Solo: another Star Wars Story

Han Solo

Han Solo, the notorious smuggler who could make the “Kessel run in 12 parsecs”. The man who won the iconic Millennium Falcon in a bet. Lost it, won it back. Lost it again. And then got it back in Star Wars Episode 7. The man who won over Princess Leia with his devilish charm. The man who birthed Ben Solo. A young Jedi in training who would turn on his master (and uncle) Luke Skywalker. The man who was impaled with a Red-Light Saber, unstable with energy from its cracked Kyber Crystal. The Wookie Chewbacca who owed Han a life debt, now free to his own vices. Han Solo, will forever go down in the history of all nerd-dom as one of the Greatest of All Time (GOATs). So why am I writing about him now? Disney is bringing us another Star Wars movie this May. But this time, Han Solo is the star. Will this film live up to its very name? Let’s find out.

 

Plot

We hear a young Han Solo narrating the intro of the latest Solo trailer. “I’ve been running scams on the streets since I was ten”. This movie should shed light on just how far back Han Solo’s life as a rascal really goes. We know he has a gambling problem from how many different bounty hunters, gangsters, and even acquaintances he has owed money to throughout the Star Wars Cinematic Universe. But where did it begin? What was that first bet he ever made? We know Han makes a living from smuggling. But what put him on that track? If you watch the Trailer, you’ll hear a young Han blame his expulsion from the Space Academy on “having a personality”. So, what got him kicked out? Did he cheat on a test? What if he got into a fight? One thing is for sure. Han has always been the best pilot in the galaxy. Shots of Han commandeering the Millennium Falcon through space, asteroids, alien tentacles, and more are fleshed out throughout the trailer. And what about Chewbacca? How does our favorite loveable furry killing machine find himself in debt to Han? This is Han we’re talking about. The man with more bounties on his head than he can count. If you read the books, you’ll learn that Chewie was freed from Slavery by Han. But why? Han hasn’t always been most altruistic individual. And how did Han learn to understand Wookie? These are just a few of the questions that Solo: A Star Wars Story is expected to answer. On top of all of this, let’s hope for some kick ass adventures.

 

Cast

There a quite a few gems among this cast. First off, the up and coming star. Alden Ehrenreich, who is probably best known for his role in Hail Caesar, plays the infamous Han Solo. Handsome guy that Alden. Next up, a role with its own cult following, Lando Calrissian. It was Lando that first lost the Millenium Falcon to Han Solo. It was after that loss, that Lando put his gambling days behind him. Yet his friendship with Han only strengthened over time. But how did these two first meet? Fan favorite rapper, singer, actor, and now producer Donald Glover (you might know him as Childish Gambino), will play a young Lando. How’s that for a cameo? Any fans of the TV series Atlanta will know Donald Glover can act. Let’s not forget my favorite and most likely sleeper hit, Woody Harrelson. He will play Han Solo’s mentor. I have very fond memories of Woody playing Tallahassee, the ball busting cowboy from Zombieland. You might remember him from War of the Planet of the Apes where he plays the badass Colonel McCullough that enslaves the apes to prepare for war. In Solo, Woody’s role as Tobias Beckett will take an orphaned Han under his wing and show him how to navigate societies’ underbelly. Other than that, not too much is known for the role. Female fan favorite Emilia Clarke, from the ever-popular Game of Thrones TV series is also in Solo. She plays Qi’Ra. While not much is known about this role, you do hear her say “I may be the only person that knows what you really are” in the trailer.  An actress as big as Emilia must undoubtedly play an important role. And those words spoken by her help solidify Qi’Ra as someone important to Han or at least to the plot. That just about sums up the heavier hitters of the Solo cast.

 

Coming Soon

Solo: A Star Wars Story releases this year on May 25th. Star Wars fans everywhere were thrilled back in 2015 when Disney announced it would be producing a new Star Wars film every year for the next 5 years. And after the positive feedback from Rogue One, Solo just might be the movie one shot Han’s legacy deserves. Will you be watching on opening night? Let us know in the comments.

Jessica Jones 2 Adds More Depth

Jessica Jones

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Jessica Jones, the “hard drinking, fouled mouth private investigator”, is back. The second season came out on Netflix March, 8th. It’s been 2 years since we last saw our anti-hero, not including the events of The Defenders, take down her arch-nemesis Kilgrave. If you don’t remember what happened at the end of season 1, Jessica Jones, in order to save her best friend Trish Walker, snaps Kilgrave’s neck before he can escape on a boat. While the ending was climatic and beyond rewarding, it left a big void as to who would fight Jessica. I mean, having a villain with the ability to control minds is about as dangerous as one can get without reaching the Avenger’s level. This plus the fact that David Tennant is a very convincing Kilgrave makes it hard to replace him as the main evil villain.

