Search This Blog

Friday, 31 July 2015

Review: Ant-Man (2015)

Warning: Contains Spoilers
Ant-Man is the new edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe based on the comics created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. With it being out for a week already it is time that I reviewed the film. This review does contain spoilers so please do not read this if you want some aspects of the film spoiled for yourself.

To the plot to Ant-Man is as follows: an ex-burglar called Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) steals a suit in order to raise money so he can see his daughter based on a tip-off by an old cell mate called Luis (played by Michael Pena). It transpires that the owner of the suit is Dr Henry Pym (played by Michael Douglass) who wants Scott to become the Ant-Man; a superhero who can shrink to the size of an ant giving him amplified strength. Pym's estranged daughter Hope van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly) has to teach him to use the suit so he can steal another one called the 'Yellowjacket' from Pym's former protegee Darren Cross (played by Corey Stoll) who wishes to use the suit for military purposes.

Like other Marvel films for the most part it is well acted and has good pacing. Nothing seems rushed in the film which has allowed the writers and director to create a perfectly paced film. Similarly the fight scenes do not feel shoehorned in to make the film more exciting and it has some creative cinematography in regards to the scenes were Luis is describing jobs for Scott. Initially I thought the plot was too cliched with a disgruntled protegee using the master's work for evil and in that sense it is somewhat repetitive with other films. I also initially thought the plot was similar to Iron Man with the antagonist using the suit that the protagonist has for military purposes. However it does make up for this by being more creative than Iron Man by having the main drive of the film revolving around stealth rather than an outright fight. Also I am glad that the main heist was the main scene for the film and it avoiding the cliched 'first heist fails but second one is the climax' often done in films. Through this the plot remains highly imaginative.

The acting and portrayal of the three main protagonists by Douglas, Rudd and Lilly is superb. Especially between Douglas and Lilly playing estranged father and daughter; it seems that they are actually related and want to make amends. Even Rudd was very good managing to go between the light-hearted protagonist and a devoted father. Initially I was skeptical thinking that Rudd would simply be a Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy imitation but I was pleasantly mistaken. His light-heartedness is not as extreme as Pratt's in Guardians but it was enough to make his character unique in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This could be down to writer Edgar Wright who made well written characters in such films such as Hot Fuzz, The World's End and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World where he made well-written characters which has transcended into this film. Rudd's and Lilly's performance together is good as well with the slow transition from dislike to being friends and seems believable but the romance at the end did seem to be put in last minute. 

Normally I don't like comic relief sidekicks but Michael Pena as Luis did a good job. Likely this was down to a mixture of Pena's acting and Wright's writing. He wasn't over-the-top and his mannerisms seemed believable compared to other movie comic relief sidekicks. He is also relevant to the plot as well which gives blessed relief. The other sidekicks played by T.I. and David Dastmalchian seemed to be lacking in creativity that Pena's character had; especially with Dastmalchian focusing largely on keeping a stereotypical Russian accent over making his character believable. The villain played by Darren Cross is not very good but at the same time not bad. Cross gives a good performance and he genuinely puts across an unbalanced person through overuse of the suit and his ambitious drive. However what ruins it for me is the lack of in depth development for his character. This may easily be overlooked but compared to other Marvel Cinematic Universe antagonists such as Loki, Ultron, the Winter Soldier and even Jeff Bridges' character is Iron Man he seems to be lacking something. He does make up for some of it with his relationship with Lilly's character with him having some form of sisterly figure to rely on which helps counteract most of his generic antagonist personality.

The effects were just superb. Like all Marvel films the CGI looks realistic and immediately immerses you in a world from an ant's perspective. Particularly the climatic villain fight set in the bedroom of Scott Lang's daughter the effects are amazing. Seeing such an intense battle brought to life through CGI where everyday objects such as a Thomas the Tank Engine train, piggy bank and a rug become the center of an epic battle it is amazing to see. Some of the visuals during the sub-atomic scene are truly amazing also with it creating a nauseous, hypersensitive world. My only problem is that I felt there could have been less CGI at times if it can be believed. I am a fan of animatronics and like in my Jurassic World review I felt that some scenes could have easily created a realistic atmosphere using animatronics and sets instead of a computer screen. One good example is the giant ant at the end. It quite possibly could have created an inventive shot.

