FLCL Progressive Review

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It’s time to look at the recent FLCL show. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a terrible anime but leave it to this franchise to fix that. The first FLCL show is still considered by me to be one of the worst anime of all time. I’d have to say that it actually is in last place from the show’s that I’ve seen. This sequel is marginally better at best. It improves in the animation but certainly didn’t do anything to actually help the aimless writing and non existent plot.

The show starts off with a small segment of the main character in an apocalyptic future where Zombies run amok. They start destroying everyone and naturally a dog is included as well. This kind of show just can’t resist such things. Get used to these scenes of nonsense since they will be in almost every episode. Hidomi then wakes up and goes through life as normal. She wears headphones so she can pretend not to hear anyone even though no music is playing. It works though as people don’t really mess with her. That’s when she gets a new transfer teacher who decides to change her life. It turns out that Hidomi is another time bomb whose emotions allow her to summon giant monsters and even gain super powers herself. Her greatest ability is the Kirby suction power which allows her to absorb anyone who gets in her way. It’s basically a one hit ko tactic against just about everyone. There is another person who wishes to stop the heroine though so everyone has to keep their guard up.

This show is bad on so many levels so let’s start with some of the mild positives. Unlike the first show this one actually does have a few scenes where the animation looks pretty decent. It’s not that random experimental stuff we had to deal with in the older one. The animation is still pretty bad most of the time though. No effort is put into the character designs and nothing about this show tells you that this was made in 2018. It just doesn’t look nearly as good as it should and that’s because the show is trying (and failing) to be artistic. Enjoy the battle between Julia and Haruko as well as Hidomi vs Haruko since those fights are really the only times that the show gets to look good.

The soundtrack also isn’t good. It’s mainly just satisfied to grab some tunes from the old show and call it a day. Don’t expect to get any solid battle tunes or anything like that. This just isn’t that kind of show I’m afraid which is rather unfortunate. It’s how it goes I suppose.

Another tick against the show is the animal violence as I referenced earlier. Why did we need a dog to die in the zombie scenes? It really had no significance there and just served to help the show dig its own grave as always. The zombie scenes were also randomly violent despite the rest of the show not going that route. It’s all just for shock value.

The show can also be rather fanservicey which is just what I’d expect. It’s not extreme like Fairy Tail or anything like that, but it all adds up. Throw in the fact that the main cast is terrible and we’ve got some problems. The main guy’s two friends are both terrible. One guy is so bad that he has to hire a girlfriend which is as bad as it sounds. The other guy never actually gets anything to do and is only around to mock everyone. The main guy (Ko) tries to help Hidomi at least but he does have ulterior motives so I don’t count that in the slightest. He also loses every fight he is in which really does not help.

Then we have the main heroine Hidomi who is really hard to sympathize with. Her father left so she is waiting along with mother for him to come back. The issue is that he probably isn’t so the mother is hoping they can move on. Especially since she does all of the work while the main character shuts off life. She does help monetarily with her job at the cafe but certainly isn’t good for moral support. At least she finally initiated an attack on the teacher for the final episode but it took her way too long to finally try and be proactive. I would have liked to have seen her do something sooner and even in the final episode she ends up being extremely annoying and is unable to see the big picture so I can’t give her any props there either.

There is also the teacher from the first series who has become a straight up villain in this one. Haruko wants to sacrifice the main heroine so that she can meet up with a mysterious guy from her past. Maybe in a classier show with decent writing her dilemma could have actually been a little sympathetic. Maybe we could have seen her trying to find a different way to do this or something like that. Instead Haruko comes across as very unreasonable and likes to go about her plans in a very roundabout way. Most of her actions don’t even make sense so you just wonder how important her goal ever was to her.

Julia is Haruko’s rival and is always trying to get in her way. Julia will talk tough to Haruko about how this isn’t right, but spends far too long trying to convince her arch nemesis of this. After a while she should know that Haruko isn’t going to change and yet she doesn’t do anything about this. You can’t feel bad for Julia when she is inevitably beat up because that character never even had a good plan. I feel like none of the characters in this show are even remotely intelligent.

Then we have a bunch of random side characters like the plant owners. Their plot is just pointless and tries to add some mystery to the whole thing, but it fails quite badly. You’ll just be wondering why the show thinks you will end up caring about them when that is certainly not the case. If anything it’s the opposite and you’ll just be counting the minutes until the episode ends.

Overall, This show just couldn’t do anything right. The humor falls flat and the characters aren’t interesting in the slightest. The writing is horrendous. The battle scenes can be good but considering who is fighting it hardly matters. The show is just soulless and doesn’t do a good job of trying to prove that we can have a quality show in such a short amount of time. Anime should at least be 12 episodes if you ask me although in this specific situation I doubt it would have helped at all. I’d advise staying away from this anime. Keep your distance and you’ll be fine.

Overall 1/10

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Mission Impossible: Fallout Review

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After re watching all of the Mission Impossible films I was definitely ready for the latest one. Seeing it in theaters is always a rush and it’s the perfect way to end the summer. It was always going to be a tough sell trying to top films 4 and 5 but if anyone could do it Mission Impossible could. Fallout is definitely a great film although ultimately I would probably go with the last 2.

