Mortal Kombat (2021) Review

Today I decided to go a little different. Instead of doing another horror movie I went horror adjacent, but still fitting the season with Mortal Kombat from 2021. Mortal Combat was directed by Simon McQuoid and stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han/Sub-Zero, Mehcad Brooks as Jax, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi/Scorpion, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, and Ludi Lin as Liu Kang. Mortal Combat tells the story of Lord Raiden gathering the champions of earthrealm to fight in the tournament of mortal kombat against the forces of Shang Tsung and outworld. I’m probably gonna keep this review short as I don’t have strong feelings about this movie. For those who don’t know or know me, I am a fan of the franchise. It’s probably the only fighting game I’ve followed and I love the lore surrounding it, in all its versions. So I was excited when I heard they were coming out with a new movie. I think its interesting how the movie decided to go with some of the more different ides from the games in that a lot of stuff can happen outside of the tournament. Its a good idea and can make for a more interesting movie franchise instead of focusing on just the tournament. Though that can create some things that I’ll mention later that can have an unintentional affect. I think that the story and plotline of this movie is ok, its serviceable and works for the most part. It introduces some stuff that can work for this version of the lore, such as the dragon mark representing their champion designation. They also use it to explain why an average human can have super powers, but it has this unintentional affect of making it like an x-gene in practice. 

The characters for the most part all work. They’re pretty good adaptations of their game counterparts, especially Kano. He’s the most fun character throughout the movie. The performances are all good for the characters. It was cool to see what they did with some of the characters and what characters they would include. Cole was an ok new character, an interesting backstory but they gotta do more with him to make him interesting in the future. Sub-zero was a standout from just coolness alone, you can tell they wanted him to have an impact.
The movie looks great for the most part. The locations and sets are great and the cinematography is good at moments. The effects are mostly pretty good, some stuff could have used a bit more time, like Gorr and the compositing of the outworld scenes. Thought the ice effects were incredible, very creative use that sets it a part from the usage in the games. The score was ok, a little too dubstepy in some places for my taste. The action for the most part was pretty good, the best scenes being the opening and the ending final fight. Funny how the best fights all involve Scorpion and Sub-zero. Although that final fight was awesome. Though it would have been cool to see more of Scorpions abilities in that fight. The problem I have with most of the action is the editing, like its can get jumpy at times and really should have let the action flow instead. 

I had some big issues with this movie. I’ll start a bit smaller and work my way up. There are a few potholes to me in terms of the lore. So they mention that the tournament is held to protect the realms from each other, but then Shang mentions that none of the other gods are going to stop him from just invading earthrealm. They should establish why they have to work through the tournament, and why Shang is doing these underhanded tactics when they’re this close to winning. Although that could also be working towards some of the stuff the more recent story from the games did where the elder gods didn’t get involved with Shao Kahn’s workings until he invaded. The movie makes use of a lot of fan service, but it doesn’t really earn it. It’ll do stuff that only fans of the franchise would understand but doesn’t actually make use of them. Especially character wise, as there are some characters that are there just to be another score on the kill count. My biggest issue is that this feels like a generic blockbuster movie with mortal kombat paint on it. Like it’s just an ok blockbuster. It doesn’t do the work to get us to care about the characters, it expects everyone to know who everyone is to have us care for them. It’s hard to describe for some reason.

Over-all this was an ok movie. It could have been a lot better and just feels kind of generic. It has some cool moments and some cool kills, but it doesn’t earn it to me. I give it a thumb up, its not bad but not that memorable. 

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021) Review

So I just finished the main story to the game and I gotta say it was pretty good. I’m not much of a game reviewer so I’ll try to keep it short and do my best. This game is about the titular Guardians of the Galaxy and their adventures in trying to stop the Universal Church of truth, and the evil entity that gains power from the church that they accidentally released. This game (like the avengers game before it) takes some inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse of movies, while still having it’s own take on the material and characters. It builds up this world still in the aftermath of a great galactic war against the forces of The Mad Titan Thanos and everyone else. This world building is important to the storyline and plot of the game as The Universal Church of Truth uses what people want as a power source. So many people fall into their grasp due to their past and how much the galaxy has lost. What the main characters have lost, and a lot of the story is about trying to move past their guilts and trauma. I enjoy the way the game handles this throughout the runtime. How the guardians come together while working through their past traumas to eventual save the galaxy, a galaxy that is all too ready to give up and join, or to run away. It is due to the guardians that the forces of the galaxy decide to fight back at the most crucial time possible, especially depending on some of the choices you make throughout the game. The story definitely takes some inspiration from the movies and comics, while setting out it’s own path while how they handle it.

I enjoyed the way the game handled its characters. It’s a bit of a mixture between the comics and the movies with their backstories and their personalities and characteristics. Their interactions with each other are fun and I like how the interact with the other characters around the world. I was surprised to see some of the characters that they brought in. Some are very different from their other counterparts, and some are accurate but just have some weird designs. Like Adam Warlock feels like his comic counter-part a bit, but still has differences….and his outfit kinda sucks. Everyone gets their moment in the sun otherwise, like Warlock, Mantis is fun, it’s cool to see Cosmo around too. 

