One Piece: Episode A Review


It’s no surprise that a title like One Piece would keep on getting more spinoffs. Ace is a really big character among the fanbase so it’s quite fitting that this mini series would be about him. He always was a fun character. I wouldn’t put him as one of my favorites or anything but his skills were good and the guy was always ready to jump into a fight. I can certainly admire that kind of dedication. The 4 chapters go by quickly but it’s a fun read and the battles are certainly intense.

The series picks up with a guy named Deuce who wants to write some amazing stories. Unfortunately he is stranded on an island and doesn’t really know what he should write about now. Well, one day Ace crash lands on the island and Deuce agrees to help him build a ship to get out of there. Deuce never imagined that he would be a pirate someday but hanging out with Ace has been fun. Ace is leading them down a dangerous path though as he says that his goal is to defeat one of the 4 Emperors, Whitebeard. This sounds like an impossible goal but Deuce figures that if anyone can do it…it would be Ace.

Naturally the bulk of the first chapter is the two characters meeting each other and Deuce slowly coming around. So that there is a little danger we do have a giant bird that appears which causes a bit of a misunderstanding at first. It’s quickly defeated which wraps up the first story. It introduces the setting and how things will be but at this point Boichi isn’t really trying to hide the Dr. Stone influences here. Deuce looks like he’s straight out of Dr. Stone and this chapter has a lot of building and crafting scenes as the characters build the boat. It’s an interesting look at how he might have tackled One Piece.

Then we get to chapter 2 where they finally get close to Whitebeard but first have to contend with Jinbei. Jinbei gets a really striking splash page. The realistic artstyle that this series uses certainly makes for some memorable shots. While I wouldn’t say that it beats One Piece’s standard art, it’s definitely fun to see the changes to how everyone looks. The fight between Jinbei and Ace is also a blast. It’s over quickly but both fighters get to show what they can do. Ultimately Ace comes out on top here I would say as he’s in better shape after the 5 days. I call foul on their actually fighting for 5 days though. I find that incredibly hard to believe. Whitebeard showing up at the end to get in a good fight was a nice way to end things off. Ace finally got to experience what a loss was and we get a classic look at the nice sky which turns into Gold D. Roger. It’s a nice little detail in the background.

Chapter 3 is the most action packed chapter as Ace keeps trying to take Whitebeard down over and over again but simply isn’t strong enough to do so. By this point he is slowly coming around to respecting Whitebeard although of course he can’t quite admit it. Whitebeard was always his goal to surpass after all so working under him just doesn’t feel right at the time. Still, he does recognize that they aren’t in the same league. Ace’s strongest attacks don’t even singe Whitebeard and the emperor has yet to use his devil fruit. It’s a fun chapter that balances comedy with the despair Ace feels at losing. Thing is, he starts to take it in stride too and this all becomes one big training session for him. It’s nice to see how understanding the crew is even if they would destroy Ace on the spot if he were to somehow destroy Whitebeard.

Finally we get to chapter 4 where Ace joins up with the crew and we get some flashforward scenes to the most influential Ace moments. We even get a few panels of Yamato showing up at the end which was neat. It shows how popular she has gotten to where she would even be squeezed into this adventure. This ends the adventure off on a nice note. You know that things ultimately don’t end well for Ace but at least he got to have a lot of fun in the meantime and really made a name for himself. His journey was brief but it was a good one.

One thing I definitely enjoyed here is how they retroactively added Haki to a lot of the scenes. Ace uses it to fight with Jinbei and also gets to experience it when fighting some of the challengers to Whitebeard. We see Ace learn how to mix it in with his logia abilities and it shows why he was a solid first commander. Now we see that every Yonko’s next in command had Haki so it wouldn’t have made sense if Whitebeard’s didn’t. I do think it’s hard to make everything connect since Haki wasn’t thought of for a while in the series but ultimately it’s a smooth addition here and does help show off Ace’s solid abilities.

The artwork also makes the most of his fire powers. The fire really stands out and we get some great spectacles. At one point Ace uses an attack where he creates a bunch of fire dragons and uses them to attack Whitebeard with. As someone who has mastery over fire, it’s nice to see Ace really getting creative here. There’s a whole lot you can do with fire after all even if the fire fist is his signature move. As a logia type there are few who can stop him. It’s why I wouldn’t mind a time travel arc where the heroes go back to save Ace. It would really tie things over well as Luffy finally saves him and they get a big teamup.

There’s not a whole lot more to discuss since the 4 chapters are over in an instant but you won’t be disappointed with this adventure. Ace really gets to show his stuff and it’s also fun to see Whitebeard again. We don’t get to see him fight very often and he really gets his proper respect here. No attack can really phase him and Whitebeard’s attacks are off the charts. It’s an intense story and this is also a title you can easily read even if you have not read One Piece. It’s still easy to see what’s going on since the story starts from the beginning and you understand Ace’s goals.

Overall, Episode A is a really solid mini series. With how the title is, it makes me wonder if they’ve already got Boichi ready to do some other stories. Like Episode S for Sabo, Episode Z for Zoro, etc. There are a whole lot of characters who could have fun little stories to themselves. Well, I guess we’ll see how that goes when it happens. In the meantime you should start by checking this story out anyway. There’s a good amount of action and adventure here with quality writing. You’ll be having a good time from start to finish as the story just carries you along for the ride. Each chapter is close to 50 pages but it won’t feel that long with all the big art pages and battles going on. The art is super clear which always makes reading the story that much easier.

Overall 7/10

Joker Review

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

Making a movie with the villain as the main character is always a rather tricky thing to try and accomplish. You either go the route of trying to make the villain sympathetic so you can root for him or you go all in on just making him evil. It’s such a tough balance that it’s usually not even worth making the attempt. With the Joker of all characters you already know him as one of the most evil villains in the Batman series so this is certainly a very different portrayal. Ultimately it doesn’t work as the film just seems to be a never ending story of bad things happening to everyone.

The movie starts by introducing us to the Joker who is an aspiring comedian. Currently he works as a clowns but it’s a rough city and things don’t work out from the start. His sign is stolen and then he’s beaten up in an alley. The job threatens to fire him for losing the sign and then Joker makes the big mistake of taking a gun to a children’s hospital by mistake. It does come in handy when he is attacked on the subway as he murders the three attackers but now his life is in a tailspin. He begins to learn things about his origin that he never knew and funding is cut off for social services so he no longer has pills to keep his laughing condition in check. Now it’s time for him to become a full villain and take down the city.

Right away I can tell you the film’s biggest weakness is how hopeless it all is. The movie is really just about how bad a place Gotham is. Bad things happen to Joker and everyone else at pretty much all moments in the film. Joker, Thomas Wayne, Murray, Randall, Penny, two random detectives, everyone gets a bad hand in the film. There’s no one who walks away from this with a really happy ending except for Sophie and even then I wouldn’t say it’s super happy either since she’s probably going to have to move or may just feel terrified for a while assuming she made it out of the film.

