Werewolf by Night Review


It’s rare to have stand-alone specials but they’re always fun when they pop up and this one is no exception. It’s a fairly unique special for Marvel as it doesn’t quite feel like the average movie. This one plays out more like a monster movie as everyone gets in on the hunt and it’s handled well. It’s also quite a bit more intense than the average movie but without lingering on any shot for too long or trying to get too gritty. So on that note I thought the movie did a good job.

It starts with the world’s greatest monster hunters all being gathered in one room. Their mission is to capture a red gem that has been placed on a monster. They have to slay the monster and grab the gem which will make them the new head now that the old man died. His wife Verussa is the one who has gathered everyone here together. Her daughter Elsa has also decided to show up for some reason which nobody is thrilled about but they’ll just have to roll with it. Naturally fighting among competitors is to be expected as well as the only rule is to grab the stone. Everything else is permissible and eliminating your competition now could help you out down the road. So with that in mind, the competitors are all sent into the garden at night to either slay the monster or be destroyed.

The main characters here are Jack and Elsa so you can expect them to do more than the other hunters. Elsa has her own reasons for participating and clearly her skills have not dulled as she is able to get in on the action rather quickly. She holds her own against these master class hunters and is generally a strong combatant. I thought she was a fun member of the cast. Perhaps not the most trustworthy fellow as I get the feeling she could change sides on a whim but having her power on your side is a good thing. She is adept at using most weapons.

Then you have Jack who is more of a pacifist and would rather not have to fight anybody. He will destroy monsters as needed but not other players. This puts him at quite the disadvantage here. In general Jack doesn’t seem nearly as skilled as the other competitors either though. He feels like your average lead who can fight with some street brawling skills but doesn’t have any super talented moves so things tend to get tricky for him. He’s always confident though, you have to give him that.

I enjoyed the whole set-up here. The opening scenes of everyone hyping each other up as we see how spooky the manor is was quite effective. I always like that kind of set up and the hunt is like a free for all in the Hunger Games. The black and white color scheme also worked really well here. Now if I’m being honest, doing this in color would probably work even better, but I do enjoy black and white so it wasn’t a big deal. Also, it does tend to help tone down the violence as a stylistic effect so it probably did come in handy there.

This feels very retro so the film absolutely succeeded since it seemed to be trying to get that feeling across. The battles are also good, they tend to be quick as each opponent is looking to murder the other one but you feel the skill in the confrontations. I also liked what the film did for the Marvel intro. It works well as a one-time Halloween kind of thing. I wouldn’t want it to replace the main intro but it was a good change of pace.

On the slightly weaker side of things, Man-Thing was one of the most hyped parts of the special but I wouldn’t say that he looked great. In fact, I would say that he was on the losing side of things for the most part. Not that he literally loses any fights here but he doesn’t seem as fierce as you would expect and it feels like he actually could have been in danger. Right now he appears to be a glass cannon and the gem was doing a number on him. I want to see what he can do at full power.

In the meantime I do like his friendship with one of the characters though. He seems like a good guy to hang out with and I like that personality of his. So he may not have looked too impressive in a fighting context but otherwise he was on point. I could see him doing more in a sequel or if he returns at some point. I did like the effects used for his fire attacks though. Then Verussa made for a solid villain. Her plans may have felt a little short sighted though towards the end. She did gain the upper hand but it felt like things could have easily gone very badly for her and then there would have been no real recovering from that. I guess revenge was her main motive but even so, she probably could have handled things a bit differently.

There aren’t any real big plot threads that would need to be resolved so this could stay as a one shot but I would like to see the adventures continue. I think there’s a lot you could do with this dynamic and the execution was just on point. This is a special that would have a good amount of replay value to be sure. It helps that it’s so short so nothing is dragged out. You can just jump in and watch this one right away. Jack is also a likable main character and Elsa was a good heroine so we got some nice banter throughout the adventure. There’s even a bit of humor thrown into the mix and so what you have as a result is a very steady adventure.

Overall, Werewolf by Night is a pretty good movie. It was better than I had anticipated. Usually using a Werewolf by itself is a recipe for disaster but the movie handled this one with care and didn’t get bogged down too much with violence or trying to have a lot of grit in there. Things could get intense at times but it was all done very quickly and efficiently, as you would expect from pro hunters. Likewise the Werewolf rampage scene isn’t overplayed. Definitely a good all around title.

Overall 7/10

Morbius Review


Morbius is one of those films that seemed doomed on arrival. Nobody really cared all that much about the character so why would a whole film about him do good? It’s also vampire themed which was tapped out decades ago. The only thing that put this film on the map were the memes and unfortunately it’s safe to say that the memes are better than the actual film. I wanted to hear someone yell “It’s morbin time!” in the film at least once. Ah well, at least the second after credits scene is hilarious and one of the funniest ones you’ll ever see. It’s a serious scene that is funnier than most of the humor based ones so the film has that going for it.

The movie starts by introducing us to Morbius and his friend Milo who were both born with a very rare blood disease. They can barely even walk and their bodies will continue to deteriorate until they die very young. They also have nonstop pain that hits them during every waking moment so their lives are quite tough. Morbius is determined to develop a cure though. Many years pass and Morbius is really close but the only solution appears to be involving bats and he will have to break a lot of laws to pull this off. Morbius succeeds but at a heavy cost. He is now a vampire and must drink blood in order to survive. Fake blood also won’t suffice for very long so soon he will need to feed on humans. Can Morbius resist the urge and find a cure for the cure or is he doomed? One thing’s for sure, he has no catchphrase to fall back on and save his life.

Lets talk about some of the stuff that doesn’t work here. Right off the bat you can bet that the blood stuff is a non starter here. You always have Morbius drinking blood and everything because that’s how he is able to exist. We don’t really see the blood but it’s nevertheless quite gross to see him drinking out of the bags and always gagging afterwards. Blood is just not a good drink to have at the ready and it’s a disadvantage of the vampire genre.

Then you also have this really awful song/dance sequence for Milo. Oh man it could have at least been semi decent if the song wasn’t so bad but it was one of the worst songs I’ve seen in a film in quite a while. The film couldn’t afford to have a scene like that because it was already skating on thin ice. I also just didn’t like Milo in this film. The guy gets too emotional too quickly and never thinks anything through rationally. He’s the kind of guy who seems okay for a minute there but very quickly you realize that any amount of power would quickly corrupt him. This guy is not hero material.

As for Morbius, the guy was running experiments on animals which is a really rough way to start his character arc. Experimenting on animals is never okay and so that’s an easy way to get me not to root for the character. He’s also just not my kind of lead for the most part as he lacks confidence and isn’t ready to just get in there and start landing hits. There are some brief moments where he gets real confidence and starts to be a real main character but those moments rarely last. At least based on the after credits scene he is finally back to being a confident leader so if they stick with that for any sequels then that will be an improvement.

The real standout character here was actually Al. So in a subplot that doesn’t go anywhere you have these two cops, Simon and Al. They are basically following Morbius around and trying to get to the bottom of the situation. What I liked about Al a lot was how he was able to quickly see through everyone’s lies. For one reason or another everyone he talked to would always lie to his face. So Al tends to give sarcastic remarks back to let them know that he knew they were lying and t was a nice dynamic. I was glad that he didn’t just play dumb there. This guy was quick on the uptake and I think giving him more scenes would have been nice.

Then you have the serious member Simon. He gets a quick chase scene with Morbius and holds him at gun point so this guy is very impressive. I really think the cops had a solid dynamic so it’s a shame that they couldn’t have done more. As it is, you could cut them out of the film and nothing would really change. They may give some set up for a sequel film but at the end of the day that doesn’t have much baring on this one.

The main heroine here is Martine and she’s a solid character. You just wish the film didn’t have to throw her into a romance right away. It doesn’t add anything to the film and the romance is just so weak. You don’t see why this started at all because they had a good working relationship going and you don’t want to wreck that by having both characters start getting emotional. It’s always best to keep it professional and that would have been a good idea. At least this way Morbius has an extra loyal ally at all times. Martine does well in staying strong under pressure.

Finally you have Emil who was the mentor type figure in the film which means that the death flags around him were absolutely massive. It’s very rare for the character to not get absolutely wrecked in a film like this. At least he talks tough and seems to be in the know. There’s not a whole lot he could have really done differently here.

One positive thing I can say about the film is that the effects are really good. Personally I liked the energy trails that Morbius would leave behind him during fights. The action scenes really hold up quite well. Morbius is also surprisingly powerful so he would definitely be able to hold his own against other Marvel heroes. His only weakness would be the time limit without drinking blood so he’ll need to find a fix for that. So at least the movie does have a little glimmer of hope there.

The sequel just needs to focus more on the action and less on the vampire elements. It also needs a fresh villain here, someone with a different power set so you can have more imaginative battles. I would have my hopes quite low for a sequel but I am sure that you can still pull it off with the proper writers and a good story. You don’t even need to rely on guest stars although they certainly would not hurt.

Also, one of the main conflicts here felt a little forced in how it happens. It reminded me a lot of the Amazing Spider-Man 2. So keep in mind that with this condition you are constantly in a lot of pain and so if there’s a way to end that pain then you’re most likely going to take it. I felt like Morbius had 0 empathy at this point and handled the situation in the worst way possible. At least offer some hope about a real cure coming soon but otherwise it does appear to everyone like Morbius was thinking “I got mine!” and leaving it at that.

It doesn’t excuse the villain from going crazy immediately but you can definitely see how it happened. The whole situation may not have been avoidable but it’s hard to say and would definitely have gone differently at the very least otherwise. It’s not that hard to have at least been a little tactful but of course that’s not Morbius’ strength.

The film doesn’t really have many fun scenes either. Like you’re never laughing except for after the credits and most of the film is just rather dreary. I would say the premise was fine but the execution was just bad. Still, if you do watch the film then stick around for the after credits scenes. I actually liked both of them which is rare since when you have two, usually one of them will be sub par as a result. Fortunately that was not the case this time.

