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Nov 232016
 

The X-Men movie franchise has gone in several directions over the years. X-men: Days Of Future Past is a direct sequel to X-men: First Class, but delves into the old movie versions as well.

It starts in the future where the X-Men are at war with the Sentinels. The only survivors are Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and several others. They believe that the only way to stop this war is through time travel. Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine back to the year 1973, but only consciously.

It turns out that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) caused the war when she killed Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) the creator of the Sentinels and got caught shortly afterwards. It’s up to Wolverine to stop Mystique, but he can’t do it alone.

Image result for x-men days of future past

He seeks help from young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hault), and young Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It takes a while for them to come around, but Wolverine was able to get them to come together, in his own way.

Also helping out is a new mutant named Quicksilver (Evan Peters). He’s fast like lightning, but has a cocky attitude. It especially shows when Quicksilver goes around the prison kitchen to draw the guards’ fire, which makes him a very helpful ally. What I don’t understand is why the song Time in a Bottle was playing in the background. It totally changed the mood of the scene.

However, things do not run smoothly. The war in the future gets worse and Wolverine’s attempt to change the past goes haywire, especially with time not on anyone’s side.

I liked this film. It combines the entire movie franchise together so well, but that doesn’t mean it’s ending anytime soon. Especially since there’s always a post credits scene that indicates something new is about to happen. It just leaves you wanting more, no matter where the franchise will branch out next.

Sep 282016
 
Many pop culture villains are straightforward with their evil plots. Then there are ones that use a more creative approach to either terrorize the innocent or force the hero(s) to alter their tactics when challenged. Here are some of my most favorite interesting villains who stand out in that unique manner.
Cheapo
#10) Cheapo from Stripperella: Of all the villains on this series, he is the most unusual because he’s very cheap as a crime lord. Cheapo’s resourcefulness is based on how he plans everything the cheapest way possible. However, it affects his common sense. So much so that his own henchmen appear to be smarter then him. Seriously, what criminal mastermind prefers copper to gold?
Floatzart
#9) Floatzart from Ghostbusters (1986 version): This ghostly maestro uses music to subdue his victims, whether it’s to conduct ghosts with his baton or play his float flute that’s made from a long bone. Very little is known about Floatzart since he was only in a few episodes and, like the other evil ghosts, his background from when he was alive is not revealed. I do like his style though. He is one of few musical villains that aren’t annoying.
#8) Leaky Faucet from Power Rangers Zeo: Many of the monsters on Power Rangers normally don’t stand out too often because they’re only featured once before getting destroyed, twice if they’re lucky to be brought back. In this version, Leaky Faucet is different than most. He can liquefy at will and easily sneak into water pipes in order to spread his toxins. For a machine monster, that’s quite impressive.
#7) Dr. Bad Vibes from C.O.P.S. the Animated Series: He’s a brilliant scientist that invents high tech gadgets for the Big Boss. Along with his robot companion Buzz Bomb, Dr. Bad Vibes commits crimes with unusual inventions from a circus train that can bash through buildings to speed suits that make criminals run really fast. I still can’t get over the fact that he has his brain under glass and never takes off his wild shades. I wonder why that is.
#6) Ty-Lee from Avatar: The Last Air Bender: There are many benders, but this cheerful acrobatic girl has the skill to chi block a bender’s power using pressure points. This makes Ty-Lee a very dangerous opponent along side her friends Mai and Azula. It just goes to show that Ty-Lee may be beautiful, but looks can be deceiving.
#5) Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons: Bob Terwilliger used to be Krusty the Clown’s sidekick until he was put in prison for framing Krusty for armed robbery. On each of Bob’s return appearances, he seeks revenge on Bart while coming up with crazy but ingenious plans like running for Mayor of Springfield and abolishing television, yet it’s always Bart and Lisa who defeat Bob and put him back in prison. Aside from Bob’s dangerous persona, he always ends up in funny situations. That always makes me look forward to Bob’s next appearance, since he’s only a reoccurring villain.
 
