Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 15 "King Shark" - Recap and Review


king shark flash poster picture wallpaper image screensaver

After returning from Earth-2, Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) advises Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) not to discuss with Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) or Iris West (Candice Patton) or Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) about what happened to their doppelgangers.

Torn between his desire to be honest with the Wests and his guilt over the murder of Jay Garrick (Teddy Searsat the hands of Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd), Barry yearns for a meta-human to vent out his anger upon.

Barry's wishes come true when King Shark (voiced by David Hayter) escapes from his holding cell at the A.R.G.U.S. Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) is  the new head of A.R.G.U.S. and witnesses this escape along with her husband, John Diggle (David Ramsey).

Diggle warns Barry about the impending danger. Barry learns from Dr Wells that on Earth-2, King Shark was actually Shay Lamden, a marine biologist before he mutated into the half human-half shark monster. Dr Wells advises Cisco and Caitlin to approach Dr. Tanya Lamden (Haley Beauchamp), wife of the deceased doppelganger on our Earth. Tanya also happens to be studying sharks.


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A secondary plot involves Barry trying to make amends with Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Wally is insecure about his place in the family vis-a-vis the well-established Barry, whom both Joe and Iris dote on.

After the superior two parter episode set around Earth-2, it was a tough task for any episode to maintain the status quo. To the credit of all the talents involved, they succeed for the most part.

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King Shark has been executed very well. Though we know that the meta human is a walking talking group of computer generated pixels, still the villain was enjoyable. His encounters with the Flash were entertaining. It is interesting that a TV show made at a fraction of the budget that Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder, can give us such engrossing villains like Reverse Flash, Zoom and King Shark.

This only goes to shows what great difference people with passion for the source material can make. It is quite obvious that both Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder have absolutely no respect or passion for the comic books on which they are basing their DC Extended Universe upon. The special effects for Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pale in comparison. I highly doubt that Doomsday and/or whatever other villains we will be seeing in the upcoming movie can have 1% of the impact that Zoom or King Shark have been able to produce.

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Cisco acting afraid around Caitlin and her retaliatory prank was hilarious. Cisco again proved his geek credentials by wearing a Godzilla themed T-Shirt this time around.

In the previous episode, Cisco made a reference to the crime thriller movie: Heat. This one contains a ton of references to (drumroll please).... Jaws:

1. The aquarium employee referring to King Shark as “Bruce”.

2. Cisco's response to the fact that King Shark is coming to Central City to seek revenge against The Flash: We are gonna need a bigger Flash”.

3. Cisco's comment: Cue the Jaws Soundtrack”.

4. Cisco and Caitlin arguing who should be Quint

5. Cisco's comment: Just when you thought it was go back in the suburb, King Shark shows up at your house”.

6. Wally West explicitly refers to Jaws after the King Shark attack.

Joe West also refers to Sharknado” attack.

The final and crucial aspect was the revelation regarding Zoom. In the final scene, we see that Zoom is in fact Jay Garrick himself. Now it makes sense that the masked hostage was trying to communicate the name “JAY” to Barry on Earth-2.

This is an interesting plot development and promises more interesting episodes in the future.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 14 "Escape from Earth-2" - Recap and Review

zoom earth 2 flash villain poster wallpaper image picture screensaver

In the previous episode, Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd) had taken Barry Allen/Flash (Grant Gustin) as his hostage. Zoom had also killed his minions, Deathstorm (Robbie Amell) and Reverb (Carlos Valdes).

Zoom now goes after his next target: Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Harrison, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Bartholomew Allen (Grant Gustin) just about make their escape from the unstoppable villain.

Explaining how things stand to Bartholomew and subsequently to Detective Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton), they decide to track down Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker). The team hopes to use the death of her lover to turn her against Zoom.

Bartholomew zeroes in on Frost's location using his algorithm. Interesting thing was the passing mention of Patty Spivot, the CSI Tech who worked on Killer Frost's cases and is supposed to be thorough.

detective iris west allen killer frost earth-2 image picture poster wallpaper screensaver

Frost is not co-operative initially, but the team overpower her and convince” her to take them to Zoom's lair.

Back on our Earth, Adam Wells/Geomancer (Adam Stafford) is back after his first round of confrontation with Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears). He challenges the newer version of Flash by putting people in peril.

