Medusa vs The Son of Hercules Review

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It’s time for a really old film that basically nobody remembers at this point. It’s just very obscure and it’s easy to see why since it’s pretty low budget and feels kind of random. The good news about this is that the film can basically do whatever it wants because it’s not like there were any expectations for it. The film’s pretty fun and has some nice monster designs. I wasn’t sure if it would be able to stay the course for the whole film and cross the line into boring territory but it stayed entertaining throughout.

The character names are a little tricky, but I know the important ones. Perseo is just an ordinary guy living in the poor slums of the world. He doesn’t know that he is actually the son of Hercules so I’m assuming that as a baby he got lost or was banished for some reason. Either way, he’s content since the princess (He doesn’t know that she is royalty) comes to visit him every day but never tells him that her name. He vows to catch her one day before she escapes him. The problem is that Andromeda has an arranged marriage to Galenore in order to stop an impending war. Galenore and Perseo meet which ends up with Perseo getting humiliated in combat. He will get one chance to redeem himself as Andromeda saves him by initiating a tournament. The winner claims Andromeda so the stakes are high. Can Perseo win?

This is one of those films with a ton of different climaxes. There are many times you’ll think the film is about to end when it just keeps on going. I’d say that this is a good thing for the most part since it means that the film keeps up a very fast tempo. I’d expect nothing less. It’s old but the effects are actually pretty good for its time. Case in point, the monsters. There are two main monsters here. The first one is a Sea Serpent who picks off anyone who gets too close to the water. Fortunately for the serpent, everyone runs to the water and even the villain trips inside it towards the end for plot convenience. I liked his design and this monster was not to be trifled with. Nobody could stop him.

Then we have the Medusa. It’s a living Tornado with an evil eye that turns everyone into stone. It claims a lot of victims during the very first scene but sadly only appears once or twice after that. It’s definitely another strong opponent and this may be my personal favorite Medusa design. At the very least you have to admit that it’s very original and unexpected. Since the Medusa is even in the title, you want it to go down with a little dignity. It certainly had a lot more than the human villains.

Galenore is the main antagonist and he talks a good game while he’s winning. Once he suffers his first defeat, he quickly becomes afraid of his Perseo. He basically cowers behind his father from this point on and only fights when his opponent is at a disadvantage. Naturally I’m not a fan since his only motivation is basically that he wants to marry Andromeda. You can probably see why he’s not my kind of villain from that scene alone. His whip skills were fairly solid I suppose, buit I definitely don’t consider it t be one of the better weapons out there. Give me a sword any day.

Andromeda was an okay heroine. She had bow and arrow skills which is more than I can say for most. I would have been happier if she had used them more during the film though as opposed to getting knocked out with ease. Granted she was in her room in the palace so you’d think that nobody would break in, but the guards were all dispatched in an instant. Honestly the security was pretty terrible. Going against the arranged marriage was good and all, but she could have been more direct with Perseo. The romance was pretty weak throughout though so I’m glad it was given a relatively small presence. I saw the comedy version on Svengoolie with the extra sound effects and I can certainly say that they did at least make all of the scenes a lot funnier. Enough that I’d possibly give it an extra star as most of the additions were pretty well placed and also made Andromeda a better character.

To round out the main cast, I can’t say that I like Perseo all that much either. He just seems a little desperate for Andromeda and yet he still gets completely wrecked in his first fight. I was expecting him to put forth a little more effort to be honest. It was just sad how he lost and even in the rematch he was not faring well for a while until Galenore got overconfident and went too close. It was interesting to see him suddenly become the head of the army and break into the villain base though. It was a pretty big shift in stature in just the span of a few minutes. The King of the heroes wasn’t even that grateful the whole time as he forced Perseo to get in the army. Then we got a plot twist about where Perseo truly belonged which was at least mentioned in the beginning so there was some foreshadowing. I felt bad for the Mom since it took ages for Perseo to arrive. I believe she ended up dying rather tragically as well but I don’t remember the specifics.

It would have been nice if Perseo’s army was a little stronger though. The difference in power was crazy and how did the villains get those overpowered monsters? The heroes losing everyone to the Medusa was also pretty suspect since you’d expect at least a few to throw some arrows or sword stabs into the tornado while it was busy freezing others. Of course, given their lack of teamwork and how they got picked off by random guys the whole time, I suppose it is to be expected.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It’s certainly not amazing or anything, but it’s surprisingly a pretty solid experience. Something is always happening and the film never got too fishy with Galenor’s obsession with Andromeda. Perseo was always ready to break things up. The action scenes are entertaining and this just makes for a really good light hearted action film. It’s certainly not serious and it’s not even self aware but you’d be surprised at what you can do with a limited budget. This film was clearly ready for it and I’d certainly be up to seeing more films in this series. I’d recommend checking it out but don’t expect the monsters to get a huge role. At the end of the day, it’s just a story of the hero trying to save the Princess from the villains.

Overall 6/10

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Justice League Review

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After all these years of hype the Justice League movie is finally upon us. The series has been amazing so far despite getting critically pounded. Not every film was great, but for the most part they were all solid. This film also ended up being an excellent addition to the cinematic universe. It can be a bit of a slow burner at times but one that does build up to a great climax.

After a quick scene that I actually forgot until after the film, Justice League opens up with an action scene where Batman takes down a Parademon and realizes that the invasion is closer than ever before. This was a perfect scene to kick off the film since it immediately has the aliens show up so the heroes can form the team. While I will have a bunch of critiques coming up, there is nothing I can say about this scene. It was basically perfect from the set design to the Parademon’s special effects. After this Batman decides to track down Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman so that these super powered individuals can stop the invasion. Wonder Woman has been alerted to what was happening as well and shows up to help. Can this alliance really stop the armies of Apokolips?

Let’s start with the basics. The soundtrack is really good. It’s not as memorable as Man of Steel but it does a good job of sounding epic. The Wonder Woman theme returns which is always fun. I was expecting the cool Man of Steel tune but maybe next time. The graphics are also really good for the movie and that’s one area where DC really excels. I have yet to see a CBM top BVS, or this film with the backgrounds. Man of Steel and Avengers are also pretty high up in the rankings. Essentially the whole climax of Justice League is in a fiery, apocalyptic future backdrop which makes every scene even more epic.

You also have to give the film credit for most of the outfits. Batman’s is definitely one of the best he has ever had and maybe it is the best. It reminds me a lot of his look from Justice League Heroes. Superman and Wonder Woman’s costumes also look pretty sharp. I’m still not sold on Aquaman and Flash so those didn’t hit it off for me. Cyborg’s was pretty good and I actually liked the mysterious cloak/hoodie costume.

Now let’s get on to the characters. Batman is essentially the lead here. I’d say that he looks pretty good. He is still the brains of the group although his plan is typically just to get whoever he is talking to upset. It took him quite a bit to realize that the guy was Aquaman as well unless that was part of the plan. He gets beat up and saved quite a bit but his reckless self sacrifice plans are still on point. He did have a nice contingency plan for Superman again as well. When it comes to personality he’s still my 2nd favorite character as expected but he is really going to need more power ups as the films go by or he is going to have an even tougher time dealing with the villains. That is give him some prep time once again.

Superman is my favorite character as always even if they decided to go with the edgy route for this film. I don’t mind an edgy Superman if done right after all. He was comically out of character for the entirety of his first scene when he attacks the League. Sure he isn’t too thrilled about why he is around but the Superman you’d expect would just endure this quietly or at least ask some questions. Trying to seriously injure and destroy the other heroes just doesn’t seem to be in character at all. The film played it off like he was actually going to destroy Batman even using one of Batman’s edgy lines from the last film to show how the tables have turned. Later Superman is rather reluctant to help out and must be told to do so. He then does a complete 180 ad starts cracking some jokes and laughing with everyone. It’s almost like they had two different writers and the 2nd one took over just for the climax act of the film so the scenes didn’t gel well.

