The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Reviews

Review: Inhumans TV series

marvel-inhumansI won’t spend much time on this because it has already sucked the life out of me.  I watched every episode hoping for some pay off, but to no avail.  Here’s the basic gist…

  • Heroic characters who can’t use their abilities (Medusa gets her hair cut off and Blackbolt is too powerful to show his powers more than three times.)
  • Other heroic characters who are not well developed (Lockjaw the dog with horrible CGI, Crystal the teenage girl who could have stopped the problem on her own, but didn’t for some reason, Gorgon the man who you never actually see his hooved legs clearly, and Triton who dies and then is suddenly not dead because of a plan that no one really knows about even when it is revealed.)
  • A villain who is basically more hero than the heroes (Maximus is portrayed in just that way, so at the end it almost feels as if the bad guys have won, even though it shouldn’t)
  • Karnak was enjoyable to watch, but every scene he was in felt like it brought his character down.
  • Atillan, the city on the moon, was the best thing about the show and even that gets destroyed at the end.
  • And the Inhumans are now on Earth, so will they cameo in Agents of SHIELD or will we forget about them entirely?  If they do cameo, then I hope its done in a way to completely not refer to this show at all because I’m trying hard to forget.

I hate to be the bringer of bad news.  I’m not one of those comic nerds who sit in their basement and act like keyboard warriors hating all things done.  If anything I’m the opposite.  I’m a fan who grew up reading this stuff and am happy to see it on screen, and most of the time forgive the “problems” others have with it all.  This was the exception.  It was just boring from start to finish, and had no climax at all.

This officially marks the lowest score I’ve ever given to a show or movie, and I feel a pang of guilt for doing it, but I have to be honest.  I give this show a 0.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, and that’s only because a zero would mean I hadn’t watched it.

What did you think?  Have you seen Marvel’s Inhumans?  Am I being too harsh?  Chime in with your comments.


Review: Marvel’s Punisher

mtpunsdf-700x400The Marvel and Netflix combo hit again with their newest series The Punisher.  My expectations were very high for this show, because I was an avid reader of the gratuitously violent anti-hero vigilante.  There was something about the character that went beyond just the gore and killing.  He was a decent human being that lost his family.  He wasn’t just a murdering psychopath.

We already got a taste of Frank Castle during Daredevil season 2, so going into this I was worried that the audience wouldn’t be able to connect with him.  With all the violence in today’s society it is hard to find a reason to see him as a hero, but this show was done perfectly to exude that feeling.

While some may complain that it was way too slow, I think most will agree that the paced narrative was necessary to make the audience cheer for the main character and feel for him.  He’s not out for revenge.  He’s out for justice.  It may not be what the government deems as just, but for the people he’s taking out, it is what he feels needs to be done.

There is a suspension of disbelief seeing him get tortured, beaten, and shot beyond a level suitable for any one human to take, but isn’t that how any show like this would go?  There were some references to the comics that were done tastefully.  The final three episodes go from story telling to hard core (at some moments almost unwatchable combat).  Yes, there was more than one moment where I had a difficult time seeing what was on screen, but it held my attention because at that point in the story the villains really needed to have that done to them.

SPOILER ALERT:  The final battle with Billy Russo and Punisher was my favorite scene.  I got worried at one point that they’d kill off the big bad.  I knew that in the comics he becomes Jigsaw (basically the antithesis to Frank Castle with a horribly scarred face.  At one point he even wore a costume similar to Punisher’s).  Thankfully, Frank had reason to let him live, and with all the foreshadowing done throughout the episodes, how could he not?

Will we see The Punisher and Daredevil team up again to take down a Kingpin/Jigsaw/Bullseye combo?  Who knows, but it’s something that I hope happens at some point.  END SPOILERS

At the end of the day it comes down to this… The Punisher season 1 is a well told story.  It is a tragic story.  It is a love story.  It is a story about corruption and justice.  It is a story about political agendas and dealing with PTSD.  Throw in some really action packed scenes to live up to the name Frank Castle bears, and you end up with something completely new for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.  I give it a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It went beyond my expectations for a good story, and appeased the comic book fan in me.

What did you think of Punisher season 1?  Comment with your thoughts and predictions of where they may take the character(s) after this.

 


Review: Justice League

justice-league-posterI’ll give you a heads up now.  There will be some spoilers in this review, but I will try to keep it to a minimum.  If you’d like my rating of the movie without all the intricacies you can scroll down to the final paragraph.

Justice League has finally happened, but the reception is once again split down the middle.  DC and Warner Brothers are having a rough streak at keeping the audiences happy overall.  I could get into why, but perhaps that’s another article.  Here’s what I can say…

This movie will make longtime fans of the characters happy.  For those who look at plot and effects, well that may be a different story.  Here’s a brief character breakdown:

Batman: Affleck looks tired in the role.  Perhaps part of what the negativity is comes from him.  I still think he’s a great batman and Bruce Wayne, but there’s no passion in the actor’s eyes.  That being said, Batman was very enjoyable and seems to have been set up to eventually phase into either an Alfred like role for the team or being replaced by perhaps Dick Grayson at some point under the cowl.

Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot rocks the role again, and she really is the glue to this whole team.  I feel they could have used her more in the film, but there’s only so much you can do with this many characters in a two hour movie.

The Flash: I was very skeptical about the casting of Ezra Miller in this part.  He doesn’t look like the Barry Allen that fans have come to know, and the one on TV has been prominent in everyone’s minds.  From the second he took to the screen however, I was pleasantly surprised.  I hate his suit with a passion.  For a character that can run at super speeds, you’d think it’d be more aerodynamic and uniform.  This looks like a machine more than something a hero would wear.  Other than that, I think he is portrayed quite well in the movie as an up and coming hero.

Cyborg: If it weren’t for the horrible CGI on him, I really think he’d have been great.  Unfortunately because he is hard to look at at times, and there is not much about him learning each of his upgrades, it’s difficult to enjoy the time he’s on screen.

Aquaman: This is another casting that I thought was strange, but am completely on board with now.  He is easily one of the best things about the movie.  Like Wonder Woman, he has limited screen time, but I think he was presented well as far as quickly learning back story.  He brings quite a bit of humor and badassery to the plot.  I also like how they mention it isn’t the fish he talks to, but the water itself.  This actually makes a lot more sense.

Superman: Finally, we get a Superman that is closer to what he is in the comics.  He has a brighter costume, and less brooding persona.  That may not be the case when he is first brought back from the dead, but what we do get is a very cool few scenes.  The moment when he is brought back and faces the League is my favorite part of the whole movie.  I could watch it over and over and never get bored.  It made the comic book geek in me happy that Joss Whedon took over to give it what fans have wanted.  If I had to offer one complaint it would be that I really hoped we’d have seen him in his black and silver suit with a slight mullet.  In all reality hair does continue to grow after death for a bit, so him being clean cut made no sense.

Steppenwolf: I was surprised to hear he was going to be the main villain, but excited as well.  He was one of my favorite villains when I was a kid, and seeing a proper interpretation of him got me stoked.  While the Parademons really worked, however, he wasn’t as memorable.  The back story we got felt like it was missing quite a bit, but that could have been forgiven if we’d had something visually fun to look at.  The biggest problem I had with the movie was him.  The CGI was absolutely horrible.  When you are given movies like Star Wars and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and you have these visually stunning fake people, why would computer graphics that look like they belong in the early 2000s be involved.  All I could see while watching him was the way Hulk looked way back when Eric Bana played him.  It was very very hard to watch him speak or see any close up of his face.

The small roles and cameos of a Green Lantern from ages ago, plus Zeus, Lois, Commisioner Gordon, Marc McClure’s appearance, and the post credits with Lex Luthor and Deathstroke were all welcome additions to enhance the story.

A side note… Whoever markets the toylines for these movies should be shot.  All my son wants for Christmas is a Steppenwolf action figure to face off against his League.  In order to get one, I’d have to buy all the heroes he currently owns.  Needless to say I’m not doing that and ebay will hold the answers for me as I get an older version of the character with no stupid CGI barf face.

All the problems with CGI aside, I really found the movie to be a fun time.  Would I say see it in the theater?  No.  I’d say wait to rent it, but don’t miss out.  People who enjoyed Batman vs Superman should enjoy what it has evolved into here.  People who hated Batman vs Superman should feel happy that it’s evolved into something better.  It is not better than Wonder Woman, but I’ll place it above BvS, Man Of Steel, and that God awful Suicide Squad movie.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It would have had another star from me if the effects were done right, and another if they’d managed the story better, but I don’t think it deserves some of the hate it is getting.  If this is what the DC extended universe is going to start to shape up to be with its characters, then I’m all for it.  What did you think of Justice League?


Review: The Emoji Movie

The_Emoji_Movie_film_posterLess than enthusiastic is how I’d rate my reaction when I heard this movie was coming out.  Why would anyone make a film about stupid texting icons?  Then my kids wanted to make it part of our family movie night this past Friday.  I had no choice but to see it, and it really hits the “Don’t judge a book by its cover” note.

It’s an animation geared towards young audiences, but has a very classic Disney movie quality, despite it not being a Disney film at all.  What I mean is that it is heartwarming, fun, and has an underlying love story that prevails in the end.

I found myself at times smiling and even laughing at the well played jokes and scenarios.  It felt familiar in a “Wreck-It-Ralph” sense.  In fact I could even see this and that movie occurring in the same universe.  That won’t happen of course, but it has the same sort of feel.

I don’t think I’ll ever see it again, so it’s not something that I personally would tell you to “go see,” but it is a fun movie with the kids, or just if you enjoy this genre.  I was pleasantly surprised, and didn’t feel as though I’d wasted time watching it.  I give it 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the Emoji Movie?


