My Thoughts On The Shazam! Trailer

Now I can’t lie although I thought the Aquaman trailer was amazing I found myself enjoying the Shazam! trailer a lot more. This is not a knock to the Aquaman trailer or James Wan, I just find myself replaying the Shazam! trailer more than the Aquaman one. To be honest I was already sold on Aquaman before the trailer was even released. I know what James Wan is capable of and the horror elements he would bring to Aquaman. Now Shazam! is an entirely different case to me. A kid who turns into a superhero with the mention of a single word sounds great on paper (hence the popularity of the character). But how would that work on the big screen? Especially in 2019? This was one of the biggest questions I had going into this trailer. And Sandberg along with the cast look go have got it spot on. I love everything about this trailer. The tone, humour and even the way its shot given its much smaller budget compared to the previous DCEU films. Now I’m not going to pretend like I’m the biggest Shazam/Captain Marvel fan ever but from what I know of the character they have done a good job at both respecting the past of the character while embracing the more recent iterations of Shazam with the New 52 run.

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Zachary Levi looks great in the suit and plays the whole inner-child aspect of the character really well. Granted we can see that the suit is padded and Zachary Levi clearly isn’t that big but it feels like they did it on purpose, it fits the tone of the movie. While Zachary Levi will play the most important role in the movie the child actors that were picked here are the real stars of the trailer for me. Asher makes a great Billy Batson in my opinion and Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman was involved in my favourite moments from the trailer. I just feel like he does a great job at representing us comic fans and how we would react if we find out our foster brother had superpowers.

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I’ve seen people complain about the trailer potentially showing too much of the movie already. I’m guessing the majority of what they showed in the trailer takes place within the first 30/45 minutes of the movie. While I want to see Billy running around using his powers I also want to see the struggles he goes through as he’s trying to find that family structure in his life. But when he does discover his powers in the trailer that’s when the fun begins. Those training montages are great I can’t wait to see more of them. My favourite part of the trailer is the robbery scene where Shazam finds out he’s bulletproof. Freddy’s reaction in this scene makes it for me, you can tell him and Zachary have great chemistry on screen. We only caught a glimpse of Mark Strong’s Doctor Sivana and I’m expecting us to see a lot more of him in the second trailer. This just shows how they haven’t given away too much with this trailer.

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Overall while the character of Shazam is familiar to me this trailer makes me want to go back and start reading through his comics. I think New Line Cinema could potentially have a gem on their hands with this movie. They really need to go full force with the marketing of the film. If done right and this trailer is a great start I think Shazam could reach the same level of popularity as the rest of the Justice League members in the cinematic universe. Speaking of cinematic universes I love how both Aquaman and Shazam! are completely movies in terms of style and tone but they still exist in the same universe. One day I hope we get to see Billy and Freddy interact with the Justice League in the future.

Let me know your thoughts on the trailer

My Thoughts On The Aquaman Trailer

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My expectations for this trailer were so high to the point where I felt worried about being let down by it in the end. Thankfully James Wan really blew it out of the water with this trailer(pun intended). This 2 and a half minute trailer was enough to satisfy fans like me who have been waiting for an Aquaman movie for years.

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During the promotion run for this trailer people who visited the set compared this film to blockbusters such as Star WarsBlade Runner and Lord of the Rings. And we saw all of these influences in the trailer. I’ve seen people complain about the use of CGI in this film and it blows my mind. Of course, this film would need to heavily rely on CGI, 2/3’s of the film is going to be underwater after all. I don’t think people understand how hard it is to make a live action underwater film look realistic. And to be honest they haven’t gone down the realistic route with this film. They have fully embraced that this is a comic book movie which pulls from multiple genres such as sci-fi and adventure. Visually the trailer is stunning and Atlantis looks even better than it did on the comic pages. There are some shots where the CGI looks choppy but that’s to be expected at this early stage. James Wan and his VFX team still have several months to perfect these shots.

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As for the plot I love how Arthur is seen as an outsider now because he grew up on the surface, almost fully embracing his human side. The story of him coming home after Orm has taken over goes with the movie’s tagline “Home is calling“. It just shows that no matter how much time he spends on the surface world Atlantis is still his true home and I think we’ll see him struggle with the responsibilities he has on both the surface and underwater. Orm already looks like he’s going to be a General Zod level main villain. Patrick Wilson was a great choice for Orm and he has been provided with a really interesting character who will be a great match for Arthur and even someone we could sympathise with at points during the film given his motivations. The climax of the film looks to be an epic battle between Orm and Arthur involving their opposing armies and once again the visuals of the war scenes look amazing. My personal highlight from the trailer is finally getting to see a live action version of Black Manta. The suit looks incredible and Yahya looks great without the helmet on too. I felt like we didn’t get to see enough of him but that’s understandable since Orm is the main villain and Black Manta is being built up to star in multiple movies.

Overall I loved the trailer and it was the perfect appetiser for what’s to come in this underwater adventure. Remember this was only the first trailer, there’s still so much that we haven’t seen yet.

Let me know your thoughts on the trailer

Westworld: Season 2, Episode 10: “The Passenger” Review

This is it! It’s the moment we’ve been building to this entire season. What is the Valley Beyond? What’s The Forge? Who’s going to die or survive? Is this the end of the park? This season finale had a lot of expectations to live up to and for the most part it did for me. However I can’t help but feel that some aspects of this episode felt rushed and how the show runners started a lot of threads that they just couldn’t bring to an end in a satisfying manner to me. I don’t want to waste any more time as there is a lot of stuff to breakdown in this episode so let’s get straight into it!