The movie starts out with Ethan assembling a team to try and recover the three plutonium balls that the Apostles are planning to use to blow up chunks of the world. The plan goes pretty well but the villains do escape with 2 out of 3. Ethan now has one last chance to catch them before a catastrophe occurs but this won’t be easy since the CIA has decided to pull rank. They are adding Agent Walker to accompany Ethan and he will be around to complete the mission at any cost.

A pretty impressive part of the movie is how misleading the trailer was without making stuff up. Sure the Truck scene in the forest didn’t happen but beyond that everything else was on point, the scenes were just shuffled around quite a lot. Most of the scenes in the trailer happened early on in the film so the second half was basically brand new. Walker is a far different character than I imagined him to be. While he may not be quite as good as his trailer version he is still a solid character brought and through. More on him in a bit.

As expected the best fight scene is the bathroom one. The fact that this guy is able to put up such a good fight against both Ethan and Walker at the same time is incredibly impressive. Especially when you consider that he was easily beating both of them. This guy is easily the best fighter we’ve seen in the series and his fighting style was quite lethal as he kept hitting them in the neck. Walker is definitely luck that Ethan was around to protect him. Even besides the fight the scene was just pretty epic as the two leads walk in and start surrounding the villain.

As always the film has exceptional pacing as well. The film is very action packed and something is always happening. Ethan really gets a workout as he runs a marathon, gets in a car crash, helicopter crash, gets hit by a building, etc. He sustains quite a few injuries over the course of the movie so it’s good for him that he usually gets 2 years to recover before the next one. It is unfortunate that Ethan is always injured for the final fight so we can’t see him at his peak but I suppose that’s the point of the early fights anyway. Additionally the visuals are also really good here as we get a lot of great backdrops. Whether the heroes are in a building or outside everything just looks so colorful.
We also get the classic MI theme a few more times which is always hype. It’s just such a great theme and it works for pretty much any epic scene. As always I will give the film’s soundtrack a thumbs up. It definitely does not disappoint.

While the film was excellent it still had 2-3 things it could have done better. For starters, it does gonthe cliche route of squeezing in one f word just because the film can. It’s really forced and unnecessary. The other installments didn’t have to add in such a thing and neither did this one. It’s a relatively minor issue and hopefully they don’t bring it back for next time. The rest of the writing was quite sound as you would expect though with a lot of good planning everywhere.

The other area where I’d say the film dropped the ball is with Ethan’s wife from film 3. The films have been pretty vague with her character from that point, but we know that Ethan faked her death so she could finally be safe. This film goes further into that and basically the two can’t even see each other anymore. Sure, Ethan could easily put on a mask and meet with her like everyone else, but they’ve decided that this life was way too intense. So they split up and Julia quickly went on the rebound. I don’t have anything against the replacement husband. The guy seems nice enough and is a good sport, it’s just that this plot absolutely shouldn’t have happened.

It’s such a tragic twist for Ethan. He gets to keep putting himself in harm’s way to save the world and now he’s also lost the person he cared about forever. Sure, the film hints that he will go on the rebound as well, but I wouldn’t even call that a consolation since I’ve never been able to agree with the rebound train. I have to stress that the film doesn’t paint this in a tragic light. Both people moved on although Ethan still gets dreams where he regrets marrying her in the first place. I’d say that it’s still tragic though and it would have been best if Julia had simply not appeared to be honest.

I can’t say that I have any other negatives for the film, it was just a blast. It’s difficult to even say where the halfway point is because there are so many action scenes and moments that feel like the climax. Still, I dare say that the first half probably beats the second as it just had the most memorable scenes. Any scene with Hunt and Walker being forced to team up was pretty fun. Walker was always lagging behind Hunt but he made up for it with bravado. I also liked the scene where Ethan has to escort the broker out of the gala. It showed how talented Ethan is against the average crook as you may have had some second thoughts about that when he was getting wrecked in the bathroom. Don’t worry, he’s still one of the best agents in the business.

Ethan Hunt is as great as always so there isn’t much to say about him. He always makes the right choice like moving in to save Luther instead of worrying about the plutonium. He’s the kind of hero that you want on your side. I also really liked his boss in this film as well. The heroes should be glad that he moved to the IMF since he understands their cause and does his best to back them up. Even if he doesn’t totally understand what is going on he always defends the team. He also looked really good in the brief fight scene that he was in.

Walker is the big rival figure in the film and as mentioned he was a little different than I expected. He got a lot of hype for being Ethan’s equal and everything based on the trailer, but he spends the whole movie getting one upped at every corner. The film makes sure to let you know that Ethan’s still the best, but Walker is a tough fighter. It’d be fun to see him go up against Agent Brandt. Walker’s a fun character though and definitely one of the better ones in the series. His CIA boss was also decent, but she could get a little annoying. She never actually helped the heroes out and instead got in their way at every turn.

