The biggest movie of 2021 is here, and so are we! Sparks (and webs) fly, as special guest Matt Serafini swings in to help us review the third Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland.
This week, we’re talking about a new Marvel movie. Because we haven’t done that enough times in 2021!
Special guest Adonis Gonzalez returns for an action-packed review of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. No, this isn’t an arthouse remake of one of those Sonic movies, though the rings do look suspiciously familiar. This is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, their first Asian-led superhero flick, in fact. Later in the show, we also review Cinderella, a new musical adaptation of the classic story directed by Kay Cannon and starring Camila Cabello, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Then we cover the new 9/11 awards-bait drama, Worth, a Sundance 2020 release that is now available to stream on Netflix, which stars Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, and Amy Ryan.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a film canon cluttered with familiar formulas and diminishing returns. So it’s genuinely exciting to see the newest MCU film, Shang-Chi, bucking expectations with viscerally engaging fight choreography and trope reversals of other origin stories (mainly Doctor Strange). But then it’s all the more disappointing to see Shang-Chi subsequently revert to some of the most glaring and gaudy Marvel missteps.
Special guest Emily Tannenbaum joins us to review Black Widow, the long-awaited Marvel action spy film starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz. We open the show with early buzz for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, then some quick catchup on other movies and shows we saw this week. Will briefly shares his thoughts on I Think You Should Leave Season 2 on Netflix, Emily teases the first several episodes of the Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max, and Jon covers Fear Street Part 2: 1978 on Netflix, Till Death starring Megan Fox, and Monsters at Work on Disney+.
The second episode of “Loki” has been out for some time now, and I’ve got to tell you, this is the hardest time I’ve had writing about one of these shows. Not because there isn’t anything to write about. Quite the contrary. After only two episodes, “Loki” has a lot of tricky, deep themes up its sleeve.
Okay guys, I know it. You’re tired of hearing about how good Marvel is. After thirteen years of existence, the MCU has produced hit after hit, with only the occasional Thor: The Dark World to leave a mark.
So, we’re finally here. Last week was the finale of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” a Marvel/Disney limited series that for the last six weeks has been absolutely dominating my television screen as much as it has my mind. Being a fan of Marvel’s live-action superhero ventures since I was a kid in 2008, it wasn’t hard for TFATWS to catch my eye. But while I came for the heroics, action, and quippy one-liners, what really compelled me (and many viewers) to stay were the mostly poignant and deep conversations about race, status, and the humanity of our favorite, godlike heroes. Key word: “mostly.”
The fifth and penultimate episode of TFATWS is called “Truth,” and that’s certainly no accident. After leaving us for an entire week with the final image of Cap’s blood-soaked shield stuck in our minds, TFATWS replaces it with even more memorable scenes and heavy imagery. Each of them are arguably just as hard to swallow as John Walker’s closing scene from the week prior.
A few years ago, I did a frequent column called “Snarcasm,” where I would break down a ridiculous piece of film writing using both snark and sarcasm (I’ve never been a creative person). Well, lately, I’ve been meaning to bring the format back again, because let’s face it, the internet seems to just be getting worse.
The third episode of TFATWS ushers us into the halfway point of the series. With just three episodes left after it, Episode 3 strives to reveal as much as it can about the secrets of the Super Soldier serum, which has oft been alluded to since the beginning of the show. “Power Broker” delivers on this goal using seedy locales, lurking threats, and an unlikely alliance between Sam, Bucky, and Helmut Zemo (the villain from Captain America: Civil War, portrayed once again by Daniel Brühl).
There’s nothing quite like Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a film that feels more like a big-budget HBO mini-series in terms of format, but with all the whiz bang pop of a billion dollar summer blockbuster. It’s certainly bloated, though it’s coming out at a time when audiences are more starved than ever when it comes to cinematic spectacle. It’s about as ambitious in its labrynth of costumed subplots as something like Captain America: Civil War, but it’s a far more coherent and narratively rewarding picture than a lot of what Snyder has produced before, particularly compared to the mess of misery that was Dawn of Justice.
