Marvel on Netflix: An Overview

A friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post.  She had just watched Jessica Jones and wanted to know if she should watch Defenders next or any of the other of the Netflix Marvel shows.  I had to hide in the bathroom at work to type a summary of my thoughts on it.  After several replies from others and her, I responded. “Bottom line: I know you are like, ‘I NEED MORE JESSICA!!!!’ but I don’t think I would enjoy Defenders w/o watching at min. Jessica, Luke Cage, and one season of Daredevil.”  She laughed, I pointed out exactly what she was feeling.

I am sharing my thoughts on Marvel’s Netflix franchises up to and including Defenders. (Sorry Punisher, your time will come.)  Overal impressions, what ones are must watch and what ones are skippable. Targeted toward those who may not have seen any or all of the seasons.  I welcome any debate on what I say.

I am not a comic reader.  there is no requirement to be so in my opinion. There are minor spoilers but enough time has passed and I will not spoil the conclusion of any plotline.

Jessica Jones

If you watch any of these, watch Jessica Jones.  It is great, period. Jessica is a broken, drunk private eye out of great noir fiction.  A flawed character trying to solve other peoples problems.  The past catches up to her in the form of the old, manipulated boyfriend.  She must deal with what she has been avoiding or it will destroy any sanity she has left.

It is more timely now, in the mist of the “Me too” movement.  Jessica is dealing with the trauma of being forced to be with her arch’s enemy.  This is superhero fiction so that enemy is Killgrave, a man who everyone must obey whatever he says.  He can tell you to do anything from a smile to jumping off a building.  Jessica’s power is super strength.  She doesn’t know how she got it but it also doesn’t do any good against mind control.

Seriously, Watch this.  If you have a girlfriend, watch it with her.   I don’t care if you like comics or not, this is the most must-watch season of television in the past 5 years. If, after watching Jessica Jones, you want more, go to Daredevil or Luke Cage who wins by a nose.

Luke Cage

Luke is introduced in Jessica Jones series.  He is the same character here.  The reluctant hero with high morals and bulletproof skin.

While Jessica’s world is intimate, a small cast of imports and a few others that contribute, Luke Cage is a Harlem story.  Its setting and history is another character in this story of many.  The biggest surprise of this series is the time spent on the villains’ story.  Yes, there is time spent on Luke’s background but the many villains are well developed.

Luke Cage is not presented as a deep character but a good one.  The music is great. The world is vibrant.  It is definitely worth a watch.


The show that started it all.  Daredevil lost his sight young.  His other senses compensated/were developed so now he can “see.”  That and the ability to take a punch and heal fast he got from his father is what makes up this underrated superhero.

Daredevil is a poor man’s Batman.  While Gotham is New York City, Murdock is the devil of Hells Kitchen the worst part of New York.  They struggle with the same moral code, but while Batman has money and a manservant, Daredevil is a poor defense attorney with a college friend as a partner.

This is dark and powerful.  The fight scenes are some of the best in a TV show.  The best part of the show is when his best friend finds out he’s Daredevil.  It’s is THE standard that all others will be compared to for all time.  It is confronted head-on and lingers between the two through both seasons into the Defenders.  The first season is worth it for this alone.

Daredevil punches up against impossible odds and influential villains.  Something Batman can’t pull off. He is the heart and soul of this arch.

Iron Fist

… I wish this was more.  If Daredevil is a poor man’s Batman, Iron Fist is Batman without his moral code and replace it with broodiness with a spiritual mission and a superiority complex.  He lives in the Manhatten of now while the rest of the defenders are in the New York of the crime-ridden past.  It just doesn’t fit on the world Netflix has created.

That being said, there are redeeming elements to this.  Mostly the women.  If you watched the rest it is worth watching.

The Defenders

I got mixed feelings.  Expectations were high, they throw in Sigourney Weaver as the villain.  The interplay between these characters is great.  The fighting is hit and miss.  Overall I feel I should have liked it more than I did.

