God of War Review

After being reintroduced to gaming with the Spider-Man games, my fiance wanted to show me one of his favorite games, God of War. Not the original 3 or the other spin-offs, but the 2018 game where Kratos (voiced by Christopher Judge) moved to the universe of the Nordic gods. I did watch a video that explained the other games though, so I had some background and understanding of who Kratos was and how he ended up there. In this post I will be reviewing both games individually from the perspective of a non-gamer. There will be spoilers in this post so if you haven’t finished Ragnarok don’t read that section! 

God of War (2018)

God of War is a game based on Norse Mythology set in the nine realms following the story of Kratos, a Spartan and God of War from the now-destroyed land of the Greeks. He is known as the Ghost of Sparta or the God Killer to many. Since arriving in Midgard, he has tried to live a peaceful life as a regular person. He married a woman named Faye (Deborah Ann Woll), who later is revealed to be a giant, and has a son named Atreus (Sunny Suljic). However, after her death he is discovered by Baldur (Jeremy Davies) and faces many enemies along his journey to spread his wife’s ashes atop the tallest mountain in all the nine realms. He wields an axe gifted to him from Faye that returns when recalled and has ice-based abilities. His son wields the magic he is taught and a bow.  It is during this journey that he learns to be a good father, learns more of their fate, makes friends and foes, and comes to peace with his past (specifically the Blades of Chaos). 

The Characters: Within the game, several Aesir and Vanir gods and goddesses are introduced, as well as some other characters from different species. Given the games focus on the journey of Kratos and Atreus to the tallest mountain, the other characters only appeared for plot-points or check-points. Freya (Danielle Bisutti) was introduced as the Witch of the Woods and quickly played an important and helpful part in the story as a plot-point character. In the end though, she is indicated to be the enemy as we killed her son, Baldur, in order to save her life after battling him and accidentally removing the spells of immortality that protected him. Magni (Troy Baker) and Modi (Nolan North), Thor’s sons, are also plot-point enemies that are fought and killed throughout the game, one by Kratos’s hand and the other by a cocky-ass Atreus. Two main check-point characters, and actual check-points for the game, are Dwarf brothers Brok (Robert Craighead) and Sindri (Adam Harrington) who provide important information, friendship, humor, and weapon/gear upgrades. They were a rather pleasant and helpful part of the game, and the more you chat with them the more you can unlock! One interesting character served as a check-point character at first, then became a plot-point character. Mimir (Alastair Duncan) was introduced as a helpful companion along their journey to spread Faye’s ashes. He knows most everything, so he is able to answer questions, help the story along, and tell some tales for players to learn more about the nine realms they’re exploring. Overall, every character had a distinct personality, changed in some sense, had something to offer to the story, and were designed with attention to detail in mind. 

The Mythology: I am a huge fan of Norse Mythology, though I would by no means call myself an expert. I am versed enough to know some tales and most people, but not all the details. The writers of these games did loads of research to have as much accuracy in the game as possible. Of course, there must be exceptions for the sake of the story and the characters, so it is technically only “inspired by” Norse Mythology, but I would argue that it is extremely accurate and a good representation of all those tales. The designs of the creatures and monsters fit within the worlds, and explanations were given that made sense to explain their existence within a place. It was exciting to see these stories come to life in a fairly accurate way. Though some characters were unclear who they were when they were first introduced, once their names were given they fit well within what is known about them. The nine realms we were able to visit were stunning in their own ways and matched what they were described to be in the mythology. I was, however, somewhat disappointed in Helheim as it felt fairly limited and did not have anything exciting to it. The giant bird who watched over the realm was interesting though, as I was unaware who ruled before Hela came into the picture. Overall, I felt that the mythology was represented accurately and Kratos was incorporated well into the world/story. It makes sense that his presence would change things, so to be upset that some things are not 100% accurate is naive. 

The Story: As mentioned before, the simplified version of the plot is simply Kratos and Atreus seeking to spread Faye’s ashes from the tallest peak in all the realms. Of course it is not that simple, as they face many foes, struggles, and trials along the way. But the way that it was told and how everything connected, in small and big ways, was done beautifully. Everything that I had a question for during the game was answered, and as a writer it is comforting to know there’s nothing left behind. Everything was explained clearly in ways that fit into the story, instead of having long cut-scenes to explain small details. One thing in particular I enjoyed was all the lore incorporated into the game. It does require some reading, but it’s worth the read if you enjoy world building. I’ve never seen a game with such flawless story telling, and the reminders of Kratos’s past within the story (both from music and discussions between characters) was great for people who’ve played the older games and for those who haven’t. If you’re looking for a story-driven game, this is it.

The Gameplay: The gameplay itself seemed fairly straight-forward. Everything had a tutorial, including weapon upgrades and skills, and the controls can be adjusted in the settings. Because of all the details in the realms and the intensity of some battles, having motion blur ON is helpful to avoid any nausea. You can also utilize Atreus’s skills, weapons, and magic but they’re only helpful if he’s leveled up as Kratos is the main force in the game. The menu with everything in it (weapons, collectables, armor, etc.) is a bit confusing at first since there are so many options but it’s manageable. The gameplay, especially during fights, is fast-paced though, so it may not be for beginner gamers.

My favorite part of the game was the introduction of Jormungandr, the World Serpent or the Midgard Serpent. The first three of Loki’s children (Jormungandr, Fenrir, and Hela) have always been favorites of mine so seeing him in action was exciting for me. The design on him is amazing, his name was said correctly, and they explained his current existence fairly well despite Loki not having any of his children yet. My least favorite part of the game were the Valkyrie fights. While I was not the one actually playing the game, just as a viewer they caused me an immense amount of stress and were insanely difficult. The creator is a huge fan of Dark Souls (an extremely difficult game if you’re unfamiliar with it) and wanted to include some extremely difficult fights inspired by said game. That was definitely achieved. 

Overall, in every aspect, this is an incredible game. I would happily rewatch the game or even give it a shot just to experience everything again. However, even on easy mode it is a somewhat difficult game that requires time and dedication to complete. If you’re a gamer who hasn’t played it before, go watch explanations of the other games and play it!!! If you’re not a gamer, I would recommend watching a playthrough before giving it a go. But regardless of how you consume the game, it’s incredible and I highly recommend it.  

God of War Ragnarok (2022)

After finishing the first game I was fairly excited for this one because the trailers showed a lot more Norse gods and individuals I’m familiar with. Several years have passed since the first game and Fimbulwinter has been raging within the realms, having different effects in each. Atreus has raised and trained some wolves, Freya is out for revenge, and Kratos is simply trying to survive and avoid their participation in Ragnarok. There is much more to the story in this game and the ability to explore all the nine realms! It’s a great game to play and has an emotional ending that really brings everything that’s happened into perspective, closure, and new opportunities. Also, some of the newer characters had similar faces to their voice actors which is a cool detail they included. 

The Characters: Both familiar and new characters can be found in the game. Everyone from the previous game has a crucial role to play in the plot, especially Freya as she becomes a companion to the journey. All the new characters are either associated with Asgard as the royal family, or associated with the Vanir gods. The main characters of the game, Kratos, Mimir, Atreus, and Freya, have strong individual development as the game goes on. I was extremely impressed with the thought and detail that went into their emotional changes and how they dealt with situations. My favorite development was Freya as she bonded with Kratos and came to terms with her son’s death, becoming a strong ally during the battles and at the end. Kratos developed well as he learned from Atreus to become a better father and a general once again. The end of the game showed him finding peace with his decisions finally, and going on to clean up the mess Asgard left. Mimir remains a humorous head and provides crucial information for players to better understand the story. As for Atreus, he develops a lot, mainly in the end, as he finishes his story as Atreus and begins a new journey as Loki to save the remaining Giants souls. Overall, the character writing staff for this game did an incredible job. 

The Mythology: As mentioned before, I am not a Norse Mythology expert but I do have a solid understanding of the tales and gods. Many stories told in this game were new to me, but I trust them to be based on the tales told over time from the Vikings. Of course, there has to be an understanding that the game will take liberties with the characters because of Kratos’s existence within the world. My only issue with the game is the representation of Asgard. It is shown as a regular village, with no golden kingdom or rainbow bridge. While not every tale of Asgard describes it this way, it was difficult to believe that small village was Asgard, especially with the build-up of it. They did acknowledge it slightly through a comment from Odin, but I strongly believed it was an illusion until it was destroyed in the end.

