Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Captain America: Civil War Review

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The Captain America trilogy ends on a high note as Civil War escalates the series to another level. I was certainly not expecting the film to take down either one of the two Avenger titles, but it manages to jump over Age of Ultron, making it the best Marvel film right behind The Avengers. While it does not manage to quite capture the level of intensity and depth that Batman V Superman showed, Civil War is easily one of the greatest live action films of all time and a title that I recommend to everyone. Whether you are a comic book fan or not, there is plenty to enjoy here. So much so that it will be difficult to capture all of my thoughts in this review, but I shall do my best so prepare for a long one. On that note, let’s get to work!

The film starts off with a fight against some terrorists led by Crossbones. Captain America and his team of Avengers manage to defeat this group, but in the process a building full of innocent civilians is destroyed by the last ditch effort of Crossbones. Scarlet Witch attempted to keep the blast contained, but couldn’t do so long enough which leads to the media wondering if the Avengers have been given too much power. They want the Avengers to become a public group that works under the United Nations. Captain America is opposed to this because the Avengers will lose their right to act without permission. Furthermore, when his old pal Bucky is framed for being the cause of another large explosion which takes the life of Wakanda’s king, Captain America is forced to go against the law to protect him.

Meanwhile, Tony Stark meets up with a lady who blames the death of her son on the Avengers. The events in Age of Ultron had a lot of fatalities during the final fight, but hearing a personal story about one hits Stark a lot more personally than any statistic would. This is what gets Tony to believe that working under the United Nations as a controlled entity is the best course of action. He doesn’t see eye to eye with Captain America and as Steve (Captain America’s alter ego for my non comic book readers) is forced to go against the government, Tony has to fight him. Neither one will back down as they are both confident that they are making the right choice here.

In the background, we have some other plots going on as well. Zemo is stirring up a lot of trouble in the background as he learns the hypnotic words to control Winter Soldier (AKA, Bucky) and keeps widening the rift between the Avengers. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch feels personally responsible for the lives lost at the beginning of the film and is having a hard time coping with what happened. Being placed under house arrest certainly doesn’t help with this either. Finally, we have the Black Panther, who is working to avenge his father. He blames his father’s death on the Winter Soldier due to evidence showing that he was responsible for the situation. The Panther won’t stop until he is dead so Captain America will have to try extra hard to save him.

All right…where to start with this review. Let’s go through the negatives first since there really aren’t many of them as you may expect considering the positive tone of the film. It’s a 9 star title so the positives easily outweigh the negatives. One weak point in the film is…you guessed it, the extremely unnecessary romance with Sharon Carter and Captain America. You can’t even call it a romance if we’re being honest folks. They just randomly kiss as they say goodbye to each other and that’s the end of that plot. As I’ve mentioned in the past, you simply can’t develop a proper romance in the span of 30 minutes and especially when these two characters are only on screen together for maybe 15-20 minutes tops. If you want a romance done right, it’s got to be gradual like Tsubasa. It’s a super minor thing that certainly doesn’t hurt the film, but this scene really comes out of left field.

There’s a little language in the film. It’s not super excessive or anything, but worth making a slight note. It was certainly out of character for Spider-Man of all people to say the s word. I remember the good ole days of him being a nice kid in the comics who wouldn’t even dream of swearing. His portrayal is great overall though, but he is the result of several power inconsistencies…I’ll get to that in his section though. Is that it for the negatives? If we’re being a little picky I’d say that the soundtrack was pretty forgettable and underwhelming, but I typically don’t expect live action films to really sound that good. Hannah and Man of Steel are really the exceptions to the rule along witih a handful of other titles. Now let’s get to the positives!

For starters, the fight scenes are great like you would expect. In a day and age where hand to hand fight scenes can be a little dicey at times (Instantly going for the eyes) the fights here are handled well. Crossbones vs Captain America was a great way to start off the film and any fight with the Black Panther was exceptional as well. Naturally, this only gets better when you add in the super powers from the meta human fights. The battle between both teams at the airport is definitely the highlight of the film and easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best fight yet! Even before the fight starts, one of the best moments in the film was when Iron Man’s allies slowly started popping up and Captain America was outnumbered by around 5-1. You know that Cap isn’t on his own, but even then it’s just such an imposing scene. Cap would have had no shot against that group and Iron Man’s plan was quite sound. The thing is, great minds think alike and Cap has enough friends to ensure that he’s never alone against such an army.

After thinking on it a lot, I have to say that my favorite character was Black Panther. Yes, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man lost out this time. The film really handled Black Panther perfectly. He comes across as very reasonable and it certainly makes sense that he would want to avenge his father. Whenever the Avengers would get in his way, Black Panther would be forced to fight them, but he never hesitated. He stood firm in his mission and never wavered while at the same time, he kept a cool head. He certainly didn’t lose his cool as much as Cap or Iron Man and in the end he was the first one to really get away from all of the violence and make the hero call. (Sparing a villain’s life) During the final fight, you can’t say the same for Iron Man. Physically, Black Panther was able to hold his own against Winter Soldier and Captain America. In fact, I’d say that he had the edge over Bucky, but I doubt he would have defeated Captain America. The design for his suit was also really good.
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Next we have the other big guest star of the film Spider-Man! So….I was mixed on his portrayal. As Spider-Man he was great. He had a lot of witty banter during the fight which has always been his trademark and his webbing was also very strong as it was always meant to be. In today’s cartoons and comics everyone breaks through it with ease, but in the old comics even the Hulk couldn’t snap them right away. As for the part of his portrayal that I was iffy about….well, I don’t think the actor works very well as Peter Parker. He’s too young and I think that the director made him talk with a higher pitched voice than usual to make him sound even younger. When he first appeared, it almost felt like a parody. His intro was the kind of moment where I could picture everyone laughing out loud. It just felt off. It also helps that the new Aunt May looks nothing like Aunt May and is still one of the more mind boggling changes. At least she encouraged Peter to fight back against the bullies though so I like her up beat attitude here. I like to think that she already knows about him being Spider-Man by the way. I’m calling it right now, she’ll reveal that in the upcoming Spider-Man film.

Aside from Peter Parker seeming a bit off, I think Spider Man’s power level was very inconsistent. Let’s get real here folks, The Avengers are lightweights without Thor and Hulk around. Spider-Man’s worth more than the whole group put together. Maybe Vision could put up a decent fight, but Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Captain America would get speedblitzed. Iron Man and War Machine would be overwhelmed as their suits are ripped apart and Hawkeye wouldn’t land a single shot. Spider-Man’s gone toe to toe with Superman in the past and he’s had some very intense fights with Thor back in the day. To have him lose here is a cheaper cop-out than buying a slice at 7-11 instead of Europa because you didn’t feel like walking the extra block.

He’d look good in some moments and then he’d be treated like a joke the next. Here’s an example, at the airport fight, he is able to catch and repel Winter Soldier’s punch with no effort and even starts to twist it off until he is interrupted. Captain America was previously unable to stop Winter Soldier’s blow with both hands and he was flung through an elevator. So…Spider-Man’s stronger than Cap right? Well, you’d be wrong because Captain America completely humiliates him when they fight and overpowers him twice physically during the battle. That makes absolutely no sense and I was tempted to yell something from the audience like “Boooo” “Nerf alert!!” or something along those lines. I restrained myself though for the good of the movie experience.

Another iffy moment is the fact that he seemed to completely not have a spider sense here. I wouldn’t blame Marvel if they decided to get rid of it though because the ability is way too good. Still, without a mention of removing it, I will have to label it as a plot hole. There’s no way Ant Man can sneak up on Spider-Man because Spider Sense prevents such an event from ever happening. It is literally impossible to sneak up on Spider-Man without some kind of power to get past his ability or if you’re Venom and have compromised the ability by actually being Spider-Man for a bit. Every time Spider-Man got hit by a sneak attack I would wince a little on the inside. Still, aside from being treated as a bit of a joke during some parts of the fight, it was a satisfying portrayal overall. It’s great to finally see Spider-Man alongside the Avengers. This is something that fans have wanted to see for many years and now I’m eagerly awaiting the big dream team of Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Cyclops against Thanos. Make is happen Marvel!

