Author - DaddyB

Fury 325 – World’s Tallest Gigacoaster Coming to Carowinds

Fury325 Carowinds MommyB

Carowinds Amusement Park (Charlotte, NC) announced that they’ll be building a massive new roller coaster for 2015. Dubbed Fury 325, the ride will be the tallest gigacoaster (roller coasters between 300 and 399 feet tall) and the 5th tallest roller coaster overall. The ride’s theme has a local tie-in with a hornet logo and colors similar to the Charlotte Hornets NBA team colors. The exciting path is said to resemble the daring swoops and dives of a hornet.

Here’s a teaser video for the new ride:

How Big is Fury 325?

Fury 325’s insane height is right there in the name. It will be 325 feet tall. That’s more than 30 stories and nearly 100 feet taller than Carowinds’ Intimidator. Intimidator is already a notable landmark that’s visible from a few miles around. According to the Carowinds, Fury 325 will be so tall that it will be visible from Uptown Charlotte.

Fury 325 will surely draw some long lines, but it should be worth the wait thanks to a lengthy, 3 minute and 25 second ride. It’ll boast 6,602 feet (more than a mile) of teal and yellow track that’ll carry riders from South Carolina into North Carolina, passing above and then below the entrance, and then back to the Palmetto state.

What Can Riders Expect on Fury 325?

Fury 325 Coming to Carowinds - World's Tallest Gigacoaster - CharlotteRiders can expect highs, lows, and lots of speed. For the vast majority of guests, Fury 325 will be the tallest roller coaster they’ve ever encountered. There are only three rides in the U.S. that are taller. And, Fury 325 will have the distinction of the tallest traditional lift hill anywhere. So expect an impressively long climb to the ride’s lofty high peak.

The 81-degree first drop will be nearly straight down and will produce quite an intense free fall feeling. Then, Fury 325 will deliver blistering speed. At the bottom of that first drop, the trains will rocket to 95 mph. Throughout the ride’s course you’ll be treated to exciting climbs and dives. The highlight of the ride looks to be the underground dive beneath a plaza bridge near the park’s entrance.

Thanks the ride’s design the speed, twists, and turns, should be glass smooth. The designers of the new ride also designed the popular and easily ride-able Intimidator. If you enjoy that ride, then you should like Fury 325. Expect more speed and swooping turns instead of the straight-forward ups and downs found on Intimidator.

Carowinds’ New Park Gate & Entrance Plaza

Entering the park next year, will be an entirely new experience. A new parking gate is already under construction. Also in the works is a more open plaza at the front gates where guests will be greeted by Fury 325 passing above and then below the new entrance. The ride will pass over guests six times encouraging gasps from onlookers.
Fury 325 - New Carowinds Entrance - Underground Dive
The station for Fury 325 will be in the Thrill Zone section near Hurler. Guests will need to be 54 inches or taller in order to ride. The ride is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2015.

Learn more at Carowinds.com/Swarm. Or hop in the front seat and take a virtual ride here.

What do you think of Fury 325?

We’re excited that this huge new ride is going to be built in our backyard. What do you think? Are you planning on visiting Carowinds next year so that you can ride it? Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

 

As a member of media I received admission to this media event for information regarding Carowind’s newest park features. 

Review Twinlab CleanSeries Whey Protein Isolate

Twinlab Clean Series Whey Protein Isolate Review

Since deciding to get in shape for my wedding almost 9 years ago, I’ve had more brands and flavors of whey protein than you could imagine. More recently though, I haven’t tried a new product as I’ve been sticking with my usuals. So, I was interested in trying out Twinlab’s new Clean Series Whey Protein Isolate.

Packaging
Twinlab Clean Series Whey Protein Isolate ReviewI’ve used many Twinlab products over the years. Their once recognizable gray and black tubs of powder have been re-branded and the Clean Series packing sports a sleeker looking silver and orange theme. Across the board, consumers are more discerning about what goes in their bodies and it makes sense that this sentiment would affect the nutritional product world. Labels stating that the protein is Non-GMO, Certified Gluten Free, and even that it’s been tested for banned substances will insure athletes and average workout joes and jills alike that they’re getting a safe, quality product. It’s also noted that it’s low in lactose and has a low glycemic index which are two more positives.

