Category Archives: Marvel

Why Am I Getting Excited for ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’?

I have watched Venom more times than I care to admit…okay I’ve seen it four times, and every viewing has never been all that fun. The beginning of the movie is boring, the end of the movie is boring, the only part that is somewhat entertaining is the middle section and that part doesn’t last very long.

The best thing about Venom however was the relationship between Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock (I still think Brock is written for an actor younger than Hardy but Tom just had to make it work, same goes for Michelle Williams’ character) and Venom so I figured the sequel, with all of that origin story nonsense out of the way, had the potential to be kind of fun.

Then I saw Woody Harrelson’s character, a psychopath named Cletus Kasady who seems to have some sort of connection to Eddie Brock (Brock probably got him put in the asylum where he’s being confined) and he’s just laughable to look at. He already looks ridiculous and his hair looks even worse.

So, with that in mind, I didn’t feel the urge to see this Venom sequel but after watching G.I. Joe Origins: Snake Eyes this July my philosophy for the rest of the year has been, “Oh what the heck. It can’t be worse than Snake Eyes.”

Venom 2 TV Spot Features New Looks at Carnage and Shriek | CBR

So, in roughly two weeks time Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be coming out and I’m kind of excited to maybe see it. The first reactions for the film have been positive but they were from fans at a premiere fan-event for the movie. The main thing that sprung from the fans’ first viewing of the movie was the hype over the post-credit scene. Apparently, it’s big!

And judging from the leaked intel, well, it’s a massive game-changer and will undoubtedly lead to some HUGE implications for the future of Venom.

So yeah, I’m kind of intrigued to see this film. Will I ultimately see it? I’m still twiddling my thumbs over that but ultimately, I can’t wait to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a fantastic day.

‘Star Wars’ and the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Art of the Great Third Act

Denis Villeneuve recently commented that MCU films are “cut and paste of one another” and even though I tried not to be, I got a little triggered. I understood what he meant and that he’s mostly correct but as an MCU fan I felt I had to defend a franchise that I loved so much.

What turned into a simple observational rant with my sister transformed into an epiphany as we realized the secret sauce for Star Wars and Marvel’s greatest third acts. And of course, I’m here to share that epiphany with you. Enjoy!

(This is a longread.)

For some, the MCU’s final acts can be a little stale. For years we have come to expect a story that finds a way to challenge the heroes in the film before reaching a climactic CGI-heavy battle that range from awesome and unforgettable to kind-of-underwhelming.

And while most of the time the third acts are my favorite portion of the film I understand some fans’ exasperation for this somewhat tiring formula. So why do some Marvel films stand out against others? Well, to understand the power of a third act let’s look at the Star Wars movies.

Star Wars: A New Hope followed the classic storytelling template of the Hero’s Journey with a young man going on a wild adventure to save a princess and becoming a hero by the conclusion of that story.

He became a hero, however, thanks to a climactic showdown that featured a giant weapon that had to be destroyed: the Death Star. It was a riveting story and when he managed to blow it up it’s one of the greatest moments in the franchise.

Since then, nearly every Star Wars movie has featured a weapon of some kind needing to be destroyed. Talk about repetitive!

Return of the Jedi, the first somewhat-disappointing Star Wars movie, featured an unfinished second Death Star that was the primary focus of the film. And of course, in repetitive fashion, the Rebel Alliance had to destroy it or the galaxy would be in turmoil.

The only thing that saved that third act from being the ultimate snooze fest was the riveting confrontation between Luke Skywalker, his father Darth Vader, and Palpatine. It was that personal touch that made the movie special and memorable.

You see, Luke fighting to save his father gave emotional gravitas to an ending that could’ve been kind of boring but his showdown with Palpatine was anything but boring because there was that personal connection.

That storyline with Vader and Luke honestly saved the movie because everything else was kind of so-so. Think about the rest of the films that feature massive third acts resulting in some sort of weapon needing to be destroyed.

