Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review


This film has certainly been a very long time coming but I can confirm that it delivers in every way. This is the kind of sequel you like to see where it improves upon everything from the original. The first Spider-Verse film was really good and now this one I can safely call elite. It’s a really thrilling film all the way through with an impressive cast of characters and the fight scenes are excellent. It’s not likely that you will see any other films in theaters this year that will be able to match these fight scenes unless you are checking out an anime movie.

The movie starts off with a fairly long prologue focused on Gwen and the events that led her up to the movie. It’s a really effective origin story here and it’s also fairly lengthy so there is really time for the moments to sink in. I love it when the movie title doesn’t show up for a while to let you know that everything you just saw was the intro. That was handled really effectively here to the point where you might think Gwen was the main character for a moment.

Then we come to the main plot. Miles has been Spiderman for a long while now and at this point he’s definitely a seasoned veteran. Unfortunately it has become harder and harder to balance his personal and professional lives. His parents are starting to get worried but Miles isn’t ready to tell them about his secret identity yet. When the Spot shows up along with a ton of other Spidermen, Miles is going to have to make a choice and find out where he really wants to belong. With the other Spidermen or with his family.

Lets jump on some of the really strong aspects of the film first. First off is the animation because that was really top tier. You don’t see this level of speed and intensity in just about any American animation. It’s extremely rare and this would hold its own with some anime. The fights allow you to feel just how strong Miles is with how quickly everyone is zipping about and each fighter has their own strengths. My favorite fight in the film is definitely the big team battle with the Spot but there are a lot of good fights to enjoy throughout the film. The opening battle with the Vulture was also solid and he put up a really good fight considering how the odds were. It lets you understand just how strong Spiderman’s villains are even when he is dominating in a fight.

There are a lot of really fun transitions here from scene to scene and I liked the captions for thoughts and also character introductions. Those were handled well like they were straight out of a comic which is the entire idea. Then you have the excellent soundtrack. Each character and universe have their own themes which fit the setting but additionally the instrumental themes for the fights were really good. There was always a quick tempo for each battle which served to enhance the scene even further. The movie definitely did not hold back in terms of the technicals.

Of course the writing was not lagging either as this is a very well written movie. In a lot of ways Flashpoint did a lot of damage with the message it was getting out about not being able to defy destiny and sacrificing the one for the many. This film’s taking the opposite approach in clearly portraying that you can always shape your own future and a big part of Miles’ character development is really relying on his own strengths and judgment. If you know that something’s wrong then it doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with you, you have to do your best to hang in there and do what you gotta do.

The characters are all developed well but in particular Gwen and Miles get the bulk of the scenes here. Gwen is mainly trying to internalize all of the issues that she is going through and naturally this does lead to some troubles for her down the line. Quick avoidance leads to slow troubles after all and her issues are continuing to grow in the background. She makes her share of mistakes in the film to be sure but is someone trying to do her best throughout. Gwen’s a very charismatic character and someone who is easy to root for so she’s definitely a standout here.

My favorite character ended up being Miles who in a lot of ways is also trying to deal with all of the issues on his own. It does take some to really trust anyone enough to talk about issues especially when you’re Spiderman but he’s definitely just about ready for that. He goes up against some really tough odds during the film but keeps on going. I also appreciate that he has a lot of self confidence and isn’t listening to the other characters who keep trying to get him to quit. He also gets a lot of witty banter the way you would expect a Spiderman to have.

Peter Parker doesn’t get to appear a whole lot this time though. Ultimately this is Miles’ film and how he is working on being the best Spiderman he can be so it makes sense not to give Peter a huge role so he doesn’t take that away from the kid. Peter’s not the best in this film so I’m looking forward to seeing him make a comeback in the sequel. It’s time for Peter to find his own confidence and make the right moves instead of being a bystander.

Throughout the film I only had 2 main issues which are not big enough to hurt the film but are still worth noting. Both basically come about due to the scope of the film. The first is a power level issue involving the thousands of Spidermen in the film. As you saw in the trailer they get mobilized at sone point and I don’t care how good any individual Spiderman is, you’re not lasting more than a second against those numbers. So there are large scenes where you just don’t believe what’s happening at all because escape just wasn’t an option at that point. You simply won’t believe that it is possible.

The other issue is really just that most of the Spidermen don’t act like Spiderman. In theory the vast majority of these should be reasonable Peter Parkers and yet they blindly obey orders without really questioning them. Of course that’s going to happen in a plot like this but as the writer your job is to work around that. There should definitely have been some good ways to avoid the scenario so everyone stays in character. If necessary you do the old mind control trick. It’s perhaps not the most original one out there but it does the job. So those were my two issues plot-wise at least and it’s funny that they’re both basically relating to the same scenes.

