Has Nick Fury Been Preparing for the Events of Avengers 4 All Along?

So let me preface this post by mentioning that I do not read comic books. I love comic book movies, I love the animated TV shows, and I even love the games, but I have probably read about 4 comics in my life and only one of them was about superheroes. The reason I mention this is because my theory may or may not be explained within comics and similarly, it may be completely contradicted by comics. Anyway, this theory is going to revolve primarily around Nick Fury and the upcoming Captain Marvel movie and Avengers 4. You don’t need to worry about spoilers because everything I will be discussing has either been mentioned in previous movies or was in the Captain Marvel trailer.

Let me just also mention the intention of this post. I’m not simply implying that Nick Fury has been preparing for ‘a’ threat but rather a specific threat. My concerns with Captain Marvel (given that we’ve had 10 years worth of movies) is that it takes place in the past and yet she hasn’t been directly mentioned at all, only hinted at during the post-credits scene of Infinity War. My theory (or observation) is that Captain Marvel will still make complete sense in relation to the events and characters that we’ve already seen within the MCU (which will take place in the future in relation to Captain Marvel).

Background

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia

It’s probably also worth mentioning that I was slightly under the influence of marijuana when this idea popped into my head. I was watching Avengers: Assemble (which I believe is just called Avengers outside of the UK) and it took me about an hour to get through the first 15 minutes because I created about four separate word documents covering random shit. I created character profiles and discussed the motivations of certain Avengers, and I started compiling evidence of how Iron Man is a hypocrite in every single movie he is in. Maybe these will float to the surface at a later date but today I’m going to focus on a theory that took up less than 2 lines of one of the word documents.

So what is the theory? In order to understand that, I want to discuss a very clear problem with the Captain Marvel movie: it takes place in the 1990s, so why have the events of the movie never been mentioned within the MCU? We know that Nick Fury was there, we know that Phil Coulson was there, and we know that Project Pegasus (the name of the base that gets blown up at the start of the first Avengers movie) was also a part of it. These could be inconsistencies but there is also a larger issue at stake which leads us to question the motivations of Nick Fury, but before I discuss that, I need to explain what Captain Marvel is ultimately going to be about.

The Skrulls

Nick Fury MCU

image via Screen Rant

So just to reiterate, I don’t read comic books. So if my information in this part is wildly off, I do apologise. As far as we can tell, Captain Marvel will cover the invasion of the Skrulls who are essentially an alien species that can shapeshift (or something similar) in order to look like anyone. Outside of the MCU in Agents of SHIELD (which is still the same universe but just isn’t “cinematic”) the Skrulls are mentioned during a storyline involving the Kree. Just in case you need a reminder, the Kree are the big blue fucks e.g. Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy (a character also listed as appearing in Captain Marvel). Anyway, the Kree and the Skrulls were at war which is why the Kree begin creating Inhumans on Earth as part of an army that will fight the Skrull.

Arguably, this is a storyline that has been running for almost as long as the Thanos one. I think the Kree and the idea of Inhumans started back in season 2 of Agents of SHIELD, so about 4 years ago. This raises another problem with Captain Marvel because Inhumans haven’t so much as been mentioned in the movies and yet it seems like they play an important role in both the Kree and Skrull storylines. It’s somewhat annoying because there is no way that the Agents of SHIELD characters (such as Daisy Johnson) will ever make an appearance in the MCU.

Anyway, I don’t want to delve too deep into the MCU lore. I just wanted to cover the basics here of who the Skrull are and what their motivations might be within Captain Marvel. If these creatures can take on the shape of any person, you can understand why they pose such a major threat. I’m pretty sure I read something somewhere that one of the main characters in the comics turned out to be Skrull. It might even have been a few of them but I can’t fully remember. Anyway, that’s all you really need to know about the Skrull in order for my theory to make sense.

Phase 02

Nick Fury MCU

image via The Film Geek Blog

As I mentioned already, this theory popped into my head while watching the first Avengers movie. There were two moments that made me stop the movie so I could type some notes.

  1. Why would Nick Fury (and SHIELD) be hoarding Hydra weapons with the intentions of making weapons of mass destruction?
  2. Why would Nick Fury go along with Project Insight?

I want to discuss each of these questions because when you begin to explore them, they actually make sense when you consider the Captain Marvel movie…and only when you consider it, otherwise they are completely illogical.

So why would Fury and SHIELD by hoarding the Hydra weapons from Captain America: The First Avenger? I know he gives an explanation (he essentially blames Thor and the events in New Mexico) but it seems a little weak, especially when you consider that Fury has been through the events of the Captain Marvel film, whatever they may be. We know from Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Fury has a history of ignoring commands in favour of what he deems to be the right decision. Even in the Avengers movie he goes against the wishes of the Council at literally opportunity.

Secondly, why would Nick Fury, a man completely against widespread destruction and unnecessary death, be in support of Project Insight? He knew how deadly they would be, he knew that in the wrong hands they would be devastating, and yet he took the risk. Why?

Project Insight

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel-Movie Wikia

Project Insight is one of the more important aspects of my theory. I know that Project Insight isn’t a major story arc until The Winter Soldier but it’s actually mentioned in the first Avengers movie…at least that is my understanding of the scene. When Phase 2 is discovered and Cap, Tony, Thor and Bruce confront Nick Fury, Natasha mentions something. She says that SHIELD has a watch-list that includes the people in the room. Bruce asks her “And Captain America is on that list?” clearly questioning why SHIELD would have the most moral person on the carrier on a watch-list. Natasha replies with “We all are!”

It would seem like a pretty huge coincidence if the same watch-list that is in SHIELD’s possession in Avengers just also happens to be the list used by Hydra when commencing Project Insight. I mean as far back as the post-credits scene of the first Iron-Man movie, Nick Fury asks Tony “you think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it.”

Arguably, Fury and SHIELD could have that list entirely for the purposes of recruiting certain heroes to the Avengers and keeping an eye on the others…or, alternatively, this list could exist in order to monitor the largest threats. If the Skrull can impersonate anyone, certain individuals are going to pose a larger threat than others. How do you deal with an invasion that is taking place right under your nose? You build helicarriers that scan the DNA of the population of the world in order to determine whether they are human or Skrull…unfortunately, Hydra derailed this plan.

The Theory

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I propose (and I’m not saying that this was purposefully done by Marvel, don’t believe they had this level of foresight) that Nick Fury has been preparing for the bigger threat all along. During the invasion of New York why wouldn’t he have paged Captain Marvel? The world wasn’t at risk, just New York and perhaps he had faith that the Avengers could fix things. When Ultron hijacks the internet, intent on eradicating humanity, why doesn’t he page Captain Marvel? Again, perhaps he thought the Avengers could handle it. These are just excuses though and don’t actually relate to my point.

So why would Nick Fury risk hoarding Hydra weapons and creating mass-murder helicarriers with certain individuals being kept on a watch-list? Could it be that he was preparing for the Skrull invasion? Could it be that during the events of Captain Marvel, Nick Fury witnesses first-hand how insane the universe really is and so he takes it upon himself to try and prepare for another incident of that level? We can only assume that since her movie, Captain Marvel has been away fighting Skrull in the same way that the Avengers were still wiping out Hydra cells in Age of Ultron.

Avengers 4

Nick Fury MCU

image via the Shittest New-Outlet in the Universe

So why wouldn’t Nick Fury tell any of the Avengers this? There is a scene in The Winter Soldier that answers this question. Early in the movie, Cap confronts Fury about not sharing the details of the operation. Fury says “the last time I trusted someone I lost an eye” which happens to be something that will take place in Captain Marvel (given that he has both eyes in the trailer). A coincidence? I think not! I think that the events of Captain Marvel give Fury enough reason to assume that potentially everyone is a threat, that potentially everyone is a Skrull.

We know that in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he expresses several times that he couldn’t risk certain key details being discovered by the enemy. Sure, he was probably referencing Hydra but if his character is consistent then we could assume it would apply to a larger threat as well.

However, an important scene takes place in the lift. Nick Fury tells the story of his grandfather who used to carry a gun in his bag and how he would simply show it to anyone who tried to rob him. Is this the purpose of Fury’s actions? Is he trying to give the world a gun to show the universe?

Of course there is one character who we can assume Fury did confide in: Hawkeye. We know that Fury and Hawkeye have been working closely together ever since the latter was recruited to SHIELD. In Age of Ultron we get that super boring family story and we learn that Fury helped him keep it all off the grid. We also know that Hawkeye has been aware of Fury’s plan on more than one occasion, including in Age of Ultron. So where was he during Infinity War? I think it is highly likely that he was fighting Skrull invaders. Apparently his storyline in Avengers 4 is related to fighting the Yakuza, an organised crime syndicate in Japan. Of course this would seem like a bizarre priority given that half of the universe has just been snapped out of existence. Therefore it seems more likely that his mission is related to carrying on where Captain Marvel left off.

In Summary

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I believe that Captain Marvel will set up Nick Fury’s motivations for the rest of his timeline i.e. the MCU movies we’ve already seen. Thor and the events in New Mexico won’t have hugely threatened Nick Fury because he knows there is a larger and more pressing matter at hand. The same goes for Loki’s invasion of New York, the same goes for the fall of SHIELD and Hydra, and the same goes for the rise of Ultron. To quote Tony Stark’s opinion of Nick Fury: “He’s a spy. Captain. He’s THE spy. His secrets have secrets.”

That’s why I think Hawkeye is on a secret Skrull-killing mission. Not only that, it’s why SHIELD were so insistent on making weapons based around those used by Hydra, the Destroyer, the Chitauri, Ultron, and more. It’s also why Nick Fury was willing to risk an idea as dangerous as Project Insight become a reality. Provided the Captain Marvel movie doesn’t generate any major plot holes, everything else within the MCU in relation to Nick Fury’s plan still makes sense.


Thanks for reading! Does my Nick Fury theory make sense or is my inner-fanboy clouding my vision? Let me know down below! 

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

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The Franchise Problem: My Sequel Escalation Theory!

The Franchise Problem: Even before you read this article, you probably have a rough idea about what I’m going to say. We’re all very much aware of the fact that Hollywood, as a representative of the movie industry, has churned out some absolute monstrosities over the years. This is particularly true of movie sequels and in many cases it leads to disappointed fans, a decrease in profits, and the plummeting of a franchise into the dirt. Unfortunately, this is rarely the end as usually such a dive simply leads to a reboot, prequel, or something else entirely indicative of the money-hungry ghouls working behind the scenes to push garbage down our throats for £15 a ticket!

The Problem

Sequel

image via YouTube

So let’s not waste time! The problem is quite clear and we can see examples of it literally everywhere! What is that problem? The drive for money calling shotgun instead of creativity or storytelling. Not sure what I mean? Allow me to list some examples and see if you can spot the connection between them all:

  • Paranormal Activity
  • Mission Impossible
  • James Bond (exclusively Daniel Craig’s Bond)
  • Fast and Furious
  • The Purge
  • Alien and Predator (specifically related to Prometheus)
  • Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick
  • Transformers
  • Terminator

Notice anything similar between all of these franchises? No? They all fell into one of two franchise traps: Trap 1: This is where one movie succeeds and so they make another one, then another one, and then another one. It’s sort of like making a TV series but episode by episode instead of with some overarching storyline. Trap 2: This is where a company commits to far too many movies without having a chance to see whether the audiences like them or not. Think Marvel but less successful. Marvel has the next 20 or so movies already planned out. Don’t believe me? OK…let’s take a look at some of the examples.

Before we do, let me share with you a revelation I had with TV shows. I used to love shows like The Flash, Elementary, and The Mentalist (just to name a couple of examples). What did all of these shows have in common? Despite having an overarching story they all followed the same pattern. Say an episode was 50 minutes long with 20 episodes per season. The first episode would reel you in with some compelling storyline. Episodes 2-18/19 would contain 45 minutes of almost the exact same thing every single episode. Some characters would change, there would be different lessons, and sometimes we’d learn something new about the main characters. Then in the last 5 minutes would reveal some shocking detail that added to the overall story. Sound familiar?

Paranormal Activity

Sequel

image via Ranker

By the 5th movie, the scariest thing about the Paranormal Activity movies was the fact that they were still being made. I can’t claim to have any insight into the overall plan for the franchise. Maybe they set out to make as many as they did. I’d be inclined to believe that they didn’t. The first movie was pretty freaky, it was original, and it did a good job of scaring moviegoers. Then they did the same thing again with the sequel but people were still entertained, then they did it again, and again…

What changed? Well, the characters changed but ultimately the goings on stayed almost exactly the same from one movie to the next. Yet at the end of every single movie, some “Earth-shattering” detail is revealed. “Oh my God, it’s the same family” or “Oh my God, that’s the creepy cult discussed in the previous movie” or “Oh my God, those are the sisters we saw in the first couple of movies and this dude has travelled through some wormhole…or some shit”. I sort of lost interest in the movies and I can’t really remember all the details. I just remember some magical door that led to a creepy cult house.

With each new movie they had to up the ante though something that I’ll dub “sequel escalation theory”. Each ending became more intense, the stakes became more “real”, and new details are revealed which are supposed to lure us in and make us crave another sequel. There are 6 of these movies in total…6! After the first one, nothing new is added…at all. This could be an example of a Trap 1 movie but I think it’s more likely that they just enjoyed the success of the first movie and rode it for another 5.

Mission Impossible and James Bond

Sequel

image via Screen Rant

Mission Impossible is, without a shadow of a doubt, an example of a Trap 1 movie series and finely details sequel escalation theory. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mission Impossible franchise (or at least I did until Fallout). With Mission Impossible, the stakes were already incredibly high by the 2nd movie whereby the mission is stopping a biological weapon. The third involves stopping the mysterious “rabbits foot” from falling into the hands of a dangerous arms dealer. Number four involves nuclear bombs. Five relates to an underground terrorist organisation made up of ex-agency personnel. You get the idea.

