Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons Review

Now you might be thinking…wait is this film CG? Well the answer is yes so DC decided to try a little something here. As I always say, CG isn’t even bad, but it is a step down from traditional animation. It beats the more experimental types like flash, stop motion, claymation, etc. but traditional animation is the GOAT of getting hype content across the board. So that starts this one off at a bit of a disadvantage next to its peers but ultimately it’s still a pretty good movie. It doesn’t quite top the last one but if you’re looking for some fun action then this movie has you covered.

We start off with Krypton blowing up again as Superman’s dad can’t catch a break and we then fast forward to the future where Superman and Lois are married with a kid named Jonathan. For years he hasn’t displayed any super powers so they figured maybe it wasn’t going to happen but all of a sudden he starts to develop them. Superman is at last able to reveal his secret identity but is promptly taken out along with the rest of the Justice League. Jonathan will have to finally become the new Superboy as he teams up with Robin to save the world. Are these two kids ready for such a big challenge or are they about to get absolutely destroyed as they try to fight off the big fighters?

Now you may have some questions about how the League is handled and we can quickly just write this off as a little plot hax/power level issues. You’re not sidelining Superman this easily but hey we can’t have him stealing the show right? The film wisely kept the Flash out of this as well since he’d be tough to take down. The villain of the film isn’t revealed immediately but I will say that he’s fairly cool. Not powerful enough to take out the Justice League levels of cool but he gets a good amount of hype dialogue and talks a big game. I always appreciate when a villain talks really big so I did like that about him. The film doesn’t really have any bad characters so even if he’s weaker than the heroes, I rather enjoyed the villain. I just wish he could have fought some more.

Jonathan works as an okay main character once he gets his head in the game but it does take a while. At first he’s really just your average kid who is getting picked on at school and gets upset since Superman keeps missing his big games/moments. Once he gets his powers and starts fighting then he quickly improves as a character. He is a solid contrast to Robin as they both fight off the villains. I think Jonathan should only continue to improve as a character the more he becomes accustomed to his powers. In theory once he learns them at 100% power then there are very few characters here who will be able to defeat him.

Meanwhile Robin looks great here. This is Damian specifically as from all of the Robins he always has the most attitude which leads to a lot of great one liners and character moments. You just have to appreciate this guy’s confidence. He may overrate himself just a little bit but considering how strong he is at such a young age you can absolutely see how it would happen. He does get a lot of good moments to shine though like diffusing a situation with a bully twice and holding his own against fighters with actual super powers. It’s always fun to watch him fight even if you don’t believe things would really turn out this way.

I already talked about the animation so you’re still going to have good fights here. The soundtrack is a surprising hit though with a lot of themes that sound like they’re straight out of the DCAU. You get some hype themes for the battle moments and also some nice eery ones for when the villains are around. It makes for a well balanced collection of tracks and that’s definitely what you want to see here.

Where the film has to do a bit of a balancing act is having some emotional scenes for Jonathan while also trying to throw us into the action quickly since it’s not like the film is super long or anything like that. I probably would have sped up some of the intro scenes with Jonathan so he can get his powers and take names quicker. It’s always tough since you do want to introduce the character completely but that would be my take. Once the story really gets going then it’s pretty much nonstop from there. The villain’s plan was a little too good so realistically he should not have been stopped but we’ll see if they can top that for next time.

This movie also seemed to take some elements from the new movies with some of the character designs/general roster, Justice League with one character’s role and even Young Justice. As a stand alone it worked really well there in just grabbing a bunch of elements from all sorts of places. I was surprised that Alfred didn’t make a cameo but otherwise just about everyone is here. I think the general premise of the story really lends itself well to a big cast like this. In fact, you could do a whole movie series or a full saga with this plot. There are so many different directions you can go with it so I’d be cool with this villain returning for another stab at it but this time focus on the adult heroes. Even for them this wouldn’t be a walk in the park depending on how far it goes.

You could switch out the villain if you want to keep it fresh though. It’s the general concept/premise of what’s going on that really kicks things up a few notches. Keeping things rather vague since I forget if they even showed the villain in the trailers but if not then this way you can still go in fresh. Meanwhile Superman and Lois get good roles as well at least during the intro. Lois also gets some more to do near the end so I enjoyed her character here. She got to show off why she is still the top reporter around town, willing to take on extra risks to save the day. If she had super powers I dare say she would become a vigilante really quick but that’s a complement in this case.

