Thursday, March 12, 2015
Powers Review A Superhero Show PlayStation Made Not Very Well
I just sat through the first three episodes of Powers. A show that was in development Hell and was suppose to be on FX, based on a comic by Marvel's Editor-in-chief Brian Michael Bendis. It doesn't come over to television well. It's like a fish flopping out of it's bowel wondering what went wrong and if someone can help get it back in. The fish is just flopping about on your floor and you don't know if you should just wait for it to die or put it back in.
In Powers, superheros have been the norm at least since the 70's. We meet up with Christian Walker, a former hero turned cop when he was de-powered years ago. At his peak he was considered one of the best heroes of them all going by the name Diamond. In the first episode set in LA, we see his not so average day go bad as his division, Powers division, it handles all the super powered menaces. His partner bites the dust in the silliest, nonchalant way by being thrown into the corner of a wall by a super-villain being put in a jail cell. CGI blood sprays everywhere. Then the news picks up the story with footage of what happened inside Powers division. Not black and white cameras or different angles of what we saw. No, the news got the same exact view that viewers did. Setting the tone for how lazy the show can be.
Problems with the news getting the footage.
1. What was recording what happened in the station.
2. Why was that footage released.
3. Security compromised.
4. In a later episode someone uses a phone to record another incident at the Powers Division and leaks it to the media. That means someone working on the show understood that someone or some installed device had to record footage and then send it out to the media.
Walker gets a new partner in Deena Pilgrim played by Susan Heyward. To replace the dead one, who has his blood left on the wall for Deena to be "inspired." Deena was part of the Sheriff's Department before coming over to Powers, she makes a lot of rookie mistakes and for the first three episodes does nothing to help anyone as does Walker. They try and ultimately do nothing helpful for anyone.
There first case together is trying to figure out who killed one of Walker's former teammates, Gladiator. Gladiator died while getting a BJ from a young girl named Calista Secor played by Olesya Rulin. This scene is played up for laughs as are many trying to get a Kick-Ass vibe. Though none come close as being well made in look and set-up as Kick-Ass, they all come off as cheap. This leads us following Calista, followed by Walker and Deena on a trail over super drugs that give people powers or increase the powers of already powered people.
This is a heavy amount of material to fill up the first three episodes of the series. Instead of building up a relationship with Deena and Walker, perhaps seeing some common crimes or even a smaller arc we're thrust into a complex plot. A plot involving major drugs distribution and plans by major super-villains.
Our heroes are nothing to be proud of. Deena is a very annoying character. She's feisty and very gutsy and so far has shown nothing to back up her bravado. If the character was designed to be annoying, then great. She fights not only Walker, her new partner who's last partner just died and one of his old friend's was murdered, but anyone else she encounters. She picks fights with people who have powers when she has no training on how to fight them.
Training? Powers division has none. If you were a cop and have never fought anyone with super powers you don't need any special training or body armor, just field experience. Which failed horribly for Pilgrim as she got knocked out by someone with electric powers on arrest.
Then there's Sharlto Copley playing a detective from a film noir movie. His voice is so raspy it's like his channeling an easier going Batman. He acts like a film noir detective, out of palce in this story, and there's little to like about him. Though everyone in division and the average hero still love him.
All Walker wants is his powers back and that leads to some silly moments with Wolf. He's either seeing the villain in his head or from some sort of psychic connection. Wolf, only seen by Walker in certain moments keeps asking how it feels not to have powers. These leads to Walker having acting-like-baby moments. Ahhhh! I want my powers back. I'm already sick of that schtick.
Wolf was Walker's former mentor turned into a super-villain who ate people and took Walker's powers. Now he's stuck in "The Shaft", a super prison, constantly being tortured and naked. The reasoning of him being tortured is that if Wolf every full gains consciousnesses he'll be too much of a threat. That means someone gives him a metal prick in his brain every couple of minutes. I think he'd rather have the death penalty. Why he's naked? No reason given. He's just naked.
Overarching with Wolf and the following of Calista is the spread of a super drug from Johnny Royal played by Noah Taylor, another formal disciple of Wolf whose plotting something big for LA. He can pop in out of places and take people or just parts of them with him. He has a multi-minion in Simons, a henchmen with the power to duplicate himself. So far they've been the focus of the most impressive use of special effects on the show and be the main bad guys.
The story has been generally focused on Calista and with her attitude of playing both Walker and Johnny and anybody else she encounters, like Retro Girl played by Michelle Forbes, it's hard not too hate her character too. Retro Girl picks up Calista as she's trying to fly off a tall building, but just falls with a powerless Walker holding on to her. Retro Girl has a bitter relationship with Walker, they were former team-mates and possibly something more with thrown out exposition to Calista and how they leave messages on each others voicemail.
Superhero kid's culture is another part of this show with too much going on in the first episodes. Walker and Pilgrim track Calista through the kids of superheroes having parties, acting like punks in the cities underground. Walker meets an up-and-coming hero Zora played by Logan Browning. The audience is suppose to feel that Walker might try and hit-up this teenage super hero for sex. It's so poorly played out that you never feel he'll sink that low. Is he suppose to?
There's another subplot with the son of Walker's former partner hating superheroes and falling in love with Calista.
Call it Walker and Calista, it's not about two buddy cops coming from two separate world trying to put away super-powered villains. That's a nice premise. Instead the series seems to think it's cancelled from the start and is trying to cram a movies into too many episodes. In three episodes so far Walker and Pilgrim have been doing a terrible job on stopping anyone and there's been no build up. It's the reverse of Agents of SHIELD.
Going over a general mining of the Internet you'll be seeing many reviews of the series giving it a thumbs down. Can't wait for how bad Dead Rising does, that looks even worse and cheaper than Powers.
With the PlayStation Network having such close ties to Sony, a major production studio, you can easily fault for their negligence in look and feel...just overall enjoyment.
Powers is available on the PlayStation Network.