Tag Archives: Marvel Studios

‘The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ Review: The Holiday Season is Finally Here

James Gunn’s first live-action project after his return to Marvel Studios and his crowning as the King of DC is a Holiday Special starring Mantis and Drax in their quest to save Christmas.

In a sea of Disney+ shows and films, it’s important to be a special. The special format itself was launched with the arrival of Werewolf By Night, instantly gaining praise across the board from fans and critics alike. This special like Michael Giacchino’s Werewolf By Night is a detour from the MCU, not staying with the classical MCU tone, but instead embracing its own genre-specific tone. While the previous one was a classic 60s Monster film, The Guardians Special is a classic Christmas special filled with great songs, Christmas cheer, emotions, and humor to make your heart feel warm.

The special starts like all classic Christmas specials do with some animation to set up the story, as shown in the trailers something ruins Christmas for Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill. Mantis feels bad about this and recruits Drax on a duo adventure off to Los Angeles to give Peter a gift of a lifetime in the form of his childhood hero Kevin Bacon, who inspired him in his dance-off to save the universe in Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.1. The special gives us a compelling setup and builds up the family dynamic that we have known to love with the Guardians. It’s what made the Guardians special in the first place, they only have each other to care for. mantis cares for peter and feels heartbroken that peter can’t relive his childhood traditions, especially after a surprising revelation early on in the special which makes her feel guilty. A better name for the special would be “Mantis and Drax’s Christmas Adventure” since the rest of the Guardians are barely involved. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it allows the story to be more focused and organized, however, it does leave one wondering how much more fun we could have had if Groot and Rocket were more involved than just one scene.

ALSO READ: ANDOR Season 1 REVIEW “THE BEST STARWARS EVER”

Another great aspect of this special is that even though it’s separated from anything in the greater MCU, it still moves the MCU narrative forward with some great worldbuilding which surprisingly even full seasons of previous Disney Plus shows have failed to do. We get to see what The Guardians have been up to since dropping off Thor in Thor: Love And Thunder. Gamora is still nowhere to be seen, the Guardians have found themselves a new pastime in Knowhere, and Groot has grown trunk and root.

Pom Klementieff’s Mantis is the MVP of this film, her comedic timing is perfect, and she genuinely seems heartbroken and is given all the time to shine. Dave Bautista is as lovable/annoying as always, giving us his classic Drax. The headline character, however, is Kevin Bacon who gets a perfect MCU introduction and is an integral part of the special instead of just acting as a plot device or cameo. He has his own motivations, and his own action set pieces and is given all the time he needs. Along with this, we get a great native Knowherian band who like all specials deliver the opening and final music performances. The final music performance sees Kevin Bacon join them in an amazing and heartwarming performance.

This special is all you need to get back into the Christmas Spirit in spectacular and exciting fashion.

The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special hits Disney Plus Tomorrow on November 25!

ALSO READ: BLACK PANTHER WAKANDA FOREVER REVIEW

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Review: A heartbreaking and thrilling journey

The Marvel Cinematic Universe returns to the big screen with the sequel to 2018’s genre-defining Black Panther. A film that introduced the greater world to the idea of Afro-futurism and was defined through Chadwick Boseman’s powerful and iconic portrayal of the character.

A herculean asking

Ryan Coogler has time and time again proved that he is easily in the top bracket of Directors in the industry. This time Coogler didn’t only face the problem of making a sequel to Marvel Studios’ only Best Picture Academy Award nominated film, but also had to respectfully and powerfully take the mantle of the Black Panther forward after the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman in 2019. Chadwick Boseman not only brought to life Black Panther with great power, but also made him a cultural icon. His lovable, charming, wise, and fearless portrayal of the character inspired Billions across the world and brought in a cultural shift in the industry and the MCU. Coogler and Boseman had been friends for years and had equal part in making Black Panther a success, so to first personally deal with the loss of a friend, and then to celebrate him in such a glorious way, while insuring that fans accept this new Black Panther, was a truly herculean ask. I am glad to report that Coogler did all that and more with Wakanda Forever, making an intimate film about a family dealing with the loss of someone so integral to their life and everyone around them’s world, whille providing breathtaking set pieces, action, and a cohesive story with a great villain. But was bringing in Talokan the right call in a film already dealing with so much? It does feel overstuffed at parts, but that is easily forgotten using the film’s dive into emotions, thrills and spectacular action.

