She-Hulk: The Retreat

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, heads to a retreat for a few days to try and get over the fact a guy she likes hasn’t text her back.

Once again the show promised Daredevil and didn’t deliver, like I have said before I am now convinced that he won’t show up until a post credits scene in the final episode and he will have been used to try and draw in audiences who don’t care about a show about a whiny, spoilt white girl who has a series of wine mom issues and first world problems.

I would say however in favour of this episode that it is probably one of the better ones of the series and has Jen actually think about how she views herself which I thought was interesting to see. I liked the character growth she got, and thought that bringing back Tim Roth’s Abomination was a very good idea. Fun was had.

I didn’t like that during her therapy scenes they used actual tweets about the She-Hulk show as why she feels bad about herself, as I think this just makes the show look petty. Likewise I also think it is a bad look when one of the main stars of the show Jameela Jamil has to go on the record saying about how much the show has upset men, as though all criticism against the show is sexist. It makes the whole production look like it has a chip on its shoulder.

Another thing that I thought was bad, please do believe though I am finding all these negatives with the episodes it probably is one of the better ones, is the fact that Jen’s latest potential love interest is revealed to be a villain. This continues the shows obsession with every none established male character having to be bad or incompetent in some way, though I suppose her therapy buddies do kind of balance things out on that front.

Overall, better but still not good, luckily there is only a few episodes left.

Pros.

Maslany and the focus on Jen

Bringing back Roth

The therapy scenes

Cons.

Still no Daredevil

Continued man bashing  

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She-Hulk: Just Jen

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jen, played by Tatiana Maslany, goes to a wedding.

Compared to a lot of the other episodes of this season I actually thought this was somewhat better. I liked the focus on Jen rather than She-Hulk and thought that Maslany got a lot of moments to shine wherein her charm really did come out. I think it is hard to watch this episode and not like the character of Jennifer Walters.

That said it is far from perfect. They bring back the dumpster fire that is Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, who ruins the wedding scenes which she is in and also gives us one of the worst fight scenes ever in the history of the MCU. Moreover, they also have a b plot about a guy being sued by a bunch of his ex-wives and the joke is that he is terrible. To me this just came across as man hating plain and simple, it seems that it is very hard for this show to have any male characters, that isn’t already an established part of the MCU be shown in a good light.

In addition they also draw attention to the fact that even though last week’s episode ended with a tease for Daredevil that this episode would just ignore that. As I have said before drawing attention to your bad writing doesn’t suddenly make it good it is just doubly bad and lazy. I really do think that this show has to use the promise of Daredevil as a crutch to get people to keep watching, if they announced tomorrow that Daredevil had been cut from the show I bet the viewership would quickly nosedive.

Overall, better than the last few episodes but still troubled.

Pros.

Maslany is very charming

A lot of the jokes land

It makes me warm to Jen as a character

Cons.

Titania is still awful

The b plot is just garbage  

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She-Hulk: Mean, Green And Straight Poured Into These Jeans

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, is fully ruined and dragged through the mud so that the writers can make some mom jokes about the youth culture.

Honestly, I don’t know why I am still watching this show. I will say that I am doing it so that I can give all you who read these reviews a complete picture of the series, in truth maybe I am masochistic. This series is just awful at this point and is getting steadily worse by the episode. The one positive I will say about this episode is that Griffin Matthews totally crushes the scenes he is in and brings a hell of a presence to the MCU, one that it has been sorely lacking, the whole side story about She-Hulk’s new clothes was the most entertaining part about this episode.

Countering that the whole courtroom sequences with influencer Titania were terrible, the jokes didn’t land, staying firmly in the wine mom category of humour, and Titania was fully ruined as a character as yet another of Marvel’s classic villains are reduced to nothing more than a bad joke.

Something else I didn’t like about this episode was the line wherein She-Hulk, played by Tatiana Maslany, says how one of the benefits of being She-Hulk is that she can walk home wearing headphones at night and not have to worry about attackers. Now I know this is a huge problem but I am really getting sick of She-Hulk as a show inserting these forced in political points, for the most part the MCU has remained apolitical and that is how it should be. I watch these films and shows to escape the grim realities of the real world, and all these sort of lines do is drag me back in to the bleakness.

They do tease Daredevil, played by Charlie Cox for the next episode but it feels more desperate than exciting, they need something to keep you around for.

Overall, this is certainly the worst MCU project yet.

Pros.

Matthews

I like that the superheroes now have an outfitter

Cons.

They ruin Titania

The mom jokes

The forced social commentary

It is not funny  

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She Hulk: What The Hell Is This? Is It An Advert?

