Aquaman Review


It’s time to look at DC’s latest superhero movie in their cinematic universe. The universe got off to a rough start with its first few titles not quite hitting it out of the park like you would expect. Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League were all superb films. It wasn’t the quality that was lacking, but for some reason people just weren’t giving it great reviews. They simply weren’t ready for it. Whether this is due to smear campaigning by Marvel and its fans, fans just preferring more of a comedy/action blend for their CBMs, or something else, it is what it is. DC was forced to undergo a change so for Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad they went with Marvel’s approach and made the films more of a action/comedy hybrid. Gone were the darker, more thought provoking CBMs and we were more in line with the norm. In Wonder Woman’s case it succeeded and based on the films coming up it seems like DC will be sticking with this approach. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it. If it works for Marvel it can work for DC. Still, I think I will miss those original 3 films. (With Justice League’s original cut never quite being seen but what we got still had fair amount of its original identity I suppose) Aquaman is a solid film and if the rest are as good then DC will be in good hands.

The film starts off with a nice action scene as Aquaman’s mother Atlanna fights off a bunch of guards. I always think that a good way to spice up the origin story is by having the parents actually be secretly good fighters. In this case Atlanna is the one who does the fighting and she is quite good at it. It’s a nice way to start the movie and then she leaves to go back to Atlantis to die for her crimes of having a kid with a mere surface dweller. We then cut to the present where Aquaman has embraced his gifts as a defender of Earth. He grabs some drinks and saves people who are nearby. You could say that he is a local hero. That all changes when Mera shows up. She is the princess of Atlantis and explains to a reluctant Aquaman that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Atlantis is on the brink of war with Earth and if that happens then there will be big consequences. Most likely Earth would win since Superman could vaporize everyone, but that would be a last resort like the Snap and so by then everyone would have died. Aquaman must claim his birthright as King to put a stop to this. Can Aquaman really do this? He’ll have to put the bottle down and become something he’s always feared becoming. Something even greater than a king…a Super Hero!

It is said that films rise and fall on their supporting casts. It can be relatively easy to make a good main character (Not to trivialize this. Good writing is key to any character) but creating good supporting characters is a lot tougher. Particularly in a one shot film or the first in a series since they won’t get as much screen time as the lead and must be developed so that they are not simply walking tropes of characters with little personality. Fortunately, Aquaman does well in this area, especially as I am still not sold on Aquaman himself.

I will acknowledge that Aquaman is far improved from his portrayal in Justice League. There he was just very annoying and you almost wished that he wasn’t in it. Here we at least see why he became such a loud persona…even if that doesn’t make him much more tolerable. Here’s the problem with Aquaman, and he points this out himself. He’s good at beating people up and heading home. When that doesn’t work he is out of options and as he learns in this film, it usually isn’t enough. He loses in almost every fight that he gets into in Aquaman as the moral of the film is to fight creatively and to use his other gifts. It’s not Aquaman’s fault that he’s losing, but he takes the “not very smart” character a little far. He doesn’t seem as earnest or interesting as other leads. I won’t go as far as to call him a bad lead, but there’s nothing that makes him stand out. In a world of dynamic characters like Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Steve Rogers, and Clark Kent, there really isn’t any way for Aquaman to stand out. This is actually one of the few problems Justice League 2 may face. The trinity are rock solid, but the other members have a long way to go before they are all that good.

Backing up into the supporting lineup is where the true fighters are. Mere’s water manipulation abilities have always been very potent and the film illustrates why that is. She can shoot water with enough concussive blast to knock out an Atlantean. She can conjure up water from just about anywhere. If she is fighting someone underwater then there is no way she can lose. Mera could have easily beaten all of the enemies in the film, but the only reason she did not is because of the tribal traditions of the clan it wouldn’t have defused the war. As a result she needed Aquaman to help out. Still, Mera’s skills are never in doubt and she has to save him quite a few times. I’m already hoping that she will show up in Justice League 2 as she could hold her own against some of the villains.

Yes, this does force me to quickly sidetrack into one of the film’s weaknesses..the romance. The romance with Aquaman and Mera really feels undeserved and just falls flat. It all happens fairly quick with no real reason for them to pair up. It’s just there to check the box but cut the romance out and I don’t think anything would actually change. There just isn’t much to it. It could have been a lot worse so I’ll give the film credit for showing some restraint. Still, it should not have even been a factor.

Back to supporting characters. Vulko made for a pretty good mentor. While he isn’t the strongest fighter out there, he’s a good tactician and manages to keep the peace for as long as possible. He’s fortunate that Orm isn’t completely evil like other villains or he could have really been doomed. Meanwhile, Orm makes for a good villain. Villains don’t always need to have some tragic backstory or extra development to be good. Sometimes, they can simply be total villains with no reason for it and that works out well. Finally, you have the villains who believe they are fighting for a noble cause or that the ends justify the means. In Orm’s case, he makes a compelling argument for why war is needed. The humans have been polluting the oceans for a long time and show no signs of slowing down. If they don’t do anything then the war will be lost before it ever begins.

Of course, the Atlanteans could have at least tried to negotiate first. After all, as they point out several times the humans don’t even know they exist. Alerting them to this presence would at least open up a channel of dialogue. Then if the humans attack (and they will) the Atlanteans can counter and they will be within their rights. Still, as a backup option at least Orm is right that attacking now and sending a message will protect them from destruction. It’s not a heroic goal and Orm knows it, but protecting his people is his top concern. The film never shows him to be crazy, deluded, or ineffective. He’s on the wrong side, but otherwise he is a capable leader and that’s a good thing.

Then we have Nereus who is quick to join Orm’s cabal. It turns out that he is also looking for war and that’s reasonable. I do think he is quick to falter towards the end, but I suppose traditions are important. He’s not as cool as the other two big villains in the film, but he’s not bad. Then we have Black Manta who is the best of the villains. I’m all for a good villain revenge story. Most of the time it isn’t justified and can be a bit of a stretch in logic on the villain’s part, but regardless it makes for good motivation. Especially if the villain plays the long game and takes a long time to train and get stronger before seeking revenge. At that point, nothing will stop him/her from succeeding.

Sasuke Uchiha, Neo (RWBY), Broly, and many more. Villains whose whole ambitions have been turned to revenge over things done to them or their loved ones make for superb villains. It’s not a “Every villain who falls into this category is awesome) kind of thing, but if written well it’s hard to stop. A good way to sabotage this motive is to have the villain take it out on a target who isn’t a part of their revenge. If it’s someone getting in their way then that’s one thing. However, trying to attack the hero’s friends to get a reaction out of them is murky as it can make the villain a little hypocritical and can destroy whatever message they were trying to send. If they’ve got a problem with someone then that’s where it should stay. Manta blames Aquaman for murdering his father and is certainly right that it was murder. (He never goes after anyone else during this revenge tour which is important) Letting someone die when you can save them is only different from actively murdering the person in terms of scope. The latter is certainly putting you in as a bad guy while the former could be explained by a moment of cowardice or aggression. Naturally, those aren’t excusable, but I will concede that the latter is still worse just as a full lie is worse than a white lie. It’s all semantics though and at the end of the day I can see why Manta would want Aquaman dead. He does a good job gearing up for the second round and whenever he is on screen it’s a blast to watch. I look forward to seeing him in the sequel.

