Welcome to this weeks ‘Short Thoughts’ my take on everything I’ve watched and read over the last week featuring Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal, this weeks ROH/WWE/NXT Wrestling shows and a host of comic books including the much hyped Amazing Spider-Man #12. So let’s get going.
Amazing Spider-Man #12
Ok, let’s get this out the way- then ending to this issue wasnt as bit a deal as ive heard! Yes seeing (SPOILER) Uncle Ben back is a big shock, but from the get go its obvious it’s not our (Earth 616) Uncle Ben but one from another universe and Slott has done bigger things in the last few years like kill Parker and invent Spider-Gwen so I was surprised but it wasnt the ‘internet breaker’ it had been toted as.
However the issue really delivered once again, and it should be no surprise given Slott’s ability to write the web head and the success he is having with Spider-Verse. The action panels were great, especially the Japanese spiderman with a huge robot and we got to see just how truly powerful the Inheritors truly are. But we also got some nice character development and plot development with the turn of the ‘Great Weaver’ and the reveal of some prophecy scrolls. This was another big issue fo Slott who is making a living of great issue of Spider-Man and needs to be read.
Wrestle Kingdom 9
I went into this show unsure of what to expect, the actually card looked great but never having seen a live New Japan event before i was completely unsure how they would present their show- and what we got was an amazingly well paced and produced spectacle that puts most US produced wrestling shows to shame. The entire show was structured brilliantly, as they started off with the 4way tag team IWGP Jr Tag Team title match which was a very good match and got the crowd into the show by delivering some very unique and exciting tag team manoeuvres. However it’s from this point onwards that the show really began to pace itself, as each match that came seemed to have more time, a more meaningful story and bigger stakes leading to the two final matches having the top titles defended. This is a very good way to maintain credibility for the tp titles and produce a show that culminates with excitement and great action. The final 3matches were superb and seeing the action ramp up during the matches themselves which gave us logical ring psychology too was a really nice change.This is a show that should be checked out in its entirety however if you only have an hour make sure you check out AJ Styles Vs Tetsuya Naito, IWGP Intercontinental Championship Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Kota Ibusha and IWGP Heavyweight Championship Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada.
Gotham- S1 Ep11 Rogues Gallery
Gotham ended for a short mid-season break at an odd point in my opinion as it moved Gordon to Arkham to start working there., and i wondered where the series would be going from here. However this weeks episode gave us Gordon working in Arkham, and isolated from most of the cast for the majority of the episode but still delivered a good show. We were also treated to the introduction of Doctor Leslie Thompson who should become a big player if the show gets a second series, as anyone who reads the comic books knows how important to the Batman world she truly is. However what we saw this week was how well Gordon can still solve crimes on his own, but also how much you miss Bullock when he’s not around. We were also treated to the introduction of a new villain, who should become the ‘Electrocutioner’ if it all fits as I think it should, who played a huge part in the episode and the twist at the end was pretty good. This was string return for a good show, and oddly featured no shots of young Bruce Wayne atall- who would o thought they would do that!
Doc Green has been refreshing for the Hulk so far over the last 12months, and the Omega Hulk storyline has also been good as no longer does Banner want to cure himself (possibly because he’s not in charge anymore) but now ‘Hulk’ wants to rid the world of other gamma monsters and has the mental capacity and physical skills to do it. This issue treated us to a show down between Doc Green and RedHulk that was fun and full of power but at the same time played into the plans of Doc Green. Seeing Doc Green always three steps ahead is fun, but im eagerly waiting to see how Banner gets himself back in charge and able to stay in control for a while but not before this amazing Omega Hulk story ends.
