Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Review

I remember seeing the trailer for this film so many times in theaters. It always looked so good. This was easily one of the most exciting looking film trailers I had seen in quite a while and fortunately the movie absolutely delivers on this. The action here is absolutely on point and we have a great cast with lots of fun banter to back it up. This movie is the all around experience and a reminder that we need this movie series to keep on going for a long time. More spinoffs would be a good idea although I wouldn’t expect any of them to touch this title.

The movie starts off with a parallel showing us the lives of Hobbs and Shaw as they go through their day. They beat up on a bunch of enemies and show why they are the best at what they do. They are then called in to team up with each other to locate a powerful virus that has seemingly been stolen by a lady named Hattie who allegedly betrayed her team. What makes this complicated is that she is Shaw’s sister and that either way he doesn’t wan to team up with Hobbs. They will have to put their differences to the side quick because a metahuman named Brixton is on their tail and he is not someone that you want to mess with.

First off the big draw of this film is the endless banter with Hobbs and Shaw. They can’t stand each other and they make no attempt to hide this. Whenever one of them is on screen you can expect a lot of bickering and name calling. They are absolutely relentless with this but again it’s just great. They can be rather creative with all of the insults and they also take this really far like when Shaw intentionally sabotages Hobbs at the airport. That could have derailed the whole adventure for the heroes but fortunately Hobbs is always very resourceful.

This does lead to a great after credits scene with Shaw getting into a little trouble. The film adds in a lot of little bonus scenes and cliffhangers in the end which was pretty cool. There is certainly a whole lot for a sequel to tackle even if it appears that a sequel is never happening at this point. Hopefully they reconsider because there’s a lot more you can do with these characters. I can’t think of any duo currently active in cinema with banter that could come anywhere close to this. It’s just not happening.

There is a whole lot of action here but less in the way of car action than your average furious film. These guys are really confident in their hand to hand skills after all so that’s what the film really focuses on. Just the two characters really knocking the life out of all their opponents. They are taking villains down by the dozen and it’s great and it’s also why they needed to have someone with super powers in Brixton because otherwise there is no normal guy who could really handle these two. The battles here all live up to the hype and at most my only issue is that Brixton is so much stronger than the other two that this fight should have been over in an instant. There just isn’t a whole lot that they could do to injure him and all he needed to do was follow through on some of his hits.

Brixton did make for an interesting villain the whole time. He clearly doesn’t like being manipulated at all but isn’t really able to do much about it. It can work as a fun misdirect though because the whole time you’re expecting him to turn the tables on the true leader and it just doesn’t happen. The true leader seems interesting but of course we haven’t gotten to see him yet since he was being saved for the sequel. In the end that proved to not be the best call since we may not see him but on the plus side that means he will always look very impressive since he may never lose in the franchise.

As always Hobbs is a great character. He constantly has comebacks for every insult someone tries to throw at him. Additionally he talks really tough even while the heroes are being zapped which takes a whole lot of will and determination. Not just anyone can continue to hurl insults and such when they are at death’s door but he’s just built different like that. He is also really great at planning ahead as we see when the film ends.

Then we have Shaw who is also a lot of fun. I still say that Hobbs is a little more skilled in the end but Shaw is close enough where it is always a close fight. I’ve already spoken about how great their dynamic is but Shaw can also hold his own on the solo scenes. It was cool seeing him take out a bunch of thugs in the apartment and I like how he tries to always work smarter not harder. He’ll take an elevator if there is one instead of just jumping down and likes coming up with smart ways to avoid a fight. He was also very quick to try and protect Hattie when he finds out she is involved and never wavers in trying to protect her. He’s just a very high quality character.

As for Hattie, she had to make a pretty tough decision in absorbing the virus early on. She can fight well and while she may give up quicker than the other characters, the odds were pretty bad so you can see why she did that. She makes for a good heroine and can keep up with the main two with all the action going on around which is great. You don’t want a heroine who is panicking or anything like that while going through so you are definitely going to be satisfied here.

Then there is Hobbs’ brother Jonah who comes off as a bit of a jerk the whole time. Sure I guess Hobbs just up and left which wasn’t good but he’s working for the government and saves the world a whole lot. You’d think he would cut him some slack. Meanwhile Shaw’s Mom was a lot more entertaining. I like how she is always prepared and no jail can ever hope to keep her. It’s part of what makes her such a fun character since she only stays at jail for as long as she wants too.

There is a new character in the franchise named Victor who was actually rather fun. Certainly a rather random character I admit and I do think some of his scenes do tend to drag on a bit long. What I liked here is that he’s so unpredictable that you do get the feeling that he’s very dangerous. Even though his scenes always tend to be comedic, you get the feeling that the only reason he can joke around with Hobbs like this is because he’s so skilled that Hobbs can’t just bump him off so easily. I’d be interested in seeing this guy appear more and see what he can do. There’s also a fun cameo for air marshal Dinkley who is fun. Now this cameo may not have had much point to it even if he does help out once but it was neat to see him.

This film actually expanded the verse quite a bit which is good for a spinoff and it made the film feel a whole lot more important than it would have otherwise been. That’s what is very admirable here. Now when it comes to the soundtrack I will say that it’s less impressive than the main films. Some decent tunes in here but most of the songs just didn’t click for me. They may have been fast so they fit with the tone of the film but they just weren’t very good. The effects are top notch as always though.

What really makes this a great film is just how much replay value it has. The movie always has a very fun tone the whole time. You get your action scenes and hype dialogue as the characters get closer to their objectives but the film doesn’t slow down. We get a whole lot of big action scenes and then the film continues to top them over and over again. The only weak point of the film I would say is the romance which feels like it is just tacked on here. I gotta say that the characters are way too busy to worry about romance right now so they should be focusing on the fight. I’d also say some general power level issues throughout the film so you are going to have to suspend your disbelief a few times while the heroes are fighting.

Overall, Hobb & Shaw is a great film that I would recommend to anyone. I would say you don’t even need to watch the older films to understand this one. It works well enough as a stand alone title and with the basic premise of the two not getting along that is the only context that you really need. I could even rewatch this film now to be honest which is always a good sign. If they do surprise us with a sequel someday then I will definitely be ready but in the meantime I’m just glad that we got this one. Of course make sure you stick around after the credits because that last scene was just epic and a perfect way to end things off.

Overall 8/10

Space Jam Review

It’s time to revisit the original Space Jam. This film was always a lot of fun as you got to see all of the Looney Tunes running around and everyone played in a really intense Basketball game. You do have to overlook some parts of the premise since we know that the Toons wouldn’t get crushed so easily though. They would have easily beaten the Monstars even without help if you ask me so there are some power level concerns here but ultimately you still get a lot of fun. The movie balances the serious and comedic moments well.

The film starts off with Michael Jordan retiring from Basketball and pursuing a career in Baseball but unfortunately it isn’t going very well. One day while playing golf he is sucked into the Looney Tunes world. Basically Bugs has called him in because they were getting decimated by a group of alien invaders and the only way to save their lives from being eternal prisoners is to defeat them in a basketball game. It won’t be easy though as the invaders have stolen the skills of some of the best Basketball players in the world and now they’re all around 15 feet tall. Can even Michael’s skills be enough to turn the tides against them?

So of course this is what I meant about the Looney Tunes looking a bit weak here. No way they would lose to the aliens. These guys are multiverse busters who can do the impossible and yet they are on the losing side? I have a tough time buying that one even if it is a comedy so you can’t take it too seriously. We see the enemies crushing them during the game as well with raw power and they just don’t respect the power of the Looney Tunes all that much. Once the heroes go crazy they start to even things out though.