“What is love if not grief persevering”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forver embodies this beautiful line by Vision. The film in its entirety is an effective celebration of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and an exploration of how much the people around him relied on him and how they get over this loss, making. themselves stronger in the process. It’s a story so intimate and human at it’s core that even amidst this war between these 2 futuristic fictional nations, the film feels grounded and the stakes feel real. Shuri lost her brother who she had always depended on , whose support she needed more than she knew, Angela Bastett’s Queen Ramonda has lost her son, while she deals with a world now turned against her people, Nakia faces the loss of her true irreplacable love, Wakanda faces the loss of their hero and leader, and we the audience feel the very real loss of Chadwick Boseman, the man who stole the world’s hearts with his iconic portrayal of the character. The decision made by marvel to not recast T’Challa makes a lot of sense after viewing the film, every moment when the characters are dealing with their emotions is real, with the cast dealing with the real loss of their friend and leader, and us the audience feeling the loss of someone we had come to admire. The grief and hurt that the entire cast faced can be felt through their performances, as Angela Bastett, Letitia Wright and Lupita Nyong’o give us the performance of their lives. The film, However, doesn’t only rely on this, but only uses it to hook you in, bringing in lots of humor, action and thrill. Giving us a real war between 2 nations, but keeping the motional core of the film alive.

Letitia Wright is still easily the core of the film. She acts as the key to both the emotional core and the fun side of the film. SHe is the balance, and she makes you cheer and cry for her at the same time. Her relationship with Wakanda and her family make you feel what she’s lost, while her relationship with Riri Williams and the Talokans showcases a stronger side of her grief.

Namor

What had always surprised me about Wakanda Forever, is why marvel would choose a film which is dedicated to the loss of The Black Panther, to introduce us to a new world. But wow, does Namor and Talokan deliver. Namor’s life is explored and it provides a great mirroring but also contrast to Shuri and Wakanda’s journey. This provides an incredibly compelling setup for the character and makes you even feel scared of him. Namor isn’t going to back down and will do anything for his people, giving us one of the best villains marvel has ever produced. Marvel Studios’ decision to turn Atlantis into Talokan based on Native American culture is a true triumph. The exploration of that culture is done extremely respectfully, thoughtfully and in a way that makes you appreciate the power of these people. The beautiful art, costumes and imagery is amazing to see and is bound to put a smile on your face. Tenoch Huerta’s sheer charm and fierceness propel the character to greater heights.

Quality is Key

Another region where Wakanda Forever shines far above anything in Phase 4 off the MCU is in the generally quality of the visuals, the acting, and the writing. Nearly every shot of the film looks perfect. With Marvel’s recent controversies regarding underpaying VFX artists, and some mediocre visuals in recent projects like She-Hulk and Thor: Love And Thunder, Wakanda Forever brings back the quality we have learned to expect from the studio. The Talokan scenes have all been shot underwater using the technology made by the Avatar: the Way of The Water team and the results are truly stunning. The creativity shown in the way Riri WIlliams’ Iron Heart, Namor and Shuri fight is great to see, and makes sure the film is still fun and thrilling to watch. All of this works amazingly in making the war between Talokan and Wakanda feel real. The sound design and brilliant score by Ludwig Gorranson puctuate the emotional moments perfectly and elevate the action and thrill.

The quality in writing is also unparalleled compared to the rest of Phase 4, and how could it not, as the film begins it becomes clear the headspace Ryan Coogler was in when he wrote the film. His grief could be felt through the character’s discovery of how to deal with this loss and their grief. The exploration of how different people deal with grief is not only beautiful, but also provides a beautiful perspective on the situation, making it about the celebration of the person. It doesn’t feel like T’Challa isn’t in this film because of how crucial he is to everything in it, and by the end you learn to let go and celebrate what you have.

