The Last Bay Thank Primus

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TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

transformers-the-last-knight-poster
Directed By:
Michael Bay
Produced By: Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, & Ian Bryce
Story By: Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, & Ken Nolan
Premiered On:
June 21, 2017
Distribution By:
Paramount Pictures

What can I say about Transformers: The Last Knight that hasn’t already been said by those of greater, or lesser, experience than I with words or with film? Likely, not that much but I can, at the least, off a perspective from one who has grown up watching Beast Wars & Beast Machines and had a fairly recent marathon of Transformers: Prime. As I’ve said previously, I am not an avid fan of Transformers as a whole. Outside of the aforementioned cartoons, I can only name a few select individuals from the franchise and that’s just those who aren’t color swaps of other characters never mind the many, many, many incarnations of certain characters.

As before, I’ll touch on what was good in this film. First and foremost, no Autobots die in this film. … Okay, slight clarification here. No Transformer that designates themselves as an Autobot dies in this film and considering how kill-happy the last several films and comic book tie-ins have been, that’s nothing short of a miracle. True, the (surprisingly) named Transformer Canopy does perish for an ungodly stupid reason (more on that later in this review) but he never confirms whether he’s an Autobot or a Decepticon though it is likely the former given his care for the human girl Izabella.

Second good point, there are few “money shots.” Let’s face it, product placement in films is going to be a given no matter the film in question but the degree in which it is presented to us can vary from the subliminal to being so in your face you can practically taste it. In the case of the Transformers films this has primarily been for the cars to a point where one wonders just why the Transformer ever bother turning into their robotic form given how long, and frequently, they stay in car form even during moments that don’t call for it. Thankfully, in this film there is but one moment and it is sensibly done in a way that it’s only obvious because by this point the sheer lack of them made it stand out more.

There is also a distinct lack of sexual objectification in this film though given it is a Michael Bay production, that doesn’t mean it’s absent in its entirety but I’ll be touching on that stunningly stupid moment later. Much like the money shots of the cars, it is the severe lack of these questionable moments that make them stand out all the more though I can proudly say that they aren’t so plainly obvious as the “totally necessary” shot of Cade’s daughter from behind at, ahem, hip height. To “better emphasize” the shortness of her shorts you see.

Doesn’t quite trump being a card-carrying member of the “Romeo Juliet Law” but still, really?

On that same human vein, contrary to the last film which consisted of one-third needless humans and their stupid plotlines that we could care less about given their sheer inability to be sympathized with let alone liked… Sorry, bit of a soapbox for me there but seriously, for all the humans that are in this film, and there are a surprising amount from across the movies, there is almost always a Transformer right there in the scene or fiddling about in the background.

Last, but certainly not least, there are actual funny moments in this film. More than most of the other ones had and without featuring the antics of a certain yellow Transformer who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. I shan’t describe them, as I feel that lessens the humor, though I will credit Cogman, a self-admitted sociopathic ex-assassin Autobot, for a majority of laughs.

Of course, this now leads me to the bad of the film and let me tell you now, ladies and gentlemen, this will NOT be a short list nor can I promise to stay off the soapbox when it presents itself to me. These bad aspects are in order of the severity of them as ordained by my own personal opinion. Some might agree, others may not. Either way, let’s roll them out.

As seen in the last film, the world is sick to death of the Transformers and has declared them as public enemy no. 1 with the stupid exception being Cuba for no other reason than “because.” As such, when a (likely) Autobot named Canopy breaks his cover he is summarily gunned down without prejudice for the fact that he, like most Transformers, is equipped with a weapon. I bring this up as a bad aspect of the film because we see later that America, freaking America, negotiates with Megatron after he kidnaps, and summarily releases two hostages, for the release of a few of his named Decepticon soldiers.

Point of order: It is to my understanding that we, as a country, do not negotiate with terrorists. Especially one whose actions cost goodness knows how many lives and immeasurable amounts of damage to several major cities and locations. Point the second, Megatron released the hostages before the negotiations. The only reason they even allow this farce is because they hope to follow him to “the ultimate weapon” and steal it out from under him before he can use it. I don’t know which is worse, that they think he won’t suspect or the fact that he never does and becomes so easy to defeat (again) that I’m starting to call him Not-a-Megatron in my head.

Point the third… They killed an Autobot. They’ve killed goodness knows how many Autobots prior to and during the fourth film… Yet they have been capturing and imprisoning Decepticons?! Decepticons whom, upon being released promise their jailers that they will be back for them and that they know where they live! These aren’t run-of-the-mill humans we’re talking about here! For pity’s sake, we saw in the freakin’ first film how easy it is for a Decepticon to get onto flippin’ Air Force One! Sneaking up on the homes of their guards and wiping out them and/or their families is not beyond the stretch of imagination here!

What really has me scratching my head though is that during whole entire farce of a scene, we are introduced to each Decepticon by way of a freeze frame with their name splattered across it very much like we are introduced to the Suicide Squad in their film. I’d almost forgive this blatant rip-off if this was done for each and every Transformer in the film but NOPE! It’s just for this moment and for a majority of Decepticons who end up dead and gone mere minutes later when the Autobots, plus Grimlock and Slug, hand them their keisters on a titanium platter.

This is especially aggravating when a majority of the Autobots in this film are introduced to us so casually that it’s next to impossible to remember their names and that’s only if they are introduced to us at all! The Autobots that premiered in the last film? Yeah, if you haven’t seen it you likely aren’t going to hear their names in this one. An old World War I (or is it II?) tank Transformer who is suffering from dementia? Good luck, Chuck because he’s in there for a laugh and that’s it! Any of the baby Dinobots? Nope! A submarine, yes a submarine Transformer, that leads them to getting the MacGuffin of the film? Not only is never named but doesn’t ever speak OR transform!

