Ranking every RWBY premiere

So we all know just how impressive the RWBY series is. It’s to the point where if someone asks you what the definition of peak fiction is….you’d show them an episode of the show. It’s that good and still reigns as the greatest show of all time. I figured it would be a good chance to try checking out every season premiere and rank them. I’ve thought about doing something like that for a long time but ultimately I just kept putting it off over and over again until now. I finally had the time to go in and watch all of these episodes. Below I’ll talk about each premiere and be they stack up against each other. Volume 3 may be my favorite season but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will win for the best premiere and that’s what makes everything pretty interesting here. So without further adieu, lets take a look at the rankings.

9. RWBY Volume 5

Volume 5 had less action than I remembered and by that I mean it had almost none. We get to see each member of Team RWBY in their various plots and the hype for this volume was that the group would finally be reunited. It had been a while after all so the build up had to be on point and the premiere does well with that. We see Weiss on her trip, Yang gathering intel, Blake preparing to make a stand, and Ruby getting to meet Lionheart.

Lionheart’s definitely not my favorite character to put it mildly so his scenes aren’t very interesting. The guy is nervous right out of the jump and the only time he talks tough is when he is trying to convince Qrow that everything is a bad idea. This premiere is really solid at the serious moments but can be a bit weaker than previous volumes on the humor side. Give me the bobble head RWBY scene over Yang bouncing the bandit across all the walls any time. It’s a solid premiere but not quite holding its own against any of the others.

8. RWBY Volume 7

Low ranking for volume 7 eh? Well, there’s not much action here either. We do get a brief skirmish with some Grimm and then the heroes are taken down by the AceOps. I was always a bit skeptical at how quickly they were taken out. Sure, it was a cheap shot but even taking that into account….I’m just a bit unsure about that. The humor also didn’t land quite as well as earlier volumes. I like Penny as a character quite a bit but her humor style doesn’t work as well.

Mostly this premiere was about seeing the tough state that Atlas was in and learning that maybe there is reason to doubt Ironwood. Granted, as a viewer I didn’t think so but you’re meant to be a bit wary at least. The place is under secure watch but given that the Grimm are around that makes sense. It’s an interesting premiere but for the first episode you usually want to start out with a bang and this one didn’t have that explosive impact.

7. RWBY Volume 4

Volume 4 is fairly low key on the action scenes as well. There is a fight as the heroes go up against a rock creature but the bulk of the episode is really about set up. We have the evil council meeting for the first time on screen so we get to see Salem’s cabal. That made for a pretty intense scene and of course it was a rough start for Cinder since she has lost her voice for a while by this point. Seeing her get picked on just feels so odd when usually she is the mastermind. Then you have the heroes having a little fun and stopping by a town.

It’s a very complete episode and fits in with the heavier focus on the story for the later volumes. That said, it still ends up being a weak premiere next to the other ones because it just isn’t as exciting. The rock fight just didn’t have the same energy or hype as the fights that came before it. I would say part of that is because as a rock giant it had no way to actually defend itself or fight back so the whole thing just didn’t feel very satisfying. Still nice to see the group work as a team of course and later on Volume 4 would go on to have one of the best team fights in the series against Tyrian.

6. RWBY Volume 8

Volume 8 has one of the more tense premieres but it’s also very light on action. There aren’t any big battles for the heroes as they’re starting to turn on each other and the pressures of protecting mantle are getting to them. The AceOps got whopped last time so they’re also still very sore about the whole thing. Clover only has himself to blame for being taken out but that’s just how it goes. The series decided to start making Ironwood more of an extreme villain in this episode by having him shoot someone which was also a bit on the weak side.

Still a very intense episode all around though. It has a lot of replay value that’s for sure. Ultimately for the heroes you’re rooting for them to save everyone but without a concrete plan to achieve this, it’s easy to see why a lot of the heroes were mixed on what to do. Salem really had the advantage here and her experience came in handy. If Ozpin had been more honest with the characters then things probably wouldn’t have gone this far.

5. RWBY Volume 2

Volume 2 brings in the famous food fight in the series. This one is talked about often and for good reason. It’s a really impressive group fight where everyone gets to have their moment to shine. It’s cool to see each character use their signature fighting style with the foods and they all have a moment to shine. Even though they are fighting for fun you can still gauge the power levels pretty well from this. For example, it’s clear that Yang and Pyrrha are a cut above the rest with how they handle themselves in this fight. Ruby probably gets the most surprising amount of hype given that she is able to effectively wipe out the whole team once she gets serious. To date it’s one of her most impressive feats.

The fight takes up most of the episode but we also have some fun humor moments here. Ruby trying to make things fun for the team as leader goes a long way and they all have some fun banter throughout. It keeps up that blend of humor and action that the series is so well known for. I’d also say the series was at its funniest during these opening volumes so this was really a solid premiere that could get anyone on board the RWBY train. Then there’s also the opening scene where Mercury and Emerald assassinate a bookstore owner for trying to leave Vale. It’s a fairly ominous moment all things considered and showed that the villains weren’t playing around. Bumping someone off in the opening episode already set the tone that things were going to be more dangerous in season 2.

4. RWBY Volume 6

Volume 6 really started off with a bang as it feels nice to have the full RWBY squad together again. They get to take on a bunch of Grimm to protect the train and it felt like the show was proving that the fight scenes were back on track. It definitely succeeded with this and that would continue to be the case as the fights in volume 6 were incredible. The enemies may have had no shot here but it was nice to see all of the teamwork and combos that we hadn’t gotten to see in a while.

This really ended up being one of the stronger premieres as a result and was an ideal way to start the season off. The song that plays during the fight (Miracle) was a blast and of course the opening was really good but that’s no surprise in the slightest. Volume 7 would have to work hard to surpass this one and it ultimately wasn’t up to the task.

