Speeding Bullets #6 Naturally Nintendo

Nintendo has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom got me, my brother and my sister GameBoy Colors when I was five. I got my first GameCube when I was ten and all I asked for my Thirteenth Birthday was a Wii. Add in my love for the DS and 3DS and there’s always been something to bring me back to Nintendo. Today was no different.

Nintendo revealed their next console, The Nintendo Switch.

What it’s going to be is basically a handheld console that can be hooked up to your T.V. which sounds like I’m underselling it but it does have some really cool features such as the Joy-Con Controller which will be able to play on a screen separately from the T.V., be taken anywhere and even be split apart to allow two people to play on the smaller screen. Judging from the reveal trailer it will have enough power to run an Elder Scrolls game which is something that no Nintendo system has been able to do up to this point. They are switching(Pun Intended) back to cartridges and a lot of people were skeptical over the decision to return to cartridges over disc but I honestly think it’s a great move on their part. If they can maintain the power of a disc in cartridges then why not? I think it’s just another point to prove why Nintendo has mastered being new and innovative while maintaining a love for what has come before. Another example of that is the fact that you will be able to have a more classical game controller as well.(Which is featured in the trailer below)

To actually see the controller and many other features, watch the video below.

Something else that Nintendo Switch is going to focus on is the idea of local multiplayer which is something that many games have all but forgotten. I’m sure that the Switch will still have online features but they’re ancillary in comparison to the focus of getting together with friends.

If you disagree with me then think about all those Final Smashes and Blue Shells you’ve used. Was it over a head set? or were you sitting next to each other on the couch? When me and my sister went through Ocarina Of Time and Windwaker we’d each take turns and replaying those weren’t really the same if she wasn’t in the room with me. Nintendo has thrived on a sense of togetherness that the Switch will only reinforce.

Still not convinced? Well what about all the third party developers that have shown their support already? Developers like Bethesda, EA, Activision, Square Enix, Konami, Koei and many more have already come out and said that they’re working on products for the Switch. The reason this is huge is because many of these developers have never signed on for a Nintendo system before. This means that we will be getting collaborations that we’ve never seen before.

Bottom Line : This isn’t just going to be the next gimmick around, They look focused on games and on giving the fans what they’ve wanted. I think this is the capabilities that we wanted to see from the Wii U and they just never came up to par for most people. But this system could be Nintendo’s best decision yet.

Why the Disney Buyouts were Brilliant.

Disney has been a huge part of my life and they’ve always been a company that has supported the idea of films for everyone to enjoy. Prime Example : Show Mary Poppins to a six year old and they’ll laugh at the dancing penguins, show it to a sixty year old and they’ll cry during “Feed The Birds.” That’s the power of Disney and that’s why this article exists. Naturally throughout almost 80 years of films there will be a few duds. To get to the brilliance of Frozen and Zootopia you had to get through things like Herbie : Fully Loaded and Flubber. Now, I might be stepping on some toes due to what I just said but that’s the interesting part; even films that aren’t great have a following because of a nostalgia factor, which is something else that Disney thrives on. But aren’t most of these films targeted towards a family setting? Why should you enjoy the Marvel and Star Wars buyouts? Well that’s what this article is for.

Let’s go about this chronologically : Around 2006 or 2007 Marvel realized that the characters they owned made up the main members of the Avengers. So, they decided to try and make their own film studio to gain complete creative control over what they were making but they knew they would need a solid backing company and they would need to show what they could do. So, Kevin Feige made some major moves to make this a reality such as : getting Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Focusing an entire film on the World War II origin of Captain America and getting Joss Whedon to do the biggest film of the entire project. As we know, it paid off and everything worked out really well. But where does Disney fit in? Well, After the massive success of the Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America : The First Avenger, Disney decided to buy the company in a merger and allow them to create Marvel Studios. Avengers was the first film to officially be created under Marvel Studios and it’s been going strong ever since.

Marvel wanted to create their own studio because they wanted to show that they could make films that were by comic fans and for comic fans that could still appeal to the wider audience. Obviously it worked because we just recently were given Civil War and it was easily one of the greatest examples of why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is close to perfect. Now if we could just get the X-Men in there…another problem for another time.

