Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Avengers Assemble Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Endgame Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Editorial

All MCU Intro Scenes From Worst To Best


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Infinity War Review


It’s time to take a look at the new Avengers film! This is certainly the big one. It’s the event film that we had been waiting for ever since 2012 when Thanos was teased at the end of the Avengers film. I remember going into the theaters for Avengers 2 and wondering where he was. He did get pushed back quite a bit, but the positive side of this was that it gave time for Marvel to grab Dr Strange and Spider-Man. Otherwise I suppose they would have had to miss out on this adventure. Black Panther getting a film was also fortunate since Wakanda gave the heroes a good place to fight the villains without a lot/ The film definitely lives up to the hype and is one of the best MCU films yet. I do have to say that this review will have a considerable amount of spoilers so do not read further if you haven’t seen it yet.

The film starts off rather quickly as it picks up right where Thor: Ragnarok left off. Unfortunately the fight is off screen but Thanos managed to take down Thor and the Asgardians. Hulk puts up a brief struggle, but is quickly beaten and traumatized for the rest of the film. Thanos aims to get all 6 of the Infinity Stones so he quickly sets out on this quest. He sends the Black Order over to Earth to claim 2 of them while he heads for the other 2 himself. He already has 2 so if you add them all up then he will have the six. Iron-Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man decide to bring the fight to Thanos while Captain America and the other Avengers engage his forces on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor is looking for a new weapon which will allow him to destroy Thanos and avenge everyone.

In a film this big it is always hard to know where to start off. Do I talk about the many characters or the technical aspects or about the plot itself? They’ll all get mentioned at some point or other so the order doesn’t matter much, but keeping the list orderly is good. As such we’ll go for technicals first. The graphics look really good as you would expect. Iron-Man’s armor is able to do a whole lot of things now thanks to his Iron Man 3 upgrade and he puts them all to use. The nanomachine animations are solid and the energy attacks really stand out. Dr. Strange’s magic is as vibrant as ever and each of the Infinity Stones have their own energy wavelength which are all unique. The character uniforms are all on point from their various films as well. The only character design that wasn’t all that good was Cap’s. Of course Rogers is undercover now so he hasn’t had much time to get a proper haircut. Perhaps in the next film. Thor’s new costume is certainly really good. Black Widow’s hair change is rather random, but not bad. It doesn’t make much of a difference.

As far as the soundtrack goes, we don’t get too many new themes. There is the classic Avengers theme that all of the films love which has still aged well and works for all of the scenes. I can’t say that I remember any of the other tunes all that much, but they work well enough in the moment which is the important part. With all of the explosions and attacks going on it makes sense that there wouldn’t be too many tunes. I’m still waiting for a solid rock/electronic theme though. Maybe even a lyrical song like in Thor Ragnarok.

One thing you’ll notice in this film is that the heroes are all a tad edgier than usual. Probably a rather normal response considering that the stakes are so high, but they definitely don’t have a problem with destroying the enemies this time around. The heroes do stay true to their word and don’t take any prisoners this time. They all also go for the tough call of choosing to destroy one ally to save many. Star Lord makes this choice as well as Scarlet Witch. Naturally I am always against this call as it’s worth it to let the world burn to save one person, but it’s not a move that I would hold against the character either. At least if the other person is begging them to do it. If it’s against the victim’s will, then that’s a whole different ballgame. I do like how Captain America is the only hero to speak out against this though as he should definitely stand true to his principle of not sacrificing anyone.

While the film never gets overly violent, it is more intense than most of the other MCU films. 2 characters get tortured and in general the heroes are getting beaten up quite a bit. The Nebula scene was probably pushing it the most, but it’s certainly not as bad visually as if she was purely organic. The Dr. Strange scene is mostly off screen. I could have done without them, but again, the film was careful not to cross the line here. It also made sure not to bring back the giant animals from the Black Panther film which I was thrilled about. No animal violence here folks and that was really the only concern I had going into the film.

Infinity War feels like one of those event films that you only get once in a blue moon. The kind of film that doesn’t slow things down for the general audience and keeps the pacing up from start to finish. Final Wars did this for Godzilla, Resurrection F for DBZ, Hell Verse for Bleach, Batman V Superman for DC and finally this film for Marvel. The whole point of a shared universe is not having to reexplain character origins and trivia for the general audience so we can skip right to the fights. That’s exactly what this film did and it’s perfect. It embraces its comic book nature to a t. The best part about having multiple plots is that if one has to slow down for any reason then we can cut away to another one.