Otherwise the film really didn’t make any big mistakes and was really solid all throughout. The writing is great whether it be for the serious moments or the fun ones. The Spot is a really solid villain here and I liked him pretty much from the Jump. His powers are incredibly versatile and this is not someone that just any hero could deal with. It’s why Spiderman is a good foe for him because the web slinging allows him to stay close. A normal land based hero would likely be too slow to actually keep up with this guy. The Spot is also very determined and holds a grudge, both of which are very good attributes for a villain.

Then we have the other villain in Spiderman 2099. Yeah I’m going to call him a villain because at the end of the day your intentions don’t matter as much as the actions. Just ask Thanos and Garou. This guy has lost sight of what it means to be a Spiderman but he’s still a very cool character. In terms of design I would also say that he has the best looking outfit out of all the characters. He looks really intimidating the whole time. The guy’s super tall and buff. Throw in that his costume also has claws and that Miguel himself has fangs and yeah you don’t really want to cross this guy.

There are loads of other Spider characters running around but only a few more important ones. One is Ben, but his fans will likely be dismayed at how he looks. The guy’s basically a big joke the whole time who is as incompetent as possible. Be prepared for him to get slapped around by everybody. Then you have a Spiderwoman driving around on a motorcycle. She was my least favorite character because of how unreasonable she was the whole time. It feels like almost all of her lines are threats in the film. Additionally I’m just going to be direct and say it, fighting while super pregnant seems very irresponsible. A single hit to the baby and that’s game over.

You see some heroes try to do this now and again but it never seems like a good idea. Particularly in this scenario where there are thousands of other heroes who can help out in the meantime. Then you have the Indian Spiderman who’s a lot of fun. I like how he uses the webs with an object of sorts to focus them. It’s a unique fighting style right there. Then you have Hobie who likes to defy the system and was easily the most independent thinker out of all of them. This was someone who was not going to just obey all of the rules and I definitely appreciated that. He may not have been around as long as he could have but his scenes left an impact.

The film’s cliffhanger isn’t quite as dire as you may have been expecting but it’s still a cliffhanger all the same. I’m thinking they wanted to leave this as a more cheerful ending so it wouldn’t be too intense for younger viewers since this film is still in theory aimed a bit younger than something like Fast X. So the audience is given an out by the end here when it could have ended like a minute or two sooner and had a completely different vibe. It’s a really hype ending either way though and you’ll be ready for part 2. There’s definitely a lot left to happen and I’m expecting some really big fights. In theory part 2 will have even more action than this one.

Of course a lot of the fun here is in picking out all the cameos and there are definitely a ton of them all throughout. Ranging from TV shows to video games to movies, just about every Spiderman is here. It really goes to show just how many there have been over the years. Spiderman’s a household name for good reason after all.

I should also give a quick shoutout to Miles’ parents before ending the film because they were really solid the whole time. They’re dealing with a whole lot from their end as well with Miles always vanishing and running off. His cover stories aren’t always the most convincing either so it feels like he’s going through some kind of rebellious phase that he can’t clue them in on. We also see Gwen’s father and he is trying to do his best as well but doesn’t always take things well. In that plot I give Gwen at least 50% of the blame too though because she could have handled things better.

Overall, Across the Spider-Verse is an excellent film and definitely one that I would recommend checking out. The humor is on point, the pacing is great, the characters are excellent, the animation is masterful, etc. It’s a sequel that does everything right and you can especially appreciate the fast tempo and visuals by watching this one in theaters. You do not want to wait on this one and should try checking it out right away. As the “Part 1” is not in the title there are a lot of people who don’t even realize that this is one of those films that won’t be fully resolved just yet. Something to keep in mind because that always guarantees a fun ending.

Overall 9/10

Punisher: War Zone Review

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

It’s time for the return of the Punisher but this one isn’t quite able to match the first one. It goes all in with making the Punisher a rather imposing figure who takes down everyone in his way but along the way it forgot the charm of the series and doesn’t focus as much on how he helps people on a local level. This film is one you’ll ultimately want to end up skipping.

The movie starts with Punisher taking down a group of villains as he always does but this time he ends up taking out an FBI agent as well. The guy was undercover so Punisher figured that he was one of the villains but that was not the case. Now he feels like he should retire out of guilt but his partner Microchip convinces him not to do that. At the very least he tells the Punisher that he needs to finish the job by taking out Jigsaw first since that villain ended up surviving. Punisher agrees so he’s back on the streets to murder the villains but will he really be able to take out Jigsaw and his brother Jim?

