Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Jan 2017- The Empire Strikes Back

Finally, the next Smuggler’s Bounty box has arrived.  Funko decided to base this month’s theme on one of the better, if not best of the Star Wars movies, Empire Strikes Back.  Lets see how they decided to celebrate one of the most exciting chapters in the Star Wars saga..

img_1602

First off, this box is huge.  It is definitely the largest of the boxes so far.  Besides the size, the only noticeable difference is the image of Luke in his Dagobah fatigues.  Other than that, it is the standard box.

img_1603

Opening it up you see the standard patch and pin.  The patch is of Yoda with Empire Strikes Back written on the side.   The pin features Lando Calrissian, though, if you look at it at a certain angle, you would swear it’s a pin of Lionel Ritche.  I can’t be the only one, right?

img_1607

Beneath the flap, we find another little Star Wars plushie.  This time, we get a Wampa, the creature thar captured Luke on Hoth.  It is very cute and has nice soft fake fur.  Including the Boba Fett one from a half a year back, I now have two from this line.

img_1608

Funko has given us hats and shirts so what other clothing items will they branch into?  How about socks?  Yes, we get a pair of Pop! Socks, with a Star Wars theme, featuring Pop heads of Darth Vader and Storm Troopers..  They fit me fine (size 10 1/2 feet) and are mostly polyester.

img_1611

Last is the much hyped Han on a TaunTaun.  This was revealed at least a far back as November and it looks fantastic.  Han is wearing a brown coat (which I thought was blue; even my action figure of him had a blue coat) but obviously, Funko falls into the brown camp.  It doesn’t bother me but I’d hate to start a debate like the blue and gold/white and gold dress from the internet last year.  Anyways, the Han Soo Pop is not removable from the TaunTaun, but it comes with a large base with pegs to plug into the Tauntaun’s feet.  Finally, the Han figure is a bobble head, but the Tauntaun isn’t.

img_1613
It’s brown! It’s blue!  WHO CARES!

This newest box may seem a bit light, but it is still a good value.  The deluxe Pop definitely is of the most value and is the best part of the box.  The socks are nice and I could always use more (they get lost so easily.)  The plushie is nice.  I’d give it to my dog, but he’d destroy it in seconds.

img_1616

The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in March 2017.  January’s theme is Star Wars Rebels, the current animated show on Disney XD.  The Smuggler’s Bounty page promises an exclusive Darth Maul Pop! bobble head in that box..  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 March, 2016.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  Excuse me as I look for my Lando pin.  I seem to have misplaced it.

img_1606
Hello?. Is it me you’re looking for?

 

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty – Rogue One (Nov 2016)

The next Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty subscription box is out now.  This month’s theme is the upcoming movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The movie tells the story of a group of Rebels who set out to steal the plans for the Death Star before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope (the original movie).  Will this box help to build the excitement for the movie?

img_1516

The box have the same over all look as the other boxes we’ve gotten.  This month has the title Star Wars: Rogue One on the top flap, with a picture of a storm trooper variant of some kind.  While not as large as some of the last boxes, it is a bit longer than a standard box.

img_1517

Opening it up, we see the pin and patch for this box.  They are of… characters from Rogue One I guess.  The pin is of a droid (K-250) that has been featured in some of the Rogue One trailers.  He is an enforcer droid, so he’ll be doing more than C-3po has even done.  The patch is of Cassian Andor as best I can tell.  I think the likeness is a bit off.  It looks like David Tennant in a beard (David Tennant is NOT in Rogue One) than whoever plays Cassian.

img_1520

We also get a shirt.  Seen above is the image on the shirt, with the characters from Rogue One done in the Funko Pop style.  It s cool shirt and I’m sure I’ll like it more after I know more about the characters.  Most of what I’ve read or seen have been focused on Jyn Erso.  The image of Darth Vader’s helmet reminds me of Darth Stewie from the Family Guy parodies.

img_1521

We also get a special collectible vinyl this month.  It is from the min-Hikari line of Japanese style vinyl figures.  Darth Vader came in 5 different colours randomly inserted in the box.  There is black, while, gold blue or red (seen above).  The paint is also a bit sparkly.  It is different but I probably won’t actively seek out more.

img_1523img_1525

Finally, we get two Pop vinyls this time.  One is the Imperial Death Trooper, the fierce new flavor of Storm Trooper featured in the movie.  We als get a vinyl of main heroine Jyn Erso, in a helmet and poncho outfit echoing the rebel outfits on Endor,  Both a new to the line so they definitely would be new to your Pop collection and they look good.

