Thor: Ragnarok Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 9/10

Advertisements

Captain America and the Falcon Secret Empire Review

335024._SX1280_QL80_TTD_
It’s time to take a look at the Secret Empire. Recently Marvel has had fun bringing back old events. We got a new Civil War, Infinity Gauntlet, and even the Secret Empire. Many don’t know this but there was an original Secret Empire event which the new one is lightly based off of. Honestly, it’s very light so the plots are quite different, but it goes to show that Marvel has been doing their research. This isn’t a very good event, but it’s decent enough. The writing just hasn’t aged well in some respects.

The collection starts off with Falcon being jumped by a bunch of hooligans. Captain America saves him, but Falcon isn’t happy since he’s tired of being in Cap’s shadow. Cap offers to help him get a power up through Iron-Man or Hank Pym, but Falcon wants it to be someone more relatable so he goes to Black Panther. This is only the start of where Falcon starts to act petty. He brings his girlfriend along for the ride basically just to show off and she gets competitive with the others very quickly. She picks fights with almost literally everyone she comes across and even throws a spear at Black Panther just to get his attention. Thanks to her, two of Black Panther’s guards are murdered and Falcon doesn’t seem to care as he keeps bragging about his upgrades. He runs back to show them off to Cap and is quite eager to take on the Avenger in a fight.

While Falcon was gone, a smear campaign was run against Captain America on TV and it was quite successful. So successful in fact that within days the whole country was agiainst the hero, even the Avengers. It’s almost laughable how quickly Iron-Man shows up with his threats and Falcon starts to have doubts as well. Even Nick Fury quickly jumps on the bandwagon. Captain America begins to lose faith in America which is understandable but before he call it quits, it’s time to take down the Secret Empire. It turns out that they have also kidnapped most of the X-Men so Professor Xavier, Jean Grey, and Cyclops arrive as backup. Together, the heroes stand a fighting chance, but Cap may have to cross some lines in order to clear his name.

The Evil Cap part is what the new Secret Empire is really going for while here it was all just bad media coverage. I think a big problem with the arc is that it all hinges on Marvel’s America being as gullible as possible. Did everyone really believe these media interviews so completely? What happened to the Daily Bugle and their reporting skills? Why didn’t the Avengers launch a campaign of their own? Why would everyone accept a new Moon hero coming out of nowhere as Captain America’s replacement? I felt like this comic took a lot of beats from the Thunderbolts but in a far more rushed and less believable scenario. I don’t know, the whole thing was rather fishy the whole time.

Captain America also wasn’t at his most likable in this comic either. He basically said that he wouldn’t help the X-Men until they pointed out that it was the same villain behind both schemes. He falls for every trap that the enemies laid out because his emotions cloud his judgment the whole time. It’s easy to forget that he is supposed to be a seasoned veteran here because he rarely acts like it. He also makes the wrong decision to end the comic and this has got to be the 4th or 5th time he’s done this. I didn’t realize that he was lacking in confidence so often. He’s still an entertaining enough character to watch, but he can be annoying.

Falcon is unfortunately even worse. He spends the early issues being jealous of Cap and then he rushes into battle without actually remembering how to fight. In a critical moment he ends up knocking out Black Panther and himself by mistake and tends to lose in all of his fights. Even in his big return fight where he teamed up with Cap, he lost in under 5 seconds. Naturally he started throwing petty insults at Cap after that. Falcon has just got to be the most petty superhero of all time and I’d consider him to be more whiny than Alpha from the recent Spider-Man comics. I’m glad that the Falcon has improved over the years because otherwise I can’t see why he’d stay on as a main character.

Black Panther looked good here. Despite everyone rushing him and murdering his men, he stayed calm throughout and always had a plan. He was definitely useful here. Thor and Iron-Man had decent motivational speeches, but didn’t do much in the story beyond that. There is a subplot where Peggy thinks Cap still likes her while he actually likes someone else. This drama plot definitely feels like it’s out of left field. It could be resolved rather quickly but Cap is too nervous to say anything. I’m not too surprised. It’s not an easy decision of course, but he still needs to make the hero call here.

As for the villains, we mainly focus on the Tumbler. He’s not half bad although you can’t help but feel like he is just Batroc by another name. His agility lets him take on guys like Captain America, but I can’t see him lasting too long otherwise. The Moon villain was more of a threat and he was someone that I could take a lot more seriously. He had super strength, speed, and intangibility. I think he could also teleport. Captain America and the others really couldn’t beat him during the issues so his fans must be thrilled. He gave the issues some more stakes as this was a villain that they couldn’t beat with brute force alone. I also liked the design.

We also have the corrupt politician. He wasn’t quite as fun as Godfrey, but I liked him all the same. He did a good job of stringing everyone along in his plot. The Secret Empire members also weren’t bad although most of them weren’t actual characters. It is interesting how Hydra created so many splinter groups. It really is a dangerous organization in that sense since every major villain group seems to be connected to them in some way or other. I’m trying to figure out who the politician who destroyed himself was since it obviously rattled Cap. On one hand, I want to say that it was the President, but I suppose that would be a little too bold. Whoever it was, I still wonder why it would break Cap. Maybe they’ll say it in a future comic or maybe they won’t.

