Spider-Man Review


Spider-Man has had a whole lot of shows and movies over the years. He is Marvel’s most popular character of all time after all so you would expect nothing less. The character tends to churn out a lot of quality content. Ultimate Spiderman may not have set the world ablaze but it was definitely a solid show with good animation and a lot of guest stars. This show tries to take the character back to its roots as more of an origin and then slowly starts to build things up. It definitely had a solid run and I’ll look forward to seeing what’s next.

The show starts off by getting the usual origin out of the way with Peter being bitten by a radioactive spider and then allows Uncle Ben to be murdered. We then cut forward to Peter being accepted into Horizon High on scholarship. It’s a very prestigious school, one of the top ones in the entire country for technology. He’ll now be surrounded by other geniuses at the school and Aunt May is naturally very proud. He’ll continue to work as Spider-Man on the side but this school is hiding more secrets than Peter would have initially suspected. Can he continue to hide his double identity while also keeping his grades up and uncovering the school’s mysteries?

For people who grew up with the Spider-Man comics from the 60s, they’ll feel pretty nostalgic. It’s fair to say that we haven’t had a proper Peter Parker story in a TV show since the 90’s version and that was quite a while ago. Ultimate Spiderman while fun, was absolutely a Spider-Man story first and foremost. It was about him constantly teaming up with other heroes and even working as an instructor. That show was going for a team up approach while this one is going for a more personal feel.

It’s like comparing Batman the Brave and the Bold to the classic 90’s Batman story. Both have very different approaches. Now I’m more of a team-up guy personally but that doesn’t mean a solo story will lose. You’d have a hard time finding people who prefer Brave and the Bold to the 90’s show or saying that Ultimate Spider-Man beats the 90’s version. Solo stories can be a blast as well and then when they have their guest stars it feels like a bigger deal. With constant team up series you do run into the issue of how to increase the threat each time or how to make the individual stories feel threatening after having end of the world stakes.

Ultimate Spiderman had that issue to an extent at times as it’s hard to go from Spider-Man taking on the Beyonder to stop the universe and then going back to Paste Pot Pete. This Spider-Man show starts out with far more street level threats for Spider-Man to take down which then leads up to the season 3 finale where he has to defend the Earth from Venom. Now lets talk about where this show ranks real quick. Naturally it does not beat the 90’s show but I would put it above Spider-Man Unlimited, The Amazing Friends, the original cartoon, and the CGI show. Pitting this one against Ultimate Spider-Man is tricky. Ultimately I would give that one the slight edge. It’s close but ultimately that one does win in animation and it had a healthy episode count with a lot of solid adventures. Who can forget the mobile game adaption right?

So that would still put this on the higher end for Spider-Man shows. If you look at the show on its own then it absolutely stands out quite well. I thought the show handled the approach of seeing Spider-Man slowly mature and become his own hero really well. An interesting angle is also how it introduces the other Spider characters like Gwen, Miles, and Spider-Girl early on. In a way it’s like a look at the 60’s Spider-Man if he grew up in the modern day where there are just so many heroes. Now, while it may have been even more interesting to have kept Spider-Man by his lonesome to really start off small, it is kind of nice to have other characters trying to hide their secret identities for a change. It’s like a big game of cat and mouse as nobody knows what the other is doing. I always like that kind of tension.

For the animation, it’s not nearly as vibrant as Ultimate Spiderman was, but it does look very clear. I think once you get used to the more pale colors, the actual flow of the animation is quite solid. The hand to hand action is really good and the choreography even for the energy attacks is always on point. You can follow along with the action really well. The soundtrack is less noticeable but unfortunately that is really the norm for most shows. Really if you look at post Justice League there aren’t many comic book shows where you can point to a really vibrant soundtrack. (Ignoring the animes) The only one I would name would be Avengers Assemble as to this day I say they ripped some of the themes straight out of Justice League. It was always cool to hear them of course. That said, there is one theme I really liked here. I would unofficially call it the Cloak & Dagger theme since it always appears in an episode where they show up. That can’t be coincidence right?

Season 1 is mainly episodic but with a lot of plot lines being foreshadowed. This was a nice touch because it’s one of those things the original comics did so well and any superhero show starting out should absolutely do this. Yeah it can be risky if you don’t get future seasons but it’s worth it. Early on in season 1 the show already starts to foreshadow the Jackal, Spider-Gwen, Doc Ock, Norman, Alistair Smythe, and many more characters. you have all of their human personas walking around so you know what’s going to happen to them even before the characters themselves do. For some characters the payoff is quick while for others it takes a very long time.

One of the big sagas in season 1 was the big Spider-Island adaption. I remember when that arc was still going on in the comics and the show handles it pretty well. Suddenly every character has spider powers and you can imagine how society would go absolutely nuts at this point. If everyone is super then nobody is or at least that’s how the saying goes. Spider-Man would just have a lot of competition in standing out. Doctor Octopus also gets several episodes to himself as he is introduced. This guy would go on to have a pretty massive role so that makes sense. The first season does a great job of setting the stage and getting all of the characters introduced.

Season 2 starts to ramp things up for Spider-Man from street level threats to more high end villains. First off, Peter gets a job at the Daily Bugle so we’ve got that iconic storyline now. Meanwhile Doc Ock is trying his best to work as a hero but can Spider-Man really trust such a guy? It’ll really test his whole motto about giving everyone a second chance. Venom also finally merged with Eddie Brock, leading to the most famous version of the character. Even the Avengers show up and get kidnapped so Spider-Man has to save them. Yes, Spider-Man is a rookie no longer. Now he is a full hero and people are counting on him.

The Venom two part saga was pretty hype. Eddie definitely makes for a powerful villain and it add some tension since he knows who Spider-Man is and how to reach him. When someone like Aunt May is put into a dangerous spot naturally Spider-Man isn’t going to take that well. The Avengers episode is admittedly a little cheesy that they were captured so easily. By the way, it was A.I.M. that captured them so…I’m having a hard time buying it.

Season 2 doesn’t end there with the big events though. Next up we have a saga where a bounty is put on Spider-Man so every villain wants a crack at him. This leads to many episodes where Spider-Man has to deal with many villains back to back. It was a good way to show off his stamina and really illustrate that Spider-Man is not an easy guy to bring down. This all leads up to the whole Superior Spider-Man event where he trades bodies with Doc Ock. Now that was an intense storyline both in the comics and the show.

You do feel bad for Peter though because Ock puts his life through the wringer. It’s the kind of thing where no matter what Peter does or says later on about someone else being in his head, people will never trust him quite the same way again. Ock does a great job while trading places though and shows Spider-Man several ways he can improve. Now, he’s not an improvement in every way of course as he’s more of an anti-hero but he does make some valid points about Spider-Man installing better web equipment and having tech around to monitor the city. Ock took the whole job very seriously.

This also helped introduce Cloak and Dagger who would never become main characters in the show but looked good whenever they showed up. I rather like that duo so it’d be cool to see more of them. Their great theme song helps as well. If anything you might miss Otto when he’s gone. Although I didn’t really care for his possible romance plot though. The show mainly stays away from any romance which is probably for the best since in a school setting that could get overly dramatic pretty fast.

With Peter back we get the Avengers getting kidnapped again which is always fun. Beyond that the final episodes are all about the Goblin War. Norman’s making his big play..or is it Norman? Either way Spider-Man and the other wall crawlers will have to try and take down this army of goblins. Fortunately most of them are just grunts with a costume but it is concerning that so many have appeared to spread chaos.

Definitely a solid way to wrap up season 2 for sure. The stakes were increased and it was nice to get a change of pace here with the whole body swapping thing. The Avengers admittedly looked very bad in this season and it would continue to an extent in season 3. I guess that’s the one thing with having a lot of guest stars here. To show off how powerful the new threat is it can be tempting to have them lose so Spider-Man has to save the day but you have a hard time believing that the Avengers would lose first to A.I.M. and then to Regent.

Finally we make it to the final season which is easily the shortest one at 6 episodes but at least each episode was double length. The title of the season is Maximum Venom so you can imagine who the big villain is. So Venom is coming back and this time he has brought an entire planet of symbiotes with him. Together they manage to take over the planet, the Avengers, and just about every supporting character there is. Characters like Aunt May have to form a resistance and we even get Moon Knight on the team. For many of the heroes Earth is already lost so they plan to fight back a little bit here and there or wait it out in the sewers.

Now I’m not going to say this is executed quite as seriously as it all sounds on paper but I wouldn’t say it’s comedic either. The show actually plays this out pretty straight and Venom is really shown to be a fierce opponent. We also get Mary Jane introduced to the season at long last. They may play up how awkward Peter is around her at times though especially with baby Groot messing with him during their appearances. You feel like Mary Jane would make herself scarce after the opening scenes but at least she took it all pretty well and just seems like a very nice person the whole time. I suppose she just barely made it into the show before it ended since she showed up for the final episodes of the series.

Season 3 ended the show off pretty well. We got to close out a lot of the big plots here. All of the heroes are on good terms now and they’re pretty much ready to leave the school. I still don’t like Max but at least he should have less things to hide now though. Spider-Man is also ready to become an Avenger so things are looking up. If we got a season 4 then I’m guessing everything would go sideways again on account of the Parker Luck but at least like this things went well for him.

Lets talk about some of the characters. Peter is the main character of course and he’s really good. He may make his share of mistakes but throughout the show he is portrayed as a nice guy who does what he can to help out. Balancing his work as a superhero and an everyday student is naturally pretty difficult as it is. While it takes him some time, he does live up to his reputation for giving people a second chance when he forgives Otto Octavius which is pretty tough after all the things that guy did. The show also takes time out to show what a genius he can be as well which is something we don’t always see a lot of lately. The school setting and expanded take on his origin days helped to give him time to show this off instead of just overwhelming opponents with his physical power.

Then we have Harry who gets a pretty big role and character arc here. At first he starts out as Peter’s best friend and then of course things get pretty heated once he learns more about the Goblin heritage. He also gets a bit jealous when Otto enters the picture as well. It takes a while for all of them to really form one close unit but I liked him and the cool fire sword he got as Hobgoblin. It helped to make him more of a threat and not just another one of the friends. Since Peter’s friends all had super powers here that may have easily overshadowed him.

I definitely did not like Max though. I found him to be one of the most ungrateful characters in the series and he was always quick to go against Peter despite how much the lead did for him. Peter had his back every step of the way and the guy never did anything to try and help him. The worst of it was in the final season when Peter tried to save his job twice including disclosing his secret identity and Max just slammed the door in his face. Mix that in with all the dubious experiments and Max is just not a good guy.

Anya is one of Peter’s best friends in the show and she becomes Spider-Girl. Anya’s a fun addition to the cast and from the main members I certainly haven’t seen her as much as the others so it was nice to see her get some extra screen time here. She doesn’t really have any big personal plots compared to some of the other characters but she’s always ready to fight and help out.

Miles gets the biggest role from the friends as he helps Peter a lot and they share secret identities pretty early on. He also has the plot with his uncle/father (I forget which but I think it’s his father in this version) being a super villain so that adds a personal element to things. Surprisingly it’s a bit of a smaller role than you would expect. He’s typically the comic relief member of the group and tries to make sure everyone is having fun.

Then we have Gwen and naturally she has a big role since the Jackal is always around. Surprisingly Captain Stacy doesn’t show up as much as you would expect. Gwen’s a solid friend and may be the most fleshed out character from Peter’s inner circle. This family development definitely helped a lot in giving her things to do aside from just fighting the villains off. Her battles with Jackal definitely tend to get pretty intense. The Jackal’s also a fun villain. I’m always up for seeing more of him as I consider the guy to be a far more compelling evil scientist than Otto. It also opens up the door to the Spider-Clones although the show didn’t get into that yet.