This was a good box.  Great on value if a little light on content.  Like the Force Awakens box from last year, we are going on hype whether or not the movie will be any good.  There hasn’t been as longa as a build up for Rogue One than Force Awakens, and there is no new bad guys to hype (we get some Imperial dressed in white and Darth Vader is kicking around.  We got Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) and she’s hot and the promise of delving into the history of the Star Wears universe.  I have high hopes ans so far I haven’t seen a Jar Jar or equivalent in the trailer.

img_1527

The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in January 2017.  January’s theme is The Empire Strikes Back, the second Star Wars movie released.  The ad above promises an exclusive Han Solo on a Tauntaun in every box.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 January, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- Death Star (September 2016)

Once again, Funko has released the next installment of its Smuggler’s Bounty subscription box.  This month’s theme is the original bad-ass killer space station, the Death Star.  Will the contents live up to this reputation?  Let’s see.

img_1461

The box is what we have come to expect from the line, with its black, white and red colour scheme.  Darth Vader is the featured character  on the box since his memorable duel with Obi-Wan was on the Darth Star.  Maybe we’ll get a new Vader pop to go with the Obi-Wan from a few boxes back?

img_1463

 

Inside the box, we get our standard pin and patch .  We get an awesome Darth Vader patch and an original storm trooper pin.  Both look good and fit in the them of the box..  Nothing surprising, but not disappointing.

img_1467

Next is the T-shirt.  After two month of non-pop themed shirts and a hat last box, it is nice to get a shirt with Funko-ized characters.  As you can see it features Vader and Kenobi facing off in a theme designed to look like an old boxing match announcement.  I like the “Battle on the Death Star” announcement.  This has to be my favorite shirt (that I got) thus far.  I doesn’t look like there are variants this month so everyone who got the box will have this one.

img_1468

We also get a luggage tag.  It is Death Star shaped with a tag to write you address showing on the back.  It is kind of cool, though it would not go well with most of my luggage I take while travelling.

img_1469

And, finally, we get to the Pop vinyls.  As expected, we do get a Darth Vader as well as a Grand Moff Tarkin, who was in overall command of the first Death Star.  Vader is in a new pose, with his light saber lowered and his left hand stretched out, perhaps doing a force choke.  Tarkin (or as I like to call him, The Moff) is standing at ease, with his hands behind his back. The card included with the box noted that the Moff has a unique head sculpt, with sunken cheeks to have him look more like the character.  Both of them are great additions to my collection.

Overall a pretty solid box.  It was like on the extras but it delivered us two solid Pops so it balances out.  It can’t all be Jabba-sized boxes, right.  The shirt is what made the box for me.  Funko has kept my interest with this subscription and I hope they continue to do so.

img_1474

Smuggler’s Bounty will ship again this November.  The next box will be based on the upcoming Star Wars film, Rogue One and features a specialized Storm Trooper of some sort on the box.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Rogue One box is 15 November, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

suicide-squad-cast

Suicide Squad is the new movie from Warner Bros and DC Entertainment directed by David Ayer.  It is the third movie in the DC Cinematic Universe after Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman.  It stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman; to name a few.  It released 5 Aug 16 and it is rated 14A in Ontario, Canada (PG-13 in the US).

Suicide Squad follows the story of a government agency called Task Force X.  Headed by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and led in the filed by Rick Flagg (Kinnaman), this group is composed of super powered criminals forced to cooperate with threats and promises of a reduced sentence.  They are considered expendable and deniable and if they fail, they would be killed and blamed for everything.  They are a Suicide Squad.

The squad consists of the following villians:  Deadshot (Will Smith), a deadly marksman and assassin for hire;  Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) the Joker’s (Jared Leto) psycho girlfriend; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), half man, half crocodile; El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a pyrotechnic haunted by his past; Captain Boomerang (Jai Courteny), a Australian criminal who is a crack shot with a boomerang; Slipknot (Adam Beach) an assassin and infiltration expert; Katana (Karen Fukuhara), a master swordswoman and Flagg’s body-guard; and The Enchantress (Carla Delevingne) a spirit of a millennia-old witch trapped in the body of archeologist June Moone  When the Enchantress awakens a powerful entity that takes over Midway City, the Squadis sent in to rescue a High Value Target (HVT) or die trying.  But as they discover that there is more to the mission, can the Squad hold it together?

