Why Mario Odyssey is better than Sonic Forces

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2017 has been a pretty stacked year when it comes to video games. At the same time, many figured that Mario Odyssey would win the title of Game of the Year, or perhaps Sonic Forces would get to claim it. I wrote an editorial a while back about how Sonic Forces would certainly claim victory. Here’s a link to that original article if you’re curious.

https://dreager1.com/2017/08/20/why-sonic-forces-is-going-to-be-better-than-mario-odyssey/

Unfortunately, I hadn’t expected the game to get skimmed down all the way to 3 hours. It’s just too short to really compete with Odyssey but let’s break this down.

When it comes to the story, Sonic still destroys Mario. We have an end of the world plot going with a hype new villain called Infinite. In comparison, Mario has the same ole Bowser kidnaps Peach plot which is neither fresh nor imaginative. It’s a plot that we have all seen many times before to the point where it is fairly stale. It’s just not the kind of story that excites you anymore and the game even pulls a cop out for the ending to keep the status quo. In this area at least, Sonic Forces stil claims the win.

Now let’s look at the graphics. Well, this one is a pretty close one. Both games look pretty solid. Mario is top of the line for Nintendo and they spared no expense for him. On the other hand, Sonic Forces doesn’t look quite as good as it should considering that it’s on the PS4 but it does have a nice advantage of being on the stronger console from the start. It also has more explosions and better level designs to really use the graphics. Odyssey does look a little better on the whole, Sonic Forces is just more striking to look at. This is purely for graphics though so Odyssey wins here.
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When it comes to gameplay, Sonic has 3 different styles while Mario has just one. Mario’s does beat retro Sonic’s gameplay style but loses to the Avatar and Modern Sonic. You just can’t beat Boost 2 Win and It would have been cool for Mario to have been able to do that when running around the worlds. It’s pretty close though and the difference is relative since both games have really solid gameplay.

Now at this point it probably seems like Sonic is demolishing Mario so what’s the problem right? Well, one of the big areas that hurts Sonic is the length/replay value. The main story will only take you 3 hours in Forces. After that you need to get all of the S Ranks and obtain all of the rings. This will buy you some time, but not a whole lot. Moreover, thanks to the daily login bonus, getting S Ranks is really easy in this game. You can definitely 100% this game in a week if you don’t mind some grinding for the enemies and coins. On the other hand, Mario’s main campaign is at least double of not triple as long. Grabbing all of the moons in the post game and completing the new worlds will take quite a few more hours as well. You’re likely looking at a 20-30+ hour game right there. It’s a world of difference and this is crucial for a game. You don’t want to drop 40-60 dollars on a game that you will play and then immediately throw back in the drawer. You want a game with a lot of replay value and that’s exactly what Odyssey is. It’s the game that keeps on giving. The sheer amount of content and minigames in Odyssey puts Forces to shame.
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You can’t really stress this enough. I’ve put in over 35 hours in Mario Odyssey and there are still a bunch of moons to get. I’ve already gotten all of the S ranks in Sonic Forces and around half of the Red Rings in a third of the time or potentially even less than that. It’s just not an equal ball game when you’re looking at the content. It’s not as if being long makes you an automatically better game, but when you’re a solid game that also happens to be long, then it’s a winning combo. It’s even more lethal to the short game when it’s only around 3 hours long.

Mario Odyssey will likely last close to 50 hours by the time all of the Moons have been obtained which is definitely very impressive. It’s also less repetitive than getting everything in Forces since in that game you have to keep replaying the same levels over and over again. It doesn’t really get old since the levels are so well done and the soundtrack is so awesome, but it still feels like a shortcut by the devs. In Mario, you have a lot of variety among the worlds for finding Moons so it never becomes a big issue of repetition. I can only hit this point for so long though so this editorial is coming to a close.