Let’s talk about the Avengers now. I’ve never really cared for Vision in any form of media so we’ll start with him. He’s somehow managed to become even more annoying than he was in Age of Ultron. He pretends to be Scarlet Witch’s friend until we find out that he’s under orders to keep her confined. If he was a true friend he probably would have mentioned something like that. He also attempts a long-shot at blasting someone from a super far distance which backfires quickly. He’s one of the strongest Avengers, but seems to forget that most of the time and actually doesn’t contribute almost at all during the airport fight. Powerful or not, Vision is simply not likable.

His fellow Age of Ultron member was solid though. Scarlet Witch gets a lot of screen time in this film so she can finally develop more of a personality. Her abilities are certainly very potent and as she grows more confident, we can expect more out of her. One good scene in particular is when she materializes an energy shield behind her while she gets the poison gas out of a building. Being able to multi task like that is critical in a fight since she’ll need to have a shield up at all times as her defense is rather low. By the end of the film she has learned to be more independent and sure of herself. She has a promising future in this cinematic universe.

I’ve never been a big fan of Black Widow although her character can vary quite a bit throughout the Marvel franchise. The movies have been one of her worst portrayals in my opinion while she tends to look a lot better in the Avengers Assemble cartoon and the Punisher animated film. She was fairly reasonable here though and while she seems to have fallen to the very bottom of the hero totem pole (I’d say that this film confirms that Hawkeye can defeat her in a fight) she is still a good hand to hand fighter.

Falcon’s role in this film is small even though he appears quite a lot. He’s the guy that Captain America can always count on, but the main problem is that he’s still very weak in the end. He basically has part of an Iron Man suit, but it leaves him very vurlnable. His character’s fairly likable though. We’ve also got Ant-Man who pitches in during some key moments. I admit that I haven’t watched Ant Man enough times to really remember the actor’s face. I knew he was Ant Man based on the trailers and plot, but he felt so out of place in this film. I mean that in a good way by the way. It would be like seeing Sandler walk into the battlefield against Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet. Ant Man’s actor strikes me as a total comedy character and I suppose that it works quite well for Ant Man. There’s really a lot that you can do with size shifting abilities. It’s not the most glamorous power, but it is effective. As for turning huge…I think that’s overrated. If you get hit by an opponent who is that slow, then it’s time for an upgrade.

I’m not really a fan of War Machine here though. It’s not because of the fact that he’s super pro registration because I was on Team Iron Man myself, but it’s why he wants to join. It feels like he’s putting the army before the team (Again…see Iron Man 2 for reference) and that’s why it’s always a little tough to trust teammates who have connections to other groups. If only SHIELD and Agent Coulson were still alive to help sort things out eh? They probably could have helped the heroes go underground as another option. Hawkeye’s role is very small, but very good as well. It was cool to see him break into the Avengers base and he did a good job during the action scenes. He’s a likable member and definitely another guy that Cap can trust.
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Time to talk about the real main characters of the film. I was on Team Iron Man coming into the film by the way and I left on that side as well. It’s not a black and white debate and I’ve always been opposed to registration. In the comics, Iron Man’s team was completely wrong. The Registration act was much worse than the equivalent that we see in the film so that’s one big change. Either way, I’m still against any agreement with the government, but I have to stay on Team Iron Man because I can’t stand Winter Soldier. More on that in a little while.

Back to Iron Man. I think that his decision to quickly go along with the documents because he was shown a picture of someone who died during one of the fights is a little forced/rushed and out of character. We needed the conflict somehow though and this is Iron Man, he would definitely start bending the rules and reshaping the agreement after it was signed. Captain America asks Tony what would happen if they saw a bad situation and weren’t given permission to act. I’m fairly confident that Tony would act anyway and the Avengers would be in agreement. Ultimately, this would lead to even more bad consequences for the team so in that sense Cap is right. They may as well just not sign. Especially due to the fact that the government always turns out to be evil in media and this film is no exception. You can also tell that Iron Man is getting a lot older though and you have to wonder how long he can keep this up. Perhaps age has dulled his reasoning, but his fighting skills are still top notch when necessary. Towards the end of the film, Iron Man goes into a fight without holding back. You can draw a lot of parallels to Batman V Superman in those moments.

Needless to say, Iron Man wasn’t taking any prisoners. Obviously, I’m always technically on the side of saving the murderer since we can’t take justice into our own hands. So, Iron Man should lose, but I’m still rooting for him in the moment. It’s like when you like a bad guy and root for him/her over the heroes. They’re evil, but at that point they are simply a lot more interesting than the heroes. I can appreciate a character who has the fortitude to make the right call because it’s incredibly difficult to make that call. So, as a viewer I’m okay with seeing the villain get destroyed depending on the reason and the method, but I’ll still be fine with another hero saving him/her because it’s the right thing to do. I just won’t be rooting for that character at the moment. An example is from the show Yugioh Zexal. The main villain murdered all of the main character’s friends, but at the end the hero tries to save him anyway and even says that they could be friends. That’s……..very forgiving and I know for a fact that I couldn’t make that call. It’s a good call (Well, saying that they’re friends is wayyyyy to disrespectful to his friend’s memories if you ask me) but if there was another character trying to destroy the main villain, then I’d be on his side. It’s like how I was on Black Panther’s side when he went to destroy the Winter Soldier. Thus, I was pretty pleased with Iron Man’s portrayal here. He even tried to be reasonable at the end until that became impossible.

Captain America makes for a great lead as you would expect. He’s a great hero and tries to always do the right thing. He’s in a bad spot since all of his friends are choosing a side. He also had to go during the initial meeting due to an emergency which was tricky since it meant that everyone chose sides while he was gone. The film did adapt his famous line from the comics about how even if everyone tells you that something wrong is something right, then you have a duty to resist. When told to move, you should plant your feet down and say “No, you move.” It was a great quote of Cap’s so it was good to see it used in the film. While I was always against Cap, he was constantly making hero calls and ultimately he is just trying to help a friend. Bucky was mind controlled into doing awful things so it wasn’t really him. Cap doesn’t want him to have to die for things that were not under his control.

He also doesn’t lose sight of the innocents in the crossfire either. He sticks up for Scarlet Witch the entire film and even goes easy on his opponents like Spider-Man. He’s careful to avoid hurting anyone too seriously and his move at the very, very end of the film was great as well. It’s really impossible not to like the guy and he’s one of the best characters in the film. I do think that his strength can be inconsistent as the expense of other characters, but I’m glad that he looks very powerful here.

As for the Winter Soldier, I really dislike the character. Sure, he was mind controlled, but he doesn’t seem very remorseful about what he has done either. He shows no regret and never resists the mind control all that much. I’d say that it’s because it is in his nature. “I won’t kill anyone” Winter Soldier says right before he drops someone to instant death, but Captain America quickly saves the guy before the murder can occur. Bucky was willing to destroy that guy and he goes all out against just about everyone. He’s constantly looking to deal a mortal blow or at least a very serious one if it will let him escape. There’s no way that I can consider this guy to be a hero or even a slightly likable character. That’s why I couldn’t be on Cap’s team. This is just impossible to like at all. Protecting him is the right move, but I don’t have to like it.

As far as the villains are concerned, there are really only two this time around and both of them are fairly minor. We have Crossbones who makes for a good intro villain for the heroes to fight. He puts up a pretty good fight against Cap and actually manages to bring in a draw by the end. Baron Zemo never gets to be in his costume which is a shame, but he does a good job of masterminding the whole film. It would have been awesome if he had actually committed a certain plan that was hinted at. It would have made for a great final fight, but his true ace was just about as good. General Ross also had his own plans in motion, but he was really not that smart. He kept overplaying his hand. Once he got half of the team to sign the document, he should have taken it slowly. Instead, he placed some individuals in a max prison with very inhumane conditions. It’s almost like he wants the heroes to turn against him. If he tried to arrest Iron Man, then a civil war would have really broken out.

