Thursday, April 19, 2018

Let's Play Ni no Kuni™ II: Revenant Kingdom: 16-18

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 Well despite how naively ridiculous Evan's plan for this world is, he's going at it with full gusto. Besides he has Goldpaw's support in this endeavor and records of somebody trying this plan before this is looking somewhat actually plausible. At least plausible enough that people are actually willing to uproot and move to our brand spanking new kingdom. Now this could either be the birth of a brand new era of peace or the start of the greatest, most lucrative cult ever. Either way as long as I have my hand on the pedal I don't really care as long as I have fun.

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is propriety of Level-5 games and Namco Bandai. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

March to Infinity: Ant-Man: Best Thomas the Tank Engine Cameo ever!

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 From the Age of Ultron to the guy who originally made him in the comics we have his successor taking on the long overdue role of Ant-Man. As is tradition since it's available here's a link to a more well read comic book aficionado who can tell you all the true origins of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man.

 This is yet another movie that I thought was going to be a stinker. This was down to two factors, the first was because I was afraid that they were going to use the original Ant-Man Hank Pym who was not only several flavors of crazy but is also a wife beating piece of slimy sewer trash. The second factor was its production history. See apparently this was originally a Phase one movie but several factors, not the least of which including writer/director Edgar Wright dropping out of the project caused this movie to be delayed for at least 10 years, explaining why it was Tony Stark who created Ultron in the MCU instead of Hank. But they managed to pull together under Payton Reeds' direction and made the brilliant choice of making Pym's successor Scott Lang the main hero while Hank was made into his mentor.

 Our story begins in 1989 at the soon to be completed Triskelion where Professor Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) barges in on a meeting between Howard Stark, Peggy Carter and Mitchel Carson (played by Martin Donovan) and he's none too pleased that Stark is trying to replicate his Pym Particle research. After beating the shit out of Carson for mentioning how he failed to save his wife Janet; Pym swears that for so long as he lives nobody will get his formula and pimps out. Carson tries to stop him but Howard knows that he's no security risk, just so long as they don't make him one.

 We cut to then present day as former thief Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) is getting out of prison and moves in with his former cell mate Luis (played by Michael Peña). But he first makes a surprise visit to see his daughter Cassy Lang, to the chagrin of his ex wife Maggie (played by Judy Greer)  and her new cop husband Paxton (played Bobby Cannavale) who aren't exactly happy with his inability to pay child support. This combined with the fact that he can't get a decent job because he's an ex-con mean that this isn't exactly shaping up to be the best of weeks for Scott. Not to mention Luis and his crew trying to convince Scott to go on one last job. But he has to make ends meet and minimum wage isn't gonna cut it so he begrudgingly agrees.

 Hank isn't doing much better these days since his company was bought out years prior by not only his estranged daughter Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly) but also his former protégé Darrin Cross (played by Corey Stoll). On top of that after seeing archival footage of Hank's missions against the U.S.S.R as the Ant-Man or as people dismissed as tales to astonish.

 Cross however managed to find Hank's Pym particle research and has perfected his own shrinking suit which he's dubbed Yellowjacket which he now plans to sell to the highest bidder, namely Carson. Hank is of course horrified with this revelation but his pleas fall on deaf ears and he refuses to let Hope wear the Ant-Man suit, but he does have a guy. That being Scott who after successfully stealing the original Ant-Man suit out of his safe (that Hank indirectly told Luis about after the most convoluted yet hilarious game of Chinese-whispers ever) decides to try it out. After some shenanigans at Scott's expense involving a rave, rodents of unusual size and the very first live action Ant-Man; Hank later gives him back the suit after Scott tried to return it and stupidly got caught and offers him a second chance.

 Between that or getting his ass sent back to jail and never seeing Cassie again what other choice does Scott have but to accept? So he escapes with an army of ants and meets back up with Pym who tells him what he needs done. Break into Cross' lab, steal the Yellowjacket tech, and destroy his research, once that's done Hank promises that he'll help Scott so can be with Cassie again. But first, training begins now!!! After learning about the suit's capabilities, the powers of his ants, clearing up Hank and Hope's personal history about Janet and fighting The Falcon; Scott's ready for prime time.