So when it all boils down to the center of the game, Odyssey is simply better. Sonic Forces may sound better than Odyssey but that’s not the issue. It may be more fun to play as Avatar and Modern Sonic as their gameplay modes both destroy Odyssey’s but that’s also not the point. Odyssey has the slightly better graphics. You have to forget about the plot and the technical aspects and just look at the replay value. Mario’s the longer game and you really feel like you’ve spent your money’s worth there. I don’t regret buying Sonic Forces since it was still an incredible game, but I certainly can’t reward the developers with the same stamp of approval that I can give Odyssey since they really didn’t give it enough effort. So, Sonic Forces is the more enjoyable game, but Mario Odyssey is the better game and actually managed to defeat Sonic this time around. It may seem like Mario only won in one area (length) while Forces had the advantage just about everywhere else, but it’s a very important advantage and one that you can’t overlook. It’s shocking for Sonic to lose and and I have to keep asking myself if this is really the answer since this basically never happens and I’m a little worried, but 3D Sonic shall return. You can tell how confident his fans are because even if you google things like “Mario beating Sonic” you get more pictures of the reverse happening which made the images for this article a little difficult. It is quite fitting though that the time Mario finally manages to beat Sonic, it’s because they quickly went through their old Adventure 2 Battle memories and thought to do a Mario version. Food for thought!
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Why I Paid 5.99 in Super Smash Bros

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I consider myself to be a freemium player most of the time. Whether I’m playing Pokemon Go, Super Smash, or Mario Kart, I just don’t buy DLC. It doesn’t feel right that big companies are selling us 60 dollar beta titles instead of wholesome games. That being said, the first time I really compromised on this was with Super Smash Bros. There are multiple 5.99 characters that came out like Ryu, but I mainly just got him to stay cool. It’s when Cloud and Bayonetta showed up that I realized they were necessary for me to keep on playing. I’m not a casual Smash player after all, I’m a pro. I need to stay at the top of my game so when a better character shows up I have to ditch my main instantly. Here are 5 reasons why I paid the 5.99 and why you should as well.

1. Free Wins
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My original main was Sheik. I’d work long and hard to perfect really advanced 10+ hit combos where I’d finally tack on 50% or so and feel good about it. With Cloud, I can rack up that % with a mindless up air string. I can get it even easier with Bayonetta as I just hold Side B then do Up B and keep repeating until my opponent is dead. There is no skill necessary as you just need to learn one easy combo and you’re set. You’ll instantly see your results go up and you’ll become a legitimate tournament threat. That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? You’ll probably feel bad at first as this all just seems too easy, but you’ll eventually be able to justify your decision. Just look at the picture above. If you’re playing Cloud, your opponent will never go over 100%.

2. The Value
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What else would you spend 5.99 on? You can probably get half of a Subway’s sandwich and a drink with that or a 2 slices and soda deal from Little Italy but those things will be gone in minutes. Your DLC in Smash will stay forever. These characters will become memories that you can keep with you through the years as you look back on what a great investment it was. It’s not just any DLC…it’s the right DLC! Domino’s Pizza is amazing, but not even that can beat out a new character.

3. Forget the character loyalty
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I mained Fox in the first three Smash games. I was determined to main him here as well but he just didn’t click for some reason. That’s why I moved to Cap and then to Sheik. Finally I found Cloud/Bayonetta and I knew that it was time for a change. Why wouldn’t I play these characters when they are just better than the others. I know it’s tough to let go of the character loyalty at first, but once you do you’ll be glad that you did. It’s particularly sad for popular characters like Pac-Man who have a lot of fans but aren’t exactly destined for greatness in this game. By all means, keep him in the pocket, but play Cloud for all of his bad matchups…and then play him for the good ones as well. Not saying tiers are real…but we are paying to win.

4. You can be one of the cool kids
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Everyone plays Cloud now. He’s won almost every big doubles tournament in Super Smash after all. It’s basically necessary to play this guy because of how overwhelmingly overpowered he is. If you don’t pay the 5.99 you won’t be able to wear your snapback with pride. You will get dirty looks from the rest of the players if you choose the free version of Cloud, aka Shulk. You just have to pay the money if you want to stay with the popular crowd and I don’t know about you, but staying in that crowd is necessary for the memes. You don’t want to fall behind the curve.