3. RWBY Volume 1

RWBY’s first volume really starts off on a nostalgic note. I’ve seen Ruby take out those thugs many times in the past and the episode is a good way of introducing her character. She is clearly tough as she was able to take out the whole gang right off the bat and she even kept her composure enough to try and take some shots at Cinder and the ship in the end. The way the episode used the theme song as something Ruby was listening to was great as well.

The narration at the beginning gives the episode a very ominous feeling and the whole city seems rather shady as well. I’d say one of the advantages to the old animation style was that everything felt rather sinister so it was hard to know what was going to happen next. The fights are excellent here and the episode manages to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time so I really don’t have many issues here. This will always hold up as one of the most important episodes for obvious reasons but also one that has a lot of replay value.

2. RWBY Ice Queendom

I thought about it for a while and figured I should add Ice Queendom into the mix. No, I’m not adding RWBY Chibi but this one works like a volume so it makes sense. It’s also so high quality that it more than holds its own against the numbered volumes. The visuals were fantastic and it definitely moves through a good amount of material by knocking out 2 of the specials and the first episode plus some material from a volume 4 special.

The fights look great as Ruby takes down some goons and Blake destroys a bunch of mechs. A lot of effort went into this one and at least at this point and time you can really feel the high budget effort behind this. I would also say it does work well as someone’s introduction to the series. You quickly get the plot and learn about the characters so that’s a win/win. I was quite satisfied here. If I am recommending someone to the series I would actually show them this episode first and then transition over to volume 1 from where this one left off. If episode 2 is as strong then I may do the same for that one.

1. RWBY Volume 3

Volume 3 will always be known as one of the all time RWBY greats because of how much action was in each episode and how memorable the whole thing was. There were high stakes and it felt like the story really began here. The lore started to kick in and we even learned the end game boss. That said, would the premiere already be starting things in the fast track? I would say yes. Starting off with the tournament underway is a great way to start a season. It’s also one of the very few times in the series where we actually get to see the team…fight as a team. Usually it’s just 2 of them or something like that so having a 4 on 4 fight was a lot of fun.

The animation is top tier of course and the music is really energetic so you can get right into the mix of things. We get the instructions breakdown from the announcers on how this will work out and we also get some more foreshadowing that Mercury and Emerald are going to be making a move soon. The heroes are really unaware of what’s going to go down and could say that the villains have a pretty big lead right now on the information side. So I guess volume 3 did end up winning after all.

The original volumes mainly seemed to be higher ranked here as they always started out with big fight scenes. Volumes 1-3 all had big fights, 4 had a brief one, 5 had none, 6 had a lot of action, then 7 had a quick fight and 8 went on empty. Ice Queendom had a ton of action which is a benefit of being so fast paced. It was pretty fun to revisit each of the opening episodes for the series. RWBY is always peak fiction after all and you can really see the animation, story, and tone change throughout the volumes.

After all, the list is fairly relative as I enjoyed all of the episodes but there are definitely ones that are clearly stronger or weaker. So what are your thoughts on each of the premieres? Leave them below and I’ll see you in the next rankings.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Review

Now this is what I would call a very good western. We’ve got an interesting cast here with a main character who is very quickly turning crazy. Usually it’s a slow descent into madness but this guy is on a speed run and nobody’s gonna be stopping him. It shows how greed can really take you out if you don’t keep your guard up at all times. Also if you aim to be rich, be careful about making this a team sport.

The movie starts by introducing us to Fred and Bob who are really down on their luck. They’re basically penniless and just got scammed by someone. Just when it looks like they are doomed to be on the street for good, they run into a guy named Howard who says that he used to be great at gold digging and even got rich but he spent his fortune away. Fred and Bob figure they’ll take their chances with him and things go well…almost too well. Now that they are taking in all of the gold they don’t know when to stop. Can they stop?

Now this is one of those films where the conflict only happens because one of them is completely insane. If not then this would have been simple. You make enough money to last the rest of your life and go home. It’s easy and now you’re all set. Unfortunately Fred just wants more and more while also growing more paranoid. As the film goes on he basically becomes the villain here. It’s a little hard to just leave as well for most of the film because there’s always the chance you’ll get shot in the back. All 3 characters have a gun after all.

Now, I do think Bob should have just shot Fred after a point. Once he realizes that Fred is out to murder him, you have to move first. If he doesn’t want to cross the big line then he could just shoot out a leg and tip the authorities to come and find him later on. I think those would have been very safe options that would have really done the trick here without just being in harm’s way the whole time. In the end he was just a little too merciful which nearly got him several times.

Bob is a nice guy and he deals a fair hand to everyone. He likes money and gold as much as the next guy but he doesn’t let it control him or anything like that. It’s why it’s easy to root for him. Fred on the other hand is one of those guys who gets corrupted real easy. I like how he’s a total tough guy and tries to intimidate the others in every scene but it’s just too bad that he couldn’t keep this in check. Ultimately there is always someone tougher out there and so he just put himself on a path where there was absolutely no winning. Things get a little tricky for him.

Part of why the film succeeds though is because it is always tense with all of this happening without trying too far with it. A lesser film might have had Fred get tortured by the end or completely broken as commence for what he was doing but this one just stuck to the basics. I’d say Fred got his just desserts well enough without dragging things out. The movie doesn’t have any horses getting blown up or making the usual western mistakes. Instead it played things by the numbers and did well for itself.

The cast was also solid which helped a lot. Fred was a great villain and I liked Bob as a hero. Howard was a solid wild card as I can’t say that I trusted him at all as the film went on. He always seemed a little off and it was nice to have a crazy wild card like this guy. He always said the silent part out loud about how the main characters might want to double cross each other. He seemed to enjoy increasing the stakes and messing with them the whole time. He was playing with fire but the guy never seemed nervous. Howard really was an old pro.