Overall, Battle of the Super Sons didn’t get us a battle between the Super Sons but their teaming up to stop a common enemy is always a classic way to go. The film has a good amount of action and story here so you should have a good time watching this one. You may wish you could see the League more but I suppose the kids have to get their fun sometimes. Whether you’re a DC fan or not you should enjoy this one. It’s just a fun experience and you should walk away satisfied as the ending is good and there’s a lot of room for a sequel. I’d be cool with the kids showing up again in the future for more action but wouldn’t mind a little time skip.

Overall 7/10

One Piece Film: Red Review

“The hierarchy of the One Piece franchise is about to change” Well this film definitely pulled it off. Eventually every great franchise has its definitive movie. That one installment that you feel will never be surpassed. Some do this multiple times like Dragon Ball Z (Original Broly movie, Resurrection F, Dragon Ball Super: Broly) but most will at least do it once. Justice League Crisis on Two Earths, Bleach: Hell Verse, Avengers Infinity War, Spider-Man 3, the original Mortal Kombat, Transformers G1 the movie, etc. Well this has finally happened with One Piece as it’s hard to see this one going down. Film: Red delivers on every front from action to music and it gets a massive bump in the theatrical experience. It’s a film that you have to see as soon as possible and it’s relatively new audience friendly so you can jump in and have a blast.

The movie starts out with a bunch of people yelling for help and they’re sad because the world is going to the pits and nobody is there to help them. The world is in the great pirate era after all so villains are everywhere and the government is so completely corrupt that you can’t really count on them to help you out either. Well, one girl has a dream…a dream of world peace! Her name is Uta and this is her story. In the present she has invited all of her fans to an island so that they can see her sing in person. Throughout her career she has only sung virtually through the cameras so this is a big deal. Just about everyone has come to watch her songs and 70% of the entire planet will either be watching her on TV or on the island. She almost literally has the world at her grasp and now she can try to achieve her dream. Is the dream really possible though?

Luffy is glad to see her because they used to be childhood friends until she mysteriously vanished one day. There’s a lot of questions about where she went and why she vanished but there isn’t much time to ask her at the concert. Things take a turn though when she announces that the concert will never end and she’s not letting anyone off the island. Is it even possible to have a never ending concert and how will this bring about world peace? All Luffy knows is that he needs to stop Uta but it won’t be easy as she has grown tremendously powerful over to the years to the point where there are few on this planet who can challenge her. He will have to go full force because if he can’t defeat her then he will never become King of the Pirates!

Right off the bat I can say that the movie absolutely delivers on the big songs here. One of the things the movie was getting a lot of hype for was how many songs it was going to have. Instead of calling it part musical I’d call the film part concert. Even as the battles are going you will usually have some kind of song going. It really helps to pump up the scene. One of the villainous songs sounds like something out of Lost Song and then you’ve got a ton of really peppy songs like in Sword Art Online. Hearing these in the full Imax settings was excellent. My ears were still ringing long after the film had ended and I was back home. I don’t think I’ve heard a movie with such loud decibels before but it’s perfect for a concert film.

You really felt like you were in one and that’s why the theater experience is a good boost to the film so I recommend seeing it in that setting at least once. The songs will hold up even after that though and I look forward to finding them online to listen to. Meanwhile the animation is also the best that it’s been in the series. It’s not surprising as One Piece’s animation grew quite noticeably better during Wano. And if that’s how good the show looks you can only imagine how good the movie would appear. They didn’t hold anything back here and every scene really shines. The colors are bright and there is a ton of movement in the fights.

Everyone looks powerful here and it also helps to really show just how powerful Uta is with her being able to block so many hits. In general I also liked the way her powers worked. Yes it seems incredibly broken but why shouldn’t there be a Devil Fruit that is this good? Eventually someone needs to have the best fruit out there and why not have hers be the best one? Because I think it’s fair to say that no other fruit can compare. It does have its own weaknesses of course but in most scenarios you figure that she will be able to defeat her opponents without a problem. The power levels in the film were all handled really well so I don’t have any issues on that front. I did find it a little funny that some randoms would actually challenge Luffy though. He’s one of the emperors now, would they actually try to challenge Kaido or Shanks? I feel like Luffy doesn’t get a lot of respect right now, maybe he just looks too young?

People who start their One Piece experience with this film may find Luffy to appear a bit on the weaker side but he is holding back for almost the whole film so he doesn’t really get to cut loose. That’s probably one difference compared to the previous films which is that Luffy doesn’t get a lot of action. It helps the movie avoid the usual power level concerns though. Keep in mind that Luffy is already Top 10 in the verse by this film so if he was having trouble with anyone then that would be hard to really make sense of. This way that isn’t really messed with.

