Spider-Man Homecoming Review

spider-man-homecoming-box-office-worldwide
The Spider-Man films have always set a pretty high bar. My least favorite one is probably Spider-Man 2 and that one is still pretty cool because of all the memes it started. This one had a lot to live up to since we’re starting fresh with a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man once again, but the film handles it well. It doesn’t make any “real mistakes” (As in issues that would hurt the score) but I do have some minor issues involving power levels to get into. On the whole I’d definitely recommend checking this film out and preparing yourself for the sequel.

Peter Parker is your average kid with super powers who looks up to the Avengers. He wants to become one of the team, but Iron Man doesn’t think that he’s ready yet. Peter decides to prove himself by taking off his suit’s limitations which backfires horribly so he is forced to go back to his old costume. Nevertheless, Spider-Man has to go back out there to find the Vulture and take him down. Will he be able to do this or was Stark right and he is actually still too young for the job?

I’ve been pretty vocal about how I think Peter is a little too young in this version, but what honestly took more time to get used to was the hairstyle. It seemed to be at conflict with the rest of his personality but I got used to it over time. I don’t think he’s quite a match for the other two yet but as he appears in more and more films and grows into the role he should be able to place proudly in their company. Peter made most of the right choices in the film as he skipped the party to go stop the villains and was pretty persistent on that note. While Tony Stark may have kept telling him not to do that, I think Peter made the right move in sticking to hit gut and following the villains everywhere. It may not have always worked, but I agreed with the moves.

Peter Parker’s always been a little like Charlie Brown as things just don’t go his way and the film was pretty accurate with that. It was a really rough road for him as he got beat up several times but it’ll help his battle experience. Lets get this part over with now, this version of Spiderman seems not to have any Spider Sense. Either that or this film just forgot about that part. He gets blindsided many times and snuck up on by villains more often than he actually sees them coming. He can’t dodge for beans and gets beat up by everyone. I don’t think he wins a single fight not counting random henchmen. That’s…a little sad for his first showing. This is easily the weakest Spider-Man yet even if he had a good physical strength feat. Ideally he’ll learn about the Spider Sense soon so we can get that hype fight with Thanos. Of course, strength isn’t essential for a hero so even if he’s weak, Spider-Man is still a good character.

Spider-Man’s only unfavorable characteristic is that he’s maybe a little too infatuated with Liz the whole time. The staring scene in the cafeteria was a bit much. I can overlook the stuttering and barely being able to talk to her since it wasn’t as exaggerated as in some films (Still a bit exaggerated though) but the first scene is still a bit much. He can also act a little too impressed and astounded by the pro heroes considering that I think he could take most of them on, but I suppose it’s like how Deku still looks up to everyone in My Hero Academia even if he could beat most of them very quickly. Beyond that, he’s the Spider-Man we all know from the comics.

Liz is a decently good main heroine. She’s not as good as Gwen, but I’d say that she’s more likable than Mary Jane. Her connection with Peter definitely seems the most random especially since he hadn’t exactly earned a positive reputation at the school the whole time and there was the interesting chant at her party. Maybe she was just being nice by letting him take her to the dance or it was a genuine first step. Either way, at least we got to see a good chunk of her personality in this film and it’s cool that she got to be the captain of the trivia team. You definitely have to be really smart to make it on that level.

I also really liked the plot because the Teacher stole the movie. The moment he ran to Peter and brought him back into the fold was brilliant. Lets face it, if the school championship is on the line, you better bring in your star student. Even if he does ditch class randomly and has been becoming a bit of a delinquent, you gotta take the win. Think more on it after you’re holding the trophy. He was also very polite the whole time and understanding of the tricky history that makes up our buildings.

The sarcastic girl who is always hanging around is easily the best schoolmate. Honestly, she’s more likable than Peter Parker and comes in second behind the Teacher. I won’t say her name since it isn’t said until the final minutes of the film so it’s practically a spoiler, but she just gets a lot of great one liners and burns. She does kind of give herself away early on with the “I’m not obsessed or anything” moment, but always has a good excuse ready. She always happens to have a reason to be around which are constructed well. One scene in particular that was fun was the fact that she was even reading her book during exercise class where you’re supposed to be super serious about working out. Everyone else had a buddy, but she found a way to game the system. She does that a lot in the film and while I suppose she can come across as a little mean spirited, she never even came close to crossing the line. That’s Flash’s job. The sarcasm is never personal, it’s just how she treats life in general. It’ll be hard to top this film’s portrayal, especially if she gets a bigger role in the next film, but you never know.

Flash Thompson…is Flash Thompson. He’s the same bully that he always was, but he never physically attacks Peter or anything in this version so maybe he’s not as bad as some of the others. We’ll see if he ends up looking up to Spider-Man or not in this version since circumstances could make that a little tricky. Happy Hogan gets a decent role in this film as he’s Spider-Man’s go to guy for getting info on the Avengers. Of course, Happy only does this grudgingly and ignores Peter. The whole film could have basically been avoided if Happy had played ball, but he’s not that kind of guy. He does make for some fun scenes though and is just a good character to have around.

Tony Stark gets a good role here as well. I had been kind of hoping to see him take on the Vulture, but I suppose that could have been a lose-lose situation no matter what happened. If Tony loses there would be a riot and if he won, then Spider-Man winning later on may not have had as much impact. Not that Spider-Man ever actually won…but I can’t go into details on the technicalities as that would be a spoiler. We can chat in the comments if anything. I was satisfied with how Tony acted here. I mean, I definitely disagreed with him on various points like just letting Vulture get away every time, but I always disagree with the “By the books” characters. To think, Tony used to be the hot headed character on the team. I guess he has gotten older. It’s always nostalgic to have him appear since it reminds you of the beginnings of the MCU, back when it was still Iron-Man and his friends. While he has drifted away from being the center of the universe he is still the heart of it.

We’ve also got another main character in the form of Ned. I honestly can’t say that I’m a fan of his. He had some good scenes like where he saved Spider-Man from imminent destruction, but I really don’t think Peter needs a sidekick. I suppose the story would be even sadder for him if he had nobody to talk too, but it just feels out of place. I don’t think Ned handled the teacher walking in on him very well even if it was a very Reddit esque excuse that he made for not being at the dance. On the positive side, I do like that he was pretty understanding about Peter having a job and being busy all the time. He didn’t act petty about it and there wasn’t some kind of dramatic sideplot as a result. I’ll give him some kudos there. Now if he can only become a slightly more likable character, then I’ll be fine with him being the guy on the chair. It slightly takes away from Peter’s genius since he is usually the one hacking the computers and such, but we’ll live.

Aunt May is certainly very different from her usual self so she is worth mentioning. I think I’ll always prefer the old Aunt May as she’s such a staple and her intense distrust of Spider-Man added some extra tension to each issue. The comics would always start with Spider-Man winking at the screen as he wonders what would happen if Aunt May knew. It’s hard to see this one having much of a problem with it as she would likely support Spider-Man. She doesn’t want Peter to be in danger, but the conversation that they would have would certainly not be as difficult. I could do without everyone trying to flirt with her as the film tries to remind us of how young she is, but as long as it’s a very subtle running gag I suppose it’s not all that bad. Honestly I half expected her to get in on the action when a web showed up and stopped the Shocker. I figured she had somehow followed Peter to the dance and grabbed the web shooter. I know this would have killed Ned’s best scene in the film, but I think it actually could have been pretty hype.

That brings me back to other hot headed characters though. The film did a good job of capturing the high school atmosphere without getting too detailed. Most films have an issue here because either everyone is constantly making out or doing drugs, or they’re using a lot of language. Both are very accurate, but just because real life has these doesn’t mean that we have to be seeing them. The film gets in the atmosphere while keeping the students respectful and more likable as a result. The Teachers ignoring the students and just taking naps is realistic. Showing videos of Captain America even though he is now a criminal is also realistic and I especially liked how the detention room was set up. It was all pretty good.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really two main ones to deal with. The Shocker was fun to see since he has always been one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. For a while he was my all time favorite. It’s a little hard to say nowadays, but he may still take the title as long as I’ve got a grip on my nostalgia goggles. This is a very different take on the character, but I can roll with it. He’s not exactly a heavyweight, but he works well as the side villain. The Vulture was the main “threat” and he was a lot of fun. This was a good villain where while you couldn’t really feel too sympathetic after a little while, at least it was nice to see him take on the government. I never liked Damage Control and this film reminded me of why that is the case. They just don’t have much charisma and seem to do whatever they want while earning a big paycheck. Back to the Vulture though, he has a lot of fun with the role in his human form and that’s where all of his best scenes are. Zapping one of his henchmen was pretty neat and the not so subtle threats at Spider-Man in the car scene was pretty good. I’m glad that he put 2 and 2 together unlike most villains.

