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

What If…? Season 1 Review


Lets take a look at the latest in the series of MCU related TV shows. This one’s a bit different from the rest as it takes place outside of the normal universe although you could probably guess that from the title. The What If comics from back in the day were always a lot of fun. There’s a ton you can do with the concept to the point where there are really limitless possibilities. A single story can turn into 20. Any scene where you might have called for “plot hax” or something can now be rewritten so you can see how it “should” have ended. This show’s off to a good start, lets break down each episode.

The first episode is What If Peggy Carter became Captain America instead of Steve. In this case Steve ended up getting shot and was in no condition to continue the experiment so Peggy went in his stead. Can she still end the war and save the world? It’s a decent way to start off the season but at the same time the reason this was not very exciting is because it doesn’t feel much like a What If. Put it this way, Steve had no real combat experience and was rather scrawny before taking the serum. Carter knows how to fight and has kept in top shape.

After taking the serum they would more or less be equal and Peggy should actually be more skilled initially thanks to her combat experience. So completing the events of the movie is sort of a given. The show tries to add a bit of a change here with a random monster at the end which was fun but for all intents and purposes this is just the first film again. It’s a good story, just nothing that you haven’t already seen before.

Next up we have an episode that really goes out there. The Ravagers head to Earth and pick up T’Challa by mistake instead of Peter Quill. T’Challa ends up becoming the Star Lord and is rather good at it. He ends up being an accomplished Ravager and even ends up convincing Thanos not to snap half of the universe away and gets the guy to join the team. The Black Order is still on the loose though and they could do a lot of damage with the “Embers” so the team has to put a stop to this assuming they can trust Nebula.

Now this is what you would expect from a What If episode. By changing one thing you’ve changed a whole lot of other aspects. Thanos being a Guardian of the Galaxy is a good example of this. It’s fun seeing how T’Challa would work as a Ravager and the episode has quick pacing and a lot going on at all times. It’s an engaging story although it does have some power level issues.

Namely Thanos and this is not the only time he will be clowned in this series. I can’t believe for a moment that Thanos would be having any kind of trouble against these guys. He was actually losing against the Order and it’s like he just became a huge punching bag the instant he turned good. Remember that Thanos was casually beating the Hulk in Infinity War and that was without using any of the stones. Given that, there is no way he would be having any kind of trouble against the Order. This should have been an easy stomp. Still, power level issues aside this was quite solid.

The third episode is one of the highlights of the season as we get a true mystery episode. Someone is picking off members of the Avengers but the trick is that the Avengers haven’t actually formed yet. So someone knows who was going to be on the roster and is taking them out ahead of time. This ends up bringing in some attention from Asgard as well since Thor was one of the targets. Who could possibly be strong enough to defeat everyone?

This is a well written story in large part because I can actually buy a lot of this. At first you may be skeptical as to how this person could take down all of the Avengers and the episode has a pretty good explanation. At most you may just be skeptical with the Hulk. It’s a question of if the radiation and blood would be enough to break through and prevent this from happening or if the skin was strong enough to resist. In both cases I would say there is enough room for doubt where I would buy into it. I had no issues here which is impressive for this kind of story. The reveal at the end also makes sense.

Following that up is a Dr. Strange story. Basically he doesn’t go into a car crash initially and lives long enough to have a good relationship going with Christine. Well, one day she dies in a car crash and so Strange decides to become a magician to bring her back to life. Everyone warns him against this but he correctly decides to go back in time. The problem is that every attempt seems to end in failure so he has to find some way to save her life for good. What depths of power will it take to pull this off?

I definitely like this kind of story quite a lot where we see the lengths Strange will go in order to save Christine. Now where he crosses the line is when he starts to actually destroy other monsters to get stronger. There’s nothing wrong with altering time and going back to make things better as long as you aren’t hurting anyone. The moment time travel is established you don’t know if someone else has been messing with time so it’s all fair game. It does seem as though the universe is rigged as Strange tries to save her many times and I appreciate the effort. You really can’t give up and have to just keep trying until the end. The climax fight with the two Stranges was also a blast. I felt like this episode really fit a whole lot into it.

