Wonder Woman 1984 Review


It’s certainly been a while but time to take a look at the latest comic book movie to come out. It’s the first in the new streaming age although it has a simultaneous release in theaters so it’s pretty unique. Personally I’m all for it, you get to have your custom theater meal all set, good lounge chair and at least if it’s provided on HBO Max, totally free. It’s a pretty slamming deal but we’ll see if this actually continues past COVID or if it’s a very temporary deal. This review goes fairly in depth so while I wouldn’t say there are any true spoilers, the less you know about a film the better if you want the complete experience. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you may want to before continuing.

The movie starts by showing us some more of Diana’s home in Themyscira. She participates in an event and does really well but ultimately grows overconfident and ends up throwing away her victory. It’s a fun opening and Diana showed that at a young age she was already surpassing all of the warriors there. It definitely pays to be part god. We then go to the present where Diana stops a crime and we get introduced to the main plot here. An interesting wishing stone has turned up and the FBI want her co-worker Barbara to look at it. Meanwhile a rich man by the name of Maxwell Lord needs the wishing stone to turn his life around so he’ll need to quickly manipulate her in order to get to it. Can Diana get this stone out of here before damage is done and does this explain why Steve has seemingly returned?

There’s definitely quite a bit going on here. First I’ll just say that Maxwell makes for a pretty fun villain. The idea of a wishing stone is certainly tempting to all and naturally it’s what he would need to turn his empire around. The fact that he can control the consequences of the wish is also pretty handy. He’s definitely trying to prove to himself and everyone else that he’s a great man which puts him in a lot of tough situations. The guy has a lot of charisma though and always stands out.

Barbara is one of the main focuses here though. She gets a big character arc as she starts off as the awkward scientist who gets a taste of true power and wants to keep it. I’d definitely have to say that she’s a pretty poor character for most of it but once she gets some abilities then she’s more of an interesting villain. Barbara’s able to fight now and while the power/adoration goes to her head almost immediately she finally gains some confidence. I don’t think there’s a question of who would win between her and Wonder Woman at peak strength but she is strong enough where we can get some fun action scenes there.

For a good chunk of the film Diana is in a depowered state so we don’t get a whole lot of fight scenes. Aside from humans and such the first fight we get is in the White House and that probably is the most interesting one. It’s just a shame that the fight couldn’t have been longer due to the circumstances but I like seeing super powers used in a location like that. It’s just a lot of fun to watch. I don’t think there would have been a way to stop Barbara there but at least Diana gave it a good try and Steve had a pretty good fight with the guards.

At times the physics in the film felt a bit odd though. For example in most of Wonder Woman’s fights she is sliding across the ground like it’s made of ice. I’m thinking maybe the film was trying to just use a unique way of showing super speed here. Maybe in a way where her super strength allows her to defy gravity to an extent which is how she moves so fast. I wouldn’t say the execution is great as it just doesn’t feel as natural but it’s still fun to see her beating up on the crooks as expected. We also know she would have been able to handle the guns and such a lot better if she was at full power.

Her armor also gets to appear a bit as it was used frequently in the promotional materials. You may be surprised that it really doesn’t look very good at all but I was actually a big fan of this. I’ve always maintained that heroes or villains of Wonder Woman’s caliber have no need of such armaments. If anything they slow you down. It would have to be some kind of super haxes equipment to justify its use. Whenever she takes out a sword in the animated movies for example I just wonder why do it? (Doomsday breaking the sword with a single punch in Death of Superman just reinforces that point as she did better without the sword) You can see how her fighting style gets very sloppy when she puts on the armor maybe because it limits her agility so as soon as she gets rid of it then she does well again. I don’t expect she would try using it again.

Wonder Woman’s character is always a pretty complex one. She’s definitely a hero through and through but mixes tactics from Batman and Superman while adding her own spin in. I see her as being more willing to be a vigilante like Batman which she utilizes in this film as she spies through cameras and keeps a secret identity. However, as Wonder Woman she also tries to be a symbol for humanity like Superman although interestingly between this film and the first it seems that she is trying to keep her identity hidden now. Maybe she doesn’t want people to know that she’s immortal? Honestly if I were her I’d really want to stand out then because figuring out her secret identity would be tougher. She probably needs a wig though because most characters would connect the dots pretty quickly especially with how she stands out at parties.

I don’t think she would have qualms about murdering people the way the other two would though with her more warrior like backstory. That said, I was glad the film didn’t go down a certain way here with two different scenarios as it would have certainly raised a lot of intriguing points. It would be a lot easier to defend her though than with the infamous snap or random people getting shot down during the BVS rampage with the second instance since there isn’t much of a clean out. The first one involving a water battle though would have had no real defense. Particularly as she consistently had the upper hand here. Would have reminded me of Phoenix’s big moment in Dark Phoenix where I wondered what was going on since she had the upper hand by far. This wasn’t quite that drastic with the power gap but it was there.

