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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Sony is kind of in a weird place with it’s Spider-Man license.  They are working on their third reboot of the series, which is not tied to the MCU which they don’t really own any stake in.  So they have a pretty decent and successful Spider-Man series going now, but it’s technically part of a universe they can’t fully touch.  Take the recent Venom movie, for example.  Venom is pretty tied to Spider-Man, but this new movie itn’t part of the MCU, so that gets a little tricky.

Maybe they don’t really care a lot about continuity.

Maybe they also have just made a bold move that let’s the nor really care about continuity, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.

Into the Spider-Verse is a fantastically animated color fest that does a pretty good job of giving us an Origin story, while also giving us a developed world that lets everything sort of speed along without being yet another slow burn Spider-Man origin.  In fact the movie repeatedly pokes fun at the idea of yet another Origin Story, and how everyone already knows the origin on Spider-Man.  It’s an enjoyable film and I look forward to the eventual sequel and likely spin-offs.

Spoiler Free Thoughts

So, I had an idea of what to expect going into this movie, but I wasn’t super sure it would be that great.  I honestly kind of skip most of the animated comics based stuff these days, more for lack of time than anything.  I kind of worried this was joust going to feel like something that should have been a TV Special or straight to Blu-Ray sort of deal.  Considering how few films I actually see in a theater, that I went at all says something I suppose.

The basic plot follows the origin story of Miles Morales becoming Spider-Man.  It’s not quite the same as his comics origins but it shares some similarities.  So, you might be wondering why there is a Black Spider-man named Miles, he is not new to the Marvel Universe for this film at all.  This isn’t meant to be a detailed run down, but to sort of give you an idea.

Back in the early 2000s, Marvel created the Ultimate Universe.  This was essentially a new Marvel continuity where everything was darker and grittier and the Avengers were known as The Ultimates.  In 2011, Miles Morales was introduced as a new character who was also bitten by a radioactive spider.  Shortly afterwards, Peter Parker of the Ultimate universe was killed and Miles Morales too up the Spider-Man mantel in the Ultimate Universe.  Cut to more recent times, during Marvel’s Secret Wars event.  Basically, Marvel wanted to combine all of it’s various continuities into one continuity to trim the fat off things a bit and simplify everything.  So Secret Wars saw the Ultimate Universe crossing over with the main Earth-616 Continuity.   They used this plot to kill off some versions of heroes, and revive others by replacing them with their dimensional counterparts and just in general slim things down.  Miles Morales Spider-Man however, had become pretty popular, so he was spared and became part of the main Marvel continuity.

There is a lot more to it of course but I’m not really here to give a full history of Marvel Comics.  The real fun of the movie comes from “The Spider-Verse”, and the overall fairly tongue in cheek way it handles itself.  Early in the film, the plot is revealed involving Kingpin trying to open a gateway to other dimensions.  This rift causes several other Spider-folks to cross over into Miles’ world.  Miles being new to the job, gets some help and grief from these other Spider-people and of course, learns to be his own brand of Spider-Man.  We also get a brief history of each of the various other Spideys through little cut away story sequences, though for the most part, three of them are a pretty throw away part of the story.

So, the three throw away Spideys consist of: Spider-Man Noir, a Spider-Man from a 30s world who is a detective and lives in a black and white world; Spider-Ham, a Looney Tunes style anthropomorphic pig complete with Subspace hammers and random anvils; and SP//DR, a futuristic Anime girl who pilots a Spider-Man sort of robot.  These three pretty much exist as comic relief characters once they arrive.  Of the 6 main Spiders, they are probably the most one off anyway.

Most of the story revolves around Miles Morales, Peter Parker, and Gwen Stacey, and mostly Miles Morales and Peter Parker, as Peter shows Miles the ropes of being Spider-Man.  This particular Peter is a little washed up though, so Gwen gives a lot of later pointers and help to both.  I should add, this isn’t really like some training montage of teaching, it’s much more of a trial by fire sort of deal, as Peter and Gwen must work to get control of the dimensional gateway to get back to their own respective universes. 

