Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Wonder Woman Forgotten Legends Review


It’s time to look at a Wonder Woman comic. It’s been quite a while since I read one of her trade paperbacks. This one seems to take place right after one of the big DC crisis events. I think it may have been Crisis on Infinite Earths which would work out pretty well since the CW is about to air their version. It was a pretty big deal having the universe merge together and such. In a way this trade is to allow the Amazons to remember some of the good times before they vanish.

It starts off with Wonder Woman’s mom looking into the Crystal Ball at one of Wonder Woman’s biggest adventures. The Amazons are getting ready to all be vaporized as the universe ceases to exist, but they are all feeling rather down at the moment since Wonder Woman is no more. Perhaps looking at her greatest exploits will help them return to the afterlife in a smoother fashion. The Queen is also determined to keep her memories of Wonder Woman and would prefer to have them and be a star than to live on with her memories wiped. I don’t really blame her since having your memories wiped is never any fun. It’s always better to remember each and every detail for as long as you possibly can.

The main story is about Wonder Woman helping to protect a parade from any possible attackers. The attack turns out to be a lot more dangerous than the heroes could have imagined. A powerful lady named Atomia has conquered her world as well as many others and now Earth is next. She manages to enslave Steve Trevor and also kidnaps Etta Candy’s daughter. This little girl has now been transformed into a full fledged villain as well. She’s a little kid so while you can’t take her too seriously, she is definitely well aware of what she is doing so it’s hard to like the kid at all. Wonder Woman will have to save everyone and stop this threat to the planet but it won’t be easy.

Atomia makes for an interesting villain. She may be more of a typical conqueror than some of WW’s other enemies, but what helps her case is that she’s succeeded. She’s actually conquered many planets already so she was on a bit of a winning streak before Earth. Naturally this was one location that was a little too much for her, but she put up a good fight. Her decision to get the kid on her side was also pretty smart since it can result in having a good hostage. Atomia did let her guard down a bit quickly here though.

Then you have the two princesses of one of the other worlds she was targeting. I wasn’t a big fan of them for different reasons. One of them wasn’t great because she was a traitor. Even if she saw the light by the end of the issue it was way too late to even begin to trust her and it was too soon to forget the betrayal. The other one was a little too oblivious and got suckered too easily. It’s all well and good to give the villain a second chance, but maybe making her one of the rulers was a little too much.

Steve Trevor looked pretty good here and I dare say that it was one of his best appearances. He manages to hold out for a super long time even while poisoned and organized a whole resistance. This is one issue where he really did assist Wonder Woman quite a lot and wasn’t just around as a hostage or anything like that. Meanwhile Wonder Woman looks good as always. She has a pretty good grip on the situation and manages to basically foil an entire planet ending threat. She even pretends to be captured for a bit to try and talk sense into the villains, but that didn’t really work since they were totally on the evil side.

The comics are written and drawn in a way that really resembles Wonder Woman’s original adventures from many decades ago. It’s an interesting approach. The artwork looks good, but I do have to admit that the modern era stuff always looks better than this super retro style. The action scenes and such naturally don’t pop out quite as much as they would, but I do have to give the comic full credit for fully re-creating the look. You really would not be able to tell that this is a modern comic because even the writing is old school.

There are two bonus stories at the end though. One of them involves Wonder Woman returning to help the Amazons when they are rendered powerless by an invasion of men. It’s still pretty unfortunate for them that they lose all of their powers as soon as a guy steps ashore. It’s a pretty big weakness and it does give a little credit to the queen’s argument on why the island needs to keep its protection. The main problem here was that they only opened the borders for a split second, but I don’t see how much better it would be if they had opened it permanently. It would just be even more people and they all have guns so that’s game over. Wonder Woman still does a great job in saving them all and getting them their powers back, but this time I’m not really sure I agreed with her assessment.

The other story is about a kid whose wish for a monster causes it to be real. Wonder Woman helps him learn that monsters are cool and all, but at the end of the day what he really needs it the ability to protect instead. This helps the kid protect his sister and he learns that you have to be really careful as to what you wish for. The story is less exciting than the last one, but it’s still got a pretty good message there. Wonder Woman’s stories usually tend to have good morals like that.

Overall, Wonder Woman: Forgotten Legends is definitely a fun comic. It’s got a good story and solid writing to back it up. I don’t think you’ll be remembering it as one of WW’s greatest adventures, but it does serve its purpose as a lost story. It’s nice to have one last adventure from this era before jumping into the new timeline. Any fan of Wonder Woman or long-time DC comic reader should find lots to appreciate with this adventure. It’s less about Wonder Woman being a big time superhero who is saving planets and more about how she was always a role model and inspiration to the people she saved. She continues to save the day while setting a great example.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Miracle Mile Review

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

Time to look at a panic movie about the end of the world. It’s always been an interesting question on how you would spend your last hours if you knew you were about to die. A lot of people would prefer not to know if they’re about to die, but honestly I’d be all for it if I actually believed there was a way this could be done. Lets say I only have 10 days to live right? I would spend that time getting all of my favorite foods and playing my favorite games because the end is nigh so I may as well forget about the cholesterol for a few days. Of course in real life there would always be some doubt on if things were actually going to end so I wouldn’t be able to do that. This would only be if destruction was a guarantee. Regardless this is part of the basis for the film’s plot.

