Maze Runner: The Death Cure Review

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It’s been quite a while since I saw the Scorch Trials but I knew that someday I would finish this series. That time is now and the Death Cure actually isn’t a bad film. For the most part it’s actually pretty solid but ends up losing a lot of steam by the time it reaches the ending. There really isn’t much of humanity left to save either.

The film starts with an almost humorous action scene where the main characters steal an entire train, knock out all of the guards and then fly out of there. They are lucky that the guards can’t shoot straight or that they had no cameras active to see the obvious traps that were set out for them. This sort of plot hax will be around for a while so now is a good time to get used to it. The characters have now freed over 100 kids and are ready to sail off to a better tomorrow. The problem is that one of their friends from the first film is still captured. Thomas, Newt, and Frypan head off to find him before also being joined by Jorge and Brenda. They will have to break into the enemy stronghold to free him and will have to risk everything one last time. Can they do it?

There is certainly a lot of action here. We have constant gun fights and miscellaneous explosions occurring off screen. There is even a hand to hand fight near the end. Naturally these kids aren’t exactly master martial arts so it’s really just both sides throwing a lot of punches as opposed to a lot of crispy choreography. The climax is really just one large war zone as the characters try to make it out in one piece.

The pacing isn’t bad either as things tend to move quickly. The heroes are rarely given a chance to rest and so the film is moving a lot as well. I can’t say the writing was all that good though as characters constantly sound like they are in a horror movie with all the needless yelling. The character cast also isn’t amazing and I had some issues with the ending. To explain why the ending is no ot that good without spoilers is a little tricky, but here goes. The whole film series is really about choosing a side. Is the government right for sacrificing around 50 kids to save the human population or should the kids simply escape but also soon humanity along with them? Well the choice was taken out of your hands early on as the government is unnecessarily cruel the whole time. They even go so far as to attempt to destroy one of the kids when harnessing his blood slowly would have been safer and could have saved more people. It’s also worth noting that their cures keep failing so they are gambling the kids lives on just a hunch. Then in the ending we basically realize that all hope is lost. Unless there is yet another lost city in the middle of nowhere but that would be super convenient. It means that the whole trilogy was ultimately pointless for most of the human race.

As I mentioned earlier there is also quite a lot of plot hax to be found here. The villains constantly seem to be on the losing side when they should have this in the bag. The amount of times they yell “freeze” is almost funny because the heroes absolutely never listen and it always results in the villains losing once again. The scene where the bus is surrounded is the worst part as they just watch one of the characters clip it to a construction crane and lift the bus out of there. They probably should have fired their guns.

Thomas is the main character and he is definitely no good. He is said to be a very forgiving character multiple times in the film to the point where he is ready to quickly forgive Teresa after she betrayed the heroes and took a role in torturing one of his friends. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that he forgives everyone but Thomas isn’t consistent about that. We’ve also got a kid who was mind controlled and forced into destroying another kid. The guy seemingly died but now he has returned and Thomas absolutely won’t forgive him. So really, it’s not that he is a forgiving person by nature, he just likes Teresa so he is willing to overlook her faults. He doesn’t handle the romance situation very well either and tends to not make very good commands as the leader. He’s just not a guy that you would want to follow into battle. Especially since he is always admitting that he has no idea what they are even doing.

Then we have Teresa who does not regret turning evil. That should mean she will be portrayed as a villain right? Well surprisingly the film actually tries to make her a little sympathetic with the classic the Ends Justify the Means line of thinking. That didn’t fly back in the day and it still doesn’t. She is on the wrong side and the film did a poor job of trying to show her switch sides or even making her cause look legitimate. As such the character was just pretty bad the whole time. The same goes for her Boss who spends the first two films capturing the kids and putting them in painful experiments. Now she is finally having second thoughts and it’s just way too late for that.

The only good villain is the main chief of security, Janson. He is sticking to his guns literally in this film as he shots quite a few characters and also knows how to fight. I mean, he’s not a great fighter as he can barely go even with Thomas but I suppose it’s a start at the very least. Janson also knows when it’s time to pull back and just win with a gun instead. His demise seems a little hard to buy since he would have known the room better than anyone and what it would take to break the glass though.

Newt was a solid character. He always does his best to support Thomas while also calling him out when the lead starts to act fishy. He has been infected for a while but manages to keep it quiet so as not to distract from the mission. Newt does have his typical blow up moment at Thomas which comes off as rather forced but that’s really his only iffy scene. Then we have the ex bully who still calls Thomas greeny. Honestly I barely remember the character at all so he may as well be a new character in this one. He is the commander of the resistance (How’d that happen?) aside from one old man who is consulted at times. He doesn’t tend to panic as much as the others and saves the leads quite a few times so at the very least he was really good in this film. More prepared than the others at the very least.

One scene that will really stick with you is when the main characters walk into a dark tunnel and are basically unarmed. Even if there wasn’t an army of zombies down there, what could they have possibly done against the villains in such a state? You have to bring a ton of ammo at the very least or some kind of plan. The heroes had neither and would have been doomed several times if they hadn’t kept getting saved. The whole film you are reminded of this as the heroes are just out of their depth for the majority of the movie.

Overall, The Death Cure isn’t a bad action film. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and the series ends on a fairly good note. The ending is a little more hopeless than I would have liked and a certain death didn’t really need to happen since things were so bad already. It also didn’t help Thomas much either since at the very end he writes someone’s name down which basically proves his allegiance once more. If you want to see a film with a lot of action scenes then this is the place to go, but don’t expect it to be the kind of film that you will never forget.

Overall 6/10

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Cardfight Vanguard G: Z Review

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It’s been a good run, but Cardfight Vanguard has finally ended. With 370 episodes across both generations that is quite a lot of Cardfights. It’s really comparable to Yugioh at this point. Naturally that franchise has more total episodes and it would be tough to ever match that number, but once you cross 100 episodes you can certainly be counted as a legitimate powerhouse. I’ll be sure to rank all of the Cardfight seasons at the end of the review. Most of them are super close so it’s definitely a tough one to decide. All right, lets dive into Z!

Right away you can tell that this series is going to be intense because you only use the term Z when the series is going to have a ton of action. Vanguard does not disappoint here as action is absolutely what you will be getting. The last season ended with the heroes defeating the main 3 Diffriders and winning the tournament. That may have been good progress in the fight against evil, but Kazumi was never the main threat. The Apostles of Gyze are around now and they need a vessel for their leader. Their plan is unaltered, they want to awaken the 6 Zeroth Dragons to pave the way for Gyze. The members decide to split up and take Team TRY 3 out of the equation pre-emptively. (Pretty smart move honestly) The heroes will have to move quickly to stop their plan and they will need teamwork, but the situation is already quite personal for them so it may be tough to move in with a clear head.

As this season is only 24 episodes (The shortest in the franchise unless you count one of the G seasons that was merged together with another one in the Dub) the plot has to move right away so there is no waiting around here. That’s the bonus of continuing the plot of a previous season. There is no need for build up or character introductions since that was already done last time. As such the villains attack Chrono and Shion within the first 3 episodes. The Apostles really look very impressive from the start here as the heroes just seem like no match at times. The most impressive member would be the one who fought Shion at least when comparing their initial appearances. The show dropped the ball on him a bit though.