There are a ton of references to all sort of Spidey things outside the actual Spideys.  Nods to things like the Tobey Maguire movies, several Spider-Man Memes from the old 60s cartoon, the comics themselves make an several appearances as part of the plot.  The whole thing feels very aware of itself while never really acknowledging itself.  It makes for a lot of great jokes and moments. 

It’s also really visually interesting.  It feels like a comic in motion.  Everything is very bright and colorful, and everything looks nice and smooth.  It’s a really great effect that would have never worked in a live action film.  I also like how the different Spideys are different styles as a not to their different universes.  SP//DR looks like an anime cartoon, Spider-Ham looks like a Looney Tunes cartoon, even a brief shot of Spider-Woman in her own world has a differently styled background that more matches what the Spider-Gwen comic looks like.

Spoilery Thoughts

So moving on to a little more actual detail.  I have to say, I really enjoyed the villains.  Granted, they were fairly throw away in the case of Scorpion and Tombstone and Goblin, Prowler and Doc Ock were both pretty cool.   I don’t know if lady Octavius appears in any comics, though I suspect she does, it was a twist I didn’t see coming since I wasn’t familiar with the source material.  While we’re on the subject of twists, I also didn’t know about the Prowler thing, though when it was being set up, it felt really obvious.  Prowler overall really shines and feels pretty menacing.  I really liked all of his moments and it’s a shame he didn’t get more screen time.

Then there’s Kingpin.  I, kind of hated Kingpin.   I have just come off of wrapping up Daredevil on Netflix, I definitely never expected Kingpin to be Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, but this Kingpin was so outlandishly cartoonish, I found him a little hard to take seriously.  Don’t get me wrong, every character in this is highly stylized, but Kingpin’s microscopic head and massive body is outlandish even by the stylization of this universe.  His design felt more out of place than Penny Parker, who was literally designed like a 2D anime girl.

I also really enjoyed the contrasting Peter Parkers.  Peter from Miles’ universe is basically peak Spider-Man.  Getting to see him in action was also great, because he’s just full on Spider-Man.  No dark angst or worry and conflict, just Spidey being Spidey.  Then we get to meet Midlife Crisis Spider-Man, commonly called Fat Spider-Man.   There is so much nuance going on here that work so well.  He’s out of shape and doesn’t really care, but when it counts, he still just does what he does.  He’s been in the game long enough that everything is second nature, but he also has been doing it long enough he’s kind of become jaded and apathetic.

Then there’s Spider-Woman who sort of contrasts between Miles and Peter (Fat Peter, amazing Peter dies early on).  She is still kind of a rookie at being Spider-Woman, but she is driven and confident in her abilities.  I also particularly liked how both Peter and Gwen basically just accepted everything, because they have already been through plenty.

This does bring up some bits that almost felt like they should have been addressed.  Maybe a director’s cut could add them, and maybe they got dropped because the writer’s didn’t want to complicate things.  Maybe it wasn’t addressed because it would be kind of creepy since Fat Peter is like 40 and Gwen Stacy is something like 15 or 16.  Basically, Peter and Gwen never really acknowledge their relationships with their alternate selves.  There is a sub plot involving Fat Spider-Man and the alternate Mary-Jane Watson too, so it’s not completely off the table.  Gwen mentions that she couldn’t save her friend, spoiler, Spider Gwen basically killed her Peter while he was The Lizard, but doesn’t really seem weirded out by meeting an older version of her dead friend.  Meanwhile we get no history from Peter and any Gwen Stacy he may have known.  Gwen Stacy dying is kind of a big moment for some versions of Spider-Man. 

Otherwise, I really have no real complaints about the movie.  It does a great job of just rolling with everything and assuming we either already know or can figure it out.  The crossover mix nature of the plot is great too because it keeps the origin story of Miles Morales from being being, because we get several experienced and capable Spideys to watch instead.  I almost wish they would do a Spider-Gwen movie now, because I really enjoy that book and enjoyed her presence in the movie.  There is a post credits scene that sets up more cross universe shenanigans so I’m sure the sequel will bring her back.  Hopefully it will give us more Midlife Crisis Spider-Man too.

