Batman v Superman's News and Notes 4.20.15

Ohhh, Batman v Superman...
Okay, let's jump right into this. I felt the need to share a few quick thoughts on the film's first trailer this morning. First of all, I freely admit that no one has been more... let's call it "skeptical"... than I have about the impending garbage fire this movie seems guaranteed to be.

Now, that being said, the trailer is outstanding. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Zack Snyder, STOP RIGHT NOW. Burn all the film stock and hard drives and let everyone believe this is the movie you made.

The trailer tells us this is a Batman movie with a tight, contained story. It's a high-stakes fight between an aging but indomitable hero - as human as he can possibly be - and an unstoppable demigod who may have lost his ethical compass. Superman is the only villain in this movie and he is a great one; the very best kind - one who believes he's doing the right thing. He could be one of the most compelling and complex villains of the last 30 years. And what is more dangerous than a corrupted Superman? We need 120 minutes of this story and nothing else. That could be truly fantastic.

The problem is, we all know this is not the movie Warner Bros. is making. There is a whole giant mess of a cast that this teaser completely ignores. So, imagine taking the movie you saw in that trailer and figuring out how to shove Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Lex Luthor into it. Could there possibly be a good way to do that? Uh, no. The greatest minds in film history couldn't figure out a way to make that work.

So, it looks like we may have one of the great what-ifs of geek cinema coming next year. What could have (surprisingly) been an incredible superhero film, possibly one of the best, will be ruined by impatience and overreaching greed. Superman can't be a villain (at least not for more than 15 or 20 minutes), not when you have the DC cinematic universe to build. And you can't take the time to build it organically either. No, you're too far behind the Marvel locomotive. You have to create the entire Justice League in one film. Well, let's see how well that works out...


Yes, we are alive and we do have things to show you in the future. Lots of editing is happening and we'll be shooting something new in May. I know the website has suffered but you'll enjoy the stuff we've been working on, so stick with us! And I'll try to check in more often.

Agents Decoded: Season 2 (First Half)

Season 2 - Midseason Recap
(Look away if you don't want SPOILERS because this is nothing but.)

Let's catch up on all the tidbits that AoS threw at us in the first half of Season 2. This is going to be down and dirty.
  • So, Skye is indeed Daisy Johnson (aka Quake).  Several comic geeks dug deep to figure that one out ahead of time; largely due to the similarity of her father to the villain Mister Hyde.
  • The Inhumans are here. Skye and Raina have been transformed by the terrigen mists from crystals hidden in the Diviner. (...Why am I single again?) Man, I wonder who nailed that one a LONG time ago? For the record Skye/Daisy has vibration powers and Raina is unfortunately now some type of hedgehog demon.
  • The Inhuman with no eyes? Personally, I have no clue.
  • Is Agent 33 some MCU version of Madame Masque? Part of me wonders because of the whole horrible scar/mask situation, but right now I'll say no since her origin bares no resemblance to Masque.
  • The Punisher is now in the MCU. My favorite wink of the season was Agents bringing Frank Castle back into the fold. In The Writing On the Wall episode, Skye mentioned a murder crime scene buff named "Chip". David "Microchip" Lieberman was the Punisher's long-time tech/armory geek assistant. I don't expect to see a Punisher cameo any time soon, but it's nice to know that Frank is back where he belongs and out there somewhere doing his thing. If I had to guess... look for the lethal vigilante to make an appearance in one of the upcoming Marvel Netflix series.
  • Howard the Duck connections continue to grow. While working for Hydra, Simmons mentions a cow named Bessie that only produces curdled milk. This would be none other than Bessie the Hellcow! A cow turned undead by Dracula himself.
The worst part of the finale? We lost Tripp! And, by the end of this episode, I felt like Tripp had become the most enjoyable character of Season 2. So much for that. Not sure there can be a Coulson-style comeback for someone that turned into dust.

Geek Scope: Agents of SHIELD 1.22

Long live Director Coulson.

Well, that was impressive. The Agents of SHIELD Season 1 finale did not disappoint and once again showed the full potential of this show. AND, if you didn't see my predictions from earlier today, I was all over it. I'm just saying. Can someone put me on Marvel's payroll? Please?

