Tag Archives: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Eddie Brock is Back This May In The Oversized VENOM #150!


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Reunited, and it feels so good! Or, is it bad? Either way you swing it, Eddie Brock is back, and he’s bonding with the symbiote once more ahead of the can’t-miss VENOM #150 – the oversized anniversary spectacular coming this May! Series writer Mike Costa is joined by superstar guest artist Tradd Moore for an oversized main story featuring Eddie’s return to the pages of Venom. Bonded together again, Eddie and the symbiote are web-slinging their way across New York City. But, is their relationship as harmonious as it once was? Or is their bond more sinister than ever?

But that’s not all! In addition to a brutal main feature from Costa & Moore, VENOM #150 features the return of iconic past Venom creators! First up, secrets will be revealed! How did Flash Thompson come to lose the symbiote before it found its way to former Army Ranger Lee Price? The Venom: Space Knight creative team of Robbie Thompson and Gerardo Sandoval have the answers! Then, it’s back to the mean streets of San Francisco as fan-favorite creators David Michelinie and Ron Lim present a tale set between the pages of their iconic Venom: Lethal Protector series!

It’s all happening this May as a parade of Venom creators past and present bring you the must-read VENOM #150 – on sale digitally and wherever comics are sold!

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VENOM #150
Written by MIKE COSTA, ROBBIE THOMPSON & DAVID MICHELINIE
Art by TRADD MOORE, GERARDO SANDOVAL & RON LIM
Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL
On Sale May 2017!

Blu-Ray Review – Doctor Strange (2016)


Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.

Doctor Strange arrives on Blu-ray in a release that also includes the movie on DVD and a code for a digital copy. While the movie is a mixed bag, the Blu-ray offers some cool additional features.

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I was first introduced to Doctor Strange when I was in my teenage years. A copy of Avengers introduced me to Doctor Strange. My fascination with magic and sorcery prompted me to read more of his adventures. Sadly, I was not able to follow more of his titles because there was no material available.

Doctor Steven Strange is a gifted and conceited neurosurgeon with the world at his fingertips. Shortly after his introduction in the film, his physical talent is taken from him. After traditional and experimental medicine fails him, he takes a step into the final option and enters a metaphysical and magical realm.

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As part of his journey to regain his hands, he has to relearn everything he knows about nature, the world and science. It’s amazing to see the changes that he goes through and one must really appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting chops.

Doctor Strange is an amazing movie, one of the most visually appealing Marvel films ever made. The magic in the film looks and feels grounded in the natural universe, which sounds strange, even though it works very well. The filmmakers take full advantage of digital art to create a seamless and completely believable world through magic.

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Doctor Strange Blu-Ray Extra Features

  • A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
  • Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambitious, imaginative films ever.
  • The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
  • Across Time and Space – Explore the countless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
  • The Score-cerer Supreme – Join Composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
  • Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.

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Marvel films pace at a very powerful level. None of the scene look force fed or dragging a scene way too much. Not only is it my favourite superhero origin story so far, it’s also the most visually stunning film I’ve seen in recent years, many I’m sure will agree. Kudos to Derrickson who has conjured up this ambitious project. Doctor Stand is like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on LSD, a visual trip that’ll melt your eyeballs from your skull and leave your jaw firmly planted to floor, it’s also worth noting another huge achievement, so many stories get lost in the visuals, this does not. The colors, and urgency that the VFX department have masterfully conjured up with Doctor Strange not only serve the story being told.

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I am waiting for the sequel and see what great experiments the team can come up with to establish Doctor Strange as a full fledged Sorcerer Supreme.

Rating 4 out of 5

 

 

Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War


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Like the previous Captain America movies, “Captain America: Civil War” continues the tradition of a great superhero movie. It is a great action/thriller with a nice blend of humour. Before The Avengers came to the theatres, many wondered that how would one manage bring so many different superheroes together in one film and have it feel both cohesive and coherent. Then the movie ended up delivering in a big way and in the wake of its success it almost seemed foolish to have doubted the proposition in the first place.

The Russo Brothers and their amazing under-appreciated Screenwriters have done an amazing job with the film. It is not just Superhero movie, but pure entertainment film. They prove that they are true fans of the source material, making changes that needed to be made for the transition to the big screen.

