‘Titans’ Season 4: Review

DC’s latest entry is the return of HBO Max Series Titans for its fourth season.

Titans Season 4 suffers from the same problems as the past seasons. Good ideas, ultimately being held back by Lackluster execution.

Lacking Focus

The real mystery of this season seems to be a mystery for the writers themselves. The writers throw a bunch of scattered ideas at the wall, all with potential alone, however, having all these ideas simultaneously running ultimately leads to a muddy plot with no true focus. They try murder mystery; They try body horror; they try the group dynamic between the team members. Some of them stick, but most don’t. It’s because the writers shift from one plot point to another so quickly that they don’t focus on one of the above mentioned aspects to give the season a beating heart.

The dialogues feel so generic that they seemed to be written on the spot rather than carefully planned. The dialogue neither elevates the drama between the characters nor helps the narrative. What it does do well however, is expose the predictability of the plot. The performances, however, continue to carry this show. Brenton Thwaites is stellar as Dick Grayson. The guy seems to be enjoying the role and is all for it. Be it tender emotional moments or the gritty action sequences; he makes the going easy. Teagan Croft as Raven is terrific. Her performance is subtle and powerful, now incorporating aspects of the more popular Raven from Teen Titans Go, but it still retains her impression on the character. Anna Diop as Starfire is so good that I wished the show gave her enough material to work on rather than relegating her to the sidelines and using only her for action sequences which is such a shame because her character and the actor herself have a lot of untapped potentials that the show is yet to use.

Villains

In terms of villains they do Lex Luthor extremely dirty in this show. Which annoyingly the showrunners have a habit of doing by, under utillising famous villains from the DC comics roster in an underwhelming manner. They did that with Trigon in Season 1, Scarecrow in Season 3 and Lex Luthor in season 4. It’s so annoying at this point. The story’s flow is too fast in the first two episodes and gets slowed down in the next three episodes, which feels haphazard and uneven throughout the narrative. I was excited at the prospect of a murder mystery thread in the first two episodes, or at least up to the second half of the second episode. But it gets quickly diluted very quickly. The Cult subplot in the first three episodes is highly predictable and mostly underwhelming. There are flashes of brilliance here and there, like the scenes between Jinx and the team, adding fun and a much-needed taste of the team dynamic that the show should focus on.

The show is so obsessed with splitting Titans into subgroups the whole time that when they come together they don’t feel like a team instead they feel like a cluster of individuals joined together. There’s an exciting cliffhanger which is a great word, by the way, but there is a good setup for the sixth episode, but the way the narrative has been going on, I can only hope that the show doesn’t underwhelm me further. At least the CGI is decent, unlike the show’s writing which stumbles big time in the execution of its subplots and fleshing out the character arcs. The CGI makes the action sequences look cool. The creatures and animals look pretty decent in the show. The show’s major Achilles heel is that I never get to root emotionally for any of these characters after all this time. It’s been four and a half seasons. But no, not even one character. Then why am I watching? I am just habituated to watching this show. I also care in the hope that maybe it’ll get better.

Final Thoughts

I just wished this show had solid writing to get emotionally invested in the characters and the narrative. But going by the first five episodes, the writers are hell-bent on repeating their mistakes and expecting different results. Apart from the performances and the CGI, the season so far doesn’t have much to boast about and ends up squandering the potential of its source material.

Pros: • Decent CGI • Performances • Potential

Cons: • Haphazard Narrative • Lack of emotional connection • Generic Dialogues. • Messing up iconic villains • Unfocused at times Beta-Thoughts: The writing is at major fault here

Titans Season 4 Starts Streaming Exclusively on HBO Max this Thursday November 3!

‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Review: Wicked Fun

The Sanderson Sisters finally return to Salem 29 years later and their as wicked as ever!

It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they are looking for revenge. Now it is up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve. “Hocus Pocus 2” also stars Sam Richardson (“The Tomorrow War”), Doug Jones (“The Shape of Water”), Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”), Whitney Peak (“Gossip Girl”), Belisa Escobedo (“American Horror Stories”), Lilia Buckingham (“Dirt”), Froyan Gutierrez (“Teen Wolf”), and Tony Hale (“Veep”). The film is produced by Lynn Harris (“King Richard,” “The Shallows”), with Ralph Winter (“Hocus Pocus,” “X-Men” franchise), David Kirschner (“Hocus Pocus,” “Chucky”), and Adam Shankman (“Disenchanted,” “Hairspray”) serving as executive producers.

