Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Review

Mission Impossible has always been a fun series and I was looking forward to this film. It was one of the few films that I thought had a chance to dethrone Pixels. It turns out that this wasn’t a very tough feat at all, but the film did not disappoint. Aside from Age of Ultron, this one’s easily the best film that I’ve seen in theaters this year from the live action titles. Off the top of my head it manages to dethrone MI 4 and the original film as the definitive best title, but it has been quite a while since I’ve seen those.

Ethan Hunt has been helping the IMF for quite a while, but it cannot be denied that there is typically a lot of collateral damage. As such, the organization is disbanded and the CIA claims its assets. Ethan goes off the grid to try and learn more about a shadow organization that has been committing acts of terrorism across the globe. Months later, Ethan has finally gotten a solid link on the adversaries and calls in one of his old partners, Benji, to help him with this fight. Together along with a member of the Syndicate (Shadow Organization) who claims to not be loyal to the cause, the three heroes embark on this perilous journey.

Naturally, this is the kind of film where you don’t really want to trust anyone. The characters could turn on each other at any minute and what’s a Mission Impossible film without a few twists and obstacles? That being said, if you believe in the Hollywood style enough, you should be able to see through most of the film’s deceptions. Now, why was this film a cut above the rest? It all goes down to a few elements.

For starters, the writing is good in this movie. As it’s essentially a battle of wits between Ethan and Solomon, the writing needed to be good or things could have gotten pretty dicey. Both characters try to stay one step ahead of the other, although it’s a much tougher task for Ethan since he has no resources for most of the adventure and has to make do with what he’s got. Solomon also has an entire organization to back him up.

The action scenes are pretty fun. There’s a motorcycle race between Ethan and the villains as they all cruise along at top speeds. Ethan has experience in all speeding vehicles so he’s definitely prepared for such a challenge. It’s definitely the best action sequence in the film and does a good job of showing Ethan’s skills as an agent. There’s also a car chase and then the stunt scenes like Ethan going underwater or hanging onto an airplane. Those were all fairly well done and holding one’s breath for so long is a good feat.

The hand to hand battles are also nice and fast paced. They’re a little more violent than the older films as the heroes literally break their opponents a lot of time. For current fight scenes, the trend is to hear the bones breaking and put a lot of emphasis on when the heroes pull a General Zod moment, but it never gets too over the top and you can still appreciate how skilled Ethan is when he’s fighting off the opponents.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m definitely a big fan of the character. Ethan’s been a consistently solid agent since the first film and his skills have improved. He’s not portrayed as being invincible in hand to hand combat as a random thug was overpowering him in a fair fight, but he makes up for that with his other skills. Like James Bond, Ethan has a license to kill and he gives it a real workout here. He’s essentially a legal assassin so you shouldn’t expect him to take any prisoners. It’s simply not his way. That being said, compared to other secret agents who do whatever they want in the process of completing the mission like James Bond or even Jason Bourne, Ethan is simply better at the job. He’s far more professional than James Bond and I’d say that he’s smarter than Bourne.

That being said, the film probably does rub our nose in it a little too much. I don’t believe that Ethan could successfully follow the Syndicate around the world for months without his government status. He somehow manages to also stay one step ahead of the CIA along the way and makes himself a base filled with lots of high tech equipment. I definitely think that it’s a stretch, but Mission Impossible is all about doing the impossible so it’s not something to think about too much. Plot hax is always around if you know where to look.

While Ethan is easily my favorite character in the film, I also like Brandt. He’s the connection on the government side of things and he almost could have been the main character if not for Ethan always stealing the spotlight. He acts like a leader and he’s quite skilled although he’s no Ethan Hunt. Without Brandt helping with the legal aspects of the situation, Ethan would have likely been doomed. Benji is a big player in this film, but I can’t say that I’m a fan. He’s not a bad character, but I feel like he doesn’t really add anything to the film except to be there for when Ethan needs an extra man. I would have preferred Brandt to have been the co-star, but he was definitely needed in the CIA plot.

Another one of Ethan’s friends, Luther shows up during the film. After the opening scene, he essentially vanished until the halfway point or maybe even later. He’s good and his computer skills are top notch. He doesn’t get much to do compared to the other members, but he helps out when the team is in a pinch. The leader of the CIA was a fairly likable character and you couldn’t help, but root for him at times. He always meant well and looking at things from his perspective, it’s hard to deny that he made some good calls. Destroying the IMF? It’s probably a good idea, but he would need to have a backup squad ready ASAP before the villains got any ideas.

As for the villains, let’s start off with Solomon. He’s actually a good villain who thinks things through and did a good job of outsmarting the heroes for a while. He has one “intimidation” scene that will make you wince and/or roll your eyes, but that was the only scene where he wasn’t impressive. I like how he turned the whole “Should you accept it” speech around on Ethan. He did it twice, but the first time was certainly the best moment. It really came out of nowhere and while we knew that the villain would make a move, it’s safe to say that nobody expected it to be so epic. It made the wait for the rematch that much more epic.

There were other villains like the “Bone Doctor” who gave the film some fights. Beyond them, the other big character would be the heroine, Ilsa. Throughout the film, you have to decide if you will trust her or not. I give the film some major props for not trying to turn her into a love interest for Ethan. That would have been pretty terrible and most films make that mistake, but not this one. Ilsa is used for some slight fanservice in one or two scenes, but it’s slight at least and not played up. (As it would certainly be in a lesser film) Ilsa’s a good character, but at the same time, she doesn’t think about her current situation enough. She takes a whole lot of risks for her country, but it goes into dicey territory with how unnecessary a lot of them are. She should realize that she’s just being used and act accordingly. Ilsa also came close to destroying Ethan on several occasions and you have to wonder if she meant to or not since depending on the answer, it does make her look bad. On the bright side, while it was at the expense of the British, the American Government looks nice and fair by comparison this time.

Rogue Nation has a lot of intense action scenes, but it’s also a lot of fun throughout and has a similar upbeat tone to that of The Avengers. People in the audience cracked up when the M16 chief got shot because of his extremely mild/dazed response. The film also has a good amount of witty banter about it. It never turns into full on comedy mode, but has enough light moments to keep you entertained throughout the film. It’s only around 2 hours, but the film really crams in a ton of content so the movie is always going.

I have to note that the film also uses a retro effect that I haven’t seen some time. Remember a few decades ago when the opening credits of a film would show scenes from the actual film that hadn’t happened yet? This one does that as the credits were rolling and it’s interesting. I’m actually not a huge fan of this since it’s showing you scenes that are about to happen, but I suppose that it could be a good way to generate hype. I dunno, I’m still against it, but it’s worth noting.

One thing that I liked about the ending was who the new recruit to the IMF was. It’s the perfect situation since as long as this person remains in the shadows, the IMF can do whatever they want. Of course, with no one to check on them, the IMF has to be very careful that they don’t go down a similar path like the Syndicate. As mentioned several times, Ethan is a gambler and the IMF takes a lot of huge risks. They will fail sometimes, but at least they still save lives whenever they enter the field.

Finally, I can’t forget to mention that the soundtrack is really good. The opening theme that played sounded an awful lot like a Terminator remix and then we also got the classic MI theme a few times during the film. It was a great selection of themes to be sure and they helped to make the film even more fun than it could have been. It’s safe to say that no other live action film this year will be able to defeat this film except for possibly Star Wars and even that only has a really slim shot. Mission Impossible is just too fun a franchise and can hold its own with any big title.

Overall, Rogue Nation is another win for the Mission Impossible series. On the record, I believe that it is the best MI title to date, but the series has had a good track record of aging well so it’s possible that the older titles will age slower than this one and overtake it. We shall see, but I don’t see myself lowering this score anytime soon so they will have to catch up to it. With fun fight scenes and an epic soundtrack, this film had all the tools needed to be a winner. There are a lot of things that can happen in the next film since it’s essentially a clean slate right now. If you want to check out an action film, this is the perfect one for you.

Overall 8/10

Phenomenon Review

Time to look at an older film that I hadn’t really heard of before I saw it. The title of the film is interesting as I like movie names that are short and to the point. 1 word can be the best way to go about things, but it isn’t always possible. It’s still neat that this film was able to use such a title and it ended up being pretty good so now I can always think of it when I hear the word Phenomenon. While the alien angle wasn’t played up as much as it could have been, it wasn’t too necessary for the plot progression.

George was just a normal guy who bought a lot of chairs and led an easy life. He got along with everyone and many would probably call it an ideal life back in the day. One day, he sees a UFO, which bestows unlimited knowledge upon him. Well…not unlimited, but he can now use a much greater portion of his brain, which allows him to perform incredible feats. George can learn languages in mere minutes, sense other people by connecting to their brainwaves, and much more. He instantly became the smartest man on the planet by a large margin. Unfortunately, this turns the town against him as well as…the government!

