Sunday, November 18, 2018

Deadpool 2 (2018) (Movie Review)

    I’ve loved comic books and superhero’s my whole life, which is why it hurts me to say that I’ve never been a fan of the Deadpool character, despite the fact that he’s one of the most beloved comic book characters ever conceived. I can certainly understand the appeal, and while I love him as a supporting player, I just never found him interesting enough to be the figurehead of his own franchise. I didn’t think the first movie “Deadpool” from back in 2016 was bad by any means, but it really didn’t leave a huge impression either. So, I wasn’t really looking forward to it’s 2018 sequel titled “Deadpool 2”. However, I’m committed to seeing every installment in the “X-Men” film series, as it’s my favorite long running franchise under the sun. Upon the release of “Deadpool 2”, I sat down, hoped for something passively fun, and … I actually liked this one. That’s not to say it knocked my socks off, but it was a refreshing little escape, and unlike its predecessor, this one actually left me wanting to watch it again. I laughed, I was touched, I was deeply entertained and it finally made me appreciate the “Deadpool” films as a special add-on to the “X-Men” franchise. 

     Following after the first film, Deadpool has become a world traveling mercenary working for higher, but more importantly, our anti-hero is excited to start a family with his girl Vanesa. Unfortunately, work follows him home one night, and during the chaotic house invasion, Vanesa finds herself at the receiving end of a bullet. Now, with his love life in shambles, Deadpool wants nothing more than to just die and be reunited with his love. The X-Men try to take him on as a trainee, but that goes south fast. Then finally, Deadpool comes across the path of a young mutant boy called Fire Fist, who can’t control either his flame powers or his emotions. While the boy is out of control, he’s not bad, and really just needs guidance, which gives our anti-hero an opportunity to do something useful with his immortal life. Regrettably, his first chance to be a father figure fails, and the boy’s anger fuels him to take the lives of a team of doctors who kidnap and torture mutant children. To make matters worse, a heavily armed assassin named Cable has just arrived from the future, and aims to kill the boy in the past before he can grow into a savage killer that will slay his entire family. Now, caught between Cables need for vengeance and Fire Fists need for revenge, Deadpool sets out to be the mediator and bring these two broken souls together into one family … namely Deadpool’s family. 

     This movie gives us a lot more of Deadpool in costume, which makes it consistently more entertaining than its predecessor. I still can’t call myself a fan of the character, but Ryan Reynolds is still infectiously likable in this role. 

Seriously, I think he’s right up there with the best of comic book character portrayals on film. It’s a performance that has me consistently engaged in Deadpool as a screen presence, even though I’m not necessarily a fan. Beyond that, this film accomplished the unthinkable and really made me care for all the people involved, and I even found myself feeling for the man behind Deadpool’s mask. While I didn’t care for his relationship with Venesa in the first film, I felt that this movie conveyed the exact right amount for me to care for them without overstaying their welcome. It was just enough to give the movie a heart, and I found myself genuinely caring when the drama hit our characters. Normally in a case like this, I’d complain about extreme tonal shifts, but somehow this film knows how to balance its comedic nature with the seeds of human drama. The film is very self-aware that it’s just a goofy comedy, and it knows not to take itself too seriously. This way, when we have those dramatic character moments, the scene can just play out, let us connect to the characters and then segue right back on track with its goofy nature. Deadpools arc is also very good, and I loved his determination to connect to this troubled kid. I felt the first “Deadpool” film played out like a basic boring revenge flick, and I didn’t care about Deadpools goals in the slightest. This time around, there’s no main villain for him to concur, and instead he just needs to quell the fires of two people fueled by extreme emotions. This was an engaging premise that I was able to get behind, a surprisingly rare break away from the traditional comic book formula, and it got me to cheer for Deadpool as he set out on his quest.  