What’s in it?
I received a 1.5 pound tub of Clean Series Whey Protein Isolate. It has 21 scoops of protein at 23 grams per serving. Each serving has 110 calories, only 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fat. Whey Protein Isolate (from milk) is the very first ingredient. This is a good indicator that you’re not getting a lot of filler and you’re getting the best type of protein. Isolate proteins are easier for your body to absorb than whey protein concentrates and other whey blends.

Price
Clean Series Whey Protein Isolate is $44.99 on the Twinlab website. GNC’s website has it for $29.99 which is likely closer to what you’d see it for in stores. That’s a bit steep in my opinion for 21 servings, but I will say that the work put into the testing, certifications, and the bonuses of ease of digestion may make it worth it for some.

How Does it Taste?
I tried the Vanilla Wave flavor of the Clean Series Whey Protein Isolate. It was very light and not too sweet. It also wasn’t very flavorful; which at times can be a good thing. Flavor often means adding sugar and can also make the drink feel heavier. It isn’t meant to be a meal replacement shake as much as other products out there, so I thought the light taste was right on par with what I expected. It’s neutral vanilla flavoring make it a strong candidate to go into a fruit smooth in place of yogurt or milk.

I had it before workouts and first thing in the morning since I typically want something with more carbs after work outs. It’s a good overall product that I’d recommend for those looking for a quality protein from an established brand that’s focused on creating products you can trust.

Lakefront Restaurant Review – Charlotte University Hilton

Lakefront Restaurant Review - Charlotte University - View of Lake 2
This is a sponsored post courtesy of Restaurant.com

In searching for some new places to eat near my work, I headed to Restaurant.com to find some different eateries that I had never been to. I found a good number of restaurants near me, all with different fare. Some were cafes, some inspired by locations around the world, some were quick in and out type places while others were sit and dine. I was happy with my selection.

After making my final choice, and printing out my Restaurant.com certificate, I headed to lunch at the Lakefront Restaurant, located inside of the University Place Hilton in Northeast Charlotte. As the name suggests, the restaurant is situated on the lake along with the other shops and restaurants near the UNCC campus. Lakefront is just off of the hotel’s main lobby area and is a beautiful restaurant with a great view.

The lunch menu was accommodating to all kinds of food needs. For starters, I ordered the bruschetta (one of my favorites). This dish consisted of four thick, but soft pieces of bread topped with tasty diced tomatoes and seasonings. The bread looked a little burnt, but still tasted great. For my main dish I ordered the turkey burger. This entree burger comes topped with Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and mushrooms and french fries are included as the side.

The crisp, potato-y french fries were cooked just like I like them. They were near perfect; not too thick and not too salty. I had to stop myself from eating all of them before I even started on the turkey burger.

The turkey burger was a bit pricey ($12), but definitely large enough to where you felt like you got your money’s worth. There was no way that I could have eaten it in one sitting. It was very moist and not dry like some turkey burgers at other restaurants. There was a good amount of flavor and seasoning as well. I always feel like good turkey burgers are a win over the evils of red meat and I’d recommend Lakefront Restaurant’s turkey burgers if you’re a fan like I am.

The service was great. The waitress that was serving me at Lakefront Restaurant was friendly and checked on me regularly and the food was delivered relatively fast, which is great for those needing to get back to work after lunch.

In my opinion, Lakefront Restaurant’s menu was a bit on the high end for a quick lunch, but I think it’d be a good choice for a date, business meal, or a special night out in the University area of Charlotte.

 

To check out what other people are saying about this restaurant, visit Restaurant.com

Restaurant.com is the trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide.  The company offers savings at thousands of restaurants nationwide with more than 50,000 gift certificate options.  Restaurant.com brings people together to relax, converse and enjoy well-prepared and served meals at affordable prices.  To date, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $1 billion through the gift certificate program.

Have you ever dined at Lakefront Restaurant? What are your thoughts??

Review-Crew-logo

 

 

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Restaurant.com. The opinions above are my own honest thoughts and words. Your opinions of this restaurant may vary.

Back to School with Samsung Chromebook

I received the Samsung Chromebook from Staples in order to give a comprehensive review.