Phenomenon is a very calm film and can also be thought of as a slice of life romance film. George tries to continue living his life like normal, but it quickly becomes impossible for him. The other townsfolk start to become fearful and jealous of his abilities and they all have their own theories about why he has his powers. They continue to pressure him and the only person George can find any peace with it Lace. Lace is a lady that he tried to get friendly with, but she always gave him the cold shoulder. After all, she doesn’t want to get into any complicated affairs at the moment. It’s a very noble sentiment.

That being said, this is a film so the romance ultimately comes about anyway. It certainly wasn’t needed and George should have stayed in the friend zone. Lace wasn’t a bad character and she really tried to make it on her own as she sold her chairs, but it’s just not a great market so it wasn’t her best move. It was a small town as well so there definitely weren’t many potential buyers.

It was fun to see the government get involved even if they were very antagonistic in this film. It’s safe to say that they weren’t too happy about George getting his powers since it meant that he could decipher anything now. They even used him to spy on the US allies. That felt a little unnecessary, but at least the government was tough here. George’s only hope was to use his wits to escape from them and that happens to be his most potent weapon. That being said, he did start it since he cracked their code on live radio.

George was a likable main character. As mentioned earlier, he always meant well and you could tell that he was a nice guy. Once he became a genius, the information did start to make him act a little hyper, probably a side effect of the powers. Still, he managed to keep it in control. One part that was a little iffy was how he tried match maker for his friend. That could have seriously backfired and George put the guy in a tough spot. Still, it all ended well enough, but it was another plot that I could have done without.

The ending is actually a little somber although not quite as somber as it could have been. Originally, I thought that it may have ended with the government kidnapping George. The lead was presumed dead at that point, but he managed to escape later on. Had the film ended like that, it would have definitely been very iffy as the government would have looked pretty sinister. They still planned on doing it, which doesn’t even make that much sense. With George’s great amount of intelligence, they should have just kept him as a secret weapon.

Again, it needs to be stressed that this is essentially a slice of life drama first and foremost. If you’re watching this film for the action scenes or to see some general excitement, this isn’t the film for you. It’s a really dialogue based movie that moves along at a relatively slow pace. So long as the dialogue is good, I’m all set for a movie that’s all about talking and this film did well enough in that aspect.

If it had taken another route, it could have been even better or maybe not as good. For example, the alien route could have been taken as George fights off an invasion. That sounds epic, but we can only guess as to how that would have played out. I’d love to find out, but this version was still fun as well. It’s unfortunate that George couldn’t have a happier ending especially with the “sequel” that came out, but it’s just how it goes sometimes I suppose. At least the dog had a happy ending, which was a very good thing. If he had gotten injured, that would have been no good!

There’s not a whole lot to say about this film besides that. Naturally there are no action scenes or a soundtrack to mention. The villagers are definitely pretty bad and you will feel sorry for George a lot of the time since he can never get any peace. At least they didn’t go over the top like trying to break down his house as I almost expected that towards the end. The film deals with interesting concept like what you would do if you never had to sleep and were a super genius, but not enough so that I need to super analyze it. I do like to think of the possibilities though as I would definitely become a professional gamer and contribute to dozens of sites if I never had to sleep. That concept alone can keep you thinking for hours and hours on end! What would you do with the extra time? Think about it.

Overall, Phenomenon was a good film. It was certainly more enjoyable than I had anticipated. You need to be ready for a slow pace, but I do tend to enjoy those films a lot when they are well made. The characters were likable and even the government got involved! I always get a kick out of that. The villagers were definitely made to be unlikable and gave George a tough time, but at least he still made the most out of his days and didn’t let them get to him all that much. They did to an extent, but at least he always had 2-4 friends who stuck with him. Without them, the film likely would have been a lot more grim and less enjoyable so I’m glad that George had some pals. I definitely recommend this film as it’s very thoughtful and interesting.

Overall 7/10

The Amazing Spider Man The Complete Alien Costume Saga Book 1 Review

It’s time to look at another volume which shows Spider Man how he was in the classic days of Spiderman. The Alien Costume Saga is certainly long as it spans two rather large collections. This volume was about 500 pages so it was like reading an essential collection. This is mainly due to the fact that Spider Man was regularly appearing in Marvel Team Up as well as the Peter Parker series so his costume got to appear quite a lot back in those days. He handles himself pretty well for the most part, but the comic is slightly hurt by his relationship with Black Cat in this collection.

The series constantly intermingle so the plot is all over the place. Let’s start with one series at a time as that will make things easier. Marvel Team Up tends to be fairly stand aloneish so let’s lead off with those issues. The first Team Up issue dealt with a case that Daredevil and Spiderman had worked on a while back before Spiderman vanished. Spiderman came back and decided to help, but found out that Daredevil struck a deal with the Kingpin. It’s an intriguing one and it allows the villains to escape so Spiderman questions Daredevil’s heroics. The hero will likely have to deal with that in his own comics. There wasn’t a lot of action in this story, but the guest stars were fun and Black Widow even had a minor role.

Spider Man then met up with Captain Marvel for a two part adventure as he got to go to another world to fight for her freedom along with Star Fox. I definitely still don’t care for that guy, but the space adventure was fun. Spider Man also got to team up with Moon Knight and Iron Man in other issues. Each comic was interesting and I’ve always liked the Marvel Team Up comics. It was a good way for heroes to meet up back in the day before there were guest stars in just about every issue.

The issues in The Spectacular Spider Man mainly dealt with the Black Cat plot. She made a deal with the Kingpin that she doesn’t think Spiderman would approve of so she has kept her new powers a secret from everyone. She can manipulate luck so that’s a very easy power to keep hidden as no one can simply find it out without some kind of complex plan. The drama continues as the heroes fight opponents like the Blob. (The Blob’s ending is actually quite tragic and even Spider Man couldn’t save his friend this time) Black Cat’s power saves Spider Man more than once so the abilities have come in handy.

That being said, Kingpin certainly has an angle here. He sends The Answer to test the heroes and the guy actually manages to get the upper hand on Spiderman and Black Cat. Granted, Spiderman was exhausted and Black Cat hadn’t mastered her abilities yet. Still, I’m really liking The Answer at the moment and he’s definitely an underrated Spiderman villain. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in volume 2. They just don’t make villains like this one very often. He always talks tough and fights strategically since he’s basically just an average joe. There’s also a two part issue where Spiderman helps Cloak and Dagger out, but that wasn’t the most thrilling adventure.

Finally, we have the stories in the main series. Spider Man fought a whole lot of villains in these stories. The Puma was sent by the Rose to take down Spider Man and it made for a pretty even fight. That guy is definitely no pushover and that’s why they say that he’s never failed a mission yet. Luckily, the guy is honorable so he decides not to finish the Wall Crawler off yet since Spider Man was so weakened. He seems like a good villain and definitely a likable opponent for Spiderman. (I keep alternating between Spider Man and Spiderman, but that’s because both spellings work for me and it’s also tough to just choose one at times)

Due to how Spiderman is constantly fighting, he’s almost always tired, which is too bad. Not to mention that the symbiote also likes to take him for a spin every night so Peter Parker can’t enjoy his sleep. The Rose plots in the background, but he hasn’t really done anything yet. Jack O Lantern and the Red Ghost also make appearances, but they are seriously outmatched against Spiderman in his new attire.

In the final comic, Spiderman finally realizes how deadly the Venom costume is and the Fantastic Four help him get rid of it. Spiderman had to use the old Paper Bag costume to leave, but at least he could be himself again. After all, while the Spiderman part of the plot may have sounded simple, the Parker Luck ensured that there was still a lot of human drama to deal with. For the most part, it’s always handled well in these issues and is typically why Spiderman’s comics were always so interesting. There were always so many plots present and things were always happening.

Peter finally found out that Mary Jane already knew that he was Spiderman. This definitely came as a shock to him since he thought that he had done such a great job of keeping that under wraps. I’m sure that this is a plot which will be more prevalent in future issues. Aunt May is also very upset with Peter at the moment since our daring hero decided to drop out of college. It was definitely a dicey move, but it makes sense since Peter would be late to every class anyway. Of course, explaining that without revealing his identity proved to be very difficult and Aunt May isn’t even on speaking terms with him anymore. In that plot, things continue to go from bad to worse. Robbie is also letting his new position as Editor get to him. Power corrupts after all and he’s slowly drifting away from Peter. Of course, you can’t blame him completely since Peter apparently doesn’t know how to shoot pictures very well. With no formal training, Black Cat is already better than him in that area.

