A Very Late God of War Review.

4 and a half stars
God of War 
was released in 2018 to instant acclaim and yet, despite owning a PlayStation 4, I refused to play it.
This was because I had not enjoyed the previous God of War games.
Sure, they had good gameplay and magnificent boss battles, but I am the kind of person that likes to relate to stories in video games and I, honestly, never clicked with the story of Kratos seeking his vengeance.
Still, God of War garnered more and more praise as the year went on until it even won the Game of the Year award so, naturally, with all of all this praise, I had to play it.
And, even though this game got heaps of praise, I was still surprised by how much I enjoyed God of War. 
It is easily one of the best games of 2018 and its story, gameplay and graphics are incredible.
Picking up long after God of War 3, God of War picks up with Kratos (this time voiced by Christopher Judge) in the world of Norse mythology where he and his “boy” Atreus (Sunny Suljic) go on a journey to scatter Kratos’ dead wife’s ashes from the highest peak in the realm.

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As Kratos and Atreus journey across some of the nine realms they encounter numerous threats like trolls, elves and dragons.

This is admittedly a simple story but it does not make it any less powerful.
The theme of a parent’s love for their child is executed brilliantly, not just with Kratos and Atreus but the other characters as well.
Speaking of these two, I was surprised by how relatable I found Kratos to be, as opposed to the previous games, and his relationship with Atreus is the heart of the story.
There are many intense and emotional moments of growth from these two, complimented by the great gameplay where Atreus serves as an AI partner, helping you in battle.
These battles are a lot of fun, with many different enemy variations.
God of War also continues the series’ tradition of having amazingly epic boss fights.
The battles with the god Baldur (Jeremy Davies) and a dragon are, by far, the standouts of the game.
Then there are the visuals, which are spectacular and enhanced by the ingenious idea to have the entire game in one shot, excluding when Kratos dies of course.
However, I do have a couple of problems.
One is a bit of character development for Atreus where he becomes mad with power but this felt like it happened pretty quickly for me and made him unlikable for a time.
Then there are some of the bosses.
While I did mention many of them are epic, some are just reskins of earlier bosses in the game.
There are so many trolls to fight that, by the end, I was tried of them.

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It is fun the first time you fight a troll but by the fifth time I was tired of it.

Still, these problems are small in comparison to how amazing the rest of the game is.
It is also pretty inspiring to hear the story of the director Cory Barlog, who had to leap through hoops to get the story of God of War told.
He deserves all the praise this game is getting.
But, at the end of the day, does God of War deserve the Game of the Year award?
Well, it is difficult to say.
It is definitely one of the two best games of 2018 but that other game is Red Dead Redemption 2.
Both are amazing games that had me invested the entire way through and it is hard for me to decide between them which should have won.
They both equally deserved it.
God of War is a fantastic game.
Even if, like me, you are not a fan of the older games, I recommend you play it.
You will be pleasantly surprised.

Top 10 Movies of 2018.

2018 has came to a close and, while not offering as many fantastic films as 2017, there were still numerous films that connected with me and were a joy to watch.
Now I am going to count down the top 10 best of those films.
Before I do that though, there are still some films I want to mention but did not get in the top 10 so, quickly, here are numbers 15-11 of my favourite films of the year.

15. Deadpool 2.
14. Isle of Dogs.
13. The Incredibles 2.
12. Ready Player One.
11. Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

With that out of the way, let’s get into my top 10 favourite films of 2018.

10. BlacKKKlansmen.

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Based off a true story, BlacKKKlansmen follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first black police officer of the Colorado Springs police department, who oddly manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan on the phone.
What follows is a dark, yet at the same time, hilarious film about racism and the cruelty of the KKK.
Both lead actors, Washington, and Adam Driver as Stallworth’s partner, Phillip “Flip” Zimmerman, give great performances.
BlacKKKlansmen can get very dark at times through recounting crimes committed during this time and a KKK couple talking about killing black people during “pillow talk.”
Somehow though, the film also manages to be incredibly funny, especially with Stallworth’s phone conversations with leader of the KKK David Duke (Topher Grace).
Spike Lee manages to craft a great film that is both disturbing and hilarious with how it discusses racism through the scary and idiotic train of thought it follows.

9. Overlord.

overlord peek

Overlord is not going to win any awards, nor should it.
It is not cinematically brilliant, it does not offer any complex themes.
What the film does do though, and in spades, is provide an incredibly fun experience for moviegoers.
It is clear when watching Overlord that director Julius Avery set out to make a fun, action packed thrill ride that would have the audience engaged from start to finish.
So, while Overlord is not anything special cinematically speaking, it still provides a really good time.
I found it to be one of the most memorable films of the year just because of how fun it was because we got a great war film that just so happened to include zombies.
Even though a lot of the story and characters may seem cliche, they are done in the lovably cliche way as opposed to the eye rolling.
The actors all do a good job, the action sequences are great, and it all provides just enough emotion to care about what is going on.
It is the perfect kind of B Movie, only this time with a bigger budget.
The opening action scene alone is worth the price of admission.
I find it unfortunate that the movie bombed because I think a lot of people would enjoy this film if they had gone to see it.
Overlord is a film that I will find myself rewatching every time I am looking for pure enjoyment factor.

8. Creed 2.

creed 2

A great sequel to the first CreedCreed 2 improved on its predecessor in a number of ways.
For one, I thought the story was a lot better and made me sympathize not only with Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) but with the antagonists of the film as well.
It is amazing how they made a follow up to the cheesy Rocky IV serious and with such emotional weight to it.
Sure, Creed 2 may not be directed as well as the first one but Steven Caple Jr. still does a great job.
There are quite a few amazing shots and the montages are top notch.
Most notable though is the tension in the characters, not just in their fights but through what the fights mean to them.
The stakes of the fights between Creed’s side and the Drago family could be felt on both sides.
Creed 2 clearly worked for the rest of the audience I was viewing it with as well because many of them were standing up and cheering during the ending fight.
The film ups the stakes and the story along with it.
Let’s just hope the movies do not get super cheesy after this and they continue with the serious tone they have been going for.

7. Mission Impossible: Fallout.

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Mission Impossible: Fallout is not a film I reviewed in 2018.
In fact, I only saw it recently but it still managed to get to number seven on the list.
Fallout is just an all around great action film.
It may be a bit predictable where Henry Cavill’s character is concerned but the action outshines this.
Tom Cruise once again risked life and limb to make this film, even breaking his leg in the process.
The realism applied to the death defying stunts makes the film all the more epic.
As for Cavill’s predictable villain, he also does a great job, making the mustache controversy of Justice League more than worth it.
The film also has plenty of great character moments and growth for Cruise’s Ethan Hunt.
Fallout just escalates further and further with some great twists and turns complimented, again, by great action.
I honestly have not watched any of the other Mission Impossible movies but this one made me want to.
It is fast paced, action packed and full of solid performances.
The entire plot does get a bit confusing but the action more than makes up for this.
Director Christopher McQuarrie did a great job with this one.

6. Black Panther.

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Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is, without a doubt, the most unique Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date.
Its setting of the fictional country of Wakanda is spectacular, providing a perfect blend of African cultures and futuristic cities.
The story set in this land is also just as great, with it featuring amazing political themes that makes it a very contemplative film.
This is supported by the amazing characters Black Panther provides.
There is T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) the titular Black Panther and king of Wakanda, his genius sister, Shuri (Letita Wright) and, leader of the Dora Milaje, Okoye (Danai Gurira).
Best of all, though, is the film’s villain Erik Killmonger, played brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan, who not only manages to be threatening but incredibly relatable as well.
These actors came together to give us, what I believe to be, one of the best casts out of all the MCU films.
The only problem I have with the film, which holds it back from getting further on the list, is the big final battle.
It incorporates a lot of CGI and it is very subpar.
The final fight between T’Challa and Killmonger really drew me out of the film because of how bad it looks.
Other than this, Black Panther is a brilliant film with an amazing story, characters and setting.