The art was certainly on point. Everyone was in their ironic costumes and it was easy to go from page to page. Everything was sharp and this comic has aged incredibly well in that respect. I breezed through the issues as a result. Good art can certainly make a difference in a comic. Now, this review may have been on the negative side as I just had a lot of logic issues with the whole thing, but it was a fun comic. If anything, it just reinforces to me that the Marvel characters are still a lot meaner than the DC ones. They doubt each other and change sides at the flip of a hat. That hasn’t really changed much over the years.

That said, the adventures were still fun to follow. Seeing Cap have to break out of jail and steal stuff was pretty interesting. The team up with the X-Men was a lot of fun as well and I hadn’t been expecting that. It was also interesting to see the X-Men in their extremely old costumes while everyone else looked quite a bit more modern. I believe their was a plot reason for that, but it was a fun contrast. I would have liked to have seen Cyclops do a little better in the fights, but this wasn’t exactly his rodeo.

Overall, It’s been a while since I read a Captain America comic. In many respects he was portrayed well as he takes command of the situation and always walks around with a strut. That being said, his self doubts and general disregard for everyone else could be a little extreme. The Falcon was certainly extreme and maybe it was just the writer who didn’t really understand the characters. It can make the issues funny in an ironic way as you wonder why everyone is acting this way, but it is certainly entertaining through and through. There are no objectionable scenes in the comic and it never drops a random animal scene or anything else to worry about. It’s just a fun action adventure and you can’t ask for much more than that. I’d recommend checking out this comic and you may look at Captain America in a whole different way.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man

170602-spider-man-inset
It’s time for the latest Spiderman adventure. Ultimate still feels pretty fresh but I’m glad that they churned out another show so soon. I never want the gap between titles to be too long. It’s off to a good start and should make for a solid Superhero show. The animation may not be that good, but considering how animation has been dropping off in American television for years now, it could have been a lot worse. I’ll definitely be sticking with it and will have a review up when the series is over.

Overall 7/10

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Review

Super
It’s always a little unfortunate when having a story mode isn’t a positive for a game. It’s not as if it’s bad enough to lower the score (Although it was close) but the game doesn’t benefit at all from having it. That being said, this is Super Hero Squad so you have to enter the game with reasonable expectations I suppose. I didn’t mind the show too much when I watched it although it is certainly one of Marvel’s weakest titles. I played the first game a while back so it was about time that I got to try out the sequel. It’s about as good, maybe slightly better. The gameplay is more diverse, but it doesn’t really do a whole lot to make a name for itself.

The plot is about how the Infinity Stones have surfaced. Iron-Man tells the Sqauddies that they cannot let the villains take them so they decide to collect them all. Unfortunately for them, Dr Doom and his army of henchmen are after them along with Loki and his cabal and even Thanos and the Skrulls. With 3 different factions after the stones, the heroes will have to keep their guard up at all time. They’re not too good at that though.

I mean, it is a comedy storyline since it’s in the Super Hero Squad universe so I never expected anything serious. That being said, the characters talk a lot during the game. I don’t mind this when it’s witty banter like in Spider-Man or Sonic, but when it’s these characters it just isn’t quite as fun. They all only seem to have 2-3 phrases as well so they end up repeating them over and over again. I think some more variety could have helped them out. The comedy is also pretty weak so the game won’t be getting any laughs out of you. The only scene that I actually thought was pretty fun was the final one where Thor puts on dancing boots and is forced to dance for everyone’s amusement. It was pretty mean of the others to just let that happen, but it is what it is.

The gameplay is your standard Ultimate Alliance/Lego style where it is mostly overhead as you dish out the pain. Each character has their standard punch and projectile. You can charge up these attacks and also use Ultimate Attacks when you have enough meter. The meter builds rather quickly so you can use the super attacks constantly. Button mashing your standard attack will work for just about the whole game as well since the enemies will just run into your attacks. It’s a pretty simple, but repetitive style since all of the enemies start to be the same after a while. I don’t really mind that per say as I love beat em ups and button mashing is one of my strengths.

What is annoying is that all of the bosses and big enemies have super armor so they hit you as you hit them. When your character is launched it takes a few seconds to get back up and the bosses also deal a lot of damage. You can expect to die a lot if you’re rushing through the bosses but it doesn’t count as actually losing unless both characters die at the same time. The A.I. is terrible so this may occur once in a while, but usually it’s not a big deal. So I like the actual combat for the minions, but the bosses weren’t really a lot of fun to beat up. I did enjoy getting a chance to spam my projectiles for such a long time though.

The game was clearly developed with co-op mode in mind. When playing single player there are some levels that just don’t work well. The ones where you have to shoot at objects approaching from the skies comes to mind. The A.I. couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn so you end up having to hit both sides on your own which gets really tricky. It made these levels tougher than they should have been. Same with parts where you have to use both character’s skills as the A.I. will follow you and forget what they’re supposed to do. It’s not really a problem if you choose to play co-op, but be warned if you’re a solo fighter.

