Marvel Rising Series Review: NOW-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

Synopsis

The Secret Warriors are a group of up and coming super powered teens led by Daisy Johnson aka Quake. The team also includes Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Ghost Spider (aka Spider Gwen), Patriot, Inferno, America Chavez, and Ironheart. Together they learn how to overcome their differences to fight with each other against evil villains and save the day.

My history with Marvel Animation

I am a 90’s kid, so if you’d ask me what my favorite animated superhero shows were my immediate answer would be Batman Beyond, Batman the animated series, Superman the animated series, Teen Titans, and Static Shock. That’s because I feel that even still to this day DC has a better library of animated properties. That’s not to say Marvel didn’t have any at all in fact they had two other favorites of mine Spider-Man the animated series and X-Men the animated series. Beyond that however, there hasn’t been much else at least in my opinion. That’s a shame too because with all the amazing things Marvel has done for live action movies you would think that they could also make a great animated show too. With Marvel Rising I think they have pretty close but still haven’t reached that mark.

What I liked

Marvel Rising was trying to make a series that was appealing to everyone but mainly focused on girls. This was a similar attempt done by Disney with the Star Wars Forces of Destiny short series. One of Marvel Rising’s strengths is the fact that more than half their cast is female with only two men. I feel that this is a strength for the show because a lot of superhero animated shows are usually male dominated. Another strength was using relative unknown superheroes or heroes that haven’t gotten the spotlight. The animated series that I grew up with were, for the most part, my first introductions to characters like Batman and Spider-Man. Because of this I found a love for them that continues today. So why not introduce kids and adults to characters they’ve probably never heard of like Squirrel Girl or Ms. Marvel. For example, I was happy to see Ghost Spider (aka Spider Gwen) in the group because I like the character and ever since her appearance in Into The Spiderverse I would like any opportunity to get the know the character more. Daisy Johnson aka Quake’s inclusion was something that I also liked because it was a node to any adults watching the show. For those of you not aware Daisy is a character from the comic series Inhumans. But she is commonly know from the live action Agents of SHIELD series played by Chloe Bennet. It was kind of nice touch for the show runners to get her to reprise her role in Marvel Rising, even if the character is different from her live action counterpart. Another strength for this series is the animation. The animation sort of reminded me of older cartoons I used to watch like GI Joe or ThunderCats. While the animation isn’t perfect it does it job very well. I mainly liked the action scenes which flow very well and definitely have some anime influences.

What I didn’t like

I applaud Marvel Rising for attempting to try something new and for trying something different. Yet there are some problems I would like to discuss. Starting with my biggest problem, the potential for great story telling was kind of wasted. The series has a good set up, interesting back stories for a lot of the characters, and room to expand on those characters. They come very close but they miss that mark. For example we get introduced to Ghost Spider and her back story is very similar to what we see in Into The Spiderverse and in the comics but instead of Peter Parker getting killed it’s some random guy named Kevin. This was a golden opportunity to explore an alternate universe, one that we aren’t completely familiar with but instead they don’t go there. Even though you can see that Gwen and this Kevin guy were close friends it doesn’t pay off as much as other stories have. Marvel has a plethora of interesting villains that haven’t been used yet. In Marvel Rising they don’t use any villains to their full potential. A good example is exile, the main antagonist, you’re not really sure of his intentions from the beginning and worst of all his powers aren’t really explained to well. This just makes him a very confusing villan and worst of all a terrible main antagonist. Like the heroes I applaud them for trying something new. The villains aren’t proper used to their full potential or stand out and that’s a big problem for your overall story. This is just a personal preference problem but how Disney+ puts Marvel Rising on its service is weird. The first few episodes were released originally as seven minute long shorts. Then each of the episodes that followed released as movies. These movies range in length from 45 minutes to an hour. Instead of putting them altogether Disney+ has put all of them separate and doesn’t tell you which one came first so it’s kind of a guessing game, this is frustrating. They should have just put them all together which would have made for an easier viewing experience.