The interesting part about the movie is that it would be over before it began if this version of the Punisher wasn’t so sadistic. Usually the Punisher goes around just shooting everyone as a quick death. He dishes out the punishment which is lethal for these villains and that’s the end of it. Only this time instead of doing that he tossed Jigsaw into a machine that crushes glass so it would slowly shred the guy to bits. Usually that would work but not in this case. The Punisher just seemed to be enjoying the show a bit too much here as he was even watching until some other villains attacked and he had to deal with them.

It’s clear that in this version the Punisher really enjoys his work to the point where he goes all in on this. You’d almost think he was a super villain as well with some of the scenes here. There’s another moment where he beats one guy up, then tosses him to the ground where he is impaled by spikes, then he breaks the guy’s neck/slashes it with a final fall. It’s all so extra and unnecessary that when the Punisher lands you could easily photoshop him with Michael Myers or someone like that and nobody would bat an eye. That would absolutely be a villain’s intro.

Now, I would always argue that the Punisher is a villain in all continuities. He murders all of his opponents and while they are villains, it’s still murder. Characters like the Punisher are always interesting as a what if since you can imagine this to be how things would go if Batman or another hero would murder their opponents. Ultimately it may result in safer streets and probably does but the cost is too high. So while it’s an interesting idea, we’ve still got to keep in perspective that if the heroes were here they would have a duty to take him down.

At least what still makes Punisher a decent character is he does have an honor code and doesn’t go after innocents or anything like that. When you see him just taking out the villains it’s fun enough but anytime you have to resort to torture or really taking it to the villains then it can be a bit too extreme. For that reason I much preferred the Punisher as portrayed in the earlier film. He seemed to have a lot more of his humanity and he was still punishing his opponents but very somberly and without getting into it.

Now if the Punisher’s scenes are that violent, you’re probably wondering what the villains do. Well, they don’t hold back either and you have people being eaten and ripped apart. The film’s absolutely as edgy as you would expect and it’s all really over the top. It’s the level of violence that would doom any film right out of the gate. You’ve got to have some restraint with scenes like this. Establish that the villains are evil and we don’t really need to see the rest. It would have made the film a whole lot better.

There’s no real reason to like Jigsaw as a villain. The guy is your classic mobster who wants a shot at greatness and will do anything for it. He betrays allies and just keeps on moving up. The guy is rather insane although you would expect most villains at his level to be insane since they probably crack on the way up. His design after getting torn up is certainly gruesome.

Then his brother Jim is even worse. That guy is completely off the walls and even talks like he’s looney. The scene of him being a cannibal is disturbing and you know that ultimately he won’t be taking the Punisher down. This guy is good against people who won’t fight back but a gun will take him down like all the rest. It’s not like any of these villains are bullet timers after all.

Paul is the main FBI agent trying to take the Punisher down. You can see why he’s so frustrated since the local cops all seem to support the Punisher and even the guy at the head of the taskforce isn’t particularly cooperative. The reason for this is fairly clear as everyone is rooting for the villains to be taken down. The city seems extremely corrupt so they’re probably tired of every villain just getting in and out of jail. This makes Paul’s job of avenging his comrade a lot tougher.

Paul’s a good character though and one of the few that you can root for all the way through. He does tend to get in the Punisher’s way but it’s very understandable from his perspective. Then you have Microchip who is a good partner to the Punisher. He knows exactly how to make that guy tick and what sets him off. You need someone like that to have your back and get the ammo ready. Punisher wouldn’t be able to function nearly as efficiently without him. The guy should probably carry more guns with him though so that he isn’t picked off.

While the movie is mainly devoid of humor, there is one scene that was pretty fun. You’ve got 3 athletic villains who are running and jumping across the roof while a really fast paced happy song is playing in the background. You can see how it’s all going very well for the villains but suddenly one of them explodes and we cut to Punisher with his cannon. That was the best scene in the movie by far. It works in showing that the Punisher is absolutely not playing around here and also in how fast the tone changes. It instantly goes from being a happy moment to a really intense one. The scene also helped to enhance the film’s overall soundtrack since the music there was really good.

Overall, Punisher: War Zone will definitely remain in the shadow of the first one. It just doesn’t really improve on much while falling below on a lot of areas. I would say the only area where this one wins is in showing the Punisher off as more of an unstoppable force. You can see why the whole city fears him and one scene shows how he has already taken down hundreds and hundreds of opponents. That was a great moment without a doubt. The film just can’t get away from its tendencies to make every scene as violent as possible. Show don’t tell is a rule that it takes too literally and that can often be what takes a film down for the count.