The Inhumans – Season 1 – The End

Yeah, I skipped a few of these.  I just didn’t really feel compelled to write much about the last few episodes.  I really tried to like this, and really wanted to, and I was pretty excited to know there was an Inhumans movie/show coming for the longest time.  The actual product was just so… underwhelming.  I can retread some of the problems I’ve mentioned previously.  The complete lack of super powers.  The unlikable characters almost universally across the board.  The constant retreading of the plot itself about oppression of the people, blah blah.  Maybe a little more showing and a little less talking next time.

It seems that this show was apparently done by the same guy who did Iron Fist, and I can certainly see that.  I didn’t hate Iron Fist like a lot of folks did, but it is definitely the weakest of the Netflix shows for a lot of the same reasons.  The best parts of Iron Fist were all the parts involving the Hand.  Everything with the Meachums and all the bull shit around Rand Corp, that was boring and repetitive and lame.  Basically, once again, too much boring talking among unlikable characters, not enough super powers and action.

You can also contrast The Inhumans with the other currently running super hero series, The Gifted, which is a little light on the powers, and uses a lot of “non effects” powers like memory alteration and invisibility, but it still manages to keep up action and keep things moving.  I think my biggest probblem with this show is that it felt like nothing happened.  We got 8 episodes, but it was 8 episodes of the Royal Family wandering in the woods and 8 episodes of Maximus talking about how he wants to save the people.  Contrast this with something like, Agent Carter, which had this mini series slot on ABC before, where all sorts of crazy things happened and the plot kept moving along and building.

Even with 8 episodes we really just don’t get much out of the characters.  Block Bolt spends the entire series looking grumpy.  Medusa just comes off as a push bitch for the most part.  Crystal pretty much just escorts the dog around, Gorgon and Karnak have some weird undertones to their relationship going on but it’s not clear if they are just in a  great buddies romance or if the writer’s just didn’t want to deal with gay mixed couple space alien romance.

Almost all of the human characters of the series ended up being throwaways, though bootleg Felicity Smoak has some potential to maybe transcend into SHIELD or something.  I doubt it but she’s one of the more likeable characters in the series.

As for the last few episodes, Gorgon gets killed then revived through a second Terra Genesis which causes him to go kind of crazy.  Everyone returns to Attilan where Maximus has wired the place to be destroyed if he dies.  The Royal Family urgently tries to evacuate the city, which seems to be deserted anyway, I mean maybe some more shots of a panicked populations or something would help.  For all the talk of “The people” in this show, we barely get to see them at all.

Oh and Triton shows up, kind of randomly.  You know, that guy that fish guy Gorgon was supposed to find in Episode 1.  He’s just sort of another Karnak, in the sense of he does some martial arts occasionally and is bald (and green).  Ultimately though, nothing is really resolved in the series.  Everyone sort of does things, and stuff happens, but there feels like there isn’t any purpose to the actions being taken.  There’s just something missing here, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Someone is optimistic about the future of the show however.  There wasn’t really any resolution as to what happened to Maximus or Attilan, he’s trapped there and the place is sort of collapsing but never really dies.  There was some sort of weird glowing thing happening on the throne itself, but we don’t know what.  There’s mention of some sort of larger enemy, but no details given.  The Inhumans are all on Earth now to start anew, maybe in a new hidden city or just by blending in with the population.  What I’m saying is, there was a lot of set up for more, I just, seriously doubt there will BE more, given how poorly this show has gone over.

The Gifted – S01E05 – BoXed In

An important character died in The Inhumans and I couldn’t come up with anything I felt like writing about and skipped it. Yet here I am again with another installment of The Gifted.

One of the first thing that comes up is something I was left nagging at me from the last episode. Everyone returns to the base after the rescue, and Reed Strucker runs into Fade (the bartender) who immediately points out that Reed was working for Sentinel Services. This pretty much sets everyone on edge as they decide if they can even trust Reed.