Closing Thoughts

Wakanda Forever is a perfect Celebration of Chadwick’s legacy. A thrilling & exciting spectacle, hooking you in using powerful and intimate exploration of grief. Then takes you on a roller coaster of exhilarating action & drama. The cast pour their hearts out, and so does Ryan Coogler through the script. Sure the film can feel long at times, but the slow moments are needed to deal with the important issues at hand. This takes the sweet spot at Number 6 in my MCU ranking, and Number 1 on films for 2022. In the end the film brings a lot of surprises, heart break, emotion, thrill, all with relentless quality. Angela Bastett for Best Supporting Actress, Letitia Wright Best Actress Lead, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Best Picture.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits Theaters this Weekend!

‘Werewolf By Night’ Review: The MCU’s Supernatural

A big Thank You to Marvel Studios and the team behind Werewolf By Night for making this early review possible.

Who is the “Werewolf by Night”

No this is not Andrew Garfield’s return to the MCU. Werewolf By Night is a new breed of MCU project inspired by horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, Marvel Studios’ chilling special presentation aims to evoke a sense of dread and the macabre, with plenty of suspense and scares along the way as we explore a new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The eerie tale follows a secret cabal of monster hunters who—on a dark and somber night— emerge from the shadows and gather at the foreboding Bloodstone Temple following the death of their leader. In a strange and macabre memorial to the leader’s life, the attendees find themselves thrust into a mysterious and deadly competition for a powerful relic—a hunt that will ultimately bring them face to face with a dangerous monster. In the comics Jack Russel gains his Werewolf form due to a curse put on his family using the Darkhold. Jack Russell first appeared in “MarvelSpotlight” #2, in February 1972. The “Werewolf by Night” series of comic books began in September 1972.

Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone in Marvel Studios’ WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Welcome to The Supernatural

From the first few seconds of the special, it is made clear that we’re in for something different to what we’ve previously seen in the MCU. To start off, the usual marvel opening credits start playing, however it has been changed to suit the aesthetic of Werewolf By Night which is in black and white, a great choice by the creative team, and Director Composer Michael Giacchino. Who also scored the current Marvel Studios intro, now alters this score with a new spookier tone.

The special opens by introducing us to Gael Garcia Bernal (Jack Russell). Quickly, setting up the events which are to proceed by introducing us to the competition being held for the mighty and legendary bloodstone, the supposed macguffin of this story. After which we meet the other two standout characters in Monster-hunter Elsa Bloodstone played by Laura Donnelly and her mother Verusa played by Harriet Samson Harris, both of them are portrayed authentically and provide a great conflict and diversion to the main plot.

ALSO READ: Andor Review: “The Shot in the arm Star Wars needed”

Hilariously Spooky

Similar to previous Marvel projects it drops us in the deep end with no origin story which is fantastic and great to see what the characters can do in these situations. Being shocked by their powers and abilities never gets old. The action scenes were like never before seen by the Marvel team and if it wasn’t in black and white we would say this is the most blood we have seen in any Marvel project to date! As stated by Giacchino the team behind the special expected it to receive an R rating, and believe that they were saved due to the black and white color palete.

The story develops at a decent pace to which from the trailer we learn they are competing for the highly acclaimed Bloodstone which I can only compare it to a hunger games scenario, to which the more the story develops the more we learn about this standalone project and their characters. Man-Thing is also another great addition to the MCU, he’s not what he seems and ends up being a real highlight of the entire event. Giacchino’s intentional campy direction is stellar and does perfectly in balancing the Comedic with the horror, making you laugh and feel scared within the same scene.

Laura Donnelly as Elsa Bloodstone in Marvel Studios’ WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Overall the whole team from Werewolf By Night from the actors all the way to the show runners deserve a well deserved applause as this for me is Marvels most daring project to date and will be highly met with great accolades from the fans. I thoroughly enjoyed this new format and hope that Marvel continues to expand its range in different ways but also expands this new supernatural side of the MCU. This is also an amazing Feature Directorial Debut for Giacchino, who undoubtedly will find more director jobs coming his way.

Werewolf By Night streaming on Disney+ October 7!

Cyttorak Spotted in Thor: Love and Thunder Concept Art

Thor: Love and Thunder gave us a look at 100s of deities and gods from across many different mythologies. It has now already been more than a month since its release so concept art for the film has started to make its way online. This concept art includes characters both seen in the movie and characters that were once planned to be in there.

