Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Meteor Man Review


It’s time to look at a superhero movie that isn’t very well known. At the very least I definitely hadn’t heard of it before and I consider myself to be a bit of an expert on comic book movies. It’s one of those films that is a little tragic because for the most part it’s really fun. I dare say that it’s a great movie at some points, but then it seriously falters towards the end. There’s one moment in particular that is quite egregious and I’ll get into that later on in the movie.

The film starts off by introducing us to Jefferson. He’s grown up in a pretty tough neighborhood where gangs are pressing ground and the cops can’t handle them. His father is trying to get the community to rise up, but it’s been tough since there are few who actually want to support this. He does a good job of standing up to them, but the gangs are very powerful so eventually the neighborhood is on the losing side. At that point, Jefferson is hit by a meteor and gets super powers. He’s now got super strength, durability, flight, speed, etc. He is effectively a Superman so ending street crime should be easy right?

An interesting dynamic here is that everyone in the town knows that Jefferson is Meteor Man. There aren’t a lot of superhero movies where the hero’s identity is public at least until when Iron Man came out and that sort of changed how secret identities are handled in the movies. It’s a nice angle but Jefferson ruins it because of how timid he is. He spends a lot of the film just running away from the villains or passively watching them.

I’ve got no problem with him doing that when he was a human. That’s fine and if anything that’s actually pretty realistic because we see that whoever stands up to the gang is quickly beaten. The people are too afraid to actually charge him with a crime and that ties the cops’ hands as well. Maybe even the first scene would be fine, but once Jeff sees that he is bullet proof he should not be scared at all. Instead he just keeps letting people get beaten up because he refuses to go after the villains. He just watches them off each time and since they know his true identity you’d think that he would take the mission of stopping them a little more seriously.

The casualties keep on building throughout the film as the villains go after his Dad and then a next door neighbor. Meteor Man waited so long that even his powers started fading away which really shows how he came close to blowing his chance here. He was literally sleeping when they broke into his house and put the family at risk. Everyone easily could have died there and it would have directly been Jeff’s fault.

The worst part about this is definitely the ending though. Jeff’s dog gets hit by the villain and is dying in front of his eyes. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not only was the film repeatedly shooting itself in the foot here, but Jeff didn’t even make an attempt to save his own dog. He just lamented that his powers were fading and rather than use the last of them to save his own pet he just watches. Fortunately another guy with powers shows up and saves the dog, but it’s such a terrible scene. Unless it is actually meant to make you dislike Jeff but I don’t really believe that was the intention. If it was then I suppose I’ve got to admit that the film pulled a fast one on me…but it’s not like that would save the scene.

If ever there was an ending that destroyed a film it was this one. Even the big battle with Meteor Man and the villain is pretty annoying. Why did the guy have to also get super powers? It felt pretty forced and since he is already a better fighter than Jeff it meant that the hero was basically confirmed to lose from the start. Even once Jeff gets the Bruce Lee book he ends up getting wrecked and by the time he actually manages to win you’ve stopped rooting for Jeff. You’d almost rather some other hero comes in to win.

The less said about the climax the better. It’s not like it was devoid of fun, but it does totally encapsulate the missed opportunities in this film. It never should have gotten to that point if Jeff was even a slightly decent hero. It’s a crying shame if you ask me. The film’s at its best when it’s taking advantage of the parody elements in the movie. There’s some fun scenes that poke fun at the whole thing like when they announce who Meteor Man is so casually at a board meeting.

Then there’s the scene in the ally with little kids stealing someone’s purse. The sequence is so surreal that you’ll likely think that it is just a dream for a while. I certainly did so when the scene just didn’t end I was shocked. That’s the kind of scene that is low key excellent. If the film had played to its strengths like that then it may have been better. Another good scene is when Jeff is trying to stick up for the kids, but ultimately has to give up because they keep breaking things.

The humor is actually on point here so there are a lot of fun moments like this. Meteor Man is part comedy after all so you would expect that. The film can surprisingly get pretty serious though so it does a good job of balancing both genres. It’s probably what adds onto the frustration for the average person living in the neighborhood. Imagine literally living next to a super hero and still being robbed the next day.

Aside from the lead the other characters are at least charismatic. Simon, the leader of the villains is cool even though his screen time is very limited. He’s definitely the leader for a reason. Then the other members of the gang are good enough. Jeff’s Dad does a good job of leading the rebellion and while he does endure quite a lot in doing so, he never regrets his actions which is great. He’s tough all the way through to the end. Jeff’s friend Michael is pretty annoying though. He puts everyone in danger by pretending to be the Meteor Man and that’s ultimately part of what puts the hero in such a bad position.

Overall, Meteor Man didn’t really click for me. It’s unfortunate because I liked more of the film than what I didn’t, but the latter scenes just really hurt its case. The final fight even throws some random power level issues in which is rare for live action. There’s a good movie in here, but the lead just does his best to sabotage it at every corner. It’s why it can be very difficult to have a good film with a bad main character. It’s possible of course, but it’s never going to be as good as it should have been. If you can get around the fact that you’re gonna be a bit annoyed during the film then I’d recommend checking it out. Otherwise you should definitely check out Steel instead.

Overall 5/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

X-Men Dark Phoenix Review


It’s time to look at the newest X-Men film. The trailers for this one were looking pretty sharp from the start so it had the potential to be the best X film. Of course, the films haven’t had the best track record. X-Men The Last Stand was really solid, First Class and X2 were also pretty good, but the original X-Men and Apocalypse were not so good. Still, the Fox universe has basically been buried so they’d want to go out on a good note and I’d say that they did. Not only is this the best X-Men film of them all, but it can hold its head up high against the other big comic book movies out there.

The film starts off with a flashback as Jean gets into an accident with her parents and we see Xavier bring her to his school. We then cut to the present where the X-Men head into space to save some astronauts and Jean Grey absorbs part of the Phoenix Force. Her abilities start to go out of control and once she starts causing a lot of damage the team is forced to decide if they can still save her or if she’s still too far gone. At this point, is she really still Jean Grey or just the malicious Phoenix?

Dark Phoenix doesn’t waste any time in ramping up the tension. (It is called Dark Phoenix for a reason after all) The film’s pacing is quick from the start and builds a very good atmosphere. The soundtrack is stellar here (Jean Grey’s main theme is definitely the best one) and that’s always important. It’s easily a contender for one of the best soundtracks in a CBM. Certainly top 5. Dark Phoenix is a very serious comic film, it’s got the same vibe as the amazing DC titles Batman V Superman, Man of Steel or even the older ones like The Dark Knight. There are a lot of traumatic events for all the characters so there is rarely a time for them to catch their breath.

My favorite scene in the film is the fight between the “Save Jean” and “Destroy Jean” factions. It’s a pretty local level fight as it’s a 4 v 4, but team battles like that are always the best. I also am glad that the fights weren’t ties and there were no cop outs here. One side was clearly beating the other and it was the correct team. One side was simply way more stacked than the other. That was the main fight of the film, but in the climax we also get to see the heroes take on the villain zombies. Those guys can’t really fight back quite as much so it’s more one sided, but I do think the film did a good job of making them more of a threat than the average expendables.

The villains don’t get to appear much in the trailers so I’ll stay vague on who they are and what the goals are. I do think that they were nerfed a bit by the end though. They seem to be able to move your organs and crush your body with a light grasp or even with mental abilities. They seem to forget about this ability by the end of the film, but it would have been a handy way to destroy at least some of the X-Men. Most of the members could be defeated by the villains if you ask me.

Most of the characters look really solid here. Mystique has really grown into her role as the X-Men leader. While I was on Xavier’s side with the rocket decision over hers, I am glad that Mystique is always looking after the team. She sees the big picture more than the others do. Cyclops is definitely really good here as well. He’s still a teenager as opposed to being the X-Men leader like in the old films, but he never doubts Jean for a second. He’s on her side from start to finish and that kind of devotion is definitely accurate to his character. His optical blasts are also given a lot of respect here and he doesn’t hold back at all when attacking.

Unfortunately Storm doesn’t look very good here. I do think they did her personality justice here as she is a lot more aggressive and eager to fight. The problem is that she is portrayed as being pretty weak to be honest. She loses most of her fights and seems to let her guard down. I’d like her to look stronger in future appearances. Nightcrawler is a reasonable character, I just never liked him much. He doesn’t seem very proactive compared to the others although he does finally get a homage to his knife combo scene from the old films.

Beast has a pretty big role here. He definitely takes the early events hard and makes a controversial move to make things right. I don’t think anyone would claim that he’s making the heroic move here and even he knows that. Still, considering what happened you can definitely see why he’s making the choice. I find him to be pretty weak though and he rarely does a whole lot of damage. Quicksilver only appears for a few minutes tops here as the writers were probably scared that he would end the whole film in a minute. Unfortunately even then there is at least one time where he could have saved the team but didn’t. This is the problem with making a character so overwhelmingly powerful.

Jean Grey is the lead so lets talk about her for a second. Naturally she’s fighting with the Phoenix the whole time so she’s not always in her right state of mind. She tends to be a little oversensitive to everything so everybody triggers her. She can go into murder mode at the drop of a hat. It helps add more nuance to which side you’ll end up choosing. All in all, I thought she looked pretty good though. She may have been a bit gullible during some of the scenes and trusting villain groups is rarely a good choice. Still, I think the film did a good job with handling her as a villain here.

The star of the movie as always is Magneto. He’s been a really great character during the trilogy and he steals all of the scenes here. While he is not as powerful as the Phoenix I dare say that he is the second strongest mutant at this point. He’s the only one who can actually fight back compared to the others. He’s had a very complete character arc by this point and while he is drawn back into the battle, it’s nice that he had finally found peace. The fact that this is the third movie does help quite a bit since by now all of the characters are established so it’s easy for us to understand all of the character motivations.

Xavier is another big character of course. He definitely makes some key mistakes in the film. Xavier is definitely still one of the good guys from start to finish, but his problem is that he just doesn’t see any of his mistakes. He seems to think that he’s always on the right side. It’s a good quality to have as a leader since you have to believe that your cause is just, but part of the blame here can definitely be thrown over to him. Still, at the end of the day he does what he can to remedy the situation. He does feel a lot weaker here though as other telepaths can hold their own against him. He’s definitely not the Omega level mutant you might have thought he was.

