. I liked her characer, too. She has some great scenes with Henry and has more chemistry with him than his wife. Unfortunately, her plotline ends rather weakly. It might have to do with this being the last season, though.

Eloise/Goethel. An alright villain. Unfortunately, her plan and backstory gets revealed late and feels even more like something out of nothing than usual. Not helped is that they definitely cut the plans for her short due to needing to make a proper series finale.

Tilly/Alice. One of my two favorite new characters. She’s just great all around. I felt bad when she’s in her bad states and how everyone ignores her. She has fun interactions and is a lot more connected to the story than I first thought.

Samdi/Facillier. He was the most shafted by having to turn the last two episodes into something else. All season long, they’ve been showing him up to something, but he wouldn’t make an interesing final foe, so he had to go. It’s unfortunate as he was pretty interesting.

Margot/Robin. This is Zelena’s daughter, not Robin Hood. And I remembered it’s Margot-with-a-T. The other of my favorite “new” characters this season. I wanted her to be around more and interact with more people. But all of her scenes with Tilly are just darling.

There are some other minor characters around, and a semi-important one too. But I’ll leave those as surprises for the viewer.

For me, the final season of Once Upon a Time is still magical fairy tale convoluted stuff. Most of the characters are good, though, and I’ll be sad not to see more of them.

Deadpool 2

It is no time rest between superhero movies. In fact, it is no time, at all. Though how much of a superhero Deadpool can be considered is debatable. He’s back, making jokes about everything while trying to solve a more small-scale problem. Deadpool doesn’t need to save the world, just the few people closest to him. To do it this time, he’ll need a team.

No, not the X-Men. Deadpool is getting his own team, the X-Force. They need to stop Cable, a mutant from the future, from killing a kid in their time. Cable is great in the film. He’s gruff and serious but still has his soft side. Cable and Deadpool fight several times with some different action each time, making it fun to watch.

The members of the X-Force are fine. Domino is the most important one, and she’s pretty great. She has cool scenes that show off her powers well. I did want her eye spot thing to be more pronounced. Make it pop more from the rest of her. In the film, it feels too mundane.

Now Russell, the mutant that Deadpool is trying to save and Cable is trying to kill, he’s a pretty good character. There is a lot of pain to him, and it comes through with almost everything he does. He has great interactions with Deadpool because of that pain.

Much like the first film, there are jokes and humor throughout, but it also has powerful emotional moments. The movie balances things well while skewing more towards the comedic side, but it does the serious things well. Deadpool shows a lot more heroism this time around, showing why he’s considered a superhero rather than just a mercenary.

The X-Men are still avoiding Deadpool except for Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and new member, Yukio. They have more limited roles, but they’re still fun to see, and Yukio has nice interactions with Deadpool. Dopinder is still around, and he’s better than ever.

Deadpool 2 is a superhero movie with smaller, but still important, stakes. There’s quite a lot of amusing violence along the way.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Ah, this movie brings back memories. Not complete ones. I was young when the first Independence Day came out, but I went to see it, and that movie was so great to me. So I was pretty excited for a sequel. There are many things I concentually like about this film. For one, it takes place in real time. The sequel came out 20 years later, and in their version of the world, 20 years had passed. And society developed entirely differently thanks to the arrival of aliens. I got to see enough of the world, and it looked pretty great until the aliens attacked again.

I still had a lot of fun in the film, though it was overstuffed. The characters weren’t that fun or interesting. Really, there was just a lack of meaningful character interaction all around. And there are a lot of characters around just to be love interests. Aside from repelling the alien invasion, that was the main story arc for about half of the characters.

The movie has a lot of great action scenes in space, in strange locations, and on earth. Thanks to modern cinema special effects, the aliens are now a lot more comfortable taking on humans on foot. I say it works well. The first film, they were mysterious. Now, humans have studied them for twenty years, so the time for mysterious is over. It’s time for aliens to bring in the big guns, hard. And that they do. Their new mothership is really impressive in scale.

Overall, there was a lot of character and plots they could have cut from the movie. But on an individual level, I don’t know which ones they should cut. I was entertained by most of the side plots. They might not be necessary, but I wasn’t bored following them. Perhaps I would remove the pyschologist (David’s new love interest).

One side plot I really liked was Julius (David’s father). He had the least to do with anything, but his part showed off more of what normal people was going through while the invasion was happening. It wasn’t dark, either, but a rather different take on everything to the story.

What I really like about the film is seeing the kids of the first movie now all grown up and taking the charge in the fight. Despite both of them being played by different actors, it was still nice to see.

