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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Power Rankings: Superhero TV [Updated 6/25/19]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 23 modern comic-based super-powered television series (Marvel and DC), as determined by the entire LTC staff, which is currently just Germar. The list is updated as seasons conclude and series premiere.
23. (22) Inhumans 5/10 Years of optimism, anxiety, and backtracking resulted in this, universally agreed upon, worst part of the MCU. Scott Buck may be MCU's kryptonite. Please, Marvel, don't let him ruin another series (e.g., Iron Fist). 

22. (21) Agent Carter 6/10 Yes, I hosted the show about the show, but it always felt like a lukewarm Marvel offering. The pieces fit snugly, and Hayley Atwell shined, but did anyone even watch the second season?

21. (20) Iron Fist 6/10 No one likes this show. And no one fears the surfer dude-voiced, Ramen noodle-haired, prince of privilege no matter how many times he says he beat a dragon or calls himself "immortal." Colleen Wing and Bakuto almost saved this atrocity. And I almost worked at Fox Sports. Cue that Brandy song. And then he improved slightly in Defenders and season two of "Cage." And the second season of Iron Fist was almost fire because they decided to focus on all of the amazing women while diminishing the lead. Ultimately, it got the ax anyway.  

20. (19) Gotham 6.1/10 Gotham will probably be really good once it's all on Netflix, and we all finally decide to watch it. The first season got everything wrong--especially allowing Jada Pinkett to perform like an amateur starring in a Spelman College production of Wicked


19. (18) Legion 6.5/10 Is this a period piece? Style over substance? Maybe, but beautiful still, plus ambitious. It's not a great show yet, but it's better than almost all of the X-men movies.

18. Swamp Thing 6.6/10 Alec Holland > Swamp Thing. So far it's shaping up to be baddie of the week; that format sucks like when there's no flavor left in the blue Icee. The swamp-Cajun feel is cool. That beautiful doctor drives the show.

17. (16) The Gifted 6.7/10 This is the best way to realistically represent, on television, the best team of heroes in the history of comics. No, they're not the X-men. But if the X-men X-isted they'd be a lot more like The Gifted than that awesome Saturday morning cartoon. It's inconsistent at best, but there's definitely something there.  And now it's better, but, still somehow, exactly the same.

16. (15) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6.7/10 Its debut was a meandering mess. But for the fans that stuck around, Agents of Hydra/Agents of Nothing got good fast. And more recently, we've been gifted the best live action Ghostrider, top notch action, intelligent political commentary, and the best possible "what if"-styled virtual world story. 

15. (14) Arrow 6.7/10 Arrow has quickly become the can miss DCTV CW show of the week. But we keep watching. I look forward to its ending, followed by frequent character cameos on the other shows. It started too fast and left little room to grow. Team Arrow was Justice League lite before we got the Legends, Team Flash, or Supergirl. Pacing. And now they may be taking the street justice a little too far OR maybe just far enough.

14. (13) Legends of Tomorrow 6.8/10 If you don't like this show, you don't like smiles, fun, or good times. Remember when The Avengers was the best thing to happen to the '10s? DC decided to do that with 200th of the budget, but weekly. And now, maybe it's a little too much fun. I'll still ride the wave, but this could fizzle fast. 

13. (11) Black Lightning 7/10 It's only the most important show in the history of television in the United States. They deal with everything, better than most shows deal with anything--race, violence, cops, sex, LGBT matters, relationships, schools . . . and superpowers. "This one's for the streets." So far season two has not matched season one, but they remain "the people's champ." And season two continues to disappoint, but the "racist hicks" story-line was somewhat refreshing.


12. (10) Krypton 6.9/10 So far, so good. They did it. They borrowed from the beautiful Man of Steel opening, and made their own Krypton. The black Zods are awesome and their story has stolen the show. Plus, it sets up Zods better than any previous source. Seg-El is that dude. -.1 for that wack-ass Lobo

11. (9) Supergirl 7/1Every week entertains. Each episode plays out like an updated, less whiny, less soap opera-y version of Smallville. The weird episode where she was "kid" Supergirl was weird. Pro tip: Superman is your problem, not your solution. Last season went deep on race, LGBT matters, relationships, and it remained a top comic book-based show. Kudos. I still watch, but the politics may be so on the nose that it's become a distraction.

