Movie Review: Us

Jordan Peele’s descent into horror was a smash hit with Get Out, a thought-provoking thrill ride and now he has another mind-bending flick that is more haunting, equally thoughtful, and more significant flaws in its direction and storytelling. Us may not reach the same heights as Peele’s first entry into the genre but makes an impact with its unique idea.

Family vacation went horribly wrong, familiar with a brilliant twist. The Wilsons go to Santa Cruz for a getaway, but coincidences occur to bring back some past memories for the mother of the family, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o). After one night of seeing a family in their driveway, it is revealed her suspicions are correct. This American clan has doppelgangers called The Tethered, who have a bloodlust and now the Wilsons must survive and discover the horrific truth behind their evil other halves.

While Us is a far more adrenaline pumping film than Get Out with its faster pace and more focus on murder throughout, the first 20 plus minutes takes its time to develop the Wilsons. Their typical American family dynamic may feel stereotypical, but is executed flawlessly with Gabe (Winston Duke) as the goofy dad, the protective mother, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) as the teenage daughter who isolates herself to be on her phone, and Jason (Evan Alex) as the innocent, precious little boy. Their chemistry feels real, and everyone stands out with their unique personality. If this were just a family movie, I would not mind.

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The cast knocks it out with their performances, especially when having to turn humorous family banter into the chemistry that depends on survival. Nyong’o steals every scene with her moving performance of a woman who suffered something traumatic in her past. While she is fantastic, the children and Duke keep up the pace with her by delivering contrasting emotions that work well together as a unit.

The turn of tone from a family vacation that is full of fun and laughter turning into a bloodbath works, especially for the Wilsons. They adapt in a relatively believable way, at least when events happen to them. Some reactions feel less real when they witness things happen to others, but it only occurs a few times that threw me off of their emotions.

Writing an original idea may seem impossible, but Peele crafting the Tethered and their backstory is as genius as his themes that make this more than just your standard movie. I had to try to catch up with the film as its narrative moves on while trying to pick up on messages and tiny details. My brain might be exhausted, but it is happy to have had the exercise.

Similar to Get Out, the melding of various emotions from humorous beats and heart pumping intensity comes together, but differently. I felt Peele’s previous film blended together smoothly, while here there are considerable shifts with each act turning into a different feel. What works well is the transition allows for a way to say, “Hey, this is the next evolution of these characters and their journey.” Having everything come together as unison would make for an effortless development rather than sharp turns that jerked me into a new tone.

Peele proves himself yet again as a master of detail with plenty of foreshadowing, world building designs, and thoughtful additions that make it worth a second or third watch to catch everything on the big screen. The cinematography and lighting are well thought out with no careless mistakes. The passion of filmmaking gushes out, making it apparent that Peele got to tell the story he wanted to deliver.

Three months in and I think I found the best score of the year. Eerie orchestral work along with epic, yet haunting choirs elevates both the themes and emotions. The grand feeling from the music also gives me a sense for Peele’s progression in the horror genre as a director, producer, and writer.

Horror lives on with another success that despite its flaws, gives a spine-tingling experience. Unlike its predecessor, Us has its predictable moments along with less impactful twists that at times felt thrown in. A powerful message gets delivered about society and race, but less creative than Get Out‘s rare take on racism. While it may fall short in some areas, fans of the genre should be as satisfied as I am with this brutal vacation.

Score: 8/10

Images via Universal Pictures

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Interview: House Handshake

#1: Has music always been a big part of your life or did it come later? When was that moment for you?

Darrell: When I was young music was something that was passively in my life, I can’t really remember it impacting me until I was around 12 years old. Something that stands out for me from back then is, my family and I used to travel from Winnipeg (our hometown) to our cottage which was in Grand Beach. It was only about an hour and 20 minutes of a commute, but that was a long drive for my brother and I who were restless children. My mother wanted to keep my brother and I occupied while making the drive and she thought up this wonderful idea of burning a CD almost the length of the drive and printing out all the lyrics into a book for my brother and I to read and sing along with her and dad. I almost feel like it implanted a thought in my mind back that music is an extremely entertaining way to pass the time and it will bring you and loved ones closer if you allow it.

