Movie Review – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Written by Michael Waldron
Directed by Sam Raimi

When you hire Sam Raimi, you better be prepared to let him do what he does best. This is not something commonly found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a seemingly never-ending series of loud, bland commercials for upcoming movies which are also commercials for upcoming films. However, there’s no doubting Multiverse of Madness or MoM is set up to tease Marvelites with the Multiverse and its long-term effects on the MCU. There is a clear cameo that has been teased in the trailers and commercials and more to be seen in the picture, but those just don’t entice me anymore. I want a good movie with a complete arc and well-written characters. Thank god for Raimi, who gives us just that.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Alvin Sargent
Directed by Sam Raimi

By 2007, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film series had been a massive success. The following year would see Marvel’s first production of Iron Man, which, as we all know, would kickstart the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Audiences were incredibly hyped for this third installment. Through the marketing, it made it clear that we’d finally be seeing the Spider black suit and Venom in the movie. However, we were also told the conflict with Harry would be resolved, and there’d be a third villain in Sandman. Pretty crowded movie, but Spider-Man comics are often filled with subplots and supporting characters. So when I went to see the picture, I didn’t have any apprehensions about going into the theater.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts

This is the second time I’ve written a review for Spider-Man: No Way Home this year, the first being an April Fool’s joke which let me imagine what might happen in the picture. Using leaked details, I pieced together a completely over-the-top film which ended up not being too far off from the actual film. If you are someone for whom Spider-Man films mean a lot too, if they are linked to your childhoods, etc., then you are going to love No Way Home. But I am not reviewing it from that perspective; I want to look at this as a movie and as a reflection on the fundamental elements of the iconic character. When we look at No Way Home in this manner, it really falls apart as a cohesive film.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Michael Chabon
Directed by Sam Raimi

How do you follow up Spider-Man? With what is undoubtedly one of the best superhero films ever made. So many unplanned franchises/trilogies often suffer in their second installments. They seem to follow a playbook that bloats their cast and overcomplicates their plot. The result ranges from disappointing to middling. Even Superman 2, a sequel that was planned at the same time as the first movie, is a mess both in its theatrical and director’s cut forms. I think the key to Spider-Man 2’s success is Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures choosing to step away and let the filmmaker continue his love letters to the comic books he grew up with. 

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Movie Review – Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)
Written by Kelly Marcel
Directed by Andy Serkis

I never could have predicted this would be the movie we got with Venom in the lead role. I want to be upfront here and say I did not enjoy watching this movie. Yet, I appreciate the final product’s entirely off the rails insanity. It is certainly nothing like your standard MCU movie; it doesn’t seem interested in cutesy quippy dialogue. For the most part, it feels like a hurriedly edited mess that doesn’t have any lulls. It follows some tropes of the superhero sequel, and the main antagonist is yet another evil symbiote. That said, this is one of those head-scratching movies that is so strange in its presentation that you have to wonder if executives spoke up at any point during the production.

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Movie Review – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
Written by Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, and Andrew Lanham
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

I think the era of Marvel movies might be over. It was an inevitability; they churned out so much in a decade that they couldn’t help but plug into a formula with a few exceptions here and there. I look forward to Spider-Man: No Way Home, but for shallow nostalgia reasons, and Thor: Love and Thunder is the only one I genuinely think I’ll enjoy. I don’t “stan” any of these or any other comic book cinematic universe’s characters, and I say this as someone who has been reading comics for over thirty years. While on the surface seeming like a fresh new property, Shang-Chi is another boring, well-tread origin story that we’ve seen a thousand times before.

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TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 6

Loki Season 1, Episode 6 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Waldron and Eric Martin
Directed by Kate Herron

Well, I’ll be damned. A theory about a Marvel show’s conclusion actually turned out right for once. When Disney first announced these three shows a couple of years ago, I ranked Loki as one I was least interested in. Now that the premiere shows have concluded, I’m walking away with Loki ranked at the top of my list. It was the most satisfying, and The Falcon and Winter Soldier sits at the bottom, likely to stay there if the shows coming down the pike are decent. Loki managed to deliver a good story and actually feel like what happened will matter in the greater MCU. It had me excited for what comes next, hoping upcoming films touch on the Multiverse more. I’m not expecting Shang-Chi or Eternals to do so, but Spider-Man sounds like it may be based on the casting rumors being leaked.

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TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 5

Loki Season 1, Episode 5 (Disney+)
Written by Tom Kaufmann
Directed by Kate Herron

Loki continues to be the Marvel series I’m warm up to the most. While Wandavision was good, I particularly appreciate the silly fun of Loki. This particular episode plays a lot with the potential fun of having a Multiverse, which is a welcome addition. The plot doesn’t slow down for this slight detour and ends up developing our protagonists by framing them against versions of themselves. I think time travel stories always benefit from a balance of the serious and the humorous (see Back to the Future). When dealing with those types of science fiction narratives, you can’t take yourself too seriously.

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Movie Review – Black Widow

Black Widow (2021)
Written by Jac Schaeffer & Ned Benson
Directed by Cate Shortland

Initially set to be released in 2020, Black Widow was delayed over a year and finally saw its theatrical & streaming release yesterday. It’s been quite a while since we had a Marvel movie, 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, to be exact. So, with this period of palette cleansing, the Marvel shows on Disney+ being the only new things, and that was just this year; how is Black Widow? I think the MCU is undoubtedly in a new phase but not one I am very excited about. Despite having a top to bottom fantastic cast, Black Widow delivers a lackluster script and some genuinely shocking bad special effects. They seem intent on proving Martin Scorsese right.

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TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 4

Loki Season 1, Episode 4 (Disney+)
Written by Eric Martin
Directed by Kate Herron

As I’ve been watching Loki, I can’t help but hold it up against Wandavision and The Falcon to determine where it ranks. It’s certainly better than that dismal Falcon mini-series, but not sure about its comparison to Wandavision. I think the first Marvel series had some great pathos, but the weirdness and surprises of Loki are appealing to me quite a bit. I loved the reveals in this episode and the exasperated reactions of Loki and Sylvie to them. And I hope you didn’t miss the mid-credits scene because wow, that has me excited for the next episode, which I want to get really weird with it all. Like this is the moment to just go bizarro and make the Multiverse as wild as it could be.

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