What both acts really got right was Superman’s power and speed though. If you’re familiar with the characters, you’ll know that Superman is way stronger than the other League members. He could beat them teaming up without using all of his power. The film demonstrates that quite nicely. Even when he’s not been able to be in the sun for a while and was likely not at full power, the heroes just couldn’t hurt him. Wonder Woman is very strong but not strong enough to actually deal damage to him. Flash is fast, but not fast enough to actually land a hit on Superman. This is essentially how every fight with Superman and the League should go and I was incredibly impressed with how Superman looked here. I get the feeling we won’t get to see him look quite as impressive ever again so remember these scenes well.

Going back to Superman’s personality for a second, it is also weird that he holds such a grudge against Batman. It’s true that only Batman called them friends and Superman was rather cold to him throughout the climax but I thought he got over that by now. Wouldn’t Superman give him a second chance or let bygones be bygones? At the very least I’d expect him to try and arrest Batman instead. I still say that Batman should have called in Martha right away. She would have ended the whole situation right away. Despite this, Superman naturally does make the hero calls in the end and he’s still the best. In a way it probably is annoying to have to save the world every other day since nobody else can do it, but Superman will get over it and be inspired again before long.

Wonder Woman naturally gets a big role as well to close out the trinity. It’s likely only second to Batman’s. Until Superman shows up she is the only power hitter of the team so she basically has to fight Steppenwolf on her own. Wonder Woman does a pretty good job of lasting and while he is a little too strong for her just having one more ally who could fight would have been very useful and could have tipped the scales. She’s certainly a solid character as well and I wouldn’t have minded if the main 3 had been the focus of the film since the rest of the League members weren’t all that good compared to them. The only scene where Wonder Woman looks bad is when she decides to go against Batman in his master plan. I’m cool with her disagreeing with him since not messing with death can be sound advice. That being said, she immediately goes for the personal attacks and brings Superman into the discussion yet when Batman responds in kind she snaps and breaks his shoulder. She can dish it out, but evidently she can’t take it. Batman’s response was also pretty on point since she did randomly vanish for a century. We can blame DC for not thinking that plotline through since it was out of character for her, but it happened so she doesn’t have a whole lot of room to counter here.

On a side note, I would have liked to have had more scenes of Batman insulting the League. He had to play ball with them since Superman wasn’t around and he was a bit of a leader for them, but it feels like a missed opportunity. If Superman had been around the whole time, Batman could have acted like the stone cold detective he usually is with subtle burns and verbal shots throughout the film. Maybe next time though and he still got his share of memorable lines. Next up is Aquaman. He’s the worst member on the team so I won’t dwell on him too much. He’s basically just a drunk guy with slight super strength who is supposed to be funny, but never quite makes it. He contributes absolutely nothing to the film. If you take him away then the events don’t change. He feels like filler throughout and the guy seems to just be around to annoy everyone. The film also tries to use him for humor which doesn’t work too well. This guy should not have been in the film and I had a feeling this would be the case ever since the first trailer.

On the humor side, I was impressed with the film. From the trailers/ the last two DC films I got the vibe that the film was going to be over the top with humor. Adding a ton of jokes here and there to liven things up. Surprisingly, the film is still pretty serious the whole time. This does feel like it’s in the same universe as Batman V Superman and the whole opening is very grim. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the whole film was like the Batman vs Parademons scene as it’s dark out the whole time, but that brings along its own set of risks I suppose. While some of the humor can be forced, it never becomes too distracting from the film. The characters are all pretty serious during the fights as well so it’s not as if they’re distracting themselves. The film handled the balance quite well.

Our next League member is Flash and naturally the TV show comparisons will start the instant he appears. I’m not sure how they could have gotten his design and costume so wrong with the big budget. The TV show’s version looks superior in every way. I can’t speak for the personality since I never saw the Flash, but from the clips I’ve seen he also seems like a much better character. This one looks too young and the fact that he is a novice with his powers can be pretty grating at times. He doesn’t even feel all that fast compared to Quicksilver from the recent X-Men films. Flash would get decimated in a fight if we base it on the movies and while the nerf is okay if the writers felt like they would be getting into plot hax moments like Quicksilver vs Apocalypse, it sort of defeats the purpose of the Flash to an extent. He needed to be more confident and self assured. We got glimpses of Flash being quite intelligent, but they were very subtle and he never even got to fight in the film. He barely threw a single punch until near the very end and those may have just been tackles since it seems like he vibrated through his opponents. He’s essentially a Peter Parker ripoff right now so I’m hoping he improves for next time.

Cyborg is the final main member and he’s all right. He comes across as annoying and whiny for a while though as he’s inflated with self importance. Maybe it’s because he starts off as a Cyborg, but you don’t feel any sympathy for him. He would have died if the parts weren’t merged with him so I don’t think he has a whole lot of room to complain. Now, the process did look painful so if he talked about that then maybe I could buy into it, but he spends the whole time complaining and feeling bad for himself. It’s one big pity party with this guy and his plan at the end was really flawed as well. Without going into detail, he said he could stop the boxes by doing a cool magnetic pulse and all. The thing is, apparently he needs someone to actually push them apart as well and the only way to even have a chance is if you have a guy with Superman-like abilities…and Superman wasn’t around. The plan was for him to do it himself..but how? There’s no way he could have done it so he effectively led the team on a suicide mission. I still think of Cyborg as a Teen Titan and this film didn’t change that, but now that he’s accepted his powers he should improve quite a lot.

Unfortunately Lois Lane was a big miss in this film. Her depression over Superman’s passing is used as the excuse for why she’s not a daring reporter anymore, but this also doesn’t really work well with her character. While she’s never been all that great in this series, at least she took a lot of risks like in BVS where she went to get the spear or in Man of Steel where she broke into an alien ship. In this film she has completely given up on everything and has been reduced to a weak character. Her role is very small anyway, but it’s definitely not the Lois that I expected. Martha Kent is all right I guess, but none of her dialogue is particularly funny or heart warming despite that being the intent. The scenes of Martha and Lois chatting was easily the worst part of the film since it just felt like filler and didn’t add anything to the movie. You would basically just wait for the scenes to be over so we can get back to the plot. Fortunately this film was good at constantly shifting from scene to scene so you were usually not in one place for too long.

A human subplot that was actually decent was the family hiding in a cabin. Granted, this was also complete filler but at least it showed that some people were ready to defend themselves. The plot didn’t end exactly how I pictured with Superman showing up to save them and all, but it was still okay and didn’t last too long. Steppenwolf is basically the only villain in the film. He’s a miss as far as personality is concerned, but he’s a strong fighter which makes for an engaging antagonist. Not too many fighters use an axe so that was cool. He was really creaming the League and just about everyone else he fought aside from a certain hero. He definitely lived up to his hype and I’m eager to see how the films portray Darkseid. So far they’ve been very good at making the villains both strong and fast. I don’t think he will be an exception so Superman vs Darkseid could very well be the greatest fight in live action if handled right.

I do have to question the Amazonian tactics near the beginning though. So, they know that the box is vibrating and they also know more or less that it’s a bad sign since they fought the owners a thousand years ago. Naturally the Queen posts a few guards by it…and then sends the rest of the army to the other side of the island. Why would you do that? I think even a kid could have told you that you leave most of your army by the box that spells imminent danger. As a result, Steppenwolf tears through the few warriors that guards it. Showing her bravery, the Queen deserts her fellow sisters to get the box away and locks the cave behind her to seal their fate. Steppenwolf still destroys just about everyone as he grabs the box and leaves, but would he have fared as well against a whole army? I think he probably would have shredded them all pretty easily, but since the film played it off like the army was a threat, I think it was a tactical blunder.

