The Incredible Hulk – (I finally found the MCU’s Hulk movie, Marvel don’t own it but the story is still connected to the MCU through Stark and Shield.) Banner is treating Hulk as a disease, he seeks a cure while being hunted by General Ross who aims to weaponise the Hulk mutation. There’s also an elite soldier who ends up mutating into Abomination as the real threat in the movie. When Hulk first comes out they cleverly don’t show too much of him so he seems like a monster. Hulk’s CGI looks better in this than the rest of the MCU, more veiny and scary looking, a savage looking beast to watch that doesn’t look polished. The same goes for the grey, boney freakish Abomination making the pair together look monstrous compared to everything in the MCU after. When the Hulk action happens it’s good to watch but as with many Hulk representations Banner is boring and brings the possible horror/action thrill ride down. The best thing is that Hulk is never the hero, he’s still a beast at the end which is right and explains his next appearance in Avengers nicely.
Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings – A movie about a normal Chinese American guy who has a hidden past as the child of a power hungry warrior that wields a magical artefact weapon. Full of martial arts style fighting which is very pleasing to watch, this movie follows Shang Chi as he journeys to a mystical village where he must stand against his father and stop him unleashing an ancient evil which is manipulating the man’s grief. I think the movie itself was pretty watchable with a plot that made sense but for once Marvel’s formula of inserting references and comedy harmed how good it really was, instead of a serious and interesting film, Shang Chi had unnecessary moments with mostly pointless characters and if they’d have been confident enough to make it more serious this could have been one of their greats. I also think it ran on too long but the acting and action were very good.
Eternals – A group of heroes created by a Celestial to protect the universe from monsters known as Deviants. Rip-off Superman, a strong man, a speedster, an element user, a telepath, an illusionist, a guy that’s like Green Lantern and an energy weapon warrior with some less notable powers all go together, starting off on Earth in Ancient Greece but living in modern day building up to a plot about a creation cycle with death, rebirth and sacrifice which is interesting to listen to as an idea but not exciting to watch. The characters have all developed their own ways of living, each having their own stories (including features of mental illness and deafness) and although there are some cool moments there’s too much lore and development needed for a single film to handle so this would have been better as a series with more run time. We get emotional moments that don’t matter to the viewers because we haven’t got to know the characters well enough, some of them are likeable or have strong personalities but they seem underdeveloped compared to what they could have been. The Eternals also feel a bit out of place given their lack of connection to the rest of the MCU to date. I’d watch it again if it’s on.
Spider-Man: No Way Home – A fun action flick following on from the events of Far From Home. We see Holland’s Spider-Man overcome public infamy as he and his friends face off against a group of powerful villains with the help of Dr Strange and a few other heroes that make an appearance. For a longer review click here.
Dr Strange Multiverse Of Madness – Dr Strange gets another film to his name where he faces off against a magical foe. A young woman arrives in Strange’s city being chased by an octopus monster forcing Strange and Wong to take it on, once they’ve done this they find out that the girl can travel through the multiverse. Strange realises that he needs help and seeks out Wanda Maximoff for help, only to learn that she has become the powerful Scarlet Witch who would stop at nothing to get what she wants, possibly even destroying the universe. We have a hero, a villain and the requirement for plenty of over the top action that ends up being disappointingly bad. Where we should have had a fun romp following Strange through different universes as he tries to get home, we instead get a movie that focuses way too much on the villain as it’s not really a movie about Dr Strange. Add in a lot of wasted characters and some missing plot about Mordo wanting to kill Strange then we get two hours of wasted potential. It tried to do too much, dipping into different genres and suffered for it. I’m not likely to watch this one again. On the upside it did open up the MCU to Marvel’s other supergroups.
Thor: Love And Thunder – The MCU’s powerhouse gets his fourth outing where he faces off against a god hunting foe with a desire for destruction. Gorr The God Butcher is brilliantly played by Christian Bale who’s creepy act combines a great villain idea with nice graphical effects to make something that really stands out. We get the return of Jane Foster, she has her own story which should be quite emotional as only the strength of Thor makes her feel better. There’s also Hemsworth’s Norse god himself bringing the charm to the character that viewers have loved for years now. Add in a powerful Guns ‘N’ Roses packed soundtrack and there’s a recipe for something truly epic. However the movie never hits right as it has the content for an amazing god trilogy crammed into less than two hours. Where people blame the director, I blame the MCU structure that won’t allow for fantastic multi-film stories focused on a single character. Love And Thunder is good enough fun to sit through but it’s disappointing that we didn’t get so much more. The credit scene sets up a possible villain that will also likely be wasted because of the MCU formula.