#4) Mystique from X-Men franchise: If there’s one mutant power that makes a villain tough to beat, it’s the ability to shape shift. Mystique is a unique mutant with smooth fighting abilities, but what really makes her interesting is that she can turn into anyone. If she turns into another mutant, she can use their powers against her opponents. It’s very difficult to see through Mystique when she takes another form. This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Master of Disguise”.
#3) Live Wire from Superman franchise: She was once a radio personality named Leslie Willis. After getting struck by lightning, she became a super villain with the power to control anything electrical. Not only are her powers smooth, Live Wire can easily travel through electrical wires anywhere. What I like most about Live Wire is her witty personality. She always has something funny to say while fighting her enemies, next to Harley Quinn of course.
#2) Baxter Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise: Once again, the most creative villain is the deranged scientific genius. Stockman isn’t really a much of a fighter on his own, but he can be a very tricky adversary. Whether he’s leading an army of mousers, wearing advanced battle armor, or fighting as a mutant fly, Stockman’s skills always give him an edge that even some of the strongest villains don’t have.
 
#1) The Riddler from Batman franchise: Batman has faced a huge number of creative villains, but none come as close as Edward Nygma a.k.a. the Riddler. Using his brilliant mind, he comes up with brainteasers that are so advanced that they often have a double meaning. Somehow, Batman is always able to figure them out. After he does, it’s so interesting to see the different angles from the advanced riddles. I’m not sure how the Riddler comes up with those so efficiently, but it’s so cool how he can make a game out of a crime caper apart from the Joker.
Jul 062016
 

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and J’Onn J’Onzz the Martian Hunter are back again in Justice League: Doom. With the assistance of Cyborg, the task is to once again save the world from a horrible threat.

It starts with a real exciting battle with the Royal Flush Gang. These villains are real high tech, even though they don’t appear to be the same ones from Batman Beyond.

The real threat is the Legion of Doom. Now I can remember when I first heard about the Legion of Doom headquarters on Challenge of the Super Friends (1978-1979), which consisted of 13 archenemies. This time there are only five, not including the mastermind behind it all.

Each arch villain has a personal vendetta against a different Justice League member. They are Bane, Cheetah, Metallo, Mirror Master, Star Sapphire, and Ma’alefa’ak. From what I understand, these particular villains were handpicked because they are the toughest in each group of colorful archenemies.

Originally the leader of the Legion of Doom was Lex Luthor, but he’s not even in this movie. This time it’s a new villain named Vandal Savage. He’s an immortal intent on destroying most of the world’s population and creating a new civilization to lead. I’ll tell you, his back-story is strange. Simple, but strange.

The tactics the archenemies use on the Justice League are so intense they actually come very close to succeeding both physically and mentally. I thought that nothing ever stopped the Justice League. They always come through when they are together.

This was a good feature with its superhero action with a touch of nostalgia by bringing back the Legion of Doom headquarters. Can you believe that it was still in the swamp and in good condition since the old Super Friends animated series?

Apr 132016
 

As you might recall, the classic Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers contained Japanese footage within the episodes. But have you ever wondered exactly where that footage came from? It’s from a Sentai series called Super Sentai Zyuranger(1992-1993).

These rangers originally coexisted with the dinosaurs 170 million years ago. Each one was from a different tribe and put in suspended animation until they were awakened to defend Earth. Best part is that there is no identity secrecy. Everyone knows who the Zyurangers are and they befriend the many citizens, especially the kids. They are Geki (Yuta Mochizuki) as the Red Ranger, Goushi (Seiju Umon) as the Black Ranger, Dan (Hideki Fujiwara) as the Blue Ranger, Boi (Takumi Hashimoto) as the Yellow Ranger, and Mei (Reiko Chiba) as the Pink Ranger.