I would say that the film was maybe a little light on action, but honestly Spider-Man movies usually are. This one probably had the most action in one of his films aside from Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not coincidentally, those are the two best Spider-Man films to date. This one beats the first Amazing Spider-Man for me and Spider-Man 2. It’s a little hard for me to say if it beats the first Spider-Man or not, but I think I may give it the edge here. The action scenes that we do get are fun. Just ignore the fact that Spider-Man is really getting beat up the whole time and enjoy the fun visuals. I still can’t really take Vulture all that seriously, but the film did its best to improve his design from the comics. He’s not much of a threat as far as power is concerned, but he’s never been a big villain like that.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s okay. I didn’t care for the token lyrical song that played twice. I dunno, it felt incredibly out of place and I was imagining something a little happier and with more cheer in the background. I think that would have made more sense. The classic MCU kind of themes were fun though and we had some nice Spider-Man homage themes as well. In the end it’s all just a little forgettable and you probably won’t remember any of it by the end, but few films go above and beyond on that.

There are two after credit scenes. As per usual, the first one is plot important while the second is for comedy purposes. The first one worked well at leading into the next film and while the villain may not be all that intimidating, Spider-Man films are more about the characters than the fights so that’s to be expected. The second scene was decently amusing, but I was expecting more. Like when the character asked if there was anything more then we would cut away to Spider-Man fighting Thanos or the Guardians falling off a cliff as they head to Earth. I would have liked something extra like that to really make me ready for the next films.

On a final note, the film did a good job of poking fun at some old Spider-Man cliches. Everyone knows how the famous hero likes to throw his clothes everywhere and ditch his backpack in a dark alley. Well, he tries it here and it doesn’t go over so well. It borderline went on parody at some points with him really just throwing his clothes with reckless abandon. It wasn’t in your face or anything, but a nice little touch. Hopefully he gets better at that part of the job, but as long as Karen is around he should be okay. For an A.I. Karen can be a little slow on the uptake at times, but it’s always fun to have a murder bot at the ready. Hopefully she’ll become sentient soon so Spider-Man can effectively have backup even if he’s knocked out. I definitely like his suit quite a bit so hopefully it stays for good. I honestly don’t want him to switch into any of those “fancy” upgrade suits like the Iron Spider or a Cosmic Spider-Man design. The classic is good enough for me.

Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming is a very fun film. It’s certainly one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films overall. The stakes may have been a lot less grounded, but it was just written well and the film had a lot of fun. One key thing was that it didn’t make any real mistakes like some of the last films and played to its strengths. It’s a different take on Spider-Man from the last two universes and that’s good since they’ve all danced to a different beat so far. The ending may have been a little iffy compared to what I would have hoped for. It was one of the most expected outcomes, but I imagined it playing out a little differently and with less edge. Perhaps it would have been seen as too much, but I would have liked the ending to be Peter walking through the kitchen while eating pizza turning on the lights and noticing the person there. “So….anything you’d like to share Peter?” “Er…..it’s a long story” and then the film ends with epicly loud music playing. Obviously this includes the circumstances that made the ending a “shock” ending without going into details. I mean, maybe this is borderline spoilerish but if you haven’t seen the ending yet then I hope I kept it vague enough to make a difference. Either way what are you waiting for? While this review is pretty long I’m sure there is plenty that I didn’t even touch on. It’s time for you to go check this movie out!

Overall 8/10

Advertisements

Marvel Contest of Champions Review

MCoC_v9Splash_1920x1080
Just looking at that cover should remind you just how changed Marvel is from the good ole days. We have a lot of heroes trying to replace the classic ones and most of the old ones have had drastic makeovers. No worries though, this game manages to include an enormous amount of characters so the classics are still here as well. With new characters constantly being added to the game, I don’t see Contest of Champions ending anytime soon. It’s simply too expansive at this point and I’m glad to see it doing well. The amount of content can be intimidating, but it also shows that you can do quite a lot even when under the free to play format. Someone should have told Super Mario Run about that.

There’s actually a plot this time. The Collector is having another game and has decided to pit the Marvel heroes against you. You are the chosen one and your opponent is Kang. Both of you collect Marvel heroes and duke it out until there is only one fighter still standing. The plot will probably have some wrinkles along the way though because there are dozens and dozens of levels. I only played about 10% of Act 1, which was already fairly long. Since they keep on adding new chapters and acts for special events, I can easily see this reaching an RPG’s length by the end. The story isn’t all that engaging so you’ll be playing it for the gameplay. Console games are still my priority though, which is why I didn’t play the game for too long. I played it enough to see what it was all about and then it was time to delete the app.

The gameplay is fairly straight forward. Tap the screen for standard attacks. Swipe forward to dash or back to dodge. You can also use charge attacks and special moves. Each battle will play out in pretty much the same way and the various special abilities will all blend together after a while. This is still a game with a reasonably small budget so you can’t go in expecting Marvel vs Capcom. Still, the graphics are very impressive considering. All of the character models are on point and it’s pretty surreal to see Marvel’s large array of characters all show up. The soundtrack is rather bland, but decent.

One issue is that the gameplay can get a little repetitive. I suppose that can be said about most mobile games, but other titles like 1010 and Pokemon Go are super fun anyway. You may be doing the same thing hundreds of times over, but it never gets old. Contest of Champions will get old after a while so you shouldn’t play it for too long at a time. If you play it seriously for collecting all of the heroes though, then this may not be a factor. I also have to give the game some props for not making the pay to win element too prevalent. You can still play for a while each day before hitting your limit and that’s a good thing. Madden Mobile got annoying for how quickly you hit the daily limit along with Pokemon Shuffle.

The main menu is a little cluttered and complicated, but at least it shows that there is a lot to do here. There are all kinds of modes to explore and crystals to earn. It just never stops and you can be lost in the menus for a good 20 minutes before deciding what to do. The replay value here is endless and that’s what we’ve come to expect from these apps. With this one gone, it’s going to be back to Pokemon Go for me. That’s really the only long term app game that I need. These other titles are good, but ultimately can’t compete.

Overall, Marvel’s Contest of Champions is a fun enough game. The graphics are sound and assembling your team of heroes can be addicting. Eventually you’ll either start to get frustrated by obtaining duplicate heroes even though you only have 5 or 6, or you will be completely into the game by then and just hooked on all of the future updates. If you’re a big mobile player, then I recommend adding it to your roster. If not, then this one can probably be passed. It’s good, but you could always just buy Marvel vs Capcom instead for the superior fighter. I know that DC also got a very similar fighting game on the app store, but I don’t plan on trying it out anytime soon.

Overall 7/10

Civil War Review

71hzIk2cmNL
After all these years, I have finally gotten a chance to read the famous Civil War arc. Due to the movie recently coming out, it makes sense that a lot of copies from the comic would be lying around. It certainly holds up as one of Marvel’s greatest events although you do lose a bit of the narrative by not reading any of the tie ins. I still say that big Marvel/DC events should be a little longer (10+ issues) but a lot still happens here and it is quite epic. This was back during Marvel’s prime and everyone is solidly in character although the ending is pretty iffy.

A few teenage heroes fail to stop a villain named Nitro and a school full of kids is blown up. Iron Man decides that heroes should no longer run rampant and agrees with SHIELD and the Government on the Registration Act. Heroes have to formally register and give out their secret identities if they want to continue operating. Moreover, the government will be making many more decisions when it comes to crime fighting. Captain America disagrees with this law and evades arrest by SHIELD. He gains some more sympathizers and the Civil War is now on!

Captain America’s side is definitely portrayed as the right one in this battle. The registration quickly starts to become rather extreme and SHIELD cannot be trusted. Iron Man’s side also begins to hire murdering villains as allies to round up the heroes. They even build a very morally iffy jail in the Negative Zone to contain the heroes and clone Thor. The tie ins typically chose sides as well so sometimes Captain America’s group would come across as a little iffy as well, but through it all they were the “heroes” this time.

The art is excellent and easily one of Marvel’s more impressive creations. The fight scenes are handled very well and do a good job of having a serious vibe to them while still feeling like comic book fights. It’s definitely fun to see all of the heroes on panel at once and the event does feel like a big crossover epic. I do miss some of these classic costumes like Cyclops, Captain America, and Spider-Man’s. Before the gimmicks, there were the original costumes and those are the ones that are present in Civil War.