Atlanna is also a scene stealer whenever she shows up. Her role was handled extremely well and she gets the credit she deserves. While she may technically be lacking in raw power compared to Mera or Aquaman, she certainly makes up for this in talent and experience. You don’t get the idea that mother time has caught up to her. She’s older now, but still a fighter. Then we’ve also got the giant monster near the end who is quite solid. Honestly if the monster had died at the end I would have been pretty upset. Aquaman basically has him take a lot of extra hits which seemed to be causing a bit of effect towards the end. This monster seems pretty OP so it’ll be interesting to see how he is handled in future appearances.

I think that’s pretty much all of the big characters. It’s a nice roster as I mentioned earlier. As for the soundtrack, it’s less memorable than some of the other DC films but it wasn’t bad. I just seriously cannot think of any themes off the top of my head. As long as they weren’t bad then that’s the important thing I suppose. As for the writing, it’s decent to good. The characters are written well of course while the romance is lacking a bit. I do think that most of the jokes didn’t land though. At times the film tries a little hard to be funny, but doesn’t yet have the rapid fire dialogue that adds to the humor in some of the Marvel titles. It is naturally a tricky balance with the humor of course since there are no many different kinds. Unless it’s a dirty joke I wouldn’t dock the film any points for it. So, while the humor wasn’t the most effective, it doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the film one way or the other here.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here. It’s very low key but not a bad scene. I think the problem is that with how great some of the previous after credits scenes have been over the years it’s hard to go back to simpler days. Still, this will always beat the alternative of not having such a scene and I do think the sequel should be pretty fun. Aquaman is also the kind of character who is pretty tough, but could certainly be beaten is taken by surprised or overwhelmed before getting to the water so this villain could be a legitimate threat. I was hoping for a Justice League stinger, but I think DC isn’t totally sure what to do with those characters as of yet so I don’t expect we will see Superman or Batman for a while. I’m hoping that at least Wonder Woman can still pop up from time to time to keep the group united and ready to fight though.

Overall, Aquaman is a solid film. It’s got a good amount of action and works out well as an origin film. Since Aquaman already showed up in Justice League at least the origin was relatively quick. The scenes that we did get weren’t too long which is always good. The pacing is on point and the supporting cast is solid. I won’t say that the film is amazing, but it’s a fun watch and has a good amount of replay value so you could certainly see it again. I think that is almost as important as being a good movie since a true “good” movie should be one that you can see more than once. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

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Megaman X5 IF Review


It’s time to take a look at a quick one shot that came out recently. It’s extremely short, but still gives us a quick battle so that’s always good. I can’t say that I remember X5 in particular too well as they all start to blend together from X5-X8 for me, but the Nightmare Zero saga was always fun with the cool boss theme that we got. In this manga, Zero has been turned over to the dark side and is trying to destroy X. X has to fight back, but can he save the partner that he once had? It’s a pretty emotional 8 or so pages.

As this is an IF title you can probably imagine that it went in a different direction than what happened in the actual game. Here, X manages to defeat Zero, restoring him to normal. Unfortunately X seemed to die at this point so Zero used his own parts to rebuild X. Essentially they are now one and the same although then the ending rewinds time a bit and we see that they will both survive. I’m thinking that the latter part is what actually happened in the game with the first ending being the IF that this manga is named after. If that is the case, then I do think that the IF path would make for a reasonable spinoff although I think getting rid of Zero like that would be a dicey move. Having both X and Zero around is part of what makes the series so fun in the first place.

The art is definitely quite good. The character designs are on point and the action is pretty intense. You will find no problem with this part of the story. The pacing is also fairly good considering the length. I do think the one shot should have been longer, but maybe this will inspire the team to make a true Mega Man X manga at some point. We’ve had a few in the past, but having a nice ongoing series would definitely be a good way to revitalize some more interest in the series. Not to mention that it would just be a lot of fun.

Overall, IF is a nice little manga. It’s not one that will really be remembered though and I can’t blame readers for that because it will be over in the blink of an eye. The best way to think of this is to look at it as a little short story that can be placed at the end of a manga. If you haven’t checked it out yet then I’d recommend doing so. Particularly if you remember X5 a little more than I do, you’ll be able to appreciate this alternate route more. I do think it’s nice that the title addresses how Wily created Zero. That’s an angle that the X games never went into and I think it would be pretty interesting. Likewise with Light building X. Times must have been quite dire in those days and that would be the perfect plot for a big budget movie. Have it start out with Mega Man being defeated and the world falling into ruin until X shows up to save the day. Boom, that could be film of the year!

Overall 7/10

Tokyo Mew Mew Review


It’s time for an old school Shojo. This one is fairly similar to Sailor Moon in many respects. It’s a classic story of 5 magical girls who fight evil in the name of justice while also trying to get through their human drama. The art’s a big improvement over the former, but aside from that it actually ends up feeling a bit weaker overall. The manga has its share of issues. It’s a fun read, but it’s hard to call it a good one.

The story starts with a girl named Ichigo. She’s been leading a normal life up til now. Things are actually going fairly well for her as well, she is finally on the verge of being happy with Aoyama. Then she is transformed into a magical girl and the two responsible for this (Shirogane and Keiichiro) let her know what is going on. She is one of the chosen warriors who must defend the Earth from aliens. There are 4 other magical girls, Mint, Lettuce, Pudding, and Zacro. Ichigo must find them and enlighten them as to the responsibility they now have to protect the planet. They have to find the Mew Acquas and stop the demons from destroying the planet. Little does Ichigo know that this will be the easy part. Staying together with Aoyama while keeping all of these secrets will be much more complicated.

It’s definitely a very classic kind of story. There aren’t a lot of twists and turns that you haven’t seen before although I do applaud the series’ attempt to mislead you by throwing in red herrings. Trust me, there are a whole bunch of them in here involving who the Blue Knight is or who a mysterious cat appears to be. Your first instinct in both cases will likely be correct but if the series causes you to question yourself then I suppose you could count that as a win in its book.

Lets get right into why this series didn’t work so well. It’s unfortunately the romance and the fact that every character is in on it. Ichigo is one of those characters who is so charming that everyone wants her. Aoyama, Shirogane, Blue Knight, and Quiche all want to be with her. Keiichiro may also belong in that category. It’s definitely not the best way to get the romance going. Now, it could work if Ichigo just immediately denies all of them except for 1 and straightens things out. At the very least she could be like Kirito and pretend to be oblivious the whole time. Instead she always gets flustered around all of them which is a problem. She has to constantly talk to herself in order to strengthen the resolve needed on not cheating on Aoyama. Keep in mind that these two are together for most of the series so going with anyone else would definitely be cheating.

Quiche is a villain so his attempts to get Ichigo are naturally some of the trickiest. He pulls a Xellos with how quickly he’ll appear and steal a kiss. Ichigo is never able to bounce back from these moments and they seem to keep happening to her. When she is turned into a cat then another cat comes to try and steal her away several times. Ichigo just never shows any real strength or willpower to keep these characters at bay which can be pretty annoying. The scenes certainly do bring the series down without a doubt. So the romance was definitely one of the weakest ones I’ve seen in a while. It just couldn’t hold up.