Almost every episode has a big fight occurring in this season. As the villains aren’t playing games around you also see a level of desperation among the heroes that hasn’t happened too often in G. At the very least, it usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. One small moment that I really liked here was how Chrono used a Zeroth dragon with no hesitation. Usually when the main character relents and uses the dark power of a villain there is a lot of drama or the character gives it some long thought. Chrono just went for it. For context, he was up against the leader of the Apostles. If he wins this fight he can save his friend and eliminate one of the biggest threats to the world in one move. None of his cards are strong enough at this point, but if he uses one of the evil deity cards that he swiped from another member it will give him a chance.

Dark power like this never comes cheap though. The price for playing a Zeroth Dragon is that if you lose the duel all of your Grade 4 cards will be atomized and so you will be losing all of your strongest cards. It’s a steep penalty since you are essentially powerless in a duel without those. before G you could get away with it since Grade 4s didn’t exist, but now that they do they are absolutely essential. The stakes are high, but it would have almost been selfish of Chrono to not use one just for that. He had a world to protect.

Naturally I was a big fan of Chrono here. He definitely looks like the experienced veteran that he is here. It doesn’t mean that he is now the strongest player in the world but he certainly ranks up there. He takes risks and is always ready to defend his friends. Chrono is the kind of guy that you want on your team for sure. He won’t back down from a duel. Chrono has definitely developed into a character worthy of his mysterious deck.

Shion is still Chrono’s rival but at this point that is rarely evident as he has completely mellowed out into being a friend. I suppose it’s a good change of pace to have a rival who isn’t super rude or obnoxious the whole time. Shion is finally back to being master of the Kiba empire at this point so as you can imagine he feels pretty unbeatable. That’s why his first fight with Valeos was so intense because it was basically unheard of for someone to have the upper hand against Shion. It also showed that the villains recognized him as a legitimate threat. Shion’s role in this season is still rather small but it is a good one nonetheless. He does get his revenge for the earlier loss as well.

Then we have Tokoha who has started to bounce back from the last season. That one didn’t go so well for her as she absorbed quite a few losses and wasn’t really in a right state of mind since Miguel was taken out of the picture. Now she has mainly recovered from this and is back to being a strong contender. Like Shion she doesn’t get too many duels here but still gets to help out in the final battle.
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Kazuma certainly has a large role in this season and is probably the most crucial aside from Chrono. Now that he has his brother back Kazuma is ready to take the fight to the villains. While he is a very strong fighter and Kazuma’s confidence is at an all time high, he still isn’t quite ready to take on these villains yet. Things don’t go very well for him, but I do appreciate the attempt. Kazuma still has a cool deck and a nice theme. Couple that with his character development into a more confident character and he is one of the best members of the main cast. At the very least I think he would be second among the main G heroes.

Kazumi was one of the big villains of the last season since he was being possessed but it’s important to remember that he was a world class duelist even before all of that. It is fortunate for the heroes that he is around. Kazumi’s a nice character and you will get some Itachi vibes from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t look great when it comes to dueling. After all, what better shock value can there be than taking down the former Under 20 champion? Winning and losing are t everything though and it doesn’t change the fact that he is quite formidable.

Arata and Makoto are a little important in this season because of what happened to their friend Noa who was possessed by the dark side. Still, they really can’t fight so for the most part they are stuck cheering everyone on in the background. The characters really weren’t needed to be honest but I guess it would be weird if they had just vanished. They aren’t bad characters, they just aren’t ready for a villain of this magnitude.

Noa is one of the big villains and probably the strongest aside from perhaps Gyze. He was in the shadows a lot for the last season but his presence is always felt. He has the Link Joker deck which is still the best one in the series. The monster is the only one who doesn’t just fade away after being defeated or turns good. This guy can’t stand the humans and does his best to bury them. I would have liked Noa to have dueled a little more to be honest, but I’m certainly satisfied with how much effort it took to bring him down. Having Aichi and Kai team up against you is always a sign of respect.

Kouji is definitely an interesting character. I’m still not really a fan of the guy. He is essentially the vanguard of the heroes but his plans never seem to be very good. The villains always have the drop on the heroes and while he may have been very powerful back in the day, Kouji seems a little outmatched against all of the new villains. He has softened up completely into a nice guy, but never likes to admit to it which leads to him always trying to keep to himself. He’s not as bad as in previous seasons as he has finally stopped doubting Chrono’s ability, but the guy just needs to be cooler. Maybe a new costume would have done the trick.

Saori doesn’t last too long in this season as he was mainly a big character in the last season, but he is still a lot of fun here. He still has one of the best battle themes out of all the characters and he is just a tough fighter. Saori has a lot of doubts about what he is doing, but ultimately just stays on his path. The villain’s confidence is really what makes him a fun character.

Aichi finally gets to duel a little more seriously here which is good. In general I still think the original cast didn’t get to do a whole lot compared to what I would have liked to see. They did have 4 seasons (Aichi only had 3) so I guess that was enough fights. I don’t like how Aichi has basically retired from Cardfight but I suppose as long as his skills don’t get rusty he will always come to help out when it counts. Likewise Kai is also here to fight the good fight. He gets 2 big fights against the villains which is good. Wakamizu actually does give him a good fight, but the outcome is what matters and at the end of the day Kai is still one of those guys that you never expect will lose.

Kamui also looks solid here. He has done a good job of keeping up with the other characters over the years. While he isn’t in the top 5 at this point he still helps out a lot against the villains and it’s always nice to see him around. Misaki finally gets a duel of her own. The series took its time with her, but having her take on one of the big final villains was certainly good. I am a little skeptical on her being strong enough to take on this particular opponent, but perhaps her deck was simply well suited from the job. In a duel you never ultimately know who is going to win. Her tactical style does bring out the best from her deck as well.
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Valeos is a bit of a tragic case since I actually liked the villain quite a bit. He was a credible threat to the heroes and seemed to be the main thinker of the villains. Going after Shion’s OP sword was brilliant and taking it out of the equation definitely helped their goals get a bit easier. That’s why it makes no sense when he suddenly goes insane near the end. The show was slowly building up to this as we gradually got hints of his psyche decaying, but why did it have to happen at all? It came out of left field and seemed to just be an excuse to let Shion have the upper hand. If he didn’t crack then I don’t really think Shion would have been a match for him. Not sure what to think of this guy by the end but at least he had a great intro.

Gastille is essentially the deputy of the villains. Gyze is certainlty still the leader but while he is out of commission Gastille tends to call the shots. He is a powerful villain, but one who doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. Still, he does really well in his brief appearances and I liked him. He’s still not the best villain since Noa and Saori are around but otherwise he is probably the beast. You get a Ren vibe from the guy with how confident he is. Well…okay all of the Cardfight characters are confident, but they tend to show it in different ways.

Taiyou was one of the big members of Chrono’s team for the last few seasons, but his role in this one is rather small. He gets badly injured after one of the early duels and never really recovers after that. You still have to like the guy’s dedication though. He’s very loyal to helping out the heroes and won’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s way. He eagerly attacks the villains and while he doesn’t succeed, he did put up a good fight.