Let me introduce you to the Samsung Chromebook, a different kind of laptop that runs Google’s Chrome operating system. This means that it doesn’t have the same Windows or Apple-based layout that many of us are used to. It’s lighter in both weight and features, but that’s a very good thing. The Chromebook is meant to be your ultra-light and convenient laptop for getting online while on the go, perfect for high-school and college students.

Samsung Chromebook Review MommyB

The Chromebook is the Small, but Not Mini

The Samsung Chromebook is noticeably lighter than any laptop I’ve ever encountered. It’s like a next generation netbook. It’s screen is larger and it’s keyboard is wider than the ASUS netbook I bought a few years ago and yet it’s still considerably lighter. Typing on the Chromebook is a breeze and I don’t feel as cramped as I did on my old netbook. Sure, with an 11.6” screen it’ll look small next to your standard laptop, but it doesn’t feel tiny by any means. I think it’s a great size for portability (carrying in a backpack) and usefulness.

Netbook vs Chromebook MommyB

Aside from Chromebook’s surprisingly spacious keyboard, the mouse pad was easy to use and allows for scrolling, clicking and tapping. Lastly, the built-in webcam could come in handy in the future. It includes some neat out-of-the box effects to apply to your videos.

Most of the things I do on my laptop are done online. I’m a blogger and I run a few different websites. So I spend the majority of my time writing articles, checking email, editing images, and listening to music. I was able to do all of these easily with the Chromebook. The only thing I kind of missed was my photo editor (Paint.Net). I’m sure once I find a really good online image editor, I’ll be good to go.

As far as user-ability with students, this has the perfect combination of settings to be able to email, research for papers, and work on homework.

The Best Features of the Samsung Chromebook

Google Drive (Formerly Google Docs)
Google’s Drive is a near perfect alternative to having Microsoft Office or the Mac equivalent software. I’ve been using it for years and it’s been nice to have spreadsheets and documents saved somewhere that I can access anytime, anywhere. You can create documents (like Word), spreadsheets (like Excel), presentations (like Powerpoint), and more. The applications look and work very similar to the Microsoft Office applications they’re based on and they even open Office documents. This isn’t technically a feature of the Chromebook, but Drive’s existence makes a laptop like this viable since you won’t need a large operating system and software to download, just a browser!

Documents Are Saved Automatically In the Cloud
As you use Google Drive, like I am while writing this review, your documents are automatically saved as you work on them. Then, they’re available via any computer (or even Android smartphone) through Google Drive. So, if something were to happen to the Chromebook, my files would be safely stored in the cloud.

Using Chromebook Offline
Having a computer that’s mostly cloud-based with very little installed on its hardware sounds great until you remember that you’re not always online. Well, Chromebook can be used offline as well. I tested it out and I was able to use Chrome apps like Read Later Fast (which saves a copy of web pages so you can view them when you’re offline), an offline version of Gmail, and even games like an offline version of Angry Birds. In fact, there’s a whole category of offline apps in the Chrome Store.

Great Battery Life
With a 6.5 hours of battery life it greatly exceeds any other computer I’ve owned. For students, that feature will definitely come in handy as there aren’t always power outlets around when you need them.

Lightning Fast Boot Up & Shut Down
The Chromebook boots up fast. As soon as you open it, the screen turns on and the quick boot up process begins. You sign in with your Google account password and you’re on your way. Shutting down is also fast, great for quick transitions between classes.

Considerations: What the Samsung Chromebook’s Not Good For
I’d probably stop just short of making the Chromebook my only computer. It’s slim size means that it doesn’t have a disc drive. I seldom use the disc drive on my old laptop, but when I need to it’s nice to have. Mainly, I use it to rip tracks from my CDs.

There’s just a bit of a learning curve. It all depends on what you frequently do on your laptops, but you’ll have to be willing to research things just a bit. For example, I had to look up how to take a screenshot with my Chromebook (CTRL + Page Flipper Key) and also how to delete text (ALT + Backspace) as there’s no dedicated Delete key.

If you’re tied to some of your usual Windows or Apple applications, again, you’ll have to research alternatives. These days there are numerous free substitutions via the Chrome store. So, you shouldn’t have a problem, but it is a consideration. To me, these are only minor considerations, but I know that there are different types of computers users out there.