5. I’ve prepared myself for the future
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Finally, I’m now ready for the future. DLC isn’t going away, in fact it gets stronger and stronger every year. Before you know it, most of the characters in a game are going to be DLC. Just look at Street Fighter V or SF X Tekken. SF V is almost going to literally be half free and half dlc characters if it keeps going at this rate. You’ll be missing half of the game if you don’t do something. By paying the 5.99 now, you’ll be able to justify the 59.99 once you’re buying a 60 dollar beta and have to repurchase it. You’ll be paying hundreds of dollars in nickels and dimes by the end so you may as well get used to it.

In short, Pay to Win is a very successful way to run a business. You want to have the money on deck and these are the reasons why I paid the 5.99. Ever since I did, things have looked up. I use the extra time that I get from not needing to practice combos to smack talk on Reddit and Gamefaqs. I use all of my extra wins and glory to reaffirm that this was the right call. It all just works out and so now you too should pay the 5.99 and show the corporations that you support this business with your dollars. If not, I accept any challenges to show why my Cloud takes on your free characters.
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Why Sonic Forces is going to be better than Mario Odyssey

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Right now the vast majority of gamers seem to think Mario Odyssey will not only defeat Sonic Forces, but that it could be the best game of the year. I’m a pretty big fan of the Super Mario series as well and think Odyssey looks great, but I think we’re counting out Sonic Forces a little too soon. In fact, I think it’s going to beat Mario Odyssey rather easily and by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll think so as well. I’m going to tackle every aspect of both games and show you point by point why Sonic wins. For some background for those who are unaware, both games are coming out later this year and supposedly it may be within a week of each other. Odyssey is getting a lot of hype because it’s quite possibly the most ambitious Mario game since 64. It’s going to have a bunch of new features and Mario will finally be in a cool city setting. Sonic Forces is getting a lot of hype because we are finally in the pre Sonic Colors days with the epic plots and old characters returning. With the background out of the way, lets dive into this breakdown.

STORY
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This one’s pretty obvious. Sonic Forces destroys Odyssey here as we have a new villain called Infinite who has assembled all of the greatest Sonic villains from the previous games. Chaos, Metal Sonic, Shadow, etc. They’re back to rain some terror on the heroes. Sonic’s going to have to team up with Silver, Classic Sonic, and many more to hope to combat him. I’ve seen the trailer over 20 times by now and it just never gets old. This has the potential to be one of the greatest Sonic stories of all time and it feels like the big climax of the Adventure series. Odyssey is busy with the classic Peach getting kidnapped scenario. I honestly don’t see much else happening in the game. Maybe DK will show up or something but my hopes are honestly very low. I dare Nintendo to raise the bar and prove me wrong. Imagine a Mario game where a new villain brings in Bowser, King Boo, Geno, Shadow Mario, and other big Mario opponents. That would be pretty awesome.

SOUNDTRACK
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This one is probably going to be the most controversial. Granted, Mario games always have killer soundtracks and I’m sure this one will be really solid as well. When the main theme for the game came out, it really took over the internet. Then Sonic Forces brought out the Infinite theme and completely blasted any trace of Odyssey off the map. The difference in sound level is just uncanny. This is just the tip of the iceberg as well and considering all of the intense levels in Sonic Forces, the overall soundtrack is going to be miles apart. Odyssey’s themes are soothing, Forces themes are epic.

GRAPHICS
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This one is also pretty close. Mario Odyssey is clearly going to look good. The level environments are really solid and the trailer looks sharp. It’s the Mario game that we’ve been waiting for and they spared no expense. What hurts the game a little is that it can’t make use of its graphics because there are no cool villains or powerful energy effects to show off. Forces already has some really cool levels and designs. The animation really gets to shine here and it also helps that its on the PS4. This is another area where Forces wins and sure, graphics don’t matter too much when you’re already at this level but every bit certainly helps.

LENGTH
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All right, here’s an area where Mario actually wins. While the actual campaign lengths will likely be similar, Mario has always exceled in its replay value. It’s almost undeniable that Odyssey will give you more bang for your buck. Collecting everything and unlocking all of the bonuses in Odyssey will take time. You’ll also probably just have fun exploring the vast hub world and I can see this being a game that you play for weeks and weeks. That’s not to say that Sonic Forces is short. Grabbing all of the trophies will likely be difficult and time consuming as well. That being said, unless there is a local multiplayer that is on par with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, I don’t see it beating Odyssey. It’ll have to hold a loss here.