Luffy also looks great in general here. He handles things very maturely and also does his best to respect Uta’s wishes even if they disagree on things. When she starts talking about how she doesn’t like pirates and how he should stop being one, he just walks away instead of trying to talk her out of it. He’s just not planning on having an argument and is ready to walk away. Perhaps confronting her would be best but they’re both super determined characters so he probably realized that it wouldn’t amount to anything. He also just doesn’t want to fight her since they’re still friends.

Luffy will fight his friends if he has to like when he took Usopp down but for the most part ever since then he tries to handle things peacefully like when Sanji would try and attack him. So it’s a solid character moment here and Luffy ended up fighting when the time was right. His best film appearance is likely still in Stampede but overall he has looked great in quite a few of the movie and this one would be near the top as well.

Uta also looks great here and is an excellent film original character. Film original characters usually have had a negative rep over the years although recently it hasn’t been much of an issue. That’s because they tend to be rather annoying and hold the cast back but that isn’t the case here as Uta is close to being the main character and a lot of the film is about her dream. We get flashbacks scattered throughout the movie on her childhood and what led her down this path. It’s all really emotional stuff and her plan is actually a very interesting one.

Make no mistake, she is a villain here and has gone off the deep end, but I do appreciate films where the villain is following their own sense of justice. It’s much easier to follow a villain who is at least trying to do the right thing and has strong ideals than one who is just evil for no good reason. (There’s a place for those villains too of course) Uta can handle herself in a fight and also really thought things through here. She had a strong plan that was nearly unbreakable so you really can’t ask for much more than that. It’s fair to say that she was the greatest threat to the planet in terms of sheer numbers and I’m not sure any future One Piece villain will top that.

At the end of the day Uta was by herself for many years aside from the old guy at the kingdom and she never lost hope. She just kept fighting until she got to her own answer on how to achieve world peace. It wasn’t the right answer perhaps but at least it was one. Now the film got a lot of hype for Shanks showing up but of course you shouldn’t expect him to do a lot here. It’s a fairly small role for him but it’s still nice to see the guy. He does leave an impact in his few scenes and you can tell that he is powerful. I have my doubts on if he could really take on Luffy right now but either way he is in the upper ranks.

I did disagree with Shanks’ decision to leave Uta though. You can watch the film to see how that all plays out but at the end of the day I think he needed to trust Uta to choose her own future a bit more. He may have thought himself to be doing something noble but I did not agree with it. It was not the right thing to do imo. It’s also nice to see his crew even if they don’t look as impressive as the Strawhats. Personally I think Luffy’s crew is easily the most powerful in the series by this point.

They get their own subplot on finding out a way to try and stop Uta but for the most part they aren’t as big a focus. You get to see them get some action and all though so everyone uses their special abilities. Zoro continues to prove why he is Luffy’s strongest fighter during this as several characters even react when he does his ultimate attack. Even Yasopp was impressed and that guy has seen Shanks fight up close and personal. Zoro was also the first one to react when Luffy’s crew was attacked and I appreciate that. You have to defend them right away. I give Bartolomeo similar credit because he was the first one to step in and try to help Luffy when he was nearly captured while a lot of other characters just froze.

There are a lot of guest stars here so be on the lookout for them. Some like Katakuri should have gotten a bit more to do if you ask me though. You almost wondered what the point of Katakuri was here since he didn’t end up adding much to the fight. It was still nice to see him though. Oven and Brulee were some of the more random ones initially but it did help to make the film feel a bit more ambitious. Having the canon characters show up to fight will do that to a movie.

The film does ultimately resort to a giant CGI monster as the final boss though so that still seems to be a curse in the anime movie industry. Why can’t we end with a humanoid battle? So many of them love the giant monster at the end and it’s just not as exciting. The movie’s top notch animation makes the most of it but having Uta as the final boss herself would have been a lot of fun. I’d say that would have absolutely been the best way to go here.

This movie has a ton of replay value either way. The pacing is really fast, I remember being surprised when the film goes to the present and we see that Luffy and the gang are already at the concert. No time is spent on them travelling there or an opening montage to set up. They’re just ready right from the jump and we get into the singing. It probably happens within the opening 10 minutes and things just keep escalating from there. The film doesn’t take many breaks either. We get some lore and flashbacks but always very briefly until we jump to the next big scene. The film is just really high energy and that fits in with the series always being a colorful adventure.