 But Cross has tripled security so Scott brigs in his crew of Luis, Dave (played by Tip T.I Harris) and Curt (played by David Dastmalchain) to help with the job. It goes smooth, up until Cross reveals that he knew Scott was coming and is ready to sell the Yellowjacket suit to Hydra for twice the price. (Speaking of Hydra still being around I freaking called that one!) Scott manages to grow and attacks Cross who nearly got away in his helicopter but stuck around just long enough to see his life's work get sucked into the portal from Poltergeist. Fully pissed off and more crazy then ever Cross puts on the Yellowjacket suit and gets down on Scotts level for a micro-sized smackdown.

 Eventually the fight takes them to Cassy where Yellowjacket is killed and Scott manages to escape the macroscopic world safe and sound. We end with Scott back with his family and Hank presenting Hope with a new prototype Wasp suit. Finally with the post credit scene we see Sam and Steve on the run with Bucky wondering what they're going to do if they call Tony and if they do if the Accords would even let him help. That's when Sam tells Steve that he's got a guy.

 Through all the ups and downs that Phase two had in my opinion at least we ended it on a high. I honestly wasn't expecting to like this movie as much as I did but hey I thought the same thing about a lot of my favorite stuff so go figure. It's really amazing to see a movie with so much behind the scenes BS come together in such an apparently seamless way. Again partially why I liked Ant-Man so much is, like Guardians of the Galaxy it's not a straight forward superhero movie. To me Ant-man really comes across more like a heist movie with a special suit.

 Though this couldn't be pulled off half as well if the cast wasn't likable but they definitely were. We have Scott who while screwing up in his life genuinely does care for his little peanut and wants desperately to make sure she's safe and happy, even if that means going outside the lines of the law to make ends meet. Even the relationship between Hank and Hope is interesting as we got some good scenes from the fractured family dynamic and didn't overstay its welcome. It even wrapped up nicely with Hank finally trusting Hope enough and knowing that she's more then capable of handling herself by giving her the prototype Wasp suit, probably also signifying him finally starting to move past Janet's death.

 Yellowjacket was definitely one of the better MCU bad guys. Cross himself was a crazy, greedy sociopath that was willing to sell very dangerous tech to Hydra if it meant surpassing Hank. For all that he learned under Hank's tutelage he's learned absolutely nothing, though like Ultron said; we do create what destroys us, in this case Cross creating the Yellowjacket meant Hank pulls out the Ant-Man suit and trains Scott to stop him. It was also a good lead in to the theme of the importance of Fatherhood in this movie. Hank failed with Hope and Cross and now he's paying for it big time, while through Scott Hank can not only correct the sins of his past but insure that Scott and Cassy have the life he could never have with Hope.

 Now before I wrap this up I just have to say that the designs for both Ant-Man and Yellowjacket are absolutely awesome! Ant-Man was a practical but retro-cool design with a nice way of explaining how he can grow and shrink with the buttons on his gloves. I also really liked how they explained how he was able to control his ants using the , as demonstrated with Hope and Hank beforehand it not only took concentration but clarity of mind to keep the ants under control. Though all Ant-Man was missing was a scarf and a motorcycle and he'd be set, oh wait somebody else thought of that.

 Give this guy a shout out he more then deserved it. The Yellowjacket suit was really damn cool, with the evil eyes display on the helmet, the honeycomb esc grid on the yellow segments of the suit and helmet and the laser blasters on his back, on top of the added insanity caused by using the shrinking tech made Cross into a real unhinged threat. Overall Ant-Man was just a fun movie with heart where it was needed and a slick heist to give the MCU a nice bit of flavor. And since Ant-Man is the last movie of Phase 2 it's time for me to rank up the Phase 2 movies from best to not as good.

#1 Guardians of the Galaxy (this was the movie that convinced me that the MCU was worth my time, money and attention so of course this was going to top Phase 2 for me.)

#2 Ant-Man ( A movie that's so well written and presented that you completely forget its behind the scenes nightmares.)

#3 Captain America: The Winter Soldier ( A great personal story, wrapped up with poignant social commentary and an intimidating antagonist with a personal connection to our hero.)