     Julian Dennison plays the boy named Fire Fist, and holly cow, what a talent … like, everything about this performance was excellent. Weather he was being sympathetic, goofy or angry, I believed it, and saw he was giving 110% with whatever emotion he needed to convey. Truthfully, I think this might just be one of the great child performances in an R rated film, along with John Conner from “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”. Then there’s Cable played by Josh Brolin, and once again, this is another solid portrayal on an iconic comic book character. Seeing Cable on the big screen is a treat I thought I’d never experience in an X-Men movie, yet seeing him in all his glory took me right back to when I was a kid watching the 90’s “X-Men” cartoon show. While the concept of a time traveling assassin has been done to death, it all worked here as Cable wasn’t a one-note villain. He was an obstacle who set things in motion, but he also aided our hero’s, and had a dynamic backstory of his own, one that even Deadpool could relate too. Beyond that, Josh Brolin just has this magnetic screen presence, and manages to offset Deadpool’s goofy nature, while still fitting perfectly into the film’s loony design.     

     We do get one noteworthy villain in the form of the Juggernaut, and this was another welcome surprise that I didn’t see coming. When the boy breaks away from Deadpool, it’s Juggernaut who takes the place of his family figure, and subsequently leads him down a more violent path. While Juggernaut was featured as a supporting villain back in 2006’s “X-Men 3: The Last Stand”, I never felt like he got the chance to really shine on screen. After all, he’s one of the greatest villains in the entire X-Men line up, so I was overjoyed to see him in the spotlight for this movie. He also looked and acted more like the Juggernaut then he did in his previous movie appearance. I especially loved Juggernauts theme song, as when the action went down and that theme music of his kicked in, I was pumped. Then there’s the evil doctors who experimented on the boy and various other mutant children. They’re part of the Essex group, and may be a tie-in to the upcoming “New Mutants” movie, or a hint that Mister Sinister may make an appearance, but either way, they don’t play too big a role in the film, at least not enough to leave an impression.    

     The one thing I can surprisingly always count on with these Deadpool movies is that they excite my inner X-Men fan boy better than most of the other films in the series. If this series was just Deadpool alone, I probably wouldn’t have given either of these films a single look, but thankfully it remembers to keep the X-Men part of his series, and it’s awesome for it. The metal skinned Colossus is back, and played wonderfully again by Stefan Kapičić. Just like how Deadpool is devoted to making things better for the boy, I loved Colossus determination to make him an X-Men. I loved seeing their friendship develop, and it’s just great to see more of one of my favorite X-Men characters who’s only ever gotten the shaft in previous films. It was also cool when a crisis would go down, the X-Jet arrived on scene, a news reporter announces the X-Men are her to help, then Colossus steps off the jet with Negasonic Teenage Warhead at his side, and I just got chills all over, like I’m watching a real X-Men film. One of my favorite jokes is when Deadpool questions why there aren’t any other team members in the mansion, only for the entire cast from the “X-Men first class” movies to be huddled in one room and quietly trying to avoid contact with their new visitor. That scene alone was brilliant, and probably one of the greatest cameo moments of the whole franchise. There were also some little nods and winks to the previous “Logan” movie, which I liked, but it does raise the question of just where the heck in the “X-Men” movie time line are we? 

     We also get to see the origin of the “X-Force” team, which was another hook for a comic nerd like myself. I loved the use of The Vanisher, as the film joked weather or not an invisible man was really there, only for it to be Brad Pit the whole time … that was absolutely hilarious. 

Also, for the longest time I’ve wanted to see Domino in an X-Men movie, so it was a real treat to see her get a main role in this film. Zazie Beetz fit the role like a glove and it was an absolute delight to see her “good luck” powers on display. As her name suggests, she can do something mundane that will in turn be the launching point for a domino effect, in which several events will fall into play, and always end in her favor. That was great to see captured in this film and Domino can easily be ranked among my favorite female leads of the franchise. There were also a number of names dropped like Black Tome and Mojo World, which common audiences probably won’t understand, but had a fan boy like me perk up in my seat. Like holly cow, is it possible to get a sequel set on Mojo World where the wicked alien Mojo is the main villain … that would be extraordinary, and perfectly fitting into Deadpools world. The only X-Men tie-in I didn’t like was the character Yukio, who for some reason is a completely different version of the character Yukio from 2013’s “The Wolverine”. That version of Yukio was one of my favorite breakout characters in the whole “X-Men” series, someone I’ve been raring to see again, and here she is in “Deadpool 2”, with different powers, a different actress and a completely different character personality. It just makes me wonder why this couldn’t have been an entirely different female character from the X-Men comics like Boom Boom, or Dazzler.