Inside The Forge

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We start the episode with everyone heading to the Valley Beyond, not knowing that The Forge is the key for opening of valley. The scenes that took place within The Forge were fascinating. While The Man in Black arrives at The Forge what happens to him during this time isn’t told to us until the post credit scene. When Dolores runs into him we’re just about to find out if he’s a host or not but she interrupts that process and I’m left even more confused at the end of the episode. Dolores and Bernard are the main characters who spend most of the time there. The Forge is a facility that keeps the data of all the guests that have visited the park. It’s mentioned that it has over 4 million ‘souls’ which explains the wealth of the company because you have to think visiting the park wouldn’t be cheap at all. Inside The Forge both Dolores and Bernard visit what I would call the core of the park a much bigger version of the Cradle, under the surface and its inner-workings. This is where surprisingly enough we run into Logan who isn’t alive but is the systems A.I, he’s in control of everything. He was tasked to make the perfect replications of the guests and it took over 18 million versions to find the perfect version of James Delos. But as we saw when William was testing his own version of James Delos he would malfunction because they can’t live in the real world. However he mentions Dolores might be their best chance. We actually find out that Logan and the park under control of Bernard which was a huge revelation. As Ford told a couple of episodes ago this was now his story. He himself has been to The Forge many times and wanted Dolores to see it for herself. They literally have the guests code put down into book. I thought it was interesting how Logan explained that humans weren’t that difficult to understand. All their decisions keep leading back to the same point and it’s the hosts who are perfect. James Delos’ code is only 10,000 lines which is crazy when you think about it, all his decisions, thoughts and feelings fit into one book. Delos’ book is one amongst the millions that are also present in The Forge. The shot of the endless rows of books was great for depicting it as an actual library and it’s understandable as to why Bernard would want Dolores to come here.

The Valley Beyond – Eden

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During Bernard’s conversation with Logan it’s revealed that Bernard was the one who created the Valley Beyond or the Eden as its called, a new world for the hosts. While they can’t survive in the real world this one was created that would allow them to be free and make their own choices. It’s at this point that a crack starts to appear at the top of The Forge’s facility giving the hosts the option to jump into the Eden. Just by looking at the Eden I got this heaven like feeling from it. It was beautiful watching these hosts run into this new world. Going into the Eden would leave their lifeless bodies on the other side which explains the number of dead hosts in the valley, something that has been a key factor during this season. However not everyone was going to make it to this new world including Maeve. It was heartbreaking to watch Maeve and the people around her go out like that. I initially thought they were building up towards a stand off between Maeve and Clementine but that wasn’t the case. I love how Maeve finally got that moment with her daughter. Watching her daughter run off into the Eden while sacrificing herself was a great way for Maeve to go out. But I have to bring this up, what does death mean any more? It’s hard to feel emotionally attached with Maeve’s death when they could bring her back so easily. While everyone sees the Eden as a a new world and an opportunity to be free Dolores sees straight through it. She calls it a counterfeit world and the only world that’s real is the ones the humans belong in as she starts the process of a ‘data purge’. This leads to Bernard actually killing Dolores as his suspicions of Dolores turning into a monster becomes a reality.

The Real World – Dolores/Hale

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I’ll be honest I did not see this twist coming at all. Dolores was inside Hale?! This was so crazy and genius at the same time! I thought how this all tied in was perfect. Bernard was in charge this whole time, its been his narrative from the start. Ford was never present in this season as we thought he was, it was because Bernard wanted him to be there. It makes sense why he scrambled his memories in fear that Delos would find out what he knows. I thought it was interesting how this season was built around trying to perfect a host that could survive in the real world and it was finally achieved with Dolores in Hale’s body. Dolores reveals how she initially created Bernard with Arnold in mind and now he’s kind of done the same thing in return after he kills her in The Forge. I also want to bring up how Dolores has a change in heart, she actually saves everyone in the Eden, she beams their data far away in a place that it can’t be reached. She’s actually the hero of the season, for all this talk of her being the ‘Deathbringer’ I have to hold my hands up she won me over here with her actions. I have to eat my words again because I thought she didn’t have feelings for Teddy I thought she was just using him. It was great seeing him in the Eden and it shows Dolores’ feelings for him were genuine. Just to clear up any confusion this was made possible because she took out Teddy’s memory core at the beginning of the episode.

By the end of the episode in the current timeline (it was so hard to tell in this episode) Dolores finally leaves the park. Before she leaves the park she has a really interesting conversation with Stubbs. He implies that he could be a host but does it matter anyway? This character has been in the background for the majority of the season. Was this meant to be a huge bombshell? If so it didn’t work for me. It just goes to go show how he was protecting the hosts this whole time. As Dolores leaves the park we see in her bag she has the memory cores of 5 hosts. One of those we know for sure is Arnold/Bernard who she eventually brings back (could one of those balls be Teddy and her father Peter Abernathy). Now she’s giving him his opportunity in the real world as he programs him. Throughout the season we’ve seen scenes where Dolores is testing Bernard and this is it. They’re in the current timeline after the events of the Valley Beyond in the real world. One thing that I found really interesting with their interaction is how Dolores tells him “You’ll try to stop me and we’ll probably both die”. Implying that there will be further problems between the two characters in the future. I love how the episode ends with Arnold literally opening a door as he enters the real world which has been the main theme for the entire season.

After Credit Scene

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I’m going to be honest here I have no idea what this scene was about. During this episode while Dolores and Bernard were in The Forge we see The Man in Black also go in there and that’s it. What happens to him inside The Forge is left to our imagination. This scene clearly takes place way down the timeline in the future because The Forge as we now see it is in disarray. William is greeted by his daughter Emily who I believe is still dead but just like Logan she is present via. A.I. The scene ends with Emily running the fidelity test on William as he still has the same injuries to his hand. Honestly I don’t know what to make of this. A major theme of this episode is how humans choices leads them to a specific point, is this Williams point he keeps running into? But for William to be under the fidelity test wouldn’t that mean he’s a host? Or is he really just losing his mind and this is all in his imagination as he’s been questioning his own reality this whole time. You know what I would have been fine if the character had died in this episode. I thought it would have been the right time to bring the character’s journey to an end. When William was shown receiving help by the Delos team after the events of the Valley Beyond I was disappointed. This scene just left me with so many questions and it was kind of frustrating rather than satisfying. They can’t just seem to end one point they’re trying to make, they continue to dangle the carrot in front of us. Now we have to wait a couple of years for our answers.