Finally you had Cody who is not nearly as smart. The guy wanted to get rich as well and didn’t care how many times he was told off by the others, he just kept on coming and trying to shoot his shot. On one hand I do think it’s impressive just how determined the guy was but at the same time I just don’t think it was worth it. Is getting rich really worth putting yourself in the line of fire with 3 guys who all seem dangerous? Fred wasn’t exactly subtle with how he was threatening Cody after all so it’s not like this was a vague danger. It was a very specific risk that he would lose his life in this endeavor.

Additionally you also have a lot of bandits and other villains running around. It’s no exaggeration to say that there was danger around every corner. Not the safest place to be so it’s another reason why you want to grab your gold and run off. The local cops actually looked really good here by the end as well. It may not be possible to stop the bandits all of the time but once they have their sights on them, it’s only a matter of time. They run a tight ship in that town.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It did very well for the genre and the writing was just really consistent the whole way through. If you’re looking for a tense film that also speaks to the risks of riches then this is the one for you. The characters really get to learn why getting rich can be a danger in itself. The ending also works well with the theme of the movie. It may not be the happiest ending out there but it gets the job done and you’ll feel satisfied with how the movie turned out.

Overall 7/10

Brian’s Song

It’s been a little while since I saw a film based on a true story. Brian’s Song is a story about two NFL running backs and I have to say that I didn’t really know about either of them before the movie. They were just a little before my time but it was cool to see the NFL highlights and learn more about them through the film. I’d say that the movie does a good job with the adventure. Of course I can’t speak to how accurate it all may be, but as a cinematic experience it does the job.

The movie starts with Gale heading to practice as this will be his first season with the Chicago Bears. There he meets up with the veteran Brian who is currently the running back but he’s been in decline a bit. Brian starts off by messing with Gale a bit with some pranks but eventually they get to be good friends. Gale even ends up becoming the starter right away because of his incredible talents rushing the ball. Brian fortunately takes this in good spirits and they even get to share a room and help each other to succeed further. Sadly this cannot last as Brian becomes incredibly ill and may not make it. Can he be saved or is it all over?

As this is based on a true story I suppose it isn’t really a spoiler but at the same time if you don’t know about these events, I figured I’d keep them under wraps just in case. Either way you can bet that this is a very emotional film as movies based on true stories usually tend to be about dramatic events. Why make a movie about an every day situation right? The movie is fairly short as it’s just barely over an hour so the movie doesn’t need to try and stretch the premise out much. It’s able to just go from scene to scene fairly quick.

Of course I would have liked to have seen some more Football highlights but as it stands we got a good amount of them. The main cast is also fairly small as the true focus is on Gale and Brian. The coach gets a decent role as well and I thought he handled all of the situations well. You could tell that he was a good guy and was always willing to do what was best for the team even if it meant that he might be a bit unpopular with some of the players. He just did his job and kept it moving.

I give Brian a lot of credit for not being jealous of Gale as well. A lot of times with movie like this and even in real life you’ll see jealousy start to emerge when the starter is overtaken like this. In any sport there is a lot of pride involved and even more once you’re at the top. You know that Brian wished he could be out on the field but he would just use that as motivation to work even harder as opposed to trying to take any shots at Brian. It was the right attitude to have and it was a real credit to his character.

That brief time where he got to be the starting fullback while Gale was the starting running back was definitely the deal point in their careers. Meanwhile Gale did everything the right way too. He kept on going with 100% effort on all plays and didn’t hold back just because he was friends with Brian. Gale was as supportive as he could be and they really did get along quite well. Gale even overcame his fear of public speaking to give a good speech about Brian later on.

The talent never went to his head and you could see how Gale was incredibly good at playing during his games. One of the fun parts of Football is making friends and getting that feeling of comradery and this movie really handled that quite nicely. Whether you’re a fan of Football or not I think you’ll be able to appreciate the film’s strong writing and solid main characters. The pacing is good and it’s just a well made movie.

It would be nice if the film could have had a happier ending but at the end of the day when you’re based on a true story there is only so much that you can do. Ideally it would be fun to change things a bit so that everyone runs off into the sunset but doing that would likely not go over very well with the viewers. You’re expected to follow the path wherever it takes you and so this film did that.

Overall, Brian’s Song is a good movie. There’s not a whole lot to say about it in part because of how short the film is but also because the plot is very direct. It’s not the kind of movie where there is a lot of lore to talk about or scenes to explain in detail. It’s really a film about bonding over Football and dealing with life’s challenges as they come. So if you’re up for a rather heavy film then this is a good one to check out and the timing is good since we are in Football season right now. It can help you pass the time by until the next games start.

Logan Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Wolverine’s had a checkered history with his films. Most people didn’t care for the first one or even the second all that much. This was the one that finally made the books as a definitive title for the character. At least for most people because after seeing this one I can confirm that it is the weakest film in the X-Men franchise. Yes, weaker than X-Men origins. It’s a very depressing look at how the Marvel Universe could have turned out for the mutants and Wolverine never really got to have his happy ending.

The movie starts up in the future where Wolverine is even more of a drunk than usual and doesn’t have any qualms about using his claws on people now. He’s just sick of everything turning out so badly so he’s been saving up money for a while now. He’ll take Professor Xavier away and they’ll both basically die. Wolverine even got himself some adamantium bullets to finish the job. Before any of this can happen, a lady appears asking for his help. Wolverine definitely says no since his adventuring days are over but she is murdered and her daughter Laura ends up hitching a ride.

Professor Xavier insists on their helping her so Wolverine is stuck now. He’ll have to try and get her to her final destination which is supposed to be a safe haven from the mutant hunters. This won’t be easy though as something is up with Wolverine’s abilities and his healing regeneration has been greatly reduced. Meanwhile Xavier has a lot of seizures now and can barely use his abilities either. Time is not on their side so the race is on.

