Star Wars Omnibus Volume 2: A Long Time Ago Review

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It’s been a while since I read the first Star Wars Omnibus but now the second one is here. It adapts the second movie so I’m guessing that the third one will wrap up the original trilogy. The volume also has its own plot going on with some connected stories and a few that are essentially stand alone. It’s a fun collection and I’m sure fans were glad to have these issues around while waiting for the next movie.

One of the main plots is about Han Solo. Jabba The Hut still has a large bounty on his head so Solo wants to clear the debt. He actually does manage to find Jabba and forces him into dropping the bounty. Unfortunately as soon as Solo leaves the bounty is placed on once again. It’s definitely the best plot in the volume though simply because Han is the most enjoyable character whenever he pops up. You just have to like his confidence. When the other characters are panicking he is coming up with more plans. Han also doesn’t hesitate in launching an attack against Darth Vader even if it is unsuccessful. Of course with how the volume ends it could be a little while before Han shows up again so definitely enjoy his appearances here while you can. That should not be very difficult though.

Meanwhile Darth Vader also gets his own subplot as he chases after Luke and the gang. He lands on one planet where a cyborg has decided to silence the only informant who knows the name of the person who destroyed the Death Star. Vader needs that name so naturally the two come to blows. Vader is basically untouchable here as you would expect but I do give the guy props for effort. He held Vader back long enough for the informant to get away. It was a rather dark ending though as the only way for the guy to get away was to die. It’s one of the few times where Vader was foiled, but he still did win he fight.

Another fun Vader comic is when he shows up on a bank planet for diplomacy at the same time Leia arrives. No weapons are allowed on this planet so both sides have to try and outsmart the other in different ways. It’s a big game of mental chess between be two sides with the highest of stakes. As you can probably guess Vader tends to have the edge here, but to say that Leia lost would be a simpflication. She still achieved her objective, she simply wasn’t able to prevent Vader from doing he same so if anything it is a bit of a draw. A very unique Star Wars comic through and through.

Then we have the big movie adaption which covers the film in great detail. It does a good job of getting those who only read the comics up to speed on what is happening. You certainly can’t say that you missed out on what happened at the very least. It quickly switches art styles for the event which was interesting. The new art certainly felt very Marvel esque which was cool. I do think the normal art probably wins but both were quite good. Naturally the highlight of the film adaption is the big battle between Luke and Vader. Beyond that the story holds up pretty well in all of the other scenes as well and is just a good adventure.

Lando seems to have taken Han’s place as one of the main focuses in the series. In his subplot he is flying around and scouting strong fighters for the resistance while just looking for anything that could be helpful. His comic probably felt the most random out of them all as he meets a retired super hero who has decided to stop with the heroics and now he is just a guy who tries to stay out of the way. Lando gives him a speech and the guy realizes the folly of his ways. Not a bad comic but a bit weaker than some of the old ones.

In general I do think that some of the final stories were a bit weaker than the early ones but it’s a fairly small sample size and the Leia vs Vader comic is an obvious exception. Most likely the series will stay pretty consistent even without Han Solo to back it up. I’m looking forward to seeing Luke a little more now that he knows how to fight pretty well. In theory there is no excuse for him to lose to just about anyone now. He is the true last Jedi after all.

A pair of characters who were fun while they lasted were the dictators in the first few issues. One was blinded by Vader and now has to wear cyber goggles while the other one isn’t brave at all and so he is content to be the 2nd in command. These villains may not have been the strongest ones out there, but at least the main one had a lightsaber which made for some pretty good fights. It’s why the first half of the arc was my favorite as we had Han causing mayhem everywhere and these villains popping in more than a few times. Perhaps they will return at some point. In general the character cast in this volume was quite solid.

As I mentioned before the art is pretty solid. The characters all look right and the art is easy to follow. It complements the fast pace of the issues and also works pretty well for the fight scenes. The writing is on point as well with a lot of clever dialogue from all of the characters. I’d certainly expect no less.

Overall, This is definitely a great follow-up to the last installment. Han will be missed, but the series will live on. If you are a big fan of the movies then you definitely need to check these out. If you haven’t watched the movies yet then you’ll quickly get caught up on what is happening over the course of the first few issues and will still be able to enjoy it. It’s just a quality sci-fi action story so I can recommend it to anyone. Hopefully the third volume continues to be just as strong.

Overall 7/10

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Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

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It’s time to look at Solo, A Star Wars Story. It’s certainly been getting quite a lot of mixed reception and a lower box office report than its creators had been hoping for, but it’s still a fairly good movie. It’s nothing great or even all that original but it executes the fairly basic plot well so that’s good enough for me. I was definitely hoping to see more Lightsabers and Force usage though.

The film starts off with Han and Qi’ra hanging out on a rather tough planet. The inhabitants all have to work for a large worm which is naturally no fun. Han decides to escape but Qi’ra hesitates too much and is left behind. Han swears to come back for her someday after he gets a ship so he can fly back to the planet. A few years pass and now he is close. He just has to help a few bandits steal some cargo to pay for the ride. Does he have what it takes to accomplish this?

Now, I know there were quite a few people who weren’t hyped for this film because Han’s voice seemed rather whiny and not quite like a young Harrison Ford would act. Well, I think he does a good job. The voice may be a little hard to take seriously for a while but as long as you don’t look at him as Ford and just focus on the character then it works well enough. Han gets a good role in this film and does certainly get his credit when it comes to his piloting skills. Han also doesn’t shy away from a fight or a game of cards and is always thinking up a plan. He is a well rounded character but one whose plans don’t work out as much as he would like. Often times I would argue that it isn’t really his fault when they fail though. I’d take him over Luke Skywalker any day and considering that he is an ordinary person with no Force abilities, Han deals a lot of damage in all of his fights. Even in his skirmish with Chewy he put up an impressive fight.

Then we have Beckett who is the leader of the rebels in this film. They aren’t to be confused with the official Rebels group. They are just people trying to make a difference for themselves as they grab lots of money. Beckett embodies this creed quite well as he doesn’t trust anyone and basically confirms that nobody should trust him either. All he cares about is the money and that part is rather impressive at least. He is very straightforward about what he is doing. Beckett also nearly finishes off Han when they first meet by calling his bluff.

Qi’ra is definitely an interesting character. You will probably have a good guess as to where her character arc will go as soon as she reappears as the lieutenant to the main villain. Good that she escaped in one piece of course, she must be pretty skilled at surviving. She’s a solid character who knows how to fight and that’s always a good ally to have. How you feel about her will certainly depend on what you think of her final choices. Again, they were expected so it doesn’t really hit you as hard as it otherwise would have, but it does hurt Qi’ra’s chances of being one of the best characters. A certain scene where she decides to confront someone with a sucker hit at the end did feel a little forced. The only reason this would make sense is if she really wanted to land the finishing blow herself for personal reasons as otherwise the guy was already going to lose. Her decisions seem to leave her in a pretty bad spot for the sequel as well so hopefully she has a plan for that.

Chewy gets a large role of course and he’s all right as per usual. He gets in a lot of roars and does his best to help out. He is around a lot but there isn’t really much to say about him besides the fact that he is the Chewy we all grew up with. I’m still waiting for his fight with Kylo Ren by the way. Of course we can’t forget about Lando. He has always been a big part of the Han mythos ever since he appeared in the original films and we learned that they had a history. Considering how their partnership plays out here I’m not too surprised that he wanted to get even with Han. It just turned out to be in a very serious way. Meanwhile the main villain is okay but strikes you as one of those guys who is basically all talk. Once it actually comes time to fight he goes down fairly quick. I would have liked for him to have looked a little more impressive during the big fight for sure. His weapon was pretty neat though so that was good.

The visual effects for the film are pretty good as you would expect. As this is an older film (in the timeline) there aren’t a lot of energy weapons being used so the film can’t show off its visuals as much as it could have. Still, what we did see was nice and smooth so I’d say that it was all on point. There isn’t much of a soundtrack though. It would have been nice if they could have used the tune from the first trailer. I thought that one was really solid.

I’d say that the writing was also pretty good. The comedy didn’t usually feel forced and the witty banter lived up to what it should be for a Han film. I won’t say that it was amazing but it was maybe a little better than expected and that’s always a good thing. It helps that the film had so many confident characters to play off of each other. Pretty much all of the characters talk a good game until put in their place.