Overall, Morbius is basically as bad as everyone said it was. The film just didn’t even feel like it was trying. The vampire stuff is pretty bad but even the normal scenes tend to be okay at best. I liked Morbius beating up some thugs and stealing their base but for every scene like that you have 5 lab scenes of him either drinking blood or getting hit with needles. The movie needed a completely different approach. Ironically the memes actually laid the groundwork for this so the sequel should embrace them and then the film could be good. Perhaps it would feel a bit like pandering but if executed right then we’d really be in business.

Overall 3/10

Thor: Love and Thunder Review


Thor has returned for his first solo adventure in quite a while. Thor Ragnarok still ranks as one of the top Marvel films while the first two have their mixed moments. Perhaps controversially I always had Thor 2 ahead of the first one even if the power levels in that film would go on to make everything else a little tricky. I’ll go into the full Thor rankings later on. Love and Thunder is a solid installment in the series even if it doesn’t come close to matching Ragnarok.

The movie starts with introducing us to the god butcher known as Gorr and his origins on how he came to get this title. He seemed like a rather decent guy but ultimately a tragic experience pushes him to the dark side. He begins to destroy all of the gods one by one. We then cut to Thor who is in a bit of a slump. He goes around and finishes battles with his immense strength but it all feels empty to him. Now this mission to save the gods and his people may be just what Thor needs but he will have to also deal with the shock of seeing Jane Foster become the new Thor. Will they be able to put aside their past history to team up and take Gorr down?

There’s a lot to unpack here so first lets start off with some of the really solid aspects. The action scenes are great when they happen. The biggest highlight for me was naturally the big team up with Thor and Jane as we get to see a lot of good combos there. The movie does a good job of having each energy weapon be a slightly different color which works well for contrast during the battles. There’s a lot of good movement here and I would say the power levels are accounted for as well. Each fighter has a different fighting strategy based on how they battle.

Thor still retains his power increase from Ragnarok which is important. For the most part I didn’t have too many strength issues. There is a moment involving being tied up that I found a little hard to buy and one or two fights end in more of a stalemate than I would have expected. It’s all more on the mild side though and nothing as head scratching as the Kurse fight from film 2. There’s one scene where Thor holds back two sci-fi motorbikes with his legs which may be the most impressive physical feat we’ve seen from him.

The soundtrack is also very solid. Not quite Dr. Strange level but there are a lot of good action tunes. I do think it was an odd decision to leave the best sounding lyrical song for the credits though. I think it would have worked really well during the movie similar to how Ragnarok had a song that appeared when Thor unlocked his true abilities. Either way it makes for a fun soundtrack to look up online.

As the main character Thor is good even if he’s still feeling a bit of his Endgame depression here. The movie plays up the gag with his hammers a bit too much and Thor has slowly become more of a full on comedic character than an action star. You can definitely have the balance of both and do it well but what makes that work is Thor’s full confidence. The scene with him taking the gang to Zeus’ palace for example can have some decent humor moments but it all feels a bit out of character. Thor’s the kind of hero who would usually take to the stage and start talking as opposed to almost being nervous and just staying in the stands the whole time. Thor can have a hero sure…but the whole thing didn’t really make sense.

So Thor is good and looks strong in combat but I wouldn’t say it was his best appearance. During battle there is no problem as he goes all in. There’s one scene in particular that is pretty much taken out of the Seven Deadly Sins playbook involving a solid catch and throw back that was very impressive. Definitely one of the highlights. The romance scenes can have him struggling a bit but in general the romance in the film was really weak. It’s been so long since Thor and Jane have been apart that this should really be something that they don’t rebound into. Stay as good friends and that would have been a much better dynamic. You could probably have better banter that way as well. There wasn’t any romance scene here that really worked.

Then we have Jane as the main heroine and she is a good character. I thought her plan involving using Mjolnir was a pretty smart one and I would have expected it to work a lot better. Her plot is the serious one in the film and provides a contrast to the happy Thor moments. Ultimately she’s a solid character who makes the right choices in the end and her fans should be really pleased with her portrayal here. She uses the hammer in a lot of creative ways too.

Valkyrie’s role is a lot smaller here than last time but she is around for the whole journey. Unfortunately she just can’t keep up in terms of raw power along with the others at this point so she tends to play more of a backup role. I like that she’s always ready to fight though and she gets more to do than Lady Sif, that’s for sure. Jane’s friend gets an even smaller role and that was a supremely good idea since she doesn’t add much to the story.

Zeus looks awful but I won’t go into that much further for spoiler purposes. Lets just say that I don’t see him gaining any real fans from this appearance. Now we get to Gorr and I thought he was an interesting villain. I’m a little less impressed with the execution as I felt the film could make him a little overboard in how petty he could be. (Scaring some kids comes to mind) His goal actually makes sense and the intro scene does a lot to really get his character across. His actions in the grand scheme make sense as a result which makes him a really interesting villain.

I felt like the writers realized he was starting to get a little too sympathetic so they had to quickly try and stop that but it’s not needed. Having a villain like this is always a good idea because even if you don’t root for them, at least they’re not just randomly psychotic. I would argue that at times the film even shows how a lot of people would potentially support his goal to destroy all of the gods. Over 90% of the gods we’ve met have all looked absolutely lousy and are basically unchecked evil. The heroes aren’t going to deal with them so that’s where Gorr steps in. That could be a longer editorial in itself but basically the appeal is that he’s like the Punisher. A villain who is judging other villains but down the road Gorr starts to be more generally unstable and and loses focus in his vision which hurts him as a character.

Now lets talk about the rankings a bit. So ultimately I would say that Ragnarok is clear and away the best of the 4 Thor films. I wouldn’t consider it to be that close. In second would be Thor 2, then Love and Thunder, followed by the original Thor movie. The reason why the first Thor film is at the end is really because there wasn’t a whole lot of action and it’s old enough where the visuals don’t hold up next to the others. Still a solid movie but in last by a solid amount.

The reason why The Dark World beats this one mainly comes down to that film having better pacing. Love and Thunder has higher peaks with its action scenes but also lower lows. Dark World had some cringe humor of its own but it doesn’t last as long and tends to rebound quicker. Yes, there’s the infamous moment of Thor’s mother being murdered and he’s back to joking shortly after, but this film matches that. There’s a moment where some people are kidnapped and are in mortal danger. Seconds…literally seconds later and Thor is back to flirting and joking around with Jane. Both of them seem to not care at all until a little later when they address the situation. That’s a perfect example of humor appearing at the worst possible moment.

Humor in itself can be a lot of fun of course. A lot of the best titles out there have a lot of humor and it works well but it’s all about timing. This film didn’t always get that across like with the Zeus scenes being way dragged out and Thor’s friends really not being helpful for a while there. Characters like Iron Man, Spider Man, and Ant Man just tend to have a better balance. They’re funnier and of course that does come down to writing of course but it also fits in with their characters more. If you want a comedic Thor, Ragnarok shows how to get the best balance of this as he’s still supremely confident as opposed to joking more at his own expense.

Then there’s also a very cheesy scene near the end. Lets just say it involves sharing power but man while it’s supposed to be an inspirational moment and all, it was still just hard to get into. Super convenient to have this on the go but I would have cut that scene out entirely and just had Thor use some cool range moves. It would have had a whole lot more impact that way.

The visuals are stunning all the way through, even away from the action scenes. I saw the movie in 3D so it was a little blurrier than usual. I couldn’t necessarily make out any easter eggs if they were too far in the background or get the full battle experience but all of them will likely be up on Youtube in 4K soon so then it’s time to relive the epic battles. I hope the films continue with emphasizing the glow of the weapons because it’s an almost anime type technique that immediately enhances a battle. Watch any Ufotable battle and you see that one of the tricks they used to have the best animation is that there are always a lot of colors at play.

I also enjoyed seeing the Guardians of the Galaxy for a bit. Their role is small but this is a really solid way to remind you that this is a cinematic universe without having the guest stars steal the film. (Not that I ever mind having them get a huge amount of screen time) It’s a very solid way to get this across. As a final note before approaching the end, I thought the way the film handled the monsters was really good and how the heroes would take care of them. I’m mainly thinking of the battle on the black and white planet. Instead of it being a traditional 3 vs 1, you had a 3 v 1 with a lot of monsters acting as stage hazards.

The characters would have to deal with them at times while also trying not to lose sight of Gorr and it helped make the battles more tense. Also, while the monsters were glass cannons, they could still deal a whole lot of damage so it’s not like you could ignore them completely. I wonder if this planet is one of the moments where there was some cut footage because there’s a scene involving a big blow and then next has the characters walking and squaring up for a fight. It felt like something was just missing there. Either way one of the best sequences there.

The ending to the movie is good and sets up a lot of fun ideas for the next movie. In theory there’s a whole new avenue of situations and scenarios that you can do now so I’ll be interested to see how that goes. In a lot of ways I can easily see the next one beating this film. The setups that are around have a whole lot of potential. The first after credits scene gives us a good glimpse of how the next film might go. Now, this next opponent is not even remotely a threat at this point in time but I’m sure there will be a way to even the playing field. There’s only one aspect I didn’t like about the first after credits scene and it involves one of the characters who appeared. I just don’t see the value in having him around so hopefully the next film can change my mind. It’s too bad the Avengers aren’t fully formed right now because this plot could almost work as the next Avengers title rather than a Thor standalone movie.

As for the second after credits scene, it’s decent enough. It opens the door to some interesting possibilities. If it follows a DBZ kind of logic, it will open things up almost as much as the whole multiverse angle. The movie already showed us a decently high cosmic level of things so at this point there isn’t much that you can rule out from the films incorporating into future plots. That’s a good thing since it will help to keep things really unpredictable.

Overall, Thor: Love and Thunder is a pretty good movie. With the big theater films there is always a lot to discuss. Ultimately it’s going to have less replay value than most of the other recent Marvel movies though. It beats Eternals but gets slaughtered by all of the other Phase IV titles. (Shang Chi, Spiderman, Dr. Strange, Black Widow) It beats Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but loses to all of the other Phase III titles. You get the idea and of course that does speak to how solid the Marvel movies have been for this to still be a positive score and lose to so many but it also shows how this movie didn’t reach its full potential. Most likely you’ll rewatch the fights online more than you will the whole movie. Still, the benefit of the comedic tone is that you can put this film on and just enjoy the moments. It’s mostly all light hearted and even if it does drag at times, there are still a lot of good moments. If you like the Marvel films then you’ll want to check this one out.

