PG: Psycho Goreman (2020) Review

It took me long enough but I’ve finally watched PG: Psycho Goreman to celebrate the beginning of Halloween week. Wow I really enjoyed this movie. For those that don’t know PG: Psycho Goreman is a Canadian science fiction horror fantasy comedy directed by Steven Kostanski. It stars Nita-Josée Hanna as Mimi, Owen Myre as Luke, Adam Brooks as Greg, Alexis Kara Hancey as Susan, and Matthew Ninaber & Steven Vlahos as the titular Psycho Goreman (Ninaber in the suit and Vlahos as the voice). Psycho Goreman tells the story of Mimi and Luke, a pair of siblings with wild personalities (in the case of Mimi), that unwittingly discover the prison of an unknowingly ancient and insanely powerful demonic alien warlord known to his allies and enemies as the Archduke of Nightmares. Shenanigans ensue as the kids teach PG the power of love. Brutal, bloody, violent love. I gotta say this movie plays right into my proclivities when it comes to B-movie schlock. It’s fun, bloody, but with a heart to it that brings it together. It definitely feels like an over the top 80s nostalgia movie with the family relationships and interactions, but it does it all in good fun. The family are fun, very pop culture inspired with how the kids can go wherever without parent’s questioning, how used they get to the situation and the things they are seeing. The kids are stand out characters, Mimi being the aggressive one in control and Luke being the calmer one that over-time loses his cool with the abuse his sister dishes out to him. They do feel like kids though coming up with crazy games to bide their time. The parents are ok, pretty typical for this type of movie. The aliens are all fun characters and have cool designs. Kostanski is able to build a surprisingly deep and rich universe of aliens and monsters of different designs and abilities that all somehow work together. It adds to the heart and feel of the movie, you can feel the fun they had and the passion they had come out through the screen. You can tell the movie is low budget, but that adds to it’s appeal. Even though it is it still looks great. The suits are all creative and cool, the effects all look great, and the gore is over the top and incredible. It all blends together to create this incredible mix of gore, toku, and fun that I just love. The music is great as well, having a memorable score with a big feel to it, and the original songs are fun. I know this is a short review but I just had a blast with the movie. Its fun, it doesn’t take it self seriously and its awesomely brutal. I mean there’s a kid that gets turned into a waddling brain with tentacles and it just continues on as if it’s completely normal now. Even his parents are just used to it. It’s well worth the watch if you’re into this kind of movie. Where else are you going to find a movie where you’re happy to see the main character go on to destroy the universe. Two-Thumbs up!!

Black Adam (2022) Review

So I saw Black Adam today, and I enjoyed it. Black Adam is a DC movie starring Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, Noah Continuo as Atom Smasher, Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomaz, and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone. Black Adam to me is a really fun movie. It is surprisingly brutal at times and had some great action. One thing too keep in mind before going into this is that this is basically The Rock’s movie. I mean, he has a hand in the production of the movie, and is probably the reason this was actually made. You can tell he is passionate for the character and the material you can use the character in. But I can say from now you can see the age in how long this movie has been in development for. So let’s get into it.

The story and plot are pretty standard. The characters are looking for a macguffin that creates the big bad and can end the world. Where the interesting stuff is in the character interactions, especially between Black Adam and the Justice Society. Their interactions are fun and brought a lot to the movie. The constant debate about which way is better is fun and Hawkman and Adam’s rivalry is fun. The characterization and performances of the Justice Society are great. Aldis Hodge did a great job as Hawkman, a great interpretation staying truthful to the character while also leaving more to be wanted. Pierce Brosnan was a perfect Kent Nelson Dr Fate. He had the right amount of experience and wisdom brought to the role. Their relationship is a strong point of the movie.  Noah and Quintessa are great in their roles.

 The only performances I had issues with were Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam and Adrianna’s son Amon. Dwayne isn’t bad in this role, I just wish he gave a bit more in a lot of scenes. We don’t really get much of the comedic timing, and a lot of it is calm rock throughout. It doesn’t help that a lot of his lines we’ve heard in marketing a lot. Though in context they aren’t as weird as they are in marketing. I don’t hate it but I think we’ll get some more fun stuff with him in the future now that his history is established. Although characterization wise it is a good adaptation of the modern version from the comics, but not as hardcore to keep the heroic side to him there. His arc throughout the movie is great though, learning to move past his anger and rage to control himself and become the champion Kahndaq needs as its protector. Amon was iffy throughout, a rebellious teen fighting against oppression, while also being the Freddy to Adam’s Billy. Other than that the movie can be formulaic and a little derivative, but still doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie.

 The movie looks pretty good, a good adaptation of Kahndaq and the abilities of the heroes. I like how Dr. Fate’s powers are shown throughout the movie, keeping it magical while keeping it different than Dr. Strange. The action was great, surprisingly brutal at times and loads of fun. I like how it showed how powerful the users of Shazam’s empowerment can be. The effects are for the most part pretty good, some stuff could have used a second pass and the head replacement stuff is off proportionally. An issue I do kind of have though is that it loves to use the Zack Snyder slowdown during action in the movie. It shows up a lot. The score is great, good use of music as well throughout. Although at times the choices of songs feel like they were made when Johnson was first announced 15 years ago. I liked the villains, making Intergang the invading force on Kahndaq is a great choice that can establish stuff for the future of the universe. Making the big bad be Sabbac is a great choice for me, it keeps him in the family of Shazam villains and I never thought I’d see him in live action. It’s a great adaptation of the modern version of the character and has some good action. I do kind of wish we got to see more of him in action against more characters. I do wish there were mentions or easter eggs related to Billy and his stuff throughout considering their history together in other media. One thing I didn’t mind was using this movie to introduce the Justice Society characters as I highly doubt we’ll get singular movies for them in the future, especially with the current Warner Brothers Discovery situation. I also enjoyed the costuming in the movie, Black Adam’s costume being a great adaptation of the classic suit while also updating it and texturizing it for modern movies. Hawkman is perfect, and Dr. Fate is a great adaptation playing up the alien elements of the character. Atom Smasher and Cyclone are perfect as well. Over-all I’d say Black Adam is a good, but flawed super-hero movie with some great action. It’s iffy in areas but over-all a great watch, Two-Thumbs up !

Also THAT MID CREDIT SCENE IS AMAZING. Sure it’s now the worst kept secret in movies, but it’s still great and the music sting was just awesome. 

She-Hulk (2022) Review

So She-Hulk is finally done. I can say over-all I thought it was a good show. I have my issues with it, but over-all had a good time with the series. She-Hulk is a Marvel streaming show on Disney+ starring Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk andGinger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos. The Show is based off of the Marvel character of the same name. There will be spoilers in this post as a lot of my episode thoughts were written in the moment and contain them. It’s also difficult to talk a lot about what I think about the show without them. First, lets look at my episode first reactions. 

Episode 1: That was a good premiere episode. A good amount of comedy that is a good adaptation of the more popular versions of the character in the comics. A Funtime seeing Bruce again. The episode focuses on the differences between Jenifer and Bruce and their experiences at Hulks. Bruce experts her to have the same experience he did with his journey to being the way he is now. But she has had a different life and a different way of being a Hulk. I know a lot of people were upset by her but they have lived different lives and are forgetting that Hulk as a personality existed before the gamma exposure, whereas Jennifer  hasn’t had that. And in their life differences Jennifer has had more experience with having to control her emotions and herself, at least so  far in the show. There could still be a difference in personality at some point. She doesn’t want to be a superhero but we see in the end that it may be inevitable. The show keeps the 4th wall breaking nature of the character which in interesting to me. Good performances, good effects, cool to see more of what Bruce was up to during The Blip and  a good fight scene between two hulks. Over-all a good episode.

One thing to notice after rewatching the episode is that there might be a personality change there, like she does get more emotional and angry when in hulk form. And I think the reason Bruce is the way he is in this episode is that his form is a merging of both hulk and bruce, and so because of that the hulks impulsiveness and jealousy is rubbing off on Bruce.