Naturally, I won’t say what happened in the after-credit scenes, but needless to say they were not quite as good as I had hoped. The first one was decent since it gave the film a little closure and I definitely like the option here. The characters in the first scene are in a much better position now. As for the second scene, it is very anti climactic and sad when you think about it. The film could have made it a lot more epic and exciting with a quick shape-shift or an Infinity Gem locked inside of a chest or something. You should stick around to watch the first one, but there’s really no need to stick around for the second I’m afraid.

Part of why Civil War is so good is because it is able to balance the serious and light moments rather well. It’s a very upbeat film, but it still gets serious once in a while for something grim to happen, but not for it to be overly grim. I was worried when Zemo confronted a Hydra agent that we were going to get a super violent moment, but it was fairly tame and I’m glad that the Hydra guy stood firm. This event was a lot different from the comics of course, but it was cool to see the film adapt as much as possible and throw in references/moments when possible. The big Captain America vs Iron Man visual made it in of course and there were several more homages that I’ll let you find out through watching it.

Unfortunately, Civil War followed The Amazing Spider Man 2 in the sense that moments from the trailer were not present in the film. “YOU JUST STARTED A WAR!” remember that line? It’s not in the film. “I was wrong about you….we were all wrong about you.” That’s not in the film either. It’s a shame because those two moments were important in the trailers because they showed that things had reached a certain moment of no turning back. Instead, the lines were pure click bait. The film is still very satisfying on the civil war angle and the ending was a lot more decisive than I had imagined, but it’s still too bad that some trailer scenes weren’t present in the end. I feel like a trailer should always have all of its content be in the film.

All right, we’re near the end now. Aside from power level inconsistencies hurting the film’s logic, I’ve depicted how Civil War was just about perfect. Well, why did it lose to Batman V Superman? Here’s why Batman V Superman was the better film. The soundtrack was infinitely better than Captain America, the latter of which had no significant themes of note. Batman V Superman’s fights were significantly better. Cap’s were amazing though and Marvel’s best, but they simply can’t come close to DC’s. Third, as interesting and engaging as Captain America was, Batman V Superman just obliterated it there. The film has you at the edge of your seat for most of it. Granted, as a much bigger DC fan than Marvel, that will almost always be the case since Batman and Superman make for very engaging leads even when they aren’t written as well as they could be. (Batman lacking in intelligence and Superman being a pushover) So, Civil War was great, but I feel like it loses to Batman V Superman in just about every way. Civil War does beat it with having less unlikable characters and no random bathtub scene though.

Be warned though that Civil War’s ending is a little intense. It was so intense in fact that nobody clapped when the credits started rolling and I had to personally start it all off. I think everyone was in shock or something, but I can’t blame them. It takes a while to get used to these things. After all, Civil War was a thrill a minute and there was never a dull moment during the entire movie. The closest scene to being boring would be the very first one, but it still wasn’t that bad. The pacing is quite excellent for this film. I was the only one who clapped after the final extra credit scene as well, but it was pretty underwhelming so I don’t blame the audience for the silence this time.
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Overall, Captain America is a great film though and no live action film will be able to defeat it for a very long time. In the near future, the only films that may have a shot are Infinity Gauntlet Part 1 (Which I think will actually lose unless Thanos gets his big fight) and Justice League. (Which I’m also a little skeptical of) If you haven’t seen this film yet then I highly recommend that you check it out ASAP. Even if you somehow don’t know who Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are, you’ll be in for a treat. Considering how well the team fight went, I’m ready to see a full blown Avengers vs Justice League fight in 20 years. Hey, nobody thought that we’d ever get Spider-Man and the Avengers. Given time, I’m sure that a crossover film is bound to happen! Of course, we’d need Thor and Hulk this time around to keep the fight from being too one sided

Overall 9/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Ant Man Natural Enemy Review

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It’s time to look at another Marvel novel. It’s been quite a while since I read one and naturally this one came out to help hype the movie and vice versa. Ant Man is typically a fun character who can certainly hold his own book, but with Ant Man comes his army of ants and that’s where things typically start to get a little dicey. This book was fun, but the animal violence does do a number on it and this would have probably been even worse if it was in film format.

Scott is just trying to have a good time as he goes on various dates, trying to find a step mom for his daughter. He’s had no luck so far and then the cops let him know that a dangerous criminal has escaped a maximum security jail and may be coming over to destroy him and his family. As such, Scott, his daughter, and his ex wife have been given police protection and this threatens to destroy all of the harmony that Scott has built into his life. He may have to don the costume to fix this mess, but will his daughter be able to forgive him for embarrassing her in front of her friends by having to be with an escort? Only time will tell!

The book is more about the comic continuity than the movies, which is neat since it means that we can have more references like Spider Man being around. Iron Man also has a guest star appearance although he looks pretty bad. He is given one job, to protect Cassie. (Scott’s daughter) Then he allows her to leave and get held at gunpoint by the main villain. That’s definitely not the greatest way to prove that he’s a good hero deep down. Scott trusted him and this is how he was repaid. I definitely thought that it was a bit much as there’s no way Cassie could have escaped. Tony got in a lot of good burns along the way though, but his quick banter was not enough this time.

We may as well launch into what went wrong with the book now. Towards the end of the book, a lot of ants start to commit suicide by the thousands. Across the entire East Coast they start to go extinct thanks to a virus that hit them. This was a plot point that we really did not need. The book could have just made the ants go crazy or something, but dying off like that definitely wasn’t cool.

I also had a bit of an issue with how the book ended as Scott just walks away from the main villain, leaving her to get swarmed by ants and flies. She somehow lived through the experience, but that was a very cruel/downright evil thing to do and I thought that it really wrecked any chance that Scott had of being a likable lead. He was essentially going for the “eye for an eye” mentality, which is something that villains usually do. It just felt really drastic and it made me lose respect for the main character.

Another issue with the ending involves how Scott’s secret identity is out. This isn’t a negative, but I’m just going to call plot hax on the whole deal. No matter how unpopular Ant Man is next to heavyweights like Iron Man and Thor, the whole point of the secret identity was to protect Cassie and his ex wife. That’s because there will always be villains who want revenge and when people know who Scott’s allies are, they will be targeted. Cassie is now in danger from just about every villain. The book plays it off as if nobody cares about the reveal, but it’s actually a rather dicey ending for Scott. This will completely change the status quo assuming he ever gets another book again.

Beyond that, it was a fairly enjoyable read. I blasted through just about the whole book in one sitting. The print was nice and large so the read was very manageable. I’ll take 300 large print pages over 80-100 regular sized ones any day. Large print is just soooo much better than the normal size. I wouldn’t say that this novel was quite as good as the Civil War one or the Fantastic Four adventure, but it was still another good addition to the book format.

Scott was mostly a good main character despite his mean streak at the end. I could do without the constant flirting though as he comes across as very shallow and two dimensional. You are left wondering why and if you should even root for him as he doesn’t seem like a guy who will stay with a commitment for very long. It’s good that he can take a joke though even if the rest of the characters typically can’t. Unfortunately, Cassie was not quite as good as Scott or even close. She started out as a decent character who didn’t care for Scott’s strict rules, but still abided by them. That changed midway through the book as she constantly complained about Scott’s secret identity and gave him a hard time about everything. She went off the handle several times and you cannot sympathize with her revenge plot or her crush on a random guy in school. She comes across as a rather shallow character as well, but a much more annoying one and blaming everything on Scott just isn’t cool.

The villains are ultra generic so there’s no real need to talk about them. I think that the cops looked decently good and they gave it their all the whole time. They even saw through Scott’s fake story in the nick of time! They may not have it all together since they are outsmarted by random prisoners, but they came through when it counted. Although, getting shot and evaded in one scene made one agent look pretty bad and woefully unprepared.

Surprisingly, there is not a whole lot of action here. It’s more of a comedy/slice of life book. Ant Man has a quick bout with some gunmen and against some other insects in the cliamx, but that’s about it. Mostly, it’s about the Scott Lang drama as he tries to be very polite even when everyone takes turns insulting him. He tries to be the bigger man and now he can also be known as the smaller one. (There are a few jokes about that, which he handles well)

Overall, Natural Enemy was a fun book to read. It’s one of those titles that you will breeze through and enjoy while going through it, but on a technical level, it still made enough mistakes to keep it from a high score. The animal violence was just unacceptable and the ending wasn’t that good either. I do like the potential of his identity being public though and it certainly gives him a lot more freedom in day to day life. The only problem is that Cassie and his ex wife will be in permanent danger now. It’s why it was so easy for Iron Man as he didn’t really have any friends except for Pepper. She would be in danger, but nobody else. Ant Man has a lot more to lose at this point. I recommend checking out this book if you happen to see it on the shelf. You’ll have read through the volume before you know it!