I think some characters who may be overlooked, but shouldn’t be are Magneto’s teammates. I actually really liked both of them even though we never even get to know their names. One of them can fight with his hair and from how he was wrecking one of the X-Men members he is a considerable threat. The guy’s super loyal and was always quick to get into battle. The other is a telepath who was holding her own against Xavier and even causing him to back up. Their back and forth battle of wits was really solid and she was one of the best characters in the film. I’d put her second only to Magneto. I don’t have many qualms with the film, but one of them is that these characters get the shaft. I don’t think their endings were deserved and they should have done more. They were loyal followers to Magneto and the fact that he has given mutants a place to live really makes it a powerful moment. These guys are ready to put their lives on the line for Magneto because he has finally helped the mutants out once and for all. I’d argue that he’s made a safer existence for mutants than Xavier ever did.

The ending of the film is incredibly forced though and doesn’t really make any sense. There’s not a whole lot I can say about it since I don’t even want to spoil any part of it, but it really only happens for drama. It’s the kind of ending that you’d expect and so the film delivers on it, but there’s no narrative reason why it had to happen. The character could have chosen any other option and it would have worked rather than this desperate move. The other paths would have also made for a more entertaining ending. An ending is important, but it’s not like it’s horrible either. The final part of the final scene at least salvages what it can.

Part of why the film is good is naturally the writing. A dynamite soundtrack and excellent special effects go a long way, but at the end of the day you need solid writing to keep the film operating at a high level. This film probably has the best script that I’ve seen since Batman V Superman. (Infinity War also deserves a nod although it’s a very different kind of script) You’ll be engaged right away. They do squeeze in the Fox trope of adding one F word of course which is annoying as always. The film mirrors the X-Men comics to the extent that there is a lot going on at all times. There are many plots and characters in the mix and they’re all being affected by the events in the movie. You’ve got some symbolic imagery like Magneto putting his helmet back on to return to the darkness and Xavier taking his off as he decides to go back to acting as a friend to the others rather than as a commander. The characters are all acting on pure emotion by the end so it’s easy to pick any individual character and root for him/her. It’s a very thought provoking film that also includes a lot of action so you don’t have to worry about choosing one or the other.

It’s always hard to do a very serious film without getting super dark and gritty so I’m always impressed when it happens. It’s part of why I’m going to miss Fox, they really did add a nice element to the mix. For a while we had a solid balance with DC giving us supreme movies with the best action scenes and scripts, Marvel with the most comic book accurate movies and a light hearted tone like the days of ole, and then Fox which was a very realistic take on how humans would interact with super powered fighters. DC has gone away from their approach to follow Marvel and Fox is all but over after this one. Now the only company who will still be doing their own thing is Sony which does carry part of that Fox feel within, but I can’t say that I trust them as much as I would the others. Granted, Fox churns out a lot of misses too so you just gotta keep swinging til you connect. At least now we can finally have the Avengers vs X-Men film someday although I don’t imagine something like that would happen til 2025 or later.

All in all, this is the big finale that fans of the X-Men series have been waiting for. It’s the definitive X-Men film and it’s going to be really hard to top this one. The only thing that would have made it feel even more like a finale would have been for Wolverine to have shown up for the final fights. We probably won’t be seeing any X-Men films for a very long time as I doubt anyone would even want to try and follow up on this so soon. All series have to end at some point and the goal is to end on a high note. Dark Phoenix does that and then some. It basically excels in all areas and has a lot of replay value. If you haven’t seen the film yet then I’d recommend heading out to the theaters and checking it out. You probably won’t be seeing another one like this for quite some time.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants Review


Batman Unlimited was a fun experiment by DC. It’s basically what you get when you mix today’s animation with a far lighter 80’s Batman tone. The first two films were solid. On one hand the designs could use some work but on the other you are getting quality fights without having to worry about the film going all in with violence. This installment ends the trilogy on a high note as it is probably the best of the 3. It’s quite solid and I’ll miss having the gang around.

The movie’s plot centers around the Penguin and Mr. Freeze. Freeze wants to stop some nearby ships and Penguin wants to rule Gotham. As such they form an alliance and Penguin teaches Freeze how to be more ambitious. The icy villain quickly becomes good at this. Meanwhile Damian is having a rough start as Robin since Joker humiliated him on TV. He is determined to get better though and this latest threat to his city could be a perfect opportunity.

I’ve probably talked about this in previous installments but I really like how Batman Unlimited basically has nonstop action throughout. There aren’t many breaks for talking at all here yet the movie still does build up a very complete plot. Who doesn’t want to see Batman in a giant mech suit fighting a Godzilla homage? The concept of having robots vs monsters is certainly a classic one with Pacific Rim being the latest big film to bring attention to the genre. We also get traditional Batman style fights like the Arkham battle where Batman and Robin face off against the villain group. It’s a fight where you get the feeling they will lose from the start since it’s too early for the villains to be defeated, but it’s a fun fight nonetheless. Honestly I think the heroes were pretty well matched up against the villains.

As always the animation is pretty solid. It looks like a main line DC film except for the fact that the character designs are quite different. Some can be a bit off putting, but at the same time I wouldn’t call them bad. Batman’s (Bruce Wayne form) for example looks like something out of Space Dandy or Johnny Bravo. It’s a bit of an odd look for his Bruce Wane persona considering you’d expect something a bit more formal. Still, when you’re rich like that you can dress however you want with whatever hairstyle you want so it’s not as if it’s unrealistic or anything. Anything goes in that scenario. The fight scenes are pretty sharp with a lot of vibrant colors. I think with some fine tuning this could even be a decent basis for a Batman anime of sorts. The scenes when inside the mech could certainly work.

There’s not much of a soundtrack so I’ll skip over that. Maybe the sequel would work on that. Green Arrow still gets shown up by Batman the whole time here. It gets to the point where I feel like he starts to acknowledge this by intentionally trying to sabotage Batman. Keep in mind that even if this is for humor such a stunt can easily cost lives when up against villains. Batman and Robin were getting ready to sneak up on the villains when Green Arrow broke through the glass which announced their presence. Somehow the villains didn’t hear them but you can still see what Arrow was trying to do. Additionally Arrow tries to prevent himself from getting one upped by ordering his own mech suit. Unfortunately for him it simply wasn’t strong enough to win any fights so once again he had to watch Batman come to the rescue. Green Arrow takes all of this pretty well though and overall I’d say that it was one of his better incarnations. It’s not all about power after all so as long as he’s still cracking jokes and trying hard that’s a start.

Meanwhile Damian has his own plot about trying to stay out of Batman’s shadow. He’s the newest Robin as the others have all graduated and gotten their own titles. At first you may even think that he is Red Hood or Red Robin since the costume is basically the same but it turns out that it is Damian. This also helps tie in to the main titles where Damian is currently Robin. He’s a pretty good Robin. You can’t help but feel bad for him during the intro since losing to Joker while being recorded on the internet was a pretty hard blow to take considering it was his first real day on the job. He does his best to improve and study from there. Damian never makes excuses for himself and I’d say that he has a lot of potential if we do get another installment.

Nightwing gets a small role near the end, but ultimately is just here as a cameo. As always Batman’s quite excellent here. He’s got everyone right where he wants them and reminds the other heroes that you don’t need powers to win fights. He’s pretty strict with everyone but never comes across as fair. I think Batman’s character is usually consistent in the movies and that doesn’t change here. He’s just as fun as he always is. As you can tell the character cast here was quite solid. I’d thank the writing for that. The film always seems to be on point and with its short run time the pacing is also good.

As far as the villains go they were solid as well if not a little less impressive. I was pretty surprised to see Chemo since he’s pretty obscure, but it was nice to have him on board. Clayface and Chemo both get their giant monster fights, but don’t do much beyond that. Bane and Killer Croc have a big rivalry going which was fun. I’d probably go with Bane to win that fight ordinarily but it seems like Croc had the edge this time. I suppose since he also had an energy blast he was the more dangerous fighter. Those two were the highlights from the main villains. Of course Penguin is always fun though and is typically one step ahead of the other villains. Mr. Freeze is quite a bit different than usual. His character arc could be a bit cheesy as I think he just didn’t think his goals enough. I hardly see why he would want to help at the end even after Batman’s explanation. Sure, it wasn’t really his plan anymore but the end result was the same. For the villains with smaller roles Joker certainly stole the show here. He had some great moments including his final scene. It shows why you really don’t want to mess with him as a villain. It’s always going to come back to bite you.

Overall, Batman Unlimited is most likely over with this film. It’s a trilogy that probably won’t be remembered very much by the fans but I’m glad that we got it. It’s certainly one that I would recommend and it really delivered on what the core of the project was…a good excuse to bring Batman and the others back for quality action scenes. Also the cliffhanger wasn’t all that exciting anyway so if the film decided to bring back Clayface it’s not like we would have missed much. His abilities can make him a very dangerous opponent I suppose, but his fight scenes wouldn’t be quite as hype as the ones we got here. If we do get a Batman Unlimited 4, I want to see all of the Robins team up since Red Robin missed out on this adventure.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Venom Review


When Venom was first announced there was a lot of panic in the streets since there are so many good arcs to choose from and so little time. Naturally it made sense to choose one where Venom is a little more on the heroic side to build him up as the main character of this universe (Or that’s what they should do at least) so then the film builds its origin story around that. It was actually quite a bit better than I expected after hearing the negative buzz. It’s a good film that can hold its own and I’m definitely ready for that sequel.

The film starts with Venom crash landing on Earth along with 3-4 other symbiotes. (The film opted to switch the pronunciation back to normal) they had been captured by the government except for one who manages to escape. This corrupt company wants to find a way to merge humans and aliens so they can live in space and are murdering a bunch of people off the streets in order to do this. Eddie once tried stopping this company but it cost him everything. Well, a doctor has convinced him to give it a second shot and with a symbiotic of his own, Eddie may just have a chance. He’s been beaten by corporate, humiliated, treated like a drunk has been. Eddie decides that it’s time he stood up for himself.

A lot of this film will probably depend on how much you like Eddie Brock himself. The guy is definitely not like your average hero. He’s usually a little on the drunk side and is always down on his luck. He means well but at the same time doesn’t think things through. On one hand you see several examples of him being a good person like when he gave a homeless lady some money or how he tends to get along with everyone like the door man and the owner of a convenience store. Eddie’s just a very easy going guy even if he can be a little slow to adapt to what’s going on. I don’t think his character personality was executed nearly as well as it could or should have been though. I think he could have been very likable if handled right but from what we got he can be rather annoying.

