What do you get when you combine Guardians of the Galaxy and Saw with Rick and Morty? “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” is what you get. This episode was not what I expected and that’s a good thing. It starts out one way, changes halfway through, and ends with something totally unexpected. Morty is excited when he and Rick get a call to join the Vindicators on a mission. Rick quickly declines, but Morty invokes his right to choose one in every ten of their adventures. Something Rick agreed to in the season one episode “Meeseeks and Destroy”. The title of the episode comes from the fact that this is the third big Vindicators mission. Morty thinks it is the second, but soon finds out that they were passed over for the second mission due to Rick’s overwhelming personality. The great part about this episode is how it constantly spoofs the superhero movies, more specifically the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Rick alludes to the surprising success of the first film and how a sequel was not necessary. Then, later in the episode, he talks about how much lamer the Vindicators are the second time around. This is a nod to some critics thinking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being not as good as the first film. As the episode goes on we learn that Rick, while a member of the Vindicators, does not like them very much. He even has his own superhero name that perfectly matches his skillset. He wishes that his grandson looked up to him as he looks up to the other Vindicators. I love how this episode also sets up the fact that Rick and Morty actually go on numerous adventures and the episodes we see are only are only just a few of them. Morty pretty much knows Rick to a fault at this point and kind of saves the day just by knowing how messed up his grandfather’s thought process is. Apparently Rick has gotten Morty in many similar situations during his drunken blackouts. Sadly, during the course of the episode, Morty has to watch as his childhood heroes are broken down in front of him. Proving that he placed them on a pedestal when they aren’t all that special. It was almost if Rick was the Joker and the rest of the Vindicators were Harvey Dent. With just a little push he brought them down to his level of insanity. In the end, Rick’s numerous points are made and Morty becomes a little more depressed about the universe. I give “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” a Good 4.6/5. There were a good few laughs to be had during this episode, especially when Rick breaks down how stupid each Vindicator’s names and powers are. Also it was nice seeing Revolio Clockberg Jr. aka Gearhead again as I thought he was dead.
The Dark Tower is a sci-fi western film based off of Stephen King’s eight book series. The film actually serves as a sequel to the events of the seventh book The Dark Tower series. The story of the film is very straightforward. Basically what you see in the trailers is the plot of the film. The boy, Jake Chambers, has visions of the Man in Black and the Gunslinger. He finds a portal to Mid-World where he luckily runs into the Gunslinger and they team up to stop the Man in Black from destroying all worlds via destroying the Dark Tower. We are given a little exposition on what the purpose of the tower is in a scene that is reminiscent to Thor explaining the nine realms to Jane in the first Thor film. Going into this film I did not read any of the books as I expected that I would be brought up to speed on the details that happened within their pages. However, the film did not go into much detail on any of the characters, let alone provide any backstory for them. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are fantastic actors and they do their best with the roles of Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, and Walter Padick, the Man in Black. Their characters have an interesting dynamic that would have played better if they had more screen time together. Newcomer, Tom Taylor, did a fine job as Jake Chambers. He had great chemistry with Idris Elba and most of the scenes they had together worked well. A few of the jokes the writers tried did not translate well on-screen, but that can happen in any film. The mythology that the film sets up is pretty great and they leave the ending open for more sequels. I did have a good time watching it, but I would not have minded if it were 30 minutes to an hour longer. A film of this nature should be longer, especially if they intend to use it to set up a franchise. I feel some of the issues with this film sit with the director. He is not as seasoned as some other filmmakers and probably was not ready for a film of this caliber. Originally, J. J. Abrams was attached to direct when the film was first being produced back in 2007, but ultimately those plans fell through. I could only imagine how great this film could have turned out in the hands of a director like Nolan or Abrams, because they understand sci-fi so well. I give The Dark Tower a Normal 6.5/10. I’m interested in seeing more from this universe, so hopefully it makes enough money to warrant a sequel, prequel, or even a Netflix continuation.