The Deity that powers Juggernaut

This latest piece of concept art gives us a look at the deity of Cytorak. He is a deity of pure rage and destructive power and was worshiped as a demon by the primitive people of earth. In the same way Khonshu chose Marc Spector to be his avatar and become Moon Knight, Cyttorak chooses an avatar to become his Juggernaut, an agent for destruction.

From time to time Cyttorak also transfers his powers into a Crimson gem and whoever comes into contact with the gem gains the power of Cyttorak and becomes the destructive force of Juggernaut. This is how the X-Men villain Juggernaut is born, the brother of Charles Xavier, Cain Marko comes into contact with the gem and gains the anger and unstoppable power of Cyttorak and through Cyttorak’s wishes destroys an entire village for him. The juggernaut also made an appearance in 2018’s Deadpool 2 so he already exists in an MCU adjacent universe.

What this appearance could mean?

As was seen in the concept art for Shang-Chi, the MCU has been looking for places where different mutants and X-Men characters could enter the MCU and this Thor concept art is the latest evidence of such. When Juggernaut is introduced into the MCU it will be interesting to see if it is the same Juggernaut from Fox’s X-Men universe since Deadpool 3 from the Fox universe is confirmed to be taking place in the MCU.

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

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.

Everything You Need to Know About Marvel’s ‘Echo’

Marvel Studios’ Disney+ series Hawkeye debuted Alaqua Cox’s Echo a deaf Native American character with a deep connection to both Kingpin. Streaming exclusively on Disney, the origin story of Echo revisits Maya Lopez, whose ruthless behavior in New York City catches up with her in her hometown. Production is officially underway on Marvel Studios’ Echo, coming to Disney+ in 2023. Previously the unforgiving gang leader was determined to make Ronin, aka Clint Barton, pay for killing her father. Then later shifting her hate to the man who she has known as her Uncle for her entire life in the form of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. Production on the series begun just 2 weeks ago, so it’s great to see that quick progress has been made. The series is also set to mark the return of Charlie Cox as daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin as earlier in the year we made a discovery of a cast listing which confirmed their appearance in the series.

First Look

Who is Echo?

Her father was of the Cheyenne Nation and secretly a mob enforcer working for the Kingpin. They were good friends, but, at one point, he outlived his purpose and Kingpin decided to gun him down. As Kingpin was about to shoot him, he used his last words to ask that he take care of Maya. When she found her dying father, he reached out to her, leaving a bloody handprint on her face. This becomes a part of Echo’s future costume as she sought to take her revenge from Kingpin, teaming up with Daredevil. The MCU’s version of the character follows a similar story as her father still works for Kingpin but in the MCU it is Ronin, who is Hawkeye’s darker persona, who kills her father. But in the same way as the comics Kingpin is responsible for his death as in the MCU Kingpin sends Ronin after her father.

Official Synopsis

Streaming exclusively on Disney, the origin story of Echo revisits Maya Lopez, whose ruthless behavior in New York City catches up with her in her hometown. She must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward. Echo also stars Chaske Spencer (Wild IndianThe English), Tantoo Cardinal (Killers of the Flower MoonStumptown), Devery Jacobs (FX’s Reservation DogsAmerican Gods) and Cody Lightning (Hey, Viktor!Four Sheets to the Wind), with Graham Greene (1883Goliath) and Zahn McClarnon (Dark Winds, FX’s Reservation Dogs).

Plot

Kingpin has a deep connection to Echo, as seen in Hawkeye, acting as a father figure for her. However, fans may be wondering how he would return after his death in the series finale for Hawkeye. Fans of the comics will have noticed that his death was an exact remake of a comic book panel from the Daredevil Parts of A Hole comic book in which Kingpin gets shot in the same way but survives and is only left injured in his eye. It seems that the MCU will be adapting this story line. In the comics Daredevil and Echo have a long running relationship deeply connected to her wanting to get revenge from Kingpin for killing her father. Which is the same reason why Echo shoots Kingpin in the series. This paved the way for both characters to return in the Echo series and allows for various different arcs to be explored.

Cast

Echo stars Alaqua Cox as the title character with Vincent D’Onofrio and Charlie Cox returning as Daredevil and Kingpin along with Chaske Spencer (Wild IndianThe English), Tantoo Cardinal (Killers of the Flower MoonStumptown), Devery Jacobs (FX’s Reservation DogsAmerican Gods) and Cody Lightning (Hey, Viktor!Four Sheets to the Wind), with Graham Greene (1883Goliath) and Zahn McClarnon (Dark Winds, FX’s Reservation Dogs).