Quinton: I can remember my dad playing his vinyls constantly. I always denied it for some reason. I was very stubborn when I was young. He also took me to the Winnipeg Folk Festival almost every year of my life one year I just started to notice the music. I started to follow my ears to the stages that pleased me. When me and my dad were watching an act on stage he pointed to one of the musicians who was improvising and said something like ”your brother can do that”. I kinda thought to myself ‘that’s easy.’ I really took to music from that point on and it became my identity

Sarah: My mom said when I was a babe (10-12months) I would hum perfect tunes .. from as young as I can remember music has surrounded me my whole life! Singing in congregation meetings 3 times a week, I ventured into songwriting young, played an organ for 3 years,  participating in chores in school, then as I got older I sang with my brother all the time (he taught me a lot) music has always been a spiritual and emotional haven for me. I feel very lucky to have had it encouraged all my life.

Tate: My parents were always playing music throughout my childhood at home, at the cabin and in the car. They both loved the same music and were always singing and enjoying it together, which rubbed off on me and my brother a lot. As I grew up I learned piano but got bored with it and took up guitar after being inspired by School of Rock. My dad showed me the basics and then I took lessons at Mar-Schell’s Music. I found artists that I was into and dreamt about performing like them while I was doing school stuff and playing basketball. Once high school was over I quit basketball and partied like a maniac and developed my musical abilities and discovered that I loved performing, jamming and writing music immensely. It grew exponentially at that point to where I am now teaching, performing and writing as much as possible.

Brennan: I took classical piano as a kid which was fine but it never really moved me. Then on a whim, my parents signed me up for a drum lesson and from the moment I sat behind the kit I knew this was the instrument for me. The sense of power and possibility was overwhelming. Played lampshades and frying pans for 6 months before my parents gave in and bought me a kit for my 16th bday. Never looked back.

Tanner: Music has always been around in my life, my old man taught me the basics with guitar at a young age of 12 or something. Always had fun jams with him growing up, got my first keyboard and practiced with his band, always listened to a lot of music as well, found my passion for it playing campfires late nights with good people. Laws of attraction have brought me where I am today with the people I love doing what I love.

#2: What are some of your favorite albums of all time?

Q: The Wall, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
D: Hozier, Sublime – 40 oz, Alabama Shakes – Sound and Colors, Sigh No More – Mumford And Sons, Shakey Graves and the Horse He Rode in on.
S: Alabama Shakes-  Sound and ColorSupermodel & Torches  – Foster the People, The Sticks & Eureka – Mother Mother, Master of The Sun – Black Eyed Peas, Adele- 19
B: Maybe…Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA, Nina Simone – I put a Spell on You, Buddy Rich – Big Swing Face, Radiohead – OK Computer, Sting – Ten Summoners Tales.
Tanner: I Don’t think I have any favorite albums, always seem to be changing hearing new rehearing old ones. Frank Zappa’s Man from Utopia was pretty cool, I don’t really like a lot of his shit as well though, Mac DeMarco album two was awesome, find myself hearing him in my headphones often. What I want is to make my favorite album.

#3: What is the hardest and easiest part of making music for you?

Q: It’s always been the instruments for me. I can hear the music in my head, to sing it is no problem but to act it all out on the instruments has been difficult. These days it comes much easier but I know there is always much to learn. Something that comes easy for me is hearing the music in my head before I play it.

D:The hardest part of making music for me is being concerned about other people judgments. The easiest part? Releasing my emotions.

#4: When making music, what does the creative process look like for you and the band?

HH: The songs were usually written during an acoustic session. Sometimes a jam or just an idea that we pull out of the air and memorize it, Write down what it’s about and some lyrics. Then we take it to the rehearsal and we let everybody put their spin on it and we jam it till it feels rights.

#5: What is the biggest dream you have for the band?

HH: Hearing back from our fans and knowing that our music is making an impact on their lives is the biggest thing. Some of that is already happening and we just want to be able to affect as much people as we can.