The only plot that I wasn’t a big fan of was the Black Cat one. It’s good that she is actually trying to turn over a new leaf and you will feel bad for her since she went to all the trouble of getting some powers to help Spiderman out, but they also got her into a sticky situation with the Kingpin. I wouldn’t mind this plot at all if it wasn’t for the whole romance between the characters. Black Cat still won’t acknowledge Peter as Spiderman’s alter ego and Peter can’t really take a hint as he keeps on bringing up his human life to her. Naturally, this means that the two of them are constantly disagreeing about this and it gets old fast. Also, Spiderman’s not quite as reserved as you would expect as he and Black Cat are constantly acting like a couple on various rooftops instead of trying to get past the other issues. If this were a modern comic, I’m sure that it would be 100x worse. On the bright side, Peter isn’t cheating on anyone since he’s not together with Mary Jane at the moment, but I still don’t approve of this relationship at the moment since it really doesn’t seem to be working. There’s also a subplot where Spiderman keeps brushing off Harry, but that’s basically the norm between them and I’m sure that this will make Harry turn into the Green Goblin pretty soon!

As you would expect, the art is quite good. It’s very consistent and The Amazing Spider Man has had good art from day one. The art style has naturally switched a little since then and likewise with the other series like Marvel Team Up, but all of the issues look good. This helps for the action scenes as well as the regular dialogue ones. Coupled with the consistently good writing that the series has at its disposal, this is a very solid Spiderman comic. There really aren’t any unlikable characters because they are all written well. Even Black Cat who I am typically not a fan of to say the least isn’t bad here. She feels more like a real character who isn’t one dimensional and can actually be sympathetic as she is trying to solve her problems on her own. She does nearly give away Spiderman’s secret identity on more than one occasion, but she was in danger from The Answer so you can’t blame her for panicking a little. It certainly captures your attention from start to finish and I still miss this series. I think it could be a very long time before I read Book 2, but it’ll be fun to see this saga continued.

I take a lot of shots at Dan Slott’s writing, but reading a comic like this one just helps to fuel that. The Amazing Spider Man was a legendary series that did well for decades and decades. It’s the main reason as to why I like Spider Man so much and it was consistently one of the best comics on the shelf despite not having as many big names or guest stars as other series. That’s because the world around Peter Parker is always interesting and he has such a good supporting group. I’m not sure when the comics started to go downhill, but they were evidently still really good here. It’s too bad that Spiderman isn’t always portrayed like the seasoned veteran that he is in these issues. If he was, I think more people would take him seriously. After all, he traded blows with guys like Thor, Hulk, Juggernaut, and Thanos back in the day. I don’t really see that happening quite as much nowadays although he did really well in Ends of The Earth. I’m hoping that Spiderman will return to his former glory someday, but we may just have to wait a while.

Overall, The Alien Book Saga is a fun restart to the Spiderman series as it takes place immediately after Secret Wars. We even see him leave the portal and save someone right after the cosmic adventure. (Twice thanks to the spinoff series) There are dozens of plots going on for both Peter Parker and Spiderman so the writer really knew what he was going. Some plots can go on for dozens of issues, which definitely makes the readers have to be patient to see where they go. I’m most interested in what The Answer will do from here as he has really been an awesome villain. Spiderman is portrayed well for the most part and the supporting characters are good. With good writing and nice looking art throughout the volume, it’s definitely hard to get much better than this. I definitely recommend the volume to all Spider Man fans and while the main plot of the symbiote suit hasn’t actually gone anywhere yet, there are a lot of other plots going on so it’s fun to see them all converge eventually. The series is never done and I shall be reviewing another Spiderman comic very soon!

Overall 8/10

Pixels Review

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Hyped to be one of the greatest comedy films of the decade, I was looking forward to Pixels. In case you were curious, I was the one who was hyping it up. Donkey Kong and Pac Man were going to be in the same film. How could you not get excited when Super Smash Bros was finally coming to life? The first trailer was incredible and it was actually taken seriously for a while. The second half of the trailer hinted that the film would be a comedy, but for most of it, it looked like a serious action thriller. The film wasn’t anything like that, but it’s nice to think of how it could have been.

The film begins with Sam as a kid going to the arcade with his friend. Right from the start, we learn that he’s a pretty selfish/immoral kid who doesn’t mind stealing money from a little girl who was selling lemonade. That was just terrible and it was an early sign that this character would not be heroic. Sam lost a big tournament of video games and his life spiraled out of patrol. He became a part of a Nerds brigade and spends his time flirting. Luckily, Sam’s friend became the President so Sam still has connections. When Aliens attack the planet, Sam knows who he has to call!

Unfortunately, this film ended up being a bit of a train wreck. None of the characters were likable and the film made the big mistake that many comedy films end up falling into, many of the jokes are simply crude and inappropriate. For every good joke, there will be about 10 that are simply bad and a reason why comedy films don’t have a great rep anymore. It’s too bad because there are a lot of scenes that are actually funny. A good example of this is just about any moment with the President or some of Sam’s scenes like him reciting the nerds speech and getting called out for it. I also loved it when Sam walked into the White House in shorts and almost backed out of saving the world because the main heroine was “being mean.” The film had promise and I actually found it funnier than Ant Man or just about any comedy film that I’ve seen in a long time.

Once again, it’s held back by all of the bad jokes though. The characters are constantly flirting and joking about girls. Making really bad comments is something that each character does a lot and one character’s whole gimmick is that he’s very crude and always making a dirty remark. That would be Eddie, the worst character in the film. A close second is Ludlow. Most of his jokes rely on acting gay and being the stereotypical version of what some people believe gamers to be. He doesn’t know how to act in public and is in love with a video game character. He’s just terrible and his long speech in the army room is wince worthy. His singing is also terrible because he accompanies it with provocative dancing.

I’d like to say that Sam was a good character, but I’ve already explained that he isn’t. He allows his friends to steal money and he does not regret it at all. A character breaks up with someone so Sam immediately takes this as his clue to hit on her. He’s just not a sensitive guy and even though he gets most of the funny moments in the film, it can’t save his character. I’m in the minority in that I think Sandler played the part well and his character was easily one of the best humans, but he still doesn’t get a pass due to just how bad this film was. My favorite human in this film was the President, not that it is really saying much. His jokes were typically funny and he always rolled with the punches. It’s very intriguing to think of how America would be if he was the President. He’s still in charge though so he makes everyone respect him when the going gets tough. Violet is the main heroine and the film tries to make her look as bad as possible in the beginning. While she tries to be tough and insults Sam a lot, she ultimately realizes that he’s a good guy and the usual deal. She didn’t get a lot of character development except to be around for Sam’s character, but it’s not surprising that the film didn’t know how to develop her character.

When you really think about it, the writing is why this film is terrible. Take away the dozens of inappropriate and suggestive comments and you’ve actually got a good film going here. Of course, it’s so numerous and constant that Pixels would also be a completely different film. It’s like saying that Sucker Punch would be great if you took away the plot or that the Lord of the Rings would be epic if the characters were all robots. So, Pixels, as much as I like to think of how good it could be, it simply isn’t good.

At least we have the video game characters, which is the one bright point for the film. As you would expect, Pac Man looks downright incredible as he mows through buildings. He probably had the best acting in the film as he even changed expressions to show that he was upset after the characters started attacking him. There was a lot of plot hax in how the heroes overcame him since Pac Man was already faster than them when they were at top speed. There’s no way that Sandler could outrace Pac Man while driving backwards. There’s simply no way!

Donkey Kong also looks great and he even gets the cool “We Will Rock You” theme as the heroes mount their big offensive against him. The game was a lot of fun to play back in the day and the nostalgic music will certainly hit you right in the nostalgia. Stopping him is no easy feat and the action scene may have been the best one in the film as the heroes really had to stop the barrels from running them over.

Donkey Kong and Pac Man were really the only big hitters here. I think that it was a bit of a missed opportunity as we could have gotten more big names in the film. Mario makes a cameo, which is a lot of fun, but you have to be watching carefully or you may miss him. The Centipede also deals a lot of damage of course and we even get a delivery boy who destroys someone in the background, which was fairly shocking. That person may not have come back to life since she wasn’t a trophy so the film may have been a little grimmer than we thought. A certain Super Smash Bros player also makes a cameo.

As you can see, the film was great when it was in an action scene. It’s just when the characters would open their mouths to say something that everything would go downhill. I still did crack up many times in the film. Some were for the good jokes and other times I would laugh at how seriously the film was trying to take itself. For example, the first scene where the aliens attack the government base. It happened sooner than I thought it would and it was so grim and unrealistic that you can’t help but chuckle. Likewise when the characters dug out an old VHS that had the villain’s speech on it. If they hadn’t found the tape, the whole plot would never have become known to them. It felt like a Sci-Fy Channel plot twist!