Director

Episodes of the series are directed by Sydney Freeland (Navajo) and Catriona McKenzie (Gunaikurnai). Executive producers are Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Stephen Broussard, Richie Palmer, Marion Dayre, and Jason Gavin (Blackfeet). Co-executive producers are Amy Rardin, Sydney Freeland, Christina King (Seminole), and Jennifer Booth.

Release date

The Series is scheduled to wrap filming in mid-august so taking into account the regular 5-7 months of Post-production for Marvel Disney Plus shows the Echo series should premiere on Disney Plus around February-April of 2023. So the series hsould premiere on Disney Plus on April 12, 2023.

Also Read: Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil confirmed for Echo.

She-Hulk Confirmed for August 17th Release Date

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, (last seen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings).

Disney UK Confirms August 17th Release date

Previously rumors had come out which stated that She-Hulk would come out later in the year but I had predicted an August 10th release due to its production information. Disney UK has now listed the series for an August 17th release date.

https://www.disney.co.uk/marvel-on-disney-plus

This is great news since this means that the series is just 3 months away from release. It also means that we should have the first trailer for the series on June 6th which would be 72 days prior to release which is Marvel’s tradition with Disney+ shows and their trailers. This also shows that the series will explore a blood-transfusion between the 2 characters and how Jennifer gets her powers.

Reasons For This date

The series was undergoing reshoots in Atlanta in march, amidst rumours of a possible Jessica Jones appearance. Given the confirmation of Ms. Marvel‘s release, the series will clearly premiere after Ms. Marvel. The show is currently set to end on July 13th, after which the Star Wars series Andor is expected to release. So – if Andor should release afterwards on July 20th, She-Hulk might premiere 2-3 weeks later, on August 3rd or 11th. She-Hulk has also been confirmed to have 10 episodes, so this would have it ending on October 5th. Recently, a Brazillian News website Chippu has also claimed that they had heard that the series would premiere in August, adding more credence to our August 3/10 prediction.

However, recently a rumor has come out which has cast doubt on the date and instead states that the series will debut in late 2022 or early 2023 due to high amounts of VFX left to be done, which would place it in any time between November and January. This rumor is from a less trusted source so should be taken with a grain of salt since no evidence or past rumor has suggested a release that late. Anything is possible but our August 3/10 date seems the most likely till now. This release window has now been confirmed by Disney UK for just a week later on August 17th.

Cast

Kevin 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, (last seen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) announced on Twitter that she would be playing the fan-favourite villain Titania. Set photos also revealed pictures of Jameela’s stunt double with Mark Ruffalo. Her casting was previously announced back in June last year and was described as “a glamorous social media influencer, Kardashian-esque with a dark side, alongside Jamil, Ginger Gonzaga (Kidding) will play Walter’s currently unnamed best friend, Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) will be playing a character called Amelia, with Josh Segarra (Arrow) is confirmed to be appearing, playing a currently unknown character.

She-Hulk will be streaming exclusively on Disney Plus August 17th.

Also read Tim Roth’s praise for the series.

‘Doctor Strange in The Multiverse Of Madness’ estimates increase to $187 Million Domestic and $460 Million Worldwide Opening Weekend

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is the culmination of the Multiverse saga for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, continuing stories directly setup in WandaVision, Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home. So a grand box office for the film has always been the expectation from fans and box office experts alike. The film has made $185 million in it’s domestic Box Office opening weekend, becoming the eleventh biggest domestic opening weekend of all time and the biggest of the year. Disney has now updated this estimate to $187 Million so it seems the film’s actuals will be even higher than previously thought.

Biggest Opening Weekend of 2022 and 10th Biggest Ever

Final numbers for the film’s Opening Weekend Box Office have just come out and the film has made a Grand $187 Million, managing to easily become the No.1 film of the weekend and the Biggest Opening Weekend of the year. The Film has also become the 11th Biggest Opening Weekend of all time. Beating WB’s The Batman’s 24 hour Ticket Pre-sales amount. Trades like Box Office Pro had forecasted the film for a $165 – 205 Million opening weekend. The Film landed exactly there with $185 Million.

