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September 8th, 2019 Movie – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

spider-man spiderverse

My apologies for the lack of a post last week. I was at Dragoncon over the holiday weekend and while I normally try to have a review pre-written so I can post it, I did not manage to get it done in time this year. Anyways, in the spirit of Dragoncon, I decided to review the award winning movie featuring everyone’s favorite web-swinging, quip slinging superhero, Spider-Man. Now I am pretty sure that just about everyone knows who Peter Parker is, but not that many people outside of those that regularly read comic books knows about Miles Morales. I will admit, I did not know who he was at first, as I had stopped being a regular comic reader for several years, but several of my friends are still regular readers and have frequently commented on how much the enjoy reading his stories. So when I heard that there was going to be a new Spider-Man movie that featured Miles, well I was intrigued enough to go give it a shot. So let’s see how good of a Spider-Man Miles Morales is in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.

The plot: Teenager Miles Morales has managed to get into an upper class boarding school and though his parents are proud of him, Miles would rather go back to his old school and tries to find ways to get kicked out. After dealing with the stress of his classes, Miles sneaks out and goes to see his uncle Aaron, who takes Miles to an abandoned subway station so Miles can paint his latest design on the wall. As Miles is finishing up and taking a picture of his graffiti, a strange spider bites him on the hand. The next day, Miles runs into a new girl (Gwen Stacy) at his school that he likes but as he they both nervously talk to each other, Miles hand accidentally becomes stuck to her hair. After he is cut free, Miles runs from a security officer and finds himself sticking to he outside of the building when he accidentally falls out the window. Miles manages to make it back to his room, but not before being noticed by Gwen, and as he tires to figure out what is happening to him, a Spider-Man comic falls onto his face and he sees the same thing happening in the comic to Peter Parker that has been happening to him. Miles heads back to the abandoned subway station, trying and failing to call his uncle as he does, and when he gets there, he finds the spider and notices something strange happening to it’s body. Suddenly, Miles gets a strange feeling (Spider-sense) and quickly ducks as some debris comes flying towards him and he sees Spider-Man fighting with the Green Goblin. As Spider-Man and Goblin continue their fight, Miles tries to get away and finds himself inside a massive super collider. Spider-Man rescues Miles when he falls and when both their Spider-senses react to their proximity to each other, Spider-Man realizes that Miles is like him and offers to help him deal with what he is going through once he destroys the collider. As Spider-Man tries to shut down the collider with a USB drive, he is attacked by both the Goblin and the Prowler. While Spider-Man is distracted, Kingpin shows up in the collider’s control booth and activates it, but while it is active, Goblin forces Spider-Man into the beam, causing an explosion. Miles heads to the wounded Spider-Man, who gives Miles the USB drive and tells him that the collider could destroy the city if it is activated again. After telling Miles to hide his face so nobody knows he is, he tells Miles to run, just as the Kingpin approaches him. Spider-Man tells Kingpin he knows what he is trying to do with the collider and it won’t work, and an enraged Kingpin kills him, then sends Prowler to kill Miles when he sees that Miles has seen them. Miles manages to get away and heads back to his home, but when the news breaks about Spider-Man’s death and who he was, Miles sneaks back out to find the whole city has stopped at the news of Spider-Man’s death. Buying a Spider-Man costume and attending the memorial service, where Mary Jane Parker speaks about her husband, Miles decides to try and practice with his powers but ends up damaging the USB drive. Going to Peter Parker’s grave, Miles is surprised by a stranger and displays a new ability, which shocks the man unconscious. As the man falls, he reflexively sends out a web strand that strikes Miles and Miles discovers that the man is another version of Peter Parker from a different dimension. This version, Peter B. Parker, is older than the Spider-Man from Miles city and as the police show up, Miles manages to get away with Peter. Miles takes the unconscious Peter to his uncle’s place and when Peter regains consciousness, Miles talks to him, learning that he is from another dimension. Peter gets away from Miles and starts to leave when his body starts “glitching” and Peter says his body is reacting to being in the wrong dimension. Miles tells Peter about the collider and Peter wants to use it to go home but when he learns the USB is broken, he says he has to go to Alchemax to steal the data again and reluctantly agrees to train Miles in the process. Miles and Peter head to Alchemax and Peter heads inside, telling Miles to stay back and keep watch but when Kingpin shows up, Miles heads inside to warn Peter. They manage to locate the head scientist’s lab, where Miles displays another new ability to turn invisible, but as Miles works on downloading the collider’s schematics, Peter learns that the head scientist is a female Doctor Octopus. Doc Ock says that she knows Peter is from another dimension and that if he stays in this dimension too long, his body will disintegrate, and that she wants to watch it happen. Peter manages to get away and he and Miles grab the computer hard drive and attempt to escape but when Doc Ock chases after them, they are saved by Spider-Woman, who is revealed to be Gwen Stacy. Like Peter, Gwen is from another dimension, where she was bitten by the spider and Peter Parker died, only when the explosion occurred she was blown into last week, and she was drawn to the boarding school because of Miles. The three head to Aunt May’s house, where after she greets them, she takes them to Spider-Man’s secret lair, where three other dimensional Spider-People (Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and her Spider robot, and Spider-Ham) have also shown up. The Spider-People know that they have to use the collider to get home but one of them must stay behind to shut the collider down. Miles says that he should be the one to shut it down, as they would all die if they stay, but when they test Miles abilities, the other Spider-People feel that Miles lacks the necessary training. A dejected Miles leaves the lair and heads to his uncle’s place, where he writes a note for Aaron only to discover that his uncle is actually the Prowler. Miles leaves his uncles place, but the Prowler sees him and gives chase, allowing Miles to lead him back to the others. At Aunt May’s house, Peni finishes making a new USB drive when Miles shows up, followed by Prowler, Doc Ock, Tombstone, and Scorpion. As the Spider-Gang begin fighting the villains, Miles tries to leave with the USB drive only to be captured by Prowler. Kingpin orders Prowler to kill Miles but when Miles reveals his identity, Aaron can’t kill his nephew so the Kingpin shoots him. Miles takes his wounded uncle away from there, but Aaron apologizes for letting Miles down before he dies, and Miles father Jefferson, a police officer, sees Miles mourning over Aaron’s body and believes Spider-Man killed his brother. Miles heads back to his room at the boarding school, where the other Spiders meet up with him and try to console him. Gwen and the others say goodbye as Peter explains to Miles that he is staying behind, telling Miles that he isn’t ready to help them so he won’t be going with them. Peter then webs up Miles and leaves and as Miles gets free, Jefferson shows up at the dorm. Thinking Miles doesn’t want to talk to him, Jefferson speaks to him through the door to tell him about Aaron’s death as well as how he feels about Miles. Taking his dad’s words to heart, Miles is able to master his powers and heads back to Aunt May’s house, to find her expecting him and giving him a new costume and web shooters tailored for him. Miles heads out to regroup with the others, who have reached Fisk Towers only to find Kingpin is holding a celebration for Spider-Man and they are able to sneak inside and head to the collider. They reach the collider just as Kingpin’s men activate it, with the city beginning to suffer the effects of multiple dimensions merging together. Peter goes to put the “goober” into the override but Doc Ock and the others are there waiting for them. Miles shows up to help and they manage to defeat Kingpin’s goons, but Peni loses the Spider robot in the process. Miles takes control of the collider and begins sending everyone back to their own dimensions and when Kingpin shows up, Peter goes to help Miles defeat him but Miles forces Peter to go back home. Miles and Kingpin face off, with Kingpin getting the upper hand and nearly killing Miles. Jefferson shows up and, seeing the fight, realizes that Spider-Man is actually a hero and begins cheering him on, encouraging Miles to get up. Miles uses his venom shock on Kingpin and then throws him into the deactivation button, shutting down the collider and saving the city. As Jefferson begins arresting the Kingpin’s goons, Miles calls him and they talk briefly before Miles, as Spider-Man, shows up in front of him and briefly speaks with Jefferson before pointing out the Kingpin suspended from a web above him. As Miles adjusts to his new life as the city’s new Spider-Man, Peni is shown to be building a new robot, Spider-Man Noir solves a Rubik’s Cube, Spider-Ham is shown eating a hot dog, while Peter heads to Mary Jane’s house to try and fix their relationship. Gwen is shown looking at a picture she took of her and Miles together and later, is shown calling out through a portal to Miles. In a post credit scene, Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man 2099, is informed about what happened and makes his own dimensional jump, landing in 1967 New York, where he gets in an argument with that era’s Spider-Man over which one of them pointed at the other one first.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was a massive hit with the critics, currently holding a certified fresh rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.” Stan Lee had recorded a cameo for this movie, making it his final voice-acting role before his death, with producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanting Lee to have a bigger moment compared to previous Marvel films because he was “so integral to the spirit of this movie,” and considered his role “extra meaningful” following his death. The movie was a box office hit, earning $375.5 million off of a $90 million budget, and won the Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

I’m not going to lie. This might be one of the best Spider-Man movies to come out on the big screen. The voice acting was fantastic, with Shameik Moore doing a great job as Miles. Jake Johnson (Peter B. Parker), Hailee Steinfeld (Gwen), Mahershala Ali (Aaron), and Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson) were also equally good, while Lily Tomlin (Aunt May), John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), and Nicolas Cage (Spider-Man Noir) were just plain funny and entertaining. The story was a little darker than I expected for a movie geared towards kids, but still very well written. It was a good way to showcase the pressures that a teenager would face when given super powers and having a desire to use them for good, as well as giving him a support group of people who had been through the exact same thing that he was currently going through. I loved some of the nods and Easter eggs referencing Marvel that were scattered throughout the movie, with my 2 favorites being: 1) The name B Bendis listed in Miles phones, which is a reference to Brian Michael Bendis (who co-created the character of Miles Morales), and 2) The post credit scene where Spider-Man 2099 shows up and confronts a past Spider-Man (with Stan Lee voicing J. Jonah Jameson in that scene). The animation was fantastic in this movie, and I loved how they would slightly alter it regarding Peni, Noir, and Spider-Ham (making Peni look more anime style, Spider-Man Noir being in black and white, while Spider-Ham was made overly cartoony). The soundtrack to the movie fit in well with the scenes taking place and helped emphasize the moods of the scenes, ranging from a normal feel to more dramatic throughout the movie. All told, this is a great movie that deserved the praise it got and is well worth watching when you get the chance (it’s currently on Netflix so do yourself a favor and watch it now.)

Rating: 5 out of 5

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October 29th, 2018 Movie – Ant-Man And The Wasp

ant man and the wasp

Ok, I feel kind of bad for this but for the first time since 2008, I did not see one of the MCU movies in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Ant-Man quite a bit but when the sequel came out, there was just too much going on in my life for me to take the time to go see it. So I had to wait patiently for this movie to come out on video before I could watch it. As soon as I got it, I had to put it in because there was one burning question that needed to be answered; how does this movie tie in to Avengers: Infinity War. Well, let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Ant-Man And The Wasp.

