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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The Suicide Squad – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that finally made me care about these characters but one that also suffered from some narrative bloat    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.

The Suicide Squad. Image Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures.

The Suicide Squad Review

In life, you rarely get the chance to make a second first impression. For every Parks and Rec that gets to find its feet in its second season, many more fall by the wayside after their first attempt. Well, today, DC gives us a film that is a second chance to bring a set of characters and scenarios into the DCEU to see if they work, and the answer to that question is yes … mostly.

So to set the scene, we open in with Savant (Michael Rooker) in prison attacking birds with his bouncing ball. But before he has time to finish his time off, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) tells him that he has been conscripted into a mission. Within moments he is rushed to the island of Corto Maltese, with Weasel (Sean Gunn), Javelin (Flula Borg), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), TDK (Nathan Fillion), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Their mission is to infiltrate the island and get past the military patrols, as the island recently suffered a military coup. It is all going well right up until Weasel dies because he can’t swim, and Blackguard immediately sells them out.     

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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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Loki: Glorious Purpose – TV Review

TL;DR – A complete set-up episode that was still filled with a lot of potential.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Loki: Glorious Purpose. Image Credit: Disney+.

Loki: Glorious Purpose Review

Of all the recent MCU/Disney+ shows, there has been one that I have felt a lot of trepidation for. The Character of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) had its big arc after the events of Avengers, so resetting him back to that mark. Well, it felt like it would take a lot of work to stick that landing. In today’s episode, we get to see if it all holds up or not.   

So to set the scene, we start right at the time heist amid Avengers Endgame, where Loki took an opportunity to escape when the Tesseract lands in front of him. Something that decidedly did not happen in the original Avengers. With the Infinity Stone’s power, Loki jumps out of New York and lands in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. He immediately starts on his “you shall kneel” shtick when a door opens up and some goons in black walk out. Loki is charged with crimes against the Sacred Timeline and immediately punched in slow motion. We will be looking at the episode as a whole from here, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Captain America and The Winter Soldier): One World, One People – TV Review

TL;DR – What a stunning end to a remarkable story.  

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 (Captain America and The Winter Soldier): One World, One People. Image Credit: Disney+.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review

And so it has come to an end. I was unsure what The Falcon and The Winter Soldier would explore rather than let Anthony Mack and Sebastian Stan banter with each other for six episodes. However, as we have gone through this first(?) season, it is clear that the show was, of course, ready for the banter, but it wanted more. Well, today, we take a look to see, after all that promise, if the show sticks the landing.  

So to set the scene, we open in one the end of Truth, as the Flag Smashers make a move and attack the central GRC meeting in New York. Karli (Erin Kellyman) holds off until Sam (Anthony Mackie), Bucky (Sebastian Stan), and a surprise Sharon (Emily VanCamp) arrive on the scene. But Sam understands the plan. Karli wants them to evacuate because that is where she is going to attack. The question is that in the chaos, can Sam stop things before they go too far. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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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WandaVision: The Full Series (Season 1?) – TV Review

TL;DR – A show that intrigued me from start to finish

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

WandaVision: The Full Series (Season 1?). Image Credit: Disney+.
WandaVision: The Full Series (Season 1?). Image Credit: Disney+.

WandaVision Review

While Marvel has dabbled in long-form storytelling tangentially connected to the MCU before with the Agents of Shield and the Netflix universe of Daredevil and others, these were always created in a sort of cauterised and closed off worlds all to themselves. This, of course, reflected the internal Marvel divisions of the time where Kevin Feige headed the film department, but Ike Perlmutter controlled the TV. Well back in 2019, all of that shifted as TV shifted under Feige’s control, and for the first time, all of it was under one house. Our first look at what that will be has come in the form of WandaVision, which we will look back on the full season today. 

So to set the scene, we open sitcom entrance style where we see Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) arriving at a new town of Westview. A newly married couple is settling into a small town where they are pretending that she is not a witch and he is not an android, but an average couple. Everything is going well until their neighbour Angus (Kathryn Hahn) comes over and helps Wanda plan her ‘anniversary’, which leads to a dinner party that hints more is going on in the sleepy town of Westview. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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WandaVision: The Series Finale – TV Review

TL;DR – A beautiful conclusion to a fascinating series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

WandaVision: The Series Finale. Image Credit: Disney+.

WandaVision Review

When we started WandaVision all the way back with Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience, I’m not sure we knew where we were going to end up. However, after many twists and turns, we are here in the finale. With that in mind, let’s dive into the final episode of Marvel’s first real attempt at long-form storytelling in the MCU.

So to set the scene, in last week’s Previously On, we got a trip down memory lane as Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) tried to work out how Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) was able to build the world from scratch. We found out that Wanda is actually the fabled Scarlet Witch because she can create matter out of nothing as she did with Vision (Paul Bettany). Of course, she makes this reveal while threatening to kill Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), which bluntness the reveal’s overall reverence. Meanwhile, Vision is flying back after having his history told to him by Darcy (Kat Dennings), Fake Pietro (Evan Peters) captured Monica (Teyonah Parris) snooping around the house, Agent Woo (Randall Park) is the only good guy left outside The Hex, which is essential because SWORD has activated the cataract program which reinitialised Dead Vision’s body creating White Vision (Paul Bettany). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some MAJOR [SPOILERS] ahead.

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