Who Is Stan Lee? An Avengers Spotlight

Stan Lee. A name forever etched into the geek Hall of Fame. Let it be known that Lee made over 200 comic book characters and over 40 of them have made it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

To be clear, this can also include characters or organizations (S.H.I.E.L.D. anyone?) that have made it into movies produced by Marvel Studios, Universal, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. Let’s not forget Netflix specials!

 

Stan Lee started out as an intern. He would refill the artists’ inkwells, proofread, and get the comic book writers lunch. Stanley Martin Lieber wouldn’t go by Stan Lee until he used it as a pseudonym during his first shot at writing filler in Captain America #3.

 

At one point Lee had a real shot at creating a new superhero team to rival the DC Justice League. Lee was about to move on from comics, so his wife encouraged him to take a chance and write something true to his vision. Since he was going to leave the comics industry anyway, it couldn’t hurt to try something new.

 

Thus, the Fantastic 4 was born. This team would bicker among themselves, struggle with balancing their dual identities, and even make mistakes. This was a far cry from the standard superhero archetype at the time; near perfect metahumans who were practically invincible.

 

The Fantastic 4 exploded in popularity and Lee began to launch more comics like Spider-man and the Hulk. Lee even created organizations like the X-Men who were persecuted for being different. A new age of comics had arrived.

 

In honor of Lee and how prominent Marvel has become, we will be breaking down five characters created by Lee that made it into the greater MCU. This will be part of a weekly series by yours truly, Andrew Sanchez, the biggest Marvel Comics fan at Metahuman Entertainment. This week, I’ll be breaking down six of the Avengers.

 

The Avengers

Stan Lee wrote The Avengers #1 way back in September 1963, thus, making him the creator of the team itself, regardless of the rotating roster. The original Avengers were composed of Antman, The Wasp, The Hulk, Ironman, and Thor.

 

Guess how many of those heroes were created by Lee? All of them. Add Hawkeye and Black Widow to the list and you have the characters we’ll be talking about in today’s article. We won’t talk about Thor just yet, let’s save him for another week when I breakdown Odin and Surtur. Yup, Stan Lee made them too. Makes you wonder how much he’s made off royalties huh?

 

Antman

Fans of the smash hit Ant-Man (film) will recognize Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, but it was Hank Pym who first donned the Ant-Man mantle.

 

Hank is just one of the many mad scientist geniuses of the Marvel world. Hank was the original Antman and creator of the ‘Pym Particle’. These special particles make it possible to change the size and mass of an object, person, or anything really.

 

Scott Lang takes the mantle of Ant-Man after being cherry-picked by Hank Pym to take his place.

 

Epic fights atop a train- I mean a Thomas the Train toy set, felt all too real for our pint-sized heroes. Ant-Man infiltrating Avengers HQ and taking down Falcon, added to the over the top and wholly exaggerated scenes that make Ant-Man so funny and enjoyable.

 

Ant-Man even shrinks so far that he reaches the quantic realm. A dimension so small that time and space become infinite. This is also where Hank lost his wife, the original Wasp. Lang makes it back and in doing so, gives himself a shot at becoming a superhero.

 

During Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man takes Captain America’s side. It is here that we are introduced to Giant-Man, another character created by Stan Lee. But what about the Wasp?

The Wasp

Oh, Evangeline Lilly. Any fans of the series Lost definitely had the hots for Lilly. She plays Hank Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne, in the first Ant-Man. In the comics, she goes by Janet Van Dyne and has the ability to shrink, grow wings, and fire blasts of energy.

 

In the MCU, it doesn’t really work that way. Instead, Hank begins working on a new suit that has the aforementioned ‘wings’ and comes with blasters. If you watch the first Ant-Man and The Wasp trailer, Lang gets upset that Hope’s suit comes with wings, to which Hank simply adds, “and blasters.”

 

Thus, we have The Wasp! She has all of the Pym-particle capability of Ant-Man, but with wings and blasters. Other than that, we know that Ant-Man and The Wasp takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

 

This means that after Civil War, Lang is now under house arrest. After watching the trailer, we also learn that Hank and Hope are in hiding. The gang decides to take on one more mission with the addition of The Wasp to the team. Vigilantes or not, they won’t stop before the day is saved.

 

Black Widow

She makes her MCU debut in Ironman 2 where she is sent to spy on Tony Stark (Ironman). She acts as a double agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. working for Stark Industries with the primary objective to keep an eye on Stark.

 

Natasha gets discovered but ultimately becomes a founding member of the Avengers. She’s played an integral role in each of the Avengers titles, from saving New York from alien invaders to protecting Wakanda from the Mad Titan, Thanos.

 

Black Widow, born Natalia Romanova, made her comic book debut in Tales of Suspense in 1964.

Natasha is a killer combat operative. Her signature weapon, Widow’s Bite, is an electroshock weapon created by S.H.I.E.L.D. disguised as bracelets.

 

Despite the amount of time that she has spent in the MCU, Black Widow still does not have her own movie. Until then, we’re going to have to wait to see her backstory, which depicts her as a Russian spy, brainwashed to work for the KBG.

 

Rumors say that Marvel Studios is still looking for a director for a Black Widow film.

 

The Hulk

Anyone remember that Universal Picture’s movie, The Hulk? I hope not. Let’s just say that it was met with mixed reviews. That Hulk, played by Edward Norton, never grew with the Marvel Studios MCU. However, the newer Hulk, who made his debut in the first Avengers, has smashed expectations.

 

Bruce Banner (The Hulk) is a world-renowned scientist who, after an experiment goes wrong and exposes him to radiation, has the power to transform into a human tank when he loses temper.

 

The angrier he gets, the more powerful he becomes. He becomes so powerful that Ironman has to use special Hulkbuster armor to neutralize him (barely). Banner struggles with controlling the Hulk and is always worried that the next time he transforms could spell disaster for those around him.

 

The Hulk debuted in Incredible Hulk #1 back in May of 1962. Boy, the 60’s were a great time for new IPs. Lee cites Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde as his inspiration for the character. I’m starting to see a resemblance.

 

Other inspirations for The Hulk include the fear of radiation from the Cold War and the potential for nuclear fallout leading to the rise of mutated people. This was commonplace at the time during heated exchanges between the U.S. and Russia.

 

The Hulk has been in each Avengers movie thus far. He also played a large part in Thor Ragnarok. It’s in Ragnarok that we begin to see another side of the Hulk. The Hulk loses confidence in himself and his sense of invulnerability. This continues in the Black Panther movie.

 

The Hulk’s future in the MCU is yet to be seen. But the conflict between Bruce Banner and his inner Goliath will be further explored in future movies.

 

Ironman

Ironman. Some pretty credible sources list Ironman as the movie that saved Superhero movies. Remember how you felt watching Robert Downey Jr. onscreen? That feeling was the realization of your childhood hopes and dreams coming true. Superhero movies can be and ARE good.