Before going any further into the comic analysis, I can safely say that I am on Team Captain America as well. For starters, SHIELD can never be trusted. There are always Hydra agents in their ranks and as soon as this sensitive data is put on a database it will be hacked. Sharing their secret identities is very risky for the heroes families and friends. I know that Spider-Man discussed the situation with Mary Jane and Aunt May first, but it was definitely not a good decision on his part. He rectified this later on, but he has dozens of enemies and most of them would definitely wreck his life in the blink of an eye. Especially the local ones like Hammerhead and Kingpin who could easily make a move. If there was a way to make the whole process absolutely safe, then I would probably agree with Team Iron Man. Unfortunately, there isn’t and there never will be. That’s simply the nature of comic books.

Also, if you really think about it, this won’t stop a similar incident from occurring. Sure, the teen heroes wouldn’t be able to have a public livestream, but they could always do it in the sneak. Not to mention that there will always be heroes who won’t register. The only difference from now is that more heroes will be hunted like the mutants are. I’m sure the heroes wish that they could be in DC land where the heroes typically aren’t attacked quite as often. At the very least, the government seems to tolerate them.

Captain America’s a great leader as you would expect. He shows off his military tactics and does a good job of pressing the advantage on Iron Man’s team. His plan for Hulkling was also well done. As mentioned earlier, I did not agree with his final move though. Sure, there was a lot of property damage, but he basically deserted everyone who had been following him. He just left them to dry. People are going to get injured regardless and the heroes did try to evacuate the area. The humans probably just hid and decided to attack voluntarily. Just because the civilians are on Team Iron Man doesn’t mean that it is the right side. Cap ends up getting shot in a story shortly after this one so he may want to rethink the whole thing.

I do agree with his move to have Punisher leave the team though since he is a murderer. That being said, this is one of the cooler appearances from the Punisher. He took down 4 villains with ease and he played a big role in infiltrating the tower for the plans. He simply follows a more lethal methodology than Cap and isn’t going to change anytime soon. He doesn’t aim to be a hero, he just wants to destroy as many villains as possible. It’s what makes him fall to their level, but he is certainly a lot more likable than the average villain. Refusing to fight Cap was also an intense move that took character.

Iron Man is naturally not all that likable in this one. He does really try to bring Cap on his side, but there’s no way that it was going to work. Not to mention that Iron Man really tries to take charge immediately and that really defeats the chances of having a big debate about the whole thing. He comes across as rather trigger happy when Spider-Man decides to leave as well so the fight was really unavoidable. Iron Man definitely got lucky there too since he’s not quite ready to deal with Spider-Man just yet. If you were getting sympathetic to his side then no worries, SHIELD quickly steps in again and tries to destroy Spider-Man. They don’t really take prisoners at all and show a general disregard for the heroes.

Building the Thor clone was another big strike against his side. Iron Man’s not completely unreasonable though so don’t think that he is a downright bad character. He does a decent job of championing his side, but I feel like his mind is changed way too easily. All it takes is one lady spitting at him for Stark to take the whole thing seriously. I think he should be able to stay true to himself a little more strongly than that. Mr. Fantastic was fairly cool. I do consider him to be one of the more underrated Marvel characters at the moment, but he’ll change that soon enough. He can be a little inconsistent though. Despite the fact that Invisible Woman is on the other side, he does make sure that the government won’t arrest her regardless of the outcome. That’s the kind of move that I would hope to see from some of the others make, but they typically don’t have the guts.

Spider-Man looks great in this trade. This was back when people took him seriously and he’s treated like an adult hero who commands respect. He’s seen as no different from Cap, Iron Man, and the other big heroes which is as it should be. He can hold his own in a fight and certainly goes through the wringer. During the story arc he takes on about 5 fighters at once and defeats them all. He also seems to have had the edge against Cap and Iron Man as well. I was really glad to see him lose the Iron Spider armor though. It’s fine for once in a while, but I definitely prefer his traditional look. His portrayal was spot on. He made a mistake, but doesn’t hesitate to fix it.

I can’t take Namor seriously and still don’t like the guy. I don’t believe that his forces were the game changer that they were made out to be. By and large, Cap’s team was seriously outgunned though. Even by the end when the numbers were almost equal, the fighting forces were not. Iron Man’s team has the Sentry on it. Isn’t that basically game over since Thor and Hulk aren’t in the equation? Ms. Marvel is strong as well, but as far as I know she was on Tony’s side as well. If not, she could at least give Sentry a decent fight. Cap’s team was starting to have the upper hand by the end though and I won’t call plot hax on that considering just how many heroes were involved. There may have been some big shots that I am unaware of.

Maria Hill gets a pretty humiliating ending as Civil War comes to a close. She was particularly unreasonable throughout the arc so it makes sense that Iron Man should get the last laugh here. SHIELD is one of the main reasons why I couldn’t be on Iron Man’s side so it was good to see her demoted. It also looked good on Iron Man’s part since he had to notice that she was really jeopardizing the team’s chances at winning over the crowds. With her out of the way, Iron Man should be able to start making a positive difference. He may have been on the wrong side, but he can still make the best out of the situation.

There were certainly a lot of other characters involved in the story and I can safely say that they all looked rather good. I’m a little disappointed that the X-Men didn’t get involved, but it makes sense why they could not. They would join Cap’s side and then it would barely be a fight by that point since Iron Man’s side wouldn’t stand a chance. Just Cyclops and Emma Frost are intimidating enough, but the X-Men had legions of members at the time. Even if Iron Man’s side brought in every villain from the jail cells and threw in the Sentinels they wouldn’t be guaranteed of victory. They would guarantee themselves a bad rep and a lot of civilian casualties though.

Overall, Civil War was definitely a game changer for Marvel. Marvel always likes to say that each event is the biggest one yet and that it will change things. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it isn’t, but Civil War was definitely a title that turned the tides. It made things rather rough for the heroes for quite some time. After all, the ending to this comic is pretty somber and it does start to lead into Dark Reign and Siege. Ultimately, Iron Man basically agrees that the Civil War was a bad idea. The sequel just started so it will be interesting to see how that one is. I actually think it should be fairly great, but I don’t see it possibly matching up to this one. This one was just a blast and I highly recommend it to all Marvel fans. It’s a very engaging story with fast pacing that never lets up. It’s the big character crossover that fans have always wanted much like the Secret Wars and Infinity Gauntlet arcs. The only difference was that this time it was heroes against heroes.

Overall 9/10

New Avengers Volume 2 Review

3a1e13be39c5564de0f9deac6fe8d06a_xl
I actually read this comic many months ago, but haven’t had a chance to write the review now. Well, the epic Incursions Arc reaches a boiling point and this is certainly the height of the whole thing. It’s technically still going on to an extent, but the team has had enough of it all so this will probably be the final true battle revolving around it. The series has been leading up to this moment with some time and even survived various tie-in issues to Infinity in order to get here. Without further ado, let’s discuss this title.

The collection was quite large as it was longer than that of a normal trade paperback, but the majority of the issues were about the big confrontation with the homage to the Justice League. Earth was coming under attack from another Incursion. If you don’t recall what that means, it essentially refers to the phenomenon of two Earths starting to exist in the same place. If they collide for even an instant, then both planets die along with the Solar System. The only way to prevent this is to destroy the other Earth. For decades, many planets tried to find another way around this, but no such way was found. This has been occurring for all of eternity with numerous versions of the Avengers so the modern day ones have finally acknowledged that they don’t think it is possible to avoid this fate. Their only choices now are to simply accept their destruction or to destroy the other Earth to spare their own. The team has many debates about that, but at least they’ve been lucky with the fact that the other Earths have been uninhabited..until now.

The Earth that appeared this time is home to the Justice League. Their Earth is the only one besides the 616 (Marvel’s main Universe) Earth to have survived multiple Incursions to live til this point. Both Earths are undefeated, but only one planet can walk away from this one alive. The New Avengers roster is fairly stacked at this point (Since it is really the Illuminati and not the New Avengers per say) since they have Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk, Black Panther, Black Bolt, Beast and Mr. Fantastic on their side. However, the Justice League team has all of their signature members as well. One factor that helps the Avengers not get completely decimated in the opening seconds is that fate was not kind to DC’s team. When their Earth first appears, it happens immediately after the League had just finished fighting off another Earth. Dealing with one Incursion is already tough, but two of them in a row? The League is exhausted before the fight with the Avengers has even begun. (The previous Incursion had them fight against power mages who had previously wrecked the Illuminati with ease when it was just a few of them. The Justice League had to take on dozens of them in a planet wide invasion, but they pulled through.)

That was a mouthful, but some backstory is pretty important to fully appreciate the stakes. It is as much of a battle of morals as it is physically. The Avengers have been skirting the issue of whether or not they would pull the trigger and decide to essentially destroy a whole planet of innocent people in order to save their own skins and that of the planet’s. They would be choosing to swap their own lives for others, thus saying that theirs are more important. It’s a very dicey conundrum and one that is easily seen as morally wrong, but still hard to stop. After all, you’ll naturally be tempted to save your friends and family over total strangers. In the end, this is that situation, but on a grand scale. The fact that it is so grand also makes the whole thing very impersonal as it all becomes a lot of statistics instead of lives.