All right, I think it’s time to take a look at the character roster. First off we have Iron Man of course. He looks really good as you would expect. I’m glad that he still uses his suit to its full potential with a lot of mixups during his fight with Thanos. Gone are the days where all he would just keep shooting his repulser blasts and call it a day. Now he throws in hand to hand and his suits ability to morph into any object that he wills it too. He doesn’t make too many objects as of course this takes away from his supply of nanites which are limited, but the ones that he does make are quite good. He makes an energy sword/gun that looks like something out of Halo. I still can’t get over how great his new armor is. No more worrying about losing a mask as it can just form more, tech being broken isn’t an issue as it can build more, etc. Considering that Tony is the original genius of the MCU I am glad that his suit reflects that. I agreed with his decision to take the fight to Thanos. Lets be honest, the Earth doesn’t need more cities blown up in a quest to stop him and the group was a fairly powerful one as well. At the very least it’s a tactically sound plan. Ironman is certainly still the true leader of the Avengers in the movies.

Then we’ve got Thor. Naturally he gets quite a lot of screen time since he’s in the center of this whole encounter. I don’t like that his fight with Thanos was off screen though. I guess it was probably very hard to write in a scenario where he loses without doing any noticeable damage to Thanos and it would also be hard to explain why the Hulk didn’t jump in sooner. Valid reasons to have it be off screen of course, but that would have been a lot of fun. All I can say is that if Thor had been at full power then he probably would have won, but since he was weakened I can accept his loss. He spends a lot of the film in a depowered state, but still shows off his other abilities such as his durability in surviving the heat of an entire star for a few minutes. Even without calculating the exact magnitude of the feat you know that this is quite intense. Most would melt instantly upon getting hit with the heat at that range. Thor certainly gets a good payoff scene to that afterwards when he finally arrives into the battle. Again, I would have liked a longer rematch between him and Thanos, but I suppose that at this point it would have been tough for Thanos to hold his own. Thor definitely tipped the scaled of battle in Wakanda.

Then we have the Hulk. Seeing as how Ragnarok kept up the situation where Hulk and Banner are completely different characters from Age of Ultron as opposed to the more “same person” route that The Incredible Hulk and Avengers used, I’ll list them separately here. Unlike Ragnarok where Bruce actively avoided fighting and just kept trying to hide he was actually useful here. At the very least he certainly did take what happened to the Asgardians quite hard and did his best to contribute in any way possible. He was even able to take on one of the Black Order members on his own which is really impressive. Considering that he doesn’t have any super powers he did good.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Hulk. He looked decent in his initial appearance against Thanos. Sure, he didn’t quite win, but he did get some hits in and at least he tried. His character was wrecked in all future scenes though as he was apparently too scared to come out after that. The Hulk is never portrayed as a coward and I think it was a big mistake of the film to do this to his character. No matter what happens from here on out I just can’t forget this. When everyone needed him in their darkest hour, Hulk refused to step up to the plate. As far as I’m concerned he’s no real Avenger anymore.

On a more positive note, we have Captain America. Compared to Iron Man and Thor his role is quite small, but still good nonetheless. It was fortunate that he rushed over to back up Vision and Black Widow. His hand to hand skills are consistent as always and it’s difficult for any of the villains to lay a hand on him except for when they are considerably stronger. I do miss the iconic shield to go along with the costume and it does limit how effective he is here, but he always tries his best. He also won’t let himself be pushed around by the government anymore and has definitely grown comfortable in his fugitive roll. I expect to see him take on more of a leadership role in the next film, but of course that could lead to some more bickering between him and Iron Man.

Black Widow looks solid as well. She gets two fights against the Black Order and holds her own both times. Her nunchuk weapons are definitely good to have and while she may not have Captain America’s strength, she is on his level when it comes to hand to hand combat. War Machine also gets a nice little appearance as he trolls Bruce and the government. His War Machine armor is still potent although it definitely feels really behind the curve next to the others so I think he is about due for an upgrade. Falcon doesn’t get much to do as just being able to fly isn’t a huge asset to the heroes, but he contributes as best he can.

Since Black Panther’s film was pretty recent you would definitely expect him to have a nice role here. While not large, the film still shows that Wakanda is definitely the global leader in tech. Even the Black Order is unable to completely break through their force fields. It’s a shame that they didn’t have more people to also guard the back of the kingdom, but I guess that would be difficult. Opening it up a bit made sense. Panther’s suit is able to block most kinetic energy, but we finally see its limit here as he still takes a lot of damage against Thanos. I definitely had no complaints with him or his supporting cast. One of them was able to help Black Widow in her fight and his sister was going to be able to crack the code on Vision’s gem, but she simply wasn’t given enough time.