In the 5th episode we get the big Zombies episode. So what if the Wasp came back but she had the Zombie virus and quickly started transmitting it. Before long the Avengers are infected as well so there is just a small group of heroes left to fend them off. Either they will find the cure and save the world or the entire planet will be covered with zombies before long. It’s a solid thriller kind of episode. Now this one does feel a bit more iffy with how the heroes are infected though. Now granted there are a lot of ways to make the zombies do well here. The way it was shown just didn’t seem right.

So the Avengers fly in and land in the middle of a bridge only to be surrounded by zombies and quickly got slaughtered. There were thousands of zombies by this point so it was impossible to miss them. Why fly to the middle of the bridge? You either blast from afar or if you don’t want to hurt the zombies, then stay in the air. Going to the bridge was effectively a suicide mission. The twist ending I also have a hard time buying because I don’t see how a certain someone would get infected. Unless a bunch of other planets already got infected, I don’t see how Earth would have had time to tag this guy.

It was cool to see the last remnants of humanity banding together here. It was a good team up here and the end of the world always gives a good opportunity to see some team ups that you wouldn’t otherwise have. I’d say this is probably around the middle of the season. It doesn’t beat a few of the others that I’ve mentioned but still offered a good scenario. This is such a famous story that you almost feel like it could and should have been a multi parter though.

In episode 6, what if Killmonger was the one to save Tony from the events of Iron Man 1? This causes him to be promoted to a very high position and he convinces Iron Man to help him build a bunch of armors. The guy is surprisingly quite smart with tech here to the point of it maybe being too convenient. He then decides to slowly start taking control of the world. This one’s definitely quite out there which is good but I do feel like the characters got sloppy at times. There’s no way Killmonger should have made it out of the room once Tony knew what was up. I had a hard time believing he could beat the robot or that Tony’s room wouldn’t have some kind of evidence of what really happened.

Things certainly worked out quite well for Killmonger that’s for sure. It was a good episode although a bit on the unbelievable side to me. You know, come to think of it this has been a rough stretch for Iron Man, seems like he’s died quite a few times in this series. Surprisingly this is one of the only episodes where the twist ending actually gives the heroes some hope as opposed to almost all of the others where it ends with the villains getting ready to win.

Next up is the party Thor episode. What If Loki stayed as a frost giant so Thor grew up on his own and got super spoiled. He decides to throw a big party that’s so powerful it starts to destroy the planet. Fury is forced to call in Captain Marvel and the two have some big fights. It’s definitely the most light hearted episode to the point where you can call it a comedy. There’s more slapstick here, the characters are having fun and Thor’s mom even gets to have some hype.

It’s a nice enough episode. The fight with Thor and Marvel is absolutely the highlight and really why you will be watching this. It’s nice to see both characters blasting each other back and forth. I would say Thor definitely has the edge based on how the fight was going here since he was holding back the whole time and just having fun while Marvel was clearly going all out. Even with her best attacks Thor was just having fun the whole time which speaks to his skills. I think the episode would have benefited from being taken just a bit more seriously though. The next two episodes get quite serious though so I suppose this was a way to brace yourself for those parts.

In this case Ultron ended up getting the full download into Vision’s body and was able to quickly wipe the team out. He even one shotted Thanos (I had a hard time buying into that one) and then proceeded to take over the world. Black Widow and Hawkeye are the last lines of resistance against him and need to find some kind of way to take him down. It’s difficult because of how strong he has gotten though so they may need some unexpected help.

Part 1 is the best episode in the season so far. The fight scene between Ultron and the Watcher is really solid and I like how far the series went with it. We have reality breaking and Ultron even eat a universe at one point in one of the rare moments where we see what a universe buster can do in a practical setting. Now this does come back to haunt the show in part 2 with how powerful Ultron looks here but the whole thing is definitely very impressive. It also shows us what a threat Ultron is and why we will have to band the team together.

