Album Review: Breaking Benjamin – “Ember”

Breaking Benjamin has one of the best track records out of any band in the rock and metal music scene. Each album has their own style to it with some advances to make the album feel fresh with the mix of the feeling of Breaking Benjamin. It is a bit of a formula, but it never gets old. Last week we got their latest album Ember.

Ember has to be one of the darkest and heaviest albums that Breaking Benjamin has ever made. The intro song Lyra is a beautiful instrumental song that sets a different tone from the rest of the album. Songs such as Red Cold RiverFeed the Wolf, and Psycho all prominently have a focus on singer Benjamin Burnley’s screams. While staying in the rock genre, they definitely dip their tows in something heavier that is closer to metal.

Instrumentally, the newest members of the band continue to grow as they put their spin on the Breaking Benjamin sound. Bass is clear, heavy, and at times has a groove to it that changes it up to some songs. Guitar work is that traditional Breaking Ben style that has a phenomenal melody while being hard driving with their heavier songs. Drumming being at beat in a beautifully well-done manner, while being crushing when the music picks up to be heavier.

The most notable difference for this album is how experiment Ben can be with his singing. His clean vocals on songs such as Feed the Wolf can change from beautiful and shave having an aggressive edge to his sound. Similar to previous albums such as Dear Agony, the beginning of Ember is leaning heavier while following songs start to slow down such as The Dark of You.

The overall tone is a lot darker and angrier than other albums. The Nirvana inspiration always lends lyrics to be more open to interpretation to the listener. The emotion is still there for more aggressive songs or more somber tracks.  Powerful lines from songs like Torn in Two, “I am torn in two. Hold on, hold on, we’re barely alive.” The lyric is from the song’s chorus which is always a staple to the band to me. The group still manages to make some of the best choruses that will stick in your head all day by the easy to follow lyrics and the excellent melody.

The band has their sound that resonates with each album, but they always manage to grow. The addition of new members from the last album Dark Before Dawn has worked in a way to give Breaking Benjamin a new life while maintaining their style at the same time. My personal favorite will always be Dear Agony, but Ember is now my second favorite album by the band. An excellent record that manages to mix beautiful melodies and hard-driving rock to deliver another nearly perfect album. Each song is excellent and stands out on its own. If you love Breaking Benjamin, then you will love this album. Haters of the group will not be happy since this is more of the same with some slight differences that show the band has grown as musicians.

Score: 10/10

Image via Breaking Benjamin/Hollywood Records

Buy the album here:

10 Things That Should or Could Happen in the Future of the MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a lot of ups and downs over the past ten years. With Infinity War and Avengers 4 is set up as films that will be a significant shake-up to the universe. With many movies that are in the coming years, there is a lot to speculate for the future. With the third week of Marvel blog posts, I will be going over ten things that could or should happen in the future. A few of these speculations are easily agreeable, while some are debatable. While some are just what I hope for that may be impossible.

#10: Who will team up with Spider-Man in the next movie?

In Spider-Man: Homecoming we saw Iron Man team up with the web-swinger as a mentor to guide him on his new journey to become a full-on superhero. Previous comments about the future hints at more films having at least two heroes instead of someone flying solo. A lot of guesses are circling the internet about who could stand by Spidey on his next adventure. A lot of those are assuming that Doctor Strange could make an appearance as a new mentor to Peter. The rumors increased due to interviews and the trailers of Infinity War that include the two heroes together. On top of that, they both are close to each other, so it would not be difficult for the two heroes to meet up. Finally, this is more of my speculation, but when Iron Man is no longer in the picture, Spider-Man will need a new mentor.

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#9: Bucky and Falcon have a movie together after Captain America is gone

This idea came about by a video I saw from WhatCulture who speculated that Bucky or Falcon could take up the mantle after Captain America dies. In the comics, both characters have done this before so it would make perfect sense. A lot of fans have been thinking the same thing that it could be Bucky. Much of that speculation comes from one particular scene of him holding Captain’s shield. Another aspect of the video is that there could be a movie with the two heroes teaming up. This would be an excellent idea because of their chemistry and relationship to Captain America. Falcon being more lighthearted and fun mixed with Bucky’s more serious tone could make for a fun movie.

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#8: Avengers vs. X-Men

Rumors have stirred up as soon as the deal between Disney and Fox emerged. One of the most popular ideas was the comic Avengers vs. X-Men could be a storyline in the future of the MCU. These two massive groups of heroes meeting and end up creating a conflict could be the most incredible clash between heroes since Civil War. Along with this would start a relationship between the two groups and lead to many possibilities for the future. An epic battle like this would be challenging to create, but with the current track record that Marvel has right now, it should not be an issue.