Joker starts off as a sympathetic character since he is trying hard to be a comedian but it never works out for him. People mock him and his laughing condition makes it hard to hold a conversation at times since it can get triggered at any time. The first two people he murdered were certainly in self defense so I wouldn’t hold those against him at all. You definitely need to fight back in such a scenario and if anything it would have been nice if he had gotten up to defend the lady rather than the situation ultimately happening because he stayed back. The third guy who ran away is definitely more on the iffy side since he was no longer a threat and was running away. It makes sense to bump him off in case he could ID Joker later on but at that point it’s more to protect his own skin.

The rest of the murders in this film are completely on Joker and show how deranged he is. Joker definitely had a complete decent into being a psychotic villain by the end. You know it’s coming the whole time since this is a film about the Joker but the issue with having a villain who is so unrelentingly evil as the lead is that there is nobody to root for. If you look at some of the best villains out there like Eren Yeager, Light Yagami, Venom, or Thanos, they worked well as leads or co-leads because their goals at least made a lot of sense. In a way Light and Thanos even had good goals of saving people in a broad sense but went the wrong way about trying to improve the world and as such became complete villains.

You’re rooting for them to be stopped but at least you understand why they are doing all of this. With Joker he pretty much admits that he is just seeking out revenge against everyone who has wronged him and is just enjoys the insanity of it all. You’re not rooting for him to win at all here and his scenes can just be painful to watch. Ultimately while he blames all of the other characters for everything, some moments are his fault as well like bringing the gun to the hospital and letting Murray rile him up. The guy was clearly mocking him so Joker could have either decided not to go or to use that opportunity to prove himself anyway rather than trying to become a symbol and start a movement even if he claimed that is not what he wanted to do.

Joker was just an awful lead here and I don’t see this Joker being one of the better versions even down the road. I much prefer the classic Joker origin where he was a random bank robber who fell into the acid and became Joker. He just went from villain to super villain rather than it being Gotham which broke him down and sped up his descent into madness. As for the other characters, well Randall is a mean colleague who makes fun of his co-workers height and is generally a rather toxic person. He is quick to lie and manipulate others. You know he’s not going to make it out of this the instant that he appears.

Then you have Murray who loves making jokes at other people’s expense. He has created a whole career out of it. Joker was even a big fan of his until the jokes began to be about him. Again this is where Joker loses more sympathy points because of course he doesn’t mind others getting mocked but when it’s about him then it’s a whole lot different. Next on the list of characters is Thomas Wayne who wants to be mayor but has a complete disconnect with the people of Gotham.

I have to assume that he is planning to buy the election because otherwise he is doing absolutely nothing to win new votes. He makes fun of these guys and calls them clowns as well as goes out of his way to antagonize them at every corner. The movie presents him as a rather arrogant man who is so full of himself that he doesn’t see what’s right in front of him. I forgot we were going to squeeze in the origin here so that was unexpected. This version of Thomas appears quite unsympathetic compared to most but of course as we’re only seeing some instances from Joker’s perspective here, it’s likely not the full story.

Joker’s mother Penny also gets a decent sized role. Like Joker she has her own issues which seem to due with memory loss at first but later on we see that she is also quite crazy. Joker doesn’t see the complete irony of trying to get revenge on her later on since she likely doesn’t even remember the past and seems to believe her own delusions here. Also, she is completely powerless when they have their final confrontation and it’s got to be the worst scene in the movie. Her backstory is really gritty of course as the film continues to pile on.

The only decent character in the whole movie outside of quick cameos is Sophie. She’s Joker’s neighbor and they have a brief meeting in the elevator where she tries to be friendly but Joker doesn’t talk back at all. I guess he was worried about the laughing starting up so he kept his distance but she gave him the benefit of the doubt on a second occasion when she noticed him following her. Considering we’re in Gotham that’s a scary feeling but she didn’t immediately call the cops or get people to beat him up. She really did her best and so I’m glad she at least made it out of this. I would have interpreted her as losing her life to be honest but I remember it was a huge deal when the film came out and the director or writer had to come out and confirm she was okay. I don’t see the point of having the ambulance whizz by after the scene though. It’s only purpose is to hint at that but I’m guessing they may want her around for the sequel if we get one.

Either way it’s a good decision because the film is mainly about Joker getting revenge on everyone and she would not be deserving of that considering that she was in his corner. Not as often as he thought given how his delusions work but in her real scenes she was on point. There’s not much to say about effects as this is a more down to Earth film but I did enjoy the jingle from the game show that Murray’s on. It had a catchy beat and the happy tone really made for a great contrast to the rest of the depressing scenes.

Otherwise, prepare for the film to really drag on. There’s no real happy scenes here as the film sets the tone early. From the kids beating Joker up in the intro to the asylum in the end, there is never a scene for you to smile. There’s always something bad happening or about to happen. It’s almost impressive how unrelenting the film is with this approach as you would expect things to start working out even for a little while before the next fall but that’s really never the case. The closest is when Joker’s act starts to succeed and then this is taken away in the next scene.

The film keeps trying to balance whether it’s Gotham that turned an innocent person into the world’s greatest criminal or if he was just unstable and psychotic from the start. It’s hard to say since we’ve just got a small picture into his life but by the end it seems to be leaning towards the latter. His excessive punishment towards everyone who wronged him backs that up at least even if the crime was a long time ago. The city didn’t help of course as Gotham will be Gotham and keeps on sinking. I don’t even see how the custody angle would have worked out after everything in the file to be honest. If there is a Metropolis in this continuity then you should definitely try to get out. Being homeless in Metropolis is likely better than trying to survive in Gotham.

Overall, Joker is really an awful movie that’s extremely mean spirited. This is exactly the kind of scenario you try to avoid when doing a film based on a villain. In fact, this can be the poster film for what I’m talking about when I say how risky it is. You end up having a main character you can’t root for and so you’re rooting for him to be taken down already but since the film is about this villain, you know that’s not happening until the very end if you’re lucky. We see that the Joker is evil throughout but with no real goals or big ideas. He has an awful speech at the end where he blames society and this and that, but at the end of the day it’s all excuses on his part. This was just the origin for Batman’s villain but unfortunately in a world where they are unlikely to do battle. There were no silver linings I could find in this film so I’d definitely say to skip this one.

Overall 0/10

Prometheus 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

Prometheus is a film that I saw the trailer for more times than I can count. It just kept playing for every film in theaters and it always had a very ominous vibe. Creating a prequel to the alien franchise in general is a very move since the series is so well known for how cryptic and mysterious it is. This was definitely a very bold move and while it is interesting to see how the aliens were first developed, I don’t think the attempt was ultimately successful as you need Aliens in an alien film.