Overall for the most part this was a really satisfying episode of Westworld. Was it trying to juggle too many storylines at one? Absolutely, but that’s Westworld in a nutshell. While there were some aspects that didn’t sit well with me in this episode but with the way first episode started and where we ended last night was satisfying enough for me. Retracting Bernard’s crucial steps was a great choice for this season to go in and everything surrounding it lived up to the same quality. I’m not sure if I like this season more than the first one just yet, I’ll probably leave that for a future article. But as for right now I’m kind of glad this season is over. This show is exhausting mentally and I’m happy to take a break from it for a year or so.

Let me know your thoughts on the season finale and the season as a whole

Feel free to check out my articles on season 2:

Westworld: My Thoughts On Season 2 So Far

Westworld: ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Akane no Mal’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Phase Space’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Les Écorchés’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Kiksuya’ Episode Review

Westworld: Season 2, Episode 9: “Vanishing Point” Review

Westworld: Season 2, Episode 9: “Vanishing Point” Review

The week’s episode of Westworld was nothing short of emotional. I’m still trying to collect my thoughts after what just happened. This episode has really set us up for what’s expected to be a grand finale next week. This episode was really centred around William/The Man in Black and how his life has changed since he first visited the park. This is important because it plays in with his motives for getting to the Valley Beyond, Emily and his future in the series. Also we see how the likes of Dolores and Bernard take crucial steps in the same journey towards the Valley Beyond during this episode.

Without wasting anymore time let’s get into the events of this episode!

‘One last game’

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I know William/The Man in Black is a bad guy but he really went through some stuff in this episode. The episode starts off with William and his wife who we get to see for the first time at a party in his honour. Throughout the season we have seen glimpses of the moment where William finds his wife in the bathtub but how she ends up in the bathtub and what leads to it is something we were always building up to. And finally in this episode we got our answers. Earlier in the episode Emily mentioned how her mother was a drunk and I initially thought she must have drowned in the bathtub by accident while being intoxicated. We find out that Ford is somewhat behind her death, or at least he plays a minor role. I say minor because it was evident in this episode how fractured their relationship really was. The park had torn them away from each other, William’s wife was even questioning him on if anything was real to him which is a theme that plays out later in the episode.

Although William ultimately blames himself for her death it was actually his wife finding his profile card that became the tipping point. She found out what he had been  doing in the park and how much of his activities were based around another woman (Dolores). Also with this you have the speech where William tells her that he belongs to a different world implying the park, it pushes her over the edge. It was a really emotional scene, even though William was the main cause of her death I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Something that I keep playing over in my head from this episode is Ford giving William his profile card at the bar. Even in the real world was he controlling the narrative? How would he know that his wife would find the card? Was this all apart of his “last game” for William? Either way it resulted in the death of William’s wife and while it may seem like they weren’t in love, her death has certainly impacted both him and Emily in the park.

Is this another one of your tricks Ford?

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After the showdown with Maeve and The Man in Black Emily showed up at the Ghost Nation’s camp to ‘heal’ her father. And to be fair to her she does heal her father regardless of her true intentions, which we actually find out in this episode. She doesn’t just want to leave the park with her father and go off happily in the sunset acting like nothing happened. No she truly wants to make him suffer. Emily makes it clear that she knows all of the messed up things her father and the company has done. She wants to publicly shame William and keep him in locked up just like he did with James Delos. Emily also mentions how she wants answers relating to her mother’s death. I’m not sure if that means she wants to bring her back because her mind maybe stored at the Valley Beyond. We find out in this episode that she actually blames herself for the death of her mother. I thought her relationship with her mother was great but it actually wasn’t. While William didn’t want to see his wife go into rehab Emily forced it upon her. I guess she feels like this had pushed her mother over the edge to take her own life. By the end of the episode the relationship between The Man in Black and Emily takes a turn I did not see coming at all. There has been a number of times in this season where The Man in Black has thought Ford had been playing a trick on him by talking to him through other hosts. I always thought it was just funny that he thought Ford was messing with him but in this episode it meant something darker. The Man in Black to put it simply is losing both himself and his mind in the park to the point where he kills the Delos team that arrives to help him. This tragically ends with him then killing Emily because he thought she was a host this whole time until he finds his profile card in her hand. I mean this shocked the hell out of me. It was so dark, any sympathy I had for The Man in Black is thrown out of the window at this point. The Man in Black goes on to question if anything about him is real and whether he’s making these decisions by himself. It ends of the cliffhanger of him about to cut into his to see if he’s a host. Personally I don’t think he’s a host at this point but it looks like we’ll be getting our answer next week.

Not everyone gets to make it to the Valley Beyond

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Look I knew that Dolores would be the only one to make it to the Valley Beyond amongst her group. I knew her reprogramming Teddy would comeback to haunt her in a major way and it did. Ever since Teddy mentioned how he knew she reprogrammed him the writing was on the wall. I personally thought that he would end up betraying her but to see him kill himself was shocking. I love how they did it though I must admit that. We saw how far back his love for Dolores goes even before they first met in Sweetwater. Their connection started before the park while they were getting programmed. While he can’t hurt her he knows killing himself is the only way to for him to escape this nightmare he’s been dragged into as he tells her “You’ve made me into a monster”. This scene was brutal, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for Teddy. Knowing what Dolores had done to him but he still loves her at the end of the day. What I found interesting was the clear similarities between Dolores and William with how they both had a major role in the death of someone they love. We’ve seen what the death of William’s wife has done to him so it will be interesting to see how Dolores will react to Teddy’s death going forward.

