The Multiverse of Madness delivers the horror, goofy, and MCU-ness but not quite on an impactful journey level.
Score: 3 / 5
After nearly 6 years Doctor Strange finally has a sequel to what I thought was an entertaining and interesting first movie. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness feels like the culmination of all the MCU projects that have come after Spider-Man: Far From Home uttered the words multiverse. It goes farther than even the Disney+ show Loki did in giving you a taste of what Marvel’s multiverse is. There are so many realities and trippy moments, and it notches up the horror and violence to a level that I don’t think we have seen so far from Marvel. The movie has so many “wow!” moments and fun cameos you’d expect from a multiverse story. Yet with all of that, I felt a bit underwhelmed.
It’s taken me a good bit of time to unravel the feelings I have had about this move and where I stand. Which is to say I feel like the big thing missing from this movie that makes the overall package feel lackluster is the journey of the two leads of the film. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda/Scarlet Witch. While the story of events happening was not difficult for me to follow or didn’t make sense, it just felt hollow. I know, I know, Marvel movies having depth? I’d argue many of them do. I’d even say the first Doctor Strange had more going on for the growth of Stephen Strange than anything that happens in this movie. It’s even more difficult for me to follow because of how nearly one-note Wanda becomes throughout this movie. I get the motivations but it sure would have helped to have more scenes to explore maybe some level of conflict inside her.
Moving aside from this aspect of the movie, it delivers some really interesting new things to the MCU. Director Sam Raimi injects some dark moments along with some of his signature goofiness. There is one sequence towards the middle of the film that really drew me in as it was genuinely horrifying to watch. I honestly am shocked they went that far at points. There are also some fun and mind-bending multiverse moments that fit right at home with the trippy scenes from the first Doctor Strange. The finale also gives us something that is uniquely Strange, and I loved it. There are some other things I’d love to dig into but I’m keeping this review spoiler-free.
Overall, I had a great time with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it has a great mix of horror, goofy, and the typical MCU-ness moments you want out of these movies, but some hollow depth for the lead character’s journeys of the movie left me feeling just alright instead of ready to go right back for another showing.
Everything Everywhere All at Once really does feel like everything, everywhere, all at once. It’s a masterpiece.
Directors/Writers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s Everything Everywhere All at Once is something special. It made me laugh, it made my cry, it made me reflect upon myself, and I can’t stop thinking about it after watching it. It’s one of the best films I have seen this year, and one of the best films I have seen period.
Everything Everywhere All at Once follows Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn Wang, a Chinese immigrant mother trying her damnedest to keep her family and her family’s business from falling apart. In the start of the film her marriage is crumbling, her relationship with her daughter is strained, her relationship with her father is strained, and her family business is on thin ice with the IRS. It’s a lot for anyone person and just when it seems things can’t get worse, Evelyn learns an insane truth, she alone can save the universe from an impending doom by connecting with other versions of her life throughout the infinite alternate universes.
That last bit threw you for a loop, right? Well, it’s not even close for how wacky this movie gets, and while the film goes to absurd places it never loses that drama. It amplifies it, it dives in headfirst to speak about everything that Evelyn is going through. I don’t want to spoil how off the wall it gets, but it’s a film that oozes in confidence taking you on a ride that will make you feel many feelings and revel in the entertaining action that you have probably never seen before. Did I say action? Yeah, this is just as much of an action movie as it is an adventure, a drama, a comedy. I desperately want to say more about what you are in for, but I don’t want to spoil it. If you are even remotely interested, go in with as little information as possible. You’ll thank me later for that recommendation.
The main cast of this movie are excellent in this story that jumps all over the place. Michelle Yeoh is brilliant, she carries this film with poise through every wacky moment and every heartfelt dramatic beat. Ke Huy Quan plays Evelyn’s husband Waymond Wang with such child-like charm and energy. His positivity radiates even in the darkest moments. Stephanie Hsu rounds out the main trio of the cast playing Evelyn and Waymond’s daughter Joy. She has just as a heavy load to carry in this film as Yeoh does and she nails it. Everyone in the cast buys in to the absurd, to the dramatic, to the journey of this film. Like I said the film is swimming in confidence and you can see it in cast.
This is all wrapped in a production that just goes for it. You see it in the costumes and set design. You hear it in the score and sound. Every element is giving is their A-game. How I want to say more specific things, give you hilarious examples, but I’m resisting. This is a movie that if you generally like movies you have to see this. So don’t wait, find a theater, find a showtime, experience this movie!