The story is changed from the comic but in a way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe needed so badly. This film changes every relationship for the worse. We travel around the world and new characters enter the fray. Black Panther/T’Challa is the most prominent of these and Chadwick Boseman nails the character, leaving you wanting more for the future and longing for his standalone movie.

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There are many big ideas in the film and it attempts to turn expectations on the head in some ways. Tony Stark as the Steve’s counterpoint is presented in a beautiful way, and the film explains how and why this is the case by exploring his background. The script, by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, touches on something that comic book films have been accused of–showing mass destruction without the consequences. Civil War deals with a long time issue with comic book movies. The issue of collateral damage. When heroes fight villains, a number of innocents are hurt and die. Secretary of State (William Hurt, reprising his role as Thunderbolt Ross) presents the Avengers with a choice; sign an accord that makes them agents of the U.N., or retire. While Iron Man supports the accords,  Captain America opposes it calling it a means to turn Avengers into a weapon of war.

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There are more characters–the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), who in the comics got married and I think they’re going in that direction in the films, even though he ends up imprisoning and cooking for her. The major action piece is full-blown battle at the airport. We even get Ant-Man turning into a full fledged Giant Man, and meet the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland, who makes Tobey Maguire seem like an ancient history.

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Captain America: Civil War shows that how a great balance between gravitas and humor can be achieved. Something that the D.C. films struggle with. When Downey Jr. is approached by a mother (Alfre Woodard) whose son died as collateral damage in an Avengers fight, you can feel the pain and emotions as you know the backstory. Evans plays a much less nuanced character, but he is terrific, and the film is full of cameos, such as Martin Freeman and, amazingly, Marisa Tomei as Parker’s Aunt May.

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From here how Marvel takes their films over the next couple of years is going to be intruiging. If anything, we probably won’t be learning the fallout from the events of Civil War right away. The next couple of films in the franchise either introduce a new character and new corners of the cinematic universe (November’s Doctor Strange) or appear to take place off-Earth (next year’s Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2). It probably won’t be until 2018’s Black Panther that we get to see what comes next in the studio’s grand plans for these heroes.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Review – Marvel & Netflix’s Jessica Jones: Season 1


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After massive success of Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones was their second collaboration with Netflix. Based on Brian Michael Bendis’ much acclaimed run Alias, Jessica Jones follows a story of an ex crime fighting vigilante running from her dark past.

The show had a very impressive starcast with Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, ex Doctor Who alumnus, David Tennant as villainous Killgrave and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

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Jessica Jones arrived in times when TV was already cluttered with 8 TV shows based on comic books and superheroes. Most of these TV shows were made to target a specific genre of audience. Jessica Jones, although was not. The show aimed to showcase a more mature side of Marvel Universe did the same with brilliance and style and brought something unique to the table

Jessica Jones is very different than any superhero shows that have ever existed on TV. If Daredevil set a mythology for Hell’s Kitchen, then Jessica Jones was aimed more on a personal story. The strong noir flavour and an adult-orientated take on the comicbook genre was something that made it way mature than expected. There are raw sex scenes, brutal violence and lots of swearing. It also deals with adult themes such as murder, rape and child abuse. These issues are handled in a very compelling way and the storyline is powered by intelligent dark humour.

After a failed stint at superheroics led her to suffer from PTSD, she retired and became a private investigator, using her powers (super-strength, super-stamina and super-leaping) to solve mysteries.  She comes across liars, cheaters, addicts and murders on a daily basis and is now using her powers to enhance her detective skills.

Krysten Ritter has looks of an anime character, her brooding eyes, jet black hair makes her a look like a character who was born to play this role. Her compelling performance as an ex superhero suffering with PTSD and trauma and her being a whiskey-swilling, foul-mouthed and hot-tempered “mess of a woman” and Ritter plays the role in a very brilliant way. Like most of the Marvel characters Jessica Jones is an epitome of imperfection, she is a mess. Her life told in flashbacks. She’s one of those people saying that everybody that she cares about ends up hurt or dead. She is so broken that she doesn’t even care about fixing things for a long time, like the windows of her office.