Easter Eggs
It was nice seeing Falcon in the film and the fight scene between him and Ant-Man was a great sight to see. It was thrilling and had some creative visuals as well as it being a good nod to the wider Marvel Universe. There are multiple nods to other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies such as Howard Stark and Peggy Carter appearing at the beginning and how later on the antagonist is making a deal with HYDRA. Hank Pym also mentions Age of Ultron by saying the Avengers are too busy 'dropping cities out of skies' as a reference to the film and a newspaper can be seen with the title 'who is to blame for Sokovia'. An after credit scene also leads up to Civil War with Captain America and Falcon looking at a captured Bucky Barnes. There are references to The Empire Strikes Back with Yellowjacket losing his hand, something done in all Marvel Phase II films to reference the film, and Yellowjacket's lasers sound like the cannons of the AT-AT Walker from the film. Comic references are plentiful. Darren Cross says 'tales to astonish' which is the comic series that Ant-Man first appeared in. Pym used to work with his wife, Janet van Dyne, as a hero until the vanished into the sub-atomic world referencing her fate as the hero Wasp. During a mid-credit scene it is implied Hope van Dyne (Lilly's character) becomes the new Wasp, she even shares the hair style that her mother the original Wasp had in the comics. The villain has a suit called Yellowjacket which is one of Hank Pym's alternate names. The mental instability caused by Pym Particles also references the comics where Hank Pym develops schizophrenia from using the suit. Finally Spider-Man is referenced. Pena's character says that the Avengers: 'have a guy that can jump, a guy that can swing, and a guy that can crawl on walls'. A clear reference to Spider-Man who quite possibly could be in Civil War.

In conclusion for good writing, good acting but with a few issues I give Ant-Man 7.8/10. Hopefully Marvel can continue creating good movies for the Third Phase and if they are anything like Ant-Man they will be good.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Comics Explained: The Joker

 The Joker is one of Batman's most memorable villain. He could even be one of the most famous comic book villains along side Lex Luthor from the Superman comics or the Green Goblin from the Spider-Man comics. Since his debut in Batman #1 in 1940 he has remained one of the greatest fictional villains and today we'll be looking at his history.

First Appearance
The Joker was created as Batman's first villain for his own comic series by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson. They were inspired by a Joker playing card and Conrad Veidt's character in The Man who Laughs who had a perpetual grin. In Batman #1 the Joker was portrayed as a psychopath wanting to kill three prominent members of Gotham City by using 'Joker Venom' which poisons the victim and leaves them with a permanent grin. He succeeds in poisoning the mayor and almost manages to poison Robin until he is defeated by Batman. Originally the plan was to kill off the Joker by stabbing him in the heart but a hastily drawn panel was added by orders of editor Whitney Ellsworth indicating that the Joker survived. The Joker quickly became Batman's most infamous recurring enemy killing countless of people ruthlessly and even derailing a train. As the Silver Age of comics dawned Bill Finger decided to create an origin story for the Joker in Detective Comics #168
 In this story it was revealed that the Joker started out as a criminal going under the alias of the Red Hood. While the Red Hood was robbing a chemical plant Batman and Robin intervened and to avoid capture he jumped into a vat of chemicals from Ace Playing Card Company. His helmet allowed him to survive but at a cost. He gained a permanent smile, green hair and a pale complexion which broke him mentally.

Silver to Bronze Age
In 1954 the Comics Code Authority (the CCA) was set up to censor comics (personally I believe that the CCA was a waste of time). Batman had to turn from a dark brooding vigilante into the cheerful, flamboyant hero that is synonymous with the 1960s Batman. Similarly the Joker turned from a homicidal psychopath into a goofy clown. Ironically this period saw one of the better adaptations of the Joker with Cesar Romero playing him in the Batman TV series. During the 1960s some of the Joker's most well known traits were established such as having over-the-top crimes and acid-spitting flowers. As the TV series went into decline in 1969 so did the Joker who vanished from the comics. In Batman #251 the Joker returned and with him he brought back the darker side of Batman.
Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams returned the Joker to his homicidal origin but also changed him mentally. Before the Joker had expressed psychopathic tendencies but he was not legally insane. This changed with his appearance not being in prison but rather in Arkham Asylum. Throughout the 1970s the Joker would brutally murder people as he tries to get to Batman. This version of the Joker would later inspire his adaptation in Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman (where he was played by Jack Nicholson) and the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series (where he was voiced by Mark Hamill).