The plot: Sometime after Scott Lang stopped Darren Cross (Yellowjacket), Hank Pym is talking with his daughter Hope about when her mother had gone sub-atomic to stop a missile and never came back. When Scott did the same thing to stop Cross but came back, Hank wonders if maybe his wife Janet is still alive, and shows Hope some old plans he had developed for a Quantum Tunnel, which he plans on building to try and find her. In the present, Scott Lang is finishing up his last days on being under house arrest for his role in helping Captain America. As he entertains his daughter Cassie, he is also helping his partner Luis go over the plans for their security system proposal when he accidentally triggers the perimeter alarm for his house arrest. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and his team search the house, as part of the terms of the deal Scott signed. As his team searches the house, Woo asks if Scott has had any contact with Hank or Hope, as it was his tech that Scott used, but Scott tells him that Hank hates him for getting involved with the Avengers and neither of them have spoken to him in the past two years. That night, Scott has a dream where he is back in the quantum realm and sees Janet, then finds himself in one of Janet’s memories. Waking up, Scott uses a secret phone to contact Hank and leaves a message about the dream but realizes how stupid it sounds and hangs up, then breaks the phone. The next day, Scott is eating when something buzzes by him and stings him, causing him to pass out. When he comes too, he finds himself in a car with Hope driving. Hope explains that they have left a decoy with his ankle monitor to fool the FBI, then explains that they are still mad at him but the only reason they are talking is because they need what is in his head. Hope takes Scott to their secret lab, and Hank explains that they had been building the tunnel for the past two years and had tested it the night before when a part overloaded. % minutes after the tested it, Scott called them which makes Hank believe that Janet had placed a message inside his head that they need to get. Scott still thinks it was just a dream he had but when Hope says the dream he described was how she and her mom always played hide and seek, Hank and Hope get excited. Saying Hank owes them for going to Germany and destroying the Ant-Man suit, Hank and Hope shrink down the lab and go to see a man named Sonny Burch, with Scott reluctantly going along but as they drive off, an almost invisible figure is watching them. When they reach the meeting spot, Hope heads inside, with Hank and Scott watching via ants that Hank is controlling, but as Hope speaks with Burch, he reveals that he knows who she really is and wants to change the deal they have. Burch figured out that they are involved in quantum technology and, knowing that it is the future in energy, has arranged for some buyers for their lab but when Hope refuses, he refuses to give her the part. Hope leaves but as Burch goes to leave, Hope returns wearing he Wasp armor and begins attacking Burch’s men, reclaiming the part they needed. As Hope goes to leave, the mysterious figure appears, constantly fading in and out of sight and tangibility. Realizing Hope is in trouble, Hank gives Scott a prototype Ant-Man suit and Scott goes in to help Hope but the figure disappears, then reappears in Hank’s van and steals his lab. Needing a place to hide, Scott takes them to his business office and they discuss what they can do. With all of the equipment they could possibly use to find the lab inside the lab, Hank says there is only one man that might be able to help; his former partner Bill Foster. Meanwhile, Ghost, as Scott and the others called her, takes the lab to an abandoned house, then gets inside a special chamber to help stabilize her condition. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the college that Bill teaches at and meet with Bill, who continually makes snide remarks to Hank while they talk. When Scott notices that Woo is there, he realizes someone must have spotted them and they leave but Bill tells them a way to find the lab as they leave. In the car, Hank says that the problem with Bill’s idea of using their suit’s regulators is that he got rid of the regulators in the new suits but Scott reveals that he did not destroy his suit like he originally told them. Scott had mailed it to Luis before he was imprisoned, then placed it in a trophy that Cassie had gotten him but when Luis can’t find the trophy, Scott realizes that Cassie had taken it for show-and-tell. Scott and Hope head to Cassie’s school but while they are there, Scott’s suit malfunctions, causing him to change sizes randomly. Scott and Hope are able to retrieve the suit and after trying Bill’s idea, they get a signal from the lab and track it down. As Scott and Hope prepare to head inside, they discuss their former relationship and Hope tells Scott that had she been there, he would not have been captured. The two head inside the house and discover the lab, as well as Ghost in her chamber, but when they go to grab the lab, Ghost awakens and knocks them out. Scott comes too and finds himself strapped to a chair, with Hope and Hank still unconscious and tied up next to him. The ghost appears and says her name is Ava and she won’t hurt him but needs what is in his head. As she goes intangible again, she gets upset and wakes Hope and Hank up, just as Bill appears and reveals that he was working with Ava. Ava explains that her father was a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist that was working with Hank but when they had a disagreement, Hank had him fired and discredited. Her father continued his work to restore his name but due to thae lack of proper safeguards, there was an explosion and her parents were killed while Ava was left in her noncorporeal state. Bill was still working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and worked to help Ava, but S.H.E.L.D. wanted to use her as a spy and assassin, then kill her. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, Bill helped Ava escape, and they had been watching Hank to see if he could help them when they learned of Scott’s message from Janet. Bill says that he wants to harvest the quantum energy that Janet has been soaking up to restore Ava’s body but Hank says that it will kill her if they do that. Bill goes to leave but Hank fakes a heart attack and Hope says his medicine is in the altoids container her carries. Bill goes to get the altoids container but when he opens it, a bunch of ants pop out and grow to human size. Then ants free Scott, Hope, and Hank, who are able to escape with the lab. As Hank, Hope, and Scott prepare to activate the tunnel and learn where Janet is, Ava wants to use Cassie to get Scott to get the lab back but Bill refuses to help her if she hurts Cassie so she says there are other options and leaves. Meanwhile, Burch shows up at Luis’ business and gives him some truth serum to learn where Scott is, only for Ghost to show up and disable his vehicle. Burch calls his contact at the FBI to tell him where Hank, Hope, and Scott are but tells him to give him the lab. At the lab, Hank and Hope activate the machine and Janet’s consciousness takes over Scott’s body, allowing her to help them locate where she is but she warns them that they only have 2 hours or else it will be another century before they will be able to try again. Luis calls and warns Scott about what happened and Scott tells Hank and Hope, who are upset and quickly work on powering down the lab so they can shrink it and leave while Scott grabs the Ant-Man suit and heads home so Woo doesn’t catch him. At Scott’s house, Cassie, along with her mother and stepfather, show up at Scott’s house and Cassie discovers the giant ant pretending to be Scott but keeps it a secret. When Woo shows up, Cassie stalls him and Scott is able to get back in time but Hank and Hope are captured. As they are being placed in a car, Burch’s man grabs the lab and puts it in the trunk of his car but Ghost appears and knocks him out and steals the lab. At Scott’s house, Cassie talks with Scott and asks if he is going to help Hope and Hank and Scott says he wants to but doesn’t want to hurt her and she tells him that he should help them. At the FBI office, Hope picks the lock to her and Hank’s restraints and they try to figure out a way out of there when Scott uses some ants to bring Hope’s Wasp suit, as well as an FBI uniform for Hank, and then cover the camera so they can escape, unaware that Burch’s men are following them. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the lab, thanks to Hank placing a new tracker on it. When they get there, Hank tells them that he will be the one to head into the tunnel, as he needs them to protect the tunnel and deal with Ghost. Scott uses the ants to disrupt the machine, drawing Ghost out and Hank heads inside, using some large ants to keep Bill at bay. As Bill explains his reasoning, Hank tells him that he will help Bill find a cure as soon as he gets back from rescuing Janet and Bill wishes him luck. Ghost attacks Scott and as she does, Hank heads through the Quantum Tunnel while Hope shrinks the lab, allowing her and Luis to grab it. They go to leave but Burch and his men show up and they are forced to drive from them, with Hope shrinking and growing the van to deal with the pursuers. Scott catches up to them while Hope deals with the last of Burch’s men but Ghost shows up and steals the lab, while causing Scott to crash the van. Hope and Scott work on getting the lab back but as they deal with Ghost, Burch manages to grab the lab. Hope chases after her and Scott, still having issues with his suit, follows after them. Meanwhile, Hank makes it to the quantum realm and goes searching for Janet but as he collapses from the strain of the realm on his mind, Janet shows up and helps him but as they go to return to the surface, the learn that the lab is still shrunk down and they can’t ascend. Back on the surface, Luis finds the remote for the lab in the van and grabs another car to drive and meet with Hope and Scott. When he comes under fire form Burch’s men, Hope rescues him while Scott continues chasing after Burch. When Burch gets onto a ferry to escape, Scott grows to giant size in order to get the lab back from him but as he places it back on the dock, he passes out from the strain on his body. Hope and Luis arrive and Hope dives into the water to save Scott while Luis goes to get the lab but Ghost shows up and knocks him out, then enlarges the lab. Seeing the lab has returned to normal, Hank and Janet begin the journey back, unaware as to what is going on. Luis is confronted by Burch and his men but Kurt and Dave show up and uses tasers to incapacitate Burch’s men while Luis knocks out Burch. Inside the lab, Bill tries to talk Ghost out of harvesting Janet’s energy but Ghost shoves him aside and starts the process, which starts tearing Janet apart. Scott and Hope enter the lab and stop Ghost, then begin fighting with her until Hank and Janet return, with Scott rescuing Hope while Ghost is struck by the vehicle. Hank, Janet, and Hope all embrace each other and when Janet sees Ghost, she approaches her and gives her some of her energy to temporarily stabilize her. When Luis warns them that the cops and FBI are approaching, Scott uses his suit to create a decoy so that they can get away, while he rushes home, where a suspicious Woo can’t prove he had left and takes off the ankle monitor, warning him that he will be keeping an eye out for him. Burch and his men are arrested, and since Luis, Kurt, and Dave were credited with the arrest, their company gets a huge contract that they had been working on. Ava tells Bill to leave her, as she had hurt so many people trying to save her life, but Bill says he won’t leave her and she embraces him. Hank and Janet are shown to be on a tropical beach, where Hank reveals he had shrunk their house and brought it with them for them to live in. Scott, Hope, and Cassie are enjoying a makeshift drive-in movie night, where Cassie reveals to Hope that Scott wants her to be his partner. Some time later, Hank, Hope, and Janet have made a smaller Quantum Tunnel and Scott travels into it in order to get some quantum healing particles for Ava but as they prepare to bring him back, Hope, Hank, and Janet are disintegrated, courtesy of Thanos and the Infinity Stones, leaving Scott stranded in the quantum realm.

Ant-Man And The Wasp met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.” During the scene where Hank, Hope, and Scott first meet with Bill Foster, Bill says that he worked on the “Goliath Project” with Hank and had grown to 21 feet. In the comics, Bill Foster was Hank Pym’s assistant and would indeed become a super hero known as Goliath, who took part in Civil War as one of Cap’s allies but would be killed by a robotic version of Thor. The movie was a box office success, earning $622.4 million off of a $195 million budget.

I really feel bad for not seeing this in theaters because this movie was just as funny as the original. The acting was good, with Paul Rudd (Scott), Evangeline Lilly (Hope) and Michael Douglas (Hank) doing great jobs in their roles. Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet) and Laurence Fishburne (Bill) were also good, while Hannah John-Kamen and Walton Goggins (Burch) made for some interesting villains in Ghost and Burch respectively. The story was pretty good as, aside from the aspect of Scott bing under house arrest, it was essentially a stand alone movie that did not need to rely on anything from the other movies. There was simply the part at the end where the Hank, Hope, and Janet disintegrated that showed the events were occurring roughly at the same time as Thanos’ attack on the universe. One thing about the movie I did like was the various moral decisions that constantly came into play during the movie. I mean, you had Scott wanting to stay on the straight and narrow so he wouldn’t get his chance at probation revoked and losing the chance to spend time with his daughter, but also wanting to help Hope and Hank rescue Janet. Then you have Bill Foster, who wants to save Ava but in the end, doesn’t want her to risk harming Janet, though Ava is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself, including threatening Cassie until Bill warns her against it. The special effects were great, with the constant size changing during the fight scenes, as well as the car chase scenes, were incredible to watch and really well timed. The visual imagery during Hank’s journey into the quantum realm was also incredibly beautiful, even the tardigrades (water bears). A fun movie to watch and a good way to ease back from the emotions of Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 28th, 2018 Movie – Avengers: Infinity War

avengers infinity war

This is it. This is the movie that has been 6 years in build up and anticipation. Ever since Thanos first appeared in the post credits of The Avengers, this is the movie that everyone knew was going to happen. Now I have to admit that while I was always a comic book reader back in the day, the Infinity Gauntlet story line was the one that really got me into some hardcore collecting back then. I mean, this was a three year story arc that was spread out over dozens of titles, not including the main 6 issue mini-series for the main story arcs, and that was an awful lot of comics to be buying. So I was really curious to see how they were going to be translating this movie onto the big screen. Surprisingly, I did not rush out to watch this opening weekend but would wait a few weeks before I went to see it in theaters but I bought it almost immediately after it came out on video. Now, let’s get our hearts ripped ut once again with today’s movie, Avengers: Infinity War.

