Movie Reviews

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

shang-chi-legend-ten-rings-movie-review-2021Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Wah Yuen, Florian Munteanu, Ben Kingsley

Plot: Shaun/Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is forced to face the past he thought he left behind when his father’s organisation The Ten Rings comes looking for him.

My Thoughts: I said it before and I’ll say it again, after all the lockdowns and cinema closures it feels so good to see and hear that Marvel opening on the big screen. Even more so on opening weekend with a good crowd! I’ll admit to not being hyped about Shang-Chi, only because I’m not the well-versed in martial arts movies, but I’ve come to trust now that Marvel continually make movies that I highly enjoy, so I wasn’t worried. And too right! Shang-Chi might be a martial arts movie first, but it’s got the classic Marvel stamp all over it. It’s funny, it’s action-packed and the choreography is stunning.

That was my main take-away from the movie. Yes, there are a lot of fight scenes, but they’re all meaningful and for me, there were four stand-out sequences. The bus, the skyscraper, when Shang-Chi’s parents met, and of course the final showdown. All of them I would happily watch again and again. I’ve seen mentions of it before in blogs and on Twitter but surely there’s a case to be made for a Best Choreography award during awards season? I’m grateful that the trailer didn’t give a lot away because there were some breathtaking moments that could have been spoiled for a sell, not forgetting to mention a particular furry creature!

Also, consider this post my petition for Awkwafina to be cast in, like, everything. I love her so much. Her comedic timing is everything and her chemistry with Simu Liu was just perfect. That sappy part of me really wanted them to have a romantic arc to their friendship but I’m also glad they didn’t, in a way. I can’t wait to see how Shang-Chi fits in with the other MCU characters, he’s such a likeable character and this was a promising origin story.

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Best Bit: It’s impossible to pick just one bit, even after thinking on it for a couple of days. On the comedy side, it’s the karaoke every damn time. For action, the fight between Shang-Chi and his father for the pure epic-ness of it. But my heart would say the fight sequence between Shang-Chi’s parents when they first met. It was half fight, half dance and I felt all the emotions.

Worst Bit: This is going to be an unpopular thing to say but I really wasn’t a fan of Iron Man 3. I’m going to be as vague as I can now but the character brought back from that movie was funny, but didn’t add anything to the story for me. That character’s companion however, was a very welcome addition!

Fun Trivia: This is legendary Hong Kong film actor Tony Chiu-Wai Leung’s first role in an American film and his first English-speaking role, even though he has always spoken it fluently.

My Rating: I know I always give ratings out of 5, but it feels wrong in this instance so for today only, Shang-Chi gets 8 out of 10 rings!

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TV Shows

Loki Episodes Ranked

Loki has always been my favourite MCU villain and I doubt anyone else will take that spot for me, so of all the MCU shows to be released this is the one I’ve been waiting for. I’m a huge fan of time travel and alternative universe theories so this show was always going to tick all my boxes. So here are all 6 episodes, ranked from worst to best (although they were all great, so more like least awesome to most awesome), by yours truly! Spoilers ahead of course…

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Episode 2: The Variant – I’ll admit, for the first half of this episode I was getting slightly frustrated by all the dialogue. It was expected and accepted in the first episode, but it was starting to get a bit much. However – the scene in the store in the future? Fan-bloody-tastic. I didn’t expect to see this other Loki so early on, it really felt like some final episode level of drama!

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Episode 1: Glorious Purpose – Talk about information overload! I purposely avoided trailers and any news for the show before its release though, so that’s on me. This was such a great set-up episode though. Loved the introduction and the explanation as to what the TVA is. I’m a sucker for time travel and alternate timelines so I was drawn in immediately. It’s also so nice to see Owen Wilson again!

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Episode 3: Lamentis – I didn’t want this episode to end. This was like, Mandalorian levels of despair when the credits started to roll. I could watch Loki and Sylvie bicker for hours, and the singing on the train? Loki getting to smash a glass and shout ‘ANOTHER’ was the absolute highlight. The chatter on Twitter and Reddit also reinforced the fact that I love these weekly releases. When a whole season drops online it’s impossible to talk about it. You’ve either binged the lot and are waiting for others to catch up, or you’re desperately trying to get through the episodes to avoid spoilers.

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Episode 4: The Nexus Event – Oh, this episode really grabbed the pace of the previous one and ran with it. I’m glad in a way I fell behind and had to watch 4 and 5 back to back because that cliffhanger ending would have killed me! Just like Mobius…that death totally took me by surprise, although it wasn’t long before I realised he wasn’t really dead. I loved the bad memory time loop that Loki got trapped in, such a cool concept. Also, why am I totally on board with Loki falling in love with himself…herself? They’re both just so charming.

