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“Hank Henshaw is dead. I’m … Cyborg/Superman.” That’s not a line from a decades old comic book about the death and rebirth of one Superman. It’s from tonight’s very special episode of Supergirl, “The Darkest Place.” It comes earlier than expected too as Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) loses a fight against the real Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), the anti-alien, xenophobic head of the DEO who presumably lost his life a decade and a half earlier, only to be replaced by the pro-alien Martian Manhunter in human disguise. This Henshaw hates aliens with the fire of a thousand dying suns. Thanks to Project Cadmus, a super-secret, privately funded organization, he has the cybernetic enhancements necessary to defeat Supergirl.

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There’s a new (super) hero on Supergirl, but it’s not Mon-El (Chris Ward), the last – or one of the last – survivors of Daxam, Krypton’s ill-fated sister planet. Mon-El’s frat-bro behavior repeatedly annoys the fun-averse Supergirl/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), but it doesn’t stop Mon-El and Kara from hanging out at the local, alien-inclusive dive bar, the same bar where Alex (Chyler Leigh), Kara’s adopted sister and DEO Special Agent, and Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima), a National City police detective, spend quality bonding time together. It helps – or maybe it doesn’t – that Alex has begun taking the first tentative steps toward coming out to herself and later, to her sister.

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The Walking Dead continues its push into the Negan storyline as he and his motley crew pay their first visit to Alexandria. Some aspects of the visit were fairly predictable, while others were mildly surprising. Yet still, some moves were head-scratchingly confusing. It is understandable that the show has to hit its marks in order to further the story, but for those who even have a vague sense of what is coming, it’s hard to tell how long it will take things to play out. We already know that the show has been renewed for Season 8, but does that mean things will take on a slower, more deliberate pace? Granted, this is only the 4th episode of the season, but is two seasons too long for a build up to the inevitable confrontation? (more…)

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When we last left Supergirl … actually, scratch that. What happened on last week’s episode of Supergirl matters less than you think. Season 2’s fifth episode, “Crossfire,” replaces the “super-villain of the week” with a local gang armed with alien firepower. Supergirl/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) encounters the gang moments before they rob a bank. She’s caught completely off-guard by the alien weaponry, losing the fight (in superhero stories on the big or small screen, superheroes invariably lose or tie their first fight with a new foe), but not her thirst for justice (that’s unquenchable, of course). The real culprit, Project Cadmus, the not-so-secret, anti-alien organization with deep pockets, is playing the long game, using the attacks to sow anti-alien sentiment and a backlash against the recently passed Alien Amnesty Act.

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After the losses of the season premiere, it feels as though we are going through something akin to the 5 stages of grief when it comes to The Walking Dead. Last week, we were all still pretty depressed. This week, however, feels closer to acceptance than anything else. Acceptance comes as the audience realizes that The Walking Dead has a rhythm and pace that we all know. Some love it, while others hate it. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, you know that after a strong opener, The Walking Dead will now spend a number episodes explaining what is going on. In the case of episode 3, we were treated to an interesting view of what Daryl was going through as a prisoner of Negan. (more…)

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Anyone who thinks – let alone imagines – that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange, the latest entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will revolutionize big-budget superhero-oriented blockbusters will be likely disappointed. Story wise, there’s nothing in Doctor Strange that can be described as revolutionary or even evolutionary, but that’s looking at Doctor Strange through one narrow lens, a lens that obviously ignores that film operates on a visual, cinematic level too and there, Doctor Strange succeeds beyond even the highest of expectations shared by comic-book fans and MCU fans (i.e., everyone else). Despite a sporadically intriguing, mid-level career as a genre filmmaker, Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil, Sinister, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) has delivered a superhero entry bursting with visual ingenuity, creativity, and imagination unparalleled in superhero-themed filmmaking, in or out of the MCU, expanding the MCU into a multiplicity, into a multiverse of possibilities that will repay a near infinity of repeat visits.

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Superman might be long gone – not dead, but temporarily forgotten – so it’s back to the Supergirl Power Hour. It’s Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) show, after all and despite the brief, two-episode interlude where Supergirl and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) got to play Super-Cousins together (to the delight of millions of fans), a return to the status quo, welcome or not, was not far behind, ultimately leaving fans with a Superman-sized hole in their collective hearts. But just as one superhero exits, another superhero enters, Olivia Marsdin (Lynda Carter, TV’s Wonder Woman), the first female president of the United States. To Supergirl and her human alter ego, Kara Danvers and her superhero counterpart, intrepid cub reporter for CatCo Worldwide Media, Marsdin is the real thing, a bona fide hero. She might not have superpowers, but to Supergirl, she might as well have them.

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It’s over. No, not Supergirl. She’ll be more than fine. She’s on a new network, the CW (far more hospitable to superheroes than older-skewing, procedural-embracing CBS), with multiple DC superheroes to keep her company, including the Flash (and Friends), the Arrow (and Company), and the Legends of Tomorrow (Today). Season 2, Episode 1, “The Adventures of Supergirl,” is filled with big takeaways, including Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), finally getting the close-up he was denied last season, an all-new aboveground HQ (like an aboveground swimming pool) for the DEO, the Department of Extra-Normal Operations headed by Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), aka Martian Manhunter, or the major hint that Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the Queen of All Media in National City, may be on the way out, her replacement TBD (to be decided) at a later date, the introduction of Lena Luther (Katie McGrath), Lex’s younger sister, on a serious redemption kick, or the introduction of a Big Bad that might be more of an ‘it,” Cadmus, another sociopathic super-secret government org mucking around with super-powers.

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Typically the month of August is when summer movies that can’t hack it earlier are dumped to studios can try to earn their money back. In recent years with movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad and most recently Don’t Breathe proved that August has become a hot month for summer sleepers. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the new sci-fi “thriller” Morgan by Luke Scott (son of renowned director Ridley Scott) that unfortunately doesn’t quite land the way it intended.

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“If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail, fail again,” has become an apt description for Warner Bros.’ repeated attempts to duplicate Marvel’s multi-billion dollar exercise in multi-media branding, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Stubbornly clinging to a “grimmer and bleaker is better” credo courtesy of Frank Miller acolyte Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Sucker Punch, Watchmen, 300), Warner Bros. managed to turned the Big Blue Boy Scout, a.k.a. Superman/Clark Kent, into a monosyllabic, fragile, conflicted brooder and the Caped Crusader, a.k.a. Batman/Bruce Wayne, into an ultra-violent, paranoid, amoral sociopath. Not surprisingly, moviegoers rejected – or to temporarily sidestep hyperbole, yawned indifferently – when Snyder’s bloated, nonsensical Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice arrived in multiplexes just four months ago. By then, however, it was too late for the DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU). With Wonder Woman almost completed and Justice League nearing the mid-point production wise (both are set to be released next year), the DCCU and the Snyderverse have become – for better or for worse – synonymous (the latter more than the former).

NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS CHARACTER BASED SPOILERS (more…)