#6: When did you first play music in front of an audience? What was that experience like?

Quinton: It was terrifying. But I turned it into excitement.

Darrell: Life-affirming.

Brennan: My first gig was at a house party in high school where we played Doors covers because that’s what the singer, who I was in love with, wanted to do.
The feeling of nervousness and exhilaration was one I’ll never forget, have been kind of addicted to it ever since.

Tanner: First time on stage was like smelling you’re grade one classroom or climbing a tree, familiar, odd, nervous, beautiful.

#7: Out of every show you have played, what are some experiences that stick out the most to you?

Darrell: Being on stage and playing for a bigger audience than we normally play for. Watching our lyrics sang back at us from even unfamiliar faces.

Quinton: The parts that really stick out in my head, are the parts that didn’t go so well. We’ve had an amazing time for the most part but there’s been a few hiccups where I’ve learned a lot.

#8: What is the dream tour or festival that you would love to be a part of?

Q: I’ve gone to the Winnipeg Folk Festival most of my life. as per stages to play, the main stage at Winnipeg Folk Fest is my ultimate dream.

Darrell: Now it may not be a festival, I would love to play NPR’s Tiny Desk.

#9: For the rest of the year, what plans do you have?

HH: Back to the studio for EP #2 this one is called Handshake. We’ll do another 4 songs which will be apart of the full self-titled album releasing next year.

Find out more about the band through their website.

Special thanks to House Handshake and Rogue PR for the interview.

Image provided by Rogue PR and House Handshake.

9 Crossover Characters Needed in Mortal Kombat 11

NeatherRealm gears up to unleash another gory reveal tomorrow for Mortal Kombat 11. The iconic franchise has plenty of elements that fans cherish, but one of the best aspects that get people talking is its reach beyond the canon to introduce beloved murderous characters from people’s favorite games and movies. Here is my dream list of fighters that will hopefully appear in DLC for the latest release.

#1: Terminator (Terminator)

Playing as the unstoppable Terminator would empower players with its robotic strength. The added bonus would be playing as Arnold Schwarzenegger, would enhance people’s skills even further.

The brute strength and gunplay from the T-800 could lend itself to plenty of violent possibilities for moves and fatalities. Inspiration from the films will certainly give plenty of morbid ideas to the developers over at NetherRealm Studios.

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Image via flickr Insomnia Cured Here/Warner Bros. Pictures

#2: Ripley (Alien)

Mortal Kombat X featured Ripley’s alien nemesis, so why not give her time to shine? Ripley is one of the most powerful ladies in film history. NetherRealm never found an issue when placing strong women in the bloody franchise like Sonya Blade and Kitana.

Ripley’s arsenal of a flamethrower and pulse rifle leads to plenty of ways to kill her foes. If she does get added, let’s all agree that her fatality must include injecting her enemies into space somehow.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

#3: Joel and Ellie (The Last of Us)

Two things Mortal Kombat has done in the past to make this work is their introduction of Kratos from God of War in the 2011 release and having two characters in one with Ferra and Torr in Mortal Kombat X. Replicating Ferra and Torr would make for the perfect love letter to PlayStation fans of Naughty Dog’s masterpiece.

Kratos being a PlayStation exclusive character lets NetherRealm have the freedom to dip its toes in another property from Sony’s vast roster.

The Last of Us is nothing without both of its protagonists so the two would have to come together as they slaughter through each arena. Come on Sony and NetherRealm, get to talking about this idea.

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Image via Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment

#4: Master Chief (Halo)

Giving Xbox fans some love, Master Chief would be the ultimate choice for this bloody puncher. He has plenty of skills fighting Covenant and Flood to take on Sub Zero. His vast experience with a wide variety of weapons and vehicles would make Spartan 117 a difficult foe for anyone facing him in the ring.

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Image via 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios

#5: Doom Slayer (DOOM)

Arguably the most vicious killer in video games is Doom Slayer. The silent protagonist rushes through space and hell to brutalize any demon in his path. The marine has plenty of toys that will dismember and blow up any body part. When going hand to hand, he can deliver some mean punches that will still tear his enemies apart.