Polaris and Eclipse are till out on their own trying to evade Sentinel. There was a really clever little moment where they worked together to take down drone flying above them, otherwise it was just a bit of bonding time. They encounter Agent Turner at a roadblock and take him hostage. Watching Polaris in action against Sentinel is so satisfying. Shades of Magneto all around, it’s great how effective her power is at quickly dispatching anyone with guns and body armor. Speaking of Agent Turner, we also get a flew glimpses at the past “Event” that’s been referenced a few times in the show, the event where his daughter died that drives him to stop Mutants.

Meanwhile the Struckers work to earn the trust of the Mutant Underground. Mrs Strucker works to help Trader who was shot last episode. Andy volunteers to donate blood to the cause. Reed uses his knowledge from working as a prosecute to help them decode Sentinel Services radio signals and to help lead the Sentinel search parties away from the area. Reed’s mission requires Fade’s ability to become invisible to help but Fade’s not too keen on the idea. The plan pretty much goes off as planned without a hitch aside from the expected moment of Fade showing up late to pick up Reed. Expected because it fits the idea that “he doesn’t trust this guy maybe he will betray him but oh he didn’t really.”

Eclipse and Polaris are working on interrogating Agent Turner to find out how they are controlling Pulse. They aren’t making a lot of progress and get interrupted by the arrival of more Sentinel troops who surround the building. Blink and Dreamer join them in the warehouse (via Blink’s portals) so Dreamer can extract memories from Turner. Polaris holds off the breaching team of soldiers briefly but they start using gas which she can’t stop so they are forced to evacuate. Not before Dreamer gets some glimpses as to what’s going on in Turner’s head. Dreamer being pulled away from Turner early also seems to scramble his brain a bit.

Finally, Blink confronts Dreamer about the memory that was implanted in her head. She realizes what has happened after watching what happened with Turner and is understandably upset about it. Blink isn’t the only one with memory issues, we get a moment with Agent Turner returning home to his wife, he no longer remembers his daughter being killed.

There were a lot of very “predictable” moments in this episode, but they can’t all be 100% original all the time. There seems to be kind of a cadence going on where we have an episode that’s a bit slower then one that’s more action packed. It’s a pretty good pace. Also, what’s up with the human characters being the doctor/nurse in these sorts of shows. I guess it’s just an excuse to give a non powered person an excuse to help a super powered person.

 

 

Review – Movie – Monster Trucks

So, I’m kind of a stupid sucker for this sort of thing. Kind of dumb movies based on dumb concepts. Monster Trucks really feels like one of those, in a meeting, guy says “What about, trucks, possessed by MONSTERS. And we could call it…. MONSTER TRUCKS. This is a Nickelodeon film and rated PG, so it’s pretty sanitary in it’s story and presentation. You’re not going to get much more than what you might expect. There’s quite a few faces that you’ll recognize in here as well, though the stars are Lucas Till, from MacGuyver as “Handsome outcast loser kid” and Jane Levy as “Nerdy Girl Love Interest”.

Some spoilerish thoughts and then a less spoilery wrap up beyond that.

Plot Summary

The film starts off with an oil company discovering an underground water source during a drilling operation. After penetrating the tunnels, a mysterious creature escapes from the well (several actually). They capture at least one creature and another hides inside a company truck that was crushed during the explosion.

A few notable characters are introduced, there’s a couple of Oil company people, a corporate jerk and a couple of science folks and there is this animal tracker/exterminator/tough dude hired by the Oil company. Honestly, their names aren’t super important, they are all pretty much just the characters you’d think of in these rolls existing. It’s clear they all basically exist to serve as plot foils for our hero in various ways.

Enter our hero, Tripp (MacGuyver). We get a brief introduction sequence, he seems to be kind of the loner stereotype though he doesn’t really look it, his mom and dad are divorced (the dad was working at the oil field) and his mom seems to be dating the town Sheriff. He also works at the local junk yard with Danny Glover in a wheelchair. The junked Oil company truck is dropped off and Tripp is rather excited by the prospect of taking the engine from it for his junker old timey project truck.

