A solid little monster film, and probably the next-best Predator film after the original.
Proves definitively that the franchise works best when stripped right back to simplicity: take a ruthless alien hunter, drop it in a random time period. They’re slasher films! In this case, it’s the 1700s on the Comanche nation.
Amber Midthunder (Legion) is a badass, the action is well choreographed, cinematography is gorgeous, the creature design is awesome and it’s got a sweet dog!
Super sweet and charming, plus it’s refreshing to have a completely different perspective in the MCU.
Strong emphasis on culture, history and family from a Pakistani/Muslim perspective, made accessible by an extremely charismatic performance from Iman Vellani.
There’s a bit of a change-up in her powers compared to the comic, but I kinda get why. It makes her a bit more unique in the MCU, since Reed Richards is due to arrive in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie, and Marvel seems pretty much allergic to using The Inhumans for anything. It works here to tie them back to her heritage, and by the end of the season she’s using them in a way that’s practically the same idea, only done with sparkly gemstone type effects instead of stretchiness/Embiggening.
The villain arc is a bit weak, but it’s got youthful energy to spare, and a lot of fun production design.
Young Avengers lineup is looking promising!
Still, it’s fair to feel fatigue with the endless parade of superhero stuff, and it’s nice to have something lighter on the roster.
Nice to look at, fundamentally pointless. The embodiment of all the the things wrong with modern Star Wars.
Rather than take this opportunity to tell smaller, self-contained stories within the broader universe (ala the first season of The Mandalorian), we’re instead given the same tired runaround of connecting every arbitrary object and event to something that already existed in the other films. It’s fan-service at its flattest and most uninspired.
VFX are excellent, but performances are mixed, some of the action sequences have absolutely horrible geographic logic and choreography, the plot meanders and then goes nowhere important.
How can it?
Given that this takes place between Episodes III & IV, nothing of the conflicts it chooses to explore can have any consequence, and therefore there are zero stakes. Why have Vader and Obi-Wan meet and fight now, since we all know that both will survive? Why have Obi-Wan and Leia go on adventures when they’re barely acquaintances years later?
If anything, forcing all these characters to meet up now undermines any of the impact of the later films, and in many ways directly contradicts pre-established story beats. They actively make the good parts of Star Wars worse by this incessant need to only ever revisit the same handful characters and locations.
For a franchise with this much (very much strained) goodwill and financial backing, it’s a shame that it’s so utterly allergic to doing anything interesting with itself.
Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with it, and would be highly skeptical of anything Star Wars yet to come.
More of an archeological adventure with superhero elements than a straight superhero show.
Definitely draws some influence from the 90s version of The Mummy, and the globe-trotting adventures of National Treasure and Indiana Jones. As such, it feels very disconnected from the rest of the MCU, but this only works to its own benefit.
Oscar Isaac is really giving everything to his performance, split between two distinct personalities at odds with one another while in the service of the Egyptian god of vengeance.
It’s this focus on character, while using the capes and magic stuff as set dressing, that puts this a cut above the rest. It’s short too, coming in at just six episodes, so it packs everything in without overstaying its welcome.
No prior knowledge of any other Marvel stuff required, just a fun standalone little adventure. Hopefully more of the Disney+ shows work to this kind of structure.
Weirdly drops its title character entirely in the back half to become The Mandalorian s2.5, and then pulls back to the main plotline in the finale.
Star Wars is kind of its own worst enemy — the best parts of it are the things that aren’t really connected to the original trilogy, yet it constantly finds itself afraid to stand on its own without somehow tying back into the same handful of characters.
TBoBF unfortunately succumbs to these bad instincts, going for recogniseable and familiar places, tropes and characters instead of really doing something all its own.
It’s a mixed bag of great and terrible design choices, excellent VFX and horribly shot/staged action.
Finishes up not really doing much more than setting up the next Mando season, which is itself straying away from the self-contained vignette style that made it so appealing.
Maybe Obi Wan will be better, but I don’t have high hopes.
A brilliant conclusion to the Tom Holland/Jon Watts “Home” trilogy, that is almost impossible to discuss without severe spoilers for the back half of the film.
Best appreciated knowing as little as possible beforehand, but I’ll still keep from spoiler discussion until after the click-through below.
The shortest spoiler-free review is: it’s bloody great, go and see it.
Fundamentally, this is taking MCU Spidey and directly addressing the criticisms levelled at this incarnation (Iron Boy Jr, a lack of Uncle Ben, too many advantages compared to the traditional depiction) and playing hardball with them to set up what may well prove to be the most wonderully accurate cinematic Spider-Man we’ve ever seen. Personally, I’ve always loved this Spider-Man, but to see how they’ve maneuvered the franchise into what it will be going forward is an absurdly impressive feat. Everyone gets their cake.
Some CG is a little wonky, but it’s balanced out by some fantastic Dr Strange sequences (Multiverse of Madness hype!) and wonderful character work. I genuinely believe Tom Holland will win over a lot of his haters with this one.
Look, spoilers are all over the internet, try and get out to see it as soon as you can. Otherwise, I’ve barricaded spoilers behind the jump.
Wasn’t expecting this to have a huge heist film element to it, but it was a welcome surprise.
Not sure how far it goes to justifying the outright monster she becomes, but it doesn’t seem too interested in trying to do that. So, credit to it.
Drops a few eye-rolly explanations for things that didn’t need an explanation, same as any of these prequels tries to do, but they come so late in the game that they’re fairly inconsequential to enjoying the ride.
One of the better live-action Disney tie-ins, your mileage will vary based on your taste for those.
The best jokes are things that were clearly thrown into the background by a VFX crew who’ve spent a lot of time in GTAV or Saint’s Row, but otherwise it’s a pretty boilerplate action/comedy/romance that asks you not to think too hard about any of its pretense.
Some good throwaway cameos, visuals absolutely nail the aesthetic, cast is charismatic.
Writing’s flat, and even Taika Waititi can’t make some of the dialogue sound good. Lots of the jokes don’t really land. Pacing is all over the place, making it feel both too long but also like it doesn’t have the time to do anything more than lip service to its more interesting ideas.
It does that weird trope movies do where they show a lot of people around the world all simultaneuously watching a livestream and yelling encouragement that just feels entirely false, like they’re trying to artificially inflate investment in the stakes that people don’t really have. Stop cutting away to people who aren’t involved in the action.
Overall, an extremely medium movie. Better than Ready Player One, with about 90% less cynical brand recognition. Not sure how much that says though.