Do you have idea how cool that’d be to see something that big turn into an equally bigger robot?! WHY would you waste such an opportunity?!

Worst of all, WORST OF ALL (because this bears repeating all caps people), that triple-headed dragon we see in the adverts and poster? The “Knights of Iacon” (who that is, is never said outside the Wikipedia article) that betray the “big bad” of the film Quintessa? Never named and barely do anything! The dragon shows up for all of a minute, two tops, and in its first supposed epic moment comes crashing down upon a horde of human invaders (back during the Dark Ages) in such a way that I can’t help but feel like it was an actual crash and not an intended attack.

For Primus’ sake, it has three heads and breathes fire! Just roast them all and call it a day!

As to the big bad Quintessa? Where, oh where, do I start with her? She’s labelled as a sorceress on Wikipedia and calls herself the “Prime of Life” to Optimus who refers to her as his maker and she calls him her “greatest creation” though it is never shown or explained how she, a literal human sized and shaped Transformer supposedly created the entire race of them. She is as much a threat as a fly is to a dinosaur and I mean that with pure sincerity. Her conversion of Optimus Prime into “Nemesis Prime” is a slap to the face.

No. I’m not joking. She, pardon my French, literally bitch-slaps him into being evil. For all of like, what, ten minutes before hearing Bumblebee’s real voice breaks him out of the spell. Also, it’s like that Megatron is, inexplicably, under her sway given his face has the same weird red marking that Optimus had when he was Nemesis.

But we’ve only covered the purely Cybertronian aspects of bad. Let’s touch on the human side of things for a moment.

Cade is still stupid. Not as bad as Sam or as obnoxiously so as he was in the last film as he’s reversed that from obnoxiously stupid to stupidly obnoxious especially in concerns to Viviane who has taken that role for herself in this picture and to a whole new level too!

There’s a moment when Cade has his shirt off and is watching the Transformer medallion MacGuffin (to be explained) crawling around him like a creepy centipede when she walks in him. Cue him making a lot of innuendos without realizing it and her acting like her brain IQ dropped to single digits range. I palmed my face so hard I still have the handprint over my eyes. Though of course, that could be because of doing it excessively throughout the film…

Does anyone recall the early trailers for the film? Specifically the ones that were all “girl power” with Izabella? The one that all but shoved it in our faces that she was going to be the break-out star of this film, move over Cade and Sam?

Yeah, no. She’s barely a footnote if even that much. She serves as a sort-of introduction to Cade and his current antics and as a painful reminder that his daughter got off scott-free for their shared previous antics and is not being held accountable to the fact that her dad is technically a terrorist in the eyes of the US Government considering he’s aiding and abetting the “illegal” Autobots. She could be taken out of the film entirely and nothing absolutely nothing would be made better, or worse, for her absence. Heck, the most she is, is a discount Jade Chan from the cartoon series Jackie Chan Adventures in that she inexplicably, and undeniably stupidly, sneaks herself into situations that she has no business being involved in.

She sneaks onto a military aircraft for Primus’ sake and when asked why the heck she thought to do this, she states, quite clearly, that she had no idea what she was thinking or what she hoped to accomplish by doing so.

While I could talk about the lack of military intelligence in this film, I can’t honestly blame it entirely as it is a trope that has been around since the dawn of film. What I can blame however is the fact that the soldiers tell their higher-ups that the MacGuffin of the film is Merlin’s staff, and don’t elaborate any further on that thus leading them to conclude the soldiers’ plan consists of, quote, “hobgoblin witchery.”

“It’s a DNA locked device. We get Prof. Viviane to grab it, she can stop everything.”

BAM!

Was that really so hard?

Last, but certainly not least, is the “Illuminati” of the picture as portrayed by Anthony Hopkins whom, I heard, had confessed that the story of the film made no sense to him before, during, and after filming. He is a descendant of those charged with keeping the Transformers a secret from the general populace and, having failed that rather spectacularly, keeping Merlin’s Staff out of enemy hands whilst also aiding any and all Autobots whom happen to aid them. There’s quite a bit wrong with this whole set up but let’s point out the two most glaringly bad parts.

First and foremost, it is shown both in the Dark Ages and during World War II that the Autobots have aided humans in their wars. Specifically King Arthur against whatever forces were invading his lands and America in World War II. Heck, a freaking creation of the Allspark, a Transformer that is crazed upon creation and thus a danger to itself and anyone else near it, is created as being the one responsible for offing Hitler.

That in itself is really weird because never mind the argument as to why the Autobots would involve themselves in human affairs, Hopkins literally has a wall that showcases all of the evidence of Autobot involvement. Some are sensible such as paintings or pictures that show them off but then there’s the purely idiotic such as, and I do not exaggerate, World War I and II propaganda posters!

Transformers. The worst kept secret bar none.

Then there’s the real breadwinner of stupid. This Illuminati styled group? This organization that can trace its, and a few other important figures’, lineage back to the Dark Ages? It’s called the Witwiccans. Get it? Witwicky? Witwiccans?! It’s (not) clever. Credit though for getting the most ridiculous face Sam could possibly make for a photograph proving his lineage to this illustriously stupid order.

With all of that said, I’ll end this long review on the one note that is equal parts good and bad. It is revealed that the likely reason that Cybertronians are arriving on Earth is because Earth is actually Unicron, the World Eater and Ultimate Evil. This is not altogether a unique concept for the film though it can make for a great one if played right. The film ends with our world and Cybertron all but directly connected to each other (which I’m sure will spell super fun times for us but who cares, giant robots!) and there’s a lot of potential for something of a reversal between us and the Transformers.