 

Ironman debuted back in March 1963 and also rode the Cold War wave. Tony Stark is an industrialist and weapons manufacturer who represents the technological showdown between the U.S. and Russia.

 

But at his core, Ironman wasn’t happy with what his weapons wreaked upon the world. This was shown in The Avengers: Age of Ultron when Tony and Bruce (The Hulk) work together to create an advanced AI that would keep the earth safe. This of course ultimately ends in disaster as their AI turns into Ultron.

 

This brings us to Captain America: Civil War. Tony becomes a MAJOR player, leading the way for superhero reform and accountability. After all, it was his invention that caused so much damage. For a movie named after Captain America, Ironman steals the show.

 

Let’s not forget that Stark also mentors a young Peter Parker (Spider-Man), the newest hero to be offered a spot on the Avengers roster. Ironman’s influence is felt throughout the MCU. Having three of his own movies, and appearing in almost every other MCU film, Ironman can easily take the crown when it comes to fully realized comic book characters.

 

Hawkeye

Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, has no powers but is skilled in bow and arrow craft and technology. He is a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is responsible for recruiting Black Widow.

 

Hawkeye made his comic book debut in September 1964. He was originally portrayed as a villain, but after a few comic book appearances, he joins the ranks of the Avengers.

 

Hawkeye may not be a metahuman but he is at the peak of human conditioning. Trained by Captain America, he is an exceptional acrobat, marksmen, and lethal in hand-to-hand combat. He is not only great with a bow but also skilled with any ranged weapon.

 

Hawkeye has been in every Avengers movie other than Infinity War, as he is with his pregnant wife and kids. Not to mention he’s on house arrest after Captain America Civil War.

 

The next Avengers installment should see the return of Hawkeye, as well as how he balances his personal life with his life as a superhero. Hawkeye embodies Lee’s vision for the human element of the superhero.

 

Struggling to live a normal life, fall in love, and raise a family, Hawkeye is a very grounded hero.

 

Lee’s legacy doesn’t end there. Every week we will break down another set of heroes created by the legend himself that now grace the massive MCU. Another set of regular Joe’s just trying their best to keep not only the world but those close to them safe.

 

Photo Credit: NME, IGN, SuperHeroHype, & GeekAndSundry

Who Is Stan Lee? An Avengers Spotlight

Stan Lee. A name forever etched into the geek Hall of Fame. Let it be known that Lee made over 200 comic book characters and over 40 of them have made it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

To be clear, this can also include characters or organizations (S.H.I.E.L.D. anyone?) that have made it into movies produced by Marvel Studios, Universal, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. Let’s not forget Netflix specials!

 

Stan Lee started out as an intern. He would refill the artists’ inkwells, proofread, and get the comic book writers lunch. Stanley Martin Lieber wouldn’t go by Stan Lee until he used it as a pseudonym during his first shot at writing filler in Captain America #3.

 

At one point Lee had a real shot at creating a new superhero team to rival the DC Justice League. Lee was about to move on from comics, so his wife encouraged him to take a chance and write something true to his vision. Since he was going to leave the comics industry anyway, it couldn’t hurt to try something new.

 

Thus, the Fantastic 4 was born. This team would bicker among themselves, struggle with balancing their dual identities, and even make mistakes. This was a far cry from the standard superhero archetype at the time; near perfect metahumans who were practically invincible.

 

The Fantastic 4 exploded in popularity and Lee began to launch more comics like Spider-man and the Hulk. Lee even created organizations like the X-Men who were persecuted for being different. A new age of comics had arrived.

 

In honor of Lee and how prominent Marvel has become, we will be breaking down five characters created by Lee that made it into the greater MCU. This will be part of a weekly series by yours truly, Andrew Sanchez, the biggest Marvel Comics fan at Metahuman Entertainment. This week, I’ll be breaking down six of the Avengers.

 

The Avengers

Stan Lee wrote The Avengers #1 way back in September 1963, thus, making him the creator of the team itself, regardless of the rotating roster. The original Avengers were composed of Antman, The Wasp, The Hulk, Ironman, and Thor.

 

Guess how many of those heroes were created by Lee? All of them. Add Hawkeye and Black Widow to the list and you have the characters we’ll be talking about in today’s article. We won’t talk about Thor just yet, let’s save him for another week when I breakdown Odin and Surtur. Yup, Stan Lee made them too. Makes you wonder how much he’s made off royalties huh?

 

Antman

Fans of the smash hit Ant-Man (film) will recognize Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, but it was Hank Pym who first donned the Ant-Man mantle.

 

Hank is just one of the many mad scientist geniuses of the Marvel world. Hank was the original Antman and creator of the ‘Pym Particle’. These special particles make it possible to change the size and mass of an object, person, or anything really.

 

Scott Lang takes the mantle of Ant-Man after being cherry-picked by Hank Pym to take his place.

 

Epic fights atop a train- I mean a Thomas the Train toy set, felt all too real for our pint-sized heroes. Ant-Man infiltrating Avengers HQ and taking down Falcon, added to the over the top and wholly exaggerated scenes that make Ant-Man so funny and enjoyable.

 

Ant-Man even shrinks so far that he reaches the quantic realm. A dimension so small that time and space become infinite. This is also where Hank lost his wife, the original Wasp. Lang makes it back and in doing so, gives himself a shot at becoming a superhero.

 

During Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man takes Captain America’s side. It is here that we are introduced to Giant-Man, another character created by Stan Lee. But what about the Wasp?

The Wasp

Oh, Evangeline Lilly. Any fans of the series Lost definitely had the hots for Lilly. She plays Hank Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne, in the first Ant-Man. In the comics, she goes by Janet Van Dyne and has the ability to shrink, grow wings, and fire blasts of energy.

 

In the MCU, it doesn’t really work that way. Instead, Hank begins working on a new suit that has the aforementioned ‘wings’ and comes with blasters. If you watch the first Ant-Man and The Wasp trailer, Lang gets upset that Hope’s suit comes with wings, to which Hank simply adds, “and blasters.”

 

Thus, we have The Wasp! She has all of the Pym-particle capability of Ant-Man, but with wings and blasters. Other than that, we know that Ant-Man and The Wasp takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

 

This means that after Civil War, Lang is now under house arrest. After watching the trailer, we also learn that Hank and Hope are in hiding. The gang decides to take on one more mission with the addition of The Wasp to the team. Vigilantes or not, they won’t stop before the day is saved.

 

Black Widow

She makes her MCU debut in Ironman 2 where she is sent to spy on Tony Stark (Ironman). She acts as a double agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. working for Stark Industries with the primary objective to keep an eye on Stark.

 

Natasha gets discovered but ultimately becomes a founding member of the Avengers. She’s played an integral role in each of the Avengers titles, from saving New York from alien invaders to protecting Wakanda from the Mad Titan, Thanos.

 

Black Widow, born Natalia Romanova, made her comic book debut in Tales of Suspense in 1964.