Review: Thor Ragnarok

Thor_Ragnarok_posterHere we are with another movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and like all its predecessors we hear the line, “Best Marvel movie yet!”  Does it hold up to the hype?  I guess that’s how you look at it.  Here’s my take on the latest adventure for the god of thunder.  Warning.  Some spoilers ahead:

This third installment didn’t feel as if it fit in the trilogy.  While the previous two Thor movies were for the most part serious with small amounts of humor, this went beyond what Guardians of the Galaxy had done.  The humor worked, but I’m not sure it was a good thing.  Was Ragnarok a good movie?  My answer isn’t simple.  Yes… it’s a good movie if you are looking for a comedy flick filled with colorful action.  Yes… it’s a good movie for comic book fans.  Yes… overall it is a good movie, but the comedy and seriousness of it didn’t mix well.

The Hulk worked great!  He was a great deal of comic relief, and he worked well because of the fact he is like an over sized five year old.  Thor’s humor however felt a bit cheesy.  Don’t get me wrong.  Hemsworth is phenomenal in the role and he delivered it well, but for someone who is an heir to the throne of an entire world, he’s less a King or prince, and more of the town stooge at times.  That being said, he does pull through and become a great leader to replace Odin.

Beyond the strange comedic mix there is quite a great amount of screen play to remember.  1) they combined 3 separate storylines very well (Ragnarok, Contest of Champions, and World War Hulk.)

2) Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, and Cate Blanchett are perfection in every role they play.  At least I’m convinced of this, because all three stood out to me.  The rest of the cast also delivered well with what they were given with the exception of the Executioner and Surtur.  I don’t feel the former was used well at all, because he really didn’t live up to his title, and Surtur was weak compared to what I’d envisioned a creature like him to be.

3) The cameos of the actors in the beginning (Luke Hemsworth, Matt Damon, and Sam Neil) were a funny addition to Loki’s telling of what happened.  Doctor Strange’s inclusion was known, and I’m glad it was on the level it was.  He served a purpose quickly and in a glorified way.  And Stan Lee’s cameo might have been my favorite one yet.

4) Hulk.  We got a speaking hulk. ’nuff said.

Then there’s the questions we are left with at the end.  I’m assuming that the Eternal Flame is probably the Soul Stone, since Hela used it to resurrect her army, and Loki to do the same to Surtur.  If that’s the case, then there are two Infinity gems that Thanos must have in his possession at the start of Infinity war; not to mention that he has the entire Asgardian refugee ship (including Hulk, Heimdall, Valyrie and Thor) as captives.  – Speaking of Hela, since she is the goddess of death (and we know Thanos loves death), is she truly dead?  I don’t think so.  She probably just will be a bit weaker without Asgard’s existence, but present in some state.  – Was the blonde Valkyrie who saved our new scrapper Valkyrie in the flashback, the original comic book version or just a way to pay tribute to her?  Either way it was a fun fan moment.  – Is Banner gone for good?  It sure looks that way, especially since Banner seemed to think that would happen, and his impact with the rainbow bridge would surely indicate he is dead.  – Also, without his mighty hammer, will Thor end up getting his Jarnbjorn battle axe?  I surely hope so. – And finally, is the Grandmaster dead?  I’m assuming that the people would kill and “eat” him, as they tried to do with Thor in the beginning.

There’s lots to discover in the next Avengers movie, but until then, this one will hold us over for a few months.  Final assessment?  Was it the best Marvel movie?  No.  The humor and tone didn’t mix well, but separately would have worked.  I worry that if Marvel continues to push these bounds, then we may end up getting sloppier work.  That being said, this is not a sloppy movie by any means.  I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, placing it somewhere between good and great, but not quite excellent.  How about you?  What did you think about Thor Ragnarok?  Speculations?  Comment with your thoughts below.

 

 

 


Review: Spider-man Homecoming

spider-man-homecoming-trailer-3Spider-Man is back at Marvel, but how did he fare swinging into action on home turf?  I’ll say this.  It was not the movie I wanted it to be.  I expected it to be the best of the existing Spidey films so far, but it fell just shy of Spider-man 2, which I feel remains at the top of the list.  So what was good and bad about it?

The Bad:

The Shocker felt like a rip off.  Which one?  It doesn’t matter.  Were either of these guys Herman Schultz?  Again, it doesn’t matter.  It was explained that the technology could shatter their arms, so that’s why the quilted yellow jacket was used.  Is it so hard then to put a mask on the men?  I’m just tired of half assed villain appearances.  Hopefully they bring him back soon.

Zendaya’s character was a waste.  Why was she even there?  She’s clearly not the MJ that we know as in Mary Jane Watson (At least she better not be).  And the whole team going to Washington DC?  How did anyone else not figure out that Parker and Spider-Man happen to be in both places?  Flash Thompson didn’t seem like Flash Thompson at all.

The Spider-Man A.I. suit is just stupid.  Get rid of the computer and give him spider-sense already.  This isn’t the hero comic book fans want. And Aunt May is hot of course, but her presence was lacking.  No mention of Uncle Ben either, but Peter did say his Aunt had been through a lot, so that can slide.

The Good:

I know I said the AI suit is a bad thing, but I do like the different web settings.  This actually can explain a lot.  The spider-tracers were also awesome to see, as well as the search light.  I liked the mentor being Tony Stark too.  It worked really well.

Adrian Toomes/Vulture, and The Tinkerer were perfect.  The way they were handled was done quite well, though I feel the final battle was a bit anti-climactic.  Ned was also a good friend for Peter to have and share his secret with.

The scene with Adrian Toomes in the car with Peter was very cool.  The little speech Keaton gave was chilling.  I’m not sure Liz as his daughter felt right, but it didn’t matter because she too was a welcome addition.

From Damage Control, to Spider-man/Peter Parker himself were great.  And shall I say that I think Tom Holland is our best Spidey/Parker yet!  I look forward to seeing him many more times in the role.

Overall assessment:

Homecoming is not the best Spidey movie because so much more could have been done to correct the minor plot holes.  That being said, it is certainly not the worst, and comes in right up there with Spider-man 2 as a close favorite.  I give it 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Where can it go from here?  I can easily see Spidey battling the Sinister Six with an ally or two.  I realize he’s got a role in Infinity War and more, but why not see what he can do against the likes of: Vulture, Scorpion, Tinkerer, Shocker, and two others.  I suggest a proper Rhino and Prowler.  It’s clear that Miles Morales exists in this universe, so make him Spidey’s ally and give the fans something to remember.  What did you think of Spider-man Homecoming?


Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)It’s no secret that the DCEU of movies has met with harsh criticism, and in some cases rightfully so.  Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman were split down the middle by fans and Suicide Squad was an absolute disaster.  Even before those the films were less than perfect.  Bad interpretations of villains in the previous Batman movies, a heavily CGI Green Lantern film, and the 5 prior Superman films were only good for the first two.  So the track record of DC films hasn’t been anything spectacular over the years.  Sure there were high points, but it really had me worry for Wonder Woman.

Then I saw it, and while the story felt similar to Captain America the First Avenger, it was Gal Gadot who really made this a great watch.  The actress is not only stunning, but connects with audiences on an emotional end, and then turns into a complete badass.  Chris Pine as Steve Trevor added a great amount of chemistry and humor needed.

The supporting cast did well, and the visual effects with the lasso were straight from the pages of the comic books.  The director’s decision to add more color to Wonder Woman’s costume was a smart one as well.  It made her stand out more in a very cold looking era film.

My complaints would be minor overall but still bothersome.  Ares was a great villain, but I saw the twist coming from the moment the actor stepped on screen.  It was way too predictable.  The over usage of Wonder Woman’s theme song grew tiresome, and some of the Amazonian fights looked off in the CGI department.

What I did like is that for the most part this was a true interpretation of the character.  I’d watch Gal Gadot in anything, but the comic fan in me couldn’t be happier.  I’m not sure I enjoyed the sort of force blast she showed with her gauntlets, but I think this was to show how she can ricochet most attacks that way.

Finally, DC films has something to list as their best movie to date (Yes that includes all other movies mentioned above).  We now have a female hero who is both a princess and warrior hero.  I give Wonder Woman 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?


Review: Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 2

ash-vs-evil-dead-season-2-dvd-coverSeason 1 of Ash vs Evil Dead was a great throwback to the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness franchise.  It cemented itself as the perfect installment for fans of old and new.  I thought season 2 would have been more of the same approach, but I was thankfully wrong.

Sure there was some of the B movie humor, which had me laughing hysterically at one point (The Morgue scene when Ash is going after the book).  But there was also some sincerity to it in a very Evil Dead 1 sort of way.  When Ash is in the asylum it is downright creepy.  Baal vs Ash in a mental battle was fun to watch.  Ruby joining the team was a step in the right direction of adding tension and mistrust.  Pablo becoming the book was interesting.  Lee Majors as Brock (Ash’s father) was perfect casting, and it made me miss his old 6 million dollar man days.

Then they took a completely unexpected turn and went back to prevent the events in the first movie from ever happening, only to change them for the worse.  My question is who picked up the Necronomicon in the post credits scene?  If the writers wanted to really throw the viewers for a loop they would make it one of the kids from the remake a few years back.  In that movie Ash shows up to pick up the surviving girl.  With that epilogue and him in the shadows there, it could easily be explained that he brought her in as a new team member.  This would make that movie canon.  Even if it was not a good interpretation it would still fit in what could become an even more exciting series.

I mean there really isn’t anything I can complain about here.  If B-movie horror/comedy isn’t your thing, then you won’t like this, but for any fan of the original films I highly recommend it.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of Ash vs Evil Dead season 2?


Review: Alien Covenant

Alien_Covenant_Teaser_PosterThe Alien franchise has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  Each installment has me on the edge of my seat waiting for release.  Well I finally got to sit down and watch Alien: Covenant, and found it to be familiar, yet refreshing.

Slight Spoilers ahead…

At first I found myself confused thinking that they wouldn’t even touch on the events in Prometheus, but thankfully they wrapped up that story fairly well, and in a shocking way.  It explains a lot for the rest of the series.

The twist with David and Walter at the end however was slightly predictable.  I saw it coming a mile away.  The whole premise to the crew going to the planet that Prometheus had been on was a little far fetched.  You would think for a technologically advanced crew of astronauts, that there’d be some sort of record of what happened to the crew of Prometheus or at least where they were going.  There were also a few places where the CGI seemed off to me, but not terrible.  I’m just used to the original films where the effects were all practical.

