Category Archives: Editor’s Picks

Marvel’s Avengers Review

It’s hard to believe that until now there hasn’t been a major Avengers video game. The characters have appeared in fighters, the Marvel Ultimate Alliances, and of course LEGO games; but it’s been decades since there’s been a dedicated Avengers game and there’s never been one this big. That’s why when Crystal Dynamics revealed that they were working on an Avengers game a few years ago, it immediately became one of the most highly-anticipated video games. Now, at the end of a console generation, the game is finally here.

The question of whether or not it’s worth it almost depends on where your opinion lands on one of the bigger debates in modern video games. While Marvel’s Avengers does have a really excellent single-player campaign, that ten-to-twelve hour epic is really just an introduction to the main portion of the game that will keep it going for years to come. Meaning, the biggest part of Marvel’s Avengers is the “Games as a Service” co-op multiplayer mode that is very similar to Destiny.

Some gamers who believe that the definition of “video game” in 2020 is a cinematic over-the-shoulder strictly single-player adventure that’s exclusive to one plastic box are currently waging a war against a multi-platform service-based co-op multi-player game, and in the process they’re spreading a lot of misinformation to try to tear down a game they’ll never play. Let’s just address the microtransactions (or MTX) in the game that some of these people are calling “predatory” or “abusive”.

There’s no “pay to win” here. All of the MTX in the game are cosmetics; costumes, emotes, name plates, etc. There are “season pass” style things for each of the Avengers, but for the six that ship with the game these are free and, again, just unlock cosmetics. Completing these Challenge Cards will also earn you enough in-game currency to pay for the Challenge Cards of any post-launch heroes that are added (and the heroes, along with their story missions, are free). With that “controversy” out of the way, I had a great time playing through Marvel’s Avengers.

The single-player campaign, which will take you ten-to-twelve hours if you only do the campaign missions and don’t bother with any of the countless side-missions, is a fantastic Avengers story with a great voice cast. I actually laughed out loud at some of the banter between Avengers at times. Many people have complained that the characters don’t look like the MCU actors, but this game was never meant to be a movie adaptation any more than the PS4 Spider-Man game was supposed to have Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

Opening with an “Avengers Day” event where young Kamala Khan wins a fan fiction contest to go on the Chimera helicarrier, things quickly go bad with a new Terrigen reactor on the ship. You know this part of the story by now; bad things happen, the Avengers disband, and five years later Kamala is swept into an adventure to reassemble the team and find out the truth about what really happened on A-Day.

Kamala is the perfect choice to be the main character in the story, as she’s a huge Avengers fangirl, and she and Bruce form a nice father-daughter relationship. I hope the MCU’s Kamala is handled as well as the one in this video game. In fact all of the Avengers are handled perfectly, and they even picked some great music for Tony, but naming one of the bands will spoil one of the best moments late in the game. Speaking of late in the game, the ending to the campaign is amazing. You will spend time playing as all of the Avengers throughout the campaign, but the finale gives each member their time to shine and the cast is handled excellently in the final battle.

During the campaign the game will alternate between crafted story missions that continue the epic set-pieces that Crystal put in their last two Tomb Raider games, and some multi-player style missions. Obviously the story missions are the highlight, and including some of the MP style missions in the single-player game is a slight disappointment, but they’re still better than those stealth levels that broke up the action in the PS4’s Spider-Man game. There’s also one part in the campaign where you will need to “grind” a War Table mission or two to complete an assignment quest right before embarking on the final mission.

While you can jump right into the Avengers Initiative multi-player mode before tackling the campaign; playing through the single-player will unlock several costumes you can use in the MP modes and all of your gear and unlocks carry over. You’ll also learn each character by playing through the campaign, so I’d recommend doing that before diving into the multi-player modes.

If you played the beta, you’ve had a small sample of these modes. What the beta didn’t have was the full skill trees (there are now three tabs), and the factions. The factions are, again, similar to Destiny where completing tasks for them will unlock special bonuses. Their assignments work just like the ones in Destiny, where you pick the one you want from the faction vendor and then go and complete the quest in missions.

