The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special is a very festive close to Phase Four.

The Guardians are on a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Quill and head to Earth in search of the perfect present.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special is the final part of phase four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it definitely ends it on a high note. It keeps a lot of the humor of what made the two Guardians Of The Galaxy movies so hilarious in the first place as well building a bit more development for the characters as well, it’s a very festive special that truly is heartwarming and is the very definition of a holiday special. It mainly focuses on Drax and Mantis which Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff really do a fantastic job here, the interactions they have with the people they come across plus Kevin Bacon is truly hilarious and pretty cleverly written as well. James Gunn nails down the music extremely well, like the rest of the special it’s very festive and has an incredible amount of charm to it as well. The underlying story of Star Lord loving and missing Christmas is a genuinely emotional and really strong one that add some really great animation as well. Overall there might not be a whole lot to The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special but it’s very well made, written and has a lot of charm to it that you can’t help but love.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special is available on Disney+

8/10 B+

She-Hulk is a huge missed opportunity.

Jennifer Walters has a complicated life as a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.

She-Hulk is the eighth Disney+ and MCU series….and it’s by far the absolute worst one. But before that let’s get the positives out of the way because they are very straightforward, for starters Tatiana Maslany is very solid as She-Hulk, that’s mainly due to her just being a really strong actress who can work with any sort of script. She’s hands down the best part of the entire series it’s just such a shame she wasn’t given a better show or script, episode eight is the highlight by far. While it’s not perfect it’s the only episode where the humor genuinely worked, plus having Charlie Cox back as Daredevil was pretty neat, he also gives a solid performance. The chemistry between Cox and Maslany while short is actually really charming and very entertaining. As for the rest of the show it’s a complete and total mess, if you thought the Marvel humor was terrible in previous shows or movies then you are going to have a dreadful time here, outside of a joke every once in awhile a lot of the humor really comes off as obnoxious. There’s a lot of fourth wall breaking humor that at this point way too many films and TV shows have done, I get that the source material has a lot of fourth wall breaking humor. The problem is the writing doesn’t do it in creative ways, in fact it quite honestly gets progressively worse as the series goes on. Heck the final episode ends up being this whole “this series was meant to be bad!” type of thing which again had the writing actually been investing or knew what it wanted to say that could have worked. Then you have the other characters who are just sort of there Jameela Jamil, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth and Ginger Gonzaga are fine enough but they are really not given a whole lot to do outside of unfunny lines. There really isn’t anything else to say here which is unfortunate because a She-Hulk show could have easily work had the writing been a lot more focused and actually attempted with the humor.

She Hulk- is available on Disney+

3/10 D-

Werewolf By Night is a fun Universal Monster movie throwback and breath of fresh air for the MCU.

On a dark and sombre night, a secret cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and gather at the Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader; the attendees are thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic.

Werewolf By Night is hands down one of the best installments to come out of Phase Four in the MCU, for starters everything from the tone, style, characters heck even writing is a night and day difference from the rest of the MCU and I mean that in a good way. The special itself is only 52 minutes long yet still manages to flesh out it’s characters pretty well, Laura Donnelly and Gael García Bernal are both highlights who give really strong performances that completely make the special shine, the use of black and white combined with the throwback elements of the Universal Monster movies is truly fantastic. There’s some quite clever style and writing tricks that the writers and Michael Giacchino use. The film is very well crafted with so much attention to detail included, it helps that the special actually feels like one of the Universal monster films. It shows that everyone involved did their homework rather than create a cheap copy of the films.

Werewolf By Night is available on Disney+

8/10 B+

Ms. Marvel is a fun and emotional addition to the MCU!

Kamala is a superhero fan with an imagination, particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel; Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home, that is until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s looked up to.