Aunt May is solid as always. I did like that she was able to fight here like when she took her giant gun out. It shows that she was ready to rumble which is always important. I like to think that she knows Peter is Spider-Man as well even if she doesn’t say anything. Jameson’s role here is small but he does look good in the Venom episodes when he puts his life on the line to buy his staff some time. It shows that while he is a pretty gruff fellow he’s ultimately still a good guy. He’s a solid boss who thinks of his employees first.

Otto gets a really big role in the series since he starts out as a hero, turns evil, turns good, turns evil again, then he turns into Spider-Man, then he turns good again. He had a whole lot of things going on that’s for sure. I never really became a fan of his though. I guess the character just never really interested me but he’s better than in Ultimate Spiderman so I’ll give him that. While I usually didn’t care for his episodes much next to the other characters, I did like the Superior Spider-Man story arc quite a lot so that one worked out really well. At the very least his fans should be happy with how he looked.

Likewise, Norman gets a lot of props here. He’s the big mastermind behind a lot of the villains which is very fitting to his character. He’s always been the kind of guy who manipulates others from the shadows. He seems to return over and over again throughout the series. Harry finally got some closure from his character by the end which was a good way to wrap up the cycle. Norman’s always been one of the most compelling Spider-Man villains and the show did him justice.

Sandman doesn’t appear much but his opening episode was very memorable. It actually gets rather tragic by the end of it too. His powerset is always fun to watch and he does make for a pretty sympathetic villain the whole time. Speaking of minor roles, the Avengers look decent at best but most of the time they come across as pros who talk a good game but really can’t back it up. Being kidnapped and having to be saved by Spider-Man multiple times isn’t the best look after all. As the Superior Spider-Man Ock was also able to defeat them rather easily.

Finally there is Venom and naturally he looks pretty great here. He has several hosts during the series and in each one he is able to dominate pretty quickly. I’m still not a big fan of the whole twist that he was one of the weaker symbiotes on the planet though. That always seemed a bit cheesy to me. I like to think of Venom as one of the tougher ones. That’s just how I’ve grown up with him after all. Seeing him be humiliated and mocked by the others doesn’t feel right. Beyond that he does have his own sense of pride though and makes for a pretty intimidating villain. He was a fitting choice for the final boss.

Spider-Man definitely had a good run. There were a lot of solid adventures here and characters to meet. It’s not quite a great show as it would need that extra boost to reach the next level but it was quite consistent. As the seasons went on the show just kept bringing more plots forward and it felt like a pretty strong continuity was established here. Whether something happened a season ago or two the show would remember. If it had kept on going it would have been nice to see how everything else was adapted. Alas, all shows must end at some point.

Overall, Spider-Man is definitely a show that all fans of the character should check out. In general if you enjoy superhero shows then this will be a good one to check out. The story is sound and you have a good blend of action and adventure. It’s a pretty light hearted show and you can also expect some decent comedy. The jokes don’t tend to drag on for the most part or anything like that so you’ll be able to focus on the story. The show doesn’t really have any weaknesses so it makes for a pretty fun experience from start to finish.

Overall 7/10

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review


It’s been a long time since SHIELD started and quite a bit since it finished at this point. I’ve had the review on the backburner since November of 2020. The show certainly had its ups and downs over the years. It was always fun to have this show to look forward to each week either way and with over 130 episodes it lasted a while. I definitely won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. Grant Ward’s various appearances and basically coming back every season was always a blast. Maybe one day these characters will return. That said, I ultimately would not recommend the title due to some seasons just going a little too crazy.

The basic premise of the show is that there is a group known as SHIELD which has always protected the peace over the years. They do so from the shadows and nobody even knows they exist aside from all the big companies in the know. Agent Coulson is one of the highest ranked members. He was thought to be dead after the Avengers 2012 film but he managed to survive. The show begins with him assembling a new team of fighters. Ward, Skye, Fitz, Simmons, and also the experienced Agent May. Together they aim to stop Hydra and all other threats from infecting the planet. Season 1 is mainly about introducing the team and taking some grunts down first. The season ultimately ends with some big plot twists as well as an inside agent who was a traitor all along.

This was a solid way to introduce the cast. One of the more underrated scenes is when Garrett shows up with his team on the SHIELD base and we get some quick fights. Ward took care of his opponent while Coulson and Garrett had their talk. It was pretty tense and also cemented Ward as the most dependable guy on the team which helped make the twist more effective later. While teased a lot, I also like how they made sure to reference the Avengers in just about every episode. It was an effective way to remind people that SHIELD was in the universe even if later on it felt less and less like the show was actually canon.

Coulson is debatably the main character of the series although you can make an argument for Skye. He’s a very solid leader and does a good job of always making sure SHIELD is on the right path. It was nice seeing him get some power ups over the various seasons but for the most part he stayed as being a very normal down to Earth guy who was ready with the quips. He had a lot of the best lines in the series and always helped to add some levity to the situation. It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Agent May is definitely the toughest member of the group. She is able to fight through serious injuries and never stops battling. Her nickname of being “The Calvary” may get old after the heroes mention it for the 50th time but season 1 was really about building up hype for all the characters so I suppose it makes sense. Her fairly emotionless approach to most scenarios was always fun. Her best moment is likely when she crossed over into another dimension to take out some powerful aliens in Season 6 and effectively had a time frozen fight to the death there. It was quite impressive.

Then you have Ward who is always super confident and charismatic. He tends to steal the show whenever he is around because the guy is so fun. While most of the other team members are either rookies or jaded retirees, Ward is just an excellent agent who is still in his prime. He’s skilled at everything he tries and that’s why he is always the person people turn to. How many characters are able to consistently get hype as a hero, villain, cybernetic copy, and alien in the same series? Whenever Ward shows up you know something is about to go down.

That said, there was one scene with Ward that I found ironically funny as soon as it happened. So in the series there are 3 people who are extremely determined to protect Skye. First you have Coulson who really sees her as a daughter figure. You have Calvin who is actually her father and so his goal is to protect her at any cost. Then you have Ward who is obsessed with Skye and wants to protect her in his own twisted way. All 3 of these characters have a good amount of hype and skill so you figure they can handle anything right? Well, there’s one scene where Skye gets threatened so all 3 of the hype characters pull out their guns only for Whitehall and his crew to take out bigger guns so they surrender.

That to me was the funniest scene of the entire series. To have all 3 of these characters just immediately surrender to a bunch of guys with guns was hysterical. It was certainly tough for the heroes before the era of them all getting their powers that’s for sure. As for Skye, she definitely gets a whole lot of development across the various seasons. She starts out as a timid rookie and eventually becomes a confident rebel. In the final season she even actively makes the choice to murder one of the villains against orders. Specifically, she ordered someone to murder a villain though so she didn’t get her hands dirty in that scene but she takes out her share of enemies.

Once she became Quake, Skye became one of the most powerful SHIELD agents which is impressive. The fact that she can conceivably destroy the planet is pretty impressive. So Skye’s a good character but I do think she uses her powers rather poorly. She should be winning just about every fight and yet most times she forgets she has powers or uses them way too late. There are so many times where she is defeated and you have to shake your head. When you have impressive abilities like that you really just need to fight to the end and keep on going. Personally, I think she just didn’t train enough.

Then we get to the worst member of the group Fitz. Fitz is just extremely annoying from day 1. His personality is your standard science guy who is really smart academically but doesn’t do well socially. After he gets betrayed by Ward he loses a lot of his mental functions for a while so it takes multiple seasons until he is back to normal. You can try to make the case that this is why it was so easy for him to turn to the dark side but there is still no excuse for this. Fitz is very easily turned on multiple occasions. He is often okay with taking the easy way out such as sacrificing a few to stop an attack. He goes as far as to perform tortures on his teammates and the guy never properly gets any real repercussions for this. By the end of the series you can’t look at him without thinking that you are just flat out looking as a villain. Fitz is not a true hero as far as I’m concerned. His romance plot with Simmons also drags on over and over again and often times Fitz is tempted to forsake his duty as an agent for this.

Unfortunately Simmons is pretty much just as bad. When we find out that Skye has powers Simmons is very quick to say that the lead should be destroyed. There is no mind control here or anything like that. Simmons just jumps right into drastic territory because she thinks the risk is too great. The fact that she was willing to betray her friend so easily was just crazy. Then you have the whole destiny thing where she and Fitz delude themselves into thinking that they are immortal so nothing can go wrong in the present. That’s why pretty much any scene with these two can be painful. They’re just bad characters.

Fortunately we had some extra agents in Hunter and Bobbi who were far better even if their screen time is pretty limited. Hunter doesn’t take things too seriously and you could say he isn’t even all that heroic. Mainly he’s here for Bobbi. He still makes a lot of mistakes of his own though. When we meet the “Real SHIELD” lets just say that things get shaken up. That said, It made for a really cool cliffhanger to suddenly have a whole other group around. I would have been fine exploring that plot for a while longer to be honest because there is a whole lot you can do with that.

Bobbi also stands out as a quality character. One of her better scenes is when an alien warrior shows up and just easily crushes the main cast. Bobbi goes up against him in round 2 again facing certain defeat but doing so to buy a little more time. She’s a talented fighter and doesn’t even like combat but is always willing to stand back in the fray. It’s too bad she wasn’t around to fight more. Next up is Mack who gets a pretty big role by the end of the series. I wasn’t a fan of his though.

Mack’s main issue is that he’s not good with power. He panics a whole lot and starts yelling at the team for no real reason. When the going gets tough in the final season he literally just quits even though he has a responsibility as Director and just gets out of there. Then he gets depressed and shuts everyone out for over a year. You can’t be making these kinds of mistakes when you’re leader or you’re just putting everyone in danger. That’s why I could never support his rise to leader, especially when May or Skye would have done a much better job.

Lincoln is one of those guys who joins up but you feel like it’s just so he can have a romance with Skye. Given that there are other guys around who will last longer that means he was doomed from day 1. Lincoln was reasonable I guess but he doesn’t leave a huge impact. His electric powers were cool though and he did defy the Inhumans at times so I’ll give him credit there. Radcliffe is one of those villains who’s around a little more for comic relief at times. He’s a super genius given that he was able to build Aida and he usually comes out on top with his plans. He evaded SHIELD for years after all. He’s a fun enough villain and has some humorous moments even if he doesn’t really get to go in the field a whole lot.

We got some guest stars early on in SHIELD even if they wouldn’t return for long. Nick Fury’s scenes in season 1 were a lot of fun. It helped really make Agents of SHIELD feel like a big deal at the time. Maria Hill also got to appear and she’s a capable general as always. One of the more surprising appearances had to be Lady Sif. She gave us a fun episode even if Ward was mind controlled a little too easily. I like to think he wouldn’t fall for that. While not a guest star, we also had Agent Triplett show up for a brief time. Unfortunately he didn’t last very long but I did like the guy while he was around. He was always very enthusiastic about the mission.

Back to bigger members, Yo-Yo is easily the most powerful SHIELD member. She has legitimate super speed. Now, she does have a drawback where she has to return to the spot where she bounced from each time. That is a pretty big weakness but with her speed it shouldn’t matter. Of course that means that the show has to make her look bad a lot of the time so she doesn’t end the fight quickly each time. She can be a fun member for the most part despite this. It’s just tough for speedsters because they always have to be nerfed at some points.