The Modern Joker
Following the retconning of the DC Universe (where the DC writers remade the comic book storyline creating new origins for the characters) Frank Miller released The Dark Knight Returns. Here he created a future for Batman which was darker, more violent and more serious which would cause the Joker to become the character that he is now known for. One exemplifying this was the Death in the Family story arc. In this story arc the Joker captures Jason Todd, the second Robin who fans were not a fan of, and beats him close to death with a crow bar before blowing up the building that he was in. It was the first time the Joker had killed a central character but what was most shocking of all was how he had killed a character so close to Batman.
 The second major event caused by the Joker was The Killing Joke written by my personal favorite comic writer Alan Moore (who also wrote Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell to name his most famous work). The Joker's backstory was explained in detail. We found out that the Joker was a struggling stand-up comedian with a pregnant wife. To financially support them he decides to help two criminals sneak into the chemical plant that he used to work in but when his wife dies in an accident he tries to back out. The criminals do not let him and he is forced to adopt the moniker of the Red Hood to divert attention away from themselves. A shootout occurs which attracts Batman and like in the 1951 story he jumps into the chemical vat to escape. Following his disfigurement and the loss of his wife and unborn child he goes insane becoming the Joker. The rest of The Killing Joke centers around the Joker trying to prove that anyone can go mad through 'one bad day'. He shoots Commissioner Gordon's daughter Barbara Gordon (who was then Batgirl) which paralyzes her before kidnapping Gordon. He strips Gordon naked and forces him to look at photos of his abused and wounded daughter to make him go mad. Batman manages to rescue him with the story ending with the Joker laughing manically as he is confronted by Batman. Barbara Gordon meanwhile would become the Oracle who would aid super-heroes by becoming their eyes and ears.
Since the 1980s the Joker has continued with his darker streak which has inspired many other adaptations such as Mark Hamill in the Batman Arkham video game series and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. During the Knightfall story arc he teamed up with Scarecrow (a Batman villain who uses a gas to make people see their worst fears) to mentally torture Gotham's mayor and during the No Man's Land story arc he became a virtual warlord in an abandoned Gotham. He even got a sidekick in the form of Harley Quinn. She first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series as his girlfriend and got her own backstory. She was the Joker's psychologist while he was in Arkham Asylum but he drove her insane and she became both his lover and he aide. 

With Jared Leto playing the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie shows how popular the character is. From his origin in 1940 through his goofy side in the 1960s and his return to his dark roots in the 1970s the popularity of the character has never waned. It is easy to say that when we think of a comic book villain the Joker is one of the first that comes to mind. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Comics Explained: Suicide Squad

At Comic Con this year the trailer for the Suicide Squad movie was released. This is a film about a taskforce made out of supervillains who are forced to do good in a chance for parole. The Suicide Squad is one of the major organizations from the DC comics universe and has had an interesting history since it first appearance. 

The first Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad first appeared in 1959 in The Brave and the Bold #24. However, this Suicide Squad was very much different from the one that most people will be used to. A group called Task Force X was refounded by a World War Two veteran called Rick Flag Jr. consisting of Rick Flag, Hugh Evans, Jess Bright and Karin Grace. All had experienced turbulent times during the last few years, Karin Grace being a nurse in the army whose plane had been shot down killing everyone bar her on board while Bright and Evans were on the way to a nuclear bomb test but their jeep had broken down only then for them to find out that the test had gone wrong killing all of their friends, which got them to sign up to join the Task Force who would go on suicide missions. Hence the name Suicide Squad. Each were inspired by a loved one saying 'carry on for us'. They would fight against different alien and supernatural foes despite having no superpowers in order to save people's lives. These included a giant serpent living in the Subway under Paris, super-intelligent dinosaurs from an alternate dimension and a cyclops. The series did well lasting until the 1980s where it even got a further backstory in Secret Origins #14 where it was revealed that Rick Flag's father (Rick Flag Sr.) was apart of the Suicide Squadron during World War Two; a team of expendable soldiers sent on suicidal missions with high mortality rates. It also revealed that Rick Flag Jr.'s Suicide Squad was set up by President Harry Truman to combat the rise of superpowered forces after Senator Joseph McCarthy disbanded the Justice Society (McCarthy presided over a period of frantic anti-communism from 1950-56 which had many people blacklisted on no evidence of being remotely related to communism). In the same issue it showed the Squad's last mission. Going to Cambodia to investigate a temple they were attacked by a Yeti resulting in Karin revealing her love for Rick Flag and the death of Hugh and Jess.