Hocus Pocus too?

I had a really good time watching this movie just like its predecessor. It’s entertaining throughout the duration and never felt like chore. The Humor in the film was really well done, Slap Stick humor worked thanks to the timing of the Sanderson sisters played by the original trio of Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Nijamy. They are undoubtedly the heart of this franchise and what make it so spectacularly fun. The fish out of water comedy is bang on the target. The new cast were all also quite good, no beat was really missing there. The witches’ Backstory was well done, although I do wish that was explored more. But the additions to the lore were great. I mean it gives another dimension to the characters we’ve seen in the original which drives the point that they are more than ladies who scare the crap out of kids.

(L-R): Whitney Peak as Becca, Lilia Buckingham as Cassie, and Belissa Escobedo as Izzy in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Climax

The climax had a lot of surprises too. The ending was able to extract something from me that I didn’t expect. It was emotional. Frankly, I didn’t expect an emotional ending having watched the original. But this is refreshing. The teen actors did their best with what they were given. I mean I wouldn’t mind another installment with these actors at the centre. Provided the trio returned too, that’s very important ain’t it? Other than that Climax, It’s largely predictable and generic. If you watched the first part, you’d exactly know how this movie will go forward narrative-wise. If not for the backstory and the climax. The film doesn’t offer anything new apart from the easter eggs and connection to the first part, it’s largely a generic tale. Other than the iconic trio, no characters registered with me. The film accounts for this by cleverly focusing mostly on the trio. When there are scenes without them, the narrative fizzles out when it tries to flesh out the new characters and their dynamics. It felt forced and lackluster.

ALSO READ: ANDOR REVIEW“The shot in the arm Star Wars needed!”

(L-R): Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Hocus Pocus 2 is an entertaining watch and your levels of enjoyment may depend on what you thought about the original movie. If you liked the elements in the first part. You’d enjoy this one. I liked the musicals in this film too, but they were a little step-down when compared to the original movie. Not necessarily a bad thing but I wanted to point that out. The dialogues were cookie clutter. I mean I don’t have a problem with thou shalt and thy. It’s the other dialogues which like the narrative were generic. They bog down the narrative further in teen portions. The teen portions serve as a plot device for the witches. Rather than these characters having proper arcs, they served the plot rather than existing on their own.

It’s Halloween Time, Witches!

Pros: • Performances • Witches’ backstory • Climax • Humour Beta-Cons: • Predictable Narrative • Cookie Clutter dialogues • Teen portions Beta-Thoughts: Teen portions could have been more engaging

Check out Hocus Pocus 2 only on Disney Plus September 30!

‘Andor’ Season 1 Review: The Shot in The Arm Star Wars Needed

Star Wars returns after a series of back to back dissapointments in The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, with their latest series Andor, a prequel to arguably the best Star Wars film under Disney, Rogue One. With Andor the franchise delivers a Star Wars like never before, one with a grey area, one where the Rebellion isn’t only the light side and the Empire isn’t only the Dark Side. They are both complex real forces with real people involved. The Rebellion is working against an Empire from freedom, so naturally hard decisions and actions are needed to be taken. It’s not as simple as being the good guy, they need people in the morally grey area to succeed, people who are willing to kill. People who are willing to do anything for this rebellion. Andor delivers the first Star Wars project which feels adult, where people make the necessary decisions for success, and at the same time are limited by their beliefs and mental strength.

Andor explores a new perspective from the  Star Wars galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It’s an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero.

(L-R): Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Prequel?