This weeks Raw was not a great start to the year, and the show seemed to be lacking any real character or storyline development at a time when they should be building to the Royal Rumble and towards Wrestlemania. Add into this that they didn’t really build on last weeks moment of the night (Daniel Bryans return) as he was not even mentioned on this weeks show and it gets even weirder. However what was nice to see this evening was that Seth Rollins was given the main event push he has truly deserved over the last few months (he has carried this company since September) and was added to the main event match at the Royal Rumble. We also got a great match between Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose, who delivered a much better ambulance match than I expected and it really showed what these tow can do given the right length of time (and under the hardcore limitations). The match i feel had the right result with Wyatt winning and looking to move up the card, however what does this mean for Ambrose now?
Other than this the night fell flat, the end segment was odd- as firing Ziggler and the others just kills their push and doesn’t really do Cena any justice who took blame for it earlier in the night but now ignores their firing? We also got Adam Rose in the main event wrestling spot, which was very odd. Overall there wasnt a lot on this show to like, and the WWE need to be improving quickly moving into their next PPV.
Agent Carter- S1 Ep1&2 Pilot & Bridge and Tunnel
I watched this show totally unsure of what to expect- I knew when the show was based and that it told the tale of Agent Carter post Word War2 snd how she comes to terms with having worked with and lost Captain America. Beyond that my knowledge of SHIELD, or SSR as their called at this point during comic book history is very small, however that made no difference to my ability to enjoy the show as it seemed to hit the ground running. The casting of Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter feels inspired as she truly delivers a great performance as she slips from the unassuming lady to the kick ass spy, aswell as delivering on the witty and punchy one liners that are placed throughout the show. It was odd to see Carter being treated as the lonely ‘women of the office’ knowing how much she means to the establishment of SHIELD but i guess the story will tell this given how it starts with Howard Stark as a wanted felon.
The action in this show was great too, and straight away were treated to the big reveal of what the villain will be over the course of the series- in the form of ‘Leviathon.’ Leviathon should be a big entity given its comic book origins (albeit later in time) but seeing their scary henchmen and what there willing to sacrifice to get the job done really gave the episode and each encounter a sense of dread. The supporting cast was great too with a brilliant Jarvis, and some really sexist and inept co-workers for Peggy it all felt right and very familiar- in a good way- right from the start.
I was very high on this after the first issue, and was equally and pleasantly surprised by this issue which continued to build a good narrative for the Wolf that is still different from anything we’ve seen recently even if they took the old Navajo Skin Walker legend this issue to tailor slightly, the fact it still changes host is a great idea. This issue was less about the chase of the wolf and more about the understanding of what it can do to men that it kills/maims as we get to see and what it does to the mental state of those it inhabits and leaves behind. This was a very good change of pace from the action heavy first issue to continue to build the story and develop it further by adding in a hunter of those who have been possessed putting our lead in jeopardy from him and the beast in future issues. I’m still impressed with this book and Cullen Bunn has really delivered in the first couple of issues. If you like horror books with some story I say check it out for sure.
American Horror Story- S4 Ep11 Magical Thinking
This has been a good season of AHS, much better than Coven was as it seems to have returned to its creepy and scary roots with an isolated group only this time there a Freakshow. However for everything that this season has done well, from the evolution of Dandy into a hell of a scary man to the story of Jimmy this episode erodes away at some of that and leaves you with s slightly sour taste in your mouth at the end. I was convinced the story was leading to Jimmy taking over the reigns of the show and leading the people to a better future however this episode seemed to change everything- as we had the show sold to a new comer (who was brilliant by the way) who has a real hang up on his ventriloquist doll, we saw Jimmy broken out of jail by his Dad and Amazon Eve and then hidden away somewhere only for Jimmy’s Dad to be killed at the end of the episode by Elsa when she hears him confess to the killing of ‘Mon Petit’ which is very hypocritical after her killing of Ethal. And with only two episodes left to go it seems like the were merely trying to wrap up stories to fast as the last 10minutes condensed everything down to quickly compared to the timing of the rest of the episode this series and seemed to stand out as a real low point. I’m hoping it all picks up again when Dandy meets Chester and they compete over the ‘Twins’ as that could be a showdown of crazies to really see but im not less certain that this show will end with a positive bang than I was last week.
