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The Dark Knight Rises [Blu-ray]
The Dark Knight Rises [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Christian Bale
Price: $6.99
188 used & new from $1.93

539 of 765 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't quite fit..., July 27, 2012
After watching this film the first time, I wasn't quite sure what to think of it. I knew it wasn't a bad film, but at the same time it just didn't sit right with me for whatever reason. So I went back and watched Begins and TDK and I think I figured out why I didn't really care for it. In my opinion it doesn't seem to fit with the other two films.

Warning: Some spoilers

First there's the setting. The concept of a broken and retired Batman living as a recluse is interesting, but it seems to sort of contradict what we saw in the other films. We learn that he hasn't been Batman for 8 years since Dent was killed, which made me wonder, why is he in such bad physical shape then? Rewatching The Dark Knight, I didn't see anything to show where these injuries came from. Why is his leg screwed up? The last scene of Dark Knight was him running away from the camera. If he hasn't been Batman since then and has been living like a hermit, how did he screw up his leg? Also, why did he stop being Batman? Rises seems to suggest it was stress over Rachel, although that happened midway through The Dark Knight and didn't seem to stop him. He sort of suggested at the end of Dark Knight that since Dent died, he had to be the hero. That was sort of the point of Dark Knight that Gotham's savior had to be either Dent or Batman and since Dent died, it had to be Batman, but then Rises suggests that Batman just kinda went home literally right after that. Rises sort of gets around this by introducing what I consider to be a highly implausible "Dent Act" in honor of Harvey Dent, in which all of Gotham's criminals are apparently just straight locked up with no sort of legal due process, the streets become clean as a whistle, and Batman "isn't needed anymore". The Dent Act also asks you to believe that everyone now believes without a question that Batman killed Harvey Dent, despite having saved him very publicly from the Joker in Dark Knight. I find it strange that things like this are considered realistic, yet more cat features on catwoman's suit are not. Anyways..

Second, the villains. I found Bane to be just plain underwhelming. Physically intimidating sure, but I felt like they had to seriously water down Batman's competence in order to artificially make Bane more threatening. In Begins and Dark Knight Batman would fight using his surroundings. That's basically how he fights, something he learned from the League of Shadows and Ras Al Ghul. "Always mind your surroundings." Yet when confronted with Bane and reminded of the League, Batman simply charges at him swinging like a brawler. No tech, no using the environment around him, just straight fisticuffs. I realize that he's been "retired" for 8 years, but again, that felt forced and unexplained as I mentioned in my first point, which just reinforces my belief that this was done simply to make Bane seem more threatening. As for Talia, she just felt too much like Ras, and a lesser version at that. Not only does she not get the character development that Ras got to make him interesting, but in the end she's only doing it to carry out Ras' will, which just made her feel like a pawn. The main villian and she doesn't even have her own plan. Overall they felt too similar to the Begins villians. In Begins the villains worked within the system, using it to try to destroy Gotham. In Dark Knight the villains worked to try to destroy the system and induce chaos in Gotham. In Rises, I was expecting another progression to give the villains an overall theme to work with, but it just feels the same as Begins. Talia manipulating the system to try and destroy Gotham.

Third, not enough Batman. Having Bruce trapped in a pit for the better part of the film's second half served no purpose imo. I don't think anybody thought that he wasn't going to escape this pit and return to face Bane. I realize this sort of had to happen based on what we know of Bane and Batman in the comics, but the way it was handled only served to take us away from Gotham and Bane where things were getting interesting, and into a dull situation miles away in which we already know the only possible outcome. Obviously the movie won't end with "And then Batman died in the pit" It employs odd and often confusing time jumps that the previous films didn't have, taking away from the pacing and making the film feel frantic. Once Bane starts implementing his plan and things start to pick up, there's literally a 5 month time skip that glosses over Gotham transitioning from normal society to anarchist warzone in favor of Bruce's previously mentioned antics in the pit.

Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!

Fourth, John Blake. I liked the character and portrayal but I felt the "big reveal" about him at the end was totally unnecessary and handled in the worst possible way. First off... his actual legal name is Robin? ....... I'll leave that at that, but what bothered me more about how this was handled is that again, this doesn't seem to be consistent with the previous films. In Rises we get Bruce spouting a bunch of nonsense about how Batman was supposed to inspire people into action and that "anybody can be Batman" Oh really? What about those guys in The Dark Knight who were trying to help Batman take down Scarecrow and some drug dealers? They tried to be Batman and Bruce responded by kicking the living cr@p out of them, breaking all their weapons and then making fun of their outfits. They did exactly what he's talking about in Rises and he personally beat them up for it. Just seems weird is all.. Also, how did Blake know Bruce was Batman? You can assume that since he's a cop he could've done the detective work and figured this out, but he doesn't say that's what happened. He says he literally figured it out by having met Bruce once a long time ago and recognizing he had the same hidden pain that Blake had from losing his parents? Really?! That's it?! How can you reasonably make such a huge assumption based on meeting someone once and looking at their face?

Fifth, Catwoman. Again, nothing wrong with the performance, but I felt her character was unneeded. Nothing she did in the film seemed to matter, except of course for the fact that they decided to let her be the one to kill Bane. The romance between them felt forced as well imo. I don't see why he would be attracted to her. Her ideology is almost the direct opposite of his. In the comics there's a sense that she genuinely cares about him and a lot of that is due to their long history, none of which we get to see here. I never really get the sense that she saw him as anything other than a 1 percenter or necessarily cared about his well being. When Bane "breaks" him, she doesn't seem concerned about him, just concerned about what Bane will do to the city and how it will effect her. It's all about her and I just don't really see what draws him to her in this film.

Finally, the ending. I get it, he retired. Batman gets to live a happy life in Europe or whatever with Catwoman. Great for him I guess, but isn't Gotham gonna be worse than ever now? Gordon will likely lose his job as commissioner because of his 8 year lie to the public and for knowingly framing Batman for Dent's murder. Dent has been revealed as a murderer, meaning the Dent Act will likely be repealed and all these criminals are gonna come pouring back to the streets, including Joker, who isn't dead and who happens to be the direct cause of almost everything that happens in Rises to begin with. I get that they can't use Ledger anymore, but I for one found it strange that they deliberately chose not to once mention the Joker even though nothing in Rises would be as it is without him.

And who's left behind in Gotham to handle this new mess? "Robin" John Blake, a man who now has Bruce's suit and gadgets, sure, but none of the League of Shadows training that would let you take on dozens of thugs/SWAT officers at a time, meaning the first time he suits up and hops down into a group of 5 guys thinking he's a bad@ss, he's gonna get wailed on. Bruce didn't even bother to train the guy like the real Robin. Not only that, but Bruce only met this guy what... twice, for a total of 10 minutes and he trusts him with the Batsuit? But I guess Bruce isn't concerned with any of that anyways. He's "moved on" and I should be happy that he doesn't have to be the hero and protector Gotham needs like we've come to expect from him over the course of this trilogy, right? I just feel like it sent a strange message where you should do what you feel is right but only until you're tired of it, then you should sit back and have some "me-time" with a foxy lady despite the fact that there's still more to be done. I dunno about you but that just struck me as not very admirable and as something no respectable version of Batman would EVER do...

Overall the film is well acted and looks and sounds great, but it's only mildly entertaining and drags in a lot of places. I also felt it was the least realistic of the trilogy which I found unfortunate since the realism is what drew me to the trilogy in the first place. Things like the Dent Act, an old man in a pit who can heal a broken back by punching it, a usb drive that can erase your name from every computer on the planet and a cheesy imo nuclear bomb plot that emerges somewhat randomly near the end of the film serve to make it the most comic-booky feeling film of the three. All that said, again it's not a bad movie by any means and I'd say it's worth a watch, but it's easily the weakest of the trilogy in my opinion.
Comment Comments (149) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2014 2:55 PM PDT

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Complete Book Three Collection
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Complete Book Three Collection
DVD ~ Zach Tyler
Price: $14.66
45 used & new from $9.70

3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What happened?, May 25, 2011
Just finished the series a couple days ago and man.... what happened? The "writing benders" are there because some of the stuff from the second season, and the first half of this season was alright, maybe even great, but man those last 4 episodes. ...

What bothered me the most about the last few episodes was how they gave little to no payoff to things that had been built up previously. Like the whole thing with Zuko's mother? I had almost forgot that was a plot point until Zuko asked about it in the last episode's last five minutes, and once he did, all it did was make me ask the same question. "Oh yea.... What DID happen to Zuko's mother?"

Then there was Sokka's space sword of greatness and the training that he received which encompassed an entire episode, and what did that culminate in? Him throwing his space sword to cut a board and cause ONE soldier to fall to his death? That's it? He could've done that with the boomerang he had for the entire series.

Oh man, and don't even get me started on the Lion Turtle thing that CONVENIENTLY gave Aang the one power he would need to defeat the fire lord the frickin day before he was supposed to fight him. Not only is that lazy plotting by itself, but it also basically negates all the training and mastering of the other elements and him being the avatar, because all he needed the whole time was this unnamed power from a character that appears in the last episode of the series.

