Doctor Strange Into The Multiverse Of Madness: You Better Have Watched All The Disney + Shows

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Following on from the events of Wandavision Wanda, played by Elizabeth Olsen, goes on a multiverse wide rampage to try and get her kids back, forcing Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and other mystical characters to try and stop her.

I think this may be my favourite Marvel film to date, or certainly up there in the top 3, I really enjoyed the Raimi elements to this film and I thought the horror sequences were terrific. I liked that this film felt a little darker and more supernatural than the rest of the MCU it gives me hope for characters like Blade and Ghost Rider. I thought the Raimi esque shot choices and transitions were just superb, it really gave this film a sense of identity all its own.

Moreover, despite some of the more unrefined criticism of this film saying how they turned Wanda into a bad guy, I thought this film did great things for her character and felt like a natural carry over from where the end of Wandavision left her. In the comics the character is deeply mentally unstable and crazy powerful this felt a true reflection of that, this idea that Wanda is a superhero and that she is a force for good only, is both not true and also just a creation of the MCU- one they now seem to be breaking.

I thought the new character of America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez was great she easily held her own both with Strange and Cumberbatch and I eagerly await to see what else they do with her character, most likely a Young Avengers show or film. In that same vein, I thought this film added a lot to most of the characters from the previous Doctor Strange film that helped to make them feel more rounded. I liked Strange and Wong’s, played by Benedict Wong, relationship and how Strange eventually comes to respect Wong as the new Sorcerer Supreme and also thought the film did justice to Rachel McAdams’ Christine from the first film, tying that up nicely.     

The things I didn’t like about this film were all quite minor, firstly I didn’t like the Illuminati I thought it felt far too much like blatant fan service and thought there was no point to them existing other than to give Wanda people to tear apart. I did like the Black Bolt, played by Anson Mount, death however, I thought that was gutsy and some nice unexpected gore. Secondly, I have issues with the post credits scenes, with the first I think it is too unclear what is going on, moreover unless you are an avid comics reader you will not know who Clea, played by Charlize Theron, is and will be left baffled. The second post credits scene is just annoying and makes you feel like you have wasted your time. Thirdly, I didn’t like Strange’s relationship with Baron Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, it felt very much like some scenes were missing there as there relationship made no sense being where it was based off the ending of the previous film.

Overall, I think this film is brave, brutal and great for the MCU. I hope very much they can talk Raimi into coming back to do more movies.

Pros.

The horror elements and the Raimi feel of the film

Wanda’s progression

Strange and Christine and Strange and Wong

America Chavez

The ending

Cons.

Too many cameos

Uneven storytelling with Mordo  

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The Batman: Trying Desperately To Replicate Nolan

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A new emotional  Batman, played by Robert Pattinson, is born. Is this Nolan? Not quite.

I will admit I liked this film more than I thought I was going to based on the trailers, there are a number of things that work here and a few major things that don’t, but to the positive first.

Jeffery Wright, Zoe Kravitz and Paul Dano are all terrific. Wright and Kravitz totally make the characters of Gordon and Kyle their own to such an extent that you can’t think about anyone else in the role. Yes, I do think these may become the definitive versions of these characters. Moreover, Dano is magnetic as Riddler and really makes the character come alive in a threatening, unstable way that has never been done on the big screen before, Dano’s Riddler is easily the star of the show.

Another positive is the world. This Gotham City feels very comics accurate; the deprivation and the despair are clear to see and inform the wider narrative of the film.  Reeves very accurately captures the world of Gotham as it appears in the comics.

Now onto my issues with the film.

This film really suffers pacing wise, I did say when it was announced that the film was going to be on for close to 3 hours that it was going to be an issue and I was proven quite right. After a while the film starts to drag and even becomes boring, this obviously hurts it tremendously.

Additionally, the film is clearly trying very hard to mimic Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and as such goes hard with the uber realism and grit. However, unlike Nolan’s films this really doesn’t land and comes across as silly, baffling or simply not as intended. Examples of what I am talking about can be seen as Batman rarely talks to people instead he just stairs, this might have seemed like a cool idea but doesn’t work, moreover, whenever Batman walks anywhere he does it so slowly that anyone could easily just run away, a lot of the time it is not even slow motion he is just barely strolling along. Though Reeves thinks this makes for an intense on-screen presence it actually instead becomes a recurring joke.

