Author Archive for Cliff Wheatley – Page 2

Supergirl: “How Does She Do It?” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Airing the episode that they pulled last week due to the nature of its plot, CBS brought “How Does She Do It?” to the airwaves and unfortunately made us realize that perhaps it would’ve been best if this one stayed on the shelf.

There’s a lot at play in this episode and not one of the storylines even approaches interesting, aside from Cat’s… who is hardly featured in the episode at all. The pretense is that she’s won an award and has to travel to Metropolis for the ceremony – where she’s ecstatic to rub it in the rival Lois Lane’s face – and leaves her son Carter in Kara’s care. We see a glimpse of Cat at her most vulnerable when she’s talking about her sensitive son and dealing with a mother that appears to be as rough around the edges as she is, but we hardly have a chance to sink our teeth in before she vanishes until the end of the episode. It’s a pity, because what we’re left with are bland, cliché-ridden love triangles, banter that falls flat, and a boring, uninspired villain.

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Supergirl: “Livewire” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Like Harley Quinn before her, Livewire is a supervillain that made her debut in the DC Animated Universe and was later introduced in the comics, but now she’s been fully realized live-action (she popped up in Smallville once, briefly) courtesy of CBS’ Supergirl. Though there are quite a few elements of this episode that don’t work, but ultimately “Livewire” is a fun romp that sheds some light on Kara’s adopted family and surprises us with its new angle on Cat Grant.

A Thanksgiving episode wouldn’t be complete without family drama, of course, and so Supergirl has its first real exploration of the Danvers family (with an amusing Winn caught in the hellacious crossfire). Helen Slater and Dean Cain return as the Drs. Danvers, the latter only in flashback as we learn how his life ended under the leadership of Hank Henshaw. A twist comic fans probably saw coming in some form or another, but it’s a relief that both Alex and Kara will be united in their distrust of the DEO. The organization still houses some of the least interesting segments of the show, not the least of which is Supergirl calling Henshaw “sir” and referring, more than once, to her duties as a hero being “work.” Her deputation by the DEO has been a bit grating, but it looks as though the fate of Jeremiah Danvers might be the thing that jars this problem loose. Plus, the addition of a larger mystery peppered throughout the season is something to spice things up considering that we already know who the overarching villain will be.

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Supergirl: “Fight or Flight” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Picking up right where “Stronger Together” left off, Supergirl gives the big “exclusive” interview to a delightfully smarmy Cat Grant, which amounts to little more than a brief conversation before Kara lets it slip that Big Blue is, in fact, her cousin. While it definitely doesn’t have the impact of the classic “first interview” between Lois and Superman, Supergirl does get a pretty definitive moment that confirms the show’s devotion to feminism. When Cat asks her if she intends on starting a family, Kara replies “Nobody ever asks my cousin these questions.” It’s a great commentary on sexism in the media, while doubling as a powerful moment for our hero.

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Supergirl: “Stronger Together” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

Well, anyone complaining that they didn’t say “Superman” enough in the pilot should certainly have nothing to complain about this time. Supergirl’s second episode is a marked improvement on the first, offering up interesting motivations for familiar characters, some spectacular effects, and surprisingly powerful emotions.

“Stronger Together” is somewhat of a logistics episode; it addresses lots of lingering questions that come with the modern age of superheroes. Why does a goofy secret identity still work? How do superheroes pay rent? Why don’t super-strong heroes ever really learn to fight? What happens after a superhero lands a plane in the middle of a river and leaves it there? This episode handles all of that deftly, putting those (admittedly inconsequential) issues to rest with a few swift lines of dialogue and a training montage or two.

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Supergirl: Series Premiere Review

Though so often referenced in relation to her famous supercousin Kal-El, Kara Zor-El gets her time in the sun in CBS’ foray into the so-hot-right-now one hour network superhero drama, Supergirl, debuting October 26th. While it simultaneously represents both the best and worst of the genre’s stigmas, ultimately it’s Melissa Benoist utter likability, fun newsroom banter, and the show’s reverence – and sometimes subervison of -- classic Superman mythology that lets it shine.