Part of what makes the movie work so well is that the Basketball game is absolutely on point. You have a lot of good plays here and a good attention to detail was put on every scene. This actually felt like a real game and I have to say that this is important. You want it to feel real (As real as it can be with the Tunes) because it adds more drama and stakes to the game. You definitely don’t have many penalty flags as the villains get to do whatever they want but beyond that they’re still following the core rules.

Each character also gets their big moment. Someone like Daffy is usually the center of the jokes but he does help by buying into the secret stuff real quick. Bugs is still the mastermind here who tends to get the last laugh the whole time. Lola looks great as she’s one of the only characters with real basketball talent who can hold her own without using Toon Force. Then you have everyone else doing their best to contribute so it’s a real team effort. They may get beat up a whole lot during the game but they keep going.

Meanwhile Michael Jordan makes for a good main character. He’s got a lot of skills and is a confident main character. Even when the heroes are losing big at half time he keeps his cool and tries to think of a new strategy to win. At the end of the day he’s just doing his best to play and save the world. It’s not like his personality is super deep or there’s a lot of character here but he executes all of his scenes really well. He’s just a guy trying to do the right thing and sometimes that’s better than trying to make things overly complicated.

Then you have Stan who is doing his best to keep his job by making Michael happy. His direction is clear, he has to make sure nobody messes with MJ and that’s exactly what he does. He’s one of the main comic relief characters here and I’d say that he does a great job of that. You’ll usually crack a smile whenever he’s on screen. He’s got a good dynamic with Michael. Then you have Bill whose role is small but he makes the most of it. You have to love his absolute confidence when he takes over the field and he isn’t worried about the monsters at all. He even had a total plan for the heroes if they were on offense but unfortunately it turned out they were on defense.

Those are just some examples of the fun dynamics and solid comedy throughout the movie. I wouldn’t say that every joke landed of course and that will always be par for the course for any comedy title but for the most part they were able to land and that’s what counts. Then it helps that the characters are just fun. The Monstars aren’t particularly notable that’s for sure but they did get a high budget transformation which was intense. They actually looked really strong so you had to respect that and they delivered on the pain.

The animation really holds up well to this day. You could tell me it came out in the 2000s and I wouldn’t bat an eye at the animation. There are some areas where you can tell that it’s a 90s film like with the song selection but in a very good way. The songs were all pretty solid and we got a lot of very fun montages here. There’s a ton of replay value to be found here and you can watch the movie several times. It’s all very fast paced with something going on at all times.

If there’s any small issue I’d have, it’s that I’d like to see the Looney Tunes get to show off their individual talents a little more. Road Runner’s speed should be incredible in Basketball after all so lets see that. Daffy may usually play second fiddle to Bugs but he’s usually still in the conversation when it comes to Toon Force so seeing him get more big moments and plays would have been nice. I do like the rivalry that they still have here though and that’s something you want to keep. Bugs gets a big moment here and there but I would like to see him dominate the court more. Of course you don’t want them to be winning too easily but I’d say you should just scale up the villains a bit more and then it all balances out.

Overall, Space Jam is definitely a very unique movie and one that knew exactly what it wanted to do. At its core it’s all about having a crazy Basketball game with the Looney Tunes and the film never forgets this. Space Jam actually takes itself rather seriously which is also very important. The stakes are high after all and then there’s even the subplot in the human world with the players trying to get their skills back after they were stolen. There’s just a lot to like here and Space Jam is a great movie all around. It’s not carried by the Basketball scenes or by the Looney Tunes, but a lot of effort was put into it. I’d definitely recommend this to any film fan that wants to watch a fun flick.

Overall 8/10

See How They Run Review

See How They Run was a really fun mystery film. It’s poking fun at the genre a bit while also delivering on a very solid murder mystery. You’ve got solid music here and a really solid opening. Throw in the good cast and this is a movie that you don’t really forget. You don’t see a ton of mysteries compared to other genres so it’s always fun to pick out a winner. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out.

The movie starts off with Leo narrating as he talks about how the murders are always predictable and he takes a ton of shots at “The Mouse Trap” which is a play that’s being turned into a movie. The guy holds nothing back but then he ends up being bumped off himself. It made for a nice twist since the film had been leading him up to being the main character but that wasn’t the case. Instead Inspector Stoppard and Constable Stalker are the main characters as they take on the case. Yes, Stalker is actually her name which was another bit of fun by the film. Can these two solve the case or will their differing styles come between them?

The Inspector is a hardened detective type who likes to slowly gather the clues and figure things out. That’s his style and he’s rather good at it. Constable Stalker is more about quickly gathering the clues and jumping to the ending. She likes the thrill of the chase and means well but tends to jump to conclusions as a result which annoys the Inspector a lot. This makes for a fun dynamic with a whole lot of banter though so I definitely enjoyed that. A big part of why the film succeeds is because of these two characters who really steal the movie.

The Inspector has a whole lot of obstacles in his path like the police commissioner who is more worried about optics than what is actually going on. That guy is easily caught up in jumping to the end as well and gives promises that he can’t keep so he’s not exactly the highlight character here. The Inspector has to succeed in spite of him and does a good job. Even Stalker tends to get in the way sometimes but at least she also has a large list of contributions to offset that.

It was a bit underhanded that she wrote down a private conversation between the two of them and used it against him later on though. She nearly got the Inspector in a whole lot of trouble. Yes she was just trying her best to do the right thing but that’s why it’s important not to jump to conclusions. That nearly got very dicey for sure. At least she doesn’t let it get her down though, Stalker never lets her enthusiasm for the case wane.

Then we have Leo who may have died early but keeps a large presence in the film through a bunch of flashbacks. Basically every time the characters meet a suspect we get to see how this guy did something mean to them. Leo is basically as antagonistic as possible. He messes with the characters, tries to get characters to cheat with him, is full of himself, etc. He goes out of his way to antagonize every character in the movie which is impressive…but of course that is also what led to his end.

It was also fun to see Agatha Christie also get to appear here. For a bit there I thought they were going to keep her off screen throughout the movie but she actually has an active role in the climax and gets to interact with the characters. That was definitely a really intense moment and I like how she picked up a few things from her murder mystery novels. She actually came close to having the villain on the ropes.

As for the actual villain, of course I can’t say who that was, but the reveal worked well. The villain had a good motive so you can see how the villain cracked in the end and started bumping everyone off. There is something almost funny about the explanation too and how it led to all of this. It’s true that the reactions to the murders in a way incentivized them to keep on going because the intended effect wasn’t working. “The Show must go on!” is a powerful mantra that is used a lot but of course if someone is trying to stop the play then that means they will have to keep on going over and over again until it actually stops.

One thing I have to give the film a shout-out for are the visual techniques that are used here. You constantly get different boxes on screen at the same time so you see the moment from different perspectives. It’s almost like a comic book in some ways and it’s not overplayed. These moments always just help to enhance the scene and make it more memorable. It’s like going the extra mile for the actual mystery.

You also have a fair chance to try and guess who the murderer is. All of the characters have a good amount of screen time and have definitive personalities. If you’re really paying attention to the dialogue then you should have a good chance here. My pick ended up not being correct so we’ll see how it goes for you. The film is always ready to throw you a few curve balls as well.

Overall, See How They Run is a great mystery film. It’s got a lot of replay value and the fact that the movie is able to tie it into the original play while being different was very clever. The climax uses this really well and there was a lot of detail put into this one. The writing never falters and it works really well in being a bit self aware on what usually happens in murder mysteries while still taking itself very seriously. I was quite impressed with how this went and if we ever get a sequel that could be fun.

Overall 8/10

The Sum of All Fears Review

It’s time for a really fun espionage movie with a lot of tensions between Russia and the USA. That always makes for a really fun premise right off the gate but of course the key would be if the writers could capitalize on this. Fortunately they do and this movie makes for a very interesting watch. You should be at the front of your seat the whole time. When you’ve got quality characters and a good story then the pieces are all set for a fun time.