Naturally with the writing as bad as it was, the film couldn’t really handle any of the plots that it had. Eddie’s was unbearably bad and Ludlow’s romance with the video game character was also horrendous. Watching a classic video game icon turn into the girl and immediately get together with Ludlow was terrible. There’s even a time skip where the plot gets even more messed up. Sam’s romance isn’t much better as he gets together with the heroine for no real reason and while she may have wanted a rebound guy, this was just too soon and too sudden. The scene of her crying in her closet was so bad that I could barely believe that it was real. She had been acting like the tough female protagonist that we have come to expect so this was so out of character that it was shocking.

At least the soundtrack was really good. As explained, we got the classic “We Will Rock You” song along with the Pac Man theme, Donkey Kong theme and some other retro tunes. Those were all a lot of fun and mixed in with the epic action scenes, they helped to tear you away from the rest of the film, which was just really wince worthy. Even the climax which is a long battle against the alien invasion of video games couldn’t save the film as it was too little too late.

The aliens never actually appear, but based off of the dialogue, we can make some connections. Q*bert talks about how his home used to be really happy until they got Earth’s declaration of war. Since he could not have his video game form until it was sent, I’m thinking that the aliens simply weren’t corporal. They can assume any shape, but their normal one is likely just intangible and something that exists, but can’t be seen. They obviously have tremendous abilities, but aren’t hostile by nature as they can enjoy a good laugh like the rest of us. If they attacked seriously, it would definitely be Game Over for Earth. A sequel where they adapt the 90’s of gaming would certainly be epic!

Overall, Pixels was a flop. Now, you may think that the film was still decent thanks to it actually being very funny at times, having good action scenes, and a good soundtrack, but I’m afraid that it is not the case. The writing is simply too bad with enough terrible scenes that I can’t give the film anything higher than a 1. It’s still a light film that you can breeze through so I would sooner see it than a lot of 2 star films and maybe even some 3’s, but I can’t give it more than the ¬†1 due to how seriously bad it is. It’s easy to watch since most of the negatives are writing wise and just affect your hearing, but that’s still enough to doom it to a 1. It’s still not a 0 so at least it earned a point somewhere along the line. When you think of Pixels, just picture the scene where Sam walks into the White House and insults everyone while in shorts. That’s probably the best human scene except maybe for the President being humiliated on National Television. The video game scenes are mainly awesome and are the highlight with the fight scenes, but hopefully the sequel can be better. After all, it may be a verrrrry long time until I ever see a Sandler film again and they wouldn’t even need him for a Pixels film. Just call it Super Smash Bros and make it completely animated. Fire the current writer and get someone who knows how to make a script. Then we’re looking at a winner! I definitely don’t recommend watching this film and you’re better off just waiting for Mission Impossible 5 and seeing how good that one is.

Overall 1/10

JLA Volume 7 Review

Time to look at another volume in the JLA saga! The series has been pretty solid, but now we’re getting towards the latter part of its run. This volume isn’t quite as good as the last two, but it’s a good adventure nonetheless and is still about the Justice League so how can you go wrong there right? The Martian Manhunter gets a very large role here, but it’s at the expense of his likability.

This collection brings together a lot of issues (They were pretty small for this series for some reason) so there are several arcs to be found. The first one involves a war over on another planet and the Justice League hesitantly decide to end it. The tough question is, how can they end the war without choosing sides and interfering with the politics?

It’s a decently interesting mini arc and Superman reminds us why he’s the leader of the group. That being said, the heroes may have been thinking too much on the subject. Defeating the oppressors is always the first step. No matter what the repercussions are, it’s their job to help. Superman even reminds the readers at the end that evil flourishes when good people do nothing. So, inaction is still an action and I’m glad that the heroes made the heroic call and stopped the alien civil war.
Another arc had the Justice League framed for destroying a whole lot of people and the worst part is that they seem to believe that they really did it. The telepath who’s behind this must be powerful. Can the Justice League defeat a threat with their minds instead of through brute strength for once? Although, the brute strength part does come into play since the villains are pretty skilled as a group although Superman would likely defeat them all without any real effort.

Aside from the political intrigue on that part, there was even a character who made reference to the politically correct era that we are in now as he asked if the JLA was just meeting their quotas by adding the two new members. Whether it was coincidence or not, it’s definitely something that people would discuss nowadays. Superman’s response was off screen so we couldn’t see what he said. Naturally, this topic wasn’t as big back in the day, but it was still intriguing to read.

This was an interesting collection of stories, but it made the heroes look weak against mental assaults once again. I still don’t think that Superman can be mind controlled or mentally influenced so this was a little iffy. It gave some plot development to Major Disaster and Faith along with a subplot that could come back someday that involves her past. I don’t mind if it doesn’t though since I didn’t find it particularly interesting. The villains were all one shot characters who were effectively doomed, but the premise of the arc was still fun. After all, how can the League recover from a natural disaster that doomed so many people? (Or so they thought anyway)

After that, the big arc begins with the Martian Manhunter. He had been getting some counseling from an ex villain. She would help him brave the fires while he would help her forget the past and move on. Unfortunately, Scorch does her job a little too well and Martian Manhunter awakens his true, fiery form. He completely goes off the deep end and decides to destroy the Justice League once and for all. Stopping him will be tough and Batman is forced to bring in one of the classic Justice League members from his retirement.

Well, this was the big arc! I believe that it spanned around 10 issues, which is certainly impressive. A little less so when I remind you that the issues appear to be a little on the short side, but it was still intense. The White Lanterns even got mentioned at one point, but Martian Manhunter took down the whole army by himself off screen. It comes back to how I think the writers overdid it trying to make his new form look very powerful. He got a lot of hype and Superman even says that the Manhunter is one of the scariest opponents to face and maybe the strongest.

I don’t typically mind the Martian Manhunter and the guy can even be a decent character at times. That being said, I’ve never considered him to be anywhere near Superman or Wonder Woman in terms of power. After those two, you can make a good argument for him to take down Green Lantern or the Flash, but it’s a battle that I could easily see going either way. The White Lanterns were on Superman’s level at times and they gave the League a good fight so I don’t see how Martian Manhunter could have possibly taken down all of them in such a short amount of time. The only explanation that I can buy is that his telepathy overpowered all of theirs and he basically broke them before destroying the beasts. That would be slightly feasible, but only slightly since he shouldn’t be quite that good compared to them.

The arc definitely started off with a bang as the heroes found Superman partially phased into a table and then the rest of the League was quickly defeated aside from Batman who managed to escape in time. The Flash may have been able to have put up a decent fight, but he was taken out before he could really try anything. There was definitely a lot of action here and the League was really on the defensive until Plasticman arrived onto the scene and Martian Manhunter also helped to stop himself from the inside. This was the highlight of the collection even if it couldn’t beat the big arcs from the other volumes like the original White Martian saga.

After that big arc, things died down for a little while as a one shot showed us what could happen in the future if Batman and Wonder Woman ever got together. Wonder Woman went into a mind chamber that showed her how the future could be, but is really more just about looking at the subconscious. None of these things might actually happens, but Wonder Woman thinks that they can. It’s really an AU and some ideas were decent, but I’m not much of an AU guy and since each story would abruptly start and end, the issue didn’t do much for me. As least it finally ended the whole Batman and Wonder Woman angle.

Finally, the volume concluded with a small arc about an alien who was shocked that humans became the dominant species on Earth. He went around the world checking out the sites and ultimately decided to just blow the planet up. The heroes stopped him of course and the guy just destroyed himself instead. It was certainly a bit of a morbid ending, but not as much as it could have been because of the art.

The art in this mini arc almost makes you a little insensitive because it’s just verrrry abstract. Almost cartoony in a sense that everyone was constantly off model and the issues were hilarious to look through. It’s one of those “so bad it’s good” moments for the collection. Beyond the art, I can’t say that the final mini arc was all that interesting and was really just there to show us how Earth has really gone down over the years aside from all the good that’s also been done. It is a cruel world out there for sure. On the whole, the art is quite good and unique as always. JLA is definitely a title that believes bigger is better as it uses a lot of big panels for the action scene and everyone is larger than life. The splash pages of the heroes always look quite good and naturally the fight scenes follow suit. One scene that will likely make you chuckle is when someone asks Wonder Woman if she is interested in Superman and she has a laugh that is extemely dramatized. It comes so suddenly and takes up a huge part of the page. Wonder Woman even apologizes afterwards and basically just states that it would never happen. It’s great to see that the writers knew not to go down that route back in the day. If only they had stayed true to that right?

Batman looks good here like you would expect, but his role isn’t a very large one. He forces the Justice League to apologize to him after they go on a mission without consulting him and then saves the team. It’s neat to see Batman in control like usual and aside from the plot with Wonder Woman that ended in a good way anyway, he was definitely in character and always had a plan. If not for his decision to bring an old member out of retirement. It would have been Game Over for the world.

