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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Black Widow – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with a great cast, strong banter, engaging action, but the third act does not capitalise on all these.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Black Widow. Image Credit: Marvel Studios.

Black Widow Review

Back when Spider-Man: Far From Home came out in July 2019, I don’t think anyone knew just how long it would be before we got another Marvel film up on the big screen. Well, just over two years later, it is time to dive back into this world by going back to a time just after Civil War.

So to set the scene, we begin our film in the deep dark days of the far past, the 1990s. In Ohio, we are introduced to a completely average family, normal except for the fact that it is entirely manufactured and the father Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and mother Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) are Russian spies. They are here to steal secrets from SHIELD (well, HYDRA pretending to be SHIELD). One emergency flight to Cuba and the family is split up and forced into the Soviet machine. Years later, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is now on the run after Civil War, and it just so happens to be time for a family reunion.  

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Power Broker – TV Review

TL;DR – The episode where we got on a fun Road-trip with Zemo [A sentence I never thought I would write]

Rating: 4 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: Power Broker. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

One of the strengths of the MCU is that that it can fit its films and shows into several different genres and tones. The Captain America films have always felt like they fit into this more grounded spy world, and this week we get to see it spin off soar in the same territory.  

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode, The Star-Spangled Banner, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie) had reached a dead end. They have tried to track down the new terrorist organisation, but with no luck. Well, when you reach rock bottom, it is time to scrape that barrel and visit an old antagonist, Zemo (Daniel Brühl). He knows all about Hydra and its hidden places, so this would be a good idea … right? Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Map-It: The X-Men Film Series

TL;DR – We map out all the locations of the now concluded X-Men film series

X-Men Days of Future Past. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Article

With The New Mutants getting their cinematic release (finally), the entire X-Men film franchise has been brought to a close. Even though the last couple of films have not been stand out performers, this is still sad as this is twenty years of history coming to a close. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to continue to add to our Mapping Project by mapping out the franchise and its thirteen films.

Now when starting this project, I did have a view that this would be a generally straight forward task. I was wrong. This turned out to be much more complicated than I thought given to the ambiguity of some of the locations. At the same time, some like the Statue of Liberty are clearly straight forward. I spent hours trying to nail down the location of places like the Essex House for Mutant Rehabilitation.

With this in mind, I tried where possible to situate things using the locations given in the films, or when that was not possible using the original comics as a source. In some cases, neither of these options were available, so I put them in the most reasonable place I could find. In some cases, these were actually in conflict, and in that point, you have to pick one and move on.

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Movie Review – Dark Phoenix (X-Men: Dark Phoenix)

TL;DR – In what might be the last major release of a Fox X-Men film, instead of going out with a bang, it goes out with a meh.     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Dark Phoenix (X-Men: Dark Phoenix). Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Review

With Fox being bought by Disney we know that the current X-Men film franchise is going to be reaching its end sooner rather than later, and with the New Mutants film having a difficult production, there is a chance that this is the last time we will see these characters on the big screen. With that in mind, there are many words I have used to describe the X-Men films in the past. There have been the highs of X-2, Deadpool, and Logan. There have been the lows of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Last Stand, and Apocalypse. However, today I have a new descriptor for an X-men film, and unfortunately, that word is dull.

So to set the scene, we open with a young Jean Grey (Summer Fontana) back in the 1970s driving with her parents when tragedy strikes and she becomes an orphan. Back in the present day of 1992, the Space Shuttle Endeavour has been hit by a solar flare and the president (Brian d’Arcy James) has only one team he can call. Since the time of Apocalypse, mutants have come out of hiding and the X-Men have become almost celebrities, using their powers, to help save the day. While in space, they discover that it was not a solar flare, but some kind of entity. While Jean (Sophie Turner) is trying to keep the shuttle together, the entity attacks and is absorbed by her. Back on Earth, she seems fine, but slowly they find out that this is not the case because Charles (James McAvoy) did something to her back in the day and that secret just burst forth.

