Attack on Titan, Chapter 118, Foul Play Review: So Many Great Character Moments.

4 and a half stars
After Zeke’s dramatic return at the end of Chapter 117 of Attack on Titan, I thought Chapter 118, “Foul Play,” would end with him screaming, turning all those poisoned by his spinal fluid into Titans.
While this does not happen in the latest chapter, “Foul Play,” it still offers some fantastic moments in its action but most of all in its character development.
There is so much development in this chapter that it is honestly a testament to how great of a writer Hajime Isayama is because it did not make the story feel bloated.
Mikasa, Armin, Jean, Connie, Gabi, Falco, Onyankopon, Nile, all of them got some great moments in “Foul Play.”
My favourite piece of character development this chapter would have to be Gabi’s because she finally acknowledges that the Eldians are not devils but people just like her.
I was glad to see Gabi finally reach this realization because many feared that, when she met up with the Warriors again, she would revert back to her old personality.
Thankfully, she does the opposite of this, even stopping Colt from killing Nile when he runs over to give Falco back to them.
This really shows how far she has come since her introduction because, when we first met her, she would have allowed Colt to shoot Nile without hesitation.
After rescuing Falco, the three hide in a building where Falco admits that he delivered letters for Eren when he was in Liberio, and that he likes Gabi.
This is a surprising moment because Isayama does not usually write romantic scenes so to see him write an intentionally awkward love declaration is both funny and a nice change of pace.
Falco’s declaration also leads Gabi to rip off his armband in a callback to when Falco did this to her in an earlier chapter, once again showing how far she has come.
Gabi and Falco are not the only ones with great development this chapter because Mikasa gets a scene that is clearly a turning point for her character.
She actually leaves Eren’s scarf behind.
The thing she has been carrying around since the beginning of Attack on Titan; the very thing which symbolizes her relationship with Eren, and she left it behind.
However, the way Louise looks at it when Mikasa leaves makes me think it could work its way back to Mikasa through her.
All of the scouts really had defining moments in this chapter, with them all being released by Onyankopon, which I predicted months ago.
Connie is quick to distrust him because he is sick of being betrayed, first by Annie, Reiner and Bertholdt, and now Eren.
Armin, however, wants to hear him out, and Onyankopon says he was never told about the wine and is against the euthanasia plan because “children are the future.”
I believe that he is on the scouts side because, as Armin says, Onyankopon does believe in other races surviving so he would not support the euthanasia plan, which is why Yelena did not tell him.
As for Jean, his development is small but pivotal nonetheless because he actually admits to being envious of Eren all the way back in training.
Likewise, Armin points out what we have all been suspecting, that Eren would never be in favor of Zeke’s plan to euthanize the Eldian race because he believes in freedom.
This leads to Armin remembering what Eren said when they reached the ocean in Chapter 90, which apparently makes him realise what Eren’s actual plan is because he says, “no way,” in apparent denial.
This has me concerned because, in that chapter, Eren wondered if they would be free if they killed all of their enemies across the ocean.
If this is what Armin is remembering, then it hints at Eren initiating the rumbling and destroying the entire world outside of Paradis, leaving only his people on the island alive.
This is a very dark theory and it will be interesting to see if Eren would go as far to murder billions of people to keep his friends safe.
Either way, the rumbling is a chekov’s gun at this point and it is obvious it will be fired by the end of the series.
It is just a matter of whether or not that rumbling will be world ending or not.
Speaking of chekov’s gun though, Colt seems to have one of those himself with an apparent Titan killing gun.
Isayama seems to be hinting that this gun will kill a Titan but who is anyone’s guess.
Colt is heading towards Zeke to try and dissuade him from screaming by telling him about Falco being infected but we all know Zeke will not let this stop him from trying to achieve his goal.
This may result in Colt trying to kill Zeke with it but I doubt it will work.
In fact, I find it likely that Colt may die soon because he is near the infected Falco and, if he turns into a Titan and eats his brother, it would make for a very tragic death.
As for Zeke himself, It is getting a little sad how Zeke gets pretty much destroyed in ever battle.
In an admittedly genius moment from Pieck and Magath, they are able to shoot him off the wall, mortally wounding him.
Honestly, the amount of times both Zeke and Reiner have been beaten up in this series is a little embarrassing for them, and another thing they have in common besides their backstories.
At least Zeke got a moment to shine when he destroyed the airships at the beginning of the chapter, which resulted in the glorious panel of the Queen of Crazy Yelena spreading her arms out and marveling at the destruction caused by her god.
Yelena continues to be a very interesting character, due to how absolutely insane she is.
The panel of her glaring at Armin makes it look like she wants to eat his face.
It reminded a lot of Sister Krone from The Promised Neverland series.
Both characters are crazy and have nightmare inducing facial expressions.
Overall, “Foul Play” is a great chapter, where its character development manages to somehow be even more interesting than its action.
With the story looking to set the stage for Zeke’s scream in the next few chapters, I cannot wait to see what the horrific effects of this will be.