Overall 2/10

Lego Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom Review


It’s time for the next Marvel Lego special and this time we get Spider-Man as the lead character. One nice thing about these lego adventures is that they always feel like they could take place in the real show. The Black Panther special was like something out of Avengers Assemble and this one is pretty close with the current Spider-Man title. It may not be exact and it certainly isn’t officially in continuity, but it does help make the whole thing gel together pretty well.
The plot of the special is that Venom and Green Goblin have joined forces to get this mystical key item. Spider-Man is on the scene right away, but isn’t able to take them down in his first encounter. He may need some extra tech to win in this round but he’ll have to move fast because these villains are not going to be waiting for anyone. He also may get some unexpected assistance.

Green Goblin and Venom teaming up is an interesting concept and I don’t believe that it has happened before. It makes sense for them to pair up as they are some of Spider-Man’s most dangerous adversaries, but both of them have a lot of pride and like to work solo so that’s probably why it would be difficult to get them on one page. From the two I’d say that Venom definitely gets the bigger role although you may have guessed that from the title of this special.

Green Goblin doesn’t look bad, but he just doesn’t seem to be much of a threat to Spider-Man. Spidey even mentions that he can dodge the villain’s attacks all day and never feels all that threatened. At least with Venom Spider-Man had to bring in his Spider Bot to try and get the upper hand. I didn’t see any of that tech against the goblin.

This special did a good job of really using the lego format to its advantage here by having so many different upgrades for Spider-Man. I liked all of the vehicles and they looked pretty good in their brief screen time. The fights are also good, considerably better than in the last special. A good reason for this is due to the special taking the action scenes more seriously. It’s a bit ironic but this special had more of a serious tone than the Black Panther one. The fights here are just so much better like with the climax as Mecha Spiderman and Ghost Spider take on Venom. It’s real solid.

We still do get some good humor though and Spider-Man is always able to pull that off pretty well. He gets a lot of good one liners and does his best to annoy and mock the villains as much as possible. Spider-Man also looks pretty experienced here and it’s got to be one of his more impressive portrayals recently. He thinks fast to protect civilians and even has a good moment where he uses his webs to stop Venom’s bearhug drop and turns the tables. Spiderman still does whine a lot, but I like to think it’s to get the villains to drop their guard. He’s not actually all that desperate.

At one point in the special Spider-Man decides to take Goblin’s lair for his own. It’s actually a pretty interesting idea that makes a lot of sense. As Spiderman mentioned, it’s not like Green Goblin will be using it anytime soon right? Why let a good lair go to rest? I’m thinking that the only big risk here would be if the villain bugged it with a lot of weapons and traps or some cameras and the hero ends up giving away key information. You’d definitely need to do a clean sweep of it, but otherwise it’s really not a bad idea.

The rest of the characters here are all solid as well. Ghost Spider definitely ends up helping out quite a lot in the end. Without her Spiderman would have definitely been in trouble. Then you have Spider-Man himself who was very solid as I mentioned earlier. It’s always nice to see him as an experienced veteran. Finally there’s Venom who is a very imposing villain with several forms. The voice for him was also quite fitting as it was very intimidating. Yeah, Venom was handled perfectly!

Overall, Vexed by Venom is a fun special. It’s got a good blend of plot, action, and humor. It’s easily one of Marvel’s better lego specials and as always the pacing is on point. This is the kind of special that probably could have been extended into a full film and been quite solid. Sometimes it’s best not to push it though. The 20 minutes were filled out quite well. If you haven’t checked this special out yet then you should do so. It’s pretty fun.

Overall 7/10

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

X-Men Dark Phoenix Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

X-Men Inferno Volume 2 Review


It’s been a long time since I reviewed the first Inferno comic, but it’s finally time to wrap up the saga. It definitely feels like one of the grandest X-Men story arcs in scope even if it never seems to be brought up nowadays. Pretty much all of the big players are here and there’s definitely a lot of action. You probably will wonder where the Avengers and FF are at times, but they are referenced and I believe they were on a mission somewhere at the time. It’s a pretty enjoyable story arc, some parts can get a little dark and others not as exciting, but on the whole it’s definitely an intense arc.

There are a lot of plots going on at once here. For the main plot, the Goblin Queen has decided to embrace her dark powers and take control of the planet. To that end she has teamed up with demons to transform the entire city. Some of them have plans of their own as well though. Cyclops, Jean Grey, and the rest of the X Factor head out to stop her, but their team isn’t as united as usual. Cyclops blames himself for the Goblin Queen’s transformation since he did rebound after marrying her pretty quick.

Another plot is that the X-Men are doing battle against an anti mutant faction and in the process they are becoming demons as well. As they lose more and more of their minds they start to barely even resemble heroes anymore. This leads them to start attacking all of the sides. Then you’ve got the Power Pack who are being forced to deal with the fact that their parents now know who they are thanks to the events with the Orphan Maker from volume 1. The parents are having a real hard time coping.