I found the gameplay of the game to be pretty fun. It can be repetitive at times, but I feel like the perks and abilities are enough there to provide some depth to the combat in the game. I do wish maybe there were a few more options to help customize the gameplay, and maybe upgrade characters and their abilities. Although after the response to avengers, I can see why they didn’t. You play as star-lord throughout the game with the options to command characters to interact with enemies and the environment in certain ways, and also instruct them to use their unlocked abilities. As star-lord you also have abilities that can be unlocked throughout the game as well. Your main weapons are your blasters, that mostly just shoot things but have the options of a charged shot, as well as a shot that gives large damage when hitting at a certain point when cooling off. Also throughout the game you unlock elements to use in your blasters. These being ice, electricity, wind, and fire. These elements are good in combat and have different effects on enemies. One thing I do wish is that there should be a bit more stuff you can do with the element aspects. The battles can be interesting though….although I really find the church priest enemies to be really annoying at times. THere’s a lot of repeated enemies throughout the game, especially people with guns, almost every location you visit has them. The game can also feel a lot like a game that could have come out like 15 years ago. If you could switch characters this could have been another Ultimate Alliance style game. Especially that it makes use of a  surprising amount of quick-time events, as well as giant boss battles that use a lot of enemies in them. I feel like the greatest example of this is the final boss of The Magus, who really only acts through falling meteors and enemies, he’s really not even a boss battle at that since you don’t really fight him. Over-all I would say the game play is pretty good.

The visuals in this game are incredible. Just gorgeous, even if I have some issues with some of the character designs looking a little weird. The game is bright and colourful and creative in some of it’s imagery. The soundtrack and score of the game are pretty good as well. Definitely movie inspired with how it uses 80s songs, but I also like how it differentiates itself bu not just using pop music from that time period, as it also uses some rock and metal tunes that we don’t really see in the movies. 

Screenshot I took while on Knowhere at The Rift

The collectibles in the game are pretty interesting, some character backstory stuff, some outfits. I do think there maybe should be some more outfits in the game. I haven’t collected everything and might do a replay of it one day. Although I think that’s my biggest issue is other than being a completionist, I don’t feel myself going back to the game. It feels like it doesn’t have much replay value. Which is probably one of the big reasons this game didn’t do great, there’s basically nothing to do outside of replaying the story again. THere’s not even really any difference to be made between playthroughs other than maybe seeing where the other choices take you. Other than that there’s no real replay value for me. 

Over-all I’d say it’s a game I would recommend playing. It’s a fun action-packed adventure throughout the marvel galaxy. I do think it’s worth playing , especially if it’s on sale or if you have Game Pass like i do. I give it two-thumbs up, number wise I give it a 7.5/10. 

What If? (2021) Review

So I finally watched What if? Over-all I found it to be a great show. It was an interesting look into the kinds of things we could see going forward in the marvel Disney + shows. I finally finished watching it during a current bout of illness (mild covid) and finally had the motivation to finish watching the show after taking a little break for holiday stuff. What If? Is an Anthology series taking a look at the now wide-open multiverse of possibilities shown through the eyes of The Watcher (Jeffery Wright) an ultra-powerful cosmic being who has taken an oath of non interference, until another dangerous cosmic being forces his hand. 

Episode 1: What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?

A great start to the series. This episode is a new version of the Captain America story, but with Peggy Carter becoming the first Super Soldier instead, with Steve taking the role of a photo Iron Man type called the Hydra Stomper. It was cool seeing Peggy doing all the Captain America stuff, but with it being animation allows her to do more creative and impressive things than what we’ve seen Steve do. I didn’t know how I would feel about the art and animation style when I first saw it, but I really enjoyed it. Fluid motion and looks amazing. The performances were pretty good. It was a great first start and I can’t wait to see more.

Episode 2: What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?

Another great episode. This episode is a version of the Star Lord story where T’Challa is taken instead of Peter Quill. It’s an interesting episode seeing how different things are with T’Challa instinctively helping the universe to the point of Thanos becoming an Ally. I’m surprised the Dark Order joined the collector, but it was interesting seeing the collector being a full villain. The voice acting was very good, the animation was incredible as well. Very colourful and interesting. Over-all another good episode and I can’t wait to see where the series goes next.

Episode 3: What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?

Another great episode. The first episode with what could be seen as a depressing story. Which is similar to the comics as they get depressing a lot. This episode focuses a lot of telling a different version of the major first parts of the founding of the avengers, but instead of it going the way it’s supposed to they end up dead. The episode sets up a mystery asking who is doing this and how they are doing it. It’s pretty interesting seeing the first example of a hero gone villain with the reveal that it’s been Hank Pym the whole time to get revenge on Fury for the death of Hope. This all ends with Loki coming and deciding to take over the earth reciting the speech he gave in Marvel’s Avengers. The performances were good, the episode was interesting, the animation was great. Another good episode.

Episode 4: What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?

Another great episode, and also another depressing episode. It’s episodes like this that what if was made for. This episode is asking the question of what if Dr Strange lost his heart (his love Christine) instead of his hands. It’s a really interesting episode as it’s the first one where the story we know is only at the beginning. After the recap we get a new story with a split timeline in the universe, one where strange stayed at the sanctum sanctorum, and another where strange tried to save Christine and became obsessed with doing so. Leading to him falling down a rabbit hole of absorbing the power of possibly millions of mystical beings and eventually leading to the destruction of his universe. The performances are great, it’s the second time we see what a character is willing to do to get his goal, even becoming a monster in the process. This is also the first time we see the watcher be acknowledged by the characters in the show. The first glimpse of the endgame of the season. Over-all a great episode. 

Episode 5: What If… Zombies?!

This was a good episode. It was intriguing to see how they were going to do the Marvel Zombies adaptation, and it’ll be interesting to see how the spin-off handles it. This episode focused on the survivors of the quantum virus trying to find a cure. It was interesting to see that while the zombies couldn’t talk, they could still fight and use their abilities like they did when alive. It was cool seeing how the characters were used in the episode and what their roles were. This episodes has a bit of a hopeful spin to it….until we see Zombi thanks with an almost completed infinity gauntlet, as this takes place during infinity war. A good episode over-all.

Episode 6: What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?

This was another good episode. It was interesting to see how deep this version of Killmonger’s plan went and how much he fully succeeded for the time being. It was cool to see him interact with these moments in MCU history like the origins of Iron Man. The way this sets itself up as a story about Tony and Erik was interesting, and shows even more how determined he is for his goal to succeed. Over-all a good episode with a good cliff ganger for the future.