Let's dive into it...  (WARNING:  SPOILERS ABOUND!!)

There was a ton of stuff going on in this episode, so I'll try to skip all the obvious stuff and focus on the meat. Compared to the bulk of the season, the finale was masterful. The direction took a huge leap with dynamic shots and much better performances. The balance of payoffs for Season 1 and set-ups for Season 2 was perfect. Nothing was left hanging and when they closed a storyline, they slammed it shut.

Unquestionably, the most important element of Episode 22 had to be the setup of Season 2's primary storyline: Skye's origin and the secrets behind it which will lead to "evolution."
  • The symbols that Garrett calls the "Words of Creation" will certainly come into play. I would guess these "words" detail the process/instructions for Terrigenesis.
  • We also met Skye's father, or at least his blood soaked hand. He is likely a Kree alien and, chances are, he will be the Big Bad for next season.
  • In the final scene, we discover that Coulson also has the "Words of Creation" hidden away in his brain as well, presumably because, like Garrett and Skye, he was treated with the GH 325.

I said we were talking about Inhumans and basically I think I nailed it. Raina spoke constantly about evolution and asks Garrett, "what will I become?" She says Skye's "true nature" will reveal itself. Ahem. Inhumans.

This is huge for Marvel TV. All season, AoS was shaped by the Marvel films and now the films will be shaped by AoS. Make no mistake, the Inhumans will be a major component of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). A ton of work has gone into the publishing side to prepare for it. Since Fox owns the movie rights to Marvel's mutants, Marvel Comics has taken a seldom used, quirky family of alien, mutant weirdos and suddenly elevated them to the biggest players of the MU (comics universe) last year.

Fitz and Simmons had a really, really nice scene. No surprise that De Caestecker and Henstridge turned in the best performances of the night. Fitz revealing his feelings before they escape the med pod may have been the best scene of the entire season. All the more impressive when you consider that it was basically a replay of their similar scene in "FZZT," yet still carried a lot of weight.

Fury's appearance was much cooler than his first. This time he was actually an integral part of the action, rescuing Fitz and Simmons and Coulson as well, rather than just being a cameo tacked on at the end. That's an important development to the show as big film characters increasingly get into the mix.

Ward was left in a weird place at the end of Season 1, being taken into custody after his motivations didn't seem clear all episode. He started getting cold feet right away in this one, starting to question Garrett and their motivations for the first time. He didn't have a stomach for Garrett's barbaric murder of the General. I'll stick with my prediction that Season 2 ends with Ward sacrificing himself to save the team. (Or maybe to somehow save Fitz from his current condition?)

Snarky Coulson was back and it was nice to see. We got the best jokes in weeks and this is the Phil we need. Not super weepy, emotional outburst Phil.

Fitz was kind of left in the lurch. Simmons tells the team about his condition, but it felt like we really needed to see Fitz before the episode ended.

So, the overall mission from here is for Director Phil Coulson to rebuild SHIELD from scratch. Probably the only direction you could go and also keep the show's title. It will be fun to watch and also alleviates a lot of logic problems I had with this season regarding why Coulson's tiny team was tackling these problems all on their own without more resources/assistance from their gigantic agency. Now, that continuity hiccup is eliminated.

Quick Hitters

  • Did you catch the imagery of Garrett pulling the General's rib out?
  • What is that tool box that Fury gave to Coulson?
  • Fury considers Coulson an Avenger.
  • I'm sure some geeks had a moment when Fury pulled out Coulson's Avengers gun.
  • A great okey-doke gag when Garrett rebuilds himself and we think we'll have to deal with him for another season, then Coulson blasts him into oblivion.
  • May jumping Ward and getting the chance to beat his arse was one of the few B.A. moments of the season that actually kind of worked the way it was intended.
  • Patton Oswalt lives! Supposedly as a twin brother but, judging by all the exactly repeated lines, I would guess he might be a Life Model Decoy. I won't let that die will I? Well, WE'RE GOING TO GET ONE SOONER OR LATER!

Agents of SHIELD Finale Predictions

The Inhumans. Jack Kirby at his weird finest.

You have to expect Marvel TV will try to hit us with some doozies tonight, so I felt the need to go ahead and venture some guesses about what we'll see both in this finale and next season as well. If you don't want me to potentially ruin something, run away now.