The Story: The game begins a few years after the ending of the previous game. Atreus has grown a lot as an individual, learning to survive and raising wolves saved from a harsh death. He is going through some rebellion throughout the game as he searches for the meaning of his other name, Loki. Kratos is doing his best to keep them alive and out of war, but situations force their hands into it as Freya is attempting to get revenge, Odin wants Atreus to stop his hunt for Tyr, and other situations arise. Kratos is simply attempting to survive the harsh winter brought upon the lands, but Freya is out for blood and magic/spells are weakening. As the game is long, there is plenty of time for the characters and story to develop. While everything is building up to the war with Asgard, this does not take away from the characters journeying through the story. Kratos and Atreus are forced to disappear to survive, but must go out into the world for information and resources. Freya, in an attempt to get revenge, ends up taking Kratos to Vanahiem to free herself from Odin’s spell. There, they come across her brother and she is freed, shifting her rage to Odin and off of Kratos. Their friendship develops throughout and after Atreus learns from his mistakes, all the storylines come together in the battle against Asgard. One thing I liked about the story is how they clean up subplots and stories in the end with cut-scenes and a few more tasks to achieve to get 100% in the game. Overall, great story writing and no questions were left unanswered! 

The Gameplay: The gameplay is similar to the first game, but there are more weapons and playable characters. Atreus is stronger and has more magic to play, but compared to Kratos and the others his abilities still seem fairly limited. During the times where you play as him alone, fights are far more difficult because he is not as skilled in hand-to-hand combat or as strong as Kratos. It is important to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with his abilities and controls before beginning any of his exploration. At some point in the game you stop fighting Freya and start fighting with her, as she joins the journey as your partner. She is far more skilled and useful than Atreus AND has better upgradable skills. I would highly recommend focusing on her Valkyrie upgrades first as they’re the most useful. Kratos has many of the skills from the first game and has both the axe and the Blades of Chaos, but later in the game he gets a new weapon that is fairly useful once it’s fully upgraded. It is confusing to switch between all three weapons or remember which are best against different enemies, but for collectable tasks they’re all needed. One thing I would recommend is doing everything you can BEFORE reaching the end of the game: the side-quests, the favors, and the exploration. Having Kratos up to level nine (the highest level) before reaching Asgard is a huge help for that entire battle. 

The Ending: The ending to the game was large enough that it needed its own paragraph. From the moment you blow Gjallarhorn to the moment you part ways with Atreus everything that happens is incredible, both to watch and to play.  Once you blow Gjallarhorn, you’re dedicated to finishing the game. Everyone is transported to Asgard in a huge fight and there are no slow moments. You have to make your way to the wall and break it down to find Odin and defeat him, which is easier if you’re leveled up already. You battle various enemies, Thor, and finally Odin who kills Thor and is a strong foe. Freya, Atreus, and Kratos destroy the village in the process and once Odin is defeated, his soul is placed into a marble. However, Sindri appears and smashes the marble, destroying Odin permanently as vengeance for the death of Brok. Asgard begins to fall apart and everyone is sent off, Kratos going unconscious. He wakes up on Vanaheim where they’ve taken refuge, and all the characters speak with him about what happened as he walks to find Atreus. They go to find a final mural which shows that Faye really betrayed her people for Kratos and Atreus to live their own lives, not follow the path set out for them. Kratos and Atreus part ways, in an extremely emotional moment, and he finds a hidden mural in the back depicting him as a good God of War who people pray to. This is when he finds peace finally. The game credits then roll, and after you have the chance to finish up discoveries and things you’ve not completed, including fighting the Berserker King, finding the real Tyr, and fighting Gna. 

For this game I had several favorite moments. The first of which was the creation of Fenrir in his giant wolf form with his soul. He was utterly adorable and I loved how they were able to incorporate him still as Loki’s “son.” The second moment was the battle between Thor and Jormungandr during Ragnarok. It was the battle they referred to in the first game when Jormungandr gets sent back in time, and everyone notices how much younger he looks. We see him get sent back in time at the end of it before facing off with Thor. The third and final favorite moment of mine were the final moments of the battle with Odin where Kratos, Freya, and Atreus kick his ass in a beautiful moment. I can’t describe it, so I hope you get to see it in a playthrough! Or look it up if you don’t mind spoilers. 

Overall, this is one of the best games I’ve ever had the chance to watch/enjoy. It quickly became my favorite game and I was extremely sad when it ended. The writing for these games are incredible and the gameplay is a good balance of difficult but not impossible. If you’re a regular gamer I would highly recommend these games! If you’re not a regular gamer, either easy mode or just watching a play-through would be best as certain fights require several attempts and memorizing attack patterns. Either way, go check this game out!

Thank you for reading today! If you enjoyed this post please like and share it, and give me a follow for more game reviews!

Is “New Year New Me” Negative?

Happy New Year! As we head into the new year “New Year New Me” will be plastered everywhere. People will share their goals and ambitions both in person and online, targeted ads will try and get you to start anew, and various memberships will drop in price to hook you. And while all of that may be exciting, going into the new year with the mindset that you have to be a completely new person may be doing more harm than good. 

The idea of the “new me” was originally because most people set unachievable goals to become their ideal self and put their past self behind them. However, it slowly twisted itself into something negative as the idea of the past self is the “bad” version and you have to now spend the new year “fixing” yourself. Instead of doing that, we should be focusing on who we are now. It is great to have an idea of who you want to strive to be and set realistic goals to get there, but we shouldn’t be hating ourselves simply because a new year has started. You do not have to love yourself fully as you are, but it is important to make peace with yourself as you are now before trying to change. 

Try to be thankful for yourself now. I know, it’s not easy, but if you can find at least one thing you like about yourself, you’re beginning your journey. Perhaps you have some cool curly hair, a set of beautiful brown eyes, a loud fun laugh when you see a funny meme, or who knows what else! Even the smallest thing is a good start. Once you’ve acknowledged something you like about yourself, it’ll be easier to find other things you like. From here, if you’d like, you can set some goals this year to like yourself even more. But remember, you have to be realistic!

What does that mean? It means most goals people set are unattainable, which is why you see so many people give up by the end of Jan. There are a lot of common goals, but the main one is working out. You’re not going to magically start going to the gym 5 days a week if you haven’t gone before or in a while. Wanting to workout is great for your health! But first ask yourself, what’s your motivation? Do you want to get fit, be healthier, or is there another reason? If you have a strong motivation, you’ll stick with a realistic goal which would be going once MAYBE twice a week to a gym or for a walk/run. You have to work your way into working out and remember that you will not see results right away! It takes time to see visual results of being active/working out. You may feel some internal results such as having more energy, being happier, feeling more motivated, or overall feeling good about yourself. But you have to be patient with yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t go for a week. Life can happen, don’t give up but don’t push yourself beyond your capabilities. 

Another common goal is eating healthier. This one is more attainable, but people still try to do it all at once and give up easily. You are not going to magically switch your entire diet overnight, but you can make small adjustments. Start by finding a healthy snack you enjoy, fruit tends to be the easiest, and add it to your day at some point. Toss an apple in with your lunch, eat a banana with breakfast, munch on some grapes for a midday snack, or eat an orange after dinner. Then you can try cutting back on an item of junk food you eat too much, such as chips or candy. Once you get into that habit, you can try adding more healthy food into your diet and cutting back on junk or eating fast food, but remember to take it one step at a time. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy ice cream, candy, or chips again, it just means you don’t eat as much of it! Everything can be bad for you if you eat way too much of it, but if you balance your meals and snacks you’ll be healthier and feel better! 

There are a few other common resolutions, such as saving money, adopting a new hobby, stopping a bad habit, or getting organized. These are all great, all resolutions are, as long as you take baby steps instead of going to extremes. Want to save money? Try cutting back on one thing instead of every aspect of your life. Want to try something new? Watch some introduction videos to the topic and don’t drop $100 on something you may not enjoy. Want to stop a bad habit? Depending on the habit, finding support is the best way to stop. What to get organized? Don’t redo your entire home in one weekend, instead pick an area that could be redone and start there to see how you feel about it. Whatever the resolution is, don’t do the extreme version.

This year let’s focus on our small achievements/goals. Strive to be happy regardless of how things turn out, or do whatever you can within your power to change situations. Find support that will help you achieve your goals and remind you that it’s ok to take time to relax/heal/recover from whatever life throws at you. Instead of “New Year New Me,” let’s say “New Year New Vibes” to bring in some positivity.

What is Working Full-Time?

I’ve been working full-time for over a year now, after having worked several part-time jobs and being a full-time university student, and I have some thoughts. I know there are a lot of articles on working full-time, an endless amount actually and I’ll link some good ones at the end, but I wanted to contribute in the hopes that one day full-time hours change. I will just be sharing what it is like to work full-time and how it is, without a doubt, the worst thing for your physical and mental health. 