10. (8) Runaways 7.1/10 At the episode three mark, this show is far better than anything on this list. Performances, cinematography, drama, use of powers, relationships, representation--perfection. The problem with being on top . . . is that long tumble down. How will they handle powers or the discovery of the teens' discovery? How will they handle the budding and realistic romances? And is this really the MCU? Did it need to be? (3 months later . . . show was dope) And in the second season so much happened . . . on the way down. Season one was  too good. The worst thing about being at the top? There's only one way to go. The sexy non-aging Spanish-speaking dude was super cool though.
9. (7) The Defenders 7.1/10 The first four episodes were the highlight of my year. The Defenders are to the Avengers what the X-men are to the Justice League. They are the heroes we might be, not the gods that save us. They blended four distinct tales better than I imagined possible--style and mythos. To enjoy: 1) ignore the villains' plot; 2) remember that we witnessed an even more annoying Iron Fist earlier.

8. (6) The Flash 7.1/10 So maybe skip the second season. And maybe they do the same arc each season. But this is the most pleasant series on the list. It's like a '90s Saturday morning cartoon for grown-ups. This is the team that every Millennial would join if given the opportunity. And I'm in love with little Flash-et junior - sue me.

7. (5) Doom Patrol 7.2/10 They're not heroes, like at all. It's hard to call their unique qualities "abilities" or "powers." And whatever they are, they aren't super. But as wacky as this series is, it feels real. It's unique and not for uniqueness's sake. Titans isn't a fluke; DC Universe is coming for Marvel's head.  

6. (17) Jessica Jones 7.5/10 Two Js is da realest! She single-handedly saved The Defenders (literally and also from us critics). In her debut, she overcame the #1 true villain in the MCU (twice). She also laid out Luke Cage. And maybe she can fly. And then the second season sucked hard. The former #1 has dropped like the best beat. And the the third season redeemed in a way most shows never can. #podcastcomingsoon

5. (4) Luke Cage 7.5/10 Cage, one of the strongest characters on the list, started weakly and ended weakly. But that midsection does work. Ummmm. Cottonmouth is the King. And if you're black, this should feel like a moment . . . for us . . . because it is. And in the second season, a strong show got stronger. It's a shame this moment is partially wasted on Mike Colter. Bushmaster saved the series and washed the diamond-backed taste from our mouths. Annnnnnnd it's canceled. A record-breaking black-ass show that did impossible numbers for Netflix is gone.

4. (12) Cloak & Dagger  7.9/10 I want to love the show, in the way I love its young stars. And I might, if I could stay awake. I think they realize they have superpowers in episode five . . . I think. Who's this show for?--moody-artsy-poetic-horny-virgin 13-year-olds? I'm guessing. They get bonus points for flipping the most common racial stereotypes. And like all of the best things, once it ended, I begged for more. Cloak & Dagger may have something just yet. The second season began like the first, and then something happened--something good. Ish got real, real cultural, real racial, real domestic . . . real. Now, this show matters.

3. (3) The Punisher 8/10 It's nothing like other shows on this list. They chose to ignore the superhero world setting. It works, but may have worked better as a standalone. Ultimately, it was more predictable than most comic book-based shows because it was a lot like every gritty revenge, PTSD flick we've ever seen. And then in season two they created one of the most beautiful pieces of art in the history of time. It was not like anything anyone has every seen. There were TWO antagonists, and they both had unconventional, unpredictable, realistic endings.

2. (2) Daredevil 8/10 Hallway scenes started here. It's a shame they didn't end here. Foggy is as whack as Charlie Cox's accent (both improved by season 3). If you are anti-shadowy fight scenes, then Kingpin kept your interest. This series was redeemed by the Punisher's arrival. Ssssooo many ninjas. And then season three was maybe the best thing I've seen "on TV." Yes, Daredevil season three is "Wire," "Sopranos," "Lost," Breaking Bad"-good.


1. (1) Titans 8.5/10 We saw that corny-ass trailer and scoffed. The first episode wasn't much better. But Titans has become my #1 must-see-TV each week. If this dropped Netflix style, I wouldn't have the left the seat. It would've been my first "diaper show." Starting with the Hawk and Dove episode, this is the grittiest, most realistic, non-fantastical fantasy show (read: best) of all time. This is not our Teen Titans (coming soon). It's not like the Titans as seen anywhere before. That black Starfire that you hate is one of the best characters on TV this year. DC should stop making movies. They really get television. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Rankings: X-men Movies [UPDATED 6-7-19]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 12 X-films. 

 12. The Wolverine 6/10 Is this the same Wolverine from Origins or DOFP or any other X-men film? Yes! But no, not really. Of course, this film completely falls apart in the end. And Wolvie is played. He's dominated superhero cinema since 2000. His story, no matter how we twist it, is always the same: 1) he doesn't remember stuff; 2) he heals; and 3) adamantium. And this wasn't really a film that belongs in this genre, or in that universe, and totally made the Wolverine trilogy not a trilogy at all. It's a mediocre martial arts flick masquerading poorly as an X-film and I wasn't very impressed. 

