Tag Archives: Time Travel

The 12th Doctor – Series 10, Episode 3 – “Thin Ice” – Bland Villain and Monster Bring Down Good Character Moments

   “Thin Ice” is the first mediocre episode this series. This is an episode that has great character moments with Bill and the Doctor but the support characters, villain and the creature are so boring and unfleshed out that it brings down the entire peace. It isn’t a bad episode, as the characters stuff was strong enough to keep me engaged, but it isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination.

    The episode was directed by Bill Anderson and written by Sarah Dollard.

   The story involves the TARDIS transporting the Doctor and Bill to the Thames Frost Fair of 1814. It is here they must unravel the mystery of the creature underneath the Thames as Bill is confronted with a choice that will define her and humanity.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros; The Doctor and Bill’s Relationship – This is an episode where Bill debates with the Doctor his role. She asks if he’s killed and it takes him a long time to say that only when it is one of the last options available…and in it we see the Doctor as a soldier and veteran, while for Bill this is all so new to her as she is faced with these choices for the first time and better understands the danger in the adventure.

The Doctor – The Doctor is great in this in how he expresses that he does what he does to help and safeguard life because he is called to it…by his companion, the TARDIS, or the people they are helping. I saw it as partially him pushing responsibility off himself, but it also helped illustrate how he’s been learning. So much of 10’s trauma was because he got involved and didn’t listen. I think 12 has learned from the past in that way…now lets just see if the writers will keep it consistent.

Bill – Bill is faced with the darkness in humanity in this one…from there hanging out with pickpocketing children, to a racist landowner who is controlling the monster for money. In the end she does what she can to save as many people as possible and trick the villain…and from here we see how the Doctor and the TARDIS make the companions more like them.

Humanity’s Choice – Save the creature and risk human lives…or keep things the way they are and live the guilt of enslaving another being. This was the core dilemma at the end of the episode that turns Bill more into the Doctor as she chooses the second choice and larger moral implications that come with it. All life matters…be it alien or human.

The Cons: The Villain – The villain is a racist landowner exploiting the creature for resources as it has been in his family for generations. He is so bland and uninteresting and easily one of the worst villains to come out of Doctor Who. There was no motivation beyond greed.

The Supporting Cast – There are a bunch of child actors and none of them can act. This usually isn’t smart to do in any film medium and Doctor Who isn’t known for it’s great writing…and young actors usually don’t have the charisma to carry a scene the way an older more experienced actor could have…to make up for the pitfalls in the writing and dialogue.

The Monster – The monster is a giant fish that sounds like a a whale that we never get to fully see. It eats people, so we know it is dangerous…and apparently it’s a native to Earth, but that is all we know. It is there to be rescued and that is it.

   This is a film that is only worth your time if you are a major fan of the show and a completionist. There are way too many 2 Dimensional characters in this episode and even the core concept of the companion being the stand in for humanity could have been explored a lot better. There are some great dialogue and character moments between Bill and the Doctor, but this is a time where that wasn’t enough to bring the episode to good or great.

Final Score: 7 / 10

“Timeless” Season 1 – An Amazing Character Driven and Time Travel Show Well Worth Your Time

timeless

      “Timeless” is the best Time Travel show out right now. I feel comfortable saying this because “Legends of Tomorrow” is fun but it is mostly just good and “Doctor Who” has been going through the Moffat death so the less said about that show the better, unless he manages to not make the same mistakes he’s made during his run of Showrunner of the show…this show is counter to both of those.

       The narrative is tight, the characters have arcs, the history at least tries to be accurate and the tension is always high and the story is always moving. These are the non-spoiler reasons why you should really check this show out. This is the best show to come out of NBC since “Hannibal” though I have yet to finish “The Good Place” which could possibly beat this show in quality.

   The show was created by Eric Krypke and Shawn Ryan.

     The premise involves the adventures Lucy (Abigail Spencer) who is brought in by the government to hunt down a terrorist and former government agent named Flynn (Goran Visinjic) who stole their main Time Machine and is seeking to change history. Lucy (a history professor) must work with Wyatt (Matt Lanter) (a soldier) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) (one of the inventors and the pilot) to stop Flynn in the prototype Time Machine that still remains.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Premise – The idea of trying to save the past or at least stop the past from changing too much by chasing another through time is fascinating, especially as it gives the writers a chance to interpret large events and what they mean in the context of American History and what might change if they hadn’t happened. It was this core premise that drew me into the show in the first place.

The Locations – We have DC during the Red Scares, the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the crashing of the Hindenburg, the Fall of the Alamo and others to name a few.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part of this show, even the minor characters get some good exploration where their motivations are explored and we see why it is they fight.

Anthony Bruhl – Matt Frewer plays Bruhl, one of the scientists working with Flynn to stop Rittenhouse but who changes when he sees how Flynn’s actions are putting Rufus in danger. His arc is one of redemption as in the end he is helping the team stop Flynn from killing people through time.