     Naturally you can’t have a fun comic book movie without some stand out action highlights, and this film hits that mark in just the right amounts. The opening montage of Deadpool traveling to various parts of the globe, and taking out criminal operations was great, and the little snippets we see make for great action set pieces on their own. I especially love the setting and choreography of this brief bathhouse fight, and I wish it was its own scene as opposed to a fragment in this opening montage. The scene where Deadpool first battles Cable in the prison was very white knocked and brutal. However, the big show stealer by far was the Car Chase, in which Deadpool and Domino aim to rescue the boy from a prison convoy before Cable gets to him. Many fans praised the highway battle from the first “Deadpool” movie as one of the greatest action set-pieces of the whole franchise, but I think this car chase from “Deadpool 2” puts that one to absolute shame. It is just so creative, so exciting and so firmly crafted that it just takes the cake. Comic-Book movies in general have been stepping up their game with car chases to make them fit with their specified hero’s. Deadpool however, was at a disadvantage as he didn’t have super powers to utilize in a chase, unlike either Antman or Black Panther whose capabilities added to the ingenuity of their respected action scenes. Still, Deadpool took the bare bones of car chase scenario and just got creative as hell with the details of an armored cars capabilities, and the comedic potential of Domino's powers on display in a situation like this.

     That brings me to the comedy of “Deadpool 2”, which worked better then I expected and had me laughing harder then I have in a while. While I’ve been praising this film for pandering to my inner “X-Men” fan boy, it also works great as a strait forward comedy. Truthfully, I feel comic book movies of this sort are the one thing keeping the comedy genera alive, and it’s such a rare treat to go to a movie like this where I can just open-up and laugh till I cry. My absolute favorite joke that had my sides hurting was the big parashoot sequence. After all the build-up and marketing of the “X-Force” in appearing in this film, I thought their big sky diving disaster was an absolutely hilarious way to subvert my expectations. I will admit that like it’s predecessor, there was some dirty hummer that just didn’t do anything for me. I still can’t stand T. J. Miller, and the one joke with Deadpool’s “baby balls” had me face palming myself so hard it left a mark on my forehead. Still, l liked most of the comedy in the film, and I really liked the subtle use of pop-music that didn’t fit with certain situations. The soundtrack in general was great, and I absolutely loved Celine Deon’s “Ashes”. Without a doubt, I want that song to get an Oscar nomination for best original song. On that note, I loved the whole opening credit sequence that was paired with this song, as it was a colorful stab at James bond intros, while still maintaining Deadpool’s sense of hummer.   

     Now we come to the climax of the movie, in which Deadpool and Cable join forces to prevent the boy from making his first kill and getting him away from the Juggernaut in the process. The battle takes place in an orphanage of sorts, where the evil scientist torture and experiment on mutant kids. Fire Fist sets the place a-blaze, while our hero’s brawl with the lab people, and combine strengths to fight the Juggernaut. Once again, I love the simplicity of the setting, as the destruction and explosions on display all feel real and practical. Also, keeping with this films trend of giving me something I’ve always wanted to see in an X-Men movie, this final battle features a showdown between the Juggernaut and Colossus, which was a dream come true to finally see in live action. I’ll admit I prefer a fight with real actors as opposed to two CGI characters, but it some how works in the realms of this film, and they even mock the fact that it’s a big CGI fight. One thing that has gotten a little too formulaic for me is that once again we have a climax with our hero’s rescuing mutant kids from evil doctors. I feel that concept has been done to death in these “X-Men” movies, in fact even the previous “Logan” ended with our hero’s protecting a group of kids from bad guys in lab coats. With the upcoming “New Mutants” movie on the way, I can imagine we’ll only be getting more of this. I also didn’t care for Deadpool’s drawn out death scene, because I knew he wasn’t really going to die, so why drag this un-funny, un-emotional death out to the point where I just want it to end?