The plot: Out in space, the Asgardian refugee ship has come under attack by Thanos’ flagship. Thanos teleports on board with his acolytes (Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive) and they kill all of the Asgardians and wound Heimdall. Loki is left alone and he watches as Thanos grabs Thor and reveals that he has the Power Stone, which he had taken from Xandar. Thanos approaches Loki and demands that he turn over the Tesseract or else he will kill Thor and Loki tells him to kill Thor but as Thanos proceeds to blast him, Loki relents and reveals the Tesseract and moves to give it to Thanos, only to pull it back and rescue Thor as the Hulk leaps out and attacks Thanos. Obsedian goes to help Thanos but Maw holds him back as Thanos, using the Power Stone, is able to overpower the Hulk and beat him down. Heimdall uses his sword to summon the Bifrost to transport Hulk back to Earth to warn them of Thanos’ coming and Thanos kills him for that. Trapping Thor within some wreckage of the ship, Thanos breaks the Tesseract to reveal the Space Stone within it and places it in his gauntlet. He then orders his acolytes to go to Earth to retrieve the two stones that are there, then bring them back to him on Titan. Loki volunteers to help them on Earth but as he approaches Thanos, he tries to stab him only for Thanos to stop the attack and break Loki’s neck, dropping the body in front of Thor. Thanos then uses the stones to destroy the ship and teleport himself and his acolytes back to their ship and, with his bonds broken, Thor crawls over to Loki’s body just before the ship explodes. On Earth, Dr. Stephen Strange and Wong are discussing getting lunch when the Hulk is dropped through the ceiling of the Sanctum and as he transforms back into Banner, he tells them Thanos is coming. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are walking in Central Park when Strange appears before them and says he needs his help, bringing Bruce with him to prove the seriousness of the situation. Stark goes with them back to the Sanctum, where Strange and Wong explain the history of the Infinity Stones to Stark, and how they are the protectors of the Time Stone. When Banner says that they have to find Vision, Stark admits that Vision has turned off his transponder and been missing for 2 weeks. He says that Steve Rogers might be able to find him and when Banner says to call him, Stark tells him that they are no longer speaking and about the Avengers breaking up. Banner tells Stark that Thor is dead and Stark reluctantly pulls out the phone that Steve had given him when they notice something happening outside, only to find a giant spaceship has appeared over the city. Peter Parker is on a field trip with his class when he sees the spaceship and while his classmates are all staring at it, he quickly changes into his Spider-Man costume and goes back to the city. Maw and Obsidian appear on the street and demand the Time Stone and Stark, Strange, and Wong prepare to face them but when Banner tries to change into the Hulk, he refuses to come out so Strange teleports him away to safety. Stark ends up facing Obsidian, with Peter arriving to help him while Strange and Maw face Maw. Maw easily knocks Wong aside and manages to capture Strange but finds Strange has placed a protective enchantment on the Eye of Agamotto, which holds the Time Stone, preventing him from grabbing it. As Maw attempts to leave with Strange, his Cloak of Levitation flies him away and as they pass by the battle with Obsidian, Stark tells Peter to help him. Peter attempts to rescue Strange but Strange ends up being beamed aboard Maw’s ship, with Peter clinging to the side of it. Stark tries to get away from Obsidian to help Peter, with Wong teleporting Obsidian to another part of Earth so he can do so, and as he flies after the ship, he orders his computer, Friday, to activate a set of armor. The ship rises above the atmosphere and Peter starts to pass out when the armor attaches itself to him, becoming a nanotech version of his spider suit, and Stark orders Friday to send him home while he breaks inside the ship but Peter manages to stay on the ship and sneaks inside as well. Back on Earth, Wong returns to the Sanctum to guard it while Bruce picks up the flip-phone that Stark had dropped and calls Steve. Out in Space, the Guardians of the Galaxy had heard the Asgardian distress call and go to help only to find the wreckage and bodies scattered in space. Thor’s body lands on their ship and when they see he is still alive, they bring him on board, where Mantis revives him. Thor tells them what happened and says that Thanos will be going to Knowhere next, as that is where the Reality Stone is being held. When they ask why he will be going there next, Thor says that Thanos has the Power and Space stones, the Time and Mind stones are safe on Earth with the Avengers, and nobody knows where the Soul Stone is (which causes Gamora to get a sad look on her face). Thor then says he needs to borrow their scout ship so he can go to Nidavellir, so he can have Eitri the Dwarf make a new weapon so he can kill Thanos. Rocket agrees to go with Thor, telling Groot to come with them, leaving the others to go to Knowhere to stop Thanos from getting the stone. Back on Earth, Vision is in Scotland with Wanda Maximoff, as they have secretly been seeing each other for 2 years. As they walk along the city, Vision asks Wanda to stay with him when they see the news footage about the events in New York. Suddenly, they are attacked by Midnight and Glaive and they try to fend them off but find themselves outmatched but before they can finish off Wanda and retrieve the Mind Stone, Steve shows up, along with Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanoff. The three manage to wound Glaive so Midnight teleports them away and Steve helps Vision onto their ship and tells Sam to take them home. Back in space, Gamora remembers her first meeting with Thanos, where he had slaughtered half of her people, including her mother, then adopted her. When Peter Quill approaches her, she asks him to kill her if Thanos looks like he is going to win, as she knows something that Thanos can never find out, and Quill reluctantly agrees to do so and Gamora kisses him. The group arrives at Knowhere and find the place is deserted but as they make their way to the Collector’s room, they find Thanos questioning the Collector about the Reality Stone’s whereabouts. Seeing Thanos, Drax wants to attack him in revenge for his family and when he doesn’t listen to reason, Mantis puts him to sleep. Gamora attacks Thanos and seemingly kills him but as she breaks down in tears over killing her adopted father, Thanos reveals that he already has the Reality Stone and had used it to make a false reality. Thanos grabs Gamora, then uses the Stone to tear apart Drax and Mantis, leaving only Quill to face him. Gamora reminds Quill of his promise and he reluctantly points his gun at her, with Thanos taunting him over it, and after they both admit their love for each other, he pulls the trigger only for bubbles to come out of his gun. Thanos smiles, telling Quill he likes him, then disappears with Gamora, leaving Quill with the restored Drax and Mantis on the ruins of Knowhere. Back on Earth, Rogers and the fugitive Avengers return to Avengers HQ, interupting a meeting that James Rhodes is having with Secretary of State Ross. After Rhodes shuts off the meeting, disobeying Ross’ orders to arrest them, he greets Steve and the others. Steve and Natasha are surprised to see that Banner is there and after he tells them what is going on, he asks about Clint and is told that both he and Scott Lang had signed deals to protect their families. Vision tells them that they need to destroy the Mind Stone as it is the only way to ensure Thanos doesn’t succeed in his plan but Wanda refuses to do it. Bruce suggests finding a way to remove the Stone without killing Vision and Steve says there is only one place where they have a chance of doing that. In Wakanda, T’Challa and Okoye are discussing their resources for the upcoming fight, with T’Challa saying they should send a message to M’Baku and the Jabari for help, as they approach Bucky BArnes and give him a new cybernetic arm to use in the fight. Back in space, Maw is torturing Strange to try and force him to give him the Time Stone. Stark discovers that Peter had stowed away and is upset with him for not listening but agrees to let him help him rescue Strange. Stark blasts a hole in the side of the ship, sucking Maw out into space while Peter, and the Cloak of Levitation, rescue Strange. Strange wants to turn the ship around and return to Earth but Stark refuses, as he wants to take the fight to Thanos rather than let him do any more damage to Earth. After arguing for a bit, Strange relents but warns Stark he will let him and Peter die in order to protect the Time Stone and Stark says he is ok with that, then tells Peter that he is an Avenger now. On Thanos’ flagship, Thanos and Gamora argue about his plans and how he wants to right the cosmic imbalance he sees. He then says he knows she lied about not finding the Soul Stone and takes her into a room, where Gamora sees Nebula has been captured and pulled apart while still alive. Thanos begins torturing Nebula and Gamora tries to lie but when he accesses Nebula’s memory banks and plays a file showing that Gamora had found the map and burned it, she reluctantly tells Thanos where the Soul Stone is in order to spare Nebula. Elsewhere, Thor, Rocket, and Groot continue towards Nidavellir and, after Rocket talks with Thor and gives him a cybernetic eye to replace his missing one, they arrive only to find the massive forge has gone cold. Heading inside, they find the place empty and Rocket sees a mold for a Gauntlet similar to Thanos’, just before they are attacked by Eitri. Thor gets him to stop attacking them and Eitir blames Thor for not protecting them but when Thor tells him that Asgard has been destroyed, Eitri says that he made the gauntlet in order to save his people, but Thanos killed them anyways, then poured the molted metal over his hands, ruining them. Back on Thanos’ ship, one of Thanos’ soldiers works on repairing Nebula only for her to kill him, then send a message to Mantis telling her to have the Guardians meet her on Titan. Stark, Strange, and Peter crash land on Titan, only to be attacked by the Guardians, who mistake them for working with Thanos but after a brief standoff, the Guardians realize that they are the people Thor was talking about. Knowing that Thanos will be coming to them, Stark tries to come up with a plan, arguing about it with Quill when the Guardians seem uninterested. They notice Strange doing something and as the approach him, he tells them that he had been using the Time Stone to look through future outcomes of their fight with Thanos and of the over 14 million futures he looked through, there was only one in which Thanos loses. Meanwhile, Thanos and Nebula arrive on Vormir and are confronted by the Red Skull, who is the Keeper of the Soul Stone. The Red Skull tells them that in order to obtain the Soul Stone, he must sacrifice what he loves most. Gamora laughs, saying that Thanos doesn’t love anything, but the Red Skull says that isn’t true, and Gamora realizes that Thanos did love her as a daughter. Gamora tries to kill herself but Thanos wills the knife away, then throws Gamora off the cliff to her death and as he sheds tears for her death, he is given the Soul Stone. Back on Earth, The Avengers arrive in Wakanda and are greeted by T’Challa, Okoye, and Bucky and as they take Vision into Shuri’s lab, she says she should be able to remove the stone but it will take time. The Acolyte’s ship arrives and sends a landing party outside the country’s borders and while Steve tells Wanda to blow up the Stone as soon as it is removed from Vision, T’Challa marshals his army and tells them to bring Steve a shield. Back on Nidavellir, Eitri explains that there was a weapon called Stormbreaker that was to become Thor’s when he became King and it would be strong enough to kill Thanos but with the rings frozen, he won’t be able to forge it. Thor has Rocket help him restart the rings and when the mechanism fails, he holds it open long enough for the metal to heat, but passes out from the pain and Rocket saves him and brings him back to the forge. Eitri manages to pour the molten metal into the mold, then looks for the handle, as the axe is the only thing that can save Thor’s life. Groot uses his own arm to form a handle for the axe, then breaks it off and as it clatters to the floor, Thor’s fingers start sparking with electricity as the axe moves towards him. Back on Earth, the Avengers, with Bruce wearing Stark’s Hulkbuster armor, stand beside the Wakandan army and watch as the landing craft descend. Steve, T’Challa, and Natasha approach the barrier to speak with Obsidian and Midnight and when Natasha asks about Glaive, Midnight says they will pay for his life. Midnight summons her amry of creatures to attack the barrier and the creatures kill themselves forcing their way through, with the Wakandans picking off the stragglers. When the creatures move to flank them, T’Challa orders a section of the barrier to be opened, then he leads his army forward to face the creatures, with the Avengers joining in. The Avengers and Wakandans try to hold off the creatures so Shuri can finish removing the Mind Stone but they find themselves being overwhelmed when Thor suddenly appears with Rocket and Groot and they join the fight. On Titan, Thanos arrives to find Strange waiting for him and they talk briefly, with Thanos explaining his plans but Strange was merely a distraction as Stark pushes one of Titan’s destroyed satellites onto Thanos. Quill, Drax, Peter, Strange, and Mantis join in the fight as they try to take the gauntlet from Thanos. As Thanos appears to get the upper hand, Nebula appears and distracts him long enough for Mantis to try and put him to sleep. As she struggles with Thanos, Drax and Strange hold him down while Peter and Stark try to take the gauntlet off of him. Quill asks Thanos about Gamora and when Mantis says he is mourning, Nebula realizes Gamora is dead and an enraged Quill begins hitting Thanos in the face. When Stark tries to calm Quill down, Thanos recovers and is able to send everyone flying then knock out Mantis, Drax, Quill, and Nebula, leaving Peter, Stark, and Strange to fight him. Back on Earth, the battle continues and when Midnight summons some war machines onto the field, Wanda leaves the lab to help her friends and Midnight, seeing her on the field, contacts Glaive and tells him to make his move. Glaive, who had managed to sneak into the palace, kills the guards and knocks out Shuri but Vision grabs him and shoves him out the window, falling out as well. Falcoln sees what is happening and tells Steve, who yells out for someone to help Vision. Banner shows up and ends up fighting with Obsidian and when he tries to summon the Hulk again, Hulk still refuses so Banner is able to kill Obsidian by using the Hulkbuster armor to send him into the barrier, killing him, then says that he and Hulk have a lot to figure out. Wando goes to help Vision but is knocked down by Midnight and as Natasha and Okoye fight with her, Wanda recovers and uses her powers to send Midnight into the path of the war machines. Steve reaches Vision’s side and fights with Glaive, telling Vision to get out of there, but as Glaive overpowers Steve, Vision stabs him with his own spear. Back on Titan, Thanos is able to overpower Stark and the others, stabbing Stark with his own armor, and as he moves to finish him, Strange offers him the Time Stone in exchange for Stark’s life. Thanos takes the Stone and as Quill recovers and fires at him, he teleports away. Stark asks Strange why he did that and Strange tells him that they are in the end game now. Back on Earth, the Avengers and Wakandans are winning the battle when Thanos appears on Earth. Steve and the Avengers work on fighting him but he is easily able to overpower them so Vision tells Wanda to destroy the Stone. Wanda manages to do so but Thanos uses the Time Stone to turn back time, then grabs the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, killing him. As Thanos places the Stone in the gauntlet, Thor attacks him and manages to stab him in the chest with Stormbreaker, but Thanos tells him he should have aimed for his head, then snaps his fingers, causing a massive flash of light to appear. When it subsides, Thor asks Thanos what he did, as Thanos stares at the damaged gauntlet before teleporting away. As Steve asks where he went, Bucky calls out to him before he disintegrates, as does T’Challa, Wanda, Groot, Sam, and many of the Wakandans. On Titan, Stark and everyone regroup when Mantis senses something has happened just before she disintegrates. Drax and Quill disintegrate and Strange tells Stark it was the only way, just before he and Peter disintegrate, leaving Stark and Nebula the only two left on Titan. As the heroes left on Earth try to come to terms with what has happened, Thanos is seen on a distant world, recovering from the injury he received from Thor. In New York City, Nick Fury and Maria Hill are driving when they see vehicles crashing as their drivers are disintegrating. As Maria disintegrates, Nick races to his bag and grabs a special pager from his bag and sends out a signal just before he disintegrates and the pager falls to the ground, with a star atop a red and blue background showing on the screen.

Avengers: Infinity War met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.” Tom Holland was not allowed to read the script for this movie, since he revealed too many secrets for Spider-Man: Homecoming. In one of the promotional videos for the movie, several of its cast members are in an interrogation room refusing to reveal any spoilers, and Holland’s mouth is conspicuously taped shut.The movie was a box office success, earning $2.05 billion off of a $400 million budget, making it the 4th movie to break the $2 billion mark and the first superhero movie to do so while breaking several other box office records in the process.

As much as I hate to say it, perhaps there is some truth to the old saying that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This was a great movie to watch but because there was so much going on, I feel like they weren’t able to give it quite the justice it deserved. The acting was great, with everyone doing great jobs reprising their roles from the previous movies. I really liked the interactions some of the characters had with characters from different movies, such as Thor with the Guardians or Stark with Dr. Strange as well as his interactions with Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The story was pretty good in the way it explained Thanos’ motivation for wanting to find the Infinity Stones. It also did a good job in explaining how the different heroes managed to come together to fight Thanos and his acolytes, and how some of the Earth heroes ended up fighting Thanos in space Rocket and Groot ended up on Earth. One thing I wish they had done a better job of is clearing up some plot holes, such as what happened with Valkyrie, as well as Korg and the surviving gladiators that were on the ship at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Were they killed as well or were they not on the ship when Thanos attacked them? Also, I wish they had shown Thanos collecting the Power Stone from Xandar. I mean, you kind of see him get the Reality Stone but your first appearance of him is with him already having the Power Stone and you just casually toss out that he destroyed Xandar to get it. That’s it? Every other stone was a fairly decent scene but the Power Stone was reduced to just a casual line that Thor blurts out? That is lame. The special effects really were incredible and they went all out with this movie. From the various planets and locations to all of the battles, this was a true special effects extravaganza. A fun movie to watch and while not perfect, did a good job in tying the MCU together against a single enemy.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 27th, 2018 Movie – Black Panther

black panther

Back in the 90’s, there was talk that Wesley Snipes wanted to do a movie based on Black Panther, but it never came about and he ended up starring in Blade. However, the idea never truly went away as in the 2000’s, with the success of the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Blade movies, Marvel announced Black Panther as one of the characters that would be involved in a movie deal with Paramount Pictures, which would end up becoming the MCU. Ever since he appeared in Civil War, there was a lot of talk about how the Black Panther’s solo movie would turn out and the trailers for it only made people want to talk about it even more. I know it got me wanting to go see it and shortly after it hit theaters, I went early one Sunday morning and watched Black Panther, and am excited to watch it again.