Ultimately, these movies (similarly to Bond) largely work because there doesn’t need to be any storyline from one movie to the next. That’s the point! That’s exactly why it works. There may be the occasional nod, there may be characters the stay constant throughout the series (particularly the central characters), but that’s it! We don’t need huge intricate storylines connecting one movie to the next. This is where both these franchises fall and why I’d label them Trap 1 movies (although in a slightly different sense to the rest of my examples.

If we look at Spectre or Mission Impossible: Fallout, we see the exact same problems popping up. Villains from previous movies whose stories have already been told reappear to suggest that the new movie and a previous movie (or movies) are connected. In both cases the writers failed miserably. I was so excited to see Christoph Waltz as a villain and yet the actor was wasted on connecting the imaginary dots of a convoluted story. Similarly, Sean Harris was excellent as Solomon Lane…but he’d been defeated and we didn’t need some absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable (even by Mission Impossible standards) plot about his continued role as the villain.

Fast and Furious and Transformers

Sequel

image via YouTube

Once again, we can see examples of Trap 1 movies. Do you remember when the Fast and Furious movies were about illegal street races? I know that seems unbelievable now when you see where the movies have ended up these days. It’s only a matter of time before they are in space! Each movie had to be an escalation of the previous one. We went from street racing to bank robberies to weird revenge stories tied up in huge government conspiracies…again, I lost interest by maybe the 7th one…the one with the 7,000 mile long airport runway. You eventually reach a point where the escalation has just become too much and then the movies manage to lose everything that people once enjoyed about them while also offering nothing interesting to fill in the gap. Then they turn to either a prequel or a spin-off (Hobbs and Shaw).

Transformers works even better as an example because we can use the plot to highlight just how poorly planned the franchise is. So Transformer was pretty awesome: I loved the show as a kid and Shia LaBeouf is entertaining to watch. The story was pretty open and closed so there was no real reason for a sequel (of course we all knew one would be on its way). After all, the villain was dead, the hero got the girl, and the government learned to work with the machines.

Yet Rise of the Fallen opens with a new backstory that reveals new information. Suddenly, the machines had been on Earth long before originally suggested. They didn’t come searching for the cube (which we were led to believe had landed on Earth by chance) but rather because our sun needed to be harvested. The pyramids hide crazy sun-eating machines and Sam literally dies…what? The third movie once again rewrites history by telling us that a special ship escaped Cybertron and just so happened to land on the moon. Now the overall plan wasn’t related to the all-powerful cube or the sun-eating machines but magical cylinders that teleport planets!

I did watch the fourth one but for the life of me I cannot remember the plot. I think it had something to do with cosmic hitmen or bounty hunters? I remember dinosaurs appeared as some stage but that sums about all of my Transformers 4 knowledge. I literally just discovered there was also a 5th one that involved Transformers being on Earth during the Middle Ages whereby they give Merlin a magical staff? Fuck knows…

Suffice to say that Transformers is also an example of how thirsty the Ghouls are. There is a Bumblebee spin-off movie coming out next year (I believe) with the entire franchise being rebooted in the not so distant future. What’s the lesson here? If you lack consistency and forward-thinking then you can just scrap all the previous movies and start over. This takes us nicely to Terminator…sigh…

Terminator

Sequel

image via Hollywood Reporter

Now before you get ahead of yourself, the first three Terminator movies are perfectly fine (in terms of story consistency) in my opinion. I mean we can clearly see the gears turning as far as the plan to churn out more movies but hey ho…the point being that we then got Terminator Salvation which was absolutely dreadful. This was followed by the equally as disastrous (actually, it was definitely much, much worse) Terminator: Genisis…Genysis? Genisys. James Cameron wants to make a whole new trilogy, for some fucked up reason and it will be entirely female-led (with the exception of Arnold, of course)…because that worked really well for Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8!

It seems that ultimately, no idea stays original for long. Undoubtedly the franchise is going to continue screwing with the timeline in order to try and make up some nonsensical story. It didn’t work with Genisys and I doubt it’s going to work for any future movies. The truth is that they’ve taken a turn in the wrong direction. AI and crazy ass robots are practically nearing Terminator levels and yet the movies barely touch on that. They could really send a message regarding the future of AI research instead of making stupid-ass upgrades to time traveling robots!

Honestly, I feel like this is another example of a franchise that is already dead. I don’t know a single person who is interested in seeing the series continue. They must have Schwarzenegger’s nuts in a vice to be convincing him time and time again to return for these shit movies!

The Purge and Riddick

Sequel

image via UpRoxx

I’m not going to spend too much time discussing these movies as I feel like if you’ve ever watched them then you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Let’s start with The Purge. I have to admit that his franchise was original…at least the idea was. The first movie became exactly the same as any other home invasion movie that has ever been made. However, the sequel was excellent. They managed to create this deeper layer for the movie that touched on the political side of the purge itself. We got to see this idea unfold that the purge benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.

However, the third movie took this too far and became incredibly boring. We again found ourselves faced with new characters whose backstories need a prologue just to make them seem relevant, with previous characters being dragged back into the mix for no real reason. Of course they realised that going forward wasn’t going to work anymore and so The First Purge was born. They stuck to their guns with the political aspect of the movie and once again failed. Can people not be content with having one successful movie?

This takes us to Riddick. Pitch Black introduced us to the character and told a rather self-contained story that didn’t need a sequel by any means. There was a time in my life when I actually enjoyed The Chronicles of Riddick (although that time has long since passed). However, a movie I enjoyed much less was Riddick, the third movie in the series that seemingly brushes off the previous movies by literally giving us the exact same story as Pitch Black. I mean the similarities were beyond ridiculous and they STILL managed to make me hate the character. Of course what do you do when the franchise begins to decline? You do a spin-off…or in this case, a reboot!

Alien, Predator and Prometheus

Sequel

image via Inverse

This example is arguably the most frustrating as there was real potential to create some great movies. However, it also demonstrated my escalation theory (and it’s following “solution” perfectly). Alien was once a truly intriguing movie franchise: a grizzly combination of horror and sci-fi. Then you had Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection…we also had Predator and Predator 2. By the time we got to Alien vs Predator (which also had a sequel: Alien vs Predator Requiem) we had seen every possible combination of what had ultimately become a played out, repetitive and tedious franchise.

Here we can see a fine example of the escalation I was referring to earlier: They have to add more and more content that they believe to be compelling and intriguing. Alien was about an alien on a ship. That was practically it! Predator was about a Predator. These movies were simple in their idea but worked well. Now what are we doing? The aliens got bigger and apparently, according to the trailer for this year’s new ‘The Predator’ movie: they are evolving into some sort of stupid-ass ultra-predator. C’mon Ridley Scott, where is your imagination and creativity?

Eventually, in rolls Prometheus…and I am literally shaking my head as I write this! Prometheus was exciting (or could have been), it offered new ideas (or could have) and explored concepts of human creation that are deeply rooted in some of the oldest mythologies (or at least it briefly touched upon them). Instead, Prometheus turned into a fucking Alien prequel! Not only that, but it turned into a whole “why would our creators care about us?” lesson. I mean it doesn’t shock me. I love Damon Lindelof as a writer but he needs to mix things up a bit. I kept waiting on a well scene like Lost and The Leftovers.

Still…Prometheus set itself up for a sequel and it ended on an intriguing note: a woman and her robotic travel companion are heading to the home world of their creators. Wrong! What should have been Prometheus 2 ultimately became Alien: Covenant. A movie that repeats the exact same story we had literally just watched in Prometheus but with new characters. As far as I’m concerned, the franchise is dead. I already wrote about Alien: Covenant before so I won’t go into another rant about it here. Suffice to say that we see the escalation: more evolved creatures doing the exact same thing as the other creatures, and the solution to the decline: prequels.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Sequel

image via New York Sight Seeing

This is sort of a bonus section (as are the two that follow) that popped into my head a couple of days after writing this post. I realised that while I’ve discussed some pretty popular franchises here, but not the most popular. I mean Harry Potter is a franchise, right? I thought to myself: there aren’t really any flaws with the Harry Potter franchise because it’s following books and so the storyline is there to follow. From the first film, they’ve known the direction the films were headed in. Does this world put an end to my escalation theory? Actually no, quite the opposite. The Harry Potter universe is the icing on the cake.

How come? Well, while the Harry Potter movies themselves work as examples of how to make a franchise, what follows them is the undoubtedly a trap 2 mistake. We know this because there are already 5 movies planned. In my opinion, 1 movie would have been bad enough. Granted, the movie was slightly more enjoyable than I imagined but that really isn’t saying much. These movies are nothing but a soulless cash grab. Just like the Harry Potter mobile game.

I mean maybe I’m wrong…maybe they have an incredibly coherent story that needs 5 movies…but considering that it’s already been announced that the final film will take place in 1945 and end with Albus Dumbledore defeating Grindelwald in a duel, resulting in him becoming the possessor of the Elder Wand, I don’t see how they can stretch the content that far. Especially when you consider that Grindelwald will be a major player in the 2nd movie and that they are limited by Voldemort being known (in the future) as the most evil wizard to have ever lived, and one of the most powerful.

I mean, we can already see the escalation theory at work: Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off and they will, through one form or another, need to escalate the storyline from where it’s already set e.g. Harry Potter level and that of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Just look at that crazy-ass creature that existed in the first film. What the fuck was that?

DCEU

Sequel

image via Geeks.Media

I’m not going to badmouth Marvel in this article for two reasons: 1) I’m a marvel fanboy and I think they are great movies and 2) I think Marvel is what all these other franchises look to. They see the success of this massive, decade long, 20+ movie universe and they want to get a piece of it for themselves…all unsuccessfully. DC would be a prime example.

I’m purposefully referring to the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) because the movies before that were great. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy nailed it! I mean I don’t think anyone can criticise those movies with any objective flaw. So the DCEU starts (and potentially ends) with Superman in Man of Steel. I could write a whole article about that movie because it should have and could have been awesome, certainly the trailer made it look that way.

I’m going to list and rate each movie from the DCEU so far: Man of Steel (6.5/10), Batman V Superman (5/10), Suicide Squad (4/10), Wonder Woman (I haven’t watched) and Justice League (3/10). DC was so thirsty to copy the success of Marvel that they jeopardized the story and characters in the process. I’ve never met a single person who enjoyed either Batman V Superman or Justice League. Yet DC manages to fall into the trap 2 category as this is the line-up of their upcoming movies: Aquaman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman 1984, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, Birds of Prey, The Batman, Black Adam, and a number of other movies including not one but two Joker movies (played by different actors).

This is all made dramatically worse when we learn that the recently resurrected Superman will likely be killed off as the actor, Henry Cavil, is stepping down. This is largely related to DC moving its Super-person focus to the opposite sex in the form of a Supergirl movie (although I wonder if her name will end up being changed to Superwoman). This is probably due in large A) The success of Wonder Woman (particularly in comparison to the other DCEU movies), B) The success of the Supergirl TV series, and C) The strive for more diversity within the movie industry, particularly the superhero franchise.

Star Wars

Sequel

image via StarWars

Now, I’ve discussed the various failings of Star Wars before but as far as I can recall, I’ve stayed relatively quiet on the subject since the disaster known only as The Last Jedi. I love the Star Wars universe (in the sense that it’s a cool idea and some of the characters are awesome) but the movies are somewhat “meh”. I can always watch the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy appears on more rare occasions, this current trilogy can get to fuck, and the Anthology series has been somewhat hit or miss.

Here’s what we know so far about the future of Star Wars: Of course we will get episode 9 which will have to try and clean up the mess episode 8 made, this will be followed by another Anthology movie (I’m hoping Obi-Wan but it could be Boba Fett). We are then getting a trilogy from Rian Johnson and another from the writers of the Game of Thrones TV show. So at least 9 more movies.

Yet again, we encounter a trap 2 franchise. Even before they have a story or a sense of direction, Disney (who own Star Wars now) are commissioning many movies. It is possible to nail these upcoming films. I mean if the Obi-Wan movie tied into the end of Solo, that too could link into a Boba Fett film. Will it? Probably not. The only way the other two trilogies will succeed, in my opinion, is if they are completely, 100% disconnected from the previous movies. Go back 500 years or go forward 500 years but escape all these fucking characters! Please!

Final Thoughts

Sequel

image via Deviant Art

I’ve touched on a lot of these issues in the past. I’ve mentioned Star Wars at least once or twice, I’ve talked about the Fantastic 4, I’ve talked about Avengers, Ghostbusters, Ocean’s 8, Happy Feet, The Maze Runner trilogy, Annihilation, and more…I can hold my hand up and admit that many of these posts are me basically saying that the story could have been better. However, I’m not claiming to have better ideas than the writers. These people are paid (very well) to write and direct these movies and the movies themselves make millions. So my critique is just my own opinion as I have neither the real-world experience nor the professional status to claim to know better.

However, I can’t be alone in thinking that many of these examples do show the downfall of various franchises, usually due to the Ghouls craving money and caring little about the storyline. I mean take Transformers. Michael Bay is all about his explosions and special effects. There are 5 movies and every single one of them the army try to fight Transformers despite the fact that their weapons are useless every single time. Why? Explosions…that’s why!

In this post I’ve proposed my ‘Franchise Escalation Theory’. This is the idea that movies, in an effort to continue making big bucks, will escalate each sequel to a point of ridiculous proportions and will ultimately fall into one of two traps. I went off on a few tangents (to say the least) but hopefully I still explained myself properly.