  • Is Garrett the real Clairvoyant?
    • A few clues have been dropped that there still may be someone behind the curtain. Mike Peterson's "eyeball instructions" referred to Garrett in third person. My official guess and hope is that we aren't being misled and tonight will be the last time we have to deal with the C word.
  • Is Skye an alien?
    • Yes.
  • What kind of alien?
    • Kree is the easy answer. They're blue, just like Coulson's guy in the tube. But, now I think she may actually be an Inhuman. Brace yourself, you're about to be neck deep in 50 years of geek mythos here. Thousands of years ago, the Kree were at war with the Skrulls and, from their strategic outpost on Uranus (we can hear you snickering), the Kree noticed that humans had evolutionary potential while their own evolution had become stagnant. So... they began to experiment on humans, hoping to create stronger Kree warriors. They created a new race (the Inhumans) that would mutate when exposed to mist from Terrigen crystals. Yeah... I know. The mutations are completely unpredictable. (As you can see in the picture, one of them is basically a giant, teleporting dog.) They say that the Terrigenesis process reveals what was already lurking underneath; the true selves of the Inhumans. Okay, SO, last week Raina was going on about Skye's origin and DNA and said her parents were the monsters yeah, yeah, yeah... But, the writers carefully planted another line in the mix. Raina says she stays with Hydra because she's waiting for "what's inside to be revealed." Later, she also drops the word "transformation." That couldn't possibly sound more like the big Inhumans storyline that started in the comics about six months ago.
  • Can Ward be redeemed?
    • Yes and no. Can he come back to the team? No. I mean, I really, really... reeeally hope not. In all the promo images for next season, Ward is in the group. That certainly indicates he'll be around. I'm thinking his role will be the complicated antagonist that sacrifices himself for his old team at the end of Season 2 and finds redemption with his death. That's the only method that makes sense. The other options are that 1) he does something heroic and all is forgiven and he's given a second chance (that would be horribly stupid considering how many innocent good guys he has shot point-blank in the head or strangled and hid in the drop ceiling) or 2) Ward was a double, double agent all along, Victoria Hand and Patton Oswalt aren't really dead and all the murders were a giant ruse to allow Ward to stay undercover and save everyone from Hydra. Obviously, THAT, would be insane and ridiculous. So, let's hope that I'm right on my original prediction even if it is a tad predictable.
  • What is the fate/mission of the team for Season 2?
    • I really don't know. That's the most interesting question of all. How do you have a show called Agents of SHIELD when SHIELD no longer exists? My best guess is that Nick Fury will tell Coulson that the world needs his team. That they need to do the things that no one else can. That their little six-person squad is SHIELD now.

Geek Scope: Agents of SHIELD 1.21

Episode 21 is in the books and we're all set up for the big finale. First, I have to give credit where it's due. That was by far Ward's best episode and it isn't even close. Brett Dalton played cold and conflicted much better than any other character moments he'd had before and really made the most of his spotlight in this episode. It looks like we have plenty to see next week to close out the season, including a fight with a room full of Deathloks, a showdown with Coulson and Garrett (who is all jacked up on alien juice), and a visit from Nicholas J. Fury.  Let's get to the notes...

  • Loved Tripp's Howling Commandos suitcase and Coulson's "OMG a Hypnobeam" moment. Good stuff.
  • +1 chuckle for Coulson accidentally slipping into Fitz's accent.
  • This show has to get some directors for next season that are more comfortable with action. Action pieces are slow and low-impact like the zip-line sequence, fights are sloppy and hard to watch... It's one area they really need to step their game up. I don't need a huge budget, but I do need better camera angles and editing to make that stuff jump.
  • "Get ready for a large file transfer." And... cue the filing cabinet out the window. I couldn't help but like that one.
  • John Garrett is a Deathlok which holds true to the John Garrett of comics becoming a cyborg (although not necessarily a Deathlok).
  • The whole segment of flashbacks with the dog in the woods cross-cut with Jemma and Fitz locked in the container really did play well. Kudos all around.
  • The moment of Ward sending FitzSimmons into the ocean was spot-on perfect and one of the best of the whole season. Every note rang true and I'm glad Brett Dalton got that moment. He basically told me I can shove it.
  • Nice to hear the Six Million Dollar Man shout-out from the writers with Quinn's "better, stronger, faster" line.


