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. 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a perfectly okay film, it is not one of Marvel’s best, playing it safe, but solid visuals and cast bring it together.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film.

Wanda/Scarlet Witch floating over some candles

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

Back all the way in 2016, pre-covid times, Marvel released this new film based on a wizard and full of magic. That first Doctor Strange film was full of beautiful visuals and a bunch of fun once Benedict Cumberbatch found his feet. Since that time, we have had 18 different entries into the MCU, and now it is time to jump back into the weird world.

So to set the scene, since the fallout from Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has tried to find some normalcy even though he is famous after the events of Endgame. However, he has to deal with the legacies of his actions or inactions,  including being a guest at Christine Palmer’s (Rachel McAdams) wedding and not a part of it. To say it was awkward, well, that is an understatement. Thankfully the wedding is interrupted by screams from the street as there is a disturbance in New York. Which turns out to be a giant one-eyed tentacle monster chasing after a girl. This is normal for an Avenger, and Wong (Benedict Wong) shows up for the team-up. The only difference is that Strange has seen this girl before, in his dreams, and she was there when he died.

Continue reading

Moon Knight: Gods and Monsters and Full Series/Season – TV Review

TL;DR – After a while, the show has finally hit its stride, and while I wish it had happen sooner, it was good while it lasted.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

End Credit – There is a mid-credit scene in Gods and Monsters.

Marc and Steven in the Duit

Moon Knight Review

We have come to the end of the complete series of Moon Knight, or indeed just its first season. At this point, it is hard to tell. However, as we have reached the end, it is time to look back at the final episode and how it wraps the series up, and how the season worked from start to finish, all as we explore the world of Egyptian Mythology, Mental Illness, and the underground artifact trade.

So to set the scene,  we follow up from The Tomb & Asylum with Marc (Oscar Isaac) and Steven (Oscar Isaac) being very much dead after being shot in the chest by Harrow (Ethan Hawke) in the tomb of Alexander the Great. There is a chance of getting out, but that fails when Marc gets lost in the Duat and turned into a statue, while Steven finds himself in the Field of Reeds. Meanwhile, back in Egypt, Layla (May Calamawy) has tagged along with Harrow’s entourage, looking for a moment to kill him, when the goddess Taweret (Antonia Salib) speaks to her from dead corpses telling her to free Khonshu (Karim El Hakim/F. Murray Abraham). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Steven and Taweret in the Field of Reeds.
Oscar Isaac helps sell every moment of this some times absurd film. Image Credit: Disney+.
Continue reading

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.   

Continue reading

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.  

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: The Star-Spangled Man – TV Review

TL;DR – It deepens the world and brings on the banter.

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: The Star-Spangled Man. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

There are few times that I have seen the internet come together and agree on something. Well, at the end of last week’s episode New World Order, we had such a moment when the world united and went, “That is not my Cap!”. This week we start unpacking that thought (because some of the cast have the same feelings) and look at a world on the precipice.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode, the world was introduced to a new Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell). This week we open with a homecoming of sorts as John returns to his old high school with all the pomp one can circumstance. The sight of him wearing Cap’s shield finally forces Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) back together, if only to bicker all the way to Munich. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

Continue reading

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: New World Order – TV Review

TL;DR – it starts on a high and then mellows into the world we will be in for the rest of the season

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: New World Order. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

When I think back to my all-time favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe film, at the top, or at least very near, it has to be the Captain America Trilogy with Winter Soldier and Civil War being real highlights. With the end of Endgame, there were many threads in these films that never got resolved. Today, we take the first dive into a show looking to fix that issue, one odd-ball partner cop show episode after another.   

So to set the scene, we open in the skies over Tunisia. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is needed for a significant extradition job to secure an Army Colonel from a terrorist group. As he intercepts the plane, Sam discovers that it has already been hijacked and has to fight his way on-board before the plane reaches Libyan airspace. Meanwhile, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is in therapy as part of his pardon. But the nightmares of his past as The Winter Solider still haunt his dreams. But there is a rising threat across the world as those looking forward to striking in the blip’s chaos make their first moves. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

Continue reading