Friday, January 27, 2023

Why You Should Be Excited For Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania

 

With Antman and the Wasp Quantumania coming out in February I would like to share with you what we, the fans of Marvel, should be excited about.

The Supporting Cast

When Antman came out in 2015 I was surprised on how funny it was. I knew Paul Rudd was funny and he did a great job, but the supporting cast were stood out more. I still think that Luis, played by Michael Peña, is one of the funniest supporting characters in marvel cinema. I hope to see him more in this movie.

Scott Lang as Antman

Like I just recently mentioned Paul Rudd is hilarious as Antman and I enjoy him playing as Scott Lang. Scott Lang was the first father superhero in the marvel cinematic universe. He accepts his role as Antman to provide and protect his daughter, Cassandra Lang. He puts his friends and family first which makes him a great role model. Also, he has some of the most quotable lines like “As far as I’m concerned, that’s America’s a**.”

Family Message

From watching the trailer, we see that Scott will be tempted by Kang to go back to the past to raise his daughter Cassandra. As a father I can see how tempting this would be for a loving father. I don't want my children to grow up.  However, I accept it and as they age I believe the most important thing I can do for them is be there for them now and not dwell in the past. I think that is what Scott will learn.

MCU Facility

Kang the conqueror

I haven’t read marvel comics, but I have seen Loki and I have played Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, so I know a few things about Kang.

In Loki the main antagonist is Kang. When we meet him, he was protecting the universe from his incarnations and by the end of the series we see Loki kill that version of Kang which releases and infinite amount of devils. We know from Loki that Kang manipulates time so if Scott Lang defeats this Kang there are many more version of him. Just think about Endgame, the avengers had to defeated two version of Thanos. With Kang, they will have to face an endless amount of him.

In Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 the main antagonist was Kang who, like the cinematic universe, can manipulate time and brings together multiple universes into one location, Like Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I would expect that this is where Kang Saga will lead to. A multiverse being brought together.

Conclusion

I hope that this movie will do well. I liked the first two movies of Antman, and I have been considering seeing this movie in theaters. The cast is great, it will have a message about family, and we will finally get to learn Kang motives.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Who is Vincent Valetine?

(Guest post by Rob)

The popularity of video game characters is a funny thing. Some fans get a kick out of trying to argue who is the best character in the party, why their favorite is stronger, more relevant to the plot, cooler than the others. I’m personally not one who can stick with any single character for long. It depends on the day who I’ll answer is my favorite.

Today I wrote about Vincent Valentine because, well, he is cool enough to be in the top three most days.


Vincent Valentine is one of the nine-member cast of playable characters from the original Final Fantasy VII video game, released in 1997 on the PlayStation. This game included two optional characters, Vincent Valentine being one. To recruit him, the player must complete a side quest involving hidden combination lock numbers, a bipolar boss, and a locked dungeon tomb. Despite the fact that one could complete an entire playthrough of FFVII without ever recruiting him, Vincent has become notable within the franchise as the only character from FFVII to be featured in his own release, a (rather poorly reviewed but nevertheless worthwhile) first-person shooter called Dirge of Cerberus

Like everybody else in the party, Vincent can divide his life into the time before, and after his life was ripped apart by Shinra Corp. The main quest of the game for a time revolves around stopping Shinra from destroying the entire planet. Vincent joins the team when it is revealed that the devious scientist, Hojo, is still running amok, along with the infamous Sephiroth.


Vincent is unique because long before his downfall he held a high rank as an agent of Shinra. Things went south when he was rejected by his love interest, Lucrecia, and the devious and extremely unethical scientist, Hojo shot and then experimented on him. Vincent recovers due to Lucrecia’s intervention. But when Vincent awakes, he discovers that not only has Hojo impregnated Lucrecia, but injected the fetus of their child with an experimental serum. 