In the cartoon series Beast Machines, it was revealed that Cybertron was originally a purely organic world and still kind of was at its heart thus the conversion of Cybertronians into a new “faction” as it were of a perfect blend of robotic and organic life. Considering how utterly crazy just the last two Transformers films have been, I can’t imagine that a similar plotline couldn’t develop in the, supposed, sequel.

A Dragon’s Heart

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Directed By:
Patrik Syversen
Written By: Matthew Feitshans

As I’m sure many of you recall from my last post concerning the previous Dragonheart film, I love the original. There are far too few films that paint dragons in a positive light and from now until the supposed remake comes out, Draco will always be among my top ten favorite dragons. I had thought that the third film, the supposed “prequel,” would be the worst of the sequels.

Thankfully, I was proven right but it was a close one folks. It was a close one.

Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire by its name alone is a film whose plot is rushed and clearly not thought through. The basic storyline goes that the king, our shared heart hero from the last film, has passed and, surprisingly, Drago still lives and feels that the bond is still there albeit connected to not one but two distinctive individuals, a twin brother and sister who swiftly begin to fight for the right of the throne before ultimately having to put their differences aside in order to regain Drago’s “heartfire.”

Now, as before let me tell you what this film has done right because believe me, it’s a short list.

Though Drago is supposedly the same dragon from the last film, his voice and appearance are drastically different though one can, and should, chalk that up to age. As shown in the film Logan, Patrick Stewart plays an aged, and rightfully ill-tempered, character extremely well.

As to the the grandchildren of Gareth, the man whom Drago shared his heart with, I initially liked the idea of the kids being “dragon cursed” in that because of their grandsire’s unique physiology, it would inevitably show up in further generations. That it skipped their father entirely was a bit odd considering that both of his parents shared hearts with a dragon but I can still believe the whole “skipping generations” debacle.

From here on though we get to a precarious balance of good and bad aspects of being “dragon cursed.” The brother, because blast it all if I care about either of these two twits enough to remember their names, has dragon scales on his back, which later prove to be impervious to most metal weaponry, and the strength of three men. He proves this by bodily tossing a man several blocks through the air to impact a church bell, some two stories off the ground, and fall to his death.

Our “hero” ladies and gentlemen.

The sister though has some scales on her face, though a relatively smaller patch compared to her brother, and somehow is able to manipulate fire but cannot create it herself.

… Question. How is she able to do that? The above normal level of strength I can get, the impervious to weakly made metal weapons to the scales makes sense, but the girl being able to manipulate flames? None, absolutely none of the dragons in any of the films demonstrate anything remotely like this save for the creation of said flame which leads me to one of the biggest bunches of stupid in this whole film.

The “heartfire” in the title? Yeah, it’s literal. It serves as not only the source of a dragon’s fiery breath, which they can demonstrate by way of making their chest and neck glow rather like how Smaug does it in the Hobbit films, but is also their heart. Not literally as the sister manages to steal it from Drago and keep it in a small bottle on her neck so she can “create” her own flames at will and he doesn’t keel over straight away but he does, inevitably, die because of it.

Point of order. One, when the sister does this, she does this whilst Drago is sleeping and he DOES. NOT. NOTICE. It also takes him an extremely long time to start feeling the effects of basically having his heart stolen from right out of his mouth. Second, how in the heck did the sister even know that the bottle she had could contain the flames? More to the point, that is an extremely tiny bottle, we’re talking no bigger than two thumbs here, so how did it contain a full grown dragon’s “heartfire?” Third, she doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary with it.

No. Seriously. Aside from it basically being a mobile source of flame, it doesn’t offer her anything and given that Drago himself proved how easy it is for her to get fire (by way of clacking two rocks together no less!) she has no reason to steal it other than to rob her brother the advantage of having Drago’s flames to aid him against hers, which she can then throw back at him because, hey, pyrokinetic!

This of course leads me to the so-called “conflict” of the two siblings for the throne. If you were expecting an engaging campaign similar, or at least in homage to, the likes of Game of Thrones you WILL be severely disappointed. The brother is readily accepted as king despite the fact that he struts about like a peacock and thinks more with his fists than his brain. The sister made an alliance with vikings (of the pillage and rape variety) to serve as her army but easily takes the throne in less than two “skirmishes” if either of them can be called that.

In fact, neither of them can be called that. The first one was needless posturing and revealing that vikings’ leader was the sister (who allowed them to butcher the first village they arrived at for no other reason than “because”) and the second was her showing off that she had stolen Drago’s fire and had “beaten” him with it. Beaten insomuch that she used it on him and she felt that pain as well. She did this repeatedly and only won because Drago saw the fruitlessness of her actions before she did.

During her reign, the sister shows that she wants to have an “equal rights among the genders,” which… I’ll touch on a bit more in a moment but needless to say, this does not sit well with her viking second in command who does not care for any such nonsense despite the fact that he literally has female warriors in his army! He was even following a woman as his leader! Sure, she was a “gift from Odin” in his perspective but he and his men had no problem following her, or having women warriors among them, but the moment you talk about gender equality, oh hell no, we got to put a stop to this!

Sigh… I’m all for equality, I really am, but why is it that films that take place in eras where such things were rare or completely nonexistent try and show someone all but shoving it down people’s throats and showing how people react/act so stupidly because of it? Considering that it wasn’t until 1920 when American women were allowed to vote, two years after it was made so in the United Kingdom, change is NOT going to happen in an era where people thought that taking more than one bath a week is bad for one’s health. No matter how much it is so desperately needed.

As to the “conflict” between them? Misunderstanding. Brother thinks sister accidentally killed father and sends her away both for her protection and because he doesn’t want anything to do with her anymore. Sister actually burned father’s body because brother really was the one to kill him by way of not recognizing his own strength and felt betrayed when he sent her off despite knowing that he would, and was right, to do so considering the local village was set to kill her for being a witch.

