Showing posts with label Arrow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arrow. Show all posts

Legends of Tomorrow Podcast


Hey internet,

How's it going? Thought I'd make a really quick post to let everyone know I'm going to be part of the DC TV's latest podcast! Twice a month, I'll join Comic Uno and Tony B. Kim to discuss the CW's upcoming comic book series Legends of Tomorrow. Seeing as the show won't debut until next year, many of the upcoming episodes will highlight the heroes and villains on the roster - what makes them interesting, what to read/watch to prepare for the show, etc. - and several other topics.

The first episode - which consists of quick introductions and then thoughts on the trailer, as well as The Flash and Arrow's latest season finales - should be posted as soon as Thursday night. If you're awesome and would like to follow along, below are links to several of the podcast's pages.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Legends_Podcast 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LegendsOfTomorrowPodcast?fref=ts
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dcs-legends-tomorrow-podcast/id993662961?mt=2

Take care, everyone!

P.S.
Totally off-topic: Who else is beyond excited that Batman: Arkham Knight drops next week?!

The CW promos need a lesson in spoiler etiquette

We all know the internet can be a pretty ugly and negative place. With so many people having no issue spewing their hate, I often try to focus on talking about the things I love. I'd much rather support what I enjoy than tear down something I'm not a fan of. However, the CW's handling of promos for The Flash and Arrow has been bothering me for several months now and I just have to talk about it. Yes, this article includes SPOILERS for the latest episodes of the two comic book shows.
The point of a promo is to tease an upcoming episode, not spoil big moments and drop reveals. It doesn't matter how obvious the twists may be; it's just not the job of the promo to show us what should be important scenes in an upcoming episode. The job is to promote the fact those big scenes are on the way, make us think about how they'll play out, and get us excited to eventually see them in context. I've been doing my best to avoid ranting about this for quite some time now, but I simply can't resist after last night's Arrow promo. Again, spoilers ahead.

In Arrow, Oliver Queen has joined the League of Assassins and is on the path to become the next Ra's al Ghul. He underwent harsh conditions and brainwashing to erase "Oliver Queen" and accept his new identity, Al Sah-Him. This week's episode revealed a pretty obvious twist: Oliver's been faking it just to earn Ra's trust. After all he endured on the island and what not, it's pretty easy to swallow him holding up to this kind of treatment. Many of us were assuming that would be the outcome or some plot device will be used to break him free of Ra's influence. Then, Oliver locks his allies in a room and releases the Alpha and Omega virus -- something that apparently has no cure. We're meant to believe he was faking faking it and this was all an elaborate trap to kill the strongest ties to his past in one fell swoop. Many viewers won't believe this for a second, but the cliffhanger ends on a note that attempts to make us believe his supporting cast just died. Odds are that wasn't really the uncurable virus or there's some deus ex machina that'll save them. Still, the objective of this episode is to leave us asking two questions: is Oliver still on Ra's side and did his supporting cast really just die? To many of us, the answer is obviously no and no way. I mean, we know one of those characters will star in the spinoff series and to kill the entire supporting cast like that would be absurd. But less than a minute after that scene aired, we received a preview of next week's episode -- one that immediately reveals the supporting cast is not only alive and well, but also back in Starling City. Then it also shows us the scene of Arrow standing up to Ra's and exclaiming, "My name is Oliver Queen!" Did I know both of these things will happen? Absolutely. Is it the job of a promo to show me these key things before the episode airs next Wednesday? Hell no.

I find it very difficult to believe next week's episode doesn't have 20 seconds worth of footage that doesn't blatantly show the supporting cast is just fine and it doesn't show Oliver's big moment as he stands up to Ra's. They should tease these moments. Show us a moment of tension between Ra's and Oliver, or a quick shot that'll make passionate viewers go, "Hey, I totally just saw Diggle! See, told you there's no way they're dead!" A promo should reward passionate fans with great teasers and get them speculating about how everything will play out; not show how things play out. When even a casual viewer can get the basic idea of the next episode's story and key parts, you know you've spoiled too much. It doesn't matter that the twists are obvious to many of us; they aren't obvious to all of us and showing us right away immediately takes away any small feeling of there being actual stakes in what just happened.