5. A Star is Born.

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Over the years, many actors have had a go at directing and, if Bradley Cooper’s first outing A Star is Born is any hint, his future as a director looks bright.
Starring Cooper as singer Jackson Maine and Lady Gaga as Ally, the aspiring singer he discovers in a bar, the film follows these characters’ tragic love story from the start right to the bitter end.
Having never seen this film, after watching the first half hour you might think this is supposed to be a happy story but, oh, no, this is anything but.
A Star is Born goes on to be pretty depressing by taking a very hard look at subjects like alcoholism and mental health.
This heartbreaking story is bolstered by the fantastic performances by Cooper and Gaga.
Not to mention all the songs are amazing, especially “Shallow”, which shows off both of their singing abilities.
There are even a few impressive shots that, while not anything spectacular, make a for good start for Cooper’s directing career if he decides to continue.
A Star is Born is a powerful film that starts off sad and ends tragically.
Just remember to bring the tissues.

4. Avengers: Infinity War.

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I debated about where exactly I would put Avengers: Infinity War on the list.
It was originally going to be behind Black Panther but, after watching it a second time, I found I enjoyed the experience a lot more.
Initially, I was let down by how it is pretty much certain a lot of the impactful events of this film are going to be undone in the next, but, on my second viewing, I was able to look past that and marvel at what an achievement this film is.
Avengers: Infinity War has the largest cast of any movie I have ever seen.
There is Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland and many, many others.
The fact that I was able to relate to this almost countless number of characters in the film outright states how spectacular of a film this is.
The greatest of these characters in my mind were Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, and Thanos, played by Josh Brolin.
Thor again goes on an amazing emotional journey in the film, but this is still nothing compared to Thanos who, despite being the villain, is also the main character.
Just like Killmonger from Black Panther, Thanos is strikingly relatable.
Even though he does horrific things, you completely understand why he is doing thrm and even come to sympathize with him on some level.
The action is intense, the comedy is hilarious, and the acting is great across the board.
Joe and Anthony Russo killed it with this film and I can only hope that the reversal of the conclusion in the next film does not damper my experience with this one.

3. Bad Times at the El Royale.

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I believe that Bad Times at the El Royale is the most underrated film of 2018.
I was only one of two people in the theater when I saw the film and I absolutely loved it.
Just like Overlord, only more so, this is a film that deserves a lot more attention than it got.
Directed by Drew Goddard, the film follows a group of strangers, each one with secrets, arriving at the El Royale hotel.
As the night goes on, things get crazier and crazier and their secrets unfold, leading to an action packed conclusion.
Goddard did an amazing job with this film, with its amazing cinematography and acting across the board.
Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo are standouts and Chris Hemsworth takes on a surprising role as a charismatic, yet deadly, cult leader.
Bad Times at the El Royale is also very slow paced but, while this may be a problem for some, I feel it more than earns that slow pace and pays it off in great ways.
The only issue I have with Bad Times at the El Royale is that the flashbacks it uses sometimes interrupt the tension.
Otherwise, the film is great and definitely the most overlooked film of the year in my mind.

2. A Quiet Place.

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A Quiet Place was my favourite film of 2018, until I saw the movie that took the number one spot just over a week ago.
Directed by and starring John Krasinski, the film follows the Abbott family in the aftermath of an alien invasion.
The aliens attack based off sound so complete silence is necessary for survival, which the Abbotts are thankfully good at because of their deaf daughter Reagan (Millicent Simmons).
The performances are great across the board, with Krasinski’s wife Emily Blunt being a standout.
A Quiet Place also manages to be incredibly scary, not just with its alien monsters but with how it sets up and pays off certain events as well.
A scene following Blunt’s character and an exposed nail is filled to the brim with tension.
I was on the edge of my seat for most of the film and it also drew a lot of emotion out of me.
I have rewatched A Quiet Place twice, since it came out, and I always cry when a certain scene happens, no matter how hard I try not to.
There is just one thing that holds this movie back from being my favourite of the year and that is the jump scares.
These felt very unnecessary and the film would have been better if it used natural sound for these scares instead.
Still, A Quiet Place is an intense thrill ride and I cannot wait for the sequel.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

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My favourite film of 2018 has to be Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.
I only saw this film over a week ago and knew immediately it was my favourite.
It may have come out in 2019 in New Zealand but it came out in 2018 theatrically so I am counting it as a 2018 film.
Spider-Verse is the only film I saw from 2018 that I gave a five star rating to, showing how great I think it is compared to the others.
The film is like a comic book came to life with its unique style of animation, which looks stunning after you adjust to the new style.
The story follows Miles Morales (Shamiek Moore) on his journey to become Spider-Man with help from numerous other spider-people, across the spider-verse.
From Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), to Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), to even freaking Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), all of these spider-people are amazing characters, especially those who get the most screen time.
The action is well shot and fast paced, the soundtrack is incredible, there is just so much to love about this film.
A Quiet Place may have the saddest scene of the year but Spider-Verse has the most inspirational with Miles taking his big “leap of faith.”
The film is not just a superhero movie but a fresh take on the entire genre, just like my favourite film of last year Logan.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is my favourite film of 2018.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review.

4 stars
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
has come out bringing the story of Toothless and Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (Jay Baruchel) to a dramatic close.
The first two How to Train Your Dragon films are fantastic so I was very excited for this one and, while I still prefer the other two films, this was a great way to end the trilogy, and director Dean DeBlois did a good job.
After becoming chief in the previous film, Hiccup is stuck with a lot of situations like the growing dragon population and people constantly encouraging him to marry Astrid (America Ferrera).
This is worsened by the appearance of feared dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) who is sent to capture Toothless.
All the while, a mysterious female Nightfury makes itself known to Toothless, starting a hilarious series of failed romantic attempts by him.
The animation and voice acting for The Hidden World are top notch with the stand outs being Baruchel and Ferrera, who have amazing chemistry.

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Hiccup and Astrid are a great couple in this movie. They knocked it out of the park here.

Speaking of Baruchel as Hiccup, it is great after seeing this movie to look back on where he was at the beginning of the first How to Train Your Dragon.
His arc from beginning to end, across the three films, is fantastic and tied up nicely here, along with his relationship with Toothless and Astrid.
However, there are some things about The Hidden World that hold it back from being as good as the other two for me.
First, is the side characters, who have little to no arcs.
Worst of all is Tuffnut (Justin Rupple), Ruffnut (Kristen Wig), and Snotlout (Jonah Hill) who are unbearably annoying with their jokes never landed for me.
Finally, some of the events in the Hidden World do seem to just repeat various story beats seen in the previous two films.
Still, these flaws temporarily left my mind when I saw how great the ending is.
It is a fantastic way to conclude the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, again, tying up the character arcs of Hiccup, Astrid and Toothless perfectly.

hiccup and toothless
The conclusion to The Hidden World not only ends the movie greatly but the trilogy as well.

Despite a few flaws, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World concludes the series nicely and you should definitely check it out.

Attack on Titan Chapters 111 to 113 Review: Zeke’s Grand Master Plan.

Chapter 111: Children of the Forest.

