Shazam! Teaches DC The Importance Of Fun And Family!

Somehow here in the year 2019 DC has released a “Shazam!” movie. With this film, DC and Warner Bros are really testing if audiences are willing to see minor heroes make their way to the silver screen. Now to be fair, Shazam was in theaters before. Albeit he was then known as Captain Marvel (no, not that Captain Marvel), and that was nearly 80 years ago, so your grandparents may remember him if you alert them to the name change. Despite all that, Captain Marvel “Shazam!” is the best movie beginning to end so far of the new DCEU.

“Shazam!” like most superhero movies is about an orphan, but what makes this movie different is that he is still fourteen. You see an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou in his second Captain Marvel movie of the year) needs a champion to protect the world from the Seven Deadly Sins, but when things go south, he needs to settle on a troubled foster kid name Billy Batson (Asher Angel). When Billy says the wizard’s name, Shazam, he is transformed in to the perfect man. Who in this case is Zachary Levi.

If this makes you think the movie is a little like Big, but with superheroes, you would be right. Though, that would be unfair to “Shazam!” because it makes the most of its premise. Because while the trailers show that this film is funny, they don’t show all the heart, and its focus on the importance of family. Whatever that looks like. In this case a group home that Billy is placed in, and the movie is at its best when Billy/Shazam is with his foster brother Freddy Freeman played by Jack Dylan Grazer. The three leads have great chemistry. The rest of the family is very good too, but they are there mostly filler.

The villains on the other hand are not as good. Mark Strong’s Doctor Sivana is not given anybody to really play off for his scenes, so he falls a little flat, though I think his story pays off really well at the end. Also, the Sins are CGI characters that push the budget for this movie a little too much, so they stand out in a bad way, and they make the movie too creepy for younger children. Otherwise, this probably could have been a PG movie, but these are minor flaws in a great movie.

Wonder Woman would have been perfect if it had found a way to have a third act without a big grey thing to fight, and “Shazam!”‘s third act pays off the movie’s themes in a creative way, so while Wonder Woman is a better movie in parts, “Shazam!” is better as a whole. What I am saying is, “Shazam!” is probably the best movie in the DCEU and you should see it. Maybe take your grandparents, it might bring back some memories.

They Are Actually Making A Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2?!

There is not really a lot to gather from this trailer. Mostly that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is a go, but other than that, there is no gameplay or real story shown here. Just that they are shooting to release in early 2020, and that it clearly takes place in Seattle. What is also interesting is that at the end video it says it is coming to “Xbox” not Xbox One, so I am guessing they are hoping for this to be a launch “window” game for the new console. Though it does say it is coming to PS4, so maybe I am just reading too much in to it. Either way, I will be looking forward for this in Q1 2020.

Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom Is Dumb

Some movies don’t deserve to be reviewed. Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom is one of those movies. I am not sure what happened with this movie, but oh man this movie dumb. The plot is dumb, the dialog is dumb, all the character “motivations” are dumb, and whoever thought that a manor basement was a better location than an island is dumb, but even more than that, my mind is still struggling with a dinosaur aiming gun. WHY NOT JUST SHOOT THE PERSON WITH THE @#$%ING GUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

In conclusion, don’t watch Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom. It isn’t even the fun dumb, or so bad it is good. It just isn’t worth your time, and Universal should feel bad for releasing it.

Captain Marvel Is For Better Or Worse A Marvel Movie

After nearly eleven years and twenty films, the MCU has finally added Captain Marvel to its lineup. This twenty-first film of the franchise is the first to be headlined by a woman, and she is the most powerful Marvel hero yet to get a movie. While I enjoyed the film quite a bit, I was also a little disappointed that they stuck so closely to the tried and true Marvel formula.

I thought about how best to do a synopsis of the film, and due to the fact they wanted to try and tell an origin story backwards, so that the hero could have her powers for the entire film, it is hard to do without getting all spoiler-y, but let’s just say, it is set in the 90’s and Captain Marvel doesn’t know she is Captain Marvel because she lost memory. Also, Jude Law is there to tell her not to worry about her memory, but to just worry about taking out the Kree’s (a Marvel alien race) enemies.

