Pre-Season Notes – Chicago Bears – Game 2


In continuing with the tradition mentioned last week, today I will give out scores for specific performances and note standouts. Yesterday the Bears hosted a Pre-Season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars [which resulted in a 20-19 Bears win] – and that’s the focus of today’s post. First of all, here are the scores for the specific players I’m watching this year [note the overall score for the player in brackets].

  • #25 – Ka’Deem Carey: 3+ points, 2- points; Average Performance – [2 points].
  • #12 – David Fales: No Participation – [-1 point].
  • #95 – Ego Ferguson: 0+ points, 1- point; Below Average Performance – [0 points].
  • #45 – Brock Vereen: 1+ point, 1- point; Average Performance – [0 points].
  • #93 – Will Sutton: 0+ points, 1- point; Below Average Performance – [0 points].
  • #23 – Kyle Fuller: Early Injury, no notes – [4 points].
  • #16 – Pat O’Donnell: 3+ points, 0- points; Above Average Performance – [3 points].
  • #36 – Jordan Lynch: No Participation notes – [2 points].
  • #57 – Jon Bostic: 2+ points, 0- points; Above Average Performance – [-2 points].
  • #50 – Shea McClellin: 1+ point, 0- point; Average Performance – [-4 points].

Moving on now to standouts. Onca again our Special Teams performed poorly, and actually I only saw Pat O’Donnell as a positive experience. Offensively, though, we saw some nice things on the field. Jay Cutler, and his O-Line, was amazing – and he felt so comfortable. Honestly, if he performs like this in the regular season, we’ll have a great season. As for the 2nd and 3rd strings? Well, I soured somewhat on Jimmy Clausen – but not due to him performing badly; actually, Jordan Palmer was just that good. Defensively, I loved what I saw from Stephen Paea and ‘Peanut’. For the second week in a row, I loved what I saw from Trevor Scott – he’s a lock for the 53 man squad. Finally, the interception from C.J. Wilson needs to be noticed. Nice job, young man.


Rookie of the Game: Pat O’Donnell, Punter.

Player of the Game: Jordan Palmer, Quarterback.

 

PREVIEW: English Premier League 2014/2015

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?

Quite possibly the biggest sporting national football/soccer league is about to begin in twenty different Premiership stadiums. Three newcomers await their chances to prove their talent, two experienced managers are ready for their revenge and one new coach looks out at the league unimpressed – ready to unveil his revamped Manchester United squad. This is the English Premier League – we’re back folks. In this article I’ll look at the four biggest teams challenging last year’s winners Manchester City – as well as give several predictions for the season, including a predicted league table. I’ll be starting off with a look at this year’s Community Shield winners – Arsenal.

Wenger’s Revenge

His game 1000 will never be forgotten…

Last season felt disastrous for Arsenal, especially with Wenger’s 1000th game (the 6-0 loss to Chelsea, in case you’ve forgotten) – but it was actually a pleasant surprise for Arsenal fans, who got in a comfortable position in the league, while taking their first trophy in a very long time. They capped it off last weekend by winning the Community Shield against Manchester City. They’re extremely happy at the Emirates – but they need to remember that Manchester City didn’t have the likes of Zabaleta, Agüero, Negredo, Lampard and Joe Hart in their squad – while Arsenal really only missed Mertesacker and Özil.

Now, Arsenal did win 3-0 against Man City – and they do have a very good squad in place; especially now that they’ve added the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez to the squad. However, with last year’s league results in mind – they’ve not improved more than their rivals have. Now even Tottenham and Everton could be vying for their spot in the top.

 

Is It Over For Gerrard?

Dropped the title…

Last season was heartbreaking for The Reds – and though they never walked alone, their tears were plentiful. They let it slip out of their hands, and now the title seems farther away from them with Luis Suarez gone to Barcelona. Will this then be the swift return out of the top 4? Or can they fight back, and retain a fine placement in the top? Personally, I would feel very happy with the moves they’ve made if I were a fan of the Merseyside Reds – and the fact that they’ve tapped most of the talent out of Southampton is both scary and fascinating. I have the Reds finishing in the top yet again, and that’s due to a great coach that is still controlling the Kop through his personally-designed system, first unveiled to the Premiership during his stint at Swansea. This will probably be a very good season for the former top team.

