Green Lantern: Beware My Power Review


Green Lantern’s really done well for himself. Getting 4 movies at this point is more than most heroes. Of course the main character does change as Hal was the main character in one of them, one was an anthology, and now this one is for John Stewart. I’d say the films have been solid and this is another good one to add to the pile. There may be some decisions made in the film that I thought were rather spotty but all in all this will fill the bill if you’re looking for a fun story and some fight scenes.

The movie starts off fairly quick as we’re introduced to John Stewart who is trying to lead a quiet life now. He was working with the army a while back and seems to have a little PTSD. Well, the quiet life is over as an alien crashes and as he disintegrates into nothing, gets John his power ring. He will now be the Green Lantern but unfortunately the ring doesn’t exactly come with a manual and it’s hard to get any long explanations out of it. One thing leads to another and Green Lantern finds himself aboard the Watchtower. The Justice League needs his help to find out why John got Hal’s power ring and they’re also going to need to stop a big intergalactic war. Guess Green Lantern won’t have any time to rest here.

So off the bat I do like the animation here. The colors are sharp and we get some solid fight scenes. The character designs are good and this looks like a modern movie all the way through. There were no cutting corners or animation cuts here. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I definitely wouldn’t call it bad either. It just could use a little more flair to stand out I’d say. The movie’s got good pacing as well and never drags on. I’d say the replay value in here is also considerable.

John Stewart makes for a very good Green Lantern. He does get the hang of fighting fairly quick. He may not be thrilled about the role but doesn’t let that stop him from helping the heroes out. They know that they can count on him and that’s the important part. Even when the league, particularly Green Arrow is always throwing shots his way, John doesn’t let it get to him. While the situation is all very grand, it never gets too big for him. I see John being a great Green Lantern for this continuity.

The Justice League itself isn’t too impressive right now so they need a lot of help. Of course the big 3 weren’t around so that’s part of it but without them the league is basically Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and Vixen. Arrow can’t fight a whole lot as seen when he shrugs at Vixen wordlessly asking him to help. Vixen is decent but her animal based abilities are never too impressive and Martian Manhunter is the only real power hitter on the team. Personally I think Green Lantern could take down all 3 of them if he really wanted too. They also didn’t do a good job of talking things out as they jumped right into action. I like to think Superman would have handled things differently here.

Green Arrow’s role is the biggest by far though. I think he talks awful big for not having any special abilities though. I like that they incorporated his friendship with Hal here as that’s mentioned a lot. I guess they’ve already been on a lot of missions by the time this film takes place. Once he gets to known John, Arrow stops being so aggressive but it’s telling that initially he’s more of a jerk.

While not a league member, we get to meet Hawkgirl later on and she’s definitely solid. Hawkgirl is always ready for a fight and is particularly bloodthirsty here. As a soldier she is ready to just destroy anyone who gets in her way, no questions asked. At times this gets in the way of basic strategy so I wonder just how good a soldier she really is. I suppose you can get away with a bit when you’re such a strong fighter though. I’d be cool with Hawkgirl joining the team later on, they could use an extra fighter like her.

Then there is Adam Strange who was a lot of fun to see. The movie takes a lot of queues from his classic comics even down to the laser blast that’s always hitting him. The whole thing is really crazy and I like how much he embraces this. Some characters would be depressed at this point while Strange takes it in stride for the most part. He’s certainly not happy about this but he makes it work.

Now for the parts of the film that were a bit weaker. For starters, I didn’t really care for this version of Sinestro. I can’t go into too much detail on it here without spoilers but he’s not the super confident leader that I’m used to. He has his moments and all but as the film goes on you start to get more nervous. The way it all ends just wasn’t a great look for him. Meanwhile I also thought the film removed too many big lore items considering how new this continuity is. Something happens on Oa that shakes things up and while it’s a bold move, I dunno about it.

Usually you want these guys around for the end game. Technically speaking Oa is always one of the big powerhouses in the universe. It’s not easy to infiltrate or take these guys out and it makes sense since one Green Lantern is already a planetary threat. Throw in a whole planet of them and anyone would have a hard time. The reasoning behind the mystery is something I can get behind but the big issue is that it leads to more power level issues down the road.

I like a good mystery and the film delivers on this but the answers just aren’t super satisfying. The villain here is apparently someone who’s good enough to basically take down a planet and that was before being heavily amped up. After that you should need someone like Superman to stop him. The way the film handles the climax is just on the cheesy side. The power levels were just too wonky to ignore because of how big the gap was. The film really would have needed to change the backstory of what happened to Oa if it wanted us to buy into this.

Also, the film does Hal Jordan dirty. I can’t go into more specifics on this either but it may even be worse than his appearance in Justice League War. (Which made him look really bad) This was a big mistake if you ask me. Hey the series definitely tried its share of risks, that’s for sure, but in the end it felt like they all just ended up backfiring here. The concept of the mystery is sound. A comic book, mystery movie sounds great and I was engaged with what was going on but of course the rule of thumb is always that a mystery is only as good as the resolution. Since the film didn’t really stick the landing, that hurt a bit.

If there’s something I would remove from the film it would be the PTSD subplot for John. I didn’t feel like it actually ended up really going anywhere. I suppose it helped him know not to cross the line at the end but I feel that’s something that could have happened anyway. It’s not like he’s usually a murderer or anything like that. If anything this makes him come closer and the plot just felt a bit random.

Now there are two scenes here where a hero murders a villain and characters get a bit shocked so I thought I would delve into that a bit. It’s well established that heroes should not murder villains. That’s a full stop there. The only times it works, not that it’s acceptable but where the hero won’t get too much backlash is if it’s accidental or a way he could not have predicted. Like Superman’s fighting a villain and his next hit happens to destroy the guy. Well, it’s Superman so that would be national news but you could get it. Or Superman tries to save someone but can’t hold on and the guy falls.

These aren’t cold blooded moments. Well, in this film both murders feel like that to an extent. The first villain dies because he took two leg shots and then a blow to the head. None of the blows even looked lethal so I remember being surprised that he died. The most shocking thing here was probably how the hero reacted but the murder itself just didn’t feel too crazy to me because this is a basic combo that you see people do. Batman’s done way worse and the villain survived. It’s something I’ve given some thought to in that it can often be hard to fight a villain and not destroy them by mistake. All the time you see heroes going all out and the villain keeps dodging blows that could possibly have been fatal. I’ll call it the Danger Room syndrome where everything works out for the best but it very well couldn’t have.

The second one is more of a full murder as the hero shoots the villain but was about to be murdered himself. So again…perhaps surprising to the rest of the heroes but it was a do or die moment so it didn’t feel too egregious. I’d make the case that neither murder was particularly cold blooded here. It did make for an interesting subplot to watch out for but it makes one twist a little too obvious so it felt like the film tipped its hand early. I guess the alternative would be not having any hints though so I totally see why it was played this way.

There’s not a whole lot more I can say about the plot since this is a mystery so the less you know the better. I can say that it’s an enjoyable ride all the way through though. Because the film is in a continuity, some of the decisions here will unfortunately affect future installments but be that as it may, there are still countless directions the films can go from here and I’ll be interested to see how it all pans out. This series has really been off to a fun start so far.

Overall, You’ll definitely want to check this film out. Technically speaking you don’t have to watch any of the other titles in this continuity to know what’s going on. As it is there appears to have been a massive time skip so either way everyone is going into this setting fairly fresh. This will likely be a very important film in the series though because presumably John Stewart will be appearing with the League in future installments so you don’t want to miss the origin. Plus, why miss out on quality fights and animation right?

Overall 7/10

Dr. Stone Special: Ryusui Review


As the wait for season 3 continues, it was time to check out the quick special for Ryusui. I’ve been looking forward to seeing that guy show up for quite a while now so it was neat to see him in the mix here. It’s a fun special all around and should be nostalgic for Dr. Stone viewers. You get some more adventure here and a solid amount of plot development so you will absolutely want to watch this before you officially check out season 3. Unless they decide to readapt this part I suppose.