The final episode is really a big team up as we have reps from almost every episode show up to try and take Ultron down. It’s nice to see what reality’s final line of defense can do. The only one you can take seriously as a threat to Ultron at this point is Dr. Strange. I liked the show’s decision to have a magic barrier blocking all damage for the rest of the heroes since it at least gives a reason for why they don’t all get one shotted. I still don’t see why Ultron couldn’t just beat everyone a lot quicker though.

Keep in mind that he should be able to destroy the planet in an instant with no real effort that would have put most of the heroes in a bad spot. At one point he even ponders out loud why he is having so much trouble. I don’t know myself, Ultron was shown to be so powerful that he should have easily been crushing these guys. If you can get past the power level angle then you’ve still got a solid end here. It’s naturally fun to see all of the characters teaming up at the end like this.

And that wraps up season 1. There were definitely a lot of fun adventures here. They’re entertaining and the writing is on point here. I may have some power level issues mainly with Thanos in all of his appearances and Ultron at the end but the scenarios themselves are on point. I also like how each of the episodes have a twist ending at the ready. Usually you can assume that the heroes are doomed to be destroyed but if season 2 continues some of these scenarios then we’ll see how they get past them.

Personally I’d rather season 2 is completely filled with new scenarios though. Keep each one as a one and done because there are just so many slots that you don’t want to have to go back and revisit any with such a limited amount of episodes per season. Trust me when I say it would only take an hour or less to come up with a full 10 seasons worth of great scenarios so the more new ones you can do the better.

One thing I would like them to change for season 2 is the animation though. It’s well below average and just doesn’t look all that good. The art style is trying its best to look fairly realistic but as a result it doesn’t stand out and the colors are very faded except for some of the fight scenes. The fights can be quite solid but another style would really do the show some wonders. Give it a more traditional animation style like Spider-Man or the Avengers EMH show and then you’re in business.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Watcher keeps claiming that he won’t interfere during the pre episode narration in season 2 now that he has broken his vow. Hopefully he doesn’t so we can acknowledge that now he is ready to step in if things get too dangerous. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Watcher because of how slow he is to act. At least in this show he can fight rather well so I give him some props there. It is his best appearance in all of Marvel but he needs to start interfering to save these universes and then I would really start liking the guy.

Overall, Marvel’s What If is a solid show and it’s a great premise for a title. This is a good way to really bring up some fun scenarios that you couldn’t do in the main universe. As the seasons expand I like to imagine we can expand the character roster too and really get in some more characters like the X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc. If you’ve been curious to see how things could quickly go off the rails then you’ll want to check this out. Hopefully season 2 doesn’t take too long to come out.

Overall 7/10

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the latest Marvel installment, Shang Chi. This one’s been getting a lot of hype for the hand to hand fights and it delivers on this. It’s got a great balance of action and humor so in the end this movie has a ton of replay value. You’ll have a blast from start to finish as you go through the journey.

The movie starts by introducing us to Shang Chi’s father Wenwu as he wipes out army after army. The opening scene is like something out of Dynasty Warriors as he can use his rings with such speed that it appears to be a forcefield which blocks incoming arrows. That was definitely implemented really well. After that he ends up meeting Wenwu and they get married. Shang Chi and Xu Xialing are born and we then cut to the present.

Shang Chi and his best friend Katy work for a hotel as they drive cars around and enjoy their job. They have a good bond of friendship going for them but Katy’s family want more for her. One day the two of them are attacked by a group of assassins. Shang Chi fights them off but not before they steal his pendant. This means that Xu may be the next target so the two head off to go and help protect her. Can they protect her from this group led by Shang Chi’s father or is she already doomed?

Right off the bat the opening fight scene in the modern day sets the tone well. It’s really good with minimal use of cutaways so you can follow the choreography. Even as someone who did think that the Black Widow fights were really good, it’s night and day compared to this one. The hand to hand is very high energy and the train fight is probably my favorite fight in the film. Likewise, Widow’s first big action scene was my favorite so I guess I just really like the way these films tend to open. they’re doing it right, that’s for sure.

