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TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E3 Ghosts

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead focuses on the characters and psychology in the third episode “Ghosts.”

The threat of the Whisperers return leads to paranoia sweeping over Alexandria; in the meantime, Carol battles with the need for revenge.

The episode is a focus on the slog of it all and the impact on the survivors. It opens with hours after hours as waves after waves of walkers attack a town and need to be repelled. Something is driving them and it’s unclear if it’s the Whisperers or not.

How does that impact individuals?

Carol, Aaron, Michonne, and Negan are all spotlighted as they struggle to deal with the situation. That includes interactions with the Whisperers and facing the threat that looms. Carol and Daryl have their moments as Carol’s mindset is explored especially after the death of her “son.”

Negan and Aaron are key too as Negan is tasked with helping Aaron. Has Negan changed and what of his past crimes? The tension is there and their back and forth are interesting. Aaron has lots of resentment towards Negan. Negan does come off as wanting to reform and leave his past behind. But, at the same time he’s not sorry. His words indicate that he sees it all as what needed to be done. It’s clear Negan will have his redemption in this season, the question is how and when.

The episode is a tense one as danger looms and the focus is squarely on the pressure of it all. It’s a good episode that revolves around the characters as the series always does. The Walking Dead isn’t about scares. It’s about the survivors and their dealing with this new world. The episode is important hinting at what’s to come and reminds us where the characters currently are.

Overall Rating: 8.05

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E2 We Are the End of the World

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead takes things back in the second episode with a flashback episode that reveals the origins of Alpha and Beta. Alpha attempts to toughen up Lydia as they prepare to walk with the dead. The Whisperers also create their herds.

The second episode of The Walking Dead is interesting. You could also call it “When Alpha met Beta.” That initial meeting isn’t quite as interesting as expected but it’s what unfolds that becomes really interesting, that of Lydia.

Through various glimpses, we get a sense of the horrors the Whisperers have done to survive in this new world. Those horrors eventually cracks Lydia and we see her break down and the repercussions of that. It highlights the abusive road that some have gone down and the deep psychological scars inflicted.

While not touched upon, contrast all of this with how the children of the various towns have endured and lived.

There’s some impactful moments that as a father of a daughter just chilled me. Lydia’s struggles. Alpha’s rejection of being called mother. It creates a cold and chilling experience. Add in Alpha’s actions and what she says it’s an interesting episode.

But overall, the episode focuses on the loss of self in this new world. Names are eschewed. It’s a shedding of identity and connection and with it humanity. Again, compare this to the communities and what they’ve done, endured, and built.

But despite that, there’s still something understandable about it all. These are individuals who have chosen a different way to survive. They see the walkers as both protection and destiny. This is a new reality and with it, new rules and norms are needed. And, as presented there’s a quasi-religious aspect to it all. But, Alpha still has depth and that’s in the form of her feelings for her daughter.

The episode creates a complicated relationship between Alpha and Beta and Alpha’s outlook on the world. It’s all much more complicated than what’s expected and the episode adds depth to characters who otherwise could easily have none. The revelations toward the end, such as where some of their walker masks come from, create a group that has layers.

It’s a creepy episode that focuses on the big evil of the season giving them history that makes them both more understandable and scarier at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8.35

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E1 Lines We Cross

The Walking Dead Season 10

In the season 10 debut of The Walking Dead, the group in Oceanside continues to train in case the Whisperers return; tensions are high as the heroes struggle to hold onto their concept of civilization.

The Walking Dead returns with a packed episode that covers a lot of ground. It’s an interesting episode that attempts to explore the new normal and question who the heroes really are. With the threat of the Whisperers still looming, the civilization must focus on what reality is. Death looms over everyone as they reflect on those that passed and face new dangers.

The episode has some smart explorations, such as what happens to the infrastructure above. Satellites pose a risk and we see here what a challenge one presents when it crashes. It, as well as the opening, are reminders that this world doesn’t have the security that we take for granted. A fire in a forest is as much a threat as walkers or rival groups.

The episode’s highlights, like so much of the series, is the character and actor interactions. Norman Reedus’ Daryl and Melissa McBride’s Carol are the heart of the series still. Their friendship will be the emotional journey of this season and it does not bode well based on the finale.

While not an exciting start, the season 10 debut does a nice job of setting up the season to come. It’s not one of action but one of reflection and foreshadowing.

Overall Rating: 7.75

Movie Review: Shazam!

Shazam!

If you watched the advertisements for the latest DC Cinematic Universe film Shazam! (and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not, it absolutely is), you’d think the film was Big but with superheroes. That description might get at some of the basics but in reality it misses out on so much of what makes this film not just work but also stand out as one of the best live action superhero releases of the modern era.

Shazam! follows Billy Batson, a foster kid who’s searching for his birth mother. He’s eventually recruited by the Wizard and given power to turn himself into the adult superhero Shazam but shouting SHAZAM!

What follows over 2 hours of having fun with, fun of, and love of superhero tropes and films.