I definitely have a lot of issues with the film, mostly just around how depressing it all is so lets go with the positives first. The fight scenes are very solid. I think that characters with a strong regeneration ability should be used to fighting a little recklessly because any trade is actually in their favor. So they can be good with either landing hits on their own, or dealing out equal damage. It makes sense so I’m cool with that and Wolverine does get in some good combos once he gets going.

I do think he feels very nerfed but at least there is a story reason for it. Otherwise I would expect Wolverine to look much better in this film. Another positive is that Laura’s character was handled very well. She has grown up with a rather lousy life at this point and so she is doing her best to move on forward. She doesn’t dwell on the past all that much and only talks when necessary. She really just wants to complete her mission and get to safety to put this life of violence behind her. When she does fight Laura is calculated and ruthless in destroying her opponents.

She’s not some kind of super hero so she doesn’t have to worry about the mercy rule. Laura’s life has always been in a do or die scenario so if she doesn’t strike quickly then she knows that it could all be over. I thought she was definitely the highlight here and in general I always liked her character. It would be a lot of fun to see her more in some future movies.

Okay now lets talk about some of the iffy stuff. First we have to talk about Wolverine. I’m cool with a main character being reluctant to help and not wanting to get back into the hero game. So when he turns the lady down the first few times you can understand. There is no obvious threat at the moment and there are presumably others who can help. Once she asks him for help again by flagging his car (Wolverine runs an Uber type operation) and it’s obvious that she is in critical danger, he shouldn’t have left her again.

Bring her and Laura with him in the car. Abandoning her was just an awful look and I can see why Laura was so upset. Logan tries abandoning Laura several times as well later on in the film. He also puts Caliban in a rather bad spot by having him drive off with the villain. This version of Logan has absolutely 0 qualms about killing so just stab the guy a few more times to make sure that he doesn’t get up,. I’ll give him less grief about this though since he thought that the guy was dead.

Logan is just way too depressed here though to the point where he acts like a villain. It’s almost like Bruce Wayne nearly murdering Terry McGuiness back in the first episode of Batman Beyond by turning off the suit. There’s a line that you cross when you go too far into being a thorn in the way of justice. That’s just how Logan is here and it takes an extremely long time until he finally gets ready for action.

Then you throw in the fact that he’s a lot weaker here and it’s annoying to see him lose just about every fight that he’s in. Common thugs are beating him up left and right, never mind the X-24 clone who really lays him out. Even if Wolverine’s not a nice guy anymore, you hope to see him getting some wins but until his rage mode near the end he is getting thrown around a whole lot. It’s not cool and it definitely doesn’t help him as a character. I just didn’t like Logan here, his days of being the Wolverine were definitely long gone.

I can’t say that I liked how Xavier was portrayed either. The guy is half crazy and can’t even control his own abilities with the seizures now. I have a super hard time believing that this could happen to a telepath, particularly one of Xavier’s ability. The twist of how this affected the X-Men was also awful. It’s certainly a convenient way to make sure that nobody else shows up but it’s not satisfying at all. To think that this is how it would all end after so many battles and fights to achieve peace between humans and mutants.

This ending is certainly not what anyone would have hoped for. I’d have much preferred Xavier to go out in a blaze of glory or something like that. In the end, the world went from being fantastical to quite normal since the world seems like any everyday place now. At least Caliban seemed like a reasonable guy right from the start for the heroes. He was probably the only one who seemed like a nice guy with no drawbacks so of course things get really rough for him here.

As for the villains, Pierce is the main one and he’s okay I guess. There’s just not a lot to him and you could think of the guy as an average thug only he’s got some tech so he can fight a little bit. I think with a bit more screen time he could have been better as the charismatic kind of villain but the film was not able to pull that off. Dr. Zandar is your average twisted scientist villain who just likes to be as evil and cruel as possible so there’s not much to him either. Not a quality villain.

The only one who seemed solid was X-24. At first I actually thought he was Sabretooth who somehow managed to return to the main lines once more but the twist worked out rather well. I like the idea of this guy being as savage as Wolverine was in his prime so the dilemma is in how to take this guy out. He really is quite strong and made for an impressive threat. Whenever he was on screen you knew that things were going to get really tough for the heroes.

As you’d probably expect, this film gets very violent. You really have the claws in full force by both the heroes and villains with the usual human experimentation going on as well. It’s trying really hard to be the most violent of the X-Men films to live up to the Wolverine rep and it earns this but at the detriment of the film. You don’t need all of this excessive violence and it takes away from the action scenes. The movie definitely should have toned things down and it would have helped out.

At least the ending of the film is solid enough. I didn’t have any issues with it and it seemed like a classic way to end things. I absolutely would have preferred a happier ending with more room for big sequels and all that but it still wasn’t bad. It’s not a grim dark ending either, just more of a bitter sweet one so the heroes couldn’t win on all fronts and had to settle for a few.

At the end of the day, part of the problem with this film is that it’s going more for an apocalyptic future vibe rather than being a full blown comic book movie. You don’t have too many big battles with lots of super abilities and flashy CGI. Instead you usually have very dreary backgrounds with the characters fighting very ordinary humans aside from X-24. The fact that the humans do well is sad in itself. At least by the end you have them taking the Ls as the heroes finally get ready for combat.

Overall, Logan’s not a good movie. It really wrecks Logan’s character quite thoroughly and I would say that Xavier was really mishandled as well. Laura was a shining point in the movie at least. You’re better off watching Dark Phoenix as the true end point to the X-Men series as that one soared above expectations and did deliver with a lot of fun fights and cool plots going on. If Wolverine does get another film, I’d like them to just put him in a fun setting and let us see Wolverine the superhero as opposed to Logan, the jaded old timer.

