Rise of the Guardians Review

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Rise of the Guardians is a film that looked like a lot of fun right from the first trailer that I saw of it. The movie looked like it would have a surprising amount of action in it and the idea of a Holiday Mascot crossover had a lot of potential behind it as well. The film turned out to be about as good as I had hoped and it’s definitely got some nice visuals for the action scenes. I can safely say that it is rather underrated considering how obscure it appears to be, at least relative to other big animated films.

The plot starts off with a lonely guy named Jack Frost. He has ice powers but nobody actually knows him. Guys like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have a lot of fans but not poor Jack. Despite trying to help people out and enjoy himself in the process, people just can’t see him and as such it all goes for naught. 300 years pass by and nothing changes. However, a mysterious villain has arisen and is determined to destroy all of the iconic holiday legends. Santa Claus and his team of icons realize that this is one battle that they cannot win. Their leader tells them to enlist the help of Jack Frost. Can this team really be enough to take down this villain or is the battle over before it has even begun?

As I mentioned earlier, the battle scenes are handled really well. The energy effects are vibrant and you can feel the power behind Jack’s blows. The rest of the graphics are fairly standard but solid nonetheless. The character models look good and the screen is always clear. If this was more of an action movie then the film would probably be able to prove itself even more. There isn’t much of a soundtrack so that is regrettable but still, having one of the two big technical components to the film at the ready is a good way to start off.

One slight issue with the film, or at least a concern for when the fight scenes would occur is that Jack appears to be the only power hitter on the team. The rest of the combatants just pale in comparison and they don’t seem to have any really useful special abilities. Jack has complete control over the ice and can fire blasts so concentrated that the they are basically lightning strikes. He is really the only one who puts up a decent fight against the villain while the others are basically just watching. At the very least you would expect Santa to be really powerful but surprisingly this was not the case.

Santa is a twin blades user who strikes with pure power. The problem is that he isn’t very fast nor does he seem to be very smart. He’s a nice enough chap and makes sense as the leader of the team but making him a little stronger would have definitely been a good move for the film if you ask me. They still could have had some reason as to why he couldn’t hear the main villain without simply making him weak.

The Easter Bunny is also weak but he’s not nearly as likable as Santa. He talks a good game but just can’t compete when the chips are down. You can tell what his character is after a single scene with him. The trope of acting super tough when you’re actually weak can make for really good characters but typically the film or show has to at least be a little self aware that the character is all bark and no bite. This one never really gets into that. He still isn’t the worst character though or even the 2ns worst. He can still be somewhat reasonable.

The 2nd worst character is definitely the Tooth Fairy. She can’t fight at all and is a little too obsessed with her teeth gimmick. It wouldn’t even be a problem if there was more to her character but there really isn’t. Her role in the film is so small that you could take her out entirely and I doubt a whole lot would change. The worst member of the team is the Sand Man. He’s one of the most annoying kinds of characters as he is always sleeping but actually ends up being the strongest kind of all. He didn’t have to work to get his strength but in fact he was just born into it. He has a lot of arrogance when fighting but not the cool kind as you’re still just annoyed at the guy. It gets to the point where you already dislike him so much that his potentially good moments don’t even work. As you can tell, I did not like this character and giving him the pivotal moment at the end of the film wasn’t a great move if you ask me. Why couldn’t Jack have gotten the big blow and ended his character arc on a grand note? If you ask me, that would have been perfect.

The villain is pretty solid. His plan to take down everyone who believes in the legend is pretty solid as then they will be too weak to put up much of a resistance. He should have picked them off way before that though instead of focusing on the main goal even when there was just one kid left. At that point you just have to pick off the main characters one by one. In his defense, Jack’s plan was pretty good though and it’s easy to make the kids believe when you actually move stuff around right in front of them and use your supernatural abilities in an obvious manner. The villain made for good fight scenes so I’d definitely say that he did a good job fulfilling the role.

I’ll also give the film kudos for not giving the kids much of a role. Lets face it, they would have had some cheesy scenes and I’m not sure I can buy into the kids as solid characters just yet. Still, since they were crucial to the villain’s plan they needed some screen time. The way the film handled it was pretty solid so that’s another feather in its cap. The writing in general was pretty solid and while the cast of characters may not have been amazing, Jack was likable which is really what counts. He’s a solid lead and I’d be up for a sequel.

Overall Rise of the Guardians is a solid animated film with a good amount of action and heart. It’s a film that I would definitely recommend checking out. Where else are you going to see a film where Jack Frost finally gets to shine and prove himself as one of the big Christmas characters? He really doesn’t get a whole lot of attention compared to the other big characters in most media so this may be the only time to really see him take the starring role. Maybe it’s time I get the game adaption of this movie to see if it holds up well. Getting it for Christmas would have been fitting but that day is already booked with presents so most likely it would be later on if I purchase it.

Overall 7/10

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Lego Marvel Superheroes: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat Review

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There have definitely been a lot of LEGO specials over the years. It makes sense as you can never run out of ideas with those little toys. That’s why they’re so popular in the first place. What you build is limited only by your imagination and your budget. The LEGO specials are usually pretty enjoyable and most of them are fairly short as well so it’s not as if they last too long either. This Guardians special is pretty good as well and goes by very fast so I’d say that it holds its own against the other Marvel ones.

The plot is that Thanos wants to create a BLT so he needs to find the Builder Stone which will let him create anything. I would have advised him to just go to Subways but I suppose they may have run out of tomatoes again. The Guardians decide to stop him but first they will have to out fly the Ravagers as well as Ronan. Does the team have what it takes for this mission or are they doomed again?

The LEGO animation is definitely something that you either like or you don’t. I don’t really consider it as good animation as it just seems really easy and nothing particularly stands out visually. As long as the animation isn’t bad it’s not a problem though and I wouldn’t call this bad animation. These specials are more about the dialogue than anything else as the one liners have to try and use the Lego’s advantage of many things being possible to its benefit.

On that note, the writing is pretty solid. I’m not the biggest fan of the Guardians team when it comes to their personalities but the special did a good job of keeping them in check. For example, Drax can overuse his gimmick of taking things literally but I believe they only use that joke once here as opposed to spamming it in every other scene. That was pretty good and seeing him get wrecked by Thanos is a better gag. I think that’s how their fight should always go but I have a nagging feeling that he is going to be able to score the final blow against Thanos in the movie somehow or even defeat him to close his character arc. I’ll give the film extra kudos if they go the LEGO route instead.

The rest of the characters do a good job of being decent as well. Star Lord’s still a fun leader who always has a plan and the voice helps the character out even further. Gamora doesn’t get much of a role in this special but she is certainly in character as she doubts Star Lord the whole time. The team always bets against him and they are probably right to do so since he will come through when it counts but not in any other situation. Ronan and Thanos make for good villains as well. They may be fairly overused in Guardian plots at this point but it’s not as if the team has too many enemies which is why they have to keep showing up. At least it’s not a C rank villain who keeps reappearing or anything like that.

The only bad character as always is Groot. He actively tries to sabotage the team as always and the saying his name not got old years ago. He doesn’t add anything to the dynamic and only serves to take time away from the characters who could use more. At this point I’m unlikely to ever become a fan of his but you never know I suppose. Maybe all he needs is a radical change in character and design although it would basically be a different character at that point.

Overall, this special was pretty fun. It’s the length of a normal episode and has appropriate pacing. There’s never a moment where the film drags on and there aren’t a bunch of subplots to take away from the main adventure. The team fighting Thanos is already enough of a plot to hold its own special after all so it’s not like you need much more than that. Thor has a nice little cameo for his fans as well. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then you should go ahead and do so. It’s only 20 minutes so even if you don’t like it then you won’t be losing much time. The film doesn’t make any big mistakes though so at least for me there wasn’t much chance of not liking it. LEGO specials aren’t always a solid 7 but they are rarely, if ever bad.

Overall 7/10

Your Name Review

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Not to be confused with “Call me by Your Name”, a film that doesn’t look like it has any potential based on the one screen cap I’ve seen of it. It’s time to finally look at the recent anime film that turned a lot of heads. Your Name certainly became a huge hit in both America and Japan and you’re sure to have at least seen the poster somewhere. It’s a body switch, romance adventure so it’s fitting in a lot at once. I’m not really a big romance fan, but if handled right it can work. The romance here isn’t actually a thing til near the end anyway so that’s all good. An underwhelming ending slows this film down, but it’s a good adventure nonetheless.