The Atlanteans were just as bad and only left a few scrubs to block the box. Steppenwolf wrecked them pretty easily and ran off. Honestly the humans were the ones putting up the best effort when you think about it. At first I was also skeptical of how they beat Steppenwolf in the past as well, but since they had a lot of guest stars helping then I was fine with it. I was convinced once the flying warrior showed up and even more when the gods of old turned up. Lets face it, they did all of the work. The Atlanteans, Humans, and Amazonians were just there for moral support.

I can’t say that I cared for the action scenes where Steppenwolf was wrecking those two armies either. It’s just never very fun to have a big character crushing a ton of powerless ones unless it’s a character you really like or something. As I’m not a Steppenwolf fan, you’re just waiting for a hero to show up so it’ll be a fair fight. Then you just keep on waiting until the fight is eventually over.

So, how high does this film rank in the all time list? Well, it’s definitely below Batman V Superman and I’d put it under Man of Steel as well. After that, it’s close between this one and Avengers for third. I think this one will edge out so Avengers grabs the 4th spot and Civil War grabs number 5 which rounds out my Top 5 Live Action CBMs of all time. What gives this one the edge for 3rd are essentially the action scenes since the one thing Avengers lacked was any big fights. Again, it’s an underrated edge for DC as their fight scenes cannot be beaten.

There are two after credit scenes. Surprisingly the first one is the happy comedy one instead of vice versa. Probably a way for DC to be different from Marvel. It’s a decent scene even if it goes nowhere and the film was playing it too safe. We all know that the guy on the right who scrunched up his face during the scene won because he was taking it very seriously. The 2nd scene gets some setup going for future DC films. It should make for a pretty good plot although I definitely want Darkseid for film 2. The problem with having other villains is that I’m going to be asking the real questions the whole time…how can they handle Superman? Black Adam would solve that equation, but everyone else would get lolstomped inside 2 seconds. Especially since Superman has been heavily amped from his already impressive Man of Steel portrayal.

This is a pretty long review as it is. The thoughts keep on piling up but this review would be way too long if I jotted it all down. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to discuss something in more detail. As for miscellaneous thoughts, one area where Avengers does have the edge is in the fact that the characters were already established. As a result, it felt like a huge crossover since all of the characters were crossing over. It merged at 4 films, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. This one in comparison only merged two, Batman/Superman and Wonder Woman. The other League members debuted in this film so it wasn’t as big and since they were newbies who hadn’t yet had their own film to save the world, they weren’t as impressive as they should be. Marvel’s formula is certainly the right one to building up a team film, but I am ultimately glad DC skipped a few steps because I don’t want to wait 5 more years for the first Justice League. Now that this one has finally been made, we can start expanding the universe more. I wouldn’t even mind if DC forgot about the spinoffs and decided to just focus on churning out Justice League film after film. It would be a pretty unique way to go about it and I’d be on board.

While a few horses certainly seemed to get hit during the battle with Steppenwolf, the film at least had the dignity to not have them be bleeding or crying out in pain. The film was actually surprisingly tame throughout and that’s something I have to give it credit for. There is some language but it’s all very mild for the film. We get one or two mild fanservice shots for Wonder Woman but the film also managed to restrain itself in this area and at least we didn’t have random bath scenes like in BVS. On the whole you can see that this film didn’t really have any major negatives which is essential to being known as an amazing film. Most of the minor stuff I listed above barely even register on the scale. Even the boring scenes or jokes that may not have been funny weren’t bad enough either. The film was very close to being perfect and while I can think of alternate plots that would have been more fun (Like Superman being around during the whole film) the movie did a great job with what it had. Perhaps the gaps of no action will be more noticeable in a re-watch, but maybe not. As a huge DC fan I was pretty invested from start to finish and I imagine this would be the case on a re-watch as well. What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m a big fan of the Justice League so naturally I’ll get an extra kick out of this film. It’s also why I’m a little more critical on it at times, but I think I did a good job of still keeping a very positive tone on it throughout this review. At the end of the day, all films can be a little bit better, but if it’s a 7 or higher, it means that I am satisfied with the result. (Even more so with a 9)

Overall, This was a great film. Once Superman showed up, it became an amazing one. Honestly, Superman’s depiction in terms of strength was enough for me to know that this would be one of the all time greats. He’s my favorite comic book character and I’ve always considered him to quite easily be the strongest character of all as well. DC has continued to surpass my expectations when it comes to fights and power levels. They are simply unmatched and when you have a character like Superman that just makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend checking this film out. It may not be quite as intense as Batman vs Superman or Man of Steel, but it did get the end of the world vibe just right. Something is always happening and the atmosphere is always tense. I will eagerly await the next Justice League or Superman film. It’ll also be nice to see if DC can save Aquaman and Flash in future films, but I feel like sticking to films where Superman can show his stuff is the safest option.

Overall 9/10

Thor: Ragnarok Review

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The MCU has been consistently been getting better as the phases go by. Captain America 2 was better than 1 and 3 was better than 2. Thor 2 was better than 1 and now this latest Thor film has arrived and is the best film in the trilogy. It’s a very fast paced film with a lot of action and hype throughout. It also does a great job of showing how great of a fighter Thor is with or without his hammer. It’s going to be hard for the next Thor film to top this one.

The film starts off with Thor seemingly being held captive by Surtur. Of course, the whole thing is basically just a ruse to get information. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since think we all found it highly unlikely that Thor can be bound by mere chains. Unfortunately Thor has not stopped Ragnarok by defeating Surtur as the true source of despair shows up. Hela is the goddess of death and her abilities are the real deal as she easily beats Thor and Loki. Thor is going to have to form his own team to defeat her.

The heroes definitely get around in this film as Thor goes to Earth, Surtur’s Domain, Asgard, and the Grandmaster’s planet. It’s fun to see all of the different locales as they all worked quite well. The weakest one design-wise would be Grand Master’s HQ, but the arena looked quite good. Earth may win out since it was great to have a Dr.Strange cameo. He looked really good in that scene and they’re definitely building him up to be one of the team’s power hitters. He’s also one of my favorite Avengers in the MCU so I’m ready to see him get more of a role. He’ll have to keep his list handy since a lot of threats are certainly coming to Earth in the near future.

Thor has a lot of fun in this film as he openly mocks the villains and just tries to enjoy everything he does. He’s a good lead and this is probably the best that he’s been portrayed. He’s a lot wiser than he used to be while still keeping his strength. This is Thor as a leader in addition to being a warrior and it makes him a more complete character. Seeing him fight off an army at the end without his hammer was definitely impressive. It’ll be very hard for me to get used to his new hairstyle though. I’m going to miss the old one until it grows back, but it’s not the worst redesign I’ve seen as it’s still miles above the Joker.

Going back to Thor having fun though, it keeps showing how Marvel is just good at writing comedy. The Iron-Man films have always been pretty fun as the humor is just handled well and this film does a great job with it as well. It’s not forced and most of the jokes land. The only film I can think of in the MCU that failed at being even remotely funny was Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Age of Ultron could be really forced at times, but it was still entertaining, it would just throw you our of the movie for a second. As DC is trying to emulate Marvel with their current movies, hopefully they’ve been taking notes. Wonder Woman wasn’t funny and Justice League’s jokes don’t really seem to be working, but it’s possible they’ll turn it around in the film or by the sequel. It takes time to be funny and writing jokes has always been the hardest part of developing a script if you ask me. That’s why it’s not really a problem as long as the jokes aren’t downright terrible, but if there are a bunch in the movie, then you want them to be good. Again, Thor: Ragnarok did a really good job with this.