Episode 7: What If… Thor Were an Only Child?

This was a really fun episode. Perhaps the first almost fully comedic episode of What If, where Thor doesn’t have Loki as his adoptive brother and becomes a massive partier….to the point it’s possibly endangered planets. This is the biggest change in what if so far and it’s fun to see the difference in the characters here, like Loki and Thor are friends and all the different characters that show up as part of the planet wide party. This is the most complete story in the show so far, it has a defined beginning middle and end. It has a good character arc for this version of Thor who learns his lesson and becomes a better person for it. The fight with Captain Marvel was awesome and very well animated. This is a stand-out episode for the animation style as it’s incredible as always, but the variety of characters and situations really fits here. This also has our next big view at the endgame of the season, with the introduction of Infinity Ultron intruding on this universe. Possibly the first example of true universal transportation seen in the MCU as far as I’m aware. Over-all this was a great episode, very enjoyable. 

Episode 8: What If… Ultron Won?

This was an insane episode, another huge difference in characters, also depressing, but also hopeful. The biggest view of the endgame since it’s the second last episode, and what it sets up for the final episode is huge. It establishes the threat we first saw at the end of the last episode, and also makes us question what we know about the multiverse and even the infinity stones. Infinity Ultron is insanely powerful and able to do so much in this show. He has the powers of himself, vision and the infinity gauntlet. His fight with the watcher throughout the multiverse was awesome. Another episode that shows why it’s great this was an animated series. The set up for the watcher deciding to get involved is awesome and bringing in the help of strange supreme was great. Over-all another great episode.

Episode 9: What If… The Watcher Broke His Oath?

This was a great finale to the series. We get a view of what the characters have been up to since we last saw them in their episode, as well as a view at a world we haven’t seen yet. That was interesting how Gamora in the Thanos armour wasn’t in an episode this season, I forget why but I think I remember seeing them say they didn’t have the time for it. It was really cool seeing these characters interact, for the most part, Killmonger didn’t interact with the others much. Which kinda disappoints me as Black Panther Killmonger interacting with Star Lord T’Challa. The fight between the Guardians of the Multiverse (as the watcher calls them) and Infinity Ultron was amazing. It was creative and the way they defeated him was interesting. It was a pretty good finale to the first season.

The characters and acting in the series is top notch. Most people returned to their characters, including being the last time Chadwick Boseman played T’Challa before his untimely passing. Everyone did an amazing job, giving the feel of their characters, but also making sure they feel different enough. The characters and their storylines where great, even though a lot of them got depressing. I know that was a major thing in the comic stories, where the end is usually everyone dies. I think the ones I enjoyed the most story wise are 2,3,4,7. 

The visuals are top notch. The art and animation style are incredible and colourful. It’s incredible to watch. My favourite episodes for animation are 2,4,7,8,9 as they make the most use out of the medium. I also like how the series isn’t afraid to get dark, brutal, and gory with its subject matter. The music is pretty good as well, giving us something new as well as something familiar (not unlike the series itself). 

Over-all I think this is a must watch and would recommend it. I don’t know if you have to watch them all, but i still say watch them. Two Thumbs Up !!

At the end here I’m putting some cool posters they made for the show, I would have put them with their episodes but the way I went is more unified.

Loki (2021) Review

This has been a long time coming, but here is my Loki review. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it but with the extra time away makes extra time to mull over my feelings for the show. Luckily enough I did record my thoughts on each episode after they aired for my original thoughts on each episode. 

First, let’s establish the show (even though everyone probably knows already). Loki is a Disney Plus series that stars Tom Hiddleston as the titular character, Owen Wilson as Mobius, Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer. The series is set some point during the Avengers’ time heist from Endgame, and is about the Loki that escaped from that movie with the tesseract/space stone and his adventures through time with the TVA. Now we’ll move on to my original thoughts on each episode.

Episode 1: Glorious Purpose

A great premier for this series, setting the tone going forward. It introduces us to the Time Variance Authority (TVA for short) and what they do. This episode does a great job establishing how they have kind of made Loki a fusing of the Avengers and Original timeline versions, having him learning about what they original version of himself went through and what he did. Getting it out of the way to continue on with the series. We are also introduced to Agent Mobius who is pretty cool so far.

Episode 2

Another great episode of the series, showing us more of the TVA bureaucracy and just how much they know. Our first introduction to the opening “antagonist” of the series, and a  bit of her motivation and plan. We get to learn more about Mobius as well. We also see more of Loki coping with learning about his future. 

Episode 3

Another great episode. This time more buddy cop with the budding relationship between Loki and his variant, now known as Sylvie. We get to see more of her skills and abilities, as well of what Loki can do. We get to learn a bit more about her plan, as well as the first cracks into what the TVA truly is. 

Episode 4:

Another stellar episode. More time with the TVA, including more about what it truly is. We get more of Mobius and him slowly realizing what the TVA is. We get some huge reveals and moments in this episode, as well as the first post credits scene of the series. It is incredible. And my god that post credits scene, which helps reveal more about the TVA as well. 

Episode 5:

Theres only so many times I can say that an episode is great, so this is another great episode. We get to learn more about how the timeline works and where every single thing the TVA has pruned has gone. We meet a ton of Lokis with focus on Classic, Kid, and Alligator Loki. It was interesting to see how a society has kind of been established on a trash heap of a world. I feel like this episode did for Loki as the finale did for Wanda in Wandavision in showing that they are more powerful than they and we realize. Some great moments and can’t wait to see what happens in the finale.