Let’s start with some math. Yes I know, but bear with me here. A full-time job calls for a 40 hour work week. That’s 8 hours a day, not including lunch. Lunch is normally an hour, you’re at work for 45 hours a week. Now let’s add in the commute. Most people (in America) commute for 45 minutes to an hour, generally an hour because of traffic (few are lucky enough to have a 30 minute commute). That’s one hour to work, and one hour back, that brings us up to 55 hours a week dedicated to work. Let’s not forget prep time! Most people wake up at least an hour before their commute to get ready, sometimes shower. 5 days a week, that’s an extra 5 hours, bringing us up to 60 hours. That is roughly 60 hours each week dedicated to work in some capacity. So already the 40 hour work week is incorrect. There are 168 hours in a week, and 60 of them go to work, or more for people who have even longer commutes, prep-time, or overtime. 

What about per day? There are 24 hours in a day. We already know that an 8 hour day is actually 9 because of lunch, plus 2 hours for commute time and 1 hour for prep. That’s 11 hours, or 10-12 depending on the person, but we will work with 11 in this example. That leaves 13 hours right? Well, you have to sleep, and the recommended amount of sleep is about 8 hours. So now we’re left with 5 hours. Do you cook and eat dinner? 4 hours left. You have roughly 4 hours at the end of each work day to yourself, if that. 

Full-time jobs have the audacity to wonder why people are so tired when “you’re only working 40 hours!” By technically yes, but they are not accounting for everything else we broke down above. What about the weekend? Well, generally everything you can’t get done during the week, which is basically anything, has to be done on the weekend. Errands, cleaning, time with friends, too much happens in a two-day period. When is there time to rest? Sunday is barely a weekend because you have to go to bed like it’s a work night. 

Remember, there are 168 hours in a week. 60 are spent dedicated to work and 56 are meant for sleeping. That only leaves 52 hours to cram in hobbies, errands, friends, cleaning, and whatever else you do. Plus, work nights are rarely spent on these things unless it’s an immediate need or a dedicated individual, so that leaves you with 32 hours on the weekend. That’s just over a full day, but we’re expected to go to work for the other 5 days? No wonder everyone is tired all the time! 

Are there any solutions? Yes, working from home and/or a 32 hour work week, but they will take boycotts, walk-outs, unions, strikes, and who knows what else to get companies to even listen. Some companies learned from covid that working from home is still as efficient and beneficial for everyone, but not enough got the message. Let’s discuss both solutions. 

Working from home. Out of the two solutions, this one is more feasible and achievable, if people stand-up for it. Working from home makes an 8 hour work day and actual 8 hour work day, if not less. You don’t have to get up to prep (unless you have a virtual meeting but even then), you don’t have to commute, you can do other tasks while working, and you don’t have office distractions. One thing very few people seem to talk about is office distractions. At work, you may not have enough work to fill an 8 hour day, but there are plenty of people and things in the office to pass the time. But at home, aside from your own home distractions such as pets, you can most likely get your 8 hour work day done in 4-5. Home can become a tailored environment for people to be more productive. Yes, there are some people who prefer the office, and that’s fine! The point is it should be an option for people to work from home, at least for 3 out of the 5 days, so they don’t feel as miserable and hate their job as much. 

32 hour work week. This may be far more difficult to achieve, but it would shift the office energies everywhere. As mentioned before, there is not enough work to fill an 8 hour work day, especially 5 days a week. If the week was shortened by one, people would have more time to relax and recover on the weekend, do things they like, and have a better attitude towards work. They’d have a bit more to do in the day, which would help the day pass, and overall improve morale. I know some office jobs are actually busy every minute of every hour of the 8 hour day, but from what I have observed, on average people only have about 4-5 hours of work to do a day, on a busy day. 

On a side note…part time should be 20-25 hours a week, as it is PART TIME. You shouldn’t be at work more than 3 days a week. Just something to consider.

Your coworkers may have discussed some of these things already, but now it’s time to do something about it. Push for more work from home, get the hour lunch to be included in the 8 hours not extra, or find a job that fits your working style better. We need to change the office space if we want to change society. Yes, there are jobs that can’t be done from home, but there are too many that can be done at home to ignore the need for a shift! 

I am tired of being tired. I used to say I wasn’t built for a full-time job, and I was 100% right. Do you feel the same?

Thank you for reading my breakdown of why a full-time job is asking too much. Best of luck getting your office to change, and follow for more interesting content!

40 Hour Work Week

Working from Home Articles:

32 Hour Work Week Articles: 

Spider-Man Miles Morales Game Review

After completing the first Spider-Man game from 2018, and reviewing it (HERE), I was able to watch and somewhat participate (mostly commentate) on the next game, Spider-Man Miles Morales. The game came out in 2020, developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, and follows Miles’ journey as he becomes Spider-Man. Peter is featured in the beginning and the end of the game, with a few phone calls in-between, but the main story is Spider-Man VS. the Underground and Roxxon. 

This review contains spoilers and is coming from the view of a casual game watcher, not a hard-core gamer. If you’re looking for a more detailed gaming review, this is not for you. However, if you’re not a gamer and are curious about the game for any reason, keep on reading! 

Miles Morales (voiced by Nadji Jeter) has been training under the watchful eye of Peter (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) to become a good Spider-Man. He’s learning how to properly fight, thwip around the city, respond to situations, balance his life and secret identity, and how to keep going no matter what happens. He’s not really thrown into anything until after Peter leaves, but the game begins with a huge fight with Rhino and Miles learning how to accept mistakes and take responsibility by fixing them. 

After the fight, he learns that Peter is going out of the country for a few weeks with MJ and leaving Miles to be the one-and-only Spider-Man. Unfortunately, this is the scene where we learn that Sony, or Insomniac, have completely changed how Peter looks and made him look like a weird, creepy baby. It seems they were trying to make him look more like the Tom Holland Spider-Man, but sleep-deprived Peter from the first game was a good look for him. Hopefully in the next game they fix him so we don’t have to look at that face for an entire game. I know that there was a huge upset about it on Twitter and many memes were made!

Miles is nervous about being alone for so long, but Peter left him with a suit to get started and he has the support of his best friend, Ganke Lee (Griffin Pautu). Before introducing the main villain and plot, Miles gets some time to practice helping people out, stopping a few crimes, and spending time with his family and friends. His mom, Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol), is running for city council and advocating against Roxxon, and everyone is Harlem proud. It’s a good chance to understand the characters better and explore the city before jumping into the main plot of the game. 

The main plot of the game is Spider-Man vs the Underground and Roxxon, as mentioned before. The Underground is trying to take-down Roxxon because their new form of energy is making people sick and they want to destroy Harlem to build more. While the Underground are fighting an evil corporation (aren’t they all?) they are causing harm to civilians and have a history of trying to become a mob by fighting the old mobs and groups to be the most powerful one. Unfortunately for Miles, the leader of the Underground is an individual known as the Tinkerer, who he quickly learns is his best friend from growing up, Phin (Jasmin Savoy Brown). Her brother was killed by Roxxon’s CEO Simon Krieger (Troy Baker), and she wants revenge. While he understands her desire for revenge, he needs to stop her from accidentally blowing up Harlem. As for Roxxon, they quickly view Spider-Man as an enemy (who doesn’t?) and he has to fight them along the way.

 

The plot of this game was great, and Miles’ character development was done well as he comes into the role of Spider-Man and learns to make the hard decisions for the greater good. However, I struggled with the character of Phin because, once again, the main female of the story is made out to be a massive bitch. I’m not talking about her becoming a villain, that makes perfect sense, but I am talking about the way she treats Miles after she finds out he’s Spider-Man. She seems to believe that he lied to her and mislead her, even though he had zero obligation to share that with her AND they’ve grown apart because she disappeared from his life AND she didn’t tell him what she was up to! She’s an entitled bitch who won’t listen to reason, blames him for stupid shit, and in the end is shocked and horrified that she was actually causing harm to others and about to trigger a nuke in Harlem. Thankfully, in the end she dies while somewhat redeeming herself (not really) by saving Harlem and Miles. All I’ve learned from this is that the Spider-Men only get toxic women in their lives, with the exception of May, who is dead, and Miles’ mom. 

Rio finds out Miles is Spider-Man, as does some of the Harlem citizens he’s helped along the way, but they all keep his secret because they want to protect him as he has protected them. It’s a sweet moment and a good reminder to Miles that the hero work he does matters. 

Overall, the game was really enjoyable and slightly shorter than Peter’s game as they got rid of the waves of criminals to fight, thankfully. Peter returns in the end and is proud of how far Miles has come, as they go off to continue fighting crime together. The end credit leads into the next game, where Venom will be introduced and we’ll get to see them fight side-by-side. Miles did not get as many suits, but he does get a cat companion in the end, Spider-Cat! 

While the web-slinging is difficult for non-gamers, this is a good game for people who are not hardcore gamers. I would recommend it to watch or play! And remember, turn on Motion Blur to avoid getting dizzy or seasick! If you enjoyed this review, please check out the other things on my blog, give me a follow, and leave a comment if you’ve played or decide to after reading this review!

