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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Hawkeye: Season 1 Full Review – TV Review

TL;DR – A charming series, with good action, but more importantly, solid character work and growth.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene in the final episode

Hawkeye: Season 1. Image Credit: Disney+.

Hawkeye Review

Of all the announced Marvel/Disney+ TV series, I would have to say that it landed with a big meh when I heard about Hawkeye. Hawkeye as a character has always been one of the weaker elements of the MCU for me, and I was not sure that a mini-series exploring that was going to do much to change that. Well, I will be the first to admit when I was wrong because more than any other Marvel property, I was instantly sold with that first trailer and what we got, in the end, was frankly some solid superhero fun.  

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 (Brian James d’Arcy), 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. Meanwhile, Clint is out in New York having dinner trying to reconnect with his kids, not realising his past as Ronin was about to explode into his present. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Good Ones

TL;DR –  A great welcome back and set up for the final season   

Disclosure – I watched this on SBS On-Demand

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Good Ones. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review

When Season 7 finished, and we heard that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was going to come back for one more final season, there was a moment of joy that we would get one last outing for a series that has been on the bubble for a long while. But then the whole world changed (or at least it became clearer), and the question is ‘how can a show based around a comedy in a police station’ work? Well, today, we get to see just how they will address the elephant in the room.

So to set the scene, we open in the middle of the Pandemic when Jake (Andy Samberg) and Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) showing Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) that they created a way of doing a High-5 that is Covid-safe. However, Rosa has more important news. She just put in her resignation for the police force and the Nine-Nine. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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In the Heights – Movie Review

TL;DR –  It captivates you in the first moments and never lets you go until the very end.   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There may be a post-credit scene

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

In the Heights. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

In the Heights Review

If there is one genre that has kind of disappeared from movie screens, it is the musical. Looking back, the last proper musical I saw on the big screen was The Greatest Showman. But something is exciting about being in a room full of people as the music and emotions wash over you. That moment when a song hits all the right notes, and you feel that emotion in your soul.  Today, I get to add another entry onto this list with the sheer delight that is In the Heights.

So to set the scene, we open with Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) sitting on a beach telling a bunch of kids the story of the land of Washington Heights in the far off city of Nueva York. Here we see Usnavi go about his day, looking after his Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), opening up his bodega with his cousin Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV), and striking out with Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) while Sonny and his best friend Benny (Corey Hawkins) watch on. But something is happening on the street today, Kevin Rosario’s (Jimmy Smits) daughter Nina (Leslie Grace) is coming back from Stanford, and everyone is ready for the celebration.

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The Black Emperor of Broadway – Movie Review

TL;DR – A look at a revolutionary figure in Broadway’s past and the layers of oppression he had to go through to get where he did.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Warning – Extensive use of blackface

The Black Emperor of Broadway. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

If there is one large blind spot in my art history, it is Broadway. I didn’t come from a musical theatre background, so any introduction to this world is welcome. Today we look at a film that explores this through the life of Charles Sidney Gilpin one of its first Black stars. I should say that before we dive in as a bit of a warning that this is a film very much set in the 1920s and the language and depictions used in the movie are consistent with that time which may be difficult for some viewers.

So to set the scene, Charles Sidney Gilpin (Shaun Parkes) is working in a blackface minstrel show that goes around entertaining white people at parties. He hates the work and tries to get a job a legitimate actor which is difficult in a time when few roles are written for black men, and white people in blackface perform most of them. That chance finally comes when noted play write Eugene O’Neill (John Hensley) writes his newest play The Emperor Jones about a leader of Haiti and he wants Charles for the role.

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Movie Review – The King of Staten Island

TL;DR – This is a deeply messy, often dysfunctional film, however despite this, or because of this, it sucks you into its world and makes you care for every single character.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The King of Staten Island. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Today we review a film that fits in an odd space. It is both a fictional film in many respects but also semi-autobiographical. The leading cast member Pete Davidson is quite famous in the US for Saturday Night Live, but we don’t really get that here in Australia. All of this led to me walking into that cinema not knowing what to expect, and if I had expected anything, it would not have been what we got.

