The Flash So Far

(Image courtesy of The CW)

If you tuned in last night to catch a new episode of CW’s The Flash you would have been thoroughly disappointed because the show won’t return from it’s hiatus until January 24th of next year. The good news is that if you haven’t been following along this gives you some time to catch up on the 9 episodes of season 3 that have aired so far. If you are caught up and need a refresher, these are some of the major points that have happened this season as well as some ideas about what we might see going forward.

Flashpoint

In the season 2 finale Barry Allen decided to go back in time to stop Reverse Flash from killing his mother, resulting in…Flashpoint. For those unfamiliar with the story, Flashpoint is a 2011 DC Comics story by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert that takes place in an alternate timeline. In it, Barry Allen wakes up in an alternate timeline thinking Reverse Flash has altered the timeline. In order to stop the impending war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Barry convinces Batman (Thomas Wayne) to help him recreate the accident that granted him access to The Speedforce and allowed him to become The Flash. Of course the storyline is far more complex than this and if you want to fully understand it you can read the comic books or watch the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

The season 3 premiere follows through on that storyline with an episode loosely based on Flashpoint with some change made. The main ideas stay the same in terms of Barry saving his mother and creating an alternate timeline but certain things would be too difficult to adapt for television. The main takeaways are:

-Both of Barry’s parents are alive but this means that he is estranged from the West family because he never went to live with them after his mother was killed and his father was sent to prison for her murder.

-“Team Flash” doesn’t exist. Instead of helping Barry take down meta-humans, Caitlin and Cisco are a pediatric ophthalmologist and self-centred billionaire respectively

-The most interesting change during Flashpoint is that Wally West is The Flash and he has been the one keeping Central City safe.

While many people were disappointed that Flashpoint itself only lasted one episode it is understandable why. Not only does The Flash operate on a TV budget, making the possibility of a full scale war unlikely, but it also operates outside of the DC Cinematic Universe (DCEU) meaning the show most likely not permitted by Warner Bros. to use characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg etc. The fact that they were allowed to use Superman this season on Supergirl is surprising enough. Despite the fact that Flashpoint itself was over after the premiere, the ramifications were felt throughout these first 9 episodes of The Flash and the other 3 DC shows. The ramifications include:

-One of the biggest changes was that Cisco’s brother Dante is dead when Barry returns from Flashpoint. This revelation causes substantial friction between Barry and Cisco but they are eventually able to repair their friendship

-At the end of episode 2 it is revealed that Dr. Caitlin Snow now possesses the powers that transform her into the comic book villain Killer Frost. The majority of Caitlin’s arc so far this season has centred around her coming to terms with her powers, culminating in episode 7, “Killer Frost”

-Team Flash. Fans of Wally West have been waiting for him to gain access to the Speed Force ever since he was introduced in the winter finale last year. While it took a while for his powers to appear he has since received a suit of his very own, and become Kid Flash. This comes after Jesse Wells was revealed as the speedster Jesse Quick earlier in the season.

Villains

Doctor Alchemy

Alchemy, voiced spectacularly by Tobin Bell from the Saw franchise, was revealed as a villain and made his presence felt immediately. The greatest power that Alchemy has is his ability to restore the powers of any meta-human that existed in Flashpoint and this not only creates multiple problems for The Flash, but is also the way that Wally gets his powers.

In the mid-season finale it is revealed that Julian Albert,forensic scientist and Barry’s arch-rival at the CCPD, is in fact Alchemy but only because he has been possessed by Savitar.

Savitar

Savitar, the God of speed, is the real villain for this season and he is by far the fastest speedster we have ever seen on the show. He’s so fast that non-speedsters can’t even see him when he is standing still. While not much is known about Savitar at this point, we do know that he is extremely powerful and ruthless. In the mid-season finale Barry is able to throw the stone that controls him into the Speed Force, but ends up sending himself 5 months into the future where he sees Savitar murder Iris. It is also revealed that he is able to possess Julian in order to force him to become Alchemy.

Other notable villains include The Rival, Magenta, Mirror Master, Top, Killer Frost, and Shade.