The battles continue to be solid throughout the movie though. Whether it’s the fight on the roof top or the climactic showdown, you can always expect a lot of hype. While this is usually more of an anime movie trend, the movie even decides to go for a little Godzilla type action at the end. It’s not quite as solid as the rest of the fights but it’s always good to see the creatures getting some hype. I’d consider the battle before that to be the true final battle for the combat while this is more of a general climax.

The effects are definitely on point as well. The creatures have really epic designs and lighting for their attacks. I also like the way the rings are used in combat. It’s very much in the style of what you would see in the Tron films. It’s a very versatile weapon and if Shang Chi keeps those to use in combat for future films he is going to be very tough to beat. Certainly none of the street level fighters can handle him.

As for Shang Chi himself, he’s definitely a great lead. I did see some talk about him being too merciless and going for the kill, but I definitely didn’t see that. For the most part each fight is always from a self defense angle. Yeah you’ve got enemies being thrown out of buildings and moving buses but there’s no easy alternative there since he’s in the middle of a huge fight. So just putting my two cents into the ring to say that Shang Chi was definitely a full hero here and I didn’t find him to be going too far in any of the fights.

He does have a moment where he nearly does cross the line and the film’s clear in showing that he was about to, but ultimately he doesn’t. That would be the only true example you can use. His upbringing and origin do explain this fairly well though and he certainly had to deal with a lot. All in all, I thought he handled his past and present really well. Shang Chi’s the kind of guy you definitely want to have in your corner at all times. The movie also did a great job of showing just how good he is at hand to hand combat. Throughout the whole film it’s fair to say that he didn’t lose any fights straight up from the present and beyond. He always had the upper hand.

In the comics he was known as the greatest hand to hand fighter for a long time. I don’t know about currently, but at least in the days when I was reading comics. I imagine the films will be going that route too so this was a great way to show it. I look forward to seeing him interact with the other characters because he has a lot of good banter with Katy in this movie as well. Shang Chi’s very charismatic and that’s why I would put him as the best character in the film. Ultimately he really excels in all of his roles.

Katy is also a solid heroine. She has a lot of fun lines as well and knows not to take things too seriously. In general the film had a really fun script for all of the characters but in particular Katy is one of the characters that stands out. She even gets to contribute towards the end of the movie in an action setting which is nice.

Shang and Katy also have two friends in the film who only appear for two scenes but both are worth mentioning. It’s nice seeing the characters openly talk about their heroic exploits and everything rather than trying to hide them like you would expect. It’s a nice turn of events and it’s such a big contrast to how Peter Parker is handling the whole situation. Yeah the situations are a wee bit different I’ll grant you, Shang has less people he needs to worry about. Still, it’s a very Iron-Man type move which is always fun.

As for Wenwu, he’s definitely a very solid main villain. The movie’s going for more of a sympathetic vibe for him sort of like Thanos. Ultimately he did try to put his weapons away at one point and suffered the consequences for it so you can see why he never takes the rings off anymore. Honestly he probably never should have taken them off but that’s more of a hindsight thing and he was trying to do his best. So in the present you can definitely root for him because if there was even the slightest chance that he was correct then he had to check for himself.

So I don’t blame him for going as far as he did and that’s what makes him a high quality villain. He can also fight really well which is also nice to see. Old age hasn’t really hurt him in a lot of ways, he’s thousands of years old and still kicking. His wife Ying may only appear in flashbacks but she definitely looks really good as well. I liked her fighting style and the powers she used were quite impressive. It’s a shame that the powers can’t follow you out of the village because with them she would have been extremely hard to defeat. Her meeting/battle with Wenwu was a great way to introduce her.

Then you have Xu who is also solid. She did well to build her own empire for underground fights. I question how she is able to get in some heavyweights like Wong and Abomination but maybe there are a lot of benefits to being in the tournament. As a slight power levels issue, I do think the Abomination looked way too weak here. I’d like to say it’s a different Abomination to be honest. That’s my little head canon in case he never appears again because otherwise that scene did make me shake my head a bit. There are a lot of ways the fight could have had the same outcome but I wanted to tell the film to check it’s route at that moment.