When the player recruits Vincent, he awakes from thirty years of slumber beneath the Shinra mansion. He stayed in this sleep state intentionally (because, you know, fantasy game) as penance for not saving Lucrecia from her sorry fate. Incidentally, the player can find Lucrecia hiding in a crystal cave, and experience dialogue between the former lovers if you find her at the right time. Vincent, however, withholds the sad truth about Lucrecia’s child (and I’ll withhold the truth about the major spoilers here too).


The side effects of Vincent’s non-consensual lab testing result in him transforming into monsters during battle. It occurs as part of the mechanic FFVII terms ‘limit breaks’. Once Vincent receives a set amount of damage in battle, he shape-shifts into various different creatures who use overpowered attacks and are out of the player’s control until Vincent dies, or the battle ends. As an additional aside, Vincent is the source of two important glitches for both speedrunners, and other enthusiasts of FFVII, an overflow glitch, and what FFVII expert @deathunitesus calls the Vincent Muglitch.

At the core of Vincent's psyche is his fractured nature. He is both a man consumed with regret and a recovering lab test subject. Despite being an optional character, his actions and history are pivotal to the story of FFVII.


The primary theme in Vincent’s life is somewhat of a cautionary tale about holding on to past mistakes, or failures. The critics of Vincent are usually perplexed by his 30-year sleep in a tomb. The real-life effects of trauma, broken dreams, or dashed hopes can be devastating to the point that we can become a shell of our former selves. Forgiveness, it turns out, especially self forgiveness, can be so hard we literally spend years trying to avoid the past rather than facing it, and moving on. A counterpoint to this plotline can be found in the relationships of other characters in the main plot, when Tifa and Cloud work together to reconcile conflicting memories of the past that result in a dramatic healing that revives crippled-and-bedridden Cloud.

And despite the mixed reputation of Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent’s journey through that game provides yet another dramatic transformation, this time with Vincent as a one-man army preventing a fantastical apocalypse. And I would have to mention the very satisfying scene available to players if they include Vincent in their party at the final showdown with our favorite corrupt researcher, Hojo.


Like I said, I don’t name Vincent as my all-time favorite character from FFVII’s cast, but I can appreciate the rationale of fans who do. His mystery, broodiness, and numerous characteristics reminiscent of a vampire all mix together in a very memorable and fun way. It will be even more fun to see how he is treated in the approaching installments of FFVIIR, and other additions to the franchise. 

Thanks for having me on the blog, and feel free to shoot me a message if you ever want to geek out about FFVII, VIII, IX, or the Chrono series! Later!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Artist Spotlight: Jacob Smith

A few months ago, before Salt Lake FanX 2022, we spotlighted Latter-day Saint artist, Zack Smith. Today I wanted to spotlight his twin brother, Jacob. The Smith brothers have been frequenting FanX and local events around Utah. So now is your chance to see inside the artist's head. To see Zack's spotlight post, click here. Now let's get to Jacob.


Where are you from and how does that affect your work?

I’m from a small town in Utah. I took some art classes in high school, and I studied Gaming and Animation at UVU where I did a lot of drawing, but was only allowed to take one art class. I feel like my background leaves me basically self taught. I grew up with a lot of positive reinforcement encouraging me to draw, which has given me a lot of experience.


Tell me about your favorite medium.

I enjoy working with all mediums, I draw with pencil, marker,  and charcoal, I used to paint with acrylics and watercolor, and I sculpt. However, I prefer working with digital art these days, it has many of the benefits of other mediums while being way more forgiving. I still start with a traditional drawing before moving on to a digital painting, however.

How do you define success as an artist?

For me, success is displaying my art, and people enjoying it. 


Does art help you in other areas of your life?

I feel like I approach challenges in life the same way I would an art project, assess the situation, sketch out a plan, fill out the broad areas before doing anything detailed. 

How do you develop your art skills?

I draw as much as possible, and draw real things so that people have an objective metric to judge whether I’ve done a good job or not.


What superpower would you have and why?

