Gravity Falls

A cartoon meant for kids but carries so many layers for that everyone can appreciate. This show is about twins that are sent to their great uncle Stan, or in their words, Grunkle Stan. Grunkle Stan lives in the small town of Gravity Falls somewhere in Oregon. There, in one summer, the twins go on adventures, solve mysteries and battle both the supernatural and the alien.

Twins, Dipper and Mabel are both fun and awesome apart and so much better together. Dipper is the inquisitive one that wants to find out whats going on in Gravity Falls. Mabel is the fun-loving one that wants everyone to be happy. She goes along with the adventures because it makes her brother happy. And their Grunkle Stan is a crochety old man with a secret.

The show only has two sesons, but they are two fantastic seasons. The first season mostly has standalone episodes while the second season really brings out the continuity and a plot arc. Each episode still sees the twins interact all manner of creatures from zombies to clones. The humor and style of the show pervades throughout, but for those looking deeper, there are some disturbing things going on.

This is a show with layers. Not trying to quote Shrek, but it is. They draw you in with the comedy and cuteness, then they get you with feelings and deep characterizations. And that’s not only the characters of the twins and grunkle Stan but also all of the side characters. Soos (more of a main character) is great. Wendy has a lot of moments. If you pay attention to the random townspeople, you can see what’s going on with them.

Each episode is packed full of action, fun times and strange new things. The show really wants you to get involved by hiding little things in the episodes for people to catch. And at the end of each episode they give you a code to figure out. The message isn’t usually too important, but some of them are. The show also gets quite dark at times, more so than I would have expected a kids show to get. They still never lose the exuberance of it all.

The finale was great. Over the top and full of a crazy scary villain, I am sad to see the show end. I actually only discovered it around the time when the first part of the finale was coming out. That meant I got to watch almost all of the show with no hiatus in between. It was great.

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Deadpool

Not the first R-rated superhero movie, but the funnest and most awesome. I know Deadpool from the recent game but not from the comics, and I am sold on his crazy, fourth-wall breaking style. This movie has all Deadpools personality and quirks that the version in X-men Origins: Wolverine had. I heard Ryan Reynolds pushed for this movie and I am glad he did. This movie is the one that does the character right.

I don’t think this movie could have worked without all of the dirty jokes, cursing and over the top violence, so I am glad they decided to go with all of it. Embrace it, enjoy it. There are a lot of references to older X-men movies, Ryan Reynolds, a lot of things really.

The action scenes as Deadpool are great. And one great thing about a character that regenerates is that you can have your enemy minions be kind of competent and hit the hero from time to time. Deadpools costume looks spot on here.

The side characters are all fun and light-hearted. The dynamic between Deadpool and Colossus, and Deadpool and Negasonic Teenage Warhead is great. And I’d like to think the writers picked a mutant with the most ridiculous name and then wrote the scenes around that for Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

The plot of the movie, while simple and straightforward, is still really good. The movie knows when to be silly and when to be serious, and it does both parts really well. And not every movie needs to be overly complex. Just Deadpool it up to the full Deadpoolingest potential is more than enough.

 

Plot spoilers follow. But to summarise, Deadpool is a great action film, and it makes me really happy that it’s doing well, especially for Ryan Reynolds who had failed at the superhero stuff before. The film has action, comedy, drama, all done well and properly. Now on to some spoilery thoughts.

This movie is more along the lines of John Wick. You know the goal, and you know the hero is going to kill everything that stands in the way of him getting to that goal. There’s no real twists or turns, but there’s no need for any. Simplicity can be good. And that also means its a superhero movie without any world-ending stakes.

It’s hilarious that while the bad guy is undeniably so, you never see any results of what he’s been doing. This is Deadpool’s story, not his evil plot story. And his evil plot is really just making money. And I really like how much Ajax doesn’t seem to mind anything that’s going on, even when he’s stabbed into a wall. I know he doesn’t feel anything, but it’s still amusing to watch.

Deadpool and Colossus is a real highlight just because of how wholesome Colossus wants to be. It’s like he doesn’t realize what kind of movie he’s in. I like the scene where Negasonic Teenage Warhead attacks Angel because at that time, it feels like Deadpool ha no idea what her actaul mutant powers are. He’s just hoping she does something great. Deadpool’s relationship with Vanessa is also done really well, with a few lampshade hangings on female characters thrown in.

Just one thing, Deadpool. Stop forgetting your heavy firearms! Man! Geeze!

