Miitopia Is A Bizarre and Awesome Social Experiment of A Game

Why yes, that is Princess Bubblegum dancing with the Powerpuff Girls, Captain Falcon from F-Zero, Rock Lee from Naruto, and Bowser from the Mario games.

Nintendo is a company that most people who have played video-games have heard of. They’ve been leading the pack when it comes to game development for decades now and it’s not hard to see why. Of course, Nintendo is also no stranger to experimentation. A ton of their video-games and consoles have been experiments of some caliber, some of which are successful and others not.

However, one of the most interesting things they did with their video-games was introduce the “Mii”. With the release of the Nintendo Wii, the company created a new concept entirely for said console. The Mii was and still is a custom avatar created by the player, one that could be inserted into games to act as a playable character.

While this was a cool concept, there sadly wasn’t a game that made proper use of it for the longest time. Tomodachi Life and Miitomo were sadly gimmicky versions of this concept and both of them failed to make good use of the Miis as characters. The Miis were thrown into games on newer consoles, only for them to end up as mediocre affairs. This all changed with “Miitopia”, which may be the most interesting game Nintendo ever put out.

I certainly don’t remember this happening in a Nintendo Direct!

Miitopia was a pretty average, yet surprisingly solid turn-based RPG. It had everything you’d expect from a JRPG: Taking turns in combat, leveling up, getting new gear, staying at inns, choosing from weird character classes, etc. However, there was one thing this game did that set it apart from any other game on the market. The game had you casting Miis as your playable characters, allowing you to fill the roles of the game’s characters with real people. Heck, you could even cast other fictional characters from different franchises as the game’s cast!

I think this was the game’s most interesting appeal: The ability to have any character in fiction play the role of any character in the game. The crossover potential for this feature is INSANE. This gets especially crazy if you use “Mii Central”, which will put random custom Miis in the roles of all the game’s side characters. For example, I ran into a travelling food connoisseur played by SPIDER-MAN! I also got several villagers who were characters from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Star Wars, and the Legend of Zelda games.

In essence, this is what Miitopia is all about. This was the key selling point, especially for a game as simplistic as this. If Miitopia had released as just another turn-based RPG, then nobody would’ve touched it. The ability to cast characters as your heroes gives it this level of replay value undreamed of.

The game runs on its player-made content, giving it a wealth of potentially interesting characters to pull from. The fact that you can actually vote on which characters you’d like to see get cast gives it this feeling of being a part of a “community”. This is surprising, especially when you consider the fact that this game has no multiplayer compatibility to speak of.

This is honestly what makes the game so great, the fact that it unites us when we’re not playing together. These are OUR custom characters that we made and let loose into this Nintendo service, and seeing them end up in a silly 3DS game certainly warms my heart. I think that’s where Miitopia shines, feeling like this great experiment on how to unite players without actually bringing them together.

This is why I consider Miitopia to be more of a “social experiment”, rather than just another game. It allowed the creativity of millions of goofballs around the world to coalesce into this collage of craziness. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever anything quite like Miitopia again, which is a shame.

Spider-Man 3 Review

With Spider-Man’s presence in the MCU currently up in the air, I think it’s the right time to continue my Spider-Man movie retrospective. After all, there’s a big chance that the live-action film rights for Spider-Man will fully revert to Sony, so why not talk about the last few Sony Spidey films I haven’t covered?

Spider-Man 3 was a divisive film when it came out. It was the third (and final) entry in the extremely popular Sam Raimi Spider-Man film universe. It ended a story-arc started in the first film, which involved Harry’s grudge against Spider-Man. It introduced new characters and told an interesting story, while also giving us some of the most hilarious moments in the franchise.

With that being said, Spider-Man 3 is a heavily flawed film and it’s apparent from the outset. For one thing, the film has too many villains, plot-lines, and side characters. The film honestly should’ve been focused on Spider-Man taking on Sandman and the newly super-powered Harry. Unfortunately, Venom was also thrown into the mix, along with Gwen Stacy and an annoying amnesia sub-plot.

So much was crammed into this film, to the point where there was very little breathing room for the average audience member, myself included. Despite the film feeling extremely bloated, you can tell its heart was in the right place. Sam Raimi wanted to cap off his trilogy with things that people could remember or find entertaining.

One such thing was “Emo Peter”, which was one of the film’s most controversial elements. You see, one of the sub-plots for the film is that Peter gets infected with a “Symbiote”. This happened in the comics and all other stories that involved Venom. Of course, the Symbiote makes Peter act like a giant jackass with an edgy attitude.