Episode 2:  A fun episode with some good comedy, an good continuation of the story and the start of what Bruce was talking about coming to ahead with Jennifer being fired and no one hiring her except for a law firm that is opening a superhuman law service. It has some weird timeline implications, like how did the Abomination footage from Shang-Chi make it out? It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

Episode 3:

Another fun episode. A good episode continuing the She-Hulk dealing with press storyline, as well as finishing the current blonsky stuff. We get a view at some behind the scenes stuff for the future with the wrecking crew showing up. A fun episode with some fun storylines and character work. Although one thing I will say though is that this is the first episode where I could see some weird stuff with the effects on she-hulk. I don’t know if it was the suit she was wearing or what, but it just felt weird.

Episode 4: 

Another fun episode. I like how it showed what a  day is like in Jen’s life a lot, her dating life as Jen and as She-Hulk. It was a funny episode with some of the humour falling flat, if you don’t like drunk girl humour than you won’t like this episode. Madisynn was a fun character though, and her relationship with Wong was funny. Wong was great again in this episode, getting more of his personality and the things he enjoys. Donny Blaze was a funny character and gives a good reason why the mystic arts is kept the way it is in the MCU. We got some fun action, and good to see  She-Hulk get involved in it more. Over-all a fun episode with an interesting ending. 

Episode 5:

Another fun episode, we get more court stuff and getting a bit into the sadder part of what it is being a hulk. And how there is two identities there, and getting a bit into the differences between them. We’re starting to see the comic Jen a bit more with how in the comics she is mostly in hulk form due to preferring how she feels as a hulk. We also get to see Titania back and suing for name use, which is an interesting  idea to  run with for a super hero show. We a also get a teaser for the next episode with the costume maker who designed Jen suits for her to wear as a hulk, where we see a certain blind lawyer’s alter ego’s costume. 

Episode 6:

Another fun episode, we get more court stuff but without Jen as the B-Plot with an interesting character that uses them in a fun way. And Jen is at a wedding for a high school friend and uh-oh Titania is there to cause trouble. Its an interesting episode showing us more why Jen is growing to like being She-Hulk with the way her friend treats her throughout the wedding weekend.  We also get the first view of a possible relationship Jen could have with someone who likes her as Jen and as She-Hulk. We also get the first view of where this show is going with the introduction of the Intelligencia website that is actively working against Jen, and was behind the wrecking crew attack on her. Seeing the possible future of why Bruce wanted her to train and why Bruce was warning her about her life going forward. With the Intelligencia i wonder if this will be the first reintroduction of Tim Blake Nelson as The Leader since we now know he’s going to be in the next Captain America. Over-all a fun episode.

Episode 7:

Another really good episode. I think so far it’s the best episode. We get to meet some fun characters and the return of another into something I wasn’t expecting. The episode had an interesting opening showing the development in the relationship between josh and jen. We get to see Emil Blonsky again, this time at his property for healing. It was really fun to see this hippy version again, and it also shows that his  development has stayed with him and he is actually doing it. The other characters in the therapy group are fun. We get to see Jen working on the difference between her and she-hulk, and coming to terms a bit with it. It lays the foundation for what could eventually happen in the show with the group giving her advice. The reveal at the end is heartbreaking with where it could go and how we could see the comic Jen come into play. I definitely feel that this episode could be a bit of a response to the eventual criticisms of the show from the writers with the more overt character development for jen and her relationship with she-hulk. We get a bit more intellegencia stuff with that ending and the beginning of the endgame of this season as I think there are only 2 episodes left. Excited to see where it goes and another great episode.

Episode 8:

The penultimate episode is a pretty good one. We get some fun stuff with Jen having to defend a client in the wrong, that caused his own problems. Leap Frog is an ok character, definitely a commentary on these types of lawsuits. But that’s not what we’re here for, it’s finally the Daredevil episode! He’s good in this, it is a  more comedic version of the character but not much so. It’s still the daredevil we know and love but put in a more comedic situation than dealing with what he typically does. His chemistry with Jen is great, the fights are ok. The intellegencia also make their big move exposing what they have on Jen and violating her privacy trying to make her seem like another rage-filled Hulk at the gala. Next episode is going to be interesting as it’s the finale and has to wrap everything up. 

Episode 9:

The finale episode of the season. Its a good finale. It wraps up some of the plot lines throughout the season in a fun way. I do have a few issues with it though, as I feel like going for the joke finale might not work as well for me considering all the emphasis placed on certain things throughout the show. While what they went with works for the character and the type of show it is, I don’t feel like it is satisfying enough to me. I’ll get more into it in the full season thoughts but I do kind of feel that it’s a cop-out ending. I think a lot of the problems I have with it are things that are being saved for other stuff down the line. Outside of that, I did find the marvel studios scenes funny and interesting how they’re poking fun at themselves. The ending was fun and surprising that they would bring THAT character into it here, and also we see that Jen isn’t the only 4th wall breaker with that ending stinger. Over-all a good finale.

As you can see I did really enjoy the show. I don’t know if this is gonna end up as “structured” my reviews normally are but here we go.

The story and format of the show was interesting and a first for marvel. Going fully in with the legal sit-com genre that does really work for the show and the character. It’s definitely different than pretty much all the other marvel shows we’ve gotten so far on Disney+, and does show that these different genres can work for marvel characters. Not everything has to be action oriented with these shows, and you can do a lot more with the characters than has been shown so far. 

The show does have a bit of a through-line story, but is mostly a by-the-week show. Everything does have continuity from each other but each episode has a different story that like a sit-com mostly wraps itself up at the end. The main focus of the story though is on Jen and her journey into being a Hulk. How her life changes for better and for worse, and how she slowly learns how to cope with it all. There are some biggish storylines that happen in the show that don’t really get resolved by the end. Knowing marvel these will likely be brought back in the future with where I think the Hulk stories will be going in the future. 

Lets move on to the characters and performances, though here I’m mostly going to talk about Jen as she’s the main focus of the show and the one who changes the most. Tatiana Maslany is honestly perfect as Jennifer Walters, otherwise known as the titular She-Hulk. She perfectly embodies the workaholic, awkward side of Jen, as well as the more confident and strong-willed side of She-Hulk. Her character arc throughout the show is an effective one for the type of show it is, and for the character it is. She goes through the journey of self acceptance, a similar journey that Bruce went through with his Hulk in a much faster pace. Jen doesn’t exactly have another personality in She-Hulk form and is almost always in control. To me though, She-Hulk is a different personality in a way, it’s still Jen at the wheel, but it’s a different version of Jen in a way. She’s more confident in herself and her body as She-Hulk,  she has more fun than in Jen form. We see how much of Jen’s life is different because of She-Hulk, in so many different ways. Jen learns a lot throughout the show of what it means to be a Hulk and to deal with the new problems that she wouldn’t have dealt with otherwise. It’s also to me why I didn’t get mad like a lot of people did after the first episode and the way Jen talks to Bruce who has been dealing with this for a long time. While she doesn’t have the exact same issues Bruce does, he has been dealing with these things for far longer than Jen has. To me, we do see this throughout the show, that Bruce was right in some aspects. Heck the connecting threads of the show are everything that Bruce was warning Jen about. She has a target on her back, people want her spot her powers her name and want her dead and gone. So much of her arc is learning through this and learning to accept her hulk self and even the name of She-Hulk. We slowly see her learn to accept herself and her faults and finally take control of her life. 

Everyone else did a great job and were great characters. It was fun to see what they did with Emil and the Abomination and it was interesting to see how they have made him similar to a Hulk as well that he can choose between his human and abomination forms. It was cool to see Bruce again and see how its not just Bruce in the smart Hulk form as there are moments we see the other hulk personality come out at points. Nikki was a fun character and good friend. It was cool to see Daredevil again and I felt like they handled his character well in it. I know people can have an issue with the way he was handled, but he is not in a serious situation in this show. Wong was awesome and hilarious as always. 

For me the comedy of the show worked really well. It was silly and goofy and meta at times. Ok not at times it was frequently meta and got very much so at the end. A lot of the comedy had to deal with making fun of “alpha” men or men with that mindset. A lot of the antagonists in the show are those guys, to the point they made the ultimate antagonist of the show basically 4Chan and the other internet troll types who target and harass women in those ways. I enjoyed the way the show used the meta humour, with almost once an episode of Jen talking to the audience about the show and poking fun at itself. Then the finale goes all the way with it, full John Byrne She-Hulk comic with it. I don’t want to spoil it, but it goes almost full Blazing Saddles with it. That was a fun way to end the show, straight up poking fun at themselves and the negative commenters in the audience. 