The most appealing aspect of Supergirl’s pilot is the palpable sense of excitement and fun that Benoist brings to the role. She plays Kara as a woman that knows she has a greater destiny and is only just learning to overcome her obstacles and naysayers to embrace it with a smile on her face. From her first heroic act to her last, Benoist imbues Supergirl with an addictive sense of humor without losing her inspirational and powerful agency.

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She Makes Comics Review

With things like Gamer Gate and “Fake Geek Girls” still fresh on the table, Sequart’s She Makes Comics is coming at a pivotal moment in the wider fan culture. Though Marisa Stotter’s documentary focuses on women in the comic book industry, there are similar struggles present throughout a wide variety of fandom and thus it's critical that it gets talked about in this manner. While She Makes Comics isn’t the defining piece of work to catalogue the importance of women in comics, it does plant a flag in the ground to let everyone know that things are, thankfully, changing.

Clocking in at only an hour and 10 minutes, She Makes Comics takes on the ambitious task of starting at the beginning. The film points out that women have always worked in comics, starting with the earliest of female newspaper cartoonists, through mainstream Silver Age artists like Ramona Fradon and Marie Severin, through the rise of figureheads like Jenette Kahn and Karen Berger, all the way up until the present with writers like Gail Simone and Kelly Sue DeConnick.

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Legends of the Knight Review

Though superheroes as we know them have been a part of popular culture for about 75 years, it’s perhaps no surprise that their popularity across mediums is at a high in a time of increasing world turmoil. Superheroes inspire us to be better, and at its core, that’s what Brett Culp’s Legends of the Knight is trying to get at.

Culp’s crowd-funded documentary about everyday people inspired by the Batman – some in big ways, some in small – clocks in at about an hour and fifteen minutes and struggles to accomplish what it sets out to do.

While many of the individual stories that are included are heartwarming and inspirational, as a film, Legends of the Knight fails to capitalize on its strengths and tries to be too broad. It’s padded with hokey b-roll of kids playing on playgrounds dressed as Batman (it’s like 20 minutes of that scene in Man of Steel with young Clark running around in a cape), an unfocused narrative that deviates too often from the human interest stories, and comes off as scripted in certain talking head interviews.

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13 Actresses That Could Bring Death to the MCU

It’s becoming clear that Thanos the Mad Titan is the bullet in the chamber of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, ready to fire at any moment. He’s been lurking in the background since The Avengers, doing his best to acquire the Infinity Stones, and we can only assume that sooner or later he’ll succeed.

If our hunch is correct, it will be up to the combined might of The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and whoever else is in the picture at that point to save the day.

But what’s Thanos’ motivation for all of this? Sure, he wants power. But in the comics, there’s another reason… he’s trying to impress a woman (aren’t we all?). Death is the physical representation of the end of life within the Marvel Universe, and is typically depicted as one of two things: a cloaked bag of bones, or an attractive humanoid female.

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Ranking the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movies

With the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick tearing up the box office (not to mention our countdown of the best episodes of the original cartoon series), we figured we might as well keep the mean green hype machine running full steam ahead.

The TMNT have been fortunate enough to get many different incarnations on screen, but as we know some are better than others.

So which silver screen adaptation of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s famous creations takes the cake pizza? Read on!


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Top 10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Episodes

Thirty years ago, Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman unleashed a little black-and-white comic book called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was a cult success, but a few years later, when it was turned into a toy line and cartoon, a cultural phenomenon was truly born.

For three decades the Turtles have entertained multiple generations in their various incarnations; the dark and gritty Frank Miller send-ups of the original comic, the pizza-loving surfer dudes of the original cartoon, the live-action blend of the two, the subsequent cartoons, video games, comic book reboots, and more. This weekend launches their latest incarnation, a reboot directed by Jonathan Liebsman, starring Megan Fox as intrepid reporter April O'Neil.

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