The Forge: Looking forward at the second phase of the DCEU & what can help shape the universe

“I am sure you’re wondering why I have all gathered you here. As you can see on the monitor, we are experiencing some significant turbulence within this time line, and are looking to the future thanks to Boomtube technology to give us an idea of how to fix this problem”

Fun Justice League scene aside, many fans are always looking to the future, whether it is the next movie for a particular character like the recently announced Man of Steel II, or the latest movie to shed light on the universe as a whole such as the soon to be released Wonder Woman and potential juggernaut in Justice League later this year.

Before we can even get into phase two however, we have to take a look at what is actually announced for phase one, if it is actually going to stay in this phase and if phase one will actually end as new movies seem to be getting announced every week. Currently according to IMDb, which I realize is not the be all and end all of information, has phase one of the DCEU as the following movies.

  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v Superman
  • Suicide Squad
  • Wonder Woman
  • Justice League part 1
  • The Flash
  • Aquaman
  • Shazam
  • Justice League Part 2
  • Cyborg
  • Green Lantern Corp

Automatically we know that The Flash is in major trouble, with multiple director changes and multiple script rewrites. The Shazam movie is at the moment vaporware with the Rock attached to play Black Adam, yet Black Adam is also supposed to have his own movie? Cyborg may get folded into a Teen Titans movie and the Green Lantern Corp may or may not be getting screen time in any of these movies already mentioned. Couple this with talks/announcements of The Batman, Man of Steel II, Bird’s of Prey and the Justice League Dark Universe; a magic and supernatural side of the world; we have to wonder what is actually being made and if they are going to keep it in all in phase one or spread it out. For the purpose of this piece I am going to make some assumptions on the newly announced movies and hedge my bets on them being part of the second round of DCEU shows. Here are the six movies I think are going to be the start of Warner Brothers follow-up to phase one.

The Batman


I think everyone realizes that this will be the first salvo used in DCEU’s next phase as it’s their primary character and Warner Brothers and DC seem to be unable to have something NOT loosely affiliated with the Dark Knights universe. With Ben Affleck stepping down as writer and director on this movie, it opens up a lot of potential for a new vision, not only for the movie itself, but for the potential direction of their cinematic universe. The interesting aspects of this movie is what story arcs will it take from the comic books, if it does at all.

In my mind, I see someone like the Riddler or the Penguin as the main villain as they challenge Batman/Bruce Wayne in a way that the other villains in these past four movies have not. The Riddler brings forth the capacity to have the detective nature of Batman come out. We can have deadly traps and queries meant to push our hero to the limit. On the flip side the Penguin is a strong opponent because you could play him as a rival business man to Bruce Wayne, while his criminal element causes strife for his alter ego.

Man of Steel II

Man of Steel II

This is the other sure-fire movie to be at the start of phase 2 as it has been pretty terrible of Warner Brothers to keep this movie out of the lime light. Man of Steel was the best movie, in my opinion, from the DCEU and their mishandling of their other properties from a critical viewpoint have made pushed this to the forefront of development.

What is exciting about a new Superman movie is we have a ton of places we can take this story. Do we take queues from the Justice League movies and expand from there, or do we introduce new villains like Mongul, Metallo or Cyborg Superman to challenge our hero on a more physical level compared to a mental one. In my opinion it would be to soon to bring in Braniac as his villain due to the fact that both he and Darkseid are similar ‘god tier’ opponents.

Birds of Prey/Gotham City Sirens

Birds of Prey

There has been a lot of talk lately about these movie, partially due to how well Margot Robbie was received as Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad and partially because any time some notes something positive DC has to rush off and announce it’s in talks for a green light. Snark aside, I think there are a lot of positive aspects to a Birds of Prey or a Gotham City Sirens movie. We get to see Harley again, hopefully some cloths that cover something (didn’t like the look, sue me), and a potential cast of Bat Girl/Oracle, Huntress, Black Canary, Catwoman, Hawkgirl, Posion, Ivy, Wildcat and of course Batman.