GAMEPLAY
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Okay, the Mario picture isn’t from the actual game, but if it was real then this whole paragraph would probably be wrong. After all riding a motorcycle would be amazing.
We’ve come to the biggest and most important part of the game now. The gameplay. So, Odyssey’s gameplay is tried and true. It’s going to be incredibly smooth with so many playtesters that I expect there will be very few glitches if any. The jumping on the hat gimmick does look like it’ll slow the game down somewhat, but I have a feeling that it’ll be more fun than it looks. Sonic Forces meanwhile is back to the super fast Sonic gameplay that I’ve missed with the slower classic levels to give you a change of pace. There are also the custom levels which will work like Sonic Boom. While the latter may not help the game, the modern Sonic levels are sure to be some of the most fun ones yet. I’m afraid that there really isn’t much Mario can do to combat it. I love moving at a quick speed and it’s like how I prefer rushdown tactics in Super Smash. Just keep the action coming and I’ll let my reaction times handle the rest. I’ve said this a few times, but the point still stands. Mario will be peaceful and calming which is awesome in its own right, but Sonic Forces will be exhilarating and action packed throughout. The gameplay will really get your adrenaline pumping.

GIMMICKS
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Both games have some gimmicks. Mario’s will be the constant transforming and throwing the hat around. For Forces, it’s the Deviant art character you’ll be creating as you swing around. In this case, I think Odyssey probably has the edge. From what I’ve seen of the original character, his levels look all right, but I just don’t think they add anything to the game. The transformations in Odyssey actually look really fun though. While everyone is looking forward to turning into a dinosaur, I personally can’t wait for the Bullet Bill. Being able to fly and being almost indestructible? Count me in! I’m sure they’ll do something to balance the game or else you could cheese a bunch of levels, but the game will likely do it in a balanced/organic way where you can still have a blast. Just please give me a flying transformation in the hub world, flying through New Donk City will be a blast!

VERDICT Sonic Forces wins. I never like ties so you can certainly bet that I wasn’t going to be half hearted here to close out the editorial. As the title clearly states, I think Sonic Forces is going to be the better game than Odyssey. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s going to be all that close. At the same time, I do think both games will be a lot of fun. Honestly I may even give both games a 9/10. The main difference is that I’m going to be super invested in Sonic Forces. A good plot really does go a long way and since Forces should also have the edge in gameplay, that’s just Game Set and Match. I’ll be picking up Sonic Forces Day 1 while I can’t guarantee the same for Odyssey. After all, I still don’t even own a Switch. Sonic Forces is the game that I’ve been looking forward to for years. Adventure 2 Battle is still the best with Sonic 2006 being second, but I could definitely see this game being 3rd. Even if it loses to Shadow and only gets 4th, that will still be really impressive. I’m hoping it sells well so we can get more games like this one. It’s definitely Game of the Year material. The fact that Mario Odyssey could beat it in some areas is impressive though and the game should take solace in that fact. It just can’t help overcome one big thing. At the end of the day…Sonic is just cooler than Mario.
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On the state of the movie: Why Madoka Magica Rebellion’s ending was brilliant

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It’s time to look at an underrated movie. Madoka Magica Rebellion’s ending was a very controversial one that had so many hidden meanings and subtext within each action that the fan base has written many theories on it. They were all pretty fascinating and it’s great to see everyone add more and more depth to the film. The reason they can do that is because the ending was so good and it was very unique. This editorial will naturally have heavy spoilers for Madoka, but also for the movies Bridge to Terabithia, The Amazing Spider Man 2, Batman V Superman, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, Pay it Forward and several others so prepare yourself!

Rebellion takes place after the original Madoka Magica show. The title character of the series ultimately decided to ascend to a higher realm and became a concept of life itself. She became a living embodiment of hope who erased the cruel fate of magical girls that forced them to turn into a witch once they ran out of energy and despaired. Unfortunately, quite a few of the magical girls had already died and now Homura was the only one left to deal with the hordes of enemies that had been left. Witches were gone, but they were replaced with a form of demon.