Chromebook vs Laptop MommyB

Chromebook is an Impressive Compact Laptop

In closing, the Samsung Chromebook has really impressed me. It’s the perfect computer for a student who wants a lightweight, compact (but not too small) laptop for doing things online like checking email, social networking, listening to music, and even document editing and creation with the Google Drive suite of office products. There’s very little that you can’t do on a Chromebook and the $250 price tag makes even more attractive.

For more details or to purchase one for your high-schooler or college student head to Staple’s website HERE.

Staples.com provided me with these products for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Feel free to shop their entire line of Chromebooks and laptops online.

Jabra Revo Wireless Headphones Review #setsoundfree

Thank you Jabra for providing this review product in order to give a thorough review of the Revo Wireless Headphones.

I spend a good portion of my day listening to music or podcasts on my smartphone. Whether I’m in my cubicle, out in the yard on the riding lawn mower, or working out I usually need a soundtrack. So, I was excited to check out the new Revo Wireless Headphones from Jabra.

Jabra Revo Wireless Headphones Collage MommyB

Revo’s High Quality, Look, Feel, & Function

It’s neat how the Revo headphones are hinged so that they can be folded to fit inside the included water-resistant pouch. While it can become more compact, it still feels very solid and well-made. I can appreciate the quality put into the design. As MommyB can attest, I’m pretty hard on my electronics. So, it’s good to know that Jabra went the extra mile to make the Revo so flexible and durable.

I really liked the unique and very minimal controls. The right ear cup has touch controls. You trace your finger clockwise or counterclockwise to increase and decrease the volume. The button in the middle is used to play and pause audio, while double-tapping the front and rear allow you to skip tracks. This is not only cool, but also very functional and it works surprisingly well once you get used to it.

Unpacking the Revo, you’ll find a USB cord for charging as well as an audio cord in case you want to connect them like traditional headphones. There’s also the aforementioned pouch that’ll be useful for storing the cords and the collapsible headphones.

Bluetooth & Phone Calls on the Revo

A pleasant female voice walked me through the simple pairing process. Before I knew it, I had easily paired the headphones with my HTC smartphone. The sound was great and I was able to walk about 40 feet from my phone and still hear my music. Other than when I was out of range, the audio never cut out.

Thanks to Revo’s dual microphones and noise canceling technology, MommyB said she could hear me clearly when I gave her a test call. You can also answer, end, redial, and reject calls with the same simple touch controls used to control audio.

Jabra Revo Wireless Review MommyB

Jabra Revo: Sound Check 1, 2, 1, 2

I enjoy a variety of music, but I mostly listen to rock, electronic music, and some hip hop. I was most interested in hearing how some of my indie/progressive rock sounded with these high-quality headphones. I love this type of music for the often complicated layering of varied sounds from live instruments you’d expect, orchestral instruments you may not expect, to synthesizers, turntable scratches, and anything else you could imagine.

The Revo didn’t disappoint. Almost immediately, Revo’s hi-fi, high-quality sound gave my music new life. The bass was the most noticeable difference from the start. It wasn’t overwhelming, but definitely more present than before.

Virtually all of my music sounded better and just more full, almost three-dimensional than before. Specifically, in songs by indie/prog bands like Local Natives, Mutemath, and Muse I heard a few small nuances and supporting background sounds that I didn’t know were there before. My electronic music sounded great too. I listened to Bonobo (more downtempo) and Nero (more upbeat) and they both had a little more dimension to them.

Fine Tuning with The Jabra Sound App

I liked how the headphones sounded from my first try, but I loved how they sounded after I installed the Jabra Sound App. Making changes with the app’s equalizer really helped me enhance the sound even more by choosing the right settings for the music I was listening to. It’s a free app available for both iOs and Android. Make sure you keep your packaging which includes the unlock code for the app.

I’ve always been a big music fan, but until the Revo I didn’t know how much a good pair of headphones could affect the sound of your music. These are high quality headphones that will not disappoint. The Revo will be my go-to headphones when I’m writing or when I want to hear my favorite music at its absolute best.

Learn more about the Jabra Revo Wireless Headphones Also, check out this video, to see it in action:

When do you listen to music? Would wireless headphones come in handy??

 

We received a review sample from Jabra, this in no way reflects the opinions and thoughts written above. Your opinions may vary.