I think what I don’t like about this one is that it has just a touch of the Marvel Movie franchise in it.  Trying to broaden the base audience too far.  It’s still good but doesn’t have the impact that the individual ones have.


These are all good.  Jessica Jones’s second season comes out on Thursday.  The Punisher is out and as violent as you’s expect from the Punisher.  I am just a fan of it all.  I could attempt to conclude with some gritty overarching point but there is no need.  The is what Defenders was supposed to be.




You think it’s bad in America right now? I think we are turning a corner

“Sexual creepers are getting exposed! This is horrible!”

No. What horrible is that they have been doing all their lives before now.  We can finally end the cycle.
“Police are planting drugs and killing people! I can’t believe this is happening!”

No. Now we have evidence of what has been happening for generations and now things can and will change.
“Fascists and racists!”
They have no place to hide anymore.  Remove the hood and it is just a man who can’t defend themselves under scrutiny.  And it will only get easier to expose them for who they are.
“Look at all these people mental problems! Modern medicine is killing us!”

No. We are able to diagnose the problems people have had all their lives and we are more open to talk and listen. The Stigma is on its way out.
“Technology is making us isolated and anti-social!”

You are reading this… We are able to talk to literally anyone and everyone. We collaborate and share the worlds knowledge basically for free and instantaneously.
We are more divided than we have ever been!”

Basic marketing.  Conflict sells better than agreements.  News shows need viewers to sell ads.  The number of independents is larger than Democrats or Republicans and is growing.

“Climate change!”

Renewables are finally winning the price war.  Even without the federal government, the changes are happening.  We just need to keep pushing.  We are not at the peek but we are close and we will turn it around.
“But Trump…”
Let me just stop you right there.  His election has open many eyes to the issues of buyable media, global money in politics, white nationalism disguised as political ideology.  He will have his day, both in the sun and on the stand.  He will not destroy America.  It is too big and resilient and nothing he has done cannot be undone.
Change is not easy.  There will always be problems and setbacks but the trend is for a better world.  There are fewer deaths due to violence, better infant mortality rates, literacy rates, life expectancy, and lower extreme poverty in the world than any time in history.

Sure, the dumpster fire is burning and it is very bright.  But it’s bright because we have never had better lenses to look at the fire.  You have look at the trash and see there is actually less left to burn.

“Logan” Review

I was waiting in line buying a new monitor on Black Friday when a discarded “Logan” Blue-ray.  I checked the price and decided to add to my purchase.  It was on the list of movies that I wanted to see in the theater but never got around to, a very long list.  Now I own what both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart claimed would be their last X-men movie.Logan

Going in I was hoping for a conclusion to the saga that “X-Men: The Last Stand” didn’t give me.  The fact that Hugh has been in so many movies as this one character goes to the strength and timelessness of Wolverine and his overall betrail of the Logan.  The bad movies that Jackman’s Wolverine has been in it was never his fault that they were bad.

[Quick overview and opening act and setup]

It’s the near future. Logan is a drunk Limo driver who isn’t healing as fast as he used to.  He is caring for his elderly father figure, Professor X, who is fighting end of life issues that don’t mix well with the power to manipulate minds.  Logan just wants to buy a boat and sail into the sunset with Xavier. When fate brings them a kid with powers that needs their help.  Bad guys are after them and the girl.  They must defeat the bad guys and reach salvation.

[End spoilers]

This movie felt familiar like the warm blanket I was under while watching it.  It didn’t hit me until later why.  It has two very familiar things about it.  First, these characters are like old friends.  Logan is Logan, a loaner with a troubled soldier’s past who reluctantly does the right thing.  The take on Xavier as the elder is all of what you could hope for from a retirement-home bound all-powerful mutant.

The other very familiar thing is the story itself.  Its plot is straight out of the “Troubled soldier finds a person who needs them and finds redemption through them” trope.  From the most recent one I saw “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” to the classic “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” It makes for good redemption story for a familiar character. Even Dumbledore’s and Darth Vader’s storylines could fall under this tale of redemption through helping a “Helpless” individual.