The Walking Dead, Issue 192, Aftermath Review: Everything Changes but not in a Good way.

two-and-a-half-stars
In my review for the shocking Issue 191 of The Walking Dead, I said I had mixed opinions about the possibility of Rick Grimes dying.
On the one hand, I did like the idea of his death being reminiscent of assassinations of other historical figures but, on the other hand, I thought it was stupid that it was Sebastian, of all people, who killed him.
Overall, I decided to reserve judgement on the death until it actually happened in Issue 192, “Aftermath.”
Well, the chapter was released yesterday and we finally got to see the great Rick Grimes die, and, I have to say, I am disappointed.
My main criticism lies in how Rick’s death honestly does not feel like the death of a main character.
Seriously, this chapter is named “Aftermath,” we should be seeing all the people Rick helped reacting to the news of his death.
Sure, we do get Carl’s reaction and that is handled very well but we get almost no reaction from the other characters.
What about Michonne?
She was Rick’s best friend and she does not even shed a tear over his death.
Maggie, Sophia, Eugene, Jesus, Aaron, these are all characters who Rick has helped survive and we do not see of their reactions apart from brief mourning shots as they go to his funeral.
And that’s another thing, we don’t even see his funeral.
Carl collapses from grief on his way to Alexandria and says he does not think he can do this without his father then the issue just ends.
It honestly feels like the death of a minor character instead of the lead of the entire series.
What’s more, it looks like the comics are going to be quickly moving on from Rick’s death.
The next issue looks to be entirely Negan focused, and the issue after that is introducing a new character Sheriff Kapoor, who looks almost exactly like Rick.
I should not have to say this but, since Rick is the main character, his death should feel like a massive event that will affect the future of the series bur it honestly does not feel like that.
I’m not going to act like there aren’t some great things about “Aftermath” because there are.
Seeing Rick get repeatedly shot by Sebastian had me screaming out in shock.
Not only this but the scene where Carl confronts Sebastian in prison is magnificent.
It shows how Carl has been influenced by both Rick and Negan because, while he decides to let him rot in prison like Rick would have wanted, he also promises to hurt him if he ever gets out, quoting Negan as he leaves by saying “ta, ta.”
However, while this is a great moment that points towards an interesting future for Carl, it does not make up for how poorly handled Rick’s exit feels.
He was killed by one of the most annoying characters the series has ever had, there is almost no reaction from the other characters to his death, which ultimately feels like that of a side character rather the main one, and the comics already look to be moving on from it in the next issue.
In my opinion, Robert Kirkman really dropped the ball with this.
The Commonwealth Arc has been downright bad in my opinion.
There were various great moments in it that made me believe it could get better but, overall, it was poorly plotted, structured, and resulted in a disappointing death for the main character.
I will keep reading to see what the series is like without Rick but, unless it has picked up by issue 200, I will think the series has officially jumped the shark.

Rocketman Review: Taron Edgerton is Oscar Worthy as Elton John.

4 and a half stars
Another year, another biopic.
Only according to Rocketman‘s lead star, Taron Edgerton, the film is not a biopic but rather a “fantasy musical.”
Well, having seen Rocketman, directed by Dexter Fletcher, I can firmly say that it is indeed a biopic but one that is different from the rest because of this “fantasy musical” status.
Following the life of the singing legend Elton John, the film details his rise to fame, substance abuse and recovery in a way that feels fresh and new compared to other movies of the genre.
This is helped by a magnificent performance from Edgerton who, while not sounding quite like the singer he is portraying, is still fantastic, especially in his vocals.
It makes me wonder if another biopic could be up for a Best Actor award again?
Last time, Rami Malak won for Bohemian Rhapsody now it could be Edgerton’s time with Rocketman.

Elton devil costume.jpg
Taron Edgerton is amazing as Elton John, pulling off his dramatic musical side perfectly.

It is not just him though because every actor and performer does an amazing job here.
Jamie Bell is great as John’s long time friend and lyricist Bernie Taupin, and he has great chemistry with Edgerton with both perfectly portraying the two’s friendship.
However, The real scene stealer, alongside Edgerton, is Richard Madden in his sociopathic portrayal of John Reid.
It is interesting to see the difference in his portrayal from Bohemian Rhapsody because in that film he seems like a normal businessman, while in this one he is as an uncaring sociopath.

John Reid
Richard Madden is unlikable in a good way as the abusive and cruel John Reid.