Then we have Wakamizu who is probably the least interesting villain. He’s technically pretty smart and the villains would have had a tough time without him, but his deck isn’t quite as good as the others. He’s deceptively strong, but I just didn’t care for the guy much. Not a bad villain, but I suppose he was simply outshined. His master Gredora was certainly more compelling even though her screen time was incredibly limited. At the very least she felt like more of a commander though. She was also a villain who actually cared about her subordinates and quickly went to defend Wakamizu after he was defeated. It’s always nice to see villains who also show loyalty and that’s why Gredora was a villain worthy of an army.

Gyze is the big boss of the series. Naturally this means that he is asleep until near the very end though. He gets 2 duels which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him more. The guy serves his purpose as a big final boss though and puts up a good fight. He just wasn’t ready to deal with the likes of Team TRY 3. He did come close to destroying the world though and I like how even in defeat the world would get destroyed by the sheer impact that it had on space and time. Gyze is definitely not the kind of opponent who does anything halfway. He did have a pretty cool design and his special ability of bringing in all of the Zeroth Dragons at once is really useful.

As always the animation is certainly stellar. The character designs starting from the last season certainly look really good. Chrono and the others look more experienced than they used to be and they also act accordingly. They get the respect you’d expect them to have considering that they have saved the world a few times now. The duels are as sharp as ever and the colors are vibrant. There is nothing negative at all to say about it. Then the soundtrack is just as impressive. I really like the new bumper/music that comes at the start of each episode. It’s a very dramatic theme that has you keep your guard up. It also really supports the feeling of dread that the heroes have. Each character still has a battle theme and most of them are quite epic. Even the few characters whose theme doesn’t absolutely stand out still have a good one. The best theme is definitely the red haired kid’s, but Kazumi’s is also excellent. You have a lot of options to choose from. Cardfight never disappointed on a technical level (Or any level for that matter) and this last season was no exception.
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All right it’s time to rank all of the Cardfight seasons! There have definitely been a lot of great ones over the years so it’s tough. I know the first and last place ones off the top of my head, but the rest get really tough. Still, I gotta make the tough choices at some point so it may as well be now.

1st. Cardfight Vanguard: Link Joker. Pretty easy number 1, this was the best season by far and the season was completely amazing. Really has everything that you could ever want in a single season.

2nd Cardfight Vanguard. The original Cardfight definitely helped get the series on the right track. It’s really rare to see a main character who actually loses as many fights as Aichi. If handled wrong that could have been annoying but overall he learned from his losses and got really good. It was just a great season and is also super nostalgic.

3rd Cardfight Vanguard Asia Circuit. This season probably has less memorable aspects to it compared to the other seasons, but this was the big Psyqualia boom. Everyone had it from Leon to the leader of the kid squad to Ren and Aichi. I still miss Psyqualia to this day so that was a lot of fun and the season was basically nonstop tournaments so you really can’t go wrong there. The climax was also super hype as you would expect.

4th Cardfight Vanguard Legion Mate. This season is tough because I thought it was awesome from the plot to the execution. At the same time it was a little short. I guess 33 episodes is a solid length, but it’s really close between this and NEXT. I’ll give Legion Mate the edge because having Kai as a main character was hype and the loser of each match getting burned was definitely a very real way of raising the stakes.

5th Cardfight Vanguard G NEXT. Definitely the best G season. The tournament was really good and Kazumi was just such an awesome villain It was also really long so we had time for a bunch of fights. We hadn’t had a tournament that was this long and serious since the original Cardfight days. The new animation style also worked quite well for this saga and the first episode was the perfect way to hype up the new villain.

6th Cardfight Vanguard G Z. This season is very close to NEXT, but it mainly loses out because it’s a lot shorter. There’s less chance to quite match the hype that was behind NEXT. Still, a great way to end the series and 6th is certainly nothing to be ashamed about when it’s relative to other Cardfight seasons. A superb show in all aspects.

7th Cardfight Vanguard G Stride Gate. We finally got the payoff to the first G arcs here and it was definitely a lot of fun. I liked the main villain and this is really where Chrono came into his own as a solid main character. He didn’t fall for the mind games of the villains and kept dueling as he knew best.

8th Cardfight Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis. The plot started to get moving with this show, but it was still a little slow. Not a whole lot happened here compared to what you might guess from the title. The heroes were still trying to get recognized as serious fighters here, but it would be a while before the grownups would acknowledge them.

9th Cardfight Vanguard G. Still a very solid show, but pretty much the whole season was just character introductions. While that is similar to the first half of the original Cardfight, we didn’t get a big payoff at the end like the original. There was no Psyqualia equivalent or an antagonist quite as interesting as Ren.

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Overall, This was a really great way to end the G part of the series. By the end of its run it had really solidified itself as an excellent show even without the influence of the main series. I currently have Cardfight Vanguard as a whole in my top 5 shows. If we count G separately then it would likely still be in my top 15, perhaps just barely making it into Top 10, but no guarantees there. Throughout the various sagas the characters got a lot of development and we got a bunch of great characters. The animation and music were on point and this show has met the high bar that the card game genre has set. I definitely recommend checking this show out. Honestly, it’s best if you start with either the first G series or the very first season as opposed to starting with Z, but either way you’ll have a blast here. I look forward to seeing the retro season coming up.

Overall 9/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman Review

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It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes case! This is definitely one of the better ones as we see Holmes match wits against a new adversary. Interestingly enough, he knows who the culprit is right away so the main objective in the film is gathering evidence. Whether you would consider this as more of a thriller than a mystery or not will be up to you. Nonetheless, I’m always up for seeing a villain walk right up to Holmes to make threats and that ended up being pretty entertaining.

The film starts with Holmes deciding to retire from the criminal business. He has been having headaches as of late and so he won’t be of much use to the Police. Watson protests this, but then Holmes accidentally murders himself by falling into the water. Watson mourns, but then Holmes shows up and lets Watson know that it was all part of the plan. Watson isn’t thrilled about being used like this, but he has no time to pout since the Pajama murders are still going strong. Holmes figures that the best way to get in contact with the murderer is to go undercover as someone who is down on his luck. He will have to be careful not to go too far into this disguise though or it could cost him his life!

The villainous Adrea makes for a fun villain with over confidence and smug personality throughout the film. Saving people from despair only to murder them after they get life insurance is certainly a clever play. She also isn’t afraid of anyone and that includes Sherlock Holmes. She sees through disguise pretty quick. It’s not even that it was a bad disguise but she is naturally wary of anyone who shows up and does what she can to prove whether the person is legit or not.

What really legitimized Adrea as a big threat was when she went to Sherlock Holmes’ office to file a missing report for the guy Holmes was pretending to be. It was a nice, subtle way to threaten him while Holmes fired back. Watson doesn’t seem to pick up on any of this, but he was busy reading so I guess it is to be expected. Adrea certainly wins this round as she gets her nephew to throw a poison wrapper into the fireplace which nearly finishes off Holmes and Watson. Admittedly I was a little surprised that Holmes didn’t see this coming. After all, a villain wouldn’t just go to his base to gloat right? Well, some might I suppose but with how suspicious the kid was I was certainly expecting something to happen. This just goes to show how important it is not to litter as getting the kid to throw the wrapper in the trash would have prevented this from occurring.