The plot is predictable and a trope but good.  That is all you need to tell this story.  There are some “Oh crap!” moments. Logan feels defeatable which helps a lot.  The reveal of the Laura’s (Played very well by Dafne Keen) backstory is wonderful.

The action is good, effects are well done and understated for the most part.  Laura felt a bit young to be doing the killing she was. (This movie is not for kids.) Moments of levity were well spaced.  For what it is one has little to complain about.

I remember watching the first “X-Men” movie 17 years ago.  How it opened with Logan being the loaner who happens upon Rouge and is lead to the X-Men through his watching over her.  That opening is reflected in “Logan” as cares for another girl, dragged back into that life he left long ago.  In that first movie, one of the best lines is after Rouge askes if, when the claws come out, if it hurts.  Hugh Jackman says “Every time.” After “Logan” you can leave them in for good.  Well done.

“The Hateful Eight” Review

Quentin Tarantino, for those who love film, is one of those figures that is hard to MV5BMjA1MTc1NTg5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2MDEzNzE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_criticise.  He changed film with “Pulp Fiction.” He is a master of realistic and meaningful dialog.  And he has attempted, since “Pulp Fiction,” to break new ground or take something familiar and elevate it to new heights with every film. (I’ll ignore one of his films in this assessment but you get the idea.)

“The Hateful Eight” the eighth film by Tarantino as he likes to remind us, was something I was looking forward to.  His take on the single room mystery where all the action happens in one room with no place to hide.  People are forced to confront each other when in normal circumstances they would never interact.  It is a western period piece that has potential. And in these aspects, it did not disappoint.

Unexpectedly it took quite a while to get to that single room.  We follow a stagecoach for nearly an hour of this over 3-hour long movie. Introducing a few characters along the way.  But you could also call the stagecoach a moving room.  You don’t really leave it until everyone is trapped by the blizzard. This is a western done by Tarantino so there is period accurate racial language.  Post Civil War frontier plays a heavy role.

[Opening scene spoilers]

Samual L. Jackson’s character’s introduction, along with others, is beautiful.  Stopping a stagecoach by sitting on a horse saddle that’s on top of three dead people.  The driver worried about beating the storm and his payday.  Kurt Russel very protective of his Bounty in the cab with him.  It sets the scene for the “I don’t trust anybody’ that happens for the rest of the movie.

[End spoilers]

This is a long movie, but it never drags. The dialog is spectacular.  The reveals are, by timing and their nature, amazing.  There is a lengthy flashback that doesn’t really need to be there.  It does add to the understanding of the antagonist and the setup of the cabin before the audience arrives but I think it would have been fine without it.  There is quite a bit of “Reservoir Dogs” in it and I can’t complain about that.

My one true complaint about the movie is the over the top gore.  People get shot and their brains travel 15 feet to land in someone hair and mouth.  It serves no purpose.  everything else in this movie, even non-lethal gun wounds are realistic. But if it comes out of one’s head lets B-movie gore it up!  It really pulled me out of the atmosphere.

Any Quentin Tarantino fan will love this movie.  People who like the genres it falls into will like this movie.  Did he break new ground with this movie?  It was the biggest production of a one-room movie I’d ever seen but other than that, no.   

It is worth a watch as it is currently available on Netflix streaming (not a sponsor.)  So when you have the time, make some popcorn and watch, pause it half way and go make some more popcorn and finish it.


Valid Protests: BLM, Kim Davis, and my struggle with what is acceptable

I have talked a lot about this in the past.  What is a valid protest?  Why we should not criticise the type of non-violent protest and attempt to talk about why people are protesting.  I have, in making this point, used Kim Davis’s protest against gay marriage as an example of a point I strongly disagree with but is still valid and I always get pushback.

With the recent Charlottesville clash and other things, I brought it up again.  This time 150903-kim-davis-mug-535p_83260bf402e446e833c206a6bde84a21.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000some points brought up against Kim Davis hit harder.  I took a step back and really thought about it again.  Even as I write this I am not sure if I have changed my view or not.  This is in part a mental exercise putting my thoughts down on “paper” and really work through these questions.  I believe it is important to be able to question your firmly held beliefs and now I’m going to struggle as publicly as I can.  I welcome comments and arguments, especially on this article.