U.S. Fried Chicken Review #ReviewCrew

Thanks to Restaurant.com for facilitating this review.
With a pretty generic name like U.S. Fried Chicken, and a storefront with no curb appeal, you may not know what is waiting for you on the other side of the doors. DaddyB ventured out to US. Fried Chicken, a restaurant near his work, and sampled some of their food and here are his surprising findings:
When you hear U.S. Fried Chicken you may think they only serve chicken right? Well, this restaurant not only serves fried chicken, but they also sell a variety of foods including sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, fried fish and also hand-made deserts that are shipped to their store from Germantown, Pennsylvania.
When I arrived at U.S. Fried Chicken I noticed it didn’t seem like a place that people would eat-in since the seating isn’t very large, but I decided to eat-in for the experience and to give some feedback to those of you reading this review.
Since it was my first visit to U.S. Fried Chicken, the staffer who waited on me, Reema was very friendly and helpful, giving me suggestions on what dishes I might like best. Not only does this restaurant serve the “American” classics that I mentioned above but they also serve Arabic and Halal food.
I ended up ordering a 5 PC chicken meal with a bread roll and seasoned potato wedges. The food was good overall, but not necessarily an outstanding fried chicken dish. I’d probably try a different dish next time though, perhaps on of their Halal dishes.
US Fried Chicken Review #ReviewCrew
While it wasn’t on their menu yet, I got to sample some biryani (made with rice, chicken, spices). It was very good, and in retrospect, I would’ve preferred a lighter dish like that over something heavier like fried chicken especially as a lunch meal. So this is definitely a dish I would go back for, the fried chicken…not so much.

Whether you’re looking for fried chicken joints or more upscale restaurants, be sure to visit Restaurant.com for restaurant reviews and great deals. Also find them on Twitter and Facebook too!!

Restaurant.com is the trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide. The company offers savings at thousands of restaurants nationwide with more than 50,000 gift certificate options. Restaurant.com brings people together to relax, converse and enjoy well-prepared and -served meals at affordable prices. To date, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $1 billion through the gift certificate program. Restaurant.com has operated since 1999 and is based in Arlington Heights, Ill.”

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters – Predaking Review

As a Dad to two daughters, I get plenty of chances to play with toys. Of course, the majority of them don’t look like the toys I played with as a kid. So, I was excited to help out MommyB by reviewing the new PredaKing Transformer.

I was impressed with the amount of detail on PredaKing. The dragon heads have skin like spikes and extensions. There’s some hieroglyphic-like lettering on the wings, and Overall, he’s one of the best-looking Transformers I’ve seen. Admittedly, I only have a handful from the last 4 or 5 years. He’s very pose-able in his robot form with joints in his legs and arms. Also, his claw-like hands open to hold his weapons. As a robot, his weapons are two of his three dragon heads that turn into working rocket-launcher like guns.

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters MommyB

It’s rated a 2 out 3 on the difficulty scale and I would say that’s probably accurate. I had trouble changing it from robot to dragon mode the first time as the instructions were good, but not great. I may be a little rusty though and Transformer fans used to playing with the current generation of these toys might not have any problem at all.

I’m partial to vehicle-based Transformers, but the dragon mode looks pretty good. The guns turn into the other two dragon heads and just as when they were guns, they shoot fireballs. So parents, be aware that this toy has projectiles! Overall, Predaking is a great-looking Transformer that I’d imagine kids would have a lot of fun with. Again, I’d say it was a little difficult to transform, so I’d recommend it for slightly older kids or those with lots of experience.

How many of your kiddos play with Transformers??

I received a Hasbro Transformers Prime Beast Hunters action figure in order to give you my honest thoughts on this product. The thoughts and opinons above are my own, yours may vary.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE Reviewed by an Audiophile {Guest Post}

So, DaddyB has been bugging me to get his hands on my Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC smartphone ever since it arrived in the mail. He’s a huge data user, loves music and streaming audio on his own phone and I thought who better to let test it out than someone who could do that in the comfort of our own home.

Here are DaddyB’s thoughts for all of you data lovers, dads, and audiophiles!