In the end, The Avengers mostly make the right call although they weren’t as decisive as I would have liked. They decide not to destroy the planet, but they also don’t decide to destroy the device. One by one they all simply say that they can’t do it and leave the machine there so it was easy for someone to walk up and press the button anyway. Hopefully they will be more alert next time, but it doesn’t change the fact that they just let an entire planet blow up on their watch. This was definitely not their greatest moment and will be something that they likely won’t want to share anytime soon.

The tensions with Black Panther and Namor have escalated as well. Black Panther now knows that Namor was responsible for the massacre in Wakanda and having a planetary genocide to add to that rap sheet doesn’t help matters either. It’ll be tough to get to Namor now though since the graphic novel ends with the Sub Mariner forming his own Cabal. The group is fairly powerful with heavy weights like Thanos, Terrax, and the mysterious lady from another dimension in their ranks. If necessary, this group could likely defeat the Illuminati and with ease I might add.

The author likes his use of synergy and repetition, but with a twist. For example, the speech that Namor gives at the end is the same one that Mr. Fantastic gave to the heroes at the beginning. It’s the exact same dialogue word for word, but the words have been twisted thanks to the context of how Namor is saying it all. It was definitely a solid piece of writing and the whole collection is quite good with that. There are no poorly written scenes in the entirety of the collection and a lot of plots are juggled around. Once you start reading this saga, you really can’t put the book down. The saga even has its own lore and universe built to support it without interfering with the rest of the Marvel Universe. This story is essentially taking place in a vacuum. It doesn’t effect the other titles, but you can still feel that the stakes are real. For example, I like all of the original characters that were added for this event.

Black Swan is the main one and she gives the heroes the various ideas for how to destroy worlds. She’s the dark voice urging them to give in and just destroy their obstacles. Acting as a bad influence to the team, she tends to succeed in breaking them all down slowly but surely. Her powers are vague, but she seems to be quite powerful. Her standard looking energy attacks are deadlier than they appear to be. She also got an origin story towards the end of the saga, which shed some light on her motivations, but she’s still an odd character. At the very least none of the factions should trust her.

All right, let’s talk about the Justice League. They were easily the best characters in the comic and I was rooting for them right from the start. It’s hard not to since they appear to be completely heroic and just want to protect their planet. From their side of things, the Avengers just look underhanded. As soon as the Justice League turned their backs, Namor threw his spear into one of their members. Sure, the Illuminati didn’t think that Namor would be that corrupt, but the whole thing is on them. The Justice League tried for a peaceful solution, but this destroyed negotiations so they decided to fight. As it stands, Superman was completely decimating the Avengers. (Not even going to bother with code-names) The Justice League did a great job of showing that unity and experience can defeat individually powerful fighters any time.

While they relied on heroism and good ole fashioned team-work, the Avengers had their Namor traitor and Dr. Strange, who decided to sacrifice his soul to get help from a demon. That did give him a massive power boost and ultimately it is what turned the tides against the Justice League, but it was definitely a very dicey decision. The Avengers had to pull out all of the stops for this fight. It was great to see Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman, and Superman in a Marvel comic. There was even a Martian Manhunter member although I don’t recall if there was a Wonder Woman fighter in the group. I was on Team DC as expected, but even the Marvel fans reading this may side with them given the circumstances. I hope to see them all again soon.

Even if I was rooting against them, the Illuminati members are all rather solid as well. This is not counting Namor of course as he is just another petty villain in the end. Mr. Fantastic was a bit out of character during some points as he was overly protective and making quite a lot of threats. It seems like this arc started to slowly corrupt him. Iron-Man and Beast retained their composure and were fairly in character even if there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for Iron Man to crack jokes. Black Bolt didn’t say much, (Shocker) but he also made the right calls in the end. Hulk was really just here to fight and get stomped by Superman. It’s a solid cast, but with the team fractured and more Incursions to come, what will they do? They have essentially decided to just let Earth die and I believe that all of this ends up tying into Secret Wars so maybe there won’t need to be much of a conclusion in the series.

It almost goes without saying that the art is excellent for this collection. It’s some of Marvel’s best work in that area and can hold its own against the DC powerhouses. As a comic, this one is also one of the best titles out there. This New Avengers run may be the best Avengers arc that I’ve read. Currently, I’d say that the best Marvel arcs are Infinity Gauntlet, Civil War, and X-Sanction. We can’t forget Secret Wars and World War Hulk either, although while I love that final arc, it is a bit of a step down from some of the others. If I had to rank them all (Counting tie-in issues that I’ve read for them) It would go: Infinity Gauntlet>Secret Wars>Civil War> New Avenger Incursions> X-Sanction> World War Hulk. As of now, I haven’t read much of the other big Marvel events like AVX, the new Secret Wars, or the new Infinity. The big X-Men arcs are solid as well, but none of them even come close to ranking up there at this point in time. There are probably other arcs around that I’m not thinking of at the moment, but Marvel does have a ton of them in the lineup so it would take forever if I was actually listing all of them.

Marvel’s events have been consistently good even if some of the later ones look a little anticlimactic. The new Secret Wars always looked rather boring from what I’ve seen and the new Infinity seems like the Infinity Gauntlet, but on a much smaller scale. Luckily, tie-ins help to stretch out the events. Infinity should have good fights though so hopefully Secret Wars threw some in there as well. Plus, if it does tie in to a lot of the material from this series, then that will help bump it up quite a bit. Personally, I think Secret Invasion looks like an epic arc with all the intrigue of who is turned and who isn’t, but I know that the comic doesn’t have the greatest reputation so it’ll be interesting to see how that one is someday. I don’t know what big Marvel event is coming up next, but I’ve been rather out of touch with the comics lately so I’ll work on getting a little more involved again.

Overall, This is definitely a comic that I highly recommend to all comic readers. Even if you haven’t read the previous volumes yet, you’ll be able to quickly get into the situation thanks to the recap at the beginning and the fact that the heroes will remind you a few times. This comic is very dialogue heavy, but also has a lot of action so it makes for a good mix. The comic should take you a little while to read as a result. The highlight is definitely the fight with the Justice League. While the League should have won even if they were already exhausted, out of energy, and got hit by a sucker punch at the start, it was still a good fight. It’ll be tough for this comic to be surpassed by other Marvel comics with how solid this was. It’s hard to imagine another event being this engaging at the moment either.

Overall 9/10

Captain America: Civil War Review

agent-13-gets-some-shine-in-the-new-captain-america-civil-war-poster-new-civil-war-818612
The Captain America trilogy ends on a high note as Civil War escalates the series to another level. I was certainly not expecting the film to take down either one of the two Avenger titles, but it manages to jump over Age of Ultron, making it the best Marvel film right behind The Avengers. While it does not manage to quite capture the level of intensity and depth that Batman V Superman showed, Civil War is easily one of the greatest live action films of all time and a title that I recommend to everyone. Whether you are a comic book fan or not, there is plenty to enjoy here. So much so that it will be difficult to capture all of my thoughts in this review, but I shall do my best so prepare for a long one. On that note, let’s get to work!

The film starts off with a fight against some terrorists led by Crossbones. Captain America and his team of Avengers manage to defeat this group, but in the process a building full of innocent civilians is destroyed by the last ditch effort of Crossbones. Scarlet Witch attempted to keep the blast contained, but couldn’t do so long enough which leads to the media wondering if the Avengers have been given too much power. They want the Avengers to become a public group that works under the United Nations. Captain America is opposed to this because the Avengers will lose their right to act without permission. Furthermore, when his old pal Bucky is framed for being the cause of another large explosion which takes the life of Wakanda’s king, Captain America is forced to go against the law to protect him.

Meanwhile, Tony Stark meets up with a lady who blames the death of her son on the Avengers. The events in Age of Ultron had a lot of fatalities during the final fight, but hearing a personal story about one hits Stark a lot more personally than any statistic would. This is what gets Tony to believe that working under the United Nations as a controlled entity is the best course of action. He doesn’t see eye to eye with Captain America and as Steve (Captain America’s alter ego for my non comic book readers) is forced to go against the government, Tony has to fight him. Neither one will back down as they are both confident that they are making the right choice here.

In the background, we have some other plots going on as well. Zemo is stirring up a lot of trouble in the background as he learns the hypnotic words to control Winter Soldier (AKA, Bucky) and keeps widening the rift between the Avengers. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch feels personally responsible for the lives lost at the beginning of the film and is having a hard time coping with what happened. Being placed under house arrest certainly doesn’t help with this either. Finally, we have the Black Panther, who is working to avenge his father. He blames his father’s death on the Winter Soldier due to evidence showing that he was responsible for the situation. The Panther won’t stop until he is dead so Captain America will have to try extra hard to save him.