A Bit of History

Quickly on how I got here.  I was a part of my local Occupy Movement protests.  In discussions with those outside of that world, it would generally start and never get past the “They can’t be taking up parks, disturbing people’s lives! go home, get a job!”   I had a home and a job but that didn’t matter.  I hardly ever got to talk about the actual points the protest was trying to make.

After that, I hear the same points.  From pipeline protests to anti-stadium protests.  I would have conversations, not about the actual topic but if they should be doing that thing they were going to draw attention to a topic.

The solution to me was to say that any non-violent protest was valid.  I could argue that and move on to what the point of the protest faster.  To move the conversations faster with more conservative people I would use Kim Davis as an example more on “their side” to move forward the conversation.

Then when I used Kim Davis to make the valid protest argument with more liberal people they could not stand that and called Kim Davis and what she did things I will not repeat here.

Up to now I would counter with historic protests that did similar things on their side but could never crack that nut.  Now I think they may be right.

Rally vs Protest

I need to make clear this difference. A rally is a well-organized event where like-minded people gather to talk about what they all agree about.  No violence, specific march routes, permits, generally have port-a-potties, fliers, and street food.  A rally is a celebration.

A protest is done not to talk about goals among themselves but to share their goals with those who don’t agree.  It intends to disrupt the current order to make a change in that order.  Usually done without permits or done beyond the limits of those permits.  Designed to draw as much attention to a topic as possible.  A protest is a disruption.

Kim Davis’s Actions

What Kim Davis did in response to gay marriage become legal in the USA in 2015 is what this is all about so let’s break it down.  In Kentucky, a marriage license is issued in the name of the county clerk, a position that Kim Davis held.

Her beliefs against gay marriage led her a moral need to not have her name on marriage licenses of gay couples.  After turning away a few gay couples and starting to draw national attention she had the office stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

In the initial court fights the court order a temporary stay preventing her from “Applying her ‘no marriage licenses’ policy to future marriage license requests” that was upheld on appeals.  Kim Davis still refused to issue any marriage licenses.

Kim was found in contempt of court and was thrown in jail.  The clerk’s office started issuing marriage licenses to everyone.  5 days later Kim Davis was released from jail.  when she returned to work she altered the marriage forms so they would no longer have her name on them.  Courts ruled that the new forms were legal.

There was great hype on all sides over this.  Much of it was false or overblown. Even though I 100% disagree with what she was fighting against, this action I called a legitimate protest.

Validity of Kim Davis’s protest

How I would argue that her protest was valid was simple.  Someone would bring up a point and I would bring up an example of a similar protest, usually during the civil rights movement or the struggle for interracial marriage.

A recent example:
“What she did was literally against the law. It was not legal…  She didn’t “go to court” she was found in contempt of court and sentenced. There was no trial.”
My response. “Lovings fought interracial marriage law by breaking the law, were held in contempt of court and fought it to the Supreme Court.”

If I was going to ask people on one side of an issue to ignore the protest tactics of the other side to have a discussion about what they are protesting about, I must respect the right of that side to protest in a similar way.

In the realm of protesting, she was in a unique position to make a legitimate protest against gay marriage.  Kim Davis, as a County Clerk, did what she thought was right.  Two years earlier some California County Clerks did the opposite thing after Prop 8 passed banning gay marriage in the state and kept issuing gay marriage licenses.

Then came Charlottesville

It was after watching what was billed as a rally to defend a statue but was in actuality a violent protest for white supremacy.  After watching people getting tossed into the air by that car. After someone died because they stood against Nazis in 2017.  After watching the President defend those white nationalists as “very fine people”  I got angry.

I had arguments with people who were defending Nazis by proxy in the name of free speech.  Free speech does not protect you from consequences from your speech. Outing white supremacists is a good practice of one’s free speech.

