Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e5: A Hen in the Wolf House

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Hen in the Wolf House” – Coulson’s team is up against the beautiful and deadly Bobbi Morse — Security Chief for Hydra. Meanwhile, Skye’s father forces Raina to reunite him with his daughter at any cost, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, ADAM KULBERSH

Air Date: October 21, 2014

Rating: 6/10

Hydra is getting suspicious of Simmons and it looks like time might be running out on her undercover operation. Meanwhile, Skye is digging deeper into Coulson’s past, sure he’s hiding something.

This episode was boring. It was mostly people standing around and talking to each other, and sometimes that’s fine, but everyone, and I mean everyone, was just so wooden, so lifeless. I’m not sure what was happening on set or in the world at the time, but everyone felt like they were upset about something and trying desperately not to show it. I think if this episode was more action heavy or, at least, didn’t have so many one-on-one dialogue scenes, I might not have noticed. But as it stands, I think everyone feels like their overworked in this episode and maybe needed a few days off or something like that at this time but the schedule dictated that they need to keep shooting. Meh, I’m just speculating now.

Okay, well, outside of that, which made the episode mostly lackluster, the last 10 minutes or so things just get a whole lot better all of a sudden. It’s suddenly action heavy and everyone is acting like normal people again. Maybe the actors finally got that break they needed before they shot the last few scenes or something. Again, I’m just speculating.

SCORING:

+5.5: A lot of it was boring, the story itself isn’t so bad though with tensions mounting at Hydra, just most people’s line deliver made me feel like taking a nap

+1.5: The last part of this show everything ramps up and becomes more exciting and more intense

-1: Show don’t tell, come on, it’s Marvel Studios, they should be better than this

Batman s1e8: Rats Like Cheese

Air Date: February 3, 1966

Rating: 7/10

Batman discovers Mr. Freeze’s plan (because Mr. Freeze spells it out for him) and has to give himself up in order to save Gotham City’s star baseball player. Robin is captured too, can the dynamic duo get out of this one before they both freeze to death?

Much funnier than the previous episode. I found myself laughing several times throughout the show, especially towards the end when Batman and Robin finally fight Freeze’s goons. I’m glad to see those “BOOFS” filling the air as Batman and robin punch people.

This episode had a very long sequence that implied Batman and Robin were going to either freeze to death or stay captured to Mr. Freeze for the rest of their natural lives. It made me think this show was trying to be some kind of psychological thriller, except in a very kiddie way. These tones clash too much for something like this to be enjoyable to watch.

SCORING:

+8: Funny and has some good bits towards the end

-1: Too long in the middle

Batman s1e7: Instant Freeze

Air Date: February 2, 1966

Rating: 8/10

Mr. Freeze attacks Gotham’s museum in order to steal the biggest diamond in the world. Robin thinks he’s out to steal all the “ice” in the city, but Batman realizes it’s something more. Can the Dynamic Duo put a stop to Gotham’s King of Cold.

Some fun facts I just found out about Mr. Freeze. Apparently he was originally a “joke villain” named Mr. Zero who only appeared in one or two issues of Batman, but this show is what changed the name to Mr. Freeze, though he isn’t given his backstory involving his sick wife until Batman: The Animated Series, or the name Victor Fries. But, this is the show that popularized the character and made him one of Batman’s main villains.

Anyway, this was a pretty good episode but I felt it was lacking some of the humor you find in previous episodes and I wonder if they were trying to do something a bit more serious. Also, I really like George Sanders as Mr. Freeze, though I read that this character changes actors two more times throughout the series.

SCORING:

+7: Decent episode though lacking the humor, and the action, of previous episodes

+1: Great job from George Sanders as the villain

Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Return to Arkham Edition (Xbox One)

Release Date: October 18, 2011

Genre: Action-Adventure

Rating: 8.5/10

Dr. Hugo Strange is a mad psychologist who has set up Arkham City to house prisoners. Also, he knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, whom he immediately locks up in said city. The city itself is split into four factions, each ruled by a different Gotham City super criminal: Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, and Ra’s Al Ghul are all playing for keeps with only Batman, with some help from Catwoman, able to stop all of them.

I feel they took everything that worked from the first game and added to it to make this game one amazing experience from start to finish. The brawling sections flow a lot better and there’s a lot more gadgets and the like to make these parts a lot more fluid and fun to play. The predator sections are the same in that Batman’s arsenal has been greatly improved to allow for even more non-lethal ways to take your enemies down unnoticed.