He soon discovers there is more to their truck after finding some missing oil, and later luring out the giant tentacled monster who has been drinking said oil. Around this time the Oil Company enforcer dude shows up with some goons. The monster sneaks off and hides inside Tripp’s Junker truck, where he remains for most of the movie. This also crates our first… Monster Truck. Tripp tells the goons to go ahead and search around while he pushes the truck and the monster out of the garage, where he runs into Jane Levy, who was coming by to help him out with some studying.

The monster starts acting up and she discovers the monster. With the goons quickly approaching they jump in the truck and the monster drives it off. They arrive at Meredith’s place (Jane Levy), where Tripp fixes up the truck so the monster and drive it better.

They take the Monster Truck out for a spin around town and to feed on some gasoline, only to discover gasoline kind of makes the Monster go kind of nutty. After some hi-jinks in the streets they end up ad Tripp’s dad’s place to get some more input on what happened with the Oil Field accident. His dad however rats them out to the Oil Company Goons. After a dramatic chase escape between the Truck, the Goons and the Sheriff, they end up at another place run by Meredith’s family, a cabin out in the woods.

You see kids, this is how we know she likes him, because she keeps hanging out with him and his crazy truck, despite all of the peril they keep getting involved with.

Through this whole crazy escapade, we’ve gotten a few glimpses at the Oil company scientist guy. It seems that he has two additional monsters help in captivity. After some testing, he finds that the monsters are smart and able to communicate telepathically with each other. He also greatly objects to the Oil Exec dude’s plan to kill the creatures so they can get on with drilling up Oil.

So the next morning Tripp and Meredith wake up to find that the monster as left. Fortunately, Meredith’s affections for Tripp are apparently creepier than they have been coming off because she has an app on her phone that is able to track Tripp’s phone, which is in the truck. Creepy much? Tripp doesn’t bat an eye at the fact that she has apparently been secretly stalking him using her cell phone. I mean tracking apps usually need special permissions, which would suggest at some point she snuck this app on her phone.

They track the monster to a facility owned by the Oil Execs and discover the other two creatures. Unfortunately, it was a trap and they are all ambushed and taken prisoner by the Oil Company guys. While being escorted off the premises, Meredith and Tripp are picked up by the Scientist guy, who wants to help the monsters escape so they don’t get killed. The scientists suggests they need to get the monsters back to the vent in the oil field so they can return home. But they need some way to move them fast.

Which brings us to… more… Monster Trucks.

Specifically, they essentially steal a couple of other trucks, rip out the engines and modify them using more stolen parts from a car dealer. But it’s for a good cause, or something.

Our heroes hijack the semi transporting the monsters and meet up with their newly hollowed out trucks. We get an action packed cross country race through the woods and up a mountain to the dig site, and some unexpected help from the Sheriff and our family of monsters is safely returned home. Everyone gets a nice feel good ending.

Thoughts

Ok, so yeah, this movie is definitely designed for a younger audience and it’s a Nick film. Most of the characters are all as a result pretty much cookie cutter stereotypes. The basic plot is… honestly pretty solid, as well as it’s execution. This is accepting the idea of tentacle monsters that like to control trucks is a thing. The real flaw of this film is that it’s a story that’s been done before, Kid (ok, the heroes are like 18 or something but you get the idea), kid finds alien/creature/sea animal and befriends it, corporate/government goons want to stop/kill said creature/alien, usually for “reasons” that amount to “they are the bad guys”. This movie doesn’t break any new ground. It’s still a pretty fun movie, and the special effects are pretty good as are the goofy stunts.

It’s not going to win any awards, but there are worse movies to watch and younger kids will get a kick out of the whole thing for sure.

 

The Gifted – S01E04 – eXit Strategy

Plot wise, this was certainly a pretty important episode but I can’t help but feel like it kind of stalled a bit in the first half, or more. Blink deals with the lingering fallout of the implanted memories, Eclipse meets with an old friend and interrogates a guy, the Strucker kids find a way to work together to focus Andy’s powers better. The ultimate goal is to hijack a convoy transporting Reed Strucker and Polaris between prisons.