That was the only real faults I found with the movie.  On the positive side, Michael Fassbender is becoming one of my favorite actors.  His dual roles in this movie were spectacular, and Katherine Waterson’s female lead was as likeable as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley.

The high points for me were the explanation of where the Aliens came from and how they were engineered.  They aren’t yet the species we meet in the first Alien movie.  They are something else, but by the end of the movie we see where it is going to lead.  I’ll admit that the white colored alien was downright eerie to see.  It gave me the creeps.

One thing that I really like is that this is definitely NOT the movie that takes place right before Alien.  There obviously has to be another film to explain more.  While it answered quite a few questions, it opened the door for more lore.  I still would like to see one more adventure for Ellen Ripley, but if I can’t get that this is just as good.

Overall I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It’s be no means a spectacular film, but has an important place in the franchise.  It was fun, and you could feel the mortality of the characters involved.  What did you think of Alien Covenant?


Review: Marvel’s The Defenders ssn 1

Defenders_NetflixNetflix surely has a hit with its Marvel TV shows, but that doesn’t mean they have all been great.  Daredevil season 1 and 2 as well as Luke Cage were outstanding.  Iron Fist started strong, but underwhelmed in the latter half of the season.  Jessica Jones had a great concept, but could have been done in 4 episodes because 13 was much too long and drawn out.  So with the Defenders coming out I had a bag of mixed emotions.  How did it fare?

The Defenders had an amazing first two episodes.  They filled in the gap of what was happening with each character after we last saw them all.  It was story building at its finest.  People complained that they all don’t even meet until episode 3, but they obviously have no desire for substance.  It is well worth the wait.

At that point I was worried that with such a great buildup, that the last 4 episodes would fall short.  They did not.  The action sequences and story held up to standards, and even though the post climax was drawn out, the 8 episodes made for in my opinion the best Marvel Netflix show yet.  Even at the end of the credits we get a surprise teaser trailer for the Punisher coming later this year.

There were plenty of twists and turns, and a few things left unsaid.  The ending left me wondering whether the Hand was done, and who survived of the four stuck at the bottom of the shaft?  Surely Matt Murdock could not have escaped on his own.  So, who got him to the surface?

As for the characters individually here’s how I see them:

Luke Cage & Daredevil were as expected.  I think both were flawless and exactly how portrayed before.  Jessica Jones was still herself at the core, but her interactions with the other characters, in particular Matt Murdock, were so much more likeable.  She worked better with a team than alone.  Iron Fist finally made that transition to hero.  He was much more deserving of the title in this than his own show, making it more exciting anticipation for his next season.  Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, Karen Page, Foggy, Trish, and Stick were all used sparingly enough to not overcrowd the plot.

Overall it was an enjoyable and fun ride.  I’d call it the Avengers for adults, and am eager to see them all team up again.  I’ll give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?


Mayhem at the Cape

physick estate 1879

Emlen Physick Estate in 1879. Photo courtesy of Cape May MAC

 

Cape May, New Jersey is one of my favorite places to escape to for writing and inspiration. I’ve been wrapped up with a few books in process, but needed a little escape, and this weekend was perfect. Instead of staying at our normal place, my wife Roberta was invited to review the Congress Hall hotel. (Check out http://www.homemadedelish.com for her review).

 

The history in that place alone is amazing, but the town has so much more going on than just that one land mark. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (www.capemaymac.org) has a wide array of tours and events available all year round.

We’ve previously done the horse and buggy tour, but decided to go for something a little more in my realm of writing. I originally intended to do the ghost trolley tour, but Susan Krysiak (director of media relations) suggested I check out the Cape Mayhem Trolley Tour.

This goes beyond just telling about the many haunted tales of the town, but delves into the history of some bizarre rituals and practices that people did during the Victorian Era.

I don’t want to spoil much about the ride itself on the history end, because it is something you need to see for yourself. What I can say is that even if you aren’t a history buff or fan of the weird and spooky, this is a very relaxing and fun half hour ride.

One place I will mention that was the highlight of the tour was the story about the Emlen Physick Estate. I’d always seen the house but didn’t know how intriguing its history was. My next trip to town will definitely include a tour of the estate, which is also run by the same knowledgeable people as the trolley tours.

If you’ve ever been on one of these tours, then please comment below and share your experiences. If you haven’t then make sure to visit http://www.capemaymac.org to see what you’re missing. Feel free to contact their media relations at 609-224-6036 or skrysiak@capemaymac.org #capemaymac


Review: Once Upon A Time Season 6

once_upon_a_time_season_6Fairy tales have certainly influenced my writing of children’s books, and even come to life to some extent in my novels (particularly BONES AT BREAKFAST).  It is no secret that I enjoy them, but am very picky about what I choose to watch.  Once Upon a Time has always grabbed my attention because of its inclusion of not just Disney versions of the tales, but also classic literature.

While Season 5 was a big dud in my mind, it had its high points.  Season 6 goes back to what made Season 1 so good, and included more classics.  It escaped the fairy tale world and made its way into some great fiction literature.

The Good: The additions of Aladdin, Mr. Hyde, Count of Monte Cristo, and a few others worked quite well, while characters like Cinderella finally got a proper back story.  The Evil queen vs Regina started out a little rough, but by the end I liked what they did with it.  The whole season provided a great canvas to end the current run of characters and it properly sets up season 7 as a reboot with Henry being an adult.

The Bad: There were still flaws with some of the narratives.  I feel that the Wicked Witch was wasted here, and Rumpelstiltskin was slightly under used, even though they both played a key role.  Emma and Hook were great together, but to me it seemed very redundant with Emma’s role this season.  Her performance didn’t move me at all, nor her story.  Even though they used other classic tales, I feel like it still lacked for the most part in diversity (as far as types of stories).

Overall: It wasn’t the best season, but way better than the worst.  The fact that they are rebooting next season is a welcome addition, but I’m still cautious with my hopes.  It could go two ways… 1) it could end up being a fantastic reboot, pretty much ignoring or only referencing the original characters.  Using them as cameos as fine, but I no longer want to see those people as a focus (except Henry’s story).  Although I wouldn’t mind Regina and Rumple still having significant roles.  They have a blank slate where they can go more horror with Dracula, more Frankenstein, etc etc that would really make it feel new.  Or 2) They could just rehash the same formula and have nothing new to bring to the table.  I’m hoping for the former, but in the meantime I’ll rate Season 6 with 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.

What were your thoughts?  And Where would you like the series to go from here?  Comment below.


Review DC TV shows 2016-2017 seasons

It’s time to review DC Comics’ Television properties, and how they fared this season.  I’ll keep it fairly simple this time around, but will take an overall look at the following: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow season 2, The Flash season 3, Arrow season 5, Supergirl season 2, Powerless season 1, and Gotham season 3.  I’ll also mention the crossover episode “Invasion” as a separate entity.

First up is Legends of Tomorrow Season 2:

dctvWhile the first season was subpar, the concept improved for the second season.  The good: The characters were all done well.  They were really the focus of what made this year work.  Finally seeing a version of the Legion of Doom was a much better antagonist than Vandal Savage the year before.  The cliff hanger at the end of the finale was also really great segue into making me want to come back for at least the premier of ssn 3.  The Bad: The writers of this show have no idea what they are doing with time travel.  They talk about time aberrations and how they are supposed to stop them from happening, but the characters have no problem sleeping with other people from different timelines or killing them.  Then they worry about one mistake that Stein made by talking to his younger self which created a daughter he never had.  I call B.S. that this would be their worst problem.  Overall: This show is just painful to watch.  I keep watching because the comic book nerd in me desires to see these great characters.  There are moments that make me smile, but overall it’s not something a regular audience of non-comic book fans would want to see.  If they could understand a little more about the potential of traveling through time, then it’d have potential, but otherwise it’s just sloppy writing.  I give season 2 a sCrypt rating of 2.5/5.

Supergirl Season 2:

Where to begin… hmmm… The transition of this show to the CW really hurt it, but I can’t just blame the station move.  The Good: Martian Manhunter, Superman, Mon-El, The Guardian and Teri Hatcher were the best things about the season.  Their stories were good, and though I had reservations about the Guardian, he turned out to be quite enjoyable.  The Bad:  Oh where to begin.  Fire all the writers.  It’s the only thing that will save this show because it’s downright hard to watch.  First off is the Alex and Maggie relationship.  I get it.  They are an item.  I have no problem with a lesbian couple in the show, but this was so forced and hard to watch it made me cringe.  They spent more time focusing on this unnatural progression into a gay relationship that it often overshadowed the main narrative.  I knew we’d have Maggie in some sort of relationship with a woman too, but it could have been anyone else.  They changed Alex (who showed that she had an attraction to men in the first season) to being an item with Maggie.  The two characters on their own could be great, but the way this was forced was so bad the writers seemed like amateurs.  And before anyone claims that I’m bashing the LGBTQRSTUV community, that is not the case at all.  I’ve got friends and family who fall into that category.  I would have the exact same issues if they did this with straight characters because it was so badly done and took center stage over the rest of the plot.  Then they cut Cat Grant out of the picture… then they had Supergirl beat Superman in a really lame fighting scene that went on way too long for its lack of showmanship, then they changed Cat from one political standing to another without explanation and tried to force a message, then they had Lynda Carter as an alien president without much explanation as to why they would not feel threatened by a president who had the biggest lie of any president (and that’s saying a lot nowadays), then there’s that weird ending which I can only assume means we are getting Doomsday on a TV budget when they couldn’t even do it right in the movies.  WTF writers?  Did anyone watch this heaping bag of horse manure before they decided to air it on television?  Ugh I’m done my rant.  Overall: When a hero like Supergirl with some major characters is worse than watching a show with bad time travel in its writing, there is something amiss.  I can barely give this second season a 1 out of 5 sCrypt Ratings.