Season 2 picks up right where we left Alias Investigations, caught between being called a hero by some and a vigilante by others. In this season she’s trying to stay out of everyone’s sight as much as possible while continuing her work as a private investigator. While her new fame does help bring in new clients it also presents newer problems. People all over the New York are reaching out for help. These issues are actually serve to help bring out more of Jessica Jones’ character.  And when certain events unfold she finds herself having to investigate her past and reveal the origins of her superpowers. This is the main problem with season 2.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the season with all the character development and smaller story-lines, which I’m sure will play out in Season 3, like Trish Walker and Malcolm Ducasse, but without the main villain to immediately point out, it’s really slow going. The show struggles to keep your attention and without Kilgrave it needed a new way reveal shocking events. In fact, things don’t get very interesting until about halfway through the season. So in a way you are stuck watching 5 or 6 episodes before something interesting happens. But by no means is the]is season boring. What it lacks in excitement it makes up for in human interaction and character development.

Different Side?

Jeri Hogarth

This new season takes a lot of time to flush out some of the smaller details about each character’s personality. It asks the question, how would this character react to being in this situation. One character of note is the apathetic lawyer Jeri Hogarth, who in the last season was seen as this very cold and calculative person, but when she is diagnosed with ALS we begin to see a different side to her. She’s scared and vulnerable. For the first time in her life, she is unable to control the outcome of her life despite her trying to.

With all her accomplishment, dreams, and aspirations none of it matters because she’s alone. She lost both her wife and girlfriend. This leaves her work as the only means by which she will be remembered. Even that becomes threatened which makes her desperate to find a cure. This leads her to seek out the experiments IGH were performing to create Jessica Jones. It’s interesting to note that as we watch all this unfold, she turns into a more sympathetic person. Before, not many people could relate to being a powerful lawyer with all the control in the world. But now she’s broken and vulnerable and is just trying to survive like everyone else.  

Who is Trish Walker Now?

Trish Walker is also another character of note who we always knew as the friend that tries to help but only ends up causing more trouble for our heroine.  This time we learn more about her past and relationship with her mother. While we know that her mom was an abusive monster we find out that it wasn’t just her.  A movie director named Max Tatum who once cast her in a movie when she was still going by the alias Patsy. We learn she was forced to have a sexual relationship, when she was 15 years old, in order to play a lead role in his movie. Trish is unfortunately forced to use this against him in order to get access to medical files from a hospital he donates to.Trish Walker in Jessica Jones

From here, I feel we are being introduced to an entirely new Trish where before we knew her as the sweet best friend trying her best to help wherever she can. However as we soon discover, she wants power in order to do more and fight with Jessica. It started with her taking the red combat enhancement pills, then evolved into the inhaler. But the thing to understand is that Trish wants to be physically involved, the power of control is addicting and while yes she is also addicted to the feeling of having superpowers, she’s experienced what it’s like to be extraordinary. This is something Trish has always been striving for to be important and relevant. It’s why she changed the focus of her talk show. It’s also why she’s looking to move on to cable news like how her complicated boyfriend Griffon Sinclair is currently in. And why she doesn’t want to marry him; she doesn’t want to be with him, she wants to be him.

This is something that people can relate to. In a way, we all want to be unique and relevant in people’s eyes and this is something that the Netflix Marvel series does really well. Showing the human side of superheroes. Jessica Jones serves to further that approach and I have a feeling that is all done in order to setup Trish to join the superhero family Hellcat. At this point in time, it’s probably too early to speculate anything, but it can be said that Marvel has something special planned for Trish.

The Sidekick is Born!

The third side character that we get to learn more about is Jessica’s associate Malcolm Ducasse. In the first season, he was just another victim of Kilgrave who Jessica saved. Maclom spent the rest of the season trying to figure out how to cope with everything. It can be very traumatizing to be controlled to do things you don’t want to. He decides that the best way to do that was to help the other victims deal with the same trauma as well as help Jessica Jones catch/kill Kilgrave.

Malcolm Ducasse

This season he’s back and finally getting back on track. He’s even seen multiple times hooking up with different girls, and he looks healthier in mind; he talks and acts more confidently. He’s also started taking lessons from Jessica on how to become a private investigator and begins researching and feeding her information about the shadow organization IGH and how everything is linked together. But he’s more than the average sidekick, he’s in a sense become Jessica’s sense or morality. While Jessica in a way cares about people, she certainly does not show any compassion or love towards them, which is where Malcolm steps in now. He’s slowing transitioning into that role of being her true sidekick.