Along with the acting, the musical numbers of Rocketman are also great, being very energetic and fantasy-like, which separates it from other films.
Whereas previous biopics have usually felt realistic in their use of music, Rocketman’s usage is more fantastical and shows both the good and dark side to Elton John.
Edgerton’s portrayal of him is very sympathetic, relating the loneliness and depression he faced despite his fame.

Rocketman pool.jpg
The fantasy elements of this film causes Elton John’s success and internal struggles to come across to the audience perfectly. 

This does unfortunately tread Rocketman in with the typical biopic tropes we have seen time and time again but, thankfully, the fantasy element keeps it from getting stale.
As a result, Rocketman feels fresh and engaging throughout, with its fantastic performances and musical numbers keeping the viewers both emotionally engaged and entertained.
I can honestly say this is my second favourite film of the year so far.

Attack on Titan, Season 3, episode 18, Midnight Sun Review: New Greatest Episode.

5 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Well, it took a while but my favourite episode of Attack on Titan, “Warrior”, has finally been overtaken.
I was looking forward to this episode the moment I read the chapter of it last year, and Midnight Sun” does not disappoint.
The story picks up in the aftermath of the almost as amazing “Hero” from last week, and centers around what has to be one of the most difficult choices in anime history.
If Attack on Titan was an RPG, and I was playing Levi at that moment, I would have no idea what to do.
This choice makes for the most emotional moment of the entire series, with me crying not once but twice.
What makes these emotional scenes so great is the spectacular voice acting.
Literally every member of the cast brings their A game to this episode, especially Yûki Kaigi and Yui Ishikawa who give their best performances as Eren and Mikasa so far.
What makes their performances even more powerful is the almost complete lack of music, which is very striking because it allows the emotion behind the characters’ pain come through greatly.
As far as I can remember, there are only two instances of actual music being played and both are superb.
The episode does not even play the opening, which is how you know it means business going in.
Along with all this comes more hints to future episodes of the season, with me believing the next one could even top “Midnight Sun” because it will be adapting my favourite chapter from the manga.
We will have to wait and see though and, at least until then, Midnight Sun will remain my favourite Attack on Titan episode with its fantastic story, acting and emotionally gripping scenes.

Spoiler Review:

Rest in peace, Erwin Smith.
You were the best commander the Survey Corps ever had and you have the best death of the entire series.
Yes, we had to say goodbye to this great leader in “Midnight Sun”, and in a perfect way too.
Even with the manga long having passed Erwin’s death, his is still the best of Attack on Titan so far, with it resolving his character arc brilliantly and the impact of his death still being felt.
Erwin was a selfish person but, in his final moments, he threw his dreams away for the good of humanity, finally becoming what he had always pretended to be.
Coming into the episode, I thought this death would not hit me as hard because I had already read it in the manga but, boy, was I wrong.
Erwin’s death hit me like a tonne of bricks emotionally, just as the build-up to this event did with Levi’s big choice.
“Midnight Sun” finally shows those who only watch the anime what Eren and Mikasa’s fight with Levi in the season three part one cliffhanger was about.
Levi can only save one person by turning them into a Titan and feeding Bertholdt to them but he wants to save Erwin while Eren and Mikasa want to save Armin.
This leads to the serum bowl, with the three of them, and Floch, fighting over who should get it, before Hange and the others arrive to stop the chaos.
It is these scenes that deliver the most emotional gut punches of the episode, with Eren and Mikasa’s desperate attempt to save Armin leaving me on the verge of tears.
The dam eventually burst for me when Hange revealed Moblit had died saving her.
Moblit’s death will definitely be overlooked by fans because of Erwin and Bertholdt’s but he was still a great side character who died doing what he was doing the moment we met him, protecting Hange.
It is her speech about this that finally gets Mikasa to mournfully stop fighting, while Eren still struggles to save his friend.
Kaigi’s performance is the best it has ever been in this scene as he tries to convince Levi to save Armin by telling him about the ocean.
This appears to not work though because Levi demands everyone leaves so he can turn Erwin into a Titan.
With Eren being dragged away by Floch, Levi goes to inject Erwin and experiences a series of flashbacks from hearing Armin’s speech about the ocean, to Kenny giving him the serum, to him telling Erwin to die for them.
The integration of these flashbacks into the shot, with them overlapping Levi’s face is amazing.
The best one of all though comes when Erwin, in a dazed state, slaps Levi’s hand away and the shot quickly transitions to the moment Erwin raised his hand as a child to ask his father about if humanity could survive outside the walls.
It is through this that Levi realizes Erwin is a slave to his dreams and it would be cruel to bring him back into this hell so he saves Armin.
Bertholdt’s final moments as he is devoured by him is both gory and tragic, leaving me feeling sorry for him despite all he had done.
The big death of the episode still goes to Erwin though, with music finally coming into the scene when Hange announces his passing, bringing me to tears once more.
Erwin may have been a devil, like Floch said, but he was an inspirational one.
I am also personally glad that Armin is the one who was chosen because, again, he is my favourite character.
Now, he is also the Colossal Titan, which is sure to bring many exciting moments because the scouts now have two Titan Shifters on their side.
Along with these emotional scenes, there are also many hints to future episodes.
The first one comes when Eren meets Zeke for the first time and it is revealed Zeke knows Eren’s father, believing him to have brainwashed them.
How exactly he knows Grisha is not revealed because of Levi’s interruption but, as a manga reader, I can tell you that when it is revealed it will be shocking.
Then there is Reiner, who is rescued by Zeke shortly afterwards but, before this, he begs Hange to deliver Ymir’s letter to Historia.
This means a certain moment from the manga is coming soon and I am very curious to see how it will be changed because I think it needs to be.
Anyway, next episode is the one the entire series has been building to, “The Basement” where the truth will be uncovered.
I cannot wait to see if it will top my new favourite episode of “Midnight Sun.”

