Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Injustice Has Risen Again!

Injustice 2 has finally arrived after being highly anticipated by gamers and fans of DC comics. Injustice follows the saga of Superman when he turns to the dark side after being tricked into killing his pregnant wife, Lois Lane. The once great champion of Earth would go on to kill everyone who didn’t see things his way along with several other members of the Justice League under a new faction called The Regime. Batman from that Earth would later bring in the Justice League from another Earth to ultimately defeat them and the man of steel is last seen rotten inside a cell. The game was revolutionary with introducing fans a much darker side of the superheroes and giving fans the chance to put their favorite superheroes against each other.
This game takes off several years after the events of the first game and starts off with one of the new characters, Supergirl. Her origin story gives you a brief glimpse of the same evil that’s coming to Earth to destroy it. Once that evil arrives, Batman is left with a terrible choice to either accept the help of his former best friend, or try to face the evil on his own. Through a series of events, things begin to unravel and heroes who were once villains get the chance to redeem themselves for their past deeds. It’s a well written story that gives players an option to decide how the story will end.
Injustice 2 has major upgrades as far as character selection and customization goes. Each character has tons of gear to choose from, but that depends on how quickly you earn it. You can achieve gear by winning matches, playing through the storyline, and even buying motherboxes. Motherboxes in DC comics are these boxes of advanced technology and great power that gave Victor Stone his cyborg body. In the game, they’re designed to contain different level gear that you buy or earn depending on the kind of box you get.
There are different kinds of boxes and there is a different kind of currency, coins and source crystals. Coins are used to buy the motherboxes and crystals are used in case you get a high-level gear, but you don’t like the look of it and you can use the crystals to change it. There are also different shaders to change the color of your hero or villain as you choose. Quick note for those that have the ultimate pass and downloaded the extra characters John Stewart, Reverse Flash, and Powergirl. You can access them by going into customizations and click the shaders with their names under the characters Green Lantern, Flash, and Supergirl.
The best improvement of this game has to be its multiverse mode which gives players an overwhelming amount of options. For those who are familiar with Mortal Kombat, this is how you’re going to go to tournaments and find out the special ending for each character. First you play three tutorials, then you have access to different Earths and one battle simulation, that’s your tournament to get the endings. The rest of the planets recycle various stories for you to decide to take. The bigger the planet, the better rewards will follow, and that offers hours of play time for fans of this franchise.  
While this game has surpassed the previous one, there are some let downs in the game that may disappoint some fans. One is the control system which is virtually the same for all the characters who were in the previous game. If you were looking for new powers to use, then you’re only going to get them in the new characters. There’s plenty of environmental damage, but the transitions aren’t anything spectacular. The Super Moves are about par compared to the ones seen in the first game.

Other than that, this game is virtually perfect and I give Injustice 2 a 9 out of 10. There are countless hours of playtime in this game with endless possibilities of the multiverse, the roster and storyline. The graphics are good, the gameplay is simple and easy, and there will no doubt be a sequel on the way. The flaws are minor at best and fans of Injustice will not be disappointed when they put out that sixty bucks, but personally, I go ahead and pay the hundred and get the ultimate edition. Injustice 2 has been well worth the wait and I’m already waiting for the next installment. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

The Guardians returned last week to marvelous number when it became Marvel Studio’s 15th film to become the number one opening movie of the week. This was the film to kick off the summer with the return of the galaxy’s favorite band of knuckle heads who went off on another beautiful adventure. The scenes involving planets were beautiful and vibrant, while the story was filled with repetitive comedy throughout a moderate storyline. I wouldn’t say that this film was better than its predecessor, but it was just as good. Worth the price for primetime, but not the price for an Imax ticket.

The Guardians of the Galaxy is a sci-fi franchise of Marvel Comics that’s based around certain characters such as Peter Quill or Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Batista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel). Once misfits, assassins, thieves and warriors; now heroes for hire that go around to protect the galaxy after word spreads of their heroic deeds. This sequel takes off after the events of the first film which is some time after when Groot is now a baby, Drax has more words in his vocabulary, and Star-Lord has become the solid leader he’s meant to be. After coming to the aid of a certain planet, the gang is thrown into the void after the arrival of a celestial being (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Peter’s father.

It was revealed in the last film that Peter was only have human and the other half is a powerful mystery since he was able to withstand the power of an infinity stone. For those that don’t follow, it’s a stone that could kill you with a touch because it’s overwhelming with power. You need a special glove to contain the power and manipulate it to your benefit. Peter and others decide to humor this claim and leave with this being to investigate while others stay behind due to rising tensions within the group. The subplot in this film is centered around Peter’s former mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker). His performance was spot on with providing a mixture of depression, anger and search for redemption after receiving devastating news.