The music choices and score of the show are good, some fun tracks that fit the show. The action of the show is mostly ok, it’s there and its serviceable for a show that’s not about the physical action. The effects are mostly good, it is a bit iffy at times but works well for the most part. 

Now for my issues with the show. For me the show just didn’t hit right. I mean part of it is that I’m, not too big on the genre, but I feel like part of it was that it was a superhero show that didn’t want to be a superhero show. Like you can really see this in the finale. But again that’s apart of it. It’s not a superhero action show and i think that is one of the reasons the show can rub people the wrong way. Outside of that I think my biggest issue is the length of the show. Its a very fast show, no episodes go longer than 35 mins WITH credits so each episode is barely 30 mins long. They do  a lot with that time, but I feel like the show could have actually been longer. I think having more episodes could have helped the show develop over time and even give us more time with the character. Even an extra episode would have helped to me to give us more time with Jen at her lowest point before the finale. Maybe even do the original fake finale than Jen decides to do what she does in the actual finale. That’s where another issue is, the finale is kind of unsatisfactory for me ( as you can see in my first reaction to it). It’s a cop-out ending while still being a fun way to end the show. Its not just the meta stuff for me, but it’s the meta stuff that basically skips over all the stuff that’s been going on in the show to leave off with a kind of happy ending. You don’t get a confrontation and all the stuff that happens in the prior episode is reversed. 

Over-all I do have to say though that She-hulk is a pretty good show for what it is. I give it One Thumb up !

Werewolf by Night (2022) Review

So I just finished watching the Marvel Disney+ special presentation Werewolf by Night. The special is directed by composer Michael Giacchino and stars Gael García Bernal as Jack Russell, and Laura Donnelly as Else Bloodstone. The special is based on the Werewolf by night comic character created by Gerry Conway, Michael G. Plug, Roy Thomas, and Jean Thomas. This is the perfect time of year for a special like this. Seeing as we’re in the spooky season of October and Halloween, this is a special that fits perfectly around it. Also I will warn that if you haven’t seen it yet, there will be spoilers of things that happen in it. Though there won’t be many as there isn’t really too much to spoil. 

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this special. Everything about it put on this kind of nostalgic feeling of classic monster movies, with the production quality and value of a modern marvel project mixed with classic B-movies. It’s not too serious, but also doesn’t treat itself like a joke. It is a faithful representation of those styles of movie with a modern flair. From the setting to the story to the music it’s all faithful and great. They really put some effort into this, you can tell they love those old movies. The performances were all great, Bernal and Donnelly did great jobs as their characters. I feel like Donnelly might have had more to work with as she gets more action in this special whereas Bernal waits a bit until the second half. Another character worth mentioning is MAN-THING (regressing the urge to make a Swamp-Thing animated series intro reference here). He was handled great in this special, a mysterious figure that we don’t know much about in the MCU (yet) but his relationship with the main characters is fun, and I like how he turns around if you know his name. He was adapted pretty much perfectly. I don’t know much about him from the comics but from what we’ve gotten it’s perfect. 

I think Giacchino was a great choice for this, he is a first time director but you can see his influences in it. He makes some great choices in it in terms of the action and handling the lighting of the special. Visually the special is great, the b&w look of the special is great and doesn’t cover anything. The lighting really works for this, it’s a little dark and moody and spooky but doesn’t drop down to be too dark to see anything. Even the scenes where the light is slowly fading during some of the big set pieces of the special, it all works and looks great. Doesn’t detract from the overall feel. The action was pretty good, I feel like the only issues I had with it was with Else Bloodstone as she felt a lot like the spy type action we get from the black widow type characters. At least her first fight really reminds me of the opening fight in Captain America: Civil War. Doesn’t help its a similar silhouette to that scene.

 Other than that the action is great, the Werewolf stuff at the final act was awesome. The stand-out moment being that scene in the kind of hallway when the door is closing with the light going down with it. We get some cool werewolf action, a hallway fight, and some surprising gore. I’m relatively shocked that  they were able to get away with what they did in this special. It is pretty brutal in some scenes, some stand-outs being the aforementioned werewolf stuff, as well as the man-thing kills. Those were awesome and everything I hoped they would be, as they brutal and pretty horrifying from a certain view. I do feel like they were able to get away with this because it’s a Disney+ special in b&w so there’s no red blood. The music is great throughout the special, composer Giacchino does a great job at making the music feel like it fits right in with old universal monster movies. It has the right amount of suspense and dread, as well as bombast and fanfare.

The effects work is all great, being that outside of the colour grade there isn’t too much but still a good amount of digital effects. Such as the main man himself Man-Thing, who is a perfect adaptation of the comic book design. The colour does enhance the effects though as the digital blood doesn’t really take you out as much as it might if it was coloured red. I love how they handled the transformation scene, showing him changing in silhouette as the camera dollies in on Elsa’s shocked and scared face. The design of the werewolf is great as well, he looks like a classic wkolfman, but with a bit more hair, a more human featured face, and the facial tattoos of Jack. I love how they went with a classic dude in a suit for a lot of the werewolf stuff instead of full digital, I always love a good monster costume. 

My issues with this special are few in between. My first one is that outside of the motivations they show us, the main characters don’t really go in a arc in this. I can see why they didn’t as this is just kind of showing off these characters and establishing their relationships for the future. I kind of wish there was  a bit more of a  story reason for the end change into colour. Although maybe its done to show that these characters and events are in the main MCU and will becoming back eventually out of this situation. These are probably just symptoms of my biggest issue, that the special could have been longer. I feel like if it had more time we could have fleshed these characters out more. Although I guess that will be for the future.

I mean we’re going to see these characters again eventually. It establishes and builds up a new magical artifact, with potential connections to other stuff in the MCU. A new side of the universe is shown off of darkness, horror, and monsters that we will be seeing more in the future with Blade and possibly Black Knight. Man-Thing will especially be important in the future if he serves the same role as his comic counterpart does, with all the multiverseal stuff going on at the moment. 

Over-all Werewolf By Night is a great special that is a lot of fun and perfect for this season we’re in. If you like old monster movies I can’t recommend this enough. Two-thumbs up ! It’s worth a watch and might be on my halloween watch-list going forward. 

Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Review

So I finally watched Top Gun Maverick on Saturday, and I have to say it was incredible. Top Gun Maverick stars Tom Cruise as Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, Jennifer Connelly as Penny Benjamin, and Miles Teller as Lt. Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw. ‘After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell finds himself training a detachment of TOP GUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.’ 

I’m going to get this out of the way now, but I haven’t seen the original Top Gun. Yes yes I know what everyone is going to say, but I just haven’t seen it yet. I will rectify that soon though. I say that now as I feel like there’s a lot of stuff about this movie that would hit harder if I had that prior experience and connection to it. There’s a lot of things in this movie that probably give more emotional moments to people that have that connection. Right down to the opening credits as I can guess those are right out of the first movie. From music and characters to the story itself this is a very nostalgic movie. The story and plot of this movie is relatively by the numbers in a way, but I think that works in the movie’s favour as it gives room for the character interactions and for the big selling point of the movie, the jet sequences, which are done pretty well. 

The story and plot work for the movie it’s trying to be. It’s very much a throw-back movie, very much feels like a movie that came out in the 80s. It’s a feel good movie about the passing of time and how it’s not about the fancy new technology, it’s about the person in control. The plot does go a few places I won’t expecting, but it still ends in a happy ending. One thing I like though is how they do show that time has passed, and how the one stuck in the past in a way is Maverick himself. A lot of the movie is also kind of showing that there is a still a place for pilots like Maverick out there to still be in the air, and that it isn’t too bad to be stuck in the past. Sometimes a situation calls for someone like that. 

The characters, relationships and performances are all great. Some interesting interactions and great character work. Everyone was believable in their roles, and are passionate about what they were doing.  You can see that  they were having  fun throughout the whole thing, being able to do stuff  that not a lot of people out there are able to do. 