The movie starts off with a crew aboard the Prometheus getting ready to land on a planet to ideally meet their creators. They have a theory that the creators are here using some symbols from cave paintings. The evidence may seem flimsy but it’s the future so why not right? Meredith is the daughter of the guy who funded this expedition and she reminds them not to engage with any aliens they might meet and this is just a mission about exploring. She doesn’t think they will find anything though. Little does she realize that the team is about to run into something extremely dangerous.

Watching films like this where the heroes are stuck in space reminds me why I would never want to go on such an expedition. I’m quite fine on Earth and you have to be able to trust everyone 100% while in space. That seems like a difficult task for me because everyone always seems this close to cracking in these things. It doesn’t take long for the pressure to get to the characters after all.

In this movie the standout character is an android named David. Almost everyone on the crew seems to despise him because he isn’t human which I have to say does make them seem like jerks. David shrugs off the insults though and usually has a counter blow of his own. He makes for a very interesting character as it is hard to get a read on him. It’s also this trait that makes the humans distrust him as well. As the film goes on he continues to get more and more sinister.

The guy’s very interesting though and helps bring that horror element into the equation. At the same time, his super strength would be a good asset for fighting off these creatures. The only character who is actually kind to him is Elizabeth. She treats him like a real person and he saves her life at one point so she is grateful for that. Elizabeth is the real main character of the film. She’s definitely no Ripley but does well enough. She wants to get off of the island early on which was the right move but unfortunately the group doesn’t have such plans.

A strong positive for the film is also the impressive soundtrack. Not only is it the best soundtrack in the alien franchise but it’s one of the most impressive horror soundtracks I’ve heard. Aside from Resident Evil I’m not sure if any would beat it. The music is really grand and hammers home the surreal feeling of being on an alien planet. At all times you have some great tracks going so at least you will be having fun on the journey.

The movie does make the usual mistakes when it comes to alien films like this though. The violence is quite over the top with everyone getting destroyed once the aliens come out. The deaths tend to be quite painful as well as you have the chest bursters showing up as always and the aliens like to destroy the humans from the inside out. Much like the Carnage scene in the recent Venom movie, they tend to go in through the mouth at times with their attacks. I’d definitely rather they go for more conventional kills like with a bite or something instead.

Aside from Elizabeth and David, the cast isn’t all that good either. Meredith is basically just on the mission to prove herself as a high ranking officer but she doesn’t do a whole lot. Ironically I would say she had one of the most painless deaths in the film though. Surely getting squashed by thousands of tons of steel in an instant is better than living with an alien incubation or being torn to shreds right?

There’s Peter who is the old man in charge of the mission but the guy really should have known better than to come to this planet. There was a flaw in the plan all along. So the characters believe that humanity was created by a race of aliens and then abandoned to fend for themselves. Given this…why would the aliens be happy to see us? It should come as no surprise to see that they would be quite aggressive and that didn’t go over very well.

These guys are called the Engineers and it’s an interesting concept. So they are basically like androids that are more powerful than humans and have a good amount of geniuses on their team. That said, I think the film is trying to point out that creatures will always surpass electronics and so these guys don’t last too long against a creature. It opens the door for interesting side stories and maybe some Engineers vs Predator battles. I would assume the Predators would win that but it would be a fun fight.

The Engineer doesn’t do a lot and basically refuses to talk but this does make them an interesting enemy. There are a few more members of the crew but you already know that most of them aren’t going to survive. You’ve got the gung ho guy who is all set to learn about humanity but he’s quite mean to David which doesn’t bode well for him. You have the loud complainer who doesn’t even want to be here and the timid guy who is in over his head. Naturally things don’t go well for them.

There is one more likable character in Janek though. He’s the captain of the ship and knows when not to take orders from corporate. He’s willing to take big risks to help the characters and readily puts himself into harm’s way. I liked his determination and without him the Earth would have been in a lot of trouble. He gets some good credit for that and additionally even when he gets a lot of bad news, he never breaks down or cracks. He just keeps on going.

Overall, I’d say that the idea behind the prequel wasn’t bad. Seeing the start of how the aliens form is interesting but it also means that we don’t get to see any real aliens until the very end of the film which is really a shame. Classic Xenomorphs easily have some of the best designs in all of sci-fi. It’s really hard to top them and these little amoeba creatures don’t have the same impact. If you throw away a lot of the usual violence and everything then this could have been better but as it stands, it just isn’t able to break out into its own.

Overall 2/10

Mega Man Megamix: For Whose Sake? Review


This is a very quick one shot but an interesting one without a doubt. It serves as a prequel to Mega Man 9 and shows why a lot of robots are upset. For once it isn’t that they are being manipulated by Wily or anything like that. At 16 pages it can only give us the general premise but it makes the heroes look shifty. So the government has passed a new law that the robots all must lose their individuality. Additionally, they will be given an expiration date at which point they will no longer function. Additionally they will be personally dismantling a lot of the older robots.

A lot of the robots have already been burned and destroyed so various robot masters from the original games have decided to fight against this. They pick up their blasters and basically jump into action. Dr. Light is arrested as well since a lot of these robots used to be his so the government figures he is an easy target. Light even tells Mega Man not to interfere since he shouldn’t fight for the humans anymore. Mega Man doesn’t agree and the one shot ends with him about to jump in.

The government are definitely the villains in this story. The fact that they want to just dismantle all of the robots just like that is crazy. These aren’t some random robots without emotions or anything. These are robots that are top of the line and have demonstrated a lot of unique personalities. In fact, that’s pretty much why the law was in effect so the government is trying to stamp out all of these robots just like that? It’s definitely a little concerning to say the least.

This also isn’t Dr. Light’s best look. I’m usually not a big fan of the guy but at least he is usually trying to be reasonable. Not here. Telling Mega Man to stay out of the fight is really counter productive since the robots are going to need him at the ready. Additionally he seems to be saying that the humans aren’t worth fighting for and that’s really a jump. Yes, don’t fight for these humans but Mega Man still has a job to do. Ideally I would like to see him jump in and help the Robots that are about to be dismantled.

They definitely look like the antagonists here but they’re just fighting for their right to survive. It is cool to see some of the older robot masters going up against the new ones but Mega Man should be helping them out in order to balance out the scales as well as defend their rights. I feel like Mega Man would absolutely be on their side in this battle. It just doesn’t feel right that he would oppose them. There are only a few pages here but I’d also like to see if there is more reason behind the law coming out now as opposed to the humans just being super scared as normal. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is it though.

The art here looks really good. The artist definitely has a great feel for how Mega Man is drawn by this point and all of the illustrations are clear. It makes this one shot really easy to read as you blast through to the end. If it ever got a full adaption that would be great since Mega Man 9 wasn’t exactly filled with story content. So developing it through a manga would really be ideal. Cossack and Wily are also around so it would be interesting to have the 3 of them there. Have Bass and Proto Man show up as well. They certainly wouldn’t want to be destroyed either but if the government is smart they would be put on the Exempt list along with Mega Man, Cut Man, and a few others.