Deke is a character who started out okay and then really jumped up the ranks. He had to survive in a pretty dark future and that showed his determination. Once he was in the present with everyone else he was able to have a blast just enjoying all the little things. He started his own company and had the catchiest theme in the whole show. It was always a lot of fun to see him even if the rest of the cast treated him horribly the whole time. At times it was for comedy and at other times the heroes were just jealous of his success. He took it all in stride though, even wishing Skye well despite his one sided romance for her not working out well for him.

One character who joined the crew late and definitely was not that good was Daniel. He is here from the Agent Carter show and managed to become a main character by the final season but he’s just annoying. Another one of those guys who panics a lot and he also got over Agent Carter awful fast to rebound with Skye. While it can be nice to have someone from the old days here marvel at all the new stuff I was just never able to get on board with him. I’d prefer if Deathlok had returned. He had some fun appearances early on in the show and was a good fighter to have on hand. His role was ultimately not very large though.

Garrett was one of the first big SHIELD villains and he did really well. The guy has a lot of connections and is really good at strategy. He had some solid one liners as well so he’s pretty memorable. I thought he was better than Malick who is a similar kind of villain but won’t leave as much of an impact on you. Now Raina was a villain you don’t forget. She loves to hear herself talk and is constantly making speeches. That said, despite being able to see the future and knowing a lot, she ultimately doesn’t fare too well here.

Calvin was an interesting villain seeing as how he’s Skye’s father and all. He has a pretty tragic backstory with what happened to his wife. You kind of hope he’ll take down Whitehall real quick but that guy is just a little too tricky most of the time. At least Calvin was always interesting though and you could definitely understand his motives. I wasn’t really a fan of Whitehall though. He’s just another old scientist here to cause some havok. We’ve seen it all before.

Season 2 features the destruction of SHIELD thanks to the events of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier film. Coulson is now the Director of SHIELD and things are as busy as ever. For starters a race of beings known as the Inhumans have begun appearing everywhere. These guys have a lot of fantastic powers and now every group wants them such as Hydra and AIM. In particular a man named Whitehall is quite intense about grabbing them all and running live experiments until he can perfect a way to use their powers. It turns out that Skye also has some ties to the Inhumans as well. Can SHIELD really keep this under wraps or are we about to get a war between humans and Inhumans?

You could say season 2 is when we really started embracing the comic book nature of the show more. Inhumans are a nice segway because they have powers but are fairly normal otherwise. The annoying thing about this is always that the Inhumans initially aren’t looking for trouble despite their tough talk and are taken down pretty quick. It’s why you send to see a lot of people acknowledging that Magneto has a point while Xavier’s wish for world peace goes on as mutants keep being captured and destroyed. Inhumans are effectively very similar to mutants if you think about it and are hunted a lot as well. Black Bolt doesn’t really get to weigh in here compared to his mini series though. This season was a lot more violent than the first one as Whitehall keeps going back to his scientific roots. In effect it’s why you always get worried when someone has regeneration because you know they are going to end up using that ability quite a lot as Jiaying had to.

Jiaying plays a pretty big role here as the leader of the Inhumans or at least this branch. Her healing abilities are really good but in a way this is just bad news for her since it means the villains can exploit this for quite a while. That said, I wasn’t a big fan either way. She just didn’t seem to have any plans for the long term survival of the Inhumans which is not good. Eventually of course things were going to go sideways. Gordon was a dependable right hand man. His teleportation ability was also really solid. He’s a likable guy. Gordon may not always watch his back too closely but without him the Inhumans wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as they did.

Then you have a pretty interesting villain in Lash. Lash is so powerful that most of the Inhumans couldn’t last very long against him at all. It would take several just to try and bring him down. He’s pretty much a creature of mindless rage and he’s at his best when you don’t know his identity. The show really allows this guy to go all out and get a lot of hype so I appreciated that. Even the design was pretty unique.

The third season brings The Hive into the fold. Hydra has brought him around to cause chaos and he is basically a king of unlimited power. Naturally he decides to use Ward’s body so we have the guy around once more. His powers are pretty impressive and naturally this is bad for the Inhumans since he can effectively use a lot of abilities. Coulson wants to use the Inhumans for good as always and strikes a deal with Rosalind and her government group. She’ll stop capturing Inhumans for nefarious purposes and he’ll share data. This truce threatens to compromise both sides though and causes a lot of tension within the ranks of SHIELD.

As soon as Ward was back it’s hard not to get hyped since he’s always a blast. Of course in this one he’s here completely as a villain at this point trying to get revenge on Coulson. I was not a fan of Coulson’s partnership with Rosalind from the start though. You can’t make deals with villains like that and by all accounts she was totally a villain with all the kidnapping and such. You can’t just pull all of that and hope to get away with it. With this deal she would basically get away completely free. It was a pretty reasonable season. I would say it wasn’t as big in scope or new ideas as the first two seasons but the Hive had to be the strongest villain yet. From all of the seasons this one blends together the most because there were quite a few episodes here so it’s not like it was literally all Ward but he’s easily the most memorable part of the whole thing.

As mentioned Rosalind wasn’t very impressive. I just didn’t like her as a character from the start and she never really got better after that. She’s basically just another government agent. We got to see more of two SHIELD Agents Piper and Davis who would have bigger roles later on. Needless to say, I was not a fan of these characters. They just don’t really add anything to the story or dynamic. You could cut them out and nothing would have changed. I would say the best way to think of them is like getting two red shirts from Star Trek but then giving them an entire plot line and lots of extra appearances for some reason. No matter how often they appeared they were never impressive.

The Hive was an impressive villain as mentioned. I mean to a good extent he just felt like Ward but he does have a different personality in the end. He was certainly more ruthless. Then you had Hellfire who was another villain around but not nearly as powerful. The guy’s basically just a traitor who sells out and ultimately doesn’t realize that in the end the Watchdogs will take him out as well. His flame powers are good though. Elemental abilities are always fairly high tier because there is so much you can do with them.

In the fourth season the gang begins to tamper with forces beyond their comprehension like the Ghost Rider. The group heads out to find him but he’s busy tracking other villains down. The Ghost Rider is effectively a spirit of vengeance using a human host that appears from time to time to carry out a mission and then leave just as suddenly. Naturally this is a big burden on the human involved. We had some nice ghost type fighters to go up against him and the effects for his flames were pretty solid. We also have some drama within Shield as the Patriot takes over in Coulson’s place and quickly starts to become a very shady individual. That’s why you have to be careful when turning down a position to someone else. Coulson didn’t want to be leader and now it could come back to bite him.

Additionally we have the Framework appearing here. In this other world everyone’s lives are a little bit different which includes a completely evil Fitz as well as a powerful android known as Aida. This just helps to cement Fitz as one of my least favorite characters as we see just how close to being evil he is. You could cut him some slack if this was just in the framework but lets just say this isn’t the last we’ve seen of evil Fitz. This was definitely a very intense season. I liked Aida though, she’s one of the most memorable villains to be sure. She got a pretty bad deal by the end as Fitz basically just used her. She was a villain of course but you still felt like Aida deserved better. Her abilities were absolutely crazy as well so you could say she was one of the strongest characters in the series. You also can’t go wrong with Ghost Rider of course. He’s always a pretty fun character to have around and the heroes are lucky to have him and his powers at the ready.

Ghost Rider just helped give the heroes a lot of muscle and came through when it counted. His host here was also solid as he was always ready to fight. Things were certainly personal for him after all and he made sure to get a whole lot of revenge on the heroes. As for the Patriot, I did not like him. The guy was given a good position and then squandered it on a power trip. He had every opportunity to be a great character but at the end of the day he definitely did not live up to it. I have to take away a lot of points from him as a result. He just could have been so much better so it was a shame that he couldn’t live up to this. The way he went out also wasn’t super impressive.

Enoch is a character who would end up having a massive presence in the series. He is a Chronicom from the future so he is always prepared. He tends to be a pacifist and has a hard time understanding human customs but gradually he becomes proficient at it. He also has a lot of solid humor scenes. I would argue the final season gives him a little too much hype with being able to take down the entire SHIELD group. It’s hard to picture that in the slightest but he is tough. Also, without his planning the team would have died many times over. He’s like the Watcher only at least he actually helps out.

The Superior is another big villain who showed up. I like the fact that he realized how Coulson was always popping up from the dead and why he may be responsible for everything. He wasn’t correct of course, but I would say that it’s a reasonable interpretation of events at its face value. I also liked his determination to solve everything as a human and win with his own two fists instead of taking any shortcuts. He’s the kind of villain you don’t forget very quickly.

We finally get time travel in the 5th season. The heroes are transported to the year 2091 where naturally humanity has fallen. The Earth was destroyed and a bunch of Kree rule most of the universe. The heroes are onboard the “Lighthouse” and have to find a way back to the past. Additionally Fitz is somewhere in this timeline, or at least a version of him is. He’s currently working with Enoch and eventually the two plots collide. Once the heroes are back home they have to figure out a way to prevent the Earth from being destroyed and averting this disastrous future. It’ll be difficult but Talbot feels he is up to the task.

This season went the most all out in a lot of ways. Having almost the whole season take place in space was pretty crazy and we even had effectively a tournament as Skye and Yo Yo were forced to face off against other villains. Having a villain group with the powerful Ruby also helped to up the tensions. The stakes were quite high in this season although at times it would also get pretty dark here. The future is pretty hopeless with Kasius in charge after all so everyone either becomes a slave or is quickly taken out of the picture. Talbot being tortured for ages while the heroes were having fun in space was also rough. It’s easy to see how he came off the deep end in the second half.

I enjoyed his battle with Skye a lot though. It felt like something out of Supergirl with the characters flying around and getting things pretty high tier. For the most part despite having characters with super powers you couldn’t expect to see big meta human battles like this. Talbot may have become a big villain but at the end of the day I’m still a big fan. He was an interesting villain which is always important and with his powers I do think he would have been in good position to protect the Earth. With Thanos referenced it would have been fun if he had stepped in to fight for a while.

Tess is one of the survivors in the crazy timeline and she did well to survive. She’s got her own connections and always has a gameplan. While Tess may not stand out a whole lot next to Deke, she did well. Flint was another survivor who did well and the fact that he had some basic rock powers was cool as well. He’s a little young so there wasn’t a ton he could do but every bit helps. Kasius is the big villain here but he’s not likable in the slightest. He’s one of those villains more worried about romance and wanting more power than actually having plans. He would tend to just be annoying most of the time getting emotionally involved with his past and rambling a lot of the time.

Sinara was a solid villain though. As Kasius’ right hand woman she was always ready to fight. Her techniques were fast and lethal leaving no margin for error. Serious villains like that always tend to work well because they are focused on achieving their objective and that’s it. Sinara did really well. Likewise I enjoyed Ruby. Her disc throwing abilities were quite potent. I also liked her confident the whole time. She may have been manipulated a whole lot during the show but she’s a villain who really stood out. Ruby may not have seemed evil with her personality but she was ruthlessly butchering all of her opponents so you can’t go easy on her either.

Season 6 breaks the team up into two groups. One group heads into space for a lot of adventures while they look for Fitz who is once again missing across the timestreams. This tends to be the more lighthearted plot as the heroes go to a bunch of different planets. Every place is pretty different. Then you have the ground plot where a guy named Sarge who appears to look just like Coulson is running around. As Coulson should be dead by now the heroes are upset to see this lookalike. Sarge is saying some crazy things about surviving a lot of destroyed planets so the heroes need to get some answers out of him before Earth is put on a 1 way trip to oblivion.