Thanks for reading! Am I being unreasonable? Do you have any other franchises that you feel went down the same route? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

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Annihilation Review and Explanation!

If you haven’t seen the Netflix Original: Annihilation then I suggest you stop reading immediately. Go watch it and come back when spoilers aren’t going to impact your viewing of the movie. Like seriously, as soon as this paragraph is finished, I’m going to be diving face-first into spoilers and there are moments in this movie that NOBODY should be prepared for prior to watching it.

Quick Summary

Annihilation

image via Digital Spy

With most of my reviews for films, I spend far too long summarising a movie that only those who had seen the movie in the first place would be reading. So i’ll try and keep this short.

Annihilation is many things: a commentary on human biology and nature for one. It’s also a bit of a mind-fuck in some scenes. Not so much that you leave with your mind blown but rather you feel just as confused as the characters. The film follows Lena (Natalie Portman) who after assuming her husband has been killed on a mission, finds him wandering up the stairs followed swiftly by a rushed ambulance journey. Lena learns of “the shimmer”: a bizarre anomaly that is infecting a swampland area of the US and has been for the past 3 years. Upon learning that this was the mission her husband was on, Lena volunteers to join a task force heading into the shimmer in order to reach the point of origin: a lighthouse.

What follows is a trippy journey through a beautiful yet terrifying forest that has creatures and plants that appear to have been thrown together, almost like Frankenstein’s monster but of nature. The film isn’t particularly tense or scary but the fucking human-scream bear is one of the most chilling scenes I have seen in any film in years. I’ll admit that even though I knew it was a trick of some sort, I was not remotely prepared for that thing walking in and making that noise.

As character’s are knocked off one by one, the movie ends with Lena encountering her husband’s corpse (a twist I think we all knew was coming) and a double of herself. This is another chilling scene. Something about a humanoid yet metallic creature imitating human movements while being higher, stronger and more agile is creepy as shit! The final moments of the movie show Lena hugging her shimmer-husband as both of their eyes shimmer…I’ve said shimmer too many times but it’s the best word to use here.

Review

Annihilation

image via Film Crit Hulk

Honestly, I was pretty impressed with this movie. I think it’s fair to say that Netflix have hit the nail on the head with this one. With Hollywood forcing out female-led movies and failing (particularly awful reboots like Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8), this film was incredible. I don’t mean that in a patronising way, I’m not suggesting that women aren’t capable of being the leads in movies. What I mean is that when it’s forced, it tends not to work. This movie on the other hand worked wonderfully.

I was even doubtful going in because Natalie Portman has never impressed me with her acting before. Similarly, I’m not a huge fan of Tessa Thompson mainly because of comments she made regarding Thor: Ragnarok but also because she’s just never shone out as an actor in my eyes. I’m happy to admit that both of them did incredibly well in this movie and the acting is part of what was awesome about this film.

Actually, every aspect of this film was superbly done: the special effects were crazy, the soundtrack was awesome, the ending of the movie was a bit “meh” but not bad by any means and it certainly left questions open, hence why I’ll be doing my version of an explanation now.

Ending Explanation

Annihilation

image via Syfy

I’m completely winging this. I watched the movie less than 20 minutes ago so don’t take my word that this is actually the explanation that the creators were going for. If you’ve read any of my other theories, such as my Pokemon one or my journey through Happy Feet, you’ll know that usually I clutch at straws to make a theory sound a little more compelling. In this instance, I’m going solely with what I just saw in Annihilation.

Shimmer Children

Annihilation

image via Elpais

So throughout the film we hear about cells. The film opens talking about cancer cells, we hear the team discuss the suicidal nature of biology (i.e. that at a cellular level we are self-destructive). There were two things that stood out to me in the movie: 1) The idea that anyone going into the shimmer must be suicidal or at least self-destructive on some level and 2) That each person in the final team has nothing to go back for (apart from Lena). We learn that each member has an issue. Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is dying, something we don’t discover until near the end of the movie. Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez) had a drug issue (I think). Cass Sheppard (Tuva Novotny) lost her child to leukemia (along with part of herself). Josie Radek (Tessa Thompson) used to self-harm.

Lena is there for her husband who she cheated on and now feels guilty about his current state. I mentioned these characters for a reason and I will circle back to it but first, here’s my main theory in regards to the shimmering eyes at the end. I think that Lena and her shimmer-husband are almost like Adam and Eve. Everything else within the shimmer caught fire and burned yet Lena walked away unscathed and shimmer-Kane recovered. I think this moment symbolises a rebirth of sorts. Lena’s DNA has been altered through her time in the shimmer and Kane isn’t even Kane. I think they lost that self-destructive aspect of themselves and their children will go on to pass it on. We know from the crystal trees, the tree people and other aspects within the shimmer that this anomaly or being was trying to create life.

Cellular Self-Destruction

Annihilation

image via Scleroderma News

As for the other characters, I think they died in ways related to their “cellular self-destructiveness”. Josie had cut her wrists but never committed suicide. It’s theorised by Sheppard that she was trying to feel alive. When we last see her, she is becoming a plant just like the tree people. Dr. Ventress is dying and has no partner, no children, no friends, no family as far as anyone can tell. She becomes one with all life in the shimmer and passes her genetic make-up on. Sheppard talks about a part of her dying and how losing that aspect of herself is akin to losing her daughter. Yet when she dies, all of her goes, apart from the terror and fear she felt before her death: no happiness, no joy, only darkness.

Anya is the character that sort of throws my theory off a little bit here. If it was drugs that were her self-destructive tendency then it could relate to a lack of control. She said that her hands moved when she looked at them. This is sort of a way of saying that she isn’t herself which is a common saying by people who have been in dark and deep drug addictions. They lose themselves much in the same way that Anya was losing herself. She wanted to cut someone open to prove that it wasn’t just her.

Lena

Annihilation

image via Bloody Disgusting

Lena, as the main character, plays a more interesting role in this theory. It’s mentioned several times both by her and other characters that she had something to go back to: her husband. She isn’t being suicidal by going into the shimmer, she’s actually on a mission. Yet when she enters the lighthouse she has to face the reality that that isn’t her husband waiting for her. This is perhaps something she has considered before the lighthouse as she looks worried when she starts playing that camera, long before it shows him dying and his double walking in front of the camera.

Lena isn’t fighting a creature or an alien but rather part of herself. This thing is more than just a double, it’s more like her shadow. I think that this thing was supposed to represent her self-destructive tendency. When she tries to escape it’s her desire to die that stops her. She’s literally stopping herself from escaping and by killing it, she’s freeing herself. She leaves the shimmer without that self-destructive tendency at a cellular level. Leading to my explanation as to why neither her nor Kane burned like the rest of the shimmer shit.

The Tattoo

Annihilation

image via Mythologian NET

One aspect of this film that I can’t get my head around is a recurring tattoo. At first I thought is was a number 8 but it’s actually the eternal serpent/infinity snake. It’s an image of a snake swallowing its tale and it’s a symbol of rebirth. I guess this would apply to the idea of rebirth of Lena’s character and of the human genome. It isn’t the symbolism I have a problem with though.

What I don’t really understand is why it kept appearing on people. I mean we could assume that it was on a person’s arm from a previous mission into the shimmer but tattoos aren’t genetic. I mean this life-force/event/being can replicate dripping blood, as it does with Lena and it does the same with sound so the refraction must not be limited to DNA. I just don’t get why that tattoo would appear on people’s arm but not others. I mean sure, we could just accept that it’s being used as symbolism for the movie but I feel like that’s a bit on the nose, so to speak. I mean we know that everything inside the shimmer is being reborn as something else but I’m sure there must be a better explanation out there. Annihilation doesn’t seem like the sort of film to throw a tattoo in just for symbolism without any real explanation.

One meaning behind the symbol relates to the serpent Jormungandr who, in Norse mythology, guarded the tree of life. Maybe nobody had the tattoo at all and it’s actually a mark from the being/event/life-force. Here’s a wild theory: what if the shimmer was no accident. What if some aspect of Norse mythology is based on fact (which is interesting considering Natalie Portman’s Thor connection) and life on Earth is threatened by humanity and so, this guardian or whatever is sent down to correct things.

Nah…


Thanks for reading! What did you think of Annihilation? Do you enjoy seeing reviews on this blog? If so, what else do you recommend? Let me know down below! 

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Rick and Morty: Aw jeez, not another theory!

Rick and Morty: The animated adventures of a genius, egomaniac grandfather and his insecure, idiotic grandson. Challenging morals, scientific principles and philosophy, there is something in Rick and Morty for everyone. I understand that many people view the fan-base as being inherently toxic so you can relax knowing that I won’t be making the claim that “only smart people understand Rick and Morty”. You may be unaware of the underling stories and theories surrounding the show so this post will take a quick look at the main story, some smaller theories and, of course, provide evidence for all. So grab your portal gun as we jump right into another dimension!

Background

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image via Complex

So before we start throwing the main theory out there, we need to cover some background information. It is stated throughout the show that Beth has abandonment issues due to her father (Rick) leaving her and her family. We know he wasn’t around for the birth of Morty (at least). There are varying theories as to why Rick left (some of which we will explore later on) and even the death of Rick’s wife/Beth’s mother is somewhat of a mystery. We see a fake memory in The Rickshank Rickdeption (S3 E1) but many believe this is based on a memory while others believe it is based Simple Rick’s memory. Rick and Morty regularly refer to themselves as being from dimension C-137 (which is the world from Rick Potion #9 (S1 E6)).

The Theory

If you haven’t seen the show then this theory will probably make little to no sense. Even if you do watch the show, my explanation is most likely going to be atrocious. So, this is it: Rick is not originally from C-137. Morty C-137, as a result, is not his original Morty. This theory suggests that when Rick first returns to the family, he is taking the place of a dead Rick (similar to what Rick and Morty do in Rick Potion #9). Why would he need to do this? Good question.

 

Rick and Morty

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

What if a Rick lost his Morty in his original dimension? I say lost when what I really mean is abandoned and left for dead. Assuming that his Morty wouldn’t survive, Rick quickly moved across into another dimension and returned to the family he hadn’t seen in however many years. This Morty became his new Morty and nobody ever caught on. So how do we know this? Well, as we know that Rick has been away for at least 14 years, how could he have memories of a young Morty? In Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind (S1 E10) we see that Rick has memories of Morty as a baby. It’s one of the few times we see genuine emotion from Rick. Perhaps mourning the loss of his previous Morty?

Rick and Morty

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

You can see further evidence of this in Get Schwifty (S2 E5) when Bird Person rescues Morty. While explaining the “good” in Rick, Bird Person points out some photos: One of which shows a younger Rick holding a baby Morty. Morty even comments something along the lines of “who is that baby?”

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image via Reddit

Abandoned Morty

 

Rick Intro

image via Gus Calvo

The theory doesn’t end there though…no, sir! Remember the Morty that Rick left behind? The one he assumed (or simply didn’t care enough to check) was dead? Well he fits into this theory as well. In fact, this theory suggests that you’ve seen this Morty several times. During the intro to all three seasons, we see a 3 second or so clip of Rick and Morty running. Rick portals away leaving Morty trapped as big green, frog-like creatures approach. We assume that this is just a typical Rick and Morty moment where Rick thinks only for himself and abandons Morty. The fact that this is one of few recurring intro scenes makes a lot of sense. All the others also reflect a larger storyline e.g. Cthulhu.

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image via Rick and Morty Wiki

Yet we know from many episodes (e.g. S2 E1) that Rick would sacrifice himself for Morty. We also know that he’s seen as a “rogue Rick” (S3 E1) due to his emotional attachments to his family. Not to mention that in Rest and Ricklaxation (S3 E6) Rick tries to purge his toxins, which to him includes his emotional attachment to Morty. So what if there was a reason for leaving this Morty behind beyond the idea of ‘Rick being Rick’?

Evil Morty

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image via Rick and Morty Wiki

This is where we welcome in the infamous Evil Morty. A fan favourite from the show, we were first introduced to the character in Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind. Evil Morty was after “our” Rick and had gone out of his way to frame him for the murder of other Ricks. I won’t explain the entire episode but Rick says something rather interesting at the end:

Morty: “The Mortyest Morty”

Rick: “Just don’t get too big for your loafers, Buster Brown. A cocky Morty can lead to some big problems. It can be a real bad thing for everybody.”

Morty: “Oh yeah? How’s that?”

Rick: “U-Uh, I’ll explain when you’re older.”

rick-and-morty-quotes.jpg

image via Smosh

The idea being that the Morty Rick left behind had become “a cocky Morty”. Perhaps he’d found a way to increase his intelligence or maybe he was just learning too much from Rick. In Vindicators 3 (S3 E4) Morty displays a wide range of skills that he’s picked up from Rick. Many of these simply relate to understanding Rick’s mind but others are technical such as defusing a neutrino bomb. After being left behind by Rick and somehow surviving, Morty started down a path of revenge. He found a way to control a Rick, he started kidnapping Mortys and killing Ricks (hiding himself and framing Rick C-137 in the process) all to get his revenge on Rick. He extracts the memories from Rick but the reason for doing so is never explained. Is he looking for something in particular: Perhaps a specific invention or a specific memory?

Season 3 Finale

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image via Rick and Morty Wiki

Fans loved seeing Evil Morty return and become President Morty in The Ricklantis Mixup (S3 E7): Leading us to speculate whether this had been his goal all along or simply another step in a larger plan. Season 3 was supposed to be 14 episodes long as opposed to then 10 we received. The episode we got as the finale, The Richurian Candidate, didn’t pack much of a punch and left many fans disappointed. It’s possible that if deadlines had been met and the full 14 episodes had been aired, we may have seen Evil Morty’s plan unveil itself as the real end of season episode. With the Citadel of Mortys up and running, it’s more than likely that season 4 will show us the Morty!