The Expanse, Season Finale

Syfy has been doing really great with their shows recently. I didn’t watch them until this past year, and they put out a lot of fun and great stuff. I would consider the Expanse a mangum opus of the new show launches. It is sci fi to the max, a space story that is yet grounded in trouble and characters just trying to make it.

First, though, and I will admit to it that The Expanse is too serious of a show for me to fully get into. It’s usually a lower priority on my watching list even though I still think it is absolutely fantastic. The show is grim and characters hardly crack a genuine smile. No one is really friends, just forced to stay together due to circumstances.

However, the visuals of the show are fantastic. The space ships, the space colonies, all a sort of grungy, slummy look. Of course there are nice areas, too, though I question the apartments with apparent glass walls, unless their some sort of reflective glass on the outside. There are a few Earth scenes, though you don’t really get a feel for how its different from currently. The only places you see are fancy meeting places, really.

The opening to the Expanse is gorgeous. One of the best I’ve seen on recent television.

Anyway, while the tone of the show isn’t what I usually go for, everything the Expanse sets out to do, it does it wonderfully. This really is a show you should binge watch. Single episodes advance the plot slowly. You get a real feel for how each character thinks and feels. The plot is split between three lines that all intersect around a mysterious science experiment.

The characters of the Canterbury really shine. Amos, especially, can be really chilling with his general calmness all throughout, and it’s not like he’s in control. He has a sort of he’ll be fine because he’s going to kill everyone that gets in his way, calmness. The Canterbury crew mostly deals with the struggle of surviving in space, being small fish with tons of sharks around. I was most invested in their plotline because it felt like they had a tangible goal of not getting screwed over at every turn.

Miller, from the investigation plotline, shows a lot of space station life. I like the small details of how people look different from growing up on low or no gravity places. The third plotline is on Earth, dealing with how Earth is reacting to all that’s going on in space. Both of these deal with relationships between people on Earth, people on Mars and people living in space.

The season finale for the show is fantastic. I definitely enjoyed it the most out of any episode. It probably helps that the action is turned up considerably and the different plot lines really start to collide.

If you want an excellent science fiction show, The Expanse is the one to watch.

Cinderella (2015)

The new live action remake of Cinderella from Disney. I didn’t see it in theaters. I caught Frozen Fever on TV. And I also caught this on TV. If you enjoyed the original Disney Version, I think this is pretty much an updated and better version. This does not follow the Brother’s Grimm version or whatever other original versions. I would find a thesaurus to use for versions, but versions.

This movie keeps the fairy godmother, the animals and pumpkins turning into carriages and all that. I will have plot spoilers here, but come on, ths story is hundreds of years old and the original Disney animated film is 65 years old. I may or may not have plot in the review depending on if I think it’s important to the point I’m trying to make.

The movie actually digs deeper into Cinderella’s life, which I really like. It shows what it was like before the stepmother and sisters moved in, how her previous experiences shaped her person. The movie also gives the prince much more characterization. Both of them are now much fuller people, and I’m glad we got to see them interact more outside of the ball. The prince also gets a pretty awesome scene at the end. It’s small, but shows a huge amount of what he’s about. Even the stepmother gets some more character.

I’m alright with the mice and cat being part of the story. The cat, while not important, looks really good. And the mice are integral to what’s going on. It’s toned down enough that the more fantastic elements don’t feel out of place. The whole preparing for the ball scene was really fun.

I did feel that the ending lines about what happened to the stepmother were unnecessary. It seem just thrown in there when it could be left out. I heard there was a scene that was cut that would have done the job much better than the line.

This is a modern remake of a classic Disney film, not the classic story. I was pretty young when I saw the animated version, but I think this one is better just due to better characters. The mice were anthropormorphic just enough without going full clothes and hat. And I totally did not recognize one of the stepsisters as Gwynne from Galavant or Hayley Atwell as Cinderella’s birth mother. The hair really threw me off.

I am quite looking forward to the Jungle Book after this.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Kung Fu Panda is back, and it is still awesome. This time, Po journeys to the secret panda village and tries to teach them so they can defeat the evil Kai. Not at all spoilers. This was all in the trailers.

Speaking of trailers, though, they sometimes do shift what I think about certain scenes in the film. I try not  to consider the trailers, but sometimes it still creeps in. This movie has a prime example of the trailer making a scene worse in the actual film. And that scene was the justice is served one. Since we all know the punchline from the trailers, the entire four minute sequence in the film just feels too long. If we didn’t know the punchline, then that part might have been enjoyable to go through.