Natasha is a killer combat operative. Her signature weapon, Widow’s Bite, is an electroshock weapon created by S.H.I.E.L.D. disguised as bracelets.

 

Despite the amount of time that she has spent in the MCU, Black Widow still does not have her own movie. Until then, we’re going to have to wait to see her backstory, which depicts her as a Russian spy, brainwashed to work for the KBG.

 

Rumors say that Marvel Studios is still looking for a director for a Black Widow film.

 

The Hulk

Anyone remember that Universal Picture’s movie, The Hulk? I hope not. Let’s just say that it was met with mixed reviews. That Hulk, played by Edward Norton, never grew with the Marvel Studios MCU. However, the newer Hulk, who made his debut in the first Avengers, has smashed expectations.

 

Bruce Banner (The Hulk) is a world-renowned scientist who, after an experiment goes wrong and exposes him to radiation, has the power to transform into a human tank when he loses temper.

 

The angrier he gets, the more powerful he becomes. He becomes so powerful that Ironman has to use special Hulkbuster armor to neutralize him (barely). Banner struggles with controlling the Hulk and is always worried that the next time he transforms could spell disaster for those around him.

 

The Hulk debuted in Incredible Hulk #1 back in May of 1962. Boy, the 60’s were a great time for new IPs. Lee cites Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde as his inspiration for the character. I’m starting to see a resemblance.

 

Other inspirations for The Hulk include the fear of radiation from the Cold War and the potential for nuclear fallout leading to the rise of mutated people. This was commonplace at the time during heated exchanges between the U.S. and Russia.

 

The Hulk has been in each Avengers movie thus far. He also played a large part in Thor Ragnarok. It’s in Ragnarok that we begin to see another side of the Hulk. The Hulk loses confidence in himself and his sense of invulnerability. This continues in the Black Panther movie.

 

The Hulk’s future in the MCU is yet to be seen. But the conflict between Bruce Banner and his inner Goliath will be further explored in future movies.

 

Ironman

Ironman. Some pretty credible sources list Ironman as the movie that saved Superhero movies. Remember how you felt watching Robert Downey Jr. onscreen? That feeling was the realization of your childhood hopes and dreams coming true. Superhero movies can be and ARE good.

 

Ironman debuted back in March 1963 and also rode the Cold War wave. Tony Stark is an industrialist and weapons manufacturer who represents the technological showdown between the U.S. and Russia.

 

But at his core, Ironman wasn’t happy with what his weapons wreaked upon the world. This was shown in The Avengers: Age of Ultron when Tony and Bruce (The Hulk) work together to create an advanced AI that would keep the earth safe. This of course ultimately ends in disaster as their AI turns into Ultron.

 

This brings us to Captain America: Civil War. Tony becomes a MAJOR player, leading the way for superhero reform and accountability. After all, it was his invention that caused so much damage. For a movie named after Captain America, Ironman steals the show.

 

Let’s not forget that Stark also mentors a young Peter Parker (Spider-Man), the newest hero to be offered a spot on the Avengers roster. Ironman’s influence is felt throughout the MCU. Having three of his own movies, and appearing in almost every other MCU film, Ironman can easily take the crown when it comes to fully realized comic book characters.

 

Hawkeye

Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, has no powers but is skilled in bow and arrow craft and technology. He is a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is responsible for recruiting Black Widow.

 

Hawkeye made his comic book debut in September 1964. He was originally portrayed as a villain, but after a few comic book appearances, he joins the ranks of the Avengers.

 

Hawkeye may not be a metahuman but he is at the peak of human conditioning. Trained by Captain America, he is an exceptional acrobat, marksmen, and lethal in hand-to-hand combat. He is not only great with a bow but also skilled with any ranged weapon.

 

Hawkeye has been in every Avengers movie other than Infinity War, as he is with his pregnant wife and kids. Not to mention he’s on house arrest after Captain America Civil War.

 

The next Avengers installment should see the return of Hawkeye, as well as how he balances his personal life with his life as a superhero. Hawkeye embodies Lee’s vision for the human element of the superhero.

 

Struggling to live a normal life, fall in love, and raise a family, Hawkeye is a very grounded hero.

 

Lee’s legacy doesn’t end there. Every week we will break down another set of heroes created by the legend himself that now grace the massive MCU. Another set of regular Joe’s just trying their best to keep not only the world but those close to them safe.

 

Photo Credit: NME, IGN, SuperHeroHype, & GeekAndSundry

Demi’s Heart-Wrenching Song Silently Released

The recovery anthem that silently dropped yesterday is quickly making waves as Demi Lovato revealed her new single, ‘Sober’.

June 21 was the rebirth for Lovato as she publicly admitted breaking her sobriety after six long years, according to CNN.

The song ‘Sober’ tells her story.

The song’s vulnerability is put on display as it starts off acoustically with only a piano. The following synthesis build of background vocals is a haunting rendition of a song you wouldn’t typically hear in a Billboard Top 40.

However, Lovato’s heartfelt lyrics of her experience bring listeners back to Demi Lovato’s younger days when she used to sing power ballads that would make you feel the message.

Wake me when the shakes are gone
And the cold sweats disappear
Call me when it’s over
And myself has reappeared

 

There have already been reaction videos to the recently released Lyric video that show tears flowing.

One YouTuber, Dante D’Angelo pours his heart out.

 

Even celebrities, such as Iggy Azalea, have come forth to show support for the ‘relapse anthem.’

The feels of the song and the cinematography display the true emotion of what it’s like when one is recovering from a relapse and hitting rock bottom.

“To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down the road before. I’m so sorry. I’m not sober anymore.”

The single comes out from the shadows, with Lovato saying in an interview with CBS News, “expect new music.” However, not much else was released to the public until the song’s actual reveal on iTunes.

As expected, the song shot straight to number one on the iTunes charts and is predicted to hit number one on the Billboard Music charts for Digital downloads and snag the #1 spot for the Billboard Top 100.

It was predicted by the team at Metahuman’s Entertainment that the song of the summer would be Girls Like You (feat. Cardi B) by Maroon 5, but it looks like we may be having a more mellow summer music lead. Only time will tell.

What do you think? Love it? Hate it? For us, the song shows the imperfection of how raw Lovato’s vocals are and how willing she is to show she is only human.

The phrasing with “I don’t know why” and “I try and I try and I try” help listeners know the emphasis of how difficult it may be for the someone going through the same issues.

Let us know in the comments your thoughts and enjoy the lyrics video below!

Fallout: Friends Can Now Troll You

bethesda fallout 76

Well, E3 2018 came and went. Just like every other year that gamers are lucky enough to have the gaming expo in our lives, it delivered news beyond some of our wildest expectation.

Each conference had something extremely exciting to show and successfully sparked anticipation for future games. One such game was Bethesda’s latest addition to the Fallout franchise, Fallout 76, which comes out in November.