Even at the end she managed to outwit Holmes as she pretended to leave an opening which allows Holmes to follow her into a trap. He tries to save face by pointing out that if he didn’t take the bait she would have gotten away, but it just shows that she got him into an impossible situation. It’s only luck that allows Holmes to ultimately keep his life. Adrea was definitely the standout character here and while Holmes is still my favorite, she gives Moriarty some competition as far as the villains are concerned.

Holmes is still a fun lead as always. Once again he does appear to be on the losing side when it comes to fighting another genius. Perhaps even though Holmes is the most intelligent hero he still isn’t quite as smart as the villains. Granted, villains always have the edge in these battles since they get to make a move whenever they want while the heroes end up playing catch up at first. Holmes deciding to have a sudden retirement would have hurt his character but as long as it was just a ruse then it’s okay. I doubt he could resist the allure of a good mystery for very long.

Watson is a mixed bag as you would expect. He has some nice moments like when he gets some clever burns in or when he believes that a man is actually Sherlock Holmes. On the other hand, he is still a little too weak and bad at his job considering how long he has been with Holmes. Allowing the villain to knock the gun out of his hand was quite unfortunate since the heroes really had the upper hand there. I just don’t see how you can lose your gun so easily.

As a minor villain I also liked the fake Spider expert. He did a good job of pretending to be the genuine article and at least he had a gun at the ready. The little slip ups that he made while talking were fairly small ones so at least it wasn’t something that you could really blame him for. He got his revenge for losing to Holmes later on as well so this wasn’t your average 2 bit criminal. The rest of the usual supporting characters like Lestrade were around as well and looked about as good as you would expect. He’s always a fun guy to have tagging along.

Overall, This was definitely a fun Holmes adventure. I want to say that it’s Top 3 for sure. Once I finish the 14 films in the series perhaps I will do some kind of official rankings for all of them. Nonetheless, this is definitely a film that you will want to check if you are a Holmes fan or just like a good film with a lot of suspense. The writing is on point as always and the pacing is really good. The film is very short, but still manages to give a good amount of development to all of the characters involved. It doesn’t feel rushed which is important. It’s going to be tough for the next film to beat this one.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Review

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It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes installment! Once again he is busy trying to help the world during World War II. As with the last film this one isn’t a traditional mystery as a result and plays out more like a thriller. You aren’t going to be given a list of suspects and then watch Holmes try to nab the culprit. The mystery here is simply finding out what Moriarty plans to do and why Tobel is so unintelligent despite being touted as a genius.

The film starts off with this Tobel character deciding to give his new invention to Britain. It is a new kind of bomb which is highly effective for Air Strikes. Over 10x better than the current option so naturally the government can’t wait to get it. The problem is that someone is after his life so Sherlock Holmes is in charge of guarding him. Making this even more difficult is the fact that Tobel isn’t keen on co-operating. In fact, he’s come to the country just to troll Britain as he won’t let them learn anything about the weapon. Tensions run high and Holmes might have to accept that he is being played once again.

I do have to say that this film did a better job of handling the rivalry with Holmes and Moriarty than the last time. For starters, it’s more of an even battle this time. Moriarty wins round 1 by getting to Tobel first and also securing the first 3 inventors. Holmes then strikes back in round 2 by cracking the final puzzle first and also for locating Moriarty’s stronghold twice. Holmes certainly has some very solid costumes up his sleeve. Of course Moriarty is able to figure them out, but he is a genius so it’s not like they were ever supposed to fool him. They just gave Holmes a good way to buy some time. The banter between the two characters is definitely on point as always.

Holmes never loses his confidence, but I do have to say that his plans are mighty risky. Quite a few of them revolve around waiting for other characters to come to his rescue. Watson can be reasonably trust worthy, but with the stakes this high I’m not sure I would gamble on him. Still, Holmes definitely lives up to his reputation in this film. Moriarty also still looked good. He may not have won the mental battle quite as well as the last time, but keeping it even with Holmes is still really good.

Meanwhile, Watson looks pretty solid so you feel bad for him when he messes up. In the beginning of the film he is quite ready when the two villains break in and even has his gun out. Unfortunately it just turned out to be Holmes in a disguise. Watson talks back to everybody in this film. The only scene where he really did look bad was when he fell asleep and allowed Tobel to escape. I can’t really make any excuses for him there. He was critical to saving Holmes twice though so he deserves some credit for that. His rivalry with the Police Chief is also a nice mirror to Holmes and Moriarty. All told, Watson definitely fulfills his role as the fighter quite well.

The Police Chief is quite good as I mentioned. He is supremely confident in his task force and while he defers to Holmes on the criminal matters, he keeps his dignity while doing so. Then there is Tobel who is the worst character in the film. His plan doesn’t make any sense at all. Holmes is guarding him free of charge, but then he breaks away to head home and write a letter telling Holmes the secret location of the 4 scientists? Why not tell Holmes in person? If he couldn’t trust Holmes, then why send the letter to him afterwards? I suppose he was desperate by that point, but there wasn’t even much of a point to keeping the invention a secret. It felt like he was playing cat and mouse with the government. The guy seemed like he just wanted to feel high and mighty compared to the others and there was nothing likable about him. If he had simply been a little nicer he would have spared himself a great deal of pain and time.

As expected the writing is very good here. All of the characters sound like they know what they are doing and certainly are smarter than the average underlings. Even Holmes has to back off after one of them takes out a knife, but fortunately Holmes had one as well. The film also has some nice humor moments as characters make sarcastic one liners. The quick pacing of the humor is really what sells it as opposed to dragging a joke out forever. The pacing is quite good, but that’s not really a surprise when you consider that this film is barely over an hour. The Holmes titles so far have definitely been quite short, but they always manage to cram in a good amount of story. I’d expect nothing less.

Overall, this was definitely a fun Sherlock Holmes adventure. It certainly beat the last one and the ending is a lot more satisfying. Leaving a certain trap in operation is just the kind of thing I’d expect from Holmes here since he is not the kind of character who takes prisoners. It may not be the standard mystery story, but Holmes is hardly a standard detective. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out if you haven’t already. I can’t see any reason why you won’t enjoy it if you like a good thriller or are a fan of Sherlock Holmes in general.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror Review

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It’s time to look at another Sherlock Holmes film. This one definitely takes a very different approach as it deals with taking down the Nazi’s as opposed to the average crook. It is still a mystery adventure as always but one with the highest of stakes. Should Holmes fail to win the day all of England will fall. Considering that this film came out during World War II it definitely makes sense to have it tie in. While it’s a good movie, this one does feel like a step down from the last adventure.

So there is a mysterious voice which goes on the air once a week to boast about how the Germans keep destroying secret British agents and supply trains. Many civilians perish as well. After the government has had enough of this they call in Sherlock Holmes. Naturally the high council isn’t thrilled as they mock Holmes quite a bit and state that a detective can’t stop such a threat. Holmes didn’t take the case to make friends so he doesn’t care about their chilly attitude all that much but he is determined to crack this case. To that end he will need to get the aid of the underground but will these criminals really band together to help him?

