Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man Far From Home Review


Spider-Man has finally made it to his third iteration of Spider-Man 2. He’s definitely had a lot of films across different timelines and they’ve all been pretty solid. Even the worst Spider-Man entry is still better than average. So where does this one rank? Right away I would say that it is in the top half. I prefer it to Homecoming, Spider-Man 2, and The Amazing Spider-Man. It doesn’t beat The Amazing Spider-Man or Spider-Man 3 so that leaves it with the always tough battle against the original Spider-Man. Still, I think it beats that one as well so I would put this as the third best Spider-Man installment. It’s got a lot of good replay value and its solid mix of action and light hearted moments make it a quality watch.

After the fallout of Endgame Peter Parker is ready to finally get on with his life. His class is going on a vacation tour to Italy, France, etc. His big plan is to finally confess to Mary Jane during this trip. Unfortunately a lot of social complications like Brad show up and then Nick Fury shows up to sabotage Peter’s trip. It turns out that there is a multiverse and one of the greatest heroes from another world is around to help fight off some elemental creatures who are planning to attack. His name is Mysterio, but even with this guy Fury wants Spider-Man on board. Can Peter manage to lead a normal life and be a superhero or is it time for him to choose once and for all which job to keep?

I think one of the most impressive parts of the film is definitely the visuals. We get a lot of great action scenes both with the monsters and the other action scenes. There is one sequence in the second half which is particularly solid. Some of the visuals are like something out of Dr. Strange. You’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film, but it is most excellent. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is also quite solid. There are nods to previous films as well as brand new themes. It makes for a pretty solid soundtrack that is also in the top 3 for the Spider-Man films.

Romance always plays a big role in the Spider-Man films so we can’t overlook that. There are 3 romances here so lets go in order. Ned has his own subplot romance which I dare say is only included for humor. This romance wasn’t very good and even if that was the point it definitely could have been left out of the film. Then you have Happy and Aunt May……definitely a bad romance. I can’t say that I’ve ever liked Happy so I may not be totally impartial, but there’s also no point to this romance. It’s very unlikely to go anywhere and the scenes are pretty forced. The resolution also makes Aunt May look a little iffy here. Her reasoning definitely wasn’t what I expected.

Those are basically the backup romances though, the main one is naturally between Peter and Mary Jane with the slight addition of Brad. Brad is around to make things tough for Peter, but I don’t think anyone seriously thought that he ever had a chance. This version of Mary Jane is definitely quite different from her other portrayal in the original trilogy which does make the romance pretty different. I’d say that on the whole it’s handled well. At most I think Mary Jane’s shell broke a little too quickly by the end of the film though. Part of the fun in her character is how she likes to make morbid quips and is always pretty blunt/stoic. By the end of the film she seems a lot more emotional and outspoken which is fine…to an extent. I hope she still keeps her main character personality but otherwise it’s a reasonable romance. I think it’s definitely a lot more developed than most of the other romances we’ve seen.

There isn’t a massive cast here so lets quickly run through the characters. I just talked about some of them so no need to redo those. Basically Mary Jane is solid and Aunt May is fun enough. Happy and Brad definitely get a thumbs down. Flash is definitely a more enjoyable bully than most, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say that he is all that good either. He doesn’t really do anything although there is some setup for a third film likely to explain why he acts the way he does. Ned’s still not really clicking for me and his romance plot did not do him any favors. He’s definitely a nice friend and always has Peter’s back even if the “help” doesn’t always put Peter in a better place.

I definitely did like the main teacher though. He always means well and definitely rolled with the punches. He’s a glass half full kind of guy and nothing seems to get him down. He also brushes past Brad’s allegations pretty easily (with help from MJ) and in general steals every scene that he is in. The other teacher doesn’t get much to do, but he was pretty fun. He reminds me of the ice character from Incredibles with how he kept darting from room to room. He also kept reminding the kids that he was the cool teacher. Meanwhile Nick Fury and Maria Hill get quite a bit of screen time here. They look pretty consistent with what you’d expect. Fury naturally uses a hard approach with Peter to get the kid to try and be a hero but it’s definitely pretty unfair the whole time. Spider-Man’s doing his best but nothing ever seems to satisfy these guys.

As for Spider-Man himself he’s good for sure. He may not be the most eager to get back in the field, but he’s got so many reasons why now is the worst time. Why did every other hero have to suddenly vanish when these threats are arising? He does have one pretty bad scene involving his glasses though. The whole thing was a huge stretch, especially considering that it was part of the plan. The stars had to align just right for this to work and I really feel that it shouldn’t have. It’s the one big moment where peter was really lapsing in judgment. He’ll definitely have to bring his best for the next film though since it’s probably going to be his most difficult experience yet. Also, it’s good to have spider-sense back on board but that subplot was a little murky. I don’t see how or why the ability would have been suppressed at all. It does explain why he isn’t doing so well for the majority of the film, but it does seem a bit like an excuse.

Meanwhile, Mysterio is definitely a very good character. I like his confidence and his showmanship will remind you of Tony or Strange to an extent. He’s a well developed character and really makes his presence felt. I think he made all of the scenes with him even better than they would have been. His final scene in particular is excellent and the opening scene wastes no time either. There are also some characters from the old Marvel films who surprisingly show up. It was a pretty nice guest star cameo.

I think I mainly touched on everything by this point. The film’s able to accomplish a lot during its run time and part of what helps the replay value is the fact that the humor is handled through a lot of quick jokes. There aren’t too many gags that drag on (Happy and May) for too long which is good and a lot of the scenes actually are funny. You get those classic Spider-Man vibes and his human interactions have always been some of the best in Marvel. It’s why the original comics did so well in the first place. The cast is solid and I could easily re-watch this film. It may not be quite as large scale as most of the other Marvel films, but a grounded film once in a while is never a bad idea.

Overall, Far From Home is definitely a very good sequel. I’ve avoided talking about scenes in particular to avoid spoilers since this is still such a new release. It basically brought back all the good parts from Homecoming and continued to build on them. The villain here is pretty memorable and the film did a solid job overall. Even if some of the romance wasn’t perfect, more parts of the film’s humor and writing hit their marks than missed. I definitely recommend checking this film while it’s still in theaters so you don’t get spoiled on the interwebs. The movie naturally has 2 after credit scenes so I’d recommend checking them out. Both of them are actually pretty important even if the second one may be a sliiiiiight stretch. I’m just not 100% sure that it really works, but at the same time you can very reasonably explain it so it’s more of a nitpick than anything. I’m definitely ready to see what they do for Spider-Man 3.

Overall 8/10

Editorial

All MCU Intro Scenes From Worst To Best


It’s been a long time since this post has been in the works. I first got the idea for it 11 months ago but then just kept putting it off as I was busy with other stuff. Well, Endgame is only about a week away so it’s time to finally go through with this ranking list. I’ll be ranking all of the intro scenes for the numerous MCU films which lead up to Endgame. Choosing what exactly is the intro scene gets tricky as some have multiple scenes before the opening credits, others have none. Other scenes are extremely short while others are pretty long. In the end the criteria I used here was a “scene” is described as whatever happens when the film first opens without a noticeable shift in location. If it’s a continuous scene that goes across locations that’s different like the Avengers car chase scene with Loki. It’s a continuous shot. In contrast, Guardians 2 has a scene shift before the opening credits, but there is a time skip plus there’s no way to connect the two scenes. I can see some of the scenes selected being a bit debatable, but after watching all the film intros again this seemed like the best way to go about it.

I guess one thing you may wonder is what should an opening scene be like? As you read through the rankings you’ll get a pretty clear visual on what I like to see. Basically, an intro should immediately get you hyped for what you’re about to watch. It should be something that’s either fun or exciting. You can also have a bit of a dark opening setting up the villains. If handled right there are many ways you can go about it. What you don’t want to do is start the film off with a boring scene, an emotional one (No time to care about the characters yet) or any kind of animal violence. There are many more things to consider of course, but that’s a basic guide. Now it’s time for the rankings!

Guardians of the Galaxy: This is definitely the worst of the MCU intros. The scene basically covers the death of Starlord’s Mom and then ends with him abruptly getting kidnapped by aliens. There’s a lot wrong with using this scene to start off the film. It doesn’t get you engaged in the story. The Mom has only been introduced for seconds so she has had no development and while tragic, it doesn’t set the proper tone for the film. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about this scene and is one that you’ll never feel a need to re-watch. It does succinctly cover his origin story, but there should have been a scene before this one. Maybe flip scene 2 (Star Lord in a cave) with 1 and you’ve got a better transition.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Wow, two Guardians in a row? It’s pretty close between this one and the first to be honest. This one goes for a romance intro as we see when Starlord’s parents first meet up and Starlord starts to be created. The film does set up his whole growing into the earth gimmick early on, but there’s really nothing to this scene. It ages even worse once you know the twist about the Dad. This is another intro scene that really doesn’t hype you up at all. Of course, we do get one more scene in the film before the credits hit so the director probably realized that as well, but I can only judge the first scene. It’s just very weak and was a red flag for the film we were about to experience.

Iron-Man 3: This scene takes place back when Tony was antagonistic so it can be more tragic than entertaining. One guy named Killmonger really needs to talk to someone about his research so Stark tricks him into going to the roof. The poor guy waits alone there while Tony gets his game on. Tony then runs off and in the blink of an eye he managed to make several enemies and threaten the world. This one’s a bit over the top with how obnoxious all of the characters are. While parts of the intro are entertaining, it’s really more mean spirited than anything else. None of the characters are all that pleasant. Even Happy is in a rebellious mood here.

Captain America: Civil War: This one’s surprisingly low on the list right? It’s not a terrible intro, we’re re-introduced to how Bucky was brainwashed. We see the group use their book of codes on him and he is then sent on the mission where he murders Iron-Man’s parents. It’s pretty quick and to the point, but of course it’s a very one sided affair from the start. I do think a genius like Howard should have had some kind of security in his vehicle considering what he was carrying. It’s definitely one of the darker starts to an MCU film. I’m still no Winter Soldier fan though. We’re slowly getting to the better MCU openings as this is a step up from Guardians.

Iron Man: Now we’re at the original MCU film that started them all. The film starts off with Tony at the dessert being escorted somewhere by the military. Unfortunately terrorists show up and blow the cars away. He is then captured and that’s how the scene ends. There’s definitely a very sudden contrast between his happy banter with the driver and crew before they’re attacked. It shows how quickly a good time can suddenly turn into something pretty nefarious. It’s an effective scene that does quickly let you know that things are gonna be rough for Tony. It’s a very realistic scene with effects that hold up quite well. If anything’s weak about the scene it’s just that none of the characters are particularly likable at this point.

Captain America: This film starts off near the arctic as some scavengers are looking for something. It’s dark out, but they are determined and see Captain America’s shield. At long last they have uncovered the super soldier. The scene ends at that point as we cut to the past. It’s a pretty direct intro that builds up some hype for uncovering Cap. Yeah, it can be a bit annoying to know that we won’t be back to the present until the end but I suppose that’s unavoidable. It’s a pretty low-key intro, but one that holds up.