Mitsuha wakes up one morning and prepares for a normal day. However, everyone around her is acting quite oddly. They explain that it’s Mitsuha who was crazy the other day so they were just wondering how she would act. Mitsuha can’t even remember what happened yesterday, but it can’t have been anything too dramatic. Things change when she wakes up in the body of a teenager named Taki. He is living the Tokyo life that she has always dreamed of. While she believes it to be a dream at first, gradually she realizes that this is very real. Naturally it goes without saying that Taki also randomly wakes up in her body some days. They quickly have to find a way to live around these circumstances and ensure that the other person doesn’t do anything too drastic. Unfortunately, Taki isn’t about to tone down his aggressive nature and Mitsuha will continue to waste all of his money on food which makes for some tricky shenanigans. Can their reputations survive and why is this even happening in the first place?

The first chunk of the film is all about the body swap shenanigans. There is certainly quite a lot that you can do with that concept and I think it could make for a good action series someday. Of course, it’s a concept that you have to handle with the utmost care or it’ll be used for all of the wrong humor. The best chunk of the film is probably each character messing around with the other person’s life, but not even this film can resist going for the low hanging jokes. The second half of the film becomes a more serious drama with lives at stake and both characters constantly fighting their fading memories.

Before we go into the film any further, lets talk about the characters. Taki is the main guy here and unfortunately he is not likable at all. His first instinct when transformed into Mitsuha is to act like a stereotypical anime character and take advantage of being in this body to satisfy his curiosity. He doesn’t just do it once, but it’s a running gag that he messes around with her body every single time he transforms. It was already bad the first time, but as they get to know each other and become friends it just becomes a serious invasion of privacy and takes away any shred of dignity he had left. As a result, you can’t sympathize with the guy at all and it hurts the romance angle a bit. He also knows how to always make the wrong move at the right time like when he ends up leaving a heartfelt message when he was supposed to write his name. If he had done the latter then a chunk of the climax might have changed, but he was too witty to follow the rules there.

Mitsuha is the other main character and she’s a lot more reasonable. She still goes through the same cliches as Taki, but unlike Taki she eventually stops doing the same thing every morning. She also tries to help his social life like when she pairs him up with one of the employees and in general makes his reputation skyrocket. She does actively waste his money and seemingly doesn’t feel bad about it but it’s a start. She also has a much tougher life than Taki as she is stuck in a village with nothing to do. At least Taki is in Tokyo and can do just about anything.

Taki does have the better supporting cast though. His friend with the glasses is pretty reasonable. He helps Taki out when Mitsuha forgot to bring a lunch and also comes along on the quest during the latter part of the film. He may have been just having fun with Miki and not really concentrating but it’s the thought that counts. Miki was also a pretty nice character. She saved Taki (I’ll just use the character’s name no matter who is controlling the body unless it’s important to specify) from a scammer and also proves to be a pretty loyal friend. For Mitsuha’s supporting cast, we had her two friends as well. They were agreeable enough and did help her out in the big master plan at the end even if it sounded crazy. Not quite as interesting as Taki’s friends though. Mitsuha’s grandmother could be fairly annoying. She knows quite a lot, but never really does anything with that knowledge so she may as well not know it then right? The sister was okay, it’s not her fault that Taki was always wrecking Mitsuha’s reputation.

Now the next parts are about an element of the film that may be considered a spoiler so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know about it. 3.2….1… Go. So, the characters are set apart by 3 years with good ole time travel so it helps explain some things like why they couldn’t just call each other right away. That’s good since it would have been too easy otherwise. That being said, it shouldn’t have been a twist as the characters should have known about it instantly. They’re using Cell Phones and laptops during the movie and those always show the year next to the time. They should have instantly known something was wrong. Even more basic than that, a Friday on the 24th this year would be a Friday the 21st 3 years ago. The date should always be different or the day of the week. Leap years could mess with that, but it’s still a pretty big deal. Also, when they’re looking for each other, Taki has to come up with very detailed sketches to find where she was. Couldn’t he have just remembered the name of her school, or town? It may have been easier for Mitsuha than Taki in this case and she actually did track him down so I’ll give her some credit there. I just don’t see how Taki would not have been more observant so he could have found the place easier. To an extent this is all for plot convenience. It’s hard to write a time travel story that doesn’t have some kind of issue, especially when it’s used as a plot twist and all. It’s not something that would actually hurt the film either way, just that you shouldn’t dwell on the specifics too much or you’ll start to pick up on these things.

The animation for the film is pretty sharp. We get some nice visuals for the shooting stars from the poster towards the end. The city landscape looks great and the foods are on point as well. It’s definitely a modern anime film that clearly got a good budget. The character designs are also better than some other modern anime features as they feel more mainstream and less abstract if you will. I also enjoyed the music. We get a number of insert songs throughout and they’re handled well. I’m always up for a lyrical song as long as the lyrics themselves don’t distract from the scene because of how bad they are. If the song’s lyrics are great or understandable, then there’s nothing to worry about and these were good from what I heard. I can’t say that I remember any of the lyrics at the moment, but that’s just how it goes. It takes a few watches for me to get the lyrics unless the song is just that phenomenal.

At the end of the day, the important thing is for the film to be enjoyable. I can definitely say that the film was fun. The setting was nice and the characters were good. It’s an upbeat story that surprisingly hasn’t been done too often before. I actually wouldn’t have minded if the body swap part had effectively been the whole movie and when the comet passes they simply stop seeing each other. It might have not had the same impact for many viewers, but I think it could work well. Of course, I’m sure the film was actively trying to ensure they didn’t wear out the plot as focusing on just that for 100 minutes could have easily backfired. Maybe it’s for the best then.

As you may know from watching films over the years, an ending is always very important. Depending on the film, an ending can shift a film’s score by around 3 stars. Sometimes more and sometimes less. This is one of those films where the ending was extremely ending. If they went a certain amnesia route then it probably would have lost another star. If they’d gone the optimal route then it would have gained a star. It’s an underwhelming ending that lands it squarely in the middle, but doesn’t really damage the film. I’ll be content with that, but I still wasn’t a fan of how it all went down. In any film where memory is an issue and people are asking about each other’s names and such, I always want them to remember. I can’t get much more specific here, but you’ll probably know what I mean by the end. The characters run in circles with their memories for a while and I always think you should finish the race and get the memories as opposed to the alternative. The worst case ending would have involved a few hundred deaths plus total amnesia so I can at least confirm that the ending never goes into that territory. Now that would have been a travesty.

Overall, Your Name is a good film. I’m always up for a good body swap film. It was engaging throughout so the film really sped by. The drama angle in the second half was definitely handled a lot better than it may have been in another film. I’m still not crazy about the ending, but it could have been far worse. Taki’s running gag and one gross scene hold it back from getting that extra star, but it’s still a film that I can recommend. If you want to see a film about Bonds that Transcend Time and don’t want to rewatch Yugioh for the 100th time, this is the film to check out. You can see why took off so much with everyone who viewed it. It’s theoretically a film that can be fun for basically everyone.

Overall 6/10

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! Review

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Pokemon is definitely a big franchise that has had a lot of hype moments and hard landings throughout. On the whole it usually has many more successes than failures though and the anime is one that can be recommended to all. The Pokemon Go game is probably the title that I’ve played the most overall as well and there’s just a lot of variety. Partially to cash in on Pokemon Go and the nostalgia for the original episodes, this film was made instead of a Alola title. That sounded good to me, but now I wish they had gone the other route instead. Not all of the films have been amazing. They range from great to fairly mediocre. However, this one went to a new direction that I hadn’t even thought to be worried about, it decided to get rather dark. This is not the Pokemon film that we had been waiting for.

It’s a reimagining of Ash’s first days as a trainer so it starts with him being late to Professor Oak’s lab. He gets Pikachu and survives a Spearow attack. The first warning bells here is when we suddenly get a massive jump to Erica as Ash wins the gym badge in an instant. The majority of the fight was skipped and what about all of the fights before this one? Sure, they were never going to be able to adapt all of it but why skip that much? Well, Ash meets up with Sorrel and Verity who decide to tag along with him. He comes across an evil Pokemon named Marshadow who wants to corrupt him and plunge the world into darkness. Can Ash stop him and any chance at this adapting more Gym Battles or will he be forced to give up on his quest?