The plot: Millions of years ago, a vibranium meteorite crashed to Africa. Centuries later, after mankind developed on Earth, 5 tribes settled in the area, calling it Wakanda, but the tribes were constantly at war with each other. When a shaman warrior receives a vision of the panther goddess Bast, which led him to a heart-shaped herb infused with the meteorites powers, he eats the herb, granting him superhuman abilities, and became the first Black Panther. The man then united 4 of the tribes together but the 5th tribe, the Jabari, refuse and isolate themselves in the mountains. With peace settled, the Wakandans uses the vibranium to advance their civilization but as wars and chaos occur in the outside world, the countries leaders decide to keep themselves hidden in plain site by pretending to be a third world country while hiding their nation’s true power. In 1992 Oakland, California, a Wakandan native called N’Jobu is planning an arms heist with his partner James when he receives a visit from King T’Chaka. After greeting N’Jobu, T’Chaka embraces him, as N’Jobu is his baby brother, and asks how he is doing. He then tells N’Jobu that a man called Ulysses Klaue had somehow broken into Wakanda and stolen some vibranium from their storehouse. When N’Jobu denies T’Chaka’s accusations that he helped Klaue enter Wakanda, James reveals that he is another Wakanda spy named Zuri and reveals that he was helping him, and T’Chaka orders N’Jobu to be taken back to Wakanda to face the council for his crimes. In the present day, one week has passed since King T’Chaka was killed at the United Nations bombing. As his son T’Challa watches news reports talking about his becoming the new king, Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje (Wakanda’s elite special forces unit), pilots him towards a convoy, where one of Wakanda’s undercover operatives is being held captive. Okoye moves to go with T’Challa but he tells her he can handle things on his own and Okoye relents but tells him not to freeze when he sees “her”. Donning his helmet, T’Challa drops from their ship and throws some EMP beads at the convoy, shutting down the engines of the vehicles. T’Challa then begins attacking the guerillas but freezes when Nakia, his former lover, stops him from killing one of them, as he is just a boy that had also been kidnapped. The last guerilla uses the opportunity to grab another hostage but he is killed by Okoye, who admonishes T’Challa. T’Challa explains to Nakia why they are there and they leave, sending the other captives back to their villages while they head back to Wakanda. In London, Erik Stevens is looking at the artifacts in the African wing of the British Museum, discussing them with the curator, when he comments that one of them is from Wakanda and he plans to steal it. The woman starts to call security when she collapses due to a poison in her coffee and Klaue and his partner, disguised as paramedics, arrive and kill the security guards. Klaue breaks open the display case and grabs the artifact, confirming it is made of vibranium and tells Stevens that he already has a buyer for it and Stevens warns him that the Wakandans will come after him but Klaue isn’t concerned and they leave, with Stevens grabbing a mask from another display as they do. Back in Wakanda, Zuri leads the coronation ceremony and after T’Challa’s powers are stripped from him, the offer is made for any tribe to challenge him from the throne. The 4 tribes say they will not challenge for the throne but before Zuri can declare T’Challa king, the Jabari tribe, led by M’Baku, arrive at ceremony. M’Baku says that the Jabari have watched and can’t stand for how Wakanda is being run now and challenges T’Challa for the throne, which T’Challa accepts. The two men fight, with M’Baku getting the upper hand but T’Challa is able to overcome him but instead of killing him, he forces M’Baku to yield, saying his people need him. T’Challa has his powers restored and as he is healed of his wounds, his mind is taken to the ancestral plane, where he is visited by his father and T’Challa asks him for advise on being a king. The next day, T’Challa tries to convince Nakia to stay in Wakanda but she tells him she can’t as she wants to do more to help people in the other countries and tries to get him to have Wakanda do more as well. As he talks with his friend W’kabi about Nakia’s wishes, they are both contacted by Okoye and head to a council meeting. In the meeting, Okoye tells them about the theft of the Wakandan artifact and Klaue selling it in South Korea and T’Challa decides to head out to South Korea to capture or kill him. After heading to his sister Shuri’s lab so she can give him some new equipment, he heads to South Korea with Okoye and Nakia. The three head to an illegal casino that Nakia knows about during her undercover days, and as they scope out the place, T’Challa recognizes CIA agent Everett Ross and tells them that there may be some complications. T’Challa approaches Ross and asks him if he is there to buy the vibranium and when Ross doesn’t deny it, T’Challa tells him that he is leaving the building with Klaue. When Klaue arrives, he as several men with him and T’Challa realizes that Klaue expected them to show up. When Okoye’s cover is blown, Klaue has his men attack everyone and he manages to stun T’Challa with his hidden sonic blaster when T’Challa confronts him. Klaue and his men leave, with Okoye and Nakia chasing after them and T’Challa eventually follows, riding atop a car that is being remotely driven by Shuri. Klaue’s men split up and T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia split up to chase after them, taking out all of Klaue’s subordinates but Klaue is able to destroy Okoye and Nakia’s car. T’Challa catches up to Klaue and disables his car, causing it to wreck and moves to kill Klaue but Okoye and Nakia, who had been given a lift by Ross, tells him to stop as there are too many people there filming the encounter. Klaue is taken to a CIA holding facility and Ross questions him about his arm cannon but Klaue tells him that it is nothing compared to the weapons that Wakanda has, explaining the history behind the country. As Ross questions T’Challa about the truth of Klaue’s claims, Stevens and his team show up and break Klaue out of the cell and escape, severely wounding Ross in the process. Realizing that Ross will die if they don’t help him, T’Challa decides to bring Ross to Wakanda so Shuri can hela him, much to the chagrin of Okoye. After taking Ross to Shuri’s lab, and T’Challa breaking the news to W’Kabi that they did not capture Klaue, T’Challa goes to see Zuri and question him about his uncle N’Jobu, as Stevens was wearing a ring just like T’Challa’s. Zuri is reluctant to speak but when T’Challa demands answers, he tells him the truth about N’Jobu, who had a son while in America, and that T’Chaka had been forced to kill N’Jobu when he attempted to kill Zuri for betraying him. Meanwhile, Stevens kills Klaue and his team, then transports Klaue’s body to Wakanda and shows it to W’Kabi, who asks who Stevens is. Ross regains consciousness and is shocked to see the lab that he is in, as well as the mountain of vibranium. As he talks with Shuri, Okoye contacts her to ask where T’Challa is and tells her about Stevens and Klaue and when Shuri sees the image of Stevens she is shocked when Okoye says he is Wakandan but Ross says that Stevens is an American Black Ops member. T’Challa is with Nakai, discussing what his father did to his uncle when Shuri contacts him and he heads to the palace. Ross tells T’Challa and Shuri about Stevens, who had gone by the code name Killmonger in his unit, and when Killmonger is brought to the Council, T’Challa says he knows who he is. Killmonger reveals that he is the son of N’Jobu and exercises his right to combat for the throne and T’Challa reluctantly accepts. T’Challa is stripped of his powers and fights Killmonger but Killmonger is able to beat T’Challa and moves to kill him but Zuri stops him, saying that he is the reason that N’Jobu is dead. Killmonger kills Zuri and as T’Challa reacts in grief, Killmonger chastises T’Challa’s capabilities to the Elders before throwing him over the waterfall. Nakia gets Shuri and her mother Ramonda to safety, as well as Ross, but when she tries to get Okoye to come with her, Okoye reluctantly tells her that the Dora Milaje serve the throne, no matter who is on it. Killmonger undergoes the ritual to gain the powers of the Black Panther, instead of the Ancestral Plane, Killmonger finds himself in his father’s old apartment, where N’Jobu tells him that they are both lost but Killmonger rejects that idea. Regaining consciousness, Killmonger orders the garden of the heart-shaped herb to be razed so nobody else can get the power of the Black Panther but Nakia manages to sneak down and steal one of the herbs before they are destroyed. Once he is on the throne, Killmonger tells the Council that they should send vibranium weapons to their “war dogs” so that they can arm revolutions and overthrow the various governments and set themselves up as rulers. Okoye says that is not the Wakandan way but W’Kabi says that the old ways are no longer practical and now they should embrace Killmonger’s idea. Meanwhile, Nakia, Ramonda, Shuri, and Ross travel to Jabariland, where Nakia intends to give M’Baku the last of the herbs so that he might overthrow Killmonger. M’Baku has them follow him to a hut, where they find T’Challa half buried in snow, and M’Baku explains that one of his fishermen found him on the river and brought him there, where he has been in a coma ever since. Ramonda gives the herb to T’Challa, who is transported to the Ancestral Plane again but instead of going with his father, he tells T’Chaka and his ancestors that their policies led them to this and he must go and right their wrongs. After T’Challa regains consciousness, Ross tells him about Killmonger’s training and he realizes that Killmonger is planning on doing exactly what his father wanted T’Chaka to do. Deciding that they need to stop Killmonger, T’Challa thanks M’Baku for saving his life, who says that he owed T’Challa for sparing his own but refuses to help T’Challa when he asks him to help stop Killmonger. Killmonger oversees the first shipment of weapons to his war dogs but the plane is brought down by T’Challa, who tells him that the challenge is not finished. Killmonger order W’Kabi to kill T’Challa and, despite Okoye telling him not to, W’Kabi orders the border tribe to attack. Okoye tells Killmonger he is not fit to be king and sends the Dora Milaje to help T’Challa while she attacks Killmonger with three other soldiers. Inside Shuri’s lab, Shuri tells Ross that they are going to remote hijack a ship for him to fly and shoot down the ships carrying vibranium weapons and while he does that, they attack Killmonger when he knocks Okoye and her warriors down the hill. Killmonger beats Nakia and is going to kill Shuri but T’Challa sees him and attacks him, knocking him down into the mine. T’Challa tells Shuri to activate the train on their level, as the sonic resonators will deactivate the suit that Killmonger is wearing, even though it will deactivate his own suit as well. On the surface, W’Kabi’s border tribe is winning and tells Okoye to surrender when M’Baku and the Jabari arrive and begin fighting them, and Okoye finally is able to get W’Kabi to surrender while Ross is able to destory the ships transporting the weapons. Back in the mine, T’Challa and Killmonger continue fighting and T’Challa is able to stab Killmonger, and after they talk briefly, T’Challa takes Killmonger to see the sunset over Wakanda and offers to heal him but Killmonger refuses, choosing to die rather than live in bondage. T’Challa returns to the throne, adding M’Baku to the Council of Elders so that all of the tribes of Wakanda are now represented. He then speaks with Nakia and asks her to stay, saying that he has a way of fulfilling her calling and they kiss. Later, T’Challa and Shuri travel to Oakland and T’Challa explains that he bought the building where N’Jobu died, as well as the two buildings next to them, and is making them the first Wakanda International Outreach Center, with Nakia and Shuri running it. Some time later, T’Challa, accompanied by Nakia, Okoye, and another guard, attends the United Nations and reveals Wakanda’s true power to the assembly. Meanwhile, in Wakanda, Shuri is shown to be helping Bucky Barnes, whom the children call “White Wolf”, recover from Hydra’s brainwashing.

Black Panther was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU’s most absorbing stories — and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.” The Wakandan language is an actual language called Xhosa, a South African language that is native to Nelson Mandela. John Kani, who played T’Chaka, is from the region and speaks the language and it was agreed during his filming of his role in Captain America: Civil War that it would be the language of Wakanda. The movie was a box office success, earning $1.347 billion off of a $210 million budget, garnering several award nominations and accolades, and a sequel has been announced.

This is a fantastic movie and probably one of the most complete movies that the MCU has released to date. The acting was incredible, with Chadwick Boseman doing a stellar job as T’Challa. Michael B. Jordan was equally good as Killmonger and was probably one of the most well written villains that the MCU has shown. Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Winston Duke (M’Baku), and Andy Serkis (Klaue) were also good in their roles, with Letitia somewhat stealing the show in several of her scenes. The story was great, picking up shortly after the events of Civil War and showcasing the doubts that T’Challa has in his new role as king and trying to determine what is best for Wakanda. I also thought that Kilmonger’s story arc, where he was angry at Wakanda for his father’s death but also felt like they could do more to help their race across the world if he was in charge and his desire to prove that at any cost is his driving purpose in life. The locations in the movie were incredible and the special effects were really good, except for a couple of scenes during the final fight between T’Challa and Killmonger that looked a little hokey. That part aside, this was an icredible movie and one that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 26th, 2018 Movie – Thor: Ragnarok

thor ragnarok

Since the beginning of the year, there have been several new entries in the MCU to come out on video. Of course, I was going to be getting them when they came out so I am excited to be getting into these movies now. So, first on the block is the most recent entry in the Thor franchise. Now many people tended to be disappointed with the Thor entries in the MCU, especially The Dark World. However, I knew things were going to be different when I saw the trailer for the new movie. It seemed like they decided to take a page out of James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy playbook and have some fun with this movie. Now the fact that this movie was also how we were going to get a live action version of Planet Hulk had me doubly excited to see this movie when it came out. So as soon as it hit theaters, I was there with some of my friends and we all enjoyed watching Thor: Ragnarok.

The plot: After roaming the cosmos in search of answers regarding the reemergence of the Infinity Stones, Thor finds himself captured by the massive fire demon Surtur. As Thor tell Surtur that he had a vision of him destroying Asgard, Surtur tells him that he has seen Ragnarok, the prophecy where Surtur brings about the destruction of Asgard. Surtur tells Thor that all he has to do is unite his crown with the Eternal Flame on Asgard and Ragnarok will begin. When Thor says that Odin will stop him, Surtur says that Odin is not on Asgard, which shocks Thor. Thor breaks free from his chains and after fending off Surtur’s minions, he battles Surtur and manages to knock his crown from his head. After grabbing the crown, Thor calls out to Heimdall to send the Bifrost Bridge for him but when he gets no response, he is forced to flee from Surutr’s dragon before the bridge finally appears. Arriving on Asgard, Thor finds that the Bifrost is being run by Skurge, as Heimdall has been declared a traitor to Asgard. Thor heads into the city and finds Odin watching a play depicting the death of Loki, only written to make Loki seem more heroic. Thor confronts Odin and, realizing who he really is, forces him to reveal that he is really Loki. As Loki tries to explain that things were fine while Thor was gone, Thor tells him that the Nine Realms are in chaos and demands to know where Odin is. Loki reluctantly agrees to show Thor where he left him and they head to Earth, only to find that the building Loki left Odin in is being demolished. Suddenly, a portal opens up underneath Loki’s feet and he disappears, with only a card with an address written on it left in his place. Thor heads to the address and is greeted by Dr. Stephen Strange, Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme, who questions why Thor brought Loki back to Earth. Thor tells Strange that they are looking for Odin and when they find him, they will leave and Strange tells Thor that Odin is in Norway, then summons a portal and sends Thor and Loki through it. Thor and Loki find Odin on a cliff staring out at the sea and he greets his sons, then tells them that Ragnarok is upon them. Thor tries to tell him that he defeated Surtur but Odin tells him Ragnarok had already started, as he is dying and with his death, Hela, his firstborn daughter, will return. He tells them that her appetite for conquest grew beyond his control and he was forced to imprison her. Telling them that she gains her power from Asgard and if she returns there, her power will be limitless, he then fades away into a shower of energy that heads out into the sky. Thor faces Loki, blaming him for Odin’s death, but before they can start fighting, a portal opens and Hela emerges. Hela demands that they kneel and when Thor refuses and throws Mjolnir at her, she catches it in her hand and shatters it. Loki summons a Bifrost to take them back, despite Thor warning him not to, but Hela follows after them and knocks both Thor and Loki off the bridge into the abyss. Hela arrives on Asgard and is confronted by Volstagg and Fandral but she kills them, then allows Skurge to work for her. Meanwhile, Thor ends up on the planet Sakaar, where a group of Scrappers capture him. Before they can eat him, Thor is saved by a slave trader called Scrapper-142, who radios her boss and tells him that she has something special. Back on Asgard, Hela speaks to Hogun and Odin’s army, demanding they swear allegiance to her but when they refuse, she slaughters them all. Meanwhile, Heimdall scales the cliff at the back of the Bifrost Bridge and steals the sword, ensuring that Hela is trapped on Asgard. Back on Sakaar, Thor is brought before the Grandmaster, the ruler of the planet, who pays Scrapper-142 for Thor, then proceeds to bring Thor with him while he tells him about Sakaar. When Thor spots Loki, he tries to get him to help him escape but Loki says he can’t, explaining he had been there for weeks and just now gotten in the Grandmaster’s favor. The Grandmaster tells him that if he defeats his champion, he can go home and Thor agrees to fight him. Thor is transported to the gladiatorial holding area, where a Kronan named Korg introduces himself and his friend Miek, and when he hears that Thor plans on fighting the champion, he warns him that everyone that faces the champion is killed. Back on Asgard, Hela enters the throne room and finds that Odin has rewritten the history of how Asgard’s kingdom was founded and she reveals that she was the one to lead his armies until she was banished. She then heads down to Odin’s treasure chamber and takes some of the flames from the Eternal Flame, then heads down to where her army was buried and uses the Eternal Flame to resurrect the giant wolf Fenris and the rest of her army. Back on Sakaar, Loki pays Thor a visit, trying to convince him to join him and they can overthrow the Grandmaster and rule Sakaar but Thor refuses. After trying to convince Thor to give up on trying to save Asgard, he tells Thor that he placed a large wager against him, then leaves. As Thor is preparing the fight, he sees Scrapper-142 and Korg tells him that she is an Asgardian. Thor attempts to talk with her and, noticing a tattoo on her arm, recognizes her as a Valkyrie and attempts to appeal to her sense of honor but she tells him that he is on Sakaar, not Asgard. After being outfitted with weapons and armor, Thor enters the arena and is surprised to discover that the Grandmaster’s champion is the Hulk. Thor tries to talk to Hulk butHulk ignores him and begins fighting. Not wanting to be killed, Thor fights back, shocking the Grandmaster when Thor appears to get the upper hand. Thor moves to knock Hulk unconscious but Hulk catches the hammer and punches Thor, then proceeds to pummel Thor into the ground when Thor suddenly channels lightning into his fist and blasts Hulk. Using this new found power, Thor moves to finish off Hulk but the Grandmaster activates the slave disc on Thor’s neck and paralyzes him, allowing Hulk to knock Thor unconscious. Back on Asgard, Hela moves to begin conquering the Nine Realms, naming Skurge as her executioner, but when they head to the Bifrost, they find the sword is missing. Back OnSakaar, Thor regains consciousness and finds himself in a room with Hulk. Thor asks how Hulk got there and Hulk says his quinjet crashed, then points it out to Thor. Thor wants to use it to leave but Hulk refuses to go and when Thor does try to leave, he finds the slave disc won’t let him leave the room. As Hulk goes to train with Valkyrie, Thor makes contact with Heimdall, who tells him that he is saving as many of the people as he can but if Hela discovers them she will slaughter them, take the sword, and conquer the cosmos, then tells Thor how to escape from Sakaar before breaking the connection. Thor convinces Hulk to get Valkyrie there and he tries to convince her to join him to help rescue Asgard. When she refuses, he tells her that Odin is dead and Hela has returned and Valkyrie said she faced Hela once, along with the rest of the Valkyrie, and refuses to do it a second time. She goes to leave and Thor thanks her, as he had lifted her control rod for the slave disc, which he uses to power it down so he can remove it, then smashes through the window to leave. Thor makes his way to the Quinjet and gets it ready to take off but Hulk, wanting Thor to stay with him, smashes the ship. As Thor tries to stop him, he activates a video replay, showing Black Widow’s conversation with Hulk trying to get him to return after the events at Sokovia. Seeing Widow causes Hulk to turn back into Bruce Banner and Thor attempts to calm him down when Banner learns that he has been the Hulk for two years. As Thor attempts to explain where they are, they see an announcement from the Grandmaster saying that his champion is missing, stolen by Thor, and tells the people to head out into the streets to celebrate him so that he might return. In the Grandmaster’s palace, the Grandmaster tells Loki and Valkyrie to find Hulk and Thor but as they leave, they start to fight. When Loki discovers Valkyrie’s identity, he brings back her memories of Hela slaughtering the rest of the Valkyries and Valkyrie knocks him out. She then find Thor and Banner and after bringing them to her quarters, explains that she will help them get off Sakaar. Showing them that she has Loki prisoner, they make their plans to escape but when Thor says they need to go through the central wormhole, which is known as the Devil’s Anus, and Loki says that he knows the security codes for the Grandmaster’s garage and they come up with a plan. Valkyrie breaks into the arena pens and deactivates the slave discs, then arms Korg so he can lead a revolution. Meanwhile, Thor and Loki head to the garage, discussing their lives and how their paths have separated over the years. They reach the garage and Loki double crosses Thor but Thor, knowing Loki would do this, had placed a slave disc on Loki’s back when he wasn’t expecting it, then activates it, leaving Loki writhing in pain on the ground. Thor takes off with the Grandmaster’s ship, but the Grandmaster sends several ships after them. Valkyrie starts fending some of them off and when her ship is destroyed, she does so hand to hand and Thor helps her, then they get back on the ship and make their way through the wormhole. Meanwhile, Korg leads the other gladiators to the garage to steal a ship when they discover Loki and turn off the slave disc, inviting him to join them. On Asgard, Hela discovers where Heimdall is hiding and heads there only to discover that he has already evacuated. Thor, Valkyrie, and Banner arrive on Asgard and Thor tells them to help Heimdall get everyone off Asgard while he stalls Hela. Thor heads to the palace and bangs Odin’s staff on the floor, which Hela hears and heads there to confront Thor. Meanwhile, Heimdall is leading the Asgardians to the Bifrost when they find their path blocked by Fenris, just as Skurge and Hela’s soldiers show up behind them. Valkyrie and Banner arrive and attempt to shoot Fenris but he ignores the bullets so Banner jumps out of the ship, only to land on the ground seemingly dead, but as Fenris passes him and attempts to attack Heimdall, Banner turns into the Hulk and begins fighting Fenris. Thor fights with Hela but she overpowers him, cutting out one of his eyes and pinning him to a balcony so he can watch his friends die. Suddenly, Loki and the gladiators arrive and as they begin fighting with Hela’s soldiers, Loki tells everyone to get on the ship. Hela taunts Thor, saying this changes nothing, but as she chokes the life from him, Thor has a vision of talking with his father, who tells him the Mjolnir was never the source of his power, simply a means to control and focus it. Thor summons a massive lightning bolt to attack Hela, then heads off the fight on the bridge, joining Valkyrie, Heimdall, Loki, and the others there. Skurge, sensing the tide might be turning decides to leave Hela’s service and sneak onto the ship while Hulk and Fenris continue fighting with Fenris being knocked off of Asgard while Hulk manages to hang on. When Hela appears on the bridge, Thor realizes that this won’t stop so long as she is able to draw strength from Asgard and tells Loki they have to set about Ragnarok. Loki leaves to place Surtur’s crown in the Eternal Flame while Thor and Valkyrie try to stall her. When Thor tells the ship to leave, Hela uses her powers to spear it with a massive spear, allowing her soldiers to get on board but Skurge, overcome with guilt over his actions, begins fighting the soldiers, breaking the spear and allowing the ship to leave. Hela kills Skurge and beats Thor and Valkyrie but Loki had placed the crown on the Eternal Flame, allowing Surtur to be reborn in his gigantic size As Hela reacts in shock, Thor and Valkyrie are able to knock her in the water below and watch as Surtur begins to ravish Asgard. Hulk returns and goes to fight Surtur but when Surtur throws him aside, Thor and Valkyrie convinces Hulk to leave Surtur alone and Hulk grabs them and jumps onto the leaving ship. Hela reappears and begins fighting with Surtur but he is able to ignore her attacks and plunges his sword into the heart of Asgard, destroying it. As Thor is fitted with an eyepatch over his missing eye, Loki returns and Thor thanks him, thinking it is a hologram but Loki reveals that he is really there. As Thor takes the throne as the king of the displaced Asgardians, They try to figure out where they should go and Thor decides that they should head to Earth. AS they are making their way there, Loki asks Thor if it is a good idea for him to go back to Earth and Thor tells him not to worry when suddenly, they are confronted by Thanos’ flagship. Back on Sakaar, the Grandmaster emerges from the wreckage of his palace and is confronted by some Scrappers and tries to talk them out of killing him as they have succeeded in their revolution.