Playing the beta was just a taste of what the main game would have, such as the beta campaign missions actually being from about an hour into the final game. The beta also wasn’t as optimized as well as the final either. Playing on a PS4 Pro, the High Performance mode in the final game is much smoother than it was in the beta. The game also looks really impressive at times, and even almost next-gen in some parts, which makes sense as the game will be receiving upgrades on the next gen consoles and even PC (modders have already found high-res 4K textures that are too taxing for current graphics cards).

Again, whether or not Marvel’s Avengers will be something you’ll enjoy will really depend on how you feel about online co-op games. The campaign is excellent, and is the cinematic Marvel epic for 2020. Beyond that though is the main “meat” of the game, and it’s best described as Marvel Destiny. If you like Destiny and love Marvel, you’ll definitely like this game. I’m a big MMO player and still play WoW to this day, but I do like the genre on consoles as well. One of the first console MMOs was Phantasy Star Online on the Sega Dreamcast. It took years, but Destiny adapted that model to a FPS, and now Marvel’s Avengers takes it and applies it to a superhero game.

Those who believe they’re fighting a crusade to “save” cinematic single-player games will never play this, and they’ll continue to push outrage narratives to try to attack the game due to the genre its in. Yet, the game is a lot of fun. The campaign is very satisfying, and it’s fun to group up with friends as the Avengers and smash up some levels. The most exciting thing is the future, as there’s a huge list of post-launch heroes on the way that’ll keep the game fresh well into the next generation of consoles.

I really enjoyed my time with Marvel’s Avengers. The campaign was absolutely worth playing through and delivered a great Avengers story (with just enough dangling threads for future expansions), and the multi-player modes will give the game lots to come back for. If you’re a Marvel fan who likes online games that live on past the end of their single-player adventure, it’s pretty easy to recommend this Avengers game.

Game: [usr 4]

A copy of the game was provided by Square Enix for this review. Campaign completed, and multi-player modes played.

Marvel is Beginning to Lay the Groundwork For Their Greatest Villain in the MCU

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Disney’s purchase of Fox and those Marvel characters returning home isn’t so much the X-Men, but rather Marvel’s greatest super villain having the chance to be done right for the first time. Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four in the 90s gave us a decent Doctor Doom, but most audiences are more familiar with the botched Fox attempts at the character. But now Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are preparing to give the best comic book villain the respect he deserves.

Something Fox sort of ignored about Doctor Doom was the country of Latveria. Sure there were nods to it in the movies, but you never saw Doom ruling over his country, or even the country at all. It sounds like that won’t be an issue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we will see major Latverians other than Doom introduced, perhaps even as a way to set up the big guy. You know how Marvel likes to play the long game and set things up in advance.

Which brings us to the subject of this whole story. I’ve learned that Marvel Studios is planning to introduce Lucia Von Bardas to the MCU. In the comics, she’s actually the successor to Doctor Doom after he was deposed as the ruler of Latveria and even used the Doctor Doom name for a time. As we haven’t been introduced to Doom yet, it’s possible Lucia Von Bardas could be used as a way to introduce Latveria, perhaps even as its prime minister (as in the comics), who then would be replaced with Doom.

However she’s used in the MCU, that they’re wanting to bring in a character like Lucia Von Bardas shows that Marvel Studios knows that there is a lot more to Doctor Doom than him just screaming “Richards!” all the time. Fleshing out Doom with supporting characters like Lucia Von Bardas is similar to how they built up Wakanda before Black Panther was introduced in Civil War.

It’s really starting to sound like Doom is very close to making his long-awaited debut in the MCU, and movie audiences will finally be introduced to the greatest comic book super villain of them all.

Here’s How WB Can Make a Successful Superman Film

There’s been a lot of talk going around the internet about a rumor that Warner Brothers doesn’t believe a solo Superman movie can be successful.

Which is completely divorced from reality, as a solo Superman film can absolutely be a success. WB just needs to not repeat past mistakes and not be afraid to do something new, while at the same time embracing what Superman is and not trying to drastically change him into something they think would “resonate” more. Superman has been around for eighty-five years. He resonates fine. He’ll be around long after the people currently in charge of WB mess up some movie slate and bail out in a golden parachute. Superman is also bigger than petty Hollywood ego politics, and WB needs to realize that.