United Back On Top?

The Man With The Plan…

Look at his grin. While I may not be a fan of his new team, or the man himself, one has to respect his managerial talent and his mind. This man fooled everyone when he subbed in his reserve goalkeeper in the World Cup in Brazil – only to have him ready for the Penalty Shootout. It worked, and he skillfully became the envy of most clubs. Now he will begin his adventure in the best league in the world – taking hold of the Manchester United squad. A team in need of a fresh feeling. He’s brought in a lot of people to help the team succeed. Personally, I feel that he’s rushing things by bringing in these new players in new surroundings without knowing the team himself. He’s changing the formation as well, thus making limited strides with the in-house players. He needs to work with players like Kagawa and Mata, not bring in a ton of his own players – for this team was set-up right with Sir Alex Ferguson.I feel that the team will improve from last year, but that it still won’t be enough of an improvement to push off the top teams. They’re still a step behind the two oil-clubs, and don’t have the player-for-player advantage in surroundings that Merseyside does. However, they’ve improved much more than Arsenal has – and they should finish higher than them.

Mourinho’s Finally Ready

Can Diego Costa Fire Chelsea To The Top?

José Mourinho said goodbye to Chelsea Legends like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, and is ushering in Atletico players left and right. This means that they know eachother, and will have an easier way of adapting to their surroundings. Adding to that, Chelsea has gotten younger – and added two huge stars in Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa.

Having seen all of their Pre-Season games, I can tell that they’ve improved their ball-pressure; and have reworked their possession tactics. However, some things just don’t work – including their 3-man defense when attempting to play an offensive 3-6-1. Their main formations are still 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, but they work with more fluidity now. Their team has improved.

Bold Predictions

Here we go…

The following is a list of bold predictions I’ve thought long and hard about. The list of predictions includes a league table I’ve tried to think out, along with projected points for each team.

  • Arsenal Sacks Wenger – My first bold prediction is that Arsenal will finally fire their legendary manager Arsène Wenger during their season, or as a result at the end of the year.
  • Liverpool Won’t Miss Suarez – I predict that Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho will score and assist at a higher number than that of the total of Suarez last year.
  • Left Back Will Be The Weak Link For Van Gaal – I predict that Luke Shaw will fail in his first year at Manchester United, and it will lead to problems on the left flank for the red side of Manchester.
  • Blue Topscorer – I predict that Diego Costa from Chelsea will become the topscorer for the Premier League.
  • Predicted League Table:
    1. Chelsea Football Club – 103pts.
    2. Manchester City – 97pts.
    3. Liverpool Football Club – 85pts.
    4. Manchester United – 77pts.
    5. Tottenham Hotspur – 75pts.
    6. Everton – 72pts.
    7. Arsenal – 70pts.
    8. Newcastle – 54pts.
    9. Stoke City – 49pts.
    10. West Ham Utd – 43pts.
    11. West Bromwich Albion – 40pts.
    12. Aston Villa – 33pts.
    13. Swansea City – 32pts.
    14. Sunderland – 30pts.
    15. Leicester City – 29pts.
    16. Southampton – 20pts.
    17. Queens Park Rangers – 19pts.
    18. Crystal Palace – 18pts.
    19. Hull City – 17pts.
    20. Burnley – 16pts.

 

Pre-Season Notes – Chicago Bears – Game 1

Last year I made it a tradition for me to watch the Chicago Bears Pre-Season games in their entirety, compile notes – note standouts and specific performances. I’m not too certain, though, whether I’ve ever released those notes. This year I am releasing them, though, and it all began yesterday when the Philadelphia Eagles took on my Chicago Bears at Soldier Field for the opening Pre-Season Game.

For this year’s Pre-Season I’ve chosen to keep an eye on the following list of players; and each player will score points based on his performances each week:

  • #25 – Running Back – Ka’Deem Carey – Rookie.
  • #12 – Quarterback – David Fales – Rookie.
  • #95 – Defensive Tackle – Ego Ferguson – Rookie.
  • #45 – Safety – Brock Vereen – Rookie.
  • #93 – Defensive Tackle – Will Sutton – Rookie.
  • #23 – Cornerback - Kyle Fuller – Rookie.
  • #16 – Punter/Holder – Pat O’Donnell – Rookie.
  • #36 – Running Back/Quarterback – Jordan Lynch – Rookie.
  • #57 – Linebacker – Jon Bostic – Second Year.
  • #50 – Linebacker/Defensive End – Shea McClellin – Third Year.

