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

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

Spider-Man Far From Home Review


Spider-Man has finally made it to his third iteration of Spider-Man 2. He’s definitely had a lot of films across different timelines and they’ve all been pretty solid. Even the worst Spider-Man entry is still better than average. So where does this one rank? Right away I would say that it is in the top half. I prefer it to Homecoming, Spider-Man 2, and The Amazing Spider-Man. It doesn’t beat The Amazing Spider-Man or Spider-Man 3 so that leaves it with the always tough battle against the original Spider-Man. Still, I think it beats that one as well so I would put this as the third best Spider-Man installment. It’s got a lot of good replay value and its solid mix of action and light hearted moments make it a quality watch.

After the fallout of Endgame Peter Parker is ready to finally get on with his life. His class is going on a vacation tour to Italy, France, etc. His big plan is to finally confess to Mary Jane during this trip. Unfortunately a lot of social complications like Brad show up and then Nick Fury shows up to sabotage Peter’s trip. It turns out that there is a multiverse and one of the greatest heroes from another world is around to help fight off some elemental creatures who are planning to attack. His name is Mysterio, but even with this guy Fury wants Spider-Man on board. Can Peter manage to lead a normal life and be a superhero or is it time for him to choose once and for all which job to keep?

I think one of the most impressive parts of the film is definitely the visuals. We get a lot of great action scenes both with the monsters and the other action scenes. There is one sequence in the second half which is particularly solid. Some of the visuals are like something out of Dr. Strange. You’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film, but it is most excellent. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is also quite solid. There are nods to previous films as well as brand new themes. It makes for a pretty solid soundtrack that is also in the top 3 for the Spider-Man films.

Romance always plays a big role in the Spider-Man films so we can’t overlook that. There are 3 romances here so lets go in order. Ned has his own subplot romance which I dare say is only included for humor. This romance wasn’t very good and even if that was the point it definitely could have been left out of the film. Then you have Happy and Aunt May……definitely a bad romance. I can’t say that I’ve ever liked Happy so I may not be totally impartial, but there’s also no point to this romance. It’s very unlikely to go anywhere and the scenes are pretty forced. The resolution also makes Aunt May look a little iffy here. Her reasoning definitely wasn’t what I expected.

Those are basically the backup romances though, the main one is naturally between Peter and Mary Jane with the slight addition of Brad. Brad is around to make things tough for Peter, but I don’t think anyone seriously thought that he ever had a chance. This version of Mary Jane is definitely quite different from her other portrayal in the original trilogy which does make the romance pretty different. I’d say that on the whole it’s handled well. At most I think Mary Jane’s shell broke a little too quickly by the end of the film though. Part of the fun in her character is how she likes to make morbid quips and is always pretty blunt/stoic. By the end of the film she seems a lot more emotional and outspoken which is fine…to an extent. I hope she still keeps her main character personality but otherwise it’s a reasonable romance. I think it’s definitely a lot more developed than most of the other romances we’ve seen.

There isn’t a massive cast here so lets quickly run through the characters. I just talked about some of them so no need to redo those. Basically Mary Jane is solid and Aunt May is fun enough. Happy and Brad definitely get a thumbs down. Flash is definitely a more enjoyable bully than most, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say that he is all that good either. He doesn’t really do anything although there is some setup for a third film likely to explain why he acts the way he does. Ned’s still not really clicking for me and his romance plot did not do him any favors. He’s definitely a nice friend and always has Peter’s back even if the “help” doesn’t always put Peter in a better place.

I definitely did like the main teacher though. He always means well and definitely rolled with the punches. He’s a glass half full kind of guy and nothing seems to get him down. He also brushes past Brad’s allegations pretty easily (with help from MJ) and in general steals every scene that he is in. The other teacher doesn’t get much to do, but he was pretty fun. He reminds me of the ice character from Incredibles with how he kept darting from room to room. He also kept reminding the kids that he was the cool teacher. Meanwhile Nick Fury and Maria Hill get quite a bit of screen time here. They look pretty consistent with what you’d expect. Fury naturally uses a hard approach with Peter to get the kid to try and be a hero but it’s definitely pretty unfair the whole time. Spider-Man’s doing his best but nothing ever seems to satisfy these guys.