Overall, Han is a solid film. It has a fun cast of characters and a lot of action to keep the pacing pretty tight. The plot evolves as the film goes on so it doesn’t stay stagnant. Really the only thing to say against it is that the movie can be very by the numbers. At times you can definitely imagine seeing scenes very similar to what you are watching and the plot twists are pretty telegraphed so there aren’t any real surprises. Well, as long as the film executed the plots well then it’s fine if we’ve seen them before and I think the film does a good job with that. I’d recommend checking it out at some point.

AaOverall 7/10

Best Live Action Movies of Each Year

It’s time to look at the best Live Action Film of each year! This one was definitely tricky since there are so many films that came out each year. Still, I went through the Wikipedia lists and hopefully have not missed any. Naturally this list may change as time goes on and I see more films, but I’ll aim to keep the list up to date at all times. Now lets see which ones made history!

2018 Black Panther
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Black Panther was definitely a solid action movie and a good way to end the MCU until Infinity War. That film may ironically end up stealing its spot, but for now Black Panther is certainly the film to beat in 2018. It just managed to hit all of the right buttons without falling into any cinematic traps. It’s easy to see why the film was such a big hit.

2017 Justice League
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Still one of the most ambitious comic book movies of all time, Justice League really managed to be an epic movie. The fights at the end of the film were certainly excellent and I also enjoyed the opening fight with Batman and the Parademons. I would have liked to have seen more of what the original version was supposed to be like, but the finished product still managed to be quite awesome.

2016 Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice
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Now this is the most ambitious super hero movie of all time. After all these decades, the two most popular superheroes finally get to meet each other. This film is almost perfect as it had a lot of tense scenes and great memes after the film had ended. The whole film just comes across as very epic and you won’t want to step out of the room for a moment. The dialogue and banter between the characters was uncanny.

2015 Avengers Age of Ultron

While not as groundbreaking as the original Avengers, Age of Ultron was an excellent sequel which brought the gang back for one more ride. We got a lot of snappy humor and some fun fights so it’s hard to deny that this was a very good film. There was a lot happening here and even though I’ve seen it twice I would already be down with seeing it a third time someday. I do think it may go down as the least memorable Avengers film though.

2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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After the first Captain America film I can’t say that I was too hyped for this one. Still, it managed to exceed my expectations and was actually quite great. Winter Soldier made for a good opponent to Cap and his scenes even proved that Spider-Man was far stronger than Cap physically. The Hydra plot finally got to end so Cap could get some new opponents and this was a movie that stood well on its own as well. There weren’t a whole lot of guest stars or anything this time.

2013 Man of Steel
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Man of Steel was always a controversial film but I have to admit that it is still one of the greatest films of all time. The fight scenes are decades ahead of its time and Superman makes for a great main character. The film doesn’t waste too much time on set up or sob stories and throws us into the action. To this day I think it will be tough for a CBM to ever truly match this one’s fight scenes. It’s just hard to top a film where every character who is fighting are top level DC combatants.

2012 The Avengers

I’ve probably seen the Avengers more than any other live action comic book movie. I’ve seen it 5-6 times at this point and it never gets old. It was the perfect crossover to bring all of Marvel’s best heroes together. It felt like an awesome crossover and also managed to fit in a nice climax as well. The jokes were on point and likewise for the fight scenes. I don’t see how this film could have been any better than it was.

2011 Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible has been a great film series, but it really upped its game to the next level starting with this film. Ghost Protocol was a blast as we got a ton of action scenes and the series finally added a new character who could keep pace with Ethan Hunt. The film never really slowed down and managed to keep up the frantic pace for the whole adventure.

2010 Prince of Persia

I haven’t seen Prince of Persia in quite a long while, but I remember it being very solid. It was a film that took place amidst a lot of sand but managed to surpass its own locale and managed to be a very epic film anyway. As a pretty big fan of the games I can definitely say that the film did it justice. It was just a lot of fun all around and was a good way to start off the 2010s era.

2009 GI Joe: Rise of Cobra

GI Joe was always a film that was a lot of fun to watch. It may not have been the most ambitious film out there, but it had a ton of action. It got me a little more interested in the franchise and I didn’t mind the super soldier suits. Cobra’s group actually looked tough in this film as well which was a nice surprise.

2008 The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is still known as one of the best comic book movies of all time and I can definitely agree that it was a lot of fun. The Joker appeared as a real threat and a lot of work went into the plot. Joker definitely didn’t put Batman in an easy position, but the Dark Knight ended up victorious as you would expect. He isn’t the kind of fighter who goes down easy.

2007 Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 gets a bad rep most of the time, but it is certainly still one of the finest comic book movies of all time. There is constant action and it managed to wrap up a bunch of plot lines from the previous 2 films. It’s extremely memorable and also had a great soundtrack to support it. At the very least, I’d say that there will probably never be a Spider-Man film that can top this one.

2006 Mission Impossible III

I don’t have the greatest recollection of Mission Impossible III, but it was certainly an intense film. The villains really put Ethan through the ringer in this one and he didn’t get to have a lot of fun. This was right before the series really became amazing, but it was still solid enough to take the year I’d say.

2005 Fantastic Four

Who’d have thought that the Fantastic Four would get their time in the spotlight eh? Their film may not have been amazing, but it was a good way to introduce the team. We got some nice action scenes as well and it had a pretty good story. It was definitely better than the remake and the origins were handled well.

2004 Godzilla Final Wars

To this day Final Wars is remembered as the greatest of all the Godzilla films and for good reason too. The movie managed to grab a lot of monsters and even made the human plot interesting this time around. It’s the perfect Godzilla movie.

2003 Godzilla Tokyo SOS

Tokyo SOS was another fun Godzilla film for the books. It really showed off what Godzilla could do with modern effects and as always it gave us the monster fights that we were looking forward to. Mecha Godzilla looked hype as expected.

2002 Spider-Man

The epic start to what would soon be known as a legendary trilogy, Spider-Man redefined what it meant to be a friendly neighborhood superhero. He made the tough calls when necessary and the film taking place in NYC was a nice touch.

2001 The One
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The One is a film that almost nobody has heard of, but it was surprisingly amazing. The action scenes here were excellent and it actually had an insert song for one of the fights. That is extremely rare for a non anime film.

2000 Mission Impossible II

Mission Impossible II saw things get a little dark for Ethan and his crew. It brought in the usual action and excitement with the darker tone and made for an intense movie. Definitely a sign of things to come for the heroes in the 2000s.

1999 Godzilla 2000

Godzilla 2000 was definitely an iconic Godzilla film as it gave the hero one of his most fierce-some designs of all time. Orga also made for an extremely epic enemy. This is one Godzilla film that certainly will not be forgotten.

1998 Rebirth of Mothra III

We can’t forget the big Mothra film to end the trilogy. She had an intense fight against Ghidorah and proved that she is still one of the strongest Kaiju around. Mothra is one monster that should not be trifled with. A fun all around film.

1997 Men in Black

The original Men in Black was definitely a blast. While the humans vs aliens plot had been done before, this one was probably the first action/humor blend to really succeed at this level. It’s just a lot of fun to watch and it’s just a shame that the sequels couldn’t quite live up to how much fun this one was.

1996 Space Jam

Space Jam has always been an awesome film and I dare say that it gets better every time. Seeing the Looney Tunes have to fight for their world really brings the stakes to their peak and while you might find it tough to swallow that they can’t win on their own, just pretend that they’re holding back. Winning with a sport probably just seemed like more fun to them.

1995 Mortal Kombat
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Mortal Kombat is incredibly underrated and is still one of the greatest films of all time. I’ve never seen a film with such an incredible soundtrack coupled with excellent action scenes. This film is truly a one of a kind experience that everyone should watch.

1994 Godzilla vs Space Godzilla

I don’t understand why this game gets so much disrespect thrown its way. The concept of a Space Godzilla running around is just plain epic and his design is super cool as well. The beam fights were intense and while Godzilla was getting his spikes handed to him he still put up a reasonable struggle.

1993 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla II

Mecha Godzilla II was a strong robot who gave Godzilla a pretty tough fight. It’s a shame that he couldn’t do much more than that, but he was up against the King of the Kaiju. Their rumbles always make for really epic films.

1992 Godzilla vs Mothra

We might as well start calling the early 90s the Godzilla years because he is here to stay now. Mothra hadn’t really gotten to fight Godzilla for many years so it was about time that they had a rematch. While this wasn’t one of the most memorable films it was still a lot of fun and will have you glued to your seat.