Luther and Benji are solid characters as always. Their roles are very similar throughout all of the films, but they are consistently solid. You can count on those two to back Ethan up. Ilsa also returns and she looks pretty good. Her motive is pure revenge and she acts as a wild card to both sides. At times she is shooting left and right at everyone so it’s hard to know if she can be trusted. She’s also a fairly good fighter as well. Assuming that she will now be a main character I think Ilsa will fit right in with the gang.

Solomon returns from the last film, but I can’t say that I am able to take him all that seriously. He can fight so don’t get me wrong there. It’s not as if he’s powerless or anything. It’s just that his voice isn’t so menacing and he does spend most of the film being tied up so there is that as well. He gets out shined by one of the other villains here, but the fact that he is Ethan’s smartest villain has not changed. He is usually one step ahead.

Overall, Fallout is a great Mission Impossible film and continues the series on the path of greatness. It was close to getting a 9 and just barely fell short. It has a ton of replay value and the fight scenes are top notch. They are easily some of the best in Hollywood right now. It’s not perfect, but it’s about as close as you can expect a film to get. Aside from Infinity War it’s probably film of the year. Hopefully we do get a 7th film at some point since as long as the film continues to deliver we should keep it going. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should fix that ASAP!

Overall 8/10

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle Review


It’s time to look at the new Godzilla film! While the last Netflix installment wasn’t great, it was still a pretty good film. We got to see a reasonable amount of Godzilla screen time and the action scenes were pretty intense. Unfortunately this one is even more focused on the humans to the point where it can barely be called a Godzilla film. This movie is definitely a mess and I blame most of it on the painfully low budget that this movie seems to be tied down with.

The film starts with Haruo waking up and realizing that humanity has survived after all as a girl tended to his injuries. The Earthlings have fused with Mothra dna to allow themselves to survive the reign of Godzilla. They also use Mecha Godzilla’s armor to create arrows with which to fight back. The problem is that nobody is able to even damage the King of the Monsters. The heroes decide to use the armored city to fight back but can a city which doesn’t even move hope to win this fight?

The sad thing about this film is that most of it would be impossible if this was a different version of Godzilla. A single blast would have done the trick if Godzilla didn’t wait to make a move until days pass by each time. Even when he does finally make a move Godzilla only fires a single shot. Apparently he knows that beams won’t work but in that case he ended up playing himself since we find out that it actually would have been an effective tactic. One blast melted all backup harpoons and various parts of the city. Why would you not fire again?

The film can’t seem to decide whether Godzilla is extremely powerful in this version or if he is actually one of the weaker more brittle versions. Either way he didn’t look impressive. He literally walks into every single trap and shows no signs of real intelligence. The film makes him look like a zombie the whole time. The design wouldn’t be bad either if it wasn’t for the lack of animation which makes him appear to be frozen the entire time.

Another thing that’s tricky about the film is that you don’t really have anyone to root for. The humans certainly aren’t going to win a vote since they are already pretty divided with a lot of factions that would betray each other at the blink of an eye. One group becomes a little more extreme here which is unfortunate since prior to that they had been reasonable. It’s true that the humans severely overreacted with the whole merging with machine thing when it was voluntary, but that shouldn’t have made everyone go off the deep end. There is also a bit of romance here but it’s so forced for extra drama later on that you won’t get emotional about it.

High command doesn’t do much here and they still seem at a loss for answers. They don’t have a choice but to help if you ask me since they are running out of fuel and won’t be able to make it to another planet anyway. Their only chance is Earth so even if it will be tough they should try to make do. It’s not like the world is uninhabitable since the insect people still live and as long as the humans can make more masks they would be okay. Honestly if they weren’t so determined to try and crush Godzilla they probably could have coexisted well enough. It takes him days to wake up from a nap so where is the risk? Just lie low and accept that humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.

I didn’t care much for the animation in the first film and that hasn’t changed here. It looks like a cutscene you would see in a 3DS Fire Emblem game. That may work for small scenes but if you’re making a whole movie then surely you have more budget than the cutscene development crew right? Yet, the animators are afraid to do much of anything so most of the film is just characters talking and walking around in circles. There is very rarely any real movement to speak of and that’s just a shame. It’s not a fun film to look at.

Most of the movie is also rather silent so prepare to focus on the dialogue I guess. The few scenes with music that we do get are quite solid though so it is just a shame hat it couldn’t have happened more often. It had a good sci-fi beat to it that was very fast paced and made you feel like you were suddenly in an energetic film.

As there is one more film in the trilogy we do get an after credits scene. Unfortunately it is also sloppily done and destroys any chance that the scene may have had of actually being really good. The whole thing is recycled footage and several scenes pop up more than once. It was just painfully bad especially since everyone already knew who the name was going to be well before the line since this monster had been rumored/semi confirmed ages ago. The execution just wasn’t there.

While there are a lot of negatives to the film lets at least look at some positives before concluding. When we do get music it’s pretty good so that’s solid. I do like the mech suits that the heroes wear. They feel pretty powerful and do move very quickly. They effectively can’t be hit as long as the heroes don’t make any obvious mistakes. The concept of a Mecha Godzilla city is pretty sound even if it’s not as cool as actually having Mecha Godzilla. It may have even been able to win if the heroes weren’t rushing it so much. Did they really need to force a fight with Godzilla right away? Waiting 2-3 days or more would have ensured their victory and I think that would have been worth it. Since they can communicate with the mother ship they could have come up with a plan.

Overall, This film was definitely very underwhelming. If it wasn’t called a Godzilla film then it would have been a little better but even then I doubt it would have been anything more than average. It technically makes no critical errors like animal violence, fanservice, or anything like that. Yet, the film is just rather boring the whole time and it’s hard to get engaged since the heroes never feel like they have much of a chance. There is no way their plan should have even been close to succeeding if we are being honest. I’d probably advise you to skip this film and watch one of the live action Godzilla films. As a longtime fan I can tell you that this one forgets what a true Godzilla film is. A battle of Kaiju that shakes the planet. That’s why if the directors didn’t want to do this they should have labeled it as a classic sci-fi indie film about overcoming a large monster. It’s just that when you put Godzilla in the title you get a certain set of expectations.

Overall 5/10

Mission Impossible III Review

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It’s time to look at the end of the first trilogy. It was definitely not as consistent a trilogy as the current one is so far, but it was still a fun ride. This movie is basically right in the middle of the other two as it manages to start its comeback tour towards being the best, but still isn’t quite up there yet.

Ethan has finally left the IMF at least when it comes to active duty. He recruits cadets, but for the most part he’s on his own. Unfortunately John brings him back for a mission when one of their agents is captured. Ethan tries to save her, but the lady dies. This all seems to be related to some kind of big conspiracy so Ethan tries to bring in Owen, the mastermind behind this. The thing is, Ethan isn’t alone anymore, now he has a family which the villains can use to get the upper hand on him.

This one does have the weakest intro out of all the MI films though. The first film had an excellent mission that quickly got serious when the heroes all started getting bumped off. Mission Impossible 2’s had a cool mountain climbing segment although depending on how far you go for the first scene then it loses after all. I’m never big on interrogation scenes so of course this one wasn’t really an exception. It’s always an interesting choice to have the film start off near the end as well since it really gives away quite a lot of what is going to happen next. It starts the film off on a much grittier tone than the other two which clashes with the happy opening theme that plays afterwards.

It’s time for Family Trope 101, the wife gets kidnapped. It’s always a shame that it has to be this way, but when a hero or a big secret agent with enemies gets a family, things don’t tend to go well. The wife/kids are always taken and then the villains have some power over the hero. Up til this point Ethan has been untouchable because he doesn’t really have anyone he cared about. Yes, there’s Nyah from film 2 who was dumped off screen, but that’s slightly different as they specifically sent her to the villains.

Lets also not forget that so far the IMF always tends to have leaks everywhere. Once Ethan gets a family the villains are all going to know about it. Since he didn’t even tell her about any of this, she can’t even prepare herself for how this is going to play out. Ethan is also surrounded by agents who don’t seem to give it enough thought either as Luther yells out Ethan’s name in front of the villain. Sure, Owen would have gotten the name anyway, but why make it easier for him?

Of course, Julia is a good character though. She seems like a very nice person who is very supportive of Ethan. She chooses to trust him instead of creating drama about his secrets which is definitely really nice to see. She also looks good in the climax where she grabs a gun. As Ethan says, it’s just about pointing and shooting. So long as you’ve played a good amount of Call of Duty you should be fine. It’s just still an annoying trope when we have Julia captured.

Interestingly the film uses this as an excuse to basically skip the “Mission Impossible” stuff this time around. Ethan’s break-in of the hero base this time is completely off screen as we have the side characters chat a bit instead. I don’t really understand the thought process behind this since I imagine that most viewers came in for the fun planning right? Well, if not then I guess that may not be something too many people cared about, but it certainly stuck out to me.

It’s good to see that Ethan has advanced so far that he is now an instructor rather than in the field. He’s definitely a solid character here and still hasn’t lost his skills. He does a good job of fighting off everyone here and always keeping the upper hand when hostages aren’t involved. The climax fight can be a little annoying since he takes quite a beating due to the bomb in his head but at least he adapted by the very end of it. I can definitely see why he is ready to go on a honey moon instead of another mission.

Owen is the next villain of the series and he wants to be rich! The guy thrives on plot convenience and the moles having every possible edge on the heroes. Ethan should have shot him down before running out of ammo if you ask me. Owen definitely likes making sure to destroy as many followers as possible. He’s pretty generic as far as villains go, but I suppose I’ll give him some credit for actually being able to fight.

John is one of the big characters from the IMF and he’s a fun boss. While he is a very layered character where you can’t take his words at face value, he can be handy at times. No matter what his end goal was, it would have been curtains for Ethan without his help. He always tries to talk back to his overconfident boss even if it doesn’t always end very well. Points for effort right?

Luther is still around and he is still the expert on all things I.T. He has a squad at the ready as well with several other characters. None of them seem to be very important though so I wouldn’t count on them returning. They’re all okay, but the movie never bothers to give them any character. They all end up missing the climax as well which speaks volumes. At least Luther spends the whole movie trying to give Ethan a bunch of advice even if the lead doesn’t really pay it any mind.