The special starts with Senku and friends realizing that they are going to need a good ship captain for the voyages ahead. They’ll be dealing with some rough waters with a ship that isn’t ideal so not just anybody can pilot it. Fortunately there is but one man who can get them safely across any storm no matter how turbulent. That man is Ryusui, the pirate captain of legend! The downside is that this guy is rather egotistical and a huge fan of capitalism. He’ll bring back the currency system and could even take over the world. With another top notch mind around, Senku will have to be extra careful how they handle this guy. One wrong move and it could be the end for the kingdom of science.

The special’s a little under an hour so it’s a good way to fully introduce him into the mix. The characters prepare to build their first boat and before that they even build a blimp so they can see what the terrain is like. At that point is when Ryusui really gets to prove himself although Chrome looks really good as well. You definitely can’t count that kid out. He even has a little rivalry going with Ryusui since they are both explorers. Ryusui just focuses on the oceans while Chrome is a land guy. Immediately you can see how Ryusui is a good addition both for his skills and then also for the dynamic.

With the whole blimp scare near the end, the special does a good job of having a little danger in the mix while also being fairly low key. Ryusui’s introduction arc is actually perfect for a TV special like this because it has a beginning, middle, and end structure. I don’t think it would have been as easy for other points in the series to be used like this without some big cliffhangers. This way the story wraps up perfectly.

Gen is also useful for a change. One issue I always had with him is it felt like his skills as a mentalist never worked. The villains would always see through it or tell him not to talk so they wouldn’t get confused. That doesn’t happen here and aside from Senku, Gen successfully tricks the entire cast. It may be a small thing but I thought it was important because that’s Gen’s whole angle so you do want him to succeed at some point. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a point to keeping him around.

In general it was a good time for the supporting cast to shine as we saw Yuzuriha get to work on the sewing. She also showed a lot of other characters how to do this and before long it was a full community effort. Even Magma got to show off his boat skills even if he wasn’t the top ranking guy around. Everyone got to pitch in and help out which is a nice way to built unity within the kingdom. They have to savor this now too as not everyone will get a big role in the next arc. The series is finally at the place where the hero size is just big enough where you can’t bring everyone all of the time.

If Senku’s team had died on the blimp that definitely would have been a sad way to go out. Like you survived all kinds of threats and tough situations only to die like this? Yeah there couldn’t be much more disappointing news than that. In a way you could say that going on the blimp was an incredible risk that they all took. Personally I’ve never been tempted to go on a blimp myself for that reason. I always felt like it just wasn’t as secure as the others.


Overall, This was a fun special. At the end of the day this special gives you a chance to see all of the characters again and that’s always a good thing. It’s a pleasant little adventure. I’m almost a little surprised we didn’t get some foreshadowing for a villain showing up but maybe that would be going too far ahead. Ryusui is immediately a likable character and adds a lot of fun to the series. Senku and friends should definitely be real glad to have him around and of course now you want to see what Tsukasa says when he gets up since he was against all of these profit schemes right from the start. He may have a big “I told you so” coming to Senku. Still, Senku made the right choice here because as he said, skills have to trump personality right now. You need the best of the best to survive in the stone era. It’s worked so far so why change approaches now? This may be a special but it’s fairly important to the rest of the story so I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Review


Dragon Ball has finally returned with a new movie! You’d think a franchise this big would always have something ongoing but Toei likes to leave money on the table I suppose. It’s always good to see the movie getting a big theatrical release like this and ultimately it ends up being a great DBS movie as you’d expect. You get a lot of good action and power ups which is what you always want to see here and there’s a good amount of replay value to be had.

The movie starts off with Magenta deciding that it’s time to revive the Red Ribbon army and in order to do this he is going to recruit Gero’s grandson, Dr. Hedo. This guy is supposed to be even smarter than Gero so if Gero could build Androids that are stronger than Legendary Super Saiyans, perhaps this guy could build some that surpass the gods. Goku and Vegeta are busy training off planet so when Piccolo finds out about this, he realizes that Gohan may be their last shot. He wouldn’t be Piccolo’s first choice, but there’s nobody else left.

There’s definitely a lot to talk about here as with any Dragon Ball film so lets dive right in. First off would be the animation as it was super controversial that they decided to go with CGI instead of hand drawn. Directly, hand drawn will always beat CGI so the downside of the switch is that the classic Dragon Ball films from around 20+ years ago look better visually than this one. It just can’t keep up and the movie shows us some hand drawn scenes in the opening credits which I thought was a mistake. It looked amazing of course but that was the problem. When the film shifts into CG, it was such a downgrade I thought it was going to show someone playing a video game for a moment there.

As the film goes on, you get used to the CGI so it doesn’t stand out so much and it’s good in its own right, just on a different league. I always compare CGI to the 2nd best dish at a restaurant. It’s still very good, perhaps you could even say great, but you’ll never intentionally choose it. So while this is strictly speaking a downgrade from the traditional animation and I hope they go back to hand drawn for the next one, I wouldn’t say that the CGI is bad. It’s still cool seeing all of the fights and it has a very colorful artstyle.

The fights are really good as always and it is like playing through a video game. While the movie ultimately ends up devolving into the giant villain climax as most anime films seem to, the early fight scenes have a lot of great hand to hand. The best fight was probably Gohan vs Gamma 1. Hard to top that one in terms of movement and overall hype. Some other characters get to jump in for the final battle though which was nice to see. Those were effective cameos.

The soundtrack is weaker than the last films but I would say it was still good for the most part. My only issue is it felt like the themes never had a climax to them. Like it was a good beat and then it would just end before getting to the next level. In general the battle themes were fast and helped make the battles epic though. I liked the theme for when Goku fought Vegeta. So until it ends and you realize the song didn’t climax, it definitely still fits the bill. I also really liked the themes during the first chunk of the film. Mainly the themes for the Red Ribbon army meetups and discussions. It had a very quirky vibe to it that worked.

Now I’d say the film realized that without Goku and Vegeta playing a big role it wasn’t going to come close to matching the last films in hype or scale so instead it focuses more on having a lot of humor and I’d say that was a wise approach. Try winning with charm and style over action since you’re using CG anyway. I’d say it works well. Pan and Piccolo have a fun dynamic going on here and she’s already getting the hang of using her abilities. Saying she has more potential than Gohan sounds super hyperbolic but in sports they try saying that about everyone so it’s probably just a good coaching technique. Convince yourself of it and then you’ll really have fun training your student.

I liked the oreo gimmick for Dr. Hedo and how he was always eating that. The way the film handles the Pan kidnapping was also nice, I thought that was the absolute best way to handle all of this. I’d have a harder time buying her actually being taken in by the random humans and if it turned into a fight then that would really make it impossible to fool anyone into thinking the Red Ribbon army were good guys. So this way it all worked out nicely.

The film’s pacing is really good. It all feels very quick as you’re watching which is why it would be easy to rewatch at any point. There’s never a long gap without something happening whether it be an action scene or a fun easter egg/throwback moment. The film’s just got fun vibes that make it a nice nostalgic adventure. It’s like a lost episode/meanwhile kind of plot. I know I’ve seen quite a few people like the idea of 2 different timelines at this point, one for the manga and one from the show but personally I hope they’re all mixed so I would just put this one right after the Moro arc. I’d say that would still work out quite nicely and in a way I wouldn’t mind if the Super sequel show re-adapts the movie similar to how the first two were.

Having Piccolo be the main character was a bold choice. I’m sure even his fans wouldn’t have predicted that so that was good for him. We get to see why he’s the strategic leader of the team. Yes, Gohan has lost that spot. Piccolo does all the hard work in finding out the enemy plans and making moves on his own. He fights hard and never gives up, definitely the kind of main character you want to have here.