1991 Terminator 2
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Terminator 2 is iconic and the original Terminator finally found himself matched up against a foe who could hold his own. Their duel was a lot of fun and you always can’t help but admire how persistent Skynet is. This A.I. isn’t the kind of program to just sit back and allow the humans to build up a resistance. Definitely an intense Sci-Fi epic.

1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Ninja Turtle films were always a lot of fun. They were able to hit that sweet balance of action and humor without going too far in either direction. The films were cheesy, but they have aged very well and are sure to bring you a blast and a half.

1989 Batman
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While the 1989 Batman film is largely overlooked today it was a really solid take on the Batman mythos. It helped the general audience finally take comic books a little more seriously and reminded me that superheroes are always in season. Back then just seeing Batman be able to move with such agility was a feat.

1988 Poltergeist III
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Poltergeist III is amazing because it saved the entire series. The second film was trash and the first film was no good, but the third film managed to actually make the series good. It had suspense and tension which was something that I never thought I could say for the series. Throw in the awesome visual effects and we had a real winner here.

1987 Superman IV

Who can forget Superman IV? Honestly, a lot of people consider it to be a far cry from the first film, but I’m one of the few who considers it an improvement. (I haven’t seen the first film in ages though) Superman IV embraced its nature as a sequel and used the character development from the previous films to its advantage.

1986 Labyrinth
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Labyrinth is a very interesting fantasy film that plays out like an RPG. The main character meets up with a bunch of supporting characters and gradually makes it to the final boss where she has an interesting fight while trying to keep her balance on the various walls. It’s definitely an interesting film and even has a musical number.

1985 Return of Godzilla

Whether you took Godzilla seriously or not before now, The Return of Godzilla was a film for the ages. It showed us a more fearsome Godzilla who was not meant to be taken lightly. There were no other Kaiju here which was a bummer, but the Big G can certainly hold his own film I’d say. Seeing it on VHS is definitely nostalgic.

1984 Ghostbusters
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Ghostbusters is mega popular, but I only got to see it rather recently. Still, I can see why it became such a hit since the film is a blast. The Marshmallow Man is intense and the title song is probably still in the top 5 most intense live action non battle songs of all time.

1983 Superman III

Time for some more Superman action. In case you haven’t noticed, I am a pretty big fan of the Man of Steel. His films have had a great track record over the years. Superman III may not have had a super big threat like film II did, but it brought back some of the humor from the old Superman days. It’s just a lot of fun and a good movie to enjoy while eating a few slices of pizza.

1982 Rocky III
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Rocky and Superman definitely dominated this period of time. Rocky III brought us the epic fights that you would expect from the series. By this point the premise was starting to get a little formulaic, but was still early on enough where this wasn’t a problem. As long as it is executed properly, it’s not liable to ever become a problem either. It’s just a very solid sequel.

1981 Superman II

Superman II is the most iconic of all the Superman films and in a way Man of Steel is a remake of this one. It has a lot of action and hype villains so it deserves its title as one of the top Superman films. While I may not necessarily call it the best in the Superman series, it is still a great title that deserves to be seen and admired.

1980 Airplane
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Airplane is the greatest comedy film of all time and I dare you to tell me differently. The jokes are consistently funny and that’s not something that I can say about most comedies. The scene of the pilot breaking into the airport and beating everyone up will go down in history as a hype moment. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

1979 Rocky II
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Rocky II had the hype rematch and was a good way to get Rocky back in the ring. The fight was as intense as in the first film and maybe even more so. Rocky had to give the fight everything he had to stay up right. He never quite learned how to block, but his stamina was as impressive as always.

1978 Superman

The original Superman film was certainly the start of a legendary film series. The Man of Steel impressed audiences worldwide and the film was definitely emotional.

1977 Star Wars Episode IV

The original Star Wars film is still one of the best ones. It set up the universe really well and established Darth Vader as a big threat. It had a nice cliffhanger to set up the next film and a lot of action was constantly occurring throughout. You could not accuse this film of having a slow pace or of having a generic soundtrack either.

1976 Murder By Death
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This film proved that people die when they are destroyed. While you can poke fun at the title of the film all die, it’s a serious murder mystery all the same. Just throw in a bunch of parody elements as well and you are looking at one of the greatest mystery films of all time. A definite must watch for any fans of the genre.

1975 Terror of Mecha Godzilla

Terror of Mecha Godzilla is one of the scariest films in the whole series. Bringing back Mecha Godzilla so soon was a bold move, but definitely the right one. He is essentially the Broly of the Godzilla verse and has always proved to be the toughest opponent for the King of the Monsters. It was a great way to end the Showa era.

1974 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla

Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla still has the most iconic moment in Godzilla history, when Mecha G first shows himself. I would also consider this to be the most impressive visual effect in Godzilla history, but that is more debatable. It was definitely a powerful movie with some crazy fights.

1973 Godzilla vs Megalon

Megalon never seemed all that powerful next to the other Godzilla villains, but his design is undeniably awesome. His twin drill fighting style makes him a lot to handle for Godzilla and we also had other monsters running around. The action just never stopped in this movie and that’s why it is so much fun.

1972 Godzilla vs Gigan


Godzilla vs Gigan is definitely the most brutal Godzilla film out there and one that is not for the faint of heart. Gigan proves to be Godzilla’s toughest opponent yet as he nearly takes Godzilla down for good. It’s an intense film that does nerf the villains a little to give Godzilla a fighting chance, but is still a solid film all around.

1971 Godzilla vs Hedorah

Godzilla vs Hedorah is probably top 5 among all Godzilla films if we’re being honest. Hedorah was a great opponent and had more character than the average Kaiju. He was also immensely powerful and Godzilla didn’t seem to stand much of a chance the whole time. It reminds you that you should always be careful to help the environment.

1970 Gamera vs Jiger

One of the weaker Gamera films, but still good overall. Jiger may not seem like much of a threat compared to the average Kaiju, but underestimate her at your own peril. Gamera never makes this mistake and that’s why he tends to win his fights. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this film.

1969 Godzilla’s Revenge

Calling this film Godzilla’s Revenge may be a little suspect since that’s not the original name, but I really like the title. It appropriately describes the film and reminds us that Godzilla isn’t always a very noble Kaiju. He is out here to survive and to thrive and that is precisely what he does.

1968 Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters was a very big crossover among the Toho properties and it’s still incredible that they were able to get so many monsters into one film. The human scenes may be on the weak side in this adventure but whenever the monsters are on screen you know that the hype is about to start. You’ll probably end up rooting for Ghidorah since everyone is picking on him.

1967 Gamera vs Gyaos

Gyaos is the most iconic Gamera villain of them all and for good reason. His design is top notch and he is no slouch when it comes to a fight. This is probably in the top 3 Gamera showa films and maybe even higher. While it doesn’t have the cool super hero subplot as another one of the films, it does deliver on the action and you can’t say no to that.

1966 The Ghost and Mr Chicken
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The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a really fun comedy film. It’s fairly obscure, but must have been revolutionary at the time as it was one of the first films to have humor on this level. The laugh just keep on coming and the main character does ultimately get a little more courage at the end.

1965 Invasion of the Astro Monster

Invasion of the Astro Monster is the intense sequel to the Ghidorah film. The fight takes place in space which is pretty fun and a new locale was certainly appreciated. While I do miss the buildings getting blown up, we do still get some of that later on in the film. This movie had a ton of action!

1964 Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster

For a little while I had put Ghidorah as my favorite Godzilla film of them all. It’s tough to reach the top now as long as Final Wars exists, but at the very least it will always be known as one of the beast. Ghidorah is just such a great opponent for Godzilla and the action scenes here are great!

1963 Medusa vs The Son of Hercules
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Medusa vs The Son of Hercules is a fun film even if Hercules himself looks extremely weak the whole time. Well, I guess he isn’t the real Hercules which is kind of the point. I liked the radical new design for Medusa and I would definitely say that it worked well. It’s certainly her most intimidating look yet. If she ever brought it back, we could have more entertaining films like this one.

1962 King Kong vs Godzilla

King Kong vs Godzilla was a huge crossover back in the day and it’s definitely a blast to watch. The ending is rather suspect to be honest, but I guess it’s hard to please both sides with a fight like this one. All things considered, the film did a really good job and the effects have aged really well.

