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.
I think this is the first time that an MCU film has been soundtracked by a single band, and Guns ‘n’ Roses fits the 80s Flash Gordon heavy metal kinda vibe perfectly.
Probably the most symptomatic of the Marvel “pandemic” phase, where things feel rushed to fit with unreasonable scheduling pressures.
Messy in tone, writing and pacing, BUT it’s also a lot of silly, irreverent fun. It’s choppy on both the micro and macro level — could have been improved with another pass on the script, less reliance on improv, and a bit more time given to the villain.
Still, it’s a light, campy escapade. Jane Foster gets a cool power set and a tragic arc, the production design is excellent, and the villain is creepy (even if Christian Bale is underused).
A good time, despite being undercooked and feeling like it was assembled too quickly.
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.
Messy and weird, with Sam Raimi’s fingerprints all over it.
Yep, Marvel finally actually let a director push out against the edges of its age rating. It’s got weird camera angles, honest-to-goodness horror, and actual gore! This is absolutey the least kid-friendly of any MCU—at times genuinely disturbing and frightening.
At its best when it’s at its most Raimi. Some really fun and creative sequences, mostly packed into the back half. Suffers from some pretty blunt exposition and clunky dialogue, but it’s aiming right for that sweet spot of hammy and cheesy, and mostly lands. It’s kinda schlocky!
As a multiverse film it’s… surprisingly underwhelming? But coming off the back of the absolutely exceptional masterpiece that is Everything Everywhere All At Once, any multiverse film is going to feel lacking. There’s the usual rollout of Marvel cameos and teases, but here it doesn’t feel so much like an obligatory setup for the next set of films as it does an excuse for some ridiculously violent action sequences spiced up with fan service. Honestly, I wasn’t blown away by the four or five big cameo appearances (beware spoilers online!), but it also didn’t feel like it was trying to drop them as gotchas so I kind of appreciated that. Ends up meaning far less for the MCU going forward than I was expecting, but that’s actually good?
Overall, a big fun carnival ride. It’s different enough from standard superhero fare, while also feeling like a distinctly superhero film. Danny Elfman’s score really elevates it into this too, and there’s a few sequences with really fun use of music in the action.
Deviation from MCU norms mean that it won’t be for everyone, but those out-there moments are when it really shines. I’m curious to know how successful it’ll be, given the focus on horror elements, and I’m glad they actually took a chance in this direction for once.
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.