Black Panther

Marvel’s Black Panther now has his own movie! First introduced really well in Captain America: Civil War, he is now the star. The Black Panther is T’Challa, king of a fictional African country known a Wakanda. Wakanda is traditionally isolationist and has technology far greater than what the world has.

The movie is fun and really Marvel. I wouldn’t say it’s groundbreaking, but I would say it’s solid and well-made. If you enjoyed the previous Marvel movies, this one is great. If you’re looking for something new, it won’t be here.

What this movie does have is great characters and a cool tour of Wakanda. They enjoyed crafting the country and showing it off to the viewers, and I enjoyed the trip. The country is a mixture of high tech and old traditions, and it combines into a dazzling visual style.

The characters are all great in this film. We get to see a softer side fo T’Challa, but he’s still stern and kingly when he needs to be. And you know from the beginning that T’Challa is ready to be king. This isn’t him learning about that. He does take other lessons from the movie.

The side characters are fun and engaging. T’Challa’s allies are all important. None of them could be removed without drastically changing the film. The villain, Klaue, is fun to watch. He just always seems to be having the best time. The other villain, Killmonger, is really well done. He makes some valid points while going too far to the extreme to achieve them. He’s menacing and out of place in Wakanda, but he knows how to get things done. The ending scenes with him is really fantastic.

But, the one character that stands out the most, M’Baku! Leader of the Jabari tribe! He’s the comical character of the movie, but he’s so much more than that. M’Baku is a leader, and he shows it. At the same time, he’s dismissive of the Black Panther while still being respectful. The man balances things just right to be entertaining all the time he’s on screen.

The movie does get repetitive, though. Like I said earlier, it’s a Marvel movie and follows a lot of the same style and story beats. But it also gets repetitive within itself. Certain events happen multiple times. Each time is important, but it still stands out.

Black Panther is still a great addition and really well done. The villain is engaging. The side characters are fun. Overall, a solid movie in an already-great Marvel Cinematic Universe.


The Librarians Season 3

This is going to be a shorter post. This is the third season of the Librarians, and for those that watched the previous 2, you know what you’re getting. If you’re starting out, the Librarians is a cheesy (in the good way) show about people trying to protect the world from magical artifacts. They use a lot of smarts and a decent amount of brawn.

This season feels a lot more focused compared to the last one. There is an ongoing thread of tethering to the Library and who should do it. If the Library isn’t tethered, it’s going to disappear, so one of the Librarians and a Guardian has to do it. Of course, the first choice is Flynn.

He’s around a lot more this time around. At times, it seems like he takes over as the main Librarian again, and the three that I got to know and enjoy were pushed to the side. But Flynn is still cool to watch.

Also, the others all get a focus episode, so that really helps. The characterization is really good and fun to watch. I enjoyed all of them getting a chance to be the star. Also, Jenkins. He is great this season. He get’s quite a bit of focus and I really liked his episode.

Now, for some super spoilers on the last episode. Don’t read past here if you haven’t seen the season finale.

Whoa. I am kind of upset they did a time reset thing. All the character development, gone! Especially Jenkins! I liked the new him, with actual friends outside of the library. I hope he still somehow still gets friends outside of the Library.

Overall, I liked this season a lot. It brings back a good plot running through the season and mixes in really enjoyable episodes for each character. Hoping for more.

The Great Wall

This movie is a collaborative effort. It stars mostly Asian actors along with Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe. I, unfortunately, have not seen the asian actors in anything before. I don’t watch that many foreign movies.

This film is a fun and wild action ride. It tells a simple story. The Great Wall of China was built to keep out invading hordes, yes, but hordes of monsters that awakes once every so often to consume and feed their queen. The monsters look pretty nice, actually. I do think they look fake-looking at times, but it wasn’t enough to pull me out of what’s happening. And what’s happening is a simple story. There’s not much in the way of suprises, but the actions scenes are done well. It’s a fun watch.

One thing that doesn’t make sense in the movie are the Crane squad. They, apparently, bungee off the wall to stab the monsters down below. Even when we are shown it, they are pretty ineffective, at best getting one strike in to monsters that take multiple hits to kill, at worst just getting pulled down and eaten. It looks cool right up until they get close enough to get bit.

The main characters are Matt Damon, as William, and Jing Tian, as Commander Lin. Their relationship goes through a predictable path of not liking each other in the beginning, getting respect for each other, something happens that makes drives them apart, but they come back together stronger than before to take out the monsters. Both of them are solid if normal.

The movie is decent, with some nice visuals, fancy fighting with slick armor designs. The creatures are shown fully, and while it could look better, they’re alright. That’s about it. It’s a fun watch, but you’ve probably seen everything it has to offer done before, and probably in a more compelling manner. I do like that only certain characters know english. Otherwise, they’ll mainly speak Chinese. I do like the one soldier William befriends despite being unable to communicate with each other.