Despite the fact that this is how the Symbiote affected Peter’s personality in the comics, people weren’t too fond of it. It’s especially off-putting when you consider the fact that the Symbiote only affected Peter’s personality LATER in the comics. In most stories, the Symbiote doesn’t make Peter behave evil or violent until later on.

Honestly, I like the stuff with Emo Peter. It’s interesting to see Peter become a pompous jackass, one who is obsessed with money and what he can obtain. I wish the film did more with this arrogant and vindictive Peter, instead of making him just a generic villainous version of our hero.

Still, I’d be lying if I said Emo Peter wasn’t entertaining as hell. His dance scene is arguably the best scene in the entire film! Another good aspect of the film was Flint Marko, who was an interesting and well fleshed out villain for the series. This is ironic, considering he’s the only villain to NOT be made of flesh!

Yes, 30 minutes into the film, Flint is mutated into living sand and takes on the name of “Sandman”. As a living sand monster, Flint finds himself evading the law and trying to find his way back to his daughter. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is desperately trying to track down the escaped criminal in order to avenge his Uncle Ben.

Honestly, this feels like it could be a good setup for a film on its own. It’s just that the awesome setup of this plot-line has to share space with all the stuff relating to Venom, Eddie Brock, Mary Jane and Peter’s awkward romance, and Harry’s amnesia. That combined with the series’ trademark campy nature and dated CGI, it’s not hard to see why so many people dislike this film.

That being said, Spider-Man 3 is a pretty special film. Sure, it has a ton of problems, but there’s a lot of good elements lying underneath the surface. There’s tons of great scenes and characters here, it’s just buried under a pile of meaningless fluff. Spider-Man 3 isn’t what I’d consider a bad film at all, just a good film with a ton of problems holding it back from being better.

There’s a ton of enjoyment value to be pulled from Spider-Man 3, despite it’s heavily flawed nature. I’d recommend giving this film a re-watch, especially if you haven’t seen it in years. It’s an immensely fun, albeit incredibly flawed film. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about our next film…

How “Green With Evil” Evolved Power Rangers

You know what? That review I recently did of Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid got me thinking about the original show. I grew up on the first 10 or so seasons of Power Rangers and I have fond memories of many of its episodes. Of course, Power Rangers is a show that didn’t really start off strong. In fact, I was bored with the first 16 episodes of the show.

Power Rangers started off as a pretty formulaic “monster-of-the-week” show. The evil witch, Rita Repulsa, would send down a monster each week for our heroes to fight. The Rangers would fight said monster, kill it, prompt it to grow to giant size, and then fight and kill it again with their giant robot. We would get several B-plots and silly shenanigans within these episodes as well, which wouldn’t feel too out of place in a 90s sitcom.

This may lead one to ask a very important question: If the show started off this bland, how did it gain an audience that stuck with them for over 20 years? The answer is “Green With Evil”, a five-part mini-series from the very first season of Power Rangers! Allow me to take you all back in time to 1993. Disney was killing it with their animated films, cartoons were still stuck in the over-commercialized form they had in the 90s, and Jurassic Park had just come out.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers came out during this period and was unlike most things on the air at the time. The show used footage from a Japanese show called “Zyuranger” and re-purposed it into a silly comedic action show. The show revolved around a magical floating head in a tube named “Zordon” giving magical power coins to five random teenagers.

Said teenagers use the coins to become the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” and dedicate their lives to stopping the evil forces of Rita Repulsa. While this is how the show started, it wouldn’t be until the 17th episode that things changed for the better. Episode 17 began the “Green With Evil” story arc, which introduced us to “Tommy Oliver”. During a martial arts competition, Jason (the Red Ranger) faces off against Tommy in an epic battle.

Jason defeats Tommy, who is then noticed by Rita Repulsa. Rita sees the potential in Tommy Oliver and decides to brainwash him, while also giving him a “Power Coin”. The Power Coins are what the teenagers use to transform into Power Rangers. With Power Coin in hand, the brainwashed Tommy Oliver becomes the evil “Green Ranger”.

This was how the arc started, but it expanded greatly from there. The Rangers had to tangle with an opponent who they couldn’t beat in one episode. Not only that, but the Green Ranger was the first villain to EVER destroy the Megazord. He also attacked the Command Center, which was ALSO a first for the franchise.

The concept of an evil Power Ranger just seemed so cool as a kid. After all, the series started out by painting the Power Rangers as these “perfect” and “flawless” super-powered teenagers. They used this story arc to flip that concept on its head and introduce a truly intimidating threat.

