What If: Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead Of His Hands

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Stephen Strange, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, goes on a hunt for answers after the death of his love Christina Palmer, voiced by Rachel McAdams, and what starts out with good intentions quickly morphs into something perverse.

I think this was a very high calibre episode, certainly up there with the murder mystery one and Captain Carter; maybe better. What I think this episode does so well is that it tells a very personal story but incorporates a lot of big themes and concepts into it, so as we focus our attention souly on the life and loves of Stephen Strange the MCU is also expanding all around us.

Another thing I enjoyed about this episode was that it finally gave Jeffery Wright’s Uatu something to do. I understand he is a Watcher and is forbidden to get involved with the events he sees, but they could at least give him something. Other than the narration each episode and maybe a shot of him watching he is basically absent from the show. This is rectified here as Uatu shows up during the events of the episode and talks to Strange as the episode ends, it finally gives him an active role.

Moreover, I also enjoyed the further exploration of the magical side of the MCU, and I thought the conjuring/consumption scenes during the episode were intriguing, especially as it pertains to the supernatural within the MCU, maybe Mephisto can appear yet.

My one complaint of the episode would be that it ends on rather a down note and that it leaves you feeling depressed, but I suppose that was the point.

Overall, a deeply personal look into the mystical side of the MCU

Pros.

Expanding the mystical side of the MCU

Making Doctor Strange feel more human

The emotion

Finally giving Uatu something to do

Cons.

The ending is depressing

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings: Now We Have Dragons In The MCU

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Shang Chi, Simu Liu, must confront his past and his family in order to save the planet. A world of martial arts, dragons and family drama is explored.

Sadly Fin Fang Foom is not in this movie, I even waited till the very end to see if we were going to get a tease, we don’t. However, that is not to say their aren’t any dragons in this film we get two: The Great Protector and The One Who Dwells In Darkness, or something like that. Can I just pause for a moment and say how cool it is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe now has dragons in it. I very much enjoyed seeing this new magical world being explored and opened up, I can’t wait to explore it more in a sequel.

In terms of acting I think Simu Liu makes for a very capable leading man being both funny and charming throughout. Ben Kingsley returns to reprise his role of Trevor Slattery from the third Iron Man film and easily makes up for the sins of that film and lands some of the best jokes in the entire MCU. Continuing on that note this is easily one of the funniest films in the MCU and the comedy really enhances the film and adds a lot to it.

My one complaint of the film would be that the fight scenes aren’t very impressive. Watched in a vacuum without other films, without all the hype, someone might think these fight scenes were cool and impressive. However, in context of the genre, or at least the genre they are trying to emulate they are about five years out of date. Whilst the fight scenes are more intense and better structured than most in the MCU, when compared to something like the IP Man films, The Raid or even John Wick they feel like poor copies of other fight scenes done better elsewhere, and that is a big disappointment.

The breakout star of this film is easily Meng’er Zhang, she manages to out-badass Shang Chi himself and the final post credits scene promises something very exciting for the characters future. I personally found myself connecting more with her emotional journey and family baggage than I did with Shang Chi but that is not to say both weren’t well done.

Overall, a good Marvel film but an average martial arts film.

Pros.

The mystical side of the MCU is expanded further

Meng’er Zhang

Simu Liu

The comedy

Cons.

Pacing issues

Average fight scenes    

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

What If: The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Someone is killing off Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, what would a world look like where the Avengers never formed?

The concept of this is far more interesting than the previous Star Lord episode, that is already a point in its favour as far as I am concerned.

I thought it was a little awkward how Black Widow centric this episode is considering what is going on with Scarlett Johansson and Disney in the real world, however she is not voiced by Johannsson here. I thought the mystery was actually quite well done and surprising, and much like the first episode this is a reality I would like to explore again in later seasons of the show.

The one thing I would say about this episode in a negative light is that it is the first time within the show were I have thought how limiting the ‘no new characters’ rule is. Can you imagine the finale of this episode whereby Nick Fury stands with a whole different team of Avengers to defeat Loki, maybe with some faces we have not even met yet, personally I think it would have been a hugely exciting moment.

That aside I think this is a fairly strong episode, I enjoyed the voice cast and thought everyone seemed to be having fun especially Lake Bell as Black Widow and Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.