I made sure to sit down and read something before writing this review to calm down a bit first, but the film still didn’t sit any better with me. It’s clear from the get go that the writers had a very different idea on why People liked the original season than I did. I liked the original Pokemon season because of the cool gym battles and Pokemon action throughout. Ash was a great main character and Gary was a fun rival. It could get pretty serious, but was a light hearted adventure all around. The movie went through great pains to destroy every one of those concepts.

First lets talk about how they ruined Ash. He gets corrupted by Marshadow and starts acting mean to everyone. He bad mouths Charmander behind his back for losing and says that he would have won with Pikachu. He tells Pikachu that he wishes he got a different Pokemon and distances himself from everyone. This leads to a scene of him being in a normal school and finally making it back to the real world where he gets over it. Sure, Marshadow was manipulating him, but why is there even such a scene in the first place? If it had to happen, give it to one of Ash’s forgettable partners. Ash’s character shouldn’t be sacrificed for such a small plot that had no actual bearing on anything. Take away those couple of minutes and not a thing changes. Then it’s also annoying how Ash loses to Cross because he didn’t have any strategy. Telling Charmeleon to use the same attack multiple times when it was clearly not working was also very annoying. Then getting suckered by Cross into losing his feather by the end makes you shake your head. Ash just looked terrible at many points throughout this movie and is certainly nowhere near his TV show counterpart. He has his moments, but at the end of the day he’s not the great trainer that you’ll remember from the old days.

As the show is condensing a long season into a movie you at least want the big fights, but we don’t get very many action scenes in the film. Most of the ones that we do get are over in 1-2 hits as Pikachu zaps someone or tackles them away. It was clearly not a priority for the film. The fact that Sorrel never gets to fight at all aside from getting one shotted and likewise for Verity just shows how the fighting was pushed to the side. I wanted actual trainer fights and good battles against the Wild Pokemon. This just never happened and the action in this film is quite limited. It’s something that most of the other films did with a lot more success than this one.

Instead, the show focuses on the dark/somber plots from the anime. Butterfree leaving is one of the plots that they choose to keep. Now, it’s not a bad scene in the anime. Ash still got to spend a lot of time with him and we had about 20 happy episodes before and after it. The film is already short so why are we jumping to such a sad scene already? Keep in mind that the film also keeps in the dark Charmander plot where he is abandoned and nearly dies before Ash saves him. The film clearly wanted to be darker and sadder than Pokemon is supposed to be. Those two scenes were already enough, but then the movie really jumped the shark. This is the scene that really wrecked the film beyond repair and what makes it worse is that this scene was absolutely and completely 100% pointless.

Sorrel reminds the audience why he is such a terrible character as when he was a kid he snuck out in the cold. He then fainted so the family’s loyal dog Pokemon had to follow him. Instead of picking the kid up and going home, roaring so people could come help, zapping the kid awake, or making a fire, the Pokemon dies. It just dies for no reason and it’s a very sad moment for no reason at all. The film just wanted to get grim dark to establish Sorrel’s character, but what did it really establish? It didn’t change him in any real way. It’s just a passing line and then the film goes back to trying to be happy in the next scene. I can’t stress enough how pointless this scene was and just how terrible it was. With Pokemon Alola also apparently bumping off Pokemon, it’s just a sad state of affairs that the movie would pick this scene to include in the film. There was no way Sorrel could save himself from this scene of course. Moreover, he talks a good game about being friends with his Pokemon, but does nothing to try and stop Cross when he shows up. He does nothing throughout the film.

Verity at least has some more personality. I was a little annoyed that her fight with Ash was interupted since we could have had an actual battle Ash should have been able to win that one with the type advantage. Her sob story also doesn’t really have a point as she seemingly had some kind of fight with her Mom but then decides to go home and talk it out. More unnecessary drama, but at least it’s not randomly grim so I’ll take it. The film barely acknowledges it after that one scene so that’s for the best. I’m not the biggest fan of Brock and Misty, but I think I would have taken them over these two. At least I think they would have been more ready to help Ash while these two kids simply watched with astonished looks on their faces the entire movie.

Cross is the mean rival and the film does what it can to make the guy as mean as can be. He kicks Charmander and gets away wit it. He beats up Ash and beats up Charmeleon quite a bit and again gets away scot free. While it’s all build up for Ash eventually winning, even that feels negated as he still knocks Ash away and gets the feather. Then he actually turns good which is more of an insult to the cast than anything else. You can’t really convert a character like that in such a short amount of time. While Sorrel reminds Ash that t hey have to respect this guy’s power, they can also respect the fact that they can take him down and bring him over to the cops for Pokemon abuse. Again, I don’t know what the writers were thinking with this film.

As for some actual positives, the graphics are good. Everything looks pretty shiny and modern. This way you at least have something to look at the whole time. When the Pokemon fights happen they look pretty good. Take a shot of water every time a fight is interrupted or ends off screen though. It’ll be good for you. The character designs are on point except for an annoying old man who pops up out of nowhere to contribute nothing to the story. That guy just didn’t have a purpose in the film.

The soundtrack’s not bad. Most of it’s pretty generic and never comes close to the actual first season. The remix of the opening is pretty good. Not as good as the original of course, but it’s more a case of the singer than the remix. The remix sounded pretty identical to the original to be honest which was good. That’s always been the most iconic Pokemon song for a good reason. The new singer did a fine job as well and it was a good way to kick things off. I would have liked a battle theme to accompany it, but since we didn’t really get many of those, I guess that’s why they didn’t bother.

Marshadow is one of the new Pokemon to show up, but I didn’t like him. He was seemingly portrayed as a villain from the start so it was odd that he wasn’t treated like one from the beginning. Unless he wasn’t actually mind controlling Ash and Ash was actually just being super unlikable, but I’m going to just assume it’s the former. He doesn’t even seem that strong and wouldn’t last very long in a real fight. It was cool seeing all of the Legendary Pokemon show up. I was glad Entei basically wiped the floor with everyone although I think Pikachu could give him a good fight 1 on 1. Entei was just running around too much and Ash couldn’t dodge the fire well enough. If he could, Pikachu would eventually take Entei down for the count. Team Rocket is also in this film by the way but seeing as how they just keep getting blasted away over and over again adding nothing to the film, there’s no need to give them their own section. They’re literally just here as cameos for the fans so the writers didn’t really have to think too hard about how to handle them.

So, as far as Pokemon films go this is definitely one of the weakest. I was hoping that a call back to the original Pokemon films would result in this being one of the better ones, but I suppose that just made the flaws more evident. I don’t often like Elseworld stories so I suppose that overrode the nostalgia. The whole thing just didn’t feel right and honestly it just should have had a completely different cast if the plot was going to be so different otherwise. Rename the main character as Stephen or something and then it’s less annoying. I don’t think the score would be any better since it still has the Pokemon death which is effectively an animal death, but it would certainly be less personal. At any rate, I hope this one doesn’t get a sequel and we just go back to the main Pokemon movies.

For an actual list, from what I remember of each film here is how it all ends up. 1. Genesect, 2. Pokemon Destiny Deoxys, 3. Mewtwo, 4. Entei, 5. 2000, 6. Giratina, 7. Heroes, 8. Darkrai, 9. Kyurem, 10. Black n White, 11. Lucario, 12. Hoopa, 13. Arceus, 14. 4 Ever, 15. Volcanion, 16. Zoroark, 17. Jirachi, 18. Diancie, 19. Ranger, 20. I Choose You. The list is a little rough towards the middle. My recollections of 4Ever, Lucario, Darkrai, Jirachi, and Ranger are spotty at best. The Top 5 are pretty well set by this point and will be rather tough to surpass, but not impossible. It’s probably fitting that Sun and Moon, the weakest season in all of Pokemon contains the weakest Pokemon film. If you count it as an Alola film at all, but it’s in that era at any rate.

I can also see why People didn’t like the climax to this film. It just feels all over the place and not really focused. Mind controlling all of the Pokemon and starting a big fight could be good..if the fight actually happened and we weren’t in the final minutes of the film. Ripping off Ash’s famous statue scene from the first movie is also rather shameless and it’s not even handled all that well. After all, this character hasn’t even been through much at all so it’s not as big a moment as it could have been. You can’t do a scene like that so early. The first movie’s scene was also epic as well as sad while this one is just adding yet another sad scene into the mix.