The space adventures were okay but I think most of the intrigue and suspense here was with the Sarge plot. There’s a lot of fun mysteries here like what his whole deal is and how he relates to Coulson. There’s a lot you could do with his whole world hopping thing as well and seeing Coulson as a villain was just surreal. It was always fun to have him around. The rest of his crew was mostly forgettable but Sarge stands out. That said, I do think he didn’t handle some plot twists well as he was quick to forget his grudge. I would have liked him to keep his Sarge personality through and through.

It does make for a good climax though and the arc is just exciting from start to finish. We even got a bunch of monsters running around. Meanwhile Izel made for a great space villain though. Her humming was fairly iconic and she made for a solid mastermind. This isn’t her first rodeo as she’s been taking planets down for ages. I’d be very close to saying that she is the best villain in the show. I won’t go quite that far but she can hold her own with any. Her ability also helps to make her one of the most powerful ones though as she keeps on controlling people. She could have easily finished off the main characters so many times you’ll lose count. With great power comes a lot of holding back though. Her fight in the realm of the dead was also a lot of fun.

That brings us to the final season which involves a ton of time travel. The Chronicoms have decided to eliminate SHIELD by destroying them in history. The team will now have to keep jumping to different eras in time in order to keep up with them. The difficult thing here is that the Chronicoms always appear to be a step ahead. Additionally the heroes manage to grab onto Daniel Sousa so now they’re at risk of changing time. Still, the villains changed time first so does it all even out? Each episode is a reference to a different movie or show and we also get a lot of crossover elements here to really cement this as the final season. The gang’s together for one last ride and then it’s all over.

SHIELD did a good job of really throwing in as many elements as possible here. We got to relive all of the seasons to an extent and got some extra closure for each character like Skye getting to see her Mom again. The best episode here was probably the time loop. I could watch films and shows about that concept for ages. I’m a pretty big time travel fan so elements like loops and paradoxes are just a lot of fun. It was a fitting way to end the saga at long last and this was just a really solid season. It would have been nice to see Deathlok, Hunter, and Bobbi are they feel like the only big characters that the season was missing. We did still end up getting just about everyone though so I was definitely still satisfied in the end.

Nathaniel Mallick is one of the big villains here. You could make the case behind him being the main villain over Sibyl but they’re both about 50/50. With his sonic powers at the ready he makes for a pretty big threat in the season. I would say at no point do you think he could seriously beat Skye in a 1 on 1 fight but unfortunately she tends to turn her back during battle a whole lot and just underestimate everyone. This really ends up leading to her downfall at times. He’s not really my kind of villain. The guy whines a whole lot and doesn’t really seem to know when he’s being manipulated. He just talks with a lot more confidence than you would expect considering his lack of power but I guess relative to most of the case he is pretty tough.

John Garrett shows up again and I have to say I liked this new version of him quite a lot. The guy can teleport now and has endless confidence. He returns every one of Coulson’s subtle digs and one liners with a counter of his own which is nice. You want to see a villain be able to dish it out like that. This whole thing is more of a game to him compared to the others though so he does panic a bit when things are coming to the end. I still have him as the best villain in the season though.

Sibyl has a big role of course but you can’t help but feel that she ruined everything for the villain. The Chronicoms have time travel at their disposal and crazy high tech options. Why couldn’t they just blow up the planet or something like the hunters suggested? Sibyl kept saying that they had to follow her plan exactly since she can see the future but at the end all that did was put the villains in a bad spot time and time again. Things would have been a lot better if they had just ignored her. So she’s a fun villain but she overthinks everything.

Finally we have Kora, but she was not very good. My main issue with her is that she was very wishy washy about which side to be on. She was quick to turn evil and then to turn around again and again. She also wasn’t very smart with how she handled her final scenes. I remember in one cliffhanger when she hugged the villain a lot of people were waiting for her to suddenly stab him or something but then it just never happened. There’s a lot more the series could have done with Kora if you ask me. I liked her confidence and swagger, she just never followed up on it.

Naturally there are a bunch of other characters in the series overall but these are at least a bunch of the big ones. With 130+ episodes it makes sense that there’s time for a lot of them. Especially since as a live action series the episode lengths are double that of a normal show so this is more like reviewing something that’s 260 episodes long. It’s still quite impressive that it lasted so long. In general that’s just quite the feat. I also thought the show wrapped up quite nicely with the final season. They had a lot of fun with it and explored some nice concepts.

So at the end of the day, why does this show lose out? Well, in particular with the earlier seasons like 2-4, the series decided to get really gritty. You had characters being tortured numerous times, surgery on screen while the character is still conscious, and things like that. The show liked to make the villains appear as big threats by making them as evil and sinister as possible. It’s just the way the show would usually handle this. So it would go for being violent as well as dark/tragic. I would say in the final seasons, especially the very last one this got dialed back a bit but there would be moments like this in every season. You were never truly going to escape the violent nature of the show. Even the final season had the buzzsaw robots which were incredibly over the top to the point where it was more of a spoof than anything.

In that regard Agents of Shield is a show that’s more like Attack on Titan. It’s entertaining while watching it but it can never escape the core issues that doom it to a low score. Typically if you’re a long running title your odds of surviving moments here and there are increased because you can have so many positive moments that you drown out the bad ones. For example, if you’re only 13 episodes and have a horrible episode, that will hurt more than having 8 bad episodes out of 136. It’s all relative of course and you hope that even at its worst a show will never go bottom of the barrel. Shield never gets awful I would say but what hurts is the frequency of these moments. It got to a point in some seasons where you could expect this to happen every episode. I recall Whitehall’s season being the most violent at least back in the day. The Inhumans and the whole cyber season could be up there too though.

So violence is the main thing against the show. In a combat setting you can give it a bit more leeway but when you get to the torture and non combatants being thrown into this then it gets to be a bit much. On a much less severe note, the show also has a ton of rebound romances as it goes on. Throughout the series you can’t possibly take any romance seriously because of how they keep shuffling. Skye had affairs with Ward, her tech co-worker, Deke, and Lincoln at the very least. I think that was it at least. May had Coulson and Ward, but I could swear there is a third guy in there somewhere. Then you have Yo-Yo going with Mack as well as some other guy although I forget that expendable’s name. Simmons was with Fitz and some random guy she met on the moon, etc. Basically everyone in the show tends to be quick to fall for multiple characters so even by the end when they presumably find their true romance you may roll your eyes at that.

The Fitz and Simmons plot gets a ton of screen time for example and I can never buy into it. I mean, it doesn’t help that both characters are some of the worst in the series though. Fitz and Simmons continued to surprise me with how bad they were the whole time. Each season would bring them to a new low and they both had a similar plot line of going off the deep end. I suppose they match up in that sense but yeah I definitely was not feeling this story from start to finish.

It’s usually most convenient for guest stars since they don’t have time for more than one. For example at least Hunter and Bobbi always stayed consistent. It was definitely sad to see them go since they did add a lot to the team’s dynamic while they were there. So Agents of Shield can’t really get away from the romance angle and there’s a whole lot of it. I gather that’s pretty much a requirement for live action shows or pretty much most shows in general but with such a long running direction then it’s bound to add up after a while. The writing was usually pretty solid though. We got a lot of nice interactions during the show and pretty quality one liners. It’s pretty fun to see the first episode of the show again and then compare it to the ending. I ended up checking out the very first two episodes again just to see the contrast. The show started out very upbeat and fairly low key with a lot of practical effects and everything was down to earth. Then by the end you have the heroes hopping across dimensions and all having super powers so it was really quite the journey. It feels pretty natural as you go through though.

I would say the show is at its best when the gang is having fun with some solid action scenes thrown in which is why I would probably put the first and last seasons as the best ones. Still, it did a good job of shifting genres for each impending threat. The show also did a good job with the season cliffhangers. Each season would usually end with something crazy like the reveal of a new director or a cutaway to the far future where everything has gone crazy. It always made for a pretty hype way to await the next season. Good cliffhangers are always crucial for a long running title like this.

Overall, Agents of SHIELD is one of the only long running live action series that I’ve watched from start to finish. Aside from The Office, Ultraman, and Agent Carter I can’t think of any completed series where that is the case. I’ve seen a ton of episodes for old classics like Twilight Zone, Odd Couple, and I Love Lucy but not in a start to finish kind of thing. It’s pretty rare in general and I’m definitely more of an anime/cartoon guy but live action titles definitely have their own charm. With today’s effects they can basically be like watching a movie that just keeps on going and going. I wouldn’t be able to recommend the show myself as there are too many moments where you’ll be shaking your head. If you like watching the Marvel films though and want something to binge through as 2021 continues to roll then this is a pretty good option. It gets quite a bit darker than the films but there’s also a lot of light hearted episodes and comedy thrown in so that may balance it out. It should definitely last you a while even at top speed.

Overall 3/10

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda Review


It’s time to take a look at a Marvel Lego special this time around. Historically they aren’t quite as good as the DC ones. The DC ones tend to have better fight scenes and more of a solid all around cast. The characters lend themselves to the Lego format really well partially because the core members of the Justice League are so well known. Guys like Batman and Superman basically write themselves. Still, this lego special still holds its own and makes for a fun watch.

The special starts with Black Panther giving an interview about how talking is great and all, but we need action. He intends to walk around in his Black Panther suit all day to get this message across, but he is interrupted by an attack from Thanos. Fortunately, the Avengers were eating nearby so they beat him pretty quickly. Looks like things are coming out all up for the heroes now right? Well, little do they know that Klaw and Killmonger have found Thanos and enlisted his aid for their upcoming conquest of Wakanda. The Avengers already had a lot to deal with facing Thanos, can they really beat this group of villains?

It must be tough being the ruler of Wakanda because it seems like everyone is always trying to get inside to steal the Vibranium. The place just never gets any peace. Panther is also the only really strong fighter there so without him everyone tends to get captured and kidnapped. He can’t be in two places at once after all so in a way I can see why he usually doesn’t want to be an Avenger since it would mean being away from home more.

Naturally the special is more comedy oriented than the main shows would be so it pokes fun at the villains a lot, but the general idea isn’t all that bad. They break into Wakanda to power up Thanos and in exchange he’ll let Killmonger rule the land. Sure, the odds of Thanos actually doing this are pretty slim, but he is one of the more honorable Marvel villains at times. Perhaps he actually would keep his end of the bargain and help the guy out. Considering that Thanos wants to end the planet though I find this to be pretty unlikely.

It’s nice to see Killmonger since he’s a pretty fun villain. The guy makes for a good antagonist to Black Panther and I could definitely see him appearing more frequently than he used to since he had his appearance from the film. Klaw is significantly less interesting though and I can’t say that any of his scenes were particularly engaging. Thanos is fun as always although he’s probably the biggest parody of himself. It’s hard to take Black Panther overpowering Thanos 1 on 1 very seriously in any context, but hey….Thanos finally met his match.

As always I’m not the biggest fan of the Lego animation but I do think it’s a little crisper than it used to be in the original days. It may not be as smooth as DC’s but it gets the job done. We do get real action scenes which is always good. The legos make for good destruction effects since they all break down so easily. The city environment is also good.

We get some nice humor scenes as well. While the more obvious ones like the villains not being very smart don’t pan out, the wording jokes are always the best. For example Iron-Man says it’s time to wrap things up…before getting the server to wrap up his sandwich rather than entering the fight. Puns and quick banter are always the best forms of humor if you ask me although you can get any kind to work if you achieve it properly.