I was ecstatic to hear about the announcement of a new Fallout game. Don’t worry Fallout diehards, Bethesda has answered our prayers; this game will feature multiplayer!  How amazing is that? It’s like the people who work there are real people who listen to what their fanbase wants.

Not only will the game allow you to explore the post-apocalyptic wasteland we all know and love with friends, but I’m betting it’ll bring a whole nother level of customization and settlement building. All of my dreams and wishes came true in a single day.

With all of the exciting news and endless possibilities that come with a multiplayer experience, there are a few questions that come to mind. First and foremost being: how do mods play into the game?

That’s No Moon

In previous titles, especially Fallout 4, gamers had access to thousands of different mods that ranged from complete game conversions to smaller changes like improving the poly count on certain NPC followers. With the addition of an online feature, how will other players see the mods that I install on my end?

While Bethesda has announced that mods will be supported eventually, I want to know exactly what they were referring to. Did they mean their creation club mods? Were they including the non-commissioned mods you can download from mod hubs such as NexusMods? Either way, I’m eager to hear more details on this subject as we get closer to release.

Members of Bethesda have agreed that mods are an integral part of the game and it’s a relief to hear that they’ll be supported down the line. Personally, I hope that all mods are supported.

Another question I have is whether or not the game will be available on the Steam market? As far as I can see, the answer is no. The game is already out for pre-order on Bethesda’s own website, but not on Steam, which is a pretty big indicator that it won’t be, come release time. As online threads like Reddit have mentioned,  if there were plans to release it on Steam they wouldn’t be missing out on pre-order sales.

A Bit Steamy

A final factor to consider is that the game itself will be online, which means there will have to be Bethesda servers for people to play on. Having said that, it only makes sense to have it playable on their own launcher, which players can download right now from their website.  

There’s no official statement from Bethesda about Steam, but I believe it’s safe to say that many future Bethesda games will be sold through their own game launcher software.

However, if all of this holds true and Steam will cease to be a part of the Fallout franchise, it may be a glimpse of the future for all games; games such as the highly anticipated Elder Scrolls 6, which was also announced at E3.  

For good or bad, this means that PC gamers will probably be forced to add another launcher to the collection. I don’t know about you, but it’s starting to feel a little crowded on my taskbar.

It will be interesting to see how everything plays out in coming months. I just hope that in the long run, it will greatly benefit all fans. Now, when does the beta begin?

What Pushed League of Legends Out Of The Spotlight?

All video games decline in popularity eventually; the process is inevitable. For nearly a decade no company rivaled League of Legends’ success until Epic Games unveiled Fortnite.

Photo Credit: Epic Games

Since its battle royale mode was released in September 2017, Fortnite has kept League of Legends out of the spotlight and is revolutionizing the way video games are thought of.

 

When Riot Games released League of Legends in 2009 it provided gamers with a refreshing multiplayer online battle arena game with a high skill-cap and no cost. League exploded in the following years, tallying over 100 million players each month in 2016. Last year’s League of Legends World Championship tallied 57 million concurrent viewers, an increase of 14 million from 2016.

 

Fortnite saw an equally meteoric rise to success, but unlike League of Legends, the battle royale immediately turned into a mainstream form of entertainment. Epic Games recently announced that Fortnite has 125 million registered accounts with 40 million of those playing the game at least once a month.

Photo Credit: The Verge

It’s mind-boggling to think about how quickly Fortnite managed to dethrone League of Legends as the most popular game in the world, but I’m going to try to break it down.

 

The Battle Royale Transformation

Epic Games never planned for Fortnite to be a battle royale. The game was originally revealed at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards as a co-op sandbox survival game.

 

After the success of the 2017 battle royale title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, popularly known as PUBG, Epic quickly developed a very similar game type for Fortnite. So similar that PUBG’s developers, Bluehole Studio Inc. and Tencent Games, filed a lawsuit against Epic for ‘asset flipping’.

“Fortnite does everything that PUBG does, only better. It’s free-to-play for starters,” said streamer Bailey Borengasser. “The game runs smoothly on any platform, including mobile devices. It is updated on an almost daily basis and the developers are known for listening to community feedback.”

While the game is based around 100 people dropping into a map to murder one another, Fortnite’s cartoonish art-style caters directly to children whose parents don’t want them playing ‘violent’ video games. This aspect alone makes the game entirely more marketable and opens up a player demographic no shooter has been able to reach in the past.

 

Variety keeps games interesting and so far, Epic has released an endless stream of in-game cosmetics that can be purchased for real-world money. Fortnite also offers players a free option that revolves around an EXP-based leveling system that unlocks skins, emotes, and keeps them addicted.

Photo Credit: ZRKGlitcher

The game is currently in its fourth season and the map is continuing to change. Whether it’s the addition of new guns, jetpacks, or drivable shopping carts, Epic has made it a point to switch things up on a weekly basis.

 

All of these attributes work together and have sent Fortnite skyrocketing in popularity. At some point, a flip was switched. Highly influential figures such as superstar athletes and musicians started to promote the fact that they play the game.

 

In an age where social media allows information to be shared faster and further than ever before, Fortnite’s influence on society is unprecedented. Players who stream themselves playing on platforms such as Twitch.tv are generating an unbelievable amount of views and revenue.

Credit: Def Pen

During a stint in March 2018, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins streamed himself playing the game with Aubrey “Drake” Graham, one of the most famous musicians alive, in front of over 500,000 people. The duo also played with rapper Travis Scott and professional football player JuJu Smith-Schuster.

 

Blevins has stated that he makes around $500,000 per month streaming Fortnite.

 

Video games have always been thought of, for the most part, as nerdy and counterproductive. Epic Games and prominent figures in society have managed to flip that mindset upside down.

 

It hasn’t been all about Fortnite doing the right things; they’ve also gotten relatively lucky. Since its release, there hasn’t been a game launched that could realistically compete.

 

League’s Downfall

League of Legends was so appealing because it was extremely competitive. There were so many aspects that separated good players from bad players and seeing your individual improvements translate into victory screens was always exhilarating.

Credit: Riot Games

Throughout the League seasons I saw my skills improve, every game I had a goal and I channeled all of my focus into achieving those goals. After thousands of games, I reached the top one-percent of ranked players. I had never had more fun playing a game.

 

Then at some point, Riot Games began to place more focus on the professional aspect of its game. Who could blame ’em? The competitive scene, or the League Championship Series, was generating huge profit margins and giving the title even more popularity.

Credit: Slingshot Esports

Unintentionally or not, Riot slowly transitioned the game into being so team-focused that it was no longer about the individual player. I found myself losing more and more because of poor teammates who I could have carried in previous seasons. Doing well in the game started to mean less and less and eventually, that exhilarating feeling was gone.

 

Then I finally decided to take the leap and download Fortnite. I had played PUBG and it was fun, but my computer made it impossible to fully enjoy the experience. I went into my first Fortnite game expecting an easy experience against a bunch of 12-year old kids who couldn’t aim worth a lick. I quickly learned what building was and got absolutely bodied.