All right…where to start with this review. Let’s go through the negatives first since there really aren’t many of them as you may expect considering the positive tone of the film. It’s a 9 star title so the positives easily outweigh the negatives. One weak point in the film is…you guessed it, the extremely unnecessary romance with Sharon Carter and Captain America. You can’t even call it a romance if we’re being honest folks. They just randomly kiss as they say goodbye to each other and that’s the end of that plot. As I’ve mentioned in the past, you simply can’t develop a proper romance in the span of 30 minutes and especially when these two characters are only on screen together for maybe 15-20 minutes tops. If you want a romance done right, it’s got to be gradual like Tsubasa. It’s a super minor thing that certainly doesn’t hurt the film, but this scene really comes out of left field.

There’s a little language in the film. It’s not super excessive or anything, but worth making a slight note. It was certainly out of character for Spider-Man of all people to say the s word. I remember the good ole days of him being a nice kid in the comics who wouldn’t even dream of swearing. His portrayal is great overall though, but he is the result of several power inconsistencies…I’ll get to that in his section though. Is that it for the negatives? If we’re being a little picky I’d say that the soundtrack was pretty forgettable and underwhelming, but I typically don’t expect live action films to really sound that good. Hannah and Man of Steel are really the exceptions to the rule along witih a handful of other titles. Now let’s get to the positives!

For starters, the fight scenes are great like you would expect. In a day and age where hand to hand fight scenes can be a little dicey at times (Instantly going for the eyes) the fights here are handled well. Crossbones vs Captain America was a great way to start off the film and any fight with the Black Panther was exceptional as well. Naturally, this only gets better when you add in the super powers from the meta human fights. The battle between both teams at the airport is definitely the highlight of the film and easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best fight yet! Even before the fight starts, one of the best moments in the film was when Iron Man’s allies slowly started popping up and Captain America was outnumbered by around 5-1. You know that Cap isn’t on his own, but even then it’s just such an imposing scene. Cap would have had no shot against that group and Iron Man’s plan was quite sound. The thing is, great minds think alike and Cap has enough friends to ensure that he’s never alone against such an army.

After thinking on it a lot, I have to say that my favorite character was Black Panther. Yes, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man lost out this time. The film really handled Black Panther perfectly. He comes across as very reasonable and it certainly makes sense that he would want to avenge his father. Whenever the Avengers would get in his way, Black Panther would be forced to fight them, but he never hesitated. He stood firm in his mission and never wavered while at the same time, he kept a cool head. He certainly didn’t lose his cool as much as Cap or Iron Man and in the end he was the first one to really get away from all of the violence and make the hero call. (Sparing a villain’s life) During the final fight, you can’t say the same for Iron Man. Physically, Black Panther was able to hold his own against Winter Soldier and Captain America. In fact, I’d say that he had the edge over Bucky, but I doubt he would have defeated Captain America. The design for his suit was also really good.
lFGtGufTPiP5J0Y1qiEj_captain-america-civil-war-spider-man-image
Next we have the other big guest star of the film Spider-Man! So….I was mixed on his portrayal. As Spider-Man he was great. He had a lot of witty banter during the fight which has always been his trademark and his webbing was also very strong as it was always meant to be. In today’s cartoons and comics everyone breaks through it with ease, but in the old comics even the Hulk couldn’t snap them right away. As for the part of his portrayal that I was iffy about….well, I don’t think the actor works very well as Peter Parker. He’s too young and I think that the director made him talk with a higher pitched voice than usual to make him sound even younger. When he first appeared, it almost felt like a parody. His intro was the kind of moment where I could picture everyone laughing out loud. It just felt off. It also helps that the new Aunt May looks nothing like Aunt May and is still one of the more mind boggling changes. At least she encouraged Peter to fight back against the bullies though so I like her up beat attitude here. I like to think that she already knows about him being Spider-Man by the way. I’m calling it right now, she’ll reveal that in the upcoming Spider-Man film.

Aside from Peter Parker seeming a bit off, I think Spider Man’s power level was very inconsistent. Let’s get real here folks, The Avengers are lightweights without Thor and Hulk around. Spider-Man’s worth more than the whole group put together. Maybe Vision could put up a decent fight, but Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Captain America would get speedblitzed. Iron Man and War Machine would be overwhelmed as their suits are ripped apart and Hawkeye wouldn’t land a single shot. Spider-Man’s gone toe to toe with Superman in the past and he’s had some very intense fights with Thor back in the day. To have him lose here is a cheaper cop-out than buying a slice at 7-11 instead of Europa because you didn’t feel like walking the extra block.

He’d look good in some moments and then he’d be treated like a joke the next. Here’s an example, at the airport fight, he is able to catch and repel Winter Soldier’s punch with no effort and even starts to twist it off until he is interrupted. Captain America was previously unable to stop Winter Soldier’s blow with both hands and he was flung through an elevator. So…Spider-Man’s stronger than Cap right? Well, you’d be wrong because Captain America completely humiliates him when they fight and overpowers him twice physically during the battle. That makes absolutely no sense and I was tempted to yell something from the audience like “Boooo” “Nerf alert!!” or something along those lines. I restrained myself though for the good of the movie experience.

Another iffy moment is the fact that he seemed to completely not have a spider sense here. I wouldn’t blame Marvel if they decided to get rid of it though because the ability is way too good. Still, without a mention of removing it, I will have to label it as a plot hole. There’s no way Ant Man can sneak up on Spider-Man because Spider Sense prevents such an event from ever happening. It is literally impossible to sneak up on Spider-Man without some kind of power to get past his ability or if you’re Venom and have compromised the ability by actually being Spider-Man for a bit. Every time Spider-Man got hit by a sneak attack I would wince a little on the inside. Still, aside from being treated as a bit of a joke during some parts of the fight, it was a satisfying portrayal overall. It’s great to finally see Spider-Man alongside the Avengers. This is something that fans have wanted to see for many years and now I’m eagerly awaiting the big dream team of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Cyclops against Thanos. Make is happen Marvel!

Let’s talk about the Avengers now. I’ve never really cared for Vision in any form of media so we’ll start with him. He’s somehow managed to become even more annoying than he was in Age of Ultron. He pretends to be Scarlet Witch’s friend until we find out that he’s under orders to keep her confined. If he was a true friend he probably would have mentioned something like that. He also attempts a long-shot at blasting someone from a super far distance which backfires quickly. He’s one of the strongest Avengers, but seems to forget that most of the time and actually doesn’t contribute almost at all during the airport fight. Powerful or not, Vision is simply not likable.

His fellow Age of Ultron member was solid though. Scarlet Witch gets a lot of screen time in this film so she can finally develop more of a personality. Her abilities are certainly very potent and as she grows more confident, we can expect more out of her. One good scene in particular is when she materializes an energy shield behind her while she gets the poison gas out of a building. Being able to multi task like that is critical in a fight since she’ll need to have a shield up at all times as her defense is rather low. By the end of the film she has learned to be more independent and sure of herself. She has a promising future in this cinematic universe.

I’ve never been a big fan of Black Widow although her character can vary quite a bit throughout the Marvel franchise. The movies have been one of her worst portrayals in my opinion while she tends to look a lot better in the Avengers Assemble cartoon and the Punisher animated film. She was fairly reasonable here though and while she seems to have fallen to the very bottom of the hero totem pole (I’d say that this film confirms that Hawkeye can defeat her in a fight) she is still a good hand to hand fighter.

Falcon’s role in this film is small even though he appears quite a lot. He’s the guy that Captain America can always count on, but the main problem is that he’s still very weak in the end. He basically has part of an Iron Man suit, but it leaves him very vurlnable. His character’s fairly likable though. We’ve also got Ant-Man who pitches in during some key moments. I admit that I haven’t watched Ant Man enough times to really remember the actor’s face. I knew he was Ant Man based on the trailers and plot, but he felt so out of place in this film. I mean that in a good way by the way. It would be like seeing Sandler walk into the battlefield against Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet. Ant Man’s actor strikes me as a total comedy character and I suppose that it works quite well for Ant Man. There’s really a lot that you can do with size shifting abilities. It’s not the most glamorous power, but it is effective. As for turning huge…I think that’s overrated. If you get hit by an opponent who is that slow, then it’s time for an upgrade.

I’m not really a fan of War Machine here though. It’s not because of the fact that he’s super pro registration because I was on Team Iron Man myself, but it’s why he wants to join. It feels like he’s putting the army before the team (Again…see Iron Man 2 for reference) and that’s why it’s always a little tough to trust teammates who have connections to other groups. If only SHIELD and Agent Coulson were still alive to help sort things out eh? They probably could have helped the heroes go underground as another option. Hawkeye’s role is very small, but very good as well. It was cool to see him break into the Avengers base and he did a good job during the action scenes. He’s a likable member and definitely another guy that Cap can trust.
CWSSHEADER
Time to talk about the real main characters of the film. I was on Team Iron Man coming into the film by the way and I left on that side as well. It’s not a black and white debate and I’ve always been opposed to registration. In the comics, Iron Man’s team was completely wrong. The Registration act was much worse than the equivalent that we see in the film so that’s one big change. Either way, I’m still against any agreement with the government, but I have to stay on Team Iron Man because I can’t stand Winter Soldier. More on that in a little while.

Back to Iron Man. I think that his decision to quickly go along with the documents because he was shown a picture of someone who died during one of the fights is a little forced/rushed and out of character. We needed the conflict somehow though and this is Iron Man, he would definitely start bending the rules and reshaping the agreement after it was signed. Captain America asks Tony what would happen if they saw a bad situation and weren’t given permission to act. I’m fairly confident that Tony would act anyway and the Avengers would be in agreement. Ultimately, this would lead to even more bad consequences for the team so in that sense Cap is right. They may as well just not sign. Especially due to the fact that the government always turns out to be evil in media and this film is no exception. You can also tell that Iron Man is getting a lot older though and you have to wonder how long he can keep this up. Perhaps age has dulled his reasoning, but his fighting skills are still top notch when necessary. Towards the end of the film, Iron Man goes into a fight without holding back. You can draw a lot of parallels to Batman V Superman in those moments.

Needless to say, Iron Man wasn’t taking any prisoners. Obviously, I’m always technically on the side of saving the murderer since we can’t take justice into our own hands. So, Iron Man should lose, but I’m still rooting for him in the moment. It’s like when you like a bad guy and root for him/her over the heroes. They’re evil, but at that point they are simply a lot more interesting than the heroes. I can appreciate a character who has the fortitude to make the right call because it’s incredibly difficult to make that call. So, as a viewer I’m okay with seeing the villain get destroyed depending on the reason and the method, but I’ll still be fine with another hero saving him/her because it’s the right thing to do. I just won’t be rooting for that character at the moment. An example is from the show Yugioh Zexal. The main villain murdered all of the main character’s friends, but at the end the hero tries to save him anyway and even says that they could be friends. That’s……..very forgiving and I know for a fact that I couldn’t make that call. It’s a good call (Well, saying that they’re friends is wayyyyy to disrespectful to his friend’s memories if you ask me) but if there was another character trying to destroy the main villain, then I’d be on his side. It’s like how I was on Black Panther’s side when he went to destroy the Winter Soldier. Thus, I was pretty pleased with Iron Man’s portrayal here. He even tried to be reasonable at the end until that became impossible.

Captain America makes for a great lead as you would expect. He’s a great hero and tries to always do the right thing. He’s in a bad spot since all of his friends are choosing a side. He also had to go during the initial meeting due to an emergency which was tricky since it meant that everyone chose sides while he was gone. The film did adapt his famous line from the comics about how even if everyone tells you that something wrong is something right, then you have a duty to resist. When told to move, you should plant your feet down and say “No, you move.” It was a great quote of Cap’s so it was good to see it used in the film. While I was always against Cap, he was constantly making hero calls and ultimately he is just trying to help a friend. Bucky was mind controlled into doing awful things so it wasn’t really him. Cap doesn’t want him to have to die for things that were not under his control.

He also doesn’t lose sight of the innocents in the crossfire either. He sticks up for Scarlet Witch the entire film and even goes easy on his opponents like Spider-Man. He’s careful to avoid hurting anyone too seriously and his move at the very, very end of the film was great as well. It’s really impossible not to like the guy and he’s one of the best characters in the film. I do think that his strength can be inconsistent as the expense of other characters, but I’m glad that he looks very powerful here.

As for the Winter Soldier, I really dislike the character. Sure, he was mind controlled, but he doesn’t seem very remorseful about what he has done either. He shows no regret and never resists the mind control all that much. I’d say that it’s because it is in his nature. “I won’t kill anyone” Winter Soldier says right before he drops someone to instant death, but Captain America quickly saves the guy before the murder can occur. Bucky was willing to destroy that guy and he goes all out against just about everyone. He’s constantly looking to deal a mortal blow or at least a very serious one if it will let him escape. There’s no way that I can consider this guy to be a hero or even a slightly likable character. That’s why I couldn’t be on Cap’s team. This is just impossible to like at all. Protecting him is the right move, but I don’t have to like it.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really only two this time around and both of them are fairly minor. We have Crossbones who makes for a good intro villain for the heroes to fight. He puts up a pretty good fight against Cap and actually manages to bring in a draw by the end. Baron Zemo never gets to be in his costume which is a shame, but he does a good job of masterminding the whole film. It would have been awesome if he had actually committed a certain plan that was hinted at. It would have made for a great final fight, but his true ace was just about as good. General Ross also had his own plans in motion, but he was really not that smart. He kept overplaying his hand. Once he got half of the team to sign the document, he should have taken it slowly. Instead, he placed some individuals in a max prison with very inhumane conditions. It’s almost like he wants the heroes to turn against him. If he tried to arrest Iron Man, then a civil war would have really broken out.

Naturally, I won’t say what happened in the after-credit scenes, but needless to say they were not quite as good as I had hoped. The first one was decent since it gave the film a little closure and I definitely like the option here. The characters in the first scene are in a much better position now. As for the second scene, it is very anti climactic and sad when you think about it. The film could have made it a lot more epic and exciting with a quick shape-shift or an Infinity Gem locked inside of a chest or something. You should stick around to watch the first one, but there’s really no need to stick around for the second I’m afraid.

Part of why Civil War is so good is because it is able to balance the serious and light moments rather well. It’s a very upbeat film, but it still gets serious once in a while for something grim to happen, but not for it to be overly grim. I was worried when Zemo confronted a Hydra agent that we were going to get a super violent moment, but it was fairly tame and I’m glad that the Hydra guy stood firm. This event was a lot different from the comics of course, but it was cool to see the film adapt as much as possible and throw in references/moments when possible. The big Captain America vs Iron Man visual made it in of course and there were several more homages that I’ll let you find out through watching it.

Unfortunately, Civil War followed The Amazing Spider Man 2 in the sense that moments from the trailer were not present in the film. “YOU JUST STARTED A WAR!” remember that line? It’s not in the film. “I was wrong about you….we were all wrong about you.” That’s not in the film either. It’s a shame because those two moments were important in the trailers because they showed that things had reached a certain moment of no turning back. Instead, the lines were pure click bait. The film is still very satisfying on the civil war angle and the ending was a lot more decisive than I had imagined, but it’s still too bad that some trailer scenes weren’t present in the end. I feel like a trailer should always have all of its content be in the film.

All right, we’re near the end now. Aside from power level inconsistencies hurting the film’s logic, I’ve depicted how Civil War was just about perfect. Well, why did it lose to Batman V Superman? Here’s why Batman V Superman was the better film. The soundtrack was infinitely better than Captain America, the latter of which had no significant themes of note. Batman V Superman’s fights were significantly better. Cap’s were amazing though and Marvel’s best, but they simply can’t come close to DC’s. Third, as interesting and engaging as Captain America was, Batman V Superman just obliterated it there. The film has you at the edge of your seat for most of it. Granted, as a much bigger DC fan than Marvel, that will almost always be the case since Batman and Superman make for very engaging leads even when they aren’t written as well as they could be. (Batman lacking in intelligence and Superman being a pushover) So, Civil War was great, but I feel like it loses to Batman V Superman in just about every way. Civil War does beat it with having less unlikable characters and no random bathtub scene though.

Be warned though that Civil War’s ending is a little intense. It was so intense in fact that nobody clapped when the credits started rolling and I had to personally start it all off. I think everyone was in shock or something, but I can’t blame them. It takes a while to get used to these things. After all, Civil War was a thrill a minute and there was never a dull moment during the entire movie. The closest scene to being boring would be the very first one, but it still wasn’t that bad. The pacing is quite excellent for this film. I was the only one who clapped after the final extra credit scene as well, but it was pretty underwhelming so I don’t blame the audience for the silence this time.
captain-america-civil-war-iron-man-black-panther
Overall, Captain America is a great film though and no live action film will be able to defeat it for a very long time. In the near future, the only films that may have a shot are Infinity Gauntlet Part 1 (Which I think will actually lose unless Thanos gets his big fight) and Justice League. (Which I’m also a little skeptical of) If you haven’t seen this film yet then I highly recommend that you check it out ASAP. Even if you somehow don’t know who Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are, you’ll be in for a treat. Considering how well the team fight went, I’m ready to see a full blown Avengers vs Justice League fight in 20 years. Hey, nobody thought that we’d ever get Spider-Man and the Avengers. Given time, I’m sure that a crossover film is bound to happen! Of course, we’d need Thor and Hulk this time around to keep the fight from being too one sided

Overall 9/10

Avengers Battle For Earth Review

MABE_WiiU_1
I’ve wanted to get this Avengers game for years. Ever since it first came out, the game has looked like a blast and a half. Alas, it just never quite made the cut when I was looking to buy games for Christmas or my Birthday. Well, the wait is over and the game has certainly lived up to my expectations. It’s great even if you can tell that it’s not exactly a AAA title of technical mastery. A sequel would have definitely been a blast.

The plot of the game is based on the Secret Invasion arc from the comics. Skrulls have taken over the planet through deception and the heroes have to weed the fakes out from among the real heroes. The best way to do that is to beat them all up and that’s exactly what the heroes do. Some villains even decide to join in by the end like Magneto, Loki, Venom, and Dr Doom. Together, these guys can’t lose to the Skrulls right!?

The main campaign for the game is fairly short. There are 40 battles and each battle is a best of 3. Each individual round can sometimes only take about 10-20 seconds while the later battle are harder. This is one of the only games that you can play and complete for the most part with your eyes closed. With the exception of the final level in each of the 5 areas (5 Areas with 8 levels each) all of the battles can be won by simply flicking the nunchuck’s control stick up. Do that and you’re guaranteed to win just about every fight. It’s probably one of the easiest games of all time.

You can take a snooze while playing if you really want too. Granted, you can also use the Gamepad for similar results. Surprisingly, I found that the Wii Remote is much more effective in this game. Using special attacks is much quicker with that setup, which gives you a noticeable advantage in battle. For the remotes, you just have to flail around. For the gamepad, you have to draw the correct shape to use the attack. It’ll work out if you just main 2 characters and memorize the shapes, but if you’re playing around with a bunch of characters, you’ll be at a noticeable disadvantage. Such is the fate of Gamepad users this time around although I’ll admit that it may feel like more of an actual fighting game since you can just keep on swinging to victory with the Wii Remote.

The main reason why I used the Wii Remote in the first place was that using the Gamepad meant that you could only see the cutscenes on it. A work around is using the Wii Remote to shift the camera angle, but then you have to do that for every fight, which can get quite tedious. It’s an odd feature and one of the main hints that this isn’t your big budget 60$ Avengers game.

If fans were mad that Super Smash Bros had a few clone characters, they would be furious at this game. All of the characters are essentially clones. Sure, there are some cosmetic changes to the attacks, but every fighter basically has the same 5 moves along with a final smash. Some look better than others, but aside from the gestures being different (Or in different areas anyway as it cycles from around 5) you’re basically playing the same character the entire time. Hey, I said that it was fun, not that it was high budget!

The graphics are decently good, although this is where I may disagree with some of the reviews. The character models aren’t incredibly detailed and can come across as a little “free to play.” Certainly not what you’d consider Next Gen, but a lot of the attacks are very flashy and the character designs are all on point. The opening movie was a blast even if the graphics would not wow someone. The fights were neat to see and the animation certainly isn’t bad. It’s not great, but it works for me and I was satisfied with what I saw. Once again, I have to point out that all of the energy attacks look great.

The game also has an epic feeling to it. The story mode is actually really engaging. It’s a shame that there are only 11 big cutscenes in the whole game as the other levels just get a quick line of dialogue. Still, the cutscenes that we do get really show the importance of why comic panels can be good if used right and not as rather uninspired pages like in Mario Galaxy 2. The game’s ending also leads up to Siege/Dark Reign, which would have made for a very enjoyable sequel. Obviously, this game did not succeed nearly enough to warrant a sequel, but boy would I have enjoyed one!

The soundtrack’s a little forgettable, although it wasn’t bad. Mostly the themes are the kinds of music that you would expect from a game that doesn’t want to spend a lot in that area. Luckily, the presentation before the fights is always good as each character has a quick introduction and the 2 vs 2 format works well. It pops out at you and the matches feel really official. I wouldn’t mind Super Smash Bros taking a cue from that and having a similar introduction for 2 on 2 battles someday. It could be optional of course so it wouldn’t always slow a match down.

I can’t say that there is a whole lot of replay value though. You can finish Story Mode in under 2 hours and probably much quicker than that if you’re good at spamming the nunchuk control stick. Once you’ve beaten the game, you can play Arcade Mode, Challenges, or Trials to unlock costumes and character panels to use as your avatar. The unfortunate part is that there is a lot of on disc DLC like Street Fighter X Tekken. Some of these things you have to buy on the E Shop and others are related to UPlay. I’m not sure if UPlay is even up and running anymore, but either way it’s always unfortunate. I’m cool with DLC, but don’t clutter the mission select with it. As a result, my Game Completion% looks a lot smaller than it should because the DLC is actually counted. Boooo. There’s really no reason to play the game again unless you want to have a good multiplayer match.

Naturally, that’s the big hook of the game. The multiplayer is a lot of fun and even if it is a total button masher, it’s the kind of fighting game that is easy to play and you can have a lot of rounds in it without getting bored. It’s like a discount version of Marvel vs Capcom 3. Certainly not as good as that game when it comes to gameplay, replay value, graphics, or soundtrack, but it’s good for Wii U fans who want a piece of the action. The character roster is also quite good with non Avengers like Dr. Doom, Venom, Spider Man, and the Phoenix. It may just be me, but I feel like Phoenix is the strongest fighter in the game, although Black Widow has the best charge attack. You can easily defeat a foe just by spamming her slide attack. It’s quick and packs a punch.

Overall, Battle For Earth is a game that’s worth your investment. The price isn’t all that high nowadays anyway and you’ll be surprised at how well done the gameplay is. Considering that the game must have had a limited budget, it’s actually very exciting. There’s voice acting for all of the characters, the avatar pictures are cool, and the character roster is solid. Not to mention that the opening scene was a blast as well. The whole game had an epic feel to it, yet you can still tell that a higher budget would have improved the game immensely. I can only imagine how much fun a sequel would have been. Naturally, this game is best if you have someone to play it with you, but if not there’s still enough here to satisfy you with the single player experience.

Overall 8/10

The Invincible Iron Man Review

19282_front
After all these years, I finally got the classic GBA Iron Man game! I’ve always wanted to get this since this would essentially complete my Marvel collection and side scrollers are a blast. That being said, the game is even shorter than I would have thought. I knew about the length about a day before I purchased it, but it was still surprising. The game is easily under an hour and you’ll beat it right away. There’s not a whole lot to do post game either, which makes for an interesting concept.

The plot is that one of Tony’s relatives has broken into Stark Industries and stolen all of his armors. Tony is a little puzzeled at how easy this all was, but he takes it in stride and breaks out one of his original armors. Will it be enough to take back his armors and take down the likes of Crimson Dynamo and the Blizzard? One thing’s for sure, this will not be easy!!

As I mentioned, the game is quite short. There are 8 levels plus two bosses. Each level can be beaten in a fairly short amount of time, but rushing through the game is discouraged to an extent. There are moments where you can cheese the levels by running and jumping a lot, but sometimes that will lead you to tun in a circle and just waste time. The enemies are surprisingly powerful as well. There are no power ups to be found in the game so your health bar is very small. A few good attacks are enough to knock you out so slow and steady is typically the key here. Do that and you should be fine.

The bosses are fairly simple. The final one is just tricky until you figure out his gimmick. Once you do, he becomes one of the easiest bosses of all time. Just hit him with the Uni beam, jump over him and do it again and again and again. He will not be able to do anything and you’ll have beaten the final boss. Blizzard was a little more tricky since his ice attacks are no joke, but as long as you stop his regeneration, you’ll be okay.

The gameplay is fairly similar to the Spider Man games, but you can keep on shooting indefinitely. It’ll remind you of Vectorman at some points. You can store up some energy by holding the B button or you can just keep on pressing it to shoot the little beams. Make sure to duck a lot since that will help you evade a lot of enemy fire. It won’t be enough to stop them all, but a lot of them at least. You’ll expend energy whenever you fire a blast so expect your energy to be at 0 most of the time.

You can double jump and then boost, which lets you cross a large distance in a very short amount of time. It’s handy and if you get two power ups, you can emit an energy wave that destroys everything on the screen. It’s handy, but you won’t get that power up until about halfway through the game. That’s still a good 20 minutes though so not bad.

