My Hero Academy Season 3 Review

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It’s time to look at the third season of My Hero Academy. This is the best one yet and finally adapts my favorite arc of the series, the Bakugou rescue arc. Now granted, I consider this arc to start when the villains arrive in the forest and that it doesn’t conclude until after the All Might vs One For All fight. That may not officially be the case as it’s possible that these are actually 3 different arcs. If that is the case…well, it’s still my favorite chunk at any rate.

This season pretty much starts with that plot right off the bat. The heroes have gone to a secluded mountain to train since the villains keep infiltrating the school. The problem is that there still seems to be a mole within the school so this tactic doesn’t fare any better than the last one. The villains have arrived once again and aim to injure as many of the students as possible in order to further weaken trust in the heroes. Can Deku and the others stop these guys despite the professional heroes getting in their way at every turn?

It’s a great arc because there’s a lot of action right from the start and it never stops. Even though Deku and a few other select students have fought with real villains before, most of the class still isn’t ready for this. There are those who can fight and those who have to flee. It’s pretty tense all around and as expected Deku steps up to the plate. His fight with Muscular is quite epic and certainly one of the better fights. It does ultimately end up getting beat out by the All Might fight, but it certainly won’t be forgotten. It’s also always fun to see larger scale free for all fights as there are a bunch of villains and heroes in the area so it’s always hard to tell what’s going to happen next.

This also leads to one of Bakugou’s best scenes as he refuses to be tainted by the villains and prepares to fight them all off. The series has managed to completely avoid the trope of the rival turning evil and I’m glad to see him staying strong. That classic trope can be used really well and has been in many occasions but sometimes it’s nice to see the tough rival stay heroic throughout it all. While he didn’t stand much of a chance, Bakugou certainly wasn’t doing half bad for himself. His powers are pretty well equipped for a group fight, I like to think that he would have done some damage before going down.

Finally that leads to the big climax where we finally get to see All Might take on One For All. It’s definitely a battle that lived up to the hype. We’ve been waiting to see this match up since season 1 after all. All Might is as strong as a person can get and One For All has as many powers as he could find. It’s the ole quality vs quantity debate and as always the latter does tend to look quite impressive. I think it’s a case by case basis but I’m inclined to go for the latter at times myself. Still, it’s a very even match up.

I guess that leads to the only tough part for the season which is the fact that you really can’t top that. The fight almost should have been the final part of the season. Instead we get the start of the next arc right after it. The students are back to training and now they are going to meet some of the senior students. I’ll give the author some credit here, no matter how big the arc, he always brings the students back to the training grounds right afterwards. Even if it may seem a little anticlimactic, it’s consistent. It’s also not as if it gets boring or anything, you may just have a tough time taking the school seriously after a while. The series still tries to paint the other students as also being on roughly the same level and all, but you can’t help but feel that Deku and the rest of the strike squad have completely left them in the dust. Nothing beats real life experience after all.
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The animation is basically the same as the last season. It’s very polished and all of the colors are very vibrant. It really looks like a new anime and I don’t think the animators took any shortcuts. It all feels like it’s at the level where the series should be right now. It’s actually fun to take a look at season 1 and you’ll see how the animation has really improved. It’s not something that you’ll notice week to week but it’s more noticeable if you look at it from such a big time gap. There are also a few new themes here including one that plays for the big All Might fight. It’s definitely a great track and continues the series on a high note there as well. None of the openings are quite able to beat the first one as of yet with the music, but the final opening of the season probably has the best visuals yet. With the next season bringing a lot of fights with it I’m also expecting a lot of fun visuals there as well.

Most of the characters are unchanged so I’ll mainly talk about the ones who had a big role here for better or worse. While most characters look pretty good here, I’m afraid that Ida was not one of them. In the last season he had his big run in with Stain which unfortunately gave him the wrong lesson. He now believes that the law is absolute and he has to obey it without question. While this is portrayed as being the right attitude for the most part I disagree with it as much now as I did back in the manga. It’s the same issue as in the movie. Ida is willing to let people’s lives be in danger as long as the rules are followed. As the students are now technically allowed to engage villains even in self defense, he believes they should stay at the hospital while the pros try to rescue Bakugou. It just shows where the limits of his friendship are and the others should definitely remember that. He spends the whole arc grumbling and holding everyone back. So, this is where I stopped liking Ida completely and he never managed to make it back. His character appears to be irrevocably ruined.

Meanwhile Deku is at his best here. He refuses to simply wait and quickly decides to go along with the others to save Bakugou. For something like this you can’t just wait and I’m glad that he went with the others. Deciding to go definitely helps show me which characters to root for in the future. It also certainly was good that the heroes went as things would have likely gotten very messy without them. Deku and Bakugou certainly stole the show in this arc. Meanwhile other characters like Kirishima and Todoroki continue to look good. They’re both around to help as needed and continue to keep up with the others in terms of ability. Others are doomed from the start with their quirks and will need to try and find a way around them.

This is also All for One’s big debut for the most part as he finally gets a role. He’s definitely a fun villain to have. He doesn’t waste much time trying to get the audience to sympathize with him. He just wants to throw the world into chaos and is going to do whatever he can for that purpose. He’s the complete opposite of All Might’s symbol of hope for the heroes. He sparks confidence in the villains. While he will likely be on the sidelines for quite a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns at some point. Unlike All Might you get the feeling that he’s still got a lot more energy in the tank and probably has some contingency plans to put himself in a good spot.
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Tomura’s allies also get some more screen time here. Dabi gets to use his blue flames and he seems like one of the stronger villains. He was even able to get the jump on Eraserhead. Then we have Toga whose shape shifting abilities are incredibly useful. The split personality guy definitely seems more crazy than being a real threat, but I guess just having him around will help a bit. We also get a tease on the villain for the next arc. This gangster is just as tough as he appears and his group will be appearing quite a lot in the next season. We also can’t forget about Muscular who is pretty much everything you could want in a villain. He’s very powerful and he’s got a lot to prove. The guy has a lot of determination and while he isn’t anything more than just a villain, he perfectly achieves his role in the story. He’s a real fun villain. My favorite one in the series will finally be showing up in the next season.