Loki was a fun ally to have around. Naturally you can’t trust him at all and the film’s pretty self aware on that, but at least it meant Thor didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It’s always good to have at least one companion on a journey. He didn’t look quite as impressive as usual though since everyone he meets ends up beating him up quite badly. He really took his lumps in this film but always manages to keep his confidence. I’d really be on board with him finally being an ally, not a hero as that’ll never happen, but someone who helps out once in a while and doesn’t try to destroy the world.

Now I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan. He’s a decently good character and all, but I typically just like him in his more intelligent depictions. The only exceptions are some of the really old Stan Lee era comics where he was pretty sympathetic. The film has a good portrayal of him. He’s not too annoying or anything and can put up a good fight. The writer seems to definitely know who he thinks is the stronger fighter (Thor or Hulk) and I tend to agree with him. Brute strength is great and all, but when you’re about as strong and have a variety of other techniques at your disposal, it’s game set and match. Surprisingly the film gives Hulk a backseat role for the entire climax as he doesn’t get to face off against Hela or anything, but it’s a good way to ensure he doesn’t steal the show or get humiliated in front of his fans. It was not what I expected from his role, but it worked well enough.

Unfortunately, this is probably Bruce Banner’s worst portrayal. He’s really slow on the uptake and panics about everything. He is constantly in a state of shock and just holding everyone back. You almost can’t help but wish for the Hulk to return and maybe this is why Hulk wants to stay out 24/7. It’s also interesting how each side can’t remember anything after they turn so for Bruce it’s like 2 years passed in an instant. That’s actually pretty tragic so I should feel more sympathetic for Bruce…but I don’t. I miss his self assured/over confident version from the first Avengers film. I will always look to that as the definitive Bruce Banner portrayal. The only other one that’s close is from the Indestructible Hulk mini series.

Valkyrie is the main heroine of the film and fulfills the role pretty well. She actually doesn’t get on board with the heroes until near the end of the film so her role isn’t huge or anything but she’s pretty tough. Balancing fighting and drinking is tough but she manages to pull it off. I can’t say that I was a huge fan of hers since her backstory basically involves being a traitor and turning evil. You’re sort of supposed to look past all of that, but it’s a little tricky and I think she would have worked better as a villain like Loki who occasionally helps the heroes. I give the film major props for not going for a romance angle here though. I’m sure the writers were pressured by Hollywood into doing this, but they refused.

Heimdall has his own filler subplot where he beats up a bunch of minions and helps guard the Asgardian survivors. He’s a good character even if he doesn’t get much of a role here. He’s the kind of character who makes more of an impact if you’ve seen the first two films. Since this is the 3rd one, there’s no excuse not too. I miss his classic armor, but his new Bishop redesign works quite well and he lasted quite a while considering how outnumbered he was.

Hela is the main villain and also the best character of the film. She’s a great villain because her goal isn’t crazy or just evil. It’s a pretty rational goal as taking over the multiverse makes sense to prove your supremacy. I can get behind that and I can also buy into her taking over Asgard since it is hers by birthright. She looks extremely impressive in all of her fights. I would have liked a longer round 1 fight with Thor and Loki but seeing them fight while on the light speed tunnel was certainly entertaining. I’m also glad that Thor didn’t back up when they all started hyping her up. As long as you stay on Hela’s good side you’re okay since she doesn’t seem to be in the habit of randomly destroying her minions for no reason. She may very well be the best villain in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point although I’m expecting big things from Thanos.

Scourge is her right hand man and he gets his own emotional character arc. He starts off as the guy that everyone pushes around and eventually levels up to janitor. I liked him well enough at the beginning I guess, but he’s just not my kind of character. He’s one of the weak links, but his actual scenes aren’t bad so it’s not like he hurts the film. I just didn’t care enough about him to be sympathetic. Surtur appears for a bit and gets his own fight scene, but he’s definitely not as impressive as he was in the comics. Everyone basically uses him the whole time and I have to wonder what his ultimate plan is. He better appear in Thor 4 or I’m going to have to remember him as the villain to have the worst plan in the MCU. He may not have thought it over very carefully.

The Grandmaster was interesting and way better than the Collector. It helps that his actor makes the character pretty entertaining as opposed to simply being quirky. There’s a big difference between the two and you always want to be the former as opposed to the latter. He’s definitely a villain through and through but tries to hide his evil intent through jokes. Hey, if Spiderman can do it for the heroes, why not have a villain with that gimmick as well? It does make sense after all and he was a fun guy to have around. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Korg is one of the quirky supporting characters from the Arena. While I didn’t find his voice quite as hilarious as by theater seemed too (They laughed at just about every one of his lines) it did work pretty well for the character. It’s been a while since we got a very to the point character who speaks softly but always manages to keep everyone in check. Definitely the best portrayal of Korg in all of Marvel. Stan (The Man) Lee also shows up to clean shop. His cameo may be quick, but he really sets the tone in his appearance and also shows that he fears no one. You have to have nerves of steel to have his job after all.

Ragnarok’s soundtrack is absolutely great. The themes are all very sci-fi and fast paced. They help to amplify the fight scenes and make the whole film better. Good music helps make a scene more memorable so as you would expect it also has the same effect on the movie as a whole. Most films don’t insert a big song when a fight scene starts. It’s a popular trope in anime but that’s about it despite this being a fantastic way of building up energy for the scene. Well, Thor pulls it off for both the first and last fight. The last fight in particular is handled extremely well as Thor gets one last vision of a certain character and then unlocks his true power. Aside from maybe Avengers and even that is close, Thor definitely has the best soundtrack in the MCU and is high up there for all of Marvel’s theater films.

The action and effects are certainly on point. The monsters of the fire world certainly looked very impressive and it made for a very good opening fight. Surtur’s design was modernized for the new age and while he was rather skinny I still liked it well enough. Hela’s fight scenes were solid as well and her costume was very faithful to the comics. Thor’s style of combat with his electricity will remind you a lot of Cole McGrath or Starkiller and it’s certainly the most efficient way to fight. When you’re using electricity to enhance your range and strength, it is very hard to dodge or counter that. Now that Thor can fight at this level the only Avenger who can reasonably give him a good fight would be Dr. Strange. I don’t think the others could keep up.

Naturally the film has a scene after the credits so make sure you stick around. There are 2 scenes, but the first one is really the only one you need to worry about. It’s easily one of the best post movie scenes in the MCU as we finally have a significant plot development here which works as a great tease for Infinity War. It’s hard to imagine that the big crossover film is so close, but it is certainly approaching fast. It’s also why it makes sense to beef up the Avengers roster since they’re going to need all the help they can get. I’m not sure how some of the street level fighters will be useful, but maybe they can at least distract the villains with one liners while the real fighters take them down.

Now, there is a little plot hax at the end. It’s nothing major but the final fight’s outcome should have been reversed. On one side we have a giant opponent who is extremely slow and can only attack in a straight line. On the other we have a very nimble fighter who can move quite fast and also has a lot of durability. All the character needed to do was move just a little bit and that would have worked as a dodge. I mean, the planet may not be too stable so surviving some intense energy would still have to happen, but I think the character could pull it off. At the very least, losing due to ring out would have been preferable. I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free so I’ll keep that part vague.

I’d like to say that I’ve covered everything, but with a film this big there will always be something that I’ve missed. As far as the MCU films go, It’s easily top 5. Avengers is better and I’ll also give Civil War the edge but this very well could be the third best film. Age of Ultron gives it a run for its money, but I dare say that Thor beats both Winter Soldier and Spider-Man Homecoming. Either way, it confirms that Thor is certainly top 5 and we’ll see how long it can stay there if Marvel keeps raising the bar. I’m still hoping they go all out with Infinity War and have just about everyone appear. Bring in the old villains, Agents of Shield, even throw the Netflix crew a bone with a portrait on the wall or some kind of cameo. Make this the big event that it should be.