Conclusion

Marvel Rising was a good attempt at trying something new and reaching a broader audience. While I didn’t hate watching it I couldn’t help but think they could have done more with it. As of the writing of this review I couldn’t find any plans to continue the series. So that potential, at least for now, will never be fully realized. Which is a shame because while I do have some problems with the show I don’t see it as a complete failure. If you have young kids who like superheroes this show is a pretty good show to sit down with them and watch. If you don’t have kids and you like superheroes and have a free afternoon I say give it a watch. Just have Google ready so you know what order to watch the episodes.

Have you watched Marvel Rising what are your thoughts? Comment below!

Series Review Score: B+

The Legend of The Three Caballeros – Series Review: Now-stalgia on Disney+

The Legend of The Three Caballeros – The Entire Series (2018)

Donald Duck’s birthday was a disaster! In the span of a few hours he lost his house, his job, and his girlfriend. But things might be looking up for Donald when he gets word that his Great-Grandfather, Clinton Coot left him a cabana and a bunch of priceless artifacts. Though as Donald’s luck would have it he wasn’t the only one Coot gave all of this to. As two others also co-inherited the cabana, a Mexican Rooster named Panchito Gonzalez and a Brazilian Parrot named José Carioca. Together they discover a mysterious atlas that releases a goddess named Xandra. She tells the trio that they are the descendants of a group of legendary heroes known as The Three Caballeros who had long ago defeated an evil sorcerer name Lord Felldrake. Meanwhile, the trio’s new neighbor, a stuffy aristocrat and descendent of Felldrake’s named Baron Von Sheldgoose discovers the evil sorcerer imprisoned in a staff and the two hatch a plan to conquer the world. Can Donald, Panchito, and José stop Felldrake and Shelgoose from conquering the world by becoming the new The Three Caballeros?

When I was growing up one of my favorite VHS tapes was The Three Caballeros, a classic Disney movie from 1944. I would watch that movie over and over and enjoy it every time, even if it was a bit trippy at times. As I grew up I was always delighted to see the trio pop up in various other Disney shows throughout the years. Fast-forward to about a year or so ago and I heard news that there a series was in production and was genuinely excited till I heard that it wasn’t available in the US. Then Disney+ launched and I was very happy to see that they released the show on their streaming service. I felt thrilled as I started to binge the show but I thought it could never live up to the high standards the new DuckTales reboot had set but boy was I wrong.

The Legend of The Three Caballeros is a fun and funny show for all ages. My favorite parts being The writing, jokes, and voice acting. The writing is very funny, inventive, and most surprising of all is that the three protagonists actually have a really interesting and strong character arcs throughout the shows 13 episodes. The jokes are funny and they even throw an occasional one for the adults watching but it’s nothing crude as this is a Disney show. Thirdly, and honestly this is no surprise since Disney isn’t a slouch when it comes to voice acting but it is top-notch with really big voice talents like Jim Cummings, Dee Bradley Baker, Grey Griffin, Wayne Knight, and of course Donald himself, Tony Anselmo. Everyone in this cast gives it their all and brings a lot of fun, heart, and even serious moments in the show.

I do have two minor grievances with the show. First the visuals, which are a mixed bag for me. Though it does look like a traditional animated show there small points in the animation that can be a bit stiff and not as lively as those in the new DuckTales. You can only see that stiffness every once in a while in the animation but it still bugged me a bit when I was watching it. Second, the choice to add April, May, and June, Daisy’s nieces to the show was a great idea. The execution however only made me wished they would have done something more with the characters. Even though I knew The Three Caballeros are the focus of the show it would have been nice to get to know these characters a bit better. We never get that though they just end up being girl versions of Donald’s nephews. Just to reiterate though these are two very small problems that I had with the show. None of these problems I mentioned mess with the very interesting story they are trying to tell.

The Legend of The Three Caballeros is a great addition to the Disney+ service. As of the writing of this review there isn’t any plans, at least none that I have heard of, to continue the series. Which is why this review is a complete series review. In the future though if they decide to continue I will review those as a separate season. Regardless of whether you’re a young Disney fan or an older one I would highly suggest this show. There are a few hiccups here and there but overall it doesn’t hinder the experience.