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#7: Deadpool and Spider-Man

The idea is a bit of a stretch for many reasons. If or when the deal finally is signed away between Disney and Fox, then Disney would have to figure out what to do with Deadpool. A statement issued that said that the foulmouthed mercenary will be safe during this deal, so fans can still enjoy a future with him slashing away bad guys and making crude jokes. In some comics, he has a relationship with Spider-Man which would make for an incredible dynamic. However, Disney would not want Deadpool in the MCU because of his guaranteed R rating. The company will probably put Deadpool under someone else to keep him away from the Disney banner even if they still own him. This means that it is unlikely to see him interact with any of the Avengers, even Spider-Man. We can always hope that this complicated friendship comes to the big screen, but the future of Deadpool is pretty unknown besides his upcoming sequel and X-Force.

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#6: Another Thor movie

It is unclear about whether or not we will get another movie with Thor. Chris Hemsworth’s contract is about to be up, but with the success of Ragnarok then it is possible that he could get another contract. Both Chris and director Taika Waititi have both said that they are not only hoping to do a fourth Thor movie, but they have been brewing up some idea too. The only issue that we run into is that the contract has not been confirmed to be resigned. Since the MCU is preparing at least other 20+ movies, it is possible to fit in Thor’s character in a few things. Nobody knows the plans that Marvel has, but that will not stop speculation! If Thor has a future or not will be determined after these next Avengers movies.

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#5: Small and big screen characters join together

A lot of the Marvel TV shows can be inconsistent, but as characters, there are plenty of great ones to bring along with the Avengers. This conversation has been happening for a while ever since the success of Netflix’s Daredevil. A lot can be done with great main and supporting characters from shows like The Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Some of the best villains have come from these shows such as Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. It would be a great idea to have a conflict between Fisk and Spider-Man or have the Avengers and Defenders join together. The best thing that Marvel can do is to continue increasing their cast of characters to the big screen, and they have many established roles on the small screen who would be excellent for a theatrical release.

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#4: Rated R MCU movies

I have a preference for more adult movies and games, as you might tell from many posts on this site. The possibility of having a rated R superhero movie from a loveable character such as Deadpool was a dream come true. I loved it then came Logan, which became my favorite superhero movie ever made. The conversation about an R rated MCU film has gone back and forth for a while now. The one thing that Marvel and Disney cannot refuse is a giant pile of cash which was brought big time by Deadpool and Logan. Last year in an interview with CBR Kevin Feige said, “I don’t think it’s out of the question. When I started at Marvel seventeen years ago, the Blade franchise was doing very well. A lot of people didn’t even know that it was based on a Marvel character because at the time they hid the fact it was Marvel. So, not out of the question, but not something we’re working on right now.” I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one, but not going to get my hopes too high.

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#3: A more diverse cast of heroes

A big complaint that many people have had about the MCU is the lack of diversity. Now that we have Black PantherCaptain Marvel is coming next year, and the potential Black Widow movie will help give more woman and people of color to take the forefront of future phases in the MCU. Kevin Feige spoke to Vulture about the having woman take a more critical role by saying,  “It is all about figuring out when and how” admitted Feige. “But by the way, many of them have already filmed additional scenes in upcoming movies, so some of that is gonna come sooner rather than later. All of them will be seen again.” Until those future movies, we will see a lot of Black Widow, Gamora, Wanda, Nakia, Okoye, and many more incredible female characters in Infinity War.black panther

 

#2: Giving light to less known characters

Just like what we have seen with the characters such as Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and the whole Guardians crew, we have seen some less known characters take a significant role. Feige has said time again and again that the frontrunners of the MCU will shift and include Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man who is one of the more well-known characters to take a more prominent role, and more. With over 7,000 characters, an endless amount can be utilized for years to come. That will bring a mix of the most beloved and known characters such as Spider-Man to team up with Doctor Strange and others. This catalog of bizarre and obscure characters has been slowing opening and will continue to open. The future phases are supposed to be very different and experimental. With that said, the future could look a lot more creative instead of some cookie cutter formula to chug out movie after movie. These possibilities to different characters and styles on making future films can lead to a healthy future for the MCU.

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#1: Giving bigger and more powerful villains after Thanos

Thanos is an incredibly strong opponent for our heroes. Speculation is going around about character deaths such as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Loki, and others who might be killed off in Infinity War. The comic kill of a significant portion of the heroes, so it is safe to say that we should all expect some level of consequences during this massive battle. Once Thanos is defeated, there will need to be a new threat in the future to raise the stakes. Whenever Disney acquires Fox’s properties then many doors will open. Heroes such as Deadpool, X-Men, and Fantastic Four will all be available, including villains. These villains plus the villains already owned by Disney can lead to many different possibilities. Some of the most popular of villains such as Doctor Doom, Galactus, Sinister Six, and much more lead to a variety of threats that our heroes will have to face in the future. For now, they have to survive the wrath of Thanos first.