I get what the writers were trying to do. It is lame to have a superhero film where the hero doesn’t have their powers for half of the movie, but I am rarely a fan the tired amnesia storyline. The characters are all good enough to mostly pull this off, but I would have rather them done a traditional origin story, or just skipped the origin and moved on to something else. Like I said, with cast this good, they can do just about anything well, but I have seen a few too many people who cannot remember their pasts in my movie going history. Captain Marvel also had shares a problem with Aquaman, where the filmmakers have a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to cover it, so the movie doesn’t really get to dig in with any one major plot thread. It just rushes from one thing to the next.

Speaking of the cast, this one was stacked. With Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, and Jude Law just to name a few. They pull of the signature Marvel quips and one-liners with aplomb. I know some people were worried about Brie’s Captain Marvel because the trailers don’t give her a lot of personality, but that is mostly due to the amnesia. As she starts to remember who she is, her personality starts to shine though.

Captain Marvel was not a perfect movie, but it is very much a prototypical Marvel movie. With all the action and humor you have come to expect, and now Avengers: Endgame has added a powerful hero to try and undo what Thanos has done. There are some things I would have changed about this movie, but I am happy Captain Marvel has finally made it to the big screen. It is has been a long time coming, and I hope she is here to stay.

The Quest For The Forever Game!

The Paladin and I finally beat the main questline for The Division last night. It was as anticlimactic as I had heard, but it was always going to be. Ubisoft wanted us to play The Division for 100s of hours, so to have an ending that pretty much said, “Well, you did it! Go back home to your family and friends for the few days you have left. You know, because while those half-masks look cool, really cool, there is no way they keep super-viruses from infecting you. I mean, they don’t even cover your eyes and ears. Anyway, thanks for all the help. Burn all your gear and take a chemical shower on the way out.” No, they want you to continue hunting down rogue New Yorkers with extreme prejudice for forever.

Which is kind of the problem with these games, expectations. According to the in-game stat counter, I have played The Division for 1 Day and 16 Hours, so to max out the main base, get to level 30, and finish the main quest it takes about 40 hours. For a dad that works full time. 40 hours is plenty of game. Had the game been sold that way, most people would have been fine, but that is not what happened. It was going to be the game to end all games. You would never need another game. It was the cornerstone in Ubisoft’s future financial plans. However, once it was released the hard-core players did the base stuff in about two days, and then demanded their “End Game”. AKA the real game. Judging by all the cool stuff I can play and do now in The Division, it looks like there is a lot of end game content now available, but for many players it got added too late, and they were off to the next thing.

What is curious, is that this keeps happening. Ubisoft is releasing The Division 2 saying that this time they got it right. Bungie and Activision said the same thing about Destiny 2. EA said that Anthem was a game you would be playing for 10 years. Right now, you are lucky if you can play Anthem for 10 minutes before it tries to destroy your console. Why do companies keep doing this? Why keep chasing the new MMO craze every time they come around? Games are expensive, and they are getting even more expensive to make. Even chasing niches costs a lot of money. You should go check out the Game Informer interviews they did with Obsidian about The Outer Worlds on YouTube. See how many times the lead developers, Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, said they wanted to do something, but it was cut due to time and budget, that they hope gamers are satisfied with the smaller scope of the game, or with the CEO Feargus Urquhart when he says that the reason they got bought out by Microsoft was that even “little” games now take a lot of capital, and there is no way to really afford that alone anymore.

In an era where it costs 100s of Millions of dollars to make a game, having a game out there that continues to bring in cash year after year grantees a company’s stability. Not to mention, if people are rushing through 40-hour games in days, and then complaining there isn’t enough to do, an endless game sounds like something that can fix that, so to keep striving to be the next WoW, or Warframe, or even Eve Online makes a lot of sense. Even if they keep screwing up. Because, if they get it right it can keep their company afloat while they work on other projects. Most companies will fail to create their forever game, but I don’t think we will see them stop trying any time soon. Not when GTA V is still selling millions of copies and tons of virtual currency.