Spider-Man 2018 Game Review

Recently I was able to observe and somewhat participate in a full play-through of the Spider-Man 2018 game, developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. I am not a huge gamer and I stopped watching playthroughs a long time ago, but my boyfriend is an avid gamer and wanted to play games I would enjoy: enter the Spider-Man game. I’m a huge Marvel nerd (as you may know if you follow my blog), and I enjoyed the Batman Arkham games, so we jumped right into Spider-Man. 

After finishing, and playing the Miles Morales game, I felt inspired to provide a game review (though a few years late) for those looking to either get into gaming, or seeking an enjoyable game they haven’t played before. I am reviewing the game as a viewer, not as a player. While I did get to try my hand at some web-slinging, I am not a gamer and want to provide a review for all the non-gamers out there. If you’re a hardcore gamer, this may not be the review for you. This review will contain spoilers and details to explain some points I will be making.

In the game, Spider-Man (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), is a college graduate working for Otto Octavious (voiced by William Salyers) to help develop neural-interface prosthetics. He has already been Spider-Man for years and you’re able to use his abilities to the fullest, though leveling-up is required to build tech and develop some specific strengths. You are thrown right into the middle of Peter’s life, a delicate balance between being a superhero, a nephew, a volunteer, and an employee. He has befriended the police captain, Yuri Watanabe (Tara Platt), and is working with her to take down Wilson Fisk (Travis Willingham). Now, the game does not focus on just one villain, as Spider-Man has an endless supply of enemies, but you do not know this going in. After his defeat of Wilson Fisk, a new villain known as Mr. Negative, or Martin Lee (Stephen Oyoung), makes his first appearance and the journey of Spider-Man trying to stop him and prevent a pandemic in New York begins.

There are many side-quests along the way, my favorite being the collection of backpacks, to keep you busy during the game and not just blow through the main story. There is backpack collecting, which give you snippets into Peter’s life from when he first became Spider-Man to now; taking photos of landmarks, to help build New York and introduce Marvel easter eggs (Avengers Tower, Wakandan Embassy, the New York Sanctum); working on research labs Harry left behind, a passion project of his mothers that help provide backstory for Harry and show how much Oscoro has intertwined itself into the city; completing Task Master (Brian Bloom) challenges and eventually fighting him, leaving some questions for the next game; and taking down villain bases/hideouts, which continue throughout the game as there are Fisk’s mens hideouts, the Demons hideouts, and Sable check-points and bases. There are also crimes that happen throughout, which help you gain tokens and develop your relationship with the citizens of New York. Most side-quests are fun, but the hideouts do get rather tedious as they have 4–6 waves of men you have to fight, a large task if you’re not interested in fighting over and over again. 

Tokens! These are important to get upgrades, build new gadgets, and get new suits! You can unlock new suits by completing side-quests, the DLC’s, and leveling up, but without various tokens you wont be able to equip any of them. So be sure to try and get 100% in the game by doing everything that comes your way. Each suit has its own power, which you can use regardless of having the suit on, but it has to be equipped first! My favorite suit (from regular gameplay) was the Ben Riley suit, which is his Scarlet-Spider suit he threw together with a blue hoodie. I made my boyfriend wear it the ENTIRE game, except during the final battle. My favorite suit (from the DLC’s) was the other Scarlet-Spider suit, the red and black one. It has talons and makes him look like a badass. There are also a lot of other cool suits you can get, and the next game should have a new variety to collect. 

Once Mr. Negative was defeated, I thought the game was coming to an end. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the game had a whole new set of villains Peter was not prepared to fight. Otto had secretly been creating suits and weapons for his new best friends: The Sinister Six, whom he broke out of the Raft to help him release Devil’s Breath to stick it to Norman Osborn (Mark Rolston). His Sinister Six included Scorpion (Jason Spisak), Rhino (Fred Tatsciore), Electro (Josh Keaton), Vulture (Dwight Schultz), and Mr. Negative. The fight to stop them all is difficult, as they are systematically tearing down the imprint Oscorp has left in the city and not caring about casualties. Devil’s Breath, a virus-like plague killing people with what seems like a cold at first (sound familiar?), is released and the city is barely holding it together. Peter has to fight his mentor, Otto, while severely injured and in distress because Aunt May (Nancy Linari) has caught it and is barely hanging on. The entire ending was extremely emotional and if you’re a big Spider-Man fan, this one will hit you in the feels.

While he does succeed, Peter is a broken man. He had to choose between the city and May, because she did not survive long enough to get the antidote. The scene was meant to be emotional, as it was revealed she knew he was Spider-Man the whole time, but I found myself dry-eyed as she died. The exchange between Peter and Otto was far more emotional than Aunt May’s death and funeral, because I saw her death coming whereas I wasn’t expecting the extremeness of Otto’s actions within this game. Or perhaps it was because Peter was not necessarily alone after she passed, though one person in his life is far more toxic than anyone is willing to admit. 

Mary Jane Watson, M.J. (Laura Bailey), Peter’s never ending love interest. In most stories, M.J, is meant to be the perfect partner for Peter, as they often get married and have a kid. However, the more I’ve observed about her character the more I’ve become suspicious of her intentions. Now, after having seen her in the game, I can confirm that she is toxic to Peter, but nobody seems to notice or care. At the beginning of the game they’re not together, in fact they’re barely talking. It’s later revealed she ended the relationship because of Peter’s responsibilities as Spider-Man getting ‘in the way’ of them. However, she takes no responsibility for the parts she played as well. She didn’t have to go out with him to begin with. She knew he was Spider-Man, she had seen his dedication before, so she knew exactly how that would bleed into their relationship. And she is extremely dedicated to her job as well, but it only mattered when Peter was dedicated and had to leave, not when she had things come up or nearly got killed. She still felt the need to blame him for things she knew beforehand. She gets angry at him for ‘babying her’ but she’s the idiot who keeps running into situations where she could easily die. She is not a superhero, she does not have superhuman abilities or a healing factor, so Peter is more often than not forced to go into a situation SHE put herself in and save her, only to be ridiculed with “I had that under control!” No, no she did not have ANY of that under control. She’s fairly selfish as well, fully focused on her career and only really helping him with things if it benefits her journalism. She never did it because she cared about him or the outcome, even when May died! Towards the end of the game she half-ass admits she maybe was at fault too, but it gets brushed past and she never truly admits her fault. As if Peter doesn’t have enough to deal with, he has a toxic girlfriend as well.

Unfortunately the game features several scenes where you’re forced to play as M.J., which are extremely tedious given how incompetent she is. She even uses Peter to save her ass several times, still never admitting she shouldn’t have been in the situation in the first place!

Thankfully Peter has some other interesting and decent people in his life. Black Cat (Erica Lindbeck) is featured in the game, mainly in the DLC, and while she does gaslight Peter about having a kid (which is never technically disproved), in the end she makes amends and fakes her death to continue her life somewhat normally, not as a criminal. Silver Sable (Nichole Elise) plays a large part in the game, coming back in the DLC and somewhat befriending Peter with a high-five, much to his pleasure. And of course, J. Jonah Jameson (Darink De Paul), is heavily featured as he now has a podcast called Just the Facts with J. Jonah Jameson where he continues his bombardment of Spider-Man being a menace, and even bringing people in to argue about what has been going on.

Finally, Miles Morales (Nadji Jeter) is introduced and given his Spider-Man powers. Unsure of what to do, in an end credit scene, Miles shares with Peter that he’s developed these powers and Peter, in turn, shares that he is Spider-Man. Throughout the DLC’s Miles contacts Peter to learn about his abilities and become a Spider-Man in training, leading into his game set a bit after this one. Though Miles is introduced through the death of his father, he is eager to become a hero and follow the footsteps of his dad. Hopefully the women in his life are kinder to him than the ones in Peter’s life. 

Overall, as a non-gamer, the story in the game was extremely compelling and well-written. However, boss battles present a challenge (as expected) because the use of gadgets and precise aim is necessary to web-up enemies or render them immobile long enough to take them out. If you’re not an intense battling type of person, this game may not be for you. But, if you’re willing to take on the task of saving New York City and learning how to web-sling, it’s a good game! Feel free to give it a shot or find a play-through of it somewhere.

Pro Tip: If you get motion sickness, make sure motion blur is turned ON because it will help prevent dizziness and such. 

If you decide to give Spider-Man a try, have already played it, or seen a walk-through, please comment below and share your thoughts on the game! I’ll be reviewing Miles Morales next so be sure to give my blog a follow! Thanks for reading!

Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Review

I’m looking forward to this show because I used to watch it in high school alongside Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assembled, which I will review next. I know I haven’t seen every single episode, but I’m sure I’ve seen a good chunk of them since there’s only 2 seasons. Watching it all and in order will be fun and we’ll see how much of it I actually remember, and how much ties into the other two shows. This show aired from 2013-2014 and had 26 episodes per season.