Overall, For Whose Sake is a very interesting Mega Man story. Even from the title you can see how the story will test on whose side you’re on. The robots trying to survive or the government trying to destroy them? Complicating matters is that the Robots have started attacking cities in retaliation after finding out that thousands of them have already been destroyed. Once things escalate to violence it’s hard to turn back. Regardless, if you’re a Mega Man fan then you definitely will want to check this one out.

Overall 7/10

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Review


GI Joe is a film series that has really had a tough time making a name for itself. People know the franchise yet the movies all tend to get fairly weak reviews and Snake Eyes is now bombing at the box office. I thought the first two movies were great and while Snake Eyes doesn’t quite match their level, I thought it was very good. There’s just something about the franchise that doesn’t click on a national level but hopefully we still get some more films.

The movie starts with Snake’s (They call him Snake as a nickname during the film and it sounds more natural than saying “Snake Eyes” each time) father getting murdered by a group of villains. Snake is able to escape and vows revenge on these guys. We fast forward to the present where Snake works for the Yakuza. One day they turn on his friend Tommy so Snake is forced to defend him and they are both kicked out of the Yakuza. Tommy offers Snake a chance to join his clan by completing the 3 trials. The toughest part of this is going to be that the trials can be quite deadly and most people fail them. Additionally, the only way to win the trials is to have a clear heart and mind but of course Snake Eyes is still distracted by his origin as well as some secrets he is still hiding close to his heart. Will he be able to bluff through these trials or will his busy heart ultimately be his undoing?

Snake Eyes’ origin may be a little old at this point in how often the main character’s parent is murdered by some thugs at first but it is an easy way to steel Snake’s resolve for the rest of the film. The opening battle scene against the boxer in the underground fighting arena was a bit concerning. We get a ton of camera jumps and the guy holding the camera seemed to be getting dizzy as well so there’s a lot of spinning.

If all the fights were like that then it would not have boded well for the movie. Fortunately, the film really tightens up after that and the rest of the battles are on point. While the GI Joe and Cobra influences aren’t massive here, any fight scene with their factions is a lot of fun. Naturally the Snake Eyes sword battles are cool as well. I don’t anticipate this film’s battles winning against Moral Kombat or Shang Chi’s but they still hold up really well.

The best action scene might be early on when Snake and Tommy are fighting the Yakuza. It’s really early on but it was a good exhibition of their strengths. There are a good amount of fights so you’ll be covered on that front. It even makes things a bit funny when Scarlett and the Baroness show up since they just take out their guns and mow people down instead of bothering with the whole hand to hand business. They can fight that way too but guns are more efficient.

I enjoyed how stylistic the film was too. The title of the film shows up on a building, you have the time stamps appearing in random places, etc. It’s going for a very creative look over doing the normal kind of signage. It works well and while it’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t really earn or lose any points, it was fun enough to note. The special effects are on point to be sure and while we don’t see Snake Eyes’ costume for more than a minute, it already looks really sharp. Then again, I’ve always enjoyed his costume in any iteration.

As a main character Snake is good but actually not as good as I thought he would be. The main annoying thing for me is that he really doesn’t make the right decisions. He gets manipulated quite easily and ultimately picks his own vendettas over his conscience. Lets just say that he’ll do anything to find the guy who murdered his father no matter who he has to work for. This is actually a character arc you mainly just see for villains. They ignore the fact that they’re working for terrorists in order to get their vengeance. Snake is no different and so because of that you really feel like he’s a villain for most of the story.

We’re seeing the film through his eyes so he doesn’t appear as bad as the average villain but when you put things into perspective…it’s not a good look for him. If not for a plot twist at the end of the film, he really may not have even made the reluctantly correct choice at the end. I expect things will be better for him going forward but I was just surprised with him here since I’m used to him being known as a really honorable character. In terms of other personality differences, he is a lot more talkative here.

It doesn’t look like they’re going to go the route of having Snake mute in this one and I’m cool with this. If you’re taking the franchise in a new direction anyway then you might as well go all in. He was able to have more of a personality beyond being the silent tough guy this time. I could see this version of Snake having a lot of good banter with the rest of the characters. I may have had my reservations on his hero status but Snake’s personality itself was on point. He’s always ready for a fight and has a super quick temper. Maybe none of that sounds like Snake but those are qualities I like in my heroes so long as they’re directing this at the villains. So lets see him keep that intensity up as a Joe.

As for Tommy, anyone familiar with the GI Joe mythos will know where he is going but it’s still nice to see the journey. He is portrayed as being stronger than Snake but considerably weaker than Kenta. Tommy always seems a bit unhinged especially with how he blows up at Akiko from time to time. He believes he is destined to rule and often times those kinds of characters are pretty dangerous. Tommy makes for a good character but from the start you are pretty sure he won’t be a big hero.

Akiko does a good job of protecting the clan. From the start she is wary of Snake and for good reason. The guy is constantly vanishing from the facility and doing his own thing. If anything I feel like she should have told the clan about this. Even if she couldn’t pick Tommy since he was too emotionally invested, tell the clan leader or one of the other fighters. With a few more people it would have been easier to figure out what he was up to. She may ultimately be a bit softer on Snake than she should have been as one of the clan guardians though. Not all of the blame should be on her as the clan defenses are just awful though. Feels like you can infiltrate the area and get to the gem with incredible ease. There’s no cameras to see people leaving or coming in at night either so the place desperately needs new equipment.

As for Kenta, he’s the main villain and the guy is tougher than I would have expected. He is consistently shown to be the best fighter in the movie. Even without his super weapon the guy would probably be too much for the other characters one on one. There’s not much to him beyond just being the big villain though. The film’s really more about Snake’s journey than the antagonist so you won’t remember him much.

Then you have the crossover characters who are here to get you hyped up for the next GI Joe film. Scarlett’s intro appearance is definitely like something out of Black Widow. She beats up a bunch of goons while talking to the heroes and explaining what’s up. In a lot of ways her character has always been similar to Widow’s just she is infinitely cooler. Scarlett’s role here isn’t huge but her fights are always a lot of fun.

Likewise for Baroness who shows up to remind the ninja that Cobra calls the shots. Kenta isn’t quite afraid of them but we know Cobra’s a good thread. Baroness does well in the fights too and makes the most of her limited screen time. It would have been nice if she could have gotten her revenge on Kenta to get Cobra some hype but I suppose it just couldn’t work out that way. If Kenta could have ran a bit further, an excellent after credits scene would have been Team Cobra rolling up and taking that guy out for striking the Baroness.

Now, I do think that the Infinity Stone here should have been a little nerfed. Basically the ninja have a stone that can blow people up just by focusing on doing so. You can also make barriers and such. The problem is that the gem has no weak point and it activates almost instantly. Near the end of the film there is a scene where the 8 heroes all grin and strike poses as they mock Kenta. Kenta is holding the gem though so he should have grinned right back at them and then we see them all blow up. There’s no reason he couldn’t have done that and that’s the problem with writing in objects of power that are too useful.