Episode 6:

An incredible finale for an amazing show. This episode sets up where marvel is going for the next stage of the films. This episode doesn’t really offer a conclusion to the story, other than Loki realizing that everything they have been working for in this show maybe shouldn’t happen. This episode was insane for everything it established, but is essentially one big exposition dump for everything we’ve seen and everything we’re about to see. It ends the series on a note of what’s to come, along with the first confirmation of a second season.

As you can see from my first reactions, I thought the show was very good. I think the storyline and plot was good and worked for what they were doing in the show, but I feel like it could have used a few more episodes to give us more time with the characters, and to help establish this world a bit more. I wanted these as the show fundamentally changes everything at the end with the reveal that Kang has taken over.

Over-all this show was great. The character arcs all worked really well, and the performances were amazing. I was going to go more in depth for the characters and what I felt about them, but instead I’m gonna write a little bit about each character as I can get a little bogged down in figuring out what to say about the characters.

We’ll start off with Tom Hiddleston as Loki. He was amazing as always and really had a task here as he kind of has to play a whole new version of Loki, while also keeping the things that made his 2012 version Iconic and his 2018 version interesting. I found it interesting how they brought 2012 Loki up to speed with all the development he received in the later movies. I like how in the end he realizes the weight of what is happening and what is about to happen and he can’t stop it. He had good relationships with a lot of the characters.

Next is Owen Wilson as Mobius who is also really good. I like his laid-back nature, but can be serious as well. I like how he is set up as someone who’s been with the TVA for a long time, but eventually starts to question everything about it. His relationship with Loki was pretty good, I just wish we got more time to see that evolve throughout the show and got more time with them. I also wish he got his jet ski.

The last character I will focus on is Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie. She was great throughout the show. She was badass, charming, and interesting. I liked her backstory as a Loki variant that was chosen to die for something so small. Her quest for answers and revenge lead her down the rabbit hole of the TVA and eventually to breaking the multiverse and allowing Kang to take over. Her romance with Loki was interesting, kinda weird since they’re essentially the same person. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with her in the future.

Everyone else was great. The variant Lokis were cool, he who remains was cool and interesting as this guy that seems crazy due to everything he knows, as well as his variant being one of the next big bads going forward is interesting.

The action was pretty good for what we got. The effects were really good. The set design was all good and interesting for the amount of different locations used in the show. The costuming was good as well, as well as the technology the characters used throughout the shot. They were really interesting in how they worked and what their abilities were. The music was amazing and I feel like will become the theme for Loki characters going forward. 

I really enjoyed the way the show played out as you didn’t get a sense of where it was going for a while. I just wish there were more episodes to flesh it out more and give it more time, especially since this is the series that establishes the idea of variants and there being able to be more than one version of a character in the MCU. This was our first true step into the multiverse and established the idea of multiversal imbalance with the incoming Kang War, which as we’ve seen recently in Spider-Man as well as will see in the next Doctor Strange movie is very important. 

This show plants the seeds for the future, is a fun watch, and tells an interesting story that will be very important for the future going forward. I give it two-thumbs up. It’s well worth the watch if you haven’t seen it yet. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home(2021) Review

So I just got back from seeing Spider-Man and it was amazing. I’m gonna try to keep this short so I avoid spoilers and possibly later on at some point have a spoiler post. I was considering doing them at the bottom of this post but I would rather do a separate post with them in it This is a film that you really need to go into with no prior knowledge of the story to get the full experience from the film. I try not to pay attention to a lot of what is said out there, especially during the making of the movie and I still had some stuff ruined for me. It’s still a really good movie though, with a lot of strengths. 

The story and plot were really good and went into interesting ways that I was not expecting. It was really interesting to see how this movie in a way broke down Peter as a character into his basics and is going forward with that. It’ll be interesting to see where the series takes him in the future, with the way it leads him and the rest of the characters at the end of the movie. 

The characters were all great in this movie. The heroes, the villains, the friends, everything was great. I really enjoy what they did with the characters and where it leaves them at the end of the movie. I find it interesting how we got more of Dr Strange than I was thinking we would get. He was very interesting as the hard mentor trying to teach Peter a lesson that he needs to be taught on his own. Peter in this movie is amazing. Probably Tom’s best performance as the character with how much shit he goes through. I would call this movie almost the full origin of the Spider-Man we all have known with the way he ends the movie. I enjoy how the situation in the film is almost entirely his fault and he becomes the solution. 

Everything else in the movie is great as well. The score is great, the effects are great, the cinematography is really good. The fights scenes are incredible. The fights are brutal and Peter really gets beat up in this movie. The rest of the action is really good as well. The humour in the movie also worked pretty well for me. It really fit the tone of the universe as well as the characters. 

I really enjoy how they turned Jonah into an Alex Jones type figure. 

Over-all I’d say Spider-Man was really good and is well worth the watch. It’s a fun ride that goes in ways you don’t expect and creates an interesting head to the Spider-Man Home trilogy. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite movie of the year (I think that’s Dune at the moment), or MCU/Marvel movie, or even Spider-Man movie but it is up there. 2 Thumbs up, go see this when you can. Admittedly with the current COVID situation that might not be a while for some people. 

I left this for the end because it doesn’t really have to do with the movie itself. My biggest issues with the movie are more to deal with the experience surrounding the movie. The theatre experience over-all was mostly ok, the audience cheered and clapped at certain points which can be fun, though the people next to us talked the whole way through. My other biggest issue is that this movie is a victim of the internet. I’ll probably do a post on this someday, but the constant need for people to find out every little detail about this movie kind of ruined the experience a bit as in the end so much about the movie is out there and I kinda hate it. Like let people be surprised we don’t need to know every single thing about a movie. 

Also I lied earlier I’m gonna spoil a bit through raving about what happens…….So Spoilers incoming.












