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

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Review


Hyrule Warriors was one of the best games I played on the Wii U back in the day. The game had a whole lot of awesome gameplay mechanics at its disposal and the levels were intense. To date I consider it to be one of the best beat em ups I’ve ever played. The whole thing was just so seamless and I do love me a good crossover plot. This one is a very worthy sequel though setting us in the Breath of the Wild continuity. Finally we can have a big story with these characters. The story is a pretty solid length at over 10 hours. It took me around 14.5 although I did a lot of the side missions and bonus content because the game was so fun.

The story picks up right before the actual Calamity started. Link is a chosen knight of Hyrule whose mission is to protect Princess Zelda. He does so magnificently as he saves her from an enemy energy blast. Zelda needs to awaken her abilities foretold by prophecy in order to stop Calamity Ganon from wiping out the world. Her best bet in the meantime is to find the 4 guardians and have them awaken their machines of power. If they use these then the prophecy says they will win but has Ganon already accounted for them? We know that in Breath of the Wild the heroes lose so what can tip the scales here? We have a time travelling robot from the future who shows up in the first level so perhaps he will come in clutch.

There are quite a few twists and turns here as the game goes on so the story is always adapting. It’s a very engaging one and we have a lot of cutscenes here. As always Link proves himself to be an excellent main character. It’s hard not to like the guy because he really does have an incredible amount of skill and is always ready to jump into the fray. With Link by your side you can’t help but feel that everything is going to be all right. He’ll step up to the plate each time we need him to do so. Zelda is also a solid heroine. Her voice will take a little getting used to but as a character she is brave and does what she needs to as Princess. She can also fight on the battlefield alongside the others which I’d say is crucial. You’ve always gotta be able to fight, especially in a ruined world like this one. Otherwise you may just hold the others back.

Her father, the King actually gets a good role here as well. It’s rare to see him step up, but he does and it turns out that the guy can fight really well with a sword. I liked him quite a bit throughout the game. I can see why some may find him to be a bit harsh with Zelda but I don’t think he ever crosses any kind of line and had some good points. Zelda was quite nervous at that point and seemed to be dodging her duty. I wouldn’t say it was intentional and I don’t think he thought so either. He just wanted to get her back on track and the stakes were quite high because if they failed then that would be game over.

As for the villains, we have 3 main ones aside from good ole Calamity Ganon. The first is Master Kogha. He’s definitely trying for a charismatic comic relief kind of role here. He can fight decently well but doesn’t take things seriously a whole lot. He didn’t grow on me but I wouldn’t say he was bad. He may make you crack a smile once in a while but he’s not as funny as you need to be for this style of villain to truly work. Fortunately his sidekick Sooga is great and really holds up the villain side here. He’s a talented fighter who even gives Link a run for his money. The guy is incredibly loyal as well so Kohga is lucky to have him by his side.

The main villain here would be Astor though. It’s almost odd to call him the main villain because it feels like the guy doesn’t appear a whole lot here but he is the central focus. He wants to awaken Ganon and end the world. He doesn’t have much personality beyond that but he’s okay. I’ll definitely take most of the other evil Legend of Zelda mages over him. I did like his ability to conjure up shadow versions of the heroes to fight though. That’s a pretty handy trick especially if they are close to as strong as the real deals. Meanwhile Ganon doesn’t do much but it’s always fun to see the blight versions and the final boss has a pretty great design. I do look forward to having more of a sentient Ganon make his return at some point though. He’s just such an interesting villain when he can talk.

Meanwhile the graphics here are naturally top notch. The energy effects all look really good and you can feel the power behind each attack. It makes you have a blast while you’re running around each level. The cutscenes also look really good. In particular there is one cutscene where Link is in a 4 on 1 battle that is great fun to watch. It’s definitely as intense as it gets. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is also excellent. The soundtrack has a lot of different themes with a good range of action themes to emotional ones as well. In particular there’s one action theme I like a lot which tends to show up when the villains appear. It builds up the suspense quite nicely.