Arrow Season 5:

Thank goodness this got better.  While last season was subpar, this season was my favorite by far.  The Good: Everything in the latter half of the season was great.  I was upset at first that they were going to do ANOTHER Black Canary instead of reforming Laurel of Earth 2, but when it turned out her name was Dinah Drake, I accepted it.  Hopefully we see her and Oliver as an item and keep that Arrow / Black Canary love story.  Deathstroke’s return and the whole final episode was very emotional.  Season 6 could quite literally be a reboot to the whole series with just Oliver and his son, but I’m assuming one or two people will escape the island.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Diggle, Dinah, Speedy, and Slade to have survived.  The Bad: In the beginning of the season it was very rushed.  They jam packed all these new recruits onto the team, and it took away from story.  Wild Dog was annoying at first, but I grew to really like the character.  Other than the expansion of “Team Arrow”, I didn’t find much wrong here.  Overall: There’s a lot they can do for the next season now that the flashbacks are all caught up.  I have no idea where they will go with it, but if they continue this approach it’d be more than welcome.  I give season 5 of arrow a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Invasion Crossover episode:

I didn’t think they’d be able to pull off crossing over Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, but they managed… sort of.  Obviously their budget had limitations, but the story worked and each character was utilized well.  If I had one complaint it would be that it really wasn’t a 4 part episode, because it began as a stinger at the end of the Supergirl episode, which was rehashed in Flash.  Despite this false advertisement in my mind, it was enjoyable.  I give it a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash Season 3:

This season had its ups and downs.  The Good: Jay Garrick and Wally West were very welcome in this season.  The Flashpoint approach was done well, and Killer Frost’s story really hit the mark; even if I wanted to see her become a full fledged villain at the end.  Who knows where that’ll go.  They hit an emotional level with the viewers too that won’t be forgotten.  The Bad: Savitar, while not all that horrible of a villain just looked really stupid.  I hated the costume, and wasn’t really sold on the true reveal of his identity.  The story felt drawn out with some great filler episodes to break it up, but that detracted from the continual plot.  There was a point during the Grodd storyline (which I loved, so it’s not all bad), that I almost forgot about Savitar’s threat.  Overall: They managed to clear up some of the cluster-F that was last season, and created a pretty decent flow.  The twists and shocking reveals really held it high on the standards chart.  If there is any season finale that sets up the premier of next season it would be this one.  I hope we see more of Jay Garrick and even Wally suiting up as the Flash would be great.  As long as there isn’t another speedster as the main villain I think Flash can do a whole lot more.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Powerless-S01E04-1080p-HDTVPowerless Season 1:

I’ll get straight to it.  The Good: If you enjoy the Office, and it’s type of humor, then this show is for you.  It’s funny and creative.  I loved the characters, and the fact that they are a little over the top.  It sounds like a dumb idea, but the show really worked for me.  It was a break from all the other comic book shows on television right now.  The Bad: Aside from very horrible budget effects and cosplay looking costumes, the only other bad thing I can say is that it was cancelled.  Overall: If I had to say that there was one show that paid homage to the comics, while feeling refreshing it was this one.  I only got to see the first 9 episodes, as the final 3 were pulled when the show was cancelled.  If more people gave it a chance, I think it’d have been a hit.  I give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have gotten a whole other point if not for the costumes and effects.

gotham-season-3Gotham Season 3:

The latter half of the season renewed my faith in the show, but it’s still got a lot of work to do.  The Good: The way the villains were handled, and Bruce’s evolution were great.  I feel like the creators are starting to get that Batman feel without the Bat.  I can’t emphasize more that The Riddler and Jerome/The Joker were the best thing all season.  The Bad: Penguin being gay isn’t the issue, but the way they made him during that story arc was flat out pathetic.  He didn’t even seem like the Penguin during that batch of episodes.  It makes sense to make him gay if they were going to because he’s one character that never really had a love interest in the comics.  I just wish they could have made him as good a character as he was before this season, and after Ivy saved him.  Gordon still seems flat to me as well.  Every scene with him and Lee made me cringe.  There are also inconsistencies in the writing.  Why did Freeze’s gun not kill his last victim, when it did so to everyone else?  There was also an opportunity to use the same casting for Ra’s Al Ghul as with Arrow to connect the shows in some way, but they failed to do that.  Overall: It’s starting to really feel like it fits in with the rest of the shows, even to the point where I wouldn’t mind having a crossover if it made sense to do so.  There’s a lot of things set up that make it convoluted, but can be handled well.  At this point I’m not sure how they can keep with the current path without a Batman in there, and though we saw Bruce suit up as some vigilante he’s still way too young and immature with his thinking to become the full fledged Bat.  Time will tell.  I give the season 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think of these shows?  What were the high and low moments for you and where do you see them going?  Comment below, and let’s discuss.  P.S. I realize I didn’t put Izombie in here.  The reason is because I just can’t watch it.  It’s appalling.  Maybe you disagree.


Review: Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD ssn 4

Agents_of_S_H_I_E_L_D__season_4_posterMy season end reviews kick off with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season 4.  I did a review mid season, so I won’t get into too much detail other than a few minor spoilery things, and general thoughts.

Overall, this season was superb.  The writing strayed from campiness and into darker territory.  While this can be a curse for a lot of shows or movies, the darkness worked here because of Ghost Rider’s inclusion and the Dark Hold.  Both were handled very well.

The second half of the season gave us an alternate “What If” world created by AIDA.  Her role as Madame Hydra was surprising, but also a welcome addition to the plot.  Usually I’m not for the combination of characters, but in this case it was handled well.  The emotional buildup especially with Mack and the loss of The Patriot, gave the show a more realistic feel.

It’ll be interesting to see where it all leads next season.  There’s Mack and Yo-Yo who will obviously be in a strained relationship, but they aren’t the only ones.  Fitz and Simmons have an interesting new dynamic with Fitz’s dark side having affected everyone, and Coulson and May also have some places to go.

We are left wondering a few things: 1) Where are they at the end?  Is this a SWORD installation in space?  2) With the Inhumans on the run again, will this be how they introduce the new Inhumans show?  I’d like to see Daisy make an appearance somehow.  3) Where did Ghost Rider go exactly?  and finally 4) Who will be the big bad of season 5?

Time will tell.  From what was once a cringeable series, it has now become something I look forward to.  It’s not quite up there with Netflix shows, but that’s to be expected.  Season 4 gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts and speculation.


Updated Section: Talent Spotlight

I used to have an artist of the month section on this site, but since then I’ve gotten more away from making comics, and into main publishing and public appearances.  During that time I’ve met some really amazing people.  There’s such a vast range of talent out there that deserves to have recognition.

That being said, sCrypt Publishing has always been about spreading the talent, so this new “Talent Spotlight” section will include many different people in an interview type form.

If you know of someone who you think should be on this list, please send me an email rickpipito@Hotmail.com  Stay tuned, as the first post is coming soon.  Oh, and you can still go back and see the past artists who were in the spotlight here.


Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2

GotG_Vol2_posterThis is one of those movies where the trailer doesn’t do it justice.  I went into this thinking there was going to be a corny forced humor that wouldn’t sit well with an overall semi-serious Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I was proven wrong.  Is that to say there weren’t some moments like that?  No, of course there were, but those moments were done tactfully and worked for the moment.

There will be spoilers from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

A flashback to 1980 has us seeing a young Kurt Russell and how his character of Ego met StarLord’s mom.  I can’t help but notice something here, and let me know if you think the same.  In the 80s there was a movie called “Starman.”  It was about an alien man who fell in love with a woman and drove cross country with her.  At the end of that movie the Starman left and she was assumingly pregnant because of the sexual scenes in it.  The movie to me was a good movie, but left too many open ends never to be addressed.  The character in Starman was played by Jeff Bridges.  Kurt Russell’s younger CGI self looked almost identical to Bridges in that film.  I know they are two different universes, but could James Gunn have used this as inspiration to give answers to a film that never gave them?  Who knows, but it made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax were pretty much spot on with how they were at the end of the last movie.  Star-Lord realizing he is part Celestial was worrisome, but what was a risky maneuver of changing his comic book history, really played out well.  Toddler Groot was a waste to me.  I know it was done for the cute factor, and it made sense as he’s more grown than the end of the last movie.  I don’t think any other way would have been good for him to be presented, but at the same time he just felt like he was there.  There really wasn’t much for him to do.  My main example is the battle in the beginning with the alien squid like creature.  All Groot did was dance, like Star Lord did in the opening sequence of the first one, which to me was the worst part of the first movie.

Skipping back to Ego, who was my second biggest concern going into this, we get an actual comic book representation of the character plus more.  Ego always fascinated me, and to see that they actually showed his full on form and gave him a good origin, made the film.  He was easily my favorite part of the whole movie.  Everything about Ego made sense and didn’t feel stale.

The true father figure in Yondu was heartwarming, and I think it was wise to have Yondu sent off that way.  Michael Rooker is always enjoyable to watch, but his character’s death brings together what was a falling apart team, and then some.  Oh, and he had his longer head fin, which was my gripe about his appearance not having it before.

The Gamora vs Nebula story felt strange in a way.  I’m still not sure I believe that Nebula would have spared her sister, but the explanation worked.  I just think that she’d have been better beside Thanos during Infinity War than against him.

Taserface was exactly what Rocket pointed him out to be.  He was nothing more than that, but served his purpose for humor and the slight bump in the road that he provided.

Finally we get the other characters.  A Cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster was only in the scrolling credits, which makes me wonder if he originally had a role in this and in Thor Ragnarok.  It was strange placement.  Cosmo the Space Dog also only shows up in the scrolling credits.  Howard the Duck is present again in another great few seconds of appearance.  I love that they do things like this for the fans.  The quick spots by David Hasselhoff and Pac-man were silly, but for my generation were great additions.