It was really cool to see a lot of the old spider-man movie villains back. We get the best of both worlds with not having to establish new versions and it really works in the movies favour. Seeing Molina back as Doc Oak was great and by god was Willem Dafoe incredible as The Goblin. He’s a highlight of the film as both Osbourne and Goblin. He beats the breaks off Peter and is amazing. His new costume is amazing as well, without the helmet it allows Dafoe to really play it up and is probably scarier in this movie. I love how in both their fights they Power-bomb each other and Gobby even gives Peter a spine-buster Arn Anderson would be proud of. I really like the use of the older spider-men and how it’s like they are taken from their time now. They have a great chemistry together and it’s cool we get to some updates to them and how their lives have gone in the time since their last appearances. They’re also where a lot of the comedy comes from, and their stuff works really well in the movie. I kinda want a Disney + series or some sketches where Maguire and Garfield are reacting to the adventures that Hollands spider-man has gone on. 

I like how this movie is a much better version of One More Day, it takes the main concept of that storyline but does away with all the aspects that make it infamous. I also like how it uses the story to turn Peter into the one we know and love from the comics, but here it’s kind of new as this is his first time this way. He’s broke, alone, living in a shitty apartment with a homemade costume. We get to see them do science stuff together and it’s so good. 

The Dr Strange stuff is really good here as it ties into the current major idea of this phase so far which is the multiverse. We get some cool imagery and Peter even uses his neediness to his advantage in the fight with Strange. I also like how the trailers do hide some of the stuff from the movie in it so they don’t fully give away everything. The post credit scenes are pretty interesting, one is kinda funny but leaves us with something interesting (which will be interesting to see where it leads going forward) and the other is a teaser for Multiverse of Madness which is INSANE. 

But yet overall a great movie and end to the trilogy. 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (2021) Review

It’s been a while. Seeing that it’s the Christmas season, to celebrate I’m going to release a bunch of reviews of things far out of date and relevance! Over the next week or two I’ll be trying to release reviews of things that I haven’t reviewed yet. Including Loki, What If and Hawkeye, as well as a certain little movie that recently released about some spider-person. 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a Disney Plus television series that looks at Sam Wilson/Falcon’s (Anthony Mackie) journey to decide to take up the mantle of Captain America after a government chosen choice, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), is shown to be troublesome. I apologize for waiting so long since this show finished to write this review, I’ve finally gotten the motivation to do this review. I enjoyed the show while it was airing, but I only did first thoughts for the first 2 episodes, so this review will primarily be an overview of what I thought of the show looking back on it this far away from having watched it. I know this is past the time that people were talking about the show, but I’m still doing it to get my thoughts out there. 

The story is relatively good for the show. It’s about the insecurities of the characters and how they deal with them. I think this is where the show is the strongest as everyone of the characters we get to see throughout the show is dealing with something. A major theme or idea for this show is mental health which it handles well, for the most part. It’s mental health issues, how people deal with them, and how to overcome yourself when it’s needed most. 

I think the characters were mostly all handled pretty well in the series. They all have some great moments and good arcs. The performances were all pretty good. Let’s go into some more specifics.

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon/Captain America is really good throughout the show. As one of the protagonist (maybe even the main protagonist) a lot of what happens in the show, and what the story kind of focuses on is around him and his feeling about being given the captain America mantle by Steve Rogers in Endgame. Everything in the show goes towards him eventually taking up the shield and deciding to make his own Captain America instead of being a government approved Captain America. Throughout the whole show we see why he struggles with taking up the mantle, from money problems after being snapped for 5 years, to learning that there’s a black super soldier that suffered for doing some of the same things Steve did. In the end we see why Steve chose Sam to carry the mantle. He has an interesting relationship with Bucky, as we see their relationship evolve from bickering with each other, to true friendship. 

Sebastien Stan as James Buchanan Barnes/Bucky/Winter Soldier is also really good throughout the show. He brings his typical snarkiness/dark reflective nature to the show. I enjoy how they decided to make his arc throughout the show is him making amends and trying to repay for his actions as the winter soldier. While doing this he also deals with his own issues with Sam, as Bucky and Sam don’t have the same relationship that Bucky had with Steve. He’s still feeling the affects of his past and the fact that for basically the past decade he’s been hunted, frozen, in hiding, and dead. This is his first time where he’s just able to have a bit of a normal life in 80+ years. We get to see Bucky open up about his feelings, as well as having fun and a good time with Sam and his community and family. 

Wyatt Russell as John Walker/Captain America/US Agent is also really good in this show. He’s the perfect soldier, a man who has served his country to the best of his ability in the way they taught him. We get to see how this may not be the best way to create an American hero, as the way his government taught him created the problems that led to his downfall in the series. It was really interesting to see a normal human be given this mantel, and so entering this new world of super soldiers and super terrorists. We get to see his descent into taking the last serum for himself. We get to see a lot of what makes him tick, and how he wants to do the right thing, but his training makes him maybe go the wrong way. We see how he still has a good heart, but he’s willing to go to lengths the others aren’t willing too. One thing about his character I enjoy is that it makes me wonder how this all would have gone if Sam and Bucky were more open to working with him throughout the show instead of constantly shutting him out. 

Everyone else in the show was great as well. Carl Lumbly as Isaiah Bradley was incredible in his epsiodes as a former super soldier showing the issues with the system. His character helps Sam make the decision to become Captain America. Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo is a standout in the show and is a lot more fun as character this time around. Sharon Carter was kinda cool, the reveal was kinda meh though. The Flagsmashers were interesting villains, but they have their issues as villains and it’s kinda hard for me to point out my issues with them. They just feel off to me.

On the technical aspects, the show looked good. Kinda bland, but had some moments. The effects were good, and the music and sound design was ok. The fight scenes were pretty good and memorable. The big fight between Bucky, Sam, and Walker was a stand-out.