 Special Agent Denise Christopher- Sakina Jaffrey has been in a lot of shows I like, from “Sleepy Hollow” to “House of Cards” she really owns the roles she is in and in this she is the government agent who learns the truth from the team and helps them fight Rittenhouse. The one way she is used by Rittenhouse is she brings in Flynn at the end.

Connor Mason – Mason is the inventor of the Time Machine and the organization Mason Industries that owns it. He is presented as an antagonist through most of the show because he is being blackmailed by Rittenhouse. Luckily he plays Rittenhouse and reveals their organization and we learn he knows that he is going to die but wants a good future for Rufus. Paterson Joseph is great in the role.

Jiya – Jiya is one of the scientists who is being trained to take Rufus’s place after Rittenhouse kills him. She is a great character who we see resist Rittenhouse when the team isn’t around and workis with Special Agent Christopher to do so. She is in love with Rufus and we see that they are partners at the end as she is not only helping them in enemy territory but she goes with them and pays the price (sees possible futures) when she is the fourth person on the ship. She survives but we don’t know the full consequences yet.

Wyatt -Wyatt is the soldier who learns that personal only causes more problems as his desire to bring his wife back only leads to him having trouble in the present and the war against Rittenhouse becoming all the more difficult. He is an honorable soldier who by the end has been shaped by his losses. Matt Lanter is great.

Rufus – Rufus is great, he brings perspective to history as there really isn’t any time in American History where things were good for African Americans. His cynicism to this helps bring down Lucy’s idealistic view of history and we see that he is great thinking on his feet and solving problems related to the ship, for example when they are stuck with the lifeboat broken he gives the equation through history for Jiya and the others to find them and bring them back. Malcolm Barrett is one of the strongest actors on a show of greats.

Lucy – Lucy is the main character and is tied to everything as we see it is her diary Flynn is using to target Rittenhouse (which makes more sense at the end) and we see her come to agree with Flynn’s aims by the end as in the present Rittenhouse is hurting those around her and upholding the worst parts of history. She also finds that her parents are both high up in Rittenhouse and that all her team did to fight them is for not. Abigail Spencer is amazing.

Flynn – Flynn is the antagonist through the series, who by the end we see was right all along. His sole goal is the destruction of Rittenhouse in all time and places in order to bring back his family they killed. In the end Lucy convinces him of nobility and to trust her grandfather to work from within to bring down the organization, but it fails as even though so many get taken out Rittenhouse no controls the Time Machine and Flynn is arrested by Agent Christopher for terrorism leaving Rittenhouse with no one to stand against them.

Rittenhouse – Rittenhouse is a fascist organization that is bound by blood that seeks to control the past, present and future. They are the primary antagonists

Time as Malleable – Events change when the teams go back in time. At one point Lucy loses her sister and her mom is no longer sick and she is married, the three of them show up in time under the names they gave and historical figures die who did not. Time always changes and can never be put back to how it was.

The Ending – We discover that Rittenhouse has the time machine when Lucy’s mom reveals that she is part of Rittenhouse too, all this after so many from Rittenhouse have been brought in from Lucy’s grandfather and Mason’s actions…The win ends up ringing hollow as Rittenhouse was the one playing them all.

Okay: Lucy’s Parents – Lucy’s parents are the least explored of the characters. We learn that they are both with Rittenhouse, but there reasons for choosing it beyond power aren’t really explored. This was a major missed opportunities, but the actors do a good job with what they are given.

    This is a series well worth your time if you have any passion for science fiction or time travel shows. The cast is solid and it does a good job of turning the expectations of the show on it’s head by the end setting up the rest of the season, but also how the show could have started in the first place as now Flynn is shown to be right as Rittenhouse has won. I’m curious to see how they deal with this and how our Team will fight back. The story ends with a dark twist, whether it is Jiya seeing a destroyed San Francisco in a vision, the arrest of Flynn and the reveal that Lucy’s parents are high up in Rittenhouse. Can’t wait to see what they do with this show in Season 2.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time – A Gonzo Type Adventure Brawler Through Time

turtles-in-time-art

   “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time” is the most bizarre side scroller game I’ve beat since the “Metal Slug” series. Like the TMNT Franchise there are enemies that are all over the map in themes and the fact that the turtles are fighting them through time makes it even more crazy. Suffice to say I enjoyed this a lot. This is my first time playing the Arcade version all the way through and I’m glad I got to do so with a friend.

     The story is insane as it involves Shredder stealing the Statue of Liberty (really) and when the Turtles try to stop him he sends them back in time to face his minions through time and space.

The Pros: The Premise – The premise is insane and gonzo and very much captures the world of TMNT which came around out of a satire of Frank Miller and American comics obsession with Ninjas and Samurai. The 80’s show almost satires that and this is that same world with some sadly annoying 90’s “Cool Kids” vibes. The Turtles are the most annoying part of this game…but their villains are fantastic and even the Turtles have some redeeming aspects.

The World – The world is amazing! You fight in “Modern” times (90’s in the game), ancient times, the old west, the future and eventually Krang twice…each level is unique and the style of gameplay for each level even varies. You can also fall and die, which reminded me of Battletoads. This game was challenging at times because of how the world was designed.

