Wonder Woman on the Old Bailey
Weekly Wonder Woman

Weekly Wonder Woman: Justice League (2017), Wonder Woman #35

Yes, it’s Weekly Wonder Woman – keeping you up to date on pretty much anything involving DC Comics’ premier superheroine, including how badly her latest movie is doing

Movie news

Oh dear. Poor old DC/Warners. Last week, the signs were looking good for Justice League at the overseas box office. However, the US box office taking this past weekend has been below expectations: $96m, which although pretty good is the lowest ever opening for a DC Extended Universe movie. It also got a ‘40% rotten’ critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and is now projected to lose Warner somewhere between $50m and $100m.

Oops.

All is not lost, however, since it’s Thanksgiving week in the US, and Justice League did eventually hit its domestic mark after another day’s takings. It’s also done $185m outside the US and has an audience Rotten Tomatoes score of 85%, meaning audiences liked it twice as much as critics did – in fact, they liked it more than Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, although not quite as much as Wonder Woman, naturally.

Still, already everyone and their auntie is weighing in on what went wrong. Previously, director Zac Snyder had been universally blamed for all previous failings of DCEU movies. However, a personal tragedy meant that he departed the movie after shooting a big chunk of it, upon which Warner hired Joss Whedon (yes, that one) to do some rewrites and reshoots.

Weirdly, a whole bunch of people are therefore putting Justice League‘s perceived failings down to there being not enough Snyder and too much Whedon. There’s even a petition by fans to have a Snyder cut of the movie that the movie’s own cinematographer is backing. Someone even claims to have a list of all the changes Whedon made. All the hints in Batman v Superman as to the original plot of Justice League are probably out the window – or maybe they’ll turn up in Justice League 2 if that ever happens.

Want to know what I think of Justice League? Well, I’ll tell you after the jump. But first, let’s talk about comics…

Comics news

Batman and Wonder Woman

As previously mentioned, former Wonder Woman illustrator Liam Sharp is working on the first ever Batman-Wonder Woman title. But we now have some actual details:

It’s a six-issue mini-series called The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman, out on February 21st. One week earlier and people would talk. The series will mix Wonder Woman’s Amazonian mythology with the legends of Irish and Celtic gods. “The story would involve the death of an Irish god, and Wonder Woman would bring in Batman, the world’s greatest detective, to help investigate.”

Sharp said this new story will be a continuation of his Wonder Woman series with [Greg] Rucka, taking place not long after their final issue. He said Wonder Woman and her classic supporting character Steve Trevor are still a couple, but that he was tempted to add a little of the romantic spark that has existed between Batman and Wonder Woman over the years in various adaptations.

“There’s a moment [between Batman and Wonder Woman] in it. It’s more of a nod than anything else,” Sharp said. “I fell very much in love with the Steve and Diana story during the series with Greg. We felt like we gave him a certain richness to his personality that perhaps he’d lacked somewhat previously. There was a sense that the fanbase said this is right and this is how it should be. So I don’t want to spoil that. That’s the [Wonder Woman] that we created and that’s the dynamic that we created, but at the same time there is a [romantic] nod [to Batman].”

Should be fun. And well drawn.

Continue reading “Weekly Wonder Woman: Justice League (2017), Wonder Woman #35”

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Mr Robot
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What have you been watching? Including Travelers and Mr Robot

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you each week what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. TMINE recommends has all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended and TV Reviews A-Z lists every TV show ever reviewed here

It’s Thanksgiving in the US this week, after which it’s basically December and Christmas, so everything’s just about coming to a halt on the broadcast networks, ready for a January restart. That means there aren’t as many regulars to worry about and WHYBW can revert to its normal time of Tuesday – at least for this week.

That does mean I’ve also not quite had time to watch the latest episodes of Babylon Berlin, though, but I hope to have caught up by next week. Lovely wife is poorly and since I’m worried that Marvel’s Inhumans might actually kill her, we’ve held off watching the series finale, too.