To save this film, it should have just been an adaption of season 1. Why even give Gary a cameo if he isn’t going to do anything? I was expecting him to show up, but it simply never happened. Why give us the Erika fight and mention the Pokemon League if it’s never going to happen either? I suppose these teases are supposed to be fun as you decide to watch the show again, but it just makes you wish for those moments instead of what you’re actually watching. Following the show and having a bunch of Gym Battles would have been a blast. I’d love to see a Pokemon Kai of sorts that does the first season all over again with new animation and I wouldn’t mind if they cut out the filler episodes so it focuses on the main plot. It could have been a blast. Then we would also get a bunch of cool action scenes as well.

Well, aside from the animation and soundtrack, a positive for the film would be that Pikachu looks good. While he did leave Ash pretty quickly once Ash entered into dark mode, he looked good in all of his fights. You never enter a fight thinking Pikachu will lose since he looks so impressive here. His speed is on point and he definitely is one of my favorite Pokemon at this point. Top 5 for sure and since there are over 700 Pokemon that is definitely an impressive feat. It would have been nice to have seen more of Ash’s Pokemon, but Pikachu is always the really important one anyway. I like to think he really gave Ho-Oh a great fight as well.

Overall, This Pokemon film just didn’t feel like Pokemon. That’s the biggest problem with it. It’s very sad and dramatic throughout. What the writers didn’t understand was that it’s okay, or at least not terrible to have sad and grim scenes in a show because you can have dozens of happy episodes between them. You can have a grim plot if handled right as well. However, in a movie, you have a limited amount of time so adding in even just a few sad scenes can change the tone of the entire movie. By having a very cruel rival, death, and permanent farewells in one movie, there’s no chance for a happy moment. The happy scenes in the film instead feel rather hollow, especially as Ash is sharing them with complete strangers who aren’t even that likable. Verity isn’t a bad character, but not a particularly great one either and Sorrel is just bad. you want a Pokemon film to be a fun one, especially if it’s an anniversary film. Instead, you’ll walk away from this film being pretty upset and I’m sure the feeling would have been even worse if you had seen it in the theater. Take my advice and skip this film, it’s just not worth it. I’ll still look forward to the next film though as I’m sure it’ll catch itself and start climbing up again.

Overall 5/10

Batman vs Two Face Review

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Adam West really had a good run as Batman. His TV show was very successful to the point where we now have comics and movies being released to ride the nostalgia. They’ve been handled very well and while I wasn’t thrilled with how the first film made Batman evil, this one suffers from no such issue. Considering that it’s likely the final Batman movie with this iconic lead, it’s a great way to go out. The film is really well made and balances the humor and action pretty well. It’s a movie that I can easily recommend to any comic fan or moviegoer.

The film starts off by adapting the classic Two Face origin story. Hugo Strange built a device to suck the evil out of all the villains, but it wasn’t stable so some of the residue got on Harvey Dent. This transformed him into the legendary villain and in a surprise twist he is defeated by Batman and Robin during the opening montage. We skip ahead a little while as there are multiple time skips in the intro of the film. Harvey Dent has been cured and rehabilitated. He has to slowly work up the ranks once again, but vows to keep bringing criminals to justice. At first everything seems to be okay, but then Two Face pops up once again. Batman doesn’t believe that it is Harvey, but Robin believes that Bruce is not able to see the truth that is right in front of him because of his friendship with Dent. However, Robin is not impartial either as he wants to put Dent away since he feels like his friendship to Bruce is now playing second fiddle. Tensions are high!

Two Face is a likable villain from the start. He’s cool as Harvey Dent and as Two Face. As Dent he is a charismatic guy who always takes command of the situation and doesn’t back down from the hero types. Even when Robin tries to intimidate him he comes up with quick counters like Robin’s bed time. It was a great comeback and I wouldn’t want him to try and play nice when the other guy is being mean. Dent also looks really good in the court room and even intimidates Batman which was an intense moment. As Two Face his voice may not have the same impact, but his character is still the same. The coin gimmick is always pretty solid and he’s just an interesting character. Two Face never feels like he’s overstayed his welcome and he is certainly a threat since even his underlings are a match for Batman and Robin. In the Batman ’66 universe, it’s safe to say that he is Batman’s greatest foe. The other villains have been reduced to guinea pigs for Hugo Strange’s experiments.

Batman is a great hero as always. His voice perfectly suits the character and he is shown to be a genius. Batman picks up on all of the clues right away and puts justice above all else. Now when it comes to combat you can tell that Batman is getting older. He has a hard time against paid goons and must get captured almost 10 times in the film when you consider the opening montage. He definitely would have benefitted from a little more prep time in this case. He still has a lot of great gadgets as always though so Batman is still prepared. He handled the evil Robin plot pretty well as to be expected.

Robin spends most of the film being jealous of Harvey. This is good in the sense that Robin gets to throw a lot more burns Harvey’s way as a result and even follows him into an abandoned warehouse by his lonesome. THe downside of this is that Robin is the one who usually ends up getting burned and the whole situation doesn’t go well for him at all. He just seems out of his league the whole time and definitely will have to keep training if he wants to be on Batman’s level. The evil Robin plot was fortunately a lot smaller than I had expected. I was worried he would be evil for a while which would have hurt the dynamic like the first film. Part of what makes Batman ’66 fun is the banter between both Batman and Robin. The show simply wouldn’t have been as fun without one of the two heroes being present.

Catwoman also gets a role in this film. Her dialogue with Batman is always so corny that it’s funny. As a result, I can’t say I mind their romance as much as I would otherwise although I still find it out of character for Batman. If she really does turn good, then I suppose it’s good that Batman never lost hope in her rehabilitation. Of course, would he still have her serve out her jail time or go for a nullification on the grounds of being a hero? She gets to fight in the climax and while Batman seemed to doubt her fighting abilities, I think we’ve seen her as a villain long enough to know that she is definitely a fighter. If the villains have to deal with 3 opponents from now on, Gotham just got a whole lot safer.

Alfred looks really good in this movie so his fans are certainly going to be thrilled. He stands up to the villains and never backs down. He stays stern to the end and does his best to make sure that neither Batman or Robin do something they’ll regret. Aunt Harriett isn’t quite as good though as she doesn’t contribute anything to the film except to annoy everyone. Her role in the first film was a little better when she was caught by Evil Bruce Wayne. Admittedly it was definitely a scene that really worked for the evil plot.

I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the human angle for the next Adam West installment if one were to come out. As it is, this Gotham is a lot happier and less crime infested than the one we’re all used too so it would be cool to see how the heroes interact with everyone on a daily basis. We see Bruce Wayne briefly and there are human scenes around, but it would be interesting to see this Utopia. Gotham seems like a pretty perfect place if we’re being honest so it’s even hard to see how Metropolis could be better. Lets face it, a Batman vs Superman movie in this continuity would be amazing!

The animation is quite solid as you would expect. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds look like something out of a mainstream DC film. After all, the animation is still at that high level for a modern action film, it’s just intentionally drawn to look campy and retro. As a result, it’s a film that still has its usual fun, but looks good while doing it. DC’s always been great with animation and that certainly hasn’t stopped in this film. The soundtrack is also pretty good although less memorable. The themes work well with what is happening on screen and that’s always the important part. It’s not super soft music or something that would distract you from the action.

The film isn’t very long so the pacing is very fast. There’s always something happening and the movie just doesn’t slow down. There are also no negatives to be found here which is quite impressive. I just can’t think of anything I disliked about the movie. I’m sure there are minor nitpicks and the film isn’t a 9 after all, but that’s a case of not enough great elements as opposed to bad ones. The film accomplishes at everything it sets out to do. What you expect from an Adam West Batman movie is a lot of good humor and solid action scenes. We get both in this movie. Who doesn’t like seeing Batman as the ultimate hero who is so over the top that even crossing the street too fast is a violation of rights for him? It’s just great and I can’t stress enough how the voice really sells the performance. That’s why getting another film without Adam West would certainly be risky. I’m sure the writers could handle it snce the writing is also very good, but it may be worth it to call the series something else if that happens. Go for the same tone but put it in a new universe.

Overall, Batman vs. Two Face is a great film. The vs title could be misleading if you were expecting a big fist fight, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that you would be expecting more of a mind battle considering it’s Batman. Two Face can fight when necessary though and does get his action in. The writing is on point and the animation looks good. Batman really gets his full credit and while it wasn’t Robin’s best day, he got a lot of good hits in as well. You really can’t afford to miss this one if you consider yourself to be a big DC fan or a comic fan in general. It’s pretty happy but also transitions well for the serious moments. There’s a nice mystery as to who Two Face is which you can sink your teeth into as you wait for the climax. It’s the perfect blend of why DC is so great.