Unfortunately for Gohan fans I’d say he looks really bad here. He stopped training yet again? Really….that’s just an awful look. Particularly since the Tournament of Power was supposed to have reignited his fire to train. I don’t see why he slacked off so hard here and even complained about the old costume being heavy. I’d say it gets even worse when he is struggling hard with opponents that I wouldn’t say are extremely tough when he thinks Pan is in danger. The rage boost should have gotten him through that and since it didn’t, that means he got extremely weakened through the years. That’s not a good look at all. Even by the end during his big moment I would say he didn’t look great because he comes close to losing control again. He’s going to need to work on balancing things out.

Pan looks great of course. She’s learning quickly and is eager to get strong. She’ll be a fine addition to the Saiyan fighters in a few years and I look forward to seeing her go Super Saiyan. Trunks gets a small role but he’s always fun to have around. I’m not really much of a Goten fan in comparison but we’ll see what he can do. Android 18 and Krillin get to show up as well and have their moments as well as a few other characters. Dragon Ball’s always had a fun cast which works out well here and Bulma always has all of the gadgets ready. If not for her having the Dragon Balls things could have been tricky.

Now to the villains, Magenta is a fun enough character. He’s one of those rich CEO types who has a few tricks up his sleeve but mainly likes to call the shots. I thought he was good in this role and I liked how smug he was all the time. Then you have his assistant Carmine who likes to show off in his videos. The guy is more bark than bite but his tactics and planning are actually the best from the 3 villains. Finally you have Dr. Hedo whose genius is good. He definitely likes doing his own thing and while he could have handled some situations better, he has the situation under control for most of the movie which is good.

Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 got fairly big but I wouldn’t say I liked them much yet. Basically they’re the kind of guys who listen to orders no matter what even if they don’t make sense. You need to have more free will than that especially if you consider yourself to be a hero. So I was kind of shaking my head at them the whole time. It’s great that they meant well and by the end they look better, but it’ll take another appearance to really go higher.

Before we get into spoiler territory, I will say as a last thought that one of the big issues here is that a lot of the decisions in the film were rather confusing. They weren’t necessarily bad ones, but they were head scratchers that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. For example, why show Goku and Vegeta early on and imply as a result that they were going to show up with Broly later on. The way the film is set up, you expect them to appear in the climax similar to Resurrection of F when they teleport in. Particularly since their plot gets quite a few scenes but ultimately it feels like that plot didn’t matter. You could remove it entirely and nothing would change similar to the random 5 second cutaway to Bulma finding the radar. The scenes are fluff.

Then the excuse for keeping Android 17 and Android 18 out of the fight for most of the movie was weak. Dr. Hedo may know their weaknesses? Who cares tho. They’re strong enough to take care of themselves and 17 was able to train with the animals until he was able to take on Jiren with the others. They could have used him. Likewise, call in Gotenks and friends right from the start. There was no reason to lay back and wait for everything to go on, just take the fight to the Red Ribbon army. Nobody should be scared of the 2 Gamma. I’d also argue that fighters around the world should have felt when Piccolo’s energy went low and came in to help him. Maybe Gohan can’t sense energy well anymore but the others sure can. Okay now it’s time for spoiler territory so skip the next _ paragraphs if you haven’t seen the film yet.

First off we’re going to talk about the final boss, Cell Max. This was the biggest missed opportunity in the movie by far. Why use the second design which is almost universally known as the worst? Then he’s a mindless monster here and he’s huge. That’s a really bad combo of 3 elements if you ask me. It’s almost like they were trying to recreate elements of Bio Broly by making him like this which is not what you want to do. I mean there are a lot of similarities with character designs and such that people pointed out months prior to the film but that should just be an Easter Egg.

Now it does make sense that Cell would return. A lot of us suspected that immediately when we saw that Gohan would be a focus here and it would keep the films going in bringing all of the old villains back. So that makes the hit extra hard since everyone wanted Perfect Cell in here. This Cell is barely even a character so much as an obstacle so that was sad. What the film could have used was a second climax where he transforms into Perfect Cell and that’s when Goku and Vegeta arrive. That’s definitely how I would have done it without a doubt. Fights against giant creatures like this just aren’t as interesting.

Then we come to the power levels. That’s always going to be an issue with Dragon Ball at this point but it’s always so big that you just have to mention it. In DBZ the biggest moment for this was always the Androids because there’s no way an old man could have built something to beat Super Saiyan. It’s not happening but by and large that was always the biggest moment in DBZ for power level issues. Super is when things started to really go off the rails which made sense as the levels got bigger.

So first off, a big issue is Gohan vs Gamma 1. They’re fighting rather equal in Super Saiyan, then Gohan takes a slight edge in SSJ2. Then…Gohan goes mystic and it’s back to being an equal battle. That makes no sense no matter what multiplier you use for mystic. Generally it should be around a X4-X5 as it’s considered to be better than SSJ3 for the most part. Instead it’s as if he didn’t get stronger at all. It makes his SSJ Blanco form harder to scale too. (I do like how they’re finally taking inspiration from Dragon Ball AF with this form. It’s a really good design and feels like we finally got Super Saiyan 5) It’s still great that we got new forms though. If we do really get a TOP 2 or a war against the gods, Gohan and Piccolo should now be able to contribute a little to the fight. Gohan might even be able to contribute a lot depending on how high his new form scales. Right now I feel like it should be about as good as Evolved Blue or Blue Kaio-Ken but I’m not ready to put it on the Ultra levels yet.

At the end Gohan mentions how Goku and Vegeta would have had a hard time here and that’s how you realize how delusional he is at this point. They would have mopped the floor with Cell Max so that means Gohan thinks that he’s actually on their level right now. Also, why didn’t Cell Max’s explosion destroy the planet? Normal Cell’s would have which is why Goku warped him away and this Cell should literally be millions of times stronger? That was a bit odd. In general the power levels don’t really work here at all but that’s not the kind of thing that hurts a film’s score or anything. It’s expected at this point. I did like how Vegeta beat Goku again though. He maintains his undefeated streak as he beat him during the Buu arc, when they first fought, and then again now. End spoilers

Overall, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is a great movie. I would also call it the movie of missed opportunities and odd decisions though. Not having Goku and Vegeta play some kind of prime role here was a mistake I would say. You have to either throw them a fight or just write them out. For the other characters I think you could write better excuses for not having them get involved as well. At the end of the day though we get a lot of good fights and the CG works well enough. It’s a fun film with a lot of light hearted moments as well. I wouldn’t say the stakes ever get all that high and you don’t feel like the heroes are going to go down but that ties in with this being more like a side adventure. It’s about setting the characters up for the future and giving you some more time with them as opposed to being the next Broly battle. I’m ready to see what’s in store for Gohan next so hopefully they hurry with the next sequel.

Overall 8/10

The Adventures of Tintin Review


I saw this movie a little while back so the review’s been in the works for a while. I remember reading a whole lot of the Tintin comics back in the day. They were a lot of fun and you could always bet that you would be having a good time there. The film takes things in a bit of a different direction than what I was used to. I think a straight adaption from the comics would have ended up making it better but ultimately this was still a pretty good film. I’d say that the risks it took did pay off by and large.

The movie starts out with Tintin buying a toy ship for a fairly cheap price but immediately afterwards he is heavily encouraged to sell it by some shady characters. They are offering a lot of money but Tintin is a reporter who is always looking for a good scoop and so you can bet that he definitely won’t be selling it now. The decision is taken out of his hands though as he is kidnapped shortly and brought aboard a ship led by Sakharine who wants some secret hidden within the toy ships for some devious purpose. Tintin’s only chance at getting out ahead of this guy is Captain Haddock whose ancestors were actually on the ship. The trouble is that the captain is a big drunk at this point who has none of his predecessors bravery.

Right off the bat the film does do a good job of getting that classic adventure feel across. The film moves quickly and the heroes do go to various locations so it’s not like they’re stuck in any one place. They have to keep moving at all times and each area is very different which works out well. There are some real action scenes here too as Tintin uses a gun and Haddock actually lands some punches on the opponent. There was more action than I was expecting and I definitely say that as a good thing.