The potential issues with this series though is what villains do they use and can they find a script which doesn’t paint these women as catty, or inept, or boring. Each of their personalities are drastically different in the comics and if they don’t capture that diversity of character it could leave a real sour taste in people’s mouths.

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold

This is a personal wish of mine, above and beyond its actual potential to be made. This is the buddy cop movie of the DC universe which will help diversify their roster, and their emotional palette. These two characters together have such great chemistry in the pages of comics, that two action driven comics could be a perfect on-screen. Think 21 Jump Street but in space.

The hard part here is how to introduce these characters, as in the cinematic universe we are nowhere near these characters being revealed and depending on the path WB and DC choose to take for the rest of phase one, we may be a long ways off from getting to them. Still, snarky robots and buddy space cop comedy sounds like an instant hit.

Black Adam


Black Adam is one of two movies I am suggesting that falls into the ‘Logan’ style of movie. A strong, potentially R rated movie about a character who struggles with who he is, his abilities and the morality of being such a powerhouse character.

My idea is to take the story arc from 52, where Black Adam is actually a hero at first, but has his family killed by the 4th horsemen of Apokolips Famine, and he goes berserk. His turn to anti-hero and eventual villain at the end of the movie then sets him up as the bad guy in a Shazam movie whether that means its a prequel or sets him up for a future movie is moot. You get fantastic character development, and gives The Rock a great surface to flex his acting and physical muscles on.



This is the other anti-hero character I think would fit well into the DCEU universe. He brings a bit more of the fantasy aspects, ala Wonder Woman or Marvel’s Thor to the universe, but also brings a darker, grittier world as Hawkman is much more of a troubled and violent character, when written well, than the rest of the JLA.

Interesting plots could be a twist on the Thanagarian War, which could introduce Hawkgirl into the DCEU. It gives us some great battles, incredible visuals and an interesting story line where the heroes finally know their team’s real identities, besides of course Batman, as he already knows. Another potential multi-movie plot could involve the Rann-Thanagar War, leading into the Death of Hawkman storyline. This doesn’t account for any one of my favourite fights in comics which is Superman & Batman vs Hawkman and Captain Marvel which would make for an epic second-to-third act battle.



Warner Brothers TV

I have been an off again on again watcher of the DCTV universe. I liked Arrow season one and two, and disliked season three and four. I have been entertained with Flash, though my major problem with all of these shows is most prevalent on this series and that is the “CW romance, but I can’t say what I feel or do the right thing because it’s a twenty-three episode show” troupe. Legends of Tomorrow is wacky and entertaining, and while I haven’t seen the second season yet I actually had a really good time with Supergirl.

While the CW shows are great, I have always been a fan of the freedom that Netflix, Amazon and other services of the like have when making their shows. You see Preacher on AMC, Game of Thrones on HBO and Marvel characters on Netflix seeing good to great success because they are allowed to tackle more mature themes and stories, it also doesn’t hurt that we can see the trinity in effect; Swearing, Violence, and Nudity. If I could pick a property I would want to see, it would defintely be the following.

Etrigan the Demon


One of my favorite “oddball” characters, Etrigan the Demon could be a crazy fun trip through the ages. A demon tied to a hero of ancient time, Jason Blood, Etrigan represents the possibility for deep story and character driven development in the for of Jason Blood as they tell his story and how he ended up being bound to the Demon, as well as some fantastic fights scenes and special effect laden battles when Etrigan comes out to play. Also the struggle of these duel personalities makes for a great secondary macguffin.

Along with the clear horror ties this character has, he could also backdoor in others such as Swamp thing, Constantine and Deadman.  We would also be able to run the gambit of fantastical villains as we traipse through multiple timelines and era’s.

While I have my own wants and potential stories to be told, I would be interested in hearing what others want to see, and what the movie universe holds in store for you if you were in control.