Hmmm... I think if I could have a superpower, it would be something like time stopping or super speed, so I could stop time and get more things accomplished!

Your top 3 fandoms of all time

I personally enjoy Lord of the Rings, Batman, and Dragon Ball, but I think my top 3 may be different from day to day, or even moment to moment at times.


I hope you enjoyed seeing a snippet of Jacob's artwork (the doggy superheroes were what first drew me to the Smith brothers' table at FanX). Don't forget to check out his artwork and his brother's. Also check out their cosplay Instragram account.

If you're an artist (even if you're not a Latter-day Saint) and would like to be featured on our blog, send us an email to mormongeeks@gmail.com or message us on Facebook/Instagram. 

Jacob's Instagram (click here)

Zack's Instagram (click here)

Jacob's Facebook (click here)

Zack's Facebook (click here)

Jacob and Zack's Cosplay (click here)

Friday, January 20, 2023

Lord of the Rings Workout


We all know the best fantasy books and best movies is Lord of the Rings. We all know deep down inside that this is true. Recently, I have been seeing fans workout to reenact great moments from the movies (Link down below). In this post I will be going over workouts to best prepare you for helms deep waiting for Gandolf to arrive at the eleventh hour.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Ck37Vq3sW3O/?igshid=Yzg5MTU1MDY%3D

Day 1:

Climbing mount doom: 1 mile Incline treadmill.

Frodo lifts: deadlifts 75% max/10, 80% max/8, and 85% max/6.

One does not simply Lunge into Mordor: 3x10 lunges each leg.

Day 2:

Gandolf ups: 3x6 pullups.

Legolas bow pulls: 3x10 seated cable rows.

Day 3:

Helm’s Deep squats: 70% max/12, 75 max/10, 80% max/8 squats.

Gimli jumps: 3x10 box jumps.

They are taking the hobbits to Isengard: 3x30 seconds sprints.

Day 4:

Orc Push: 75% max/12, 80% max/8-10, 85% max/4-6 bench press.

Fly you fools: 3x10 fly’s medium weight.

Day 5:

This is the farthest away from home I’ve ever been: Walk for an hour. Try to walk longer than you did the prior week.

 

If you are looking for a workout while watching the movie, I found this on Pinterest that I found amusing.

Uploaded by Norah

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

10 Disney Scenes that Live Rent-Free


So with the success of my last rent-free post, I figured I'd do one exclusively for my favorite mega-corporation: Disney! 

So here's my ADHD/caffeine/sugar fueled journey through the Disney animated universe! :D

So This Is Love and The Transformation (Cinderella)

I love the 1950 animated Cinderella movie to death, so this movie gets two slots. The first one is when Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella's dress. The animation alone is just incredibly beautiful, and after everything Cinderella's been through this was a deserved glow-up. 

The second is the song So This Is Love. I will find myself singing this in the shower when I'm in a good mood. And yes, I know that Cinderella and the Prince exchange maybe three words before they dance and then fall in love but the song is just so pretty and also indicative of how Cinderella is appreciating what she's feeling in the moment. The animation is also beautiful in this scene (Seriously can we please go back to watercolor backgrounds?) and I love Lady Tremaine getting blocked at every opportunity. 




9: Part Of Your World Reprise (The Little Mermaid) 
I already mentioned this in my other post but I don't care this is a good enough scene to mention twice. 






8: Ohana Means Family (Lilo and Stitch)
No they're not all songs, some of them are moments. And of course, Lilo and Stitch is going to be on this list. 
This is near the end of the movie where Stitch convinces the alien ambassador to let him stay on Earth. Stitch explains in his limited English what family is, and how he has found a family in Lilo and Nani. 
It's little and broken, but still good. 
Yeah, still good. 

7: You Came Back (Beauty and the Beast)
Beast's death scene is so full of emotion. Beast is surprised that Belle came back, and here Belle is finally able to understand that she does love the Beast. She had already loved him but I don't think she realized it until now. It is in this moment that the Beast finally understands what it means to love and be loved in return. 