The Phantom Menace, Trade Federation ship needs to be destroyed to save Naboo. The Force Awakens, the StarKiller Base (Death Star 3.0) needs to be destroyed. The Rise of Skywalker, a satellite needs to be destroyed to stop the Final Order from taking over the galaxy.

And even though Attack of the Clones doesn’t exactly have a weapon that needs destroying, its climactic battle held no personal connection to the characters. The same can be said with Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie’s climax is boring because we don’t really care about Qi’ra’s story with Dryden, Han’s relationship with Beckett, or even Han’s connection with Qi’ra. So the end just kind of…happens.

You see the trend with these movies? The lack of the personal touch in these movies’ third acts make for somewhat a boring movie. And even though The Force Awakens is a great film it’s a copycat of A New Hope‘s entire structure.

Now let’s look at the best Star Wars movies and their incredible third acts.

Revenge of the Sith didn’t conclude with a massive space battle for the fate of the galaxy. It concluded with a very personal showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar and across the galaxy we had the ultimate duel between the galaxy’s greatest Force-users, Yoda and Palpatine.

We feel so many feelings throughout the film’s final minutes because the trilogy has established a profound connection between these characters that when we see this lightsaber-duel conclusion it feels like it means something.

Padme dies, her children are born and separated, Yoda goes into exile, and the galaxy has actually been taken over by the Empire. It’s a somber ending but it is a fitting conclusion to the Prequel Trilogy.

Rogue One does have a very loooong climactic finale but the personal connection comes with Jyn’s determination to see her father’s plan realized. Plus, not only are the stakes very high but all of the characters die. It’s shocking, it’s emotional to watch, and it’s one of the more memorable endings in the franchise.

The Last Jedi is a mixture of both worlds. On one hand, it suffers terribly from the need-to-destroy-the-weapon storyline as Finn and Rose are assigned on a boring mission to find a way to disable the Dreadnaught’s hyperspace tracker. On the other hand, the film concludes with another personal showdown between Kylo and Snoke, then Rey and Kylo, and then finally Kylo and Luke. The film’s final twenty minutes are utterly fascinating and if the rest of the movie had found a way to exclude that ridiculous casino-detour and Poe’s annoying shenanigans, the movie would’ve been so much better.

The Empire Strikes Back is the perfect Star Wars movie because it takes the personal touch to a whole other level. The film’s biggest battle comes in the film’s first forty minutes on Hoth. After that, the story establishes the connections between the characters–Han and Leia’s burgeoning romance, Luke and Yoda’s master-and-apprentice dynamic–so that when the film’s third act arrives you’re so invested in these characters’ stories the movie becomes even more riveting.

Han gets frozen in carbonite which is a heartbreaking development for Leia. Luke faces Vader in an epic lightsaber duel that concludes with Skywalker losing his hand and a bombshell announcement, Vader is Luke’s father.

You can’t get more personal than that.

So yes, we have now established that a great third act must have a personal touch. Now let’s look at the MCU stories that actually follow this approach.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Endgame, just to name a few.

And what do all of these movies have in common? Their third acts are permeated with that personal touch.

Through all of the classic climactic explosions in The Winter Soldier, there’s a deeper emotional storyline as Captain America tries to save his friend, Bucky. Groot dies in Guardians of the Galaxy. Iron Man goes to town on Captain America and Bucky in Civil War because of their connection to the death of his parents. Black Panther‘s final act features a climactic showdown between cousins T’Challa and Killmonger. And Infinity War and Endgame‘s final acts features Thanos who, having already killed off some of favorite characters, raises the stakes to astronomical levels as we see The Avengers take him on, lose, then fight him again and win, only to lose Iron Man and Black Widow permanently in the process.