It’s the only scene I questioned in that case though. All of the fights were presented well and everyone got their time to shine. Back to Xu, she definitely proved herself very well in a fight. Her skills may be a touch below Shang’s but they’re still quite formidable. She’s definitely not an opponent you want to underestimate.

In general the film had a fairly stacked cast and that’s definitely a big part of why the film is so solid. Even the side characters are fairly memorable like one of Wenwu’s main subordinates who is missing a hand. He’s definitely a solid minion. There’s also Trevor who does have an effective opening scene but I will say that he’s best in small doses. I don’t think you really needed him in the film after a little while.

All right, now these next 3 paragraphs will quickly be for spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film yet or the recent MCU shows then definitely skip these three paragraphs. It’s going to be time to do a little speculating here. All right, so I’ve noticed a bit of a trend here. In Wandavision we saw Scarlet Witch as the main villain as she knowingly tortured a whole town of civilians and by the end of the show she’s getting sucked into the DarkHold. In the Cap & Winter Soldier show, we found out at the very end that Sharon is actually compromising the U.S. intelligence for money and is a fairly reputable information broker in the under world. Finally in the Loki show we see Sylvie turn to the darkness at the very end and set course for a new timeline. (At best you could say she just made a dubious call and isn’t as downright evil as the first two but it’s a tough case to make) Here, we end the film with Xu taking over the 10 Rings instead of disbanding them for presumably shady reasons.

You can cut Xu some slack but if this trend is anything to go by, she will be a villain soon. So, what is going on here? Are these all isolated incidents or is something going on here? Personally, I think it’s going to be something like the MCU version of the Sinister Six. It’s going to be a group of 6 female villains who band together to take over the world or something. Wanda brings the power, Sharon has the intel, Xu has the manpower, and Sylvie has more magic which is never a bad thing. For the trend to continue, we’ll need to see if some other players are introduced in Eternals, She Hulk, Spider-Man, or Dr. Strange. Still, it does seem like something’s going on.

Also, while Nick Fury was the main figure head for the first few phases as he connected everything, it seems more and more like that will now be the role for Dr. Strange. He’s going to have a role in the Spider-Man film, Wong is here in Shang Chi setting up some future elements, and you’ve also got the Dr. Strange film coming up. Seems like the Sorcerer Supreme is going to have to start earning his paycheck as the ultimate sorcerer with everyone messing around in the universe. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how that unfolds. End spoilers

I can’t close out the review without also mentioning that the soundtrack was really solid. There were a lot of great tunes here and so I thought the music selection was absolutely on point. The scene of the guy stepping out of the car only for us to see that it wasn’t Shang Chi was also a good fake out. Again, the film’s humor was always on point so even when there weren’t big fight scenes you were having a lot of fun.

Overall, Shang Chi definitely lives up to the hype here and is a great film in this phase of the MCU. I really didn’t have any issues with it and I’m certainly ready to see him start appearing in more of the films going forward. Shang Chi could easily work as one of the central figures going forward since I can see him having good banter with just about anyone. There’s still a whole lot you can do with the Ten Rings as well and we’ll see which film is the first to connect to this one. It’s the MCU so you can bet that there are a lot of plans in the works. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you’ll definitely want to change that.

Overall 8/10

Loki Review


The next Disney+ show is now upon us. Can it continue the upwards trend of each show? I would say yes and that this is the best of the first 3. Loki’s always been a pretty fun character so it makes sense that he could hold his own show pretty well. Throw in time travel, dimension hopping, and you’ve got yourself a pretty fun premise. There’s definitely a lot to unpack here even if the show is only 6 episodes so they did a good job of throwing in a bunch of concepts. Lets start taking a deep dive into this.

The show starts with Loki’s escape from Endgame where he narrowly got away from the Avengers. Unfortunately this was short lived as he is then kidnapped by the TVA. He is approached by a man named Mobius who explains that this organization is effectively in charge of the multiverse. They make sure that nobody messes with time and they keep things progressing in the way they ought to go.