The average franchise would have left things like this. Homura would gradually accept the reality that Madoka is really gone and help to protect the world until she ultimately died someday. Once she died, she would be able to be with Madoka to an extent since she will be past this realm, but maybe not. Now that Madoka is a force of nature, her fate is eternal and she will never get to have any rest as she constantly absorbs the evil nature of Witches so that they never exist. The world may be a Utopia, but there is still one person who didn’t get a happy ending…Madoka. In Rebellion, Homura decides that this isn’t acceptable.

So, Homura created a prison within her own head thanks in great part to Kyubei and didn’t even realize it. After escaping from this, Homura was finally granted an audience with Madoka. The whole episode had such large ramifications that even a cosmic entity was summoned. That’s pretty impressive eh? Now Homura has the ultimate choice, take Madoka’s hand and join her in the eternal beyond or drag her back down to reality and shift the fabric of the universe once more. Obviously, Homura has to choose the former option right? It is a metaphorical necessity as it is the only way Homura can truly move on. She must accept her friend’s death and then go back to living normally. Bridge to Terabithia believed in this message wholeheartedly and had the viewers say goodbye to the main heroine by the end as she plummeted to an unfortunate (Film wrecking) fate.

That’s the popular way to deal with this kind of film. It’s a great way to end the film on a sad note and remind the audience that they shouldn’t have bothered to go see it at all. It’s like offering someone a nice bag of chocolate chip cookies for after dinner, but then dumping the bag into a box of salt first. You may need to eat the cookie anyway because it’s the nice thing to do, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Other films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have done this as well with the main heroine dying towards the end and the hero having to get past this. It always happens a little too fast though, but when should the hero get over it? Obviously, you have to move on at some point…or do you? Homura was in a unique position to actually get a second chance and decided that she wouldn’t simply wait around and accept the fact that Madoka could never rest. That’s why, bringing her back down to reality was in fact…the right move!

Have you seen the light yet?

Think of it this way, how can you not save someone when you have a chance to do so? Think of any classic superhero film where the hero decides to risk everything just to save one person. It’s true that you may be endangering hundreds of people just to save a single individual, but is it not still worth it since 1 life is worth just as much as 100? Madoka didn’t have a happy ending so even if everyone else was pretty happy, it just couldn’t fly. Just to add salt to the wound, Homura’s Utopia also seems to be a little better than Madoka’s. Now, this could be temporary as Witches should theoretically return without Madoka’s new concept, but what if Homura found a way around that? It’s unclear how since Homura shouldn’t have as much power as Madokami. Most likely, Homura’s chance is going to have a lot of bad side effects, which will get dangerous.

Of course, there is no sequel yet so maybe not. We are free to theorize at leisure now and I think I have a reasonable solution. Madoka still has her Kami powers as seen in the end where she starts to regain her memory. Since she still exists as a concept, the witches are still kept at bay. The only difference is that she’s still allowed to have a school life as well in the mean time. Then, Homura has really done it, she’s made a perfect world. Then why isn’t everyone happy about that? Well, there is one big problem which keeps you from seeing this as a good thing.

Homura is really doing this against everyone’s will. She got rid of Madoka’s memories so that everything will play out once more although Homura herself will have a different role this time. Controlling others is never a good thing no matter what the reasoning (excuses) are. You can never spin that into being the right thing so Homura definitely went off the deep end here. She started out with good intentions, but throwing in unlimited power to the mix clearly unhinged Homura and started her down a dark path. The original action of dragging Madoka back to the Earth even though she clearly didn’t want that? I can actually buy into this.

One common misconception is that you always have to follow someone’s wishes even if they clearly aren’t good ones. Just look at Attack on Titan where Levi and friends told Eren not to help his comrades so they can be eaten. They wanted Eren to run away so the Female Titan could eat them first while the hero escapes. Eren listened for a while before finally going into action, but it was way too late by then. Dragon Ball Z is another good example. In one scene, Vegeta is getting pummeled by Cell and Trunks decides not to help because Vegeta’s pride would be injured if he had to get saved. Well, better that his pride gets hurt than his life gets lost eh? I mean, it worked out, but what if Cell had destroyed Vegeta? I guess they could write “He died with his priiiiiide!” on the tombstone.

