In Review: Black Widow

At long last, this? The latest Marvel offering finds the titan of franchises folding in on itself, looking backwards with a floundering lack of ideas for one of its most popular icons. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, after arriving in Iron Man 2 to become one of the original Avengers, is finally the star of her own standalone film. One that sadly cannot measure up to the wait. Like a reheated Bourne film with its visual identity zapped like nutrients from a meal in a microwave, this entry features some of the most popular cinematic world’s stalest tropes and characterizations. The assembly reeks of half-heartedness, a complacency for what will merely suffice instead of what will enrich and best suit the character. After waiting a decade for Black Widow to have her own movie, we are served one that could basically belong to anyone.

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In Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and The Wasp is a return to delightful form for Marvel’s oddly dismissed micro-macro-superhero, reassembling the crew from 2015’s joyful original that was still plagued with behind the scenes turnover. The smooth sailing this time makes for a breezy ride of simple pleasures, particularly in contrast to the high-stakes of the summer’s Avengers: Infinity War extravaganza of grimness. Ant-Man and his cohorts were conspicuously missing from those events, explained here by a house arrest sentence after he took part in the mishegoss of Captain America: Civil War.

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In Review!: “Doctor Strange”

Doctor Strange is about the kookiest, gleefully… well, strange film that Marvel has yet delivered to the masses. But while its dizzying visuals and doofy world-making delight in their abandon, its stylistic risks are somewhat dampened by not stepping a single toe outside the Marvel origin formula. Here The Ancient One isn’t just Tilda Swinton’s whitewashed character, it’s also the age-old narrative blueprint.

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Yes, Strange is exactly the superhero origin story you have long since tired of being retold. Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an ego-maniacal surgeon whose prowess is defeated by his own hubris and pride. His path to redemption goes builds across an inter-dimensional mystic battle as he gains time-bending and globe-trotting gifts with the help of Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s sidekick Mordo. Cut and paste a few minor details and you know exactly what this thing is going to throw at you.

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