It starts out with a few scenes to introduce us to Harry and Julie. After hanging around each other for a while without really getting to talk they finally hit it off. Harry is looking forward to being with Julie forever and ever. Unfortunately thanks to his alarm not working he sleeps past the time they were supposed to meet. By the time he gets to the cafe she is long gone so he leaves her a voice message and prepares to have breakfast alone. That’s when the phone rings and he eagerly picks it up only to find himself talking to someone named Chip. Chip explains that someone launched a bunch of nukes at us so we fired back and now everybody’s going to die in a few hours. Harry quickly believes Chip and makes a scene in the restaurant causing everyone else to believe that it’s finally happening. As the other guys get in a truck to head to Antarctica, Harry decides to find Julie first. Can he make it to her before they are all destroyed?

This is one of those films that’s a little tragic because the setup is excellent. I really couldn’t care much about the opening minutes with the two characters meeting. It really has nothing to do with anything, but I suppose it was the quickest way to show us how Harry and Julie met. Honestly we could have just started the film with them together and nothing would change. The setup I’m talking about is once Harry gets the phone call. He panics a lot as you would expect and then panics in the store, but it’s nice to see how some people start to believe him after a bit.

The shop owner certainly seemed like he was expecting the news at some point because he takes out a big shotgun and immediately heads for his evacuation plan. It’s cool to see so much unity with all of the characters as they get ready to leave. It’s such an emergency that nobody even stays back to try and get their things or anything. They just hop in and get out of there. There’s a lot of tension here with a pretty interesting cast of quirky characters. It was the start of a great thriller in the makings with all of the characters having to deal with the fate of the world on their shoulders. Who should they bring and who has to get left behind? Time is not on their side either so they have to move very quickly. Then you’ve got Harry who is the only one who heard the call so in the back of everyone’s minds they have to wonder if he was right or not. Yes, this film was going to be an amazing look at the end of the world…..and then Harry got out of the truck.

That was the biggest mistake the film could have made. It’s an interesting subversion here as the characters were all developed enough where you figure they are going to be important. At this point they never appear again and the film loses some balance. Harry heads over to find Julie and in the process he has to get a cab driver to help him out at gun point. This leads to them accidentally murdering some cops and the body count continues to rise from this point. Everyone begins acting in their self interests which seems to be one of the film’s themes. At the end of the day the film is trying to say that people will act in a way that suits them so everyone begins stealing and attacking people left and right.

The climax particularly puts some emphasis on this as a lot and I mean a lot of crimes are happening in the background. Fortunately the film doesn’t linger for long as if things got any iffier that would have hurt the film’s overall score. Even so, the film just goes into more random territory at this point like when we get the drunk guy on the roof. Harry and Julie also split up too often. After finally finding each other after a good chunk of the film you’d think they would have stayed together right? Nah, Harry wants to find a pilot so they split again and then Julie splits to find one too. The scenes make no sense and Harry should be a little upset at Julie here because it really messes up all of the plans.

Getting to the helicopter was their best chance so making everyone wait the whole time was pretty bad. It was interesting to see everyone else get ready for the apocalypse, but ironically Harry was the one holding everyone back. He also should have just told Julie what was going on right away so she didn’t have to hear it from a total stranger. It’s always better to hear things from someone you know at the very least. Think about it, it just makes so much more sense.

So in the end I didn’t like Harry or Julie. Julie was really slow on the uptake and went along with all of Harry’s bad ideas. I would have liked to have seen her just tell Harry that they should do something else at times. Harry didn’t seem to think things through a lot which would get him into more trouble. There was a fun few scenes where a random driver with a gun chased him in the sewers though. You’d think with the world about to end the guy would have better things to do, but danger does tend to make people act rather crazy. It’s probably why quite a few characters in the film continue to talk tough even after being held at gunpoint.

Then one plot that had a random ending was the cab driver. He went to get his sister which makes sense, but then somehow he messed up and they crashed? I suppose there are thousands of ways that could have happened, but it felt like this was just put in to add some shock value for the main character. It’s not like it furthered the plot at all and the odds of running into each other again in these packed streets with everyone running around was pretty slim. Fortunately for Harry the police had to try and escape the city so he didn’t have to explain much. The ending of the film is pretty decent though. The drunk guy took away from it a bit, but it plays out like you would expect.

Overall, Miracle Mile got off to a really good start, but I feel like it took the wrong route to the ending. It would have been a very interesting movie if it stayed with the original cast in the truck. That plot had a ton of potential and along the way we would have learned a bit about the incoming threat and possibly faced some opposition. A lot of the film would be based around the dialogue on the truck so it still wouldn’t need a whole lot of budget. I’m cool with all the mystery surrounding the characters as we don’t really know anything going on, but it’s not important anyway. The world’s about to end and that’s what counts. It’s just that having a bigger cast to bounce ideas off of is better than just having Harry run around. Still, if you want to look at a pretty unique look at the end of the world then this is a good one to check out for sure.