Super villain Suicide Squad
 Secret Origins #14 served as a watershed for the Suicide Squad. It recapped on the old Silver Age Task Force X and ushered in the new Task Force for a new DC comics. Amanda Waller (pictured above) a congressional aid petitioned President Ronald Reagan to reform the Suicide Squad but using super villains instead. It would give them redemption and pardon their crimes but the high mortality rate meant that any fatalities would not cause a public outcry. Although the Suicide Squad remained a secret to avoid the controversy of the government working with supervillains. In the Legends crossover event where the New God Darkseid turned humanity against Earth's heroes Amanda Waller got Rick Flag Jr. to reform the Suicide Squad. He hired expert assassin Deadshot, martial artist Bronze Tiger, the super strong Blockbuster, the sorceress Enchantress and longtime Flash foe Captain Boomerang. Blockbuster was killed but Task Force X remained on. In their first comic Suicide Squad #1 they began recruiting villains to the Task Force thus starting the first modern Suicide Squad, commonly referred to as the Trial By Fire storyline.
From Left to Right: Bronze Tiger, Enchantress, Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Mindboggler
During this time the Suicide Squad even managed to have its own archenemy: Onslaught (although initially it was called Jihad). Onslaught was a group of supervillains funded by a rogue state who went against the Suicide Squad in many battles. Among the events to embroil the Suicide Squad in including the Rogues and Final Round story arcs where Rick Flag goes to assassinate Senator Joseph Cray who had been blackmailing Amanda Waller to get him reelected as otherwise he would reveal the Suicide Squad's existence to the public which would end the Squad and Waller's career. In the end when the Squad is sent to stop Flag instead of killing him Deadshot decides to kill Flag himself in order for police to fire on him due to his death wish. However Deadshot survives but the press manages to find out about the Suicide Squad anyway. To get public approval Waller gets the Squad to save a kidnapped nun. Rick Flag then leaves to permanently take out Onslaught by detonating an atomic bomb left by his father during World War Two in Onslaught's base, a fortress built by the Germans in a desert during World War Two called Jotunheim. 

New Suicide Squad
In 2011 DC comics released a new volume of the Suicide Squad for the New 52 (a DC Universe event where retcons reestablish the universe to an extent). Amanda Waller recruits Deadshot and Harley Quinn (the Joker's lover) as field agents. Here they have micro-bomb implants which will go off if they rebel against Waller's orders. In 2014 there was another new volume making the roster consist of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang (all three appearing in the new film), Black Manta, Reverse-Flash and the Joker's Daughter (a psychotic person who thinks she is the Joker's daughter). 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Real Life Game of Thrones

If I told you a story of lords clashing swords over who should rule the throne, of regicide, of shifting loyalties of nobles, of horse lords pillaging the land and soldiers battling barbarians along a wall what would you think? If you say Game of Thrones you would be correct. If you said something that happened in our world you would be also correct. The origins of Westeros and Essos and the Lannisters, Starks and Targaryens all lie hundreds of years ago. Although there are no dragons or undead warriors it was still as exciting and full of intrigue as the diverse world that George R.R. Martin created. 
Contains Spoilers!

Our story begins in 1377. The English King Edward III died and his throne was inherited by his grandson Richard II. Richard's father had died before Edward so the throne skipping a generation caused a rift between Edward's other sons; principally Edward's third and fourth son whose children would contest the throne. The third son's descendants would found House Lancaster (our Lannisters) while the fourth son's descendants would found House York (our Starks).
(Notice the similarity between Lannister and Lancaster). With the White Rose of York and Red Rose of Lancaster the ensuing wars would be called the Wars of the Roses. In 1399 the Lancasters took the throne when Richard II's cousin, Henry, overthrew him declaring himself King Henry IV (our Robert's Rebellion). The realm saw peace and overall stability until 1422 when Henry IV's son, Henry V, died of possibly dysentery leaving his infant son to be made Henry VI.
Henry VI serves (partially) as Robert Baratheon. Henry VI was weak willed (as Robert was when he was king but not when he was younger though) and dominated by advisers. Such advisers convinced Henry to marry Margaret of Anjou to gain French support, a beautiful woman from a powerful family who was ruthless, cunning and relentless in stopping those who threatened her power. Margaret serves as Cersei Lannister. Principally she clashed with Richard of York who was one of the king's closest friends and general. Richard of York was a man driven by honor and opposed Margaret wielding control over the king and placing people loyal to her. Richard of York serves as our Ned Stark. When Richard of York started criticizing England's poor performance militarily in France he was sent to Ireland (just how Ned Stark was banished to Winterfell after criticizing Robert for sending an assassin to kill Daenerys Targaryen). As corruption from the Queen's favorites increased amidst defeat after defeat in France Richard of York battled the Lancasters in the First Battle of Saint Albans where Richard of York captured the king and was made Protector of the Realm (an equivalent to the Hand of the King). This was aided as King Henry had a mental breakdown.