That said, with the film’s ending you just know that it didn’t wrap up quite so neatly. Not everyone will make a selfless move here and some may not have had a drawback big enough to actually make the move. I expect a lot of people ended up in different circumstances than they were in. It also doesn’t seem like this rolls back time in any way to things that happened as a result of your new circumstance are probably still there. It raises a lot of interesting potential plots for other films since you can introduce almost anything as a result of that.

Now for some issues with the film. As with the first one I wasn’t very impressed with the dialogue. We no longer have all of the romance dialogue with Steve and Diana as he corrupts her with the views of the world and their forced dialogue on the boat. That said, we’re shown a world that is pretty desperate here. Any scene with Diana in public has everyone throwing themselves at her. You have Barbara getting harassed by everyone outside and it’s like people can’t help but constantly make comments about her and Diana. You could get it if it was just the one drunk guy showing up twice so they could make an example out of him but almost every guy in the film? It starts to get a little overboard. It also just has a hard time making conversations interesting like any Barbara conversation pre change.

Outside of Steve (Who is with Diana anyway) and the guy whose identity is currently gone it’s hard to think of any guy who looked all that sensible here. Maxwell wasn’t authentic in his adoration as it was all part of his plan to sucker Barbara but of course he took advantage of this as well. The scenes just felt pretty forced. Then you’ve also got the whole plot of Steve returning. Lets just say there is quite the cost for this but Diana seems perfectly content with this price. Now down the road we can assume that maybe, perhaps she would try to correct this but I’m not so sure. Particularly given the amount of resistance she had to ending things at all, if there were no super villain on the loose it seems like she would have been okay with this which is morally dubious at best.

I suppose all heroes have something they can be selfish about at times but this would have been a pretty huge skeleton in her hero closet so to speak. As for Steve, he’s pretty solid. I’d say he’s better than in the first film. He does what he can to help out in the movie. He may just be a normal guy in a world that’s getting crazier and crazier but he actually contributes quite a bit like when he ended up taking down some guards and even piloting a plane. It’s definitely really handy to have a pilot on your side.

As mentioned, the film is a bit of a slow burner so you shouldn’t expect things to turn up for a while. At first we mainly get a lot of introductions with the characters and slowly exploring the world as we see Diana is perfectly content while Maxwell and Barbara are having a terrible time. This eventually leads us to their flipping things around and then we eventually get to the hype White House battle. While there are some action scenes earlier, since it’s Wonder Woman beating up on normal humans it’s not going to be particularly exciting. It’d be like seeing Superman flying in to beat up some bank robbers. That said, I’ll never say no to an action scene of course. It would have been great if we could have gotten a longer climax battle with Barbara though.

The after credits scene for the film is pretty fun. Now, I’m thinking it’s just a fun little cameo for the fans as well as closure for one character so I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it, but if something did there’s a lot of possibilities for this character. Is this character actually going down a villainous path? A future ally to help out the heroes? I think adding this character into a future movie would be an excellent move particularly if for Wonder Woman 3 we get a plot like the planet enders from Supergirl only this time it’s a few people from Themyscira coming over to cause trouble. This character could be quite valuable assistance and I’m assuming the Themyscira fighters would get buffed by some aliens or a deal with the gods to balance things out.

Naturally the soundtrack is solid here. We’ve got the classic Wonder Woman theme from BVS as well as a remixed version at the ready. It’s always a pretty grand theme that starts you off on the right track. The other themes are also pretty solid and get you ready for a good time. Music is always a pretty important factor and this film definitely didn’t disappoint. I also already spoke about the graphics but in particular I like the lasso’s glow. It always looks very strong and the fact that it can latch onto anything and extend/retract at will makes it a very versatile weapon.

Low key I’d say Wonder Woman’s best feat here is when she is able to lasso a bullet after it has already whizzed past her. Keep in mind that she noticed the bullet after it was already past her and close to hitting Steve. So in that time she threw her lasso and tossed the bullet away while it was already close to his face. Definitely a pretty great speed feat for sure and so the movies can definitely give her a big opponent for film 3. At the moment I would say from her portrayal she seems to be the 4th most powerful DC hero in the universe. I would still take Superman, Flash, and Shazam over her. Superman is obvious. For Shazam it’s close but I do think the movie showed him to have better speed and strength. For Flash it’s really just the speed difference as it would be hard to hit him. Of course I expect her abilities will keep on improving the way that Thor’s has over the years. Once she masters her god abilities it may be time for a rematch with Superman or maybe have her fight with Black Adam in one of the upcoming titles.

Of course after the first Wonder Woman film we were all wondering what happened to cause her to go from being a symbol of justice to vanishing entirely since in BVS she hadn’t been seen in years and didn’t even want to get involved. Well, this film closes the gap a bit since she does seem to want to defeat opponents without them knowing she was even there. It explains her disappearance but I think we need a little more to show why she has abandoned helping people entirely. If that’s never explained it’s not a big deal since you can maybe assume she just grew tired of it but I do think there’s still a lot you could do with that premise. Maybe have Steve return a third time but this time it’s a shape shifter or something which disillusions her with everything.

Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 is pretty good. I do consider it to be a considerable improvement over the first film. Wonder Woman is a solid lead as always and the soundtrack is pretty good. The visuals are all on point and while the fights can be a little slippery against the human fighters, I feel like the film was intentionally testing out a new style here so I’ll give them points for the experimentation. Ideally in the third film we’ll be able to see Wonder Woman be able to fight more super villains with her full abilities on display and a current setting certainly wouldn’t hurt matters either. It’s a bit of a slow burner and so there wouldn’t be a lot of replay value here but if you haven’t seen this film yet you should definitely do so. Also worth knowing that if you have Verizon Fios you may be eligible for HBO Max for free so keep that in mind. I’m ready to see what DC has in store for us next.

Overall 7/10

Creepshow Review

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

Uh oh, this time around we’ve got an anthology film. While it’s possible to have a good movie using this format it’s definitely not very likely. Creepshow proves this to be true as it ultimately flounders. The first story was easily the best one and then things began to dip from there. Most of these stories definitely end up being quite mean spirited and by the end of it you can see why parents wouldn’t have wanted their kids reading this stuff. It could certainly get intense that’s for sure.

First the film starts with a kid trying to read a copy of Creepshow but his father shows up and snatches the comic book away. He’s quite adamant about this comic being terrible and throws it in the trash outside. The kid resents this and prepares a method of revenge. This plot shows up here and there around the rest of the stories that are from the book until it returns as the closing piece of the movie. They definitely portray the Dad to be over the top mean towards the kid so he serves as the antagonist. Still, the kid’s quick method of revenge basically proves his theory correct about the comics being a bad influence as the kid heads straight to violence. It’s basically a negative cycle there with both characters making things worse.

Now as for the actual stories, the first one is about Father’s Day. There was this rich guy who was quite mean to the rest of his family so nobody liked him. Still, he was rich though so they’re all happy to at least get some money. Legends say that Bedelia murdered him but aside from the newest member of the family none of the others are too concerned. After all, it benefited them. Their immediate problem will be the fact that the father seems to have returned from the grave as a ghost to finish them all off. Personally I found this to be the most engaging story. The zombie father made for a solid antagonist. It could be a little hard to make out what he was saying at times with all of the audio mixing but he was definitely a figure to be feared. It also plays out a lot like a typical horror film as he goes around bumping off the cast one by one. It just felt like the most well developed segment in the film and also had a pretty sizable cast of memorable characters. You couldn’t really forget them even if they would meet violent ends.

Next up is more of a lowkey story. Jordy was wandering around outside when a meteor hits the area. He figures maybe he can get rich off of it but touching the meteor causes him to be infected with the plague. He is now slowly turning into a plant and there doesn’t seem to be a way out. Should he go to the doctor or will they try drastic measures on him now? This story’s a lot weaker than the first. Jordy doesn’t make for the most interesting of leads. He’s quite overdramatized in terms of being shocked at everything and not too bright. He really messed up in not going to the doctor right away. It may not have done anything but it would have been better than just staying at home and slowly dying out. It’s a pretty gruesome way to die too when you think about it as turning into a plant seems pretty tough. The story may have been pretty light and cartoony compared to the rest but the ending is still pretty dark.

The third story is about a guy named Harry who is cheating with Becky on her husband Richard. Richard definitely isn’t going to have any of this so he heads over to Harry’s place and threatens him by saying that he has Becky. Harry follows Richard and promptly buries himself in the sand. Now Harry can only watch as the tide rolls in. Richard intends to watch the two of them drown from his hotel suite thanks to a lot of cameras he has set up in the area. It should be impossible for them to escape their fates right? Well, the film definitely isn’t trying to have us like Harry or Becky much here since they were cheating on Richard from the start. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right and Richard is far more sinister than either of those two.

Harry played the situation terribly though. Even if someone’s got you at gunpoint you can’t just bury yourself in what will be a slow death. I’ve said it many times but your best bet is to make a run for the gun. If you fail then you’ll likely be shot dead but that’s far better than continuing to live in whatever torment the villain has prepared for you right? Death by drowning for example is a pretty terrible way to go. Once you’ve buried yourself there aren’t any escape options yet. You’re just doomed at that point. The story of course has a twist including more zombies. As with the first one they use some audio effects so it’s a little trickier to hear what they’re saying but the movie’s going for a watery sound as if they still are in a drowned state. It’s a pretty intense climax with an ending that has a bit of a humor feel to it.