Now, let’s look at the MCU stories in Phase 4 so far.

solci lvs jude 🐉 on Twitter: "SPOILER #WandaVisionFinale . . . . . . Cómo  me recupero de esto? "you, vision, you are a piece of the mind stone that  lives in

WandaVision concludes with a bit of a boring CGI-showdown but it still manages to retain that personal connection to Wanda and her story of grief, making the series as a whole fit together rather nicely in that department.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ep 6 recap: MCU series ends with an  uneven but thrilling finale | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s finale is very lackluster because:

1: There’s no real personal connection between the heroes and the villains.

2: Karli’s motivations are murky and hard-to-understand so the stakes don’t seem very high. Hence, the reason why the finale is so boring.

Loki finale: Kang the Conqueror, multiversal war, and other key takeaways |  Entertainment News,The Indian Express

Now, Loki gets it. Instead of having a massive showdown like I think we all expected it takes the very personal route with the introduction of He Who Remains, the man that destroyed Sylvie’s life. He tries to give Loki and Sylvie his job but she has no time for it, resulting in a fight/romantic moment between Loki and Sylvie that was anything but expected. Even the final moments with Ravonna and Mobius contain that emotional connection that makes their scenes interesting.

Review: 'Black Widow' Looks Back To The Future Of The MCU - Movie News Net

Black Widow‘s final act is slightly muddied by the CGI-explosion fest but it’s a very personal conclusion for Natasha Romanoff as she is forced to face off with Taskmaster, the man who destroyed her life General Dreykov, her fellow Black Widows, and she has to save her sister Yelena. It’s a powerful conclusion to her story in that film and a great origin story for Yelena at the same time.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' Film Review: Marvel's  Martial-Arts Saga Nails the Characters and the Kicks

And even Shang-Chi, through the CGI-heavy dragon showdown, found a way to make the entire climactic third act personal with Shang-Chi’s connection to Wenwu and his realization of who he is by embracing the light and dark within himself. And guess what? Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is one of the highest-rated superhero movies of all time.

So that’s it. That’s the secret sauce. If Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm can realize that their movies are best when their third acts are imbued with a personal touch there will always be a chance of getting a great movie.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ Reiterated Why ‘Shang-Chi’ Is So Important

This isn’t going to be a long, profound post about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ring‘s important impact on the AAPI community. It’s merely an observation piece, albeit a brief one, that had me seething last night.

In fact, it made me so angry I decided to write this post. And this is why.

Le Roi Arthur de Guy Ritchie, un divertissement à la (dé)mesure de la  légende – Le Cri du Troll

In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a movie with an expected predominantly White cast there is an Asian character named George. In a sequence where Arthur and his buddies are telling a very convoluted story to a ranked soldier they mention George in a very derogatory fashion, calling him “Kung Fu George.”

My sister and I gasped. Mind you, this is a movie that came out just four years ago and yet the writers elected to treat its only Asian character in a demeaning way. So what he ended up becoming one of the Knights of the Round Table. They still slipped in an unnecessary form of racism.

Marvel's Kevin Feige addresses China's 'Shang-Chi' concerns, Fu Manchu

Fast forward to now and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is dominating the box-office and is the highest-rated superhero movie among audiences on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98% score. A movie with a predominantly Asian cast and a story that never shrinks from highlighting the vibrant and fascinating cultures of the AAPI community.

I’ve read so many posts about why Shang-Chi is so important. And when you think about films like 2017’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword or 2016’s The Great Wall–a movie starring Matt Damon that portrayed him as the savior of China–you realize that yes, we have a long way to go in terms of inclusivity but it’s nice knowing that Shang-Chi and all of the accompanying characters in that film exist to wash away the stereotypes.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day.

The Latest Episode of ‘What If…?’ Had Me Like “WHAAAAAAT?!”

What If…? continues to surprise me on a weekly basis and this latest episode really took me for a spin.

It focuses on Killmonger and honestly, I thought this series would turn him into a hero. It didn’t. In fact, it solidified Killmonger’s stance as a villain…and I LOVED IT!

This episode surprised me at every turn and wow, was it entertaining. When it concluded I was like, “Wait, what?!”