As for the gameplay, it’s sort of like the first game but a bit different. The game adds a new mechanic to the usual beat em up style which is the ability to use 4 skills mid-battle. Stasis, which freezes an opponent; Magnetism, which can manipulate metal; Freeze, which is pretty self explanatory but if you use it on the water it gets to be super effective; and Bombs, which blow stuff up. I really just used the bombs and stasis but both are incredibly useful. Bombs allow you to instantly chip away at an enemy’s stagger meter without having to worry about perfect dodges. Stasis freezes an opponent for a few seconds and you can use it every 10-15 seconds so I recommend spamming that one. It is useful in every different fight so not using it would just be a waste. This new mechanic is quite powerful though to the point where you will be using it incredibly frequently.

The game puts a bigger emphasis on this than your actual final smash which is probably why this is the first warriors game where it can be very hard to replenish your meter at times. I think they’re hoping you use the new mechanic a lot. Well, it’s definitely a fun one so no complaints here. All of the characters have very unique gameplay styles although that is the one area where I would say the game does falter compared to the first one next to the story. While it’s great that the characters have their own unique styles, some feel very difficult to use for battle. Zelda is the biggest character who’s like this. It’s hard to make heads or tails of what her attacks are actually doing in gameplay. Half the time it would be faster for me to just have Link cross the entire field to go and make a last second save rather than letting Zelda or any of the other characters fight in his place. I did like Goruk’s fighting style for example, but Link’s was easily the best.

As mentioned the game’s length is over 10 hours but there’s a lot of replay value that will extend this length. For starters there are over 100 quests to fulfill by gathering ingredients and rupees. Outside of that you will unlock shops where you can level everyone up and upgrade your weapons. These quests even boost all of your characters with more combos and hearts so I highly recommend doing some of these quests. They will help a whole lot when doing the campaign. I did just enough where I was able to go through the main story without dying but I came very close in the final level. If I hadn’t completed 100+ quests I am quite sure I would have died there. Not to mention that completing challenges also helps with increasing your level. There are a wide range of challenges to beat which are separated into categories for every 10 levels. I beat all of them for the first 2 sections and then randomly beat some in the next two. There are still a lot left for if I were to ever go back to these.

Overall, Age of Calamity is a fantastic game. There is a wealth of content here to play through and that’s always good to see. It’s clear that there was a lot of effort put into this game. The story is engaging and the characters are fun. The gameplay is top notch and the same is true of the graphics and soundtrack. When you have a game this balanced there just isn’t anything to bring it down. I do hope they continue making more Nintendo Warrior games because so far they have all been quite excellent. It’s a formula that you can’t go wrong with. If you haven’t bought this game yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 9/10

Megaman 10 -Extra F Review


It’s time to look at a very obscure Megaman one shot from back in the day. It’s only 16 pages so this is also just a very quick story in general. It’s cool to have a story that is focused on Bass though. That alone makes it a pretty notable entry. This is a pretty fun short story and the art is reasonably good. You should be able to knock this out in a few minutes but it’s a few minutes of your life that you’ll be glad you used.

The plot is that there is now a Robot flu thanks to Wily messing up on an invention. Mega Man is tasked with finding pieces of the cure so that he can make everyone better. Meanwhile Bass wants to find Mega Man for a rematch but gets his directions mixed up so he ends up going against most of Wily’s new and updated robots. This doesn’t faze him as Bass easily crushes those robots but he is no closer to finding Mega Man. Gradually he realizes that this is still fun though and even gets his revenge on Wily. So the story is pretty comedic in that sense although the action scenes are pretty fun. There’s only so much you can do in 16 pages of course.

I like the idea of Bass taking everyone out simply because they were in his way. It’s definitely something I could see him doing. He has often been overshadowed by his EXE counterpart so it’s easy to forget that he’s a pretty hype character in his own right. I think Mega Man and Proto Man would have had a hard time with him. The guy also acts heroically at times like with how he made Treble take the only cure they had. On the outside he acts like he did it for himself of course but we know better. I don’t disagree with the logic though. What can a mere flu do against someone as mighty as Bass? He would definitely just laugh it off and that makes perfect sense. He’s the ultimate robot in the series after all.

As I mentioned, the art isn’t bad. It’s not super detailed or anything but I would say that it’s a solid step above cash-in art that you see from time to time. The final page has Bass drawn in a rather odd way where I’m not sure what the intent was but every other page and instant is pretty good if you ask me. The action scenes while brief are also pretty good. I definitely would have liked it if this could have gone on for longer than a single chapter. There’s a lot you can do here if you really think about it.