11. X-Men 6.5/10 Mad props for being the movie that made this list possible. More props for bringing back Toad and making him kinda awesome. Even then, this film felt smaller than my X-men. Smaller core team, smaller stakes, smaller. It's the first one and it's the firstiest movie of any trilogy ever.

10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine 6.5/10 Yes, you hate this movie. You're wrong. Ask Jon Schnepp about it. The beginning of this movie is about as good as these movies get. Young Wolverine. Logan and Creed dominating every war. And even the comme ci, comme ca assault on that compound. Gambit's appearance is one of the best things about the X-men films. And Taylor Kitsch is a better Gambit--with more Magic, better abs and glutes--than Channing Tatum. You hate this movie because of what they did to Deadpool. That sucked. But this wasn't a Deadpool film. The ending may be the worst in comic book movie history, but the first two acts are mostly solid. 

9. X-Men: Apocalypse 6.5/10 The most disappointing X-men film ever. Yes, in part because expectations were high . . . initially. But Bryan Singer made a mediocre film--the fourth big franchise superhero film of 2016--and he can't stop patting himself on the back. The third one IS always the worst one. And for me, this is the worstiest of them all to date.

8. Logan 6.5/10 It is the best Wolverine film, but that doesn't mean much. Like the best superhero films, they made a film first, and a comic book movie second. But in many ways it meanders, doesn't pull the pieces together tightly, and has spineless useless "villains." So, yeah, Marvel needs to get the rights back. The next X-film will include a character literally jumping a shark.

7. Deadpool 2 6.7/10 I don't remember this film at all. Chuckled. Juggernaut. Dude had no powers. Girls were hot.

6. Deadpool 6.9/10 Initially, I hated this film. I hated it because all of the best bits are in the trailer. Why??? And why did everyone still love it so? I get it; I got it. But it's the movie they promised, and SHOWED, in the trailers. I just wasn't surprised. People made comments like "he broke the fourth wall!?!?!?" NO F#$^* SH!^ OF COURSE HE DID! IT'S DEADPOOL!!! On my second viewing, I appreciated everything a bit more. The ending is better than I realized. All of the characters are amazing. The weakest piece of this film to me is Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (in costume with the goofy voice). I'd rather see a film of Reynolds as Deadpool the mercenary that gets paid to beat up girls' bfs. Basically, I felt like this:   

5. X2: X-Men United 7/10 Here's where I do that thing that you cannot. I don't like this movie. I rank it higher than I feel because it's not a bad movie, it's just not a movie for me. It started with the strongest sequence in the entire history of comic book movies, but then rolled downhill for two hours straight. I'm beyond tired of Wolverine and Weapon-X. And I'm REALLY not a fan of the Phoenix, and this ends with that big tease. It's a good film. I own it. I've seen it many many times. But could someone tell Fox that X-Men is more than Wolverine running around a facility shirtless? K-thx.

4. X-Men: The Last Stand 7/10 I stand alone. This film is more like the X-Men of the 90s cartoon, and 80s and 90s stories than any other. It's the only one where they really feel like a team (until DOFP future). It's the X-Men's MCU-Avengers' film years before there was an MCU or Avengers' film. Six mutants that feel like members of my family stand against an army of super-powered beings to protect one life--choice, and a group of people that want them dead--because it's the right thing to do. They may die, and they know it. I used to choke up.


3X-Men: Days of Future Past 7.7/10 Solid. It's the best bits of the second trilogy. It's the best Magneto. It's the best McAvoy. Quicksilver. Dinklage. And the action presented in the future scenes perfectly portrays the X-Men we imagine in a post-apocalyptic world. 

2. X-Men: First Class 8.5/10 Comic book movies are often good . . . for comic book movies. But they should be more than that. Comic book fans deserve to see their stories win Oscars and receive praise from even the most square critics. Other than the "new mutants'" mistake, this is that X-film. This is an actual effing movie--not just another superhero button masher. Here, there are serious levels of character and story, plus good performances. Bryan Singer is not the God of X-Men movies; Fox should take a page from the MCU and diversify.

1. Dark Phoenix 8.6/10 Y'all stupid stupid. Everyone complained about the The Last Stand (Fox's first attempt at this story), which I loved. They redid it for you, and they did it better. You still complained. I did not expect to like this. I didn't even want to like this. After 20 minutes of eye-rolls and sighs, I realized I was being a brat about a damn good film. Again, it's everything I want from the X-men--teamwork, badassery, aliens, and emo superpowers.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Thoughts: Brightburn

Another vlog review from Germar and Look to the Cookie. There are NO SPOILERS here, until I say that there are spoilers. So pay attention.




Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Shortie: Yung YT Guls

Maybe the best shortie epi of all time. Click it. And the guys are somewhat similar, just far less mature.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Game of Thrones: The Bells

In Episode 435, Jessica Kinney joins Germar one penultimate time to discuss GoT. This week's episode is fast, funny, and fabulous. Plus, listen, then place your bets; thank us later.



Sunday, May 12, 2019

Thoughts: Cobra KAII


It's been forever, but vlogs are BAAACCCKKKK!!! Maybe.



Saturday, May 11, 2019

Rankings: the Marvel Cinematic Universe [UPDATED 5/11/19]



You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 22 released Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as determined by the entire LTC staff that wears glasses and has dark skin . . . named Germar.

22. Thor  5/10 Thor is the only movie on the list that is absolutely awful. Whenever I hear someone say they liked Thor, I want to punch them in the face very hard. I watched this awful film twice because my ex's sister-in-law convinced the family that it was good. They all hated it. I feel like Thor was the most cartoony or comic-y of the movies. If you liked this movie, you're probably a Thor fan or hardcore comic fan, or you have absolutely terrible taste, or you want to feel my fist.

 
21.  The Incredible Hulk 6.5/10 This film works on just about every level. It ranked poorly solely because the field is stacked. Bringing in the Abomination for a show-stopping city-smashing finale was genius. Seeing hints of the Leader was cool. Edward Norton did what he does; he killed it. Some parts drag, but it's about as good as a live-action Hulk film could be outside of The Avengers.

20. Ant-Man and the Wasp 6.5/10 THIS. This is what people are talking about when they say that "superhero movies aren't good" and that "they're all the same" and that they "hate Marvel movies." The best scene takes place mid-credits. Yes, it's sci-fi or fantasy or something, but they break all the rules they made. It's not very funny. And they should have just called it Ant-Man 2

19. Spider-Man: Homecoming 6.6/10 Maybe I just hit that age where cutesy teen movies lose their charm. If I have, this is a sad sad time for me. Michael Keaton can do no wrong. And Marvel's actually inspired inspiring casting excites me--sexually (so many shades of brown). This version of Spidey is the most realistic, which often means boring. Tobey > Tom > Andrew

18. Captain Marvel 6.7/10 First of all, women are superior to men in every way. Secondly, I prefer women led movies. Room (starring Captain Marvel herself) is the best film of the last five years. And Captain Marvel is not a very good movie . . . like at all. It may be an important movie (not on Black Panther's level, or Wonder Woman's but important). But importance does not equal entertainment. This should've been better.

17. Doctor Strange 6.7/10 Ok, MCU fans stahp it. Every next film cannot be their best film. This was good film, but mediocre in this collection. They've perfected the genre, and now they can crank them out in perpetuity. But Doctor Strange lacked the team dynamic and history that recent entries contain. And while the movie remained active, it wasn't the action of "Winter Soldier," "Ultron," or "Civil War." Yes, magic, but still. Dormammu ending perfect.

16.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier   6.8/10 Somehow this average flick fooled the world. It wasn't nearly as clever as you think.  It did, however, make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a much better series. The action, especially between Cap and Bucky dwarfs the other non-ensemble films. This rendition of Falcon fits nicely. The Winter Soldier appeared as he might in my dreams and nightmares. Oddly, I enjoyed it more the second time.  Expectations? Hype?

15.  Ant-Man  6.9/10 I found this film to be the least "Marvel-y," which is fine. Because it wasn't a typical Marvel film, it was American film-making 101 and quite predictable. If you like mediocre movies, you will LOVE this. That said, they did pull this off well.

14.  Iron Man 3  7/10 Ughhhhh. I loved the Mandarin thing, but was this really an Iron Man movie? I appreciated the Mandarin ruse because we weren't ready for the actual Mandarin yet.  I understood the stuff with the kid, but really? There were two iron men that rarely got to suit-up. Annnd the weird fire volcano people . . . . Annnnd Pepper became Iron Man and Fire Lady . . . .  Annnnnnd how did this get ranked so highly? Oh, there were lots of suits fighting at the end--that was cool. Although it was wise of the writers, I never bought RDJ's portrayal of PTSD

13.  Iron Man 2  7/10 No one liked this film, but me; I understand that. But hey, I have a sense of humor. Drunken Iron Man dancing and fighting, stolen suits, HAMMER and weapon malfunctions, the bird, the Widow . . . c'mon!!! 