Another problem I had with the lion turtle thing was that it literally had no explanation to it. It could've worked if they said it was a spirit, since they established the existance of the spirit world in the first and second seasons, but no. They actually go out of their way to explain that this isn't a spirit and then even farther out of their way to make sure it isn't explained at all.

It just felt like they went out of their way to give us ZERO payoff to any of the stuff they'd built up over the rest of the series. Some examples? Ba Sing Se basically took half of season 2 to be captured, whereas it's liberated in about 2 minutes in the last episode. Aang was training the whole series to be the Avatar, and at the end, it wasn't even the avatar state that won the day.

I dunno, maybe I was expecting this series to be more consistant but at the end of the day, it feels like they forgot everything they'd previously wrote in the past two seasons and just kinda winged the finale.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2012 2:40 PM PDT

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds - Xbox 360
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds - Xbox 360
Offered by MediaNett
Price: $41.97
65 used & new from $9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My verdict after a month of playing., March 21, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been waiting a little bit to pass judgement on this game because I too was initially disappointed by the simplified controls and the lack of characters but honestly after putting in many hours and many matches into this game, I have to say that those problems are overstated imo. Yes it's true, some of the characters are obscure and many recognizable characters are missing, but this doesn't mean that any of the characters are bad(Except possibly Thor :P). If you take the time to learn them, YES, Modok IS good, YES, Taskmaster is good, YES, Spencer is good and they actually grow on you. Particularly Taskmaster imo.

Also regarding the characters, I do have to commend Capcom for making each character actually play differently. In MVC2 you basically had 4 Ryu clones, two iron men, two wolverines and many people who played generally the same aside from a hyper combo or two. In MVC3 all characters have their own unique styles and feel different when played and furthermore, every character is a viable mainstay. You just have to understand how to use them.

As for people who say that the roster is full of garbage people, well honestly, MVC2 had a lot of garbage people too, arguably more. Amingo, Ruby Heart, Servbot, Roll, and Anakiris come to mind just off the top of my head, so to fault MVC3 for not having the characters "you wanted" isn't really fair since there were a lot of nobodies in part 2 as well.

Also, regarding the complaints about the control scheme being simplified, it really doesn't have as much impact on the gameplay as many seem to imply and to be fair, MVC2 did this EXACT same thing and the gameplay wasn't altered that much in that game either.

A few people also seem to be complaining about X factor. I like the addition, here's why. In MVC2, if you lost 2 characters and your opponent still has all 3 with relatively high life, you might as well put the controller down. At least in this game, with X factor, there's always at least a chance that you can comeback. This makes matches more dynamic imo and more varied as you'll often find your strategy change drastically when either you or your opponent initiates X factor. If your opponent does X factor, will you rush them and try to shave off their life with a combo before it regenerates? Or will you simply play keep away and try to wait for the X factor to burn off? When you use X factor, you could be using it to extend a combo and kill a character who would've lived otherwise, you could be using it as a last ditch because your first two guys got ROFLstomped, or maybe the combo you like only works with X factor? It's just the variety that it adds to the matches that I like.

I do take a star off due to the "DLC characters" that we'll eventually have to pay for rather than them being included at launch, although I suppose that's more a sign of the times these days so I don't blame Capcom too much for jumping on the DLC bandwagon. The only other gripe I do have with this game is that it is too easy to perform insane, 100% damage juggling combos. I understand there's a level of skill needed to perform them, but when you can literally lose a full health character to one huge never ending combo, the game's fun factor takes a hit. These combos were present in MVC2 as well, however they seemed much more difficult to do.

All in all, the game is good. The "simplified" controls allow for less skilled players to jump in and feel like a boss performing some cheap newb combos, but at the same time, if they go up against a truly skilled player, they're gonna get ROFLstomped because the skilled player knows longer, higher damaging combos and more ways to set them up and counter them. In fact, I dare say that truly skilled players dominate harder in MVC3 than in MVC2. The graphics are obviously gorgeous, although I've never been one to give out too many points based on graphics, and the sound has been... fixed from the abortion of an OST that was MVC2. Sure, the roster's thinner than MVC2, although at the same time, it's equal to or larger than every other previous entry in the versus series, so I believe the amount of characters they put into the game are fine to start off with and I'm sure more DLC characters will come around eventually.

Bottom line, if you like part 2, you'll like part 3 so long as you're able to let go of those characters from MVC2 who didn't make it to part 3, and learn to love a new squad.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [Blu-ray]
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Various
Offered by Two Thumbs Up
Price: $15.99
24 used & new from $10.88

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really? Really?!, February 17, 2011
Ok, first I wanna start by saying that I am by no means a DC know it all, but there were certain things that happened in this movie that I, with my limited knowledge, felt that hardcore fans would be offended at. Maybe there's something that happened in the comics that explains some of these problems I had, but they sure weren't explained in the movie, and felt like they needed to be.

Here's my first issue. I may not know much about the Superman storyline, but I do know this. In the 90s, there was a series focusing on a villain called Doomsday, and this villian, by himself managed to pwn almost every DC hero by himself and actually kill Superman. I remember this being a big deal when it came out. So now we come to this movie and guess who comes back? Why Doomsday of course.

So when I see that he's back, I get kinda excited, but wait a minute? What's this? There's actually 1000 Doomsdays now? Uhh sure... when did that happen again? So I shrug that little revelation off and prepare myself for what should be the fight to end all fights. Right? Superman and the primary members of the justice league against an army of Doomsdays sounds epic right? Well evidently not, as Superman literally just hops into the air, and kills EVERY LAST DOOMSDAY with ONE massive beam from his eyes.

Ok.... wtf? Am I missing something? Are these doomsday clones watered down or something? Sure wasn't mentioned in the movie? Has doomsday always been that lame? Was Superman just not trying before when he lost to one of these things? I mean, for crying out loud, even Batman killed one of the Doomsdays with an exploding batarang?! Batman?! Really?!?!?! I mean I love Batman as much as the next guy, possibly more, but come on. What that basically tells me is that Doomsday can be defeated by something with the equivelant force of a hand grenade. Just.... no.

This brings me to my second major problem with this movie. Look... Again, I love Batman and all, but he's not god. I mean at the end of this movie, we have Superman, Wonderwoman, and Supergirl, 3 powerhouses heading to Apocalypse to kick ass, and they bring Batman. Why would you bring batman to assault a planet of monstrous superpowered beings and giant futuristic robots? What the hell is he going to do? It follows a problem that many DC writers seem to have these days in that every hero is a frickin moron EXCEPT Batman. Batman is ALWAYS right in this movie, he always wins, he's the best, and he actually ends up being the one to save the day at the end. VS frickin Darkseid of all people.

Those are my two major gripes, but also the main storyline just felt weak. Darkseid is supposedly interested in Supergirl, but the way the movie ends, he comes off as not really caring what happened to her anyways. It was all just meh. Not awful, but certainly a step below the previous DCAU movies imo.

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - Xbox 360
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - Xbox 360
Offered by NinjaX+
Price: $33.78
35 used & new from $8.89

10 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't let your fandom for Naruto steal your 60 dollars., October 25, 2010
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Ok, so I wanna start off this review by saying I am a Naruto fan. I've even been called a "rabid" fan by some. Been reading the manga pretty much from the start and have all the anime episodes. Love the show. This game? Well... let's see...

Let's start off with single player, which is easily the worst part of the game. So there's basically 3 modes. Story, vs, and online. Vs and online are pretty self explanitory, and story mode LOOSELY follows the events of the manga. I say loosely because many key battles in the game play out MUCH differently from the manga. The Deidara/Gaara fight for example, in the game, ends with Gaara firing a massive chakra beam at Deidara, and then... it's over. Level complete. No explanation that Deidara actually WON that battle, nor do they show how it happened. This seems to happen a lot in this game, so if you're one of those people who would be bothered when the game deviates from the actual storyline, this is gonna be a problem for you.

But even if it isn't, the storymode is just plain awful. First off, it's set up as a quasi-RPG, where you run around Konoha at an insanely slow 1 mph(Not kidding, and no, you cannot move any faster), talking to random people in the village and doing random missions. And when I say random, I mean RANDOM. What's random you ask? How about finding 30 pearls spread out across the world? Don't remember that part from the manga? Yea... me either, but you sure can't progress in the story without doing some of these stupid filler missions.

So you may say to yourself, "hey, well it's just the single player. I'll just play vs mode" Well... nice try, says Ninja Storm 2, but most characters past the beginning 10 or so must be unlocked via Single Player. They can also be unlocked by simply earning enough "SP", and "SP" is given out for each vs battle, even 1p vs 2p, however the amounts you get are so small, that it would take forever to unlock characters this way. You get maybe 4k "SP" for each vs battle, and most of the characters you're looking at getting are in the several hundred thousand "SP" range. Awesome right? Right

Well say you only want a few characters, you play through some of the story mode to get em, and then stick strictly with vs mode for kicks right? Well... not so much. Despite having almost every character you could want up until that point in the manga, the combat engine is just insanely childish. There's only one attack button, and mashing on it like a 4 year old without ritalin causes your character to bust into a well animated combo. However there's only a handful of combos, performed by holding a different direction while doing your "A" button mashing. The other buttons are reserved for jump/dash, throw shuriken, and chakra but there isn't really much mixing and matching. Each character has about 2 special moves and 1 super, but even with the wide variety of character types and fighting styles in the manga, everyone feels like they play roughly the same. It's like if you were playing street fighter, all the characters look different, but they all basically do the same thing. It's like they just re-skinned Ryu and Ken over and over.

There's just no depth to the combat system. At least in the older Naruto games, you had little minigames during the cinematic ultimate jutsus that made the game a little more difficult, but now, those cutscene jutsus have been removed, making the game less fun to play, and less fun to watch.

I dunno, I never expected much from Naruto, or any anime based game for that matter, but I didn't think the series would take a step back from the previous game. Save your money. If this shows up on amazon some time later for under 15$ it could be worth it, but if you buy it now, I almost guarantee you'll be done with it in 48 hours max.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2011 4:07 PM PST

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest Animated show ever., July 19, 2010
Nothing I can really say about this show that hasn't already been said. Favorite line so far line on the show so far? Archer calling Karate the "Dane Cook of martial arts." Also, does anybody know the name of the song they use for the intro? It's stuck in my head.

Alpha Protocol - Xbox 360
Alpha Protocol - Xbox 360
Offered by WISHBOX
Price: $19.40
109 used & new from $1.00

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sad state of game critics., June 28, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This game caught my interest about a month or so before it's release and based on the generic descriptions in the previews, I was already on board. A modern day, spy centered RPG by the same designers of Knights of the Old Republic 2? (One of my favorite RPGs ever in terms of character and story depth.) Sign me up.

Then about a week before release, the reviews started rolling in. Horrible graphics they said, glitches that render the game almost unplayable they said, frustrating control scheme. Almost everything that could be wrong with a game was listed as being wrong with this game, and obviously I was disheartened.

I eventually passed on this game during launch day and started looking for the next great RPG, which had me waiting for Fallout New Vegas basically, but after a week or so of waiting, I came across an Alpha Protocol review here.

The reviewer, another RPG fan like myself, pointed out that reviews from "mainstream" game sites like IGN and Gamespot, are often not only biased, but different features weigh more heavily to them then to the average gamer. For example, games with "amazing graphics", like God of War III tend to end up with high scores no matter how dull, short and repetitive the rest of the game happens to be. Yet on the other hand, things like depth and plot don't seem to count for anything in the mainstream game critic world.

I also get the feeling that certain games are given artificially good scores based on how much hype is surrounding that particular game. Perfect 10 for Grand Theft Auto IV? REALLY? I mean, the game was good, but aside from the improved graphics, it was a step BACKWARDS from GTA San Andreas in every way.

Anyways, enough of my rambling about the game review industry and on to the actual game. Basically let me put it this way, if you like a good RPG story and the freedom to make choices that dramatically effect how the story plays out, then this is your game. Period. Anything you may have heard regarding glitches, bugs, bad controls, AI, whatever, it's not enough to take the wind out of this one feature. Every choice I've made in the game so far, (I'm probably a good 6 hours in), and I'm already dying to know how it would've turned out if I made one of the other multiple decisions. (And yes, I even reset the game a couple times just to check.)

As far as gameplay goes, just remember this one little fact about the game and you won't be disappointed at all. THIS IS NOT A SHOOTER. Don't play this game like Gears of War, this is more a realtime RPG combat system than anything else. Train your weapon of choice up to a respectable level and you should have no problems taking out 80% of the guys in the game. I will admit that boss fights are rather tough if you don't have a little bit of assault rifle, but they're nowhere near impossible. Just might take you a couple tries to do it with a different weapon.

However, if you're one of those graphics perfection who flips out and returns a game just because they saw one tiny bit of clipping or texture popping, this game clearly is not for you. The graphics are probably, at best 3 years old in terms of quality and texture popping is somewhat normal. Even so, it's hardly enough to take away from your enjoyment of the game or make it unplayable.

I guess in closing I just wanted to say I felt this game got a bad wrap. This game delivers on exactly what it promises and has exceeded my expectations. This is what Mass Effect 2 SHOULD have been, but instead, the boys at Bioware seemed to bow to the trends and make their game into more of a shooter than an RPG. Good for them I guess, but props to Obsidian and Sega of America for keeping this one much closer to the RPG genre than the shooter genre.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2010 4:21 PM PDT

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