Here are some key ways they can make Superman successful again, if they’re not afraid to try them:

Be Inspired By Donner, But Don’t Copy

As good as Superman: Returns is, one of its biggest problems was trying to continue a movie series that began twenty-five years before its release. That plays to nostalgia, but it alienated a large portion of the potential audience who had no connection to those films. You can mine the Donner films for inspiration both on screen, in terms of the themes they got so right, but also behind-the-scenes with the philosophy that went into the first two films.

Verisimilitude. That’s the word Donner mandated the movies abide by. They made the films realistic and believable, while giving Superman the respect and reverence he deserved. Hell, they had the guy who wrote The Godfather write first draft of the script. Superman deserves that level of reverence. WB wouldn’t have a DC film franchise if it weren’t for Superman in the first place, so they shouldn’t treat him like some throwaway cameo.

Let Donner’s idea of Verisimilitude once again be the driving force behind a new Superman movie. Have Superman be an inspiration as he was in Donner’s films. But don’t try to make a carbon copy of them. Let their spirit show in what’s done behind and in front of the camera, but don’t be afraid to make it a modern superhero film.

Give Audiences a Villain They Haven’t Seen in Multiple Films

While they’re taking inspiration from what Donner did, don’t repeat the villains again for a very long time. Audiences have seen Lex Luthor and General Zod far too many times. It’s time to break that cycle and introduce new villains from the comics.

The Superman: Lives script in the 90s, which Kevin Smith was famously involved with, had the right idea. Brainiac was the main villain in that movie (and the script even had a Batman cameo at the funeral). That script obviously had some famous late-90s DC movie quirks, but it got the main villain right. And I have to admit I do kind of love it; even with the polar bear guards and giant spider.

Superman has more, and better, villains than Luthor or Zod. WB should not be afraid to use them. I’d love to see a full-on comic Brianiac on the big screen; Skull Ship, Bottled City of Kandor, and everything. How amazingly cool would that be?

Metallo, Parasite, Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, even Bizarro. There are a lot of villains to choose from, WB just needs to not be afraid to break the Luthor/Zod time loop they seem to be stuck in.

Do NOT Do What JJ Abrams Tried To

On the other side of the coin, do not try to do what JJ Abrams attempted with Superman: Flyby ever again.

He tried to reboot Superman with an edgy modern take. Krypton didn’t explode. Luthor was a secret Kryptonian. And they basically made a new Zod with Ty-Zor. It was Superman fighting a Kryptonian Civil War, and the action was pretty much identical what we eventually saw with the Neo vs Smith fight in The Matrix: Revolutions.

Every single person who ever complains about Man of Steel should be required to read JJ Abrams’ Superman: Flyby script to truly see how terribly wrong a Superman movie could be. With the rumors of WB wanting JJ involved in a Superman movie, I really hope he learned his lesson from the backlash over that script.

Superman Does Not Need to be ‘Reinvented’

This is something you see a lot of people preach when it comes to making a new Superman, and it’s the exact philosophy that led to that blasphemous JJ Abrams Superman: Flyby script. For 85 years Superman has been a shining beacon of unwavering morality, always standing up for what’s good over evil. Sure, there have been reboots and revisions in the comics over the decades, but the core of who Superman is has never changed. And there’s no reason why he has to change for the movie.

People will turn up for a good Superman standalone film. But WB also has to respect their audience and realize that we’ve all seen Krypton blow up multiple times before. We’ve all seen Superman’s origin. And we’ve all seen way too much Lex Luthor and General Zod.

WB doesn’t need to reboot Superman again. They have the perfect man with Cavill. We’ve seen his origin. We’ve seen him deal with Zod and Luthor. It’s time for WB to give Cavill an epic solo outing where Kal can save the world from one of Superman’s many threats.

Henry Cavill is also very well read with Superman. He knows the character as well as any of the comic writers. Give him a seat at the table creatively. Trust him. He will give you an ideal to strive towards. You’ve already stumbled and fallen. It’s time to join him in the sun. Cavill can help you accomplish wonders.

The Clone Wars Eventually Won Over Fans as One of the Best Star Wars Ever On Screen

We didn’t know what to make of you at first, but you grew up into some of the best Star Wars ever put to screen.

Twelve years ago an animated Star Wars movie hit theaters. It introduced a Padawan for Anakin that was never mentioned during Revenge of the Sith, and fans weren’t quite sure what to make of this CG animated version of The Clone Wars, especially after the Clone Wars micro-series was so well received prior to the release of Episode III in theaters. And if you thought it was strange to see Star Wars movies without the Fox logo on the digital releases, imagine how fans felt seeing the Warner Brothers logo before one.