Overall 5/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

47 Meters Down Review


Time to look at a shark film! These are usually doomed right out of the gate because it’s going to be hard for them to dodge the animal violence issue. Put it this way, if the humans win and beat the shark then the shark’s probably going to die. If the shark wins then it’ll just be normal violence as he eats all of the humans and that won’t do the film any favors. There is a pretty clever twist in the movie, but aside from that there wasn’t really anything to note here that would have the potential to save the film.

The film starts with Lisa’s boyfriend breaking up with her. This pretty much ruins Lisa’s vacation in part because of how sudden it was. This wasn’t news that she expected to hear right at this moment. Kate tries to cheer Lisa up for a while and when they are given an offer to swim with the sharks she jumps at the opportunity. The way this is supposed to work is some guys will lower the heroines in a cage and then lure sharks with fresh meat. The two sisters will get to see the sharks through the cage and then after a few minutes they’ll bring them back up. Lisa feels like this is a bad idea, but Kate convinces her that this is the only way to make her ex super jealous. Lisa ends up going through with this, but she may end up regretting such a decision.

With a movie like this you are probably expecting the premise to revolve around the leads making bad decisions so you probably won’t be very surprised at how this plays out. That’s exactly the case. The two guys make it pretty clear through their actions that this is super shady and not at all legal. The skipper even asks if they can dive and Lisa lies by saying she has experience. Then we see the guys dumping the bait into the ocean which is also illegal. There are a ton of safety reasons as to why this is a bad idea, but none of the two leads really stop to think about this for more than a moment. They were really just looking for a thrill even if it came at a super high price and that’s definitely no good.

Lisa’s also not a good main character with how fast she’s rebounding. It’s fine to take the guy dumping her fairly hard as everyone deals with it differently. Immediately moving in on a new guy is a terrible way by any stretch of the imagination though. It was partially due to peer pressure and partially to forget the other guy, but no matter how you slice it, it weakens her character. During the course of the film she does her best to overcome her fears of being underwater, but she never should have gone on the boat.

Then you have Kate who does her best to be supportive of Lisa. She wants the heroine to get back in good spirits and figures that having her do something extreme like this is the way to do it. She heavily pressures Lisa into doing this so she is partially responsible for what happens here. (Of course, ultimately it was still Lisa’s decision) Kate is very pro-active and does her best to keep on trying new plans to escape while in the cage. It’s a super tough situation, but she stays calm and always has a plan so from the two leads I definitely preferred her.

It’s a pretty small cast because the other characters are just the random guys and the captain of the ship. None of them get to do much or even appear all that often after the girls get in the cage. There really isn’t much they can do from above water, but they do their best by calling the coast guard and one of them goes under to help. With all the sharks around you can probably imagine that things get pretty dicey. The opening segments aren’t particularly strong, but for the movie the really dangerous part naturally comes from when the sharks actually start to appear.

This leads us to some classic animal violence. The film actually managed to reasonably avoid it for the most part, but there is a particularly gruesome scene involving a shark eye near the end of the film. It was definitely one that hurt and especially with the film so close to being over. Beyond that the film just also gets hurt on account of most of it taking place underwater. Mobility is limited down there so it doesn’t really make for very engaging scenes. The heroines trying to escape the cage and swimming around isn’t really that exciting. We get some nice visuals like the sharks all around them, but all in all I’d prefer to be on land for more of the movie.

Parts of the climax feel pretty cheesy with characters surviving attacks you wouldn’t expect them to. Due to how the film handles this I wouldn’t call it bad writing though. It actually makes sense the way the film explains this, but without that I would have had a very tough time buying into it. The film’s ending isn’t really my style so it doesn’t help the movie either. I wouldn’t say it hurts too much or anything, but the film really needed more positives to get it back up and this didn’t help.

More characters would have helped the movie’s dynamic. Part of the issue here is that Lisa and Kate aren’t professionals so a good chunk of the time they’re panicking a bit or just sad at what’s happening. Part of the fun with having a lead who’s a professional or just arrogant is at least they’re talking tough or making one liners the whole time. It’s more fun to watch a character who seems to have everything under control compared to more of a civilian type character who is written to act as you would expect someone to be. That means a lot of panicking and crying as opposed to just punching everything out.

While this was a minor scene, I was also annoyed at how the heroines just dropped the camera into the ocean. It happens almost immediately which is iffy because the other guys made such a big deal about not dropping it. It came off as rather clumsy and they should have used the strap around the wrist so that eliminates the risk of it plunging like that. You gotta be more careful with equipment like that, especially when underwater where sharks are a constant threat.

