Avengers: Endgame | Review (Spoilers)

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Over the weekend I saw Avengers: Endgame. I had a hard time figuring out what I thought about it. There was discontent between my writer brain and my fanboy brain.

As a movie, Endgame was pretty good. The action scenes were well done. There was a nice balance between humor and emotional scenes.

I did have a problem with how Old Man Cap was able to arrive in present day Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to the movie, if you remove (or add) something to the timeline, a new parallel timeline is created. If Captain America stayed in the past, it should have created an alternate present and he’d just stayed in that timeline. Some might say that he used the “time GPS” to return but then he should have appeared on the platform.

It also disturbed me that all the returned people were now five years behind everyone else. Ant-Man ended up missing five years of his daughter’s life.

img_2674Then there was the ending. As a writer, the ending was OK. I knew from how Marvel set up the world’s rules and the characters that someone had to die. But, as a fan, I wanted Iron Man to live and just retire with Pepper and his daughter. I know. This ending is more realistic. The hero had to sacrifice to return everyone. Etc.

Also, I felt like it ended with more questions than answers. For example, what about Loki stealing the tesseract. Sure, the tesseract from 1970 was return thus resetting the timeline but Loki still stole it after the New York invasion. The Avengers never returned that tesseract. And if Old Man Steve managed to rejoin the MCU timeline, does that mean tesseract Loki will eventually catch up too? Thor joined the Guardians of the Galaxy–does that mean Loki will show up as the villain in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

The reason I became interested in superheroes is because they offer hope. Life has its problems–illness, injury, loss of a job, and so on. In the superhero world, there is the villain that causes problems. The hero does suffer and sacrifice but eventually wins. They show that no matter how bleak things get eventually it gets better.

Life is sad enough without it being thrown back at us at the movies. Sometimes you want to go to the movies to escape. You want the good guys to win and there be a happy ending.

It also felt like the crew had changed the movie to please the “trends and trolls.” When the MCU started, the movies were more lighthearted, but then people kept saying, “None of the characters die,” and “Time travel? Ugh, lame.” It seemed like things were different in Endgame–even Captain Marvel and the new Spider-Man movie seem to lean more towards how the movies were at first.

But then I realized that I was troll-feeding in my writing. I was changing the story to try to get more views or reads. I kept trying to fit the story to the wants of others instead of telling the story I wanted. I mean, you do need to compromise some–like changing something because your readers are confused, but the problem comes when you change the core of the work. If you start changing what made your work special in the first place, it starts to fall apart.

I also realized part of this discontent was a fear that the following movies would follow suit. I was worried that the rest would be all gloomy. I also realized that part of the problem was that I’m getting superhero fatigue. On my way home, I noticed that Captain Marvel was still playing at the theater. There were two superhero movies from Marvel at the theater. Take a breather now and then, Marvel.

I also suffered real fatigue. The movie was just too long. It needed to be about 30 minutes sorter…maybe 15.

Finally, I remembered that Endgame was like a series finale. It was the moment to say “good-bye” to all the characters you’ve gotten to know over the last 10 years. It was supposed to be sad. Also, Endgame was the culmination of 10 years of build-up, it needed to live up to the hype.

So, there were a few problems, like plot inconsistencies and an ending I didn’t enjoy, but as a movie…it was pretty good–I really enjoyed it up until the ending. The acting was well done as were the effects. You cheered when certain moments happened and you cried at other moments. I also enjoyed how the movie did what movies should do–make you think and make you feel. After the movie, I kept trying to figure out why I felt “out of sorts” about it.

I have to give the Avengers: Endgame a 4/5 and a 3/5. It was good from a movie perspective, but not so much from just my personal preferences–I’d much rather Tony live and retire and have the time skip to have only been a couple months to a year.

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Sparks of Rebellion has been released!

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Say My Name | SHAZAM! Review

Reviews are my opinion. Spoiler alert.

Holy Moly! The SHAZAM! movie is finally out, and it was awesome.

I do have to agree with other reviews that the beginning was kind of slow and awkward. If you know the origins of Shazam, the opening can be a little long; but if you don’t, you might see it as more interesting. But once Billy get’s on the subway train…heh, heh, the fun begins.

They did a really good job balancing the movie. It wasn’t too dark/serious and not too comical/silly. You had some serious, emotional moments–and some intense moments–layered with some humor.