While it certainly feels like the pacing has issues, with not enough action sequences, the character buildup makes for great discussion over what makes a true hero and overtime will no doubt prove necessary in helping establish the groundwork for the inevitable season 3. With that said, it’s great to see how much Marvel cares about character backstory.

Avenger’s Infinity War: Where are the Infinity Stones?

MCU

Before we start: SPOILER WARNING. This article touches base on several movies in the MCU. Now that you’re ready, let’s begin. The last Marvel Superhero movie to debut in theaters was Black Panther. Naturally, Infinity War takes place next in the chronological order of theatrical release. But where did we leave off after Wakanda? To recap, T’challa had made it official to open Wakanda’s borders with the rest of the world. If you stayed after the credits during Black Panther, you’re rewarded with a scene of T’challa speaking to the UN. It is time to share Wakanda’s technological innovation and large natural resource of vibranium with the other citizens of earth. Let’s not forget that after the events of Civil War, the super hero registration act required the Avengers and all manner of caped crusaders to go legit. Does this mean that the first hour of the movie must go through the stipulations and appeals necessary to greenlight project save “Save our ass from Thanos”? We’ll see.

 

Infinity Stones

What exactly are the infinity Stones? Or gems depending on what you read. The movie is titled “Infinity War” after all. You see, Death, Entropy, Infinity, and Eternity were Cosmic Entities. Beings of immense power that were among the first to occupy the MCU. Together they created six Infinity Stones with different abilities and properties. Alone, each stone gifts it’s user special power but together, they can destroy the universe. Or you know, at least half the Universe’s population. Anyone read the Infinity Gauntlet Saga? In the comic books, Thanos collects all six stones and uses them in a stylish gauntlet that fits comfortably over his massive left hand. He was eventually stopped however, by none other than the Avengers. Caught up? Good. We will now go through each Infinity Stone and its place in the MCU as well as its relation to Infinity War’s plot.

 

Mind Stone

Remember the first Avengers movie? All those bad ass Chitauri Leviathan warships/intergalactic beast hybrids destroying New York City? Well Loki commanded that army and lead that initial invasion of earth. This was part of a deal with Thanos who gave him a special Chitauri Scepter that housed the Mind Stone. This gave Loki the power to enslave minds. The stone is never returned to Thanos who is on a mission to collect them all. So naturally this moves Earth up in his list of planets to conquer.  Fast forward to Avengers Part 2: Age of Ultron, and this stone brought Tony Starks advanced AI Ultron to life. But instead of becoming a protective measure for earth, it began to see humans as a plague that must be eradicated in order to save the planet. Anyway, this stone really gave our heroes a hard time. But, after it was taken back from Ultron it brought another AI Tony worked on to life. Thus, The Vision was born. And Vision not only helped defeat Ultron but became an Avenger in the process. The Mind Stone is now a sentient form aware of its own existence. Thor gave his vote of confidence to allow The Vision to live after it lifts Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. If that doesn’t prove he’s worthy, then I don’t know what will. But what does the Mind Stone really do? In the comic books, in the most recent iteration of the Infinity Stones, (read Infinity Countdown Prime) the Mind Stone has the power of telepathy and intelligence. But another cool ability is communication over distances. It even gave Hawk Eye visions and knowledge while under its control (MCU).

 

Space Stone

This one is a bit tricky. But let’s start with what we know. During Captain America: The First Avenger, the Space Stone was housed inside the Tesseract. The Tesseract, or cosmic cube depending on what you read, is a transportation device. The Space Stone gives its user the power over Space. Which translates to the power of teleportation. And if you read the comics, the power to move in between different universes. The Space Stone is what powered the Tesseract. You see, the Space Stone (in the form of the Tesseract) was first guarded by Odin (Thor’s father.) But then somehow got to earth where it was guarded by Asgardians. The Tesseract was of course stolen. Johann Schmidt, the leader of Hydra, stole it and used it against the Allies in World War 2. Captain America defeats Hydra but the Tesseract gets lost in the Arctic Ocean. Howard Stark (Tony Stark’s father) recovers the Tesseract for study but in the end gives it to S.H.I.E.L.D. Where it is then stolen, again, but this time by Loki. Remember how Loki used the Mind Stone powered Chitauri Scepter to enslave minds and control an army? Well guess how he transported his other-worldly forces to earth. Loki used the Tesseract to open a wormhole over New York City. Thor returns the Tesseract back to Asgard for safe keeping by Odin. Loki who doesn’t know when to quit, disguises himself as Odin and takes over Asgard in an unlawful yet albeit benevolent takeover. Only to be transported to the planet of Sakaar and end up fighting alongside Thor against their sister Hela and the demon Surtur. This battle leaves Asgard in ruins. Loki being the God of Mischief that he is, swipes the Space Stone before it’s lost in the debris. If you watch the Infinity War trailer, you’ll see Loki presenting the Space Stone to Thanos himself. Guess he had to make up for losing the Mind Stone somehow.

