Lucien’s First Take: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2017 E3 Gameplay

I meant to talk about this months ago, but I am finally getting around to it, because there is a lot to unpack.  Here’s the thing about probably 95% of superhero games – they suck, or are really mediocre.  Especially the ones licensed to films.  Licensed games are the worst thing under the sun.  After the SNES and Sega Genesis, they were all nothing but crap.  So when I heard that Insomniac is making a Spider-Man game that is officially licensed by Marvel, I was groaning.  I mean, Insomniac games are awesome.  They made the Ratchet and Clank games, which are awesome.  But a superhero game to come directly from Marvel?  This has bad idea written all over it.  This year at E3, however, they released a gameplay trailer that has taken all my skepticism and destroyed it.  It looks awesome, so let’s take a look at it now.

Right out of the game, the visuals for this game are amazing.  The level of detail is just perfect.  It’s pretty standard, for a modern console game, but you know what, it’s great.  Definitely hoping we can either customize or get new suits for the web-slinger, but I do like this suit.  Not too worried about that.  Switchable suits has been a standard for Spider-Man games since their inception, so it’s all good.

The control scheme for this game looks pretty simple.  I can clearly tell that almost all of it will be about staying above your targets.  The stealth elements look absolutely phenomenal.  One of the things I always thought was kinda dumb about Spider-Man games is that they don’t take advantage of the elements of getting enemies from above.  Sure, his suit ain’t exactly made to sneak, but you can still hit an enemy from above without them seeing you coming.  Since Spider-Man never kills his foes, we don’t have to worry about non-lethal runs of the game.  Exciting stuff.  The controls for getting back up to beams or on top of objects are taken right out of the Arkham games.  No problem with that whatsoever.  It’s totally fitting for our friendly neighborhood hero.

We also get to see some potential gadget stuff in this game.  Another thing I am digging that seems to have come straight out of the Arkham games.  Desperately hoping that they don’t just copy that formula beat-for-beat though and give you some freedom to customize the stuff you use and be able to craft specialty stuff.  Really wondering how the leveling up system is going to work.  You also can use the environment to fuck up enemies!  That’s awesome!  I love it.  Later on we get to see that done even in combat scenarios.  Manipulating the environment in active combat and not just for stealth is a break from the mold they clearly are going off of, and I think that’s a great one.  But the stealth aspect of this game is really something.  Not gonna lie, the more potential I have to be stealthy, the happier I’ll be.  It’s my favorite way to play a game, and it looks like I get to scratch my itch here.

Then we get our first peek into the combat.  Now here’s something where I want to elaborate on how this game is using the Arkham formula.  A lot of people are saying that that’s unoriginal, but you know what, I think it’s goddamn brilliant.  There’s a reason why.  When you fight, it’s clear that you are using the same kind of system they used in Arkham to dodge enemy attacks before they happen.  To me, this formula makes even more sense for Spider-Man than it did for Batman.  Why?  Because of the Spider Sense.  That talent gives him the ability to see what’s about to happen when danger is close.  He gets an almost perfect ability to perceive incoming problems and react to them.  So the indicator system from the aforementioned series is perfect for that!  It also lets you dodge machine gun fire, which, for those who read the comics, is something that Spider-Man could do when he’s at his best.  Since this game isn’t attached to any film or thing like that, keeping it true to the comics is kind of awesome.

From there we get some stuff with a helicopter that shows this game is also taking cues from the old God of War games with quicktime events.  Not gonna complain about that either.  Clearly they are doing the concept right.  Kinda curious to see what all this “HEX” stuff in that clearly is some kind of energy.  This should be interesting.

This game went from being something I figured wouldn’t be worth my time, to one of my most-anticipated games of 2018.  That’s pretty awesome.  Let me know what you all think down below.

Initial Verdict:
Hyped!

Peace out,

Maverick

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RAB: Twix Marketing and the Venom Movie

The very definition of a random assortment of bullshit. I was at my terrible, awful, no-good, thankless job today when I walked into the break room and got a look at the vending machine.  Don’t worry, I am not that pathetic.  I was reloading on water.  I actually am trying to take care of myself at this job.  Hence why I go on walks every single day now, multiple times.  But anyway, I get to the vending machine and I see a Twix candy bar.  Twix is my favorite kind of candy, but the thing which caught my eye is what was directly above it – Two Left.  The fuck?!  Then I remembered the retarded-ass marketing campaign of this stuff.

See, the company behind this had this marketing campaign where people were supposed to pick whether they like left Twix or right Twix better.  Like they aren’t the same goddamn candy!  That was stupid all on its own, but since I only caught that crap when I was out at the parent’s place watching TV, it didn’t bother me too much.  But then they decided to expand upon that retarded crap by introducing this newest marketing garbage.  See, since apparently this marketing campaign actually worked (what the fuck is wrong with you, America?!), they made packages that claim to have two left or two right Twix.  Why?  So the stupid monkeys who actually weighed in on this nonsense can have their precious left or right.  Fuck that noise!