Dr Strange looks really strong which is definitely good. From the brief scene he had in Thor Ragnarok it was clear that his abilities are better than ever. Unfortunately this also leads to some power level issues which I will go into later, but for the most part I thought he was handled well. I like his usual confidence and he definitely doesn’t fear the villains. When your abilities are only limited by your imagination this attitude is certainly justified. He’s certainly one of the most enjoyable characters and in this film at least I would probably say that he is the best one.

Then we have Spiderman. Unfortunately I don’t think the film makers were really big fans of this character. He didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. The fact that he is still rather young was really played up here to the point where none of the other characters seem to respect him as a fighter. Granted, he only really got to interact with Ironman and Dr. Strange and they love belittling everyone else. Whenever we get a decent Spidey scene like him catching one of the villains’ weapon or landing hits on Thanos, we get counter scenes like him begging for his life. Spiderman should have some humor of course, but he gets serious when necessary and should be treated as a legitimate powerhouse. With his Spider Sense he shouldn’t be getting hit so easily as well.

Star Lord certainly looks like you would expect. The team still doesn’t respect him all that much, but at the end of the day he is the leader. He at least tries acting more heroic nowadays since that is what Gamora wants. He does make a rather dicey decision midway through the film which will probably not sit well with a lot of people but I can get behind it. Honestly, the others should have just completed their job sooner considering how much muscle was being used at the time. I do find it ironic how Star Lord is at his best when fighting other heroes. Where were all of his cool thunder gadgets that he used to beat Spiderman and Ironman earlier in the film? He was suddenly portrayed as a really competent fighter there. At the expense of Spiderman though as at least Ironman freed himself pretty quickly.

Gamora gets a big role as well since her backstory has a lot to do with the Titan of Terror. She still does well in a fight, but I do think rushing at Thanos was a little reckless all things considered. At that point they probably still could have avoided combat or at least gone in more prepared. She makes the heroic call in giving up the information, but things definitely don’t tend to go her way. It’s too bad we couldn’t see more of her. Rocket Raccoon is a fun character as always. He doesn’t get to do a lot of blowing up yet, but more guns are always welcome in the big fight against alien invaders.

Drax continues to be the biggest joke of the MCU as he never gets anywhere close to being considered a threat to Thanos. The guy is just deluding himself at this point. He’s not quite as obnoxious as his TV show counterpart, but at the end of the day I’m just not a Drax fan. He’s still better than Groot though. Groot is just annoying the entire film. He’s still going through his teen rebellion phase and the character should just be written out. There’s never been anything entertaining about his “I am Groot” gimmick and the character doesn’t add anything to the film. Mantis doesn’t do much here, but she always chips in when there is a fight. Her mental abilities are certainly handy after all and being able to control Thanos even for a brief period is impressive.

Then we have Vision, the worst character in the film. Everything that went wrong in this movie can be traced back to him. He should have been around in New York to fend off the Black Order but decided to go off the grid for no reason. Okay, he had a reason and it was pretty sad. He just wanted to spend more time with Scarlet Witch. They already get to hang out quite a lot though so he was just being greedy. After that he is defeated three different times by the same Black Order villain. Vision seems to have completely forgotten how to fight and the guy is supremely annoying. I couldn’t wait to see him get blasted to smithereens because just seeing the guy on screen was annoying. He kept begging Wanda to destroy him, but even that is being selfish. He could just crush his CPU himself which would save Wanda some grief and then she would have no objection to destroying the stone as she couldn’t let his death be in vain. Vision is supposed to be one of the power hitters so the heroes were counting on him. Without Vision messing everything up for everybody the heroes would have had a much better chance at securing victory. 2 of the stones would have been on Earth so Thanos would have been forced to arrive with 4 stones. Not to mention that he would be without his Black Order from the start. No way Thanos is able to defeat them without the extra stones.

Then we have Scarlet Witch who is fortunately much better than Vision. While Vision was wasting his time trying to be human and losing all of his fighting experience, Scarlet Witch was learning how to master her abilities. She is now shown to be highly proficient with them to the point where she can casually block Thanos with one arm. Unfortunately once again Vision was holding her back so she couldn’t use both arms to fight him. Scarlet Witch was also able to take down several large weapons in a single shot which was a tremendous feat of force. She is definitely a contender for top 3 strongest Avengers at this point as she could probably take down the Hulk.