Moving on to the viking leader, oh boy, where do I start with him? Well, basically, he has the brilliant idea of firstly stealing the “heartfire” from the sister and having her killed whilst she’s not wearing it because he assumes that so long as she’s not wearing it, she can’t control the flames within.

Considering she doesn’t appear to demonstrate a certain range to her control, I would still worry about her setting me aflame whether or not she’s wearing it but that’s just me. Later on, when the brother appears to be beating him, the viking leader does what has got to be the absolute stupidest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do in any work of fiction bar none. He opens the bottle and pours the “heartfire” onto himself.

He absorbs it just enough to scream in agony before he promptly bursts into ashes on the spot.

I… I just… What? Why? How? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NO ONE TO GIVE ME AN INTELLIGENT ANSWER!

Why did he think he could attain anything from what is, essentially, a dragon’s fiery breath? What did he actually think would happen if he somehow, inexplicably, was able to actually absorb said fire? How was he going to utilize it if he had absolutely no idea as to what it would do to him?

Yet, sadly, this is NOT the absolute stupidest thing in this film. This is the stupidest human thing, oh yes, of that there is no doubt but it is not the stupidest. See, the twins’ father? The prince to the king and son of the man who shared Drago’s heart? Hated dragons. Understandably so because, and I quote Drago on this, the man was busy running not only the kingdom but helping raise seven dragons.

What.

WHAT?!

What dragons? At the end of the last film there was ONE EGG LEFT out of the NINE that Drago brought with him! Eggs that proved explosive to a point where the “heroes” even use one to deter the pursuit of the villain’s minions at Drago’s own suggestion! Where did these six other eggs come from? The Dragon Heavens? Because if they seriously thought that Drago was still a good candidate of keeping an eye on these eggs and the dragons within them, no wonder the species goes extinct barely a century, or three, later!

That is still not the stupid part involving the dragons though. See, that one egg that still live at the end of the last film? It shared its heart with Gareth’s wife, the twins’ grandmother, who shared the dragon’s fate of a premature death thus furthering the prince’s hatred of dragons though the resulting “dragon curse” in his children was mere icing on the cake. Yet, what was it that killed that dragon as, apparently, dragons are considered as friends to man?

A bolt of lightning.

A bolt of lightning killed a dragon.

No.

Just… No.

Never mind that a majority of dragons in other fictions breathe lightning, the ones in this series are literal stars made flesh and blood! More to the point, we’re talking about a species that is gifted with wings! Birds, flipping birds, are more likely to fly into skyscrapers because of the glass and mirror-like sheen of the windows than be struck by lightning because they, more than dragons apparently, have the common sense to not go for a leisurely flight in the middle of a thunderstorm!

If… If there is truly to be a remake of Dragonheart… Please. PLEASE. Make sure that the writer of this and the last film is in no way, shape, or form responsible for ANYTHING in it.

I’m Back, BABY

First, my apologies to you my dear readers for the exceptionally long hiatus that I have now officially returned from. The chief reason in a long list of why’s and how come’s is primarily for the fact that a LOT has happened to me in my personal life, some good, some bad, and some just to bizarre to try and remember without sufficient amounts of alcohol for all involved (for storyteller and audience). Another, admittedly far smaller, reason is that I needed some time away from my blog, which had started to become more like a chore than a joy to me these last several months.

But as of now, I’m back and will strive to update at least once a week on either Mondays or Fridays about topics new and old. I’ll likely go back to finishing the Miraculous Villains once the second season finally airs but for now, they’re shelved but rest assured I will be finishing them off at a later time.

So let us begin with the film that helped light the fire in my heart…

An unequivocal travesty…!

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THE GAMER

tg_lq_evil_laugh
Real Name:
Max Kanté
Root Cause of Transformation:
Marinette Dupain-Cheng
Item of Transformation:
Glasses
Primary Goal: To Prove He’s the Best Gamer

The Gamer is yet another of many examples of akumatized victims that prove that not only does Papillon have no real control over how his victims are transformed or what powers they attain but also showcases that his means of akumatizing them can range from justifiable anger/disappointment to… well, childish pettiness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand where Max is coming in a certain standpoint.

He was, after all, set to be the “player one” in an official inter-school tournament of video games before Marinette beat his high score and does ousted him from his position. Of course, this was shortly after Adrien became his partner in said tournament by also beating his high score but really Marinette was the straw that broke the camel’s back in this regard.

… Still, an inter-school video game competition and not even one of those educational type games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Heck, it’s not even a true-blue “partnership” type game of cooperation like League of Legends or Overwatch. Oh no, it is a fighting game tournament and one that is akin to the likes of Street Fighter in its set-up.

No… okay some offense intended to the schools here but seriously? What on earth would this type of competition prove to anyone? Again, if it was utilizing games like Overwatch that require cooperation, or Portal 2 where intuitiveness and ingenuity are a must, I can understand such a thing but a game that is, quite literally, a button-masher of attack combinations? What the heck?

This is why I can somewhat understand Max’s motivations. It’s not just that he wants to be the best at gaming, though that is a large part of his motivation, it’s that he wants to be cheered for by his peers in something that not only is he excellent in but something that they themselves find interesting. Let’s be honest, what would you rather watch, a chess tournament or a video game tournament?

Anyway, one akuma to the glasses later and we get the Gamer, a name that I feel is highly inappropriate and one whose powers are broken by the standards of gaming mechanics. Basically, as the Gamer, Max creates a proxy of his in-game character, one of a large number of mecha-styled champions whose powers and stats grow with enough experience and thus “level up” into a new form. The broken part comes in by way of said robotic avatar, a black pyramid like structure, destroying… NPCs, as it were.

Otherwise known as killing innocent people.