  • Fitz and Simmons won't die. Duh. I don't think I'm ruining anything for you there, right?
  • I HOPE this isn't the case, but... I feel like there is a chance Ward programmed in a fail-safe that helps Fitz and Simmons escape their box. (I really, really hope not because that totally negates the great scene from tonight and steals the one cool moment Ward's character ever had.)
  • Skye is at least half Kree (alien), but I already told you that.

We'll see you next week for the big finale. There should be plenty to talk about.

Geek Scope: Agents of SHIELD 1.20

This was the best episode since the Captain America tie-ins began. Right off the bat we get a nice Man-Thing reference for all the geeks like yours truly. What is Man-Thing? That's him in the picture; Marvel's version of Swamp Thing. A government scientist was experimenting on plants and got transformed into a mushy plant-man that lives in a swamp... or something like that. This is actually the second reference to Man-Thing in the Cinematic U. Man-Thing's wife appeared in Iron Man 3. (Same name, same scar, AIM agent: check, check, and check.) It seems somebody at Marvel Studios has a soft spot for the green and mossy guy. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him appear in one of the TV properties someday. Now let's get to the rest of the notes...

  • Speaking of Man-Thing, the writers are getting much better at sneaking in Marvel names and references without making them distracting. (The joke two weeks ago about Johnny Horton made me laugh out loud, which is maybe the dorkiest thing I could possibly admit.)
  • Maria Hill was talking to Pepper Potts on the phone when the episode begins, but the most interesting tidbit was the news that Stark Industries is "privatizing global security." That's a fact that could actually play out in The Avengers 2. Kind of cool that they seeded it on AoS.
  • By the way, I thought Cobie Smulders did a nice job and brought some extra juice to the episode.
  • Tripp tells us that Coulson is an "expert in analysis" and Phil correctly diagnoses the predicament his team is in to the letter. I liked that moment and the effort to develop Phil's character, letting us know what makes him talented, unique and valuable as an agent.
  • The emotional moments on the show just don't carry weight and I'll tell you why. The high emotion moments and outbursts happen far too often and usually they don't ring true. So, when you have an occasion where that emotion would feel right and appropriate, its impact is stolen. This is the most emotionally fragile bunch of spies ever and any time the feelings come out, the directors have them crank it up to 11.
  • Skye calls Ward a Nazi and serial killer. I'm glad, because she's right on both counts and I've been worried that the show would let Ward off easy at some point.
  • I liked Deathlok's heart gadget.
  • He still doesn't look enough like Deathlok. I understand the difficulties, but rather than looking like a cyborg, it looks like he's wearing an big, ill-fitting vest. In no way do his appliances look like part of him.
  • Nice to see Lola, but that green screen work... yikes. Forgiveable though. I got some laughs out of it.
  • I like Tripp. There is room to improve on the acting, but I like him and that's more than I could ever say for Ward.


Like I said, I was worried they would allow Ward to redeem himself. Now, I'm confident (and happy) to say that Ward is just too far gone for redemption. He's shooting people in the head left and right, including Victoria Hand. Orders or not, Skye's line was correct, he's a serial killer. He had an unfortunate childhood and was misled by Garrett. There isn't enough room to let him off the hook, but I do believe they'll give Ward one chance to sacrifice himself for his former team. One final act to make good and go out on the good side (a la Anakin Skywalker). It could happen in the season finale, but not necessarily. It seems they might like to make him a foil for next season. Scenario B would be something along the lines of Ward kills Garrett and allows the Agents to escape, but he then takes over as the leader of this arm of Hydra; being the oh-so complex character that he is.

We'll see you back here for the final two episodes of the season.

Geek Scope: Agents of SHIELD 1.15

Agents of SHIELD continues to build steam in the back half of its first season and my enthusiasm for the future of the show continues to grow. In my opinion, "Yes Men" was the best episode since "FZZT," nine episodes ago. Sif's guest appearance worked well and didn't feel forced. AoS even worked in some Cinematic Universe backstory and new continuity as well. More on that later.