Over-all this was a good first season. It had its good moments and some ok ones. It could have been a lot better. If you haven’t seen it yet I’d recommend it. 1 Thumb up. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) Review

So I got back from seeing Ghostbusters: Afterlife today and it was pretty good. I gonna try to keep this short as I don’t have too much to say but we’ll see how it goes. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is about a dysfunctional family that inherits a run down farm from their grandfather that passed away, and gets more than they bargained for when they discover the reason he came to Summervile. The film stars Mckenna Grace as Phoebe, Finn Wolfhard as Trevor, Carrie Coon as Callie, Paul Rudd as Mr Grooberson, Logan Kim as Podcast, and Celeste O’Conner as Lucky. 

The story and plot of the film is effective for me. It’s a reintroduction into this world that we haven’t been to in a while. The movie does pull something like the second movie in that people have kinda forgotten the ghostbusters and what they did, but I like the way the film went about explaining why. Back to the over-all story, this movie is about family, and the things people do for the love of their family. The movie is also a coming of age as it’s about Phoebe learning about her family and coming out of her shell. I do like how they don’t try to change too much about her character, just that she learns has friends and does things she never did before. 

I like the characters in the movie. Everyone is fun and interesting and brings a lot to the movie. The cast does very well, McKenna Grace is a stand out in the movie as well. She gets the most to work with as the movie focuses on her and gives her the biggest arc. Everyone else does well but doesn’t change that much throughout the film. Finn Wolfhard continues to play a great prick at the start, and kind of mellows out throughout the movie. Everyone else does well and has fun. Logan Kim as Podcast was fun as the more knowledgeable character, kind of like the Ray of this group. Celeste O’Conner was good as Lucky, she kinda has a bit of that no-nonsense attitude, but doesn’t do that much outside of being Trevor’s love interest. The adults do pretty good as well and have their moments throughout. I would say Callie is the other character with focus in the movie as she has an arc of learning about why her father did what he did and has a moment of letting go all the years of suffering she went through due to his actions. 

This is very much a fan service movie, as there’s a lot of elements that the movie uses from the originals. Character types, music, plot elements etc. As a fan of the franchise I can say they all work for me. It helps give it that familiarity and tugs on our nostalgia, while adding in new things to keep it fresh. I don’t want to say to much about the threat of the film…..even though it’s probably well known at this point due to the toyline showing stuff off. I will say one thing though, it was cool to see them back and done in a modern way and they all look so good. 

The production design of this movie is phenomenal, really shown off in the costuming and design of the scenes in the mountain. The cinematography is well done. The effects are all great and are great modern versions of the classic affects. The CG is well done and nothing was too noticeable or took me out of the movie. The movie goes back to the creative ghost designs of the first two, although I wish we got to see more of them. I loved the music, it’s the perfect blend of classic nostalgia with a lot of the motifs of the original, as well as making it it’s own thing. I’ll mention it here as it does have to do with the effects a bit, but some people might be upset or mad at something that happens at the end. I saw it talked about weeks ago but I don’t want to spoil it here, but I feel like out of context it could be seen as tacky and bad, but to me in context I think it works as is done respectfully as in a way they’re apart of the movie the whole time. 

Jason Reitman did an amazing job with this movie. It’s a fun ride and might make you emotional. I give this movie two-thumbs up, see it if you can.

The Eternals (2021) Review

So I recently saw Eternals (2021) and I had a good time with it. Eternals is a film about a group of ancient immortal super-powered beings created by ancient space gods (the celestials) to fight a continuous war against monsters called the deviants. That is all I will say as I don’t want to reveal too much about the story or plot of the film. I gotta say i think this is a really good film. It’s pretty interesting in how different it feels to the rest of the marvel cinematic universe movies. It’s pretty different, and I can see how some people might not like it as much as the others. I can see why it’s so divisive critically as it does some things that people aren’t going to like. 

The film tells a lot of its story through different time settings. It makes use of a lot of flashbacks to reveal information to the audience when it wants to tell us something. To me this is a strength and also a drawback to the film as it does allow us to see their pasts and show us their relationships development to get to the point of where they are in the present day, but it’s also a drawback as they’ll tell us something about a character, and then immediately show a flash back of what happened. This is also where a lot of the action comes from, showing them as a team in the past and how well they worked together. Other than that I enjoyed the story and plot of the film. It goes in some directions that I wasn’t expecting, especially with what it does with the characters, but I believe that it works in the film’s favour as they can almost do whatever they want with the characters due to their origins. It’ll be interesting to see where they go in the future. This is a film about love, relationships, and what it means to be human. These are some interesting things for this film to focus on as everyone has something going on, especially when we meet them in the present, that helps give to their characters. How the eternals that spend the most time with humans are the ones who relate and want to save humanity the most. The relationships between the characters drives a lot of their motivations throughout the film. 

I think the film did very well with the characters, everyone is interesting and has good motivations and arcs. Their performances are all great as well. I’ll get into the ones that I want to focus a bit more on. 

To me the main focuses of the film in terms of characterization, story focus importance, and arcs, are: Sersi, Ikaris, Sprite, and Thena. By story focus importance, I mean the characters in the group that get the most focus in the story and get more to do. Gemma Chan as Sersi is pretty good in this film. She’s the character we focus on and follow the most throughout, she’s the character that introduces us to the modern version of the characters and is the major arc focus of the film. She also has the main relationship focus of the film, with her kind of love triangle between her former love Ikaris and her modern love Dane Whitman (played by Kit Harington). I say kind of love triangle as Dane is really only seen in the beginning and in the end, but what we get with him is good and does set up a bit for his eventual return. I think it’s interesting how they make the focus character of the film Sersi, she becomes the leader and is the one who does the thing in the finale, as it feels like the comics focus more on Ikaris. Ikaris is probably the most well known earth based Eternal, so it does surprise me in what they do with his character in the film. 