Lastly, the emo hot topic Batman played by Robert Pattinson certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, he wears copious amounts of eye makeup and acts like an angsty teen which at times does become grating, some of the lines are incredibly on the nose in this regard. Furthermore, I don’t think anyone will be coming away from this film saying what a great actor Pattinson is as he is really quite monotone throughout.

Overall, on the better side of fine, but not approaching truly good.

Pros.

Wright

Kravitz

Dano

Cons.

Emo Batman

The pacing

It tries to hard to copy what Nolan did

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Catwoman: Remember When Halle Berry Used To Be In Films

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Halle Berry is paraded around to be ogled and objectified.

Most agree that this is one of the worst superhero films ever made, as it takes everything fans know and like about Selina Kyle, here played by Halle Berry, and just throws most of it down the drain in favour of lusting after Berry for the runtime of the film. It is hard to watch this film now and not find it wildly sexist and problematic.

Berry for her part proves that maybe she isn’t such a good actor after all and that she should give back her Oscar and ask for forgiveness. She seems fully uninterested in the subject matter or in trying to give a performance that is anything other than wooden. Clearly her interest when signing on for this film was on whether it could become a franchise vehicle for her.

The writing and the plot are both laughably bad and the film feels like it is trying to divorce itself from the comic book source material, which is never a good move.

Overall, a terrible film best forgotten.

Pros.

It is laughably bad

Cons.

Berry

It is sexist

It has no respect for the character

It makes no sense

It has massive plot issues

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Catwoman Hunted: A New Voice For Catwoman?

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Catwoman, voiced by Elizabeth Gilles, becomes the subject of a manhunt after her attempt to steal a precious jewel lands her on the wrong side of a powerful crime organisation.

I would say as far as DC animated fare goes this was slightly above average. I thought Gillies did a very strong job as Catwoman and nearly perfectly fit the role, bringing just the right amount of charm and capability. Moreover, I liked the way the film handled her character and that it gave her some nice quips as well as strong character motivation.

In terms of the art style, I think of all the recent DC animated films this is the one that is the most obviously anime inspired, barring something like Batman Ninja for obvious reasons. I do like the animation here and think that it has its own distinctive feel which is important in making the film memorable.

My issues with the film would be two fold, firstly that the film has a rather generic story that far out stays its welcome and that gives us nothing that we haven’t seen before. Secondly Stephanie Beatriz is deeply miscast as Batwoman. I don’t quite know why but every time I heard Beatriz’s voice coming out of the character I couldn’t help but be pulled out of the film and think to myself ‘oh my she was miscast’. This is a shame as Encanto proved Beatriz is a talented voice actor.

Overall, in terms of what they did with the character and the wider style of the film it is good, however with regard to the lacklustre story and some of the weaker casting choices the film is let down.

Pros.

Gilles      

The character of Catwoman

The style

Cons.

The story

Beatriz

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Peacemaker: Best Friends, For Never

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Peacemaker, played by John Cena, tidies up after a wild night before and finds kinship in his old friend Vigilante, played by Freddie Stroma.

I think the show really finds its footing in this episode. I thought everything was firing on all cylinders the comedy was strong, the characters were strong, Cena carried on a great performance my only issue with it was that the side characters continue to go unexplored. Yes, there are little nuggets given to us here and there that give us a peak behind the curtain of the underdeveloped side characters, but I wish the show would commit more to this.

For example I thought the show did a good job introducing us to Vigilante, without actually telling us all that much about him. I thought the sequence of him and Peacemaker hanging out and bonding was funny as well as providing us with a nice amount of insight into their friendship. I also liked that this episode gave Harcourt, played by Jennifer Holland, more time to show off and her bar room brawl provided us with a well-executed action scene.  

I also like the White Dragon set up with Robert Patrick and hope that it gets furthered in the coming episodes.

Overall, a strong second episode in what is proving to be a very good DC series.

Pros.

The comedy

Cena

Vigilante

The set up for White Dragon

Cons.

The team could do with more development  

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Fantastic Four: The Bad Reboot

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

For some reason even though we had an origin story for the Fantastic Four barely a decade prior we are forced to witness another.