Favourite Moment 

I’ve had a great time watching this first chunk of episodes and If I had to pick a favourite moment it would be the speech that Jay Garrick gives Barry in episode 2. After Barry attempts to go back in time to stop himself from saving his mother (time travel is confusing isn’t it?) Jay Garrick pulls him out of the Speed Force and lectures him on the dangers of time travel and what it means to be a hero.

The 4 part crossover with Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow deserves an honourable mention because co-ordinating that must have been no easy task and it was a joy to watch all the characters interact with each other

What is your favourite moment of season 3 so far? Who do you think Savitar is? How excited are you for The Flash to return in January?

Tweet me your thoughts @_JaredClarkson 

Advertisements

Top 10 Christmas Songs By The Killers

(Image courtesy of Jo Music)

The Killers are set to release their 11th (and possibly final) annual Christmas single tomorrow so  with that in mind I decided to look back and rank the previous 10 to determine which one is truly my favourite.

10) Joseph, Better You Than Me ft. Elton John & Neil Tennant

There’s just something missing from this one. Don’t get me wrong this is still a pretty good song and I’m not opposed to giving it a listen or two around this time of year but if I’m honest with myself I don’t love it as much as some of their other releases. Although I will give them credit for going against the grain and writing a Christmas song about an unconventional subject in Joseph, you’ll start to notice that these Christmas songs are quite less than traditional. Think of this song as the least talented part of a really good team. Still good, but it’s the weakest link out of the group. It’s me on every sports team I ever played on.

9) I Feel It In My Bones ft. Ryan Pardey

Who doesn’t remember Santa as a murderous psychopath? This is the 2nd time we find Santa unhinged and hell-bent on tracking down our favourite band so they can pay for their sins (Brandon definitely killed people but more on that later). There is a really nice riff that runs throughout the song but the real letdown is that the hook is underwhelming. Most songs by The Killers really pack a punch but the chorus on this track falls short of expectations.However, the music video is well worth your time if you ever need to be reminded why it’s best to stay on the nice list.

8) The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball

If you haven’t noticed already, The Killers have developed a thing for writing Christmas songs about unconventional topics. Not only does this Christmas  ball contain cowboys but also robots, which have little, if anything, to do with each other. Once you get past the absurdity of the setting, the song itself is actually quite enjoyable. It’s got a really nice upbeat sound that shows off the band’s willingness to not take themselves quite so seriously when it comes to their charity work. These songs are obviously a lot of work for them so it’s nice that they at least enjoy themselves a little bit. Perhaps the best part is that the video plays out like the intro to an old western show that your parents probably watched. Also, I can’t be the only one to notice the similarity between the intro to this song and Runaways. Can I?

7) ¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe! ft. Wild Light & Mariachi El Bronx

Because nothing says Christmas like The Killers infused with a mariachi sound. It’s no surprise that this song was released during the Day & Age tour seeing as it is arguably the record that deviates the most from the sound the band has cultivated for over a decade. When you’re sifting through the discography, Day & Age is the one that sticks out as profoundly different from the rest. The Killers have always been stuck in a dichotomy as Las Vegas rockers that headline festivals and play sold out arenas, while championing songs filled with references to heartland America and the blue-collar lifestyles that they come from. ¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe! represents a combination of both of those things quite well

6) Christmas in L.A. ft. Dawes

This year I’m dreaming of a palm tree Christmas.

In 2013 The Killers decided to brighten everyone’s spirits with a Christmas song about loneliness and it’s magnificent. Often times we forget that a lot of places in the world don’t experience a “white Christmas” and their version of the holidays is substantially different. Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes does a masterful job providing frontman Brandon Flowers with additional vocals and together they spin a tale of a struggling actor that just can’t seem to catch a break. There’s no uplifting message at the end because sometimes there just isn’t one there. The classical guitar is a really nice touch.

5) Joel the Lump of Coal ft. Jimmy Kimmel

Saddest. Christmas. Song. Ever.

Ok maybe not ever but it’s definitely the saddest one about coal. In 2014 The Killers teamed up to write a song with comedian Jimmy Kimmel and the results are incredible. Joel the Lump of Coal tells the story of a lump of coal that gets bullied by all of Santa’s elves and made to feel worthless. Before he can get his moment to show everyone how great he is he gets sent to live with a child on the naughty list because Santa is a jerk. At the end Joel decides to give his life and turn himself into a diamond to make the little boy happy. This song is basically what would have happened had the writers taken Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer down a really dark path. You’ve been warned.