The movie kicks off with the Russian leader dying so now there is a new guy in charge. His name is Nemerov and in general this should be a good thing because he’s less of a hardliner so maybe things can start to deescalate. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case as their activities only seem to worsen as they even use a chemical weapon in a nearby battlefield. The U.S. has to carefully navigate their response to this so they don’t look too weak or too forceful. A big thing both countries are well aware of is the nuclear options they each have that would end all life on Earth. This is where Jack Ryan is called in. He needs to find out exactly what is going on here and additionally, must stop the impending World War III. Right now both countries are on a collision course but perhaps this is all due to someone’s master plan.

One of the reasons why this film stands out is they decided to play it straight with Jack not being a combat officer. He’s an analyst and so that’s what he does in this film. He plans things out, finds out info and tries to always help the country out in that kind of way. He will fight when he absolutely has to which does happen once or twice but he’s not running around guns loaded the whole time. I like my action heroes so I wouldn’t want that all of the time but it works well here. It’s a fun change of pace idea is the best way to put it.

Jack is also a fairly bold character. I like how he has some good back and forth dialogue with Nemerov. Most characters would have backed off but Jack didn’t. Jack was also willing to give his two cents even while the President of the U.S. was in the room. Jack is not lacking in confidence that’s for sure. The deck was really stacked against him most of the time with how much all the characters would get in his way but he didn’t let up.

If anything the only part of the plot that’s really more on the weak side is the romance. Right now he’s dating Catherine but there is a little tension with how his true job causes him to have to go on a short notice from time to time. This whole plot could have just been sidelined to be honest. All the romance moments just feel squeezed in here just to have them when they don’t really enhance the plot at all. Cut them out and the film would be all the stronger for it. Either way 99% of the movie is completely unrelated.

Meanwhile on the Russian side I thought Nemerov made for an interesting antagonist. Basically there is only so much that he can do on his end because there are a lot of Russian dissidents who are against him. So they are causing trouble and framing him for things but he knows that if he goes public with this that it’ll be a sign of weakness and he will be taken out. So he has to play the role of the villain even if it means destroying everything and it’s difficult to claw his way out of that. He’s a fairly strategic character but one without any great options.

On the US side Cabot gets a big role and I thought he was really good. He may not be quite as savvy as Jack on exactly what is going on in Russia but he makes up for this with experience. Cabot plays things by the book and doesn’t take anything personal even if it means that he won’t be very popular in the office. He just does whatever he can to make the country safer in his eyes and it’s not an easy task. Then there is Clark who is more of a field operative compared to Jack. It’s rare to get a big subplot like this in these films but that was fun. I liked the way that he carried himself and Clark could easily be the main character in a different series.

Then you have the President who gets a little emotional but carries himself well. While he is one of the characters who doesn’t buy into Jack’s story about Nemerov you can’t really blame him. It does feel like a longshot to say that he’s not actually responsible. One guy calls Jack an apologist and that is how it would sound to everyone hearing his story. Jack doesn’t have anything close to real evidence that he could use to support his side of the story which puts him in a really rough position. I wouldn’t have believed Jack if I was in that room because he didn’t make any kind of strong case at all. It was an appeal to your emotions which is not the best way to make a case.

A good chunk of the movie has the heroes debating on what to do and how to proceed. It’s nice to see this because you expect that there would be a whole lot of discussion before making any decision once it looks like things are leading up to a war. There are pros and cons to each decision as well so it’s not like this is an easy one. Whatever decision is made, the characters will end up having to live with it for better or worse. I tend to prefer an aggressive approach myself. The characters discuss the whole mutual destruction thing but that will always be a concern so you can’t let the enemy get away with things while using that as an excuse. Ultimately you have to plunge forward and stop them. If the world blows up then so be it but at least everyone will die together as opposed to you just watching as things get worse.

Overall, The Sum of All Fears is a great movie. I could easily recommend it to anyone because it’s just super balanced. Whether you want action, or interesting plot developments then you will be satisfied here. A lot is happening at all times and the characters are really pushed to the breaking point. This is not an easy adventure for anyone but I appreciated actually seeing the Russian side for a while and how the film was really taking the time to discuss tactics and repercussions on both sides. The film went as realistically as it could while keeping the pacing in-tact and that’s not easy. Honestly if you take the romance away this could even be a 9 star movie as it was almost perfect. Give me more political scenes instead and keep the focus on that. It’s just really engaging and the writing is on point. You definitely want to watch this movie.

Overall 8/10

Support Your Local Sheriff Review

This is definitely one of the better westerns out there and starts off as a really strong title right off the bat. It has a good amount of humor and action throughout so you won’t be forgetting this one by the time you’re done. It ends up sticking the landing and so even if it isn’t perfect, the movie absolutely accomplishes what it set out to do.

The movie starts off with a very serious funeral being interrupted as some gold is spotted so everyone gets to digging. The town is fairly well off now and so they had to quickly get the government set up but nobody wants to be Sheriff. The Sheriff is always run out of town by the Danby gang who basically run the village from the shadows. Well one day a guy named Jason appears and he is a very confident gunslinger. The mayor and his crew are glad to have Jason on board but they didn’t really think he would be as good as his confident demeanor would have you believe. When Jason begins to rock the boat and upset the Danby family they have to decide if they have his back or not.

The town is not loyal in the slightest and it all trickles down from the mayor. He may say all the right things from time to time but it’s clear that he doesn’t truly believe in Jason. If he did then he wouldn’t be so nervous about the Danbys winning. He’s constantly trying to talk Jason out of helping or to get him to leave but it’s just too late for that now. He should have thought of that before hiring the Sheriff. Additionally he could be more direct about it instead of just waiting the whole time or talking passively as he beat around the bush the whole time.

It does make for a lot of entertaining scenes of course but it doesn’t make you like the character much at all. The town really tried their best to keep getting victimized by the Danby family so you half wish Jason would just run off at some points. Even the main heroine Prudy tries to tell him that he should run away. At first you figure she’s just trying to play him by saying all of this so he would say but when the scene ends it seems like it actually wasn’t her plan and she genuinely thought it would be safer for him to leave.

Little twists like that are part of what makes this film really solid. It is able to be a smart parody of the usual wild west adventure without being too obvious about it. The best complement to the film is that it often is quite funny. I had a good time with it that’s for sure and it has a good amount of replay value so you could easily watch it over again. The writing is on point and so you have a good amount of banter between all of the characters.

If the film has one weakness it’s that the romance here is definitely on the weak side. It’s probably difficult right out of the gate to have a serious romance in a parody film so they should have probably tried to make it more of a comedic subplot. We do have the gag where something embarrassing always seems to be happening to Prudy when she meets Jason but usually you’re just waiting to get back to the action.

The Danby family makes for some decent villains. Of course they’re all greatly outmatched against Jason but they definitely don’t train as often as he does. This guy has been fighting with a gun since forever while they likely just use it for threats most of the time. Jason is always one step ahead and knows just how to intimidate them in order to come out on top. Sometimes it is directly and sometimes he has to trick them but he always comes out on top.

Jason is a huge reason as to why the film is so good. I love the boundless confidence that he has and so it always lets him have the last laugh here. Without him as the lead the movie wouldn’t be as good and the sort of sequel to this film really underscores that but I’ll get to that film soon. Jason dominates the movie right out of the jump and he gets a lot of the funniest jokes. You definitely need him in order to make this film a success.

I thought Jake was decent at times too though. At least he was the one person in town who was actually willing to defend Jason and help him out when the going got tough. You certainly couldn’t expect that out of most of the other townsfolk who were just waiting to get wrecked. Prudy gets some credit here as well since she is introduced as a fighter early on and then helps a lot in the climax. In fact she helps so much that Jason even wants her to calm down since he was hoping not to murder anyone. I thought Prudy had the right idea here though since you need to take them down for the count.