Saban (the makers of Power Ranger) dragged out the Green With Evil arc as long as they could, while using a TON of footage from the Japanese version. This story arc proved to be so popular and wide-spread that it changed the series as a whole. Jason David Frank (Tommy’s actor) became one of the most popular actors in the series and was brought back to play Tommy in many of the following seasons.

Tommy became the show’s mascot of sorts, making him one of the most popular characters to come out of the franchise. Green With Evil introduced a status quo into Power Rangers and set a new precedent for the franchise. It’s also cheesy and it hasn’t aged well, but that’s par for the course for almost all old episodes of Power Rangers.

To me, Green With Evil saved a show that was really going nowhere and it allowed for an entertaining story to be told as well. There were few story-arcs to come out of 90s kids shows that were as prolific as “Green With Evil”, which definitely helps it stand apart from the crowd. To this day, Green With Evil is one of my personal favorites and a great reason to watch old nostalgic stuff!

Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid Review

Would you believe me if I told you that wasn’t a Megazord?

Time to talk about Power Rangers, which is surprisingly a topic I’ve never gotten into on my blog. I love Power Rangers, or at least I used to growing up. The original series and several of its sequel seasons were near and dear to my heart. Power Rangers was one of those series that just never ended, which resulted in it jumping from copyright holder to copyright holder.

The franchise is currently in the hands of toy manufacturer, “Hasbro”, who have been making some fun and interesting changes to the series. For one thing, we have “Power Rangers: Beast Morphers”, which may be the single best season of the show in nearly a decade!

With yet another film reboot of Power Rangers coming soon, it only made sense for Hasbro to commission a new Power Rangers game! This is where game the studio known as “nWay Games” comes into play. They developed the Power Rangers game, “Legacy Wars”, and were brought into both develop and co-publish this new game.

What we got was “Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid”, a fun and somewhat bare-bones fighting game. Battle For The Grid is a set in an alternate version of the show’s very first iteration, “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”. Our heroes are attacked by “Lord Drakken”, an evil version of Tommy Oliver (The Green/White Ranger) from an alternate timeline and his evil goons.

Green Ranger: The only guy badass enough to use a dagger as a flute.

The original Rangers are then pulled into a struggle that involves a bunch of Rangers from other teams as well. The Rangers must now work together and stop Drakken from destroying everything! This is the plot of the game’s story mode, which is sadly really lacking. For one thing, a lot of the cheesy charm of Power Rangers is lost in this story, due to it taking a backseat to a darker narrative.

While Power Rangers had been dark before, this was mainly exclusive to the films and shows. The games often played off the light-hearted elements of the early seasons. I get why they went the darker route, since this was based off the extremely dark “Shattered Grid” storyline from the comics. While that comic was definitely great, it sadly does not translate well to a story-mode that is only about 2-3 hours long.

It’s not a terrible story, but it feels lacking for something that’s bringing together over 20 seasons (and a recent motion picture) together into one big crossover. That’s enough about the story, let’s talk about how this game plays! The thing about Battle For The Grid is that its combat system is pretty simplistic.

You do attacks with each individual button and guard by pressing the opposite direction on the D-pad. You also have your typical special attacks, which you activate by filling up a bar. You then duke it out with your opponent in a 3-on-3 battle! If all this sounds a lot like the “Marvel Vs. Capcom series”, then that’s because Battle For The Grid takes a lot of inspiration from it.

From the crossover aspect to the selection of 3 team members for a match, it’s clear that the developers have played a fair bit of MvC. While a 3-on-3 fighter isn’t a bad thing for this game to be, it’s lacking roster harms this concept. You only get 12 characters in the base game’s roster, while 3 others are included with the season pass.

Man, Rita’s really aged well over the past 25 years!

This lacking roster is one of the game’s biggest weaknesses. While the combat is fun, the lack of variety in playable characters hurts it in the long run. The minuscule roster means there’s less choices for meaningful team builds. While all 15 characters do play differently, the lack of options definitely hurts it in the long run.

There’s also the fact that the roster only covers a select number of Power Rangers shows. Most of the characters are from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, or the comics based off the show. All the other characters are random picks from across the franchise, most of which being sixth rangers or one-off characters that only appeared once or twice.

It feels less like the roster was picked based on what fans actually wanted, and more like the developers just picked random Rangers from a hat. I’ve harped enough about the roster, let’s move onto the game’s graphics and sounds! The game looks pretty nice graphically, especially for a game I played on Nintendo Switch. All the characters are designed very well and are true to how they look in the shows.

