Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: First Pic of Bebop & Rocksteady

     The sequel to the Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been on a casting frenzy.  With Brian Tee taking over for Tohoru Masamune as the Shredder, Brittany Ishibashi replacing Minae Noji as Shredder's daughter Karai (both seen wearing much different armor than the samurai-esque traditional Shredder look), Laura Linney, Arrow's Stephen Amell as Casey Jones, and Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman, and even the original April O'Neil Judith Hoag.  Heck, there's even been rumors of Krang appearing in the film.

     But the big news here is the picture of pre-warthog Bebop, and presumably a pre-rhino Rocksteady, played by Gary Anthony Williams and WWE's Sheamus (Stephen Farrelly).  I must say they definitely have the right look.

     Most of the rest of the original 2014 film's cast will return, including all four of the actors playing the TMNT themselves as well as both Megan Fox and Will Arnett.

     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 will arrive in theaters on June 3rd, 2016.

     Source [ Daily Mail ]

     For more Turtles posts [ TMNT ]

Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Rebels Leak

     With the massive resurgence of Star Wars and the wonderful world of Disney INfinity there are no shortage of leaks and new information arriving daily as we inch towards the fall release of 3.0.  This time, it's reported that the same retailer that leaked the base set for Disney INfinity 3.0- and they've leaked the names of 4 more characters that will be playable.

     The 4 characters named are all from the television show Star Wars Rebels.  It's said that Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Zeb Orrelios, and Sabine Wren will all be individually listed as purchasable.  It makes sense, but I find it odd that both Hera Syndulla and her cantankerous astromech C1-10P droid ("Chopper") are missing.  Which further makes me wonder if there may be an older Ahsoka Tano costume Power Disc.  Anyways, it shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone that the Rebels characters would be added with the show being so popular.

     So far we know the Playsets that are listed are Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic, Rise Against the Empire, and The Force Awakens.  One set for each of the trilogies.  So presumably the Rebels characters will be playable in at least the Twilight set.

     Disney Infinity 3.0 is rumored to be released on August 15th.

     Source [ Infinity Inquirer ]

Batman: Arkham Knight: Time to go to War Trailer & Thoughts

     Another new Batman: Arkham Knight video arrived today, and this one shows the seemless transitions in the game.  From cutscene to car, to fight, to into buildings and another cutscene.  We also get some great shots of Batmobile combat and Poison Ivy.

     My only qualms are actually about Poison Ivy.  First, does she own any pants?  Because with each Arkham game she wears smaller bottoms.  And secondly, what is with her weird arm yoga?  She is always doing strange stretching movements.  On the other hand, they did fix her ridiculous hair, and the model looks incredible.  So overall it is a huge improvement.

     Batman: Arkham Knight will be released June 23.


Armello Teaser Trailer: A Digital Board Game for PS4

     Armello is being touted as the "first digital board game" and it looks very intriguing.  I can't say it'll be truly the first, as their are plenty of others out there- Magic: The Gathering has numerous games, Horde is a tabletop type game, and even Hitman GO is quite board game-y.
     What Armello has going for it is sheer beauty.  Everything in the trailer looks amazing- like a strange amalgam of Game of Thrones and the Richard Adams novel Watership Down.

     "Set in a vibrant magical world with a tinge of darkness, our game, Armello, is a multiplayer digital board game that thrusts players into a Game of Thrones-esque struggle for power. You’ll select one of eight unique Heroes from the animal clans of Armello, and compete for the crown while the mad lion king terrorizes the Kingdom from the seeming safety of his Royal Palace."
     After a successful Kickstarter and better Early Access runs, creators League of Geeks have announced that Armello will release this September on the PS4.  Inspired by tabletop gaming it looks as if they will be able to bring the feel of true tabletop gaming to the Playstation console with great ability.

     Source [ Playstation Blog ]

Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer Shows Off Nice Scarecrow Nightmare Footage (PS4 Exclusive Content)

     Playstation has released their exclusive content trailer for the upcoming release of Batman: Arkham Knight.  It features both futuristic and classic skins from Justice League 3000 and the old Adam West Batman television show respectively.

     What caught my attention, however, was the new footage from the Scarecrow's Nightmare Missions.  It looks trippy as ever as Gotham burns under a giant Scarecrow and Batman inhales loads of Fear Toxin.