The movie is  gorgeous, lots of wide landscape shots and great camerawork with the subject matter. Everything is captured incredibly well, especially the inner cockpit shots. They really give you that sense of feeling what the actors and characters are feeling. Might as well get to it now, but the jet scenes are incredible and the selling point of this movie. They look incredible and they really sell that these are the actors in these jets while this is happening. They’re pulse pounding, heart-racing, and really make the movie worth seeing in the theatre. 

Over-all its a fun ride and very much worth a watch. The only thing bringing it down for me is that it really requires having the prior nostalgia for the original movie to get the full experience of watching it. Other than that though it’s a great summer movie and I really can see why it is the highest grossing Tom Cruise movie and one of the highest grossing movies of  all time. It really is worth a watch in the theatre, especially in IMAX if you can. Two Thumbs Up !

Bullet Train (2022) Review

So I just got back from seeing Bullet Train and I have to say its pretty good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it judging from the trailers but I was pleasantly surprised with it. The movie was directed by David Leitch of John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 fame. The movie stars Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Andrew Koji, and Hiroyuki Sanada. The movie sees Pitt as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin who’s determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs has gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans as his latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe — all with connected yet conflicting objectives — on the world’s fastest train. 

I really enjoyed the way the movie unfolded the stories and eventually connected them all. The first half of the movie can feel disjointed and unconnected with everything going on. It jumps around establishing the backstories of the characters and showing us their motivations and why they’re on the train. Eventually though it does pick up when its revealed why all these people are brought onto this one train. Except for one, which I’ll touch on in a bit. It does a good job exploring the characters and their motivations. It makes good use of foreshadowing of a lot of moments throughout the movie. You really have to pay attention and remember stuff as it will come back later in the movie. 

I really enjoyed the characters  and performances throughout the movie. Everyone is doing their best and having a great time while doing it. You can really tell that everyone had a great time working on this movie. There’s a bunch of stand-out characters throughout the movie. There’s  Ladybug with his peaceful way of doing things learning that just maybe he isn’t as unlucky as he thinks he is, there’s the duo of Lemon ( Henry) & Tangerine (Johnson) which are fun throughout. There’s The  Elder (Sanada) who brings the story together while leading towards the final battle. There’s The Prince (Joey King) who really gets under your skin throughout. And then there’s probably my biggest issue with the movie and were we might get into some spoilers, The Wolf aka Bad Bunny. He’s my biggest issue with the movie not for his character or his acting, but because at the end of the day he has nothing to do with the final over-all plan of the villain. Its weird too cause they create this backstory for the character to make us care about him and the things he’s been through, when he’s really only there as a character for the scene in the trailers. I feel like they either wrote the character just to have Bad Bunny in it for a bit to get his name value, or scheduling conflicts could have messed with what he was able to do in the movie. Another smaller issue I have is the use of Andrew Koji throughout, he’s presented in the beginning as a major protagonist but then kind of takes a backseat throughout the rest of the movie for the other more colourful characters. I almost forgot about The Hornet, who like The Wolf is barely in the movie but has a bit more to do with the over-all plot of what is going on as it does take a while to figure out and establish who it is which is a good part of the movie. Other than that everyone else has great chemistry throughout. There’s also a lot of people you’ll recognize throughout the movie in smaller roles if you watch a lot of stuff. 

Another thing I’ll touch on for a little bit is this recurring motif of luck vs fate. This becomes a movie about fate once The Elder joins the fray, showing us how fate brought everyone to this train vs the bad luck of Ladybug or the good luck of The Prince. It’s something that I enjoy the focus on as it really comes into play within the second half of the movie. 

The action was over-all pretty good, well-shot and directed with some interesting choreography. I do think we could have used a bit more though as the action can be very heavy in the flashbacks and in the second half. The movie looks  great, very colourful and great use of characters through costuming. The Effects are mostly good over-all. The stylization of character graphics and editing is effective for me, although it can be a little jarring at times in the first half. The humour throughout the movie is mostly pretty good, can be hit or miss though. The music choices were great. The use of flashbacks throughout is mostly to the movie’s benefit for me, as it helps establish the characters and brings some great reveals later on.

Over-all I’d say Bullet Train is a fun action-comedy ride that is well worth a watch, and a trip to the movies. I give it 1 and a half thumbs up. 

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) Review

So I saw Thor Love and Thunder recently and I had a good time with it. Thor: Love and Thunder is the 4th Thor movie in the MCU and stars a returning Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson, a returning Natalie Portman as Jane Foster/Mighty Thor, Taikai Waititi as Korg, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Christian Bale as Gorr the god butcher. “After his retirement is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie, Korg, and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who now inexplicably wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.”

I have to say that I enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed the story they told and the way they told it. This is a movie about relationships, hence Love being part of the name of the movie. You have the return of Jane into Thor’s life, as well as the return of Mjölnir into his life as well. The way the movie reestablishes their relationship is really fun as we get to see how their relationship was before they eventually broke up, and we also get to see how it deteriorated since we didn’t get to see that happen before. It’s really interesting to see how it affected Thor and how it allows for his journey throughout this movie. One thing I will say though is that I wish the movie was a little longer so that we got to see them together more and to see how Thor changes in it. 

This is a movie about Thor learning to love again, starting to move past the trauma of the past few movies and seeing a bit of the old Thor again. He’s fun throughout this movie and has a lot of good moments. Chris Hemsworth is amazing as always as Thor and you can tell he’s having a blast in this movie. This is a really interesting movie for Thor as his journey in it is almost entirely emotional. It’s about him coming to terms with the way he feels and as I’ve said reopening his heart to be able to care about people again. This also brings him around on his inheritance arc he’s been on for the last few movies, won’t say much more to avoid spoilers. 

I also enjoyed the other characters. It was good to see Jane again and interesting how much of her comic story they took and I enjoyed the changes they made as it created this interesting symmetry with Gorr. You can tell Natalie Portman was having a lot of fun throughout the movie and she was pretty good as the mighty thor. 

Gorr was a great villain, equal parts intimidating and scary, as well as kind of fun and over-the-top. He’s pretty sympathetic and I can see why he does what he does in the movie compared to the comics as a lot of the gods in this universe are massive pricks who really don’t care about their followers. Christian Bale is great in this and brings a good amount of scariness and ham to the role. 

Valkyrie was great as always and so was Korg. The other characters were all fun and had good performances.It was cool to see the other gods in the MCU and where we could be going forward with them. It was interesting to see how much of the movie was focused on kids and how the movie was about saving the kids of Asgard. 

The visuals of the movie were mostly pretty good, with some iffy CG here and there when it comes to Thor’s helmet in the movie. It looks off in the trailers and it doesn’t look any better in the movie. Other than that the locations and monsters are all great looking and different. The use of music throughout the movie was great, great use of needle drops and the focus on Sweet Child of Mine by Guns’N’Roses was really well done. The comedy was for the most part good, some stinkers and I think the stuff with the goats was focused on a bit too much. If you don’t like Take’s work you really won’t like this movie though.

Going off of that, I have a few issues with the movie, a lot of nitpicks and things that I wanted to happen. My major issue is that I feel like the movie should have been longer to give things more time to breath and to give us more scenes with the characters interacting. I feel we should have gotten more time with Jane and Thor in this new stage of their relationship before the ending. Plus I think it would have improved the movie if we got more time with Gorr and the characters to show how the events make Thor and Gorr change to the way they are in the end. 

Over-all Thor: Love and Thunder is a fun ride of a movie with some glaring issues. I can see why its one of the more mixed MCU Movies, but I still think it’s good. I give it One and half thumbs up ! 

Stranger Things 4 Vol 2 (2022) Review 

So I finished Stranger Things 4 Vol 2 and it was incredible. The show finishes this season of strong and sets a good tone for where the show will be going in the next and final season. Vol 2 finishes off the season in a way I wasn’t expecting, but really appreciate. This review will include my thoughts on the season as a whole. If you haven’t watched it yet than skip this as there will be spoilers and I don’t hold anything back.  Without further ado lets get into my thoughts on the episodes and move into the in depth review. 