The Flash is usually a little better with this. For example, the way it recently teased Barry trying to outrace bullets didn't spoil that twist and the one for the latest episode didn't ruin the story progression with Iris or show us cool parts from Grodd's role. However, the "Who is Harrison Wells?" promo blatant reveals they do indeed find Wells' body and that Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin do find Reverse-Flash's hidden room and gaze at the costume. In a promo, you need to give us fan service that doesn't take away from these major plot points. Show Joe and Quentin, Cisco and Laurel, and the team searching. Show a bit of action. Show a reaction shot of the group looking shocked.  Passionate fans will be able to recognize the setting and put together the pieces on their own. Casual fans won't be blatantly spoiled. It's more exciting for both groups that way. Oh, and seeing as The Flash already showed us Oliver will stand by Flash in a fight against Reverse-Flash, how can anyone question, even for a second, whether Oliver Queen is still a good guy or at least going to be good in the near future? Knowing he'll be fine takes away a vast majority of the drama, tension and emotion that's displayed as people like Felicity struggle with losing Oliver yet again. There needs to be more communication between the minds behind the shows and the promo department. If I was writing for the show, I'd be upset to see the work I'm doing is being spoiled a week before it airs. Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "So don't watch the promos. It's that easy." To me, that's missing the point of this article. I shouldn't have to worry about witnessing game-changing moments and having the whole story spelled out for me in brief promos that air right after the episode ends. We should see footage that gets us excited and leaves us speculating. Imagine if the promo for the final episode of Breaking Bad blatantly revealed the fate of the two lead characters? Or revealed the plot device that plays an important role? That sure would have been ridiculous, right?

Do I know Oliver Queen will stand up to Ra's al Ghul and say his true name? Of course. Do I know his entire supporting cast is still alive? Obviously. But just because I'm certain these things will happen, it doesn't mean I want to see them unfold just seconds after the latest episode has aired. Look, I know I'm being repetitive here, but it's not the job of the promo to spell out and reveal big plot points; it's the job of the promo to tease them. A promo needs to build our anticipation for an episode and allow us to eventually enjoy those critical scenes in proper context; not already witness them and then enjoy them a second time as they play out during the episode. Will fans still love seeing Oliver angrily say, "My name is Oliver Queen!" Most definitely. Should we have already seen this big moment? Well, I'll let Dr. Evil answer that one for me.
I still love you, Arrow and The Flash. But seriously, CW, you can promote your episodes without giving away really important and critical stuff. The episodes have more than enough footage to get us hyped, okay? And don't even get me started on how much those sizzle reels spoiled. I mean, finding out Quentin and Ray discover Arrow's identity that far in advance?!

Battle of the Stephen Amells: Arrow vs. Casey Jones

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE AMELL! Sorry, couldn't resist.
When someone says "Stephen Amell," odds are you immediately think of Arrow. That may change next year since the actor has been cast as Casey Jones -- the rough vigilante who wears a hockey mask -- in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. We'll just have to wait and see if he becomes an awesome version of the fan favorite character, but for now, I can't help but wonder what would happen if these two heroes got into a brawl. We know Amell will get plenty of "who would win in a fight?" questions about these two at press junkets, and odds are he'll try his best to makes sure he doesn't upset either fanbase. Or maybe he'll totally surprise us and say one blatantly wins. Guess we'll find out eventually. However, I have no problem declaring a winner and I do believe one of these vigilantes does hold a clear edge. Before I say who should be the one left standing when the fight is over, let's go over their advantages and disadvantages. I mean, it's the fair thing to do, right?