Jay manages to save the people, but trouble is not yet over. Geomancer turns up at STAR Labs. Jay is exhausted and is dozing, oblivious to the danger right next to him. It is up to Caitlin and Iris to confront the villain. Caitlin subdues him using a weapon. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) has him arrested and taken to Iron Heights Penitentiary.

A secondary plot on Earth-2 involves Flash trying to decode what the as-yet unidentified masked hostage is trying to convey by tapping his fingers on the cage door. With the help of Jesse Wells (Violett Beane), Barry deduces that the man is trying to pronounce the word JAY”.

barry allen flash earth 2 poster wallpaper image picture screensaver

Help arrives shortly as Frost leads Dr Wells, Cisco, Iris and Bartholomew to the place where he is being hostage. So does Zoom. It is revealed that Frost deliberately led them there as part of Zoom's plans.

Cisco again reminds Frost about the fact that Zoom killed Deathstorm and that Frost knows better than to just follow Zoom blindly. Frost finally sees the wisdom and turns against her boss.

This gives the team just enough time to make their way back to our Earth. But Zoom has the last laugh, as he whisks Jay back to Earth 2 with him before the portal can be closed.

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This was a good episode - not on the level of the first parter, but nonetheless better than most others. Once again, the humor is one of the main aspects.

Everyone from Grant Gustin to Candice Patton get to flex their acting chops. Grant is hilarious as the nerdy Bartholomew and works well in the scenes with Wells and Cisco, as he threatens to have a word with Barry's Flash. He also proved his geek credentials with his talk about the sci fi series: Commander Carl, Space Marshal of the Galaxy.

Cisco gets his share of the laughs with Zoom's Lair”.

killer frost flash earth-2 image picture poster wallpaper screensaver

Danielle Panabaker gets the best bits in this episode. As Frost on Earth-2, she is the one who helps our team escape from a certain death at the hands of Zoom. As Caitlin Snow, she not only puts Geomancer out of commission (temporarily), but also devises a solution to cure Jay's illness via Velocity-9. In the end, she becomes the tragic figure (again) as she loses her loved ones on both Earths.

There are a number of references to DC Universe. Some of the easter eggs I caught are:

1. Cisco asking Frost to give up by warning her that she would not be able to make another icicle - Icicle is the name of a supervillain who also has the abilities of cold manipulation and generation.

2. Iris West-Allen mentions having friends in Atlantis with whom she can stay to maintain a low profile - In the DC Universe, Atlantis is the kingdom ruled by Aquaman.

3. The message written by Zoom out of fire on the side of a building: Bring Me Wells” - This reminded me of the similar message sent out by Batman by burning the Bat signal in fire on a building in the movie: The Dark Knight Rises.

Finally, we come to Zoom, the clear cut winner and stand out in this episode. The look he gives the security guards when they order him not to move was just chilling and masterful. All the scenes featuring him were just electric like the villain himself.

Hats off to the producers for creating such an amazing and heart-stopping character and making all the right decisions, including the character design, the special effects and the casting of Tony Todd to voice him.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Final Trailer # 3 - Review/Reaction

ben affleck bruce wayne henry cavill clark kent picture poster image wallpaper screensaver

The final trailer for the upcoming blockbuster has been released.

Directed by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel300), the movie stars Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.

The ensemble cast includes Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White.

After a good Comic Con trailer and a disappointing second one, Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder do a decent job of selling the movie.

Check out the trailer:


The trailer starts off with Batman taking down a bunch of bad guys in a building. Based on online comments by others, the fighting style employed by the Dark Knight is supposed to be very similar to the Arkham series of video games. Having not played any of those games, I can only take their word for it.

The rest of the trailer features scenes we have already seen in the previous trailers. The remarkable thing is that Gal Gadot's Diana Prince speaks for the first time. We also get to see the sassy side of Jeremy Irons' Alfred Pennyworth.

The trailer ends with Batman blocking Superman's arm and we can see the surprise register on Supes' face.

The action sequence with Batman vs the gangsters looks good. But the special effects still look suspect. The coloring for the overall movie is another eyesore: Just because the last two Dark Knight movies made a billion dollars each does not mean, all DC comics based movies have to be dark. I guess the studio executives are averse to taking risks, if making a sunny and hopeful movie about the Man of Steel can be considered a risk in the first place.

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Acting wise, Ben Affleck comes off as arrogant and self-righteous. And considering the fact his Batman might well become the lynchpin of the expanding DC Extended Universe (DCEU), he is Warner Bros.' own version of a RDJ like prima donna.