Overall, 47 Meters Down plays out pretty much like you would expect it to. The characters are lowered into the ocean in a cage and must find a way up. The premise speaks for itself and you can reasonably predict the entire movie right away. Aside from the twist which was pretty original, the film doesn’t really do anything else to try and make a name for itself. I’d give it a thumbs down for the animal violence and in general it’s just not all that fun. I think you need at least an underwater base and a few characters who can fight to make this one better. If you want a film about the ocean, check out Aquaman instead.

Overall 2/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid Review


It’s time to look at the big Power Rangers crossover game for the PS4. This one seems to have a similar plot to the Shattered Grid comics so I wonder if it’s an adaption of sorts. Either way as someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about Power Rangers except the fact that it’s an awesome franchise, it was a blast getting to play this title. The gameplay is top notch and the story is exciting. The series manages to capture a lot of energy in every scene and really ends up being a total success.

The game starts with Drakken showing up and murdering Rita. He then decides to wipe out all of the Power Rangers from the various timelines so he can steal their Morphers and take the power for himself. With all of these abilities he will be the strongest ranger of all time and that will put him in a good position to rule the universe. The original Power Rangers are going to have to put a stop to this but they can’t do it on their own. As such they call in the other Rangers and now a battle for the multiverse has begun.

It’s been a long time since I got to play a classic Arcade story like this and it feels good. The last time was probably Street Fighter V. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just jump into the next fight rather than running around a hub world. This game takes you from fight to cutscene back to more fights. It does make for a rather short story, but a satisfying one nonetheless. The crucial parts you need to have with a story like this is a solid group of characters and exciting music to amp you up for each fight. Power Rangers delivers here.

The soundtrack is top notch. It’s a rather small array of themes, but each one will boost your adrenaline and get you ready for action. Then you’ve got the graphics which are nice and very flashy. Everything looks good both in the actual gameplay and for the illustration cutscenes. I feel like there was a pretty good budget behind this game and the developers effort paid off.

As for the actual gameplay, it’s basically a 3 on 3 Capcom vs style. You can utilize combos with all 3 characters or you can focus with one at a time. Sometimes it is handy to just do the 1 at a time approach because if you summon another character to help at the wrong time your opponent may end up blasting both of you at once. That’ll never happen if you stick to just one character, but typically the positives outweigh the negatives in using the full team. I also recommend going through the tutorial mode because button mashing may not cut it here.

The story mode is actually a little more difficult than the average fighting game as the computers show some actual intelligence. They won’t just walk into all of your hits, you’ll have to try to actually outmaneuver them. I actually did lose once against the final boss and that’s considering that I studied the combos in the tutorial mode and practiced a bunch of them. You’ll also want to do this so you can summon the Megazord. Fighting games in general are more fun when you know what you’re doing so you should just do it. Trust me, you won’t regret it! The tutorial only takes a few minutes so it’s worth doing.

Each character has a unique set of moves so you’ll want to play them all to see who your favorite character is. I got to play as most of the characters through the story and by far my favorite character was Jason. He can be a bit cheesy since he has some of the strongest moves as well as a lot of projectiles. Using him I was able to quickly get to Gold III rank online which felt pretty impressive. It’s just hard to beat those combos and then other characters have some pseudo infinite combos. If your opponent doesn’t know how to stop you from grabbing you can keep on doing that over and over until they lose. Once they’re in a corner there aren’t many options to escape the grab. It’s the kind of game where you can get very good very quickly, but watch out as there is always someone even better out there.

As I mentioned the story is short, but there is still a good amount of replay value here. This is a fighting game after all so you can go online and try out a bunch of matches. There are seasons that shuffle every few weeks/months so it never really has to end. The game is quite new so I don’t imagine that the players would leave too soon. That means you’ll have a lot of time to really practice your skills. You can also work on unlocking all of the titles by playing a lot of Arcade modes and trying each character out a bunch. I guess the bottom line here is that there is enough content to satisfy you as long as you play online. If you only do offline then you’d probably want to wait until the game is 20-30.

Overall, Battle For The Grid is a really fun game. It’s a nostalgic title in some ways as it’ll remind you of the old school fighting games. This one isn’t trying to re-invent the genre, it’s just got very strong fundamentals. When you pick the game up you instantly know what all of the modes are and where you want to go next. The main menu is very straight forward and the interface is super clean. It’s just a very well made game and one that serves as a great introduction to the Power Rangers series. I know it definitely helped remind me what a great franchise it can be. If you don’t have this game yet then you need to check it out. It’s one of the sleeper hits of 2019.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Roman Holiday Review


Time to look at a pretty classic rom-com. It’s certainly a movie that just about everyone should be familiar with at this point. That being said, I didn’t know much about it beyond the title so it was a new experience. I would consider this to be one of the best films in its genre. It does a good job of capturing the positives of both genres without dragging itself out or taking things too seriously. The ending is also well done.

