Series Review – Legion

Legion_06Oh My Fu***ing God.

David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever.’ (IMDb) (8 ep. of apx. 1h)

This is Awesome. Yes, Awesome with capital A. I was so surprised by this series and I honestly to god do not know how I feel after finishing it. Each episode is crazier then the one before. I won’t really do an episode-by-episode review, but the main review will be mostly about the first 4 chapters/episodes.

May contain small spoilers

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The first episode starts with a short montage where we see David grow from a baby and where we see the first moments his power escapes him. It’s interesting to see, because the way it was filmed and edited gives us a small preview of how the series will be. It will be fucked up, full of colours and will give us an inside look of how his brain works.

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The entire episode is a mix between the real world, where it’s made clear to us it’s real, and the inside of David his brain, with quickier editing, full of colours (red and others) and flashes of light. It’s crazy, it’s colourful, it’s bright, it’s flashy and it’s so, so good. Next to the fantastic cinematography and the crazy editing, we also have some amazing actors.

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Dan Stevens, who we all know and love from Downton Abbey, gets all the attention here. He’s marvelous. He’s crazy, but human. You immediately feel sorry for him and you immediately feel with him. Here Dan gets full freedom to showcase his incredible acting skills. The important thing here is that he’s supported by other amazing characters. Next to David’s craziness, it’s the realness of the side characters that made this a real treat and really interesting. Here I want to give a big round of applause to Aubrey Plaza who gave a beautiful, yet crazy rendition of Lenny Busker, David’s best friend in the hospital. She grounds the story and makes him a bit more human.

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While I will try to not give any spoilers here, or at least try to, I still want to give a quick note about the second episode. Here we get to the mutant base, where David gets to know his real powers. He’s told repeatedly that he’s not crazy, but just super powerful. He needs to control it, because he’s the key. To what? Nobody knows. They tell him the key to winning the war but also to something else. We get a lot of questions, that aren’t all answered in this season.

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In the third episode we get even more questions. Who is Division 3? What do they want from David? What does Dr. Melanie Bird want from David? The dynamic here between David and Syd remains the same. We see Syd being a more reasonable voice in the craziness of David’s life and actions. She’s there to pull him back and to keep him from making rash decisions.

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Something else I loved in this series are Ptonomy’s powers. Going back to ones memories and seeing them again is just so interesting. Here we get to know a bit more about David’s history and what he went through. But it gets crazier. Syd implored them to take her with them in his memories because she believes she can help, and what they get to see is mindblowing. In the crazy-sense of the word.

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They see his nightmares, things he was afraid of when he was little and the more he sees these things, the more he gets out of control and the more his powers control those of Ptonomy and kicks them out. After sedating David to a point where his powers can’t affect them anymore, they go back in and there shit hits the fan. I’m not going into details here, because you have to see it to experience it fully, but this is an excellent piece of montage and lighting, giving us a sense of how his mind works and how crazy it all is in there.

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The entire series is an introduction to the characters, to the world and to the story they want to tell. You have to get used to the way they want to tell the story, but once you get used to it, it’s a rollercoaster of craziness. I liked it a lot, because it showcases the talents of the editors, but showcases the craziness that is this world and this story as well.

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It’s definitely a must-watch and I can’t wait until the second season to see where they will take this story. I hope they go even further and keep those crazy revelations coming. This entire season had twists and turns in every episode and it’s so binge worthy that I already told all my friends to watch it.

8/10 stars.  

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Series Review – 13 Reasons Why

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Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.’ (IMDb) (Netflix, 13 episodes of ap. 1h)

This struck too close to home. It struck close, and hard, and deep. Especially the truth it portrayed gave my chivers but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I already feel this will be a short review. I’m not going to go into details and I don’t want to do a recap by episode, as I sometimes do with other series. But I did want to talk about my thoughts and feelings watching this series. So, it won’t be a full review either. Not now, not just yet.

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It didn’t go easily. I stopped watching after the first one and then again after the third one. Just because it struck so close to home and I saw things happening that I knew friends or myself went through. It was hard. They don’t shy away from the truth. They choose to express it fully and wholly. To let everybody see what impact someone’s actions can have on one person. For that I will be forever grateful. And I will promote this series to friends and family and strangers. So everybody knows it or at least has heard of it, and so that they may (maybe) understand what some individuals go through.

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This theme is hard. That is the truth. Teenagers can be assholes. Teenagers can be cruel. And when you’re also a teenager, finding your way in your new body, your new life, then hearing and seeing and going through such things, hit much harder. You’re just not in that place yet where you can dismiss it or give it the right place. Not yet.