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review – Cool Monsters, Boring People.

two-and-a-half-stars
I have been a fan of the Godzilla series for a while so I was very excited to see the adaptations.
I found the first of them, Godzilla from 2014, to be good overall but with a lot of problems.
Sadly, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, directed by Michael Doughtery, also has many problems but less good things with the film largely focusing on boring, exposition spewing characters.
I was concerned about this right from the trailers, which were genuinely fantastic but also showed there were a lot of characters in the film, maybe too much even.
My fears were unfortunately realised yesterday when I went to see the film.
Picking up five years after the original, King of the Monsters follows the experiences of the Russel family, including Gary sue Mark (Kyle Chandler), his ex-wife with confusing motivations Emma (Vera Farminga) and their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), who I honestly forgot was in the film at times.

Russell family.jpg
Sadly, the Russell family does not hold that much emotional value. They did have potential but it is bogged down by the exposition.

Speaking of forgettable characters, Charles Dance plays the villain Alan Jonah whose character feels unneeded and, much like Emma, has very confusing motivation.
There are some returning characters like Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), who are just as forgettable as in the first Godzilla. 
Say what you want about that film but at least it had one interesting character in Bryan Cranston’s Joe Brody.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters does not have one interesting character, and almost every scene has them sprouting exposition in ways that are not at all interesting.
I already got sick of them saying Godzilla was a beacon of hope in the first film, I did not need to hear it multiple times in this one.
Thankfully, the film does get entertaining when the monsters do show up and fight.
These battles between Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Rodan have some very spectacular moments.

Ghidorah.jpg
Whenever the monsters are on screen the movie gets exciting, with King Ghidorah looking especially threatening.

There are even some points when an updated version of Godzilla’s original themes plays and this is my favourite part of the film, as it left me grinning from ear to ear.
Sure, the shots of the monsters are not as good as they were in Gareth Edward’s original film but they are competent enough here.
It is just annoying that they kept cutting to these boring characters, the worst offender being Emma because of the lack of connection between motivation and goal.

I'm Sorry..jpg
Emma’s goal makes absolutely no sense based on her motivation. Not only this, but it is never explained why the human villains have their goals either.

Whenever the monsters appeared on screen I was entertained, which is good because they have more of a screen presence than in the first film, but whenever it cut to the human characters I was bored out of my mind.
What makes it worse is that these boring humans took up most of the screen time.
Overall, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a disappointing film.
There are some good moments of monster action, but you have to sit through scenes of boring, unrealistic characters who spew useless exposition to get to it.

Barakamon Review: Slice of Life at its Best.

4 stars
Going to Anime Club at my university, I was not sure what to expect.
I was especially curious to see what kind of anime we would be watching, expecting to see some over the top action.
So, imagine my surprise when we started watching Barakamon, a slice of life anime that I found to be both heartwarming and hilarious.
Directed by Masaki Tachibana, and based off the manga by Satsuki Yoshino, The story follows calligrapher Seishu Handa (Daisuke Ono) who takes the idea of everybody hating critics more than a little too far when he punches an old curator who criticizes his work.
This results in Handa being sent to Goto Island to reflect on his actions and gain new inspiration for his calligraphy.

Barakamon
Hana is surprisingly relatable, given one of the first things we see him do is punch an elderly man.

On the island, he meets a cast of equally colorful characters, including the young girl Naru (Suzuko Hara) who joyously annoys him with her admiration every chance she gets.
The bond that grows between her and Handa is great to see play out, surprisingly so considering Handa’s actions in the first episode.
Not only this but Barakamon is also incredibly funny from start to finish, with every episode being jam packed with laughs.
One recurring joke of the yaoi obsessed Tamako (Rumi Okubo) falsely believing a romance is going on between Handa and another character Hiro gets funnier every time.
I honestly cannot count how many times we all burst into laughter with the constant great jokes, as very few fell flat.

