The Black Hurricane
You can read this and other short stories HERE
Another short story will be posted next week! Check back then for more details.
My name is Dan Wright. I'm a author of Fantasy. I like to talk about writing, movies, comics, animation - or just anything else that interests me. This is my blog. Thanks for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy.
We are counting down ever closer to the release of Fall of Draconica, and today's short story talks about a part of Draconica's history that shaped the modern world as it is now. It may even play an important part in Draconica's future.
The Black Hurricane
You can read this and other short stories HERE
Another short story will be posted next week! Check back then for more details.
Bit of good news before we get into the story guys - I've just had the edits for Fall of Draconica handed to me. In about three weeks I should be about ready to release it! Exciting times ahead!
Anyway, onto today's short story, which features everyone's favourite bad girl Zarracka languishing away in her cell. But an old "friend" arrives to cheer her up.
The Ice Princess
You can read this and the other short stories in the collection HERE.
A new short story to be posted next week.
Match spoilers contained throughout!!
So here we are with the first of many Co-Branded WWE PPV of the year (where Raw and Smackdown superstars appear, so basically just like the Big Three) and OH MY GOD I AM SO ****ING P***ED OFF!!!
Ahem, sorry about that. Anyway, as you can probably tell from that reaction, I was not best pleased by this PPV. In fact, I might have to say it was the worst PPV I’ve seen in ages. Admittedly, the card was not great to begin with, but they could have at least tried.
So, let’s just get this review over with shall we? Sigh…
For a list of matches and results (including the Pre-show matches which will not be covered), see HERE.
Kicking things off was Seth Rollins versus The Miz for the Intercontinental title. This match was nothing short of incredible, with Rollins proving once again why he deserves to be champion. Miz also performed to his best today. Both hit great move after great move and both had some great counters to each other. A damaged knee earlier in the match made it look like Mix would steal it, but Rollins fought against the pain and won with a Blackout. This was a great opener and hinted that we were in for a great show.
How wrong we were!
Nia Jax defeated Alexa Bliss in a ho-hum match that lasted longer than it should have done. Afterwards, Jax did what was supposed to be an inspiring speech, that just felt more like a SJW diatribe. A great wrestler Nia is, but on the mic – Dwayne Johnson she is not!
The middle of the event, we were treated to an Elias performance, possibly one of the best mic workers in WWE, he just knows how to get the crowd riled up. The performance turned into an interruption by The New Day, then Rusev Day, then No Way Hose (hey, that rhymes!) with Titus World Wide (Titus luckily managed to keep upright this time!) and Breezango. And just when it looked when Elias would be able to do his performance, Boddy Roode gave him a Glorious DDT and danced off with the conga line. It was utterly silly – but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it!
Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton have been known for having some classic matches – their battle on Raw many years ago when Hardy did a huge Swanton Bomb from the Titantron. This, sadly, was not one of them. It wasn’t terrible, just not exciting, and it further proves WWE has no idea what to do with Orton now.
Can someone tell me how WWE thought throwing Big Cass into a match with Daniel Bryan (which had a flimsy motivation at best) was a good idea? Well, despite some savage beatdowns, Cass just doesn’t really feel over with the fans at all. Some were even chanting “We want Enzo” during the match – and you KNOW things are bad when people would rather see him than you! Bryan was great, but the two just didn’t click and the match had a sloppy finish. Not good.
But hey, at least it wasn’t as bad as Carmella versus Charlotte. Any matches with Carmella should come with ear plugs – as her high-pitched shrieks did more damage that her moves did. Is Charlotte being punished or something? This is the woman who beat Asuka’s streak, but then lost the title soon afterwards. And this just made her look like a fool – bad form! I don’t mind wrestlers losing once in a while – but after such a huge push at Wrestlemania, you think she’d have bigger things ahead for her.
AJ Styles versus Shinsuke Nakamura for the third time. This time in a no DQ match. This was finally the dream match we were promised and it was everything Wrestlemania should have been – had it not been for the bull**** ending!
No joke, this actually was a way better match than their Wrestlemania encounter in my opinion. It had edge and brutality – especially when AJ countered Nakamura’s Kinshasa with a chair shot that bounded back to him and busted him open. But a double low-blow to each other meant that they couldn’t meet the ten count from a referee and it ended as a no contest.
I’m sorry, what?
This was a no DQ match, right? Surely that include ten counts?
What. The. ****ing. Hell?!? Either give us a proper result or don’t give us a match at all, WWE! Stopping copping out on us!
The tag team match between Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley (who hasn’t had a singles match since he came back FYI) again Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens wasn’t much better. Yeah, Braun Strowman ran roughshot over the two and it showed seeds of breakup between the Canadians – but otherwise the match was a wet fart. Even Braun Strowman’s multiple powerslams couldn’t save it. Poor Strowman, even after winning the Greatest Royal Rumble WWE don’t want to push him beyond just a powerslam. He’s worth way more than that!
As for the main event between Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns – well despite a brutal beatdown before the bell sounded, the match itself was just dull, dull, DULL! Fans were bored stiff, even chanting “Rusev Day”, “Delete” and “Johnny Wrestling” among other things. Frankly, the only applause this match got was when Reigns hit the spear to end the match – but fans quickly piled out the arena afterwards! And so ends one of the worst PPV’s I’ve seen in a while.