As for Spider-Man himself he’s good for sure. He may not be the most eager to get back in the field, but he’s got so many reasons why now is the worst time. Why did every other hero have to suddenly vanish when these threats are arising? He does have one pretty bad scene involving his glasses though. The whole thing was a huge stretch, especially considering that it was part of the plan. The stars had to align just right for this to work and I really feel that it shouldn’t have. It’s the one big moment where peter was really lapsing in judgment. He’ll definitely have to bring his best for the next film though since it’s probably going to be his most difficult experience yet. Also, it’s good to have spider-sense back on board but that subplot was a little murky. I don’t see how or why the ability would have been suppressed at all. It does explain why he isn’t doing so well for the majority of the film, but it does seem a bit like an excuse.

Meanwhile, Mysterio is definitely a very good character. I like his confidence and his showmanship will remind you of Tony or Strange to an extent. He’s a well developed character and really makes his presence felt. I think he made all of the scenes with him even better than they would have been. His final scene in particular is excellent and the opening scene wastes no time either. There are also some characters from the old Marvel films who surprisingly show up. It was a pretty nice guest star cameo.

I think I mainly touched on everything by this point. The film’s able to accomplish a lot during its run time and part of what helps the replay value is the fact that the humor is handled through a lot of quick jokes. There aren’t too many gags that drag on (Happy and May) for too long which is good and a lot of the scenes actually are funny. You get those classic Spider-Man vibes and his human interactions have always been some of the best in Marvel. It’s why the original comics did so well in the first place. The cast is solid and I could easily re-watch this film. It may not be quite as large scale as most of the other Marvel films, but a grounded film once in a while is never a bad idea.

Overall, Far From Home is definitely a very good sequel. I’ve avoided talking about scenes in particular to avoid spoilers since this is still such a new release. It basically brought back all the good parts from Homecoming and continued to build on them. The villain here is pretty memorable and the film did a solid job overall. Even if some of the romance wasn’t perfect, more parts of the film’s humor and writing hit their marks than missed. I definitely recommend checking this film while it’s still in theaters so you don’t get spoiled on the interwebs. The movie naturally has 2 after credit scenes so I’d recommend checking them out. Both of them are actually pretty important even if the second one may be a sliiiiiight stretch. I’m just not 100% sure that it really works, but at the same time you can very reasonably explain it so it’s more of a nitpick than anything. I’m definitely ready to see what they do for Spider-Man 3.

Overall 8/10

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

X-Men Dark Phoenix Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

X-Men Inferno Volume 2 Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

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

Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

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

Captain Marvel Review


It’s time to look at Marvel’s latest installment in their expansive MCU franchise. Thanks to an early screening my brother got tickets to I was able to see this film a few days before it came out. It’s definitely a solid film that delivers on all fronts. It has all the classic MCU trends for success; strong dialogue, solid action, and quick pacing. The film doesn’t slow down the tempo and by the end you’ll be satisfied.

The film starts off with an early mission with Carol and the other Kree operatives. It’s a classic extraction mission as they need to get one of their agents out of a hostile environment. The situation does not go as expected and deteriorates quickly. Carol now finds herself on Earth and must confront memories that have haunted her recently. Are the Kree keeping secrets from her? Whether she likes the answers or not, Carol knows that she has to seek them out.

There’s naturally a lot more to the plot than that, but that’s a pretty general description so you won’t have anything spoiled. This is an early review so I’ll be even more careful than usual to avoid spoilers. Now, there is a general feeling among many reviewers that it’s bad to be predictable. A feeling where if you know exactly what’s going to happen in a film then it did something wrong. I don’t agree with that. Captain Marvel isn’t particularly subtle. All of the twists and turns are very predictable and you’ll always know what’s going to happen next. You’ll know which characters are the villains and which ones are the heroes. As Carol tries to figure out her past you’ll end up figuring it out first. To call it the most predictable superhero film may be pushing it, but there aren’t any surprises here, at least when it comes to twists. That’s likely due to a mix of the MCU formula telling you what to expect and general context clues.