The post credits scenes were quite a mix.  1) Yondu’s dart impaling Drax by accident was funny, but not really necessary.  2) The reveal of Adam Warlock’s cocoon is huge.  Although it was in the last movie as a post credit thing, this time we actually get a good look and confirmation of who is inside.  I’m assuming he will start off as a villain for Volume 3.  3) Teenage Groot, while unnecessary, showed purpose.  While only a funny throw away, it pretty much confirms that from here on out we will see adult Groot.  Teenage Groot was great, but I really think this was done to transition the character. 4) The Ravagers original team headed by Sylvester Stallone was awesome.  This sets up a potential union between them and the Guardians for either Infinity War or Guardians 3.  If you didn’t know who they were, then the characters (played by well known actors) were: Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie 27, Aleta, Kruggar, and Mainframe.

5) Stan Lee being revealed as one of the Watchers makes a lot of sense, but I feel ripped off.  He should have been in Watcher form here like the others.  So it begs to question… was he just an informant to the Watchers, or is he an actual Watcher.  It’s something that will probably never be addressed again, but time will tell.  At least they are tying this in.  This also makes for an interesting thought.  Watchers can see many realities.  This basically says that anything Stan Lee has cameoed in could in some way be tied into the Marvel universe.  This includes other studios, versions of characters, etc.

So what did you think?  The soundtrack to me wasn’t as good as the first, but is bound to be open to many more things from here on out.  Overall it was a very funny, action packed, and visually stunning film that is worthy of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

 


Review: Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix

Iron_Fist_NetflixUnlike most of my reviews, I’m going to keep this one straight to the point and less in depth.  The reason is because of the amounts of positive vs negative the show had.  My negatives are NOT what other people complained about.  I guess I’m a purist and less concerned about appeasing to the masses, because the negatives that I’ve read is more along those lines.  That being said, there is a lot of positive too, that isn’t given enough credit.

Let’s set the record straight.  This is not the best Marvel Netflix show.  It is in my opinion tied with Jessica Jones for last place, but certainly not bad.  The controversial casting is absolute crap.  Danny Rand as a white guy has always been.  The actor did a great job with what he was given, and I’m hoping his mannerisms are corrected as this is sort of an origin to the Iron Fist character.  My complaints?  Use a razor.  I’m tired of the scruffy look.  Danny should in my mind be clean and youthful looking.  He was with monks after all.  We already have Daredevil, Jessica, and Luke being total badasses.  He should be just as kick ass, but not so tough looking.

The Hand played a decent role in the show, with the highlight easily being Madame Gao, and Davos.  The latter of these two also had a good set up for becoming the next villain (Steel Serpent).  Claire is obviously the glue to bring the Defenders together, so her role although it felt sort of forced, worked for what it was.  Colleen and the Meachums were also very good in every scene.

Action wise this played out just like a classic kung fu movie, with heavy story and not a lot of fighting until the end.  The problem here is that the fighting seemed subpar.  For someone who is supposedly the best fighter in the world, he sure gets beat up a lot.

The first five episodes really had me hooked.  Then episode six came and it slowly went down hill.  The final episode was great, but then they threw on that extra two minute ending and I wanted to forget everything else.  That ending was not good.  They threw it there to get people to come back and see what happens next, but it felt disrespectful to everything else it had done over 13 episodes.

In my opinion Iron Fist doesn’t really work on its own.  I think it has to be Powerman and Iron fist or a heroes for Hire.  That would be worth the time.  I wanted to really love this show, and though I liked it, I can’t claim I’d ever rewatch it.  Other reviews say Danny should have been an Asian guy.  Stop changing races and looks of characters!!!  We get that enough.  If any thing I’d think that’d be offensive to Asians to be typecast in that role.  Danny being trained by Asian monks is what makes the idea work.  They just need to figure out how to do all of that.

One final thought… they could have done a little better of explaining how he got his powers.  I know, and comic readers know, but any new comer will be left slightly confused by the lack of information.

Iron Fist gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.  It is enjoyable at its good moments, and disappointing at its bad ones.  These fall 50/50 throughout the whole thing, so I’ve voted right down the middle.

What did you think?  Comment below.


Review: Stranger Things Season 1

stranger-thingsOkay, I know I’m behind on this one, but best things come to those who wait, right?  I’ll keep this review fairly brief.

Season 1 of Stranger things was a hesitation on my part.  I didn’t want to watch because everyone said such great things about it, that I didn’t want to be let down.  This is part of the reason why I never watched Lost, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, or Walking Dead (past season 1).  I just think things get taken out of context and hyped too much.

For Stranger Things though, I can say the reviews were mostly right.  I am stuck wondering if this is a generational thing though.  The show was nostalgic for me, and reminded me of how life was when I grew up in the 80s.  Okay, maybe not the upside down, or monster aspect, but the way childhood and family life was handled.  There were less worries about people being bad, and more about the fantastical.

Some of the show’s narrative was predictable at parts, but mostly it was given a good level of suspense and story telling to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.  Credit must really be given to the cast.  Each of these actors and actresses were outstanding and convincing in their performances.

I don’t want to review much about it because it takes away from it if you haven’t seen it.  All I can say is that it is easily binge worthy, and I can’t wait to see what season 2 has in store.  I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins only because some originality was lost due to nostalgic things, but this is not at all a flaw with the series.  In fact, I think it is part of what makes it what it is.  What did you think about Stranger Things Season 1?

 


A Whole new experience

IMG_7659[1]Whether you are into video games or not, this is something you must try.  Before I get into how amazing Zero Latency’s VR Arena is, I want to take a moment to mention where I played it.

Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos of PA was probably my second favorite vacation of all time (Second only to Disney).  The décor, food, water park, arcade, shops, and comfort of the rooms are only part of the experience.  We stayed from Friday through Sunday, and it served as a perfect little get away.

Now onto the gaming experience.  I was privileged to try the Arena and given a selection of which scenario I’d like to try.  As of right now there are only a handful, but this is just the beginning of an era in VR technology.  I’ve tried the headsets you can buy in the store, but they don’t even compare.  The arena is in a full sized warehouse.  It is an empty dark room with some circles on the floor and walls.  You wear a vest, headset and VR helmet, which puts you into the game using a series of motion capture sensors.

I had the honor of meeting Andre, who works with the company responsible for the games.  We spoke a bit about the two available games (they run about 20 minutes each), and what is on the horizon for the company.  Hint: They are opening more locations around the country and the world.

You must be 13 to play these games and that is for a safety aspect.  The one game I didn’t try was called “Engineerium.”  It is a cartoony world where you solve puzzles to progress. There is no shooting or action, but the bit that I saw was out of this world… literally.  It works in an M.C. Esher manner where you can walk on walls and upside down.  In real life you are standing and walking in a room, but your mind sees and tells your body something else.

Since I just did the Escape the Room experience a few weeks ago, I wanted to get into the genre where I first began writing books.  Since FLESH AND LEFTOVERS was my debut novel years ago, I felt it’d be good to revisit zombies.  So, I played “Survival.”

I was warned before hand that this can be an overwhelming and downright intense experience.  I’ve tried military simulators in the past, so I wasn’t worried.  I now retract that line of thought.  This is something way beyond that.  Picture yourself inside a video game, able to walk around in a place that responds to your body movements.

The survivalist in me didn’t need the four weapons supplied.  (You are given a shotgun, sniper rifle, assault rifle, and heavy assault rifle.)  You only actually carry one weapon in your hand, but a button on the side allows you to switch back and forth.  I’m a person who likes to make every shot count, and conserve my ammunition.  I stayed mostly with the light assault rifle for short controlled bursts.  It paid off.

IMG_7661[1]Myself, and 4 others were put into the scenario together.  I was the only person who hadn’t played it before, but was able to figure out a plan immediately.  In this game you must defend your position from a horde of zombies.  Not only is it important to make your shots count (headshots are the best), but to utilize the explosive barrels, and keep your defense barriers erected to prevent an onrush.

Andre played with us, and he took a sniper position on an elevated platform.  (In reality he was really on the level we were, but to us and him in game, he was up high.)  We worked well together for the first ten minutes.  Our base was heavily fortified.  But then it became frantic.  More zombies came, and this is when the stress began to kick in.  Andre called down to tell us that he was coming down to help out.  The zombies started finding a way up to him, and it was becoming harder to maintain our borders.

Then someone shouted, “We’ve got a breach!”  and as I turned around I saw a zombie within a few feet of me.  I ran.  Yes, literally ran away as I fired into its face.  My flaw was not thinking about what was behind me, and the surround sound told me I needed to turn fast.  A massive beast of an undead man towered over me by a few inches and I managed to dodge in the nick of time.

At this point in the game, I actually felt anxiety.  I kept telling myself this wasn’t real, but when I say I could feel fear build within me, I’m not lying.  I breathed slowly and tried to act calm to concentrate on the task, and not the flurry of emotion.  One of my squad mates was then “eaten.”  When you die, you stay in place in a neutral state until you are respawned ten seconds later.  I did not die, but when your team mate does, it becomes even harder.

Movement is the key.  This is not a shoot em up game.  This is survival… and shooting is only part of that.  Communication and agility help as key factors.  Once the helicopter arrived to lift our platform, we ran to the extraction zone.  This was very difficult because you need to remain relatively confined at this point.  The good news is that you are all back to back, so you can cover each other and all sides.

Once our platform was lifted, I switched to my sniper rifle and began picking off the horde from a distance.  This was more calming and was a good wind down to the whole thing.  There are people who have run out on the scenario and have asked to be removed from the game for its intensity.  It is only a game, but your mind does a great job of taking you into that virtual world.

If horror isn’t a thing for you, then you need to try the Engineerium.  It won’t scare you, or get your anxiety up, but will force your perception of reality into another world.

They also rank you in the game.  I scored the highest kills in my squad, and among the thousands of people who have played, I placed #115 in rank.  Apparently I’m a way better survivalist (though not the best) than a gamer, because if this were on a TV, I wouldn’t have the benefit of being able to see all my surroundings.