Bonus Evidence

There is some more evidence to display. Not so much in relation to the whole Evil Morty theory but simply in support of Rick not being from dimension C-137 originally. We often see Rick reference songs or movies that don’t exist. This is often chalked up to him being a bit crazy and having travelled across the universe and into other dimensions. Yet it also seems likely that had he originally existed in another dimension, there could have been different music, movies, TV shows, ETC. This evidence isn’t concrete and is actually a bit wishy-washy but I figured it was better to mention it all the same!

Alternative Rick and Morty Storylines

Fans often assume that when they watch Rick and Morty, they are watching the same Rick and Morty. Yet, the creators of the show have left breadcrumbs for us to follow that suggest otherwise. The first example of this would be the pilot episode. Not so much the episode as a whole but rather the opening scene with the neutrino bomb. There’s no reason to believe that Morty was able to do anything about the bomb which had already started its countdown. Yes, we could assume that it didn’t go off (perhaps a joke by Rick) or that Rick regained consciousness just in time to stop it…but why? Doesn’t it make more sense that the bomb simply went off but it was a different Rick and Morty? Of course this is only a very minor example of this. So let’s fast forward to Mortynight Run (S2 E2).

Mortynight Run

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image via SciFi Stack Exchange

In this episode, we follow Morty (and a reluctant Rick) away from Blips and Chitz in order to help FART escape. Turning out to be a pro-genocide multidimensional being with the plan of wiping out all carbon-based lifeforms, the episode ends in the deaths of a lot of innocent people. This is the first of two episodes which sneakily show us the lives of an alternative Rick and Morty. How do we know this?

At the start of the episode, Rick checks Jerry into Jerryboree (a care centre). We can see on the form that Rick has put C-137 as his dimension (although puts N/A for Jerry) and in return they are given ticket number ‘5126’. So we know at this point they we have been following the usual Rick and Morty.

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image via Reddit

Yet, at the end of the episode, having followed a Rick and Morty on their FART journey when they eventually go back to pick up Jerry, Morty, being Morty, has lost the ticket. This doesn’t seem to matter too much…until another Rick and Morty (quite separate from the Rick and Morty we followed in this episode) ask of they have 5126, holding out the ticket we saw Rick and Morty C-137 receive at the start of the episode.

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image via Geek

Total Rickall

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image via The Daily Dot

So we followed a different Rick and Morty, big deal, right? That is until two episodes later in Total Rickall (S2 E4). At the start of the episode, we see Rick throwing out glowing green space rocks which leads to the murder of Uncle Steve (who is really an alien parasite that came with the space rocks). We then meet Mr Poopybutthole who appears in the intro alongside Rick and Morty. This isn’t just a joke about Mr Poopybutthole being a parasite (as we learn at the end of the episode that he isn’t) but rather it points to a different reality. This is a world where Mr Poopybutthole really does travel around with Rick and Morty.

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image via Reddit

How do we know this? Well, we can actually trace the “glowing space rocks” back in Mortynight Run (above). As we know that this is a different dimension and therefore a different Rick and Morty, it makes sense that Total Rickall is the home of the very same Rick and Morty. We later see Rick disposing of the same rocks (below). You may notice that the same purple dots that appear on the rocks also appear on the parasites.

Rick and Morty

image via YouTube

Bonus Theories

These are some smaller theories to explore as well. I mean these are probably more akin to Easter eggs rather theories but here we go.

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image via YouTube

  • The “tall Morty” we see in The Ricklantis Mixup isn’t a Rick who was born that way. The reason he looks like a normal Rick (as opposed to Dufus Rick) is because he is from a reality where Rick used the microscope given to him by the devil (S1 E9). The microscope made him mentally retarded.
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image via Den of Geek

  • Rick’s genius actually comes from the seeds we see in episode 1 and this is true of all Ricks. We see the effects of the seeds on Morty at the end of the pilot episode which then puts him into a paralytic state for a few days. We also see these same trees being grown at the Citadel of Ricks/Mortys. This could simply be due to their value but what if rather than being an alcoholic, Rick keeps a seed-juice in his hipflask in order to top up his genius.
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image via Uproxx

  • In relation to the larger theory, one piece of the puzzle is a smaller theory regarding Rick’s suicide attempts. We see the “suicide helmet” in several episodes and at the end of Auto Erotic Assimilation (S2 E3) Rick nearly dies. What if this suicidal tendency exists in all Ricks, including the original C-137 Rick who actually went through with it, opening up a spot for “our” Rick to step into.
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image via Aficionados

  • Rick is Morty and Morty is Rick. There are two theories: one that Morty is actually a clone of Rick. This isn’t a huge leap but there also isn’t much evidence for it. The opposing theory is that Rick is an older version of Morty. This ties into the idea of the seeds being used to provide a genius level intellect. It also explains how Evil Morty could become so intelligent as to defeat Ricks.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my exploration of just some of the theories surrounding Rick and Morty!

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment down below!

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Pokemon: The Great War Theory

We all know Pokemon in some form or another: Some of us played/watched it as kids, some of us have kids who play/watch it…some of us are adults who play it and watch it in Spanish to try and help them pick up the language…let’s not focus too much on that for now. Regardless, we all know the basic premise: the story of a kid in a world where pets (“friends”) fight to earn their owners money and fame. Ignoring the violence and enslavement, Pokemon tells many stories of friendship, heroism, altruism and is often fairly heart-warming. Even the regular villains in the show, Team Rocket, aren’t heartless and often support team good to fight the real team bad.

But what if I told you that there is a dark theory to Pokemon that often goes ignored? No, I’m not referring to the creepy Lavender Town music from the game that made people kill themselves or the seriously creepy Cubone story but rather the disturbing level of evidence that Pokemon takes place during or after a major war…

The Theory

I’m going to approach this one a little differently to my other posts. I’m going to lay the theory out at the start and then go on to explore some of the evidence afterwards. So the theory goes something like this: the game and show take place in a world where animals are far more intelligent (in comparison to our animals), have “abilities” and can actually evolve instantaneously after reaching a certain “level”. That’s the basics of the Pokemon world laid out without any storyline. In this world, you still have the same politics, the same human emotions, the same wars that we face in our world and as such, Pokemon became seen as weapons (think of anti-tank dogs, messenger pigeons, and war elephants but with abilities). So the battle for powerful Pokemon seems all fun and games in the show/game but there is more to it.

Sometime before the events of the show/game a war broke out between nations and as such, the men and their Pokemon were called to war. We never see any guns in this world and other than some makeshift bombs from Team Rocket, warfare is limited to Pokemon. Where duals or sword fights would take place in our world, Pokemon battles take place in their world. Some of these Pokemon have insanely powerful abilities and as such are better suited to war. Think Game of Thrones but with Pokemon instead of dragons and dire-wolves!

It’s hard to say whether the war is still going on or has already taken place. If it’s the latter, then the evidence certainly suggests that it was recent and that the nation we see in Pokemon is still preparing for a follow-up. So let’s take a look at some of the evidence to support this theory from the game and the TV series (I’m referring to Pokemon: Indigo League specifically)

Game vs Show

I first heard this theory in relation to the game only. However, as I started watching the show again (just yesterday), I noticed many startling moments that add evidence to this theory for the show as well. We’ll begin by looking at certain aspects that exist in both worlds (I refer to them as different worlds purely to avoid confusion because Pokemon Indigo League is loosely based on the original Pokemon game). Just keep in mind that this first section is just a very vague synopsis of the more specific evidence that exists within each world.

The Population

One thing you notice within the Pokemon world is how the population is divided: there are a lot of children (more on that in a moment) and a lot of old people but there seems to be drastically less middle-aged people. Now that on its own is fairly normal, I mean most developed populations are weighted this way. Yet it’s the sheer number of each. You’re constantly running into children everywhere and old people almost as much…women drastically outnumber the men and this is particularly true within the game world.

The Children

So what of the children? If you’ve ever played or watched Pokemon, you must have found it a little weird that children are literally being sent out into the wilderness at the age of 10. Most children in the show and game don’t have parents: Ash/Red doesn’t have a father, Gary/rival has no parents at all, Brock has no mother, and Misty doesn’t have parents. You encounter a number of children in both worlds who either live alone, are travelling alone or are living with grandparents.

The Adults

One thing you notice with many of the adults is that they serve some sort of purpose. For starters, most of the men in the Pokemon world are scientists such as Professor Oak (although he’s also elderly) and his aids. The rest either live in caves, up mountains or run gyms. The reason I suspect that the war may still be going on is that there are mostly old men and as such, it makes sense that these men were too old to go to war when it broke out.

Technology

We also have to acknowledge the incredibly advanced technology that exists in this part of the world and perhaps wonder if that has something to do with the cause of the war. Modes of transport, for the most part, seem to be rather out-dated but other areas are incredibly advanced. Let’s start off with the Pokeball: it is literally capable of turning Pokemon into energy or converting them into some sort of electronic data in order to store them inside this ball. Yet as is demonstrated in both worlds, these Pokemon are still conscious while inside and can choose not to leave or fight to escape. This is stepped up further when we witness the Pokemon transportation system which is used early on in the series to transport Pokemon (inside Pokeballs) to a different Pokemon Centre but is also used in the game to trade Pokemon. We’re literally talking about some Star Trek style teleportation of matter!

The in-game technology differs slightly in comparison to that of the show but we can all agree that it’s advanced as shit! Can you imagine just pointing an empty-looking ball at your dog and it suddenly being transported into the ball as some sort of red energy? If someone invented that technology today, we would be at war almost as soon as it was made public, if not before!

Mewtwo

We’ll look at Mewtwo in more detail later on but let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Mewtwo is: a clone! OK, that simplifies the situation drastically as there are two areas (both of which appear later) we need to explore in relation to Mewtwo.

  • Mewtwo marks a revolutionary step for science as the first successful clone of Mew along with gene splicing and DNA engineering to make him in theory the most powerful Pokemon (as far as anyone is aware). His psychic abilities, his level of communication, his intelligence all outrank his fellow Pokemon.
  • Mewtwo’s existence isn’t solely so someone can win badges and battle children on the side of the road…no. We know from both worlds that Pokemon often serve a function: Pikachu’s are used for power, Chansey’s work in hospitals, ETC and so it is hardly surprising that during or after a war, a nation would want to create the most powerful weapon. Think about how countries advanced their weaponry between WW1 and WW2…and how it’s advanced since. Mewtwo is quite simply an attempt to create the weapon to end all weapons, maybe even a deterrent.

Mewtwo goes on to become smarter than humans (arguably) and is certainly more powerful than any other existing Pokemon.

The Anime

We’re going to take a look at the anime first and explore some of the new details I’ve noticed and some of the theories I’ve concocted since. Some of these I will admit are grasping at straws slightly but it’s all just fun and games…mostly.

THIS IS SP…PALLET TOWN!

We’re going to start off with a pretty brutal fact: In ancient Sparta, boys as young as 7 were taken from their mothers to start their training. In Pallet Town, they are a little more lenient and waited until the age of 10 but the fact still remains that they are leaving home to go off and train animals for battle. It’s seen as an honour to be the most powerful Pokemon trainer in the world and it seems to be how one earns celebrity status in Pokemon.

This isn’t anything new though as in the show, Ash’s mother even comments on how she remembers it taking Ash’s father 4 days (or something similar) to reach the next town. So this is a tradition (or law-mandated) that certainly dates at least a generation back. This seems like a pretty barbaric situation if there wasn’t a war or the fear of one. Children aged 10 are given their “weapon”, they then head out and train themselves and their Pokemon in order to be the strongest. The way they test this is by fighting gym leaders. Tournaments are held for “fame” but in reality are just part of a never-ending series of training through which Pokemon just get stronger and stronger.

Brock and the Rock

Fairly early on in the show we encounter Brock who is the leader of the Pewter City gym. Not much is known about Brock (I had to do some research) but we do know from the early episodes that he cares for his numerous brothers and sisters due to his parents not being around. Ash and co encounter his father selling rocks near the entrance to Pewter City. It is his father who tells Ash all about Brock’s life. This is my theory as to how Brock’s father fits into this whole war scenario:

When the war was taking place, Brock’s father was called to action and had to leave his family behind. His wife not only has responsibility of the children but also of the gym (we learn in the show that she was once the gym leader and she even takes control of the gym again). Brock’s father even says himself that he was never a very good Pokemon trainer so he clearly didn’t have control of the gym before. This explains why Brock’s father was called to war while other gym leaders weren’t. I think that while at war, Brock’s father was bested in battle and as a result all of his Pokemon (rock types) were either captured or killed (it’s obviously unclear what the Pokemon war etiquette would be). When Brock’s mother leaves (probably due to the strain of having to raise 11 kids, Brock’s father returns to look after his family but suffers from PTSD and can’t manage it and so Brock steps in. Brock wasn’t surprised to see his father, meaning that he had been back home regularly enough to be known to each other. As a result of the PTSD, Brock’s father collects rocks to remember his fallen Pokemon but has no choice but to sell some (unsuccessfully) to try in his own way to provide for his family.

Missing Fathers

Fathers and in fact father figures are frequently missing from the show. You have Ash, Gary and Misty for starters. If we expand our search a little, we find that Jessie (Team Rocket) lost her mother in an avalanche but her father is never mentioned. I even expanded my search to main characters from later versions of the anime (who I had literally never heard of) and found that Serena (apparently one of Ash’s travelling companions) had a mother but no mention of a father; Clemont and Bonnie do have a father who is an engineer (the best in the city); Dawn also has no mention of a father; neither does Iris; Clemont and Bonnie have a father but he was also a gym leader.