Played by Asher Angel, Batson is a troublemaker with a heart. He’s on a mission to find his mother and by doing so running away from various foster families and facilities. Enter the Vasquez family headed up by Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (the always amazing and loveable Cooper Andrews). They run a foster home and are the parents you both love and roll your eyes due to their corny jokes. Each kid exudes personality and cuteness. Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley standing out. Those two get the most screen time out of all of the children with Darla delivering moments where you just want to hug her and others where you want to adopt her yourself. Grazer’s Freddy though is fandom personified guiding Billy through his learning his powers.

From there, the film is jokes about superpowers and some of the sillier aspects of being a superhero. And it does it all with a smile and infectious enthusiasm. Much of that is due to Zachary Levi as Shazam. Levi along with Grazer combine to form a team where it’s hard to not enjoy their journey of discovery. It’s just over the top silly at times and that’s exactly what it should be. Action sequences are broken up with segments using social media to explore Shazam’s powers. Freddy acts as Yoda to Billy’s Luke. This all works due to the amazing comedic chops of Levi and Grazer who nail the delivery of every scene and when things get serious, play it all off as believable kids.

The film is about excitement and the discovery of the hero in us all and it wears that on its sleeve with a giant smile.

That enthusiasm and discovery is juxtaposed with Mark Strong‘s Dr. Thaddeus Sivana who years earlier was rejected from the power of Shazam and has been searching for it ever since. The villain is the weakest part of the film, though Strong’s performance is strong. The film falls into a fight we’ve seen so many times before and is a bit reminiscent of the original Superman films down to the special fx. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was done on purpose as an example of the film’s clear love of superhero films.

What stands out to me for Shazam! is not just how much fun I had watching the film, but how much the audience enjoyed it. I haven’t seen a crowd cheering and applauding since Black Panther and Wonder Woman. There was also sniffling during the more serious and touching moments. The film nails the emotional moments delivering an experience that’s hard to not have fun watching. If you found yourself smiling or laughing at the various television spots, the film takes that humor to the next level. It’s unafraid to take the silliness that extra step and nail the joke.

Shazam! is a film that exceeded my expectations delivering an entertaining film that I immediately wanted to see again. It’s the first live action superhero “family film” since the original Superman. Judging by the audience reactions, from kids to their parents, it was enjoyed by people of all ages and genders and catapulted itself to being one of the best superhero films of the modern era to be released.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Movie Review: Shazam!

Shazam!

If you watched the advertisements for the latest DC Cinematic Universe film Shazam! (and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not, it absolutely is), you’d think the film was Big but with superheroes. That description might get at some of the basics but in reality it misses out on so much of what makes this film not just work but also stand out as one of the best live action superhero releases of the modern era.

Shazam! follows Billy Batson, a foster kid who’s searching for his birth mother. He’s eventually recruited by the Wizard and given power to turn himself into the adult superhero Shazam but shouting SHAZAM!

What follows over 2 hours of having fun with, fun of, and love to superhero tropes and films.

Played by Asher Angel, Batson is a troublemaker with a heart. He’s on a mission to find his mother and by doing so running away from various foster families and facilities. Enter the Vasquez family headed up by Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (the always amazing and loveable Cooper Andrews). They run a foster home and are the parents you both love and roll your eyes due to their corny jokes. Each kid exudes personality and cuteness. Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley standing out. Those two get the most screen time out of all of the children with Darla delivering moments where you just want to hug her and others where you want to adopt her yourself. Grazer’s Freddy though is fandom personified guiding Billy through his learning his powers.

From there, the film is jokes about superpowers and some of the sillier aspects of being a superhero. And it does it all with a smile and infectious enthusiasm. Much of that is due to Zachary Levi as Shazam. Levi along with Grazer combine to form a team where it’s hard to not enjoy their journey of discovery. It’s just over the top silly at times and that’s exactly what it should be. Action sequences are broken up with segments using social media to explore Shazam’s powers. Freddy acts as Yoda to Billy’s Luke. This all works due to the amazing comedic chops of Levi and Grazer who nail the delivery of every scene and when things get serious, play it all off as believable kids.

The film is about excitement and the discovery of the hero in us all and it wears that on its sleeve with a giant smile.

That enthusiasm and discovery is juxtaposed with Mark Strong‘s Dr. Thaddeus Sivana who years earlier was rejected from the power of Shazam and has been searching for it ever since. The villain is the weakest part of the film, though Strong’s performance is strong. The film falls into a fight we’ve seen so many times before and is a bit reminiscent of the original Superman films down to the special fx. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was done on purpose as an example of the film’s clear love of superhero films.

What stands out to me for Shazam! is not just how much fun I had watching the film, but how much the audience enjoyed it. I haven’t seen a crowd cheering and applauding since Black Panther and Wonder Woman. There was also sniffling during the more serious and touching moments. The film nails the emotional moments delivering an experience that’s hard to not have fun watching. If you found yourself smiling or laughing at the various television spots, the film takes that humor to the next level. It’s unafraid to take the silliness that extra step and nail the joke.

Shazam! is a film that exceeded my expectations delivering an entertaining film that I immediately wanted to see again. It’s the first live action superhero “family film” since the original Superman. Judging by the audience reactions, from kids to their parents, it was enjoyed by people of all ages and genders and catapulted itself to being one of the best superhero films of the modern era to be released.

Overall Rating: 9.0