“The Flash”: Season Finale Review

It sure as hell has been a dramatic third season for the speedster hero, Barry Allen, but the season finale goes over the top to prove yet again, that the Flash is the most heroic hero of all heroes.

Let’s get a quick overview.

“The Flash”: Storylines and characters in Season 3

Season three has really taken up some interest with its second half, introducing new characters to Team Flash and building up Savitar as the ultimate villain who is set on destroying the Flash by killing the love of his life – Iris. This particular target is in itself already dramatic, making every episode a chapter of the “How to Save Iris Guide”. The few excurses to for instance Gorilla or musical worlds (Read my review of the crossover episode with Supergirl!) added diverse adventures to the rather basic main plot, but what probably stood out the most throughout the third season were the characters.

Aside from Barry’s constant complaining and Iris’s trying to stay positive, the secondary characters gained more and more importance and depth. Take for instance Caitlin: Her fear of becoming Killer Frost was not new, especially as we already got to see her deal with this problem. But embracing her dark side and realizing step by step that she was neither Dear Good Old Caitlin, nor Monster Frostie, mirrors the recent trend of establishing a “grey-zone” for not-villains and not-heroes.

Then, after three seasons, Cisco finally got a “real” romantic storyline with Gypsy which brought some lightness into the rather intensive episodes. Also, seeing his friendship with Caitlin in jeopardy, it was interesting to witness his inner conflict with identifying himself as a hero and understanding what it means – though he appears to still not have decided whether he wants to stay “regular” or enter the heroic realm (perhaps, the writers are waiting for an O.K. to made a spin-off-Cisco-centered-series, who knows?).

A really nice change was brought by H.R. and, during the last couple of episodes, his relationship to Tracy: As a character who does not really fulfill all the criteria for being part of Team Flash, he actually showed that he constitued exactly the puzzle piece the Team had lacked – humanism. And having a few humans around all those multiplying speedsters sure was no bad thing.

“The Flash”: A rather numb Season Finale?

The character developments which were built up throughout the third season then culminated into the season finale. Starting with the end of the previous episode, we get to see the reveal that has been rumored: [Attention: Spoilers ahead!] H.R. took the place of Iris because it was his fault in the first place that Savitar found her, meaning that Iris got to live while H.R. died. For such a likeable, rounded-up character to die – it sure was not very dramatic. Team Flash moved on pretty quick from his sacrifice, nearly taking it for granted. This ignorance is probably what makes Team Flash sometimes paradoxical: On the one hand, they pretend to always make the right choice and be there for one another; on the other hand, it is totally okay and natural for someone to not just talk about it all the time, but really die for someone else. But of course – Team Flash had to deal with Savitar first.

This however was the beginning of the end: The action died from one second to the next like a candle being blown out. Suddenly, it was all about being nice and forgiving, trying to convince SOMEONE WHO WAS READY TO KILL THE LOVE OF HIS WIFE that it’s okay and in truth he’s a good guy. Of course, this way the writers avoided to repeat another big Flash-versus-Villain-fight…or did they? Because finally, it all did lead to the final battle including the little twist of Iris being actually the one killing Savitar (which explains why she had the gun in the penultimate episode).

Now, the only problem which the writers probably encountered was: Mmh, we still have ten minutes to go – what do we have up our sleeves to fill this screen time? That was probably the moment when they came up with the idea that Cisco’s solution had not been a permanent one and that the speed force always requires a speedster to fill the place. And lucky enough: We have a volunteering candidate!

Digging into the realm of absurdity, the last sequence of the episode not only ruins the finale, but even lowers the quality of the series itself. Barry seems glad to sacrifice himself and his future to be the Speed Force’s prisoner – with a big smile on his face, he says his goodbyes to everyone, gives a quick kiss to Iris and tells her to just “live her life” (Yeah, that is what a woman really wants to hear in those kind of moments…) and enters with Mummy Dearest the speed force. His explanation: Now, he can finally redempt his mistake of having created Flash Point.

Well, Congratulations: Barry Allen is The Most Remorseful Hero Ever. After everyone has been telling you along the season that it is okay and that you are forgiven, you still cannot forgive yourself? Does it mean anything to you that viewers sacrificed dozens of minutes of their time to listen to your complaints and excuses? Just grin and take the first chance you get to prove how much of a hero you really are.