As I always say, if you haven’t watched this series because you think it isn’t necessary or worth the time trust me, it’s just as good as everything Marvel Studios has been giving us over the years. In fact, it’s actually kind of brilliant.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a tremendous day.

Is Marvel Better than ‘Star Wars’?: Part 3

Over the past four days I have asked myself the question that is the title of this post. In the past two parts I have evalluated the soaring highs and depressing lows of each franchise. I have even shared my personal experiences with each franchise, providing greater insight into what Marvel and Star Wars means to me. But now the time has come. Which franchise is better?

*drum roll*

And the winner is…

Star Wars!

I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe with every fiber of my being. At face value, the MCU clearly defeats Star Wars just by its incredible achievement.

Over the span of four decades, Star Wars has provided us 11 movies and only maybe four of them can be considered by all to be great films.

Meanwhile, the MCU has provided 25 films in thirteen years and there are at least ten movies in the franchise that are favored warmly by the fandom.

However, even though the MCU is a far more cohesive story there’s nothing quite like Star Wars.

The level of iconicism that is Star Wars is staggering. It literally changed the world, permeating our very souls with its brilliance and inspiring generations of fans. Would the MCU even exist if there was no Star Wars? I don’t think so.

And personally, as much as I cherish the MCU and every moment of joy it has given me, it will still never match the level of euphoric exhilaration that Star Wars can give me.

Take this story for example.

I remember the indescribable feeling I had when The Force Awakens was coming out. I remember my father, the day before its premiere, taking us to our local movie theater early in the morning. It was a chilly grey morning and as we walked up to the theater doors and peeked inside I remember seeing this poster.

The feeling of unexplainable awe that washed over me in that moment is something I will never forget.

I also remember the day that I saw The Force Awakens teaser for the first time. My family and I had gone to Washington D.C. to see family for Thanksgiving and as we sat in our hotel room on the beautiful morning of Thanksgiving Eve, the teaser dropped.

My family and I piled onto the same bed and watched the teaser on our laptop and yes, my mind was blown. It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen. We watched it over and over again utterly astounded that yes, Star Wars was back.

It’s those little personal moments like that that makes Star Wars a franchise unlike any other. And even though the MCU will continue to grow and amaze us all on a yearly basis I assure you, my heart will skip a beat when The Book of Boba Fett trailer eventually drops.

There’s not a single upcoming MCU trailer that can get me that excited. Well, my heart might skip a beat when the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer drops in January. (Had to slip in that trailer prediction.) 😁

So yes, Star Wars still reigns supreme, no matter how much I complain.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

Is Marvel Better than ‘Star Wars’: Part 2?

A couple of days ago I wrote the first part of this 3-part series where I look deep within and determine which mega-franchise I love better, Marvel or Star Wars.

General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

In Part 1, I detailed the critic and audience reaction to each Star Wars film as well as my personal preference for each movie and the emotional rollercoaster that has been Star Wars for most of my life. As a Star Wars fan, it’s unfortunate to say that I’ve experienced more pain and depressing heartache with this franchise than unbridled joy and yet it is those bright spots–the lightsaber duels, the profound lessons that have actually helped me in my real life, the heroes and villains, and that incredible music–that keeps me invested in these stories.

Just look at my journey while watching The Bad Batch. Each week was a detailed account of my growing anger/disappointment with the series until by the end, I had given up caring about writing a weekly review for the show. And yet! I watched the whole thing. All sixteen episodes.

So yes, Star Wars may drive me batty sometimes but I am one of the most loyal fans that there is.

Now, Marvel Studios’ journey has been an entirely different ride altogether. It’s only been in the game for thirteen years but it has dominated a little over half of my life. I literally came of age with this franchise and these stories. My relationship with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is on a whole other level and I’m about to share my feelings of this franchise in great detail.

(This is a longread.)

Continue reading Is Marvel Better than ‘Star Wars’: Part 2?