Fans of the government/navy who have lasted this long will probably be fine but if you’re someone who was on the fence about if they were good guys or not will want to step back here. They look so evil that it’s almost funny. They basically figure at one point that they should sacrifice millions of people to take one character down and you can probably guess who. At that point it’s not even cracking a few eggs to make an omelet. You’re destroying the whole farm for one. They just have no justification at this point and seem to just be trying to murder people for no reason. Kizaru was ready to destroy people without a second thought and the pirates have to stop them. Yeah the government definitely appear to be the true enemies here which is why anyone working for them feels complicit after a while. Just look at how they serve the Celestial Dragons who are still as evil and petty as they come.

Overall, One Piece Film: Red is excellent and one of the top anime films. I’m confident that it will be remembered as a big game changer for a long time to come. The writing is just excellent and set up a really great rivalry/friendship with Uta and Luffy from the jump. They have a better dynamic than most of the Strawhats to be honest. I can see why she was an instant fan favorite in the franchise. They should really drop Brook off the crew and replace him with someone cool like Uta. I wasn’t a fan of the way the film ended which is the only sour spot there but it’s not a horrible ending or anything like that. (After all, that would have kept this from being the best One Piece film) It’s just not how I would have done things, I would have gone with a slightly different ending because all you need to change is one thing. The scene after the credits is pretty fun though as one character gets re-energized. If you haven’t seen the film yet then it’s definitely time to change that.

Overall 9/10

Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam Review

It had been many years since I saw this one so it was nice to check it out again. The special really holds up quite well though as the animation is still very good and we’ve got some good fights here. Who wouldn’t want to see Black Adam take on Superman right? It’s one of those heavyweight battles you’ve got to see. Now in terms of power levels I do have some issues…but lets dive right into this.

The movie starts by introducing us to Billy Batson who is still doing his best to be a nice guy but it rarely seems to pay off. He gets beat up for his troubles and has been bounced from foster home to foster home. Clark Kent wants to interview him and this may be at a good time since Billy was starting to get disillusioned with everything. There isn’t time to finish the interview though as Black Adam shows up and immediately tries to murder Billy. Clark transforms into the mighty Superman in order to battle him while Billy learns about great power and what it means to be a champion of the people. Will a brand new Shazam and experienced Superman be able to stop Black Adam?

This is definitely one of the best portrayals of Billy Batson that I’ve seen. Fans of Shazam will appreciate his portrayal here as he’s a good guy just trying to do the right thing. Billy is courageous enough to defend the homeless guy from a bunch of bullies and doesn’t back down from those bigger than he is. As Shazam it takes him a little bit to get used to his powers but once he does then it’s off to the races. Ultimately he avoids taking things too far and listens to Superman even when it’s a stressful moment.

This is Shazam as a super capable hero and he looks really good throughout. I also appreciated Superman here as he has a lot of great lines. This is Superman at his best, a protector of the innocent and guardian of the planet. There’s a certain reverence to him here and I like that he is super experienced at this point and knows how to handle powerful opponents. This works great as a first meeting between the two with Black Adam and Superman initially gauging each other’s abilities. It was also nice that Adam just broke in and started fighting right away. No trash talking or anything, just going right into the action.

For the animation, it pops out as I mentioned. The colors are a little less sharp than something like the DCAU but we get a lot of solid hand to hand. It’s rare to see Superman actually engaging in combos like this as his strength is usually enough but against an opponent of similar strength it makes sense to handle the fight like this. The movie did a good job with that even when it was the 3 of them fighting. They would use their aerial momentum to keep on swinging and things like that. It was just nice to see. I can’t say that the soundtrack was as memorable unfortunately but you don’t really notice because of how hype the whole thing is.

Now I did say that I had some power level concerns so lets get into this. Superman just looks too weak here. Yes, Black Adam is powered by magic, but Superman routinely takes his eyes off of Black Adam leading to sneak attacks. I also thought Superman should have leveraged his experience more in the way that he fought. Like one tactical error was grabbing Billy and just taking a lot of shots when he should have instead tackled Adam away from the area. Superman just letting himself get buried by the giant tower was another miss.

While I’m sure Superman was holding back initially, after a punch or two he should be able to tell that Adam is strong enough to take the hits and then go all out. I just don’t see Superman being completely overwhelmed the way that he was here. Make no mistake, the fight was not close. Without Shazam there Superman would have lost rather easily in this movie without dealing much damage at all. Even if Black Adam could defeat Superman (And my money is always on Superman) it would be after a long hard fought match. It would be relatively even as opposed to a one sided massacre.

