Comics Movies Reviews

Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) (Part One)

Directed by Zack Snyder. Written by Chris Terrio.

SPOILERS AHEAD! This is an in-depth review of the Snyder Cut for the Justice League film. Part one will review the first two hours of the movie as the film’s runtime is four hours long. Part two (the last two hours) will be reviewed at a later date. The film stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash.

The film begins by telling audiences that the movie was shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio. They kept it this way as Zack Snyder wanted this ratio for the film if it was released in IMAX theaters. For those viewers that like the widescreen ratio, they may not appreciate this. The opening scene begins at the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Superman gets impaled by Doomsday, then lets out these epic screams. Screams that send out soundwaves that penetrate pivotal locations of the DC Universe. It’s haunting to see Superman’s scream echo throughout the world. In this same sequence, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is in a pool with no clear indication of what he’s doing. The scene is poorly executed as it’s clear that Eisenberg is in front of a green screen and perhaps the water around him is even digitally animated. It’s unclear if he’s trying to summon Steppenwolf or trying to activate the mother boxes that the Steppenwolf statue possesses.

Snyder introduces black title cards into the film now. He decided to break up the movie in parts. Around ten minutes into the film, the first black screen with a title is introduced. It reads, “Part 1: “Don’t Count On It, Batman.”” For a lengthy film, these title cards may be nifty to prepare viewers as to what’s to come next. It is reminiscent of how Quentin Tarantino introduces parts into his films.

Snyder injects the film with awkward song sequences and singing. It seems as if he’s going for a somber and emotional tone. In the scene where Bruce tries to recruit Arthur Curry/Aquaman to the league, Icelandic villagers sing as Aquaman goes underwater to swim as Bruce leaves the area. It comes off as creepy as one of the villagers sniffs Arthur’s discarded shirt while they sing. I believe the singing is why Bruce left.

Steppenwolf’s armor is more metal this time around. Steppenwolf has metal spikes on his armor that can pop outwards if he so pleases. It’s metal, but not an amazing look. Steppenwolf is sent to the earth to obtain the mother boxes. He seems formidable in his fight sequence with the Amazons. He seems to be trying to win the favor of his boss, Darkseid.

After this battle, we meet Cyborg’s father, Silas Stone. Now what’s interesting about this is that new scenes have been added that introduces a new character to the universe. Silas has a lab assistant by the name of Ryan Choi. Yes, the Ryan Choi that becomes Atom. I found this to be refreshing to see an Asian American superhero get introduced into the DC cinematic universe.

Snyder introduces DeSaad, who works for Darkseid too. DeSaad seems to be a loyal soldier to Darkseid that introduces viewers as to why Steppenwolf is doing this for Darkseid. Steppenwolf betrayed Darkseid’s commands, which led to a falling out. Steppenwolf is trying to regain the favor of his Lord. That’s why he’s trying to conquer the earth.

Snyder loves the slow motion sequences. He crafts an amazing one for when the film explores Barry Allen looking for a job in Central City. Allen walks into a doggie day care late for a job interview. He meets a beautiful female, whose name that we don’t get. While Allen talks to the manager, the female leaves and her car starts crashing into a truck driver who runs a red light. Allen runs so fast that time comes to a standstill. He saves the woman and steals a hot dog wiener that’s in the air from the crash. After Allen saves her, they share an awkward, yet romantic look until Barry gets nervous. He runs away–showing the woman his superspeed ability briefly. As the day care owner catches up in time, she sees Barry with the other dogs and feeding one a wiener. Out of all the slow motion scenes, this one is the most beautifully constructed. The others aren’t as creative or they’re for shots that don’t need it.

In the third part of the film, viewers get more insight into the life of Victor Stone/Cyborg. Cyborg didn’t have much character background in the theatrical cut of the film. The Stones are a fragmented family that Snyder does well conveying. Ray Fisher has incredible chemistry with Joe Morton (Silas Stone/Victor’s father) and Karen Bryson (Elinor Stone/Victor’s mother). The movies does a great job of describing Cyborg’s powers to the ones that are new to him. A thorough breakdown of the inner workings of the artificial intelligence system within Victor.