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Megan Thee Stallion shows up and She-Hulk, played by Tatiana Maslany, twerks.

I will review this episode in two parts, the first part will focus on the good and the second on the bad. The bad here is fairly extreme but I like Wong, played by Benedict Wong, so there is some good here.

In the Abomination, played by Tim Roth, storyline we get a fun cameo from everyone’s favourite Sorcerer Supreme and it is played up enough that every second we get with him is pure gold. The comedy in this part of the episode also really landed for me.

That said onto some of the worse stuff I have seen from Marvel possibly to date. Everyone hates the Simpsons episode Lisa Goes Gaga because all it exists to do is blow smoke up the guest stars rear end and say how great they are, clearly the She-Hulk team aren’t familiar with this as they do exactly the same thing here. Not only is the Megan Thee Stallion subplot not at all funny in any way but it gets really repetitive with how many times they have to say her name over and over again as though they are trying to force us to think it is a big deal. Moreover, I know a lot of people complain that the MCU has gotten too silly and want things to return to a more serious tone, however, normally I don’t mind the humour of the MCU, but I would say this show is pushing it too far. The post credits twerking scene is something that has no business in the MCU it feels like something you might see from a tie-in advert but not a scene from a film or TV show, in addition it is also all kinds of cringe.

I really do think She-Hulk as a show needs to get its tone right because right now it is all over the place and feels like a bad parody.

Overall, other than Wong this episode was made entirely to suck up to the guest star.

Pros.

Wong

A few funny jokes

Cons.

Everything to do with Megan Thee Stallion

The twerking scene

It feels like bad parody at times

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She-Hulk: Superhuman Law

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, is fired from her job after getting into a superhuman show down in the courtroom and must now look for other work.

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the first and thought that it was a noticeable improvement. I thought the comedy landed a lot more and made me laugh a few times and I also like that they are quite clearly setting up the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk comics storylines, as we see Banner, played by Mark Ruffalo leave on a space ship in the episode. I also thought bringing back Tim Roth’s villain character from The Incredible Hulk was a smart move especially because it puts Jen in a morally questionable spot and also develops out the character more beyond just being a mindless evil Hulk creature.

However, this episode still has some noticeable issues. The worst of these is how this episode just moves on from the Titania, played by Jameela Jamil, introduction last week and doesn’t even bother to bring her character up again which gives that final interaction in the first episode an air of pointlessness and I think that whole sequence was a poor fit. Moreover, the lines at the start of the episode in the bar when Jen says how much she doesn’t want to be a superhero and how bad her super hero name is are irritating, worse yet is the line about billionaires and orphans which feels like they are dumping on what has gone before which isn’t a winning strategy.  

Overall, certainly better but the writing still needs a lot of work.

Pros.

The humour is starting to land more

World War Hulk

Bringing back Tim Roth

Cons.

The early bar scene

Ignoring Titania    

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She Hulk: A Normal Amount Of Rage

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, gets into a car accident with her giant green cousin and accidentally becomes a Hulk.

Yikes, I think of all the Marvel series thus far that this was the worst opening episode. This first episode really doesn’t seem to understand the Marvel beat, whilst being so try hard in its almost parody of Fleabag it presents a very confused identity.

To add to this there is some really quite jarring editing choices that make the episode feel choppy and not quite right. The choice of flashbacks taking place just before and then in the middle of a trial which then features a random fight, all without much explanation at all, makes things difficult to follow.

In addition this first episode is very heavy handed on the social commentary, far more so then anything else we have seen from Marvel to this point. I have no issue with films and TV shows making comments on political/social issues as long as they have a fresh take and don’t feel like they are just repeating talking points, this does the latter.

Finally, I understand needing to shorten things for the sake of the episode’s narrative, but having She-Hulk immediately being able to control her powers and not needing to train much at all, beyond one montage, again feels unearned.

Overall, I had heard the first episode was rough and that things get better, let’s all hope that’s true.

Pros.

The Hulk fight was cool

Maslany is trying

It is watchable

Cons.

It is preachy

The CGI still looks bad

She-Hulk immediately being great is bad story telling

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The Wolverine: In The Footsteps Of The Greats

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, head to Japan in order to tidy up a loose end from his past.

I think this is a perfectly fine film, certainly not on the same level as Logan or even X-Men Origins, in my controversial opinion, but a solid middle entry into the unofficial Wolverine trilogy. I think trying to adapt Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s limited run wherein Wolverine fights the Yakuza and explores Japan’s underworld was both a ballsy move as well as one that was always doomed to end in heartbreak.