     Batman: Arkham Knight will be released on June 23.


What Remains of Edith Finch: House Intro Trailer & Thoughts

     The Unfinished Swan's creators, Giant Sparrow, have finally released a wonderful trailer for their next game What Remains of Edith Finch.  It's been about half a year since Sony's PSX show that gave us a small taste of what was to come, but it didn't do the justice that this new trailer does.

     The story is that of the Finch family and the way they've lived and died in their home, with each generation adding it's own unique bits over the last century to make the house into almost its own entity.  The game overall will be comprised of many of the Finch's stories and each chapter ends with the character's death.
     "What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington state. 
     Each story offers a chance to experience the life of a different family member with stories ranging from the early 1900s to the present day. The gameplay and tone of the stories are as varied as the family members themselves. The only constants are that each is played from a first-person perspective and that each story ends with that family member's death. It's a game about what it feels like to be humbled and astonished by the vast and unknowable world around us. 
     You'll follow Edith Finch as she explores the history of her family and tries to figure out why she's the last one in her family left alive."
     From the sounds of it the house itself will have gained a sort of life of its own.  A kind of personality and has been described as "crazy."  The house as a whole will provide each distinct room as a place influenced by the particular family member that lived in it, thus creating a massive architectural artifact through its surreal life.

     Players, as Edith, will explore the rooms, each on acting as a photo album or diary into the other Finch's lives.  It gives us the familial fallout through the ages and the records left behind, a domino effect cascading through the decades, all left in this fantastic monument of a home.  A legacy of life and death being displayed in a strange form of experienced architecture for players, and it leaves me feeling that What Remains of Edith Finch to be a dark, but brilliant, combination of Gone Home and a haunted house.

     Later this year Giant Sparrow will be demo-ing the game at E3 with the whole first chapter.

     What Remains of Edith Finch is coming exclusively to PS4 in 2016.

     Source [ Playstation Blog EU ]


Netflix Daredevil: A Short & Belated Review

     I wanted to wait to really review this show after binge watching it the first weekend it was released.  To start, I was genuinely impressed by how much better it was than the way Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was.  I really thought S.H.I.E.L.D. started very, VERY poorly, but after going back and watching from episode 8 on, it did get much better, and I'll be doing a write up on that as well.
     I even believe Agent Carter was a vast improvement over Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and likewise have a draft almost done for a review for it, but back to Daredevil.  What Netflix has done with this show is give Marvel a true standing on television.  Taking the grit and realism of heroes on the streets and making it happen. 

     Daredevil doesn't have huge powers like Hulk, no godlike hammer of Thor, or a steady stream of technological suits like Iron Man- he has minor powers and uses them as best he can on the streets of Hell's Kitchen.  Daredevil takes the little guy and has him helping clean up the mess of things the Avengers has helped make.  A city on the way to ruin.  Dealing with the fallout of an alien invasion and those that would profit from the negative aspects of it.  And he suffers both physically and mentally from overexertion.

     What the show has done goes one step further, and gives the villain the same motivation as the hero, he just has a different method of accomplishing that goal.  This has, at least to me, given the bad guy a far more interesting story than the hero.  Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk was a perfect casting choice.  He almost holds the entire season up by his scenes alone.  I mean don't get me wrong, everyone is cast so damn well- Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, and Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple- each and every one of them is great in their roles.  Each one of them feels like an individual with their own real life.  That's something that feels lacking in some other shows in general.  But really, Wilson Fisk was the star of this show.  He was a man that may have been a hero under other circumstances, and he even believes himself to actually be a hero.

     Fisk is such an amazing character here that the show could almost be his own.  I look forward to a future episode that might be solely his- something like the comic book issue of Spider-Man: Tangled Web #4: Severance Package.  It shows Fisk to be truly ruthless, but he also is very fair and a man of his word.  That single story alone could do wonders on television with D'Onofrio's nuanced portrayal.

This was my favorite Fisk scene: "I'd like to have a conversation..."
     The fight scenes were brilliantly handled, particularly the long hallway battle, with my only issues really being during the final battle between Daredevil and Kingpin.  It seemed to be filmed in a cheesier way, and was more akin to something from the WWF than the other fights throughout the season.  Fisk is a downright brawler, but I think it should've been handled a little more subtlety.  It lacked the dark aspects of combat and were replaced with flair and spectacle- with the flips and wall-jumps.  It felt like too large a change from the entire rest of the series' build up of fighting.