Movies in theaters! After a couple of years of pandemic wild on the movie industry, things appear to be returning to some level of the before times, where we get a lot of movies to watch on a big screen. For me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a movie on the big screen. That said, I have started to appreciate the straight-to-streaming releases, so I plan on checking out more of those and reviewing some! I’m late to making this list for the start of the year so here’s a quick recap of movies I enjoyed so far this year: The Batman, and Turning Red. You were expecting more? Yeah me too… Let’s move on to the future! Below are the movies that I’m most excited to check out coming this year!
Everything Everywhere All at Once– April 8th
The Northman – April 22nd
Robert Eggers, an A24 alum by the way, is a director that is quickly building up a very impressive resume. The Witch and The Lighthouse are both very bold films in their own right and The Northman looks to be carrying the torch in all its brutal Viking glory. The cast is stacked with big names like Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. This epic can’t come soon enough.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – May 6th
Eventually, Marvel will stop finding a way to top itself from the last massive spectacle to concur the box office. It’s not happening yet. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness looks bonkers in all the epic ways. It has that MCU overload with the splash of Sam Raimi style and horror that just begs to be seen on the biggest screen possible. I’m ready for the Madness.
Men – May 20th
Alex Garland, like Robert Eggers, has created an impressive resume. Ex Machina, Annihilation, Devs, they are all excellent films (or miniseries in Devs case) that are all worth a watch. These previous efforts have all been in a more heady sci-fi trapping but Men looks to be a pure horror film which makes it all the more intriguing to see what the writer/director has cooked up this time around.
Jurassic World Dominion – June 10th
I’m a Jurassic Park fan. I have enjoyed all of the movies. Are they silly? Of course. Do they make sense? Not at all. Do any match the pure excellence of the original? Nope, and yet I have had a good time throughout them all. These are the dumb popcorn movies before Marvel came and took over churning them out three to four times a year. I’m beyond excited to see more Dinos running around all sorts of new locals in this grand finale of the Jurassic World trilogy.
Nope – July 22nd
Bullet Train – July 29th
A stylized action movie with the charming Brad Pitt on a train? Yes, please. Directed by David Leitch, (John Wick, Deadpool 2) along with an absolute banger cast (Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Logan Lerman, Michael Shannon, Karen Fukuhara, and Brian Tyree Henry to name a few) this movie looks like a hilarious and explosive fun time.
Don’t Worry Darling – September 23rd
There’s no trailer as of this post, but Don’t Worry Darling has caught my interest. Directed by the awesome Olivia Wilde (please go watch Booksmart), this movie follows the talented Florence Pugh as Alice, a 1950’s housewife, living in a utopian experimental community whose husband works for a shady company. The premise is interesting, the cast excellent (Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, along with many others), and Olivia Wilde is another one of those directors that keep hitting home runs, trailer or not, this one has my eye for the fall.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One – October 7th
Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse was an amazing surprise with many calling it THE Spider-Man movie, and it’s hard to argue. The unique animation styles, the heart-filled story, and excellent comedy. The sequel looks to continue that story and fun twists of animation styles once more, and while I feel there is more to it than that, more of what was already such a special experience is more than enough to get me hyped for what else is in store.
Super Mario Movie – December 21st
Other than the hilariously off-the-wall casting announcement, not much is known about this Mario movie. I’m a huge fan of Nintendo so the kid in me is already on board, but the adult me is well aware of the typical video game movie trend. I’m super curious about what comes from this movie and the casting has only added to my curiosity of what the heck is this movie going to be like. Here’s hoping Illumination Entertainment and Nintendo can finally deliver a movie to break the curse of awful video game movie adaptations.
And there ya go! I had actually even more movies I was pretty intrigued or excited about but these are the top ten for now. It’s great to once again have a bunch of movies to be looking forward to after a rough couple of years. See you at the movies!
The Adam Project passes the Netflix algorithm test.
Maybe Watch It?
It’s been a little while since I have watched a Netflix original movie. What I remembered from the last few I watched were they felt like they were created by an AI that just looks for the buzz words it can find from viewer patterns. I figured though, why not check out The Adam Project. Director Shawn Levy makes fun movies, and I enjoy the Ryan Reynolds humor. Well, this movie still feels like it was made by the Netflix AI checklist, but with the exact things I just described.