4 and a half stars
Chapter 111’s title, “Children of the Forest”, is one of my favourites in all of Attack on Titan.
It goes incredibly well with the events of the chapter, tying into a fantastic speech given by Sasha’s father, after he learns it was Gabi who killed his daughter.
In this tense scene, Sasha’s father explains how he sent Sasha out of the forest only for her to end up in a bigger one where it was kill or be killed.
He finishes by stating they have to stop sending their children into the forest or the bloodshed will never end,
These lines brilliantly tie into the chapter’s title and, hopefully, move towards establishing Gabi’s first step into realizing how she was brainwashed and not all those on Paradis are evil.
Not everyone is so forgiving of her though, with both Nicolo and Kaya attempting to kill Gabi upon learning the truth.
Both of these moments were heartbreaking, especially Nicolo’s because Kaya tells Gabi and Falco she believes he and Sasha were in love, which adds another layer of tragedy to Sasha’s death.
This and Gabi’s boasting about killing Sasha (unaware of Nicolo’s involvement with her) made Nicolo’s attack on her pretty satisfying.
Sadly, Falco also got caught up in this attack, leading to the shocking cliffhanger of this chapter, which we will get to later.
As for Kaya’s attack on Gabi, this is also incredibly sad because we see someone who trusted Gabi, (for some reason) and wanted to be friends with her, turn on her in an instant after learning the truth.
Again, hopefully the combination of Sasha’s father’s forgiveness and Kaya’s condemnation will lead Gabi down the right path.
Thankfully, the 104th scouts look set to carry her along that path since they arrive at the restaurant to talk to Nicolo in the chapter.
Their story began in a military meeting to discuss Eren’s faction of rogue soldiers, now dubbed the Yeagerists.
Many of the Military Police, including an incredibly unlikable one named Rouge, suspect that some of the scouts may secretly be Yeagerists.
Pyxis arrives to break up the argument and begins planning to use Armin as their main line of defense against Eren and his faction.
Even though it would be tragic to see these close friends become enemies on the battlefield I would still love to see a fight between them.
Pyxis also has a very funny moment when Armin asks if he has a plan and Pyxis just states they should surrender because the Yeagerists have them beat.
While funny, Pyxis’ abrupt declaration that they should let Eren do his thing also makes a lot of sense since they are now number one on Marley’s hit list after the invasion.
More fighting will just lead to less of a chance of them succeeding and, thus, surviving so Pyxis has the right of this.
He is one of the smartest leaders in the series and I hope he is given the chance to step up further.
After this, we have Kyomi telling Mikasa she should prepare to leave with them if things go bad but Mikasa wants to stay and protect her home.
Mikasa also comes to the realization that if Paradis loses then Kyomi’s family is finished, giving her more reason not to rely on her.
However, Kyomi seems devoted to protecting her nonetheless.
Only time will tell if Kyomi really does have Mikasa’s best interests at heart.
Then we have the big cliffhanger of “Children of the Forest”, which sees Nicolo admit that all the wine given to the military higher ups has been contaminated with Zeke’s spinal fluid.
This means Nile, Rogue, Pyxis, many other members of the Military Police, and even Falco will turn into Titans if Zeke so much as screams in their vicinity.
The twist blew my mind when I heard Nicolo reveal it and, as the chapters have gone on, it all adds up to show how smart Zeke is, with this grand master plan of his being played out for years.
It is only now that all the pieces are coming together and Zeke is acting.
He is the smartest character of Attack on Titan, along with Hange and I would love to see the two of them fight in a battle of brains.
“Children of the Forest” was a fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan.
It advanced Gabi’s character development, dealt with other’s characters’ grief over Sasha’s death, and delivers one of the most mind blowing twists of the manga.

Chapter 112: Ignorance.

4 stars
After the shocking cliffhanger of the previous chapter, “Ignorance” brings Zeke’s grand master plan together for another shocking ending.
Before this though, we get the aftermath of  Nicolo revealing the wine has been poisoned with Zeke’s spinal fluid.
He goes on to explain that the wine was brought on the first ships to Paradis and Yelena has been instructing him to feed it to the higher ups in the military.
Connie points out that anyone who consumes Zeke’s spinal fluid freezes up but Hange counter this by stating Zeke could have easily lied.
She also states the magnitude of the impact this lie has, which, again, is proven at the end of the chapter.
However, before anything can be done who should enter?
None other than Eren and his Yeagerists, here to capture his friends so they can led him to Zeke, while dropping a few bombshells along the way.
This is the chapter that essentially destroys the friendship Mikasa and Armin had with Eren.
We have seen the cracks in their friendship grow in more recent chapters but Eren’s actions in “Ignorance” take them past the point of no return.
After threatening Armin and Mikasa with his bloody hand, he tells them he is free and whatever decision he makes it is of his own free will.
In a disheartening turn of events, he then turns on Armin and Mikasa.
First, he berates Armin, saying he is being controlled by Bertholdt’s memories, which have made him gain feelings for Annie, so he is useless.
This not only confirms the theory of Armin’s feelings for Annie being motivated by Bertholdt but it also opens up intriguing questions about how other Titan Shifters are being influenced by their predecessors.
For example, maybe part of the reason Ymir went to save Reiner and Bertholdt was because she was partially influenced by Marcel’s memories.
However, while this did potentially open up many storylines for the future, it also made Eren look like a massive hypocrite.
He tells Armin he is being controlled by his predecessors’ memories, yet he has the memories of three past Titan Shifters in his head and still has the audacity to claim he is free.
If what Eren says about Armin is true, which I think to a certain extent it is, then Eren needs to take a good long look in the mirror.
The biggest bombshell Eren drops, however, is the one where he reveals that the Ackermans were created to protect someone who they recognized as a host to their fullest extent.
So, the only reason Mikasa has protected Eren is because she recognized him as a host when he rescued her from her kidnappers.
Eren goes as far to say that Mikasa is basically a slave and that he has always hated her.
The real question here, though, is whether Eren is telling the truth of not?
Well, the answer is both yes and no, I think.
Eren is almost certainly telling the truth about Mikasa protecting him because of her Ackerman bloodline.
This is supported by Mikasa subconsciously protecting Eren when Armin lunges at him and the symptoms Eren mentions, which includes headaches.
We have seen Mikasa experience these headaches when doubting Eren only a few chapters earlier and have even seen it all the way back in the Clash of the Titans Arc.
However, even so, I still believe Mikasa does care for him, despite her Ackerman programming.
Either way, I think Hajime Isayama needs to be very careful about how he plays this because he is at serious risk of undermining everything Mikasa has done for Eren.
It is not close to Historia levels of undermining character development but it could easily change depending of where Isayama takes this.
I will just have to see where this new plot point goes before I decide if I like it.
As for Eren saying he has always hated Mikasa, I am certain this is a lie.
Eren has been shown to care for her numerous times, most notably when he protect her from Dina, which is the only time he has used his Coordinate ability.
But if so, why is Eren lying?
I think it is to protect Mikasa with Eren maybe trying to use this as motivation for her to flee with Kyomi when things get bad.
And they certainly will because it appears Eren and the Yeagerists have been working with Zeke and Yelena because Floch knows about the poisoned wine.
This is also supported by Eren’s desire to find his brother, which he states after beating up Armin in another great moment.
Watching Armin attempt to attack Eren after he says he hates Mikasa, only to be brutally pummeled by Eren, shows the destruction of their friendship.
This also leads to Armin accusing Eren of being a slave, gaining the only reaction out of him in the entire chapter.
After all this, we get the next big shocking cliffhanger with Zeke using his screaming ability to turn all of Levi’s comrades into Titans after they drunk the contaminated wine.
The build up to this scene is excellent with Levi deciding to put an end to Zeke, orders be damned.
We then get an interesting look into Levi’s thoughts, which seems to suggest that, like Mikasa, he has also identified Eren as a host to protect.
During this time we see Zeke over Levi’s shoulder, taking a big yawn, preparing.
Levi then promises to finally fulfill his promise to Erwin by killing Zeke… only to turn around to see Zeke running away, full sprint, unleashing his deadly scream.
The chapter ends with Levi’s comrades transforming, in terrifying panels, before crashing to the ground, surrounding Levi.
However, even though Levi is surrounded at the end, I came out of “Ignorance” not particularly concerned for him.
This is because it did not feel like it would be the right time for him to die, narratively speaking, and Levi has got out of worse situations than this.
Not to mention his rabid fans who would probably riot if he died here.
If Levi is going to die before Attack on Titan ends, it will be in a much more fitting moment than this.
Chapter 112, “Ignorance” is another good chapter of Attack on Titan. 
I am concerned where some of the plot points started by this chapter may go but, overall, it is still a good read.
Watching Eren, Mikasa and Armin’s friendship fall apart is a tragic highlight.

Chapter 113: Violence.