The Levels – The levels are unique and a lot of fun and the Bosses give a level of flavor to each level that “X-Men” never did. Where that game most areas were copies of one another with harder bosses, this one changed setting and how you had to fight…you would fly on skateboards in the future to fighting on a train in the old west. They put effort into making each level mean something.

The Gameplay – The gameplay is great. I’m a Donatello player as I like range fighting and he’s my favorite of the Turtles and you have a bunch of ways to fight enemies so you don’t get flanked as easily as you get flanked in “X-Men.” Gameplay this is superior though “X-Men” has more friends who can play.

The Bosses – The bosses are fantastic! Baxter Stockman is the first fight and Fly Guy is a tough fight so when you beat him it is rewarding. Tokka and Rahzar were great from the “TMNT2: Secret of the Ooze” and the and the comics were great too and took a while to beat, as was Leatherhead and Krang. Krang you fight in 2 forms and Shredder has a one hit kill that will end one of our lives. So the bosses in this are overall great.

Okay/Pro: The Turtles – Annoying puns (and I like puns) and 90’s “cool” isn’t my thing. I liked the Turtles in their first film and the more 2000’s Turtles since they had distinct personalities and hadn’t been Michael Bayed.  I should check out the current 3D Turtles too, even if just for curiosity’s sake.

The Venue – The venue has some games that steals quarters and the bar isn’t open until 5pm and and is cash only…so those were all cons against it. Being there with 2 of my friends and beating a game there and the fact that they have 2 levels of games are a plus. Come here if in Portland, but seriously check out Salem’s “Coin Jam” if you can.

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The Ending – They get the Statue of Liberty back and credits roll. It was more rewarding than playing it over again with “X-Men.” Given how long my friend and I were playing this was great and the story actually ended.

The Cons: The Chapter Titles – Horrible puns and I like doing puns. This game made me understand why my partner and some other friends hate puns. One can only take so much if they aren’t good….

    This was an awesome experience and I’d say that the TMNT games on the SNES are just as good. This was so much fun to play through with a friend who like a brother. TMNT was gonzo level fun with a level of randomness to the levels and humor given that Shredder stole the Statue of Liberty just to laugh at the Turtles. They clearly had fun making this game so if you have up to 4 friends, check this game out where you can.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10

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“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” Season 1 – An Amazing Adventure With Consequences

Legends of Tomorrow

The first season of “Legends of Tomorrow” is my favorite show to come out of the DC Universe on the CW. This show “Guardians of the Galaxy,” meets “Doctor Who” with a bit of “Firefly” thrown in for good measure. This is a story of outcasts and facing the past and the future, and from it realizing there is no going back and you can’t change some things…even with time travel.

The show was created by Greg Berltani, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, Phil Klemmer, Sarah Schechter and Chris Fedak. Phil Klemmer was the showrunner for this season though.

The story involves Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) getting a team of misfits together to travel through time to stop Vandal Savage from killing his wife and son. They must not only deal with Savage’s forces but also the Time Masters (The organization Hunter was a part of) who oppose Hunter’s plan.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The World – The world is fantastic! There is time travel, a war over time and space, alien technology and flawed heroes…this is a world I care about and can’t wait to spend more time in.

Time Travel – Time travel is handled really well in this. There laws of it have it so that Time can be shaped but takes a while to set, so there are time limits to what you can change and what that change can be…and eventually it can get to the point where what you does doesn’t matter because the event is set in stone. This sort of time travel doesn’t allow for retcons and it all the more powerful for it.

The Soundtrack – Blake Neely really owns this series soundtrack, just like the rest of the CW DC shows. He captures the drama, adventure and stakes so well and it wouldn’t be the same without his score.

The Cinematography – The cinematography is beautiful and the best this show has looked and is better looking than “The Flash” Season 2, which looked great. David Geddens and Mahlon Todd Williams did a good job.

The Characters – The characters are the best part of this series and really make the adventure work. There are some cons in regards to some of the writing and drama that I’ll get into below, but it is at least consistently good even with some ham fisted moments of drama.

Vandal Savage – Casper Crump is great in this role as he plays the immortal Vandal Savage who is playing the long game for control and power. He’s a great villain and wins most of the fights he gets in. No matter how he is beat in the individual episodes he is able to use it in service of the long game. This makes his defeat by Hawkgirl at the end and the Legends all that more rewarding. He was a villain who really took the whole season to beat, and it was believable. He ends up having to be killed 3 times in 3 different time periods by the Team with the Hawk Team dealing with the final weapon that can kill him.

The Legends of Tomorrow – The Legends are the strongest part of this show, though White Canary is the weakest of the group as far as character and motivations…but all of them work. They are flawed and it feeds their character choices and motivations.

Kendra Saunders / Shay-Ara / Hawkgirl – Hawkgirl is the character who doesn’t want to be the hero and is pretty passive through a lot of the series but gains power and agency through the course of the film. She’s the only one who can defeat Savage due to the curse from the meteors and because of this she has the most working against her. Her arc is finding strength within herself and in the end is the hero saves them all. Ciara Renee does alright in the role.