 

The Reality Stone

Speaking of Thor, the Reality Stone was also in the care of Odin. The Dark Elves, led by Malekith, tried to turn the universe into one of eternal night (Watch Thor: The Dark World). The Reality Stone has the power to bend and alter the laws of physics. Which of course, could shroud the universe in darkness if that’s what you really wanted. The Reality Stone is in the form of the Aether. Which is a red viscous liquid rather than a stone. The Aether is what grants its user power over reality and the ability to convert matter into dark matter. After the Asgardians retrieve it form Malekith, they decide that keeping two stones in such proximity of each other would be too easy of a target. Because remember, at this time Odin was also in charge of the Space Stone. Those Asgardians. Always on top of the latest omnipotent objects in the universe. Odin ends up giving the Aether to the Collector for safekeeping. But where is the collector now? You can look forward to learning his true intentions and what part he plays in the bigger picture when Infinity War releases in theaters.

 

The Time Stone

Remember Marvel’s sleeper hit Doctor Strange? The movie with an intelligent, somewhat arrogant and sarcastic Doctor? It is here that we learn that Earth has been protected from supernatural forces by a Sorcerer Supreme. The title bestowed to whoever has the highest mastery of magic. Who in the MCU, is Doctor Stephen Strange. In order to save earth from the Dark Lord Dormammu, Strange breaks the rules of nature by using a forbidden power. He uses the Eye of Agamotto to create a warp in time. Dormammu becomes trapped, living the same sequence over and over again where Doctor Strange asks the Dark Lord to bargain. Every time the Dark Lord refuses and kills Strange, the loop would start over. As unpleasant as it must be to die over and over again, Strange relives the moment for as long as he needs to because “Pain is an old friend”. Talk about one of my favorite moments in the MCU. Dormammu gives in to Strange’s demands and leaves earth with his followers. For now, the earth is safe. And for once, so is an Infinity Stone. The Time Stone powers the Eye of Agamotto which grants its user the power of Time. With the Time Stone, you can control the flow of the space-time continuum.

 

The Power Stone

If you haven’t watched Guardians of the Galaxy, stop what you’re doing and watch it right now. Yes, there’s a talking raccoon and tree person but trust me, you’ll enjoy it. And learn how the Power Stone fits into the greater MCU. So, the Power Stone was housed in an orb and forgotten long ago. Star Lord (A supposedly legendary outlaw who gets upset every time someone doesn’t recognize him) follows orders to find an old artifact on the planet Morag. Although he did not know the orb was actually holding an Infinity Stone. Starlord gets arrested along with bounty hunter duo Rocket Raccoon and Groot as well as adopted daughter of Thanos, Gamora. In the end we learn that the orb was actually necessary to house the Power Stone because of its immense power. Most organic beings that touch the stone will not be able to handle the energy channel through their bodies causing them to burn and disintegrate. But if you’re like Ronan the Accuser and use a cosmi-rod (aka his Warhammer) you can harness the power of the stone. Once wielded, the Power Stone grants its user immense Power. This thing can fire energy blasts that will take out an entire planet. The Power Stone also provides a near invulnerability and imperviousness to damage. And of course, let’s not forget brute physical strength. The Power Stone was given to the Nova Corp, an intergalactic military and police force, for proper protection.

 

The Soul Stone

This is the one stone that has not been mentioned in the MCU. But here is what we do know. According to the Comics, the Soul Stone can manipulate the sentient spirit to serve the users will. This means you can control just about anyone. And it can trap your soul in the Soul World, another dimension entirely. But if you read the most recent Marvel Comic’s iteration, and I do have the Infinity Circuit poster that came with Infinity countdown prime on 2/21/2018, the Soul Stone can preserve the soul for life after death. So how does this fit into the MCU? There is an Avenger’s Infinity War movie prelude Comic book where Doctor Strange and Wong discuss the Infinity Stone. Wong concludes that little is known about the last stone. But based on what little information is out there, if what little is known turns out to be true, then the Soul Gem could be the biggest threat of them all. This makes sense as to why the MCU would save the Soul Stone for last. There are quite a few popular fan theories out there. And the most practical is that Thanos already has the Soul Stone. Think about it. He had possession of other stones before so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he had it in his collection. That or he already knows where it is. Another popular theory is that the Soul Gem resides in Wakanda. With the release of Black Panther and how the Heart Shaped herb gives whoever eats it access to the Spirit World it might make sense to find it deep in a pool of vibranium. But Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has denied the Soul Stone being the reason for the Wakands battle scene with Thanos in the latest trailer. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. Avenger’s Infinity War releases nationwide on Friday April, 27th this year.