The Venom symbiote is a lot of fun though. His personality reminds me of Blue Beetle’s scarab. At first he is pretty ruthless and acts like a villain but gets rehabilitated rather convincingly. Even from the start he is pretty handy to Eddie and as he mentions, Venom is a reasonable guy. He even lets Eddie square away his personal issues before they head out on their final mission. The symbiote is always quick on his feet and I’d say he is also quite patient considering how much Eddie is complaining throughout all of this. Venom’s easily the best character here although I have a hard time believing that he wasn’t cool back on his world. I like to think he is just trying to be sympathetic to Eddie which shows once again that he is a pretty nice guy. The plot of a character being possessed by another entity or being forced to share a body can usually go on 3 ways. The spirit is evil and crushes the hero, the spirit is heroic and they team up, or the spirit is rather ruthless but will help the hero for mutual survival and down the road they become friends. The final version is typically the best route, especially when the other entity never fully turns good and is always a bit of a loose cannon. That’s why I’m glad the film went this route.

I do have to say that the writing can be rather weak though. The script isn’t great which makes the characters a little harder to like than they would be otherwise. The language definitely could have been toned down quite a bit. There is also the matter of the romance being quite weak here. The main heroine’s instant rebound was super suspect as she clearly couldn’t have cared for Eddie much if she’s already moved on so completely. There was a time skip of a few months which is supposed to make this feel more organic…but it doesn’t really work. Throw in the fact that some sketchy stuff happens later on and I don’t think her character arc is going in a good direction. Plus, Dan seemed like a reasonable character but you get the feeling that he is doomed from the start. At least he tried helping Eddie. Two other supporting characters who were fun were the Deli owner and the homeless lady by the store. They seemed to be pretty nice characters who were doing their best to get by. Eddie being nice to them is part of the reason why he’s a likable character in the first place. The rapport with those characters is on point and hopefully the Deli owner gets to appear in the sequel. Maybe she can give him some more advice.

As for the scientist lady who tries to enlist Eddie’s help….I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers. She just seems a little wishy washy and far too late about suddenly feeling bad about her work. The company she works for has already murdered a ton of people. She has a quick line about how it was worth it since they were curing cancer, but not anymore since they’re trying for space travel. While the latter does seem to be less important than the former, the ends don’t justify the means either way. Then when she does make her move she isn’t particularly smart. She should have left the complex the instant things went sideways. Did she forget that security cameras are a thing? As soon as the villain found out that someone had broken in she should have left. She just wasn’t nearly as compelling as the other characters.

Then you have the corporate big shot who is trying to harness the power of the symbiotes for his own gain. The guy is heralded as a genius, but doesn’t seem all that smart from what we see. It just looks like he has a lot of money and gets everyone else to do the inventing for him. I mean, that happens a lot in real life as well as the small workers do all the work for the big shots who take the credit, but it needed to be said. Still, he’s a pretty fun main villain. He’s very full of himself and definitely does take down a lot of characters during the course of the movie. He definitely gets outranked once Riot shows up though. Also, he wants to inhabit space since Earth was too overpopulated. I think he would have liked Thanos’ plans to snap half of all life away. Then things would be balanced….as all things should be. He would have joined Thanos’ ranks in a heartbeat….and then chickened out halfway so he would have been doomed.

Riot is definitely a fun character. He makes for a great villain and his deign is pretty hype. In general the designs for the symbiote creatures were pretty solid. Venom looks like his classic 90s self and of course Riot is basically just a grayer version of Venom. This makes for a pretty epic climax in the film where both characters really get to go at it. With the raw power that both characters have as well as their regeneration, it means that neither one will be going down very quickly. I suppose that it’s unlikely we will have Riot show up again in a sequel since the next film will likely feature the fan favorite Carnage as the villain. We’ll see if that guy can really match up to Riot though.

Naturally this film does have an after credits scene so you may want to stick around for that. It’s a fairly low key scene involving a character who certainly doesn’t seem to be very interesting, but you could argue that this side of him doesn’t actually matter. The real deal will show up soon. It’s definitely a good stinger for the next film though. It does its job of cluing you in as to what will happen next time as opposed to just going for a quick gag. There is another scene at the end, but that one’s just a preview for Spider Verse so you don’t need to stick around for that. Having previews for other films don’t count and shouldn’t be left for the end unless it’s a direct sequel or something like that.

While the lobster scene wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be I definitely don’t think it was needed in the film. All the scenes of Eddie just eating random stuff just didn’t age particularly well and showing him trying to deal with being the host to Venom could have just been shown through the voice in his head. Why would Venom be trolling him like this? Also, the film briefly delves into the whole “The symbiote will destroy you from the inside” plot, but in Eddie’s case he should have believed Venom. He had already seen the regeneration in action so why wouldn’t that keep working to protect him? Worst case is that he becomes dependent on the symbiote to live, but if that’s the case then so be it. Venom seems like a trust worthy guy.

This film also keeps up Sony’s trend of having scenes from the trailer show up at the very end of the movie. It’s a pretty interesting strategy as you keep waiting for the moments to arrive and almost start to think that maybe they were cut until they finally show up at the end. An example of this is the deli scene near the end that basically everyone knows about since it was in the trailer and probably a lot of TV spots. It’s a pretty fun way to end the film I suppose. It’s one of the perks about being more of a villain who just helps out the world for his own reasons. If Batman, Spiderman, or another hero did this then it would be time to write a lot of quick editorials about how this was a terrible mistake. When Venom does it? Eh, it’s no real problem. Venom’s not the kind of guy who typically spares people. At least he didn’t destroy the cops right? When done right characters like this can have some pretty interesting story arcs. Eddie doesn’t really seem to care much about hiding his identity and pretty soon the villains are going to be terrified of him. The crime rate should drop quite a bit in his home town although he will have to make sure to be at least a little more subtle before the government starts going after him.

Venom’s also fairly tame with the violence considering that at one point it was possibly going to be R. It just goes to show that the film didn’t need it and honestly no film has ever been improved by upping the rating that far. All it does is water films down with excessive content so I’m glad that the sequel is going to stay like this one. With the cool effects we’ve already seen here we are guaranteed to have some really fun fights as it is. It also makes sense to keep the opponents to symbiotes since it will be tough for a normal opponent to hope to fight Venom. Even Spider-Man likely wouldn’t stand a chance against this version of Venom although since his spider-sense should work it could still be a good fight.

Overall, Venom was a solid film. It delivered on the action scenes and it’s also good to have a lead like Eddie who is very down to Earth and looks after the every day guy. He keeps on helping the neighborhood and won’t let fame cloud his mind. It’ll be nice to see him in the sequel as his confidence should be a lot higher and he’ll have his life under control once again. So long as the sequel stays on point and maybe fixes up the writing, it could definitely be quite the title to look out for. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should try to fix that while you still can. Its theater run won’t last forever after all. Minor thing to watch out for as well, the film decided to drop the whole SymBYote thing so…if you’re watching for that line then keep this in mind.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ant-Man and the Wasp Review


The first Ant Man film still ranks as the worst MCU film of them all. It’s a shame since the film was a lot of fun but just squeezed in too much animal violence which certainly wasn’t necessary. This one is a big improvement mainly since the insects don’t get to do a lot here. There are a few casualties used for an unsuccessful gag but for the most part this film avoided making the same mistake as the last one which is good.

The film starts off by showing us how Janet made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. We then cut to Scott trying to do his best to make it off house arrest. He just needs to stay in the house for 4 more days which should be fairly simple. Unfortunately he then has a dream about becoming Janet which leads Hope to kidnap him for answers. An Ant is left in his place but Scott has to solve this case by the end of the day or else the cops will grow wise to him. The mission: Save Janet from the Quantum Realm. The obstacles: A mysterious being known as the ghost and a couple of thugs with guns. Looks like it is time to suit up!

This film always did look promising from the first trailer. Mainly I liked the music and Wasp’s confidence that she would have changed the outcome in Civil War. I don’t doubt it either as the only opponent that she would effectively be powerless against would be Vision. Everyone else would be taking damage from her blasters and size shifting combos. Honestly Scott should have brought her along and I would like to see her fight more powered fighters. She is definitely one of the best characters in the film and one thing she is really good at is adapting on the fly. Even with her first encounter with the Ghost she was handling the phasing abilities pretty well. Attacking the instant that the ghost would appear and using her own size shifting to counter it.

Then we have Ant Man who is ultimately a normal guy without too much fighting practice aside from some moves that the Wasp taught him. Considering that he does a pretty decent job but he does spend a large chunk of the film getting thrown left and right. It makes sense since the Ghost is far better trained. While he may not be the toughest fighter out there, Scott’s definitely a good guy and is definitely trying his best to help everyone out.

In particular I thought that one of his earliest scenes was pretty impressive. Since he is locked in his own house he had to improvise to entertain his daughter. He builds an elaborate set up of boxes and figures to make her a mini adventure. I imagine that the film makers had fun creating that as well. He even learned slight of hand magic tricks which I would like to see him incorporate in fights. That kind of truck could be useful.

Pym is a little more on the annoying side though. Wasp has really valid reasons to be upset at Scott since they were rather close and he still ditched her without a word to get in on the fight. That is definitely very personal. Pym basically has the same complaints but you can’t put quite as much stock in them especially since he would have been very reluctant to help. They were fighting Ironman though so maybe that would have convinced him but as Scott I certainly wouldn’t have trusted the guy. Pym has his moments but at the end of the day he still isn’t the most heroic figure out there.

One area where the film shines is the fight scenes as I mentioned earlier. They are quite well done and the battles are very quick. I’ll take phasing over size manipulation any day but both techniques are great for dodging hits. We also get a lot of chase scenes with the cars and the heroes are always on the run. The film’s pacing is quite good as it never drags on and we get several climaxes each more intense than the last.

Meanwhile Goliath gets a bit of a role but he definitely isn’t a very good character. He has some reasonable motivations to work with but goes about them all wrong. Things would have worked out a whole lot better if he just thought things through more. Instead he just comes across as rather whiny the whole time. Burch also gets a bit of a role as he tries to force himself into the technology breakthroughs that the heroes are poised to get with their tech. You have to love his confidence I suppose, but the guy almost feels a little out of place here. He never actually does anything so if he was cut out I doubt anyone would have really cared.