Richard Madden as Ikaris is also really good in this film. They do some interesting things with his character that I wasn’t expecting them to do, given the way they set him up throughout the first couple acts of the film. One of his major character things is his relationship with Sersi. To me it both works and doesn’t work. They kinda have some chemistry together, but we don’t see much of their relationship outside of the flashbacks. The most we see his love for Sersi is in the finale after some big stuff is revealed and done. One thing I feel like they do in this film is that I think they are kinda trying to do a bit of a superman thing with him. They outright make references, but they also kinda reference imagery from the recent Superman movie appearances. Now it can be said that Ikaris in the comics is one of many Marvel Superman Knock-offs in terms of abilities, but they do go a way in making him different in the film. 

Lia McHugh as Sprite is also pretty good in this film. She’s an interesting character in this film as she’s where a lot of the questions of the film come in. She’s a child who can never age and so she is where a lot of the questions about what it means to be human come from. Her main thing in the film is her friendship with Sersi and the jealousy that comes from her situation. 

Angelina Jolie as Thena is pretty good in this film. She has an interesting arc and probably one of the more believable relationships with Gilgamesh (played by Don Lee, and a stand out character). Through Thena is where the film also asks what it means to be immortal as they introduce something in the film that is a result of their immortality and the nature of their being. They try to do something with her during the finale with Kro, but I don’t feel that it works as we don’t get a lot of Kro in this film. 

Everyone else in the film is pretty good. We don’t get a lot with Makkari, but she’s a fun character. Phastos and Druig have some interesting backstories and motivation, but by the time we get to them in the present we kind of skip past their character development. With their abilities Druig and Phastos bring up questions of do you intervene, when or how, and in should you intervene. Phastos shows this as he has a powerful flashback scene before we’re introduced to present-day Phastos, but to me it’s undercut showing that he’s moved past it. Kingo is another fun character in this film, a stand-out for sure. He brings a lot of the humour and comic relief with his director friend throughout the film. I think the “character” that could be the least interesting is Kro as we don’t get a lot with them. They don’t do much and don’t really amount too much in the end.

The film is visually incredible. The cinematography is amazing, very well done. A strong suit of the film are the effects, although they also do drag it down a bit. I enjoy the way they went to show their abilities, and how they are different than other heroes in the universe. I also like how they show the celestials in the film, they are immense and look great. It really shows the true scale of size and power that the celestials have. There’s a scene at the end that is insane and surprising and truly shows how big they are. I also enjoy the way the films show the deviants as these abominations that aren’t fully made, and I wish we got more of them. The battle costumes for the eternals are both cool and kinda boring. They are each unique to the eternal, but they are also similar to show their kind of unity as a team. Although I do wish that the costumes had more distinguishing features between them. I think my biggest issue visually is that the film can at times become noticeable when it’s a CG version of a character. It can be especially noticeable during fight scenes. Which I think can be better as some are good, but some could be a bit more interesting to me. I do enjoy the soundtrack and score, though I feel like the score could use a bit more bombast or something to differentiate it more.

As for the credits scenes, they’re interesting and I’m excited to see where the ending and these scenes take us into the future.

Over-all i enjoyed the film, even with its flaws. I think it’s a good ride and an interesting film that both breaks the marvel mould, while still following it when necessary. I give it two-thumbs up, see it in the theatre if you want. 

Dune (2021) Review

So I recently saw Dune earlier (Saturday Afternoon, October 30th) and what a film. This film is incredible. For those that don’t know, Dune is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi classic novel Dune. This is the second bigger film adaptation, the prior one being Dune (1984) Directed by David Lynch and starring Kyle MacLachlan as Paul (I do plan to watch and review this soon). Dune (2021) is directed by Canadian Director Denis Villeneuve and stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Furguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård and Josh Brolin. It tells the first half of the original book, telling the story of Paul’s journey, learning the ways of Arakis as well as finding out his true destiny. I would say more but I don’t want to spoil……even if it’s adapted from an already existing story. 

Even though it’s only half the full story, I still really enjoyed the story and plot of the film. I feel like there is enough in the film to keep it interesting and engaging. The way the film establishes the universe and how things work is effective as it gets the audience to understand what is going on from the beginning. This is coming from someone who only has some passing knowledge of the franchise. I also enjoy how from the beginning there’s this sense of danger, like something isn’t the way it seems. That tenseness is eventually proven right when the moment happens, and while I was expecting it, it still had the punch necessary to make us feel. A great way it does that is through the characters.

The performances and characters in the film are all great. Timothée Chalamet makes for a great Paul Atreides. He brings a good amount of unease and also kind of badassness to the role. His physicality is great throughout the film. Rebecca Furguson is also great throughout this film, she really brings this unsureness to the role. She’s being pulled in multiple directions and doesn’t know what to do. Zendaya is pretty good, we don’t see a lot with her but what we get is pretty good. We mostly see her through Paul’s visions. Oscar Isaac is good for the time we have him. We get a sense of his personality and leadership style. Jason Mamoa is great as Duncan Idaho, a real standout fun character throughout the film. Everyone else is really good as well throughout the film, fitting their roles perfectly. 

Where the film stands out most is technically. The cinematography in this film is incredible, just incredible to look at. So many stunning images. From the images of the desert to the battle scenes, to Paul’s visions, everything is shot incredible and looks amazing. The film also does great with the props, costumes and sets. It sets a good difference between the factions and feels like a lived in, dirty and broken down world. Especially on Arakis, everything feels dirty and grimy there. The special effects looks mostly great as well, the only weirdness was Paul’s face in the battle armour from the trailer, still looks a little weird, but other than that everything looks great, especially the sandworms. 