     My only other real complaint is with Daredevil's mask/helmet on the final suit.  It looks clunky and too low set so he has to constantly tip his head back "to see."  I get that the helmet is necessary, just adjust it a bit so he doesn't look like a child wearing their parents' headgear.  Other than that, they did an awesome job of making the suit useful.

     Overall, this is a tremendous start to the Netflix and Marvel shows, and I fully look forward to the rest of them.  In fact, I really enjoyed the way Daredevil's early suit in this show were essentially a black version of Iron Fist's costume from the comics- a very nice touch.  The combined effort of the two companies on this show have given Marvel's characters a great base to move forward from.


Josh News: The Huh? Passes 250K Visits!!!

     I've been extra busy lately, I had school finals, a surgery, a large amount of editorial work as an intern for Poetry City, USA, got married, and I am still working full time at a hospital with wonderful events like this [ Blood Squirt... Not the awesome Valiant Comics one though ] - so I have been a little behind in posting here.  Although I have been drafting like a madman, and have been prepping to start doing video reviews and a bunch of other small goodies to share here on the blog in the coming months.

     So finally breaking the 250K visits mark is a little bit of an achievement for me.  As someone that doesn't consider himself a writer or artist or any such thing, but simply as "just a guy," I think it's a wonderful thing that I've had so many visits in the last couple years, and want to thank all of you readers for that.  Sure, it isn't anything truly special, but for essentially being a nobody, to me it is a small kind of achievement.

     Thank you all again.


Asa Butterfield: The New Spider-Man?

     I've been seeing rumors of Asa Butterfield being listed as one of the final contenders for the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man for the future films and I really hope he gets it.  If you've seen Ender's Game, he displays an amazing range of acting ability, most notably in the final scene with Col. Graff (Harrison Ford).  The raw emotion during his "I will be remembered" speech is downright amazing.

     Spider-Man could use someone of this young and talented variety.  Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were at least in their mid-20's for the role- and while they were decent for the time, we could really use a high-caliber actor of a much younger age.  If Marvel hires him, I'll be fully enjoying seeing his version of the character, though I'm still a little sad they aren't introducing Miles Morales.

     Although I do have one complaint...

     ...as one of my friends said, "If they re-tell his origin story, I'm gonna shoot Uncle Ben myself."

     Source [ Screenrant

Supergirl: First Trailer and Some Thoughts

     After watching and waiting to comment on CBS's first Supergirl trailer, I am both impressed and a little put off by it.  The trailer overall is good, but it has such a Devil Wears Prada, model and looks focused vibe that feels strange to see.  Granted, they are probably aiming for the less gritty and more young women audience so it does make sense.

     I'm definitely not the first to think it reeks of the SNL parody of the Age of Ultron film- Black Widow's spoof skit, and rightfully so.  This Supergirl has an Ugly Betty with super powers feel- the archetypal story of a girl trying to both fit in and finally accept herself- only this time she has extraordinary abilities.

     One great thing to note is they aren't pulling a Smallville and having her slowly reach for or grow into her powers, but rather having her have them right at the start.  At least it seems to be she has many of them immediately.  Thus avoiding the annoyance of waiting and waiting for the good stuff to happen.

     With Kara's potential fashion based job, we might have some explanation to her choice of wardrobe.  I personally think she should be wearing a suit more like Superman's from Man of Steel, but alas, she appears to want to look good as well as help people.
     It also seems weird that she has the typical avoidance of dating and stay home mentality that I see in a lot of teenage outsider shows that I really hope gets explained.  My only real issue so far is actually first, the fact that we already have 3 people that know who she is, and second, with photography and modern media, who isn't going to know that Kara Danvers is Supergirl?  Especially because she makes no real effort to look different- sort of like the Clark Kent/Superman thing.