Overall, The film was just about perfect. There’s not much to really say about the film in the negatives department. It did pretty well with keeping the power levels consistent. Not perfect, but basically no film is. I felt bad for the poor dragon who fought Thor, but at least the film didn’t destroy Fenfir as in my head canon he can certainly survive a fall. That was nice. Thor himself has also come a long way since the older films and makes a few speeches about what it means to be a hero. The action scenes are first rate and the graphics are quite good. The film’s also just a lot of fun the whole time and has a ton of replay value. It’s not everyday that you get a film as satisfying as this one. I teetered between an 8 or a 9 for this film for a while, but at the end of the day I think it definitely earns the extra star.

Overall 9/10

Insidious: Chapter 3 Review

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It’s time to step into the final part of the Insidious Trilogy. This prequel helps fill in the gaps from the first two and leads into the first one. It’s a pretty solid horror film and still sets a nice bar for others to follow. It’s a shame that most horror films still manage to mess it up and stumble down the finish line. As long as this series continues, there is hope for the genre though.

So, Quinn visits an old psychic’s house because she wants to talk to her mom. The psychic is named Elise and the old lady warns Quinn not to do this. Elise breaks down and decides a few minutes couldn’t hurt though. Unfortunately she was wrong and instead of the mother, a demon answers. Quinn is now being haunted by it. Unless the spirit is defeated quickly, it would appear that Quinn’s days are numbered.

Quinn is essentially the main character but you can also say that she shares the role with Elise. She seems like a nice enough person even if her plan to talk to her dead Mother is probably not a good idea. We do have the phrase “rest in peace” for a reason after all. Quinn does her best to help around the house as well while also making time for her singing career. Naturally once the spirit is after her this all gets a little tricky. I didn’t really have any qualms with her.

Her Dad Sean is also all right. He probably gives Quinn too many responsibilities which stresses her out, but I don’t feel like he was being malicious about it. He’s also being overwhelmed at the moment and trying to cope with raising two kids on his own. He certainly could do a better job of it and listen to Quinn more though. He has more faults than Quinn but at the end of the day he is a lot better than he could have been. I am glad that the film let him find out that the demon was real very quickly instead of just doubting Quinn the whole time since that gets old fast.

Elise has been a big character during all of the Insidious movies. Naturally this one was no exception but as it took place before the others she isn’t as powerful initially as you may expect. She is plagued by doubts and a lot of hesitation but gradually gets back to being on top of things. Re learning that being alive gives you a good advantage over the dead was definitely something that makes a lot of sense. While the fight scenes weren’t heavily stylized like an action film or anything, it was cool to see her throw some of the demons around.

You rarely see the humans do much of anything against the spirits so it is always satisfying. She uses trapdoors to her advantage and resists the choke hold that the demons have at their disposal. At this point Elise quickly became the strongest human in the series and basically feels untouchable. At least until the ending of course. As with most horror films this one has a twist ending. Let’s just say that one of the future villains decides to pay his respects and remind her of the pecking order. It was definitely a little unfortunate for Elise since she had just gone through a whole character arc of getting her confidence back along with a boost in strength but it was all negated in an instant. It’s good hype for the villain of course, but you can definitely see how it’s tragic for her.

The villains from the past films also completely overshadow the main one the instant that they appear. I really couldn’t take this villain too seriously because of his underwhelming design. He just doesn’t look like he can put up any kind of fight and the weak design prevents him from being scary as well. You just can’t imagine this guy taking anyone down in a fight, especially since he can barely breath without his mask. The guy just doesn’t stand a chance against any of the real opponents in his path. While I don’t like the old lady villain, it was interesting to see him make a cameo. He definitely got some hype since it didn’t really seem like Elise could take him down even in her prime here. She is definitely lucky that they didn’t have to fight. The Red Mask villain also looked pretty good in his appearance and it’s safe to say that she wouldn’t have been able to beat him either. It’s definitely impressive how formidable the series has made its villains.

As always, the effects for the spirit dimension are really solid. The rules that are established for the place are thought over pretty well. If I have any gripes, it’s that all of the normal ghosts seem pretty powerless while only the evil ones stay strong. Why can’t we have a hero who died and then decided to be a heroic ghost? That’d be a neat twist and even if the films suddenly became action thrillers instead, I could roll with that. As it stands, the idea of demons camping the spawn points of the humans for the rituals is a cool idea too though. Elise stayed away from it for years, but the instant she went back the villains were still ready. That’s definitely a lot of determination there.

There aren’t a bunch of jump scares or anything, but we get a reasonable amount. The only real weakness for the film would probably be some of the supporting characters. The random guy who waited until Quinn broke her leg to unleash his pun felt like filler. Quinn’s best friend also didn’t have much of a role. Giving these characters quick cameos instead of drawn out scenes is the best bet I suppose, but they didn’t really need to appear. All of the human scenes just don’t feel eventful next to the hype supernatural stuff.

The two comic relief supernatural experts are always interesting to have around. In a sense it’s impressive how they can suddenly make the whole atmosphere light and happy when it was super serious just a moment ago. It’s hard to feel scared when they’re around. After all, the guys may be incompetent, but at least they can still serve as shields if the demons come along. Moreover, it’s just hard to imagine the comic relief characters being destroyed so it lightens the atmosphere.

Overall, Insidious 3 was better than I thought it would be. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since the series was always more memorable than other horror films and rarely went for the low hanging fruit. Give the film some extra credit for having a dog appear in various scenes, but nothing happens to him. Now that’s quality. This is a horror film that I would actually recommend and you know how rare that is so it says a lot about the film.

Overall 6/10

Dracula: Prince of Darkness Review

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Time for more Dracula! This film actually had the best beginning out of all the Dracula films which was quite impressive. For a little while there, I actually began to think that this film could actually be good. The second half falls back down the rails into terrible territory but at least it actually tried this time. If only the film had stuck to being a slice of life with a few jump scares instead of a nitty gritty vampire film. Don’t we have enough of those anyway?

The film starts off with a bunch of savages about to impale a girl who’s already dead. They want to make sure she stays that way. A passing preacher/evangelist stops them with his pocket gun and tough negotiating skills. He then heads to a cabin where we meet the Kents. 4 people are going on a big tour of the world and are having fun stopping at all of the various bars. He warns them not to go to a castle coming up since it’s evil. To their credit, half of the party listens. The 4 people are Alan, Helen, Charles, and Diana. Helen really doesn’t want to go inside and Diana isn’t fond of doing so either. Luckily a carriage comes along so Charles proposes that they get on it and head for the next town. Unfortunately the Horses are uncontrollable and quickly take the heroes to the castle. It appears to be empty, but a butler remains.

Helen continues to believe that something bad is going to happen and her fears are put to rest as Alan is destroyed and she goes next. Unlike Alan, she is at least given the pleasure of becoming a fellow vampire who will serve Dracula. Dracula wants Diana next, but Charles intends to put up a fight to save her. Charles and Diana head to the old guy from the intro and hide in his church, but the Church has a traitor who works for Dracula and the guy invites him in. It’s now a desperate battle for time, can Dracula be stopped!?

I really did like the intro. The first 30-40 minutes are basically the heroes bickering among themselves and just enjoying the hospitality once they get into the castle. You know that it’s not going to end well for them but at least they are having fun in the meantime. Charles is a pretty good character as he’s not a nervous wreck like the rest of the heroes and doesn’t mind taking charge. Diana may not be as brave, but she always stands by Charles. Alan and Helen aren’t quite as good. Helen is extremely nervous of everything to the point of paranoia which gets old fast and Alan just barely seems like a character. He’s just along for the ride for the most part. Still, it’s a fun group dynamic. These are actually characters that I can get behind and it’s just an entertaining intro.