During this time Richard ensured that his sons would succeed Henry. When Henry recovered from his breakdown the queen convinced him to strip the title of Protector of the Realm from Richard. Richard fled and raised another army but in 1460 at the Battle of Wakefield Richard was killed by the queen's loyalists. 
Nevertheless Richard's son managed to claim the crown making him King Edward IV. He saw multiple military successes and managed to smash the Lancaster army at the Battle of Towton in 1461; the real life equivalent of the Battle of the Whispering Wood. Margaret and her son Edward of Westminster went into hiding in France after Henry was captured again by the House of York.  This Edward was known for being cruel and serves as our Joffrey Baratheon. Edward managed to put down many Lancaster rebellions and his realm saw largely peace making him our Robb Stark. However like Robb Edward married for love instead of his arraigned marriage. He was to marry a French noblewoman but instead married Elizabeth Woodville in secret. This upset one of Edward's closest allies, the Earl of Warwick who shifted his allegiance to the Lancasters. He is our Walder Frey. There was no Red Wedding but Warwick turned Edward's brother, George, against him and trued to put him on the throne. This failed and Warwick briefly placed Henry back on the throne but this did not last. Edward managed to win where Warwick was killed in 1471 at Barnet and the Lancaster Edward was killed at Tewkesbury. Henry was sent to the Tower of London where he died. The rest of Edward IV's rule was peaceful but bloodshed started again after his death in 1483. His son, Edward, was to succeed him until Edward IV's younger brother Richard declared him and his brother illegitimate.
 Richard III serves as our Stannis Baratheon. After Richard was made king and sent his nephews to the Tower of London where they were never seen again; possibly killed on Richard's orders. Richard's reign would then be challenged two years later from across the Narrow Sea of the English Channel. A decedent of  the founder of the House of Lancaster returned from exile. He was Henry Tudor and serves as our Daenerys Targaryen. At the Battle of Bosworth Field Richard III was killed and Henry was made Henry VII. To end the dynastic wars he married Richard's daughter and their marriage would start the Tudor dynasty with their son becoming Henry VIII.

The Dothraki
 Of course Game of Thrones features the Dothraki; a nomadic people who roam Essos on horses pillaging and plundering. Like the War of the Five Kings Khal Drogo and the Dothraki find their origin in our world. The Mongols.
At the opposite side of the world the Mongols were busy conquering. Like the Dothraki the Mongols were nomads who would wage war against each other and pillage settlements. Even their kings sound the same. Notice how much Kahn and Khal sound similar. Both have one permanent settlement with Vaes Dothrak for the Dothraki and Karakorum for the Mongols. In the first book it is mentioned how villages paid the Dothraki not to attack; something utilized by the Mongols where they used their reputation to commandeer money. Daenerys' son was to be 'The Stallion that Mounts the World', something similar to what Genghis Kahn was called, the King of Kings. However there is a major difference between Dothraki and Mongols. The Dothraki are seen to be very intolerant of other religions whereas the Mongols were very tolerant of other religions holding Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and any other encountered religions with equal esteem. 

