Tag Archives: Kathryn Hahn

WandaVision (2021) TV Review

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Wandavision

Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Paul Bettany as Vision
Debra Jo Rupp as Sharon Davis
Fred Melamed as Todd Davis
Kathryn Hahn as Agnes
Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau
Randall Park as Jimmy Woo
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
Director: Matt Shakman

Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU, in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabet Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) – two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives – begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has started introducing their own TV shows exclusive to Disney+. However unlike some of their other shows like Agents of Shield and Agent Carter, they’ll be starring characters from the movies, some of them including The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Loki. The first of these shows to be released was WandaVision, which looked like a sitcom of sorts starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision. Admittedly I was doubtful about it, I was unsure about the look from the trailers, but it did at least seem to be trying something different from the past entries. Additionally, I still like the MCU even if I wasn’t as into it as I was pre-Endgame, so I knew either way I was going to watch it. Starting the show it actually turned out to be quite good. By the end, there are definitely some problems with it, but there’s enough good stuff here to make it worth watching.

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I’ll do my best to not reveal the plot for people who haven’t seen it. What I can say that the show at first starts off like a sitcom starring Wanda and Vision, like how it was advertised. One of the biggest surprises is that the sitcom stuff is actually good. Even though it does become something else a little later as certain reveals shed light on what is going on, the writing is strong, I could actually watch a full on sitcom with Wanda and Vision. If you watch the very early episodes and aren’t satisfied that you don’t know a semblance of what’s really going on and that’s becoming a problem for you, I recommend getting to episode 4. At that point it starts to really have a large explanation for what’s happening. I guess it was rather inevitable that it would get to that point, though it was starting to move away from what I liked early in the show. Nonetheless, I liked the approach and focus on the characters of Wanda and Vision throughout the whole show (particularly Wanda). The overall conclusion of the show is pretty much a standard MCU climax that you would expect from the movies. It doesn’t particularly do anything terrible but it’s a little disappointing as it finishes a little predictably and typically. I guess it was a fitting enough end to the story, if a bit predictable. None of my issues came because popular fan theories didn’t happen or that there weren’t lots of cameos (that disappointed some). With that said, there is a reveal earlier in the show which builds to literally nothing by the end of the season, and made it feel pointless. If you watch the show you’ll know what I’m talking about, I wasn’t a fan of that. In terms of other faults I have, each episode have credits that are like 7 minutes long, they were like movie credits length And because of the short length of most of the episodes, the end credits can sometimes be like a third of the runtime. Given the lengths of the episodes, the show seemed bingeable but it was released weekly so that was a bit of a problem. So the show cut to end credits popping up with “standing by” on the screen, it always gave a very frustrating feeling, with the length of the episode being even shorter than we thought it would be. Something that was frustrating was the sudden addition of mid/end credits scenes in roughly the last few episodes of the show. To suddenly to start with them in the later episodes is jarring and also annoying given that those scenes are actually important. In fact I try to imagine someone watching the show without watching the those credits scenes, and I’d imagine that I’d be out of the loop. I know that MCU is known for credits scenes but they could’ve handled it better in the show. I actually had to go back to the finale episode because it turns out that there wasn’t just a mid credits sequence (which I saw), but there was an end credits scene which I completely missed. These two annoyances aren’t show-breaking but they were some frustrations that stood out for me.

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Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are the leads and they are great in their parts. Wanda and Vision are characters that could’ve been handled better and better utilised in the movies, and WandaVision gives them the chance to really meet their fullest potentials, diving into their characters, and giving them strong moments. From comedy to drama, the two of them pull it off really well. The early episodes of the show are particularly the most fun I’ve seen Paul Bettany having in a movie. However this is definitely Elizabeth Olsen’s show, she really gets to shine here. With this and her soon to be appearance to Doctor Strange sequel, it shows that Wanda is going to have a more present role in the MCU. There is also a solid supporting cast as well. It includes Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau (playing the grown up daughter of Maria Rambeau from Captain Marvel), Randall Park returning as Jimmy Woo from Ant Man and the Wasp, as well as Kat Dennings returning as Darcy from the Thor movies, the three of them were good in their parts. There’s also a standout performance from Kathryn Hahn as a nosy neighbour to Wanda and Vision, who also steals pretty much every scene she’s in.