Estimates Increased – Monday

Disney has now updated their estimates to a higher $187 Million so it is likely that the actuals for the film will be closer to $190 Million. We should finally get the film’s actual box office opening weekend earnings number today.

We have been seeing through the week that forecasts continued to increase, reflecting the stellar ticket sales and online trends, Marvel already announced that they had made $42 Million in pre-sales as of last week so a big opening weekend was expected. The film had already made $90 Million on it’s first day so an opening this big was always on the cards.

Our Forecast:

Domestic Total – $500 Million

Worldwide Opening Weekend – $460 Million

Worldwide Total – $950 Million – $1.1 Billion

Marvel Studios continues Box Office Domination

The film premiered this Friday and had a lot of things going in it’s favor, trending daily along with Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch. It is also a direct continuation of the events in Spider-Man: No Way Home which was the Box Office King of the last 2 years, making almost $1.9 Billion worldwide. Doctor Strange has also become a household name since his first film, playing a big role in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home which currently stand as the No.2, No.5 and No.6 highest box office grosses of all time. While, Wanda Maximoff of The Scarlet Witch has also become a fan-favorite character after she got her own hit series WandaVision. The film was predicted to debut even higher but has still debuted at a very high spot.

Stay tuned for all the latest updates for Doctor Strange in The Multiverse Of Madness and many more as the film hits theaters May 6.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review: A Tale of Horror and Heartbreak

This is a Spoiler-Free Review for Marvel Studios’ latest film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, marking Sam Raimi’s return to directing and Marvel’s first step into the horror genre.

Initial Thoughts

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness accomplishes the madness it promises with great horror, excitement, and emotion. It also truly shakes up the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a brilliant way, giving us by far the creepiest and goriest action in any MCU project to date. The 126 Minutes runtime provides for a great fast pace which hooks you into an exciting ride and doesn’t let go, only getting crazier and scarier as the film progresses. Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen who plays the Scarlet Witch both give amazing performances. Xochitl Gomez is perfect as America Chavez and Benedict Wong’s Wong is as loveable as ever. A few more minutes to breathe and a more focused first half would have made the film perfect. Overall the film not only expands the MCU further but also gives an overwhelmingly exciting viewing experience and injects some much-needed freshness into the Universe.

Sam Raimi’s Multiverse of Madness

When Marvel slapped the Sam Raimi name onto the film’s Trailer it left me questioning if this was going to be a Sam Raimi film or a Sam Raimi for-hire film, but this is Pure Raimi Madness. Multiverse of Madness feels more like Evil Dead than the MCU and fans of Raimi’s specific campy horror genre will love it. As he brings his unique style and shots to the MCU and just provides a great new refresher from the typical MCU Formula. There is a lot of gore, brutal kills, and typical Raimi jumpscares which at times just make you forget that you’re watching a Marvel film. Raimi also gives us some of the best and most exciting action sequences in the MCU. It’s at those points where the film truly shines, at these big surprise moments where you’re just screaming and jumping around on the inside. THis film is also directed in a way that it never lets you off for a rest, you’re thrust in from the very first scenes and then never let off till the end. For any other MCU film, you wouldn’t have to give a single thought about bringing your kids but the horror elements and many fatalities of this film really set a new bar for the MCU in terms of Darker themes. It’s one of the few movies in the MCU which hasn’t sacrificed the identity of the talent behind it.