Overall, With good pacing and a lot of fun humor there isn’t really anything to dislike about the film. It certainly underscores how difficult it is to be a sheriff because everyone is against you the whole time. You have to build some strong connections and quickly or you will end up being completely run over by everyone else. There’s never a point where the movie drags on and so I would go as far as to say this was a great movie. I could easily re watch it now which speaks to how good it is. If you like Westerns or just want to watch a fun comedy then this is the title for you. There are still serious moments and fights but the film masterfully mixes and matches the different tones throughout.

Overall 8/10

Narrow Margin Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

The original Narrow Margin was a lot of fun and this movie is a blast too. It’s always a good idea to have a film take place in a train because there is so much that you can do with the concept. You better believe that this one makes the most of it. You’ll be hooked from start to finish and that is the sign of a great movie.

So things start off with Carol being set up on a blind date with a rich guy. She figures this is fun enough and even follows him when the guy has to go to his room. He’s quickly bumped off for double crossing a powerful criminal mastermind though and Carol goes into hiding. A guy named Robert then shows up and explains that they need her testimony in order to put the criminal away for good. It won’t be easy of course and she will be in tons of danger but the villains aim to silence her anyway even if she says no. So Carol very reluctantly plays ball but in fairness she doesn’t have much of a choice. Once they get on the train, it should be clear sailing except that the villains have managed to get on as well. This could get dicey now.

Now there is a decent amount of set up before they get on the train so even if that’s where all of the big action is, it’s nice that the film sets things up rather carefully. You already have a good idea about the characters before they get on the train. Robert is set up as a very smart guy right from the jump and one who isn’t easily deterred by his boss. If Robert thinks that the best thing to do is get Carol on the stand then he’s going to do everything necessary to get her on board.

He’s up against a ton of opposition and the odds aren’t in his favor so that’s part of what makes it all very impressive. You can count on Robert to get in there and stay strong at all times. There is one point where two villains show up just to threaten Robert for a while and he’s able to continue the conversation the whole time without backing down or appearing to be afraid. It was a super tense conversation so just holding his own there was really good. A lot of other characters would not have been able to do that under similar circumstances.

The villains are also written pretty well. While the mob boss doesn’t appear much after the initial scene, I thought it was a very good entrance. He certainly kept his lackey afraid all the way until the end and he was in control the whole time. The guys he sent to intimidate Robert also did good and were quite good at their job. Even the two who pretended to be cops and cornered Robert at the stall did good. While most of these villains were ultimately one shots or characters who never stood a chance, they felt like real villains.

Then you have Carol who very wisely doesn’t want to have any part in this. I don’t blame her because it never seems like the witness protections are very good and this isn’t something that she signed up to die for. Robert even admits that he can’t totally protect her here but ultimately once the villains have Carol in their sites, she really has to do this. If they’re going to bump her off anyway then she may as well get them behind bars right?

So the choice was made for her in this case but otherwise I absolutely understood why she didn’t want to take the stand. Throughout the movie you also have traitors, conspiracies, and a lot of twists so you really can’t trust anyone. The movie spreads out the twists quite well and so you even still have another one near the end. Everyone is more than they appear to be and the movie did a really good job of showing that.

At the end of the day I have a lot of praise for the film because the writing was so great. It’s a very engaging movie that is written as if it was one of the older ones. There is even a touch of humor like when the fat guy walks in which is a homage to the old film and also with Robert’s final scene with the villains. It was the ideal ending and really helped to wrap up a film that was already very strong on all sides. I didn’t really have any issues with the movie and it has a considerable amount of replay value.

This is the kind of film that usually wouldn’t get a sequel but I think it would work out very nicely in this case. Robert feels like he could serve the role as the main character in other adventures because he’s quick on his feet and is strategic. Those are two qualities you always need in a main character and given his job, you could have another big story with other crime bosses. Perhaps you could even have this guy try to get revenge. It would be difficult for the sequel to match up to this one but I’d like to see the attempt.

Overall, Narrow Margin is a film that you should absolutely check out. It’s a great thriller with a lot of really solid characters. The action scenes are handles well and there is always a lot of tension with all of the characters running around the train. The train is quite large after all so there is danger around every corner and no easy way out. It’s part of the appeal of the location because then you really have to use strategy. Usually the villains aren’t going to just shoot everyone on the train and so that gives the heroes a chance as they try to blend in and last a bit longer. I’ve never been on a big train like this before but it always looks interesting.

Overall 8/10

The Fate of the Furious Review

The series rocks on with another big installment. Of course this time there would be no Brian which is a shame since he was a solid member of the crew. That may even be what makes the film a bit weaker because otherwise he would have had a massive role here based on the plot. This is still a really solid film to be sure but does trail behind the last two. Ultimately that’s not saying much since those were so great though and this series continues to be consistently great.

The movie starts with Dom taking down a street racer and redeeming the guy in the process. Now he runs a clean ship and Dom is proud of how things have turned out. He’s out of the biz now and just wants a normal life. Unfortunately that is not in the cards at the moment. A lady named Cipher appears and shows him something on her phone before confirming that he will now betray his family and work for her. Surprisingly Dom agrees to the terms so whatever she has on him must be massive. When he starts stealing nukes and EMPs, the crew is forced to assemble once more but can they really take out their former leader? Their only shot is to team up with Nobody, Hobbs, and Shaw. With every hype character in one room surely they can beat him!

That alone shows how much cache Dom has though. If you need the entire cast to even stand a chance against him then there was no doubt on who the big boss was. Personally, Hobbs and Shaw have both proven themselves to be a match so you’d figure that this would be easy but I suppose it’s more difficult in a race than a fight. Dom does have the best driving skills of the cast, I think that’s fair to say so it’s hard to actually catch him at that point. Still, the gang will give it their all.

One of the early scenes that really stood out was when Shaw breaks out of jail so he and Hobbs have a big chase throughout the compound. It was a really good action sequence where we got a lot of different combos and attacks. You feel bad for the guards who are ultimately at the wrong place at the wrong time. They really didn’t stand much of a chance here and particularly Shaw was making sure to destroy his opponents. You get the feeling that a few may have died against Dom too with how hard he was hitting.

This is something that you can’t help but remember when we start to go through the redemption arc for Shaw. I mean it’s pretty cool to see him fighting with the team and he’s a great character either way but I feel like the characters themselves would be super mixed about the whole thing. Ultimately it feels like there is a ton that he will have to atone for even if he is directly helping the heroes.

Then for Hobbs, he gets a lot more to do in this film which is good. The banter between him and Shaw is hype as always and Hobbs always knows how to pick the strongest looking car in the lot. He also did give Dom a few chances to surrender before going all in so I thought he handled the situation as well as he could have.

The rest of the crew is always around for their moments to shine as well even if they can’t keep up quite as well. You have Roman who is still the comic relief here but he actually does get a pretty big moment to help balance that for once like when he shoots a bunch of villains who were approaching him. Perhaps the only reason he hasn’t been dominating is because there haven’t been enough gun fights? Tej and Ramsey have a good dynamic as they each think of plans to help out. I did find it funny how the God’s Eye was already surpassed though, that definitely didn’t take long considering how much hype it got. That was the ultimate global hacking machine after all and it was taken down so quickly.

As an aside, the scene where they bust in and take out the entire cast was great though. Here you have all these big heavyweight fighters who can theoretically take down an entire army and they all get served up by a concussion grenade. I guess you really don’t want to mess with those things. It was a great way to give the villains some hype though and also felt like a scene out of a comic book movie. Even the layout of the area reminded me of Agents of Shield.