Overall, fun and with a dense premise rich for further exploration.

Pros.

The mystery

Bringing back scenes from The Incredible Hulk

The ending

Coulson and Black Widow

Cons.

They should have used the death of the Avengers as a spring board to introduce some new characters.   

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

What If: T’Challa Became Star Lord?

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

T’Challa becomes Star Lord instead of Peter Quill, and maybe even does it better?

I think this was a very average episode. Nothing really blew me away about it, really it just feels like they are recycling the plot’s of other Marvel films for extra profits, yes with a few changes but the story structure feels much the same.

I thought the idea of space Black Panther was interesting, Chadwick Boseman has a lot of fun and it is nice to see him back in the role, even if it is bittersweet when you remember. Moreover, I thought the idea that Black Panther was in fact a better Star Lord than the one we have come to know quite amusing, I liked how even Drax liked him more.

The biggest issue with this episode is by far its plot, because once it gets past the initial charm of T’Challa in space, it is just a generic heist plot that has no stakes at all. Once the episode switches to the heist my mind just turns off, I don’t care about some McGuffin that the characters are trying to steal that likely will never come back in the MCU again.

Moreover, I thought the sting at the end about how the Peter Quill of this universe is getting on was actually more entertaining and interesting than the story we got.

Overall, though Boseman is strong the rest of the episode isn’t, and it feels incredibly mediocre.

Pros.

Boseman

The concept

Thanos but as a good guy

Cons.

The heist plot

It is very generic  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Avengers Age Of Ultron: Hawkeye’s Moment In The Sun

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Science Bros themselves create an artificial intelligence with the goal of ensuring world peace, however rather unsurprisingly it becomes evil.

I don’t think this is near the top of anyone’s list of favourite MCU films. My issues with this film come from the way it is structured and paced. The film feels like it goes on for about an hour too long, and during the exorbitant runtime it sets up a million different things for future films, some of which don’t even end up happening. Truly, therein lies the problem with this film, it is trying to do too much. A lot of Marvel films set up things to come, but this film feels more focused on what is coming then it does on actually being a good film. This can be seen best in the end credits sting of Thanos coming to get the gauntlet, which whilst a cool visual has little to do with the MCU in that moment.

Moreover, the romance between Black Widow, Scarlett Johannsson, and Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo, is one of the most poorly thought out decisions in the MCU. Firstly, Winter Soldier gave us Natasha in a staring role where her merit is not decided on being someone’s girlfriend or her ability to have kids, yet here she is reduced to a supporting character and Hulk’s girlfriend. Ew. Secondly, there is a line in which Natasha refers to herself as a monster for the fact she can’t have children, despite being forcefully sterilised whilst in the Red Room program, pardon me what? What sort of message does this send? It also destroys Hulk as a character as he does not really say anything to reassure her after she says this, the whole scene is needless. Finally, the relationship existing at all devalues and basically nullifies Banner’s relationship with Betsy Ross, Liv Tyler, from his solo film, which was the heart and soul of that film, so that sucks.

There are things I like about this film such as the introduction of the Twins and Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, getting far more of an expanded role. I think this is the best we have ever seen Hawkeye and likely will ever see him, here he gets a number of heroic moments and really does standout amongst the jacked line up. Moreover, the decision to blend horror into Wanda’s, Elizabeth Olsen, early appearances by having her movements be played backwards is a stroke of pure genius and as a creative choice really works for me.

Overall, it has its moments but is by far one of the weaker MCU films.

Pros.

Scarlet Witch’s early movement

Hawkeye

The final scene at Avengers Academy

Cons.

The Black Widow/Hulk romance

The scene where Natasha reveals she can’t have kids

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Captain America The Winter Soldier: If A Government Agency Wants The Ability To Kill Anyone Anywhere Generally They Are Evil.

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Captain America, Chris Evans, is forced to question what and who he is fighting for, when Shield, the government agency he has been fighting for turns out to be overrun with nefarious forces hellbent on world domination.

Until Antman and the Wasp came out this was my favourite MCU film. I watched it several times when it first came out, but this is my first time rewatching it since. Whilst I still think this is one of the best films in the MCU, I can see that there are issues with it that I didn’t see the first time around namely the pacing.