Review of The Iron Fist: Better than Kung Fury, but it ain’t no Enter the Dragon (Spoilers)

I want to preface this review with a bit of information. I am not very knowledgeable on Iron Fist from the comics, so there are nuances to the character I may not know/understand. I am reviewing this based on the merits of the show itself and the strengths of its actors and actresses. This is a spoiler review.

Netflix has been on a pretty positive roll with their Netflix series set within the Marvel universe. Daredevil has been touted across the board as excellent, while both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have been critically well received with positive fan feed back along side them. Characters like the Punisher and the team up of the Defenders, which includes our titular character Danny Rand, are in the works or finishing up their production for us to consume. On top of already announced projects, fans are speculating about other potential heroes to join the Netflix roster such as Moon Knight, The Demon Etrigan or Constantine, I personally want to see Etrigan as I like fantasy shows and a demon who rhymes is just cool.

With all of the positive momentum that Netflix and Marvel have garnered so far however is marred by the internet having issues with its latest series. The “controversies” like white washing in other movies made their way into Iron Fist, which in itself is comical, as this character is actually white in the comics as well, but I digress. Couple these casting discussions with the fact that many outlets that got the first six episodes of Marvels new Netflix series were not as entertained as they had been with previous entries. Whether it’s too high of expectations, or Marvels legitimate first major misstep, everyone was talking about it. To add fuel to this fire unfortunately the main lead, Finn Jones, made some less than, lets call them, “well thought out” comments about peoples negative reactions. However we are now a few days past the release date, and those of us who want to be part of the conversation have binged the first season of Iron Fist, so lets actually talk about it.

Iron Fist 2

The series opens with our introduction to Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, listening to some old school hip hop as he wanders down the street. Clad in ratty cloths, and an old backpack, he enters his father’s office building, only to be promptly kicked out. To be fair, if you went into the offices of a place that knew you, but you have been presumed dead for the past fifteen years, being kicked out seems pretty reasonable. Undeterred however, Danny tries to enter a second time and we get to see the teachings of K’un Lun in action. . . . and they are not very impressive. The unfortunate nature of either how these were shot or the actor himself does not lend any sort of weight or mysticism to this brief encounter against the security guards. This ‘soft touch’ or ‘half speed’ nature that many of the fights have are, in my opinion, one of the main reasons Iron Fist suffers, however I will discuss that later.

Danny makes it up to the top floor to see the Meachum siblings, Joy and Ward, and as you can imagine everyone is confused and scared because a homeless looking man is in their office building. This is not a beat by beat recounting, I just wanted to bring these three characters in at the beginning because they are the primary trinity that we revolve around, which in itself causes issues with the story. Both actors Jessica Stroup, Joy, and Tom Pelphrey, Ward, are actually solid actors in this series. Mr Pelphrey actually being one of my favourites in the series due to the constant outside forces pushing against him. Ms Stroup does a good job of being the both the hammer and the sickle when needed in their business life, and on the occasion in their personal life. Out of all the characters in this series though, I have to say that Finn Jones was the actor who struggled to make an impact in my book the most.

Whether it was from poor direction, poor script, or the actor was just the wrong choice the role if Iron Fist never feels fully fleshed out. The first episode to the last keeps the character circling the same few plot points over and over again, and each time there is a clear path to expanding upon his character they choose to avoid that off ramp and stick to their circle. This is disheartening to say the least, but frustrating in part because each of these potential divergent character flaws or branches of growth would have done the one thing Danny was sorely missing, and that is the aforementioned fleshing out. While it’s made clear that he has psychological problems due to the trauma of his parents dying in the plane crash at the beginning of the series, and a point we continually go back to in flash backs, they never allow the character to grow up. His mentality, maturity and overall morality system are based off of this one incident, which again would be fine at the beginning of the series, but not at episode thirteen. Couple this fact with that those said personality traits mentioned above radically change every couple of episodes at its best or multiple times within the same episode at worst, and you have a character that feels like a collection of idea’s and not a singular being. Not all is negative with Jones however as he does try, or at least seems like he does, to give his all for each scene. He feels honest in the quieter moments of each episode, and even though some of the lines are brutally bad, I can appreciate the effort. His spats of rage/flashback induced fear also seem to be pulled out from him well, as his physical acting in these parts match’s what someone might do or feel.