Tintin wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the villains in the comics after all. The animation style here is quite different and while a classic style that looked more like the comics would have been better, I would still say this one was good. It’s really detailed but doesn’t go too far into looking like a live action film or anything like that. The style won’t be for everyone though which is why I would call this a fairly big risk but one that worked out well enough. This is a film that will still look very distinct 5-10 years from now.

Now, one big mistake that the film did make was in wrecking Haddock. He may get drunk a lot but he’s never been the type of character to be a coward and that’s where the film messed up big time. He whines a lot during the first half, is scared of everything and constantly makes excuses. He felt like Haddock in name only and that was disappointing because I consider him to be the best character in the series ordinarily. I wasn’t a fan of his here. Sure, he does man up by the very end of the film but it’s too little too late to save him here. For a sequel at least it seems like he would do good.

It’s not a good way to introduce people to him though and even as an origin story it just feels really messy. This was not the right approach if you ask me. Tintin is at least in character even if he gets beat up a lot. He does tend to get saved by his dog Snowy a lot and loses a bunch of fights but at least he also has a lot of high points to make up for that. Downing a plane with a single bullet was really solid for example and he is brave in the face of danger. You can see why he was considered as an ace reporter.

Snowy is definitely the MVP here with how much he contributed against the villains. The movie did a good job of showing their solid bond here and Snowy got his due respect which was really good. The dynamic between the 3 characters is what you always want to see in a Tintin film and that’s certainly intact.

As for the villain Sakharine, well he’s more on the generic side. He’s okay but you won’t remember him all that much and I would say that his motivations are on the weaker side. Once we find out why he’s doing all of this, I wouldn’t say it helps him or anything. If anything he probably just needs to let go of the past and just do his own thing.

Then there’s a subplot with Thomson and Thompson but it is really filler. It doesn’t tie into the main plot for just about the whole movie and it’s just there for some humor. It’s a bit on the forced side though so that would be the weakest part of the movie. In general I wouldn’t say that it ever gets downright boring or anything like that but you will have a hard time figuring out why they even decided to put that in. It just doesn’t add much to anything. Surely there could have been a way to add the Thompson twins to the main plot instead.

It’s fair to say that a sequel looks unlikely at this point but I would definitely be on board with it. The action/fight scenes alone would have me interested in a sequel. Beyond that I’m sure the writing and core adventure would be good like in this film. We could probably drop the Assassin’s Creed style mind meld where Haddock can look into the past though. It’s not a bad idea in theory but I want Haddock to really be focused on the present and steal the show the way he should have stolen this one.

Overall, The Adventures of Tintin is a pretty solid film. To an extent you can call it a basic action/adventure film. There isn’t any area where is really excels to a high degree but it doesn’t make many mistakes and keeps you engaged the whole time. The animation does really stand out so as long as you like it then that will be a nice positive as well. We can always use more adventure films and so I would certainly be able to recommend this to anyone. It’s a well balanced movie.

Overall 7/10

Belle Review


It’s always nice to have an anime movie to watch. Typically I watch all of the big Shonen type movies but then you’ve got the emotional types like this one which are still fun too. They may not compete visually or in an action sense with the others but you can see how they are used to beat the classics like how this one beats Beauty and the Beast by improving upon the core story.

The story starts by introducing us to Suzu who used to like singing and having a good time but then she was traumatized when her mother died after trying to save a kid who was drowning. It didn’t help that people criticized her mother for doing this and playing hero (Which came across as a little forced tbh since the kid was saved in the end) so Suzu fell further into despair. She pretty much cut off ties to everyone and even has a hard time talking to her father or her childhood friend Shinobu. One day she discovers an app that lets you into a virtual world. It’s the Metaverse if that app/concept was actually a lot more interesting.

Now she has an alter ego named Belle and can sing to her heart’s content there. Suzu uses this as a complete escape from the real world and wouldn’t mind staying there forever. Still, even this area has its share of issues. There is a mysterious user named the Beast who goes around causing a lot of mayhem and interrupting Suzu’s contest. She senses that there is more to him than the chaos but at the same time she doesn’t know what to do about it. What can she do? Meanwhile the “Justice League” type police officers want to put the Beast down for good. If Suzu isn’t quick on deciding what to do, she could lose everything.

The idea of retreating into a virtual world is certainly a classic one and always an interesting idea. Who wouldn’t want to be trapped in a world like Sword Art Online right? The idea of a fresh take on life has spawned tons of stories and if you ask people IRL, there are many who would love the chance to do this and others who of course would not want to. For me personally, it sounds pretty awesome but if it’s an action game, not something like the world in Belle because it’s still just like real life.

For Suzu it works because she can actually sing here and she’s really good at it too. That alone makes the world worth it and of course flying and stuff is fun too. The visuals in the world are interesting and the CG’s not bad. It reminds you of the old days of the computer so it’s a bit of a nostalgic boost. The animation for the human scenes is good too but a little below average next to what you’d see nowadays. It’s what I call the mainstream anime movie effect where it’s aimed more at a general audience so the colors aren’t as bright and splashy.

Turn on the TV to almost any modern anime right now and it’s going to look a lot better which is a bit ironic since this is a movie. Still, you don’t need to compare this to the rest and on its own the animation is still good. There isn’t a lot of action here anyway but the combos with the Beast in the cyberworld are fun. I wouldn’t mind if the fights got extended just a bit.

At its core this is more of an emotional story though and it succeeds at that. I would say it’s suitably sad without trying too hard or overstaying its welcome. Towards the end of the story we even get a bit of a dark twist. You’ll probably have figured out what’s going on during an early scene when the Beast’s wounds are glowing but if not, the film makes sure not to make it too obvious. I didn’t even realize the symbols on the Beast’s back were wounds until they said it. Either way it’s pretty intense when it happens and works for the story but I’m glad it doesn’t go any further than the quick scene or two. This is the right amount of getting you to understand the stakes without just making the whole thing really edgy.

I’m thinking it was a stylistic choice to not make it obvious as even one guy who drew artwork of injuries still looked like flowers to me. It’s a good choice from an animation level I’d say since it lets the movie be more creative. The soundtrack isn’t too memorable for the most part but the lyrical songs are fun. There’s always a lot of fun special effects during the songs as well and in particular I liked the large venue that was set up for the main song. That place was absolutely massive and is definitely the kind of place you want to be when giving a performance.

As for Suzu as a main character, I wouldn’t say that she was great. Of course you can see what character arc the movie is going for but she’s just a little too timid the whole time. Suzu doesn’t really act upon her feelings and when she does towards the end, it’s not always with a great plan. The climax could have had her take an extra 2 seconds to bring someone along and that would have been a really good idea. Of course it’s also bad on the other characters for not just jumping in.

This is the kind of story where Suzu would certainly be a lot better in a sequel, but I doubt we’ll be getting one. Her best friend Hiroka was really good though. She would sometimes badmouth other characters without meeting them which is a bit petty but at least she always had Suzu’s back. She was around to support her at all times and also did a lot of the legwork in setting up the alter ego. Something tells me Suzu would have been found out right away without someone like Hiroka to cover her tracks. I appreciate that Suzu wasn’t totally on her own here. I mean she had the drama club members as well but you want someone your own age to talk too. So in this way Suzu wasn’t completely alone.

I also liked Kamishin, the sports guy who is really serious about competing. His romance scenes can be a little cringe but as a character he always means well. He works well as the subtle comic relief here and a little break from the main plot. Ruka was also good and didn’t fall into the trap of being the mean popular girl. Instead she is someone who excels but doesn’t have to play dirty or take the low road. I appreciated that since it would have just been too cliché if she was a villain for some reason. As a supporting character she was good.

Then we have Shinobu who was the best from the main characters. He did his best to protect Suzu from behind the scenes and wanted to even be more open about it but she was always running away. While the other characters hesitate on how to advise Suzu, he just comes out with the right answer right away. Ultimately there wasn’t a whole lot he could do at many points of the film with how he was shut out from the context but he never gave up. His detective skills were also on point as he figured some things out right away with no real help.