Watch out Scorpion, Doom Slayer will make you “get over here,” and it will not be nice.

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Image via id Software/Bethesda Softworks

#6: Any Marvel Superhero/Villain

DC had its turn with the crossover title Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, now let Marvel have its turn with any of its heroes or villains. With the hype coming from the movies, any of the major players in the Avengers films would lead to excellent choices. Spider-Man webbing up his opponents, Thanos snapping everyone to dust, or Iron Man blasting pieces of flesh off his foes would do for the perfect bridge between MK and Marvel.

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Image via Marvel Studios

#7: Jedi/Sith Lord (Star Wars)

Both the Jedi and Sith are powerful enough with their skills in using a lightsaber and the force to gut anyone in their path. Due to the Sith’s grim presence and brutal mindsets, having Darth Vader or any other iconic character on the dark side would be more fitting for the most violent fighting game. The use of laser burns, force lightning, and force push allow for plenty of options for terrifying fatalities.

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Image via Disney/Lucasfilm

#8: John Wick (John Wick)

Keanu Reeves’ action trilogy stands as my favorite action movies for a great reason. The choreography beats out any other film in the genre. Just tell him Baraka ate his dog then he will be on a killing spree. Whether it is with guns, his hands, or a pencil, he will manage to get his target.

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Image via Lionsgate

#9: The Hound (Game of Thrones)

Game of Thrones has a roster of potential fighters suited for the ultraviolent world of Mortal Kombat, but The Hound is one of the most vicious and biggest favorites from Westeros. He has had quite the journey facing plenty of people and white walkers, yet always surviving even when he lost to Brienne of Tarth.

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Image via HBO

Mortal Kombat 11 comes out April 23 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

 

 

 

Google Announces Stadia: What We Know (So Far)

The longest time gamers only had Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, and PC to choose from when deciding on what platform to play their games. Google has been talking about getting in the game, and now they have shown the world how they are doing so with Stadia. Here is a rundown of everything known as of now.

What is it? How does it work?

Unlike any of the previous choices for gamers, Stadia will be a less expensive option, allowing people to stream games quickly without having to buy expensive hardware without having to download the game. Yes, streaming a game instantly in 4K and 60 FPS. Eventually, Google wants the bar to be set even higher with players getting 8K resolution and over 120 frames. As long as the developer of the title allows it to be on Google’s service.

You do need a PC, but don’t worry about needing high-end specs to play. Google’s servers take care of all of that for players to enjoy their experience with a high framerate and beautiful graphics. Discussions about streaming games have been going on for years, and this is what it will look like.

When you have the service, you simply hop onto Google Chrome and open up the Stadia tab then select what you want to play. The game will load up in seconds and go full screen, then you are good to start shooting aliens or owning noobs on Fortnite.

What else can you play it on instead of a PC?

PC is not your only option with Stadia. Phones, laptops, and tablets can all be used for the gaming service. If you have Chromecast, then you can stream right from your TV.

Internet Requirements

A strong, stable internet connection is needed. Google requires that you have a streaming rate of 15Mbps, latency below 40ms, and data loss below 5%.

Controller or mouse and keyboard?

Both can be used. For a controller, Google created its own to go with Stadia. The Stadia gamepad will connect itself to Google’s cloud then you have control over what you are playing.

Playing on PC allows for any controller you prefer to use, but playing on Chromecast on your TV must use the Stadia gamepad.

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Games offered?

Nothing is revealed yet, but the demo did display Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey along with confirmation that exclusives will be developed for Stadia. Expect plenty of AAA and indie titles ranging from third party to first party developers.

Price? 

No price has been listed.

Release

TBA 2019

More information will be released in the summer. Most likely this sounds like E3 season when Google will provide more details.

What do you think of Stadia? Is it the future of gaming? Is Google going for another ambitious gimmick that turns into Google Glass or is this something substantial? Tell me all your thoughts in the comments.