After that we have a story about a mysterious crate that shows up. A janitor discovers this and calls the local professor Dexter to check into this. Unfortunately while Dexter suspected something normal like rocks or something would be in the crate it turns out that a monster is and it starts slaying people in the school. Dexter runs back to Henry’s to try and explain this but Henry figures he can use this to trick his wife into being murdered. He heads back into the school and prepares this trap. Will he be able to stay one step ahead of the monster or will he ultimately be ensnared as well?

This is probably the most violent story. The monster definitely doesn’t take prisoners and chomps all who oppose him. Some of the characters at least try to play it safe but others are just crazy. There’s a college student for example who shows up and handles the situation rather terribly. What did he think was going to happen here? The monster itself certainly gives the main characters a lot of space though. The whole time Henry is cleaning up around the lab the monster doesn’t make a move. Perhaps he was already full by that time and didn’t see a need to really do anything. It’s certainly convenient for Henry that this was the case. His wife Wilma was definitely something as she constantly complained about everything. Even to the end she nearly made a comeback.

Finally we had a rich guy named Mr. Pratt who takes delight in getting richer and richer. He doesn’t care how many people he has to take down so long as he can continue to rise up the ranks of society. He makes it a point to make fun of the others beneath him even if they just died. Naturally that means something’s about to happen and sure enough it does as some roaches start to appear. Their numbers begin to quickly escalate and Pratt doesn’t seem to have a way to stop them. Will the exterminators make it in time or he is doomed to be overwhelmed? You hopefully won’t mind roaches here or you’re going to be in for a very tough time. If not for the roaches basically being supernatural I have to say that Pratt was definitely well prepared. He had every anti roach item that you could think of at his disposal. He even had a lot of people on speed dial but at the end of the day they couldn’t save him. There was also the custodian who was acting pretty shady at times. I suppose the film was hinting he had something to do with this or just through Pratt’s paranoid vision that’s how it appeared to be. The ending shot was surprisingly violent with the roaches going straight for the win.

The movie has some pretty interesting scenes where it turns things into a comic book. I’d say that this was handled pretty well. The visuals were on point and the soundtrack was solid as well. Ultimately what holds this film back is what you would expect. The film can be pretty violent and also fairly mean spirited. Most of the stories are really about revenge here as the victim fulfills his fantasy of getting revenge on those who oppressed him. Most of the stories fall into that revenge fantasy category. None of the stories have happy endings although you could make the case that while they’re sad endings for the main characters most of them will have a lot of people who benefited from it.

Overall, Creepshow is about what you’d expect from an anthology. I’ll give the movie props for keeping all of the stories pretty different. You’ve definitely got horror in a lot of different ways here from zombies to supernatural insects. That said, it definitely still doesn’t work for me. It’s hard to root for some of these main characters because they become as evil as the villains they’re trying to fight. The kid from the intro/ending as well as Henry from the monster story both ultimately become villains in their quest to get revenge. At the end of the day they traded their moral high ground for a quick win. If you want to watch a classic horror title then this isn’t the one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 2/10

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Review


It’s time to look at a comic book movie. It didn’t exactly get the same amount of fanfare as something like Spiderman or Superman, but then again..why would it? This film is based on a comic that isn’t super well known or anything. The poster’s pretty cool though and the concept is interesting. I wonder how many people would have really noticed its arrival though. The whole thing felt rather low key to me. It’s a fun film, one that certainly could have been better but it should hold your interest. It looks like a sequel is doubtful but if we ever do get something more in this series there’s a lot they could do with it.

The movie starts with the government approaching Quartermain and asking for his help. Someone is trying to start a World War by bombing different countries and blaming each other for it. Quartermain doesn’t want to get involved as he’s tired of fighting for the country but a group of gunmen show up and murder his friends so now it’s personal. He heads back to base where they have rounded up a group of the toughest fighters on the planet. This exclusive group is made up of Quartermain, the man who cannot die while in Africa; Captain Nemo, the greatest sailor who ever lived and who has access to boats that should not exist yet; Mina Harker, a vampire who possesses the ability to transform and also has regenerative abilities; Skinner, The legendary Invisible Man; Dorian Grey, A man cursed with complete immortality as long as he doesn’t look at his picture; Dr. Jekyll, A Man who can transform into the beast known as Hyde.

Together this group must team up to stop the villainous group led by Fantom. The tough part will be getting along with everyone as they aren’t exactly used to working as a team. Most of these guys are loners and have done a good job of saving the planet on their own. Why should they want to play second fiddle to someone now? It’s part of what I always love about crossovers. When you crossover characters who are from stand alone adventures it offers a lot of promise for various team dynamics because by nature they shouldn’t want to be on a team. This film doesn’t really go into that much though apart from some opening banter with Quartermain and Nemo. The rest of the group seem to just ignore each other for the most part and focus on the mission. That’s nice and all, but I would have liked some more banter. I think the film could have gone really far with that.