Them. “But the KKK guy lost his job! What about his children?”

Me. “Is teaching your kids that other races are inferior and need to die child abuse?  I think so.  Get the kids out of there.”

There needs to be a limit to tolerance or the intolerant will eliminate the tolerant.

Taking a knee

At this point, I had left the whole Kim Davis argument behind.  It wasn’t relevant when discussing Nazis.  Then the president talked about the taking of a knee at NFL games.  The conversation swung back to how people protest not what people protest.  I came across a meme.


I shared it even though it is not the best line up of protests.  Kim Davis refused to do something that was part of their job.  NFL players protest during their job but continued to do their job.  I started to get people saying how she wasn’t protesting and I turned to my old arguments about it.

Then I started to question my belief

In the course of these arguments, a friend of mine went on a fairly good rant.

She was not “protesting” she was being a hateful bitch, and she got caught. …Protest is when the powerless challenge the powers that be to correct course (like Lovings). What she was doing was gate keeping. When opponents of marriage equality lose, they lose nothing. When cops shoot black people and then say they were scared, it’s not a fucking protest. When white male CEOs give promotions to their white male pals and say he earned it, it’s not a protest. When Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian children, it’s not a fucking protest. It’s just exercising their control over the situation to maintain their position of power. When she got caught being a shithead, others came pouring out of the woodwork to defend her, and suddenly she is doing it out of moral goodness? WTF? Was Trayvon Martin’s killer “standing up for what he believed” when he went to trail for murdering a child? No. No, he wasn’t. He was just trying to get away with it. And so was she. So don’t call it a fucking protest. She only started calling it a protest because she was in trouble for being exposed for illegal discrimination. Not. The. Same. Thing.

It really made me think.  Kim Davis used her power to effectively prevent those who fought hard for a right to practice that right.  Laws against racial discrimination did not end racial discrimination.  Once segregation was illegal would it be a protest if a business still kept separate bathrooms for blacks?  If someone were to argue that I cannot hire a black man as a protest in favor of… what? White supremacy.  Would I consider that valid?  Would refusing a marriage license to an interracial couple on religious grounds be a legitimate protest?


As I read again what my friend wrote she is right.  That was my initial reaction when I read it too.  I had to take time to think about it.  My mind drifted to what would be a “Legitimate Protest” for the other side.

Not living the injustice

Sometimes I forget that I am coming at these things as a straight white male.  While I fight for racial justice, woman’s rights, for LGBT rights and other causes, I cannot know their struggles like they do.

When I go home, I get to go home without worrying about a cop stopping me because I’m black.  I don’t worry about what route I take home to avoid being harassed because I’m a woman.  I don’t worry about getting assault because I might pass as straight or the gender I am.  It is not a constant presence in my life and I can just be.  I wish everyone could just be.

What is a legitimate protest?

To that question, I do not know.  What I do know I will not be using Kim Davis as an example of a legitimate protest.  I, in all likelihood, will stop using the term altogether.

As I worked through writing this, some of the things I thought would be important turned out not to be.  I will leave it all in as evidence of the process.  If we are not open to considering that we are wrong how can we convince others to change their mind?


9-11-01 What I Never Forget

What is it that we should never forget?  I won’t forget that both my parents called me that morning unaware of what was going on. Or that my cousin had a baby that day.


I will never forget to watch the towers fall on TV. The brave first responders that ran into the buildings to help.  The people who searched for people and then bodies after.

I remember how 15 of the hijackers and Osama bin Laden were Saudis and much of the money that funded Al Qaeda was Saudi oil money. And finding out that Bush allowed Saudi Nationals to fly out of the country while no one else could fly.

I remember “I can hear you,” “Let’s roll,” and “Mission accomplished.”

I remember Bush and company using 9-11 to get us to attack Iraq.  I remember the forgotten war we are still losing troops in 16 years later. I remember when the number of soldiers who died in the wars surpassed the number we lost on 9-11 (September of 2006)

I remember Bush not blaming the Islamic religion but extremist.  I remember how that shifted when the president changed because he was a secret Muslim.  I remember having to remind people the Obama wasn’t President during 9-11.

