Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review: Sam Raimi’s Horror Style Works Well in the MCU.

Despite it not being among my favourite MCU films, I still have fond memories of watching the first Dr Strange, so I was excited to see the sequel.
Directed by Sam Raimi, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees the titular hero sorcerer, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, become the protector of a teenage girl named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the ability to traverse the Multiverse.
Pursued by various monsters from other dimensions, Strange and the Sorceror Supreme, Wong (Benedict Wong), seek the help of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), her story continuing from WandaVision. 
I have heard some say that Wanda’s story in this film does not match her’s from the show but, having never seen WandaVision, I cannot attest to whether or not this is the case.
What I can attest to is that those who have not seen WandaVision will still be able to understand what is going on with her story, since I could understand it despite not having seen the show. 

I quite enjoyed Wanda’s arc in this movie, though I have heard some who have seen WandaVision may have mixed feelings.

Back to the film as a whole, I quite enjoyed Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It certainly has its issues but I found a lot of it to be quite good, especially the character writing for Strange.
His character arc in this movie is great and pairs off well with the wacky direction of Raimi, whose depiction of the Multiverse results in numerous interesting locations and new characters, some of which you will recognize from other franchises.
Another part of Raimi’s direction that goes well with this story, for the most part, is his skill in horror.

The horror moments of Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are quite effective, at times.

Raimi is the director of the Evil Dead, after all, and you can definitley see homages to that film in this movie.
These homages often work out well, with one gruesome and creative twist in the third act being very enjoyable to watch play out.

However, there were certain times this horror style did not work for me, like one jump scare that was so overplayed to the point that it broke my immersion.
Another criticism I have is that I felt like the pacing was a little off at times, with a few scenes that needed just a little more room to breathe.

I do feel that some scenes, although impactful, went a little fast

As for the post-credits scenes, the first one we get really proved to me that I’m going to have to start looking up every teased new character in MCU films going forward because I often have no idea who these new characters are.
That’s not a criticism, though, just an observation.
Overall, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is another fun film in the MCU.
It has great character arcs for Dr Strange and Wanda (unless you think her arc does not match Wandavision), and Sam Raimi’s horror style works well with the Multiverse.
It will be interesting to see how the MCU follows up on these alternate universes going forward.   

Spider-Man: No Way Home Review: A Nostalgia Film Done Right.

I quite enjoyed the first two MCU Spider-Man films.
Homecoming was a great example of a more grounded MCU film, with a fantastic antagonist, and while I did not like Far From Home as much as the first, I still thought it did a great job continuing the story of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
Well, after seeing the third film, No Way Home, I can say that this one is easily the best movie of the three. 

I thought it would be hard to top Homecoming but No Way Home did it in spectacular fashion.

Directed again by Jon Watts, No Way Home follows the events of Far From Home where Peter’s identity as Spider-Man was revealed to the world in a final act of vengeance by Mysterio.
With a conspiracy theory based witch hunt now invading every part of his life, spearheaded by J. Jonah Jameson (J.K Simmons), Peters goes to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to request that he erase everyone’s memories of him being Spider-Man.
However, when Peter begins to add conditions to the spell, wanting M.J (Zendaya), Ned (Jacob Batalon), and his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) to remember, it causes the spell to go haywire and draw in any villain who knows Spider-Man’s secret identity from other universes.
Peter quickly finds himself under attack from these villains, most notably Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and Otto Octavius’ Dr Octopus (Alfred Molina).

There are many old Spider-Man villains in No Way Home but Dr Octopus and the Green Goblin are by far the standouts with great performances from the returning actors.

And so Peter and Dr Strange must capture these numerous villains and send them back to their own universes before they cause too much chaos in their own, only for conflict between the two heroes to quickly follow. 
With so many villains from previous Spider-Man films being in this movie, it would have been extremely easy for this film to just devolve into mindless nostalgia with no intelligence.
However, I think that No Way Home is a perfect example of a nostalgia film done right.
There are numerous quotes from the earlier films, including memes created from them, and these somehow work entirely.
What works even better is Tom Holland’s fantastic performance as Peter.
I have liked him in the role in the previous MCU movies but his performance in No Way Home is definitley his best so far.