Then the New Mutants are also flying around trying to save Magik. Magik took control of Limbo but now the villains are starting to wrestle control back from her. Magik can destroy them, but doing so will eliminate the last of her light so she has a tough choice to make. Meanwhile Colossus is also trying to find her, but going from world to world is tricky and the villains are content to mock rather than help him. Finally, Sinister is also in the mix and naturally he also wants to mess things up for the heroes.

Those are just the main plots and there are even more subplots running around. I imagine that this was definitely the ultimate X faction arc back in the day. Pretty much every X group was here and I forgot to mention that this even includes Excalibur. If the heroes were all in one place this would probably be an easy win for them, but naturally the demons won’t let that be an option. Even as this trade ends there are already a lot of plotlines set up for the next arc.

I think one of the best aspects of this saga is the subtle craziness of the situation. In the background you’ll see the animated objects making a lot of jokes at the humans as they crush them. For example one mail box reminds one guy that he should have used a stamp before eating him. There are a lot of fatalities here as by the time the heroes arrive the humans are long gone or no longer human. The villainous appliances all have a pretty good sense of humor though. It’s definitely pretty grim humor, but it works well.

As for the characters, this is definitely gonna be a rough showing for Havok fans. Regardless of all his justifications, he seems to be going for the Goblin Queen to one up Cyclops. He had no problem with cheating with her even while she was with Cyclops so you doubt his motivations from the start. I usually like Havok, but definitely not in this comic.

Another character who looks really bad here is Rachel Summers. Keep in mind that during this saga she is a host of the Phoenix Force and yet she can’t win a single fight here. There’s gotta be some reason why her Phoenix Form was so weak, but I definitely would have liked that to have been elaborated here. She gets mind controlled and one shotted early on and as such has nothing to do for the whole volume. I couldn’t believe it when she was taken out so easy.

Cyclops naturally gets a big role here as well. It’s not his best appearance, but he is doing his best to handle the situation. It’s just gotten past the point of merely being “personal” since his kid is being hostage and his ex-wife is trying to murder everyone. Cyclops did have a pretty fishy set of decisions that led to this moment like ditching his wife and getting back with Jean, but that’s all events that happened before this volume. In this one he is trying to pick up the pieces, but it’s been awfully difficult. So I wouldn’t say that he looked bad per say, but I’ll be glad for him to have this drama past the bend.

Ice Man and Psylocke don’t do a whole lot in comparison to the other characters, but they are around for the full saga. They look really good as they focus on an objective and support the team the whole time. Ice Man’s powers are definitely at the point in the series where they are steadily becoming a top tier threat. Psylocke still seems to be quite a bit weaker than the other main telepaths, but at the same time she does contribute. I don’t think she’ll ever be seen as one of the strongest telepaths, but as long as she is strong enough to help out that’s good enough.

The Goblin Queen naturally gets a really big role here as well. Her emotions are all over the place as she constantly switches between acting as the victim and embracing her role as the evil empress. I can’t really say that she’s my kind of villain, but her motivations for revenge are definitely pretty reasonable considering what a bad hand she’s been dealt. She has to live with the fact that everyone considers her to be a fake and she’s being manipulated by quite a few parties. At times it can be a bit iffy to see her being led around so much though. She’s a villain who was thrown into the role and as such isn’t prepared for it. You kind of want her to have a happy ending even though from the start you don’t really think this will be possible. She simply went too far down the rabbit hole into darkness.

We get cameos from some characters like Magneto, but sadly he doesn’t get to do much. It was nice to see him, but there was almost no point to be honest. I’m sure his scene probably continued in a spinoff though. The Power Pack’s plot is probably the most annoying in some ways as the parents just do a terrible job of handling the situation. The plot was going for realism, but I dare say that their reactions were so poor that it wasn’t realistic at that point. They basically fell into depression instantly which was a bit iffy. Surely they could find some silver lining to the kids being superheroes right?

As for the X-Men basically turning into demons, it was unfortunate that their will power was not all that good. Most of them fell into the evil instincts very quickly and so the X-Factor definitely ended up doing a much better job. One thing the X-Men comics like doing a lot that I could definitely do without is all the “Surprise!” kisses that occur. The villains seem to love doing that to the heroes which is definitely a dicey power move. There are way better ways to make the villains a threat than by doing that. There aren’t any quality romances to be found here, that’s for sure. Throw in the Cyclops drama and you’ve got a real complicated situation for the heroes.

I would have liked to have seen more of Magik’s plot since hers was probably the most interesting. Limbo seems to have quite a lot of power struggles over there and with her abilities continuing to grow it would be interesting to see how she fares against the bigger X-Men villains. I’m thinking that’s why they always keep her out of Earth. Even the Sinister threat probably would have been a whole lot smaller if she was around since one or two hits would probably take him down for the count.