Overall 5/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

World War Hulk Review

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I remember this arc when it first came out. There was a lot of hype around it and I still consider the plot to be one of the best concepts from all Marvel events. Only Civil War may be able to top it. Nothing beats a good Heroes vs Heroes story, but one that comes close is when the hero turns evil and decides to destroy the heroes. It’s sort of like the Doomsday story in the comics as Superman has a long monologue about what would happen if he finally met a villain that he couldn’t defeat. It’s a story that has a lot of potential. World War Hulk doesn’t live up to all of it sadly, but it’s still a fun comic.

As mentioned, the plot is very simple. The Hulk was shot into space and deserted to die on a planet full of gladiators and aliens. He managed to survive and lived a happy life there, but then his rocket ship came back into orbit and crashed on the planet, destroying everyone on the planet. The Hulk blames the Illuminati for placing the bomb on the rocket and he has now returned to Earth to destroy them and make the Earth suffer for what has happened. All of Marvel’s heroes will have to set aside their differences if there is any hope of stopping the Hulk.

It should be noted that the Hulk picked a great time to launch this attack. For starters, Thor isn’t around at the moment, which takes away a really large threat right from the start. Also, the Civil War is still raging on at the moment or at least the post effects so the heroes have to reluctantly work together at the risk of being arrested. Yes, this is definitely the Hulk’s moment of glory and the heroes may not know what hit them! It should be noted that some heavy weights like Ghost Rider and the X-Men are noticeably absent, but they end up fighting the Hulk in tie-in issues. It’s too bad that they weren’t included, but I did review the X-Men one a while back.

If you wanted a comic with nonstop action, then this is definitely the one to check out. The 5 issues are basically showing the Hulk take down the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and all of the loners who tried to join the fray. Even the military stood no chance against the Hulk. Granted, The Hulk had about 5 teammates known as the Warbound who are apparently about as strong as the Hulk pre rage. That’s a lot of hype for those guys, but they did manage to defeat Spiderman (Off screen naturally……he never gets any respect in the modern comics!) so I suppose that they lived up to their reputation.

The Hulk has never been madder than he is now so his power is really skyrocketing. By the end of the comic, he starts to grow so powerful that he could have destroyed the Earth with a single stomp. That’s some insanely good strength. Naturally, Hulk is a total villain here who only cares for revenge. It’s a motive that works for most villains so why not for him right? He’s not mindless here by any means and he just believes that the Avengers need to pay for their crimes of genocide. An eye for an eye is his strategy. It’s been a while since we saw the Hulk portrayed as a villain so that was neat. He even uses his intelligence to trick Dr Strange at one point since he’s totally in control here. You have never seen a more deadly Hulk.

The Sentry’s role in this is also quite big as he gets hyped up right from the start. One problem that you may have with this is the fact that everyone acts like the Sentry and Hulk are best friends. Since when right? The Sentry is also a little insane and completely unlikable, but you still have to respect his incredible power. He’s said to be the strongest hero in Marvel and while I completely disagree with that, he’s certainly one of the stronger members and not someone to be taken lightly.

I do have to mention that the art isn’t very good here. It’ll look all right at times and then the character models will just start to shift and tumble. I dunno, there was just something a little off putting about it, but the art still wasn’t downright bad. We still got some fun action sequences out of it (Which is the whole point of World War Hulk right?) and the scene where the Sentry finally makes his move is pretty epic. The guy definitely seems to think of himself as a Superman level fighter and maybe he has some valid reasons for this. He does end up looking really good here after all.

As this is one of the more modern events, you can tell that you are missing some things by not reading the tie ins, but it’s not as big as in some other graphic novels where it’s in your face. The pacing is good. The Hulk gradually defeats everyone and by the end you will be wondering how the Hulk can possibly be defeated. You have to wonder if even the Sentry will be able to stand up to such a powerful threat. Most of the other heroes do feel like light weights here. Even fighters like Ms. Marvel and She Hulk are shown to not even be a threat to the Hulk. Seriously, they just watch Iron Man get taken out and only jump in to help at the very end. Not very heroic eh? I was personally disappointed that Spiderman was taken out off screen by one of the minions. I don’t buy that…at all.

In fact, as cool and tough as the Hulk is, I don’t buy any of it. The heroes badly outnumbered Hulk and his little group and I feel like they really should have won this round. I think that Ms. Marvel could give the Hulk a good fight. When she’s with She Hulk, Ares, Spiderman, and many more fighters…that should really be enough to end things. The Fantastic Four didn’t look too good, but I have to admit that those guys would be outmatched in an instant. Only Mr. Fantastic can hope to save them all and things didn’t go according to plan for him. It was fun to see Iron Fist and X-23 jump into the action and Iron Fist did all right against one of the Warbound, but he was soon put in his place.

Dr Strange entered a type of rage mode to stop the Hulk and nearly destroyed innocent civilians in the process. It was the only time where the heroes looked bad as the Hulk had to save them before stopping Dr. Strange. It was still a fun super form to look at though. Even the government gets some hype as General Ross explains that he always knew that the other superheroes could never stop the Hulk. Naturally, his weapons aren’t that effective and he doesn’t stand a chance, but you really have to admire his confidence. Ross has no doubt that he will stop the Hulk and he fights on right up til the very end. He was actually a very likable figure here and he has certainly known the Hulk much longer than anyone else.

The Warbound don’t really have much of a personality as they carry their baggage from Planet Hulk. I didn’t like any of the members and I doubt that the film would change my mind. One of them admits that what they are doing is wrong, but he doesn’t care since he just wants revenge. Better to be a villain than to knowingly act like a villain. Seriously, the guy is constantly talking about morals and justice while he’s attacking the heroes. Definitely not your typical superhero behavior eh? The justice concept would have been pretty interesting had the Illuminati actually placed a bomb inside of Hulk’s rocket, but a plot twist nullifies that. Most of what the Illuminati did was unintentional, but they still deserve a lot of blame for what happened to the Hulk. His time in space was certainly not a pleasant one.

You have to wonder what would have happened if Thor and the X-Men had been here from the start. Would the Hulk have been able to come out on top like he did here or would the heroes have stopped him? I feel like the heroes should definitely have won and with Thor and the others, that should be a guarantee. I would love to see another arc like this pop up soon where one powerhouse takes on the whole Marvel Universe. Not in a single blow or eventually, but a gauntlet run like what happened here. Those scenarios are always a lot of fun.

Overall, I was hyped to read World War Hulk from the start. I just love the concept of it and greatly enjoyed the X-Men vs Hulk tie-in. That being said, it was maybe a little less enjoyable than I had been expecting it to be. The gladiator ring part of the saga wasn’t great and the art was definitely a little sub par. The nonstop action was great though and the dialogue was engaging as well. This is definitely a solid read for all Hulk fans and especially if you just want to see some big hero against hero fights. There is a cliff hanger, but it’s not that great. Especially when you know who the mysterious figure turns out to be. Still, this was a fun event. Smaller in scope than most of Marvel’s big specials, but it was still impactful and showed us the Hulk’s true power! (Albeit, slightly over hyped…)

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

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The first Avengers film was one of the greatest movies of all time. I knew that it would be extremely difficult for this film to match up to it. Still, I had high hopes when I walked into the theater and I was ready for anything that the film could throw at me. Would it be able to live up to the hype or would it ultimately crumble and make me go re watch Man of Steel? Also, what happened to Thanos? In the first film, it ended with him getting ready to attack Earth or at least think about it..yet he isn’t in the trailers so what happened. Behind the scenes drama? These questions at the ready…I saw the film!

The Avengers may have split up after they saved the world from the invasion, but they are back together to reclaim Loki’s scepter. After embarking on many missions to find it, they finally find it at a Hydra base. It seems like peace has finally returned and the Avengers can disband once more, but that is when Ultron strikes. Ultron wishes to destroy the human race and the Avengers must now deal with their toughest threat yet!