     I’ll say this, I loved the mid-credit scene in which Deadpool uses Cables time travel box to correct some problems. I especially loved when the film cut to footage of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, with the real Deadpool interrupting the fight between Wolverine and the Weapon 11 version of the character. That joke alone was worth the price of admission, and it was a great excuse to see Wolverine in the film, even if it was just stock footage. In general, I love how these “Deadpool” movies can be part of the “X-Men” films, while also existing in its own world. It’s like how “The Tree House of Horror” series can be seen as its own entity, even though it’s still part of “The Simpsons” TV show. I can’t say that I need another “Deadpool” film, as both the formula and goofy tone can easily buckle and get repetitive, but I was also pleased with just how much I enjoyed this film. It wasn’t phenomenal, but it gave me exactly what a film of this nature should. It was very fun, highly entertaining and was just a fun little escape. It didn’t need any high stakes, and had just enough emotional material to make it work. That’s not to say I’ll be ranking this quiet as high as other films in the series, but it’s certainly among the films I like, and overall, I do think this was better then the first “Deadpool” film.      

I give “Deadpool 2” 3 ½ stars out of 5.   

Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers – A Look Back

     Well, I’m one of those guys who just gets really nostalgic for things I grew up with, and when I’m in the mood, I just want to talk about it. Way back when I was just a little kid, the Disney channel was always on in our house, there was a whole gallery of memorable shows I watched from the 1990’s, and of them all, my absolute favorite that I loved the most was “Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers”. This animated Disney TV show first aired back in 1989, and while the series ended only a year later in late 1990, it still re-ran through the decade and left quiet the impact on my childhood. With its cute animal leads, colorful animation, fast paced adventures, humble morals and insanely catchy theme song, this is the show that literally made Disney Channel a house hold station for me. Now, I’ve previously reviewed the Disney TV shows “Gargoyles” and “Gravity Falls”, and declared them both the absolute greatest programs from the station by far. However, those two shows were not traditional Disney, and were in a whole other league. “Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers” however was right at home along with “Duck Tales”, “Tale Spin” and so forth. The key difference is that, while I remember liking all those other shows back when I was a kid, “Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers” is the only one … and I mean the only one … that has never left me. Even into my adult years, I still have this infectious love and fondness still reserved for the show. It’s something that just takes me back to when I was a kid, and puts me in a warm, positive mood.

      As part of the Disney Afternoon line-up, “Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers” revolved around a team of five cute little rodents, who form their own detective agency to deal with crimes that are often "too small" for the police to handle. Usually their clients come in the form of other animals, and sometimes its children visiting a police station looking for lost pets, while the grown police just can’t do a thing about it. 
Their mysteries and adventures typically start small-scaled, but always end up in an over the top situation, with a crazy climax, and finally a subtle message tying it all together. Initially, this show was going to feature five completely original characters, but following on the success of “Duck Tales”, it only made sense to tie this show in with recognizable Disney characters. Thus, Chip and Dale replaced the two leads, and were given a new makeover to fit the shows look and tone. Chip adorned the look and attire of “Indiana Jones”, while Dale was dressed to resemble “Magnum P.I”. They still maintained the personality traits and attitudes of their original cartoon counterparts, but with some simple character layers added on top. While both did their job tying the show in with classic Disney, I truthfully never liked either of them as much as the new characters introduced in the show.

Monterey Jack

First there’s Monterey Jack, an adventure-loving, muscle bound, Australian mouse who spent years traveling the world before becoming a ranger. He’s stronger and larger than the others, and is quickest to jump into the action. One of my favorite traits of the guy is that he loves to tell stories of his travels, and he often uses colorful "pseudo-australianisms" while talking, such as “Bonzer idea” or "Strike me starkers”. He’s also got a fun-loving personality that can rival Dale, and personally, I always found him the funniest of the two. In my view, he's perhaps the most consistently entertaining presence of the show, and he just feels like the kind of guy I’d want to share an adventure with. My one annoyance with Monterey Jack is that, unlike the other characters, he's voiced by two different talents, Peter Cullen and Jim Cummings. Both are voice acting titans, but between the two, I absolutely prefer Jim Cummings personality in the role, and I just wish he voiced the character all the way through. Peter Cullen by contrast, while perfectly serviceable, just makes the character sound like he has a nasal congestion.    