But the film overall is just an excuse for a lot of space battles and explosions. The characters aren’t compelling enough, and there are too many of them. And the big epic speech wasn’t as great as what we got in the first film. Or the speech from Pacific Rim. Or Lord of the Rings. And that’s a shame.

Short Show Reviews

Here we go! A rapid-fire of shows I’ve watched. Some of the seasons aren’t done. Most are. But I feel like I have a good sense of how I like them. Some of these are things I’ve done previously, and my opinion hasn’t changed much on them. So this is a rapid fire round.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The best show based on a comic book on TV! This season is great, and with a reduced budget, too. They make it work with great twists and great character interactions.

Gotham: The second-best show based on a comic book on TV! This show gets a little spread out with all of the characters and side-plots, but the villains are always fantastic. Gordon is becoming quite jaded, yet he’s still the hero. And Bruce is developing along his path nicely.

Scorpion: I consider this a comedy show, and I liked the ridiculousness. Kinda bummed it’s not getting another season, but I can understand it. The show is pretty silly.

Deception: I liked the concept behind this buddy cop show. It was cool. Sad it only got one season.

iZombie: The show seems to be making the case of the week less important, and I think it weakens the show a bit. There is an interesting main plot going along with no clear antagonist and no real good decisions on how to deal with all the new zombies. Liv is still fun to see, though her original personality seems few and far in between now.

Supergirl: I’m liking the season. The World Killers are a strong enemy, and I think they’re working well, even with almost an entire season around them. Nothing really stands out about the show, but it is still enjoyable. This season has more reasonable relationship stuff, I think.

Timeless: More time travel shenanigans. I like them upgrading the ship to seat four people. It gives the rest of the cast a chance to do more rather than show up in the front and end of the episode. Everyone gets some time-travel fun! The mixups makes the missions more interesting.

Blindspot: Hmm. I’m not sure what it is about the show, but I really like it. All new tattooes this time around. There seems to be more relationship drama, though. I do like Rich dot com being a recurring character. He’s great.

The NCIS’s: I mean, what can I say about them? They’re here doing their thing.

Being the series finale, I’ll give Once Upon a Time it’s own post soon. Some other shows are more in the middle of the season, so I’ll do them later.

Black Lightning

The newest superhero show on the CW, though I hear it wasn’t originally developed for the CW. That explains the different feel it has from the rest of the shows. Black Lightning feels more mature, in a sense. It still has humor and comic-book elements, but just the way people behave, they’re less melodramatic. There are conflicts between characters, but it doesn’t come off as characters being dumb or contrived. There’s meaningful interaction whenever characters disagree.

That makes this show feel different and done well. The show centers around Jefferson Pierce, retired superhero known as Black Lightning that’s forced to come back once the area he lives in starts getting riddled with more and more crime. He is helped by Gambi, the tech guy and the operator. Gambi is the one that provides the suit and intel. His nemesis, Tobias Whale, the man that killed his father.

Hmm, some there will be some spoilers throughout. There’s just things I want to say about information that’s revealed during the course of the show. But if you want a superhero show with a solid storyline and less meaningless drama, Black Lightning will be for you. And it also tackles issues faced by black people pretty well and from multiple sides.

Anyway, Black Lightning’s family is a huge part of the show because his wife know’s he’s Black Lightning and doesn’t approve, but she never feels like one of those people that drags Black Lightning down. Rather, the two of them are still great together. The show restarts their relationship as they try to handle two daughters, one teen, one adult, and navigate Jefferson being back as a superhero.

The daughters are both great characters. They’re not annoying and both contribute to the plot in different ways. The family is an important part to the show, and they lift Black Lightning up higher than he would be if he was alone.

The action on this show is alright. Jefferson has more than just blasting people with lightning bolts. His hand-to-hand stuff is really cool. He adds a shock to each punch making the scenes feel powerful and flashy.

I actually thought the plot took quite a bit from the Netflix series Daredevil, both in style and a few of the points. Of course, there’s enough differences, but I could see the inspirations.

Black Lightning has a different tone from the rest of the CW shows. The drama is kept focused on the problem. The side plots usually are related in some way to the main plot, too. The characters feel more mature and smart. They talk things out, and even when they’re upset with each other, they still try to work through it without dragging everything else down.

The antagonists in the show are great, too. Tobias Whale is threatening, and he has some cool henchpeople. There’s also a shadowy government organization going around. They both have different feels, but both are good additions. They intersect without crowding each other. The pacing of the show is pretty good, overall.

Looking forwards to some more Black Lightning.