Overall 4/10

PokeToon Review

Pokemon has been getting a lot of little shows here and there. This is the latest one and it’s going for a more low key vibe as the anthology switches animation styles a lot. Some of the shorts are pretty solid while others are definitely weaker. In general I would say this one doesn’t hold up to the last few shows but you should still have some fun here. With only 8 episodes that are shorter than normal ones, it won’t take you long to blast through them all.

The first short is about Scraggy as he fights with Mikikyu in classic Looney Tunes/Mickey Mouse style. The animation is very much going for that kind of retro look and so there is a lot of battling going on. It’s very nostalgic to see this style and it’s nice enough but what I do miss about it is that there isn’t any dialogue or anything like that. So there’s barely a plot here. It works well enough since the short is….well short, but if this was full length then it would eventually drag on. This would be in the lower tier from the 8 episodes at 7th place overall.

Then next up we have an episode about Pancham and now this was a really solid one. I would put it as the 2nd best. Basically he wants to be a hero like his role model Arcanine but the problem is that the way evolution works, he can never be an Arcanine which shakes him up a bit. Still, he decides to train hard and become a respectable hero in his own right. One day there are a bunch of miners stuck behind a cave-in and it’s up to Pancham to save them.

It’s always nice seeing a Pokemon with a lot of personality and ambitions of his own. I liked Pancham right away and the story is very satisfying as he works to achieve his dream. The kid also wasn’t super annoying here although he could have let Pancham know about the situation a little sooner instead of just running around. At the end of the day Pancham is someone that you know you can count on to help save the day and take the right steps to saving the people.

Next up is a short that’s more about the human this time. Blossom wants to be a Pokemon trainer but her Mom denies the idea while her father is too nervous to do much of anything. She figures that she will just have to leave without permission and finds a nice Nidoran but unfortunately there is a misunderstanding and now his parents want to crush her. Blossom retreats to the village but with NidoKing and NidoQueen fast approaching, has she just doomed the village?

I liked the idea of the story more than the execution which is why this one has to settle for third place. I was thrilled when some Pokemon Trainers showed up right away because the idea of a village without trainers would be crazy. So that was cool and it also just made a lot of sense. The fact that they were losing is quite embarrassing but I can also get behind this especially with how the new Arceus game presents the world. If you live in a low level area then you might have weak Pokemon so when a tough wild one shows up then you’re sunk.

This does make Blossom’s dad look awful though. He just couldn’t care less and even when he hears the large explosions in the distance he doesn’t do anything. When Blossom shows up scared and desperate he coldly reminds her that his Charizard won’t listen to her. Throughout the adventure he just isn’t helpful at all even through to the climax as he lets his daughter take all of the risks. The special was trying to make him appear as the guy who appears to be rather helpless but is actually really tough. It just completely failed on that note.

The special itself is nice because of the action and Blossom is a good character but the Dad definitely makes it fall down a notch this time. I still like the idea of some Pokemon storming a village with trainers. I’d actually like to see something similar with Team Rocket someday. At this point all villages should have a bunch of trainers so that would make for a great premise to a short.

Now we can talk about the weakest special of the 8 which is about a Magikarp. This one is going for a very quiet kind of short like the first one. There is no dialogue here or anything like that. So it’s all about this one kid who plays by the lake and his music is really appealing to Magikarp. One day the kid leaves so the Pokemon has to try and find him. It’s one of those shorts that would be a lot more emotional with some dialogue and more of a full story. The abstract design of the short really doesn’t work nearly as well. It’s not all that interesting so it really couldn’t keep up with the others.

On the upper half of the 8 specials was one about Slugma at 4th place. This one is about a girl who always tries to be friends with Slugma when she stays at her grandma’s house, but the Pokemon is very shy and always hides. Still, Slugma is a nice Pokemon and does his best to make sure that she’s comfortable by always supplying a lot of heat to the house. There’s not a whole lot going on in this one but it’s a nice wholesome story. I also just like seeing all of the Pokemon just hanging around the house. They really would be a lot like having pets in the real world.

One of the longer specials was about a girl trying to survive past the Pokemon scare challenge. Basically there is a haunted spot in the school and so a bunch of guys decide to check it out. The main girl here gets spooked by a ghost and raises her hand by accident so she has to come along but then she is turned into a Gengar, one of the very Pokemon that used to frighten her. With the other kids stuck in the school, she will have to try keeping them safe from the other Pokemon and conquer her fears at the same time.

I put this one as a bit weaker than the others at 5th because while the idea is good, I don’t think the short did a whole lot with it. The kids aren’t very likable and I’m also not sure why they would all be super scared of ghost type Pokemon. I feel like if there were real ghosts here then that would make sense but in a world where Pokemon are so common place, I don’t see them being thought of as super scary or anything like that. The kids are very young so I can cut them a little slack, but only a little.

It was cool to see the girl turn into the Gengar since that’s like something out of Mystery Dungeon but the special just wasn’t all that exciting. The more emotional stories are definitely the ones that would tend to be a lot more high ranking and this one wasn’t going for those vibes. At least we got some cool effect with the whole dimension shifting.

Then there is the Snorunt episode which is one of the weaker ones at 6. Basically a few kids have a secret base which is a nice homage to the old Pokemon games. One day they come across a Snorunt that is outside but the problem is that they live in a very warm climate so it’s not good for the Pokemon. They have to decide if they should take him to the PokeCenter in which case their secret base could be exposed or just try to save him themselves. Fortunately they make the right call.

It’s a decent enough short but the animation wasn’t as good as some of the others ones and I wouldn’t say that the story was super explosive either. I also don’t think that this would necessarily expose their base’s location. I’m thinking that the rationale would be that they would have to say where they found the Snorunt but they could always hide the base for a day when the adults go to check on it and then blow it up again. Still, it was good that they made the right choice.