Seeing Holmes talk tough to all of the high ranking officials was definitely amusing. He is portrayed as being absolutely fearless here and that’s really the way that it should be. You don’t get to be the best detective in the world by playing it safe or beating around the bush so naturally he has learned to defend himself. This version of Holmes is a fighter and even at gunpoint he keeps his cool. He’s definitely the highlight of the film although his character doesn’t work quite as well for the emotional scenes.

The scene of him recruiting one of his old underworld contacts, Kitty dragged on quite a bit. We got long zoom ins of her reacting to the news and him trying to look sincere. That being said, the film probably just should have stuck to its guns with the serious mystery and some humor as the other emotional moment also doesn’t sail. We get a long speech from Kitty to the crooks where she attempts to mock them a lot which would theoretically make them want to help. Eventually they took the bait but the speech was a little cheesy.

While it may sound like Kitty just wasn’t a good character, these moments were the exception. She is actually the most important character in the film as she did all of the brain work while Holmes ironically did the leg work. Without Kitty finding out all of the important information off screen, Holmes would have been in quite the pickle. Honestly he didn’t do a whole lot of sleuthing in comparison to the average film. That’s why the conclusion to the film is rather disappointing. It comes across as rather unnecessary as there is no reason why Kitty couldn’t have a happy ending like everyone else. The heroes don’t even mourn much at all as they halfheartedly give one line in remembrance of her and go right back to cracking jokes and having a grand time.

This is especially mean spirited since Holmes is the one who gave her the very unreasonably dangerous job in the first place. He had her allow herself to be kidnapped and then she would be a mole from the inside. There are so many reasons why this could fail but at the very least she should be given an escape plan. At the very least don’t let Kitty be around for the final confrontation but what happened there was mostly just overconfidence on the part of the heroes.

I will say that the villain was pretty interesting. I’m talking about the true culprit who is revealed at the end. I like his smug demeanor and his plan was certainly long term. Waiting 10 years to actually make a move certainly takes a considerable amount of patience. The main underling isn’t quite as interesting. All things considered the guy is pretty generic. You won’t remember him much by the time you finish the film.

As always the writing is pretty good. The banter between the characters is always fun and it’s easy to root for either Watson or Holmes. While Watson may not be as smart as Holmes, he always sticks up for the lead. He is portrayed as more competent than usual here at the very least. Holmes does the talking and Watson always takes his gun out and stays prepared. They have a lot of teamwork here and it’s easy to see why the pair has lasted so long.

As for the council, they are the main suspects in this film. I mean, you could make the assumption that none of them are the villain, but then there wouldn’t be much of a mystery right? Always suspect every character in a Sherlock Holmes film. I feel like the film didn’t really leave any clues as to who the culprit was til near the end but one story was certainly more suspicious than the rest so I guess that is enough to go on. I enjoyed the council though. Sure, they were all fairly stuck up and really seemed to be out of their league all the time, but that always makes for good banter. Holmes definitely had the edge here right from the start though, but the council did their best.

Overall, This is definitely a unique take on Sherlock Holmes and it isn’t a bad one. The ending does slightly sour the experience though. Fortunately the writing is sound and the characters are interesting so there is still a decent amount of replay value here. The film is also quite short as well. If you want to check out a Holmes film for the first time then this isn’t the one to pick. However, this is still a solid film for fans who just want to enjoy a good thriller and for longtime Holmes fans to see him in a different environment.

Overall 7/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Review

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It’s time to take a look at another Sherlock Holmes title. This one brings in his arch nemesis Moriarty to match wits against. It’s a very solid mystery film where we actually see Holmes on the losing side for once. It’s rare to see him have trouble intellectually against an opponent but that actually turned out to be the case here. With two main cases to deal with here, there is plenty to keep you busy.

The film starts with Holmes finally solving the secret to Moriarty’s alibi but he arrives too late to testify in court and the villain gets away. Moriarty then decides to commit another crime and aims to use his innate knowledge of how Holmes operates to pull it off. The first case for Holmes is that someone appears to be trying to murder various members of one of the families. The lady asks for Holmes’ help and he eagerly helps as he figures Moriarty’s hand is at work here. Meanwhile someone is after one of the largest gems in all of England. This case bores Holmes so he decides to send Watson in his place. Can Holmes solve the true meaning behind these crimes?

It’s always a bold move in any form of media for a villain to explain the whole plan at the beginning. Typically you assume that the plan won’t work then or that he is leaving a lot out which will make for shocking plot twists at the end. That’s why it is actually surprising when the plan goes without a hitch. Moriarty’s goal was to get Holmes to pay attention to the 2nd case by making it sound more dangerous and it worked completely. The only reason the plan didn’t finish 100% is simply because the villain took too long at the end. A big part of the rivalry between Holmes and Moriarty is how they know each other so well and they can predict each other’s movements that way. Holmes was rather confident in how he could predict Moriarty’s actions so maybe that was his downfall. Of course, Holmes was also stuck being reactive while Moriarty was proactive and the latter always gets the advantage as well.

Just because he lost doesn’t mean Holmes looked bad though. His disguise was on point once again in this film and he is a fun character to have around. He isn’t afraid to point out how smart he is and insults Watson for not living up to this rather high bar. His violin is also a solid hobby to have on hand. I didn’t quite buy into the look of surprise Holmes had on his face when he punched someone off a building though. He clearly knew what would happen as a result of that and it’s not like it happened too quickly to react to either. He just wanted to get the win.

I also have to go off on a quick tangent to say just how interesting it is to see Sherlock live in a rather public place. Everyone knows where he lives so a villain could pop in and try to destroy him at any time. I suppose just like how Holmes has a tight grip on the police, Moriarty may have influence on the mobsters which prevents them from trying such a tactic. Usually the great minds have to be a little more discreet, but not Mr. Holmes. I guess that’s another plus about either bumping off all of his opponents or arresting them. They won’t be able to enact any kind of revenge in the near future.

Watson is a fun sidekick as always. While he may not be as smart as Holmes at least he always tries hard. He is conventionally smart which means that he will find the obvious answers to each question which are the ones that the villains want him to find. Honestly he can’t really be blamed for the police scene either since the cops should have known about that or Holmes should have had a way to make sure they were authentic. It was sad for Watson when a kid was proving to be his match in wit though. He certainly beats his evil counterpart as Watson will talk back to Holmes while the other guy does not. It’s certainly an interesting parallel though.

Then we also can’t forget Moriarty. He is definitely a very memorable character so it’s almost a shame that he might be written out so soon. It’s nice to have someone who can actually keep up with Holmes and I could see him acting as a rival in future films if he ever had a common enemy along with Sherlock. His plan is solid and he also knows how to fight so he is definitely a complete villain. We also get to meet the Police Chief here which was fun. I always like his character type because the guy comes in with such confidence whether he is right or wrong. Throw in the fact that Sherlock is looking out for him and this guy’s career is certainly set.