It’s been a week since the exciting conclusion to “WandaVision” graced our screens. The Disney+ original series captured the attention of new and old MCU fans alike with its first bizarre and eye-catching premiere on January 15, and not much has changed eight episodes later. Every episode was wrought with fan theories, speculation, and nail-biting anticipation for the next week. And now, it’s over. The sun has set on yet another chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and “WandaVision” certainly went out with a bang. The finale featured some of the best action sequences and most crushing emotional moments in the entire (limited) series. The stellar acting from the cast, including Elizabeth Olsen, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris and Paul Bettany, only helped catapult the positive reception of the finale, and it helped cement “WandaVision” as one of the must-watch shows of the year.
Hey all, welcome back to your favorite weekly recap of your favorite Marvel streaming series. I’m not sure if either of those statements is true, but if you’re reading this then you probably have some emotional investment in “WandaVision” and my long-winded rambling related to it.
We’re only a third of the way through “WandaVision,” but if this recent episode is any indication, we can expect an avalanche of strange occurrences and sudden twists to occur every single week. Episode 3 of “WandaVision,” aptly titled “Now in Color,” comes to Disney+ with another 40 minutes of laughs, love, and absolute madness. The show starts off how the second episode ended, in brand spanking new technicolor!
For those unaware, “WandaVision” is the newest project from Marvel Studios, and it’s the first in a long line of miniseries that all share a connection to each other and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. It follows everyone’s favorite odd couple — Wanda Maximoff and Vision (last name not included) — after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Back when this idea was first announced, it was met with excitement from some and exhaustion from others. I’m only a little bit ashamed to admit that for a while, I landed on the latter.
Cinemaholics is now doing a live stream! It’s called The Big Stream, and it’s our new destination for all things movie industry news and extra off-topics we don’t have time to cover on the main show. Yesterday, I kicked off a conversation about Disney Investor Day, and how these massive show/movie announcements for Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney Animation signal a new streaming strategy for Disney+, Hulu, and…Star?
Have you tried…not being a Cinemaholic? The “X-Men” franchise is on its last wings these days, so Jon and Will are here to discuss Dark Phoenix, Fox’s last breath of fire before Disney bought the rights to these characters. We also discuss the new comedy Late Night starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson, The Secret Life of Pets 2 from Illumination, and Joanna Hogg’s latest film The Souvenir from A24.
19 years of X-Men films have led to one very awkward moment. A patchwork of sagas ranging from transcendent to bottom-dweller couldn’t have a picked a flatter vehicle for punctuating a complex legacy now in the hands of Disney upon the Disney-Fox merger. And to make matters more confused, we still have another one of these ancillary films, New Mutants, delayed to next spring for an unrelated and likely inconsequential misadventure. For now, Dark Phoenix effectively closes the book on a story that already has two, maybe three endings as it is.
We’re assembling some surprise guests to review Avengers: Endgame, starting with a spoiler-free discussion of the blockbuster event that’s already breaking box office records. Afterward, all of our spoiler hesitations disappear with a snap, and we have special guests Alisha Grauso and Matt Donato on deck to help us process basically everything this saga by Marvel has been building up to for over a decade.
The set up and payoff structure of the Marvel films beginning with Iron Man in 2008 may never be fully realized. These stories will continue on for as long as audiences continue to be fans of the material, so any definitive ending for a saga of episodic films requires a conclusion to at least one prominent idea, not necessarily an entire world of characters and their respective potential as branched franchises. This is why Avengers: Endgame is a film deftly committed to playing out the first and last revelation of such a film series. Tony Stark is Iron Man. And the Avengers are the Earth’s mightiest heroes. Everything else in Endgame is secondary, including its villain.
Spring is in the air, and so is Captain Marvel. We’re flying higher, further, and faster in our review of the new Marvel superhero film starring Brie Larson, and joining us is special guest Kimber Myers of the LA Times. We also discuss Leaving Neverland, a new HBO documentary from Sundance about the sexual abuse allegations of Michael Jackson, as well as some other new releases like The Aftermath, The Kid, and one new TV series on TBS starring Steve Buscemi, Daniel Radcliffe and many others in Miracle Workers.
Keeping your emotions in check means maintaining a semblance of control. Don’t be hysterical, don’t lose your cool, don’t show your feelings or risk being called weak. This is what the titular Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson) is struggling with when we first meet her training on the planet Hala, far from the Earth we know in more ways than one.