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‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Film Review: A Divisive Success

“Truly, I’m just glad that you’re happy”

After watching Spiderman: No Way Home last year, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a promo for the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel. The tone was dark and gritty, but it had that iconic MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) feel to it. I knew I had to see it, and to my surprise, critics and moviegoers seem to be split on what I thought was another great superhero film.

Overview

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) encounters America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a girl who can travel between realms. After waking up from a horrific dream he finds out that someone is hunting her for her power, and only Strange has the ability to stop them.

Well, I didn’t expect this…

The impact of American director Sam Raimi on this picture is undeniable and well appreciated. You shouldn’t go into the film expecting horror on the level of Insidious or anything. However, there are definitely horror themes. Throughout the movie, I forgot it was a superhero picture.

For the MCU, this is a refreshing change of pace. Audiences have been a bit divided about this particular film but that’s a good thing. I rather watch a movie that takes risks and ends up being a bit questionable. Rather than watching a film that bores me.

Great Camera Work

Most Marvel films, in my opinion, do not have as fascinating shots as Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. The framing of several shots, as well as the fact that the camera is just moving around, stand out. A traditional action film goes between pretty bland shots to a shaky-cam that makes cuts every other second.

More Surprises

I couldn’t have guessed how half of the action scenes would play out if my life depended on it before seeing this movie. The action is really inventive, which is refreshing in a series where numerous characters hurl kicks and punches all the time.

So Why Is It So Divisive? (Mild Spoilers)

Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is either being praised or brutally chastised for being different. For one thing, the avenger Wanda Mamimoff (Elizabeth Olsen) is our main villain, which is a bad thing for a lot of people. Many MCU fans adored her and hoped that after her Disney Plus show, she’d return to the heroes’ side. This is just not the case.

That being said, I believe they have done a good job with her character; but, fans do not want to see their hero become the villain. This is also one of the first times one of the shows has had a clear connection to one of the films. As a result, there is a disconnect, although I don’t believe Wandavision is required viewing to enjoy this picture.

Where are the cameos? Since opening night, many fans have been expressing their dissatisfaction with this. With the MCU’s multiverse now open, many fans expected to encounter unexpected individuals. Viewers had high expectations, and when they weren’t realized, they began bashing the movie.

Surprise characters do not make a film or would have made this one better, in my opinion. At the end of the day, we had a fresh MCU project that wasn’t afraid to stand apart.

Conclusion

Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness dares to break the formula that has haunted the MCU for over a decade at this point. In doing so they’ve also allowed their newest film to catch plenty of criticism.

For the two-hour stretch that is this journey, the viewers are given a story that allows for a lot of freedom and I believe that the movie captures that.

I didn’t walk into this movie anticipating what I received. A toned-down horror flick featuring Evil Dead-style visuals. They manage to make it not only work but also keep me on my toes throughout the film. It felt like no one was safe from the beginning to the conclusion, which is a nice sensation to have.

The last time I felt like that in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film was in Avengers: Infinity War. You just didn’t know if anyone would make it out alive or not. Normally, these sorts of movies adhere to a precise formula, and you can be guaranteed that certain things will not occur. Can’t say the same for Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness.

My only criticism is that the tempo might be a little sluggish at times. The movie left me wanting more, and the sluggish sections of the film feel very slow. When this picture is at its best, it is fantastic, but when it is at its worst, it begins to falter.

This film appears to be divisive, with many fans either loving it or believing it to be the worst Marvel picture to date. I strongly encourage everyone interested to see the film and create their judgement. However, I consider this sequel to be one of the better MCU flicks.

Verdict 7.5 out of 10 Stars

‘The Batman’ Film Review: The Dark Knight Does Not Disappoint

Fear is a tool. When that light hits the sky, it’s not just a call. It’s a warning. For them

From beautiful cinematography to a refreshing take on the hero we know all too well The Batman is everything I thought I wanted and more.

Overview

We follow a young Batman (Robert Pattinson) at the start of his profession before he has access to any high-tech gadgets or outside assistance. He makes every effort to preserve Gotham, but even the caped crusader is unsure whether or not protecting the city is a hopeless cause.

The Setting

This may be one of my favorite opening sequences for a superhero film they allow you to dive into the city of Gotham. Danger runs rampant throughout the streets. Crimes go practically unpunished but one man strikes fear into those criminals.

Fearing that Batman could be around any corner is enough to send the bad guys running home and it’s all established in mere minutes.

The Batman

Most people, I believe, were apprehensive when they learned that Robert Pattinson, the star of the Twilight films, would portray Batman. Even though he has since had other positions in which he has excelled.

Pattinson, on the other hand, nailed his role as the new Batman in almost every way, and he did it while being his interpretation of the character.