Final Review of “The Flash”

While The Flash’s third season featured interesting and challenging character developments for the secondary characters, the rather numb finale did not include enough action and ended in such a excessively dramatic way that it dug into the absurd. With so many superhero-shows on TV, it is obvious that every series tries to set itself apart with distinctive features of its hero. But in this case, “The Flash” deceives loyal viewers by attempting to ascent its hero to another level of heroism – which instead only leads to doubt in what way “The Flash” still classifies as a true superhero-series.

My tip for you ducklings: If you insist on watching the finale, go on, I won’t stop you. But at least the finale does not make it difficult to wait a few months until the fourth season makes its debut – on the contrary, it rather makes you think of spending your time on your own life, love, family and future. Well done, “The Flash”!

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SING – the “Let it go” of 2016

Just like Elsa, Queen of Arendale, did 3 years ago, the new animation movie “SING” enchants us with music we will never be able to get out of our heads again. Yes, all those earworms you are desperatly trying to forget, are coming back to life and to screen! But, sarcasm aside: In case you expect any authentic, original songs – SING is the wrong Holiday movie for you. Then, you’re better off with “Frozen” (but don’t blame me if you can’t stop singing “Let it go” around Christmas).

Illumination Entertainment which might be known to you through yellow, little beings called the minions, bring us “SING”: a movie about a koala bear/theatre manager who actually cheats a lot and breaks all possible rules in order to allow him to keep his theatre, and it’s about a bunch of other diverse animals too, who all want to sing and win the big prize money of 100 000, but actually don’t win anything at all, because the koala lied to them. Now this synopsis might sound slightly crazy, but you have to keep in mind that the story plays out in another world where all kinds of animals live like humans, dress up, go out, drive cars (even mice!) or…sing!

The concept of the movie is actually not that bad. And its execution neither. Because “SING” is not just about singing itself, it’s about hearing and really listening to fantastic voices without for once being totally distracted by the singer’s faces and dancing and so on. Yes, of course, you see a gorilla singing, but the fact that you can’t connect the voice to a real face helps you in fact to enjoy the moment and listen to the voice itself. I believe that is something which gives “SING” a certain uniqueness in the realm of musical animation productions.

However, there is a downside to it: How can you focus on the voices if so many storylines disrupt the music every few seconds? While the first part of the movie presents us the multiple protagonists and their backgrounds, it’s only the second part in which the storylines all really play out – and fast. Attention, spoiler ahead in the next sentence: Especially when the show takes finally place, the constant breaks during the different numbers with Johnny’s father breaking out of prison or the bear mafia chasing Mike make it difficult to enjoy the great voices and listen to the songs.

So, all in all, I can say that “SING” is a perfectly good Holiday movie when you’re prepared to hear all the hits you know from the radio, only slightly differently interpreted, and when you don’t expect a musical, but rather a movie with songs. I grade “SING” with “good, but could be better”.

 

Review: “The Vampire Diaries” Season 8

First came the Vampires, then the Hunger Games and as the dystopian genre slowly comes to an end, so does one of the first vampire-related productions in the US entertainment industry of the 2000s: “The Vampire Diaries”.

During ComicCon 2016, we, loyal fans of TVD had to accept the painful message of our favorite brutal and murderous series ending 2017. But this means in no way that TVD doesn´t end on a high note.

At the end of Season 7, we got introduced to a new villain, a somehow monstruous being whose nature we only discovered in the (last) premiere episode of the eight season: the siren.

Even I have to admit that on the one hand, the siren is a supernatural being which fits TVD´s primary requirements for a villain – charming, brilliant and absolutly evil -, but on the other hand, it is a little bit ridiculous to speak it out loud.

Sybil the siren is able to exercize high control via mind on people. One of those people is Damon who´s so scared to land in hell that he becomes the puppet/slave of TVD´s newest monster. That´s a point which I have to criticize slightly as I believe that it´s a little bit out of Damon´s character to get easily afraid of something. However, it is a good storyline to bring back the old habits of Damon which many viewers missed in the past seasons.

