Firestarter Review

Note that this review is of the edited TV 14 version. All thoughts below pertain to this specific version as a review of the original would likely be more negative.

I’m sure that we’re all familiar with Stephen King. His books are definitely popular and he has written a ton of them. They’re about as mainstream as you can get for older fiction and many of his titles have naturally gotten films and miniseries. Firestarter came out quite a long time ago so we’ll see if the story is as chilling and action packed as it used to be back in the day. I can say that the sound effects really hold up!

“mm mm mm mm” is a sound that you’ll never forget after watching this film! Well, the plot involves Andy McGee and his daughter Charlene as they try to evade the cops. ….Just kidding, these guys are actually from “The Shop,” but they are just as deadly. Andy possesses telepathy and some brief telekinesis or the technology equivalent while Charlene has advanced pyrotechnic abilities. Charlene is said to have the power to blow up an entire planet (Once she’s older) and Andy can definitely become a threat depending on who he comes into contact with. The Shop must recapture these individuals and use their abilities to create more meta humans and take down America’s enemies. All in a day’s work eh!?

The film definitely feels dated for some of the scenes, but I’m always ready for a retro adventure. The feel of the film also tips you off that it’s aiming at older audiences with the few death scenes that we get. The film actually isn’t very violent considering, but the guy who starts to blow up at the hospital and the wife’s demise keeps things in perspective. Most of the other deaths happen with special effects thanks to the fire that is being thrown around.

The fire effects are pretty fun to watch and you’ll feel like you’re watching a TV show with super humans. No matter how old or new the show is, live action episodes tend to be fighting on the same level so a fire blast in the 80’s from Charlene can hold up just as well as a fire blast from a villain in Agents of Shield or The Flash. It’s a good or bad thing for the medium depending on how you look at it, I enjoy the effects so I’d say that it’s pretty good and fire is one of the basic elements so it’s natural that it would be perfected fairly early in TV history.

The fight scene with Charlene at the end it pretty intense since we’ve been waiting for her to fight! The action scene is longer than I would have guessed and it’s also more impressive than I could have thought as well. Bullets definitely aren’t a good bet against her and Charlene is basically invincible at this point. The only thing that she has to worry about is the time that it takes for her to power up.

Charlene is about as decent as a kid can be, but I still don’t really care for protagonists that are kids. It works better in anime I’d say. In a film, it’s just hard to take a child seriously and Charlene is also very gullible when the situation starts to get dangerous. I felt bad for Andy because if the powers had been reversed, things could have been a lot different. Charlene’s powers are incredible, but then she decides to never use them against someone again….during a moment where the situation is even more dangerous than usual. It’s good not to destroy someone of course, but she should still use scare tactics and hurl fireballs to keep the enemies guessing.

Andy is a pretty decent main character although he doesn’t think things through as much as he should. His final scene comes to mind as a number of other commands would have been more effective than “Jump.” “Drop The Gun, Give Me The Gun, Throw The Gun, Shoot…..all of your bullets away,” etc. Beyond that, it’s hard not to like Andy when you consider his power. It’s very catchy since he basically says “mm mm mm mm” directly into your mind as he overcomes it. It was likely a directorial choice to add the sound effect, but maybe they asked Mr. King about it. Either way, it made his power a lot more interesting since that was a lot of fun. Andy definitely could have trained a little more though. He really scrunches up his face whenever he uses the ability so you can tell that he can’t keep it up for very long. (I felt bad for the Cab Driver since he’s going to go home a lot poorer than he thought!) Andy’s original scene in the hospital is super cheesy, but I’ll let it slide this time. He’s definitely a product of the 70’s/80’s and he’s got the accent to top it all off. He’s better than your average protagonist. Thinking about it….Andy may just not be hero material. After someone shoots Charlene with a sleeping dart…he doesn’t move away and Andy lets the guy shoot him as well. His reflexes are very slow.

John Rainbird is one of the main villains and he can definitely hurt the overall score. I dare say that he ended up bringing the score down from a 4-5 to 3 in the end. His scenes as he pretends to be a janitor are pretty painful to watch and you’re just waiting for him to take a loss the whole time. Again, Charlene was way too gullible here. John also has some mild resistance to the telepathy, which was disappointing, but it was partially Andy’s fault. John doesn’t have any redeemable qualities as a villain and he just pulled the film down.

The heroes get driven to a house by a nice resident at one point and I liked the guy. He was pretty sharp on the uptake and he was ready to defend the heroes. He was skeptical at first, but I would have been as well. The important thing is that he ultimately decided to help out and show the heroes what a true gunman is. He may have been knocked out of the fight pretty quickly, but the important thing is that he really tried.