Image via Google

Interview: CJ Krukowski of Threatpoint

#1: Competition is rough in the music industry, what is your band doing to grow and continue to reach for success?

CJ: We are always a stickler for playing the live… with all the modern day technology and advancements, performing live is still key to experience music and even win over new people. We’ve recently hooked up with Voodoo Queen Management and they have helped us to a degree with getting in front of some new people and throwing our name out there more, on social media especially.

Speaking of social media, we always do our best to make an online presence… you can find us pretty much everywhere. Do a Google search of “threatpoint” and we’ll come up. And we always interact/respond to our fans.

#2: If someone goes to one of your concerts, what do you think they should know going in?

CJ: We are very much a live band. From Chris up front to getting in everyone’s face, to Sam, Alex and Greg running around or even it in the crowd, to me spitting and spewing water, we aim to put on a memorable show that won’t be forgotten… we strive to stand out one way or another.

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#3: What is your dream tour or festival?

CJ: there are so many to choose from, whether it be to open for Metallica or Iron Maiden on a stadium/arena tour, play the Wacken festival over in Germany or do any of the big European festivals, really. Very difficult to pinpoint one… anything that gets us out in front of more people is always good.

#4: If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you choose?

CJ: Very tough one… I honestly don’t even have an answer for that. I certainly don’t think it’d be a metal musician though… if I were to do something like that, I’d really have to throw everyone for a shot in the dark.

#5: Out of every concert you have been to, who are the best live bands?

CJ: The ones that aren’t afraid to go nuts on stage and get in your face. Overkill, Testament, Anthrax, Kix, Metallica (back in the day)… I prefer seeing bands in a club atmosphere rather than an arena/stadium, there’s just no intimacy with that and it feels like they’re so far away and high up, you spend most of the show watching the screens.

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#6: Who are some of your biggest influences?

CJ: So many… but drumming wise: Lars Ulrich, Scott Travis, Nick Menza, Dave Lombardo, Vinnie Paul… I even like Ringo. I personally like the guys who are not overly technical but make their band pulse and lay it down solid and smooth.

You can follow Threatpoint through their Facebook and website

Special thanks to Rogue PR for setting up the interview.

Images provided by Threatpoint and Rogue PR

5 Best and Worst Aspects of the MCU

Even if you are like me, a person who has an unhealthy obsession with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you probably still have some issues with Marvel’s approach to some elements of their filmmaking and world building. Where negatives appear, positives can too, it is why so many fans stick around to this superpowered cosmos to see new storylines and their favorite characters save the galaxy. Let’s blend together some of the universe’s brightest ideas that get people to the theater with every release and their biggest duds that makes fans roll their eyes.

Best:

#1: Character Chemistry

The weakest films tend to be the standalone adventures without any interaction from other heroes in the MCU. When our heroes all come together in Avengers, fight against one another in Civil War, or have smaller scale run-ins like Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Winter Soldier, this is what makes everything work so well. The fight choreography always improves when seeing people use their powers alongside someone else’s for that extra punch. This is needed in difficult fights like the ones seen in Infinity War against Thanos (Josh Brolin).

Not everything has to be violent. Captain Marvel sees fun chemistry between fan favorite Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the MCU’s most powerful hero Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). These relationships feel real through thick and thin. I felt the pain and complicated emotions the Avengers felt during the events of Civil War and its aftermath during Infinity War. In between the fighting, the character-driven moments have substance and don’t feel like it gets in the way of the action.

#2: Memorable Action Scenes

Superhero flicks have plenty of explosions and punches, so filmmakers need to make these scenes memorable for fans, or they become dull. A range of small scale battles with little risk to all-out war breaking out that threatens the lives of millions keeps contrast to combat without everything feeling overly dramatic with world-ending possibilities happening with every film.

One of the most intimate battles occurs during the final act of Civil War where Bucky (Sebastian Stan), Captain America (Chris Evans) must fight off a furious Iron Man who learned the truth behind the death of his parents. Out of the many moments where the Avengers had to go into combat, this remains the most emotional we have been delivered yet.