But this animated series that some dismissed as just a kids show due to the focus on Anakin’s Padawan Ahsoka, quickly blasted those ideas with a hyperlaser. The series, set in the years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, was telling the story of a war that changed the Star Wars galaxy forever. A war that required it to get downright dark and definitely not kid-friendly in the later seasons.

It laid the groundwork for fan favorites such as Rogue One, Rebels, and Solo: A Star Wars Story by introducing characters and setting others up for their places in those movies and shows. Saw in Rogue One was created in The Clone Wars, an animated series, and then brought into live action. Those who didn’t watch The Clone Wars would have no idea how Darth Maul appears alive at the end of Solo. And the Rebels animated series continues Ahsoka’s story, which definitely still isn’t over.

Ever since Obi-Wan talked to Luke about The Clone Wars in A New Hope, Star Wars fans have wondered what that war was about. In the movies we got to see the beginning and end of it, but The Clone Wars told the whole story. Those fans who questioned why Anakin had a Padawan we never heard about in Revenge of the Sith got the answer to that complaint, and it’s one of the best stories in all of Star Wars. One that makes Vader and even better character than before, and one that introduced a new character we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future. The Clone Wars is an integral part of Star Wars canon.

With the Seige of Mandalore complete and we see how Ahsoka’s story tied into Revenge of the Sith, The Clone Wars has ended. But Star Wars fans are eternally thankful for Dave Filoni and crew for delivering one of the greatest Star Wars stories ever. Geroge picked his Padawan well, and with Dave being involved with the future of the franchise; fans have a lot of great Star Wars to look forward to. And it all started with a little cartoon that many weren’t sure about in the beginning.

Everything Known About the MCU’s R-Rated Deadpool 3

When Ryan Reynolds officially confirmed that he and Marvel Studios are working on Deadpool 3 this past week, naturally all sorts of questions popped up again.

Despite the ratings question and the MCU question having been answered multiple times in the past, people still are curious about where Deadpool 3 will land in terms of the MCU and if it’ll be Rated R. I’ve gathered all of the evidence and compiled it all in one article so everyone can see the answers to both questions.

Hopefully this will be helpful and can be referred back to for all of those answers…

Will Deadpool 3 Be Rated R?

This the biggest question everyone has, and it’s actually been answered from the day that Disney announced they were buying Fox. On that day back in 2017, Disney held a conference call with investors, and one specifically asked Bob Iger about Deadpool and its R rating. The Disney CEO replied by saying:

“It clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”

And there’s precedent for this. Despite some people having the belief that Disney has never released an R-Rated movie. While the “Walt Disney Pictures” label never did, they produced other names to release R-Rated films. In the 80s Touchstone Pictures was created specifically to release those type of movies, but they’ve had other brands over the years such as Hollywood Pictures, Dimension, and of course Miramax in the 90s.

The the modern era, only Touchstone stuck around for a while (Disney used it to release the Dreamworks movies they distributed), but like Iger said there’s an opportunity for a specific R-Rated Marvel brand. They did that in the comics, with Marvel MAX, so it’s something that could happen with the movies.

Iger reiterated this just recently when on an earnings call in February of 2019 he hinted that they could be making more R-Rated movies beyond Deadpool:

We do believe there is room for the Fox properties to exist without significant Disney influence over the nature of the content. Meaning that we see that there is certainly popularity amongst Marvel fans for the R-rated Deadpool films, for instance we’re going to continue in that business, and there might be room for more of that.

But the CEO of the company isn’t the only one to confirm that Deadpool would remain R-Rated in the MCU. When doing press for Zombieland: Double Tap, the Deadpool writers confirmed they’ve been talking to Marvel and were promised that they could remain R-Rated:

“I think the party line and truth is we’re all still figuring it out. Marvel has promised to continue to let us play in the R-rated Deadpool universe, and the hope is that they will also let us veer into the MCU a little bit as well and play in that sandbox.”

Paul Wernick to Entertainment Weekly, October 14, 2019

There you have not one, but three separate confirmations that Deadpool will remain R-Rated at Marvel; two of which come from the CEO of Disney.