AVENGERS

That is it for this week in my month of Marvel lists. Again, be sure to check out the other two that I wrote about my favorite villains and facts that you didn’t know about the MCU. Next week will be the last before my review of Avengers: Infinity War which releases on April 27, I will see it on the 29th in which you can expect my review that same day.

Images via Marvel Studios and Marvel Comics

Quick News: God of War is Good? + Batgirl Movie Still in the Works? + Beartooth Member Leaves + More!

Image via Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

 

  • One of the biggest games of the year, God of War, is coming next week. Today reviews are out, so we get a chance to see what critics think. So far, the game is doing excellent. As of writing, Metacritic has the game at a 94, IGN and Polygon both scored the game a 10/10, and Gamespot rated the game a 9/10. The general consensus is that the game is beautiful, fun gameplay, and tells an emotional and compelling story. “It’s a game in which Kratos, a previously one-note character, becomes a complex father, warrior, and monster, embattled both on the field and within his own heart about how to treat his son; one in which the world opens up and shifts, offering rewards in both gameplay and knowledge of its lore that I treasured with each accomplishment,” writes IGN. Their only complaint was the framerate is locked at 30fps. Gamespot had little to no complaints to with their biggest critique being the last boss battle not being that great but noted there are plenty of epic boss battles throughout the game. God of War is shaping up to be one of the best games of the year. It releases next Friday on PS4, and you can expect a review from me as soon as possible.

 

  • Taylor Lumley from the metal band Beartooth has announced his departure from the band. He writes on Twitter, “I quit Beartooth today to focus more on my life and my art. I love all the dudes in our band and crew like family, and there was no ill will at all.” Taylor was backup vocals and the band’s lead guitarist since 2013. There has not been any news about what his future plans are in music, but it sounds like there will be a continuation of his musical career.

 

  • Joss Whedon left the Batgirl project a few months ago. Now we are getting news that the project is still on. Currently Christina Hodson, who is working on the script for the Transformers spinoff movie based on the character Bumblebee. Not much is known about the film, but expectations are high from the success of Wonder Woman and the struggles that DC has had, it would be great to see another good movie from their catalog.

 

  • Take-Two Interactive has had its fair share of lawsuits because of Rockstar’s GTA V. Now one of those has been dismissed. Ex-Rockstar North president Leslie Benzines sued the company for $150 million in royalties. After taking a year and a half sabbatical, Leslie claims that the company forced him to leave after the hiatus. This stems from a contract signed in 2010 which would grant him equal pay as co-founders Dan and Sam Houser. The court recently has dismissed the case because the agreement does not explicitly say that the payments must be equal.

 

  • More news on GTA V. If you followed the game at all, then you know it is making a ridiculous amount of money for Rockstar and parent company Take-Two Interactive. According to analysists, GTA V is the biggest entertainment product of all time. The game not only made a billion dollars on its third day of release back in 2013 but with the microtransactions that have reportedly earned $700 million a year has rocketed the profits sky-high. After 90 million units sold, making it the third best selling game of all time makes the game this profitable. It has been estimated that GTA V has made $6 billion in its lifetime. Since Rockstar has not stated when they will stop supporting the game, we can expect that this amount will increase until it is time for Rockstar to move on.

Video Game Review: Far Cry 5

After people started to get tired of the formulaic feel that Far Cry started to deliver, Ubisoft announced they would skip 2017 to give the next title some extra time. Did that pay off to achieve the ultimate game in the series? Does it rival with the masterpiece that is Far Cry 3? Well, yes and no. I do love this game; I will say that right now. Ubisoft cleaned, polished, and refined this latest entry to be quite pristine.

The story takes place in Hope County, Montana. The first time the series has gone into the U.S.A. and your character go in with the sheriff and a U.S. Marshall to stop a religious cult called Eden’s Gate who have taken over the entire county. Your team meets up with Joseph Seed, also known as The Father, who has a warrant for his arrest. During this procedure, his crazed followers attack. The cultist captures your colleagues, and you must escape. It is up to you to go out with other people to form a resistance, save your colleagues and stop Joseph and his family.

Far Cry is always known for their characters, especially the antagonist. To start off, let’s look at people who are allies along with who the player is controlling. Well, the main protagonist is silent which gives no depth to who you are. I hated this aspect because I felt like a bystander rather than a hero. The character has grunts, catching their breath, and other sounds. So, why not let that person have an actual voice? I have no idea, and it took me out of certain moments of the story. Your main allies such as Sheriff Whitehorse, Nick Rye, Hurk, Deputy Hudson, and many others are mostly likable. Seriously, there are a ton of main and side characters. Some are not as memorable, but most are enjoyable and even hilarious. One of my favorites being Hurk who was in other games. People are fleshed out, and well voice acted with mostly well-written dialog that can be interesting or funny.