Amell's Green Arrow is a gifted hand-to-hand fighter and one hell of a good shot with projectile weapons. He's held his own against various skilled enemies in melee combat over the course of 3 seasons. From China White to Deathstroke to Maseo, we know he's one of the strongest melee combatants in his world. He's had trouble with plenty of enemies and it was clear people like Bronze Tiger and Ra's al Ghul are his superior in technique, but he was still able to give Bronze Tiger trouble and Ra's had a whole lot of praise for Arrow's abilities as a fighter (despite the fact the hero was totally sloppy during their fight, but whatever). Simply put, the dude's got solid technique and that has allowed him to adapt to a variety of opponents and thanks to the harsh stuff he endured on the island and then in Starling City, we know he can take quite a lot of punishment, too. Obviously, he's had plenty of showings to justify he's a good shot with everything from an ordinary arrow to a throwing dagger. That's established right from the very first episode (those poor tennis balls) and even though Ray Palmer wasn't moving, a recent episode of Arrow showed Oliver can quickly use a throwing weapon with great precision. This should be proof he's capable of disarming Casey at a distance. Well, assuming he even tries to.

"Goongala? You have failed at catchphrases."
Arrow's pretty awesometastic in combat, but despite having a bunch of trick arrows available to him, he doesn't tend to use them very frequently. He's also quick to rush into melee combat despite being an impressive marksman. He could beat most characters by hanging back and putting those trick arrows to use, but he doesn't do that all that often. Sure, we can say he regularly avoids that strategy because it would make many of the show's conflicts way too easy for him, but we have to treat that as how he acts in character. So, even though he could quickly end this with some trick arrows right when the fight starts, that doesn't seem very probable and the odds of him choosing to duke it out after firing just a few arrows are very likely. He'll also do everything he can to avoid killing, and while that technically isn't a disadvantage (it certainly doesn't make Batman any less dangerous, does it?), it does mean he's holding back and this is something that can be taken advantage of. Arrow's hesitation could give Casey the small opening he'd need for a cheap shot.

We've seen plenty of versions of Casey Jones and right now we have no idea what Amell's version will be like, but the one thing they all have in common is they're aggressive brawlers who have no problem dishing out a cheap hit. In fact, Jones tends to love landing cheap hits. Whether it's while his enemy is talking or if they think he may be down for the count, the Ninja Turtles character uses any opportunity he can to strike his enemy when their guard is down. It's not the most honorable approach around, but when your fighting style is sometimes "it's okay if you get hit, just hit back harder," then I guess you got to do what you got to do. He doesn't have the same extensive training and technique Arrow has, but he makes up for that by simply being an incredibly tough dude. His first brawl with Raphael (in the Mirage comic) was a brutal encounter that wiped both of them out and since then we've seen him land plenty of cheap shots when his enemies think he's too weak to continue and have their guard down. Seeing as Arrow loves to get in close and he wouldn't want to dish out any lethal damage, I'd say there's a good chance Casey Jones is going to get some extremely cheap hits in. They may not keep Oliver down for the count, but even stunning the archer would leave him vulnerable to some follow-up attacks.

 "You want a fist in the mouth? I've never even looked at your abs." 
Casey's one tough fellow who knows how to take a hit and send one back even harder, but he isn't the most tactical or skilled fighter around. It's clear Oliver has the edge in martial arts knowledge and that means he's going to land more hits. We know Casey can take a beating, but he's only human and those hits will begin to add up. He'll use this to his advantage and get a sucker punch or two in as Arrow thinks his opponent is going to stay down, but the longer the fight goes on, the more and more it shifts in Oliver's favor. While Casey's limited to close combat (he could throw his blunt weapons, but he'd be throwing them at a dude who deals with marksmen, so it's not a game changer), Arrow can eventually think something along the lines of, "Okay, I'm done with this," and use a trick arrow to take Casey out of the fight. Whether it's an electric arrow to the chest, a rope tying Casey to a wall, or even just using an explosive close enough to knock Casey down, Arrow is bringing so much more versatility to the fight. There's no reason to believe he wouldn't be okay with tagging Casey in non-lethal areas with some regular arrows as well. When it's up close, it'll be entertaining as Oliver dishes out better skill and Casey unleashes a more rough and direct style, but at a distance, well, Casey better hope he has plenty of cover.