Put it this way, according to the TVA, all of life is predestined to go in a certain way. If a character so happens to defy destiny and step off the path, they go to that world and destroy not only the character but the entire timeline. Rinse and repeat as often as is necessary. As the characters are not aware of their destinies either, this just happens randomly and must be quelled. If a timeline goes too far off the beaten path, it will cause calamity and destroy everything. Now you may question why TVA even bothers to erase individual characters when they will immediately erase the entire timeline right after. It’s a fair question and one that is addressed by the end.

Mobius basically asks Loki to join them. They are on the hunt for a particularly dangerous Loki variant (“Variant” is any being who has gone off of the natural timeline) and they could really use his help. After all, who better to stop a Loki than another Loki right? It’s not exactly a proposition that Loki really likes but he’s not exactly in a good spot right now. If he declines then he will be erased. Loki will play their game for now but he vows to be the one who wins in the end.

So right there you’ve got a pretty interesting angle. This is the kind of show with a lot of twists and turns but I’ll leave those to the spoiler paragraphs since it’s naturally more fun to see those play out if you don’t know what is going to happen. Most of the show is about the gang trying to get on the other Loki’s trail but it’s difficult. The TVA may have been around for a while but most of their members are normal humans so they aren’t the most powerful group around.

Lets get the basics out of the way first. The soundtrack here is really good. It’s easily the best out of the 3 with some really ominous themes going for it. You’ve got different remixes as well. The special effects are also on point with all of the magic being thrown around here. The Loki show lends itself well to this kind of thing that’s for sure. The fight scenes are also pretty solid.

Now, I would argue that Loki looks a bit too weak at times though. He struggles against humans on multiple occasions. The TVA beats him up in the first episode, he gets wrecked by a mind controlled human 1-2 episodes from there, and then he gets overpowered on a train and thrown out the window. There are many other times he gets owned as the series goes on but these were the 3 that are the most striking. Yes, Loki has been used as a comedic character for quite a while now but I would say this is stretching it.

Loki is still a frost giant raised as an Asgardian. He should have more than enough power to easily dispatch these opponents. Still, as a character he’s fun. Loki gets a lot of constant witty dialogue throughout his appearances so you can always bet on him saying something smart. The humor is a large part of what makes the show so much fun. He also gets a lot of personality development as well.

I don’t agree with all of it like Loki saying he doesn’t actually want to cause people pain and all of that. You’ll find yourself rolling your eyes a bit during his confession scene with Mobius where he talks about how he’s misunderstood and all that. I don’t buy it…nobody buys it. Like Mobius I’d just pull out the scene of him zapping that poor guy’s eyeball from Avengers 1. Loki’s defense is that it was an act that he was even playing on himself…sure. I think this is trying to retroactively make him less evil but whether he was tricking himself or not, he was totally evil at the time. I don’t think there can be any doubts about that.

On the other hand, I do like that he gets some closure with Freya in this version and that it’s part of what starts setting him off on a different track. Ultimately, acceptance by his family was something he really strived for. If things had played out differently he could have been a hero someday. Since he now knows how the adventure would have ended for him, it makes sense that he would start looking at life in a different way. By the end of the series or even fairly early on into it, you already feel like he’s becoming more heroic. Not sure I’d call him a full hero just yet but he’s close to it. I mean…he’s already more heroic by the end of the series than Scarlet Witch who is an Avenger soo………just something to think about.

It was fun to see clips of pretty much every old film Loki was in as well. Thor 2 seemed to be the only one that was skipped over a lot except for what happened to Freya. Maybe there just weren’t enough really good Loki scenes to pull. It’s been a while since I saw that film but I feel like there should still be a good amount.

Loki definitely carries a lot of the show with how much fun he is, but he does have a lot to work with. Mobius is another main character and he’s really solid. The guy has a fairly sarcastic attitude towards everything and he tends to have the best conversations with Loki. The two of them really go at it on different occasions. Mobius usually has the edge thanks to the TVA tech but otherwise Loki has the edge in overall charisma.