Other Cultures and Histories
From both the series and books we can establish that the Free Cities such as Braavos and Myr are dominant city states through trade; very similar to how Naples, Venice and other Italian states managed to become dominant Mediterranean powers through trade. In fact we know that the Iron Bank of Braavos has sway over many kingdoms; just how Venice became a major economic power through trade and how it used this economic power to get crusaders in the Fourth Crusade to attack Venice's rival for them. The Greyjoys often talk about 'the Old Way' for the Iron Islands how they would use longboats to raid towns taking back gold and slaves to farm on the infertile land for them. How women were almost equal to men often taking part in battle. This resembles the Vikings who would pillage towns and villages for treasure. Although one theory why the Vikings began to pillage to start with was them choosing to settle in areas due to infertile land instead of kidnapping people to farm. In Westeros people worshiped the Old Gods in weirwood trees and were closer to nature until the coming of the Andals who introduced septs and the organized religion of the Seven. The Old Gods bear a close resemblance to Druidism and Germanic paganism while the Seven resembles the coming of Christianity to Britain and Germany. Although Andals look similar to Angles; a Germanic group who would form kingdoms in England. Beyond the Wall the Old Gods are still widely worshiped and the Wall stops the Wildlings from crossing into Westeros. This is similar to Hadrian's Wall; a Roman wall which stretched across northern England where the Romans would keep on look out fighting the Celts and Picts who lived north of the wall. Finally we have Valyria. It was said that Valyria had a great empire across Essos and when Valyria fell the empire collapsed in warfare. Somewhat similar to a certain real life empire's fall...
Although real life lacks the dragons, White Walkers and sorcery of Game of Thrones that does not mean that it is not as exciting and full of intrigue. Thanks for reading.

Friday, 3 July 2015

What If: The American Revolution never happened?

Around the United States on the Fourth of July Independence Day is celebrated. On the 4th July 1776 the Continental Congress ratified the American Declaration of Independence. Before then there had been much debate about whether to compromise with the British or declare independence and since then it cannot be doubted that the United States has had a major effect on world and cultural history. What if though the revolution never happened? There was an event where compromise was more desired than secession from the British Empire so that is where our divergence starts.

Point of Divergence
Before we look at the point of divergence we first have to understand the causes of the American Revolution to begin with. Since the 1500s Britain (at first England) had a series of colonies across the east coast of what is now continental America. These were called the Thirteen Colonies: Massachusetts (which also comprised of present day Maine), New York, New Hampshire, Delaware, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 1763 Britain annexed the French colonies in Canada and all land east of the Mississippi but at a cost. Britain gained massive debts through the war with France and decided that they should pay the price of the new colonies by taxing the colonies. What followed were what was nicknamed the Intolerable Acts. Many of these acts, such as the 1765 Stamp Act, put large taxes on necessary products such as sugar, tea and printed items. In Massachusetts there were large protests which turned violent such as the 1770 Boston Massacre, and the famous 1773 Boston Tea Party where members of the Sons of Liberty dressed up as Native Americans and threw boxes of tea into Boston harbor in protest to the Tea Act, (this act gave the East India Company exclusive rights to sell tea). In 1774 delegations from 12 of the 13 colonies (Georgia did not send any delegates) formed the First Continental Congress in order to address the Intolerable Acts. What they decided to do was create a Petition to the King which declared loyalty to King George III and keep the trade regulations if the Intolerable Acts were removed. In our timeline the Petition was largely rejected so the colonists would form the Second Continental Congress and boycott British goods leading to the start of the Revolution. In this scenario the King pressures Parliament into fully accepting the Petition. With the Petition accepted revolutionary talk starts to be quelled and the American Revolution does not happen.

The next few years
 Following the repeal of the Intolerable Acts Anglo-American relations start to marginally improve although tensions are still there; particularly in Massachusetts where most of the discontent was. Many aspects of the taxes are still there such as tariffs to sell American goods but they are not as crippling as they once was. Like in Canada Britain would use a divide and rule tactic by using the decentralization to stop the colonies uniting against them (it took until the US Civil War for people to start believing that they were Americans and not New Yorkers, Texans etc.). Also the British Parliament allowing some form of independent Congress, with the first Governor being Peyton Randolph, for the colonists allows the 'no taxes without representation' grievances which fueled anti-British sentiment to be partially quelled. By the early 1780s the main anti-British papers would be less popular as they were ten years earlier and membership of the Sons of Liberty would be slowly dropping. This does not mean though that the colonists were entirely pro-British. Quite a few people would, possibly even icons of the Revolution like Paul Revere, would be angry that the British still had tariffs, that Congress still would have to answer to the British Parliament and that British militia still remained in the colonies. Although they would not be in the cities like Boston and New York they would largely be in the rural areas treating with the Native American tribes or protecting forts along the Mississippi with the French still being there. Resentment would also arise thanks to British policy with the Native Americans. The British had made a series of treaties with several Native American tribes, such as the Iroquois, which limited frontier settlement by Americans. Although like in our timeline the British would push the border further into Native American land there would be still large amounts of resentment from both colonists and Native Americans. The colonists seeing it as the British not favoring them and the Native Americans seeing them as expansionists. With a rise in immigration and an increase in birth rate through better medicine this could even fuel the colonists resentment.