 

humor.png
the comedy of Barakamon is spot on, proving numerous laughs. Every episode you will be laughing at something.

The anime also has some great cases of music, especially with the opening “Rashisha” by Super Beaver, which is very catchy.
This combination of great characters, jokes and music made for a very fun experience over the span of twelve episodes.
My only criticism is that some characters were not as fleshed out as they could have been.
Otherwise, Barakamon is a hilarious, good time and I suggest you watch it, especially if you are a fan of the slice of life genre.

Attack on Titan, Season Three, Episode 17, Hero Review: Greatness Begins.

5 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

I have waited to see this moment animated for a long time.
Coming into season three, I knew that “Hero” was going to be one of the series’ best episodes and, thank god, I was right.
As a manga reader, it would have been bitterly disappointing if they had screwed this up somehow, but they adapted Hajime Isayama’s story perfectly.
“Hero” is a non-stop, action packed, emotional thrill ride that will leave you both cheering and crying on multiple occasions.
If you thought things could not get any sadder after Erwin’s desperate suicide charge last episode then you have another thing coming.
The theme of sacrifice from “Perfect Game” is continued in “Hero” with an arguably worse case of it this time around.
We get to see the remains of Erwin’s own suicide squad carry out their mission in all its horrifying detail, as Levi makes his move of the Beast Titan.
This led to a scene that was so amazingly animated and satisfying that I expect many people will be screaming at their screens when they see it.
Levi’s voice actor, Hiroshi Kamiya, does a great job this episode, displaying Levi’s rage and vulnerabilities brilliantly.
The best performance out of everyone, though, goes to Marina Inoue as Armin in a gripping scene that will have you on the edge of your seat.
“Hero” definitely displays why Armin is my favourite character, and if you did not like him earlier, for some reason, then this episode will surely make you love his character.
Adding to all these greats scenes the actors voice is the absolutely amazing animation and music.
The scene with Levi is the best animated scene in Attack on Titan since he fought Kenny’s squad in the second episode of season three, “Pain.”
On top of this, the music is just as thrilling, with one new piece coming at the end bringing out all the emotion.
This is why Attack on Titan has my favourite soundtrack out of any series I have seen.
I do have some issues with the CGI Colossal Titan and the censorship taking away some of the impact, but these are so minor that the rest of the episode’s greatness far overshadows them.
“Hero” is an episode I have been looking forward ever since I read the manga, and it far exceeds my expectations.
It is already well in my top five favourite episodes.
And the best part?
The episodes are only going to get more amazing from here.

Spoiler Review:

Many people were excited to see Levi fight the Beast Titan after last episode but what we get is not a fight… it’s a massacre.
Levi absolutely eviscerates Zeke this episode, in an amazing action sequence that makes me glad the series took a hiatus to perfect this.
Zeke completely deserves this too after what he did, to Erwin last episode, and the rest of the scouts in this episode.
Watching Marlo’s last moments is just as impactful as it was in the manga, with my only problem with these moments, again, being the censorship.
I think if they showed it the way the manga did it could have been a lot more impactful.
However, given that it is already so impactful, this is hardly a major problem.
Sadly, Levi’s victory is short lived because the quadruple Titan returns to rescue Zeke who then sics the rest of the mindless Titans on him, like a pack of wild dogs.
This is Levi we are talking about, though, so he is probably fine.
That said, hearing the crushing defeat in his voice after Zeke escapes is brutal, showing how good a job Kamiya did.
We then get a look at what appears to be the sole survivor of Zeke’s attack, Floch, who is somehow unharmed.
If you did not notice this guy beforehand that is understandable, however, you should definitely take notice of him now because this is where he officially becomes an important character.
After this, the episode switches to Armin and the gang’s fight against Bertholdt and Reiner.
Coming out of his stupor from the previous episodes, Armin comes up with a bold plan to defeat Bertholdt, but one that may cause him to pay the ultimate price, unfortunately.
Using Armin as a distraction gives Eren enough time to sneak behind Berthodlt and cut him out of the Colossal Titan, chopping off his limbs in the process.
However, Armin’s distraction may prove fatal because he is horrifically burned by the Colossal Titan’s steam, yet continues his plan in a scene that defines Armin as the titular “Hero” of the episode.
I will once again say that Inoue did a fantastic job voicing Armin.
The pain she displays in Armin’s voice, with him entrusting his dream of seeing the ocean to Eren, as he is being burned alive is so emotionally gripping.
I teared up during this scene and, watching others react to it online, I know I am not alone.
Again, the one minor nitpick I have is the CGI Colossal Titan.
It is not terrible but it is a bit jarring when the shots switch between CGI and regular animation because the different is quite noticeable.
While this tragic sacrifice is happening, Miksasa, Jean, Sasha and Connie make their move against Reiner.
In the end Jean and Sasha are injured, and Mikasa is left with only one thunder spear to defeat him.
Just as all hope seems lost, who should jump in to save the day?
Hange, minus one eye.
The music of theses scenes where the scouts take on Reiner and Bertholdt is amazing and serves to enhance the emotional epicness of these moments.
Then there is the animation of Mikasa’s final attack, which is just as great as when Levi takes on Zeke.
Also the slow motion shot of Eren taking down the Colossal Titan is all kinds of epic.
The final scene of “Hero” sees Eren dragging a mutilated Bertholdt to Armin’s burned body and declaring he always knew he was a hero.
Touching and tragic, and it only to get even more so because next week is the anticipated Serum Bowl.
If you do not know what the means then hold onto your seats next week because it will be crazy.