Hollister could be called the main villain I suppose. He seems to be the highest ranking villain at “The Shop” and his ambitions are pretty great. He starts to play second fiddle towards the end though and he’s intimidated by John’s threats. He’s a much better villain than John, but I still can’t say that he was great. His plan was risky from the get go and he didn’t handle the Charlene situation very well. At least he takes a good amount of time out of his day to work on his haircut. It’s a start. We also have a doctor who is introduced at one point, but his most memorable scene is when he’s driving away on his trolley as he continues to look back to where Charlene is. It wasn’t his best move!

There isn’t really much of a soundtrack aside from the “mm mm mm mm” noises during the telepathy sessions. The effects are good though so that helps out as well. I don’t think it will end up being a terribly memorable film, but it was worth the trek. One final thing that reminds you that this is more of a retro film is one of the decisions that the villains make. As Charlene is blowing up a bunch of cars…a few of the men run towards one. This would prove to be their final mistake as it ended up exploding, but you have to wonder what they were thinking. They were seriously outgunned.

I do have to give the film a big thumbs up for one scene. Towards the end of the film, everything is burning so we think that the horses may be toast. Luckily, Charlene saves them and the camera makes sure to show you that they got away safely. It was a classy move on the film’s part and it shows that you can definitely avoid animal violence if you really want too. That was definitely a solid move.

Overall, Firestarter is an intriguing film. I dare say that it feels like an old school slasher during some parts of the film and more like a slice of life in others. The two main characters aren’t bad, but the villains range from slightly under average to terrible. The guy with the shotgun was pretty great although it was sad that he couldn’t do a little better in the gunfight. This is the film for you if you want a Supernatural type of adventure with escaped convicts and action. Still, you’ll have more fun watching DBZ Cooler’s Revenge if you want a story of a Saiyan overcoming hardship as he shows the world that he is more than human. As a sidenote, it’s interesting to wonder how Charlene would fair against the Avengers from the 2012 film. We can assume that a fireball would likely crush Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Captain America. Iron Man’s armor has been shown to be weak against fire and Thor had to dodge machine gun fire so I’m not sure how he would fair. Hulk could end up being the final obstacle and then it all depends on how long Charlene can evade him. Given time, I believe that she could defeat him as well. Still, I guess I would side with the Avengers if they all fought against her at once. (This is assuming that she is already in her awakened state of course, so no charge up is necessary)

Overall 3/10

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Plankton vs Godzilla

Godzilla is the King of the Monsters and he’s back to really launch some havok against Plankton. Plankton is quick, but he’s very small and his giant robots don’t really level the playing field here. Nothing is going to stop the legendary monster and it’s been a while since we got to see Godzilla take a win. Godzilla wins.

Ghirahim vs Captain Kirk

Captain Kirk is a figure that you have probably heard about by now. His reputation precedes him and he’s not the kind of guy that you want to overlook. He may just be a human, but he’s a human with a lot of determination. Heart wins battles and nobody has more heart than him….right? Well, Ghirahim can take on whole armies and his teleporting abilities should also give him an edge. Ghirahim wins.

Space Dandy vs Po

Space Dandy is back against one of the Teletubbies! We have to admire their persistence even if it won’t be enough to claim the win here. Space Dandy has his space gun and he could probably fight in close combat situations if the need arose. Po is simply outmatched here and Dandy gets to rise up through the blog ranks. Space Dandy wins.

Skeebo vs Nemo

Skeebo returns for another win and somehow I don’t see this boding very well for Nemo! Nemo is a cool fish, but the size difference is pretty drastic and Skeebo just needs one punch to win. He’s always bursting with confidence so Nemo won’t be able to use any scare tactics either. Skeebo wins.

Dark Pit vs Kirby

Dark Pit makes his debut onto the blog and his appearance in the new Smash Bros game should quickly increase his popularity. He’s definitely a skilled fighter and it’s tough for any opponent to stand up to his large array of long range abilities. He can also attack from short range so he is very unpredictable. Dark Pit wins.

Justice League of America Sanctuary Review

It’s time for a classic (Pre 52 anyway) Justice League story. This isn’t an iconic event and it’s not even the climax to an arc. No, this is just an installment in the middle of the Justice League of America’s run back in the day so this is a perfect way to see how it holds up. Is it new reader friendly? Is it action packed? Luckily, I can say yes to both of those questions.