The game’s story mode also features some cool “comic book” styled cut-scenes, but these are far and few between. The music is what you’d expect from a Power Rangers game, which includes a lot of heavy rock. However, the game designers didn’t include any of the original songs from the show. There’s no “Go Gold Ranger”, “White Ranger Tiger Power”, or any theme song from the original shows present here.

It’s a shame, since I’d love to finally hear all those jamming tunes put in a game! With all that being said, let me sum up my thoughts: This game is middle-of-the-road. It’s not a terrible game, but it’s lacking a lot of meaningful features. While there are a fair amount of modes on offer here, there’s no real reason to indulge in a lot of them. Arcade Mode is the biggest offender, offering no real substantial rewards for beating it with each individual character.

The story mode is only a few hours long and the roster is way too small. Regardless, I had fun with this game! While the story mode was short and repetitive, it did bring back a lot of the original cast and some good soundalikes. While the combat is simplistic, it’s still very fun and easy to get a hold of.

If you’re a Power Rangers fan, I highly suggest checking this game out! However, do not buy the season pass! It’s a bit overpriced, especially since it doesn’t give you that much new content. I honestly regret buying it, and I feel that I should’ve just got the base game on its own instead.

Considering the base game is only about 20 bucks, it’s not that expensive of a purchase. It’s a fun budget game, but not much more than that. Still, it’s definitely one of the better Power Rangers games to come out of the franchise! That’s my thoughts on the new Power Rangers game. It’s fun, but lacks a lot in many departments. Oh well, at least it’s still better than that crummy Lightspeed Rescue game!

This better not be a remake of “Agony In Pink”!

Spider-Man Unlimited Is An Underrated Classic

Since I’m on a binge of all the Spider-Man movies, I thought it was only fair I take a look back at some of the cartoons as well! Spider-Man had a ton of shows over the years, though most of them went ignored by the fan-base. Spectacular Spider-Man and the 90s Spiderman show are the only ones that people seem to agree are awesome. While the animated show on MTV has been growing a fan-base over the years, I often see less love for “Spider-Man Unlimited”.

Spider-Man Unlimited was a strange animal, due in large part to its odd premise. The general setup for the show is that Spider-Man is doing his typical superhero shtick and trying to stop his classic villains, Venom and Carnage, from attacking a shuttle with John Jameson on board. Spidey fails and both villains hijack the rocket, taking it to a strange planet called “Counter-Earth”.

Spider-Man is caught falling from the rocket and is framed for the sabotage as a result of this. J. Jonah Jameson (John’s father and Peter Parker’s boss) blames Spidey/Peter for the sabotage. Spider-Man is now unable to do his job, due to constantly being attacked by the people he swore to protect.

As a result of this, Spidey travels to Counter-Earth in order to save John. However, the rescue mission is complicated by the planets denizen: The Beastials. The Beastials are highly-evolved animals with human attributes that have subjugated the humans on Counter-Earth. You see, Counter-Earth functions less like a different planet and more like an alternate universe.

In this “other world”, animals have become the dominate species and are lead by “The High Evolutionary”, the human mad-scientist who created this new race. If all of this sounds too “out there” for a Spider-Man show, then you’re not alone in thinking that. Spider-Man Unlimited’s radical concepts alienated a majority of its viewing audience at the time.

The concepts were too weird and dark for most people, and it lost viewership as a result of this. The series was canned only a few episodes after it started, with the rest of the series being shoved onto TV nearly TWO WHOLE YEARS after cancellation. I remember watching the show as a kid and only have a passing interest in it, but I found myself loving it after watching it as an adult!

I think a big part of this comes down to how different this is from most other Spider-Man shows, or most other superhero cartoons in general. It was interesting seeing a series where Spidey is stuck on an alternate world, having to live his life as a subjugated “second-class”.

The way the humans are treated on this show does definitely bring to mind elements of segregation. While the show tends to shy away from going into too much detail, we do see several flashbacks and scenes of humans being treated like filth. Considering this aired on Fox Kids in the 90s, it was rather surprising that a show would touch on dark subjects such as this. Despite the darker elements, it never stopped feeling like a Marvel Comics story to me.

I think that was the main part of this show’s appeal for me: Depicting a world that was similar to our own, but twisted in a way that fits with its comic book roots. Sure, you have the darker elements at play, but you also have the superhero shenanigans the series is known for.

The series never gets too dark, but does touch upon those elements from time to time. A good example is the fourth episode, “Deadly Choices”. The episode revolves a character named “Git Hoskins”, who has a tragic backstory befitting that of a Spider-Man story. Hoskins is a strange “mummy-man”, but the backstory they give him is actually rather tear-jerking. I won’t say more than that, since I feel it’s a good episode worth watching on one’s own time.