At least the artwork is quite good though. It’s very clear and the characters don’t look too similar so you won’t have to worry about mixing them up. We even get some nicely drawn fight scenes as the Blue Knight took on Quiche. Most of the magical girl fights are less impressive since they tend to be one hit KO moves, but it just shows how strong their food powers are. As long as Ichigo is around you never feel as though the villains even have the slimmest of chances. They are simply outmatched and they know it.

Beyond the romance, I suppose Ichigo isn’t a bad character but even then I have to say that she is relatively weak next to most other Shojo leads. She simply doesn’t have enough confidence of charisma. Everyone walks all over her. Then when she turns into her super form she quickly turns a 180 and starts talking about peace and food. Sometimes the change is so abrupt that it’s almost alarming. I think the manga maybe dials up the cheerfulness of the characters a little too much in these moments. Especially given the circumstances at times.

As for Aoyama, he definitely wasn’t all that good either. My problem with him is that he always seems upset at Ichigo. You could say that this is because he has a hard time showing his emotions. After all in his side of the story towards the end we find out that he was never upset. Maybe it’s just how the author likes drawing him. Aoyama’s eyes appear to be glazed over and lifeless quite often. He wants to play along with Ichigo’s scheme, but just admitting that he knew would have saved a lot of grief. If he didn’t want to go that route, then just acting more cheerful would have helped. Instead he tends to be very quiet and sulky all the time. Ichigo does ditch him a lot, but if Aoyama has made peace with this then he should be fine.

The Blue Knight is definitely pretty cool though. He’s very powerful and determined to save the day. He always listens to Ichigo’s wishes even if they are quite dangerous at times like sparing one of the villains. It would have been nice to have seen more of him although I suppose his screen time was pretty reasonable. His name is also good since it’s hard to guess who is he in universe compared to Ichigo whose cat name is Mew Ichigo.

As for Shirogane, I have to give him a thumbs down as well. You can probably tell that I don’t consider the cast of characters to be a big strength for the series. He’s the classic mean guy who is constantly taunting Ichigo but it’s only because he cares. He teases her quite a bit and uses his car form to secretly still be her friend. It’s pretty deceptive and no matter how heroic they try to make him appear it is hard to sympathize with the guy. Then you have his partner Keiichiro who really doesn’t do much in the series. Honestly his role could have been erased entirely and I don’t think a whole lot would have changed. That’s how inconsequential he was in the series.

Next up is Mint who is probably the best of the cat members even if she basically stopped appearing by the end. It may be for the best since she started falling off pretty hard once Zacro showed up. Mint is also one of the slightly meaner characters as she has a rich upbringing and isn’t afraid to mention it a lot. It’s good to have a member on the team with a lot of spunk like this though and she was fun enough. At the very least she isn’t constantly distracted by romance like Ichigo is which is always good.

Then there is Lettuce who isn’t really my favorite member of the group. She’s very timid and always has a tough time doing anything without the others. In the grand scheme of things that is true for all 4 of them since they can’t seem to do anything without Ichigo. It just seems even more drastic for Lettuce. I’m thinking that having this member is another staple of the team so it was bound to happen sooner or later, but Lettuce never got much character besides that. I think the reason is that ultimately none of the members got a huge role after they joined since Ichigo began to steal all of the screen time. That’s why it is tough not being the main character.

Pudding is the worst member of the group. She can’t take anything seriously which is always a bad character trait. Comic relief characters can work, but surely you have to get serious when your life is threatened. Pudding takes this to the extreme as she could be held at knife point and talk about cake. She thanks the villains and acts super oblivious to everything. It just gets real annoying and the heroes should have kicked her off the squad for being too young anyway. Then we have Zacro who was pretty solid and if the series had went on much longer she would have probably passed Mint. She seems to be a lot more capable than the rest of the members aside from Ichigo. She already has experience using her abilities and is also a bit older than the other characters. This helps with her agility and physical skills. Zacro never really warms up to the others nearly as much as you’d expect and stays relatively mysterious even by the end.

Then we have the villains. There are a few of them, but lets just talk about the big 3. Deep Blue is the big mastermind and he’s certainly the best villain. He’s a very no nonsense kind of character and is efficient about achieving his goals. He’s crazy powerful and if not for some very specific circumstances I definitely think he would have easily won the fight here. It would have been nice if he could have appeared a little more though. Seeing him take names a few times each volume or so would have really ramped up the intensity. Then we have Quiche who is the villain with the most screen time. Unfortunately he is probably the worst villain. As I mentioned earlier he is always trying for Ichigo to no avail. It just doesn’t make for a particularly captivating motive. He’s also very skilled so if he had taken his task seriously then it would have been all over for the main characters. There just isn’t much that the heroes could really do against him and his speed.

Then we have Tart who is the counterpart to Pudding so you can probably imagine that he isn’t very good. He gets charmed way too easily so you have to wonder just how loyal to the cause he was in the first place. You can’t allow yourself to doubt your mission so easily. That’s just a big ticket to disaster 100% of the way and he knows it. A villain who was pretty solid is the stoic second in command, but his name escapes me at the moment. He’s always talking about percentages and how he’ll have to increase the dose if he wants to win. He never does and basically goes out without a fight but I still liked his personality.

Going back to the art, the fact that it is so good does help the series immensely. If its art was at the same level as Sailor Moon then the series would have likely dipped into the negative score range. As it stands, at least the manga volumes are real page turners. You’ll be blasting through the series at top speed once you start. Even if it’s a title that doesn’t ultimately hold up when you really think about it, at least it’s a fun ride in the meanwhile. I do think it’ll probably make for a fun 4Kids dubbed anime though. They can take the concept and really run with it.

Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew is a fun story with good ideas, but the romance really does bog it down here. It would have helped the series so much if Ichigo was just more independent and able to defend herself from her many suitors. As it stands, she always has to be rescued or simply succumbs to their whims until they end up running off. Playing the series straight as an action comedy would have easily made the series a lot more engaging. The drama is fine and all, but going the other route would have won the day. If you like an old school romance type manga like this one then by all means I recommend checking it out. Otherwise, I think you’ll have a better time checking out a different manga like Angelic Layer or something. That title has a bunch of action without worrying about romance.

Overall 5/10

ROM & The Micronauts Review


I haven’t read a lot of ROM so it was cool to see him take center stage here. He shares the main character role with the Micronauts as you would expect but as they are a whole team and he is just one person you can see how calling him the main lead can still be pretty valid. It’s a great comic with excellent artwork and a lot of fight scenes inside. I can safely say that the ROM comics are in good hands if they are like the ones here.

The story takes place after a big crossover event where Optimus Prime and a bunch of other big comic heroes fended off a big invasion. Now the Wraiths have begun to regroup and they are teaming up with the Baron, a big enemy of the Micronauts. They are going to work together to resurrect the Wraith god. Fortunately the Micronauts are on the case. They let ROM know that this is going on so he agrees to help them end the threat. Unfortunately the Autobots are currently busy so this group will have to do. ROM is an accomplished fighter, but what can the Micronauts do? Time to find out.