Superman ‘s great as you would expect. There’s not much to say about his portrayal because it was really spot on. He was completely heroic and always did the right thing. He may have gotten crushed in his battle with the Martian Manhunter, but it was mostly due to the fact that Superman didn’t actually expect a fight and trusted the guy. That’s definitely a good reason for losing to someone!

Wonder Woman gets a fairly large role here thanks in part to the subplot with Batman as well as just being present for all of the adventures. She looks good and is actually the first member to want to help out in the alien civil war so she deserves major props for that. Even Superman was unsure about participating, but he was quickly brought on board. Wonder Woman’s initiative certainly saved a lot of lives there and I like how she is the one who decided to break things off with Batman. She made a very wise decision.

This time, the Green Lantern who is present is John Stewart. That means that we’ve now seen the big three through the span of the JLA series. John Stewart’s a good Green Lantern even if I slightly prefer the other two most of the time. The battle between John and Kyle is a close one. Stewart’s role isn’t very large, but still much bigger than the Flash. He manages to keep some people inside of his bubble for over a day, which is a great feat of concentration and he definitely gave it his all to save the day. After the Justice League cartoon, it’s always cool to see him in the comics.

The Flash is a complete non factor here. Seriously, it’s like he’s a ghost. He gets almost no lines and doesn’t really impact the plot in any way except to save civilians in the background. His speed is always amazing and he certainly makes rescues that nobody else could, but I really wish that he could have gotten a bigger role. He’s still one of my favorite Justice League members. Barry is my favorite, but Wally can be great as well.

Firestorm can be a decent hero at times, but I didn’t care for his romance subplot here and that really accounted for around 90% of his screen time here. His powers have the potential to be great, but he is constantly knocked around before he can even activate them. He’s just out of his depths here and this is one character who could possibly use some character development. Faith also has no real character development, but it’s intentional as she is a bit of a mystery at the moment. Her abilities are certainly useful as she has the classic telekinesis skill, but she hasn’t gotten to fight too much yet since this volume wasn’t as action packed as you may have expected. She’s a good character so far, but we’ll see where it goes from here since she was already tempted to go back to the dark side once. Hopefully she doesn’t make that mistake.

The Atom has a minor role in this collection, but it’s enough of one that I should at least give him a passing mention. He doesn’t have much of a personality yet, but he does like to sing and gets along well with Green Lantern. While he’s certainly not one of the more dangerous League members, he’s fairly talented. Plasticman is a Justice League member that I’ve never been crazy about, but he ends up getting a critical role in the fight against the Martian Manhunter. It involves a lot of plot hax and even some toon force as Plasticman’s erratic style of fighting confuses the Martian. How this is enough to overcome the Martian’s superior speed and strength dozens of times over is what I don’t buy and Plasticman should have died after a single hit. Still, he’s back with the team now and as long as he isn’t as exaggeratedly bad as he used to be, I suppose that I can live with it. He just needs to act a little more reserved and respectful to his teammates.

Manitou Raven was one of the new characters who joined the team and I can’t say that I was a fan of his. Considering that he just joined the team, he seems to already be quite vocal with his opinions and seems to not be trust worthy. I can already picture him trying to take out Firestorm at some point and his scene with Green Lantern definitely felt suspicious. I don’t trust the guy, but maybe it’s just a red herring. Still not a likable member though.

Likewise, I’m not a fan of Major Disaster. Maybe I just didn’t want any extra members on the Justice League. The roster was already fairly strong so it’s not like the team needed any extra firepower. I actually thought that Disaster was just a depowered Guy Gardner for a while since he looks so similar. This guy could improve as time goes on I suppose, but his personality just isn’t a likable one for me. He wants to be a hero, but he’ll need to work better at being a team player to win me over. (Or just being likable as a solo act)

This was not a good appearance for the Martian Manhunter and the whole collection made him look bad. After he took a drink that he shouldn’t have, the Manhunter basically lost his mind and turned evil. Sure, he was able to gain control again, but only after nearly destroying the heroes several times over and being pounded into submission. I don’t really see how the League can trust him again after this so I can see why the vote was so close. I still think that he was slightly overhyped in this volume, but I do acknowledge him as a strong fighter. The worst should be over for him now so maybe I’ll like him more in future volumes. When he’s on top of things, the Manhunter can definitely be a good ally/character.

Overall, This was a solid volume of JLA. I do think that it was weaker than the others, but JLA can’t hit it out of the park every time right? An 8 is still great so they did well in my book. This is also the final volume out over here so I’m caught up for the moment although I haven’t read a lot of the older volumes. I may go back to those someday. If you’re looking for a JLA story with political intrigue and some action, then this is your bet. After all, it doesn’t get anymore dramatic than a traitor within the league right!?

Overall 8/10

Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus Review

The Infinity Gauntlet is definitely a famous Marvel arc at this point and some would say that it could be the greatest of all time. Marvel has quite a few big events though like Secret Wars and Civil War so there’s always a lot of competition, but the Infinity Gauntlet is a story that has aged well and is certainly one of Marvel’s best events.

This isn’t just your average trade paperback though. An Omnibus is even longer than an Essential collection and this one is longer than the average Omnibus as they tried to cram in all of the tie ins. This means that the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus ended up being longer than 2 Essential Collections placed on top of each other. It was around 1200-1400 pages if I recall correctly. Usually that would have taken me forever to finish, but it was a blast reading the classic comics so I read about 400-500 pages in my first batch and then finished it off soon after. Once you start reading, you just won’t want to stop.

The collection is essentially divided into 3 parts. The set up to the Infinity Gauntlet, The Infinity Gauntlet, and the Tie ins that take place during the Infinity Gauntlet as well as afterwards. This way, you can say that you’ve truly read the Infinity Gauntlet since you will have seen what came before it and what came afterwards. This must have the record for the most tie in adventures in the shortest span of canon time. What I mean by that is that the tie ins will turn the gap between 2 panels from seconds into minutes as a character will blink and in that blink, have a big adventure. A good example of that is when Silver Surfer misses the Gauntlet when he charged at Thanos in the final part of the Gauntlet adventure and a whole tie in occurred as he raced back.

As you would expect, the art switches numerous times as we get issues from the Hulk, Spider Man, Infinity Gauntlet, Silver Surfer, and more. Luckily, the art holds up well for just about all of the issues. I can’t think of any issues where I didn’t like the art. The Hulk series was probably a little bigger and bolder than the others which could take some getting used too, but it was still fun and made for some good action scenes. (When the Hulk issues actually had action)

All right, let’s start off with the Infinity Gauntlet plot. I read the first issue a while back so I was familiar with that one, but it’s good to say that I’ve now read the entire epic. The first half is really about the natural disasters that are affecting the planet because of Thanos and then half of the multiverse’s inhabitants are destroyed with a thought. The Avengers realize that they need to do something about this so the heroes who are left decide to attack Thanos once and for all. The big fight is certainly the best part of the arc as everyone runs to Thanos for the big clash.
Without the Gauntlet, Thanos has already proved to be stronger than most, if not all of Marvel’s heroes so this isn’t even a challenge for him. To present the heroes (and readers) with a bit of a fight, Thanos decides not to use the Gauntlet’s full powers against them for a little while. While you know that the heroes are doomed, it is nice to see the action and the heroes do get a few good shots in. They just don’t really deal any damage.

The arc takes a bit of a spin when Nebula grabs the Gauntlet as the whole plot shifts since the heroes have to stop her before she does something that they’ll regret. The cool part of this comic is definitely the part where the cosmic fighters show up to challenge her. Thanos states that he would have been able to defeat them, but they do a pretty good job against her as they attack her on all planes of existence at once so that she will not have enough time to think about what is going on.

It’s easy to root for Nebula here though since she got a really raw deal for most of the event since she was trapped in a death like state where she was forced to live. Once she grabbed Infinite power, you could hardly blame her for wanting to stretch her new muscles. The Living Tribunal claims that it is not his place to meddle in the affairs of the heroes and villains so he doesn’t make a move here. It’s implied that he could probably end the whole situation if he wanted too, but such things are beneath him and he only interferes when he is angered.

Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer easily have the biggest role in the Gauntlet from the heroes. Adam Warlock essentially has infinite knowledge now that he is back from being virtually dead in the mind gem so he proves to be an ace in the hole for the heroes and Silver Surfer has a lot of experience in dealing with Thanos from his past exploits so he is naturally critical at this point in time. The rest of the heroes are really just there to be a distraction, which Warlock even admits during the latter part of the story.