Overall 8/10

My Little Pony: The Movie Review

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It’s time to finally take a look at the new My Little Pony film. After being a pocket fan of the series for a while, this was the last step I needed to really embrace the franchise. It was pretty eery walking into the theater as it was completely empty, but it help set the tone for the film. Gradually some little kids came in and I can say that the film succeeded in being an emotional roller coaster for them. They cried when Twilight Sparkle cried, laughed at some of the jokes, and even cheered a bit during the hype moments. Definitely a solid group all around. I definitely enjoyed the film and it hit a lot of the right notes. It could have been better if it had been a little more serious at times and made the Mane 6 more reasonable, but all in all you couldn’t ask for much more from the title. Now the series can finally be mainstream.

So the film starts off with Twilight Sparkle preparing a big party. She’s even going to have a singer show up to wow the crowd. Unfortunately Princess Celestia, Luna, and the other pony all say no to Twilight’s plan to make the party even more awesome. They explain that true friendship is knowing when not to lend a hoof in need. Twilight does her best with her friends but Pinkie Pie squashes the cake by mistake and embarrasses Twilight in front of the town. That’s when the Storm King’s minions show up and take over Equestria. Twilight Sparkle and her friends are wrecked in seconds and forced to flee. They must now find a legendary Queen to save them, but they’ll have to travel outside of their home for once. Going into the modern day cities will be tough since everyone is a swindler and the Ponies are used to dealing with nice folk. This could be tough.

Well, for starters I enjoyed the graphics. It feels like an interesting flash/CGI hybrid at times with how the designs look. They look more wholesome and detailed than the TV show, but at the same time I found myself missing the classic TV show versions once in a while. I think you very quickly get pulled back into the film though and this style certainly worked really well for the energy effects. They really stood out.

The soundtrack for the film is excellent as you would expect. The Open Your Eyes song is definitely catchy and even contained a brief origin story within it. The final song that the movie ends with was also quite good. During the movie the Mane 6 sang a few times as well. While the songs couldn’t quite match those 2, they were still really good. Mix that in with the danger themes in this film and you can see why it was so good. I would have liked to have seen the My Little Pony theme song, but I suppose that might have been too much to ask for.

One thing that the film does well is keeping up a sense of danger during the movie. We get the opening attack on Equestria which was quite good. A slice of life movie would have been solid as well but throwing in the action to make the film really feel special was a good move. We got mini action scenes throughout the film as well since the heroes were being pursued the whole time. The end of the movie doesn’t really have much action as it isn’t taken seriously anymore, but it’s better than nothing. I basically got what I expected in this department.

Unfortunately not all of the Mane 6 members look all that good. Twilight Sparkle is definitely a lot less impressive in combat than she should be in this film. At least the villains had an orb that can one shot any pony in their possession so that made the whole scene a little better. Twilight should have no problem with the minions though and using more magic would have helped them get to the goal a lot sooner. She also doesn’t act like a very nice pony at times like when she yells at Pinkie Pie. I do actually agree with her decision to steal from the other Ponies though. It’s nothing personal to the kids, but Twilight has a kingdom to save so she can’t let these “allies” waste a valuable resource like that. She’d bring it back afterwards anyway so it’s all good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t do that without getting tied up though. It’s a close match between her and Rainbow Dash as the best hero in this film. I’d probably give it to Rainbow Dash here though.

Rainbow Dash definitely gets her props as she helps a group of pirates learn how to be heroes again. Her sped is also put on full display for most of the film so you get to see just how strong she is. It’s a shame that Rainbow Dash didn’t get to actually fight at all though. Seeing her take down the villains would have definitely been really cool. Applejack fans won’t be thrilled as she doesn’t do much here. Some shade is thrown her way by the other ponies, but she takes it in stride for the most part. She just doesn’t get to do anything for most of the film.

Rarity is also basically a non factor here. She falls for Capper’s tricks a lot easier than the other Ponies and was one of the weaker characters here. She spends the majority of the film complaining, although most of the Mane 6 are guilty of that at one point or another. Twilight Sparkle may have had an easier time without her friends since they slowed her down quite a bit. Rarity’s a nice enough pony, she’s just really out of her element. Unfortunately, Fluttershy was probably the worst pony here. She spends most of the film crying or shaking in fear from the villains. I get that she is the nervous one of the group who is lacking in confidence for the most part, but I thought she was past that by now. To an extent this film can feel like a bit of a reboot in terms of character development t make it accessible to the general audience. Fluttershy simply fell victim to this.

Pinkie Pie looks pretty good. She is definitely a little on the hyper side as she makes jokes during moments that would be tense otherwise and helps to sabotage the heroes at times. At least she has heart though and is always smiling. Pinkie Pie was a good character here and I’d probably give her 3rd out of the Mane 6. It was also neat seeing all of the cameos in the background like Cheese Sandwich and Big Mac. It felt like the movie tried to get all of the supporting characters. I’d say that it’s a shame not seeing the Cutie Mark Crusaders much, but I can’t because I prefer the Mane 6 anyway.

Time for the film original characters. I liked Tempest Shadow quite a lot. She makes for a very cool villain with a neat design. She’s also quite powerful and is portrayed as one of the strongest ponies in the whole series. It would be cool if she were to start appearing in the TV show. At this point, Ponyville should be known as one of the strongest places in all of Equestria. I mean, I won’t say much about her role even if the trailer makes it pretty obvious but regardless I thought she was a cool character from start to finish. Sure, she’s rather naive the whole time, but every character has a flaw of some kind. I’d say that she got past it and is easily the best film character. The rest were rather lackluster to be honest.

We’ve got Grubber, who is the comic relief sidekick. He got in the good one liners which weren’t bad, but then he has to try and explain them which isn’t very funny. There wasn’t really a point to his scenes. The Storm King may be the main villain technically but he’s played off as a comic relief character for the most part. He could have easily won the day once and for all if he was a little smarter. Alas, he wasn’t and he ended up lowering his guard quite a bit. I definitely wouldn’t have minded if Tempest had simply betrayed him.

Capper is a smart cat who knows the ways of the world. The problem is that he’s a blatant ripoff of the main character’s sidekick in Zootopia down to his fast manner of speaking and mannerisms. He’s not a bad character as his only flaw is being generic, but I don’t think we really needed him. There was also Princess Skystar who showed up to learn about the powers of friendship but then missed out on the whole climax. So much for that character eh? Trying to guilt trip the Mane 6 certainly wasn’t very nice. There were also the Pirates but they didn’t do much either.

Now, I know for a film you want to use your newfound budget to make other backdrops and all, but I kind of wished we had stayed in Ponyville for a bigger chunk of the film. I much prefer that to the desert, ocean, or any of the other places we went too. I can’t fault the film for wanting to leave since most of the Pony episodes take place there, but it would have been neat to have seen it a little more. Perhaps next time. While the film original characters didn’t get the best of write ups, they weren’t bad. It’s just that the film may have tried to cram in too many of them into the film. At least they all had a purpose so in the end the Ponies could see how many people they reached in the end. After all, at the end of the day, the Ponies just want to make new friends.

If there’s something the next film could improve on, it’s the action. I want to see the Mane 6 take names. I was even expecting Derpy to jump in and start chopping the villains down to size. It doesn’t have to become a full blown action movie although I’d be down with that, but since the Ponies can fight, it would be nice to see them utilizing their abilities more. At the very least, Rainbow Dash can speed blitz most of these guys. We definitely got robbed of our Twilight Sparkle vs Tempest Shadow match.

Overall, My Little Pony is a film you should check out. It has a good amount of action and adventure within it. Twilight Sparkle is a nice character who always does her best even if the other Ponies don’t help her out all that much. Once she tunes them out and gets to work, nothing can stop her. It’s a shame that my favorite Pony Starlight Glimmer didn’t get to show up and wreck Tempest, but we all know how OP she is so it makes sense. Whether you’re a Pony fan or not, you’ll be able to enjoy the interactions between the characters and get invested in the story. The film never drags on so it’s a fun ride from start to finish.

Overall 8/10

Bambi Review

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It’s time for a timeless classic. Unfortunately, being a classic doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a good move. Bambi deals with one of the classic themes of cinema, death in the family. This theme can be handled pretty well, but mainly with humans. When it comes to animals it is a whole different story. If you’ve been reading my reviews, you’ll know that I always take off points for animal violence. Well, this film has a whole lot of that so you could say that it was doomed from the start. It’s quite tragic, but Bambi simply won’t be going places in the cinema world.