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Every good comic book film/show is good because of that memorable villain who overshadows everything and gives the titular hero a run for their money. David Tennant plays the show’s big bad Kilgrave, who has the power to control the minds of other people. His persona is based in a way that before he appears on the screen you are already feeling his presence. As Kilgrave he brings a creepy charisma that compels you to hate him. His sick sense of humor makes you laugh. Tennant gives a truly sinister performance but adds enough subtle layers of humanity for you to have a shred of sympathy for him.

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As well as an outstanding heroine and villain combo, the show boasts great supporting characters. Carrie-Ann Moss’ (The Matrix) ruthless lawyer Jeri, Eka Darville’s (Empire) drug addict Malcom and Erin Moriarty’s(True Detective)  Kilgrave-victim Hope are all fascinating characters. So too is radio host Trish (Rachael Taylor), who shares a brilliant best-friend relationship with Jessica.

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And Mike Colter’s effortless portrayal of Luke Cage, who has red-hot chemistry with Jessica, will have you eagerly anticipating his own show in 2016. His presence adds a soul to what otherwise could have been a dark brooding war between hero and the antagonist. Luke’s presence humanizes Jessica and tells her that she is not alone in as a super powered in this world. There are moments between Luke and Jessica will take your breath away. Small doses of romance between them makes this show worth watching

Another brilliant addition to Marvel universe is Wil Traval’s cop Will Simpson, who has a very interesting arc. He plays officer Will Simpson who is actually Nuke in the comics. Jessica Jones goes through his origin story and how he changes from a charming ladykiller cop to a twisted supersoldier.

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At times and atleast in 3 episodes you feel like being forced to watch things that are just for the sake of adding extra episodes. But once it gains pace there is no stop. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both been awesome, and hopefully Marvel’s other Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are equally just as good, before the team up Avengers-style in The Defenders.

Rating 9/10

 

Review – Ant Man 2015


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Ant-Man is more than a comic book movie. It takes viewers on a thrill ride through the world of science fiction physics. The smaller the size of the movie is, compared to that the characters are complex, charismatic people, whose relationships go through ups and downs every now and then. These characters are so well written that they appear as convincing players in an otherworldly premise suspending our concept of reality, once we buy in, well-placed humorous references poke fun at the day-to-day environment we take for granted.

Created in 1962 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, Ant Man has been a B-List Marvel character even after being one of the founding members of The Avengers. In a failed attempt by Edgar Wright to bring the shrinking superhero to the big screen when he wrote a script for the project and further went on to develop the film for 8 years. Finally in 2014, he was set to direct Ant-Man for the now successful Marvel Studios. He left the project with a mutual agreement with Marvel Studios due to creative differences. Yes Man director Peyton Reed then took over. As Wright was adored by critics, many have wondered whether Ant-Man would turn out to be Marvel’s first failure due to his absence.

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Even with Peyton Reed calling the shots this movie feels like an Edgar Wright film. He and Joe Cornish are still credited with story and part of the screenplay (the latter shared with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd). And if you are a fan of Wright’s work, you’ll be able to pick his parts of the film out almost immediately.

The film is filled with Edgar Write trademark style. The movie has prominently used jump-cut scenes in a very humorous way. Something that is Edgar Write is known for, where he presents a part of the story in a series of staccato images that say what they need to say in a concise and exciting way. In my opinion, it’s a trait that proves his genius and a big part of what I love about his films.

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The film opens as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) leaves prison after a three year sentence for a Robin Hood-like bit of computer theft. He wants to start a clean life so he can provide a good role model for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), but he’s not even able to keep a job at Baskin-Robbins due to his criminal record. He gets on a heist job with an old prison pal Luis (Michael Peña) and agrees for a job at home of an ex-military guy.

Paul Rudd is comes out as an awkwardly charming good guy with a witty sense of humor. He’s just weirdly adorable like a cross-over between Tony Stark and Peter Quill with more humility. Hank Pym though, is an ass. Which is not surprising considering he mostly is exasperating in comic books.

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Rudd’s co-stars are all equally on fine form as Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly both deliver solid performances as Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne. Oscar award winner Douglas fully commits to  the role as the secretive ex scientist Pym while Lilly’s ice queen van Dyne is as serious as her bob haircut. The film’s most dramatic scenes arise from the strained father-daughter relationship between the two which plays out very well.