#4 Avengers: Age of Ultron ( Not bad but felt like more of an obligation then a promise if you get what I mean.)

#5 Iron Man 3 ( Tony what in the name of Jack Kirby's crown made you think that personally challenging the Mandarin was a good idea!?)

#6 Thor: The Dark World ( This had the worst villain of the MCU and was only saved thanks to Loki.)

 Now at long last I've almost caught up with the MCU movies. After this chronologically is Civil War but since we've already tread that ground there's no need to go over it again. Except to say that it's in my top 5 MCU movies surprising absolutely no-one. Then afterwords was Doctor Strange which was a nice psychedelic trip with amazing visuals. So finally we get back on track with the March to Infinity by heading over to our dad's place and listening to Volume 2.

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Ant-Man is owned by Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures. Based off the comic book character created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.
Marvel's The Avengers is owned by Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige. Based off the comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

March to Infinity: Avengers: Age of Ultron: Mind your language

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 Well we're back on earth and just in time to see Earth's greatest heroes take down a menace that is entirely the fault of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. But since this is the first movie that actually expands on Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye as a character and not just "that one guy with the bow and arrows" I'll toss in the link to his debut appearance in the 616 universe before we get to the movie itself.

 We waste absolutely no time as we open on the Avengers attacking a Hydra base in the Eastern European country of Sokovia to capture Baron Strucker and recover Loki's scepter. But not before Wanda and Pietro Maximoff demonstrate their newly perfected powers and lay the Avengers out like a mat. Pietro by running over them with his super speed and Wanda screws around with Tony's egg salad to make him see his greatest fear, the Avengers dead, the Chitauri invading Earth and him still alive unable to do anything with Cap's last words to him being "you could have saved us, why didn't you do more?" Nevertheless the team recovered the scepter, Strucker is taken into custody and in four days time Thor will return the scepter to Asgard so there's only one thing left to do, party like it's 1999! But before the festivities Tony and Bruce discover that there's an A.I inside of the scepter, one so advanced that Tony believes that if the two harness it properly, they could finally create their perfect global peace keeping program; Ultron.

 Bruce smartly argues that messing around with alien tech is kind of nuts but Tony's vision coupled with his desire to end the Avengers by creating a world that wouldn't need them (peace in our time as he puts it) convinces him to pressure Bruce to help harness the A.I from the scepter. While the party goes on the scepter brings Ultron to life, granting him full sentience and sapience. But instead of a peace keeping program he instead becomes a genocidal A.I with a god complex and daddy issues voiced by James Spader. After spreading himself all over the internet and destroying Tony's A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S (played by Paul Bettany) he cobbles together a body from scraps of Tony's Iron Legion drone bots to crash the party and declare his mission to his creator. That being "peace in our time" and after all he's seen and learned on the internet and seeing all of humanity's history of war and chaos, he declares that to achieve his mission, the Avengers must die.

 While they're successful at stoping Ultron's initial attack it was just a stalling tactic while he stole the scepter and transferred his consciousness to Strucker's base that was building thousands of mass produced drones and a new larger, stronger body for himself. Once he finished he called out the twins so they can see the fruits of their labor, their way of getting revenge against Tony Stark. What did he do this time? Well apparently the two were trapped under a Stark industries missile for two days straight when they were children, scared to death that any second could be their last and now seeing Tony and the Avengers acting as heroes? That was more then they could stomach, so they volunteered for Strucker's experiments with the scepter and now they have their powers and Ultron to exact their revenge.

 Their first act was killing Strucker in his cell and deleting all of his data from the net to keep his contacts quiet. Specifically Ulysses Klawe, and his supply of Vibranium that he stole from Wakanda. The trio pay him a visit at his hideout off the African coast and after a deal involving cuttlefish and literally disarming Klawe the trio engage the Avengers. During the fight Wanda gets inside of Cap, Thor and Widows heads forcing them to see what they fear. For Widow it was her reliving her training in the Red room, Steve sees the life he could have had, partying and dancing with Carter back at the end of WW2 and Thor sees Ragnarok, also something else he couldn't make out.