There is certainly a lot to say about this film so let’s launch right into it! The tone is identical to that of the first film, which is a great thing. There is a nice balance of humor and action in this film, which makes for a very enjoyable watch. Replay value is not a problem either as I could easily watch this film again tomorrow. There is so much action that you will likely notice extra details each time you watch the film.

Following up on that, the writing for the film is excellent. Avengers: Age of Ultron has numerous jokes throughout the film and with bad or even average writing, it would have gotten old very quickly. As it stands, the jokes come at good times in the film and you’ll be sure to laugh a few/lot of times throughout the film. It can be a little iffy to see the heroes joking during life threatening situations, but I suppose that it takes their mind off of what is happening. I would be upset if the heroes were joking around after someone had been killed or if a friend was in mortal peril, but they typically control themselves in those situations. The film even puts some twists on old jokes from the first title by switching things around a little.

As for the soundtrack, it is essentially the same as the first film. I only noticed one new theme, which played during a somber scene. It was a good theme and the soundtrack holds up just as well as in the 1st film. Admittedly, I would have liked some more new tunes, but for those of us who haven’t seen the first film since 2012, it was likely very nostalgic. I’ve seen the original film around a half dozen times at this point so I am very familiar with the music at this point.

Since there is a lot of action, the visuals need to look very good. I can safely say that they are convincing and I have no real issue with them. This film has more energy blasts than usual, which is great since those really make this feel like more of a comic book film. A certain triple attack towards the end looks really sweet as a result. The only time that the CGI may look a little iffy is the Cap vs Ultron scene during the daytime, but it may just be because he looks so lifelike that it ends up being a little out of place. If anything, you can think of that as a positive since it was so realistic.

Time to look at the main characters. Captain America was my favorite Avenger here so let’s look at him first. He is the noble hero that we would expect him to be and I thought that his portrayal was fairly spot on. From his point of view, I can see why he would disagree with Tony Stark on the A.I. issue. While the captain may have overreacted a little after Ultron struck, it was understandable that he would be upset since his history with secrets hasn’t been a good one. A running joke in the film arises from a scene where Captain America reprimands Tony for using a swear word. That was cool because while it was played for laughs, it was nice to see. Superman and Captain America are two characters who I have always imagined to not use such language. The way that the joke ends could have been better though. Either way, fans of the first Avenger will be pleased with how he looks here. Captain America shows off his fighting skills throughout the film and he makes for a very good leader.

Tony Stark is naturally as charismatic as ever and he is my second favorite Avenger. His heart was in the right place for project Ultron, but messing with A.I. programs never seems to end well for our heroes. I was wondering how Iron Man’s role would be since he blew up his armors in Iron Man 3, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. He just continued to build since then and it makes sense since Tony would never give up on robotics forever. It’s his life after all. He gets a lot of great scenes and Iron Man has shown that he still has what it takes to be the leader if Steve Rogers ever decided to give up the position. With Captain America: Civil War coming up, that could happen sooner than expected.

Thor rounds out the main three and he is still the power hitter here. It is nice to see his strength displayed as he takes on dozens of opponents throughout the film. His combo attacks with Captain America prove to be very effective and having someone who’s Hulk level in strength with the ability to fly is extremely handy. His reaction times are also given their due credit as he manages to counter-throw an opponent who had rushed him. Thor has also grown more competitive as he is consistently trying to outdo Tony Stark and the others. Some friendly competition is always fun and it shows that Thor is really getting close to the team.

As for Bruce Banner, I was thrilled with his role in the first film. I thought that it was perfect and that Bruce Banner’s portrayal was the definitive version of the character. I don’t think that he looked quite as good here and he would actually be my least favorite member of the team. What happened to him being able to control the Hulk? It seems like a rather big plot hole here as the Hulk needs to be calmed down by the Black Widow every time and then he is left as an emotional wreck for a little while. It seems to really contradict the first film. He doesn’t get to act rebellious or get nice banter like in the first film, which hurt his portrayal here because that is why I liked him a lot. I really think that Whedon messed up here, but Banner still had his moments. He just wasn’t the hero that I remembered from the first film.

Black Widow has upgraded her tech for this film so that she is ready for the Ultron onslaught. She looks good in the film as she helps out a lot in many key scenes. Widow gets shaken up at one point, but due to the visions it was understandable. How she copes with it is really my issue. The plot between Bruce and Widow really came out of the blue and I don’t think that it was necessary here at all. Widow just acted out of character when he was around, but the ending of the film seems to have rectified that. She is more likable than Bruce here, but I think she could have been better.

Hawkeye ends up being the best Avenger after the big three and his role here was fun. Hawkeye fans will likely be worried at the beginning since he is taken out of action rather easily, but things go up from there. We get to see how professional he is and why he is the lead archer. Hawkeye means business here and he deals a lot of damage to Ultron’s army, but he still knows how to make a nice wisecrack. He certainly gets a lot of character development here and that is sure to help Hawkeye’s character throughout his future appearances as well.

Age of Ultron had a nice amount of guest stars, which was cool. Some of them you may be aware of and others not so much. I won’t mention any names, but each of the big three get a supporting character who gets a decent role in this film. Nick Fury and Maria Hill are also here of course and they contribute. It makes you wonder how this film will affect the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. It’ll be fun to see how that handles this event. The ending is fun and leaves a lot of potential for future installments. Also, you’ll want to stick around for the end credits scene. It’s rather short, but still really good and gets you set up for Avengers 3.
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Still, I’m getting ahead of myself. Now, let’s look at some of the other characters to appear in the film. First up, we’ve got Quicksilver. After his solid role in X-Men Days of Future Past, it was going to be tough for this version to match up. Luckily, I can say that the character was still fun and his speed was handled well for the most part. He’s rather unlikable for the first half of the film, but he does have some solid moments. It’s easy to root for him as the film goes on and even the accent grew on me. His speed is something that the Avengers didn’t really have an answer for and film writers have to be very careful with it since plot hax can ensue. Some did occur of course, but not too much.

Scarlet Witch has interesting hex powers involving probability, which can be tough to show so the film decided to take a solid approach to this issue. They mainly focused on her telekinesis and telepathy. By using these abilities effectively, she can emit energy and create barriers. I much prefer this to her hex abilities so I’m fine with the change. She’s a better character than I expected and I look forward to seeing her become one of the heavy hitters on the team. I would already say that she could take on Captain America and possibly Iron Man. Her abilities should definitely not be underestimated. I don’t care for her in the comics, but the film version was good so I can safely say that this is one of those rare times where the comics were surpassed. I also did like how the film borrowed from the horror playbook during the scene where Scarlet Witch takes on Captain America. We get a Paranormal Activity stutter step as Scarlet Witch demonically backs up and closes the door. It’s hard to describe, but if you have watched a lot of horror films, you will know what I am talking about here.

Ultron is the main villain here so there should naturally be a lot to say about him. His portrayal will likely be controversial and some will like it while others won’t. As an Ultron adaption, I think you will be disappointed. He is nothing like the cold, calculating machine that we are used too. So, if you are to like him, you will just need to think of him as an original villain. With the…intriguing design, that should make things easier. The film decides to give him Tony Stark’s personality so he is a fun villain, he just isn’t Ultron. As this “new” villain, I liked the portrayal. He has some witty banter to be sure and who doesn’t like a good “eradicate the humans” plan right? His strategy was sound and once again it shows how easy planet busting can be. Just wait until Thanos arrives on Earth someday, the stakes will really get high! Ultron was a little weaker than I expected and I’ll get into this a little more in a second, but he was strong enough to still be a fun villain. Loki was probably still more fun, but Ultron was more of a threat, which is a fair trade off.

All right, we’ve looked at the characters and a lot of the positives to the film. So, let’s look at some questionable moments. One scene that I disagree with is Thor’s hammer being lifted. The actual scene is a fairly important one so I won’t mention who does it. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you see the movie, but I completely disagree with the film. There’s no way that this character should be able to pick up the hammer unless Captain America can. After all, being worthy is something that I can certainly agree with. I don’t agree with technicalities that can sidestep the enchantment…simply isn’t possible if you ask me.

