Spider-Man s1e18: The Capture of Captain America

Air Date: January 9, 1982

Rating: 10/10

The Red Skull impersonates J. Jonah Jameson in order to capture Captain America. Spider-Man has to find him and get him back.

Here’s another storyline that feels like it was basically taken out of the comicbooks, which are still my favorite episodes in this series. They’re a lot more cohesive and feel like an actual show in that there’s a clear beginning, middle, and end, along with solid plotlines and characters. Especially with Spider-Man himself, something they seem to be phoning in on other episodes, here, who he is is clear as day. Which is just weird, right?

I like having Captain America in an episode considering most “guests” are villains, and having more heroes show up would make this show feel more connected to the rest of Marvel as a whole. And I guess I was wrong about this feeling like a sinking ship since there’s at least a few good episodes amid the less-great ones.

SCORING:

+10: A great episode that feels more like the comics than others

Spider-Man s1e17: Canon of Doom

Air Date: January 2, 1982

Rating: 2.5/10

Dr. Doom is back, and this time he’s a guest at J. Jonah Jameson’s house!…WHAT?! It appears Doom is making earthquakes right in J.J.’s back yard.

This one had strange pacing, some “fast” parts have way too much screen-time while “slow” parts are skimmed over or skipped entirely. It also had a lot of jokes, which is alright in most episodes, or when Spider-Man is throwing out a one-liner here and there, but with Dr. Doom and the much more serious tone of this episode, every joke just felt out of place and detracts from the rest of the story.

Also, they retcon in some made-up backstory for Dr. Doom for no reason that I could ascertain. Aside from not being necessary to the episode in any way, it doesn’t add to Dr. Doom’s character either. Also, not in the comics!

This episode feels like something that was written on cocaine, randomly jumping from one scene/storyline to the next, randomly switching pace, tone, and overall structure, also what is with them making “Dr. Doom” episodes where Dr. Doom is hardly in them?

SCORING:

SCORING:

+4: Had some good parts but I can see why this series only got on season, the longer it goes on the more I feel like I’m on a sinking ship with plotlines, characterization, and overall quality slowly dwindling to nothing

-1.5: Lay off the cocaine guys from the early 80s (we already know you won’t…)

Spider-Man s1e16: The Unfathomable Professor Gizmo

Air Date: December 26, 1981

Rating: 5/10

Professor Gizmo, yet another villain you only see on this show, wants to kidnap Spider-Man for some undersea operations.

Spider-Man and Peter Parker are both caught in a series of traps: too many happy coincidences. Every time something happens in this episode it is essentially just good luck that Spider-Man happens to be in the crowd. Usually, he’s nearby and his Spidey-Sense activates so he knows something is going on a block away. It’s good that he’s there but it doesn’t feel like a totally happenstance like it does here.

Also, I hate this villain. Just like every other villain they’ve created for this show, he has no personality, is totally one-note, and doesn’t do anything that an actual villain in the Marvel Comics can’t do just as well if not better. Actually, he feels more like a joke villain you’d find on shows like The Tick or Earthworm Jim or Freakazoid. But he’s not on those shows, and doesn’t do anything but bring down this episode with his silliness.

SCORING:

+6: Could have been better but, as other episodes have shown, could have been a lot worse as well

-1: These lame nothing-villains are bumming me out

Spider-Man s1e15: The Incredible Shrinking Spider-Man

Air Date: December 19, 1981

Rating: 7/10

While touring the science center to get photos, it’s attacked by a supervillain calling himself the Gadgeteer who steals their shrink-ray and shrinks Spider-Man down to size!

A decent adventure this time, especially considering the villain is just totally made up again. I guess I’d be more okay with that if the villains they created felt more in line with the others in the Spiderverse. I think I’ve figured it out though with this episode. With other villains that are already established in the Marvel comics, they don’t do origin stories because they assume everyone already knows who they are, but with people they just make up they can do origin stories. As they do here, but Gadgeteer is just a lame employee who wished his boss respected him more. So he becomes a supervillain? What?

Anyway, this was a pretty fun episode. It was cool to see where all those scenes in the opening of Spider-Man being tiny and batted around by a cat actually came from. This makes me wonder if this episode was created early in the series’ run, was received positively by test audiences, and then the execs decided this was because they made up the villain so they made them throw in more made-up villains? Okay, I’m going to try to stop speculating on that now.