Now what about Star Wars? Well that story is a bit different but it has a very similar ending. Basically Disney bought Star Wars in 2012 and immediately began preparations for a new series of films. It had been 29 years since the original trilogy and 8 years since the prequels. In that time we had different areas of Star Wars such as The Clone Wars cartoon, multiple comic book series(Done by Dark Horse) and multiple books series which were all a part of the expanded universe. Now, here’s where the divide happened : When Disney bought the company with the intention of making a new series of films and books they said that most of the expanded universe were no longer part of the canon(Considered to be part of the main story) and that really upset a lot of people and to an extent I can see where they’re coming from. Imagine that you’ve spent 20 years reading these books and following these characters and really enjoying the stories only to be told that they never mattered. I can see where they’re coming from but they’re still getting more Star Wars movies and I’ve never heard an official word on if the books set before the films were or were not canon. Many of the books which were now useless were good but there were quite a few that weren’t and I don’t blame Disney for wanting to make their own stories because of it. There was one factor that left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths though and that was George Lucas.

When Lucas signed the company over he initially seemed pretty cool about everything, he was getting older and wanted to allow a new generation to take over but then after the new film came out he went on and said that Disney was awful to him. This would’ve upset me due to Disney kicking him out until he said “They wanted to do something for the fans and i just wanted to tell a story”…Now, I have to make a statement about this because I understand artistic vision but I also understand being selfish. When you put something out there, it’s not 100% yours anymore. It becomes something else entirely and you have to understand that there has to be a balance between what fans want to see and what you want to create. This was one of the biggest problems with the prequels which didn’t focus on fan wants at all and instead forgot everything about the basic structure of a story. These are my issues with George Lucas.

Since Disney has taken over we’ve received one fantastic entry in the main saga, 2 really good seasons of Rebels, a plethora of books which were critically acclaimed and a few different comic series which have been some of the best that Marvel has been publishing. This leads me to believe one thing, that Disney knows what they’re doing. Many people made jokes saying that Disney was going to make it too kid friendly but as we’ve seen : 1. Darkness doesn’t always equal greatness. (See: Revenge Of The Sith, Punisher : War Zone, Spawn, Batman V. Superman : Dawn Of Justice.) 2. Disney can maintain a solid balance of light and dark. It’s one of their best traits and I knew that they would knock Star Wars out of the park.

In conclusion, there is a definite difference in Pre-Disney Marvel and Star Wars and I stand by the fact that it only got better after the fact.

Know why? Because we can get pictures like this:

If you don’t know why that’s awesome then you need awesome lessons.

Agree? Disagree? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Always Forward. Forward, Always

I’ve stayed spoiler-free for this review, so enjoy!

Marvel’s Netflix offerings have brought comic book fans some of the best television they could’ve asked for. Daredevil has given us two seasons of gritty underworld crime mixed with ninja mysticism, and Jessica Jones—a character no one expected to see mark Marvel’s live action roster—has blessed us with a season’s worth of emotional weight and psychological thrill that has left us wanting more. Now, Marvel has given us Luke Cage, a character and show that proves to be just as high-quality contest as its Netflix brother and sister, if not a more unique tone and approach.

Luke Cage is an African-American superhero with super strength and unbreakable skin operating in New York. We last saw Luke in Jessica Jones, and this show finds him in his historic setting of Harlem, a historical and modern center of Black American culture. The show definitely uses such culture as a centerpiece for its plot and tone, and the political and social undertones of race found in the show are poignant yet never heavy-handed. Luke Cage is a show that does not shy away from its ethnic background and setting, and I personally applaud Netflix and Marvel for taking such an unabashed approach to one of the most high-profile Black comic book characters in history.

To start this review, let’s begin with the content of the show. Luke Cage offers an intricate plot involving a large circle of characters, and the narrative’s complexity outperforms that of any other Marvel shows we have seen so far. While some episodes favor dialogue and background information over action sequences, the show never feels boring or stagnant. Rather, the action sequences are utilized as a method of additional storytelling rather than a break from the narrative, thus establishing a dynamic story in which every character, scene, and dialogue exchange feeds each other smoothly and intriguingly. Narratively, Luke Cage may have the most well-executed plot out of all the Marvel Netflix shows so far.