Yes, you heard that right a PREQUEL. The term “prequel” holds a great place in the heart of every Star Wars fan, a word that inspires years of trauma to even the slightest mention. The Star Wars prequels are. without a doubt the most well known prequels to date. They have been hated by old fans of the franchise for decades, while they are the definition of ‘Star Wars’ to younger fans. Even if you didn’t hate the prequels, you’ve experienced years of hate for them from others, especially if you loved them. I really appreciate the prequels, with Episode 3 “Revenge of the Sith” tied as my favorite Star Wars film with Episode 5 “Empire Strikes Back”. Even with all this hatred and trauma associated with prequels and Star Wars, there was one Star Wars project that was able to bring fans of the prequels and fans of the original trilogy together. This was 2016’s Rogue One, a project where the War of the Empire VS The Rebellion, actually felt like a war. One of the stand out characters from the film was Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, a skilled spy and assassin, working for The Rebellion. His character is summarized by this quote from Rogue One:

Everything I did, I did for the Rebellion. And every time I walked away from something I wanted to forget, I told myself it was for a cause I believed in. A cause that was worth it. Without that, we’re lost. Everything we’ve done would have been for nothing. I couldn’t face myself if I gave up now.

Andor vows to accompany Jyn Erso to Scarif in Rogue One

Rogue One was the film that first introduced that gray area to Star Wars and was universally loved, due to its great line-up of real complex characters. So to return to that side of Star Wars, always sounded like a treat to me. It always surprised me why people questioned why the Andor series was being made. Every project is made for the same reason, to make money. But what was truly interesting about Andor, was that another season was already green-lit during production for Season 1, and the season has already begun filming. So clearly this was more than just acash grab, especially with Andor not being a mainstrem character. It shows great confidence in a script, in an actor and in a show-runner to have a series for a second/third tier character in a universe of iconic characters to be green-lit for more seasons, even before the first 1 is done being made. Andor magnificently delivers on those expectations and more, the format it presents should be studied by Disney to note for future Marvel and Star Wars series on Disney Plus. The short 6 episode format has damaged each series that used it and has proven that it will not work. To keep fans excited, these big franchises need these shows which focus on characters, without cameos and easter eggs, that don’t rely on VFX, and present a story which is universal, relatable.

(L-R): Kravas (Lee Boardman), Verlo (Stephen Wight), hostess (Margaret Clunie), bartender (Caroline Green) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in a scene from Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

ALSO READ: SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW REVIEW

A new chapter for Star Wars and Disney Plus

Andor delivers a new stepping stone for Star Wars and for the rest of Disney Plus. This is by far the greatest thing to come out of Disney Plus to date. It is a show which isn’t afraid to tread in to darker territories, it is a show which is beautiful to watch, it is a show which makes you feel for every character, where no character is purely evil and neither purely good. Andor is a show with complexity, with drama, where the characters aren’t perfect, where they cause problems for themselves due to their own imperfections. It explores their mentality and deeply explores the lives of refugees and in contrast with big organizations and countries. It almost feels too good to be true for a Disney+ show. A smaller story about a common thief from a misrepresented minority, in the Star Wars universe, who is forced to go on the run, rethink his life and reimagine himself as a force for the Rebels.

(L-R): Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Maarva (Fiona Shaw) and B2EMO in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The Empire vs The Rebel Alliance

You will not only feel for Cassian and The Rebellion, but you’ll also find yourself rooting for The Empire. The show makes Cassian’s motivations feel as valid as the motivations of his counterparts in The Empire, with wonderful characters like Kyle Soller’s Syril Karn. Soller delivers a brilliant perfomance as Syril Karn which makes you both feel for him and agree with him, even though he is going out of his way to take out our hero. So the real villain in the series isn’t really, at least in the first 4 episodes The Empire, but rather Cassian’s own imperfections, it is through his own decisions that he gets himself into the eye of The Empire. The show’s focus isn’t Empire VS Rebellion, it is a comparison of the motivations and decisions made by individuals in both groups and how that defined The Rebellion. It reminds you that these characters are real people in their universe and have their own hopes, dreams and lives.

Another thing that differentiates Andor from anything Star Wras or Disney Plus is its reliance on story and heart to capture its audience rather than to use the aid of easter eggs and cameos, which have only served to ruin previous Star Wars shows on Disney+. The world of Andor seems lived in, every character we meet feels like they have their own interesting life that they live in the universe. It doesn’t make you feel dry and unfulfilled. You can accertain each character’s impact on Cassian’s life and future impact they may have. But it doesn’t only make feel interested in that aspect of those characters, it also makes you feel compelled to learn about their lives and how they handle their problems.