Man, this event sucked! Aside from a brilliant opener, every single match had little to no effort behind it. Most of the results were either cop outs or just sloppily put together. The AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura bout had a chance to end on a high note, but the ending just angered me beyond belief! And don’t even get me started on the car crash that was the main event.
The only reason I’m not giving this event 0 stars is that the Intercontinental match was brilliant, and the Elias segment was very funny. But aside from that, this PPV was crap and I’ll never get those three and a half hours back.
You know when The Last Jedi came out and fans started a petition to get it removed from canon? I’m thinking of doing the same with this event!
Images used are owned by WWE. Used for review purposes – no ownership is intended or inferred.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Sorry for this being late, I had hoped to get this review out the day I went to see the film, but real life once again got in the way (shakes fist).
And so, the time has come! After many years of build-up, Thanos has arrived. Earth’s mightiest heroes face their toughest challenge yet, and Marvel Studio’s bring their most ambitious superhero flick to date. The hype for this film has been monumental, with people giving their own theories as to what may happen. Some of you may remember I even did a Top Five blog about what I was most worried about for this movie.
So… where my fears justified?
Short answer – yes and no. Mostly no.
If I had to sum up this film in one phrase, it would be OH MY ****ING GOD WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?
Ahem, let’s just get to the review.
The Mad Titan Thanos has begun his collection of the Infinity Stones, which have been referenced many times throughout the MCU, to aid him in his quest of mass genocide. With two stones already in his possession, he makes his way through the Universe to collect the remaining ones (two of them still out amongst the cosmos and two on Earth) The Avengers (still fractured after Civil War), the Guardians of the Galaxy and the nation of Wakanda must join forces to take down this threat. But will their combined efforts be enough to stop him?
WHAT I LIKED
Never in any MCU film has the stakes been higher than in Infinity War. With so many characters and storylines to fit in, I was worried that certain characters would get pushed to the back in favour of others. And whilst that was the case with some of them (more on that later), I was actually really impressed with how they were worked into the story. Most, if not all, the main players from the previous MCU films found their time to shine, without feeling like a “Just there to advance the plot” kinda thing. The film even breaks apart certain characters and mixes them in with others (such as Rocket Racoon and Groot joining Thor, Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis teaming with Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, and so forth). This added some unique dynamics in each team that I felt worked very well – like the humourous exchange between Star-Lord and Thor when they first meet. I felt that the story juggled each characters arc very well and never got too bogged down.
This film is arguably a lot grittier than previous instalments, but it does have the typical Marvel humour to mix it up. Some might think it’s getting tired now, but in a film like this, you need all the humour you can get. Especially since there are some really dramatic moments.
I was also worried that they would try and cram in too much of the stories from past films, but luckily that wasn’t the case at all. Sure, they carried on certain themes (such as the Avengers being split apart, Thor’s ship being attacked in the end of Thor: Ragnarok and also the Guardians still reeling from the attack by Ego), but for the most part it felt self-contained. The focus was purely on the Infinity Stones, and what they could do to stop them falling into the wrong hands. Because the previous films had set up a lot of the backstory, they could just throw people into the action and let them enjoy the ride.
And action is one thing this film has plenty of. Right before the opening credits, we see Thor’s ship attacked (and destroyed) by Thanos and Thor and Hulk getting curb-stomped. From then on, the action barely lets up for a second as heroes are forced to fight, whilst also trying to just stay alive. The fight scenes were some of the most epic I’ve seen – you could feel the desperation of the heroes fighting for all life.
It was also really cool to see the return of Red Skull (played by Ross Marquand this time around), of which we learn his ultimate fate after Captain America: The First Avenger. And it was also cool to see Peter Dinklage play the dwarf (who else?) Eitri, who helps Thor forge his new weapon Stormbreaker (Beta Ray Bill anyone?).
And of course, we have to talk about the shows main villain. Thanos was one thing I mentioned in my last Top Five blog, worrying that he may end up being a big disappointment, considering all the foreshadowing films like Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy had done. So, how did he fare?
Thanos. Was. Bloody AMAZING!!!
I would honestly go so far as to say Thanos is one of the best villains in the MCU so far! Josh Brolin was incredible. Thanos dripped with pure malevolence and frightening physical power, even without his gauntlet. Every scene he was in he made his presence felt in a big way, so much so that he was in danger of overshadowing the heroes. In fact, I was amazed at how much he appeared in this film – to the point where he was almost the main character. He felt like a genuine threat that you kept wondering how the heroes could defeat.
And yet, he was also incredibly nuanced – it would have been so easy to play him as a psychopathic murderer, but Brolin also brought great levity to the role. The scenes with him and Gamora were actually kinda soft in a twisted way, with Thanos reverting to a loving father figure at times, showing the audience that he does have a caring side – to a point. The way he went from a doting and caring father, to full on genocidal maniac (the scene where he tortures Nebula by pulling her apart is distressing to say the least) means that you’re never too sure which side of Thanos you’ll get in a scene.
Thanos gets two thumbs up, he was one of the big successes of this movie!
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Whilst the film did a very good job of finding roles for all the major players, unfortunately some characters were reduced to cameos. Pepper Potts only made a brief appearance, Wong from Doctor Strange got abandoned, and poor Hemidall barely gets one word of dialogue in before getting killed. And fan favourite Korg from Ragnarok doesn’t even get a look in. I guess this was inevitable and to be honest, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film too much.