Still, I did like seeing the two heroes combo him. It made for a fun fight and I do think that Adam is one of the strongest DC villains out there. He makes for an excellent opponent to Shazam in the mythos and that guy does have a lot more experience so you can see why he would typically have the edge in their confrontations. The more Shazam fights the closer their battles will be though. To date this is easily one of DC”s best stand alone projects out there. It’s very short at less than 30 minutes so there is no time for fluff. We just jump right into the action. There isn’t a lot to say beyond that, just that it’s great all around so you really shouldn’t miss it. Power level issues very rarely hurt a film as you have to go out of your way to make things too crazy. I can buy into Superman having an off day or this just being a weaker portrayal of him. Maybe he just fought someone under the Red Sun and so his powers are weakened. Enjoying the fight is the most important part either way.

Overall, The writing is fantastic and it really helps to support the great fight scenes. When you grab 3 of DC’s strongest characters you know that things are going to go well and this movie does not disappoint. I highly recommend everyone to watch this one and with Black Adam the movie just coming out a few weeks ago, now is a good time to revisit this one. It’s also interesting seeing Adam as more of a pure villain as opposed to being more of a Punisher type character. This one took being banished rather personally and seemed to already be evil before that. Admittedly an evil Black Adam like this one is the version of the character that I’m the most used to but his character has been more nuanced for quite a while now. It would be nice if DC ever went back to these individual specials like this again. Not instead of the full animated movies of course but in addition to them like how they used to do it.

Overall 8/10

Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog Review

Scooby Doo has returned for another feature length film but unfortunately this one is rather weak. Usually I love crossovers but I felt like for this one they decided the film barely needed a plot as a result. Most of the movie is really just the characters hanging out until the climax. The script isn’t particularly great and the characters aren’t able to hold a story like this up on their own. As a result what you have here is a very unfocused movie with scenes that drag on quite a bit.

The movie starts with the Mystery Gang taking down another criminal when Scooby Doo suddenly runs away. He seems to be possessed due to this weird sound reaching his ears which causes him to dance and move around in rather weird ways. It’s definitely not something he has encountered before and meanwhile this appears to be happening to Courage as well. The two groups meet up and have to try and figure out what’s going on here. This will be one of their toughest cases yet though as the monsters here are very real.

Right off the bat I have to say that I found the sound gimmick to be really annoying with Scooby Doo just having a seizure the whole time. Perhaps it was an excuse for the animators to really show what they’ve got but the scene was dragged out immensely. It was the first hint that the movie was not going to have great pacing this time around. Far from it, instead the movie was going to take up as much time as it could. We then get the same scene with Courage and later on we see it happening to both of them.

It may be quirky and all but it’s not very interesting to watch. It’s just something where you’re waiting for it to end. Unfortunately Courage isn’t a very interesting guest star either. Pretty much all he can do is repeat what someone else has already said. He’s not mindless but he doesn’t have a whole lot of character on his own which hurts the character quite a bit. I was hoping that we would get to see him do something really cool but you have to wait until nearly the very end for that. I was glad he got something though but in the end I can’t say I’m a big fan.

Muriel is nice enough but there isn’t much for her to do. She’s the really pleasant character but that’s the extent of her character. At least Eustace has a lot to do since he’s the super mean/grumpy character who is always complaining about everything. I can admire the consistency there if nothing else. The guy is so over the top that it actually gets to be fun as you try to see what he’ll say next. That said, his character is hurt quite a bit by a random song that comes up during the movie. The song wasn’t even remotely good and was just a waste of time.

When your movie doesn’t have a big focus then you have to throw in scenes like this and it’s a really bad sign. It’s the definition of a filler scene. I also thought that the running gag of him grabbing a mask to scare the characters was a bit overdone. They are short scenes each time but you didn’t have to recycle the same joke over and over like that. At most you do a joke twice but when you do it more than that there better be a really good story reason for it or something. Otherwise it’s just obvious stalling again.

It just felt like the movie didn’t have many ideas for this film. There were some brief things I did like though. We had a nice action climax at the end with Courage and the monster. The various creatures reminded me of the Brood with how many there were and how they would hide underground. It was nice to see Daphne, Fred, and Muriel taking them down during the movie. That probably could have had more of a sense of danger but I’ll take a fight whenever I can get one.

We got some nice visual effects during the climax as well like one character turning 8 bit. In general the animation here was really solid as always for Scooby Doo. I’ve always liked how sharp the colors were and it really has a similar style to the DC movies. So on that end the movie hasn’t faltered. The music is okay, I did like the opening credits song at least even if Eustace’s song flopped.

So there are good things in this movie and ultimately it’s fairly short. So even though some scenes dragged on and it had some issues, I wouldn’t call it a bad movie. It’s absolutely one of my least favorite Scooby Doo movies and it has very low replay value so I probably would not end up watching it again but if I had to, it’s not like it would be a big ordeal or anything. It all just feels like a big missed opportunity. A crossover absolutely needs to relish in that fact and just have a lot of fun with the character interactions.