Letty doesn’t get as much to do as I would have expected here with the whole Dom going rogue angle. She does have her big moment where she grabs the briefcase and buys a bit of time but we don’t get the whole “Now it’s personal!” dynamic that you might have expected. Usually that would probably have been some kind of big fight and a lot of back and forth. Still, Letty and the crew never started doubting Dom which was important.

Nobody returns and he looks great here again. The guy is still just a lot of fun at all times and he gets results. He’s someone that even the main characters won’t want to cross. Then we’re introduced to his junior coworker in this film who tries hard but can’t get that same level of respect. And it’s not even close, that guy gets insulted throughout the movie. I thought he was rather decent myself but he does go in a little too hard on playing by the rules which doesn’t work out too well when you’re surrounded by this unit.

As for the main villain Cipher, she is quite a bit weaker than the last few villains. Her plans are wide scale but ultimately there’s not a ton to her. Cipher is really lucky that she is in possession of something to keep Dom off of her because otherwise she just wouldn’t last here. Anyone can be tough with a bit of blackmail, it’s the really strong villains who don’t need it.

Her right hand man Connor felt doomed from the start. He tries to talk tough to Dom but right from their opening scene you knew that he wouldn’t be able to back it up. These two are just in different tiers of power and Dom was absolutely not going to go down with family on the line. Once fighting was an option that was going to always be game over for the guy.

One older character appears here for a big role but I won’t say who since you could probably guess a lot from that. It was nice to see her return but unfortunately her role didn’t allow for any big moments. So she didn’t look bad because there wasn’t much that she could have possibly done but I wouldn’t say that she looked very good either. She was just fighting a losing battle here.

Finally we have Dom and of course the big question would be, was the blackmail enough to justify him going rogue and nearly murdering everybody? I mean just by working with the villain he nearly took everyone out. I always tend to be very skeptical of the hero in a scenario like this and I wouldn’t say Dom is exempt from that. His options were limited but I feel like he could have clued the team in somehow, especially since he had a lot of time. As long as he could trust them not to say anything then it would be easier to plan something out. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way so I think for once he was the one who didn’t believe in family hard enough.

Ultimately he still gets to take names and look hardcore as always though. At one point he basically has to go up against the entire team which was a lot of fun. I always like seeing a group vs 1 fight like that and it’s not like these are scrubs. Technically they’re very skilled too…just not skilled enough in this instance. Better luck next time and all of that.

Overall, Fate of the Furious is another great installment. It may not beat the others but it still has a lot of epic moments all throughout the film. It may even be the darkest one since some of the originals. I still say that loosely of course since I wouldn’t consider this film dark by any stretch but it has its moments and is certainly going for more of an emotional feel to it. We’ll see if 9 is able to top this one but ultimately I think that will be difficult. In a way it’s always tough for a sequel to beat a film that’s an 8 or up because that’s a lot to live up to.

Overall 8/10

Furious 7 Review

The Fast & The Furious is back! The series may have had a shaky start with the first 4 films but since then it’s really been firing on all cylinders! I can see why it became such a global hit and this title keeps up that same energy. It follows up on the cliffhanger ending from the last film and really sets things up to be a high tier bout of excitement from start to finish. This is one title that you don’t want to miss!

The movie starts off with a bang as Hobbs breaks into a hospital and murders just about everyone as he vows to avenge his brother who is in serious condition after being taken out by the heroes in the last film. He then breaks into Hobbs’ base in order to get info on Dom and the crew. He’s now determined to take them all out one at a time. Dom isn’t hiding and has no intention of waiting though. He’s just as eager to take Shaw down to avenge his friend Han and so the battle is set. Tracking Shaw won’t be easy though so they are going to need the power of the God’s Eye, a super hacking device that can track anyone in moments. The only way to get this is to save Ramsey, the creator of the program who is being held by Jakande and a bunch of terrorists. This won’t be easy.

You always want to start a film off with a dynamic beginning and that’s exactly what this film does. It was also nice to see it all tie in together with Tokyo Drift and the previous films. You could see how this was meant to be the really big film. Of course I’m glad that the series kept on going but it will be difficult for them to match 7. I don’t think any future film will be able to defeat it but we’ll see. There’s always a chance.

Really the only issue with the film is that it can still be a bit indulgent with the fanservice. You always have the characters heading to a beach or an area like that with a lot of slow-mo and zoom ins that don’t add anything to the plot and just make you shake your head. That may be a staple in the franchise at this point but it’s one that we can definitely just ditch and the films are better off for it. Fortunately it’s usually just a scene or two to check that box off and then we’re back to the action.

Now the fight scenes are a big part of why the films are so big. Hobbs vs Shaw is one of the big match-ups here and that was a good way to start the film off. The battle is very evenly matched so the whole time you’re interested in seeing how it’s going to end out. Later on we also have Dom vs Shaw in another really solid fight. The choreography is always really good and you can feel the blows. It’s a bit ironic that all of the best scenes don’t involve the cars but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

The car scenes are still a lot of fun as always though. Who doesn’t like a big car chase right? Then you’ve also got the heroes fighting off planes as well and a lot of great jumps and falling stunts. You may not buy that all of this can happen but the important thing is that they do happen. So it makes for a lot of fun scenes and with Shaw constantly on Dom’s tail, there is always a sense of danger going on here.

I’d also say the soundtrack is really good. The movie always picks a solid song that fits the location they’re at. It makes for a lot of variety and that’s something you always remember from the films. Tokyo Drift in particular had a really strong soundtrack since it took place in Japan but all of them have been really solid so far.

As for the characters, Dom is a great main character as always. He fights for his family and never gives up. You can always count on him to have your back no matter how tough things get. Dom’s also a great fighter and likes to battle with honor so he’s not going to go for the cheap shots or anything like that. He has a lot of great dialogue throughout the film. One thing the films always take advantage of is making sure to give everyone their hype so each character feels like they’re some kind of champion. Eventually you have several characters in the same room who are all talking tough and it’s extremely entertaining.

Hobbs is still the strong rival here but unfortunately he is gone for most of the movie. It’s a shame that he had to be written out early but at least he got his big fight scene first. He also gets some good moments near the climax. So his role is a bit on the smaller side but it’s impactful and you’ll enjoy all of the moments. Of course Dom’s crew is around as always for some backup. Roman is still yelling constantly and gets in a little over his head but still helps out as best he can. You feel bad for the guy with how everybody keeps on throwing shade at him but he never lets it get to him.

Tej mainly likes to be the one ribbing Roman but ultimately they’re good friends. Letty is still struggling with her memory loss but fights alongside Dom in the meantime and hopes to eventually get them back. She’s still got her skills from the old days. There’s a new character in Ramsey which now means that the team has two geniuses. She’s a fun character who gets the hang of things quick so I was glad about that. When characters are slow on the uptake it usually means that the pacing has to slow down so people can explain things.

Brian gets a fun role here as you would expect. He has a rivalry going with one of the villains so they fight two times and next to Dom he’s definitely the most capable fighter on the crew. He also isn’t tricked as easily as the others and made sure that Dom didn’t leave him behind. He’s a character who will definitely be missed in the future installments because he really did add a whole lot to the dynamic. This movie gave him a solid final role at least.

Then we have the mysterious Mr. Nobody. I liked his inclusion as well as the group that’s basically SHIELD. With the films getting crazier and more out there it makes sense to eventually add in a group like this. Nobody also doesn’t feel like your average government lackey and instead has a lot of charisma. He has a lot of confidence in himself and you need that when talking to these guys. Nobody never backs down and always has a plan so it’s hard to go against that. I look forward to seeing more of the guy.

Naturally Shaw is a great villain as well. He gets a lot of hype and really gets down to business. No matter who he’s fighting, the guy goes in hard. He has to be the most powerful villain in the series and I don’t see that changing. Of course if we count Hobbs then that’s a different story but even in the first film he was still an officer trying to bring in wanted criminals so he was more of an antagonist. Shaw is a lot of fun here and really enhances the film.