Luis gets a decently big role as well and he handles the comic relief role pretty well. He never seems to be all that afraid of the villains and takes everything in stride. He is pretty good at designing traps as well and kept his company alive for quite a while. This guy is definitely not someone to be taken lightly. He’s better than most of the other sidekicks currently running around the universe that’s for sure.

The Ghost is one of the big characters of course since she is the main villain and it’s a role that she handles well. I like the design of the Ghost suit and she certainly mastered her powers to a good degree. As always SHEILD looks awfully shady here but that’s nothing new. Fortunately those guys are no longer in business in the movies (for now) so these people with powers can finally be safe. Towards the end her partner in crime kept chickening out so I was definitely on her side there. They’ve already come this far and he knows the risks so this change of heart comes across as very sudden especially since the Ghost is the one taking all of the risk. She’s one of the better recent villains.

We do get an after credits scene here that is actually plot important and taken seriously. There is a second which covers the comedy angle and that’s always good since if you just have one such scene and it’s a comedy one…then that’s much more of an issue. The first scene is almost tragic in a sense since aside from serious plot convenience it is hard to really see a way out of this one aside from a lot of waiting. I probably would have tweaked the ending a bit there but either way it is a solid scene.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It was a good follow up to the Infinity War and continues to show how modern effects can make a lot of different super powers pretty useful. Being able to change sizes may not seem amazing right off the bat but if you can do it with great speed then you will be going places. I’d recommend checking this film out if you’re in the mood for a solid action film with a good amount of humor. Now I’m ready to see how Ant Man will contribute to the team in the next Avengers film.

Overall 7/10

Editorial

Best Live Action Movies of Each Year

It’s time to look at the best Live Action Film of each year! This one was definitely tricky since there are so many films that came out each year. Still, I went through the Wikipedia lists and hopefully have not missed any. Naturally this list may change as time goes on and I see more films, but I’ll aim to keep the list up to date at all times. Now lets see which ones made history!

2018 Black Panther
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Black Panther was definitely a solid action movie and a good way to end the MCU until Infinity War. That film may ironically end up stealing its spot, but for now Black Panther is certainly the film to beat in 2018. It just managed to hit all of the right buttons without falling into any cinematic traps. It’s easy to see why the film was such a big hit.

2017 Justice League
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Still one of the most ambitious comic book movies of all time, Justice League really managed to be an epic movie. The fights at the end of the film were certainly excellent and I also enjoyed the opening fight with Batman and the Parademons. I would have liked to have seen more of what the original version was supposed to be like, but the finished product still managed to be quite awesome.

2016 Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice
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Now this is the most ambitious super hero movie of all time. After all these decades, the two most popular superheroes finally get to meet each other. This film is almost perfect as it had a lot of tense scenes and great memes after the film had ended. The whole film just comes across as very epic and you won’t want to step out of the room for a moment. The dialogue and banter between the characters was uncanny.

2015 Avengers Age of Ultron

While not as groundbreaking as the original Avengers, Age of Ultron was an excellent sequel which brought the gang back for one more ride. We got a lot of snappy humor and some fun fights so it’s hard to deny that this was a very good film. There was a lot happening here and even though I’ve seen it twice I would already be down with seeing it a third time someday. I do think it may go down as the least memorable Avengers film though.

2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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After the first Captain America film I can’t say that I was too hyped for this one. Still, it managed to exceed my expectations and was actually quite great. Winter Soldier made for a good opponent to Cap and his scenes even proved that Spider-Man was far stronger than Cap physically. The Hydra plot finally got to end so Cap could get some new opponents and this was a movie that stood well on its own as well. There weren’t a whole lot of guest stars or anything this time.

2013 Man of Steel
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Man of Steel was always a controversial film but I have to admit that it is still one of the greatest films of all time. The fight scenes are decades ahead of its time and Superman makes for a great main character. The film doesn’t waste too much time on set up or sob stories and throws us into the action. To this day I think it will be tough for a CBM to ever truly match this one’s fight scenes. It’s just hard to top a film where every character who is fighting are top level DC combatants.

2012 The Avengers

I’ve probably seen the Avengers more than any other live action comic book movie. I’ve seen it 5-6 times at this point and it never gets old. It was the perfect crossover to bring all of Marvel’s best heroes together. It felt like an awesome crossover and also managed to fit in a nice climax as well. The jokes were on point and likewise for the fight scenes. I don’t see how this film could have been any better than it was.

2011 Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible has been a great film series, but it really upped its game to the next level starting with this film. Ghost Protocol was a blast as we got a ton of action scenes and the series finally added a new character who could keep pace with Ethan Hunt. The film never really slowed down and managed to keep up the frantic pace for the whole adventure.

2010 Prince of Persia

I haven’t seen Prince of Persia in quite a long while, but I remember it being very solid. It was a film that took place amidst a lot of sand but managed to surpass its own locale and managed to be a very epic film anyway. As a pretty big fan of the games I can definitely say that the film did it justice. It was just a lot of fun all around and was a good way to start off the 2010s era.

2009 GI Joe: Rise of Cobra

GI Joe was always a film that was a lot of fun to watch. It may not have been the most ambitious film out there, but it had a ton of action. It got me a little more interested in the franchise and I didn’t mind the super soldier suits. Cobra’s group actually looked tough in this film as well which was a nice surprise.

2008 The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is still known as one of the best comic book movies of all time and I can definitely agree that it was a lot of fun. The Joker appeared as a real threat and a lot of work went into the plot. Joker definitely didn’t put Batman in an easy position, but the Dark Knight ended up victorious as you would expect. He isn’t the kind of fighter who goes down easy.

2007 Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 gets a bad rep most of the time, but it is certainly still one of the finest comic book movies of all time. There is constant action and it managed to wrap up a bunch of plot lines from the previous 2 films. It’s extremely memorable and also had a great soundtrack to support it. At the very least, I’d say that there will probably never be a Spider-Man film that can top this one.

2006 Mission Impossible III

I don’t have the greatest recollection of Mission Impossible III, but it was certainly an intense film. The villains really put Ethan through the ringer in this one and he didn’t get to have a lot of fun. This was right before the series really became amazing, but it was still solid enough to take the year I’d say.

2005 Fantastic Four

Who’d have thought that the Fantastic Four would get their time in the spotlight eh? Their film may not have been amazing, but it was a good way to introduce the team. We got some nice action scenes as well and it had a pretty good story. It was definitely better than the remake and the origins were handled well.

2004 Godzilla Final Wars

To this day Final Wars is remembered as the greatest of all the Godzilla films and for good reason too. The movie managed to grab a lot of monsters and even made the human plot interesting this time around. It’s the perfect Godzilla movie.

2003 Godzilla Tokyo SOS

Tokyo SOS was another fun Godzilla film for the books. It really showed off what Godzilla could do with modern effects and as always it gave us the monster fights that we were looking forward to. Mecha Godzilla looked hype as expected.

2002 Spider-Man

The epic start to what would soon be known as a legendary trilogy, Spider-Man redefined what it meant to be a friendly neighborhood superhero. He made the tough calls when necessary and the film taking place in NYC was a nice touch.

2001 The One
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The One is a film that almost nobody has heard of, but it was surprisingly amazing. The action scenes here were excellent and it actually had an insert song for one of the fights. That is extremely rare for a non anime film.

2000 Mission Impossible II

Mission Impossible II saw things get a little dark for Ethan and his crew. It brought in the usual action and excitement with the darker tone and made for an intense movie. Definitely a sign of things to come for the heroes in the 2000s.

1999 Godzilla 2000

Godzilla 2000 was definitely an iconic Godzilla film as it gave the hero one of his most fierce-some designs of all time. Orga also made for an extremely epic enemy. This is one Godzilla film that certainly will not be forgotten.

1998 Rebirth of Mothra III

We can’t forget the big Mothra film to end the trilogy. She had an intense fight against Ghidorah and proved that she is still one of the strongest Kaiju around. Mothra is one monster that should not be trifled with. A fun all around film.

1997 Men in Black

The original Men in Black was definitely a blast. While the humans vs aliens plot had been done before, this one was probably the first action/humor blend to really succeed at this level. It’s just a lot of fun to watch and it’s just a shame that the sequels couldn’t quite live up to how much fun this one was.

1996 Space Jam

Space Jam has always been an awesome film and I dare say that it gets better every time. Seeing the Looney Tunes have to fight for their world really brings the stakes to their peak and while you might find it tough to swallow that they can’t win on their own, just pretend that they’re holding back. Winning with a sport probably just seemed like more fun to them.

1995 Mortal Kombat
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Mortal Kombat is incredibly underrated and is still one of the greatest films of all time. I’ve never seen a film with such an incredible soundtrack coupled with excellent action scenes. This film is truly a one of a kind experience that everyone should watch.

1994 Godzilla vs Space Godzilla

I don’t understand why this game gets so much disrespect thrown its way. The concept of a Space Godzilla running around is just plain epic and his design is super cool as well. The beam fights were intense and while Godzilla was getting his spikes handed to him he still put up a reasonable struggle.

1993 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II

Mecha Godzilla II was a strong robot who gave Godzilla a pretty tough fight. It’s a shame that he couldn’t do much more than that, but he was up against the King of the Kaiju. Their rumbles always make for really epic films.

1992 Godzilla vs Mothra

We might as well start calling the early 90s the Godzilla years because he is here to stay now. Mothra hadn’t really gotten to fight Godzilla for many years so it was about time that they had a rematch. While this wasn’t one of the most memorable films it was still a lot of fun and will have you glued to your seat.

1991 Terminator 2
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Terminator 2 is iconic and the original Terminator finally found himself matched up against a foe who could hold his own. Their duel was a lot of fun and you always can’t help but admire how persistent Skynet is. This A.I. isn’t the kind of program to just sit back and allow the humans to build up a resistance. Definitely an intense Sci-Fi epic.

1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Ninja Turtle films were always a lot of fun. They were able to hit that sweet balance of action and humor without going too far in either direction. The films were cheesy, but they have aged very well and are sure to bring you a blast and a half.

1989 Batman
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While the 1989 Batman film is largely overlooked today it was a really solid take on the Batman mythos. It helped the general audience finally take comic books a little more seriously and reminded me that superheroes are always in season. Back then just seeing Batman be able to move with such agility was a feat.

1988 Poltergeist III
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Poltergeist III is amazing because it saved the entire series. The second film was trash and the first film was no good, but the third film managed to actually make the series good. It had suspense and tension which was something that I never thought I could say for the series. Throw in the awesome visual effects and we had a real winner here.