Season 1: After watching the Ultimate Spider-Man I have to say I was fairly disappointed in the quality of this show in comparison. The season started hard and fast, with no clear pacing until about half-way through the season. The plot created confusion throughout as some episodes were following a clear order and plot while others were not. Regardless of the intended audience, a show should have a clear storyline and order. The ending especially created confusion as the Hulks were lost in space, but then they had Christmas dinner with the Guardians back at the diner in Vista Verde. The show did have unique aspects to it and featured characters and plots I enjoyed throughout. It was filmed like a mockumentary/vlog, where each character would share their feelings on what was happening, they’d be filmed at all times with the cameras following them around, and Hulk ending each episode with “Hulk Out.” Stan Lee was the mayor of the town, which is funny because he’s also a janitor at Peter’s high school at the same time! A few smaller points of interest in the season were that they have a pet T-Rex called Devil, there are a lot of True Believers references, and Deathlok (who I’m pretty sure was meant to be Cable) appeared. Lilandra, Queen of the Shi’ar, made an appearance in the end and if you’ll remember from my Classic X-Men series review she was Xavier’s mental lover who took him away to space to live in the show’s wrap-up. There was an episode that featured Impossible Man who I hate with a burning passion, so I skipped that episode entirely because I’m not putting myself through that. Spider-Man made several appearances and somewhat explained the interaction with the Collector from his show, but it’s a huge flaw to have such an important plot point spread between several shows and expecting the audience to be keeping up with both shows to understand important plot points. He did take off his mask at one point but they blurred out his face which doesn’t make sense since they’re clearly expecting the audience to be watching both shows at the same time. They also joked about how Venom is actually created in the comics vs how he was created in this show which was nice! The shows seem to be fairly hyper-aware of their differences from the comics. Overall, this season could’ve been strong and the best episodes were the ones that featured other characters. 

Season 2: This season continues the lost in space plot-line but it also continues to be fairly muddled. There are a few episodes where they’re back on Earth before they’ve actually returned to Earth, then they have an entire episode that brings them back to Earth. I checked online to confirm this is the correct episode order, and it is, which means the show wasn’t planned out well. The show does continue in the mockumentary/vlog style, but this time A-Bomb breaks the fourth wall towards the actual audience instead of his fake audience, as he references “season one” a few times and notes a few other things that would only stand out to us as the audience. The vlogs continue to end with “Hulk Out” as well, so at least there is consistency. This season introduced less new characters and focused on old enemies with vendettas, which is good for plot development. However, I would hardly consider the Wrecking Crew to be a serious threat or count them as legitimate super villains. As some other characters were featured in the season, there are some things I want to share about them. Bruce Banner was featured briefly and he’s super tedious, so it’s a good thing they didn’t keep him around for long. In the episode featuring the Super Apes, Red Hulk stole a line from Planet of the Apes: “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!” except he said darn instead of damn because it’s still a kids show. One episode featured Hercules and I wanted to share this fun fact from the comics: Hercules and Wolverine are lovers in one plot-line. The “days of future SMASH” story-line had some issues as well because either the future should be constantly changing as Hulk travels through time, or not changing at all. It was difficult to follow along with the present and the past, it would’ve been beneficial for it to only focus on the past. I actually started skipping the parts that showed the present because it didn’t make sense. Thankfully the show didn’t end with that storyline and had a few episodes after with some decent plot-lines and a strong ending.

Overall: This show I would recommend as more of a background show instead of watching with dedications. It still has good qualities and episodes worth watching, but it’s not as strong as it could have been and struggles in the first half of the first season. The pacing is a bit all over the place and the plot lines are not well-thought out in order of presentation. At least none of the stories rely on the audience having watched the other shows to know what’s happening, like the Collector confusion is the Spider-Man show. And, even though the show overlaps with the others, some of the character designs are different which doesn’t make much sense. They also don’t necessarily need to introduce characters everytime they appear if they’ve been introduced before because, as mentioned before, they seem to be expecting audiences to be watching everything consistently. The Leader is a bit tedious as well because he talks a big talk for someone who can’t seem to successfully accomplish anything. There is one aspect to the show that I think stood out: Jen gives really good advice for all viewers to apply to their life. If you don’t watch the show, it’s worth it to look up some of her quotes and see if any of them inspire you!

There were also a lot of other Marvel characters featured, some briefly and some made recurring appearances. In order of appearance they were J. Jonah Jameson, Annihilus, The Leader, Blastaar, Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Thing, The Collector, Donald Duck, Ego, Sauron, Batroc the Leaper, Thor, Laufey, Ymir, the Moloids, Mole Man, Wolverine, the Wendigo King, The Wrecking Crew, Doc Sampson, Doctor Doom, Venom, Doctor Octopus, Terrax, Galactus, Fury, The Watcher, Abomination, Impossible Man (HATE HIM), Hogun, Fandral, Volstagg, Malekith, Heimdall, Loki, Doctor Strange, Dormammu, Deathlok, Super-Skrull, Crystal, Triton, Lockjaw, Medusa, Karnak, Black Bolt, Maximus, Gorgon, Arkon the hunter, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, Captain America, Korg, Meik, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Starlord, Lilandra Queen of the Shi-ar, The Supreme Intelligence, Ronan the Accuser, Firelord, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Living Mummy, Blade, Man Thing, Werewolf by Night, Silver Surfer, Null, High Evolutionary, Druffs, Xemnu, Grey Hulk, Super Apes, Red Ghost, Hercules, Pluto, Charon, Betty Ross, Bruce Banner, The Mekkens, Mainframe, Odin, Dracula, Red Skull, and Ghost Rider. 

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Eternals Review

Within the Marvel Universe the Eternals are not as well-known nor are they that popular. Their stories have always felt somewhat discombobulated and distant from the main story lines in the comics. However, this did leave the film a lot of “wiggle-room” to play with the representations of the characters, and so they did. Unfortunately, the critics had a lot of negative things to say about the film and audiences still didn’t have as positive a reaction as other MCU films have gotten. I firmly believe that we should create our own opinions of movies instead of relying on the word of others and watch things that catch our interest. If you haven’t seen the film and have interest in doing so, you probably should before reading this review as it does contain spoilers! 

Plot: The film’s plot was fairly straightforward but it did travel across the world throughout time, each time and location playing an important role in the main plot. The times and locations in order were: 5000 BC Mesopotamia; Present Day London; 575 BC Banylon; 400 AD Gupta Empire: Present Day South Dakota; 1521 AD Tenochtitlan; Present Day Mumbai; Australia; Amazon; 1956 Hiroshima; Present Day Chicago; Iraq; and Alaska. There were not many subplots though, and only one did not tie directly into the main story. This took away from the depth of the movie because there wasn’t much going on aside from them trying to find a way to stop a Celestial from being born and facing hurdles that fit into the plot perfectly. The subplot of Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) almost becoming the Black Knight, however, stood out as more interesting and unique. It is something fans have been talking about more since the Black Knight is an extremely interesting and better known character. The introduction of Pip and Eros at the end also stood out because they opened up the characters to more interesting adventures across the galaxy. I did not see any glaring plot holes in the film and everything seemed explainable/understandable to some extent. 

Character Development: In a film that introduces a large group of characters, it is difficult to have any significant development for each individual. There were distinguished characteristics for everyone and as the film jumped through time changes could be seen with them, but they were still fairly small changes. Many of the character choices made sense, especially towards the end of the film, while others felt a bit forced. Ikaris (Richard Madden) and Sprite (Lia McHugh) were two characters I struggled with towards the end because their decisions were not really based in anything, and they changed their minds too often for it to be believable. Other characters, such as Druig (Barry Keoghan), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), and Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), had stronger development as their decisions could be understood and were based on the struggles they’ve faced. The rest of the characters, Ajax (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Thena (Angelina Jolie), and Gilgamesh (Don Lee), stayed fairly consistent throughout the film and were easy to understand. By the end of the film only some of the original characters (Thena, Sersi, Phastos, Druig, Makkari, and somewhat Sprite) remained so their development should be more focused moving forward with their MCU journey. Sprite is now human though so she may not be in the future films for more than a few minutes, assuming she’s in them at all. This was most likely done to avoid the issue of the actress aging out of her character’s looks. 