There’s a lot of action here right from the get go. I haven’t read the previous comics but I felt pretty comfortable with where the story was at. It drops enough little references for you to piece together what happened and what needs to be done. You’re thrown into the thick of it, but you always feel as though you are prepared. Another bonus for a smaller scale story like this is the stakes feel a little more real. I think I speak for many when I say that after the 50th time or so of the multiverse being at stake in DC/Marvel comics it can get a little old. In this universe it feels a lot more fresh at the very least and it’s more of a planetary threat then a universal one.

The writing is on point here. All of the characters seem pretty likable. I’d say that ROM steals the show for me. He just seems like such a great hero. The guy does what he can to save the universe and is focused on being a hero. He can be emotionless like a robot and yet not overdoing it so you can still feel his traces of humanity. He’s also the power hitter that the group needs as he can go toe to toe with any of the other villains in this comic. There’s an advertisement at the end of this collection showing off ROM vs Transformers and I can definitely see how that would be a fun battle. Honestly, ROM would probably have the edge there based on his speed.

That’s not to say that the Micronauts are bad though. They have their own mini robot who is pretty tough. He tends to talk a bigger game than what he can back up though so prepare to see him get wrecked a lot. The others feel a lot like the Doom Patrol or those classic sci-fi groups that would go on various space adventures back in the day. They’re all capable fighters and there’s a lot of history behind them. None of them particularly stand out, but they’ve all got potential to go along with their personalities. There just wasn’t much time to explore their characters with the impending crisis.

I also really liked the villains. Once again, ROM’s side won out here. The Wraiths have excellent designs and their magical abilities make them a legitimate threat to any of the heroes. The high ranking Abstract member can even go through things which is always handy. I think they didn’t need to make a deal with the Baron and come across as a little gullible at times, but I guess technically they did make Baron keep his end of the bargain so it worked out in their favor. Meanwhile the Baron is a cool villain as well. With his armor he looks like the Shredder and his power change ability makes him a tough threat as well. He’s certainly a master strategist and I have to give him some kudos for his plan. It’ll be interesting to see how the Micronauts try to get back at him.

This comic really succeeded in making you invested in both titles. I think a big part of these crossover events that has to happen is a way to get the general audience into the comic. Naturally fans of both series will already be reading it, but what about everyone else? A good crossover event is a great way to get in new readers and I think the writers did a swell job of making sure both series got a lot of representation. Both of them have many exciting adventures left in store. ROM appeals to me more because I love the aesthetic as well as all of the characters in the verse, but both are quite good and would certainly be earning a positive score from me. I don’t know when I’ll be checking out more comics in these titles but if I do you can be sure that I’ll be writing some reviews.

I usually end up talking about power levels a lot in these crossovers but there isn’t much to say. It’s clear from the start that ROM and the characters from his verse are significantly stronger than the Micronaut counterparts. Still, the latter are able to contribute because their small size helps them eradicate viruses pretty easy and they also have experience with the Baron. Shrinking ROM was also a good way to balance out their power levels. If anything I have to wonder how the Micronauts ever handle the Baron on their own because he looks way stronger than what they can deal with. So, ROM and friends may have been nerfed a little bit here, but not much and it was all handled pretty good I’d say.

Overall, This was a great comic. I always love crossovers and this one kept them at the high standard that I am used to. It was cool to see the Wraiths because up til now I never really knew who he would fight. I should also quickly mention that ROM’s two teammates were helpful as well. While they aren’t quite as strong as ROM they are certainly still formidable and should not be underestimated. The fact that these robot hybrids are effectively immortal and self repairing make them very lethal. It’s just such a cool concept behind ROM and I can’t emphasize that enough. Anyway, check this comic out, you’re sure to enjoy it!

Overall 8/10

Bumblebee Review


It’s time to look at the new Transformers prequel/reboot that came out. I’ve never been a big fan of the live action Transformer films. The franchise is still awesome and the G1 animated film was excellent, but for some reason it just couldn’t make the jump to live action. A large part of this could likely be blamed on Michael Bay and the Transformers not getting enough the respect a franchise of its caliber should have. A good adaption should be amazing. This one isn’t quite there yet, but Bumblebee is certainly an improvement and is actually a good film overall.

The film starts with a really nice action scene on Cybertron as we see Optimus Prime and a lot of the classic Autobots dealing with a Decepticon invasion. They are being pushed back though and Prime decides that they have to fall back. He sends Bumblebee to Earth to protect it and ultimately they will all converge on the planet to set up a counter strike. Bumblebee manages to make it to Earth, but a Decepticon follows and breaks his voice box. He has also lost most of his memories. We then cut to the main heroine of the film, Charlie. Charlie’s going through a pretty tough time as her father died and was quickly replaced with a new one. She has yet to warm up to him and has started distancing herself from her family. Her life begins to change when she finds Bumblebee and he becomes her first friend. Can she help him protect Earth from incoming Decepticons or is this all too big for one person?

I can’t stress enough how awesome the first scene is. I would certainly watch a movie all about the Cybertron fights and I think it would very quickly go down as the best Transformers title. It would basically be a CGI film at that point but the human characters really aren’t necessary so that’s not a bad thing. There’s no reason why Transformers has to be live action, especially if it’s a prequel. It’s almost a bit of a tease since you know the bulk of this film will be on Earth, but a strong opener is always a good thing to have for any film so I think this was the right move.

Also, the action does stay at a high level even on Earth. The previous films didn’t really have any choreography. The characters would typically just slam each other with normal hits but there wasn’t much to the fight scenes beyond that. In this film you actually see a lot of good hand to hand combat. Bumblebee is a really small Autobot compared to most of the others so as you would expect he needs to fight with a lot of throws and judo combos. The film shows that to great effect and the fights here have so much more energy than previous films.

The special effects are also much better. The characters actually look like Autobots and Decepticons here as opposed to being generic robots in the last few films. The designs are very faithful to the source material. Cybertron itself looks amazing and all of the visuals are just top notch. The soundtrack is also quite good. A lot of big 80s songs pop up here. Sometimes back to back in the same scene. It’s always nostalgic to hear these tunes. I can’t say that I knew too many of them, but the style itself just feels very nostalgic right from the start. It helps make the human scenes more fun.

Jack steals the show here as far as the human characters are concerned. From the start he suspects that the Decepticons are up to no good and is pretty reasonable about it. As he explains….their name is the Deceptiocns! That should be the end of the story. Unfortunately he is outvoted by the top brass so he is forced to work with the Decepticons, but I like that he voices his displeasure over this constantly. He doesn’t even pretend to play ball with them which is good. If you’re that confident that they’re up to no good you can’t shake on it. I hope he will return for a sequel.