Series Review Score: A+

Clone Wars Season 7 – The Siege of Mandalore Part Four – Victory and Death: A NOW-stalgia on Disney+ Review

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

Ahsoka may have saved Rex but now they must escape together. Also did we forget to mention that Maul is still on a rampage?

Action is what this episode is all about. There is little to do with character growth or leaving hints of what is to come. The funny thing about this episode is that I know where our two characters end up, I know they survive but the action is so intense and done so well that I’d almost forgot that from the very first second. It was nail biting from start to finish and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t really know how I pictured the end of the series going down. Though the ending we got, which I won’t spoil here, was satisfying if not a bit sad and it ended the series well.

As an arc The Siege of Mandalore exceeded all of my expectations through all four episodes. With an amazing story topped with beautiful animation and great action this episode delivers. These episodes are Star Wars at its best.

Next I’ll be writing a complete series 7 review but before it’s up I want to know what you thought of season 7. Where there any episodes you liked better than others? Where there any episodes you didn’t like? Comment below

Episode Review Score: A+

Story Arc Review Score: A+

Clone Wars Season 7 – The Siege of Mandalore Part Three – Shattered: A NOW-stalgia on Disney+ Review

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

Now that Ahsoka has captured Maul it’s time to bring him to the Jedi Council or at least that was the plan until Order 66. Now Ahsoka has to fight to survive as the clones that once served her are now trying to kill her. What will Ahsoka do?

The second the episode started you could feel that something was different. The music was different, there wasn’t much dialogue, and you could just feel it like a soda about to pop. Usually an audience already knowing what’s going to happen could potentially be a detriment to the story. Yet the biggest strength of this episode for the audience is the anticipation, it helps amp up the tension and drama. Once the chaos starts I thought it was going to transition into a race to survive and nothing but wall to wall action. Instead the episode actually takes some time to focus on our main characters and even uses very important things set up in earlier episodes to finally pay off in this one. My only complaint about the episode like previous reviews is that it ended with no resolution but luckily I won’t have to wait long to know the ending.

Episode Review Score: A+

The Electric Circus- Episode 12- Our Disney+ Wish list!

Hey Arcaders!

Welcome to Episode 12- Our Disney+ Wish list!  Everyone has Disney+ especially with all the free time right now. But- what one of your favorite Disney movies or T.V. shows didn’t make the cut?  Well, join  Josh, Danny, and I as we talk about what we hope will be coming soon to Disney+ on our wish lists! What Disney movie or T.V. show of yours didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

Clone Wars Season 7 – The Siege of Mandalore Part Two: The Phantom Apprentice: A NOW-stalgia on Disney+ Review

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

Trapped by Maul and his forces in the underground beneath Mandalore Ahsoka faces off with the former Sith Lord for the first time. Rex and the other Clones save Ahsoka after she finds out that Maul was trying to lure Obi-Wan and Anakin to Mandalore. During the rescue they are unable to capture Maul and he gets away. Ahsoka continues her pursuit of the former Sith while Maul himself kidnaps a Clone trying to learn more information about Ahsoka and starts preparing himself for the on-coming storm that about to sweep the Galaxy. Will Ahsoka catch Maul before his plans for her come to fruition?

You know that moment before a really bad storm hits? When the skies are dark grey or even black, the wind has picked up, and there might be a light rain. You can almost just feel the on-coming storm in your bones. That’s how I felt through this entire episode. You know what’s about to happen and you can just kind of feel it in your bones. It’s the anticipation that makes you both excited and a little scared for what’s to come.

Like the previous episode this week’s felt so very cinematic and the writing is just as impressive. I want to give a specific shout out to the Motion Capture they used with Ray Park. For anyone that doesn’t know Ray Park is a famous actor and stuntman that played Maul in Star Wars Episode One and Solo and he is known for his cray amazing martial arts skills. They used motion capture of Ray to get Maul’s movements just right and it really paid off. Though if I could make a small gripe there were tiny seconds of time where the animation looked a bit off from the visuals. Yet it didn’t distract too much from the episode it was just slight moments of weirdness.

Next Friday we will get part 3 of this 4 part arc but even better is that we don’t have to wait long for the finale as the last episode will premier three days later on May the 4th, which is Star Wars Day. I foresee the storm of Order 66 being in the next episode and a lot of sadness going forward but this excites me none the less.