Michael Rooker, in my opinion, is the unsung hero in this film that provides a surprising twist in the film that will leave the audience crying. Kurt Russell plays an excellent villain, even though I thought some of his dialogue could’ve been altered. The story was virtually obvious because you can tell most of the time what’s going to happen. While the action was solid and the comedy keeps people laughing, it started to almost disrupt the seriousness of certain situations. In the main fight, something happens that makes you laugh, but makes you ask in the back of your mind, “Why?”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is filled with action and comedy that makes this a family friendly film that’s expected from Marvel Studios. The retro soundtrack is filled with new oldies from the golden age of music and baby Groot steals the show in many scenes. There are five surprises throughout the credits, but only one of them seems relevant and the others were put in for comedic purposes. I have to give this film an 8 out of 10 because of the minor tweaks involving the overuse of comedy and obvious storyline. This film has set the standard for this year’s summer movie line-up, so let’s hope Wonder Woman meets that bar or surpasses.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bates Motel is Closed

After five seasons, Bates Motel has come to a close with mixed reviews from fans of the original Psycho, and fans of the show itself. Bates Motel kicked off on a very slippery slope because this was a prequel leading up to the events made famous by the iconic director, Alfred Hitchcock. It immediately grabbed the attention of would be fans and fans of the original story by staying true to the eerie world of Norman Bates and Mother. The show introduced the audience to a human side of the famous serial killer while throwing a curveball here and there. Now the series is over and it’s been a hell of a ride for Freddie Highmore (Norman) and Vera Farmiga (Norma/Mother).

Allow me to digress for a minute so those who may not know what I’m talking about can catch up. In the film, Psycho, Norman Bates is a lonely man who lives with his mother in a creepy house that oversees their motel. Then a famous scene happens involving a woman in a shower with a knife and Hersey’s chocolate being poured down the shower drain. The film would go on to become a phenomenon and would spawn several sequels with Anthony Perkins, then a remake starring Vince Vaughn in 1998. In 2013, A&E would bring a different version of Norman Bates to life with the help of Vera Farmiga.

The first season was focused firmly on Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates and how her dark past was somehow passed onto Norman. Slowly but surely, things become clear as Norman begins to go down his dark path that would eventually lead him to his iconic fate. Now there were some surprises thrown into the mix with the arrival of Norman’s brother, Dylan (Max Thieriot). The other addition to this crazy pot is the local sheriff, Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell). The world of Norma and Norman Bates only gets darker with each season that passes and the show did a superb job showing Norman’s “blackouts” from his point of view.

More light is brought into the dark mind of Norman that makes the audience connect with him as a person just when you start to think he’s just a savage killer. Norman is always trying to do the right thing to an extent until something happens that triggers his alternate personality and the rest is history. It’s been a long ride filled with homage to the classic and surprises that makes this series its own story that separates it from the original. The finale ends with an epic showdown between brothers when Dylan must realize the monster Norman has become due to his mental instability.

The series ended in the best way it could in my opinion. It didn’t end the way most fans of the original thought it should have ended, but everyone else seems to have accepted it. Instead of seeing a dark ending that leaves the possibility for a revival, fans see closure with a heartwarming ending that brings people together in different ways. I hope this won’t be the last time that I see Freddie Highmore because he did a fantastic job as Norman. Bates Motel was a short but sweet series that’s well worth the watch and so all I can say to close this is, “Goodbye mother.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dedicated to all the Another Ones

Another Someone


Anthony Labson

Everyone has a job to do

but someone doesn’t care.

So someone gets lazy

and another one has to do it.

Somebody says a thing to someone.

Trying so hard, just to get someone to do their job.

But Somebody has done everything that can be thought of.

But someone is unwilling to get involved.

Another one keeps picking up the slack,

hoping that it will lead to advancements.

But the commitment turns to handicapped.

Another one becomes too valuable to lose.

Instead of another one getting what they deserve,

they are crippled by the actions of someone.

Somebody won’t make their job worse

by losing another one and be left with someone.

Another one is getting tired of dealing with someone.

Someone ignores another one’s frustration.

Someone keeps doing the same routine

and another one has had enough.

So another one leaves with

hopes that someone will finish for once.

But someone remains lazy and useless

and Somebody just gets frustrated.

Instead of just getting rid of someone,

Somebody lost another one.

Now Somebody has nightmares of what happens

if Somebody hires another someone.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nice Guys Finish Best

Who was it that said,

“Nice guys finished last?”

Was it a philosopher or a doctor

who made that claim off years of study

and research?

Or was it some douche that

had nothing better to do than sit around

and not make a thing of himself

and spend so much time in regret that

he would make one claim make his life have meaning?

Who turned life into a race?

I haven’t lived a fast life, and here’s why.

I wasn’t the bad boy in high school who

got in trouble with the police, but

I also wasn’t the nerd who didn’t go out

and studied every minute of the day.