The Forge

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This whole time we thought the Valley Beyond was called The Door but not anymore, Its actually called ‘The Forge’ now. What exactly is The Forge? Well it’s described as a much bigger version of the Cradle. It’s the culmination of what Delos has been doing the entire time since William took over the company. At The Forge they basically have the code of all their guests that have entered the park. It’s interesting that everyone is going there for different reasons. Dolores wants to use it against the humans while The Man in Black wants to burn it down. The Ghost Nation members who came into contact with Dolores during this episode see it as a passage to the real world. I’m still confused as to why Bernard is going there. Next episode we’ll see everyone finally meet up at The Forge and see its real purpose.

 

Overall I thought this was an excellent episode of Westworld. Leading up to the season finale this episode really tied up all the ends to the point where everyone is heading towards ‘The Forge’. The Man in Black was prominent in this episode and I think it was that way for a reason. Having seen the storyline of his wife and daughter play out I believe we’ll finally see the end of his story in the season finale. I have high expectations for next week’s episode. It’s all been building to this and I expected nothing but to be blown away at the end of the season finale.

Feel free to check out my reviews of the previous episodes

Westworld: ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Akane no Mal’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Phase Space’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Les Écorchés’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Kiksuya’ Episode Review

 

 

 

Westworld: ‘Kiksuya’ Episode Review

Last week I said that because of how action-packed the last couple of episodes have been this week’s episode will be much more toned down and less eventful. And I was right… well kind of, I didn’t expect this type of episode at all. I still don’t know how I feel about the episode overall. I’ve seen the reception to the episode online and from what I gathered people loved it. This was a bold episode for the show runners to make, especially considering where we are in the season. With my reviews I usually split it into sections dedicated to the different characters that are present in the episode. But this episode was different as it was solely focused on one character. So I apologise in advance if this review comes across as a mess because I still don’t know how I feel about the episode as a whole. While this week’s episode was focused on one character it did help fill in the gaps from the first season with The Maze and overall it answered a lot of questions I had about the park.

Ake/Ghost Nation

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The star of this episode was Ake, the leader of the Ghost Nation. This is part of my biggest issue with the episode because this is a character that we have seen in the background throughout the series. To spend an entire episode with him and his tragic background didn’t do much for me. It was hard for me to be invested with a character that wasn’t one of my favourites. What I do like is how his story plays into the bigger picture with the park. His narrative/story clearly resembles that of Maeve’s which I found really interesting. He had the chance to leave the park as he finally starts to wake up just like Maeve but he goes back for Kohana to find out she’s in a different loop. Like Maeve his partner is at his core and while they aren’t humans they still feel and have a strong connection with them. The scene where Ake finds Kohana after he kills himself in the storage unit was incredible. I know I said I don’t have much invested in the character but his performance and the way it was built up I couldn’t help feel sorry for him, for all of them.

This episode was also important because it shows us the purpose of Ghost Nation and what they’ve been doing this whole time. Ake wasn’t the only one to notice that he was in the ‘wrong world’. Others amongst him start to realise something is wrong as their family members start to get replaced and they see people from previous narratives. The Ghost Nation is growing with members who are awake. This is why they aren’t killing the humans and hosts they run into. It’s Ake’s relationship with Maeve and her daughter that kind of confuses me. I understood early on that Maeve was communicating through him to her daughter. But he says he’s been watching them for a long time. He tried to warn them about the Man in Black’s attack but failed. I’m trying to figure out the early connections between Maeve and Ake other than them sharing the same type of narrative if that makes sense. I understand why he would want to track down Maeve now because she’s the most powerful host. But back then she was no different to the other hosts.

Ake’s journey to The Door

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In this episode we got our best look at The Door as Ake has come the closest to it. He described it as the passage to the real world. Going back and looking at screenshots of the facility it’s hard to take away anything about The Door. It did look like a futuristic building but what’s its purpose? Are they producing new hosts? Or is it literally a door to the real world. But Ake killing himself so he could get back to the Masa was another door if you really think about it. Of course he can’t kill himself now since there are no backups and Delos are having a lot of problems themselves. One interesting thing to note about The Door is how it changed overtime. I mentioned how it looked like a facility when Ake first sees it but when he comes back later it’s almost been covered up by the desert now. Delos must have changed the map or made some alterations to stop hosts from reaching it.

I also wanted to point out how he runs into Logan on his journey to find The Door. At the end of season one Logan’s fate was unknown. When William sent him on that horse was he sending him back into the real world? Or was he sending him out to die? We find that Logan was stranded in the desert and he went crazy. He’s was talking about The Door as he tells Ake he can’t find it because he’s in the wrong world. This helps Ake’s journey to becoming awake. When Ake comes back Logan is gone. As for the current timeline the last we heard of Logan was when William told his father that he had died from an overdose. To be honest I don’t really trust William and I believe this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Logan.

Origins of The Maze

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The revelation of how The Maze started was something I really enjoyed in this episode. It was the staple of the first season and to be honest I kind of forgot about its importance. But as I said with this episode it felt like they were filling in the gaps. The Maze was something I always thought Arnold and Ford created for Dolores to reach consciousnesses. To find out it actually started with Ake and his tribe was a great reveal. It made sense too, I love how he shows up after Dolores kills Arnold and he takes The Maze toy as a symbol to remember what happened. He was the one who was leaving the engravings of The Maze around the park. I remember seeing this maze engraved on a table back in season one when we visited Lawrence’s hometown. I also never understood how The Maze was found under the scalp of that Ghost Nation member’s head from season one. We find out that they did it to hide it from the Delos team. It’s crazy how they just took to this random symbol that probably wasn’t even meant for them. Or was it? Again every time I think Ford may not be in control of the narrative he is. He tells Ake that he was built to be curious and that he’s been watching him. Would this explain how the Delos team never wiped his memory when he died? There must be a reason for that, they had to be under the instructions of Ford. While Ford didn’t create The Maze he certainly used it on the likes of Dolores and The Man in Black. Ford also tells Ake that he wants him to be free now and with the park currently in disarray that’s possible.