I haven’t spoken much about the actual cases. There isn’t much to say about the diamond as it barely appears until the end. I definitely agree with the police chief’s disappointment since Sherlock promised multiple times that he would show up, but ultimately sent Watson instead. The other case is the main one as we have several suspects and a lot happening the whole time. I will say that the main heroine’s fiancee was particularly bad though and I don’t think she should have forgiven him so easily. The whole movie he knows that someone is targeting her brother but still goes out of his way to convince them all that it’s just a prank. He tries to prevent Sherlock Holmes from getting involved (To no avail) and just comes off as a villain. Despite his half hearted protest that he was trying to protect Lloyd on his own, he certainly did a poor job of it. He should have walked with Lloyd to the house or stayed inside since the villain wouldn’t be able to commit the murder once the day was up. All of the characters who are being targeted play their parts rather terribly as they fall into every possible trap. 5 minutes left til midnight? Perfect time to run into the forest all alone! The characters do this sort of thing quite a lot and definitely make the situation harder for Sherlock Holmes.

Overall, This was definitely a very solid mystery. You’ll be engaged all the way through. Even if the main mystery is a diversion and you the viewer are aware of this, you’ll still be able to enjoy it. You’ll probably be shaking your head at some of the decisions that are made, but the scenes are still delivered with good writing. The dialogue is really what makes this film. For a mystery film it is especially important and this will be a tough Holmes film to beat, but there are plenty of other installments left so I’m sure we’ll have quite a few contenders by the end. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I definitely recommend checking it out!

Overall 8/10

The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini Review

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The Ghost Bikini definitely takes the beach series in a fresh new direction. I can safely say that this is a good thing because the beach environment got stale the instant it was introduced. This film actually manages to stay classy for the most part. We still do have some random party moments but you can’t really compare it to the last few films. It’s not all there yet, but this movie makes some real progress.

The film starts off with a ghost heading over to a coffin and waking the inhabitant up. It’s a tragic day for him since the ghost who was his friend died young while he died as a senior. The only way they can live together in the afterlife at the same age will be if he can perform one good deed. The issue is that the guy can’t actually leave the room so he has to trust Cecily to carry out the deed for him. Fortunately the crew (aka, the beach gang) are heading over to his house for some reason. A bunch of other people will also be there including the lawyer Ripper who has to read the will to a select group in order to claim the money. He enlists the help of a bunch of villains in order to destroy the competition so he can take all of the money. It’s a very ambitious plan and while this may sound bold, I think Ripper may be able to claw out a win here.

I would definitely say that this is the best of the beach movies. Mainly this is because the beach itself doesn’t actually get to show up this time. At most the kids quickly run to the pool and that scene isn’t too long. The opening is actually like something out of a horror film as the two suspicious characters make their plans amidst a lot of spooky music. Since most of these films had horrible beginnings this was a welcome surprise. Naturally this was thrown out the window once the beach characters showed up to bring along all of the baggage that comes with such a setting. It never gets quite as bad as in the previous films which is why this film’s score is a little higher, but it still makes enough mistakes to keep it from being negative.

For starters, the film seemed to grow bored of its own plot and so it kept on adding a bunch of new ones. None of the plots are ever focused on in a satisfactory way at all so in the end you are left feeling betrayed by the movie. For example, what even was the good dead of the spirit? Okay, he’s stopping his lawyer from cheating on his will, but that directly benefits himself and shouldn’t count. He has fun watching the characters get scared and fall into his traps, but he doesn’t do anything beyond that. The whole plot felt absolutely directionless. Also, from the start Cecily is subtly mocking the old man and seems to have a sinister plan up her sleeve. Well, the ending arrives and the rather predictable twist occurs, but it felt like a rather underwhelming climax to what was a very long build up. It’s also worth noting that while Cecily appears quite a lot, she doesn’t actually do anything. Take her away from the film and very little changes. She mainly just gives people subliminal messages.

It seems like she can interact with both inanimate objects and people so Cecily could probably have done a little more here. It’s the kind of film where it seems like the writers wanted to incorporate the title into their film somehow, but didn’t actually think about it until the end. The whole ghosts angle ultimately just felt like a really big waste. Then we’ve got Ripper and his gang. He has quite a few henchmen. So many in fact that half of them never really get to do anything. Ripper is the only competent member of the group as he actually does stab someone and the film hints that the victim stayed dead. Ripper basically has to do everything himself so it is easy to feel bad for the poor guy. From his minions Sinistra gets the biggest role so it is safe to say that she looks the worst. She can’t see without her glasses and always tends to lose them. As a result she ends up murdering statues instead of the kid she was supposed to bump off. It’s a shame since she would have succeeded in her mission otherwise.

Speaking of which, the teenager subplot didn’t actually become much of a focus for a while ad just went into the same old directions. Surprisingly they didn’t pull a “Let’s make him/her jealous” angle or anything like that, but it still happened in a way as the main guy (Well, there are 2 leads here. The one with the inheritance and the son/nephew. Both get comparable amounts of screen time so you can really choose who the lead is.) goes for Sinistra over the girl he was already with just because she looked nice. Honestly, there is absolutely no sense of loyalty in any of these beach movies. The film barely even has time to touch on any of this stuff since it turns into more of an Abbott and Costello kind of dynamic as the ghosts keep picking on one of them while the other doesn’t notice. The ghosts were definitely having quite a bit of fun in this film and why not right? They have to do something to amuse themselves.

Then we also have Eric Von Zipper and his cronies in the final main plot. (At least the final one worth mentioning. We also have the heroine sulking in the pajama party segment where we get a song or two, but there’s not much point to that plot) Basically they want to get rich quick so breaking into the mansion just makes sense. They fight with a lot of the mechanical puppets and even end up face to face with a large gorilla. That part was rather random but definitely interesting I guess. It was like having a mini Kaiju show up in the film. Eric Von Zipper and the gang are basically the same as always so you’ll know right away if you like the characters or not. At the very least they keep everyone honest.

Overall, This film is definitely a very confused one. It’s not exactly sure what it wants to do with itself and that can be rather tragic at times. There is a whole lot of potential here and the movie just squanders it all. The characters are rather weak and you can’t say much for the story either. While parts of the film can be fun, it’s just not enough to carry the whole thing. If you find that you have to watch a beach movie of sorts at some point then I’d recommend this one. Otherwise I’d say it is in your best interests to just skip this movie. It’s a decent supernatural comedy but you can find better ones on the market.

Overall 4/10

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Review

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The famous Professor Layton has finally found himself on the 3DS. While the last game may have not been quite as good as the others the series has never disappointed with its puzzles. This game is no exception and is a fine way to continue the story. At long last we are even introduced to the tragic past of Layton and 5 games in you could say that we were about due for it. This is the first Layton game to have fun switching up the gameplay style as well as we get a 3D racing level and also some overhead Mummy fights. I think Level 5 definitely has the right idea here as throwing in an occasional level like this is pretty fun.

This Layton game starts out with the hero receiving a letter from his old friend Angela. She wants him to hurry over because a villain known as the Masked Gentleman has popped up and is performing dark miracles on the town like turning people into horses and warping people away. Layton heads over but the place brings bad memories. The past that he had hoped to forget had finally caught up to him and he will have to face his fears head on!