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Regarding the antagonists, this is a bit inconsistent. Joseph is the leader, who is phenomenal. I wish there were more time with him, but enough time was given to give his character more depth. He was captivating, insane, and had a complicated moral compass. Joseph may not be as good as Vaas from the third game, but he is the closest they have gotten. His brother John is right next to Joseph on being a great villain. He uses more intimidation tactics against the resistance but sticks to his religious beliefs as much as Joseph. He is one of the most crazed and brutal people to ever come across in this series. Faith and Jacob are less interest. Jacob has a military background and is more focused on the political issues of the world rather than anything to do with his religion. He still is religious like the rest of his family, but his focus is slightly different. I felt like he was a lot less exciting and his missions- that I will discuss later- were repetitive and overall dull. Finally, we have the worst of the bunch which is Faith. After being adopted by Joseph’s sadistic cult and is more focused on drugs. Yes, another Far Cry game with drug-induced moments, it sucks. Her whole story has a focus on this, and her missions are all about illusions from the bliss, the drug in the game that takes significant attention throughout the game. Everyone has an exciting and compelling backstory, but the times spent with them rocks back and forth from being fascinating to flat out annoying.

The tasks at hand to defeat the cult are quite intricate in comparison to previous games. Once you finish the introduction, then there is freedom to go anywhere. The map is sectioned off into three major areas. A different leader controls each section. Defeat Jacob, Faith, and John to do one final mission to take down Joseph. The activities to build up the resistance can come from destroying cultist property, outposts -a staple in the series-, helping the local people, and a lot more. There is no force to complete everything. As a player, you get to decide what you like best and run with it, besides some mandatory story missions. Each area has three major points to gain enough resistance to have a meeting with that area’s leader. You get captured, which can be quite annoying because it forces you in some awkward moments to do a mission. These usually are not that fun, but the information on the characters tends to be worthwhile. After enough resistance points and meetings with the leader then the boss fight can be initiated. The boss fights can be lackluster. Each one can be too easy or too annoying. Most of the battles are heavily involving a drug-induced situation that took me out of the moment. I had that issue with the entire story as a whole anyways.

The endings are between a simple choice at the end. Ending one through my off by how crazy things got, but as I digested it, I like the ending overall despite some issues. To not give anything away, you will not see any of those events coming. You will either love it or hate it. The other is quite lackluster but makes some sense. Sadly, it makes you feel like your adventure was a bit of a waste. Overall, I wish both endings were different because they were not that strong.

The world is packed with animals, activities, animals to hunt, and a lot to explore. Exploring in this game is not only the most rewarding feeling from a Far Cry game but one of the most rewarding games I have played in a long time. Exploring is so much fun. There are no more towers to climb that will unlock everything for you. The exploration system is organic by talking to people, looking at road signs, walking around, and reading notes rather than using towers to discover the surrounding area. Going around to find items that will benefit you is quite satisfying. Live events are constant, but from what I can tell it is mostly challenges that give you a cosmetic reward. Nothing that special, but a nice addition that is new to the series. Shops to buy vehicles, guns, clothes, and other items are all around. Buying is the primary focus since there are not many items to craft. Crafting is minimal and not as important. Bigger bags and other types of equipment are perks or things to buy. Money consists of regular cash you gain by selling or finding then there are silver bars that are in every outpost. Silver bars are microtransaction too, but money is almost entirely useless. Money is easy to gain, and there will not be a lot that will be needed to purchase from other characters.

Having people back you up is a huge mechanic in the game. Side characters such as Hurk or Nick Rye can provide support on the ground or in the air. Animals such as a dog named Boomer or a bear named Cheeseburger can come to your aid too. The animals are my personal favorite because who doesn’t want a bear named Cheeseburger to help them? Civilians that you save will also join you to fight off the cult. Everyone who comes to help has special perks and weapons that help your decision on how you want to tackle a situation. For stealth utilizing the cougar, Peaches would be wise or be bold by getting Nick Rye to use his plane to bomb out an area. One thing to note is the AI is not great. Animals tend to be perfect, or close to, but enemies and friendly humans can be pretty moronic at times. At times they can be because enemies can go down then their friends can go help them out. I have seen the AI have its great moments, but some painfully stupid moments too.

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Gameplay is better than ever. Combat and vehicles all feel great. Melee combat is a bit too simple, but nothing beats going around with a shovel to hit these cultists to death. I have always loved driving in the series, and it is still an absolute joy to drive around Montana. Completing challenges or finding specialized magazines give you points to use for perks. The perk trees are expansive and useful. Nothing about it is too hard or too easy. I found the progression to be at a great pace that is not too slow or fast. The ultimate way to play the game is with a friend. Cooperative play is for the entire game, even story missions. I have had some extraordinary moments with my friends that truly changes everything about this game. There is a distance restriction, but it is a reasonable distance that rarely is an issue. Customization is another new gameplay feature from attachments for weapons, paint jobs for vehicles, and how your character looks and dresses. For the first time, you get the choice between playing as a male or female. This would matter only if the customization were not so painfully limited and for your character to be a silent protagonist. Guns have a few skins and attachments. Vehicles are pointless to even look at because of the uninteresting skins. The most prominent disappointment is how lousy customization is in this game, just flat out lazy and slapped on to have an extra feature. The weapons all feel great, and there is an abundant amount of weapons, but a lot of them have similar stats. The lack of variety in weapon stats makes it less appealing to experiment with different guns.