(L-R): Eedy Karn (Kathryn Hunter) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Just What Star Wars Needed

In a time where Star Wars seems to be directionless, with 2 big failures and no theatrical project in sight, comes Andor. Arguably the best of Star Wars we’ve seen in decades. Andor is the shot in the arm the Star Wars franchise needed. From its first few minutes it just feels like a different kind of show, with a much darker tone, to any other Disney+ series. The struggle and the stakes are a lot more adult and feel a lot more real. It feels more like Blade Runner than Star Wars at times, but still gets back to its roots and delivers magnificent performances and compelling storylines. I have watched the first 4 episodes in and it is already the best of Disney+ for me. The difference in quality is so vivid. The character’s journey and stakes are what keep you interested. No reliance on cameos, fan-service or action. More thrill and stakes are provided just through brilliant writing. Content like Andor is what is going to keep Star Wars alive and Disney Plus alive, things which are different and divert from what we expect to provide character studys in these massive franchises is what can be the trump card to keeping fans interested.

STAR WARS IS BACK!!!

Andor Starts Streaming on Disney+ tomorrow with a 3-episode premiere.

‘Cars on the Road’: Disney+ Day review

Our first Disney+ day review is for the return of one of Pixar’s biggest franchise with Cars on the Road. The Fun nine episode serialized shorts serve as a great companion to the greater franchise.

Returning to the world of Cars

The good thing about Cars on the Road is that the creators try something new and different with every episode. The signature Pixar quality is ever-present and the effort put into each episode visible and appreciable. I loved the scary house episode and the shining references made me laugh so hard. This show is genuine fun for the entire family. I also liked the way the creators integrated new elements into this universe which existed in cohesion with the existing characters without sticking out like a sore thumb which is generally the case, but not here.

© 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

There are so many pop culture references in this show which are so nicely done. “I get that reference” was my reaction. I simply couldn’t help but adore this series. I think kids will enjoy this show more. It’s so light-hearted and joyous to watch. The animation by Pixar is as always a master stroke, I mean they are one of the best in the business. Not only the writers but also the animators were pushing hard beyond the boundaries to deliver something new to audiences like me.

ALSO READ: SHE-HULK EPISODE 1-4 REVIEW

© 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

As expected from the 2 Cars veterans the voice acting was always on point. I mean Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy are already iconic as Lighting McQueen and Mater respectively. They are consistent with their performances from the original trilogy. The new cast including Quinta Brunson as Ivy and others did a fab job too. The fun they had while recording lines translated so well into the show.

© 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Anthology?

On the flip side, the show felt like an anthology of shorts. There was an overarching idea connecting them all. But most of the episodes weren’t that connected, especially the first 3-4 episodes. I also felt that there was potential to expand on the character dynamic and the genres they were attempting had the episodes been a bit longer say 23-24 minutes. It would have added more depth to the proceedings.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Cars on the road is a breezy watch which I would recommend definitely to have some good time.

Pros: • Animation • Characters • Trying Something unique with every episode • Voice Acting

Cons: • Episodes feel disconnected at times • Lack of depth to the proceedings

Thoughts: 20-25 minutes episode duration would have worked wonders

Cars on the Road starts Streaming on Disney Plus Tomorrow, as a part of the Disney+ day Premieres!

Moon Knight Season 2 hinted by Oscar Isaac’s Stunt Double

Moon Knight has been one of Marvel Studios’ most successful and most critically acclaimed Disney Plus shows, second to only Loki in its total viewership. Fans instantly fell in love with Steven Grant, Marc Spector, Layla EL Faouly and Khonshu, sit seemed like a Season 2 announcement was inevitable. However, 4 month shave now passed and there is still no word on a potential second season or spin-off.

Oscar Isaac’s Stunt Double in Cairo Teasing Moon Knight Season 2

A few weeks ago Oscar Isaac and Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab teased fans by saying that a Season 2 was in the works through a TikTok video from the 2 in Cairo. Now Oscar Isaac’s stunt double on the series Daren Nop, who also happens to be in Cairo right now, has done the same and teased production for Season 2.