Will Deadpool 3 Be Part of the MCU?

With the ratings question out of the way, then everyone wants to know if Deadpool 3 would be part of the MCU or a separate Marvel universe.

Disney CEO Bob Iger first addressed this in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in September of 2018, saying that there will only be one Marvel:

I think it only makes sense. I want to be careful here because of what’s been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn’t be two Marvels.

Bob Iger to The Hollywood Reporter, September 20 2018

A year after that, in Disney’s 3rd Quarter earnings call back in August of 2019, Iger confirmed that Kevin Feige is overseeing Deadpool:

We see great long term value in a broad collection of theatrical IP we acquired from Fox, including iconic movie franchises such as Avatar and Planet of the Apes. As well as Marvel’s X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool. Which are now part of Marvel Studios, under the leadership of Kevin Feige; the architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which now includes twenty-three movies with a global box office of more than twenty-two billion dollars to date.

Once again, it’s not just the CEO of Disney confirming that Deadpool is part of the MCU. The writers of the movies have confirmed that they’re excited to play in the MCU sandbox:

We definitely we want to play in the sandbox,” Reese said. “One of the great things about the MCU is how rich and broad it is. For instance, just think about the world of villains, how great the world of villains are. We’re never able to use a lot of those villains because they were on the MCU. Well, now we can. So, right away, we’re definitely excited about getting the shot to do that. I think Ryan is too. I think the MCU people are too, just the idea of throwing Deadpool into the mix is exciting to them.

Rhett Reese to ComicBook.com, October 17 2019

Beyond those three confirmations, Deadpool 3 is being produced by Kevin Feige and Ryan Reynolds. In the Marvel Studios era, if a movie or TV show is produced by Feige; that means it’s part of the MCU.

Are Deadpool and Deadpool 2 Canon to the MCU Now?

Honestly this is kind of a dumb question and really seems like one people try to use to discredit the MCU one above.

Deadpool is a “meta” character, meaning he exists outside the normal continuity in his solo adventures (team-ups are different; obviously). It’s true in the comics, and it’s definitely true in the movies.

The two Fox Deadpool movies were set in the X-Men universe, but they were definitely out of continuity. Deadpool 2 was set in modern day, but it features the 90s Dark Phoenix X-Men cast as a cameo gag.

And honestly, even coming from the Fox universe, it isn’t hard to integrate Deadpool as-is to the MCU. The first Deadpool featured an old-style S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in the film’s climax, and also guest-starred fan-favorite stooge Hydra Bob. Then Deadpool 2 was filled with MCU references and jokes.

That means you shouldn’t expect Deadpool 3 to be a reboot, but don’t count on the old movies affecting MCU canon as they already existed outside of continuity.

Again, hopefully this article collected enough evidence to show you that the upcoming Deadpool 3 is both going to be Rated-R and part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

“The Saga Ends” is an ominous phrase for a Star Wars fan such as me. As someone who grew up with the Original Trilogy and can still remember where the theaters existed where I saw the movies, I’ve spent forty years hearing from George Lucas how the saga was meant to be nine (occasionally twelve) films. And now that final installment is here.

I’ve been pretty vocal over the last five years how I wasn’t a huge fan of The Force Awakens. While I love the new characters, it didn’t feel like a sequel to Return of the Jedi. The movie felt like an intentional retread of A New Hope while JJ Abrams went down a nostalgia checklist in the hopes to woo back the fans who spent the Prequel years cursing George Lucas’ name and claiming he “raped their childhoods”. 

One of my fondest memories of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (and, yes, the Prequels) is how each movie felt new and introduced something to Star Wars we haven’t seen before. Empire gave us a snow planet and the AT-ATs, and for a kid in 1983 the B-Wing from Jedi was the coolest thing ever. I’m happy that The Rise of Skywalker does introduce new things. The Sith Troopers remind me a lot of seeing the red Imperial Guards in Jedi for the first time, there are some really cool new environments on display, and we get some great new characters such as the droidsmith Babu Frick who is almost the film’s Baby Yoda.