 

Brightburn Review: Trailers Spoil Another Film.

3 stars
The first trailer of Brightburn had me dead set on seeing the film.
A horror movie about an evil kid Superman?
Sign me up.
Every subsequent trailer served to get me more and more interested in the film but little did I know that those trailers spoiled the entire film.
If you want to go see Brightburn but have not seen the trailers then I seriously recommend you do not watch them.
One of the them even goes as far as to spoil the ending of the movie, which is about as bad as you can get with these spoiler trailers.
I wonder when whoever makes these things is going to realise that you do not need to spoil audiences to get them into seats.
Look at movies like Shazam and Avengers: Infinity War.
The trailers for those films revealed very little about what would happen, and they did great at getting the audiences hyped for them.
It is a shame because I think I would have enjoyed Brightburn a lot more than I did if I had not been spoiled by those trailers.

Brightburn trailer.jpg
As Brightburn neared its end, I realised a shot from the trailers had not been in the film yet, making me realise how the film would end, which ruined the experience for me. 

Also despite what they would have you believe, James Gunn did not direct this film.
It is actually directed by David Yarovesky and written by Gunn’s brothers Mark and Brian.
As I said, the movie is about an evil child with the powers of superman, played in a creepy performance by Jackson A. Dunn.
That is one of the things I liked about Brightburn, the performances.
Everyone does a great job, especially the kid’s parents played by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman, who really sell their relationship.
This makes it all the scarier when things get going and people start dying, in brutal fashion I must add.
I honestly did not expect Brightburn to be as gory as it is.
There were multiple times where I had to look away because of how disgusting it was.
The writers definitely took every opportunity to use the kid’s superpowers to create unique and violent deaths.
The third act is full of gore fueled scares that keep you on the edge of your seat.
However, the movie does have its faults.
The biggest for me is the boy, Brandon Breyer, himself.
His character seems to flip-flop a bit in terms of motivation.
One minute he is a boy serial killer with super human powers, and the next he is saying he wants to do good.
Honestly, hearing him say he wants to be good after he has sadistically murdered dozens of innocent people is very jarring.

serial killer super kid.jpg
Brandon Beyer is basically a serial killer with super powers, so it is weird how he says he wants to be good after committing horrible murder after horrible murder.

I also was not exactly sure why he was doing these terrible things.
Was it because he had been taken over by the force that sent him to earth, or was it because he’s just a psychopath?
There is also one plot point concerning Breyer’s crush on a girl at school, and its horrifying consequences, which is dropped like a hammer.
But, overall, Brightburn is still a decent film with good performances and some scary moments.
Although, if you have seen the trailers there is no point in going to see it because you will already know what is going to happen.

Game of Thrones, Series Finale, The Iron Throne Review: A Disappointing End.