Chris Carter / Hawkman – Hawkman like Hawkgirl is alright. He doesn’t have as much of an arc in this and is mostly a tool being used against or for the Team. He is all about destiny and is the one most certain in his roles through time. He does need Hawkgirl to save him at the end which is a role reversal from past stories they’ve had together in this series.

Jefferson Jackson / Firestorm – Jefferson’s arc is finding confidence in himself as Stein is the professor who is older and tries to dominate, throwing Jefferson into the Legends against his will. In the end Jefferson saves the day many times though and save Stein when Stein is dying.

Martin Stein / Firestorm – Stein is the mentor role in this and helps Rip and Jefferson through their pain they are going through. He is the closest thing to a father figure for all the characters and Victor Garber lends so much empathy to this role. I’m glad he survived this season.

Ray Palmer / Atom – Atom is the Superman of this series (which works considering Brandon Routh played Superman in “Superman Returns” it works perfectly! He is the character who has anxiety in regards to worth but is the positive and noble one. He’s the one real hero when the story has started and joins because he wants to make more of a difference.

Gideon – Gideon is the A.I. and she is awesome! She makes fun of the characters and reveals uncomfortable truths creating funny scenes and has agency! She is the one who stops Rip from flying them into the sun to save the world and to find another way. She is one of my favorite characters on the snow.

Mick Rory / Heatwave / Chronos – Dominic Purcell was unmemorable when he was introduced in the first season of “The Flash,” but in this we get to see just how much range he has! Mick Rory is one of the best characters on the show as he is a killer who develops nobility and even manages to help his younger self heal. The Time Masters also use him as Mercenary when the team leaves him after he betrays them and he becomes Chronos, one of the best mini-bosses in the series. After the team helps him find himself again and get past the Time Master conditioning he is ready to sacrifice his life for the team until his friend and partner Snart saves his life and sacrifices himself in his place.

Leonard Snart / Captain Cold – Wentworth Miller became one of the best parts of “The Flash” and he is easily one of the best parts of this show. In this we see the code he lives by and his internal nobility that has grown through “Flash” and ends with him saving the day on this show. He ends up being someone who helps Heatwave find his humanity and the others who have faced trauma. What an awesome character, his death actually mattered too as he stopped the Time Masters who were controlling all of their destiny’s.

Rip Hunter – Arthur Darvill is Rip Hunter, a Time Master who goes rogue to save his family…he’s basically the Doctor in “Doctor Who,” and it works! He is awesome in this role and his arc is dealing with the death of his wife and son and learning to trust and depend on others as whenever he goes rogue he gets into trouble. In the end he finds the team after he gets to say good-bye to his family and Gideon reminds him that she and him both want to live.

The Ending – The Ending is awesome! Captain Cold dies for the team to stop the Time Masters and give the team agency back from the Time Masters, the Team stops and destroys Randal Savage all together, they all become heroes and the survivors band together after the Hawk Team leaves and a man from the future sent by Rory warns them not to enter their ship, showing that their story isn’t over yet. Also the Thanagarians are coming (the ones who gave Savage, Hawkgirl and Hawkman their power) are coming and they destroy everything which is why the Time Masters were working with Savage to unite the world to prevent that, now it is up in the air and Earth is ripe for conquest.

Okay: Sara Lance / White Canary – Sara Lance was okay, for an ex-League of Assassins killer she isn’t all that hard in personality. She is the first bisexual character I have seen on the CW though which is pretty cool! She also helps Captain Cold with his trauma and she ends up facing her loss as her sister is killed when she off stopping Savage and dealing with that loss makes her realize she can’t stay in Star City.

Cons: Firestorm Drama – This drama is a bit hamfisted at times as we see Stein’s control issues and Jefferson’s anger issues rise to the surface again and again, even after they’ve been dealt with. Sometimes interesting things are done with it though, like when Stein merges with Jefferson’s Soviet Counterpart that Savage created and he realizes how good he has it.

Of Hawkgirl, Romance and Agency – Much of Hawkgirl’s drama is around her soul mateship with Carter and her attraction to other people. I hate a character being defined by who they love and that is a lot of her arc. I wish she’d broken away from this as the overall arc of the series was stopping the Time Masters who had been manipulating them and events all seasons and restoring choice to actions. She is a good character but I hate it when any character is defined by who they are attracted too. She’s a warrior Egyptian High Priestess who is 4000 years old, do more with that.

Even with the cons this was an overall better story and experience than both season of “The Flash.” This is largely due to the plot being stronger as the actions have consequences and even with time travel existing…some things can’t be changed so characters are forced to deal with loss and change and it lends power. These characters aren’t static and I care about the Legends and wanted to see them win against Savage. Savage also felt like a great villain too and he always felt like a threat, leaving this a story with consequences. I highly recommend this show and consider it the best to come out of the CW DC shows thus far.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

“The Flash” Season 2 – Character Growth, A Great Villain and an Ending That Could Ruin All of That

The Flash Season 2

   I’m going to take a leap and voice that the writers of this show may actually know what they are doing. This season was one of the best experiences of television I’ve had this year that wasn’t “Better Call Saul” or “Game of Thrones,” though those are in a camp of their own and this is very much something enjoyable but not Classic the way those are. Part of why it was so enjoyable is it took so much of what worked last season and built on it, which I’ll get into further in the review.