The film starts off with Bambi being born and making a lot of friends among the other animals. They call him Prince Bambi and they are all pretty friendly. The only real obstacle for him is that he has a tough time walking with his really long legs. He keeps on tripping and losing his balance, but Bambi presses on. He goes to a forest to meet his father but then poachers attack and things get sticky. Can Bambi survive or is this the end of the road for him?

I definitely had nothing against the first chunk of the movie. I liked the Rabbit who helped Bambi learn how to hop and use his legs. He may have unleashed a lot of burns but his Mother always called him out on them. Even then the Rabbit would really drag out the response to at least try and save some of his dignity. He was a good character to have around, that’s for sure. I also liked the Owl and his cool facial expressions as he would glare at the little animals while preventing them from eavesdropping on the heroes. He didn’t get to do much, but was still fun.

Unfortunately, Bambi isn’t really a great main character. He panics a lot and is a little too scared of the female Bambi for the most part. It takes him a long while to get used to her and he doesn’t really become a good main character until he learns how to fight and takes on a pack of dogs along with an evil Bambi. Those scenes were good as the hero finally learned to fight and everything, but it took him quite a while. As everyone kept pointing out as we were watching the film, he’s no Rudolph. I still remember Godzilla Meets Bambi the film and I guess I can see why people put those 2 in a fight. It’s not to say that Bambi is a bad character, but he is one of Disney’s worst leads.

Lets also quickly talk about the big bombshell in the film, the animal violence. All right, so you probably know the main strife from the Bambi film as Bambi’s Mom ends up biting the big one. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only scene that comes into play here. We also get scenes of poachers shooting down birds, rabbits, and other animals that are in the way. It’s a pretty brutal array of scenes to be honest and I was wincing the whole time. “Now that I think about it, the writer’s big plan had a lot of holes from the start. Wanna eradicate the animals? Maybe next time don’t make a film in the first place!” Now, I may have slightly borrowed that phrase which is why it may feel out of place, but it works here. If you really feel like you have to add animal violence to tell a story, then it’s clearly not a good story. The same goes for romance, fanservice, excessive violence and language. If you have to force those elements into a story to get the message across, then it’s a message that didn’t deserve to be told in the first place. These scenes just absolutely destroyed the film beyond recognition. The evil Bambi showing up was even a Guilty Crown or Sword Art Online esque moment and I wasn’t exactly expecting to see that in a Disney film. Good thing Bambi was around.

It kind of sours the whole film, but if we ignore that for a minute, the animation isn’t bad. The techniques they used were fairly original as the colors started shifting during Bambi’s big fight and there were a lot of epic zoom ins. The animation has aged pretty well over the years and that is definitely an area where Disney has been consistent through the years. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is rather underwhelming. None of the songs are good and the opening theme has to be one of the weakest. I just can’t think of any good tunes here which is unfortunate. That always makes the film go by a little faster.

To make up for that, Bambi has one thing that most films don’t have, a hype character. Bambi’s Dad gets a lot of hype in the forest and he actually looks pretty good the whole time. The animals can definitely use him since the rest appeared to be doomed the whole time. It’s a pretty sad message for them in the end as the humans continue to gain ground and there really isn’t anything that they can do about it. They are simply outranked and outgunned by these people. The humans never actually get to appear so you just have to focus on the bullets.

As a whole, Bambi just seemed to be a step down from all of the Disney films in just about every category. The characters weren’t very good, the writing wasn’t very on point, the music was lack luster, etc. The animation is really the only aspect where it felt like Disney put in a lot of effort. It got a sequel which I like to think is better than the first, but we’ll see if that actually means a whole lot or not. It’ll probably be a while before I see that one though.

Overall, Bambi is one of those films that you should absolutely avoid at all costs. It may seem like a happy little animal film at first glance, but it sure isn’t. The animal violence just doesn’t stop and it completely overshadows the rest of the film. By the end you’ll be wondering why Disney is always murdering their animals. I fear for the Lion King’s safety. I don’t remember this one having quite as many animal deaths as Bambi, but it has been a while. This film is just not in good taste and I don’t know what they were thinking. Bambi can keep its legacy, I’ll take something a little more intense like All Star Superman any day.

Overall 2/10

The Lego Batman Movie Review

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It’s time to review the recent Lego Batman film that was in theaters a while back. This movie got a lot of hype as one person even told me that it was the greatest comic book movie of all time. Of course, that person didn’t enjoy Man of Steel or Batman V Superman so some credibility may have been lost there. It’s a fun film and has fun going over the top with the Lego visuals. Despite the epic action scenes, some of the jokes don’t work as well as the normal shorts as they are reused and stretched a bit much. It’s a fun film, but one with the typical flaws of turning what could have been a 30 minute Lego short into a full length film.

The film starts off with a pretty intense action scene as Batman reminds the world why he is the top crime fighter around. Joker has amassed an army of villains who obey his every order and he wants them to shut down Gotham City. Batman manages to defeat all of them rather effortlessly but also hurts Joker’s feelings when he admits that Superman is actually his greatest enemy. Joker decides to retaliate by destroying the city and hires some pretty notable figures like King Kong and Sauron to help him. Batman may need some help from Barbara and Robin if he’s going to survive this, but will he ask for help?

I was glad that Batman pointed out all of the tropes that companies use when starting movies. The ominous music and long logos always do seem to be a staple and starting the film out in all black is probably one of the more annoying ones. It shows that the film is trying to win an Oscar instead of trying to make a movie. Batman points all of this out and then gets to work on wrecking everyone. As always, his voice is perfect for the character. He gets Batman’s serious nature across and delivers his lines without sounding like he’s going to laugh.

Batman has looked great in the Lego films and for the most part this one is no exception. He’s as overconfident as ever and is even more of a loner in the Lego films than he is in the main ones. It’s the Batman that we wanted and the one that we deserve. He conquers overwhelming odds and doesn’t learn the teamwork moral until the final 15 minutes so he lasted quite a while. Yeah, Batman was basically on point. The only trouble here was his rapping gig on the side. That just felt a little out of character and was a new twist that I couldn’t get behind. Seriously…lets not bring the singing in. That just doesn’t feel right if you ask me. The songs are bad on purpose…but it doesn’t work.

Keep in mind that I’m just talking about Batman singing. The film had a lot of retro songs that worked fairly well. Remember Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up Never Gonna Let You Down” song? That one makes a cameo and it was brilliant. Batman chose another song instead though. Ironically I couldn’t actually hear the one he chose though because the sound effects were way louder than the movie. I can only imagine how hard it would be to hear the music in the theater with the sound effects bashing away at the walls. I’m pretty cool with that though as they brought the Adam West visual effects back at long last. That was pretty sweet.

The Lego graphics are also on point. It’s still Lego so it falls short of the average animated movie, but I feel like they brought the style to the height of what it can do. The cool Crisis City vibes I was getting from the climax made it that much more intense. The opening action scene was also really fast paced and visually interesting. At times it felt like the film was on 2x speed with how quickly everything was happening. That’s a good thing though as it made Batman’s skills appear to be even more extreme and hype.

Lets talk about some of the aspects where the film didn’t fare as well. It all starts with the Joker. His whole plot about wanting to be Batman’s greatest enemy starts off as annoying and very quickly turns cringe worthy. It ends up overriding his entire character as every single scene with him on screen is about that. The film goes way too far with its obvious parallels here and Batman is ultimately forced to admit that Joker has earned the title. Even if it could have possibly been funny for some, the joke drags on for way too long. It just keeps coming back over and over again well past the point where you just want it to go away. It really hurt the film in my opinion and was the biggest detriment to it in the end. The film should have just kept on focusing on the absurd parts of the film like the opening with the bombs over the city. That’s the film’s forte and it needed to remember that.

I can’t say that Robin was very likable either. He goes from being a big Batman fan who is fairly timid to just rummaging through Batman’s stuff without permission and messing with the guy. Where was the respect? He just ends up getting in the way a lot of the time and while I was glad that it gave us an excuse to hear Batman’s useful life lessons, Robin could have been a better character. Most of the humor with his character didn’t work well either. You know what the problem is? Batman’s the only character here who understands humor. I’d wager that over 90% of the jokes that worked in this film are the ones that Batman used. That’s just a guess off the top of my head, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the cast.