     I do highly appreciate the special effects, the decent nods to the rest of the DC universe (like the "Not an 'S,' photographer Jimmy "James" Olsen, Kal-El's cape, etc), and most especially I liked the inclusion of the conversation about using the name with girl.  "What do you think is so bad about 'girl'?"  That is a very good moment to include in the trailer.
     So I'll give Supergirl a try once it hits tv even though it appears to be an semi-teen-angsty show.  There at least is an underlying message that will get to young women, that they should ignore the bad and focus on the good, the idea that sometimes it's yourself perceiving the bad where there really isn't anything.

     One last thing, I find it extra amusing that Kara's Earth parents are being played by former Supergirl Helen Slater, and former Superman Dean Cain.  Awesome.


Disney Infinity 3.0: Possible Leia in Boushh Costume Power Disc

     In today's Game Informer behind the scenes video they have a lot of the Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars classic figures, and a few from the Prequels, shown and a little game footage such as the space battles with the Millennium Falcon and an X Wing.  I also saw Mulan in there as well.

Leia in Boushh Disguise
     But what intrigues me the most, is the fact that my all-time favorite character might end up being playable.  In the video when they are talking about designing Leia there are numerous pictures, and a couple of them are her in the Boushh disguise.  Sure, she doesn't have the helmet on, but if it turns out to be a costume Power Disc, I'll buy it instantly anyway.  My excitement is unbelievably ridiculous right now.

     Also- her hair should be pulled back in that costume, not in the classic cinnamon buns.


Deadpool: TJ Miller Spills the Beans on the Film

     I found this to be the most honest and refreshing talk about the highly anticipated Deadpool film.  TJ Miller is telling Conan everything that is going to be happening in the movie, and a few secrets about the character he is playing, Weasel.  Be warned this video is FULL OF SPOILERS!

     Deadpool is slated to hit theaters Feb 12, 2016.

The Punisher: Tom Hardy Wants to Play Frank Castle

     Just a month ago, I blogged about a long-time thought I'd been wondering about with Marvel rebooting The Punisher.  Since Marvel Studios has re-obtained the rights from Lionsgate, it's about time they started making films for more than just the kids market.  Marvel could use a cinematic version, or R-rated television show, more akin to the darker Marvel Max comics, or the Marvel Knights series'.  In the post I linked above, Steven DeKnight, Daredevil's showrunner, had expressed a wish to get just this sort of thing going.

     Coincidentally, just last weekend I was discussing Tom Hardy in the role of Frank Castle himself.  Then I see Collider posted this wonderful bit of an interview with Mr. Hardy:
Collider: I heard Warner Bros. has a few more superhero movies, maybe one or two that they’re developing [Laughs].
HARDY: I want The Punisher… I want The Punisher, or Splinter Cell, I want something…I don’t know what I want.
You as Punisher could be very interesting.
HARDY: I’m not big enough to be The Punisher, I’m 5’9” [Laughs].
But I actually think that adds to the character.
HARDY: Frank Castle, I would love it. Is that him, isn’t it?
Yeah. It’s Frank Castle.
     This could be a great thing for Marvel.  I've been wanting a Scorsese level mob movie with the Punisher for years.  It would need to be well thought out, and well put together- not just a bunch of crap thrown together and some guns.  I mean, I would definitely want to see some other stuff like a full-on psychological horror version of Ghost Rider, or a television series delving into the darkness of Moon Knight's troubled mind and his interactions with the Egyptian Deity Khonshu, but the Punisher would be a tremendous way to start things.

     In fact, I've been putting together a long post about Ghost Rider.  Maybe I should think a bit more on The Punisher and truly dig in to what makes him so great of an anti-hero...

     Source [ Collider ]

Disney Infinity 3.0: Officially Revealed and Trailer

     So soon after the leaked release of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars pack a week ago, Disney Infinity 3.0 has been officially announced through Game Informer.  It makes sense to do it now, as "May the Fourth Be With You" was yesterday, although in truth I would've expected the announcement to arrive on the actual "Star Wars Day," May 25th.

     As already known, it will be heavily Star Wars themed (for all generations, old and new), with multiple Play Sets on the way including one to be released later in the winter based on The Force Awakens movie.

     What I find most profound is the way the game is being developed by many studios, each focusing on specific portions, aspects, or Play Sets .  Avalanche is handling the main course, with others kind of specializing in certain areas or aspects.