Next is a cute little blue house fly named Zipper, who clearly stands as the adorable mascot, but he’s also just as heroic, determined and selfless as any of them. In fact, he’s probably got the biggest heart of any member on the team, and will always do his best to lend a helping hand. I’ve grown up watching numerous cute animal characters, and to this day, Zipper still stands apart as one of my absolute favorite adorable sidekicks. With his big-eyed expressions, amusing little squeaky voice, and selfless need to be there for others, Zipper is so lovable that he’ll make you feel guilty for ever swatting at a fly.


Saving my absolute favorite Rescue Ranger for last is the teams inventor, a cute little blond mouse, colorfully named Gadget. As far as leading animated girl characters are concerned, Gadget is still just as cute and lovable as they get. She’s a brilliant inventor, but also a clumsy goof, which are the perfect ingredients for hummer and charisma. In many ways, she’s the smartest member of the team, crafting high-tech vehicles ranging from plains, to boats and even a submarine just using small, common, everyday things that she finds lying around. Clearly, she’s the MacGyver of the animal world. At the same time, her brilliant, hyperactive mind leaves her a pinch clueless towards other things, and leads to a lot of funny situations. I love how energetic she is, I love how excited she can get creating inventions, I love her chemistry with the other characters, and I love how funny she can get when accomplishing something completely unintentional. Even when she gets angry, she still somehow maintains her cute innocents. I’ve been around the block with many charming animated characters for years, many of which can instantly put a smile on my face, but Gadget has this special charm that’s all her own. She had a wonderful personality, she was inventive, heroic, funny, emotional, tough, caring and always a real joy to watch. Being completely honest, she still has a secure spot among my absolute favorite animated characters in general. 

The one thing I felt the show got a little too carried away with was how every single individual in the show found her attractive. I mean, it was odd enough that Chip and Dale found her attractive, sense their both chipmunks, and she's a mouse, but their at least main characters who are aloud to develop romantic feelings for her. Then there's really odd moments when other mice 30 years older find her attractive, episodes in which humans look at her as beautiful, and even an episode in which a dog finds her attractive ... all of which just feels wrong.     

The Villains

Now let’s quickly round up the villains of the show, most of whom were just one-shot villains contained in a single episode. Some of the more note worthy include an evil Gadget look-alike, the mystical Banshee from Ireland, a shady love interest from Monterey Jack's past, and a guy controlling a swarm of deadly mosquitoes that turn people into mind-controlled zombies.  Next, there was a small, but effective collection of regular antagonists in the shows run. 

The first and best villain of “Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers” is a feline crime boss called Fat Cat, who’s schemes usually involve either making lots of money or becoming a monarch over the animal world. While most of the bad guys in this show were goof-balls, Fat Cat had a sense of intimidation, brilliance and a subdued wicked sense of hummer. Something about his voice, colorful design and personality always made me feel that he could fit right along with any one of the classic Disney movie villains, and I think he could have been regarded as a classic bad guy, if he ever appeared in a movie. 
The shows second main villain is a mad doctor named Professor Nimnul, and he definitely fits the bill as a goof ball bad guy. Likewise, his schemes involved collecting lots of money, but his methods usually involved some kind of over the top experiment. While the character had a charm, he was never on par with the enjoyment of Fat Cat. At last, there was something of a third villain that came in the form of a rodent mobster named Rat Capone. Obviously, his name is a parody of the crime lord Al Capone, and his voice and mannerisms are deliberately modeled on James Cagney. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be surprised if this character was created just to put a spin on the phrase “You Dirty Rat”. He to aimed for riches, but unlike the others, he also aimed to start a slave empire, and finally, he joins the ranks of Disney villains dead set on having the most attractive girl as their own. As established, everyone in this show found Gadget attractive, so getting his hands on her was his most consistent goal. This villain was a lot of fun, but he didn’t become a reoccurring villain until the tail end of the show, and thus, he didn’t make nearly as many appearances as the ladder two villains. All three villains are voiced by the distinguished Jim Cummings, who in my view is one of the greatest vocal talents to ever live. Watching him bring distinct personalities and flair to all three of these villains highlights just how versatile he can be as a voice actor.

    The series ran for three seasons strait, and had a total of 65 episodes. While there were some stinkers, the majority of the episodes still hold up. So, rather than discus every single detail of the show, I think I’ll just keep it simple from this point, and round up my own personal top 10 favorite episodes of “Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers”.