Age of Ultron has a lot of action and it is one of the reasons why it is so much fun. The film starts off with a bang in the epic intro scene and the film rarely lets up as more and more action scenes appear. While this is an overwhelming positive as you will never get bored, most of the action scenes are simply action scenes. Like the first film, the Avengers are dealing with armies and no real 1 on 1 fights occur. When some appear, they are fairly short since the villains can’t handle the heroes. There is a point where Ultron is actually defeating Thor handily, but Ultron had been getting served by Iron Man earlier so I still wouldn’t say that he was immensely powerful. I’m assuming that Thor was simply caught off guard. Ultron didn’t get his iconic power up here so he was only a little more durable than the average machine. I’m assuming that Avengers 3 will finally have the big fights that I’ve been looking forward too so that will be fun. I can see some people listing this as a negative since the climax is very similar to the first film’s, but who doesn’t like a nice invasion battle? It gives the heroes a lot to do.

The 1 on 1 fight that we did get was the Iron Man vs Hulk battle. It was a fun fight and while I still prefer Iron Man’s standard gear for combat, the Hulkbuster looks powerful. I’d say that Hulk is still portrayed as the strongest Avenger by a longshot, but with this new armor, Iron Man can now fight alongside Thor for the second spot. The other Avengers are going to need to keep on improving or they will be left in the dust before long.

I won’t say his name for the fans who don’t know about this character, but a certain other android appears besides Ultron. His abilities are certainly potent and I’m glad that the film kept most of them in. The only one that they didn’t show will likely be shown in a future film. I’m not a huge fan of the character here as his personality isn’t really my style, but he’ll be a good ally to have on the team. His abilities will definitely make him a powerful ally and maybe he’ll grow on me. There’s certainly a lot of time for that since he just joined.

I just finished seeing this film about an hour or two ago so I’m trying to make sure that I get down all of the major points that I wanted to discuss before wrapping up the review. With a film like this, you can’t really get all of your thoughts down on a review so I at least want the big ones to be there. It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend watching a big movie like this one on opening day or the night before opening day at least once for the sheer experience. It is a lot of fun to watch such an exciting film with other fans who are hyped for it as well.

A minor thing, but Quicksilver is probably a little too fast in this film. At the speed that he is going, I don’t think that Hawkeye’s attack should have surprised him or that Captain America could have even hit him. Even when Quicksilver tried to grab the hammer, he should have been able to have escaped since it would have pulled him very slowly even considering the speed of the throw. That being said, he is a speedster so I would always find some plot hax there. The film handled it better than most and the plot hax in general wasn’t that bad. Your usual action hero moments at times where humans dodge lots of point blank energy attacks, but no scenes that stuck out in particular, which was great.

The film seems to be rather unchanged from the trailers, which is good. Unfortunately, one of the changes was the scene where Iron Man is trying to pick up Thor’s hammer. I preferred his old line about ruling firmly, yet in a fair way. I also seem to recall Bruce Banner being in a straight jacket or at least something that resembled that kind of gear more than what was in the film, but I’m less sure about that so it really could have just been a trick of the eyes. A lot of things are set up here for future films so you’ll definitely want to continue watching the solo films to get a feel for what will happen next.

All right, I think that’s a good amount of reviewing for now. I made sure to keep this review spoiler free so if you have a question relating to a topic that has spoilers, feel free to drop a comment since I made sure to avoid those topics in the review. Although, I hinted at some because I wanted to mention my take on them so I merely left out the names when necessary. I highly doubt that any film will be able to come anywhere close to this one from this year’s roster, but it will be nice to see them give their best shot. It is too bad that Whedon won’t be around for the next Avengers film, but I trust that it will be excellent as well.
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Overall, Avengers:Age of Ultron was a great follow up to the first film. The first Avengers will always be my favorite Marvel film, but this one is the second best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It possesses just about all of the same qualities as the first title while having even more action. The only real negative would probably be the plot between Bruce Banner and Black Widow. The hammer scene along with many of the other things that I noted aren’t really negatives so much as things that I noticed. I still find it a little ironic that the Ultron minions had a more accurate design compared to the comic Ultron than the main body, but it helps that point I made earlier about looking at Ultron as a different villain. It was tough deciding between an 8 and a 9 to be honest, but this is the kind of film that really doesn’t come by all that often. I believe that it earned the 9. Granted, I typically score films a little more generously when I just finished watching one in theaters so you may want to take that into account. (I got the full IMAX 3D experience, which was incredible!) Still, I think that I’ll be able to stand by this rating and I will certainly be watching this film more times before Avengers 3. I probably won’t see it quite as much as the first one, but still more than most. If you haven’t seen this film yet, I highly recommend checking it out as the earliest opportunity!

Overall 9/10

9 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

The Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Review


The Avengers are one of the most well known superhero teams in comics. They had a film that broke the box office a few years back and they have now had 3 shows to date. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was the best of the three and it is one that ranks very high up in the comic ranks. I definitely say that it is Marvel’s top show and it isn’t likely going to be surpassed anytime soon.

Season 1’s main plot is about the Avengers forming so that they can bring back a large group of super villains who escaped from Shield prisons all across the planet. It’s technically the plot of the show, but it’s mostly used as a backdrop. The season is pretty episodic, but it does begin a lot of plotlines that are explored in those episodes so it’s definitely better than the average pre arc. Ultron, Kang, and Loki all get multiparters as well as the Leader. There may not be much of an overreaching story arc, but most of the episodes have a cliffhanger scene at the very end so the transition from episode to episode is actually pretty great. Season 1 is a lot of fun and you can count on many excellent battles.

Season 2 decided to go for a big plot and one that featured the Skrulls deciding to invade the planet. They have taken many people in powerful positions so they are all set for their bid to conquer the human race. The Avengers have to get past several obstacles and the lack of trust in their teammates to even have a shot at taking down the Skrulls. Other highlights of the series includes the return of Ultron and Kang. It should be noted that the Kree also get a multi parter as they finally make their big move. This season can get a little dicey since we have to miss out on Hulk, Captain America, and Thor for various parts of the season, which makes for a limited roster. The Guardians of the Galaxy do get to appear though, which is pretty intense.

I will admit that I was one of the many Marvel fans who was not a huge fan of the designs for the show when they first popped up. The characters just looked a little off. Thor was actually one of the biggest offenders for me. His build just didn’t seem right and his arms were huge. The hammer looked so small when Thor was holding it and the handle should have been longer. That being said, you get used to it as you watch the show. I wasn’t a huge fan of Captain America’s design compared to United They Stand, but it is still a very good design in its own right. The Abomination was one of the characters who drew the short straw in terms of design.

I don’t know whether this is a result of the character designs or whether it was the overall animation, but the fight scenes were pretty over the top in a great way. Some of the energy blasts looked like they came out of an anime. The action scenes definitely shine in this series and they put most of the other Marvel shows to shame. The first few episodes tried some unique things with the animation, particularly Iron Man’s view from inside the suit. I think that the animation took a bit if a dip after the beginning, but it still looked pretty good overall. Season 2 certainly looks sharp and it was definitely an improvement. I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I definitely am now.

How does it stack up against the Justice League? I am afraid that it is not even remotely close. Justice League wins in all areas, but it should be noted that the show’s roster was comprised of heroes who were far cooler than the Avengers. The Avengers are cool of course, but they are no Justice League. Considering that the Justice League show also happens to be my favorite non anime tv show of all time, this isn’t bad for Avengers. It’s safe to say that no western Marvel show will ever be able to top Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Now, let’s look at the show’s portrayal of the characters.

Iron Man is one of the main characters and he is a pretty good hero. He acts just like what you would expect from him. He is always ready with a witty comeback and his armors are fairly powerful. The show essentially takes all of Stark’s good qualities without bringing in his bad ones. He does a pretty good job of being team leader until he decides to give up the role. His fans should be pretty pleased with this incarnation of him. His battles against Kang and Dr Doom are matches that we have longed for and we finally get to see them play out here.