From the lore I’m familiar with most of the characters but not really with Mina Harker. We definitely needed someone from Dracula’s camp to fill in the ranks though so she made sense. Adding in a Mummy would have been nice too but as it is I suppose the team was pretty large. Let’s start with the positives here first. The action scenes are definitely pretty solid. The opening gunfight was pretty good as Quatermain had to deal with several enemies all at once. It’s a simple fight next to most of the others in the movie but did a good job of showcasing his skill with a gun. He’s definitely well ahead of Tom in that regard.

The effects are also pretty nice in general. The film uses a lot of darker environments like something out of Man of Steel or BVS. The solemn atmosphere works pretty well with this group as none of them are known for being particularly cheerful. At most maybe the Invisible Man and even then I wouldn’t say the guy is always laughing or anything like that. Everything is rather grayscale so there’s not much time for vibrant colors but none of the characters really have a moveset like that so the film’s not missing out on a whole lot this time. I also appreciated the city landscape.

One of the weaker parts of the film is Skinner though. Naturally he uses his invisibility to be a little cheap at times and I’m surprised Harker didn’t just rip him to shreds after his whole scene. He allows himself to be manipulated rather easily and vanishes for large parts of the film. Given how he was handled I think the character could have easily been cut out. Realistically he just should have been given a much better role though. As always, I wasn’t a huge fan of the vampire stuff though. The drinking blood scenes are always rather gruesome and not really my thing. The battle of regenerations with Dorian and Harker was also intense but not nearly as interesting as it could have been. I also feel like the last person you should ever turn your back to is someone who keeps on saying that they have the ability to regenerate wounds. You know….it just doesn’t make sense to do that.

At least Quatermain makes for a solid main character though. He’s got experience and seems like the perfect guy to lead this group into the fray. He may be rather normal next to the others but he’s a crack shot which is what counts. The film could have maybe picked people with different abilities though. Quatermain, Harker, and Dorian all have immortality. The only difference is that Quatermain’s only works in Africa, Harker can also transform, and Dorian’s regeneration is close to instant. In a fight Dorian would definitely demolish the other two to be honest. The weakest member of the group is Tom though. He’s an American Agent here to watch over everyone and help to stop the war. He crushes on Harker (Like almost everybody in the film) and that’s really the extent of his character. He was never all that interesting.

Nemo’s a good character. It is interesting to see him as a hero since apparently he was a villain for a while. He certainly doesn’t do anything villainous here though so I guess he has completely turned over the new leaf and is not looking back. Harker’s motivations in this mission seem a little smaller than some of the others to the point where you really have to assume that she is doing this out of the goodness of her heart. If that is true, well that’s definitely really nice of her. I can certainly say that not everyone would do that. That being said, she doesn’t seem super nice like that so it would have been interesting to have given her more of a plot.

I already talked about Skinner so lets move on to Dorian. He’s a pretty interesting character to be sure. He has a history with some of the other characters and never really looks all that concerned compared to the rest of the cast. Why should he be right? Dorian is effectively invincible. Nothing can harm him for very long. He has quite a large role in the film and it’s a pretty pivotal one. Finally, Dr. Jekyll rounds out the group. I’m not typically a fan of his character and this film didn’t really do anything to change that for me. He’s still the same ole scientist as always and his Hyde form is all brute strength. I guess I wouldn’t say he’s that bad, he’s far better than his film appearance at least. Still not my kind of character though.

Fantom is the big villain here and he looks good. He has a big twist at the end that I thought was brilliant and makes him more memorable You have to give the guy credit for always being at the right place at the right time. I was not expecting him to corner the heroes 20 minutes into the film. it feels like they barely leave the base before he’s already there and ready to mock them all. I suppose he expected things to play out a certain way based on scenes later on but otherwise it’s definitely an interesting moment to be sure. The plan is one of those convoluted ones where you feel like he could have done things in a much easier way but I suppose he got greedy and that is definitely a trademark for any villain.

Overall, A lot is definitely going on in this film. It can get pretty convoluted and messy but that will keep you engaged. It’s also a good way to mask the fact that the characters aren’t always very interested. By having everyone run around you can help disguise that. In the end this turned out to be a pretty good film. As I said it could and should have been a whole lot better than it was but I was still satisfied with the end product. At the very least it still delivered on giving us quality action scenes and that good crossover appeal. I like seeing various characters interact with each other and a crossover of iconic public domain characters is a good way to go about it. (At least I’d assume most are public domain at this point and Skinner was a good loophole on the Invisible Man) If you like action films and know these characters from your childhood it should at least be a nostalgic watch.

Overall 7/10

Blade: Trinity Review


It’s time to look at the final Blade film. Does it end on a high note or end up disappointing? Well, it’s better than the first film but I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the second so it’s squarely in the middle. I liked that we got some more fighters this time around. It’s about time Blade had some backup. On the other hand, the plot feels pretty aimless the whole time and there isn’t much of a focus next to the first two. It feels like events just happen so Blade can go around beating people up. That’s not a bad story idea of course, but to me it felt like there wasn’t much of a plot beyond that.