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Episode 6: For All Time. Always. – I had no idea what to expect from this episode, other than the fact I was pretty sure the timelines were going to be unleashed. What an emotional finale, though! How far Loki has come, and grown since the Loki we used to know. “You can’t trust, and I can’t be trusted”. That line actually broke my heart. And I feel so guilty, because for a split second I didn’t trust him either, I put my hands over my eyes because I was expecting him to stab her in the back (figuratively) and well, I just proved his point, didn’t I? I’m so excited to see what Season 2 brings, it’s so great to have Loki back!

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Episode 5: Journey Into Mystery – On any given day I could change my mind about whether Episode 5 or 6 is my favourite, but this one has to be up there with the greatest things to ever come from the MCU. Alligator Loki? I want one. A massive brawl of Loki’s fighting each other after double-crossing them? Love it. But Richard E. Grant as classic Loki conjuring Asgard itself and finally finding glorious purpose? That laugh just before he met his end? I am HERE for it. What a paradise of easter eggs, too. I spotted a couple myself, read about at least 5 more on Reddit, and I’m sure by the time the series is over there will be full lists somewhere. Oh, and was that a variant Pizza Planet van?!

Movie Reviews

The New Mutants (2020)

the-new-mutants-movie-review-2020Director: Josh Boone

Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 94 Minutes

Main Cast: Blu Hunt, Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Alice Braga

Plot: After something mysterious winds up destroying her home, Danielle (Blu Hunt) finds herself in a secret facility with 4 other teenagers, all ‘mutants’. In charge of the facility is Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga), tasked with helping the young mutants control their abilities to a point where they can move onto a new facility.

My Thoughts: Would you like to know how desperate I am for new movies and more cinema trips? I booked myself onto The New Mutants knowing nothing about it at all. It’s completely fallen under the radar in the UK, I’d never even seen a trailer. So I assumed it was to do with Marvel, but even now I’m not sure where it fits into the MCU or the other X-Men movies. I didn’t watch a trailer until about 2 hours before leaving my house, and started regretting my decision because it looked a bit scary!

Well, I can only say the trailer was very well edited, because it wasn’t scary like I assumed. It’s quite creepy in places, but never feels threatening so I slept soundly. I won’t keep you waiting, I feel very ‘meh’ about this movie. What’s with the kids’ powers? One bursts into flames, is that not an existing X-Men power? Another is basically a wolf. One can…move really quickly. Then there’s Anya Taylor-Joy’s character Illyana, arguably the coolest character of the bunch, who carries around a dragon puppet and has the power to turn her arm into an armored sword and open up a portal to limbo. Danielle’s power remains a mystery until the climax of the movie so I shan’t spoil that for you. All in all though, a mixed and strange bag of powers.

Then there’s the plot. What was the point of it all? Is this an origin story? Where does this movie actually fit in to the wider MCU? Or does it not at all? Maybe it’s a stand-alone movie. It wasn’t a dull watch, it wasn’t boring, but none of it seemed to serve any kind of purpose. Don’t even get me started on the dialogue…that’s a mess that needs it’s own post to rant about!

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Best Bit: It wasn’t all bad, I’m still glad I went. But like I mentioned, Anya Taylor-Joy’s character is the star of this story, unintentionally. When we get to see what her greatest fear is, and the way it’s manifested itself in her mind, it’s a cracking bit of story telling and could have been so much darker and scarier than it was.

Worst Bit: Look, The New Mutants. I’m super happy that you gave us a lesbian romance on the big screen. It’s awesome, it’s wholesome and I’m all for it. But it’s obvious when those characters first meet that there’s chemistry. Did we really need a scene with one of them watching a lesbian kiss on the TV just to try and tell us this? We’re not as stupid as we look!

Fun Trivia: The film has had five release date shifts. It was originally slated to come out on April 13, 2018, but was first delayed to February 19, 2019 in order to conduct reshoots. Later, it was pushed back again to August 2, 2019 while Disney’s purchase of Fox was finalized. It was pushed back yet again to April 3, 2020 to make room for the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). On March 12th, 2020 it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 13th, 2020 its new release date of August 28th, 2020 was announced and finally released on.

My Rating: Two and half DEMON BEARS. If you know, you know.