The Adam Project is a solid, unoffensive, pre-teen adventure movie. It has a simple sci-fi plot about time travel, which gives the excuse for some flashy special effects. It has very clear lines of good, Ryan Reynold’s Adam Reed, and bad, Catherine Keener’s Maya Sorian. It even gets MCU alums Mark Ruffalo, and Zoe Saldana in the mix to give it a little more star power. It’s simple, the plot moves quickly with little time to really think about what’s going on and isn’t really trying to do anything that will stick in your brain. Typical Netflix content.
I won’t waste time nitpicking the plot because the movie isn’t trying to blow your socks off in that department. It’s simple stuff, think of an even more bland version of simple MCU plots and you get the idea. The most interesting about this movie which happens to be the heart of the movie is the dynamic between Reynolds’ adult Adam Reed with Reed’s twelve-year-old self played by Walker Scobell. Reynolds has a very specific kind of humor and Scobell does a pretty great job nailing that style but in a young boy’s delivery. They have solid chemistry and honestly if it wasn’t for that this movie would be a slog to get through.
What you get is once more another by the numbers movie that you can put on with the family or have on in the background to pass the time. Do you NEED to watch this movie? Not at all, but if you enjoy simple action-adventure movies for families or family-friendly Ryan Reynolds you might want to give The Adam Project a watch.
Vengeance has arrived. The Batman is the detective take on the caped crusader that we have always been missing.
SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!
Director Matt Reeves and team have given me the Batman movie I have always wanted to see. It’s a detective story, one where we see Robert Pattinson’s Batman solving a mystery, specifically what Paul Dano’s The Riddler has in store for Gotham City. When I say it’s a detective story, it means we see a whole lot more of Batman observing, questioning, and trying to piece things together with some sluthing versus where previous Batman movies have the super Bat-Computer solving the mystery really quickly, and it’s more Batman has to do a Batman fight to solve the problem. This isn’t that movie, the focus isn’t about finding the next person for Batman to beat up, which he still does in the movie, but it doesn’t feel centered around it. Batman also teams up frequently with Jeffrey Wright’s Gordon, Zoe Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, and Andy Serkis’s Alfred to piece together what in the world The Riddler is trying to bring to the light.
With so many side characters it would be easy for them to get lost, but the three-hour length really gives the movie time to give you moments with everyone. Everyone also includes more interesting villains like Collin Farrell’s completely unrecognizable turn as Oswald Cobbelpot aka The Penguin and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone. This movie has a lot going on, and a lot of characters to juggle but like a good Batman comic or the excellent Batman Arkham video games, The Batman intertwines them so well that it feels so much more interconnected. Everyone revolves around the central mystery of the dark past of Gotham and it makes for a fun watching experience as everything and everyone gets pieced together.
Storywise, this movie isn’t about how Bruce Wayne becomes The Batman. He already is. This movie is about Bruce understanding that there has to be more to The Batman than just fear and beating criminals up. While it’s not an origin story for Batman, it is for the several villians mentioned above, The Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin, they all grow into who they are meant to be throughout this movie.
As for characters as a whole, the cast nails it. Everyone is super compelling and fun to watch. At times Pattinson’s Bruce may be a little too mid-two thousands emo, but he is also someone who never properly processed his parents’ death and is a reclusive rich white man who fights crime at night so I can allow it. I have been far over the constant, rich playboy version of Bruce Wayne. Bring on more of the tortured young man who is working through severe trauma. As Batman though, this is my favorite version of the character by a mile. His more makeshift approach to things, the more listening, and slow menace approach is super welcomed. He makes other versions of the Batman look like a theme park entertainer in comparison. This is a Batman that would scare people. Which is the whole point right?
Other standouts are the trio of villains. Paul Dano is so damn creepy as The Riddler. When something doesn’t go perfect and he has his violent outbursts, ooof that is something to watch. Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman is a lot of fun. You can feel for her situation and wanting revenge, while she radiates a playfulness that is both attractive and funny depending on the moment. Also, the chemistry between Kravitz and Pattinson is excellent. I can’t remember the last time where Batman having some romantic feelings for another character didn’t feel super hollow and wooden. They both play tortured souls that have a connection very well and it shows. Finally, Collin Farrell as the slimy Penguin is just great. Beyond not being able to tell it’s Farrell, the guy is just that type of scum that you just want to punch in the face. He’s both pathetic and dangerous at the same time.