Overall 7/10

Punisher: War Zone Review

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

It’s time for the return of the Punisher but this one isn’t quite able to match the first one. It goes all in with making the Punisher a rather imposing figure who takes down everyone in his way but along the way it forgot the charm of the series and doesn’t focus as much on how he helps people on a local level. This film is one you’ll ultimately want to end up skipping.

The movie starts with Punisher taking down a group of villains as he always does but this time he ends up taking out an FBI agent as well. The guy was undercover so Punisher figured that he was one of the villains but that was not the case. Now he feels like he should retire out of guilt but his partner Microchip convinces him not to do that. At the very least he tells the Punisher that he needs to finish the job by taking out Jigsaw first since that villain ended up surviving. Punisher agrees so he’s back on the streets to murder the villains but will he really be able to take out Jigsaw and his brother Jim?

The interesting part about the movie is that it would be over before it began if this version of the Punisher wasn’t so sadistic. Usually the Punisher goes around just shooting everyone as a quick death. He dishes out the punishment which is lethal for these villains and that’s the end of it. Only this time instead of doing that he tossed Jigsaw into a machine that crushes glass so it would slowly shred the guy to bits. Usually that would work but not in this case. The Punisher just seemed to be enjoying the show a bit too much here as he was even watching until some other villains attacked and he had to deal with them.

It’s clear that in this version the Punisher really enjoys his work to the point where he goes all in on this. You’d almost think he was a super villain as well with some of the scenes here. There’s another moment where he beats one guy up, then tosses him to the ground where he is impaled by spikes, then he breaks the guy’s neck/slashes it with a final fall. It’s all so extra and unnecessary that when the Punisher lands you could easily photoshop him with Michael Myers or someone like that and nobody would bat an eye. That would absolutely be a villain’s intro.

Now, I would always argue that the Punisher is a villain in all continuities. He murders all of his opponents and while they are villains, it’s still murder. Characters like the Punisher are always interesting as a what if since you can imagine this to be how things would go if Batman or another hero would murder their opponents. Ultimately it may result in safer streets and probably does but the cost is too high. So while it’s an interesting idea, we’ve still got to keep in perspective that if the heroes were here they would have a duty to take him down.

At least what still makes Punisher a decent character is he does have an honor code and doesn’t go after innocents or anything like that. When you see him just taking out the villains it’s fun enough but anytime you have to resort to torture or really taking it to the villains then it can be a bit too extreme. For that reason I much preferred the Punisher as portrayed in the earlier film. He seemed to have a lot more of his humanity and he was still punishing his opponents but very somberly and without getting into it.

Now if the Punisher’s scenes are that violent, you’re probably wondering what the villains do. Well, they don’t hold back either and you have people being eaten and ripped apart. The film’s absolutely as edgy as you would expect and it’s all really over the top. It’s the level of violence that would doom any film right out of the gate. You’ve got to have some restraint with scenes like this. Establish that the villains are evil and we don’t really need to see the rest. It would have made the film a whole lot better.

There’s no real reason to like Jigsaw as a villain. The guy is your classic mobster who wants a shot at greatness and will do anything for it. He betrays allies and just keeps on moving up. The guy is rather insane although you would expect most villains at his level to be insane since they probably crack on the way up. His design after getting torn up is certainly gruesome.

Then his brother Jim is even worse. That guy is completely off the walls and even talks like he’s looney. The scene of him being a cannibal is disturbing and you know that ultimately he won’t be taking the Punisher down. This guy is good against people who won’t fight back but a gun will take him down like all the rest. It’s not like any of these villains are bullet timers after all.

Paul is the main FBI agent trying to take the Punisher down. You can see why he’s so frustrated since the local cops all seem to support the Punisher and even the guy at the head of the taskforce isn’t particularly cooperative. The reason for this is fairly clear as everyone is rooting for the villains to be taken down. The city seems extremely corrupt so they’re probably tired of every villain just getting in and out of jail. This makes Paul’s job of avenging his comrade a lot tougher.

Paul’s a good character though and one of the few that you can root for all the way through. He does tend to get in the Punisher’s way but it’s very understandable from his perspective. Then you have Microchip who is a good partner to the Punisher. He knows exactly how to make that guy tick and what sets him off. You need someone like that to have your back and get the ammo ready. Punisher wouldn’t be able to function nearly as efficiently without him. The guy should probably carry more guns with him though so that he isn’t picked off.

While the movie is mainly devoid of humor, there is one scene that was pretty fun. You’ve got 3 athletic villains who are running and jumping across the roof while a really fast paced happy song is playing in the background. You can see how it’s all going very well for the villains but suddenly one of them explodes and we cut to Punisher with his cannon. That was the best scene in the movie by far. It works in showing that the Punisher is absolutely not playing around here and also in how fast the tone changes. It instantly goes from being a happy moment to a really intense one. The scene also helped to enhance the film’s overall soundtrack since the music there was really good.

Overall, Punisher: War Zone will definitely remain in the shadow of the first one. It just doesn’t really improve on much while falling below on a lot of areas. I would say the only area where this one wins is in showing the Punisher off as more of an unstoppable force. You can see why the whole city fears him and one scene shows how he has already taken down hundreds and hundreds of opponents. That was a great moment without a doubt. The film just can’t get away from its tendencies to make every scene as violent as possible. Show don’t tell is a rule that it takes too literally and that can often be what takes a film down for the count.

Overall 2/10

The Punisher Review

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

While the Punisher probably wasn’t a huge name back in the day, I want to say that most people know him at this point. The Netflix show certainly helped to spread his name around and in general he has been a consistent character in the Marvel universe who is always showing up in various places. Naturally you expect him to be someone who doesn’t take any prisoners and this film goes that route although he tries to make the case that it isn’t revenge. I would say that it’s a little better than I expected it would be, but ultimately I still wouldn’t call it a good movie.

The movie starts off with Frank Castle and his men busting up another villain operation. It went pretty smoothly except one of the villains wasn’t too smart with how he was waving his gun around and got taken out of the picture. His mother wanted revenge and so the villains murder Frank Castle’s whole family with him being the only survivor. He now wants to punish these guys because it’s clear that the police aren’t going to do anything about it. The gang is virtually untouchable so that’s when it is time to turn to the vigilante side.

Part of why the Punisher is always such an interesting character is because you often see people wishing that the heroes could just go all out and destroy the villains. There are tons of what ifs that explore this and really specific scenarios that practically force heroes to murder people sometimes so you can see there is always a general interest. Well, the Punisher is the perfect character to use for that and so of course he ends up being a bit of a villain by the end usually since he goes around murdering everyone without due process. He is fully outside of the law and he knows it, but at least since he only goes after villains it still makes it easy to root for the guy.

I thought the whole scene of his family getting murdered was handled rather tastefully here. It wasn’t as gritty as it could have been and at least you don’t actually see them getting run over. So you get the general gist of what’s going on here without any unnecessary details and grit. It all had a good amount of restraint. That’s not to say that the whole movie follows that though. For the most part it tends to avoid being too edgy but then it just can’t help itself at other times.

The whole torture scene where they try to break one of Frank’s neighbors was a bit too much. The guy doesn’t talk and stays strong the whole time but the scene goes on too long and torture scenes never end up being all that good for a movie. Big kudos to that guy for staying strong and all but that’s a big scene that I would have removed. I’m glad that at least the Punisher wasn’t going around torturing people. There was an early scene that got me nervous but fortunately it ended up being a big cop-out in the end. Now that was a scene I could get behind.

In general Frank’s a really solid main character. He certainly isn’t going to allow any of the villains to get away with anything and sticks up for the innocent. That’s his whole thing after all so in a lot of ways he’s like a lethal Batman. This is his origin story so it’s not like he’s patrolling the city or anything but he does take down quite a few villains along the way. By the end of the movie I’d say that his kill count is rather high. Most of them are in self defense though.

It was nice to see that his father was also a very decent fighter and the guy even shot a few of the villains. Ultimately he was doomed but at least he wasn’t alone. Frank also meets 3 neighbors who do their best to help out. You have Joan who sort of ties the group together. I thought she could be more subtle in trying to have a romance with Frank though considering that she knows what just happened to him. It would have been really odd if he had just rebounded from losing his wife like that. Bumpo gets the comic relief role for the most part and he’s really just in awe to have a neighbor like the Punisher.

Spacker would also be a comic relief character except I have to bump him up for standing up to the guy who was attacking Joan and then staying strong while he was tortured. He gets fairly big points for that without a doubt. Then we have Otto who ends up helping Frank out since he doesn’t want to die. He’s a traitor to every side and only serves his own interests. The guy is another comedy type character who is lucky that things don’t go very badly for him. The guy is often in sticky situations and I don’t think he even realizes it sometimes.

Saint is the main villain here and he’s your classic gangster type. Part of why he didn’t leave much of an impression on me is because he gets manipulated throughout the entire film. He may play the role of being the big villain but when you’re getting suckered the whole time it isn’t a good look. Murdering Frank’s family wasn’t even his idea, that was all his wife’s doing. So the biggest event in the film wasn’t because of him and then he makes Frank’s job easier by turning on his own people.

Sure, to an extent he still had an intimidating aura but ultimately he wasn’t the guy who could close the deal. His subordinates weren’t even better. One villain is super sketchy to the point where it’s easy for the heroes to blackmail him. Seriously that guy barely took any time to compromise and the wife had the same schedule every week for years so that made it easy for Frank too. This villain group just wasn’t up to snuff and was doomed from the start.

The cops in this film seemed a bit on the corrupt side with how they wouldn’t actually help Frank against the gang. It definitely had to be disappointing for him since you would expect to have some kind of back-up for a mission like this. Instead it just wasn’t to be. I could see a sequel going into that more if this film had ever gotten one. As an origin story you want to set up a lot of plot threads but not to go into them too much and this film did a good job with it. I also like how Punisher just goes home every day after his missions. I do think it’s reasonable that you could do that safely since a lot of people wouldn’t recognize him yet and the ones that do would know better than to mess with him. So it’s a win/win situation on that end.