Finally we have the Jigglypuff short which I rank as the best out of the 8. This one is about a girl who befriends a Jigglypuff but for some reason she’s afraid to sing. What’s worse is that another girl has a Jigglypuff that loves to sing so they start blaming the Jigglypuff and even the main girl for this which leads to a lot of tear and emotional moments. This Jigglypuff may not be able to sing, but at the end of the day she still tries her best so as not to disappoint her Poke trainer.

There’s no danger or action here but it’s a pretty good story. I liked the animation and it had solid vibes here. On a technical level is probably had the highest budget and I could easily see a slice of life kind of show in this setting. It was a good way to end things and it’s easy to root for Jigglypuff. Always good to end on a high note and that’s exactly what PokeToon did.

At the end of the day, the anthology format is what really holds this one back a bit. We had some solid shorts here but also some very weak ones. Some would have good animation like the final short and others looked incredibly rough. In general this does not look as good as any of the earlier Pokemon shows and I wouldn’t say that it manages to beat any of them either. It’s still not a bad show though and it’s so short that it’s worth a watch. I would like the next series to be a little more focused though or if not, at least stay consistent in the animation instead of going for more experimental styles. Build a whole show off of the last special and that would really work well.

Overall, PokeToon is a solid online series. As a mini series it fills the bill of being entertaining and I’ll always take anything to extend a franchise even more. It ultimately won’t be making any waves or claiming any big victories but it’s a show that you can pick up and play at any time. You don’t have to try and remember a lot of characters or what’s going on. Just pop in a short episode and you’re all set.

Overall 6/10

Morbius Review

Morbius is one of those films that seemed doomed on arrival. Nobody really cared all that much about the character so why would a whole film about him do good? It’s also vampire themed which was tapped out decades ago. The only thing that put this film on the map were the memes and unfortunately it’s safe to say that the memes are better than the actual film. I wanted to hear someone yell “It’s morbin time!” in the film at least once. Ah well, at least the second after credits scene is hilarious and one of the funniest ones you’ll ever see. It’s a serious scene that is funnier than most of the humor based ones so the film has that going for it.

The movie starts by introducing us to Morbius and his friend Milo who were both born with a very rare blood disease. They can barely even walk and their bodies will continue to deteriorate until they die very young. They also have nonstop pain that hits them during every waking moment so their lives are quite tough. Morbius is determined to develop a cure though. Many years pass and Morbius is really close but the only solution appears to be involving bats and he will have to break a lot of laws to pull this off. Morbius succeeds but at a heavy cost. He is now a vampire and must drink blood in order to survive. Fake blood also won’t suffice for very long so soon he will need to feed on humans. Can Morbius resist the urge and find a cure for the cure or is he doomed? One thing’s for sure, he has no catchphrase to fall back on and save his life.

Lets talk about some of the stuff that doesn’t work here. Right off the bat you can bet that the blood stuff is a non starter here. You always have Morbius drinking blood and everything because that’s how he is able to exist. We don’t really see the blood but it’s nevertheless quite gross to see him drinking out of the bags and always gagging afterwards. Blood is just not a good drink to have at the ready and it’s a disadvantage of the vampire genre.

Then you also have this really awful song/dance sequence for Milo. Oh man it could have at least been semi decent if the song wasn’t so bad but it was one of the worst songs I’ve seen in a film in quite a while. The film couldn’t afford to have a scene like that because it was already skating on thin ice. I also just didn’t like Milo in this film. The guy gets too emotional too quickly and never thinks anything through rationally. He’s the kind of guy who seems okay for a minute there but very quickly you realize that any amount of power would quickly corrupt him. This guy is not hero material.

As for Morbius, the guy was running experiments on animals which is a really rough way to start his character arc. Experimenting on animals is never okay and so that’s an easy way to get me not to root for the character. He’s also just not my kind of lead for the most part as he lacks confidence and isn’t ready to just get in there and start landing hits. There are some brief moments where he gets real confidence and starts to be a real main character but those moments rarely last. At least based on the after credits scene he is finally back to being a confident leader so if they stick with that for any sequels then that will be an improvement.

The real standout character here was actually Al. So in a subplot that doesn’t go anywhere you have these two cops, Simon and Al. They are basically following Morbius around and trying to get to the bottom of the situation. What I liked about Al a lot was how he was able to quickly see through everyone’s lies. For one reason or another everyone he talked to would always lie to his face. So Al tends to give sarcastic remarks back to let them know that he knew they were lying and t was a nice dynamic. I was glad that he didn’t just play dumb there. This guy was quick on the uptake and I think giving him more scenes would have been nice.

Then you have the serious member Simon. He gets a quick chase scene with Morbius and holds him at gun point so this guy is very impressive. I really think the cops had a solid dynamic so it’s a shame that they couldn’t have done more. As it is, you could cut them out of the film and nothing would really change. They may give some set up for a sequel film but at the end of the day that doesn’t have much baring on this one.

The main heroine here is Martine and she’s a solid character. You just wish the film didn’t have to throw her into a romance right away. It doesn’t add anything to the film and the romance is just so weak. You don’t see why this started at all because they had a good working relationship going and you don’t want to wreck that by having both characters start getting emotional. It’s always best to keep it professional and that would have been a good idea. At least this way Morbius has an extra loyal ally at all times. Martine does well in staying strong under pressure.

Finally you have Emil who was the mentor type figure in the film which means that the death flags around him were absolutely massive. It’s very rare for the character to not get absolutely wrecked in a film like this. At least he talks tough and seems to be in the know. There’s not a whole lot he could have really done differently here.

One positive thing I can say about the film is that the effects are really good. Personally I liked the energy trails that Morbius would leave behind him during fights. The action scenes really hold up quite well. Morbius is also surprisingly powerful so he would definitely be able to hold his own against other Marvel heroes. His only weakness would be the time limit without drinking blood so he’ll need to find a fix for that. So at least the movie does have a little glimmer of hope there.

