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  1. She wears a little apron too. It's like she's thought of gimmicks that fit the nickname. Madness... Of course, it may actually be a teaspoon and a nice cup of tea.
  2. Little bit clunky but still looks bags of fun. I love the playing around with panel edges. Mustafar Shakir sounds EXACTLY like the English dub of Jet in the anime. I know we've seen Ein in the original teaser, but it's odd that there's no sign of Edward yet. John Cho comes off more tired than laid-back, but that might just be his face. I really hope they do well hiding the cuts in the fight scenes between John Cho and obviously-not-John Cho.
  3. Dog-faced Poppa Pump is proof that they need to sack off anyone that's been with them in dev for 10 years, especially if they've already got 5+ years' "experience" on the indies. You either have it or you don't. Bronson had his first match just ONE YEAR AGO, and he's already more exciting to watch than anyone they've had in ages.
  4. You've highlighted two particular points there as negative that are reasons why I prefer TLJ to Rise - the offing of Snoke and the confirmation of Rey's unimportant parentage. After the already-dated unnecessary CGI insertions that marred Lucas' myriad reeditions, the killing of an unnecessarily-CGI rehash seems almost meta. You argue that Rise needed the Emperor to ensure it had an all-bad villain, but that undercuts the journey Kylo went on throughout TLJ and the strength of him as a standalone villain for the ending. After starting as a petulant Vader fanboy in Force, Ren goes fully off the deep end, realising that his powers outstrip that of his supposed idol, that he may be the most powerful Jefi in the universe, and that all who came before him, including his own family, have to die. He goes from not knowing "if (he) has the strength to do it" to killing his father Han Solo, killing the de facto Emperor, and decimating the Resistance, and all after it's confirmed he already torched the last remaining Jedi dojo. Him screaming "MORE!" at the First Order to empty their weapons into the ghost of Skywalker is such a fitting undoing, and is, for me, the defining image of TLJ. It's Adam Driver's sympathetic performance that convinces you there's still a kernel of good in him. Rey's parents being nobodies is such a wonderful twist. It ensures that Star Wars isn't just melodramatic family in-fighting. That, combined with the closing shot of the random kid playing Harry Potter with a broom, blows the mythos open, in that now, ANYONE can be a Jedi. Fuck your chosen-one narratives - the idea that anyone can be a hero is so much more empowering than midichlorian-based natural selection. It also could have been a perfect jumping-off point for the finale - Kylo Ren having just wiped out Sith 2.0 suddenly versus the entire galaxy. Which, funnily enough, is exactly how he felt and exactly what he wanted. It was a fantastic logical setup to an epic final battle and poetic comeuppance. All undone in the first 5 minutes of Rise, the blandest, laziest of the three. TLJ is far from perfect. I agree wholeheartedly that the Canto Bight detour is redundant, and seems like Disney trying to get through Benicio del Toro's set number of appearances as quick as poss. There are a dozen other planets they could've shown a kid with the Force on, but I suppose they wanted something more immediately in the memory. But it is far and away the best and certainly most divergent, not subversive, of the new trilogy.
  5. And a gasp and sashay away from camera, for after the watershed.
  6. Adam Cole's theme has been elevated for me by my brother using the tune to sing silly questions to his one year old. "Are you ready for some FRUIT? Would you like some grapes, BAY BAY?"
  7. AEW did such a great job of elevating their own talent during the pandemic that it doesn't surprise me that well known faces from WWE coming has ruffled feathers. It only seems like a month or so we're back with crowds and two high-profile signings have come in for the 'challenge.' Well, what about the Dark regulars who've been plugging away for over a year trying to earn a living and get noticed? I get that bringing in huge names like Punk and Danielson is exactly the right thing to do to gain credibility and column inches. I just hope they can transfer that hype and momentum across the roster beyond the 'four pillars' they've earmarked. At the moment, Punk is cutting snippy in-jokes on commentary and Danielson seems intent on leveraging his Yes chant and talking about Kenny's balls.
  8. Thanks for reminding me of Sting's brilliant face paint. FTR come out trying to harken back to Sting's troubles with the NWO (supposedly), but Sting strolls out as his own commemorative statue, crying tears of blood. I tell you, this kid's gonna be the future of this business.
  9. Taz in the booth during his Team's matches adds that level of cover too. As fun as they can be, they are very much a jobber team, but Taz is always there to point out when 'The Plan' goes awry, or when he's supposedly clued his man in to a particular move or situation but he still gets struck with it. It gets the opponent over as having outsmarted him, and puts his Team over as students on a learning curve while keeping them strong. Having a man in the ring, Hook at ringside, and Ricky either with him at the desk or unseen possibly in the wings makes every Team Taz match look like Taz has laid out chess pieces. It's a simple setup that I love.
  10. In a show with so many highlights, any lowlights stand out like a sore thumb. Cody was always going to come under more scrutiny than most, because he's Cody. The Rhodes legacy, the ex-WWE star, the suited EVP of a new wrestling promotion who featured in marquee matches as the company got off the ground. Then add to that his presentation: his labored, overcooked, emotive promos; the entrance theme featuring angelic choral voices and portentous sound mix breaking into conveyor belt metalcore (I daren't look up the lyrics); the special entrance way, awkwardly-positioned in amongst the clear visual language of heel and face entrances that the rest of the show has worked really well to build; all of which does nothing to illustrate and communicate a cohesive character, unless that character IS a labored, overcooked, emotive, portentous, awkwardly-positioned, suited EVP. Everything points to Cody being a BIG DEAL, so when the parts of the show that involve him are disappointments, it shows up in a big way. If he wants to be a face, he needs to start organically mixing things up with the other over faces in the company. He can't continue being this aloof, melodramatic figure. But to that, he's now got to undo months of half-baked, stop-start booking, and it typically takes twice a long to break a bad habit as it did to make it. He wants to do right by the company, but he hasn't been able to find the balance between media commitments and the AEW on-screen product. A fly-by-night standard-bearer is an oxymoron. Re: Brandi, it annoyed me more that she was clearly standing plain view in the entrance way, waiting for Cody to cue her Big Moment. AND she came out of the heel entranceway because of blocking, which disregards the show's tropes, isolating them from the rest of the roster, but also makes no sense in terms of realism - why wouldn't she come out alongside her husband, or why wouldn't her husband forego his standard entrance and insist on coming out alongside her? Overthinking, maybe, but it's these subtleties that subconsciously communicate important details to the audience. Finally, I thought that the match overall, and especially Black's performance, was very good, aside from the unnecessarily convoluted ending depending on an overweight pensioner getting in just the right position (and why couldn't Cody adapt, instead of clearly pointing to the side of the ring he wanted Arn on?). Malakai laughing in Brandi's face as she sat there was a brilliant little moment, demonstrating that Black knew exactly what was going on and couldn't be intimidated by such obvious playground mindgames.
  11. Might post one of my occasional TL;DR reviews later, but midway through Cage/JE vs SuperKliq, and Taz dropped the greatest commentary of the year: "Look at that ham, Cage. Tag out, you bum. Oh look, he must've heard me. Over twenty thousand people, my voice carries like a dove."
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