Chapter 8: Papa

Incredible episode as always. We get even more of the stories coming together, the reuniting of the California crew and eleven, the end of the Dr Brenner storyline, the continuation of the russia stuff and the beginning of the endgame for the Hawkins crew. Incredible performances here and an actual sad ending to me for Dr Brenner. We get the confirmation that Eleven’s powers are back and showing just how bad the jock storyline could end. Jason is so obsessed now with what is happening. They do a great job of tension building in this episode, you really get the feeling that a lot of people are in danger this time, and they may not make it out unscathed if at all. An example, they are really building up for a possible death of Steve, Eddie, and Max. We also get a great scene of Will almost admitting his feelings to Mike and an emotional reuniting of the crew. Great stuff and great episode. One more episode to go, and it is going to be a dozy. Also that trailer music drop was a crazy but great way to end the episode on an epic but also kind of somber note.

Chapter 9: The Piggyback

HOLY FUCK HOLY FUCK HOLY FUCK WHAT AN EPISODE !!! Was the message I sent a friend of mine after finishing this episode. It’s an insane conclusion to this season that is equal parts awesome, badass, epic, sad, and somber. Incredible performances as always and mostly satisfying conclusions to everyone’s arcs and the season as a whole. Some incredible moments and seeing the gang back together was great. And holy crap the reveals of what has been going on this whole time and Vecna’s plan were insane. It was crazy and I’m glad that the consequences stuck. Like this is the first time they’ve truly lost in a way. They’re alive, hurt but alive, but the plan worked and it’s going to be interesting to see how the series ends. Incredible stuff. 

The story this season told was really interesting to me as the show hasn’t had to deal with stuff like this in the past. What happens in it is equal parts awesome and tragic, and does a great job at building tension and getting it’s point across. This season is the biggest season in the history of the show, being that the gang has been separated by literal continents. This separation is both a strength of the season but also a downfall. It is a strength as it shows how big this world has become and ups the stakes of the story showing the world and people this is affecting. It is also a downfall as it creates a situation where some of the characters feel like they are left behind in the dust of the rest of the show. It also exposes one of the issues with the show as a whole having to create situations for the characters to separate themselves handling their own stuff before they and the story comes together in the end. This also continues how trend has been going in the show with the characters not being together again until the epilogue of the season. It removes the character interactions that brought the magic to the show and I do wish we got to see everyone interact more. The separation this season creates what I’ll call an Infinity War situation, where the groups end up having the same goal but because of their separation it doesn’t really work out. I kind of like that, it shows how strong a villain Vecna is that this time they don’t win. The scooby doo, 80s movie plan didn’t work in the end. They fail at all fronts and the stakes for next season have never been higher. While they  may have shown him down, eventually Vecna will follow through with his plan. The major aspect has come to pass with the giant gate now open in Hawkins and the characters finally back together. It’s a bold decision to end the season this way, but does set up for an epic conclusion to the show. They really expanded on the world this show, giving us the past of the past of the upside down, showing us how the light stuff works, but also how The Mind Flayer came to be. 

One of the things that is repeated this season is the importance of memories. Good and bad, so much of this season is about how experiences shape people. From Eleven’s loss and regaining of memories to Henry’s ability to see the memories of others. Another important thing in the show is guilt and mental health. Venca is going after those with mental health issues who are keeping things inside, and he in a way is taking those away. He uses people’s bad memories and trauma against them and paints himself as coming to end their suffering. Once chosen they can only keep away for so long, and how good memories and music are ways of keeping away from him are an interesting factor in the show. He paints it as exposing the truth to the person, with showing Max that deep inside she wanted Billy to die, and I think it’s interesting how much this show and season over-all plays with this idea of the importance of the truth. Everyone in the show is lying to themselves and the truth will eventually come out, whether it did this season or it well next season. 

I’m going to separate characters into crews as for the majority of the show they’ve been separated this way.

Let’s start with the Hawkins crew of Dustin, Erica, Lucas, Nancy, Robin, Steve, Max, and Eddie. These are the characters with the most meat this season in terms of acting, character arcs, and moments. They’re the closest to the action for the longest amount of time and because of so are probably the most interesting characters this season. 

Gaten Matarazzo is great as always as Dustin Henderson. This season Dustin’s confidence has shot through the roof and is a lot more expressive and over-the-top with his mannerisms. His stuff is related to Eddie and their friendship together. They have a great chemistry together and still has great chemistry with the other characters. Other than facilitating theories and explanations he doesn’t have that much else to do this season in terms of arcs or anything. Maybe about him continuing to be himself after his relationship with Eddie. 

Caleb McLaughlin is also great as always as Lucas Sinclair. His arcs this season are really interesting and are tied to a lot of stuff that still hasn’t been fully completed yet. He wants to be popular and not seen as a nerd anymore but still wants to keep his relationships with the part and Max. This leads to a crossroads for him where he ultimately makes the decision to stay with his friends and give up on being a Jock, especially with what happens between him and Jason in the last episode. His wanting for everything ends up exploding in his face in a way when Jason pretty much costs Max her life after accidentally breaking her tape deck. 

Joseph Quinn was a great addition this season as Eddie Munson, the eccentric leader of the hellfire club DnD group. He’s a fun character this season, a metalhead free spirit who has been kept behind in high school a few times who the world thinks is a murderous cult leader. His interactions with the Hawkins crew are great and fun and his relationship with Dustin this season is great. His arc this season is him becoming brave and not running away anymore, which he has been doing for most of the season. This ends up with him giving his life to help distract the demobats from going after the rest of the crew in what would be a fruitless manner given how the season ends. It was sad to see him go but it was probably needed to show just how big of a failure the party has this season. He also had the most metal moment in the show playing Master of Puppets in the Upside Down to distract the demobats.

Continuing this trend was probably the stand-out character this season in Sadie Sink’s Max Mayfield. Probably her best season yet in terms of performance and character. Her arc was interesting and tragic and incredible all the same. Her arc throughout this season is about Vecna going after her for the trauma and depression she feels after the death of her step-brother Billy last season. It’s also about her opening up about her feelings to everyone as her guilt in relation to Billy’s death fuels Vecna’s desire to go after her. So much about this season is about her memories in terms of good and bad and how there is power in both. Her good memories can save and protect her while the bad are actively harming her. This results in her eventual death and Coma after everyone fails. She’s there now as a living reminder of their failure which is interesting to me, plus with her mind being elsewhere creates a mystery for the next season to handle if they want to as there were a few times I thought she was going to die for good. 

Everyone else here is great as always but don’t go on as much of a journey in terms of changing as characters to talk to much about. Joe Keery is great as always as Steve Harrington who shows how much he’s matured over the seasons. He’s finally open to Nancy about his dreams and his feelings towards everyone. He’s a badass this season as always and I really felt he was going to die in the last episode with how much time they spend on Steve talking about his dreams and the way his romance or feelings with Nancy have started rekindling. Speaking of Nancy, Natalia Dyer is great as always as Nancy Wheeler. She gets some great emotional moments and her skills as a reporter get her to find things out like a detective. She’s also badass this season and the defecto leader of the group and is really great at it. Her chemistry with Robin is great and is a fun pairing together. Maya Hawk as Robin Buckley is great again. This time around its about her becoming more confident in herself and to stop second guessing everything about herself. Priah Ferguson is again amazing as Erica Sinclair. Still as badass and blunt as ever. The other side characters are ok, they all do a good job with the material given and for what their characters are supposed to be. Jason is an ok character, supposed to be that movie jock who gets the town into a frenzy following what is happening. Although a lot of people don’t like his storyline or character, he is there for a reason. He facilitates the town’s probably learning of the truth in the next season as I don’t see how the situation could be solved without them knowing the full truth.

Next we have the Alaska/Russia Crew of Yuri, Dimitri, Joyce, Murray, and Hopper.

Everyone does a great job this season with their characters. They all get their good moments and some badass moments, especially Murray and Hopper. The only real arc that they had this season was Hopper refunding his will to live and escape his situation, and facing his past mistakes and decisions. As well as seeing how soviet people aren’t that different from them as they’re all in this situation and learn just how dangerous everything is. Especially when Dimitri and Yuri learn about what has been happening after finding all the monsters and smokey boy in the russian lab. This is definitely one of the storylines that show how big the show has gotten featuring a full demogorgon fight, prison escapes, a fight in a plan and a plane crash. I know a lot of people didn’t like this storyline, but I feel its necessary to show what they’ve been through, how determined they are, how far the problem can reach, and makes the reuniting that much sweeter. 