So the movie starts with Blade murdering a bunch of vampires as normal. Unfortunately one of the guys he murders was just a human pretending to be a vampire. Unfortunately people see this so now the government is after him. The vampires have finally framed Blade. This lead to his capture but fortunately he is busted out by a pair of allies known as Abigail and Hannibal. They get him back to base and explain that Dracula has been resurrected. The 3 of them will need to take him out before the villains figure out the trick on how to be a day walker. This won’t exactly be the first time that Blade had to take down a powerful foe though so he’s ready for this. Blade isn’t the kind of guy who goes around losing fights after all.

I do have a bit of an issue with the opening. Blade is questioning why the guy didn’t die and is shocked to find out he wasn’t a vampire. We do have tons of familiars who are humans that Blade has been murdering throughout the films. Why is this guy any different? Seems to be like Blade is a little more surprised than he should be. Framing him would also be very easy for this same reason since he’s never cared who he murdered before. If they’re working with the villains then he ends them. End of story. That’s just how Blade works, he’s never been the kind of guy to even think about offering up some mercy. I’d be surprised if he were to stop now.

Unfortunately as part of the framing plot this does mean that Blade and Whistler spend a lot of time fighting off actual cops and government agents. You understand that they have to use some self defense, but this goes beyond that as they openly start shooting and bashing away at them. Whistler even uses a giant explosion that without a doubt murders a bunch of them. This is an ongoing trend that happens in numerous scenes. It feels like the heroes murder as many innocent people as villains in this film. It was a rather odd way to end off the trilogy. It does portray Blade as even more of a Punisher type of vigilante but I’m not sure if we needed that here. I think some of these scenes could have been cut or at least altered to show that they weren’t actually murdering anyone.

Beyond that Blade is still a solid lead though. He talks tough and is always ready to take the villains down. I like the new extended cable weapon he has since it’s very useful for taking down scores of enemies from a distance. If you ask me it’s easily one of his most useful weapons by a long shot. The Whistler gets his share of hits in as well. Without powers there isn’t a whole lot that he can do, but he’s always ready with background support. The two new characters are really the ones who are here to fight on the front lines.

First you have Hannibal who is mainly here to crack a lot of jokes. Apparently he used to be a vampire and got cured which is neat but it wouldn’t have made any difference if he wasn’t. This tidbit of knowledge doesn’t matter in the slightest. He manages to get a big win near the end although I can’t say it feels deserved since he should have lost that round. I found him to be a reasonably entertaining character although it would have been nice if he were a little stronger. Then you have Abigail who has an excellent opening scene and continues to look good throughout the film. She’s a solid hand to hand fighter and uses a crossbow that can even light up and burn opponents to death.

Blade finally has an ally who can really fight alongside him. She isn’t a vampire so she has no super abilities but her close quarter combat skills are enough for her to take multiple opponents down so that’s quite impressive in itself. She’s a big reason as to why the setup of Blade having allies worked. If both of them were comic relief it would have been a little pointless. As it stands, she can only continue to get better and better as she fights along with Blade and a fourth film with them would have been interesting.

As with the earlier films the fight scenes are really solid here. We get quite a few good battles and this time each character gets their own fight. This leads to a pretty wide variety of battles. Blade tends to have the best ones, but as mentioned Abigail’s was solid as well. Dracula’s battle with Blade is a highlight and we got a lot of back and forth there. Dracula’s character itself wasn’t amazing though. He spends his first fight scene running which is pretty odd for a guy who prides himself on being the King. You’d think that he would welcome a challenge right off the bat. I suppose vampires just can’t help but fear Blade.

As always the graphics are really solid here. The effects are on point and the soundtrack is also great. We get the classic rock themes that you always want to see. For the negatives, it’s really the same as always. The film’s pretty violent with everyone getting bumped off. There’s a lot of blood draining going on for sure. We also add a new wrinkle as we see dog vampires that end up getting bumped off. It was so completely unnecessary. The instant I saw the dog appear I knew the film was setting itself up for a fall. I’ll give the movie props for not having them die on screen but it’s of little comfort. The film would have lost at least a star if that had happened and if it lost 2 there wouldn’t have been any lower for it to go. The writing isn’t the best here, but it could be worse. At least the script tried being a little different from the previous ones.

Overall, Blade 3 had some good ideas but also faltered in others. On one hand it was nice to see Blade having some young allies who could actually fight alongside him and weren’t evil. The soundtrack continued to be really good too and amplify the fights. On the other hand, the film is as excessively violent as always and this time there were even animals. Additionally the plot itself felt the weakest. After Dracula resurrects and the heroes have their opening fights it feels like the film stagnates for a while until we get to the climax. It didn’t feel like the pacing was quite as tight as the last two films. I’ll give the 3 films this, they were all pretty consistent and roughly on the same level as each other. That may not have been a good thing for their score, but you can’t win em all.