I was just a guy who did what felt right

whether it was studying for a test

or going out to spend time

with the people that made my life great.

I am not a millionaire like so many others

that have taken the fast route.

Some went down the path of drugs,

others the path of sports and entertainment,

and some just became thieves in the political or financial ring.

They all started getting what they wanted quick --

the money, cars, house, company.

But then came all the stuff that took up their time:

promotions, shoots, and meetings.

Twenty-two-hour days that go by so fast

it only feels like an eight-hour shift.

The price for being a millionaire.

I took the slow route --a job that may not make me rich but

will give me the time I need with my family.

I may not have the fancy cars or the big house but

there are some things I have that make me

better than any millionaire out there.

I have my privacy because nobody wants to hear

from someone who isn’t on the top of the mountain.

I have children whom I can recall their birthday, know their favorite color,

go to all of their soccer and baseball games, and go to their school plays.

People know the shape of my heart

when I have time to donate the little money I have

and spend time with the ones who lost their way

and spun off the track.

Unlike the millionaire who gives just for

“Good publicity,”

who throws money at the problems

thinking that’s all that’s needed to solve it.

I have a wife who also has a good job

and does her part by the kids.

She knows me and knows she’s my reason for living.

My muse, my love.

Unlike the millionaires wife.

She sits around and watches “The View”

or the food network, like she could cook anyway.

She is probably some teen out of high school that’s obviously

digging for gold and waiting for her husband to die.

When that happens, she won’t be there for him,

and that’s when he’ll realize his mistakes and cry.

When it’s my time, my family will rejoice,

and I will be thankful for all that I’ve experienced

because, unlike some, I may have finished last,

but that just means I had more time

before I reached that line.

Life may be a race, but that doesn’t mean the fastest ones win.

Remember the hare lost the race for a reason.

We only get one chance at life.

It’s a shame to go so fast that you don’t know

where you’ve been.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Helping Hand.

As an aspiring writer and author, it's important to always offer a helping hand to others in the same pursuits as myself. So I was asked to listen to The Acoustic Project and here is the link to their page. It's a five track project that's available for a purchase of $4.00 and was well done by this group of independents. While their feature track is Forget the Truth, my personal favorite is Prayers for Peace. I think that's what we all need right now considering where this world is heading. Good luck to the group and I wish them good fortune in their future.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Doctor Who Arrives to Welcome The Class

Peter Capaldi returns for his confirmed final season as the universe’s favorite doctor with a new companion in Pearl Mackie who plays Bill Potts. Bill Potts is a worker at a university that catches the eye of the doctor and a friendship immediately emerges when a new threat arrives. Her introduction comes off clueless at times, but it’s forgivable considering she’s dealing with extraterrestrial forces and the Doctor must explain everything. The Pilot foreshadows a plot when it’s revealed why the Doctor is at the university and there’s several eggs in the episode that will have people reflecting on the doctor’s past. There was some issue considering Pearl Mackie’s character because she’s gay in the series.

Personally, I think it’s sad but overall, that’s how people feel, so whatever. The only problem I had with her again is she’s clueless. Probably the most clueless out of all the new generation of the Doctor’s companions but it’s forgivable. Bill Potts comes off as a good-hearted individual who makes the most out of life with what she has. Being without a mother, she sees the doctor as the one figure in her life that she can rely on for guidance. It was a good first episode for her and it’ll be interesting to see how she’s connected to the season in the same way most of the doctor’s companions are.  

The episode was moderate at best considering the roller coaster ride that season nine was. After losing Clara Oswald, it was clear that Peter Capaldi’s reign as the Doctor would soon come to an end as he enters his third season. It’s normal timing considering famous doctors such as David Tennant and Matt Smith. Don’t know how many of you feel, but Peter Capaldi isn’t one of my favorite doctors but he will be missed. There’s no word on who will replace him as the doctor but we will find out when the doctor regenerates in the Christmas special this year.

Class kicked off last night and I had to watch it twice because I didn’t know how to feel about it the first time. It starts off slow with the introduction of the main characters at Coal Hill School which was featured in the first episode of Dr. Who back in the 1960s. The school has been seen in several different seasons since and so this is almost a homage to that. The chemistry between certain characters is strong but some characters feel irrelevant or replaceable. Things get serious when one of the main characters reveal his origin and why a mysterious creature is hunting him and his “protector.”

The main villain comes off strong which saves the show and the Doctor makes a special appearance which was nice. By the end of the first episode, it’s clear where the series will go if it continues production. Class is a 50/50 considering how much of a fan you are, but I’m willing to give it a few more episodes. The only thing that could hurt it is if it relied too much on the doctor’s presence in the series. So far, Class gets a grade of C but the season is far from over and there’s time to improve.