There’s a lot of lead up to the action at the end, but it kind of feels like filler and it’s a little repetitious. We see the same sort of moments over and over with little plot movement.

Also kind of interesting though almost a side point, We get Trader, a mutant who makes himself invisible. I only find this notable because we’ve already had a mutant with this power in Fade, aka the Bartender guy. It kind of feels like a lot of times these sort of shows, and movies even, avoid duplicating powers like that, to avoid confusion. I mean it’s not unheard of, there are plenty of Mutants who share powers, it’s not just not super common in the TV/Movie world. Hell Polaris is almost a copy and paste job of Magneto in powers and personality. But then Magneto isn’t in this series.

Anyway, the meat and potatoes of this episode occurs int he last fifteen minutes, during the attack on the convoy. The plan, that we didn’t really get any insite into despite all of the build up goes completely sideways for reasons not immediately clear to our heroes. It turns out that Sentinel Services has a mutant named Pulse, who has the ability to disrupt other mutant’s powers. The Strucker kids are able to stop the convoy, but the plan to use Blink’s Portals and Trader as recon both fail.

Polaris and Reed bread free of their restraints inside the bus but the guards manage to beat them (literally) and keep them locked inside. Meanwhile, Thunderbird manages to subdue Pulse. Polaris notices that her powers have returned. Strangely, she’s apparently not quite as much of a copy and paste of Magneto as suspected. The bus and cage are lined with plastic. It seems her power can’t penetrate through plastic? It just seems kind of crazy that she can’t just rip the bus open at this point allowing for an escape. I guess she just isn’t powerful enough, because instead Strucker tells Polaris to rip the screws out of his knee replacement, which she does.

With their powers restored, they all make quick work of the escape. Blink makes a portal, Thunderbird and Eclipse rush to the bus to retrieve Polaris and Reed. It’s not really needed since Polaris breaks free on her own, stops the Sentinel soldier’s bullets, and disarms them. They all make their escape in an SUV.

The last notable thing, during the fight, Thunderbird notices a tattoo on Pulse’s wrist. Nothing more is said of it, but it’s clear it’s meant to be meaningful in some way. I’m sure there will be more to come.

 

The Inhumans – S01E05 – Something Inhuman Comes This Way

So, I was wrong last week,  I guess the Inhuman that Blackbolt and Medusa captured wasn’t the one who controls plants but an Inhuman named Locus, who uses echolocation to find people.  They did leave the other Inhuman from the prison behind though, which wasn’t super clear, because now Mortis has him captive.

A lot of this episode focuses on Karnak and the resolution of his story line.  Last episode had Karnak being intimate with the girl from the pot farm, which seemed to trigger the guy running the place because he shot his partner.  Things open up this week continuing this plot line, only now Karnak is in the gun’s sites.  Karnak and his girlfriend escape but she ends up shot int he process.  They are somewhat rescued when the dude chasing them gets called off by his bosses who are on the way to pick up the drugs.  The drug lord, for lack of anything better to call him, ends up shooting the pot farmer and sends his goons off to capture Karnak to tie up loose ends.  Ultimately Karnak and his girlfriend get captured.

Meanwhile both Gorgon and Black Bolt’s group are both heading towards Karnak’s location.  Gorgon is alone so there’s not much going on with that front but Black Bolt, Medusa and Locus are having a sort of heart to heart discussion about how most of the Inhumans are upset about the caste system.  Locus is unhappy that her “purpose” is to find things and that’s all she gets to do, though she wants to do more.  She keeps telling Black Bolt that he needs to be a better leader.  Medusa points out that Maximus isn’t any better, since he’s also just using her to find the Royal Family.