In the end, I just don't see Casey Jones' toughness overcoming Arrow's superior skill and variety of gear. Knowing Arrow, this will come down to close combat at some point (the guy was foolish enough to go hand-to-hand against Bronze Tiger in their second brawl), but I think he'd eventually realize the best way to take a key edge over Jones is with one of his spiffy arrows. Even if that doesn't happen, he can just win because of his better hand-to-hand knowledge. It would be a pretty cool battle to witness and Arrow would probably walk away with some bruises, but in the end, I see the DC hero holding all of the important advantages. He's more skilled, has more options, and he definitely doesn't have a glass jaw. That said, I'd be rooting for Casey Jones the entire time. Sorry, Arrow.

Thoughts on Stephen Amell being cast as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

Well, it looks like Stephen Amell, a.k.a. the brooding vigilante in Arrow, has been cast as Casey Jones in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. When I saw Variety's headline, the first thing that crossed my mind actually had nothing to do with whether Amell will be a good incarnation of the dude who loves to scream "goongala!" Instead, my first thought was, "good for him." I may have a ton of criticisms about Arrow and to be totally honest there are plenty of moments when his acting isn't the strongest around, but based on the way I've seen Amell interact with fans, I can't help but root for the actor. So, while I'm sure many knee-jerk reactions were either excited, disappointed, or all kinds of neutral, I simply thought, "way to go, man." Now, do I think Amell's the right person for the part? Let's talk about it.

It's obviously worth noting articles like these are 99.9% speculation. We can think someone is horrible for a part and then they'll make us eat our words. Or we can think someone's a perfect fit and they can disappoint. Basically, unless the person has an atrocious resume or if you just don't like them, I think it's important to apply a "wait and see" mentality. But hey, if you don't want to, that's cool as well. You do you, right? Now, this non-casting director is going to react to the casting news.
"The class is Pain 101. Your instructor is Oliver Queen."
When I think of Casey Jones, I think of someone who has an in your face personality and a blunt sense of humor. So yeah, Stephen Amell's work on Arrow doesn't make me immediately think of him having either of those qualities. But just because he hasn't done them doesn't mean he can't do them. Arrow's an overly dramatic show, attempting to constantly establish a dark and serious atmosphere. Obviously, that hasn't given Amell the freedom to goof around very much. I mean, how many times have you even seen the guy smile or crack a joke in the show? It's not very often. 

I'm not saying you need an Oscar winning performance for this movie, but if you're bringing a fan favorite to life, you have to bring the personality. Arrow doesn't give me the most faith around in his ability to pull that off, but it's worth noting he's made significant improvements since the first episode and this role will give him the chance to play a way more entertaining and easy going character. Seeing as he landed the gig, it's safe to say he's capable of embracing the personality -- how well though has yet to be seen. Now it's just a matter of seeing whether he makes the character likable and funny or abrasive and annoying. I'm really curious to see whether he'll have a bit of a New York accent, too. It's not required, but if he can pull it off, I'd love to see that happen.

"Okay, let's give this a try, funkoid!"
The good news is Amell's certainly got the look and physical skill to play as Casey Jones. The man sure can appear imposing, and if someone is going to be crazy enough to fight with these big Ninja Turtles -- well, probably just Raphael -- then yeah, I can picture Amell dressed in some sports attire and doing what he can to land some cheap shots on a sai-wielding Ninja Turtle. Seeing him with long hair or using a New York accent may be odd at first to us Arrow fans, but assuming he gives it his all and does a fine job, I can picture him being an amusing part of the movie.