The title actually hints at the plot as many villains are on the run since they are being targeted by the Suicide Squad. You would think that the villains would have a clear edge, but the Squad has grown tougher over the years. They have a man who has the strength of a wild animal, The Sargent/General (DC’s version of Red Hulk) and several other members, but I’ll admit that none of them left a lasting impression. They have already gotten some of the big guns like the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Grodd so the final villains realize what they have to do…..they have to turn themselves in to the Justice League! This starts a pretty interesting plot as the League does tend to be at odds with the government on several occasions. Has Amanda Waller overstepped her boundaries?

The other half of the comic deals with what the heroes find when they try to track down the mission villains and we also get a long discussion with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. They talk about the team and there are a few hidden insults as well as the three of them try to out think the other two members.

Cliffhanger wise, I can’t say that it was an amazing one, but it was what I would consider solid. The villains have plans of their own and this makes them look a lot better since you may have assumed the worst when we heard that they had all been beaten by the government. As Luthor basically states, this particular twist has been done a few times already though so it’s not shocking, but it does have the potential to give us a lot of great fights. The Martian Manhunter is also dealing with troubles of his own. (By the way, this graphic novel apparently leads into Final Crisis so I guess it was sort of related to an event after all!)

This collection deals with a lot of government intrigue and political talk as we have to decide whether it’s a good thing that the government is capturing all of the thugs or not. Naturally, I agreed with Batman that when nobody can see what the government is doing, they start to cross the law. As always, the government looks shady to the point where you can say that Waller and her group are just as evil as some of the villains. They just want to eliminate the villains for good. It would save hundreds if not thousands of lives, but resorting to destroying the villains is just as bad. Their prison is basically a death sentence after all.

Batman’s portrayal plays out as you would hope. He doesn’t get a lot of action, but he’s always a step ahead of Waller. Instead of making threats, he’s busy finding out where the prison is and alerting his teammates to Waller’s assault on the Watchtower. (You have to admit…it would have been Awesome if that had happened during the TV show. Her gang wouldn’t have stood a chance if Superman and the others had shown up) The Dark Knight doesn’t really get much better than this and he was a highlight of the collection!

Superman also looks pretty sharp. There seems to be an event that happened with Vixen a while back, but it evidently wasn’t Superman’s fault (Too much) although he should have been able to dodge. He has the speed and that must have been a character plot hole. Regardless, he’s still the heart of the team and he likes to take an optimistic look at what the team is doing..even if it’s shady. He’s probably the only hero who keeps up a polite pre tense with Amanda Waller.

From the big three, Wonder Woman definitely gets the smallest role or at least it felt that way. Technically, she does get a team up issue with the Flash that helps to even things out. You can even argue that technically she appears the most and it just feels like she didn’t appear as much because she didn’t get as many memorable scenes. She looked pretty good in the team up although I was mostly busy feeling sympathetic for the Flash. You can definitely tell that she’s one of the big leaguers.

The Flash only gets a brief appearance in his team up issue, but he seems like a nice guy. The Flash has easily been one of my favorite leaguers, but I’m usually talking about Barry Allen. I like Wally West, but I can’t say that I find him as likable as Barry…usually. He was definitely very good here and he may have been blowing the league off, but I’m sure that he has his reasons. His super speed always comes in handy and personality wise, he’s a pretty complete hero. (Like Mega Man) Hopefully we will see more of him in future issues.

Vixen gets a rather large role in this graphic novel due to a side plot that revolves around her. She used to harness the powers of animals through her amulet, but now she has been able to absorb the powers of heroes around her. This means that she can have the strength of Superman and she can even use Green Lantern’s energy blasts. It’s pretty surreal and it’s definitely something that is useful to have. Because of this, you could say that she’s one of the League’s power hitters although she only gets into a brief skirmish with one of the Suicide Squad’s members. It’s a pretty interesting plot and I’ll be sure to stay tuned.

Red Arrow doesn’t look very good though and his plot isn’t very interesting either. He is pretty desperate in his search for Cheshire and it doesn’t do his team any favors. The last thing they need is for him to start falling into traps. He usually has a pretty cool air about him, but he’s not very likable here. Hopefully he gets over that situation pretty soon.

We also can’t forget the surprise villain at the end. I guess I won’t spoil who it is, but he’s usually not a fighter. Luckily, he stumbled onto a piece of tech (Or something or magical origin) that allows him to give the Justice League a decent challenge. Even Superman can’t snap these blue threads, which was a little of a stretch to be honest. You can tell from his design that this villain isn’t going to be taken seriously very often, but his plan was decent and pretty well thought out. I’m not a fan and I don’t find him terribly interesting, but I’ll give him some props for the attempt. Think of it as a little filler before the real battles.