Overall, It’s interesting to call this film grim since it’s also very comedic at the same time. There’s one particularly long fight that is rather intense but thanks to the music and everything it’s also partially played for laughs. Even then I don’t see how the Punisher was able to get up after getting his head slammed by the fridge multiple times though. That was a bit of a stretch. So the film usually has a dark vibe to it like with the Punisher always drinking and the villains showing their influence but then you also get these random happy moments. I don’t think the idea is bad itself but it didn’t work out very well here. Really if you cut the torture scene that would help a lot but ultimately this isn’t a film where you’ll have a lot of fun. You’re better off giving it a pass and watching Spider-Man instead.

Overall 4/10

Moon Knight Review


It’s time to take a look at the latest in the Marvel TV shows. People were definitely looking forward to this one for quite a while since Moon Knight was a brand new hero who hadn’t been adapted before and he’s got a lot of fans. Before now all of the shows used existing characters while this one would not be using any like that. In a way you could watch this as a completely stand alone experience and not watch any other Marvel products. Well, the show is definitely fun and while I do think the second half is weaker than the first it sticks the landing well enough where I would say this is pretty good.

The show starts by introducing us to Steven who works at the local museum. His life is ordinary except for the not very small problem of having to chain himself up at night. See, he walks in his sleep and often wakes up in places where he has no idea how he got there so this is a safety precaution for himself. It’s worked well enough but does mean it might be awkward to invite anyone to his flat. One day he ends up getting mixed up with a bunch of thugs and a giant monster even chases him across the museum. The problem is that the security cameras don’t show this as appearing so it seems like he has completely lost his marbles.

That’s when he looks in the mirror and sees himself, but another version who calls himself Marc. Basically they have made a pact with the Moon god known as Khonshu to be the Moon Knight that punishes the wicked. They do so quite lethally and what Steven thought was sleepwalking was actually Marc running around as the Moon Knight. Only one can control the body at once and naturally Steven doesn’t want to lose control at all but it may not be completely his call. The two don’t get along at all and the rift between them begins to grow. Will they be able to put aside their differences in time to stop Arthur from summoning the goddess Ammit and bringing chaos to the world?

Right off the bat the show does deliver on what I’d consider to be its biggest selling point which is Steven not knowing what is going on at all. I love the jump cuts in the first few episodes where Steven will just be put in bad spots over and over again. He’ll have no idea what is going on and just has to roll with it as best he can. It works well with how he often appears to be a bit confused in the comics as well because of this. Naturally as the series goes on and he learns more about his other self this dynamic can’t stick, but it’s a lot of fun while it lasts.

In some ways that’s the best part of the show because Steven is a very likable main character. His confusion always appears genuine and you can tell that he means well but got a pretty rough hand in life. Not knowing where you’ll wake up is really tough just for starters but also doing things like asking someone out on a date and not remembering it is also pretty rough. His role stays really solid throughout the show and he’s my favorite of the personalities.

Then you have Marc who is the more violent version who goes around bumping people off as the Moon Knight. He is really good at fighting and I remember the rooftop battle being one of the standout highlights in the show. It was a really good display of how he fights and how versatile the guy is in combat. I wouldn’t say he handles the situations as well as Steven in the sense that Khonshu is openly manipulating him though. It feels like he’ll be put on an endless loop of trials no matter what he does so he may as well disobey Khonshu then right? There’s not a whole lot that Khonshu could do about it if he refuses.

He could move on to Layla as he threatened but then couldn’t she just disobey him as well? It feels like if the host doesn’t play ball there really isn’t a ton of leverage that the god has. When Marc and Steven inevitably meet-up they certainly don’t get along at first and it’s a good dynamic there. At one point in the show we get to see inside of his psyche and that makes for a really fun situation because they can actually interact in the flesh. It was something you’d have been waiting for the whole time and it lives up to the hype.

Meanwhile I definitely liked Khonshu a lot. He’s very much like Venom from the movies with how he talks to Steven/Marc. Khonshu is all about lethal vengeance while still thinking of himself on the side of good. He’s always quick to point out the distinction between him and Ammit whereas he punishes people after the crime while Ammit does so beforehand. It’s a very valid point to be honest and of course I would side with him if I had to choose. The guy is as shady as it gets though so you definitely do not want to have to trust him.

The heroes can be a bit harsh at times though like with one of them saying he was as bad as Ammit at the end. C’mon now, that’s not a fair comparison at all. Any scene with Khonshu in it is a blast though and he’s definitely a scene stealer. Ammit doesn’t get to appear as much but she does really well in the big fight. Her ideology is also an interesting one. If she can truly see into the future 100% and knows who will end up evil, then you can see why she would believe in stopping them now. Imagine you could constantly see into the future or into someone’s soul and know they will commit a crime. There’s no evidence so you can’t put them in jail and you can’t be everywhere at once so you could easily be pressured into thinking you should just bump them off.

It’s a dangerous mindset for sure but one that makes for a very interesting villain. By extension this is what makes Arthur so interesting. I was surprised we didn’t get more of a backstory to him because I felt like the series was leading up to that but it never quite happened. I was pleasantly surprised though because we really don’t need to see his past to understand the character. The guy has clearly seen a lot and wants to make the world better in his own way. That’s already enough development and motivation to make him a good villain. The guy’s definitely really good in that role.

On the hero side we also have Layla as the main heroine. She is often left out of the loop by Marc as he tries to keep her safe but that tends to backfire. Because of this Layla is upset at almost all points in the show but at least it’s understandable. She also ends up helping out in the climax and I’m sure she should get a pretty solid role in any future adventures with Moon Knight.

I already talked about the rooftop fight earlier but in general the fights here are really good. Naturally I enjoyed the battle of the gods in the climax as well. It was a good way to show us the high stakes of the battle and what these guys could really do in combat. Moon Knight’s fighting style naturally depends on who is in control at the time and the show does depict their fighting styles as being different. Well, Steven barely has a “style” per say as he’s just flailing around and hoping things will go well. By season 2 I expect he will look a little stronger.

Now I did have some issues mainly revolving around the second half so lets look at that. First off, the avatars for the other gods looked way too weak. I’m not expecting these guys to be crazy strong or anything but how come they seem to have no abilities or combat experience at all while Steven and Layla have all kinds of fun techniques up their sleeve? These guys are treated like fodder the whole time. Then you also have to factor in how the gods don’t look smart at all. They basically just ask Arthur “Hey, you guilty?” and when he says no they accept it and bash Khonshu instead.

Sure, Khonshu isn’t the nicest guy by a longshot but he is still a god and they should understand he wouldn’t just be making things up. There’s nothing in his character to assume that he’s a chronic liar and isn’t it a little suspect to have a former avatar running around and running a cult? The gods are able to make portals and watch over the skies at all times. A single glance would have verified Khonshu’s claims if they chose to look. It felt a little convenient to put Arthur in a position to win. If you ask me there should have been a better reason for how the gods would have been defeated.

Then I felt even Khonshu’s true strength was not very consistent. In one moment he is just able to swirl up some wind in the background as Arthur makes fun of him and then he’s getting into a Kaiju battle. So you may be thinking, he can only interact with Ammit because they are both gods? I could maybe let that fly but we see him interacting with the ground, pyramids, and other solid objects. So why can’t he hurt a human? Even if he can’t directly attack Arthur, surely he could throw a large object at him or something like that. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work and it would have saved him a lot of grief.

Additionally, the after credits scene is a great moment which I’ll get into later on but it also introduces something close to a plot hole here. If Khonshu could have done this the whole time then….why not do it before Arthur was so close to achieving his goal? Perhaps there are conditions that must be met to use this trick and it’s early enough where it’s fair to say that we don’t know what those are yet but at least as a first impression it does make you feel like he should have been able to end this threat a lot sooner.

My final gripe to an extent here is that Moon Knight looks way too weak at the end of the series. It really starts on the boat ride. How is he having any trouble with these random fantasy monsters? They didn’t seem very strong and then in the climax Arthur is tossing him around the whole time. There’s a slight Power Rangers effect here where you want to put some shine on the new hero so it makes sense that Layla was saving him quite a bit here but I would have liked to have seen him do a bit better. You can absolutely pull this off while making Moon Knight a bit more of a threat. With the skills he had in the first two episodes it’s just hard to see Arthur putting up a fight here at all.

The soundtrack isn’t quite as memorable as the other Marvel shows of late, however I did like the main theme that Moon Knight wakes up to in some of the episodes. It was really catchy and elevates the whole soundtrack on its own. There are some nice Egyptian kind of themes as well though. Then the special effects are solid as always. I liked how the hospital/mental space looked. The show did a good job of making it appear as if it was a whole different realm. A part of you knows what is going on here right from the jump but the show makes this part long enough where you could almost start to doubt yourself a bit here.

The show does have a great after credits scene here which ends the show on a perfect note. It follows up on one plot-line that was hinted at several points in the show while making one character also look very crafty/intelligent. There’s a lot of reasons to really enjoy this scene for sure and it just has a lot of potential for the next arcs. Logistically it would be tough to keep this up for very long without someone noticing so I expect it’ll be addressed almost immediately and that should be fun. After all, knowing what will happen and stopping it are two very different things.

There’s a whole lot of set up for the second season so that’ll be fun to see. One thing I’ll miss which is inevitable is the sheer confusion Steven had for a while since he didn’t know his other personality was around. It’s part of what makes the first episodes such a blast because it’s such a fresh dynamic. Then we have the dynamic of the two personalities not getting along and trying not to go to sleep so the other doesn’t take control. That’s another really great dynamic. Still the current dynamic between them will be fun too.

Overall, Moon Knight was definitely a very good show. I would put it above Wandavision and Winter Soldier but it goes under Loki, Hawkeye, and What If. Moon Knight makes for a very good main character and I could see him having a lot of great interactions with the rest of the characters. His durability/regen will also make him a useful ally and makes up for his lack of physical ability as long as he remembers his martial arts. The show really took advantage of the multiple personalities angle and I’m sure that should continue even with the main two on good terms now. Could be a kind of DN Angel vibe where they both start to fight over when one of them should be in control. The writing and humor were really on point here so this is just a very well rounded title. If you haven’t seen it yet, this is definitely a title I’d recommend.