This adds more evidence to the idea that all the men from this nation (other than those serving a scientific role or one essential to the upkeep of society e.g. engineer or a gym leader (training future soldiers and their weapons)) are away fighting or have died fighting in a previous war. There are of course those within organised crime but I feel like that’s a topic for another time. But speaking of families, let’s move onto the next bizarre piece of this puzzle.

The Clone Wars

Early on in the show we meet several of the “sisters” who are all identical and share the same name in the form of Officer Jenny, the collection of same-named identical sisters in charge of law enforcement and Nurse Joy, the separate collection of same-named identical sisters who cover healthcare. This is just part of a running gag within the show but what if there is a more sinister reason? We know that cloning is not only possible but has been done before (Mewtwo). However, Mewtwo wasn’t the result of simple cloning: it actually involved gene splicing and DNA engineering which was one of the reasons for so many failures. We’ll soon look at a theory which also explains why cloning a pokemon may be more difficult than cloning a human but I think the Jennys and Joys of the world are evidence enough of its existence.

You may be wondering why such an experiment would ever have been carried out. Well, during war you would need two majors function of society to remain intact above all others: law enforcement and healthcare. The men are sent to fight, the women raise their children (future Pokemon masters/soldiers) and as such, other positions needed to be filled. This is particularly true if this is a post-war situation.

Panspermia

In case you’ve never heard the term before, panspermia refers to a theory about the origins of life on Earth (or other planets). It suggests that bacteria capable of surviving extreme fluctuations in temperature and the vacuum of space could be moved from one planet to another by an asteroid or meteorite. Imagine that the Earth explodes or is victim to a giant asteroid impact and chunks of it fly through space for hundreds of years. One chunk could contain such life and may land on a planet where this bacterium thrives and evolves. You’re probably wondering what the fuck this has to do with Pokemon. Well, that’s where the moon stone comes in.

In the early episodes, the group meet a man (a scientist, shockingly) who is studying the moon stone. He believes that Pokemon came to Earth on this rock. While he describes it as being a spaceship, it’s not ridiculous to believe that a meteorite brought early Pokemon bacteria to Earth. Due to their rapidly evolving nature (which can be seen through both their own evolutions and the difference in generations that span across one human lifetime) this bacteria soon birthed the Pokemon we see in the show.

This idea goes a step further when we look at the abilities of the Pokemon as it explains why they can do the things they can do. We also know from early episodes that animals and Pokemon are not the same thing. We see a Pidgey eating a worm from the ground that isn’t a Pokemon. Misty also says that she hates bugs and doesn’t care if they are Pokemon, implying that there is a difference between bugs and bug Pokemon. It’s possible that Pokemon arrived on Earth a very long time ago (but after humans) and wiped most native animal species from the planet other than those that are at the bottom of the food chain.

Mew is seen as the ancestor of all Pokemon but this is just based on the human history of things. It’s completely possible that Mew was simply one of the earlier more advanced forms of Pokemon and due to its incredible abilities, ancient humans worshipped it and added it to art and stonework. Bonus theory: there is an idea that Ditto is simply failed attempts to clone mew. True story!

I’m going to keep adding to my evidence and theories for the show as I continue to re-watch it (I’m only on like episode 5 now). For now, let’s run through the original theory and how the game has evidence of a war.

The Game

As I mentioned before, I originally heard this theory in relation to the game and not the anime (while the theory is not mine, all the evidence I mentioned above and all the theories within it are my own). I won’t repeat any evidence that I’ve already mentioned for the show (such as lack of male characters, the population being mostly children and old people, ETC), however there are some points to be made in similar areas.

The Population

The population issues mention previously exist even more so in the game world. The player finds that as they enter cities with gigantic stores, houses, casinos, ETC there are almost no people. You find that other than casinos which seem to provide entertainment to the elderly part of the population, there isn’t much else to do other than gyms. You never see any cinemas, football pitches, parks, or anything that would be seen within a normal society. This is because the children can’t get distracted from their training, the adults can’t be distracted from their caring and as such the elderly and the useless are the only groups allowed to take life less seriously.

Lieutenant Surge

This character deserves a section all to himself and while he does appear on the show, it’s not so much who he is but rather what he says in the game that matters. In the show, Lt. Surge looks pretty much the same as the game describes him: tall (gigantic even), muscular, short and spikey blonde hair, he wears military clothing (jacket, trousers and boots) and even has dog tags. In the game, when approached by the player Surge says: “Hey kid! What do you think you’re doing here? You won’t live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you what kid, electric Pokemon saved me during the war!”

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Final Notes

So we can see that there is certainly some supporting evidence of this theory…although this is all entirely confirmation bias and obviously it isn’t likely that the creators had this Pokemon war in mind when creating the game and anime. It’s certainly fun to think about though and as I continue to play the game (again) and watch the anime (again), I will continue to add any evidence I find to this post.

If you have any comments or opinions, be sure and share them below! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with various blogs and announcements!

Happy Feet: The Cheerful Commentary on Religious Indoctrination

You may be a little surprised to see the words ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘Religious Indoctrination’ in the same sentence. What may ultimately seem like a warm-hearted tale of a handicapped penguin’s quest to discover the interruption in his colony’s food chain is actually a layered tale of environmental damage and religious indoctrination (and the challenges one faces in trying to escape it). In today’s post we will be exploring that connection and cracking the case wide open for all to see.

Basic Summary

For those of you who haven’t seen Happy Feet, you’re missing out on a rather entertaining film. This post is unlikely to make much sense to you otherwise but allow me to quickly summarise it for you, just in case. Happy Feet follows Mumble, a slightly handicapped penguin who lacks the ability to sing (an essential part of the mating process) but can instead tap his feet in a rhythmical manner (although not always on purpose). This is due to his father, Memphis, dropping the egg during one of the coldest winters. Being continuously alienated by his colony, Mumble eventually stumbles across a different penguin colony where singing is seen as a hobby rather than an essential part of life. Here, they collect pebbles in an attempt to woe the females.

Mumble and his “amigos” are eventually banished from his colony due to his “dangerous ideas” and so set out on a quest to find the fish (the lack of which has been blamed on Mumble and his feet). Eventually Mumble finds a giant ship that is collecting all of the fish and taking it away and so he follows it until he eventually passes out and lands on a beach. From here, Mumble ends up in a zoo, does a dance, humans put a tracker on him and send him back to his colony and eventually everyone lives happily ever after….typical children’s film, right? Wrong!

Religion

The religious element of the film was nothing new to me and I’d always intended to write a post about it…but as time went on it became less and less of a concern and I figured that it wasn’t worth the effort. That is until a couple of days ago when I re-watched Happy Feet and noticed a bizarre aspect that had eluded me in the past. The word “penguin” can be perfectly switched out for any religion (I chose Christianity).

One thing you have to keep in mind is that the colony worships the mighty “Quin” (I’m not sure how you spell it exactly as it’s taken from the end of the word “penguin”). So there is already a very open religious element to the film but it’s the underlying element that I find so interesting. Let me give you some examples that I noted down. These were all the times after the first few instances where the word penguin was used and could be perfectly swapped for “Christian”.

“…it’s not Penguin”

“…hardly a Penguin at all”

“…it just ain’t Penguin”

“…he’s a regular (something, I missed the word) Penguin”

“…ancient Penguin wisdom”

“…brave Penguin nation”

Tell me that none of these have a solid meaning when the word Christian is switched in. There is a reason I chose Christianity as well which I’m going to explain in more detail later on but I’ll share one very specific quote that I believe highlights the reason. During a scene where Mumble is tap dancing and others are joining in, one of the elders says this to him: “that kind of pagan display” and then goes on to blame him for the food shortage. Of course one famous religion has been known to deal with Paganism in such a manner…

Memphis Drops the Ball…or the Egg

In order to delve deeper into this bizarre underlying commentary we have to examine key moments in the story. We’ll start with Mumble’s father, Memphis. During the winter when the females head off to collect food, it is the responsibility of the males to shelter the eggs and also each other. They create a sort of wall and take it in turns to face the cold. During this time, the elders lead chants to the great Quin/Win (I think Quin but I couldn’t find a solid source) which all the penguins are supposed to follow. They even show a giant penguin in the sky who is almost being formed by all the chanting penguins.

Unfortunately, Memphis is too distracted by his own singing (specifically the love song between him and his partner) and almost as a sign of his lack of faith and commitment to the great Quin, he drops the egg. Doing so for even a few seconds is enough to literally freeze it and kill the offspring inside. Memphis sees the resulting tappity feet of Mumble as being a curse or punishment for his distracted mind and lack of Quin-worship. Something that is evident throughout the film.

“Aliens”

Mumble was always a curious little fella and during his early years he finds himself victim to some hungry birds looking for roaming penguins to snack on. One of these birds has an identification bracelet (if that’s even what they are called) around his ankle which he goes on to explain was put there by aliens after being abducted. This highlights two key issues within this films:

1) Mumble now has more information on the outside world than any other Penguin within his colony, all of whom conform without question and aren’t curious about life beyond their grounds and 2) Lack of information on a subject leads to ridiculous conclusions. It highlights a very noticeable train of thought within religion where if something can’t be explained in terms we already know then it must be something completely “out there”. This can easily relate to the idea of filling all gaps in knowledge with God.

The Elders

Within Mumble’s colony there is a small group of elders who are part of some sort of council. They are responsible for guiding the beliefs and opinion of all the conforming penguins. They are essentially the Vatican to the colony’s Catholic Church with the leader being the Pope…who for some strange reason is Scottish. There is an Italian member as well though. This group denies the existence of any aliens because it goes against the narrative they’ve been pushing.

They are also the ones who label Mumble’s dancing as “that kind of pagan display” and it is they who alienate Mumble by forcing his own parents to talk him out of his mind set. While Mumble’s mother stands her ground and defends Mumble, his father who is still guilt-ridden from dropping Mumble feels he has no choice but to support the council. When Mumble refuses to conform and support the Elder’s point of view, he is banished from the colony. This is where Mumble’s journey to find the fish begins.

Connecting Theme

One thing is evident between all belief groups within the film. Whether it be Mumble’s colony and the mighty Quin, the amigos and Lovelace, the predatory birds or the elephant seals, they all view humans as being alien. Each has a unique view of “God” but all view the one thing they have evidence of but can’t explain as being alien. I think this is an interesting parallel to the religions of the world. They may all have one theme running through them e.g. God. Yet all have different opinions on themselves and their interactions with their God. This is just a minor point but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Heaven

Upon chasing a fishing vessel, Mumble ultimately washes up on a beach and is thrown into a zoo. Here he meets seemingly braindead penguin who refers to him as Dave. “Try the fish, Dave”. This is Penguin Heaven. To the penguins it is heaven because they are rewarded with all the fish they can eat (something that was running out at home) in exchange for doing nothing and having zero responsibilities or goals. Almost like some higher power granting them wishes. When speaking to one penguin in particular, Mumble asks him if its anywhere near Emperorland to which he responds that it’s “anywhere you want it to be”.

Of course the reason that it is named Penguin Heaven is due to it being based on an exhibit in Sea World, Orlando, Florida but I think it also has a deeper meaning. Heaven is often  seen as exactly like Penguin Heaven: you’re free to enjoy yourself, you don’t have to worry about responsibility, you can be happy and get all the food you want, but I think it raises a darker issue. What if you get to heaven but none of your family do? What if you’re up there enjoying all the bounties that heaven has to offer while your family starve? Is that heaven? We see Mumble attempt to throw fish to his hallucinated family (who also refer to him as Dave). Not to mention the other key issue: boredom. Without any purpose, without the freedom to explore, the risk of death, the challenges that normal life throws at you, you become a zombie and end up braindead like the only penguin Mumble communicates with.

Final Scenes

The film ends with mumble being returned to Emperorland where he is greeted by Gloria but told to leave by the Elders. Mumble explains his story and tells them about the aliens which the Elders outright deny. Mumble’s experience is irrelevant to them because they have a narrative that needs to be maintained and despite the fact that it is in reality a far more realistic explanation for the famine than one penguin’s tapping feet, the Elders stand their ground.

Upon revealing that he has alien technology attached to his back, the Elders then label him a traitor for leading the aliens to Emperorland. This of course raises questions as moments ago they were denying the existence of such beings altogether. We then see a battle of sorts between the old ways and the new: the archaic chants and singing of the elders and their supporters vs Mumble and his tapping feet. Eventually the aliens arrive and out of fear of death (or something similar) the elders eventually follow Mumble and support this new approach.

I think this in itself also highlights an aspect of religion: fear of death is not only the cause of most religions (in one form or another, I’m not saying people are religious because they fear death) as is fear of the unknown. Put into a situation where all the evidence is piled against them, religions will stand their ground until such a time that their destruction seems imminent, at which point they will follow the masses. Think about all major theories that have come into existence throughout human history: the order of the solar system, gravity, evolution, the big bang theory, ETC. The more that science explains, the more that religions adapt their beliefs to fit around the evidence. Very few people view the bible as being 100% literal and that is because more and more of it makes less and less sense in relation to history and science…but also morality.

Even the Pope’s throughout history have had drastically differing points of view: from supporting fascism, to hating gays, to saying evolution was God’s work. We end up with thousands upon thousands of different interpretations of the Bible (through Christianity’s denominations, of which there are 40,000 or so).

 

Anyway guys, that’s my say on the film Happy Feet. I hope that you enjoyed it and as always, leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Peace!

What Should (but won’t) Happen in Avengers 3 & 4!