The art is definitely real solid. It’s pretty consistent across the various titles. The character designs are definitely on point although of course a lot of them look pretty evil most of the time since they slowly start to lose their sanity. The battle scenes are definitely really good and it’s definitely an easy page turner. The pages are never too busy where you have to slow down. This trade also brings a lot of issues so it’s definitely a comic where you get your money’s worth.

Overall, There’s a lot happening in Inferno. It’s definitely very dramatic and the characters get a lot of development here. It’s not quite my favorite X-Men arc, but on the whole it was definitely pretty solid. I could definitely roll with seeing the town go crazy a little longer. I do think the epilogue parts are a bit hard to swallow though as there were too many witnesses for this to be swept under the rug. I mean, the humans in these comics usually aren’t too smart, but I dare say that this is almost pushing it a bit. It’s easy to see why Earth would crumble without the superheroes in these things. If you haven’t read Inferno volume 1 yet then you’ll probably want to do that before jumping into volume 2. It’ll definitely flow a lot better for you that way.

Overall 7/10

Ant-Man and the Wasp Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Inhumans Review


The Inhumans were pushed heavily throughout the comics and shows a few years back. Marvel did their best to try and use them as replacements for the X-Men although this plan failed and the mutants are back in business. This TV show came out during this interesting period and all it did was show why the Inhumans were never all that popular. They just aren’t likable characters.

The show starts off with showing us the Inhuman civilization on the Moon. Things may look peaceful from a distance, but the citizens are not happy as King Black Bolt has separated them into an outdated caste system. Depending on how you were born you were doomed to work in the mines or you can live above ground. Now you may recognize this system from many villain groups like the Soul Society, Skypiea, or even the world of Black Clover. Since you know the format then you know that Black Bolt is the main villain so an up and coming Inhuman will stop him right? Well that’s where Maximus comes in.

He realizes that the caste system is immoral and decides to quickly put a stop to it once and for all. He achieves a coup d’etat and usurps Black Bolt of his crown and banishes most of the royal family to Earth. Black Bolt swears revenge and that he will destroy Maximus when next they meet. Show’s over right? Well, Maximus is the main villain and Black Bolt is the hero…..just let that sink in for a little while.

Despite the summary Maximus is obviously a villain from the start. It’s just a shame because he is completely right about how Black Bolt has become a dictator and isn’t treating everyone equally. The show just wrote itself into a corner because this makes Black Bolt a total villain so Maximus goes over the top and starts murdering everyone while also trying for someone who is already married. Clearly the show was worried that Maximus was going to be the best character in the show otherwise. Naturally as a result of all this I am definitely not a Maximus fan. While he may be slightly sympathetic at first he completely goes nuts and loses whatever credibility he had. It’s a shame, but just having a sob story won’t be enough to get you anywhere.

Black Bolt is just as bad but he was never sympathetic. He can’t talk which is supposed to make you sympathetic I guess, but as he is king we can blame him for a lot of what is wrong with the society. He kept in the caste system and looks down on his own people. He is incredibly arrogant to the point where he doesn’t like anyone to make contact with him since he is so above them. He locked one guy in darkness for eternity which is certainly a cruel fate and even hid secrets away from his wife and inner cabal. This is because at his core, Black Bolt doesn’t trust anyone. The only part that I guess could be frustrating for Black Bolt is how Medusa is his interpreter, but she rarely repeats what he actually said and likes to come up with her own version. He definitely needs to find some way to talk through writing or electronically.

I also have to say that his abilities were not impressive in the slightest compared to what you would expect. The show spends the entire season building up his raw power but the big moment at the end where he finally lets loose only amounts to some rocks being broken and the metal cube not even getting a dent. All I’m saying is that I just didn’t find this impressive and the show could have done a whole lot better if you ask me. As a whole, the Inhumans just seem fairly weak and wouldn’t last long against the Avengers or the X-Men. They are all glass cannons with no real defense.

Karnak is a hand to hand fighter with the unique ability to see all of the angles. It is definitely a cool power to have since he can think things through so clearly that he can basically get a do over on any situation. While this ability isn’t as all encompassing as the famous Spider Sense as Karnak won’t know about attacks from behind, it’s good for any fight that he jumps into. Naturally since this ability would likely be too good, Karnak inexplicably trips and loses his ability for most of the season. That’s just annoying since of course now he is just a normal human who needs help from everybody. He also gets the worst subplot in the show as he goes to this place where they’re growing drugs. He helps for a while, but one of the guys goes crazy and starts murdering everybody. Karnak manages to escape with the girl and then they part ways, but the romance was absolutely brutal. This is mainly because Karnak is another one of those characters who doesn’t know much about social behavior and as such he has to be taught romance. It’s all very cringe worthy stuff.