I would be remiss to not mention the visuals and audio end of things. Cinematographer Grieg Fraser masterfully captures the darkness and grime of this version of Gotham. The lighting, the shot composition, there are moments of this movie that would look excellent on a canvas. In the audio world, Michael Giacchino shows that it’s possible to make new themes on classic characters that have already had memorable scores in the past. All three of the big themes, Batman, Catwoman, and The Riddler perfectly complement their onscreen characters and elevate the scenes. But one bit of audio that I had to mention outside the score, is the thuds of when Batman is walking out of the shadows. It’s menacing and sets the mood that this guy is not someone to mess around with it. It’s great, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
All of this is to say I loved The Batman. There are far too many things I want to say about this movie and have every intention of seeing it several more times in the theaters. This is not just another Batman movie this is THE Batman, and if you are even a casual fan you need to check this one out as soon as you get a chance.
Spider-Man films have always had a chip on their shoulder when it comes to the closing chapter of a series of films. 2007’s Spider-Man 3 fumbled it, and the gone earlier than expected 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 crashed in flames. There just hasn’t been that one to stick the landing. The common theme with both of those films was going bigger and adding as many villains as possible. It was a balancing act that just didn’t work for either of those enteries. Well Spider-Man: No Way Home goes bigger, it is stuffed to the brim with characters, and it worked. Spider-Man: No Way Home is the best live-action Spider-Man to date.
Its expert mixture of characters, action, and emotional moments elevates this film far beyond just Spider-Man movies. It is really up there at the top of all the MCU movies so far released. Make no mistake the action and large amount of characters push this movie to move at a quick pace but it never feels like it needs more time to breathe. Everything fits very nicely, but all of this would be for nothing if the story didn’t have a strong punch for Peter. This movie does that, again and again. There were several moments in this movie that put a tear in my eye, and there were many laughs to be had. There were moments of audience wonder and group reaction that really I have only seen in a handful of other movies period.
Suffice to say, this third entry hits every note, splashes you with nostalgia in all the right ways, and moves you emotionally like so few of the Marvel films do. It’s the best acting I have seen from MCU Tom Holland and the Spider-Man movie that for the first time in the MCU really tackles the Spider-Man question what comes with great power? Responsibility. Spider-Man: No Way Home is excellent and is one of the most fun movies of the year.
Marvel’s Eternals brings the most unique and visually grand MCU origin film to date.
Watch This NOW!
Here we are with the third marvel film in five months, after the pandemic-induced hiatus Marvel has kept the releases coming every couple of months. The Eternals is the last of the year from Marvel proper and out of the three releases including Black Widow and Shang-Chi, Eternals is the most interesting of the bunch by a mile. Not since Guardians of the Galaxy have we had a Marvel film that is throwing so much at the wall. A massive cast of new characters, large cosmic proportion level story threads to the universe, and not following the traditional formula to a when it comes to first entry Marvel films. That is to say, this movie is tackling A LOT.
In a nutshell, Eternals is about a group of immortal super-powered humanoid aliens sent to Earth for the purpose of protecting humanity from another otherworldly threat called the Deviants. Sent by the Celestial (planet-sized god-like beings of the universe) Arishem, they are instructed to avoid interfering with all other human conflicts, and so the team does that. If there isn’t a Deviant threat there only task is to live among humanity. So this is what happens for thousands of years until an inciting incident of more Deviants draws them out of their exile from the world and each other.
Did I mention this movie is tackling a lot? This is where I imagine some viewers may get a bit lost as the film does a bit of back and forth between the present conflict that draws the Eternals back into action and their many adventures from the dawn of man till now. It caught me off guard at times in the beginning but eventually after some table setting the movie flows nicely as we follow lead actress Gemma Chan as Sersi on her quest to unite her fellow Eternals to save Earth from a terrible fate. Which this alone would have been good enough for a Marvel film, but director Chloé Zhao aims for more than just the bare-bones adventure plot. The majority of the Eternals have at least small arcs and conflicts that make each of them feel more than just another sidekick for action scenes. The cast is all very likable and gives strong performances. They all carry their weight to equal levels that I don’t necessarily have a stand-out to point to. Perhaps Barry Keoghan’s conflicted Druig, who has some very interesting moral conflicts with the rest of the Eternals based on his ability to control minds.
That’s the interesting thing about this movie overall, most of the immortal beings have very different feelings of responsibility, humanity, and what they are willing to do or not do in the name of their beliefs. You can feel Zhao at points was definitely taking aim at the current state of the world where everything turns into a battle of blood when sometimes it could be easily tabled with “I respect your feelings, I feel differently so I’m going to stay out of this conflict entirely.” Like I keep saying this movie is aiming to do as much as it can, and many could argue that it hampers the focus of the movie, but to me, it just enriched what would have otherwise been just another Marvel movie.