The soundtrack is still pretty solid even if the remix isn’t quite as inspired as the second film’s. It’s all still pretty action packed and the main theme is already good so the remix would have to be downright bad to make it sound poor. There’s not much to say about the effects in particular here as it all looks pretty sharp. The films pick really good backdrops to have the scenes in.

Overall, Mission Impossible III is definitely an improvement over the last one. It does forget the actual espionage part of the film quite a bit, but it’s still an interesting film from start to finish. The film could get a little dark like with the opening scene’s interrogation which pops up again near the end, but it doesn’t get as dark as you may fear. The film also has a happy ending for Ethan which they always do, but this one certainly feels very final. It would have been a reasonable way for the series to conclude although of course I’m happy that it ended up continuing since the next 2 films would be really good. I’d recommend checking this film out if you’re in the mood for a good action story. This film’s the complete package.

Overall 6/10

Mission Impossible 2 Review

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It’s time to look at the next Mission Impossible film. Unfortunately this is the weak link of the series as it lost its way and became your average James Bond film. No worries it’s still classier than that series but even going to that level at all is unfortunate. I suppose it would probably have been tough to follow up such a strong first film in general though.

The film starts with Ethan climbing a mountain as part of his vacation. Unfortunately the government finds him and tells Ethan that they have a new mission for him. Someone has stolen a bunch of military items and is planning to do something big. Ethan has to recruit a thief to help him break into the villain’s lair. After he brings her to the team the IMF reveals that they actually just need Nyah because she is the villain’s ex and she will be in change of recovering the documents. Ethan isn’t thrilled about this but because he has lost his edge in his film he agrees to his corrupt plan. Too bad it was super obvious and the villain knew from the start. Can Ethan find a way to turn the tables?

This film went south right away so let’s talk about the negatives. For starters the film really focuses on the 007 angle as I mentioned with Ethan quickly going past the friend zone with a lady he has only known for about an hour. Seems a little out of character if you ask me. Then Nyah is ordered to use her charms on the villain as well and is stuck with him for a very long time while the heroes twiddle their thumbs. The IMF makes it clear that she is expendable and up til now they had at least been portrayed as relatively heroic. Too bad they turned out to be just as villainous eh? It really comes out of left field because up til now they had been reasonable. (One film, but still) Mission Impossible cycles through the bosses very quickly as they change in almost every film. It makes sense because the bosses tend to be evil or at least someone inside is a mole. I think they should all be checked a little more thoroughly at this point. Back to the film though. The whole situation is too bad because Nyah seemed like a reasonable character but the film completely dropped the ball with her. Most of her screen time ends up just being completely unnecessary fanservice. That’s basically the entirety of her first scene despite it being a way to supposedly show you how skilled she is. This doesn’t change throughout the film.

Then we have the constant slow-mo scenes and zoom ins. These scenes don’t add anything to the film and if anything they are just distracting the whole time. If you’re going to use those techniques then use them wisely at select moments to really make the experience more memorable. If you start using this everywhere then it loses the point. Almost every time it was used incorrectly and so this film easily has the worst camera work. We get some decent cuts like Ethan walking through the fire, but on the whole it just dropped the ball as well.

Due to the terrible plot even the characters suffered. As I mentioned, Ethan doesn’t look good here since he was on board with this plan. Naturally he talks tough about how he doesn’t support it, but that doesn’t mean anything if he’ll allow it to happen anyway. He also has a lot more trouble with all of the villains here than usual as his attacks just don’t seem to have their normal weight behind them. It takes him probably around 30 hits to take out his final opponent. While this was most likely just a cinematic excuse so we could see him pull off those moves, it’s still something that you can’t help but notice. Ethan gets the job done, but he’s a shell of his former self.

I’ve already discussed Nyah quite a bit so there is not much more to say about her. Good concept for the character, but the execution just wasn’t there. Luther is still a fun ally like in the first film. In comparison he doesn’t get a whole lot to do here but he’s around as always to help out. He is probably the only guy that Ethan can really trust so if I was the lead I’d definitely do my best to keep that guy out of harms way.

Then we have the main villain Ambrose who is pretty generic. At the end of the day he’s just a normal guy who sad that he got rejected by Nyah and doesn’t take it too well. The film does its best to show us what a mean fellow he is by giving us several scenes of him making life miserable for everyone. The scene where he clips someone was definitely a bit much though and the kind of scene that the film should skip. Ambrose always comes across as more petty than likable. Even when he comes up with a counter plan to Ethan’s which was actually handled well, it’s too late for him to really rank with the better cinematic villains.

As far as the positives go, the film’s pacing is air tight as usual. While it does slow down a bit for the romance scenes, they don’t pop up enough to really derail the film. For the most part there is always something happening here and we do get many fight scenes. There’s even a prolonged motorcycle chase scene at one point where we see Ethan take on quite a few fighters at once. This might be the best moment to quickly point out that Ethan’s hair style did not age well here at all though. It’s just really bad tbh, but it could have been worse. Back on topic, the fight scenes are solid. The film is definitely going for a slower, more martial arts type approach than Ethan’s usual quick barrage style. It works pretty well.

The soundtrack is still good as well. I really enjoyed the opening theme remix when the film’s opening scene concluded. It’s more rock based which is always a good thing and gets you pumped for the film. In general the soundtrack is very high energy and it works well for this film since that’s the approach that the movie was going for as well.

Overall, It’s just a shame that this film wasn’t better than it was. It just lost focus as to what makes the series so great. It tried to add a lot of extra gusto to the series which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it targeted all of the wrong demographics here. The series doesn’t need to be edgy or have Ethan Hunt be over the top suave as he gets everyone to fall for him. What made the first film great was the writing and the interesting plot. This one basically ditches all of that. Considering that this film is basically the definition of filler as nothing of importance happens here, you’re probably better off jumping from the first film to the third one and bypassing this entirely. It’ll keep the series in a positive light for you.

Overall 4/10

Shaman King: The Super Star

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Now I’ve gotten to start the other Shaman King manga. This one’s definitely more of a direct sequel with Yoh and Hao getting involved a bit. I’m glad that it’s cutting to the chase quicker than Flowers. Should be a fun series and the art is pretty solid. I’ll have a review up when the series concludes.

Overall 7/10

Shaman King: Red Crimson

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Shaman King is finally back with a bunch of new content for the fans. This spinoff starts out pretty strongly as we get a lot of action and a pretty large chapter. Seeing as how a tournament is being hinted at as well, I predict that this series has a promising future ahead of it.

Overall 7/10

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Review

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Epic Mickey was definitely not my favorite platformer game. I thought that the story was very uninspired and the levels certainly didn’t have a very good design to them. There just wasn’t too much to it but I figured that a sequel would help with all of that. Unfortunately I can’t say that this was the case as this game is still rather glitchy and has poor motion controls to back it up. It’s not a bad game but certainly not the most enjoyable one out there.

The story starts with Mickey returning to Oswald’s world because something isn’t right. The Phantom Blot may have been destroyed but citizens of the kingdom are now being kidnapped. Moreover, someone has destroyed all of the warp gates in town so they are no longer accessible. If they don’t find the villain soon, then the whole world is at stake.

Thing is, you never really feel that sense of urgency while playing the game. The heroes barely seem to care about what is happening so why should we? Even the citizens feel no sense of loyalty as one turns evil for no reason and the rest flock to be Mad Doctor since he has promised to help out from now on. The town just isn’t very smart and this makes it a little difficult to really want to save them.

That brings me to the fact that this game’s cast of characters certainly isn’t great. Mickey is probably the most reasonable member of the group here as he does at least show some passion and nearly gets into a fight when one of the splatters looks at him the wrong way. Mickey wasn’t playing around in this game and also made the heroic call to not put the hostages at risk.

Then we have Oswald…I’m not sure how heroic I can say this guy is. For starters he is one of the characters who believes that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf. I can’t fault him for being optimistic and that is a heroic quality but it’s annoying because we then have to hear the villain sing constantly. What hurts him more is that Oswald quickly gets jealous when the townspeople start liking the Mad Doctor. He also encourages Mickey to finish the villain off at the end even at the expense of his friends/hostages. Granted, the hostages are robots but that’s an ethical debate that Oswald probably loses since they seem sentient and Mickey did want to save them. Oswald’s just not a very heroic guy at the end of the day.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer where you run and jump to the goal. Typically you have to fulfill some kind of objective before making it to the end like destroying a machine or something of that nature. You have a paint brush which gives you access to two abilities, shooting normal paint and also shooting acid which really trips opponents up. It’s a handy ability to have but one that you will wish was not in the game since the motion controls make it a disaster. In general this is a perfect example of why I’m not really a fan of the motion era. It’s all just so rigid and not very intuitive. When you’re trying to aim at someone the brush will go crazy and you have to recalibrate your Wii sensor again.

The objectives aren’t always straight forward either as you will wonder what needs to be done while you are going around blasting everything. The objectives on the map aren’t helpful either because it will show you the locations of the bonus missions but not for the main one. As a result expect to take a little longer than expected to beat the game.

The game did do a pretty good job with the boss fights at least. The final boss is pretty theatrical and uses gameplay elements from the final Sonic DX boss (In Sonic mode) like the floor giving way and even mixing in a bit of Mario there as the floor becomes lava. These fights did take a little time to figure out how to fight the opponent but the Mystery wasn’t confusing and the characters would shout-out some clues which were actually helpful for a change.

You also have to give the game credit for throwing in quite a lot of bonus content in the game. It’s story isnalreadybreasonably long at about 6 hours and with the bonus content you’ll probably be here for another 4-6. I can’t say that it is something even remotely tempting to me to be honest but it’s always a good option to have regardless as it prevents your game from being known as barebones.

The graphics are reasonably good. The final big cutscene actually looks really good so I’m thinking that they spent the vast majority of their budget on this rather than on the whole game. I can understand the case for this since gameplay isn’t quite as important visually but getting it all to look smooth is important. The actual gameplay doesn’t even look as good as some N64 games. Forget the soundtrack as well since there really isn’t much there.