two-and-a-half-stars
A few weeks before the series finale of Game of Thrones, “The Iron Throne”, aired, I learned that the ending of the show had been leaked.
I did not listen to these spoilers but I heard that those who had were disappointed with the ending, some even outright hating it.
This left me concerned, especially given that I was already disliking where the series was heading, having seen the incredibly underwhelming third episode, “The Long Night.”
So, coming into the final episode of Game of Thrones, I had my fingers crossed that the leaks were wrong and “The Iron Throne”, directed by David Benioff and D. B Weiss, would end the series right.
And you know what?
I thought the first half of this episode was pretty good.
It is not spectacular or anything, but I did like most of the things that happened here.
“The Iron Throne” picks up after Dany (Emilia Clarke) burned down King’s Landing, killing thousands of innocent civilians, including children.
We get to see a lot of characters dealing with the reality that Dany is not the benign ruler they all thought she was.
The best reaction of all of them, though, came from Tyrion who discovered Jamie and Cersei’s bodies in the crypts.
In the best case of acting in the episode, Tyrion completely breaks down in a very moving performance from Peter Dinklage.
I was very scared for Tyrion this episode, especially when he confronted Dany because I thought she might burn him then and there.
Thankfully, she just has him arrested, which leads to Jon (Kit Harrington) visiting him where they discuss the morality of what Dany has done in another great scene.
Conflicted, Jon goes to see her in the big moment of the finale.
As Dany touches the Iron Throne, Jon interrupts her and asks how she can justify her actions and what she plans to do next.
It is clear from Dany’s response that she is too far gone and, with no other choice, Jon stabs her after sharing a passionate kiss.
And so the mad queen falls, in a tragic end to her journey of reclaiming her family’s crown.

Jon kills Dany.jpg
Dany’s death is tragic… too bad they undercut it with jokes not ten minutes later.

However, it is not over yet because Drogon arrives and, in a heartbreaking moment, tries to awaken Dany, before burning the Iron Throne to the ground.
He then grabs Dany’s body and flies off into the unknown.
This first half of the episode is very well done in my opinion.
Is it perfect?
No, there are quite a few writing problems.
For example, Jon tells Tyrion he will not try to justify what Dany did only for him to attempt to justify it not a minute later.
But, overall, this first half is satisfying.
The second half, however, takes a trip to crazy land with all of its bad writing.
Everything goes downhill as soon as this second half starts.
In what has to be the worst scene of the entire episode, Tyrion is brought before the lords and ladies of Westeroes to decide what is to be done with Jon and who should be King now.
And who does Tyrion choose?
Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright).
That’s right, the guy who did literally nothing this season wins the game of thrones and becomes king.
It is not that this scene was not built up because there have been numerous scenes of Tyrion with Bran, as I pointed out in earlier reviews.
However, as I said, Bran has done nothing to earn becoming king.
What is more, it makes absolutely no sense that everyone agrees to crown him.
Half the people there do not even know him, or about his ability to see into the future.
And that is another thing, why did Bran not warn anyone that Dany was going to go crazy and burn down King’s Landing?
It makes him seem more like a villain than someone you would choose to be king.

Bran the broken.jpg
Bran becoming king could have worked if he actually did something instead of just sitting around acting more important than he is.

Sadly, these are not the only plot holes this scene presents because there is so much more.
Why did Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) not kill Jon after learning he murdered Dany?
Why does he allow Tyrion to speak?
Why does everyone listen to Tyrion when he is a prisoner, and only a few people like him?
The list goes on.
Even worse, there are water bottles just sitting around.
They seriously left their beverages out for people to see twice, and nobody noticed?
And then they have the nerve to try and add comedy here.
Not only do these jokes fall flat, but they completely undermine the tragic death of Dany we saw earlier.
Imagine if after the Red Wedding someone made a joke about the reception being bland.
That would have killed all of the emotion that came with the shocking moment.
Sadly, this “comedy” continues throughout the episode, with each joke being worse than the last.
Thankfully, we do get one good scene with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) where she writes down all of Jamie’s good deeds in the book he wanted to fill.
I am not sure she is qualified to do this but it at least gave me some closure surrounding Jamie’s badly written death.
A lot of the other character endings had potential too.
Jon is banished to the Night’s Watch but goes to live with the Wildlings, Arya (Maisie Williams) leaves Westeroes to explore the world, and Sansa (Sophie Turner) becomes Queen in the North.
Even Bran ending up as king had the potential to be good.
All of these endings are in character.
I can honestly see George R. R. Martin having these be where his characters end up at the end of his books, if he ever completes them that is.
The problem with all of these endings, though, is that they are either badly written or too rushed.
As I said, Bran did nothing the entire season, Jon being Aegon Targaryen meant literally nothing, Arya did nothing after the King’s Landing massacre, which makes her being there seem pointless, and Sansa declaring the North’s independence makes me wonder why the rest of the six kingdoms did not just do that?

Jonny boy
Jon living with the Wildlings is a fitting ending for him but what was the point of making him Aegon Targaryen? He could have just been Ned Stark’s bastard and nothing would have changed.

This all goes to show how rushed and badly written the final season is.
In this one episode alone there are dozens of plot holes, some of which I have not even talked about.
Again, the acting, cinematography and music are all fantastic but that does not mean much if there is not good writing to accompany them.
The second half of “The Iron Throne” did not just end the episode disappointingly, but the entire  Game of Thrones series as well.
Honestly, the last two seasons have really dragged down my opinion of the show.
Seasons 1-4 are still master pieces, and seasons 5-6 have some writing issues but are still great overall.
However, seasons 7-8 completely dropped the ball.
The ending could have worked but the writing just kills it.
I hope that if Martin ever finishes his books that the writing will be good enough to bring a satisfying conclusion that we are missing from the show.