Overall, the special is pretty quick so it’s all over before you know it. The special never drags on so that’s always a good sign and it was enjoyable. It felt like an episode of the recent Avengers Assemble show, especially since Black Panther was the main character. At this point it would almost be odd if he wasn’t a main character. This special probably won’t be blowing your mind away or anything like that, but it’s definitely a solid installment and stands up on its own. If you like the Lego specials then you’ll enjoy this one.

Overall 7/10

Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Marvel film. I didn’t really know about this one although in my defense I lost touch with the animated adventures during this time period. They didn’t really get a lot of promotion and would just appear out of nowhere. It really feels like a quick two part event from the Avengers show so it’s reasonably fun. That being said, it’s naturally not going to be remembered as a great title or anything. You likely won’t remember it for very long and that is probably the intention anyway. It’s not really a problem, it’s just trying to give us a good Christmas adventure and succeeds in that.

Loki and Ymir have decided to team up to freeze the world with the casket of infinite winters. The Avengers foil their plans so they decide to seek out Santa Claus. It turns out that Santa is actually an incredibly powerful being so if they can absorb his abilities they will be unstoppable. Loki puts a huge bounty on Santa so he can find out where the guy is and begins searching. Meanwhile not all of the Avengers believe that this is a serious threat. Captain America is really the only one taking it seriously, but Iron Man decides to go along just to rain on the parade. Captain Marvel and Reptil go as well so now the team is ready for action. The locals may not be too thrilled to have these heroes running around though. Meanwhile Rocket and Groot are after the bounty on Santa so they are heading here as well. Are they ready to try and bag such a powerful entity?

Right away you do have to keep in mind that the special is only taking itself half seriously. Ymir gets beat up by ice attacks and the heroes can barely stop bickering long enough to do anything. They have difficulty with random Elves and the fact that Ymir is taking hits from Thor, Hulk, and Ms. Marvel but getting hurt by Captain America should tell you all you need to know about the power scaling here. It is nonexistent so there are a ton of power level issues here throughout the special. It would be hard to not notice them so just be aware that they are around the whole time.

The main concern here is just whether or not the special is fun. I’d say that it is. We do get some reasonable action scenes. The whole thing is a little lower budget than the average adventure with stills and less animation in general, but there are fun fights anyway. I liked Loki’s super speed blitz against the Avengers as he just totally wrecked them. The fight with Ymir isn’t bad either even if he doesn’t score any hits so it’s like the heroes are battling with an immovable object. Santa went down like a chump though so that was a little unfortunate for his fans.

Unfortunately this special continues the trope of having Hulk one up Thor the whole time. Even when the Black Hole goes up they all have to grab onto Hulk to stay on the ground. They all resisted this of course, but it did make Hulk look like the strongest once again. His subplot with Thor about pretending to be Santa was okay at best, but not nearly as enjoyable as the main plot. I feel bad for all the kids who wanted a present, but had to watch Hulk chuck it into the ocean. Why is his aim so bad?

As for the main plot, the Elves are incredibly stubborn about wanting to do things on their own. Even after losing over and over again they keep trying to attack the Avengers and miss the entire point of trying to protect Santa. All they’re doing by fighting the heroes is thinning out their own ranks. It’s not like they’re going to win this fight and by this point they already knew about Loki and Ymir. Surely they have better things to do than picking more fights right? It can be endearing in a way, but still hard not to shake your head whenever they start talking tough again.

Iron Man is at his best here with how obviously anti-Santa he is. His origin story of why he doesn’t believe in the guy was also suitably emotional. In the real world he would be right about Santa not being real, but in a world where aliens and giant monsters show up every week I feel like Santa’s not a huge stretch. Bringing up the common dilemam of how he could visit every kid in a single night is a good counter though. Him bringing that up right away was a good move. Meanwhile Cap didn’t necessarily believe, but he knew that Loki did so he wanted to be there. Cap’s plan was logical, but man those two don’t get along here at all. There are constant insults and subtle burns thrown at each other. It makes for a fun dynamic even if the team doesn’t have their usual unity.

As for Reptil, he’s really just here so we can have a newbie on the team. He’s constantly getting shown up by the others and really can’t keep up. The whole thing about him believing in Santa so the elves trust him is nice, but that’s all Reptil’s got going for him. I like that he has Pit’s voice actor, but otherwise I’d be fine if he was cut from the special. Captain Marvel’s role is also small, but at least she can fight. She gets in good energy blasts during all of the fights although she does seem a little nerfed here since she isn’t treated as one of the big guns.

Overall, Frost Fight is a reasonable special. It goes through the motions and pretty much delivers on everything you would expect from a special like this. I’d have liked for there to have been more action, but what we got was reasonable. The music isn’t bad and I’d be up for more specials like this. Hopefully next time the villain won’t be quite as broken as Loki though so we can get a nice back and forth fight without the power levels going crazy. With that speed Loki should have completely crushed everyone. If you like the Avengers then I’d recommend watching this special. If you haven’t seen the Avengers yet then I’d recommend starting with Ultimate Avengers instead.

Overall 7/10

Guardians of The Galaxy Review


It’s time to take a look at another recent Marvel cartoon. This one actually made it to 3 seasons which is pretty impressive. Whenever a show ends up with more than 50 episodes I’d count that as a win for the title and this one had over 70. It’s pretty by the books and the main characters aren’t quite as engaging as the Avengers of course, but it’s nonetheless a solid action/adventure show you could recommend for all ages. It also did get a fair share of guest stars and such which is always nice to have.

The first season mainly deals with the team being on a wild goose chase to find the Cosmic Seed before an onslaught of villains can grab it and use the seed to destroy worlds. Among the powerful villains who want this seed is Thanos and Ronan. Get used to most of the Guardian villains because you’ll be seeing them a lot. This season has less of a focused plot than the next two, but it does serve to introduce us to the main characters and since the seed’s signal is always hiding it does give a good reason for the Guardians landing on every planet they can.

The next season brought in Adam Warlock which was a lot of fun and Star Lord’s father shows up to try and cause trouble again. This time he plans on using the Nova’s power to conquer the world and he also tricks the cult with Mantis and the others into trying to stop the Guardians. Since their abilities run on belief that makes them very difficult to defeat since it’s just hard to shake them. As long as their faith holds true they are effectively invincible. The Guardians definitely have their hands full here. I’d say that this season did beat the first one. While there was no noticeable uptick in animation compared to Assemble’s upgrade, it did give us more fights and a fun plot.

Finally we had the third season. This time the Guardians are framed and have to travel the cosmos to clear their name. Along the way they meet up with Spider-Man and also have to team up with the Mad Titan Thanos to stop the latest enemy. This new enemy is called the Serpent and his abilities are so powerful that he is even able to overwhelm powerful foes like Thor. The episodes with the Asgard plot and the Darkhawks is definitely solid. The episodes where the Guardians are split up and have to re-unite are more hit or miss since Starlord typically carries the show and he doesn’t always appear there.

First lets get the technicals out of the way. The animation is pretty solid. It’s nothing amazing and gets shredded by any 90’s-2000s comic book show, but it’s still not bad or anything. The screen is always clear and we do get some pretty reasonable fight scenes. The hits just don’t pack the same punch as they would have in an older show and that could be due in part to the lack of sound effects. I think a big part of a good fight scene is having solid effects to back it up and that’s something that Guardians is definitely missing. Still, it’s not as if this show is all that focused on power levels anyway. At the end of the day it’s fairly loose so just enjoy the action scenes and don’t think too hard about who should win the battle.

In terms of writing the show isn’t bad. Just keep in mind that this show is a comedy first and foremost, the action and adventure are back-up genres. It’s a mix of all 3 of course but the show always throws in the one liners during the serious moments as well as in the fights. As a result it’s naturally not going to be in the same league as some of the big hitters from back in the day, but it also means that you’ll be looking at the writing a little differently. It’s entertaining which is the important part.

A good amount of this is due to Star Lord who is handled perfectly here. He’s easily the most fun character in the series. It helps that he got Ron’s voice actor from Kim Possible which was a brilliant casting choice. I can’t stress enough what a good move that was since it fits his character perfectly. Nobody on the team respects Star Lord and that is amped up to 10 in this TV show. Everytime he talks one of the other members is quick to jump in and insult Star Lord. I think one of the most powerful parts of his character personality is that he just lets the insults roll away. Star Lord does care but he knows that deep down the team is still on his side. He may not have won their respect, but a good leader can still adapt. At least 90% of the funny moments are thanks to him.

Gamora is definitely the next best member of the group. She’s always up for a good fight, but knows her limits better than Drax. She’s the most professional member of the group and saves the team quite often. Even when she is not familiar with the rules of battle in a specific setting like the video game episode, she is quick to learn how to win. She’s just a natural and that’s why she’s known as the deadliest woman in the universe even if the title is hyperbole. Groot is still the worst member of course and basically just slows everyone down. He’s always complaining about something or other even if we can’t actually understand him. You can just tell because Rocket has to tell him to quiet down.

Drax is not very smart as always so he falls for all of the traps and such. There’s one episode with the Hulk where he is completely unreasonable the whole time and even Hulk has to point out how sad it is that he is the smartest guy in the room. Rocket is always talking back to everyone so he can be fun, but he definitely can’t hold his own episode the way that some of the others can. He needs someone to banter off of in order to succeed and that’s where Howard comes in. Howard is handled extremely well in this show and tends to steal the show whenever he appears. He’s a solid rival to Rocket and part of why it works is because he’s shown to be around as good as Rocket. I would give the raccoon the slight edge overall, but it’s actually pretty close throughout.

Thanos gets a big role here so it’s always fun to see how he is portrayed compared to his movie self. While they go for a similar vibe, he is naturally less “heroic” here compared to in the movies. He has no delusions about being the savior of the universe here and is more of your classic villain type. It was cool to see him take on the Serpent near the end of the series. Obtaining the Carnage symbiote was definitely a fun idea even if he would become way too OP at that point. The guy’s already well above the Guardians weight class so whenever he shows up they usually need some kind of plot hax to defeat him. Nonetheless, he’s one of the highlights in the show.

I also did like the Serpent and he worked really well as a final boss. The guy did a lot of damage throughout and was a great villain. While the tree did a lot of the work he also showed that he could fight up close with the the other power hitters. Another solid villain was Star Lord’s father J’son. J’son shows up quite a lot and the show does a good job of showing how manipulative he is. No matter how many times he turns out to be evil the guy does a good job of suckering everyone. Just about every planet he goes to ends up buying into his act. He’s also a sharp thinker and does tend to plan for things well in advance. You always want a mastermind villain like that to back up the other more aggressive villains so you get a nice balance.

On the Nova side, Rhomann Dey gets a pretty big role. He’s definitely had enough of the Guardians’ antics by the end of the show, but it’s not like there is a whole lot he can do about it either. He doesn’t have any powers and the Nova Corp is so easily corrupted that he gets demoted every time the heroes get away. Still, you gotta love the guy’s determination I suppose and his voice actor also does a good job since Dey always sounds irritated and a little defeated on the inside. It’s like he knows that things are not going to end well right from the start and for the most part he’s actually right about that.

It was also nice to see Nova show up a few times. Yes, it’s the kid nova and not the classic Richard Rider, but he’s still a solid hero in his own right. He gets a decent amount of development and screen time here as he learns to use his powers more effectively. There are a bunch of other guest stars here like the Avengers and Inhumans as well. The show does a good job of bringing them in while also focusing on the main cast quite a lot. Towards the end you may start to wish that the show would expand a little more by bringing in different guest stars though. It’s hard to explain but even though the show has a lot of guest stars it has a tendency to always bring back the same ones. Take the final episodes with the Serpent, it’s the big gathering of Earth’s mightiest heroes and yet it’s the same guys we’ve been seeing throughout the series. That would have been a perfect time to bring in other characters like Wolverine, Human Torch, etc. I don’t imagine it saves time on animation either since this isn’t CGI so there’s no real reason not to bring in different fighters. Maybe it’s a voice actor thing or the show felt like it would be a better payoff to see the characters you’re familiar with. I guess that’s reasonable.