We follow Luke through a journey of underground crime and political corruption as we witness a struggle for the city of Harlem. Crime lords Cottonmouth, Diamondback, and Domingo Colon struggle for power while futilely attempting to maintain relative peace. Meanwhile, politician Mariah Dillard works to restore Harlem and give its Black community more opportunity for success while working behind the scenes with dirty money and questionable business connections. As police officers Rafe Scarfe and Misty Knight work to solve a recent string of shootings and unearth criminal activity, Luke Cage finds himself caught in the middle as he just tries to live his life apart from all the violence and chaos. Cage offers an interesting contrast to Matt Murdock in Daredevil: While Murdock makes it his mission to help his city and defeat the corruption within it on both sides of the law, Cage simply wants to help the individual where he can but otherwise avoid the bigger conflicts altogether. The reluctant hero archetype is executed admirably in Luke Cage as we watch him transform from a quiet bystander to a powerful city guardian.

As we have come to expect from Marvel Studios, the casting is absolutely perfect. Mike Colter seems born to play Luke Cage. Alfre Woodard, Erik Harvey, and Mahershala Ali nail the various villains that they play, and Rosario Dawson delivers yet another stellar performance in the Marvel TV universe. Newcomer Simone Missick also shows incredible range in her role as the dynamic and complex Detective Misty Knight. I have no idea what the casting director for Marvel is being paid, but I don’t think it’s enough. Just like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the MCU, Luke Cage brings characters to life in a way that will make fans think they’ve walked right into a Luke Cage comic.

I would be remiss to not comment on the soundtrack for the show: Sweet Christmas, is the music perfect. From OG hip hop to soulful R&B to jazz to gospel, the music in Luke Cage captures perfectly the musical history and richness of Harlem and the Black community in America.

While the vast majority of what I have to say about Luke Cage is positive, it is not without its issues. The somewhat shaky camera work can be distracting at times, and while the fighting scenes are impressive, it is somewhat of a downgrade from the choreography we’ve come to expect from Daredevil. Obviously, one would not expect the same type of fighting from both characters considering Daredevil is trained in martial arts while Cage has military and boxing training, so the shift in style fits and makes sense. That being said, viewers expecting Daredevil level fighting choreography will not find it here. Without getting too into spoilers, I would have liked to have seen more from certain villains. By the end of the season, some characters seemed to have so much untapped potential that viewers may wonder why the writing did not go different way. However, to counteract this, the show does set up incredible possibilities for just about every character involved, so audiences may rest assured that they will leave Harlem an even more intriguing and active city than when they arrived.

Luke Cage is an excellent show. Narratively, it is perhaps the strongest Marvel show yet. Casting is as phenomenal as ever, and each episode is an exciting ride through a story that deeply respects the characters’ comic book histories while making them relevant to modern audiences. One thing that may turn off certain viewers is the social commentary present in the narrative, however. I have seen some critics and fans express dissatisfaction with the “heavy-handed” racial and political ideas in the show. While I respect those opinions, I also think that they are a little unfair and rather miss the point. This show takes place in Harlem, a city of such racial, historical, cultural, political, artistic, and social significance that to remove the Black commentary and culture from it would be to rob the setting of everything that it is. Yes, it is brought up repeatedly that Luke Cage is a Black bulletproof man wearing hoodie. Yes, several parallels can be drawn between the unrest in the show and the Black Lives Matter movement. But all of these things do not feel forced, out of place, or preachy; they feel real. Harlem is at the center of Black history and struggle; it is a big deal in the show that they have a Black bulletproof superhero because in reality, the community passionately desires protection from the violence, oppression, and chaos that is often a part of their daily lives. The show never polarizes the issues; rather, it does a service to its audience by showing just how complicated the issues really are. The police brutality and corruption in Luke Cage is shown from the angle of an angry wronged Black community but also from the perspective of an exhausted and uncertain police force. Gun violence is treated from lenses of both protection and potential violence; racial oppression and disadvantage is approached from angles of poverty, education, systematic privilege, and a host of other factors. One of the worst things people can do is simplify complex issues, and Luke Cage does an excellent job of making its audience think rather than forcing opinions onto them. Luke Cage is a character of Black pride and strength, and to ask the show to be anything else is not being true to the character’s history or the Black community at large.

Luke Cage is equal parts superhero action show, social commentary, comic book adaptation, and character study. Each character is examined from multiple angles to show their depth and complexity, and the social issues in the show are treated with equal honesty and skill. Luke Cage may be the strongest narrative entry in the Defenders mini-verse, and any comic book fan can enjoy the show regardless of familiarity with the characters. Luke Cage is more than an entertaining show; it is a source of cultural enrichment and thought-provoking social commentary that goes above and beyond the expectations for a show about superheroes. But then again, what else would we expect from the Savior of Harlem?

Now we got a hero for hire, And he’s a Black one.

Red Lanyard