Okay, I admit, that’s probably a stretch of what Max was doing as we don’t technically see anyone dying outright. No, they’re just turned into little balls of experience points that are then absorbed into Max’s robotic avatar in order for it to level up. He does this by way of shooting some manner of laser beam that causes this instantaneous transformation into EXP and with no apparent limitations as to what he can target.

Admittedly, if this follows regular gaming mechanics, it is possible that people, or objects, of a… higher level… would require a more direct means then just a single blast and may need to be worn down in order to be turned into EXP. Of course, the other downside to this is that such high level characters/objects would bestow a much larger reward of EXP meaning the Gamer’s mecha avatar could level up faster than before.

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Another, really rather odd, drawback to the Gamer’s mecha avatar is that, should it be defeated it bestows all of its accumulated EXP to whomever destroyed it. Of course, the Gamer is capable of “saving” and “loading” his mecha avatar whenever he wants with no apparent drawbacks other than it being the most recent save.

Meanwhile, the little ball of EXP, rather than being turned back to the people/objects that the Gamer had destroyed will be instantaneously transformed into a mecha avatar of equal strength and size to the Gamer’s destroyed one but whose form, functions, and powers are based loosely on those who destroyed it.

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… I’m going to be honest here, I have absolutely no idea where to rank the Gamer. Mentally speaking, he is on par with the likes of Timebreaker with next to no qualms about killing innocent people in order to gain more power for himself.

Likewise his powers are both incredibly strong and undeniably weak at the same time, and are, in short, nothing but a series of broken game mechanics that can be exploited against him whilst like be used with extreme efficiency against those who would stand in his way. Once again, I have to question the true potential and supposed limitations that Papillon’s akumas have in their prey…

max

Time to add the main ingredient…

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KUNG FOOD

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Real Name:
Wang Cheng
Root Cause of Transformation:
Chloé Bourgeois
Item of Transformation:
Chef Hat
Primary Goal: To make “Chloé Soup”

… Now, I’ll admit, there have been, and will still be, a few akumatized victims whose transformations are nothing short of bizarre. The top will always be Mr. Pigeon, but blast it all if Kung Food doesn’t come a close second both in overall appearance and abilities but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Wang Cheng, or as he’s more formally recognized as Cheng Sifu (Master Cheng) for his superb culinary skills, is Marinette’s great uncle who is visiting Paris, and his grand niece, to take part in a competition for the title of World’s Greatest Chef. A competition that is unfortunately already rigged against him for the fact that the Mayor made the extremely poor choice of having his daughter, Chloé, be one of the judges.

The same Chloé who upon hearing that Cheng Sifu is planning on making soup complains that he ought to be making sushi instead and brushes off Adrien’s comment that sushi is a Japanese dish. When Marinette defends her great uncle, Chloé storms off before she suddenly gets an idea. An awful, wicked, and outright malicious idea…

Basically, she tricks Cheng Sifu into leaving the kitchen, and his soup, unattended just long enough for her to ruin his soup. Of course, she departs with the parting comment of him that she “No speak Japanese.”

… I… am not someone that can get easily riled up though I, like most people, have a few “big red buttons” that should never be pushed. I’ll be darned if Chloé flipping Bourgeois doesn’t end up pushing a majority of them whilst cutting my patience down to near nonexistence.

Anyway, one akuma to his chef hat later and voila, we have Kung Food. As Kung Food one of his chief abilities is controlling those whom had partaken in his spoiled soup and bestowing upon them extreme prowess in Chinese martial arts and a proficiency in food weaponry.

Yes, you read that correctly, food weaponry. As in, weapons made of food such as a mace made of seafood, a cheese crossbow that fires stinky cheese bombs, sushi tonfas, and my personal favorite a pizza sword.

The sheer silliness of them all is only exceeded by how stupidly effective these weapons turn out to be. These weapons, alongside huge quantities of other food, reside within Kung Food’s satchel with no apparent limit as to what he can either turn into a weapon or make huge quantities of.

Case in point, literal cauldrons of hardened caramel and enough soup broth to fill a hotel pool. A soup broth with the chief ingredient being a certain blonde-haired little brat named Chloé who is saved at the last moment by Ladybug and Chat Noir.

On the overall scale of villainy amongst the akumatized victims I’d say that Kung Food ranks down at the bottom tier though he resides somewhere in the middle ground. His ability to create weapons is limited only by the hands he has available to wield them and while it is not made clear in the episode itself, it is hinted that one can become enthralled to his will by eating his food while he is akumatized.

Still, for all his martial arts prowess Cheng Sifu is first and foremost a cook and martial art skills that have been bestowed and not earned through hard work and determination, will always fall short to the real thing.

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…!

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THE MIME

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Real Name:
Fred Haprèle
Root Cause of Transformation:
Chris (Understudy)
Item of Transformation:
Daughter’s Picture
Primary Goal: To ruin performance of his show

One of the few villains to have been shown in the anime rendition of the show, and yes at the time there was no indication of Papillon or his penchant for targeting innocent victims so I can call him this, the Mime is hands down amongst the top three deadliest adversaries our titular heroes have ever faced.

Fred Haprèle, father to Mylène Haprèle formerly known as the Horrificator, is a part-time employee of his daughter’s school but his real passion lies in the performing arts, namely the art of pantomiming. By luck and skill, he attained the lead role in a performance set to be premiere in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower as the lead role.

However, Fred happens to have something of a reputation of being a… not quite a procrastinator in the strictest sense of the word but more often than not he has been told, or yelled at, for being late to rehearsals by his manager Sarah who, rather foolishly, informs Fred’s understudy Chris that he’ll replace Fred should the man be late again.

As you all can likely guess, Chris takes the opportunity to trick Fred into going to the wrong place to meet the performance crew, costing him his job and losing his chance to be a part of a major performance. Cue one little akuma later and voila! We have ourselves a Mime unlike any other.