But what about the regular cast? Stefan and Caroline – or Staroline – seem to be at the best of places in their relationship. Ready to be married to eachother for the rest of their lives (which is pretty long in case they don´t get killed by someone – oh wait, they get killed all the time, but somehow they manage to survive for eight seasons, so I think they´ll be good), I believe they symbolize a new favorite couple viewers have to ship instead of Delena/Stelena. Though, nothing will ever replace TVD´s authentic love-triangle and basic storyline.

And poor BonBon: She never seems to get her happy ending, even though she´s probably the one who deserves it the most. I only hope TVD will finally grant her this little favor. The same goes for Matt who´s not only responsible for killing his fiancée, but also all by himself – now with his estranged father on his back. Wait a minute: Why did no one think of a Bonnie/Matt-ship? Wouldn´t that be great? Because let´s be honest: Enzo is just really annoying. He lost his wit and…wait: that was all he had. So, yeah, that makes him pretty unnecessary and boring. And Alaric? Well, once thought and described as a “genius” professor, his fatherhood seems to have drawn out every single IQ point left in him…

So what should I advise you to do, little ducklings? I, myself, watched “The Vampires Diaries” ever since the pilot aired and never missed an episode. It would be really sad if I gave it all up now. But for those of you, who haven´t had such a “close” relationship with the show, I think it´s already time to say goodbye, because all you will see for the rest of the season is more blood and less true and interesting storylines.

My grade for “The Vampire Diaries”´eight season is therefore: “eh, it could be better”.

Review: The Big Bang Theory, Season 10 – even more (b)romance

…that all started with the big bang, bang!

We are already two episodes deep into the 10th season of probably one of the best comedy TV-series ever made and it is already making us wish for more.

Last Monday, “The Big Bang Theory” started its new season with the wedding ceremony of Leonard and Penny; this Monday, it continues with the developing plot of Howard, Leonard and Sheldon´s involvment in the military and the consequences of Bernadette´s pregnancy at work.

The Bromance which is one of the most important characteristics of this show is stronger than ever: Sheldon got even included into the symbolic wedding ceremony of Leonard and Penny and declared as “the third husband” during the season premiere. That the writers are able to keep this aspect of the show so long alive, makes it so much more enjoyable to watch.

But that´s not the only core element the writers keep bringing up in new ways. Summarized in a hilarious, speechless (!) scene of Sheldon, his beliefs, values and norms are being humorized in the 2nd episode of the season. Whether it´s the strict seperation of Star Wars and Star Trek history or his constant conviction of him being better than anybody else – also very comically brought out with his usage of the German word “Besserwisser” (Know-it-all) -, Dr. Dr. Sheldon Cooper doesn´t lose a single bit of annoyance and brilliance, even after nine years.

The aspect which pleases me the most however, is the new focus set on Bernadette. Even though she has been very important in the previous seasons, due to her pregnancy, she gets a whole new profile. Interestingly, it´s not really the fact that she is pregnant and will therefore become a mother which is being thematized, but much more what it means for career women to start a family without being discriminated because of it. The 2nd episode shows very clearly what fears women have to confront themselves with, while men get to pursue their career without a single worry. I sure hope this critical notch will be continued in the following episodes, as it makes not only the characters, but the TV-show itself stand much stronger.

My rating for the 10th season, little ducklings: fun and smart as ever.

 

Legend of Tarzan: A good Saturday night movie tip for you!

You don´t want to go out this weekend and you are looking for a new and good movie to watch? Then, I might suggest you go see “Legend of Tarzan”.

We may know him from our childhood as a hero, the man from the Jungle. We may know his story, how he grew up with gorillas, met the beautiful Jane and returned to civilization – his species. But what we don´t know is: that he is a legend.

And that requires to look into what happened after the commonly known tale.

Let´s move away from Disney: Tarzan is now an English aristocratic Lord and he likes it – at least he seems to at the beginning. In case you are going to watch the new blockbuster, you´ll understand very quickly why he´ll return to where he grew up in the Congo (I won´t spoil it for you). Following this decision, you will see action, romance and adventure and feel love, fear and danger.This movie moves you in all directions, shows you extremes and transforms your image of Tarzan as a slightly dumb comic figure into a strong, very intelligent man who builds the bridge between two worlds – the Wild and the Civilized.

Of course, no movie is perfect, including “Legend of Tarzan”. But it´s one of those films which are nice to watch and have everything everyone wants to see. Hence, my tip for you little ducklings: Have fun watching “Legend of Tarzan”!