Then Dracula shows up and things get messy. First of all, the film is quite violent. The Hammer films in general are always a little more intense and this one is no exception. One character basically bleeds to death which takes a while and it’s on screen. Another character gets impaled with a stake on screen. Ironically, Dracula’s death at the end is the least violent since he simply slips on some ice and freezes to his doom. Not exactly the way you’d imagine the famous Prince of Darkness to go out. I’m aware of the Garlic and the Cross as counters to Dracula even if the former never works. I never heard about Vampires drowning in clear water though. I never assumed they could breath underwater, but it’s actually a weakness now? The deck is really stacked against Dracula since he is quite slow and is weak to just about everything under the sun. Good luck beating any more humans at this rate count.

The traitor inside of the Church was annoying as well. He’s a prisoner as they even say to take him back to his cell, but people still take orders from him? Clearly the guy isn’t the only crazy in the place. It’s also awfully convenient how many empty rooms are in the Church so it’s easy for Dracula to sneak around. I was hoping there would be more people running around trying to stop him. It’s also annoying how quick the hypnosis works on Diana. It’s essentially instantaneous which isn’t surprising, but still not all that great. Where is the will power in all of this?

As a side note, this is probably the worst Dracula design. The red eyes just make him look super weak and then the actual movie certainly doesn’t do anything to dissuade you of that notion. Anyone can out run him and while he has super strength, he tends to let his opponents go. He’s also lucky that Alan was quite naive and not too smart as he otherwise wouldn’t have gotten resurrected in the first place. The heroes make a bunch of bad calls throughout the movie. In another scene they see the butler with a baseball bat or some kind of knife, but just shrug. All 4 of them agree that the butler seems crazy and likely dangerous, but they are still fine with sleeping in the manor. At worst they should have just overpowered him and then gone to sleep. They could have woke up the next day with a “Nothing personal” story and that would have worked. Well, I suppose at least some of them got the last laugh in the end so that’s a start.

Overall, This film is really just more of the same. Once Dracula shows up you can switch the footage with any other Dracula film and it’s basically the same. The film goes through the same beats as he takes the heroes down one by one but then plot armor comes to help the heroes. Dracula gets Charles in his grasp at one point, but then throws him away. He completely had the victory sealed up there, but lets him get away. Why would he do that? Seems like it was a bad move to me. Ah well, I’d recommend staying away from this film. You can watch other Dracula films that aren’t as over the top violent and at the end of the day, vampires are past their prime anyway. If you don’t mind stopping early, then the film is quite good if you just watch right up til Alan says he is going to check downstairs. Stop the film right there and it’s a solid 7/10 with a good cast and solid writing. If every film ended as well as it started, a lot of scores would be quite different in the horror genre.

Overall 2/10

Son of Dracula Review

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Given that I’m in the middle of a vampire arc in Detective Conan, it seemed like a good time to review a Dracula film. It’s definitely pretty odd to see Lon Chaney playing the role, but this way he continues to play all of the Universal monsters at some point so I can roll with that. Unfortunately, not even his acting can save the film as it still ends up being your standard Dracula film through and through. It’s just hard to make a good Dracula film whether it be in this day and age of even in the past.

So, the plot starts with a mysterious man moving into town. The main farmer dies very mysteriously during this time frame. That’s when Dracula shows up and suddenly Katherine marries him despite being seriously engaged to Frank. Frank suspects something is up and grabs his gun, but this Dracula fellow appears to be bullet proof and intangible so the bullet goes through and destroys Katherine. Frank is quickly arrested, but it appears that Katherine is still alive. She is now going to be doing experiments with Dracula at night and says she won’t be available during the daytime anymore. Something’s fishy here, but Frank’s in jail so he can’t do much about it. It’s going to be up to Lazlo and Brewster to see what’s happened. Can they really deal with two vampires though?

The film does have a unique twist that I can get behind. Usually the main heroine falls head over heels for Dracula due to mind control and just generally looks terrible the whole time. The twist this time is that Katherine actually went with him willingly as part of her own plan. She plans to murder him once she is undead as well but to do that she will need Frank’s help. She’ll bust him out of jail so he can go to Dracula’s coffin during the daytime and destroy him. Technically it’s a full proof plan, but he makes one big mistake…he goes outside while it’s still night time. Heh…..heh…..hahhahahahahahahahaha!! Of all the mistakes to make…..why is Frank so terrible? I mean, we finally have a good plan and then he messes it up. He even destroys Katherine afterwards because he doesn’t want to be a vampire. I wish I could say he made the right call, but I really can’t. He comes across as a very ungrateful guy who’s of no use throughout the entire film. While Katherine’s plan was extremely dangerous, risky, and probably not good at all, she did pull it off. Frank got the easy job and he still messed it up. That’s got to be a downer.

Dracula doesn’t look very good here. I mean that’s to be expected considering how many weaknesses he has, but it’s still sad for his fans. It’s gotten to the point where just being in the same room as a cross is enough to get him sweating and the doctors always handle him without too much trouble. Dracula is at his best when he’s just uttering threats as opposed to trying to follow up on them. At any rate, at least Dracula is fun to listen to. Seriously, Chaney has one of the best voices in cinema with ease. Most other actors can’t even get close to his level. Dracula is just not a good character though.

I felt like the rest of the cast were pretty slow on the uptake here. Katherine’s sister made a few half hearted attempts to see what was happening, but didn’t play her cards right. She basically told Frank that the cops were onto him and took forever to get out of harm’s way. Brewster noticed right away that Alucard is just another way of saying Dracula, but just brushed it off and didn’t remember until we were deep into the film. He could have saved lives if he had acted with a little more urgency. Lazlo was experienced at least so that was nice to see. He may have been the best character here even if that isn’t saying a lot. At least he was making a real effort to do his best.

The Sheriff meant well. When he investigated the place and found the dead body, it was certainly reasonable for him to suspect Brewster as an accomplice. It’s also hard to take their word for it that a vampire is on the prowl since that doesn’t seem all that reasonable. At least he was better than the other cop who couldn’t guard a man if his life depended on it and got scared of everything. If you’re going to be a cop, I feel like there’s at least a minimum level of bravery that you should have and it should be enough for you to not be scared of vampires.

Overall, Son of Dracula is more of less what you’d expect from the series. There’s not a whole lot to say about the film that I haven’t already. At least there was no animal violence this time. That’s certainly a nice start. The supporting cast was also quite reasonable for a change even if it could still be annoying how they wouldn’t realize anything until it was too late. The cops were a nice addition. I wouldn’t recommend this film and you should probably stay far away. Just remember for the next time that while Dracula can be scary, it can always be worse. You could be dealing with the Wolf Man who has less obvious weaknesses. With Dracula you can hold up to sticks and cross them and that’s enough to deter him. The ending to the film was pretty weak and here’s how it should have happened. Frank becomes a vampire along with Katherine and then they play it off like she was in the woods or something and that’s why her body vanished. She explains that they were just imagining they saw her dead body and this way everyone lives happily ever after. Sure, Frank didn’t get a choice on if he wanted to be a vampire or not, but it can’t always be perfect for the guy.

Overall 4/10

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

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It’s time for a film based on a controversial case in Germany. Essentially there was a girl who was having visions and started acting crazy. Some believed she was possessed by a demon while others believed that she had psychosis and needed medication. She decided to go with the exorcism strategy instead, but it failed and so she ended up dying. The film focused on the court case which followed this while relying on flashbacks to fill in the gaps of the past.