ALSO READ: MOON KNIGHT SEASON 1’s KANG THE CONQUEROR CONNECTION

In this picture Daren stands between ancient Egyptian ruins with markings, similar to those seen in Moon Knight and titles the story “Where are you Khonsu? We have to make the season 2 bro”. This is a clear tease to fans for Season 2. On it’s own this picture may not seem like much but given the fact that both Oscar and Mohamed Diab are also in Cairo at the same time as Daren, the stunt performer. It becomes very suspicious as to what may be in the work in regards to a potential Season 2 for the series.

Announcement Soon?

At the same time there have been many rumors from credible sources stating that Season2 is indeed happening. So it starts to feel more and more likely that a potential Season 2 or maybe even a Layla El Faouly spin-off starring May Calamawy may be in the works. The new season already has a very intriguing set-up with Season 1 ending off with the confirmation of Jake Lockley’s existence, and with Marc and Steven thinking they were in full control. Jake Lockley was seen still working for Khonshu and in the last moments of the series shot Arthur Harrow. We could get an announced at this years D23 expo Marvel Studios presentation on September 10th, at 10 AM PT. So it is possible we may not have to wait too long for a Season 2, and if a Season 2 doesn’t happen there’s always the Werewolf By Night project, Blade or a Midnight Sons project for Moon Knight to appear in.

Watch Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight on Disney Plus right now and catch Blade exclusively in theaters November 3, 2023.

ALSO READ: Moon Knight Season 1 Review

Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

She-Hulk is one of Marvel Studios’ most highly anticipated upcoming Disney+ series now officially set to premiere on Disney Plus on August 17th, featuring Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters. The series was first announced back at the 2019 D23 Expo by Kevin Feige. Shortly after during the 2020 Disney Investor Day, Feige announced that Tatiana Maslany would be playing the titular role of Jennifer Walters, with Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as Hulk and Tim Roth reprising his role as The Abomination and Charlie Cox reprising his role as Daredevil.

Now add Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze to that list of appearances!

In the latest Featurette for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law released by Entertainment Today a poster can be spotted in the background for one Johnny Blaze, the first ghost rider in the comics.

Previously portrayed by Nicholas Cage in 2007’s Ghost Rider and 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt performer, and entertainer turned Spirit of Vengeance. He was the son of famed stuntman Barton Blaze who tragically died during a stunt. He became bound to Zarathos the Spirit of Vengeance after making a deal with the DemonMephisto to spare the life of his surrogate father Crash Simpson.[20] Now with the power to control Hellfire and to inflict pain on those he deemed evil with his Penance Stare, Blaze seeks vengeance riding his Hell Cycle as the Ghost Rider.

Fans have long been campaigning for Ghost Rider’s introduction to the MCU. With Norman Reedus and Gabriel Luna both being highly rumored to join the MCU as Johnny Storm and Robby Reyes. So this would be a great opportunity to introduce the character to the MCU.

Possible Johnny Blaze appearance?

So this begs the question, could the infamous Johnny Blaze be making his MCU debut in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The series is already stacked full of cameos from Wong, to Frogman, to Daredevil. So another big cameo like the appearance of Johnny Blaze is not totally out of question. A full ghost rider suit up from the character is still highly unlikely. Fans have been

Who knows who will show up but it’s sure to be a blast! She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Starts Streaming on Disney Plus August 17th.

Also Check Out: Tim Roth’s Enormous Praise for She-Hulk and the cast.

‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season 3 Review

Firstly, I would like to thank Netflix for making this review possible by allowing myself to watch the entire third season early.

Once you start watching the season you’ll see that it continues from directly where we left off and is extremely fast paced for the start of a new season. We see what The Umbrella Academy could do when going up against someone or some team that can fight as well if not better than them. Snippets of The Sparrow Academy’s powers and their strengths are showed. It’s extremely fascinating how they take on a team vs team fight for the first time in the series and it does not disappoint.

Emotional Weight

Moving on, the action dies down a bit. This season is different from the others it has a real emotional look and tells a certain characters struggle with the effects of saving the word 2 times after a few days of one another, we start to see certain cracks form which take hold of these characters and really defines them in this season. The acting is brilliant throughout, But the clear standout this season is Robert Sheehan (Klaus) he really steals the show with his acting. There are some heart warming moments, and there are some moments where we found ourselves laughing so hard at the character! The other stand out star in this is Emmy Raver-Lampman (Alisson) we see this certain character stand out at a certain point of this series and really see a new side to them.