The sequel just needs to focus more on the action and less on the vampire elements. It also needs a fresh villain here, someone with a different power set so you can have more imaginative battles. I would have my hopes quite low for a sequel but I am sure that you can still pull it off with the proper writers and a good story. You don’t even need to rely on guest stars although they certainly would not hurt.

Also, one of the main conflicts here felt a little forced in how it happens. It reminded me a lot of the Amazing Spider-Man 2. So keep in mind that with this condition you are constantly in a lot of pain and so if there’s a way to end that pain then you’re most likely going to take it. I felt like Morbius had 0 empathy at this point and handled the situation in the worst way possible. At least offer some hope about a real cure coming soon but otherwise it does appear to everyone like Morbius was thinking “I got mine!” and leaving it at that.

It doesn’t excuse the villain from going crazy immediately but you can definitely see how it happened. The whole situation may not have been avoidable but it’s hard to say and would definitely have gone differently at the very least otherwise. It’s not that hard to have at least been a little tactful but of course that’s not Morbius’ strength.

The film doesn’t really have many fun scenes either. Like you’re never laughing except for after the credits and most of the film is just rather dreary. I would say the premise was fine but the execution was just bad. Still, if you do watch the film then stick around for the after credits scenes. I actually liked both of them which is rare since when you have two, usually one of them will be sub par as a result. Fortunately that was not the case this time.

Overall, Morbius is basically as bad as everyone said it was. The film just didn’t even feel like it was trying. The vampire stuff is pretty bad but even the normal scenes tend to be okay at best. I liked Morbius beating up some thugs and stealing their base but for every scene like that you have 5 lab scenes of him either drinking blood or getting hit with needles. The movie needed a completely different approach. Ironically the memes actually laid the groundwork for this so the sequel should embrace them and then the film could be good. Perhaps it would feel a bit like pandering but if executed right then we’d really be in business.

Overall 3/10

Skyscraper Review

Skyscraper is a film that didn’t get a ton of hype after it was released. It just seemed to be forgotten by the wayside right away. Still, the trailers looked like fun and I would say that the movie delivers on the premise. It may not be doing anything super original but it’s what I would call a very safe action film. You know what you’re going to get. There aren’t any big twists and turns here, just a lot of big action stunts and some fight scenes. You can’t go wrong with this title and any action fan will have a good time here.

The movie starts off with Will taking a big injury which forces him to retire from the hostage squad. Fortunately he has a good gig as a security consultant now and was even invited over to check on the largest building in the world. His wife Sarah and their two kids are allowed to live in the building in the meantime as it’s otherwise empty for the moment. It’s all looking good until a bunch of terrorists light the building on fire and race to the top. They want to grab some kind of device that Zhao has, so the CEO locks himself in the penthouse suite. Will has 3 objectives now, he needs to rescue his family, stop the terrorists, and recover the device. If he is unsuccessful then the world could be in grave danger.

To try and give the villains a fighting chance for a change, Will lost his leg a while back so he has to use a prosthetic in order to move around normally. While the intent may have been to nerf his abilities a bit, I wouldn’t say that the film did a great job here since it doesn’t really seem to slow him down at all. If anything it comes in handy for things like stopping doors from closing or being used as a blunt object. Suffice to say, there are no fighters here who can take Will on. At best they can buy some time for themselves by taking hostages as otherwise Will would just take them out in an instant.

Will’s a solid main character. He’s your classic family man just trying to do a good job and keep it moving. The guy’s previous history of combat experience is comically long which I think the film was having some fun with as the detective reads off his profile. I can definitely see how you could do more sequels to this film if you really wanted to since Will is a jack of all trades here. Regardless, there’s nothing bad to say about him.

Will’s wife Sarah also does well when it counts. She is able to use some self defense against one of the villains when he attacks and she is able to generally take control of the situation rather well. Knowing the basics of combat really goes a long way. The two kids mainly just get in the way. It’s mostly unavoidable I suppose since they’re just kids but they won’t be winning any awards here. Without them the adventure would have been a lot easier for the heroes.

Now as the film goes on we also get to see the outside world reacting to this a bit including Inspector Wu. He does his best to get a handle on things but he is really ineffective here. It doesn’t help that his sidekick is super determined to prove that this was an inside job despite all evidence to the contrary. I thought she was incredibly unreasonable the whole time. In other movies there are instances where the skeptic is reasonable but this isn’t one of them. For example, you know all the classic films where a character is stabbed so they immediately say that they can’t be guilty since no person would stab himself?

I always call foul on that because a good villain would absolutely do that. This film though makes that more unreasonable, you have Will’s family being held hostage and the guy is jumping across buildings and performing all kinds of big acrobatic stunts. There is also a lot of visible evidence that people have entered the facility. It just seems like a reach to keep pinning this on Will and Wu takes some blame for just allowing it to happen and not saying much.

The film’s villains are more on the forgettable side though. First up we have Ben who is the most petty one of the group. He whines a lot about how the world is unfair as his justification for what he is doing and lets just say that I wasn’t shedding any tears over here. The main villain is Botha and at least he’s tough. There’s just not much to say about him beyond the fact that his skills are quite impressive. At least he is actually able to give Will a fight which is always important. Then there’s his right hand woman Xia who is fairly tough and down to business.

The villains aren’t bad, they just don’t stand out. There isn’t much more to them beyond their desires for money and destruction. You won’t remember much about them by the time the film is over. In general that’s why this film will be known as more of a general action film. It follows all of the classic story beats and doesn’t make any mistakes with them but it’s also not trying to go beyond that.

The writing is good and the pacing is on point. The movie’s effects and backgrounds also just look good. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a floor where the ground is transparent though. That just seems like a bad idea. I don’t care how strong the glass is, it feels like you would fall through at any moment and I just couldn’t get behind that. In general I’ve never seen the appeal of being super high up though. I’m absolutely satisfied being close to the ground.