Overall 2/10

Blade II Review

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

It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Blade film. This time we’ve got him in an actual group so you can expect some of the other characters to get big fight scenes as well. I’d definitely say that this one improves upon the original for me. It’s not by a whole lot as there’s only so much you can do with a gritty vampire film. Still, I’ll take any improvement I can get and we got more special effects with the fight scenes so get ready for some sped up superhero action!

The movie starts off by slightly retconning the ending to the first one. Despite being in a near death state and then shooting himself, The Whistler managed to survive somehow and the vampires have kept him alive for kicks. Blade finds out and frees him. Shortly afterwards Blade is attacked by a pair of vampire ninjas who reveal that they have come to ask for his help. There are a few super vampires running around that are immune to silver and garlic. Defeating them will be nearly impossible without Blade. To this end, they will make him leader of the Bloodhounds which is an elite fighting force that was originally meant to destroy Blade. This is a fragile alliance at best, but Blade figures he should take down the super vampires so they team up. Are the vampires hiding something from him?

There’s definitely a lot of action in this film and the choreography is on point. Blade has definitely nailed the whole “slow walk towards the villains” routine as this point since he does it so often. I do have to give the films a lot of credit for how smooth his outfit looks. It’s very accurate to the comics and honestly it looks pretty crisp. Whenever Blade shows up you know he’s about to take down a lot of monsters. Those fights are always a lot of fun and accompanied by solid rock songs. The Blade series has had a pretty dynamite list of songs and this one is no different. I miss the early 2000s rock that we used to get for the various fight scenes. It still happens sometimes but it is certainly a lot more rare.

The special effects have also improved since the first film. I already spoke about the fight scenes but even the vampires getting blasted away. It’s all pretty neat. My favorite fight in the film was Blade against the two Ninjas. It’s an example of solid choreography with some back and forth action compared to Blade just absolutely dominating the random minions who can’t fight back. Those fights tend to be pretty fun as well but you really can’t compare the two. An even match like this ends up being quite satisfying even if surprisingly Blade may have lost. It depends on how fast he regenerates since his hit would presumably be fatal since it was silver and the ninja attack wouldn’t be, but it would have been a clean shot that could be fatal anyway.

The plot of having to team up with the villains is also pretty interesting. It’s always a very tricky dynamic trying to work with someone who could back stab you at any point. I also like that Blade keeps the upper hand for most of these interactions. He humiliates one of the vampires when they start getting smart and throughout calls all of the shots. Whenever they point a gun at Blade he does the same to them. The early banter are some of the best parts of the film. I consider the plot to be a little more interesting than the first film’s as well. It does have the benefit of being a sequel so we already know the characters.

Now to the negatives which are effectively the same as the first film. For starters the film is incredibly violent. We see a lot of characters get drained and murdered by the vampires. Characters are stabbed and tortured as well. The violence never really ends in these films which can be a drag. It takes away from the moments of the film that actually are good. I have to say that the opening of the film makes everyone look bad no matter how you look at it. It feels like the guy is a bit of a sucker when he’s being led down a series of halls into a locked room with suspect characters. I don’t remember the place looking so shady when donating blood. I get that this is a special place but even so it was obvious that it was a trap. Then it makes the trappers look bad since this is way too obvious. Anyone who is “caught” in the trap is suspect themselves so it was never going to end well for someone.

The writing is okay. There’s quite a bit of language that this version fortunately skips which does help to a degree. It still seems to be a bit of a crutch for the writers. I also have to dock some logic points for how they don’t even bother trying to explain why Whistler survived. There’s just no way he would have lived through what happened and as hard as the film tries to do so, there’s no way they can explain it. I suspect that’s why they don’t even bother. I don’t even see why the plot needed to be brought back since Whistler doesn’t even do a whole lot during the film. Him leaving his post at one point was also an odd red herring. Why not bring your communicator for when your partners are being bumped off?

Overall, Blade II brings in a more interesting plot as well as better fight scenes than the first film. This does result in a better experience for me. That being said, it still can’t shed the vampire roots of the film. I don’t see how the films can get much higher without toning that aspect down a bit. The violence can be quite excessive. Even though none of the vampire members were particularly likable it was still pretty neat to have a whole group structure. It’s probably the closest we’ll see of Blade on a team for quite a while. Ultimately I could see him getting a new movie or show at some point though. If you really like vampire films then you should check this one out I guess since it delivers on what you’d expect with everyone getting bumped off in gruesome ways left and right. On the other hand you can definitely do better.

Overall 2/10

Blade Review

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

It’s time to look at one of the original comic book films from back in the day. Blade is largely forgotten nowadays although it seems to have had a bit of a resurgence in recent years. It’s a vampire film which naturally does limit how good it can be to a large extent. Unfortunately the comic book aspect of the movie was unable to do enough to take it back to the next level. It makes all the usual mistakes of a vampire film and ends up being rather similar to Resident Evil. Resident Evil would ultimately have the edge though with its top tier soundtrack and a more interesting plot. Come to think of it, zombies may also beat vampires for me although it’s close since both don’t make for particularly good movies.