 While Tony engages Ultron he tells Tony that he's not only getting away with all of Klawe's Vibranium but that the Hulk is on a rampage in the nearby city thanks to Wanda's mind games. After Tony suits up with the Hulkbuster and pacifies the emerald eradicator the team is devastated, not only is the world afraid of the Hulk after tearing through a populated city like a linebacker the team is still shaken up after having to see their deepest fears. So Clint flies the Quinjet to a safe house off of S.H.I.E.L.D's files, his house in the middle of nowhere with his wife and kids. But Thor still can't get his mind off of the visions he had during his nightmare. So he goes to Dr Selvig to find a pool that would let him see the visions again to get more answers behind what he saw.

 Back at the farm tensions run high between Tony and Steve about Tony creating Ultron and Steve's disappointment with Tony going behind the teams back. While Tony is in the barn he's confronted by Fury who adds "created a homicidal A.I" to his ongoing list of "how many times Tony Stark has screwed up" and tells the team to get their shit together and what they're up against. They also theorize what Ultron is going to do, evolve the human form. Elsewhere Ultron takes over the labs of Avengers ally Dr Helen Cho (played by Claudia Kim) in Seoul and uses the scepter to take control of her and her staff. He needs her synthetic tissue technology to create his vision of the perfect humanoid form using the Vibranium as the base and the Mind Stone inside of the scepter to store all of his data.

 But as he begins downloading into his new body Wanda is able to see inside of his mind and learns what Ultron's goal is, to cause an extinction level event and wipe out humanity. After this she frees Helen from the Mind Stone's control and sabotages the transfer while notifying the Avengers where they are and she and Pietro escape forcing Ultron to take his new body with him. Steve, Hawkeye and Natasha manage to steal the body from Ultron during the preceding chase. During his fight with Captain America Wanda and Pietro turn against Ultron since they realized that he's basically Robo-Satan. However he still manages to capture Natasha and get away leaving the stasis pod for his new body in the hands of the two that created him in the first place.

 Back at Avengers tower Tony reveals that J.A.R.V.I.S is still functional and he decides to turn this would be Predacon into a Maximal by inserting J.A.R.V.I.S into the body. After Steve, Wanda and Pietro try to stop the upload Thor finishes the job, resulting in Vision; neither J.A.R.V.I.S nor Ultron, but his own being. After Thor explains about the Infinity Stones, Vision proving his trustworthiness by being able to lift Mjolnir, Tony uploading his new A.I. F.R.I.D.A.Y (played by Kerry Condon) to replace J.A.R.V.I.S and Clint receiving a destress call from Natasha the team heads over to Sokovia to stop Ultron once and for all. He's at the end of his rope and has used the remaining Vibranium to create massive engines to lift the capital city high enough into the stratosphere and send it crashing down destroying all of humanity as a makeshift meteor. Yet this still makes more sense for an extinction level event then the opening of Power Rangers Dino Charge.

 So after Vision shuts Ultron's consciousness out of the net to just his own network and most of the civilians are evacuated the Avengers get to work destroying Ultron's army. The day is saved but not without casualties, such as Pietro who gave his life to save Clint and Vision destroying the last Ultron unit. As well as some of the civilians who couldn't make it out of the city before Ultron took it for a joyride. But who's going to be sore about that eh, I mean you know what they say about eggs and omelettes right? After the fight the Hulk takes the Quinjet into stealth mode and shuts down all coms so nobody can track him.

 With all said and done the movie ends with the Avengers setting up a new base in Upper New York and Tony deciding to retire from being Iron Man (again). Thor then goes back to Asgard to do more research on the Infinity Stones, thanks to the visions he knows where the four from the previous movies are so now he's off to find the other two. As for Cap, he's home and has a new group of Avengers to work with, including Vision and Wanda. Though speaking of the Stones, our end credits scene has Thanos putting on the Infinity Gauntlet and decides that if you want something done right, do it yourself.

 So that was Age of Ultron and after the breath of fresh air and energy that was Guardians of the Galaxy this was basically the first Avengers though without all the new wow factor the first one had going for it. I mean it was all still good as with most of this franchise but it just kind of felt like a rehash without really giving us something we haven't seen before. Now don't get me wrong there were some good things about this movie, its just that marathoning all of these movies back to back, and having to recap and break them down week after week is starting to get to me. But like I said there were parts that I really liked and others, while still good is just stuff that we've seen before.