The Shazam costume looked a lot like it does it in the comics. It almost looked like it was taken right off the page. I mean, there were some differences but not enough to really matter. I liked how they went with the bright red instead of trying to make it a dark red or muted red.

The acting was well done. The actors seemed to get along; they seemed to know their character and how they would react. Nothing seemed forced or unnatural. Zachary Levi did an excellent job of pretending to be a 14-year-old in an adult’s body. Sometimes when they have those “age shift” movies, the actor acts too silly and comes off as acting younger than the age they are supposed to be. For instance, they are supposed to be a 14-year-old but the adult actor acts more like a 6-year-old.

Rating GuideI did have a problem with how when Billy was Billy he was serious and kind of mopey; but when he was Shazam, he was a little more immature and kid-like. It seemed like an awkward unexplained shift. I can kind of give it a pass because he is hanging out with Freddy. When you’re hanging out with friends, especially when you’ve been on your own like Billy had been, you let loose. Plus, as Shazam, he was a powerful adult thus probably feeling more like he could let down his defenses.

All the Easter Eggs also made the movie enjoyable, like the nod to the movie Big at the toy store or the Mr. Mind reveal. Also John Glover, who played Lex Luthor’s father on Smallville, plays Sivana’s father. In the Shazam! movie, Sivana’s father is a wealthy jerk…just like Lex’s father. Sivana is a bald genius. Lex is also a bald genius.

Finally, I liked that Freddy and Billy never came up with a superhero name. They go through hundreds of names but never settle on one. It was a nice nod to the comics where Billy’s hero name is a little unclear. Is it Captain Marvel? Is it Shazam? Is it just Billy?

I had a hard time finding things wrong with it. I’d really like to see it again and use more critical thinking. I don’t think it was a perfect movie, but it was pretty close. If DC can continue this balance of serious and humor–don’t have the movies be kiddy-goofy but also don’t make them apocalyptic-gloomy either, I think their movie future will be bright. 4.98/5

Other SHAZAM! related videos–contains spoilers.

Shazam! End Credits Scene Explained (SPOILERS!) by IGN

Shazam!’s Big DC Superhero Cameo Revealed by IGN


Sparks of Rebellion is available for preorder. It releases April 19, 2019.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Walmart eBooks | Review

I just wanted to buy The Atlantropa Articles by Cody Franklin (aka AlternateHistoryHub on YouTube) on Walmart eBooks. I had some money on there and was going to spend it.

I found the book on the app; it said if I wanted to purchase the book I would have to do so from Walmart. UGH! Fine! I headed to the Walmart app and searched for the book. I found it, but it was the hardback. I don’t want the hardback; I want the eBook!

I figured that maybe it wan’t in eBook format on Walmart since the author isn’t as well known. I tried “Dean Koontz.” I found only hardbacks and paperbacks. Finally, I saw an eBook filter option. When I clicked on that, I got random eBooks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What does that have to do with Dean Koontz? (I guess he did write the forward.)

I finally just gave up.

Walmart really needs to fix their search and eBook system if they want to compete with Amazon. On Amazon, you search, find the product, buy the product–no hoop jumping required. Nobody wants to go through 15 different sites just to buy a product, which is why Amazon is doing so well–you go to the site, buy, and you’re done.

I know I could get the eBook from Amazon, but I wanted to get it from Walmart eBooks because a) I have credit with Walmart eBooks and b) I don’t trust Amazon.

I never thought I’d see the day I was rooting for Walmart. Don’t get me wrong: Walmart is far from a saint. When I was younger, Walmart was always the “big bad” choking the life out of smaller businesses. There were tons of news and personal stories of Walmart causing local businesses to close because they couldn’t compete. Now, it’s Amazon, and they aren’t just hurting small businesses but the larger ones too (RIP Toys R Us, not to mention a few bookstores).

At first, I liked Amazon, but the more I dealt with them, the less I liked them. A lot of the trouble came from when I tried to self-publish eBooks with them. Their exclusive publishing program sounds good but that means you can’t sell it anywhere else–including your own website. Customers have their own preferences, like buying from Barnes & Noble. If you only publish at Amazon, you are limiting your customer potential.