Next is the California Crew of Eleven, Mike, Will, Johnathan, and Argyle. I also put the Nevada Nina stuff here as well so I’ll add Dr. Brenner and Dr. Owens due to how important they are to Eleven’s arc. 

Their storyline is where I feel the show slows down as a lot of their arcs are related to other people. Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven is amazing as always. She no longer has that speech pattern and so gets to do more as a character. Her arc is about learning that she might have always been a monster since so much of this season and the show as a whole is related to her past and actions as a younger child. Considering that, in a way, she is the cause of everything once she sent One/Vecna/Henry Creel to the Upside Down in the first place all those years ago. An idea that she’s been debating with for the entirety of the show, if she is a monster or a superhero so it’s interesting to see it continue here. Right now it can be argued that she could be the monster. She created the true monster behind it all, even if it was accidental. It’ll be interesting to see how her story ends in the next season but it will be interesting.

Matthew Modine was amazing again as a returning Dr. Martin Brenner. We really get this sense that he is more complicated this season than we’ve seen in the past. We see the manipulative and controlling side in the present and in the past, but we also see how deep down in his own way he actually does care about the kids in his care at Hawkins Lab, as well as in the present with Eleven. In a way he’s right this season, Eleven is not ready for what is truly coming and she was not. I do think that he is a monster in a way as while Eleven was the one who sent Henry to the Upside Down, he is the one that created Eleven in a way. It was cool to see him return and give Eleven closure to their past together. It was also kind of sad to see him go, especially with how much we learn about him this season. 

The next few people I’ll gloss over as they don’t have too much to do this season other than travel to get to Eleven. Finn Wolfhard was good this season, not as good as past seasons but that’s because he doesn’t get too many emotional moments this season to work with. His arc continues the seeming theme of this season about how important it is to tell the truth about how you feel to the people you care about. Something that some other characters don’t accept yet. His other role is to lead them to Eleven and to do Eleven’s CW Flash “Run Barry Run” speech in the last episode to motivate her to fight. 

Next is Noah Schnapp as Will Byers. He is great as always and gets some stuff to work with this season being that he wants to be truthful with Mike but just can’t for a number of reasons. He gets some great emotional moments and does well with the little that is given. Hopefully his importance comes back next season which it very well could given where the show is going in season 5. 

Next is probably the character with the least to do this season in Charlie Heaton’s Johnathan Byers. He doesn’t have much to do this season since so much of his arc is not wanting to tell Nancy the truth about his college choice. It sucks to see a character that had so much importance in past seasons. He has some good character interactions this season and has good instincts in the face of danger but also his brother and notices how he feels. Honestly while writing this I can see where they were going with Johnathan this season and possibly next season as his arc doesn’t feel finished yet, but he also feels like he’s torn between telling Nancy the truth of how he feels vs possibly just letting her go as he doesn’t want her to give up her dreams for him. This was probably reinforced when he talks to Will in the pizzeria in the last episode. He has a great chemistry with his stoner friend Argyle, played amazingly by Eduardo Franco. He was a fun character this season bringing in a lot of the comedic relief during the frankly boring sections of them traveling to find Eleven, as well as during the intense moments involving the military. He’s a lot of fun.

The Last character I’m going to cover is the amazing Vecna/One/Henry Creel, played greatly by Jamie Campbell Bower. He’s an amazing villain and I’m happy that he didn’t die this season. He’s really intimidating and creepy and his MO is interesting. I do think that him being this “I want too destroy and remake the world” person when he was a child is a little meh, but I get it. The OG special child who can see the true horrors behind people’s lives. I kinda wish it was more that he wants to change the world for the better, now his better is removing the structures that humanity has made for itself  which isn’t a bad idea. He actually won, his plan worked and he survived. I like how he’s able to give Eleven a run for her money even before he became Vecna. The only thing about his character that I’m iffy about is how he’s the one that created the mind flayer. I mean I like it but also don’t like it. I like it in that it gives the show a villain with humanity that could be reasoned with in some way, as well as one that has a connection to the characters. I don’t like it as I feel like it removes the mystery from the past seasons, and how this eldritch being that has motives beyond our control is now the creation of an angry psychopath. I do have an idea about that though that I will cover later. Over-all he’s a great villain with a lot to do, and I like how he straight up Michael Myers at the end. 

Moving on now to the technical aspects of the show. The computer effects are mostly great this season, especially in terms of the environments in the Upside Down. They really show how big the show has gotten with the environments and just how much we see of the Upside Down which was great.  The demogorgon looked great and it was cool to see what it could really do in the prison sequences. A stand-out is the combination of practice suit and CG over-top that made up Vecna. He looked great and was a good decision to have it be a suit with CG on top. I also think the sequence of the gate opening throughout Hawkins was great and looked amazing, and how destructive it was. Where it falls a part a bit is on people. Most of the time when its a CG person it can look pretty bad, like when One is falling into the Upside Down it looks so weird. I’m ok with it on the victims as it can be explained that when he does his killing he unnaturally affects them and takes everything about them so it is ok if it looks uncanny. Other than that the plane stuff looks weird externally, probably could have used more time to look its best. The cinematography was great this season and really helps show the level of budget this season had. A lot of creative moments and some great stuff. A Stand out being the way the show shoots the action this season. It all looks clear and well-thought out, you can see it all and it looks great. The stand-out being the firefight from episode 4 was incredible and a ballsy move to have it be done in one cut. I felt like the editing was also great this season, loving the music montages jumping around the groups and what they’re doing. The use of music this season was amazing as well and very well-done. The Detroit rock city scene from episode one and the Master of Puppets from Episode 9 were  both great moments and very well done. 

Over-all this season was amazing and I can’t wait to the next. It was emotional, funny, epic, and tragic. It is well worth the watch if you haven’t yet. Two Thumbs up. 

Now the main review is done, I’m going to talk about some theories that I have for next season.

  • Hawkins will learn the full truth about everything that has happened in the show
  • Eleven will likely die, probably killing Vecna
  • Eleven could show that Vecna that he doesn’t have to do this, maybe she apologizes to him for what she did to him
  • Will will be brought back to importance and not just being the radar he was in Season 4, even though we see that he still can when back in Hawkins
  • Likely going to be some major character deaths this season 
  • Steve and Dustin will be fun together
  • The gang with be in hiding due to the town still believing that Hellfire is a cult, and the military being after Eleven and the California crew
  • I think that the gang hopefully won’t be separated as they spent a whole season apart and it would be nice to have them back together for the final season
  • There will be epic battles
  • Some crazy stuff is going to happen
  • Will could be the villain with how his story went this season, being unable to open up about his feelings and being the perpetual third wheel in everyone’s relationships. 
  • A general theory I have is that The Mind Flayer was an already existing entity with the abilities it already has, and that Vecna just gave it form and a purpose. And it gives Vecna the power to do what he wants.
  • That there will be a character introduced with a name that starts with B and ends with a E sound that people will like and will die. Every season has had it happen. Benny and Barb from season 1, Bob Newby from season 2, Billy from season 3, and now Fred Bunson, Dr. Martin Brenner and Eddie Munson from this season. 
  • I think that there could be some kind of time shenanigans 
  • That Max could be the key in all of this given her situation at the end of the season

At the end here I’m going to include these incredible posters by Billy the Butcher for the episodes of the season.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) Review

So I just finished the show, over-all it’s an okay show. I’m still not sure exactly why I feel the way I do about this show, but for me something about this didn’t click to me. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Disney + series set in the Star Wars universe following the titular character played by Ewen McGregor. This season is set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, with Obi-Wan in exile on Tatooine to keep watch over Luke Skywalker. He is forced into action after Princess Leia of Alderaan by an inquisitor of the empire for her nefarious means. I keep referring to this show as this season over this show or this series as we don’t know if there will be more seasons or not. There could be as there is talk of another season being a possibility. I’m not sure if I want another season as the story they wanted to tell is done for the most part, at least in the way they want to tell it, there’s not much more they can do. I do have some ideas for what they could do with a second season, but thats for another time. Also there will be spoilers in this review of things that happen in the show, if you want to go in blind than wait until you watch the show. To begin, we’ll look at the first thoughts I had after watching each episode.