Before rating these specific performances of note, I’ve compiled a list of standouts from the game – which cannot include the players above. In a game where very few Special Team highlights for the Bears were noted, I’ve decided to gloss over that section – and in stead, first look at the defensive standouts. Safety Ryan Mundy and cornerback Sherrick McManis both picked off Nick Foles, and are obvious standouts defensively. Second year Linebacker Khaseem Greene outplayed every 2nd & 3rd string linebacker in the game, and hopefully he can continue to get better – and maybe even battle for a spot with the 1st string. Undrafted rookie cornerback Al Louis-Jean also managed to get a pick, and showed solid movement on the interception itself. Jeremy ‘Jay’ Ratliff also performed well in the game, provided good pressure. My premier defensive standout, however, was defensive end Trevor Scott. He showed an ability to pressure the Quarterback, and was solid on all the snaps he played.

Offensively we have a lot of people to note as well, first and foremost we have our Franchise Quarterback – Jay Cutler. After a poor opening drive, he came back on his second and final – and led his team back in the redzone, and then to the endzone. Cutler managed to find Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Dante Rosario and Zach Miller – the latter two being premier offensive standouts. Look out Martellus Bennett. I also have two standouts for the 3rd stringers. First and foremost, former CFL Wide Receiver and Punt Returner Chris Williams performed well, and even had a 70+ yards Touchdown to cap off his night. Finally, I must congratulate 3rd string Quarterback Jimmy Clausen – he’s managed to perform at a level that exceeded that of 2nd stringer Jordan Palmer.


Now we move on to the specific ratings.

  • #25 – Ka’Deem Carey: 2+ points, 1- point; Average Performance; Game 1 Score: 1 point.
  • #12 – David Fales: 1+ point, 2- points; Below Average Performance; Game 1 Score: Negative 1 point.
  • #95 – Ego Ferguson: 3+ points, 2- points; Average Performance; Game 1 Score: 1 point.
  • #45 – Brock Vereen: 2+ points, 2-points; Average Performance; Game 1 Score: 0 points.
  • #93 – Will Sutton: 1+ point, 1- point; Average Performance; Game 1 Score: o points.
  • #23 – Kyle Fuller: 4+ points, 0- points; Above Average Performance; Game 1 Score: 4 points.
  • #16 – Pat O’Donnell: 1+ point, 1- point; Below Average Performance; Game 1 Score: 0 points.
  • #36 – Jordan Lynch: 3+ points, 1- point; Above Average Performance; Game 1 Score: 2 points.
  • #57 – Jon Bostic: 0+ points, 4- points; Below Average Performance; Game 1 Score: Negative 4 points.
  • #50 – Shea McClellin: 1+ point, 5- points; Below Average Performance; Game 1 Score: Negative 4 points.

Rookie of the Game: Kyle Fuller, Cornerback.

Player of the Game: Zach Miller, Tight End.

 

Preparing for Marvel’s Third Phase

Before going any further, do note that this post is about speculating over the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – therefore expect SPOILERS from the MCU’s Phase 1 & Phase 2, as well as some comic book SPOILERS for characters like Ultron, Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy.


 

Looking Back on Phase 1

It all began with a bang, as Jon Favreau introduced the perfect Tony Stark – Robert Downey Jr. – a character he was born to play. The first solo-film for Iron Man began the first phase for Marvel and Kevin Feige – and it gave us a great battle between the confident and brainy Stark, and the powerful and cruel Obadiah Stone. The film also introduced the character of Pepper Potts, who is extremely important in today’s Cinematic Universe. Also, do note that the computer version of Jarvis was used for these films, and J.A.R.V.I.S. will be of importance sooner rather than later. The film not only began the first phase for Marvel, it also outlined the basic information of the Avengers Initiative – and suddenly fanboys everywhere ran amok in joy – myself included.