Charlie is the actual main character here and she’s pretty reasonable. Naturally she is going through a tough time so she isn’t in the best of moods, but she isn’t nearly as sour as other main characters who were in a similar predicament. She does a good job of doing what she needs to and even her inevitable blowup moment isn’t nearly as dramatic as you might expect. She also ends up helping during the climax. The only moment where Charlie doesn’t look particularly good involves a diving situation. Granted, she never agreed to anything but the way she handled the situation wasn’t amazing. Also, I probably would have kept the window closed in the next scene. Memo is the next door neighbor who shows up and acts as the comic relief here. He’s not nearly as bad as he could have been, but I can’t say that I was a big fan. He seemed a little too desperate to hang out with Charlie the whole time and I don’t think it was just so they could be friends considering how quickly he was going.

So the film had a lot of positives, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I do think that some of the humor scenes could drag on a little too long. Bumblebee stumbling through the house and breaking everything is definitely an overdone trope. After breaking a bunch of stuff you’d think that he would learn and adapt quick enough to stop making things worse. That doesn’t happen and he almost completely totals the place. I also think Bumblebee being so scared during his first appearance was a little odd. That subplot seemed to stick around as he didn’t even put up a fight towards the climax. I suppose the damage from the opening scene may have also prevented him from fighting, but I was still a little puzzled the whole time. Other humor scenes worked fairly well though like the Ricky Roll theme getting a quick cameo.

Charlie’s family also wasn’t too bad. I can see why she wouldn’t get along with them, but I thought the parents did a reasonable job of being annoying while still feeling genuine about looking after her. They weren’t trying to be annoying and at the end of the day they were a little helpful. The new dad more than the Mom, she could be a bit much at times since she was more reluctant to help. The bullies were certainly dramatized, but I did like the fact that they didn’t recognize Charlie outside of her job. In movies a lot of time they seem to have perfect memory but realistically I doubt they would remember everyone they make fun of. The revenge against the bully was a bit drastic though and I think that scene could have been cut. I didn’t find it particularly funny.

Overall, Bumblebee was pretty good. It was certainly a lot better than I had expected it to be which helps its case quite a lot. I think it will hold up to repeat viewings as well even though I certainly don’t plan on re-watching it anytime soon. The pacing is on point with an action scene always being around the corner. The film can try a bit hard with the humor at times, but at least it never devolves into dirty jokes like the old film. Whether you find them funny or not, I wouldn’t say that any of them are terrible. If you are avoiding the film because you have had poor experiences with the previous installments don’t let that stop you from watching this one. Bumblebee really feels like a brand new start for the series and if the quality stays at this level then I can finally start looking forward to these Transformer films again.

Overall 7/10

The Death of Superman Review


It’s time to look at this recent DC movie. Doomsday already got an adaption a long time ago, but now the New 52 lineup can give it a whirl as well. The animation and fights here aren’t quite as solid as the ones in the original, but I do think Superman got to use his speed a little more which is always cool. It’s a solid re imagining overall and will definitely have a lot of replay value for future watches. However, adding in the League also adds in a bunch of scenarios for the writers to have to deal with which the film doesn’t always put to full use.

The film starts off with a meteor heading to Earth. It busts through a space ship and falls onto Earth. Doomsday walks out and begins his murdering spree. He wants to destroy everything on Earth and slowly makes his way to the cities. The Justice League begin to track him, but this could take a while. Meanwhile Superman is debating on if he should finally tell Lois the truth or not. He better hurry because based on the title he may not have a whole lot of time left to live. Could this be it for the Man of Steel?

Surprisingly the first 40 minutes are used to focus on the Clark and Lois dynamic rather than getting us to the big fight. I think the Lois and Superman stuff have already been done to death, but I wouldn’t fault the film for it too much since I’m sure every writer wants a crack at this. Unfortunately I thought the film made Lois look really bad here. Granted, Clark isn’t in the right at every turn either, but my main issue is that Lois is just rather rude the entire film. She just doesn’t seem like a nice person and given how Superman is all about being nice it just seems a little off.

Case in point, Lois has a co-worker named Grant who is always trying to dig up the dirt on Clark for her. She seems like a really nice friend even if she’s a bit nosy and is just looking out for Lois. She even buys Lois a coffee. I think you’re not supposed to like Grant, but honestly she was just a quality character. Look, the gossip mill at work will always be going. At least she lets Lois know what the others know and gives Lois the option to control the information a little. Lois just brushes her off along with the others in the hopes that nobody will find out but that door has already been slammed shut. She just isn’t very open to talking about it. I also think this is an unfortunate aspect of centering Lois’ character around the romance. It consumes all of her scenes when she is typically supposed to be busy being an ace reporter. It’s probably one of her weakest appearances in the continuity.

Meanwhile Superman is nervous about telling her the truth which makes sense I guess, but if he’s getting serious about her then he should absolutely drop the bomb before the wedding. Doing it afterwards would just be super irresponsible. He was also a little too much at the dinner where he kept trying to silence his parents. The guy’s gotta be able to take a few embarrassing stories better than that. In fact, that would have been a good time to tell Lois that he was Superman. Would have been perfect to be honest. Well, the whole romance stuff certainly wasn’t the best, but the meat and potatoes of this is the fights anyway.

Once the fights start they are definitely a lot of fun. It’s always cool to see Doomsday going up against the Justice League because that isn’t a matchup you get to see often. The fights with them and then Superman are basically nonstop action so the whole second half is just a lot of combat. It all looks really solid and the film doesn’t disappoint. While I did mention earlier that it’s not up to par with the previous adaption I think calling the animation anything less than great would be selling it short. It’s still excellent and the action is enough to recommend the film.

Of course, I do think the Justice League seemed heavily nerfed throughout to make the plot work. That’s why sometimes films just cut everyone else out to avoid this issue. It becomes a case of if you’d rather have the audience suspend disbelief for no other heroes coming to help or having the heroes come and then be completely ineffective. This film chose the latter while the previous chose the former. Some characters like Hawkman are pretty accurate or if anything look too strong. That’s fine, but when we get to the big shots it gets a little tricky.

Case in point, The Flash. We see early on that Hawkman was able to land 2 hits that really sent Doomsday flying. Then Flash comes in and his attacks aren’t leaving a dent. When Flash goes at super speeds his hits actually increase in power tremendously. I think that’s one aspect of the Flash that is constantly overlooked, but at super speed he does have incredible amounts of super strength. That along with the Mace should have done considerable damage to Doomsday. Showing Doomsday taking a pounding and then adapting would have been good to see. Doomsday’s durability along with his regeneration is incredible after all and that would have made the fight so much better.

Then Green Lantern comes in and basically just plays defense. He tries trapping Doomsday and then making a barrier. Both are poor options. Blasting him from the sky and flying around a ton would have been far better options. Then he is knocked out in one hit. Keep in mind that the fight starts off in the early afternoon and doesn’t conclude until late in the evening yet none of the Leaguers wake up. I think the most accurate member was Wonder Woman. She actually gives Doomsday a long back and forth fight where she dealt quite a lot of damage. She showed off her super strength and combat experience. Superman will always be the real power hitter of the League, but I think having the others contribute in a similar way to Wonder Woman would have been good.