I was excited to get a chance to review the Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC. It’s is a solid smartphone all around. I had the chance the to put it to the test during a typical day of work. I stream Internet radio and podcasts most of the day and I was curious to see how this phone would handle it; in terms of battery life, connection, and sound quality.

image-Beats-Audio-logoDroid Incredible with Beats Audio – Sound Quality

I’ve noticed Beats audio and that “B” logo popping up everywhere these days, but I hadn’t tried it out until now. I figured that it was all just a cool trend thanks to the company’s creator Dr.Dre and all of the high profile endorsers like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. But, after listening to music with the Beats mode enabled, I have to say that I can see why it’s so popular. There was so much more depth and layers to the quality of my music with the Beats mode. Even the podcasts, that just consisted of voices, sounded a good bit clearer. So, the HTC passed this test. Not only did audio sound good, it sounded great!

Droid Incredible by HTC – Connection & Data SpeedI’m not sure how much I can attribute to the phone versus the network itself, but thanks to the HTC Droid Incredible and Verizon’s 4G LTE, I had a strong connection indoor or outside through out the day. Browsing the Web and downloading podcasts were both a breeze. I was impressed in the past with the Stratosphere, but I’d have to put this phone just a bit above it

Droid Incredible by HTC – Battery Life
Compared to my previous smartphones (LG Ally, Samsung Stratosphere), the HTC Droid Incredible had impressive battery life. As usual, I streamed music while I worked nearly the entire day and it still had plenty of life left when I went to bed. Usually, my Stratosphere was on its last legs or needed to be plugged in by the end of the day.

verizon-4g-lteThe HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE is a mid-range smartphone, so I’m not sure how it’d compare with the most expensive phones on the block, but I definitely enjoyed using it. I’d recommend it for it’s speed, sound quality and battery life. It performed seamlessly and met or exceeded my expectations.
 

 

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Marvel’s The Avengers – Movie Review {DaddyB Post}

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS

You’ve definitely seen a movie like this before, but you haven’t seen it done this well. With great characterization and witty dialogue Marvel’s The Avengers rises above just another super hero action film.
Marvel's - The Avengers

Five Movies and Four Years In the Making

The Avengers assembles an all-star team of super heroes in a fun and entertaining movie. Marvel’s been laying the groundwork for this movie for years as supporting characters have been in cameos and after-the-credits scenes of four different movie franchises. Government agents Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) have worked there way into subplots for several years now. We’ve also seen Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) in Thor and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) in Iron Man 2. For geeks like me who’ve been following this closely, the payoff is a long time coming and the product more than delivers. If you’ve been following the movies, it was cool seeing how the writers have weaved Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor‘s plot lines together.

Fine For People Who Haven’t Seen the Other Movies

While it’s been neat to watch the crossovers come together, you don’t need to have seen every movie in these franchises to enjoy The Avengers. Through the great dialogue and character interactions you can quickly pick up the character’s personalities, motivations, and a bit of their back story.

The Plot – Surprise! Aliens Want to Invade Earth Again

The Avengers are brought together by a potentially World-ending, but also pretty tired threat. Thor’s evil brother Loki wants to help bring about an alien invasion. While that’s a clear and present danger throughout, and its the reason Nick Fury assembled the group, getting them to work together proves to be just as much of a challenge as the villain’s maniacal plot. There’s nothing new or all that interesting in the threat itself. There’s plenty of action, but The Avengers is more of a character driven story and the real interesting part is how the characters handle the stress of war and attempt to work together.
Black Widow - Avengers Movie

The Story Telling – Everyone Gets Their Moment, Everyone

A piece that will be overlooked by many was the awesome story telling. As a writer and follower of the movies, I really appreciate the seemingly impossible product. It was incredible that Joss Whedon and Zak Penn were able to tell a story with an ensemble of characters where pretty much everyone got to shine at some point. Amazingly, with such a large cast, none of the main super heroes completely took a back seat. The writers found an interesting way to involve everyone equally and still keep the story moving AND still insert plenty of action. For example, take Scarlet Johansson’s character (Black Widow). Usually in a movie like this she’d be the focus of some romantic sub plot or be the heart of the team. Her character Black Widow is feminine, but also an integral part of the team, that has plenty of action scenes and a major role in the plot.

What Makes Avengers So Great – The Dialogue As Egos Collide

At the end of the day, The Avengers was just a very entertaining movie. I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed the action sequences and battles, but I was pleasantly surprised by the humorous dialogue that kept the plot moving and had the packed theater rolling at times. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) carries many of the comedic moments, but everyone produced a chuckle. Unlike the X-Men movies (which I loved), The Avengers has a much lighter overall tone. There’s no social commentary bubbling under the surface. So, the writers have fun with the characters as they poke fun at each other, their costumes, their origins, and challenge each other mentally and physically.