Points of Interest: This film was full of cool references from comic books of all kinds, references to other MCU films/characters, and greatly expanded the MCU on a universal level. The intro to the film reminded me of the Star Wars intros, where a chunk of text provided information for the audience to understand what was going on. Several references were made about Ikaris essentially being Superman, which was an obvious jab at WB Studios for wasting opportunities to develop good story lines with characters people clearly love. Dane Whitman (or Don Snow as we call him, see explanation below) was introduced as a love interest for Sersi and his larger role as the Black Knight was foreshadowed as he nearly took hold of the Ebony Blade, only to be stopped by the MCU’s version of Blade (Mahershala Ali). The bracelets made to create the Uni-Mind have a strong similarity to the Ten Rings, which brings into question the rings origins and their possible connection to the Eternals. Eros/Starfox (Harry Styles) and Pip (Patton Oswalt) were introduced in a way that strongly connected the events of other MCU films as Eros is stated to be the brother of Thanos and Royal Prince of Titan.

Overall: As I mentioned before I do understand why this film did not do as well as other MCU films and why certain fans struggled with it. While the Eternals are not as popular, those who know them were not thrilled to see so many changes with the characters in the film. However, I would argue that because the characters are not as well-known it is good to change them to include more diversity and see characters representing life in the world today. The plot was fairly straightforward and the characters didn’t change too much in the film, so the movie itself was pretty simple compared to other MCU films. I did enjoy the film and I would watch it again, but it is not at the top of my list for MCU movies I throw on for fun. 

Don Snow: I went to see Eternals with a friend of mine and neither of us could remember what Dane Whitman’s name was. I recognized him as John Snow from Game of Thrones (despite the fact that I’ve never actually seen the show) but we were pretty sure his name started with a “D” in this film. So, I said Don Snow and now he will forever be known to us as Don Snow. 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Review

I’m really excited for this show because I actually used to watch it in high school and always enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve seen every single episode, but I’m sure I’ve seen a good chunk of them. Watching it all and in order will be good and we’ll see how much of it I actually remember. This show has four seasons, 26 episodes per season, and aired from 2012-2016. I don’t recall when I started watching it, but I’m watching it now! Apologies for the delay in posting this review!

Drake Bell is the voice of Spider-Man in this show and honestly it’s the best voice for a Spider-Man so far. It’s also the most accurate depiction of Spider-Man in a show so far, with Peter basically narrating everything that’s going on with a humorous attitude and tone. Stan Lee was the janitor who always had a life story to tell, but Peter never wanted to listen to them! Peter also breaks the fourth wall constantly to share info or jokes with the audience, which is why I like this show so much. They show the way his brain works with cute little animations and chaotic moments, which is cool because knowing how a character thinks helps the audience understand them better and develops the character!

Season 1: The intro for this season was just a quick title sequence a few minutes after the show had been and the plot introduced. Overall, this was a great season and I really love this show. This season introduced villains, and other characters, without overwhelming or confusing the audience, it kept storylines clear and organized, and each episode was able to stand on its own without too much background needed for the audience. I rather like that about a show! Peter narrates everything as it’s happening and we get peeks into how his mind works, which is incredible and done extremely well! He’s a relatable character and everyone on his team is likeable. They didn’t give too much information about his teammates yet, but they built up their friendship and growing trust with each other at a steady pace. While the main focus in each episode is the plot, there were a lot of smaller details or references to other shows that I loved and am going to share! Doctor Strange wasn’t the clean cut man we all know and love; he has longer hair in this! His hair was about chin length and had a messy, sexy vibe to it (yes I know this is a kids show). There was a reference to the 1994 Spider-Man (review here) when Peter had a nightmare about having 6 arms and Aunt May was a giant spider. At the end of the first episode that featured Doctor Octopus the end credit said “Spider-Man Will Return in Doctor Octopussy,” which I found fucking hilarious. There was also a Spider-Ham reference when Loki turned him into a pig, as he was called Spider-Ham and Peter Porker by the others. The season came to an end with a big battle between Spider-Man, Goblin, and Venom. Goblin got away but in the process the Hellicarier was destroyed, which is when Peter learned that’s where his teammates were living. With no place to go, he speaks to Aunt May and they all move in together! What chaos will ensue from this?

Season 2: Season two maintains the same brief intro as season one and starts off strong by introducing the Lizard. Peter and his teammates are practically on top of each other now, since they live together, so when Peter goes off to spend time with Doc Connors things go wrong and he ends up as the Lizard. A few episodes later the Sinister Six for this show were introduced. The Six included: Doctor Octopus, Kraven, Lizard, Electro, Rhino, and The Beetle. They played a crucial role throughout the season and overall it was another great season! Everyone moved out of Peter’s home when the Helicarrier was fixed and we got to learn more about the characters. Peter grew a lot in the season and it ends with him being offered a place with the Avengers after saving the city and his team from becoming Goblins, but his answer is unknown! This season also had some cool references or other cool details throughout. The first being an obvious reference to the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show (review here) with a title sequence of him and the Lizard that matched the title sequence for the show. There was also a brief one with Doctor Octopus, but Peter cut that short and shook off the weird image in his head. Stan has a Soap Box that he stands on to go on about things which is a reference to Stan’s Soapbox, a page often featured in the comics (check out my Instagram to see it on my Comic Book Friday’s!). And finally, Deadpool was in an episode which changed the title to Ultimate Deadpool, classic.

 

Season 3: This season begins with the return of the Guardians and maintains the same short intro. Peter has decided to wait on joining the Avengers after being with them for a short period of time and returns to SHIELD and his original team. While Peter’s team is growing and getting stronger, Peter begins recruiting younger heroes who are coming out of the woodworks to join his Web Warriors (the title given to the second half of the season). Peter is truly developing as a leader and as a person and the show begins to focus much more on him as a leader of everyone instead of him and his initial team. Nova, Powerman, White Tiger, and Iron Fist get suit upgrades in the first half of the season and this is somewhat their transition to being less of a focus as they’ve grown enough to be independent. As this season progresses, it brings in a lot of cool and funny things that are worth noting. Some were comic accurate, some were clearly made up but still pretty fun. The Spider-Supreme makes an appearance as Spider-Man has to fight Nightmare to save Doctor Strange. There are two big references to the old school Spider-Man show, the first being an episode with a similar style of animation and jokes and the second was the demonic Spider-Man-Spider (the six arm monstrosity) as Peter goes savage in the Savage Lands. The Thunderbolts are introduced, though only briefly as they become the Web Warriors (originally the New Warriors). There was a silly Jesse crossover episode (for those not familiar, Jesse was a Disney XD Channel show that was about a country girl becoming a nanny to four bougie rich kids). There is only one point of concern I hold with this season. It ends with a four-episode special about The Grand Master and The Collector using heroes and villains to battle over who is better, and right away Spider-Man knows The Collector and they keep referencing something in the past about Spider-Man having dealt with him before. Now, this seems familiar from the first time I saw the show (however many years ago) but it wasn’t in this show? Was it in the Avengers show I’m watching soon when he was a part of the Avengers? I know these shows all aired around the same time and have a lot of crossover, but a plot point this big should be in the Spider-Man show, not the Avengers one. The season ends with Aunt May admitting she knows that Peter is Spider-Man and trying to help him in his battle (however misguided this was).

Season 4: This season changes in tone and story completely, which I loved. It becomes Ultimate Spider-Man vs The Sinister 6 and it really dives into the challenges Peter faces as a young superhero. Dr. Octopus joins Hydra, though only to use them to get what he wants in the long run, and gets an extremely creepy suit and looks upgrade, which I hated looking at. He lost all his hair and they aged him significantly in the span of 5 minutes with his new look. New villains are introduced and old ones change their ways, some more than once, as Otto tries to build his new and improved Sinister 6. As Spider-Man grows his teams, it focuses more on the variations of Spider-Men in the world, and other worlds, mainly Agent Venom, Iron-Spider, Miles Morales, and Scarlet Spider. Now, Scarlet Spider quickly became my favorite and I loved how much content we got of him, so it broke my heart when he turned out to be the spy. However, thankfully, in the end he decided to help Peter and Aunt May and sacrificed himself to save them and NYC which caused me to cry a bit because I really did love the character. BUT thankfully they brought him back! He struggled once again with his friendship with Peter as he discovered who/what he really was, but in the end he trusted his teammates and remained on the Web Warriors. I also appreciated the growth Flash underwent in this season and the bond he developed with Peter. The season came to a strong conclusion with Peter realizing he’s more than just Spider-Man and everyone graduating from SHIELD Academy. There were a few things in this season that were pretty cool, and one that was really stupid (Agents Fitz and Simmons had a cameo). The cool things were the True Believers references, Peter calling himself a Spirate then taking Doctor Strange and Ant-Man trick-or-treating, and Moon Knight as a whole was hilarious. Doctor Octopus also got a suit upgrade and finally looked like his classic comic book self, though his voice was still creepy. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this show to actually watch, not just have on. This Spider-Man is the funniest and most relatable so far, and the seasons give him great opportunities to grow and learn. The focus on his friends shifts away as his journey becomes more tasking and I liked this focus they put on him while still valuing his friends. His friends grow as well, but it’s more obvious in their suit upgrades instead of their actual character development. The only thing with this show that may cause concern is how not comic-accurate it is. Some of the story lines for characters are based loosely in the comics, others are just completely made up (as are some of the characters in general). While I didn’t mind this because of how much I enjoyed the show, it’s something to consider if you’re a hardcore comicbook nerd. 