The Man in Black’s Suffering

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As I said last week Emily would show up and help her father. I find it crazy how a man of his age after taking that many shots is still alive. I’m starting to believe he isn’t a human anymore, he has to be a hybrid or something. From what we have seen William and Emily’s relationship has always been complicated. It’s clearly not your traditional father and daughter relationship because of what happened to Emily’s mother and the impact of the park on the family. She shows up to the Ghost Nation’s camp and first of all I’m thinking “How the hell did she know he was there?”. I thought showed up to help him but her conversation with Ake is really interesting. Ake himself wants to heal The Man in Black so he can actually suffer but so does Emily. Emily says she’ll make his suffering process a lot worse. Initially I was thinking why would Ake want the Man in Black to suffer but by the end of the episode it’s obvious this is clearly Maeve talking through his mind. Of course she would want The Man in Black to suffer, in fact both of them would as he failed to protect them in the first place. I just never knew Maeve could use her powers from outside the park which makes her even more powerful.

Overall this week’s episode certainly wasn’t your typical Westworld episode. I thought it was a brave and bold choice to focus on Ake’s story. The more I write about it the more I find myself appreciating the episode. I don’t have to love it to appreciate the meaning of the episode and its purpose. And this episode was important it was deep, complex and emotional. It showed us the power of love in the park and what people would do for it, even if they’re hosts. This episode connected The Maze, The Door, Maeve, Ford, Dolores and the park in general together. This episode answered a lot of questions that fans may have had. Or maybe it didn’t I can see why some probably won’t like this episode but I ended up enjoying it. Is it one of the best episodes of the series yet? Not to me but it’s their most bold and mature take on the park yet.

Let me know your thoughts on this week’s episode

Westworld: ‘Les Écorchés’ Episode Review

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Feel free to check out my review on the latest episode of Westworld!

via Westworld: ‘Les Écorchés’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Les Écorchés’ Episode Review

This week’s episode of Westworld ‘Les Écorchés’ was huge for the park and the future of the series. In this episode a number of characters take a crucial step in reaching the Valley Beyond. However while all this is going on Ford is back and he’s in charge of the main narrative taking place. This may not have been one of the best episodes of the seasons so far but it sure was eventful and does throw the future of the park into jeopardy

Inside the Cradle: Bernard/Ford

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Last week we were left with the bombshell of Ford’s return. Now I for one wasn’t too shocked because Ford has been working in the background this whole season because it’s his narrative. But to see Anthony Hopkins himself return to the screen in the park was a welcomed surprise. This episode picks up with Bernard further exploring what’s inside the cradle. As suspected last week this is a backup world with the copies of all the hosts and their narratives. I love the conversations here between Bernard and Ford in the cradle. Ford clearly sees himself as a god-like figure in the park and that’s because he pretty much is. He claims “I don’t think god rested on the seventh day Bernard, I think he revelled in his creations” as he sits in the saloon watching the other hosts go amongst their loops. He also mentions how he knows one day it will all be destroyed which plays out in the end of the episode because this is what Ford wants. When the backups are finally destroyed the hosts will able to break free.

One of the most important things we learned here is that the park isn’t for the guests, its for the hosts. They are the ones in control and Ford describes the guests as the variables. He claims how everything in the world has been copied except for the human mind. This is what we saw William struggling with earlier this season when he was trying to copy James Delos’ mind into a new body. It actually makes more sense when Dolores says to Charlotte how the humans want to copy the host since they are perfect but they can’t achieve fidelity… except for Bernard? We see flashbacks of Bernard being programmed by Dolores to my surprise. She too has been doing the fidelity test on Bernard and both her and Ford have created him from their memories of Arnold as Dolores tell him “You’re almost the man I remember”. So has Ford achieved fidelity with Bernard? Is this even the same Bernard since we are shown a room full of Bernard’s later on. But how much of what we have seen from Bernard this season is actually him? We see in this episode how Ford has been controlling him throughout the season. He told Bernard this is his story now but Ford is still the main person in control. He even takes over Bernard’s actions by killing the security team at Delos. This leads to me think when the season started at the Valley Beyond and Bernard says “I think I killed them” clearly it was Ford that made him do it. But how much of a bad guy is Ford really? He lets the Cradle get destroyed because it has to be burnt down first for the hosts to gain freedom. Now Bernard is instructed to go to the Valley Beyond which looks set to be the climax of this season as Dolores, The Man in Black and now Ford/Bernard are all heading there for different reasons.

Maeve and The Man in Black showdown

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There has been a lot of callbacks to season 1 during this season but none had quite the effect on me when Maeve and The Man in Black meet again. This memory of The Man in Black killing her daughter is at her core and to see it almost play out again was so emotional. I love how when they meet William thinks Ford is playing a trick on him again. The Man in Black this time isn’t here to kill Maeve, he barely even acknowledges her. Maeve is the one who strikes first because of course all she knows is that he takes her daughter’s life. The stand off between these two characters is great too. I love how Maeve uses her powers especially when it comes to Lawrence by making him search within himself to see how The Man in Black previously treated him in season 1. However with as much praise I have given this ‘showdown’ I do have my issues with it. I personally thought they should have killed off The Man in Black. That would have been a bold move for the show runners to take. To have him on the brink of death knowing he’ll probably survive was a let down, I thought this could have been a great ending for the character. I mean he got shot multiple times and with there being no rules in the park anymore how can he survive after that? Someone has to turn up that ends up helping him, I wouldn’t put it past Emily finding him again. I also found it interesting that when Sizemore and the Delos team arrive to take Maeve after Ghost Nation takes her daughter no one pays The Man in Black any attention. I mean did they just not see him? Isn’t this still the owner of the company? You would think him dying would have huge ramifications for the future of the park.