SCORING:

+8: One with a self-contained villain that didn’t totally suck

-1: The villain was still kinda lame

Nintendo Switch: Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt (2014)

Release Date: March 19, 2014

Genre: Side-Scroller/Action-Adventure

Rating: 8/10

You play as Rusty is an old miner-robot who searches for riches in the days since the humans have gone, aside from random feral ones living deep underground. Rusty finds an old mining town that has all but dried up, help Rusty rebuild the town and find a hidden threat lurking deep underneath the surface.

Steamworld Dig is a very well-made action-side-scroller that let’s you dig out your own paths down through the mines. It has a very simple gameplay mechanic of being able to dig through dirt, and eventually rocks as you get upgrades to your robotic body that lets you do more mining based things. Actually, it’s a lot like Metroidvania games in that way, except the upgrades don’t make new paths, for the most part there’s only one way to go: down. But, they do make more ways to find more gems which makes re-exploring old areas more interesting, to say the least.

The game builds on these simple mechanics so well that there’s very few points that detract from the fun of playing it. For one thing, the game is very short, even if you do what I did and go back to the start to collect (almost) every gem you missed the first time around, I still beat the game in under 10 hours. Also, the final boss is very hard and it feels like there’s not much to prepare you for the sudden difficulty curve right at the end considering every other explorable room was nothing but platforming puzzle games, nothing even remotely like a mini-boss or the like to prepare you for what comes at the end. There are enemies throughout but, aside from the Big Bad, they all feel more like hazards than major threats.

SCORING:

Playability: +4 of 4: Very well made with no control problems

Fun Factor: +2 of 3: The Boss fight at the end is so difficult and out of place it really puts a damper on what is a fun mining game otherwise

Story: +1 of 1: Considering this is a game where you don’t really need any story, or if you do something as simple as “you have to save the princess” would have been enough but, as the name implies, this is building an entire Steamworld for you to play in, and had they not put much thought into the story then I don’t know if this series would still exist today (probably, it’s pretty fun either way)

Sound: +1 of 1: Everything sounds good, I especially like the cowboy-themed music

Replayability: 0 of 1: This is the problem with this game being so short because once you beat it there’s not really much reason to come back to it

Graphics: 0 of 0: They were good for this style of game, I like the cartoony-ness, but doesn’t add anything to the gameplay

Spider-Man s1e14: The Hunter and the Hunted

Air Date: December 12, 1981

Rating: 10/10

J. Jonah Jameson hires Kraven to kidnap the last living sabre-tooth tiger from the Savage Lands. Ka-Zar comes to New York in order to bring him back. It looks like Spider-Man has his work cut out for him.

Hey! They made an episode with characters from the Marvel Universe without making a whole bunch of crap up! And it makes for a pretty good episode! Who knew!?

Seriously though, this was a huge step up from the last few episodes of having real Spider-Man-like problems without pulling things out of their butt left and right. I wonder if this storyline was taken directly from the comics, and if so, why don’t they do it more since it definitely makes for a better experience than experiencing episodes that seem to have little to do with the Spider-Man canon at large.

SCORING:

+10: A very entertaining episode that feels like the Spider-Man we all know and love

Spiderman s1e13: The Sidewinder Strikes

Air Date: December 5, 1981

Rating: 2/10

A cowboy on a robotic horse calling himself “Sidewinder” attacks the subway and Spider-Man tries to stop him as he tries to steal a set of solid gold spurs.

There actually is a Sidewinder in Marvel Comics, but this Sidewinder seems to have nothing to do with that one and it’s yet another made up villain with little to do with the Marvel Universe at large. This bugs me but not as much as Spider-Man’s character in this one. It seems as if they just took everything they knew about Spider-Man and then tried to “make it better” in odd ways. For example, at one point Spider-Man jumps on a motorcycle to chase after the villains, as if someone at the station was like “well, kids like motorcycles, never mind about web-shooters.” I don’t know, most decisions in the 80s were fueled by cocaine, at least that’s my theory…

Anyway, this episode did have some good moments, but there was so much about this episode that just distracts from who Spider-Man is and is supposed to be. It’s hard for a fan like me to really enjoy these moments. Maybe if I didn’t know anything about the character and this was my first “rodeo”…nah.