1987 Superman IV

Who can forget Superman IV? Honestly, a lot of people consider it to be a far cry from the first film, but I’m one of the few who considers it an improvement. (I haven’t seen the first film in ages though) Superman IV embraced its nature as a sequel and used the character development from the previous films to its advantage.

1986 Labyrinth
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Labyrinth is a very interesting fantasy film that plays out like an RPG. The main character meets up with a bunch of supporting characters and gradually makes it to the final boss where she has an interesting fight while trying to keep her balance on the various walls. It’s definitely an interesting film and even has a musical number.

1985 Return of Godzilla

Whether you took Godzilla seriously or not before now, The Return of Godzilla was a film for the ages. It showed us a more fearsome Godzilla who was not meant to be taken lightly. There were no other Kaiju here which was a bummer, but the Big G can certainly hold his own film I’d say. Seeing it on VHS is definitely nostalgic.

1984 Ghostbusters
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Ghostbusters is mega popular, but I only got to see it rather recently. Still, I can see why it became such a hit since the film is a blast. The Marshmallow Man is intense and the title song is probably still in the top 5 most intense live action non battle songs of all time.

1983 Superman III

Time for some more Superman action. In case you haven’t noticed, I am a pretty big fan of the Man of Steel. His films have had a great track record over the years. Superman III may not have had a super big threat like film II did, but it brought back some of the humor from the old Superman days. It’s just a lot of fun and a good movie to enjoy while eating a few slices of pizza.

1982 Rocky III
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Rocky and Superman definitely dominated this period of time. Rocky III brought us the epic fights that you would expect from the series. By this point the premise was starting to get a little formulaic, but was still early on enough where this wasn’t a problem. As long as it is executed properly, it’s not liable to ever become a problem either. It’s just a very solid sequel.

1981 Superman II

Superman II is the most iconic of all the Superman films and in a way Man of Steel is a remake of this one. It has a lot of action and hype villains so it deserves its title as one of the top Superman films. While I may not necessarily call it the best in the Superman series, it is still a great title that deserves to be seen and admired.

1980 Airplane
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Airplane is the greatest comedy film of all time and I dare you to tell me differently. The jokes are consistently funny and that’s not something that I can say about most comedies. The scene of the pilot breaking into the airport and beating everyone up will go down in history as a hype moment. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

1979 Rocky II
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Rocky II had the hype rematch and was a good way to get Rocky back in the ring. The fight was as intense as in the first film and maybe even more so. Rocky had to give the fight everything he had to stay up right. He never quite learned how to block, but his stamina was as impressive as always.

1978 Superman

The original Superman film was certainly the start of a legendary film series. The Man of Steel impressed audiences worldwide and the film was definitely emotional.

1977 Star Wars Episode IV

The original Star Wars film is still one of the best ones. It set up the universe really well and established Darth Vader as a big threat. It had a nice cliffhanger to set up the next film and a lot of action was constantly occurring throughout. You could not accuse this film of having a slow pace or of having a generic soundtrack either.

1976 Murder By Death
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This film proved that people die when they are destroyed. While you can poke fun at the title of the film all die, it’s a serious murder mystery all the same. Just throw in a bunch of parody elements as well and you are looking at one of the greatest mystery films of all time. A definite must watch for any fans of the genre.

1975 Terror of Mecha Godzilla

Terror of Mecha Godzilla is one of the scariest films in the whole series. Bringing back Mecha Godzilla so soon was a bold move, but definitely the right one. He is essentially the Broly of the Godzilla verse and has always proved to be the toughest opponent for the King of the Monsters. It was a great way to end the Showa era.

1974 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla

Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla still has the most iconic moment in Godzilla history, when Mecha G first shows himself. I would also consider this to be the most impressive visual effect in Godzilla history, but that is more debatable. It was definitely a powerful movie with some crazy fights.

1973 Godzilla vs Megalon

Megalon never seemed all that powerful next to the other Godzilla villains, but his design is undeniably awesome. His twin drill fighting style makes him a lot to handle for Godzilla and we also had other monsters running around. The action just never stopped in this movie and that’s why it is so much fun.

1972 Godzilla vs Gigan


Godzilla vs Gigan is definitely the most brutal Godzilla film out there and one that is not for the faint of heart. Gigan proves to be Godzilla’s toughest opponent yet as he nearly takes Godzilla down for good. It’s an intense film that does nerf the villains a little to give Godzilla a fighting chance, but is still a solid film all around.

1971 Godzilla vs Hedorah

Godzilla vs Hedorah is probably top 5 among all Godzilla films if we’re being honest. Hedorah was a great opponent and had more character than the average Kaiju. He was also immensely powerful and Godzilla didn’t seem to stand much of a chance the whole time. It reminds you that you should always be careful to help the environment.

1970 Gamera vs Jiger

One of the weaker Gamera films, but still good overall. Jiger may not seem like much of a threat compared to the average Kaiju, but underestimate her at your own peril. Gamera never makes this mistake and that’s why he tends to win his fights. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this film.

1969 Godzilla’s Revenge

Calling this film Godzilla’s Revenge may be a little suspect since that’s not the original name, but I really like the title. It appropriately describes the film and reminds us that Godzilla isn’t always a very noble Kaiju. He is out here to survive and to thrive and that is precisely what he does.

1968 Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters was a very big crossover among the Toho properties and it’s still incredible that they were able to get so many monsters into one film. The human scenes may be on the weak side in this adventure but whenever the monsters are on screen you know that the hype is about to start. You’ll probably end up rooting for Ghidorah since everyone is picking on him.

1967 Gamera vs Gyaos

Gyaos is the most iconic Gamera villain of them all and for good reason. His design is top notch and he is no slouch when it comes to a fight. This is probably in the top 3 Gamera showa films and maybe even higher. While it doesn’t have the cool super hero subplot as another one of the films, it does deliver on the action and you can’t say no to that.

1966 The Ghost and Mr Chicken
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The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a really fun comedy film. It’s fairly obscure, but must have been revolutionary at the time as it was one of the first films to have humor on this level. The laugh just keep on coming and the main character does ultimately get a little more courage at the end.

1965 Invasion of the Astro Monster

Invasion of the Astro Monster is the intense sequel to the Ghidorah film. The fight takes place in space which is pretty fun and a new locale was certainly appreciated. While I do miss the buildings getting blown up, we do still get some of that later on in the film. This movie had a ton of action!

1964 Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster

For a little while I had put Ghidorah as my favorite Godzilla film of them all. It’s tough to reach the top now as long as Final Wars exists, but at the very least it will always be known as one of the beast. Ghidorah is just such a great opponent for Godzilla and the action scenes here are great!

1963 Medusa vs The Son of Hercules
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Medusa vs The Son of Hercules is a fun film even if Hercules himself looks extremely weak the whole time. Well, I guess he isn’t the real Hercules which is kind of the point. I liked the radical new design for Medusa and I would definitely say that it worked well. It’s certainly her most intimidating look yet. If she ever brought it back, we could have more entertaining films like this one.

1962 King Kong vs Godzilla

King Kong vs Godzilla was a huge crossover back in the day and it’s definitely a blast to watch. The ending is rather suspect to be honest, but I guess it’s hard to please both sides with a fight like this one. All things considered, the film did a really good job and the effects have aged really well.

1961 Mothra

The original Mothra film may not have really been much of a Kaiju destruction story, but it was a solid film all the same. The writing was strong and the characters were engaging so you don’t really need anything more than that. Mothra is still a fearsome creature and it would be cool to see her get more movies someday.

1960 The Leech Woman
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The Leech Woman is not someone to be taken lightly. Her abilities put her above that of the average mortal and she attacks without warning. The film isn’t amazing or anything, but the premise was reasonable and the execution was decent. It’s a nice film to watch even if I would not want that as my superhero name.

1959 The Bat
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The Bat was a really cool film where the villain actually got bumped off in the opening minutes and was replaced with a different one. That scene was powerful and is the main reason why the movie is so memorable. It’s just a novel concept and one that to this day has not really been overused. I have to give the film a lot of credit there.

1958 The Colossus of New York
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It’s rare to see New York in the title of the film and I’d like to see that even more. There’s not much unique about this film, but it’s fun so there doesn’t need to be much more than that. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and just remember that New York is big enough to have a Colossus within it so long as nothing nefarious happens with it.

1957 12 Angry Men

The 12 Angry Men is definitely a classic film that may not have a whole lot of action or anything like that, but stands on its own with how good the dialogue is. I wouldn’t mind more films about jurors like this since this one was really engaging and also had a nice sense of humor.

1956 Rodan

Rodan may be a film that not too many have heard of, but those who have seen the film tend to acknowledge just how great it was. Rodan himself doesn’t get to do much as an adult in this film, but just thinking of how tough he will be when all grown up is enough to make this film even more interesting.

1955 Godzilla Raids Again

Godzilla Raids Again was a reasonable sequel to the first Godzilla, but was still lacking the extra monster action that we have come to love in the Godzilla films. It was still a very entertaining film though and the effects aren’t bad. Seeing Godzilla on the big screen is definitely surreal.

1954 Godzilla

The original Godzilla movie is definitely a fun Kaiju pic. For some it is very serious while for others it is light hearted fun, but that’s because it depends on which version of it you saw. I saw the happy American version and it does a good job of getting across the notion that Godzilla is a tough monster, but one that will always look out for itself first and foremost as opposed to trying to destroy us all for kicks.

1953 Beast From 20000 Fathoms

The Beast From 20000 Fathoms is a fun movie and really started off the Kaiju boom. Seeing the monster eat some humans only for the humans to escape and keep on running later was pretty hype. Some call it stock footage while I just call it good writing. It’s a movie that reminds you of how scary a true Kaiju is.

1952 Deadline USA
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This film is about a newspaper and how it tries to uphold its ideals while gangs and other third parties try to shut it down. As long as one reporter is willing to keep on fighting for Truth and Justice, the others will follow suit. It’s definitely a fun film and one that shows you how one paper can make a difference.

1951 Superman & The Mole Men

Superman & The Mole Men is an incredible film. It’s one of the only features where Clark Kent actually looks extremely competent and is as intelligent as you would expect a reporter to be. His job is all about finding clues so it makes sense that he would know a thing or two as opposed to other films where he is just there for comedy. It has aged extremely well.