Episode 1:

A good start to the series. Establishes a galaxy that has been under the empire’s rule for 10 years now, with Obi-Wan been depressed and wanting to stay hidden. Establishes the villains of the season, as well as the season Arc that Obi-Wan is on. It’s a good start to the series with good visuals, good music and great acting. 

Episode 2:

An ok episode. Some cool moments as well as giving us a little action, and seeing what a Jedi can do hand-to-hand. Some contrived plot lines with Leia not believing Obi-Wan which is a good idea, but also a little annoying with how it’s there to pad the episode and expose Obi-Wan a bit. We also get the first confirmation of Obi-Wan learning that anakin is alive. Other than that it’s fine.

Episode 3:

A better episode, still ok though. It’s got a kinda cool lightsaber fight scene between Obi-Wan and Vader. Still iffy to me about having them meet before A New Hope. Although it’s kinda ok I guess as it’s I think 7 years or so before ANH. It’s cool to see Vader again. Leia continues to be ok in this episode. Reva is ok as well. We get some world building seeing how the rebellion has slowly started. Over-all another Ok episode. So far this show has looked great, but character and story wise has felt weird. I just think this didn’t need to have Obi-Wan adventuring around. Its like they wanted another mandalorian but didn’t really know what to do.

Episode 4:

I don’t know how many times I’ll say this, again a better episode, but still ok. It’s got some ok action, some good story stuff. The character interactions are good, but mostly amongst the empire stuff. We get to see more of the path but its weird as there’s an argument that ends too quick. Its not giving stuff time to breath and get to know characters. Like there’s a death in this episode that I don’t really care about as it’s a character we don’t know or have met before (to my knowledge) and they try to treat it as a big loss to the characters, but I just don’t care. We had maybe a scene before hand with the character but not much else. I get they want to establish that Leia and Obi-Wan know each other before ANH but so far this has not been the way to do so. Maybe there should be something else to make it more interesting but it’s just meh for me so far. 

Episode 5:

Now that was a good episode. We get the tension of the empire bearing down on the base where people are staying. Where there have been people waiting for months to leave. We have the revelations of the pasts of Tala and Reva. We have the mirrored story of the sparring battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin during his Padawan days around the clone wars, with Reva’s story throughout the show and the revelation that she’s hunting Vader for what happened on Operation nightfall during Order 66. We also get the death of Tala and her droid friend which was kind of sad, just wish I cared more about them. I like the stories that the battles told, especially the flashback between Obi-Wan and Anakin along with the fight between Reva and Vader. It’ll be interesting to see how the series finishes with that reveal that Reva saw the damaged transmission from Bail Organa, and now knows about Luke on tatooine. We’re getting the beginnings of why Obi-wan stayed on tatooine which is good. The fights in this episode were great and the best of the show so far. The flashback battle is great and reminiscent of the battles in the prequel trilogy, but not as flashy. The battle between Vader and Reva is just pure greatness. We get Vader being this force pat mei (like from Kill Bill Vol 2) style figure just enjoying a battle with Reva, playing with her. It’s really good and I really enjoyed it. It made the episode for me. I do say that’s one thing I’ve been enjoying about this series, the influence of kung fu movies as we get a lot more unarmed combat than i’m used to in Star Wars. Although i guess one issue I had with it, other than some of the iffiness of the de-aging effects, is just how lucky Reva is in this show. She’s gotta be the luckiest character in the history of Star Wars. Although i’ll cover more of that in the full series review. Over-all an enjoyable episode, let’s hope the finale keeps this momentum up.

Episode 6:

That was a good episode, not as good as the last episode but a good episode nonetheless. It wraps up the stories and arcs good for the most part. The fight between Vader and Obi-Wan was better than their battle in episode 3, although I did have issues with it. It was cool to see the callbacks to earlier fights and to earlier episodes, but I kinda wish Obi-Wan wasn’t so powerful in the second part of the fight. I mean at some point Obi-Wan straight up overpowers Vader. Although the suit was damaged to a point. I did like how creative the uses of the force were in this fight, like we see Vader do some cool stuff here. I also liked how we get the mixture of Hayden and James Earl Jones’ voices when the helmet is damaged. Although I find it weird that Obi-Wan left Vader when they could have left it earlier with Vader thinking Obi-Wan was dead. Although the argument could be made that in that fight Vader still isn’t used to the suit which could distract him and allow Obi-Wan to win. I mean I get why Obi-Wan wins as Vaders greatest weaknesses are glowing red lights on his chest. It was cool to see Obi-Wan be shown to do these feats of force power. The Reva stuff I had an issue with as how did she get to tatooine so fast while injured. The episode starts off with her on tatooine already even though this is basically a few minutes after the last episode from what we know. I mean how does she get to a ship in time to get there, I kinda wished they showed that as it was weird. Other than that her stuff was interesting this episode, the last vestiges of the rage she held leaving her when she can’t bring herself to killing Luke. Showing she can change. The episode has a good send off with Luke saying goodbye to Leia, meeting Luke, and finally seeing Qui-son’s spirit. It was cool seeing him again. Over-all a good episode in the series, but doesn’t keep the momentum of the fifth episode. And that’s the end of the show (first season at least).

As seen here there is something about the show that just did not click with me for some reason. I wonder if part of it is that it feels pretty similar to a bit of what Fallen Order did, we have a jedi in exile that cut himself off from the force to hide from the empire forced into action as he’s hunted by an inquisitor. Plus the inquisitor in Fallen Order feels like a better character to me over-all which I will get into later. For now let’s move on from this tangent to my thoughts on the story and plot of the show.

I feel like that could be one of my major issues with the show, that the story could have been handled differently. Something about it didn’t work for me over-all, and I still can’t figure out why. I get what they were going for, with Obi-Wan being exposed to the burgeoning galactic rebellion slowly forming to fight against the empire, establishing a prior relationship with Leia, and a rematch with Vader. I think that could be one my issues with it, that Obi-Wan and Vader fighting multiple times wasn’t necessary. Although i guess for Obi-Wan’s development throughout the show it is necessary. I think it could have been handled differently. Also there are way to many plot conveniences in the show, especially surrounding Reva. Other than that there’s not much else I want to say about the story, so lets move on to the characters.

The first character I want to focus on is Ob-Wan Kenobi himself, played by a returning Ewen McGregor. He his phenomenal as always in this role, we get to see him transition from this depressed jedi trying to lay low and wallow in his guilt, to the beginnings of the Obi-Wan we see in A New Hope. His arc throughout the show is about moving past his mistakes with Anakin into the future. He begins the series cut off from the force, to hide himself away, and its through this adventure that he brings himself back to the force and moving on from the past. This also allows him to be ready to learn more about the force from his master. 

Next I’ll talk about the Third Sister Reva, played by Moses Ingram. Her character is interesting, but there is something missing from it. Her performance is good for what she is given, but I have issues with the character. i kinda wish what happened in her happened a bit earlier so that we get more time with her eventual turn and letting go of her trauma. I feel that we don’t see enough change in her character to justify what happens in the last episode, Even though we know why she is doing what she does and that plays a part in her decision, it still could have used more time. One other issue I have with this character is that she seems to be the luckiest character in the show. I mean most of it could be explained as Vader letting her continue until she decides to attack him, but it is still an issue. Plus how does she get to tatooine in the last episode, I have an issue with that as we begin right after the end of the last episode and she’s already found a way there and where Luke is. It’s too convenient to me. 

Next character I’ll talk about if Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker as played by Hayden Christensen and voiced by James Earl jones. He’s a stand out character in this series as we get to see more of the things we love about Vader. He’s powerful, intimidating, badass, and a presence that the shoe needs. There were a few things to do with Vader that I didn’t like, but most of the stuff with Vader I did like. Especially everything in episode 5 was great. The performance was great as well.

The other characters and performances were all good for the most part, Leia was mostly good throughout the show. The only thing with her is that there are a few times where she does something because they need her to do something, we see this especially in episode 5 when she’s in the vent for the hanger controls. Tala was ok, we didn’t get enough time with her for us to care but for what she was there for she was ok. Everyone else was good too.