    “The Flash” was created by Greg Berltani, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns.

     The story picks up with Flash’s closing of the Portal as it ends up leaving rifts behind to Earth-2 (a world in another Universe) that a new enemy Zoom sends Meta-Humans through to kill the Flash so he can be the fasted man in the Universe. All is not as it appears to be though as new allies and enemies arise.

The Pros: The Soundtrack – Neely has created an amazing soundtrack! Everytime it plays I see this Universe the CW has created and it is beautiful. DC did something right.

The World – The World of “The Flash” is fascinating! Whether it Earth-1 and 2 and the meta-humans in both or the tie-ins to “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow.” This is a world I want to come back to.

Earth-2 – Earth-2 is fascinating! All the characters are in different roles…Iris is a detective, Joe is a lounge singer, Barry isn’t a meta-human, Snow is Killer Frost and Cisco is Reverb…some characters are outright villains like Killer Frost, while others are more complex like Dr. Wells who end up on good, but it is complicated.

The Meta-Humans – The meta-humans are part of what makes this show so interesting. Even the “Monster of the Week” metas manage to be fascinating in their own ways too. This is part of what makes Flash fun, they stick around and advance the plot.

The Weather Wizard Alliance – Weather Wizard teams up with The Trickster (Hamill’s back!) and Captain Cold. Captain Cold has a change of conscience and warns Flash while the others try to destroy the town on Christmas.

King Shark – King Shark is a giant man-shark Meta-human and has a great design! He’s got a Great White Shark’s head and is huge and strong enough to counter most of what Flash and his team throw at him. He’s also a running gag earlier in the show.

Gorilla Grodd – Grodd gets his own episode as we see him continue to grow and that his striving to understand while still have connections (he relates to Snow who was kind to him) and in the end finds an army/peace in a refuge on Earth-2. I hope he comes back. Seeing his plans in his episode were a lot of fun, as well as Wells from Earth-2 pretending to be Thawne-Wells and their interactions as Grodd figures out something isn’t right.

Killer Frost – Panabaker is a good actress! Her performance as the sociopathic meta-human Killer Frost was a lot of fun and I hope we see more versions of this character (or this character again as Zoom kills her at one point). She was an awesome villain and a good wild card.

Reverb – This character had such a short of time with us, which was a shame as he shows us Cisco’s power to warp reality and to jump to different Earths. This character needed more screentime.

Reverse-Flash – Flash goes back in time to learn how to travel faster to defeat Zoom and wants to learn from Reverse-Flash. He ends up being caught and we see how powerful the Reverse-Flash is as they blackmail one another into a deal but Thawne does eventually help the Flash. An earlier version of Thawne also travels to Flash’s future and Flash ends up having to send him back and learns that the Reverse-Flash is obsessed with Flash and wants to be him and destroy him completely because of his obsession. It is really well done.

The Heroes – The heroes are great in this and all of their flaws come to the surface. This is the beauty of the show, our characters aren’t perfect and because they aren’t they make choices that have consequences and change because of it.

Captain Cold – Captain Cold shows us he is more of a free agent than a villain as he warns Flash about the Trickster’s and Weather Wizard’s plan and logically we see where this follows when he is recruited in “Legends of Tomorrow.” This character has grown on me a lot and become a favorite, thanks to Wentworth Miller’s performance and some pretty good writing.

Mr. Allen – Barry’s dad is alright. Thawne confesses to everything in a video which frees him and Mr. Allen leaves. He later comes back only to be killed by Zoom, just as he is reintegrating himself into Barry’s life.

Cisco Ramon / Vibe – Cisco is comedic as usual and in this we see him deal with his darker side was he fears becoming like his Earth-2 counterpart in Reverb. He gets past it though thanks to his friends and Dr. Wells and he helps bring the team back together after their initial separation at the beginning of the season.

Dr. Caitlin Snow – Snow like Romon deals with her darkside as she learns about Killer Frost and the fact that Jay was really Zoom and serial killer. She doesn’t let this defeat her though. She helps save the city from Grodd and even becomes friends with him and is able to manipulate Zoom enough times for the team to get wins against him. Even when she’s trapped she’s never a victim and it is awesome.

Wally West – Wally is Joe’s son he never knew about and is obsessed with speed. His arc like Barry’s is learning his limits and learning that people care about him. He is hit by the energy force and may get the Speed Force or will have it in the future! He’s a great character and compliments everyone really well.

Joe West – Jesse L. Martin is one of the best parts of this show. In this we see him realize he had a son when his drug addict wife left and he deals with her death as well as integrating Barry and Mr. Allen into his growing family, and he does it well as we see him learn limits. He’s also kidnapped by Zoom at one point after his plan successful knocks Zoom into Earth-2 and the portal is closed. Joe is arguable the glue of the show. Without him it wouldn’t be the same.