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Movie Reviews

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

spider-man-far-from-home-2019-reviewDirector: Jon Watts

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Main Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Remy Hii, Cobie Smulders

Plot: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker is struggling to come to terms with his new role, and the footprints he is expected to fill. All he wants right now is to enjoy his school trip to Europe and tell MJ how he feels about her. Of course, when elemental monsters show up trying to destroy the world, his plans must be changed.

My Thoughts: After the breathtaking, nailbiting and exhausting for all the right reasons movie that Endgame was, this was definitely the right way to go next. Far from Home brings a much lighter-hearted story, although it does still touch upon the sad events from earlier this year. I don’t know why you would anyway, but don’t go and see this before Endgame, because the first 10 seconds are full of spoilers!

As one of the few who loved Andrew Garfield’s Spidey, I’ve been on the fence about Tom Holland up until recently. Now, I’m 100% sold. He really is perfect for the role, and brings all the boyish innocence that the character should have. Watching his relationship grow with MJ was one of the highlights of the movie for me, I just love how awkward they are together. I’m also so glad that MJ is smart enough to point out how clearly obvious it is that Peter is actually Spider-Man!

It’s also so great that Samuel L. Jackson is having a more prominent role in the Marvel movies recently. I think he was my favourite part of Captain Marvel earlier this year and he brings some laughs in Far from Home, too. That said, there was something stopping me from really loving the movie, and I can’t put my finger on it. It could be down to the fact I was simply exhausted (thanks, teething toddler) but I’m not sure. The mid-credits scene has got me very much looking forward to the next installment, though!

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Best Bit: It’s expected with Marvel movies now I guess, but the visuals as far as Mysterio’s powers are concerned were so, so cool. The bit that I laughed hardest at though was on the coach when Peter almost accidentally blew up himself and all his friends!

Worst Bit: I was so excited for Jake Gyllenhaal to be a part of the MCU, and his character has some really fun moments, but once it’s revealed just how his ‘powers’ work, the whole thing feels a bit anti-climatic. The fight scenes between him and Spider-Man seem to go on forever, too.

Fun Trivia: First MCU movie not to have a cameo by Stan Lee; he died shortly after filming wrapped for this movie, but never made it into this movie (most likely due to his declining health), which means that Avengers: Endgame (2019) was his final on-screen appearance. However, this movie does pay tribute to him and fellow Spider-Man creator Steve Ditko.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 dahlias that you shouldn’t trust with the guy trying to sleep with your Aunt…

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Movie Reviews

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

avengers-endgame-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Runtime: 181 Minutes

Main Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly,

Plot: Directly following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos’ snap with the infinity gauntlet that wiped out 50% of all living creatures. The remaining Avengers team up to try to save them.

My Thoughts: This has to be the biggest movie event of all time. 21 movies spanning 11 years. All leading up to this very moment, it’s incredible when you really think about it. Some idiot posted a leak before its release which I managed to avoid but other than that, my social media feeds have been free of spoilers which I’m truly grateful for. I felt excited, sick and nervous going in to see Endgame on Tuesday night! There are spoilers ahead for the entire movie because I have no idea how to talk about it otherwise.

The trailers gave nothing away, and please, please movie gods, let all trailers do this. There’s no better feeling than not having any clue as to what’s going to happen, or even how your favourite character is going to look! Honestly, I struggle to find the words because the movie was perfect – in my eyes at least. The focus may have been on the original Avengers but every character got their spot of the limelight and the ending was so fitting. It’s the end of an era and although some of the character arcs were devasting, it ended exactly how it should have done.

Do you know what, though? I started this post almost a week ago and I’m struggling to even put my thoughts into words. It was more than just a movie, it was an experience, and I’m so excited to see where the Marvel universe goes next!

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Best Bit: I’m going to cheat and pick two because arguably, the best scenes were the farewells that we gave to our retiring Avengers, but what Marvel does better than the rest is humour, and the scene with Thor and Korg playing Fortnite absolutely killed me. I laughed so loud I probably missed half of it, but it’s not like I needed an excuse to watch the movie again!

Worst Bit: Fat Thor! On a serious note, it’s a completely logical arc for his character to go through, but my selfish-ass wanted to perv on Thor for 3 hours!

Fun Trivia: At Tony Stark’s funeral, a teenage boy is seen standing behind Scarlet Witch and Bucky. This is Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), the boy from Iron Man 3 (2013) who let Tony use his shed when he needed to repair his Iron Man suit.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 empty taco shells from Ant-Man. Hopefully, Hulk has a few more to share!

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