Mirio also appears at the very end. He gets a lot of hype and as he is a third year student you can see how he should be very skilled. His powers are a lot of fun and he definitely outshines the other students with ease. He seems like a fun character. I’m going to restrain myself on talking about the next season for him. I should only judge him on how he appears here after all. While I can’t say that I’m hyped for the next season it makes the ending to this one that much better. It got in as much as it could without going too far and holding the season back and that’s a very good thing.

As always the writing is top notch. As I mentioned, the season ends on a much calmer note than the first half as it’s about being at the school festival with class B and trying to save civilians. It’s fun to see the guy who voiced Kirito play a role as one of the new students. It’s a shame that we won’t be seeing more of him. It also makes sense that the author would throw the heroes in some missions like this one rather than classic beat the villain type ones since class A would be way overqualified here. There’s just no way that the others could keep up. That’s why I feel bad for Deku at times though. It’s tough to be constantly holding back around everyone. He’s just almost too strong.

Of course, we do get the big rematch between Bakugou and Deku in this season which really shows off my point to its fullest extent. Bakugou is very strong and aside from Deku I think he’s probably the strongest student in their class right now. The problem for Deku is that he has to try and keep up with Bakugou’s speed and power without going too far above it and actually hurting him. I remember in the manga a lot of people thought he would accidentally cause a serious injury to Bakugou by being goaded into using too much power at once. Fortunately that didn’t happen but that’s why win or lose it is definitely tough for Deku. Once everyone else begins to catch up to his level then it’ll be easier for him to fight normally.

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Overall, This was definitely an epic season of My Hero Academy. As always the series continues to be super interesting and the world around the characters is just so vast and well developed. I also don’t think this season shall be surpassed since the next arc is my least favorite of the series. I don’t doubt that the anime will do the best it can with the adaption, but when the source material is no good then there is only so much you can do. Still, once it gets past that hump then we’ll be back in business. Although, we’ve only really had one true arc since then so we’ll have to see where it goes from there. As this is season 3 I’m thinking by now you’re either watching My Hero or not. If you aren’t, I guess you could start with season 3 but it probably won’t feel quite as much fun as it would be if you start with season 1 instead. This series does have a pretty tight continuity after all. As long as the production values continue to stay at this high level I don’t see MHA’s popularity declining anytime soon.

Overall 8/10

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The Little Drummer Boy Book II Review

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It’s time to look at the relatively obscure sequel to the original Drummer Boy. At the very least I had not heard of this film before. The first Drummer Boy was certainly a classic so this one had a lot to live up to. It’s a reasonable special. Not a whole lot happens but that’s a given considering the length. The villains were pretty fun and I think the special did a good job with the visual gags. While this is a special that feels like it was made for kicks, I’m still glad we got a sequel.

The short starts out with a bunch of roman guards storming a poor village. Someone had spent months creating a few large bells to signal the birth of Jesus Christ and was preparing to set them up. Unfortunately the villains had other plans and quickly stole the bells. They plan to melt them down into pieces of silver so the villains will all be rich. All hope seems to be lost but that’s when the Drummer Boy steps in. He figures that he can distract the villains with his performance while the animals grab the bells but this task may enact a greater price than he could have ever suspected.

Naturally the guards are as corrupt as they come. You certainly aren’t supposed to root for these villains by any stretch of the imagination. Still, the special at least makes them fairly humorous. I actually enjoyed the song about money. Both because of how unexpected it was and because the lyrics actually made sense. It just had a catchy beat and if anything the villains were able to pull it off better than the actual Drummer Boy. Throwing in some good music is always a good way to make a special even more memorable and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this one anytime soon.

I’m still not a fan of the claymation style though. It all looks rather clunky and the animations just don’t look as nice to the eye. There’s nothing particularly appealing about the style and since everything looks like clay you won’t be watching this one for the visuals. Still, the actual plot is good. It’s always cool to see something taking place around the birth of Jesus. The Drummer Boy makes for a good main character. He also made quite the sacrifice for his mission which is more than other leads would have been able to do in his shoes. The special has a happy ending though and so everything worked out in the end.

Overall, The Little Drummer Boy Part II is a pretty good sequel. It’s nice to have the old gang return even if his actual drum skills didn’t really look so good this time around. I guess realistically you can’t expect such a tactic to work for very long right? At least he was able to keep it up for a little while and it was a nice homage to the original. If you enjoyed the original Drummer Boy then I certainly think you’ll like this one and vice versa. They’re pretty similar and you could easily watch them both back to back since combined they would be about as long as the average episode if not a little longer.

Overall 6/10

Creed II Review

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It’s time to look at the new Creed film. While boxing movies may have never become a huge genre, it was always one where you could immediately think of 5 films. That’s because the Rocky series exists. It set a really high bar for the genre so then when it left you couldn’t help but miss it. When the first Creed film came out it worked as a nice sequel to the franchise. Now we could finally see a whole new generation of fights. While I believe the first film holds the slight edge, this movie does a good job of staying on the same level and certainly delivers with the fights.

The movie starts with Adonis claiming the heavyweight title from another guy. He is now the world champ and has begun to settle into his role as a master. He and Bianca are starting a family and things are going well until Viktor shows up. He is the son of Ivan Drago, the guy who murdered Adonis’ father. Naturally Adonis has a hard time trying to refuse Viktor’s challenge and decides to get into the ring once more. The problem is that Adonis is a quick fighter, but his hits don’t land a lot of damage. If he isn’t careful then it’s going to be all over. He has nothing to gain while Viktor has nothing to lose.