Iris West – Iris also goes through a lot in this as we see her work through her grief over Eddie’s sacrifice and come to terms with her feelings for Barrie. We also see her rise in the paper and demonstrate that she is a leader and a full member of Team Speed for a reason.

Earth-2 Dr. Wells – Tom Cavanagh is one of my favorite actors on this show and it is great seeing him play a Wells that isn’t really Thawne and isn’t a villain. In this he is working to save his daughter from Zoom and in the end becomes part of the team on Earth-1 and finds the family he never had as we see how cruel and arrogant he was in his world and Zoom taking his daughter forced him to empathy.

Barry Allen – Barry goes through a lot in this. We see him reborn in the Speed Force and gain a new perspective and he realizes the endless possibilities, we see him accept his life without speed and we see him make the selfish choice he denied himself last season, even as he has a relationship with the one he loves (Iris). He goes through a lot and is forever changed. He fears losing everything and in the process does. At the end, Barry is probably a villain. He’s become like the Reverse-Flash using time travel for himself.

Zoom – Zoom is a great villain. The character is a serial killer who watched his father kill his mother and self and it broke him, and now he does the same to others. All he has is his speed and control over others. He is willing to kill past versions of himself he creates to becomes stronger…and in the end his darkness becomes a part of Barry as what he takes from Barry leads Barry to make the same choices. In the end his manipulating time gets the Speed Force’s attention and he is pulled away by the Time Wraiths. Though all that may be canceled out, now that Barry did what Zoom wanted and changed time.

Choices and Consequences – This is a story of consequences…we see everyone’s relationship to Jay change when they realize he’s Zoom (and their trust issues before come up from when the Thawne-Wells was around).

Okay/Con – Jessie Quick – Jessie is okay but she doesn’t really have a relationship outside of her relationship to Dr. Wells…though this could change as her and Wally are hit by another energy force (chat change Barry initially) so I think them being Speedsters is eventually in store.

The Cons: Ending Must Not Undo All the Growth – Flash goes back in time and saves his mother, defeating Reverse-Flash (though Thawne is still alive). What this means changes everything…though I want this to be another timeline or if it does change things for good that Flash is now the villain. He made a choice just for himself and did what Zoom and Reverse-Flash have wanted him to do. If that means nothing (or is resolved quickly), this fear will be a con.

  My biggest issue with this season was the possible reboot the series could take if the writers choose to go that way, which I would hate. Flash should not be the only one making choices and changing over the course of the show and this ending had me worried, even though I greatly enjoyed it because of how the characters grew and changed and the fact that Reverse-Flash and Zoom were proven right in the end…Barry acted like a villain in regards to taking what he wanted regardless of the consequences and that is beautiful and powerful. I hope that Season 3 doesn’t blow this because this show improved from last season and is a great show now. If you like comic book films you’ll probably like this series. Here is to this show building on it’s momentum and continuing to rise beyond the great show it has become.

Final Score: 9 / 10

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Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2011) – A Film That Grew My Respect for the Flash

Justice League Flashpoint Paradox

    As far as “The New 52” stories go, I actually enjoyed “The Flashpoint Paradox.” I wouldn’t call it a favorite but the Flash is one of the most likeable characters in a world populated by “New 52” versions of characters, where there is only tragedy and isn’t hope. This one also takes the grittyness to a whole new level with another timeline, that for what it is worth is fun exploring and establishes the strengths of the Nations our heroes represent.

     “The Flashpoint Paradox” was directed by Jay Oliva and written by James Krieg. While being produced by James Tucker and Alan Burnett and based off of the story of the same name written by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert.

     The story involves the Justice League and the Flash fighting off the Flash’s Rogues as it is all a trap set by the Reverse-Flash to force the Flash to make a choice that throws everyone into another timeline where the Justice League no longer exists.

The Pros: The Opening Fight – The opening fight against the Flash’s rogues is awesome. Especially when the Justice League has to disarm the bombs that Reverse-Flash put on them so that they can save the city. This was really well done.

The Justice League Voice Actors – Michael B. Jordan as Cyborg is perfect, the best Batman (Kevin Conroy) is voicing him again!, Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan and Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman make a great team.

Atlantis vs. The Amazons – I like how this war as presented as we have the Amazons taking over Britain to have a new home while Atlantis continues to strike with super weapons to wipe them out. Each side clearly has their own strengths.

Alternate Cyborg – Cyborg is trying to form a League to hold off both forces and save humanity. He’s the only really good character in this as everyone else is being used or manipulated.

Alternate Superman – He’s a child who was experimented on and doesn’t have much intelligence or strength but comes through in the end and is able to see the good in people again. His arc, for what it was was handled really well.

Thomas Wayne – Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne went crazy when Bruce was shot as a child. Thomas Wayne kills and is more akin to the Punisher while Martha Wayne became the Joker. You see how haunted he is and he always has a drink in his hand. He is also the first to help the Flash get his powers back when there is even the chance he can bring back the old timeline and in turn his son Bruce. He even writers a letter for Bruce too.