The movie starts with Ann going through yet another boring event of having to shake everyone’s hands. Given how many people there are in attendance she has to stand for hours just doing this. Ann does a good job of putting up with all of it, but she wants a day to herself in the town. After trying to ask politely she escapes on her own and has a merry time. Unfortunately the sleeping drugs end up knocking her out. This leads to the other main character in the film, Joe. Joe sees that Ann isn’t in her right state of mind on the bench so he hails a cab and tries to get her home. Unfortunately she is unable to really explain where her home is and he doesn’t believe that it would be the castle so he takes her with him. The next day he wakes up too late and misses his official meeting with the Princess, but realizes that she is actually Ann. Now he is determined to write a big undercover scoop to give to the press so he’ll pretend to be her friend for a day. Can he really go through with such an underhanded plot?

When the movie starts Joe isn’t portrayed as the nicest of guys. It’s not that he’s antagonistic or anything, but the guy just wants to get a good night’s sleep and doesn’t really want to bother with a super tired/possibly drunk person right away. He doesn’t even offer Ann the bed and has her take the couch. After he learns she is a princess he is a lot nicer of course, but eventually it goes from playing a role to actually being a nice person since he likes her. They hit it off as good friends, but with their social circles it won’t really work to stay together. It depends on the kingdom of course, she could possibly pull it off depending on how much pull she has, but it would be a lot for Joe to hope for.

Joe’s plan to expose Ann by pretending to be her friend may be rather standard fare for someone in his line of work to get such scoops, but it’s still good that he abandoned that idea before it was too late. I think that’s the kind of plot that would have made the film a little too mean spirited. Even if he apologized afterwards it would be too late since the damage was already done. By not actually going through with this it makes the film a whole lot more enjoyable to watch. It still brings tension into the film, but without overdoing it.

Meanwhile Ann is a fun character. The sleeping drug may have been a little too effective for the sake of the humor scenes at the beginning, but when she’s in her right mind Ann is a very reasonable character. Really her goal isn’t so bad. She just wants to be normal for a day and that’s something her kingdom should have let her accomplish as it would have saved them a whole film of worry. As long as you have bodyguards undercover it shouldn’t really be much of a problem. Ann isn’t overly oblivious to normal customs so she’s handled realistically.

It’s also a fun dynamic of lying as she and Joe are lying to each other throughout the entire film. Even if it’s not direct, all the time they both have to live out the lie once they started it. Neither one of them wants to spill the beans or the day could be over in a flash. Of course it’s difficult to keep a lie up forever so little chinks in the stories eventually start to appear. Since Joe knows the truth from the start it’s a lot more obvious from his point of view though.

Then there’s the friend Irving who is definitely given a tough time here. Joe ruins quite a few of his outfits and the guy even takes some hits. Irving can be a little oblivious to why he is being attacked though and especially the second time it happens. Both of these scenes are definitely a lot of fun though and easily some of the best moments in the film. He was a good supporting character and ultimately a good guy as well. He didn’t get to hang out with Ann quite as much as Joe but was still able to toss aside his financial dreams to do the right thing.

As for the romance, it’s considerably better than the average ones you see in a film. It’s still on the rushed side when you take into account that they’ve only known each other for about a day though. So I won’t give it a pass, but it doesn’t take away from the film all that much and isn’t a huge focus. Most of the time it’s really just the two characters hanging out as friends and checking out all of the sites in Rome. We even get a nice action scene with the guards where Ann gets to land some hits as well. They were considerably outnumbered, but still took down a lot of the enemies and it was a pretty nicely handled action scene.

The writing is part of what makes this movie shine. The dialogue is quite strong with a lot of fun little jokes hidden in the conversations. All of the characters are realistic and even ones who only appear for a few minutes get to be quite likable. One example is Joe’s boss who sees through the lead’s bold lie and strings him along for a while. I was impressed that the boss was portrayed to be so smart here as half the time they tend to be oblivious.

Overall, Roman Holiday is a film I would recommend. Certainly if you’re looking for a nice romantic comedy this is a movie that fits the bill. The plot of a member of royalty deciding to see how the citizens live is always a premise with a lot of potential. This one really did a good job of handling it and the movie is really over in a flash. I don’t really have any complaints with the movie. The character cast is strong and the blend of humor/serious moments is just right. The ending is also good since it’s pretty happy without being unrealistic or too cheesy.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gator Review


It’s time to look at the film known as Gator. You may be thinking of a monster film or something based on the title, but this one’s actually a pretty down to earth story about the government blackmailing someone growing drugs into helping them nab some others. It’s a reasonable movie, but one that doesn’t really have much to it. It goes through the thriller motions, but doesn’t really go out of its way to do anything else. It’s also hard to get behind the main character. How could he possibly get caught up in this drug stuff again after his first adventure??