Truthfully, had I done nothing but play through the story and reviewed from there I would probably have called this a perfect game with nothing wrong with it and nothing totally pointless. Unfortunately, that’s not how I play games and that’s not how I review them either. For Batman games in particular I play through on the hardest difficulty and try to do 100% of everything, though I’m liable to give up if it doesn’t feel worth it to me. A good example is those super bosses at the end of Final Fantasy 7, Diamond and Ruby Weapon, true, I probably could max out my characters and beat them and get some pretty cool stuff doing so, but what then? The answer is: nothing at all! And I just don’t see a point in doing such a thing outside of getting to say you did so (or the Achievement/Trophy, if you care about such things).

For Arkham City, the only parts I didn’t do are the second half of the Predator Challenges because they went from being fun to being frustratingly difficult. I did all the Brawling Challenges (or whatever they’re called) just fine, maybe needed multiple retries on a few, but still I got all three medals on all 12 of them with all four characters and had fun doing it. I find this at least slightly ironic considering I felt the exact opposite way for Arkham Asylum, that the later Brawling Challenges were too hard and frustrating and the Predator Challenges much easier and more fun. Ah well, maybe they’ll get these right next time.

Also, I felt that many of the sidequests were just pointless. The ones that worked, like the Bane one where you’re hunting down Titan Containers to blow up, go along quite well with the main mission and you can do it as you go, essentially, or, like Mad Hatter’s sidequest, the story of it plays into the main mission or what’s going on. I mean, the Deadshot one (if you can even get these to trigger while doing the story) is just too against the grain with everything else. The main storyline has a ticking clock motif where you have to get things done before people die while also taking time to track a serial killer who’s off doing his own thing? What?

SCORING:

Playability: 3.2 of 4: Though everything is a lot smoother there’s one area where everything is kind of broken: stairs. This games does not like fighting on stairs, or doing silent takedowns on them, as it’s always kind of iffy whether it will let you land a punch or not. Also, I’m still not sure if this is my fault or not, but it’s always about 50/50 whether a blade dodge will actually register or if the knifed guy is just going to cut you

Fun Factor: 2.4 of 3: It’s great, aside from some really frustrating challenges for those of us who want to 100% everything with every character. Also, gets a bit boring after you beat the game and are just trying to finish up getting all the Riddler stuff and some pretty tedious side missions

Story: 1 of 1: It’s pretty great, well written all around and I was honestly surprised at more than a few parts

Replay Value: 1 of 1: There is a lot to do once the game is over, like play through again on the even harder New Game+

Graphics and Sound: 0.9 of 1: It bugs me that there’s no music once the games over and you’re only running around collecting stuff, makes these tedious parts feel even more tedious

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Spiderman and his Amazing Friends s1e3: The Fantastic Mr. Frump

Air Date: September 26, 1981

Rating: 7/10

A homeless man named Mr. Frump, accidentally steals a magical amulet from Dr. Doom and soon learns that anything he wishes immediately comes true.

So far, this feels more like a comic-book-based series that is closer to the comics than the other 1980s Spider-Man series, but one thing I can say about that other series is every Dr. Doom episode was very well done, even if most other episodes were kind of missing the normal Spider-Man feel of, say, the new movies. I mention this because this Dr. Doom episode just feels silly in comparison to the ones on the other show.

It’s still a decent episode, and many sections of the Marvel Universe are kind of silly, but I still feel the other show just did Doom better. On an unrelated note, is anyone out there excited about rumors of a Doom movie floating around right now?

Oh, on another unrelated note, I kind of feel like Mr. Frump’s medalon is powered by an infinity stone. If this is the case, and their setting up their own 1980s kids version of the Infinity Gauntlet, that might be pretty cool.

SCORING:

+7: Good, but nothing special, and nowhere near as good as the Doom episodes of the other 80s Spider-Man show

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e4: Face My Enemy

Air Date: October 14, 2014

Rating: 10/10

Coulson and May go undercover, only to run into Talbot. Coulson tries to convince him to not blow their cover while they attempt to steal a religious artifact out from under his nose.

I really like seeing May as a different character than she normally is. It’s very interesting to me that she there’s an entirely different side to Ming-Na Wen than what we’re used to. I also really enjoy Talbot as a villain. He feels like someone who isn’t evil, just playing for the wrong side for what he believes are the right reasons. Just like Marvel villains in the comics, and in some of the later movies. It’s too bad they don’t realize that one of the appealing things about the comics is that the villains are often just as good, if not better, than the heroes.

Sorry, don’t mean to complain about the lackluster villains in the movies of phase 1 and 2, but it’s hard not to think about when they do them so well on TV.

Oh, the humor in this show, though there’s just a few points, was pretty funny. Hopefully they’ll keep up the comic relief of this quality, even if only a couple moments per episode.