The Flash – The Flash is both the protagonist and antagonist of this as it was prompting from Reverse-Flash that lead him to go back in time to save his mother, which created the timeline where he doesn’t have powers and the world is ending in war. His arc is learning to let go and in doing so realize the truth of his mother’s statement about how each person matters in ways we can’t understand.

Okay: Reverse-Flash – We get he’s a sociopath, but he doesn’t seem to have any motivation beyond that that we are shown. This was a missed opportunity on the part of the writers. He could have been so much more.

The Cons: Not Enough Time Before the Time Change – I wanted more time with Kevin Conroy’s Batman in the main timeline! We never get how he and Barry are friends before the change happens. The new timeline is sudden and causes a bit of a whiplash to the viewer.

Why the War Started – The reasons are never fully explained as to why the war started…it seems that Wonder Woman killed Aquaman’s wife after her and Aquaman had an affair but it is implied the wife struck first…and why are both sides targeting humanity? Humans are innocent in all of this.

This was a film that could have become a favorite if they’d taken more time establish motivations. I didn’t get Reverse-Flash’s motivations or fully understand the reasons for the war as Aquaman was cheating with Wonder Woman, he had his chance to be with her now after his wife tried to kill her. It all came from a twisted sense of honor. There were some things I liked but the plot holes were big enough to bring it down from great and keep it merely at good. If characters we are know are willing to kill civilians and use super weapons…their reasons for doing so need more explanation. I’d still recommend this though, this is a story that shows why the Flash has fans.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10

“The Flash” Season 1 – Fun and Light Finally Comes to the DC Cinematic Universe

The Flash Season 1

   A show that manages to have both drama, fun and keep a consistent tone. I never expected such a thing from the CW as so much of there shows are grimdark and have characters stuck in a cycle (like the Winchesters) so no growth happens. Not so for the 1st Season of “The Flash.” Every episode has consequences and leads to something greater. There are obviously issues, mostly that come from being a CW show and falling into some of the traps that seem to come with the territory of that network hosting your show but it is counterbalanced with fun and joy while still keeping drama.

      “The Flash” was created by Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns and Andrew Kreisberg.

 The story involves the Flash’s creation after Dr. Wells’s Collider sets off an explosion that creates Meta-Humans in Central City. From here Barry Allen must become the hero the city needs while solving the mystery of his murdered mother and stopping the Meta-humans in Central City.

The Pros: Central City – Central City is awesome! It is a city with hope that still has to deal with the problems of Super Humans who can cause problems. The fact that our protagonists made it this way adds another layer to that conflict within the city as well.

The Tone – The tone is uplifting even with Barry’s mother being dead and his father in prison. It’s very Disney in that way. It works and it is the only hopeful DC project I’ve seen so far. “Gotham” doesn’t have any for obvious reasons as that doesn’t really mix all that well with modern Batman and even Superman has gone grimdark. Not-so for the Flash who is still allowed his hope and innocence.

The Meta-Humans and Rogues – These folks are interesting even with many of them just being common thieves out for revenge. There were two who stood out though.

Everyman – Hannibal is a shapeshifter  and takes a lot to take down. He’s good at getting into our heroes’ heads.

The Trickster – Mark Hamill (who played “The Trickster” in other shows including the animated “Justice League”) is so much fun in this. He is like the Joker who he’s also played as we see him hold people hostage and put on a show. I can’t wait to see this character return as he almost outsmarts and beats the Flash, showing besides Captain Cold and Reverse-Flash and Grodd, that he is the best opponent.

Captain Cold – This guy is cold as ice and manages to manipulate our heroes to free the Meta-Humans. He isn’t a meta-human and more than makes up for it with his guile and his own version of honor as he never reveals who the Flash really is.

Allies – I enjoyed the allies even though they can fall a bit too much on to referencing “Arrow” sometimes. I get they are in the same universe but there is a better way to do crossovers.

Dr. Caitlin Snow – Snow is awkward and also one of the smartest members of the team and helps save Barry from the foot he often puts in his mouth on many occasions. I liked her character and that it took her a long time to come around to Dr. Wells her mentor being a villain.

Cisco Ramon – Cisco is the guy coming up with names for all the Meta-Humans. I really liked how we discover he is a Meta-Human as he remembers an alternate timeline where Dr. Wells kills him. Their relationship is great as he is the mentor and father Cisco never had and it is at S.T.A.R. Labs where he finds acceptance and family.

Oliver Queen/Arrow – He is the Batman to Flash’s Superman and the brood to the Flash’s joking and hope. That is really where their friendship really works. He joins the final fight and neutralizes the Alternate-Flash.

Felicity Smoak – She has  a great chemistry with Barry and the members of S.T.A.R. Labs and would have worked perfectly in this show. She helps characters grow and never stops being a friend.