We’ve also got another villain in Jakande and that helped to keep the crew busy in the B plot. He’s a solid leader. We don’t really get to see him fight in hand to hand but with his guns he does keep everyone busy. His group was an interesting third party that showed up to mess with everyone. The more factions the better I always say so that worked out.

There isn’t much of an update to the standings of the franchise as a whole with this one because it’s pretty easily divided. The first 4 films were below average and not very good while films 5 and up are a blast. You can really see how the films started to focus more on the action which was a really good idea. There is never a dull moment in these films, you can absolutely be sure of that. They’re long but because of that you can cram a lot of battles into that. Typically each film has 1 race too but that’s usually not the focus here. The heroes have bigger things to do.

Overall, Fast 7 is a great film that I would absolutely recommend. It’s got a lot of nonstop action and excitement all the way through. The soundtrack and visuals are really good and most importantly, the character cast is excellent. The series has really built a ton of super memorable characters by this point who all bring a lot to the table. The continuity here is also taking advantage of the previous films to throw in a lot of callbacks and easter eggs. If you’re an action fan then this is a movie that you don’t want to miss out on.

Overall 8/10

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Review

It’s time to finally take a look at the big Sonic sequel! There was a lot of hype going into this one because Knuckles was finally going to show up! In some ways the hype for the 3rd film had already started before the second even came out because that was going to be the big one with the key player finally showing up but this one is the true build up. Sonic had to first learn responsibility and what true power is before the third one so he would be ready. Fortunately I would say this one even ended up beating the original in pretty much all areas. Only the human plot isn’t as good so in the third maybe they can balance that out.

The movie starts out very quickly as Knuckles shows up and helps Eggman return to Earth. Eggman aims to use this guy to take out Sonic once and for all and becomes interested in the Master Emerald which can grant unlimited power! Sonic has been trying to fight crime lately but it’s awfully difficult. It’s hard to minimize casualties and all that so the humans keep telling him not to help out at all which seems a bit selfish if you ask me. Sonic is still saving lives after all. When a fox named Tails shows up, Sonic realizes that his time to be a true hero has finally arrived. Is he up to the task?

Since the human plot has almost nothing to do with anything we may as well knock that one out first. As I said this is the weak point of the film. So Tom has to head over to Rachel’s wedding but she really dislikes him and aims to make this a rough time for the guy. Unfortunately Tom does end up having to mess with the wedding a bit but duty calls. I was glad that he made the right call in the end even if it did make things tricky for him socially.

Tom is ultimately a good character who is stuck in a rather weak plot the whole time. He is ready to fight and isn’t afraid of Eggman. The biggest shame here is that he doesn’t get to banter with Eggman much in this film since they don’t meet up until the end. It’s too bad because that dynamic was actually really solid in the original. I would have just included Tom with Sonic’s plot and I think that would have amped things up a lot. The guy has a lot of good lines.

Rachel is just annoying though. She needs to stop trying to dunk on Tom and just have a good time. It’s her wedding after all so why get so stressed right? She gets a comedy plot where she teams up with Maddie to clown on the government and get some revenge. The music may be reasonably solid here but the scene’s a bit dragged out and does start to cross the line of being a little too over the top.

The one thing I will give for the human plot is I loved the introduction of GUN. This is a group that should have a massive role in the next film. Yes, I can already tell their role won’t be as good since that group was highly competent in the games while this one looks to be comic relief. It’s a shame but that’s how it goes. Still, I was glad to see them and their plan here was actually good. I mean by all accounts it really worked so not bad right?

Meanwhile in town you had Wade trying to prove himself as the sheriff in stopping Stone but that ultimately didn’t really go anywhere or have much relevance to the plot. You could cut Wade out entirely and nothing would really change so it was pretty much filler. Stone still looks up to Eggman a whole lot and just wants to feel appreciated. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon though. Stone’s dedicated, I’ll give him that.

Now we start to get into the main plot. Sonic and Tails fighting it out with Knuckles and Eggman to try and get the Master Emerald first. This had a lot of fun tributes to the games like the avalanche levels and the Sonic vs Knuckles fights definitely deliver. I did have some power level issues with this though like how Sonic should have smoked Knuckles. Why did he keep running straight at the guy? In a battle of speed vs power you always have to use your speed in order to gain the upper hand and land some devastating blows.

Trying to beat the power guy with power isn’t going to work. I thought Sonic could and should have fought a lot better here. Ultimately even while he lands some good blows, it always feels like he’s on the losing end here. Also, the speed difference between him and the others isn’t emphasized enough. When Sonic’s sandbagging sure he can look as fast as Knuckles or Tails. He likes to be running with them together but otherwise he should be zipping around like crazy. The film does understand his speed in some cases like when he’s dodging lasers or missiles but then in the fights he is suddenly a lot more normal.

I get that they had to try and make Knuckles seem like a threat but they went a bit far beyond the believability territory. By that point you’re really just shaking your head. Still great for the visuals and all plus Knuckles fans should be happy but it’s very noticeable. It’s always the issue you face as a writer when your lead character is so fast but you just have to adapt and keep it moving.

This plot had its share of serious and somber moments along with the light hearted adventuring. It’s well balanced and a lot of fun. This is definitely the highlight of the movie and it’s no surprise since you probably are watching this for Sonic after all. He delivers in each of his scenes without a doubt. Sonic also does get some decent development from the first film. He’s at least trying to be a hero even if he hasn’t mastered it yet. I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes to his character any time soon so he’s probably still going to appear as a younger version to the Sonic we’re used to from the games but he’s done well.

Tails is also really solid here and feels a lot like his classic self. He looks up to Sonic a lot and is lacking in confidence but is slowly building it. If they adapt the tearjerker scene from Adventure 2 next time then that’ll be the perfect place to give Tails the rest of his character arc. It’s always good to have a genius on your side so having him around is a great help to Sonic.

As for Knuckles, fans of his should definitely have fun with his character. He’s super strong and is devoted to finding the Master Emerald at all times. He feels a little less smart than his game counterpart as it almost seems like they were going to start taking inspiration more from Sonic Boom Knuckles who takes things literally and doesn’t know a ton but the writing is good enough here to where he is not super exaggerated like that. So in the end he still made for a great antagonist. I’d like to see him stick around and be a main character for the next adventure.

Then we have Eggman and I was not expecting him to gain super powers the way that he did. It was an interesting take on his character though. I hope he would return for future films but if not, this was a good exit. He has a lot of clever little puns that he would throw in throughout the movie that were a blast. At times he can be a little more crazy than genius and the film could maybe dial it back a bit at times but all in all I still had a lot of fun with him. Eggman is an iconic part of the film and you definitely couldn’t do this adventure without him.

Naturally there is an after credits scene. You’ve likely heard or seen it since that was everywhere even before the film was fully out, but if not then you’re going to really be in for a treat. Hype levels for Sonic 3 are now out of this universe so get ready. If it adapts even 10% of what the next adventure should be then we’re really going to be in for a treat. It’s not too early to say that the film has a shot at being movie of the year at this point. I would be surprised and dismayed if it’s anything lower than that.

Just based on how different the characters are it’s bound to not be a 1 to 1 adaption but as long as you get the bullet points then you’re good. I’d also like them to include some more of the video game tunes. The soundtrack was still good and all but hearing some of those classic tunes would make it even better. At least if you ask me that would be the best move here. There would be no turning back from that. The effects and everything are good here as well.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a great film. It really capitalized on the development and hype moments from the first film while taking this one to the next level. The human scenes are a weakness but they’re not so bad that they drag the film down too much. Without them would this be a 9 star film? Probably not so in the end the damage was minimal and you’ll be okay. Like I said, at least we got GUN out of it so that’s a start.