I’m a fairly big Adam Warlock fan so seeing him take a starring role is always fun. After his death, Warlock is a little more subdued in this arc. He treats most of the fight as a game because he believes that if he took it seriously for a second, he would fall into despair. He’s still a critical factor here and he also gets a little mini arc after the Infinity Gauntlet, which I thought was a lot of fun. the power went to his head for sure and started to get into some epic abstract territory before the cosmic entities decided to weigh in. Sadly, it ended right before the court trial could start. (The trial is incredibly awesome and I wonder which trade paperback it’s included in)

One of the reasons why the Warlock getting unlimited power was so fun was the heroes reaction to this. They had just finished a fairly grueling battle and were exhausted so they were clearly not pleased with having to fight another battle. They half heartedly rushed at Warlock, but he just warped them away. It was a cool twist ending as fans likely didn’t expect something like that to happen. Warlock’s so powerful that the Avengers basically just decided to give up after that.

Mephisto is a major player in this adventure, but I’ve never been a fan of his. He’s not very strong so he relies on trickery, but it typically backfires. Even when Thanos was getting used to being omnipotent, Mephisto couldn’t gather his courage fast enough to grab the Gauntlet. It was a huge missed opportunity for the demon. He’s always around and Mephisto actually helps the heroes out on quite a few occasions so that he could dethrone Thanos, but things never go his way and he spends the whole arc getting pummeled.

Death is a prominent figure here as well, but I definitely don’t care for the character. She never talks and only speaks through her lackey. The lackey talked tough to Thanos so he naturally got the most violent death in the whole collection as Thanos had enough of the guy. The minion was extremely annoying so I wasn’t sad to see him gone. It was unexpectedly intense, but I suppose it was too convey how upset Thanos was. The rest of the collection is fairly tame so it was pretty surprising. If Death could only talk, then I would definitely like her much more, but as it stands, she just looks really arrogant and it doesn’t work since Thanos became much stronger than her. At least Thanos has enough self dignity and honor to not try and control her. He does make a female Thanos who actually defeats Spider Man, which was interesting. I think Spider Man should have won though.

Now let’s look at some of the tie in issues. The Sleepwalker got one and I’m not too familiar with the character, but he seems like a decent fighter. For some reason, he’s treated as a trump card at times, but his strength isn’t incredible. He’s roughly a Daredevil-Spider Man level opponent. He helps out a lot on Earth when Thanos starts to wreck the place and his issue is mostly about him keeping the peace while the other heroes are busy. It’s not a bad tie in even if it sounds a little uneventful. Sometimes it’s nice to see what’s happening while the heroes are gone.
Spider Man gets an issue where..he actually dies. He successfully helped a kid, but it cost him everything. Once he dies, Thanos decides to mess with Spiderman’s soul and tries to give him despair. Spiderman fights back and he has to question what he has been fighting for and if he should continue to live. It’s a very interesting issue and seeing someone cope with their death and wonder what comes next is always cool. In the end, Spider Man didn’t give up hope and managed to reclaim his life. This is yet another example of how Spider Man was written so well back in the day. I shudder to think about how Peter Parker would have acted if this was in the modern days with Slott writing the issue.

Cloak and Dagger got their own tie in issue as well. I’m not sure if you realize this blog readers, but I’ve never been a fan of this team. Dagger’s all right, but I feel like she doesn’t have a whole lot of personality and doesn’t use her abilities to their fullest potential. Cloak is constantly going off the deep end and putting everyone in danger when Dagger is gone for any reason. They’re not terrible, but I probably like Punisher more than them…and I’m not the biggest Punisher fan out there. Ghost Rider and Spider Man got to appear in the issue as well so it was definitely packed with heroes!

Dr Strange gets quite a few stories. They take place during the Infinity Gauntlet at first and then move on to the after effects. The first issue mainly deals with Dr Strange helping Silver Surfer get back to reality after his mind retreats when he crashed into Dr Strange’s room in the first issue of the Gauntlet. It’s exactly what I’m talking about when I mentioned earlier how a tie in could occur at any time. In the span of a page, a whole issue managed to come forth due to this twist of Surfer not ready to come back to reality! It was a fun fight between the two.

After that, Dr Strange got involved with some time travel and fights against other magicians like the Silver Sagger. When Thanos warped all of the heroes away during the first climax of the Infinity Gauntlet, Dr Strange was sent away with Thor and Scarlet Witch to Asgard where they had more adventures. In the final issue, Dr Strange decided to try and defeat Adam Warlock since the infinite power was getting to the wanderer’s head. Dr Strange was incredibly powerful back in the day, but not even he could hope to overpower a wielder of that gauntlet. Still, the attempt was fun and he helped Adam Warlock see reason.

Dr Strange is certainly a fun hero and he’s a character who can be underrated at times. He doesn’t always look it, but his abilities are very potent and he knows thousands of different spells. At this point in time, he could actually fight with the likes of the Silver Surfer and Pre Gauntlet Warlock. Those aren’t weak fighters by any means and Dr Strange could really hold his own with any of them. Strange is also a very wise fighter and never begins a brawl without a plan. The large array of cosmic fighters is yet another reason why the Gauntlet was so fun.

Quasar got some issues as well, but they were apparently forgettable enough that Comicvine didn’t even list them! It’s too bad since they were fun. Quasar got to fight the previous title holders so these other Universe protectors were very tough, but Quasar uses his ingenuity and raw power to take them down. He gets a little bold and heads for Thanos next, but he’s severely outmatched. While Quasar does have the Power Cosmic, he’s never been quite as powerful as the other Cosmic fighters. Still, you should only underestimate him at your own risk as he’s still quite tough. Picture Green Lantern’s energy projection with Cyborg’s strength + Superman’s flight. It’s a very deadly combo.

Quasar was a likable guy and he’s very down to Earth. He has a comfy life on Earth while still keeping up with his cosmic duties. That’s definitely tricky and most cosmic heroes wish they could do something like that. Quasar may not help as much as some of the other big heroes, but he still contributes against Thanos and that’s what counts. He probably makes more of an impact in the fight than most of the Avengers!

The Hulk gets three issues and they show why he was so upset at being called in during the Infinity Gauntlet story. The events slightly blurred together, but things happened in roughly this order. The Abomination had kidnapped his wife and was sad at how everyone looked at him like a monster. Hulk followed him into the sewers and they naturally had a brawl. One thing led to another and Abomination was able to get away thanks to Dr Strange’s untimely summons. Hulk was able to get back and was turned small so he used this opportunity to act as the Abomination’s conscience and convinced the guy to stop what he was doing. The Abomination let his wife go and went back to the shadows, sad at how his fate had treated him.

Hulk then went on to help a town that had been overcome with rage. This is the Hulk who is basically taken over by Bruce Banner and essentially speaks perfect English. He’s not quite as strong of course, but he gets the job done. I can’t say that he looked very good in the Infinity Gauntlet, but that’s mainly because he’s simply outmatched by the other big villains at this point. He may have complained, but he still helped out when it counted.

The Thanos Quest is easily one of the best extras to be included here. It shows how Thanos defeated all of the Infinity Gem guardians and gained the Gauntlet’s power. Each member of the group was extremely powerful so Thanos had to use his wits to win. When physically outmatched, you have to be very cunning to claim victory. These issues would have likely gotten a 9 on their own. In particular, I loved the fights against the speedster who could move at speeds much greater than light and the physical powerhouse who could likely give the Hulk a run for his money. That being said, the fight in the computer game against the game member was a lot of fun as well.
Those issues really captured the intelligence of Thanos. It’s not something that’s played up too often and I don’t expect to see a whole lot of that in the films or TV shows, but it’s one of the reasons why Thanos is so deadly. He essentially has the combat expertise of Batman with the strength of Superman. That’s not even counting his many energy attacks and how well he can use the Gauntlet. While Nebula was overwhelmed on the 3-6 planes of existence, Thanos explains that he could have been able to fight on all of them at once. He simply can’t be stopped and will forever be one of Marvel’s heavy hitters.

Finally, we had the onslaught of Silver Surfer issues. To put them into perspective, just adding all of them together would have been enough to fill 6 of the average trade paperbacks. They cover a whole lot of content and most of them deal with the Thanos plot which is cool. The majority of the issues take place before the Infinity Gauntlet and technically, the Silver Surfer is the first person to learn just how dangerous Thanos is. He follows the Titan across solar systems and many planets, but it’s actually a very depressing journey for the cosmic speedster. Even when he does catch up to Thanos, he is quickly crushed each and every time. He cannot even hope to beat avatars of Thanos.

That being said, the prophecy states that the Silver Surfer is the only threat to Thanos so the Titan is always very cautious with him. In a way, you could say that the Silver Surfer is the main character of the arc and I would completely agree. Almost half of the collection is comprised of Silver Surfer comics and he naturally appears a lot in the main series as well. His plot also connects with Drax’s as they meet up and are forced to team up on many occasions.

They even have a lengthy battle in one of the issues. Silver Surfer is clearly stronger, but Drax is almost possible to destroy so it’s effectively a stalemate. This was back when Silver Surfer was a complete powerhouse and I don’t really see how Thor or Hulk could compete with him at this point in time since Thor was going through one of those phases were it wasn’t the real Thor and the Hulk lost most of his power. The Silver Surfer nearly ended the whole Gauntlet arc on his own if he had not missed the Gauntlet. Thanos didn’t dodge, the Surfer just missed because he was going way too fast. If only he had time to practice before the big play. Still, he kept it close.