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But it is Michael Pena who steals the movie with his crazy fast narratives. He plays Lang’s motor mouthed best bud Luis and steals almost every scene he’s in. The flashback scenes where he narrates the lines of others in his own wild words produce some of the films biggest laughs.

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And as expected from a Marvel movie, Ant-Man is a blend of action and comedy. When Ant-Man shrinks for the first time, he has to avoid death by bathwater, clubbers, a hoover and a rat in a visually stunning sequence.

After the huge city smashing destruction earlier in the year from Avengers: Age of Ultron (which is snarkily referenced by Hank Pym) there was a need for Marvel to scale back the stakes in order to keep things fresh. Ant-Man certainly brings something new to the table as, on the whole, it feels very different to anything else in the crowded comic-book movie market.

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Ant Man comes with its flaws but Marvel has tries its best to keep it grounded and more personal on every level. Next time when we see Ant Man in Captain America: Civil War it is going to be a whole new level of awesome.

8/10

Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron


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The most awaited sequel to mega blockbuster of 2012, Age of Ultron hit the theaters last week in theaters worldwide. Creating a sequel to a blockbuster as beloved and successful as The Avengers is something big for anyone to live upto. One of the reasons the film became such a massive hit because of the novelty of seeing these characters on screen for the first time ever on the big screen; something that was long thought to be impossible. After massive success of the first movie, the sequel would have to shake things up. Age of Ultron feels like writer/director Joss Whedon is constantly trying to outdo himself. For the most part, he is succeeds. The film is more ambitious, emotional, funnier, and darker than its predecessor. However, it’s also less coherent and streamlined. In an attempt to juggle so many characters and subplots, the film loses that magic of simplicity that made the first film so appealing.  Despite those misgivings, the film manages to still be a fun and engaging superhero epic that serves to kick off the summer movie season and serves as a proper farewell to Whedon from Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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For me Age of Ultron is a massive success but it fails to pull off everything with the grace and synergy. The movie is on a different scale unlike Avengers was. The movie is a massive balancing act, pulling in about a dozen important characters and trying to give them all something to do while also telling a cohesive, succinct narrative. The movie is a juggling act that Joss Whedon tries to maintain fairly well. While I was fairly satisfied while walking out of the theater the feeling was not as great as the first movie and there is where the problem is.

Most of the reviews are made comparing it with the first movie when they should not. Most of the reviews have complained about new characters, if there was a sequel without new characters there would still be complains. The movie outdoes the expectations that fans had after the announcement.

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Age of Ultron proves to be a massive entertainer from the beginning. It opens with an exciting, and an entertaining action sequence that reintroduces all of the characters and the dynamic they share as a team. The opening is right on point in nearly all aspects, and creates a sense of high energy and pacing that is never really lost. While there are slower moments in the movie (such as a mid-movie sequence at the Barton farm) the sense of energy is never halted because there’s always something happening that propels the story forward. Unlike with the opening act of the first Avengers film, which tended to lull in some segments as the team was pulled together, Age of Ultron quickly establishes an excellent sense of narrative pacing, and this is arguably one of the film’s greatest strengths.

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The movie shows a great pacing apart from action sequences. Joss Whedon and his team does their best to manage their time amongst the numerous threads that the plot weaves along with the way characters connect with each other. As a writer, Whedon manages to find a great way of doing this, incorporating minor details from previous Phase Two films to show that, yes, they were relevant, while also keeping the focus where it needs to be: the matters at hand, how the team operates, and how the characters evolve because of the ordeals they undergo.

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If The Avengers was about assembly, Avengers: Age of Ultron is about disassembly. The former played on their conflicting personalities while the latter plays on their fears and insecurities. Though Ultron may be the main antagonist of the picture, it’s our heroes who have themselves to fear. How can these people save the world when they can’t even save themselves? The internal struggle of these characters is trying to overcome their mistakes and pain. That is what raises the stakes in this film. The entire world is jeopardy, but it’s also a battle for the Avengers to save their souls.

