Westworld: Que Sera, Sera & Full Season 4 – TV Review

TL;DR – While I am not sure it landed its final episode, this season was a successful course correction, and I hope they make that one last test.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Man In Black appears from the smoke.

Westworld Review

Ever since the second season of Westworld failed to capture the dramatic highs of that first season, people felt that it could never live up to the hype it built. However, I still found Season Two to be engaging, and even more, it is still the high watermark for the show for me with Kiksuya. I also enjoyed Season Three’s more streamlined narrative. However, there was a feeling that maybe the show didn’t have much more to explore. Well, if nothing else, Season Four showed the latter assertion plainly wrong. With our review today, we are first going to look at the season [or possible series] finale before taking a broader exploration of the season as a whole.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s Metanoia, the host copy of The Man In Black (Ed Harris) went on a killing spree, first killing the original Man In Black (Ed Harris) before taking out Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Before that can even sink in, he causes the control tones from the tower to infect every human being left on the planet to send them into a murderous rage. As Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) with Teddy (James Marsden) tries to stop the carnage, and Caleb (Aaron Paul), his daughter C (Aurora Perrineau), and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) try to escape it. One thing is clear: this might end sentient life on Earth. 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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Westworld: Zhuangzi – TV Review

TL;DR – There is a new God, and they are bored with the human race.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Christina discovers the control she has.

Westworld Review

There are some aspects of Westworld that hide in the subtext, and there are others that blare at you like a foghorn. Today’s title is Zhuangzi, which takes its name from one of the core works of Taoism. Its view of a central authority starkly contrasts with other core philosophical schools of China. That tension has been playing out across Westworld’s many seasons and, as we will see, the episode today.

So to set the scene, as we have been going through the season, Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) have been on a mission to stop Hale/Delores (Tessa Thompson) and her mission to take over the world through the use of parasites. We didn’t know until the closing moments of Generation Loss is that Hale had already won that war a whole generation ago. She has such control over the human race, using audible sounds from the tower, that she can stop and the entire city in its tracks like it was one large Westworld park, and everyone was a host. But in the deep desert, the long-buried remains of Maeve were unearthed by the prophetic Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), and a rebellion is on the move. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Westworld: Generation Loss – TV Review

TL;DR – All things become clear, but in a Westworld way that asks far more questions than it answers    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Maeve drags Caleb to the evac point.

Westworld Review

There are many strengths to a show like Westworld. They get to play around in an interesting setting, actors take on these grand roles that let them chew all the scenery, and you get to mess with people’s expectations all the time. In Season Four, we have been getting all those things, and a plot that is moving like a cheater is chasing it in the Serengeti. The question is, can it run out of steam? Well, it hasn’t today.

So to set the scene, at the end of Annees Folles, Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) know they we walking into a trap, but not a trap with Caleb’s daughter (Celeste Clark) as bait, and the infestation of mind-controlling parasites as the goal. We open with Caleb screaming as the parasites take control, but Maeve is not ready to get taken out by The Man in Black (Ed Harris) just yet. Meanwhile, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) have been rounded up by the rebels and C (Aurora Perrineau) and her boss (Daniel Wu), who are trying to work out if they are useful or if they should just have them killed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [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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Movie Review – Men in Black: International (MIB: International)

TL;DR – A film that is funny in places, has some good effects and cast, but can’t escape its boilerplate plot    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Men in Black: International. Image Credit: Sony.

Review

Back in the day, oh goodness, 1997 was over two decades ago, I had no idea that a moth floating through the air was going to lead to something just magical. That first Men in Black film was like lighting in a bottle, hell I still have that theme song playing in my head from time to time. However, since then the follow-up films have never been able to capture, or even come close to that first film (though the cartoon series almost did). Flash forward to last year when I heard that they were taking another shot at the series, honestly, I felt a bit mostly meh. But then they announced that it was going to be headed by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. Well if there is a way to get me instantly interested in something it is to cast Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth and let’s see how they did.