Granted, there are many ways you could have written the characters being able to dodge the gem or disarm him but posing just isn’t it. The film enjoys its posing though as we get quite a few scenes of the characters just posing. Tommy and Snake get a lot of them with their swords. Scarlett and Baroness get quite a few and then you have the team shots. It’s fun for theatrics and getting you hyped but you just want to be careful doing that when the opponent has any kind of long range weapon.

It’s also pretty cool that effectively the first big Cobra and Joe team up is in a Snake Eyes film. I won’t say anything more about that but usually that’s something you would leave for the third film in a trilogy like Transformers or something like that. In that sense it definitely continues to help amp up Snake Eyes but you also just can’t wait for more Joe films. If anything, watching the Snake Eyes film just got me extra hyped to go back and rewatch the first two.

Now, where do we go from here? The film has an after credits scene which is also setting up GI Joe. I think the next step is that you need to have a full GI Joe film. Since Snake Eyes led this new part of the franchise off, maybe you can do it like X-Men. So Snake Eyes will be the main character for the rest of the film. He’s still a drifter but he ends up helping the Joes when he finds out that Tommy’s going to be at their destination. It’ll be a very different take on the series but it could work if they need to try something fresh. This should be a whole new rebooted part of the franchise after all and that would be a good way to do it.

As a final side note, the film has a Peter Parker moment where Snake decides to let a villain go because the whole thing is no longer his problem. In some ways it’s worse than Peter as he knows this guy is a global terrorist working for a powerful organization. Sure, the organization cut him loose but this guy is incredibly dangerous. Any future deaths will now be on his head. It feels like the film didn’t mean for this to be a big scene but I would hope it will come up in the future. This scene just didn’t make any sense though, I don’t see why you would ever let a villain like this go. Deciding not to murder a villain isn’t the same as cutting them free….but yeah that scene definitely popped out at me.

Overall, Snake Eyes is a pretty solid film. It has a lot of great fight scenes and special effects. The pacing of the movie is good and it’s really over before you know it. It might not have the nonstop intensity of a mainline GI Joe film but when the fights do come they tend to look good. Having most of the film take place around Shibuya was also fun since it makes for a lot of fun landmarks. Some of the backgrounds even reminded me of TMNT. It may take a lot of liberties from what you’re used to as a classic Joe story but it’s executed well so I’m looking forward to seeing this vision through to the end.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Origin Review


Saint Seiya returns with the next spinoff. It’s another trip to the past as we see more of Gemini Saga. It’s interesting how this one adds a few new angles to how the events played out. They’re all completely self contained too and even knock themselves out so it doesn’t affect canon much. It’s a nice way to make the journey more unexpected though so I’m certainly on board with this. Sadly Aiolos doesn’t return but I suppose he already got his title.

This title is 2 chapters long and starts out with Seiya bringing the pain to Gemini Saga. It’s the climax of the arc and Seiya has just landed the final blow. This causes Saga to remember how this all went down. In the past the Pope and Roshi have a discussion about trying to keep the realm strong since Hades will be showing up soon. They sense something sinister in the air but figure that it’s probably nothing. Roshi will be monitoring the waterfall after all so if something happens then he will be ready.

Well, one day a pair of comets appear and land by the Pope. It is Gemini Saga and his twin brother. They will make for great gold Saints but then another baby lands on the island. Roshi realizes that it is the dark star of legend, a sign that one of Hades heralds has arrived. He commands the Pope to destroy this baby..but it’s a baby so who’s gonna do that right? The Pope declines of course and the baby vanishes into thin air and is absorbed into Gemini Saga. Little did anyone know, that is why Saga turned evil and it wasn’t actually a split personality. It’s actually one of Hades’ minions…….

So that is a pretty interesting change that’s for sure. His name is Gemini Lemur and he is way stronger than Saga at least mentally so taking control of him during the saga was child’s play. He doesn’t actually get to talk in this special though as he just takes the form of smoke and manipulates events how he wants it to play out. It’s a nice concept but the guy barely feels like a character.

The more interesting subplot is with Ker, one of the highest ranking fighters in Hades’ army. I’m pretty sure she was made up for this prequel but I’m not positive. She woke up early somehow and decides to “play a prank” on Athena by summoning Lemur. She also mocks Kanon for kicks which backfires horribly on her. It was nice to see Kanon getting his hype here. With the Trident of Poseidon it makes sense that he would be pretty powerful. It also gave the prequel some action since this is more of a lore heavy story. So that was a nice confrontation. I always liked Kanon as a solid villain.

Ker is also pretty interesting. Honestly she probably should have just stepped in and destroyed Athena if she really wanted to make Hades proud. He certainly wouldn’t have been against it and this would have been an easy task with all of the infighting going around. It’s why narratively speaking it may be a little questionable to have someone so powerful just watching on the sidelines the whole time.

The art is pretty good as expected. The character models are on point and the action can look dramatic. You can tell that the fights would look good here if we actually got some of them. It definitely would have been a cool touch if you ask me. At only two chapters this series really goes by in the blink of an eye though. It’s not quite as strong as the other one but I had no issues with this story. It’s pretty interesting and hopefully they put it at the end of some kind of volume release as a bonus chapter. More people should get to see this part of the lore.

It doesn’t do the Gold Saints any favors though. I never cut these guys any slack because they haven’t earned it. Even here, Roshi has one job which is to watch the Waterfall in case Hades approaches and yet he doesn’t do anything even when Ker infiltrates Athena’s lair (Roshi doesn’t even realize this) and when the shadow comet lands by the Pope he still does nothing. What’s the point of standing guard if you will always just sit back and wait to see how it all plays out?

It was nice to have a lot of easter eggs and foreshadowing at the ready for the Hades arc though. Roshi explaining that a shadow comet is the sign of their arrival is something that did happen at the beginning of the Hades arc. Likewise, that the reason he can’t move by the Waterfall is that he has to wait for the Hades seal to come undone. Of course, it’s pretty easy to add Easter Eggs when a prequel comes out way after the series completed but it’s still nice to see. It helps everything just feel more expansive.

Overall, Saint Seiya: Origin is a good little story. You almost feel like a title that says “Origin” would be about the original Saints though and not how Saga got his dark side. Even in this chapter they reference the events of the original Holy War and how a lot of the Golden Saints died. They’re the ones who would need a prequel. I’m sure they’ll show up in one of the many spinoffs but a title literally called “Origin” would definitely be very fitting for those guys. Either way this is definitely another story I can certainly recommend.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Episode Zero Review


Saint Seiya has always made it clear that most of the Gold Saints are either evil or complacent. They don’t help when it counts and usually avoid fighting entirely so Athena never really had a lot to work with. This quick one shot expands what happened with Aiolos into 3 chapters and shows us just how much he had to go through to keep her safe. It’s a fun prequel and I always like seeing more of this guy since he is easily the best Gold Saint and one of the best Saint Seiya characters in general.