Ms. Marvel is another addition to the MCU and Disney+ Shows and there was a bit of controversy among fans before this came out. Mostly because for whatever reason they made the decision to change Ms. Marvel’s powers which is an important element in the comics that adds to her character, luckily the show does manage to bring some emotional scenes that are surprisingly well done despite the change. However the change does hurt the show during the middle of the season, mainly because they have to gather so many different ideas together and it sort of loses it’s footing. The acting is overall pretty decent but Iman Vellani is the clear standout she completely captures the personality and actions of Kamala Khan it’s truly one of the best casting decisions the MCU has made so far. The parts where there’s quiet scenes involved and the series dives into her character are the highlights and actually give this show some depth. Like Moon Knight I will give this show credit where credit is due that it did not rely on cameos (I mean there’s one but that’s during the end credits at the final episode so that doesn’t count, plus I actually didn’t mind that one since it does have a purpose of being there) to tell a story. Instead they stuck with the characters of the series and told a decent story, if there’s one main flaw it has to be the middle of the season, this is something that a lot of these MCU shows struggle with. They have a very messy middle that really hurts the pacing, it mainly came down to the show throwing way too many ideas in the series with way too much going on at the same time. But the series does get the emotional bits back during the final episode and wraps up decently, it’s a very nice set up for next years The Marvels. Overall Ms. Marvel is a decent show that does have it’s bumps in the road that stops it from being a lot better, but from what was presented there’s entertainment to be had as well as some very strong emotional bits.

Ms. Marvel is available on Disney+

7/10 B

Thor: Love And Thunder…an underutilized mess.

Thor embarks on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced — a quest for inner peace. However, his retirement gets interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods.

To say the MCU Phase Four has been divisive would be the understatement of the year, while there have been some really installments that I would actually go as far to say are some of the best of the MCU such as Doctor Strange: And The Multiverse Of Madness, Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home, there are also ones that completely missed the mark (Black Widow and Eternals) or had a ton of great ideas but settled on playing safe or were just hindered by the 6 episode format (looking at you Moon Knight even though I gave it a 7/10).

Thor: Love and Thunder is truly baffling the way it came out, there was so much here that should have absolutely worked but didn’t for several reasons. I’ll start with what I liked, Natalie Portman who returns as Jane Foster and becomes The Mighty Thor is truly fantastic here. Like in the first Thor films she really captures Jane Foster quite well and absolutely tries her best with the bare bones script she is given, what hurts her character is she isn’t explored nearly enough which is quite odd considering this was supposed to be a huge part of the film. Christian Bale who plays Gorr (or The God Slayer) also gives a strong performance but is the very definition of underutilized, Gorr as a character is very interesting and has a backstory that could have been quite emotional and actually powerful as well. The problem is Gorr is not given enough screentime to make that work, plus his backstory itself is nowhere near as explored as it should have been, Bale goes all out with the role which is just another huge reminder of how good of an actor Bale is. There’s a few fun action scenes here and there but a lot of it feels very empty that goes completely off the rails towards the end in all the wrong ways. Lastly there’s Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie who for some reason gets put into the backseat and just becomes some sidekick, when she does get time to shine she’s really great but Thompson and her character deserved far better than this.

Now for what it is completely wrong with this movie and that’s mostly due to three major things that completely break it. The first being the jokes, while I do understand the criticism of Thor Raganrock having jokes in it at least they worked to an extent and were at least controlled on a tight leash, the jokes in Thor: Love and Thunder are the complete opposite the first half of the movie is filled to the brim of jokes that are painfully unfunny. Even resorting to the screaming goat meme which is from 2012 (went viral in 2013), the first time it might have gotten a chuckle but the film kept doing it over and over again. The biggest problem here is the movie tries to juggle between jokes and serious moments, there’s some okay setups for some emotional scenes but are hindered by poorly written jokes that feel like they should be in an entirely different movie. The second major issue is the writing which can be pretty much summed up as being the definition of bare bones, characters who could be interesting have no character development, plot lines are introduced and abandoned with a snap of a finger and writing that completely prohibits any emotion or depth. Lastly there’s what I hinted at the beginning of this review, this another case of Phase Four having a ton of great ideas but completely wasting them. Particularly with Gorr and Jane Foster, there were many ideas about them that are interesting the movie just completely fails to do anything with them and if the movie does do then it’s barely anything at all, Thor finding out who he really is could be interesting but once again that’s only mentioned a few times throughout the movie but is quickly abandoned. Overall Thor: Love And Thunder is a huge missed opportunity that should have absolutely worked, it’s honestly quite baffling how wrong this went and is just massively disappointing overall.

Thor: Love And Thunder is in theaters.