One character that Marvel has tried to perfect for a very long time, is Bruce Banner – once perfected with Lou Ferrigno – and they had actually prepared long ago for the return of this green smasher, with Ang Lee’s Hulk from 2003. Eric Bana played Bruce Banner in the 2003 film, but as it became a failure, Marvel had to rebuild with the beginning of the Avengers Initiative – and this was one character you could not leave out. Marvel went about it the right way, trying not to retell the origin story, but instead including clips designed to tell the tale of the 2003 film, now recreated with new actors. People knew how Banner became Hulk, and Marvel didn’t need to retell – something the Amazing Spider-Man by Sony should’ve taken notes from. Edward Norton played the part of Bruce Banner – and for me, he did a fine job – but in the end, he was not to be the future Banner. The one used by Joss Whedon for the future project of Avengers.

Building on the massive success of Iron Man, Jon Favreau made Iron Man 2 in 2010. The film focused on both corporate, as well as supervillain, villainy – by having both Justin Hammer and Whiplash as the rivals for Stark and his suit. At this point, Stark’s a superstar – based on his Iron Man reveal, and the military desperately want his suit. When unsuccesful, Whiplash helps Hammer create these new mechs to defend America – but when Whiplash makes his move – and unleashes hell on Stark and Rhodey – the movie reaches its boiling point. The film itself wasn’t a huge success, but it stands as a huge part of the build-up to the Avengers Initiative. Why? Well, we are introduced to Natasha Romanoff in this film – the Black Widow. The film ends with the information that Stark is too difficult to work with, and that a hammer has been discovered by the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

2011 introduced us to Thor, a Norse God, in a film by Kenneth Branagh. The film has had mixed reviews, but personally, I loved this film – and it touched on a lot of stuff I love about the Marvel Cinematic Universe – though I disliked the big battle with the Destroyer; a special type of action, I feel they’ve had a lot of problems with, on most projects. The film is of the utmost importance when looking at the bigger picture. The, at that point unnamed cube, Tesseract is introduced here – as well as the premier Phase One villain, Loki. Loki is brilliant, and this film is perfect in introducing him. Also, this is the first film wherein we see Hawkeye.

Then came a film, that I felt was placed poorly in the Phase One schedule – AFTER Thor. Captain America: The First Avenger. The film introduces Bucky Barnes, someone the most unaware Marvel fanboy would, sadly, easily forget. The Red Skull appears in this film, but his weight is not felt really – and in the end only the scenes that feel important are involving the Tesseract.

Then came the finale – Marvel’s The Avengers. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film gave us something most thought we’d never see on film – dialogue featuring all the principle Marvel heroes. As the Avengers are finally assembled, including the new Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), they battle Loki and his army of Chitauri. The long battle ends with Stark sacrificing himself for New York, and Loki being beaten down and imprisoned. In the mid-credits scene we see the huge Marvel villain, Thanos – someone interested in courting death.


 Phase 2: An Avengers World?


One thing these films always have to battle is the fact that no solofilm should matter anymore. If Romanoff was in trouble, she could just call up Stark, who’d call up the rest of the Avengers. And that should be the end of it – but that’s not how comic books work – and that’s something Hollywood realists have to get used to. For appearing almost a year later than Avengers, was Iron Man 3 – this time by Shane Black. The film was supposed to include the premier Iron Man villain, the Mandarin – but as millions of fanboys would soon find out; that was not really the case. The film ends with Stark being ‘fixed’ and him destroying his suits. The film was a success on the box office, but received mixed reviews.

A film that really did not work for me, was Thor: The Dark World. Featuring an angry Jane Foster and a crazed Erik Selvig, the film focuses on the power of the Aether, something that possesses Foster. The film also features the return of the imprisoned Loki, who wants to revenge his ‘mother’. Eventually, they save the day – though not without losses. A seemingly dead Loki, is mourned somewhat – but soon we are shown that Loki has taken the form of Odin to rule Asgard. Thor returns to Earth. In a post-credits scene we spot Sif and Volstagg at the Collector’s place – and he is given the Aether to keep it safe. The Collector then says: “One down, five to go” – setting up the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Prior to the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released. The film was huge, both in success and result. The film features Captain Ameria doubting S.H.I.E.L.D. – and the reveal that HYDRA has taken over the once great agency. One teased element of the film, is the idea that Nick Fury is killed by HYDRA – but in the end, it is revealed not to be the case. And the last remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes Alexander Pierce down. In a ‘side-quest’ Cap faces off with the Winter Soldier – a Russian assassin – who we learn is actually Bucky Barnes from The First Avenger. In battle, Cap tries to convince Bucky of his origin – but is somewhat unsuccesful. Thankfully, The Winter Soldier decides to save Cap from drowning – and a severe plot point for Captain America 3 thickens. In a post-credits scene we see Baron Wolfgang von Strucker – who’s captured the SPOILERS children of Magneto (don’t tell Fox). The Age of Miracles has begun.