The rest of the cast is pretty good as well, much like the Meachum sibblings they all give solid performances. Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing is one of the seasons strongest actors, as she supports Iron Fist throughout the majority of their time on-screen. I personally dislike how it seemed to go from “oh you’re a guy” to “I am infatuated with you because you know kung fu” over the course of. . . well I don’t actually know when, I can’t seem to find the actual transition period when going back, as it just seems like she goes from the Daughter of the Dragon to the girlfriend of the Iron Fist in the blink of an eye. It should be known I am not a fan of romance subplots, as to me they are not usually done well, though I am prepared to be told I am wrong here. If I had to pick standout actors though it would be Harold Meachum’s David Wenham, Faramir from LotR for those sweaties in the crowd and Wai Chng Ho as the always impactful Madame Gao. David’s portrayal of a man pinned into a corner but is always working the angles gives you an ally and villain you can get behind throughout the course of the show. On that same playing field is Madame Gao, much like Rosario Dawson’s character Claire, helps bridge the gap between each of the Netflix shows as part of their connective tissue. Her soft but menacing touch to every scene she is in makes her such a fun character to watch, and as events unfold you see how well she weaves her webs of deception and lies to great effect. I have to mention one more character as a personal favourite of mine as he brought the level of action up for a brief moment to where I had wanted it all season, and that is Lewis Tan as Zhou Cheng a Zui Quan, or Drunken master style, martial artist. He was only in Iron Fist for one episode, but I found him to be entertaining to watch in the fight, philosophically on point to his oath/word and brought a dry humor to the scene which was needed.

Iron Fist

Speaking of fighting, let’s get into what should have been the crowning achievement of this series, but ultimately fell flat in the overall picture. The Iron Fist is supposed to be a martial arts master, a point which is reinforced through exposition throughout the series, yet watching Danny Rand fight felt like watching a group fighting in water. Besides a few of the scenes I will discuss in a moment, every fight felt light, and did not have the impact one would expect coming from a martial arts-centric series. Punch’s are floaty, kick’s limply impact their opponents and throws feel like everyone is landing on pillows. There are exceptions to this however, and I think they need to be pointed out as what the standard SHOULD have been. The first one to really grab my attention was the first and second time Colleen Wing entered into an underground fighting ring. You can see her unshackle herself mentally as the rush of combat over takes her. Each blow feels like a fight is happening and the more visceral nature of these cage fights show off how Iron Fist can get their trade craft done right. The aforementioned Zhou Cheng fight two-thirds of the way through the season is another fantastic fight to draw inspiration from. This, out of all fights in my opinion was the closest thing to a “Full on Daredevil Fight” we saw, as the impact of blows to body and face looked and felt like they were happening, instead of the worst episodes of the CW’s fight scenes we were normally treated to. The second most “Daredevil fight” was when they fought Ramon Rodriguez character Bakuto in the elevator hallway. This extended fight once again felt impactful and real, as silly of a term that may be, compared to the rest of the episodes.

As I reflect back on season one of Iron Fist, my biggest negative take away is how much the main character didn’t follow any of the story arcs they brought forth in the scene/episode before them. It may seem like I am harping on it, but the inability for the character to grow out of his adolescence mentality doesn’t suit the their overall universe and, in my opinion, makes Danny Rand look like a poorly constructed character. His lack of character development is countered however by the rest of the cast being pretty on point for the most part and makes up for many of the short comings the season was hampered with. The ending of season one leaves the door wide open for much better story telling, significantly better fighting sequences and hopefully a worthy successor to this character, as it’s not quite limp, but it certainly isn’t an Iron Fist.

