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 King’s Man – Movie Review

TL;DR – A war film that does not know what it wants to say about war   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

The King’s Man. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

The King’s Man Review

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the first entry into this universe with Kingsman: The Secret Service. I even liked the follow-up Kingsman: The Golden Circle, though I may be alone on that front. So when I heard that there was going to be a prequel, I was interested but also concerned because revisionist histories can land like a thud. And after watching it all, I’m still not sure.

So to set the scene, we open in South Africa, 1902 with Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his wife Emily Oxford (Alexandra Maria Lara) arriving at British Concentration Camp during the Boer War. They were inspecting the facilities for the Red Cross and meeting Lord Herbert Kitchener (Charles Dance) when a sniper kills Emily in the crossfire. 12-years later, the world is careening towards war because a mysterious force is pulling strings behind the scenes, pushing King George of Britain (Tom Hollander), Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany (Tom Hollander) and Tsar Nicholas of Russia (Tom Hollander) into conflict.

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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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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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