The movie starts off with Gator and his family enjoying a peaceful morning at the cabin. Their day is thrown for a loop though when a bunch of helicopters show up to try and arrest them. We get a chase scene with Gator beating them up while on a boat before eventually succumbing to their blackmail. Since he has started growing Moonshine again they want Gator to head to a shady town where a lot of drug dealing is going on. The government had their eyes on Gator from the start though given how they were also going to blackmail him through his father. It was a lose-lose situation for the hero. So Gator heads to town and sees that the leader is an old friend of his. Maybe he can talk some sense into the guy…

I think we can’t really talk about this film without talking about why Gator isn’t ready for this line of work. He slips up constantly with one instance of this being particularly bad. He already knows that Bama is a bad guy, but is holding out some hope that he’s not so bad. Maybe he’s one of those nice gangsters who only murders people sometimes right? Well, he quickly finds out that this isn’t the case so he walks up to Bama and says that he’s leaving. Not a smart play, but if he’s got a plan then maybe it’ll work out right? Well, that’s not really the case. Bama agrees to this but offers Gator one last drink first. He makes an obvious motion to his henchman who spikes the drink and then Gator downs the whole thing. At first you figure he has a plan, but this isn’t the case.

Gator slowly succumbs to the drink while insulting the villains the whole time. Even that could have been a plan like he was hoping he’d get punched to block the effects of the drink but that didn’t happen either. So ultimately all this leaves Gator looking absolutely terrible. By the time he is able to make a comeback at the very end of the film as he runs over some people you are still left doubting his abilities. Even leaving Irving by himself so he can mess around with Aggie wasn’t a good idea.

The romance with Gator and Aggie definitely wasn’t good. It’s one of those really rushed affairs where they just get together to check off a few boxes, but ultimately it doesn’t really add to the film and comes across as pretty pointless. I preferred Aggie’s character to Gator’s though. At least she was actively looking into the criminal situation and trying to do something about it. Gator only ended up doing something after he was blackmailed into it. Aggie’s profession is also super dangerous since she is a reporter in a city that has been completely conquered by crime. That’s never an easy task.

Meanwhile we do have one more rookie in the film. His name is Irving and he is the main American agent. Here’s my problem with the guy. He talks a good game about being from NY and all, but then he walks into a bar and gets drunk. Naturally he gets beat up by the villains pretty badly, but why would he go in there like that? He also let the villains steal his gun which was terrible. Pretty much any scene with the guy was one where you knew he would mess up. Then there is Emmeline who is here as the quirky character with her cats and all. She thinks of this as a game and does her best to slow everyone down. It’s fair to say that things would have gone smoother if she had just given them the keys or been willing to leave her cats, but naturally that wasn’t going to happen. Bringing the cats is just putting them in harm’s way.

Also, this is another scene where the government looks suspect. If the proof that Bama is a villain is in the courthouse, why can’t they just grab it? That seems like something that would be really easy to do. Also, why didn’t Bama realize that they had the records? There’s a lot of parts in this film where you wonder why the government can’t do anything. Sure the town is bought out, but apparently not the rest of the country since they’re gunning for Bama. It should have been so much easier to take the guy down.

As for Bama, he’s a pretty generic villain. The guy likes selling drugs and going on power trips all the time. He’s got a shotgun and can fight a bit, but there’s nothing more to him. He’s certainly not my kind of villain. His minions have more character if anything. The big one is like the Jaws villain from James Bond. He’s pretty big and has a lot of strength, but ultimately that doesn’t mean much in a gun fight. Then you’ve got the other guy who is surprisingly durable since he survives a ton of things in this film. As a trio they were hard to stop.

Overall, While I do consider this film to be an upgrade over the first one, it really doesn’t hold up on close inspection. You’ve got a weak character cast in a rather bland backdrop. Everyone makes the wrong choices at all times and the film has to rely on quirky characters and a rushed romance to pad out the time. There just isn’t much here so the film has to drag it all out. It can be fun at times, but not really fun enough to get the film above the break even point.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Marvel film. I didn’t really know about this one although in my defense I lost touch with the animated adventures during this time period. They didn’t really get a lot of promotion and would just appear out of nowhere. It really feels like a quick two part event from the Avengers show so it’s reasonably fun. That being said, it’s naturally not going to be remembered as a great title or anything. You likely won’t remember it for very long and that is probably the intention anyway. It’s not really a problem, it’s just trying to give us a good Christmas adventure and succeeds in that.

Loki and Ymir have decided to team up to freeze the world with the casket of infinite winters. The Avengers foil their plans so they decide to seek out Santa Claus. It turns out that Santa is actually an incredibly powerful being so if they can absorb his abilities they will be unstoppable. Loki puts a huge bounty on Santa so he can find out where the guy is and begins searching. Meanwhile not all of the Avengers believe that this is a serious threat. Captain America is really the only one taking it seriously, but Iron Man decides to go along just to rain on the parade. Captain Marvel and Reptil go as well so now the team is ready for action. The locals may not be too thrilled to have these heroes running around though. Meanwhile Rocket and Groot are after the bounty on Santa so they are heading here as well. Are they ready to try and bag such a powerful entity?

Right away you do have to keep in mind that the special is only taking itself half seriously. Ymir gets beat up by ice attacks and the heroes can barely stop bickering long enough to do anything. They have difficulty with random Elves and the fact that Ymir is taking hits from Thor, Hulk, and Ms. Marvel but getting hurt by Captain America should tell you all you need to know about the power scaling here. It is nonexistent so there are a ton of power level issues here throughout the special. It would be hard to not notice them so just be aware that they are around the whole time.