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Map-It – Mapping Infinity: The Cartography of the MCU (2019 Update)

TL;DR – Today with the next Avengers release imminent we take a look at where on Earth we have visited during all of Phase One, Phase Two, and Phase Three

The Avengers Image Credit: Marvel

Article

Today Avengers: Endgame was released in cinemas, and well since I like maps and I like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I thought it would be interesting to update our map out where the MCU has visited during its three phases from Iron Man in 2008 to Endgame in 2019. This means that there are some slight spoilers for Endgame here, but only their locations which don’t really give anything away, but if you are super cautious please be aware.    

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Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame (Full Spoilers)

TL;DR – Now all together “Baaaaaaaar bar bar bup barrrrr, barr barrr, barrrrr bup bup barrr baaar bomp barrrrrrr, Baaaaaaaar bar bar bup barrrrr, barr barrr, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, Baaaaaaaar”

Score – 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence and a hint at the end

Review

Wow and here we are. Honestly, when I sat down to watch Iron Man in cinemas all the way back in 2008 I don’t think I really comprehended just what it was that I was watching. I didn’t know it would spawn a 20+ movie franchise that would take us into the past, into the deep reaches of space, and create one of the biggest events in movie history. In many respects, it feels like this is my generation’s Star Wars moment, and I have not seen queues like this to go see a film in a long time. Well, today we take the plunge and see if they can work out one of the biggest cliff-hangers in movie history and can this be a film that gives closure to the films that came before it.

So to set the scene, at the end of Infinity War the one thing they were trying to stop happening actually happened, as Thanos (Josh Brolin) obtained all the infinity stones after ripping the mind stone out of Vision’s (Paul Bettany) head and snapped his fingers. All at once across the galaxy, 50% of everything turned to dust and we had that gut-wrenching moment as everything literally fell apart in people’s hands. Indeed Peter (Tom Holland) looking desperately at Tony (Robert Downey Jr) pleading that ‘I don’t want to go” is one of those moments that just stays with you and it stays with the cast. Because as we start everything is in a bad place. Tony is trapped with Nebula (Karen Gillan) on a ship running out of fuel, air, and food, and those Avengers that survived are counting the losses on Earth where no one has been left unaffected. However, one should never give up all hope, because you never know when deliverance will come from an unlikely place, and then hope is lost again. Now with today’s review, we will be doing something a little different. In this review, we will be looking at all of the film so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead. This is for people that have already seen the film and want to explore the ending of Endgame. If you have not seen the film and would like to see a no spoiler discussion Endgame you can go HERE. Also if you have already read the no spoiler review and want to skip to the discussion on the ending, it is the chapter starting with the big [SPOILER WARNING] below.         

Before we dive into the story and character aspects of the film, I want to first take a moment to talk about the production side of things. In this film, they have left nothing on the table when it comes to the lighting, production design, and effects. That opening scene as Tony is sitting in the ship waiting to die while bathed in a light blue light from the nearby stars was one of the most beautiful lighting techniques I have seen in quite a while. This extends throughout the entire film, with harsh contrasts at times, natural light in places, relentless oppression in other places. Every part of the film is well designed, even when they are using sets from the previous film, it has been amended to make it feel right in the new context.

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Movie Review – Shazam!

TL;DR – By finding a focus, Shazam! shows that DC can really make great films when they focus on something, in this case, the role of family.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Shazam! Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Review

By now, I am sure you have heard about the issues with the DC Extended Universe, in the race to get that big multi-film spanning Cinema Empire they jumped the gun too early and rushed forward before finding out if people wanted what they were giving. During its First Run, there was only one film that was both a critical and commercial success, Wonder Woman, this was because it had its own heart and was not just here to push a cinematic universe, and it has something to say. Since then we have had Aquaman that while not perfect was at least trying to do something interesting, and today we get a look at the next film that found that fun is fine, but heart is more important.

So to set the scene, we open as a young Thad (Ethan Pugiotto) is on a car trip with his unpleasant family in the 1970s when he is sucked into another realm run by Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) the last of the council of wizards left. He is trying to find someone pure of heart to be his successor, but alas Thad is not the one. Fast forward to December 2018 when we find Billy Batson (Asher Angel) helping the police out, but it a ruse to get into their computer because he is trying to find his mum that he lost as a child. Well, it didn’t work out and Billy is put with new foster parents Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa (Marta Milans), not that he plans to stay long. However, everything changes when a subway trip leads him to a dark cave and he yells out the word Shazam becoming someone completely else (Zachary Levi).

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