Morbius – Movie Review

TL;DR – A soulless husk of a film that is barely made watchable by the fact that at least Matt Smith is having fun  

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are two mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film

Morbius. Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Morbius Review

There are moments when the credits roll, and you sit back in your chair and wonder, what did I just waste my time with? Then, of course, you immediately go, well, maybe I am having a bad day, perhaps the film is targeting a different audience, or did I just miss something. But then you look around and feel the audience’s tone and discover that you are not alone with your disbelief. Well, today, we have a film that, when the credits rolled, a whole room of people collectively shrugged at the very meh-ness that they just watched.

So to set the scene, 25-years ago in Greece, two boys who needed three blood transfusions a day to live met in a clinic. The head of the clinic, Emil Nikols (Jared Harris), discovers that young Michael (Charlie Shotwell) is a prodigy and gets him into a private school, and he promises his friend Milo (Joseph Esson) that he will find a cure. In the now, Michael (Jared Leto) takes a helicopter ride to a cave in Costa Rica to capture some bats that only feed on blood. He is hopeful that inserting bat DNA into a human might cure him and Milo (Matt Smith). It works … but at what cost? Well, a boat full of mercs, at least.

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The Batman – Movie Review

TL;DR – After a long time, they nailed what it is to do a Batman film.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, there is a thing at the end, but you can Google it rather than stay back for it.

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Warning – some scenes in this film use flashing lights.

The Batman. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The Batman Review

 I don’t think it will be news to anyone that the DC Extended Universe has been a bit hit and miss. The race to get to the Justice League film meant that there was no time to establish your characters, and one of the significant casualties of that was Batman. While it was clear that Ben Affleck was throwing his all into it, the character never found its feet. This all led to a mix of emotions when it was announced that there would be a stand-alone Batman film, but DC adjacent and starring Robert Pattinson. Thankfully, I should not have worried.

So to set the scene, it is Halloween in Gotham City, a city that is barely holding it together after years of corruption and nepotism. However, that night Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones) looks at his dwindling polling numbers. A figure appears in the background and strikes. The Riddler (Paul Dano) has made his first kill. However, while the city might be on the precipice, there is at least one farce trying to stop the crime, the masked crusader, the dark night, vengeance himself, the Batman (Robert Pattinson).  

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Spider-Man: No Way Home – Movie Review

TL;DR – In every way, this film stuck the landing, but I can’t help but feel that part of the ending didn’t sit well with me.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene and a post-credit scene that you do not have to stay for

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

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

Spider-Man: No Way Home Review

It has been a while since I have seen a film with so much hype building before release like I think not even Avengers Endgame had this much pressure behind it. As I walked into this film, there was a fear that they would never be able to stick the landing because there was such wide expectations as to what this film was meant to be. However, now that I have seen and had some time to ruminate on it, I think they were able to stick the landing, which is almost remarkable.

So to set the scene, in the closing moments of Spider-Man: Far From Home, internet conspiracy nut J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons) revealed doctored footage alleging Spider-Man was a murderer, but also showing to the world that Spider-Man was actually Peter Parker (Tom Holland). The adverse reaction is immediate and vicious as public opinion shifts against Peter even though he did nothing wrong. The response is so bad that even his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) can’t get into college because they are caught in the blowback. Not wanting his mistake to hurt his friends, Peter makes a trip to 177A Bleecker Street to meet Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Strange promises to cast a spell, so everyone forgets that Peter is Spider-Man, but things go badly wrong. Okay, so this is a difficult film to talk about because you can not really discuss it without getting into spoilers at a frighteningly quick pace. So with that in mind, we will give some general impressions and then dive into full spoilers.

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Eternals – Movie Review

TL;DR – Not bad, not great, but a very okay origin story  

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Eternals. Image Credit: Disney.

Eternals Review

We are at an interesting point in Marvel/Disney’s grand experiment in the form of the MCU. Because after 30-odd films and other entertainment productions, Phase 4 has brought us back to the start thanks to the fallout of Endgame. Sequels have given way to origin stories again. Well, today, we dive into the next origin after Shang-Chi, telling a story of people who have been there since the start but whom we are just meeting now.

So to set the scene, at the start of the universe, the great Celestials created life across the galaxy. But soon, creatures called evolved called Deviants that hunted down life. In response, the Celestials called together the Eternals and sent them across the galaxy to protect planets full of life. Ajak (Salma Hayek) the leader and link to the Celestials, Sersi (Gemma Chan), who can change matter, Ikaris (Richard Madden), who can fly, Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), who shoots energy from their hands, Sprite (Lia McHugh) who can project illusions, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) who is a great inventor, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) who can run so fast, Gilgamesh (Don Lee) with mighty fists, Thena (Angelina Jolie) who can create bladed weapons, and Druig (Barry Keoghan) who can control minds. They arrived at the shores of Mesopotamia and entered the fight to protect life. Today, Sersi is a teacher at the Natural History Museum in London. When a global earthquake hits, everyone realises that something is going very wrong.

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Venom: Let There Be Carnage – Movie Review

TL;DR – At least everyone is having fun this time around  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Image Credit: Sony.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review

The first Venom film was a bit of an odd duck. Like you could see the gears turning in the background, and it was clearly apparent that they found the film’s tone in the editing room and not behind the camera. This led to there being moments of interest in a sea of banal origin faff. Now that they had found their tone, I was interested to see what sort of film they could make, and if nothing else, this is an improvement.