SCORING:

+10: Another very intense and entertaining episode

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e3: Making Friends and Influencing People

Air Date: October 7, 2014

Rating: 10/10

It’s revealed that Simmons is now working with Hydra and she’s after someone and Shield has to get to him first. Also, Fitz gets a little revenge on Ward for what he did to him.

A very different episode from the first couple this season, and it works for the show quite well. It has a sort of ticking clock motif that shows you what’s happening from both sides as they try to hunt down the same man. Which is then heightened when Fitz discovers that they might be walking right into a trap. This is more like a spy thriller than the first season, and I think it makes the show a lot more intense to the betterment of the series. I wouldn’t mind seeing this, and isn’t Hydra versus Shield what this is all supposed to be about anyway?

I have to say, Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Simmons, does a very good job on this episode. I mean, she’s usually good, but she really stands out here and I feel that her being a double-agent (if not a triple-agent) makes her a much more interesting character indeed. After this episode, I am very excited for what’s to come.

SCORING:

+10: The intensity of the show really amps up in this episode and might be indicative of this show taking a new tone

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e2: Heavy is the Head

Air Date: September 30, 2014

Rating: 7.5/10

The Agents of Shield are after Creel before he kills even more people. Meanwhile, Coulson is trying to get General Talbot off his back.

This episode had a lot going for it, but ultimately I feel as if nothing much really happened in it, despite a lot of things happening in it. I think that since the shift this show had about halfway through the first season from being something seemingly episodic into a show that’s a lot more serialized, having an episode like this that feels more self-contained is a bit off putting. I mean, I feel that after the first season perhaps they’d have learned that episodic episodes don’t really have a lot of weight on this show and it’s the serialized stuff that keeps it interesting. Not that this was bad, by any means, but it also felt like I could have spent the last hour doing something else and not missed anything.

Anyway, what was good was the action and special effects, though still made for TV you can tell they’re putting in more effort than they had in the first season. I also like Creel as it’s good to see a real supervillain on this show, and one with a bit of depth, not a lot but a tad, to him.

SCORING:

+8: Pretty good

-1: But a bit lacking

+0.5: at least the villain is well-written

Wonder Woman s1e2: Fausta, the Nazi Wonder Woman

Air Date: April 28, 1976

Rating: 10/10

Fausta is a Nazi working directly for the Fuhrer to capture Wonder Woman and maybe take her out once and for all. However, when the Nazi in charge doesn’t believe Wonder Woman’s powers aren’t anything more than an illusion, Fausta might realize there are things better than being a woman in a Nazi’s world.

Much better than episode 1, this feels like an actual Wonder Woman adventure with a decent amount of action, all women being better in general than all men (especially Nazis) and Wonder Woman frees herself from being her own damsel in distress and kicks some Nazi butt. This is actually a common theme from the comics, Wonder Woman gets captured, frees herself, and no man can get in the way with rescuing her or the like. Steve Trevor even tries very hard to rescue her but isn’t able to find her before she rescues herself, essentially.

I really like Lynda Carter in this, which makes sense since she’s the title character, but she really shines in this role. She’s a happy person and Wonder Woman, even when she’s tied up, always has a smile on her face, and hope in her heart that she can get the job done. One of the greatest superheroes of all time is captured perfectly by Carter

SCORING:

+10: A much better introduction to Wonder Woman than the last episode was, very enjoyable and entertaining

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends s1e1: The Triumph of the Green Goblin

Air Date: September 12, 1981

Rating: 10/10

Green Goblin is released from the insane asylum, apparently cured, but then when his plane crashes, he comes back as the supervillain he is. Spider-Man, along with his friends Iceman and Firestar, have to stop him.

Though this premiered on the exact same day on competing networks, this is widely considered to be the sequel to the 1981 Spider-Man show. Also, Firestar was exclusively made for this show when they couldn’t get the rights to Human Torch, and then became a character in the comic books as well, that’s already something better than the other 80s Spider-Man cartoon since every villain they made up never did anything else. Hey, is that why they did that? Firestar became a character in the comics and they wanted something from their show to do it too? Okay now I’m speculating about that again and I’m not even watching that show anymore.

Anyway, this is much better than the other Marvel cartoons I’ve reviewed so far. The storyline feels more “Marvel” right away, nothing is just made up for no reason, and Firestar has a full backstory, something none of those villains from the other show never had. Also the comedy in this lands a lot more in this first episode, I think part of that has to do with Spider-Man having teammates for a change, allowing them to all play off each other.

SCORING:

+10: A great start to what might be a great Marvel show