Overall 7/10

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

Hawkeye Review


Marvel continues with the next installment in the TV show division. This time it’s Hawkeye and so we’ve finally made it to one of the Core Avengers. The shows have been on an upwards trend for me so far. Wandavision<<<Cap and Winter Soldier<<<Loki<<<What If. Well, this one doesn't quite continue the trend as it loses to Loki and What If but it beats the first two shows. While it doesn't have quite the large scale stakes of some of the other shows, Hawkeye makes for a fun lead. This is more of a fun adventure next to the others and is definitely a good pick for Christmas. You can't go wrong here.

The show follows a girl named Kate Bishop who is an aspiring archer. She looks up to Hawkeye after he saved her during the 2012 attacks. Well, one day she ends up noticing that her mother Eleanor's new fiance Jack seems a bit suspicious. Kate follows him down to an auction when a bunch of thugs burst in. Kate takes the chance to steal the outfit of the Ronin which was on sale and uses it to beat up some crooks. The issue here is that the Ronin is infamous in the underworld because during the 5 year gap Hawkeye was going around murdering all of the villains in that costume. Now Kate is a wanted fugitive by the underworld.

As this involves his persona as the "Ronin", Hawkeye can't really ignore this issue. He heads into town and promises the family that he will be back in time for Christmas. That'll be tough though as the situation gets more complicated with the arrival of Black Widow and one of the biggest crime lords in town. Can Hawkeye help Kate stay out of danger or are they both in over their heads?

One thing I noticed during the show is that Hawkeye is portrayed as being much older than I remember. He didn't seem that way in Endgame but it's almost like Wolverine from X-Men Evolution where he just seems a lot slower and as if he's near the end of his career. Hopefully Hawkeye has some more moves in his arsenal since I'd like to see him around for a while. Of course as a mentor figure which the show is leading him towards, it's fine not to always be in the front lines.

Hawkeye makes for a charismatic main character. He's been around the block a few times and knows how to handle himself in a situation. It can always be a bit annoying when he's telling Kate to stay back when she is saving him though. You get why he would rather not have a kid around but he would have been finished off several times if not for her. There was a key moment when she broke into a villain lair to save him which was certainly a good moment. Hawkeye gradually lightens up by the end of the series though and learns how to have some fun.

As for Kate, she's one of the standout characters here. It's safe to say that her character was always going to be pivotal in the show because if she was unlikable or annoying then it would drag the whole story down. Fortunately she is a lot of fun though and she even reminds me of Katniss a lot. (Which the show references as well) Her outfit and appearance are extremely similar to the point where I'd assume it was the same actress if not for such a gap between now and when Hunger Games came out.

Kate can also fight which puts her well above the average aspiring hero. Now, some of her fights can get a bit cheesy yes. I had some power level issues with this show. They aren't as extensive as the ones I had with Loki but are definitely noticeable. What If had the biggest power level moments but that's to be expected with such a big cast. Kate's a loyal ally and she always has Hawkeye's back. I look forward to seeing her get another big role in season 2.

As for Jack, he's a rather solid fiancé. He's extremely suspicious throughout the show such as when he holds back his power in a fencing match but on the surface it does seem like he's doing his best to fit in with the family. You have to give him a lot of credit there and he even gets a fight by the end of the show. I liked him more than I thought that I would. Then you have Eleanor who wants to make sure and protect Kate at all costs. No matter what lines she has to cross, this ends up being Eleanor's main goal.

I thought she was a really solid character as well. Her very last scene in the whole show felt a little out of character and petty to be honest but she was really solid in every other moment. Kate could potentially end up with a really strong group of parents. Then you've got the villain group who all wear jackets. They're not nearly as intimidating as they think they are. There are really only two important members to the group. First off is Kazi who whines a lot and is always trying to pick the easiest route to success. I never really liked him. I feel like he's only confident when he completely has the upper hand. He's the kind of villain that I can picture making excuses at every corner. He's a decent fighter but takes a lot of Ls in this series. Ultimately I could do without him. He's even trying to translate for someone at the end of the series who knows and understands sign language. I was shaking my head because it seemed like Kazi was just trying to score some points.

Maya is one of the highest ranking members of the gang and she has a lot of development here. She isn’t able to hear but was still able to become a great fighter. It shows the level of talent that she has as this would definitely not be an easy feat. Sound is how you predict enemy movements and prepare for sneak attacks. Without that you’re in a much tougher spot. She can be a bit unreasonable at times though and didn’t really think the whole situation through. I think she’ll get better as she goes on but I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of hers. Much better than Kazi though.

Then we have Yelena who gets to make her big return after the Black Widow film. As always she is a lot of fun here and does her best to try and make sure it isn’t personal to Kate and the others when she takes down Hawkeye. Yelena definitely trolls Kate a lot during their interactions. It’s not that Yelena doesn’t take anything seriously but she always seems to like breaking the ice first. She’s sort of like Spider-Man with how she’s joking around although it’s less on the quippy side.

While she is a lot of fun, I do think the rationale for having her fight Hawkeye felt a bit flimsy. I had a hard time believing that this would actually happen or that Yelena would be so quick to believe just anyone. Not after she has already experienced so much deceit while being one of the Black Widows. It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense there. Now that the misunderstanding is cleared up, it should all be up hill for her. Skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to know about a certain guest star. I don’t really consider this to be a spoiler as I don’t consider it to be a huge plot spoiler or something that would change your experience but even so this is a heads up. If you skip the next paragraph then you’re all good.

Towards the end of the show we even get to see Kingpin for a bit. Netflix fans will be happy since we have one of their fighters appearing in the big Marvel show. That said, while he gets a lot of hype from Hawkeye and the others, I wasn’t very impressed with him. The guy barely has any kind of plan and underestimates his opponents a lot. The amount of times he just throws Kate away instead of knocking her out is quite numerous. Now you can say he’s just trying to be nice and doesn’t want to fight a kid. That’s fair but you still feel like he should have been able to escape numerous times. He’s never been all that threatening though as any hero should be able to quickly beat him since he’s the equivalent of just being a really strong henchmen. That’s why I would have kept him in the background instead of having him appear. It was surreal to have him show up though.

So to quickly touch on the power level stuff, it happened as early as the first episode for me when Kate showed up and took down a whole gang by herself. She was flipping over minions and knocking everyone around. Considering that she never had any real practical experience before now and just the skills she was taught, it felt a bit like a stretch. Then you have Kate giving Yelena a good fight. Sure, Yelena was holding back but since it was putting her mission in jeopardy I would have liked to have seen her show a bit more urgency and take the win instead of it being so even. The difference in skill here should be massive so Yelena would be able to win without going through all of that.

Likewise on the rooftop fight, Yelena is considerably more powerful than the other 3 fighters. She should have completely knocked them for a loop and there was no reason to retreat. Just secure the victory and take them out. Yelena was the most nerfed character here and while I can see why this was done, I think it could have been smoother overall. Power levels aren’t the kind of thing that loses a show any real points but it’s still something you want to try and avoid.

The rooftop fight is the best battle in the series though. It’s cool to have two different fights going on at the same time here. All of the combatants knew how to fight as well so there was really a lot of action there. Hawkeye isn’t a show that’s filled with action scenes but the ones that we do get are all pretty good. As mentioned before, what makes Hawkeye really work is that it’s just a lot of fun. The writing is good and there is consistently solid banter throughout the show. Each episode really flies by and the pacing is good. There’s no episode that is boring and something big happens in each one. The show makes the most of its miniseries format.

For the soundtrack, the show doesn’t quite match up to some of the previous ones but we have some good tunes on occasion here as well. Whenever a Christmas song shows up that’s always a lot of fun. Season 2 won’t be able to rely on those songs though so that means the show will need to develop more themes soon. One episode had a good end credits theme but for the most part the show usually didn’t have anything too spectacular.

Meanwhile the team had a dog who was fun in his quick appearances. I’m still game for the dog never appearing again though as it’s too risky. There’s also a group of would be adventurers who help Hawkeye and Kate at times but they’re probably the cheesiest parts of the adventure so you really don’t need them here. They somehow manage to beat a few henchmen and that just shouldn’t be happening. As it is I didn’t believe it when Kate was taking everyone down and she is considerably more skilled than these guys. I think the best thing to do is to really just keep those guys out of it.

The show has an after credits scene but it’s definitely skippable. It’s one of those scenes that isn’t actually plot important nor does it contain any of the good characters. I wouldn’t even call it entertaining so just skip it and go full blast towards season 2. Of course it may be a bit of a wait before that comes out but I’m expecting good things from it once that does eventually happen. The cast here is just solid and will hold their own in a sequel.

As a final note, I liked the way that they filmed the car chase scene in one of the episodes. The way it was filmed was really unique and just helped to make the chase feel different from most car battles. We got to see how arrows can be quite useful for attacking and defending even while in the car. There are a lot you can do with trick arrows in general so I would like to see more of those in season 2 as well.

Overall, Hawkeye is another fun Marvel show. The shows have done a good job of really feeling like the movies both in tone and graphics. The special effects here wouldn’t be out of place in a future film and since all of the big characters are here, it does feel like a proper continuation of their stories. There’s a lot you can do even if the characters stay in the town and fight local threats. Especially with someone like Hawkeye who was really built for street level encounters. His whole jaded outlook towards being a hero will always be a fun contrast to Kate’s more upbeat personality. In a way it’s fitting that this review is shorter than the other Marvel shows so far because there is less to talk about. There’s no time travel, moral debates with terrorists, seeing a lead get corrupted by her own power, having a battle across realities, or anything like that. Hawkeye isn’t a show that has any tough questions or big plots to deal with. It’s really a street level adventure dealing with some mild villains. It may not leave you with a whole lot to talk about, debate, and theory craft but you’ll leave the final episode satisfied that you watched a fun adventure fold. At the end of the day, that’ll always mean that the product was a success.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man No Way Home Review


We have made it. It’s time for the big Spider-Man film to end the trilogy. This one really didn’t get a ton of promotion as Marvel was trying to keep things as hush hush as possible. It’s rare to see this nowadays for most companies but Marvel’s been leaning more into this strategy lately and it seems to be an effective one. Of course, you’ve probably seen a lot of things unofficially since it’s really impossible to squash the leaks nowadays but officially we were in the dark. The film really succeeds on this journey and in the end it’s one of the best Spider-Man movies.