Verdict – Great Characterization Lifts Avengers Above Just Another Super Hero Action Movie

As a former comic book geek that doesn’t miss a super hero movie, I loved the battles. As in comic books, there are even plenty of good guy vs. good guy fights. And the story makes the motivations for those brawls pretty believable. Of course, there’s also a massive showdown (seen in the commercials) with the alien army. That battle, like the rest of the movie, includes more great dialogue, characterization, and humor at times.

From the trailers many may think The Avengers will be another Michael Bay-esque mindless, explosion-a-thon, but that’s not accurate. Unlike many big action movies where you don’t really care about the characters, with The Avengers, the audience will connect with and root for an unfrozen WWII super soldier (Captain America), a billionaire, playboy, genius (Iron Man), a god-like warrior from another World (Thor), and a fugitive scientist that turns into a big green monster (Hulk). I highly recommend The Avengers to any fan of action movies, super hero movies, or just big, fun Summer blockbusters! Head to the theater, sit back, relax and prepare to be thoroughly entertained.

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS

Note – The 3D was good, but I don’t think it was worth the extra cash. I typically only pay for 3D movies that were actually shot in 3D (like Avatar). When I see it again, I’ll be seeing it in 2D.

I received tickets in order to review this movie, however, the opinions expressed in the post above are my own. Your opinions may vary.

Early Review of Disney’s John Carter Movie

John Carter One SheetDisney’s John Carter is a large scale action-adventure worthy of the comparisons it’s drawn to movies like Avatar and Star Wars. While it’s a sci-fi movie at its core it incorporates more genres than those movies. John Carter is based on a 100 year-old pulp fiction magazine that’s an intersting mix of sci-fi, adventure, western, and the super hero genres. It’s a story that has inspired generations of authors and film makers. So, while many will make the aforementioned Star Wars comparison, John Carter came long before it.

In the movie, John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a decorated Civil War veteran with a troubled past. I won’t go into specifics, but he’s transported to Mars where he finds himself in the middle of an epic war. While you want to root for him, Carter is very much a flawed character mostly puts himself first. On Mars he encounters a number of characters including a green alien race of 12 foot-tall Tharks, as well as a humanoid race in a civil war of their own.

Green martians and interplanetary travel aside, I really hope that audiences give the movie a try. Science fiction doesn’t usually have a very wide appeal, but this movie really has a lot going for it. And with Disney behind the movie, it’s been created with an aim for mass market appeal. It’s rated PG-13 and about on-par with the Pirates of the Caribbean series’ later movies when it comes to violence and gore. So, for the most part the action is benign. If you’re considering taking your kids, there is some blood, but it’s blue and green alien blood for the most part. There are plenty of comedic moments mixed into the exciting action sequences and it basically follows the formula of your typical summer blockbuster although it’s got a March release date.

John Carter Picture

Overall, the acting was good. For the most part I believed the actors and the characters’ motivations all made sense. The story telling was a bit of weak spot at times, but that was likely an adaptation issue as they had to boil down the source material into 132 minutes. There’s also what felt like a lengthy, although necessary, lull in the action while more of the back story was revealed. I could almost feel the sci-fi-averse people sighing and shifting in their seats. For a decent stretch, the requisite silly creature’s comic relief and the frenetic action sequences were nowhere to be found. I had no problem with the pacing as I was really into the story, but the shift was definitely noticeable to me. Of course the story picked back up and delivered an exciting final act.

The action and special effects were both very well done. The movie’s wide range of creatures, high-flying action scenes, and fight sequences were great. John Carter may be an interesting test for an unknown mostly sci-fi-based movie property. I’m a fan of the genre, so I may have enjoyed it more than the average movie-goer might. On the other hand, it is very well-made, and a pretty fun overall. So again, I hope audiences give it a try. I enjoyed John Carter and it made me want to check out the source material to learn more about this influential series and Carter’s other adventures. It’s a fine blockbuster-worthy movie and I hope that it does well.

I received complimentary tickets to view the pre-screening of John Carter. This in no way impacted my opinion of the movie, all opinions expressed above are my honest opinions, yours may vary.