The French Revolution
In our timeline the French intervened in the American War of Independence on the side of the Americans in a form of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. This ran though France's excessive debt up to 12 billion livres. One of the central causes of the French Revolution was the American Revolution. However the French Revolution would still have happened anyway. The American Revolution caused a 1.066 million livre debt so France would still be millions of livre in debt anyway. Not to mention the other causes of the revolution including the king's extravagant living rising debt higher, social inequality, Enlightenment ideas going against religion and social statuses, a bread shortage, bread prices skyrocketing (especially bad as a poor French family would eat a quarter of a loaf a day) and no reforms to avoid this. However the lack of soldiers being introduced to ideas of liberty (many being inspired by the talks of liberty from their American companions) and slightly more money available would allow the Revolution to take a slightly different course. Increased army support and some money for the somewhat liked economic minister Jacques Necker to put back into the economy to reduce bread prices would cause the revolution to be slightly delayed. Of course no reforms, massive loans taken out by Necker and anger from the Third Estate (anyone who wasn't a noble or member of the clergy) would still cause widespread discontent but with the king having more of the army on his side he would help keep more control. Regardless the king and queen would still be guillotined, a republic declared and European monarchies declaring war to crush the revolution. The revolutionary wars would still ensure and likely a authoritarian regime installed by the 1800s but Napoleon would not be this figure. Like many other autocrats Napoleon gained power through a series of lucky events on his part but with an alternate revolution likely he would not come to power. With a less revolutionary army his leading of a riot in Corsica (something that happened in our timeline) he may as well have been executed by counter-revolutionaries and not made a captain.

The French Revolutionary War
In Europe Britain's involvement in the war would remain the same but in the Americas the Thirteen Colonies would play a massive part. When Britain ruled the Thirteen Colonies it easily made Britain a powerhouse in North America, the low resources and sparse population meant that Canada was not that helpful in making an American power out of Britain. The colonies eager for settlement could likely help the British by invading the French Mississippi. George Washington most likely would be made the commander of the Thirteen Colonies' militia and attack New Orleans taking it in 1795. France and Britain though would use Native Americans to help fight each other but as largely the tribes lived in British and not French borders they would side with the British. Nevertheless animosity and sometimes downright hatred towards Native Americans expressed by army leaders such as Andrew Jackson and Washington himself would lead to horrific massacres of tribes who did not fully support Britain. Unlike Napoleon though the autocratic leader would be unable to fight against the coalition of Britain, Spain, Austria and Prussia so would concede defeat. Britain would annex French lands along the Mississippi giving it to its colonies. The Thirteen Colonies would acquire more land as Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama to name a few are made into colonies. In return France would keep the land it had taken in the Low Countries and Italy with a restored Bourbon monarch.

After the war in the Americas
 The large amount of land taken from France without any people living on it would allow thousands of Americans to settle on the Great Plains. However often the British Parliament would have to intervene due to conflict between Native American tribes on the Great Plains, such as the Arapaho, and settlers. Like the US government in our time the British Parliament would create flimsy treaties with the tribes which would slowly reduce their lands over the decades. In 1807 like the rest of the Empire the Colonies' Congress would ban external slave trade. The north would remain a major industrial center using textiles, iron-works and other factories to became wealthy as well as Wall Street drawing in large amounts of revenue. The south would still be heavily reliant on agriculture with slave plantations (still in poor conditions) making money through cotton and tobacco. Meanwhile in Spanish America the weakening of the already loose Spanish control thanks to war with France would lead to revolution among the colonies. As soon as the war with France ends though the Spanish army invades to reestablish order. Through guerrilla warfare and revolutionaries relying on the support of the locals they slowly win their independence by the 1820s; East Florida though would soon join the British Empire uniting the state. Following Mexican independence settlers angry at the government for not giving up large swathes of Native American land would take up the Mexican government's offer for land in Texas although some take advantage of this to settle in Utah, Nevada and California. This does not mean though that Native Americans have a better life. Tribes west of the Appalachians would be confined to reservations as they get surrounded by settlers drastically deteriorating their lifestyle. Missionaries and forced removal of children would start to slowly remove tribal cultures and beliefs. Disease spread through settlers moving west would rapidly wipe out many Native Americans.