The graphics aren’t bad even if they don’t look quite up to par with what you’d expect from a PS3 game. The character models look good enough and the level designs aren’t bad. It looks like a mobile game if I had to make a comparison so take that as you may. It’s acceptable while not being impressive. The soundtrack is less impressive as we get the classic theme song, but not much else. I wasn’t expecting much in this category to begin with though.

One part of the game that is pretty mild but annoying is that if a character is blocking your way, you can’t move. The A.I. has a habit of cornering you if you go into a tunnel so if you want to back out the only way is to switch to the other character and move him out of the way. It’s such a random little thing that you may have to do a double take at some points. Just one of those things that they probably should have picked up in quality control if they had been playing the game more.

The main campaign is 11 levels long and they vary in length. It’s not a very long game so I think you could reasonably complete it in around 5 hours or so. Perhaps a little less but the cutscenes do make a difference. The replay value here are the Challenges you can tackle and the large array of trophies available. I don’t imagine that this would be a very difficult game to Platinum if you were ever so inclined. There is certainly enough here to give the game some reasonable replay value.

Overall, Super Hero Squad was a little glitchy and the story wasn’t particularly engaging, but not everything can be Sonic Adventure 2 Battle right? I think the game could have used some more quality control, but it worked well enough. It had its issues, but I’d still say that it was a good game in the end. If it had dragged on too long that may have been an issue, but it didn’t happen. The gameplay is good and I did enjoy throwing everyone around with my special abilities. I think what makes this game seem a little worse than it is at times is how good most other games are. Comparatively speaking this game isn’t great, but if you look at the game on its own then it works pretty well. That’s a win in my book. So, buy this game if you want some classic Marvel action, but you should probably just grab Ultimate Alliance instead.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man Homecoming Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Ultimate Spiderman Review

61ba08aU0YL
It’s time for a superhero show that really serves as the definition of what you can expect from one. I feel like if someone ever asked me to name what I think is the title that feels like what you can expect from an average comic book show, I’d have to recommend this one. Justice League is a great Superhero show and Teen Titans Go is a poor one. Ultimate is more of a symbol of what they all strive to be. It’s not great or very good, but it’s not bad or even mediocre. It’s a good show that blends in a lot of action and comedy. All of Marvel’s current shows essentially have the same style to them and Spiderman is what started the trend. At over 100 episodes, I can safely say that the show did all right for itself.

The show’s main premise is that Nick Fury believes Spiderman should be doing something more with his life. Instead of taking out ordinary crooks, he wants him to become the Ultimate Spiderman. Spiderman decides to give this a shot and is placed on a Shield attack squad with White Tiger, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Nova. Together, the team has to take on a lot of villains and prove to the world that they are the strongest team out there. Can Spiderman really handle this level of pressure though?

Season 1 is mainly episodic as we get used to the team and see them take on challenges. There are quite a lot of guest stars to keep you interested such as Iron-Man, Hulk, and Doctor Strange. You also start to get a sense of which villains will play a big role as Venom and Doctor Octopus show up numerous times. Octopus can get old fast as his design is just so bad in this version and it doesn’t make for particularly engaging fights. Still, I suppose he makes sense as the big villain since he constantly has a master plan up his sleeve. I wish I could take him seriously but he has to be one of the worst villains in the show.

There aren’t many specific episodes to call out for season 1 as great ones since this was the weakest season. The Iron-Man team up against the Living Laser was pretty fun. The big two part episode with Green Goblin wasn’t bad either and Venom certainly got to appear quite a bit. On the whole I think they dropped the ball with Venom though. His never really gets around to being with Eddie Brock and is instead treated like more of a power up the whole time. Harry puts him on sometimes and then loses him again. Eventually the writers would decide on his roll, but I definitely didn’t miss his Harry days from season 1.

As for the characters, most of them are similar to how they are in the comics so I’ll really focus on the main ones. It’s interesting to see a young version of Luke Cage and Iron Fist. It’s an odd choice since part of Cage’s whole personality is that he’s a gritty guy who’s seen things and makes for a perfect anti hero to hire for a mission. Here he’s just a nice guy who goes to school. Iron Fist doesn’t have to be changed much as he’s just younger but they overplay his formal mannerisms at times. He’s probably the most mature member of the group though. White Tiger is the confident member of the group who always talks a good game, but she doesn’t really have any special abilities (At least for the first 20+ episodes) so it’s a little tough for her to keep up in a fight. Nova is the best member by far. He’s always pranking Spiderman and getting the last laugh in. Of course since he has the Power Cosmic, that is usually used as more plot hax than anything else. He should win every fight, but he just tends to miss every shot. That can be a little annoying.

Season 2 focuses on the Sinister Six. This means…you guessed it, Doctor Octopus is back in his full glory. He has assembled his team of powerful fighters like the Kraven, and Electro. Spiderman must put a stop to these guys while also helping the Lizard not get hurt in the process. He knows that a scientist is effectively trapped within the Lizard, but he’s doing his best to keep it under control. The Rhino is a kid underneath his guise, but the guy can’t seem to make up his mind on whether he wants to be a hero or not so it’s a little hard to help him out.