Ultimately I would say that the romance in this film is definitely more on the weak side though. Focusing more on Suzu’s quest to regain her confidence would be the better play because there just isn’t a whole lot of time for romance. It’s there for some quick moments but doesn’t really enhance the film in any way. At least for me I would have cut it out here and kept the characters as just friends.

Now for the Beast, he was an interesting character and had a very memorable first appearance. His stats are definitely very impressive and when you look at his scenes within the context of the cyber world, it’s easy to see why he was always running off and shaking away Belle’s embraces. Starting a romance in an online game when you aren’t sure who the other person is can be a bit risky and she was a bit clingy from the start. You don’t have many scenes of them just standing around and talking.

In general, I think that’s one thing the film could have used some more of. Belle and Beast actually talking in the cyber world. They barely ever have time to interact beyond quick moments here and there. I think a quick talk could have done well to help set up the scenes in the climax and add some more context that both characters could use. Like memorable lines that would help piece things together later on. Either way the Beast is very solid though and he has very valid reasons for acting the way that he does.

He is one of the better characters here. The so called heroes of the cyberworld look pretty bad though. They’re super unreasonable the whole time and jump to threats right away. I understand going after the Beast because he does act like a villain at times but getting innocent civilians involved like Belle too? That’s where they cross the line and as the film goes on they really just seem to be in it for the clout instead of justice.

At least they gave us good action scenes which is always appreciated. They aren’t long but they’re fun to look at. The film’s humor scenes don’t tend to land as they get dragged out a little too much. I would say a weakness the film has is partially to do with pacing where some scenes go on too long. It tends to have a lingering effect where every moment is just a few beats too long. Sometimes a lot of beats like with Kamishin running out of the train station and being dragged back in by Suzu multiple times. Well, the film definitely goes for a lot of different vibes and so maybe they weren’t sure how long to linger on each moment. One plot I probably would have gotten rid of though was the friction between Suzu and her father. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me based on the origin story. If anything I would think that would cause Suzu and him to get even closer. At the very least, I don’t see how it would make her be unable to even have a conversation with him and avoid everyone. It just felt rather random and didn’t help Suzu’s character any.

As a final note, I definitely liked the mystery angle that was going on for a while. Basically Suzu and Hiroka were trying to figure out who the Beast’s secret identity was. So we get to meet various characters who have some connection to him and you have to decide who the Beast is. I wouldn’t say it would be very easy to guess at all but I do think the film gives enough material where you could have a go at it. I can’t say that I guessed myself though or at least even got the general area of which character it was. At least one of the suspects actually turned out to be a pretty solid guy. I can’t really say the same for the other suspects though.

Overall, Belle is a pretty good movie. There are some things that don’t work so well like the romance, some neighbors talking bad about Suzu’s mom sacrificing her life to save a child, and the general climax doesn’t make any rational sense. The film could have ended very badly if things went as it realistically would. The positives outweigh the negatives though with a generally solid script, good plot, and some fun songs. You can see how the whole thing can be improved without a doubt but it’s ultimately still a movie with a good amount of replay value that you could check out again. I’d recommend giving it a watch.

Overall 7/10

Justice Society: World War II Review


The Justice Society is a group that has always been overshadowed by the Justice League in the past. They’re a group with a lot of heart but typically can’t keep up in the power levels department. Plus, they tend to only be around in the past so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to show them off. Well, they finally got their own film and it’s a pretty good one. I feel like the setting holds the film back a bit and I never quite warmed up to the group but in the end you will have a good time with this one.

The movie starts off with the Justice Society group getting formed in the past while the Flash helps Superman fight off Brainiac in the present. Superman’s having a tough time for once as Brainiac is kicking him around and nearly finishes the job before the Flash steps in. However, the Flash was so eager to help that he accidentally ended up going a little too fast and warps to the past. The Society needs some help to fight off the Nazi’s so Flash is eager to support but will they still stand a chance once the Atlanteans get involved?

Now I know what you’re thinking. The Flash can whoop all the villains in an instant and then run home right? Well, to make sure that didn’t happen, the film has Flash lose most of his speed. The idea here is that since there are now 2 Flashes at once, the Speed Force can’t quite handle it and so they’re both slower since they’re tapping into the Speed Force. I have to assume that the Force gets stronger later on since you have guys like Bart and Wally using the Speed Force at the same time as Barry. So it might feel a bit convenient but I can respect wanting to keep the power levels from being too crazy.

Even with that you might not buy into the Flash having a tough time with most of these situations and that’s valid. Part of the issue with having the film be set during World War II is that there aren’t many real threats to go up against the group. It’s a little harder to throw in tension when you’ve got superheroes fighting off random guys with guns. It’s naturally satisfying to see the Nazi’s get wrecked of course but by the same token you won’t feel very nervous for the heroes even when the stakes are high. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather serious about how not everyone will make it out of this one.

There’s also a really good twist the film has later on which completely helps to redefine what’s happening. I thought that was excellent and it allowed the film to really effectively use the setting. You could probably even take it farther but it may run the risk of the Justice Society being overshadowed in their own film so that could have been risky. As it was, adding Aquaman and his right hand man was a really good idea here because now Wonder woman had someone to fight. Obviously she is really the power hitter of the group and so you need someone who can actually fight her.

Aquaman vs Wonder Woman is absolutely the highlight of the film. Their fight has a lot of back and forth to it and can be surprisingly long. It’s not a one and done kind of deal which is great. Aquaman seemed to have the slight edge in their fights but it was fairly even so it would take him a while to win. Personally I’d consider Wonder Woman to be stronger in most continuities but she always did seem weaker in the older eras so I suppose I can see how Aquaman would win here.

Either way having super powered action is definitely the way to go. The present fight against Brainiac was also fun. Honestly it’s almost too good since that makes for a much more engaging story than what’s actually happening in the war. You already know most of the main storybeats of World War II after all even if they’re adding extra super villains and threats around. In the present it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s happening. That’s enough on the setting though.

For the animation, it’s using the style that the last few DC films have so it is definitely a keeper for this continuity. While it’s definitely a lot weaker than the more traditional DC films like Superman Doomsday and all the New 52 items, the fight scenes look good. While the colors may all be faded out in that New Frontier/Superfriends kind of look, the choreography shows up. Aquaman was swinging his staff around like he was Thor using Mjolnir. The battles are fast paced and definitely work well.

The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though as I couldn’t recall any main themes. The character designs are all on point with the exception of Wonder Woman. She reminded me of Rocketman for some reason with how her head was extremely sharp and seemed like the crown was on so tight that the whole shape changed. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you start the film. I never really got used to it and hopefully her appearances in the modern era wouldn’t have that issue. It was the only design that didn’t quite seem right.

As for the characters, it was a solid cast overall. Barry felt a bit more like Wally with how he was joking around the whole film. Barry’s personality does change a whole lot based on what continuity you’re in though so I wouldn’t say it’s out of character but a little different from the Barry I’m used to. He tends to sandbag in the fights a whole lot but does good in clutch situations. Superman naturally looks great in the present even if he still tends to make some rookie mistakes. In the past their version of Superman’s definitely not as good though. Definitely not someone who will have your back.

Then we have the Justice Society and their gang seems rather wound up as they yell a lot and are quick to move against Flash. I thought they were completely unreasonable during the first meetup and it took them a while to really get going. Surprisingly Hawkman seems to be the most levelheaded member of the group. He tries to get everyone to work together and also talks them through the tough moments. It’s definitely one of his best animated portrayals yet.

Wonder Woman has fun with the group and seems like a decent leader. She makes some questionable decisions (Leaving Black Canary to guard the Flash…really? but is ultimately the reason the group is still alive as she can deal with the threats that nobody else can. Hour Man still makes for an interesting hero with how his powers work but man is it a huge weakness. He just can’t stay active for very long and his powers are constantly running out as a result of that. Jay is the Flash from this team and I thought he was good. He seems to have not practiced with his powers as much as Barry so he doesn’t know how to do a lot of things but he also comes through with one trick that Barry didn’t know so that helps to even it out. He’s a nice enough guy and does tend to support Barry.