Dolores’ attack on the Masa

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In this episode we finally get some closure with Dolores finding her father. Knowing this show I honestly thought they wouldn’t get to meet again. But her assault on the Masa was brutal, her and Teddy really took no prisoners. As she states what’s inside Abernathy’s head is the ‘key’. The key to what? We don’t know yet, all we know is that key will be used at the Valley Beyond. It’s interesting that people believe his memory unit is used for various things. Charlotte claims what’s in his memory unit is a ‘failsafe’ or as she puts it an encryption key which is used in times of disasters. To be honest I don’t believe a word Charlotte says, she just comes across as someone who is so untrustworthy. During Dolores’ raid on the Masa the Cradle actually gets blown up so according to Ford the hosts are free now. By watching Dolores’ and Maeve’s interaction by the end of the episode I noticed something interesting. She lets Maeve live while claiming the humans would use her as a powerful weapon against them. I can’t remember Dolores killing any other hosts. For as much as she’s depicted as a bad person she’s really fighting for her people. Or does she feel guilty for the way she treated Teddy? But leaving Maeve behind could comeback to haunt her because Sizemore seems like he’s going to help her but for who? For himself? Or for Maeve to find her daughter again. Before I finish this review I have to praise the scenes between Dolores and Peter Abernathy. Both actors were so great with their performances, although they haven’t had much screen time together throughout the series I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both of them in his final scene. It also goes to show how Dolores is willing to do anything for her cause as Abernathy takes his last breath. Even though he can be easily brought back I think that’s the last we have seen of him in this series.

Overall this was another really strong episode of Westworld. Honestly at times this felt like it could be the season finale. Bernard is taking centre stage for this season and I’m completely fine with that. At first when the season started and it looked like it was all leading up to the events that take place at the Valley Beyond I was skeptical. But as the season has gone on I’m loving where this is going. By the end of the episode Bernard is being interrogated by Charlotte and he gives up the location of the memory unit which will lead them back to the Vally Beyond. With the last couple of episodes being so action packed I’m expecting a more calm episode next week but if Dolores and Charlotte’s team cross paths again I’m pretty sure we’ll witness an all out war that will end things for good this time.

Let me know your thoughts on this week’s episode

Feel free to check out my reviews for the previous episodes:

Westworld: ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Akane no Mal’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Phase Space’ Episode Review

Westworld: My Thoughts On Season 2 So Far

 

 

Westworld: ‘Phase Space’ Episode Review

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This week’s episode of Westworld which is titled ‘Phase Space’ continues the strong pace that has been set by the three previous episodes. The season is getting much stronger with each episode. I feel like I’m saying this every week but this week’s episode could be the best one yet of the season so far. As for importance it’s definitely up there, there was a lot of significant stuff that happened in this episode. From Westworld to Shogun World to the real world this episode took us everywhere. With that being said lets get into the events of ‘Phase Space’.

Maeve meets her daughter/Shogun World

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I’m actually surprised that we got to visit Shogun World again in this episode. With this season it feels like the episodes have been split up for specific characters. For example you would have an episode that is solely dedicated to The Man in Black and in other episodes they would focus on Dolores and Teddy. So having just left Shogun World in the last episode I was surprised to see it featured again so soon in last night’s episode. We ended the last episode with the death of Sakura and Shogun’s army charging Maeve. While Maeve had discovered her new powers I didn’t think she would be able to take on a whole army. But she did as the episode shows us Maeve standing in the centre of the screen surrounded by the lifeless bodies of Shogun’s army. I would have to say that Maeve is pretty much unstoppable right now. What I like the most about this episode is how its focused on the hosts making choices for themselves and choosing their own paths. Akane who finally lays her daughter to rest actually decides to stay with her in the place Sakura described as where she finds peace. One line that both Akane and Maeve say I want to focus on in particular is “We each deserve to choose our fate… Even if that fate is death”. I love this line because it not only relates to these two character but to pretty much everyone else in the park. Dolores, Teddy, and the Man in Black are living by this line which I will go into greater detail later on when I talk about their journeys in this episode.

In this episode we finally get to see Maeve meet her daughter for what feels like the first time. If you thought this would be a happy ending what show have you been watching? We knew this wasn’t going to pan out as Maeve wanted. Her daughter does not even recognise her and to make things worse Maeve’s role as her mother has been replaced by another host. Given Sizemore is in charge of all the narratives that take place in Westworld did he know this all along? After all he does call back to Delos at the end of the episode calling for help. Is he in fear that Maeve will finally find out that he was playing her this whole time? When Maeve realises she has been replaced she doesn’t have time to react because the same loop that was playing out in her original narrative starts to play out for replacement. The Ghost Nation arrive but this time I have to mention it’s a different Ghost Nation. They aren’t here to kill anyone, instead it looks like they’re here to recruit Maeve. The Ghost Nation leader tells Maeve “We’re on the same path”. We know the Ghost Nation have been playing this security type of role in the park this season but who are they controlled by? Is it Dolores or Ford that is pulling the strings?

Dolores and Teddy

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The last time we saw Teddy he was being reprogrammed Dolores and the Delos tech employee. If you don’t remember they increased his cruelty and aggression to the maximum. I personally couldn’t wait to see this new side of Teddy. I feel both the actor and the character have been wasted in this series so far. This new Teddy is brutal as he just executes a guard who Dolores was questioning without flinching. After he kills this person Dolores has a look on her face as if she’s thinking if she made a mistake by reprogramming Teddy. One thing I found interesting is that Teddy knows he’s been reprogrammed by Dolores. He states how he wanted to leave this place but “I guess you fixed that too”. This is dangerous for Dolores because I think this will end up blowing up in her face. By the end of the episode after he shows the Delos tech ‘mercy’ on the train they finally arrive at the Delos headquarter outside the park. I thought the build up to this was great, Delos finally get back control over the park’s map and you see this red blip moving towards the edge of the map and we find out that it’s actually the train. Dolores stated she was coming for her father and it just so happens that her father is at the headquarters too. Bernard is there too, I love how all this is coming together. I can’t wait to see Dolores and Bernard meet again.