What Spider-Man Unlimited does best is its alternate versions of pre-established characters. Counter-Earth appears to have alternate versions of seemingly every Spider-Man villain, which leads to some interesting new interpretations of old characters. For example, both Green Goblin and Vulture are heroes in this version.

Vulture is more of an anti-hero in this series, with a personality not unlike that of Wolverine from the X-Men. Green Goblin is an overprotective goofball with a thick French accent and powers that put him on the same level as Spider-Man. Seeing Spidey and Goblin team up in several episodes always made me want more team-ups involving them in other forms of media. It’s just a shame that the only time Spider-Man teamed up with a Goblin in the movies was in the third film, which only lasted for about 5 minutes.

Another big reason as to why I love this show was its art-style. Spider-Man Unlimited was definitely going for a “comic book” art-style with its look, which included thick black outlines and stylish character designs. There’s also the inclusion of elements from the comics that don’t show up much in shows or movies. For example, you have the “High Evolutionary” as the main villain. This guy almost never appears outside the comics, so it’s cool to see him as the primary antagonist in this show.

There’s also the fact that we get to see John Jameson’s “Man-Wolf” persona, who makes his first appearance in a cartoon ever in this very show. Of course, this show is far from perfect. For one thing, there’s the fact that Counter-Earth doesn’t play to the strengths of being an alien world very well. While this isn’t a big problem for me, it was annoying to see Spidey go on adventures that felt identical to the ones he had on earth.

Then there was the fact that the show had no real ending, but that was more a fault of the network than the writers. However, my biggest problem with the show is that it was just too ambitious for its own good. It had all these good ideas and concepts, but it didn’t know how to communicate it well to its fan-base. Because of all the changes it made to established lore, it alienated many fans as a result.

This lead to the untimely death of the show, which is a shame. Spider-Man Unlimited was a fun cartoon, which had a surprisingly solid comic book tie-in that helped fill in some of the gaps and introduce new characters. Unlimited was an idea that was just too much for the kids of the 90s and it’s a shame it never took off like the cartoon before it did. At least I can still look back at Unlimited as an impressive, albeit short-lived spin-off of my favorite multimedia franchise.

Spider-Man 2 Movie Review

Time to talk about yet another Spider-Man movie! After the massive success of the first film in 2002, it was only natural that the movie would get a sequel. I was pumped for this movie, especially when commercials and promos started coming out for it. With Alfred Molina set to play Doctor Otto Octavious and the original cast coming back, everything was set for this film to become another smash hit.

Spider-Man 2 released in 2004 and hype surrounding it was immense. I remember seeing leaked images of the infamous “hospital scene”, in which a bunch of surgeons are murdered after trying to remove Doc Ock’s mechanical tentacles. I thought the shots were fake, or from some scene from a completely unrelated film. However, I was surprised to find out they were real upon seeing the film!

It felt so unreal to see horror elements in an otherwise kid-friendly superhero film, but it just worked so well! However, there’s so much more to this film than an out-of-place horror scene. Spider-Man 2 is honestly one of the greatest superhero films ever made, and I’m here to tell you why!

The film revolves around Peter Parker’s never-ending struggle to live his double life. He has to save people as Spider-Man, but also manage his own life as Peter Parker. The struggle takes its toll on him both physically and psychologically, resulting in him temporarily losing his powers.

While this is happening, a horrible lab accident transforms Doctor Otto Octavious into “Doctor Octopus”. With Peter now powerless and Doc Ock insane and on the loose, it’s up to our hero to regain his powers and save the day. While this seems like a simple plot, Spider-Man 2 manages to weave a lot of heart and passion into it.

For example, Aunt May has a much bigger role in the sequel. She gives advice to Peter that helps him grow as a person and regain his nerve, while also showing a different side of herself. On top of this, characters like J. Jonah Jameson and Harry Osborn get more time to shine in the spotlight.

There are even new side-characters to enjoy, like Peter’s eccentric landlord! The action and CGI are even better in this film than they were and the last one, while the film’s soundtrack manages to top the previous film’s one considerably. If I had any complaints, it would have to be that the story-line about Peter losing his powers eats up too much of the film.

A good 30 minutes of the film is dedicated to powerless Peter and it can often feel like padding. There’s also the fact that Kirsten Dunst’s character of Mary Jane became way too aggravating in this film. She wasn’t too bad in the first film, but she became a gigantic diva in this film. She ended up becoming way too controlling and manipulative, and it made me dislike the character as a result.