#10 "Fake Me to Your Leader

As I said earlier, the little blue house fly Zipper is one of the most important members of the team, and everyone agrees, that is with the exception of Zipper himself. Without the strength or capabilities of the other Rangers, he begins doubting his worth, and fly’s away from home wishing to be bigger. On the other side of town, the evil Professor Nimnul uses a growth Gun on some bugs in a plan to pass them off as aliens that will extort lots of gold for "spaceship fuel". Zipper unintentionally gets caught in the growth-gun rays, and slowly becomes a giant, super strong fly. At first, it’s a dream come true, but things get out of hand as he grows to big to fit in the house, and the military confuse him for another invading alien insect. Thus, the team set off on a mission to rescue Zipper, return him to normal size and expose the professors fake alien invasion. This is easily my favorite of Zippers solo episodes, as it highlights just how lost the team is without him, and it gives our little house fly the perfect variety of funny, adorable, and heroic moments. Throw in a climax that pays homage to “King Kong”, and you get a perfect large-scale adventure with our tiniest hero.   

#9 "Chip-wrecked Ship-munks

During a test drive on a new Ranger Boat, the gang get into a sudden accident, and find themselves stranded for three weeks on a deserted island. Being shipwrecked is no picnic, but the situation gets even more series with the news of a deadly hurricane heading their way. Meanwhile, Dale and Monty stumble upon a treasure trove during a supply run, and they get a bad case of gold fever in the proses. Their timing couldn’t get any worse with the sudden arrival of Pirate Rats, who are also seeking the treasure, and won’t hesitate to make mince meet out of anyone standing in their way. The pirates made their first appearance in the premier episode titled “Pirating Under the Sea”, but I find this venture largely superior. My favorite scenes are in the opening, as we see our heroes living off the land in a “Swiss Family Robinson” fashion, and it also works as a figurative calm before the storm. Everything else is a solid adventure, with fun pirate encounters, some of the shows funniest banter, high stakes that are against a ticking clock, and a perfectly good message on why you shouldn’t be greedy. Jim Coming’s voices the lead Pi-Rat, and truthfully, I think he’s the greatest pirate personality you could ever ask for.   

#8 "Ghost of a Chance

No matter what the show, one thing I always look forward too is a good Halloween themed episode to air around October. Regrettably, the rangers never had a specific Halloween centered venture, but they did at least have a number of “spooky” episodes that could pass for one. A personal favorite of mine is “Ghost of a Chance”, which revolves around our hero’s tracking their greatest enemy Fat Cat to a castle in London. While there, the team’s strongest member Monterey Jack meets the ghost of his great ancestor, and must do a brave deed in order to save his trapped soul. What follows is an exciting venture into a spooky castle, a battle with a giant ghost-cat monster, and Fat Cat once again shines as the show’s greatest antagonist. The castle setting gives the episode its atmosphere, and there’s even a tense climax with our hero’s caught in a slow-moving death trap. This episode also has a humble message about concurring one’s fear, and it’s cool to have a supernatural venture with a Ghost that needs to redeem himself for past failures, as opposed to the cliched evil ghost concept.

#7 "Out to Launch

At Gadgets request, our hero’s take a day to watch the launching of a NASA space plane. Upon arrival, Chip and Dale find themselves in competition to impress Gadget with how they would handle a real space mission. The pair soon overstep their bounds, get themselves trapped in a spacesuit, then launched into space, and finally stranded in orbit. This forces the rest of the gang to venture into space to rescue them. Little do they realize that things are only going to get worse as the space plane collides with an asteroid, knocking out all the human piolets, and leaving our heroes with the challenge of landing the broken ship safely. A full seven years before Ron Howards classic “Apollo 13”, this episode was my first exposure to both the excitement and danger of man flights into space. This episode also highlights the strengths of these five characters, as they’re really the only players in the whole episode, with no villain or guest hero, but they easily carry the whole thing. It’s also an all-around exciting space venture, made all the larger scale thanks to our small heroes in the experience.     