So to set the scene, at the end of Venom, the titular Venom (Tom Hardy) was killed, saving the world from the invasion of other symbionts. However, he is not actually dead but is still hiding inside Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). Still reeling from the news that Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) is engaged, Eddie is invited to hear the final confession of notorious mass-murderer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). However, when Cletus bites Eddie, he takes more than just blood, creating something monstrous.  

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Hawkeye: Never Meet Your Heroes – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a strong foundation, with exciting characters and some nuanced acting.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this show.

Hawkeye: Never Meet Your Heroes. Image Credit: Disney+.

Hawkeye Review

To be honest, if there was one of the new MCU shows that did not interest me at all on the announcement, it was Hawkeye. I am not sure what it was that cooled my reception to the series, but it fell completely flat, that is until I saw the first trailer. In an instant, I got what the show was about and went from not interested to engaged very quickly and now, seeing the first episode. I think I was right in that assertion.   

So to set the scene, it is 2012, and a young Kate Bishop (Clara Stack) is listening in on her parents because all is not right with money. But before she has time to process that, her world explodes as the Battle of New York is fought around her. It is here where she first sees Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and after the death of her father (Simon Callow), she convinces her mother (Vera Farmiga) that she needs to learn archery. Today, a now adult Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) is sneaking into Stane Tower for a bet … and accidentally destroys a bell tower in the process.   

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Movie Review

TL;DR – The cast was terrific, the action was tight, and it was funny to boot.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Image Credit: Disney.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review

I walked into Shang-Chi with a little bit of trepidation. Marvel has not had a good track record when delving into this realm, with Iron Fist being the low point, but even Dr Strange didn’t get everything right. But this time, Marvel was not just dipping their toes into this genre. It was diving all the way in. Thankfully those trepidations were for nothing as they have nailed it.

So to set the scene, we open with the story of Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who discovered a mystical set of ten rings. These rings gave him tremendous power and eternal life, and he used that to take control across the world, both actively and from the shadows. In 1996, he started his mission to claim the one realm he had not concurred, but his expedition to Ta Lo failed with him being the only one alive. At the gates to Ta Lo, he expected to find a guardian. He didn’t expect to find one that outclassed him in every way or that he would actually find love. He and Ying Li (Fala Chen) go home and start a family, but it ends in tragedy. In the modern-day, their son Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) goes by Shaun and works as a valet in San Francisco with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). It is a quiet life, right up until they get attacked on a bus by a bunch of goons sent by his father.

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The Suicide Squad – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that finally made me care about these characters but one that also suffered from some narrative bloat    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.

The Suicide Squad. Image Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures.

The Suicide Squad Review

In life, you rarely get the chance to make a second first impression. For every Parks and Rec that gets to find its feet in its second season, many more fall by the wayside after their first attempt. Well, today, DC gives us a film that is a second chance to bring a set of characters and scenarios into the DCEU to see if they work, and the answer to that question is yes … mostly.

So to set the scene, we open in with Savant (Michael Rooker) in prison attacking birds with his bouncing ball. But before he has time to finish his time off, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) tells him that he has been conscripted into a mission. Within moments he is rushed to the island of Corto Maltese, with Weasel (Sean Gunn), Javelin (Flula Borg), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), TDK (Nathan Fillion), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Their mission is to infiltrate the island and get past the military patrols, as the island recently suffered a military coup. It is all going well right up until Weasel dies because he can’t swim, and Blackguard immediately sells them out.     

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Truth – TV Review

TL;DR – It takes what could have been a boilerplate story, and elevates it with emotion and strength.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Truth. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

If there is one running theme that we have been seeing so far in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, actions have consequences that can ripple out. We have seen that pop up time and time again, but this week it reveals itself in sharp contrast after the events of The Whole World is Watching and the desecration of a symbol in a moment of anger.

So to set the scene, we pick up right after the closing frames of last week’s episode with John Walker (Wyatt Russell) running from the scene covered in blood and still brandishing the murder weapon. He is trying to justify the unjustifiable when Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie) catch up to him in a warehouse. They both know that after what happened and that John’s best case scenario at this point is that he is not court marshalled, but his tenure as Captain America is over. As they try to talk John down from the cliff and disarm him of his shield, John sees what they are doing and attacks without abandon. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: The Whole World is Watching – TV Review

TL;DR – This episode is like a storm approaching over the horizon. You see it coming, you feel the wind, you know something bad is about to strike, but you are not prepared even then.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no End Credit Scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: The Whole World is Watching. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

Many people feel that comic book films are nothing but popcorn trash, just there to fill in time with some pretty colours and then send you on your way. However, when we look at just the Marvel Cinematic Universe [and there is a whole lot more than that], then that statement simply does not hold water. We just watched an entire season of WandaVision exploring the legacy of trauma and what that does to a person. I mean, Thor: Ragnarok is all about post-colonial societies and how they whitewash and inevitably have to rectify with the darkness of their pasts. Sometimes, that means tearing the state down completely. Then it should be no surprise that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier set in a world trying to recover from a great cataclysm would have something of relevance to say, and this week they were most explicit about it.    

So to set the scene, at the end of Power Broker, Bucky (Sebastian Stan), Sam (Anthony Mackie), and Zemo (Daniel Brühl) had arrived in Latvia in the hopes of tracking Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) down. However, they were not the only ones on the hunt because as they arrive at their safe house, Bucky spots Wakandan tech lying around and traces it back to Ayo (Florence Kasumba), one of the Dora Milaje. As she is one of the people that helped Bucky get rid of his programming, she is most upset that he was the one that broke Zemo out of jail. However, as Zemo is just ‘a means to an ends’ Ayo will give Bucky eight hours, and then she is taking Zemo for herself. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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