I can see this as a more improved training device, not just for fun, but for running special training for police and military at some point.  (Of course nothing will prepare you for the real thing, but this is an amazing step toward that)

I’ve attached a pic of my score, and if you head over to my Instagram page @rickpipito, you’ll see a little video clip of me being calibrated into the game.  I’ve also embedded a trailer of the game I played (below).  Picture what you see there, but up close and personal, and all around you.  The visuals and audio provided really take you to another place.  Also, head over to http://www.zerolatencyvr.com to learn more about it and all their games/locations.

Have you ever tried Virtual reality like this?  let me know what you think.  Comment with your thoughts on where gaming is going or anything else you want to say.

 

 

 

 


Review: Logan

loganDafne Keen.  Remember that name, because she’s a talented young actress in a movie filled with every aspect of the emotional spectrum.  I’m going to review Logan in my typical breakdown, so if you don’t want spoilers, then skip down to the final paragraph for my rating.  Otherwise, stick around for my character break down and feel free to share your thoughts on the film.

James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman gave us what we wanted.  He may not have always had the best material with which to work, but the man cared about what he did.  His portrayal of the character in this movie is the best out of them all.  The dynamic of his healing factor being practically gone made him very vulnerable.  Combine that with his care free attitude, and you’ve got a grumpy old man who is being poisoned by his own adamantium.  I must say that I’m happy he perished in the end.  I don’t want to see anyone take up the mantle of wolverine for a very long time after this (UNLESS it’s X-23).  We will get to that in a moment.

Professor Charles Xavier – As with Hugh, Patrick Stewart always shined in his role as the psychic mutant, but in this movie we are given another shift in the standard.  He’s got borderline alzheimers, and needs caring for.  I love that they addressed this disease in a mutant.  Imagine if in real life, one had his abilities and had no idea what they were doing with them.  There was a brief mention that he was the one responsible for the X-Men dying.  I’d have loved to have gotten a little more explanation on that, but I think it would have been unnecessary in the long run.  I was surprised he died the way that he did, which is a good thing.  It happened at a moment that was him confessing his own guilt.  What a perfect way to go (not in the manner that he died, but the fact that he’d gotten it all off his chest.

Zander Rice – Although a small role, it suited its purpose.  This was more about the characters, than the actual story, so he didn’t need to be doing more than he was.  We got his back story, and a nice tie in to the original weapon X program that his father ran.  In a way they respected all of the previous movies to an extent, despite the timeline being reset.  It shows that some of those original events may have happened the same or slightly different.

Donald Pierce and the Reavers – I was really hoping for Omega Red, a return of Lady Deathstrike, or Sabertooth as the villain.  When I heard the reavers were the antagonists, I shook my head and thought it was going to be a failure.  I am SO glad I was wrong.  They managed to make decent villains that matched the tone of this film in a way that was akin to Mad Max.  It worked really well.

Caliban – I loved Stephen Merchant in this role.  I don’t know why they recast him since Apocalypse, but he looked very similar, and for anyone not paying attention I’m sure they didn’t notice.  He played the part better than his predecessor, but I wish we’d have gotten a mention of his younger years in that way.  We were also presented with Zander Rice saying to gather the body, when Caliban sacrificed himself.  It set up 2 possible scenarios.  1) Caliban could be cloned and come back as a more deformed version (like in the comics) or 2) in the original Days of Future past storyline (in the comics) they used mutant hound trackers to locate the mutants.  This would make sense, as the anti-mutant sentiment was strong in this film.

Laura/X-23 – Remember that name I mentioned, Dafne Keen?  Well she played this part so well, that I think we can have a very VERY good version of wolverine from here on out.  In the comics, she’s the current Wolverine after the death of her father.  They’ve set it up, so I think she’d be perfect in all future incarnations.  I’d love to see her as part of the X-Force movie.  She did an outstanding job with her rage, caring, and rebellious nature, but when she was crying, “Daddy,” at the end I lost it.  I never cry in movies, and I could feel the tears trickling.  Excellent job, little lady.

Rictor and the New Mutants – Who were the new mutants?  Who knows, but the presence of Rictor could mean an X-Factor reference or set up.  While I’ve no real care for these characters in the comics, it’s nice to have this sort of nod in the movies, and despite James Mangold constantly saying this is a stand alone movie, the references to the greater universe seem to be abundant.  The use of the children here wasn’t overwhelming, but a decent nod to what’s possibly to come.  Could they be X-Factor like I said, or maybe recruits for Cable, or even a set up to what eventually could be an X-Men 2099?  Like I said, these don’t need to be all made into movies, but it’s fun for continuity and discussion sake.

X-24 – Here’s what I feel was a low point at first, but then my mind changed.  Hugh Jackman is basically younger here and more primal.  He’s even got a haircut and style to match what Sabretooth had in the first Wolverine movie.  Why then wasn’t Sabretooth used?  We never got a final showdown between the two.  It would have worked just as well as X-24.  Hell he could even have gotten his wish and become X-24 with Adamantium skeleton.  (Remember that is what he wanted originally).  So I complain about this, but then think to my childhood and how there was once a character named “Albert.”  Albert was a robot created by the Reavers that looked like Wolverine.  His storyline also involved a little girl that Logan had to take care of.  Okay, it got way more complicated than that, but I feel like this is not a coincidence.  I believe they used this angle to replace the elements they couldn’t use from the original Old Man Logan storyline.

Enough rambling from me.  Here are my final thoughts for potential on what this movie COULD mean for the X universe.  Here’s my speculation:  GAMBIT is in the works.  Where he falls into this all remains to be seen, but he could be a good element to X-Force since Archangel was killed off in Apocalypse.  Now that Wolverine is dead, perhaps the film could see this lineup: Cable, Deadpool, Domino, X-23, and Gambit… NEW MUTANTS is in the works as well.  Maybe this will center around the new team of kids, but who would lead them?  Again, there’s no telling, but if James McAvoy’s run ends then we could see Cyclops, Jean, and Storm leading the new team.  I realize there is a time problem here, but when hasn’t there been in these movies, and with Cable involved this is all possible.

In conclusion: Logan was a film made for comic book fans, and movie goers.  It reminded me of an old western with comic elements.  It was a roller coaster of emotion that didn’t disappoint.  There will be bigger nerds than me complaining about certain little things, but who cares?  This was the best interpretation of Wolverine yet.  Stewart and Jackman played the roles better than they ever have, and Keen showed talent rare for even veteran actors.  She’s a natural.  I’ll give the movie 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think?  How would you rate it?  Comment below.


Review: Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

resident-evil-7-biohazard-cpy-cracked-1I won’t go too in depth here because I feel that this game surprised me so much, that I don’t want to spoil it for others.  I’ve been a huge fan of the Resident Evil game series since its beginning.  After 6 I was left satisfied at a storyline that sort of closed out.  7 brings a fresh take on the franchise that is so much better than zombies.

This game scared the hell out of me at times, gave me anxiety, and had me so involved in the mystery of the story that I couldn’t put it down.  If I claim that this is the best of the franchise, I don’t think I’m exaggerating.  It IS the best one.  The switch to a first person perspective, and the tweaking of inventory items is a loveable change.

With barely any ties to the other games at all this really does feel like a new adventure, and I can’t wait to see where they go with it.  There is DLC coming out in the Spring, and I’ll be sure to check that out because I was left with a question or two.

My main question is a big spoiler, so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know…. Maybe someone can give me a theory on it… Was that really Chris at the end?  I don’t think so, because 1) he looked different, 2) he referred to himself as his last name, and 3) He was enemies with Wesker, so why name a gun after him?  (If you missed the name of the weapon he throws you it is called “albert”.)

End spoilers…  Anyway, overall the game gets 5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins in my book.  It is the first game in a while that has really impressed me, and the introduction of all new characters was a relief.


Review: Rogue One A Star Wars Story

star-wars-rogue-one-poster-691x1024There’s been no doubt that this movie would be a success, so in order to avoid seeing spoilers I rushed out with my son this morning and saw Rogue One.  We found this one to be a good stand alone movie that fills in some back story, and introduces new characters that fit in well to the canon.  But does Rogue One live up to the hype?  If you don’t want spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating, otherwise here is the breakdown of what I thought per character:

Jyn Erso: Felicity Jones’ character didn’t need to have more than ten minutes of back story to understand why she is who she is.  They did a great job of explaining a lot in a little bit of time, and it feels as if she’s been key to the main episodes all along.  (In truth she has).  The fact that she dies in the end (along with every other member of this main cast) quells any fan boy theories about her being Rey’s mom.  This was the biggest shocker (the death of everyone), that didn’t really shock me after I thought about it.  It explains why we never see or hear of these characters again.  It also was a great thing, as we know they won’t try to pump out useless sequels to something that’s supposed to be a spinoff one shot.

Cassian Andor: Diego Luna had me thinking he was going to be a real prick from the moment he was on screen, but his rough exterior and approach was a façade.  Jyn and he made the perfect team.  His motives are clear, and despite anything he’d done wrong in the past, he has a reason to back Jyn up on her mission in order to right those wrongs.  I loved this angle.

Krennic: Was a completely unlikeable villain.  This is good for story telling.  He reminded me of a teenager not getting his way and throwing temper tantrums.  Adolescent demeanor aside he provided a big threat to Erso and Andor’s plans, but got his karma paid back in the end.

Chirrut Îmwe: He was perhaps my favorite new character.  A blind monk who lives by the Force, and provided a bit of comic relief.  I like how there was a brief mention that he was a guardian of the Force Temple. (That’s the place we see Luke at at the end of episode 7.)  So we get a bit of what those people were like.

Baze Malbus: was an equally badass partner to Chirrut.  Although he didn’t believe so much in the Force, he stood by his friend’s side til the end.  His heavy weapon pack was one of the coolest Star Wars weapons to date.

Galen Erso: Mads Mikkelsen is one of my favorite actors of today, so you can already see where I’m going with his assessment.  It’s odd to see him in the role of a good guy lately, but he plays the part of father well, and this now makes A New Hope that much better.  One of my all time complaints with episode 4 was that the Death Star was too easily destroyed for such a massive and seemingly impervious machine.  Galen building the exhaust port as a way to access the main core is a genius way of making that which happens next make more sense.