The Children of Thanos (who I think are called the Black Watch in the comics) didn’t really do anything for me. They didn’t really have any character to them (aside from maybe Ebony Maw, who was pretty cool) and were just there as punching bags for the heroes. I personally think the film could have been just as good without them.
My biggest complaint has to be, ironically, Thanos’s motivations. Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Thanos was a genuinely terrifying villain – but his desire to destroy half the Universe was, for me, a little weak.
In the comics, Thanos has a creepy obsession with Death – that is the deity Death. He has murdered countless lives to offer a tribute to her, but she has rejected him at every turn. So there is a lot of rage to Thanos, as all he wants to do is show Death his love. In the film, however, he wants to murder half the population of the Universe so as to prevent mass extinction – due to the fact that overpopulation was responsible for his own world falling apart. This to me wasn’t nearly as epic as it could have been, and some (like this article) have pointed out a potential plot hole. Because if Thanos is basically a god when he has the stones, why doesn’t he just make more food for the people of the Universe?
However, in response to this, the films in the MCU have made it a point about how much of a nut case he is (he’s call the Mad Titan for a reason!), such as when Nebula told Gamora how she was torn apart by Thanos when she lost a fight. So you can’t really apply logic to this situation. At the end of the day, Thanos is a psychopath and he is set in his goal, so no amount of reason will dissuade him from it. But I do wish they kept in the whole Death-loving thing. The after credits in Avengers seemed to suggest Thanos was interested in courting Death, but never mind.
WHAT SHOCKED ME
Being that this is based on one of the most apocalyptic events in Marvel history, I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised with how it ended. But I thought Disney would want to take on a “Happy ending to it.” How wrong I was!
From the very beginning, we are scared for our heroes, with both Loki and Gamora being killed off. In the case of the former, I was kinda pissed – not just because of Loki dying, but how he was unceremoniously bumped off. And in the case of the latter – that was just hard to watch!
Throughout the film, the characters fight what seems to be a losing battle against Thanos and his hordes. But hope remains as the Avengers and the Guardians come together to defeat Thanos. It looks like they would as well, with Vision sacrificing himself by letting Wanda destroy his Infinity Stone – with a really emotional “I love you” before he dies (no joke, that choked me up). But all this was quickly undone when Thanos used the Time Stone to put time back and grab the last stone. Thor makes one valiant effort to kill Thanos – but fails. And Thanos clicks his fingers.
After that, you can only watch in horror as half of your favourite heroes get wiped out in seconds. It was heart-breaking seeing so many valiant souls die on screen – the ones that hit me the hardest were Groot and Spider-Man. And after it is over, the heroes mourn their failure and Thanos sits in another world, smiling peacefully.
Normally, the end of a superhero film leaves you feeling awestruck and energised. But this film does the opposite. It leaves you empty and soul-drained. Even the end credits don’t have their usual verbose nature like previous films, possibly to let your tears dry up. It’s a film that has left the heroes in an impossible situation – one we wonder how they can come back from.
However, maybe we don’t have to fear. After all, Doctor Strange did look into many millions of possibly futures – and there was one where they won. So maybe this is all part of the plan. And if the after credits is anything to go by, Captain Marvel will have something to say about it.
Whilst a couple of things stop this from being a perfect film (such as a weak motivation and some pointless characters), Josh Brolin’s goliath performance as the Mad Titan brings a lot of levity and depth to it. It’s a film that will shock many viewers – and no doubt break their hearts. Despite this, Avengers: Infinity Wars is a game-changer that shakes up the MCU like no other film before it. Like the comic it is based on, I suspect it will be a talking point for many years to come.
I was excited as much as I was depressed at the outcome, but I am looking forward to seeing how things go from here – and the overall impact it has on the franchise as a whole. All things considered, few films have made me feel so many emotions as this one.
FINAL SCORE: 5/5
It's that time again! We have another short story set in the Countdown To Final Ragnarok series!
In this one, we are introduced to new characters. What is their mission? And does their leader have some darkness in his past that he'd like to escape from?
You can check out the others in the series HERE.
A new short story to be posted next week. Enjoy!
Match spoilers contained throughout
So this was WWE’s first real attempt at breaking into the Saudi Araba crowd by promising them the “Greatest Royal Rumble” (even though the commentators kept calling it the “Largest” Royal Rumble) as well as a host of other surprises; including the return of the Undertaker and Chris Jericho to name but a few. It was an event that was met with a – mixed reaction, to say the least. The biggest criticism was aimed at the fact that there were no women’s matches – something I myself was upset about. But then again, you could make the argument that it’s a different culture – and if WWE wanted this to be a success, they had to respect their wishes. However, it has been hinted that WWE are looking to include females in future events, so this could be just a minor roadblock.
WWE put a lot into promoting this event, probably more so than most other events so far. I guess they had a lot riding on it. So, was this the Greatest event they promised?
Not really. However, it was by no means a bad event per-say. And they did have Godsmack do the main theme, which was great!
So anyway, here is my review of Greatest Royal Rumble.
For a list of matches and results see HERE.
To be honest, there isn’t much point me talking about all the matches as they weren’t really anything special – at least nothing more than you would get in a regular WWE program – so I’d just be repeating myself if I reviewed them indivdually. They were fun to watch, just not amazing. But I will say that the worst match was Jinder Mahal versus Jeff Hardy – mostly due to a terrible botch on Jinder’s part. Hardy did a Whisper in the Wind and missed Jinder completely – only for him to fall over after realising he missed his cue. Even the commentary couldn’t cover up this **** up! And WWE wonder why fans dislike Jinder.