Episode Zero starts off with the Pope getting ready to choose which Gold Saint will succeed him in the position. There are really only two candidates who are close to the position though and they are Aiolos and Gemini Saga. Aiolos believes that Saga would be the best man for the job since the guy is revered as really being a great person and his abilities are second to none. Little does he realize that Saga is currently dealing with a lot of inner doubts and believes that Aiolos should be the man for the job.

The time table is sped up though when Saga goes missing and the Pope seemingly goes insane. Aiolos needs to keep baby Athena safe but where can he go? The other Golden Saints all want Aiolos dead since the Pope claims he is trying to take Athena and they have enough power to rend the whole solar system into oblivion. Somehow Aiolos needs to escape them and get Athena to safety but this won’t be easy.

All Saint Seiya mediums have one thing in common, they make sure to show that the Golden Saints are absolutely the biggest jerks around. I don’t want to hear that they’re supposed to be heroes or anything like that because they really aren’t. They actively do everything they can to help the villains and don’t listen to reason. Now, we already knew this because this 3 chapter prequel is effectively expanding on what we saw near the beginning of Saint Seiya. So you know how it ends but this really gets into the specifics.

I’d say it’s also taking a few liberties here as Aiolos refuses to fight back while he’s usually shown to be fighting against the Golden Knights. My favorite part of the mobile game was when he knocked out 3 of them in the opening level. Given that Aiolos is one of the strongest Golden Knights it makes sense although I suppose this manga would probably have more weight as canon material than a mobile game. Not really sure.

Regardless, Aiolos shines through as a great character here. Since he knows that the war with Hades is approaching (I think he may have underestimated how long it would take for Hades to show up since that was the final arc of the series) he has decided not to injure any of the Golden Knights since they will need to all be ready to fight soon. That part can be a little frustrating as these villains are pounding away at him and he decides not to fight back. I think it’s the wrong call but I admire his drive.

Aiolos manages to complete his mission with flying colors and never looks back. As for the other Golden Knights, well they get 0 points to be honest. So you’ve got the main 3 who are after him, Aphrodite, Shura, and Death. Usually I see him called Death Mask but in this manga they just call him Death which is a cool title anyway. These guys are pretty bad. At least Death has the excuse of actually being evil which makes a lot of sense on why he wouldn’t mind carrying out this mission.

The other two have no such excuse and they look awful when they try attacking Aiolos and basically say that they won’t listen to anything he tells them. Must be easy to trick someone when they won’t hear the other side of the story. They just look so petty ganging up on Aiolos when he won’t even fight back. Not minding the fact that their attacks will put Athena in danger is also really suspect.

The entire goal of the Golden Saints (Or any Saint to be honest) is to protect Athena so when they put this mission on hold or try to attack her then that means they are failing in their entire purpose. It’s just a really bad look and it’s why I never liked the Gold Saints. Aiolos is the only exception and that’s why he had to get bumped off early.

Gemini Saga also looks pretty bad here. He is overwhelmed by his dark side with such ease that it’s disgraceful. When you have a split personality you’d like to think that both sides are pretty evenly split but the evil one is clearly a lot more powerful. How did that ever happen? It means that the good side was definitely slacking in his mental defenses. He only ever whines when he is on screen which isn’t a good look anyway.

Athena actually gets a pretty intense scene where she glares at one of the Golden Saints and stops him in his tracks. Yeah it’s a little cheesy I’ll grant you that but at least Athena is doing something. That’s more than what she tends to do in the main series after all.

The art is pretty solid. It’s definitely got the vibe of the original series within it that’s for sure. There isn’t really a chance for a lot of fight scenes here which is unfortunate but I suppose it would be hard to incorporate more into this prequel. I still defer to the mobile game since it did add the extra fights to this part of the saga.


Overall, This was a fun prequel. It’s always good to see more of Aiolos since he doesn’t get to appear almost at all in the main adventures. That’s why I would have liked to have seen him fight more. Since it’s only 3 chapters, the series goes by in a flash but it was certainly a fun ride. If you enjoy Saint Seiya then this is definitely a good special to check out. Hopefully one day they bring Aiolos back into more of a starring role. I’ve still got a lot of different spinoffs to check out so maybe he’ll be in one of those.

Overall 8/10

Black Widow Review


Black Widow is a film that feels like it’s been in the works for ages. After the Avengers 2012 film there was already talk about a potential solo film. I know a lot of people wanted a whole film about Budapest, others wanted a prequel even further back in the red room. Ultimately we would finally get the solo film now, which takes place after Civil War. It’s a pretty good place to put this film in, I would say the only other area that would have worked would have been the multi-year gap between Infinity War and End Game.

The movie starts off with showing Natasha as a child where she grew up with her parents and younger sister. Their life was pleasant for a while but one day they had to suddenly sneak out and head back to base. Her life was thrown upside down and then she went to work as a Soviet agent until eventually she was able to break away into the Avengers. I would say this was the best way to handle her early childhood.

Personally I would say the film starts off slow. It doesn’t really pick up until we go to the present which is precisely why I never wanted a full prequel film about her childhood. It could be interesting to see her as an assassin and you could pull off a film like Salt but in general I’m always a lot more interested in seeing the present. Yes, this isn’t the exact present but it’s not too long ago. This way you still see scenes of her past without having a 2 hour experience about it which seems like a fair balance.

So the movie truly picks up with Widow on the run from the government after Civil War. Aside from Captain America, the rest of her team was already captured. Widow has had enough of this and intends to vanish forever into another life but suddenly gets thrown back into the fray when she is attacked by the Taskmaster. After suffering a complete defeat, she heads over to her sister Yelena for some answers. Turns out that the Red Room is still in operation so Widow is going to have to confront her old ghosts one more time.

The opening action scene with Taskmaster is definitely solid. Taskmaster gets to show off his good hand to hand skills and copy abilities from the comics and Natasha fights well as always although she is definitely out of her league in this battle and goes down quickly. It’s a good way of getting her back into the fold and effectively forcing her into the action. It also showed how she would still make the heroic call in the end such as when she went for the vials even though she had been looking forward to some down time.

Lets start with the film’s strong points. The action and effects are top notch as always. The hand to hand fights are on point and I like how the objects as used in combat. Taskmaster has his shield while Natasha uses whatever items she has on hand. The different locations all look really good and there are a lot of different environments here to be sure.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. We get some Russian opera styled music here during one of the opening montages and some classic action tunes. While I wouldn’t say any might be a complete standout, they work out well for the scenes that they’re in and help to enhance the moment.