The game plays out like some of the recent superhero shows as we jump from the present to the past a lot. For example one chapter will be in the present while another is in the past. In that sense, you could say that Layton solved the present mystery a bit quicker than usual. I suppose the number of viable suspects wasn’t too large so that helped his case. There were really 3 Big suspects here. First is the childhood friend Angela who seems obsessed with the Mask of Order and seems eager to give it to the gentleman. Next is Randall, the kid from Layton’s past who seemingly died, but his body was never found. Then there is Randall’s butler Henry who snagged his treasure and best friend after he died. With the whole town at stake Layton can’t afford to just sit around.

It’s a pretty solid story for sure. Layton’s backstory is definitely rather tragic. He did give up hope even while the other two friends kept looking for Randall, but I guess from a scientific point of view his odds weren’t great. He has been gone for a while after all. Layton chose to forget about the place for around 18 years until now. Layton did do everything that he could though. He would have been able to save Randall had the kid only let go of his treasure. Instead we saw that it was worth his life. It’s just hard to feel bad for him especially since he never had his priorities straight in life. Even if it made everyone worried he wanted to be rich so he would lie to everyone and take huge risks. It was only a matter of time before this caught up with him.

As with the last game we get a teaser for the next one. It’s the biggest teaser yet and that makes sense since the next game ends the trilogy. One last Aztec adventure for the heroes. In the clip we see the main villain of the prequel trilogy be defeated by a new villain. The new villain now has all of the locations needed to destroy the world. This next installment is definitely going to be a blast! The series has mostly been realistic with you just having to suspend disbelief for a bit at times. It’ll be interesting to see if the villain defies that in the next movie. After all, the villain that he defeated was able to contend with rapid bullet fire and that’s no easy feat.

The game has a great cast as you would expect. Layton is just as solid as ever and always reminds us that he can fight as well as he can think. Taking down the Mummy swordsmen was pretty impressive. Luke is a good sidekick as well and I do like the rivalry between him and Emmy even if it is rather one sided. Luke just never really stands a chance when it comes time to start trading burns. Emmy is the main reason why the team dynamic is better in the prequels than in the main game so I’m definitely happy to have her around as a main character. Her role is rather small here, but she still does get some puzzles of her own.

As for the new characters, Randall is annoying as you can guess. He isn’t reasonable at all but I already talked about him so we can move on. There is also Henry who may be rather loyal but quick to take everything the wrong way. He gets upset rather easily and makes himself look very suspicious this way. I guess he isn’t a bad character, but he could have been better. I actually preferred the Dalston character. He wanted to be rich while everyone was having fun adventuring and he accomplished his goals. He is now one of the richest men on the planet, you just can’t beat that. He also talks tough to the coppers and in general felt on the ball.

Angela is a good character if you view her more as a subtle antagonist. She definitely isn’t hear to make Layton feel any better as she spends the majority of her time making him feel even worse. It’s not always intentional, but at the same time in the past it seems as if it was. It’s hard to really understand her character at times, but she will always keep you guessing. Agent Bloom is a fun detective. He is very intelligent and the only police officer who is able to keep up with Layton step for step. He doesn’t appear very much, but it does seem like he will be in the sequel so that’s good. Layton doesn’t really have a rival so having this guy fit that bill would be fun. There are a slew of other supporting characters in the game that are all very solid as well. In particular look for the guy with the big, curved chin. His scenes are always amusing and his rigged puzzles are a blast.

As always the graphics are pretty solid here. It’s great to see fully animated cutscenes as always and we get some CG ones as well. The levels are all pretty clear and the puzzles aren’t too misleading. I still think it’s slightly cheating when the puzzle gives you 5 possible answers and they’re all wrong so the only way to beat the puzzle is to tap on part of it to make the whole thing break. I mean, technically I guess that works, but the false answers is barely legit. If the graphics were a little darker or more unclear then it would be tough to see the tiny cracks that serve as a hint. The controls are on point as well and basically this game does nothing wrong on a technical level. The soundtrack may not have any real new tunes in it, but that’s fine as the usual ones are pretty good.

The actual story is reasonably long as it’s over 10 hours and then we’ve also got a bunch of extra puzzles to try and conquer after the game is over. After all, it’s not like you have to complete all of them to clear the game. As with the previous titles in the series you can tackle any quest that you have not completed yet in the little house at the hotel. There are also a bunch of minigames that you can try to complete all of the levels in. By the time you have done all of this the game will likely be at 20 hours or maybe even longer. There’s definitely no shortage of content here.

Overall, This was a pretty exciting Layton game with a fun story that will keep you engaged the whole time. It starts out quite fast and never really loses steam. The only way you may not enjoy the game is if you don’t care for Layton’s past and I think the game handled it rather well. It’s the best of the prequel trilogy so far, but we’ll see how it holds up to the next game. As that is the final main Layton game I expect it to end with a bang. It certainly got a considerable amount of foreshadowing in this game. In case it’s not obvious, I would definitely recommend picking this game up.

Overall 8/10

Pacific Rim Uprising Review

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I remember watching the first Pacific Rim a while back and enjoying the concept of Kaiju vs Robots. The film had a relatively low budget so you couldn’t see large portions of the fight since it was at night but the whole thing was pretty epic. It was a solid film and I was certainly ready for the sequel. This film looked to increase the action based on the trailers so I was definitely all for that. It’s a solid sequel and one that almost matches the original film.

It takes place 10 years after the first film where the heroes closed the rift and saved the world. The world is ready to move on to automated drones so it appears like the pilots are about to be phased out. Are drones really a practical alternative though? They seem to turn evil in every sci-fi film. Meanwhile, we have our new main character. His Dad may have been leading the charge against the enemy but this guy just wants to have a bunch of parties and stay out of the action. Unfortunately he attempts to follow a thief so that he can steal the stolen items but he is apprehended by the cops and forced back into the program. A dark Jaeger appears at the summit he is supposed to protect and this begins the most climactic fight of his life. Can our heroes save the world one last time?

The action definitely lived up to the marketing which is nice. All of the fights take place during the day so there are no shortcuts like having most to obscure the robots. The two battles between Gypsy Avenger and the evil robot are excellent. Even if Gypsy does seem outmatched when it comes to the mechs, the humans know actual hand to hand combat which is finally important. After all, you would expect that to give you a big advantage in a fight right? Martial arts amp up your normal attacks so why it when inside a mech suit? The climax battle is great as well with the 4 Jaegers against the 3 Kaiju. Admittedly the Kaiju don’t look nearly as impressive as in the first film and only one of them appears to be able to fight back.

Still, they do get to roar quite a bit and I can always get behind that. Being able to absorb kinetic energy is always a great ability as well. Either way, the action scenes are definitely the highlight here and remind you of exactly why we needed a new Pacific Rim. I also do find it ironic that the Jaegers seem so much more streamlined and efficient then the Transformers. The Jaegers can still be a little slow at times, but they can maneuver through right windows and have a good array of abilities. They are really only limited by the pilots. Unlike the Transformers they aren’t constantly tripping or falling over. Granted, they can be knocked down rather easily by the Kaiju, but they get right back up.