The movie, while good, does have some issues with pacing.  The first third is set up, with the movie introducing Waller, Flagg and giving us back story on most of the squad, mainly Deadshot, Harley and Captain Boomerang.  Deadshot and Harley’s story give us a cameo by the Batman and Boomerang’s gives us the best view so mar of Ezra Miller’s Flash. Once the mission starts, the action picks up and it is an enjoyable ride.

suicide-squad-poster-harley-quinn-1

The portrayals of these comic characters are more or less true to the source material.  Deadshot’s kid, Harely’s lack of control around the Joker and Boomerang’s abrasiveness to his teammates are close to their comic roots.  Rick Flagg’s relationship to June is also from the Suicide Squad’s 1980’s series and Amanda Waller has always been a hard ass.  I would have liked to see more of Katana as her back story and I like the costume they made for her.  Katana has been getting some more exposure recently, playing a big role in season three of Arrow and featuring in the new DC Superhero Girls property.  More of her would be nice.

One minor gripe I have is with the Joker.  Leto’s Joker is going to put some people off.  Some may have issues with Will Smith’s Deadshot (he’s fine in the role), some with Margot as Harley (she nailed it and fills those shorts SO nicely), but The Joker is off-putting.  The new look is different, but mot the strangest incarnation of the Joker (in the comic, he once had his own face removed and then wore it as a mask.)  His appearances are chaotic and have a minimal effect on the story.  But isn’t that the Joker?  Strange and off-putting?  Maybe he is not the Joker we want, but the Joker we need?  He will need a bigger role for us to really find out.

Over all I did like this movie,  I thought is was good.  I like it better than Batman v. Superman:  it is not too long, there are no parts that made be cringe and all the portrayals of the comic characters were well done, even, when it comes down to it, Leto’s Joker, for the small part he played.  Maybe it would be better if some of the characters were set up in a previous movie because their character is tied to the heroes they fight.  The movie is dark, but it has the lighter moments that BvS so desperately needed.  I do hope this does well enough to warrant a sequel, in addition to a movie starring Harley Quinn.  But, I’d watch her reading a phone book if she was in that outfit.

harley-robbie-butt
Damn.

 

4/5

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

star trek bynd

Star Trek Beyond is the third movie in the rebooted Star Trek canon and the thirteenth Star Trek Movie overall.  It stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana and John Cho.  It opened in  North American theatres 22 Jul 2016.

The movie finds Kirk and crew in the middle of their 5 year mission.  Arriving at an advanced Starbase called the Yorktown, the crew prepares for some R and R.  But when an alien ship comes out of an uncharted nebula requesting assistance, the Enterprise gears back up and heads to the unknown.  The ship ends up running into a trap and the crew  is taken, leaving only Kirk, Chekov, Scotty, Bones and Spock to save the day.   With the help of an alien warrior named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) they try to find a way to rescue the crew from the enemy leader, Krall before he activate a weapon that could bring the Federation to its knees.

The new Star Trek movies have had their problems, but it was never about the actors.  The actors who have taken over the iconic Enterprise crew do it well, and bring a fresh look to old characters.The problems I had with the first Nu-Trek movie was how Muppet Babies-esque the whole thin was, having the who command crew at the academy at the same time where there should be no way that Kirk and Chekov would be in the Academy at the same time where Kirk ends up a Captain and he’s just an ensign.  It is like when, on Muppet Babies, they had baby Kermit meet his nephew Robin, who was a tadpole, but in the Muppet show, while Kermit is an adult, Robin was only 5 years old!  Now who knows how Muppet frogs age up, but it is still ridiculous!

My only problem with Into Darkness was a matter of casting.  I mean, who would you get to replace the late great  Ricardo Montalban as Kahn Noonien Singh?  Who can match his physical presence, his Latino charisma?  Of course, the answer is, (in my mind) Antonio Banderas.  Not Benedict Cumberbatch!  Doctor Strange?  Sherlock Holmes?  Julian Assange?  All great roles for Benny.  But.  Not.  Khan.  I can’t be the only once who thinks this…

With Beyond, I had no issues with it.  The best Trek movies are full of action (Wrath of Kahn) and humor (The Voyage Home).  The new movie, directed by Justin Lin has both and I fin it works well.  It is a popcorn flick, sure,.  But when Star Trek gets preachy, it works better when it is serialized on TV, as it only past 42 minutes or so.  The writing but Simon Pegg and Doug Jung has plenty of great lines, especially between Bones and Spock, but the Scotty character definitely got the biggest laughs.