Amanda Waller makes for a pretty interesting villain as per usual. I don’t like her methods as a hero, but she does usually make for a fun antagonist. She gets to trade hidden insults with Batman and their mind games always tend to be pretty intense. I’m sure that we’ll see a lot more of her in the future, although I have to say that she really didn’t think through her plan that much here. Sending the villains away to the “prison” is good (for her) and all, but she should at least check to see what’s happening once and a while. In the DC universe, you never know what’s going to happen with a situation like that.

I’ll admit that I liked the Key’s confidence. With a power like his, it’s easy to see why he’s like that. I like to think that the villains still could have put up a decent fight against the Suicide Squad, but I guess it does pay off to play it safe sometimes. It gave the beginning an event feel as the group is on the run and we have to hope that the villains make it out…unless we just wait for the League to take them all down.

The art is pretty solid. It’s admittedly not as sleek as the New 52 comics, but that also allows the heroes to look a little more built as well. Superman is definitely pretty muscular here and I like how he takes charge. (Unlike the Avengers) Superman stands up to Waller’s cronies and he doesn’t give an inch. This is why he’s Superman! Whoops, I diverged from the art a bit. Needless to say, the art is pretty good.

One thing to note is that there is not a whole lot of action to be found here. There are a few skirmishes and a small battle with Queen Bee, but that’s about it. This collection is mostly plot based, but The Justice League of America manages to pull this off pretty well. More action is almost always better, but I can deal with a break from it if everything else is top notch. It’s also heavily implied that the next volume will have a lot more action since the plot is really getting close to the climax.

Overall, This is a fun Justice League comic. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to see the big 3 get a lot of action, but their meeting helps since they still get a decent amount of screen time. Superman gets to stand up to Waller and Batman quickly uncovers the enemy plans. It’s really everything that you could want in a Justice League comic and naturally, we have some fight scenes ready as well. It’s a title that I recommend to any comic fan, whether you are reading it for the action or the plot. Either way, it is just an interesting read from start to finish and you can tell that this is the calm before the storm.

Overall 8/10

Mega Man Volume 6 Breaking Point Review

It’s time for the latest volume of Mega Man! The title could really have several meanings, but I’m aiming for either the very ending or the Break Man appearance This collection brings four stories and aside from one of them, they were all pretty solid. The story that I didn’t really care for had a pretty fun side plot though so it all evens out into a win!

In the first comic, the year has almost ended. Everyone had been hoping for a peaceful New Year’s Eve, but it turns out that a group of terrorists want to spoil the festivities. These guys mean business and Mega Man is put on the case along with Agent Stern. Will Stern be able to prove that robots can never be better than cops because of his instincts or will Mega Man’s robotic enhancements prove superior? That’s the question that must be asked as the race against time begins.

It was a pretty fun start although the stakes were low. It’s really a holiday comic with a little action to keep you ready for the future issues. It should be noted that the villains have a connection to the Agent’s partner and they may end up becoming a real threat in the future. Maybe….it’s hard to see them ever getting a huge role, but it’s always possible.

The second comic is the weak link of the bunch as Roll decides to play matchmaker for Splash Woman and Mega Man while they are at the Arctic. (Or Antarctica….one of those places!) Mega Man is a little too cool for that though, but it does result in some unnecessary tensions. The moral at the end basically proves that they are too young for that and they should just stay as friends anyway. The side plot is a lot more interesting as Agent Stern debates against Dr Light about whether or not robots are actually good for society. I found myself agreeing with Agent Stern a whole lot and basically shaking my head at everything Dr Light said. I really don’t like Dr Light and this reminded me why. He must be one of the worst characters in the Mega Man series! The story also showed us that Agent Stern may be strict, but he’s also a good guy deep down.

Things really start to heat up in the third comic as Break Man launches his big offensive against Mega Man. It was the Blue Bomber’s Birthday, but he won’t get to celebrate because of the chaos. Break Man easily manhandles Mega Man’s allies so the hero is forced to get serious. He still doesn’t like to fight, but he always puts his friends first. Break Man better be ready for the toughest brawl yet!

The 4th comic takes place immediately after the third….and yet it doesn’t. The big crossover with Sonic and Mega Man took place during this break, but they don’t remember what happened to it was more like a brief pause with the fight. Mega Man is about to continue when Roll makes the mistake of jumping onto the field. Break Man defeats her and the injury appears to be severe. Mega Man may have to do the breaking this time.

As stated earlier, I really don’t like Dr Light. He’s way too optimistic to the point where it seems like he’s just denying reality. He knows that robots have been corrupted in the past and they have even hurt civilians and damaged property. Knowing this, Dr Light still acts as if the robots are completely safe and he just wants them to basically run the world. There will be a robot for just about everything and if they ever went rogue, they would basically put number the humans. I think Dr Light really needs to step back and think about what he’s doing. Robots can help make the world more convenient, but the danger really outweighs the reward.

