Weekend Watchlist | Superpowered Stories

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Shruti Talekar | Senior Staff Illustrator

By The Pitt News Staff

This week’s streaming recommendations cover the wide world of superpowers — from powerhouse Marvel movies to shows you’ve likely never seen before.

“Jessica Jones” (Netflix) // Alexis Widenhouse, For The Pitt News 

Guys, not all Netflix originals suck. 

If you’re sick of the typical, flashy superhero shows, then Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” may be your newest binge. The story adds a mysterious and intriguing twist on the relatively unfamiliar Marvel comic series “Alias,” originally created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos back in 2001. Recovering from her brief superhero career, the show follows apathetic private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) as she hides in the streets of New York accompanied by her bottles of bourbon and extreme distaste for all things pointless. Trouble finds Jones when notorious supervillain Kilgrave (David Tennant) resurfaces with a threatening vengeance, determined to once and for all keep Jones in his violent grasp. But sometimes, Jones is forced to battle more than just the rogues of the world. Although Jones appears standoffish to other characters, underneath her exterior is a woman riddled with immense pain and trauma caused by her past experiences from childhood. Even superheroes get bogged down by the travesties of life sometimes, and it’s refreshing to see a not-so-perfect superhero for once. Please take caution before watching this show as it deals with difficult topics of mental health and sexual assault.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWHUjuJ8zxE

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (Netflix) // Julia Smeltzer, For The Pitt News 

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is the first animated feature film in the Spider-Man franchise, webbing it’s way onto the big screen in 2018. This friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), follows a parallel storyline compared to that of the original Spider-Man movies as he navigates his life during high school while trying to live up to his father’s expectations. While in the middle of the subway station, Miles gets bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him the superhero abilities of Spider-Man. Throughout the two hour animated film, Miles encounters various Spider-People from different dimensions and time periods, and with the death of one of them, his mission is to continue their legacy with his new abilities. The young novice juggles to fight off his dimension’s evil counterparts, Olivia Octavius (Kathryn Hahn) and Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), while trying to return his friends back to their respected dimensions before they are erased from the universe forever. This Spider-Man spinoff welcomes back familiar characters like Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), and Aunt May (Lily Tomlin), allowing older generations of Spider-Man fans to enjoy the youngest addition to the Spidey family. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4Hbz2jLxvQ

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (Prime Video / Disney+) // Nick Suarez, For The Pitt News

While it certainly stays true to the nebulous superhero genre, the conspiracy and political thriller elements and relative realism (at least when compared to the other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) really make “Captain America: The WInter Soldier” stand out from the crowd.  From the start, Steve Rogers — aka Captain America (Chris Evans) — is shown to be out of his element, whether he’s catching up on modern pop culture or taking part in counter-terrorism operations with secret — and potentially unscrupulous — objectives.  All is soon cast into violent disarray as the Captain and international espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. face the attacks of the Neo-Nazi organization Hydra and their terrifying asset, the Winter Soldier, whose introductory scene solidy places him as one of Marvel’s most intimidating villains. Whether it’s the Winter Soldier’s identity, or the clandestine machinations of Hydra, nothing is as it seems. Steve Roger’s characteristic forthrightness and steady, if simple, moral compass is juxtaposed neatly with the complex ethical and political themes the film weaves into its action-adventure core. Even if you’re not a big fan of superhero films, or if like me you’re drawn more to the grittier tone of Nolan’s Batman trilogy and similar works, “Winter Soldier” is certainly worth the watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbayiPxkUMM

“Avengers: Infinity War” (Disney+) // Diana Velasquez, Senior Staff Writer

It is better than “Endgame.” I’m saying it. In 2018, when the trailer for “Infinity War” dropped for the first time I can remember everyone in my high school running around, crowded over each other’s phones to get a glimpse at what would become the ending of a 10-year movie empire. “Infinity War” is the first Avengers movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to highlight the mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), who had been looming over the MCU for about five years or so as the big bad final boss for Avengers heroes like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thanos is on the prowl for the Infinity Stones to power the Infinity Gauntlet — an unfathomably powerful weapon that could destroy the universe — and wages all out war across the galaxy to find them. The Avengers, recently fractured due to Iron Man and Captain America’s falling out in “Captain America: Civil War,” do their best to mitigate the casualties. Though “Endgame” may hold more sentimentality for people, “Infinity War” is non-stop action that has your heart trapped in your throat, as it seems your favorite heroes just can’t seem to catch a break or one moment of peace even when all seems won. With battles raging from the golden plains of Wakanda to the heart of a literal star, “Infinity War” is a great party movie and one of the best films in the MCU library. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZfuNTqbHE8

“One Punch Man” (Netflix) // Sarah Stager, Contributing Editor

“One Punch Man” has a short and sweet synopsis — it’s an anime about a man who can defeat any villain with one punch. While that premise could easily become stale after the first few times Saitama, our hero, overcomes evil without even the slightest struggle, the humor with which the show handles normal superhero tropes and a vast and varied cast of silly side characters will keep you on your toes. Saitama inhabits a world with many superheroes who are all sorted by the bureaucratic Hero Association in tiers of strength, from unfortunate, trod-upon C-level heroes to elite, snooty S-level heroes. Instead of the show featuring Saitama in extended battles with villains, he must struggle against the more insipid and abstract evils of bureaucratic red tape. Despite his massive strength, he ends up in the C tier, where other superheroes look down upon him in contempt and even his most astonishing feats are never acknowledged by a wider audience. For those who enjoy the heat of battle, however, never fear — plenty of Saitama’s sidekicks get a piece of the action before our hero finally shows his face. With its deadpan humor and crisp animation, “One Punch Man” is sure to be a hit with anyone who is in the mood for a superhero story with a particularly spicy twist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JAElThbKrI

 

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