Wow, this is the episode of Rick and Morty we have been waiting for. Ever since season 3 started back in April we’ve all been waiting to see “Pickle” Rick on screen. Now that I have seen the episode I can say that it did not disappoint! “Pickle Rick” shows us the Smith family, minus Jerry, going to therapy to find out the root of all of their issues. Rick gets out of the session by turning himself into a pickle. He set it up so that he could change back into a human as soon as the family left, but of course his plan is changed when Beth takes his serum with her to the therapy session. “Pickle Rick” was an overall great episode filled with action and comedy. Once again Rick proves how intelligent he is by surviving the day as an immobile pickle. While it is not explicitly stated, we are also enlightened to the fact that Rick needs adventure like its a drug. The writer of the episode, Jessica Gao, doesn’t go into detail exactly how he created all the things he did, but we get enough tidbits so that we can just go along on the adventure with him. We also get to learn more about Rick and Beth’s psyche through their interactions with their therapist and each other. This episode contains one of the few times we hear Rick praying to God to save his life. Yet, in the after credits stinger — which is a must watch — he once again goes back on his belief. This is a very interesting aspect of Rick’s character, as we really don’t know what he truly believes in. We are also reminded how little Rick cares about Beth, since he has infinite Beths to choose from. This ties back to Rick telling Morty in “Rickmancing the Stone” about how they have infinite Summers to choose from. This means technically everyone has infinite relatives in different dimensions. A fact that Rick accidentally let slip to his new friend Jaguar, who is voiced by the ever so cool Danny Trejo, and immediately retracted. Going back to Beth, we see how her relationship with her Rick affects her and her children. She knows that Rick doesn’t actually need her in his life, but hungers so much for his approval and respect. This clearly stems from him not being apart of her childhood. This may actually be true for every Beth in every timeline/dimension. She clearly needs therapy, but my not continue going. Morty and Summer understand this fact, but can’t do anything to change it. I give “Pickle Rick” a Superb 5/5. This episode was funny from start to finish. Clearly mimicking action movies such as Die Hard and Rambo.
I am not a fan of 3D films. Whether it’s converted in post production or filmed with 3D cameras, I would rather not see it. For my early screening of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, I was forced to see it in 3D. However, I will not let that hamper my review of the film, for it was not terrible. Now, take that with a grain of salt because this was not a fantastic film either. Based on the very popular French science fiction comics series, Valérian and Laureline, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets tells the story of Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline as they try to complete a mission for the World State Federation. The opening of the film was great. It showed how Alpha, the titular “City of a Thousand Planets”, came together while the late David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” played in the background. Next, we are treated to the beautiful scene of an alien world before we are introduced to the main characters: Valerian and Laureline. While I think Dane DeHaan is a fantastic actor, I’m not sure that this was the right role for him. I didn’t buy him as the ladies’ man that Valerian is supposed to be, nor did I buy his apparent affection for his partner, Laureline. Their romance seemed to be forced throughout the entire film. It would have been better if they played the characters as platonic partners. Cara Delevingne was fine as Laureline, but she wasn’t given much to do. She is a much more impressive actress than her last few roles have shown. Much of the dialogue in the film was stiff and almost comical. There are even a few lines lifted straight out of Taken, but I’ll let you wait to see when that happens in the film. Other parts of the plot did not make sense and there was almost a rush at the end to explain everything. I do have to admit that Luc Besson knows how to make both a beautiful looking and great sounding film. The creatures and worlds you see on-screen are great, and somewhat believable. With a little better writing this could have been another The Fifth Element. The best way to describe this film is that it is a good “background film.” Those are basically films that you have playing in the background while you are doing other things. It is something that you want to watch, but don’t care if you miss a few seconds here and there. Apparently, Luc is now writing a Valerian trilogy of films, so I would be interested to see where he takes these characters. However, I would not be upset if it never came to fruition. Overall, I give Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets a Normal 6.5/10. I feel Luc Besson works better when given smaller budgets, so studios should remember that when he pitches them his next film.