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 Episode 2 Review – Now-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

“The search for truth begins with belief”

After the events at the end of episode one Anakin, Captain Rex, and The Bad Batch go to Skako Minor to see the source of where they believe The Separatist are getting their information from.

Episode two, titled “A Distant Echo” is a great continuation from episode one and builds on what was set up last week. Having a personal touch to the episode is what I really liked the most about it. Its hard to think of the Clones as nothing more than cannon fodder but the best thing about The Clone Wars is that by the end you really care for the Clones. Since The end game of the series is to hook up to Revenge of The Sith I liked that it took a moment to focus on Captain Rex and Anakin’s relationship as friends. Which may or may not play into the last arc of the series. Another pleasant surprise in this episode is that it took time to give us some more humor, which was a nice breather between the more action and dramatic scenes.

Lastly, I want to also compliment the animation again this time focusing on the facial expressions. They have come a long way since The Clones Wars Movie back in 2008 where they seemed kind of stiff. This episode showcases some of the subtlest of gestures from Anakin trying to tell Captain Rex something with is eyes to Obi-Wan not looking surprised at who Anakin is talking to in secret. All of this together makes a much more fluid and almost realistic way to connect to the characters. This story arc is really turning out to be a good one but the question is how does this tie in to the end? I guess we’ll just have to watch to find out.

Episode Review Score: A

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 1 Review – Now-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Spoiler Free)

Clone Wars is back with an impressive first episode of the last season. The title of the episode is The Bad Batch and introduces the viewers to Clone Force 99 aka The Bad Batch. They’re a group of mutated clones with abilities beyond that of normal clones. Their mission is to join Captain Rex and Commander Cody to find out why The Separatists keep countering all of Captain Rex’s Strategies. Can Rex and Cody work with a bunch of over the top mutated clones? And how are the Separatists getting their information?

The Bad Batch is a great start to the last season and I can’t wait to see how this arc ends and how it’s tied to the end of the series. In my opinion the two things that stood out were the animation and the voice work. First, the all-around presentation was gorgeous, especially the animation for the actions scenes. This is truly the best Clones Wars has ever looked. I loved a lot of the camera angles that they used which they would have never been able to do easily when the show first premiered. Second, the voice work on this episode is great since most of the characters are clones they are all voiced by the amazing Dee Bradley Baker. It consistently amazes me how he can voice each clone and give them the same voice while also making them sound distinct. 

This season of The Clone Wars seems to have a strong beginning with The Bad Batch and I can’t wait to see what else this arc has in store as well as the rest of the season.

Episode Review Score: A+

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Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Season One Quick Review

Age of Resistance season one is a marvelous blend of CGI and master puppet work but more than that it’s a great story and prequel to the original 1982 movie that fills in some information that the film never had time to address. I feel that Jim Henson would have been proud of how this show ended up.

The story starts years before the original movie. We find out that The Skeksis are tasked by Mother Aurgra to protect The Crystal of Truth while she goes on a journey through the stars. The Skeksis trick Aurgra into thinking that they will do so but they only use the crystal to prolong their life. Once the crystal stops giving them this power The Skeksis find a new way to accomplish this goal and start putting a plan into action. Meanwhile, The Gelflings are all split into different clans and serve the Skeksis as Lords of the Crystal. Once the main cast of Gelflings find out about the Skeksis secret they try to rally the clans to fight back.

Though I will admit the beginning of the season is a little slow and some what confusing with several different and seemingly unconnected story lines. However once the storylines connect the series finally gets real interesting. I also certainly can’t wait till season two as the ending of the first season left more questions unanswered as well as more connections to the original movie unexplained. Here’s hoping I won’t have to wait long.