Today’s post will look at my hopes and dreams for Infinity War and Avengers 4. I strongly doubt that any of these things will take place within the two films but as far as I believe, this is the direction they should take with the respective characters. Prepare to delve into hopes of a hero killer as I share my views on how Thor, Loki, Tony Stark, Steve Rodgers…and so many others could and should meet their demise in this end of an era!

 

Thor

Thor: God of Thunder. A fun character who has always added a large aspect of comic relief to otherwise tense situations. Long story short: he should die. Why? Well, in completing his trilogy I believe he has also completed his character arc. When we are first introduced to Thor, he is about to become king and wants nothing more than to do battle by his father’s side as he rules over the 9 realms (interestingly if he had been born before his sister, he would have filled her shoes nicely). We then follow Thor through The Dark World as he learns that he wishes to pursue his own life rather than becoming king of Asgard.

When we reach the end of Ragnarok, Thor’s evolution is complete: he’s finally taken his father’s place as king of Asgard having come to the conclusion that Asgard is the people, not a place. He’s lost an eye, he’s lost his hammer, he’s lost all his Asgardian friends, and he’s lost his father, his recently discovered sister and the place he once called home.

Considering they are on their way to Earth at the end of Ragnarok, it’s safe to assume that the Asgardians will fight against Thanos. This is why I think Thor should die. Considering most, if not all of the Asgardians will die and if we assume that Heimdall is in fact one of the Infinity Stones to be collected by Thanos then who do we have left? Thor and Loki? It’s true that they could adopt Earth as their new home but I feel that this would be an excellent opportunity to close the chapter on all things Asgard.

 

Loki

Speaking of the God of mischief, I should mention that Loki is one of my favourite characters. I always hoped that he would one day switch sides and fight on the side of good. Unfortunately, I also belief this is why he should die. It’s not necessarily something I want to happen but it is something that needs to.

Loki’s arc of redemption has run fairly parallel to that of his brother Thor. In the first Thor film, both characters are trying to find their place in their father’s life and on Asgard. In Avengers, they head in different directions and are seen as the good and evil versions of each other. Thor: The Dark World shows them come together once again only for Loki to pull his usually mischievous tricks but not to hurt his brother but rather to claim the throne he always desired. In Ragnarok (although I think it was handled poorly) he steps back into the side of the light, even if only in support of his brother and having exhausted all other options.

The way Loki should die is therefore quite simple. Having him die to save the Avengers or Earth or to stop Thanos is a ridiculous notion. I mean it could be viewed that he is trying to save himself but I feel that would remove all the character development we’ve seen in the last few films. To me, the only end that makes sense is one of two options: Either Thor dies at the hands of Thanos and in a wave of emotion Loki sacrifices himself to avenge his brother OR Loki dies to save Thor, showing that his love for his brother is the only motivator he haves left. We had this notion teased to us in The Dark World only for it to reveal itself to be one of Loki’s tricks.

Loki has always put his own survival first and by sacrificing himself to either save or avenge his brother; I think it would show how his character has changed.

 

Iron-Man

Again, this is unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons but if Iron-Man is going to duck out then this is the only acceptable time. I’m worried that they’ll have Tony retire or something, perhaps from injury, perhaps from old age, perhaps from grief…whatever the reason, I won’t accept it. Tony has never let anything stop him this far: both in terms of villains and his own personal problems.

I mean think about it, Tony has beaten groups of terrorists, created a suit that is unmatched and continues to improve, defeated copies of his suit not once, but twice (in fact many, many times if you count each individual suit), he’s defeated “Gods” and aliens and biohazardous, glowing, regenerative drug addicts, the most advanced AI which was born from alien technology, his own team (for the most part) and if he doesn’t die then he will also have defeated a God with Infinity Stones that literally control the cosmos and are completely unmatched in terms of power…and yet he will give it up? I don’t think so.

As Tony is now playing a “father figure” role of sorts within the life of Peter Parker, I don’t think Marvel are going to let him go yet. I’ve heard rumours that Robert Downey Jr has added films onto his contract so even though he was supposed to leave a while ago, I think he’s going to carry on longer than anyone thought. He could even end up being the mentor of all the new Avengers. Who knows.

I will say this, if Tony doesn’t die against Thanos then the only other respectable way for him to die is introducing a new villain, perhaps someone who was once hero and now turned villain. This would be the best way to truly pack a punch and shake the foundations of the MCU. We know Thanos is powerful and will kill at least some Avengers but after he is gone, Tony’s death could be an incredible motivator for a character such as Spiderman.

 

Hawkeye

As much as I wish that he would die, I don’t think he will. After introducing his family, his kids, his farmhouse and showing his willingness to sacrifice his own life to save a child’s…no. Something may happen to Hawkeye, in fact I’m fairly certain it will but he won’t die. Perhaps the universe will be altered and he’ll never have been an Avenger and instead will have lived with his family the entire time in peace and harmony on a farm somewhere. He should have died in Age of Ultron instead of Quicksilver…

Speaking of, this would be a perfect opportunity to fix that mistake, just saying. With Thanos and ultimately and inevitably the Avengers having the ability to manipulate time through the control of the universe that the gauntlet offers, and with the suggestive shots from set that hint towards time travel, actions being altered, the butterfly effect taking hold would be an interesting direction to take.

 

Timeline Alteration: Swap Hawkeye for Quicksilver

What would have been different if Quicksilver had lived and Hawkeye had died? Well his family would grow up without a husband/father but they are pretty well taken care of, at least on a financial level. Hawkeye retired after Age of Ultron whereas Quicksilver would have stayed with his sister and joined the Avengers, meaning that the mission in Lagos which essentially triggered Civil War would have gone differently. The men wouldn’t have escaped with the vials, meaning Cap wouldn’t have been near civilians, meaning even if Crossbones had pulled the same trick and Scarlett Witch had contained the blast, nobody would have died other than members of Hydra.

Countries wouldn’t have called for the Accords meaning that Zemo’s plan would never have taken hold. There wouldn’t have been the UN meeting meaning that there wouldn’t have been a chance to frame Bucky. Sure, he would have stayed in hiding for now but Black Panther’s father would have stayed alive meaning the events of the Black Panther film would have been non-existent or at least different. There wouldn’t have been a divide of the Avengers, Rhodes would never have been injured, Spider-Man wouldn’t have been discovered or at least not called into action and wouldn’t have his suit which would have changed the entirety of his film. This could lead to Shocker being alive still, potentially The Vulture would also still be active and would be staying under the radar having never been caught or had to rob Tony Stark’s plane.

You can begin to see the potential ripples that changing one life for another could have within the MCU. Now, obviously by looking at the title of this post you can see that I don’t believe that will happen…but it should. There is certainly scope for bringing back Quicksilver (somehow with a different accent, ideally) which is a possibility. Sadly, I don’t think it will be in exchange for Hawkeye’s life…although I will keep my fingers crossed until the bitter end.

 

Captain America/Steve Rodgers

Steve Rodgers has been tittering on the edge of death ever since Winter Soldier. Granted, Civil War would and could have been the end of his tale but I’m relieved that that wasn’t the case. Captain America is probably my favourite character within the MCU, certainly my favourite hero. His journey from brave and obedient soldier, to outlawed rebel, all the way through to criminal prison breaker is one that I’ve followed with great interest and found highly entertaining. His arc has truly been an incredible story to follow. His beard in Infinity War also looks awesome!

Sadly, we can all feel that his time is coming to an end. Not that I’ve read the comics but I’m all too aware that in some of them Bucky takes over the mantle of Captain America. It seems that his story has also been heading in a certain direction and personally, I don’t feel that Bucky will be dying any time soon. We’ve seen the Winter Soldier follow an opposing storyline to that of Cap and yet it seems that just as their stories started together, they will end together…in the sense that Steve will die and Bucky will take his place and move from the Winter Soldier to Captain America…Captain Winter? It would be the only way to truly allow Bucky to repent for the sins he committed while being brainwashed by Hydra. Others may forgive him but he will never forgive himself…unless he is deemed worthy enough to follow in the footsteps of the most noble man he knows.

We’ve seen many nods to this throughout previous films but I think that by while Civil War was a Captain America film and did feature most of the Avengers, it was more of Bucky’s story than anyone else. It was the story of how he remembers every single person he killed while having no control of his body, it shows the conditions he lived in and it shows how he doesn’t value his own life if it puts others’ at risk. So I think the only logical outcome is Steve Rodgers to die and for his best friend to stand in his place as the new Captain America.

 

Hulk

This is a though one. On the one hand, I don’t feel like Bruce Banner and the Hulk have had their story told within the MCU. So based on that, if they kill him that would seriously be a big mistake…and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry (pun!) The truth is that there is no reason why Hulk would die. I don’t read enough into Hollywood news and updates to know all of the future films being released by Marvel but I feel that the Hulk still has a place. That being said…if you were going to kill him off, Thanos would be the best time to do it. No other villain is going to match Thanos for a long, long time (at least that’s what these 10 years of films have been building to). So unless they fuck it up so badly that Thanos comes across as a pussy then Hulk either has to die here or he needs to survive far into the future to fall at the hands of whichever villain next appears as the biggest threat.

The issue is that I don’t think the Hulk needs a standalone film. I know fans are screaming out for a planet Hulk film but personally, I think that idea sounds incredibly dull! I certainly wouldn’t be rushing to see it. Since Hulk has already pulled the escape routine after Age of Ultron, we realistically have to rule that out as well. So death is the best option we have.

 

The Rest

Vision may die temporarily but I don’t think they’ll scratch the character off entirely. We know that Thanos will get all the stones and we know that Vision has the soul gem so at some stage Thanos is going to take it. Maybe it doesn’t kill Vision but simply removes his power or maybe he gets brought back after being killed. Either way, I’d rather see Vision die. I don’t think he fits into the MCU as well as people thought he would because in comparison to other characters, he seems a bit overpowered. There’s no real reason that he couldn’t defeat most enemies yet he’s always in the background. I think removing him here is better than dragging out his character longer than necessary.

 

As for Scarlett Witch and Black Widow, I don’t think it hugely matters one way or the other. I’d be shocked if Scarlett Witch died as we seem to be seeing more and more of her power and I feel like there is a larger arc to explore there. I don’t think she needs her own film but certainly exploring her powers and character through Avenger films and perhaps other character films would be a wise move. That being said, if her story ends here I won’t shed a tear. I think they should kill Black Widow but I’m worried they won’t. Her character was fun and she’s badass and a great comic relief but what the fuck is she doing? As Clint says in the first Avengers film: she’s a spy, not a soldier. Her plot armour seems to save her from every threatening scenario. I mean it’s a superhero film and that’s the case with all of them but it’s most noticeable with her.

I feel bad that Marvel has such poor female characters. I mean Scarlett Witch is cool in terms of her powers but her character and story are boring. Black Widow is awesome as a character and has an interesting back story which could EASILY become an origin story which would be awesome (another thing that will never happen). It could be violent and unlike any Marvel film so far. They wouldn’t do it, of course, because Disney owns Marvel and Disney would never risk ruining their brand of family friendly fun.

Still, Black Widow feels out of place as these stories get more and more flimsy. I mean Peter Parker is a kid but he’s super smart and his spider powers. Scott Lane is an idiot (I mean he is book smart but just seems lacking in certain areas mentally) but he can shrink down and grow big at the flick of a switch. Thor is practically a God (and is according to some people). Even useless Hawkeye can take crazy bow and arrow shots from jets. Black Widow knows martial arts and somehow manages to win practically every fight she faces.

Just so nobody thinks I’m having a dig at the female characters entirely because they are female: Marvel does some incredible female characters, I just don’t think that these two are examples of them. I mean Sif, Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, I’m sure the Wasp will be fantastic…I mean sure, Thor: Ragnarok let the side down on that front by continuing to give us incredibly boring female characters but that’s not to say that Marvel can’t do it. Anyway, back on topic…

 

End Times

I think Infinity War needs to end with Thanos winning. I mean I’m sure that is exactly how it will go down but it’s also what NEEDS to happen. If Thanos is weakened or defeated by the end of Infinity War then Marvel will have wasted 10+ years of storytelling. Again, I’m sure that’s exactly the plan but I’m just letting it be known that they will have seriously fucked everything up if it doesn’t go down that way. He doesn’t need to have won: Earth could still be spinning, the Avengers (at least most of them) could still be standing…but Thanos needs to have the high ground. He needs to have all the power, he needs to look like he could be about to destroy the Marvel universe forever with all the future films being red herrings to distract us from the best ending to a film series ever!

I’d actually be so satisfied if that was the ending. I mean it would suck closing off such an incredible universe but imagine the shock. Imagine the looks on everyone’s faces when The Avengers all die one by one and Thanos simply lifts his hand and destroys everything. The film would end with a message thanking all the fans and those involved with the films for the 10+ year of cinematic joy. Even if they ended it like that so it felt, deep down, like it was all over even when Avengers 4 would be out the year after. I could totally jump on board that idea.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading. I always appreciate any comments. I love discussing any ideas you may have so leave a message down below or follow me on Twitter!

The ‘Wrong’ Path

If you haven’t seen or even heard of The Path, you’re missing out (until you get to season 2 that is). What we have is a great cast with a great premise. We follow a “movement” (it’s a cult) as they weave in and out of certain issues that they face. The Path focuses on a few characters in particular, one of which is Eddie (played by Aaron Paul). Eddie, who is married and has children (also part of this group) has spent most of his life as a believer only to start to doubt the movement after a journey to Peru. During an ayahuasca trip he saw some things that planted a seed of doubt in his mind.

This basically leads onto the story of season 1 which one way or another revolves around Eddie’s spiral into disbelief and eventual rebellion from the movement. If you haven’t seen the show before then be warned, I’m not going to flat out discuss the plot, but I am going to explain why it going down a different path would have been a lot more interesting…at least to me.