Also with Amazon, you can’t sell your book for free unless you are part of the exclusive program, and you can only do that for like five days every few months. Finally, their royalty rates are pretty low. Most of the money from your sales, unless you go exclusive, goes to Amazon.

There are other sneaky things, but those mostly come from other people or are alleged rumors, so I won’t go into them here.

The point is I started seeing Walmart as the lesser of two evils. Kind of like with the “subscribe to PewDiePie” campaign. For a long time I’d see YouTubers mocking or saying how much they dislike or are annoyed with PewDiePie. Suddenly, everyone was saying “subscribe to PewDiePie” and “save PewDiePie.” I couldn’t understand the shift.

At first, I figured it was a joke or YouTubers trying to find something to vlog/make content about…and I’m sure that still plays a part, but I started to see a deeper reason.

PewDiePie, like his videos or dislike his videos, is an independent maker (or independent-ish). Meanwhile, T-Series is a multi-channel organization with a staff. And then there is the theory that YouTube itself is helping T-Series succeed in order to get a foothold in the Indian market.

To the other YouTube Creators, PewDiePie is a symbol of the small content maker who works out of their closet (even if PewDiePie might not actually be doing that) while T-Series is seen as a big company with big backing. It is the same reason that many YouTubers are having trouble with celebrities, like Will Smith, becoming YouTubers (as seen in the FootofaFerret video): the small scale YouTubers can’t compete with the high production value and fame that celebrities bring.

So even though PewDiePie has more subscribers than some countries have citizens, he is still seen as the lesser of two evils to the other content makers. To them, he is seen as “one of them,” some random person with a camera talking about stuff. They see the channels, like celebrity channels or T-Series, that can pretty much buy their way into the trending tab as a threat to their livelihood.

My point is that sometimes it is better to go with the devil you know. And also if Walmart doesn’t want to become the next sad, goodbye, going out of business meme–like Toys R Us–they better get to work on improving their eBook app.

(I can’t believe I mentioned “subscribe to PewDiePie” in a post, sigh.)


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The first interactive story game based on my book series can be found here.

The Unlikely Hero of 13B | Review

All reviews are my personal opinion. Spoilers ahead.

The Unlikely Hero of 13B by Teresa Toten tells the tale of Adam Spencer Ross who falls for Robyn Plummer. Adam immediately falls for Robyn and plans to marry her. Over the course of the story, he encounters many normal obstacles: a rival, age differences (he’s about 14/15 and she’s 16), and he feels he isn’t tall or manly enough for her (which leads to a hilarious scene in a coffee shop). He also pretends that his route home matches hers in order to walk with her. The twist to the story comes from the fact Adam isn’t “normal.” He has mental health issues like OCD.

Throughout the story Adam wants to rescue Robyn and be her superhero, but feels he comes up short because of his problems.

It was interesting to see the story through the perspective of the one with the metal illness. You get to see that Adam has a lot of the same feelings and fears that “normal” people have—they’re just cranked up to eleven.

I did have a problem with the story when Adam finds out that Robyn is getting better. She no longer needs to attend the support group meetings, which is where he met her. He then learns that her coming to the meetings and hanging out with him is harming her mental health. Adam freaks out about hurting her and says he’ll let her go, but then in the next chapter he’s still with her. It was kind of confusing to have this big, emotional moment with him in tears over hurting the one he loves only to have him continue to do so a page later.

Review Guide

But, you also get scenes like Wolverine talking about his heart problems and random illnesses or Green Lantern worrying about killing or hurting someone. At the beginning of the story, also known as the first meeting of Adam’s support group, the doctor in charge, Chuck, has everyone pick new identities to help them feel more comfortable; pretty much everyone chooses a superhero name. So, you have Iron Man worrying about his medicine dosage or Wonder Woman talking about being afraid of tight spaces.

I actually had some trouble finding negatives about the story. The flow and writing was well done. The characters felt real. The plot constantly moved forward, though it was a little cliché—boy meets girl, boy tries to win girl—but having main characters with mental illness brought uniqueness. The ending also seemed real. It was a happy-ish ending, but not an “everything is wonderful” ending. Adam isn’t suddenly cured of his mental illness, but he starts being able to cope with it. There are some pretty bittersweet moments, but you’ll have to read the book to find out about those. 4.8/5


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The latest Side Quest short story Carl Rogers Is Missing is out now for FREE.