As it has been made very clear that Americans are too stupid to get this crap, allow me to explain – you cannot have two left or two right of something in a package!  You have one thing on the left and one on the right!  Ugh!  But then all my retarded-ass coworkers said that I am overthinking this and how this reflects negatively upon me.  Are you kidding me?!  We have an ad campaign that is championing being dumb!  How am I the only person that bothers?!  Come on, people!  In the Comments, someone tell me I am not totally out of my mind here (just watch, now I get so trolled.  Never invite the Internet to do stuff like this)!

That stuff aside, there is another thing that got my attention recently – I saw in movie news that the Venom film is going to also star Carnage as the antagonist.  Really?  Don’t you think you’re kind of putting your best foot forward a little early?  Seems like you may want to see if a first Venom film can work before you pit symbiotes against one-another.  But as I thought about that more and more, it occurred to me – this better be an R-rated film!  Why?  Let’s discuss some comic nerd stuff.

Carnage is a truly grisly villain.  As the comic series has gone on, his body count is fairly astronomical.  The character’s entire schtick is that he uses his body to turn into gruesome weapons and rip his victims to pieces.  That’s pretty cool.  Put to film, such a character would be genuinely amazing, would they not?  Here’s the problem – this is a Sony film.  They suck at making movies!  The new Spider-Man only turned out so well because it was paired up with Marvel.  Tom Hardy as Venom definitely has an appeal to it.  He’s a great actor who can do dark roles very well.  I see him being able to take on something of an anti-hero like Venom and making it go pretty far.  But in a film with Carnage, here’s what I want – a HARD R-Rating!

Not this soft-R like Deadpool.  As much as I love that film, it played it safe in a lot of ways.  Logan was a step further in the right direction when it comes to gruesome comic book films with mainstream appeal.  But that even cut some corners from going too grotesque.  But no more of that with Venom!  If this film is going to have one of the most violent comic book villains of all time, then it better ramp up the death, blood, and gore to 11.  I want to see Venom beating the shit out of Carnage in a place filled with the mutilated bodies of his victims.  I mean, how can you possibly market a film with these two characters in it as a family picture?!

In an age where comic book films are FINALLY willing to take some risks that majorly pay off, this is the film where I want to see it ramped up to 11.  Hopefully that’s how they got Tom Hardy on board.  He is something of a crazy method actor, after all.  That man has brutalized himself in all sorts of ways for his roles.  I dig that kind of crazy.  And for the love of Groj, can we not let Sony get their claws into this film?!  They can only make it worse.  For whatever reason, this studio has a truly amazing record of taking good ideas and shitting all over them.  We’ll never know how that works, but there it is.

Until next time, a quote,

“Just like sardine cans!  Snack time!” – Carnage, Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’m about to get very unpopular right now.  I hated the first three Spider-Man films.  Why?  Because I hate Tobey MaGuire.  I’m sure he is a perfectly nice person, and I have seen movies with him in it that I like, such as Pleasantville.  However, I do not like him as an actor.  How he was able to carry the role in the aforementioned film is beyond me.  Maybe they got that one director in a million.  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, he was insufferable as Spider-Man.  There is the meme about the many faces of Tobey Maguire, well, that’s all I can think of when I watch those movies.  Andrew Garfield was a little better in the role.  At least in the first film he starred as.  I at least felt like he was trying to fit into the role of the character.  Still, he ended up being destroyed by studio interference.  Though, that’s what happened to the original films too.  Huh, there might be a clue about Sony and their vicegrip on this franchise in there somewhere.

But for the first time in, roughly 15 years, I actually feel like I have watched a Spider-Man movie.  It’s finally happened!  I knew it would be after I saw this actor in the role in Civil War.  Tom Holland was perfectly cast.  He looks the part.  He sounds the part.  Everything about this kid just screams Spider-Man.  I really liked this movie.  Is it perfect?  Hell no.  But as far as doing justice to this character and making a good Spider-Man film, this movie is the closest we have ever gotten, and part of me is worried that Sony is just going to fuck that up down the road.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot picks up 7 months after the events in Civil War, where Parker is back in school and trying to balance being a superhero and desperately hoping to be involved in something larger by Stark once-again.  Meanwhile, there is a villain who actually has a pretty neat motivation secretly working toward a goal, and Parker is the only one who can stop him.  It’s pretty standard superhero fare, but man is it all in the execution.

Once-again, Tom Holland rocks this role.  I feel like I am legit watching Spider-Man live up to his namesake!  The acting is great all-around.  Holland rocks the main role.  His buddy Ned is pretty fun too.  He’s funny.  He plays the sidekick role really well.  Plus, you actually believe that him and Parker are friends.  Their friendship all comes through due to the chemistry of these actors.  Next up we have Aunt May, who is featured much less than I thought in this movie.  They also gave her glasses for some odd reason.  But you actually feel her compassion for Parker.  The love interest in the film is actually a pretty nice character.  I don’t care that they changed her ethnicity.  It’s all good to me.  I liked her character.