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Graphically and sound wise, this game is stunning. Hearing explosions in the distance that echo throughout the valley to looking over the forest in a helicopter, everything is breathtaking. Nighttime or during the day, every inch of the map is beautifully crafted. I can see this game all day and be amazed. If you have a great monitor and sound system, then you will be in heaven. Along with almost no hud except for some occasional indicators, the graphics stand out even more so. I love how clean everything looks without a minimap and a bunch of other clutter on the screen.

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Lastly, the online in the arcade mode is something to be discussed. Arcade is full of maps that people have made and game modes to play.  Playing arcade can be done with a friend, with other players, or by solo. Some maps are poorly done, but if you have the time and skill to get good at the map editor, then it is worth it. The map editor is extensive and is well made. Personally, I play these games for the single player, but the developers did a good job with this addition.

To conclude, I do love this game for its fun cooperative gameplay, stunning graphics, refined and tight gameplay, its new exploration system that is rewarding, and the game’s hilarious and entertaining characters. Joseph is one of the best villains to the series in years. Sadly, there are some glaring issues. Customization feels like it was slapped on with little effort. For the story, the tone of everything felt off with going serious, to funny, to political commentary, and so much more. It felt that the writers were not entirely sure of what tone to set. At times it worked, but at other times it did not. The silent protagonist felt pointless and gave less significance as to the player’s position in the game. AI was inconsistent with moments of brilliance to moments of being almost brain dead. The top two qualities are the exploration and the coop. If you have a friend to play with and you either love or never played a Far Cry game, then you must buy this. If you never liked the series, it is still more the same than different. A refined experience with the core of it staying the same that will make die-hard fans happy.

Score: 8/10

Buy the game here:

Images from in game

Header image via Ubisoft

Top Best Villains in the MCU (So Far)

To continue my month of leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, this second week is all about the villains. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite incredible. All of the work that has been done to build up this fleshed out universe on both the big and small screen is impressive. However, there have been some issues throughout the phases of the MCU, especially early on. One of the biggest flaws has been the villains. Most of the villains are bland or feel too similar to the hero, which is not to say that they are all terrible. Some have ranged from quite good to fantastic. In this list, I will rank the top best villains we have seen in the MCU so far. Pitting against the best of the best we have seen. The picks I have here might get controversial and the fact that this is not a full list of every villain, but these are my picks on who I enjoyed the most or the most sympathetic or who got closest to destroying our heroes. The list here is a focus on the big screen characters from the films. Before this list, I would like to make a few honorable mentions from the TV shows. In Daredevil, Kingpin aka Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) who was sympathetic, intimidating, and a powerful force that gave a great challenge to our blind hero. Next from Luke Cage, Cottonmouth aka Cornell Stokes (Mahershala Ali) who was charismatic, sympathetic, and an intelligent gangster. Finally, from Jessica Jones season 1 we had Killgrave (David Tennant) who was vile, evil, sadistic and had an interesting origin story. His run as the psychopath with mind control powers was phenomenal. Check out all of those shows for these fantastic villains. Seriously, these people are some of my favorites from any show or movie. Now let us dive into the best villains that we have seen so far in the MCU.

#8: Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Ultron (James Spader) made a lot of people feel he was insignificant compared to Loki in the second Avengers film. This is true, but James Spader put on such a great performance that helped ignore some of the flaws in the character’s development and other issues in the film. The ties that will make a lasting impact later in the MCU such as Black Panther when we see Klaw (Andy Serkis) who has found a replacement for his arm. What gets Ultron on the list is James Spader’s performance that brings the robotic villain to life. Tony Stark had a vision for this defense system that blows up in his face majorly. The guilt he feels steers him in the direction that we see in Civil WarULTRON

#7: Hela (Thor: Ragnarok)

The goddess of death is a force to reckon with especially looking at the problems that occur in Asgard. How could I not put Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) sister on here? She destroyed Mjolner -a piece of information that I did not know going in- which made me horrified of her. Cate Blanchett did a phenomenal job to make for an intimidating villain in a hilarious film. Her power was so great that she took our Thor’s hammer and his eye. The only way to destroy her had the consequence of destroying Asgard by summoning Surtur (Clancy Brown). Her impact on Thor and Loki’s side of the MCU is gigantic. Infinity War needs to address a lot such as Thor informing his friends back on Earth on what happened and his new weapon which is supposedly an ax.HELA