 Positives first I really liked the party scene before Ultron showed up. Just seeing these characters chilling out, having a good time, being pals it was just fun. I really liked the scene where everyone was trying to lift Mjolnir, not only was it just a fun sequence and great set up for Vision's trustworthiness later on (what we call Checkov's gun) but also showed that Steve actually got the hammer to budge just a little bit. I also really liked seeing the members' personal nightmares, Tony seeing his friends dead because he failed to do more, Steve seeing what he could have had and Natasha having her life stolen from her and raised into a killing machine. Also there was the after effects of those visions at Clints house, where Steve is finding it harder to trust Tony, Widow reliving her horrid past and Bruce completely losing control of the Hulk.

 Though speaking of; that brings us to Thor's vision and his side quest to find the pool. Or as the Blockbuster Buster so eloquently called it, the Jacuzzi of exposition. This subplot was only there in the movie to set up Thor Ragnarok and give exposition on the Infinity Stones recovered so far. Apparently Joss Whedon was forced to include that subplot at the demands of Marvel, otherwise he would have had to have cut out Black Widow's nightmare scenes. Because of this Thor couldn't take part in the farm sequence which cost us some serious character development for him.

 We once again see that Tony is once again the cause of all of this, not just by creating Ultron but his weapons nearly killing the twins set them off on their revenge quest on the man who indirectly killed their family. But does he own up to it? In later movies, yes but not before doubling down and creating Vision, sure it worked out in the end but he could have just as easily made another monster in that instance. So when we see him retiring at the end I figured it was for the best, but then Civil War happened and he's back out in the field though it looks like some of the lessons he's learned has finally started to stick.

 As for the villains it honestly felt like the twins were just included into this movie as people for Ultron to ramble about his plans and motivations with. I mean they had a good reason why they wanted to destroy the Avengers it just felt excessive. Though I was honestly surprised that they were even in this movie in the first place regarding the situation with the X-Men movie rights at the time, though the changes Marvel made for the movie at least made it so they weren't out of place in regards to the MCU. But then again Mutants in the Marvel universe just don't make sense when you stop and think about it, I mean the Fantastic Four, Captain America and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) were mutated but you don't see the hate groups chasing them down do you? (At least not as far as I can tell.)

 Ultron himself is the perfect idiot. An A.I who was alive for over a week and after surfing the web thinks that he can just wipe out humanity and do it better, his plan is not only insane but just plain stupid. He's a pretentious tin tyrant who thinks he knows best when really he only knows how to do two things, destroy and make snarky quips. But that honestly makes him fun to watch, he's an unrepentant psychopath who honestly thinks that he could do better then an entires species, he's all knowledge but no wisdom. And sometimes we just need someone like that get their shiny metal asses kicked.

 Age of Ultron at the end of the day just felt like a retread of the first Avengers movie. While that's not a bad thing it just meant more of the same, and a little too safe for my tastes. It did its job of bringing the characters and audience up to speed with the Infinity stones and got the necessary set up for Phase 3 out of the way. But before we get to Phase 3 we still have one last movie to cover. As the next steps on the march to infinity may be tiny; they can still pack a very big punch.

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Avengers Age of Ultron is owned by Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and is written by Joss Weadon. Based off the Characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Rick and Morty is owned by Justin Rolland, Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland's Solo Vanity Card Productions, Harmonious Claptrap, Starburns Industries, and Williams Street

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Let's Play Ni no Kuni™ II: Revenant Kingdom: 13-15

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 After saving Goldpaw from being destroyed by Longfang what's next on Evan's list? Get a library card from Granny Megatron! And yes, it's even more ridiculous, tedious and drawn out then the Lords of Magick! We have to fight Trogdoor the burninator, raise an army and learn how to create bridges from nothing in order to satisfy this old crone. Well at least we get some new citizens in the process so hey pros and cons to everything I guess.