I think the major issue this film suffers from is though it explores some interesting concepts and scenarios, it pushes a lot of new characters and expects the audience to instantly care about them when in actuality they feel very little about them. This film could have benefited from at least having a few of the other X-Men pop up as this film ends up feeling isolated in a deeply negative way from the rest of the series.

Of course, despite these negatives the film still manages to get Wolverine right and has him be a badass through and through, of course this is helped along to no end by Hugh Jackman who gives it his all as always. Jackman’s Wolverine may be the best performance in a comic book film ever.

Overall, though this is still a cool Wolverine film, he feels a little bit too isolated and the film was fighting and uphill battle from the beginning trying to replicate the greatness of Miller and Claremont.

Pros.

It is very watchable

Jackman

The action lands well

Cons.

It feels too isolated from the wider X-Men film series

It is a poor adaptation    

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Man Of Steel: Zack Snyder’s Moment Of Glory

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Snyderverse is born.

Perhaps it is because of my age, or because I grew up with the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, but this always was the definitive Superman tale to me. I have seen some of the other takes on the character from further back but still when I think who or what is Superman I think of this film.

Now I am not saying this film is perfect, Zack Snyder’s trademark lack of subtlety does trip the film up to a degree and the heavy handed Christ comparisons do become a little tedious after a while. However, I think Snyder gets the broad strokes right, he understands the character of Kal-El and what drives him and that is clear throughout. Furthermore, no one does spectacle quite like Zack Snyder and whether that is the destruction of Krypton or the Oil refinery sequence he really adds quite a nice visual style and grandeur to the film.

In addition the performances across the board are also fantastic. Henry Cavill is magnificent in the lead and frankly the fact Warner Brothers aren’t foaming at the mouth to have him back for a sequel just shows how bad the management over there is. Amy Adams and Michael Shannon are also marvellous and worthy of being highlighted for their standout performances as well.    

Overall, this is the definitive cinematic take on Superman for me.

Pros.

Cavill

The spectacle

It does the character justice

The ending

Cons.

The writing lacks subtlety

The religious analogies becoming trying quickly

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X-Men Origins Wolverine: A Huge Missed Opportunity, Not Without Some Merit

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The origin story of James Howlett, played by Hugh Jackman.

I know that many people will have an issue with my score for this film, and that through the sheer fact of having the Tim Rothman requested mouth sown shut Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, that this film should automatically have a low score however allow me to try and change your mind.

I think rather undeniably this film has a very cool aesthetic, whether it is the opening montage of James and his half-brother Victor, played by Liev Schreiber, fighting through various wars, or the introduction of Gambit, played fantastically by Taylor Kitsch, there are a lot of cool scenes in this film that are hard not to be excited by.

Moreover, unlike in most of Wolverine’s other appearances in the various X-Men films the threat here feels both real and personal to him. Not only do we get to see him in a very raw state as he is made, but we also get to see him essentially lose at the end turning him into a tragic character. In many ways I think this approach does far more for the character then just seeing him slice up a roomful of dudes with his claws.

The downsides to this film are numerous and have been detailed in great accuracy in other places to me the biggest crime of this film are the parts of it wherein you can see the overly heavy hand of Tim Rothman and the wider studio coming in to suppress good ideas and do what they want. I think if Rothman had not been as he has been rumoured to have been then this film could have had a chance at being good.

Overall, a lot of interesting visuals and a solid Wolverine story, undercut by obvious studio interference.

Pros.

The opening montage

Giving Wolverine a clear emotional arc

A lot of solid action

It is fun to watch

Cons.

The blatant changes mandated by studio interference   

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Green Lantern: The Endless Horrors Of CGI

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The time when DC fundamentally screwed up on of their most popular characters.

This film has become a joke amongst fans of comic book cinema, and the jarring contrast between this and the contemporary Nolan Batman trilogy is blindly clear, where one is dark and gritty the other ops for poorly done CGI and a garish colour pallet and where one is good the other is this film. Pretty stark.

I think it is pretty clear throughout this film that Ryan Reynold’s doesn’t want to be there as his performance is lifeless, as such it is very hard to care about his character at all which leads to you switching off more and more whilst watching it. I also think having his whole costume be CGI was a terrible decision that becomes noticeably distracting as the film goes along.

In terms of how this film treats its characters and the wider DCEU lore, it cherry picks a few things and somewhat explains them, though not in a way a non-comic reading audience would understand. Worse yet it also manages to bastardise a lot of things and change characters and concepts from the comics for no real valid reason. These two things combined managed to alienate both the comic readers an the non-comic readers, well played DC.

Overall, boring, lifeless and not a fun time.

Pros.

It lead to some good memes

Cons.

The characters are awful

It dumps on wider DC lore

The CGI suit

It is incredibly dumb and generic

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