Yelena is a great new addition to the universe. Historically I’ve always liked her a lot more than Natasha as the Black Widow. She tends to be more of an antagonist but I’m nowhere near close to being caught up with her character so maybe she is usually a good guy now. Either way she brings in a lot of the witty lines in the film. While it’s clear that Natasha is more skilled, she is also older than Yelena and got a lot of great experience with the Avengers. Give Yelena some time and she can catch up at some point.

Yelena loves poking fun at the other characters and it works really well for the dynamic here. She was definitely the standout character here. I also liked Natasha’s mother Melina. As a strategist she also has a lot of good plans and is integral when helping the other characters out. That said, she did have a really suspect scene involving a pig as well as the implications that this has. While they play the sympathy card a lot, I can’t see her as anything other than a complete villain.

There’s some good setup to the rest of the universe as well although this is squarely a Black Widow film. The after credits scene is pretty low key for the most part but the final part has a lot of solid implications for fights coming up. Lets just say that the person who is about to be hunted should be in a lot of trouble since I think he’s outmatched here. Maybe he’ll surprise me though. I’m not really feeling the new Nick Fury type character yet since I prefer his mysterious approach to the “fake friend” tactic this one likes to try. Still, should make for an interesting confrontation down the road.

Finally, I’ve always liked the concept of the rogue agent who goes back to their roots. It could be someone who used to be evil or just someone who needs to do an impossible task. It’s the very concept of Mission Impossible, but I’m thinking of more solo operations like Salt, Resident Evil, John Wick, and other titles like that. They can get rather intense but the story itself is always very compelling. The same goes for Black Widow as Natasha has to tap into her old skills which may be rusty at this point.

After all, as a kid even before growing up in the Red Room she was a tough fighter and even more so after completing her missions. As an Avenger she had to learn how to fight as a hero which means no lethal moves and as a result she couldn’t go all out anymore. Hawkeye even gave her a straight fight in the first Avengers film which likely wouldn’t happen in her prime. That said, with how easily she handled Yelena, it’s clear that growing rusty is not a problem in her case.

Black Widow is definitely in the top half of the Marvel Cinematic films. There are enough films now where it’s tough to rank them all but it’s squarely under the top tiers like the Avenger films but above all the Phase 1 titles (Not counting Avengers) and others scattered across the phases. It’s a great film and only the 6th 8 star film I’ve seen in 2021. There’s a lot to like here.

Now for the film’s weak points. I thought it went way too far in making the Red Guardian as useless and comedic as possible. Sure, his personality can be fun and some of his humor moments do land, but couldn’t he have looked good at least once? Strength is his whole thing but he fails in his break out scene, gets humiliated by Taskmaster, and ultimately doesn’t win a single battle. I’m not familiar with him in the comics so maybe he always gets wrecked but it felt a little overdone. He deserved at least one quality moment without the rest of the team constantly dunking on him.

I was also underwhelmed by Taskmaster. I wouldn’t say he was a bad villain, but…he’s just not Taskmaster. We’ve seen Marvel do this with several big villains like Mandarin and Ultron where they just don’t feel like their normal selves and this would have to be put into that category. The first red flag is when he doesn’t talk at all during his opening fight. Seems like a robot with no personality. I can get behind the costume being the weakest Taskmaster design yet since it’s passable but this guy just doesn’t feel like Taskmaster. Where’s the bragging, witty dialogue? I’m used to a fairly talkative Taskmaster.

His role is also a lot smaller than you’d expect so he doesn’t the time needed to look particularly impressive. You have 0 doubt that Captain America, Black Panther, Bucky, and a bunch of other hand to hand fighters would crush this version of him with ease. So he was on the disappointing side, good in a vacuum but I think they just should have called him something else and kept the Taskmaster title open for the future. Who knows, maybe there will be a twist and we’ll get another Taskmaster soon.

Now lets talk about Natasha, I was a little quiet about her in this review so far if you’ve noticed. Retroactively this movie really makes her character look shaky at times and downright bad at others. Now, you know a big part of the plot is that the red room is still around, but Natasha was super sure it was gone. So the film goes into why she thinks this is the case…and it makes her look a bit naïve.

She really didn’t do much inspecting to see if this was really the case. She went to extreme lengths in her quest for vengeance as well. Now you can put some blame on Shield and her partner for believing someone who just turned to their side without having someone else watching the situation but at its core this is Natasha’s issue. Characters make mistakes in their past and this was a long time ago…but it’s a rather huge mistake. The film will explain what I’m talking about here with her plan to destroy the red room but I’m keeping any specifics out for spoilers.

Even more egregious is the fact that afterwards she never actually tried to find Yelena or any of the others. This feels a little convenient since that would have also told her that something was going on. A lot of the film is about Natasha trying to correct her past and trying to be a better person now. It’s what she was talking about with her ledger being red a while back in the early Avenger films so we see exactly what she was talking about. I’ve never been a Black Widow fan and this film doesn’t help matters.

It’s part of why I was glad to see Yelena showing up since she’s always been more fun and this film keeps that up. Still, Natasha does do well in the fight scenes and still proves to be the critical character needed to stop the villains. Without her here there’s no way the others would have been okay. She’s started her first step on the redemption journey by finally thanking the guy who gets her all her equipment and tech. I felt bad for him the whole film so at least it’s a start because that guy deserves a lot of gratitude for always coming through.

That’s it for weaknesses. I mean, the main villain is pretty bad but he’s really a non factor here. The guy is just around since we need a head of the red room but that’s the extent of his room. He can’t fight and can only rely on Purple Man type powers to keep himself in the fight. It’s also another chance to make Black Widow look bad since you’d think she could resist this but I guess the powers of science cannot be defeated.

Costume-wise, I preferred Natasha’s outfit here to the usual Black Widow one. Granted, the old version is a lot more fitting to the title but I do like to have a change of pace once in a while so this was a really good way to flip things. Also, it worked well for the snow scenes. I missed the sky fall gunfight scene from the trailer though. I wonder if it was made only for the trailer or if it got so much bad press about the bullet dodging physics that they just scrapped it. I hope it’s the former because it’s still a great concept for a scene and would have worked really well at the end. Maybe just tweak the scene a bit to show her dodging but then we’re good.

Ultimately my favorite action scene in the film was the opening battle with Taskmaster. Part of why it’s so effective is because of how sudden it is. Taskmaster just appears out of nowhere and starts the fight right away. If not for the fact that he can only focus on his objective, Natasha would have been completely finished off there. The match has a lot of tension and the night time background works well since it feels like there is absolutely no backup. If Natasha were to die here, it would be easy to cover up and even the Avengers may be at a loss.

Widow was also caught off guard so it’s not like she had her gear. You really see how tough a hero is when they just have to fight as they are. You think of moments like Steve being attacked at his home by Winter Soldier, Tony’s house being attacked in Iron Man 3, or Catwoman breaking into Bruce Wayne’s house in Dark Knight Rising. Usually the hero is caught flat footed and gets wrecked but when they’re able to put up a good fight you gain a lot of respect for their survival instincts. I’ll give Natasha credit here, she did put up a good fight even with no prep time despite the combat disadvantage.