There’s also the fact that the film has a TON of characters, a lot of which don’t get the screen-time they deserve. For example, Curt Connors (the guy who becomes The Lizard in the comics) is in this film, but only for two scenes. I always loved this character in the cartoons and comics, but he sadly gets shafted here.

Still, Spider-Man 2 ranks up there was one of my favorite sequels of all time. It continues the story and themes of the previous film, while introducing so many new and interesting characters and elements. It feels like an evolution of the first film and it sets the gold standard for what a superhero film is capable of. It has some of the most iconic scenes in the entire franchise, while also standing above most other superhero films because of it. Few films can compare to Spider-Man 2 in terms of quality!

Spider-Man 2002 Review

Ah yes, it’s time to go back to one of the best superhero films of my childhood! Spider-Man 2002 was something special to me at the time, since it was a movie I had been waiting for since I was a tyke. Ever since I was just a small child, I wanted a Spider-Man movie in theaters. I must’ve been 5-6 when I discovered the 90s cartoon, which got me into the Spider-Man franchise proper.

When other Spider-Man shows came on, I’d watch the heck out of them as well! Spider-Man Unlimited and the 60s Spider-Man shows were some quality stuff! I was in love with the series, but I wanted more. I wanted a cinematic adaptation of a hero I’ve grown to know and love. Thankfully, Hollywood delivered!

Spider-Man movies had been in development hell for decades, something that left a lot of people annoyed. Hardcore Spider-Man fans just wanted to see their favorite web-head on the big-screen. It wouldn’t be until 2002 that we would finally get our wish! The very first Spider-Man film was the superhero film of my dreams! The film revolved around Peter Parker, played by Tobey Maguire. Right away, I have to give props to casting for not choosing a super attractive guy to play Spider-Man. Tobey looks like a plain normal dude and I appreciate that!

The casting is probably my favorite part of this film! Willem Dafoe is amazing as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, who is the villain of this piece. Dafoe knows how to play a truly insane and hammy villain, which definitely makes for a great performance! James Franco does a good job as well, with him being cast as Norman’s son, Harry.

Harry Osborn is pretty interesting in this film. He starts off as a spoiled rich kid, but starts to go down a dark path near the end of the film. Mary Jane is the weakest link in not just the movie, but the entire trilogy! In this film, Mary Jane is an obnoxious brat who screams constantly and seems to toy around with Peter’s emotions quite a bit. She’s not as bad in this film as compared to the sequels, but she still comes off rather annoying.

The best character in the film would have to be J.K. Simmons as “J. Jonah Jameson”. The agitated newspaper owner is portrayed perfectly by Simmons in this film, who manages to capture Jonah’s brash personality and gruff voice very well. While all the characters are great, the film’s plot is probably the best part.

The film acts as a well-constructed origin for Spider-Man, which is true to the comic book version. I’m usually not fan of superhero films that are origin stories, but Spider-Man 2002 does it properly! It tells a simplistic superhero story, but does it with a lot of flare. Spider-Man 2002 keeps a lot of cheesiness from the original comic, but wraps it in a neat and concise bow.

While there are plenty of dumb and silly moments in this film, the amount of heart and effort that went into it was astounding! While the CGI and some of the story beats have certainly not aged well, I feel that this first Spider-Man outing is still worth watching. While this film definitely doesn’t compare to several of the later films in the series, I still think it was a good first theatrical outing for Spidey in America!

The Long-Awaited Venom Movie Review

Well, looks like I just got with the “Venom”! For those of you who don’t know, Venom was a superhero/super-antihero film released last year. The film was based off the Spider-Man villain, “Venom”, in a brand new universe that didn’t feature Spidey at all. Despite the lack of Spidey, the film did surprisingly well and made a crap ton of cash! It set box-office records for the month of October and did well enough to garner a large fan-base.

So, why did it take me so long to see Venom? After all, the film is nearly 10 months old at this point! Well, my friend and I tried to see it, but the theater was packed. We couldn’t get in, so we were forced to go home. As a result, I never got to see the film. While it did eventually come to DVD and Blu-Ray, I neglected that release as well. I just didn’t feel like paying 20 bucks for a cheesy superhero action flick.

It was finally released on Crave TV not too long ago, which is when I finally took the plunge and watched it. So, what did I think of it? In my opinion, Venom is one of the most amazingly stupid and entertaining films I’ve seen in quite some time! Venom tells the story of Eddie Brock, who is generally a super nice guy and an overall great reporter.