1950 The Breaking Point
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The seas are fairly safe nowadays, but this wasn’t the case way back when. You had to watch out for pirates and a bunch of other hooligans. Eventually you would reach your breaking point and finally lose a shootout. This film can be rather somber but as everyone talks with a certain amount of smugness you quickly start rooting for one side or the other. Either way, it’s a tense film to hold your attnetion to the end.

1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff
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Abbott and Costello are back to beat up more crooks and remind the world why they are the most capable main characters out there. Karloff certainly bit off more than he could chew when he came up against these guys. Yeah, not much more to say about this one other than the fact that you will get a lot of laughs.

1948 Rope
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Rope is one of those movies where you aren’t liable to forget the title. It’s short and to the point while accurately describing what the film is about. Lets just say that rope is as dangerous a weapon as it ever was and when used for murder it can be easy to hide. Definitely a retro thriller that has aged well.

1947 The Dark Passage
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The Dark Passage is an intense film about framing and murder. You have to watch all of the characters very closely to see if they should be suspects or if you are simply overthinking things. In a movie like this one, you must always be on your guard. It’s certainly a film to think about.

1946 Time of Their Lives
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Abbott and Costello return again for another film filled with hijinx and a lot of crazy situations. There’s not much more that needs to be said here as the duo always delivers a funny movie filled with a lot of laughs. You don’t even need to worry about the plot as the leads have you covered.

1945 And Then Their Were None
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And Then Their Were None is an example of a “slasher” film done right. Now, I guess you don’t have to call it a slasher, but it’s the kind of film where everyone starts getting murdered one by one. The main difference is that this film is very old school so the murders aren’t graphic and the whole thing is just entertaining to watch. It’s a very epic story where the characters have to constantly try to outwit each other.

1944 Laura
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Laura was another solid mystery film that really brought in a lot of good twists and turns back in the day. The big twist about her faked death and return was handled beautifully. The main character may not have beein great, but the supporting cast really shined which is important.

1943 Calling Dr. Death
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I don’t recommend calling Dr. Death! This is one of those classic films that plays it by the books with Dr. Death naturally being evil. It’s fairly suspenseful and interesting despite the generic premise and is certainly worth a watch. I’d say that the film did a good job with the tools that it had at the time.

1942 Who Done It
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You can’t go wrong with an Abbott and Costello film. While you’ve seen one you’ve seen em all does seem to apply quite well here, it’s a formula that never gets stale. The old style humor is on point and you’ll be grinning ear to ear by the end. The heroes may not be brave but at the end of the day they do what is necessary to win.

1941 Maltese Falcon
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The Maltese Falcon is definitely an iconic movie with a very detailed plot. It’ll keep you thinking throughout the adventure and you have to watch out for the red herrings. This film doesn’t try to simplify itself for the audience and that’s a good thing. Just pay attention and it’ll all make sense.

1940 Invisible Woman
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The Invisible Woman was a fun film that dealt with being invisible. The main character may have had less fun with it than the original guy who got the power, but she also didn’t end up turning evil so she deserves a lot of kudos for that. It’s a pleasant film that doesn’t drag on.

1934 Death Takes A Holiday
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Who ever thought we’d see Death itself as more of a main character right? Usually you expect Death to be more antagonistic but he seems like a pretty chill guy here. The film was very surreal and while the ending may not have been amazing, it definitely didn’t hoild the film back from being good.

1933 The Invisible Man
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Who here doesn’t know about The Invisible Man? Honestly, while super speed would probably still be a power that I would choose sooner, I would absolutely love being invisible. There are just so many practical applications for it like sneaking into a restricted area to snag a few Pokemon who are hiding there. I guess most of the other uses for it are a bit murky like stealing candy bars, but you could always pay for it real quick and then dash out. Of course, using your ability so obviously is a sure fire way to get caught for government experimentation. Oh yeah…I was supposed to talk about the film right?

So, there you have it! I’ll be keeping this list updated so any title that you see now may or may not be there in a future as another film may end up rising above it. This was certainly quite the project to put up, but maintaining it should be a lot easier! Congrats on actually making it all the way to the end.

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Black Panther Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Marvel Cinematic film! Even though we get 2-3 of these a year, it always feels like such a long wait until the next one. This one has been a long time in the making as Black Panther got a lot of fans after his appearance in Civil War. He was definitely a highlight in that film and remains a great lead in this film. The movie does a good job of not letting the jungle limit it and we do get quite a few nice city scenes as well. All told, it’s a solid addition to the MCU and I’d be up for a sequel although I don’t think there is too much more they can do here in Wakanda so a sequel would probably need to take place at one of the other bases.

The film starts with a quick recap of Wakanda history. We then see the previous Black Panther murder a traitor which sets up the main plot. Right after Black Panther is crowned King of Wakanda, another member of royal blood has shown up to take it back. King T’Challa must now learn what it means to be King and if he even wants to rule such unloyal followers. Either way, he has a duty to stop this villain from launching an attack on the rest of the world or Wakanda will face severe retaliation of the Avenging kind.

I had one big fear when walking into this film and that was that the movie would resort to animal violence since part of Wakanda is essentially a jungle. Then just when I thought I was safe, 3 large Rhinos showed up. Fortunately the film went out of its way to ensure that none of them were hurt. Panther trapped one, a second just ran off, and the third one turned good. Once this scene had been played out, I knew that the film was going to be safe. We also mitigate the jungle aspect as most of Wakanda is actually very high tech and sci-fi esque. I definitely enjoy seeing technology and cities the most so this was good for me. I’m still not a fan of any landscape that isn’t a city of some kind or the inside of a high tech facility. Those just make for the best scenes if you ask me.

The best scenes of the film all take place in the city for the most part. The opening fight scene with Klaw and his gang was handled really well. Panther’s new suit made for some good action effects like when he totaled the car. The old suit was bullet proof which is great, but this one does all of that and more. While the suit is shown to have limitations, this should help him keep up with heavy weights like Spider-Man now. In theory, Captain America would probably lose at this point since their fight was already very close and now landing any damage on Black Panther will be very difficult. It’s a really useful power up and with all of the new tech Panther’s sister is coming up with, he is only going to get stronger.

Pretty much all of the hand to hand fights here are really good. The scene where both Panthers are decimating the opposing armies was a nice contrast as they are both way stronger than the rest of the fighters. Of course, that’s why Black Panther needed to hurry and take the other one out since casualties would run high. Even with this, the film does a good job of making the warriors look reasonably strong. I’d personally say that they looked more impressive than the Amazons in Wonder Woman as these seem to know how to fight and wouldn’t get caught off guard by bullets from people right in front of them. The film also corrects one more thing from the WW film. In that title we learn that the Amazons are also hiding in plain sight by having their island just appear as more water. This doesn’t work for obvious reasons. People just fly through there anyway and then the illusion fades. They would get found out in no time. In Black Panther, the illusion is backed up by being an actual country with borders. They have soldiers and weapons deter anyone from approaching. The deception is simply in appearing to be poorer than they actually are. Maybe this will still be a bit of a stretch for some, but it’s much more believable if you ask me.

Black Panther is a very solid character as I mentioned earlier. While his best appearance will likely always be in Civil War as his character was perfect there, he doesn’t really do anything wrong here. Maybe he should have been quicker to throw the villain out or done more to prevent Klaw from escaping, but you can’t expect him to think of every possible contingency. Thanks to the ritual fights forcing Panther to be in human mode, we do see a more vulnerable version of him. His hand to hand skills actually may be under Bucky, Black Widow, and some of the other hand to hand characters in the series as he has trouble with various fighters, but granted, he should always have the Panther serum for future films so it shouldn’t be a problem. He’s still more than proficient as only high level fighters can hope to defeat him. He may be King, but Panther isn’t stuck up or arrogant yet which is good. Part of why he can be annoying in the comics is that he ends up being like Black Bolt at times where he seems completely corrupt with power. I don’t think the films will be going that route.

Ross is a surprisingly great character and was actually my favorite in the film. He’s a very confident CIA agent who doesn’t back down from anyone. His illegal dealings with Klaw may be suspect, but I get the feeling that he was going to double cross the villain. He’s quick on his feet and an ace pilot as well. He’ll certainly be fun to have around for future films and I’m glad that the CIA has at least one really good member. It seems like they’ve been playing second fiddle to SHIELD for a while so it’s time to finally surpass them. Ross doesn’t really have any bad scenes. Another really good character is Panther’s sister Shuri. She recently got to appear in an animated Avengers episode and based on her portrayal there the film’s depiction was also very accurate. She’s a genius with tech and has come up with many great inventions in a short span of time considering that this takes place only around a week after Civil War. Considering that a big threat like Thanos and his army won’t go down to brute force so easily, her tech will come in handy. She’s not afraid to get on the front lines as well and is just a very charismatic character the whole time.

Killmonger is the main villain of the film and he’s pretty cool. Even before becoming the Panther Killmonger was a very talented fighter as he racked up kills in many different countries. It was interesting to see how he was an undercover agent for the CIA who managed to use the heroes and villains until he finally got into Wakanda. To an extent I do have to question how he knew so much about Wakanda though. He knew about the traditions and seemed just very well aware of the culture in general. We can assume he found the location from the book and since his father was okay with him finding it, maybe that’s when he learned everything. Maybe the book was also just very detailed. Getting Klaw was easy enough since it was relatively common knowledge that he was the one who broke into Wakanda the first time. Killmonger does continue the Marvel tradition of having a villain who has the same abilities as the main hero as he and T’Challa are essentially copies of each other, but that doesn’t really matter to me all that much as long as the fights are good and they were here.

I didn’t care for Klaw though. He’s just not my kind of villain and seems to just get lucky all the time. He’s just a normal guy with a sonic cannon and he isn’t even all that fit. I don’t know how he escaped for this long, but it definitely seems like a stretch. He’s wanted by basically every powerful person on the planet so where can he possibly hide? Well, his plot seems to have finally wrapped up here and I won’t miss him. Okoye was a good member of the Wakanda special forces and is certainly one of their best fighters. Her best combat appearance is probably in the club where she beats up quite a few special agents, but she also puts up a reasonable fight against Killmonger. At that point, tech just beats talent, but otherwise I don’t see any Wakandan fighter beating her in a fair battle.