6: Dress in Drag and do the Hula (Lion King)
So far all these moments have been romantic, poignant, and general feeling tuggers. This one though is none of that. It's just a quick line and an impromptu musical number that makes me giggle every time. I use it whenever I can, which if you're creative can be quite often. 
Also this is literally the only time I like Timon and Pumbaa









5: Happy Happy Birthday (The Emperor's New Groove)
Can we all just agree that The Emperor's New Groove just nailed it? I love everything about this movie but Yzma is my kindred spirit. An angry old lady who is done with everyone and this scene is a perfect example of that. As a distraction, Kuzco sends the servers at the little diner to sing happy birthday to the villain and her reaction is just glorious. 





4: Party Crashing (Sleeping Beauty)
Nobody can make an entrance like Maleficent, the Dame of All Evil. When we first meet her she's crashed Princess Aurora's christening, put out because she wasn't invited. She's a terrifying presence, without ever really saying anything overtly threatening, just being there is enough to make everyone's skin crawl. This is how I want to enter every room for the rest of my life. 








3: Todashi is Here (Big Hero 6)

At the core of Big Hero 6 is grief, something that everyone can or will some day have to relate to. Hiro is trying to extract vengeance on the people responsible for his brother Tadashi's death. In one scene Baymax reveals that he has videos of Tadashi trouble shooting his robot, showing Hiro that his brother lives on through his creation and the memories Hiro has of him, and that by turning Baymax into a weapon of vengeance dishonors his memory. This is also when Hiro breaks down crying, truly embracing his grief. 





2: Senior Psychopath (Aladdin)
Another moment that makes me giggle is when Aladdin comes back from his trip to the North Pole to find the palace in chaos and under Jafar's evil control. When Aladdin meets up with the Genie, well the scene speaks for itself.

1: I Won't Say (I'm In Love) Hercules

Ugh I think everything on Disney+ lives rent free in my head honestly, these are just 10 that I could think of right now. I didn't even touch Out There, God Help The Outcasts and Hellfire from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or Tarzan, or every scene with Cruella DeVille, so I'm going to put up the song that I sing to myself often to remind myself that just because I've been burned before it doesn't mean that I'll be burned again. 
Plus this song tho




-JOE

Monday, January 16, 2023

Ant-Man Binge List


As we enter 2023, we also enter phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We begin with the third movie starring Ant-Man and the second movie starring Wasp (though technically she was in the first Ant-Man too, just not as Wasp yet). Ant-Man is one of my MCU favorites, and not just because of a man-crush on Paul Rudd. Regardless, we've got four movies featuring Ant-Man and one Disney Plus series featuring his villain. So let's review before Quantumania comes to theaters. 

Ant-Man 

I absolutely loved this movie. If you haven’t watched it in a while, watch it before the new movie comes out. A gem at the end of Phase Two, it was the solo hero origin story. Kind of refreshing after sequels and team ups. Getting to focus on ex-burglar Scott Lang and his inner battle trying to be a good father and a productive member of society. Now especially as a dad, I love this movie even more.


Captain America: Civil War 

Though he played a small part in this Avengers conflict, this movie bridges the gap between the two Ant-Man movies. After his encounter with Falcon during the first Ant-Man movie, it’s no surprise that Scott would be Team Cap. This movie also introduced Ant-Man’s super-sized “Giant Man” ability, which would become a staple of his powers later on.


Ant-Man and the Wasp 

After being put on house arrest in the aftermath of Civil War, this movie saw Scott teaming up with Hank and Hope (who were on the run, after the Avengers Civil War). On one hand, you had Ghost coming after them. But from other directions you have mobsters and the FBI chasing down Ant-Man. When you look at it like that, it almost sounds like a Scooby-Doo chase scene.