The Casket Match was also nothing to write home about, due in part to the Undertaker being slow and clumsy. Wrestlemania showed that he’s in no condition to fight anymore, so they should just let him retire. God bless Rusev and Aiden English for trying to at least make him look powerful, but this match was a bit of a dud.
However, there were some good parts. Underrated match of the night goes to the Cruiserweight battle between Kalisto and Cedric Alexander. Whilst it got off to a slow start, they have some amazingly good spots and counters to each other’s moves. Good to see the Cruiserweights pulling through and getting the respect they deserve.
The Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title match was also (as the Miz would say) awesome, as the aforementioned Miz, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins put on a great show. In the end, when it looked like Balor would steal the title, Rollins did a high-class jump to the top of the ladder and grabbed the title, even busting up poor Finn in the process. I actually don’t think it’s possible to have a bad ladder match – but if there is, then this match isn’t one of them.
Next match I want to talk about is AJ Style versus Shinsuke Nakamura – which was a huge improvement over their match at Wrestlemania. With real heat behind it (Shinsuke actually proving to be a sound villain in recent weeks), there actually was some emotion to this fight. When they brawled outside it got really nasty really quickly! It’s a shame they copped out with a double count out, but AJ’s subsequent curb stomping of Nakamura made up for it. It still wasn’t the dream match that we were hoping for, but it was a step in the right direction. Hopefully the third match they had will be the one to watch.
The other match that was an improvement over their previous counterpart was Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar. This match was also fun and actually felt like a proper fight – even if they did spam their signature moves again and again. Paul Heyman even got involved, stopping Reigns from escaping. The match ended in “controversial” fashion when Reigns speared Lesnar through the cage (which I gotta admit was pretty frigging cool), but as Lesnar technically left the cage first, he was declared the winner. And so his joke of a reign continues.
Now onto the Greatest Royal Rumble match itself. With a record-breaking 50 competitors in this, one had to worry what kind of stops they would pull out for it. I must confess I thought it was going to get boring with 50 wrestlers instead of the usual 30 – but to it’s credit, it moved smoothly and kept me entertained throughout.
Like with previous Royal Rumbles, they had “special” guests. The aforementioned Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho made their returns to the Rumble – and I was so glad to see them both; especially Jericho, who is still putting people on “The List!” And Mark Henry made his return after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame – though he did look a little bit worse for wear and seemingly limited by what he could do. From NXT we had Roderick Strong, Tucker Knight (from Heavy Machinery), Babatunde and Dan Matha (neither of which I know anything about), but then we also had some strange entries like Hiroki Sumi (never heard of him), The Great Khali (who frankly looked like the walking dead!) and – Hornswoggle. Ok, I’ll admit it was kinda fun to see Hornswoggle again.
But the man of the match has to go to Titus O’Neil – who gave us THIS classic moment.
Honestly I cannot stop laughing! It’s even given way to the “Titus World Slide” meme! God bless you, Titus!
Daniel Bryan was clearly the favourite to win it, coming in at Number One and lasting almost to the end, but Big Cass ruined that dream. However, to my utter delight, who should win the match? None other than…
Yup! Braun Strowman emerged victorious! Finally he gets some recognition after being pissed around with. He even got a championship and trophy, given by Vince McMahon and (I think) the King of Saudi Arabia. You could say the trophy “Got these hands!”
To be fair, the Greatest Royal Rumble wasn’t so much a greatest show as it was a glorified house show. The matches were mostly just ok, and no title changed hands (save for maybe the RAW Tag Team Titles, which were always going to have a new holder anyway). But some of the matches just seemed weird. Why was Triple HHH and John Cena fighting again? Why was Rusev going into a Casket Match with the Undertaker? It might have helped if they built these up a bit more so that we could understand it.
Also, the crowd were a lot more reserved than most other crowds, so it was hard to tell if they were really into the event or not. Maybe they were just trying to be polite, which is fair enough I guess, but anyone who saw that might think “Well they aren’t enjoying it.”
It wasn’t all bad though – there were some pretty decent matches. The two title matches were improvements over their Wrestlemania encounters, and actually had thought-out resolutions. And the Greatest Royal Rumble match was actually rather good – even if some of the guests they included were questionable. I would have preferred it if Drew McIntyre and Aleister Black over Babatunde and Dan Matha myself. Conspicuous by his absence was Sami Zayn – though I expect he was omitted because of his Syrian heritage. I don’t think it’s a secret that neither Saudi Arabia and Syria don’t see eye to eye, so maybe this was done to avoid an incident (though you gotta feel sorry for Sami in this case).
But, as Braun Strowman fan, I was ecstatic to see him win it! He even broke the records for most eliminations in a Royal Rumble match (13, beating Roman Reigns’s previous 12 record). Whether or not he goes anywhere with this is down to WWE. But seeing as this guy couldn’t be any more over with the fans, WWE BETTER put a Universal Title on his waist sooner or later!
All things considered, I enjoyed Greatest Royal Rumble. Whilst the matches weren’t great, they weren’t terrible, so that’s something in it’s favour. I’d dare say I enjoyed this more than Wrestlemania if I’m being honest. We’ll see how WWE plan to expand this idea, given that they have signed a multi-year contract with Saudi Arabia; but based on first impressions, they’re off to a good (albeit slow) start.
Let’s see how Backlash goes from here.