Then we have Crystal and her subplot. She was taught that humans are all beneath her so she should not speak to her, but Lockjaw gets run over by a car for the edge factor so she has to find a vet. She meets up with a surfer dude, well he is the one who ran over her dog and he introduces her to his ex girlfriend who is a vet. The whole scenario is so absurd that it is almost funny. The guy gives her pretty bad advice the whole time as he says things like “your family can wait” as having a fun time at the beach is just a better way to spend the day. He isn’t a positive influence and the problem is that he’s supposed to be the person who gets Crystal to see that humans aren’t so bad. So much for that plan right? Crystal is also annoying because of how extremely powerful she is. She could destroy Maximus at any point in the show, but hesitated too much and loves firing warning shots. She could have saved quite a few people if she had actually made a move instead of waiting. Big mistake on her part if you ask me. So she isn’t a bad character but she is definitely an annoying one. I wanted her to take more initiative so having her become the Queen of the Inhumans would have worked really well.

We can’t forget the actual queen though. Medusa serves as the voice for Black Bolt but as she is basically a yes man for a while, her role barely matters. She does seem to have a little more humanity than Bolt though and at least gets him to be less strict on the corrupt rules that were in place. She can come off as rather mean at times and a little overdramatic when it came to her hair. Still, I have less faults with Medusa than the other characters. She is at least a character who tries to make a change in her situation.

Then we also have Gorgon with his strong stomps. I guess he is super human when it comes to physical abilities but they definitely aren’t at a particularly high level. He is the tough member of the group, but always seems rather outmatched in the various fights that he is in. You never really expect him to win although he does look good when going up against the humans. I guess we will give him some credit for that. There is a big decision that has to be made involving whether they should try to bring him back or not. All I can say is that the group’s bickering and indecision is another reason why they will never be as good as the others. Karnak was Bolt’s most trusted adviser and even he ended up defying him. Considering that Bolt was going to destroy him for this one choice I can definitely say that Karnak made the right move.

There is also a human scientist thrown into the mix who looks like someone out of the Supergirl show. Louise serves as the general audience character who does her best to help and even defies her bosses when she really wants to pursue a story. She doesn’t add a whole lot to the story if we are being honest and just works as a plot device to help the Inhumans secure cars and other necessities in order to reform the team. She could have definitely been worse, but I wasn’t really a fan of the character.

The best character in the film is certainly the regenerating assassin who serves Maximus. Having excellent hand to hand skills in addition to a healing factor is certainly crucial to have at the ready and it’s a shame that her boss was so crazy. Auran definitely was hoping that Maximus was going to be a just ruler, but it simply wasn’t to be. Auran ended up making the right calls by the end and is someone you can trust to keep her word. Being honorable is always a good trait for a protagonist or an antagonist. It shows that he or she has confidence in winning a battle with anyone. If you have to cheat or resort to sneak attacks, then you clearly aren’t as tough as you thought you were. It’s even worse if the villain is one of those people talking about survival of the fittest. So much for that right?

Mordis is one of the other big villains and he gets a ton of hype. Everyone fears him including Black Bolt. The thing is, he’s basically just a weaker Cyclops. He completely relies on his eye blasts and is otherwise a normal mortal. His constant joking around is a nice change of pace from all of the ultra serious Inhumans, but he really couldn’t live up to the hype. He ends up going down pretty quickly when the adventure actually gets tough.

The pacing is fairly good at least since this is basically just an extended movie turned into a short show. Either way, something is always happening and it doesn’t have time to be all that drawn out. Certainly a good thing. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the show thanks to its lackluster cast and it not striving to have quality writing instead of random romances, at least it didn’t keep in going and going for too long. It knew to end before going too far off the deep end.

The show isn’t all that violent which is a good thing. It never gets quite as intense as the Agents of Shield or anything like that. We have a regenerative character and we see her heal from a wound but it’s nothing too crazy. There is also the animal violence of the dog being run over. If he had died or something then the show would have really done down the tubes. It’s definitely good that the show avoided that land mine.

I suppose I’ll give the show’s scenery and costumes some props. I thought they did a good job with Black Bolt and Crystal’s costumes. They seemed to be pretty comic accurate. They weren’t really trying with Medusa since most of the plot revolved around her losing the hair anyway, but I suppose the actual costume was on point. The suits may have a hard time translating into live action for many heroes since they just feel like cosplay at times, but as long as the look is right then it’s fine if it looks rather fragile. That’s a very slight stretch of disbelief to imagine that the fabric is just really tough.