#6: Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Now one of the Avengers, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) was previously known as the Winter Soldier. For people like myself who had no idea who he was, this mysterious masked man with a powerful arm was quite intriguing. What makes him on this spot on my list is the relationship connection with him to Captain America and what we learn in Civil War when the reveal happens that he killed Tony’s parents. Of course, he was being controlled to do these things, but his actions lend to an excellent villain. He is powerful arm with extensive training and struggles with the memory loss of his friend Steve Rogers makes for a strong and complex character. He was the most sympathetic antagonist so far in the MCU who eventually turns good. It will be interesting getting a full movie with Infinity War when Bucky fights with his new friends to take down Thanos.wintersoldier.png

#5: Helmut Zemo (Captain America: Civil War)

Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is cunning, intelligent, and has had the closest success in defeating the Avengers. His plan to split them apart and fight against each other almost worked. Towards the end of the film as we learn about his motivations, he becomes one of the most sympathetic villains in the MCU. It is difficult to not feel for the guy. That is why his defeat hit so hard when watching, but we have to stand by our heroes.HELMUT ZEMO.jpg

#4: Ego (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)

Ego (Kurt Russell) almost seemed like a protagonist throughout the film. You had the feeling when watching that he must be the antagonist -unless you are a reader of the comics- but were never too sure. Kurt Russell always being so charismatic in every role that makes it hard not to love him no matter who he is playing. I wanted him to be a good guy and the father that Peter (Chris Pratt) never had when he was growing up. The reveal of his evil plan to expand and destroy every planet on top of what he did to Peter’s mother drew the line as to who he really was. One of my favorite moments from any MCU film is when he tells Peter that he planted the tumor in his mother, his eyes stop glowing, and he unloads his guns into Ego. His impact may not have been that large on the MCU as a whole, but Peter’s background has been fleshed out more. Peter, one of the most loveable heroes, is now better and stronger than ever now that he has defeated his father.EGO.jpg

#3: Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Vulture (Michael Keaton) seemed like a generic criminal who gets a fancy suit. However, with a combination of making him sympathetic and Michael Keaton’s excellent portrayal, he is one of my favorite villains. He is a man who wants best for his family. After a bad situation and no idea on what else to do, he turns to crime. At first, nobody is getting hurt, but the road he has gone down is a slippery slope. I felt exactly how Peter (Tom Holland) when the door to his homecoming date’s house opened and the reveal that Adrian Toomes aka Vulture is Liz’s (Laura Harrier) father. My heart was pounding at this intense scene. Despite him figuring out who Peter is, he still does not want to kill him. Peter’s determination to stop his criminal behavior is what breaks Adrian to the point that he has no other choice, but to kill Spider-Man. It will be difficult to top this antagonist for the next adventure for Peter Parker.VULTURE

#2: Killmonger (Black Panther)

Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is not only a worthy foe for Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) but even a sympathetic villain who won over audiences around the world. His motives are concise and a cause that many people can get behind. The flaws within him are what makes him such an antagonistic character, but there is a part of him that is decent. The betrayal and loss that he feels from his family, the government and Wakanda are greatly felt by the audience too. kilmonger.jpg

#1: Loki (Avengers)

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is always up to something, powerful, charismatic, and funny. To most people, he is the best villain, to which I agree. He is phenomenal and continues to with his upcoming role in Infinity War. Even at the point of losing, he always has another plan. The brilliance of his character to enjoyable and keeps both the Avengers and the audience on their toes. The relationship between him and Thor is complicated, especially seeing as they develop more with each film. After eighteen movies, he is still number one.The-avengers-loki.jpg

That concludes this list of my favorite villains that we have seen so far on the big screen in the MCU. I will continue these types of lists to build up to Avengers: Infinity War. Be sure to post your top favorites whether it is top 5 or even every villain in the comments section below.

Also, be sure to check out my other article for week one right here to see some facts that you may not have known about the MCU. Stay tuned because there are two more weeks of lists before my review for Infinity War.

Images via Marvel Studios

Quick News: Del Toro Movie Deal + Spider-Man PS4 Details + Woody Harrelson as Carnage Rumors + Avengers: Infinity War Opening Weekend Predictions + More!

  • Earlier in the week was the 15 year anniversary of the internet production company Rooster Teeth. To celebrate the milestone, the company is releasing a documentary going over the past 15 years. Rooster Teeth started with their show Red vs. Blue in 2003 and has grown to be a powerhouse with a large variety of content. You can watch Why We’re Here if you are a first member on their website. The documentary releases April 20th, and you can view the trailer below:

 

  • With Oscar wins for The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro has earned himself a massive deal with Fox Searchlight. Los Angelos Times reportedly have the news that Guillermo and Fox Searchlight have a five-movie agreement that ranges from the type of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films that Guillermo is known for. His role in these films will vary from produce, writer, and be directing with each film being one or a mixture of those positions. The first film is called Antlers -based on the short story The Quiet Boy by Nick Antosca. So far what we know about the project that it is a supernatural film that is centered around an elementary school teacher and a troubled student. The film will be directed by Scott Cooper, who is best known for his work on Crazy Heart, Hostiles, and Black Mass. More information will be announced later about the label’s name and the other films that Guillermo will be attached to.