Eddie Brock is sent to do an interview with the head of Life Foundation, Carlton Drake, who Eddie knows to be a bad guy. Naturally, it’s best to keep biases out of interviews. My current job is doing phone surveys, so I know it’s best to keep the interview focused on the subject and not inject my own personal opinions into it. Unfortunately for Eddie, he doesn’t know how to do that apparently.

He calls out the blatantly evil CEO out live on camera and gets justly fired for his unprofessionalism. Carlton doesn’t stop at just getting Eddie fire, but also gets him blacklisted and fires his wife (who works at the Life Foundation) as well. His wife then breaks up with him, resulting in Brock losing everything. While this is going on, Carlton’s trying to get his precious alien lifeforms to “bond” with humans. Said aliens are “Symbiotes”, which are magical goo monsters that sometimes gives people super-powers and kills them pretty much any other time.

Eddie becomes bonded with a symbiote named “Venom”, forcing the two to work together to stop the Life Foundation and Carlton from wiping out humanity. The story is typical superhero fare, but that’s not the main draw here. As I said before, this is a really dumb movie. It’s so dumb in fact, that its lack of intelligence makes it wildly entertaining. My favorite scene in the movie is where Eddie is initially bonded with Venom and thinks he has a “parasite”. Eddie begins behaving irrationally, resulting in him sitting in a FREAKING LOBSTER TANK in the middle of a fancy restaurant! Not only that, but he proceeds to eat a lobster from said tank!

Despite the film’s stupidity, its side characters are super likable! Sony’s Spider-Man films tend to be all over the place in terms of quality, but they usually have amazing side-characters that weren’t in the comics. Likewise, the film introduces “Ms. Chen”, a kind old lady who runs a store and genuinely cares for Eddie. You also have Ann Weying (Eddie’s Ex-Wife) and her new husband, who does try to help Eddie out and isn’t a dick to him at all. This was rather refreshing to see, since the ex-husband and current husband usually don’t get along in these kinds of movies!

There’s also the aforementioned Carlton Drake, who is the most punch-able villain I’ve ever seen in a modern superhero film! The way the guy acts and looks just screams: “I’m a rich and pompous jerk who wants to change the world!”. Nothing about Carlton is too unique or interesting, and he doesn’t have much of a plan beyond a stereotypical alien invasion. Still, it’s nice to see villains who come off as obviously evil, arrogant snobs!

The movie also features some rather impressive action sequences. It’s fun to watch fights between giant goop monsters, especially when said goop monsters can change shape! All in all, I’d say Venom is a solid (albeit incredibly dumb and cheesy) film. It feels like a Spider-Man movie, but manages to stand on its own without the titular web-head. It’s far from perfect, but I never found the film grating or hard to watch.

While it does take a fair bit to get truly good, it’s still a fantastic watch. Now, since I’ve finally talked about Venom, it’s only fair I review ALL the Spider-Man films I haven’t covered. Even with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Venom, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and the Japanese Spider-Man movies crossed off the list, I’ve still got a fair bit of films to talk about! Join me next time for my review of “Spider-Man 2002”.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order Review

Spider Squad
Wait, I don’t remember Venom being in Spider-Verse…

Comic books are a medium that will never truly die. Sure, the sales for comics are lower than they have ever been right now, but that hasn’t stopped a stream of film adaptations being made every year. This is especially true for Marvel Comics! Despite the fact that their comic imprint is pretty much dead, they are still making billions at the box office with their “Marvel Cinematic Universe” films.

The MCU has become the biggest money-maker in Hollywood and is a giant interconnected web of over 20 films and numerous TV shows. Of course, these aren’t the only things that spawned from the films. There’s also Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, a sequel/reboot to a classic game series that merges the comics with the films very well! With that being said, let’s talk about this game and what makes it so great!

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is the third entry in the franchise, while also being a definitive reboot for the series as a whole. It ditches established continuity in order to take elements from the many other Marvel continuities. The game focuses on the “Infinity War” plot-line from both the comics and the past couple Avengers films.

However, this game does a lot things different than its comic and film counterparts. Instead of making a straight-up adaptation of Infinity War, the quest for the Infinity Stones is used to take the players on a fantastical journey through the Marvel universe.

You fight numerous villains along the way, many of whom possess the fabled Infinity Stones. It’s your job to beat up the bad guys, join forces with over 30 classic Marvel heroes and villains, and stop Thanos from making the universe “not feel so good”. The story is basic, but it has a couple interesting twists that manages to make the main quest entertaining throughout.

However, the story isn’t the big draw of the game, that award goes to the game-play! Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a dungeon-crawling action RPG at its heart. You pick a team of 4 superheroes from a list of over 30 and then fight through hoards of henchmen and super-villains. With each of the 36 heroes having different powers, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, it makes choosing the right team a daunting task.