The main concern here is just whether or not the special is fun. I’d say that it is. We do get some reasonable action scenes. The whole thing is a little lower budget than the average adventure with stills and less animation in general, but there are fun fights anyway. I liked Loki’s super speed blitz against the Avengers as he just totally wrecked them. The fight with Ymir isn’t bad either even if he doesn’t score any hits so it’s like the heroes are battling with an immovable object. Santa went down like a chump though so that was a little unfortunate for his fans.

Unfortunately this special continues the trope of having Hulk one up Thor the whole time. Even when the Black Hole goes up they all have to grab onto Hulk to stay on the ground. They all resisted this of course, but it did make Hulk look like the strongest once again. His subplot with Thor about pretending to be Santa was okay at best, but not nearly as enjoyable as the main plot. I feel bad for all the kids who wanted a present, but had to watch Hulk chuck it into the ocean. Why is his aim so bad?

As for the main plot, the Elves are incredibly stubborn about wanting to do things on their own. Even after losing over and over again they keep trying to attack the Avengers and miss the entire point of trying to protect Santa. All they’re doing by fighting the heroes is thinning out their own ranks. It’s not like they’re going to win this fight and by this point they already knew about Loki and Ymir. Surely they have better things to do than picking more fights right? It can be endearing in a way, but still hard not to shake your head whenever they start talking tough again.

Iron Man is at his best here with how obviously anti-Santa he is. His origin story of why he doesn’t believe in the guy was also suitably emotional. In the real world he would be right about Santa not being real, but in a world where aliens and giant monsters show up every week I feel like Santa’s not a huge stretch. Bringing up the common dilemam of how he could visit every kid in a single night is a good counter though. Him bringing that up right away was a good move. Meanwhile Cap didn’t necessarily believe, but he knew that Loki did so he wanted to be there. Cap’s plan was logical, but man those two don’t get along here at all. There are constant insults and subtle burns thrown at each other. It makes for a fun dynamic even if the team doesn’t have their usual unity.

As for Reptil, he’s really just here so we can have a newbie on the team. He’s constantly getting shown up by the others and really can’t keep up. The whole thing about him believing in Santa so the elves trust him is nice, but that’s all Reptil’s got going for him. I like that he has Pit’s voice actor, but otherwise I’d be fine if he was cut from the special. Captain Marvel’s role is also small, but at least she can fight. She gets in good energy blasts during all of the fights although she does seem a little nerfed here since she isn’t treated as one of the big guns.

Overall, Frost Fight is a reasonable special. It goes through the motions and pretty much delivers on everything you would expect from a special like this. I’d have liked for there to have been more action, but what we got was reasonable. The music isn’t bad and I’d be up for more specials like this. Hopefully next time the villain won’t be quite as broken as Loki though so we can get a nice back and forth fight without the power levels going crazy. With that speed Loki should have completely crushed everyone. If you like the Avengers then I’d recommend watching this special. If you haven’t seen the Avengers yet then I’d recommend starting with Ultimate Avengers instead.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order Review


It’s time to look at a Star Wars game that I’ve been hyped for as soon as the first trailer came out. This looked like a really good return to the Force Unleashed games and it does deliver. It’s not quite able to match the complete masterpieces of that duology, but comes close and definitely solidifies itself as a great title. It’s one of the best Star Wars games of all time and I would definitely like to see a sequel.

Carl used to be a Jedi in training, but after some tragic events he now lives in hiding. It’s hard to stay out of view for long during such turbulent times though and he soon finds himself back in the fight. There exists a holocron with the names of every kid who currently has some force abilities. Naturally the Empire wants this, but so do some rebels to bring back the Jedi order. It’s now a race against time to get to the cube first. The journey will span several planets and Carl will have to face his own inner demons along the way.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer with a lot of combat. If you’ve played The Force Unleashed then imagine that with some Spider-Man type gameplay. You’ll have some quick time events, but the bulk of the combat gameplay revolves around precise swings and parries. This makes the game pretty difficult at some points, particularly the boss fights but it’s also why the game is so much fun. It never feels unfair or difficult due to bad level design. It’s all quite fair and helps you nail down the timing. If anything this game is probably really good for improving your reaction times. In particular the final boss is incredibly difficult and took me many tries, but it’s great to see your progress as you go through the attempts.

The gameplay also makes it so you can’t just ignore the minions. They’ll actually deal some considerable damage if you try to run past them and you can’t blindly attack either. You’re going to need to block and parry with them as well. The exception are the storm troopers who you can stop any which way. It is fun to perfect block their shots to reflect them though and this is where the upgrades come in handy. One upgrade allows you to block automatically while running which makes it feel even more like you’re a Jedi. Then there is the upgrade where you do a combo attack which allows you to break almost any minion’s guard. It is extremely handy and was even critical against the second to last boss.

I recommend going for the upgrades that increase your base stats first though like improving your health and force abilities. I don’t even need to explain why those are handy to have. In most games my first objective is always to increase stats and then I go for combo moves. I figure it’s best to have top notch fundamentals first and then you have fun with the flashy stuff. There are also upgrades that increase your health shots, health, and force in the wild so keep a lookout for those. I found enough to increase my health and shot once, but didn’t find the rest in time. They are very helpful as well.

The platforming gameplay was a little weaker for me even though it was pretty ambitious. I think my main issue here was the fact that the jumps didn’t always go very far so I would fall to my doom. Even when doing a normal jump from vine to vine I wouldn’t always make it. Then you can get locked in hit-stun when you’re attacked so you lose your double jump. I died quite a few times for things like this, but fortunately you have a very quick re-spawn system so you never really lose much time there.

The one real negative in the game are the very long loading screens. Whenever you turn on the game you have to sit through a bunch of unskippable company logos. Then when you go from planet to planet there are long periods of time you have to wait as everyone buckles in. Couple that with the long time it takes to respawn after a complete death or all the menus you have to get through to save and it adds up. It might be that the game added so much content the game has a hard time loading it up right away. If that’s the case then it’s a worthy trade off but it is very noticeable. We’re almost talking Sonic 2006 at times.

As for the story, Carl makes for a good main character. Keep in mind that he is no Starkiller so don’t expect this guy to be running around defeating Sith lords and knocking out Vader. Carl is more of an in-training Jedi so he is still getting used to his various Force abilities. Still he does come up with some good wins as the game progresses. He makes the right decision in the end even if it took him a while to get to that point. Then we have Cere who used to be a Jedi, but due to some stuff in her past has put away her Force abilities. You never truly lose them even if you hide from the Force, but you can’t use them without accepting it once again.

She’s not quite as good. For starters another character had some valid points about how this is all her fault. The heroic sacrifice move doesn’t work if you aren’t truly powerful. It would have been better for them all to have left together. Live or die, at least you’re together right? Cere does do her best to get back up from this in the climax where she looks good. It was one scene where I disagreed with Carl, but I can’t go into depth without spoilers. Needless to say it involves using the Dark side and depending on the situation that’s not something you should be opposed to using.

Many Star Wars characters in the expanded universe have shown that you can use the Dark side without turning evil. Ultimately the Force is just a power and it’s all in how you use it. Once again I point to Starkiller who mastered both sides of this ability. He was a prodigy, but that doesn’t mean that the others can’t do it as well. The Sith abilities are very powerful so if you can master them then it will be helpful for the heroes as well.

We’ve also got some supporting characters like Merrin who appears near the end. The fact that she has powers already set her off to a good start. She’s fun to have around, but appears quite late in the game. It makes for a fun tag team fight like Link and Zelda vs Ganondorf though. Then there is the mysterious stranger in one of the final planets. He ends up having a pretty big role. Between his hype design and strong abilities he was one of the best characters here. Obviously the guy is pretty shady and sort of insane, but he is the kind of character who spices things up. I like when a new antagonist shows up out of nowhere and changes everyone’s plans.

Of course the main villain is the Second Sister from all of the trailers. She has a lot of pretty great scenes and fights with us quite a few times. Between the fun design and her character I would say that she is one of the better villains. It helps that I have also always liked the Sisters group. They tend to be on the evil side, but it’s nice to have a third faction who aren’t necessarily Sith or Jedi. The third sister in the game gets the smallest role and doesn’t really do much though.

Finally I also like how some of the fights feel real before you actually realize that you can’t win. The health bar is going down slowly but the boss just feels so insanely powerful. Typically you have to actually get the boss down to 50% but when you don’t know that and you have them down to 60% while you’re at 1%…you wonder how you can make a comeback. It’s a good way to build up tension and the game handles it quite excellently. The game developers really did a great job here.

The graphics are definitely top notch as well. The cinematics are quite striking. It’s pretty much movie quality here and the graphics during normal gameplay are really good as well. It’s all very high level although I’d expect nothing less from EA. Even with the sport games they churn out every year the graphics are always incredibly impressive. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s not super memorable, but it has that classic Star Wars vibe. You’ll feel pretty hyped during all of the boss fights.

The actual campaign here is pretty long. You should be busy for around 15 hours or so and then there is a lot of replay value. You can go back to all of the old planets to get the last transmission logs and max out your character level. Platinuming the game should take you an extra 20 hours if not a little more. There are a lot of collectibles out there and the planets are quite large. It’s one of those games that would be fun to Platinum though as none of the trophies are tedious or have forced grinding in them.

Overall, Fallen Order definitely lived up to the hype. It’s a very complete game with an engaging story and top notch gameplay. I really like the trend of cinematic style gameplay like this where you are in control the whole time, but do get treated to little cutscenes depending on how precise your movements are. All of the boss fights are excellent and while the platforming could get a bit iffy at times, it’s certainly the best we’ve gotten in the series. The Clone Wars Republic Heroes isn’t even close and that was really the last big platforming title. If you haven’t bought this game yet then you should definitely change that as soon as possible!

Overall 9/10