The Kraven episode may not sound great on paper as it’s just a team up with Spiderman and White Tiger, but it was actually pretty solid. The show did a lot of justice to Kraven as he was actually a real threat and always had good fight scenes in the show. I definitely enjoyed the episode at any rate and White Tiger finally got a big power up. The first Sinister Six episode also came on and it was pretty fun. It was rather rushed though as Spiderman had to beat them all in a single episode.

Then we had the Carnage episode which was fun. Again, I don’t think the Symbiotes were handled all that well and the show should have looked to the 90’s cartoon for inspiration but I suppose it did its best. I gotta give the Stan Lee team up episode a shoutout as well. Who would have thought that Spiderman would be teaming up with the One Above All? There were one liners for days in this episode. For a slightly more serious episode, the Deadpool guest star was fun. It was a little sad that Spiderman’s friends immediately preferred him, but Deadpool is charismatic. He always makes for good humor as well.
USW_ep_314_337x190_1427236505314
Season 3’s big hook is that it adapts the Spider Verse storyline from the comics. A mystical artifact is broken so Spiderman has to go to various universes to find the pieces. He meets up with Ultimate Spiderman, Noir, Spiderham, and other versions of himself along the way. It was a fun multi part epic, but the main problem was that it was incredibly repetitive. Every episode had the exact same format and story telling. It was cool seeing every Spiderman admit that the main one was the best every time, but it didn’t always seem sincere because of how much it was spammed. The show maybe laid it on a little thick that time. Spiderman was definitely a team player in this season as he ended up teaming with the Avengers and then forming his own Warriors group. They definitely kept Parker busy and this led to his original team from season 1 being gradually written out of the show.

The Avengers two part event was fun, but mostly just the second part. The first one didn’t really get to go anywhere since Loki and Spiderman switched bodies. The second at least gave us a fight between the Avengers and Spiderman’s new team. Agent Venom was cool since this was a route I could finally get behind for Venom. I miss his classic Brock form, but I suppose this is the next best thing. It’s just a shame that he got so weak after this. I basically already covered the Spider Verse. It would have been a lot better if not for being so repetitive.

The Crossover with Jessie was interesting since I didn’t even remember that the show existed. On a more epic note, the show adapted the Contest of Champions Mobile Game and that was a lot of fun. Honestly, I wish we could have gotten closer to 10 episode of this as there are so many cool fights you can pull off with this concept. There was quite a bit of plot hax at times and Spiderman did a bad job of picking his teams, but this one really took advantage of how the show loves its guest stars. Spiderman could basically choose from anyone that he’s met so there were a bunch of options. It wasn’t handled quite as well as the Secret Wars from the 90’s show, but it was good nonetheless.

Finally, Season 4 had the return of the Sinister Six. Yeah…the show decided to give them another season. I guess they felt they could do more with them. This last season was certainly the most ambitious though as it had quite a lot of plot lines and multi parters including the return of the Spider Verse. By the end of the show you had certainly gotten used to Spiderman and his friends.

Hydra is usually rather boring, but the opening two parter was good because it saw the debut of the Scarlet Spider and started the ball rolling. Unlike the first 3 seasons, this one had an ongoing plot that would last the entire season. Who is the Scarlet Spider and can they trust him? The Scarlet Spider is a fun character because he’s constantly insulting Spiderman and just generally being a jerk. Yeah, he’s definitely not a nice guy, but he’s not supposed to be one anyway. This is just how he rolls. Of course, it is far too late when they try to get us to feel bad for him. That’s the drawback of being this kind of character and making certain decisions.

The next episode was also pretty solid as Miles is brought into the picture and becomes a main character. The two Spidermen have to team up with Doctor Strange to defeat his version of the Green Goblin and it’s pretty intense. This character is consistently portrayed to be too powerful for the heroes so they have to use a lot of teamwork to keep him down. Miles is a fun enough Spiderman even if he can be a little overconfident despite not usually lasting too long in a fight. His electric abilities really help to give him an edge in a fight and make up for that experience though. He’ll only get better as he keeps on fighting.

The next episodes get pretty intense as the team faces the threat of a traitor in their midst. Agent Venom is put in a wheelchair and Harry falls into a coma. It’s hard to picture any of this happening in the first 3 seasons as it’s actually rather dark and the plot is very serious. The Sinister Six then returns and this time they go after Aunt May along with one of the traitors so Spiderman is forced to get serious about this ordeal. Another character seemingly dies at the end although we know that nobody ever dies in comic land.

We get back to back sagas as The Symbiotes slowly take over the world in one 3 part adventure and then the Spider Verse returns as the guest stars have to unite once more. Both of these events were pretty fun and the extra episodes really let the show cut loose. Even Gwen Stacy’s recent Spider-Gwen form gets to make an appearance. The Spider Slayers 3 part story was cool because Mary Jane finally got powers. She absorbed the Carnage symbiote and became one of the stronger characters in the series. That was definitely a nice upgrade to keep her up to par with the others. Mary Jane had a very small role throughout the series so her fans were glad to see the writers bringing her back in again. After being in season 1, she basically vanished for all of 2 and 3. From here on out, Mary Jane would be a main character although the series only had a few episodes left.
ultimate_spiderman_carnage_queen_mary_jane_by_boghyzew-daajv7t
Finally, the Graduation Day 2 parter was a good way to end the series. It may have been embarrassing for everyone else as they were stuck in a bubble and couldn’t break it the whole time, but we had to prove to the world once and for all that Spiderman is the ultimate fighter. Seeing him save everyone is always pretty satisfying. Yeah, as you can tell I was pretty satisfied with season 4 as a whole Honestly, it was a great season and would have gotten a solid 8 if the first 3 didn’t exist. That being said, 3 7 star seasons and 1 8 star season ultimately end up equaling a 7. No matter how great that last season was, it can’t just bring up the curve all on its own.