#6 "The Carpetsnaggers"

When a string of wealthy homes get robed, the teams investigation lead to the discovery of flying carpets committing the crimes. Monty believes it to be some form of black magic, while Gadget looks for a scientific explanation. Sure enough, the flying carpets are being controlled by none other than their old foe, the evil Professor Nimnul. This was the first of two episodes that drew inspiration from the tales of Aladdin and the Arabian Knights, with the ladder episode featuring a Gennie in a lamp. However, I personally prefer "The Carpetsnaggers" for just how unique, inventive, bizarre and fun it gets. With flying carpets as the threat, it leads to a number of exciting sequences in which our heroes are either up in the sky or fighting against gravity. The whole appeal of this show in general is watching these characters play off each other while facing such odd situations, and this episode just has all the right ingredients. We have the excitement of our heroes caught in a giant sewing machine, and there’s a fun climax in which an entire building is lifted into the air and flown through the city. Yet, along with all the crazy action, we also have the charming appeal of Monty bickering with Gadget on their views of science versus magic. This episode really highlights the chemistry of the two, and features some of their best individual moments. 

#5 "Mind Your Cheese and Q's

Every member contributes something meaningful to the team, and Monterey Jack basically serves as the muscle of the group. He’s courageous, strong and the guy who always gets our heroes out of the tightest spots. However, every Superman has a  Kryptonite, and for Monty it comes in the form of an uncontrollable cheese obsession. In the opening of this episode, we see Monty failing to help rescue Gadget from a tight spot, and all due to his urge to consume cheese. Thus, he does his best to give up cheese entirely, which is no simple task. However, a mysterious cheese shortage in town forces him and the gang to seek out the very thing he’s trying to avoid. The trail soon leads to the sinister Rat Capone, who actually makes his first appearance here. This episode has all the good stuff, including our heroes dressing up as mobsters, sword fights, a memorable introduction to a great villain, and a hero fighting to control a deadly obsession. Also, the climax is one of the most satisfying as it echoes back to the opening, but this time Monty over comes his addiction and rescue’s Gadget from a lethal death trap. People struggling with addictions in general can probably take something from this episode, and it’s easily one of Monterey Jack’s best.

#4 "Robocat

A junk-man builds a mechanical guard-cat, but it breaks down and is quickly discarded. The Rangers soon find him in the junk yard, and discover that the cat has some kind of will-power, and wishes to be loved like a real pet. Gadget takes an immediate liking to the cat, as she’s already an inventor with a need to fix things, and Dales humble nature likewise leads him to grow close to this friendly machine. On the flip side, Chip doesn’t view the robot-cat as a living thing, and thinks it’s a waste of time helping it, while Monty just hates cats on principle. Thus, a rift is formed and splits our team right down the center, leaving the robot cat unsure of what to do. Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows is their arch foe Fat Cat, who finds out about this, and plots to reprogram the cat for his own ends. This is one of those special episodes that just has all the right ingredients in one offering, we see the team conflicted on how to help something different, our main villain hatching a nefarious plot, exciting action sequences, and the exploration of weather a machine could have real feelings or just programming. The concept of exploring the metaphorical soul in a machine has obviously been done before, but seeing this as a little kid made it my first exposure to the topic, and it paved the way for me to discover other great robot themed stories ranging from “The Iron Giant”, to select episodes from “Star Trek: TNG”, and even “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. 

#3 "Double 'O Chipmunk

Dale and Zipper love spy movies, and find themselves inspired to emulate their favorite super spy heroes. Gadget, admiring his ambition, wishes to make Dales dream come true, and sets up a pretend espionage case to make both Dale and Zipper feel like real Spy heroes. Things are all fun and games at first, but things take an exciting turn when the pair find themselves caught in a real spy caper, which involves a group of villains aiming to steel a supper tank. Now, I’ve been a fan of James Bond for years, and it’s such a treat to see Dale and the gang have a 007 like adventure. Dale has had a number of lone episodes, and this is easily my favorite of his solo ventures, as he’s got his little buddy Zipper along for the fun, and it’s great to see the team encouraging Dales heroic fantasies for once. Aside from that, this is just a plain fun episode, with a menacing villain, and a really fun climax involving a super tank battling a weaponized car. Finally, this episode has always stood out to us fans of Gadget, as she takes the role of a traditional Bond girl, and goes full on “Jessica Rabbit” for her re-design. 