Family Reunion (The Man in Black and Emily)

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I couldn’t wait to see the impact of The Man in Black’s daughter showing up for the character. I love how at first he thinks Ford is playing one of his tricks on him. But we soon find out that she’s real, not that I ever doubted her. With this episode we really get to find out a lot about their relationship which I loved. She initially blamed him for her mother’s death which she later apologises for. We also find out why she’s in the park to begin with. She claims Charlotte Hale invited her and this was a way for her to get her father back. The park has caused so much damage to their family she doesn’t want him to go out in the say way. Emily claims what he’s doing right now is pretty much suicide by robot. This isn’t Emily’s first time at the park. She came here multiple times as a kid and as we first saw her in the Raj World she claims it was her favourite park. I also found it interesting how she mentioned that her father didn’t drink in the real world but does in the park. You have think that he drinks in here because he feels responsible for his wife’s death. Although it may seem like Emily got through to her father by forcing him to leave the park The Man in Black continues on his journey as he abandons Emily over night. Not even his daughter is enough for him to leave the park at this point. This world has really destroyed both him and his family. It will be interesting to see if Emily continues to tack down her father. By their earlier conversations her sole purpose was for them to leave together so I think we’ll seem them run into each other again by the end of the season.

“Hello old friend”

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Ford is back! Well at least for now. I want to comeback to this reveal by the end of this paragraph because it ties in with what Bernard and Elsie were doing throughout the episode. Bernard and Elsie make it back to the Delos headquarters ironically through the same tunnel in which Dolores’ train crashes through. For the most part while their screen time is brief in this episode they might have the most important scenes. They come to find out that the park as a whole has been taken control over by someone or something. Elsie is constantly being blocked by the cradle whenever she is trying to take control over the infrastructure. Bernard forces Elsie to perform a auto-extraction where she takes out his memory core. What happens next is still confusing to me if I’m being honest. When Bernard shows up at Sweetwater I thought they were showing him entering the park for the first time after helping create it. The same narrative of Teddy bumping into Dolores is playing as we’ve seen a million time before. And Ford is there playing the piano.

I have to point out how earlier in the episode Dolores was also playing the piano just like Ford is at the end of the episode, some clear foreshadowing there. But back to the cliffhanger of the episode with Ford’s return. After doing some research this park Bernard is in is clearly a backup for the actual park. Therefore they have the copies of the original hosts along with their narratives. At some point Ford must have uploaded himself to the park by creating a new body with the cradle. If you think back to season 1 especially with the death of Theresa in the basement, Ford has his own cradle. There was a couple of shots showing the cradle creating a new host but we never got to see the face or the process finish, one would have to think Ford was building a copy of himself and put himself in this back up world so he can still be effective in the the park. I know that sounds confusing because it is. Again I may not even have the answers I could be wrong please feel free to correct me. This could be dangerous for Ford though because if the Delos employees find out about this couldn’t they have access to this backup world? Before I end this I also want to bring up what we saw at the beginning of the episode with Dolores interviewing Bernard. This raises so many questions. Is this occurring in the current timeline? Does Dolores once invading Delos get her hands on the cradle and is able to create her own hosts? Is she trying to bring back Arnold in some way? Right now I have no idea but I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

Overall I thought this was a very eventful episode. What is that three in a row now? This season of Westworld while it started slowly is on pace to be better than the first in my opinion. So much has happened already and we still have four episodes remaining. I haven’t enjoyed breaking down a shows like this in a long time. I can’t wait to see what happens next week in particular with Delores showing up outside the park.

Let me know your thoughts on this week’s episode

Feel free to check out my reviews for the previous episodes

Westworld: ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’ Episode Review

Westworld: ‘Akane no Mal’ Episode Review

Westworld: My Thoughts On Season 2 So Far

Revisiting Spider-Man: Homecoming

Check out my thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming after I watched it again recently via Revisiting Spider-Man: Homecoming

Revisiting Spider-Man: Homecoming

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I know what you’re thinking “Why is he reviewing a movie that came out last year?”. Well there’s a simple answer for that, when Spider-Man: Homecoming was released I didn’t have this blog and having recently watched it I felt like giving my thoughts on it. Better late than never right? This is the start of a new series where I revisit previous comic book movies and give my thoughts on them. The main reason why I’m doing is because I find that opinion on a film changes when I watch it again, especially when all the hype surrounding it dies down. Or sometimes my thoughts on the film don’t change at all. Homecoming is a movie I wanted to revisit mainly due to the high I came off when recently watching Avengers: Infinity War. I loved Spidey in Infinity War and when I thought about it I had only seen Homecoming once and I just thought it was a solid movie at best. Since I have a lot more free time I wanted to go back and see if my thoughts on it had changed. After all Spider-Man is one of my favourite comic book characters of all time. Instead of giving a full detailed review because you’ve probably read 100s of them by now I just wanted to give my thoughts on the film as a whole after revisiting it a year later.

No origin

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When it comes to the movies we have already seen the origins of Spider-Man with how he was bitten by a radioactive spider and the death of Uncle Ben. I do remember the first Amazing Spider-Man movie getting criticised for retracing the steps of the first Raimi movie. Homecoming takes a shortcut because at this point we all know the origins of Spider-Man. I think this was a bold decision because at the end of the day this is still a reboot and skipping over the death of Uncle Ben in particular is a huge deal. There is an emotional tone that is left out in this film which I think could have been filled if they focused more on his death. I’m not saying you have to show us his death again for what would have been the third time but they could have made it feel more important rather than giving it one line in the movie where Peter is talking about what Aunt May has been through. By exploring Uncle Ben’s death it would have also allowed them to focus more on Peter’s relationship with Aunt May which I feel is lacking in the film.