While those remain satisfying at times, the high stakes conflicts stand as the most exciting to watch, especially on the big screen. The Battle of Wakanda during Infinity War is arguably the greatest bloodshed seen in the superhero genre. Carpet bombing from War Machine (Don Cheadle) devastating hundreds of charging aliens lead by the surviving members of the Mad Snapper’s children is one of the most spectacular explosions from any movie I have seen. Cuts between various heroes teaming up to kill enemies left and right. Bucky picking up Rocket (Bradley Cooper) to go in a circle of gunfire is not only of my favorite moments, it worries me for Bucky that Rocket may steal his arm. Then the other significant moment that gets me pumped up with adrenaline every time is the moment for Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Rocket, and Groot (Vin Diesel) to come down for their piece of the ass-kicking pie.

#3: Balancing Tones

I have cried, laughed, been in awe, and so many more states of emotion due to these movies. Movies that strike many different cords inside their audience go above and beyond to make a captivating connection to viewers. From the Avengers getting torn apart in Civil War, almost every jokes from the Guardians in both of their standalone movies and Infinity War, and the gut punch of a twist in Homecoming. I have felt everything I could imagine watching these 20 (and many more coming) films.

#4: Casting Choices

Whether you look at Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Tom Holland as Spider-Man, or Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, everyone is perfectly suited for their role. Every person as a significant character embodies them in a way that makes it impossible to see anyone else as that hero. Downey captures Tony’s pain while maintaining his snarky attitude, Holland brings Spidey’s youthful energy to life, and Johansson strikes the traumatic past that haunts this agent while being a key component to the Avengers during their darkest days.

Marvel continues to get the perfect people for the job in their villainous roles. Michael Keaton rivals as one of the most compelling and sympathetic criminals to be shown in the MCU. Josh Brolin captured audiences with his performance as Thanos to be the ultimate baddie that defeated Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. While the supervillains tend to be much weaker, plenty of characters still shine as bright as the protagonists.

#5: Connecting a Large Universe

Making a believable and lifelike world takes both grand, elaborate ties along with subtle details to flesh everything out. The MCU goes through great lengths to make this universe feel real for both casual viewers and die-hard fans.

The latest edition of Marvel’s growing cosmos is Captain Marvel. If you read my review, then you may remember me praising how it connects itself to the universe in both critical and minuscule ways. To avoid spoilers, I will look towards some of its predecessors.

Civil War came due to the massive amount of mistakes and tragedies that surround the actions of the Avengers. The Battle of New York (Avengers), Battle of Sokovia (Age of Ultron), and the action scene at the beginning of Civil War brought unwanted consequences that end up dividing the team. It brought something to both the characters and the audience that everything that happens, positive or negative, can have a reaction.

Smaller details from easter eggs and references little every Marvel movie. A nod to one character or a hidden gem that could mean something in the future might take a few times of watching to find, but worth it once found. The Winter Soldier has a scene that names Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) which meant nothing to me at first until the release of Doctor Strange arrived to blow my tiny mind. Peter Parker’s standalone debut features a generic criminal named Mac Gargan (Michael Mando) who may seem like a random thug, but comic book readers instantly knew he becomes Scorpion, a classic foe for Spidey. Fingers crossed for a Sinister Six in the MCU.

Worst: 

#1: CGI Inconsistencies

When the digital effects of these movies are good, then you get things like the mind-bending visuals from Doctor Strange.  When things look ugly and poorly rendered, then it is too apparent. Almost every entry has a point in which the beauty turns sour with some bad CGI. The final battle from Black Panther has a few moments that are painful to watch.

#2: Retcons

Expanding a universe across over 20 movies, you are going to have some issues with the plot. Plenty of accidents occur in which Marvel retcons or something slips into a film that contradicts something from the past.

Back in the first Thor, we see Thanos’ gauntlet then see him put it on at the end of Age of Ultron. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige initially stated there were two infinity gloves then after Ragnarok in which Hela (Cate Blanchett) knocks down Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) version calling it a “fake.” Eventually, Feige would say, “We had an internal Marvel theory that it was fake,” Feige said after Ragnarok‘s release.