As with Warlock, I enjoy the Silver Surfer’s character a lot. He never really wants to fight, but when pushed he can really deliver some spectacular action. It’s admirable that he always tries to find the peaceful way out of a situation, but things just don’t work out that way for him. He doesn’t get to appear very often in the current comics, which is too bad. Hopefully he will get popular again once he starts to appear in the Fantastic Four sequels.

Drax got a really big role, but it just served to remind me that I don’t like Drax in any incarnation. I really don’t like the new Gladiator form of the character, but I am not a huge fan of the old form either. It’s a big improvement of course and he means well, but he’s typically pretty clueless about what’s happening and while he was made to destroy Thanos, he’s severely outmatched the during the entire collection.

As for some of the other characters who appeared, Thor was one who was really hurt by the time at which the comic was written. This was still the era of the fake Thor so he wasn’t very cool or regal like the real thing and his power levels weren’t as impressive as the should have been. Even in his weakened state, the heroes mentioned him as a trump card so I would have really liked to have seen the real deal fight a little. Likewise, this wasn’t the Hulk that we were used to seeing. Cyclops and Scarlet Witch launch a nice two pronged attack on Thanos, which is completely ineffective, but it was fun to see them try. The X-Men were really a total nonfactor here. Vision also tried his best to stop Thanos, but this was during his ghost days so it didn’t go too well. Captain America had his famous moment where he walks up to Thanos and it is a cool scene, but it’s too bad that the fight couldn’t be longer. I suppose that it would have been a lose-lose situation though since I may have had to talk about plot hax a little.

There is plot hax here of course, but that goes without saying so I didn’t even mention it. The only good explanation is that Thanos wanted to lose, which I still find a little iffy since Nebula should have won in that case, but we’ll let it go there. The plot hax is self evident enough that I don’t really need to talk about it much. It was funny to see Thanos just retire on a farm after destroying half of existence. He certainly got off easy eh?

Naturally, all of the cosmic entities minus the Living Tribunal also get a big role. Thanos manages to take down each and every one of them. The Celestials, Galactus,The Elders of the Universe, and many more. Finally, Eternity showed himself since he’s apparently much stronger than all of those (But significantly weaker than the Living Tribunal) but Thanos also takes him down without too much effort as well. It’s a stunning battle with great feats and scenes of action. The cosmic fights alone would be enough to justify this arc as a living legend.

This Omnibus also exposes one of the areas where I actually believe that Marvel surpasses DC. How can this be possible right DC fans!? Well, DC’s never had much of a cosmic scene. We’ve got the Anti Monitor and the Source…but that’s about it. There’s an argument to be made for the Green Lanterns, Darkseid and his armies, as well as the New Gods, but I’m not sure if I really buy it. They just feel more like aliens and other heroes as opposed to cosmic fighters. Take Orion for example. I don’t see any difference between him and a regular hero while fighters like Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer have that dignified cosmic air about them. So, while I do still think that DC has the overall better characters, Marvel has a much better cosmic scene so they can have events like this. DC’s a little more limited when you leave Earth.

That being said, the Marvel cosmic part has weakened a little in recent years. Not literally, but the cosmic events start to be a little more underwhelming when everyone has infinite power. Now we’ve got kids and horned creatures who can rewrite whatever laws they want. When everyone is a cosmic being who can do anything, the whole concept starts to lose its shine. Luckily, most of the cosmic beings who are too overpowered weren’t in Infinity so that one still sounds like it should be a fun remake/reboot of the Infinity Gauntlet. I doubt it can beat the original, but it would still be a lot of fun to see how the new version is. Meanwhile, DC needs to bring back the Angel from the JLA series as he’s one of the only cosmic beings that they’ve got. Putting him and the other Angels up against the Justice League would be a fun arc to read.
Overall, This was a powerful volume from the classic days of Marvel. It’s easy to see how Thanos got so popular after this arc. He was written well and the arc was a blast. Seeing the complete version (Prequels, Sequels, Tie ins, etc) also helps you appreciate the true scope of the story. The actual arc was a little light on action for most of the opening issues, but we got some big brawls as the story went on and you need set up for a large scale arc like this one. The art and writing are consistently good as you would expect and there’s not much in the way of negatives to say about this one. I will say that Nebula’s fate was really sad the whole time as she experienced living death and I could have done without that, but it’s still not as bad as it could have been and one small element won’t really hurt this comic. This could have easily gotten a perfect 10 star rating, but Superman Unbound’s already snagged that one. Still, this is a must read not only for Marvel fans, but DC readers as well. This arc stands as a good model for future arcs to follow or be inspired from so they make the mistakes of other arcs. (Like Fear Itself)

Overall 9/10

Singin’ in the Rain Review

This is a movie that is as classic as the original Godzilla! It’s hard to picture any big film fan not being aware of this title. That being said, I’ve seen many classics that simply didn’t live up to their reputation in the olden days so would this film be as good as I had hoped? It’s not quite as good as I had imagined, but the film has its moments. There were just two factors keeping it from being a good movie for me.

Don is an actor who is proud of his work. He’s done well for himself and everything is going smoothly until he meets a girl who reminds him that movie actors aren’t real actors. Don’s life is torn to pieces at this revelation, but he recovers from this once the lady admits that she has seen all of his movies and wants to be an actress someday as well. Hollywood never stops and the owner of the company finds out that movies will have sound from now on so he has Don make a new film. The problem is that his co-host can’t sing. What will they do!?

With that, we have the drama, the action, the excitement, and most importantly…the musical numbers! Let’s tackle this one area at a time. For starters, the writing is really good. This is a classic film so it makes sense, but the characters trade barbs and insults rather well in that sophisticated way that people used to speak. The tongue twisters of the old days were also a lot of fun and definitely could test anyone’s mettle. This is one crucial element in the film’s favor.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the pacing, which is a little erratic. Before I get into this, I should note that I was practically expecting a completely different film as I walked into this one. Sure, I knew that it was a musical and I had already seen the famous scene sometime ago. The difference was the fact that Don was an actor. So, the setting and environment was much different than I had anticipated. Even so, I felt like the beginning was a little slow. Once the characters decided that they wanted to make a film with sound, I felt like the plot really started moving. The beginning was pleasant enough, but it didn’t immediately grab my interest the way most old films do because of the main character. More on that later!

Just when the film was going well, the characters have a very trippy dream where some guy decides to hang out with the girl friend of a mob boss. The scene then cuts away as the guy becomes a professional dancer, but the girl appears again and they both have a dangerous dance where the guy barely escapes with his life. The scene drags on for so long that I legitimately began to wonder if this wasn’t a dream and the movie had actually started. When the characters woke up, it was like someone had stolen the last scoop of ice cream at the local deli.

It was a pretty poor montage and that was before we found out that it was all a dream. While most of the film is enjoyable and fun, these scenes weren’t. They were clearly trying to re enact the tale of a classic hero who is seduced by a villainous lady who tricks him into dying, but it always makes the main character look bad. It was also a little more intense than I would have expected from such a classic film with such a good reputation and that’s considering that several seconds were apparently cut out for being too sketchy. This is really where the film lost most of its points. (Plural…that’s a bad sign)

I really just had one more main complaint with the film. While the movie that the heroes realizes was supposed to look pretty bad, it was terrible for another reason and that was due to the retro plot as the villain attacked the heroine. It’s a negative for sure, but not the other main one. The other main negative is actually Don himself who essentially acts like an old school Tony Stark or a mild version of James Bond. Apparently he is quite the flirt and immediately starts to flirt with the heroine after only seeing her for a few seconds.

This guy is far from being heroic and I knew that I would not like the main character after his opening scene with Kathy. (The heroine) There was no recovery from such a thing. Kathy is all right although she definitely goes from one extreme to the other as she dislikes Don before changing her mind and the whole climax is basically her going from sad tears to happy ones. Cosmo is really the guy who stole most of the show even if his antics could be a bit much at times. He definitely seems to have more talent to Don and a more charismatic personality so I could easily see him holding his own film. He got a lot of the best barbs and burns throughout the film and also came up with most of the ideas when the other characters were in a pinch.

I also liked the president of the company as he talked a good game and always allowed others to manipulate him by bringing up the fact that he’s President of the company. His sarcastic remarks would typically backfire on him and he only narrowly managed to have a happy ending here. Through it all, he never lost his nerve and that takes guts. Lina was the co-star for the films and is essentially the main antagonist for the film. She gets friend zoned the whole film, but keeps going after Don. If not for that part of her personality she wouldn’t be a bad character. I actually felt a little bad for her since most of the film is about the heroes making fun of her voice and getting someone else to sing her roles instead. Lina naturally gets a little resentful of this, especially after having trained so long and hard for this opportunity. Just another showing of how the heroes could be a little cruel. Lina’s not really a good character anyway as she gets others fired and is too obsessive over Don, but the heroes did not help matters.