Overall 8/10

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

I think it’s fair to say that Phase 4 of the MCU is really doing quite well now. It’s certainly risen above Phase 1 with Doctor Strange now if it hadn’t already. I don’t have all of the phases totally memorized though so one of these days I ought to make a list and just see which is the strongest phase overall. (Likely whichever one has Infinity War) This film certainly holds its own with some of Marvel’s strongest films and is a really memorable one with high replay value. You see quite a lot of people already checking it out a second time and I can see why. With nonstop action and a quick pace you certainly won’t be bored here.

The movie starts off with Strange and a girl named America on the run from a monster which leads to the fight in the middle of the street that’s in all of the trailers. These monsters are after America for her abilities which may present a danger to the entire multiverse. Doctor Strange will have to handle this carefully but multiversal entanglements have already caused him a lot of trouble before and he’s not even the sorcerer supreme anymore. Will he be able to save her alone or will he have to call in some help?

It’s a very quick plot summary but as I said, the movie moves very quickly. There are a lot of twists and turns here and the film does not waste time on any of this. Within 15 minutes everything you expected starts to change and you’re really thrown right into the mix. This is a massive asset to the film because this is the kind of thing that helps with replay value. It’s hard to go 15 minutes without something happening after all. I’ll have a spoiler section later on for going into these things but the main review is assuming you haven’t seen the film so I won’t be revealing much here.

The action scenes here are definitely top notch. The movie still shows Strange’s magic to its fullest and in a lot of imaginative ways. I also enjoyed how he was using his magic in minor ways too like getting his tie set up. If I had magic I would be using it for things like that too so it definitely made a lot of sense. The visuals are also good for the scenery and effects. You can tell that a lot of care and detail went into all of this and it will certainly hold up well even 10, 20, or more years into the future. These kind of effects will always age well.

I want to give a special shout-out to the soundtrack too which was exceptional. I can easily say that it’s one of Marvel’s best soundtracks. Probably the best since Dark Phoenix but if we stick to MCU films then I’d have to think a little harder. As an overall soundtrack it is very likely the best one. It’s got a solid array of horror and action themes here. Each theme really helps to amp up the scene that it’s in. “A cup of Tea” is a very memorable track and there are a ton of others. Part of a theme song also plays in one pivotal scene which was excellent. Now that was a deep reference and one that I certainly appreciated. You can very much here the Spider-Man to Spider-Man 3 type themes in here as well. I feel like some had to be remixes or at least incorporated some of that music in there.

Naturally as I mentioned we do have some horror vibes here as well. There are jump scares, characters contorting their bodies like an undead monster, etc. The imagery is not something you would tend to expect in an MCU film and in fact I would say it’s probably the most violent one as well. It never crosses the line into being distasteful or too excessive though. The film knows how to show just enough so you know what happened without dragging it out which is appreciated. This is really what I would call expert handling of each scene and moment. The film has its humor of course but you don’t have characters throwing jokes in a desperate chase for life and death.

In a lot of ways this had some of the best balance between all the genres that we’ve seen. It’s why I would call this one of the strongest installments in the MCU. It may not top the latest Spider-Man film which also had a lot of multiverse type plot elements thrown in but it’s absolutely on the same level and ends up putting a really close fight in. Also in terms of which movie I would rather re-watch right now, it would have to be this one because there’s more I feel that I could pick up on in the fights and background elements while I feel like I did catch basically every reference and easter egg in Spider-Man.

In terms of the cameos and multiverse elements, I thought this film did a really good job. Yes, one character does look really bad and as a whole I think one group could have done a lot better but they really played the match-up wrong. The power scaler in me may be shaking my head a bit but at least in the way the fight happened I can absolutely buy into it. I wouldn’t say I had any big power level issues here which is always good. I also appreciate that the Wandavision show was actually rather important to this movie.

I’ve never liked when something happens in a show/comic/game that is never really referenced again to the point where it just didn’t matter. That was a vibe you got from Agents of Shield a lot of the time and of course the Netflix shows never really became a big thing. A quick cameo here or there maybe but nothing super important. With this film you can tell that this is starting to change and that’s a good thing because we’re really getting to the point where the films feel a bit like the comics. Anyone can show up at any time and you’ve got a lot of interconnected stories happening at the same time.

So with all of these positives you may be wondering, where are the negatives? Well, I didn’t have any big negatives, the film was a blast all around. I guess I can say that some of the emotional type scenes are maybe a little overplayed so I can’t take it super seriously. Any scene involving some kids comes to mind. I’m glad their roles were rather small. Some of the characters didn’t make the best decisions for sure when it comes time for a fight but that’s not the kind of thing that hurts a score unless it’s particularly egregious and it wasn’t here. I would say I wish the film was longer. Some parts just felt super fast as the film had to keep its brisk pace but some fights could have absolutely been longer or the experiences in the different places. Tons of potential right there.

I’ll get into some minor stuff in the spoiler territory but yeah on the whole you can jump into this film and be reassured that there are no big negatives here. It’s a very excellently made film all around the board. It’s also one of those films that just keeps getting cooler and cooler in your head. I’ve already been listening to the soundtrack a lot since I watched the film and play some of the scenes back in my head. A lot of times a film may cool down a bit once you’ve had time to relax but it’s the opposite in this case which is a really good sign to me.

Doctor Strange is still an excellent main character as always. In a lot of ways he’s like Tony Stark with how he’s super confident in his abilities and isn’t afraid to throw out some insults. He’s also matured a lot like Tony and knows how to talk to the younger heroes and explain the stakes. Strange never falters in the film and has a strong will that is ready for anything. It’s why he was such a great pick as the Sorcerer Supreme and why he should get that title back. No offense to Wong but it’s clear that this was meant for Strange.

As the new heroine here, America is okay but I do think she could have been better. I’d definitely liked her to have been able to use her abilities more. Grin and just demolish opponents. With her sheer abilities this would not be a crazy task against most fighters. She does have a tough backstory and hasn’t exactly had a lot of downtime to prepare but that would have been cool. As it is, she’s not bad but she’s not close to being a solid character just yet. Give her one more film appearance and I can definitely see her changing that.

The movie also has some pretty interesting monster designs during its run as well which were nice to see. I thought the monster in the opening minutes of the film had one of the coolest designs although at one point you see some Minotaur type creatures as well that were really cool. It’s a shame that they didn’t get to fight this time. There’s also a little joke taken at the Avengers expense in the movie to show how much weaker the roster is right now. I thought this was a nice touch because it’s true. Thor and Captain Marvel are never on planet so you can’t count them. There’s no Captain America or Iron Man anymore. So the Avengers are basically Ant Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Bucky, Hawkeye, and maybe the Hulk who is a power hitter for sure but with how the Hulk’s been acting he may not be as strong as he once was. Still wouldn’t hurt to have him on board.

I was cool with how the heroes were handled here. They were acknowledged enough so you know they are around and that the film hasn’t forgotten them but you totally understand why they are MIA for the film. It would be difficult for them to even know what is happening aside from the opening attack and I doubt they have any really solid information networks at the moment so they’d really be doomed here.

Okay now we’re getting into the spoilers territory so skip the next 17 paragraphs if you haven’t seen the film yet. It’s always best to go into the movie blind especially when it’s got a lot of twists and turns like this one. So keep scrolling until you see a message saying End Spoilers in bold.

I really enjoyed the fact that Scarlet Witch was pure evil here right from the jump. The movie wasted no time in having her make a move which was brilliant. Look, I’ve been yelling down from the cliff ever since Wandavision came out that she was pure evil and causing a lot of damage and harm to everyone all around her. Literally enslaving a whole town to the point where they were begging Vision and yelling in pain the whole time showed how sick this was. Mind control is the ultimate invasion of privacy and this was for quite a while too.