The show looks great for the most part. The cinematography is mostly pretty good. My only issue is that in night or dark scenes it can be too dark. There are a number of times that I could barely see a thing (although that could also be because of the how I watched the show and the time I watched it). The effects were mostly pretty good, the lightsabers looked great. The action can be great, mostly in the last couple of episodes, but over-all pretty ok. I liked it when they got creative with stuff, like the Reva Vader battle, and the force powers used in the last episode. But over-all something was off with it. The music and soundtrack was ok, not very remarkable. 

Honestly that’s probably the best way to describe the way I feel about this show. It’s ok, unremarkable for the most part, and that something is off about it. It could be the pacing, or the writing, but whatever it is it makes for an ok show. I give it a thumb leaning to the side. If the last episode was better it would have gotten a thumb up. But two episodes i enjoyed out of 6 does not make for a good show. Watch it if you want to.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019) Review

So I finally played Jedi: Fallen Order and just finished it. It’s a pretty good game. The game was developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. The game takes place 5 years after the end of Revenge of the Sith during the continued hunt of jedi that survived the jedi purge that happened in that movie. The game follows Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis, who is being hunted by the Inquisitors of the Galactic Empire, specifically The Second Sister Trilla Suduri and the Ninth Sister who were trained under the tutelage of Darth Vader. Cal is joined by Greez Dritus, a pilot that takes him on his journey for the jedi holocron containing a list and locations of the force sensitive children in the galaxy. He is also joined by Cere Junda, friend of Greez and former Jedi Master, as well as the former master of Trilla. Cal is also joined on his journey by BD-1, a droid with the ability to be upgraded to help Cal throughout the story as well as the former droid of Jedi Master Eno Cordova, the Jedi that hid the holocron and left clues in the memory banks of the droid to follow. 

The story of the game is pretty effective to me. It’s a heroes journey/coming of age story for Cal. It deals with the affects of and aftermath of the Jedi purge on both Cal and Cere, as well as the affects on Trilla. The story is of Cal coming into his own as a Jedi after spending 5 years hiding his abilities from the empire. At the beginning of the story we see him in his lowest place possible, hiding on a planet as a scrapper with his friend Prauf, scraping parts of ships from the Clone Wars. This all changes when something happens that forces Cal to his his force abilities to save his friends life. This causes the Empire and Inquisitors to come to the planet they are on to look for a Jedi. This starts Cal’s journey after he loses his friend and is saved by Cere and Greez. We follow Cal on this journey of self-discovery, coming to terms with the past and his trauma, as well as his development in the force. 

The story works for me as it is a good way to also help develop the galaxy during this time, relatively close to the end of clone wars, but also before there’s an established rebellion for the galactic civil war. Just a lot of small sects of resistance without too much support at the moment. It helps establish this world that is still in a bit of war as separate forces are kind of fighting back. It also helps show the affects of the clone wars, like what we see on Dathomir with the result of the night sister slaughter by General Grevious. It gives a good excuse to travel the galaxy and go to different planets, as well as reasons to go back to those planets. It really gives the feeling that his is a star wars game with the variety in locations. 

I really enjoy the characters in the game. I feel like Cal is one of the best additions to the story that Disney has made. He’s a good character that is continuing to learn, he’s got a good amount of power as a jedi but still has room to improve. It helps that as a video game we get more time with him as well as see a lot more how he interacts with others and have a bit of a hand in how he develops. We get to play him learning and getting know others throughout the game, which really helps me like him. I also really like how we learn with him about his past as he moves past his trauma, whenever we unlock a new form of traversal or force power we get a flash back to him learning it from his Master Jaro Topal on the ship above Bracca. These are all great as we get to see the relationship Cal had with his master. Which leads to the inevitable one that we get which is done very well and one of the best times we’ve seen this happen, the flashback to Order 66. We continue to see how the Clones around him and the relationship they had, which makes that moment all the more tragic. It helps that we get to play surviving the purge. I do wish that we got to see more or Topal to see what kind of master he was, since we only really get him in the flashbacks and then again on Dathomir when Cal confronts and moves past his trauma. 

The other characters are interesting and fun, BD-1 is a great buddy droid and helps out throughout the game. Greez is a fun character, that brings some comedic relief to the game. Cere is a great and interesting character, someone else that has made mistakes in the past, which lead her Padawan to becoming the Second Sister. Another character that stopped using the force to try to avoid her mistakes, but also learning to move past them as well. The villains are cool, its interesting to see how competent the second sister is as well as how manipulative she is. It’s also cool to see how Cal being Cal can help others move from the trauma and pasts to become better. Although her kind of moving back to the light a bit leads to another great moment in the game with the emergence of Darth Vader, who is this overwhelming force of nature that the only thing you can do is run. Even as powerful as Cere is in the force and with the darkside Vader just overwhelms everyone, to the point where the only way to escape is distraction. I had seen some of of these sequences before, but playing them is a whole other ballgame. Really helps with the tension that is built in those moments. Nightsister Merrin is a good character as well, she has the cool abilities of the Nightsisters which are more magical in nature as they view the force differently than the jedi or sith do. The performances are all great in this game too, everyone brings there A-game. 

The gameplay is pretty fun. It is a metroidvania/ fromsoft style third person action/adventure game. Where the point of the game is exploring the worlds to find collectibles, secrets, and additional things to help with survival. The other point is to learn the mechanics of the game or die trying. You will die a lot in this game, especially to the bosses who can be pretty difficult if your reaction time isn’t great. I played the game on Jedi Knight difficulty, which says that it is for gamers knew to these types of games but still want a forgiving challenge. It can be challenging but does feel rewarding. And I know that I don’t know if I would have finished the story if I played on a higher difficulty. The game makes use of your lightsaber and force abilities, which you can unlock at certain story points in the game. You get 3 main force abilities and 2 forms of lightsaber combat. You can push, pull, and stop with the force, and you can go single blade lightsaber or dual blade lightsaber. There are attacks you can unlock for experience that can change this a bit, such as the ability to through your sober, and another ability that unlocks later into the game of a heavy hit that lets you attack with two cabers. Though that is only one attack vs a form of combat. The combat is pretty fun in the game, parrying attacks and projectiles can be fun and the variety of lightsaber moves that can be performed is fun. Another addition to the gameplay is BD-1, who can splice into robotic enemies when they are about to die to give you control over them. This can be helpful when fighting a large number of enemies. The exploration in the game is pretty fun. The platforming is responsive and fun to do, especially as you progress further in the game and with your abilities. The bosses can be pretty difficult. Most of them I had a couple deaths to, but the inquisitors are the hardest. I have 14 deaths to the ninth sister and 13 deaths to the Second sister in the final battle. 

The collectibles and secrets are fun to discover, to learn more about the world and to get new customization options. I think this is where a lot of my issues game come from though. The game is linear, it does give options to explore and find different things, but everything is basically only world building, or cosmetics. So even if you decide to unlock abilities at different times, eventually you’ll unlock everything. The only collectibles that are really worth going after are the essences, story stuff, and stim canisters. The essences raise you maximum force and health bars, the story stuff gives you more of the world building and more experience to unlock moves, and stim canisters give you more heals. I do feel that the customization is limited in the game as most of the unlocks are all cosmetic options. Even in new game plus when you are able to have a red lightsaber and an inquisitor outfit, that does nothing but look cool. So unless you’re a completionism, the replay value of the game is pretty low. Even though I’m thinking about doing a replay to explore a bit more. Another issue I had is that later in the game i noticed a lot of audio synch issues during the cut scenes. It can be pretty jarring during serious moments. Another issue could be the variety of enemies. The empire stuff is good as you get a variety of enemies with storm troopers with different classes and weapons, scout troopers, purge troopers, K2 Units, and probe droids. The biggest issue is that it would be cool if there were different armours for the different planets. I know I probably didn’t face every boss in the game, but a lot of them are bounty hunters that play the same, or are animals that are bigger version of regular enemies. It can be a little repetitive. 

Some other little things, the visuals are great in the game. It’s gorgeous and the different locals are different and bring a different feeling to each planet. The music is pretty good throughout the game, giving good moments and also makes use of some movie scores which is pretty good.

Over-all I’d say Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a pretty good game, a fun experience over-all that I think is worth the play. Especially if you have Xbox Game Pass as it’s on there. I give it two thumbs up, if I were to give it a score it would probably be 7/10. I was going to give it an 8/10 but the customization limitations bring it down.