Review: “Supergirl” Season 2

Aaand she´s back! “Supergirl” flies high during the premiere of the 2nd season in her new home, the CW. But: she´s not alone.

“The adventures of Supergirl” – this name might fool you, because who´s getting all the attention? The new superhuman addition Superman. Though, one has to admit that a too great predomination of his character was nicely avoided. So, let´s sum it up:

Supergirl, aka Cara Danvers, has it all: a great career ahead of her, the man of her dreams and … well, actually every other possible thing in the world, as she´s Supergirl and can therefore do … anything and everything she wants to. But, somehow, she still finds a way to be unhappy, especially when she compares herself to her cousin, Superman.

Point given to the writers: Even though Superman is a character that has been portrayed countless times throughout TV and motion picture history and still has layers to uncover of his personality, the creators of “Supergirl” did well by not going into deep. As far as the viewers know, Superman is at the point of his life in which every fan wants him to be: no enemies, happy and together with the love of his life and pleased with his job. But, what I do see is his typical characteristic that he wants it all and tries to manage it all at once. Cara however doesn´t want that. Throughout the first season – as she very well states at the end of the episode – her primary goal was to handle being/becoming Supergirl. And now it´s all about being Cara, but does she really want to be that weaker and self-conscious person anymore?

I personally think that this major difference between Superman and Supergirl should have been more highlighted, but it´s only the first episode and there´s still plenty of room and time left to dig deeper into this aspect.

Let´s move on: on the CW, all the other, non-superhuman characters finally seem to have found their home. Cat Grant is better than ever with her witty, philosophical and slightly arrogant, but true statements; Winn develops into the man all the viewers want him to become in order that he can be with Cara; and James is portrayed exactly the way most of the people see him: boring and without any interest for Cara. Even she prefers to be friends with him because she finally recognized how dull he is (I really don´t want to be misunderstood here: nothing against James as an actor or person, I am simply criticizing his character on the TV-show). And of course – last but not least – Alex Danvers proves herself as one kick-ass kind of DEO agent, who is a strong and confident woman ready to face any dangers ahead of her.

So my final rating for the premiere of “Supergirl”´s 2nd season: good. I think it will do better in the upcoming episodes and the seeds which were planted in the premiere will begin to grow. It´s still worth to watch, maybe even not so much because of the whole superheroic, extraordinary action, but because of all the human and relatable stories which are being told along the way.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Review: Once Upon A Time – Season Six Premiere

Five years after we first meet the long-haired, blonde hero of the fairy tale-drama series “Once Upon A Time”, we discover that even she has to pay a price for being who she is: the Savior.

The sixth season of “Once Upon A Time” starts out in the more or less “usual” way: the viewer encounters new characters from another fairy tale, this time “Aladdin”. However, instead of continuing this storyline, it starts to build a parallel with “today´s” plot in Storybrooke. Simultaneously, the twist from last season´s finale with Hyde´s arrival in the small town of Maine takes its flow, while – again at the same time – Regina´s loss is thematized. Not to forget that we also have to focus on what happens with our BBFE (Big Bad For Ever), Rumpelstiltskin.

As you may already recognize, “Once Upon A Time” begins its sixth year in TV with multiple plotlines at once. Of course, this opens up many possibilites to continue the series without becoming boring. However, the first impression is rather a confusing one.

But let´s try to sort it out:

-Obviously, Emma and Aladdin share the characteristic that they are/were both “the Savior”. For the first time however, we discover that being a hero in this show has its price, which seems not only logical, but somehow a little philosophical, as it tries to counteract the common thought of fairy tale heroes alway getting their happy endings. It shows us the reality of what it means to help others at all costs: losing each time a part of oneself. Especially the look into Emma´s future is pretty frightening for the viewer, as it appears that we might loose our favorite hero for ever. But let´s not be too afraid and think that Jennifer Morisson is leaving the show – it might just be one of those tricks to keep viewers hooked on a show. Plus, it´s a good puzzle for the viewers to try to solve: Who´s going to be the hooded villain Emma is going to fight?