A Super-powered Season

The soundtrack this time around is one of the best I have heard and what else can we expect from Gerard Way at the helm, there are certain songs that play and you wouldn’t think they would be involved in a “comic book” series but there are some moments that are touches you and the music is just perfect, the music that plays during the action moments gets your heart pumping and ready to fight.

This season as a whole is the best yet, there are moments that you do not expect and takes you on a real rollercoaster of emotions at one point I wanted to throw something, it even answers a life long question we fans have been asking and that is only in episode 1. There are some fantastic call backs from previous seasons, it was a great show to watch and really left us wanting more when it ended.

Final Verdict

My overall verdict is that this season is one that you will love more than others with its humour and sly meta references, this series is one for the ages and it will be hailed as the best season to date and will leave fans with questions but also will want them wanting more as soon as the final credits roll. Everyone has turned the dial up to 10 as for me I have enjoyed this season the most from the previous Two seasons.

Ms.Marvel Review: Kamal!

This is a Non-Spoiler Review for Marvel Studios’ Ms.Marvel the live-action adaptation of one of Marvel’s most popular recent comic-book characters. I would like to thank Disney for providing access to the first 2 episodes of the series which made this review possible. Kamal is an Urdu word which means wonderful or amazing and it really works perfectly in summarizing my thoughts on the series and Iman Vellani’s perfect performance as the character. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a spectacle.

(L-R): Rish Shah as Kamran and Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Ms.Marvel or Kamala Khan also happens to be Muslim and Pakistani. So for someone like me who also happens to be both those things, the promise of this series brought about both great excitement and fear. The fear of it all really just stems from how poorly Pakistanis, Muslims and South Asians have previously been represented in Hollywood. Yes, sure the creative team is Pakistani but is that really enough to overcome decades of poor representation? After watching the first 2 episodes I can gladly say, Yes! This really does authentically capture the feeling of living in a Pakistani household. Obviously, it’s not perfect but it surely is a big step up from previous South Asian and Muslim characters in Hollywood. Even the MCU itself has been guilty of misrepresentation and stereotyping, with the only Muslim characters previously seen in the franchise being Terrorists all the way back in Iron Man (2008) and the South Asian character being nothing Karun in Eternals (2021) who himself was nothing more than a side-joke.

Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Fun, Fun and more Fun!

Every time a new Marvel series comes out the same statement “nothing like we’ve seen before in the MCU” is used, fans online may disagree but this statement is entirely true, because none of the MCU shows have been similar to the other. They’ve all brought in a new flavor to the universe, be it the weird sci-fi multiverse aspects in Loki or the sitcoms in WandaVision or the exploration into mental health with Moon Knight. So what is Ms.Marvel‘s new flavor? The flavor of fun, which instantly gets you excited for the future of the MCU, also reminding you of everything that has happened previously in the universe. Even though it doesn’t have any returning MCU characters, other than a familiar DODC agent in the post credits of the first episode, Ms.Marvel feels the most connected to everything we’ve seen in the MCU till now. The series also makes great use of cartoons, street art, and thought bubbles, adding a great new dimension of the series. Which not only makes everything more enjoyable to watch, but also gives you a look into the fantasies in Kamala’s mind, resulting in the series feeling more like it’s comic-book counterpart.

(L-R): Mohan Kapur as Yusuf, Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Saagar Shaikh as Aamir, and Nimra Bucha as Najma in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Family

One of the things I was most excited to see was how the Pakistani family household would feel. Would it feel stereotypical, oppressive and lifeless, like Hollywood would have you believe, or would it be the full of life and real family that I see at home everyday. I’m very happy to say that it does very much feel like a real Pakistani Muslim family. Be it Aamir reciting Ayat U-Kursi (verses of the Quran) in the morning, her Dad’s unfunny jokes, reciting Bismillah before her driving test or the 100s of random decorations sprinkled throughout the house, this feels like a Khan household. The use of classical and modern Pakistani Music also goes a long way to make it all feel very authentic. Mohan Kapur and Zenobia Shroff are great as Kamal’s parents. But Iman Vellani, truly just steals the entire show, you can feel every bit of her excitement and nerdiness. Both her and Aamir perfectly embody to typed of Desi Muslim kids who were raised abroad. One thing that could’ve been given a better look at was the accent work for Kamala’s Mom and dad, as it doesn’t represent a Karachi accent, where they are supposed to be from or a typical Pakistani English accent. This is really just a nitpick but is distracting to me, as someone who can instantly differentiate accents. Another big letdown is Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), in the comic book Nakia is a strong proud Muslim activist who is a big part of Kamala’s journey in self acceptance. While, in the series she is a mere shadow of the character she was in the comic. What we see of Nakia is mostly great, however, we don’t really see much of her. She doesn’t serve a purpose to the narrative and is there just for the sake of being there. This is from jsut the first 2 episodes so hopefully her arc has more importance to the narrative in the next 4 episodes.