Episode Review Score: A+

Clone Wars Season 7 – The Siege of Mandalore Part One: Old Friends not Forgotten: A NOW-stalgia on Disney+ Review

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

Obi-Wan and Anakin have just finished up an intense battle when an old friend calls for their help. That old friend being Ahsoka along with former Deathwatch member Bo-Katan who asks the Jedi if they can get help to stop Maul who has taken over Mandalore again. Just when the two Jedi consider to help they get another call saying that General Gervious has attacked Coruscant and intends to kidnap Palpatine. Anakin compromises and gives Rex a promotion and sends a large group to Mandalore while he and Obi-Wan go help the Chancellor. Will Ahsoka and her forces along with the small Mandalorian Force be able to stop Maul?

When art is given the full attention of the Artist it shows and this first episode of the last arc is a great example. That’s not to say that the other episodes of this season didn’t get any attention but I can definitely tell the full focus was on this last arc. The creators undeniably wanted this last arc to feel like a cinematic experience. Even from the first second of the episode where they played Ahsoka’s theme and had the classic Lucas Film logo to playing the original Star Wars Main theme as opposed to using the traditional Clone Wars version.

Another way you can tell is through nodes to other Star Wars Movies. Like at the end of the battle at the beginning as Anakin’s plan started to unfurl they used the same music as they did in Return of the Jedi when Luke save everyone from the sarlacc pit. Another good example is when Ahsoka first arrives on the Republic’s ship and it’s framed exactly like her very first appearance in the Clone Wars Movie.

Star Wars is known for its great action scenes and the creators made sure that this episode continued that tradition. From the very first battle at the top of the episode to the first battle over Mandalore. Incredible detail and care was given to each action scene. My favorite being any scene with Ahsoka fighting as you can see how far she has come since the beginning of the series.

All of this just shows how much the creators really wanted to make this something special. And their work was not in vain this episode by far is my favorite of this season and the only thing that I didn’t like was how abruptly it ended and how I have to wait another week before I can see the end

Episode Review Score: A+

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 8 Review: NOW-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

“You can change who you are, but you cannot run from yourself. “

When we last left Ahsoka and Martez Sisters their failed escape attempt landed them right back into the Pike Syndicate’s prison. However this time Ahsoka’s plan for escape is different and she urges the sisters to trust her. Ahsoka then makes a deal with the Pikes who send the Martez Sisters off to go get the promised spice. Will the Martez sisters get the spice or will they leave Ahsoka to the Pikes? And what is Ahsoka’s full plan?

Building a story arc is very tricky and the writers on Clone Wars have shown over and over that they are up to the task. This last piece of this arc is really well written and brings it to a very satisfying close.

And there are three reasons why I liked this episode. First this episode focused more on Ahsoka. I feel that the expectation for this whole arc was it would be focused on her but the first three episode were mainly focused on the new characters with very little time for Ahsoka herself. While I don’t consider it a bad thing or a strike against the last three episodes this one was different, it was all about Ahsoka. Her growth as a character with the realization that while not being part of the Jedi anymore the better parts of the Jedi’s teaching are still a part of her was a great next step in her characters evolution. My second reason is connections the larger galaxy. While I don’t believe that you always have to make connections to have a good Star Wars story it’s always nice when it can happen without taking away from the story the writers are trying to tell. A good example of this is when a certain character mentions Crimson Dawn introduced in Solo. Thirdly, this episode again like the last sets up for the next arc. Which is the arc that all fans of The Clone Wars, including myself, have been waiting for. I feel the writers knew this which is why they added these connections which I feel pay off explicitly in this episode. Whether or not those connections in this arc were originally intended I am not certain but I feel it works very well regardless.

As stated last week I don’t think the wider audience will like this story arc as a whole, but speaking for myself though I enjoyed it. Also I am both excited and sad that we are a week away from starting the last arc of The Clone Wars. Excited because I know of a few things that are going to happen but I am uncertain how we get there. Yet I am also sad because that means saying goodbye (for reals this time) to a series that I have loved for a long time. As they say though all good things must come to an end and I hope that this end will be one to remember.