In returning to Star Wars, JJ Abrams had to do something with The Rise of Skywalker he really hasn’t had to do before. He had to craft an ending to the mysteries he setup for others to solve in The Force Awakens. And for the most part, he succeeds. I think he almost falls down the nostalgia pit he did in The Force Awakens with the amount of fan service, but the movie isn’t a direct repeat of Return of the Jedi outside of some rhyming, which is the sort of thing Lucas would’ve probably done. 

It’s difficult to really discuss the movie without going into spoilers, but with everything with this trilogy there will be people who will love it but will be drowned out by daily angry videos on YouTube screaming that they’re wrong for liking it. That’s unavoidable with anything related to Star Wars in the YouTube era, and it’s really frustrating.

Something I like most about it is how the trio is together for a good chunk of it. In the time since TLJ, you get the sense that they’ve become a group of friends. Finn and Poe especially have a fun rivalry, but can become partners when it matters. They remind me of Apollo and Starbuck from the original Battlestar Galactica.

Leia is actually in the movie a lot more than you’d expect, as it becomes obvious that it’s a lot more than just some unused footage from The Force Awakens. But it’s done well, and there’s only one part where you really know it wasn’t Carrie there. In regards to Lando, Billy Dee showed up and lights up every shot Lando is involved with. It was an absolute joy to see him back.

You’re going to see some reviewers this week saying they’re “conflicted” over decisions made in the movie. What that really means is that they’re upset that JJ Abrams didn’t read their mind and use their fan theory about Rey (or whatever) that they’ve been pushing for the past five years. The exact same thing happened with George Lucas. When the Prequels he made didn’t match the prequels people invented in their heads over eighteen years; toxic fans drove him away from Star Wars.

Something that has to be said about the Sequel Trilogy as a whole, that a lot of the angry voices out there seem to be uninformed on, is that George’s touch is on these movies from the beginning. The main character of this trilogy was always meant to be a girl learning to become a Jedi. It was never going to be a boy just being a repeat of Luke Skywalker.

People also don’t seem to realize that George spent the years following the Original Trilogy raising three kids, two of which were girls. As a single father George Lucas adopted them, so the theme of an orphan finding a family is something that makes a lot of sense in a Star Wars movie given that background. 

With that in mind, The Rise of Skywalker wraps up the Skywalker Saga in a way that you could have seen George Lucas doing it, based on the themes of an orphan girl learning to become a Jedi and finding a family. 

I think far too many people on the internet rush to judge Star Wars on what they would do, and not what the creator would have done. Which has been a problem for twenty years, ever since the Prequels, so it’s not exactly new. We’ve also been deprived of J.W. Rinzler “Making of” tomes for this trilogy to detail such things as George’s overall plan, which is a shame as his Original Trilogy books are absolutely required reading. 

Fans who actually like Star Wars will probably be happy with the epic scale in the movie and the surprises that tie all nine movies together. Five years ago, they intentionally removed Prequel stuff from The Force Awakens, now there are some cool Prequel surprises in this if you look and listen carefully. It’s almost as if someone convinced JJ that there is an entire generation of Star Wars fans who grew up with those movies and not the OT. Even the animated series are woven into this epic finale.

I’ve loved Star Wars from the day I opened my eyes, and I’ll love Star Wars until the day I forever sleep. There are things in every Star Wars movie I don’t like. I can’t stand the Jabba scene in A New Hope because it’s redundant and just repeats the information relayed in the Greedo scene, but that doesn’t make me go record an angry YouTube video calling it a “total cinematic failure”. There are some things in The Rise of Skywalker that bug me, but they’re spoilery yet don’t completely ruin the movie.

The Rise of Skywalker is a Star Wars movie. Meaning people are going to argue about it for years to come, and then people will change their mind in a decade or so when there’s another major thing to complain about. 

I admit I haven’t been a huge JJ Abrams fan; I like a lot of what he does, but I also dislike an equal amount. The stupidity of the Into Darkness script sends me into a rage. But I think The Rise of Skywalker is my favorite movie of his. It does tie all nine movies together with some big surprises for those who don’t seek out spoilers, and it’s easily John Williams’ best Star Wars score since the Prequels and my personal favorite score of his since the first Harry Potter.

I personally loved how it wrapped up the Skywalker Saga, especially the entire second half of the movie, and I enjoyed it a lot more than The Force Awakens. Part of me is sad to see such a major part of my life come to a close, but I’m also excited for an uncharted future in a galaxy far far away…