However, even if the broadcast networks are taking a break, the cable and streaming services are carrying on apace, as is the rest of the world. Elsewhere, I’ve reviewed the first episodes of Future Man (US: Hulu) and There’s… Johnny! (US: Hulu), while Boxset Monday took in Marvel’s The Punisher (Netflix). I’ll be passing a third-episode verdict on Frankie Drake Mysteries (Canada: CBC; UK: Alibi) on Thursday, and reviewing the first episodes of Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu) and The Indian Detective (Canada: CTV; UK: Netflix) next Monday. Sisters (Australia: Ten) will have to be consigned to the “never going to happen” pile, though, I’m afraid.

After the jump, I’ll be looking at the latest episodes of the current regulars: The Brave, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Mr Robot, SEAL Team and Travelers. See you in a mo!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Travelers and Mr Robot”

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Marvel's The Punisher
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Boxset Monday: Marvel’s The Punisher (season 1) (Netflix)

The Punisher in all his incarnations has always been something of an accidental success. A former marine, Frank Castle turns lethal vigilante following the murder of his family by criminals, becoming judge, jury and executioner to those who would break the law. He had no powers, just his military training, a heap of weapons and a skull on his chest, and he was originally a bad guy – one of Spider-Man’s many badly becostumed adversaries in the early 70s.

Spider-Man and the Punisher

But it was that almost unique willingness to kill in comics that made him such a success that he eventually got his own comic and no fewer than three (pretty bad) film appearances, where he was played first by Dolph Lundgren, then Thomas Jane and finally Ray Stevenson.

However, his success ended for a while when a 2011 attempt by Fox to produce a TV series starring the character fell through.

But let’s now flash-forward to the era of Netflix and its Marvel superhero shows. The plan from the outset was very clear: there would be four one-season superhero shows – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist – which would then lead into a team-up show The Defenders.

The first sign everything was going off-plan was when Daredevil got a second season. It’s hard to tell whether that had been planned from the outset; however, it seems likely given

  1. Netflix awarded Daredevil another season only a week after its first season aired
  2. The whole plot of that second season is vital to the plot of The Defenders

Nevertheless, what definitely wasn’t part of the plan was the success of guest anti-hero/baddie The Punisher in that second season. That can be put down to the ‘lightning in a bottle’ casting of Jon Bernthal. Bernthal’s always been part of the supporting cast, never the lead.

He’s Andrew Lincoln’s best bud in The Walking Dead, not Andrew Lincoln.

He’s Ben Affleck’s brother in The Accountant, not Ben Affleck.

He’s the guy Andrea Anders rejects in The Class to go back to her husband (although he ends up with Lizzy Caplan so it’s not all bad).

But as Castle, Bernthal was the undoubted star of the second season of Daredevil, a brutal match for Charlie Cox’s gymnastic lead – a blue-collar grunt to Matt Murdock’s white-collar, morally-torn lawyer.

Bernthal so occupied the role that it’s hard to think of anyone else being able to play the character and it wasn’t long before Netflix and Marvel realised what they’d got and decided to break with the plan and commission Marvel’s The Punisher, with Bernthal as its lead.

Punishing?

The question was what form the show would take. Would it follow on, for example, from the comics’, the movies’ and season 2’s general theme of a man giving ‘the punishment they deserve’ to mobsters, rapists, paedophiles et al who seem to be above the law and escaping justice? Yet, how would a white man with a lethal arsenal shooting up cities go down in an age of the alt-right, MRAs and mass-shootings by white men who feel aggrieved by society? And how would it go down against the liberal backdrop of Netflix’s other shows: Daredevil stuck up for the poor and oppressed; Jessica Jones deconstructed superheroes, male power and sexual violence; Luke Cage asked what a black man can do for his community and others against both oppression and police shootings; and Iron Fist looked at the responsibilities of the rich towards the poor and the rest of the world.

The various trailers Netflix produced in the lead up to the show’s released seemed to suggest business as usual for Frank Castle – lots of gunfire against a rock soundtrack. And yet, oddly, that’s not what Marvel’s The Punisher is. For the most part, the show is instead the white, working class male’s equivalent of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. It’s a look at family, responsibility, friendship, parenting, class, class loyalty, what it is to be in the military and to have brothers-in-arms, the consequences of violence, and the role of government in helping the working class. And oddly, there’s very little punishment meted out.

Here are those moderately misleading and spoilerish trailers. Slightly less spoilerish review of all 13 episodes after the jump.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: Marvel’s The Punisher (season 1) (Netflix)”