The film picks up right where the last one left off with Peter’s identity being confirmed to the world. He’s quickly trying to get his life back together but it isn’t easy as a lot of people are on Mysterio’s side and thinks that Parker is a menace. Well, Peter is forced to ask Dr. Strange for help, but doing so causes a lot of issues within the multiverse and now Peter must contend with some of the most dangerous fighters around. Can he manage to take them all down and keep everyone safe or is he about to be totally overwhelmed here?

Now of course there is a whole lot more to the story and yet as most of it wasn’t shown in the trailer, I won’t go beyond that here until the spoiler paragraphs later on. Lets run through a lot of the things the film did well right off the bat. The action scenes are really excellent. We see Peter pulling off some solid web combos like in the video games. Flipping people with his webs in order to land a body slam, doing an air reversal into a kick, etc. It’s nice to see him getting creative with his powers and there was one part in particular where he used the shapes and debris around him to really come up with something special.

The movie is long but never feels that way. There’s always something going on and we get a ton of action. The only part of the film that goes on for a bit with no fighting is the first act and I was still glad we had that because I was a bit worried that we wouldn’t deal with the fall out from Far From Home long enough. That was a really big deal so I’m glad we got to see some of the effects here and how everyone had to deal with their own difficulties. Of course the action is what will really draw you in but the story was sound from start to finish. The writing is really good here.

Of course you also have a really good soundtrack with a lot of variety. Since you have many big themes here including ones from the classic Spider-Man films, that makes for a very complete soundtrack. There’s even a Christmas song that plays near the end of the film. I would have liked to have heard some themes a bit longer like Electro’s but you do have to be careful to stay on the line of being nostalgic without going too far and I think the film handled that really well.

Peter is at his best here from the trilogy. At this point he’s an experienced hero in his own right and is able to handle the situations without needing help. His early scuffle with Doc Ock is a good example of this. You have Peter going up against someone he’s never fought before who has a creative moveset and our hero is able to adapt and quickly counter attack. This is the right way to handle such a threat and he protects everyone in the area.

Now, things do get intense for him and he starts to make some mistakes near the end. There’s definitely one moment in particular where he really loses himself but ultimately he does make the right decisions and ends the film on a high note for his character. I think we’ll be seeing Peter continue to look better and better as the films go on and I definitely appreciate how the character arc has gone. I’ll be interested to see the plot summary of the next Spiderman film.

I won’t say much about the villains here but they were all portrayed well and really faithful to their older movies. Green Goblin really steals the show in all of his scenes. They show why he is one of Spiderman’s biggest enemies and their 1 on 1 fight early on in the film is easily my favorite battle in the film. It’s nice to have someone who can keep up with Spiderman physically. Electro is quite solid here. I liked him in his original appearance as well but he may have been improved here with how confident he is the whole time. unlike the others, Electro really has no doubts about what he wants to do and his goals. The guy is probably more power mad than most but it makes him a really solid villain.

Sandman also gets a solid role here. I liked him a lot in his first scene with how quick on the uptake he was. I do miss that we don’t see his human form here much though. The all sand form isn’t quite as visually striking as seeing him morph into different shapes as he fights. Finally you have the Lizard but his role is the smallest by far to the point where I wonder a bit if there was a subplot for him that got cut out. There are several points in the film where it feels like he is planning something only for it to not actually happen.

Then we have Peter’s allies like MJ and Ned. Well, I’m not the biggest fan of these two but they do contribute which is always important. MJ’s catchphrase about keeping your hopes low at all times may be pragmatic but it’s certainly not a fun approach so fortunately she changes that up by the end. She’s always got Peter’s back and I do think it made sense that being carried through the air on the webs wouldn’t be fun immediately. A lot of the time you see characters just not reacting much but as someone who isn’t a big fan of heights, I’d also not be too thrilled about the whole thing. For Ned, his character arc goes in a much different direction than I had expected. I wonder if it will actually go anywhere at this point or if this was just a for fun kind of thing. Either way he’s okay I suppose, Ned’s also a loyal friend to Peter.

Dr. Strange is the main mentor figure here and he performs his role really well. As seen in the trailers he and Peter definitely have very different viewpoints on how to deal with the villains. They argue quite a lot in the film that’s for sure. It’s nice to have him here though since guest stars are always a lot of fun and his scenes still have the crazy magical effects that always accompany his battles. He can really do quite a lot with his spells but you get the feeling that they are easier to use if you’re aiming to destroy someone as opposed to just stopping them. That said, his lack of speed is a key weakness that can be exploited. He was a blast although there was one plot detail I wasn’t a big fan of which will be in the spoiler section later on.

Jameson is also a lot of fun of course. It would have been great if they could have squeezed in his iconic laugh at some point but either way it was just a lot of fun to see him here. He really nails every scene that he is in. He even gets some good shots in against Spiderman when they finally get to talk. Without spoilers I think that’s about a wrap on all of the good things about the movie. I consider this one to be great and so it does succeed on all areas. So you may wonder where it stacks up in the greater Spider-Man universe. Well, I have it in third now as my updated ranking would be:

Spiderman 3>>The Amazing Spiderman 2>>No Way Home>>Spiderman>>Far From Home>>Homecoming>>Spiderman 2>>The Amazing Spiderman. This one neatly jumps into the third place spot. It’s just a lot of fun and will have a ton of replay value. I’m confident this is the kind of film you could watch quite a few times. It’s all just so fast and polished that you won’t be bored when replaying the intensity of it all. In terms of weaknesses, I have a few but nothing big. They’re small things that are enough for me to note but don’t really hurt the score in any way.

So this isn’t a Thanos situation where you can understand why in and out of universe a ton of people were defending him. Here we have a whole thing with stickers saying Mysterio was right and a lot of people being on his side but it seems a little more far fetched to me. This is a guy who showed up out of the blue and died shortly afterwards. I would think Spiderman has earned a lot more credibility with saving people all the time where most would not side with Mysterio. I’d also have liked to have seen SHIELD or another secret group show up to help Peter out a bit. It really felt like he was on his own. I mean you have Happy Hogan from Stark Industries but it’s not like anyone else was backing him up from the company. War Machine doesn’t show up or anything like that.

The film does a good job of making most of the fights short enough where you wouldn’t expect any heroes to make it in time so that explains why more heroes don’t appear. I think the climax is a little harder to buy since the battle location was televised for the world to know about in advance. Definitely I think some people should have showed up there but that’s still a small item. The other things are spoilers so that’s for later.

As for the debate with Strange and Peter, well I would have to be on Peter’s side here although it may be more appropriate to say I’m on May’s side since she fights for this a lot more than Peter at times. The issue is about sending the crossover villains back to their timelines to be murdered by Spiderman or to keep them here and think of a better way. While Strange talks about destiny and fate, the fact is that the fate no longer applies since they have been taken out of the universe. So Peter is right to try and save them all. Taking them back to die would effectively just be murdering them. It’s like my old time travel argument about how you are obligated to use it to help people but that’s a full conversation for another day.

Now, the Spider Sense could be a little inconsistent here. It would work sometimes and it just wouldn’t work at other points. At one point Spiderman is stabbed and another point he is shot and both times he didn’t know anything was coming until after he was hit. At best you could say it’s that if he gets too tired then the Spider Sense doesn’t work…but I’m not quite sure I buy into that. Not one of those big deal moments but I don’t think either blow should have worked. It’s tough to write the film in a way where Spiderman isn’t too broken with the spider sense of course but it could have been put to greater effect here.

So yeah this was definitely a great film and there’s certainly lots to discuss after watching it. I look forward to hearing about any easter eggs and references that I may not have gotten the first time. The film certainly had a ton of those and callbacks so that was a lot of fun. Now, if you haven’t watched the film yet I will say to skip the next 11 paragraphs as this is where I will start my spoiler discussions. I’m going to call all in here so just keep scrolling down until you see my next sentence in bold which will signal that the spoilers are over.

All right, now we can really dive in to some other areas of the film. First off, the biggest plot twist in the film even if everyone knew it ahead of time which is that the Spider-Men of the first two film series get to show up. As soon as Doc Ock and Electro were confirmed people assumed this had to be the case but even so it’s surreal to see them all interacting like this. It would have been difficult to have ever imagined that all 3 would meet even just a few years ago. It’s really nostalgic seeing them, particularly the original Spiderman. After watching endless memes of the first films like the Bully Maguire videos, it’s cool to see him back in the role.

He was always my favorite Peter Parker version and had the best films overall. He is portrayed as the wisest of the 3 and gets all of the best lines. They bring back the whole “my back” meme which was cool and at the end of the film he really gets a big moment. In the theater one person even had to criticize Andrew’s version “He just stood there!???” because of how Tobey showed him up but it showed that at the end of the day, the original was the only one ready for this. I was really pleased with his appearance here and of course the original two Spidermen do have a little skirmish at the beginning. Lets just say I was happy about the outcome as well. It’s just amazing to see him back in action like this.

Still, Andrew’s character was also solid and I have considered him to be the most powerful Spiderman as well as the best version of the character wearing the suit. He knows how to have a lo of good banter the whole time and is also very experienced in his own right. It seems like he went down the wrong path as well at one point but he’s back in action now. The film pokes fun at how down he can be all the time so Tobey even tries to cheer him up a few times. Andrew gets to have his big moment by the end as well.

It was also great to just see the 3 teaming up against a common foe like this. The 3 on 3 battle was also just really nice and chaotic. It also makes sense that only the newest Peter knows how to fight in a team since the others were strictly solo acts the whole time. We also get a quick appearance from Daredevil which was really nice. The Netflix cast have finally been affirmed in a big movie which is great. He certainly got a big reaction from the theater and got some hype. Naturally I would have liked him to have appeared more like getting to try and help clear Peter’s name further or something but I’ll take what I can get.