 

  • The gaming industry is swarmed with games that include microtransactions. The hate for this business method is to the point that game developers will happily advertise to fans that their games do not have microtransactions. Recently, Middle Earth: Shadow of War has announced that they are ditching microtransactions. When the game announced back in October 2017, fans were furious with the microtransactions. People felt that the game was hindered towards its final act and that the store to buy microtransactions was shoehorned in front of the player.  “While purchasing Orcs in the Market is more immediate and provides additional player options, we have come to realize that providing this choice risked undermining the heart of our game, the Nemesis System. It allows you to miss out on the awesome player stories you would have otherwise created, and it compromises those same stories even if you don’t buy anything,” writes developer Monolith from a recent blog post. It will be interesting to follow to see if other developers start to follow in this direction. Microtransactions have reached a breaking point with gamers, and the industry realizes it. Any opinions I have you can read here.

 

  • This October we get to see Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in the upcoming Venom movie. A lot of fans have been discussing whether Carnage will make an appearance as the film’s antagonist. Recent rumors not only point to a potential yes but even who might play as the serial killer infected with the symbiote. According to Bleeding Cool who claim to have a source who gave them a tip that Woody Harrelson will play as Carnage. These rumors have been circulating for a while since Woody has joined the cast rather late in the film’s production. Sony has not said anything about who Woody is playing, and that secrecy is only stirring up people’ curiosity. Only time will tell since the film is out in six months and we should be getting more information sometime this summer. The film is scheduled to release on October 5th. You can view the trailer below and see what I thought about the teaser trailer here.

 

  • Game Informer has been lucky enough to get their hands on the upcoming Spider-Man game with a load of new information. They gave their impression of gameplay along with further details such as gameplay, how the open world works, collectibles, and a release date. The game will have a variety of features such as a very dynamic system when swinging around New York, crafting items, side quests, and more. For the next month, there will be constant more updates on the game via their magazine and website. You can preorder the game right now and is currently scheduled to release on September 7, 2018.

 

  • Steven Spielberg has given an update on the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 and the future of the franchise. The next installment will be Harrison Ford’s last film as the iconic character. If you have kept your eyes open for this film then you know there is still a future. Spielberg has mentioned before about a sixth movie, and it looks like someone will carry the torch, even a possible female lead. Spielberg’s exact words on the subject are, “This will be Harrison Ford’s last Indiana Jones movie, I am pretty sure, but it will certainly continue after that.” This leads a lot open for the future of this beloved series and makes a lot of sense because Harrison Ford is 75 years old. The fifth movie could focus on him retiring or dying with his last moments to carry the torch for future adventures.

 

  • Experts have revealed their estimates for Avengers: Infinity War‘s opening weekend, and it is gigantic. These industry predictions are considering that the film might open with $200million or more. Since the film is the most anticipated of the year, Marvel building up ten years worth of movies that have added up to eighteen, and with its massive cast, it is not a surprise that the prediction is so high. As the trend has been with films like Black Panther, the forecast could easily be shattered. With the amount of awareness and hype behind the film, it is possible that this could be the largest opening weekend ever. The current record holder is The Force Awakens with an opening weekend of $247.9million. Since the film is only being predicted with an opening weekend that is 47.9million lower, it could be possible that the third Avengers can smash the most significant opening weekend record.

 

That is it for the news this week. Be sure to follow the page for more updates like this and bigger stories. Comment below on your thoughts on these stories or any other news stories in entertainment that I may have missed.

Image via Insomniac Games

10 MCU Facts That You (Probably) Didn’t Know

By the end of this month, Avengers: Infinity War comes out. To celebrate this milestone for Marvel, I will be writing an article every week about the MCU to build up to the release of Infinity War. You can expect a review of that film the weekend that it releases, but let’s dive right into the first week. With 18 movies that are full of easter eggs, small details that build up to other films, and even some bloopers that made it into the final cut of the movie. This list comprises of ten things that you (probably) did not know about the MCU.

#1: Guardians of the Galaxy: Peter drops the ball

GUARDIANS

In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, we are introduced to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) who explains the powerful orb to our heroes. This turns out to be the power infinity stone that Thanos gets his hands on in Avengers: Infinity War. Peter (Chris Pratt) hands the orb but ends up dropping it and quickly makes a recovery. This was a complete accident, but director James Gunn loved it. Not only did he like it, but Chris Pratt played it off so well by staying in character, most people assume that it was on purpose. Dropping this all-powerful orb seemed perfectly fitting to Peter’s character. Maybe Chris took on this role because Peter looked a bit relatable.