Thor: Ragnarok was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise — and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” This marks the first time in the MCU that the Hulk was not voiced by Lou Ferrigno, as he had voiced him in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and Age Of Ultron. The movie was a box office success, earning $854 million off of a $180 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the Thor franchise.

This was such a fantastic movie and definitely the best of the Thor movies. The acting was great, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston doing great jobs reprising the roles of Thor and Loki. Mark Ruffalo was also great as Banner/Hulk and I liked Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Cate Blanchett as Hela, but I was disappointed in Karl Urban’s portrayal of Skurge and while he was funny, Jeff Goldblum’s portrayal of the Grand Master was also a little disappointing. Of course, I am basing both of them on the differences of their characters from the comics, which isn’t fair but they really did make a big change with them. The story was pretty good as a whole, but I will admit to some disappointment that the Planet Hulk story line, which was such a huge story line in the comics, was reduced in the way that it was. One thing I did enjoy was the added comedy in the movie, as it added a layer of entertainment to the movie that really was missing in the earlier films. The special effects were great, and definitely showed the improvements in technology over the years, especially in bringing to life the various locations, such as Sakaar and Asgard. A great movie and a good lead up to the upcoming Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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October 9th, 2018 Movie – Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Another free movie for signing up for a service. Got to love how that works out. Anyways, I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy watching cartoons, whether it be a TV show or an animated movie. Now with Disney pretty much owning the rights to Marvel, you just knew at some point that there was going to be an animated move based on a Marvel comic book. However, while Disney has done several cartoon shows on Disney and Disney XD based on the more popular characters, their first feature film focused on a lesser known comic. My guess is that since the live action MCU was doing so well, they didn’t want to risk turning people away from those movies. Whatever the reason, there was an animated super hero movie in theaters and I for one couldn’t wait to go see Big Hero 6.

The plot: In the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, 14 year old Hiro Hamada participates in an illegal robot fight, hustling the champion Yama out of his money. When Yama grabs Hiro’s bot and tells his men to teach him a lesson, Hiro is rescued by his older brother Tadashi, who chastises him about participating in illegal fights, just before they get arrested by the police. The boy’s aunt Cass bails them out, the chastises both of them, as she had to close her cafe down early to bail them out. When Hiro plans on going to another bot fight, Tadashi says he will take him there but instead, takes him to the science lab at his university. At the lab, Tadashi introduces Hiro to his friends and classmates (Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred) then shows Hiro the project he is working on, a robotic nurse named Baymax. Hiro is impressed with Tadashi’s project and when he learns that Professor Robert Callaghan, who is one of Hiro’s idols in robotics, is Tadashi’s teacher, Hiro begs Tadashi to let him know how he can get in to the university. Tadashi tells Hiro that Callaghan has a contest every year and the kid who impresses him the most gets in but when Hiro sits down to come up with an idea, he draws a blank. Tadashi tells Hiro to not give up and Hiro eventually comes up with an idea for the expo. When they get there, Tadashi and all his friends wish Hiro luck and he presents his invention, microbots. Hiro amazes the crowd when he shows everything the microbots can be used for and after his presentation is done, he is approached by Alistair Krei, the CEO of Krei Tech. Krei wants to buy the microbots from Hiro but when Callaghan tells him that he doesn’t trust Krei, Hiro tells Krei that they aren’t for sale. Callaghan tells Hiro he has been accepted to the school and Aunt Cass says she will treat everyone to dinner at the cafe. Tadashi tells her he and Hiro will join them in a bit, then he pulls Hiro aside to talk with him. Suddenly, they hear alarms going off and people screaming and they turn to find the expo is on fire. When he learns that Callaghan is still in there, Tadashi goes in to help him and Hiro decides to go as well but he is knocked back when the building explodes, killing both Callaghan and Tadashi. Several weeks later, Hiro has fallen into a state of depression over Tadashi’s death, refusing to register for his classes. As he is moping in his room, he stubs his toe and accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to assist Hiro. Hiro tries to get Baymax back in his case but during the process, discovers one of his microbots in his hoodie he was wearing at the expo. The microbot seems to be trying to go somewhere but Hiro says that it must be broken as the other microbots were destroyed. Baymax takes the microbot and decides to see where it is trying to go and Hiro chases after him, eventually reaching an abandoned warehouse. Deciding to head inside, Hiro discovers that someone is mass producing his microbots when the microbots suddenly activate and attempt to attack them. Hiro and Baymax try to run away and see a man in a kabuki mask controlling the microbots, just before they are shoved out a window. Baymax saves Hiro and they go to the police to report what happened but Baymax begins running out of power and Hiro leaves, as he doesn’t want Aunt Cass to know he didn’t sign up for college. When he gets home, Hiro realizes that the man in the kabuki mask had set the fire at the expo to cover up his stealing Hiro’s microbots. Wanting to bring the guy to justice in order to avenge Tadashi, Hiro decides to use Baymax to accomplish the task, downloading karate onto a memory chip and inserting it into Baymax, then fashioning him a suit of armor. Hiro and BAymax use the microbot to track the killer, finding him at the docks but before they can attack him, they are confronted by Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred, who had been contacted by Baymax earlier. When the man in the kabuki mask attacks them,  Hiro tells the others to let him and Baymax handle him but Baymax is overpowered and the others grab Hiro and force him to leave with them. They kids attempt to escape but end up crashing into the ocean, only for Baymax to save them all. Trying to figure out where they should go, Fred takes them to his home, which is a mansion, and he reveals that his parents are rich. Hiro tries to figure out what the symbol on the item the kabuki man was carrying means and Fred says that it is probably Krei, as he had attempted to buy the microbots at the expo. Hiro decides to go after the kabuki man again and the others agree to help so Hiro works on designing them all super hero outfits and weapons. After testing everyones’ super suits, Hiro takes off with Baymax and tests his new armor, then scans the city to locate the kabuki man, finding him on an isolated island. The group heads out to the island and as they look around, they discover that the island was once a test lab for Krei Tech. The find video showing that Krei was testing a teleportation device but an accident occurred and the test pilot disappeared through the portal. Suddenly, the kabuki man attacks them and they attempt to get the mask away from him, as Hiro says that it is what is controlling the microbots. Hiro manages to knock the kabuki mask off the man only to discover that it is Callaghan, not Krei. A shocked Hiro asks Callaghan how he survived and Callaghan tells him he used to microbots to survive the explosion, telling Hiro that Tadashi’s death was his own fault. Enraged at the betrayal, Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan, taking out his healthcare chip in order to allow Baymax to attack without mercy. Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred try to stop Baymax and succeed when Honey Lemon puts the healthcare chip back in Baymax but doing so allows Callaghan to escape. Hiro is upset at the others and leaves with Baymax, hoping to repair his scanner so they can find Callaghan. When Hiro attempts to remove the healthcare chip again, Baymax refuses to let him, asking if this is what Tadashi would want and showing Hiro video of Tadashi as he was building Baymax. Go-Go and the others show up at Hiro’s garage and Hiro apologizes to them. Honey Lemon tells Hiro they found something on the island and pulls out a flash drive, which shows that Callaghan was at the teleportation testing. When they scan through some of the other video files, they realize that the test pilot was Callghan’s daughter Abigail and that he blames Krei for her death. At Krei Tech, Callaghan attacks Krei and then reveals that he has grabbed the portal and puts it back together, causing it to begin sucking Krei Tech into it. Hiro and the others show up and try to get Callaghan to stop but when he refuses, they go on the offensive. Callaghan is able to capture them but Hiro comes up with a new plan, getting the microbots sucked into the portal so that Callaghan no longer has a weapon to use. The plan works and they are able to stop Callaghan but the portal is still active and Krei says there is no way to stop it. Hiro says that they should run but Baymax says he detects life coming from within the portal and Hiro realizes that Abigail is still alive so he jumps onto Baymax and they head in to save her. Making their way through the portal, they eventually find Abigail’s ship and head back to the portal but when some debris is heading towards them, Baymax shield Hiro and Abigail’s ship with his own body. Baymax’s armor is damaged and when he notices the portal is closing, he tells Hiro that there is another way to save him, placing his rocket fist into the ship’s engine. Hiro doesn’t want him to do this, as he doesn’t want to lose Baymax, but Baymax says he will always be with him so Hiro reluctantly deactivates Baymax, just as he launches his rocket fist. Hiro makes it through with Abigail, just before the portal explodes, and when the others ask about Baymax, Hiro shakes his head no. Callaghan is arrested as Abigail is sent to a hospital for treatment while Hiro and the others leave the scene. Some time later, Hiro has taken over Tadashi’s lab at the university and as he places Baymax’s rocket fist on a shelf, he sees the healthcare chip in the fist. Realizing what this means, Hiro rebuilds Baymax and when he is activated, the two hug. Hiro and Baymax continue to act as superheroes to the city, with the others joining them and calling themselves Big Hero 6. Some time later, Fred is talking at a picture of his dad when he discovers a hidden room full of superhero equipment and when his dad shows up in the doorway, Fred hugs him as his dad says they have a lot to talk about.

Big Hero 6 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.” According to Scott Watanabe, the movie is set in an alternate future where after the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using techniques that allow movement and flexibility in a seismic event. After the city was finished being rebuilt, it was renamed San Fransokyo due to it being a city with Japanese and American architecture combined. Big Hero 6 was the highest grossing animated movie of 2014, earning $657.8 million off of a $165 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

This is such a great movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit doing great jobs as Hiro and Baymax respectively. All of the other characters were equally good but I loved the cameo of Stan Lee being Fred’s dad, and the fact that they made him look like Stan Lee was even better. The story was really good, showing a lot more depth than I honestly would have given Disney credit for in a super hero movie. I loved the character development they showed with Hiro, going from reckless teenager to responsible kid, from wanna-be superhero to an angry, revenge seeking kid and back again. Hiro’s development drove the movie almost as much as the main story itself. The animation was great and some of the background animation and scenery was incredibly vivid and colorful. A great Disney movie that is well worth watching and definitely one that will end up being one of their all time greats.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, comic book, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 11th, 2014 Movie – Blade: Trinity

blade trinity

Ahh, the end of franchise and was it a good ending or tragic. Well, for the Blade series, I honestly feel like it was tragic. When I first saw commercials for this movie, I was not the least bit interested in seeing it. At the time, I was kind of surprised with myself as it seemed like this movie might be a lead up to having more of the Midnight Sons characters showing up in the movies, which would mean a Ghost Rider movie could soon happen. But I honestly had no interest in seeing this movie in theaters, though I did get the novelization of it, and only got Blade: Trinity on DVD just so I could complete the set of movies. One of these days, I really have to stop doing that.

