The Avengers (PG-13)

Yeah, this has already been covered pretty thoroughly just about everywhere else on the Internet. The characters' individual films were generally serious, if hard to actually take serious, but Avengers is practically a comedy, what with scenes like Thor explaining a Bilgesnipe to the SHIELD agent or trying to defend Loki then being forcefed some crow by Black Widow, or Captain America and Iron Man's verbal slapfighting. Although the Hulk's slapstick in the big final battle did seem a bit bizarre after that scene earlier in the film when he tried to flatten Black Widow.

And bonus points for not letting Hulk lift Mjolnir. Although shortly after that there was a scene with Captain America using a gun, and then there was that scene towards the end of the film where Loki throws Tony Stark off the Stark Tower and an Iron Man suit rockets through and puts itself on him, when if the time it took for part of the Stark Tower logo to hit the ground is any indication Iron Man should have been a Robert Downey Jr.-shaped smear on the pavement, but I guess I can let those slide.

And I know the screenshot I have is in just about every other Avengers review, but it was either that or this.


Polka Party! ("Weird Al" Yankovic)

Ohhhh, the things I do for you people. My first music album after eight years of doing this, and it had to be this.

With the exception of "Bohemian Polka" I've always considered the polka remixes the nadir of Weird Al albums, but typically there's other songs to redeem them. Polka Party, both the album and the song, don't. "Dog Eat Dog" and "Here's Johnny" are annoying and I think this is the first time I've ever been able to make myself sit through "Toothless People." And I know anti-romance songs like "One More Minute" and "Since You've Been Gone" are a Weird Al staple, but "Good Enough for Now" is mean-spirited even for those songs and isn't even funny.

My favorite song might actually be "Don't Wear Those Shoes" as the backing music is pretty catchy, but while the lyrics have a couple funny lines the way they're sung is stiff at times and they leave me wondering "What's wrong with the shoes?" Lyric-wise, the funniest song is probably "One of Those Days", though the actual song is a bit meh. But let's talk about the big one now: "Christmas at Ground Zero." Just to clarify, I don't think it's a terrible song. I just think it's completely outclassed by "The Night Santa Went Crazy" which has better music and funnier lyrics, and has aged a lot better.


Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy (Tui T. Sutherland, Kindle eBook)

Well, here's to the first actual book read with my Kindle. The gist is there's a massive war going on among the dragon tribes of a conveniently dragon-shaped continent, but a prophecy says five young dragons ("dragonets") will end it. The beginning is a bit slow and dreary, which I guess was appropriate since it's taking place in a claustophobic cave, and Tsunami was just irritating. But things pick up when the dragonets get out of the cave and get thrown into the deathmatch arena of one of the dragon queens, and the book focuses more on Clay. It's also at this point we're introduced to Peril, who works as Clay's parallel - both were told they were killer monsters albeit one was through a misunderstanding and the other a straight-up lie, but while one spent their life fighting something that never existed, the other fell for it.

This is meant for younger readers, but man alive there is some graphic shit in this book. The opening chapter has a dragon getting maimed, poisoned, and thrown off a cliff, later on there's lovingly detailed descriptions dragons immolating themselves and getting their faces dissolved by acid venom, and there's a bit at the end where the dragonets fly over a fresh battlefield littered with dead dragons, including one that's partially shattered after getting hit with another dragon's ice breath.

I'm also going to post a hunch I have about a plot twist in the later books, because if this turns out to be the case I want it on record that I called it: The prophecy cannot be fulfilled due to the loss of the Skywing, but that's actually a good thing due to a less than benevolent way it can be interpreted.


Samurai Cat (Written by JoAnn Roe, Illustrated by Kenichi Ueda)

I know it's not fair to criticize a book that really only exists to teach kids to read, but I've said before that the best kid's books need to have something for adults. And surely Dr. Seuss taught us that a book for teaching kids to read can still be more than words and robotic dialogue? I guess it's also meant to give kids a flavor of Japanese culture (although being for children might explain why they skipped over seppuku when talking about samurai), but if you're that desperate for some easy reading about an orange cat living in Japan, get some volumes of What's Michael? instead.


Evoland (PC, E10+)

Oh boy, it's DLC Quest all over again! People, if you want to write a love letter to retro RPGs, take a cue from Cthulhu Saves the World and Guadia Quest and make sure it actually stands on its own and isn't just a bunch of cobbled together tropes and in-jokes.


A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L'Engle)

As a denizen of the Internet, I appreciate any story that delves into the evils of being hiveminded. Still, I'd recommend Amazing Maurice over this, and even Dark City as squirrelpoop nutty as that movie got towards the end. For one thing, there isn't anything as grating as Meg's whining in the final chapter in those other two. And maybe it's just because I hate children and especially hate born prodigy characters, but I wanted to drop-kick Charles Wallace.

I'm also a little unsure of what exactly the book is saying about the evils of being hiveminded; is being hiveminded just one of many evils, is being hiveminded the ultimate evil, or does all evil somehow involve being hiveminded? I agree with the first, not so much the second, and probably not the third.