At least Batgirl was pretty good. Once she takes over as Commissioner she begins to take names. She did a good job ob taking down all of Batman’s most dangerous enemies without breaking a sweat. She may have taken all of Batman’s insults and attempts to get her out of the action a little too personally, but at least she could fight. From all of the supporting characters, she was easily the best. Alfred wasn’t bad either, but he spent more time trying to shut Batman down and get in his way than actually helping. Also, am I the only one who thinks that the group was way too ungrateful to Batman after he saved their lived from the Hollywood villains? He could have just not done that and they’d all be broken like the cops that he smashed at the prison.

The Justice League makes a nice little cameo. It’s fun to see them all around and while it may have been a little mean of Superman not to invite Batman to the party…Batman did say that they were worst enemies. I suppose Superman is just trying to live up to the title. I was kind of expecting him to show up at the end, but I suppose he wasn’t needed this time. The climax was already really explosive and intense anyway.

When it all boils down to it, I think the film had a stronger opening than ending. As I mentioned earlier, the first part was really on point with Batman taking names and then Bruce Wayne pointing out how awesome Batman was. Grabbing a glass of water just to dramatically spit it out is a classic Batman thing to do. The second half just got a little confused with all of the extra characters and the whole Joker plot when in reality it should have focused on Batman. I think the problem may have been the length. A lot of the DC Lego films are roughly 70 minutes at this point, but this one was closer to 90 I believe. Maybe they just couldn’t fit in all of the extra time. The plot is fairly basic after all so it could have been done a lot quicker.

That being said, the pacing was pretty good. Something is always happening so it’s not really a lack of ideas. It’s just a lack of focus. Maybe they thought people would get bored if Batman got too much screen time and wanted to include everyone. That didn’t work so well as you might expect. I admire the effort though and I am glad that this got to be in the theater. It’s pretty surreal to see Lego Batman actually get mainstream as people saw it in the theater. Not bad…not bad at all.

Overall, This wasn’t a bad film. It had its good moments and while it struggled a bit, the goods outweighed the bad. The Joker plot may have shed the film a star or 2, but Batman’s strong performance keeps the film on the positive side of the spectrum. If we get a sequel I’d like to see Superman get more of a role and the two characters can duke it out. This is a rare time where I’d like the character development to revert as well so Batman is a solo act again. That being said, since his personality didn’t change, they could also just come up with an excuse to have the other characters just be on vacation or something. I’d recommend checking this film out if you haven’t already. Otherwise, you should check out some of the earlier specials as the action is just as good, but you’ll also see a higher level of witty banter between the characters. The wit is what makes or breaks the Lego films after all and DC seems to have a knack for it.

Overall 6/10

Sengoku Basara: The Last Party Review

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It’s time for another Sengoku Basara adventure. This one’s the big movie so I expected a lot of action out of it. Fortunately the movie obliged. This one feels like more of an anniversary kind of film then a serious plot one although I feel it was gunning for the latter. The whole cast comes back and we get a lot of fights, but like always most of them are draws. This way both characters keep the hype. You know the drill. While it has some of the same issues as season 2 with all the cop outs, it still manages to tick off a lot of the right boxes and I’d end up calling it a great film.

It takes place almost immediately after season 2. Mitsunari wants to avenge his master Hideyoshi since the big boss ended up falling against Date. He challenges Date and overpowers him, but the commander retreats. This leads to a long time skip although we never know how long. Yukimura has now become leader of his clan after his boss “retired.” I put the quotations as it is vague on whether or not Yukimura murdered him or he just completely retired and gave up fighting. I like to hope that it’s the latter since the former is just so random and crazy. You see their sparring session and it does get a little intense, but I do like to think that this wouldn’t happen. On the other hand, it is realistic in a sense as I think this should happen quite frequently with training in comics and anime since it is usually portrayed as being rather lethal. Yukimura gets a letter from Tokugawa along with all of the other commanders. He tells them to join him at the Hotpot celebration so he can give them one last chance to unite peacefully or he’ll take them down hard. The whole cast heads down there and the big party begins!

Right off the bat lets get the usual aspects out of the way. The animation is really solid. All of the characters are solid and various attacks are flashy and colorful as you’d expect. We get a lot of nice visuals with the destruction scenes and Yukimura’s coat looks really good. It was still nostalgic to see him classic one come out during his fight with Date of course, but I can get behind the new look. It reminds me a lot of Naruto’s Sage Mode. The soundtrack is also excellent. We get to hear the classic Devil King theme along with Hideyoshi’s iconic theme. The two of them in one movie is a surefire method of success if you ask me. The rest of the tunes are solid as well and I’d like to give a shout out to the end credit theme. It’s pretty fun and inspiring. A nice upbeat song that would fit well at a party.

The writing and pacing for the film is pretty good. Something is always happening. The film also started off with a nice action scene as Mitsunari attacks Date. If you ask me, a film should always start with a big action scene. It sets the tone and even Pokemon realized that in its original films. We do get some portions of the film without action of course, but the plot is always engaging. You’re always ready for what’s going to happen next. One thing that can worry you is how the villains keep talking about the real party that’s going to start even when there is only around 30 minutes left. You know that this is hyping up something, but will there be enough time to execute it? Final Fantasy Advent Children did something similar with Sephiroth, but while the film was close to being over by then, the fight was incredibly satisfying with a solid outcome. This film’s climax is not quite up to that level.

Okay, lets back it up a bit. One unfortunate part of this film is that more dead characters come back. Remember how Yukimura beat Mori in season 2? Well, he escaped somehow. The Orochimaru look alike from season 1 has also returned. From these hints you may have figured it out by now, but a certain iconic villain returns as well. As Resurrection F showed, it’s always fun to have the most popular villain come back. It is pretty epic to a certain degree. That being said, it feels like this guy was mostly just thrown in here for the shock value. While he fires off a lot of cool explosions and kicks around the supporting characters, we don’t get to see him fight much. His durability is great as he takes everyone’s final smashes and keeps on grinning, but I would have liked a nice fight scene. Something like the fight where Aizen took on all of the Captains. That would have been awesome and I know this movie has the animation to pull it off. It was still a really cool appearance though and this character is my favorite villain, but I would have liked some more screen time. I wasn’t too thrilled with how his plot ended.

Nohime’s plot finally wrapped up as she started getting shadow abilities in the first two seasons. Her abilities are definitely pretty overpowered in this universe as a single hit from her shadow hands results in death. I did like her character development for the most part and at least she finally decided to stop running away when things got difficult. As for the Orochimaru guy….fine, I’ll use his name. Mitsuhide was a little disappointing here. He had a good plan at first and was pretty serious, but then went out in a rather comic relief fashion. He didn’t even put up a fight and was just thrown away. It was a rather odd and sudden way to go. I was hoping Yukimura could have taken him down since he was arguably losing their first round in season 1. This would have been a fun rematch.

The power levels are still a little out of whack here as Mitsunari is able to give Date a good fight as well as just about everyone else. The series needs to stop with the whole “Everyone is tied” nonsense since it’s just not accurate. Characters need to lost their hype. Ah well, it was cool that we finally got to see Date and Yukimura have another fight. The timing was a little odd as Date just cracked and decided that they should fight, but the absurdness of it all is part of what made the fight epic. Ignoring the ending, it was probably one of the best parts of the whole film. It shows that no matter how much time flies by, these two characters ultimately won’t change much. They’re always up for a good fight and especially if it’s against each other. It also brought Yukimura back to the happy fun loving guy that he used to be. He’s back to being in his prime and that was quite the treat to see. Once again his role wasn’t huge and Date had a bigger focus, but it was a vast improvement over the last time.

While Yukimura took the lead again, Date was a great main character as expected. The fact that he was able to put up a good bluff even while losing shows how tough the guy is. I’m not sure I can buy into him losing the fight, but it’s always good to have a villain who is a serious threat. He redeemed himself in the rematch at any rate and Date is definitely a charismatic guy. It was his idea to finish the fight with Yukimura at last so I have to give him a lot of credit for that. Keiji also steps in to have some fun, but unfortunately it is another scene that doesn’t really make sense in context. How is this guy going to possibly stop a strike from these two warriors and remain standing? It’s a little too much hype is all I’m saying.

A bunch of the old supporting characters also come for some posturing and tough talk. Mori and the pirate show up to fight once again, but as always it is dead even between them. The Warrior god of Echigo (Probably how you spell that) appeared very briefly in the beginning as he finally lost to Yukimura’s leader. At least that fight I could respect since it had an actual winner. It’s lightly hinted that the guy died which is rather dark, but I suppose they all have to die at some point right? The show may disagree though. I like to think that he was spared and that Yukimura’s leader just retired, but both thoughts may be rather optimistic.