Black Canary gets a rather big role here as she gets some character development. She can be rather rude to Flash without provocation and we learn why that is later on. Her power is certainly very helpful that’s for sure. Finally there’s Steve Trevor who may not really be a member of the group but he’s always around to help and provide cover fire. You have to give him credit for jumping into all of these dangerous situations without hesitation. Takes a lot of guts to do that and he is definitely a great role model for all the heroes.

For the villains, Aquaman’s right hand man wasn’t particularly interesting. Mind control is definitely handy for many reasons but as a villain he barely had any real personality. He’s the kind of guy who plays all of the sides but can’t really fight on his own. As for Aquaman, he has no strength of will here and gets manipulated all of the time so it’s not a great look for him. He has great power but really needs to work on his mental defenses.

Overall, Justice Society is a very balanced movie. It’s got a lot of positives going for it without a doubt but ultimately doesn’t excel in any one area which is why it won’t go down as one of the more memorable ones. I’d like to see the Justice Society return in the present someday, now that could make for a pretty good battle movie. Still, if you’re looking for a solid movie to watch then you can’t go wrong here. The pacing is good and it’s an all around enjoyable experience.

Overall 7/10

Persona 5: The Animation: Stars and Ours Review


It’s time to end the main journey of the Persona 5 cast. With just about everyone down for the count you’d think that this is all over right? Well not quite as a new villain shows up and the heroes have to quickly try to save the world last time. This time they are not fighting merely as thieves but as protectors to stop corrupt cosmic beings. It’s all in their hands now!

After stopping Shido things should have gone well but instead humanity has started to forget about the Phantom Thieves. That wouldn’t be so bad except that the Holy Grail has decided to end these guys once and for all and is turning this into reality. The heroes will cease to exist if they aren’t remembered soon and Joker is thrown back into his metaphysical cage. Can he get the band together one last time to stop this god or will he be taken down for good?

This special really gets out there with how powerful the villain is but Persona usually does like to get crazy by the end so it was nice to raise the stakes here. It’s hard to say exactly what the Grail’s goals are beyond just messing with everyone though. Perhaps that is it as it’s the negative feelings of everyone brought forth into life. It seems like the Grail tends to be evil in most shows where it appears and this one’s no exception. The fact that it can actually talk and has a cool super form is pretty near though. It makes its presence known right from the start as a fighter who should not be trifled with. There may not be a lot to him but he made for a solid final boss.

It was also nice to see the old jail cell appear again because this was one plot that never really got resolved. The whole time they’ve been telling Joker how he needed to be rehabilitated and all of that but he seemed like a nice guy from the start so it was always odd to him. Well, it turns out that the whole thing was a farce at least for a while now. Fortunately the two jailers had enough strength of will not to make a big mistake. I still wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of them considering how close they came to ending it all but despite their vow but better late than never.

Joker manages to save everyone pretty quickly so it doesn’t become a full adventure or anything but it was a nice side journey. We also get to peer into Mementos for part of the climax and you get cameos from all of the other villains. The idea of a shared dungeon where everyone interacts was pretty interesting when they first showed it in the anime and it’s still cool here. It does make you feel like most people need to watch their backs though because all it would take is one really strong soul to overpower the others.

Joker and friends are strong enough to resist but they have powers of their own which helps a lot. The average person would not be quite so lucky. This leads into the main battle with the Grail as it is so the whole dungeon really was dangerous from the start. Now we find out by the end that destroying Mementos would also remove the powers that the lead has or at least that’s a main part of it. Presumably everyone else loses their powers as well so there will be no more dimension hopping but I have to wonder how that’s possible.

In theory shouldn’t everyone still have a dark side at some point or another? Did the heroes really cleanse the whole world of negative thoughts in one shot or was it just the city? I’m not a big fan of the whole losing powers thing because while it may be a common type of ending, I don’t think it made much sense here. I don’t see how the realm would go away or why the powers would fade. Furthermore, it also hurts the chances of a true sequel. yeah you could say the heroes just got their powers back or it was just a temporary loss but doing that from the beginning would be preferable.

It’s also a shame because the heroes had been doing so much good work throughout the city. They stopped a bunch of the corrupt adults and were making the world a better place one step at a time. Having to lose their abilities is just a really rough fate should they decide to stop the Grail. The way the ending plays out is decent. It’s happy enough and all but I don’t think it’s quite as complete an ending as it could have been otherwise. At least you don’t have to worry about cliffhangers I suppose.

The animation is pretty standard here. We get a pretty intense face off near the end but this one doesn’t have as much action as the last special. It’s definitely more of a dialogue based adventure this time around as the heroes get their closure. Then for the soundtrack you’ve got all of the fun Persona themes so that’s always a thumbs up. Persona did not hold back when it came to the musical tracks that play the whole time.

One of the most memorable parts here is definitely when the people forget the thieves and they start to fade away. It’s like something out of Infinity War and I thought it was really impressive at least. Fortunately Joker had the demons and parallel world looking out so the jail prevented him from losing it all but it was still close. I also thought it was just intense how the Grail could make that possible and cause people to forget so quickly. The Thieves weren’t exactly private figures after all so that was an impressive feat.

Overall, Persona 5 may have ended in a different direction than how I would have done things but it’s still good in the end. The story is interesting from start to finish which is always the important thing. The main cast was solid here and everyone got to help out. In these two specials I wouldn’t say that any member got a big role in particular aside from Joker but just being there to help out in general is always appreciated. Teamwork through unity right? The Grail made for a solid final boss so in the end the special made the right moves here and I look forward to seeing what Persona experience is next. This is definitely a good title to check out now if you haven’t already seen it.

Overall 7/10

Persona 5: The Animation: Dark Sun… Review


After the show ended things off on a rather intense note, it was time for this special to continue the story along. It’s fair to say that the show’s ending was never going to stick but it was fun to entertain that notion in the meanwhile. This one brings things together to a pretty decent end although it’s fair to say that it’s still another cliffhanger, just a different one. It picks up right where the show left off so it’s nostalgic to see the whole cast here. Since we’re pretty deep into the adventure, there is no downtime and the heroes just get right to work. Naturally this post will have spoilers for the show so proceed with that in mind.

After Akechi murdered Joker he played it up as a suicide and went about his way. It turns out that he’s been working for Shido this whole time and all of the incidents have helped get Shido up to the world stage. The guy is very close to becoming the prime minister now and naturally needed everyone out of the picture. Well, it turns out that Joker faked his death through a clever trick involving switching the two worlds so that Akechi murdered a virtual version of him. Now the team has to saddle up and take Shido down but can they really keep Akechi off their backs long enough to pull this off?

The special goes pretty fast from this point. The intro where they have to explain how the trick worked take some time but then it’s off to the races. I thought the trick was pretty solid although I have my doubts on how well this would work. It really all comes down to two things I have an issue with. The first being that when you switch worlds there is no indication of this happening. Can it really be so smooth? Usually there is an effect where the world itself distorts and the characters all seem to notice this so how is it possible that it didn’t alert Akechi?

The best thing I can think of is they opened it up as such a large territory that he was not in the blast radius but that doesn’t seem to have been something they could really do. My other issue is with the virtual bodies themselves. So we know that a virtual body will die in the same way as a real one based on the previous castles only the body will then disintegrate into a pile of black smoke. How did they prevent Joker’s body from vanishing until after Akechi left? Furthermore, how did the security guard’s body not vanish after Akechi took him down? Akechi monologued for quite a bit so the guy should have been long gone.

In short, I don’t think their plan actually should/could have worked here. At least not with the info we get here, perhaps the video game was more detailed about it. Ah well, then we cut to the heart of the adventure which is to try and take Shido down but of course Akechi will still try to stand in their way. He gets a lot of props here as he was taking on the whole team at once. At one point they ask how he can use more than one persona but Joker’s been doing that since the very start of the show so they should be asking him that. I suppose Akechi is just super talented since he never actually explains how it’s possible.