     Ninja Theory’s playset will be the set with the game pack.  It is called Twilight of the Republic, and will feature Anakin and Ahsoka at some point during the The Clone Wars series, attempting to find the person responsible for a new constructed droid army.  It is said to contain both normal and space battles.  Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul have all been confirmed as separately purchasable characters.

     Studio Gobo’s set is called Rise Against the Empire that will roughly follow the main story of the classic trilogy.  The set will jump around to key moments and places featured in the original films and feature the characters of Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader.  Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader have also been announced as additionally playable, but once again, a separate purchase is necessary.

     There will also be Avengers: Age of Ultron things for the Marvel players handled by United Front Games introducing Hulkbuster Suit Iron Man, Ultron, and a few more.
     And of course the Disney centric series will be getting a bunch of stuff as well such as Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Sam Flynn, Quorra, Mulan, Olaf, and more.  And a nice new additional set will be based on Pixar's upcoming film Inside Out featuring a slew of the characters from the movie.

     Then lastly ,Sumo Digital has been brought on board to adjust and update the driving mechanics for an upcoming Kart Racing game, which will carry over into the Toy Box itself.
     Then speaking of the Toy Box, it is getting an overhaul with an updated hub world and a new farming system that will be added.

     I think one of the best announcements is that the DI: Power Discs will be sold in packs that you'll be able to see what you are buying now.  No more blind luck to get things you are looking for.

     Disney Infinity 3.0 will be arriving on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, AndroidiOS, and the Wii U some time this fall. The Starter Pack is priced at $64.99.

     Source [ Game Informer ]


May the 4th Be With You: A Small Post About My Lifelong Star Wars Fandom

     I grew up fairly poor and escaped that life through a wonderful galaxy that existed a long time ago and far, far away.  My earliest recollection of an obsession with Star Wars began with seeing the Return of the Jedi in the theaters, it's one of my earliest memories of anything really.  I recall it being just amazing.  Then years later, I'd walk up to gas stations to read the comic books they stocked.

     Once I got a job I collected the comics, the books, the video games, the toys, and even joined the fan club.  I even still have my Star Wars Insider Official Jedi Knight card and Member number from 1997!   I absorbed everything I could because it was an unbelievably vast and diverse universe.  It was a place for everyone and everything.

"This is probably not the blog post you are looking for..."
     In the years since, I've maintained that full fandom.  Despite my distaste for a lot of the "mistakes" the Prequels made, they still had a lot of great stuff in them.  There's still plenty of material to appreciate in them.  The movies stand as a whole, one of the greatest cinematic achievements ever made.  A huge part of me is extremely excited for the new wave of films on the way.
     On the small screen, I've been a long time fan of The Clone Wars series, and much more recently, the Rebels show is also tremendously well put together.  I hope we get some shows for a little older of an audience, with some slightly darker tones  But for now Rebels is satisfying my urges.

     I've been thoroughly impressed by some of the video games, such as The Force Unleashed, as well as quite disappointed with a few as well, like Star Wars: Obi-Wan, which ruined a game prospect for one of my favorite characters or Sega CD's Rebel Assault- it was just plain awful.  With the future of Disney Infinity holding a massive potential video game gold mines, I am super stoked for this.

     For the books, I'd recommend most any they have available.  And with that thought- I'd also highly suggest anyone that can to get them in audiobook format.  The audio versions are full of sound effects that really enhance the reading/listening experience.  Maul was great, Kenobi was decent, Scoundrels was an amazing heist story, and even the odd zombie story like Death Troopers or Red Harvest was wonderful.  As long as they keep up the good work, I'll keep buying them.  The Expanded Universe, now not really canon, still offered a nice look into the rest of the universe of George Lucas' amazing creation and I would still advise people to give Shadows of the Empire a read.
     In the comics there were, and still are, many great things.  There's so much material that it is kind of hard to really call some up.  A Free Comic Book Day issue featuring Anakin Skywalker called "A Jedi's Weapon" was a tight and well done story.  Darth Maul's fate in Star Wars Tales is worthy reading that is also quite well-handled in The Clone Wars television series.
     The "what if" Star Wars: Infinities series is a tremendous take on what might have been under varying circumstances, like Yoda dying before Luke's training.  Then there's one of my all-time personal favorites- the Tag & Bink issues are required reading for fans because it takes place sort of "between the scenes" of the main films.  The duo of Tag & Bink are essentially two bumbling idiots that stumble their way to victory- incidentally influencing the outcomes of some famous scenes.  Almost as if the Force was working through the two most inept people in the galaxy.
     When it comes to the toys, I've collected, literally thousands of action figures.  Many of which I've since donated unopened to a lot of my friends' children- to pass on the joys of Star Wars.  Of course I've kept a bunch for myself.  Most are just ones I've always liked like the various Obi-Wan Kenobi's and my all time favorite- Leia in the Boushh disquise.  I must have like 25 variations of the Boushh toys ranging from the Lego toy to the 12" version with the light up Han in Carbonite.