If you asked me to think of 20 actors who could be Casey Jones in the movie, Amell honestly wouldn't have made the list. But I have to admit, the dude certainly has what it takes to look the part and hold his own in some brawls. That said, one small criticism I have is the guy just doesn't sell pain very well. If Raph is going to slug him across the face or if he's going to battle some Foot Clan ninjas, I really need him to sell that moment when he's the one getting struck. You just know Casey is going to take some hits, so when he does, I don't want it to remind me that he's playing make-believe with some guys in costumes or motion capture outfits. I know it sounds silly (we're talking about mutated turtles who fight crime, after all) and it kind of is, but an unbelievable reaction from an actor can really take you out of the moment and that causes the whole illusion comes crashing down. This happened to me when Flash was landing a gazillion punches on him in the awesome crossover episode and once again when he struggled against Ra's al Ghul. I think Amell is capable of pull off Jones' personality and he probably won't have his emotional range pushed with this role, but it's pretty much guaranteed he's going to be in plenty of action. When he is, I hope he makes getting hit look every bit as good as the ones he's dishing out.

"Hey, what are you, some sort of punker?"
The TL;DR version: Amell has the physique to make the character seem like a boss in fights, but everything else is pretty much "wait and see" since his character in Arrow is nothing like Casey Jones and, when it comes to his abilities as an actor, that's pretty much all I've seen from him. They're both tough, but their personalities are drastically different and that means I haven't seen Amell deliver a more amusing and animated performance. I'm rooting for Amell and I think he obviously has potential to make the role memorable, but I just can't say that with total confidence right now. However, let's be totally honest with ourselves here: even if his performance is pretty bad, I really doubt it'll be the worst part about the movie. Oh, and if an Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak relationship is called "Olicity," I guess that makes one between Casey Jones and April O'Neil "Casil," doesn't it? Although, "Caseil" sounds cooler. Sorry, I couldn't resist going there.

Know a foe: Green Arrow's Constantine Drakon

It was recently announced that Constantine Drakon (played by Darren Shahlavi) would appear in the upcoming Green Arrow pilot on CW called Arrow. But who is Drakon and why should you care? Let me tell you why he's a villain worth reading and, soon enough, watching.

Being among the best in the world with a bow and arrow doesn't mean squat when your enemy can effortlessly catch every projectile sent his way. Meet Constantine Drakon, one of the most dangerous men Green Arrow has ever faced. This Greek assassin is quite a short fellow, but for what he lacks in height, he makes up for in speed and talent. This obscure enemy of the Emerald Archer was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Phil Hester, and first showed his face in Green Arrow #27 (volume 3).
The killer discovered at a young age that he excels in harming others. And if you're good at something, you might as well make money doing it, right? The deadly villain once made the claim that he has killed more people than cancer, and he certainly lived up to the hype when he humiliated Green Arrow during their first encounter. Drakon's a very skilled individual when it comes to hand-to-hand techniques, but it's his speed that makes him such a threat. Ollie claimed the assassin has super speed, and it's hard not to believe him when Drakon catches dozens of arrows without even breaking a sweat.  Despite the dark nature of his career, Drakon seems to have fun in the field. He'll compliment and even criticize his enemy's style and methods, meanwhile making it more than transparent how his target has virtually no chance of winning. Because of this, he's rather overconfident in combat (a weakness Ollie took advantage of with a glue arrow) and stated he'll only kill costumed heroes if given the right amount of cash for the job.

When you think of badass assassins in the DC Universe, one name should immediately come to mind: Deathstroke (shame on you if you said Brutale). But even the infamous Slade Wilson needs help sometimes, and in one case, he sought the aid of sir Drakon. The Greek killer was incarcerated, so Deathstroke allowed himself to be taken into custody just to meet the man. The two broke out and brought a whole new world of hurt to the Arrow family. Unfortunately for them, the pesky Justice League ended up getting in the way.

When it comes to Green Arrow villains, Drakon is among the most memorable and disputably the coolest. It's just a shame he hasn't shown his face after escaping the Justice League with Slade. Hopefully the man will reappear in the pages of the New 52 and get an opportunity to take on the likes of Batman and much more.

Want to see more of Drakon? Check out his Comicvine page for a full list of his appearances!