The plot: In the Syrian desert, a team of vampires led by Danica Talos investigate an ancient tomb that had recently been uncovered, as she believes it to be the resting place of Dracula, the first vampire. Breaking through the floor into a previously unexplored chamber, one of the team members locates a body buried beneath them, just as the ground suddenly begins to open up at their feet. Suddenly, a gauntleted hand reaches out of the opening and grabs one of the team members and drags him into the opening and as Jarko Grimwood and the other man pull him back up, they find his head has been removed and he quickly turns to ash. When an armored figure emerges from the ground, he causes the vampires to drop their lights in surprise and as the darkness flickers around them, Danica screams out in fear. Some time later, Blade and Whistler take out a den of vampires in New York but when Blade shoots the last vampire with a silver stake, he is surprised to see he doesn’t turn to ash. When Blade approaches the dying man, the man taunts him by saying he was human and had helped set Blade up, as Danica is filming the interaction unbeknownst to Blade. As the authorities show up, Blade quickly leaves while Danica returns to her hideout to start editing the footage she shot and sends it to the FBI, who begin to hunt down Blade. Finishing her work, Danica heads down to see Dracula, who had been feeding nonstop since arriving in New York. Dracula tells Danica that she shouldn’t have woken him but she says that his people need him, to which Dracula scoffs at her and calls her  shadows of their former selves. Meanwhile, Whistler goes to pick up some newspapers, unaware that he is being followed by the FBI, and when he gets back to their hideout, he tells Blade that his recklessness has caused them to have to worry about the rest of the world, not just vampires. He then tells him he worries about Blade being on his own, as he is getting older and won’t be around much longer, and tells him that they can’t keep doing things on their own and will need to have friends to help them out. In another part of the city, a young mother is waiting for the subway when she is attacked by 4 young vampires but when they take the baby from her, it is revealed to be a doll, and the woman quickly attacks and kills the vampires. Back at their hideout, Blade asks Whistler what he is worried about when they are suddenly raided by the FBI. Whistler shoots some of the agents while initiating a data protection program on their computers, causing their contents to be transferred to another location before exploding, ensuring the data can’t be traced. Whistler ends up being killed as he initiates the last program, warning Blade to get out, before activating the self destruct of the hideout but as Blade recovers from the blast, he finds himself surrounded and reluctantly surrenders, as Whistler’s death fully hits him. At FBI headquarters, Blade is placed in an interrogation room and questioned by the FBI when they are interrupted by Dr. Edgar Vance, who is there to examine Blade. Vance argues that Blade should be taken to a mental facility while the FBI and New York Police are arguing over jurisdiction. Vance injects Blade with a drug to make him weak, revealing that he is a familiar, and tells Blade he won’t be there long. As Blade falls under the effects of the drugs, Danica and her men show up to take Blade with them when suddenly, a vampire’s disintegrating body smashes through the observation room window. A man named Hannibal King appears, killing another vampire and giving Blade an inhaler based version of his serum to counteract the drugs effects, telling him he is there to rescue him. Danica and another vampire escape while Grimwood fights with King before Blade recovers and kicks him through a wall. Telling King to leave, Blade grabs his gear and follows after him, taking out officers on the way. Reaching an intersection, they encounter Abigail Whistler (the woman that killed the vampires earlier), and she helps them deal with the cops as well as Grimwood and his men but Blade suddenly disappears through an air duct, leaving King and Abigail to fend for themselves. They manage to make it outside and as the police surround them, Blade jumps out a window, having gone back to get his sword. Suddenly, an SUV shows up, with he driver telling them to get in, and they make their escape, with Abigail shooting Grimwood in the eye to keep him from following them. Blade is taken to their headquarters and they explain that they are the Nightstalkers, (King, Abigail, Sommerfield, her daughter Zoe, Hedges, and Dex) a sleeper cell of vampire hunters meant to serve as Blade’s reinforcements should he need them. After King introduces them all, Blade says they are kids acting like this is a joke and asks what makes them think they are qualified and King tells him that he used to be a vampire. In her office, Danica is angry about their losing Blade when Dracula shows up and decides to go into town and see things for himself. Wandering the town, he enters a sex shop, where they sell Dracula merchandise and, feeling like the clerks are mocking him, he throws the make through the store window before biting the female. Meanwhile, King infroms Blade about the vampires that tried to capture him (Danica, her brother Asher, and Grimwood) and informs him that they had resurrected Dracula, as they feel he can help them with a “final solution”. However, King explains that they have their own final solution that could destroy all vampires on the planet but they need Dracula’s blood to finish it as they need his pure blood to finalize the serum but warn that it might also kill him as well. The next day, Blade, King, and Abigail go hunting after vampire familiars in an attempt to get a lead on Dracula, who they have started referring to as Drake. When one of the familiars receives a call from Dr. Vance, they head to his office to confront him only to find Drake there, having killed Vance and chosen to impersonate him to see Blade for himself. Grabbing King to use as a shield, Drake taunts Blade before stabbing King in the shoulder, then jumping out a window. Blade chases after him and eventually catches up to him on a roof, where Drake is holding a baby he grabbed earlier. Drake then speaks to Blade, saying that neither vampire nor human deserves to live and when Blade says he will stop him, Drake challenges that notion before throwing the baby in the air, forcing Blade to catch it while he escapes. AS King recuperates at the headquarters, Abigail finds out part of what Danica’s “final solution” is, a series of farms that house comatose patients whose blood is siphoned off for vampire consumption. When they head there, they find that Chief Martin Vreede knows about the place and agrees with what they are doing, and Blade kills him, then forces the scientist overseeing the farm to shut it down, as the people are already brain dead and unable to be revived. Meanwhile, Drake infiltrates the Nightstalker’s base, killing Hedges, Sommerfield, and Dex while taking King and Zoe captive. When Blade and Abigail return, they search the place and find the bodies of Dex, Hedges, and Sommerfield and as Abigail cries out on grief, Blade tells her to use the pain. In Danica’s office, Danica, Asher, and Grimwood are interrogating King and trying to get the information on the Nightstalker’s secret weapon against the vampires, with Danica saying that she will turn King and force him to feed from Zoe if he doesn’t tell them. Back at the hideout, another member of the Nightstalkers arrives and takes them to his hideout, where a video message from Sommerfield is loaded up. Sommerfield says that she has a working version of their Daystar virus but it isn’t tested so she doesn’t know what effect it will have on Blade and, armed with the virus, Blade and Abigail head out to rescue their friends. Back at the office, Danica, Asher, and Grimwood continue to interrogate King but he tells them that his friends are coming, as revealed by the atomized silver that has suddenly started being pumped into the air conditioning system, affecting all of the vampires. Blade appears and when Grimwood challenges him, Blade kicks him through the door, allowing Danica and Asher to escape. Abigail enters the room and frees King, then hands him his weapons while she goes off to rescue Zoe. Blade begins killing several vampires before finally coming face to face with Drake, who challenges him to a sword fight. Meanwhile, King encounters Grimwood’s Pomeranian Pac-Man and two Rotweilers, all of which have been vampirized, and manages to lure them into falling out a window but when he falls back into the room he escaped from, he ends up having to fight and kill Grimwood, only to have Danica attack him. Elsewhere, Abigail manages to rescue Zoe, then goes to help Blade, killing Asher and some other vampires before trying to get a shot on Drake with the Daystar arrow. When Drake bests Blade and moves in for the killing blow, Abigail shoots the arrow but Drake is able to catch it and drops it to the ground. Drake turns his attention back to Blade but Blade grabs the arrow and jams it into Drake’s chest. With Drake infected, the virus becomes airborne and infects and kills every vampire, including Danica. Drake begins to succumb to his wounds and tells Blade that the vmpires kept trying to create a new vampire when one already existed in Blade. He tells Blade he will leave him a parting gift and warns that the future of their race lies with him but sooner or later, the thirst will win. Drake and Blade both collapse and Abigail and King leave as the FBI show up, finding the ashed remains of several vampires and Blade’s body lying dead on the floor and declare the case closed. Some time later, the doctors go to perform an autopsy on Blade only to have it change into Drake’s body as they watch while Blade, having survived the virus, continues the fight against vampires.

Blade: Trinity was panned by the critics, holding a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.” Though it was the last movie in the series, Blade: Trinity was the first movie in the series to have Marvel Studios logo appear at the beginning of the movie. This would also be the last movie made using Blade, as the live action film rights would revert back to Marvel in 2011. While having the biggest budget of the trilogy, B was the lowest performing movie at the box office, earning $128.9 million off of a $65 million budget, and would also be the shortest movie in the series.

Man, what a let down this movie was. The acting was ok, and I do mean ok as even Wesley Snipes didn’t seem too thrilled to be in this movie. I liked Jessica Biel as Abigail but thought Ryan Reynolds was too annoying as King ( glad he finally got cast as the comic hero he seems to have been born to play) and Dominic Purcell was kind of bland as Drake/Dracula. The story honestly felt weak and sloppy. Having Dracula be revived to defeat Blade should have been a bigger deal but it honestly felt like a side plot, as the main focus seemed to be placed on the Daystar virus, and Drake was simply an essential ingredient. This is tragic because Dracula should always have a bigger impact in any movie he is in, and even though he and Blade only tangled a couple of times in the comics, I feel like the movie should have done a better job with it. The special effects were honestly a little better than the previous movie but I feel like even though the technology advanced, they misused it and didn’t do as good of a job as they did in the first movie. It isn’t the complete train wreck that I thought it would be but it is still not that good of a movie all in all.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 10th, 2014 Movie – Blade II

blade 2

4 years after Blade first hit the screen, Marvel was starting to become a movie powerhouse; as X-Men and Spider-Man both debuted as major hits. At the same time, Marvel decided to do a follow up to the movie that brought them to the ball, so to speak. Yes, everyone’s favorite half-breed vampire hunter was a back with a new adventure and a new menace to face. Now I did not see this in theaters and actually ended up seeing it for the first time on TV years later. Now let’s find out what all we are in store for as I re-watch Blade II.

The plot: Two years after the death of Deacon Frost, a man named Jared Nomak goes to a blood bank in Prague to donate some blood but as he is taken to a back room and answering the nurses questions, she informs him that they discovered some strange results in his blood test. Leading Nomak into a secure back room, Nomak becomes nervous when the nurse orders him restrained, as a doctor proceeds to don a glove of hypodermic needles and prepares to drain his blood, as the nurse, doctor, and security guards are all vampires. Suddenly, Nomak begins laughing before suddenly attacking and biting into the doctors. As the guards begin shooting at him, he is unaffected by the bullets and throws a guard into a wall while grabbing the second one, who is trying to escape. Looking up into the security cameras, Nomak declares he hates vampires, then opens his mouth wide, and the scar on his lower jaw opens up to reveal he is some sort of mutant vampire, before he kills the last guard. Meanwhile, Blade is in Prague hunting down a group of vampires, killing all but one of them. Approaching the last vampire, Blade asks him where Whistler is, as he had failed to kill himself in time to prevent turning and the vampires found him and kept him alive. Forcing the vampire to lead him to where Whistler is kept, Blade kills the vampires in the building, telling the vampire he coerced that he will “catch him later”, then approaches the tank that Whistler is being kept in. Freeing Whistler, Blade takes him back to their hideout and administers the cure that their associate Dr. Karen Jensen, but Blade’s new partner Scud says that he would be better off killing him. The next morning, Blade opens the blinds in Whistler’s room and finds that Whistler has survived the cure. As Blade starts to fill him in on how long he has been missing and introduces him to Whistler, the power suddenly goes out. Scud’s intruder alarm detects two vampires breaking in and Whistler and Blade arm themselves for battle. The vampires enter the room and Whistler starts shooting at them but they quickly disarm him. When Blade confronts them, he is able to hold them off until one of them says that they did not come to fight, only to deliver a message from the ruling house of vampires. Introducing themselves as Asad and Nyssa, they take Blade, Whistler, and Scud to the home of Eli Damaskinos, who greets Blade and says he respects his accomplishments in stopping Deacon Frost. Eli’s familiar, a lawyer named Karel Kouman, tells them that just as vampires are considered a virus upon humans, they have encountered a mutation, showing him the video of Nomak’s attack at the blood bank. Blade feels like he should thank Nomak for making his job easier but Nyssa explains that the vampires Nomak kills become mutated creatures like him, calling them Reapers. Eli tells Blade he wants him to lead a group of vampire warriors called the Bloodpack, whose original purpose was to kill Blade, and hunt down Nomak and any other mutants and kill them. Talking among themselves back at the hideout, Blade says that he knows the vampires will double cross them the first chance they get but says they should work with them for now. Some time later, Nyssa and Asad introduce Blade to the Bloodpack (Reinhardt, Chupa, Lighthammer, Verlaine, Priest, and Snowman) and when Reinhardt taunts Blade, Blade taunts him back before sticking an explosive device on the back of his head. Blade then tells Nyssa that if Nomak is hunting vampires, he will be goign to large gatherings of them and Nyssa suggests they head to the House of Pain. When they get there, Blade tells Whistler to take a position on the nearby rooftop, as he won’t pass for a vampire, and Whistler argues against it but reluctantly does so. Entering the club, Blade starts putting cameras on the walls so that Scud can see from their mobile command center in his van. As the Bloodpack and Blade move around the club, Nomak is in the sewers underneath and senses Blade’s presence above him. As it gets close to daylight, The scattered group encounter several Reapers, with Blade and Nyssa encountering Nomak. Blade manages to shoot Nomak in the head with his gun but the bullet has no effect on Nomak, who renews his attack on them. Outside, Scud is attacked in the mobile command van but when he contacts Whistler for help, he gets no response. When Scud is able to kill a reaper with UV light, he informs the others and they manage to kill some but Priest is bitten by one of them, as is Lighthammer but he lies to Verlaine about the wound and says it is only his back that was injured. Blade confronts Nomak and during the fight, injects him with EDTA but, like the silver in his bullets, it has no effect on him and Blade is finally able to force him to retreat by reflecting sunlight on him. When Priest starts to turn into a reaper, Blade shoots a hole in the ceiling, exposing him to daylight in order to kill him. Meanwhile, Scud argues that Whistler abandoned him but Whistler shows them a trapped Reaper, and explains that is what made him leave his post. At Eli’s home, Karel tells Eli the results of the attack and warns Eli that he is playing a dangerous game but Eli says the risks are worth it, even if it means his daughter dies as well. At the hideout, Nyssa is studying the captured Reaper and when she notes that it is dying, Blade theorizes that it’s metabolism is burning out too fast for it’s system to handle, but Nomak is different as he is the carrier for the virus. As Nyssa performs an autopsy, she tells them that the only way to kill them is with sunlight. Blade tells them that they will go hunting in the sewers at sunrise, as it is the only advantage they have against the Reapers, but Asad and the other members of the Bloodpack are not happy as they are vulnerable as well. Later, Nyssa speaks to Blade alone about the way he speaks to her and the Bloodpack and says that they are on the same side in this fight. Meanwhile, Whistler and Scud come up with some UV grenades to use against the fight and as Blade and Nyssa go over the plan, using pheromones to lure the Reapers into a kill zone for the grenades, Blade tells Nyssa to be sure she takes cover when the grenades go off. Blade, Whistler, and the Bloodpack head off into the sewers, they split up into groups of three to track the Reapers. Snowman, Lighthammer, and Verlaine are in one group but as the move through the tunnels, Lighthammer finally turns and kills Snowman, then goes after Verlaine but she can’t bring herself to attack Lighthammer and instead, climbs out a manhole cover, using the sunlight to kill them both. Meanwhile, Whistler is with Chupa and Reinhardt but they use the opportunity to attack Whistler, and Chupa continues beating on him while Reinhardt goes on ahead, unaware that Whistler activated a pheromone pack to lure the Reapers to them. When Reinhardt locates some reapers, he goes to set the bomb but the switch is stuck and he is forced to retreat. Meanwhile, Chupa is attacked by the Reapers and killed, allowing Whistler to escape. Blade, Asad, and Nyssa are ambushed by some Reapers and Asad is killed but Blade uses a UV grenade to kill the Reapers, telling Nyssa to take cover so she isn’t killed herself. Meeting up with Reinhardt, who says that he is the only one left, Blade pours some pheromones on him so that the Reapers will be inclined to chase him, then heads back to the bomb to activate, eventually killing all of them in there. Whistler manages to survive and encounters Nomak, who tells him that he wants Whistler to deliver a message about the truth of what is going on. Meanwhile, Blade finds Nyssa, who had survived the explosion by diving into the water, and cuts his wrist to feed her some of his blood so she can heal but he finds himself captured by Reinhardt and Eli’s soldiers, unaware that Nomak has seen everything happening. When Blade comes too, he finds that Whistler and Scud were captured as well and Whistler tells him what Nomak said. Eli enters at that moment and he tells them that he had been working on creating a supreme race that was immune to all of their weaknesses and admits that Nomak is his son. When Reinhardt shoots Blade in the leg, Blade goes to detonate the device but nothing happens. Scud suddenly starts laughing and reveals that he is Eli’s familiar and the device was never meant to explode but after Reinhardt removes it and tosses it to him, Blade says he was on to Scud once they turned him, then blows him up. Reinhardt orders Blade subdued and Karel takes Blade away so they can harvest his blood while Reinhardt proceeds to beat on Whistler and Nyssa confronts her father over what he has done. As Blade lies near death, he whispers Nomak’s name and when Karel questions him about it, Blade tells him he is coming for revenge on the people that made him. When Reinhardt sees Nomak fighting the guards on the monitor, Whistler is able to use the distraction to knock him out and escape, then rescue Blade. Whistler takes Blade to a blood pool so he can regain his strength, but Reinhardt tries to stop him but is too late as Blade drops into the pool. Emerging from the pool, Blade defeats the guards and kills Reinhardt, then heads off to stop Eli and Nomak while Whistler destroys Eli’s remaining genetically modified embryos. Nomak makes his way after Eli and as Eli tries to leave with Nyssa in a helicopter, she seals the building, trapping them inside so that Eli can pay for his sins. Nomak approaches Eli and kills him, saying he won’t infect him with the virus. Nomak then approaches Nyssa, who tells him to finish it, and he chooses to infect her but as he is biting her, Blade interrupts them. Blade attacks Nomak and stabs him with his sword but Nomak breaks the sword and after pulling out the blade, begins attacking Blade. The two engage in a ferocious fist fight and Nomak appears to have the upper hand but Blade grabs the broken blade from his sword and manages to stab it into Nomak’s chest, piercing the bone plate protecting his heart. Falling to the ground, Nomak decides to commit suicide and continues pushing the sword into his heart and after he dies, Blade approaches Nyssa. Nyssa says that she knows she is dying and asks Blade to let her see the sun for once, chosing to kill herself that way. Blade takes her onto the helipad and holds her as she burns away, while Whistler watches behind him. Some time later, the vampire that led Blade to Whistler heads into a peep show booth but as the curtain goes up, he finds Blade there waiting for him and Blade quickly kills him.