Captain America is our courageous leader once more. The writers really seem to like him so Cap gets quite a few wins under his belt. Even the mighty Terrax and the Super Skrull are powerless against him. Unfortunately, he misses the first few episodes of the series and a big chunk of them in the second half. This is sad for his fans of course, but he still gets a lot of screen time and he tends to look very good. It is basically a spot on incarnation of the legendary hero.

Thor looks better than he has ever looked in this series. He is portrayed as an intelligent warrior while still keeping his incredible strength and skill. He isn’t crazy about technology, but he is never obnoxious about it. His banter with Tony Stark on the subject can be pretty fun to watch. As with Superman in various DC shows, Thor does lose to an opponent who is weaker than him at times. Luckily this only happens a reasonably few times and he typically looks as strong as he should. He looks like the Thor of the 60’s and that’s a good thing.
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Bruce Banner is pretty much a non factor here because the Hulk is in control for the whole series. Bruce only gets a cameo once in a while. As for the Hulk, his portrayal is pretty good here. He is decently smart and a very loyal friend to have. He gets a raw deal in season 2 since he is tricked by the Skrulls and forced to miss a lot of it. He looks pretty strong and he is portrayed as the strongest Avenger in physical strength. He is definitely a likable character.

The Wasp is a lot more cheerful than usual and it works for her character. She isn’t the strongest Avenger, but she can fight when necessary. This is easily the best portrayal of her that I have seen and it will be tough to too this version. Wasp never backs down from a fight and she even takes on the Vision. Even if her chances of victory are slim. Wasp will jump into battle anyway and it is why she is one of the better Avengers.

Antman had a big role in the original Avengers show, but then he began to fade into obscurity. The new Marvel film aims to change that..more for the superhero than for Pym. Pym actually doesn’t end up looking quite as good in EMH. It is to be expected since he isn’t the fearless leader anymore, but he is still an Avenger. He wants to rehabilitate the villains and he puts a lot of effort into this goal. Unfortunately, most of the villains don’t plan on changing sides anytime soon. He starts to think that the Avengers have lost sight of this and coupled with the Ultron incident causes him to leave the team. This causes his character to undergo a radical change as he becomes more of a hot head who tends to act overconfident. While I typically like this kind of character a lot, it comes off as a little forced and it is also hard to take him seriously. Antman was a good character in the show, but he was definitely outshined by the others.

Hawkeye had a tough road since it would be nearly impossible to pass his original animated version. That being said, he’s typically a likable character. It can be sad to see him get tricked and one upped by Black Widow for most of season 1, but he does manage to capture her on occasion. His skill with a bow is as excellent as ever and Hawkeye is always brimming with confidence. He couldn’t pass the original version, but this is still the Hawkeye that I remember. Black Widow is also pretty true to form as no side can really tell if she is working for them or if she has an ulterior motive. Her accent is at its strongest here and she rarely gets to operate with the Avengers since she’s a solo act from start to finish. She’s a pretty good agent, but Hawkeye is actually able to best her when they fight. Black Widow’s never been my favorite character, but she still looked decent here.

Black Panther joins the team pretty early on in the series, but he was never my favorite character. He’s a little too confident and he has no problem hacking into the Avengers mansion when he feels like it. He’s the definition of a “hype” character who constantly insults everyone and belittles them. He may only be human, but he always gets his hits in and he puts his kingdom before the Avengers. A noble gesture I’m sure, but he’s really just a copy of Captain America, but without the leader’s character development.

Ms. Marvel arrives in season 2 and she cannot be trusted as much as the other members since she also works for the government. She was quick to turn on the heroes when the government duties created a conflict. She is just trying to help her country of course, but the whole scene didn’t look very good. Ms. Marvel is a capable heroine who can still fight at the Hulk’s level so that’s pretty good and she is a solid character despite having her flaws. She does get a lot more screen time than the Vision, who is basically thrown in at the last minute. The Vision looks pretty good and very tough when he first appears. He gradually gets weaker, but it never goes too far as he still helps out a lot in the final battles. I didn’t really care for Vision’s big moment where he betrayed the Avengers, but he’s a good hero to have. I just wish that he had turned good in a different scene.

Graviton is the first major villain in the show and it’s why the series started out on a high note. His abilities are very impressive and it’s no stretch to say that he is the strongest villain in the entire series. There are many other powerful opponents who do make this very debatable. He’s a very likable villain and this show made me a fan of him. Seeing him take on the combined might of Thor, Hulk, and the other Avengers is incredible and it’s not something that I shall forget anytime soon. It’s too bad that he never got to appear again, but maybe next time.

Ultron is the villain that everyone was hyped for and he did not disappoint. He got a pretty great two parter when he first appeared and then his return was also pretty great. Naturally, his demise in both appearances is loaded with plot hax, but that’s just because the show did a good job of adapting his character. He looked about as strong as he should and he was thoroughly annihilating the Avengers. He has definitely been a great villain in all incarnations and I believe that Age of Ultron should be able to keep up this tradition.

Kang The Conqueror is probably my third favorite villain in the show so I definitely wanted to put him next to Ultron and Graviton. He may seem like a much weaker villain on the surface, but his tech definitely brings him up to their level. His array of barriers and energy attacks make him a very tough opponent to deal with and you can even say that it is impossible to beat him. He only loses when he lets his guard down and forgets to block or fight back. It’s the fate of being an overwhelmingly powerful villain in the midst of heroes who are strong, but not strong enough to legitimately defeat him.

Red Skull is certainly not as impressive as the first few villains and it’s surprising that it took so many episodes for him to finally appear in the present. He’s fairly generic and he’s definitely not a threat no matter how many inventions he gets a hold of. He does give us one of the better episodes in the series when he assembles his own crew, but it still doesn’t make him a good villain. He wants revenge on Captain America and that sums up his character arc.
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Skull’s team consists of quite a few members. Dr. Sampson is one of them and he was not my favorite supporting character anyway. I did appreciate the fact that he didn’t blame the Hulk for what went down at the Cube and he actually dealt with his new powers pretty well. That being said, he’s just not a interesting character. The Falcon’s one shot role is probably disappointing for his fans. He actually had potential to be a good character and he was much better than the Falcon in Avengers Assemble. His appearance was just too short to really get a good grasp of how he was.

One of the final two members was the Winter Soldier. After Bucky vanished when Captain America fell into the ice, he was forced to work for Skull for decades. It’s easily the saddest sub plot in the series and he really didn’t have a choice since he was on his own and they effectively brainwashed him. He tries to atone for this once he gains his freedom back and this is probably the best incarnation of Bucky that we’ve seen so far. He’s pretty noble and you can tell that he is trying to be a better person.

Finally, we have Red Hulk. He gets a few appearances although his role is still not very large. He does get to fight Thor and the Hulk, which shows how powerful he is. I like him as an enemy although he’s not very interesting. Watching him sucker the Avengers into allowing him to join is pretty wince worthy, but a plot twist at the end definitely helps to negate those scenes.

The New Avengers are introduced to the scene in Kang’s big return. The villain managed to destroy the Avengers so an automated protocol quickly gathered up the new heroes. One of them was Luke Cage. He seems to know what he’s doing and his street manner of dealing with his obstacles is a nice change of pace from the politically correct superheroes who help him against the villains. He doesn’t get much of a role and he doubts himself pretty quickly, but Cage still has what it takes to be an Avenger. He’s a step up over Iron Fist, who is still cool, but really has no character development. He appears for a very short period of time and he’s pretty ineffective against Kang. His hand to hand skills are great and they would do well against most opponents, but it was simply a bad mach up against someone like Kang. We also got to see War Machine and I was not impressed. His weapons still look terrible compared to Iron Man’s and he was way too serious when the other heroes were just trying to have a good time. He arguably has more experience in the art of being a super hero than the first two fighters so he needs to lead by example.

Spider Man was also selected for the team and he also got an episode to himself before that so he’s all set on the character development area. He was adapted pretty faithfully as he tells a lot of jokes, but never manages to get hit. He’s the only member of the team who was able to dodge every single one of Kang’s attacks. His spider sense is his weapon and he just uses his jokes to keep the enemy off guard. This is the Spiderman that fans will remember from the good ole days and it’s good to see him getting the respect that he deserves. I was more than satisfied with his portrayal here.