Overall, This is a short review but that’s because this is a very short story as well. There’s only so much you can talk about to cover 16 pages. At the end of the day you’ll enjoy this story if you like the Mega Man series. If you haven’t followed it then you’ll probably just be lost here or wondering what the point of the story is. There’s not much of a focus after all so it all really just rides on whether you like the Mega Man series or not. It’s always fun to see them in extra little adventures here and there. This was the last classic Mega Man manga on my radar though so next up it’s time to enter the world of Mega Man X. That should definitely be fun. His stories have already been more plot based than the classic lineup and a manga should delve into that even further.

Overall 7/10

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Tomioka Giyuu Gaiden Review


It’s time to look at a quick prequel that takes place pretty early on in the Demon Slayer series. Based on some flashbacks here I’d say its probably around season 1 of the show. I still haven’t reviewed the manga yet so in a way I’m reviewing another spinoff before the main thing like with Sakura Wars. Unfortunately this prequel was pretty bad. It’s the kind of event that might happen in the main series but without the length and positives that an ongoing has to try and counter this kind of thing. This prequel is only two chapters long and squeezes in some animal violence which is definitely not a good thing. It means that this title was doomed from the start and just wasn’t able to pull ahead.

The adventure starts with Giyu murdering some more demons. Unfortunately it does seem like he’s murdering civilians so the cops try to take him in. Fellow pillar Shinobu shows up in time to rescue him. The two of them agree to team up briefly as there appears to be a demon on a nearby mountain. Unfortunately the only witness is a young girl who refuses to talk. She claims there is nothing here but the heroes know better. Will the Slayers be able to stop the demon or will it claim one more victim before they can stop it? It’s always rough when you have to deal with demons in an isolated area like this since they can hide just about anywhere.

Ultimately they just have to follow the girl and eventually find the demon. The story is going for grim dark right from the start. See, here’s how it plays out for her tragic origin story. Her father became a demon and murdered everyone except for the girl and her dog. He was able to control himself enough to escape but instead of telling anyone the girl vowed to destroy him herself. She trained for years and finally thought she was ready. Unfortunately that was not the case and the dog ends up getting murdered. The pillars show up and save her but it feels like too little too late. After beating the demon they head off.

So this is really just a quick story about taking down another demon. Why did it have to be to grim dark though? It seems like this tends to happen a lot with demons but for a quick one shot (Technically 2 chapters) this wasn’t a good move. Especially having the dog die the way that it did. There’s no reason for that. The art is good at least. It looks like the main series and the action scene isn’t bad. Of course, it’s not much of a fight because the two heroes here are pillars and this is just a random demon. It’s not like it would have been able to do much of anything against them.

Giyu is one of the more reasonable pillars. He’s not quite insane the way a lot of the others are and at least seems to have some compassion and empathy. He’s also one of the more skilled fighters if you ask me. Then you have Shinobu who is pretty fun. She’s definitely quite ruthless when it comes to demons but with other humans she is nice enough. She doesn’t really get to fight here as she mainly watches but would be able to destroy the demon in a hit if needed. I guess having both of them double team the demon would have felt like overkill.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this one because it’s so short. I’m always up for expanding the series with different prequels and side stories. This one may have fallen flat but I still appreciate the idea behind it. The final page had an afterward hinting that we would get a bunch of others but either that fell through or they just haven’t been scanned yet. I’m confident that we could get some stories that are way better than this one so I’ll just keep on looking forward to those. The world is vast and the main series only covered part of it so there’s still a lot they can do.


Overall, This was a short story that was pretty bad. The plot is paper thin and the adventure relies on a ton of shock value. It’s a shame because the art is god and the two main characters have some decent banter. A good idea would have been to have the whole story be a clash of ideologies or something. A day in the life of the pillars would be fun and we don’t necessarily need demon slaying here. If you do have it in, just have the characters fight them in the background while talking. Keep the pets out of it and you’re good. Ah well, better luck next time. Even if you like Demon Slayer I recommend skipping this one. There’s really no point to the story and as a result there’s no reason to ever read it.

Overall 2/10