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All episodes of this show are directed by Matt Shakman, and he’s done a good job with it. I particularly liked the sitcom stuff and how it mimics some of the major sitcoms from each decade it explores, starting with the 50s and gradually making its way to the 2010s. This includes the use of black and white, aspect ratio changes, music and laugh tracks. Even the effects to show the powers of the leads are handled well in those older sitcom sequences. I also liked the more odd moments where you can tell that something is off, and cracks start appearing in the world that Wanda and Vision are currently in. It effectively gives an unnerving feeling, that’s unfortunately only in like the first half of the season. The visual effects are pretty good and are mostly on the level of the MCU movies. With that said, some of the visual effects in the last episode with the climax don’t look that great. However MCU movies effects are generally pretty decent, so as it’s a tv show it’s a little worse.

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WandaVision is a pretty good mini series, adding some unique aspects not really seen in the franchise beforehand, and I liked the performances of Olsen and Bettany and the handling of their characters. If you’re a fan of the MCU and haven’t watched it yet I do recommend it, the short length of the episodes makes it easy to speed through now. Even if it does fall back on familiar MCU territory as it goes on, it’s good to see it at least attempt different things. I am curious to see where the MCU goes next.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Shameik Moore as Miles Morales/Spider-Man
Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man
Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman
Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis
Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis
Lily Tomlin as May Parker
Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales
Zoë Kravitz as Mary Jane Watson
John Mulaney as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham
Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker/SP//dr
Nicolas Cage as Peter Parker/Spider-Man Noir
Kathryn Hahn as Olivia “Liv” Octavius/Doctor Octopus
Liev Schreiber as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Mile Morales (Shameik Moore) suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), he soon realizes that there are many others who shar his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin (Live Schrieber), a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.

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There had been an incredible amount of hype for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I personally didn’t know what to expect, all I knew that it was an animated Spider-Man written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and was being regarded as the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I wasn’t hugely hyped for the movie but hearing all the overwhelming acclaim from critics and fans alike made me really interested and seeing it, I can say that it absolutely delivered on every aspect.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s script was fantastic, the whole movie is entertaining from start to finish. The movie is hilarious, with great comedy throughout. At the same time, the movie also really works on an emotional level, its very heartfelt. If you’re a Spider-Man fan you are going to have a euphoric experience with this, there are so many references and Easter eggs here that you’ll recognise and love. That’s not to say that you need to be a big Spider-Man fan to love the movie, it still works reasonably well for a general movie goer, you just might love it a little more if you’re familiar with the comic books. Although the concepts of different worlds of Spider-Man colliding might sound ridiculous and convoluted on paper, it really isn’t. There are two credits scenes, both of them are worth sitting through the credits to see.

I’m not that familiar with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as a character, this was my real introduction to him and I think they did a great job at essentially giving him an origin story for him here. He’s also much lacking in experience compared to the other Spider-people and this movie is very much an origin story for him. The whole movie is about him coming into his own as Spider-Man, in a world where Spider-Man once existed and Spider-people in other universes exist. Jake Johnson was also a great Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man from a different universe compared to the one in Miles’s universe. Along with Miles Morales Spider-Man and Peter B. Parker Spider-Man, we also have Spiderwoman/Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man Noire (Nicolas Cage), all of them are great. We get to know about their general backstories but don’t get to spend as much times as we do with Miles, aside from him, Peter B. Parker is the one we get to know most. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with a movie with so many characters, there’s only so much that you could delve into these characters (not to mention we’ll probably get to see them in future Spider-Man animated movies, given that they are all Spider-people). Other supporting characters like Miles’s father (Brian Tyree Henry) and his uncle (Mahershala Ali) were also handled quite well in the story. I guess the weakest link in terms of major characters is Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber), who wasn’t bad by any means. On top of being powerful and menacing, he does have clear motivations but just didn’t feel as strong as a character compared to the others, although it doesn’t detract from the rest of the movie.

Into the Spider-Verse is not like any other animated movie I’ve seen before, even just for the animation style. This is just a stunning looking movie, and the action scenes and really everything that happens on screen is just so fluid and smooth. Another thing they did is that they do play with the fact that this is a comic book movie, whether it be split screens or speech bubbles, sometimes its for style, sometimes is for comedy. For this type of style of comic book movie, live action is not able to achieve what an animated movie can, and they definitely take advantage of the fact that this is an animated movie. I will admit that after watching the movie I had a bit of headache, though I can’t tell whether it was because of how I was feeling at the time or whether this type of animation caused it. I do think it is worth mentioning that for some, it will take some time to get used to the animation style.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an incredibly surprising movie, with a fantastic story and script, great characters and is just entertaining all round. It’s one of the best movies of 2018, the best comic book movie of 2018, one of the best comic book movies ever, and might actually be the best Spider-Man movie yet. Apparently there are more animated Spider-Man movies in the works and I am incredibly hyped for them. Even if you’re not super interested in this movie, check it out. If you’re a Spider-Man fan in the slightest, this is essential viewing.