I’d argue that this isn’t a bad thing though. What’s important is the execution. As long as the film does a good job of getting to its goal then knowing where it’s going isn’t a bad thing and that’s what the film does well. It’s always a fun adventure. This is thanks in no small part to Carol herself. She holds the film quite well as a lead. I buy into her tough persona a lot more than previous heroines like Black Widow and Gamora. I’ve always liked characters who are fairly aggressive and Carol here is like Hal Jordan or Wonder Woman. Nobody’s going to push her around and anyone who tries eats a photon blast. Captain Marvel is consistently defiant throughout and that’s always a good thing. She’s a lot smarter than other leads as well in a practical sense as she doesn’t fall for an obvious trap near the end of the film that I think many others would have. I look forward to seeing her in End Game. The only concern naturally is how powerful Captain Marvel is. She’s closer to fighters like Superman and Supergirl than someone like the Hulk. It’s easy to see her quickly taking down someone like Thanos here. I think the writers are going to have to be extremely cautious with how her character is portrayed going forward. It’d be pretty annoying to see her nerfed or losing a fight for no real reason.

Another plus for the film is the writing. MCU films are always a action/comedy blend which aim for a 50-50 split. The top notch films like Infinity War, Avengers, Winter Soldier, etc have a good blend. It’s the case for most of them to be honest as the franchise has been consistently great. The only exceptions have been films like Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which were on the weaker side. This one is a great example of how to do it right. There’s a lot of solid banter throughout and quality jokes. The humor scenes are funny though and aren’t forced. They also don’t take away from the fights. The heroes aren’t joking during battles, they take the stakes seriously and only joke before/afterwards.

This also contributes to the film’s quick pacing. It has quite a bit of replay value here since no act drags on. The film’s always moving and that’s always important. A film shouldn’t just be good the first time around, you should be able to re-watch a movie and still enjoy it. That won’t be a problem with this one. The action scenes are solid and the film’s rapid humor style ensures there isn’t a large build up before the jokes that would be harder to sit through if you already know the punchline.

I’d say that the effects look solid as well. They certainly aren’t for everyone as the higher-tier the fighters get the more obvious the effects become. It’s why people didn’t like Man of Steel’s effects despite being incredible. The colors are flashy here and the suits look good. Captain Marvel’s costume is incredibly accurate to the comics and stands out. The action scenes great and seeing Marvel fly through space blasting away at enemies is really cool.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here so be sure to stick around. It’s definitely one of the better ones. I always particularly enjoy when these scenes further the plot along. It’s one of the more direct continuations though so I’m wondering if they’re going to have to show this in the actual End Game film as well or not. I’d appreciate the boldness of not doing such a thing of course as at this point you should be able to stick around for an extra minute or two to see what scene is at the end. I can understand skipping the more comedic ones of course, but since you don’t know which scene it’ll be you just have to test your luck.

Of course the supporting cast here is solid as well. Nick Fury’s always been a fun character and it’s nice to have a younger version of him running around. He gets a pretty big focus here and is certainly right in the middle of many of the events here. He’s always quick on his feet and supports Carol pretty well despite having no powers. Coulson also shows up here although it’s more of a guest appearance than anything. He doesn’t do anything particularly big, but it’s always nice to see him around. There’s also Goose, the cat from the trailers. He’s naturally a lot of fun and I’m always up for having animal show up so long as nothing bad happens to them.

Then we have the Kree operatives. Yon-Rogg makes for a very capable commander. He’s a solid combatant and always thinks strategically. I definitely thought he was a good character. There’s also the sniper Minn-Erva who is pretty ruthless. You can quickly understand her character which speaks to the writing. She doesn’t get many scenes but definitely ends up being one of the most compelling Kree members. The rest of them don’t make much of an impact. Meanwhile for the Skrull there is really only one major member. He’s decent, but not nearly as interesting as the Kree.

I like how the Supreme Intelligence was shown here. It’s definitely a tough character to adapt and the way it was handled here makes a lot of sense. They also gave it a good amount of character even if you wonder how much of it is genuine. It’s definitely pretty cool. If Captain Marvel gets a sequel then I definitely see it getting more of a role. Of course, I would definitely have some serious questions about its appearance. You will have some questions by the end as this film takes place in the 90s as advertised. A lot has happened since then after all.

The film has a lot of inspirational moments as expected. Between the standout visuals and the music there are definitely a lot of memorable moments here. While the 90’s music may not pop the same way that the first Guardians did, the tunes are good. I liked the song that plays during one of the final fights. It was really unexpected, but that partially plays into why it was so successful. There’s a lot of quality choreography during the fights as well. These villains don’t go down so they just keep re-entering the fight. Makes for an extended climax which is always good.