The Gifted

A take on the mutants and the X-gene. This is based on the X-men comics, but no X-men show up. For some reason or another, they’ve disappeared and designated a group known as the Mutant Underground to help mutants. Of course the Mutant Underground is being hunted by Sentinel Services. And their troubles just got a whole lot more with the arrival of the Struckers.

For those that know the world of Marvel comics, the name Strucker should raise an eyebrow or two. For those that don’t you’ll get some Strucker information through the show. Things kick off when the youngest Strucker child, Andy, develops mutant powers, forcing the entire family to go on the run. As it turned out, his older sister, Lauren, also has powers. Their father is a lawyer that prosecutes mutants, and their mother is a nurse. I like that the father immediately drops everything to help his family. There’s no choice about it at all. He knows what he needs to do, and he just happens to know about the Mutant Underground.

Like most works of the X-men, the show tackles what it’s like to be different and have people hate a person, sometimes justified, sometimes not. Overall, there’s not a clear solution, and the show works to show that. A lot of mutants do have a harsh life, and others are working to create a new world for mutants.

The dynamic between characters is really well done here. There’s drama, but people work things out like adults and move past it. Most of the time, at least. I didn’t find anyone overly annoying, though Andy is the one that complains the most. It’s understandable, though. He has powers that no one wants him to use all while being hunted down by Sentinel Services. The Strucker family is all pretty great, actually. They find ways to make both parents useful despite neither of them having powers. The Struckers never feel like they don’t belong in the show.

The struggle between the Mutant Underground and Sentinel Services gets more complicated as other players are brought into the mix. I’ll not spoil things too much, but the show isn’t afraid to dive deeper into the X-men world. And they do their best to show off powers, too.

While most of the time the mutants are trying to keep a low profile, they’ll start with the abilities if they have to, and it looks pretty good. I’m hoping for more powers next season, and better uses of them. I especially want Blink to use her powers more. Sure, in season 1, she’s still new at it and practicing, but I want to see her go to, like, Days of Future Past levels of skilled at some point in the series. I think the show chooses their mutants well that showcases both powers and physical mutations.

I am liking what’s being put out by the Gifted and am looking forward to more.25

Star Wars, The Last Jedi

Hmm, I have a lot of say about this movie, but most of that is going to be spoilery. I’ll start off with the non-spoiler thoughts, of course.

This movie does differentiate itself from the previous films. It’s more low-key, I think. Yes, there’s still giant space battles and light saber action, of course. Plus, there’s a planet that fits really well into the prequel trilogy, and I say that as a good thing since the prequel trilogy has some great locations. But overall, things feel more small scale and close.

The characters are all split up, which I didn’t like. They work well together, so it was a bit sad not to get much of that for most of the movie. Even in The Empire Strikes Back, only Luke was split up. Here, Rey, Finn and Poe are all doing separate things. But I like them fine. They do a decent job.

Kylo Ren, though. He drives this film. He feels like the most changed over the course of the film, or the most developed. I’m uncertain of which. He has some great scenes in TLJ.

Luke is interesting here. You know, for him, I’ll not say much. Find out for yourself.

The other characters are mostly there. Admiral Holdo is a new character. I sort of liked her and was sort of annoyed by her at the same time. I’ll get into it in the spoiler section. Rose is a character that gets paired with Finn for his mission. I liked her a lot, actually. She seems a good contrast with Finn, and they work together well.

For casual fans, this movie has the space battles, the light saber action, the romp through the new and fun planet. It’s entertaining all around. There is more humor and quips in this movie, some of which doesn’t work. But I don’t think it got distraction. And the new animals are cute and will sell lots of toys.

Alright, onto the spoiler section.

There are so many stupid decisions in this film! Okay, so here’s what’s happening. The last few rebellion ships are running away from the First Order. They are running out of fuel, can’t escape because they are being tracked, so they’re just heading along in a straight line while the First Order chases them. Alright, that’s fine. General Leia gets put out of commission for a while, meaning Admiral Holdo needs to take over.

She is presented as Shady and comes into conflict with Poe. For some reason, maybe her being the boss and Poe being recently demoted, she doesn’t tell him the plan. That leads to Poe making a new plan with Finn and Rose to try and disable the tracking. The result is a plot, that, while I enjoyed, turned out to be less than useful to the overall story. Just a bit of communication would have solved a lot of problems!

The First Order decides to follow along waiting for the rebellion to run out of fuel. Not how space works, but I’ll go with it. Sure, they were pretty confident that it would work. But they could have easily called in some other ships to block the front of the rebellion and ended it. That part didn’t bug my as much since I didn’t have that thought while watching the film. It would be tactical to do, but didn’t seem necessary.