So, for the first two hours of the film, it’s still messy, but better than the theatrical cut. The tone seems to be more cohesive, though there are weird creative choices made by Snyder. Snyder added depth to areas that needed it and others that didn’t. The most impressive details added were for Cyborg. He got the character development that he needed.

Overall rating for part one: 3/5.


Retro Review–Amazing Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga (Part One)

Part One – Amazing Spider-Man #139

The Original Clone Saga is a Spider-Man series that started in Amazing Spider-Man #139. The issue that starts the saga is written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ross Andru. The comic released in December 1974. New villain The Grizzly debuts with surprising villain Jackal appearing at the comic’s end. The comic is a slow start of potential things to come.

The story shows us that Peter Parker’s civilian life has been struggling. He’s looking for a new apartment that’s cheap enough for his income. That’s a hard act to complete in a city such as New York. Conway does a great job of quickly connecting readers to Peter and his plight. It’s sad to see Peter, who has done so much for the city, not even be able to find an affordable home. It’s a reminder of the homeless that are wandering the streets of New York at night.

Grizzly is a formidable opponent in his debut. He will remind readers of the Rhino. However, he will become a forgettable villain as he’s just the muscle for the true villain. Peter Parker in the issue investigates a townhouse in New York. Grizzly and Jackal await inside. They capture Peter Parker, then attach a device to Peter’s wrist. The device is to help Jackal figure out who Spider-Man is. This sets up the next issue where Peter has to figure out how to remove the device.

This is a slow start to the saga without giving much info to lure in readers. The only hint is that Jackal is playing a part. The artwork is superb in the book. Ross Andru is fantastic so far. Conway does great with the several issues that Peter faces. He just doesn’t have readers hooked yet into what’s to come.

Overall rating: 2.5/5.

Burgers Food Reviews

Wild Burger Review: Big Mouth Bites (Chili’s)

Big mouth bites.

At first glance, the big mouth bites from Chili’s doesn’t look fulfilling on the menu. When they arrive in person, along with a basket of delicious fries, you’ll see that they’re capable of making you full. The buns shine with a sweet, buttery taste. The patties are covered with cheese, onions, bacon, and creamy ranch dressing. We don’t know how you feel about ranch as a condiment, but we like it in certain instances. The ranch pairs perfectly with the other flavors.

The beef isn’t spectacular in taste. The toppings help to bring out its flavor. The fries are perfectly cut and seasoned with salt. Sometimes they are too seasoned. Ranch or ketchup can help combat that. Big mouth bites are a set of mini burgers that I always come back to.

Overall rating: 3/5.

Burgers Food

Wild Burger Review: McDouble (McDonald’s)

Prepare for trouble…and make it double.

Today, N1A starts two things. The first is the wild review. These are reviews where we rant and make our audiences laugh. The second is the wild burger review where we steer clear of pop culture and talk about burgers that we tried briefly. Burgers from fast-food chains and different restaurants. Our first wild burger review is the McDouble from McDonald’s.

This burger is as simple as it gets. There’s nothing special to it. It doesn’t look as appealing as McDonald’s tries to make it. It’s two patties with cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, and pickles. The McDouble is for broke-ass people like me. It’s for the people that are stoned outta their fucking mind and that gets that wild-ass craving for McDonald’s. It’s a burger that you secretly enjoy and secretly know that you could’ve chosen better. It’s your side chick burger that you’re not proud about. It is convenient however. It’s on the dollar menu with the tasty, cheap McChicken. Just get the McChicken with fries.

Overall rating: 1.5/5.


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Disney Movies Pixar

Review: Soul (2020)

Soul. Starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey. Directed by Pete Docter. Written by Pete Docter, Mike Jones, and Kemp Powers.

This is my final film review of 2020. A year that a majority of us want to forget. We are on the verge of 2021 and we hope that there are great things to come. We decided to end the year with the recently released Soul starring Jamie Foxx. Did the movie leave us on a high note?