Interesting to note that Ariel Rechtshaid produced this track for the band before working on Brandon Flowers’ solo record The Desired Effect

4) Boots

The fact that Boots is number 4 on this list says a lot about the quality of music The Killers put out. This is actually Brandon’s favourite Christmas song from the band and it’s easy to see why. When he invokes thoughts of a mother and father together in a “wonderful life” you can’t forget that his mother passed away from cancer in 2010. This would be one of the few Christmas songs they’ve released that could actually pass for a more traditional holiday song. Also it’s pretty cool that it was co-directed by the same guy (Jared Hess) that directed Napoleon Dynamite.

3) Don’t Shoot Me Santa ft. Ryan Pardey

Whenever The Killers team up with Ryan Pardey you know A) It’s going to be a lot of fun B) He’s most likely playing a crazy version of Saint Nick. Don’t Shoot Me Santa is not only the first time we get to meet Santa but we also discover why exactly he’s got a bit of an issue with Brandon. While this song was released in 2007, it actually serves as part 2 of a trilogy, with part 1 being I Feel It In My Bones. Who knew that Santa’s weapon of choice is a gun? Also, Brandon admits that he kills people for fun.

2) A Great Big Sled ft. Toni Halliday

Not too shabby when your 1st ever Christmas single is this high on the list, and A Great Big Sled absolutely deserves its place at number 2. There’s something special about a song that features ratings for snowmen, the admission that boys have action toys for brains, and rolling around in snow. Who doesn’t love snow?

It doesn’t come as a shock that Alan Moulder produced this song for the band because some of the best work they’ve ever done shines through when he’s on board

1) Dirt Sledding ft. Ryan Pardey & Richard Dreyfuss

Nearly 10 years since Don’t Shoot Me Santa Brandon’s back on the nice list! Who says a crazy Santa Claus can’t change his ways?

This is a little bit of a controversial choice for best Christmas single but it’s just so much fun I couldn’t resist. Santa is back, a bunch of fairytale creatures make an appearance, Richard Dreyfuss has a cameo (just his voice but still), and there’s even little bit of an Elvis impression mixed in there. Don’t get me started on the mini horse in the music video that for some reason seems hell bent on bothering Ronnie. It might not be the best thing they’ve ever written but the rock n roll vibe reminds me so much of Sam’s Town it’s hard not to love it. I just really like happy endings, ok?

Just a reminder that these songs can be found on iTunes and all proceeds go towards the RED campaign.

Do you agree with my list? Do you want to tell me how much you disagree? Tweet me @_JaredClarkson

Netflix Releases Official A Series of Unfortunate Events Trailer

(Image courtesy of Netflix)

The official trailer for the Netflix adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events has arrived, a word which here means, “is now available on internet for everyone to see.

I’m sorry to inform you but this is a rather unfortunate day. If you were hoping to read about whimsical things filled with laughter and joy, this article is decidedly not for you. A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of the Baudelaire orphans Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. After their parents die in a mysterious fire they are sent to live with a terrible man named Count Olaf and instead of taking care of them after this tragedy, he intends to steal their enormous fortune by any means necessary. There is no happy ending, the sun does not come up tomorrow, and the grass is not greener on the other side.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the children’s book series by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler). All eight episodes of the first season will be available on Netflix Friday, January 13th. I urge you to watch something else.

 

Don’t watch the Trailer Here:

In Loving Memory.

Beatrice.

Follow me on Twitter @_JaredClarkson.

Excitement For DCEU Disappearing In a “Flash”

My name is Jay Garrick and your (cinematic) world is in danger.

Fans that were excited to watch The Scarlett Speedster in a solo film may have to wait a little bit longer after The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Director Rick Famuyiwa has left the project over “creative differences. Warner Bros. will have to movie quickly to replace Famuyiwa or else risk having to push the March 2018 release date back. A commitment for Ezra Miller in July could mean we don’t see The Flash For another two years.

Famuyiwa, who replaced the original director Seth Grahame-Smith in June, had overseen numerous aspects of pre-production including the casting of Kiersey Clemons as Iris West and Billy Crudup as Barry’s father Henry Allen. The fact that Warner Bros. will soon be hiring their 3rd director for the film indicates a growing problem in the DCEU. At what point does Warner Bros. hire a director and let them execute their vision for the film rather than getting into arguments over creative differences?