So to set the scene, back in 2016 Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and High T (Liam Neeson) arrive in Paris to stop a catastrophe, for the Hive, a destructive species, was about to use The Eiffel Tower to gate onto Earth and take it over. We then find ourselves with a young girl called Molly (Mandeiya Flory) who got to see the Men in Black in action and hid so she never had her memories wiped by the Neuralyzer. Now in 2018, all grown up Molly (Tessa Thompson) tries to find the MIB and after a lifetime hunt, she is given status as a probationary officer and sent to the London Branch where something does not seem right.      

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Movie Review – Creed II

TL;DR – While it may tread along a path that is a bit predictable, the commitment of the actors and the emotion make it a must-see film.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Creed II. Image Credit: MGM/Warner Bros.

Review

Back in 2015, I didn’t really have any great desire to go see the first Creed film, a spin-off of a long-running boxing series that had felt like it was running out of steam didn’t seem like an enjoyable time in a world where remake after remake was getting greenlit. However, some people that I trust called me on my reluctance and really recommended it, so reluctantly I went and soon discovered how wrong I was. It was a beautiful film of struggle and triumph, fighting when no one believes in you, and how we battle both are internal and external demons. It was the film that immediately put Michael B.Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and Ryan Coogler on my radar of performers to watch out for and ended up on my Top 10 Films of 2015 list. So when I heard they were doing a sequel I was incredibly excited, when I heard Ryan was not directing or writing it, I got a little concerned, but now I have seen it once again I should have known better.   

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TV Review – Westworld: Season Two

TL;DR – When it works it is some of the best TV on the planet at the moment, when it doesn’t well at least it is still well shot and acted.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Season Two. Image Credit: HBO

 

Review

With The Passenger (see review) coming to a close we have reached the end of Westworld’s Season Two. It was a season of competing timelines, the coming of a war, a mother searching for her child, and a lone warrior standing up when everyone needed him too. Today we are going to look at the highs and lows of Westworld’s sophomore season as we return to the holiday destination now turned into a massacre. So say goodbye The Maze and hello to The Door.

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TV Review – Westworld: The Passenger

TL;DR – It is the end and more than I expected they actually brought the timelines to a conclusion, whilst providing more and more questions for every answer they answered.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Post-Credit Scene.

 

The Passenger. Image Credit HBO.

 

Review

It started all the way back in Journey into Night (see review) with someone washing up on a beach while surrounded by death at every turn and as the season has gone on it has been more of the same. There has been slaughters, a jaunt into The Raj and Shogun World, betrayals, love, loss, and a threat of a mecha bison. Well after all this time, today we come to the end of Season Two as multiple timelines rush together and we finally make it to the Valley Beyond.

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TV Review – Westworld: Vanishing Point

TL;DR – We are back to where the rest of this second half of the season has left us, and well I just wish at this point it was a bit more.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Vanishing Point. Image Credit: HBO.

 

Review

Today we get into the pointy end of the season with the penultimate episode, where lines are drawn, armies marshalled, and the endpoint is in sight. I do have to say coming into this episode I am much more optimistic than I have been for a while. As Season Two has progressed it has felt like it has been a season of diminishing returns as the Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Man in Black (Ed Harris) storylines really started to drag. Indeed, one of the few things that have been getting me through the season has been Maeve’s (Thandie Newton) story of trying to get back to her daughter (Jasmyn Rae). However, all of that changed in last week’s Kitsuya (see review) when we were introduced to Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) properly was a jolt to the system, but can it continue, well let’s see.

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TV Review – Westworld: Kiksuya

TL;DR – In a dramatic return to form, Westworld shows that when it is firing on all cylinders it can be so very good, and this week we see it as we focus in on only one character.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Kiksuya banner

 

Review

Well, this was a complete surprise and I honestly didn’t see it coming. In a season that has all been about jumping timelines, exploding trains, mystery boxes, and rampaging warriors. However, this week we take a step back and focus in on really only one character someone who has been there all season on the periphery and now we find out that there I much more to their story.

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