The movie’s villain, Krall (played by Idris Elba)is an intimidating force.  He commands an army of black-clad troopers who look like they belong in a HALO movie.  Besides Krall and his second in command, Mana, none of the other enemies get names.  The only other new character, Jaylah is a survivor that escaped Krall’s camp. She is mechanically inclined, rigging up traps around her home and even restoring a motorcycle she found on a crashed Earth ship.  Her matter-of-factness is a good counterbalance to Scotty’s colourful speech.

Star Trek Beyond did get some buzz about their portrayal of Sulu.  The writers had him I na same-sex relationship wit ha daughter.  I don’t think this matters.  George Takei, the original Sulu and, himself, gay, was against it, feeling the character wasn’t gay.  Though I though I saw Sulu hooking up with a female during Kirk’s opening monologue, meaning he is bisexual (and polyamorous,) but I guess I was mistaken.  Still, it should not matter.  What was meant as a tribute was not taken well, but it shouldn’t affect anyone enjoyment of Star Trek, which it’s message of peace and harmony between races and sexes and cultures and even sexual orientation.  Really it shouldn’t.

Star Trek Beyond is rated 14A in Ontario (PG-13 in the US) and is in theatres now.

4/5

Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty: Bounty Hunter Box (May 2016)

Funko has released the May 2016 edition of its Star Wars-themed Smuggler’s Bounty Subscription box. Their newest box celebrate the Bounty Hunters, some of the coolest-looking yet criminally underused characters in the Star Wars movies. Let take a look inside to see what we get this time!

IMG_1186.JPG

This month’s box is what we have come to expect from the subscription.  This month, a FUNKO-ized Boba Fett is featured on the box.  Since he is the most recognizable bounty hunter in the Star Wars series, it is appropriate for him to feature on the box.  Who else would they put there?  Bossk?  The Star Wars logo is featured as well, without the “The Force Awakens” subtitle like the last few boxes.  That was a minor nitpick I had with the Cantina box, so it’s good to see that FUNKO is changing things up.

IMG_1187.JPG

Under the lid we see our standard club pin and patch, reflecting this month’s theme.  The pin features the reptilian bounty hunter, Bossk, who has all but three seconds of screen time, but was fleshed out in the books and in the Clone Wars cartoon.  The patch is rightly everyone’s favorite clone son of Jango Fett, Boba Fett.  There is even the Mandalore symbol on the patch too.  I’d like to see a Mandalore themed box in the future, perhaps with some characters from the Clone Wars cartoon and Sabine Wren from Star Wars: Rebels.

IMG_1192.JPG

The next thing is the T-Shirt.  This time we get some awesome art of various bounty hunters from the Star Wars universe, including Boba Fett (of course).  The art features descriptions of the gear and weapons of each of the featured characters.  It is good to see that the shirts will vary in art style from box to box.  While the ones featuring FUNKO-ized characters are good, some straight-up Star Wars T-shirts is nice to have.

IMG_1193.JPG

Now for the main draw of this subscription box, the FUNKO Pops!  We get two of them this time and both are extra special.  We get the killer robot, IG-88 and, of course, Boba Fett!  I’m sure there would have been an outcry if one of the Pops weren’t old Boba here, but FUNKO delivered.

IMG_1194.JPG

IG-88 is a brand-new Pop created for this subscription.  He (or “It”) had not had a Pop released up until now.  His unique  look will make the figure stand out amongst your other Pop vinyls as his head is much skinnier.  Still, the sculpt captures the look of the character perfectly.

IMG_1195.JPG

Boba is unique too as his stand is built in to the sculpt.  He is in a launching pose, with the fire and exhaust from his jet pack serving as the stand for the figure.  This is a perfect pose for the character, as it shows how awesome the character could be, if only he wasn’t defeated so easily in Return of the Jedi.