1961 Mothra

The original Mothra film may not have really been much of a Kaiju destruction story, but it was a solid film all the same. The writing was strong and the characters were engaging so you don’t really need anything more than that. Mothra is still a fearsome creature and it would be cool to see her get more movies someday.

1960 The Leech Woman
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The Leech Woman is not someone to be taken lightly. Her abilities put her above that of the average mortal and she attacks without warning. The film isn’t amazing or anything, but the premise was reasonable and the execution was decent. It’s a nice film to watch even if I would not want that as my superhero name.

1959 The Bat
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The Bat was a really cool film where the villain actually got bumped off in the opening minutes and was replaced with a different one. That scene was powerful and is the main reason why the movie is so memorable. It’s just a novel concept and one that to this day has not really been overused. I have to give the film a lot of credit there.

1958 The Colossus of New York
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It’s rare to see New York in the title of the film and I’d like to see that even more. There’s not much unique about this film, but it’s fun so there doesn’t need to be much more than that. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and just remember that New York is big enough to have a Colossus within it so long as nothing nefarious happens with it.

1957 12 Angry Men

The 12 Angry Men is definitely a classic film that may not have a whole lot of action or anything like that, but stands on its own with how good the dialogue is. I wouldn’t mind more films about jurors like this since this one was really engaging and also had a nice sense of humor.

1956 Rodan

Rodan may be a film that not too many have heard of, but those who have seen the film tend to acknowledge just how great it was. Rodan himself doesn’t get to do much as an adult in this film, but just thinking of how tough he will be when all grown up is enough to make this film even more interesting.

1955 Godzilla Raids Again

Godzilla Raids Again was a reasonable sequel to the first Godzilla, but was still lacking the extra monster action that we have come to love in the Godzilla films. It was still a very entertaining film though and the effects aren’t bad. Seeing Godzilla on the big screen is definitely surreal.

1954 Godzilla

The original Godzilla movie is definitely a fun Kaiju pic. For some it is very serious while for others it is light hearted fun, but that’s because it depends on which version of it you saw. I saw the happy American version and it does a good job of getting across the notion that Godzilla is a tough monster, but one that will always look out for itself first and foremost as opposed to trying to destroy us all for kicks.

1953 Beast From 20000 Fathoms

The Beast From 20000 Fathoms is a fun movie and really started off the Kaiju boom. Seeing the monster eat some humans only for the humans to escape and keep on running later was pretty hype. Some call it stock footage while I just call it good writing. It’s a movie that reminds you of how scary a true Kaiju is.

1952 Deadline USA
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This film is about a newspaper and how it tries to uphold its ideals while gangs and other third parties try to shut it down. As long as one reporter is willing to keep on fighting for Truth and Justice, the others will follow suit. It’s definitely a fun film and one that shows you how one paper can make a difference.

1951 Superman & The Mole Men

Superman & The Mole Men is an incredible film. It’s one of the only features where Clark Kent actually looks extremely competent and is as intelligent as you would expect a reporter to be. His job is all about finding clues so it makes sense that he would know a thing or two as opposed to other films where he is just there for comedy. It has aged extremely well.

1950 The Breaking Point
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The seas are fairly safe nowadays, but this wasn’t the case way back when. You had to watch out for pirates and a bunch of other hooligans. Eventually you would reach your breaking point and finally lose a shootout. This film can be rather somber but as everyone talks with a certain amount of smugness you quickly start rooting for one side or the other. Either way, it’s a tense film to hold your attnetion to the end.

1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff
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Abbott and Costello are back to beat up more crooks and remind the world why they are the most capable main characters out there. Karloff certainly bit off more than he could chew when he came up against these guys. Yeah, not much more to say about this one other than the fact that you will get a lot of laughs.

1948 Rope
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Rope is one of those movies where you aren’t liable to forget the title. It’s short and to the point while accurately describing what the film is about. Lets just say that rope is as dangerous a weapon as it ever was and when used for murder it can be easy to hide. Definitely a retro thriller that has aged well.

1947 The Dark Passage
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The Dark Passage is an intense film about framing and murder. You have to watch all of the characters very closely to see if they should be suspects or if you are simply overthinking things. In a movie like this one, you must always be on your guard. It’s certainly a film to think about.

1946 Time of Their Lives
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Abbott and Costello return again for another film filled with hijinx and a lot of crazy situations. There’s not much more that needs to be said here as the duo always delivers a funny movie filled with a lot of laughs. You don’t even need to worry about the plot as the leads have you covered.

1945 And Then Their Were None
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And Then Their Were None is an example of a “slasher” film done right. Now, I guess you don’t have to call it a slasher, but it’s the kind of film where everyone starts getting murdered one by one. The main difference is that this film is very old school so the murders aren’t graphic and the whole thing is just entertaining to watch. It’s a very epic story where the characters have to constantly try to outwit each other.

1944 Laura
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Laura was another solid mystery film that really brought in a lot of good twists and turns back in the day. The big twist about her faked death and return was handled beautifully. The main character may not have beein great, but the supporting cast really shined which is important.

1943 Calling Dr. Death
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I don’t recommend calling Dr. Death! This is one of those classic films that plays it by the books with Dr. Death naturally being evil. It’s fairly suspenseful and interesting despite the generic premise and is certainly worth a watch. I’d say that the film did a good job with the tools that it had at the time.

1942 Who Done It
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You can’t go wrong with an Abbott and Costello film. While you’ve seen one you’ve seen em all does seem to apply quite well here, it’s a formula that never gets stale. The old style humor is on point and you’ll be grinning ear to ear by the end. The heroes may not be brave but at the end of the day they do what is necessary to win.

1941 Maltese Falcon
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The Maltese Falcon is definitely an iconic movie with a very detailed plot. It’ll keep you thinking throughout the adventure and you have to watch out for the red herrings. This film doesn’t try to simplify itself for the audience and that’s a good thing. Just pay attention and it’ll all make sense.

1940 Invisible Woman
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The Invisible Woman was a fun film that dealt with being invisible. The main character may have had less fun with it than the original guy who got the power, but she also didn’t end up turning evil so she deserves a lot of kudos for that. It’s a pleasant film that doesn’t drag on.

1934 Death Takes A Holiday
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Who ever thought we’d see Death itself as more of a main character right? Usually you expect Death to be more antagonistic but he seems like a pretty chill guy here. The film was very surreal and while the ending may not have been amazing, it definitely didn’t hoild the film back from being good.

1933 The Invisible Man
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Who here doesn’t know about The Invisible Man? Honestly, while super speed would probably still be a power that I would choose sooner, I would absolutely love being invisible. There are just so many practical applications for it like sneaking into a restricted area to snag a few Pokemon who are hiding there. I guess most of the other uses for it are a bit murky like stealing candy bars, but you could always pay for it real quick and then dash out. Of course, using your ability so obviously is a sure fire way to get caught for government experimentation. Oh yeah…I was supposed to talk about the film right?

So, there you have it! I’ll be keeping this list updated so any title that you see now may or may not be there in a future as another film may end up rising above it. This was certainly quite the project to put up, but maintaining it should be a lot easier! Congrats on actually making it all the way to the end.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Star Wars series. It’s still the most popular Sci-Fi franchise out there and it’s pretty surreal that the series finally got to keep going after the long gap since episode III. This one’s been getting fairly mixed reception and it’s easy to see why. I have a lot of mixed thoughts on it as well. There’s a fairly large laundry list of pros and cons that I have with the film that all get thrown together which is why this review will be fairly long. Long story short, it’s a good movie, but one that feels like it’s considerably longer than it should be with not much actually happening for most of it.

The film starts with the Republic getting wrecked on all sides by the First Order as per usual. They’re outgunned and outnumbered but they have spirit. Against orders Poe decides to take down one of the enemy flagships and single handily saves a good chunk of the fleet. For his bravery he is demoted. Unfortunately the First Order is still gaining on the heroes and their only chance is that Rey will return with Luke Skywalker to save the day. In case she fails at this task, Finn is charged with a backup plan to find someone who can help them disable the tracker that is preventing them from escaping. With two plans in the works surely one of them will succeed right? Or is all hope lost already?