Images used are owned by WWE. Used for review purposes – no ownership is intended or inferred.
So I was away all weekend and I didn't get a chance to give you guys a new short story - apologies for that. To make up for it, here is something that I'm sure you'll find exciting!
Kirsten Moody has been working really hard to design me an awesome cover for the forthcoming Fall of Draconica novel - and she recently turned in this sketch. It is by no means a finished article; but I think you'll agree it's pretty damn dramatic!
Here is the first official look at Fall of Draconica's front (on the right) and back (on the left cover.
What could this mean for our heroes? We'll have to wait and see!
Let me know your thoughts and feelings. And thanks once again to Kirsten for a great design! More to follow!
Until next time guys, have a great week!
New short story for you guys today! This one features Dolores, the blind impara from Legacy of the Dragonkin, who originally told Daniar about Final Ragnarok. Here we learn about the terrible burden that she had to carry.
There are even one or two Easter Eggs in here that you may or may not notice!
Dreams of Fire and Shadow
Read this story and all others for Countdown To Final Ragnarok here.
A new story will be posted next week. See you then!
It’s only a few weeks before Infinity War comes out – and I am excited as much as the next MCU fan. I don’t think I’ve been this hyped for a movie since the first Avengers movie came out.
Like the first, this is possibly Marvel’s most ambitious to date. Avengers tried to combine the stories and characters from all MCU films up to that point and it succeed on so many levels. The third in the Avengers franchise looks to do the same – including pretty much every hero in the MCU films (I haven’t seen Ant-Man in anything, but as he has his own film coming up then I guess we can forgive that). Given Marvel’s current track record, we have a lot to be hopeful for. Most of their movies have been critically lauded (with a few exceptions) and broken more than a few box office records. Recently, Black Panther smashed a box office record, and was acclaimed for being the most diverse superhero movie to date. It’s easy to see why MCU is so popular, as they have constantly put out stories that are funny, engaging and exciting.
However, with so many factors in this movie, I do have some concerns. Given that this is based on arguably one of Marvel’s greatest comic crossover (often spoken of in the same tone as DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earth’s), there is a lot riding on it. And whilst what I’m about to say here is by no means a put-down in any way, shape or form, there some things that I am worried about. Five things in fact.
So in todays blog, I look at my Top Five Worries for Infinity War. In no particular order.
Which characters will be reduced to cameos?
Let’s not kid ourselves – with so many characters from so many films involved, it goes without saying that some will be reduced to cameos and others will be pushed to the front. Tony Stark will most likely be one of the main contenders, Vision will no doubt be a key role considering he is powered by an Infinity Stone and I have no doubt that the Guardians will want a piece of Thanos, given that Gamora and Nebula have unfinished business. But what about fan favourites like Spider-Man, or Thor, or Doctor Strange? Will Loki have a big role in it? I really hope so.
This will by no means be a disservice to the characters, as they have their own films which fleshed out their stories – but that’s kinda the point I’m making. Supposing you had a favourite character and you were excited to watch this film, only to see them pretty much pushed to the back of the story. How would you feel? It’s the same when you read a crossover comic, how excited you are to see your favourite comic character not have enough to do in it. Even the Arrowverse crossovers suffer from popular characters being underplayed, just so Oliver and Felicity can have more awkward romantic scenes. Ok, that’s kinda a cynical thing to say, but you get the idea.
This is unfortunately an inevitability for such a huge film as this, and we’ll just have to grin and bear it when it happens. And if the theories are correct, certain characters will die, so that will make it even more heart-breaking.
So… is this a two-parter or not?
When the film was first released, it was released under the name Infinity War: Part One – or something to that effect. However, when it was officially announced, they dropped the Part One bit and just released it as Avengers: Infinity War. So, I’m confused, is this a two-part film or not?
Considering we have Ant-Man and the Wasp coming up later this year, it could make sense to just do the one film here. After all, it could be confusing for viewers if it ends on a cliffhanger – and then it goes straight to Ant-Man with no obvious resolution. I know not EVERY Marvel film follows on in the same continuity (Doctor Strange for example is supposedly set just after Iron Man 2) but it would really make no sense for Marvel to do this.
If this is a two-part film, then that wouldn’t exactly be a problem, as they could do a Deathly Hallows and set up the danger in part one and then the resolution in the next film – so long as they don’t have the characters fannying about like Harry Potter did. But they would need to make clear that Ant-Man will be in a different time. I’ve seen trailers for Ant-Man and it doesn’t seem to suggest that it follows on from Infinity War.
But if this IS just a one-off film, then it begs the question…
Will the story feel too crammed?
Similar to my earlier question about characters, there is a LOT to include here. Aside from the obvious, Thanos’s invasion, there are plenty of other plot threads to take into account. How is Tony Stark’s mental being after Civil War? Can Captain America redeem himself? Can Bucky break his mental conditioning? Are Thor and Loki allies now? How will Aunt May react now that she knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man? How will the Guardians get to Earth? These are just SOME of the stories I can think of!
I’m just concerned that with so much involved, whether it will be an overly crammed story with a fast resolution, like so many other films are these days (looking at you, Transformers). Even Justice League kinda suffered from this, but to a slightly lesser extent. However, I can think of a way round this.
One good things about The Avengers was that the story focused mostly on the immediate threat, without spending too much time on the individual character arcs. They made references to them here and there, but mostly it was a self-contained story. That’s what I think they should do here, find ways for them to react to the danger of Thanos, rather than spend the better part of the movie trying to find out how arcs can fit in here and there.
