She-Hulk Attorney at Law: The People vs. Emil Blonsky – TV Review

TL;DR – Three episodes in, and She-Hulk shows that Disney+ and Marvel have finally nailed what it is to be a Marvel TV Show.

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

The super-max prison.

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

In the transition to MCU projects on Disney+, one of the big issues that have popped up in the past is that the stories may have been there, but fitting those stories into the TV format might not have been as successful. TV is a very different beast from a feature film, and you have felt that they have struggled to make that leap at times. However, after these first three episodes, I think we can be confident that they have nailed it with She-Hulk.   

So to set the scene, during Superhuman Law, Jen (Tatiana Maslany) struggled to find her place in the world after being fired by the DA’s office. However, she is given a new opportunity when she is offered a job by Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter) at the law firm GLK&H. the only issue is that her first client would be Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) or, as he is more commonly called, Abomination, the guy that once attacked her cousin Bruce (Mark Ruffalo). Knowing she had a strong case for parole, she took the job just moments before footage of Abomination having his cage match in Shang-Chi was leaked to the press. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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She-Hulk Attorney at Law: Superhuman Law – TV Review

TL;DR – She-Hulk continues to be a delightful and fun romp

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

Courtroom sketches of last week's episode.

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

One of the significant issues that the MCU has had when making the jump to Disney+ has been finding the right tone and setting. Shows have struggled to land their feet or find a reason to exist over so many episodes. So far, She-Hulk has avoided those fates because it knows exactly what it wants to be and shines while doing it.  

So to set the scene, last week in A Normal Amount of Rage, we got to find out how Jennifer ‘Jen’ Walters (Tatiana Maslany) became She-Hulk. It just took a crash and her trying to save her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and some accidental blood contamination, and now she can go Green. Hoping to keep that secret was dashed when Titania (Jameela Jamil) crashed into the courtroom, and Jen had to Hulk up to stop the jury from being killed. You would think saving people’s lives would be rewarded? But instead, Jen is fired from the DA’s office. Things are looking down when she is offered a job by Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter) at the law firm GLK&H. The only catch is that she has to represent Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) or, as he is more commonly called, Abomination. 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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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.

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Moon Knight: The Goldfish Problem – TV Review

TL;DR – An intriguing opening, more tease than substance, which could be a good sign for the future

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Moon Knight: The Goldfish Problem. Image Credit: Disney+

Moon Knight Review

While I thought I had a reasonably good idea of the realms in the MCU and Marvel in general, as we get into the wilds of Phase Four, we are starting to get into areas that I do not know about. Today is an excellent example of this because coming into Moon Knight, I don’t think I had ever really heard of the character bar one or two comic stills of him being sassy that pop up as memes now and again. Meaning we are diving into the deep end this week.

So to set the scene, on all accounts, Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) is a perfectly average person. He goes to work at the London Museum, has dinner out, enjoys that town, and loves ancient Egyptian history. The only issue is that he straps himself to his bed at night, puts sand around his bed, and seals the door multiple ways. Because Steven suffers from dissociative identity disorder, which manifests when he is asleep, leading to him waking up in random places. His steps at control are working, right up until one night he wakes up not in his bed but outside a castle somewhere in Europe, and everyone is shooting at him. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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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.   

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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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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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