Winter Soldier gets his quick guest star role and looks okay. His main problem is that he is using a normal gun while everyone else has some kind of unique weapon to help them. Honestly he should have asked some of the people from Wakanda for an energy gun instead as they looked a lot more impressive. Fighting mano a mano with Cap would have been a better idea as well. I mean….a normal gun…really? Loki’s role is small, but definitely within character. As with everyone else in the scene I have to question why he didn’t act sooner. Since he had the Cosmic Cube he could have also tried using it to destroy Thanos on the spot as well. Yeah, it could backfire but he would probably die otherwise right? Of course he was definitely out of his league in the situation otherwise so there really wasn’t much more that he could do. Heimdall definitely looked good as he at least gave Earth a fighting chance. Otherwise the heroes would have really not been prepared for the coming attacks. Wong is around for the opening fight scene and contributed a bit which was nice. I do think that hiding in the Sanctum is not a wise move though for 2 reasons. 1. If he doesn’t go help reclaim the Time Stone then the sanctum won’t be around long enough to matter anyway. 2. If people do break in since it’s unguarded…I have a feeling that they would be strong enough to stop Wong as well. Food for thought.

Nebula certainly gets one of the most painful roles in this film. Deciding to try and destroy Thanos one on one was also one of the worst plans I’ve ever seen as well. She really didn’t think that one through. Thanos mentions that she was almost successful so I have to assume that he was straight up lying to Gamora’s face. I can’t picture that either. If we trust the illusions then I guess Thanos doesn’t have a whole lot of resistance to stabbing so then a sneak attack is feasible, but I just find it hard to believe that his skin is so weak when the rest of his durability is so good. Perhaps that is the case, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Thanos definitely gets a lot of screen time and seems to be considered as one of the stand out characters. It’s definitely a very different portrayal here as he’s very emotional and even sheds some tears. It feels like a slight retcon from how he acts in Guardians or Avengers, but of course he didn’t get to do much in those movies. He certainly didn’t have much of a chance to explain why he was destroying everybody. His goal of reducing life in half is definitely an interesting one. I was waiting for someone to ask him what will prevent life from getting too large once again, but I guess it would take so many thousands of years for that to happen that it’s rather moot. Anyway, Thanos is a decent villain. I think he was a little too emotional and I wasn’t buying into the act since the rest of the time he was shown to be quite ruthless and to enjoy dishing out pain. Despite the film trying to tell us that he was genuine otherwise, I’m still not sure about that. Either way he makes for a good opponent for the heroes since he is quite strong and has a lot of energy attacks.

The Black Order are definitely a solid group of villains as well. I wouldn’t really know any of their names if not for the comics, but I suppose that isn’t important. They each have unique fighting styles and are legitimate threats. The strongest member is probably the telekinetic who fought Strange as he was holding his own even though Strange had his Time Gem at the time. Too bad he always forgets to use it. The power hitter seemed reasonably tough. He was about Spider-Man level but without the hero’s agility and spider sense. Then we had the female villain with the long spear/staff. She seemed reasonably tough, weaker than the first two members, but her hand to hand combat was solid. Finally we had the wraith like guy who kept slapping Vision silly. He seemed to be about as tough as the third member. All told, a respectable group of villains.

Now I think it needs to be said that with a film this large in scope there are bound to be a bunch of power level inconsistencies and instances of plot hax. The elephant in the room is Spider-Man of course. With his spider sense and speed there is no way that he should be getting hit so many times. He would be dodging all of those strikes. Fact of the matter is that the heroes should have won the first fight in the city rather easily. Spiderman and Iron Man were more than a match for the power fighter. Meanwhile Strange should have easily beaten his foe by manipulating time. Even without time his magical spells should be up to the task as well. He is the Sorcerer Supreme after all.

While we are on the subject, why didn’t Dr Strange use the time stone against Thanos? The time loop it can create is quite potent after all. Even just using it to think of better strategies to fight would have been useful. No point in bringing it just to hide it. Lets face it, everyone knows that the hostage trick will inevitably work on the heroes so keeping it away just doesn’t work. Then for the power levels, I think Thanos’ durability wasn’t too consistent. Blows from the Hulk were shown to barely phase him at all but then later on normal hits from Iron-Man’s group were dealing some noticeable damage. Captain America shouldn’t even be able to block Thanos in this case. Thor should have put up a better fight than Hulk as it was shown that he was more powerful. The two Order members who fought Scarlet Witch were shown to have close to human level durability so a quick blast should have finished them off.