4/10 D+

Moon Knight is solid and has interesting concepts but needed more time.

Steven Grant and mercenary Marc Spector investigate the mysteries of the Egyptian gods from inside the same body.

Moon Knight is the newest of The MCU Disney+ shows, it’s one of the ones that I’ve been actually looking forward to for awhile now. Moon Knight does a lot great and a lot that it could have improved on, I’ll start with what stood out…for starters the acting this time around was quite strong and that’s mainly due to the cast, Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy and Ethan Hawke are just phenomenal and brought some very interesting characters to life. Oscar Isaac playing two characters Marc Spector and Steven Grant who might look like the exact same but actually have different personalities and work quite well. Oscar Isaac is truly one of the biggest reasons the show is held together he puts his all into it and the results are excellent, May Calamawy plays Layla El-Faouly who may not get the most development but she is still a pretty solid character mostly due to Calamawy’s performance and I do hope her character gets expanded on later down the line. Ethan Hawke is the villain of the series known as Arthur Harrow which is by far one of the most interesting villains of the MCU by far, Hawke does a pretty fantastic job in his role and gives quite a different role than he usually does. I don’t think Harrow reaches his full potential as a villain (I’ll get to why in a bit) but for how short the series was I do think Hawke worked with what he was given. Some other positives are the filming which is probably the best looking MCU Disney+ series since Loki, there were some pretty neat action scenes that gave the series it’s own personality there aren’t many but when they do happen they are quite satisfying. Finally Moon Knight gets credit for not relying on cameos or other characters from the MCU, the show sticks with it’s new set of characters and that’s it. Other characters don’t randomly appear for no unexplained reason, there’s no cameos the series does it’s own thing. Now here’s what is holding this series back from being really strong, first and foremost we need to point out a problem that a lot of people have started noticing….the 6 episode format ever since Falcon And The Winter Soldier every show has been 6 episodes outside of What If (but What If is an anthology series so even if it was 6 episodes it wouldn’t had really mattered much). The 6 episode format is a huge gamble sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t It worked for Loki and Hawkeye (although there’s an argument to be made that it didn’t), it didn’t work well with Falcon and The Winter Soldier and it sadly did not work for Moon Knight. Moon Knight has a ton of interesting concepts that are pretty solid and are quite different from a lot of the MCU but a lot of them just aren’t expanded upon quite well and that’s mainly due to the 6 episode format just not giving enough time to develop them, I hinted at earlier that was the main issue with Arthur Harrow he’s a very interesting villain he’s just not given enough time to get the concept fully developed. Moon Knight clearly wants to tell a much bigger story but doesn’t have enough time to do that, from what was presented I do think it was pretty decent. The Egyptian god elements are very interesting and give the story a darker tone which is always welcome and I do think the characters are more interesting development wise when it comes to the MCU. Overall Moon Knight is a decent series that could have been so much more had it was given more time, I am interested to see where they go with the characters and do hope they are given far more development down the line.

Moon Knight is available on Disney+

7/10 B

Spider-Man No Way Home is a love letter to the entire Spider-Man franchise (Spoiler Review)

With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, our friendly neighborhood web-slinger is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life as Peter Parker from the high stakes of being a superhero. When Peter asks for help from Doctor Strange, the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Before I begin I will note that it will be next to impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie yet I would recommend not reading this review.