Undertale Soundtrack | Review

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I finally got around to listening to “MEGALOVANIA” by Toby Fox from the Undertale game on Spotify. I know I’m a tad late; but give me a break, I didn’t even know about Undertale until a few months ago–about the same time Deltarune came out.

I’ll probably get in treble for this, but I found the song to be not very note-worthy. And…uh, what’s that blue energy?

“EW-OWWW!!!”

BAM! CRASH! BANGBASHSLAM! OOOFCLANGBOOF! Groan.

*I slowly look up from my position on the floor.* “Sans?” (The Undertale skeleton character, not the font.)

“i’ve got a bone to pick with you,” *says the skeleton in the blue jacket* “i’m the only one who makes bad puns around here.”

*I start to stand up.* Hmm, should I try to fight him or reason with him? “No, I can make bad puns too. You’re a video game character, and I’m a book character. It’s totally different.”

“oh. right. guess i’ll be going then.”

“Wait, just like that?”

“meh, why not? besides, i got to pay a visit to the guy who said i was ness.”

*I sigh.* “That’s never going away, is it?”

*Before walking out the door, San’s winks.* “not in this reality.”

Anywho, what I said earlier was a joke. I liked the “MEGALOVANIA” song. I liked it so much I listened to the other soundtrack songs. And guess what? I liked most of them too.

I enjoyed their 8-bit video game tune. I could really hear the EarthBound inspirations. Also, as I listened, I could picture the game’s events (and some you can dance too). I liked how the “MEGALOVANIA” song started out simple and then more and more instruments got added; soon, it was like a full on concert. It’s also impressive how Toby Fox is self-taught when it comes to music (at least according to Wikipedia). Finally, I checked the Toby Fox artist page (on Spotify) to see what else he’d released; I found the soundtrack to Deltarune’s first chapter. I’ll have to give that a listen…but at the rate I’ve been going that might be in the year 3000.

My only problem with the songs: some were too short. Well, yeah, some of them kind of repeated, but what do you expect for video game music–they need to be on a loop.

For those of you interested, Undertale is available on PC, PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch. The Undertale soundtrack is also available on STEAM and iTunes.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Cowards? | Scooby Doo and the Gourmet Ghost

May contain spoilers.

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I was watching Scooby Doo and the Gourmet Ghost when about 50-60 minutes in Shaggy said something interesting. He was talking to Scooby and said (I’m paraphrasing) that once again, pretending to be cowards landed them the easy assignments. What?! I rewound the video and listened again. I even put on subtitles. Shaggy indeed said “pretending to be cowards.” My mind was blown.

What’s next? You guys don’t really like Scooby Snacks? But me thinking about them not liking Scooby Snacks led me down a dark rabbit hole.

Suddenly, the whole series made more sense. Shaggy and Scooby pretend to be cowards and they get Scooby Snacks; what a hustle. Also, the ghost always coming after Scooby and Shaggy made sense; it’s karma for all their ploys. I also began to wonder if Fred (maybe one of the others) suspects or knows, and this is why Fred always has Scooby and Shaggy be the bait for the ghost traps.

Earlier in the movie, the gang have to cook their own meals. Shaggy and Scooby say they have to leave so that they can help another chef with their class (which in true comical fashion is the truth). Fred, I think, says to them (again paraphrasing), “You two will say anything to get out of work.” Again, makes me think one of them at least suspects that Scooby and Shaggy aren’t cowards.

Although, I don’t know if Scooby is pretending. I don’t remember him agreeing with Shaggy–I was too stunned by Shaggy’s line and the ghost floating by the window. Maybe Scooby isn’t pretending.

At first, I thought Shaggy was just referring to that instance and all the other times they were really scared, but why did he say, “once again.” Logic says they (or at least Shaggy) has done it before. This could mean he’s done it before but only in this movie. He doesn’t say, “like always.”

Now that’s out of the way, let me take off my tinfoil hat.

I really enjoyed the movie. It was a classic Scooby adventure full of humor and fun. But, it made me feel sorry for the gang if they ever do a family tree. They always seem to have some uncle or cousin that invites them somewhere. Just how big are Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Velma’s families?

Ugh, I’m doing it again.

Anyway, the movie was great. I highly recommended it to any Scooby-Doo fan.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.