The fight scenes may have been scarce but we still got a few good ones like Medusa vs Auran. Lets face it though, Auran should have absolutely clobbered her. Medusa is tough because of her hair, but Auran is an advanced master of hand to hand combat. Throw in the regeneration and this is absolutely no contest. If they said beforehand that Medusa was also known as one of the best fighters or that she had super strength then maybe it would be believable, but otherwise I just couldn’t take the fight’s outcome seriously. Too bad we didn’t get more hand to hand fights like that, but the show at least did give us a lot of posturing between…well everybody. Every character here has a huge ego and they are intact by the end so if we get a sequel prepare for a lot of “I told you so” remarks and smirks. I really don’t see this show getting a sequel anytime soon though.

The best part of the show is probably when the villains and heroes have their first major encounter in the forest. The heroes spend a lot of that time running away and surprisingly there isn’t actually much of a fight but I was done with the whole “Heroes scattered in an unknown town” plot. The actual confrontations are what we came here for after all. Black Bolt did appear to be incredibly naive when he met with Maximus for the first hostage exchange though. In what world would Maximus actually release control back to Black Bolt in exchange for his life when he could just destroy Bolt where he stands? Maximus went as far as to betray his whole family and risk being assassinated to become the ruler. A few words wasn’t going to switch that at any point. Naturally this just causes Black Bolt to fume a little more, but I don’t see how he became the King with those tactician skills. Oh right…he was born into the crown, Bolt didn’t actually earn it. That’s the whole premise of the show.


Overall, Inhumans was a failed experiment of Marvel’s which likely won’t be remembered all that much in the future. It wasn’t a terrible attempt, but it just didn’t have enough good fundamentals to stand on its own. Some guest stars would have really gone a long way into making this a better show. Even if it had to be human guest stars like throwing the Agents of Shield in. That would have worked for me.

Overall 4/10

Lego Marvel Superheroes: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat Review


There have definitely been a lot of LEGO specials over the years. It makes sense as you can never run out of ideas with those little toys. That’s why they’re so popular in the first place. What you build is limited only by your imagination and your budget. The LEGO specials are usually pretty enjoyable and most of them are fairly short as well so it’s not as if they last too long either. This Guardians special is pretty good as well and goes by very fast so I’d say that it holds its own against the other Marvel ones.

The plot is that Thanos wants to create a BLT so he needs to find the Builder Stone which will let him create anything. I would have advised him to just go to Subways but I suppose they may have run out of tomatoes again. The Guardians decide to stop him but first they will have to out fly the Ravagers as well as Ronan. Does the team have what it takes for this mission or are they doomed again?

The LEGO animation is definitely something that you either like or you don’t. I don’t really consider it as good animation as it just seems really easy and nothing particularly stands out visually. As long as the animation isn’t bad it’s not a problem though and I wouldn’t call this bad animation. These specials are more about the dialogue than anything else as the one liners have to try and use the Lego’s advantage of many things being possible to its benefit.

On that note, the writing is pretty solid. I’m not the biggest fan of the Guardians team when it comes to their personalities but the special did a good job of keeping them in check. For example, Drax can overuse his gimmick of taking things literally but I believe they only use that joke once here as opposed to spamming it in every other scene. That was pretty good and seeing him get wrecked by Thanos is a better gag. I think that’s how their fight should always go but I have a nagging feeling that he is going to be able to score the final blow against Thanos in the movie somehow or even defeat him to close his character arc. I’ll give the film extra kudos if they go the LEGO route instead.

The rest of the characters do a good job of being decent as well. Star Lord’s still a fun leader who always has a plan and the voice helps the character out even further. Gamora doesn’t get much of a role in this special but she is certainly in character as she doubts Star Lord the whole time. The team always bets against him and they are probably right to do so since he will come through when it counts but not in any other situation. Ronan and Thanos make for good villains as well. They may be fairly overused in Guardian plots at this point but it’s not as if the team has too many enemies which is why they have to keep showing up. At least it’s not a C rank villain who keeps reappearing or anything like that.

The only bad character as always is Groot. He actively tries to sabotage the team as always and the saying his name not got old years ago. He doesn’t add anything to the dynamic and only serves to take time away from the characters who could use more. At this point I’m unlikely to ever become a fan of his but you never know I suppose. Maybe all he needs is a radical change in character and design although it would basically be a different character at that point.

Overall, this special was pretty fun. It’s the length of a normal episode and has appropriate pacing. There’s never a moment where the film drags on and there aren’t a bunch of subplots to take away from the main adventure. The team fighting Thanos is already enough of a plot to hold its own special after all so it’s not like you need much more than that. Thor has a nice little cameo for his fans as well. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then you should go ahead and do so. It’s only 20 minutes so even if you don’t like it then you won’t be losing much time. The film doesn’t make any big mistakes though so at least for me there wasn’t much chance of not liking it. LEGO specials aren’t always a solid 7 but they are rarely, if ever bad.

Overall 7/10