There just isn’t much time for that since Eustace and Courage don’t talk much. Meanwhile Muriel doesn’t have much to contribute in the banter department so we’re not getting far there. The rest of the mystery gang are around but nobody gets any big spotlight moments for the most part. The movie is by the numbers but executing on a lower level than it should have and it’s one of the only Scooby Doo movies where you may even start to get a little bored at some points.

Overall, It’s a fairly harsh time for the film but the positives are still there. It may not have met expectations but it’s still a decently good movie and I’d recommend it to people if they wanted more Scooby Doo to watch. Perhaps it’s a film that will age better in the future although I have my doubts. I’m eagerly awaiting the next Scooby Doo movie to get us back on track. We’ve had so many subversions, crossovers, and themed movies so maybe we should go back to a classic mystery. A haunted library or something with a few suspects and the heroes have to follow the clues. I may not be remembering a movie but I feel like we haven’t had a straight mystery adventure in quite a long while and that’s something I’d like to see.

Overall 6/10

Tiger & Bunny: The Rising Review

All right, we’re back in action for another Tiger & Bunny movie adventure! This time it’s a brand new story with updated visuals and everything so it’s already showing some different improvements there. I would say this movie is definitely better than the first one. It’s fairly low key and does suffer from throwing the giant opponent who can’t fight back cliché in the climax but aside from that you can tell that it’s trying this time.

The movie takes place after the show so Tiger’s powers are all but gone at this point since he can only use them for super short amounts of time. He and Bunny are now a part of the second division for heroes so in a way you could call them the B team. It doesn’t earn a lot of money though and Bunny can’t help but feel like they should get back into the A league. The test is coming up soon but things take a spin when corporate gets involved. The companies are all bought out by Mark and he wants to change things up. He’s axing the second league and is now pairing Bunny with a new hero called Golden Ryan. Tiger is left out and he’s starting to wonder if he should retire. First he’ll have to stop a new villain group that is re-enacting tragedies from an old play. Can he do it?

For the main plot, it definitely feels like Tiger has to struggle with confidence issues a lot. In the main show when he was losing his powers that became a big thing and now it is resurfacing with how he’s holding Bunny back. He really needs to get his powers back to 100% or this is probably going to keep on happening with him. He handles things mostly well though and tries to make sure that Bunny is set up at least. Although I think the right move would have been to make more of a scene and convince Bunny to stick to the B league. Call Mark’s bluff and maybe he would have gotten Tiger back to the A team.

As for Bunny, well as always he is the big standout hero here. We see how he spends a lot of his free time helping out the orphans and making sure that they have a lot of stuff. Now that’s high quality hero behavior and he even gets them all tickets to the biggest party of the year. Bunny is all about giving back to the community now and you love to see it. He’s also still the top strategist among the heroes and easily the most powerful. He may never end up being the main character as long as Tiger is here, but you couldn’t ask for anyone better as the #2.

The rest of the heroes don’t get a ton to do for the most part. You have Sky High who is still one of the top heroes and he gets to be in the fights. There isn’t much of a character development arc needed for him though. Same for Dragon Kid but it was nice to see her fight more here. We didn’t get to see her have too many serious battles in the main show. She’s always a loyal ally and a fun fighter to have at the ready.

Blue Rose is still acting like a tsundere a lot but fortunately she always makes the right calls at the right times. I was glad that she wasn’t sidelined for the whole fight with trying to put out Fire Emblem’s flames because that would have been a shame. She still gets less action than the others but does contribute in the big fights. Rock Bison has a bit of a subplot where he isn’t feeling like he sticks out very much. So he starts ripping off other characters’ catch phrases and everything. It’s not a good look and starts to just put more pressure on him.

I feel that this plot still isn’t actually finished yet so we’ll see if the next season picks up on it. I feel bad for the guy but at the same time it is true that he is usually lagging behind the rest and taking a lot of Ls. Then we have Origami Cyclone who wants to be able to fight straight up instead of always going for surprise hits from behind. It was an interesting plot although there wasn’t a lot of time for it. Ultimately he did get to try fighting up close and personal but for the most part the opponents here are just a little too high tier for that to work very easily.

Now onw hero who does get a big role here is Fire Emblem. In the show he was easily the worst character as he was always messing with Rock Bison no matter how much the guy told him to knock it off. It was very in line with a character like Puri Puri Prisoner or even Master Roshi with how he would get physical. So fortunately this film doesn’t have any of that as it decides to tackle his plot on a more serious note. Of course that brings up issues of its own and I can’t say it’s the kind of plot that I’m a fan of.