12.  Thor: Ragnarok 7/10 Comedy is fine, but comedy in every single line of dialogue for an hour straight is weird. This is the first movie EVERRRR where every actor played the role of comic relief. Beyond that, it was somewhat amazing--beautifully shot, amazing performances, and CGI excellence. They get bonus points for a decent villain, an Executioner sighting, and a Planet Hulk nod.

11.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 7/10 They almost did it again. Odd that this film isn't more connected to the Avengers part of the universe. It was hilarious, but almost not a movie. The typical conflict and tension were non-existent. The twists were predictable in a typical way. The B-villain and story were laughable. But to be fair, how do you follow one of the biggest films of all time--the biggest, universally loved, surprise hit since The Matrix? They almost did it.

10.   Avengers: Age Of Ultron   7/10 Not a good film, but a HUGE film. They attempted to pack too much into one film. Ultron and Spader dominated. Why do Ultron, and later the Vision, exist and how? . . . not that important really. They attempted an attempt at explanations all over this thing. Nothing made sense, but it was a wild and fun ride.
 
9.  Thor: The Dark World   7.5/10  Yes, I appreciate this film more than most of you, but that's because I get things and stuff. Yes, the bad guy was weak, unimportant, and not memorable, but so what. They took a big cue from The Avengers, and made a film that was fun, funny, action-packed, and included a beginning, middle, and end. I only hated that it was so short.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger   7.5/10  Surprise motherf*cker! (that's a Dexter reference) Honestly, I can't even get through this now, but I remember what it meant then. I'm not a Captain America fan. This film made me care about him. They poked fun at him. He was a guy and not an Uncle Sam poster (except for when he clearly was, but that wasn't by choice). Most importantly, my female non-nerd friends thought this film was dope and not just because the Human Torch starred in it.

7. Avengers: Endgame 7.7/10 Like its portioned-prequel, this is more of an experience than it is a film. Unlike Infinity War, this isn't very good. It is a somewhat perfect--albeit predictable--conclusion. But most importantly, this IS the biggest film event ever.

6. Iron Man   8/10  I never understood why you feel so strongly and positively about this film. I re-watched it. It's solid, and really solidly establishes the entire universe. I had far more fun with 2 and maybe even 3, but this is a far superior film.

5. Black Panther 8.4/10 Deep. I have no jokes here. Even though this wasn't the best film, or my favorite film, it is by far the most important. Had it been less predictable, with a T'Challa that was cool and mysterious like in Civil War, it's a 10/10.

4. Captain America: Civil War 8.5/10 #TeamIronMan all day! This IS actually "Avengers 3: Civil War," but it doesn't lose points for that. Marvel Studios does an unbelievable job of adding characters, combining worlds, and progressing their universe. It's very well balanced. It loses points (and me) in some of the more verbose scenes. The dialogue wasn't too complex, just too much. The conflict was simple and obvious--show us more of that. Spider-man was flawless. Black Panther was more flawless. 

3. Avengers: Infinity War 8.6/10 No, this isn't a movie, but it's THE best moviegoing experience, unless you get down like Pee Wee Herman. I saw it 2.5 times because I just needed to see Hulk get dat ass beat one mo' time. 

2.  Guardians of the Galaxy  9/10  People that don't include this in their top two also get punched in the face.  80s references "never go over my head" because "there ain't no thing like me but me" whore. The flick's fairly flawless. 

1.  The Avengers   10/10  Nailed it. THIS is what I want to feel every time I pay $50 for popcorn, soda, and Raisinets. What can I say that hasn't been said before? The most balanced movie I've ever seen, if you forget that Hawkeye is also sort of an Avenger. 


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Game of Thrones: The Long Night

In Episode 434, Jessica and Germar continue to deliver the best GoT pod of all time. If you doubt it, step up to the mic, drop ya links and let the people decide. Challenge! Today's show is sponsored by www.tryGoDaddy.com/looktothecookie.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Game of Thrones: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

In Episode 433, Jessica joins Germar to destroy all "Thrones-talk"-champion challengers. There's a nice lil sammich here. First, they agree. Then, they battle hard. Lastly, they agree again. Plus, this is the only podcast that gives you the 100% correct predictions of who will die next Sunday; place your bets. Click it, share it, and tell all ya frans.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Game of Thrones: Winterfell

In Episode 432, Jessica Kinney is BACK! Jessica and Germar continue their B+ coverage of HBO's Game of Thrones. Apologies, they're rusty--it's been almost two years! Ok, Germar forgot how to properly hit a record button. Enjoy. Today's show is sponsored by www.getGrammarly.com/looktothecookie.


 
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