They Could Do No Wrong

Looking back on the film from the score to the action sequences I can’t find many objective complaints. Given that the action isn’t the main emphasis of the picture, it’s amazing that I was so engrossed in it. If you expect nail-biting action every other minute I’m sorry to disappoint you but that’s not the film you signed up for.

We get to see Batman and Detective Gordan (Jeffrey Wright) working in tandem trying to solve the mystery that is the Riddler and what that villain has in store for Gotham. It isn’t for everyone, but it is a very well-made picture.

Going into the film I didn’t expect to love so many of the characters and especially Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz). I’ve never thought her to be particularly intriguing in any of her incarnations.

I’m happy to say that this is my favorite interpretation of the character. From her motivations and just being well-acted I don’t believe the film would be the same without Zoe Kravitz’s portrayal of the character.

Conclusion

Superheroes have taken over media every few months a new blockbuster either expanding a current cinematic universe or a brand new hero is making their debut. We’ve gotten used to these kinds of films coming out regularly so when one is truly superb I think it needs to be mentioned

The Batman is an excellent film that outperforms most of its competitors. The story’s direction, action sequences, and fantastic performances all deserve praise.

Gotham is a dangerous city, but it does have a defender who is prepared to risk his life in order to save it. The Batman’s world-building demonstrates this in a matter of minutes. You’ll only become more immersed in the universe as the three-hour film progresses, as they attempt and succeed to give it substance.

One of the best aspects of the film was the relationship that Gordon and Batman had. They have been working together for a while and we get to skip over the introduction. Batman has had so many iterations that we see the same events occur very often. So this time just getting to the part that we care about is nice to see.

As well made as The Batman is one of the weakest aspects of the film is towards the end. Without giving anything away about the plot, the conclusion falls short of what has come before. Although I wasn’t entirely engrossed by the conclusion, the pacing seemed to be adequate for the majority of the film.

There’s no denying that this film was well-made, had a fantastic score, and had excellent actors and actresses. The quality is consistent throughout; nonetheless, those wanting more action may be disappointed but The Batman is one of the greatest films in the franchise.

Verdict 9 out of 10 Stars

‘You’ (Season 3) TV Show Review: Is There Ever a Happily Ever After?

“I still believe in the one. That the right person is out there for me.”

If you tried to explain You to the average person they might think you’re insane.

From rooting for a murderer to his addiction to stalking, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) isn’t your run-of-the-mill protagonist.

However, unsurprisingly another season of You treads into the same territory of previous seasons but ends up feeling like the most unique entry in the show thus far.

Overview

After Joe’s current girlfriend Love (Victoria Pedretti) viciously murders his ex they are forced to leave LA and move to the suburbs to avoid the media attention.

Joe & Love are married with a child while seemingly this is all Joe ever wanted. He now has a new goal to protect his child no matter what the cost may be.

Oh Well, I Didn’t Expect That…

My main concern for this season was that it would become monotonous. That fear is allayed in the first episode, which doesn’t spend any time getting down to business.

Normally You can be a bit of a slow burn. Quickly switching from being tame to bouncing off the walls.

I can easily say more now than ever they never lost my attention. Even though around halfway through the series the pace does begin to slow down more than usual.

A New Dynamic

Death usually accompanies Joe everywhere he goes. He’s spent the previous two seasons attempting to conceal this aspect of himself, but he’s never been with a woman who resembles him until now.

Love is a killer and understands Joe better than anyone. It makes their dynamic unique. He can completely be himself.

Like any marriage, they certainly have their issues but never before have a seen a marriage feel so genuine. There are moments filled with passion, rage, love, and others where you don’t understand how they could further their relationship.

They both make mistakes, and it’s fascinating to observe how their minds function. The narration as per usual spills our main character’s thoughts giving them added depth, and it pays off.

Too Much Dip on Your Chip

As opposed to other seasons of You this entry deals with a lot. They were very ambitious but that isn’t always a good thing.

There were a few characters I had hoped to see more of or have them interact with Joe & Love more. Instead, when they become relevant in the plot they’ll show up then get pushed to the sideline for the next couple of episodes.

Later in the season if we had been able to see how these characters bonded and just had seen more of them certain aspects of the show would have a larger payoff.

Conclusion

This may be the most distinctive season of You yet! The twists and payoffs are satisfactory but could’ve been more substantial.

Impressively the most recent season doesn’t come off as average they change up a formula that was beginning to feel repetitive.

Joe & Love mesh together so well and even though I shouldn’t like either one of these characters given the context of their lives I’m engaged.

They are similar in many respects, almost as if they are staring in a mirror, which complicates their relationship but ultimately adds to the show’s appeal.