The film is loaded with terrific action sequences. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene is everything you hoped it would be and more. Though there is a lot to take in from the set pieces, they never feel exhausting or overwhelming, despite it being clear Whedon is always trying to top what he accomplish in the first film. Though admittedly, it’s hard to feel sense of danger when you know these characters are going to be back for their individual movies including more Avengers sequels. As usual, each character gets their shining moment. The principal cast has grown into these roles to the point where they could pull them off in their sleep. A most notable improvement is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who after being relegated to Loki’s henchman for most of the first film, gets an integral and dynamic role among the team. Not to mention that he gets some of the best lines in the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerged as fan-favorite after all is said and done.

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New additions to the cast vary. Thankfully, Ultron works for the most part and is miles ahead of just about all of the villains in Marvel films so far (which isn’t that hard when you look at how these villains were written). He’s surprisingly more snarky than people would expect an angry, maniacal robot to be. But that imbues the character with a personality that is sorely lacking from the rogue gallery in MCU. Joss Whedon admitted that the initial cut of the film was much longer. It comes out clear at many places as origin story for Quicksilver and Wanda comes out in a very rushed manner. Their origin is touched upon but in a very rushed manner. The Maximoff twins begin to work as characters as the film progresses, but there were missed opportunities to get audiences behind them early on. The breakout character of the film is hands down the Vision (Paul Bettany). While I won’t spoil his origin here, the film will leave you wanting to see more of especially since he does a fantastic job of making an impact in his first appearance.

The movie works and proves that Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere. Age of Ultron succeeds in teasing future movies with its supporting cast. The movie is entertaining but at the same time worries me about execution of future Marvel movies. It sets up Civil War, Wakanda and most importantly Infinity War and suffers with the same problem that Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2 suffered but on a very small scale. The summer has started with a bang and Marvel is going to rule.

Rating 8.5/10

Review: Marvel’s Daredevil


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When Daredevil was announced on Netflix it was said that it will take Marvel Cinematic Universe in a new direction. Slowly it became one of the most anticipated shows of 2015. The series is part of a deal between Marvel and Netflix that will proceed with 3 such shows like these and finally lead to Defenders series.

Daredevil takes place in a universe where an alien attack destroys New York and a group of superheroes team up to protect the world. New York is burning in chaos while Avengers are busy saving the world. In middle of chaos and destruction a man takes burden to clean his neighborhood.

Marvel’s Daredevil is unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. Also it’s nothing like any of the comic-book series that we usually watch on TV. While comparisons with Arrow are inevitable still Daredevil stands tell with more creative freedom enjoyed by the Marvel team. The violent story of a vigilante and his grim oppressive world is brilliantly explained.

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Daredevil is a character made for TV and the credit goes to Steven S. DeKnight who took over the series from Drew Goddard. The show leaves nothing behind when it comes to make it grounded in the source material. Gone is the red leather suit, unrealistic fight scenes on seesaws, and campy villains. In short: This is nothing like the Daredevil movie – which is a good thing.

The characters of the show are brilliant. The casting is wisely done. Charlie Cox as both Matt Murdock and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is an amazing find. He handles his role brilliantly. Applying his enhanced sense to sense a beautiful girl as Matt Murdock and fight crime as Daredevil adds a distinct style to his character.

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Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk, the head Mafioso who runs the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen crime scene, is worthy of the highest praise. He stands tall as a sympathetic villain for whom audience will root for at times and even want him to win. He is exact opposite to Matt Murdock in terms of their versions of wanting to make Hell’s kitchen a better place. Where Daredevil sticks to idealist moralities in the pursuit of justice, its Fisk’s extreme ideas make his story all the more tragic. While he is never mentioned by character’s villain alias “Kingpin,” still his name drops as an Easter Egg for fans. When a reporter is putting together his pyramid of Mafioso’s and crime bosses by putting up playing cards on a tack board, there’s the guy at the top: the King (of Diamonds) pinned to the board.

While Daredevil is a result of greater actions taken in Marvel Cinematic universe yet the connections made on the show are far in between. Most of the cameos and Easter eggs in the series are taken from Daredevil comics, or other upcoming shows on Netflix.

I was surprised at the language that was no-where close to what one can imagine on a R Rated show. Still it stands large on the use of violence. Compared to MCU, Daredevil’s world is way grittier. Bones break and blood is spilt. Either way, Daredevil is Marvel’s greatest superhero show and if you haven’t watched it yet then a marathon awaits you.