Nah, sometimes you have to go against someone’s wishes in order to save them. It’s like restricting cigarettes and beer from a teenager or making sure that a kid doesn’t get to play with sharp objects while he/she is too young. Even once the individual becomes an adult who can make his/her own decisions, you may have to help keep that person on the straight and narrow. That’s why we have laws and regulations. Madoka’s a nice kid and it’s cool to see her want to help everyone out, but heroes like that don’t typically think about how to protect themselves. That’s why you need a friend who’s got your back. In this case, Homura was the only one in a position to do anything about this. Madoka definitely didn’t want to come back to Earth since it could put her friends in danger, but how can they really enjoy this perfect world if they know that she didn’t get to partake in it?

Going to any and all lengths to help a friend is what really defines their bond. A big trend in many movies is to have the hero abandon the friend in a Flee or Fight moment and it’s praised as the right call. Even Dragon Ball Super recently had a moment like that where someone stayed behind to get massacred so that the hero could run. Luckily, he chose not too, but he was too scared to actually help so that’s nearly as bad. There are numerous examples of this, but I’m struggling to recall any at the moment. It’s the curse of the writer! I’m sure that many of you can think of times like this though, where a friend is alone against terrible odds and tells the main character to go off to stop the main villain anyway. This dooms the friend in the process, but at least the world is saved so it’s all worth it. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is the wrong call. Prioritizing the friend’s safety over the world’s definitely comes first. If you can’t manage to save your friend, then does the rest of the world really matter? Most characters come to grips with the opposite reality and justify their move by saying that the Earth was saved and that the friend would have wanted it that way. Sure, the friend is typically a noble character who is okay with dying, but as a friend to that person, you have to save him/her. At the very least, Homura made sure to keep this priority in mind.
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So, that’s my spiel on why Rebellion’s ending is actually pretty fantastic. It broke the usual norms of the average film and decided not to be content with having Homura pat herself on the back for getting over Madoka’s death and going back to her day to day life. Way too many films do this and having a major/likable character die towards the end of a film is not a good way to end things. It may work for Oscar bait and it may make people appreciate the character more in retrospect, but it also runs the risk of damaging the entire film. The Forest, Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, Bridge to Terabithia, Pay it Forward, and many other films decided to end with one of the main characters dying and they handled it horribly. Dooming those films to really low scores when they could have been semi decent. Don’t even get me started on Marely and Me or the Old Yeller. If these films had ended with the character living in the end, it could have made a big difference. At the very least, Bridge and Marley would have had positive scores in the end. I can’t really vouch as much for the others. Can a hero’s death towards the end of a film be handled well? Of course, but it takes skilled writers.

Batman V Superman is a great example of this. Superman died (for around 30 minutes) and it didn’t destroy the movie. Part of this is due to the fact that Superman knew the risks and the death wasn’t pure shock value. It wasn’t there to be super sad and emotional, but just to remind us that Batman’s the money factor in the DC universe, not Superman. In the comics, Batman semi recently went to great lengths to try and bring Damien, one of his new sidekicks, back to life once he died. In a universe where people are constantly bringing people back to life and there are many individuals who can do so, I would expect nothing less. If you have a really good friend and don’t try to bring him/her back to life in the comics universe, then I’m definitely going to doubt that bond.

Homura decided to change things even if it put the rest of the world in a dicier spot. Granted, she also turned evil by the end and completely cracked so now it’s going to have to be Madoka’s turn to try and save her once more. This circle should theoretically continue to repeat over and over until both of them are dead. An ending can make or break a film and this has always been the case. It’s a crucial element to any title and it’s important to get it right. What defines a good ending? That may be a topic for another day as there are many variables. One thing’s for sure, Rebellion gets my seal of approval and will go down as one of the better endings in a film. It was unexpected, it was hype, and it shattered the tropes!
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