If the show has any real weaknesses beyond just being rather standard the whole time, it is in how much Star Lord carries the show. There are multiple episodes that focus on the other members or just other characters in general and they are never even close to as fun as the Peter centered episodes. He brings all of the humor and fun with him. The others try to be funny in their own ways, but can’t really pull it off. Fortunately it is very rare that Peter isn’t with the group so it’s not a big deal. Beyond that I wouldn’t say that the show makes any real mistakes. It serves its purpose and by the end of the show you will be very familiar with the team as well as their general lore. (Most popular enemies and such)

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun show. The team isn’t quite as popular as the Avengers even with the big films so you’ll possibly get to see some characters you didn’t know about before like Drax’s final living relative or that cosmic cult. It’s a very easy show to just pick up if you see an episode on TV. At the same time there are some multi part sagas which is always fun to have because you can really develop a story a lot more if it’s 3 episodes as opposed to always being a stand alone adventure. I’d definitely recommend this show if you just want to have a good time experiencing some comic book adventures. I also think you’ll end up enjoying Star Lord quite a lot since he just ends up being a real blast.

Overall 7/10

Avengers Assemble Review


This Avengers show definitely ran for a very long time. It got over 120 episodes which is impressive for any title. It managed to reach 5 seasons and adapted a ton of different Marvel events and brought in all of the fan favorite characters. While it’s not quite as solid as Avenger EMH or the classic 90’s X-Men show, it’s still a pretty good team show. It’s a very good title that you’ll have fun with. It checks off the right boxes and from the current wave of Marvel shows I would definitely say that it was the best one. The Avengers are just fun to have around.

It was a little funny how the show started though as they bump off Captain America almost immediately. Naturally any comic book fan knows that this isn’t going to stick, but it’s fun anyway. The heroes try to stay serious and for irony they have Iron Man tell the other characters that this is no time for jokes. Everyone ends up joking and making banter anyway, but they do try to keep some serious-ness about them during the first episode. The first episodes tried experimenting with comic book panels for the animation. So the characters would fly for example, but the screen would shrink to a panel size. It was an interesting idea, but I’m glad that it was thrown out almost immediately.

Season 1 is mainly about Red Skull and his Cabal of villains. It’s always nice to have a good villain group and these guys could hold their own so it worked out. Attuma and Dracula are among the members and those guys are no joke. While the series was still just starting it was a solid way to incorporate the fights right away and you got a feel for the show. It’s certainly one of the weaker seasons overall, but it holds its own just fine. It’d probably be nostalgic to go back and see how season 1 has aged.

Season 2 has quite a lot going on. First off you have the arrival of Thanos which brings us a ton of fights and then you get Ultron’s big move. Additionally the Squadron Supreme shows up with their Justice League-esque members as they try to take down the Avengers once and for all. That was definitely one of the highlights here since those guys have never really gotten to appear in the Marvel comics before now. It was great to see them on the big screen at long last.

Season 3 brings back Ultron and also adds in the Inhumans as well as a Civil War arc of sorts. It’s another pretty packed season and I do think that the show really started to hit its stride around season 2, but it continued seamlessly into season 3. The show just looked sharper and had more engaging episodes. The Civil War parts are always fun and you can’t really go wrong with Ultron either. There were a lot of fights to enjoy here and the effects of these events did continue into season 4.

Season 4 brings in the Secret Wars which was definitely cool. It’s not handled nearly as well as it was in the old Spider-Man cartoon, but it is really hard to top that one right? It does span almost the whole season though so there is a lot of time for things to happen, but it’s pretty changed from the comic. There are less spontaneous battles and chaos going on which is not the Secret Wars that I remember. We really need a full movie adaption of that legendary saga. Now that would be a lot of fun. Still, it was like an ensemble of all the heroes throughout the series so that was cool.

Season 5 is definitely the weakest of the bunch. The show effectively became the Black Panther show instead of an Avengers title. I’m rarely a fan of Black Panther as the MCU is one of the only continuities to make him likable. Typically he’s just way too arrogant and is basically a villain at times. You can probably imagine that the show wasn’t able to change that so when he is the main focus there isn’t much to really hold your interest here. It’s a whole season just to show why he is better than the Avengers. The basic plot though is that the Shadow Council is framing Black Panther and they intend to destroy the world. To stop them he’ll need a lot of old artifacts from Wakanda and he may have to time travel to use them.

So there’s definitely a lot happening here. As I mentioned, starting with season 2 the show did get better. The animation improved quite drastically as the colors were sharper and it actually got a little closer to the 90’s in terms of style and design. There was even a good soundtrack with a lot of tunes that almost seemed directly ripped from the Justice League cartoon. I wonder if that’s even possible or maybe the shows used some public domain music. Either way it did make everything a lot more epic.

And yet…the show still couldn’t reach the classics. So why is that? I’ve thought about it a lot and it’s hard to explain, but I’ll do my best to convey it. At no point in this show do you feel any serious stakes or truly hype moments. In The X-Men show the Phoenix Saga was grand and a real page turner. The Spider-Man show had quite a few sagas like the Secret Wars and Avengers EMH had the whole skrull invasion. Assemble has a ton of arcs, but none of them are quite as solid as those were. I think there are two guilty factors here. One is the nonstop humor in the show. If the heroes are constantly joking during the fights and not taking it seriously then the audience can’t either. Why feel scared for the heroes if they’re getting choked and still making puns? Assemble never really knows when to take a break from the one liners but that’s also true for most modern cartoons. It takes away any sense of danger.

Then there is the fact that the heroes seem to be able to lose to just about anyone. We get villains as powerful as Thanos and the Beyonder and then have to try and take guys like the Leader seriously. The stakes go from being universal to street level and it keeps flipping back and forth so often that it destroys your sense of scale. A show can certainly go back and forth, but like with the comics if you keep on going too often then things are going to get a little messy and you’ll experience event fatigue. We can’t blame the animation or soundtrack since I already mentioned that those are quite good. I suppose you can take some shots at the fight scenes though. There’s no weight behind any of the hits. Fights like Thor vs Hyperion are decent, but they don’t come anywhere close to the fights of EMH or something like Justice League. Everyone hits about as hard as sandpaper.

The fights can still look good though and I do enjoy the action, it’s just on a completely different level. It’s why most of the current superhero shows are stuck at a 7. It’s a very respectable score and the show is fun, but they just don’t manage to get to “Great” status. You need more of an engaging plot and a really strong cast to pull that off. That’s not something that Assemble is quite ready to do. Maybe the show will come back and try to prove me wrong at some point. I’d definitely be up for more Avengers action and lasting over 100 episodes is definitely impressive in and of itself.

Get ready for a lot of power level shenanigans, but for a long running superhero cartoon like this one that is basically inevitable. This kind of thing never really hurts the score, you just gotta roll with it. Season 5 is particularly guilty of this as Black Panther beats the entire Avengers crew multiple times. The show tries to make him seem like Batman at times with how prepared for everything he is. Even when he gets betrayed he always tries to make it seem like someone else’s fault. Then you’ve got Ultron taking down Thanos with the gauntlet which was pretty fun. That one’s more believable since Ultron is well, he’s Ultron. Still, I remember that one getting a lot of headlines back in the day and we also can’t forget Iron Man taking on the Byeonder. At the end of the day this show is all about seeing your favorite heroes duke it out with a bunch of villains and it delivers.

As for the characters, they’re all about the same as you would expect them to be from the movies or the comics. None of them are particularly changed or anything. Iron Man is still the leader of the group who likes to goof off, but it always ready with a solution when the world needs him. Then you’ve got Captain America who is more by the books but will startle everyone with the occasional joke. Thor is unfortunately not very smart in this version so he sometimes acts more like the Hulk than the green behemoth. Ms. Marvel is here to cover the newbie angle. She just wants the team to accept her and since she is a kid they all see her as the rookie. Interestingly her character is completely different in the current Spider-Man show as she gets pretty overconfident there. I like to think that Teen Titans Go got this one right as Robin explained in one comic that characters just act differently depending on what crew they’re with. It’s why he’s so goofy with the Titans, but gets serious when Batman is around. I guess not having the Avengers around just makes Ms. Marvel a whole lot braver.

As for the villains Thanos and Ultron are definitely a blast. Thanos gets to really go all out in the battle on the Moon and the scene of him hitting Thor against the hammer definitely looked painful. Ultron plays mind games with everyone as always and definitely has a lot of firepower. Then you’ve got Red Skull who has a really big role here and makes for a decent villain. The Squadron Supreme also deserves a mention. They really should have beaten the Avengers most of the times they fought. Their team is just OP and it reminds me once again why the Justice League would totally school the Avengers in a fair fight. Their members are just way too powerful and completely out of their league.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot more to say here. Avengers Assemble is definitely what you’d expect from a modern Avengers show. It gives us a lot of quality episodes and sagas. The show really takes advantage of the wide roster of Avengers through the years and how many characters they’ve faced. While the show may not contain the soul of the older titles, it still does a very respectable job. There isn’t really anything to dislike about the show and the large array of episodes ensure that it has a lot of replay value as well. It’s a show that you can pick up and watch at any time or if you have a favorite character you can look him or her up and odds are that the show will have introduced this fighter. The amount of guest stars here is quite impressive and having a consistently solid show that you could watch week after week is a very nice thing. If you are a big fan of comics or just like a good action show then I’d recommend checking this one out. It’s a good cartoon for a Saturday Morning.

Overall 7/10

Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review


It’s been a little while so I think everyone’s had a chance to see Endgame by now. In case you haven’t, well this review is all about the spoilers. I’ve put it in the title and I’m buying time in this intro paragraph so you’ve been duly warned. There was a lot to talk about in this movie. I won’t talk much about what I already mentioned in the other review except for things I couldn’t expand on. Likewise I’ll be skipping the movie summary. In effect this is more of a look-back than a review, but it’s close enough.

The movie definitely did deliver on being a climactic experience to the films building up to this one. It was a nice trip down memory lane when the heroes time traveled to the previous films. I thought it was all handled really well there and I was also glad that the original Captain America was able to beat up the newer more jaded version. The original was always fighting and honing his skills while the newer version didn’t have time for that. Loki escaping during this sequence is also interesting. In a way that doesn’t mean he should appear in the main timeline but with how the film handled Cap then maybe he could.

The basic time travel theory used in the film is like DBZ’s. When you go back in time and make a change it doesn’t affect your timeline, but creates a new one. So that’s why the heroes had to bring the stones to the present and then bring them right back to the old places. It’s a pretty good plan and I also like the time travel theory. If time travel were to ever exist this is how I picture it would work. The main problem is with Captain America. At the end of the film he heads off to the past and then returns to the present as an old man. Based on the rules of time travel established in the film that should not have happened. I’ve heard a lot of theories about it and all, but to me they don’t make sense. He should have returned in a completely different timeline.