The soundtrack isn’t bad but it isn’t memorable either. It won’t be one of the things that you will be talking about as you exit the theater but the visuals and loud sound effects help to mitigate this. I never count a lack of a soundtrack as a negative that would affect the score either unless it is painfully bad to listen too. Now it’s time to talk about the writing. Well, it’s certainly not great but it isn’t bad either. The dialogue could certainly be a lot worse and while the characters are rather generic they are written reasonably well. It’s definitely still night and day when compared to Transformers.

I’d say that the only scene where you will be cringing a lot is when the main character heads to the kitchen to have Ice Cream. He is extremely unhygienic which makes it gross rather than amusing. He eats from the ice cream bowl and puts his hand in the sprinkle jar. I feel bad for anyone else who enjoys the ice cream in this place. Surprisingly there aren’t too many over the top scenes like that which I was definitely glad about. There is a random subplot where one of the cadets is being mean to Amara and that was unnecessary, but not badly handled. If anything, the bully suddenly becoming nicer was rather rushed, but I guess getting beaten and forced into a choke hold by a little kid in front of everyone may have helped to crush her ego a bit.

Jake is a decent main character. He’s rather annoying at first as you can’t sympathize with him though. He doesn’t even need to steal or be a crook but just does it for the extra money. The whole currency exchange that he had going seemed rather illogical so maybe he just spent all of his money. Either way, he doesn’t get good until after the first showdown with the enemy. Then he finally wisens up to the fact that he needs to get it in gear and actually start fighting as opposed to constantly complaining and whining. You can probably tell that I’m not a huge fan of the guy so maybe saying that he is a decent character is a mild stretch. He is a lot better in the second half though so that helps to nage the opening at least a bit.

Then we have Nate who is Jake’s co-pilot and he is all over the place as well. He gives Jake an incredibly hard time throughout the film, but will also occasionally let it be known that he thinks Jake could be one of the greats. By the end of the film they are old pals again and the tension just seemed rather fake. Of course, I am on Nate’s side here since Jake did apparently abandon him for no good reason and then his next partner also abandoned him so it’s been a tough time for that guy.

Amara is essentially the kid from the recent Transformers film except 100x better. Instead of just talking tough and getting in everyone’s way, Amara is actually very capable on her own. She built her own Jaeger which is extremely impressive. I can’t give her enough credit for that because it must have taken a very long time so she was persistent and also had the skills to break into a government restricted area. Yes, you have to suspend your disbelief for a lot of the film, but what else is new? She sort of vanishes for a good chunk of the film, but returns in time to help for the climax. She’s not perfect, but Amara is probably the most reasonable character in the film and maybe will be the one that you can sympathize with the most. While everyone else is playing defense she is preparing for the next battle.

Then we have some returning characters from the first film like Newt. His interface with an alien was rather weird and pretty iffy at best, but aside from that one scene he is definitely a strong character. He delivers most of the snappy one liners and really doesn’t care about anyone, but himself. You can’t help but admire his self confidence and the fact that he is always the biggest person in the room. (When it comes to ego anyway) He’s an exaggerated character, but in a good way and his humor tends to land a lot more than the other characters. There is also Hermann who is basically the more stoic boring counterpart who uses his tech to help the world. He’s cool and all I guess, but you just can’t picture him putting up much of a fight compared to Newt.

Then we also have Liwen who is the head of corporate and feels like an antagonist in this film because of her ideals. She wants to use her drones to make the world a safer place where pilots aren’t constantly dying. They are now safe away from the dangers. It mirrors the real world issues of drones as they are safer for the pilots, but also bring with them a ton of security risks like the fact that they can be hacked or malfunctioned. They aren’t a complete substitute for normal Jaegers and Liwen tries to make this point, but the other characters basically just yell at her the whole time to drown out her points. Yes, I’m on Liwen’s side here. Apparently in 10 years we were only able to build a small handful of Jaegers to defend the main base and the UN Summit while she built hundreds of them in the same time frame. I think it’s obvious which ones are more efficient and they also seemed fairly strong if you ask me. Again, we do need a blend of both, but if we really want to win a war with the aliens then Liwen is the world’s only chance.

Finally, Mako also appears in the film for a bit as a guest star and she’s a cool character as always. Mako’s intelligence is given a lot of credit here as she is able to spot key facts about the enemy in an instant. While her role was small, it was important and she had a more lasting impact than many of the other characters. Does anybody actually remember the names of any of the Cadets? Those guys never got any real development (Which is a good thing if you ask me) and were just around so we could have more Jaegers. Development just wastes time if it’s used on too many characters, but that’s why Mako is good since she already had her character development in the first film and here you got to understand her character in a flash. Maybe a third film could flesh out the other pilots, but again…that’s unnecessary. Lets stick to the fighting.

You’ll never get bored during the film because it’s just very exciting. At times the film goes a little too overboard in trying to show how hopeless it is for humanity though. There are some points where it should really be all over for them, but the villains have mercy or don’t make the right moves. When the mini robots came swarming in they could have easily destroyed the Jaegers by going inside the circuits or something like that. It’s always a very annoying strategy by the villains, but it works. Why didn’t the evil Gypsy blast the 3 robot reinforcements who were being carried over? They were sitting ducks while landing so he could blast them or just stab all of their processors. Why did the villain just wait by his lonesome in the arctic for a fair 1 on 1 fight when he could have lured the heroes somewhere else? If he hadn’t been in the arctic then the heroes would have been absolutely lost.

Of course, the arctic fight was one of the best scenes in the film. Second only to the first fight so I am glad that the battle happened. I know that the whole point of these films is Robots against Monsters so I should be glad that we still get those at the very end, but honestly that robot fights were the best part. This is why I would love a Gundam film at some point with a proper budget. I don’t know why but Transformers just never has good fight scenes like the Pacific Rim films. Perhaps it is the terrible designs or the fact that most of the Transformer robots just punch each other instead of mixing it up with lasers and cannons, but the fights in Rim are a lot more satisfying. I’m starting to get off topic though.

I may give Pacific Rim 1 the slight edge overall, but it is extremely close. The more I think about it, the more the second film may have the slight edge, but it’s been a while since I saw the first movie. Rim 2 isn’t the greatest movie of the year and likely will have a tough time getting the 2nd spot, but I’d wager that it will still end up being one of the better films this year. If not top 5 then certainly top 10. It just doesn’t really make any big mistakes while doing a lot of things right like the action scenes. No animal violence, no excessive violence, the language was a lot more restrained than in other films, etc. It’s just a solid all around movie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to actually talk about the monsters all that much, but in my defense the film barely shows them either. They’re basically just a footnote in this movie as they exist just to get squashed and beaten up. They don’t seem to have much intelligence compared to the older monsters and aren’t even much of a threat next to dark Gypsy. This will be sad for big Kaiju fans, but at least we have the Godzilla films coming up. The monsters have good designs and the fight is cool so I’ll give them that.

Overall, if you haven’t watched Pacific Rim Uprising yet then I think it is time to fix that. The fight scenes here are very good and are easily the best giant robot fights we have seen in live action. That might be a low bar, but that’s not to say that these fights were not impressive under any criteria. They really did a good job of capturing how well these robots can fight. While they may need more firepower to really tack on the damage to someone like Godzilla, they should be prepared for any monster that the aliens have in store for them. The ending will definitely get you hyped for a possible third film.

Overall 7/10