Beyond the plot and themes, I really think it’s important to mention how beautiful this movie is. The natural vistas, the epic grandiose shots, this is a movie for a big screen for sure. Cinematographer Ben Davis did an excellent job and should be proud of bringing something like this to the world of the MCU. To accompany this the great composer Ramin Djawadi was a perfect choice to score the film. This work echoes the beautiful scores that many HBO viewers are familiar with from Game of Thrones and Westworld. In combination, these two help set the mood for each scene from revelations to the big Marvel action you’d expect.
All in all, Eternals was a fun fresh Marvel film which at film 26 in the franchise you kind of have to be, or else it just doesn’t work as well. Out of the many origin movies in the MCU Eternals is up there for me as one of the most ambitious, and unique. That alone gives me hope for what is to come from following these characters, for make no mistake there are many more adventures ahead for immortal heroes to come.
Now before we get down to my thoughts, a quick background. Have I read the book? No. Have I seen other attempts at adapting the book? Also no. I don’t have any prior exposure to this material, so beyond my bias of already enjoying previous films by Villeneuve, I have nothing else tugging me in one direction or another. With that all out of the way, let’s get to the movie!
Dune: Part One, is a visual splendor, a film that tells its story as best as it can through visuals and trusting that the audience can follow along without a constant need for being told how to think or feel. Does it accomplish this all without some exposition dumps here or there? No, it has those, but in ways that make sense rather than feeling more like a forced explanation directly to us watching. The story follows Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), on a tragic journey of responsibility being forced upon the young man through political machinations from both the galactic empire he was born into from his father as well as a religious one from his mother. Caught as a pawn in a bigger game for control over the most important resource in this galaxy (the Spice of Arrakis) Paul must accept his part to play for his sake as well as the galaxy as a whole. This is all while Game of Thrones level political moves are playing out for control over more than just the desert planet Arrakis.
This movie is dense, it’s building out a massive world (galaxy really) that feels like the previously mentioned Game of Thrones and Star Wars blended together, with a dash of Lord of the Rings thrown into the mix. I gave a raised eyebrow to marketing using these comparisons but after seeing the movie twice, this is exactly that. This could be the start of a visual adventure that will long live beyond its initial release. I was intrigued by every new detail of the world, so much so that yes, I’ll read the book. Even with that pull to want to know more, I never felt like I was not given enough to enjoy the main tale that involves Paul. I have heard of feedback that the movie has no depth in characters, so many are introduced but glossed over in favor of Paul. Seeing as Paul is the character the movie is following I don’t quite understand that criticism but hey that’s just me. A final bit on the story, from the opening of the movie, saying Dune: Part One, it was clear to me this movie was not going to end with a clean it’s over kind of ending. Well, my only major spoiler here, it doesn’t end with a this-story-is-over kind of ending. Sorry. Keep that in mind if you plan on watching it.
Alright now onto everything else. This movie’s cast is stacked. Chalamet, Ferguson, Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin to name a few. I almost listed every character with a name because they are all talented actors bringing their A-game. Not a one disappoints, and some are downright memorizing in their performances. Capturing these moments and all the beautiful frames of another galaxy is the formerly mentioned cinematographer Greig Fraser. The movie is like a moving painting. Scene after scene, you could take a snapshot and have something breathtaking to put up on a wall. It’s a splendor for the eyes and deserves to be seen on the best display you can. IMAX, Dolby Cinema, or a TV most of us can’t afford, find a way to watch it one of those. Before jumping to the excellent score, I did want to mention that the production design from sets, special effects, to costumes are all top-notch. Everything brings you deeper into these places, not like our own. Everyone involved in this production deserves praise for what they were able to bring to the screen. Finally, I wanted to bring up what seems like an obvious statement, Hans Zimmer delivers every time. Dune is no exception. This score is beautiful, haunting, and elevates every moment. It’s a score you can listen to post watch and picture moments in your head. Those are the kind of scores that every composer should aspire to make.
Zendaya’s Chani utters the line “This is only the beginning.” To that I say, it better damn be. This introduction to the world of Dune was amazing, and I cannot wait to continue Paul’s journey in a Dune: Part Two. So everyone, go out there and give this visual masterpiece a shot because I reallllly want a Part Two. Thanks!
The MCU welcomes a fresh fun new entry into the world of Marvel with another interesting villain to boot!
Watch This NOW!