4 stars
About a week before Chapter 113, “Violence”, came out, I heard a spoiler that Levi would kill Zeke.
After reading this chapter, I can say that I have never been more happy for a spoiler to be wrong.
Hajime Isayama killing Zeke off at this point would be terrible storytelling because we do not know Zeke’s true motives yet and we have barely got any interaction between him and Eren.
Thankfully, instead of Levi killing Zeke, he only captures him… after completely
eviscerating him that is.
Seriously, I have no idea how Zeke survived Levi shooting those thunder spears at him because his guts were hanging out and he was severely burned.
Still, I am glad he did survive and the fight between him and Levi is great.
I said in my review of Chapter 112 that I was not concerned for Levi when Zeke turned all of his comrades into Titans and, while this continues with this chapter, I did like the level of intensity Isayama brought to the fight.
The Titans here are a lot faster because of Zeke’s spinal fluid and Levi is also hesitant to kill his former comrades.
So, even though I knew Levi was not going to die, it made the battle have a lot more impact, especially when Levi caught up with Zeke.
Zeke kills the remaining Titan and throws it at Levi, again showing his brains by killing the only Titan Levi can feed him to and then using it as a weapon.
His desperate tactics do not save him though, with Levi capturing him and making it impossible for him to escape on his own.
He does by sticking the thunder spear into Zeke’s stomach and then placing the wire to its detonator around his neck so, if Zeke moves in the slightest, he will be blown to bits.
I have heard a few people wondering why Levi did not just feed Zeke to one of the Titans to stop the threat but I think there is an answer to this in the chapter.
It is possible that Levi intended to feed Zeke to the last Titan standing but Zeke killed it before he could do so.
Whatever the case, there is the question of where Levi is now taking Zeke.
In my opinion, the place that would make the most sense it to Historia, where she can inherit Zeke’s powers.
However, there is a problem with this.
It has been stated multiple times that Historia turning into a Titan could kill her unborn child so this could be a real dilemma about what will happen with the baby.
Personally, I am just hopeful that we will we get to see some kind of explanation about what all the foreshadowing with this baby means?
Is Eren the father, or is the baby fake, or, god forbid, is everything as it seems and Historia has gone completely against her character?
I need to know!
Answers for this, however, will probably not come in the next chapter because, based on the cliffhanger, it looks like the focus of that one will be a flashback that finally explains Zeke’s true motivations.
The cliffhanger itself shows Zeke as a child, playing baseball with a mysterious man, who was seen all the way back in Grisha’s flashbacks comforting Zeke.
His name is Xaver but we do not know anything else about him.
A lot of people are speculating he is the previous Beast Titan, which would be very interesting.
He obviously holds some importance to Zeke because he is shown to be wearing the glasses Zeke now wears (or wore because they were most likely obliterated by Levi in this chapter).
All of this set-up has me very excited for the next chapter but not everything about “Violence” is good.
There is one scene that feels out of touch with the rest of the chapter and this is when Floch goes to recruit some fresh cadets to the Yeagerist cause, with Hange in attendance.
This scene did not make much sense to me because Floch appears to have been sent by Eren to find Zeke, which, based on how dire the situation is, is of the utmost importance.
So why is Floch going to recruit soldiers when he has a much more crucial role to play?
Could he have not got someone else to do this?
On top of this, there is a joke that really flats for me and that is when Keith Shadis is beaten up by the cadets who decide to join Floch.
This joke is very similar to an earlier one where Annie beats up Reiner but, this time, the joke just does not mesh with the chapter’s darker moments.
The scene just felt very unnecessary and, unless these cadets that got recruited play some sort of vital role in the future, it will probably not change.
Other than this though, the rest of “Violence” is really good.
It does a fantastic job of setting up the endgame for the series, with Zeke mentioning how the world’s forces will soon be converging on Paradis.
It will be interesting to see how Hajime Isayama will wrap up the series with this final arc.

 

On another note, I have now caught up with the entirety of the Attack on Titan manga so will now be reviewing each individual chapter as they comes out. 

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse… Wait, Sony Made This!?

5 stars
Who would have thought that my favourite film of 2018 would not only be an animated movie but one made by Sony?
Initially, I was not very interested in seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because I was not familiar with the Miles Morales character and, again, the film is made by Sony.
However, the trailers got more and more interesting and the word of mouth was so good that I just had to see it.
Given this positive word of mouth I was expecting the film to be good going in, but it still blew my socks off.
Right from the opening film studio logos I knew we were in for something special because they were shown in such creative ways.
From here, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse gets better and better as it goes on.
As I said, coming into Spider-Verse, I did not know much about Miles as a character and this made the surprise of how fantastic he is all the better.
Voiced by Shameik Moore, Miles is an incredibly relatable character with his own strengths and insecurities that make him a completely different kind of Spider-Man.
All of the other spider-people brought to Miles’ reality are also just as unique, with the best of them being a disillusioned and tired Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson) and a Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfield) who took on the mantle after being bitten by the radioactive spider.
Watching these two spider-people grow alongside Miles was great and led to many emotional moments.

the spider people.jpg
Miles, Peter and Gwen are the best spider-people and I hope we get to see them all in a sequel.

In comparison, the other Spider-people do not get as much development or screen-time as these three, but they still get their own share of emotional moments and laughs.
Even the main villain, Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), gets plenty of development that actually makes us sympathize with him somewhat, even if he is at fault for all he has lost that drove him to this point.
Along with all of this, Spider-Verse is very funny, delivering on a multitude of jokes, many of them great examples of meta-humor concerning the numerous version of Spider-Man in film and media.
As for the animation, it is very unique to other animated films and often captivating.
That said, for the first few minutes you may find this style of animation to be a little jarring and, at worst, off putting but this quickly fades after these first few minutes and, from then on, the animation is stellar.
This is all accompanied with a fantastic soundtrack that works amazingly well with every scene.
All of this fantastic character development, animation and music combine in what is probably my favourite scene of any film in 2018 when Miles embraces his role as Spider-Man and leaps across the city.
This is a very inspirational scene that I will find myself replaying over and over when the film comes out of theaters.

Miles Morales.jpg
Watching Miles embrace his new role as Spider-Man was the most inspirational scene all year.

If I had one issue with Spider-Verse it would be the fate of one of the characters.
It felt like they could have had a massive impact on the story in a sequel but after seeing the film in full, this does not feel like that will happen.
I do understand why this choice was made though, as those making the film probably did not know if they would get a sequel.
Still, this will not affect my rating for Spider-Verse because I did not find it to be overly detrimental to the film.
Speaking of the film makers though, it is even more surprising when you learn that there were three directors for the movie, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rotham.
Usually, having more than one director can be problematic for a film because it can result in a conflict of ideas but it is clear these three directors came together to complete a vision, based on how fantastic Spider-Verse is.
I still cannot get over that this is a Sony film, considering their track record.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is without a doubt my favourite film of 2018 and I highly recommend it.
It definitely deserves an award for best animated film.

The Walking Dead Issue 187: What Happened to the Conflict?