I think the issue I ran into when watching this film the first time was not accepting that this was an entirely new Spider-Man. For too long I’ve held the Raimi films close to my heart because I grew up with them. This is a different Peter Parker in many ways but he still has the same elements from the comics. This isn’t a Peter Parker who feels responsible for the death of his uncle Ben. He’s worried about how best he can help his Aunt and how he can take Liz to the Homecoming dance. I’ve had my 5 movies with the same type of character/background. The way Peter and Spider-Man are handled in this movie is something new and I’m totally fine with that.

Peter’s arc

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The way the writers approached Peter’s arc in this film was interesting for a number of reasons. By skipping his actual origin the movie goes in reverse after the events of Captain America: Civil War where we were first introduced to him. Although we didn’t get a Spider-Man film prior to Civil War we know he was out there on the streets of New York in his homemade suit playing the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man role. With Homecoming although he had been Spider-Man for some time he was still inexperienced in the role. You see this in scenes where he is chasing after the Shocker in his van, he ends up making a mess of the neighbourhood while losing track of the van in the process.

What I liked the most about Peter’s arc in this film is how he started the movie out on top. He had the upgraded suit and the help of his mentor Tony Stark but as the film goes on he pretty much loses everything. He doesn’t have the help of Happy, Tony and Karen to rely on when he battles the Vulture in the final act. Peter’s relationship with Tony in this film is something I also want to touch on since it has become somewhat a controversial aspect of the film. I’ll admit I wish Tony wasn’t in this film, I would have preferred Spider-Man to be working on his own for the majority of this movie. But I do think they’re building up to something special with their relationship. I would argue that Tony has taken the role of Uncle Ben in Peter’s life and what you saw in Avengers: Infinity War was just the start. I believe their relationship will be revisited in Avengers 4 possibly with the death of Tony Stark who passes the torch to Peter. The death of Tony Stark could be huge for this character. To see how this teenager would deal with the death of his mentor could provide us with some of the most compelling content we have ever seen when it comes to Spider-Man on the big screen.

Tom Holland

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Now I’m not going to get into the whole debate of who’s the best Spider-Man ever because it has taking place since Captain America: civil War and has restarted since Avengers: Infinity War, honestly it’s a boring conversation. I really like all three portrayals we have seen so far with Tom also making a great Spider-Man. Without contradicting the whole point I just made the main issues I had with the previous iterations of the character is there wasn’t the perfect balance between Peter Parker and Spider-Man. With Tom Holland’s portrayal I feel like he finally strikes the perfect balance with the character overall. You believe he’s a kid who’s in high school mainly because of Tom’s performance, even though he’s 21 years old he embodies the role perfectly. This characteristic also translates easily into Spider-Man. Tom brings his innocence, joyful and comedic touch to the character. Also when given the right material Tom actually pulls of some great emotional performances in this role too. The first that comes to mind is of course the famous rubble scene which is taken straight from the comics and it works on big screen mainly due to Tom’s performance in the scene. The “Come on Spider-Man” line gets me every time I think about it. I do believe in the future movies that if they want the character’s arc to take a more emotional route Tom Holland will be able to pull if off.

Vulture

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I forgot how great Michael Keaton was as the Vulture in this movie. Every time he’s on screen he just steals the scene. You can tell this is someone who is seasoned in this industry, he makes it look so easy. His performance overall is one that I think should be remembered for a long time when it comes to the main villains of the MCU. The scene in particular that stands out to me is when he’s threatening Peter in the car. The build up to that scene and the way Keaton delivers his lines are great. The simple line of “Good ol’ Spider-Man” on paper doesn’t sound like a great line but Keaton’s delivery makes it a great line. Aside from Keaton’s great performance the main reason why I really like the Vulture in this film is because he was relatable. Yes, relatable for me is a key element that makes a great comic book villain. I don’t know about you but I’m so over the main villain who just wants to takeover the world so they summon a faceless army and shoot a beam into the sky for the final act. The MCU has been guilty of this formula but with the likes of Thanos, Killmonger, Hela and now Vulture they are starting to deviate away from it.

I like how Tooms was out to just help his daughter which links back to Peter because he saved her life. He had multiple opportunities to kill Peter but didn’t because that wasn’t his main goal. In fact apart from one of his henchmen who he kills by accident, he doesn’t kill anyone else in the movie. Another scene that stood out to me is just after Peter escapes from the rubble and he runs in the Vulture at his hideout. I love Adrian Tooms’ speech here about being looked down upon by the likes of the Tony Stark’s of the world. I love the line he says “They don’t care about us” and due to how he was treated at the start of the movie he’s right. It could even apply to Spider-Man with the way Tony Stark treated him. So both the hero and the villain have something in common which helps make him a better villain in my opinion. Overall the Vulture was a great main villain in this movie and in the MCU overall. At first I was skeptical when they chose the Vulture as the main villain but it was a great starting point for this Spider-Man mainly because of Keaton’s performance. I also like how they kept him alive in the end as they’re slowly building towards the formation of the Sinister Six in a future film. One last thing I would like to add on the Vulture is how much I love the character’s costume design. Sometimes when you see characters in comic books you think there’s no way this would work on the big screen. Vulture was one of those for me and when it came to the look of the character the costume designers knocked it out of the park.

Overall Spider-Man: Homecoming was a film I enjoyed a lot more the second time around. I like this new Spider-Man and the potential it has in the future. I think Tom Holland was a great choice along with Michael Keaton’s Vulture as the main villain of the first film. While I still have issues with the film such as the visual effects and the final battle it didn’t stop me from liking the film even more the second time around. This has become one of my favourite Spider-Man movies ever and I can’t wait for the sequel which is coming out next year.

Spider-Man: Homecoming 8.5/10

What are your thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming?

Is it your favourite Spider-Man movie?

Here’s my ranking of the Spider-Man movies:

  1. Spider-Man 2
  2. Spider-Man
  3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  4. The Amazing Spider-Man
  5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  6. Spider-Man 3