Blade II met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though Blade II offers more of what worked in the original, its plot and character development appear to have been left on the cutting room floor.” Throughout the movie, Scud wears a T-shirt featuring the logo of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a reference to Mike Mignola’s “Helboy” comic; a series which driector Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman would work on a live action film version of two years later. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $155 million off of a $54 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the trilogy.

It might have made more money and gotten slightly better reviews, but while I did think the movie was entertaining, I liked the first movie better. The acting was ok, with Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson doing great jobs reprising their roles of Blade and Whistler respectively. I also though Ron Perlman was great as Reinhardt, while Leonor Varela and Luke Goss did equally good jobs as Nyssa and Nomak. The story was interesting, as I liked the idea of the mutated vampires that were immune to most of their weaknesses. I also liked the whole “enemy of my enemy” aspect to the movie, and how Blade used both the vampires’ ego and Nomak’s desire for revenge to his full advantage, though it almost cost him and Whistler their lives. I liked the majority of the special effects and fight scenes, but there were some times where they looked too fake, almost like it is something from a video game, that really detracted from whatever scene they were in. It’s entertaining but falls short of the first movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 9th, 2014 Movie – Blade

blade

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movies hit the big screen, and years before the MCU was even an idea in a producer’s mind, this movie was Marvel’s first real foray back onto the big screen. Yes, I know that technically Men In Black would be first but they were part of an offshoot that had been bought and not necessarily part of Marvel proper. Anyways, I was a fan of Blade and the rest of the supernaturally inclined anti-heroes that were part of Marvel in the mid 90’s so when I heard that they were doing a movie based on Blade, with Wesley Snipes starring in it, I was absolutely on board. Opening night me and several of my friends went and saw Blade in theaters. We then had a late dinner afterwards where we got some absolutely terrible service but that did nothing to take away from how much fun we had watching Blade.

The plot: In 1967, a pregnant woman is brought into the hospital, bleeding out from a bite wound to the neck. As the doctors work on saving her, she goes into labor and she delivers a baby but ends up dying from her wound. In the present, a woman brings a date to a secret rave in a meat packing plant but as the party commences, the sprinklers suddenly begin releasing blood onto the people dancing around. As the young man freaks out from all of the blood everywhere, he realizes that everyone in attendance is a vampire and starts freaking out even more. As he tries to escape, he is pummeled by the crowd until he runs into Blade, a vampire hunter that the vampires refer to as “The Daywalker” due to his half-breed nature. As some of the vampires begin fleeing the club, Blade begins killing the vampires that fight against him, until he is down to just a vampire named Quinn. Pinning Quinn to a wall with silver stakes, Blade sets him on fire, then checks the young man when he tries to run away, ensuring that he wasn’t bitten, but Blade is forced to run himself when the police and fire department arrive. Quinn’s body is taken to the hospital morgue and Dr. Curtis Webb sends a blood sample up to Dr. Karen Jenson, a hematologist, as the blood has some weird aspects to it. Karen agrees to examine the body and goes down there with Curtis, but as they discuss their former relationship, Quinn suddenly comes back to life and proceeds to bite Curtis, then attack Karen. As he starts to drink Karen’s blood, Blade shows up and stops him, cutting off his hand as the two begin fighting, but when security shows up and shoots at Blade, Quinn uses the opportunity to escape. Blade starts to leave Karen but when he suddenly thinks about his dying mother, he instead decides to take her with him. When the police show up in force, Blade rushes off with Karen and heads to the broken window Quinn escaped from. He throws Karen out the window to the building on the other side, then jumps over there himself, before grabbing her and escaping the police. Blade takes Karen to his hideout, where his mentor Whistler is working on making some more weapons. Whistler chastises Blade for not killing Karen but agrees to help her, injecting her with liquid garlic to try and stop the infection but tells Blade that he gives her a 50/50 chance of surviving the night. Meanwhile, a council of vampire Elders is discussing Deacon Frost’s nightclubs and the danger they create. After having Frost enter the chamber, they chastise him for the clubs and attempting to break the treaty they have with the humans but Frost, who leads a faction of younger, and non-pure blood vampires like the Elders, says that they should break the treaty as the humans are their food, not their partners. Later, Gitano Dragonetti, the head of the House of Eberus, confronts Frost in the archive room, where he is attempting to crack the dead language on some of the ancient pages from the records, and asks him what his game is but Frost refuses to answer and dares him to retaliate against him. Back at Blade’s hideout, Karen wakes up and after exploring a little bit, she sees Whistler injecting Blade with a serum that keeps his vampire hunger in check when they spot her. After preventing her initial escape attempt, Whistler explains about their war with the vampires and warns her that she should leave town so as to avoid being targeted, as she has been marked. Blade takes Karen back to her apartment but as she begins packing a bag to leave, a police officer appears in her apartment. Karen is suspicious of the officer, especially when he begins asking questions about Blade, and when he tries to attack her, she sprays him with a special mace that Whistler gave her to defend against vampires. Karen is surprised to find it doesn’t work but Blade appears and tells her the officer is a familiar, a servant to a vampire that hopes to one day become a vampire himself. Revealing that the officer works for Frost, whom Blade has been tracking for years, Blade tries to interrogate him to learn Frost’s location but Karen ends up stopping him from hurting him and the officer gets away. Knowing he will be back for his car, as he was delivering blood to Frost, Blade stakes it out and Karen joins him, as she figures the best way to find a cure for herself is to stay with him. Blade and Karen follow the officer to a vampire safehouse, and Blade arms Karen with some weapons before they head inside. After making his way past the guards, Blade confronts the officer again in the club’s kitchen before noticing a refrigerator marked do not open and tells the officer to give Frost a message for him, then lets the officer go while he heads inside the fridge, which houses the vampire archives. At his penthouse, Frost has finally finished translating the ancient texts, which contains the ritual on how to summon the vampire blood god La Magra. When the officer shows up Frost’s penthouse and tells him what happened, Frost kills the officer, to the delight of everyone there. Back at the archives, Blade and Karen encounter Pearl, the obese vampire historian, who was having a video call with Frost and begs him for help. Frost dismisses Pearl and taunts Blade before Blade destroys the monitor. Blade and Karen then question Pearl about the text she had translated for Frost, using a UV lamp on her when she refuses to answer. Blade takes the hard drive from the computer, then opens the vault to find the actual ancient scrolls but Quinn, Mercury, and some other vampires arrive and capture them. Quinn goes to torture Blade but Blade had secretly been in contact with Whistler, who shows up to rescue them. Blade, Karen, and Whistler make their way to the subway, but when a bomb that Blade had left in the archives explodes, Whistler appears to be thrown onto the tracks but Blade tells Karen he can take care of himself. Blade and Karen jump across the tracks before a train comes but Quinn follows them and begins attacking Blade. Karen helps Blade beat Quinn, resulting in his losing another hand, but when he sees Mercury and some more vampires coming, he grabs onto a passing train to help them escape. In Frost’s penthouse, Quinn and Mercury are arguing about whose fault Blade’s escape is when Frost says not to worry as they will deal with him later, telling them they have work to do. Frost, Mercury, and Quinn kidnap Dragonetti and take him out to the beach, where Frost proceeds to pull out his fangs before leaving him to burn to death as the sun rises. Frost then heads to the council of elders and informs them of Dragonetti’s death and tells them that he needs 12 volunteers, and has them taken away. At the hideout, Blade is preparing to go get some more serum when he sees Whistler and Karen bringing in some lab equipment, with Karen saying it was to help her find a cure. Karen shows Blade an anticoagulant called EDTA and places a drop on a sample of vampire blood, which causes it to violently explode. Blade asks if that is her cure and she says no but says that he could use it to explode some vampires. Karen then takes a sample of his blood while Whistler gets to work on the hard drive they took from Pearl. As Blade goes to buy some serum, he encounters Frost in a park, who is using sunblock to be out in the sun and is holding a child hostage. Frost tries to convince Blade to join him but Blade refuses and is forced to let Frost escape in order to rescue the child. Back at the hideout, Karen figures out a way to cure a vampire bite and uses it on herself but tells Whistler it won’t work on Blade, as it is part of his DNA, when Frost and his men show up and capture Karen while torturing Whistler. When Blade returns, he finds a badly injured and bitten Whistler, who tells him about the prophesy and Frost taking Karen, then asks Blade to give him a gun so he can kill himself. Blade does so and walks away while Whistler pulls the trigger, then he watches the video that Frost left for him, telling him where to go to save Karen. Arming himself for battle, including filling some syringe stakes with EDTA, Blade heads out to find Frost and kill him. At Frost’s penthouse, Frost and Mercury are taunting Karen but she counters back with the fact that she discovered a cure and she could cure Frost, as he isn’t pure blood. When Blade shows up and begins fighting the guards, he makes his way to Frost’s room only to discover that his mother is still alive and as she talks to him, Frost uses the distraction to capture him, revealing that he was the one that bit Blade’s mother and created him. Blade and Karen are taken to the Temple of the Eternal Night, so that they can enact the ritual and Frost taunts Blade some more before having him taken away. As Mercury takes the Elders to where they need to be for the ritual, Frost and Quinn take Karen to a room that has openings for a pit. Telling her about how sometimes people don’t become vampires when bitten, but become zombies instead, then shove her into a pit where she comes face to face with a zombiefied Curtis. As Curtis approaches her, Karen is able to knock him back, then uses a bone fragment to climb out of the pit. Blade is placed into a sarcophagus and restrained with special restraints intended to bleed him dry. As his blood drips from the sarcophagus into special drains in the floor, Mercury begins placing the elders into position underneath openings, where Blade’s blood proceeds to drip onto them. Meanwhile, Karen frees Blade from the sarcophagus, but, without his serum to help him, she tells Blade to feed from her in order to save himself. In the lower level of the temple, the ritual commences as the blood drips on the elders before merging on the ceiling into one drop that falls onto Frost’s head. A bolt of lightning then strikes the temple and electrocutes the elders before causing their skeletons to emerge from their bodies and fly around before entering Frost’s body, empowering him and completing the ritual. Upstairs, Blade feeds on Karen before letting her go, then kills his mother when she tries to stop him, before heading down to deal with Blade. Quinn goes to attack Blade but he quickly decapitates him, then proceeds to fight with the other vampires and kills them while Karen ends up killing Mercury. Frost then pulls out a sword of his own and challenges Blade and the two start fighting, with Blade seemingly winning when he cuts off Frost’s hand and slices him in half. However, Frost’s newfound powers allow him to heal those injuries and he easily is able to overpower him. Seeing the EDTA on a ledge above him, Blade throws his sword in a crack in the ledge, allowing the trick handle in the sword to split the shelf and drop the syringes into his hand. Blade then proceeds to throw all of the syringes into Frost, causing a severe reaction that makes him explode, killing him for good. Blade and Karen leave the temple and Karen says she needs to get back to the lab to cure herself and Blade says that there is still a war going on and if she wants to help, make him a stronger serum. Some time later, in Moscow, a vampire goes to attack a young woman when Blade appears and rescues her.

Blade met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade‘s action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.” Much like Harley Quinn in the Batman universe, Whistler’s character was originally created for Blade’s limited appearances in the Spider-Man (1994) animated series, but Marvel liked the character so much they decided to write him into the Marvel Universe. Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a box office hit, earning $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget, and would spawn two sequels as well as a TV series based on the character.