Primary Antagonists – The main antagonists are a lot of fun. This is one thing the show did amazingly. Whether it is Grodd, Eiling or Thawne…these folks are intriguing.

General Eiling – Clancy Brown is in everything! In this we see him as the hunter of Meta-Humans as he hopes to weaponize them to stop the evil ones. To him people are a means to an end and he has a respect for the Flash even as Flash is probably on his hit list too.

Gorilla Grodd – Grodd was experimented on by Eiling and Thawne and continues to evolve. He is psychic and makes Joe nearly kill himself. He is also extremely strong and survives getting hit by a train. I can’t wait to see where his evolution takes him. I hope we get to see the Grodd of the animated Justice League as he was a Gorilla who felt like a threat and was on par with Lex Luthor in schemes at times.

Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash – Thawne created the Flash since in his future he and the flash were enemies. He goes back in time to kill Barry as a child but fails due to the Flash saving his younger self so instead kills Barry’s mother as well as Dr. Wells to speed up the event and creation of Meta-Humans. He’s ambitious and complicated as even though he is a sociopath he clearly had feelings for his mentees and Barry. Tom Cavanaugh does a great job.

Protagonists – The primary protagonists are wonderful, even though the romances don’t really work.

Iris West – Iris goes from someone who is all about the social to an active journalist who first breaks the existence of the Flash to the world. Her arc is standing up for her agency as she shoots down Eddie or Barry whenever they try to speak for what she wants or what she should and shouldn’t know. This is what makes her compelling, not the love triangle.

Joe West – Jesse L. Martin (last saw him as Tom Collins in “Rent”) is awesome as the detective who adapts pretty quickly to the changing world of Central City. He works with Barry closely and has to deal with how his overprotectiveness alienates him from his daughter. He was one of my favorite characters and he is good at holding his own against the Meta-Humans.

Barry Allen/The Flash – Barry is kindness with a refusal to kill as we see him do all he can to see the best in people, even when he gets burned. He is naive and hopeful and it makes him a lot of fun and he deals with letting go of his mother and moving on with his life, taking all he learned from her to heart. He’s a bit of an obsessive nerd and it works for the character. I liked him when he wasn’t in romance mode.

The Parent Relationships – Wells and Barry, Barry and his Dad, Joe and Barry and Joe and Iris. These relationships really define the show as we see them grow in love and the relationships change overtime. Joe is overprotective but comes to trust his daughters choices in the end just as he does for Barry and Wells’s betrayal is contrasted with the fact that he wanted to give Barry what he had taken away and gives him the chance to save his mother.

The Flash and Reverse-Flash Relationship – These two are foils and contrasts made all the more complicated by the fact that the Reverse-Flash created Flash and became his mentor and friend. This makes his final demise sad in a way even as the writers write him as just ambitious and evil by the end.

The Cons: Eddie Thawne – There was the idea of a character here but in the end he was the trope “Noble Sacrifice” as he cornily says all he wanted was to be Iris’s hero. Lies, he wanted to be in a relationship with her, though due to plot it could never go anywhere.

Ronnie – Ronnie is the boyfriend who is just kind of there. He never feels like a character and just needs rescuing. He does save Flash a few times at least but he wasn’t needed for Snow to feel guilt over what happened. So in the end he was redundant. He does marry Doctor Snow at the end though.

Atom – What is it with boyfriends not being written all that well on this show? He’s the rich nerd billionare who bought out Oliver Queen’s company and is in a relationship with Felicity Smoak. He’s also just kind of there and exists only to have a mini-plot with Cisco. He is the reference part of the show.

Love Triangle – This didn’t work. I could see the ideas they were going for but in the end they just made everyone involved look like manipulative dicks. Whether it was Eddie and Iris passive aggressively fighting but still being together or the Flash lying to Iris and justfying himself by saying she likes him. Just didn’t work. The romances just didn’t work.

CW Look – Everything is too polished. It works sometimes but it makes it so destruction never looks real. It’s all too polished and CG.

Reference – Arrow and The Flash fight and it is cool until you think too hard about it. I get a meta-human making people angry and turning the Flash on Arrow but it felt more like a contrived reason to have them fight and to bring Arrow into things when The Flash worked fine with Felicity being the only reference to Starling City.

The Cliffhanger Ending – Future Flash stops Present Flash from saving his mom (no explanation is done but he does get to say good-bye. Eddie kills himself which erases Reverse-Flash who is his future descendant from existence and a big giant singularity forms above the city for the Flash to stop. The End.

    This was a good show and one I would definitely recommend. The Flash is one of the most underutilized characters in the DC Universe and is usually the glue of the Justice League. It is wonderful to see his comedic nature and charm put to good use here and allowing him space to breathe. This show could have easily been grimdark given the Reverse-Flash killed his mom, but he always manages to keep some level of innocence to him and light, even when he’s facing the dark. For this reason alone I’d recommend the show. It’s broken out of the dark tone the DC Cinematic Universe (Nolan “Dark Knight” Trilogy, “Man of Steel,” “Arrow,” etc.) seems to be trapped in.

Final Score: 8 / 10. Solidly good.