This is a musical, but I can’t say that any of the songs were very memorable. There are certainly no “Let It Go” award winning songs in this playbook. The famous Singing in the Rain scene is a lot of fun, but more for the action than for the actual song. I liked how the policeman dashed over to put Don in his place. It is probably against some laws to skip and dance in the street on such a slippery day. Luckily for Don, there were no cars around so the danger was kept to a minimum.

Overall, Singin in the Rain was a film where I can see how it became a classic, but I can’t say that it totally floats my boat. As far as drama, musical, romance, comedy films go, I’ve seen better ones. The songs were not quite masterpieces and Don was terrible as the main character. Cutting him out of the film or eliminating the dream sequence likely would have been enough to put the film in the clear. As it was, the film could not overcome having two big negatives. If you’re looking for a retro film and don’t mind long scenes of questionable dancing, then check this out at your own peril, but if you want a film with a lot of heart and meaningful character development, I recommend checking out Madoka Magica Rebellion!

Overall 4/10

Olympus Has Fallen Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version. All thoughts below should be addressed as such and a review of the unedited version would likely be a lot harsher.

Time to look at a film which is in a tricky genre. I’ve seen a film or two like this before where it’s essentially about terrorists and what would happen when they take an area over. It’s not a genre that I’m crazy about because it usually revolves around all of the good guys looking like rank amateurs while the terrorists can suddenly shoot as well as Ann Oakley. Unfortunately, America looks even worse than I had feared and it does certainly hurt this film. The movie had potential, but you simply do not mess with the USA!

It’s an average day in the White House when terrorists storm the lawn. They had a guy on the inside who handled all of the “professional” agents around the President. Meanwhile, America must have been sleeping on the job because we only have 2 planes near the White House and they were both wrecked by the villain’s ship. One plane took down 2 and the terrorist plane was really large and clunky. America also had the better position since we were flanking both sides, but decided not to do anything. We didn’t have much protection or backup nearby either so the White House fell in 13 minutes. It’s up to one ex secret service member to take back the White House!

If you’ve seen one Terrorist film, then you’ve seen them all. By that, I mean that you can easily predict exactly what is about to happen before it ever occurs. The villain starts to kill off everyone one by one and they are forced to think about complying with the terrorist demands. Scratch that, they do comply with the demands and America looks really bad the entire time. Whyyyyyyyyyyy? I like to think that it’s just because the other countries want to see America looking weak as an ego boost. In the real world, we typically end wars as soon as they begin so this is their way to laugh it up a little. How these movies make it into theaters when they are essentially anti war propaganda against the US is beyond me.

Let’s quickly look at why America looked so bad. For starters, let’s go back to the plane scene. The heroes keep telling the mysterious plane to turn back or they will fire. They wait until the other plane is essentially within firing range and the terrorists quickly start shooting. The planes are so shocked that they go down almost instantly. It’s one of those facepalm moments. Another wince worthy scene is when random joes throw smoke bombs onto the lawn and quickly storm it. The pros can’t hit them so they are quickly overwhelmed and it’ll make you want to turn the film off for a few minutes to go make dinner or take a walk to forget about how sad that was.

Finally, The President decides to invite the Korean ambassador into the safe room during the terrorist attack. It’s really fishy that the attack happened during the visit right? Why on Earth would the President do this? Being nice is one thing, but his agents would never allow that to happen. It’s extremely plot convenient though and all of the President’s right hand men and women are there with him so now the villains can get everyone all at once. What a plan!

Oh boy, that was enough to drive me out of the film. It’s also just not fun to see the terrorists having their way with the heroes the whole time. Why give them ideas in the real world? These plans would certainly not work, but just making them look smart and tough isn’t a good thing. Making them look unsure of what to do and constantly on the defensive would have been more satisfying.

Even ignoring how America looked, the film is fairly generic. It plays out exactly how you would expect. The terrorists start killing the hostages one by one until the hero can get there and he manages to save a few of them before saving the President. Scratch that, just about all of them ended up getting blown up in one of the big twists so the body count is quite high. The main character ends up destroying the villains on his one man killing spree as he proves that he is stronger than the rest of the White House staff put together.

On the bright side, Mike Banning is a good character and easily the best part of the film. He had to make a tough decision at the beginning of the film, but he didn’t freeze up and you can’t fault him for what he did. He did what he could and would have saved everyone if he had the time. Once the White House was in trouble, he selflessly jumped into the White House to take out all of the terrorists. He really knows his way around the place to the point where I’d say that you have to suspend some disbelief, but he gets the job done. Mike Banning essentially symbolizes the ultimate American who is always ready to fight and won’t back down at any point.

Mike Banning doesn’t have much of a personality, but being an American basically is his personality. If the other guards had done as well as him, the film would have been finished a lot sooner. Even watching the pilots just stare at the giant cannon on the White House as it shot them down was just terrible. None of the other characters have much of a role except to panic or be destroyed. The film did give us a red herring as the President is shown to be practicing his boxing skills, but we never get to see him fight in the actual film. I would say that it was clever except that it’s just another way to make America look bad so I’m going to pass on that.

This film is fairly intense and violent, but you likely knew that going in. That being said, it’s not as intense as other films in this kind of genre and mostly you just need to remember that the characters are living out a Call of Duty game. It’s just like one of those titles as there are many headshots from both sides as well as the unassuming knife jabs. If you don’t like violence then you should probably stay away and the main character does have to resort intimidation, but I never said that he was a hero right? It’s a war and he goes all out on the opponents. It would be hard not to destroy everyone in this situation, but that’s the difference between a human fighting to save lives and a super hero. They go through the tough situations while still coming out scott clean because it’s what they do.

On the bright side, the pacing for the film is good. Something is always happening so there’s never a dull moment. Mike essentially starts his journey from the entrance of the White House all the way to the end through the movie. I forgot exactly how long it is, but you won’t really worry about the duration while you’re watching. The writing was also fairly decent although the traitor’s dialogue was not handled well and I didn’t buy his last second change of heart either. The whole scene just didn’t make any real sense.

Overall, This film is similar to Red Dawn in the sense that America looks bad and I’d say that it’s even worse because terrorists are behind the attack as opposed to another country. It does make a difference because the terrorists are simply given too much credit. It’s nice to see us mount a comeback at the end, but it doesn’t change the fact that they essentially destroyed all of our current government members during the process. There’s also a sequel on the way, which is likely going to make America look terrible once again. Less so since it isn’t on American soil, but shouldn’t someone find it a little strange that everyone will be in one place? There’s a reason why we have internet and such nowadays, it’s so all of the figure heads won’t have to meet up in one place. It’s not a parody like Sharknado so I guess we’ll just have to see how it ends up. I’m assuming that White House Down will be better as I thought that the trailer was good, but to an extent, I’m sure that it’ll be dicey. If you want to see a gritty action film where the main character goes around shooting everyone, I’d recommend Red. It would be more up your alley and it can basically match this film’s action scenes and holds up better in the other areas. Unless you’re waiting for the Call of Duty movie and want to see this one adapt the games (Because it is practically an adaption) this film just loses out to its rivals.

Overall 3/10

Sailor Jupiter vs Homura Akemi

It’s time for the final battle between the two groups. Sailor Saturn would have been a more fitting opponent for Homura, but this was a battle between the main squads so I had to settle for Jupiter. Jupiter was my least favorite member of the group, but she does know some martial arts. Still, against an opponent who can manipulate time as well as the universe, Jupiter is essentially doomed. A few good blasts from Homura’s guns will end this match as soon as it started. Homura Akemi wins.

Well, there you have it. The Sailor Scouts are no match for the Madoka Magica group. They couldn’t pull out a single win and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Now, if we count the extended roster of Sailor Scouts vs the Magical Girls from the spinoff titles, that may be a different story entirely. After all, the extended Sailor Scouts are typically stronger than the main members while the same cannot be said for those in the Madoka universe. Still, that’s an arc for another time!

Sailor Venus vs Mami Tomoe

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Mami Tomoe is known as the strongest member of Madoka’s group when just counting their base forms. Now that Sayaka has ascended to another level and Madoka/Homura both got god modes, Mami definitely fell behind. Still, her mastery over her ribbons is incredible and she can use them to form as many guns as she wants. Sailor Venus is a cool Sailor Scout and my personal favorite from the main 5, but she’s not nearly as athletic as Mami and her array of attacks is much smaller. Venus isn’t bullet proof and won’t last long. Mami Tomoe wins.