I’d say that the graphics are pretty good. These are GBA graphics that survive the test of time. Iron Man’s design is quite good and most of the enemies look like fun Terminators. Everything is clear and you can easily follow the action. The cutscenes are essentially illustrations with a little movement so I’m guessing that this had more of a budget than you may have suspected at first. Unfortunately, that didn’t equal into a very large soundtrack. Typically, you can expect to hear the same tunes many times, although they are not bad by any means. They’re fairly inspiring and at the very least, work well with the gameplay. The sound effects can be a little loud at times, but that’s just how it goes.

Really, the game’s a blast, but it does bring up the age old issue of whether length is really a factor. This game’s an easy 7 no questions asked if it had a decent length, but only 8 levels and it being under an hour is a little iffy. I always have a section for replay value, but it’s basically empty in this game. You can get the 7 pieces of artwork if you want I suppose, but that’s literally it and at most it can buy you a few hours, but if you search each level carefully, it could be less. I got one of them, but the other ones are typically hidden in little nooks and crannies. Not really worth it for me, but sometimes I do have fun with this kind of thing. Even without any other game in the back burner though, I can’t picture myself going back for the art pieces.

Overall, Iron Man was fun, but it is one of the shortest games that I’ve ever played. There are a few titles that are shorter like Rudolph, but this game is scary short. I can’t imagine buying this at the full retail price when it first came out back in the day. I can only imagine that a lot of people were very disappointed with it. Considering that I got the game for a few dollars, it’s not all that bad. I actually get thrilled when a game is short since it helps with the backlog, but naturally, length does typically make a game better as long as the levels have a good amount of quality. Take classics like KH II, FF XIII, or even Sonic Adventure 2 Battle to an extent. I still recommend this game, but you may be better off getting the Iron Man PS3 game.

Overall 6/10

Civil War #3 The Return of Thor Review

51S2hL8NwpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Whoa, I’m reviewing a stand alone issue instead of a trade paperback? Well, these things happen I guess and it was pretty awesome to have acquired this issue. Nothing beats reading a comic in its true form right? Naturally, the comic is short though and you can read it in around 5 minutes or so. Following that logic, this review will naturally be on the short side. This is in the middle of the Civil War event, but it’s still easy to understand what’s happening. There’s even a previously segment just in case readers did jump on here.

The government passed a bill for heroes to surrender their secret identities or they would be hunted down. Captain America leads the side for freedom and Iron Man is on the side of the government. Most of the issue follows Iron Man as he tries to recruit as many allies as possible. Doctor Strange says no and then the X-Men also refuse. Iron Man does leave some subtle threats and clearly can’t be trusted, but such is the way that things go when politics are involved. Captain America’s team is really just lying low, but when they hear that a few hundred people are trapped in a factory, they decide to make their move. Unfortunately, it turns out that it was a trap by Iron Man’s team and the big battle to decide the fate of the country begins.

Definitely a fun issue and Marvel’s art was really at its height here. There aren’t any current Marvel titles that can match this level of quality. You can really feel the epicness as the teams go at it and every character design is really on point. The energy blasts look great and the issue is over before you know it. It helps that there is an ad on every page of course. I wonder how many people actually care about the ads enough for it to affect their purchasing habits. Hopefully a lot, but I don’t really mind the ads since it does make the comics feel official somehow.

I’m still on Cap’s side as always and they certainly seem to be portrayed as the heroes, but it does depend on who you think is in the right. That being said, Cap’s team is at a big disadvantage as far as power and numbers are concerned. It’s why having the X-Men on Cap’s side would have really tipped the scales. At least having Spider Man at the ready would help the resistance and those who followed the event definitely know what side he ultimately ended up on.

The cliffhanger for the issue is definitely pretty intense even if it’s obvious that this cannot be the real Thor. “Operation Lightning Bolt” definitely sounds ominous right when the characters utter the phrase and it certainly doesn’t help Cap’s chances of getting through this in one piece. It would have been really cool for Hulk and Thor to have shown up, but as the event was only 7 (Really short) issues long, it probably would have been very rushed so better not to bite off more than you can chew right.

Overall, Civil War is still one of the best Marvel arcs out there. It was short, but it definitely changed the status quo for a little while and I’m always up for seeing heroes fight other heroes. It does make you have to wonder how these guys can ever work together again, but that’s just the nature of the business. Of course, people do seem to love having Captain America and Iron Man fight so they have a lot of disagreements in the modern comics. Cap’s usually in the right if you ask me, which is almost a little odd since you would expect Iron Man to be the guy who defies the government. In the upcoming film remake, it’ll be interesting to see who’s on the right side as Iron Man seems to be the guy that I will be rooting for so far. So far……it’s likely going to be a tough call though. Either way, if you’re looking for a good single issue to buy, definitely check this one out. There’s a lot of action and Spider Man certainly gets his props as he gives Cap a good fight!

Overall 9/10

Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Avengers Reassembled Review

lsh_franchise_avengersreassembled_2256_984
I always try to grab a poster or a picture that has the title in some form, but that wasn’t really possible this time. (*Possible = Quick Google Search) The image that I did grab was still pretty neat though. The Lego craze continues and it’s a fad that I much prefer to the stop motion from back in the day so I’m cool with it. Lego films don’t have the highest amount of replay value out there and they tend to reuse jokes after a while, but they’re always fun the first time around and this one was handled well. Lego’s leave little room for hype moments, but that’s not the point of Legos anyway. This ended up being a solid Lego adventure and one of Marvel’s better ones. (Wait a sec, how many Marvel Lego adventures are there anyway?….)

The Avengers were getting ready for a nice party when Iron Man’s suit is hacked by Ultron! Locked into his suit, Tony can only watch as Ultron tries to humiliate the Avengers by messing up their party. The Avengers will have to think quickly if they want to win this round. Ultron’s army of droids are not going to be easy to defeat and the Avengers are forced to call in a little help to deal with the menace. The Avengers roster has been strengthened with the addition of Vision, but the twins are nowhere to be found. Perhaps for the next special although Scarlet Witch may be the only one to join due to Quicksilver’s ending.

I have to say that Captain America definitely stole the show here. He made a lot of good puns about Ant Man throughout the film. The other characters would always grimace and wince, but that just made it all the better when Captain America would continue. He was unfazed by the reactions of his partners and rightfully so. When others doubt your puns, that doesn’t mean that they are bad. I thought that they were quite clever and he was easily the best character in the entire film. He did a good job during the fights as well.

This short is a comedy first and foremost of course even though there are some quick action scenes. The fights are enjoyable and there are a lot of homages to the actual film. This was to be expected of course and it’s always interesting to see how closely the Legos can emulate the style of the original film. Hawkeye’s costume is barely trying to emulate the film style though as it really stands out with all of the red coloring. It’s hard to totally see what the film was going for, but I actually did like the style though.

We even get some guest stars to show that this is in the same continuity as the Ultimate Spider Man show. Spiderman and Iron Spider arrive to turn the tides and let the heroes know what is going on. They’re left behind so the role is definitely a very small one, but it’s always nice to have a cameo from our favorite wall crawling superhero! There’s not a whole lot more to say about the characters. They’re all in character and slightly more comedycized (New word now folks!) like in Teen Titans Go, but not over the top to the point where the characters would not be likable.

I’m definitely ready for a DC vs Marvel Lego adventure at this point. The possibilities would be endless and I could finally have Batman and Superman defeat their Marvel counterparts. I could almost see Iron Man being the one to fight Batman since the MCU has made him really popular, but either way, DC should take the fight. They’ve always been portrayed as the stronger verse in my eyes and seeing them get some credit would be fun. Even if it’s just a comedy adventure, I could see both sides getting some decent Lego fights in there and the format would also mean that Superman wouldn’t need to hold back! If he broke his opponent, it would just be accompanied by a pun after all.

If I have a complaint for this adventure, it’s just the same complaint that I have with basically all Lego films. A lot of the jokes you’ll see a few miles away and they tend to not actually be that funny. I typically won’t laugh at any of the jokes, but I tend to not laugh at most jokes so it’s not saying much. It’s fairly enjoyable, but I’m still not a fan of Lego animation either and it does prevent the specials from having any real fight scenes. Again, it’s more a complaint for the format than anything and watching this is still a nice way to spend 20 minutes.

Overall, The special is pretty fun. It makes for a fun little watch and that’s why there’s not much to say about it. To an extent, it’s like reviewing an episode, which is why I don’t do that. It would be hard to elaborate an awful lot about it and even then, the average episode has more content to be discussed than a Lego film since the Lego adventure is just a quick battle without the extra layers of characters and plot. It works well for what it is and I still say that this is a fairly solid Lego adventure. It inflates the Marvel animation count and that’s what counts in the end. I recommend checking this out and you can watch it while cooking lunch instead of having a conventional timer.

Overall 7/10