As with all of my reviews (going forward) I am using a -10 to 0 score where a -10 is utter garbage and a 0 is as close to perfect as you can get.

Final Score -4

Daredevil Season 2: One in the Hand is worth two in the chamber


Daredevil season 2 was under the burden of high expectations, many of which came before the introduction of the Punisher, Elektra and the shadowy ninja clan called The Hand. Once the introduction of season 2’s plot was revealed the sky, as dark as it may be, became the limit. The discussion below will have SPOILERS

Season two starts off with a buckshot blast, and I mean that almost literally. The Punisher, Jon Bernthal, explodes onto the first episode of Daredevil and hits the ground running. This version of the Punisher is literally right out of the comic books in terms of look and feel. The savage visage of Bernthal is both terrifying and heart breaking as we delve into his role as the judge, jury, and executioner, and the broken father who re-lives the death of his family every time he closes his eyes.


In his few moments of calm, Frank Castle is depicted as a thoughtful and insightful character. In the first four episodes he battles Daredevil, and has some of the best interactions with our titular hero in the entire series. Later in the season as he grows closer, or at least as close as Castle can grow, to Karen Page you see the true pain and depth Bernthal brings, taking Punisher from a two-dimensional killing machine to a three-dimensional character you can feel for. . . . and also watch murder a shit ton of people in some of the most violent ways we have seen on TV. His visceral nature is such a turn from the last season of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, it almost shocks you as much as his more apathetic monologues, which are by far the best pieces of dialogue in the series. The prison scene shows you the full extend of the animal that is Castle while the diner scene shows you his humanity. . . .  and the brutal nature of his business.


From human death machine pushing out hero to kill out of necessity, comes an exotic blade, to bend Matt’s ear, heart and hand towards the bloodied path. The Yin to the Punishers Yang in Daredevil’s psyche, Elektra played by Élodie Yung, was the character I found to be the hardest to pin down my feelings on. One the one hand, I like how she is initially a temptress for a young Murdock, who pushes him to the edge, only to fade away when she cannot turn that final key. I also like her natural nature of killer and her enjoyment of the fact, even if that puts her at odds with the man she has started rekindling a relationship with. Her humour while casually murdering ninja’s always managed to make me smile, as it felt like such a natural way her and Matt bonded.

What I don’t like however is her being used as a tool by Stick, played by Scott Glenn. This ties in with his odd story arc about training her, yet knowing she was the weapon the Hand were looking for, yet in the first season we see him eighty-six another kid who is “black sky”. This is not a very clear sub plot, and muddles both her and Sticks roles within the series. Lastly, I found she wasn’t as strong-willed as I remember her in the comics. While this is not a game breaking issue, it was always something that rubbed me the wrong way, though I will admit I have not been keeping up with Daredevil, so I don’t know what her character is like now.


Last of the main characters is Daredevil, the man without fear, one half of the Avocados at law, Matt Murdock. This season had a good five or six episodes which Daredevil was a tertiary or secondary, at best, character. as mentioned above, the assault of the Punishers presence put Matt on the back burner in terms of mind share and excitement, sans the FANTASTIC Hallways-Stairway fight scene, which is a testament to the crew’s ability to shoot ridiculously good fight scenes. Further pushing him to the back of the pack is his lack of actual presence in major court room scene’s where the mask-less Murdock normally makes a strong appearance. On the brief occasions he does show up, the want for more Foggy courtroom drama, or Karen and Frank dialogue exchange almost make more sense from a design stand point and, in my opinion, would have been more enjoyable.