There are a few vague flashback sequences, between Karnak and Gorgon.  Basically how Gorgon is always screwing things up and Karnak is always picking up the pieces.  It feels a little hamfisted and ends up sort of being a set up for later int he show when Gorgon gets to rescue Karnak and fix Karnak’s problems.  I think the biggest issue I have with all of this is that it’s very sudden.  Like the whole point is to sort of show the relationship between Karnak and Gorgon, in the past.  It just doesn’t work super well given how segregated all of the characters have been.  I kind of feel like this is one of the biggest problems I’ve had with this show.  The main characters never interact with each other.  Instead they interact with all of these random humans, random humans that feel more like obstacles than characters.

Anyway, Gorgon frees Karnak and during their escape they reunite with Blackbolt and Medusa.  Karnak’s girlfriend suggests that they need to leave and she will stay behind to get the police to arrest the drug lord and his crew.  Also, apparently during the run up to their encounter, Locus got shot, because she decides to die very suddenly, I guess her usefulness was exhausted.  Just another example of how forced a lot of the events on this show are starting to feel.

We also get a few bits of Crystal bonding with her human friend and Auran reuniting with Mortis and planning to hold the Doctor hostage in order to draw out Blackbolt.

I’m kind of starting to feel glad this show isn’t going to be long running.  I kind of like the idea but I’m not really liking the execution here much.  I’m hoping, now that everyone is together again, we’ll get more interaction and things will get better.  We still have a bunch of kind of powerless super powered folks.  Karnak still doesn’t have his foresight abilities, Medusa is still shaved, Black Bolt still can’t speak without obliterating everyone.

I still kind of feel like the future of this show is pretty obvious.  After the group reunites with Crystal and Lockjaw, after dealing with Auran and crew, they will return to the moon.  Maybe Maximus has managed to get powers via the Doctor, but essentially Black Bolt will just return and probably be a better king, after having some new experiences.  It feels kind of predictable and I don’t really see any other direction or twists, especially given the limited time left.

The Gifted – S01E03 – eXodus

Man, this show is just killing it next to The Inhumans. I think a lot of it is that everyone gets to use their powers. The Inhumans have what, guy who can’t talk, bald chick with magic hair, guy who calculates with a concussion, and guy who stomps. The little opening bit of this week’s The Gifted between Polaris and Eclipse was just so great.

The opening was this little flashback moment between these two, talking about when they first discovered they were mutants. Eclipse was talking about how he doesn’t like having to hide and his powers and Polaris talks about how she loves it. She also shows off how she can fly due to her magnetism ability and steel toed boots. She really subtley shows just how much she is like another Magnet powered mutant that any X-men fan should know. They also have this little moment where they accidentally create a mini Aurora, due to the interaction of her magnetism and his light. It’s cute, it really shows off the characters and their relationship and it worked really well as a scene.

We get a glimpse of the Redhead’s (Dreamer) power. Thunderbird wants to train Blink on how to use her powers with little luck and Dreamer suggests she could implant some memories that could help her focus better.

The Struckers sneak off to meet with a layer friend of Kate’s. She wants to try to fight back using legal means, but the Mutant Underground doesn’t want anything to do with it, too risky because they will probably just get betrayed. The MU wants to storm the jail and free Polaris and Reed.

Meanwhile, Reed is being set up by Sentinel Services to “escape” and get back into the Mutant Underground. He meets up with the bartender from before when he met with Eclipse as a way into the MU. He seems to be having some second thoughts when Agent Turner mentions treating the Underground like any terrorist organization. These second thoughts are amplified when he meets a mother and child also taking a trip tot he Underground with the Bartender. It culminates with him confessing to wearing a tracker and leaping out of the moving van.

Meanwhile, Polaris tests her limits by tearing the door off of her jail cell, despite the shock collar she is wearing to suppress her powers. It kind of feels like maybe she should find a way to rip the collar itself off.

The neighborhood discovers the Struckers are hiding out with Kate’s friend (apparently a brother or brother in law) and they come to storm the house and take the kids. Thunderbird and Aurora help them escape in a truck with the locals in pursuit. Dreamer, against Thunderbird’s wishes, implants memories in Blink to encourage her to be able to use her powers to help the others escape. Specifically a memory that was once Dreamer and Thunderbird, not Blink instead. Basically, telling Blink she and Thunderbird are lovers, so she can focus on saving him.