Jamie Alexander was excellent and really made the most of her chance to take center stage. The internet has been crying for prominent female superheroes and I think tonight was a big victory in that regard. I know my ten year-old daughter was pretty fired up about it. Once again there was some solid character development as well as nice comedy and action pieces. The comedy was primarily provided by Fitz and Simmons who were on their game in limited roles. One exchange between Coulson and an entranced Fitz actually made me laugh out loud.

Not many criticisms on this one, but I'll pick at it a little. The fight choreography basically stinks. And, not to get too "inside baseball" on you, but the fights were sped up in post and the frame blending process was obvious. Somebody in the edit chair was in a hurry.

Now, turn away from the screen Agent Ward fans. I don't want to make you cry, but Ward hurts the show. He is the weakest character and it seems no one knows how to make him compelling. If I'm a writer and the show ever needs a death to serve a story... I know where I'm starting. Ouch, I know, I'm ruthless. Also, AoS writers, if Ward knows Lorelei's power set and has his tranquilizer gun pointed right at her, why does he not fire it, allow her to speak to him and touch him? Somebody has to catch stuff like that, because that was just dumb. Try this: she sneaks up behind him, touches him and speaks: easy peasy. (Lemon squeezy.)

  • Admirable exposition to set the scene between Sif and the team. Why is Coulson alive, etc. Coulson asks to tell Thor himself. More setup if they want to use it.
  • Coulson probes Sif for information on blue aliens. She says she knows plenty and goes through the list... Trust the comic guy: it was all blah, blah, blah, Kree. (Told you so.) She does mention frost giants but that notion is dismissed and the guy in the tube was no giant, nor did his features resemble one.
  • So... another outer space alien. Hooray. (Again, I'm sorry, but aliens really are the explanation for everything in the MCU. Switch it up a little guys. You've even been calling Asgard a planet. Stop it!)
  • Lorelei was a good choice as the villain. Her power over men actually provides a good reason for Sif to be the only Asgardian who pursues her.
  • Ward is "as lethal as any"? No. I've seen nothing that makes me think that at all. Writing problem.  If you want me to believe that, you're going to have to show me. Brett Dalton's performances can be stiff, but this is on the writers.
  • I actually felt some emotion for Lorelei's predicament. Kudos.
  • Here's a big one: Odin wants Lorelei back alive...   But Odin isn't Odin is he? So somebody else actually wants her back alive. Heh? Hehhh? If you've seen The Dark World, you know who I'm talking about.
  • Sounds like Ward and May's tryst is over for now.
  • Lorelei intimated that Ward has feelings for someone else. (Skye. Duh.) Although they could possibly play a Simmons switcharoo on us.
  • They really upped the stakes at the end of the episode and I bought it. Fury vs. Coulson?
  • Agent May is in on it (with Fury?) and has apparently been providing inside info for some time.
  • Skye is a human/Kree hybrid, orphan which is what makes her an 0-8-4 and why she reacted even better than Coulson to the freaky alien juice they injected her with.
  • Would they go so far as to make the alien in the tube a direct relation to her? I lean towards no, because I think we were being led to believe the alien had been there since the 40s or 50s.
  • If they ever use AoS to advance the Loki storyline, people will lose their minds and the ratings will be even higher than the premiere.
No episode next week. Looks like they're having a promotional special for all the Marvel properties in general. Some of those Deathlok clips looked pretty cool. His bionic/cyborg eye was exposed. Are we going to keep inching closer to the look of Deathlok from the comics?

Geek Scope: Agents of SHIELD 1.14

Paxton as John Garrett

Starting now, I'm going to split this column into two halves. The first half will be general observations about the episode and the second half will contain anything that might be a spoiler, even if it's only a theory about where the series is headed. (And I have a lot of theories this week.) I really think the show is starting to find its tone. They've been telling us for a few weeks now that the good stuff was coming in the back half of the season. I'm beginning to believe them. I don't know if AoS can ever give us great television, but it can be entertaining spy/sci-fi fare and the show keeps making positive strides. On with the notes...