The climax is definitely excellent as we get to see all of the heroes duke it out. Of course you do have to hold a little disbelief that none of the heroes dies during this big war battle though. At the very least you’d expect a bunch of the B and C tier heroes to die off. It’s more about spectacle than accuracy though which is fine. Scarlet Witch definitely got her due respect here as she was pretty easily overpowering Thanos. With her abilities having matured this much the writers will have to be careful with how they handle her going forward. Likewise, Captain Marvel was also dominating Thanos when she showed up although her role is very small in the film. He also did get a good hit so it’s not as if she is invincible, but I do think it’s fair to say that she is easily the strongest Avenger.

Captain America gets his big moment in the climax with the hammer which was mixed. On one hand it is certainly a really cool visual and it’s a nice pay off for long time Cap fans. On the other hand he looked way too good with it. Not only did he master the abilities, but he was doing a better job against Thanos than Thor was. It was a little cheesy if I’m being honest. Still, the climax is all about seeing everyone’s favorite heroes get their shot at Thanos and the other enemies so I guess it makes sense. Either way it isn’t a climax that you would soon forget and I think that’s definitely important.

We gotta cut away to some of the negatives now though. For starters, the entire Thor plot. Making him incredibly overweight as an easy comedy joke was not a good move. You should never sacrifice character development for humor. Thor has been through a whole lot and always comes out of the ordeal stronger. I don’t see him giving up like this and completely abandoning everyone. Then he’s stuck like that for the whole film which is annoying, especially since it wrecks all of his scenes against Thanos. You just can’t take him seriously anymore.

The first few minutes of Endgame are definitely the best in the sense that all of the potential was still there. Everyone was in their proper designs and we were gonna get the big rematch with Thanos. It was nice to see a peaceful Thanos who was finally the victor. If anything you feel bad for him when the Avengers break into his house and murder him. I think I’m one of the only people who really didn’t approve of this. Thor murdering him was a bad scene for me. Thanos was already defenseless and couldn’t hurt anyone. I can see the heroes taking the kill if it was still in the moment and he had just snapped everyone then it would at least make sense. Like this it’s just an empty scene showing how far gone the Avengers are at this point.

Most of them are just focused on revenge at this point like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, and Captain America. It’s hard to even call them heroes for the opening scene. I’d say that Captain Marvel is at least approaching this from a more emotionless perspective. She’s definitely one of the highlights here though. Meanwhile, Hawkeye is another character who was wrecked. He really went off the deep end here and super suddenly too. Shouldn’t he have at least gone to the Avengers to try and think of ideas? Again, without Ant Man the heroes gave up awfully fast. We know who the real Avenger here is.

Meanwhile, Hulk was definitely a lot of fun. While he doesn’t get any fights and will always be remembered as the guy who got schooled by Thanos, I do like that he has embraced this and doesn’t fight anymore. Now he’s around for the solid humor scenes and giving people lunch. It’s actually handled pretty well and the facial expressions just make him a pretty fun character. I actually wouldn’t mind if he sticks like this.

Iron Man’s ending is handled pretty well too. His character is a bit up and down here as he definitely sulks a lot in the first half, but once the team goes on the mission he’s back to being the charismatic character that he usually is. He does pretty well in the action scenes as well. I do think he had more drive and determination in Infinity War, but the stakes were a lot higher there of course.

Meanwhile Thanos is still a great, but tragic character. From his point of view it’s almost like the Avengers are cheating. He won 5 years ago and now they’re messing with time to stop him. He does a good job of bringing in the whole army to put a stop to this even if the heroes still ended up overwhelming him. Naturally I won’t go as far as to say that I was rooting for him, but he was definitely a great villain and did a great job of taking on whole groups of heroes. It’s really impressive just how much he was able to accomplish on his own.

The film has a lot of “cheer” moments, but there was one in particular that I thought the movie completely messed up. It’s the classic “Avengers Assemble” line that the fans have been waiting for. We finally get it here, but the execution is just weird as Cap says the assemble part really low. I think they were going for a dramatic pause between the two words, but the second should have been delivered with a lot of power. Not the weak whimper that we got. The other cheer moment is handled a lot more explosively as all of the female heroes band together to help Captain Marvel. Sure, this one’s a little cheesy since if anything all those heroines are doing is slowing Marvel down, but it’s the thought that counts. The first scene just didn’t have any energy.

I don’t think Endgame is nearly as sad as everyone makes it out to be since over 90% of the cast have happy endings and it’s still half comedy as with all Marvel titles. On the other hand that’s not a bad thing (It’s probably a good thing) since that means the film doesn’t slow itself down a lot. It also helps for re watches to keep the movie fast paced. The banter and writing are as solid as always and that’s really the core of the Endgame experience. Even if you get annoyed at a lot of the film’s decisions it won’t change the fact that you had fun.

So Endgame ends the era on a bittersweet note. On one hand it is definitely still a very good movie and it does really nail the appropriate tone for such an epic climax. On the other hand, it could have been so much better that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at it as anything but a missed opportunity. There were a million better ways the film could have played out, but ultimately we’re stuck with this one. I also don’t think Marvel will be able to set up such a grand stage again for a very long time, likely at least 6-10 years. Then we may get another shot like this, but in the meanwhile I suppose it’s time for the waiting game to begin. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you should probably do so to help the film claim the #1 spot. You’ll also enjoy it a lot since the storylines building up to this title should already have you invested. At the end of the day it’s impressive how long this movie saga lasted.

Overall 7/10

Avengers: Endgame Review


It’s time to look at Endgame. This is the big Marvel film to end the first era so it’s definitely a movie where you wanted to be careful to dodge spoilers. I definitely think it’ll be awful tough for those who are not seeing it in the first week, (especially since even football players are tweeting spoilers) but I suppose if you stay offline you’ve got a decent chance. It’s a very good film while at the same time being a very disappointing one. Infinity War was at the pinnacle of the MCU as it built off of all the old films and turned it into one of the biggest MCU crossovers. Endgame doesn’t make the most of the opportunities it was given.

The basic plot of Endgame picks up where Infinity War left off. Thanos won and showed the world that he was a force to be reckoned with. Now the heroes want to try and undo the damage that he has done, but it won’t be easy and most of them are out of hope. It may be up to Ant-Man to finally give the heroes a fighting chance. He may not be the First Avenger or the Mightiest Avenger, but he’s got one thing that the rest don’t, Hope.

Lets preface this review by remembering that Endgame is one of those rare films that has characters from a bunch of different titles. It would be extremely difficult to make this a bad film which is partially why it’s disappointing. No matter what this was going to be a really fun film with the Avengers finally getting to interact again as a team and all of the other characters running around. As expected the writing is pretty strong here. There’s a lot of good banter between the characters and the dialogue is strong. The characters are mostly all in character and the jokes forced the way that they were in Age of Ultron.

The humor is mainly on point so you’ll be grinning for most of the film. Ant-Man definitely gets most of the stand out scenes both when it comes to humor and just in general. He’s surprisingly my favorite character in the film by quite a bit. He steals pretty much every scene he is in which isn’t easy. He does a good job of reminding the heroes of their roots and isn’t really caught up in the crazy cosmic shenanigans. This allows him to really get a good hold on the situation.

The first scenes of the film are still really epic as you’d expect. These are the parts that are captured in the trailers and was teased at in the end of Captain Marvel. It’s also certainly one of the best scenes in the film. I always like to see Captain Marvel’s confidence and considering her power set it isn’t as if she hasn’t earned it. The films have made it abundantly clear that she is the strongest Avenger. While her screen time is extremely limited she does spend most of it outshining everyone else.

We don’t have any new stand out tunes here, but we do get quite a few of the old songs. The classic Avengers theme pops up numerous times and they also got the old Guardians of the Galaxy song I believe. I think there were a few other retro tunes as well. They all certainly work well in their respective scenes. As always the special effects do not disappoint either. The final battle is definitely amazingly well done and does a good job at making it feel like the largest scale battle in the series. It’s definitely one of the best climaxes in the series even if I may not put it as literal #1. (That’s definitely Infinity War) Again, there’s almost nothing I can say about the climax, but it’s certainly excellent with a lot happening, but good camera work so you’re never having a tough time seeing what you’re supposed to.

Now for what went wrong with the film, well a big part is certainly how Thor was handled. I can’t really go into it without hitting the spoiler territory, but he is actually used as a main source of comedy here. Thor has shown that he is quite adept at good humor in his banter like in Ragnarok, but that’s different from actually being a comic relief character. This film takes him the opposite way. If you liked Thor in any of the films prior to this one there is a good chance that this can take you out of the movie entirely. It’s terrible what they did to him and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it did ruin a good portion of the experience. His scenes were still funny and he kept the banter, but the cost for the jokes was way too high. I dare say that this character arc would have made more sense for the Hulk.

I think fans of Ironman, Captain America, and Hulk will be pleased though. While Hulk doesn’t get as much action as you’d like, he has a reasonable end to his character arc. Both Ironman and Captain America get a lot of stand out scenes as well. Hawkeye’s more than a bit iffy though. I wouldn’t say he looked particularly good here, but Black Widow certainly did so on the whole most of the original members looked solid. Thanos doesn’t get as big a role here as he got in Infinity War for obvious reasons, but he still makes his presence felt.

Overall, Endgame was a lot of fun and this score is definitely a bit harsh. It’s got the quality of an 8, but it just made so many wrong moves that I wouldn’t even want to re-watch it too soon while with the other films I was ready to re-watch it almost immediately. I think it’s the kind of film that I’ll enjoy more over time with re-watches and such, but then again maybe not. I can’t think of a time where a film had such an easy set-up which would be an instant 9 and then threw it away like this one. Endgame sacrifices character development and plot for easy laughs. Its replay value will be considerably lower than the other titles as a result. It’s just not a particularly satisfying conclusion in a lot of ways. I’m keeping this review spoiler free so there’s a whole lot that I couldn’t touch on here hence the short length. I’ve decided to follow up with a spoiler review which will come out within the next few days. It’s the first time I’ll have what is effectively a double review for a film, but I think this is so far the one exception because of how much the marketing kept away. I don’t want to ruin any suspense for those who have not seen it and my spoiler review will be very well tagged so you won’t get spoiled by accident. I certainly still do recommend you check this film out for yourself. There’s a really good chance you’ll like/love the movie, it’ll all just ride on whether or not you like how this all played out. I can definitely see the film being divisive but at the end of the day between Infinity War and Endgame I don’t expect we’ll ever see another comic book crossover quite this large on the big screen. (Not so much in terms of characters, but with significance and the 10+ year build up)

Overall 7/10

All MCU Intro Scenes From Worst To Best


It’s been a long time since this post has been in the works. I first got the idea for it 11 months ago but then just kept putting it off as I was busy with other stuff. Well, Endgame is only about a week away so it’s time to finally go through with this ranking list. I’ll be ranking all of the intro scenes for the numerous MCU films which lead up to Endgame. Choosing what exactly is the intro scene gets tricky as some have multiple scenes before the opening credits, others have none. Other scenes are extremely short while others are pretty long. In the end the criteria I used here was a “scene” is described as whatever happens when the film first opens without a noticeable shift in location. If it’s a continuous scene that goes across locations that’s different like the Avengers car chase scene with Loki. It’s a continuous shot. In contrast, Guardians 2 has a scene shift before the opening credits, but there is a time skip plus there’s no way to connect the two scenes. I can see some of the scenes selected being a bit debatable, but after watching all the film intros again this seemed like the best way to go about it.

I guess one thing you may wonder is what should an opening scene be like? As you read through the rankings you’ll get a pretty clear visual on what I like to see. Basically, an intro should immediately get you hyped for what you’re about to watch. It should be something that’s either fun or exciting. You can also have a bit of a dark opening setting up the villains. If handled right there are many ways you can go about it. What you don’t want to do is start the film off with a boring scene, an emotional one (No time to care about the characters yet) or any kind of animal violence. There are many more things to consider of course, but that’s a basic guide. Now it’s time for the rankings!