Overall, Captain Marvel is definitely a great film. I really had no complaints with it. It managed to succeed in all categories. Putting aside the crossover films it’s definitely one of the MCU’s best titles. If we don’t count sequels it’s certainly in the top 5 debut titles for a hero. I definitely recommend checking this film out in theaters. It’s also the kind of film that certainly benefits from a big screen so you can really take in the epic visuals. It’s always tough to continue making solid film after film so Marvel definitely deserves a lot of credit for that. Now the wait begins for End Game. The trailers have been pretty lackluster for that one, but it is nice that Marvel’s trying to keep the film pretty hidden. They did a good job of that for Infinity War as well as I managed to duck all of the TV spots. I’m definitely expecting a lot of fights for End Game.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review


It’s time to look at the recent Spider-Man film that came out. This one was getting quite a lot of buzz when it came out. It certainly kept us waiting as I feel like the movie was announced ages ago. It’s definitely a very enjoyable movie. I think a lot of your enjoyment for it will depend on what you think of the animation style but regardless the writing is solid and I always do like crossovers.

The film starts out with Miles starting up in a new school. It’s a rather prestigious one so he is a bit nervous at having to say goodbye to all of his friends to make new ones. Still, he’ll make the best of it. Unfortunately school goes off to an awkward start as the only student who was friendly to him gets her hair ripped off thanks to Miles being unable to control the new powers he got from a spider. Then he is forced to watch as Spider-Man falls to the Kingpin. He now has a mission, Miles must destroy the Collider before it is activated again. If not, the whole multiverse will fall apart. Fortunately since it was active for a few minutes he will now have some backup in the form of Spider-Ham, Anime Spider Girl, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and Fat Spider-Man. Together they will stop the villains or die trying!

I think the animation style is important to talk about right off the bat. As you may or may not know, it isn’t my cup of tea. It looks like an awkward blend of CGI and Stop Motion, neither of which I am a big supporter of. The former can look good at times though while the latter has never worked. For the former, it’s also tough because my favorite style is what’s considered to not look very good. The old Spider-Man 1 game, the Machinima Transformers show, I tend to like CGI like that where the character models are very colorful and retro even if they may not be the most detailed or fluid. The latter just tend to try a little too hard. I think the best CGI are the kind that try to look like they’re anime/traditionally animated while the ones I don’t care for as much try to look very realistic/live action.

This one is more towards the former which is a good thing. I also think the animators did work really hard to do the best they could with this program. The credits along is a good example of something that must have taken a very long time to do. Throughout the movie we get a lot of sudden effects that will pop up as scenes have dozens of jump cuts. These aren’t used to highlight the action though, but typically as visual gags. It’s a style that works really well and I always enjoy it when watching something abridged or a good Youtube critique. Constant visuals like that help get you in the moment. It is something to watch out for if your eyes are sensitive though. The colors happen quite suddenly and keep on coming. It’s almost like a jump scare for your eyes as opposed to your ears. This is especially noticeable when watching in the theater.

Again, this works pretty well for me. I love the constant stimulus but it isn’t for everyone. I think ultimately that helped me get into the film more. The effects were just masterfully done and helped the animation hold up. I also did like the bright colors for the fight scenes. The Prowler chasing Miles around the city for example was quite nice. Even just scenes of the characters walking around like Miles in the opening are pretty crisp. Sometimes it could get a little sloppy like when Peter was eating a burger near the beginning though. Most of the ingredient character models seemed to be pretty iffy at best and I think that scene may have been done in a hurry.

The fight scenes also look pretty good. My favorite moment in the film was definitely when all of the villains showed up in Aunt May’s house. It’s rare that we get a proper group vs group fight where all of the combatants are locked in such a small place like this. Naturally things didn’t go very well for the house, but it was definitely an excellent fight. A shame that it had to end off screen though. That’s always a little disappointing. Nonetheless, the action scenes were always on point whenever they would happen. I would have liked to have seen more of them if anything, but that’s not to say that there isn’t much action here. There’s a good amount so I believe you will be satisfied.

Where the film falters a bit is in its choice of Spider-Man. We get to see the real Peter Parker at the beginning of the film and this is a problem. It’s a problem because he completely outshines everyone else in the film to the point where it isn’t really all that close. He’s the perfect hero and a nice guy to boot. He always wins and has a perfect character arc since he is the Spider-Man from the original trilogy and he actually had a happy ending. Once he’s gone we are met with the main Spider-Man of the other universe. This one is made to be worse in every way. He’s mean, overweight, and just isn’t very professional at all. It’s nice that he’s still pretty confident and all. When he isn’t being corrupted by his cells he actually is decent at times. Still, he can be very annoying until the climax and you just wish the real Spider-Man was here.