The main characters were Spider-Man (of course), Iron Fist, Power-Man, Nova, and White Tiger, though the other four weren’t as much of a feature by the time we get to season 4 because so many other characters were introduced. White Tiger’s backstory was revealed in season one, Iron Fist’s and Powermans were in season two, and Nova’s was somewhat in season two and three. My favorite character was Spider-Man, of course, because he was hilarious and relatable, and this is probably one of the most accurate depictions of the character I’ve seen so far in my Marvel animated journey. I did enjoy plenty of other characters featured though: Iron Fist, Doctor Doom, Wolverine, Loki, Venom, Deadpool, Spyder-Knight, and Scarlet-Spider (I LOVED HIM).

There were also a lot of other Marvel characters featured, some briefly and some made recurring appearances, also I probably repeated some because there were SO MANY. In order of appearance they were J. Jonah Jameson, Trapster, Nick Fury, Doctor Octopus, Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, Norman Osborn, Flash Thompson, Stan Lee, Wizard, Klaw, Thundra, Aunt May, Dr. Curt Connors, Phil Coulson, Dr. Doom, Venom, Living Laser, Iron Man, Task Master, Batroc, Hulk, Galactus, Frost Giants, Thor, Loki, Odin, Etri, Wolverine, Mesmero, Sabertooth, Whirlwind, Doctor Strange, Nightmare, Juggernaut, Scorpio and Zodiac, The Beetle, Sandman, The Wrecking Crew, Skurge, Captain America, Electro, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter, Hawkeye, Steel Spider, Carnage, Grizzly, John Jameson, Swarm, The Destroyer, Scorpion, The Thing, Rocket, Chitari, Korvac, Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Arcade, Blade, Dracula, The Living Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Invisible Man, Iron Patriot, Titus, Black Widow, JARVIS, Falcon, Fin Fang Foom, Atuma, Ulik, Fenris, Agent Venom, Cloak and Dagger, Dormammu, Squirrel Girl, Vulture, Ka-Zar and Zabu, Boomerang, Shocker, Morgan Le Fey, The Enforcers, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Girl (Petra Parker), Spider-Man Noir (Old Peter Parker), Spider-Ham (Peter Porker), Spyder-Knight and Spyder-Horse, Miles Morales, The Whizzer, Dr. Arnim Zola, Ant-Man, Molten Man, Triton, Queen Medusa, Lockjaw, Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal, King Black Bolt, Maximus the Mad, The Collector, The Grand Master, King of the Wendigos, Red Hulk, Yimr, Blastaar, Skaar, Absorbing Man, Zzzaax, Terrax, Attuma, Annihialus, A-Bomb, Shel Hulk, The Leader, MODOK, Scarlet-Spider, Baron Mordo,  Anti-Venom, Dr. Michael Morbius, Hydro-Man, Shriek, Madame Web, The Mechano, Crossbones, Blood Spider, Wolf Spider, Web Beard, Howard the Duck, Spider-Gwen, Ultron, Bone-Spider, Goliath-Spider, Ghost-Spider, Moon Knight, Mysterio. 

A Quick Note: I’m going through all of these shows in order on Disney+, but I will be skipping Ironman-Hulk: Heroes United because I don’t like that style of animation. If you want to check them out yourself, go for it! Tell me on Twitter what you thought of them!

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This week’s post is sponsored by Podcasting Until Ragnarok, a podcast I created that was inspired by this blog. Be sure to go check it out wherever you listen to your podcasts and subscribe!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review

Venom is back and boy did they go hard on the SymBrock this time. I think Sony ships them just as much as we do. This movie came out last October and I was super hyped for it because I loved the first Venom movie and I love Carnage in the comics, so I was excited to see the live-action version of him! I did rank this in my MCU/Marvel Associated list based on my first watch of the film, but I haven’t been able to review it until now. I’m very excited to watch it again and discuss it in-depth. This review is going to be a bit different from my normal ones though as I want to adjust how I review and improve my reviewing skills!

DISCLAIMER: I do not support nor like the character of Cletus Kassidy on a human level. When I say I like Carnage, I am speaking of the symbiote specifically NOT the person he is bonded with.

Plot: On a basic level the plot is Venom vs Carnage, but of course all good stories have their main plot and their subplots. Venom and Eddie are trying to find a way to live where both get what they want, but that’s not really possible. Eddie is trying to keep them under the radar after everything that happened and get his career back on track while Venom wants to do everything they’re capable of doing and become the Lethal Protector (a name I guess Sony owns the rights to?). The movie develops their relationship further and brings in plots points from the comics that are directly connected to Venom (Carnage, his accidental spawn). Anne and Dan’s subplot was developed without having them on screen too much by including mentions of their engagement, which fit well because Eddie needs Venom and doesn’t stay with her in the comics either. Cletus Kassidy’s storyline/subplot is set up well and intertwines with Eddie and Venom’s at a good pace that the audience can follow. The plot’s pacing was perfect and they left it open for another movie, which is great! Maybe next time we learn about the Hive and get to see Toxin. 

Character Development: The sub characters, such as Anne and Dan, didn’t really develop much but they didn’t need to. They’re fairly straight-forward characters that don’t take up enough screen time to need to be developed. I did enjoy how Dan just wanted to help though. The main characters did have strong development both individually and together. Eddie and Venom were separated for a bit and grew enough to realize that they belong together, and once they were back together they developed a lot in the end of the film. I liked this because their relationship had been built up enough that the bonding presented in the end was a strong resolution to everything. Cletus’s character was developed well for only being in one film, and the comic accuracy of his story was on point. The only thing that didn’t match up was his bond with Carnage. In the comics they are the perfect symbiotic relationship, referring to themselves as “me” or “I” instead of “us” and “we” like the rest do. However, for the sake of the film it did make sense for them to be individuals. 

Points of Interest: Throughout the movie Sony sprinkled in things for the large variety of fans they have watching these films, from Symbrock moments to Marvel Comics references. Mostly Symbrock though, which is fine because even in the comics that’s fairly canon with the way Eddie and Venom interact. When the first film came out, a lot of fanfiction was focusing on their domestic life together, including many scenes where Venom is cooking Eddie breakfast. That HAS to be where they got the idea because it was too fanfic-picture-perfect to have been their idea. During their breakup scene, which I have a lot to say about, Eddie gets made at Venom and says “that was abuse, that was abusive!” which most people don’t really say unless it’s in relation to a relationship! Then, after they break up and Venom wrecks Eddie’s bike, Eddie cleans up his place and tries to remove all memories of Venom, something that people do to move forward from an ended relationship. Meanwhile, Venom goes to some Halloween rave to party his feelings away and ends up talking about Eddie the entire time and then goes outside to be sad about not being with Eddie anymore. Also at some point he gets hit on by a woman and is absolutely horrified. Eventually the two end up back together with a rather chaotic apology and Dan mentions to Anne that they (Venom and Eddie) need couples counseling. In the end of the film both somewhat confess their love for each other, though Eddie’s moment is in the deleted scenes. And for the Marvel comics fans out there, we get a glimpse into Ravencroft!

Overall: I absolutely loved this movie and always have a good laugh while watching it. Sony has figured out exactly how to create Venom content and, with the help of Tom Hardy, have made the movies fun for the audience while sticking to the comics as best as they can. I don’t think these movies get enough credit and we need to appreciate the tone Sony has set up for these characters/films. They’ve found their niche and are expanding into more Spider-Man characters, and hopefully bringing back Andrew for one more movie!

Bloopers and Extras: I have the physical Blu-Ray DVD because streaming these movies isn’t always an option, so I was able to see all of the bloopers, the behind-the-scenes, and the deleted scenes. Blooper reels are always fun to watch because you get to see the cast and crew goofing off or trying to make each other laugh. Actors trying to shake off forgetting a line or making themselves laugh is a good laugh for the audience as well! Plus, everyone ends up dancing for some reason! As for the deleted scenes, they had some interesting titles but only a few had interesting content. There was a different mugging scene, an extension of their breakup, more of the demented love story between Cletus and Shriek, a mention of the Unholy Trinity, and an extended beach love scene where Venom is going on about Eddie loving him and he caves and says “maybe a little” before it pulls away. 

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Hawkeye Review

Happy New Year! Before jumping into this review, which is slightly late from when the show actually ended, I wanted to remind everyone that I will now be posting blog posts every other Monday, and Podcast episodes (hopefully) on the Monday’s that have no blog post. This will be an easier schedule for me to maintain, especially because I need more time to watch the animated show when I review those. 