     With this resurgence of popularity I'll be holding back on much of the collecting.  Not all of it of course, but I'll still be purchasing the video games- most likely ALL of the Disney Infinity 3.0 stuff (while there's been no "official" announcement, everyone already knows), a few toys (obviously the new Obi-Wan's and Boushh's), and pretty much 90% of the audio books.

     I may be posting some better written and more well thought out stuff later on.  I know I've got a decent draft about Obi-Wan, an all-right draft about lightsabers, and roughly 25 partially written Star Wars video game reviews on deck.  So there'll be plenty more to come while we wait for the official new stuff to come.

     If any of you readers are still here, I think any true fan would realize "May the 4th Be With You," clearly followed by the "Revenge of the 5th," isn't really Star Wars Day, which is actually be May 25th.  For reasons long time fans should be able to put together.

     For my older posts [ Star Wars ]


Suicide Squad Cast Full Reveal... Missing a Few People.

     So the Suicide Squad director David Ayers just posted this image of a majority of the rest of the Suicide Squad, and with the exception of Harley Quinn, I'm rather impressed.
     They don't appear nearly as bad as what I was expecting after the Joker's first pic.  But then, I've heard the tattoos aren't real, but really, why even put them there in the first place?  If they were to cover something up just do plain skin with whatever they're hiding left out.  Scars?  Don't show them yet.  Simple.

     Anyway, the rest of the group looks pretty bad ass.  I like Boomerang's mutton chops, the cool look of Killer Croc's skin, and even El Diablo's school jacket is hilariously awesome.  All in all I'd say this is a pretty impressive bunch of diversity.

     What we have pictured, from left to right, is Adam Beach as Christopher Weiss (Slipknot), Jai Courtney as George "Digger" Harkness (Captain Boomerang), Cara Delevingne as June Moone (Enchantress), Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn), Will Smith as Floyd Lawton (Deadshot), and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones (Killer Croc), and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo.

     Currently NOT pictured are Jared Leto as The Joker, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Ike Barinholtz as Dr. Hugo Strange, Jim Parrack as Jonny Frost (Pseudo Joker), Raymond Olubowale as Nanaue (King Shark), and Common in an unspecified role.

     Suicide Squad is set to be released August 5th, 2016.


Avengers: Age of Ultron: Review

     ***SPOILER ALERT***

The Good

     Avengers: Age of Ultron begins with a great and sweeping action sequence and tends to bring our focus to the question of if what these heroes are doing is actually not a good thing.  That starts a long series of points telling us over and over that war and destruction will always cost lives- and sometimes trying to prevent that will cost just as many lives.  They've given us wonderfully long tracking shots of the interplay between the team's combat interactions, with snippets of banter to keep the pace going.  They show the cost of being a hero and the divide growing between their ideologies.

     Each character has much more wit and humor in the dialog than the first Avengers did.  So much so, that at times it felt as though they were just being said as filler.  Many of them were beginning to sound too alike.  Thor's bravado and Asgardian flavor has been grounded to the Midgardian station, even Captain America's joke's feel too soon for a man displaced in time.  His situation does get addressed and serves as a running joke about Cap's distaste for "language," but not enough to make him really stand outside the group.
     Though I do have to say there was a LOT of good humor despite the complaint, like the "Elevator is not worthy" line.  Ultron damn near steals the show even though it seemed as if he was being completely mishandled in some scenes.  His anger and absurd line about fixing Klaw's arm was great, and my personal favorite part of the film is when Hulk jumps into the Quinjet as Ultron is attempting to flee- and off screen you here Ultron say, "Oh, for god's sake!"  Then he is flung out the back of the plane.  A perfect reaction.