W’Kabi is a pretty terrible character. I can’t say much about him, but you’ll probably know where his character is heading right from the start. It’s similar to a character beat we saw from Doctor Strange only this one is probably more petty. There’s definitely no saving this character. Nakia is a decent character. She doesn’t get much to do and is overshadowed by the others, but isn’t bad. I do wish we could have avoided the token romance which doesn’t add anything to the film and just seems to be filler, but I guess it wasn’t given much of a focus so it could have been a whole lot worse. Nakia’s Tron Discs were cool though. Between that and the Energy Cannons, we had quite a lot of good weapons that have a lot of potential for future films. She just need a hoverboard or air boots to help her maneuver quicker. Baku’s a fun character s well. He definitely has a strong sense of honor and will repay his debts. When he accepted his defeat gracefully without trying any cheap tricks I had a feeling that he would be a good character. He also has a point that Killmonger beat Black Panther in a fair fight so calling it murder was a little drastic. Blame the outdated ritual system, not the player. Baku made the right decision in the end though and really came through for the heroes.

It can be hard to feel bad for Wakanda when they have such poor traditions though. Why should Black Panther have to fight to be king anyway? I guess it’s to give the other tribes a way to be King, but since it will just cause tensions and potentially get them to split again it doesn’t really seem to be practical. I’m pretty sure T’Challa learned his lesson with that though and probably abolished that rule very quickly. Also, the fact that it’s possible to suffocate underneath the dirt they throw on your for the ceremony is another part where you have to shake your head. What’s with all of these unnecessary risks? Killmonger may not have done it for the right reasons, but at least thanks to him these traditions are probably gone as well. On a side note, I was wondering where Bucky and Captain America were hiding the whole time, but I guess getting involved in this fight would have just made things more complicated. Panther could have certainly used some backup, but it all worked out.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack here. I didn’t care much for the Lion King themes or the tribe tradition music, but a lot of the tunes were surprisingly techno/electronic. It seems like this theme would pop up whenever the villain showed up and basically for any action scene. Good music makes the whole presentation that much better and it definitely worked really well here. I’d say that as far as MCU soundtracks go this would definitely be in the top half. The visuals are also really good. I do like the purple energy that the suit gets from taking a hit and the metallic invention room that the sister uses looks cool. It’s a pretty nice set up for sure. The writing is also solid as you’d expect. The one liners between the characters are usually pretty solid. Killmonger adding a more modern/slang spin to Wakanda was also rather nice. He acts as a bridge between the new and old ways to an extent.

The film does have some of the weakest after credit scenes though. The first one just feels like it should have been the actual ending. It’s not really teasing a lot considering you knew this was where Panther was going with the idea. It’s not a bad scene, but it’s not really much of a stinger either. The second scene is far worse as it is showing us something that we’ve already known. It isn’t even a good character that we see and is just rather boring. You could feel the theater letting out a sigh as we waited for something else to show up and then the clip ended. These scenes are just bonus so they can’t hurt a film at all, but I was still hoping for something a little more hype.

So where do all of the Avengers stack up power-wise now? I’d list the rankings as 1. Thor 2. Hulk 3. Dr. Strange 4. Spider-Man 5. Iron Man 6. Vision 7. Black Panther 8. Captain America 9. Scarlet Witch 10. Black Widow 11. Ant Man 12. Hawkeye. For now I’m not counting the Guardians or the helpers like War Machine and Valkyrie, but I’ll do a more complete list for Infinity War. The suit was definitely enough for Panther to finally pass Cap. Strange could potentially pass Hulk depending on how powerful his magic is in Infinity War and by the same token Vision could drop behind Panther and Cap if he looks really bad without his Gem. Some of these matchups are pretty close so a power up can make all the difference.

Overall, Black Panther is a fun and engaging film. It’s pretty fast paced for the most part so it comes across as very exciting the first time around. I do think it will lack in replay value to an extent because some of the dialogue will likely drag on the second time around along with the flashbacks. When the action is happening the film is at its best but we do get some reasonably long breaks in between the action like getting Panther back into fighting shape and having the council of Wakanda chat about things. The writing is strong though and the cast is good though so it’s certainly a movie that I’d recommend to everyone. It’s good to see another Marvel hero get a stand alone film and we are one step closer to Avengers Infinity War now. I have high hopes for that film and am fully expecting it to be one of the best MCU films yet. There are just so many good ways that the film can play this out that I have to assume they will choose one of them. It’ll be cool to see Panther lend his might to the team as well. Only a few short months left.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Phantom Review


The Ghost Who Walks is definitely not someone to be trifled with. The villains learn that the hard way during the film, but does it hold up well? I’d actually say that it does as it’s a pretty solid superhero film all around. With a memorable villain to help improve the cast, it’s got all the potential that it needs. The actual Phantom could certainly have been better, but his ineptitude also helps make the film pretty fun.

The film starts off with a very quick origin story for the Phantom. He washed ashore a strange island one day and was given a cool ring. Its effects are fairly vague, but Kit then decided that he would become a crime fighter. In the present, a tough corporate businessman named Drax has decided to take over the world. To do this, he’ll have to assemble the 3 mystical skulls which will make him all powerful. Any minion who questions his decisions are promptly eliminated which leaves no room for dissension. He will have the skulls soon so Kit must don the costume once again and stop him. Meanwhile, a reporter named Diana is trying to help out as well, but is she out of her depth?

Lets launch right into the characters. Drax is a really good main villain because he’s charismatic. He has a sense of humor despite being completely evil and at least gives his minions a chance. They just get too bold at times so he has to silence them. The scene where he throws a spear and tkaes one of the villains down was quite impressive. The guy clearly works out and has skill to make the shot so casually in one try. He also saw through one of the traitors pretty easily and suckered the guy. Admittedly that scene was easily the most violent moment in the whole film. It was pretty intense. Even in the end Drax never gives up and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he could beat the Phantom in a fight. He takes everything in stride and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he really holds the film up.

The 2nd in command is a guy named Quill. He destroyed the Phantom in the past so he wonders how the guy could be back. Phantom’s family tradition of donning the costume definitely helps to support the legend since the hero is seemingly always around. It wouldn’t work well in the modern times since people would realize that it’s a different guy with cameras and all, but for this point in history it’s simply a smart business move. Sala is another one of the big villains although she isn’t nearly as sold on the path of evil. We don’t even know why she is evil to start with, but I’ll assume that she just likes robbing people and showing off how rich she is. A stern talking too from Diana quickly gets her to see the light in the situation. She really doesn’t have much of a role beyond this mini character arc though, but at least she can fight.

From the heroic supporting characters we have Diana. She talks tough and never backs down from a case. I got a lot of Lois Lane vibes from her and she doesn’t even appear to be grateful when saved since she could have saved her self, apparently. I wouldn’t be too impressed at being saved by Phantom either, but desperate times and all. Diana does live up to her reputation as she quickly figures out who Kit is. Kit’s origin story helps make it easy though since he had to take up the mantle right when his father died which meant that he had to leave New York rather suddenly and vanish into the forest for years. He was gone for so long that he forgot the currency and ended up paying a cab driver a few thousand dollars for a quick ride. Those scenes always make me feel sad, but I guess it’s good for the cab driver. Sometimes threatening your passengers actually works. At any rate, Diana was a good heroine.

Finally, we have Kit . I can’t say that he’s a great character and I knew this as soon as he started getting wrecked by the random villains at the beginning of the movie. He had the drop on them and still had to settle for a tie. He gets ambushed multiple times during the film. One time where he looks particularly bad is when he breaks into a museum to steal one of the skulls, but does it during broad daylight while in his civilian form surrounded by people. Of course that didn’t work and if the villains didn’t stop him, the cops would have. (After all, the cops sold out to the villains which is the only reason why they aren’t around.) I have to assume that he hasn’t been a hero for too long based on all of the rookie mistakes that he makes throughout. I’d say that he means well but accepting a kiss from Sala was pretty iffy and didn’t do his character any favors. He’s fun to mock, but that’s basically the only reason to like Kit. Even the whole breaking off contact for several years was pretty iffy since he had absolutely no reason to do so. Felt rather random.

The film has its share of plot holes or at least weak writing like Kit’s animals getting across an entire island with greater speed than a plane. It’s certainly not going to win any Oscars, but at least it’s always a fun film. The fight scenes aren’t super stylized or polished but they get the job done. There’s that genuine nature to the film that you won’t see in a modern film as here you can imagine a normal joe just putting on a costume and running outside the house. It’s a film that can’t be made anymore and is a lost product of the old times.

The film also moves really quickly so there is rarely a dull moment. Something is always happening and finding the skulls never felt tedious as a result. The scene where Drax finally obtains two of them were certainly fun as he starts running around and blasting everything. You almost feel bad for him since a 4th skull being added into the picture was basically cheating. He worked so hard to collect the others only to be told this plot twist. Better luck next time and all, but this was his chance. I’ll give a quick shoutout to Phantom’s two sidekicks, the wolf and the horse. They were very useful during the adventure and he would have been sunk without their support.

Overall, The Phantom is surprisingly a good movie. It certainly kept my attention from start to finish. That’s mainly because the characters were actually good. Surprisingly the villains were better than the heroes, but the film certainly wouldn’t have been as humorous without the Phantom. I’m not sure how he commands so much respect for everyone throughout since the guy isn’t that impressive, but he is rich and that does go a long way. His costume should remind you a bit of guys like Daredevil or other street brawlers so at least his costume had some heart. Throw in a lot of similarities to Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider and this is a film that can be fun for many different movie fans. If you haven’t seen the film yet, then it’s time to finally give it a watch. I also wouldn’t mind a sequel although it’s really too late for that. A reboot/remake could have some potential but only if they skip through the origin. The whole Jungle Experience is honestly a minefield full of things that could go wrong which made it even more impressive when this film still managed to succeed.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Thor: Ragnarok Review


The MCU has been consistently been getting better as the phases go by. Captain America 2 was better than 1 and 3 was better than 2. Thor 2 was better than 1 and now this latest Thor film has arrived and is the best film in the trilogy. It’s a very fast paced film with a lot of action and hype throughout. It also does a great job of showing how great of a fighter Thor is with or without his hammer. It’s going to be hard for the next Thor film to top this one.

The film starts off with Thor seemingly being held captive by Surtur. Of course, the whole thing is basically just a ruse to get information. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since think we all found it highly unlikely that Thor can be bound by mere chains. Unfortunately Thor has not stopped Ragnarok by defeating Surtur as the true source of despair shows up. Hela is the goddess of death and her abilities are the real deal as she easily beats Thor and Loki. Thor is going to have to form his own team to defeat her.