3 stars
The Walking Dead 
Issue 186, “The Powder Keg” ended with an amazing cliffhanger that set up not only a conflict between Rick’s communities and the Commonwealth but, more importantly, between Rick and Michonne.
I was excited to read the latest issue 187 “The Road Back” to see where Robert Kirkman would take this newly developed conflict… only for him to downplay it with the two characters oddly making up.
It was incredibly jarring to see Rick go from saying he would never forgive Michonne last issue to him immediately apologizing to her this issue.
What is especially weird is that the cover of Issue 187 seems to point towards the two’s conflict growing when in reality the exact opposite happens.
There might be more tension between them in the future but, for now, this scene makes it seem that Kirkman has thrown any potential storyline of the two being at odds in the trash, which is a huge disappointment.
Even Rick’s character seems to have done a complete 180, with him seeming to have come to Dwight’s opinion that Pamela needs to be taken down also strangely being forgotten with him now pushing for peace at the beginning of the issue.
This is an unusual case of bad writing from Kirkman.
It really is a shame because the rest of the issue does a great job of building on the growing conflict in the aftermath of Dwight’s death.
The best parts of “The Road Back” came from Mercer and surprisingly Princess who both go through a great amount of character development.
First there is Mercer, whose frustration with the Commonwealth finally boils over with him giving a speech to his fellow soldiers about rising up against Pamela and the rest of the Commonwealth leadership.
This is unfortunately overheard by Lance who looks ready to arrest Mercer by the end of the issue.
Mercer really sucks at making sure people do not overhear his secret plans, first there was Siddiq and now Lance.
As for the Princess, I was surprised by how much I liked the development she got this issue.
She leaves Mercer and the Commonwealth, explaining that the abuse she suffered from her family as a child has led to her to like being alone.
This left me feeling sorry for her, which is a nice change considering I found her to be a mostly annoying character up until this point.
However, even though Princess left, by the looks of the cover of the next issue, it appears she will be drawn back into the conflict.
We can see Carl, Jesus, Aaron and Siddiq rushing towards her in the cover of Issue 188 and all of these characters are sent to see what was happening in the Commonwealth by Magna and Maggie this issue.
With things clearly about to explode in the Commonwealth because of Dwight’s death and Mercer’s soon to be arrest, it is clear they will play a vital role in the story.
Another thing I was surprised to find how much I liked was the portrayal of the love triangle between Carl, Lydia and Sophia.
I usually hate love triangles but here it is portrayed rather nicely.
Sophia finds she actually gets along well with the new kid Carl tried to set her up with and Lydia gets jealous of her and Carl.
This leads Carl to tell Lydia she and him work together because they are both monsters, (which is obviously a really bad thing to call your girlfriend) causing Lydia to storm off.
Then, when Carl departs, he explains what he meant, stating they are both the only ones who can truly see who they really are after all they have done.
This is a very touching scene that had me routing for their relationship in ways I have not before.
All of this is fantastic stuff but again it is weighed down by throwing out Rick and Michonne’s conflict, which could have been very interesting.
The rest of “The Road Back” is good but I just wish Kirkman had kept this conflict going.

Ralph Breaks the Internet Review: Enjoyable but too many Advertisements.

3 stars
I love the first Wreck it Ralph but coming into the second film, Ralph Breaks the Internet, I had major concerns.
This came from the trailers, which revealed a focus on the internet and various sites and products available there especially those Disney related.
I was concerned that this film would just be an excuse to put in blatant product placement and we all know how a film which priorities that turns out (cough, cough The Emoji Movie). 
Thankfully, Ralph Breaks the Internet never stoops that low even though its product placement does get annoying.
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnson, the film sees the titular Wreck it Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) travel to the internet to order a part for Vanellope’s game before it shuts down for good.
Shenanigans ensue as the two travel across the internet, with some great examples of humor.
Ralph Breaks the Internet has some truly fantastic inside jokes about the complications of the internet and even some great meta-humor with the Disney Princesses.
I thought they would feel forced into the story but they work great, delivering quite a few laughs.

Venellope and the princesses.jpg
The Disney Princess jokes are very funny, often highlighting the messed up side to these characters’ stories.

The film also has a few great emotional scenes too, like a surprisingly good song Vanellope sings about her new favourite game Slaughter Race.
Another part that delivers a lot of heart is how Ralph grows from his over reliance on Vanellope.
What does not deliver, however, is a sequence of jokes, where Ralph gets involved with the meme world of the internet, which fall flat on their face.
There is also a pretty big plot hole by the end concerning what happens to a virus.
Ultimately my main issue is that it feels like a big reason for making Ralph Breaks the Internet was to capitalize on advertisements and product placement.
This is not to say the movie is not good, as I said there are numerous funny and emotional scenes, but the feeling that these scenes are just used to distract from the constant advertisements of internet sites and Disney properties carries on across the film.
Still, the heart and good laughs the film provides does give it enough of an edge to save it for me.
Overall, I would say Ralph Breaks the Internet is an enjoyable film… although it probably should have been called Ralph Wrecks the Internet.

Attack on Titan Volume 27 Review: Bad Beginning but Fantastic Ending.

Chapter 107: Visitor.

two-and-a-half-stars
I have a bone to pick with this chapter.
Ever since I started reviewing the Attack on Titan volumes from Chapter 73 I have never given a chapter a bad review.
Sure, there were things I had problems with but even at their weakest I still found these chapters decent.
This all changes with Chapter 107, “Visitor” and the reason for this mostly comes down to how Hajime Isayama handles Historia’s character.
In “Visitor” Kyomi Azumbito is confirmed to be working with Paradis and proposes a plan to help them defeat Marley.
Threaten them into submission by demonstrating the power of the rumbling and then wait 50 years for their technology to catch up before attacking.
However, in order to maintain the threat of the rumbling for these 50 years, they will need a Beast Titan with royal blood and since Zeke only has one year left the role falls to Historia and her descendants.
Unfortunately, to achieve this, Historia would have to sacrifice her life and that of her children’s by carrying on the Beast Titan through the generations.
The chapter concludes by showing that Historia is following through with this plan as she is now pregnant.
I have massive issues with this storyline.
First, let me say I understand what Isayama is going for.
He is trying to create a tragic arc for Historia where she is forced to continue the cycle of abuse her family committed to save humanity.
However, the problem with this is that it undermines all of the fantastic character development Historia had in the Uprising Arc.
The main centerpiece of this arc was Historia learning to live for herself and not fall into self-martyrdom but now Historia is going against what she learned.
All of the inspirational growth she went through has been completely undone and now feels pointless.
Even worse is how this goes completely against her character as well.
After Historia became queen she dedicated herself to helping orphans throughout Paradis.
She cared for these children and gave them happy lives so the idea that she would sacrifice her own children is quite frankly ridiculous.
It is clear that Historia’s pregnancy is incredibly important to the story but Isayama should have found a way to do it that does not contradict her entire character arc.
Sadly, this is not the only issue I had with this chapter.
It is also revealed in “Visitor” that Mikasa is actually the descendant of a lost lord from Hizuru and is thus very important.
While I did like how well this had been set up, with the big hint for the twist coming during Mikasa’s backstory in the first arc, it is starting to make the story of Attack on Titan seem far too coincidental.
I mean five of the nine Titan Shifters, the heir to the throne and an Ackerman who is also the descendant of a lost lord somehow all ended up in the same training regiment.
Historia herself seems to joke about this by comparing how she and Mikasa both have important birthrights.
This leads to Historia saying she is happy, which only serves to drive the knife in deeper when we see how depressed she is at the end of the chapter.
However, even though I did have massive problems with “Volunteer” the chapter did not completely fail.
We got some pretty good character development from Hange this chapter, the reveal of Zeke’s motives as a “true Eldia Restorationist” and a nice scene with Nicolo and Sasha’s family that continued to show the impact of her death.
Then there is Gabi and Falco who escape from their prison to grow some more character wise.
There are good moments in “Visitor” but they are heavily weighed down by how coincidental the story appears and, most of all, with Historia’s character breaking new storyline.
This is one my least favorite chapters of Attack on Titan. 

