The Sonic Shared Universe: The Real Challenge To The MCU

Written by Luke Barnes

In this piece I want to talk about The Sonic franchise and how I think it is the only shared universe that might rival Marvel, in time.

So for those of you that haven’t seen the Sonic sequel yet you might want to look away now, as there will be spoilers in this article.

The Dark Universe, The DCEU, The Power Rangers Universe all failed, in several cases horribly. Now why they failed is up for debate, but most agree that they either didn’t need to exist or were trying too hard to compete with the MCU and so rushed things out of the gate. I don’t think Sonic has either of these issues as firstly there is a strong fan base, as has been reflected by the box office for both films, but also the creatives seem to be in good communication with the fans and listen to what they want. Moreover,  the Sonic films have not rushed to have all their characters appear on screen together as such audiences will have to wait a few years before they get their first taste of Shadow. In other climates at different studios this would have already happened, we would have got twelve spin off films and fifty streaming series to set everything up but for the most part Paramount has been fairly sparing, the most we are getting is a Knuckles tv show.

It is for these reasons that I think the Sonic universe can rival the MCU, as they still have a lot of cool and crucially popular characters left to introduce and there are a number of projects and places where this universe could go next, it is quite exciting. I am obviously a big Sonic fan, I have enjoyed the games, the animated series and now the films so I want them to keep coming and maybe that is making me look at this shared universe future with pre-emptive rose tinted glasses, but hey I think the Knuckles show will be cool and I’d love a Shadow prequel so I won’t be complaining when we get them.

We can all just hope that Paramount keeps up the quality, the heart and the fan commitment that  has made the films so far good.

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Ghost In The Shell: Is Scarlett Johansson A Believable Action Star?


Written by Luke Barnes


The popular anime series of the same name is brought to life with Major, played by Scarlett Johansson, a part human part cyborg investigating her past.

I understand many people didn’t like this film because they perceived it as whitewashing the source material and I respect that, however for the purpose of this review I aim to look beyond that.

I actually enjoyed this film when I saw it in cinemas and then when I rewatched it again recently. I thought Johansson was good in the role and brought a lot to it, she was good in both the action set pieces as well as the more emotional and philosophical scenes. Her performance can’t be faulted.

Furthermore, I thought the world of the film was dripping with potential for interesting storytelling. Honestly, I think if this film had been better received we would have gotten numerous spin offs and sequels which would have given us a better look into the world which could have been really interesting, alas such a thing was not meant to be.

My main issue with the film was that it tried to do too much. It crammed a lot of story in a relatively short runtime and as such a lot came off as underdeveloped or even confusing. Even upon rewatching it there are still moments in the films narrative that don’t make any sense to me at all.

Furthermore, Michael Pitt as the film’s villain was deeply miscast.

Overall, a film that is better than a lot make it out to be, but one that still has some major issues.



The world

The visual style and the composition


Michael Pitt

It needed further expanding   

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Alita Battle Angel: Trapped In The Uncanny Valley

Alita Battle Angel is a cyberpunk action film directed by Robert Rodriguez; based on 1993 Japanese anime series Battle Angel. The plot follows Alita (Rosa Salazar), a cyborg girl with a mysterious past who is rebuilt by roboticist Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz), she tries to adapt to life as a normal teenage girl but her past gets in the way. She is hunted down by a series of other cyborgs and must defeat them all to keep those she loves alive.

For a long time I have been meaning to watch this film, I know a lot of people love it, so I decided to check it out. I enjoyed it, it has a series of issues that stopped it from being a perfect film for me, but as an overall film I think it worked well and I would like to see a sequel to this film.

I think the strongest thing about this film is its world, it is dense and well explored, the lore never feels forced it feels natural and becomes something you want to learn more about. It is also left ambiguous enough that there is plenty of room for further exploration if I sequel does come out. The performances are all also excellent especially Salazar, she does a lot with a character that is mostly CGI she gives her a warmth and a personality that makes her instantly likeable.

However, I think ultimately what harms this film is it’s CGI. Sometimes, albeit rarely, the CGI is impressive and does standout, it is not Avatar level, but it is impressive. For the most part however, the CGI is poor and video game esque. This is mostly true of the faces of other cyborgs especially the ones she fights throughout the film. What’s more the CGI on Alita’s eyes bothered me throughout much of the film they are weird looking and are trapped in the uncanny valley, it was only midway through the film that I got use to them and even then I had to try not to look at them.

Another thing I didn’t like about the film was the angsty teen romance. This is only a brief subplot, but whenever the plot deviates to it, it slows down. There really is no need for it as it adds very little to the film overall.

Overall, this is a strong science fiction film that has a great world and characters, what lets it down is poor CGI and a needless romantic subplot.


Rosa Salazar.

The characters.

The world.


The bad CGI.

The romance subplot.


Reviewed by Luke