I thought an issue with the show was how easily it waved this away and everyone was patting Wanda on the back as if she was some kind of hero. So this film took things to what I considered to be the natural conclusion and it did this very well. So major kudos to that and of course she does make for a really great villain. Seeing her pulling out all the stops to destroy the heroes was really something else. Surely she can’t be a hero after this, keep her as a villain that the heroes reluctantly go to for help once in a while but after murdering so many people she can’t just come back to join. Naturally I don’t think she died here.

The film shows how insane she was with the whole kids plot too. When Strange asks what would happen to the other Wanda, it’s pretty clear that Scarlet Witch would murder her. So much for not being the monster in this scenario right? Scarlet Witch did really well against Thanos and that was before her upgrade so it makes sense that she would do so well here. That said, I still think the Illuminati could have done better. Sure, I like clowning on them as much as the next guy because they always talk tough but the fact is they’ve got a lot of multiverse experience here so you’d think they would do better.

Whenever Mr. Fantastic dismisses Scarlet Witch “We’re not worried about her” you have some doubts but in the back of your mind you figure he must have some kind of plan. Surely he wouldn’t just be saying that for no reason right? Well, he might as well have since he had absolutely no defenses at the ready except for some ultron bots. They all went down in seconds, why was he so confident? The main problem with this is that it just makes him look incompetent and this is supposed to be the smartest man in the Marvel universe.

I really think the film did him dirty here. It was nice to see Jim from the Office playing him (Although whenever I see him I just see Jim with the iconic grin/smirk) but the character needed to do better. Lets see him stretch around and have a big fight. This group is basically the Avengers of this timeline so they should be defending the world rather well if you ask me. Carter and Captain Marvel put up a much better fight at least because they keep moving around but it would have been even better for them if the whole team was helping.

I can’t blame Black Bolt because Mr. Fantastic basically gave Scarlet Witch all of his weaknesses so there was nothing more he could do. The guy was doomed the instant that happened but again, Fantastic isn’t usually the kind of guy who underestimates his opponents so much. Xavier actually did well though and I give him kudos for being the only member of the group to actually act like a hero. I dare say that I couldn’t even say that of Carter. Xavier was the only one who gave Strange a chance.

I liked seeing the telepathic world too which was like something out of X-Men. The fact that he actually saw a version of Wanda in there was also interesting since it really showed the Dark Hold as an outer force manipulating her. I feel like people can try to use this as an out for Wanda not being that bad but I’m not going to give that one to her. It was still Wanda’s choice entirely, it’s not like the world was at stake like with Dr. Strange. That guy had every reason to use the book and he didn’t get corrupted like that. I would have liked the scene to have been longer though so Xavier could have fought in his astral self. That could have been a really solid battle in there and the Illuminati battle in general could have been longer.

One theme in the film is that you don’t have to be just like your other versions and I thought it was a good one. Just because things happened one way in one universe doesn’t mean that it will be the same everywhere. Strange ultimately got to see what it can do to people and I’m convinced that he won’t let this happen to him. The film has a really intense ending and initial after credits scene involving that. I liked it because for one thing, it was an extremely bold ending. Probably the most intense one aside from Infinity War. You just never expect a film to end like that except for a horror movie which is in line with keeping this like one.

Then with the after credits scene, it was cool to see Clea show up and Strange quickly jumping into the portal without fear. I’ve always enjoyed his confidence and he really is a great main character. I think he’s the best bet to stay as the face of Marvel mainly because he’s right in the thick of the action and as a big magician he can be anywhere at any time. That makes it easy to write him into a bunch of stories.

I could definitely go on about how cool the fights are here. It’s just amazing visually and with how all the fights go. Each spell is very memorable like the piano battle or even Strange firing off his snakes to stop Wanda once he saw how unhinged she was. Wanda also works well as a villain because we know her so even though she’s evil now, it’s still like watching a battle between Avengers. It’s kind of surreal because in movies it’s a little rarer to see a hero that’s been around for multiple films turn evil like this. You just don’t tend to see that kind of thing.

Oh yeah Baron Mordo showed up here and the guy is as petty as ever. He makes for a fun villain for that reason though and I liked how Strange called him out. Losing to a guy who didn’t have magic at the time is definitely embarrassing for the guy. Time and time again we see why it’s good that Mordo didn’t become the sorcerer supreme, that’s for sure. Christine appears and looks good in the normal universe but completely unreasonable in the other verse. Okay picture this, a monster is going around murdering all of your friends and allies. She’s heading your way now so you’re asked to find the waypoint so everyone can warp out of here.

Rather than logically start helping, she starts complaining about how she can’t trust Strange and this and that. It’s one thing I couldn’t believe for her and the Illuminati. They act like Strange is such a mega danger and yet….it should be clear that Wanda is the bigger threat. Even if you believe Strange is greater, you gotta acknowledge the context and at this point Wanda is already a mass murderer so Strange should be treated as a follow-up item instead. These guys were not reasonable which made it easy to almost root for Wanda there. Of course you weren’t since her motivations and goals were just villainous the whole time but it could be close.

As a quick note, I didn’t like Wong here. The guy really takes too much pride in being Sorcerer Supreme even though he gets decimated in every fight. Just give Strange the title back already. I forget if the title gives you extra power but I thought it did so give it to Strange so he can win already. Wong just holds him back and naturally makes the wrong calls under pressure. When he said they should sacrifice America at the end I wanted to sigh. Cmon man, the whole film was about learning why that was absolutely the wrong way to go but he went through it anyway. You’ve gotta learn from your mistakes.

Strange absolutely learned from the first version of himself who died as he became a traitor. Then he got to learn some more when he saw how the Dark Hold absolutely messed up another Strange. I like to think this is why he will be able to completely negate the Dark Hold’s abilities. I feel like the ending was him overpowering it personally but we’ll see if that is more of a full sub plot that will appear soon. Strange never doubted himself and kept fighting for what was right. Even when he was up against opponents who were stronger than him, Strange didn’t give him. That’s how you become a real hero.

As for power levels, at this point it’s safe to say that Scarlet Witch would wipe most of the Marvel heroes out. I’d still put Thor and Captain Marvel ahead of her in a battle though provided that they attack fast. Witch’s main strength is that she can rewrite reality so she can do anything if she has prep time. Removing their faces or hearts would even take Thor and Marvel out but Witch’s defense isn’t on the same level. She can and will get bruised/beat up if she takes hits. Those two have the power and speed to make it happen.

Hulk could potentially beat Witch too but I think he’s too slow so that’s out. I could see Strange winning this fight if he was absolutely fighting to kill and could use some kind of advanced spell to get her but at this point he would lose many more times than he would win because he’s just not fast enough and her powers outmatch his. So she’s definitely near the top of the verse in terms of power now.

There’s probably a lot more I could say about the film but this is what I got off the top of my head at least. The movie knows when to be funny, scary, or intense. It’s really quite impressive and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Strange next time. I hope the gap isn’t quite as long though because I need some more cool magic scenes already. The waiting it always the toughest part for these things.

End Spoilers

Overall, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is definitely a great film. I 100% recommend it every step of the way. You just won’t want to miss this one and it’s great how ambitious the films can be now. You absolutely would not have been able to expect a film like this even just 6-7 years ago. It’s able to go completely into its comic book roots with all kinds of flashy colors and abilities. At no point do you feel like the film is going to slow things down for you or make it general audience friendly. You’re either able to keep up with it or you can’t but matching the film’s pace is your job here. If you haven’t watched the film already then you should change that. If you have then it’s time to check it out again! Make sure you stick through the credits for the first of the two scenes at least since it’s a pretty important one that ends the film on a perfect note.

Overall 8/10