The writing is really on point as well. While the Red Guardian may be the comic relief character of the film, I thought Yelena had all the best jokes and funny one liners. The conversation about how Natasha is always posing before and during her fights was fun. Yelena even gives it a shot on her own at one point and the fact that the pose is immediately recognizable does support her point there. Whenever she is around you can expect a lot of fun dialogue. You do get a very genuine feeling from the Guardian in his lines too but I don’t believe his talk about Captain America. He would get folded like an old lawn chair if he tried to defeat Steve. The other characters could have probably cut him some slack since he’s been trapped in jail all this time though.

Overall, Black Widow’s definitely a great film. It’s may have the slowest start to an MCU film but really turns up once we get to the present when she’s trying to evade Ross. That’s when the film gets great and then it keeps up that momentum the rest of the way. The action is on point and as always Marvel has a ton of great backgrounds and environments to fight in. The film may be 2 hours long but it really ends in a flash. You won’t even notice the time and it’s a title you can safely recommend even to people who have not seen the other Marvel titles since her story is fairly stand alone.

Overall 8/10

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 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

Underworld has returned for another title. This time we’re travelling to the past though so you won’t be seeing Selene and the hybrid fighter running around. While I would say this one’s weaker than the last two, it still delivers on what you would expect to see in an Underworld title. There’s a lot of action here and of course with the Lycans being main characters you can expect them to get a lot of screen time.

The movie begins by introducing us to the vampires dominion which is ruled by Viktor. At the very least he owns the strongest cabal from the Vampire bases and he rules it with an iron fist. The humans all have to bring him their riches and supplies if they want to keep being protected. That said, the Lycans have made this more complicated lately. They continue ransacking these places which undermines the people’s faith in Viktor.

Then you have his daughter Sonja who is having a secret affair with Lucian, one of the Lycan. Lucian is the only one allowed to have at least a little respect and power within the vampire ranks. He shows more reason than the rest of the werewolves and he has agreed to serve Viktor. The other vampires don’t like this though and do what they can to make his days as uncomfortable as possible. This could have been the end of it, but Viktor continually shows that he will never respect the Lycans so Lucian decides they will need to escape. Can he really break all of them free from the vampire shackles?

What this film really underscores is that Viktor is 100% responsible for the war that ends up breaking. His advisors warn him to treat the Lycans a bit better or there could be an issue. They tell him that patrols are needed to watch over the human villages so they don’t revolt either. Viktor won’t hear any of it and continues to say that his way is the best way. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Then you have the way he treats Lucian. You’d think that he would want to keep Lucian at least a bit comfortable since the rest of the Lycan will follow his lead. That’s not the case though as he punishes Lucian for saving Sonja since the werewolf had to transform in order to do it. Really? So you’re penalizing him for saving your daughter. We all know Viktor would have murdered Lucian if something had happened to Sonja so the game just felt rigged in that sense.

Viktor absolutely sped up the time table of the revolt and he was as oblivious as can be. I thought he made for a pretty hype villain in the first film but here he just looks incompetent at his job. If he had even a little sense of strategy he would have been able to have put the vampires in a good spot.

Meanwhile, Lucian makes for a decent lead. The fact that he basically works to destroy his own kind at the vampire’s orders hurts him for the first half though. It takes a while for Lucian to effectively decide to stand against them and that’s really only when the issue is forced. He does make the right call in deciding to go back to try to save Sonja though. Ultimately there wouldn’t be much meaning in escaping if it meant leaving her behind.

Here we see Lucian fight as more of a warrior than a beast and he looked rather impressive. It’s still hard to see him taking on most vampires but it does look like you keep some of your strength in human form. Ultimately I think his fans will be satisfied with his portrayal here. As for Sonja, you know how her story will end from the start and the film’s more about seeing how the situation unfolds. Her skills were impressive as she even overpowered Viktor. It would have been nice if she would have made a move to escape earlier with Lucian since that started leading things on the wrong path but in a mansion of vampires the mission can be difficult.

The cast is fairly small here as the rest of the characters are mainly just supporting figures who don’t really get much of a role. We do get to see more of Raze here who was the loyal right hand man to Lucian. He’s dependable here as well and you can see why he earned the role. The guy doesn’t fear his opponents the way that most fighters do.

The action scenes here are pretty solid. You definitely have a lot of back and forth and the best battle is either Lucian or Sonja against Viktor. Not surprising since he usually makes for the best fights. The effects are on point and the mansion visuals are good. I do miss the modern aesthetic of the earlier films though. Looking at the forest and a medieval setting just can’t beat a modern city.

There’s not a lot to say about the soundtrack though. This film also gets held down by all the same negatives of the first two films so it’s nothing new in that respect. The film really goes over the top with all the violence everywhere. Characters are eaten, ripped apart, and drained dry. You can expect a high body count here of course. The lucky characters are the ones who are instantly destroyed as opposed to being roughed up first.

The romance with Lucian and Sonja also ends up falling here. It all happens rather quickly although presumably the affair’s been going on for a long while in secret. How they ever got together is not something the film has time for since it’s not the longest. Taking out that subplot and redirecting that to some more politics with the humans would have been nice.

For me the highlight of the film is the ending scene as we get a glimpse into the present timeline. It’s an old scene but with 1 new word of dialogue which was probably cropped from the climax of the first film. It’s just a nice way to end things off with a character being in complete denial at the end. Of course that would soon change in the sequels.

Overall, Prequels are a good way to build lore and many franchises use this tactic. Personally it’s very rare to find a prequel that is super engaging because I’m always more interested in finding out what’s going on in the present. Effectively this would delay that journey 3 more years if I had been watching live. Still, now we know the full origin of the war. I’ll also have the review of the next film up pretty quickly. If you liked the first 2 films then you’ll want to check this one out but otherwise you will already know if this is a series that you’ll want to skip. It really plays out very similarly to the others.

Overall 2/10

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 14h 44m

Contribution Levels

All Hyrule 34%
Central Hyrule 38%
Hebra 37%
Akkala 29%
Eldin 28%
Lanayru 38%
Necluda 34%
Faron 43%
Gerudo 27%

Character Levels

Link 61
Impa 38
Zelda 55
Mipha 37
Daruk 49
Revali 29
Urbosa 27
Hestu 29
Sidon 41
Yunobo 41
Teba 40
Riju 42
Master Kohga 53
King Ghoam 54

Challenges

Level 1-10 All Clear
Level 11-20 All Clear
Level 21-30 8/23 Complete
Level 31-40 6/10 Complete
Level 41-50 0/9 Complete
Level 51-60 0/8 Complete
Divine Beast Challenges 0/7 Complete