The final film in the second phase, prior to the unreleased Avengers: Age of Ultron, was Guardians of the Galaxy. The film has elements of Firefly, Star Wars and Back to the Future in it – and is somewhat of a stand-alone film (even if that’s not exactly the case), as the main characters aren’t associated with the Avengers yet. The film follows these Guardians as they race to protect a special orb, now titled Infinity Stones, from the powers of Thanos and Ronan. They are eventually succesful, in what is a perfect summer blockbuster – to rival the ones from the 80s. No post-credit scene of Avengers importance is shown, though someone else appears… Quack quack.


 Looking Forward


We have one final film before we close out the 2nd phase of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Age of Ultron will feature the cast of the last Avengers film, as well as these two new siblings. They will battle ULTRON, a ‘robot’ presumably built by Tony Stark in the Cinematic Universe – to ensure that the Avengers Initiative can end. Expect Skynet-like results. A teaser trailer was shown at San Diego Comic Con, but I’ve not seen it. It has been described as a somewhat ominous trailer – showing Tony Stark shaken and seeing his fellow Avengers beaten down, and Cap’s shield broken. There are no strings on Ultron – and the Pinocchio metaphor will take front focus in this Whedon-production.

This is where I begin to speculate – I expect Ultron to be beaten (this is a comic book universe after all), but, like some comics, I expect Ultron to be thrown into space – and then uploaded by the SPOILERS Phalanx – which could be how Guardians of the Galaxy get to encounter the Avengers in the future.

The following dates have been marked by Marvel:
Ant-Man – July 17th, 2015
Captain America 3 – May 6th, 2016
??? – July 8th, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – July 26th, 2017
??? – November 3rd, 2017
??? – July 6th, 2018
??? – November 2nd, 2018
??? – May 3rd, 2019

Now, a Dr. Strange film has sort of been announced – but not really – and I expect it to be released July 2016, directed by Scott Derrickson. As you should know, Marvel’s been talking to Joaquin Phoenix about the project, something I’ve been wanting for a while now. At the end of this blog-post I will attempt to guess the entire schedule for Phase 3 for Marvel, but before doing that – I have some ideas. First for Captain America 3.

With the introduction of the Winter Soldier in Cap 2, it is expected by many that ‘The Fallen Son’ storyline is coming up – this will be important for Marvel, as it would be the first time they’d kill off a main character. Can they really afford to lose Chris Evans? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Another trilogy ending film we’re waiting for, is Thor 3. When that eventually comes to fruition, we all expect something like ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ – that would be natural.

I doubt we’ll see another solo-Iron Man film with Robert Downey Jr. (due to contract issues), but I’m still hoping for it – instead, we can discuss the future of Guardians of the Galaxy. The sequel to the 2014 hit, will have to focus on Star-Lord’s father and Gamora’s ‘sister’ – however, I feel that perhaps this would be a great opportunity for Marvel to unite the Avengers and the Guardians, by having Tony Stark find them – to take down a potential Ultron-led Phalanx army. I guess we’ll have to see.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, feel free to ask questions in the comments – and without further ado, here’s my guess for the schedule of Phase 3:

Ant-Man – July 17th, 2015
Captain America 3 – May 6th, 2016
Dr. Strange – July 8th, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – July 26th, 2017
Black Panther – November 3rd, 2017
Untitled Mark Ruffalo-Hulk Project – July 6th, 2018
Thor 3 – November 2nd, 2018
Avengers 3 – May 3rd, 2019

Defusing Fanboys: Criticizing A Comic Book Movie

marvelstudioslogo

On the 31st of July I reviewed the newest Comic Book cinematic experience – Guardians of the Galaxy. It features what we can call a B-list team of space superheroes, trying to defend the Galaxy whilst getting their fair share of loot on their way. The movie deals with serious topics, but most of it highlights how these heroes are goofballs – in the best possible way. The movie is lighthearted, and as you can see in my review – I loved it. But I’ve come across a lot of people hating on the tone of the film, as well as the fact that this specific franchise gets more praise than its main opponent, the DC franchise. So, today I thought I’d go over some of the criticism directed Marvel’s way, and how you can defuse these situations calmly.