I’m sure Marvel are aware of this and will do what they can to fix it. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Will Thanos end up being a big disappointment?
This one I am REALLY hoping they don’t screw up – because I have been excited for this since the after credits scene in The Avengers. When Thanos made his first (brief) appearance, I squealed so hard I broke my vocal chords! In the comics he is one of the most powerful villains, so seeing him on the big screen – I’m hoping – will be a great moment that all the build up has been worth it.
In the comics, Thanos is a mad titan with a rather strange obsession with Death – that is, Death the deity. He loves her and has sent many souls to her as a present, but due to her rejecting his advances and making him immortal, he can never feel her embrace. That makes Thanos a very interesting character and elevates him above the usual “Mad Tyrant” gimmick. His desire to cause pain is down to his resentment at not being near his love. He is possibly one of the most dangerous villains in the MCU, able to easily take down Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – and even heroes from other worlds. Hell, he was able to pretty much decimate the Universe with just a click of his fingers!
And before you bring up him being beaten by Squirrel Girl; I just have to say - ****. RIGHT. OFF!!!
Anyway, the MCU has been building him up quite a bit and establishing him as a terrible foe. In Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, Nebula stated how Thanos essentially tortured and mutilated her because she didn’t beat her sister in a fight – and seeing him get the Infinity Gauntlet at the end of Age of Ultron was more than enough to get interest piqued. But I do have to wonder, with all the build-up, will he just end up being a disappointment?
Look at Venom in Spider-Man 3, or Doomsday in Dawn of Justice. Both were heavily hyped, but only really became important to the story about 30 minutes near the end (less so in Venom’s case), and by then they barely made a dent in the story. Whilst Thanos features heavily in the trailers, who is to say he won’t just turn up at the very end of the film? I’m hoping that he does have a huge role, but with so many other characters, who is to say his role won’t be downplayed?
What I am hoping for is an epic battle between the heroes, where Thanos gets all the stones and he curb-stomps them. And if this is indeed a two-parter, it could end like in Tony Stark’s vision, where the heroes are all devastated – and so it could leave on a strong cliff-hanger.
Either way, I am HOPING that Thanos kicks butt. It would be a shame if he becomes just another Steppenwolf.
How will this link into other MCU shows?
This actually isn’t so much a worry, as it is a question. If you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., for instance, you know that series pretty much follows the same canon as the MCU movies; and what happens in there often affects the TV shows, in many cases it provides an expanded plot. Winter Soldier formed the basis for Hydra taking over S.H.I.E.L.D., the accords from Civil War led to Daisy (Quake) being a fugitive, and even things that happened in Thor have provided some storylines for the show. Even in the Netflix shows, they make minor references to them here and there, despite those shows being mostly self-contained. So I’m interested to see how Infinity War will effect these series?
Right now, on the current Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season I’m watching (which is only just come out in UK, so no spoilers please!) they seem to be stuck in space – meaning that Coulson and Co may miss Infinity War – or maybe this could lead to Infinity War in some way. Seeing as New York (where most of the Netflix shows) will be a battleground in Infinity War, will this mean that the Netflix shows will have to adapt to go along with it? Marvel has always tried to maintain a strong continuity in the comics, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t with this.
What does the future hold for the MCU after this? Will Infinity War be a game changer? We’ll just have to see.
Just to recap, I am excited for Infinity War. This blog is in no way intending to slander or decry it, I just wanted to voice my views prior to it being released. Like many of you, I will be at the cinema (or theatre if you prefer) when this film comes out, clutching my popcorn with excitement. If it’s good, it will no doubt one of my favourite Marvel films. If it’s not… well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
What do you think? Are you excited? Leave a comment below and thanks for reading.
Disclaimer: All images above owned by Disney and Marvel. Used only for review purposes
WARNING: Spoilers for both events contained throughout
So Wrestlemania weekend has been and gone… and to be honest, I’m a little bit downhearted. Last night promised to have one of the best cards in years – and was set in New Orleans, the stop for arguably the best Wrestlemania of all time. But, iif I’m being truthful, it didn’t quite live up to expectations. And seeing as this is supposed to be the highlight of wrestling, that’s not good.
It wasn’t all bad though, we had NXT Takeover, which many fans believe stole the weekend – and with good reason. And to be fair, Wrestlemania had SOME good moments, so it wasn’t a completely wasted weekend.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my review for both Wrestlemania 34 and NXT Takeover: New Orleans.
NXT Takeover: New Orleans
For a full breakdown of matches and results, see HERE.
We started off with a, somewhat pointless musical intro by Cane Hill – which had a pretty bad musical balance as well. But it was worth the wait as afterwards, we were treated to one of the best ladder matches I’ve seen in a while.
Featuring Adam Cole, Killian Dane, Lars Sullivan, Velveteen Dream, new acquisition Ricochet (OMG yes!) and the returning EC3, it set the bar for the event. With bodies flying around, getting torn open – and some insane flying spots (including an awesome elbow by Velveteen Dream from the top of a cage), it energised the crowd so much that the “Fight forever chant” was prevalent. Ricochet astounded us with his high-flying skills and EC3 proved he was ready for the big time (having already proven himself as one of the best TNA superstars). In the end, Adam Cole (baby!) won it for the Undisputed Era. And the crowd couldn’t have been happier. Hands down one of the best ladder matches I’ve seen in a while.