K-2SO: As always with these films, the droids are a highlight, and he’s no exception.  Finally we get to see a droid in action and with no filter on his mouth he seems more relatable than any of the previous droids we’ve met.

Bodhi Rook: seemed unstable to me, even before that creepy squid leech thing latched onto his mind.  Despite that concern, he proved to be a reliable character that fleshed out well.  I only wish we’d have gotten to understand a little more about his motives.  He betrayed the empire.  We get Galen’s reason, but why did Bodhi?

Saw Gerrera: was in the Clone Wars, so this is the first character we actually get to see from that era who was key to the plot.  Unfortunately for us we don’t know (without watching the cartoon) how he got so damaged physically.  He needed oxygen not so differently than Vader does.  He’s a heaping mess of bio and mechanical parts.  His demise so soon was unexpected as I thought Forest Whittaker would have been in it longer, but I think how he was utilized was done so with a smart approach.

Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, C-3PO, and R2-D2 – all had good placement in their cameos/small roles.  It connected this movie to the others in a way to show continuity, without using them as the driving force (pun intended) behind the new characters.  We also get a few other nods and cameos in the background or in quick passing that made me smile.

Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia – And here’s what left a bad taste in my mouth.  The special effects here were off with Tarkin in a way that made him uncomfortable to watch.  I think it’s awesome that they brought back the character, as he is crucial to the next chapter in the main story.  He had to be there, but the digital recreation of the face didn’t work when he was speaking.  It was almost as if his face was moving too much, yet not at all in some spots.  I understand this is nitpicky, but then we get the cameo from Princess Leia at the end, and she looked flawless.  I mean it was like she was pulled right from episode 4.  Aside from the looks the presence of these two was perfect.  This shows how Tarkin gained control of the Death Star, as well as how Leia got the plans.  Even my son’s eyes went wide with Leia’s cameo at the end.

Storm Troopers: My son always loves the storm troopers, as do I.  I found that the addition of the Sand troopers was a bit much.  They didn’t really need them as there were standard troopers everywhere.  It’s not like they were trying to blend in.  This was a pure merchandising move, but one I won’t argue with.  The same can be said for the newly added ships.  Not necessary, but a welcome addition.

Darth Vader:  I have to say that by the end of the movie I was a little upset at his lack of use, but then the second I thought that he came on screen and went on a rampage.  This was the best Vader scene we get to see in full attire.  It shows him at the peak of his rage, and connects him more to his former Annakin self than the other movies do.  I love how we also get to see how he takes a bath.  A Sith Lord must keep clean after all.  My complaint may be picky, but I’ve two here.  1) The lightsaber looked out of proportion.  It looked entirely too short in the final shot of him, and I feel it didn’t match up with what we’ve seen of the weapon in all its other appearances.  It was more a short sword than anything else here.  2) James Earl Jones was a welcome return to the voice, but something about his portrayal didn’t feel energetic or convincing enough.  It could be that he’s quite a bit older now, but I feel he lacked some emotion that could have made Vader much more menacing than he already was.

Time period wise I was a little off in my assumptions of when this took place.  I thought this happened a few years before episode IV, but I was mistaken as it leads directly into A New Hope.  Either way it was a great interpretation with lots of surprises that caught me off guard.  With the exception of some special effects irregularities, this stands well with the franchise, but does not exceed the greatness of a couple of the other entries in the series.  All in all I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.

What do you think?  Did you like Rogue One?  Comment below.


12 Days of Not So Christmas Movies

There are dozens of lists about which movies make the Christmas list and which take place during Christmas.  The problem with these lists is that they are almost all the same.  Sure, there are a few repeats in here, but I wanted to share with you my choices for movies that take place during Christmas time, but are not actually Holiday movies.  Here we go in no particular order:

img_71221: Harry Potter – Why did I not mention which Harry Potter movie?  The answer is that a few of the films take place during the Holiday season, so therefore the whole franchise gets thrown in the lot.  These are perfect for the kids and family.

2: When Harry Met Sally – Who hasn’t seen this movie?  It’s one of the best romantic comedies of all time in my opinion.  Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan deliver a perfect date night movie that will never get “oh, oh oh…..” old.

3: Die Hard 1 & 2 – Okay, so the second installment was basically the same as the first, but with a different location and terrorists, but it still fits in as a kick ass movie.  Any action fan will be saying “Yippie Kayay, Mister Falcon” after watching the TV edited version.

4: Batman Returns – Michael Keaton suits up for the second time as the Dark Knight in this slightly campy, but dark movie.  When better to fight the Penguin and kiss Catwoman under the mistletoe, than during the holidays.

5: Gremlins – For the horror fan.  Okay, it’s not super horror because it’s got that cute little Gizmo, but it falls into the scary category, and will never get old despite the practical effects.  Just don’t eat popcorn after midnight if you’re still up watching it.

6: Rocky 4 – Stallone brings in another emotion grabbing chapter of the Philadelphia boxing franchise.  This time you get to watch as faces off against Dolph Lundgren.  Make sure to have your presents wrapped in time though or Ivan “Must break you.”

img_71237: Trading Places – Ah, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd  at their finest.  Comedy used to be so witty and smart instead of over the top shock humor.  This is no exception to the intelligence behind the writing.  I wish I could switch places with a millionaire for a day (at least my bank account does).

8: Lethal Weapon – What?  You think I’d put Die Hard in here and not Lethal Weapon?  Please.  This may actually be my favorite non-Christmas Christmas movie of all time.  Every time I hear “Jingle Bell Rock” I immediately think of the opening scene to this great action movie.

9: Friday After Next – As a huge fan of the Friday movies (yes I can actually quote most of the first movie), I feel the need to go back and watch this one.  All I remember is that it involved Ice Cube hunting down a thief who was dressed as Santa.  This makes me still hold out hope for a “Final Friday” sequel.

10: Nightmare Before Christmas – I struggled with putting this one in here as it technically can be a Christmas movie, but in reality it revolves mostly around the characters from Halloweentown, so While Jack Skellington may be trying to take Santa’s place, he will always in my mind be someone who belongs in the month of October.

11: Ironman 3 – There are many things wrong with this movie, but the few things it got right make me enjoy rewatching it on occasion.  Plus it takes place during the holidays, so you have to love seeing Tony Stark get the best gift of all… the hole in his chest repaired.

12: Just Friends – This is probably one of the most underrated Ryan Reynolds movies ever, but I don’t get the distaste for it.  It’s a funny movie about a kid who was not everyone’s picture perfect person, who grew up to prove them all wrong.

starwars* (Runner up) – Star Wars Holiday Special – This didn’t make the list of 12 because well, it never came out in the theater, and George Lucas still denies its existence to a certain level.  But what we have here is a classic WTF moment in film making.  Okay it was a TV special, but who cares.  It was the first Star Wars show during Christmas time, and man is it terrible.  If you’re a fan of Star Wars, then you MUST give it a watch, or at least try to.  The original cast reprise their roles in a thin plot with bad everything.  I mean beyond bad.  So bad it’s good?  No!  It’s very very bad.  But you HAVE to watch it at least once to get an idea for how bad it is.  It’s like George Lucas is Santa Clause and he crapped coal into your VCR while you were amped to tape this from TV when it aired.

There you have it!  My list for the 12 days.  What are some of your favorites?  Do you have any non-Christmas holiday movies that you think should be on this list?  Comment below.


Review: DC on TV Fall 2016

I feel like I have to review all of these shows in one article, as they co-exist in the same universe.  Notice I kept Gotham separate, because it’s its own entity.  This will cover the first half of Supergirl Season 2, The Flash Season 3, Arrow Season 5, & Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.  This brings everything up to the winter finales of these shows, so I’ll review the latter halves later. There will be spoilers, so if you’d like my full review without those, then scroll down to the last paragraph of each section to get my ratings.

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First up….

SUPERGIRL SEASON 2 PART 1:

Kara / Supergirl is easily the strong point of this show.  Her and Martian Manhunter are what really makes it fun to watch.

Sadly Cat Grant has left for at least a little while, but she’s been replaced with a decent interpretation of Snapper Carr.  He adds a little more to the dynamic.

Miss Tessmacher and The President (played by Lynda Carter) were fun little throw backs to the Superman and Wonder Woman movies and show.  Plus we got a little Batman reference in there as well.

Superman was a very pleasant addition, and though I didn’t feel the actor quite had the look down, we ended up with arguably the best interpretation of Superman for the fans.  He was a cross between Chris Reeve and Tom Welling’s portrayals in their best moments.  Hopefully he’ll return for more.

Miss Martian and Mon-El are welcome additions though they are likeable to the point of making me wonder who they are going to turn bad or kill first.  Still each scene is done well with these two, and their origin stories are pretty close to the comic versions.

Scorch, Roulette, and Parasite were done very well with the latter two easily being the highlights.  Even though Parasite’s history was altered, I can’t tell you how excited I was to see a good version of him on screen.  Of course then they killed him off, so that’s a bit upsetting.

Jimmy /Guardian & Wynn – having James take on the role of Guardian was initially upsetting to me.  After it played out a bit I realized that he’s better off in this role.  Let’s face it… this isn’t the Jimmy Olsen we know and love.  He fits in the Guardian shoes better.  Wynn works well as a compliment here, so all I’d like to say is I hope they add some color to his outfit to reflect the comic counterpart well.  I am eager to see how Supergirl will take the news of these two working behind her back.

Lena Luthor – Something makes me want to believe her, but the Luthor name just has me skeptical.  Lena’s presence feels a bit off.  I think Lillian plays a better fitted role as the director of Cadmus, and that should be the focus… not redeeming the company’s name by Lena.

Speaking of Cadmus… we were given two great comic book villains that came off quite differently.  Metallo was perfect in every way, but Cyborg Superman was downright stupid.  First off…. it was stupid to call himself that because he isn’t Superman at all, nor does he have any connection to him in this universe.  Secondly he’s more of a Cyborg Martian at this point than anything else.  I know this is me being nitpicky, but the actor playing Superman could have easily done this as the real Cyborg Superman and it’d have been much better.  OR they could have turned Mon-El into him. Instead we were left with a pretty lame take on the character.