As the Mime, Fred’s powers and skills are extremely flexible. While he no doubt boasts the same level of physical enhancement as most other akumatized victims due, he can actually go a step further by whole leaps and bounds by miming. The chief example of this is when he is tricked into cutting down the Eiffel Tower and proceeds to catch it before it falls on him. The Eiffel Tower that, according to Google, weighs over 7300 TONS.

True, the Mime was showing he was straining to hold it up but he still managed to do it nonetheless. Another, far more concerning, aspect of his power is that he can mime invisible objects that only he can see and utilize effectively.

The only limitation he has is that he can only mime a single thing at a time but even then that’s not much of a weakness considering the versatility of his miming skills. Though not really demonstrated to the extremes as it had in the show itself, the anime version of him showed that he can mime TNT and other explosives without any apparent limit both in number and explosive force.

It is this power, this degree of versatility, that puts the Mime at the top of akumatized victims. His ability to shape any weapon, from swords of indescribable length to freaking grenade launchers, makes him an extremely difficult foe to combat against effectively. Add in the fact that he looks very much like a regular mime he can easily blend himself in without anyone being the wiser of who he is or what he’s capable of.

Once again, I have to seriously question Papillon and his apparent inability to really utilize his akumas to their full potential. I mean seriously, the Mime caught the Eiffel Tower! With literally nothing to show its full weight other than his arms quivering from the strain! Even the Hulk would have broken the ground beneath his feet!

Thankfully, the Mime’s mindset is still that of a loving father and his overall goal was not destruction on an unprecedented level but rather the ruining of the very show he was set to perform in. Heck, though he was tricked into doing it, the Mime didn’t need to catch the Eiffel Tower to protect himself or those standing behind him.

Still… Mimes…

No.

Just. No.

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By the blade of darkness…

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DARKBLADE

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Real Name:
Armand D’Argencourt
Root Cause of Transformation:
Mayor Bourgeois & Nadja Chamack
Item of Transformation:
Fencing Sword
Primary Goal: To Rule All of Paris

One of the few, few people who do NOT have a certain blonde-haired little brat to blame for their being akumatized, Armand D’Argencourt is something of an interesting case amongst the many victims of Papillon. Armand is the Phys. Ed. teacher at the school that both Marinette and Adrien, otherwise known as Miraculous Ladybug and Chat Noir, attend and also serves as a private tutor to Adrien in the art of fencing. Yet, his real aspirations lie in his supposed family’s ancient history by being the “ruler” over Paris, but he’ll settle on being the mayor instead.

Unfortunately, he lost to Mayor Bourgeois who had won by a landslide of 97% of the votes, making Armand’s amongst, if not the actual, lowest in Paris history. … I know that the timing of this review could not be made more worse considering America’s current affairs but I cannot help but think that there was a few, shall we say, greased palms.

Now, I know you all are thinking, a Phys. Ed. teacher being mayor of a city, never mind one such as Paris? That’s… surprisingly not that farfetched believe it or not. In Paris, there are very few laws or stipulations to how one can become mayor. Namely, one has to be at the minimum age of requirement (that being 18), has to be a French national, and there candidacy is selected by the municipal council whom are also the ones responsible for making the final vote for mayorship as well, not the people of the city. What’s even more startling is that the timeframe for each term is no less than six years and the limit of terms is next to nonexistent.

… Now that we’ve had a fair share of French politics trivia, let’s just move back to the topic at hand. Thoug

Having lost by a “severe” landslide Armand took his defeat… without any grace whatsoever and all but encouraged the vile hordes that is the news media to get up in his face at every available opportunity. I say this because that is precisely what happens to him not once but twice with the second time setting him off to such a degree that he became a prime candidate for one of Papillon’s akumas.

Heck, the second time news reporter Nadja Chamack, alongside her nameless cameraman, secretly filmed him during his fencing lessons with Adrien before sneaking up on the man as he was soapboxing about his ancestor’s deeds to his young pupil and interrupting him with personal questions before being chased off by school security for trespassing on school grounds.

It gets even worse when they ambush him again right outside the school doors wherein she tells him, to his face, that he has been labeled as someone who is, quote, “stuck in the Dark Ages like a stubborn rusted old battle axe.”

Wow… Just… Wow…

And people wonder why I don’t like watching the news? True, I’ll give props to those who will stand up for what is right and not what is the “popular” story, like that one reporter whose name unfortunately escapes me due in no small part to the fact that I can’t pronounce it let alone spell it, but for one like Miss Chamack? Man, it is no wonder your child eventually turns into a literal hellion but that’s another story for another time.

Anyway, long, long story short, Armand ends up akumatized and becomes a super-powered enhanced version of his knightly ancestor Darkblade whom, might I add was name as such for his admittedly clever but no less cheap ploy of swordplay involving a “come at me, bro” pose followed by a quick disarm and strike to the chest.

As Darkblade, Armand is garbed in a suit of armor and wields a potently magical blade that allows him to transform anyone within range into his knights, slightly weaker replicas of himself. He does so via a hypnotic beam from the cross guard of his blade that forces people to kneel before him before he “knights” them and transforms them into… well, knights. He is also able to utilize this transformative power on vehicles, turning a pair of cars into functioning catapults.

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Darkblade is also one of the few akumatized victims to actually achieve their end goal by way of placing his family’s crested flag atop city hall and, by extension, becoming ruler over all of Paris. Upon being placed atop the flagpole, Darkblade’s ability to transform citizens into knights goes from direct knighting to instantaneous transformation to everyone in Paris by way of a slowly contracting field of darkness. Whether this process could affect those wielding Miraculous remains to be seen as Papillon appeared unconcerned by the steadily shrinking transformation barrier whereas Chat Noir and Ladybug were absolutely concerned.

