REVIEW: The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special (2022)

(L-R): Pom Klementieff as Mantis and Dave Bautista as Drax in Marvel Studios’ The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

Directed by James Gunn — Screenplay by James Gunn.

I’ve made it no secret that the Guardians of the Galaxy films mean a great deal to me. I saw the first film in theaters with my family when we greatly needed something to smile about and we all absolutely loved it. It came around at the exact right time, and James Gunn’s spin on these C-List Marvel characters has made them family favorites (and I’m sure that isn’t just true in my family). I’ve often said that it had the potential for a Star Wars-like impact on a generation, and so I thought it was a hilarious and brilliant idea for James Gunn to add to his overarching narrative about this group of Guardians with a holiday special, as Star Wars’ infamous 1978 holiday special is still spoken about to this day. Thankfully, whereas the Star Wars special was criticized so much that it has never been officially rereleased, this Guardians of the Galaxy special feels much more appropriate to the tone of the films it has spun off from. Like how Werewolf by Night was an entertaining Halloween Marvel Studios special presentation, James Gunn’s Christmas special is exactly what I needed to reconnect with the holiday spirit just in time for December.

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special (2022)”

REVIEW: Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE — PHOTO: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Directed by Andy Serkis — Screenplay by Kelly Marcel — Story by Kelly Marcel and Tom Hardy.

I thought Ruben Fleischer’s Venom (2018) was pretty bad. As a film, it felt like a product of a different time, it felt outdated, it was surprisingly dull, and all it had going for it was a go-for-broke Tom Hardy performance. To me, it felt like he was in a different film than the rest of the cast. It has become a film that I remember primarily for one absolutely hilarious scene, but it’s also a film that I don’t feel like rewatching. It should come as no surprise to you then that I didn’t feel like rushing out to theaters to see its sequel. In fact, because of the similar critical reception, I’ve never really felt the urge to watch it. That is, until today when I finally ripped off that symbiotic band-aid. Turns out it was almost exactly what I expected it to be. That’s not a good thing, but it’s also not the end of the world. I don’t think it’s good, but it is better than I expected it to be.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)”

REVIEW: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Letitia Wright’s Shuri in BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER — PHOTO: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Marvel Studios.

Directed by Ryan Coogler — Screenplay by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole.

How do you follow up on one of the most popular superhero films of the last decade, when the incredibly magnetic actor portraying the titular iconic character is no longer with us? Such was the seemingly impossible task for Ryan Coogler when he sat in the director’s chair for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As I sat down to watch the film, this was the big question that was on my mind. Chadwick Boseman, the charismatic actor who passed away in 2020 due to a private battle with colon cancer, was such an amazing screen presence, and he was the focus of that first film, and you definitely miss him in the sequel. However, it must be said that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actually does work quite well in spite of the big missing link. One of the reasons why it works is because the presence of a gaping hole at the center of it is an intrinsic part of the plot in more ways than one.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)”

REVIEW: The Suicide Squad (2021)

David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Idris Elba, and Daniela Mechior in THE SUICIDE SQUAD — Photo: Jessica Miglio / Warner Bros.

Directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) — Screenplay by James Gunn.

Over the years, I have certainly not tried to hide the fact that I think 2016’s Suicide Squad, which was directed by David Ayer (though he has repeatedly made it clear that the film was essentially taken away from him as a result of studio interference), is, to put it mildly, one of my least favorite films ever made in the superhero genre. That 2016 film certainly reeked of studio interference, it was an almost incoherent mess, it was needlessly grimy and at times quite ugly, it used a decent soundtrack as a crutch and in a way that became incredibly tiring, all the while failing to get you to care about the characters or the relationships they were building. There were some decent things about it, but, on the whole, it felt like someone had tried to turn Ayer’s vision into a shameless imitation of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and that just didn’t work for the film that Ayer had envisioned.

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Suicide Squad (2021)”

REVIEW: WandaVision – “Previously On”

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

The following is a recap and review of the eighth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers. 

In the eighth episode of WandaVision — titled Previously On — we learn more about who Agatha Harkness (played by Kathryn Hahn) really is, before she and Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) take a trip down memory lane to rewatch and expand upon pivotal moments in Wanda’s life, which reveals why the Hex bubble universe was even created in the first place. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “Previously On””

Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Feb. ’21, Pt. I: ‘Fantasy Island,’ ‘The Way Back,’ and More

The Way Back Still Image
Ben Affleck in ‘The Way Back.’ — Photo: Richard Foreman / Warner Bros.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at a couple of films that I didn’t get the chance to watch in 2020 — specifically Fantasy Island and The Way Back. But I also give you my thoughts on two 2021 documentaries — the latest Netflix true-crime docu-series and a Marvel Comics documentary film on Disney+. Continue reading “Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Feb. ’21, Pt. I: ‘Fantasy Island,’ ‘The Way Back,’ and More”

REVIEW: WandaVision – “Now in Color”

Wandavision 3 still image
Teyonah Parris in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

The following is a recap and review of the third episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers. 

In the third episode of WandaVisionNow in Color — the now-pregnant Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) is losing some control of her powers, as her pregnancy progresses extremely fast. Meanwhile, her husband, Vision (played by Paul Bettany), is trying his best to read up on what is expected of him and Wanda during the pregnancy. However, as Wanda’s pregnancy causes the whole neighborhood to lose power, Vision starts to notice that something isn’t right in the small town of Westview. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “Now in Color””

REVIEW: WandaVision – Episodes 1 and 2

Wandavision Still Image 1
Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany is Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

The following is a recap and review of the first and second episodes of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers. 

When we last saw Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen), she attended Tony Stark’s funeral at the end of Avengers: Endgame. However, the last time we saw Vision (played by Paul Bettany) he was lying lifeless on the ground after Thanos had ripped out the mind stone from Vision’s forehead in Avengers: Infinity War. Therefore it would be a massive understatement to say that it is more than odd to see Vision and Wanda together in a 1950s, or 1960s, sitcom-style television series in Marvel Studios’ first Disney+ series WandaVision. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – Episodes 1 and 2”

BREAKING NEWS: Spider-Man Will Stay in the MCU

‘Spider-Man 2,’ Columbia Pictures

Great news, True Believers! Sony Pictures and Disney’s Marvel Studios have just, via a joint press release, announced that, for now, they will continue their partnership and let Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) stay in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Together they will co-produce a sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home set to be released on July 16, 2021, and, the press release adds, Spider-Man will also appear in a future Marvel Studios-film. Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Spider-Man Will Stay in the MCU”

REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The review does not include spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, (dirs. Anthony & Joe Russo) but you should absolutely expect spoilers for every film that came before it in the connected universe.

“All that for a drop of blood,” Thanos, the Mad Titan, groaned in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War moments before Doctor Strange relinquished the time stone to save Tony Stark’s life. Soon the not-so-seasoned Avengers turned to dust. The teenaged talking tree, the brave wall-crawler, an African king with a seemingly impenetrable suit made to look like an anthropomorphic big cat, and a quippy, tricker-happy, 70s music-loving outlaw — all gone from one moment to the next. Those left standing were left to live with their mistakes, as the Avengers had now well and truly lost even though a Norse God, multiple supersoldiers, an eccentric billionaire, and a magical surgeon — to name a few — had fought long and hard to save fifty-percent of the known universe. They failed. If those sentences made no sense to you whatsoever, then Avengers: Endgame isn’t for you. If, however, you’ve been waiting to see — nay, obsessing about — what comes next for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, then Endgame was designed for you. It is a somber epic like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Avengers: Endgame is peerless in scope and attention to detail, as well as moving from start to finish. Continue reading “REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame (2019)”