SCORING:

+3: Had a few good moments that I enjoyed

+1: There’s some decent action in this even if they don’t feel very Spider-Man-y

-1: Stupid, made-up villain

-1: Stupid out-of-character Spider-Man

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e1: Shadows

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Shadows” – Coulson and his team are now wanted fugitives with limited resources — but that’s not stopping them from keeping the world safe from powerful and unseen threats everywhere. However, with new members they hardly know, will S.H.I.E.L.D. ever be trusted again? Watch “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” at its new time, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) ADRIAN PASDAR

Air Date: September 23, 2014

Rating: 9/10

As Agent Coulson tries to rebuild Shield from the ground up, HYDRA is searching for an ancient artifact discovered by Nazis that was also the first 0-8-4, or item of unknown origin. Fitz is recovering from his psychological trauma, and Skye has to talk to Ward, who is now a prisoner of Shield after his betrayal.

I’m glad they work The Absorbing Man into this one. Really there’s so many Marvel characters that nobody is using, I think they should try to work each and every single one in this show somehow. And the way they use Ol’ Absorb-y is done very well and creatively. I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him.

I have to say that the cinematography in this episode is very well done, so much so that it stands out. It feels more like the panels of a comic book than we’ve seen in past and episodes and I hope this keeps up as this series continues.

Also I like seeing Agent Carter again, even if only for a short cameo.

My only complaint is that there’s a couple of scenes near the beginning where Coulson and his team seem to be very wooden and lifeless. I don’t know if it was just a long shooting day or what.

SCORING:

+9: A pretty good start to a new season

+1: Very good cinematography

-1: A couple scenes where everyone just seems tired

Bombshells and Dollies (2019)

Rating: 9/10

A documentary chronically the Miss Viva Las Vegas Pinup Contest, we watch as these girls compete to be the best model but also explore their past as this group of twelve women get to where they are today.

This feels like a slice of the 1950s while also being set completely in the modern-day. It combines vintage costumes and scenery with Rockabilly music (think Beach Boys mixed with Elvis) and creates a slice of life that is rarely seen anywhere nowadays. Pinups were a type of newsletter made more popular during WWII to get people to buy war bonds, and the like, but soon became common to see all over the place during that time, such as on the sides of planes, for example. This documentary goes through the history of both pinups and the Miss Viva Las Vegas competition and shows all it takes to make something like this happen, along with some of the most beautiful women from around the world to make it all possible.

I really like this film’s style. It has a very fast-paced feel to it that is helped along by the creative stylings. It kind of feels like the type of thing you’d see on YouTube and realize it was all edited together by one individual with a specific, and very creative, purpose. Even if that purpose is only to educate about a not-very-well-known competition in Nevada, they still do so in a way that is very entertaining to watch. This is like a post-modern documentary, combining genres and making something entirely new. Here it seems like a mix of something like Survivor or Project Runway (except no one is voted off or whatever) and a more traditional documentary. We learn about these people and hear them talk about their happiness and their problems in the same breath as we learn about the history of pinups and the music of Las Vegas. It’s a very uniquely presented documentary, to say the least.

Though the fast-pace works, for the most part, there are a couple points where they cut to separate storyline, talk about it for a bit, only to then come back to the main competition between these women never to come back to what they were talking about. I realize that this is meant to set the scene but certain things, such as talking about Rockabilly for a bit towards the end of the film feels more like something to show in the beginning in order to help set the scene, but where it stands it feels more like something they threw in just to draw out the film’s length as it detracts from what the film is really about.

SCORING:

+10: A very unique documentary that takes a very small subject and makes it seem larger than life

-1: Just a few issues regarding pacing and overall story structure

Daredevil s1e13: Daredevil

Air Date: April 10, 2015

Rating: 10/10

Everything comes out as Daredevil uses all his resources to defeat this Kingpin of Crime.

This was an amazing episode. It had action, dramatic-tension, a crazy boss battle, or whatever, and just all around great acting from everyone. Especially Wilson Fisk, who has done such a great job this season that I feel they should cast Vincent D’Onofrio as him in an upcoming Marvel movie or something because he is just too captivating in this role, he breaths totally new life into it from what we’ve seen before. This isn’t just a villain, this is a human being who does bad things for what he believes are the right reasons. He’s like Thanos, just on a much smaller scale.

The action and choreography is absolutely amazing in this one and beyond anything I think I’ve ever seen in a television program. It goes above and beyond the standards this show has already set up. The hallway fight in an early episode was great, but this is just so much better.

And it’s nice to finally see Daredevil in his suit and actually called Daredevil. Though, truthfully, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen was growing on me.

SCORING:

+10: This is one of the best seasons of anything I’ve ever seen in my life, even though it had a few sub-par episodes, what’s great about this season shines out above that and makes the whole thing better