After coming up short against Ember Moon at the last Takeover, Shayna Blazer had a lot to prove. And with her fellow UFC’s friends in the crowd (including Ronda Rousey), she had a lot to prove. It was a brutal back and forth – with Blazer even countering Moon’s Eclipse finishing move (something even Asuka wasn’t able to do!) and forcing the Kirifuda Clutch on her. This time, Moon wasn’t able to escape and passed out – making Blazer the new champion. Good match to follow the ladder match.
The finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match were next – Authors of Pain versus Pete Dunne (who was one of the most over people tonight) and Roderick Strong against The Undisputed Era. With Boddy Fish injured, Cole had to do double duty tonight. The match went back and forth as you’d expect until, in a shock twist, Strong turned on his partner and helped the Era win – joining them in the process. Whilst I guess this was supposed to be a “heel” moment, the crowd just cheered this and even chanted “Yes!” Not quite what WWE were hoping for, but it was still a good twist to end.
The NXT title was up for grabs now, with Cien Almas against Aleister Black, probably my favourite wrestler in NXT right now. At the last Takeover, Cien and Garganos had possibly the match of the year, which was gonna be hard to top. And whilst this match didn’t exactly live up to that standard – it was still amazing! Throughout the match, Vegas (possibly the best heel manager ever) interrupted the match with some savage attacks on Black – and it looked like Cien would get the victory because of this. However, Black fought through – and a mistake by Vegas led Cien right into a Black Mass, where Aleister Black gained the win, ending Almas’s title reign. Good for Black, he deserves it!
Funnily enough, I seem to remember he fought Almas in his first match on last years Takeover. Seems like it’s come full circle now.
And finally, to end this night was the “unsanctioned” match between former #DIY team mates Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, in which his NXT career was on the line. This is one of the most intense rivalries I’ve seen in years, and the fans are still hurting over Ciampa betraying Johnny about a year ago. I swear that Ciampa must be one of the most legitimately hated heels in years – when he came out, he had no ring music, just the sound of the fans boos. Chants of “f*** you, Ciampa” and “you’re a w***er” (being British, that brought a smile on my face) filled the arena. WWE should take note – with this amount of heat, they can make him into a real badass.
I have rarely seen a match with such white-hot emotion. Both Gargano and Ciampa really put 500% into their roles and gave us a spectacular match. All the rage and hate they had for each other boiled over here – and they hit both with everything from crutches to a suplex from the announcer table to the floor – even a powerbomb onto exposed concrete! Honestly, there was more in this one rivalry that WWE have had in any of their main roster feuds in a while. The ending was especially poetic – as it looked like Ciampa and Gargano would make amends as they both sat next to each other, remembering their friendship. But Ciampa would try to take advantage of this – however, Gargano scouted this and finished it with an STF (using Ciampa’s leg brace) to finally get his revenge. And so ends one of the most intense and emotional feuds we’ve seen in years.
All in all, this was a solid event and Wrestlemania would have to have done a LOT more to top this. Could they do it?
For a full breakdown of matches and results, see HERE.
I didn’t seem the pre-match bouts, but from what I understand Matt Hardy won the Battle Royale (with help from a new “Woken” Bray Wyatt), Cedric Alexander captured the Cruiserweight Championship, and Naomi won the Women’s Battle Royale (Wrestlemania has been good to Naomi I’ve noticed).
The main event card started with the Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship between The Miz, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. This was a very strong start to the event, with all three guys proving they are main event material. There were some great spots – but the highlight was Rollins doing a double Blackout to both Finn and Miz, before finishing Miz to grab the title, becoming a “Grand Slam Champion.” Good for him! Like I said, a solid start to the event.
Next up – one match I was really interested to see – Charlotte Flair versus the seemingly unstoppable Asuka. Title versus Streak! I would say that this was one of the best women’s matches I’ve ever seen (and Charlotte’s entrance was also amazing), both Flair and Asuka pulling out all the stops, and for a whilst Asuka really had Charlotte’s number at the beginning. However, Charlotte managed to fight through and get Asuka in her Figure Eight Leg Lock – causing her to tap, much to the shock of the audience. Her streak had ended! Afterwards, Asuka proclaimed “Charlotte was ready for Asuka” and the two embraced. It was a lovely moment and I would say the highlight of the event.
It was kinda spoiled when it focused on John Cena running to the back, having just heard the Undertaker was in (for god’s sake, Cena, let the women have their moment). More on that later.
We then had the four-way match for the US Title. RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV DAY! RUSEV… oh b****cks Jinder Mahal won. Really, WWE? You’re really gonna do this again? Have you not learned your lesson from last time? *sigh*
At least the next match was a crowd pleaser – even if it did get a bit chaotic near the end. Seeing Ronda Rousey kick the living crap outta both Stephanie AND Triple H was pretty fun, and Angle did pretty good as well. It was a match that was better for fan service than wrestling – but Rousey did prove herself. With a bit more polish, she’ll become a force to be reckoned with.
The Smackdown titles were defended now for the first time in forever at Wrestlemania. The New Day came down with a group of dwarfs in pancakes, which was – weird. And the Uso’s celebrated the fact that this was their first time in the Wrestlemania main event card. However, it was quickly ruined by the Bludgeon Brothers – who in usual fashion squashed both teams to win the titles. It was quick, but we’ve come to expect that from the Brothers. Kinda seemed like the predictable route to go though – wished the Uso’s have had a better Wrestlemania moment. Never mind.