Mobius is old and set in his ways but you have to give him credit for eventually getting up and actually starting to take a hard look at what is going on. He’s certainly more dedicated than the average worker at the TVA. By the end he was one of the best characters. Then you have Ravonna who is one of the higher ups who serves the mysterious head of the TVA. She’s very by the books which naturally means things will be a bit dicey for her here.

Ravonna starts out better than how she ends up. She was acting pretty questionable by the end and that’s a weakness of being by the books. She was unable to adapt while everyone else was. I’ll be interested to see where she goes from here since in theory her next appearance will really be a fresh start. Then you have B-15 who seriously needs a real name. She was pretty solid. Right now she has a bodyguard type of role where she dishes out a lot of damage but doesn’t have too much personality yet. I expect she will have a bigger role going forward though. She already has a lot of confidence which is good.

While not a character, I wanted to give Miss Minutes a quick shoutout. This mascot is very amusing and works well in the TVA atmosphere. Her job is to constantly yell propaganda at everyone 24/7 through all of her TV shows and things like that. The tech behind her also seems very advanced. Naturally I would advise not believing anything she says but maybe the big trick is that what she is saying is actually legit. Who knows right? Either way you won’t be forgetting her anytime soon.

Then you have Sylvie, who is a variant that gets a pretty huge role in the series. She is pretty powerful which is why she is considered to be such a threat. In her first appearances she manages to take down quite a few TVA agents. She’s a fun enough character and is quite determined to achieve her goal. By the end of the series you have to decide if you’re on her side or not and that’ll probably determine how much you like her as a villain. I thought she did a pretty good job in the role.

Finally you have the leader of the TVA. Throughout the series they hype him up which makes sense since the guy running this whole multiversal company has to be pretty solid right? He knows everything that’s going to happen and as a result he is always at the top of the ranks. A cosmic being like that can always be a bit hit or miss depending on how powerful you find them to be. He’s interesting but I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan. He’s certainly not much of a fighter and that never helps a character’s chances in my book.

I would say the show’s biggest weak point is the romance though. It just doesn’t work at all. I’ve always found it hard to believe that two characters would fall for each other so easily and in Loki there is just no time for the characters to really learn about each other. Loki and Sylvie know each other for a few days at best before this starts up. You could definitely have had the whole adventure without the romance if you ask me and it would have probably worked better. Just have them be friends who understand each other in a way most could not. Since they are effectively the same person in different timelines, that could be a great way for them to empathize with each other. Would have made for a better dynamic.

Okay, it’s time we enter spoiler territory so tread the following grounds only if you have seen the show already or don’t mind spoilers. It’s time to really talk about what went down in the final episodes. While I would say the Cap and Winter Soldier didn’t really have a lot of twists in the end, this one’s like WandaVision where a whole lot happens in the second half. At only 6 episodes you expect a fast pacing of course but one impressive thing has been how big the effects of the shows are. Now to an extent you expect a lot of things to wrap up so people who are film only won’t be lost. WandaVision goes in a way where if you missed it, I get the feeling that you will still be okay. Likewise you can probably handle this in a similar way so you shouldn’t get your hopes too high but it certainly does change the game quite a bit.

So the TVA is basically a front for Kang (Kudos to the people who figured he was the head of the TVA from the start) as he tries to stay master of the timelines. See, he created them because without the TVA, a Kang ends up being born in all timelines and they inevitably fight for control in the end. With the TVA he is able to prevent any other Kang from being born. So it’s not that he prevents all timelines from splitting, he only stops this one outcome. It serves as a good way to add purpose to the organization and show that they don’t just act randomly.

It doesn’t change the idea that the TVA is a villainous organization though. They are openly brainwashing people to follow them and erasing entire timelines. This may be to stop the greater evil as they would say but the end doesn’t justify the means. They are still wiping out a bunch of people on a daily basis. So at the end Loki and Sylvie are given two options. Destroy Kang and dismantle the TVA or assume the throne and keep the status quo going. Naturally Sylvie wants to finish the job while Loki likes the idea of keeping things the same.