The other Spider-Men were all pretty solid though. Noir doesn’t get a huge role but he shines in every scene that he gets. His old school way of talking is always fun and the guy does back up his tough talk. I don’t think he loses a single fight in the film and he probably looks the most impressive. Somehow I feel like he would be the one to not return in a sequel but it would certainly be fun if he did. Then we have Spider-Ham. He’s basically the comedy member of the group, but the film never overextends with him. He gets a few scenes with the gags you would expect, but they’re written well enough. Then we have Penny Parker who is the anime character. I do think the film dropped the ball with her a bit since she actually looked pretty weak next to everyone else. I guess she doesn’t have to be the strongest or anything, but I feel like she was the only one to not really have a pivotal moment. She is low key the smartest of the bunch though as she was able to fix the Goober for the others with ease. Her robot wasn’t quite as likable, but it could fight pretty well.

Then we’ve got Spider-Gwen. She’s a fun character as you would expect. You might have some questions about how she so seamlessly fit into the real world though. Between the constant glitching out and the fact that she’s only been around for a little while it just doesn’t seem all too realistic how she has avoided detection. Well, that’s a pretty minor thing I suppose. Gwen has a good amount of confidence and was a solid addition to the team. I’d definitely be up for seeing her again in a sequel.

Aside from the Spider related characters we’ve also got Miles’ supporting cast. His parents are definitely good characters. They’re written pretty well as affectionate parents who are looking out for him from start to finish. They don’t have any crazy misunderstandings with Miles and while the Dad dislikes Spider-Man he isn’t crazy about it either. Miles’ uncle is also a good character who may not be the most positive influence out there, but makes the right calls when necessary. Miles also has a roommate but the guy doesn’t do anything so we can skip him.

I suppose now’s a good time to talk about the lead. Miles is a pretty decent main character. He is pretty witty from the start and does try his best to be a hero. I’m a little dubious about him wanting to put stickers everywhere even though he knows it’s against the law and has been told several times. It’s a character trait that seems a little bit forced, but I guess it was a good transition to show that his uncle’s influence has gotten to him to an extent. It takes Miles a while to really get into the zone with his powers but by the end he has them down. The film almost starts up a romance for him which is fortunately avoided. I do think Miles didn’t handle that part well at all which hurts him a bit, but he could have been worse about it.

As for the villains, we have quite a few here. Not all of them get a whole lot to do here. One of the main ones is the Prowler who is definitely cool. He has a great costume and fights sort of like the Beetle. Then you have Doctor Octopus although this is a slightly different version than the one you may be familiar with. She’s a good fighter, but not a very interesting villain. The heroes probably should have seen her coming a little more than they did.

Which, I could talk about how the Spider-Sense should have looked a lot better than it did, but I suppose it wasn’t super egregious here. You could also argue that having so many Spider folk in one place may have disoriented it a bit. Kingpin is the head honcho here and the animators definitely had a lot of fun with his design. The guy’s huge and looks like he is some kind of living wall. He’s definitely a fun antagonist and you don’t get to see him go up against Spider-Man all that much anymore. It was a nice throwback to the good ole days.

There also is an after credits scene which is definitely a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the next film but it’s just a great moment. i always believe that a film should always have an after credits scene but it needs to be a good scene. You can’t just put something random in or a scene that’s dull. It should have some kick to it and that’s exactly what this film did. It ends the movie on a high note.

Finally, we have the soundtrack. This one I was less crazy about. The songs are all very loud and I wouldn’t say that any of them are all that good. The instrumental battle themes and such are good, but the lyrical songs weren’t really my cup of tea. Nothing that would hurt the experience for you though. You’ll be too distracted by the fact that Spider-Man has a spider cave to give it much thought during the movie.