Episode Review Score: A

Story Arc Review Score: B+

DuckTales Season 2 and Star vs The Forces of Evil Reviews: NOW-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan
NOW-stalgia on Disney+ is all about reviewing modern animated shows that you can find on the Disney+ streaming service.

DuckTales: Season 2 (2018)

Scrooge McDuck is the richest Duck in the world and a world famous treasure hunter. Along with some of his family Donald, Huey, Dewey, Louie, his maid Mrs. Beakley and her niece Webby, there is no treasure too hard to find or an ancient city too hidden to find.

I grew up with the original DuckTales and I was amazed how great season one of the reboot was. Season two continues this trend with great episodes and a great season story arc that comes to a satisfying end. I love both the legacy characters brought back with a slight twist and the new characters they introduce. Everything about this show is so much better than it should be. You can tell the writers have a love for the original while putting a new spin and update to the rebooted cannon. I can’t wait till next season where according to reports is going to add a plethora of characters from the original Disney Afternoon characters like Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers and Goofy from Goof Troop. Let’s hope that the great story telling continues with all of these new characters.

Review grade for season two: A+

Star vs The Forces of Evil: Entire Series (2015)

Star Butterfly is a Princess from another dimension known as the Kingdom of Mewni. After turning 14 she is given the royal magic wand which she immediately shows She is not entirely ready to use responsibility. So her parents do the only sensible thing and dump her on Earth to learn how to use her powers. There she meets Marco, a guy who likes to keep his life clear of any danger, orderly, and without too much excitement. Once Star comes into his life though everything is turned upside down. Through their adventures they encounter different dimensions, different foes to fight, and uncover the dark past of the Butterfly royal line.

At first glance this show is weird and trippy similar to Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. It even has a similar progression as the show goes on the world gets bigger as you uncover more secrets. More than anything however Star is a love letter to what is known as the Magical Girl sub-genre of anime that include shows like Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura. You can definitely see the influence all over the show’s design and even story structure. I feel that Star’s biggest strength is in its main cast. They really make you feel for every character and give a lot of them interesting character arcs. My only problem with the show is near the end where it seemed to have stretched the story out too far and I lost some of my interest till the very end. Finally, I am aware that a lot of fans were not pleased with the series’ end but in my opinion (without spoiling it) I feel it was both wacky and heartfelt. To summarize Star vs The Forces of Evil is a wacky and interesting series with interesting characters and story arcs that can delight a lot of people but not please everyone and is perfect for binging.

Review grade for the entire series: B

Liked these reviews? Then check out our others
Click here for my review of Milo Murphy’s Law and season one of Big Hero Six The Series.
Click here for my review of Big City Greens Season One and Amphibia Season One.
Click here to start reading the episode by episode review of Star Wars The Clone Wars as they air on Disney+

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 7 review: NOW-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

“Who you were does not have to define who you are. “

Ahsoka and Martez Sisters are in the Pike Syndicate’s prison. While in the cell Ahsoka and Rafa are blaming each other for their current situation. After Rafa accuses Ahsoka of sounding like a Jedi it prompts Ahsoka to ask why they hate the Jedi so much and Rafa tells her about their past. Not long after Rafa’s story ends The Pikes start torturing the girls to tell them were the spice is. When Trace is lead to the torture chamber she is able to trick the guards and escape. Meanwhile Ahsoka decides to use The Force and escape. Once reunited they try to find a way off the planet. Will our Ahsoka and friends find their way off planet or will the Pikes capture them again?

The last episode didn’t have any action but this episode very much made up for it while still giving a bit more background on the Martez Sisters and why they don’t trust anyone especially the Jedi. I liked how their back story, which I won’t spoil here, connects to events that happened earlier in The Clone Wars series and showed that there are consequences for every decision. I also liked how this episode started setting up for what I believe will be the next and last arc of the series. My only let down for this episode was the ending which almost makes the adventure fruitless if not for the great action and character growth. I feel that a lot of people had very different expectations for this arc and because of those expectations a lot of people are not liking it. However I feel that I can’t fully judge it until all the pieces are in place. So we’ll see how this arc ends next week.

Episode Review Score: A