There is a cliffhanger at the end which is either resolved in the extra content at the end of in a third game which will likely never come out. Ideally it’s the former I suppose. So the game did a lot of things wrong, but as I mentioned it at least had some positives to back it up as well like the boss fights. While the gameplay certainly wasn’t polished and made you feel like it was the true enemy at times, I do still generally like platformers like this one.

Overall, Epic Mickey 2 is not exactly game of the year material but it does try hard to be the big success that we all knew it could be. It just doesn’t pick up until the final boss of the game and was ultimately a missed opportunity. I’d probably still get the third game but I really wouldn’t have very high hopes for it. When you make the same mistakes twice, that is usually a bad sign. At least a sequel wouldn’t need to deal with the Wii motion controls.

Overall 5/10

Ant-Man and the Wasp Review

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The first Ant Man film still ranks as the worst MCU film of them all. It’s a shame since the film was a lot of fun but just squeezed in too much animal violence which certainly wasn’t necessary. This one is a big improvement mainly since the insects don’t get to do a lot here. There are a few casualties used for an unsuccessful gag but for the most part this film avoided making the same mistake as the last one which is good.

The film starts off by showing us how Janet made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. We then cut to Scott trying to do his best to make it off house arrest. He just needs to stay in the house for 4 more days which should be fairly simple. Unfortunately he then has a dream about becoming Janet which leads Hope to kidnap him for answers. An Ant is left in his place but Scott has to solve this case by the end of the day or else the cops will grow wise to him. The mission: Save Janet from the Quantum Realm. The obstacles: A mysterious being known as the ghost and a couple of thugs with guns. Looks like it is time to suit up!

This film always did look promising from the first trailer. Mainly I liked the music and Wasp’s confidence that she would have changed the outcome in Civil War. I don’t doubt it either as the only opponent that she would effectively be powerless against would be Vision. Everyone else would be taking damage from her blasters and size shifting combos. Honestly Scott should have brought her along and I would like to see her fight more powered fighters. She is definitely one of the best characters in the film and one thing she is really good at is adapting on the fly. Even with her first encounter with the Ghost she was handling the phasing abilities pretty well. Attacking the instant that the ghost would appear and using her own size shifting to counter it.

Then we have Ant Man who is ultimately a normal guy without too much fighting practice aside from some moves that the Wasp taught him. Considering that he does a pretty decent job but he does spend a large chunk of the film getting thrown left and right. It makes sense since the Ghost is far better trained. While he may not be the toughest fighter out there, Scott’s definitely a good guy and is definitely trying his best to help everyone out.

In particular I thought that one of his earliest scenes was pretty impressive. Since he is locked in his own house he had to improvise to entertain his daughter. He builds an elaborate set up of boxes and figures to make her a mini adventure. I imagine that the film makers had fun creating that as well. He even learned slight of hand magic tricks which I would like to see him incorporate in fights. That kind of truck could be useful.

Pym is a little more on the annoying side though. Wasp has really valid reasons to be upset at Scott since they were rather close and he still ditched her without a word to get in on the fight. That is definitely very personal. Pym basically has the same complaints but you can’t put quite as much stock in them especially since he would have been very reluctant to help. They were fighting Ironman though so maybe that would have convinced him but as Scott I certainly wouldn’t have trusted the guy. Pym has his moments but at the end of the day he still isn’t the most heroic figure out there.

One area where the film shines is the fight scenes as I mentioned earlier. They are quite well done and the battles are very quick. I’ll take phasing over size manipulation any day but both techniques are great for dodging hits. We also get a lot of chase scenes with the cars and the heroes are always on the run. The film’s pacing is quite good as it never drags on and we get several climaxes each more intense than the last.

Meanwhile Goliath gets a bit of a role but he definitely isn’t a very good character. He has some reasonable motivations to work with but goes about them all wrong. Things would have worked out a whole lot better if he just thought things through more. Instead he just comes across as rather whiny the whole time. Burch also gets a bit of a role as he tries to force himself into the technology breakthroughs that the heroes are poised to get with their tech. You have to love his confidence I suppose, but the guy almost feels a little out of place here. He never actually does anything so if he was cut out I doubt anyone would have really cared.

Luis gets a decently big role as well and he handles the comic relief role pretty well. He never seems to be all that afraid of the villains and takes everything in stride. He is pretty good at designing traps as well and kept his company alive for quite a while. This guy is definitely not someone to be taken lightly. He’s better than most of the other sidekicks currently running around the universe that’s for sure.

The Ghost is one of the big characters of course since she is the main villain and it’s a role that she handles well. I like the design of the Ghost suit and she certainly mastered her powers to a good degree. As always SHEILD looks awfully shady here but that’s nothing new. Fortunately those guys are no longer in business in the movies (for now) so these people with powers can finally be safe. Towards the end her partner in crime kept chickening out so I was definitely on her side there. They’ve already come this far and he knows the risks so this change of heart comes across as very sudden especially since the Ghost is the one taking all of the risk. She’s one of the better recent villains.

We do get an after credits scene here that is actually plot important and taken seriously. There is a second which covers the comedy angle and that’s always good since if you just have one such scene and it’s a comedy one…then that’s much more of an issue. The first scene is almost tragic in a sense since aside from serious plot convenience it is hard to really see a way out of this one aside from a lot of waiting. I probably would have tweaked the ending a bit there but either way it is a solid scene.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It was a good follow up to the Infinity War and continues to show how modern effects can make a lot of different super powers pretty useful. Being able to change sizes may not seem amazing right off the bat but if you can do it with great speed then you will be going places. I’d recommend checking this film out if you’re in the mood for a solid action film with a good amount of humor. Now I’m ready to see how Ant Man will contribute to the team in the next Avengers film.

Overall 7/10

Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Review

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Sherlock Holmes has returned with another film. The villains just can’t get away from his extensive mystery solving skills. He is just not the kind of opponent that you want to risk toying with. This film is definitely a mystery movie through and through as we get a lot of suspects and a jewel that has been stolen. With everyone stuck aboard a train it gives Holmes time to interrogate everyone, but at the same time the villain has the edge of being able to act first. Holmes will have to bring his A game to win this match of wits!

There are a lot of parties on the train of course. For starters we have the lady and her coffin. It’s perfectly natural to bring a coffin on board since someone died after all but it’s rather large so someone could possibly fit onto it. There’s also the matter of the jewel that the rich lady brought on board. She has had it for many years, but this is the year where someone will finally try to snag it from her. To that end she wants Holmes to prevent this. Fortunately the cops are also on board led by Lestrade. Surely no criminal can get past the air tight defense of all these heroes…right? The elites are on the case so the villains should be very scared.

Watson’s old friend shows up which is certainly interesting. It makes sense that Watson will know some people since he isn’t with Holmes 100% of the time, but naturally since this is the character’s first appearance that will make you very suspicious. It’s like when any 00 agent shows up in a James Bond film. It raises a lot of red flags. We’ve also got a very confrontational character who doesn’t like the way that Holmes and Watson are always bursting onto crime scenes. While he may have a point it might also be an attempt to get them off his back. He intimidates Watson so much that the old man almost breaks down.

Then we’ve got the train conductor who really doesn’t want Holmes to snoop around. As far as he is concerned everyone needs a permit and to do things officially. He has a habit of writing things down as well which is awfully suspicious. Then of course we have the ladies from before. There is the rich one who is very adamant about Holmes protecting the jewel, but perhaps it is all an act to cover up the fact that she is attempting to fake the theft. There is also the younger lady who isn’t very co-operative and doesn’t like talking all that much despite seeming to know a lot more than she lets on. We’ve also got the tea thieves, but there’s not much to say about those guys.

Sherlock Holmes is on point as always. He’s still the same genius that he always is and learns a lot about the case right away. He solved it rather easily this time around as it was clear that he knew who the culprit was very quickly. He simply had to wait for some actual proof before coming forward with it. He played more mind games with the villains than usual here and substituting the diamond multiple times is a good way to always have control of the playing field.

Things get a little dicey for Watson as always. I don’t think it was his best appearance although he certainly came in handy towards the end of the film though so that’s a good thing. Useful or not, I’ve always been a fan of Watson and it’s easy to root for him. He may not be a genius like Holmes and his ego can get in the way at times, but Watson always tries very hard. You certainly can’t say that he isn’t doing his best to nab the culprit by the end. Even when the suspects get personal like in this film.

It’s been a while since we have seen Lestrade get some action so I was happy to see him return here. He actually looks fairly good here as he picks up on the final plan of Holmes before anyone else. That’s pretty impressive and he holds around 4 people at gun point. I do think that getting in a car with them is risky though especially since he has the villains driving the car, but this man’s a pro so who am I to point out the flaws in his plan? He also doesn’t let the passengers push him around the way that Watson does. Lestrade always assumes control.

Moran is the main villain here and apparently used to work with Moriarty. Naturally he is in disguise as one of the suspects mentioned earlier. You’ll probably figure out who it is right away but you’ll still be intrigued from start to finish on what his end game is. He’s a fairly good villain and definitely had a solid backup plan as well. He’d probably make the top 5 Holmes villains, but is still a step down from some of the others. His sidekick Sands is not very noteworthy though. The guy only appears for a few scenes and is easily handled by Holmes.

There isn’t much more to be said that I haven’t already talked about in these films. The Holmes movies are very direct so they are short and to the point. This does wonders for the pacing of the film and more importantly, it is backed up by impressive writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find any scene that isn’t written quite well. This is in fact one of the better Holmes films as it feels authentic from the start and isn’t trying to phone the plot in. Some franchises start to weaken after so many films but not this one.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this Sherlock Holmes film out. It’s a solid adventure with a lot of twists and turns. The atmosphere is just right and all of the characters are quite solid. It’s easy to see why this Holmes line of movies is so well known. It has completely earned its reputation and I imagine we will be lucky to ever see another depiction be quite as awesome. The current films do a good job but we’ll see if they can manage it for 10+ like this one did. I do miss how quickly they churned out films back in the day.

Overall 8/10