We’re back with another Marvel show! So far I’ve had a good time watching the MCU shows and the movies that’ve been coming out have been getting really good (excluding that shitshow that was Slyvie). For this show I’m going to write individual episode reviews after I have seen each episode twice, like I normally do with the movies. I will also write a general review about the show as a whole. So, while this should be implied, this review contains spoilers!

Episode One: This episode was pretty good and set up Kate’s story well. The show begins back during the invasion of NYC in 2012 where we meet a young Kate Bishop where she sees Clint and is inspired to be just like him. The dad goes mysteriously missing during this scene and I can’t help but suspect that the mother is responsible for his death…but this never gets resolved. Then we jump ahead to current times (exact year unclear but it’s set right before Spider-Man NWH I believe) to Rogers the Musical…an interesting experience with fairly inaccurate broadway representations of everyone involved. Clint is there with his fake family (explanation later) and leaves because he can’t handle seeing the actress playing Natasha. He also comments that Ant-Man wasn’t there, but because of Endgame, perhaps he was! They finally show his hearing aid and explain it in a later episode (Hawkeye wears them in the comics). At the same time, Kate is escaping a black market auction and ends up wearing the Ronin suit which brings her a lot of negative attention from the Tracksuit Mafia, a group under Kingpin. Clint meets her at the end of the episode once he sees the suit on the news and goes to investigate who is wearing it. Also, Pizza Dog introduction!

Episode Two: This episode was better as there was a bit more humor in it from Kate and the Tracksuit Mafia. They are formally introduced and are mostly a group of hilarious Russians that you kinda want to root for. They explain Clint’s hearing problems (he’s mostly deaf now) by showing fight scenes and explosions from the previous movies. Kate’s personality is clear from the start and she’s probably the most relatable character in all of Marvel, at least for a fangirl in her 20’s. The LARPers are introduced and are really cool people that show that there’s more to our heroes than meets the eye. They also have great respect for Hawkeye but expect him to respect their craft, which is pretty cool. The end of the episode introduces Echo, who is a character I had to Google at first because I didn’t understand who she was right off the bat. 

Episode Three: This episode was a bit more intense as it brought in some new characters and continued developing Kate and Clint’s friendship. In this episode Echo’s backstory is given to the viewer (most of whom probably needed it like me) and they show us Kingpin’s hand, foreshadowing his importance to the show and that she would logically be working under him. We learn that Ronin killed her father and she is seeking justice/revenge for her fathers murder and is not chasing him down because Kingpin wants her to. Hawkeye shows off his incredible fight skills but mainly his skill with his bow, which is always cool to see in close up fights. Also, his bow is taped from where Black Panther split it in half in Civil War. Kate and Clint are learning to communicate and she is allowed to use a few trick arrows during their escape. Clint and Scott are clearly friends as Clint has a PYM Tech arrowhead that enlarged Kate’s arrow and crushed the truck. At the diner, where Pizza Dog is named Pizza Dog, she talks about his branding and draws the classic Hawkeye suit for him. Which he of course rejects because it’s too ridiculous. 

Episode Four: I liked this episode because it ended with one of my new favorite characters, had Kate and Clint bonding, and had some emotional moments. Elenor (a bitch) lowkey threatens Hawkeye to stay away from Kate and it’s mostly because she hired an assassin to take him out for getting too close to her and her boss. Kate realizes what Clint is sacrificing to help her and decides to bring the holidays to him, where some fun Christmas hijinks occur. Clint then shares how he met Natasha (he’s totally in love with her, explanation later) and Kate then figures out he was the Ronin. Then, they go get the watch Laura Barton lost. This plot point, however, left me with a lot of questions. Why did Maya and/or Kingpin want the watch in the first place? Why does it matter? How did they know what it was? This seemed like a bit of a plothole that needs some explaining. At the end of the episode an assassin shows up and is unmasked to be YELENA! This connects the end-credit scene from Black Widow to the show and gives us the chance to see more of Yelena as she learns who she is and does things she’s always wanted to do. There are also parallels because Kate doesn’t take the shot with her just like Clint didn’t take the shot with Natasha. 

Episode Five: I really loved this episode because of how much it incorporated Yelena and her badass/adorable outfits. It also sets up a Kate and Yelena friendship that I sincerely hope Marvel pursues. This episode begins by shower where Yelena was when she was snapped and how fast the event happened for the people who vanished. Throughout the episode she is trying to get justice for Natasha, not knowing the details of what happened, and she’s extremely cute and chaotic as she does so. The potential friendship dynamic with Kate and Yelena is established as they chat over a somewhat tense dinner and the new and improved statue of liberty is mentioned. Again establishing that this happens right before the events of Spider-Man NHW. Clint realizes what he was to do to show Maya she’s on the wrong side and goes to the Avengers tribute to “talk” to Natasha about it. He went to speak to his dead best friend before calling his “wife” and you expect me to believe he loves his wife and not Natasha? Bullshit. Anyway, we see more of Clint’s hand-to-hand combat abilities which are better because he trained with a Black Widow, but he’s still a bit rusty due to age and his somewhat retirement. More of Maya is shown in this episode and I’m still not a huge fan, but so far she’s only expressed rage so it’s difficult to see her as a full character. They end the episode by properly introducing Kingpin who is the same from Daredevil, a show I will get to eventually.

Episode Six: For the final episode of the season this one was pretty good and it’s tied with episode 5 for my favorite episode. Kingpin’s empire doesn’t seem to match what it was in Daredevil (or so I’ve heard), but consider that this is after the snap and the return of everyone. For five years half of the world was missing and everything was in chaos, of course his empire isn’t what it was and he’s working to get it back on track. Elenor is trying to get out of it but of course that won’t happen, also she’s a bitch and I was once again right in my distrust of a character. Clint has accepted Kate as his partner at this point and they get to work preparing to take on Kingpin and the Tracksuit mafia by making more trick arrows. We see a shrinking PYM Tech arrow and something with Stark on the side (I miss Tony Stark everyday). Yelena and Kate are more of a chaotic duo this time and compliment each other’s fighting skills after some hand-to-hand combat. Jack really is just a dude who loves swords (memes below) who we all misjudged, and he may become a LARPer! Hawkeye finally dawns his new suit with the classic purple color, hurray! He also affirms his and Scott’s friendship, making it seem like they chat regularly, as he mentions asking about what happens to the people he shrunk (though they get carried off by a cute owl we saw in the tree). Maya finally shows more emotions than just rage and looks more dynamic with her hair down. She also shoots Kingpin at the end of the episode but we know that even when he gets shot in both eyes in the comics he still survives. Daredevil season 4 perhaps? 

Finally, my two main points of issue: Clint being in love with Natasha and his wife being a waste of a character. First, this entire show has shown us just how much Clint misses Natasha and how much he cared about her. The way he speaks about her is the way someone speaks about the person they love the most, especially when he’s talking to Yelena about how much Natasha meant to him. He also knows all about Natasha’s and Yelena’s bond and their secret whistle. It’s extremely difficult to believe he didn’t love her and if Joss Wheadon hadn’t fucked up everything in Age of Ultron we could’ve gotten a Natasha and Clint romance, which would’ve made the events of Endgame ten times more heartbreaking. Which brings me to my second point, his ‘wife.’ Laura Barton was introduced in Age of Ultron as a cop out because they didn’t know where else they could hide so they made up this entire fake family and now have no choice but to include them in the canon. However, because of how terribly they were introduced it is too late to try and make them relevant or cool, especially his ‘wife.’ Agent 19, Mockingbird, has already been introduced into the supposed MCU canon with Agents of SHIELD and is a much better choice for the character all around. I could tolerate them switching her romance history to someone else (her and Hawkeye married and divorced twice in the comics), but now they’re trying to ignore the first version of the character and make Laura Barton Agent 19? That’s lazy writing. It would’ve just been easier to keep her as a generic person instead of trying to make her relevant to the fans. At this point I think they’re only together for the sake of the kids because he doesn’t speak about her or to her like he’s in love and it’s nothing compared to the way he speaks about Natasha. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this show and loved the character introduction and development of Kate. The intros and outros to each episode were beautiful, featuring the Hawkeye comic book style and different scenes from their lives and the episodes. There were also a lot of comic-accurate depictions of moments throughout the show, yay! The only end credit scene, though, was the full song from Rogers the Musical. While it was somewhat entertaining to watch, it needed to have included someone like Sam and Bucky walking out after talking about how horrible it was. I would recommend the show, but watch Black Widow first!

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This week’s post is sponsored by Podcasting Until Ragnarok, a podcast I created that was inspired by this blog. Be sure to go check it out wherever you listen to your podcasts and subscribe!