So to set the scene, Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is a high school drop out that spends all day smoking weed with his friends and tattooing them … well not great .. Obama … He suffers from several medical problems, as well as the weight of pain that comes from his father, who died saving people from a fire when Scott was just a kid. His world starts to fall apart after his sister Claire (Maude Apatow) moves away for college and his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) finally begins to move on with her life.

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Lights Out and Season Seven

TL;DR – A fun episode from start to finish and a great way to finish the season

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Lights Out and Season Seven

It is the end of a season, but thankfully not the end of the series, so what does the show have in store for us. Well, a good season finally has to close a season, but also be a good episode in its own right, while also getting it ready to propel it into the future. Tonight we get an episode that I think does all of that and more.  

So to set the scene, it is the end of the day and the whole team is getting ready for a nice break, even longer for Santiago (Melissa Fumero) as this is the last day before she goes to on maternity leave. Everything is great right up until the moment the power goes out, not just in the precinct but in all of Brooklyn. There is a moment of quiet and then the whole city explodes in chaos and Holt (Andre Braugher) and Terry (Terry Crews) just so happened to be in an elevator, so Amy is in charge, but why does she need sweat pants? Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.         

 

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Dillman

TL;DR – A fun episode from start to finish that played off each of the cast’s strengths.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Dillman. Image Credit: NBC.

Review

As the seventh season from Brooklyn Nine-Nine draws to a close in a couple of episodes, it has been really good to see them swing for the fences each episode. This week we get an episode that is quite small in scope but it pays off years of character developments.

So to set the scene, Jake (Andy Samberg) is in Holt’s (Andre Braugher) office because now he is captain again he is on a selection committee for a new city-wide task force called STOASRCEIUEO, which no shocker, Holt helped name. Everything was going fine, okay, Jake did his application in the form of a rap, so everything was not going fine. But things got worse when the precinct exploded. It seems that someone tried to prank Jake with a glitter bomb and it backfired. But who in the precinct could have done it? Well, there is one detective that Holt trusts to solve the case, Dillman (J.K. Simmons). Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so you better believe that there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Late Night

TL;DR – It has strong characters, a great story, and some of the best laughs so far this year while still having substance behind it.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Late Night. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

Well, 2019 has not been the best year for comedy, with very few films getting that double goal of being both funny but also having some substance to it. However, when I walked into Late Night I was more than a little optimistic about its prospects. That is because the writer and star Mindy Kaling is an amazing comedian and Emma Thompson is always bringing her A-game. Well, as I walked out it was nice to realise that I was able to get at least something right this year.

So to set the scene, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the first-ever female host of a late-night talk show and has been a mainstay of the late-night world for decades. She has won multiple Emmys and awards but the show has stagnated over the last couple of years and her new boss Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) is looking to shake things up with a replacement host. Meanwhile, Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) works at a chemical plant and uses the plant’s connections to interview for a job she has always wanted as a writer at a late-night comedy show. Her interview went poorly, but Katherine now needs to shake things up and well this might be it.

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TV Review – When They See Us

TL;DR – This is a series that I think is important for everyone to see because what we do has consequences and those consequences can be ruined lives.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

When They See Us. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

When I loaded up this limited series, I kind of had an idea of what to expect. I had heard about the Central Park Five before and I thought I had a rough framework as to what happened and of course, having the blowhard-in-chief double down on it helped bring it all back into focus. However, while I understood what happened, it was an intellectual knowledge and not an emotional one. While I walked in here with what I thought was understanding, I now know I had no idea, none what so ever.

So to set the scene, one evening in April in New York City a group of young people of mostly African-American decent came together to have a bit of a raucous in Central Park. Soon the police arrived and brought a bunch of them in disturbing the peace after roughing more than a few of them in the process. However, later that night in the north section of the park woman was found clinging to life after being raped and assaulted. It is at this point that detective Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman) draws the connection between the two incidents. Soon Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk), Antron McCray (Caleel Harris), Yusef Salaam (Ethan Herisse), Raymond Santana (Marquis Rodriguez), and Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome) are dragged in front of the police, with no adults present. Soon the police would have their confessions, for assault and rape, confessions that looked dubious even under the most cursory inspection.

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