     As a nice change of pace, they did give some extra backstory and potential flaws shown through Scarlet Witch's powers.  It also gave Hawkeye a much larger role instead of being the joke of the team.  This movie also holds the best Stan Lee cameo to date.  He barely holds his own against some ancient alcohol Thor has at a party... "Excelsior...!"

The Bad

     Don Cheadle's character James Rhodes/War Machine makes a joke at a party about a story killing with the normal people, but not being a hit with either Thor or Iron Man.  That works as a frame for most of the movie.  There's a ton of things we've seen already, and an overabundance of fan service to the point of over stuffing the damn movie.  We have the new bad guy, the threat of human extinction, and cameos galore.  What we don't have is something really new.
     James Spader's Ultron is created and instantly has a plan to fix humanity.  Protection by elimination.  I can deal with that.  What I don't understand is how criminally underutilized the character was.  In the end he's in all his duplicates, but why wouldn't someone as smart as Ultron have a back up somewhere?
     When he upgrades himself I would've expected something much more interesting to come out, like the picture I included below from the cover of an issue of Annihilation Conquest.  Instead they give us a thicker Ultron, which I thought looked worse than his original look.  Even Iron Man makes a comment about him looking puffy.  Even the Ultron drones looked better.

     The one big thing that really, really bothered me a lot was the odd and somewhat forced budding relationship between Hulk/Banner and Black Widow.  It really felt completely unnecessary.  Just taking up extra time that could've been shaved down and thus tightening up the story.  This thread of story could've been cut down a lot of wasted space.  Seriously, it felt so damn forced.  There was however, an interesting, but nearly useless bit tied to this subplot about Black Widow being rendered sterile as part of her "training."  Once, again, it doesn't really matter to the whole of the film.  I mean did anyone wonder what the Hulk's nightmare was?  Nope, because it wasn't required at all, and thus not shown.

     Another problematic topic was the introduction of the twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  The new origin story makes sense due to the fact they can't be mutants, as Fox owns the film rights to all mutants- and puts a nice tie in to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show.  It seemed like Quicksilver was there to give us a surprise death instead of the neon-sign-like hints of death all pointing directly at Hawkeye's face.  They kind of appear shoe-horned into the story to give Ultron some lackeys.  What may have been better was if he simply discussed things with his other selves.
"The End Game"

     What the film does as a whole, aside from absurdly huge action shots, is set up a ton for future Marvel films.  The end shows the current Avengers being torn apart and going their own ways, whilst simultaneously setting up for a new Avengers team made up of previously supporting characters.  It begins the ominous coming of Ragnarok for Thor, Hulk's disappearance as he poses a threat to humanity wherever he goes, and even setting up Klaw to be a villain in Wakanda for Black Panther's own film.  But most importantly, this marks the moment in time when Thanos himself steps up to take action where all his machinations had previously failed through pawns, he has finally decided to do things himself.

"Avengers A..."

     The abrupt and unfinished statement by Captain America at the end, "Avengers a...," is really the best way to summarize the entire film.  It definitely wasn't bad, but it really could have been much better.  It seems slightly incomplete, and when it comes down to it, Avengers: Age of Ultron generally felt more like a segue film, a metaphorical launchpad for other films to spring off of, than the Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back sequel it truly could have been.  It was still quite enjoyable, and I'll definitely still buy it because it's a popcorn-munching action treat at heart.

     Now to wait for Ant-Man which I believe will be a better overall film than this was probably due to it not having 20 main characters crammed into a single film.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: First Pic of Stephen Amell as Casey Jones

     I'm still torn about the new TMNT reboot.  It isn't the worst of the franchise's films, but it's still a far cry from the best.  In fact, I'm under that exact feeling with the first official pic of Stephen Amell as Casey Jones for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2.

     He looks to have been updated pretty well, except for the mask. The mask imply looks way too large.  Its odd and has a decent look, and appears to offer some actual protection for his ears.  The creepy malformed face look could do well for the character.  And I have to ask, why did they get rid of the scraggly longer hair?  He seems a bit too clean-cut here.

     The best part of this picture is actually the fact he's holding an Eastman hockey stick!

     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is set to be released June 3rd, 2016.

     For more of my Turtles posts [ TMNT ]