Now as a minor detail, we find out in the film that Dr. Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme. He lost it on a technicality to Wong….which I’m not a huge fan of. Cmon, that’s Dr. Strange’s whole thing. He needs to be the Sorcerer Supreme and I’d like to see him just yank the amulet away from Wong. Additionally, Wong doesn’t seem to be doing a great job in his new position from what we could see. So even on a technicality it’s just not worth letting him keep this role.

The movie has two after credit scenes. The first one involves Venom and I won’t go into detail here but I didn’t like this. It basically makes the scene from the Venom scene absolutely pointless. If you’re someone who just watches Venom movies then you could possibly skip the after credits scene there, watch Venom 3 and not miss anything. Technically something happens here which will help set up future events in the Spiderman movies, but the whole thing just felt like the ultimate bait and switch. I never like when an after credits scene ends up feeling like it was filler or a waste. Put it this way, if you can skip the scene and never notice that you missed something, then that’s a problem. Like how quite a few of the RWBY after credit scenes were either retconned or replayed in an episode, I don’t want the MCU to go down that route. Plus I was really looking forward to some hype things about to go down here.

The second scene is a big improvement. We get a nice look at what’s to come with the Multiverse and even the super villain Scarlet Witch will be returning. I’m still beating the drum on how she is one of the biggest villains around and the heroes haven’t really acknowledged this yet. Enslaving a whole town for so long was crazy…but we’ve been over this so I won’t dwell on that for long. All I’ll say is that Strange better watch his back rather closely.

Now as we start to close out the review, I wanted to take a look at how the final memory spell works and the universe hopping/time travel. So at the end of the film everyone loses their memory of Peter Parker so it’s like he never existed. He thinks about reconnecting with his friends but just keeps it moving which is probably a good bet. At the same time, Spiderman has still been active the whole time and the timeline seems pretty much the same as always so everything still happened. So, were all the events the same as they were and everyone just forgot or did reality switch to remove Peter from every event? In route 1, Peter would have still hung out with Ned for years and any dual accomplishments they made would still exist but I guess in sci-fi style the photographs would no longer have Peter. The issue here is there should still be tangible evidence of his presence just by the fact that Spiderman is alive. It would be a ton of reality wiping to remove him from being on the planet while still having Spiderman around.

In the second route, well, Peter simply didn’t exist. Spiderman was effectively a universal construct like a robot that accomplished actions on his side but there was no Peter Parker. You feel like things would have diverged a lot though considering the events of the first film and how differently the interactions with Ironman would have been. So the first route makes the most sense but does leave you with a lot of logistical questions. It may not matter all that much but I always like thinking these things through since I love sci-fi concepts like this. So ultimately I have my doubts on this actually working short of Strange putting a mental block inside of everyone to automatically choose any alternative over recalling Peter which is constantly active. I don’t think we’ll go further into it but it is interesting.

Then the other thing to think about is how the villains were saved. So with the multiverse we know this will just create a new branch where they are alive but the original events of the films will still be the same in a different timeline. Lets focus on the new branch. So if Goblin survived in the first film, I have to assume that would have a significant change on the second film with Ock and that would have an effect on Spiderman 3. It’s possible it wouldn’t change anything too big but with the ripple effect it could be the opposite. Then at what point do they port back to their world. Is it at the moment of summoning? In that case, Ock may still start drowning as he wakes up in the water clutching the device, a powerless Electro is going to wake up in the grid where he is fried and Goblin wakes up with no powers as the glider is heading towards him.

It may make more sense to say they are summoned back at earlier points but it does make you think about it. It would be quite ironic if they were ported back only to immediately die afterwards. That would be a bit dark though so lets assume that was not the case. Still sad that Venom didn’t get to appear though as he was really the odd man out. Even Rhino at least got a silhouette near the end, I didn’t see any for Venom. He probably wouldn’t have even pretended to have been a team player though. So that’s it for dissecting all of the sci-fi rules here. For the memories I’m going to say it’s effectively a sort of brainwashing as opposed to reality warping so everything happened but people “can’t” remember as a psychic block prevents them from putting together the many clues that they would come across. For the other universes, I’ll say the cured villain shows up near their point of death but not at the exact moment so that way they each get to survive. I don’t imagine there will be a need for the film to go into it further so that’s at least my head canon on this. Now I’m just looking forward to seeing how Peter does in his new status quo. Things will definitely be different for him, that’s for sure. The possibilities are endless

That’s the end of the spoilers. Now we’re all back in action for the conclusion of the review.

So before I end it off, I’ll give Peter’s school a quick shoutout here. While one of them seemed like a really ungrateful guy who was being awfully petty to a teenager for no good reason, the other members of the faculty were on point. I like how they at least tried to make Peter feel welcome in what would definitely be an awkward situation. I’m sure they were risking their reputations in doing so as well and it really showed that this was a good school. There wasn’t time to focus on the school too much but I just thought it was a really solid scene.

Overall, No Way Home was a blast. I wonder if we’ll keep the whole “Home” naming convention for the rest of the films or if it’ll be time for something different with the next trilogy. Either way I hope they fast track the next film as we always need more Spiderman films around. Whether you’re a fan of the character or not, you should have a really good time here. The film is really a blast and makes for a fun watch from start to finish. There’s a good amount of humor and action here as well as some solid memes. It properly continues the storyline from the last film and leaves you with a lot of ideas for the next film. There are a lot of ways that it can all go down so we’ll have to stay tuned.

Overall 8/10

Eternals Review


Eternals is the latest Marvel film to hit theaters and it’s really been hyped as a very different entry in the series. It’s introducing a whole lot of new lore, characters, etc. It ends up being a fun adventure. The climax starts getting a little close to the point where I want to say it would start attracting some attention from the other Marvel heroes but it holds itself back just enough where I can believe that nobody showed up. In real time it wasn’t all that long before the event ended after all. It’s not quite the smash success I would consider Shang Chi to be but there’s a lot of interesting plots you can continue from this.

The movie starts by explaining that the Celestials are the ones who created the universe and they send beings known as Eternals down to planets in order to protect the life there. 10 Eternals were sent to Earth to protect it and they have done so for 7000 years. They are only to fight when creatures known as Deviants appear. Otherwise they are supposed to ignore all other conflicts and villains so that humans can solve their own problems. Well, the Deviants have returned so the Eternals must band together to fight them off one last time. After such a long period of time will they still have their fighting skills? Also, the Deviants appear to have grown much more powerful this time around.

In quite a lot of ways Eternals feels more like a DC film than Marvel. It has a darker color pallet than the usual adventures and these heroes are all based on gods due to the fact that Sprite would tell tales of their exploits over the last 7000 years. There is a body count here and the film can even get a bit dark at times at least with some themes even if the film itself I would consider light hearted. The team itself is even built like the Justice League to the point where you immediately see Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash in some of the characters. There are even 2 DC references as Superman and Alfred are brought up. It’s certainly a fun change of pace there and the Deviants are like something out of Apocalypse.

Throughout the film, the question is brought up on if these Eternals should have helped humanity. My response to that is of course they should have. There’s a world of difference between doing nothing to help the humans and doing everything for them. I’d say it’s clear that they had to help and intervene throughout the years and their inaction would make them appear to be villains after a while. There is a lot of debate on that within the film of course so you’ll get to see their discussions on it. Usually the side for non-action just uses their orders as an excuse though.

The film’s definitely more on the dialogue heavy side but there are enough fights sprinkled in throughout the film where I’d say it still earns the action title. The creatures often don’t seem to be much of a threat to these heroes but there is one in particular that is an exception to this. Still, the movie has solid special effects to show off the heroes’ abilities. The best fight in the film is easily the battle by the Beach. I can’t say much more than that but it’s also very much like a Justice League kind of moment and it’s handled really well. I’d definitely have been on board with more big action scenes like that. Fights against monsters are cool and all but battling other metahumans is even better.

The effects for the Celestial also looks really good and you can see the size of that guy well. He would make for a very imposing threat in the future. Perhaps the next Thanos although I’d like to have him shrink for the actual battle so we can get some hand to hand in there. For the soundtrack, it’s decent. I wouldn’t say there are any tracks that stand out a whole lot. At most I would say the Bollywood theme for when Kingo was starring in the movie was catchy. Beyond that there is quite a lot of variety in the music so you’ll probably be able to find at least one track that you like.

Where the film is a bit weaker is that the pacing can be really slow at times and it is leaning a lot more into the romance angle than other films. There are at least 3 main romance plots here. Sersi gets two romance plots here, one in the past with Ikaris and one in the present with Dane. None of them work all that well. The first one you can at least buy into a bit because they knew each other for so long and while there was a huge gap before the second one, I don’t think she ever properly thought of an answer on how you can make the relationship work when she’s an immortal and the other guy is a human. I mean that’s bound to get a little tricky after some years.

Then you have Sprite who wants some romance but is doomed to be an Eternal who looks like a child. It’s almost like a curse to her because she will never quite grow up and it does remind you that being immortal on its own is not always a fun thing. She was the worst member of the group to be honest. Her sarcastic nature could be good at times and she has her share of good moments but at the end of the day her willpower isn’t great and she causes a lot of issues.

As for Phastos, he’s the inventor of the group and has grown tired of participating with the group. He regrets helping humanity improve their technology now that it has been used for warfare. Ultimately his resistance doesn’t last very long as the team has to get the job done and he does have a family to protect. His subplot on being at home was really just there to include some PC elements to the film and I could have done without it. The scenes don’t add anything to the film except to yell to the audience about representation. Marvel had mostly stayed away from this before so it’s a shame that this bridge had to be crossed. It’s a short scene in the grand scheme of things but it wasn’t a good one.

As for Sersi, she’s a good character. At the very least I was glad she didn’t run back to Ikaris when he showed up since ghosting her for 2000 years just seems extremely petty. Honestly I would have liked her to have even been a bit more antagonistic to him given what had happened. She keeps a cool head throughout though and while her powers aren’t very offensive based, she is able to use them in a variety of ways which is good as a support fighter. Ultimately she makes the right decisions throughout the film as an Eternal.