I remember the US forgetting its morals in the defense of its liberty.  I remember Guantanamo, rendition, the PATRIOT ACT, Abu Ghraib, torture, Blackwater.  I remember that our enemies use these as recruiting tools.

I remember that my niece, born on that day 16 years ago, is now old enough to drive.

Thoughts on Charlottesville and Aftermath

There has been so much I to be expressed in the wake of Charlottesville and the response afterward.  I will not get to all of it here.  I am going to start with something that seems to be missed in the discussion.  That Friday and Saturday, the police and government officials screwed up.

The Friday night Tiki torch parade of white nationalist came and surrounded a bunch of anti-white nationalist protesters.  The violence that ensued could have been prevented if the police had set up a line between them.  It could have been done.  As soon as one cop saw the line of citronella Nazis moving, they could have easily moved a line of cops in a position to separate the two groups like they do at most every protest/counter protest.

The same thing on the chaos on Saturday morning.  When you watch the shots of the shield bearing clashes there were cops not interfering.  Not keeping the peace.  I’ve seen it done.  I’ve been hemmed in by cops several times.

The tragic homicidal car incident there was nothing the cops could do about that.  The violence that happened earlier could have been prevented by police.  There was a decision made in the chain of command to not interfere.

Now onto the most important thing that not near enough people understand:

Racism exists and has always existed.

Many of you are going “Duh.” but I think it is important at this moment to say it. Charlottesville was not some isolated incident, it is the latest in a line of hate going back to the Civil War.  These groups change names, adjust ideologies and tactics but have always been there.  There core selling point is that if the blacks (And Jews, Native Americans, Mexicans, etc.) are given liberty they will take it from whites.  I will not waste time explaining further, just know that these people exist and have always existed.

These people are not (all) militants living the woods waiting for the second civil war to start.  These are lawyers and policeman, business owners and hiring managers.  People who have the power to change peoples lives for the better or worse.  When a white nationalist banker interviews a black couple about a home loan, it matters.

I know there are those who will argue that there are Blacks that show preferential treatment to Blacks too.  If there had been an equal footing in the past that may make a valid point.  My parents were alive when “Segregation Now” was shouted by a sitting Governor.  Even if the law says we are all equal that doesn’t change people’s minds.  Do you think those thousands that watched and cheered for that Governor’s words, when the law changed, said to themselves, “Guess everything I believe in was wrong. I’m going to teach my children tolerance.”  No, that didn’t happen.  We learn our values from our parents and it takes a lot to change them later in life.

Racism exists. It matters. It influences politics. It influences people’s everyday lives.

So, how should we fight Fascism/White Nationalists?

This is where I have struggled.  Where is that line of response that goes too far?  When is it appropriate to punch a Nazi?  I do not have all the answers to that.

What I can support is the identifying of Nazis.  One thing that has given hate groups power is the ability to act anonymously.  The internet allows one to shout hate without repercussions.  Just as the KKK hood empowered people to hide in the crowd of a lynching.

I also am glad people at the rally are losing jobs.  If they have the power to hire people or influence people’s lives, that have the power to oppress non-whites.  Companies who tolerate that of their employees have bigger issues.

I do not condone death threats to people or threatening one’s family.  Even before Charlottesville, there has been too much of that going on on the Internet.  I think death threats, even over the internet, should be prosecuted as crimes.

I have gone this long without mention the President.  That was intentional.  The only thing I will quickly address is there being good people on both sides.


If you show up to a rally and there are Nazi flags and people shouting “Jews will not replace us.” and don’t leave?  You are showing support for Nazi ideals.  for the slaughtering of Jews.  For the oppression of other races.

And to those who are giving excuses like “Both sides” or think this is about a statue.  Take a long look at who you are sympathizing with.  Are you a Nazi sympathizer? A White Supremacist apologist?

Is our president a racist?