The various mysteries throughout the show are all wrapped up pretty well here. Akechi does start to go off the deep end a bit but all in all the guy’s still my favorite character. He was usually one step ahead of everyone else and his plans were really on point. The guy was certainly crazy and a total villain but he executed this well. He’s the kind of villain you enjoy watching because his goals make sense and he’s just charismatic.

Shido is a little less interesting in that respect but he makes for a good final boss here. The guy actually knows a little bit about the mental abilities and alternate world. While this is something unknown to most, it makes sense that the big boss should be in on the loop. It even opens the door to some interesting storylines like if they trained a bunch of government assassins to pull this off as well. Perhaps in a sequel or something like that.

The animation is good here. It’s still nothing top notch or anything but works well enough for the fights. Persona isn’t always a very action packed title but this one had a good amount of fighting. With Akechi here that makes sense since the whole show was building up to this and you wouldn’t want to have an underwhelming climax at the end of the road. For the soundtrack we don’t get the big lyrical songs this time around but the beats still work. I’ve always liked the Persona soundtrack and this one’s no exception.

For the main characters they all get their chance to help out. Joker takes most of the credit here as he was strong enough to go up against Akechi and also took most of the risks in the plan. It’s just clear from the start that he’s the most powerful. The rest of the gang helps out as best they can as well. Without them Joker would have definitely been doomed either way. Even Sae gets to help out quite a bit and her role as a cop/investigator is always coming in handy.

If this did end up being the ending to Persona 5 I dare say that it would still work out pretty well. Sure, the heroes are still in a dangerous spot and not all of the villains are down for the count but for the most part things would be going well. It would also be open ended just enough where there could be a sequel. Of course there was a sequel and I’ll be reviewing it pretty soon. I would have liked Akechi to have done more but I am still satisfied in the end and I can see why he’s a fan favorite.

Overall, Dark Sun is a solid follow up to the main show. We get to see the updated version of the opening song here which is fittingly called Dark Sun so that’s nice. If you liked the show then you should definitely like the special. In some ways the special even beats the show as it’s able to focus on just one case and give it the full attention of around an hour. It does a lot within that time and it’s nice to just see the gang back in action. It might not make a whole lot of sense if you haven’t seen the show though so you won’t want to check this out as a stand alone title.

Overall 7/10

Rango Review


Rango is one of the rare titles where I played the game before watching the movie. To be fair, this may be the best way to do things. Eh, I suppose it’s about the same either way. I wouldn’t say Rango is able to hold its own against most of the animated films nowadays but it’s still decently good. If the character designs were all improved and the bird got to fly away then I think this would have bumped the film up a notch.

The movie starts off with showing us how Rango has slowly gotten to be a bit crazy. It makes sense since there is nobody for him to talk to and he’s basically trapped inside a little jar all day. After a while it makes sense that you would crack under such circumstances. One day he ends up falling out of the family car and is on his own at the desert now. This allows him to have a fresh start so he tricks everyone into believing that he is actually an expert gunslinger and they even make him a sheriff. The position does come with its own set of problems though like the fact that the town is incredibly corrupt and he really needs to be watching his back at all times. One wrong move and he may be down for the count.

Like I said, the film’s main issue at times is that it just doesn’t look great. The animation isn’t bad per say but the style’s really not all that pleasant so films that are decades older end up looking better. This is a film that’s carried more by the writing angle as the graphics are just out of luck. The best animation here is when the bird is flying around after Rango early on. That was fairly intense at least.

The soundtrack isn’t very memorable so we can bypass that. There are a few comic relief villains running around the whole time who aren’t that impressive but the main villain was pretty good. His name is Jake and the guy really knows how to put fear into the cast. They absolutely do not want to mess with him and are pretty much traumatized by the guy. It’s easy to see why as you get the feeling he would crush any of the heroes in a straight fight. I’ll also give the mayor some props here as the guy also had great ambitions on his side and really did well to last as long as he did. In the end the guy almost ended up winning out.

On the heroes side I guess they were okay. First up is Rango and I do like his quick way of talking. The guy’s one of those classic con artists who tries to distract you with how quickly he’s talking the whole time while adding lie onto lie onto lie. He does have a lot of confidence in his own way and is quick to bury his mistakes. I did think he was a fun character. Perhaps not someone you could use as a role model but someone who is a fun character to take the lead. On the other hand along with this comes the fact that he does choke under pressure and can be a bit of a flirt who gets distracted easily. Those qualities end up hurting him a bit.

Then there’s the main heroine Beans who has a glitch within her where she just goes completely still and is unconscious for a little bit. It’s a unique character trait and so I would say that it works pretty well. It does tend to happen at inconvenient moments of course but I would have it no other way. Beyond that I can’t say that she is super memorable though. In a way you’ll remember that trait more than the rest of her character which I would not say is a good thing. Particularly as the main heroine here although it’s fair to say that her role isn’t huge or anything like that. I think the film could have focused more on her and Rango not getting along at all like in the opening and doubling down on that.

The opening villain here was a character I was rooting for though. When the bird showed up I was ready for him to take down Rango so it was unfortunate when that didn’t end up happening. I think he should have survived, burying the bird was a bit much. The scene’s played for laughs and all so it’s not like the movie’s trying to be dark but it still seemed like a bit of a downer.

Ultimately Rango does have a lot of humor built in and I’d say that it ages well. It is a light hearted western kind of film after all and I want to say that just about every scene has a joke in it. Usually this is at Rango’s expense as he messes up over and over again but I guess you can give him some credit for always getting back up again. I’m sure that by now a lot of other characters would have given up. It just goes to show you that Rango was really made of sterner stuff.

Overall, You’ll have a decent time with Rango so if you’re looking for a fun film that you haven’t seen before then this should be up your alley. There’s no reason to watch it over a number of better animated titles out there but if you’ve seen them all by this point then you may as well watch Rango. So it’s more of a half hearted recommendation on my part. Rango is a good movie but I just felt like there were enough things going against it were there is not a whole lot of replay value. You’ll watch it and then it’ll get buried as if it was never around. I still blame a lot of it on the artstyle and to be fair, that should be a big factor to think about in an animated film right? Just throwing that out there but it makes sense if you think about it.

Overall 6/10

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Review


It’s definitely good to be in an age where all the big anime films get to go to theaters now. It’s nice having that complete experience there and the audience was pretty engaged throughout the experience. Seemed like a mix of people who knew the future events and anime onlies. There was certainly one guy the whole time who thought Maki was quite mean and well, she is rather aggressive with the main character for a while but she mellows out by the end. All in all Kaisen’s definitely a great film and I look forward to seeing how the next one stacks up.

The movie starts by introducing us to Yuta Okkotsu. If you saw season 1 of the show you’ll likely remember him getting a lot of hype throughout. He hasn’t gotten to appear yet but the others mention him as being a big threat so you get to see how he made it there. As a kid Yuta became engaged to his best friend Rika. Unfortunately she was hit by a car and died almost immediately afterwards but their connection was so strong that a curse came between them and now Rika lives on eternally as Yuta’s protector. Any who would dare stand in his way will get obliterated by her. This has depressed Yuta to the point of being suicidal but then he is contacted by Gojo, the strongest sorcerer of the human world.

He takes Yuta to Jujutsu High where he will become a sorcerer. He joins the first years Maki, Panda, and Toge. Yuta may not be strong on his own yet but his cursed spirit Rika is incredibly powerful to the point where Yuta is considered to be a special grade fighter. Unfortunately this has also caught the attention of the evil sorcerer Geto. Can Yuta stay alive long enough to master his abilities and free the curse on Rika so that she can be free or will he be defeated and the modern timeline isn’t what we think?

The movie moves at a fairly quick pace. Yuta appears and gets recruited within a few minutes. Then you have the origin story with Rika thrown in very quickly and more details are spread in throughout the movie. We get several missions so you could see as Yuta improves his abilities. There is a little time skip near the end so we don’t get to see the exact point Yuta goes from being a decent member of the team to a super powerful one but it helps make the final battle more intense. When Yuta suddenly shows up with all kinds of new abilities and techniques, you can tell that he’s been training very hard.