The Dark Too/Two – Once Upon A Time, Season 5, Episode 8 and 9 Review!

Normally, I wouldn´t write about one specific episode of a season as it is much to detailed and would reveal a lot of spoilers. But I guess by now (be careful now comes the spoiler), everybody knows that during the double episode (episode 8: “Birth” & episode 9: “The Bear King”) in the fifth season  of ONCE UPON A TIME, a lot of appearently “juicy” infos were revealed.

There comes my review: Coming from the creatores of “Once upon a time” and their previous fantastic double episodes, this one was a very big disappointement to me. The revelation of Emma having turned Hook into another Dark One in order to save his life (may I remark here that even though he might be dark, he is alive, but he´s still complaining?) is somehow a little bit out of the ordinary, but nothing which made my heart beat faster. It´s evident that everyone would choose drastic measures to keep their loved ones alive and I am sure that Hook would have done the same thing for Emma (he just doesn´t want to admit it).And plus: What´s so dramatic about it? I mean, okay, it´s maybe not that wonderful and sweet to be dark, but wouldn´t it be awesome to see Captain Swan as the Dark Duo being crazy villian and all (after all, what are TV-series for if not showing us the things we actually wouldn´t really like to see in real life!). Anyway, the whole over-the-top drama made the episode “Birth” look more like a failed attempt to keep the “Dark-Swan”-plotline interesting – which for the moment is not really a burner – than an actual revelation. The only good thing about it all was probably seeing Zelena back as the Wicked Witch from Oz, because, let´s be honest, she IS the best villian the show has ever had!

Now, let´s move on to “The Bear King”. Not that I don´t like Merida and her story, but the plot of this episode was pretty shallow and actually, Merida hadn´t played that much of a part in the overall storyline. To get a whole episode for yourself…well that´s something to be jealous about, Zelena! However, the comebacks of Mulan and Red and their women-power were pretty great (though the scene between Mary-Margaret & Red was not that good) and produced enjoyable scenes to watch. But that thing with Arthur and the helmet…how irrational was that please? He took it from Merida´s father and it didn´t work and now he stil comes back for it…even though it didn´t work? I mean, could he be anymore contradictive? (see that “Friends”-reminiscence here?)

To sum up: If you haven´t seen the double episode yet, don´t put your hopes up too high. Let´s just hope there will be either some juicy, awesome Dark Duo scenes…or wish that the midseason finale arrives ASAP.

PS: In case you have been wondering, if they are not running out of ideas (appearently Cruella de Vil is coming back), what about the whole Aladdin-story? Just hit it in the comments, in case you would enjoy to see the evil Dschafar with his parrot in the TV-series!

The rise (and fall?) of “Supergirl”

Hello, little Ducklings! I´m back with a new post about the latest newcomer in the world of superhero-TV-series: “Supergirl”. Airing mondays on CBS, the show tells the story of Superman´s cousin, Kara Zor-El who – when danger threathens the life of her sister – becomes Supergirl.

What you might expect from a show produced in the 21st century about a grown woman being a superhero is probably not the personification of a barbie doll in a short skirt and over-knee-boots. But, as it is very well explained in the pilot by Kara´s boss: A woman can be powerful and simultaneously a girl (what? Did anyone actually get that absolutly non-sense explanation of why Supergirl is not called Superwoman?). This example precisely shows the lack of quality in the dialogue of “Supergirl”, as Kara constantly oscilliates between overenthusiasm and euphoria or self-consciousness and depression.

As the is based on the comic books, the producers might not have been able to change the name or costume of “Supergirl”, though they could have done a better job integrating the very stereotypical portrayal of women in supertight clothes in today´s societal and cultural structures. Maybe skirts are better for flying. Or being called a girl instead of a woman is conntected with Kara´s young and sligthly rebellious character. Anyway, there are many ways to have better persuaded the viewers of “Supergirl”´s earnestness.

So, my tip for you: If you like superheroes and don´t mind the whole 1950s comic book-portrayal of women, then go for it! Though, I hope that a few things get better along the season such as 1. the dialogue (I kind of have enough of Kara´s childish arguments with her sis´), 2. the plotline (which is kind of repetitive, see arguments!) and 3. the special effects (which are pretty good but compared to “The Flash” a little bit weak!).