Islamic Representation

Islamic representation was by far the factor I was most worried about, going in. The Islam in the series is definitely the best representation of the religion we’ve got in pop-culture. But that isn’t a very high bar however, due to years of racism, stereotyping and islamophobia. The series does well to flesh out each of the Muslim characters as actual Muslims. Aamir reminding everyone to pray, Kamala reciting Bismillah before her driving test, Nakia wearing her hijab with great power and the many discussions in the Mosque make her community feel like a real Muslim community. It is by no means perfect, but it does feel authentic. Changing small things like music playing while they are praying in the mosque could really make it feel better. One other thing was the exploration of Eid in Episode 2. This was pointed out to me by Vin of The Cosmic Circus, it’s not made clear if this is Eid Al-Adha, celebrated after Hajj (The annual pilgrimage to Makkah), or Eid Al-Fitr, celebrated after Ramadan. It is only referred to as the “lesser Eid”. Which makes it seem like it is referring to Eid Al-Fitr which is commonly referred to as small Eid and takes place after Ramadan. Where the confusion comes in is that no reference is made to Ramadan and no character is ever shown to be fasting. Since then Mo Hoosen from Streamr had pointed out that this was indeed Eid Al-Adha which is after Hajj.

So it seems that this was actually Eid Al-Adha which is very reassuring, because missing on something so basic and vital would’ve brought the series a few pegs down. , but it is what Hollywood has previously accustomed us to expect. I will be talking more on the specifics in my spoiler-breakdown on Thursday.

(L-R): Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and Executive Producer Sana Amanat behind the scenes of Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts

Sana Amanat who is also an American-Pakistani raised in Jersey City is the showrunner, with British-Pakistani Screenwriter and Comedian Bisha K. Ali, who also wrote episode of Loki, serving as Head-Writer. Oscar-Winning Pakistani Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is also involved and will be directing 2 out of the 6 episodes. Recently, Sharmeen Spoke with Mohammad Kamran Jawaid of the Pakistani publication Dawn-Icon Magazine where she highlighted the intricacy and importance that was placed on making the series feel authentically Pakistani. Ms.Marvel has always been a cultural icon, connecting with teenage girls across the world, specifically with South-Asians of all ages and genders, who really haven’t been exposed to much positive or authentic representation in Hollywood. As a Muslim and Pakistani myself I have never felt and truly represented in any form of mainstream media. With G. WIllow Wilson and Sana Amanat’s Ms.Marvel (2014) graphic novel being the rare mainstream media to ever feel authentic to my experiences as a Pakistani. It truly represents the Pakistani experience living abroad, which can connect with anyone who has ever struggled with their identity. As someone who was born in Pakistan but has lived abroad for most of their life, the story immediately resonated with me and I hope it with resonates with others like me and those from different backgrounds.

I would like to thank Disney and The DDA group for providing access to the first 2 episodes of the series which made this review possible.

Ms.Marvel arrives on Disney plus June 8th.

The Boys Season 3: Review

We would like to thank Prime Video for the opportunity to Review all 8 episodes of Season 3 of The Boys early.

When we last saw the boys in Season 2 Mothers Milk was finally allowed to see his daughter, Frenchie and Kimiko were last seen in the shadows with bags in hand leaving their hideout, Ryan was placed in the care of Grace Mallory, Butcher was approached by the CIA to work for them to deal with Supes affairs, Hughie was hired by Victoria Neuman and Homelander well he was left licking his own wounds before that “final shot” on top of that building.