There will always be these trolls, some that try to attack the popular opinion to ignite a certain type of fire within you – try to make you lash out in the comments. We will always have these ‘trolls’, and therefore they don’t deserve a high spot in this post, in stead I’d like to talk about a group that sounds like trolls – when in truth, they are just of a different mold.


 

The two main comic book companies are DC and Marvel, and they’ve both started creating their Cinematic Universes. While Marvel is closer to finishing their projects, DC is stuck a couple of steps behind them. Now, the ‘either you are with me or against me’ battle will often ensue between these types of opponents – just like PlayStation and Microsoft fanboys have their battles. These people have a different perspective on comic book movies than one another, and I believe it doesn’t simply stem from cinematic opinion or tonal preference. It stems from the origin of their comic book interest.

While both of these universes focus on the same things, their approach is very different. I’ve always said that Marvel’s the bright-eyed kid standing in line for comic books, hoping for these very overall things to come through – whereas DC is the more realistic kid, the pickier one (for the better) – but also the one with a grounded reality and a realistic view of the world. If that makes any sense. If you look at the heroes and villains they are very similar (in most cases, on purpose) – we have Marvel’s Tony Stark to DC’s Bruce Wayne, Marvel’s Captain America to DC’s Superman, Marvel’s Thanos to DC’s Darkseid (and don’t get me started on Deadpool vs. Deathstroke).

The universes that these characters inhabit are actually very different from one another. Where Marvel oftentimes stay in the ‘real world’ and have the cities of Los Angeles and New York as the normal hangouts – DC goes in a different direction, in stead going for the grounded, dirty and filthy streets of Gotham and the stereotypical city of Metropolis.


The difference in film, in present day, is also very clear. The tonally dark Gotham of the Nolan-Batman trilogy has sparked the new Cinematic Universe of DC, with Man of Steel even becoming this rough portrayal of a scared and scarred alien. In Marvel’s corner, we’ve gotten something remarkable with the Marvel Cinematic Universe – the introduction of the Tony Stark to rule them all – Robert Downey Jr. The cocky playboy that is Tony Stark, is indeed fitting within this universe, at least for the True Believers. Here we have the want of core-Marvel movie-goers personified – standing on the line between cocky and confident, but mostly happy and gutsy. The spirit of Marvel-Moviegoers is of pure joy, and that’s not a knock against the spirit of DC fanboys and moviegoers. I simply think they look for something else.

I consider myself a core-Marvel fanboy, and I find myself wanting something set in reality, something goofy and confident – with references to top them all (with some even being too convoluted). I don’t care if they stray somewhat from the source material, as long as they do it in an imaginative way, a way that gives a different spin on things – something you can only do on film. Iron Man 3 is perfect for this, and though I know some fanboys hate this film – it pushed on the boundary of what these films can do. They can veer a great deal from the source material – but only in a soothing way.

I think DC fanboys and moviegoers want the source material to be handled with a greater deal of respect, and would also like something more set in the comic book – i.e. a detective style Bruce Wayne (a la Arkham Asylum). While Adam West is a legend, the kitsch Adam West-Batman does not work for them today, and would really only work in a Marvel story (In my humble opinion).


Here’s the thing. I love going to see both Marvel and DC movies, but I’m also in a situation wherein I expect something else. I don’t expect a deeply serious portrayal of Drax the Destroyer – a homicidal maniac. I go into the theater, with expectations of a comedic tone to a somewhat serious source material. I go into DC-productions with an expectation of a grounded film – something Marvel’s not that good at (if the recent Hulk film starring Edward Norton is to be taken seriously). Both things work. DC’s been great at creating serious and grounded films starring a scary joker, an undersized brute-like Bane – and the perfect portrayal of The Scarecrow.