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman comes off more like Selina Kyle than the regal Princess of Themyscira/Paradise Island. Hope, I am wrong on this count.

My personal favorite scene in the trailer is the last one featuring Henry Cavill showing his surprise at being blocked by the Caped Crusader.

I am still not sure about this movie. Suicide Squad looks to be a winner. As for this one, we will know the answer on March 25.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 13 "Welcome to Earth-2" - Recap and Review

flash welcome to earth 2 poster wallpaper image picture screensaver

This has to got to be one of the best episodes in this show so far.

As seen by the end of the last episode, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) had volunteered to go to Earth-2 in an attempt to rescue Jesse Wells (Violett Beane), the daughter of  Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh).

True to his word, Barry along with Dr Wells and Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) arrive in Earth-2. DC Adaptations featuring alternate universe/versions tend to be my favorites and this episode is no exception.

We see news flash on television mentioning Mayor Snart (Leonard Snart or his father Lewis Snart). Iris West (Candice Patton) is a cop and  her father Joseph West is a singer. Even more hilarious is Floyd Lawton (Michael Rowe), the cop with the worst record for shooting. No points for guessing his nickname....

As comic book fans are aware, in alternate realities/universe, good guys tend to be the reverse of what they are in our world. In this case, Caitlin Snow, Ronnie Raymond and Cisco's doppelgangers are the bad apples.


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Caitlin is “Killer Frost and Ronnie is Deathstorm, with the powers of ice and fire respectively. Cisco is Reverb” and all three of them work for Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd).

To set things in motion, Barry kidnaps his Earth-2 version, Bartholomew Allen and takes his place. He is surprised to learn that he is married to Iris. To complicate things further, Iris has a Meta human warning app that is set off constantly, whenever our Barry is in close vicinity to her.

In yet another twist, Joseph West hates his son-in-law and as per Iris, the feeling is mutual. Just as Barry and Iris finish watching Joseph's latest performance, Killer Frost and Deathstorm gatecrash the club. Barry tries to stop them but Deathstorm ends up severely injuring Joe. Joe dies shortly in the hospital.

Back on our own Earth, Adam Wells/Geomancer (Adam Stafford) is the latest meta-human to menace Central City and Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) has to stop him in Barry's absence. Jay also reveals that he has been using Velocity-6 (V-6) and that it is the main reason for his declining health.

Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) develops an upgraded version: Velocity -7. This works to a certain extent, but still needs work.


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On Earth-2, Iris is determined to catch her father's murderer. Cisco helps her locate Deathstorm and Killer Frost. Flash intervenes but is quickly overpowered by the combination of Deathstorm and Reverb.

Deathstorm and Reverb keep attacking Flash, despite Zoom's strict instructions not to do so. He appears and promptly kills Deathstorm and Reverb for harming our hero. Only Killer Frost is left alive.

Zoom takes the Flash as hostage and imprisons him.

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This was a stunner of an episode and deserves to be seen by all fans of DC Comics in general and the Flash in particular.

There are tons of references to the DC Universe. In addition to the alternate versions of our favorite characters, my personal favorite is the scene featuring Bartholomew's phone listing the following individuals: Bruce, Hal and Diana - references to Bruce Wayne (Batman), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman).

Another nice touch was the brief cameos of Gorilla Grodd and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) as our trio travel to Earth-2.

There are two main reasons why this episode was so spectacular: the humor and the acting. As consistent as the show has been so far on both these counts, this episode is on a whole different level.


bartholomew barry allen iris west allen earth-2 alternate versions image picture poster wallpaper screensaver

The actors are in top form in this episode. Grant Gustin is terrific as the mild-mannered Bartholomew Allen. But he is out of action for a majority of the episode.

Candice Patton is equally good as Detective Iris West-Allen. This Iris is very different from the one on our Earth. Kudos to the actress for clearly differentiating between the two versions. The reason for her being a cop is that she became one to support Bartholomew's pursuit of his PhD.

I also enjoyed the alternate version of Deadshot. His comment about improving his accuracy by 2% was a nice touch. Another hilarious aspect was Police Captain David Singh (Patrick Sabongui) himself being in handcuffs.