Overall, I’d say that Darkblade is among the top of the mid-tier akumatized victim and not specifically a villain even at the height of his power. For all that he wanted to become a ruler, a literal king, of Paris he still acted and behaved much like a knight and that same form of chivalry extended to those he transformed regardless of their inability to act on their own free will. It is because of this transformative ability that I even put Darkblade so high up at all.

Because while the transformation may not affect those wielding a Miraculous, that still leaves… oh, a little over two million people to become Darkblade’s unwitting pawns.

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Use all of your scare tactics…

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HORRIFICATOR

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Real Name:
Mylène Haprèle
Root Cause of Transformation:
Chloé Bourgeois
Item of Transformation:
Crossbones Pin
Primary Goal: Revenge against Chloé Bourgeois/Terrifying People

If at this point you’re starting to wonder whether or not Chloé Bourgeois is one of the major villains of the series then you obviously haven’t been paying too much attention to either the show itself or my reviews. The fact that she alone is directly responsible for… lemme see here… close to nine people being infected by akumas and turned into villains by Papillon makes me wonder how anyone, particularly the cinnamon roll that is Adrien, AKA Chat Noir, defend her from the justified assaults of the various akumatized victims she inadvertently helps create.

In the case of Mylène, it was more or less her own fault for becoming akumatized though Chloé did serve as being the straw that broke the camel’s back. Whilst playing a marvelous role as secondary lead character in a class-made short film, Mylène proved that for all her acting ability she is, quite easily, more of a coward than even the likes of a certain Lion from Oz.

It’d be understandable if the costume for the monster in the short film was something more terrifying than a poorly stitched mask that looks more like a poorly crafted muppet but add in the fact that the monster is played by her own boyfriend?

That’s… kinda sad really.

Humiliated and ashamed, AKA ends up being akumatized into the Horrificator and once again proves the popular theory that Papillon may control his victims through his own willpower, he does not control what they transform into. As the Horrificator, Mylène becomes a more literal version of the monster in the film and is, essentially, a creature of instinct whose sole goal is to terrify her classmates so that she, in turn, can become strong enough to defeat Ladybug and Chat Noir.

That right there is what makes the Horrificator an enemy of dangerous potential. While she does no actual harm to those whom she kidnaps, even going so far as to give her boyfriend an affectionate lick before moving on to chase their peers, the Horrifcator is not above terrifying them by utilizing many a popular horror film trope. For with every person that expresses their fear of her, the Horrificator grows in size and power.

However, as proven by a surprisingly chill Juleka, the Horrificator also displays an incredibly potent weakness to this strength. Namely, should anyone not be afraid of her, she shrinks down in size and if a large enough crowd is gathered that display a severe lack of fear she can shrink down to the size of a housecat.

Aside from this double-edged sword, the Horrificator can also spew out a slime-like residue that is hardy enough to be impossible to penetrate whilst still allow airflow if the fact that her prisoners are not only alive but also conscious is anything to go by. The Horrificator doesn’t appear to have any limit to how much slime she can produce or how much pressure is behind a blast of the stuff. Frankly, it’s a wee bit too gross for me to really strive and found out so let’s just say “enough.”

Despite being a literal monster, the Horrificator stands at the bottom tier of akumatized victims for a multitude of reasons with her exploitable weakness, and strength, being chief among them. Sure, she could easily grow to a kaiju sized stature if she managed to terrify a large enough crowd of people but, likewise, should she meet a crowd that does not stand down in fear, say a troop of police officers or even the military, she’d shrink down to feline size in seconds.

Aside from this though is her inherent good nature shining through even as a monster. Contrary to Alix, who almost gleefully set out to murder her peers, Mylène does not want to hurt anyone and only seeks to frighten people in order to attain more power. In point of fact, she goes so out of her way to make people afraid that when Juleka showed absolutely no fear of her, she became obviously frustrated and sought easier targets.

Just goes to show, that even the most terrifying of monsters can have more humanity in them than most humans.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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DARK CUPID

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French Villainous Name:
Dislocœur (Heart Breaker)
Real Name:
Kim Chiến Lê
Root Cause of Transformation:
Chloé Bourgeois
Item of Transformation:
Valentine’s Brooch
Primary Goal: Revenge against Chloé Bourgeois/Break Everyone’s Hearts

If you all haven’t realized by now there is something of a trend with a majority of Papillon’s targets. Namely that a good chunk of them all have a certain blonde-haired brat to blame for their emotional turmoil that drew Papillon’s eyes, and akuma, to them. In the case of Kim Chiến Lê’, he allowed his heart to sway his better judgment and thus failed to see that the object of his affections would sooner spit in his eye than bestow even a hint of gratitude towards him.

Then again, when one happens to fall in love with Chloé of all people, that’s to be expected.

Seeking to make her his Valentine, Kim had spent all the money he had on a brooch worthy of Chloé’s tastes, which is technically unaffordable to most but give the lad some credit for the attempt, and tried to present it to her as best as he could.

I say this because either he had unwittingly crossed a long series of bad luck inducing items or Fate was blatantly trying to tell him get out of dodge. Seeing how much of a fool he had made of himself trying to present his Valentine’s gift to her, Chloé did the only thing she thought worth doing in that instant.

She took a picture of him in his humiliating position and texted it to everyone in school and more besides.

Frankly, the fact that Kim turned into a literal Dark Cupid was to be expected. With wings to fly through the air like a hawk on the hunt and a bow armed with arrows capable of tearing asunder any affections felt in the heart, Dark Cupid set out to break Chloé’s heart just as she had broken his. Of course, in the process of chasing her down and fending off Chat Noir and Ladybug, Dark Cupid finds himself with a sudden epiphany that no other akumatized victim has had before.