Starting Strong

We learn through the first couple of episodes that it has nearly been a year since the last season. Season 3 starts off with great character building in a season long story that finally pays off right at the end. Throughout the whole of the season the acting from each actor has been upped since the last outing, Butcher even more quick witted with insults and more cunning than before, Hughie and Starlight are going strong and makes you really root for them! Homelander, as said by Starlight in the trailer, is losing his mind. That is just underplaying it and Antony Starr steals the show with his acting, the looks he gives and actions in the series has been raised to another level.

Well-Rounded

Season 3 really is the pick of the bunch with it being more rounded as a whole. It even ties up some loose ends from previous seasons. With all the action, blood and just the brutality of the fights in the season, I can honestly say this season is the best one so far. If you have previously been a lover of the boys Season 1 and 2 then you will certainly love Season 3 even more than any other season that came before. It truly is a triumph.

Blood and Guts

The way they have fleshed out each character and gave you a deeper look into each character and The 7 it really does make you appreciate what their going for in this and after seeing certain parts that help with this it explains a lot of these characters behaviors and actions. As per previous season you can expect a lot of blood, guts and back stabbings with a smile from the characters doing so.

The relationships that have been forged through out Season 1 and 2 between characters are made even stronger and even tested to the max throughout the season mentally and physically, its great to see these relationships get tested in other ways the threats and physical actions.

Final Thoughts

Overall the best thing throughout the season is Antony Starr and how he plays the character of Homelander with so much finesse and emotion, the comedy in this season is more subtle and for me that is more funnier than before, the action is notched to 11. In the end it all comes together very well and could be viewed as either good or bad depending which side of the fence you sit on, it also leads speculation to what could be done with a season 4 whether certain ties will be fully broken or whether those ties could be rekindled.

Catch The Boys Season 3 Tomorrow June 3rd debuting with 3 episodes, Streaming Exclusively on Prime Video with the rest of the season arriving weekly.

Watch The Trailer:

Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever What To Expect

We’re exactly halfway through 2022 which means we’re already halfway through our Marvel shows and movies for the years as fans eagerly await the Godly Thor: Love And Thunder and energizing She-Hulk. This has left anticipation for the sequel to 2018’s Academy Award winning Black Panther rather dry. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will give us a look at a new era of Wakanda without its King T’Challa and will serve as a tribute to Chadwick Boseman’s legacy. With Ryan Coogler returning to direct, we are surely in for a treat.

The sequel wrapped filming in March 2022 with set gifts now finding their way online. The latest images show nice purple sentimental tops with the Wakandan letters on them which translate to “Wakanda Forever” in white writing and a baseball cap.

We have a lot of cast returning from the first installment such as we have Winston Duke as M’Baku, the leader of Wakanda’s mountain tribe, the Jabari. Lupita Nyong’o will reprise her role as Nakia T’challas former romantic interest, Danai Gurira will appear as Okoye a firm fan favourite and who is head of the Dora Milaje, Daniel Kaluuya is expected to return as W’Kabi and who is Okoye’s husband, Martin Freeman will return as Everett K. Ross, and finally Letitia Wright will be reprising her role as T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri.

As much for new castings for Wakanda Forever we have Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams who is also known as Ironheart they compare her intellect to the same as Tony Stark. There are also reports saying that Tenoch Huerta could be playing the MCU’s first Mutant Namor The Sub Mariner the king of atlantis. Michaela Cole has been brought into the cast but her role is so far unknown.

Its hard to imagine a film about Black Panther and not see the late Chadwick Boseman in the plot, it’s plot so far is unknown . Chadwick Boseman’s passing may be reflected in the story. Perhaps the movie will begin with T’Challa’s funeral and then show how the characters are coping with his death. As kevin Fiege said in December 2020 “Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives professionally and personally. His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past. And it’s for that reason that we will not recast the character.”

Black Panther is set to be an emotional tribute to Chadwick with fellow stars speaking out about the film, “It was very emotional to read the script,” Winston Duke told Collider in July 2021, Lettia Wright has also come out and stated “That it will be an incredible to Chadwick Boseman” and with Martin Freeman even said it was “sad and strange” to film Black Panther without Chadwick.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits Theaters November 11, 2022.

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