Why are people still trying to make Miles Teller a thing? He was good in Whiplash and then promptly nothing else, yet for a few years every big franchise seemed to want Teller, and if the on set fighting is to be believed he was probably best avoided. Hopefully those days are behind us, oh wait he’s in Top Gun the sequel.

The cast isn’t a total misfire Kate Mara as Sue Storm does her best and Jamie Bell has his moments as the Thing, but Miles teller and an entirely forgettable Michael B. Jordan do let down the foursome tremendously. That is not even to mention Dr Doom, played by Toby Kebbell, who is a monstrosity for all the wrong reasons.

I honestly think the worst thing about this film is the CGI, never in recent memory have I seen such appalling effects in a big budget studio film. How the film got released with the final third in that condition is baffling, it makes the CGI mess finales of the MCU and DCEU look appealing.

Overall, people should have been fired over this, and most likely they did.

Pros.

Mara

Bell

Cons.

Dr Doom

Teller

The third act

Jordan

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The Amazing Spider-Man Two: The Sinisterness Of Sony

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, tries his best to defeat the handful of villain thrown at him as Sony tries desperately to set up the Sinister Six.

I returned to this film in the days post No Way Home to see if it was as bad as I remember it being, and honestly it wasn’t, it is by no means good, but it certainly has its moments.

I think this film can be split into two halves, one of which I will focus heavily on and the other I will quickly discard. To be discarded is everything with the blue skinned Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, my, my Sony really dropped the ball with him, who thought that this is what the character should look or be like. That was all bad. Effects, acting, everything.

Now the other half that I will focus on as I think this was the redeemable part of the film, the Green Goblin, here played by Dean DeHaan. Now I want to lead with a big preface here, I think by and large DeHaan was miscast, however he did his best with it. He was never going to live up to Dafoe and he was only really there as a means to set up the Sinister Six, they are sinister because they are so forced in. All that aside I did buy the fallout between his character and Garfield’s Parker, I enjoyed their rivalry and thought the whole scene between him, Parker and Gwen, played by Emma Stone, was magic. Really it is that scene and Garfield’s response to it that manages to save this film for me.

I know I sound like an Andrew Garfield stan at this point, and if I were ever to meet the man I would probably be embarrassed at how much I sing his praises but he is just magnificent here and I would say off the three Spider-Men actors he is easily the best one at playing the character. Hopefully Sony gives him another film to continue his Spider-Man arc.

Overall, Garfield and Stone are silver linings, but Sony being themselves and everything with Fox’s Electro really drags this film down.

Pros.

Stone

Garfield

The emotion

Cons.

The Sinister Six side plot

DeHaan is badly miscast

Everything about Electro

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Spider-Man No Way Home: Who Is Coming Through That Portal

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, finally faces some consequences for being Spider-Man.

Spoilers ahead.

This was a good Spider-Man film and probably the best of the Holland run so far, but was it the best Marvel film of the year….. No that to me is still The Eternals. I know…. I know….

I will get the things I don’t like about this film out of the way first, they really aren’t major, the first thing was I didn’t like that Aunt May, here played by Marisa Tomei, was given the great power great responsibility line, because that means the chances of seeing Uncle Ben in the MCU are shot. Secondly I didn’t like that the film went out of its way to make the villains likeable, of course in the end they broke bad, but for the early parts of the film it genuinely felt like the film didn’t have stakes as Peter easily beat them and then they were fairly nice with him, however this changed midway through.

Now on to everything that worked. I liked, though it will make me sound like a sadist that Spider-Man was finally broken in this film, in the Maguire and Garfield runs both of their Peter Parker’s had already faced major traumas by this point in the run so it was nice to see Holland be given that. I think this added to the emotional impact of his performance and really gave him something to work with, the ending of the film is fairly glum yet it feels earned and it fits with the character and I think that is something to be praised.

Moreover, the film did indeed bring back Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, which was brilliant to see and made me very excited in the cinema. However, what I think people will be more excited for is the fact that yes both Garfield and Maguire return in this film, to varying degrees of goodness. Honestly I think Garfield is outstanding here, he steals the scene every time he is in it, his version of Peter Parker shines the brightest in this film and the broken, angry and deeply emotional Spider-Man that he plays here is a nice take on the character.

In terms of the wider MCU this film does a lot of expanding, however I do wish the film had left it more open ended. In the end all of the multiversal collapse is reversed, or at least so we think, and things seem neatly tied up, I thought it would have been far more interesting if the film hadn’t gone this way.