Like in our timeline Britain would ban slavery in 1833. In anger colonies heavily reliant on slavery such as South Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia would rise up in rebellion. This would be a short but bloody war as brothers fight against brothers. Many African-Americans would volunteer in the fighting in order to stop the uprising although it would be for different reasons than why the British fight (to preserve the empire instead of ending slavery). With the combined forces of the rest of the colonies, the British army, Canada and any other forces that Britain chooses to use the War of Slavery would end with the crushing of the rebels. A reorganizing of the southern economy would then happen although more successfully than our Reconstruction. The British were not known for letting rebels off lightly (emphasized by the atrocities committed by the British following the 1857 Indian Mutiny). African-Americans would be given citizenship and plenty of land while a constant force of regulars and dragoons would ensure that white supremacist groups would be put down. Although this was mostly due to them still punishing the former rebels and not anti-racism. It does have a positive effect though; civil rights would quickly progress in America at a faster rate than today. Years later the American settlers in Mexico would rebel declaring independence (backed by Britain) for the Texan Republic, the Californian Republic and the Republic of Deseret. Deseret would have a largely Mormon population whereas California and Texas would still have largely Mexican culture. In 1859 Britain would create a dominion of the United Provinces of America and two years later doing the same with Canada. Washington however would be called Victoria in honor of Queen Victoria seen as George Washington would be a somewhat obscure general from the Mississippi War. The capital of the dominion would be in Philadelphia although Washington D.C. would not be created. With the political power of the south destroyed there would not have to be a north-south compromise.

The rest of the world
World history would be drastically different. With no Napoleon Europe itself would be very different seen as he ended serfdom, ended feudalism, brought the metric system and emancipated Jews and other ethnic minorities in France. Although the abolition of serfdom, feudalism and the emancipation would have happened it would have happened decades later and present day Europe would only becoming industrialized with a more open society by 1910. We can look closely at Russia under Tsar Nicholas II's early reign to imagine what Europe would be like by 1914. Similarly Napoleon caused years later both the unification of Italy and Germany. Napoleon disbanded the Holy Roman Empire which made German unification possible so the economic heartland of Europe might never have come into being. Similarly no Germany, no French claims on Alsace and a more unified Austria (Napoleon helped cause the gradual fragmenting of the Austrian Empire) meant that the World War One that we knew would not happen as well as World War Two and even the Cold War. Liberia came into existence thanks to the USA so without the USA there would be no Liberia and the Meiji Restoration in Japan would happen at a much slower pace (or possibly stopped) without US intervention. For years, possibly until the 1900s, samurais would be the main dominant class still in Japan instead of economists, lawyers, politicians etc. Hawaii too would remain an independent nation and would be brought into the British commonwealth. However we cannot estimate what the world would be like due to how much speculation we would have to go through.

Lasting legacy
The American Revolution still has a major lasting impact on US politics, society and culture today. Many amendments were made to avoid more Intolerable Acts (such as the 3rd amendment which stops soldiers quartering in your house without your consent) or for necessity in case of another British invasion (such as the 2nd amendment which means that gun control arguments would be less aggressive due to it not being in the constitution). Even the USA's political system would be different. In this alternate timeline there would be no separate votes for the Senate and House of Representatives, no President, no Electoral College and a different voting system. Instead it would be closer to Canada's and Britain's system where you vote for a party and not a leader and which party has the most seats their leader gets to lead the country. Like Canada the British monarch would be Head of State while the public would vote for a Prime Minister. There would also be no 'Melting Pot' idea (where all cultures get assimilated forming one American culture) so Louisiana would be more ethnically French while no Indian Removal Act means that Georgia, Florida and other states (provinces in this timeline) would have more ethnically Cherokee and other Native American people. Just think though how much the USA has influenced culture. Many movies such as National Treasure, The Patriot, Gone with the Wind and Lincoln are all revolved American culture as well as countless plays, video game and books. 'Americanisms' would be less prevalent in many other countries. It goes to show how much the USA has influenced not only politics but culture.

Thanks for reading, please +1 and leave any comments.