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is propriety of Level-5 games and Namco Bandai. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Let's Play Ni no Kuni™ II: Revenant Kingdom: 10-12

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 We finally manage to expose the main villain and his scheme, get rid of that skinny Murkrow and have Goldpaw as the first member of our union. On top of that we now finally have our own kingdom, with blackjack and hookers! Actually scratch the blackjack and hookers, cause A, no gambling for a long time and 2, little kid running the show and we don't want this to turn into the movie Milk Money. Now to get started on recruiting every unique NPC I can get my paws on!

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is propriety of Level-5 games and Namco Bandai. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

March to Infinity: Guardians of the Galaxy: Just like Kevin Bacon

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 Before I get to recapping the movie I have to come clean. Before seeing the Avengers movie and doing that whole crash course beforehand I wasn't exactly in this for the long haul. I figured that all of Phase one was just a fluke and that after The Avengers the MCU would just slowly lose interest with the general public and would quietly go away. So while I did see Iron Man 3 in theaters I skipped Thor the Dark World and Winter Soldier, but when Guardians of the Galaxy was announced I was like "ok this is where the ride stops." This was the first time everybody thought this was the movie that would be the end of the MCU.

 Mostly due to the previous movies using some of Marvels most iconic heroes, we were all like "who the hell are the Guardians of the Galaxy?" Admit it, we all thought this was where the general public would just drop this whole MCU fad and move on with our lives. The director of this movie wasn't exactly giving me a lot of confidence either. All I knew about James Gunn was that he was responsible for Tromeo and Juliet, and the two god awful live action Scooby-Doo movies. (This was before I learned who Raja Gosnell was.)

 So what else could I think of this movie other then a freaking disaster, but then the reviews came in, I saw it and declared Guardians of the Galaxy one of my favorite MCU movies. This convinced me to stick to the MCU like glue because if they can make this great of a movie with such an obscure source material and make them into household names, there's got to be some kind of magic going on here. So it's because I saw this movie that I resolved to follow along with the main MCU for good and for ill, basically without this movie I wouldn't be doing this retrospective. Personal mushy stuff out of the way it's back to the normal format. Speaking of personal mushy stuff, this movie starts off rather odd as we open in 1988 with a young Peter Quill at his mother's death bed.

 She asks him to take her hand in her last moments, he's too scared, she dies, he runs away into a nearby field sobbing and bam he gets abducted by aliens! No I did not make that up, it's like if you were watching Sesame Street and their special guest was Marilyn Manson, its nuts! After that tonal whiplash we come back to Peter 26 years later where he's now played by Chris Pine, calling himself Starlord and is a member of the Ravagers, basically space outlaws. (Speaking of Ravagers, its definitely a better fitting name for a group of outlaws then a Superhero team, way to use the old grey matter DC!) Quill was carrying out a job to retrieve an orb on the planet Morag when he's attacked by Korath (played by Djimon Hounsou).

 Peter manages to escape and get off the planet but gets a call from his boss Yondu (played by Michael Rooker) who's not too happy with his old protege skipping the deal so he puts a bounty on him. Korath reports back to his boss, the Kree fanatic and terrorist Ronan the Accuser (played by Lee Pace) about Quill's theft of the orb. Ronan in turn sends down Thanos' daughter Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana) to get it back. She encounters Quill on the planet Xandar and nearly gets away with the Orb but their fight draws the attention of a pair of bounty hunters, a cybernetically and genetically enhanced raccoon named Rocket (played by Bradley Cooper) and his partner/muscle/Banzai tree Groot (played by Vin Diesel). After the four cause enough trouble Xandar's police force; the Nova Corps arrive on the scene to arrest them they're then transferred to the prison known as the Kyln.

 Ronan is summoned to the throne of Thanos who's not happy about his failure to retrieve the Orb and the betrayal of his favorite daughter, much to the irritation of his other daughter Nebula (played by Karan Gillan). Thanos makes his distain for Ronan clear and reminds him of their agreement, if Ronan cannot retrieve the Orb then Thanos will not destroy Xandar for him as revenge for the Peace Treaty between the Kree and Xandarian peoples. Back on the Kyln Gamora doesn't get the warmest of welcomes due to her working for Thanos and Ronan, especially with Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista) whose family was killed by Ronan. Quill manages to convince him not to kill her and that they can lead him to Ronan, so after some shenanigans the five escape and head for Knowhere, where Gamora can meet with a broker to sell the Orb and get away from Thanos and Ronan. They meet up with the broker, who is revealed to be the Collector who reveals what's inside of the Orb, one of the infinity stones!