They both have merit of course but ultimately I think Sylvie’s on the right track. You don’t have to murder Kang but definitely you should dismantle the TVA or assume control in a new way. Wiping out people’s lives and brainwashing them can’t be the answer. There has to be a better way and at least this forces the issue. The final fight with Loki and Sylvie is pretty cool even if you know how it’s going to play out. Once you let emotions get to the top, you’ve already lost.

So in the ending, the war of the Kangs starts up again and a different one claimed victory this time. So, Loki retained his memories (Presumably Sylvie will keep hers as well) but everyone has been reset to the new timeline. Here’s the interesting part, the war has already ended since it takes place at the end of time like the last one and then scales back. So the reason the rest of the Marvel universe might not notice is they would have all been reset already. Perhaps Scarlet Witch and Dr. Strange would notice and perhaps not. The universe has already been reset in the past after all.

So I’m not really sure what Loki can possibly do in Season 2 since everything is already over. Perhaps he can convince Sylvie to murder the next Kang but based on the show’s logic, he would need to allow this since he would foresee it coming. In a way the show has probably written itself into a corner here. Kang is all powerful and he has already won in this universe. There are statues of him and the TVA is alive and well. No matter what Loki does, the universe has already been completely changed. You would need something crazy to stop Kang and change the universe, but again…Kang would know about it. That’s the tough thing with time travelers, they already know the future.

Still, I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out of course. It is a pretty unique concept to have battles across space and time since they’re already over before you were even born. It’s a fun concept to play around with in your head. It made for a really exciting ending to be sure. I’m much happier to see Kang at the top then the lizard creatures that turned out to just be a façade in the end.

As for the actual twist behind being erased, honestly I’d prefer if that just wasn’t a thing. It turns out that when you’re erased you fall into a desert land where a giant being just eats you. It takes the power of several Lokis to stop this long enough to escape. I’m not sure I buy this creature being able to destroy too many more powerful fighters but maybe Kang got lucky and only fairly weak ones ever caused another Kang to appear.

My main issue with the whole erasure plot twist is it just feels unnecessary. Why not just have the characters actually get blown away when they’re erased? I don’t see why you would need to send them somewhere and honestly blowing them up would be simpler for the TVA. Less variables and loose ends to worry about. Your target is just gone for eternity and you now have nothing to worry about. It was fun seeing the other Lokis though.

One of them even points out how using a knife is not as practical as general energy bolts. There was also a long standing fan theory that Loki escaped from Thanos with an illusion so those fans will feel vindicated here. Of course it was a different incarnation of Loki but it does show the strategy was feasible. Presumably you could even make the case that perhaps the main Loki did this trick as well and we just wouldn’t know until the future pops up. It seems unlikely though so I wouldn’t hold your hopes out for that.

The battle royale between them was fun as well. I would have liked to have had more cool action scenes like that. I do think the show had the proper balance between action and comedy though. Each episode was sure to get you some good laughs and treat you to fun action scenes. I wish Loki had thought of a better way to dodge or defend himself in the Sif situation but it was intense to see him get beaten up so many times. Throw in the cool time travel concepts and that’s a wrap. The show was a complete experience. I also like the TVA as well. I may not take them seriously as an organization because they seem far too weak but considering that they’re really just a front for Kang messing with everyone, it starts to add up quite nicely.

Overall, Loki was a pretty fun show. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how season 2 goes. I hope Loki is ready to focus on the task at hand and isn’t moping about romance though. That would put a damper on his spirits in season 2. He’s definitely at his best when he’s being overconfident and smug about everything. It’s what makes him a really enjoyable character so you need to keep that in. There’s still a lot of places you can go with the plot even if I think it will be constrained in other areas. Loki’s probably going to need a whole lot of plot armor if he wants to get through this which is pretty unavoidable when time travel is involved anyway. We’ll see if the “What If” show coming up can match this one.

Overall 7/10