That’s why it’s a shame that the show didn’t get one more season. Honestly, if the quality had continued to look up like season 4, then this really could have gone down as one of Marvel’s best titles. The ongoing plot had started to get rock solid and this is where the past 100 episodes of situations and characters popping up could have come in handy. With the sheer amount of heroes in the story, the show could have adapted any story arc that it wanted too. I could see the show deciding to tackle the Civil War and it would actually be able to do it justice in this version. It was not to be, but it was a fun glimpse at what the show could have been. Just imagine if all 100+ episodes had been at this level of quality.

One area where the show always excelled was with its animation. It was stylized to look like the iconic 90’s cartoon, but with up to date graphics. It was a little more streamlined and had a dark color scheme that worked well with the night time moments. I’d probably still make the case that the 90’s show ultimately won as its character designs were a step up, but the show definitely delivered in this department. Compared to the other current titles like Guardians of the Galaxy, or the upcoming Spiderman show this is a world of improvement. I would mention Avengers, but the animation for that one got considerably better with Season 2. It’s still a little behind Spiderman, but it’s close enough at this point where I didn’t really need to deliver any burns. There’s unfortunately nothing to say about Ultimate Spiderman’s soundtrack. There’s not a single memorable tune in the entire show.

The current Marvel shows all like to place a big emphasis on comedy. I suppose they just don’t want their shows to get too serious and it helps them gel better with the live action films which use a similar format. That being said, the TV show writers are not necessarily at the same level at times so many of the jokes can be forced. This is Spiderman as well so you can bet that the jokes are constant. They don’t really bother me for the most part, but it does cement the fact that the show won’t be known as an epic one. It can’t quite reach the same level of intensity as Justice League, X-Men, or Avengers EMH as a result. It’s a fun show with a lot of action and cool guest stars, but it never gets past the “Fun” aspect of the show. That means it is relegated to a solid seven, but can’t hit the elusive 8.

That’s not to say that the show didn’t try. As you saw with some of the episodes I hand picked above, it did have some pretty serious ones. The show also had a lot of really good fights that actually had good hand to hand and really solid animation. It’s just that for every great episode I showed above, there were also some really lackluster ones or even downright bad episodes. Some did have crude humor which could be annoying and other episodes could be boring. Every show has a few episodes which aren’t that good, but they’re balanced out by a higher average.

One thing the show actually did well was give characters character development and keep the universe moving. A lot actually happened during the 100 episodes and most of the characters are vastly different from how they started. New designs, new powers, and even personality shifts. The status quo wasn’t the same as when the show started which is important. The show wasn’t always consistent with this and I do get annoyed that Spiderman’s spider sense didn’t always work, but I suppose that’s bound to happen in any Spiderman show.

I can count on one hand the number of characters that the show actually wrecked: Vulture, Doctor Octopus, and Rhino. Those are the main ones anyway and season 4 was able to redeem Doctor Octopus. Beyond that, everyone was pretty true to form and it was fun seeing them all show up. Spiderman was also a fun lead as he was ultimately the hero that we all know and love. By the end he was pretty experienced and wise as well since he became a leader and got to learn how to lead in a few episodes. He got serious when he had too and was also a sharp fighter. It really felt like you grew with the characters in this series.
maxresdefault (1)
Overall, Ultimate Spiderman is a fun show. Perhaps it’s not what everyone was expecting or hoping for, but I was satisfied with it. I’m still glad it exists and that it lasted so long. The fact that it was entertaining and came up with so many different stories is nothing to sneeze at. It’s probably the best Spiderman show next to the 90’s one and it does come very close to matching that one as well. Its longer length gives it more replay value at any rate. The next show is coming out soon so I’ll see how that one turns out, but my expectations are a little lower. I’m going to miss all of the guest stars and the rich history this show brought along with it, but I suppose it’ll be nice to go back to having a solo Spiderman story for a chance with occasional guest stars rather than constant ones. Hopefully it can work through its poor animation and deliver a pretty good product.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2017 Secret Empire Review

190454_1062287_1007
It’s time for a look at the big Marvel event that is coming up. The premise is pretty laughable and the actual comic has more plot hax than I’ve seen in a very, very long time. That’s part of the charm though, think of this as a satirical parody and you’ll be just fine. Otherwise, you’re just going t have to stretch your disbelief on this one a bit.

