Samaritan – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a perfect film for Stallone, but it becomes hampered by many factors, including one of the weakest villains in an age.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film.

Joe on his back after getting hit by a car.

Samaritan Review

As we come crashing towards the end of the year, there is still a genre dominating the cinema landscape, superheroes. However, while the DCU flounders and is about to go through a massive rejig, and even the MCU has lost a touch of its lustre, there is space for someone else to do something grand here. With that in mind, we head to the good v bad narrative of the Samaritan.  

So to see the scene, two boys discovered they had extraordinary powers a long time ago, but while learning to control them, people got hurt, and soon the town came and lynched the boy’s parents in a fire. While one boy became Samaritan, a protector, the other became Nemesis, driven by their thirst for revenge. After duelling for years, Nemesis leads his brother into a trap to save the town. Samaritan sacrificed himself to take his own brother down. People still wonder if Samaritan died that night, but Sam Cleary (Javon’ Wanna’ Walton) knows he is alive, or at least hopes so. But when he gets caught up with Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) and Reza (Moises Arias) and gets stuck in the middle of a beatdown, only one person can save him, his neighbour, the surprisingly strong Joe (Sylvester Stallone).

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a profoundly messy film, but at its heart, it is about grief, and what is grief, if not messy?    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

A funral procession

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

When it comes to comic book films, even the most jaded person would have to admit that the first Black Panther movie was a cultural touchstone. It would have been difficult to live up to that first film at the best of times, but we can all agree that the passing of Chadwick Boseman is as far as you can get from the best of times. How do you even proceed after that? Well, this is the question we will be exploring today.

So to set the scene, we open in a lab in chaos. The King of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), is dying, and his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is trying everything possible to try and save him. Still, all the technology in the world could not stop the inevitable. The whole kingdom grieves their lost king, but for Sovereign Queen Mother of Wakanda Ramonda (Angela Bassett), it is a wound that cuts deep. One year later, after a continuous meeting in the United Nations, America found what they think was the second source of Vibranium at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. A Navy Seal team is there to secure the site from potential attacks from other nations. However, instead of an attack from above, they should have prepared for what comes from the deep.

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Black Adam – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film where nearly anything of interest was sandblasted off to give us a bland expedition with some moments of interest.     

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

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

Black Adam floats in the ocean.

Black Adam Review

I came into this film with a lot of trepidation. To say that Warner Bros has had a challenging year with its merger would be an understatement, losing nearly any goodwill they had with them. Add to this that the DCEU has struggled with very straightforward hero narratives. How would they go with an anti-hero? But if nothing else, the charisma of Dwayne Johnson is strong, and if anything can help a film, it is that.

So to set the scene, 5,000 years ago, in 2,600 BCW, in the land of Kahndaq, Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) was chosen by the wizards to stand up to the local despot. SHAZAM, and the palace explodes. In the present, Kahndaq is still under the control of occupiers, and Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) is trying to hide treasures from the Intergang mercenaries when she finds Black Adam’s tomb. He is finally let free, but all that time has not blunted his desire for revenge and rampage. Seeing a potential threat, Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and the Justice Society Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) try to show him a different path or at least get him to surrender peacefully. But then, the Black Adam is not peaceful.   

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She-Hulk Attorney at Law: Whose Show is This? and Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – Probably my favourite of the Disney+ Series so far, and the first to make the most of the narrative medium it was on.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

How do you tie up a season that has been so joyfully chaotic as we have gotten so far? Do you bring back Wong (Benedict Wong) because everyone loves Wong? Do you add a splash of Daredevil (Charlie Cox) because people can’t get enough of him? Do you bring in a secret cameo that didn’t get spoiled in the first trailer for the show? After watching it, I can tell you that you did not expect to land where were ended up. In today’s review, we will first look at the season finale and then take a broader look at the season as a whole.