It’s great to see the opening credits roll and the classic Star Wars previously segment play. It’s always been a nice staple in the franchise and it works well. It also allows the film to go forward without having to show everything by giving us a little info from the start. As a result, the actual movie starts out with the big fight in space and that’s exactly how you should start a Star Wars fight. While the Lightsabers may be the most popular aspect of the series, the title would suggest big galactic battles like this one. It’s handled really well and you feel bad for the Republic since their ships are always so outnumbered. I’m a little skeptical on Poe’s ship massacring the big Star Destroyer but I always did say that I’ll take speed over power any day so I guess this proves my point. He did a lot of damage there. It’s a very strong start to the film and it hits all of the beats that it should. Unfortunately things start to slow down here. Lets stick to one chunk of the film at a time though. There are 3 main plots so in those plots I’ll discuss the relevant characters as well as positives and negatives.

The first plot is the Poe plot. The heroes are on the run and they need a plan. Leia gets knocked out because she made the mistake of being in the command room with all of the other generals. However, it is the only unguarded part of the ship and this is such a big design flaw that the people who built the Death Star can now breathe a little easier. This leads to a rather random scene. I won’t go into detail, but I didn’t care for the scene simply because it leads into absolutely nothing. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like Leia. She’s become such a bad character ever since she went into power. It’s like all good characters are corrupted by their bureaucratic status. Just look at how Naruto fell once he turned into Boruto’s father. Now, I can’t blast this scene too much though since obviously the plans had to change when the actress passed away. This plot point could have very well led on to something if she had stayed alive or perhaps she was supposed to die but to let the actress go out on a happier note they spared her.

Leia’s replacement is even worse though. While Leia makes consistent bad choices and shows no leadership qualities, at least she tries. Her replacement refuses to share her plans with anyone and is constantly aggressive for no reason. She seems to be very self conscious about what a bad leader she is so she takes it on everyone else. I don’t remember her name and I don’t even care enough to look it up. She has purple hair and you’ll know her when you see her. She has some of the worst plans that I’ve ever seen a “competent” general come up with. By “competent” I mean that the film wants you to think she is a brilliant strategist and that she knows what she is doing. It’s one thing for a comic relief character to come up with a bad plan or for someone that the film is trying to make look bad to come up with a bad plan. This is something altogether different because it is portrayed as a good plan. Without going into specifics, the new commander wants to sacrifice 100% of the fleet and get everyone to escape in small escape pods that have no barriers or weapons. Except for massive plot armor this is a complete suicide strategy with no hope of success. How would the villains not notice these pods on their scanners? This is the future right? In the present you are able to see small objects on a scanner, I refuse to believe that they simply wouldn’t notice them. Even once the plan starts tanking nothing is done for a very long time and then the lady remembers that she has one last option. By then almost everyone is dead, but still she is supposed to be remembered as a hero. Forget that!

The true MVP of this plot was definitely Poe. So much so that I can safely say that he is easily the best character in the whole film. He is always the one making the right decisions. It may have been risky to take down the Destroyer, but he saved a lot of lives in the process as it would have meant trouble for the other planets. It’s the other pilots who should have done a better job of steering and not dying so easily. Poe’s plan is much sturdier than the commander’s as it is at least a plan that has a chance of saving everyone else. Just giving up is the worst possible call to make in any situation. I’m also glad that Poe has a lot of loyal allies by his side since it shows that the crew can think for themselves. Getting sucker blasted by Leia was annoying, but not something I would blame on Poe. It’s just another reason not to like Leia. Hopefully Poe gets another big role in the next film since his character is really going strong now.

This plot was probably in the middle of the 3 for me. It wasn’t as slow paced as the other two, but at the same time it did stall the most. When you think about it, that whole plot is basically just the main ship running and the enemies blasting at it. It’s stuck for so long that it almost feels like they’re using stock footage at times. There’s one moment in particular where the camera keeps cycling between the 3 plots and it lands on this one twice where I saw 2 ships getting blown up each time. They were probably different ships, but it really looked like the same scene.

Next up is the weakest plot in the film. It belongs to Finn and his new partner, a fan of the pros. You can tell that she’s going to be annoying from her first scene as she gives Finn a sob story and is way too in awe of him. I’ve never liked the hero worship trope in fiction or the fact that it’s a real thing in life. (Shoutout to the Smash community) While her backstory is tragic and all, you have to wonder why she is in the film. Her romance with Finn is awful at best and while she makes the right call in stopping him during a critical moment, it’s also just super annoying. I was annoyed with her the entire time and that probably hurt the plot as a whole. Finn wasn’t much better though. He was seriously going to just run away. I was waiting for the twist or for him to explain that he wasn’t actually doing that…but he was seriously going to just up and run away. You can immediately see the contrast between him and Poe. Both agreed that the commander couldn’t lead her way out of a barn, but Poe decided to stay and do something about it while Finn decided to run away. Case Closed.

Finn’s just not a fun guy. Even when they go to the casino and hundreds of lives are hanging in the balance..he stops to enjoy the atmosphere and the games? You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s hard to even root for him against Captain Phasma since she always gets the shaft in these films. Why is she not able to beat Finn in a one on one fight? She’s also not experienced enough to know that turning your back to the enemy and having slower reflexes than a turtle is a bad combination. I can’t say I’m really a fan of Phasma either, but I’m convinced that the writers just don’t like her. She is intentionally treated as a joke. Finn is unintentionally treated as a joke and there’s a big difference between those two. The former can be good writing while the latter is tragic. Finn is maybe slightly better here than in the first film…maybe. In some ways you can say that he has regressed as a character.

If it’s not obvious why this plot is the weakest, it’s because there are no good character here. They break out a quirky locksmith guy, but as he’s drunk the whole time it’s not like he’s going to be much of an improvement to the cast right? He doesn’t appear for very long anyway and I have to question just how weak the imperial defenses are if some guy in jail can pick them. Shouldn’t they keep upgrading their tech at this point? The plot is easily the least relevant to the film as well and probably could have been cut with nothing actually changing. As it’s the backup plan it could have easily been wrapped up a lot sooner or just been left to the way side and the Rey plot could have changed a bit to accomodate it.

Of course, that’s the big plot. We’re finally up to Rey and her adventures with one of the worst developed characters in history the biggest traitor since Benedict Arnold the mass murderer through negligence Luke Skywalker. I can’t begin to tell you how much I can’t stand this character. It’s hard to hear the guy talk since Luke is so obnoxious. Luke is not only a traitor and mass murderer, but in general a very egotistical, arrogant guy who can’t back up any of his tough talk. He went from being a standard main character for 3 films to someone who has turned his back on the heroes and doesn’t mind if they’re all slaughtered. I’m still puzzled as to who on Earth thought it would be a good idea for him to be such a heel here. The trailer set off all of my warning bells back in the day and the film solidified them. They may as well have turned him into a Sith Lord considering what happened here. When he first rebukes Rey and tells her that what she said was wrong you want to slap him since it was a valid answer. Luke’s answer is the one that’s hogwash as he tries to tell her that the Force is just energy everywhere and all that. It’s his catchphrase as well so you’ll hear him say it again, but he’s annoying (and wrong I’d say) both times. Rey didn’t say anything that really contradicted him and lifting things is basically the Force’s greatest strength. The Force wouldn’t be nearly as good without telekinesis since you could be shot from behind without it or lose in a fight. Controlling weak minds is okay and all but it only works on the weak. You need to keep your barriers up at all times or you’re through.

What they did to Luke is just plain insulting to the original trilogy. His character has been completely warped and I can see why fans would want to pretend that this film just never happened. I still say it’s depressing that after Episode VI where we finally beat the Dark Order and the Republic got to be in control, that everything was thrown back into the status quo off screen. It’s just hard to picture and also makes the first three films entirely pointless. Take them away and now nothing has changed. I went into that a lot with Episode VII so no need to tread old ground.

Rey is still a solid main character. I liked her a lot in the last episode as she was a pretty selfless hero who wrecked Kylo Ren and used the Force pretty well. She’s a slightly weaker character here as she lets Luke and Kylo take control quite a lot. I’d like to see her ordering them around or at least holding her own a little more. Perhaps in the next film though as she is steadily growing stronger. She is still a great character regardless and I’d put her as the second best named character. She may believe in Kylo Ren’s chance at turning over a new leaf too much but that’s not something I can fault her for.