Ikaris certainly got a lot of the promotional material here as the guy has a similar powerset to Superman which is even brought up in the film. He’s very much one of those guys who puts following orders above everything else. I tend to always have issues with those kinds of characters and Ikaris is no exception. Friends and family have to come before orders, same with justice itself. Ikaris fights for what he believes in during the film but the movie points out that this can easily be a flaw.

Then you have Kingo who is one of the more comedic characters in the film. I like how he found such purpose in his life while being away from the Eternals though. The guy had his hobby and turned that into a career passion. His scenes were always some of the most entertaining ones throughout the film. From all of the Eternals, I would trust him the most to have my back. He has his goofy side but steps up when needed.

Makkari is the speedster of the group and she can’t speak verbally but knows sign language. It’s a fairly unique situation for a superhero to be in and the fact that the rest of the fighters learned sign language speaks to their comradery. Her speed is quite impressive and I would say it’s the best showing in the MCU. If not for using the absolute worst speed technique: “endlessly running in a circle so the villain can take you out” she would have really been dominating most of the characters. For good reason she is excused from most battle scenes since they would be over in a flash. Her raw power seems fairly good as well given that she was dealing damage with her attacks. Compared to the rest of the Eternals I felt like she didn’t get to do a whole lot but she was fun.

Druig is one of the more morally dubious members of the group. He has telepathy though so that makes sense as fighters with that ability are usually tempted rather easily. See, he can not only read minds but control them so Druig makes the case that he could end all war on the planet with relative ease. It is true but taking away free will would instantly make him a villain. He was right that Ajak was taking a truly awful approach to the whole thing and his initial solution was correct. Mind controlling someone to temporarily stop a fight is fine. There’s nothing morally dubious about forcing someone to stop before they murder someone else. It only goes too far when you keep the control over them past that point and Ajak ruled the place with such an iron will that he just kept escalating his side as well.

I can’t say I would trust Druig very much compared with the rest. As for Ajak, well she’s the leader but like Ikaris she is big on following the rules even when they are the wrong ones which is an issue. She would certainly not rank as one of the more likable Eternals especially as we learn more and more about her during the movie.

Gilgamesh certainly has a powerful name. Any fan of Fate will understand why this guy gets so much hype and in general you’ll get a lot of Fate Go flashbacks here with part of the film taking place in Mesopotamia. He’s more laidback than the rest of the characters and seems to be one of the most powerful Eternals. He seems to think he is the strongest although Ikaris could likely defeat him. Gilgamesh is a nice guy who looks after Thena and just seems more ready to fight for justice when needed. His character brought a fun dynamic to the mix.

As for Thena, well she’s definitely one of the characters who really likes to fight. She gets a ton of hype throughout and while I would say she doesn’t always live up to it, (Her win record in the film is not very good to say the least) she always gets back up for round 2. Her energy weapon fighting style is good and does make her a good match for many opponents. It’s just that she always has to fight the strongest opponents in the film which puts her in a tough situation. She has to deal with a lot during the movie as well so she isn’t always in peak fighting condition. I imagine in a sequel we’ll see her look even better.

Karun is the comic relief character in the film but he really does an excellent job in that role. Pretty much all of his scenes are rather funny. He’s the kind of guy where you can instantly tell that he means well. Karun may not be some kind of fancy super hero but he certainly knows the difference between right and wrong and tries to lead by example. He doesn’t scare off easily and takes a whole lot of risks during the battles. That’s the kind of guy you want to have by your side when you need a photographer.

Kro is the Deviant who actually gets a role here. I’m not sure if he ever really got a name in the film but Wikipedia says that is his name so I’ll role with it. He’s almost like Parasite to an extent as he can absorb your powers through contact and keeps getting stronger. I thought he was a really solid villain. My only issue is that he was really underused. There were some really interesting concepts with his evolution and then they seemed to almost be thrown away. When Kro randomly showed up during the best action scene in the film I had a bad feeling about this because the film was nearly over and there wasn’t time for another fight.

Sure enough, there isn’t much of a fight in the end and I was completely unsatisfied with how his plot ended. Kro was great, no doubt about that but he should have been saved for a sequel. I felt like the ending just wasted his potential because this guy was really interesting. I suppose the sequel may have more of Arisham as the villain but it depends on if the film will portray him as a villain or not. I like the idea of this guy being the next Thanos that fights everyone 10 years from now and I had a good feeling about that but based on one of the scenes after the credits start, I’m not sure about that plan now. Of course I can’t say what those are so you’ll need to watch to find out.

The base ending (Final scene before the credits) is really solid though. This is how you end off with a great cliffhanger. You’re reminded that not everything was tied up quite yet and one loose end had not been addressed. It’s extra fun because you have to start thinking what this means for the next films and also this is an event that should now get SHIELD involved. I would say that one of the extra scenes weakens the cliffhanger part of this a bit because now we’ve got more of a destination but either way it was a really effective way to end things. It comes out of nowhere and immediately raises your hype.

As for the final two scenes, well the first one has to be the standout. We see some new characters and basically get a preview of what the plot might be for the sequel. Meanwhile the second scene gives one character a good end to his character arc. You might have wondered what the point of this guy was but then he has a cryptic speech near the end. Well, the extra scene showed you what he was talking about and it’s quite effective. I don’t see him being nearly powerful enough to do much of anything to help fight the threats that the Eternals deal with but maybe I’m underestimating him.

Okay time for some spoilers. Skip the next 4 paragraphs if you haven’t watched the film yet.

It goes without saying that I lost a ton of respect for Ikaris and Sprite when they turned out to be traitors. Both of them got off way too lightly if you ask me. Sprite really tried to murder Sersi and should not have been let back into the fold so quickly. It’s great that they had the restraint not to murder her, but take her to prison or something. As for Ikaris, the characters were way too sympathetic to him considering that the guy murdered their leader in cold blood and nearly murdered them.

Come on now, there is being forgiving and then there’s being a door mat. This action made the Eternals appear to be closer to the latter. He can be forgiven in time and all but not right on the spot like that. I was kind of hoping Thena would have taken him out during the fight or maybe Sersi upgrades her technique again and finished him off. That would have been more satisfying than him seemingly committing suicide in the Sun. I wasn’t buying his tears at the end at all and it’s actually something I’ve never liked for villains. Ikaris makes a big show of yelling and blasting at the air to show that he wasn’t happy with how he murdered Ajak but…he still did it. At that point you go full villain and keep it moving but he’s not going to win any sympathy points from me. He tried something similar in the climax and I’m just shaking my head at that. Also, with an ending like this for Ikaris there is still the off chance that he could have survived somehow which would leave room for him to show up in a sequel.

The best fight I was referring to earlier was with Ikaris vs the rest of the Eternals. You have to get some really good Justice League vibes from that. I’ve always been on the side that says Superman would solo the League (Which I’d say Justice League proved rather well) but in this case I think the full Eternals team would have been able to beat Ikaris here. The main difference is Ikaris isn’t nearly as fast as Superman is with how he was getting blitzed by everyone and while his strength is great, it isn’t as imposing as Superman’s. It helped make this a really balanced matchup though since it was hard to say which side would win. I love team fights like this and it was absolutely the highlight of the movie.

With how the film ends, I’d like for this to lead into the Infinity Gauntlet comic start except with Arishem as Thanos. Basically the Eternals free the others in captivity and crash-land back on Earth as they warn Dr. Strange that Arishem is coming to destroy the world. We then get to call in all of the Marvel heroes and it’s the next big event film. That would definitely be awesome and I’d prefer it to the Eternals just beating this guy straight up. We’ll see though, there are a whole lot of ways this could play out.

End Spoilers

With the Eternals in the verse now, this will be a great help to the Avengers since their ranks were thinning. If the Eternals actually star to help humanity of course, if they stick to the shadows then things won’t change a whole lot. It’ll be nice to see the two teams interact at some point. It might not be the same without Ironman or Captain America but there’s still a lot of good banter to be had. Of course we need to see the groups fight it out. Assuming we get the X-Men and Fantastic Four soon, the planet is definitely going to be jam packed with heroes so villains better beware.

While the film is really serious a lot of the time, I do want to underscore that it has a lot of good comedic moments as well. The balance is handled rather well as the heroes aren’t cracking jokes during a serious moment but know when to have fun as the proper time and place. The team has a good amount of banter between them and you should be smiling at quite a few moments. Aside from one joke that’s more on the crude humor side and will have you wincing, pretty much all of the other jokes do land.

Eternals is a movie where there is quite a lot of happening and that’s to the film’s benefit. It’ll probably take you some time to collect all of your thoughts on the experience but it’s in a good way. Better to add more and more things to your film than to under deliver. Some items should be saved (Like Kro) but if you don’t completely know what the future holds with regards to sequels and such then it makes sense to have everything in now. Low key I also like how more and more normal civilians are getting comfortable with superheroes and just mentioning them casually. If heroes were around in the real world and saved the Earth several times then I imagine it would very quickly become rather casual. We’re not quite in the comics yet where people can be fighting in the streets with super powers as people keep walking but it would be fun to see it get to that point.

There’s one moment early on where I was sweating it out since a dog appeared but fortunately Eternals took the high road. That’s definitely one way to build suspense early on. The early parts of the film did a good job of almost feeling more like a horror title at times with how intense the Deviant designs are. They did quite a good job on that as the beasts are memorable and also look rather unique. Again I don’t think they are much of a threat once the heroes are around but for the Eternals who can’t really fight, it’s definitely a big deal to see these guys around.

Overall, Eternals is a good movie. It’s not hitting the ball out of the park the way that most of Marvel’s newer films do but it’s not bad or anything. I think what will hurt is that there just isn’t a lot of replay value. The romance scenes will have you a little bored and while some interactions about the mission and such are engaging, other speeches just can’t be taken seriously. This is really a film that you don’t need to see twice compared to something like Shang Chi where a second watch would work really well right away. The film is really long which isn’t inherently bad for replay value but there are still long periods of talking with no real action. Discussions about how tough their mission is will be engaging the first time but you may find the film to be dragging a bit otherwise. Still, it’s worth the first watch so you’ll definitely want to check it out to see the next wave of Marvel.

Overall 6/10