Also, the League completely forgot about team work or even fighting at the same time. Every leaguer waits until the other member is down to start fighting. Hawkman comes in first, then loses. Green Lantern then shows up and loses. Then Flash shows up and loses, etc. Martian Manhunter, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, nobody ever teams up at all. They seem to insist on fighting Doomsday 1 on 1 which makes no real sense. It also doesn’t make sense that Hawkman and Green Lantern would both have time to fight Doomsday before Flash arrives on the scene. With his speed even after saving civilians he should have been the first one on the scene. I think the main issue was having Doomsday take down the League while staying believable. Depending on how he beats them you could argue that either Superman has no chance or he suddenly gets power scaled way above the others. I think doing the latter would work just fine. Superman has always been the strongest member of the League and I would argue that typically it is by a fantastically large margin. That doesn’t need to change.

Showing the League hitting Doomsday with a bunch of combo attacks and the beast just refusing to stay down would have been very powerful. The film doesn’t even need to hold back on having him get extremely weakened or losing a limb or two and regenerating. It would show off his healing factor as well as his “adaption” ability. It would work similar to Amazo as their attempts to defeat him would only make him stronger. It’s a unique situation where they could show off all of the League’s talents and skills while still having Doomsday stay on top. I think that would have worked out really well and made the fight more realistic.

Well, that’s enough on the power levels. It isn’t really anything that would hurt the film but always something I need to note. Also, the League took way too long in finding Doomsday. He started murdering people early on and even took out Atlanteans, but it took at least a day to find him. Really? They should have found him within an hour or so after that. Just put the Flash on his trail. By the time they find Doomsday he had already murdered quite a few people. Which the New 52 lineup could be a little off an on with how violent they are. The first installments are quite violent and after that they started to dial it down a bit. This one is a little more on the violent side I’d say. It’s certainly more violent than necessary as we see Doomsday crush quite a few people.

Unfortunately this leads the film into the animal violence territory which was really unnecessary and definitely did hurt the film. A poor bear gets attacked by Doomsday. The scene has no purpose even within the narrative as we can already reasonably assume that he is stronger than a bear. If the film is trying to show that the food chain has been altered, that is rather obvious as well. All a scene like this does is take a star away from the film and lower its replay value. It’s a shame that the film had to mess up here.

There are quite a few after credit scenes here to set up the sequel. Basically each of the Supermen get a scene. I think it would have worked better as one long scene than all of the various cuts though. Just one long scene that sets up the sequel. It’s less jarring than having a quick 3 second scene, cut, 3 second scene, etc. Still, it’s a good attempt though and the sequel should definitely be fun. I look forward to seeing the League deal with these guys. This time they’ll need to be more prepared for the fight though.

Overall, The Death of Superman was a pretty good film, but one that could have definitely been even better. You’ll surely enjoy the big fights with Doomsday and it is nice to have it as part of a longer continuity since you see cameos for the supporting characters like Damian and the Atlanteans. I do think the film may have brought too much baggage with it in the first half though and it should have been trimmed down to get us to the action a little sooner. I definitely still recommend checking this film out though. It’s a good action story with a lot of hype moments. The title basically spoils most of the movie, but I think it’s assumed that you know the plot going into this one.

Overall 7/10

Malone Review

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

It’s time for a CIA type revenge thriller. Revenge films can always be tough since naturally the lead is getting revenge for something which means a tragic backstory. Some films take this as far as they can. What’s the saddest thing that can happen? Usually it involves family dying, sometimes it’s the film dying (By having the dog die) but there are many different versions. The film has to be careful not to make the scene too tragic/mean spirited or the movie is over before it has begun while still trying to make the scene reasonably emotional. It’s a tight rope act.

Richard used to work for the CIA, but lately he has a hard time murdering people. He wants out and decides to just walk away. Naturally you can’t just walk away from a job like this but he’s the best in the business so it’s reasonably easy to dodge his former subordinates. He finds himself in a small town that has been taken over by corrupt cops and thugs. They want to commit terrorist acts against the country and see Richard as a threat. They decide to destroy him and his newfound friends to teach the guy a lesson. Richard will have to either stop the enemies or avenge his friends.

This film has that gritty 80s vibe to it from the start. You never really feel like Richard’s friends have a shot here. They all mean well and are pretty nice but that’s exactly why they seem expendable. You have the kid who looks up to Richard, her father who refuses to sell his land to the villains (uh oh) and a CIA agent who has arrived to arrest Richard but decides to team up with him instead. Death flags will pop up for all 3 and the real question is who will live past this ordeal. Also since the cops are involved and corrupt this can lead to the frustrating scenario where they can and will arrest Richard for anything just so they can take his guns. They can even just handcuff him so the villains can beat him up without a fight.

When the cops are in on it the hero is put in a very bad spot. It’s pretty hard to overcome this because after a point the only option is to take down the cops and the villains which will lead you to becoming a fugitive across the country. It’s a tough spot for sure. The film does a good job of painting a bleak picture for Richard. It’s certainly a thriller with high stakes. I can’t say that Richard does a bad job against them as he reasonably does all he could, but I think he begins to falter with the romance angle in general and some of his decision making skills. He may not have had to go for revenge if he had planned things out better.

The romance angle here is definitely very weak though. The CIA agent coming over just to be swayed by Richard was certainly a bit much. There goes her professionalism. I can understand her not wanting to listen to the corrupt order to murder Malone, but there’s a fine line between that and getting together with him. Then the film also has the kid start to like Richard which makes for a very tricky plot. Especially since Richard is not nearly as firm as he should have been in declining her. He’s at least 30 years older than her, maybe more so. It was just a lousy plot. The film should have absolutely skipped the romance plots in this film and that would have been a really good idea. It’s all pretty unnecessary.

Naturally the film can also be a bit gritty. I wouldn’t say that it ever becomes over the top violent or anything but it’s definitely got that 80s vibe to it. The deaths can be pretty gruesome even if they aren’t all on screen. It’s basically what you would expect from the premise. Unfortunately the CIA part of it doesn’t get as much screen time as I would have liked. It would have been nice to see the CIA step in and start fighting with the villains. After all, while they want to cover all of this up you’d think that they would also be happy to take care of the local mob and cops right? Instead they also appear to be just as corrupt as the villains. The film tries to make it crystal clear that only Malone and the two people he’s living with can be trusted.

Overall, Malone isn’t a film that I would particularly recommend. It feels a lot like some of the wild west films like Hang em High and other such titles with the tough main character who shows up to take down the villains but simply isn’t nearly as engaging as those were. The main character isn’t quite as good and while the villains were reasonable I guess they don’t do anything to save the film. It’s not a very pleasant film either. Naturally it’s fun to see Malone go in and take down the villains, but by the time he does it feels like an empty victory.

Overall 4/10

Has-Been Heroes Review


It’s time to look at what is likely my first Rogue game. The genre is definitely pretty interesting since it’s so unique compared to others. Here if you die you lose everything. Forget about keeping things like items, level ups, money, etc. If you die you start from scratch with nothing to show for it. It’s an interesting dynamic. Honestly I think I would prefer it if you got to at least get level ups or something since you would eventually be able to power your way to the end. Still, it’s steady stream of quick levels can be pretty addicting and you’ll find yourself wanting to keep playing “1 more round” over and over again.