  • I love Bill Paxton. I've been a mark for Paxton ever since Weird Science. With that being said...
  • I already love Bill Paxton on this show. A great addition and I hope we see plenty of him.
  • Paxton plays John Garrett who, yes, is another SHIELD agent from comics lore. In the comics, Jonathan Garrett is critically wounded and given a cyborg body. Interesting considering the Deathlok/TAHITI storyline we're in the middle of.
  • We got another mention of the Triskelion in this episode; a SHIELD HQ from the Ultimate Universe.
  • New guy Agent Triplett is in love with Simmons already? How did that happen? He was on screen for three minutes and had a fight with Ward. Did I miss something?
  • Our group shot and killed two agents to save one? With no idea who these guys were? What happened to the tranquilizer "Night Night" gun that they love to use so much? Seems like a writing oversight.
  • How freaky was that ripped up torso in a tube? Continue reading if you want to know my theory on that business.


The Torso
  • Initially, I hoped it was the original Human Torch (an android) what with the WWII bunker and all, but no such luck. The body didn't seem to be synthetic and GH doesn't fit Jim Hammond or Phineas Horton.
  • Besides being ripped in half, the torso had long nails, signs of decomposition, a few apparent markings on its chest, no eyes, and a possible bullet hole in its head.
  • Either the liquid was blue, or the actual body was. Therefore...
  • I'd like to believe that the torso is that of an Atlantean because that would be a nice a change of pace and the existence of Atlantis would be a significant revelation for the show. However, it didn't have pointy ears so, unfortunately... 
  • My official prediction is that this was the body of a Kree; a blue-skinned race of aliens from the comics.
  • "Guest House" would indicate the being in the tube was a visitor, which points to it being an alien. And since aliens are the explanation for everything in the Marvel cinematic universe (ugh), it's almost certain.
The Clairvoyant
  • The Clairvoyant is a SHIELD agent. I was already fairly certain, but this week basically cinched it.
  • The only thing the Clairvoyant hasn't had an answer for is Coulson's resurrection.
  • In this episode, we discovered that Coulson's procedures were conducted outside of SHIELD.
  • Bingo
  • My best guess has been Victoria Hand. And now, possibly Triplett.

Guardians Trailer Hits the Web

Some bold choices in this first trailer. But one thing that seems indisputable is how good the footage looks. Mark my words, Chris Pratt is going to shoot to the top of the A List after this.

What do you think? Feel free to leave some thoughts in the comments.

Geek Scope: Agents of SHIELD 1.13

Geek Scope uses 25 years of otherwise useless Marvel comics continuity to look for tidbits in TV and movies that the average non-geek might miss.

A solid episode tonight with some building blocks that give me hope for the future. Now, thanks to the publicity grab last week, we already knew that Deathlok was coming and tonight you could say that we saw his birth. The one little bonus for the geeks was the introduction of Cybertek Systems, Inc.. As you can see in the picture above, Cybertek is a division of Roxxon Oil (Marvel's resident big, bad corporation that is always up to something shady). In this case, Cybertek is the developer of the Deathlok tech. Apart from the eye implant that Mike Peterson already has, his new leg is Deathlok's first piece of cybernetic gear. Here's to hoping that the transformation continues and we get a character that is visually close to the Deathlok of the comics. Because, if that happens... awesome is the word for that. Now for the quick hitters...

  • The cybernetic leg was impressive! After seeing that, I might actually believe this Deathlok is going to be the one we know from the comics.
  • The Stan Lee cameo:  we can do better than that.
  • Ward and Coulson trying to operate the Holotable. Best scene in the show. The Ward character actually showed some signs of life there.
  • We saw the debut of what from this moment forward will be referred to as "the cleavage suit" for Melinda May. Ratings ploys all over the place. (BTW, 50 years old? Kudos to you, Ming Na Wen.)
  • Fitz and Skye followed those cars on foot?  Uhh...
  • SPOILER:  Skye will be okay. She's the 0-8-4, remember?
  • I liked Ward going all two-guns Matrix-style when he walked into the house.
  • A Ward/Coulson rift? They got beef. Where are we headed with that?
  • Next episode is March 4th. March 4th?? Are we doing one episode a month now?

If the full push is on to build/retain ratings for AoS, this on and off scheduling is curious. Let's hope it doesn't hurt the audience. Anyway, I guess we'll see you back here on March 4th.