It’s a bit late in the game to try and save his character. Hopefully if he keeps the development then in the next season things could work out but sometimes it’s just a bit too late. Like I never got around to liking Gajeel even though he’s been a hero for over 10 years now. Sometimes it’s just too late and then it’s all game over. Here Fire Emblem is taken out by the villains for most of the film so he’s indirectly causing another hero to be indisposed the whole time and then when he does return for his big fight…he gets taken out rather quickly. I was at least expecting a big win for him. I can’t say that Fire Emblem really works yet and we need more screen time to see if he has really changed or if he’s just going to be acting the same way when he returns.

Finally we have Golden Ryan who is a new hero who has shown up and gets a good amount of hype here. He has gravity powers which is always super useful in any context. I love gravity powers and consider it to be one of the most high-end elements that you can use. He does look really strong here too and automatically became the second strongest hero after Bunny. He can be rather arrogant and all but I’m liking this guy so far. He add a lot to the dynamic and doesn’t feel like just another guy. Actually enhancing the dynamic and changing things up is absolutely what you want to strive for with a new character.

As for the new corporate guy Mark, well he’s just your classic shady CEO. The guy’s so over the top that you will keep wondering whether he is super evil or just shady. Sometimes the line can be hard to distinguish in these things. The rest of the supporting characters are around as well and it’s always nice just seeing everybody again. The movie does have a huge issue with power levels though.

So you’ve got a few villains here, the 3 main ones and the big mastermind. The movie doesn’t bother to give the main 3 names but it was nice to have a full squad. My problem is that none of them should be all that tough. Take the disc throwing girl. She has to go up against Bunny and Ryan which should be the worst matchup for her. Gravity will negate her discs and Bunny has the speed to catch her no matter how many illusions she has. The film has to actively make Bunny and Ryan look awful for her to last so long.

Then you have a guy with super voice going up against Bison, Cyclone, and Sky High. That’s all this dude has, a super sonic voice and yet he’s crushing them with ease. I’d like to see some team work here or even some common sense like dodging the attack and countering with a quick energy hit from Sky High. It seems to me like this really shouldn’t be asking too much. How are these villains who have never really fought before taking on seasoned veterans?

Finally we have the third guy who is a literal old man with a staff and he is crushing Fire Emblem, Dragon Kid, and Blue Rose. I liked his memory abilities which are kind of OP but in hand to hand he should be getting crushed. It is a running gag that the pro heroes are super weak, what with their having trouble with random bank robbers the whole time. Yes, we get that scene again here as the opener where the entire cast of heroes can’t beat one random punk. It’s extremely embarrassing at this point and shows how low tier the fighters are.

I have to blame a good amount of this on the writing though because it just doesn’t make any sense. At least the final boss has a giant form where he’s huge and everything. It may not make for an interesting battle scene but you can see how he would be putting up a fight. That’s the kind of energy that we should be seeing. While I thought the fights didn’t make a lot of sense, I will at least say that the villain motivations were good. I liked how the film executed the reveal on who the mastermind was and why they’re doing this. I thought the motive was quite sound and that goes a long way for a villain. Same for the other 3 who were working for the leader.

So that part was good. Lunatic even gets to appear for a bit but the role was mainly filler here. He doesn’t actually contribute anything to the story except to appear a bit for the fans. It’s really just a cameo that comes out of nowhere, but I appreciate it all the same. As I said earlier, the animation is also greatly improved here which is good. It’s still not going to hold its own against many of the more mainstream anime titles but at least now I can say that it looks pretty good. The soundtrack is still on the forgettable side though.

Overall, It’s nice to have another movie for the series. Even if the stakes might be a little higher here than in the first film, I would say that it still feels like more of a calm movie. Maybe it’s just because you never feel like they’re all in a lot of danger. It still executes just about everything on a higher level than the first film. It’s also nice that each of the heroes at least got a bit to do here even if it wasn’t much and we got to follow them down their paths. I could see some of these plots continuing in the future as well. So if you’re already in the series then this is a good movie to check out and see the characters. You’ll probably be a bit lost if you jump straight into this one though.

Overall 7/10

Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Review

It’s time to check out a film with a very unique style here. See, most of the film is just recapping parts of the TV show without even upping the animation and then you have some new stuff towards the end. I always feel like it’s a bit lazy to do things both ways. Whether it’s framed as a merged movie like Madoka or a movie split into episodes like Demon Slayer, you’re just doing the same thing twice. If you’re going to handle something twice then I want a completely different animation going in there and some changes to the story like how Super handled the Resurrection F part. It may not have been completely different but you didn’t really feel like you were watching the same thing twice. Still, as a stand alone film I suppose it holds its own but there’s not much reason to watch it over the show.

