Mapping Infinity: The Cartography of the MCU Spider-Man: No Way Home Update – Map-It

TL;DR – We continue our goal to map the Marvel Cinematic Universe by mapping Phase 4 up to Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home. Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Mapping Infinity

Back in 2018, when the Black Panther can out, I took the first attempt to chart the MCU. That first Map was quite basic compared to the work I would do with cartography going forward, but it is a nice step on my cartography journey. We updated the Map in 2019 when Endgame came out, and already New York was getting dense, but we have yet to look at Phase Four. Well, that is something we fix today.       

From the Map, the first thing that should be clear is that we have only charted the locations visited on Earth (Earth-199999 or Midgard, or Terra or Planet C-53, to be specific). So, my apologies to Xandar and Old Asgard in advance that we will not be looking at the greater galactic universe. But it does mean that every film is represented in this Map, though Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 only make one entry.   

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Awards – My Top 15 Films of 2021

TL;DR – 2021 was a great year in film, and here are our favourites

So far in our awards, we have looked at Action, Animation, Best of Australia, Cinematography, Costumes, Emotion, Fun, Music, Tension, and Worldbuilding.

However, in this last entry into our Best of 2021 awards, we crown our winner of the Best Film of 2021.

All films are subjective, so our list might look completely different from yours. Also, we didn’t get to see every movie this year, which means we will be only drawing our Top 15 from the 69 films we did get to see, which you can see a list of HERE. You can also click on the titles to go to the full review.

It was also a very odd year for cinema, with many films being postponed or released in non-traditional means. There were also many staggered releases, so we may have films here that were released in 2020 for you but 2021 for us, and there may be some omissions here because we won’t get those films until 2022.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s dive into the first entry in our list of Best Films of 2021.

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Worldbuilding that Astounded us in 2021

One of the benefits of film is that it is a visual medium, which means that it can do in a frame what it might take a book several pages of description to pull off. We see this the most in its ability to build worlds in front of our eyes.

These worlds could be great space operas exploring galaxies, a small period piece that looks back in time, or anything. But when every part of the film is being used to tell a story, you know it is good.   

So without further ado, these films showed excellence in Worldbuilding 2021. Be warned that there may be slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the titles to go to the full reviews.

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The Musical Scores of 2021 That Wowed Us

One factor that I will always look out for with a film is the musical score. I can get caught in the world of music, as it sits in my head in the days, weeks, months, and even the years that come. There is immense artistry in weaving emotions from music, having us slip into the world that is created, fear the oncoming dread even if we do know why, or rejoice in the triumph of that final victory.

Music charts the cinematic world, it guides us, it can lift us up, and it can crush our souls. This is its power. So without further ado, these are the musical score that moved us in 2021. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question, and if you click on the titles, you will be taken to the full review. 

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Tension That Kept You On the Edge Of Your Seat In 2021!

Well we have looked at Emotion, and then swung wildly across the spectrum to Fun, and now we are completing that trifecta with looking at Tension. Tension is one of the most challenging facets of filmmaking to pull off because it requires the script, direction, acting, and editing to all work in tandem to evoke the perfect pace. If just one part of that group misses then an essential part of the film falls apart.

In 2021 we continued to see some excellent use of tension used to build mystery, or to be the harbinger of the coming dread, or even the ticking clock of inevitability.   

So without further ado, these are the moments of tension that kept us on the edge of our seats in 2021. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the titles for the full review.

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The Films from 2021 That Put Some Fun Into Our Lives

We looked at the films that hit us in the feels with emotions in our last awards. Now it is time to hard pivot to the other side of the spectrum with a look at the films that were a riot of fun. So today, I take a moment to champion those films that brought the joy, whether through upbeat action, one laugh after another, or that silliness that brings a smile to your face.

I planned to keep all my lists to five entries. However, I just could not keep that number down with this category.

So without further ado, these films brought the fun in 2021. Be warned that there may be slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners for the full review.

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The Films of 2021 That Emotionally Wrecked Us

As I have gotten older, I am not afraid of having a good old fashioned ugly cry in the cinemas when the time calls for it, and hell, I probably got emotional just writing this list (Spoiler: I did). Sometimes they are tears of grief, sometimes they are tears of joy, and even still, sometimes they are tears of anger. 

Emotion is a core part of the cinema experience. If you can’t get us to respond to your characters and/or the situation emotionally, I am sorry you have failed to make a good film.

So without further ado, these are the films of 2021 that emotionally wrecked us. Be warned that there will be significant spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the titles to go to the full review.

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The Costumes of 2021 That Made Us Say ‘Hot Damn’

You can use many techniques to help build your world, ground your setting, or give dimensions to your characters. You can use music, you can create elaborate sets, but one of the best ways is the costumes you make.

People instantly judge a character within moments on the screen, and the outfits are an essential part of that first impression. More than this, you can also use costumes as a way of storytelling. What do they say about this world, what do they say about how a character is progressing. 

Costumes can build worlds, tell us details we can only see, but also they can make us say ‘hot damn’ look at that beading on that dress, that must have taken hours to do. So without further ado, these are the costumes that made us say ‘hot damn’ in 2021. Be warned that there may be slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, please click on the titles to be taken to the full review.     

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Cinematography That Made You Go Wow in 2021!

Cinematography is an art form that can be as bold as a gong crashing after a moment of silence, or as subtle as the tide coming in. It elevates a film to the heights of accolade or turns a movie into a frustrating mess when it misfires.

While at the heart of cinematography is the Director of Photography or Cinematographer, to get something from the script to the final shot takes a whole team of professionals, and it is their talent that we champion today.

So without further ado, these are the moments of cinematography that took our breaths away in 2021. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banners/titles to be taken to the full reviews.

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The Best Australian Cinema in 2021

It was a fantastic year for Australian Cinema, with each film I saw knocking it out of the park. There were intimate documentaries, films that held up a mirror to society, and those that brought the action to a new level.

This list will be looking more at the locally made Australian productions/co-productions and not just films filmed in Australia.

So without further ado, these are the best Australian Cinema in 2021. Be warned that there will be significant spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banner/titles to go to the full reviews.  

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