 

After a hundred games or so I saw that first bold yellow “#1” followed by the text, “Victory Royale!” That feeling was back. All it took for League to start to crumble was a game that gave us hardcore gamers a chance to chase that again.

 

I’ll admit that I’m not being completely fair to League of Legends. Despite what Internet memes say or Reddit users scream into their keyboards, the game isn’t dying. In fact, Tencent, Riot Games’ parent company, has reported growth in viewer counts and profits.

Credit: Riot Games

Other games have made waves in the past. Overwatch took over Twitch’s most popular spot and PUBG was extremely popular for a stint, but League has always been resilient.

 

Fortnite is repetitive. Players drop in to essentially the same map over and over again and eventually, like all games, the player base will get bored. The question is how long it will be before that happens and when it does, will players go back to League? Or will there be another game that knocks both titles off of their respective thrones?

 

Let us know what you think in the comments!

 

 

Incredibles II Is Finally Here

Every company in the world of entertainment strives for that one smash-hit; a blockbuster film, a number-one selling video game, a project that ascends above standard success and propels them into the spotlight. Behind each of those success-stories comes an overwhelming pressure to follow it up with something just as good if not better.

 

Finding a company that overcomes that pressure is rare. Finding a company that overcomes that pressure after ending its blockbuster film with a cliffhanger and waits a decade-and-a-half to release the sequel, is inconceivable.

 

There’s no doubt that Pixar’s Incredibles II will be the talk of the summer. It sucked the oxygen out of 2018’s superhero movie room; a tall task considering Marvel’s Black Panther and Infinity War are pouting together in the corner.

 

Instead of shying away from a potentially confusing target audience, Pixar embraced the amount of time it took for the sequel to be released and created an all-ages film that dabbles in mature themes while keeping things fun enough for children to enjoy.

 

The film starts right where The Incredibles left off, with Mr. Incredible and family protecting the city from the evil Underminer. Supers are still illegal and despite the family’s efforts to stop the villain, law enforcement believes they’ve done more harm than good.

All of the family unity built during their battle against Syndrome quickly dissipates as they’re faced with the harsh reality of living as supers in a society where heroes have been outlawed. But a super-obsessed billionaire named Winston Deavor steps in with a plan to make superheroes great again before things get too bad.

Deavor’s plan involves Elastigirl shining a better light on what superheroes can do, minus the property damage. This is where Pixar revisits the marital issues we saw between the power couple in the first movie. While his wife is out fighting crime, living the life he yearns to reoccupy, Mr. Incredible assumes the role of super-dad.

 

Pixar doesn’t hold back when displaying Mr. Incredible’s jealousy and initial disdain for being left on the bench. It takes gall to attempt a role reversal that shows the very likable face of the franchise having a couple of unlikable moments. This time around, however, Pixar leaves the heavy emotional undertone at the doorstep and opts for fun. Mr. Incredible eventually embraces the dad role, which leads to absolute hilarity among the kids.

Jack-Jack is predictably amazing and his showdown with a raccoon is one of the movie’s best moments. Violet “having adolescence” is relatable for anyone familiar with a 16-year-old and Dash is witty and hilarious.

 

The movie is visually astonishing, which comes as no surprise. Pixar’s animation is still light-years ahead of the curve and they take full advantage during action-packed scenes that span from helicopter dogfights to Elastigirl chase downs.

The big bad, Screenslaver, is creepy, maniacal, and speaks on societal issues that children won’t be able to follow. He (or she?) doesn’t feel like a children’s movie villain. Elastgirl’s initial fight with Screenslaver has a thriller movie feel and something about seeing the evildoer zapping Mrs. Incredible’s limbs into the consistency of silly putty is somewhat disturbing.

While Incredibles II doesn’t necessarily surpass it’s original, the sequel lived up to the hype; hype that’s been building since the moment The Incredibles ended. It’s hard to say anything bad about a film that we’ve been waiting this long for and Pixar didn’t give us much to complain about. It’s definitely worth a watch.

 

Photos via IMDB

Why We’re Excited For Luke Cage Season 2

Luke Cage

 

Luke Cage. The African-American Comic Book character that graced the screen before T’Challa, the Black Panther. Luke Cage actually went by Power Man in the Marvel Comic Books, but adaptations are adaptations and studios need names that sell. Did you really think comic book die hards alone are what’s keeping the influx of Super Hero media so fat and healthy? The answer to that question is no. The introduction of comic books turned Netflix binges is what is fueling this genre’s resurgence and Luke Cage is a diamond in the rough. The series even outperformed Daredevil Season two, which is no small feat. So, it comes as no surprise that Luke Cage will be getting a second season. Key characters like Cottonmouth, Black Mariah, and Misty Knight steal the show and outperform the main hero himself. This is what makes Luke Cage so fun to watch. The show also captures the grittier side of Harlem and isn’t afraid to murder and beatdown anyone caught in its path. Combine this with star-studded hip-hop cameos and Luke Cage becomes a rallying cry for the streets.

 

Refresher

Soon after clicking that play button we find out that this rendition of Cage is an escaped convict who has been wrongfully sent to jail. Cage becomes part of an experimental program aimed at making super soldiers. Once Luke punches his way out of prison and swims for miles back to civilization (Harlem, New York), he needs a new identity. This is the birth of Luke Cage, formerly known as Carl Lucas. The first season explores the limits of Luke’s invulnerability and dives into his intriguing backstory; including that pesky criminal record. Cage eventually learns how he obtained his powers and gets closure regarding old feuds with his so-called family. Did I mention the cool supporting characters?

 

The Protagonist

When Cage isn’t kicking evildoer butt, he spends his time working at a barbershop, washing dishes at Cottonmouth’s (the local crime boss) club, and practically living in the gym. Cage may look like he wants trouble, but he usually keeps to himself. I hate to say this, but Luke is a man of few words. He seldom changes attitude or shifts emotions, mostly speaking in his stern monotone and hiding whatever he’s feelings behind a bright smile. This all changes when a gun deal between Cottonmouth and fellow mob boss Domingo goes awry. What follows is a series of fights, investigations, and a whole lot of running. What makes Luke Cage so unique is that he’s out on the streets; he walks around in a black hoodie and even gets a freestyle from Wu-Tangs very own Method Man over the Harlem Radio waves. The nods to hip-hop don’t end there. Dapper Dan himself makes an appearance and up and coming rapper Jidenna’s “Long Live the Chief” (Classic Man anyone?) graces the halls of Cottonmouth’s club. Way before Black Panther united African American actors and celebrated everything proud and black, Cage was putting on for his people and for the culture. Outside of Cage, other characters are more animated, which helps to keep the show interesting and alive.