-Hyde´s arrival in Storybrooke and his “need” to stay there appear pretty mysterious and not very clear at the beginning. As he gets fastly caught and imprisoned, it´s even less transparent how he is still confident that he will get what he wants. Though, let´s not forget that most of the time in this show, villains are not that eager to publish their evil plan like an article on the Internet…and sometimes, to get caught is even part of the plan. So there goes our Mytsery N°2.

-Character growth along a TV-series that is already running for several years is not only necessary, but vital for a show to keep going. Regina is the best example for that: In the last season, she showed great strength to give up and eliminate her “evil” self after the ultimate and irreversible loss of the love of her life. Most evidently, the writers didn´t take everything away from Regina´s character, like her sassiness for instance. Instead, they added a side to her: being open about her feelings. Her conversation with her previously greatest enemy, Snow White, proves that even without the “evil” side in her, she can be a whole person and choose another life than the one filled with hatred and remorse – which doesn´t however please her rather wicked sister, Zelena. The long awaited return of the Evil Queen – one of the viewers´ favorite BBFE – finally plays out in the final and best scene of each episode. But what is the EQ´s goal? Perhaps, is she the hooded enemy in Emma´s vision? As the EQ´s previous goal was to destroy Snow White and Charming´s happily ever-after – which is expressed in Emma´s existence – it makes sense that she will yet again pursue this path and finally win. Mystery N°3 plays right into our hands.

-What doesn´t change though and is one of the most confusing elements presented in the season six premiere is Rumpelstiltskin.and Belle´s storyline. His visit in her “dreamland” and the reveal of Morpheus being/becoming their son is a touch too abstract for the show…why is Morpheus against his father? And how can he simultaneously exist as a foetus in Emma´s belly and as a young adult in their dreams? And why did Hyde know how to free Belle with the help of Morpheus? Do I need to really write it down? Mystery N°4  is here!

So, we have four mysteries to solve in the upcoming episodes, which on the one hand, makes it even more exciting to see how it all plays out, but on the other hand, makes it also quite difficult to keep up and concentrate on each storyline at once.

My tip for you little ducklings: If you like the show and you are curious about how the mysteries get solved, keep watching. Though, in case this is all too much for you and you are overwhelmed – I do not believe that it will become any easier with time, as it is only the beginning of the new season. My rating for the season premiere is therefore: “interesting, but confusing”.

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 Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2 Review

After years of following the tragic, suspenseful fight against tyranny and inhumanity, the dystopian series based upon Suzanne Collins´ trilogy comes with “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2” to an end as true as the first part of the whole franchise.

Overall, the mega-blockbuster is a hit. It has everything that theatre audiences love: the action, the love-triangle and of course the happy ending. Though, through the brilliant acting job by Jennifer Lawrence, admirers of the art of visual storytelling won´t be deceived. Her anti-heroism does not losen up until the very last scene – which very different and somehow better than in the book – seems to highlight her true, but deeply hidden motive of her fight and to finally crown her with a heroism which is much more personal and everyday-like: to love.

However, let´s not forget some incoherences in the story-telling of the motion picture. While in the first part of “Mockingjay” Katniss seemed to be more obsessed about Peeta than anything else going on around her, his presence in the second installment made her mostly want to kill him until she suddenly changes her mind and loves him. Their difficult relationship was rather poorly portrayed and explained and is only sustained by the fact that the audience knows they´ll end up together. This is enhanced by the way Gale is changing from the strong, powerful hunter to the vulnerable, weak and coward-like soldier. Especially the scene where Katniss appears to be a reenactement of President Snow displays the shift of power.

In contrast to the previous films, “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2” features multiple perspectives instead of focusing on Katniss´s which at multiple occasions makes it difficult to fully identify with the hero and thus understand her deep motives and feelings. Expect her one and only outburst towards the end, the “Mockingjay” seems to be getting colder and harder every second, only displaying emotion as a way to make a point instead of really feeling the pain.