I still can’t take Kylo Ren seriously. When your first scene is getting mocked by the main villain and throwing a temper tantrum in an elevator, you’re just not the kind of villain who is ever going to command respect. His conversations with Rey also don’t help the mystique angle as he just seems like someone who is being led around by forces he cannot comprehend. Kylo Ren can fight of course, but I’d still say that Rey should be able to beat him and so he shouldn’t be much of a threat to any of the higher fighters. The Red Agents should have obliterated him.

I’ve always liked the Red Guards. Those guys have awesome designs and have been a big part of the Star Wars background for a long time. How they didn’t defeat Rey and Kylo I’ll never know. I can understand Rey beating them, but Kylo? He should have gotten wrecked the instant the fight started and yet they acted as if he may be a little stronger than Rey now. I dunno about that, but I was really satisfied wit the fight scene. It’s easily the highlight of the movie. I’ve been waiting for a modern day Lightsaber fight for so long. It’s not quite as solid as the fights from the prequels yet, but we’re getting there. I imagine it’ll take time to get the choreography quite up to that level, but by the next film they should have it down. While Star Wars may not revolve around the Lightsabers, I think it should. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of the franchise and that’s why I like the prequel era so much. The Jedi vs Sith wars were a blast and nowadays you only really get to see that in the video games. If this is any indication of what will happen in Episode IX, then I’m all set for that.

Emperor Snook is pretty disappointing though. He doesn’t get to fight and is heavily nerfed so Kylo won’t look too bad. The character had a lot of potential so it was rather disappointing to see him go out this way. He has to lose at some point so I wouldn’t mind a Rey and Kylo team up against him, but at least some kind of fight. He’s a Sith Lord! The guy should be crazy strong. At least he has some hype though. The only other villain left is Hux and he’s effectively comic relief. The film did a good job of making him look part monkey to an extent though, bravo!

This plot was the best thanks to the fight scene. The Luke and Rey scenes were fairly dull though and the characters didn’t really do anything for a while. She’d ask him some questions, he’d ignore her. Rinse and repeat for roughly an hour. Rey did go into a cave, but nothing actually happened there so it was basically filler. Luke spent the whole subplot embarrassing himself as well so the longer it went on the worse it got for him. Even the flashback with Kylo makes him look terrible. He looks painfully weak and I’ll never be able to take him seriously again since this was allegedly Luke at his prime. Luke should blame himself for what happened since it really was his fault, at least when you look at the scene that’s the impression I got. He should have done a much better job of leading. Luke gets so bad that even the Sith complement him on making their job easier. I almost thought his final scenes had some plot hax, but the film handled it well so I have no complaints there.

The plots all merge by the end so for Episode IX we should finally have the full cast assembled. It’ll be nice to see the characters think up a battle plan as a team for a change. That being said, the war seems like it’s pretty much over. There basically aren’t enough people still alive to form a resistance since everyone was murdered so they’re going to need to just rely on Rey. She can take on an army on her own so the others should just sit tight and try to learn how to be Jedi in the meantime. Otherwise, it’s hard to see how they will really be able to contribute, but with the timeskip maybe the rest of the planets will send more cannon fodder to the heroes to beef up their ranks. You can’t help but feel bad for those guys, but they knew what they were signing up for.

So where does this rank in the Star Wars films? Well, I’d consider Episode IV, VII, III, and Rogue One to be the 4 strongest by far and in that order. Next up I’d place this one followed up Episode V, VI, and I. Episode II is all the way below and I doubt/hope a Star Wars film never reaches that low again. So at 5th place out of 9 that’s not bad at all. I fully expect the next Star Wars film to beat this one, but I guess we’ll see what effect bringing back the old writer will have. I do wonder just how much the writers like to mess with the script and what the last writer did to their benefit. After all, only the writers and executives are likely going to know how the film was “supposed” to go so we can only speculate. Whatever happens, I just want a lot of action so deliver that without falling into any landmines and I should be good. Pull another Luke Skywalker twist and that will just be sad.

I think it’s safe to say that big Star Wars fans will appreciate this title a lot more than a typical action fan. There are likely a ton of cameos and references thrown for these guys. I picked up on some, but for others I have no idea. As the plot doesn’t move too much, you’re supposed to get hyped over each character and what they’re doing. Since I didn’t like half of the characters I was supposed to like it didn’t work as well on me as it was supposed to. That shouldn’t be a big problem if you’re super into the franchise. After all, it’s not like I gave most of the films positive scores. That being said, if you’re especially a big fan of the original trilogy then there’s the chance that the opposite will be true and you’ll see this one as insulting its legacy. The only way to find out is to watch the film.

While the camera work is good for scenes like the Red Room where it’s very atmospheric, I’m not sure about the directing for the characters. It may not be the director, but I’m not sure who’s in charge of this. All of the characters seem to be out of breath all the time. It’s borderline distracting and this was an issue in Episode VII as well. Just think back to the first trailer for that one where the cliffhanger every time was Finn really out of breath trying to get up. (Always thought that was a weak scene btw) That happens here to basically everyone. It’s like the director tells them to all go for a job right before filming each scene. I just don’t get it and it’s a problem that I only really notice for Star Wars. The film also really overdoes the close ups on each character. We don’t need to see their faces in such intense detail to understand that the scene is intense. A standard far shot will suffice.

The movie uses a lot of the classic themes from the old films. They still sound as good as they ever did, but the movie still seems to be relying on nostalgia here as opposed to coming up with new tracks. I can’t recall any new tracks that were memorable or epic during the scenes. I only remember the iconic themes that play during the movie. Still, they’re enough for me to consider the film to have a pretty solid soundtrack. The visuals are pretty nice as well. The space fights are epic and the lightsabers are solid as well. Now all we need is a city like New York and we’ll really be all set!

The writing is quite solid. Ignoring the talking animals and robots who use grunts to say nothing while sounding deep, the humans all seem pretty good. There’s not a lot of random language at all and in general I don’t remember characters swearing. It probably happens, but certainly not all that frequently if so and it makes the film a lot more peaceful to watch. It definitely helps the characters as well. There’s no real animal violence here either although Chewy was a pretty bad character in this film for actually cooking an animal off screen. Considering what planet he is on, it came off as really insensitive. He’s not as bad as Groot, but he definitely had no real role in this story. Yoda’s cameo is a lot more satisfying with his fans and I’d say he looked good. Anyone who zaps something Luke’s a fan of is okay in my book and it was just a really great thing of him to do in general. If Yoda can look like this in the future, he may become more tolerable.

One pattern you’ll quickly notice in this film is that the rebellious characters are the best ones. Poe defies orders to quickly take command and it’s a great scene. Rey impulsively decides to head for the main villain’s base against Luke’s command (ha!) and while the plan doesn’t go well at first, I can agree with the notion. She’s confident in her abilities and certainly wasted no time in arriving there. It’s amazing how quickly she got there honestly and I was glad to see someone was taking charge. It’s similar to when Luke defied Yoda to go save his friends. It’s always the right option and always a blast to see even if it rarely goes too well for the hero.

I think the real issue that hurts this film a lot is the fact that it has virtually no replay value. It’s the kind of film that you really wouldn’t want to see twice because there isn’t really a reason to. There are a couple of big scenes where a character almost dies but doesn’t. I suppose it’s dramatic if you think they are going to die but since you would know better the 2nd time around it loses the impact. You could say the same for many films, but this one in particular really builds up the scene to the death as it drags on for a while to get maximum effect. Since you know these scenes are red herrings the next time, you’ll just want them to get on with it. It’s a really long film that feels like a long film. In the same way that some mysteries are hurt by watching them twice while others keep the replay value, this is just one of those action films that works best as a 1 time experience. It’s a natural consequence of upping the drama but maybe you can make an argument that the enhancement to the film the first time around is worth it. Not sure I’d argue that, but it’s there.

Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a good film. It’s hampered by its long run time and fairly weak cast, but still has enough strengths to carry it over the hill. Poe and Rey are two solid heroes and that’s enough to help keep the film going. The fight scene we get with Rey vs the Red Guards is pretty fun and hopefully we’ll get more action in the next film. Now that certain characters shouldn’t be appearing anymore, the cast should get a lot stronger for the next film. Since it is also the end of the trilogy I’m expecting a lot more action. We got 1 Lightsaber fight and maybe 2 space fights. I’d like to see us double that number in the sequel, especially the lightsaber fight. I want an extended Force battle where Rey has to use her full arsenal. Anyway, I’d recommend the film to any action fan but if you’re a Star Wars fan then it goes without saying that you need to watch this one.

Overall 6/10

Star Wars The Force Unleashed II Review

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It definitely didn’t take too long to get to the big sequel to the original Force Unleashed. I enjoyed the first game quite a bit so I was excited to see what the sequel brings to the table. Ideally a sequel should always be just as good or better in every way. This sequel managed to pull that off in all areas aside from the plot. Is it enough to get that extra star and nab a 9 or will it continue to elude the game? Time to find out!

The game starts with Starkiller waking up in one of Darth Vader’s training rooms. The Sith explains that this Starkiller is the only clone to have been a success and that the original Starkiller is dead. This clone has all of his powers and memories and Vader will make him destroy the Jedi. Clone or not, Starkiller decides to escape instead and manages to find his old resistance teammate, the blind Jedi. The Jedi claims that Vader is lying and Starkiller is the original. Starkiller’s not sure what to think about all of this, but the main heroine is in trouble so he decides to launch a full scale attack on Vader’s base. Ultimately, his origin won’t matter as long as he can save her.

I don’t really mind the game keeping it ambiguous as to whether Starkiller is the genuine article or not. It adds a little tension and who doesn’t want to see some of that in the story. As long as it isn’t overplayed, it works well. Unfortunately, the story still was a step down from the first. It’s still cinematic and feels like a movie, but it’s a movie that doesn’t have much of a plot. It takes a while for Starkiller to decide what to do and by the time he does, the story is over. You could sum up the game’s story in a few sentences. Starkiller returns and meets up with his old pal. The two of them make it to the resistance base, but it was destroyed. They head over to Vader’s base and blow it up as they save the heroine. That’s really all that happens in this game.

Of course, the game was quite short so it was never going to have the same amount of content as the first game. Still, I was expecting a little more. Admittedly, part of the fault is in the fact that I thought the game was more about choosing between good and evil the whole time like in the Shadow The Hedgehog game. It turns out that only the ending matters like in the first game so it’s quite different from what I had assumed. The game is supposed to be roughly 5 hours long and that sounds about right. Hardcore gamers can finish it in one sitting although it took me 2. 5 hours of straight gaming may have been something I did more back in the day, but that is really a long time to be sitting down.

Granted, the ending is quite great just like in the last game. I ended up obtaining the dark ending. I wanted to make the hero call of course, but then the villain started to goad me on and I decided it was time to end him. A pretty shocking moment occurred and honestly it was all handled beautifully. As always the blind Jedi was supremely annoying, but I suppose that couldn’t be helped. Personally I’d say that the Starkiller in this game is a clone. It’s not really a spoiler since I know people have gone either way with this although most see it the way that I do in this case. That being said, he may have been more likable than the first one.

The gameplay is a lot smoother than the first game and I was hoping that would be the case. It’s the same core gameplay as it’s a 3D hack and slash title where you have other abilities at your disposal as well. You can shoot lightning and harness the force to protect yourself. This time you have 2 Lightsabers and you can switch out their crystals to give the weapon other special abilities. I recommend the extra EXP ones since those really add up by the end. The combos are a lot more fluid and the tutorial is fast while also being comprehensive. You’ll really feel like a Jedi Master as you slice through dozens and dozens of opponents.

There are a lot of cubes to find and trophies to collect which should add to the replay value. It has about the same kind of bonus content as the first game so there’s not much new to be on the lookout for. Just grab all of the cubes that you can and level up. It’s considerably easier than the first game as well I might add and that is probably because of how much smoother it is. I died quite a few times in the first game because my lightning wouldn’t lock on, but that’s never an issue here. With the original’s story this would instantly be a 9. As it is, it is a close call. The gameplay is amazing, but the experience is relatively short.

You probably figured this from the first game, but the graphics are still quite great. They have improved from the first title which is saying something. This is definitely pretty high end even for the PS3. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable though. Surprisingly both games didn’t really have any memorable tunes. I guess this game had to have a weakness somewhere right?

Speaking of weaknesses though, I did think that some of the quick time events were a little too hard. Not in terms of timing as that was pretty normal, but the events where you had to press a button really quickly. I just couldn’t push it fast enough and had to keep trying different ways until I finally nailed it. There were around 3 bosses like this and they just didn’t feel fair or balanced. I can’t imagine how a kid would get through these levels. I definitely have to respect their button mashing skills if they pulled it off.

Beyond that, I am still a big QTE fan as always. Personally I think it makes the boss fights more epic. I know some don’t care for it and I can see the negative side (Losing near the end of a long QTE sequence and having to do the whole thing over again) but it’s certainly still a positive in the end. As for the story which I keep taking subtle shots at, I just felt like the writing for Starkiller was a little all over the place. At times he was fairly quiet and treated like an experienced veteran. Then he would suddenly talk and then he wouldn’t stop as he panicked about everything and did a ton of yelling. The former is what I expected of Starkiller while the latter just feels out of character. He’s just a lot more emotional than I would have expected at times although he still makes the rational choices in the end.

I did say that I liked him more than the first Starkiller though and that’s because he’s just a little more intense. He makes the controversial decision to abandon the alliance so he could save the heroine instead, but it’s a move that I can go with. The rebellion is always falling to pieces anyway and they were okay with sacrificing her so naturally that was not okay. Starkiller made the right move. The game’s ending is quite dark no matter which ending you ultimately ended up going for. Naturally mine was incredibly dark but probably the more hype ending. It just seems like Starkiller can’t catch a break. I’d love a sequel to this game, but it seems like it isn’t to be.

Overall, The Force Unleashed II did everything you could ask for from a sequel. It tightened up the already solid gameplay to make it even better. It improved the graphics and still gave us a full cinematic story. There’s also a good amount of replay value here and none of the trophies are too crazy. You’ll have a blast from start to finish. Even if the story isn’t quite as intense as the first game, you’ll still be pretty reasonably hooked during it and the climax ends the game with a bang. Now if only we could get a multiplayer mode.

Overall 9/10

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Stats and Records

Stats time! The Play time should actually be higher, but apparently the game auto saves don’t actually count as saves and as such don’t count play time. When I go through the game again for the trophies, I’ll have to remember to save manually.

Play Time 4h 36m

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review

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I’ve been waiting to play this Star Wars game for quite a while. It got a lot of hype when it first came out and I’ve owned it for quite a few years but was blasting through the older games first. While the gameplay may not have aged incredibly well since it first came out, I quickly got into the swing of things and enjoyed the game quite a lot. Ironically the beginning of the game was more difficult than the second half of it since the upgrades really helped to change the course of battle. I just wish I had realized that I wasn’t logged in to my PSN because of some network issues as I missed out on the trophies. I’m still a little salty about that. With this review done, I’m also ready to begin the sequel to see how it improved upon the original!

The plot focuses on a young padawan named Starkiller. Darth Vader decided to train him as an apprentice in the hopes that the two of them could team up to destroy Palpatine. To this end he has Starkiller go around hunting Jedi to improve his abilities until he is ready. The problem is that Palpatine becomes aware of the plot so Vader has to take some drastic measures, but this ends up being a fatal mistake by the end. Honestly, Vader should have just taken the opportunity and fought right there. That definitely would have been his best chance.

The gameplay is 3D where you have total freedom to use The Force, Shoot Lightning, or attack with your Lightsaber. It’s one of the best gameplay styles out there and it was cool to play it. A lot of games like this I don’t really get to play like Infamous or Grand Theft Auto. You can level up the skills and get a lot stronger during the game. By the end you can really feel the difference in your abilities which was handled really well. The boss you had trouble with at the beginning is nothing more than a minion by the end. Now that’s what I call character progression.

One issue that I do have with the title is the lock on feature though. It’s really not helpful as it always locks on the wrong thing. You tend to miss with your attacks as a result at times which can really be annoying. You learn to work around that by the end, but the gameplay just could have been a little more polished in this angle if you ask me. I shouldn’t have to work around it. I’m sure this will be fixed by the end though.

The game is reasonably challenging, but it’s not unfair. You get to keep your EXP from the minions so just keep retrying the level until you win. Use strategy and try different tactics, you’ll get through eventually. I had some trouble with the first mini boss but it all went well after that. Once I had mastered the controls, it was on to the races. At only 9 levels the game is a little on the short side, but it should still last you about 4-5 hours. There is also some good replay value in finding all of the collectibles and obtaining your shiny Platinum Trophy. It seems like a bit of a grind as well as being reasonably difficult so it should take you quite a while to grab them all.

The graphics are really good and the game spared no expense with its cinematic cutscenes. The game feels like a big movie at times without limiting the gameplay. You have a good amount of quick time events for all of the bosses which always adds a thematic element into the mix. This is really the definition of a AAA game and we need more Star Wars games like this one. The soundtrack is also on point with most of the iconic film themes making it into the game. I can’t say much for the original music in the game as the film ones are the only themes to really stick out.

Starkiller is the protagonist here and he starts out as an evil follower and eventually becomes a hero. He even makes the tough call at the end to spare Palpatine instead of destroying him. Same for Darth Vader. He may not be quite as intense as I thought he’d be, but he’s pretty solid. I like him more than Luke Skywalker and some of the other Jedi. He probably is one of the best Star War Jedi either way though if that’s any consolation. He reminded me a lot of Cole from the Infamous series. I definitely also think that he’s one of the most powerful Jedi as he was able to hold his own against Vader and Palpatine, no easy feat.

The rest of the supporting cast was all right. The main heroine was good and took the plot twists in stride. The only character who was annoying was the blind Jedi. I believe Rogue One’s character was basically taken from this one. While he technically gave some good advice like telling Starkiller not to destroy his opponents, he was incredibly weak for a Jedi. He spent the entire story getting beaten up and being a liability. Starkiller actually could have made it through this game if not for him.

Still, it was an epic story no doubt about that. This could easily be adapted into a movie and I think it would be a really epic one. The cutscenes are movie quality as it is and the story could easily fit into the universe. Vader’s whole plan maybe felt a little extra convoluted and training Starkiller so well may not have been a good idea, but it made for a good excuse to have a character be so strong. I imagine Vader would be a pretty good teacher since he is so ruthless.

Overall, The Force Unleashed absolutely lived up to the hype. The only thing holding it back from a 9 is that the camera work/lock on feature is a little too unreliable and the game is perhaps a bit too short. There aren’t any real negatives, but to get to the 9 Star rating you just need something extra. Perhaps the sequel will be able to make it all the way up there, but at an 8 it is still a great title that you should get at all costs. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll be able to appreciate the game all the more. It lets you utilize every Jedi/Sith power seamlessly in the gameplay. You’ll feel like The Force is with you.

Overall 8/10

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Stats and Records

Stats time!

21/50 Trophies
Droids Destroyed as Jedi 1315
Droids Destroyed as Clone 669
Falls 112
Challenges 3
Deaths 141
Destroyed Battle Droids 1270
Destroyed Super Battle Droids 363
Destroyed Destroyer Droid 48
Destroyed Spider Droid 68
Destroyed Crab Droid 36
Destroyed Chameleon Droid 85
Destroyed Sabotage Droid 76
Destroyed Magna Guard 28
Destroyed Vulture Guard 5
Destroyed Octuptarra Droid 4
Jumps 1848
Droid Jumps 85
Actor Jumps 4
Boost Jumps 17
Melee Attacks 1370
Rounds Fired 4768
Grenades 83
Rockets 41
Force Points 152160
Run Distance 46495
Hover Distance 551

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review

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It’s time for another title set in the Clone Wars. Republic Heroes may be the first Star Wars game that I’ve played on the PS3, but it ended up being the weakest installment in this saga. I don’t know why, but it just couldn’t hang with the others. I blame it on the game’s poor gameplay mechanics and lackluster plot. It’s still a solid game that will last you for a reasonable amount of time, but I was expecting a little more since we are now in the modern era.

The game has you split up into several groups. It appears that Count Dooku is up to something again and he sends Ventress off to cause some havoc. Cad and Kul are also fighting over a weapon of mass destruction. I don’t think we ever actually learn what it does to be honest. Well, Anakin and Ahsoka go to check things out while Obi Wan and a Jedi master I’m not familiar with head to a space station. Two other Jedi Mastered investigate the canyons and along the way the Clone soldiers do their best to help out as well. The heroes have spread themselves rather thin, but they’re always ready for danger. Hopefully they are prepared!

Here’s why the plot sags behind the others…there are no hype moments. The original Wii game was a blast because of the stellar soundtrack and the tough talk between all of the characters. It worked really well as a result. The DS game worked because of the fun gameplay and I really enjoyed the Shadow sisters as villains. The problem with this game is that none of the villains are particularly interesting. They don’t feel like threats either. Cad is a guy with a gun…so he shouldn’t last long. Kul is a robot who has a lot of weapons, but it seems like it’d be an easy matter for the Jedi to swing him around. That just leaves Ventress and Dooku but since they lose in all of the games I don’t think we’re meant to take them too seriously anymore. The banter between the characters can still be pretty fun and the characters aren’t bad, but the plot could use a little work.

The gameplay is 3D hack and slash. You have to fight your way through large armies of droids as you try to keep your wits about you. There is a lot of variety as you will play as both Jedi and Clones as well as ride hovercraft and large robots. You can also jump onto any enemy to control it and force others to try and oppose it. You can use your Force abilities or go in close for the lightsaber. The Force is incredibly overpowered here so the game got that part down pat. To make up for this, it doesn’t give you all that much money so if you want to buy a lot of stuff in the shop you should stick to close quarters combat. I was able to buy everything anyway at the end and I used a lot of The Force so money isn’t a huge issue. Even if you don’t have enough by the end you can probably just replay a level and you’ll be good to go.

It’s fun to mow down legions of enemies with your blade. The game can feel like a mini beat em up at times due to this. That’s also why the Force waves are fun as you can send about 6-10 enemies flying with a single hit. Unfortunately the gameplay can also be a weakness. The title uses an odd auto jump system where your character will lock on to an object and try to land in a controlled arc when you jump. The problem is that the character can’t decide what to do right away so a lot of times he unlocks right as you jump and you plunge to your death. You always have to wait a second before jumping to make sure that you don’t flal. It feels rather odd and it’s a weird part of the game. I had a ton of deaths that way.

Fortunately, there are no real deaths here. Each character has infinite lives and even if both die at the same time, you’re still fine. I am playing on the first difficulty though so maybe that changes later. I wasn’t about to start the campaign on hard after all. It’s pretty useful I admit even if it maybe does make the game a little too easy. I did die over 140 times according to the stats though so I probably got sloppy thanks to it as well. The game just doesn’t explain things too well at times like how to defeat the large droids. That kind of messed me up at times and those bosses would take ages. Just remember to jump on the enemy when in doubt since it automatically destroys most of them.

The main campaign has around 35-40 levels and each of them is about 5-10 minutes long. That will last you for a good amount of time and getting all of the PS3 trophies will add in some replay value as well. There are a lot of collectibles to grab so keep a sharp eye while in the levels. The more that you grab now, the less that you’ll have to worry about in the future right? I grabbed as many as I could, but I believe that I may still be missing around 30 or so.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are all that good. They look like a Wii game rather than a PS3 one. They haven’t really aged well I’ll admit. It’s not like they’re awful or anything though, they’re still good enough. The blasters and attacks look good at any rate. The soundtrack is rather limited. It uses a lot of the same themes from the other two games. Surprisingly, the only good theme in the game was the end credits tune. That one was surprisingly amazing so I’m a little sad that they saved it for the credits. It should have been used for the actual game if you ask me.

I’ll give the game credit for handling the Force well though. This game probably had the best application of it from all the games that I’ve played so far. It was actually very useful the whole time and didn’t feel like a tacked on feature. There were also no artificial moments made to make the game longer. Every level was direct and to the point. I can definitely appreciate the game’s honesty there. I’ll take a 6 hour game with no repeating levels than a 30 hour one where it is just the same level over and over again.

Overall, Star Wars Republic Heroes is a good game. It could have easily been a great game if the gameplay was smoother and the story was more interesting, but it tripped up there. There’s no way I’d die 140+ times if the gameplay had been smooth. It feels a bit like a cash in at times, but you can tell that some effort was still put into the game. It at least feels like a real game and the levels go by fairly quick. The developers certainly had a bunch of ideas as the game introduces new features even near the end of the game. It’s interesting to see a tutorial message pop up when you’re in the final act. It may not have all worked and they should have used some more time to refine the actual platforming element of the game, but it’s a nice package overall. I’d recommend getting it. It’s not the best Star Wars game on the market, but it’ll introduce you to all of the core concepts.

Overall 7/10