The game-play is pretty basic and is generally easy to get a hold of. You have your four superheroes, which you can switch to at will with a single button tap. Each hero has regular attacks and a set of four upgradable special attacks. The abilities for each hero tend to be distinctive and helps give each hero a unique flare. For example, Spider-Man can web enemies up and keep them from attacking, while Doctor Strange has several magical spells that are good at crowd control.

Making 36 playable characters distinct is truly a tremendous feat! What’s more tremendous than the amount of playable characters is the insane upgrade system in this game! You have special magical crystals called “ISO-8s”, which boost your stats and abilities. There’s also a large upgrade tree that’ll take months worth of game-play to fully fill out!

While the upgrade and equipment system is pretty fun, the game is way too grind-heavy. All of the characters in the game have to be leveled up individually, which means you’ll have to replay a lot of repetitive quests to get new characters up to the level of your current party.

Unfortunately, that’s the game’s biggest problem: It’s repetitive nature. The game offers a campaign that’ll run you a dozen hours at most, and it re-uses all of its boss fights and story missions in the “Infinity Trials”. These are special harder versions of missions in the story mode. While this sounds cool, they don’t do anything too new or different from the story missions. They just function like harder versions of pre-existing missions, while lacking in distinctive variation. While the Infinity Trials can offer new objectives and toss in a couple distinct challenges, these missions still lack in meaningful changes.

Let’s move onto the game’s presentation, which is stellar for a game of this ilk! The graphics are nice and cartoonish, which give the game a fun “comic book-y” feel. The game’s music is the kind of music you’d normally hear in a superhero game, nothing too special there. However, the game’s voice-cast is what truly sells the game’s presentation!

Nicholas Cage
I can’t help but read this line in Nicholas Cage’s voice.

If you’ve grown up with any Marvel cartoon, video-game, or animated special in the past year, then you’ll definitely recognize the voices on offer here. Marvel and Disney went all out and hired back voice-actors from hundreds of different projects to come back to voice their characters. It’s one of the most stellar voice-casts ever assigned to a licensed video-game! Yuri Lowenthal as Spider-Man, Steven Blum as Venom and Wolverine, and Nolan North as Deadpool are just a few standout pearls in this ocean of amazing talent.

While the game looks and sounds awesome, it unfortunately has quite a few performance issues. For one thing, the game chugs when there’s too much going on. Whenever action fills the screen, expect your frame-rate to slow down considerably. Worse still, the game’s demanding graphics tends to kick the fans into over-drive. This causes the fans to go into over-time, which does burn through quite a bit of power. I’m hoping this does get patched later down the line.

With all this being said, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a fantastic time! The insane amount of characters, fantastic voice-acting, great visuals, and fun game-play definitely sell the title. However, it is hampered by its repetitive nature and occasional performance issues. The game is pure fun, but don’t expect anything “unique” or “life-changing”. It’s just a fun action game, which is all I could ask for!

Doctor Octogonapus
Never thought I’d see Doctor Octopus’ original design again! We need MORE classic Doc Ock action!

The First Story I Ever Wrote: Damian The Demon Slayer

A phrase I hear often is: “Some things are better left in the past”. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment, as I feel there’s some things that are best left forgotten. A good example of this was the first story I ever wrote, “Damian The Demon Slayer”. I was a pre-teen at the time of writing said story and I can remember very clearly what lead up to the creation of it.

We were given a writing project at school and asked to make some short stories. I came up with the idea of Damian The Demon Slayer after hearing about a film called “Van Helsing”. I knew very little of Van Helsing, nor had I read the book or seen the movie. Regardless, I wanted to create my own slayer of evil in written form!

That’s when I came up with the character of “Damian”, who hunts demons instead of vampires. Damian was named after a character from “My Dad Is A Rock Star”, who only appeared in one episode and acted like a typical early 2000s “edge-lord”. The story itself was a pretty basic affair. Damian went to a castle, fought an evil demon, defeated him, and was ushered in as a hero.

Surprisingly, my teacher really loved what I wrote! She thought I had stolen the concept from elsewhere, which is why she ran the story through the Google search engine to see if I had copied it from somewhere. You know your work is good when your English teacher thinks you stole it from somewhere!

In many ways, Damian was a special story for me. It wasn’t all that good, but it was a good demonstration of my potential. It was a good outlet for my imagination and it’s something I’ll never truly forget about. I no longer have a copy to show you all, but maybe I’ll revisit it one day. I’d love to remake the story, or put the character into a new continuity.