The actors were clearly enjoying themselves. Last but not the least, are the performances by Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker as Reverb and Killer Frost respectively. Danielle gets to show off her acting chops and not do the usual serious stuff as Caitlin Snow. Even better is Carlos. He is a hoot as Reverb and relishes delivering each word of his dialogue. Reverb's introduction scene is one for the ages. Even as Cisco, he manages to elicit laughter (as is his wont). A standout scene was his using the device to track Zoom on Earth-2 shortly after they arrive.

The action scenes were very well done. Zoom was spellbinding as always. The Flash vs Deathstorm sequences were far better than what the trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS) are promising us. Better special effects and execution at a budget that should be only a fraction of what Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder must be spending for BvS.

There is a new mystery factor surrounding the unnamed prisoner being held captive by Zoom.

This is a classic Alternate Earth episode, that ranks among the best along with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

Must watch for fans of DC Universe/Comic Books.

Trivia

The song “My Funny Valentine is performed by Jesse L. Martin himself in the club scene on Earth-2.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Image Source: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Television Network

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Friday, February 5, 2016

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 3 "Blood Ties" - Recap and Review

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At the end of the previous episode, Carter Hall/Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) was murdered by Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl (Ciara RenĂ©e) was severely injured and her condition was being closely monitored.

Similar to the previous episode, we see different team members go on separate missions (two of which are for greater good and one for decidedly personal reasons). All of these missions are motivated by their  loved ones and hence the title of the episode.

Sara Lance/White Canary (Caity Lotz) convinces Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to go after Vandal's wealth. The rationale is to bankrupt him and weaken his attempts to take over the world. Or as Rip puts it, delay by a few decades.

Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) guides Ray Palmer/Atom (Brandon Routh) as he uses his Atom suit to enter Kendra's body and heal her injuries. Ray faces defeat in his first attempt and it is upto Dr Stein to boost his morale in order to save Kendra's life.


wentworth miller leonard snart captain cold legends of tomorrow poster wallpaper image picture screensaver

A far less altruistic minded is the attempt by Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) to have a better childhood by preventing his father from going to jail for stealing a highly valued emerald.

After a great first part and a relatively weak concluding part of the pilot episode, the show returns to smashing form in the third episode.

I have remarked in the reviews of the previous episodes that Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are my favorite parts in the show. They are in good form here too.

But what makes this a standout episode is that even the actors who were bland so far really got to shine this time. I am referring to Arthur Darvill and Brandon Routh.


ray palmer atom suit dc legends of tomorrow image picture poster wallpaper screensaver

Brandon Routh finally manages to show some acting chops as Ray Palmer. We get to know more about what inspired Ray to make the Atom suit and become a superhero. His scenes with the always excellent Victor Garber were pretty good. The special effects were much better this time for the Atom. 

Equally good was Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter. He finally gets some screen-time to emote and not just stand around barking orders in a stiff British accent. Similar to Ray Palmer and Captain Cold, we get to know more about his background. Rip had crossed paths with Vandal 4000 years ago.

Despite coming close to killing Savage, Rip hesitated and that is one decision that has resulted in a lot of self-loathing for our Time Master.


rip hunter sara lance romance couple legends of tomorrow ensemble cast picture image poster wallpaper image screensaver

The third cast member who comes into the limelight is Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary. She gets to beat up  a bunch of bad guys/assassins and looks totally at ease in the action scenes. She reveals how her recovery with the help of the Lazarus Pit considerably affected her psyche and unleashed a more brutal side.

Sara even gets to do some deduction using her skills of observation (like Sherlock Holmes) at the Brumberg Bank.

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The characters in the show seem to be taking turns to visit their younger versions. Last time, it was Dr Martin Stein. Now, it is Captain Cold's turn. This is getting a bit repetitive. Hopefully, the writers will stop using this plot device (or) at least resist using it for the rest of the season.

Finally, we come to the villain. Casper Crump is suitably macabre and egotistic as the immortal Vandal Savage. His brutal ritual involving drinking of the blood of the dead Carter Hall/Hawkman was captured quite effectively.


vandal savage carter hall hawkman blood sacrifice drinking scene legends of tomorrow poster picture image wallpaper screensaver

A notable guest appearance was made by Nikolai Witschl as Caleb, one of Vandal's cult members. Readers might remember him as Ansel Barbour from the FX Vampire series: The Strain.

Trivia

1. The song “Fight the Power” by The Isley Brothers can be heard as Rip and Sara do their slomo walk to the Brumberg Bank.

2. The song “I Got the Fire by Montrose is played as Sara fights the assassins disguised as employees of the Brumberg Bank.

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