Ant Man #1
This was one of Marvels new launches this week, and im not going to pretend that the timing doesn’t coincide with the launch of the new movie trailer but the book actually delivers more than a tie-in and promotion for the movie. I was looking forward to the first issue, as I felt Nick Spencer di a great job with ‘Foes of Spider-Man’ and was interested to see what he could do with another lower level character from the Marvel universe and from the first issue it appears he will be able to recapture the magic and possibly kickstart another solo book from Marvel that is a must read. This issue focuses heavily on what has happened to Scott Lang since his return from supposed Death and his acquirement of the suit, and this was brilliantly done as it made Lang sympathetic and you really rooted for him. Add to this the brilliantly done family interactions and you truly feel that Lang has everything to gain in this series and nothing left to lose, so seeing him potentially return to his heroic ways would be a huge moment for him and the series. This issues highlight was the interaction between Lang and Cassie as the father daughter dynamic was brilliantly done and added a real sense of emotion and depth to Lang, this was a strong start that will hopefully continue.
This was an odd show for ROH as it was the recap for the year, and featured moments from the best matches of 2014. This showcased the AJ STyles and Roderick Strong match, Kevin Steens final match with the company and Young Bucks Vs ReDDragon for the ROH Tag team titles.This was a good show, if you havent seen these matches yet as they really are some good work from all involved especially the tag team match. However next weeks show featuring the return of Alberto El Patron (Del Rio) to US television should be exciting. A good episode but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch this if you’ve seen this years shows.
This was a film I’d heard really good things about but wasnt sure it would live up to the hype however Jake Gyllenhaal is absolutely amazing in this movie with his psychotic characterisation and totally unhinged portrayal of a social acquired individual who falls into the business of Nightcrawling and then gets himself involved in something he really shouldnt be. I’m not going to post spoilers here as this is still a relatively new release her in the UK, but the movie is fully engrossing and I couldn’t look away for single moment. Gyllenhaals character is one who develops so much and changes so quickly during the course of the movie that the more you see of him the more you realise something is horribly wrong with him- however he is such a pro-life person at the start who is enterprising enough to just jump into the job/hobby of crawling crime scenes that you end up rooting for him to succeed in building an empire despite him doing some horrific things. This is definitely a film that should be seen, just for Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance and the influence his character has over others throughout the course of the film and how easily he can use others to achieve his aims. This is a great movie from the end of last year you should see.
This weeks NXT was a good show once again, much better than the first Raw and Smackdown of the year but if you’ve regularly watched this show that should be no surprise. This weeks featured the return of Sami Zayn to celebrate his Championship win and set-up a match next agaisnt Neville for the belt in the first show to move onto Wednesdays. The logic for this was simple Neville was congratulating Zayn who offered him the rematch. We also got to see Sasha Banks continue her run of dominance as she took out Alexa Bliss in a dominating performance this week to reiterate the fact that she is clearly the number1 contender for the women’s title. We also saw Itami in singles action against Curtis Axel, unfortunately this one seemed a little off, as Itami hasn’t really reached the heights I was expecting and still seems to be learning the ropes of the WWE style and no-one really holds out a lot of hope for the career rejuvenation of Axel at this point so the match felt a little off. It was a decent showing but not the spectacle it could be if both of these men meant more and were on form.
In the main event we got to see the Lucha Dragons take on the Vaudevillains for the NXT tag team titles and this was a very good television match indeed as the two teams seem to have some real chemistry together. I personally love the vaudevillains but fear the act might not work on the “main shows” but that doesn’t mean there not a talented team and can deliver in the ring as there last two matches against Lucha Dragons has shown. Kalisto clearly has a bright future in the WWE as singles star, wether he’s used to fill the Mysterio role or not he will achieve good things. However the finisher used by him and Sin Cara this week leaves something to be desired as there was little contact and it looked awkward. However with some refining this will look as devastating as it does flashy im sure. Another good show this week that continues to build characters and story lines.