For the new factions, lets start with Tokugawa. He wants peace and doesn’t use a weapon anymore, but it is hard to take him seriously with that mission. He is right as the wars never stop and everyone is still fighting each other, but such a plan cannot exist as long as any villains remain. Mori still wants to rule and now they also have to worry about Mitsunari. It is nice to have a character who fights with his fists as opposed to with a blade though. While Tokugawa’s mission appears to be futile, it is still a noble one. He is a reasonable character I guess and while he doesn’t bring much to the table, I think he can end up being a good character if used right.

Mitsunari is a whole lot more impressive though. He has some of the best action scenes in the film and his motivation to destroy Date is straight forward and one that I can get behind. Avenging his master makes sense and he isn’t using trickery or anything like that. He just went straight at Date. He did become a complete villain by the end though as he attacked villagers to lure Date out, but that’s mainly because Date was evading battle. Doesn’t change the fact that Mitsunari is evil of course. He’s probably the best villain here. I won’t count the final boss since he doesn’t appear until the very end but if he did then the guy steals the show no questions asked.

There was also a magician who was a little odd. He speaks in riddles a lot of the time and while he hinted that he was going to betray Mitsunari…he decided not to in the end. It was an interesting choice and I guess their bond was too strong to be broken like that, but the guy’s character development never actually went anywhere. I think the film could have definitely done more with him although since he isn’t a close combat fighter I don’t really mind him getting the shaft. A mage fight scene likely wouldn’t be all that interesting.

I may not have gotten to see all the fights that I wanted, but at least I was glued to the screen. The franchise’s hype is its greatest strength as well as its weakness. The former always has the greatest impact even if the latter is present. Seeing the old moments from the show during the prologue just helps you to remember that even further. While there was no time for planning things out like in the shows, the character interactions were still a lot of fun. If we ever did get another full length film like this one, I feel it should be made a little longer so we can really keep those scenes in. One thing I liked a lot in season 2 was the planning and counter planning that each group engaged in. It was pretty fun to follow.

Overall, This was a really fun movie. It still had some issues with not making up its mind for big fights and could be rushed at times, but had enough going for it to be considered a great movie. These issues aren’t as big for a movie as with a show since it’s shorter. Whether the action makes sense or not, it’s still action. As long as the characters are likable and I’m entertained the whole time, then it’s a full success. I can imagine that this would have really been a blast to have seen in theaters. I highly recommend checking this film out. It’s a very enthusiastic movie with all of the characters constantly talking about battle and it’s a movie where you can cheer along as there are many hype moments. I look forward to seeing how season 3 fares and if it can really match the movie.

Overall 8/10

Attack on Titan: No Regrets Review

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It’s time to look at another Attack on Titan OVA. I read the manga version of this one a while back so I basically knew what to expect. I definitely considered it to be one of the better spinoffs and it did a good job of making Levi a good character. The main series disregards that of course as it makes everyone compromised by the end, but that’s why prequels can be cool sometimes. The OVA is divided into two episodes with the first one being really good and the second one pretty bad. The mix makes for an outcome that you’d probably expect from the franchise.

The story starts with a girl named Isabel running from shady fellows who are unnecessarily gritty as always. Levi stops them and the guys retreat. Isabel realizes that learning how to fight would be pretty useful here so she joins the group and becomes one of the team. The other member being Furlan. She gets the hang of things rather quickly. Unfortunately, one of Levi’s comrades is taken to a hospital and held as a hostage so he and his team are forced to join the Survey Corps to murder the commander Erwin to help a corrupt politician escape persecution. Can they accomplish the task before they are eaten by titans?

The first episode is pretty fun. It still gritty in some aspects, but there aren’t any titans running around. It’s just Levi and the others trying to survive the slums. Levi’s a pretty stand up guy who looks out for his comrades and he gets a lot of respect around the place. He’s the kind of heroic main character that you’d expect to find in a Shonen. He goes through with the scheme to get Erwin because if he doesn’t his friend will be in trouble. He’s just a great all around lead and he also knows how to fight. His 3D Vertical maneuvering abilities are second to none.

Furlan is a good second in command. He doesn’t have much character except that he is always ready to help Levi and also stands up against injustice. That’s good enough for me. Finally, Isabel is a chipper young cadet who is eager to help out. Her first scene has her protecting a bird which is a great start and it even gets to live which makes the whole thing even better. The dynamic between the three characters is pretty fun and that probably would have made for a pretty fun show on its own. I had no real complaints with the first episode. The animation was sharp and the soundtrack was good. The ending could have even worked as an ending since it shows how he joins the corps.

The second episode is where it all goes downhill. The first half wasn’t bad as we see the characters excel in the Titan hunting practice. Levi may use an unorthadox grip, but it gets the job done. The other members may not like it, but as long as he gets results they can’t do much about it. They still plan to destroy Erwin, but there aren’t really any openings for them to accomplish this. The guy is like a stone wall that blocks everyone off. Finally, they get their chance on a titan hunt when the rain gets extra thick. Levi goes ahead to take Erwin down, but as he leaves a titan murders all of his friends so he murders it as well. In despair, he decides to follow Erwin’s cause so that his life can now have meaning.

Erwin’s not very sympathetic to the whole situation as the show portrays him as a guy who’s been around the block many times. None of this is as a surprise to him anymore and he’s made of sterner stuff. He’s willing to cross any line if it means defeating the Titan so he’s not really a hero. He just aligns himself on the same side as the main characters. He’s not my kind of character, but he’s certainly someone who’s useful to have on your side. At least he saw through Levi’s plan the whole time so he’s fairly cautious. It makes sense to be suspicious when the characters were caught so easily. I like to think Levi would have defeated Erwin in a fair fight.

What hurts the second episode is naturally how super violent and dark it is. The animation uses a detailed style to try and make the deaths as graphic as possible. You see the spine and body parts as their remains are found. It’s definitely super done and likewise with Levi’s fight against the Titan as he keeps on slashing it over and over to take his rage out on it. I would have preferred the light novel approach where Titans just turn to steam and don’t really bleed. Those were the good ole days.

Levi was still a great character of course as avenging his comrades is the first thing he should do and he did abandon the mission to check on their safety right away. It’s like Spider-Man’s origin story as his choice ultimately decided their fate. He couldn’t do everything, but the overall message of the OVA was good. You can’t regret your choices when you don’t know what outcomes they will bring. Some choices lead to positive outcomes and some don’t. As long as the decision itself was good, then you shouldn’t actually have any regrets. Levi’s reasoning for joining Erwin wasn’t bad either. I definitely think part of it was helping to avoid what happened to his friends to anyone else. Who wouldn’t want to stop the Titans after that?

What makes it more painful for him is that he warned his teammates not to come. Their skills aren’t at the same level as his so it makes sense that it would be dangerous for them. Still, it’s not as if he could have stopped them from coming in the end so what’s done is done. It’s a pretty sad ending to the OVA and I would have preferred the first one, but it shows why Levi is so cold to everyone.

As I mentioned earlier, the graphics are really good. All of the character models are really high quality and the fight scenes are smooth. The Survey Corps battle with Levi squad is definitely the best part of the whole thing. The animation and directing did a good job of showcasing their speed without getting distracted or spinning around in an attempt to look good. Some anime try to do that to be clever, but it’s a cop out. The soundtrack is also great as it grabs a lot of the good themes from the anime and plugs them in. The fun techno theme is always a fun addition and I’ll never forget it from the very first Attack on Titan episode. It was a good way to start the series….for an instant.

Overall, No Regrets had a solid beginning, but a weak ending. It’s a little too dark/gritty/tragic at the end which brings down the score considerably. That’s why Attack on Titan will always be limited since it always goes down when the Titans appear, but a series without Titans would be a completely different show. Still, it definitely has an interesting premise and I’d probably recommend checking it out over the main show. If you like the OVA then you should go ahead and watch it. The intro is included here and some quick exposition so you’ll know what’s happening from the get go. I have another OVA coming up and it has the potential to be the best yet as we return to the main cast. It’s hard to say which ending was more tragic and mean spirited, this one or Ilse’s Notebook. I dare say it would be the latter since Ilse was by herself and pretty much defenseless while at least Isabel and Furlan had each other, but it’s close. Hopefully the next one has a happier ending so it can end the OVA on a solid note.

Overall 4/10