Overall, This was a pretty good Spider-Man movie. I do think it’s the kind of film that really benefits from a theatrical viewing though as it helps ramp up the effects and everything. There’s a good mix of humor and action in here. The audience was roaring with laughter quite a lot. It was deserved as the humor was pretty good. The gags aren’t typically annoying or anything. As for how funny you find it, that’ll naturally depend on what you find entertaining. The gags are very quick regardless which is always good. Dragging out a joke is something you do not want to do. The pacing is pretty good and the fights are quite excellent so all in all it lived up to expectations. You’ll get what you expect here and that’s a good thing. Hopefully the sequel is just as fun.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Venom Review


When Venom was first announced there was a lot of panic in the streets since there are so many good arcs to choose from and so little time. Naturally it made sense to choose one where Venom is a little more on the heroic side to build him up as the main character of this universe (Or that’s what they should do at least) so then the film builds its origin story around that. It was actually quite a bit better than I expected after hearing the negative buzz. It’s a good film that can hold its own and I’m definitely ready for that sequel.

The film starts with Venom crash landing on Earth along with 3-4 other symbiotes. (The film opted to switch the pronunciation back to normal) they had been captured by the government except for one who manages to escape. This corrupt company wants to find a way to merge humans and aliens so they can live in space and are murdering a bunch of people off the streets in order to do this. Eddie once tried stopping this company but it cost him everything. Well, a doctor has convinced him to give it a second shot and with a symbiotic of his own, Eddie may just have a chance. He’s been beaten by corporate, humiliated, treated like a drunk has been. Eddie decides that it’s time he stood up for himself.

A lot of this film will probably depend on how much you like Eddie Brock himself. The guy is definitely not like your average hero. He’s usually a little on the drunk side and is always down on his luck. He means well but at the same time doesn’t think things through. On one hand you see several examples of him being a good person like when he gave a homeless lady some money or how he tends to get along with everyone like the door man and the owner of a convenience store. Eddie’s just a very easy going guy even if he can be a little slow to adapt to what’s going on. I don’t think his character personality was executed nearly as well as it could or should have been though. I think he could have been very likable if handled right but from what we got he can be rather annoying.

The Venom symbiote is a lot of fun though. His personality reminds me of Blue Beetle’s scarab. At first he is pretty ruthless and acts like a villain but gets rehabilitated rather convincingly. Even from the start he is pretty handy to Eddie and as he mentions, Venom is a reasonable guy. He even lets Eddie square away his personal issues before they head out on their final mission. The symbiote is always quick on his feet and I’d say he is also quite patient considering how much Eddie is complaining throughout all of this. Venom’s easily the best character here although I have a hard time believing that he wasn’t cool back on his world. I like to think he is just trying to be sympathetic to Eddie which shows once again that he is a pretty nice guy. The plot of a character being possessed by another entity or being forced to share a body can usually go on 3 ways. The spirit is evil and crushes the hero, the spirit is heroic and they team up, or the spirit is rather ruthless but will help the hero for mutual survival and down the road they become friends. The final version is typically the best route, especially when the other entity never fully turns good and is always a bit of a loose cannon. That’s why I’m glad the film went this route.

I do have to say that the writing can be rather weak though. The script isn’t great which makes the characters a little harder to like than they would be otherwise. The language definitely could have been toned down quite a bit. There is also the matter of the romance being quite weak here. The main heroine’s instant rebound was super suspect as she clearly couldn’t have cared for Eddie much if she’s already moved on so completely. There was a time skip of a few months which is supposed to make this feel more organic…but it doesn’t really work. Throw in the fact that some sketchy stuff happens later on and I don’t think her character arc is going in a good direction. Plus, Dan seemed like a reasonable character but you get the feeling that he is doomed from the start. At least he tried helping Eddie. Two other supporting characters who were fun were the Deli owner and the homeless lady by the store. They seemed to be pretty nice characters who were doing their best to get by. Eddie being nice to them is part of the reason why he’s a likable character in the first place. The rapport with those characters is on point and hopefully the Deli owner gets to appear in the sequel. Maybe she can give him some more advice.

As for the scientist lady who tries to enlist Eddie’s help….I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers. She just seems a little wishy washy and far too late about suddenly feeling bad about her work. The company she works for has already murdered a ton of people. She has a quick line about how it was worth it since they were curing cancer, but not anymore since they’re trying for space travel. While the latter does seem to be less important than the former, the ends don’t justify the means either way. Then when she does make her move she isn’t particularly smart. She should have left the complex the instant things went sideways. Did she forget that security cameras are a thing? As soon as the villain found out that someone had broken in she should have left. She just wasn’t nearly as compelling as the other characters.