 

Supporting Cast

Cage can be one-dimensional at times, but his adversaries and allies are anything but that. The show effectively incorporates an interesting supporting cast and it’s a major plus. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, the local mob boss comes off as pretty calm and collected at first, but when he learns that one of his goons accidentally killed Pop (the local neighborhood barbershop owner), Cottonmouth throws him off the top of a building. It’s this rage that makes Cottonmouth’s character so appealing. His backstory also garners sympathy and adds to the character’s development. He was always taking piano lessons as a kid, never having the stones to put a beatdown on henchmen who broke the rules; something his mother would force him to learn. The mob life is something he was born into, not something he chose. So, once grown up, Cottonmouth continued to play beautiful jazz ballads whenever reminiscing of how far he’s come along, all within the comfy confinement of his club. Cottonmouth repeatedly elevates the tone of the scene by yelling death threats when you least expect it. He goes from 0 – 100 like that! He also has a wicked sense of humor. Repeatedly taunting Luke and anyone that comes his way. Making fun of their race, shortcomings, or just flat out insulting. Cottonmouth laughs his way to your grave and only loses his temper when it’s absolutely necessary. He also has a swagger that could fit in at any red carpet. He unfortunately reaches his demise at the hands of his own sister, Mariah Stokes, known as Black Mariah.

 

Black Mariah is a Harlem City Councilwoman who gets her funding from Cottonmouth’s illegitimate dealings. She may work with the underbelly of society, but she has a true vision for a better Harlem: a place of renaissance and prosperity. Black Mariah was the public friendly face of the Stokes family empire. She smiled for the camera and spoke about reform and rebuilding the ghettos. The one time she loses her cool, she murders her own brother Cottonmouth. The bloody scene that detailed Mariah beating Cottonmouth’s face in after pushing him off of the second floor of his own club is something I still haven’t gotten over. Not just because of the glass in Cottonmouth’s face or the blood trail he leaves behind trying to crawl away, but because of the loss of such a boss character. Mariah uses her political know how to frame Cage for the murder of Cottonmouth and kills off anyone connected to her dead brother, all in the name of protecting her alibi. Mariah is interrogated but ultimately let free due to lack of evidence (the evidence being a dead witness). She literally steals the life of the show. Black Mariah plays dirty.

 

No gang war would be complete without a detective on the case. This is where we’re introduced to the voluptuous Misty Knight. Knight gets right to it, having a one-night stand with Cage in the first episode, neither aware of the other’s true identity. This series is not afraid to show- I mean to imply, hot and heavy fornication. When the two crime fighters learn that one is on the side of the law while the other operates above it, they develop a truce on shaky ground. At their best, the two work together and Cage often swoops in to save his partner. At their worst, Misty arrests Luke and attempts to take him in. Misty isn’t just a badass detective who isn’t scared of your typical thug, she’s prone to losing her cool and beating an interviewee (or anyone) who gets under her skin. Talk about losing your temper. These imperfections make Misty relatable and all around enjoyable to watch in action. When you learn about her sister’s death at the hands of several men by sexual assault, you gain a whole new level of empathy for our legal crime fighter. Most importantly, her shifting dynamic with Luke Cage sets the pace for the plot and gives an intriguing twist to the show. Like a Harlem version of Batman and Gordon.

 

 

The gangs aren’t the only ones terrorizing the streets however. The Harlem police force starts pulling over and investigating innocent citizens while looking for Cage after he was framed for the murder of a police officer. In other words, police brutality was raining down on Harlem and it reaches a point where a young boy had his face bloodied during an interrogation by a police officer. This breaks the news and goes viral, leading Harlem citizens everywhere to don black hoodies with make shift bullet holes to look like Luke Cage. All in the name of standing up to corrupt law enforcement. This adds to the theme of black power and unity in impoverished neighborhoods that is present throughout the show. It is here in the series where Harlem Radio plays Wutang’s Method Man’s freestyle for Luke Cage. An anthem for the streets who have his back. Harlem’s very own Black Captain America (as quoted from the show).

 

Overall, the series may have a slow start, but it delivers roughly in the cut street warfare, compelling characters, and over the top moments. This show will leave you breathless through sheer shock and awe. But also, from laughing so hard that you’ll have to hit pause and rewind. The real will recognize real on this one. Luke Cage gets a 9/10.

Why We’re Excited For Luke Cage Season 2

Luke Cage

 

Luke Cage. The African-American Comic Book character that graced the screen before T’Challa, the Black Panther. Luke Cage actually went by Power Man in the Marvel Comic Books, but adaptations are adaptations and studios need names that sell. Did you really think comic book die hards alone are what’s keeping the influx of Super Hero media so fat and healthy? The answer to that question is no. The introduction of comic books turned Netflix binges is what is fueling this genre’s resurgence and Luke Cage is a diamond in the rough. The series even outperformed Daredevil Season two, which is no small feat. So, it comes as no surprise that Luke Cage will be getting a second season. Key characters like Cottonmouth, Black Mariah, and Misty Knight steal the show and outperform the main hero himself. This is what makes Luke Cage so fun to watch. The show also captures the grittier side of Harlem and isn’t afraid to murder and beatdown anyone caught in its path. Combine this with star-studded hip-hop cameos and Luke Cage becomes a rallying cry for the streets.

 

Refresher

Soon after clicking that play button we find out that this rendition of Cage is an escaped convict who has been wrongfully sent to jail. Cage becomes part of an experimental program aimed at making super soldiers. Once Luke punches his way out of prison and swims for miles back to civilization (Harlem, New York), he needs a new identity. This is the birth of Luke Cage, formerly known as Carl Lucas. The first season explores the limits of Luke’s invulnerability and dives into his intriguing backstory; including that pesky criminal record. Cage eventually learns how he obtained his powers and gets closure regarding old feuds with his so-called family. Did I mention the cool supporting characters?

 

The Protagonist

When Cage isn’t kicking evildoer butt, he spends his time working at a barbershop, washing dishes at Cottonmouth’s (the local crime boss) club, and practically living in the gym. Cage may look like he wants trouble, but he usually keeps to himself. I hate to say this, but Luke is a man of few words. He seldom changes attitude or shifts emotions, mostly speaking in his stern monotone and hiding whatever he’s feelings behind a bright smile. This all changes when a gun deal between Cottonmouth and fellow mob boss Domingo goes awry. What follows is a series of fights, investigations, and a whole lot of running. What makes Luke Cage so unique is that he’s out on the streets; he walks around in a black hoodie and even gets a freestyle from Wu-Tangs very own Method Man over the Harlem Radio waves. The nods to hip-hop don’t end there. Dapper Dan himself makes an appearance and up and coming rapper Jidenna’s “Long Live the Chief” (Classic Man anyone?) graces the halls of Cottonmouth’s club. Way before Black Panther united African American actors and celebrated everything proud and black, Cage was putting on for his people and for the culture. Outside of Cage, other characters are more animated, which helps to keep the show interesting and alive.

 

Supporting Cast

Cage can be one-dimensional at times, but his adversaries and allies are anything but that. The show effectively incorporates an interesting supporting cast and it’s a major plus. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, the local mob boss comes off as pretty calm and collected at first, but when he learns that one of his goons accidentally killed Pop (the local neighborhood barbershop owner), Cottonmouth throws him off the top of a building. It’s this rage that makes Cottonmouth’s character so appealing. His backstory also garners sympathy and adds to the character’s development. He was always taking piano lessons as a kid, never having the stones to put a beatdown on henchmen who broke the rules; something his mother would force him to learn. The mob life is something he was born into, not something he chose. So, once grown up, Cottonmouth continued to play beautiful jazz ballads whenever reminiscing of how far he’s come along, all within the comfy confinement of his club. Cottonmouth repeatedly elevates the tone of the scene by yelling death threats when you least expect it. He goes from 0 – 100 like that! He also has a wicked sense of humor. Repeatedly taunting Luke and anyone that comes his way. Making fun of their race, shortcomings, or just flat out insulting. Cottonmouth laughs his way to your grave and only loses his temper when it’s absolutely necessary. He also has a swagger that could fit in at any red carpet. He unfortunately reaches his demise at the hands of his own sister, Mariah Stokes, known as Black Mariah.

 

Black Mariah is a Harlem City Councilwoman who gets her funding from Cottonmouth’s illegitimate dealings. She may work with the underbelly of society, but she has a true vision for a better Harlem: a place of renaissance and prosperity. Black Mariah was the public friendly face of the Stokes family empire. She smiled for the camera and spoke about reform and rebuilding the ghettos. The one time she loses her cool, she murders her own brother Cottonmouth. The bloody scene that detailed Mariah beating Cottonmouth’s face in after pushing him off of the second floor of his own club is something I still haven’t gotten over. Not just because of the glass in Cottonmouth’s face or the blood trail he leaves behind trying to crawl away, but because of the loss of such a boss character. Mariah uses her political know how to frame Cage for the murder of Cottonmouth and kills off anyone connected to her dead brother, all in the name of protecting her alibi. Mariah is interrogated but ultimately let free due to lack of evidence (the evidence being a dead witness). She literally steals the life of the show. Black Mariah plays dirty.

 

No gang war would be complete without a detective on the case. This is where we’re introduced to the voluptuous Misty Knight. Knight gets right to it, having a one-night stand with Cage in the first episode, neither aware of the other’s true identity. This series is not afraid to show- I mean to imply, hot and heavy fornication. When the two crime fighters learn that one is on the side of the law while the other operates above it, they develop a truce on shaky ground. At their best, the two work together and Cage often swoops in to save his partner. At their worst, Misty arrests Luke and attempts to take him in. Misty isn’t just a badass detective who isn’t scared of your typical thug, she’s prone to losing her cool and beating an interviewee (or anyone) who gets under her skin. Talk about losing your temper. These imperfections make Misty relatable and all around enjoyable to watch in action. When you learn about her sister’s death at the hands of several men by sexual assault, you gain a whole new level of empathy for our legal crime fighter. Most importantly, her shifting dynamic with Luke Cage sets the pace for the plot and gives an intriguing twist to the show. Like a Harlem version of Batman and Gordon.

 

 

The gangs aren’t the only ones terrorizing the streets however. The Harlem police force starts pulling over and investigating innocent citizens while looking for Cage after he was framed for the murder of a police officer. In other words, police brutality was raining down on Harlem and it reaches a point where a young boy had his face bloodied during an interrogation by a police officer. This breaks the news and goes viral, leading Harlem citizens everywhere to don black hoodies with make shift bullet holes to look like Luke Cage. All in the name of standing up to corrupt law enforcement. This adds to the theme of black power and unity in impoverished neighborhoods that is present throughout the show. It is here in the series where Harlem Radio plays Wutang’s Method Man’s freestyle for Luke Cage. An anthem for the streets who have his back. Harlem’s very own Black Captain America (as quoted from the show).

 

Overall, the series may have a slow start, but it delivers roughly in the cut street warfare, compelling characters, and over the top moments. This show will leave you breathless through sheer shock and awe. But also, from laughing so hard that you’ll have to hit pause and rewind. The real will recognize real on this one. Luke Cage gets a 9/10.

Chewie Look, A Solo Review!

Before the blue text began its journey down theater screens, fans of the legendary Star Wars saga had high hopes for Disney’s latest prequel film, Solo. The film, which focuses on infamous Corellian smuggler, Han, played by Alden Ehrenriech, looked to take audiences through the origin story of the self-proclaimed best pilot in the galaxy.

 

If our protagonist had known how his movie would perform in box-office sales, however, I’m sure his reaction would’ve been something along the lines of, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

 

Despite what its flop-worthy performance and the steep drop-off in second-week sales (nearly 68 percent) describe, Disney gave us a decent movie with a Star Wars feel and a shipload of nostalgic moments. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad and the takeaway is largely based on what you want from a Star Wars movie.

 

Disney jumps right into the action with Solo, throwing us into one of Han’s clever ploys to steal what he was hired to steal. Sounds like our guy, right? Working for a local gang on Corellia, Han and his lover Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke, manage to get their hands on a sample of coaxium, a highly explosive, highly valuable hyperspace fuel. After escaping the clutches of the gang by a few parsecs, wink, Han uses the stolen coaxium to bribe an imperial officer for access to an outgoing transport. Just as he steps through the entrance gate Qi’ra is snatched from his arms and Han is left alone, promising to return for her.

 

When the character Han Solo was introduced in 1977 he was one of the only “good-guy” characters who had a dark edge to him. Growing up on the streets of Corellia had forced Han to harden himself and Harrison Ford’s original rendition fit perfectly. As you watch the love of his life being taken away before his eyes in Solo, the effects aren’t made obvious. Ehrenriech does a great job of filling the young, smug pilot look, but nothing about him suggests that he can become the rough, tough, gun-slinging smuggler that we see in, “A New Hope.”

 

The film skips forward three years to the planet of Mimban, where Han finds himself on the ground fighting for the Empire. During the battle, he discovers a group of thieves led by Tobias Beckett and attempts to blackmail them into letting him join the team. Han’s plan doesn’t work out and he ends up being thrown into his first pit! This time to be eaten by a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Oh Chewie, how we’ve missed you. Before Chewie has a chance to tear Han’s arms out of their sockets (one of the guards isn’t so lucky), Han speaks Wookiee, which explains a lot. The dynamic duo teams up against the imperial guards who are watching the supposed deathmatch and manage to escape Mimban with Beckett’s team.

 

Chewie’s friendship and loyalty to Han is the brightest aspect of the film. It does an excellent job of taking us down memory lane and creating the foundation for the pair’s long-lasting onscreen bond. While many of the characters in Solo are blatantly underwhelming, the oversized man-pet isn’t one of them.