Later on, a sixth Zyuranger joins the team, Burai (Hisashi Sakai) as the Green Ranger. Like the Green Ranger on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, he’s not featured as frequently but for a completely different reason altogether.

The rangers also have zords, but they are featured as the Guardian Beasts and they actually talk. When the five Guardian Beasts combine they become Daizyuzin and Burai’s Guardian Beast is called Dragon Caesar. As interesting as that sounds, I still prefer to call them Megazord and Dragonzord. The same goes for King Brachion as Titanus the Ultrazord.

Instead of Zordon and Alpha 5, the Zyurangers’ wise mentor is a wizard named Barza (Jun Tatara) and he lives in an underground temple instead of a command center.

The villains have the same exact look to the ones on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. However, they are very different in comparison. Not just their names, but their personalities too. Let’s start with the leader who is the witch Bandora (Machiko Soga). If you thought Rita Repulsa was evil, Bandora is much worse. She hates children and often targets them as a way to conquer Earth, sometimes in a brutal manner. Now that’s just low. On the bright side, she is funny when defeated much like Rita.

Bandora’s group also consists of strong warriors Grifforzar and Lamy (Ami Kawai) who are actually husband and wife. That was certainly a surprise since Goldar and Scorpina were never a couple.

And let’s not forget the comedic Topat (Baboo) and Bookback (Squatt) who can take human form. As well as Pleprechaun (Finster) the unusual artist, who created the Golems (Putty Patrollers) and the various Dora Monsters.

Speaking of which, the names are very different but the monster is easy to recognize like Dora Goblin (Gnarly Gnome), Dora Sphinx (King Sphinx), Dora Ninja (Dark Warrior), Dora Cockatrice (Chunky Chicken), Dora Laygor (Madam Woe), and so on and so forth. Personally I prefer to identify the monsters by their names on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

I’ll tell you, I really enjoyed this Sentai series. If you think it’s like Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, it isn’t. Super Sentai Zyuranger is edgier and definitely not a kid show. It sure is nice to compare the two shows, especially if you’re a Power Rangers fan.

One last note: There are other Super Sentai shows that follow a similar premise. One I would also recommend is Gosei Sentai Dairanger, which contains footage of the Thunderzords, the White Ranger, and monsters from season two of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

Jan 272016
 

LEGO toys have been around for a long time. I know because I used to play with LEGO when I was a kid. However, It wasn’t until about the late 2000s when LEGO took well known franchises and made video games, then eventually animated features with a cute style of humor.

One such feature is Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite. Apparently it’s about Lex Luthor trying to become President of the United States with help from the Joker by using destructive means to make it happen and it’s up to Batman to stop them.

Robin also helps out and so does Superman, despite how Batman only believes that he can only rely on himself. That’s a bit annoying but not nearly as annoying as Superman is when he talks in the third person. What’s the point of that?

The action is cool. As Joker disrupts an award ceremony, it gets real interesting when the other major Batman villains like Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Riddler, and Harley Quinn help him out.

Steve BlumRob Paulsen

I met Steve Blum, who was the voice of the Penguin, at CollectiveCon 2015 and Rob Paulsen, the voice of the Riddler, at MegaCon 2014.

What’s real common in LEGO features is buildings and machinery falling to pieces as well as being put back together. Lex Luthor has a weapon called the De-Constructor that can tear powerful black objects apart like Batman’s vehicles and it’s powered by Kryptonite.

After Luthor breaks Joker out of Arkham Asylum, Joker frees the other Batman villains who even include Bane and Poison Ivy. It’s so cool how Batman and Robin keep them from escaping with exciting vehicle chases.

 

Then it all comes down to a giant Joker robot that runs on Kryptonite. As much as Batman hates to admit it, he needs help. That’s when the Justice League comes to the rescue. Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg all make an appearance.

This was a good LEGO movie. Lately many of the modern straight-to-DVD Batman movies have been darker and more brutal. In comparison, it’s nice to see that this one is a least a little bit lighter for a change.