So to set the scene, after trying to take She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany) down all season because they don’t like that she is a woman with Hulk powers. In Ribbit and Rip It, the group of assholes finally found their moment to strike when Jen was getting an award for being a good lawyer. While that was happening, they broadcast intimate images taken without her permission, trying to slut-shame her with revenge porn. In that moment of complete degradation of privacy, She-Hulk lashed out at the televisions showing the abuse, but now people see her as a monster, and cue old-timey opening titles. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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She-Hulk Attorney at Law: Just Jen – TV Review

TL;DR – It’s time for the wedding episode with an unexpected guest.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

Just Jen Attorney at Law

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

As we reach this middle part of the season, it has been nice to see She-Hulk revel in these smaller character-driven episodes. Where we get some time to get to know what drives the characters and what their motivations are. The good thing this week is that this episode is all that, but also a little bit more.

So to set the scene, while things are going well for Jen (Tatiana Maslany) at work, an unexpected package has put a pause on things. She has been invited to Lulu’s [her high school best friend but since then, they have drifted apart] wedding. This was a moment to show just how well she was doing. Only Lulu (Patti Harrison) insists that there should be no She-Hulk at the wedding. Back at work, Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) and Mallory (Renée Elise Goldsberry) have to work for a client that calls himself Mr. Immortal (David Pasquesi) because all his ex-wives and ex-husbands just found out he is alive. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Ms. Marvel: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – While there were issues with the villains, I found Ms. Marvel to be an absolute delight from start to finish.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit scene at the end of the final episode, No Normal.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this series.

Kamala stares across at New York city.

Ms. Marvel Review

If there has been one consistent part of the MCU’s Phase Four, it has been the franchise swinging wildly all over the place, trying to find its feet in a post-Endgame world. Not all of these swings have worked. Some started strong but slipped by the end. Others tried packing everything and the kitchen sink, and some floundered around before finding their feet. However, some of these shows taking a gamble have stuck the landing. [Though I should say that it is remarkable that given these times of COVID and trying to film in this uncertainty, it is a credit to all the artists that they have all been engaging so far because none of the Disney+ shows has been bad] When I first heard about Ms. Marvel, I wondered where it would land in this spectrum. Still, after that first episode aired, I knew I would enjoy the ride.

So to set the scene, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is an average teenager going to school in Jersey City with her friends Bruno (Matt Lintz) and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), living with her family Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), Zenobia (Mohan Kapur), and Aamir (Saagar Shaikh), and attending her local mosque where someone is stealing shoes. Like many teenagers, Kamala is struggling to find her place in the world and with parents who don’t understand her passions. One day her grandmother Sana (Samina Ahmad) sent a bunch of things, including a bangle, the perfect thing to go with Kamala’s Captain Marvel costume. The only issue is when she put it on, she started displaying powers she had never had before in a roomful of people, all with mobile phones out filming it all. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Thor: Love and Thunder – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it was missing some of the substance of the last film, I found Thor: Love and Thunder to be a fun romp through the galaxy.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Thor sits under a tree as four suns set.

Thor: Love and Thunder Review

I don’t think I have made it any secret that I found Thor: Ragnarok one of the best films in the MCU, and indeed a film that I will always sit down and watch when it is on. But I thought this would be a one-off because of some unwritten rule that stops solo films after three outings. Well, call me surprised when it was announced that we were getting Thor 4 because that was probably the best news out of this somewhat fractured start of Phase 4.

So to set the scene, we open in on a parched land as Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (India Hemsworth) walk one step at a time, praying for deliverance from their god Rapu (Jonny Brugh). But there is none to be found as Love dies from exposure. Gorr is beside himself when he hears voices in the wind and stumbles into an oasis, where Rapu is having a glorious feast and does not give a hoot about Gorr or his daughter. In that moment of horrific destruction of faith, the Necrosword appears in his hand, and he slays the god and begins a campaign to exterminate all the gods. Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to find his place in the world. When Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) calls out, Thor comes to her aid and discovers that a mad man has their next target, New Asgard.

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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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