The heroes definitely get around in this film as Thor goes to Earth, Surtur’s Domain, Asgard, and the Grandmaster’s planet. It’s fun to see all of the different locales as they all worked quite well. The weakest one design-wise would be Grand Master’s HQ, but the arena looked quite good. Earth may win out since it was great to have a Dr.Strange cameo. He looked really good in that scene and they’re definitely building him up to be one of the team’s power hitters. He’s also one of my favorite Avengers in the MCU so I’m ready to see him get more of a role. He’ll have to keep his list handy since a lot of threats are certainly coming to Earth in the near future.

Thor has a lot of fun in this film as he openly mocks the villains and just tries to enjoy everything he does. He’s a good lead and this is probably the best that he’s been portrayed. He’s a lot wiser than he used to be while still keeping his strength. This is Thor as a leader in addition to being a warrior and it makes him a more complete character. Seeing him fight off an army at the end without his hammer was definitely impressive. It’ll be very hard for me to get used to his new hairstyle though. I’m going to miss the old one until it grows back, but it’s not the worst redesign I’ve seen as it’s still miles above the Joker.

Going back to Thor having fun though, it keeps showing how Marvel is just good at writing comedy. The Iron-Man films have always been pretty fun as the humor is just handled well and this film does a great job with it as well. It’s not forced and most of the jokes land. The only film I can think of in the MCU that failed at being even remotely funny was Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Age of Ultron could be really forced at times, but it was still entertaining, it would just throw you out of the movie for a second. As DC is trying to emulate Marvel with their current movies, hopefully they’ve been taking notes. Wonder Woman wasn’t funny and Justice League’s jokes don’t really seem to be working, but it’s possible they’ll turn it around in the film or by the sequel. It takes time to be funny and writing jokes has always been the hardest part of developing a script if you ask me. That’s why it’s not really a problem as long as the jokes aren’t downright terrible, but if there are a bunch in the movie, then you want them to be good. Again, Thor: Ragnarok did a really good job with this.

Loki was a fun ally to have around. Naturally you can’t trust him at all and the film’s pretty self aware on that, but at least it meant Thor didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It’s always good to have at least one companion on a journey. He didn’t look quite as impressive as usual though since everyone he meets ends up beating him up quite badly. He really took his lumps in this film but always manages to keep his confidence. I’d really be on board with him finally being an ally, not a hero as that’ll never happen, but someone who helps out once in a while and doesn’t try to destroy the world.

Now I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan. He’s a decently good character and all, but I typically just like him in his more intelligent depictions. The only exceptions are some of the really old Stan Lee era comics where he was pretty sympathetic. The film has a good portrayal of him. He’s not too annoying or anything and can put up a good fight. The writer seems to definitely know who he thinks is the stronger fighter (Thor or Hulk) and I tend to agree with him. Brute strength is great and all, but when you’re about as strong and have a variety of other techniques at your disposal, it’s game set and match. Surprisingly the film gives Hulk a backseat role for the entire climax as he doesn’t get to face off against Hela or anything, but it’s a good way to ensure he doesn’t steal the show or get humiliated in front of his fans. It was not what I expected from his role, but it worked well enough.

Unfortunately, this is probably Bruce Banner’s worst portrayal. He’s really slow on the uptake and panics about everything. He is constantly in a state of shock and just holding everyone back. You almost can’t help but wish for the Hulk to return and maybe this is why Hulk wants to stay out 24/7. It’s also interesting how each side can’t remember anything after they turn so for Bruce it’s like 2 years passed in an instant. That’s actually pretty tragic so I should feel more sympathetic for Bruce…but I don’t. I miss his self assured/over confident version from the first Avengers film. I will always look to that as the definitive Bruce Banner portrayal. The only other one that’s close is from the Indestructible Hulk mini series.

Valkyrie is the main heroine of the film and fulfills the role pretty well. She actually doesn’t get on board with the heroes until near the end of the film so her role isn’t huge or anything but she’s pretty tough. Balancing fighting and drinking is tough but she manages to pull it off. I can’t say that I was a huge fan of hers since her backstory basically involves being a traitor and turning evil. You’re sort of supposed to look past all of that, but it’s a little tricky and I think she would have worked better as a villain like Loki who occasionally helps the heroes. I give the film major props for not going for a romance angle here though. I’m sure the writers were pressured by Hollywood into doing this, but they refused.

Heimdall has his own filler subplot where he beats up a bunch of minions and helps guard the Asgardian survivors. He’s a good character even if he doesn’t get much of a role here. He’s the kind of character who makes more of an impact if you’ve seen the first two films. Since this is the 3rd one, there’s no excuse not too. I miss his classic armor, but his new Bishop redesign works quite well and he lasted quite a while considering how outnumbered he was.

Hela is the main villain and also the best character of the film. She’s a great villain because her goal isn’t crazy or just evil. It’s a pretty rational goal as taking over the multiverse makes sense to prove your supremacy. I can get behind that and I can also buy into her taking over Asgard since it is hers by birthright. She looks extremely impressive in all of her fights. I would have liked a longer round 1 fight with Thor and Loki but seeing them fight while on the light speed tunnel was certainly entertaining. I’m also glad that Thor didn’t back up when they all started hyping her up. As long as you stay on Hela’s good side you’re okay since she doesn’t seem to be in the habit of randomly destroying her minions for no reason. She may very well be the best villain in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point although I’m expecting big things from Thanos.

Scourge is her right hand man and he gets his own emotional character arc. He starts off as the guy that everyone pushes around and eventually levels up to janitor. I liked him well enough at the beginning I guess, but he’s just not my kind of character. He’s one of the weak links, but his actual scenes aren’t bad so it’s not like he hurts the film. I just didn’t care enough about him to be sympathetic. Surtur appears for a bit and gets his own fight scene, but he’s definitely not as impressive as he was in the comics. Everyone basically uses him the whole time and I have to wonder what his ultimate plan is. He better appear in Thor 4 or I’m going to have to remember him as the villain to have the worst plan in the MCU. He may not have thought it over very carefully.

The Grandmaster was interesting and way better than the Collector. It helps that his actor makes the character pretty entertaining as opposed to simply being quirky. There’s a big difference between the two and you always want to be the former as opposed to the latter. He’s definitely a villain through and through but tries to hide his evil intent through jokes. Hey, if Spiderman can do it for the heroes, why not have a villain with that gimmick as well? It does make sense after all and he was a fun guy to have around. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Korg is one of the quirky supporting characters from the Arena. While I didn’t find his voice quite as hilarious as the theater seemed too (They laughed at just about every one of his lines) it did work pretty well for the character. It’s been a while since we got a very to the point character who speaks softly but always manages to keep everyone in check. Definitely the best portrayal of Korg in all of Marvel. Stan (The Man) Lee also shows up to clean shop. His cameo may be quick, but he really sets the tone in his appearance and also shows that he fears no one. You have to have nerves of steel to have his job after all.

Ragnarok’s soundtrack is absolutely great. The themes are all very sci-fi and fast paced. They help to amplify the fight scenes and make the whole film better. Good music helps make a scene more memorable so as you would expect it also has the same effect on the movie as a whole. Most films don’t insert a big song when a fight scene starts. It’s a popular trope in anime but that’s about it despite this being a fantastic way of building up energy for the scene. Well, Thor pulls it off for both the first and last fight. The last fight in particular is handled extremely well as Thor gets one last vision of a certain character and then unlocks his true power. Aside from maybe Avengers and even that is close, Thor definitely has the best soundtrack in the MCU and is high up there for all of Marvel’s theater films.

The action and effects are certainly on point. The monsters of the fire world certainly looked very impressive and it made for a very good opening fight. Surtur’s design was modernized for the new age and while he was rather skinny I still liked it well enough. Hela’s fight scenes were solid as well and her costume was very faithful to the comics. Thor’s style of combat with his electricity will remind you a lot of Cole McGrath or Starkiller and it’s certainly the most efficient way to fight. When you’re using electricity to enhance your range and strength, it is very hard to dodge or counter that. Now that Thor can fight at this level the only Avenger who can reasonably give him a good fight would be Dr. Strange. I don’t think the others could keep up.

Naturally the film has a scene after the credits so make sure you stick around. There are 2 scenes, but the first one is really the only one you need to worry about. It’s easily one of the best post movie scenes in the MCU as we finally have a significant plot development here which works as a great tease for Infinity War. It’s hard to imagine that the big crossover film is so close, but it is certainly approaching fast. It’s also why it makes sense to beef up the Avengers roster since they’re going to need all the help they can get. I’m not sure how some of the street level fighters will be useful, but maybe they can at least distract the villains with one liners while the real fighters take them down.

Now, there is a little plot hax at the end. It’s nothing major but the final fight’s outcome should have been reversed. On one side we have a giant opponent who is extremely slow and can only attack in a straight line. On the other we have a very nimble fighter who can move quite fast and also has a lot of durability. All the character needed to do was move just a little bit and that would have worked as a dodge. I mean, the planet may not be too stable so surviving some intense energy would still have to happen, but I think the character could pull it off. At the very least, losing due to ring out would have been preferable. I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free so I’ll keep that part vague.

I’d like to say that I’ve covered everything, but with a film this big there will always be something that I’ve missed. As far as the MCU films go, It’s easily top 5. Avengers is better and I’ll also give Civil War the edge but this very well could be the third best film. Age of Ultron gives it a run for its money, but I dare say that Thor beats both Winter Soldier and Spider-Man Homecoming. Either way, it confirms that Thor is certainly top 5 and we’ll see how long it can stay there if Marvel keeps raising the bar. I’m still hoping they go all out with Infinity War and have just about everyone appear. Bring in the old villains, Agents of Shield, even throw the Netflix crew a bone with a portrait on the wall or some kind of cameo. Make this the big event that it should be.

Overall, The film was just about perfect. There’s not much to really say about the film in the negatives department. It did pretty well with keeping the power levels consistent. Not perfect, but basically no film is. I felt bad for the poor dragon who fought Thor, but at least the film didn’t destroy Fenfir as in my head canon he can certainly survive a fall. That was nice. Thor himself has also come a long way since the older films and makes a few speeches about what it means to be a hero. The action scenes are first rate and the graphics are quite good. The film’s also just a lot of fun the whole time and has a ton of replay value. It’s not everyday that you get a film as satisfying as this one. I teetered between an 8 or a 9 for this film for a while, but at the end of the day I think it definitely earns the extra star.

Overall 9/10