Problems during pre-production are nothing knew for Warner Bros. or the DCEU. After the theatrical cut of BatmanvSuperman was critically panned it came out that Zack Snyder had a different vision for the film which is how we ended up with the 3 hour Ultimate Cut. Say what you want about the Ultimate Cut, I still think it is a deeply flawed film that fixes some problems and creates new ones, but at the end of the day that is the film that Zack Snyder set out to make. If you as a studio don’t believe in the vision of your director then you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place. The fact that a big budget film got released at all with the script and editing problems is one thing but don’t insult your fanbase by releasing an extended version as a way to make up for the poor product that appeared in theatres. Just do it right the first time.

They obviously didn’t learn their lesson because just months later they released the critically panned Suicide Squad and the problems behind the scenes are legendary. The film was rushed from the start with the script being completed in just 6 weeks and after the poor reception to BvS the studio wanted to make a lighter film that clashed with director David Ayer’s vision. So they reportedly hired another company to make their own cut of the film to go along with Ayer’s cut.

That’s right.

The final cut was an attempt at making the two edits work cohesively and they do not. It’s embarrassing that we two films this year in the DCEU and both of them suffer from virtually no cohesive story, and problems with editing/pacing.

It’s no wonder that the movie was a convoluted mess that suffered immensely from a multitude of other issues. Jared Leto ended up with maybe 10 minutes of screen time after the trailers made it look like Joker would be an essential part of the plot. I came out of the theatre thinking he shouldn’t have even been in the film because he was irrelevant to the plot. It just ended up being a waste of a character (which Suicide Squad is guilty of on more than one occasion).

Add to all that the fact that next summer’s Wonder Woman film had to replace a director due to creative differences and their is evidence of a disturbing trend at Warner Bros. Creative differences happen in film and it’s not uncommon for directors or actors/actresses to leave projects for certain reasons. But when almost all of your films are struggling with the same issues it might be time to push pause and figure out why this keeps happening.

The DCEU was rushed from the beginning. People get upset when you compare it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but they set the bar for what these movies should be. We should have gotten solo films for all of the major Justice League members before they came together. The Justice League film will be introducing us to Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, all while trying to reintroduce Superman into the film, tell a good story, and give us a tease of what the solo films may look like. That’s far too much this early on the universe. Fans have shown an appetite for these characters and if you made an Aquaman movie people would line up to go see it just like they did for Iron Man and Captain America. People love these characters and want to see them on the big screen but they want still want the movies to be good. So far Warner Bros. has not delivered. Disney is getting set to release Doctor Strange this week (early reviews have been quite positive) while Warner Bros. are just sitting in the corner trying to figure out what they’re doing wrong.

At least we’ll always have The Flash on TV. What a great show.

Are you scared for the future of the DCEU? Are you nervous? Do you not care at all? Follow me on Twitter @_JaredClarkson

Supergirl Has Arrived (In Canada)

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Supergirl on Netflix in Canada?

That’s right

While Supergirl is currently 3 episodes into their 2nd season (1st on The CW) fans in Canada have had to wait until today to get the chance to binge watch the 1st season of the Girl of Steel’s adventures. So before you push play on episode 1 what do you need to know to get yourself started

The story follows Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), better known as the biological cousin of Superman, Kara Zor-El. After crash landing on Earth as one of the last survivors of the planet Krypton Kara is found by the Man of Steel and adopted by the Danvers family. Flash forward 11 years and Kara is living in the fictional National City and working as an assistant to Kat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the CEO of CatCo Worldwide Media. Feeling that the world doesn’t need another hero, Kara has hidden her powers from the world but a disaster convinces her to don the red cape and become the hero she was destined to be.

Supergirl aired as part of the CBS lineup in the fall of 2015 but following the 1st season Warner Bros. announced that the show would return but move to The CW. This change meant that it would now exist in the same “universe” as fellow DC Comics TV series’ Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.

All 20 episodes of the 1st season are available to stream on Netflix today.

Are you excited to watch season 1 of Supergirl? Let me know what you think on Twitter @_JaredClarkson