Weekly Ketchup 20 - This Week in Reviews

I think this blog has started to control my life. Thinking about content for this week's edition has driven me out of bed to actually accomplish stuff (hence, everything on this blog) and that's great.

On the downside, the blog also makes me consider some previously non-existent issues - like last week's rambling. Admittedly, recognizing my flaws would actually help me grow as a person, but I don't wanna be that little bitch who whines about my so-called life on a weekly basis, especially if it's unwarranted.

So instead of forcing myself to reveal my inner thoughts, how about some pop cultural experiences, eh?

Maybe because I wasn't really looking forward to this movie, I didn't really care much about this character, and my expectations were low, but I ended up really enjoying it. Here's the thing: I have now developed this tendency to go into a cinema expecting to come out with something to criticize the movie for. I hate that part of my brain but it's there. However, if a movie does its job correctly, that part of my brain shuts off and I leave the cinema happy. It happened with The Lego Movie, The Winter Soldier, and it happened with this movie. Heck! It happened with the Daredevil and the Fantastic Four movies!

You know when I didn't leave the cinema happy? Green Lantern and Man of Steel. But those are to be expected, right? Well, get this: I wasn't happy with Iron Man 2, Thor 2, or even Frozen. Boom! Shocker! Rally the mob! Call the church elders! Alert the police!

I still don't believe that The Amazing Spider-Man franchise is a necessary reboot. I'd still be fine if it didn't exist. It hasn't so far erased the foul taste that Spider-Man 3 left in my mouth the way that First Class somehow redeemed the X-men movies for me. But, for what it's worth, Marc Webb's amazing take on the web-crawler has (so far) entertained me and that's good enough for now.

I mentioned before that Rocky lent me his tablet so I can read the 110 issues that he bought from the Comixology sale. I finished reading all of it (wow, that took, like, 3 weeks?) yesterday and I enjoyed every minute of it. This is just how I like my superhero comic: fun, colorful, action-packed, and none of that real world allegory crap (I still hate Civil War).

Speaking of art, I love how the artists Cory Walkey and Ryan Ottley kept the style consistent.

Not everything is consistent, though. In the first half of the run, the creators made a point of not showing any sex scenes at all because it was "a family book". Later in the series, the sex was much more pronounced, and so was the violence, and I think an f-bomb was even dropped. Not that I mind - I just wish they were more consistent.

Regardless, I enjoyed the series. The energy of the book reminded me so much of The Initiative back in the day, so I spent some time rereading my old issues. Good times, those.

The first season finale aired this past week and it's a good one as any. I liked the nod to Coulson's weapon in the Avengers movie ("I know what it does" is just brilliant) and loved how they brought so many items back from the entire season (May's Asgardian stick, the alien weapon ray thing, gravitonium, etc). And, yes, of course, Samuel L. Jackson's appearance as Nick Fury (that confrontation with John Garrett towards the end was just too funny).

But here's the thing with Agents of SHIELD as a whole: I'm only ever really watching it because of its connection to the MCU. Secret agents aren't exactly the most exciting thing to watch and I'm still disappointed that there aren't many Easter eggs that comic book fans can latch on to. Bring in Jimmy Woo, Barbara Morse, JESSICA DREW, any of the high profile SHIELD agents from the comics - or bring in any of the super-powered characters (Blackout, Blizzard, and Lorelei can't be it) from the comics - and then I'll be more invested in the show.

I did appreciate how well they handed one of my favorite characters from the comics though. I hope they find a way to work her back into the show.

I made it to the final level a couple of weeks ago and I was almost done! But then I loaded an older saved game and then saved over the more updated game. Anyway, my overall experience of Dust: An Elysian Tail is that it's fantastic platformer with gorgeous art and a compelling story to boot! I have no complaints with the gameplay since this is actually one of the very few platformers I have ever played. Although I loved that I can just mash buttons together, not really think about much of anything, and just watch as chaos unfolds - beautifully, I might add.

I think the art is just really the best thing about the experience. I was pleasantly surprised that my laptop's system can handle the graphic requirements at all. At least three of the other games I bought along with this one suffered graphically. I had a smooth playing experience the entire time - until I reached the final level when everything just slowed down and stuttered. I'm not sure if it's my system or the game but I'll contact GOG.com anyway and see if other users experienced the same problem.

Other than that, everything was flawless! Kudos to the voice actors and everyone involved in crafting the story, writing the dialog, building the world, etc. Everything was just fantastic - down to the rousing soundtrack! It really felt like the game was a spectacular animated movie!

I enjoyed the game so much that I bought a gamepad for it but sadly the game only works with an Xbox controller. Oh well, I can use it for other games (Yeah, I'm diversifying, getting into more platformers and not just strategies and simulations).

The story is standard fantasy fair but it changed the formula a lot! Although the series is named after him, Septimus Heap is not the most important character in the first book. He's not the one with  a glorious destiny waiting for him. He's not the one that the villains are trying to capture and the heroes are trying to protect. His true identity wasn't even revealed until the very end, and even then, it was just a little more than an afterthought.

I also love that author Angie Sage managed to tie up the story all in one book. I'm now curious what stories the remaining books tell - but I need to start on another book or series first.

Funny thing about the Septimus Heap series is that I only got interested because of the cover of the books, which I've seen in various bookstores, and because I got a bargain copy of the official guide book from one of those National Bookstore sale bins. I didn't realize I'd enjoy it so much - certainly more so than the first Artemis Fowl book.

Speaking of National Bookstore, I went to the Cubao branch earlier today and didn't get a thing from the warehouse sale. However, I did get this lovely little thing from the aforementioned regular bargain bin.

I've always been fascinated by classic world history and the cultures of ancient peoples and I was hoping to find a handy reference book at the warehouse sale but didn't find any. Good thing I stayed and looked around the rest of the store. Otherwise, I wouldn't have found this book. Obviously, Norse runes satiate my interests in both fantasy/mythology and ancient cultures.

Anyway, that's been my week. How was yours?

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