 

#2: Bruce Banner’s attempt at suicide can be seen

HULK

If you remember in the first Avengers movie that Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) divulges his attempt on suicide. Due to the rating being PG: 13, we were never shown this scene from The Incredible Hulk. This is back when Edward Norton was Bruce, who would eventually be replaced by Mark in The Avengers. That discussion is not only a great throwback to a deleted scene, but adds a lot to Bruce Banner as a character. You can view this by the deleted scenes from The Incredible Hulk or on YouTube.

 

#3: There is only one time that Robert Downey Jr. wears the Iron Man suit

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That is right, he does not actually wear the suit. In the first Iron Man, there is a full suit with some added CGI to bring everything to life. After the film’s release, Downey saw that there was no need for the suit because the CGI is that good. The suit was bulky and uncomfortable anyways, which is not a huge surprise because massive costumes are notorious for being a pain to wear. Ever since that first film, everything has been entirely digital as Robert focuses on bringing his best performance and bring Tony Stark to life.

 

#4: Chris Evans did not want anything to do with Captain America

Captain america

It is hard to imagine the MCU without people like Chris Evans, but things could have turned out in a way that would have a different actor as Captain America. Due to his poor experience as the Human Torch in the awful Fantastic Four movies, he turned down the role for Captain America three times. The person at Marvel who thought to keep asking Chris for this role is either the most annoying person ever or a genius. The answer is a mix of the two. Chris Evans negotiated a contract that made him more comfortable and decided to go for it. Now it has worked out wonderfully for him.

 

#5: Paul Bettany’s first time meeting the cast was in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Vision_Forest

Paul Bettany has been J.A.R.V.I.S. since the beginning of the MCU, but this voice work has made him unable to actually work in person with Robert Downey Jr. or any other cast member. When casted to play as Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron, this was his first chance to work with cast members in person. In an interview with Business Insider Paul Bettany spoke about this process by saying, “It’s really lovely to finally be working with these people that I’ve been working with for 10 years already,” says Bettany. “It’s a bunch of really creative, talented, funny people who are all playing at the top of their game, and I don’t just mean the cast — who were incredibly welcoming — but I also mean Kevin Feige and [executive producer] Jeremy Latcham and Joss Whedon. They really know how to make these movies.”

 

#6: Hulk’s new voice

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For the longest time Lou Ferrigno has been the voice actor for Hulk, but in Thor: Ragnarok the voice is now Mark Ruffalo. Yes, he was never the previous voice for Hulk. He always played as just Bruce Banner and Hulk in motion capture. Now it is full performance capture by his actions and performing the dialog for the giant green hero.

 

#7: Vin Diesel actually knows what Groot is saying

groot

You would think how simple Vin Diesel’s life must be to say such simple lines for his role as Groot. However, there is more depth than anyone felt that there was. On Twitter, James Gunn revealed that only him and Vin have a particular script that translates what Groot is saying in English. This added depth certainly helps Vin Diesel understand his character a lot more. Plus he is able to follow along with some added depth that most people will never have.

 

#8: Tom Holland got only some of the script for Avengers: Infinity War

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Tom Holland is excellent at two things: playing as arguably the best Spider-Man and for spoiling significant parts of movies. He was given only some sections of Infinity War to know his role, but as much information was kept from him as possible. These precautions were taken to make sure nothing was spoiled in future interviews, social media, or to anyone he comes across. In an interview Good Morning America with Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch, who stops Tom from a spoiler, we can see it for ourselves on how tempted he was to divulge some information because he genuinely gets excited about his work.

 

#9: Star Wars tribute with severed hands

hand chopped

Fans may have caught on that a lot of hands were severed in phase two. The reason is Star Wars. In an interview with Cinema Blend Kevin Feige says, ” So I’m obsessed with Star Wars – and it didn’t start out as intentional, but it became intentional, including that beat that you referenced. It sort of happens in every Star Wars movie, but I was sort of looking at it, ‘Okay, is Phase Two our Empire Strikes Back?’ Not really, but tonally things are a little different. Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase Two movie. Every single one.”

 

#10: We almost saw Captain Marvel sooner

marvel

In 2019 we will get our first female MCU film, Captain Marvel. Initially, she was going to be featured at the last scene of Avengers: Infinity War. Joss Whedon wanted her to make her debut here, but not only being a disservice to the character but met some resistance from Kevin Feige. Fans would have wanted more female heroes earlier, but people are generally satisfied that there is a confirm for her debut to be in 2019.

 

That is it for this list for my build up to Avengers: Infinity War. Comment below on anything that you find interesting that people may not know about the MCU or just about the facts above.  Expect more lists to come out to build the hype for the big battle with Thanos.

 

Images via Marvel