So, as you have probably heard by now, Captain America has turned evil. He works with Hydra now and wants to rule the world. The issue has him attack the Avengers so that he can bring everyone under his domain in one fell swoop. The Avengers roster is pretty strong as this point since they have female Thor, Iron-Man, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and a bunch of other fighters. No worries, Captain America has this planned out through very vague stuff as the heroes just start fainting. The narrator is pretty dramatic about the whole thing as he lets you know that the heroes were clearly outmatched. I value his input, but the heroes should have easily defeated Hydra. Even with Captain America on their side….it’s not as if the villains are that strong.

The art isn’t bad. There’s a red effect playing the whole time so it can be hard to see anything though. I don’t see this event being all that great, but I’m hoping that it’ll be somewhat good. Any Marvel event has the potential to be great since you’re bringing all of the big characters together for a lot of hype action scenes. How can that possibly go wrong right? I’m just going to need the writers to come up with a bunch of reasons for how the Avengers lost so easily so that at least one of them can be believable. Evil Captain America holding Mjolnir? Ha!

The backup story sees the start of a new Spider-Man series that must be written by Slott. The dialogue is just so bad that it must be him right? It starts off with Spider-Man and Mary Jane arguing quite a lot about everything that they can think of. They get in a lot of personal insults and then Spiderman has to run off to fight the Vulture. Spiderman acts very aggressively the whole time as he keeps on insulting the Vulture over and over again. Finally, they’re both immobilized because the new Trapster comes and takes them down. She steals the cash and insults both of them as well. Good thing she’s one of the “nice” villains who doesn’t want to actually destroy the heroes. She could have finished off Spiderman but decided not to do so. That’s nice of her.

I’m also glad that the comic referenced how old Spiderman is nowadays. The new Trapster mentions how he was around when she was a kid so he must be ancient by now. It’s definitely true since Spiderman should be very old at this point and time. Luckily being a hero gives you some immunity to the usual effects of time passing. You just can’t stop a friendly neighborhood Spiderman. I can’t say that there’s much of a hook to continue reading the story though. It seems like this is going to be a pretty bad depiction of Spiderman and the new villain isn’t much of a threat. Perhaps the point is that Spiderman will be back to dealing with street level opponents, but that doesn’t really come across as very epic now does it? Still, if the writing improves then it could be a good story.

Overall, I still can’t get past the concept of Secret Empire. Am I really supposed to be taking Hydra seriously after all of these years? The characters sure weren’t as they kept making puns and one liners even while they were being defeated. Clearly they weren’t feeling the danger. For Spiderman it seems like the same ole same old stuff, but I’m sure they could do something there to make the whole thing more exciting. Hopefully the event/series premiere ends up turning out good. It’ll have to be from the normal comic readers though as this issue likely won’t bring more people on board.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2017 Guardians of The Galaxy Review

STL037590
With the film currently out, it definitely makes sense to have a Guardians comic. The marketing guys were definitely ready. It’s also clearly movie inspired at this point with the roster being identical. Surprisingly the comic seems to have gotten the D rank artists. The art looks terrible and I’m just wondering what happened to the series. The previous comics that I had read of it looked quite good so this is a big drop in quality. In particular, Rocket and Drax look very off. Still, you can’t say that Gamora or Star Lord look much better either.

In the plot, the team has gotten captured by the Nova Core. The Nova are finally back in biz after apparently being out of commission for a while, but now their members are all expendable green aliens who are picked on by the Shiar. The Guardians escape of course and steal a ship as well. The problem is that everyone is after them as per usual so the team is going to have to stay sharp and stick to the shadows. It’s a decent story, but the art is just a real drawback. The comic also got surprisingly brutal in one scene as someone’s eye is taken. That scene was pretty unnecessary and you can probably guess which member of the group brought this to the table. Meanwhile the “Drax is a pacifist” plot will definitely be intriguing. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Luckily, the backup story is a lot better. This time, the Defenders are getting some hype since the show is almost here. With the Kingpin out of the way, Diamondback wants to bring Hell’s Kitchen to its knees once more. The problem is that Daredevil and his friends are always getting in the way. To fix this, he heads to Jessica Jones’ office and shoots her. He also sends a message to the other members via attacks from his cronies and declares the neighborhoods to be his. If the heroes attack him…he’ll attack back!

This story was good because the art was very solid. The shading effects were great and all of the characters seemed well rounded. The writing was solid and this is a good way to hook in a new audience of comic readers. The cliff hanger was good and even if these gangsters seem a little outmatched, it could still make for a pretty good story arc. I’m not sure about Jessica losing so easily but maybe she doesn’t have any real abilities in the current comics. That or this Diamondback fellow is just that fast. Regardless, it brings some nice stakes to the table.

Overall, this was a good issue. Defenders really brought its A game and it’ll be nice to see the team get some recognition again. It’s been a long time since they were talked about in the same sentence as the Avengers or Fantastic Four so if the series gets big, then that problem will go away. Guardians didn’t really go anything for me. I suppose the Shiar vs Nova corp subplot could be good, but only if there are some actual characters on the Nova side and they’re not just all nameless aliens. Bring back the X-Men as well, those crossovers always looked pretty fun.

Overall 7/10

Agent Carter Review

Agent_Carter_Official_Logo
It’s time to finally review the Agent Carter show. I have to admit that I got off on the wrong foot with this shoe right from the get go since the first episode was pretty bad. While the show mostly never got quite that bad again, it did suffer from a fairly unlikable cast and a rather boring plot. Not much of note ends up happening in this series and while you can argue that this is the point of a spinoff, I would counter with a Scientific Railgun. I do think this show beats Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but the latter is certainly more exciting. All right, lets dig into this review!

The show takes place before Peggy helped found SHIELD. While you may have thought that the point of the show was getting to see her form the team, that never happens so you should try to forget about that. She works with the SSR, but they don’t respect her because she is a lady. This also means that most of the guys don’t know how to do their jobs so Peggy has to help them all constantly. There are only 18 episodes between the two seasons so the show is fairly short, but each season has a plot. The first one involves villains stealing a lot of Stark tech and now Peggy has to get it all back. The second involves a corrupt politician and a lady who learns how to use dark matter. Peggy may not have any fancy super powers or anything like that, but she has a can do attitude and a lot of “witty” comebacks. The villains will have to tread carefully.

In case you can’t tell, I didn’t like Peggy Carter at all. She does a very terrible job of holding up the show and usually just helps to bring it down. I could go on a long rant about Peg, but lets just stick to the basics. For starters, she’s the tough female lead. That’s her character trope and she doesn’t get much personality beyond that. That’s fine, we’ve had many good characters like that such as Wonder Woman, Medaka Kurokami, Bra, (From Dragon Ball Multiverse anyway) and Dorothy from MAR. The issue with Peggy is that it feels very artificial. Medaka is an exaggerated version of the trope, but the series has fun with it and hey, Medaka actually is pretty tough. She could easily destroy planets by the end of the series. Wonder Woman is self explanatory as she’s a very strong character, but also has a winning personality. Dorothy’s nice and vicious and isn’t afraid to brutally murder someone if she feels like it. Bra just beats up everyone and then insults them afterwards. For Peggy, the writers seemed to think that people wouldn’t take her seriously so they really overplayed their hand by underplaying it.

In the very first episode, Peggy has to use her feminine wiles to solve the case. Naturally, she spits after going through with the plan to show us all that she’s tough and that doing this wasn’t personal. Sure…doesn’t change the fact that her skills as an agent were not enough and this is only the first episode. James Bond does this as well, but he’s one of the worst characters in cinema history (Lets not go extreme folks. Just main characters) and I’d put him in the tr-sh tier. Peggy’s not quite that awful. I just don’t get the logic from the writer’s point of view. This was literally the very first episode of the series, how are we supposed to take her seriously after that? She spends the rest of the series knocking guys out and getting a lot of verbal burns in. To help show that she’s the tough one of the group, her partner is Jarvis. A very frail, weak man who can’t fight for beans and is always very nervous. Ah, I see what the writers are doing here. The contrast will make her appear to be even tougher eh? Very slick guys!

Maybe….mayyyyybe this could have worked….but then the romance sets in. If you thought Carter was unbearably annoying in the first season, she gets worse in the second. A random joe shows up and they basically fall in love at first sight. Remember the guy from season 1? Forget about him, Carter’s ready for a new fellow this time around. Unfortunately, the guy turns out to be someone who lets others step on him and joins the villains. He quickly joins up with the heroes again on his dying breath and that’s that. Carter gets over it, but these romances aren’t really helping her toughness angle. Carter is also used for fanservice on more than one occasion which doesn’t help either. The worst part though is the fact that Peggy just isn’t a likable character. There was never a moment where I thought…”Here’s a good character”. None of her scenes really gave me that impression.

No worries, her supporting cast is just as bad. Lets start with Howard. You’ll remember him as Tony Stark’s father? Well, he has all of Tony’s bad qualities without possessing any of his good ones. He’s just another guy who flirts with everyone and it’s supposed to be endearing and funny. It’s funny in a “Ah man, when’s this guy gonna leave the screeeeen” *cue fake polite smile* way. He is supposed to be smart, but since the villains are always getting the best of him and his stuff keep getting stolen, I’m going to go on a limb here and say that he’s not very smart. Luckily, he doesn’t appear all that often.
10-agent-carter-ep6-w750-h560-2x
We’ve got Jarvis at the ready and I guess he’s the best character. He’s portrayed as incredibly inept at just about everything and it’s handled well. I typically tend to like that kind of character, but they can be handled badly. He’s fun to have around and the only annoying part was his spat with Carter towards the end of the series where he decided to go in a full rage mode. I was actually on his side as opposed to Carter’s (Okay…I guess that’s not a surprise) but he really made his side look terrible by being held hostage. Now that was just embarrassing. He may never get to be all that tough, but at least we finally got to see him in the Cinematic Universe.

Next up is Jack. He’s the “tough” male lead. Oh boy…this isn’t going to end well for him is it? If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re absolutely right! He starts off as a fairly intimidating character of course and he’s actually decently good at his job. This goes downhill fast though as he gets to see some real action in a gun fight. This traumatizes him and he freezes up so Carter has to come to the rescue. She promises not to tell anyone though. Jack’s never the same after that and then he’s naive enough to trust the villains and allow bribery to slow him down until one of the very last episodes. Ultimately, he does break away and decides to blow up a building, even though an innocent man is still inside. Hey…at least he’s hardcore right? Jack never seems to do all that well against the villains, but he is good at taking the credit. He’s the kind of character that you want to like, but just isn’t actually good enough to be likable. If he’d win a little more, then that would definitely help quite a lot.

Uh oh, we’ve got another “tough” character. Daniel is quite easily one of the worst characters in the show and that’s saying something. Here’s the problem, Daniel has crutches because one of his legs is basically broken, but the show still wants to paint him as one of the best agents in the business. This resorts in completely unbelievable battle scenes where he beat someone even though he can’t actually stand upright. He’s essentially beating them up while holding on to his crutch. I don’t care how little battle experience these thugs have, I just could not believe it. The show didn’t do a good job of convincing me of it at all. It gets a little worse for Daniel when he becomes Daniel the rebound guy. Basically, Peggy wouldn’t go out with him so he just finds someone else and then they get into a super
“serious” relationship. Daniel immediately breaks it off when Peggy’s other boyfriend dies off since he now has a chance and she’s eager for the rebound. It makes both of the characters look so shallow and petty the entire time. They are basically just using everyone else until the situation is just right for them to get together.

Dooley was a fairly good SSR boss to have. He was also rather naive though and talking to one of the big villains in his office with the door closed was not a smart move. I don’t put any stock into the whole hypnotism thing so that was just embarrassing for him to fall for. He got a dramatic end though as he broke into a pretty intense sprint with the most high budget explosion of the series. Everyone finally started to get their act together after that moment.

Dottie was one of the main villains of the series. She’s pretty tough and acts as Peggy’s main rival. She’s also involved for most of the series violence. Carter’s typically not that violent although Dottie getting tortured was pretty high up there and the implied death to the crazy dentist. I don’t recall much more than that and it’s a lot more tame than Agents of SHIELD. Dottie’s a fairly good character and she certainly has a very twisted personality. I think it’s safe to say that she’s the best villain of the series. Her boss was more of a generic evil scientist so he didn’t steal the show quite as effectively.

Whitney was the big boss for season 2. She may not have had Dottie’s experience, but she got alien abilities where she could zap people with black energy and destroy them pretty easily. She just needs to grab an opponent to defeat them so she was fairly overpowered. There wasn’t much that the heroes could do to stop her so they utilized the powers of plot hax. It’s economical and effective. She wasn’t bad, but she did use her powers to destroy a lot of mice so that definitely hurt quite a bit. She was also maybe a little too eager to have some help from Jason with the experiments since I don’t see how he could have offered much help at all. She got most of the last laughs though and I can safely say that Jason did not have a pleasant time.

Jason was the annoying love interest from season 2 that I mentioned earlier. He doesn’t last that long though and his character circle from “likable” supporting character to villain to heroic death dude was very rushed. I never really got to like the guy. His plan wasn’t great though and getting strapped down and tortured by the villains should have been an inevitability that he saw coming given how he really couldn’t trust any of those guys for beans.

Aloysius is a scientist who showed up in season 2. I had to bring him up because he’s pretty crazy. His romance is probably the worst in the entire show and he just acts like a jerk to everyone for no real reason. That’s when he’s at his best of course. The romance just ruins him though and there wasn’t much of a point to his character. He had his funny moments, but they were few and far between. Still, I guess it’s good to have a disgruntled employee into the main cast mix once in a while to spice things up. Other minor characters that I didn’t get to discuss include Jarvis’ wife. She’s a likable character who definitely has a lot of spirit. We’ve got the corrupt politician who’s just annoying. There’s a gangster boss who helps Whitney out in season 2. He was all right, but never really got past the “generic gangster” bit.

This show just suffers from the ripple effect. You know how people say that a really good character can make everyone around him good and improve the show as a whole? Well, the reverse must logically be true as well. Since I didn’t care for Peggy or the show as a whole, it makes sense that the rest of it would appear to be negative as well. I feel like they all helped to bring each other down and that’s why they all seemed pretty unlikable to me by the end. I also just don’t really have any fond memories of this show. It’s not as if it’s rotten to the core, but I don’t see any real reason to recommend it either.

Of course, I don’t expect many live action shows to get a positive rating as it is. It’s why I don’t watch very many of them. At the moment, the only live action show I’m even watching is Agents of Shield. Live action television has never really been able to do all that well and I think it’s because cartoons are just able to perform any plot a lot better. Live action is always limited by its budget and ditto for the action scenes since actors/actresses can only perform so well. An animated character doesn’t have to worry about choreography and can just launch into any battle. As a result, they’re typically a lot more fun. That’s not even getting into the soundtrack differences.
016601d677309a298258187f565d359c
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Agent Carter. There are certainly better things to do with your time than watch this title. It doesn’t really add just about anything to the mythos and you certainly won’t be missing any important tidbits of information if you skip the series. I’d sooner recommend watching a recent action movie like Avengers Confidential where the action scenes are incredibly good and the Punisher gets his best portrayal of all time. If Peggy ever gets a film, hopefully it takes place when she is actually a SHIELD Agent so there can be some more stakes or she can time travel and help the heroes on an alien planet or something. Adding in some sci-fi elements never hurt.

Overall 3/10