From the start of the film’s trailers and plot summaries I was a bit dubious about Adonis’ decision to fight. Of course it’s all very personal to him of course and he brings up the fact that Rocky essentially did the same thing, but it was a little different. In Rocky’s defense, Ivan murdered Apollo right in front of him so he had to get in there and avenge him. In this case, it’s all behind Adonis, but he just wants to prove that he can win where Apollo did not. Adonis can bring honor back into his family name. He trains and everything so it’s not like he walks into the match blind, but I do think it certainly wasn’t a great call on his part. If you gotta take the fight then take it, but don’t block everyone out in the mean time. Adonis even pushes Bianca away for a while during this period.

By the end of the film Adonis has realized once more what is really important and effectively ends his character arc..until the sequel. While he may have had a few rough patches I would still say that he is a pretty solid main character to root for. Meanwhile Bianca has her music plot although it doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in this installment. From what is shown we can tell that Bianca is doing quite well though. I’m glad the film didn’t try to go for the “Adonis is jealous” route here as that would have been petty. Adonis is certainly not that kind of character. Bianca’s definitely a solid heroine and it looks like her career will keep going on in the next film as well. I don’t know how long the shelf life for a boxer is but there’s a good chance she will outlast him.

Viktor is the main villain here and he definitely looks a lot stronger than the guy from the last film. In fact, the film makes him look so powerful that you may have a tough time believing that Adonis can hold his own at all. The guy is just way too strong and Adonis’ hits don’t have nearly as much weight. There’s not much to Viktor aside from being the villain here, but I’d say that this works pretty well. All you really need to know about Viktor is that he wants to win to please his father so naturally his drive is very strong. At the same time he definitely fights dirty so I don’t think you will be forgetting that he is the villain anytime soon.

Rocky still serves as the main mentor role here and does a good job in it. His fighting days are certainly gone, but he’s still an excellent coach because of his experience both in and out of the ring. Since he overcame the health problems in the first film they aren’t a concern this time around. While it would be nice to see him fight as a homage to the old films it isn’t all that realistic because of how old he is. When Ivan shows up you get the feeling that the guy can still fight, but Rocky is certainly not in a condition to do so. He still gets the good one liners in though. Meanwhile Ivan is a pretty solid villain like Viktor. His only failing I’d say is that the guy puts way too much stock in trying to impress the Russians. He really shouldn’t care after they abandoned him. I suppose his national pride blinded the guy until the end.

Sort of a side note, but it was nice to see Max here. He’s always pretty fun on ESPN First Take so seeing him here was pretty surreal. If anything it made the boxing matches feel a lot more realistic and legit here compared to previous films. The movie does a good job of making you feel every blow. You can instantly tell which shots had glancing damage and which ones really made the character feel it. For the big comeback punches you’ll have the slow-mo feature at the ready. I’m sure that a big reason why you will be watching this film at the end of the day is for the fights so they do deliver.

As for the soundtrack, that one is definitely a step below the classic Rocky films. The new tracks just aren’t nearly as inspirational. They don’t make you feel like it’s time for the hero to take down the opponents and save the day. They may be fast paced tunes, but I can’t say that the lyrics seem all that great. Even the script can be a bit weaker than the old films as it has a bit more language. Nothing too bad, but still just enough that it can be a bit noticeable.

If there is any other weak aspect of the film it is definitely the romance. It did take up quite a bit of time and I think the first film already had that plot completed. The extra drama we got here could feel forced at times. It seems to be resolved though so I’m assuming that for the third film it won’t really be a factor. I’m still wondering what that film will be about, but I’m betting that somebody arrives to challenge Adonis. It would just make sense right?

Overall, Creed II is a solid boxing movie and works as a good sequel to the first Creed. It’s got everything you would want to see in this film. It’s reasonably long with solid pacing so it never feels like it is being dragged out. The main cast of characters are all rather solid. If the film intends to redeem Ivan and Viktor by the end I have to say that they still have a lot of work to do. I still consider both to be villains. While Adonis may not have looked quite as good as in the first film I think he’ll be back at his best for the third film. I hope they get Max to sign on for the third film as well since his insight is always appreciated. Of course, throwing in Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith would also be exciting. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would definitely recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10

The Conjuring 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be far more negative.
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It’s time to take a look at the next Conjuring film. As far as horror titles go the Conjuring usually gets a lot of praise for being a step above the genre. It avoids having dozens of random jump scares or throwing in random fanservice romances. It’s a horror film that tries to go about its story in a more intellectual way which is nice. While it’s still not an amazing film or anything like that it is reasonably enjoyable and shows that you can craft a pretty decent horror film if you’re willing to give it a try.

The film starts with Lorraine and Ed solving another case. This one was particularly difficult though and now Lorraine has decided that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She wants to just retire. Ed wants to know why, but she refuses to tell him. The truth is that in one of her visions she saw a mysterious Nun murder Ed. As long as she doesn’t enter the spirit world there is a chance to prevent this, but every time she has a vision it gets closer and closer to happening. This Nun is quite powerful and since the heroes don’t know her true identity it makes defeating this villain quite difficult indeed. Ed is fine with retiring but then a new case comes to their attention and Ed feels that they are obligated to take it.

We then cut to the case in question. Janet, the second eldest of a 4 child family raised by a single mom begins to see an old man in their house. He wants the family to leave and until they do he has decided to start haunting them. At first it is minor things like moving tables around or cutting out the power but he begins to get violent and starts to possess Janet into hurting her family. Leaving the house doesn’t seem to work and the family even tries to live at a neighbor’s place. The problem is that the old man has a partner known as the Crooked Man who is also bent on making the families’ lives as difficult as possible. Just when it seems all hope is lost the main two characters show up. The problem is that the Nun has followed them. Have they only made the problem even worse?

Right off the bat I have to say that the film did a pretty good job of introducing 3 big villains and giving each of them a good amount of screen time. Naturally the one with the biggest role is the old man. He seems pretty unreasonable and evil the whole time, but there is a twist about it. Honestly it’s probably one that you’ll expect. You’ll be hard pressed on whether you should feel bad for the guy or if he should have made a move earlier and really just got what was coming to him. Either way it does make you wonder just how much power you get in this film’s afterlife. The villains seem to be quite powerful but what about all of the heroic ghosts?

Then we have the Crooked Man who gets the smallest role out of the 3. He has a pretty distinct design though and his claws certainly look like they’d make him a threat to any fighter. He’s reasonably quick as well so you definitely don’t want to underestimate this guy. Finally we have the Nun who is naturally the strongest of the 3. This character has been hinted at since the first film so you knew that she was getting ready to make a move. The film repeatedly hints at her past with Ed which will likely be looked at in her prequel film. Unfortunately Ed doesn’t remember her, but fortunately Lorraine is ready. The ending may be a bit of a stretch given how strong the Nun was, but I suppose knowing a ghost’s real name is incredibly powerful here. I liked the Nun’s design. It was sufficiently intimidating without looking gross.

While no horror film’s effects will likely ever look as good as Insidious, The Conjuring certainly holds up. As I mentioned the monsters look pretty good and the film’s always got some dark lighting while you are still able to see what is happening. The music also helps fill out the atmosphere. It’s definitely well made technically and certainly isn’t a cash-in sequel.

As for the main characters they’re still pretty good. You can certainly understand why Lorraine wanted to retire although I think she should have told Ed what she saw. Whether she thinks she can change the future or not, giving him a heads up would certainly be helpful. At the end of the day Lorraine still got involved in the case to ensure no innocents would be hurt so she did a good job there. She ended up doing a large chunk of the work in the climax. Meanwhile Ed is a pretty good character as well. He broke into the house without waiting at the end which was important even if he wasn’t really winning by that point. He did make one big mistake though and I think Lorraine will have to be partially guilty here as well.

So towards the end of the film the main characters decide to leave the family because they think that it was all a ruse. It’s a pretty tough scene to swallow because they already saw mountains of proof that suggests otherwise. Seriously, for Ed and Lorraine to believe for a minute that it was all a hoax is just terrible. The neighbors were a lot more supportive than these guys. It is enough to almost eliminate how nice the duo was before this point. After all, the family could have easily been murdered as soon as Ed and Lorraine had left. It was simply not their best moment in time. The Church also doesn’t look good as once again they are worried about their image. That seems to always be the case in these films.

As for the family who were being attacked by the ghosts I’d say that they were good characters. The kids weren’t overly annoying and at least they were willing to help each other out. While the whole teamwork thing was not as effective as Ed suggested it would be, they didn’t back down. The boy did go in after Janet to see if she was okay even if that almost proved to be fatal. The Mom also did her best to help out and once she believed Janet she did everything she could to stop the spirits. Reaching out to professionals and getting TV coverage definitely couldn’t have been easy since it would hurt her reputation as well. The family ultimately felt like what the average family should be. They weren’t exaggerated for the sake of the movie or anything like that.

Overall, The Conjuring 2 is actually a good movie. The horror elements work pretty well and the film is careful not to cross the line into super edgy territory. I do think that the Nun was pretty much the strongest villain that the series could come up with though so I’m wondering where the series will go from here. A third film will need to do something to make sure it isn’t a rehash of the previous two. Still, the series seems to be doing pretty well so far so I suppose there’s no reason to worry at the moment. I’d recommend checking this film out. The main characters may annoy you a bit but they ultimately make the right decision.

Overall 6/10

Attack on Titan Season 3 Review

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Well, it’s time to quickly talk about season 3 of Attack on Titan. The season isn’t quite over as it’s on the mid-season break but my journey with it likely is. This season finally crossed the TV-14 threshold and Toonami bumped it up to TV-MA. Now, this might not be for all episodes, possibly just one or two here and there, but it was still a pretty solid jumping off point. TV ratings have always been a little all over the place as sometimes shows just keep whatever rating they got for a while even if the individual episodes don’t deserve it. You see this frequently with many shows on Toonami. There’s less effort put into the ratings than if it were a movie as I suppose they think the fans will just keep on watching anyway. If you know that lets say one episode of Black Clover coming up will be TV-14 you might as well give the rating to all of the episodes or a good chunk of them. Sometimes they’ll update the rating other times they won’t. So for Titan it may end up sticking to TV-14 most of the time or once they go to MA they may not bother switching it back for a while. The ratings can be a bit arbitrary but either way I don’t watch any TV-MA episodes on principle. It’s a guideline that I’ve always stuck to. Anyway I doubt I’m missing much since this show was never all that good.

From the few episodes I did see the show was off to a terrible start anyway. The heroes are torturing their prisoners now to get information. Their desperation to come out on top has ultimately made them into the villains they were trying to stop. That’s a common theme within the series as the characters constantly justify their actions or throw themselves a pity party. None of them stay heroic by the end so you probably end up rooting for the ones who are less corrupt than the others. As most of the characters know what the others are doing and still do nothing, there aren’t too many innocents around. It’s a shame but the character cast certainly isn’t going to be holding you on to the hype.

This arc deals with the political struggles within the walls for the majority of the season. The government is trying to regain control while the Survey Corps are starting to wonder if they should be in charge. Then of course you’ve got the Titan shifters who have some kind of plan in mind to recapture Eren once more and of course Kenny has been hired to help get Eren for the government. With nobody to trust and everyone showing up as villains it’s a pretty sticky situation for all parties involved. If you enjoyed the Titan battles of previous seasons then you’ll be disappointed as there isn’t much fighting here. You have the huge oversized titan but that’s barely even a fight. No worries as part 2 of season 3 will bring the action back if you’ve made it that long.

The negatives are basically the same as in all of the other seasons. The violence is still wildly over the top. The series thrives on being as depressing and dark as possible with everyone not wanting to die before they finally do. The characters are constantly whining and collateral damage to the civilians is always to be expected. Whole towns will be used as bait by the “heroes.” I don’t recall as much animal violence here as in season 2 which is nice even if it’s not enough to save the series. Historia’s backstory is definitely pretty dark and it makes her decision to listen to the father seem rather terrible even from the start. Sometimes it really does seem like Eren is the only reasonable character in the series.

I will give the series props for its tight animation and soundtrack as always though. A lot of budget is clearly put into this series and it always delivers time after time. It’s just a shame since the series could do so much more with itself. Put this creative team in front of another big title like a Black Cat reboot and it would be nice to see. On a technical level you just can’t fault this series. I dare say that they increased the speed even more on the zip lining through the city scenes like when Levi tries to escape the government agents. I’m sure those scenes took a lot of work to create.

Naturally this review is a little on the shorter side since I didn’t watch much. The episodes I did see didn’t have much going on so it’s not like there is too much new content to discuss. I do have to say that seeing Eren get kidnapped is always iffy since with his titan powers I’d like to see him be more prepared for these attempts. Summon a little armor at all times or something like that. I think with enough practice he would be able to use such a skill and then he’s really be nice and overpowered. The government agents would stop messing with him at that point.
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Overall, By this point you will likely know if you like Attack on Titan or not. It’s not as if the series has changed since season 1. It’s still the same characters fighting Titans even if their situations have grown more complicated. The writing style has not changed nor has the animation or the soundtrack. It’s a very familiar series that you’ll have nostalgia for as soon as you watch the first episode. Whether good or bad memories surface from this is another question entirely. I fully expect that we will get a season 4 once season 3 ends and the series isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the manga possibly ending relatively soon (2 years or so) the anime will probably have a finishing point by around season 5 but you really never know. In the meantime I’ll be content with my quality action shows like Dragon Ball Super and RWBY.

Overall 1/10

Exorcist II: The Heretic Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be a lot more negative.
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Who here remembers the dumpster fire that was the Exorcist? Well it ended up getting a sequel. That’s pretty unfortunate in and of itself but then this film is so scattered and nonsensical that you have to wonder how it ever made it past the production phase. This film certainly didn’t do much right, but then again what would you expect? Lets take a look at the Heretic.

The film starts with Lamont getting ready for a new mission. The church wants him to check up on Regan to see what the situation is. However, they don’t want to be bothered with the specifics so if there’s anything wrong with her then Lamont needs to ignore that and give them the okay. Essentially sending him is just a formality and they want him to be aware of this. Lamont isn’t okay with this, but then demons possess him and tell him to destroy Regan. He can’t resist their influences. Can anyone live through this?

Well, one big issue here is a similar one from the first film. The priests look super weak here. The demons seem to have all of the power at their disposal while the heroes can’t do anything. If even the priest is getting mind controlled with ease then what hope do the other characters have? None, that’s what. The demons basically just toy with the main characters a lot until they grow bored and allow themselves to be destroyed. It doesn’t make for a particularly engaging synopsis I must say.

Regan actually seems to be doing a much better job of resisting the demons than the people who came in to help her. She only gets possessed when the heroes put her in the telepathy machine which allows her to see the past. How such an invention even came into being is quite suspect on its own so lets pretend that we didn’t see that. The scenes of them mind melding are pretty boring and every time the characters use this ability it ends up backfiring anyway. Why would they want to open a portal for the demons to come through?

Then you’ve got the annoying subplot where Lamont is going crazy. He starts losing his grip on reality such as when he imagines a scientist to be an old monk with some interesting powers. Naturally he dies by getting stabbed in this vision. Then he gets to ride through Africa where a swarm of locusts destroy everyone. That was in the past and it ends up tying into the film by the climax, but at that point you’ll have seen the same clip so many times that you will be bored out of your mind. If it’s one thing that this film loves, it’s stock motion. You’ll see the same recycled clips many, many times over.

The film shouldn’t have tried to keep going back to the past to explain the present. There’s just no point to it. Then you’ve got Regan’s psychiatrist who tries her best to help the kid, but naturally a demon is a little above her pay grade. Unfortunately she is travelling with an assistant who is highly susceptible to the demon mind control. Although as already pointed out the demons can mind control whoever they please so things wouldn’t have changed a whole lot otherwise. She was effectively just the fall person this time. Still makes for an annoying character though.

As you can probably expect the film is pretty violent as well. It’s not quite as gruesome as the first film where it was just hard to look at any of the characters, but this one’s still no good. You’d want to avoid it on this alone, much less everything else. None of the characters are any good with the exception of Regan who isn’t great either since she can be rather vague and scattered. It’s hard to trust her because of how she acts even if she does mean well.

Then we have the villain Pazuzu who isn’t particularly memorable. He’s basically just a very generic demon who is willing to do anything to get the last laugh even if it means degrading himself. There’s nothing interesting about him at all. The demon has absolutely no character and is basically just a waste of time. Couldn’t the writers have at least given him some kind of interesting sub-plot or character motivations? Nah…I guess I can’t say that I was surprised.