 

Q’ira’s role, on the other hand, feels strange. She is a complicated character and adds depth, but many of the parts don’t fit. When Han finally finds her she has become the top lieutenant (and apparent romantic partner) of crime-boss Dryder Vos of the organization Crimson Dawn. Q’ira seems to want to side with Han throughout the film but eventually chooses to kill Vos and leave in his ship alone. There’s also plenty of mention of unspeakably terrible deeds that she has committed for Vos, but that’s never clarified. It’s possible that Clarke just looks too friendly for the role.

 

Casting Donald Glover for Lando Calrissian was perfect; he comes across just as charismatic and selfish as Calrissian should be. The love affair between him and his droid, L3-37, whose equality one-liners provided a prominently humorous flare, added a unique aspect to a droids character. Not to mention the story behind Han winning the Millennium Falcon from Calrissian in a card game called Sabacc that had everyone in the theater cheering (or just me).

 

The film goes out of its way to pay tribute to fans by including scenes such as Han attempting to join the Imperial Army as a pilot. When the recruiting officer asks for his family’s name, Han states that he doesn’t have anyone, that he’s alone. Hence, Han Solo is born. In one of the final scenes, Q’ira uses her dead boss’ ring to call upon the leader of the Crimson Dawn, who is, wait for it, Darth Maul. I’m sure every Star Wars fan can get behind more Maul.

 

One of my main gripes with Solo is how much it seemed like Disney was attempting to make it feel like an original Star Wars movie. In “Rogue One” there were very few characters that were taken from the original films. I’d argue that the only one who we knew was not going to be killed off was Vader. While that movie does classify as a prequel film and is Disney’s version of a branch-off of the original storyline, it had its own identity. “Solo” doesn’t bring that to the table.

 

Any film based on the origins of a character that fans have already grown to love is going to have its limitations. If you’re looking for a recap of Star Wars history that shows Han Solo making the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs and reveals how old Chewie really is (180 when he met Han), then you’re going to enjoy it. The action rarely stops and the references are never ending, just don’t expect the kind of unique philosophical undertone that made films like “The Last Jedi” smooth extensions of the post-Lucas Star Wars universe.

 

 

 

 

 

Chewie Look, A Solo Review!

Before the blue text began its journey down theater screens, fans of the legendary Star Wars saga had high hopes for Disney’s latest prequel film, Solo. The film, which focuses on infamous Corellian smuggler, Han, played by Alden Ehrenriech, looked to take audiences through the origin story of the self-proclaimed best pilot in the galaxy.

 

If our protagonist had known how his movie would perform in box-office sales, however, I’m sure his reaction would’ve been something along the lines of, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

 

Despite what its flop-worthy performance and the steep drop-off in second-week sales (nearly 68 percent) describe, Disney gave us a decent movie with a Star Wars feel and a shipload of nostalgic moments. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad and the takeaway is largely based on what you want from a Star Wars movie.

 

Disney jumps right into the action with Solo, throwing us into one of Han’s clever ploys to steal what he was hired to steal. Sounds like our guy, right? Working for a local gang on Corellia, Han and his lover Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke, manage to get their hands on a sample of coaxium, a highly explosive, highly valuable hyperspace fuel. After escaping the clutches of the gang by a few parsecs, wink, Han uses the stolen coaxium to bribe an imperial officer for access to an outgoing transport. Just as he steps through the entrance gate Qi’ra is snatched from his arms and Han is left alone, promising to return for her.

 

When the character Han Solo was introduced in 1977 he was one of the only “good-guy” characters who had a dark edge to him. Growing up on the streets of Corellia had forced Han to harden himself and Harrison Ford’s original rendition fit perfectly. As you watch the love of his life being taken away before his eyes in Solo, the effects aren’t made obvious. Ehrenriech does a great job of filling the young, smug pilot look, but nothing about him suggests that he can become the rough, tough, gun-slinging smuggler that we see in, “A New Hope.”

 

The film skips forward three years to the planet of Mimban, where Han finds himself on the ground fighting for the Empire. During the battle, he discovers a group of thieves led by Tobias Beckett and attempts to blackmail them into letting him join the team. Han’s plan doesn’t work out and he ends up being thrown into his first pit! This time to be eaten by a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Oh Chewie, how we’ve missed you. Before Chewie has a chance to tear Han’s arms out of their sockets (one of the guards isn’t so lucky), Han speaks Wookiee, which explains a lot. The dynamic duo teams up against the imperial guards who are watching the supposed deathmatch and manage to escape Mimban with Beckett’s team.

 

Chewie’s friendship and loyalty to Han is the brightest aspect of the film. It does an excellent job of taking us down memory lane and creating the foundation for the pair’s long-lasting onscreen bond. While many of the characters in Solo are blatantly underwhelming, the oversized man-pet isn’t one of them.

 

Q’ira’s role, on the other hand, feels strange. She is a complicated character and adds depth, but many of the parts don’t fit. When Han finally finds her she has become the top lieutenant (and apparent romantic partner) of crime-boss Dryder Vos of the organization Crimson Dawn. Q’ira seems to want to side with Han throughout the film but eventually chooses to kill Vos and leave in his ship alone. There’s also plenty of mention of unspeakably terrible deeds that she has committed for Vos, but that’s never clarified. It’s possible that Clarke just looks too friendly for the role.

 

Casting Donald Glover for Lando Calrissian was perfect; he comes across just as charismatic and selfish as Calrissian should be. The love affair between him and his droid, L3-37, whose equality one-liners provided a prominently humorous flare, added a unique aspect to a droids character. Not to mention the story behind Han winning the Millennium Falcon from Calrissian in a card game called Sabacc that had everyone in the theater cheering (or just me).

 

The film goes out of its way to pay tribute to fans by including scenes such as Han attempting to join the Imperial Army as a pilot. When the recruiting officer asks for his family’s name, Han states that he doesn’t have anyone, that he’s alone. Hence, Han Solo is born. In one of the final scenes, Q’ira uses her dead boss’ ring to call upon the leader of the Crimson Dawn, who is, wait for it, Darth Maul. I’m sure every Star Wars fan can get behind more Maul.

 

One of my main gripes with Solo is how much it seemed like Disney was attempting to make it feel like an original Star Wars movie. In “Rogue One” there were very few characters that were taken from the original films. I’d argue that the only one who we knew was not going to be killed off was Vader. While that movie does classify as a prequel film and is Disney’s version of a branch-off of the original storyline, it had its own identity. “Solo” doesn’t bring that to the table.

 

Any film based on the origins of a character that fans have already grown to love is going to have its limitations. If you’re looking for a recap of Star Wars history that shows Han Solo making the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs and reveals how old Chewie really is (180 when he met Han), then you’re going to enjoy it. The action rarely stops and the references are never ending, just don’t expect the kind of unique philosophical undertone that made films like “The Last Jedi” smooth extensions of the post-Lucas Star Wars universe.