Wolverine also gets to join the team and he’s definitely in character. Unfortunately, this means that he gets animal violence in his scene as he destroys a few dinosaurs. It’s the worst scene in the entire show and you can bet that it hurts his character. It’s hard to root for him after such a scene and he also doesn’t really help a lot when the team is fighting Kang. That just makes it worse since he wasn’t needed in the episode and the heroes still would have gotten the job done.

The Fantastic Four are recurring characters in the background of the show. The Thing gets more of a role than the others since he does join the New Avengers, but he doesn’t look particularly impressive when it comes down to strength. He’s pretty likable and you’ll be satisfied with his portrayal even if he looks like a second rate fighter. Reed Richards looks pretty great as he belittles everyone and puts up a brave front when Galactus appears. Human Torch and Sue Storm don’t get to do a whole lot, but they look pretty decent when they get to appear.

Nick Fury changes a lot as the show goes on. He fights on the front lines more in season 1 and then he turns into the MCU version of Fury in season 2. He’s pretty corrupt as you would expect from a Shield agent, but he has his moments where he can actually be likable. He was a capable leader for Shield (Not going to bother using the periods everywhere) while he was around. Maria Hill steps in for him once the Skrull invasion occurs. She is notably less tolerant with heroes than Fury was and she can definitely be a thorn in the side of the heroes. Hill does mean well and she is definitely a likable Shield agent, but her policy towards the heroes can definitely hold her back.

The Guardians of the Galaxy get to appear and this was before their film so the roster is much different. It’s vastly superior to the normal crowd as we have someone with Green Lantern’s abilities. Groot, Star Lord, and Rocket Raccoon are still around. I’m still not the biggest Rocket fan, but it is always good to see him jump into the action. Groot is simply Groot and still the worst member on the team. Star Lord was pretty reasonable and it was a very fun episode as we saw them match up against the Avengers before fighting Korvac. The Guardians are lucky that Thor was not there since the episode had the potential to be a stomp for the Avengers. Their portrayals all seemed pretty good.

Baron Zemo is another big Cap villain and he gets to team up with the Masters of Evil for a while. He never gets any super powers, but the Norn Stone makes him more of a threat in his final appearance. He’s still not my kind of villain though and he mostly just lives on by backstabbing all of the other villains. The series could do without him.

The Enchantress looks much more formidable than you would expect and she goes toe to toe with the Hulk and Thor in the series. Her magical abilities seem to be very well suited for offense and her speed is impressive. As a character, I’m still not a fan of hers as she always lets romance cloud her better judgment. Getting defeated by Zemo at the end is pretty bad for her and her loss in round 1 was bad as well. She lets her guard down a little too easily considering how powerful she is. Just wiping out her enemies would save her a lot of grief.
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The Leader gets a multi part episode towards the beginning of the series, but then he vanishes. This is definitely one of his better portrayals, but he’s still not a great villain. His lack of attack power is just hard to get around. It’s actually why I am not a big fan of the Abomination in this show. He’s constantly portrayed as being much weaker than the Hulk and it undermines the notion that he could actually be a rival to the green Avenger. He never looks good, not even once as the series goes on and this very well could be the worst portrayal of him.

Wonder Man looks a lot different from his counterpart in the first Avenger show. He is always in his energy form and the villains basically have a hold of his life so it’s tough for him to go back to the Avengers. He has his hero moment and he ends on a high note, but he should have kept an open mind about Stark before. (Not that Tony was pretty polite when they met) He may have had a better fate.

Dr Doom gets a brief role in the Skrull arc, but it’s a critical one that really helps the heroes out. He is a political enemy so he still wants the Earth to be in one piece. His armor looks impressive as it can keep up with Tony’s and likewise with his intellect. It was definitely a good portrayal of the villain. He certainly looks better than Loki. Loki’s big two part episode to end season 1 wasn’t very interesting and I can’t say that I cared for any of his appearances. He is a difficult opponent to handle because of his trickery. His design is pretty unique and I’m not sure what the writers were going for, but I suppose that it works.

Galactus finally joins the fray in the final episode and it’s good to see him. He doesn’t actually have a mind this time, which does undermine him as a villain, but he is still pretty strong. It may be his worst portrayal to date, but he’s a decent villain. I just wish that he could have fought back against the heroes instead of just staying there and taking everything that they had to give. His heralds are also pretty souless and weak as small groups of Avengers are able to take them down with ease. It’s the price of filling an episode with so many villains and fights. Power levels have to go out of the window and there can be no form of character development.

Ronan appears for the Kree and he looks pretty good against the Avengers. Thor may not have been there, but he was still keeping the Hulk and Iron Man at bay for a while until Ms. Marvel finally took him down. He looked much better than he did in the FF cartoon. He’s certainly not one of my favorite villains, but he makes for a nice opponent for the heroes. The other notable Kree agent would be Captain Marvell and I really didn’t like that guy. He never knew when to pick a side and he only jumped in at the end once the battle with the Supreme Intelligence was over. His abilities seem pretty interesting, but he’s just not a good character.

Naturally, there are many more villains to be found in the show. We got a healthy amount of them and the only big one that the show missed was probably Count Nefaria. Some of the villains that I didn’t mention include: Purple Man, Whirlwind, The Absorbing Man, the FF villain who looks like an insect, but with a name that’s hard to spell, Bi Beast, and many more. The series is definitely a complete one and it’s one of the few shows with 50+ episodes that I’ve seen in its entirety more than once.

For some reason, the show really loves to throw in the Serpent Society for when they need a throwaway action scene. These guys are constantly breaking out of jail and I’m always sad to see them. They really don’t make for interesting action scenes and they’re extremely weak. It’s hard to picture them ever holding their own against the Avengers and they feel outclassed from start to finish. Their leader gets a bit of a role during the Captain America Escape episode, but I can’t say that I’m a fan of Viper either. She’s just a little too generic for me and she is interchangeable with just about any other villain.

Naturally, the show’s power levels are more than a little wonky. This is certainly a weakness that superhero shows tend to have. Anime spend more time on the power levels or at least manga based ones do. Here, you can go from having the Vision beating up on the Avengers without effort to being crushed by Thor. Iron Man’s durability also comes into question a whole lot as the scenes don’t always make a lot of sense. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s something that you’ll definitely think about as you watch the episodes. A little more speed would definitely come in handy for the Avengers and their enemies.

Unfortunately, the show does end with some loose ends. The main one is definitely the Surtur plot that the show had been hyping up in the background for quite a while. It got a whole episode devoted to the future arc with Beta Ray Bill and Odin. All of it was for naught unfortunately as the series ended. It definitely had a lot of potential so it’s too bad that the series ended when it did.

The show definitely deserves some props for having cliffhangers and new subplots in just about every episode. It’s one of the reasons why the show is able to separate itself from the average show. Including all of the classic plots and new characters, the show was definitely ambitious. It’s epic to think of how many things may have happened if it had reached 4-5 seasons. This really could have been a true rival for Justice League. It’s doubtful that it could have surpassed it, but more episodes would have cemented the show as the ultimate Marvel experience.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ soundtrack is pretty amazing. It has the greatest theme song for any superhero show and that includes Justice League. It’s by far the greatest western theme song that I’ve heard and it can even match up against anime openings. That’s some great praise for the show and the themes in the episodes also sound good. A lot of western shows seem to believe that a soundtrack is not necessary, but it certainly augments any scene. Whether for better or worse, taking the plunge and adding a lot of good tunes is definitely the right move for a show and Avengers pulled it off.
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Overall, Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a pretty incredible show. It surpassed all of my expectations and it has a lot of replay value. It’s the kind of show that you can easily find yourself re watching since the battles are so much fun. It’s really too bad that this show was cancelled in place of Assemble since it’s many times better. This show had heart, solid animation, a good soundtrack, and the writing was very well done. This is one of those shows that you can possibly consider once in a life time since I have my doubts on whether superhero shows will be able to reach the level of greatness that they once had. Well, we’ll keep our hopes high I suppose. I recommend this to all comic book fans and to anyone that wants to start a good action show. This is definitely the cartoon to watch!

Overall 9/10