Phase Four when it comes to film has been rough. Shang-Chi as I said in my review is an incredibly solid film up until the third act, Eternals was incredibly disappointing and Black Widow was just there. So I was really hoping Spider-Man No Way Home would come out and wow me…and that it most certainly did. So starting off let’s discuss characters and performances, Tom Holland as Spider-Man is still fantastic. He truly puts everything he has in this film and it delivers in every single way possible, Zendaya’s character Michelle gets far more development than she has in the other films which is something that I’m glad they did. Granted it was one of the more predictable aspects (not in a bad way) like of course she was going to get more development it’s the third Spider-Man film in the MCU. She completely grows as a character and doesn’t feel like she’s being shoved off to the sidelines, I really don’t have anything interesting to say about Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch once again does the role really well and doesn’t over stay the welcome. Finally let’s talk about the villains plus Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man and how they are used plus compliment this giant film. I’ll start with the one who got the least development which was The Lizard honestly he’s about the same as he was in The Amazing Spider-Man, there really isn’t a whole lot to his character and that was really to be expected. Next up is Electro and Sandman who I both feel are around the same level when it comes to development, for one thing Jamie Foxx is far better as Electro here than he was in Amazing Spider-Man 2. A nice reference to Sandman’s character growth in Spider-Man 3 is shown during a scene where he teams up with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to fight Electro (although he does become somewhat evil again but we will get to that.) Lastly there’s Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, Green Goblin and Doc Ock. Who all have an incredible amount of development, Alfred Molina once again is perfect as Doc Ock and although he isn’t a huge part of the film. I truly love what they did with his character, once again the film acts as a continuation to Spider-Man 2 with his character. He was a man corrupted by his inventions deep down he wasn’t demonic like the next character The Green Goblin. Willem Dafoe truly owns the role of The Green Goblin I truly can’t picture anyone else in the role, the film does such a good job showing how evil he really is and shows why he is the most threatening of the villains. He has all the villains besides Doc Ock go completely mad and attack, the strongest parts of the writing come in when Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield come in. Not only do we get to see both of them again but we get to hear how they are doing, what’s changed and so on. The film acts as a continuation to their stories, even the little conversations end up meaning quite a lot. One important rule when it comes to a team up sort of element is to never have one part of the certain team or character overshadow the other. And I feel No Way Home does a fantastic job of doing that, Tobey, Andrew and Tom’s version of Spider-Man feel equal one doesn’t feel far stronger than the other. The jokes in the film are actually quite fantastic, there was a lot of charm put into them that I can’t help but smile at. The ending is truly hard hitting and definitely one of the more emotional moments that have happened in the MCU thus far, it’s hard hitting change that has this sense of moving on from memories. Overall Spider-Man No Way Home is a huge celebration of Spider-Man it’s a fantastic film that’s hands down one of the best the MCU has to offer!

Spider-Man No Way Home is available in Theaters!

10/10 A+

Hawkeye is strong series with fantastic characters!

Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a Super Hero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.

Hawkeye is the fifth Disney+ Marvel series, it explores Jeremy Renner’s character Clint Barton or Hawkeye which does a fantastic job of doing exactly that. It’s the first time where I actually cared for Barton as a character something that has been completely missing for years, we also get some new characters which leads to one of the best casting choices the MCU has done thus far…Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop. I’ve always loved Hailee Steinfeld as an actress and she always brings in a fantastic performance and here is no exception, she completely nails it as Kate Bishop. From the humor, mannerisms and wanting to be a hero she does a perfect job, what’s even better is when Florence Pugh as Yelena enters the series. I had my problems with Black Widow and is definitely one of the weakest parts of Phase four so far, however Pugh’s performance as Yelena was the main positive and here is no different. Pugh and Steinfeld both work incredibly well together, sure when they are both in different scenes they are already fantastic but when put together they truly give some of the best moments in the series and some of the best of Phase four thus far. It also helps that Yelena is given character development which was definitely needed after Black Widow, Alaqua Cox as Echo was another huge highlight of the series, what’s even better is Cox is a deaf actress who playing a deaf character. Echo is given a solid backstory that has a lot of questions but that remains to be seen in her own series she will be getting (hopefully comes out soon!) lastly there’s Vincent D’Onofrio who reprises his role as Kingpin, although he’s not in the series that much when he does finally appear the build up is incredibly worth it, it’s some of the best build up I’ve seen from the MCU in quite some time and truly feels earned. The writing this time around is actually really great, where as lot of the MCU films and some of the series have a huge problem with balancing the humor and serious moments. Hawkeye actually manages to balance the two really well, there’s a lot of character moments for Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Florence Pugh and Alaqua Cox that are very effective and push the characters forward. The humor is actually quite well done it’s genuinely surprising given how bad Marvel humor can really be, but here there’s genuine charm put into it. Overall Hawkeye is an incredibly strong series that really makes you excited for what’s to come next for Kate Bishop, Hawkeye, Yelena and Echo, I truly hope the future shows follow in the footsteps of Hawkeye because this was great!