It’s been a little while since we have had a new hero join the Marvel ranks and after a long absence of movies from Covid-19, it felt doubly long since we had something that felt like the next step in the MCU. This summer’s Black Widow while a fun movie felt out of time, and really did not have any sense of momentum of what comes next. Shang-Chi is that next step, and it’s exciting! While it does have the marvel formula stamp on it, this movie has some great surprises, fresh humor, and another villain that feels more developed and interesting.
Shang-Chi continues the MCU’s expansion to include more cultures to their ranks, this film devotes it’s focus on introducing the first Asian superhero, and it’s in exploring that cultures cinema, mythology, and talented actors that leads this movie to feeling like something new and special. It’s not just an origin to a new hero, it has a unique mark, and in my opinion dives far deeper into pure fantasy than any other Marvel movie to date. The magical powers, the fantasy creatures, I sometimes felt like it was pulling from Harry Potter with all the interesting creature designs! It was a pleasant surprise.
In terms of action, I felt like this movie does a great job pulling from all the excellent martial arts films from over the years. I saw splashes of Jackie Chan, and Jet Li throughout the movie. It felt great and the fight scenes had a better flow than many other Marvel moves.
Moving to the cast, Marvel has struck another victory casting a lot of excellent actors in both the lead roles and supporting cast. Simu Liu as Shaun / Shang-Chi is an excellent new addition to the Marvel hero stable. He’s charming, funny, and performs excellently in fight scenes. Partnering him with Awkafina as Shaun’s best friend Katy was a stroke of genius. She is funny as always, stealing every scene, but she also brings additional heart to the journey at large. Another new mainstay to the MCU is Shaun’s sister Xialing played by Meng’er Zhang. Along with Simu Liu, she does an excellent job with fight scenes, and while the movie only skirted the surface of the depth of what the character could become, they planted seeds that are sure to blossom in future movies. Think Rhodey in Iron Man 1.
Finally, the last actor I wanted to mention is Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. He plays Shaun’s father Xu Wenwu, leader of the criminal organization The Ten Rings. Like several of the more recent Marvel villains, there is depth to this character, and honestly a lot of sadness. This movie does a great job of telling a tragic story for Wenwu, while also covering the more standard story of a hero becoming a hero from the Shang-Chi prospective. This is for me what elevated this entry in the MCU above several of the origin story movies. It felt more complex and ultimately more real even with an insanely fantastical CGI spectacle by the end of the film.
I really enjoyed Shang-Chi, and it has me excited for what is to come next from this next “season” of Marvel stories to come!
Goodbye Black Widow, hello new funnier Black Widow!
Watch This NOW!
Big screen MCU is back! After the painfully long wait of two years, the Marvel train has returned. Following the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, I was always curious what would be next for the MCU. Much of the recent Disney+ shows have been about closure or moving on from the events of the last Avengers movie, but the original plan was for this film to kick off what’s next for the MCU. The funny thing about it, I actually think the break helped give this movie a little more air to remind fans of the MCU (like me) what we enjoy from the many entries that came before.
While we all know the outcome of Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, it didn’t make this movie less enjoyable to me. Something I originally was slightly skeptical about. It doesn’t lean into the idea of this being this prolonged mourning for Natasha, instead it felt like a greater exploration into her past and the relationships in her youth that kept her from becoming a blood thirsty monster for the rest of her days. It’s the supporting cast of Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh, Alexi Shostakov (David Harbour), and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) that elevate this movie from what could have been a little dry to being a fun time. Seriously, Yelena is hilarious and I can’t wait to see more of her in the MCU.
Some may complain of Marvel continuing to ignore there villains but in this case it didn’t really bother me. The main bad doesn’t take much to understand so it would have been a waste to spend screen time exploring that. The movie also doesn’t do much in the world of “new things.” There aren’t really new powers, or new toys to speak of. The antagonist is a literal copycat of fighting styles of other characters. So you aren’t getting something you necessarily haven’t seen before, it’s more if you are in for the story.
In terms of what kind of Marvel movie you are getting here, think more of the slightly grounded Captain America movies over say The Avengers or Guardians. The fight scenes are less about blasting people and more close up fights. Some of the fights are actually quite brutal where if they were allowed to include the blood it would be a damn mess in some scenes. Story wise beyond Black Widow herself, it does leave room for some interesting possibilities that could come back to the MCU. As I mentioned earlier, I expect a lot of fun things from Yelena Belova.
As to where this movie falls in the greater rankings of the MCU, I wouldn’t say it’s in my top ten, but it’s not in the bottom ten either. It rests somewhere in the middle. Which to me is something I can easily stand by recommending. For the MCU faithful, the drought is over. Welcome back to the big screen MCU!