Overall, a strong film and one that is bound to be a crowd-pleaser.

Pros

Cox

Garfield

Maguire

The emotion and suffering of Peter Parker

Cons.

Making the villains a bit too likeable

Aunt May’s with great power line

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The Eternals: The New Gods Of The MCU

4.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A race of space faring beings known as Eternals have been on Earth for thousands of years and now they are finally stepping out into the limelight in order to save the world, naturally.

Major Spoilers Incoming

The trailers for this film did it no favours. Then the critics reviews came in and savaged it for the most part. I went in with incredibly low expectations, however I was pleased to say this might have been one of the best MCU films so far.

To address the main concern up front the action in this film is used sparingly, as in to say there is less here then in other Marvel films, however what is here is used well. The action scenes often carry with them a large amount of tension and stakes that help them to feel more than just the standard mashing of two CGI figures together. A good example of this is the jungle action sequence in which the Deviants have tracked the Eternals down and ambush them this feels incredibly tense.

A lot of people have said that this film has pacing issues, is too long, and is too talking heavy. I disagree with all of those statements. I enjoyed the character focus, it was a nice change from the bang bang nature of most MCU films, the conversations were mostly always incredibly impactful either to establish MCU lore, which this film does beautifully, or to create a connection between us the audience and the characters.

Speaking off, every character here is done well and you become attached to them. Over the course of the film you really do become enamoured with the character drama and are excited to see where it goes. Even bit characters like Kit Harrington’s Dane Whitman aka Black Knight are given moments to shine. Speaking off make sure to stick around until the second post credits scene as there is an incredibly exciting one teasing out the future of Harrington’s character and Blade?

My one complaint of this film would be the Deviants. This complaint is threefold, firstly the Deviants all look the same, bland CGI heavy baddies that feel cut and paste with a deeply uninspired design. Secondly, the film does nothing interesting with them, midway through it plays with the idea of Deviants being a sentient race who are just trying to stay alive, just like the Eternals themselves which creates a nice dichotomy however the film does nothing with it. Thirdly, in the final act of the film they just abruptly kill off their leader and that is the end of the Deviant threat as other characters and beings rise up to become villains of the piece.

Overall, one of the most meaningful and impactful films in the MCU a real gem in its hat, if only the Deviants could have been used better.

Pros.

The characters and performances

The post credits scenes, mainly the final one

The emotions and the powerful dialogue scenes

Using action in a smart way

Breaking the MCU formula

Cons.

The Deviants

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The Amazing Spider-Man: Why Do The Police Always Hate Spider-Man?

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

You all know the story by now, Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, gets bitten by a genetically altered spider and becomes Spider-Man, this time facing off against the Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans.

I would say that of all three of the big screen adaptions of Spider-Man these films are probably the ones that the least amount of people like. That is not to say they are bad films, this one certainly isn’t, but really they never could live up to the Tobey McGuire films and that is what killed them.

Many people say that Andrew Garfield is too cool for the awkward nerdy role of Peter Parker, however I think he does fine.  I enjoy his outsider/loner persona and think he does a good job of nailing both the heart and the comedy of the character. I thought Garfield’s Spidey had a number of good one liners that land well. Moreover, I think that Peter and Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone have terrific chemistry, better even than McGuire and Kristen Dunst did in the previous version of the character. I think Stone really makes the character her own and I would like to see her show up in the MCU through multiverse shenanigans.

It is nice to see this film move away from using the Green Goblin, even though the sequel would, and instead feature a lesser known Spidey baddie in the Lizard for the film’s villain. I thought the effects of the Lizard were quite good, and I enjoyed the fact that the finale had more to it then just a big CGI punchout.

However, that is where the positives end.

This film has a real issue with pacing, I know they were trying to cram a lot in but honestly watching this film in one sitting is oppressive, it doesn’t feel like two hours and a bit instead it feels more like five. I am left asking did we really need to see Uncle Ben’s, played my Martin Sheen, death again so soon after we saw it in the McGuire films? Surely there must have been ways to trim this down.

Overall, a good Spider-Man film but no one’s favourite.

Pros.

Garfield

Stone

The Lizard

The heart

Cons.

Uncle Ben’s death again

Pacing issues    

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