The movie focuses on middle-school band teacher Joe, who’s played by Jamie Foxx. Joe isn’t fulfilled with being a teacher as he dreams of being a successful jazz musician. After receiving a huge break to play in a jazz set, Joe is so excited that he’s not watching where he walks and he walks over a manhole that is uncovered. Joe is taken to what the movie calls “The Great Beyond.” The Great Beyond is essentially the film’s version of the afterlife. It looks like outer space with a conveyor belt in the middle that is taking souls to a huge, white hole that we guess is Heaven. Joe finds a way to escape the Great Beyond, then lands himself in the Great Before. The Great Before is where souls that are like humans are mentored before being sent to earth to take the form of a baby at birth. Joe enlists the help of Soul 22 (Tina Fey) to make it back to his body, so he can play in the big jazz show. On this journey, Joe and Soul 22 figure out for themselves what it means to live and their purposes on earth.

The story is fresh, though it could be confusing for some. We mentioned in the above paragraph about the concepts of the Great Beyond and the Great Before. The film introduces other concepts, such as how important the soul is and how it’s created. It also speaks on how a soul becomes lost. A soul, in this movie, is lost when someone becomes obsessed with a particular idea or passion that they have. The concepts are intriguing and definitely thought-provoking.

Director Pete Docter does a tremendous job of making this a visually-stunning film. All of the different environments that are created for this film were crafted perfectly. Whether it’s the beauty of autumn leaves falling in the movie or the fun-colored Great Before, Docter makes this movie a pleasing aesthetic to the eyes. He does a great job of making the film emotional without it being dark. The film makes us aware that we’re going to die eventually, but to make the most out of life while we’re here.

My final evaluation is that Soul is a pleasing observation on life and the creation of it. A heartwarming film released in a dark year.

Overall rating: 4/5.



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Movies Reviews

Review: Chef (2014)

After we watched several episodes of The Mandalorian, we wanted to look at the other works of director/writer/actor Jon Favreau. Jon Favreau is known by mainstream audiences for his work on the first two Iron Man films and for being an architect in the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We decided to dive into Favreau’s lesser-known films that he has created. We stumbled upon Chef, an indie film that Favreau made in 2014. Favreau stars alongside fellow Marvel cohorts Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson in this picture about a chef, who moves to Miami to start a food-truck business.

Chef features a stellar ensemble of actors in this film. Favreau plays Carl Casper, who’s a chef that works in a prestigious Los Angeles restaurant. Casper quits from the restaurant after the owner, played by Dustin Hoffman, pushes him too far. Hoffman brings a ferocious side that highlights the tension between owner and Casper. Johansson, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Downey Jr., and Bobby Cannavale bring energy, humor, and compassion to the food flick. When Casper arrives in Miami, he opens the food truck in a manner of self-discovery to figure out what makes him happy as a chef. The move to Miami rekindles his passion for cooking, love, and life.

One of the many highlights of the film is the concentration on social media. Casper becomes somewhat obsessed with reviews from his critics. The film acknowledges the toxicity and the trouble that comes with being active on social media platforms, such as Twitter. Casper lets a particular critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), get to his head. Casper retaliates online, which isn’t the best idea. In our society today, celebrities have to watch every word that they choose or every picture that they post. It’s easy in today’s society for celebrities to be offended by fans or critics. It’s also the same for the fans and the critics if the celebrity lashes out in return.

Another highlight is the beauty of food. Food is an amazing thing that brings us together. It’s delicious and it’s for our survival. Favreau portrays the beauty of food craftmanship, taste, and how it makes us happy. Seriously, if Favreau didn’t have Mando, he could make it hosting and doing his own food show. This film will cause hunger.

Overall rating: 4/5. A heartwarming film that will make viewers hungry for their favorite food.


Retro Review: More Fun Comics #73 (1941) (Aquaman Debut)

Today, we take you back in time. We love time travel. More Fun Comics #73 released in November of 1941. DC Comics asked DC editor/writer Mort Weisinger in 1941 to create a few new characters. He quickly created three hits: the speedster Johnny Quick, the archer Green Arrow, and the underwater hero Aquaman. Aquaman made his debut in the back pages of More Fun Comics #73. Today’s review is of that debut story written by Weisinger and co-creator Paul Norris that did the art for the book.