Chapter 108: A Sound Argument

3 and a half stars
I thought the reveal of who the father of Historia’s baby is would make me feel better about the whole situation but I was wrong.
In Chapter 108, “A Sound Argument,” it is revealed by Nile that the father is someone who bullied and threw rocks at Historia when they were children because he liked her.
A character bullying someone because they like them is one of the worst romance cliche’s out there but it is made worse when you consider how terrible Historia’s childhood was.
With the exception of Freida, everyone treated Historia terribly when she was child, which led to he wanting to die at the beginning of the series.
She was actively trying to kill herself, while looking like a hero to add meaning to her life, before Ymir knocked some sense into her.
So the father being someone who contributed to Historia wanting to kill herself feels like an insult to her character.
I know I have been hating on the Historia pregnancy storyline a lot but I will say I do think there is a chance for it to get better.
We oddly have yet to hear Historia’s thoughts on her pregnancy and there seems to be a few things in this chapter that hints at something more going on.
This leads me to believe there may be a twist coming surrounding Historia’s pregnancy.
Honestly, I am just hoping for anything that makes this storyline seem better to me.
Until this twist happens though, Historia’s pregnancy will remain one of my least favourite storylines of the series.
Back to the chapter review, the reveal of the baby’s father is only a small part of “A Sound Argument” and the rest of it more than makes up for the problem I have with the reveal.
My favourite scene in the entire chapter is the one where Eren’s friends talk about the implications of his recent actions and how much he has changed, leading to a fantastic flashback.
In this flashback we get to see the close connection between Eren and his friends from the 104th cadet corps.
One by one Mikasa, Jean, Connie and Sasha all offer to inherit the Founding Titan from Eren when his thirteen years are up but Eren refuses saying they are important to him and he wants them to all live long lives.
This is one of the most heartwarming scenes we have had in Attack on Titan in a long time and makes for a sad contrast to the present scene where Eren’s friends are questioning his motives.
While Mikasa and Armin are desperate to believe Eren is still on their side, Connie seems to slowly be coming around to the idea that Eren has betrayed them.
As evidence he states how Eren laughed when Sasha died, not knowing this is how Eren grieves.
However, I can understand how Connie is unable to trust Eren given that a lot of people think he is working with Zeke who turned Connie’s entire family into Titans.
I hope we get a pay off to this with Connie facing Zeke because that has been set up for a while.
Another thing I hope to see is a flashback showing Eren and Zeke meeting in Marley because Jean confirms they did talk.
Speaking of setting up scenes, this chapter appears to be setting up a new arc for Gabi, with her and Falco encountering the girl who Sasha saved in the Clash of the Titans arc, named Kaya.
Before they encounter her, the two get into a fight about Gabi refusing to remove her Eldian arm band.
Watching Gabi hysterically cry that she is “a good Eldian” as she desperately tries to snatch back the arm band from Falco serves as another scene that shows just how brainwashed Gabi is.
Their fight is interrupted by Kaya though, who tells brings them to her place after they lie, stating they have run away from home.
In their actual home, however, Reiner wakes up and plans are being made to invade Paradis as retaliation for Eren and the Scouts’ attack.
The Marleyan forces have also figured out that Zeke has betrayed them, which leads to the chapter ending with Reiner advocating for an immediate attack on Paradis to stay ahead of him.
I think Reiner did this so they can rescue Falco and Gabi, who are his sole reason for living, quicker rather than an actual desire for vengeance.
Still, the implications of this cliffhanger are felt at the end of the volume and seem to set the stage for the Warrior’s counterattack in the future.
“A Sound Argument” was a decent chapter.
I did not like the reveal of the father of Historia’s baby but everything else was solid and potentially set up a lot of events to come.

Chapter 109: Guides

4 stars
“Guides” is the callback chapter to end all callback chapters.
So many old characters return to the story from Flegel, to the journalists, to even the little girl who Mikasa saved all the way back in the battle of Trost.
These returning characters all serve a point in the chapter and help to show the consequences of our main characters’ actions.
The character who does this the most is undoubtedly Louise, the girl Mikasa saved.
Louise is revealed to have been so inspired by Mikasa that she helped Floch and other renegade Scouts leak information about Eren’s imprisonment to the press.
This leads to the return of the journalists and Flegel who, along with a mob, all demand an explanation out of Hange about why Eren is locked, up creating new tensions between the people and the government.
These returning characters all show the impact our main characters’ choices have had, which may be leading them to a point of no return again.
It has got so bad that Hange is even starting to doubt her position, with her remembering Sannes telling her to “break a leg” before declaring she is tired.
Hange has been going through a lot of development through her insecurities as Commander, which I believe may pay off in a big way soon.
Hopefully not with her dying though.
In comparison to Hange’s uncertainty, Floch, on the other hand, is much more certain in his goals of freeing Eren believing he is the only one who can save Eldia, which matches up with what Floch said when he and the Scouts attacked Marley.
However, while Floch is dedicated, it is almost certain that he is being manipulated by Yelena, as Pyxis points out in his discussion with her.
Pyxis points out on numerous occasions during their conversation that she has been in close proximity to both Eren and Floch, giving her the opportunity to manipulate them.
Watching Pyxis and Yelena’s discussions in this volume establishes her as one the most interesting characters right now as her true motivations, much like Zeke, remain a mystery.
However, the main focus of this chapter is not Yelena, Hange, or the returning characters but Gabi and Falco who are taken by Kaya to the home of Sasha’s family.
This can only end badly when they all learn who one another are, considering Gabi killed Sasha.
For a moment I thought it had ended badly when I saw a shot of what appeared to be Gabi stabbing Sasha’s father to death.
However, my shock about this was brief when it was thankfully revealed it was just Mikasa remembering Eren stabbing her kidnapper to death.
Still, this does not mean the situation will not end with someone getting stabbed.
As for Gabi, I know she is brainwashed but Isayama is making it a bit hard to like her at times, which is especially apparent in this chapter.
First Gabi tries to blame Kaya and the other orphans for not accepting their sins, then she tries to murder Kaya when she reveals she knows they are from Marley, and finally she says Falco should not have apologized to Kaya about her mother’s death.
This all makes Gabi fairly unlikable in this chapter, which I think should have been downplayed.
The moment when Gabi asks why Falco would apologize made her seem very callous and probably should have been removed.
That said, Gabi’s interactions with Kaya and Falco in this chapter will hopefully go on to change her world view that all Eldians on Paradis are evil.
Kaya’s kind actions may be the starting point for this because the chapter ends with her promising to help them get back to Marley since she wants to help people just like Sasha.
This ending is another fantastic way that Isayama shows the importance of characters after their deaths and may change Gabi’s point of view when she learns Sasha was the person she killed.
Overall, “Guides” is a good chapter that brings back many familiar faces and sets up a lot of development for Gabi.

Chapter 110: Counterfeit.

5 stars
Volume 27 may have started badly but it ends amazingly with its final chapter “Counterfeit.”
The chapter kicks off with Zeke finally explaining what happened in Connie’s village back in the Clash of the Titans Arc.
Zeke’s spinal fluid was transformed into gas and used as chemical warfare, blown into Ragako Village, which knocked all of its inhabitants unconscious who were then turned into Titans with Zeke’s scream.
It was good to finally get the information about what really happened in Ragako and it led to an interesting conversation between Levi and Zeke.
Watching these two mortal enemies stand off in a conversation was very intriguing.
Levi does not keep his contempt for Zeke hidden, accusing him of feeling no remorse for his actions, while Zeke seems to come across as more reasonable, although is almost certainly hiding his anger towards Levi.
While it is cool to see these two interact somewhat peacefully, it is practically guaranteed to not last long, especially with what happens at the end of the chapter.
Eren manages to escape captivity with his Warhammer Titan powers and meets up with Floch and the rest of his followers to track down Zeke.
The events leading up to this moment are nothing short of shocking and left me genuinely wondering who I should route for because it is clear now that Eren and the Scouts are on opposing sides.
This can be seen with the death of Darius Zachary who was killed by some of Eren’s followers because he was planning to have him sacrificed and his Founding Titan power given to someone else.
I did not particularly like Zachary as a character but it was still shocking to see him die in such a gruesome way.
That said, it was oddly fitting and funny that he was most likely killed because of a bomb attached to his excrement torture device first seen in the Uprising Arc.
Speaking of the Uprising Arc, it looks like the past is repeating itself because the masses are once again turning against the government, only this time the government is a side we are routing for, which makes the whole situation complicated.
I do not know whose side to take here, Eren or the Scouts.
We do not even fully know Eren’s motivations for turning against the Scouts and even Mikasa and Armin seem to be questioning him by the end of the chapter.
Attack on Titan started with these three as the closet of friends but as it has gone on Eren has moved further and further away from the two.
I love how Isayama continues to shape these three characters friendship, especially with Armin and Mikasa now wondering how much they can trust Eren.
The fact that Pieck is shown to be in Paradis at the end of the chapter makes the situation even worse.
Along with all this, there are numerous other interesting scenes.
We got another conversation between Pyxis and Yelena where she admits she did meet with Eren but only to help him shape his ideology.
She really came across as a crazed fan girl here but Pyxis points out how he knows she is lying because she did not incorporate any truth into what she said.
So what is Yelena, a crazy fan girl or an attempted manipulator with her own motives?
Either way it will be interesting what her role to play in this story is.
Another intriguing scene in “Counterfeit” saw Armin visiting Annie again, only this time he appears a lot more intimate with because he reaches out to touch the crystal.
He is then caught by Hitch who he desperately tries to explain himself to but I am unsure whether she bought it or not.
I, for one, certainly do not buy it because it seems apparent that Armin has gained some feelings for Annie over the years.
I think this has to do with him inheriting Bertholdt’s memories after he became the Colossal Titan.
If this is true it will be interesting to see in what other ways Bertholdt’s memories have affected him.
“Counterfeit” was a fantastic way to end Volume 27 because it redeemed a lot of the bad stuff that came before in the first few chapters.
The consequences of this chapter will most likely be felt across the series because Eren now seems to have fully embraced his dark side, moving towards an unforeseen goal that may have even more dire consequences.

 

Aquaman: Good Old Cheesy Fun.

3 and a half stars
It is kind of funny how much of a reversal the character of Aquaman in the DC Universe is compared to his comic book counterpart.
The comic version of Aquaman is often made the butt of a joke by most people, while the film version of Aquaman makes the jokes.
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman is the second film in the DCU to achieve the status of good and, much like the even better Wonder Woman, is a step in the right direction.
The film follows Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, the Aquaman, who is called to Atlantis to stop his brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) from attacking the surface world.
Momoa steals the show as Aquaman, breathing new life into the character.
He both manages to make Arthur funny and feel real to the viewer.

Arthur
Jason Momoa is great as Aquaman delivering both heart and laughs in his performance.

One particular scene where he contemplates whether he is worthy to be king is a standout.
However, one thing to note about Aquaman is that it is a very cheesy film… but this works to its advantage.
Aquaman knows it is cheesy and fully embraces it, creating a much better experience.
That said, there are a few cringe inducing moments but these are few and far between.
James Wan has created a spectacle here with amazing action sequences and special effects to draw you into the world of Atlantis.
Although, the hair effects do look a bit weird but that is a minor detail.
Helping build on this undersea kingdom is the characters that inhabit its world.
For example, the love story between Arthur’s parents (Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison) helps build the world and is genuinely sweet.
Not all the characters are great though because Orm is a pretty one dimensional villain that held little interest.
This is made up for by Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who stood out as a compelling enemy for Aquaman during the brief screen time he had.

Black Manta.jpg
It felt like Black Manta should have been the main villain since he was more interesting than King Orm.

The thing Aquaman is above all else though is a fun movie.
It does not deal with any complex themes and sometimes the movie can get a little cringe worthy but it is still a good time with fun performances, great CGI and epic action sequences.
It will be interesting to see where this goes in the future.

Attack on Titan Volume 26: Most Heartbreaking Death Yet?

Chapter 103: Assault.

4 stars
Continuing the action started in Chapter 100 of the Scouts’ attack on Marley, Chapter 103 opens with the spectacular full page image of the battle, seen above.
It is artwork like this that shows just how far Hajime Isayama has come from when he first started the series.
In those early days his artwork often looked a little stiff and, at worst, unnatural.
Now, however, I find problems like this in Isayama’s artwork to be very few.
The shot of Falco watching the battle as Zeke, Galliard and Pieck engage the scouts is a testament to this.
Speaking of Falco, the conformation of him and Reiner’s survival at the beginning of the chapter was a relief to me.
While I was almost certain Falco would survive, I was concerned about Reiner so to see him alive, although injured, was reassuring.
That said, the chapter continues to show how broken Reiner has become, with his wish to die keeping him from healing properly.
It will be interesting to see if Reiner can overcome these feelings and redeem himself in the future of the story.
The rest of “Assault” is pure action with the scouts taking on the Titans and pretty much wiping the floor with them.
Both Zeke and Pieck fall in this chapter and, upon reading, I took issue with both of these events.
At first I was angered that Zeke was defeated so easily but, after reading the rest of the volume and seeing what happens, my opinion changed.
For Pieck, however, my opinion did not change.
I felt the way the chapter ended with Jean about to kill her, only for Falco to get in the way, ending the chapter on a cliffhanger almost killed the tension completely.
It reminded me a lot of the ending to season two episode seven, “Close Combat”, where the episode’s tension was killed when it abruptly ended before Bertholdt could fall on Eren and Reiner.
All of this said, I did enjoy the action sequences that came before this with Sasha once again showing how great of a sharpshooter she is both with a bow and a gun.
Then there is Jean and the other scouts destroying Pieck’s Cart Titan with their thunder spears so badly that it is a miracle she survived.
Even Galliard surprisingly got a moment to shine when he swats a Scout out of the sky to protect Pieck.
This was just a small hint of how cool a character Galliard would become in the next chapters.
The best moment of “Assault” though came with the long-awaited return of Armin who, in one of his coolest moments, destroyed the entire fleet of battleships sent in to help with his nuclear Colossal Titan transformation.
It was great to see Armin again after his long absence and the way he appeared left me eager to see what would happen with him next.
Overall, “Assault” was a good start to Volume 26 with great action, even if the ending was abrupt.

Chapter 104: Victors.

5 stars
“Victors” is not just a fantastic chapter of Attack on Titan but one that gives the Scouts probably their most successful victory to date… before it is rudely snatched away by the events of the next chapter.
However, even knowing this event was coming did not make the Scouts’ victory any less sweeter when Eren succeeded in consuming the Warhammer Titan.
While I will admit I was once again disappointed by the user of the Warhammer Titan (with her only appearing for a short time before dying without us knowing her name) it will be interesting to see what Eren does with this new Titan power he has gained.
The way Eren achieves gaining this power is also one of the most ingenious character moments of Attack on Titan.
After seeing how powerful the Jaw Titan’s claws and jaws are, Eren grabs Galliard with the help of Mikasa and forces him to crush the Warhammer Titan so Eren can eat the remains.
This was a very shocking moment that shows how much smarter Eren has become over the years.
The standout of this chapter for me, however, was surprisingly Galliard with how amazingly strong his Titan turned out to be.
Without Mikasa taking him by surprise, it seemed to me that Galliard would have been a very difficult foe for Eren to defeat.
As Mikasa easily points out in the chapter, Galliard’s Jaw Titan is very different from Ymir’s.
However, while I liked Galliard’s skills as a Titan Shifter this chapter I still have yet to warm up to his character.
That said, “Victors” does look to be building up some actual character development for him that may make me like him more.
In a powerful scene for Reiner, he temporarily overcomes his wish to die and, after transforming into a weakened version of his Armoured Titan, rushes in to save Galliard from Eren.
Galliard has been shown to extremely dislike Reiner because of how he caused his brother’s death so this could remove the wedge between them and create some actual development for Galliard.
Another point to mention is Galliard’s Jaw Titan’s possibly being used to help Marley in the future, rather than how it was used unwillingly against Marley in this chapter.
If Galliard could crush the Warhammer Titan’s crystal then it is also possible for him to do the same for Annie, hopefully without killing her this time.
All of this is great set up if it does end up being what happens.
If not though, the rest of this chapter is still fantastic with numerous standout scenes.
We get out first look at Armin’s Colossal Titan, which is much skinnier than Bertholdt’s because of Armin’s physique.
Armin also seems to realise for the first time what it was like for Bertholdt destroying Wall Maria’s gate at the beginning of the series.
We also get the continuation of the abrupt ending to the previous chapter, which added a nice layer of character development for Jean.
Before he can shoot his thunder spear at Falco and Pieck, the smoke from her Titan as she emerges from it blocks his view causing him to miss.
However, Jean does wonder if he missed intentionally not wanting to harm a child, which shows how honorable Jean is, despite being on the attacking side this time around.
The scouts are also revealed to have a zeppelin of their own this chapter, with Hange and new character Onyankopon flying it.
After picking up Armin, Hange and him have a touching moment when Hange wonders if he was possessed by Erwin’s ghost, showing the burden both share as Erwin’s successors.
Hange as his literal one, being the new Commander of the Survey Corps, and Armin the figurative one, having been chose to inherit the Colossal Titan over Erwin.
“Victors” is a fantastic chapter.
It has plenty of amazing action and character moments that will be very exciting to witness when season four is animated in a couple of years.

Chapter 105: Assassins Bullet.

5 stars
This chapter hurt.
I was spoiled about Sasha’s death days after this chapter came out but my prior knowledge did not make the chapter any less painful to read.
As the series got closer and closer to chapter 105 I wondered just Isayama would kill her off.
Given how this chapter is called “Assassins Bullet” and how Gabi was last seen in the previous chapter racing after the Scouts’ zeppelin with a gun hoping to avenge the death of her friends, I was pretty confident she was the one who would do the deed.
Sadly, my suspicions were correct because, after sneaking on board the zeppelin with Falco, Gabi shot Sasha in the stomach fatally wounding her.
This was a very sad scene to read especially with the other characters’ reaction to it.
In a rare moment we actually got to see Mikasa crying, which is surprising as well as touching because she only seemed to care about Eren and Armin before now.
Eren’s reaction is also was very gripping, with him laughing and crying, just like he did when Hannes was killed all the way back in Chapter 50.
Then there is Sasha herself, whose death is incredibly sad to see, with her last words of “meat” speaking both to her characteristics as a primarily comic-relief character and the manga’s theme of freedom.
Sasha has come a long way since she first appeared in the manga and I am glad that Isayama decided to let her live longer than he originally planned because it gave her a lot of great moments to shine before her death.
As for Gabi, this chapter made me understand why so many fans hate her because of how she murdered Sasha.
That said, I do not blame her for Sasha’s death because this chapter makes it very clear that she has been brainwashed and, from her perspective, Sasha and the others are the bad guys.
Both of these factors are shown in the conversation between Gabi and Falco before she kills Sasha.
While Falco points out how those on Paradis were attacked first, Gabi states she can never forgive the Eldians for killing her friends and all her life has wanted to prove to Marley that there are good Eldians but their attackers may have stopped this.
She makes a good point here because if Attack on Titan had started from Chapter 90 instead of Chapter One then a lot of readers would be on Gab’s side.
Still, this makes for a brilliant contrast between Falco and Gabi.
Falco does not blindly accept Marley’s brainwashing and is able to understand Eren’s point of view, which is contrasted by Gabi’s blind loyalty to Marley because of the brainwashing.
However, Sasha’s tragic death and Gabi’s side of the story are not the only highlights of “Assassins Bullet.”
One particularly explosive reveal confirmed the theory myself and many others had about Zeke, that he was secretly working with Eren the entire time.
It is revealed in this chapter that Zeke deliberately avoided killing the Scouts when fighting and was purposefully captured by Levi so he could help those on Paradis.
While this is an interesting reveal, it is clear to me that Zeke cannot be trusted.
This is the man who who cheered upon killing almost every scout that ran at him in Erwin’s suicide charge.
Whatever his true ambitions are, he is merely siding with the Scouts to achieve them.
The moment they become useless to Zeke he will turn on them in an instant.
This seems to be made very clear by Isayama with the final panel of Zeke having his eyes obscured by the light reflecting off his glasses, hiding both his gaze and true motivations.
Another interesting point is the official introduction of Yelena, a follower of Zeke who was the one who temporarily captured Pieck and Galliard.
However, as Jean points out, it was her fault they escaped, which is another point against Zeke and her truly wishing to help Paradis.
Maybe Yelena purposefully allowed Pieck and Galliard to escape as a part of Zeke’s grand plan but if this is true it has yet to be revealed.
Anyway, I am very excited about Zeke temporarily coming over to Eren’s side because we may finally get the conversation between the two brothers that I have been waiting to see since their family connection was first revealed.
Speaking of Eren, another surprising moment came for his character this chapter when it was revealed he actually went rogue to attack Marley, forcing the Scouts to come and rescue him.
The impact of this will surely be felt in the future as Hange perfectly states, “you put your trust is us… and we’ve lost our trust in you”
The divisions caused by Eren going rogue can even be seen between him, Armin and Mikasa as the chapter opens with them reuniting.
However, rather than this being a happy moment, it is clearly somber with the side by side panels of each individual characters’ face showing just how distant the three have become.
They have certainly come a long way from their first time reaching the ocean but not for the better.
The standout moment of the chapter though is still the tragic death of our beloved potato girl Sasha.
Her death is one of the saddest the series has ever had and, with the manga supposedly about to enter its final arc, we are certain to get a lot more

Chapter 106: Volunteers.

4 stars
After the tragic death of Sasha in “Assassin’s Bullet,” Chapter 106, “Volunteers,” serves to make her death all the more painful with a big flashback to in between the four year time jump in which she is present.
Every time I saw her in this chapter it just dug the knife in deeper, especially when the scene transitioned from Eren, Mikasa and Armin at a shooting range to Sasha getting shot in the stomach.
Still, I did enjoy how even though Sasha is dead she is not forgotten.
A lot of other series would have mentioned her only briefly after her death but when characters in Attack on Titan die they are still relevant to the story, either through flashbacks or through their actions having an impact long after they are gone.
Along with all this, the big flashback in this chapter also went on to explain how Yelena, Onyankopon and the rest of Zeke’s followers came to join the Scouts in their efforts.
Upon arriving in Paradis, Yelena shot her superior officer and her soldiers took those who were untrustworthy captive to show their loyalty to Eren and the others.
However, once Zeke was mentioned it caused a whole lot of difficulty for them in gaining those on Paradis’ trust.
In a surprising moment though, Eren spoke up for them, wanting to go through with Zeke’s plan to use his royal blood and Eren’s Founding Titan to initiate the rumbling with the many Colossal Titans inside the wall.
This also seems to be where the first layer of trust between Eren and the scouts was broken, when he reveals he hid the fact that someone with royal blood could be used to initiate the rumbling to protect Historia.
From here though, we see relations between the Marleyan volunteers and the Eldians on Paradis growing.
We see Sasha get attached to a Marleyan named Nicolo because of his cooking and we even get to briefly see the progression of a Marleyan as he went from hating to trusting the Eldians over time.
Another interesting scene came when Sasha asked Onyankopon why his skin is black.
This came across as natural since everyone on Paradis is Eldian, with the exception of Mikasa, so the other characters would never have seen a black person before.
The scene also added another layer to the story of Ymir Fritz, when Onyankopon states that God made various people different races and also was probably the one to give Ymir her Titan powers.
This adds another version of the tale to her myth and how she is perceived and I wonder if we will ever get a solid explanation for how Ymir became the first Titan.
The standout moment of the chapter though, would have to be the return of Annie, who Armin is revealed to be talking to and who is still stuck in that goddamn crystal!
Seriously, she has been in there for 73 chapters, when is she going to come out?
Hopefully, with the reveal that Galliard can crush these crystals Annie can return soon.
Still, it was great to see her again, and not in flashback form, after all this time.
“Volunteers” even gifted us with some great callback moments like with Armin’s seashell, Eren picking up the Marleyan warship just like Kruger did in his first appearance, and Mikasa and Eren once again repeating the common “fight” line seen in the series.
This final moment was the ending scene of the chapter and saw Mikasa supposedly at Sasha’s funeral, Gabi and Falco imprisoned, and Eren also imprisoned in a different area.
Eren’s imprisonment goes to show how he is no longer trusted by the Scouts.
All of this said, the chapter did have a few iffy moments like when Yelena and Onyankopon talk about why Marley has not launched an all out invasion yet.
The biggest reasons are that many countries were inspired by their efforts and went to war with Marley and because Marley was afraid of the Titans still on Paradis, unaware that the Scouts had killed them all.
During this conversation we got a panel of these Titans, which looked pretty goofy because they looked to be dancing.
Overall though, “Volunteers” was still a good chapter to end Volume 26 on.
We got a good explanation of what had happened during the four year time skip and finally got to see Annie again… if only she would wake up already!