 

The Disbelief

The Path ultimately focuses on the story of Scientology. The show itself isn’t about Scientology as such but more on their tactics of recruiting, of getting away with illegal activities, what they do to people trying to escape the group, how they respond to challenge, their pseudo-science tests that basically involve measuring arbitrary bodily measurements such as heart rate or temperature…you get the idea. I always compared it to other religions such as Christianity but actually, after recently learning more about Scientology, I couldn’t ignore the flat out parallels.

Meyerism (the religion of the show) employs these same tactics in order to lure in new members, blackmail and exploit previous members and essentially keep control of the movement. This really ties into what made the show so incredible at the start. It was gritty, it was realistic, it contained some truth that you see when you look out into the world. Let’s take a closer look at that.

 

Season 1

Season 1 took such a tight grip of, much like a snake gripping its prey. I couldn’t believe how interesting this show was and it felt exactly like the sort of show I’d been waiting for. I’d recently finished Hannibal and had a gap in my life for something that was dark and appealed to that part of our personalities. What’s darker than a cult that stops people from leaving?

The first season of The Path interested me in one very distinct way. You see, Eddie quite early one (I believe it may even be the first episode) returns from a trip to Peru where he took “the medicine” (ayahuasca, an extremely potent hallucinogenic concoction used by Amazonian tribes. It’s essentially liquid DMT). During his visions/hallucinations he follows his brother into a room. Here he sees the leader of the movement, dying in a very mortal way: from cancer. What I absolutely loved about this was the idea that there was nothing remotely magical or mystical about it. Eddie was exploring his own consciousness to come to terms with one very specific truth: They Meyerism movement is bullshit.

To me that was wonderful! This unspoken idea that their medicine was helping Eddie to see the truth just seemed so compelling. The rest of the season focuses on Eddie being torn apart by this revelation due to his family (particularly his wife) being very devoted to Meyerism. It just felt so real and while watching it you knew all too well that similar things like this undoubtedly happen all the time whether in Christianity, Islam, Scientology, you name it. People don’t cope well with their loved ones coming to the conclusion that everything they believe in is bullshit!

Up until the very last episode, I couldn’t get enough of this show. That is until Eddie returns to Peru and finds out that actually, what he saw wasn’t a vision projected by his subconscious at all. Steve (the founder) was actually there and was actually dying of cancer and for no real fucking reason, was dying in a compound where people are allowed to wander around freely, people who are there with the sole purpose of taking a psychedelic drug. But you know what? I could have accepted that. It ruined an aspect of the show that I adored but it wasn’t the end…or so I thought.

 

The Chosen One

Season 2 then goes down a path that ‘The’ Path should have stayed away from. It turns out that everything in season 1 was unnecessary as Eddie is now the chosen one. Meyerism is real, there are real powers and Eddie is essentially Jesus. Dammit Hulu you fucking pieces of shit! This led me onto a whacky conspiracy theory that I’ll share with you shortly.

Anyway, I sort of came to terms with Hulu’s decision to send The Path down a dark road and I did enjoy season 2 for the most part. It showed Eddie trying to fit into a normal life outside the movement which for some reason I really related to despite having never been in such a position. The biggest issue was that all of the story involving Eddie fitting in, getting a new girlfriend, getting a job, ETC was all just a build-up to him coming back to the light and re-joining Meyerism. Re-joining isn’t the right word…running Meyerism. There entire season builds up to the most disappointing climax ever! (giggity)

 

The Conspiracy

The tinfoil hat wearer inside of me thinks that it’s very suspicious that the show seemed to be heading in one direction in season 1 and then a completely different direction in season 2. We’ve gone from a gritty and realistic show to absolute nonsense. Who knows, maybe that was the plan all along? But if that’s the case, then the writing of the show was poorly done. I had just recently watched Going Clear, a documentary about Scientology and one part of their fairly recent history kept coming back to me: Scientology essentially blackmailed the IRS into granting them the status of being a religion. That’s very real and very true and quite frankly, it is terrifying. They’ve done similar things to people speaking out about the cult…religion, the religion.

So what about The Path? A show which quite clearly mimics Scientology and highlights MAJOR flaws with such a system that many, many people had come out and said “this is clearly about Scientology”. If Scientology as a movement is really so against any negative press or willing to “deal with” anyone who has a bad thing to say about them, then what would they make of a show such as this? This relates to season 3 a little but I’ll cover that in the next section.

I mean am I the only one who thinks that? Maybe I’m being a bit too much of a conspiracy theorist but that doesn’t sound too unbelievable to me. Scientology is a hugely powerful organisation. I mean if you can blackmail an agency of the United States government into announcing that a following started by a mentally ill sci-fi writer is now a religion, then what else can they do?

 

Welcome in Season 3

Now that I’ve finally finished season 3, I can give it a proper overview. I have to admit that for most of season 3, I couldn’t have cared less. The characters personalities shift from episode: Eddie wants to keep people in, then he wants to kick people out. Cal wants to kill Eddie then the next episode he saves him, then he wants to kill him again, then he wants to kill himself. Nothing is consistent, nothing makes sense and the entire premise seems pretty fucked.

The more I watched, the less I cared! I actually stopped watching it around episode 7 and just gave up. I’d gone from waking up eagerly on Thursday morning to watch the latest episode to just not watching it at all. Then, out of complete boredom, I decided to finish the season. I have to admit that towards the end, I started enjoying the show again.

That is until the final episode where Eddie decided to take on the IRS…sound familiar? There is so much set-up in the final episode because they are so desperate to try and get another season. Workmen are digging up the grounds and we see the body of some dude from the first season (can’t remember his name, Sylis or something) and the two people who know where the body is: Cal and Sarah, don’t think to consider stopping it? Not to mention the movement being sued left, right and centre. It feels like there just wasn’t a great deal of consistency with the writing. I debated this with someone online who claims that the show is incredibly well written but I disagree.

Plus, Mary is the most annoying character ever and if she is still around in season 4 then I can tell you right now that I won’t be watching it!

 

In Summary

So long story short, I’m a little disappointed. I understand that there will always be fans disappointed with the direction a show takes. I happen to usually be on ‘Team Disappointed’ such as with How I Met Your Mother or Lost or any number of other shows. So I completely acknowledge that the opinion of one person is not cause for uproar. I’m sure many people are loving the direction the show is taking. I guess there are just too many elements from season 1 that called to me only to flip them on their head. There’s probably not some Scientology influence causing the show to head in a different direction. It probably comes down to appeasing the masses. Maybe they are trying to feed off the superhero phase currently going on in the world. I mean Eddie can survive explosions now so… who knows? Shame he couldn’t deflect lightening in the same manner.

I will say this: A show that managed to highlight beneficial aspects of both weed and ayahuasca will always get a thumbs up from me. I’m going to continue watching to see where season 3 heads and who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, maybe not.

 

Anyway, as always, if you have any questions or comments then leave them below. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Peace!

In-Depth Review of Assassin’s Creed: Origins

“Be the chaos that comes to be. Gods are just like you and me”

So the long-awaited “last straw” of the Assassin’s Creed franchise has arrived. If you didn’t read my previous post looking at why my hatred grew and grew for the franchise, you can find it here. Alternatively, here is a summary: boring gameplay, bad writing and lack of imagination…and a clear strive to make as much money possible with the smallest amount of effort. Despite that being the case, I was eager to play Origins and after 40 hours in 5 days, I have finished the game. In this post I’m going to summarise the game for you and also look at what they did well, what they did poorly and where the game could and should go in the future.

This will probably turn into a fairly lengthy article but you can look at it as being divided up into the following sections: The first section will look at the downsides of the game followed by the pluses. The second section will look at how certain aspects of the game set it up for future installments as well as looking at the directions that Ubisoft may choose to take.

Summary

This post will be riddled with spoilers. If you haven’t played the game then I’d advise not reading any further. So what are my thoughts? Well, it certainly exceeded all my expectations. I have to admit, that there is definitely a bias here. I have a huge fascination with Egypt: I’m currently reading my 2nd book this year on it, my computer wallpaper is the Pyramids of Giza, visiting there is on my bucket list…I could go on. Suffice to say, being able to explore pyramids and see what Egypt could have looked like around 50BCE was on its own a fun experience for me.

As for the game itself, while there were some negative elements. I LOVE what they have done with it. To me, this almost felt more like a reboot (and a much needed one at that). I made some initial notes when I first started playing but they began to sound petty the more I went on. Things like the “animus pulse” felt a bit out of place to me. I wish they had just called it “eagle intuition” or something like that because while it would have sounded ridiculous, it would have made more sense. I mean why would using the animus allow for memories to be changed? It just doesn’t fit in. Other things like changing the ‘assassinate’ buttons from X to Y also seemed a little unnecessary. Points like these were shadowed by the massive enjoyment I experienced from playing through Origins.

Grasping at Straws

As I said, I loved this game…and for that reason I’m going to start my summary with the negatives. These are the things that brought the game down just a little for me. Most will sound petty but I’ve got to be honest. We’ll start with the story elements.

Negative Points: Film Connections

One of my biggest issues (which was something I’d hoped wouldn’t happen) was their blatant desperation to connect this game to the Assassin’s Creed movie. We see SO MANY references to it that it just becomes impossible to ignore. Most of this takes place outside that animus through e-mails, files, etc. I wouldn’t have had an issue at all if it weren’t for the fact that the film didn’t relate to the games. It was never explained why the Apple was so small or why Abstergo seemed to know very little about the pieces of Eden. Instead, it feels like the film tried too hard to be generic without addressing any previous lore and then this game tried to connect them back together. It’s not a huge issue but it does make me wish the film had been a little more thought through. If only they had aimed the film at fans of the series then maybe we’d have something better to discuss. The fact that they are releasing another 2 films makes me wonder how much of this is just them laying the groundwork.

Negative Points: The Ending (in the Animus)

Another story element that did annoy me was the ending. I mean, not the very end (that was actually a great way to end the game). However, when we have just had a 2 day long battle on the Nile and finally face the two remaining members of The Order, we get a pretty disappointing outcome. I feel like they could have done more with the war aspect rather than setting up two arenas to fight in. Like why would these people just be hanging around in a war, waiting for a one-on-one? I was worried the game was going to end at this point but everything that happened after this was great. I just feel like they could have tied in a feeling of being more involved in the war that was going on rather than giving us simple boss battles.

Negative Points: The Ending (out-with the Animus)

Now this was ridiculous! I know that many, many of the Assassin’s Creed games have ended in a similar fashion: you discover your next destination or need to move base to escape Abstergo. I can even accept William Miles randomly showing up (with a different voice) but there was no real explanation as to why they are going to Alexandria. We’ve had maybe 4 games with stupid endings in terms of the modern day, most of which had very little connectivity to previous games, so I feel like they should have given us a bit more to go on. I’ll come back to this later one when I discuss the future of the games because it sort of annoys me that both bodies were in the tomb yet from what we can tell, Aya is now in Rome.

 

Negative Points: Glitches and Timeline Mix-Ups

I found how they handled the side missions in relation to the main story really well done…but…I found myself returning to some side missions after completing the main story only for Bayek to act like certain dead characters were still alive or that he was still searching for his son’s killer. I feel like it wouldn’t have been that much effort to record a few extra phrases for certain scenarios in order to cover this issue.

I also found it incredibly annoying when I’m freeing people from cages only for them to start attacking me. I first discovered this on a boat when searching for copper. I had killed all the guards already and thought I’d be a decent human being and free the captives, only for them to start attacking me. This happened a few times and became quite an inconvenience. From that point on I just let them rot in their wooden cells.

Negative Points: The Pre-Cursor Messages

I’m not going to linger too long on this point as actually, other than for this small point, I believe the pre-cursor stuff was done well. Finding these hidden chambers and activating these messages was cool but for the most part, I didn’t feel like I was gaining much from them. It bugged me that they were referring to Layla in the same manner that they’d shocked players by referring to Desmond at the end of Assassin’s Creed II.

I also feel like while talking about time and displaying pictures of wormholes is interesting, there wasn’t a great deal of substance to them. I plan to go back through and explore them deeper (you may have heard certain words were said backwards) as I’m sure there is more to offer. Maybe they are just setting up the next game but in comparison to some of the pre-cursor stuff we’ve had before, these messages just let me down which is a shame because the temples were awesome!

Negative Points: End the Mainstream

One thing I was hoping for in this game (perhaps it was just an example of wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations) was for the story to destroy the mainstream narrative of history. The franchise has always been great at combining real history with the fictional history in a manner that tends to work really well. I was hoping that the idea that the pyramids and the Sphinx are much, much older than mainstream history leads us to believe would be explored within the game. It could have been the perfect Segway into life after the catastrophe. It could also have made people want to research it more (Fingerprints of the Gods is an excellent book, just saying).

Using the tunnels under the Sphinx in all honesty, made my dick hard. That is something I’ve recently been researching and while I doubt there is a set of Isu armour under there, the mystery itself is still hugely intriguing. I think the idea that the pyramids weren’t tombs could have been used in incredible ways within this game. Perhaps they could have been entrances to pre-cursor tombs or energy stores or something completely unexpected that just brought a bit more of the pre-cursor story into the world beyond coded messages. I mean the pyramids are one of the biggest mysteries on Earth and I just feel like Ubisoft didn’t play on that as well as they could have.

But that’s all the negativity out of the way (looking back through it I realise I’ve made a pretty big list out of tiny little points). These may all seem pretty minor but they genuinely impacted on my enjoyment in playing the games and are what stopped this from being my favourite game ever.