Daredevil comes across as both annoyingly nonchalant, deeply conflicted, and lost in the slowly overwhelming world he is currently a part of. Each of these phases, or chapters, or whatever you want to call them in this season builds off of the characters he is interacting with. The Punisher push’s him to be conflicted in his actions and how effective he is as a crime deterrent, annoying and nonchalant as he draws farther and farther away from his friends and law practice, making him kind of a whiny dick. I think the most interesting aspect of his mental issues is the slow, methodical nature of his world being crumbled around  him. All of his relationships around him are pulling their own individual threads and by the end of the season he is at the tipping point for both killing, a line that cannot be come back from, and leaving the city to be with a woman who is being hunted by the Hand.


The supporting cast and villains make a surprisingly strong showing over all. Karen Page grew on me from the first season, where I found her character to be kind of lack luster. While I was not overly drawn to her “reporter” career change, her scenes with Frank Castle were some of the most enjoyable in the series as you felt the faith she has in him, and see it crush her little by little as his act’s of violence escalate. Stick, like mentioned above was still kind of a dick. His motives have always been about him, but I found them a bit muddled when it came to Elektra and not really flushed out in a satisfying way. Claire, Rosario Dawson, played a small role, which seemed almost throw away, but I believe (and I could be wrong) that she is one of the characters who will be our connective tissue between all of these Netflix series. I surmise she will be showing up in Luke Cage at some point to make quips, which I will greatly enjoy.

Foggy was one of the stand out supporting cast to me, as he really stepped his game up. The “lawyer mode” in the hospital was a great way to show him flexing not only his confidence, but his ability to use the skills he has acquired with Matt as a force for good, without having to put on the mask and punch people in the face. His constant quick wit against the DA shows that he knows his stuff, and he CRUSH’S it in the courtroom while defending Castle especially with the opening monologue. The cracking friendship with Murdock, the closing of their firm and the finality in their talk about said closing of firm/friendship really showed me a much more mature and collected Foggy vs the goofy guy we got in season one.

Our main villains of the show, the Hand, were fun as I think everyone likes to see ninja’s. This group was both deadly and brought their own set of challenges to our Hero(s) which for the first couple encounters had the man without fear on the ropes. The downside though was that the last 2-3 episodes, the Hand went from “deadly assassin ninja’s who were silent as death”  to “ninja’s who get punched once or twice then fall down”. This was very prevalent in the last episode where Elektra dies (I did say spoilers at the top of this). They mill about, almost like an old fashion kung fu movie waiting for their time/place to attack and be defeated. There also was a hell of a lot less than I expected, again especially in that last episode. Nobu, the undying assassin, was of a similar vein. Initially he was a monster, putting Daredevil through the beat down only a master ninja could deliver, however by the end of the series, it seems like he ran out of steam and the fighting became a lot easier. Small nitpick, but nitpick none the less. Another small nitpick was the lack of Punisher using a mini-gun on a rooftop full of ninja’s like I, and I imagine many others, were hoping for.


One of the biggest and best surprises for the villains was Vincent D’Onofrio making a return as Wilson Fisk aka the Kingpin! Not only does his calm yet somehow domineering presence steals every scene. . . . except when he is face to face with Jon Bernthal’s Punisher. Watching naked aggression vs smoldering rage is something magical, and I hope we see it again. Kingpin sets himself up to get said name by using Castle to remove his obstacle, which also serves Frank’s objectives.  Fisk, to his credit is bluntly honest with his cleaning man who is both underhanded and brilliant. This sets up Punisher for easy return in future seasons of Daredevil or in his own series, which I personally hope he gets.

My minor issues aside, I have to recommend this series to anyone who asks. It’s a different world to explore, which is always great and allows Marvel to push forward into more unknown characters like Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The success of these current franchise and Jessica Jones season 2 and the Defenders could lead us into more street level heroes or beyond! Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Blade, Night Thrasher are just a few of the front-runners I can think of, and have seen mentioned online, to expand the MTVU. If we could only get AoS over to Netflix to increase the violence now eh.

Daredevil season 2 is a fantastic addition to Marvel’s line up, please give it a watch.