Mega Man is a pretty great hero. I’m glad that he easily avoided the romance trap and he handled the terrorist threat pretty efficiently. I would have liked him to take out Break Man with ease once he entered into his rage mode, but at least he didn’t joke about it as you would expect from other heroes. Mega Man is basically the perfect main character as he’s a good fighter and he doesn’t shy away from the arena, but he still tries his best to diplomatically end all hostilities. I’m sure that Roll’s situation is going to affect his mindset going into future battles, but he will likely do a good job of handling it.

This definitely wasn’t Roll’s best appearance though. First we had the matchmaking comic and then she interfered with Mega Man’s battle. It’s good to tell him the truth about Break Man, but she definitely should not have jumped in without being prepared for a fight. She should have disclosed the information to Mega Man after the fight was over. Let’s face it, Mega Man rarely does permanent damage to his opponents and I’m sure that Break Man would have been just fine. A few more minutes of deliberation would have saver her a lot of trouble here.

Some of the other Robot Masters like Cut Man and Ice Man appear, but their roles are minimal. I highly doubt that any of them will be integral to the plot ever again either. Their times have gone and passed at this point. Splash Woman got a bit of a role in the second comic, but she doesn’t get to fight. I’m not really a fan of any of the current Robot Masters that appeared in this volume aside from cameos. They also look very weak power wise as Break Man didn’t even have to try to defeat them.

Break Man is a decent villain, but I don’t think that his reason for vengeance on Mega Man was handled that well. The misunderstanding in his origin was already pretty drastic since he knew Dr Light pretty well and a quick visit would have cleared things up. Unfortunately, Break Man hasn’t forgotten that and now he just wants to wreck Mega Man’s day so that the hero will be sad. It’s not the greatest reason to join the fray and no matter how many hardcore lines he gets, it’s just petty in the end. I’m sure that he is going to become a full fledged hero soon and we already got a glimpse of that a few comics ago. By that point, I’ll likely become a fan once again, but he’s definitely fallen for now. At least his power was very accurately represented since he is close to Mega Man in overall ability, but he should ultimately be inferior. I’ll be very skeptical if he manages to beat Mega Man at some point….verrrrry skeptical.

As cool as the robot plots are, I mainly just enjoy them for Mega Man and the action. The humans may actually be more interesting on average since I really don’t like Dr Light, but I enjoy Agent Stern’s speeches. Whenever he debates Dr Light, it’s something to remember and I hope that he sticks around as a main character. Dr Wily only gets two brief appearances and nothing really happens with him except for his hasty retreat. I can’t say that he looked very good at all here, but I’m sure that things will look up for him at some point. Maybe he’ll have a fight with Agent Stern at some point.

The cliffhanger for the volume is pretty epic for several reasons though. We know that Mega Man is going to want to smash something once he is able to move so Break Man has to be careful about his next moves here. Of course, he’ll want to think fast since Ra Moon is making his move and the entire planet may be forfeit. With Mega Man out of the fight and Break Man decently fatigued…this could be the end for the heroes!

The art is pretty good as expected. The color scheme really works for the character designs and the energy blasts. That really pertains to the robots though since the humans don’t always look very sharp. I think they can maybe look a little stretched at some points, but overall it looks pretty good. The art definitely doesn’t hold the series back.

Overall, This Mega Man volume brings the series back to its core. The plot has returned and the stakes in the final comic have risen to the highest yet. I thought that the last volume or two was pretty slow, but that’s certainly not the case here. This is a must read for any Mega Man fan and it’s also a title that’s easy to just pick up and read at any time. Everything about the comic just makes it easy to get into and you’re sure to have a quality experience. Now, all we need is for Bass to appear and the series will have really reached its peak!

Overall 8/10

Skeebo vs One Above All

The One Above All is the perfect opponent for any newcomer who really wants to see how powerful he is. Skeebo may not look like it, but he’s actually a powerhouse when he’s equipped with the legendary berries in Pac World. The One Above All likely didn’t prepare for this and he’s just going to have to endure another loss. Skeebo wins.

Wii Fit Trainer vs Flatman

The Wii Fit Trainer has made her elegant return and Flatman may quickly realize that he should have exercised more in the past! Flatman’s ability to stretch can allow him to really absorb the force behind the Wii Fit Trainer’s attacks, but he can’t stop her energy balls. If needed, the Wii Fit Trainer can even shoot out rainbow clones that explode on contact and that would be the end of the fight for Flatman. Wii Fit Trainer wins.