I guess at the end of the day what I’m saying is that it always felt like the heroes were way stronger than the villains despite the narrative trying to show otherwise. Even though the heroes were racking up losses like a for glory Captain Falcon I never thought that they should be. Until Thanos got all of the gems and started cheating with the Reality Stone the heroes had the edge the whole time. I felt like they should have beaten Thanos on his home planet, Scarlet Witch should have won in the night fight, Strange and the others should have won in New York, etc. The heroes all felt nerfed at various points to an extent. Nothing crazy, but they really had this win in the bag.

Once again I have to stress just how good the fights here were. We really got 3 main fight scenes. The New York Battle, The early battle for Vision’s stone, and the fight against Thanos on his home planet. We got other fights meanwhile as well. These 3 fights were all extremely solid. What the night one did especially well was how it started very suddenly. The Black Order member appeared out of nowhere with his first stab and there wasn’t any obvious build up to his appearance. More films and even shows for that matter should do this. It’s amazing when a sneak attack actually feels like one with no giveaways. The other fights naturally looked brilliantly as well.

Again, this is because of how fast paced the film is. It’s exciting from start to finish and feels like a real comic book. The heroes all get to shine and each of the main characters get to have a quick supporting cast moment which helps make this feel like even more of a legitimate crossover film. Some crossovers don’t really put in the same amount of effort, but this one had 10 years of material to use and it definitely grabbed as much as possible. At this point, I don’t think it will ever be possible to have a comic book film match this level of crossover intensity except for a Marvel vs DC film and as much as that kind of thing has gotten easier over the years, it is hard to picture.

Another thing that this film did well is not forcing in the humor the way that it did for Age of Ultron. One annoying thing about that film was how everyone was constnantly throwing in a one liner no matter what the circumstances were. That got rather irritating very quickly. The jokes are still around here, but the balance is much better. For the record, from the humor scenes we did get I think it’s safe to say that Star Lord stole the show. He did a great job of mimicking Thor and I dare say that he won his interaction with Iron Man. This is easily Star Lord’s best film appearance and in a way it makes sense since he has left most of his bad habits behind thanks to Gamora. The character whose humor tanks the most is probably Groot. There’s just nothing funny about him at all. I dare say that Drax and Spiderman are close though, but on the positive side to keep things balanced Ironman and Dr Strange are fun as always. The writing is definitely on point. There is maybe a little more language than usual, but is never gets into super edgy territory or anything.

Naturally there is an after credits scene so make sure you stick around. It’s one that directly affects the ending as well as the next film which is great since those are the best kind of after credit scenes. This may feel like I’m taking a shot at the comedy ones which are ultimately pointless to the narrative and will never be referenced again, but that’s only because that is exactly what I’m doing. This is a real after credits scene and a hype way to end things off. Now, you might come to the conclusion that Superman is being called in and I don’t blame you, but the person they are calling in instead can certainly put up a great fight and I’m expecting to see her dish out some serious damage. Granted, there isn’t really anyone to fight at the moment, but more fighters is always good to have because the danger isn’t over.

Now it’s time to rank all of the MCU films again from best to worst. There have certainly been a bunch and some of them are quite close, but no ties can be accepted. After some thought this is how I rank them. You’ll notice that the films have been getting consistently better lately as a lot of the recent films are near the top. That’s definitely the sign of a quality franchise.

1. Avengers
2. Captain America Civil War
3. Avengers: Infinity War
4. Avengers Age of Ultron
5. Thor: Ragnarok
6. Captain America: Winter Soldier
7. Doctor Strange
8. Spider-Man Homecoming
9. Thor: The Dark World
10. Iron-Man 3
11. Black Panther
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
13. Thor
14. Iron Man 2
15. Iron Man
16. The Incredible Hulk
17. Captain America
18. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
19. Ant Man

Overall, Avengers Infinity War definitely stepped up and delivered what it promised. It brought in a ton of action and quality writing between the characters. It adapted the original comic arc pretty well all things considered. While it couldn’t literally get every character, putting off the film any longer to establish more characters would have been too much. This is a perfect way to celebrate 10 years of Marvel. I highly recommend checking out this film if you disregarded my spoiler warning and read the whole way through anyway. There are certainly a lot of ways they can go about the next film. I could probably make a whole post just discussing the possibilities. Instead I’ll just close the review here. Suffice it to say, it’s going to be tough to top Thanos in terms of power anytime soon. It may be time to shrink in scale temporarily (After Avengers 4 of course) to wind down before going to another big cosmic end game scenario. Another 10 years would be a lot of time to get in new characters so that destroying them will have more of an impact. Of course if it happens sooner you will get no complaints from me.

Overall 9/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man Homecoming Review


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

7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Marvel Contest of Champions Review


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

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Civil War Review

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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