I enjoyed the deeply personal feel of the film, and the great character work between Cap and those around him. I think the character interactions are at their strongest with Cap and Scarlett Johannsson’s Black Widow, with this really being the film for me where she really came into the character and established a firm presence within the MCU. Moreover, I like the set up and building friendship between Cap and Sam Wilson, Anthony Mackie. Evans and Mackie have strong chemistry together and this makes for a number of strong humorous scenes.

I thought the Hydra twist worked really well and is an excellent choice to reset the MCU status quo. Moreover, the return of Bucky, Sebastian Stan, now as a villain is a stroke of genius as it furthers the emotional and moral burden on Caps shoulders. Even when first watching I knew the film was going to bring back Bucky as I was familiar with the character from the comics, however for those who are not familiar with the source material this would have been quite a surprising reveal I am sure.

Chris Evans performance as Cap is even better than it was in the first film, and that is saying something. He plays the do-gooder who no longer knows how to do good so well, and I enjoy the morality of the character and his decisions this time around. I think Evan’s performance emotes this split in the character, and he does a lot without saying very much at all. Certainly one of the best performances in the MCU.

Overall, a strong MCU film that has a few slow scenes but on the whole manages to be one of the best films in the MCU.

Pros.

Evans

Johansson

The twist

The Winter Soldier

Cons.

The pacing is off    

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Avengers: The Film That Changed Hollywood

4.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The phase one heroes finally assemble, and we get to see the birth of the Avengers.

Rewatching this now, all these years later the magic is still there. There is just something about seeing all these heroes interacting on screen for the first time that just resonates no matter how many times you have seen it. Each character and even the main supporting characters are all given their moment and it truly does feel like an ensemble, a team building activity.

The reason I didn’t give this a five as you might have expected me to, is because of Loki and the strange characterisation he is given. Up until this point the only other time we have seen the character is in Thor, so that is what I will judge him off, in that film he is villainous sure, but he is also redeemable and remorseful by the end, he is more along the antihero line. Here however, he is uncharacteristically evil, wanting to ‘crush the ants’ and basically make humans a slave race, and yes you could say it was Thanos messing with his head or the mind stone, but to me it seems like bad writing. Maybe originally a different villain was supposed to be used here, one that would make more sense as being a purely evil character and he was rewritten to be Loki as the character proved popular. A few comedic scenes thrown in here and there can’t distract from the noticeable change.

I think my personal favourite thing about this film is Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. Coulson was always there is the background in most of the early films and yes here and there he got a witty one liner or had a memorable moment, but it was not until this film that he really came into his own as a character. He is the heart and soul of this film, and the choice to have him die here is simply a master stroke as it ends up with you feeling the same way the characters do which helps you to connect with them more and give greater meaning to the Avengers forming. Moreover, as a moment it is surprising as you quickly learn just how much you care about this fairly average background character.

Overall, a film that doesn’t nearly everything right.

Pros.

The character work

The set up

The character interactions

The final battle

The humour

Cons.

Loki

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

What If: Captain Carter Were The First Avenger?

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

An Elseworlds tale that answers the question what if Peggy Carter got the Super Soldier Serum rather than Steve Rogers.

Personally I am loving how political phase four of the MCU is getting, with this first episode, Black Widow and Falcon And The Winter Soldier, all addressing worldly issues I feel the MCU is finally in a place where it can start making statements. This episode goes hard on how Peggy up until this point has been shut out and overlooked because of her gender, I like that by doing this and then having her become Captain Carter it allows the character to feel far more like a feminist icon. I enjoyed seeing how she played off the other male characters after she had the serum, especially when she said to the, deeply sexist, general character that he was ‘lucky to even be in the room’, that was a cheer worthy moment for me.

I liked how this episode gave us moments that would already be familiar to us as MCU fans but put a twist on them, we get to see Bucky not fall off the train, no one getting frozen in ice and Steve Rogers becoming a totally different superhero. I thought this was fascinating and by far the biggest selling point of the show, as the idea of what if this changed is always one that keeps you coming back.

I enjoyed what this episode did with Peggy and Steve, showing the romance more from her point of view. I thought it was just as sweet and as heart-breaking as it was the first time we saw it in The First Avenger, hopefully Captain Carter will get to go back in time and get her dance with her sweet heart just like Steve Rogers did in the main timeline- just hopefully with a few more adventures before that for us all to enjoy.