Four out of the Furious Five continue to be mostly there to say a line every once and again. (The ones not Tigress if you didn’t know). I’m glad they at least got a few of their scenes not related to Po. I know it’s tough getting them all in there since this is Po’s movie, needs to be under 90 minutes or so, and they need to set up the villain. Still, I think they’re all really interesting characters that are worth more than just being in the background.

The plot of this movie is overall more goofy. I mean, most of the panda’s are just goofy in their own way. Only Po’s father was really played seriously and given and serious scenes. While the film is more light-hearted, they still throw in several solemn scenes, mostly relating to Po’s real dad and his adoptive dad. I’m really glad that Po’s adoptive father has a bigger role. He’s a pretty good character and you can feel his worries greatly.

The villain, while not as dark as Shen, is alright. I’ll mostly remember him for those cool chain blades, but he shows that while he’s horrible at getting people to take him seriously, he is a real force to be reckoned with.

This movie is still great and awesome, and it makes the Dragon Warrior thing make a lot more sense compared to the first movie, where the Dragon Warrior is just a guardian of that one valley.

And I’ll say this spoiler now, but perhaps people really want to know. The female panda introduced in the trailers does not appear to be Po’s love interest. Tigress/Po is not yet over!

Galavant, Season 2 Finale

Galavant is such an awesome show. It needs more love and views. This season is better than the first in terms of characters and story. The musical numbers are the same great and awesome as always. This season is much more self-aware, too, constantly breaking the 4th wall.

Galavant is a musical comedy extravaganza about the hero known as Galavant. In season one, we left with the group all split up with Galavant paired with Richard, Sid with Madalena and Gareth, Isabella trapped in a marriage with her cousin. Chef, Gwynne, the jester and the old King and Queen are also there.

The plot then picks up with a bit of each of their stories with the frequent great musical number. New additions include a childhood friends of Richard’s and the wedding planner for Isabella. (To be clear, they are different people). Both of them are fine additions to the cast. Roberta (Richard’s childhood friend) feels like the most serious character on the show, but she doesn’t clash with the style at all and adds greatly to Richard while being interesting to watch herself.

The new season brings about new character dynamics, which I think is a real strong point of the show. You really want to see how each character interacts with each other character. And even though the groups you love from the first season have all been split up, the new groups are just as fun to watch.

Somehow, they made Richard, an incompetent tyrant king, into one of the best characters of the show. Aside from the first season villain, Kingsley, the other villains of the show are all fun and quirky. You don’t really want them to lose.

The second season also does not just shift everything with the sudden introduction of a menacing bad guy, though I suppose without Kingsley, the great setup to the second season would never have happened. But the progression of what happens is great.

This show is funny, musical and when the main theme of Galavant came back, you can just feel the awesome. Galavant needs a third season, please. You’re not going to show anything else during the winter break, so Galavant.

Legends of Tomorrow

This will cover the first two episodes even though this will be up after the third episode airs. And this won’t be a full review, just a few of my targeted thoughts on certain parts of the show.

From the first episode, is the villain just super powerful compared to 9(!) guys with both super technology and mystical powers? And I’m not just talking Vandal Savage but the bounty hunter guy, too. All 9 of them could do is just barely escape against one guy. I mean, Firestorm seems super powerful. The ice and fire guns should be decently effective. An power suit that shoots lasers and shrinks can do more. I didn’t see Arrow or Flash, but were those people that ineffective there, too?

I know they are not used to working together, but at their level, pure dakka should be enough to push back a single guy.

Second episode where we get the entire team fighting. That was a huge mess. I felt that each shot lacked continuity. There were no bodies on the floor, no chaos from everywhere else. The fighting should not be so random and chaotic. It should be organized but disguised to be wild. And also, the fire and ice guns seem barely effective. I did not see one ice cube after the entire thing.

There should be a progression. We should get an idea of how many enemies there are and see them get whittled down.  It just seems like there is exactly enough enemies for everyone to keep busy and be unable to be useful somewhere else.

Cool show with fun concepts and characters, but the fighting really needs to be stepped up. Just because you have 8 to 9 of them doesn’t mean you get the chance to be sloppy. The fights should be flowing. I not be able to splice them in any order and still have it make just as much sense as when they showed it.

Mild spoilers. That twist in the first episode was fantastic.

And those were my thoughts specifically about the fighting of the show.