|Better than the first one, but not flawless.|
I'm holding out more hope for Captain America 2.
Overall, I really enjoyed Thor: The Dark World, but I left the movie feeling that certain character beats were just missing. I really look forward to seeing the Blu-ray/DVD release, as I wouldn't be surprised to see extended versions of certain dialogue scenes, particularly between Thor and Loki. It's not a perfect movie, but it's a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic stable.
|Give it time. It's getting better.|
Plus, Tahiti is a magical place...
But, there's promise. Victoria Hand, played by an inspired Saffron Burrows, provides a unique glimpse at a darker, more covert SHIELD, seeming to point to the turmoil upcoming in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. An upcoming episode features the Extremis-enhanced Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) joining the core group, implying a greater focus on the superheroic universe. This is a show that, more than many others, has been suffering from "First Season Syndrome". Once it finds its niche? It's going to roll on all cylinders. I'll keep watching.
|Poor animation, a middling plot, and|
unnecessary gore keep this one under par.
While the voice acting in Flashpoint Paradox is quality, the character designs and animations are clunky and ill-formed. Many of the masculine characters are overly muscled and veiny; Aquaman, at times, appears to have no neck whatsoever. Female characters, notably Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, are given "anime eyes" that look almost detached from the rest of the character model. The art here simply is not of the same high quality that the DC Animated Universe has established thusfar.
Worse, though? The level of violence in The Flashpoint Paradox is utterly deplorable, particularly for a film rated PG-13. While I'm not averse to violent comics or the like--I enjoy Sin City, The Boys, and pretty much anything else by Frank Miller or Garth Ennis--this film is marketed to a younger audience, for whom it is utterly inappropriate. Aquaman flat-out executes individuals on screen. Dismemberment is rife. Justice League mainstay Cyborg is literally ripped apart in one of the final fight scenes, while another scene shows Batman use a pistol to shoot another character...through the bloody hole in that character's skull. The violence in The Flashpoint Paradox is gratuitous, distracting, needlessly gory, and totally unnecessary for the plot. I can't recommend it.
|Mechanics and theme clash drastically|
in this disappointing board game.
What I got? A Euro-style worker placement game with elements of "Dominion"-style deckbuilding. Unless the players actively engage one another in player-vs-player combat--generally a bad idea for both factions involved, due to the clunky mechanics of combat--there are few ways to even influence another player's actions, much less backstab or even interact with other players. After losing a key piece of territory--I made a calculated risk that didn't work out--my influence on the game was utterly nullified. The game went on for over an hour more, with no meaningful contributions on my part.
City of Remnants could have been a tactical, backstabbing good time, but its Eurogame elements really hold it back. Rather than achieving victory by accumulating wealth or territory--items that would thematically be fitting for an organized crime game--the game insists on using a nebulous victory point system. Instead of being able to interfere with others' operations--shaking down a casino, tipping off cops to others' activities--players have no real interaction unless they directly confront one another, which is almost universally a bad proposition. The theme and mechanics of City of Remnants are utterly dissonant, leading to a misshapen, poorly designed game. Give this one a pass.