Peter goes through a lot and grows a lot in this movie.

This film is essentially the end of the Spider-Man origin we did not know this trilogy was.
I would even call it one of the best MCU films, with it definitely being in my top ten, if not my top five.       
No Way Home is the perfect example of how to do a film with nostalgia as a major focus.
December was a great release date for it because the movie’s numerous great callbacks and easter eggs make it feel like a Christmas present for Spider-Man fans.
Speaking of which, be sure to have a Merry Christmas. 

Avengers: Endgame, Review. Earns Every Minute of its Three Hour Runtime.

5 stars
When I heard Avengers: Endgame was going to be three hours long I was very concerned.
Not only about how I would sit through the entire thing without a toilet break, but also about how the film could drag due to this runtime.
Well, while watching Endgame I was overjoyed to find that, not only could my bladder hold, but also that the film earns every minute of its three hours.
In all honesty, the movie does not even feel three hours long.
Endgame is so investing that at no point does it drag, despite its long runtime, which is a huge achievement.
Directed by the Russo Brothers, the film picks up after the events of Avengers: Infinity War where Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers and wiped out half of all life in the universe.
The Avengers must then unite to find a way to stop Thanos and undo everyone’s deaths.
To say anything more of the plot, would be to spoil so many of Endgame’s amazing twists and turns.

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The story of Avengers: Endgame offers so many explosive moments, especially in its glorious final hour. 

For the most part the trailers only show the first half hour of the film, leaving me completely clueless as what was going to happen next, which made the experience even better.
So many movies spoil their big twists in trailers these days that it was a wonderful change of pace to have absolutely no idea what was coming.
This is made even more wonderful by how brilliant Endgame is with its story, characters, and action sequences.
The story brought out so many emotions in me.
I honestly cried at least five times during this film, both out of joy and sadness.
I think the last time I cried this much when watching a film was Logan, which was my favourite film of 2017.
Well, Endgame is certainly looking primed to take the top spot in 2019 for all its brilliance.
The characters themselves are a part of this brilliance, with many of their arcs being complete perfection.
My favourite characters of the film would have to be Tony Stark’ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers’ Captain America (Chris Evan), Clint Barton’s Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and surprisingly Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Tony is by far the standout though, with him providing a lot of the film’s emotional heart.

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Tony Stark is the heart and soul of this film, with Robert Downey Jr. turning in what has to be his best performance as the character.

Then there is the action, which is also stellar.
The final action sequence alone is one of the greatest final hours of any film I have ever seen.
It is absolute brilliance.
Sure, a lot of it is fan service, but it is earned fan service.
Every single part of Endgame is earned, especially that final bombastic hour.
Even the slower moments of the film are great, with so much amazing character development shown as our heroes deal with the aftermath of Thanos’ snap.
Speaking of the big guy, Thanos continues to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best villain.
He is not the main character of the film, like he is in Infinity War, but his presence it still massively felt.

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Josh Brolin is once again incredibly intimidating as the Mad Titan, who is the MCU’s best villain.

Overall, any problems I do have are relatively minor.
At the end of the film there appears to be a retcon to rules established earlier in the film, but this retcon is more than earned so it does not really matter.
Then there is Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who I actually found myself disliking in this film because she is very stuck up and arrogant.
This would not have been a problem if this had been the start of her character arc, with her growing to learn that she needs the Avengers’ help, but she does not change at all.
Still, Captain Marvel is only a minor part of Endgame so my dislike of her here does not change my feelings about the film.
Avengers: Endgame is the true culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being its best film with the way it delivers excitement, intensity and emotion.
It is breaking so many records at the box office right now that it has me wondering if it might beat James Cameron’s Avatar, becoming the highest grossing film of all time.
I hope the film does because it has more than earned it.