The plot is pretty basic. There are a group of heroes who used to be quite impressive back in their day. Unfortunately for them they have grown old and people barely even remember them anymore. Well, they’ve been given one last mission. They have to escort these two princesses over to another kingdom. That should be easy enough but the world is overcome with monsters so maybe this won’t be quite as easy as they thought. Don’t worry about the plot much though as it doesn’t return again until you’ve beaten the game 6-7 times as you get the true ending. The rest of the endings don’t even finish the plot as they just unlock another character.

The gameplay uses a 3 lane system. You have a hero on the top lane, middle, and bottom. Each one can attack when his gauge is full. This is how you drain away at enemy’s stamina and then their health. You have to time it just right so you finish off the stamina and then damage the opponent in order to chip away at the gauge. Otherwise you won’t be making a whole lot of progress in the fights. It’s a very interesting system for sure and a complex one. Throw in the spells and then you’ve really got a lot to think about during the fights. Fortunately you can pause the game to think about your options but pause too often and you’ll just be taking up too much time. That’s the way I see it at least.

One nice thing about the game being so complex is that you can feel yourself improving as you go through the game. I lost my first 10 games before finally reaching one of the endings. From there it took me about 5 more tries to get the 2nd ending and then another 3 or so for the third one. There are 12 endings but if I kept up that pace maybe it wouldn’t have taken much longer. At the same time, it’s like Pac-Man as the more endings you get the longer the game becomes. That’s because the levels stack on top of each other so at first the game is 3 areas long, then 4, then 5, etc until it reaches 8. Naturally you can see why losing when you’re at area 6 or 7 during a late playthrough can be pretty rough. The bosses shuffle each time so you never really know who you are going to be up against.

There is also some luck involved as the shops and chests change each playthrough. On my final victory playthrough I got a good line up as I got the mind control spell, 2 water spells, and 2 little minions who would help me blast the enemies. On other playthroughs I just didn’t have enough money to do much of anything so I ended up falling behind the curve. My best recommendation is to fight as many battles as you can on the way to the boss to stock up on money so you can get as many items as possible. If you run out of money then you’re basically sunk. Always have a plan when going into a boss fight as well and don’t be afraid to pause if necessary. How you start a fight could very well determine how you end it. For my tip of the game I would recommend getting any spell that does direct damage to the opponents like the water blast. It’s incredibly different and can make all the difference in a fight.

The graphics aren’t bad. I like the illustrations we get for each ending. There was a reasonable amount of skill put into the drawings. The actual animations during gameplay aren’t anything amazing, but it looks pretty clear. You can usually tell what is happening. The only exception is the status effects that play whenever you hit a villain. There are way too many words and they go too fast so you can’t really tell what they are saying. That seems to maybe be intentional but certainly worth mentioning. The soundtrack is actually quite solid though. It has a good variety depending on the levels and is soothing enough to enhance the gameplay experience. The later levels seem to decline a bit based on the tracks I heard online, but it’s still quite good all around.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. If you want to get all 12 endings prepare to be here for over 20 hours. It depends on how quickly you get used to the gameplay and learn the tricks of the trade of course, but I wouldn’t expect to get the hang of it too soon. I can’t stress enough that this is a pretty difficult game. It’s no walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll learn best through trial and error. There are also bonus modes like Challenge Mode, Seed Mode, etc. Getting through with everything will take a long time. I believe I got this game for around 10 bucks so that’s a lot of value for that price.

Overall, Has-Been Heroes is a pretty fun game. The story certainly takes a back seat as this is the kind of game that barely even has a plot, but the gameplay is the main thing here. The gameplay is smooth and a lot of fun. It may not be the most enjoyable experience at the very beginning if you just don’t get what you have to do, but as soon as you figure it out the sky’s the limit. I’d be up for trying more Rogue games out, but I still believe that they would be more fun with some actual progression. I want to feel like I’m getting closer to the goal with in-game features as opposed to just mastering the style more and more. It makes the whole experience just feel more rewarding.

Overall 7/10

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies Review


It’s time to look at the Teen Titans GO! movie that came out recently. I’ve watched the show ever since its beginning and it’s always been very hit or miss. It can have some decent episodes and then it can have some truly terrible ones. As a result the show is leaning towards a negative rating at the moment, but of course things can certainly change by the end. With a film I figured the writers would try to be on their best behavior and come up with a good story so as not to embarrass its viewers. Well, the movie is a considerable step up and I can happily say that it was a quality movie. I was worried for a little while, but it all turned out okay.

The film starts with the Teen Titans being mocked by the Justice League. While Robin and co. aren’t thrilled about this it’s hard to deny that the League have a lot more going for them. They’ve got big budget films on their resume while the Titans haven’t got a clue. Robin decides that the only way their group will ever be respected is if they get a big budget movie. They head over to Jade Wilson to plead their case but she explains that she’ll never make a film about them. The only way around this is if the Titans can get rid of all other heroes or finally get an arch nemesis. Both options will be tough for these guys, but Robin knows that it’s time to step up. Can the team do it?

Slade gets a pretty big role here as you’d expect since he is easily the Titans’ most iconic villain. This film is the first time they’ve met in Go continuity so it was nice to see him arrive. He’s played in a much more comedic light here as you’d probably expect. It may take a little while to get used to him since his “Mind Manipulation” gimmick isn’t quite as humorous as most of the other Titans. Still, he does give us a pretty good twist by the end (Well, if you’ve read the comics you might not be fooled but the twist works to an extent regardless because there are two routes that the movie could have went with) and he can certainly fight. I was glad to have him on board here.

Where the film excels is naturally in the writing/humor. See, typically the issue with the series is that the humor is cringy instead of funny. Usually it’s very crude or just flat out gross. This film rarely goes there and instead the humor is in how crazy the Titans are and how unprofessional the team can be. A good example of humor is how the Titans go around preventing everyone’s origin. The humor can also be a bit dark in how they have to murder some people without going too far into dicey territory. As I mentioned the only gag that drags on is Slade’s. (Saying his name gets old as well) When Slade isn’t around the rest of the humor is fast and to the point.

I also liked the film’s soundtrack. Some of the songs were meant to be parodies of course, but they still worked very well with or without context. Robin’s song about being a real hero was awesome. Likewise I really enjoyed the Teen Titans opening song that was also used during the climax. It’s really impressive just how good the song is honestly. It’s the kind of song you could actually listen to in a serious context and still enjoy it. It helps that the graphics for both scenes with the song were quite impressive. It started the film out on a high note and right away you could tell that it was a bit of a step up from the show. Even the animation was quite on point here. While the style isn’t really different from the show, there is a lot more movement so I imagine that the animators had to use many extra frames. It allows for better visual gags and some nice action scenes as well. On a technical level the film had no issues and since the writing was solid as well you can see how this film got off on the right foot.

As far as the main characters go, Robin is certainly the best hero just like you would expect. He actually knows how and when to get serious unlike the rest of the heroes. He got the team their opportunity to get a movie and didn’t mess it up unlike the others. He really wants to be a good crime fighter and is just held back by the others. I’d go as far as to say that without the others he would have already had his movie. Still, he’s pretty patient with the other titans and has all the qualities of a good leader. Unfortunately the other four don’t look very good here. They actively try to wreck his movie in a fit of jealousy and rage. You could argue that it is quite personal since right after Jade tells the Titans to stop goofing around they immediately did the opposite. I think the implication here is that they didn’t like the way she said it, but it’s still awful petty of them. Cmon now guys. You really feel bad for Robin the whole time and even if he does get suckered by the end you can’t blame him for trying. This was his life’s dream and he may not have gotten the opportunity again otherwise. You go Robin!