Bask in the Joys

Now we can explore what made this game great and improved it drastically from the last few years of dead cow milking we’ve had from Ubisoft.

Story

For me, Ubisoft nailed the storyline. I was a little confused at the start when being thrown into flachbacks then different flashbacks then random scenes here and there that it turns out were blackouts…but once we got down to it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed that Bayek shaved his beard because I thought it looked pretty bad ass but other than that, I don’t have many complaints. There was never a moment where I felt bored of the storyline. It seems that Ubisoft did a pretty good job of balancing the main storyline with the side quests and side activities which was a good change from the last few games.

My only complaint would be related to the vault that we opened at the end. I feel like they could have made what was inside it a little more exciting…but that’s neither here nor there. I also wouldn’t have minded fleshing out the final missions a little more. After all the build-up and then the chase across countries, I feel like there was a missed opportunity for a few more missions. Also, for those less up-to-date with the history, I feel like we could have explored how Marcus Junius Brutus discovers and explores the Colosseum Vault. Again, a completely minor thing that doesn’t remotely take away from how much fun I had playing through the storyline and exploring Egypt.

Overall, I felt thoroughly gripped by Origins and for the first time since maybe Revelations, I was actually incredibly interested as to where the storyline was headed. What I loved was that as a player, we knew early on what the vault was and how it could be opened but couldn’t do anything about it. I spent so long wondering what was behind those doors. Nearing the end of the game I started to worry that we may never find out but exploring Alexander’s tomb and seeing the staff in there was a joy.

Character

Again, I think Ubisoft did an excellent job of coming up with an interesting character. I can’t say it shocked me that they found a way to slip playing as a female character in there but Bayek was interesting and likeable (unlike maybe the last 3 or 4 main characters). I’m still torn as to whether he is actually an ancestor of Desmond’s (there was certainly a similarity and the scar on the lip used to be the tell-tale sign).

Aya was also a like-able character (other than when her story arc called for you not liking her). I feel like she may be the focus in the next game but we’ll discuss that in a moment. It was good to see a strong female character without it being forced down our throats. I mean she was strong because the situation called for it as opposed to the previous games where the female characters tended to be stronger than they should be or incredibly annoying.

New Features

As with most Assassins Creed games, the new features took a little getting used to. Unlike the last few games (I feel like I need a codeword for referring to all the games between 3/4 and Origins) the new features didn’t feel like someone came up with them during a 3 minute brain storm session

. Anyway, Senu the bird added a refreshing element to the gameplay. I found it changed how I played the game a lot and it actually took me the entire 40-odd hours before I used her in the most efficient manner. I worry that they’ll force that into every game which would be fun but also devalue the connection that Bayek had with his pet. I guess they could maybe find some way around that but anyway, this was an incredibly successful new element that truly enhanced the gameplay.

The combat system was another aspect I was a little worried about at first but now, I can’t imagine how it will feel playing the old games. It truly made combat not only more entertaining and just fun in general, but more fluid and challenging. There was a higher level of strategy required in certain situations which brings me nicely onto that very aspect.

The level system seems a little crazy at first. It took me a while to realise that I couldn’t just fight everyone which can be a little frustrating at time (such as getting hooked on the storyline but being unable to progress due to your level) but also made the game as a whole more fun. It meant that for some missions, you had to actually be incredibly strategic and stealthy. With most Assassin’s Creed games you might try to do it like that but upon failing you can just fight everyone. That’s not an option when you’re at a lower level than everyone inside a fortress. I said ages ago, way back at like AC 4 that we needed something like this and I’m so relieved they did it in a manner that worked. Even the whole skill upgrades idea was wonderfully refreshing. They trialed it with AC Unity and improved it a little with Syndicate but they nailed it (finally) with this one. They broke it up in a similar manner to that of Far Cry 3 which I think was a good decision.

Refreshed Boring Aspects

One of my main complaints in previous games was related to those stupid stone things that you match up. There was no challenge to it, finding them was a pain in the ass and ultimately the reward was never worth the effort you put in. Using the stars and making it more visually appealing certainly made things more interesting for me but finding out that they’d hidden a whole precursor temple under the sphinx related to these stones made it VERY exciting! I felt compelled to find them all (and luckily there were only 12). I was a little disappointed that all you got was some Tron style armour. I feel like it would have been another opportunity to explore some more First Civilization stuff rather than just presenting us with some unexplained armour. Even if they’d given us some sort of backstory or reason for it being there, I’d have been a lot more relieved to find it. Still, they toned it all back from the previous games and I give them two thumbs up for that.

Mission Fluidity

Another thing that this game did really well was the structure of the missions. You can have multiple on-going at the same time which was a refreshing change. Also, the idea of being able to play some of a mission, realise you’re not a high enough level, go do other and then continue where you left off is simply a great feature. Nothing is more soul-destroying than having to bail on a mission and then do it all over again.

At the start, they also managed to completely refresh an element from the original game that had always been annoying. You’d have to go to a dude to start the mission, you’d then go find someone else usually to get more information, then you’d kill someone, then you’d have to go back to one guy, then the first guy again…they scrapped that in Origins which was wonderful. You could take on like 4 new missions, work through them and never have to go back and forth between people. It made the run-up to an assassination seem a lot more realistic but also drastically less boring and repetitive.

The only thing that did get a bit stale was the hunting aspect. I feel like it was almost perfect but by the last few levels of each aspect (melee, assassins blade, etc) I found myself just getting bored and usually not bothering to explore it any further. I think I only got two aspects fully improved.

Future of the Series

This is where I become a little concerned. I feel like there are two elements to explore here and I will discuss my opinions on both in just a second. The game can advance two aspects of its story: the present day and the past. The manner in which it will do this has been hinted at within Origins but I feel like only time will tell which direction Ubisoft heads in. My main hope is that they take the proper time again to come up with ideas and develop them. Origins was a refreshing reboot and it would be a shame to scrap that by rushing to release a sequel.

The Past

I get the feeling that Bayek’s story had been told. There’s no need to explore Egypt anymore (from a gameplay standpoint) and since Bayek continues on there, I can’t see him returning, at least not as the main character. His wife on the other hand, Aya, is a prime candidate for the next game. Having changed her name to Amunet (literally meaning Hidden One), Aya went in pursuit of Cleopatra and spared her life, only on the understanding that she would rule over the people of Egypt in the way that she’d promised. We know from previous Assassin’s Creed games that she kills Cleopatra within the next two decades.

As Aya/Amunet has moved to a new location and as her character was developed throughout the game, I feel like Ubisoft may follow her in the next game. We could see her involvement in the destabilization and ultimate fall of the Roman Empire and even though we’ve seen Rome as a city before, that’s over 1400 years from when the game would be set. That’s not to say they would even explore the city of Rome at all as you’d have the entirety of the Roman Empire in all its glory to play with. I’d be quite happy playing her in the next game and it would allow players to stay connected and feel like the game followed on properly from the previous one (something that they failed to do in the last few games). The game could even start off with the assassination of Cleopatra and then follow Aya as the assassins are outlawed and banished.

One element that is essential to the storyline in the past is interaction with the First Civ temples and artifacts but more importantly, the history. We NEED to get a game sooner or later that lets us explore the first civilization, even if just a tiny bit. Perhaps flickers of memories that help tell the story that little bit better. They’ve essentially been teasing us with that since like Brotherhood, maybe even as far back as Assassin’s Creed II. Certainly it’s been an idea since Black Flag but I can understand why they are hesitant. I don’t think anybody wants a full game based in that civilization as it would lose the feeling of interacting with history that we’ve come to enjoy. They just need to find some new details to share with us instead of simply rehashing the same First Civ stuff. That does take us onto the other issue: the present day storyline.

Modern Day

So it looks like we have a new main character: Layla. Not my favourite and certainly no Desmond (although her higher intelligence can certainly be appreciated). It seems that the modern day storyline is going to link in with the past. William Miles arrives at the end to take her to Alexandria without any real explanation as to why. My first thought was to collect the apple but the odds of it sitting in a random box are pretty astronomical. Besides, after doing a little research it seems that the apple from Origins is in fact the same one that ends up in Solomon’s Temple in the first AC game. So why the fuck are they going to Alexandria then?

A question for the next game I’d imagine. What we can gather from the messages from after the cataclysm is that Layla is going to be involved in some sort of time travel or universe hopping. The pictures and audio all suggest that she will create an animus that actually allows her to travel through time to relive the memories of people but also change the past and impact the future. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first but if they do it well then I can totally get on board.

However, before doing that, they need to decide what the fuck is going on. I mean where is Juno? She was released all the way back in AC III, she was interacting with the world and creating a following in Black Flag and then she basically just vanished. If she is the threat then that needs to be established. The present day storyline in this game revealed very little about what was going on (and trust me, I read ALL the emails and other nonsense on Layla’s laptop). The next game needs to establish how Juno is either not going to be a threat or is going to be defeated and it needs to tie this in with whatever time travel or alternate reality shit they decide to explore. They need to worry less about tying the games to the film and instead focus on tying the games to the other games.


Thanks for reading! How did you find Origins? Has it rekindled your love for the series?  Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Infinity War: The Perfect Intro to the X-Men (Fox & MCU Separate Universe Problem Solved)

With the recent news that Disney have bought over Fox, many movie fans are wondering what this means for the future of these individual franchises. Deadpool fans are worried that Disney will soften up the superhero to fit a more generic audience. X-Men fans are worried about how Disney will alter upcoming releases such as Dark Phoenix. One thing that most fans are without a doubt wondering is whether some of these much-loved characters will be entering into the MCU…and perhaps equally as important: how?

 

A Divided Universe

For those of you perhaps less comic-book oriented, you may be unaware that X-Men, Spiderman, Deadpool, The Fantastic 4 and The Avengers actually all belong within the same Marvel universe. The only reason we haven’t seen any of this happening within the cinematic universes is due to rights. I’ll take a moment just to break it down as simply as possible for you:

In one universe we have X-Men and Deadpool.

In another we have the Fantastic 4.

Thirdly, we have the MCU which Spiderman was not a part of until recently (although Spiderman still belongs to Sony and is sort of being shared as far as rights go for the movie character).

 

What WON’T Be Happening

Before you get excited at the possibility of all these characters uniting, don’t. Certain characters will be remaining ENTIRELY separate. The Fantastic 4 is a prime example of this. Regardless of rights, these characters will almost definitely NOT be entering into the MCU. With the 2005 cast, it perhaps would have made a little more sense as the films were more successful, the characters were better developed and ultimately, it could have worked . Perhaps not well as Chris Evans would have to have played both Cap and The Human Torch. But still…it could have been possible.

The issue we have with the reboot is that the exact opposite is true: the film was not successful, no matter how you look at it. The character development was beyond poor and ultimately, trying to fit them into the MCU without a complete recast would be disastrous. Sure, they could do a similar move as they did with Spiderman: Do a recast but skip the origin story. The problem is that while Spiderman is a loveable character and fits in perfectly well in the MCU, adding the Fantastic 4 would just be problematic. We don’t really need The Thing while we have the Hulk. Scarlet Witch has similar powers to Sue Storm and adding in a guy that can stretch and a guy on fire would just mess with what the Avengers are these days.

 

Deadpool

I’m sure all of us would love to see Deadpool appear against Thanos, even just for a moment. Just a punch or two in a very short-lived fight…or dare I say it: a few moments where Deadpool somehow ends up with the Infinity Gauntlet. The unfortunate truth is there is no way that Disney will allow Deadpool to set foot into the MCU. At least not in any significant way. He could very well exist within the universe and that could be acknowledged but I can’t see them going beyond that. Much in the same way that he won’t be having any major appearances in any X-Men films (X-Force being the exception).

The reasoning for this is rather simple: While the X-Men films can be quite graphic and intense (as far as comic book films go), they are ultimately family films much in the same way as the MCU. How do you fit an overly-sexual, foul-mouthed mercenary into all of that while keeping it kid-friendly? The simple answer: you don’t. Either the character would be compromised or the film’s rating would. Neither of which are likely to happen.

So I can see Deadpool making an appearance in the MCU but he won’t be a main character in any way. So what about the X-Men?

 

X-Men in the MCU

The X-Men are without a doubt going to be introduced into the MCU at some stage. They won’t be pitching up to fight Thanos (mainly because we have no real idea where the timeline is at these days and chances are they would want to recast some of the characters). The real question is if they would add them X-Men in (that’s almost  guaranteed) but rather how they would?

The answer is surprisingly simple really. We know that the X-Men won’t be appearing to fight Thanos BUT things are going to be seriously fucked up in the MCU by the time the 2nd Infinity War film ends. When you take all the infinity gems into consideration and all that they can do, the problem in the MCU is actually the solution to the MCU/Fox shared universe problem.

When Thanos destroys the universe and the Avengers put it back together, the universes could be crossed. There doesn’t need to be some hugely in-depth exploration as to how to why. We already know from films like Doctor Strange that varying dimensions exist. We also know from that and Days of Future Past that time travel is a reality within both these universes.

 

What Does this Mean?

Well, it means that rather than simply throwing the worlds together with no real explanation as to why mutants (and in fact the word itself) have never been mentioned in the MCU, we can piece together a storyline that not only makes sense but is actually interesting.

Just imagine it as a post-credits scene for Infinity War Part 2 (or whatever name they go for). The credits finish rolling and one of the avengers (probably not Cap or Tony as I’d imagine they’ll both be dead) is doing some arbitrary activity. In rolls Charles or some other iconic character (Deadpool or Wolverine would also be acceptable (although we won’t get Wolverine because of Hugh Jackman having ended the role)). You wouldn’t even have to explore what happened as such, you’d simply have to acknowledge that it DID happen.

 

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