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So yes, this series struck close to home. I cried my eyes out and I felt things I haven’t felt in a long time. But it also felt like a closure for me. Being older and thinking back, I finally can close some of the chapters in my life that were still seeping through in my current life, that were still controlling me. I can finally give it a place.

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After episode 4 or 5 I watched almost all of it in one setting. On the one side, I needed it to be over, on the other I was eagerly awaiting the moment Clay got to his tape. (I cried all over here) He broke my heart all over again, realizing what he did or didn’t do. Just a beautiful moment.

This entire series is carried by the actors. They are all fabulous and bring over the emotions without overacting, without pushing it too hard. They are real teenagers and you can easily place yourself in their place. I now understand when Selena Gomez (producer on this series) told that they waited to tell the story until they found their perfect cast. And they succeeded.

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The last episode hit the hardest. They show everything. Everything. And it wasn’t easy to watch it. It wasn’t at all. But it is the truth. And everybody should know it. Because it isn’t easy and it never will be and it can never become easy.

I talked about it with a friend who also watched it, realizing as well it hit too close to home and got through it. Both of us agreed that this is the best way to show it. It is much more important to open a discussion about it, letting everybody know it is ok to think it once in awhile, and most importantly that there are people to talk to. And I’ve always been open about it, letting people know I understand and I want to be there to help others through it.

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I especially hate all the commotion that came around it: that Netflix didn’t put enough information around the series about places people can go too if they need help. That this isn’t a series for young people. That it is too hard. They do have a point. But I think it’s way more important to be open and honest, especially with teenagers, and talk about it. Not hiding it, because then it gets worse. Trust me, I grew up in a household were talking about real, hard emotions wasn’t possible. Where the perception others had of us as a family, was more important. I’ll say no more about this, but please talk about this. Don’t shove it away. This is too important. 

What do you think about this entire topic? Did you watch it? Let me know in the comments… And please be respectful and share the love around… This world is too beautiful to ruin it with poison.

9/10 stars… yes, a very high score… Both for its performances and quality, and for the message it gives to teenager. There’s already a second season in the pipeline and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with this one.

Series Review – Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke_01‘Given superstrength and durability by a sabotaged experiment, a wrongly accused man escapes prison to become a superhero for hire.’ (IMDb) (On Netflix, 13 episodes of ap. 55min.)

I’m actually really surprised with this series. I thought it was going to be a little bit the same thing as with Daredevil or Jessica Jones, darker, grittier, with superpowers and one evil guy. But here it’s more a drama, a story of a man trying to find his place in this world and it’s definitely a gangster story.

While there are still some supernatural elements to this series (I mean Luke Cage is strong, really strong and can’t be killed), the story shifts its focus early on to the story of Harlem and the fight between two strong men trying to save it. On the one hand we have Cottonmouth, played perfectly by Mahershala Ali, where we can see the corrupt side of Harlem, the gangsters, the fighting, blood, weapons, tied together with his cousin Mariah, a corrupt politician, using corrupt money to buy her seat in the council and putting up her projects. On the other hand we have Pop (only there for a few episodes, but one hell of a character) and Luke Cage off course, portrayed by Mike Colter, trying to fight of Cottonmouth and his band, trying to find his place in this world and keep his own past hidden from the people of Harlem.

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While this series does focus more on these two sides, I do feel that the entire show wouldn’t be what it is without the great actors that play the different characters. Mike Colter is Luke Cage. He is huge, but still vulnerable. He’s distant, but still nice and friendly to others. There hasn’t been any other series where actor and character fit so well.

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I especially enjoyed the episode where we see how Luke Cage got his powers. The little peak in his past and what he endured in prison, gave me a better understanding of his current character. I do however still feel we’re missing another piece of the puzzle to truly understand how he got to who he is. Why did he have to go to prison? He was framed apparently, but why and how? And after the revelation of who Diamondback is, I feel like getting to know his childhood as well gave us a better understanding of his character. I would have liked to see his past explained a bit more. They went over it a little too fast in my opinion.

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The only thing that I did miss a bit, was the supernatural side of things. In Daredevil and Jessica Jones and off course in all the other movies, we see supernatural things happening and this all is off course a huge part of the Marvel Universe. So this felt totally different and I’m wondering how they will incorporate this and his story into The Defenders storyline. I would have liked to see the storyline of his powers expanded a little bit and to see other characters with supernatural or otherworldly abilities. 

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Being one of the latest installment of Marvel on Netflix, I do feel it stands out by being more a gangster story and drama, then a real superhero story. After Iron First, that’s already available on Netflix (I’m currently watching this, review to come really soon), The Defenders will be the next series from Marvel to hit our screens all over the world, followed shortly by The Punisher. With a third series for Daredevil, and a second season for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, Netflix will be full of Marvel for the following years. And I kinda like it.  

7/10 stars