 Before more elaboration can be made on the stone the Collector's slave grabs the stone in an attempt to gain its power but she just gets blown up by the stone's overwhelming power. And that's when Ronan and Nebula's forces invade Knowhere, how did they know where they were? Drax literally called them out in a drunken rage to try and kill him as revenge for his family.

 Unsurprisingly Drax doesn't stand a chance and gets his big, grey ass kicked. While that was going on Gamora and Peter try to escape from Nebula and wind up nearly dying in the vacuum of space with Ronan's forces getting the Orb and the Stone. But Peter manages to save them both by surrendering himself to Yondu and the Ravagers. After some smooth talk Peter manages to convince Smurf Merle to help stop Ronan from destroying Xandar while convincing Rocket and Drax that the Ravagers are on their side. Speaking of Ronan he now knows what's in the Orb and decides to cut out the middle man and destroy Xandar himself with the stone, and Nebula is all onboard since, like her sister she despises Thanos' rotten guts for what he did to them both.

 So the forces fight with Ronan and his forces destroyed save for Nebula who escapes. The Guardians have their criminal records expunged and Peter learns that he's not fully human, that his father was an ancient being that payed Yondu and his Ravagers to bring him to him in the first place but Yondu decided not to since "the guy is a jackass". The Power Stone ends up under the protection of the Nova Corp, our protagonists are off to do whatever, and they start growing a new Groot. While the Collector is left to stew in the remains of his collection with a cosmonaut dog and the most valuable piece, a cinematic version of Howard the Duck (played by Seth Green) that's actually funny!

 Like I said before this was the movie that convinced me that the MCU was worth my attention and it's easy to see why. After spending so much time on Earth or Asgard going into the depths of space was definitely a breath of fresh air. The humor is great, the characters are endearing, the action sequences awesome (hell the scene with Yondu killing all those guys at once with his arrow is worth the price of admission alone) and the soundtrack is kickass. Hell even Ronan is a pretty detestable villain but for all the right reasons. If not for his motivations but just from the shear power he held and willingness to work with the mad titan to achieve his goals shows how this guy is plenty dangerous, even though he really is just a petulant child compared to Thanos.

 While not a major point of this movie but just something I felt the need to point out is that aside from the traditional Stan Lee cameo there's a cameo from James' former boss, Bizzaro world Mel Brooks, AKA Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman. A nice touch and way of saying thanks to the guy who gave him his big break. As for the negative thing about the movie aside from Thanos still not really doing anything is the scene in Knowhere were Rocket gets in a drunken fight and just suddenly starts griping about his backstory. It honestly felt like they just had nowhere else to put that scene and dialogue so they just decided to cram it in there. Honestly it's just a minor complaint but I kind of feel like I have to as a sort of balancing act, that unless I point out one negative thing about something I'm reviewing I'm not really doing my job.

 But yeah, Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite Phase 2 MCU movie. It has good action, great comedy, cool setting and is just an all around good time. Also since it reveals another of the Infinity Stones for the main continuity hounds this is required viewing. But sadly we won't be seeing Starlord and his band of misfits again till much later, because it's back to Earth again. Once we continue the March to Infinity you'll know and see, there are no strings on me!

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Guardians of the Galaxy is owned by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Motion picture studios based off "Guardians of the Galaxy" created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
Marvel's The Avengers is owned by Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige. Based off the comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Let's Play Ni no Kuni™ II: Revenant Kingdom: Part 7-9

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 What will we encounter in this magical adventure today? Well there's an even more creepy version of Tingle, Irish Yoda with a serious gambling problem and government run casinos. And trust me it gets far more messed up, disturbing and "whimsical" from there.

Special thanks to my Patreon backer Jesse for his support.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is propriety of Level-5 games and Namco Bandai.