The biggest retcon is early on when Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) dies in the first Avengers. He gets brought back to life by alien technology in the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While fans of the character got something they wanted, it proves the criticism that the MCU lacks any real stakes.

#3: No Identifiable Themesongs

When the Avengers are fighting aliens or Hydra members, the epic score plays to get fans hyped up as they watch their favorite superheroes save the day. For individual characters, nobody gets their own theme song. Having a set track for each person helps deliver more personality to their scenes, especially when having an epic solo moment. Captain Marvel is the only character so far to get her own, so hopefully moving forward we can see some more tunes for each member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

#4: Cookie Cutter Formula

While I love these films, the structure tends to blend together, especially for standalone narratives. Some experimentation has been done with the ensemble flicks and some others like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. For the most part, most entries don’t deviate from the formula that has been established because it works but could be problematic in another 20 movies.

Thankfully things are changing up in the future. The next phase of the MCU will start to shake things up for some much needed fresh ideas.

#5: Villains

It is impossible to talk about problems within the Marvel’s juggernaut of a franchise without looking towards its villains. Lately, with Vulture, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), and Thanos, they have been on a roll with great antagonists. Sadly, those are the few greats that have been put on the big screen. Generic foes like Darren Cross (Corey Stroll) from Ant-Man and Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) from Doctor Strange hurt the quality of the films and the larger universe. With the strong source material, it is a shame this has been a consistent issue.

For fans of Marvel’s giant franchise, what are some of your favorite and least favorite elements from these movies? Comment below what you think.

Videos and Images via Marvel Studios/Filmic Box/Marvel Mifat/FilmClips4K/Movie Nation/MovieClips

Interview: Clint Kesinger of Good Times & Company

1.     Competition is rough in the music industry, what is your band doing to grow and continue to reach for success?

We are writing music the way we want and doing things the way we want. Having spent some time in the game and previous management to learn from, we’ve learned creating an original product is a huge part of being competitive and ensuring long term success. We engage with fans on our IG a LOT and understand the importance of social media. It’s a “necessary evil” as Shad calls it. But we are growing and reaching for success by staying true to us and our sound. If we achieve anything of notoriety, we would want it to be because people like us for our who we are as a band.

2.     If someone goes to one of your concerts, what do you think they should know going in?

You should grab a drink and kick it.

3.     What is your dream tour or festival?

Shit, honestly playing that Beach Goth fest with The Growlers would be dope. If we could get The Strokes, Mac Demarco, Cage the Elephant, and like Royal Blood on that would be ideal.

4.     If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you choose?

Probably Julian Casablancas.

5.     Out of every concert you have been to, who are the best live bands?

Panic! At The Disco, Paul McCartney Radiohead, Cage the Elephant,

6.     Who are some of your biggest influences?

The Strokes, Mac Demarco, Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, Arctic Monkeys, The Growlers, The Kooks, Queens of the Stone Age

7.     When did you first start playing music and how did that come together to lead you to where you are today?

When I was about 14, I got out my dad’s Peavey electric guitar and plugged it into his old PA system. I started making noises and was hooked. At the same time, I was going to local shows hosted by Scott Wyatt, a local musician in my small hometown. Me and Shad were from the same town, so I eventually heard he was into playing bass. We gigged all over the place for years in a moderately successful metal band and eventually I started an acoustic act called Good Times. Later as I turned 21, I started gigging around the country and decided to go full band. In 2015 Good times & Company was made official when Kyle and Shad both joined in. Its been a blur after that. We added Keagan after our second release and that brought things up a notch. Each year seems to get a little crazier.

8.     What are your plans for the rest of the year for the band?

We are releasing new music very soon and finding a new drummer. This new music is something we are very proud of, we think you will enjoy it very much! We plan on dropping a new album and hitting some key points in the country where we have been getting some great responses already. Hope to get across the pond sometime too.

Follow the band through their Facebook and website.

Special thanks to Rogue PR and Clint for this interview.