Defuse these battles by coming clean, explain your comic book origin, your expectations – don’t overcriticize source material that you are not familiar with. Defuse the situation. We are all comic book fans here, and in the end – don’t we just want to feel like kids again? That’s what I think you do, and Guardians of the Galaxy is a perfect example of that.

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Our Guardians.

Today I saw a movie that featured the characters that reignited the fire within me, reignited my passion for comic books – The Guardians of the Galaxy (the 2008 team, to be clear). I’ve been really excited for this film for a long time, and I feel like I’ve been accompanied by this massive hype-train for a few weeks – it’s great to hear that these smaller Marvel projects get a lot of love. In the following review, I will shed some light on what I liked, disliked and what I would’ve liked to have seen more of in this film – discuss the Credits-Scenes – and evaluate its potential as a top contender for Movie of the Year. Now, before going any further I must warn you of the following: WARNING – SPOILERS FOR THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY MAY APPEAR HENCEFORTH.

(more…)

Game of the Year Watch 2014: Update 4

Today my focus lies on 3 games that are published by some of the lesser known studios… Actually that’s not true, however they look like they’ve all been made by indie developers. The Wolf Among Us (Season/Book 1), Valiant Hearts: The Great War & Child of Light. Do note that SPOILERS might appear here. However, first I need to address that I’ve soured on a game I’ve previously scored at a 9.2/10.0. Entwined was a game that had a certain message to give, and I truly enjoyed that message – but as I’ve retraced my steps, and the kinks that it had – I’ve decided to lower its score due to its functionality when playing, and how annoying – not simply challenging – some levels are. Its score will be lowered from 9.2 to 8.2 – effective immediately. Also, South Park: The Stick of Truth was reviewed and scored at a time when I simply had no free time – and therefore any fun I had with it was limited. Having now replayed it, I’ve decided to boost its score (see it below).

Decisionmaking. Classic Telltale.

With that out of the way, I can start evaluating Telltale’s recent full adventure – the season of The Wolf Among Us, based on Fable. I’ve eagerly awaited the episodes, and now that they are all out – you should have no reason not to play them all. This game is action-packed, though without it forcing the story to feel out of pace and place – and it comes with its own Keyser Söze-moment. Very much unlike The Walking Dead Season 1 (The Game). Personally, I was not as attached to Snow and Bigby as I was Clementine and Lee – however, the story is very good. And if you’ve learned anything about me, it should be that I love a good story. Anyways, I must admit that having played this ‘game’ – I’ve sort of decided to look into buying Fable comics in the future. A top tier game, that is stellar in action, writing and overall pacing.

Next up is Child of Light. This is a lite version of an RPG, featuring heavy fairy tale elements. Now, I’ve read a lot of stories and I have a lot of love for fairy tales and such (I’m from H.C. Andersen’s home country for crying out loud) – this gave me great joy as I flew around with the main character. The story is somewhat simple, but the mood of the game improves the feel as a gamer. I would recommend this game to gamers who are interested in taking a journey into RPGs, knowing that this is a lite version. This game gave me great joy.

Finally, we need to look at Valiant Hearts: The Great War. This game is about World War I, and relationships and families torn due to its horror. It takes a simple turn on the story – but employs a story carrying great weight and added emotion. This can be a very emotional game, be prepared. There are great historical nuggets in this game, and the war that America (at first) was kept out of – is enlightened beautifully in this Ubisoft game. I really enjoyed the art and puzzles; but be prepared for emotions.

 

Game of The Year Watch:

  1. Mario Kart 8 – 9.7 out of 10.0.
  2. South Park: The Stick of Truth – 9.5 out of 10.0.
  3. The Wolf Among Us: Season 1 – 9.3 out of 10.0.
  4. Child of Light – 9.2 out of 10.0.
  5. Valiant Hearts: The Great War – 9.0 out of 10.0.
  6. InFAMOUS: Second Son – 9.0 out of 10.0.
  7. WATCH_DOGS – 8.5 out of 10.0.
  8. Entwined – 8.2 out of 10.0.
  9. EA Sports UFC – 7.0 out of 10.0.