There’s a whole bunch of stuff that goes on with Luke and Rey that I won’t talk much about. Lots of force lessons and Luke being curmudgeonly.

Then there’s Snoke. He feels so wasted in this film. We learn nothing about him at all or about how the First Order has any of the things they have. Sure, that wasn’t important in the original trilogy where the Emperor was just the Emperor and the Empire had a lot of cool stuff. But Luke, Leia and Han fixed that! So I want explanations of where these new guys came from! But we don’t get any. They are just frustratingly there. It seems they have no interest in providing answers, either.

So, that’s The Last Jedi. A fun film that logically doesn’t hold up well and leaves things unexplained that should be. I had fun watching it. The scenes and locations were cool, but it could have a much stronger plot.

Second thoughts. After thinking about it some more, I have come to the conclusion that the movie is fine if episodes 4, 5 and 6 didn’t exist. But since they do, this movie practically invalidates any actions that have happened there. That’s my largest problem with it.

The Orville

This show, this is my favorite new show of the season. Almost everything about this makes me happy. The marketing for this show misrepresented it as a comedy. It is not. This is a serious show about a union that explores the galaxy and tries for diplomacy first. The show is serious, the characters are more laid back, despite being military. It’s a lot like scrubs. The situatiions that characters are put into are dangerous and potentially dire, but the characters themselves are jokey and more like regular people.

Alright, I admitted this in my Star Trek movie reviews (I think) but I only saw a few episodes of Star Trek. From what I hear, this show really captures the tone of the show, including some of the cheesiness. It’s also hopeful and optimistic about what we can achieve in the future along with our alien allies. There are a lot of world, or rather, galaxy-building hints dropped in this first season that I really want followed up on, but they have built an interesting place that I want to explore and know more about.

The crew are all great. Each episode focuses on one or two of them while the other’s act as backup. And I like everyone. While the show is written by Seth MacFarlane, and he also plays the captain, the show doesn’t focus on him more than anyone else. He plays Captain Ed Mercer, a likeable guy that is sometimes awkward, but he shows off multiple times why he’s the captain. He is does his job well and tries to treat everyone fairly.

His first officer is Kelly Grayson, who is perhaps the most serious member of the crew. She mostly has great scenes with other crew members, but she’s also really good at her job, and we get to see that a few times over the season.

Next up is Bortus, the second officer. I think he has the least amount of focus, but his mannerisms are great. And he pretty much steals the scene whenever he’s the focus. Sometimes even when he’s not. Alara is the security officer, and I think she has the second-most development out of all the cast. She’s a great character, too. Great at what she does, but insecure about other things.

The pilot is Malloy, who perhaps has the second-least amount of focus. But he is great friends with everyone, and that plays well across the show. There’s Lamarr, the navigator, who initially starts out pretty normal, like anyone else. He gets a bit of focus later on that could build into something cool. We’ll have to see next season.

Doctor Finn is the ships medical officer. I think she has some great moments now and again, and I actually enjoy the scenes with her kids. They start off annoying, but they quickly become endearing. I think some more scene of her and them together will be great. The last crew officer is Isaac, the science officer. He’s perhaps my second-favorite of the crew. He’s a robot trying to study human life and interactions. Much like Bortus, he’s a scene-stealer, but he also has his science knowledge that I like.

The show goes to a lot of interesting scenarios. I say scenarios because most of the places they visit still look vaguely earth-like. Probably budget and stuff. But the crew has to deal with something interesting each time, and there’s not always a good solution to the problem. They just have to do their best.

This season was far too short. I really like The Orville and want more of it! It is not a parody, it is an homage and a serious show about a group of explorers and the situations they need to handle.

Psych, The Movie

This is going to be a shorter review, but it’s back! Come on, son! You have not heard it both ways!

Psych has not missed a beat since it’s return. This movie is full of callbacks and jokes from the original series. The characters are back in full force, and the catchphrases are back, too. Shawn and Gus are the heart of the show, and their interactions are as great as ever. Shawn and Juliet are still great, and they have fun scenes, but it’s always going to be Shawn and Gus in the end. Not since Cory and Shawn has there been a friendship like Shawn and Gus. And of course Turkanjayde.

Everyone is back, too! Some only for a few moments. It’s unfortunate that one of those characters is Lasseter. I heard he was not well during filming, so that’s why, but I hope they make another one of these and he’s back full time.

This movie hits all the right notes of the series. It is funny in the best Shawn and Gus way. Perhaps I would have liked the antagonists to be more serious and threatening, but the other parts were all great. If you are a fan of the show, this movie is great. If you haven’t seen the show before, watch the movie, decide you want much more of the craziness, and go check out the show.