Hawkeye is available on Disney+

9/10 A

Eternals is a disappointment that feels all over the place.

The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.

It took me a bit to think how I felt about Eternals mostly due to it feeling like a very weird mishmash of ideas that are either not fully developed, done poorly or done very well. I got excited for this one mostly due to Chloe Zhao being attached to the film as the director, after seeing her films and her previous film Nomadland which went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. The results for what Chloe Zhao can do with an MCU film is very promising and something I would love to see…sadly we only get a bit of that here. For starters the film itself relies on the characters which is perfectly fine, the problem is a lot of them aren’t that well developed at all. I do want to make it clear that one of the movie’s biggest strengths is the diversity, as a lot of people have pointed out it is very refreshing to see and it’s very commendable. Of the cast that stood out Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani (although he sort of gets the short end of the stick towards the end), Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff Brian Tyree Henry and Harish Patel all did a pretty solid job in their roles given what they worked with. Unfortunately just isn’t there to support some of the characters, as much as I liked Angelina Jolie’s character Thena she is given development but for the most part she’s kind of reduced to the “strength of the team” element, Lauren Ridloff’s character Makkari I truly wish was given actual development perhaps maybe in the future MCU films, still she’s a fun character despite given very little development. Brian Tyree Henry’s character Phastos got a ton of development and he’s by far one of the best, there’s a lot to like about his character plus there’s some actual quite emotional moments with his character. Kumail Nanjiani’s character Kingo and Harish Patel I thought were actually some of the strongest parts of the film, the jokes the duo both tell are actually quite amusing as opposed to the other jokes in the movie that really hold the movie back. Barry Keoghan’s character Druig I thought was very interesting, I do wish they did a little bit more with his character but for what they did I thought it was decent. It will be very interesting to see what they do with him going forward. Lastly there’s Gemma Chan’s character Sersi who I really thought was your traditional main hero type character, it wasn’t anything bad just not anything special. Hands down the best part about Eternals is the filming, it’s absolutely gorgeous and is the best MCU film when it comes to filming. What kills Eternals is that it still feels like a product, it’s a shame because I remember a little bit after Nomadland won best picture I remember reading a few articles saying “Chloe Zhao will have creative freedom for Eternals” yet it only feels like she only got a little bit. There were quiet moments for the characters and actual meaningful conversations between them. However the plot being a complete mess, the villains being incredibly dull and a lot of the traditional Marvel humor that they like to shoehorn into the movie doesn’t feel like creative freedom at all. I truly think Eternals would have worked better as a series, it would give each of the characters a lot more time to develop, it’s very unfortunate with the way Eternals turned out. Because somewhere in this movie there is a good movie, it’s just unfortunately crammed in with a lot filler and missed ideas. 

Eternals is now available in Theaters!

5/10 C

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is both compelling and a solid addition to the MCU!

Martial-arts master Shang-Chi confronts the past he thought he left behind when he’s drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.

Shang-Chi was definitely a surprise for me, from the trailers they really played this like your typical MCU origin story that was going to just sort of exist and that would be the end of it. That is not the case with Shang-Chi in fact it does far far more than just being an origin story! The cast does quite an incredible job Simu Liu, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Meng’ er Zhang and Michelle Yeoh especially! Speaking of which Tony Leung Chiu-wai is great as the villain which is Mandarin. He’s one of the better MCU villains that actually got development although it could have been a bit more. The action scenes are what really make this movie, particularly the combat which a ton of scenes use martial arts. One scene in particular (if you have seen it you will immediately know which one I’m talking about) is truly beautiful, the filming, the acting and marital arts. It all adds into that scene to truly make it standout and turn it into something the MCU really hasn’t done before, Shang-Chi also does have a lot of heart as well as there are some very touching moments between the characters. Writing wise the first two acts in particular are very strong, some of the best of phase four in the MCU so far. The flaws come in with the final act which while it’s definitely not bad, it feels a little bit rushed at times and sort of falls apart in a lot of moments. The CGI has it’s weird moments where it’s quite great while in others it doesn’t look so great. But overall Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a huge surprise for me, director Destin Daniel Cretton did a very solid job with this film! Definitely check it out!

Shang-Chi and the legend of the Ten Rings is now in theaters!

8/10 B+