Thor: In this film we start off with Jane and her father following a tornado. It’s really going to help Jane’s data project, but unfortunately they run over someone. Turns out that it’s Thor and now they’re worried that he might be hurt. That’s where the scene ends before we get a flashback to explain what happened. It’s a decent scene as the tornado does add some tension. Tornado watching definitely isn’t for me though. Definitely seems way too dangerous and risky if you ask me. For a film opening it does deliver on some hype but I do think it would have been more fun to have started with the big fight against the ice beings.

Black Panther: This film starts off with an introduction as to what Wakanda is. It then transitions into a scene of T’Challa’s father destroying a traitor and flying back to Wakanda. It helps us get the villain’s motivation as well as a very quick introduction on Wakanda. This is one of those films where it’s a little debatable on if it’s the same scene, but as the narration really isn’t a scene and there isn’t really a big transition I thought it was fair to meld the two. It was a nice twist to have an informant on the inside and the scene does show why you don’t want to mess with Wakanda. It also did produce one of the MCU’s better villains so that’s always good.

The Incredible Hulk: While I’m still not this film’s biggest fan, I will admit that the intro was pretty ambitious and certainly was handled very well. It basically recaps the Hulk origin without having us go through the whole thing yet again. The music is intense and it sets the tone pretty well. We do get a surprisingly violent visual when Hulk breaks into the base the first time, but for the most part the whole thing moves very quickly. It’s got a very Jason Bourne type feel to it that works very well. I’d like this futuristic angle to show up in more MCU titles.

Antman and The Wasp: This one starts off with an early mission of Wasp and Ant-Man trying to stop a rocket. Unfortunately Pym’s belt stops working so she has to be the one to make the sacrifice play. She was long thought to be dead, but now Pym thinks there is a way to save her. It’s a pretty solid intro and continues off of the premise from the first one. Now that Pym knows it’s possible to return from that micro dimension, he’s ready with a plan. It was also cool seeing Janet in costume as a hero. The suits really looked good and you get a nostalgic feeling from seeing the old team in action.

Iron Man 2: This one’s pretty solid in a similar way to the Hulk intro. It starts out by showing us Ironman’s big speech at the end of the first film. This time we’re seeing it from the eyes of Whiplash and his father though. The father ends up dying and Whiplash blames Tony so he starts planning on how he can get revenge. The intro is basically a long montage scene of him preparing his armaments and getting ready to attack. I always like these kind of villain montage credits like how Black Manta had a good one in Aquaman. It shows a level of determination on the villain’s part and one that will certainly serve him well going forward.

Captain America: Winter Soldier: This intro is pretty low key, but fun nonetheless. It starts out with Captain America running around on the track and mocking Falcon. They have some banter in good fun, but at the end of the day Cap is a super soldier so a race between these two is hardly fair. Falcon gives him some media suggestions and then Cap rides off with Black Widow to get ready for a mission. It’s not an opening that is trying to be “hype” so the alternative is to be fun. I think it does a good job. The “On your left” moment definitely became a quality meme and he’s just a fun character. This also introduces the friendly rivalry between Falcon and Cap pretty well.

Captain Marvel: This is another interesting case as there is technically a scene shift here. It starts out with Marvel waking up on a planet with an injury and then she’s back in the present getting ready to spar. I consider the scene to be over after the sparring session as I don’t think the scene is even a minute long otherwise. The sparring session is pretty fun and the intro does throw in some suspense. It’s a good way to start off the movie and the music for the fight was solid as well. It’s nothing spectacular, but I think it’s a fundamentally good opening. There’s really nothing wrong with it and I always do love a good fight.

Spider-Man Homecoming: This one starts off with Vulture getting his guys ready for one of the biggest cleanup jobs they’ve ever had. It takes place almost right after the Avengers and naturally there’s a lot of debris everywhere. Unfortunately in the interest of public safety Ironman has hired his own crew to clean up so Vulture and his guys are kicked out. Most of them were already desperate for cash so now they’re either doomed or will have to go for a life of crime. It sets Vulture up as a pretty sympathetic villain and I do think he did a good job in punching one of the contractors out. He’s a villain that you like almost right away and when an intro does that within 1-2 minutes you know you’ve got a solid one.

Antman: This scene ranks pretty high as it gives us what may be the best portrayal of Hank Pym since United They Stand. The fact that he immediately slammed the guy who brought up Janet was pretty solid. The scene itself doesn’t sound too dynamic on paper as it’s basically just Pym finding out that Stark stole his formula and telling them not to try anything like that again. The slam is just what pushed the scene over since it showed Pym’s resolve. There are times where it’s not good to just sit there and listen to the villains. Pym definitely wasn’t putting up with any of that.

Thor: The Dark World: This one opens up with a pretty big war scene with Asgard and the armies of Malekith. War scenes tend to bore me, but this one spiced things up by adding a lot of fun energy effects for both sides. I think that was the difference here and made it stand out more than normal. It follows the intro scene guidelines to the letter. Starting off with an action scene like this is the perfect way to strap everyone into their seats and prepare you for a fun time.

The Avengers: Now we’ve got the classic Avengers film. This one starts with the tesseract finally appearing to be active and Loki uses it as a portal to enter Earth. From there he quickly takes down SHIELD and escapes as Fury prepares to assemble the team. It’s a great way to start up the film. We are introduced to the big villain right away and it also makes the whole thing feel even more like a crossover from the get go. It’s just hard to top this one and that’s why only a few have. It’s not a big over the top fight or anything like that, but the scene has a lot of energy. It’s filmed well and the music also helps.

Avengers Age of Ultron: This one starts off with the Avengers raiding an enemy base and obtaining the cosmic scepter. They also have a quick skirmish with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver which was fun. It’s currently the only time we’ve ever gotten to see the full team on a normal mission in the film continuity. It’ll likely be the last time as well so that’s why it was a lot of fun. It’s not a fight that they ever had a chance of losing, but it was certainly entertaining nonetheless. I’d certainly be down with a prequel that takes place around this time so we could have more moments with the whole team. The 3 Avenger titles so far have all certainly had great openings.

Dr. Strange: This one starts off with a villain group infiltrating a monastery and murdering some monks before getting some kind of book. That’s when the Ancient One shows up and we get our first big fight scene. It’s a pretty fun fight since she’s using magic to manipulate the environment and as a result everyone has to fight while jumping around and everything. This is always a great way to start off a film and it also introduced the Ancient One well. It makes sense to show us an action scene with her since the rest of the film is mainly with Dr. Strange.

Avengers: Infinity War: This is definitely an opening that I’ve seen numerous times and certainly ages well. Not only does it kick off immediately where Ragnarok ended (Which was a great idea) but it really shows how fierce Thanos is. The opening is basically the entire scene of Thanos showing up and then ending when he blows up the ship. It gave us a lot of memorable lines and seeing Hulk take the full Mcnuggets combo from Thanos was great. There are some logic questions you’ll have from that scene since it doesn’t make quite as much sense when you think about it, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a very powerful scene. This is a villain introduction scene handled to perfection. Really, Infinity War as a whole is basically perfect and really hard to top. There’s almost no way Endgame even stands a chance, but if it can match this then the MCU saga really will be complete.

Thor: Ragnarok: It was a close call between this one and Infinity War, but I have to give Ragnarok the slight edge. It begins with Thor seemingly being captured by Surtur and then he fights his way out as he stops Ragnarok before the event can even begin. The fight is great here and it’s probably the best Thor had looked up to this point. He got to show strategy, speed, and strength. It’s his ideal moment and Surtur’s homeland made for a pretty cool backdrop. Then you’ve got the music that plays during the scene and you’ve really got a masterpiece. It’ll be tough for any opening to beat this one’s.

So, that’s my MCU intro scenes list! Marvel’s definitely got a lot of films here and with the MCU going as strong as ever I’m sure there’ll be enough new scenes for another list in the distant future. While I don’t have any other lists in my immediate plans, future editorials will talk about what it means to be a good hero and likewise, what makes a good villain. Editorials are fun to write although they do take more time than the normal posts for sure. If you’ve seen all the MCU films, would you agree with the list or is yours completely different? Sound off in the comments and remember that intros are one of the most important parts of the film. Arguably the only parts that are anywhere near as important are the ending and the general climax of a title.

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review


It’s time to look at the recent Spider-Man film that came out. This one was getting quite a lot of buzz when it came out. It certainly kept us waiting as I feel like the movie was announced ages ago. It’s definitely a very enjoyable movie. I think a lot of your enjoyment for it will depend on what you think of the animation style but regardless the writing is solid and I always do like crossovers.

The film starts out with Miles starting up in a new school. It’s a rather prestigious one so he is a bit nervous at having to say goodbye to all of his friends to make new ones. Still, he’ll make the best of it. Unfortunately school goes off to an awkward start as the only student who was friendly to him gets her hair ripped off thanks to Miles being unable to control the new powers he got from a spider. Then he is forced to watch as Spider-Man falls to the Kingpin. He now has a mission, Miles must destroy the Collider before it is activated again. If not, the whole multiverse will fall apart. Fortunately since it was active for a few minutes he will now have some backup in the form of Spider-Ham, Anime Spider Girl, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and Fat Spider-Man. Together they will stop the villains or die trying!

I think the animation style is important to talk about right off the bat. As you may or may not know, it isn’t my cup of tea. It looks like an awkward blend of CGI and Stop Motion, neither of which I am a big supporter of. The former can look good at times though while the latter has never worked. For the former, it’s also tough because my favorite style is what’s considered to not look very good. The old Spider-Man 1 game, the Machinima Transformers show, I tend to like CGI like that where the character models are very colorful and retro even if they may not be the most detailed or fluid. The latter just tend to try a little too hard. I think the best CGI are the kind that try to look like they’re anime/traditionally animated while the ones I don’t care for as much try to look very realistic/live action.

This one is more towards the former which is a good thing. I also think the animators did work really hard to do the best they could with this program. The credits along is a good example of something that must have taken a very long time to do. Throughout the movie we get a lot of sudden effects that will pop up as scenes have dozens of jump cuts. These aren’t used to highlight the action though, but typically as visual gags. It’s a style that works really well and I always enjoy it when watching something abridged or a good Youtube critique. Constant visuals like that help get you in the moment. It is something to watch out for if your eyes are sensitive though. The colors happen quite suddenly and keep on coming. It’s almost like a jump scare for your eyes as opposed to your ears. This is especially noticeable when watching in the theater.

Again, this works pretty well for me. I love the constant stimulus but it isn’t for everyone. I think ultimately that helped me get into the film more. The effects were just masterfully done and helped the animation hold up. I also did like the bright colors for the fight scenes. The Prowler chasing Miles around the city for example was quite nice. Even just scenes of the characters walking around like Miles in the opening are pretty crisp. Sometimes it could get a little sloppy like when Peter was eating a burger near the beginning though. Most of the ingredient character models seemed to be pretty iffy at best and I think that scene may have been done in a hurry.

The fight scenes also look pretty good. My favorite moment in the film was definitely when all of the villains showed up in Aunt May’s house. It’s rare that we get a proper group vs group fight where all of the combatants are locked in such a small place like this. Naturally things didn’t go very well for the house, but it was definitely an excellent fight. A shame that it had to end off screen though. That’s always a little disappointing. Nonetheless, the action scenes were always on point whenever they would happen. I would have liked to have seen more of them if anything, but that’s not to say that there isn’t much action here. There’s a good amount so I believe you will be satisfied.

Where the film falters a bit is in its choice of Spider-Man. We get to see the real Peter Parker at the beginning of the film and this is a problem. It’s a problem because he completely outshines everyone else in the film to the point where it isn’t really all that close. He’s the perfect hero and a nice guy to boot. He always wins and has a perfect character arc since he is the Spider-Man from the original trilogy and he actually had a happy ending. Once he’s gone we are met with the main Spider-Man of the other universe. This one is made to be worse in every way. He’s mean, overweight, and just isn’t very professional at all. It’s nice that he’s still pretty confident and all. When he isn’t being corrupted by his cells he actually is decent at times. Still, he can be very annoying until the climax and you just wish the real Spider-Man was here.

The other Spider-Men were all pretty solid though. Noir doesn’t get a huge role but he shines in every scene that he gets. His old school way of talking is always fun and the guy does back up his tough talk. I don’t think he loses a single fight in the film and he probably looks the most impressive. Somehow I feel like he would be the one to not return in a sequel but it would certainly be fun if he did. Then we have Spider-Ham. He’s basically the comedy member of the group, but the film never overextends with him. He gets a few scenes with the gags you would expect, but they’re written well enough. Then we have Penny Parker who is the anime character. I do think the film dropped the ball with her a bit since she actually looked pretty weak next to everyone else. I guess she doesn’t have to be the strongest or anything, but I feel like she was the only one to not really have a pivotal moment. She is low key the smartest of the bunch though as she was able to fix the Goober for the others with ease. Her robot wasn’t quite as likable, but it could fight pretty well.

Then we’ve got Spider-Gwen. She’s a fun character as you would expect. You might have some questions about how she so seamlessly fit into the real world though. Between the constant glitching out and the fact that she’s only been around for a little while it just doesn’t seem all too realistic how she has avoided detection. Well, that’s a pretty minor thing I suppose. Gwen has a good amount of confidence and was a solid addition to the team. I’d definitely be up for seeing her again in a sequel.

Aside from the Spider related characters we’ve also got Miles’ supporting cast. His parents are definitely good characters. They’re written pretty well as affectionate parents who are looking out for him from start to finish. They don’t have any crazy misunderstandings with Miles and while the Dad dislikes Spider-Man he isn’t crazy about it either. Miles’ uncle is also a good character who may not be the most positive influence out there, but makes the right calls when necessary. Miles also has a roommate but the guy doesn’t do anything so we can skip him.

I suppose now’s a good time to talk about the lead. Miles is a pretty decent main character. He is pretty witty from the start and does try his best to be a hero. I’m a little dubious about him wanting to put stickers everywhere even though he knows it’s against the law and has been told several times. It’s a character trait that seems a little bit forced, but I guess it was a good transition to show that his uncle’s influence has gotten to him to an extent. It takes Miles a while to really get into the zone with his powers but by the end he has them down. The film almost starts up a romance for him which is fortunately avoided. I do think Miles didn’t handle that part well at all which hurts him a bit, but he could have been worse about it.

As for the villains, we have quite a few here. Not all of them get a whole lot to do here. One of the main ones is the Prowler who is definitely cool. He has a great costume and fights sort of like the Beetle. Then you have Doctor Octopus although this is a slightly different version than the one you may be familiar with. She’s a good fighter, but not a very interesting villain. The heroes probably should have seen her coming a little more than they did.

Which, I could talk about how the Spider-Sense should have looked a lot better than it did, but I suppose it wasn’t super egregious here. You could also argue that having so many Spider folk in one place may have disoriented it a bit. Kingpin is the head honcho here and the animators definitely had a lot of fun with his design. The guy’s huge and looks like he is some kind of living wall. He’s definitely a fun antagonist and you don’t get to see him go up against Spider-Man all that much anymore. It was a nice throwback to the good ole days.

There also is an after credits scene which is definitely a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the next film but it’s just a great moment. i always believe that a film should always have an after credits scene but it needs to be a good scene. You can’t just put something random in or a scene that’s dull. It should have some kick to it and that’s exactly what this film did. It ends the movie on a high note.

Finally, we have the soundtrack. This one I was less crazy about. The songs are all very loud and I wouldn’t say that any of them are all that good. The instrumental battle themes and such are good, but the lyrical songs weren’t really my cup of tea. Nothing that would hurt the experience for you though. You’ll be too distracted by the fact that Spider-Man has a spider cave to give it much thought during the movie.

Overall, This was a pretty good Spider-Man movie. I do think it’s the kind of film that really benefits from a theatrical viewing though as it helps ramp up the effects and everything. There’s a good mix of humor and action in here. The audience was roaring with laughter quite a lot. It was deserved as the humor was pretty good. The gags aren’t typically annoying or anything. As for how funny you find it, that’ll naturally depend on what you find entertaining. The gags are very quick regardless which is always good. Dragging out a joke is something you do not want to do. The pacing is pretty good and the fights are quite excellent so all in all it lived up to expectations. You’ll get what you expect here and that’s a good thing. Hopefully the sequel is just as fun.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Infinity War Review


It’s time to take a look at the new Avengers film! This is certainly the big one. It’s the event film that we had been waiting for ever since 2012 when Thanos was teased at the end of the Avengers film. I remember going into the theaters for Avengers 2 and wondering where he was. He did get pushed back quite a bit, but the positive side of this was that it gave time for Marvel to grab Dr Strange and Spider-Man. Otherwise I suppose they would have had to miss out on this adventure. Black Panther getting a film was also fortunate since Wakanda gave the heroes a good place to fight the villains without a lot/ The film definitely lives up to the hype and is one of the best MCU films yet. I do have to say that this review will have a considerable amount of spoilers so do not read further if you haven’t seen it yet.

The film starts off rather quickly as it picks up right where Thor: Ragnarok left off. Unfortunately the fight is off screen but Thanos managed to take down Thor and the Asgardians. Hulk puts up a brief struggle, but is quickly beaten and traumatized for the rest of the film. Thanos aims to get all 6 of the Infinity Stones so he quickly sets out on this quest. He sends the Black Order over to Earth to claim 2 of them while he heads for the other 2 himself. He already has 2 so if you add them all up then he will have the six. Iron-Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man decide to bring the fight to Thanos while Captain America and the other Avengers engage his forces on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor is looking for a new weapon which will allow him to destroy Thanos and avenge everyone.

In a film this big it is always hard to know where to start off. Do I talk about the many characters or the technical aspects or about the plot itself? They’ll all get mentioned at some point or other so the order doesn’t matter much, but keeping the list orderly is good. As such we’ll go for technicals first. The graphics look really good as you would expect. Iron-Man’s armor is able to do a whole lot of things now thanks to his Iron Man 3 upgrade and he puts them all to use. The nanomachine animations are solid and the energy attacks really stand out. Dr. Strange’s magic is as vibrant as ever and each of the Infinity Stones have their own energy wavelength which are all unique. The character uniforms are all on point from their various films as well. The only character design that wasn’t all that good was Cap’s. Of course Rogers is undercover now so he hasn’t had much time to get a proper haircut. Perhaps in the next film. Thor’s new costume is certainly really good. Black Widow’s hair change is rather random, but not bad. It doesn’t make much of a difference.

As far as the soundtrack goes, we don’t get too many new themes. There is the classic Avengers theme that all of the films love which has still aged well and works for all of the scenes. I can’t say that I remember any of the other tunes all that much, but they work well enough in the moment which is the important part. With all of the explosions and attacks going on it makes sense that there wouldn’t be too many tunes. I’m still waiting for a solid rock/electronic theme though. Maybe even a lyrical song like in Thor Ragnarok.

One thing you’ll notice in this film is that the heroes are all a tad edgier than usual. Probably a rather normal response considering that the stakes are so high, but they definitely don’t have a problem with destroying the enemies this time around. The heroes do stay true to their word and don’t take any prisoners this time. They all also go for the tough call of choosing to destroy one ally to save many. Star Lord makes this choice as well as Scarlet Witch. Naturally I am always against this call as it’s worth it to let the world burn to save one person, but it’s not a move that I would hold against the character either. At least if the other person is begging them to do it. If it’s against the victim’s will, then that’s a whole different ballgame. I do like how Captain America is the only hero to speak out against this though as he should definitely stand true to his principle of not sacrificing anyone.

While the film never gets overly violent, it is more intense than most of the other MCU films. 2 characters get tortured and in general the heroes are getting beaten up quite a bit. The Nebula scene was probably pushing it the most, but it’s certainly not as bad visually as if she was purely organic. The Dr. Strange scene is mostly off screen. I could have done without them, but again, the film was careful not to cross the line here. It also made sure not to bring back the giant animals from the Black Panther film which I was thrilled about. No animal violence here folks and that was really the only concern I had going into the film.

Infinity War feels like one of those event films that you only get once in a blue moon. The kind of film that doesn’t slow things down for the general audience and keeps the pacing up from start to finish. Final Wars did this for Godzilla, Resurrection F for DBZ, Hell Verse for Bleach, Batman V Superman for DC and finally this film for Marvel. The whole point of a shared universe is not having to reexplain character origins and trivia for the general audience so we can skip right to the fights. That’s exactly what this film did and it’s perfect. It embraces its comic book nature to a t. The best part about having multiple plots is that if one has to slow down for any reason then we can cut away to another one.

All right, I think it’s time to take a look at the character roster. First off we have Iron Man of course. He looks really good as you would expect. I’m glad that he still uses his suit to its full potential with a lot of mixups during his fight with Thanos. Gone are the days where all he would just keep shooting his repulser blasts and call it a day. Now he throws in hand to hand and his suits ability to morph into any object that he wills it too. He doesn’t make too many objects as of course this takes away from his supply of nanites which are limited, but the ones that he does make are quite good. He makes an energy sword/gun that looks like something out of Halo. I still can’t get over how great his new armor is. No more worrying about losing a mask as it can just form more, tech being broken isn’t an issue as it can build more, etc. Considering that Tony is the original genius of the MCU I am glad that his suit reflects that. I agreed with his decision to take the fight to Thanos. Lets be honest, the Earth doesn’t need more cities blown up in a quest to stop him and the group was a fairly powerful one as well. At the very least it’s a tactically sound plan. Ironman is certainly still the true leader of the Avengers in the movies.

Then we’ve got Thor. Naturally he gets quite a lot of screen time since he’s in the center of this whole encounter. I don’t like that his fight with Thanos was off screen though. I guess it was probably very hard to write in a scenario where he loses without doing any noticeable damage to Thanos and it would also be hard to explain why the Hulk didn’t jump in sooner. Valid reasons to have it be off screen of course, but that would have been a lot of fun. All I can say is that if Thor had been at full power then he probably would have won, but since he was weakened I can accept his loss. He spends a lot of the film in a depowered state, but still shows off his other abilities such as his durability in surviving the heat of an entire star for a few minutes. Even without calculating the exact magnitude of the feat you know that this is quite intense. Most would melt instantly upon getting hit with the heat at that range. Thor certainly gets a good payoff scene to that afterwards when he finally arrives into the battle. Again, I would have liked a longer rematch between him and Thanos, but I suppose that at this point it would have been tough for Thanos to hold his own. Thor definitely tipped the scaled of battle in Wakanda.

Then we have the Hulk. Seeing as how Ragnarok kept up the situation where Hulk and Banner are completely different characters from Age of Ultron as opposed to the more “same person” route that The Incredible Hulk and Avengers used, I’ll list them separately here. Unlike Ragnarok where Bruce actively avoided fighting and just kept trying to hide he was actually useful here. At the very least he certainly did take what happened to the Asgardians quite hard and did his best to contribute in any way possible. He was even able to take on one of the Black Order members on his own which is really impressive. Considering that he doesn’t have any super powers he did good.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Hulk. He looked decent in his initial appearance against Thanos. Sure, he didn’t quite win, but he did get some hits in and at least he tried. His character was wrecked in all future scenes though as he was apparently too scared to come out after that. The Hulk is never portrayed as a coward and I think it was a big mistake of the film to do this to his character. No matter what happens from here on out I just can’t forget this. When everyone needed him in their darkest hour, Hulk refused to step up to the plate. As far as I’m concerned he’s no real Avenger anymore.

On a more positive note, we have Captain America. Compared to Iron Man and Thor his role is quite small, but still good nonetheless. It was fortunate that he rushed over to back up Vision and Black Widow. His hand to hand skills are consistent as always and it’s difficult for any of the villains to lay a hand on him except for when they are considerably stronger. I do miss the iconic shield to go along with the costume and it does limit how effective he is here, but he always tries his best. He also won’t let himself be pushed around by the government anymore and has definitely grown comfortable in his fugitive roll. I expect to see him take on more of a leadership role in the next film, but of course that could lead to some more bickering between him and Iron Man.

Black Widow looks solid as well. She gets two fights against the Black Order and holds her own both times. Her nunchuk weapons are definitely good to have and while she may not have Captain America’s strength, she is on his level when it comes to hand to hand combat. War Machine also gets a nice little appearance as he trolls Bruce and the government. His War Machine armor is still potent although it definitely feels really behind the curve next to the others so I think he is about due for an upgrade. Falcon doesn’t get much to do as just being able to fly isn’t a huge asset to the heroes, but he contributes as best he can.

Since Black Panther’s film was pretty recent you would definitely expect him to have a nice role here. While not large, the film still shows that Wakanda is definitely the global leader in tech. Even the Black Order is unable to completely break through their force fields. It’s a shame that they didn’t have more people to also guard the back of the kingdom, but I guess that would be difficult. Opening it up a bit made sense. Panther’s suit is able to block most kinetic energy, but we finally see its limit here as he still takes a lot of damage against Thanos. I definitely had no complaints with him or his supporting cast. One of them was able to help Black Widow in her fight and his sister was going to be able to crack the code on Vision’s gem, but she simply wasn’t given enough time.

Dr Strange looks really strong which is definitely good. From the brief scene he had in Thor Ragnarok it was clear that his abilities are better than ever. Unfortunately this also leads to some power level issues which I will go into later, but for the most part I thought he was handled well. I like his usual confidence and he definitely doesn’t fear the villains. When your abilities are only limited by your imagination this attitude is certainly justified. He’s certainly one of the most enjoyable characters and in this film at least I would probably say that he is the best one.

Then we have Spiderman. Unfortunately I don’t think the film makers were really big fans of this character. He didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. The fact that he is still rather young was really played up here to the point where none of the other characters seem to respect him as a fighter. Granted, he only really got to interact with Ironman and Dr. Strange and they love belittling everyone else. Whenever we get a decent Spidey scene like him catching one of the villains’ weapon or landing hits on Thanos, we get counter scenes like him begging for his life. Spiderman should have some humor of course, but he gets serious when necessary and should be treated as a legitimate powerhouse. With his Spider Sense he shouldn’t be getting hit so easily as well.

Star Lord certainly looks like you would expect. The team still doesn’t respect him all that much, but at the end of the day he is the leader. He at least tries acting more heroic nowadays since that is what Gamora wants. He does make a rather dicey decision midway through the film which will probably not sit well with a lot of people but I can get behind it. Honestly, the others should have just completed their job sooner considering how much muscle was being used at the time. I do find it ironic how Star Lord is at his best when fighting other heroes. Where were all of his cool thunder gadgets that he used to beat Spiderman and Ironman earlier in the film? He was suddenly portrayed as a really competent fighter there. At the expense of Spiderman though as at least Ironman freed himself pretty quickly.

Gamora gets a big role as well since her backstory has a lot to do with the Titan of Terror. She still does well in a fight, but I do think rushing at Thanos was a little reckless all things considered. At that point they probably still could have avoided combat or at least gone in more prepared. She makes the heroic call in giving up the information, but things definitely don’t tend to go her way. It’s too bad we couldn’t see more of her. Rocket Raccoon is a fun character as always. He doesn’t get to do a lot of blowing up yet, but more guns are always welcome in the big fight against alien invaders.

Drax continues to be the biggest joke of the MCU as he never gets anywhere close to being considered a threat to Thanos. The guy is just deluding himself at this point. He’s not quite as obnoxious as his TV show counterpart, but at the end of the day I’m just not a Drax fan. He’s still better than Groot though. Groot is just annoying the entire film. He’s still going through his teen rebellion phase and the character should just be written out. There’s never been anything entertaining about his “I am Groot” gimmick and the character doesn’t add anything to the film. Mantis doesn’t do much here, but she always chips in when there is a fight. Her mental abilities are certainly handy after all and being able to control Thanos even for a brief period is impressive.

Then we have Vision, the worst character in the film. Everything that went wrong in this movie can be traced back to him. He should have been around in New York to fend off the Black Order but decided to go off the grid for no reason. Okay, he had a reason and it was pretty sad. He just wanted to spend more time with Scarlet Witch. They already get to hang out quite a lot though so he was just being greedy. After that he is defeated three different times by the same Black Order villain. Vision seems to have completely forgotten how to fight and the guy is supremely annoying. I couldn’t wait to see him get blasted to smithereens because just seeing the guy on screen was annoying. He kept begging Wanda to destroy him, but even that is being selfish. He could just crush his CPU himself which would save Wanda some grief and then she would have no objection to destroying the stone as she couldn’t let his death be in vain. Vision is supposed to be one of the power hitters so the heroes were counting on him. Without Vision messing everything up for everybody the heroes would have had a much better chance at securing victory. 2 of the stones would have been on Earth so Thanos would have been forced to arrive with 4 stones. Not to mention that he would be without his Black Order from the start. No way Thanos is able to defeat them without the extra stones.

Then we have Scarlet Witch who is fortunately much better than Vision. While Vision was wasting his time trying to be human and losing all of his fighting experience, Scarlet Witch was learning how to master her abilities. She is now shown to be highly proficient with them to the point where she can casually block Thanos with one arm. Unfortunately once again Vision was holding her back so she couldn’t use both arms to fight him. Scarlet Witch was also able to take down several large weapons in a single shot which was a tremendous feat of force. She is definitely a contender for top 3 strongest Avengers at this point as she could probably take down the Hulk.

Winter Soldier gets his quick guest star role and looks okay. His main problem is that he is using a normal gun while everyone else has some kind of unique weapon to help them. Honestly he should have asked some of the people from Wakanda for an energy gun instead as they looked a lot more impressive. Fighting mano a mano with Cap would have been a better idea as well. I mean….a normal gun…really? Loki’s role is small, but definitely within character. As with everyone else in the scene I have to question why he didn’t act sooner. Since he had the Cosmic Cube he could have also tried using it to destroy Thanos on the spot as well. Yeah, it could backfire but he would probably die otherwise right? Of course he was definitely out of his league in the situation otherwise so there really wasn’t much more that he could do. Heimdall definitely looked good as he at least gave Earth a fighting chance. Otherwise the heroes would have really not been prepared for the coming attacks. Wong is around for the opening fight scene and contributed a bit which was nice. I do think that hiding in the Sanctum is not a wise move though for 2 reasons. 1. If he doesn’t go help reclaim the Time Stone then the sanctum won’t be around long enough to matter anyway. 2. If people do break in since it’s unguarded…I have a feeling that they would be strong enough to stop Wong as well. Food for thought.

Nebula certainly gets one of the most painful roles in this film. Deciding to try and destroy Thanos one on one was also one of the worst plans I’ve ever seen as well. She really didn’t think that one through. Thanos mentions that she was almost successful so I have to assume that he was straight up lying to Gamora’s face. I can’t picture that either. If we trust the illusions then I guess Thanos doesn’t have a whole lot of resistance to stabbing so then a sneak attack is feasible, but I just find it hard to believe that his skin is so weak when the rest of his durability is so good. Perhaps that is the case, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Thanos definitely gets a lot of screen time and seems to be considered as one of the stand out characters. It’s definitely a very different portrayal here as he’s very emotional and even sheds some tears. It feels like a slight retcon from how he acts in Guardians or Avengers, but of course he didn’t get to do much in those movies. He certainly didn’t have much of a chance to explain why he was destroying everybody. His goal of reducing life in half is definitely an interesting one. I was waiting for someone to ask him what will prevent life from getting too large once again, but I guess it would take so many thousands of years for that to happen that it’s rather moot. Anyway, Thanos is a decent villain. I think he was a little too emotional and I wasn’t buying into the act since the rest of the time he was shown to be quite ruthless and to enjoy dishing out pain. Despite the film trying to tell us that he was genuine otherwise, I’m still not sure about that. Either way he makes for a good opponent for the heroes since he is quite strong and has a lot of energy attacks.

The Black Order are definitely a solid group of villains as well. I wouldn’t really know any of their names if not for the comics, but I suppose that isn’t important. They each have unique fighting styles and are legitimate threats. The strongest member is probably the telekinetic who fought Strange as he was holding his own even though Strange had his Time Gem at the time. Too bad he always forgets to use it. The power hitter seemed reasonably tough. He was about Spider-Man level but without the hero’s agility and spider sense. Then we had the female villain with the long spear/staff. She seemed reasonably tough, weaker than the first two members, but her hand to hand combat was solid. Finally we had the wraith like guy who kept slapping Vision silly. He seemed to be about as tough as the third member. All told, a respectable group of villains.

Now I think it needs to be said that with a film this large in scope there are bound to be a bunch of power level inconsistencies and instances of plot hax. The elephant in the room is Spider-Man of course. With his spider sense and speed there is no way that he should be getting hit so many times. He would be dodging all of those strikes. Fact of the matter is that the heroes should have won the first fight in the city rather easily. Spiderman and Iron Man were more than a match for the power fighter. Meanwhile Strange should have easily beaten his foe by manipulating time. Even without time his magical spells should be up to the task as well. He is the Sorcerer Supreme after all.

While we are on the subject, why didn’t Dr Strange use the time stone against Thanos? The time loop it can create is quite potent after all. Even just using it to think of better strategies to fight would have been useful. No point in bringing it just to hide it. Lets face it, everyone knows that the hostage trick will inevitably work on the heroes so keeping it away just doesn’t work. Then for the power levels, I think Thanos’ durability wasn’t too consistent. Blows from the Hulk were shown to barely phase him at all but then later on normal hits from Iron-Man’s group were dealing some noticeable damage. Captain America shouldn’t even be able to block Thanos in this case. Thor should have put up a better fight than Hulk as it was shown that he was more powerful. The two Order members who fought Scarlet Witch were shown to have close to human level durability so a quick blast should have finished them off.

I guess at the end of the day what I’m saying is that it always felt like the heroes were way stronger than the villains despite the narrative trying to show otherwise. Even though the heroes were racking up losses like a for glory Captain Falcon I never thought that they should be. Until Thanos got all of the gems and started cheating with the Reality Stone the heroes had the edge the whole time. I felt like they should have beaten Thanos on his home planet, Scarlet Witch should have won in the night fight, Strange and the others should have won in New York, etc. The heroes all felt nerfed at various points to an extent. Nothing crazy, but they really had this win in the bag.

Once again I have to stress just how good the fights here were. We really got 3 main fight scenes. The New York Battle, The early battle for Vision’s stone, and the fight against Thanos on his home planet. We got other fights meanwhile as well. These 3 fights were all extremely solid. What the night one did especially well was how it started very suddenly. The Black Order member appeared out of nowhere with his first stab and there wasn’t any obvious build up to his appearance. More films and even shows for that matter should do this. It’s amazing when a sneak attack actually feels like one with no giveaways. The other fights naturally looked brilliantly as well.

Again, this is because of how fast paced the film is. It’s exciting from start to finish and feels like a real comic book. The heroes all get to shine and each of the main characters get to have a quick supporting cast moment which helps make this feel like even more of a legitimate crossover film. Some crossovers don’t really put in the same amount of effort, but this one had 10 years of material to use and it definitely grabbed as much as possible. At this point, I don’t think it will ever be possible to have a comic book film match this level of crossover intensity except for a Marvel vs DC film and as much as that kind of thing has gotten easier over the years, it is hard to picture.

Another thing that this film did well is not forcing in the humor the way that it did for Age of Ultron. One annoying thing about that film was how everyone was constnantly throwing in a one liner no matter what the circumstances were. That got rather irritating very quickly. The jokes are still around here, but the balance is much better. For the record, from the humor scenes we did get I think it’s safe to say that Star Lord stole the show. He did a great job of mimicking Thor and I dare say that he won his interaction with Iron Man. This is easily Star Lord’s best film appearance and in a way it makes sense since he has left most of his bad habits behind thanks to Gamora. The character whose humor tanks the most is probably Groot. There’s just nothing funny about him at all. I dare say that Drax and Spiderman are close though, but on the positive side to keep things balanced Ironman and Dr Strange are fun as always. The writing is definitely on point. There is maybe a little more language than usual, but is never gets into super edgy territory or anything.

Naturally there is an after credits scene so make sure you stick around. It’s one that directly affects the ending as well as the next film which is great since those are the best kind of after credit scenes. This may feel like I’m taking a shot at the comedy ones which are ultimately pointless to the narrative and will never be referenced again, but that’s only because that is exactly what I’m doing. This is a real after credits scene and a hype way to end things off. Now, you might come to the conclusion that Superman is being called in and I don’t blame you, but the person they are calling in instead can certainly put up a great fight and I’m expecting to see her dish out some serious damage. Granted, there isn’t really anyone to fight at the moment, but more fighters is always good to have because the danger isn’t over.

Now it’s time to rank all of the MCU films again from best to worst. There have certainly been a bunch and some of them are quite close, but no ties can be accepted. After some thought this is how I rank them. You’ll notice that the films have been getting consistently better lately as a lot of the recent films are near the top. That’s definitely the sign of a quality franchise.

1. Avengers
2. Captain America Civil War
3. Avengers: Infinity War
4. Avengers Age of Ultron
5. Thor: Ragnarok
6. Captain America: Winter Soldier
7. Doctor Strange
8. Spider-Man Homecoming
9. Thor: The Dark World
10. Iron-Man 3
11. Black Panther
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
13. Thor
14. Iron Man 2
15. Iron Man
16. The Incredible Hulk
17. Captain America
18. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
19. Ant Man

Overall, Avengers Infinity War definitely stepped up and delivered what it promised. It brought in a ton of action and quality writing between the characters. It adapted the original comic arc pretty well all things considered. While it couldn’t literally get every character, putting off the film any longer to establish more characters would have been too much. This is a perfect way to celebrate 10 years of Marvel. I highly recommend checking out this film if you disregarded my spoiler warning and read the whole way through anyway. There are certainly a lot of ways they can go about the next film. I could probably make a whole post just discussing the possibilities. Instead I’ll just close the review here. Suffice it to say, it’s going to be tough to top Thanos in terms of power anytime soon. It may be time to shrink in scale temporarily (After Avengers 4 of course) to wind down before going to another big cosmic end game scenario. Another 10 years would be a lot of time to get in new characters so that destroying them will have more of an impact. Of course if it happens sooner you will get no complaints from me.

Overall 9/10

TV Shows

Spider-Man


It’s time for the latest Spiderman adventure. Ultimate still feels pretty fresh but I’m glad that they churned out another show so soon. I never want the gap between titles to be too long. It’s off to a good start and should make for a solid Superhero show. The animation may not be that good, but considering how animation has been dropping off in American television for years now, it could have been a lot worse. I’ll definitely be sticking with it and will have a review up when the series is over.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Spider-Man Homecoming Review


The Spider-Man films have always set a pretty high bar. My least favorite one is probably Spider-Man 2 and that one is still pretty cool because of all the memes it started. This one had a lot to live up to since we’re starting fresh with a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man once again, but the film handles it well. It doesn’t make any “real mistakes” (As in issues that would hurt the score) but I do have some minor issues involving power levels to get into. On the whole I’d definitely recommend checking this film out and preparing yourself for the sequel.

Peter Parker is your average kid with super powers who looks up to the Avengers. He wants to become one of the team, but Iron Man doesn’t think that he’s ready yet. Peter decides to prove himself by taking off his suit’s limitations which backfires horribly so he is forced to go back to his old costume. Nevertheless, Spider-Man has to go back out there to find the Vulture and take him down. Will he be able to do this or was Stark right and he is actually still too young for the job?

I’ve been pretty vocal about how I think Peter is a little too young in this version, but what honestly took more time to get used to was the hairstyle. It seemed to be at conflict with the rest of his personality but I got used to it over time. I don’t think he’s quite a match for the other two yet but as he appears in more and more films and grows into the role he should be able to place proudly in their company. Peter made most of the right choices in the film as he skipped the party to go stop the villains and was pretty persistent on that note. While Tony Stark may have kept telling him not to do that, I think Peter made the right move in sticking to hit gut and following the villains everywhere. It may not have always worked, but I agreed with the moves.

Peter Parker’s always been a little like Charlie Brown as things just don’t go his way and the film was pretty accurate with that. It was a really rough road for him as he got beat up several times but it’ll help his battle experience. Lets get this part over with now, this version of Spiderman seems not to have any Spider Sense. Either that or this film just forgot about that part. He gets blindsided many times and snuck up on by villains more often than he actually sees them coming. He can’t dodge for beans and gets beat up by everyone. I don’t think he wins a single fight not counting random henchmen. That’s…a little sad for his first showing. This is easily the weakest Spider-Man yet even if he had a good physical strength feat. Ideally he’ll learn about the Spider Sense soon so we can get that hype fight with Thanos. Of course, strength isn’t essential for a hero so even if he’s weak, Spider-Man is still a good character.

Spider-Man’s only unfavorable characteristic is that he’s maybe a little too infatuated with Liz the whole time. The staring scene in the cafeteria was a bit much. I can overlook the stuttering and barely being able to talk to her since it wasn’t as exaggerated as in some films (Still a bit exaggerated though) but the first scene is still a bit much. He can also act a little too impressed and astounded by the pro heroes considering that I think he could take most of them on, but I suppose it’s like how Deku still looks up to everyone in My Hero Academia even if he could beat most of them very quickly. Beyond that, he’s the Spider-Man we all know from the comics.

Liz is a decently good main heroine. She’s not as good as Gwen, but I’d say that she’s more likable than Mary Jane. Her connection with Peter definitely seems the most random especially since he hadn’t exactly earned a positive reputation at the school the whole time and there was the interesting chant at her party. Maybe she was just being nice by letting him take her to the dance or it was a genuine first step. Either way, at least we got to see a good chunk of her personality in this film and it’s cool that she got to be the captain of the trivia team. You definitely have to be really smart to make it on that level.

I also really liked the plot because the Teacher stole the movie. The moment he ran to Peter and brought him back into the fold was brilliant. Lets face it, if the school championship is on the line, you better bring in your star student. Even if he does ditch class randomly and has been becoming a bit of a delinquent, you gotta take the win. Think more on it after you’re holding the trophy. He was also very polite the whole time and understanding of the tricky history that makes up our buildings.

The sarcastic girl who is always hanging around is easily the best schoolmate. Honestly, she’s more likable than Peter Parker and comes in second behind the Teacher. I won’t say her name since it isn’t said until the final minutes of the film so it’s practically a spoiler, but she just gets a lot of great one liners and burns. She does kind of give herself away early on with the “I’m not obsessed or anything” moment, but always has a good excuse ready. She always happens to have a reason to be around which are constructed well. One scene in particular that was fun was the fact that she was even reading her book during exercise class where you’re supposed to be super serious about working out. Everyone else had a buddy, but she found a way to game the system. She does that a lot in the film and while I suppose she can come across as a little mean spirited, she never even came close to crossing the line. That’s Flash’s job. The sarcasm is never personal, it’s just how she treats life in general. It’ll be hard to top this film’s portrayal, especially if she gets a bigger role in the next film, but you never know.

Flash Thompson…is Flash Thompson. He’s the same bully that he always was, but he never physically attacks Peter or anything in this version so maybe he’s not as bad as some of the others. We’ll see if he ends up looking up to Spider-Man or not in this version since circumstances could make that a little tricky. Happy Hogan gets a decent role in this film as he’s Spider-Man’s go to guy for getting info on the Avengers. Of course, Happy only does this grudgingly and ignores Peter. The whole film could have basically been avoided if Happy had played ball, but he’s not that kind of guy. He does make for some fun scenes though and is just a good character to have around.

Tony Stark gets a good role here as well. I had been kind of hoping to see him take on the Vulture, but I suppose that could have been a lose-lose situation no matter what happened. If Tony loses there would be a riot and if he won, then Spider-Man winning later on may not have had as much impact. Not that Spider-Man ever actually won…but I can’t go into details on the technicalities as that would be a spoiler. We can chat in the comments if anything. I was satisfied with how Tony acted here. I mean, I definitely disagreed with him on various points like just letting Vulture get away every time, but I always disagree with the “By the books” characters. To think, Tony used to be the hot headed character on the team. I guess he has gotten older. It’s always nostalgic to have him appear since it reminds you of the beginnings of the MCU, back when it was still Iron-Man and his friends. While he has drifted away from being the center of the universe he is still the heart of it.

We’ve also got another main character in the form of Ned. I honestly can’t say that I’m a fan of his. He had some good scenes like where he saved Spider-Man from imminent destruction, but I really don’t think Peter needs a sidekick. I suppose the story would be even sadder for him if he had nobody to talk too, but it just feels out of place. I don’t think Ned handled the teacher walking in on him very well even if it was a very Reddit esque excuse that he made for not being at the dance. On the positive side, I do like that he was pretty understanding about Peter having a job and being busy all the time. He didn’t act petty about it and there wasn’t some kind of dramatic sideplot as a result. I’ll give him some kudos there. Now if he can only become a slightly more likable character, then I’ll be fine with him being the guy on the chair. It slightly takes away from Peter’s genius since he is usually the one hacking the computers and such, but we’ll live.

Aunt May is certainly very different from her usual self so she is worth mentioning. I think I’ll always prefer the old Aunt May as she’s such a staple and her intense distrust of Spider-Man added some extra tension to each issue. The comics would always start with Spider-Man winking at the screen as he wonders what would happen if Aunt May knew. It’s hard to see this one having much of a problem with it as she would likely support Spider-Man. She doesn’t want Peter to be in danger, but the conversation that they would have would certainly not be as difficult. I could do without everyone trying to flirt with her as the film tries to remind us of how young she is, but as long as it’s a very subtle running gag I suppose it’s not all that bad. Honestly I half expected her to get in on the action when a web showed up and stopped the Shocker. I figured she had somehow followed Peter to the dance and grabbed the web shooter. I know this would have killed Ned’s best scene in the film, but I think it actually could have been pretty hype.

That brings me back to other hot headed characters though. The film did a good job of capturing the high school atmosphere without getting too detailed. Most films have an issue here because either everyone is constantly making out or doing drugs, or they’re using a lot of language. Both are very accurate, but just because real life has these doesn’t mean that we have to be seeing them. The film gets in the atmosphere while keeping the students respectful and more likable as a result. The Teachers ignoring the students and just taking naps is realistic. Showing videos of Captain America even though he is now a criminal is also realistic and I especially liked how the detention room was set up. It was all pretty good.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really two main ones to deal with. The Shocker was fun to see since he has always been one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. For a while he was my all time favorite. It’s a little hard to say nowadays, but he may still take the title as long as I’ve got a grip on my nostalgia goggles. This is a very different take on the character, but I can roll with it. He’s not exactly a heavyweight, but he works well as the side villain. The Vulture was the main “threat” and he was a lot of fun. This was a good villain where while you couldn’t really feel too sympathetic after a little while, at least it was nice to see him take on the government. I never liked Damage Control and this film reminded me of why that is the case. They just don’t have much charisma and seem to do whatever they want while earning a big paycheck. Back to the Vulture though, he has a lot of fun with the role in his human form and that’s where all of his best scenes are. Zapping one of his henchmen was pretty neat and the not so subtle threats at Spider-Man in the car scene was pretty good. I’m glad that he put 2 and 2 together unlike most villains.

I would say that the film was maybe a little light on action, but honestly Spider-Man movies usually are. This one probably had the most action in one of his films aside from Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not coincidentally, those are the two best Spider-Man films to date. This one beats the first Amazing Spider-Man for me and Spider-Man 2. It’s a little hard for me to say if it beats the first Spider-Man or not, but I think I may give it the edge here. The action scenes that we do get are fun. Just ignore the fact that Spider-Man is really getting beat up the whole time and enjoy the fun visuals. I still can’t really take Vulture all that seriously, but the film did its best to improve his design from the comics. He’s not much of a threat as far as power is concerned, but he’s never been a big villain like that.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it’s okay. I didn’t care for the token lyrical song that played twice. I dunno, it felt incredibly out of place and I was imagining something a little happier and with more cheer in the background. I think that would have made more sense. The classic MCU kind of themes were fun though and we had some nice Spider-Man homage themes as well. In the end it’s all just a little forgettable and you probably won’t remember any of it by the end, but few films go above and beyond on that.

There are two after credit scenes. As per usual, the first one is plot important while the second is for comedy purposes. The first one worked well at leading into the next film and while the villain may not be all that intimidating, Spider-Man films are more about the characters than the fights so that’s to be expected. The second scene was decently amusing, but I was expecting more. Like when the character asked if there was anything more then we would cut away to Spider-Man fighting Thanos or the Guardians falling off a cliff as they head to Earth. I would have liked something extra like that to really make me ready for the next films.

On a final note, the film did a good job of poking fun at some old Spider-Man cliches. Everyone knows how the famous hero likes to throw his clothes everywhere and ditch his backpack in a dark alley. Well, he tries it here and it doesn’t go over so well. It borderline went on parody at some points with him really just throwing his clothes with reckless abandon. It wasn’t in your face or anything, but a nice little touch. Hopefully he gets better at that part of the job, but as long as Karen is around he should be okay. For an A.I. Karen can be a little slow on the uptake at times, but it’s always fun to have a murder bot at the ready. Hopefully she’ll become sentient soon so Spider-Man can effectively have backup even if he’s knocked out. I definitely like his suit quite a bit so hopefully it stays for good. I honestly don’t want him to switch into any of those “fancy” upgrade suits like the Iron Spider or a Cosmic Spider-Man design. The classic is good enough for me.

Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming is a very fun film. It’s certainly one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films overall. The stakes may have been a lot less grounded, but it was just written well and the film had a lot of fun. One key thing was that it didn’t make any real mistakes like some of the last films and played to its strengths. It’s a different take on Spider-Man from the last two universes and that’s good since they’ve all danced to a different beat so far. The ending may have been a little iffy compared to what I would have hoped for. It was one of the most expected outcomes, but I imagined it playing out a little differently and with less edge. Perhaps it would have been seen as too much, but I would have liked the ending to be Peter walking through the kitchen while eating pizza turning on the lights and noticing the person there. “So….anything you’d like to share Peter?” “Er…..it’s a long story” and then the film ends with epicly loud music playing. Obviously this includes the circumstances that made the ending a “shock” ending without going into details. I mean, maybe this is borderline spoilerish but if you haven’t seen the ending yet then I hope I kept it vague enough to make a difference. Either way what are you waiting for? While this review is pretty long I’m sure there is plenty that I didn’t even touch on. It’s time for you to go check this movie out!

Overall 8/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Ultimate Spiderman Review


It’s time for a superhero show that really serves as the definition of what you can expect from one. I feel like if someone ever asked me to name what I think is the title that feels like what you can expect from an average comic book show, I’d have to recommend this one. Justice League is a great Superhero show and Teen Titans Go is a poor one. Ultimate is more of a symbol of what they all strive to be. It’s not great or very good, but it’s not bad or even mediocre. It’s a good show that blends in a lot of action and comedy. All of Marvel’s current shows essentially have the same style to them and Spiderman is what started the trend. At over 100 episodes, I can safely say that the show did all right for itself.

The show’s main premise is that Nick Fury believes Spiderman should be doing something more with his life. Instead of taking out ordinary crooks, he wants him to become the Ultimate Spiderman. Spiderman decides to give this a shot and is placed on a Shield attack squad with White Tiger, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Nova. Together, the team has to take on a lot of villains and prove to the world that they are the strongest team out there. Can Spiderman really handle this level of pressure though?

Season 1 is mainly episodic as we get used to the team and see them take on challenges. There are quite a lot of guest stars to keep you interested such as Iron-Man, Hulk, and Doctor Strange. You also start to get a sense of which villains will play a big role as Venom and Doctor Octopus show up numerous times. Octopus can get old fast as his design is just so bad in this version and it doesn’t make for particularly engaging fights. Still, I suppose he makes sense as the big villain since he constantly has a master plan up his sleeve. I wish I could take him seriously but he has to be one of the worst villains in the show.

There aren’t many specific episodes to call out for season 1 as great ones since this was the weakest season. The Iron-Man team up against the Living Laser was pretty fun. The big two part episode with Green Goblin wasn’t bad either and Venom certainly got to appear quite a bit. On the whole I think they dropped the ball with Venom though. His never really gets around to being with Eddie Brock and is instead treated like more of a power up the whole time. Harry puts him on sometimes and then loses him again. Eventually the writers would decide on his roll, but I definitely didn’t miss his Harry days from season 1.

As for the characters, most of them are similar to how they are in the comics so I’ll really focus on the main ones. It’s interesting to see a young version of Luke Cage and Iron Fist. It’s an odd choice since part of Cage’s whole personality is that he’s a gritty guy who’s seen things and makes for a perfect anti hero to hire for a mission. Here he’s just a nice guy who goes to school. Iron Fist doesn’t have to be changed much as he’s just younger but they overplay his formal mannerisms at times. He’s probably the most mature member of the group though. White Tiger is the confident member of the group who always talks a good game, but she doesn’t really have any special abilities (At least for the first 20+ episodes) so it’s a little tough for her to keep up in a fight. Nova is the best member by far. He’s always pranking Spiderman and getting the last laugh in. Of course since he has the Power Cosmic, that is usually used as more plot hax than anything else. He should win every fight, but he just tends to miss every shot. That can be a little annoying.

Season 2 focuses on the Sinister Six. This means…you guessed it, Doctor Octopus is back in his full glory. He has assembled his team of powerful fighters like the Kraven, and Electro. Spiderman must put a stop to these guys while also helping the Lizard not get hurt in the process. He knows that a scientist is effectively trapped within the Lizard, but he’s doing his best to keep it under control. The Rhino is a kid underneath his guise, but the guy can’t seem to make up his mind on whether he wants to be a hero or not so it’s a little hard to help him out.

The Kraven episode may not sound great on paper as it’s just a team up with Spiderman and White Tiger, but it was actually pretty solid. The show did a lot of justice to Kraven as he was actually a real threat and always had good fight scenes in the show. I definitely enjoyed the episode at any rate and White Tiger finally got a big power up. The first Sinister Six episode also came on and it was pretty fun. It was rather rushed though as Spiderman had to beat them all in a single episode.

Then we had the Carnage episode which was fun. Again, I don’t think the Symbiotes were handled all that well and the show should have looked to the 90’s cartoon for inspiration but I suppose it did its best. I gotta give the Stan Lee team up episode a shoutout as well. Who would have thought that Spiderman would be teaming up with the One Above All? There were one liners for days in this episode. For a slightly more serious episode, the Deadpool guest star was fun. It was a little sad that Spiderman’s friends immediately preferred him, but Deadpool is charismatic. He always makes for good humor as well.

Season 3’s big hook is that it adapts the Spider Verse storyline from the comics. A mystical artifact is broken so Spiderman has to go to various universes to find the pieces. He meets up with Ultimate Spiderman, Noir, Spiderham, and other versions of himself along the way. It was a fun multi part epic, but the main problem was that it was incredibly repetitive. Every episode had the exact same format and story telling. It was cool seeing every Spiderman admit that the main one was the best every time, but it didn’t always seem sincere because of how much it was spammed. The show maybe laid it on a little thick that time. Spiderman was definitely a team player in this season as he ended up teaming with the Avengers and then forming his own Warriors group. They definitely kept Parker busy and this led to his original team from season 1 being gradually written out of the show.

The Avengers two part event was fun, but mostly just the second part. The first one didn’t really get to go anywhere since Loki and Spiderman switched bodies. The second at least gave us a fight between the Avengers and Spiderman’s new team. Agent Venom was cool since this was a route I could finally get behind for Venom. I miss his classic Brock form, but I suppose this is the next best thing. It’s just a shame that he got so weak after this. I basically already covered the Spider Verse. It would have been a lot better if not for being so repetitive.

The Crossover with Jessie was interesting since I didn’t even remember that the show existed. On a more epic note, the show adapted the Contest of Champions Mobile Game and that was a lot of fun. Honestly, I wish we could have gotten closer to 10 episode of this as there are so many cool fights you can pull off with this concept. There was quite a bit of plot hax at times and Spiderman did a bad job of picking his teams, but this one really took advantage of how the show loves its guest stars. Spiderman could basically choose from anyone that he’s met so there were a bunch of options. It wasn’t handled quite as well as the Secret Wars from the 90’s show, but it was good nonetheless.

Finally, Season 4 had the return of the Sinister Six. Yeah…the show decided to give them another season. I guess they felt they could do more with them. This last season was certainly the most ambitious though as it had quite a lot of plot lines and multi parters including the return of the Spider Verse. By the end of the show you had certainly gotten used to Spiderman and his friends.

Hydra is usually rather boring, but the opening two parter was good because it saw the debut of the Scarlet Spider and started the ball rolling. Unlike the first 3 seasons, this one had an ongoing plot that would last the entire season. Who is the Scarlet Spider and can they trust him? The Scarlet Spider is a fun character because he’s constantly insulting Spiderman and just generally being a jerk. Yeah, he’s definitely not a nice guy, but he’s not supposed to be one anyway. This is just how he rolls. Of course, it is far too late when they try to get us to feel bad for him. That’s the drawback of being this kind of character and making certain decisions.

The next episode was also pretty solid as Miles is brought into the picture and becomes a main character. The two Spidermen have to team up with Doctor Strange to defeat his version of the Green Goblin and it’s pretty intense. This character is consistently portrayed to be too powerful for the heroes so they have to use a lot of teamwork to keep him down. Miles is a fun enough Spiderman even if he can be a little overconfident despite not usually lasting too long in a fight. His electric abilities really help to give him an edge in a fight and make up for that experience though. He’ll only get better as he keeps on fighting.

The next episodes get pretty intense as the team faces the threat of a traitor in their midst. Agent Venom is put in a wheelchair and Harry falls into a coma. It’s hard to picture any of this happening in the first 3 seasons as it’s actually rather dark and the plot is very serious. The Sinister Six then returns and this time they go after Aunt May along with one of the traitors so Spiderman is forced to get serious about this ordeal. Another character seemingly dies at the end although we know that nobody ever dies in comic land.

We get back to back sagas as The Symbiotes slowly take over the world in one 3 part adventure and then the Spider Verse returns as the guest stars have to unite once more. Both of these events were pretty fun and the extra episodes really let the show cut loose. Even Gwen Stacy’s recent Spider-Gwen form gets to make an appearance. The Spider Slayers 3 part story was cool because Mary Jane finally got powers. She absorbed the Carnage symbiote and became one of the stronger characters in the series. That was definitely a nice upgrade to keep her up to par with the others. Mary Jane had a very small role throughout the series so her fans were glad to see the writers bringing her back in again. After being in season 1, she basically vanished for all of 2 and 3. From here on out, Mary Jane would be a main character although the series only had a few episodes left.

Finally, the Graduation Day 2 parter was a good way to end the series. It may have been embarrassing for everyone else as they were stuck in a bubble and couldn’t break it the whole time, but we had to prove to the world once and for all that Spiderman is the ultimate fighter. Seeing him save everyone is always pretty satisfying. Yeah, as you can tell I was pretty satisfied with season 4 as a whole Honestly, it was a great season and would have gotten a solid 8 if the first 3 didn’t exist. That being said, 3 7 star seasons and 1 8 star season ultimately end up equaling a 7. No matter how great that last season was, it can’t just bring up the curve all on its own.

That’s why it’s a shame that the show didn’t get one more season. Honestly, if the quality had continued to look up like season 4, then this really could have gone down as one of Marvel’s best titles. The ongoing plot had started to get rock solid and this is where the past 100 episodes of situations and characters popping up could have come in handy. With the sheer amount of heroes in the story, the show could have adapted any story arc that it wanted too. I could see the show deciding to tackle the Civil War and it would actually be able to do it justice in this version. It was not to be, but it was a fun glimpse at what the show could have been. Just imagine if all 100+ episodes had been at this level of quality.

One area where the show always excelled was with its animation. It was stylized to look like the iconic 90’s cartoon, but with up to date graphics. It was a little more streamlined and had a dark color scheme that worked well with the night time moments. I’d probably still make the case that the 90’s show ultimately won as its character designs were a step up, but the show definitely delivered in this department. Compared to the other current titles like Guardians of the Galaxy, or the upcoming Spiderman show this is a world of improvement. I would mention Avengers, but the animation for that one got considerably better with Season 2. It’s still a little behind Spiderman, but it’s close enough at this point where I didn’t really need to deliver any burns. There’s unfortunately nothing to say about Ultimate Spiderman’s soundtrack. There’s not a single memorable tune in the entire show.

The current Marvel shows all like to place a big emphasis on comedy. I suppose they just don’t want their shows to get too serious and it helps them gel better with the live action films which use a similar format. That being said, the TV show writers are not necessarily at the same level at times so many of the jokes can be forced. This is Spiderman as well so you can bet that the jokes are constant. They don’t really bother me for the most part, but it does cement the fact that the show won’t be known as an epic one. It can’t quite reach the same level of intensity as Justice League, X-Men, or Avengers EMH as a result. It’s a fun show with a lot of action and cool guest stars, but it never gets past the “Fun” aspect of the show. That means it is relegated to a solid seven, but can’t hit the elusive 8.

That’s not to say that the show didn’t try. As you saw with some of the episodes I hand picked above, it did have some pretty serious ones. The show also had a lot of really good fights that actually had good hand to hand and really solid animation. It’s just that for every great episode I showed above, there were also some really lackluster ones or even downright bad episodes. Some did have crude humor which could be annoying and other episodes could be boring. Every show has a few episodes which aren’t that good, but they’re balanced out by a higher average.

One thing the show actually did well was give characters character development and keep the universe moving. A lot actually happened during the 100 episodes and most of the characters are vastly different from how they started. New designs, new powers, and even personality shifts. The status quo wasn’t the same as when the show started which is important. The show wasn’t always consistent with this and I do get annoyed that Spiderman’s spider sense didn’t always work, but I suppose that’s bound to happen in any Spiderman show.

I can count on one hand the number of characters that the show actually wrecked: Vulture, Doctor Octopus, and Rhino. Those are the main ones anyway and season 4 was able to redeem Doctor Octopus. Beyond that, everyone was pretty true to form and it was fun seeing them all show up. Spiderman was also a fun lead as he was ultimately the hero that we all know and love. By the end he was pretty experienced and wise as well since he became a leader and got to learn how to lead in a few episodes. He got serious when he had too and was also a sharp fighter. It really felt like you grew with the characters in this series.

Overall, Ultimate Spiderman is a fun show. Perhaps it’s not what everyone was expecting or hoping for, but I was satisfied with it. I’m still glad it exists and that it lasted so long. The fact that it was entertaining and came up with so many different stories is nothing to sneeze at. It’s probably the best Spiderman show next to the 90’s one and it does come very close to matching that one as well. Its longer length gives it more replay value at any rate. The next show is coming out soon so I’ll see how that one turns out, but my expectations are a little lower. I’m going to miss all of the guest stars and the rich history this show brought along with it, but I suppose it’ll be nice to go back to having a solo Spiderman story for a chance with occasional guest stars rather than constant ones. Hopefully it can work through its poor animation and deliver a pretty good product.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

FCBD 2017 Secret Empire Review


It’s time for a look at the big Marvel event that is coming up. The premise is pretty laughable and the actual comic has more plot hax than I’ve seen in a very, very long time. That’s part of the charm though, think of this as a satirical parody and you’ll be just fine. Otherwise, you’re just going t have to stretch your disbelief on this one a bit.

So, as you have probably heard by now, Captain America has turned evil. He works with Hydra now and wants to rule the world. The issue has him attack the Avengers so that he can bring everyone under his domain in one fell swoop. The Avengers roster is pretty strong as this point since they have female Thor, Iron-Man, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and a bunch of other fighters. No worries, Captain America has this planned out through very vague stuff as the heroes just start fainting. The narrator is pretty dramatic about the whole thing as he lets you know that the heroes were clearly outmatched. I value his input, but the heroes should have easily defeated Hydra. Even with Captain America on their side….it’s not as if the villains are that strong.

The art isn’t bad. There’s a red effect playing the whole time so it can be hard to see anything though. I don’t see this event being all that great, but I’m hoping that it’ll be somewhat good. Any Marvel event has the potential to be great since you’re bringing all of the big characters together for a lot of hype action scenes. How can that possibly go wrong right? I’m just going to need the writers to come up with a bunch of reasons for how the Avengers lost so easily so that at least one of them can be believable. Evil Captain America holding Mjolnir? Ha!

The backup story sees the start of a new Spider-Man series that must be written by Slott. The dialogue is just so bad that it must be him right? It starts off with Spider-Man and Mary Jane arguing quite a lot about everything that they can think of. They get in a lot of personal insults and then Spiderman has to run off to fight the Vulture. Spiderman acts very aggressively the whole time as he keeps on insulting the Vulture over and over again. Finally, they’re both immobilized because the new Trapster comes and takes them down. She steals the cash and insults both of them as well. Good thing she’s one of the “nice” villains who doesn’t want to actually destroy the heroes. She could have finished off Spiderman but decided not to do so. That’s nice of her.

I’m also glad that the comic referenced how old Spiderman is nowadays. The new Trapster mentions how he was around when she was a kid so he must be ancient by now. It’s definitely true since Spiderman should be very old at this point and time. Luckily being a hero gives you some immunity to the usual effects of time passing. You just can’t stop a friendly neighborhood Spiderman. I can’t say that there’s much of a hook to continue reading the story though. It seems like this is going to be a pretty bad depiction of Spiderman and the new villain isn’t much of a threat. Perhaps the point is that Spiderman will be back to dealing with street level opponents, but that doesn’t really come across as very epic now does it? Still, if the writing improves then it could be a good story.

Overall, I still can’t get past the concept of Secret Empire. Am I really supposed to be taking Hydra seriously after all of these years? The characters sure weren’t as they kept making puns and one liners even while they were being defeated. Clearly they weren’t feeling the danger. For Spiderman it seems like the same ole same old stuff, but I’m sure they could do something there to make the whole thing more exciting. Hopefully the event/series premiere ends up turning out good. It’ll have to be from the normal comic readers though as this issue likely won’t bring more people on board.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Marvel Contest of Champions Review


Just looking at that cover should remind you just how changed Marvel is from the good ole days. We have a lot of heroes trying to replace the classic ones and most of the old ones have had drastic makeovers. No worries though, this game manages to include an enormous amount of characters so the classics are still here as well. With new characters constantly being added to the game, I don’t see Contest of Champions ending anytime soon. It’s simply too expansive at this point and I’m glad to see it doing well. The amount of content can be intimidating, but it also shows that you can do quite a lot even when under the free to play format. Someone should have told Super Mario Run about that.

There’s actually a plot this time. The Collector is having another game and has decided to pit the Marvel heroes against you. You are the chosen one and your opponent is Kang. Both of you collect Marvel heroes and duke it out until there is only one fighter still standing. The plot will probably have some wrinkles along the way though because there are dozens and dozens of levels. I only played about 10% of Act 1, which was already fairly long. Since they keep on adding new chapters and acts for special events, I can easily see this reaching an RPG’s length by the end. The story isn’t all that engaging so you’ll be playing it for the gameplay. Console games are still my priority though, which is why I didn’t play the game for too long. I played it enough to see what it was all about and then it was time to delete the app.

The gameplay is fairly straight forward. Tap the screen for standard attacks. Swipe forward to dash or back to dodge. You can also use charge attacks and special moves. Each battle will play out in pretty much the same way and the various special abilities will all blend together after a while. This is still a game with a reasonably small budget so you can’t go in expecting Marvel vs Capcom. Still, the graphics are very impressive considering. All of the character models are on point and it’s pretty surreal to see Marvel’s large array of characters all show up. The soundtrack is rather bland, but decent.

One issue is that the gameplay can get a little repetitive. I suppose that can be said about most mobile games, but other titles like 1010 and Pokemon Go are super fun anyway. You may be doing the same thing hundreds of times over, but it never gets old. Contest of Champions will get old after a while so you shouldn’t play it for too long at a time. If you play it seriously for collecting all of the heroes though, then this may not be a factor. I also have to give the game some props for not making the pay to win element too prevalent. You can still play for a while each day before hitting your limit and that’s a good thing. Madden Mobile got annoying for how quickly you hit the daily limit along with Pokemon Shuffle.

The main menu is a little cluttered and complicated, but at least it shows that there is a lot to do here. There are all kinds of modes to explore and crystals to earn. It just never stops and you can be lost in the menus for a good 20 minutes before deciding what to do. The replay value here is endless and that’s what we’ve come to expect from these apps. With this one gone, it’s going to be back to Pokemon Go for me. That’s really the only long term app game that I need. These other titles are good, but ultimately can’t compete.

Overall, Marvel’s Contest of Champions is a fun enough game. The graphics are sound and assembling your team of heroes can be addicting. Eventually you’ll either start to get frustrated by obtaining duplicate heroes even though you only have 5 or 6, or you will be completely into the game by then and just hooked on all of the future updates. If you’re a big mobile player, then I recommend adding it to your roster. If not, then this one can probably be passed. It’s good, but you could always just buy Marvel vs Capcom instead for the superior fighter. I know that DC also got a very similar fighting game on the app store, but I don’t plan on trying it out anytime soon.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Civil War Review

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After all these years, I have finally gotten a chance to read the famous Civil War arc. Due to the movie recently coming out, it makes sense that a lot of copies from the comic would be lying around. It certainly holds up as one of Marvel’s greatest events although you do lose a bit of the narrative by not reading any of the tie ins. I still say that big Marvel/DC events should be a little longer (10+ issues) but a lot still happens here and it is quite epic. This was back during Marvel’s prime and everyone is solidly in character although the ending is pretty iffy.

A few teenage heroes fail to stop a villain named Nitro and a school full of kids is blown up. Iron Man decides that heroes should no longer run rampant and agrees with SHIELD and the Government on the Registration Act. Heroes have to formally register and give out their secret identities if they want to continue operating. Moreover, the government will be making many more decisions when it comes to crime fighting. Captain America disagrees with this law and evades arrest by SHIELD. He gains some more sympathizers and the Civil War is now on!

Captain America’s side is definitely portrayed as the right one in this battle. The registration quickly starts to become rather extreme and SHIELD cannot be trusted. Iron Man’s side also begins to hire murdering villains as allies to round up the heroes. They even build a very morally iffy jail in the Negative Zone to contain the heroes and clone Thor. The tie ins typically chose sides as well so sometimes Captain America’s group would come across as a little iffy as well, but through it all they were the “heroes” this time.

The art is excellent and easily one of Marvel’s more impressive creations. The fight scenes are handled very well and do a good job of having a serious vibe to them while still feeling like comic book fights. It’s definitely fun to see all of the heroes on panel at once and the event does feel like a big crossover epic. I do miss some of these classic costumes like Cyclops, Captain America, and Spider-Man’s. Before the gimmicks, there were the original costumes and those are the ones that are present in Civil War.

Before going any further into the comic analysis, I can safely say that I am on Team Captain America as well. For starters, SHIELD can never be trusted. There are always Hydra agents in their ranks and as soon as this sensitive data is put on a database it will be hacked. Sharing their secret identities is very risky for the heroes families and friends. I know that Spider-Man discussed the situation with Mary Jane and Aunt May first, but it was definitely not a good decision on his part. He rectified this later on, but he has dozens of enemies and most of them would definitely wreck his life in the blink of an eye. Especially the local ones like Hammerhead and Kingpin who could easily make a move. If there was a way to make the whole process absolutely safe, then I would probably agree with Team Iron Man. Unfortunately, there isn’t and there never will be. That’s simply the nature of comic books.

Also, if you really think about it, this won’t stop a similar incident from occurring. Sure, the teen heroes wouldn’t be able to have a public livestream, but they could always do it in the sneak. Not to mention that there will always be heroes who won’t register. The only difference from now is that more heroes will be hunted like the mutants are. I’m sure the heroes wish that they could be in DC land where the heroes typically aren’t attacked quite as often. At the very least, the government seems to tolerate them.

Captain America’s a great leader as you would expect. He shows off his military tactics and does a good job of pressing the advantage on Iron Man’s team. His plan for Hulkling was also well done. As mentioned earlier, I did not agree with his final move though. Sure, there was a lot of property damage, but he basically deserted everyone who had been following him. He just left them to dry. People are going to get injured regardless and the heroes did try to evacuate the area. The humans probably just hid and decided to attack voluntarily. Just because the civilians are on Team Iron Man doesn’t mean that it is the right side. Cap ends up getting shot in a story shortly after this one so he may want to rethink the whole thing.

I do agree with his move to have Punisher leave the team though since he is a murderer. That being said, this is one of the cooler appearances from the Punisher. He took down 4 villains with ease and he played a big role in infiltrating the tower for the plans. He simply follows a more lethal methodology than Cap and isn’t going to change anytime soon. He doesn’t aim to be a hero, he just wants to destroy as many villains as possible. It’s what makes him fall to their level, but he is certainly a lot more likable than the average villain. Refusing to fight Cap was also an intense move that took character.

Iron Man is naturally not all that likable in this one. He does really try to bring Cap on his side, but there’s no way that it was going to work. Not to mention that Iron Man really tries to take charge immediately and that really defeats the chances of having a big debate about the whole thing. He comes across as rather trigger happy when Spider-Man decides to leave as well so the fight was really unavoidable. Iron Man definitely got lucky there too since he’s not quite ready to deal with Spider-Man just yet. If you were getting sympathetic to his side then no worries, SHIELD quickly steps in again and tries to destroy Spider-Man. They don’t really take prisoners at all and show a general disregard for the heroes.

Building the Thor clone was another big strike against his side. Iron Man’s not completely unreasonable though so don’t think that he is a downright bad character. He does a decent job of championing his side, but I feel like his mind is changed way too easily. All it takes is one lady spitting at him for Stark to take the whole thing seriously. I think he should be able to stay true to himself a little more strongly than that. Mr. Fantastic was fairly cool. I do consider him to be one of the more underrated Marvel characters at the moment, but he’ll change that soon enough. He can be a little inconsistent though. Despite the fact that Invisible Woman is on the other side, he does make sure that the government won’t arrest her regardless of the outcome. That’s the kind of move that I would hope to see from some of the others make, but they typically don’t have the guts.

Spider-Man looks great in this trade. This was back when people took him seriously and he’s treated like an adult hero who commands respect. He’s seen as no different from Cap, Iron Man, and the other big heroes which is as it should be. He can hold his own in a fight and certainly goes through the wringer. During the story arc he takes on about 5 fighters at once and defeats them all. He also seems to have had the edge against Cap and Iron Man as well. I was really glad to see him lose the Iron Spider armor though. It’s fine for once in a while, but I definitely prefer his traditional look. His portrayal was spot on. He made a mistake, but doesn’t hesitate to fix it.

I can’t take Namor seriously and still don’t like the guy. I don’t believe that his forces were the game changer that they were made out to be. By and large, Cap’s team was seriously outgunned though. Even by the end when the numbers were almost equal, the fighting forces were not. Iron Man’s team has the Sentry on it. Isn’t that basically game over since Thor and Hulk aren’t in the equation? Ms. Marvel is strong as well, but as far as I know she was on Tony’s side as well. If not, she could at least give Sentry a decent fight. Cap’s team was starting to have the upper hand by the end though and I won’t call plot hax on that considering just how many heroes were involved. There may have been some big shots that I am unaware of.

Maria Hill gets a pretty humiliating ending as Civil War comes to a close. She was particularly unreasonable throughout the arc so it makes sense that Iron Man should get the last laugh here. SHIELD is one of the main reasons why I couldn’t be on Iron Man’s side so it was good to see her demoted. It also looked good on Iron Man’s part since he had to notice that she was really jeopardizing the team’s chances at winning over the crowds. With her out of the way, Iron Man should be able to start making a positive difference. He may have been on the wrong side, but he can still make the best out of the situation.

There were certainly a lot of other characters involved in the story and I can safely say that they all looked rather good. I’m a little disappointed that the X-Men didn’t get involved, but it makes sense why they could not. They would join Cap’s side and then it would barely be a fight by that point since Iron Man’s side wouldn’t stand a chance. Just Cyclops and Emma Frost are intimidating enough, but the X-Men had legions of members at the time. Even if Iron Man’s side brought in every villain from the jail cells and threw in the Sentinels they wouldn’t be guaranteed of victory. They would guarantee themselves a bad rep and a lot of civilian casualties though.

Overall, Civil War was definitely a game changer for Marvel. Marvel always likes to say that each event is the biggest one yet and that it will change things. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it isn’t, but Civil War was definitely a title that turned the tides. It made things rather rough for the heroes for quite some time. After all, the ending to this comic is pretty somber and it does start to lead into Dark Reign and Siege. Ultimately, Iron Man basically agrees that the Civil War was a bad idea. The sequel just started so it will be interesting to see how that one is. I actually think it should be fairly great, but I don’t see it possibly matching up to this one. This one was just a blast and I highly recommend it to all Marvel fans. It’s a very engaging story with fast pacing that never lets up. It’s the big character crossover that fans have always wanted much like the Secret Wars and Infinity Gauntlet arcs. The only difference was that this time it was heroes against heroes.

Overall 9/10