Guardians of the Galaxy: This is definitely the worst of the MCU intros. The scene basically covers the death of Starlord’s Mom and then ends with him abruptly getting kidnapped by aliens. There’s a lot wrong with using this scene to start off the film. It doesn’t get you engaged in the story. The Mom has only been introduced for seconds so she has had no development and while tragic, it doesn’t set the proper tone for the film. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about this scene and is one that you’ll never feel a need to re-watch. It does succinctly cover his origin story, but there should have been a scene before this one. Maybe flip scene 2 (Star Lord in a cave) with 1 and you’ve got a better transition.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Wow, two Guardians in a row? It’s pretty close between this one and the first to be honest. This one goes for a romance intro as we see when Starlord’s parents first meet up and Starlord starts to be created. The film does set up his whole growing into the earth gimmick early on, but there’s really nothing to this scene. It ages even worse once you know the twist about the Dad. This is another intro scene that really doesn’t hype you up at all. Of course, we do get one more scene in the film before the credits hit so the director probably realized that as well, but I can only judge the first scene. It’s just very weak and was a red flag for the film we were about to experience.

Iron-Man 3: This scene takes place back when Tony was antagonistic so it can be more tragic than entertaining. One guy named Killmonger really needs to talk to someone about his research so Stark tricks him into going to the roof. The poor guy waits alone there while Tony gets his game on. Tony then runs off and in the blink of an eye he managed to make several enemies and threaten the world. This one’s a bit over the top with how obnoxious all of the characters are. While parts of the intro are entertaining, it’s really more mean spirited than anything else. None of the characters are all that pleasant. Even Happy is in a rebellious mood here.

Captain America: Civil War: This one’s surprisingly low on the list right? It’s not a terrible intro, we’re re-introduced to how Bucky was brainwashed. We see the group use their book of codes on him and he is then sent on the mission where he murders Iron-Man’s parents. It’s pretty quick and to the point, but of course it’s a very one sided affair from the start. I do think a genius like Howard should have had some kind of security in his vehicle considering what he was carrying. It’s definitely one of the darker starts to an MCU film. I’m still no Winter Soldier fan though. We’re slowly getting to the better MCU openings as this is a step up from Guardians.

Iron Man: Now we’re at the original MCU film that started them all. The film starts off with Tony at the dessert being escorted somewhere by the military. Unfortunately terrorists show up and blow the cars away. He is then captured and that’s how the scene ends. There’s definitely a very sudden contrast between his happy banter with the driver and crew before they’re attacked. It shows how quickly a good time can suddenly turn into something pretty nefarious. It’s an effective scene that does quickly let you know that things are gonna be rough for Tony. It’s a very realistic scene with effects that hold up quite well. If anything’s weak about the scene it’s just that none of the characters are particularly likable at this point.

Captain America: This film starts off near the arctic as some scavengers are looking for something. It’s dark out, but they are determined and see Captain America’s shield. At long last they have uncovered the super soldier. The scene ends at that point as we cut to the past. It’s a pretty direct intro that builds up some hype for uncovering Cap. Yeah, it can be a bit annoying to know that we won’t be back to the present until the end but I suppose that’s unavoidable. It’s a pretty low-key intro, but one that holds up.

Thor: In this film we start off with Jane and her father following a tornado. It’s really going to help Jane’s data project, but unfortunately they run over someone. Turns out that it’s Thor and now they’re worried that he might be hurt. That’s where the scene ends before we get a flashback to explain what happened. It’s a decent scene as the tornado does add some tension. Tornado watching definitely isn’t for me though. Definitely seems way too dangerous and risky if you ask me. For a film opening it does deliver on some hype but I do think it would have been more fun to have started with the big fight against the ice beings.

Black Panther: This film starts off with an introduction as to what Wakanda is. It then transitions into a scene of T’Challa’s father destroying a traitor and flying back to Wakanda. It helps us get the villain’s motivation as well as a very quick introduction on Wakanda. This is one of those films where it’s a little debatable on if it’s the same scene, but as the narration really isn’t a scene and there isn’t really a big transition I thought it was fair to meld the two. It was a nice twist to have an informant on the inside and the scene does show why you don’t want to mess with Wakanda. It also did produce one of the MCU’s better villains so that’s always good.

The Incredible Hulk: While I’m still not this film’s biggest fan, I will admit that the intro was pretty ambitious and certainly was handled very well. It basically recaps the Hulk origin without having us go through the whole thing yet again. The music is intense and it sets the tone pretty well. We do get a surprisingly violent visual when Hulk breaks into the base the first time, but for the most part the whole thing moves very quickly. It’s got a very Jason Bourne type feel to it that works very well. I’d like this futuristic angle to show up in more MCU titles.

Antman and The Wasp: This one starts off with an early mission of Wasp and Ant-Man trying to stop a rocket. Unfortunately Pym’s belt stops working so she has to be the one to make the sacrifice play. She was long thought to be dead, but now Pym thinks there is a way to save her. It’s a pretty solid intro and continues off of the premise from the first one. Now that Pym knows it’s possible to return from that micro dimension, he’s ready with a plan. It was also cool seeing Janet in costume as a hero. The suits really looked good and you get a nostalgic feeling from seeing the old team in action.

Iron Man 2: This one’s pretty solid in a similar way to the Hulk intro. It starts out by showing us Ironman’s big speech at the end of the first film. This time we’re seeing it from the eyes of Whiplash and his father though. The father ends up dying and Whiplash blames Tony so he starts planning on how he can get revenge. The intro is basically a long montage scene of him preparing his armaments and getting ready to attack. I always like these kind of villain montage credits like how Black Manta had a good one in Aquaman. It shows a level of determination on the villain’s part and one that will certainly serve him well going forward.

Captain America: Winter Soldier: This intro is pretty low key, but fun nonetheless. It starts out with Captain America running around on the track and mocking Falcon. They have some banter in good fun, but at the end of the day Cap is a super soldier so a race between these two is hardly fair. Falcon gives him some media suggestions and then Cap rides off with Black Widow to get ready for a mission. It’s not an opening that is trying to be “hype” so the alternative is to be fun. I think it does a good job. The “On your left” moment definitely became a quality meme and he’s just a fun character. This also introduces the friendly rivalry between Falcon and Cap pretty well.

Captain Marvel: This is another interesting case as there is technically a scene shift here. It starts out with Marvel waking up on a planet with an injury and then she’s back in the present getting ready to spar. I consider the scene to be over after the sparring session as I don’t think the scene is even a minute long otherwise. The sparring session is pretty fun and the intro does throw in some suspense. It’s a good way to start off the movie and the music for the fight was solid as well. It’s nothing spectacular, but I think it’s a fundamentally good opening. There’s really nothing wrong with it and I always do love a good fight.

Spider-Man Homecoming: This one starts off with Vulture getting his guys ready for one of the biggest cleanup jobs they’ve ever had. It takes place almost right after the Avengers and naturally there’s a lot of debris everywhere. Unfortunately in the interest of public safety Ironman has hired his own crew to clean up so Vulture and his guys are kicked out. Most of them were already desperate for cash so now they’re either doomed or will have to go for a life of crime. It sets Vulture up as a pretty sympathetic villain and I do think he did a good job in punching one of the contractors out. He’s a villain that you like almost right away and when an intro does that within 1-2 minutes you know you’ve got a solid one.

Antman: This scene ranks pretty high as it gives us what may be the best portrayal of Hank Pym since United They Stand. The fact that he immediately slammed the guy who brought up Janet was pretty solid. The scene itself doesn’t sound too dynamic on paper as it’s basically just Pym finding out that Stark stole his formula and telling them not to try anything like that again. The slam is just what pushed the scene over since it showed Pym’s resolve. There are times where it’s not good to just sit there and listen to the villains. Pym definitely wasn’t putting up with any of that.

Thor: The Dark World: This one opens up with a pretty big war scene with Asgard and the armies of Malekith. War scenes tend to bore me, but this one spiced things up by adding a lot of fun energy effects for both sides. I think that was the difference here and made it stand out more than normal. It follows the intro scene guidelines to the letter. Starting off with an action scene like this is the perfect way to strap everyone into their seats and prepare you for a fun time.

The Avengers: Now we’ve got the classic Avengers film. This one starts with the tesseract finally appearing to be active and Loki uses it as a portal to enter Earth. From there he quickly takes down SHIELD and escapes as Fury prepares to assemble the team. It’s a great way to start up the film. We are introduced to the big villain right away and it also makes the whole thing feel even more like a crossover from the get go. It’s just hard to top this one and that’s why only a few have. It’s not a big over the top fight or anything like that, but the scene has a lot of energy. It’s filmed well and the music also helps.

Avengers Age of Ultron: This one starts off with the Avengers raiding an enemy base and obtaining the cosmic scepter. They also have a quick skirmish with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver which was fun. It’s currently the only time we’ve ever gotten to see the full team on a normal mission in the film continuity. It’ll likely be the last time as well so that’s why it was a lot of fun. It’s not a fight that they ever had a chance of losing, but it was certainly entertaining nonetheless. I’d certainly be down with a prequel that takes place around this time so we could have more moments with the whole team. The 3 Avenger titles so far have all certainly had great openings.

Dr. Strange: This one starts off with a villain group infiltrating a monastery and murdering some monks before getting some kind of book. That’s when the Ancient One shows up and we get our first big fight scene. It’s a pretty fun fight since she’s using magic to manipulate the environment and as a result everyone has to fight while jumping around and everything. This is always a great way to start off a film and it also introduced the Ancient One well. It makes sense to show us an action scene with her since the rest of the film is mainly with Dr. Strange.

Avengers: Infinity War: This is definitely an opening that I’ve seen numerous times and certainly ages well. Not only does it kick off immediately where Ragnarok ended (Which was a great idea) but it really shows how fierce Thanos is. The opening is basically the entire scene of Thanos showing up and then ending when he blows up the ship. It gave us a lot of memorable lines and seeing Hulk take the full Mcnuggets combo from Thanos was great. There are some logic questions you’ll have from that scene since it doesn’t make quite as much sense when you think about it, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a very powerful scene. This is a villain introduction scene handled to perfection. Really, Infinity War as a whole is basically perfect and really hard to top. There’s almost no way Endgame even stands a chance, but if it can match this then the MCU saga really will be complete.

Thor: Ragnarok: It was a close call between this one and Infinity War, but I have to give Ragnarok the slight edge. It begins with Thor seemingly being captured by Surtur and then he fights his way out as he stops Ragnarok before the event can even begin. The fight is great here and it’s probably the best Thor had looked up to this point. He got to show strategy, speed, and strength. It’s his ideal moment and Surtur’s homeland made for a pretty cool backdrop. Then you’ve got the music that plays during the scene and you’ve really got a masterpiece. It’ll be tough for any opening to beat this one’s.

So, that’s my MCU intro scenes list! Marvel’s definitely got a lot of films here and with the MCU going as strong as ever I’m sure there’ll be enough new scenes for another list in the distant future. While I don’t have any other lists in my immediate plans, future editorials will talk about what it means to be a good hero and likewise, what makes a good villain. Editorials are fun to write although they do take more time than the normal posts for sure. If you’ve seen all the MCU films, would you agree with the list or is yours completely different? Sound off in the comments and remember that intros are one of the most important parts of the film. Arguably the only parts that are anywhere near as important are the ending and the general climax of a title.