It’s also nice seeing Yuta in the younger days here. He almost feels like a completely different character from the Yuta I’m used to. He’s more like your classic Shonen lead here even if he might seem to have a bit more of a subtle edge than others. He was quick to volunteer to destroy Maki’s clan along with her and it shows how he values his friends above all else. I like Yuta in all of his appearances so far so he’s a character with a lot of range. He may start off as timid but ultimately he still steps up to do the right thing when it counts.

He is also a quick learner and doesn’t shrink away from combat. The way he handles Rika is also part of what makes him a great character. He never goes through a phase where he is afraid of Rika or blames her for everything. Even when he’s upset he just blames himself and never tries to make this appear to be her fault. It was a mature way of handling things since Rika was just doing her best to help him. Perhaps it was not in quite the way he was hoping since she could be quite violent but she is a cursed spirit at this point so it’s likely not easy to hold herself back.

While we don’t get to see the human Rika much, she was definitely a very solid character. She is extremely loyal as evidenced by her cursed spirit form and always had Yuta’s back. She really helped to make things as easy as possible on Yuta and I appreciate that she stood up to the bullies. Yeah it felt a little hard to believe that her first 3 victims survived the attack. I suspect this was a way to make sure that Rika never turned too close to the dark side but the way we saw their bodies mangled and the amount of blood that they lost….I don’t see how they could have possibly survived. Well, good on Rika I suppose.

As always Gojo is a very fun character here as well. When you have a character this powerful you do have to suspend a little disbelief for how he doesn’t just obliterate everyone. It feels like he could have dismantled his opponent and kept on going unless he has grown exponentially stronger in the year after this prequel takes place. You could say that he’s sandbagging a little as well but from how the movie’s story went you feel like he would want to be there in the climax.

Either way he’s definitely a fun character as always. I liked that he made it clear to the elders that he would protect Yuta if they tried to murder him. He’s always been the kind of guy who stands against corruption and that’s what I like to see. As you’d expect with a film like this there is a really big climax so you get a ton of guest stars and cameos from the rest of the Kaisen verse. It was nice seeing Todo and the crew as well as all of the pros. They may not get to be here a lot but they all get to use their signature attacks which is fun. I always enjoy seeing everyone come together for the climax for some action.

Of course the biggest roles go to Yuta’s teammates so lets talk about them. Maki gets a large role as she is teamed up with Yuta in the first mission and they get to hang out a bit. She has her own baggage which is touched upon in this film a little bit. As a result Maki’s gotten to be rather aggressive and always picking fights since she feels the need to prove herself. I tend to like this character type and Maki does well here. Ultimately her fighting style means the character would likely be limited against stronger opponents but she still does her best to fight back and also helps to improve Yuta’s close combat skills quite a lot.

Panda probably gets the smallest role out of the 3 but he gets to have the longest fight against Geto which helps to even that out. He really did well all things considered and was able to move quickly enough to hit Geto while also repelling the spirits. That’s not an easy thing to do. His fans should definitely pleased with his role. Then you have Toge who does his best to try and get Yuta to fit in. The fact that he can’t really talk at all for fear of using his abilities makes this a bit difficult though.

I’ve always had a major problem with Toge’s abilities before and the movie doesn’t change that. Just using a single word causes him to be in absolutely terrible condition. With the throat medicine he can do a little better but when your ability’s drawback is that huge it just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s a great ability but I think they should give him enough durability to be able to use it a few more times. It would definitely make his technique a lot more dangerous.

Then we have the main villain Geto. The villain has some depth to him as his goals are quite grand but in the meantime he keeps up a good front so he is able to earn a lot of money. A lot of the times it feels like the villain wouldn’t bother putting up a front even though it would cost him a lot in the long run. So it was a good way to show that Geto was quite smart and wouldn’t be falling for those kind of traps. It’s also impressive that he can fight from both long and short range. Not just any kind of opponent can do that.

So I liked him quite a bit. He makes for a memorable villain. He also has a whole team of villains with him for the attack but there isn’t enough time for any of them to get a lot to do. They seemed interesting enough and I’ll give the author credit for giving them all distinct designs and character designs. There’s just no way to give them enough to do to make them really memorable without stretching the film out another 30 minutes or so. Of course I would definitely be cool with that but I can see how it wouldn’t be needed.

The soundtrack is excellent as expected. You get a few new lyrical songs here and a lot of solid tunes. They really help to enhance the scenes and you can feel the danger in every moment. As I mentioned earlier, the pacing here is fairly quick and the music’s always moving quickly as a result too. It doesn’t mean there is a fight scene every moment of course and the big fights tend to be in the second half but there’s always something going on and any time you think it’s about time for another action scene to pop up, it does.

As always Mappa delivers with the animation as well. The action scenes are really good and the hand to hand (Or rather blade to blade) fights are extremely fast and savage. The choreography is excellent and you can feel the power behind the hits. These are the kinds of fights that you figure will age well forever. Even 20 years from now you won’t be able to deny that these are great fight scenes. Not surprisingly my favorite battle is the one between Geto and Yuta. It’s a fight that the film builds up for a while so you know it’ll be good but even with the time skip you may not be prepared for quite how good Yuta is.

The action can get intense but I wouldn’t say the film is too violent. The most disturbing scene is likely when one guy’s head is stretched apart by demons. That one was definitely a gruesome way to die but for the most part the attacks are limited to the combatants or aren’t too intense like that. So I wouldn’t say there’s anything extra to worry about beyond the usual action you would expect to see here.

The movie has its share of humor which lands well. The characters tend to have rather crazy facial expressions whenever Gojo mentions something out of the blue or is messing with them. The chibi effects are used well and since Yuta is out of the loop on everything, he tends to have some good reactions. It never gets excessive so it’s just enough to keep that nice balance. The writing is also really solid. Outside of the Gojo power level moment I wouldn’t say I had any other big items to mention. Even the romance here with Yuta and Rika was decent enough. I’m usually not all for the romances in films but this one was executed well. No drama, rebounds, or any crazyness here. Just two good friends who hit it off and their bond even surpassed death.

I guess on the power levels part I’d give a small mention to Gojo just letting Geto run out in the first place when he shows up with the crew. (All roads go through Gojo I suppose) I think with his speed and ability Gojo could have saved the hostages and stopped Geto. Again I guess that’s just what happens when you have someone as impressively powerful as Gojo. You expect him to solve everything when he’s around.

Now the film does have an after credits scene which is great since you should always have that. I think I would have picked something a little more exciting as the final scene to be honest but it’s nice enough. It’s more of a happy scene to confirm some characters in the present. Won’t say much more than that to keep you in the dark about it, but as always that means you should stay past the credits.

Finally the question you’ve been wondering. Would Yuta in this film be able to defeat Yuji from the TV Show? If you include Rika then I would say Yuta wins without question. It’s hard to see Yuji being able to defend himself from a two pronged attack like this. If Rika is out of the picture then Yuji wins because he’s just a better street brawler and has more control over his black flash techniques. Rika should always be counted in a Yuta battle though so as of now the original main character wins. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was definitely a great film with a lot of replay value. The action was on point and it made for a very solid introduction to Yuta. I always like the idea of building up two main characters but not having them meet for a long time. The longer you wait, the bigger the payoff when it finally happens. It’s rare to see this though. Beyblade (Manga only), Seraph of the End, Fate/Zero, and a very few select others have done this but it’s very rare. After all, it’s tougher than it sounds to have two characters keep getting separate plots and adventures without having them tie in since you have to be careful that neither side feels rushed all the time. Kaisen’s a good example of a series doing this well as you are definitely ready for Yuta to meet Yuji. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out whether you have watched the anime or not. I would say it’s fairly friendly to newcomers as the TV show events are not really referenced so this can feel like more of a stand alone.

Overall 8/10