Then you have the corporate big shot who is trying to harness the power of the symbiotes for his own gain. The guy is heralded as a genius, but doesn’t seem all that smart from what we see. It just looks like he has a lot of money and gets everyone else to do the inventing for him. I mean, that happens a lot in real life as well as the small workers do all the work for the big shots who take the credit, but it needed to be said. Still, he’s a pretty fun main villain. He’s very full of himself and definitely does take down a lot of characters during the course of the movie. He definitely gets outranked once Riot shows up though. Also, he wants to inhabit space since Earth was too overpopulated. I think he would have liked Thanos’ plans to snap half of all life away. Then things would be balanced….as all things should be. He would have joined Thanos’ ranks in a heartbeat….and then chickened out halfway so he would have been doomed.

Riot is definitely a fun character. He makes for a great villain and his deign is pretty hype. In general the designs for the symbiote creatures were pretty solid. Venom looks like his classic 90s self and of course Riot is basically just a grayer version of Venom. This makes for a pretty epic climax in the film where both characters really get to go at it. With the raw power that both characters have as well as their regeneration, it means that neither one will be going down very quickly. I suppose that it’s unlikely we will have Riot show up again in a sequel since the next film will likely feature the fan favorite Carnage as the villain. We’ll see if that guy can really match up to Riot though.

Naturally this film does have an after credits scene so you may want to stick around for that. It’s a fairly low key scene involving a character who certainly doesn’t seem to be very interesting, but you could argue that this side of him doesn’t actually matter. The real deal will show up soon. It’s definitely a good stinger for the next film though. It does its job of cluing you in as to what will happen next time as opposed to just going for a quick gag. There is another scene at the end, but that one’s just a preview for Spider Verse so you don’t need to stick around for that. Having previews for other films don’t count and shouldn’t be left for the end unless it’s a direct sequel or something like that.

While the lobster scene wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be I definitely don’t think it was needed in the film. All the scenes of Eddie just eating random stuff just didn’t age particularly well and showing him trying to deal with being the host to Venom could have just been shown through the voice in his head. Why would Venom be trolling him like this? Also, the film briefly delves into the whole “The symbiote will destroy you from the inside” plot, but in Eddie’s case he should have believed Venom. He had already seen the regeneration in action so why wouldn’t that keep working to protect him? Worst case is that he becomes dependent on the symbiote to live, but if that’s the case then so be it. Venom seems like a trust worthy guy.

This film also keeps up Sony’s trend of having scenes from the trailer show up at the very end of the movie. It’s a pretty interesting strategy as you keep waiting for the moments to arrive and almost start to think that maybe they were cut until they finally show up at the end. An example of this is the deli scene near the end that basically everyone knows about since it was in the trailer and probably a lot of TV spots. It’s a pretty fun way to end the film I suppose. It’s one of the perks about being more of a villain who just helps out the world for his own reasons. If Batman, Spiderman, or another hero did this then it would be time to write a lot of quick editorials about how this was a terrible mistake. When Venom does it? Eh, it’s no real problem. Venom’s not the kind of guy who typically spares people. At least he didn’t destroy the cops right? When done right characters like this can have some pretty interesting story arcs. Eddie doesn’t really seem to care much about hiding his identity and pretty soon the villains are going to be terrified of him. The crime rate should drop quite a bit in his home town although he will have to make sure to be at least a little more subtle before the government starts going after him.

Venom’s also fairly tame with the violence considering that at one point it was possibly going to be R. It just goes to show that the film didn’t need it and honestly no film has ever been improved by upping the rating that far. All it does is water films down with excessive content so I’m glad that the sequel is going to stay like this one. With the cool effects we’ve already seen here we are guaranteed to have some really fun fights as it is. It also makes sense to keep the opponents to symbiotes since it will be tough for a normal opponent to hope to fight Venom. Even Spider-Man likely wouldn’t stand a chance against this version of Venom although since his spider-sense should work it could still be a good fight.

Overall, Venom was a solid film. It delivered on the action scenes and it’s also good to have a lead like Eddie who is very down to Earth and looks after the every day guy. He keeps on helping the neighborhood and won’t let fame cloud his mind. It’ll be nice to see him in the sequel as his confidence should be a lot higher and he’ll have his life under control once again. So long as the sequel stays on point and maybe fixes up the writing, it could definitely be quite the title to look out for. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should try to fix that while you still can. Its theater run won’t last forever after all. Minor thing to watch out for as well, the film decided to drop the whole SymBYote thing so…if you’re watching for that line then keep this in mind.

Overall 6/10