Another stand-out part of the film is the soundtrack. Hans Zimmer does an incredible job on this film. It fits with the moments and helps control the flow of emotion throughout the film. It’s a memorable score with a lot of elements from different cultures which blends well together.

Over-all Dune was an incredible film, well worth the time spent watching, as well as the need for a second film. Two-Thumbs up, see this on the biggest screen you can. 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) Review

So I saw Venom Let There Be Carnage on Saturday October 2nd and it was something. It’s a very interesting movie and very different than most superhero films out there. The movie is about Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his relationship with Venom, with a wrench being thrown in with serial killer Cletus Kasady(Woody Harrelson) choosing Eddie to get his story out there. 

The storyline of this movie is actually pretty interesting in that there’s this mirroring of Eddie and Cletus and their relationships with the other characters in the film. It’s kind of weird as there’s kind of is something there, with how both characters have shitty pasts but the differences come in with what the characters do. This will come in later when we talk about the characters, but I do think it does an ok job with it. The movie leans in to the relationship between Venom and Eddie and goes more for a romcom feel with it. I mean for their stuff it follows a lot of the formula that you see in a romantic comedy. It’s like they saw how the internet reacted to the first movie and decided to run with it. I think it works into the movie’s favour as it works for the arcs of Eddie and Venom throughout. It also helps show some of the differences between Eddie/Cletus and Venom/Carnage. Another thing this movie makes use of is the idea of actions having consequences. The movie makes references to this throughout as its Eddie and Venom’s actions that cause the movie to happen. It works for me as it forces the characters to reevaluate and change to fix their own issues as well as the issues they caused for other people. 

The movie is a loose adaptation of some 90s marvel comics stories involving Venom and Carnage. These being the Lethal Protector Venom run, Carnage’s origin, and Maximum Carnage. I say loose adaptation as the comics for Maximum Carnage involves more killers than just Shriek and Carnage himself. Other than that it does keep some of the main points of Carnage and Shriek rampaging across the city. The Carnage origin is relatively spot on and well done. 

Time to talk about the characters, this is going to be relatively short as I’m going to focus on Eddie/Venom and Cletus/Carnage as they’re really the only ones that have a major affect on the story, other than Anne (Michelle Williams). 

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom is pretty good in this movie. His performance is one of the driving forces of the movie and is pretty good, it’s fun and brings the right amount of craziness and emotion. He’s got an interesting arc in this movie about learning to accept himself, his issues and how to not be impulsive. We get to see Eddie being the investigator again for a bit throughout the movie. Venom is also great throughout the movie, getting time on its own and learning how important Eddie really is to it. Their relationship is where a lot of the comedy and drama comes from. I do enjoy how this movie keeps the Eddie looking terrible as the film goes on like the first movie did. 

Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage is everything I was hoping for. He brings a good amount of craziness to the character, which is needed as Cletus is a crazy serial killer. He plays the role well and can be intimidating throughout the film, which is something he has over Carlton Drake. His goals are interesting, as its nothing huge, he just wants to cause carnage. Although they do this really weird thing where they try to make it like Cletus was after Eddie because he wants something from him at the end of the movie that I won’t say because I don’t want to spoil to much, but it’s weird and I don’t think it’s earned. Cletus is where a lot of the interesting bits of the movie come, including a sequence that tells the audience (and Eddie) his backstory which gets really creative. Carnage is a kind of interesting character in this film, as it had similar goals to Cletus, but things fall apart a bit once we get later into the movie. It’s kind of interesting how it starts off like the comics where they’re together, but it ends a bit differently from the comics. Outside of that Carnage is badass throughout the movie and really sets itself apart from Riot in terms of character and abilities. He really makes use of the symbiote tendrils and weapon making throughout the movie and shows how powerful Carnage is. 

Anne and Shriek are both good characters and have good performances. Shriek brings some interesting fun as she introduces human superpowers to this universe. He has a super scream, which makes her relationship with Cletus/Carnage interesting as sonics are a weakness to symbiotes. Which is where things start breaking down between Cletus and Carnage. It’s interesting how the movie portrays her and Cletus’ relationship as actual love vs the way it is in the comics. Anne is interesting in this movie as she serves as one of the reasons Eddie and Venom break up, but also serves as a reason for their reuniting. She stays as a fun character throughout the movie. 

The other characters all have good performances and some good moments, but don’t have much affect on the film other than offering some chances for more comedy. 

The film looks pretty good, it does some interesting things throughout. I’ve never seen an Andy Serkis directed film, but he did an interesting job with this movie. He definitely brings an interesting feel to the movie. 

The film has pretty good pacing, I actually feel it could have used a bit more time to give us a bit more with the characters.

The effects are all really good and look great, same with the action. The action is well done, and I think that is because there’s only a couple action scenes before the finale fight, and that is the only time Venom and Carnage fight throughout the movie. They do a really good job of differentiating Carnage from Riot, and Carnage looks so much better than Riot did. 

I have a bunch of issues with the movie, but to summarize them I feel like the movie tries to do stuff with Cletus that doesn’t work, and could have used more time to fix the issues it has. I mean one of the funniest parts of the movie to me is at the beginning of the movie where they try to make the audience believe that Woody Harrelson is at least a teen in 1996. It embraces the silliness for good and for bad. One thing I’ve heard it described as is a 90s marvel comic for good and for bad, it’s a pretty apt description. 

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the silliness, because I do. The movie knows it’s a B-Movie and relishes in that. I kind of want more like it, to add a bit more difference in the current super-hero movie renaissance we’ve been in. It does feel like an early 2000s movie though, maybe that’s nostalgia talking as someone who are up during that time. 

Over-all I had a great time with this movie. It’s not a great film from a critical standpoint, but it’s a bunch of fun and wild ride. Two Thumbs up! Watch this movie when you can.