Attack on Titan, Season Three, Episode Sixteen, Perfect Game Review. The Final Advance.

4 and a half stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Worst. Baseball match. Ever.
If you have seen the sixteenth episode of Attack on Titan‘s third season, “Perfect Game”, you will understand why I am referencing baseball.
The episode probably gave us what has to be the most horrifying interpretation of the game in, well, ever.
And the characters suffered for it.
This is easily the most desperate we have ever seen them, with sacrifices having to be made.
Erwin in particular has to make a decision that shapes his entire character arc in a brilliant moment from him.
Armin also got more time to shine when he and the other Scouts started to face off against Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan.
Speaking of, thankfully there are some shots of him in “Perfect Game” that are not CGI, and make him actually fit in with the environment.
There are still times when he is completely CGI, and sticks out like a sour thumb, but I am personally glad he looked realistic to the world some of the time rather than none of it.
In any case, the fight between him and the scouts is investing, especially when Eren gets involved, where something happens that I think will shock a lot of people.
The biggest shocks of the episode, though, easily come with Erwin and Levi’s story.
These scenes are full of horrifying moments that actually improved on the manga, which is great because, other than a few scenes, I personally think the last few episodes have been falling under the bar in comparison with the source material.
That said, there are a few nitpicky problems I do have but, as the word suggests, these are minor.
The opening scene reworks the ending from the last episode, which makes it feels out of order somewhat, and a particular scene concerning Mikasa felt a bit watered down in comparison with the manga.
Other than this, “Perfect Game” is a great episode full of character growth, sacrifice, and one hell of a cliffhanger to keep you watching.
Next week’s episode is “Hero” and I am incredibly excited for it because, when I reviewed the manga chapters the episode will cover I game them five stars.
So, I have my fingers crossed it can live up to the fantastic source material.
One interesting thing to note, however, is that there have been rumors that Wit Studio, the ones who make Attack on Titan, will be cancelling the series after this arc.
If this is true, then it means the series will have to be picked up by another studio, which means we will have to wait a while before getting the next season.
While this would be sad, I have to say this is only a rumor.

Spoiler Review:

Who knew that baseball could get so violent?
In all seriousness, the scene where the Beast Titan started throwing crushed rocks at the scouts is somehow made more horrifying here than in the manga for me.
The shot of the rocks crashing into buildings with dust and splashes of blood rising up, along with the agonized screams of dying scouts, is very disturbing.
The manga panels of this scene always felt a little stiff to me so to see it animated with such horrifying ferocity is great.
On top of this, the development that came from Erwin here is fantastic.
Erwin is a selfish person who has manipulated others into giving their lives for humanity, while he alone had personal dreams.
Yet in this episode, he finally sheds this.
He gives up on his dream and finally lives up to the ideals he sprouted, giving his life and the lives of his soldiers so that Levi can have a shot at killing the Beast Titan.
The build up to this moment is well done with Erwin voicing his flaws to Levi, who ultimately convinces him to do the right thing.
The big cliffhanger of the episode sees a rock ripping right through his stomach as he urges his soldiers to fight as they run straight to death’s door.
Along with this, we also get to see how the scouts are dealing with the Colossal Titan.
Unsure of what to do next, Armin passes on leadership to Jean, who initiates a plan of attack to stop Bertholdt reaching the wall.
This leads to Eren attacking Bertholdt but, while appearing to work at first, everything goes wrong when Bertholdt kicks him to the top of the wall, knocking him unconscious and forcing the Scouts to fight the Colossal Titan themselves.
This is where my issue for “Perfect Game” came in.
While Jean, Sasha and Connie attempt to distract Bertholdt, Mikasa launches the Thunder Spears at him from behind, only for him to use his steam to launch them back at her.
In the manga, the explosion clearly hurts her, and it looks like you can see shrapnel marks on her back, detailing how hard this fight is on her and everyone else.
However, in the anime this is watered down.
Mikasa says she took shrapnel but it does not look that bad by comparison, lessening the impact.
Another minor problem I have is Connie’s “eavesdropping” joke, which now does feel a bit out of place.
Not only that but it rearranges some of the parts of the previous episode, making it feel a bit disjointed.
However, as I said in my spoiler free review, these problems are only minor.
The rest of “Perfect Game” is great with its themes of sacrifice, epitomized by Erwin’s final advance.
Well, that is four episodes down and six to go and, I have to say, I cannot wait for the rest of them.
If you are an anime only, then those next six episodes will surely blow your mind.