God of War is back with a new Pantheon to explore

God of War is back

Kratos, the Greek God of War was last seen stabbing himself with the Blade of Olympus after beating his father Zeus to a bloody pulp. With the Greek pantheon of Gods gone the oceans were violent, the sky was dark, and all matter of humanity was doomed. There are indeed consequences to killing a god let alone many gods. So ,with all the Greek Gods gone, what is there left for Kratos to do? Well now he is in a new realm and it is that of the Norse Gods.

 

What we don’t know

Kratos must have attended weekly therapy sessions because he is a much more tranquil demi-god now. He even has enough patience to guide his son. That’s right, Kratos has a boy. We do not know much about the mother of his child as she is never referred to as Kratos’ wife or girlfriend. Was she a one-night stand? Anyone remember those fun NSWF mini games? It would appear Kratos left that part of his life behind as well. Is Kratos on a Norse God killing spree? No. This is proven when Kratos prohibits the mere act of killing of God to his son. Kratos is heard saying “No, there are consequences to killing a God” to his son in the new video game trailer. So why is Kratos no longer filled with rage? What caused him to have a kid? How did he find his way to this new realm? And how does this fit into the greater God of War mythos? We do not know.

 

What we do know

According to the video game trailer, the story starts when the mother of Kratos’ child dies. Her last wish was for her ashes to be scattered at the highest peak in the realms. Thus, begins a journey through this new land that Kratos would have seemingly otherwise avoided by keeping to himself. But who wants to play a game about Kratos chilling at a cabin in the mountains? Anyway, this journey takes Kratos to various places where he meets Norse characters. This includes individuals whose help he needs, blue creatures taking notice of Kratos new weapon and how Kratos must handle it carefully, and the discovery of his past. It would appear that something about Kratos gives a “Godly” vibe. “You are a God. Maybe not of this realm but a God none the less” as spoken in the video game trailer. The bigger secret however is the fact that Kratos hides this from his son. His son then falls ill with no ordinary illness. It is tied to his true nature. The nature of being son to a demi-God. But what does this mean? How does this play out in the game? This is more we do not know. But if you pour over all of the behind scenes videos and interviews with Santa Monica Studios (which we did for you) then you’ll happily learn the following.

 

Gameplay

Kratos no longer wields his signature Blades of Chaos. He now swings a large axe with Norse runes and inscriptions. This axe comes back to Kratos after being thrown and or lodged deep into the flesh of an unfortunate enemy. His son also plays an important role. You don’t have to worry about babysitting as Kratos’ son Atreus actually helps in battle. You can call on him for help and he will fire arrows or distract enemies. Magic is another unknown, but you can bet on magical abilities more align with Norse Mythology. The camera itself follows Kratos closely now. Instead of being a 3rd person view fixed at an angle, the camera follows Kratos closely as he walks around. This creates a more intimate over the shoulder view. How does this affect gameplay though? From the one of many trailers, Kratos will literally swing his axe. This requires him to get up close and personal with his enemy instead of safely swinging the Blades of Chaos from a distance (what I’m used to). But we can still dodge roll, right? Yes. According to the trailer. Albeit small Kratos did indeed dodge roll.

 

Norse Mythos

You can read up on how Norse Mythology fits into God of War by exploring the Lost Pages on the PlayStation Blog. No literally, there is a section on the God of War page where you can read the Lost Pages. This interactive story book details creatures, weapons, and history of the Norse Lands. Complete with videos and everything.

 

Ready to Play

Get ready for the Kratos’ return and pre-order the God of War limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro. If you’re like me and only own a regular PlayStation 4, this is the best time to upgrade. Especially if you are a God of War fan because the PlayStation has God of War Axe details on the top of the console and insignias on the controller. You can also get a special edition God of War which comes with a statue, steel book case, a CLOTH MAP, and bunch of digital goodies. Is it worth $129.99? We’ll let you decide. God of War releases in the U.S. April 20th, 2018.