But one element has been brilliantly achieved with the last part: the paradoxic parallel opposition between Katniss and Snow expressed through their gradual approach in their thinking-patterns. While they are very different from each other in their way of being – good versus evil, hero versus tyrann, human versus cruel – they each represent one pole of morality which comes to a final meeting point during the scene in the rose garden. Katniss is the expression of the other extreme of Snow, thus filling his place for the better and thereby realizing that she or anybody else is not better than he is. Instead, she finally sees the similarity and understands that those who want to be better than him, don´t want to be different, resulting in her decision to assasinate President Coin.

This episode which is thinly described in the book is greatly shown in the visual adaptation making “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2” a honorable end of the franchise.

To conclude, my tip for you is: Go see it and feel it. May the goosebumbs always remember this great cinematic achievement.

Run, Barry, run!

What a time to be alive and see on the screen DC´s classic story of “The Flash”. Yesterday evening, “The Flash” premiered its second season on the CW and won – at least – me over.

In the about 45 min. of the first episode of the second season, we can see the most classic and characteristic elements of a superhero story: the superhero can´t save everybody on his own, is sad and thinks he can protect those he loves by ignoring them. But just as we have seen this happening with Superman, Batman, Spiderman and co., it´s clear that won´t work out for long. I believe that using the same patterns of superhero movies makes this series that interesting, exciting and of course successful. Also, instead of only getting to know the character in a few hours of film material, viewers have the opportunity to see develop a superhero on a regular, weekly basis and really understand what makes “The Flash” a real superhero.

However, there is a downside to the whole story: women don´t really get much out of their relationships as in 100% of the cases (there are only two women in the series!) their fiancés or husbands…die.

Oh, and by the way: Nice Batman reminiscence with the spot & the lightning in the sky, Cisco.

So my tip for you, ducklings: Buckle up, because this is going to be a hell of a Flash season!

 

True Story – cause no story is never true

A journalist´s way to the heart of the reader is not confusion, but truth. Because it´s harder for the reader to accept the blankness and nudity of the truth than getting mesmerized by the reflection of their own beliefs and opinions.

“True Story” is the story of two men who at first, on the surface, appear to be very different from eachother: One (played by James Franco) is accused of the homicide of his entire family; the other one (played by Jonah Hill) is a successful New York Times-Journalist, though, he is also accused of manipulating the facts of his covergae in order to make it more believable, to reflect people´s view on certain problems instead of unmasking the much broader and complex truth. The drama starts with an introduction of those two characters in their most vulnearble and life-changing moment: the first one introduces himself to a stranger as the other one, while the latter realizes that with his next move, his career might be in jeopardy.

Their meetings in the prison are preferably documented by close-ups which makes it possible to see every twitch of the eyes, every wrinkle of a smile and witness the exchange of lies and trues. In “True Story”, it is never about knowing if  one committed the crime he was accused of. It is not about innocence or guilt, but whether one can really know when the story stops and truth begins or the other way around.

Throughout the drama, extremes and simultaenously similarities dominate the scenography and atmosphere: great heat vs. icy cold, bright secondary colours vs. dark primary colours and so on. Two elements which appear so different and extreme that suddenly because of their shared perversion they are the same. Because isn´t it as gruesome to be free, healthy, happy and tell the story of a man who killed his whole family, as being imprisoned, psychichally damaged and indifferent? Isn´t the real prison the own mind rather than the physical presence of cellbars? There are probably very divergent opinions about these last thoughts, though, there is no right or wrong answer.

Seemingly and quite fantastically simulated, the characters seem to grow and change throughout the movie. However, there is only one person who retrieves from the passive role into an active one: the (ex-)journalist´s girlfriend (played by Felicity Jones). But, here I ask myself: Was she really ever passive? Didn´t she know from the beginning on that this was not about finding the truth or with other words: She was aware that for both men it was the sought of the best way to tell a story.

All three lead actors performed – in my opinion – incredibly good and nearly seemed themselves to have lost the sense for a story or the truth.

For everyone who enjoys thrillers, mysteries and a lot of thinking after watching a movie should definitly see “True Story” whose title itself is only a mirror for us to recognize that we are the living completion of two extremes: a story and the truth.