After that (in hopefully an end to one of the worst storylines ever), John Cena came to the ring, believing the Undertaker to be here. After calling him out for so long, he might finally get his Wrestlemania moment – because he’s NEVER had one of those.
Then came down Elias for – reasons. John Cena beat him up and seemed to leave. But then, SHOCK ALERT, the Undertaker DID appear. And I could not give any less of a s***.
What we then saw was one of the worst squash matches since Bret Hart versus Vince MchMahon. The Undertaker was sluggish and nowhere near as amazing as he once was. At one point he did a kick that didn’t even connect with Cena! It was just embarrassing – but at least it was short. In the end, this whole “Undertaker” thing, whilst arguably a crowd-pleaser, did nothing for either man in the end. Now do you see why I said this match shouldn’t happen?
And it went downhill from there.
Ok, that’s a bit unfair – as we next had Daniel Bryan (in his triumphant return to the ring) and Shane McMahon against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Bryan didn’t miss a beat and the fans loved it. I’d be lying if I said it was the best match of the night, but it was decent – and ended with Bryan getting the win with “Yes!” chants filling the ring. The stipulation was that if they lost, Owens and Zayn would be fired from Smackdown. Move to Raw maybe?
After the dreadful body shamming angle with Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss, I was hoping for a Jax victory. But knowing WWE, I figured Bliss would get one over. As it turns out, I was wrong! Jax DID win the match, pretty much squashing Bliss. It wasn’t a great match, but it wasn’t terrible either. And at least the result was the right one – about time Jax had some love.
The next match was a match that I, and many fans, were waiting for. AJ Styles versus Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE title. This is something that many fans have been waiting for – and based on their past battles in Japan, it was going to be epic! Shinsuke’s entrance alone (with guitar provided by Alice Cooper’s guitarist) was damn amazing. So we had high hopes for this match. And let me tell you, it was one of the most…
…underwhelming matches I’ve ever seen.
That is a phrase I thought I would never say about a AJ Styles or Nakamura match.
The match itself wasn’t bad, per say – it just wasn’t very exciting. Styles and Nakamura just didn’t seem to click here for whatever reason, and what should have been a fast-paced bout just became sluggish. The ending was good, when Styles counted a Kinshasa into a Styles Clash to get the win – and Shinsuke’s heel turn at the end could be interesting. But on the whole, this was not the magical match we had hoped for.
As a side note, anyone else noticed that neither Royal Rumble winner came out well in this event? That’s harsh.
In the penultimate match, The Bar went up against Braun Strowman and his mystery partner – after tipping over a Mardi Gras float that is. With so many theories flying around, everyone was on tender hooks as to who it would be. And so, Strowman announced his partner as…
Nicolas, a ten-year-old boy from the audience.
I should be pissed off about this; in fact I WAS. It was one of the biggest cop-outs in WWE history. But at LEAST it was kinda entertaining. Nicolas got a good fan reaction (with the crowd chanting “Let’s go, Nicolas”), even if he did look physically terrified! Strowman obviously did all the work – and beat them for the titles. This means that Nicolas is the youngest person in wrestling history to EVER win a title (something which I don’t think will stick).
Yes, it was utterly stupid, and some might say completely out of character for Strowman. But I actually quite liked it. At least it was WAY better than the train wreck of a main event.
This could possibly be a contender for worst match ever in Wrestlemania history possibly in ANY main event. No one really wanted Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to duke it out, and no one really cared. It was pretty much just signature moves and finishing moves – all the while the fans chanted “Boring”, “This is awful”, and the always classic “CM Punk.” Even Lesnar splitting Reigns open (which to be fair looked pretty brutal) couldn’t save this stinker and it was over in minutes. Oh, and if you thought that Reigns was gonna win, think again. For whatever reason, WWE decided to have Lesnar keep the title. And so, the worst title reign in WWE history continues.
What can I say about NXT Takeover, other than it was frigging awesome! From the opening ladder match to the intense rivalry of Gargano and Ciampa, it was non-stop action from bell to bell. There wasn’t a single bad match, or even a match that I considered mediocre. In fact, the only negative thing I can think of was the musical opening, but even that would be a nitpick. NXT once again pull out all the stops and arguably steal the weekend.
As for Wrestlemania… I really wanted to say I enjoyed this event, but it was just a huge let down. How can an event that had one of the best cards in years turn out like this? Most of the matches were just ok and very few of them had any memorable moments. It wasn’t all bad – the Intercontinental match was solid, Daniel Bryan’s return was a fans dream, Ronda Rousey’s debut was decent, Asuka having her streak broken by Charlotte was a shock moment – and hell, I even enjoyed the Braun Strowman/Nicolas win, despite it being a complete cop out. But the “dream match” between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura just broke my heart at how dull it was, and the main event was just a car wreck from beginning to end. And don’t even get me started on the pointlessness of the Undertaker versus Cena. Even the commentators seemed to give up, as there was more dead air here than in a graveyard.
Wrestlemania 34 was by no means the worst Wrestlemania, but it was by no means a classic – and it did have one of the worst main events I’ve ever seen in WWE history. Thankfully we had NXT Takeover or this weekend would have been a waste.
To sum up the events in one word. NXT Takeover = awesome. Wrestlemania = underwhelimg.
Images used are owned by WWE. Used for review purposes – no ownership is intended or inferred.
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