The movie starts off with one human being lured away to a vampire party. They are about to finish him off when Blade appears and destroys the lot of them. Unfortunately he decides to toy around with one of them a little too much so he manages to get to a hospital and murder a bunch of people as well bite Karen. Blade takes Karen over to his base where the Whistler tells Karen that it’s all over. She’s already dead and they’re not going to help her. Karen’s not thrilled about this so she decides to stick with the gang. At the very least she should be safer with the pros right? Blade doesn’t have much time to guard anyone though because he’s on a quest to avenge his mother and himself by murdering Frost. Frost is the one who turned Blade into a vampire after all and this is the closest that the hunter has gotten to being on his trail.

Right from the start Blade introduces itself as a film that is going to go all in with the violence and vampire action. The first scene probably has more blood almost all of the other comic book films. The violence never lets up either as we see people eaten and blown up. The TV edit does cut away from a lot of the direct moments which is quite telling considering how violent the film still was. Automatically there’s no way the film was going to get a very high score because of how excessive it all is. Definitely be sure you’re cool with the violence if you plan on checking this one out.

I’ve also never been a fan of the drinking blood angle which is pretty hard to avoid in a vampire film. It’s part of why those films are always destined to lose if you ask me. While it can be possible to do a good vampire story (Records of a Fallen Vampire) it is very difficult and not particularly likely. The villains aren’t particularly fun either. You’ve got Quinn who is the main comic relief of the villain group. He is always in a party mood and doesn’t take things too seriously. This never bodes well for him in a fight and you know from the start that he has absolutely no chance against Blade. He’s just completely out of his league.

Then you have Frost who can be a decent main villain in some Blade stories but he doesn’t work here. They really play up the fact that he’s a much younger vampire than the others so he’s always fooling around. The guy is pretty smart and does take the vampires to new heights that the old ones wouldn’t have reached. He definitely gets some points there and is a reasonably strong villain. Ultimately he’s not nearly as charismatic as he thinks he is. The rest of the villains don’t really get much of a role. For the most part they’re just here to get blown up.

For the heroes we’ve really got 3. First is Whistler who is the mentor figure of the movie. You can probably tell how his story will end up the instant he is introduced. He’s human so there’s not a whole lot that he can do against vampires with their special abilities. Still, he doesn’t back down from a fight which is really important in this kind of thing. He’s a bit of a downer though as he doesn’t even try to give Karen any hope. Karen is a solid heroine though. She does actually get involved in some of the fights and adapts pretty quickly to using a gun and other such tactics. I was glad that she spent more time being pro active as opposed to running or something like that. She was even able to work on a cure right away. Karen contributes quite a lot to the cause and that’s why she’s a pretty solid character. I’d be up for seeing her in sequels someday.

Then we have the main character Blade. He feels sort of like a more brutal Batman at times with how he will suddenly appear and start taking out the enemies. The main difference of course is that Blade murders his opponents. At first he tends to spare the humans although in some fight scenes it’s really hard to tell if he spares anyone. By the end though he is all out of mercy and just takes everyone out. He’s a pretty great lead. Blade’s serious and down to business throughout the movie. The film did a really good job with this portrayal and I’d say that Blade is pretty much perfect. I also like all of his tools and weapons. It makes for a pretty good arsenal in these battles.

The fight scenes are pretty good in the movie as well. When it’s not going out of its way to be particularly gritty we have some solid hand to hand action and swordplay. The scene of Blade arriving in the climax was handled particularly well as he got down to business. His opening fight against the vampire army was also solid. The movie helps to enhance these scenes with a solid soundtrack as well. We get some pretty fun rock themes for the battles. They have a nice retro feel that you don’t really see quite as much anymore in the modern films. For some reason rock music doesn’t seem to be as popular for the average fight scene which I don’t understand because the fast tempo should always be in season.

Overall, Blade is definitely what you would expect from a vampire action film. The action can be good but ultimately the film is held wayyyyy back by the vampire angle. It goes way too far in being overly dark and gritty. I can’t recall the last film I saw which was quite this violent. The body count is pretty high and you usually won’t be able to go more than a few minutes without something super violent happening. The film can be having a fun little scene and then you’re thrown into the next villain scene or something crazy happening. Pretty much any villain scene will end with something violent happening. These instances certainly add up so I wouldn’t recommend this film. It’s all just too excessive. If you want to watch a good supernatural action film then it’s time to watch the Avengers 2012 instead. It delivers on all of that without going overboard. We’ll see if the next Blade films are able to improve from this one or if they will ultimately make the same mistakes.

Overall 1/10

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

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

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

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