In Aquaman’s debut story, we see the nautical superhero take on the Nazis. It was 1941, when the United States was in the middle of World War II. Comics during the time was featuring the war in their stories and Aquaman wasn’t the only superhero fighting the Nazi regime. Weisinger begins the story with suspense as a German submarine is going to attack a small boat filled with men, women, and children that are seeking help. The submarine fires a shell at the boat, then Aquaman’s hand rises from the water. Aquaman grabs the boat, then swims quickly away from the submarine. After Aquaman saves the survivors, he heads straight for the submarine to kick the asses of the Nazis.

In this sequence, there is a shift in the story’s mood. It goes from worrisome to happy. Weisinger liked to have a fusion of suspense and lightheartedness in his scripts. Aquaman busts onto the submarine–throwing punches and delivering hilarious nautical-themed quips. Norris portrays this beautifully with scenes of despair and scenes of enjoyment. Norris features bright colors to give happiness to this tale. You can tell that Aquaman is a tale to bring smiles upon readers’ faces in a time of darkness.

Aquaman defeats the Nazis in the book. Weisinger briefly introduces Aquaman’s origin story quickly in the comic. Across three panels, readers are introduced to Aquaman’s father. It’s not enough to truly get a grasp of who the character is. It is enough to entice readers for more info of Aquaman’s past. Overall, the short story is fun and entertaining for readers to want more.

Overall rating: 4/5.

Movies Reviews

Holiday Film Review–Rambo: First Blood (1982)

Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Written by Michael Kozoll & William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, and Richard Crenna.

Now…I know that this movie isn’t considered to be a holiday film. It’s not Die Hard. I’m adding this to the holiday film review season because the movie is either set in the fall or the winter. The movie is set in the Pacific Northwest (Washington state) so it’s naturally cold and rainy. We’re starting the holiday film review season with action!

Rambo: First Blood is directed by Ted Kotcheff, who’s known for mainly directing comedies. Kotcheff directed The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz in 1974 and Weekend at Bernie’s after Rambo in 1989. John J. Rambo is played intensely by Sylvester Stallone. Rambo is a Vietnam veteran and drifter that wanders into a small Washington town looking for an old friend. Rambo is met with hostility as the town’s sheriff, Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy), doesn’t like drifters because he believes that it makes the town look dirty. Teasle and his deputies arrest Rambo. They restrain and try to shave him, which causes him to have a flashback of him being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Rambo escapes the officers, where he flees to the woods surrounding the town. Teasle starts a manhunt for Rambo and doesn’t know how deadly the former Green Beret is. Rambo’s former commander (Richard Crenna) arrives to assist the officers in finding Rambo. Otherwise, the hunters (police officers) will become the hunted.

The film includes excellent performances by Stallone and Dennehy. Stallone portrays Rambo as a man that is haunted by his past. Rambo wants to achieve inner peace, which is ruined by sheriff Teasle. Stallone’s cold facial expressions are impressive when Stallone needs to show Rambo’s violent, brutal side. Dennehy brings emotion to Teasle, whether it’s anger or fear when Rambo is on the attack. Dennehy’s confidence as the sheriff perfectly conveys how egotistical the character is.

Director Ted Kotcheff captures the beauty of Washington state in this film with shots of gray skies along with a tree-line that seems miles wide. The forests of Washington state are gorgeous with danger hidden inside of the beauty. Kotcheff’s use of wide shots are numerous throughout the film. An example of the wide shot being handy is in the final action sequence where Rambo battles Teasle. The shot gives space to the Washington town, while showing how small the town is. There are some shots that last too long. An example is where a deputy fires repeatedly at Rambo in the woods. The shot is long to create tension, but it drags on. The deputy also has the accuracy of a Stormtrooper.

Final evaluation–Rambo is an amazing action film that reflects the horrors of PTSD.

Overall rating: 4/5.