Avengers: Endgame 

Despite being absent in Infinity War (because of the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp, I suppose), Scott played an integral part of Endgame. After Chang freed him from the Quantum Realm, it was Ant-Man who put events into motion to carry through the Time Heist to bring back the Snapped. If Ant-Man wasn’t an Avenger after all that, he definitely is now.

Loki (Season 1, Episodes 1-6)

I’m still anxiously awaiting the second season. But I’m guessing the events of Quantumania will play directly into the events of Loki. The first season saw the Loki variant from Endgame going into the TVA and inadvertently taking it down (more or less). In the finale, his variant, Sylvie, kills the guy behind the TVA… who just so happens to be a variant of the main villain in Quantumania


Unfortunately, even after refreshing myself on all these movies, I’m unlikely to see Quantumania when it first comes out, as it premieres two days after my little girl is due. So to all of you seeing Quantumania in theaters, enjoy! And no spoilers! Once it hits Disney Plus, you can bet I’ll watch it right away.

Friday, January 13, 2023

D&D Class Breakdown: Sorcerer

 For new players, it can be hard to choose your first class. For veteran players, it can be hard to choose a class and not fall into stereotypes everyone's seen a thousand times. So now I'm going to deconstruct the 5E Player's Handbook classes (Sorry Artificer, you'll come later) and talk about what works, what doesn't, and some interesting ways to play the classes. 

I won't be going into game mechanics as much as I'll be going into roleplay. 

Let's talk about Sorcerers! 




What Is a Sorcerer? 
Now we get into the arcane magic users, AKA sorcerers, wizards and warlocks, we have to ask: What's the difference? In most fictions the the three words are used interchangeably but in Dungeons and Dragons each is a distinct class and mislabeling one for another is a faux paus you do not want to make at the table. I usually don't get into the game stuff so early but with the magic users I have to just so we know what we're talking about. 

In game, sorcerers gain their access to magic through their bloodline, meaning someone in their family once upon a time was a dragon, demon, angel, eldrich abomination etc. and now they've been blessed with the magic gene (Don't think about the logistics on how this happened. It'll just ruin your day).




Historically sorcerers are like the demigods in Greek and Roman myth, children of a god or other mythical creature and a human and are therefore blessed with powers (We also won't get into how that happened). Celtic myths talk about people who have fairy blood in them, dating back to some weird ancestor that disappeared down a rabbit hole or was replaced with a doppelganger while still an infant, and now they are good at growing plants. To this day we still contribute ability with genetics, as anyone who's done their family history and found anyone of historical significance on the family tree will remind you every time you come in contact with them. We expect the children and grandchildren of great people to themselves be great, even if Albert Einstein's great-grand nephew just wants to play Fortnite. 

In the Game

Sorcerers in Dungeons and Dragons are usually the outsiders in the group. Their power manifests in youth and most of the time they're left to figure out magic on their own. Take the backstory of any of the X-Men and find and replace the word "Mutant" with the word "Sorcerer" and you'll have most of the common backstories. While the sorcerer doesn't have to do much to acquire their magic besides being born, they are limited on the number of spells they know. Since Dungeons and Dragons tends to have a lot of combat, this means that the sorcerer usually knows spells that are of a "do damage to as many people as possible as fast as possible" variety. Sorcerers can also cast the most frequently in a day without needing to recharge their mana batteries so they're usually used as the damage dealer in the group. 




Most players who pick up the sorcerer tend to go the mutant route, making the sorcerer the outcast of society because they were born different, or because they remind their families about how weird great grandpa Albert dated that succubus back in the day. It doesn't help that one of the subclasses for sorcerer is the wild magic sorcerer, which has to roll on a random magic effect table every time they do something cool to see what wacky/detrimental effect befalls the entire party. 

Breaking the Trope
Roleplaying as your favorite X-Men character but with magic can be fun, but the diversity of the class means that they're can be so many more interesting options to try out. Here are a few ideas.




Controller: Instead of focusing on damage spells, focus on spells that effect the enemies in different ways. Cast Grease and knock an enemy squad prone, or use Enlarge/Reduce to disorient the enemy and give your party members a better advantage. 