This has been my favourite box so far in the Smuggler’s Bounty subscription.  The Bounty Hunters looked awesome to me as a kid and Boba Fett is my all-time favorite, if only for the fact he was a mail-in figure I got as a kid and the comics and books I’ve read and the games I played with him make him seem like a bad-ass.  There was not little item like a pen or lanyard this time around, but the overall awesomeness of this month’s offering made up for it.

Smuggler’s bounty will ship again in July with the Jabba’s Palace box.  You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for July’s box is 15 July, 2016.  May the Force be with you!

Movie Review: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

102597285-Batman-vs-Superman_530x298

When Man of Steel came out, there was talks of how Warner Bros could do an extended movie universe with DC Comics characters like Marvel/Disney was with the Avengers.  With the previous DC film, Green Lantern tanking, they wanted to do a crossover with Superman and, by far the most successful DC Comic character ever brought to the big screen, Batman.  The result is Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The movie opens with Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) witnessing the Battle of Metropolis.  As he rushes to the site of the Wayne Corp offices in Metropolis, he is helpless as the rest of the population as the event unfolds around him.  He reaches the building only to see it destroyed in the wake of the fight between Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill).  18 months later, Bruce is convinced that he is a threat and need to be put down.

Superman is having his own crisis of conscience.  With the public divided on how responsible he was for the death toll in Metropolis  and an incident in Africa, he questions whether or not he is doing any good.  He starts to take notice of Batman’s activities in Gotham, as his actions have become more violent.  Both heroes are set on a course that will see them come in conflict with each other.  The apparent mastermind behind all this is the head of Lexcorp, Lex Luthor.  His plan is to play both heroes off of each other and convince the US government that Superman is a threat.  He gets his hands on the Kryptonian ship and the body of Zod  that the government had possession of.  With that, he plans to create a threat that would spell “doomsday” for the Man of Steel, if Batman doesn’t take him down first.

The movie clocks in over 2 and a half hours but it held my attention the whole time.  There are a lot of huge action pieces as the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel come into conflict.  Affleck is a good fit as an aged Dark Knight, dark and brooding after a two decade long battle against crime.  He invokes the Batman of Frank Millar’s classic, The Dark Knight Returns, being more brutal and less likely to care if criminals a killed or injured, but still concerned with saving the innocent.  In fact, there are scenes that mimic panels from the comic, which is fitting because the film is inspired by the fight between Superman and Batman at the end of that series.

Cavill is good as a Superman who is still a man and not a god.  He makes mistakes and in the high stakes role as a superhero, that can cost lives.  He, too is manipulated in fighting Batman, but in the end lets his rage get the best of him (though Batman’s attacks doesn’t help.)  Eisneberg’s Luthor is a bit of a misfire for me.  He comes off a bit whiny, like a spoilt brat, but he does have the cruel streak that the modern Luthor has in the comics and believes that the ends justifies the means because his ego won’t let him be wrong.

The film also features Wonder Woman (Gail Gadot) in a supporting role and what ever misgiving I had about the casting (mostly because she was unknown to me) are gone now.  She plays a vital role in the end and looks amazing in the outfit, which is better than in the porn version, for a change.  Her characterization is pretty much in line with her depiction in the comics since 1987.  I cannot wait until we see Wondy in her own movie next year.

If there is one complaint, it’s that it is too dark in places.  While I like that the Man of Steel did not go for the “gee willikers” brightness of the Christopher Reeves films but felt a bit of levity wouldn’t hurt it.  With Zack Snyder and Cristopher Nolan keeping the overall tone similar to the Dark Knight trilogy,  a lot of the movie is dark and somber.  Only the scenes with Wonder Woman are there a few funny quips (“I thought she was with you?”) to break up the serious tone.  As a movie that has accompanying toy line aimed at kids, it is a bit too dark for that audience

I think that Batman V Superman does what it was intended to do, to set up a future franchise featuring multiple heroes.  Aquaman, Flash and even Cyborg appear in some form or another. with the Flash getting a speaking role, referring to event that, out of context,  may confirm Batman was right about Superman, but I think hints to Superman’s fate beyond the end of this movie.  As a Batman and Superman movie, it does its best to show what would happen if they went head to head.  It pays homage to the Dark Knight Returns series and even has elements from a certain Superman storyline in which he fights Doomsday (I’ll let you guess which one.)  I hope we get a Justice League movie out of this because more Battfleck (now my second favorite Batman after Adam West) and Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman is a good thing.

4 out of 5