I have to say, this show is really shaping up to be pretty good. I think a lot has to do with the special effects, something a super hero show really needs. Even Agents of SHIELD sometimes feels like it could do a bit more with the super powers at times, take Ghost Rider for example, he was cool, but he showed up hardly at all and for very short periods of time when he did. Granted, this show has nothing to that level yet and I get that the effects are “expensive” especially for TV, but it’s really a necessary evil when dealing with super powers.

The Inhumans – S01E04 – Make Way for… Medusa

I have to admit, The Inhumans is stating to drag a bit. Ok, I’ve felt the same about other shows and they got better in the end, but this show just sort of feels like it’s not really going anywhere.

Medusa is supremely driven to reunite with Black Bolt, for… reasons, at this point I can only assume maybe he can somehow restore her hair. Karnak seems content to just sort of hang out with these guys growing pot in the forest. Not a lot is really moving along between Gorgon and Auran.

I think part of what’s feels off is the inconsistency with the “fish out of water” element. The characters are all either completely baffled or completed familiar with various Earth concepts. There isn’t really any in between. Medusa doesn’t understand why the cops are chasing her and Louise for speeding through a red light but seems to totally follow how the cops traced them down via Louise’s credit card and can master working through Louise’s computer. That sort of disconnect.

Most of this episode follows Medusa as she and Louise, an astronomer or something who detected the Inhumans coming to Earth, evade the police while trying to find Black Bolt. Kind of makes sense with the episode title being Make Way for Medusa.

The other key development involved Black Bolt, Dr. Declan (the rich guy) does some tests on his DNA and finds some interesting anomalies (probably because Black Bolt is more purely Inhuman than the regular Earth Inhumans). He decides this may be some sort of key to figuring out why Inhumans change and unlocking this within humans. He then calls up Maximus to let him know what he has found.

Yeah, apparently the Mysterious Rich Dude was working for Maximus all along. Only Declan doesn’t seem to be in on the coup plot, he is just some sort of I dunno what. Maybe Maximus contacted him at some point int he past when Inhumans started awakening on Earth, I don’t know. Maximus wants Declan to kill Black Bolt except the Doctor refuses due to his findings. Maximus starts second guessing the need to kill Black Bolt as well, seeing an opportunity to give himself abilities and stop being human.

Oh and he finally kills the Genetic council. Well except for this one dude. They speak some about some past incidents they had together, it’s all kind of ominous while also being annoyingly vague.

Crystal teams up with the guy who ran into her and Lockjaw at the end of the episode. They pick up a local vet to take care of Lockjaw. Karnak has a few moments with the girl working at the Pot Plantation who is apparently really into him. It seems really convenient that all of the Inhumans have fallen in with random strangers who are willing to just give everything and are all super friendly. Like, beyond casual “oh I need to help this person in need”, we’re talking almost love at first sight level friendly. They also all seem really accepting of the awkwardness all of the Inhumans have around Earth culture. The show does acknowledge that the Earth Inhumans are fairly common knowledge, so being accepting of abilities is fine, but having special powers doesn’t explain a complete lack of knowledge on basic customs.

The show wraps up when Black Bolt and his fat Hawaiian Inhuman friend realize they are essentially just in a different sort of prison with Dr. Declan. They decide to make a run for it only to be confronted by Auran and Mortis. There is a brief confrontation before Medusa and Louise come driving in through the group. Mortis accidentally explodes a propane tank taking down Auran’s crew. Medusa and Black Bolt reunite and leave along with Louise, but not before stuffing one of the less injured members of Auran’s crew in the trunk (the chick who can control plants I think).

Oddly enough, they left his Inhuman buddy from jail behind. Considering everything that guy’s been doing for him, it kind of feels like a jack ass move by Black Bolt. Especially considering they watch Mortis recovering as they drive off and Auran is pretty much known to regenerate from death.

This all kind of goes back to that issue I mentioned early about inconsistency. Maybe I’m just reading too into it, but the whole thing just sort of feels off in some way.