Overall, what I can glean from this movie is that it didn’t need to be made. There was no reason for an Exorcist sequel and the movie writers knew it. That’s why there is barely a plot here as the demon just wants to rise and fight but doesn’t even know why. All it does is try to make the Church look bad with how the cross and spells never work on the demons. They always just end up laughing. The film could have gone for an interesting Venom route where the original demon has grown attached to Regan and wants to protect her from other demons, but that’s too clever for this series. We also don’t need to humanize demons like that anyway so it may not have worked either way. That’s just more evidence that in general this film just should have been a reboot or something instead. Give the franchise a clean slate and maybe even improve on the original. It’s certainly possible and I think that would have been the optimal route. So, if you want to see a good horror film I’d suggest checking out something like Ghost Busters instead even if it’s basically more of a comedy film.

Overall 1/10

Halloween 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version of the film would be more negative.
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Well, it looks like the sequel to Halloween has finally arrived. There’s only so much that this film can try to do to be good. From the start you know that it’s not going to be good, but can it at least be entertaining? Well, I’ve seen worse horror films so I’ll give it that, but this is still one of those sequels where you just shake your head. Myers has also grown a lot more powerful over the course of a few minutes as he suddenly becomes just about invincible here. Why is he bullet proof!?

The film takes place seconds after the first which is impressive. It’s an underrated approach and a super cool one if you ask me. I always like when the story picks up immediately like this. Basically, Michael Myers escaped capture last time and he decides to go right back to his goal of murdering everyone in the neighborhood. The cops have to try and stop him, but they can’t seem to save everybody. It looks like Laurie is going to have to save herself as expected. After all, when everyone else fails then it’s time to just do it yourself right?

Most of what I’m going to say here could be applied to the first film or any film in the series. That’s because Halloween follows what I’d consider to be the typical horror film outline. The only trope it seems to avoid is the animal violence one which I will give it some props there. I’m glad it was able to do that at least. The first thing dragging the film down is naturally the over the top violence. Naturally everyone meets pretty grim ends at the hand of Michael Myers. Most of the characters don’t even put up a fight or they go down without making a sound. (Rhyme intentional) Given that he has super strength and such at least it’s a little more believable than in some of the other films. Still, the body count in this film is incredibly high as nobody seems to have a way to communicate and he just takes down the whole town one at a time. It’s scary just how many people he gets and the cops never even find out about it.

Then you’ve also got horror trope #2, the terrible characters. All the characters seem to care about is getting past the friend zone. Two characters decide to hang out at a hot springs when they’re supposed to be on duty and looking after the patients. Then they can’t even tell when the other character has been bumped off. It’s also just an excuse to get a fanservice scene in since horror films seem to need that. There’s also the pointless emergency staff guy who keeps on flirting with Laurie throughout. The plot doesn’t go anywhere and I don’t even really get how the guy died. Sure, he tripped, but why would he die from that? Perhaps part of the scene was cut for the TV version or something but if there is no more context to that scene then this guy’s just a joke. He should have been written out of the film.

Laurie’s a reasonable character here. In fact, she’s the only reasonable character. She realizes very quickly that nobody else here is even remotely competent so she escapes from the hospital to try and save herself. Of course the other characters give away her hiding spot and drop the gun. If I was Laurie I’d definitely leave this town and never come back. Sam talks tough and he has a gun so he’s better than most of the characters, but he still isn’t the smartest of the characters. He plugs Myers 6 times and the guy doesn’t go down. What does he do in round 2? He shoots him 4 times. Look, if you think that this guy is basically unstoppable then you have to do all that you can to stop him. Trying to walk over and take his knife away isn’t smart so Sam is smarter than the policeman, but then go for a head shot or something. Do whatever it takes to make sure Myers stays down. Then Sam just goes back into running mode and his gun jams. Well gee…that’s just bad luck now.

Finally we’ve got Myers, but he isn’t even a character in this film. He’s basically just a zombie that is going around murdering people. I don’t think he got a single line here so maybe the film is trying to hint that he is basically dead by this point. Maybe the 6 bullets did finish him off and he is a zombie. Then again, I forget if he talked in the first film. Maybe he just can’t talk. Either way there’s not much to his character. The rest of the characters in the film just exist to die so you feel bad for them. In slasher films like this one only the main character tends to live while everyone else dies. It’s a rather tragic existence for the whole town, they were just outgunned.

There’s just nothing positive to say about the film. It’s not fun to watch and I dare say that it might be more over the top than the first film. Although I think the first film had animal violence so it was probably still worse than this film. The only positive I can say for this film is that it avoided the big 0 by avoiding the animal violence. Even then it was fairly close, but I think a 1 is reasonable. The film also isn’t particularly long so at least it doesn’t overstay its welcome quite as drastically as you might fear. Imagine this going for 2 hours? Now that would be really brutal!

Overall, Halloween 2 doesn’t try to do anything particularly clever or unique. It’s basically just a rehash of the last film. If the last film was a good movie then that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but there’s just nothing particularly good here. It’s a pretty mean spirited film where the villain has the edge throughout. Surprisingly there isn’t even a stinger here so I suppose the heroes can finally get a little peace at least. It’s a silver lining, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’d highly recommend avoiding this film as much as possible. Just stick away from it and you’ll be the better off for it.

Overall 1/10

Cry of the Werewolf Review

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It’s time to look at a really old Werewolf film. This one changes things up a bit from the usual formula, but I can’t say that it ever gets to the point where you start to think of it as an amazing title. It’s just hard for Werewolves to be particularly impressive. With the main character being rather sketchy as well things got tough for this flick, but I will say that it still did manage to be better than expected. After all, we have a good actor for the Werewolf and he seemed to be having a good time here so that was good.

The film has an intriguing lore. Essentially there is a tribe of Werewolves. Nobody knows about them and they want to keep it that way. Unfortunately word starts to get out and the bodies begin to pile up. Our main character may not be the brightest one out there, but he starts to figure out that something is wrong. The Werewolves decide to silence him as a result. That will be the only way that they can ensure nobody visits them. Of course, it’ll be tough since the main character’s best fiancee is also related to the tribe which is a security risk. How can the leader of the tribe hope to stop this main character?

Well, the main character is pretty bad so that part isn’t really much of a challenge. It’s hard to explain just how bad this guy is, but there’s one scene in particular that makes it easy. So, he’s pretty sure that this group is the one who murdered his father. (side note, the father didn’t look very good the whole time either. A mysterious idol appears in his house one day and he doesn’t question it. It’s a doll that is meant to be interpreted as a threat but the doctor/professor doesn’t take it seriously. He probably should have) He heads to the morgue to search for clues and that’s when the leader appears to try and talk him over. She uses her charm to get him to her apartment where he is immediately defeated and distracted long enough for her to put an actual charm on him. He eventually gets over it, but considering that he is prepping for a wedding you would think that the guy would be a little more prepared right? Well, that was apparently not good enough for him and he was so close to wrecking his chances with the fiancee.

Then the heroine isn’t great either. She may have the Dracula accent, but she doesn’t actually use it to try and fight against the villains. On the contrary, instead she is content to stay on the sidelines and faints when the leader even talks to her. She simply can’t fight back at all and it’s always annoying to see that happen to the heroes. Why should she be any weaker than the leader? Those mental energy bolts shouldn’t affect her quite so strongly. She spends enough time fainting and almost murdering the main character where it’s just hard to take her seriously.

If you want a good character then look no further than the chief of police. That guy may have had the wrong man for most of the film, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. This guy was actually taking his job seriously and can you really fault him for doubting that it was some kind of supernatural culprit? It technically makes sense that this would not be the case. He also did come around by the end and didn’t deny the evidence right in front of him so that was good. He may have been rather late to the game, but better late than never right?

Overall, The Cry of the Werewolf isn’t the best film out there, but it was rather entertaining. I liked the Cops here and while the main duo were pretty bad, they could also be unintentionally funny. I do think that the film was a little all over the place though. The whole tribe of Werewolves thing was a little odd. Why didn’t the followers try to help out as well? Whether they worshiped the leader as a werewolf or feared her, they should have stepped in. The heroes wouldn’t have stood a chance since they were so outnumbered and the tribe would get off scot free since nobody would believe that they were Werewolves. This film will leave you with some questions for sure. Whether they are big enough for it to matter to you is another story. At the end of the day, I guess the film at least did a reasonable job of trying its best to find a different way of telling the classic Werewolf story.

Overall 5/10

The Mummy’s Hand Review

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It’s time to look at an old Mummy film from the old days. This one doesn’t feature the actual Mummy for quite a while, but lets try to look past that part. It’s not all that bad of a film to be honest. It was actually fairly entertaining and didn’t really fall into any of the holes that you would expect it to. It does suffer from parts of the film feeling a little dragged out, but all in all this may be one of the more solid Mummy titles. Who’d have thought that would happen right?

The film starts off with a rather painful beginning admittedly. An old man is getting ready to pass the torch as he is ready to die now. He gives an amulet to another guy and explains all of the various things he has to do to complete the process. You do not need to know about any of this stuff since it doesn’t really make a difference so lets fast forward to our two main characters. Abbott and Costello Steve and Babe are having some trouble. See, they found an ancient artifact worth millions which proves that a temple is nearby. Unfortunately a jealous skeptic smashed their statue so now they have no proof of it. Still, they need the money or they may as well kiss their careers goodbye. Fortunately they find a magician who is also down on his luck (To their credit they think he is rich) and convince him to fund their expedition. Now all they need to do is find some valuable stuff, but this may be tougher than it seems as the Mummy’s agent of evil is ready to stop them in their tracks!

A film is only as good as its main characters of course so naturally you’re gonna be hoping that Steve and Babe have got what it takes to pull off the story here. Fortunately they do. Steve is a pretty serious character and knows when he’s being played. While he probably should have been more careful with his rare artifact in the first scene, at least he gives the corrupt “expert” a glare as he walks away. He has a hard time keeping his team in check, but he keeps his wits about him throughout. Meanwhile Babe tends to get uptight a little more often. He isn’t quite as exaggerated in how scared he is compared to other comedy leads and has a good balance. Even when being held at gun point he manages to warn his attacker that things are going to be messy. These two may not be the brightest bulbs in the bunch, but as a result you can certainly say that they fear nothing.

Meanwhile we have another tough main heroine in this film. When Marta hears that the leads have tricked her father she storms the base with her gun. At first you may think that it isn’t loaded or something like that, but this isn’t the case. She fires off quite a few rounds to show the main characters that she means business and it also a really good shot to boot. That makes her a really dangerous fighter and also a great character. Unfortunately Steve stops her before she can defeat the heroes. Marta is still a reasonable character so once she learns that they aren’t villains she is on board with the plan.

On the opposite side of things we have the actual Mummy. Unfortunately this is the worst incarnation of the character that I have seen. He is treated as a minion here by the actual main villain, the middle aged guy from the intro. The Mummy is continually insulted by this guy and mocked to no end. Surprisingly the usually deadly Mummy just sits back and takes it since he can’t do much about it. If he makes a wrong move then he’ll be destroyed. Still, this is a horror film. I’m sure if he quickly tried to grab his “master” the guy would panic in fear and that would be the end of that. Even if the Mummy does man up a bit by the end, it’s too late to take him seriously.

Usually the best parts of these films are supposed to be when the monster/antagonist shows up and we get some nice fight scenes. We do get a bit of that as the Mummy is too strong for bullets, but the best parts are likely all from the intro scenes like when the two main characters get into a classic bar brawl. Even Marta’s father gets in on the action which is pretty neat. He may be old, but the guy certainly hasn’t forgotten how to swing his little umbrella/cane around. Considering that the villains were being so openly aggressive though they probably should have just shot the main characters and been done with the whole thing. I get the feeling that the locals wouldn’t have made a fuss about that.

As expected of a retro film like this one the writing is pretty good. Even if the villains don’t really contribute much, Steve and Babe make the rest of the cast around them better simply by appearing. The characters are pretty charismatic and the pacing is also pretty tight so there is a lot of nonstop excitement. At its core the movie is just pretty fun. There’s not a whole lot of original concepts here so you may be hard pressed to find good reasons to recommend this film in particular to someone, but a good counter point is that it doesn’t really do anything wrong either. (Aside from its treatment of the actual Mummy of course) It’s a film that you can watch anytime.

Overall, I’m glad that this film managed to hold up pretty well. If you haven’t seen the old Mummy films before then this is a good place to start. Mainly because then it’ll be even easier to ignore the Mummy. Either way, we’ll see if the other Mummy films can beat this one. Historically they don’t tend to be very great, but the actual creature does have a lot of potential. So long as they give him a little more credibility in the next film I think he’ll do just fine and that should help the movie.

Overall 6/10

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem Review

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It’s time to look at the next Batman Unlimited film! The first one was pretty solid so I would expect nothing less from the sequel. It’s nice to have a Batman film that feels more like the classic days. It’s a bit of a cross between something like Brave and the Bold and The Batman in terms of atmosphere and character designs. It all works pretty well and the film delivers on what it promises, a lot of action with a good story behind it.

The film kicks things off with a new character who has joined the fray. Gogo is a genius who likes building VR games. Unfortunately he is confronted by his co-worker who tries to destroy him. Gogo quickly figures out that she is actually a robot who is pretending to be his friend, but this knowledge is not enough to turn the tables. Even Batman is unable to save him from this menace. It turns out that the robot is working for Joker along with other villains like the Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, and Silver Banshee. For once Batman realizes that he can’t defeat all of these foes on his own so he decides to call in Green Arrow, Red Robin, and Nightwing. Together these heroes will have to save the world!

In a subplot, Cyborg is still adjusting to his new boosters. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much time to do so because a virus has infected the city and as Cyborg doesn’t have too many security firewalls he is quickly taken over. I’ve already talked at length about how Cyborg is a Teen Titan and not a Justice League member so I won’t go into that here, but this movie doesn’t help his case. I figured that the whole point of being half human and half machine was that the human side could help him fight against viruses and such. That never seems to be the case so he might as well be all robot then right? Technically Cyborg is very strong, but none of that matters if villains can just hack into him every day.

This film is naturally pretty light hearted as you may expect although it does get some serious scenes. The intro where the robot tries to murder Gogo is actually played pretty seriously. Likewise, the film isn’t afraid to have some real fights thrown in and the animation is pretty solid. It doesn’t really have any choreography and the fights do tend to get paused for quick one liners and such, but the film looks good when it actually tries. It’s a nice animation style and works well enough for the film. Unfortunately the soundtrack is basically nonexistent so don’t expect to remember any of the tunes by the end. This just isn’t quite that kind of film. The humor isn’t bad for the most part. It can feel a little forced, but it could be a lot worse. I’d give the writing a pass.

Then we have a nice Matrix homage near the end as Batman and Joker fight in the Cyber World where they each have to corrupt the other. It’s a battle of wills so naturally you’re never too worried for Batman. He’s not going to lose when it boils down to a fight of resolve. The pacing is pretty good for the film as well which makes sense since it’s so short. At most you may find it a bit redundant how the heroes keep beating the villains, only to have them escape for another round. I feel like this happened at least 3 times. The villains just wouldn’t quit which is admirable but then there’s no reason to think that the rematch would go any differently. Joker’s robot at the end was pretty cool though. If not for a serious amount of plot hax he definitely would have won in the end. All he had to do was actually try moving so Cyborg couldn’t hit him and then it would have been all over. Maybe deep down Joker actually wanted to lose. That would be quite the twist eh?

The movie also decided to go with a pretty interesting set of characters here. Batman is an obvious pick of course and likewise for putting in Tim Drake as Red Robin. While the latter is treated as comic relief a little too much, he still gets the job done. For Batman, while I mentioned that the animation is solid I have to admit that Bruce Wayne looks very off. It’s something about his human design that makes him look like a character out of Space Dandy or that crazy future 90’s aesthetic. Not a bad thing, it’s just different. Nightwing is another good teammate to have around and while there’s not much in particular to say about him, I do like how the film turned his trope of self doubt on its head. When Scarecrow tries playing the mindgames Nightwing doesn’t fall for it. As he said, he got over that a long time ago.

Then we have Green Arrow who does his best but as always he seems to be a step behind the others. After all, he’s just as rich as Batman, but doesn’t have the hand to hand skills or large array of gadgets that the Dark Knight possesses. As for Cyborg, he was getting mind controlled the whole time so while he is a nice guy there isn’t much to say about him either. As for the villains, Silver Banshee was fun. Her ability is always pretty lethal against most opponents since they will actually get older which can’t really be undone. Solomon Grundy is still the power hitter, but he’s never the most enjoyable villain since he isn’t too smart. The film did a reasonable job of not making him too annoying though and dressing up as the pizza man was smart. Scarecrow was pretty good here. He was a legitimate threat and kept the heroes on their toes throughout. This was also one of Joker’s better outings easy. He balanced out the humor and serious traits of his character well and as always his plan took Batman to the edge.

Overall, Batman Unlimited continues to be a solid series. I look forward to seeing how the third film fares. If you like action films or just want to see some light hearted fun then I would recommend this film. What you see is what you get so there are no real surprises here, but the plot is executed well. You’ll be kept entertained all the way through and since this is one of your only chances to see Red Robin in action, how could you miss it? With a solid blend of writing and animation, this is definitely a complete film.

Overall 7/10