My only issue with the episode and it is only a minor thing is that Chris Evans is not back to voice Steve Rogers. It is strange as almost everyone else is back Hayley Atwell is back as Peggy, Dominic Cooper is back as Howard Stark even Toby Jones is back as Zola, so it seems like a pretty big deal that Evans isn’t back in the role. Maybe they couldn’t afford him, maybe he didn’t want to come back but to me it felt a little jarring to hear someone else voicing the character. Hopefully I won’t have the same issue when we get to the Iron Man episode.

Overall, a really strong starting episode that introduced us perfectly to Captain Carter hopefully we get to see tons more from her in the years to come.

Pros.

Captain Carter

Getting political

The monster at the end

The same but different

Cons.

Not getting Evan’s back

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Captain America The First Avenger: Lying On Top Of Grenades

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Little guy Steve Rogers, Chris Evans, is given a super soldier serum because he is pure of heart, once this happens he is sent over seas to be the US poster boy for the Western Front conflict.

I the Captain America movies are always the best or amongst the top tier of any MCU phase, certainly this is true of phase one of the MCU. What I enjoy the most about this film is the earnestness of Evan’s performance, you buy him as this guy who has been picked on all his life but who never gives in and who always stands up for what he believes in. Moreover, what separates Captain America from someone like Iron Man is the fact that he wholly just a good person that tries to see the best in people, whereas Iron Man is the loveable rouge, which can be grating.

I think of Phase one the Red Skull is easily the best villain; it is a real loss that Hugo Weaving does not want to come back. Weaving brings a lot to the role, he plays evil well whether it is through facial acting, subtle mannerism or line delivery. I thought his character was just as menacing before he took his face off and that is all on Weaving.

Furthermore, I liked seeing the formation of an early Shield team. I thought Hayley Atwell was superb as Agent Carter, I am glad that What If is bringing the character back there is a lot more there to explore and the series didn’t do her justice- though that is more the fault of the cancelation than anything else. Moreover, I thought Dominic Cooper was a strong Howard Stark, who I liked more than the other version we get. Additionally if you’re reading Disney executives you should make a young Howard Stark show with Dominic Copper back in the role, it would be fantastic to see him in the war setting and during the cold war, you could have him age into the later version of the character.

Overall, the best of the origin movies.

Pros.

Chris Evans

The likeability

Hayley Atwell

Dominic Cooper  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Iron Man 2: Poison In The Heart

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr, has to answer the sins of his father and hold off the US Government from stealing his property.

So to many this is one of the worst films in the MCU, however, I enjoy it. I enjoyed it when I first watched it in cinemas, I enjoyed it when I first watched the DVD and I enjoyed it when I rewatched it recently. There are a plethora of reasons for this.

Unlike a lot of people I actually find Mikey Rourke’s Whiplash to be an interesting villain and Sam Rockwell is a lot of fun as Tony’s jealous rival. Are they the best written of all the MCU villains? No of course not, but I enjoyed Rourke’s cartoonish evil performance, and Rockwell’s pathetic yet trying to pretend not to be character. I found both amusing.

Moreover, I really like what they do with Rhodey, Don Cheadle, here. I am a big War Machine fan and I like when they have the final showdown with the two of them just going to town on all those drones. I think across the tapestry of the MCU Rhodey has been deprived of anything even close to a cool moment, and this is as good as it gets for him. I thought the final scene of Tony, Rhodey and Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow, on the roof together was hilarious and a good indication of things to come.

However, something that does become more uncomfortably apparent when rewatching is just how much of a creep Tony Stark is. As a kid watching these films in the cinema Tony was my favourite character but watching them again now you notice how he is around women. Not only is he a misogynist, but he also literally only sees the women around him as sexual objects, for an example of what I am talking about one simply has to look at how he treats Natasha Romanoff, Scarlett Johansson, when they first meet, and he thinks she is just one of his employees. He is a creep.

Overall, I like it a lot more than a lot of other people, but I can see its flaws.

Pros.

Rhodey

The final fight

The roof top scene

Cons.

Tony is a creep

How they introduce Black Widow  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer