2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Blade: Trinity Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 2/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Blade Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 1/10

Manga

Spider-Man: Fake Red


This Spider-Man series is off to a solid start. The general premise of Spider-Man vanishing and someone having to take over for him is pretty interesting. I look forward to seeing where it goes and hopefully the series lasts for a long while. I’ll have a review up for it when the series finishes.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Fantastic Four: Fantastic Origins Review


It’s time to look at a recent take on the Fantastic Four origin story. It’s definitely a classic origin that everyone knows pretty well by now, but it hasn’t been remade quite as often as some other origins like Batman’s or Spiderman’s. It’s also been a while since I read it so it was a fun trip down memory lane. There are some new elements added like the Mole Man, but for the most part it plays it pretty straight and is certainly a solid comic.

So the book starts with Reed Richards deciding that he wants to be the first person to go to space with his crew and investigate some cosmic rays. He gets his Susan, Johnny, and Ben Grimm to go with him. His partner in science warns Reed not to do this, but he doesn’t listen and they all get blasted by cosmic rays. Now Reed can stretch, Human Torch can fly and shoot fire, The Thing has a rock solid defense and super strength while Sue can turn invisible and create powerful barriers. They are now going to be called the Fantastic Four and must keep the world safe from those who would oppose it.

The first half of the book is about the heroes getting used to their abilities and after that we get two main adventures. The first one deals with the Mole Man as he shows up to attack the city. His underground monster is certainly fierce and since the city has no real protectors at the moment he does a lot of damage. It’s a pretty fun first story and the direction they took the Mole Man in here was unique. It’s a nice spin on the typical adventure and seeing him as a supporting character would be pretty fun. He’s no Reed Richards but certainly quite smart in his own way.

The other story involves Namor as he regains his memories and decides to destroy the city. He also ends up falling for Invisible Woman in a sub plot. I’ve never been a big fan of the guy and that hasn’t changed now. He just feels really petty all the time and not very smart either. He’s like a very petty version of Aquaman. It’s still a solid follow up story though the first one wins on all fronts. This certainly won’t be the last time the FF have to deal with this guy.

There is also one bonus adventure at the end which works as a preview for another series. We see the FF deal with the Wizard and Reed then heads back to base where he has been quite distant for a while. The various clones that the Wizard creates disturbed him and so he heads to his secret place, a convention of Reed Richards from various parallel universes. A few of them even have the Infinity Gauntlet and they have invited the main version to join them. It’s a pretty compelling pilot and I did enjoy the artwork quite a bit. Reed’s current design would take some getting used to, but I could definitely see the arc being quite great.

Back to the main comics here though. One thing I liked here was how quick Reed was able to find a cure for Thing and his determination here. Part of why Ben was always upset is because Reed is so smart that he could do just about anything and yet curing The Thing always seemed to be something that was quite far off. That’s not the case here and in general Reed is just quite solid. He’s one of the more underrated geniuses in Marvel seeing as how I would actually put him as the smartest character in the verse.

Invisible Woman also looks good and her powers get a lot of credit. She’s always been the strongest member of the team, but the original comics didn’t always do a great job of showing it. There is no doubt who the power hitter is in this collection and that’s a good thing. How do you beat someone with near unbreakable barriers and an array of other force related abilities? Human Torch easily gets the smallest role of the 4, but he’s in character. He definitely has the most fun with his abilities.

The Thing is my only real problem with the comic. His bad attitude is usually not all that justified but other comics have done a better job of showing why he’s so upset. Here he goes from 0-100 as he tries to murder Reed almost as soon as they exit the ship. I thought that was a bit much and a total overreaction considering what just happened. There wasn’t even enough time for the implications of the crash to totally hit him. Reed handles this as best he can, but the Thing never truly came back from this rocky start.

Meanwhile the Mole Man looked pretty good and as I mentioned earlier he has a bit of a unique character arc here. I get the feeling that he would ultimately turn evil if the series were to keep going, but at least right here right now he wasn’t bad and gets to be in an adviser position. There may quickly get to be too many brains in the room though. In this version Reed has an assistant who doesn’t get along with Sue all that much. Fortunately the comic doesn’t even try to turn this into a romance triangle because Reed’s definitely not the kind of guy to waver and Sue’s not petty enough to actually get too upset at the assistant. Nevertheless, they don’t get along much and I wonder what the point of this character is. She doesn’t hurt things or anything, but if you cut her out then nothing really changes at all.

The intro also throws you a few easter eggs like a quick cameo from Dr. Doom. I’d say that the story did as much as it could within the page count and is one of the better origin stories. I also thought the art was really solid. It is definitely above average and the pages all flow together really well. I ended up reading the trade from cover to cover. Sometimes it’s nice to go back to the simple days of street level threats rather than galactic showdowns. This is a comic that new and longtime fans can enjoy.

Overall, This is a pretty solid comic. It takes us back to the basics of the series while keeping the adventures fresh. The Thing is still pretty ungrateful the whole timed you ask me but he definitely did get the worst transformation out of the 4. Reed brings up an interesting point that the other 3 can at least look normal through sheer willpower so it is odd that the Thing can’t do so. Maybe one day he would be able to control his power, that would definitely be a cool plot twist. If you haven’t read this comic yet then I would certainly suggest checking it out. The writing is pretty sound and it’s an engaging read.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

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

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Ant-Man+ Review


Time for the next Marvel one shot with Jump. This time Scott Lang gets to take the center stage. I’m assuming this was probably for some cross promotion with the movie which makes sense. The story is longer than Deadpool’s and has more of a focused plot. I’d say that this story is actually a little stronger even if Ant Man doesn’t make for quite as solid a lead. Scott does his best either way which is the important part.

In this story his daughter decides to visit Japan for a week. Scott thinks this is a little dangerous so he tags along, but quickly finds out that she is doing okay without him. Scott gets a little bummed out by all of this and starts reflecting on his old life of crime which has led him to hie current situation. His original fears are soon validated though as Cassie (the daughter) gets sick and lands in the hospital. While the doctors are confident they can cure her on their own Scott shrinks down to see what’s wrong for himself. It turns out that a super villain is inside of her and plans to mind control Cassie. Scott can’t have any of this so he gets ready to take action.

While Scott humiliates himself with the villain as he lets her appearance get the best of him, he mostly looks good in the other scenes. The guy may have low confidence and not be the strongest hero but at least he means well and is always doing his best to do the right thing. He did become a hero and stop committing crimes so that is certainly a start. His abilities are also pretty useful when you think about it. You get to shrink and you keep the normal strength of a full grown person. That’s perfect for sneak attacks and in this case saving his daughter from a tiny villain.

The villain had a quick sob story to try and justify her evil actions. It was definitely a tough situation for her, but I think she did jump to the whole kidnapping angle pretty quickly. There should be a few more things she can try, but all’s well that ends well I suppose. The art is pretty good here. Some of the big zoom ins on Ant Man and the other characters may not always work, but for the most part it’s definitely really good. The brief fight scene we get with the virus is also sharp and probably the best looking part of the story. I always do prefer detailed art like this when given the chance, but it also has a high risk of error. I think as an artist the simple designs are the safest but the payoff is just so good when you can really hammer out the details. I feel like you should also have more time with a one shot so that makes it more feasible to get the detailed artwork in.

Overall, Ant-Man+ is a solid one shot. At around 40 pages there is enough time here to develop the characters and even give you a quality fight scene. The writing is solid and I liked the portrayal of the Ants. They all did have their own personalities and weren’t afraid to stand their ground. The fire ant who walked back on over after Ant Man shooed him away definitely had guts. I think this story will serve as a good introduction to Ant-Man for the casual fans. It may not leave too much of a lasting impact unless they look him up right away but I do think these one shots are a good idea and I hope Marvel does more of them. Finally, keep a lookout for an Ultraman reference in this story.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Deadpool: Samurai Review


It’s time to take a look at a quick one shot that came out for Deadpool a while back. It’s always nice to see Marvel have some collaborations with Shonen Jump. It definitely breaks the wall quite a lot as you would expect from a Deadpool comic and definitely delivers on all the action you would expect. It’s pretty entertaining and at only one chapter you’ll be breezing through this story real quick.

It starts with a bunch of samurai gangsters attacking a girl. Fortunately they are interrupted as Deadpool shows up inside of a baby carriage. He decides to stop these guys and save the girl while hurling insults the whole time. The gangsters have never dealt with anyone quite like Deadpool so as you can imagine they are definitely not too well equipped to handle this guy. They’ll have to try using all the weapons at their disposal, but against a guy who is basically immortal all this will ultimately do is prolong the inevitable. The victor is never in doubt in this title.

The artwork is certainly pretty nice. The action scenes are on point and there is a lot of detail here. Whoever drew the comic definitely gave it their all and didn’t phone it in. I could easily see this getting some more chapters and doing well as an ongoing series. There’s just a lot you can do with Deadpool and the art would be able to keep up.

The actual story may not have a lot of stakes since it’s obvious that Deadpool will beat up on these humans, but for a one shot it’s not like you’re trying to build up any big plots anyway. It’s really just about introducing people to Deadpool and throwing in some one liners. There are a lot of third wall breaking moments as Deadpool keeps plugging in the comics. I’m definitely fine with skipping his origin story here since as he mentioned most people will likely know it anyway. Even if he was a brand new character, I feel like the origin story isn’t something that you worry about for the pilot. It would take too much time away from everyone else.

Most of the story is Deadpool just owning everyone and reminding the audience that he isn’t a total hero like the others. Ultimately he is protecting the girl but he is murdering everyone else so think of him like the Punisher. His goals align more with the average hero’s, but he doesn’t go all in on trying to save everyone the way that they do. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. The manga can get a little violent even with the parody nature so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re reading of course. Pretty much everyone gets bullets and stabs into them before the day is through.

Overall, It was a little surprising to see Deadpool as one of the first characters to get his own manga one shot, but I suppose he should have a lot of international value. I wonder if the movies did well in Japan. The final scene of the manga is definitely pretty fun and it’s something I would like to see more characters do. Since nobody in this world knows who Deadpool is he can really go crazy with trolling everyone. We get a quick guest star near the end which was fun. I think the artist could definitely do a good job with this character as well. If you haven’t read this story yet then you should check it out. It’s quite fast and a solid enough read on its own.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Symbiote Spider Man Review


It’s time to look at a Spider Man trade. This one has him in the symbiote suit even though he denies it the whole time and claims that it’s just a robotic replacement. I think it’s fair to say that it’s the real deal based on everything it does in this volume, but I suppose I can’t say that with 100% confidence. It’s a fun adventure that should feel nostalgic to long time fans of this neighborhood hero.

Mysterio is sick and tired of being treated like a D rank villain. He’s B rank at the absolute worst. Unfortunately even his friends make fun of him so he decides that he’ll have to stop Spider-Man if he really wants to be taken seriously again. He has a friend who works for Kingpin and together they decide that taking Spidey’s new suit away is the first step. To do that Mysterio blackmails Black Cat into helping out. Will she really help him claim part of Spidey’s suit or will she realize that betrayal is never the right option and make the heroic choice?

This isn’t Peter’s best appearance, but before I lay into him I should give you guys some context. It’s been a really rough time period for him in general. Aunt May is no longer on speaking terms with Peter due to a lot of events that have happened recently which has taken a toll on him. He’s currently together with Black Cat but she only liked him when he’s wearing the costume which isn’t all that helpful. Right now the only thing that is really going well is his life as Spider-Man. Even so he does let his guard down quite a bit and doesn’t trust his Spider Sense the way he should.

There are two big times it would have helped him here. One of those times is with Mysterio. The guy wasn’t actually there at one point so the spider sense didn’t act up, but Peter ignored it anyway and jumped in which ultimately just led to a losing battle. The other instance which was a bigger issue is when Black Cat decides to trick him. This time his spider sense does flare up, but Peter doesn’t question it as he just wants to have a good time. Naturally this leads to Cat getting the last laugh. Peter may just think it was worth it, but without the suit looking after him things could have gone pretty badly. Peter does have an idea of what happened afterwards, but it was a little late for that. If Black Cat actually meant to hurt him that would have been it for the hero.

So he doesn’t look great when he’s around Black Cat. That’s really the bottom line here. Even after she talks to Aunt May she appears to be more reasonable than Peter in that discussion. He doesn’t even want to stay back to talk with her and just dashes off instead. While these scenes do hurt him, at least it is nice to see Peter as more of an adult. It’s an era of him you don’t see all that often anymore as in the Dan Slott comics he always acts like a teen anyway. At least in this trade this is peak Peter who’s got a lot of experience and knows how to fight with any of his enemies. It’s always good to see him getting that level of respect.

Meanwhile Mysterio looks good. He actually has some good plans and did know enough to blackmail Black Cat. The comic takes him seriously and the guy does a good job of getting some clout back. It’s not like he’s going to immediately rocket up the ranks as one of Spider-Man’s deadliest enemies but it’s still a nice appearance. I liked him in the recent film too so maybe things are looking up for the villain. His suit does allow for a lot of fun fights with all the holograms running around. Then we have Black Cat who doesn’t look quite as good. I think she did allow herself to get manipulated a little too easily. Honestly I think if she got to Spider-Man right away and explained her origins he would take it well. If he didn’t then she would be better off without him anyway.

Bad luck is a terrible power as it is so she doesn’t need to worry about someone else not liking it. Plus Peter already knows about the ability, he just doesn’t know the origins. It’s not as if the whole thing would be great news, but most of it wasn’t her fault. The parts that were aren’t downright terrible. By allowing herself to be blackmailed Black Cat just put herself in a tougher spot with Peter and also opened the door to letting others use the same intel on her. Until she confesses to someone it’ll always be live ammo and that’s really dangerous for anyone who’s not a total villain.

The art is definitely really good here. Spider-Man’s symbiote suit is really sharp and all of the colors are on point. This comic can hold its own with any of the others and this also makes for a lot of great fight scenes. You’ll be blasting right through the volume. Then you’ve got the solid writing backing it up as well. It seamlessly works in with the era where these stories take place.

Overall, Symbiote Spider Man is definitely a really solid trade. I always like seeing the symbiote suit in action and the fact that it can fight on its own is also really good. Even when Peter is knocked out it can think and fight which happens once here. The only odd scene was when one part of the suit didn’t want to join with the rest. It just struck me as odd that it wouldn’t readily join with the collective especially since Peter is usually its favorite host. I feel like it only left to force a big fight for the climax which was fun, but they could have written around that. Nonetheless, this suit is an improvement over the classic one, especially since it can turn into any other costume it wants to be. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet then you should change that. It’s not every day that you get to see Mysterio get a super form right?

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Guardians of The Galaxy Review


It’s time to take a look at another recent Marvel cartoon. This one actually made it to 3 seasons which is pretty impressive. Whenever a show ends up with more than 50 episodes I’d count that as a win for the title and this one had over 70. It’s pretty by the books and the main characters aren’t quite as engaging as the Avengers of course, but it’s nonetheless a solid action/adventure show you could recommend for all ages. It also did get a fair share of guest stars and such which is always nice to have.

The first season mainly deals with the team being on a wild goose chase to find the Cosmic Seed before an onslaught of villains can grab it and use the seed to destroy worlds. Among the powerful villains who want this seed is Thanos and Ronan. Get used to most of the Guardian villains because you’ll be seeing them a lot. This season has less of a focused plot than the next two, but it does serve to introduce us to the main characters and since the seed’s signal is always hiding it does give a good reason for the Guardians landing on every planet they can.

The next season brought in Adam Warlock which was a lot of fun and Star Lord’s father shows up to try and cause trouble again. This time he plans on using the Nova’s power to conquer the world and he also tricks the cult with Mantis and the others into trying to stop the Guardians. Since their abilities run on belief that makes them very difficult to defeat since it’s just hard to shake them. As long as their faith holds true they are effectively invincible. The Guardians definitely have their hands full here. I’d say that this season did beat the first one. While there was no noticeable uptick in animation compared to Assemble’s upgrade, it did give us more fights and a fun plot.

Finally we had the third season. This time the Guardians are framed and have to travel the cosmos to clear their name. Along the way they meet up with Spider-Man and also have to team up with the Mad Titan Thanos to stop the latest enemy. This new enemy is called the Serpent and his abilities are so powerful that he is even able to overwhelm powerful foes like Thor. The episodes with the Asgard plot and the Darkhawks is definitely solid. The episodes where the Guardians are split up and have to re-unite are more hit or miss since Starlord typically carries the show and he doesn’t always appear there.

First lets get the technicals out of the way. The animation is pretty solid. It’s nothing amazing and gets shredded by any 90’s-2000s comic book show, but it’s still not bad or anything. The screen is always clear and we do get some pretty reasonable fight scenes. The hits just don’t pack the same punch as they would have in an older show and that could be due in part to the lack of sound effects. I think a big part of a good fight scene is having solid effects to back it up and that’s something that Guardians is definitely missing. Still, it’s not as if this show is all that focused on power levels anyway. At the end of the day it’s fairly loose so just enjoy the action scenes and don’t think too hard about who should win the battle.

In terms of writing the show isn’t bad. Just keep in mind that this show is a comedy first and foremost, the action and adventure are back-up genres. It’s a mix of all 3 of course but the show always throws in the one liners during the serious moments as well as in the fights. As a result it’s naturally not going to be in the same league as some of the big hitters from back in the day, but it also means that you’ll be looking at the writing a little differently. It’s entertaining which is the important part.

A good amount of this is due to Star Lord who is handled perfectly here. He’s easily the most fun character in the series. It helps that he got Ron’s voice actor from Kim Possible which was a brilliant casting choice. I can’t stress enough what a good move that was since it fits his character perfectly. Nobody on the team respects Star Lord and that is amped up to 10 in this TV show. Everytime he talks one of the other members is quick to jump in and insult Star Lord. I think one of the most powerful parts of his character personality is that he just lets the insults roll away. Star Lord does care but he knows that deep down the team is still on his side. He may not have won their respect, but a good leader can still adapt. At least 90% of the funny moments are thanks to him.

Gamora is definitely the next best member of the group. She’s always up for a good fight, but knows her limits better than Drax. She’s the most professional member of the group and saves the team quite often. Even when she is not familiar with the rules of battle in a specific setting like the video game episode, she is quick to learn how to win. She’s just a natural and that’s why she’s known as the deadliest woman in the universe even if the title is hyperbole. Groot is still the worst member of course and basically just slows everyone down. He’s always complaining about something or other even if we can’t actually understand him. You can just tell because Rocket has to tell him to quiet down.

Drax is not very smart as always so he falls for all of the traps and such. There’s one episode with the Hulk where he is completely unreasonable the whole time and even Hulk has to point out how sad it is that he is the smartest guy in the room. Rocket is always talking back to everyone so he can be fun, but he definitely can’t hold his own episode the way that some of the others can. He needs someone to banter off of in order to succeed and that’s where Howard comes in. Howard is handled extremely well in this show and tends to steal the show whenever he appears. He’s a solid rival to Rocket and part of why it works is because he’s shown to be around as good as Rocket. I would give the raccoon the slight edge overall, but it’s actually pretty close throughout.

Thanos gets a big role here so it’s always fun to see how he is portrayed compared to his movie self. While they go for a similar vibe, he is naturally less “heroic” here compared to in the movies. He has no delusions about being the savior of the universe here and is more of your classic villain type. It was cool to see him take on the Serpent near the end of the series. Obtaining the Carnage symbiote was definitely a fun idea even if he would become way too OP at that point. The guy’s already well above the Guardians weight class so whenever he shows up they usually need some kind of plot hax to defeat him. Nonetheless, he’s one of the highlights in the show.

I also did like the Serpent and he worked really well as a final boss. The guy did a lot of damage throughout and was a great villain. While the tree did a lot of the work he also showed that he could fight up close with the the other power hitters. Another solid villain was Star Lord’s father J’son. J’son shows up quite a lot and the show does a good job of showing how manipulative he is. No matter how many times he turns out to be evil the guy does a good job of suckering everyone. Just about every planet he goes to ends up buying into his act. He’s also a sharp thinker and does tend to plan for things well in advance. You always want a mastermind villain like that to back up the other more aggressive villains so you get a nice balance.

On the Nova side, Rhomann Dey gets a pretty big role. He’s definitely had enough of the Guardians’ antics by the end of the show, but it’s not like there is a whole lot he can do about it either. He doesn’t have any powers and the Nova Corp is so easily corrupted that he gets demoted every time the heroes get away. Still, you gotta love the guy’s determination I suppose and his voice actor also does a good job since Dey always sounds irritated and a little defeated on the inside. It’s like he knows that things are not going to end well right from the start and for the most part he’s actually right about that.

It was also nice to see Nova show up a few times. Yes, it’s the kid nova and not the classic Richard Rider, but he’s still a solid hero in his own right. He gets a decent amount of development and screen time here as he learns to use his powers more effectively. There are a bunch of other guest stars here like the Avengers and Inhumans as well. The show does a good job of bringing them in while also focusing on the main cast quite a lot. Towards the end you may start to wish that the show would expand a little more by bringing in different guest stars though. It’s hard to explain but even though the show has a lot of guest stars it has a tendency to always bring back the same ones. Take the final episodes with the Serpent, it’s the big gathering of Earth’s mightiest heroes and yet it’s the same guys we’ve been seeing throughout the series. That would have been a perfect time to bring in other characters like Wolverine, Human Torch, etc. I don’t imagine it saves time on animation either since this isn’t CGI so there’s no real reason not to bring in different fighters. Maybe it’s a voice actor thing or the show felt like it would be a better payoff to see the characters you’re familiar with. I guess that’s reasonable.

If the show has any real weaknesses beyond just being rather standard the whole time, it is in how much Star Lord carries the show. There are multiple episodes that focus on the other members or just other characters in general and they are never even close to as fun as the Peter centered episodes. He brings all of the humor and fun with him. The others try to be funny in their own ways, but can’t really pull it off. Fortunately it is very rare that Peter isn’t with the group so it’s not a big deal. Beyond that I wouldn’t say that the show makes any real mistakes. It serves its purpose and by the end of the show you will be very familiar with the team as well as their general lore. (Most popular enemies and such)

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun show. The team isn’t quite as popular as the Avengers even with the big films so you’ll possibly get to see some characters you didn’t know about before like Drax’s final living relative or that cosmic cult. It’s a very easy show to just pick up if you see an episode on TV. At the same time there are some multi part sagas which is always fun to have because you can really develop a story a lot more if it’s 3 episodes as opposed to always being a stand alone adventure. I’d definitely recommend this show if you just want to have a good time experiencing some comic book adventures. I also think you’ll end up enjoying Star Lord quite a lot since he just ends up being a real blast.

Overall 7/10