REVIEW: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – Season One (2022)

(L-R): Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk / Bruce Banner and Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer “Jen” Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Show Created by Jessica Gao — Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia.

The first Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe series, WandaVision, was released in early 2021. Now, in October of 2022, Marvel Studios has fully released eight different Marvel series on the Disney streamer. While I’ve enjoyed watching all of them, I really do think that many of them would’ve been better as films, as these shows — like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — still swear by the classic Marvel template. Honestly, I think only WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, and Ms. Marvel were right to be made into series rather than films. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, however, is the kind of story that feels appropriate for the streamer as a series. It doesn’t take the overarching Marvel storylines all that seriously and, even though I’m a fan of the MCU, that feels really refreshing.

Continue reading “REVIEW: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – Season One (2022)”

REVIEW: Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Doctor Strange encounters dark magic and alternate universes in Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Directed by Sam Raimi – Screenplay by Michael Waldron.

Let’s be honest here. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), arguably the most popular film series of our current time, is really more a series than a selection of films. Martin Scorsese has referred to superhero films like those as theme park rides (which I still contend isn’t as dismissive as it has been received by the internet), and, with its cliffhangers, easter eggs, references, and overarching character arcs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for these films to stand on their own. Some of these Marvel movies, for better or worse, don’t even try to stand on their own (like Avengers: Age of Ultron). Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness is one of those films.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (2022)”

REVIEW: Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

MJ (played by Zendaya) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) trying to escape the public eye in Spider-Man: No Way Home — Photo: Matt Kennedy / Sony Pictures.

Directed by Jon Watts — Screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers.

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the first-ever live-action Spider-Man film, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, which catapulted an already immensely popular comic book and animation character into big screen superstardom. A lot has happened since then. At this point, three different actors have played Marvel’s beloved wall-crawler on the big screen, and all of them have devoted fanbases. This, Spider-Man: No Way Home, is the third solo film in Tom Holland’s tenure as Peter Parker, but it is so much more than that as trailers have revealed. Rest assured, this is a spoiler-free review that will not reveal anything you wouldn’t already know from promotional material. Promotional material — trailers and posters — have revealed that No Way Home will feature villains (and the actors that originally played those villains) from the previous two Spider-Man sagas and thus connect the different cinematic universes. It is a massive crossover event for Spider-Man fans. My one worry going into the theater was that this movie might be too big to work, but, ultimately, I don’t think that is the case. Because at its heart, this is very much a Spider-Man movie, and I think they manage to balance the various elements of the film remarkably well.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)”

REVIEW: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS — Photo: Marvel Studios / Jasin Boland / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton — Screenplay by Destin Daniel Cretton, Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984), and Andrew Lanham.

The future of the movie theater industry has been the source of much debate in film fan circles during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Films have had their theatrical release delayed, some films have been released on premium-video-on-demand, such as Disney+ with Premiere Access, at the same time that they have been released in theaters, while, in the United States, most if not all Warner Bros. films from 2021 have been released in movie theaters and on HBO Max for no additional cost on the very same day, which was the case with The Suicide Squad. So, in addition to the fact that movie theaters have to accept the ongoing pandemic, movie theaters now also contend with subscriptions, streaming services, and premium-video-on-demand.

Now, it would appear that movie theaters have also begun to fight back against this trend with the one thing they can do, which is to refuse to release a studio’s film in theaters. Strangely, although it, unlike Black Widow, has not been released on Disney+ with Premiere Access, major theater chains have stuck by their Disney boycott with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. In Denmark, I think only about ten theaters are showing it currently, which is a real shame because Shang-Chi is rad and well-worth the price of admission.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)”

REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) and her nemesis, Namaari (voiced by Gemma Chan), face off amid the snowy mountains of Spine. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5, 2021. — Photo: Disney.

Directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) & Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) — Screenplay by Qui Nguyen & Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians).

Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada’s Raya and the Last Dragon is an action-adventure film set in the fantasy land of Kumandra, which is inspired by Southeast Asian cultures, that has been divided into five tribes — Fang, Heart, Talon, Spine, and Tail — named after their placement on a giant river that flows through all of Kumandra. These tribes don’t see eye to eye, and they all covet a magical orb that was once created by dragons that have since been turned to stone by evil spirits known as the Druun. The Druun have disappeared because of the creation of the powerful orb, which is now protected by the Heart tribe, led by Chief Benja (voiced by Daniel Dae Kim) who still believes that the tribes can reunite and bring new life to the once glorious land of Kumandra. Continue reading “REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)”

REVIEW: Gemini Man (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of Gemini Man (in regular 2D, 24fps) — Directed by Ang Lee.

Digital de-aging is a trend in Hollywood that we should probably get used to. Disney’s Marvel films have used this technology to make actors like Michael Douglas look fresh-faced and young. Disney has also shown that they are unafraid of bringing deceased actors’ likenesses back to the big screen like they did in Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Gemini Man, though not a Disney film, is a major motion picture blockbuster built on this not-so-cheap trick. Continue reading “REVIEW: Gemini Man (2019)”

REVIEW: Doctor Strange (2016)

Theatrical Release Poster - Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Theatrical Release Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of Doctor Strange. The reviewed film was seen in IMAX 3D.

At this point, people expect a lot from Marvel Studios. Doctor Strange is the fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and most of these films have been pretty well-received. Still, Doctor Strange is a bit of a risk, seeing as it is introducing magic and beings from other dimensions to the universe.

While Doctor Strange has to introduce its own corner of the universe with just this film, Marvel Studios has been releasing these films in a smart way. Marvel Studios has, essentially, been preparing moviegoers for this kind of film with Thor, Ant-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Doctor Strange (2016)”