One of the most significant flaws in this installment of the series is its attempt to focus on too many subjects. Like a carnival juggler who continues getting more and more stuff thrown at them, there’s a certain point where everything falls.

While I don’t believe this entire show suffers there are aspects that I believe could’ve been better if there was more focus and cut out what was unnecessary.

Three seasons in and You is still a show worth tuning into and with a 4th season on the way let’s hope the trend continues.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars

Now available on Netflix!

‘Inside Job’ (Season 1) TV Show Review: A Huge Leap Forward

What happens when adult animation meets conspiracy theories? Apparently, a show that outperforms other contemporary adult animated comedies! I couldn’t get enough of it, from the comedy to the exciting storylines and characters.

Overview

Reagan (actress name) is a brilliant scientist riddled with daddy issues that has no social skills whatsoever. She works at Incognito Inc. an organization that creates all of the conspiracies that we hear about on daily basis. Her team must make sure that no one finds out the government cooks up all these conspiracies.

I’m Not Used to This

These days, there aren’t many adult animated comedies that I think hit the mark. They usually rely on being vulgar to attract viewers, although this rarely creates a good product.

Either by not being funny, unattractive animation, or possessing the same character archetypes as the rest of the genre. Inside Job is genuinely funny and while some jokes don’t hit the mark I never sit there thinking “oh God why am I watching this”.

It keeps your attention throughout the whole season and that’s great to see.

The A-Team

I haven’t had this much fun with a collection of characters in a long time. They function well with each other and even when they aren’t all together.

Depth

While Inside Job isn’t the first adult animated show to tackle difficult topics, it does so admirably. I can’t help but think of scenes from Family Guy where they want us to care about the characters.

On Family Guy, they make fun of everything and show us aspects of characters we wouldn’t want to root for. Peter Griffin making things worse for his family and then apologizing for the 100th time just isn’t gonna invoke any more feeling.

There’s nothing wrong with that but if the creator makes it seem like he doesn’t care about his characters why would I?

Conclusion

Inside Job has the potential to be a one-of-a-kind show. I didn’t want the first season to end because of its charming ensemble, ability to make funny jokes and emotional depth with engaging plots.

Reagan is an awesome protagonist and you end up rooting for her. Her rapport with the rest of her team is fantastic, and the way everyone complements one another is outstanding.

Normally when a new adult cartoon comes out I turn it on for background noise. You might laugh every once in a while but I wouldn’t give it too much credit outside of that. However, I was glued to my screen for every episode of Inside Job.

I can only hope that the second season is as consistent as the first. The sky is the limit at this point, and they’ve certainly made a good first impression.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars

Now available on Netflix!

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Film Review: From Excitement to Fatigue

I’m Gonna Change the Course of History

I had only heard wonderful things about this film before seeing it. I’m happy to say that I loved my time viewing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, although, in many ways, it’s simply another Marvel picture.

However, it may stand apart for a variety of reasons.

Overview

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), a martial arts expert, is compelled to delve into his past to prevent a threat from destroying all he loves.

THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

This is some of Marvel’s greatest hand-to-hand action in any of their films. You enjoy seeing it all come together.

My largest complaint is that it’s only action-packed at the beginning and the end.  The script spends a significant amount of time during the middle of the film attempting to deliver all of its information.

The absence of action in these sections makes the picture feel longer than it is.

There Doesn’t Need to Be Romance

For the entire length of the movie, I had hoped that Shang-Chi and Katy (Nora Lum) wouldn’t end up together. It was nice for a change having no love interest simply being a close friend with the opposite sex in most media is foreign but works great here.

Best Debut

The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has plenty of great moments often from them setting them up years prior. While the payoff is pretty great it does mean that every couple of years we have to watch yet another origin story.

Debut superhero films can be tedious to watch since the stakes aren’t always high, and they normally follow the same plot beats. While this is true for Shang-Chi, the film nevertheless manages to be entertaining.

Conclusion

While it may not deserve all of the praise it’s receiving it’s certainly a good film.

When can we see more action like this? it’s difficult not to become engrossed whenever a fight scene begins. The cinematography during these scenes is great, and the picture is free of the usual flaws that plague action films.

Plenty of movies have rapid cuts during fight scenes, making you miss the good stuff, but that’s not a problem here.

One of the best parts of Shang-Chi is the wonderful relationship between our hero and his co-star.

The most serious flaw is the film’s pace, which makes it feel excessively lengthy. I was waiting for it to finish, something I don’t recall ever feeling throughout a Marvel movie.

If this movie is any indicator Shang-Chi will be a well-welcomed addition to the heroes we already have in the MCU and his debut is one to remember.

Verdict 7.5 out of 10 Stars

Now available on Disney Plus!