And finally we get to the part that makes me cringe.  When Maggie Sawyer stepped onto the scene I was excited.  I love her in the comics.  Her sexual preference doesn’t feel forced in the comic pages, and it really doesn’t here either.  My problem isn’t with Maggie.  It’s with Alex Danvers.  Her coming out wasn’t handled well at all.  Instead we got 5 episodes of her realizing she was gay, having very uncomfortable dialogue (it would have been uncomfortable were she straight too), and a drawn out forced plot line that fell short.  What does this mean?  It means the writers saw an opportunity to introduce a gay character, but didn’t take time to flesh out the scenes.  Instead of a natural flow we get a very forced, and very bad dialogued few scenes that are almost unwatchable.  I’m glad she’s found her true feelings, but the constant focus on this is too much.  It should only be a minor side thing, and not a primary focus.  This is SUPERGIRL after all.

Despite the villains being high points, and the appearance of Superman, this season has so far been bad.  I feel as though they didn’t take time to develop anything, and are just throwing characters and situations in without giving the viewer time to understand or adjust to what’s going on.  So far this season gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Let’s hope when it returns on January 16th they get their heads on straight and deliver some really fun and good writing.

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THE FLASH SEASON 3 PART 1

The Flash (Barry Allen) is struggling this season with his decisions to alter the past.  By creating Flashpoint, he managed to really screw things up for everyone.  What I don’t understand is everyone being pissed at him, but we will get into that down bottom during the crossover event.  Grant Gustin continues to shine in the role.

Iris & Joe – Sometimes feel out of place, but they are necessary over all.  I love their presence here, so while it isn’t always written well, they make up for it in their delivery and support of Barry.

Jay Garrick / Flash, Wally West / Kid Flash, and Jesse Quick in no way feel like they are overshadowing Barry.  They work well as compliments to him.  To me however, I want to constantly see Jay Garrick.  John Wesley Shipp is the flash I grew up with and the cameo of “his” earth’s Trickster (Mark Hamill) was really fun to see.  He’s playing Jay the way he played Barry back in the day, so for fans of the old series this is a very pleasing thing to see.  I can’t get enough Jay Garrick in this show.

The Rival, Magenta, Top, Reverse Flash, and Alchemy were good villains for an episode or two.  Though the Rival’s costume reminded me of Bale’s Batman, I still liked the villain he played.  My favorites so far are Mirror Master and Shade.  The first of those two should really have had some closer costume to his comic book one, but I’m glad to have finally see him debut.  Although Shade was a bit underwhelming, he was always a character I liked, so performance didn’t matter because the threat was there.

Killer Frost and Vibe – are now direct results of Barry’s altering of the timeline.  I love the slow shift of Kaitlyn into her evil half, but am a little upset at how much of a dick Cisco has become.  I understand him being upset at his brother’s death, but he was the comic relief on the show, and now we’ve barely got that.  It leaves us with a very serious season, that is great for story, but brings the tone too close to that of Arrow (which is meant to be that way).

Savitar is finally an interesting villain, but he looks like a Transformer.  I’m not sure why only Barry can see him, but perhaps its the speed his molecules vibrate at that makes this possible.  Will we find out if he really is a god like he says?  Time will tell.

Overall this season has become too dark.  It’s not bad at all and the additions were done well on the hero and villain side.  Flashpoint was touched upon in a way that worked nicely, but I hope we get some more lighthearted moments back for the second half of the season in January.  I give Season 3 part 1 a 4 out of 5 sCrypt rating.

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ARROW SEASON 5 PART 1

Let’s start with Green Arrow, Diggle, Felicity, and Speedy.  These staples in the series remain the way they have been with not much change to them.  From acting to character arcs I find them at times annoying, but overall enjoyable.  It is Quentin Lance that bothers me.  Grow up, man.  I get it.  You’re heart broken and on multiple levels, but the city can use you and that is a way to distract you from it.  The drunk issue is a real issue, but we can move on from that.  Plus how much longer is Oliver going to be able to have dual roles of Mayor and Green Arrow?  When does he sleep?  Oh, and Thea just decides during Invasion that she’s in?  WTF?  You’ll fight aliens, but not save your city?  Seems like they just wanted to throw her in there. (Still it was nice to see her back in action).

The new team is a mess. Wild Dog is nothing but a thug who doesn’t care for the rules.  How many times does this guy have to screw up?  Mr. Terrific needs to be more like his comic counterpart.  Instead, he feels like he’s just shoved in there to be another character.  Don’t get me wrong… I love what they are doing with Curtis, but as Mr. Terrific I don’t buy it.  Artemis?  Well who didn’t see that coming?  I only wish they’d have used Sportsmaster (since he’s her dad) instead of Prometheus for her betrayal twist.  Finally Ragman.  While I love that he’s on the team, I also hate it.  It’s almost like he could do it all himself because of his powers.  Why wouldn’t he have been more of a help during Invasion?  There’s just many plot holes with these characters because we were bombarded with them all at once.

Adrian Chase / Vigilante – is not quite like the comic version, and to be honest, I’m not sure I like him either.  So far he’s just someone who kills anybody in his way.  I mean he tried to murder team Arrow even though he knew they were doing the right thing.  The guy is a nutcase that makes all gun owners look bad.

On another note, Christopher Chance aka Human Target, was awesome!  He was used perfectly, and with no fanfare. I hope we see him again at some point.

Anatoli is the KG Beast in the comics.  He’s less of that and more of a mob boss here.  This is neither a good nor a bad thing, as the actor does well.

If anything, the awesome cameo from Dolph Lundgren should have been in the KG Beast role.  I was waiting for him to whip out some Rocky 4 lines, but for a role on TV, I have to admit, this was some of Dolph’s best acting so far.

Tobias Church was an intimidating villain who seemed to be too easy a pickoff when Prometheus was done with him, but the latter character gives me mixed feelings.  I don’t like the costume or the rehashed feel of this season, but I love that it all ties back to season 1 here.

Black Canary is back!?  Is this a result of Flashpoint somehow or the time travel in the Invasion episode?  Who knows?  But I really don’t care!  I Love that Laurel is back, and she better stay that way.

All in all this season is shaping up to be mediocre.  It’s better than the last season, but feels rushed at points.  I am eager to see where it all leads, and for the first time in the history of the show I want to know how it will affect everything.  I feel like there is way more on the line, other than crazy villain trying to destroy a city.  It’s a breath of fresh air in most places, while still stale in others.  Arrow Season 5 Part 1 gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.

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LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SEASON 2 PART 1

Firestorm finally has an interesting turmoil plot point where Stein is dealing with the existence of a daughter that initially wasn’t there.

Atom is all over the place.  First he’s Iron Man, then he’s a brief Captain Cold replacement, then he’s got a suit again, but there is hope… He mentioned that he needs to update the suit, so maybe we will be getting a more Atom appropriate costume soon.

White Canary must have every STD ever known because she just sleeps with every woman she meets in history, instead of focusing on her being the new leader of the team.

Heatwave is perfect the way he is, and always has been the stronger point of this show.

Both newcomers Vixen and Citizen Steel have been given interesting stories and their substance hashed out well.  If anything I enjoy this show for these two the most.

Rip Hunter just up and left?  WTF?  And to top it off now he seems to be just a movie producer?  It makes little sense at this point, but hopefully we get some resolution as to why he left in the first place, and why he has no recollection as a time master.

The Justice Society of America was placed well with decent representations of Commander Steel, Stargirl, Obsidian, Dr. Midnight, and Hourman.  Likewise was the utilization and return of Jonah Hex done well.

Damien Dahrk and the Reverse Flash are interesting villains in this.  With Dark Archer/Malcom Merlyn coming on board, it’s bound to be not just a legenday hero team up, but also a villain team up.  Throw in Captain Cold, and have Rory betray the team, and we’ll have a Legion of Doom that will be way better than the heroes they are facing.

Captain Nazi Baron Krieger and Quentin Turnbull were nice comic book cameo villains.  The zombies and historical figures were a welcome addition too, but I sometimes feel like this show only has to do with time travel so that they can throw stuff like that in there.  It’s called subpar writing, something DC struggles with recently.

In all I am enjoying Legends much more this season than the previous one.  It’s a little more developed.  While it shines in some areas, it’s still lackluster in others.  I think with the Legion coming on that it will become much more interesting the rest of the season.  I’ll give Season 2 Part 1 of Legends Of Tomorrow 3 out of 5 sCrypt logos.

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The 4 part crossover “Invasion”

I wanted to include this as a separate entity because it really remains a standalone miniseries without affecting much of the main shows’ content.

Invasion was a lot of fun.  Supergirl’s episode was really only a stepping stone.  Arrow’s 100th episode was filled with cameos.  Flash’s episode was filled with everyone hating on Barry.  And Legends’ episode was downright kick ass.

I have to address two major problems with this whole thing.  1) They are not the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, that’s the Avengers, but even if that wasn’t an already taken tagline, they still aren’t.  A true crossover of this scale would have brought Superman & Martian Manhunter to fight against the Dominators.

The Dominator storyline was actually a bit interesting, and the CGI was good in most parts.  My second complaint isn’t with that though.  It’s with time travel.  Everyone is blaming Barry for everything, yet these idiots in Legends are traveling through time every week and killing countless people in history.  How is their tampering not having ramifications?  Even Vibe said he felt guilty realizing he changed the past a little.  But this whole future Barry sending a message back to blame himself is BS.  If anyone’s to blame for screwing up the timeline while trying to protect it, it’s the Legends.  Every. Single. One of Them.

It was a kickass team up though, and I think handled better in the future (pun intended), that they can get rid of the problems I had with it.  On a side note that doesn’t affect my rating.  Don’t they all look like a bunch of cosplayers above?  Just saying.  🙂

Invasion gets 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  So what did you think of the 4 shows and the crossover?  Chime in with your comments below.