Illusionist: Things aren't always what they seem, and when you're a sorcerer illusionist things never are as they seem. Turn any situation to your advantage by confusing and tricking your opponents with illusions. A good illusionist can win a battle without ever dealing damage. A great illusionist can avoid the battle altogether. 

Showman: Bards don't have to be the only class who like to put on a show. Be a magician but with real magic, always willing to leave your audiences stunned and amazed and your enemies enthralled until you hit them with that perfect fireball. 

Famous Sorcerers

Elsa and Rapunzel (Disney) I'm just going to list them both together. Both gained their powers from something in their lineage, Elsa from her mom's honoring the spirits and Rapunzel from her mom drinking tea made from the magic sunflower. 

Benders (Avatar The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) In the series people of different nations are born with the ability to manipulate different elements. As demonstrated in Korra when people move from those areas their children still have the predisposition to have the bending abilities of their native homes, as demonstrated with Mako and Bolin, brothers whose parents were Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom and who each became a bender from one of their respective parent nations. 




X-Men (Marvel) Okay I've danced around it long enough: Mutants from the X-Men franchise are basically sorcerers due to their powers coming almost strictly from their genetics. 

-JOE


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Emerald in the Cosmere

Illustration by Howard Lyon

On a rating of 10 stars being  "I must own" to 1 star being "boring and a waster of time", I give 8 stars to Tress of the Emerald Sea. It was beautiful book, and I very much enjoyed every moment of the book, and I am glad I purchased it before reading it.

The following are the categories on how I ended up giving this novel 8-stars:

Emotional Impact – How the book made me feel while I was reading it.

Characters – How did the protagonist and supporting characters develop on their journey

Plot – How did I enjoy the plot, was it unique?

Dialogue/Prose – How did I enjoy the writing

Worldbuilding/Magic System – how unique is the world from standard fantasy worlds.


Emotional Impact: 8 stars
Tress is searching for her loved one and its emotional the journey she goes through to find him. One of my favorite parts is when she rescues Charlie and realizes that she has changed so much during the journey that she is not the same person she was while living on the rock.

To me this has great emotional impact, but since it mimics a fairy tale, I didn't feel emotional attached as I have with other books.

Characters: 10 stars
The characters are the best part of the story. I love that they have desires, and they have trails, but they are not traumatized like most characters the Sanderson writes.

I would say most characters are 2 or 3 dimensional characters. The cast has their own motives. The 1-dimensional characters were Dougs who was comedically made to be 1 dimensional. The other would-be harlie's father, but he has only two scenes.

Plot: 6 stars
I enjoyed the plot I admire how Brandon Sanderson takes well known plots like a traditional fairy tale story with a talking side kick and changing it to be unique. I like how Tress progresses in the story and how her passions change while rescuing Charlie.

Dialogue/Prose: 5 stars
The Dialogue for me was average for Brandon Sanderson. The Narrator of the book is Hoid and even though I enjoy him as a character I found his interjections in the story to be distracting at times. At other times I found it humorous.

Most memorable line: "He was six and a half feet tall and had a jaw so straight it made other men question if they were."

Worldbuilding/Magic System: 10 stars
This is one of the best worlds in the Cosmere in my opinion. It might be because of the artwork by Howard Lyon, but I thought it was unique magic system that fits well for pirates. There are twelve moons and the sea (spores) come from the moons. Each spore has a different color which causes the environment to change. Also, Different spores have different effects when given water.

 

**Spoilers**

 

 

Images by Isaac Stewart


Monday, January 9, 2023

Pokemon Dad Jokes

I have one month (or less) left before my little girl is born. As I prep for the baby, things can be kind of stressful (because life is normally not stressful right? HA!). So for some levity and facepalming fun, I've collected some Pokemon dad jokes from across the interwebs. And I've put them into meme format for your convenience.















Followers