It’s definitely not my kind of movie. Well, to address the case, I’m going to assume that she was simply very sick and not possessed. The topic of possession is always very complicated. I’m personally of the opinion that Christians cannot get possessed. At least not in the current age. It’s possible in the past that a Christian could get possessed as a test of faith or a way to illustrate God’s power to others. A child was possessed in the old testament after all, but there are two reasonings for it that wouldn’t necessarily go against my theory. One is that as she was a child, she had not yet become a born again Christian. As such she did not have any protection yet. Of course, even if she died while being possessed that wouldn’t doom her to Hell as another belief I have is that if you have not yet been given a chance to become a Christian before your death, then you still may if you would have become one. Since God knows the future, it’s conceivable (And probable) that he takes this into account. After all, it wouldn’t be very fair if you died in a bombing when you were 3 years old and must now go to Hell. It’s an exception depending on how you look at it or just simply a case of God knowing where you should be going and sending you there.

The other way the child could have been possessed is simply because Jesus had not yet died and so we weren’t given the Holy Spirit. I believe that our protection is a lot stronger now since through Jesus death on the cross we all received the Holy Spirit. Before that, times were certainly tougher even though you shouldn’t worry about the tribulations since it will all be worth it in the long run.

The girl was stated to be a devout Christian who was a Catholic. In this case that means she still believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also believes the Pope and the Church to have greater power than the average person and can be a way to salvation. That gets a little murky since Jesus is the one and only way to Christ, but I’m not here to debate Catholic vs Christian beliefs and haven’t studied up on it enough to ensure I wouldn’t make mistakes. I’ll just say that all of this gives me plenty of reason to doubt that she was possessed. I personally think she was just suffering from psychosis and had a lot of bad hallucinations that caused her to believe this. The mind is pretty powerful so hallucinations can absolutely seem real to the individual who is being affected by them.

It’s definitely a sad story and a pretty awful way to go. I suppose the film does a good job of showing how bad the whole situation is. Naturally the flashbacks go for the “demon is real” route since if it went too ambiguous it wouldn’t be much of a movie and this can also make the scenes more intense. The dream of sacrificing yourself to help others see the light doesn’t really seem like something the Virgin Mary would say. I also don’t remember her becoming an angel…..but it made for an intriguing scene. I believe that self sacrifice and suffering is a big part of the Catholic religion but hopefully that doesn’t fall into the being saved by works as opposed to repentance but again I’m starting to digress. Lets move on from that.

Back to the film. The court scenes are handled pretty well with the lawyers getting sarcastic and the Judge being fed up with both of them. It leads to a lot of back and forth even if some of the witnesses do seem kind of eccentric themselves. I just like court room scenes and whether the witnesses bring up valid points or not, I just like the atmosphere. If the whole film had been the court scenes then I would have enjoyed it quite a bit more.

Overall, This film is based on a real event enough so that I won’t give it an actual score. If you want to learn more about the case I’d recommend watching a documentary or following along through online. After all, if you watch the film you’re simply getting a very dramatized enactment of the story where you can’t trust the facts quite as much. I suppose the theatrical visuals will make it more entertaining but if you really want to learn about the topic, odds are that you’ll want to go straight to the source. 90% of the time that’s the best way to go about it. It’s not a super violent film or anything, but it does go into detail and again, it is trying for shock value and gritty realism so bear that in mind. As for me, I’ll just keep being thankful that my court case wasn’t too graphic. It was kind of rigged…but that’s a story for another day.

Ben Review

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It’s time for the sequel to Willard. As you can probably guess, this won’t really end well for the film. The first one had just about everything that you wouldn’t want to see in a film. While this film shows some marginal improvement with a better cast, it’s still so bad that it doesn’t really make a difference. There still aren’t any real positives to speak of so the film can’t really gain any ground. Furthermore, the concept was never good to begin with so it’s not like the film could fall back on its potential.

So, Ben escaped from the proper authorities last time. Now he is back and he has brought an army. The plan is for Ben and his friends to decimate the city and put all of the local grocery/supermarkets out of business. This plan hits a snag when Danny shows up. He’s a nice kid who always wanted to sing, but simply doesn’t have the talent. He has some kind of condition with his heart so it’s hard for him to breath or move all that much. Ben takes pity on him and decides to become friends, but he still has to defend himself from the cops. The cops suspect that something is up, but are too busy with their banter to give it too much extra thought at the moment.

At the very least, it’s nice to see the cops get more of a role. They talk and act with complete seriousness so you know that the threat is real. They arm themselves to the teeth with flame throwers, guns, sticks, and all sorts of weapons. These guys definitely didn’t come to play, they came to win! It’s all part of the plan, but alas it is not that easy. The Rats are smarter than they look and somehow can still compete. It’s almost funny when one guy runs out of the tunnel and informs the chief that they’re losing. By this point there are at least a dozen guys who ran into the sewers with their flame throwers and they’re still losing? I don’t know what to say about that. Once you have a fire weapon, the rats should not be able to break the line. Maybe the guys started to space out or something.

The rats definitely get a lot of hype so the humans are on the defensive for quite a while. At least they still manage to keep secrets from each other so none of them are on the same page. One of them even rubs in the fact that if the rats were a little bigger things would be dicier. Clearly these guys needed more grenades and such. While the climax is a lot more explosive and intense than the first one, it’s still built around animal violence so it’s no better.

As a whole the film was certainly less violent than the first one so that’s nice. It’s still violent enough to issue some warning bells though. Danny also doesn’t work well as a main character. First off, he’s pretty annoying like just about any other kid in a movie. Second, giving him the heart problem just felt like an excuse for some drama and it never added anything into the film. That subplot never should have made it past production. The sister’s insistence on Danny having an imaginary friend was also pretty dicey the whole time since he made it clear that it was real from the start. At first you just assume that she’s covering for him, but she actually ended up believing it. It was awful convenient for the kid that’s for sure.

As for Ben, he is now a family man which is an interesting twist. That being said, he’s not a particularly good one since he ditches his family every day to hang out with Danny. This plot point also felt out of place since it’s completely out of character and makes no sense. I believe the writers felt like it was the only way they could get Danny into the story, but then maybe they shouldn’t have gotten him involved at all. The rest of the film actually wouldn’t change at all and it would have helped a bit. Shorten the run time and increase the focus on the cops. Those are the first steps towards being a bad movie instead of a terrible one.

On a miscellaneous note, I still feel like people aren’t as scared of rats as the film series would have you believe. Sure, people find them kind of creepy and gross so they stay away, but you wouldn’t yell in terror at the mere sight of them. You certainly wouldn’t engage a few hundred of them, but you’d act with some dignity. Once they start biting you you’d run away instead of sitting down and just taking it. Honestly, the pain of getting dozens of bites in an instant should be enough to force you to move on pure instinct alone. I just don’t see a person freezing up even if it is more dramatic. At that point the fear is gone and only the pain remains. Much like when you start this film. You fear what’s going to happen and then once it plays the fear is gone and now you have to endure the terrible songs.

Overall, I’d say that Ben was unfocused. It tried having way too many plot lines and incorporating a bunch of characters even though there was no reason to do so. It should have just been Ben vs the World like you’d think from the posters. We don’t need happy human subplots. Maybe if they toned down the horror aspects it would work, but you shouldn’t do both. The writing isn’t good and there is still a lot of animal violence so at the end of the day you can be sure that this film didn’t fare well for me. It’s a title that you should forget and move on from as soon as possible.

Overall 0/10

Willard Review

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It’s time for one of those films that you know will be bad from the start. It has Rats in it which is a problem since it’ll lead to animal violence and the main character is super whiny. You can barely ask for a worse combination to start the film off with. Add in the gratuitous violence and you’ve got yourself another 0 to roll with. There are no redeeming factors in this movie so we may as well just jump in.