#2 "Seer No Evil"

While on holiday at a carnival, Monty reunites with a fortune-telling moth named Cassandra, who predicts a mysterious chain of events that will culminate in the death of their team leader Chip. Shortly after, the team discover that a carnival member is a crook, and is somehow using stuffed bears from his booth as part of his thefts. What’s worse, the fortuneteller’s prophecy has begun to take shape, and each shocking revelation seems to get the team closer to Chips apparent demise. Thus, the Rangers must find a way to solve this mystery, while also keeping Chip out of harm's way. This episode has a very distinct atmosphere and tone that sets it apart from others. The mystery is more layered then usual, and there’s a looming sense of danger hanging over head. Also, with a friend’s life on the line, it brings the team closer together on this venture, and seeing their genuine love and friendship for each other on display gives this episode a very warm and friendly flavor. Mixing an edgy mystery with the humble ties of friendship ultimately makes "Seer No Evil" a strong episode in the series, and one that shouldn’t be missed.

Before I reveal my favorite, here are some quick Honorable Mentions … 

"Gadget Goes Hawaiian", 

"A Chorus Crime"

"The S.S. Drainpipe", 

"Last Train to Cashville",

"Bearing up Baby", 

"Rest Home Rangers

#1 "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue” (5 part episode arc)

Initially this show began with a full length TV movie under the title of "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue”. For the season two premier, this movie was split into a five-part story arc, and in my view, to call this my favorite of “Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers”, might just be underselling it. Truthfully, I’d go so far as to call this one of my absolute favorite multi-episode arcs from an animated program. This arc chronicles the teams very first grand adventure, the origins of how they all first met, how both Fat Cat and Professor Nimnul became their greatest foes, and how our young heroes were inspired to do both detective work and be there to help others. The beauty of this episode is how it takes its time introducing us to our heroes, how their individual friendships took shape, and it really gives us the chance to bond with them on their first, and biggest adventure. 
As the arc begins, we see Chip and Dale up to their usual harmless mischief, and take great inspiration from a local police dog and his detective owner. Disaster soon rears its ugly head when a sinister crime boss steals a valuable jewel, frames both the police officer and his dog for the crime, and it turns out to only be the beginning of a far larger scheme in progress. Naturally, Chip and Dale set out to solve the case and prove their friends innocents. Initially this arc focuses on how Chip and Dale learn to get along, as one is committed to being a serious detective, while the other just wants to go back to goofing off. Monterey Jack and Zipper are both introduced in Part 2, and join our heroes in hopes to be part of a family, as well as settle a score with Fat Cat, who demolished his house. 
In part 3, our heroes seek a new mode of transportation, which leads us to the introduction of Gadget, and we’re finally given context to her backstory. She aims to follow the path of her late father and be a piolet, but she just needs to except that her real talent is inventing. This arc also marks the biggest roundup of villains in the shows run, and its great stuff. The evil crime boss is arguably the best one-shot villain of the show, and it’s a real treat to finally see both of the show’s main villains Fat Cat and Professor Nimnul together in one outing. There’s exciting action, our heroes venturing across the globe, an engaging mystery, a laser gun that looks like it belongs in “Star Wars”, and in the end, it’s just really satisfying to see these five strangers come together as both a team and a family.

     Still to this day, after so many years, and so much growing up, “Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers” has a very special place in my nostalgic heart. The strange thing is that I remember watching a number of Disney channel cartoons as a kid, and enjoying them, but the feelings have never lasted, nor have I had any desire to re-watch anything from those old cartoons. “Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers” by contrast is that rare exception, where the feelings are still there, and the episodes still bring me joy, even as a full-grown adult. I can’t even explain why it’s just this show, maybe because I love a small team of heroes, whiling to take on the missions that regular police cant, and their just plane lovable characters too. It was a great series for us kids back in the 80’s and 90’s, it was colorful, charming, and that theme song really is one of the all time best. I sincerely hope that in some way, new generations of children will be able to go on ventures with these wonderful characters, and even learn some good morals along the way. In an age full of reboots, spin-off material and people consumed by nostalgic products from the past, it only makes sense to bring the Rescue Rangers back for a new series. Until that time … if ever, I’m thankful I still have this wonderful little series to look back on.