You know what, this is still a fun and entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good for the most part, with Wesley Snipes doing a great job as Blade. Kris Kristofferson (Whistler) and N’Bushe Wright (Karen) were also good in their roles and while Stephen Dorff was ok as Frost, I liked Donal Logue and Arly Jover, Quinn and Mercury respectively, a lot better. The story was good, but there were several parts that had comic me just yelling internally at the screen. In the comics, Blade was affected by his mother’s death but that only made him immune to a vampire’s bite and gave him an affinity for the supernatural, it did not make him a half-breed. Later on, he wound up getting the vampire powers but that happened after the movie came out. I also didn’t like how they portrayed Frost, as in the comics he was an older man who had become a vampire while trying to find the secret to immortality, which gave him some unique abilities on top of the normal vampire powers. I personally would have loved to have seen his doppleganger making powers make an appearance in the movie. The special effects were pretty good, though I will admit they do seem a bit dated at this point in time. A good Marvel movie and definitely a sign of what things would soon follow for Marvel Studios.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 10th, 2014 Movie – Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker

batman beyond return of the joker

At the beginning of 1999, as everyone was talking about the new century/millennium that was fast approaching, a new Batman appeared to give us a glimpse of what the future might bring. When Batman Beyond first debuted, I was curious about it as the initial concept sounded pretty interesting. So I watched the pilot movie and thought it was incredibly well done and couldn’t wait to watch the cartoon when it started up on a weekly basis. Now some time after the show started, there were some rumors that started up saying that the 5th Batman movie might possibly be based on this new cartoon. If there is one thing that I will never forgive Batman & Robin for, it is the fact that they deprived us of the chance for a live action version. However, they made up for it by making an animated film involving the Joker and bringing Mark Hamill in to reprise the character. As soon as I first saw the ad for this movie I knew I had to watch it so I bought the DVD as soon as it came out, then upgraded it to Blu-Ray a few years ago. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker.

The plot: In the year 2040, a gang of Jokerz (Bonk, Chucko, Ghoul, the Dee Dee twins (Deidre and Delia Dennis), and Woof (who has been spliced with hyena genes)) are stealing some high tech equipment when Batman (Terry McGinnis) shows up to stop them. Batman works on taking them out but gets briefly distracted by the Dee Dees when he sees them cowering in fear only to have one of them hit him with a taser when he turns his back and they both attack him. He manages to get away from them but Woof bites him and as Ghoul goes to help Woof, Bonk, Chucko, and the Dee Dees manage to get away with the equipment. Batman knocks out Woof and Ghoul and gives chase and when he attacks Bonk, he disengages from the device and flies off after him, leaving the other two unable to continue carrying the device. The Dee Dee that is with Bonk tries to attack Batman but ends up falling off the lifter. Batman manages to snag her with a grapple but Bonk attacks him. The other Dee Dee uses her lifter to save her sister as the device crashes to the ground and Chucko grabs the memory board from it before Dee Dee picks him up and they fly away before it explodes. Bonk continues attacking Batman but is struck by a flag pole and hangs onto it. Batman manages to jump from the lifter before it crashes but when he recovers, he sees that the Jokerz have gotten away. Returning to the Batcave, Terry tells Bruce about the Jokerz when he notices the news broadcast talking about Bruce returning to take control of Wayne Enterprises. Terry comments about some disparaging remarks from Jordan Price, who had been in line to run the company before Bruce’s return, and Bruce says he will keep him around so long as he is able to work by his rules. Despite Bruce telling him he should get some sleep, Terry heads out to meet his girlfriend Dana at a club but he ends up falling asleep on his feet there. Meanwhile, the Jokerz return to their hideout at an abandoned Jolly Jack candy factory, where Chucko hands the memory card to their new boss, who says it is worthless. As their boss calls them losers, Bonk loses his temper and yells at him, saying he wants out. The boss, revealing himself to be the Joker, pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Bonk, who quickly apologizes. When Joker pulls the trigger, a flag with the word “Bang” printed on it pops out and Bonk breathes a sigh of relief, until the Joker pulls the trigger again and the flag is propelled into Bonk’s chest, killing him. Joker then addresses the other Jokerz and after getting a renewed pledge of devotion to him, has Ghoul find another facility that has the equipment they need. When he picks one, Ghoul worries about the security there but Joker says that it will make things more fun. The next night, Bruce and Terry attend a function welcoming Bruce back to the company when the Joker’s laughter is suddenly heard through the speakers just before Woof appears and rushes the stage, avoiding Terry’s attack. Security is called in but they are taken out by Chucko and Ghoul, who then proceed to steal the scanner they were after. Bruce manages to knock Woof aside with his cane, then tells Terry to get to work while he tries to leave but the Dee Dees grab him and knock him back onto the stage, just as Joker appears. Bruce reacts in shock at seeing Joker, who tells Bruce that he is the real deal and he should know, inferring that Joker knows Bruce was Batman. Batman shows up but Joker has Woof deal with him and once he hears from Chucko and Ghoul that they are almost done, he calls for a retreat, detonating some explosives and sending some of the guest falling to the ground, forcing Batman to save them and allowing him to get away. As they are leaving, Terry tries to get some information from Bruce on the Joker, who refuses to tell him anything. The next day, Terry goes to see Barbara Gordon, the police commissioner, who refuses to go into details but tells him that the Joker was like nothing he had ever faced before and to let it drop, then dismisses him as she has an appointment coming in to speak with her. Back at the Batcave, Bruce is analyzing the Joker’s voice from last night with a previous recording from an old crime and the computer says that they match. Terry returns to the Batcave and asks Bruce why he never talked about the Joker, even though he mentioned all of his other criminals. When Bruce says it can’t be the real Joker because he saw him die, Terry asks if he killed him. Bruce doesn’t respond and instead, asks Terry to return the Batsuit, saying he had honored his father’s killers and gone above and beyond to protect the city but he no longer needs to do that. Terry argues that before becoming Batman he was the type of punk that Bruce wouldn’t have wasted a second punch on and this was his way of making amends for his past. When Bruce chastises him, Terry tosses his backpack with the suit inside at his feet and leaves. Later that night, Bruce is working on making some Joker antivenom when Ace hears something and, growling, heads upstairs only to quickly yelp in pain. As Bruce calls out to him, some gas pellets drop down the stairs and Joker appears and confronts Bruce. Meanwhile, Terry heads to a dance club, where Dana is out with some of her friends, and tells her that he no longer has a job so he can focus on her more, which she is happy to hear. Suddenly, the Dee Dees, without their make-up, approach Terry and Dana and separate Terry from Dana, allowing Ghoul to grab her. As Terry tries to find her, the Dee Dees attack him, with Chucko and Woof showing up as well. Dana tries to get away from Ghoul, who ends up shoving her off the raised platform they are on and Terry saves her from getting seriously hurt but she still falls unconscious. As the Jokerz continue trying to attack him, Terry leaves Dana with thier friend Chelsea and tells her to hide, then leads them away before knocking over a giant lava lamp, catching the Jokerz in the rush of falling liquid, then knocks out Chucko when he tries to shoot him. Heading back outside to check on Dana, who is being loaded into an ambulance, Terry tells Chelsea to stay with her, then he gets on his motorcycle and heads to Wayne Manor. As he is driving, Terry calls Bruce and starts to leave a message when he realizes Bruce should have picked up and quickens his pace. When he gets there, he sees the wounded Ace and the entrance to the Batcave broken open and heads down to find the Joker has covered the cave in graffiti. Seeing Bruce lying on the floor, he discovers that he has been infected with the Joker’s toxin but Bruce is able to tell Terry about the antivenom and he quickly grabs it and administers it to Bruce. Terry calls Barbara to help tend to Bruce, then forces her to tell him what happened to the Joker. Barbara tells him that their last encounter with the Joker happened after Dick Grayson had left to become Nightwing; leaving Bruce, herself, and Tim Drake, the new Robin, to patrol Gotham. One day, Robin was captured by Joker and Harley Quinn and for three weeks, Batman and Batgirl searched for him with no sign of him. When they received a package from Joker, they head to the old Arkham Asylum grounds and find Joker and Harley there. Batman approaches them, having Batgirl sneak up to a higher vantage point. Batman asks them about Robin but the feign ignorance, then comment about their “Little J”, and when Batman heads in the direction the indicated, Harley uses her bazooka to trap him. Joker then explains that they have been doing this game for years and he decided it was time to start a family but Harley didn’t want to deal with pregnancy so they simply borrowed one of his kids, then molded him in their own image. Joker then reveals that Tim has been turned into a mirror image of Joker and an enraged Batman breaks free from his bonds and goes after Joker. Batgirl swoops down and knocks Harley back, then tries to talk with Tim to see if he remembers her but Harley attacks her, then tells Tim to get her bazooka. Batgirl renews her attack on Harley, chasing her outside where the building is falling apart. As they argue over what they did to Tim, Tim shows up with the Bazooka and tosses it to Harley, who begins firing at Batgirl but she is able to knock it aside and a stray round causes both of them to fall. Batgirl manages to stop her fall and tries to pull Harley to safety but Harley’s costume rips and she ends up falling to the water below. Meanwhile, Batman continues chasing after Joker, who leads him to the theater room and shows him the video of how he tortured and changed Robin, revealing that in the process Robin told him all of his secrets. Batman smashes through the projection room and assaults Joker, and prepares to kill him but stops when he sees Tim watching them. Joker takes advantage of the distraction to slash Batman with his knife before stabbing him in the leg, then knocking him to the ground. Joker then tosses a gun to Tim and tells him to finish off Batman and, laughing maniacally, Tim pulls the trigger, making the flag come out, but as Joker yells at him to finish it, Tim points the gun at Joker before pulling the trigger again, sending the flag into Joker’s chest. Tim continues laughing before the laughter turns into sobs of pain and Batgirl rushes in and consoles him. Barbara then says that they buried Joker in Arkham, while there was no sign of Harley, and her father helped them hide the truth from everyone but after Tim was restored to sanity, Bruce forbade him from wearing the Robin costume again and Tim eventually left. He became a communications specialist and is now married and has children, which Barbara feels he deserves after what he went through. Terry decides to question Tim, who tells him that he had nothing to do with the Joker and he was just as surprised as anyone when he returned. Leaving Tim, Batman heads off to investigate Jordan Price, as he would also have reason for wanting Bruce out of the way. On his private yacht, Jordan is surprised to find the Jokerz waiting for him and he asks what they want, as he already gave them the codes they needed to rob Wayne Enterprises, and the Jokerz say that their boss wants them to tie up loose ends. Jordan tries to get away but Woof knocks him down and they handcuff him to a table, then contact the Joker. Joker tells them to get out of there and Batman, who had been recording their conversation, tries to stop them but they slip out and Batman moves to follow but notices the light suddenly shining onto the yacht. Freeing Jordan, he gets off the boat with him and heads to shore, just as a laser beam shoots out of the sky and destroys the yacht. Batman gets caught in the wave that formed from the explosion but is able to rescue Jordan and heads to shore, where he turns Jordan, as well as the audio recording of his working with the Jokerz, over to the police. Returning to the Batcave, Terry chastises himself for not being able to figure out where the Joker is when Bruce comes down to the cave. As they discuss Bruce’s reason for not wanting Terry to face off against the Joker, Terry notices that despite all of the cases being smashed, Robin’s costume is the only one that was destroyed. Telling Bruce that Tim might be somehow involved this, he shows him all of the equipment that the Jokerz stole and how someone with Tim’s knowledge can turn it into a satellite jamming system. Bruce accepts Terry’s logic and tells him to suit up and Terry says he needs to bring something with him, staring at Ace. Batman goes to see Tim at his lab but finds it is a hologram, just as the lab is sealed off. Joker appears on the monitor and says that Tim is working for him and explains what he has planned, then invites Batman to try and stop him. Terry manages to get out of the lab and contacts Bruce but Joker interrupts their conversation and uses the satellite to attack the Batmobile, first by firing single shots and then turning the laser into a solid beam of light. As he is laughing at Batman’s plight, Joker suddenly gets woozy and cuts off the transmission, and as the satellite stops firing, Batman heads towards Joker’s hideout. As he nears the Jolly Jack factory, Chucko shoots the Batmobile down but Batman steers it right at him and takes out the tower he was on, knocking him out. Woof appears ready to fight but Terry sends Ace out to deal with him, leaving him free to deal with Ghoul and the Dee Dees. Batman heads inside to find an unconscious Tim on the floor and when Batman questions him, Tim says he doesn’t know anything about the Joker but then suddenly recalls seeing him. Tim seems out of it at first but then tells Terry that he is ok and when Batman asks how he knew his name, Tim says he knows everything about him, then throws a trap at him that incapacitates his suit. Tim then addresses Bruce, as he is watching through the suits video feed, and begins laughing and suddenly transforms into the Joker, shocking Batman and Bruce. Joker explains that he had placed his consciousness onto a microchip and placed it on Tim’s body when he was his captive, intended as a back-up plan. At first, he had to limit the time he was able to take control of Tim’s body, who would always chalk it up to nightmares about the Joker, but over time he was able to take control at will. He then plans on using the satellite to take out Wayne Manor, as well as Terry’s home and the hospital that Dana is in, then taunts Terry and asks if he has any last words for Bruce. Batman says “Yeh, sic ’em”, and Ace leaps out from behind Joker and knocks him into some cables. Batman calls Ace to him, who is able to bite the clamp off of his suit, then rushes at the Joker but Joker uses his joy buzzer to stun Ace. Before Joker can finish him off, Batman tackles him and the joy buzzer slips off his hand and short circuits the satellite controls, sending the beam straight towards them. Saying his plan is ruined now, Joker plans on leaving and when Batman tries to stop him, Joker easily pummels him, saying that he knew everything about Batman and Robin in their prime and that Terry was out of his league. Batman asks Bruce for advise but realizing the difference in their styles, Terry starts fighting dirty and then begins mocking Joker, causing him to get enraged. Joker eventually starts throwing explosives at Batman and traps him under a table before starting to choke him but as he taunts Batman, Batman reveals that he had grabbed the joy buzzer and uses it to short out and destroy the microchip, ridding Tim of the Joker once and for all. Able to free himself, Batman helps Tim and Ace out of there just before the laser destroys the factory before shutting down. Some time later, the Dee Dees are released from jail into the custody of their grandmother, who is revealed to be Harley Quinn. Meanwhile, Terry stops by to check in on Tim, who thanks him for what he did and says Bruce couldn’t have chosen anyone better to wear the suit. As he is leaving, Terry encounters Bruce, who stops Terry and tells him that he was wrong about what he said earlier; the Batsuit doesn’t make him a better person, but rather he makes the Batman a better person. Bruce then heads inside Tim’s hospital room to reconcile with his former sidekick while Terry heads out and puts on the Batsuit to patrol the streets of Gotham.

I have to admit that this was a bit darker than I expected but still a fantastic movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle doing great jobs reprising their roles of Bruce and Terry respectively. Mark Hammill was fantastic coming back as the Joker, while Dean Stockwell did a good job as the older Tim Drake. The story was good but surprisingly dark considering it was essentially a kids movie. I liked how they were able to tie in the past events with the future, while the reveal that Harley was the grandmother of the Dee Dees, who were essentially a new generation of Harley, was pretty funny. The initial DVD that I bought had some scenes changed from the uncut version that is on the Blu-Ray, mainly how Joker killed Bonk and Tim killed Joker. The scenes showing Robin being tortured were definitely a little hard to watch and definitely not something that would be suitable for kids. The animation was great and felt like a step up from the animation from the TV show, which was pretty good to begin with. I wouldn’t necessarily let young kids watch it but it is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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