The film starts off with Willy heading home when he’s cornered by his boss (Al) and a co-worker. They mock Willy for a while because he forgot his papers once again and then they drive off. Willy is part of the sales department so he has to get the orders or the company can’t earn money. He doesn’t seem to care though because he only gives everything 10% of his effort. Any more than that and he would actually have to try. His father used to own the company but Al helped expedite his death with business pressure and took over the company. Willy’s family says that he should try to take the company back, but that doesn’t seem possible in his current state. If anything, it seems like he may be getting fired if he doesn’t clean up his act. Willy decides to start taking care of some rats in his spare time. Not out of any noble gestures, but so that he can satisfy his inferiority complex by being superior to something, in this case the rats. Willy goes on his power trips right away and edges closer to insanity. Will he live through this?

In case you couldn’t tell, I didn’t like Willard from the beginning. I never found him sympathetic because a lot of his failings on the job seem like his fault. Even if he has a lot of work I want to see him put an effort into finishing it. If he was truly overworked, I would have liked for the film to give some evidence on that. We know Al doesn’t like Willard, but we don’t know that the work was too much for the guy. He didn’t handle any of the situations well either. The party scene is a good example of this as he just leaves instead of talking things out with the guests. They didn’t seem all that reasonable, but Willard basically just lets everyone walk all over him until he snaps. He is all about extremes with no middle ground. Willard also takes his frustration out on the rats which essentially makes him no better than Al. It’d be nice if he could see that, but that wasn’t in the cards. Willy is essentially a bully as well so there’s no rooting for the guy. He murders and yells at rats just to satisfy his ego.

I was actively rooting against him, but the problem is that there aren’t really any characters to root for. The main heroine is the only decent character and even she can be a bit odd. Buying Willard a cat out of the blue is not something you do. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people aren’t looking for a pet and couldn’t just accept such a responsibility out of the blue. Still, she meant well at least so I’m glad the film let her go without getting eaten or something.

Al’s the main villain and he’s a pretty mean guy. He likes humiliating Willard and getting the last laugh. He pushes the main character around for quite a while until plot hax sets in. Willard breaks in with his rat army which is cool and all, but Al could have just pushed through the door and ran off. The rats could chase him, but it would be tough to down the guy. Instead…he just stands still and begs for mercy. It works well if this was Willard’s big delusion as he finally gets his revenge on everyone, but it’s hard to see it all going so smoothly.

Then Willard’s neighbors turn out to be burglars who like stealing everything. It was a pretty intriguing subplot and she still beat a lot of the other characters. In another subplot, Willard wants to keep his mansion as a matter of pride even though he isn’t earning enough money to support it. Now this is just selfish as he goes around asking for money when there is no way he will be able to return it. He should have just gotten a smaller house and a lot of the issues here could have been resolved.

As for other factors that doomed the movie, there is a considerable amount of animal violence here. Rats are smashed, stabbed, and drowned. It’s unfortunate that Rats are always used for all of these vile experiments. Even in real life everything is tested on them and I somehow don’t think they were treated well in this film. I try not to think about those aspects while watching, but the actor does throw quite a few of them around at various points and since they were using live rats throughout the film, it just doesn’t bode well. The whole film is just very distasteful and mean spirited. Even the Rats banding together and murdering everyone by the end isn’t fun because it’s just continuing the mean cycle. Sure, they got their revenge through more violent scenes, but where’s the happy ending? I’m glad Willard didn’t get a happy ending since he didn’t deserve one, but after a while there’s just no high road for the film to take.

Overall, another issue is that this film also feels like it goes on forever. It just keeps on going and going. Since I didn’t like the characters, that only made the feeling even worse. I don’t know what else to say except that you should absolutely avoid this film. Even as far as horror films go, this one is quite terrible. It’s only good for taking a nap since it’ll put you to sleep. I suppose it can be good as a coaster, but then you’d have to see the cover every time you reach for your drink and that would get brutal very quickly. So, you’re better off just staying out of this film’s way and forgetting that it exists.

Overall 0/10

Tales of Terror Review

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It’s time for a horror anthology. If there are any two words that should strike fear into your heart, it’s those last two words. Horror films don’t have a good track record and the same can and will be said for anthologies. Merging the two results in a lot of opportunities for the film to get ruined. Unfortunately this one is no exception and you’ll find yourself wondering what the point of this film was. The first of the shorts is easily the best one, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

The first segment sees Lenora get home. She has visited her father to guilt trip him one last time before she moves away. He doesn’t want to see her because he blames her for the death of his wife. They argue quite a bit with Lenora constantly explaining how she never should have come here and her father insulting her. Eventually the ghost of her mother wakes up to murder Lenora and then take down the father. They all die together in the mansion. It’s a pretty somber ending to what was overall a somber special. The whole time you just have to wonder why Lenora would possibly want to come over. It’s well known from the start that her father had never even talked to her because he was so upset at what happened in the past so it all came off as rather strange. I couldn’t understand Lenora’s motivation here.

Even worse is the fact that she made sure to come after the last bus had left so she would be stuck there for the night. It’s almost as if she came over purely to start complaining and egging the father on into doing something he might regret. I thought the film was going to have him murder her which would have been super dark so I’m glad they didn’t go that route. It was the best special of the 3, but that’s really not saying much at all.

The 2nd segment is about a drunk guy named Montresor. He is always mean to his wife and cat (Points deducted instantly!) and keeps on stealing money from them. He doesn’t care if they starve as long as he gets his beer. He breaks into a wine testing convention and manages to snag 2nd place. Fortunato doesn’t like being humiliated so he quickly gets together with Montresor’s wife in secret. Montresor finds out and murders them, but luckily the cops come and put him away.

Another rather grim story and one that is completely unenjoyable from start to finish. I don’t want to see the cat getting threatened with murder and being thrown around the whole time. Those scenes are just terrible and the cast puts up with Montresor the whole time. Why isn’t the guy in jail yet? It’s all rather hard to watch as you are tempted to go and rent something a little classier at the special is playing. Sure, they caught Montresor but only after he murdered the two of them. Justice was a little late to say the least. The sad thing is that this wasn’t necessarily the weakest story as the third one also gets a little dicey.

The third story probably has the least intelligent characters of the bunch. An old guy is on his death bed and agreed to let a scientist hypnotize him at the very end. The experiment is to see if the hypnosis can prevent his death for a little while. The scientist quickly launches into his experiment and sure enough, the old man won’t die. Finally the living corpse begs for death, but the scientist merely laughs. Months pass and he is still forcing the corpse to live. So in this time…everyone just allowed that to happen? Geez, some friends.

The main heroine then decides to confront the scientist on her own even though she knows that he is dangerous and criminally insane. Her friend even comes along with his gun to protect her but she tells him to leave and then locks the door. In the most predictable move ever, the scientist then decides that he’ll take her by force and she’s only saved when the corpse wakes up and murders him. That still has to take the cake as one of the worst decisions out there. Why would you knowingly put yourself in such a terrible position. Going 1 on 1 with someone far stronger and confirmed to be dangerous? Clearly this heroine wasn’t very smart and the low quality attempt at creating tension in the film was just pitiful.

Overall, This film was pretty bad. I’m pretty confident now that Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are not nearly as good as you’d suspect from his reputation. I’ve now seen two anthologies based on his stories and they were both pretty dreadful. They’re just not good and while making good horror stories is difficult, it can be done. You just have to construct quality stories with no short cuts or characters making terrible decisions. It shouldn’t be a story about everyone dying just for kicks or to see the spirit slaughter them all. A good story should give the heroes a chance. Sad endings definitely can work as well so long as they have a purpose. This film just didn’t have one and comes across as incredibly mean spirited the whole time. So, like pretty much every other Roger Corman film, you’ll want to skip this one.

Overall 1/10