A role that stood out to me was the villain.  Everyone knows it’s the Vulture, so I’m not spoiling anything there.  But he is a pretty neat character.  So many superhero films lately have a problem of boring antagonists.  We actually get to see where this man’s motivations come from.  Is he super deep?  No.  But it’s a hell of a lot deeper than the paper-thin villains I have seen in some of Marvel’s movies.  Plus, he is played by Michael Keaton, who totally owns the role.  He is nefarious and in it for himself, but you can see where he’s coming from.  And I like how they were able to get past the whole “we’re not so different” angle in this film in a pretty clever way.

But there is one performance that just bugs me – Mary Jane.  Do I care that they also changed her ethnicity?  No.  Not even a little.  What I do care about is the fact that they made her into the biggest garden-variety SJW ever!  She’s annoying.  She’s preachy.  I half-expected her to talk about her Tumblr page, it’s that bad.  How Peter is going to get past that and want to be with her in future films is beyond me.  This character was downright insufferable.  Is this a nitpick?  Absolutely.  It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the film overall.  See, I can handle SJW pandering so long as it’s in a good movie.  But whoever directs this next, can we PLEASE make this character a little more likeable?

Tony Stark also comes back, and I was a little disappointed in this.  Robert Downey Jr was fine and all, but I was kind of thinking that Stark was going to go at this from the angle of him trying to become a father-figure in Peter’s life.  They framed it that way in the trailers.  There is one exceptionally-good moment where he is castigating Parker, but that’s pretty much it.

Finally, I have to talk about something which is a minor spoiler.  Spider-Man unlocks an AI program in the suit Stark left him, and she is entirely too much fun.  The scenes where her and Parker are arguing about stuff are just great.  Desperately hoping this character becomes a mainstay of the series.

The effects and action in this movie are pretty good, but since this film is really character-driven, I honestly don’t have much to say about that.  Vulture was a pretty good villain.  Seeing Spidey doing his thing is pretty awesome.

The final thoughts on this movie is that it’s loads of fun.  It’s not perfect.  It’s being held back by the fact that it has some scenes that drag and an SJW-tastic character who was grinding my gears every time her preachy ass was on screen.  But overall this was loads of fun, and it is my favorite Spider-Man film to date.  But here is where I am worrying.  Sony has said that after the last Avengers film, they are cutting ties to Disney’s Marvel.  Please don’t.  These people know what’s what!  Having their input has gotten you so much farther.  Let them stay involved.  Granted, Kevin Feige is leaving the MCU after this, which is when I plan on tuning out, so maybe it’s all for the best.  We’ll see what happens, but at least I finally got ONE good Spider-Man film that makes me believe this character is Spider-Man.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONU: How to Make Spider-Man Movies (Going Forward)

It seems that Disney’s Marvel has finally gotten the rights to the Spider-Man character.  I can already tell that this means that they will be making their own films based on this character.  But there is something that’s been rattling around my head for a while – how do they do this?  We’ve seen the origin story for this character.  Twice.  It’s beyond old-hat by now.  We know it, and it’s not that interesting.  So what should they do with a new series of films about this character?  I think I’ve got a solution.  Follow me on this.

First – don’t make another reboot of this film series.  I don’t mean to continue the continuity they already have.  That got bad pretty quick.  Make a new version of this character, but instead of rehashing what we already know, let’s just not talk about that.  Instead, I think that they should take a cue from one of the greatest things ever made – Batman: The Animated Series.  That show was almost perfect.  In every way, it was fantastic.  But you’ll notice something about the series – they don’t start at the beginning of the character.  Why?  Simple – we already know his origin story.  We know where Batman came from and how he got where he is.  Instead, they started not too far into his being a hero.  That’s brilliant!  The history of the character is shown in flash-backs and dialogue between characters.  So they are able to do what should be done – focus on the growth of the character as a hero.

This is what they should do with future Spider-Man films.  We should just keep going with the character.  Have films where we get to know him as a hero.  It also opens up us being able to know him as a character.  By making films that are set outside of the dumb continuity of this character, we can side-step a lot of the boredom associated with that story.  All the time can be spent getting to know Parker, his personal struggles, and even our villains.  Let’s take some time to get to know who these villains are and why they do what they do.  Give some real time for development.  It will make the fact that these are superhero films that much less boring.

I’m getting tired of the typical superhero formula.  It’s so often the same.  You have a hero coming in, fighting the bad guy and saving the day.  My favorite superhero films are ones that buck this trend, in some way or another.  Like how the new Captain America film has the heroes fighting each other.  That’s awesome!  In fact, just as a side-note, let’s get Daredevil from Netflix’s series in some of the new Spider-Man stuff.  Like maybe have those two fighting.  It’s an awesome character and an awesome series, and both of them are in New York anyway.  So let’s get them some screen time together!  The potential for this character and these films is all over the place.

Oh, while we’re at it – can we PLEASE get a film that has Black Cat in it?  The romance between those two was one of my favorite things about the REALLY poorly-animated cartoon Spider-Man series in the 90’s.  We have a chance for a clean slate with this character.  Let’s not fuck it up.  I like that the new Spider-Man is a lot younger.  This gives us plenty of chances to make him grow over time.  Let’s do this!

Who agrees with me?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“You know, if you’re gonna steal cars, don’t dress like a car thief.”  – Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man

Peace out,

Maverick