Another strong area in the film is its ever changing plot. While getting a movie is the main focus of course the film goes into a few different segways where you think it may spend a lot of time doing something only to refocus. A good example of this is the heroes deciding to go back in time to change the superhero origins of the League to replace them. You’d expect this to be the bulk of the plot in any other movie but here this montage only lasts for a little while before the Titans go with plan B. I think that plot could have been its own movie as well, but the film could have potentially locked itself in a bit since then it would become a bit more predictable as to what would happen next. It still worked for the quick gags though. There’s just a lot happening in this film throughout and it has the kind of energy that you want to see in a movie like this. It embraces how crazy it is and ultimately ends up being the definitive comedy DC film.

Of course this wouldn’t be a true comic book film without a post credits scene right? It hints at a future project to come if you take the scene at face value. Honestly I wouldn’t have taken it very seriously myself since it would be the ultimate gag to get everyone’s hopes and dreams up. Of course, we do have a rumored crossover film coming up which is similar to a direct sequel so I guess in a way that does lend some credibility to the scene. Regardless it is a pretty fun scene though and one that I’m sure you’ll have fun with.

Overall, Teen Titans Go! really surprised me with this one. The humor is just so much better than you would have expected based on the show. We’ve gotten glimpses of what the show could be like from time to time, but to actually pull this off for over an hour straight? I couldn’t help but be impressed. Aside from the Slade humor being a bit weak I can’t think of any negatives for this film. Even if you haven’t seen the show before now I highly recommend checking this film out. It’s just a lot of fun and all you need is a basic understanding of DC comics or at least the comic book movie industry to really get into what’s happening here. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to accept Robin as a real hero!

Overall 7/10

Creed II Review


It’s time to look at the new Creed film. While boxing movies may have never become a huge genre, it was always one where you could immediately think of 5 films. That’s because the Rocky series exists. It set a really high bar for the genre so then when it left you couldn’t help but miss it. When the first Creed film came out it worked as a nice sequel to the franchise. Now we could finally see a whole new generation of fights. While I believe the first film holds the slight edge, this movie does a good job of staying on the same level and certainly delivers with the fights.

The movie starts with Adonis claiming the heavyweight title from another guy. He is now the world champ and has begun to settle into his role as a master. He and Bianca are starting a family and things are going well until Viktor shows up. He is the son of Ivan Drago, the guy who murdered Adonis’ father. Naturally Adonis has a hard time trying to refuse Viktor’s challenge and decides to get into the ring once more. The problem is that Adonis is a quick fighter, but his hits don’t land a lot of damage. If he isn’t careful then it’s going to be all over. He has nothing to gain while Viktor has nothing to lose.

From the start of the film’s trailers and plot summaries I was a bit dubious about Adonis’ decision to fight. Of course it’s all very personal to him of course and he brings up the fact that Rocky essentially did the same thing, but it was a little different. In Rocky’s defense, Ivan murdered Apollo right in front of him so he had to get in there and avenge him. In this case, it’s all behind Adonis, but he just wants to prove that he can win where Apollo did not. Adonis can bring honor back into his family name. He trains and everything so it’s not like he walks into the match blind, but I do think it certainly wasn’t a great call on his part. If you gotta take the fight then take it, but don’t block everyone out in the mean time. Adonis even pushes Bianca away for a while during this period.

By the end of the film Adonis has realized once more what is really important and effectively ends his character arc..until the sequel. While he may have had a few rough patches I would still say that he is a pretty solid main character to root for. Meanwhile Bianca has her music plot although it doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in this installment. From what is shown we can tell that Bianca is doing quite well though. I’m glad the film didn’t try to go for the “Adonis is jealous” route here as that would have been petty. Adonis is certainly not that kind of character. Bianca’s definitely a solid heroine and it looks like her career will keep going on in the next film as well. I don’t know how long the shelf life for a boxer is but there’s a good chance she will outlast him.

Viktor is the main villain here and he definitely looks a lot stronger than the guy from the last film. In fact, the film makes him look so powerful that you may have a tough time believing that Adonis can hold his own at all. The guy is just way too strong and Adonis’ hits don’t have nearly as much weight. There’s not much to Viktor aside from being the villain here, but I’d say that this works pretty well. All you really need to know about Viktor is that he wants to win to please his father so naturally his drive is very strong. At the same time he definitely fights dirty so I don’t think you will be forgetting that he is the villain anytime soon.

Rocky still serves as the main mentor role here and does a good job in it. His fighting days are certainly gone, but he’s still an excellent coach because of his experience both in and out of the ring. Since he overcame the health problems in the first film they aren’t a concern this time around. While it would be nice to see him fight as a homage to the old films it isn’t all that realistic because of how old he is. When Ivan shows up you get the feeling that the guy can still fight, but Rocky is certainly not in a condition to do so. He still gets the good one liners in though. Meanwhile Ivan is a pretty solid villain like Viktor. His only failing I’d say is that the guy puts way too much stock in trying to impress the Russians. He really shouldn’t care after they abandoned him. I suppose his national pride blinded the guy until the end.

Sort of a side note, but it was nice to see Max here. He’s always pretty fun on ESPN First Take so seeing him here was pretty surreal. If anything it made the boxing matches feel a lot more realistic and legit here compared to previous films. The movie does a good job of making you feel every blow. You can instantly tell which shots had glancing damage and which ones really made the character feel it. For the big comeback punches you’ll have the slow-mo feature at the ready. I’m sure that a big reason why you will be watching this film at the end of the day is for the fights so they do deliver.

As for the soundtrack, that one is definitely a step below the classic Rocky films. The new tracks just aren’t nearly as inspirational. They don’t make you feel like it’s time for the hero to take down the opponents and save the day. They may be fast paced tunes, but I can’t say that the lyrics seem all that great. Even the script can be a bit weaker than the old films as it has a bit more language. Nothing too bad, but still just enough that it can be a bit noticeable.

If there is any other weak aspect of the film it is definitely the romance. It did take up quite a bit of time and I think the first film already had that plot completed. The extra drama we got here could feel forced at times. It seems to be resolved though so I’m assuming that for the third film it won’t really be a factor. I’m still wondering what that film will be about, but I’m betting that somebody arrives to challenge Adonis. It would just make sense right?

Overall, Creed II is a solid boxing movie and works as a good sequel to the first Creed. It’s got everything you would want to see in this film. It’s reasonably long with solid pacing so it never feels like it is being dragged out. The main cast of characters are all rather solid. If the film intends to redeem Ivan and Viktor by the end I have to say that they still have a lot of work to do. I still consider both to be villains. While Adonis may not have looked quite as good as in the first film I think he’ll be back at his best for the third film. I hope they get Max to sign on for the third film as well since his insight is always appreciated. Of course, throwing in Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith would also be exciting. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would definitely recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10