She wasn’t worth it.

Hovering above her with arrow notched, Dark Cupid stared down at Chloé as she ranted selfishly about the state of her clothes, her hair, and her appearance overall before stating that Dark Cupid might as well change her as her day could not possibly get any worse. He tells her, verbatim, “I don’t need to waste this arrow on you. Your heart is so dark and shriveled there’s no room for love.”

Not going to lie, that was a solid win on Dark Cupid’s part.

On the power and mindset scale, Dark Cupid ranks down at the bottom tier. While he has a distinct aerial advantage over his opponents, it pales in comparison to the likes of similarly empowered victims of Papillon like Stormy Weather or even Pharoah. More to the point, literally, Dark Cupid’s arrows do not do any kind of physical damage whatsoever as they exploded into black smoke upon impact. Of course, if a sentient being capable of feeling love is hit by one these arrows, their feelings are twisted into reverse to a varying degree.

While only a few victims of Dark Cupid’s anti-love arrows were shown in his episode, they each displayed varying degrees of animosity towards those whom they felt affections towards. In Alya’s case, she insulted Marinette before trying to destroy a picture that featured the two of them. For Sabrina, she did to Chloé what Chloé had done to Kim before wrecking the poster the two of them had tricked Adrien into signing, and Adrien or rather Chat Noir…

He tried to use Cataclysm on Ladybug.

Let me reiterate that.

Chat Noir tried to destroy Ladybug. His love for her was so strong that when it was turned into hatred, he was willing to actually attempt to use his Power of Destruction upon her.

Overall, Dark Cupid makes for a good Valentine’s Day villain but beyond that is rather forgettable. Sure, he’s dangerous to partners like Ladybug and Chat Noir but even hatred cannot stand strong against the likes of love. Especially not true love’s first kiss.

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Every citizen is innocent until proven guilty…

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ROGERCOP

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Korean Villainous Name:
Robocop
Real Name:
Lt. Roger Raincomprix
Root Cause of Transformation:
Mayor Bourgeois
Item of Transformation:
Police Whistle
Primary Goal: To arrest Mayor Bourgeois

Out of the many akumatized victims, Rogercop is one of the few whom can be sympathized with from beginning to end and is also one of the few whose endgame was actually something that I personally wanted to see fulfilled. As stated above, his root cause of transformation was due in no small part to Mayor Bourgeois though the mayor’s daughter, Chloé, also played a significant role. During a parents’ career day at the school, Chloé lost her new, and like ungodly expensive, bracelet (though it was inadvertently taken by Plagg) and immediately laid the blame on Marinette and demand that Roger, her “best friend” Sabrina’s father, arrest her.

When the man protests, she whines to her father who tells Roger to do as his daughter says or lose his badge. When Roger once more protests that doing so would be against the law, as he cannot arrest someone without evidence of a crime, Mayor Bourgeois follows through on his threat, even calling Roger an incompetent officer in the process, before ordering the man to leave the premises.

One transformation via Papillon’s akuma later and we have Rogercop whose primary goal is to arrest Mayor Bourgeois for attempting to enforce an officer of the law to break said laws. As Rogercop, Roger’s personality becomes almost entirely like that of a machine whose sole purpose is to uphold the law as he perceives it. This means that any crime, no matter how small, is worthy of punishment.

Case in point, he catches a teacher littering he arrests her and orders her to pick up every bit of trash that she sees and dispose of it in the proper manner. He does this via a specialized pair of handcuffs that he can fire from his forearm-mounted laser-guns and sharp blow from his whistle.

Whether because of his implied robotic nature or due to his robotic-like armor, Rogercop is above the average physical prowess found in most akuma, easily holding his own against Ladybug and Chat Noir several times. Honestly, despite the personality change, I’d want to say that it is doubtful that Roger had been turned into a literal machine, or even a cyborg, but given what one particular akumatized victim had become… That’s not that much of a stretch…

As I stated earlier, I was all for Rogercop, or even ordinary Roger, to arrest Mayor Bourgeois and for plenty of good reasons in this episode alone. First and foremost is the fact that the man can, has, and will gladly bend and break any laws that get in the way of his daughter’s happiness.

Whereas before we had presumed that Chloé threatening the principal with her father’s name was something of an exaggeration on her part, and a whole lot of spinelessness on the principal, it turns out that the man’s fears were justified. Not even minutes after dismissing Roger, Mayor Bourgeois is in the principal’s office and threatening to withhold funding to the school if Chloé’s bracelet isn’t found.

A rather distinctive trait amongst akumatized victims is the fact that Roger was not alone in his transformation. As he was sitting in his squad car when the akuma infected him, it too was transformed into a futuristic vehicle capable of flight as seen below.

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Rogercop is also one of the few akumatized victims to achieve his original endgame as he does manage to successfully arrest Mayor Bourgeois and force the man to declare to all of Paris that Rogercop is now mayor.

Whether because of the threat of the two hostages he now has, both the ex-mayor and his daughter, or because a possible, slightly subtle mind alteration to those who wear the badge and uniform, every and all police officers in the city obey Rogercop’s orders to try and arrest Chat Noir and Ladybug.

… While I do not doubt that it was a ruse on the police officers’ part in acting like Rogercop’s word was literal law, I also cannot help but dread the idea that yes, they are all in fact that bloody inept at their jobs and would not consider aiding our titular heroes in same fashion.

Still, despite being one of the few to achieve their goals, though also being one of many to fail Papillon, Rogercop is, at best, a mid-tier both in power and mindset. Though he goes to extreme lengths in doing so, he is, by his very existence, an emotionless, logical enforcer of the law. To a slightly insane degree on the logical part as he does not, nor would he ever, focus on hurting innocent lives. Punish them severely for their crimes, no matter how great or small most certainly but never any more than that.

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