The movie begins by introducing us to the world of heroes which has become heavily commercialized. Various companies own the rights to the various heroes and they all perform as best they can in order to rise up the ranks. Tiger is old news at this point and his company is going under but fortunately he is bought out by a big company that wants to pair him up with the up and coming prodigy, Bunny. Bunny is a modern hero who is completely different in every way from Tiger. Tiger believes in secret identities and doing whatever it takes to save people while Bunny is more by the books and lets everyone know his true identity. Can they put their differences aside to save the world?

Well, this isn’t really a “Planet in danger” kind of scenario but that sounds cool at least. So in readapting the first few episodes you have the duo going up against a giant statue and they meet the other heroes but the big threat comes when a guy shows up who is a big thief. Robin is his name and speed’s his game. He is incredibly elusive to the point where all of the heroes teaming up are having a tough time keeping up with him. It’s almost like he’s mocking them…but that can’t be right…can it? This is another obstacle where teamwork may have to be the answer. That’s what you’d think anyway.

So, aside from the fact that readapting something is a bit iffy, this does work as a stand alone movie to the general audience. So if you haven’t seen the show before then you should be able to understand what is happening here well enough. It’s all about superheroes and fighting crime. It’s not too complicated or anything so it works out. The pacing is decent as well. Now your first tip off that something isn’t right may be with the animation. The movie doesn’t look great, and that’s because it just looks like the TV show most of the time which I already wasn’t very impressed with.

The movie feels at least 5-6 years older than it actually is because you had movies that came out a lot earlier in the 90s that look better than this one. So you can’t count on the visuals to hold it up. Additionally I don’t think the soundtrack is great either. There aren’t too many real memorable tunes. What that means is this feels a bit like a low budget adventure and the story/characters have to hold it up.

And to an extent I do think it works. For example I wouldn’t call this a bad film or anything. It’s not very solid but it is “good” and worth watching. I could recommend this to anyone wanting an action title. I would recommend a long list of other titles first but at the end of the day I wouldn’t be deterring anyone from watching this. It’s fun enough and does the job of keeping you busy for a little while but of course I am hoping that the series can hit the next level in the future.

The villain, Robin is okay at best but he mostly does good by relying on the heroes making constant mistakes. We find out that his ability is actually rather great. He can swap places with anyone and that’s such an overpowered ability for a verse like Tiger & Bunny where nobody is super strong like that. Right off the bat I had a bad feeling about the whole thing because there’s no way this guy should really lose. As long as he plays it smart that is but Robin makes a lot of mistakes and fumbles the ball. It was still fun to see the heroes strategizing and trying to find out ways to stop him though. There’s just not much to Robin beyond the chase.

As for the main characters, they’re decent. I like Tiger well enough as a good hero who wants to save the day no matter what. My only problem with him can be that he seems weak sometimes. Considering how good his powers are, he should be doing a lot better. He can increase his skills many times over with his power and yet he is still being outmaneuvered the whole time. He didn’t do so well against a normal bank robber near the beginning.

Bunny is still my favorite character here. The guy has very concrete goals and won’t be giving up until he has achieved them all. You want someone with that kind of focus on your side for sure and he is good at strategy. You could even say that he steals the show by the end of it over Tiger. It’s not surprising since that’s how things played out in the show as well. He can be a bit mean/rude but that’s just how he rolls.

The rest of the heroes don’t get time to do too much here. As usual Fire Emblem is annoying, Rock Bison seems way too weak, and the others are generally just not super effective even if they mean well. It was nice seeing Blue Rose talking tough here since this is before she started to weak around Tiger. The scene of everyone meeting up to introduce themselves to Bunny was a solid addition by the film. It may not have gone over well but it shows that everyone made the attempt which I think was a good idea.

That said, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss here. In part because the film is mostly recap but also because the story is very by the numbers. From the general plot you can mainly guess how the film will play out. I’d say the only twist would be how they deal with Robin and I was a fan of that. The heroes didn’t handle things too well for most of that fight so at least they had a plan by the end of the movie.

Overall, Tiger & Bunny is best experienced by watching the show since you can then seamlessly continue to the next adventures. You always could watch the movie and then skip the episodes in the show but it feels like more steps compared to just watching the season as you usually would. Go with your gut on this though and I’ll have a review for the sequel up shortly. Then we can really see how that one stacks up and if it takes the franchise to new heights.

Overall 6/10

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