Overall, Skyscraper is a pretty good film. I’m not going to say that it’s great or anything like that but it certainly does the job and doesn’t leave you shaking your head. It’s just taking a very safe approach which is a valid way to go about this. I’d like to see it try to take the next step in a sequel though. Then it can ideally really begin to show what it’s got. Still, you’ll have a good time here as you just enjoy the atmosphere.

Overall 7/10

Picnic Review

This film is one of those titles where it’s a little hard to feel bad for the main guy at times because he keeps making the situation more and more difficult for himself. If he had just been upfront with everyone then the film probably wouldn’t have even had much of a dilemma. Still, in the end that’s not the tactic that the guy decided to use and it ended up costing him quite a bit. This can be a decent drama film but probably not one that you will be finding to be too memorable.

The movie starts off with Hal heading over to a small town. He is penniless once again as things just don’t work out for him but he doesn’t want anyone to know it so he makes up stories about being rich or coming here on a vacation. The train driver doesn’t buy this for a minute but couldn’t care less anyway. The real trouble starts once Hal gets into the town and he asks his old friend Alan for a job. Alan’s a good guy and is willing to help but becomes less enthusiastic once Hal starts making up stories about being a big shot or Alan really wanting him to work at this job. Hal also starts attracting quite a few ladies at the village and now everything’s going crazy. What can he do?

So the first thing Hal could have done would have been to just tell things straight. He fell on hard times and Alan is doing him a favor. Don’t hide those facts, especially when Alan is right there. Hal really pushes his luck in just about every scene and the lies aren’t even that convincing so you know that they are going to fall all around him at any moment. The whole film is really just watching the world around him slowly burn as a result.

He shouldn’t deserve all of the blame though as the other characters could have handled things better as well. In particular I thought Rosemary got off way too easily. She basically tries to cheat with Hal because she wants some excitement and when he isn’t too keen on the idea she causes a huge scene and puts him on a spot. This destroyed what was left of his reputation and completed Alan’s decision to turn against him.

I wouldn’t say Alan was great either here. I can see why he was upset about Hal lying the whole time and that’s understandable but then towards the end it almost feels like he is being easily manipulated by Rosemary’s big scene. Like that was the tipping point when I would have changed that to a different scene. By the end he’s definitely not ready to be all that reasonable anymore.

The main heroine here would be Madge as she always had the best chance from the 3 ladies. She likes Hal well enough but I can see why some of the other characters are skeptical and warn her not to pursue him. All that know about this guy is that he’s a chronic liar who gets into a lot of trouble and doesn’t seem reliable in the slightest. Keep in mind that he just got into town and by the end of the movie he’s already being chased out of it. Is this really the guy you want to pin your entire future on? It seems a little reckless at best and flat out irresponsible at worst. I can’t say that I was able to get behind the romance here at all.

It’s all much too quick and the ladies here seem too desperate. The guys get jealous but I guess their bonds just weren’t all that strong. One thing that holds Picnic back though is that there isn’t much of a plot beyond this. It’s really just about Hal showing up and causing a panic because of his lies and the fact that he was too good looking for the little town. That’s it, it’s not like there is a big villain (Rosemary is the closest to that) or a lot of twists and turns. The movie just goes on until it ends. It’s a low key drama with some romance.

To make that work you would likely need more humor or a very strong cast of characters. This film has neither of those. It’s not boring at least and goes by fairly quick but I wouldn’t call this a good movie. It’s just not quite strong enough to make it to that level. I wouldn’t say it has a lot of replay value either and I can’t think of what hook I would use to tell people to watch it. There isn’t a really big reason in particular to recommend this film to people. Even the picnic itself isn’t all that memorable.

The town sure does make it a big deal though. It’s like a whole festival just for hanging around outside and eating. The fact that a picnic is one of the biggest events in the town also shows you how there isn’t a lot to do here. You better enjoy the food because otherwise that would be game over. I think what would have made the film more interesting would have been if the film leaned into the premise a bit more and had like 20-30 different people going after Hal or if it focused a bit more on how his lying making things tough on the town.

Have him break something by accident and lie about it or point the finger at someone else. Effectively Hal would be destroying the town from the inside by getting everyone to be really suspicious of each other. That would have absolutely been the best way to go here and I think it would have been highly effective. It would have certainly amped up the drama here and also given the town more reason to be so angry at him. Otherwise it’s not like the guy was a super criminal here, he didn’t do enough to justify how everyone turned so violent by the end. Even if Alan and Rosemary were instigating most of it.

Overall, Picnic isn’t a very memorable title and it’s also not a very eventful one. If you want to watch a film about a picnic then that’s probably the novelty feature for this movie but that’s just not enough of a hook. You can do a lot better with both romance and drama films so you can just leave this one by the wayside. It may not be a very bad film but there just aren’t any really strong elements to it.

Overall 4/10

Johnny Test vs Johnny Quest

Suggested by Destroyer Johnny Quest has a lot of gadgets and is a judo master but I don’t think that will be enough to stop Johnny Test here. Test can shoot out fire attacks which would melt through any of Quest’s armors. He can also use sonic waves to hit him while inside any kind of mech suit. There just isn’t any way for Johnny Quest to close the distance here without developing some true powers. Johnny Test wins.

Johnny Test vs Leon (Resident Evil)

Suggested by Destroyer Leon is a great fighter with a gun and he does have abilities that are greater than that of an average person. It just won’t be enough to defeat Johnny Test here. Johnny has a whole lot of abilities from sonic booms to fire powers. He seems to just keep on appearing with new abilities all the time and Leon won’t be able to keep up with his teleportation. No matter how you slice it, Leon’s not winning this round. Johnny Test wins.