The Main Cast

Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff is truly the stand-out of the film and the true emotional center of the entire story. The film is a direct continuation of WandaVision and is truly necessary viewing to understand her whole arc in the film. Her performance is very heartbreaking as it is one dealing with grief and loss, her maternal love takes center focus and Olsen just excels. She takes full ownership of the character and truly embodies every single emotion, she really is the Scarlet Witch. Her ferocity as Wanda and just absolute obstinateness are just chilling. While Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange who is this rather arrogant guy, who wants to always be in control is thrust into a situation where he has to learn from others and ultimately has to pay the penance for his rule-breaking with Dark Magic, messing with the timeline, and the Multiverse in previous films. Cumberbatch also has the added weight of playing multiple different versions of himself and he is just as amazing in the others as he is in the original. Each of these variants has a very specific role to play in the film be it giving some exposition or as a setup for future events in the film. Sometimes this exposition can feel like it’s dragging, especially with how fast everything else in the film flows, but it really works to make you understand the awesome back half of the film which is truly just a non-stop thrilling spectacle. Xochitl Gomez makes her debut as America Chavez and is just perfect as the character. She has the perfect amount of cockiness, skill, and lovability in her portrayal of the character which makes all the scenes where she’s giving exposition fun. Benedict Wong is as hilarious and bad-ass as Wong as ever and being the New Sorcerer Supreme he really is under a lot of responsibility in this film and makes sure that Strange knows it which sets up a great comedic dynamic. Rachel McAdams returns as Christine Palmer from the first film but also as a variant of the character. The original Christine doesn’t have much screentime but shares a great heartfelt moment with STrange near the beginning while the other Dr.Palmer plays a much bigger and more vital role, guiding Strange through some of the challenges he faces.

The Story

The story in this film is truly a direct continuation of WandaVision, with all the major plot points and emotional weight being surrounded by either The Darkhold or Wanda. This film is about grief and what maternal love and loss can make someone do. Wanda starts off the film in grief over the loss of her kids, she was able to find peace in WandaVision but was short-lived as she lost Vision and her kids yet again, leaving her looking through the evil book ok the damned, “The Darkhold”. Wanda takes Vision’s line of “What is grief if not love persevering?” to great heart as she in her grief makes some questionable choices for love as we saw at the end of WandaVision, she was haunted by the loss of her kids. Now she is out to get what she wants and she won’t let anything or anyone get in the way of her path to her kids. While Doctor Strange is thrust into dealing with America Chavez’s problems which causes him to make some questionable decisions that he perhaps shouldn’t have made. The writing puts you in a great dilemma because you love these characters and you know why they’re making those decisions but you also see how wrong those decisions are. The story overall is quite linear and just flows. It places the focus totally on Wanda and Strange, making it all feel gelled and coherent.

Surprises

These days with fans it seems like they want every marvel movie to have 50+ cameos per film at least for it to be a good film. This film certainly gives you some great cameos but if you’re going in there for just cameos this isn’t your type of movie. This movie instead packs its surprises with the plot, the world-building, the impact on the universe, the horror elements, and the brutality. This film truly has some great surprises, which are bound to have fans cheering and screaming throughout. With lots of scenes one after the other which are straight from the comic books and lots of scenes that just put you in straight shock of what you’ve seen. The Creepiness and gore in the film certainly come as a great surprise and keep on going, to places which you wouldn’t expect an MCU film to go. Sam Raimi was given a massive toolbox to bring his horror style to and he does it extremely potently, putting the film into Evil Dead mode at times.

Final Thoughts

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the dream film for a Sam Raimi fan, not only is it his signature style but the immense toolbox he’s given allows him to stretch it all so much further. The emotional heart of the film is also very strong and heartbreaking and the places this film goes with that emotion are truly alarming. Doctor Strange is finally starting to feel the weight of all his decisions and is put in an uncomfortable situation, while Wanda is trying to deal with the loss of her kids but her grief has clouded her judgment. The film puts you in a great dilemma, which could’ve been used much better than it actually was. The fast pace of the film allows it to feel like madness as you’re thrust with one thing after another which is exciting, it does take some time to make you feel emotion but just as you’re starting to truly feel it, the film pulls further. Those moments really could have used more room to breathe to extend the film’s emotional heart and make it feel more complete and satisfying. The film however still maintains a great emotional tone and Sam Raimi really makes it feel personal with his close-ups. Sam Raimi truly makes this film a delight to watch with his unique pans, close-ups, eye shots, and just great cinematography and color grading. If you were starting to feel some MCU fatigue this is your cure, the horror, the fresh palette, and mind bendingness are sure to get you excited for what’s to come.

This new auteur-driven darker juice that this film and Sam Raimi provide to the MCU is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Cine Geek Score

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres exclusively in theaters tomorrow!

Does all this increase your excitement for the film? Do you agree with our thoughts? Let us know on our socials @CineGeekNews on Twitter and @The.cinegeek on Instagram.

Stay Tuned for our Spoiler Review and Breakdown dropping next week and meanwhile read our Review for Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight.