So, before I get started, I need to clarify a few things. There’s a lot of Marvel content out there these days, but what I will be talking about in this particular post are the movies and TV shows that are considered canon part of the MCU. This excludes property such as Marvel’s Hit-Monkey and M.O.D.O.K., which is no judgment on their quality, it just falls outside of the MCU and therefore what I want this list to be. All of the titles must have been released in 2021 to qualify for the ranking. But now comes the really important part:
This list is entirely subjective! It’s my opinion alone and if you feel differently, that is perfectly alright too!
(Also, there’s potential spoilers for everything, so beware if you haven’t watched the properties.)
It’s Wednesday and we’re back with another Marvel, or in this particular case Hawkeye, review for episode 4 of the season – Partners, Am I Right? Please beware of spoilers from here on out!
What was it about?
As Kate feels ever more involved in her “partnership” with Hawkeye, Clint comes to the realization that he has to cut ties with her if he wants to keep her safe.
The fourth episode of the season has usually held some kind of twist or surprise for us in previous shows (Wanda proving that she controls Westview, John bloodying the shield, the revelation that the Time Lords aren’t real …) and the formula still held true for Hawkeye. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a surprise in this case, because everyone was waiting for it to happen, but it was still used as a sort of turning point in the show. I don’t know whether to appreciate the consistency in storytelling across Marvel show properties or be extremely frustrated with their predictability.
Albeit a little later in the day, you know the drill! It’s Wednesday, so we are reviewing/recap-ing Marvel’s Hawkeye episode 3 titled “Echoes” – there are spoilers from here on out!
What was it about?
After getting captured by the Tracksuit Mafia, Clint and Kate have to fight their way out.
I liked the episode, don’t get me wrong, but not a lot actually happened. It furthered the show’s main conflict a bit and established our antagonists, but in terms of story progression, we haven’t really gone much farther. I don’t see that as a huge issue, especially because I like getting to know characters on a deeper level, which this show provides, but we only have three more episodes. They are going to have to either a) wrap this up quickly or b) prove me right again in my theory that Marvel/Disney+ shows are only used as lengthy prequels for upcoming movies.
But let’s just break the episode down:
We start off with an opening sequence set in 2007 up to present day to show us the evolution of Maya Lopez. It was really beautifully done and conveyed so much about her in little time. For one, we learn how she became so exceptionally gifted at martial arts and other fight techniques, while we also learn about her “connection” to Ronin, due to him killing her father.
On a side note, I liked the little nod towards dragons, as we now *do* know they are actually real thanks to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
One of the more crucial hints the opening delivered was a sneak peek at who Maya’s father was working for/with. The man going by Uncle, who is only shown neck down, is very likely Wilson Fisk, also known as Kingpin. I’m beyond curious to see who they have cast for the role and if this might our first hint at the resurfacing of Daredevil in the MCU. (I’ve heard rumors! Let me dream!)
Then we’re back at the factory hideout of the Tracksuit Mafia with a tied up Kate and Clint. Kate Bishop is such a fun character and throughout the whole episode the grumpy/sunshine dynamic this newfound duo has is very entertaining and works extremely well for me.
When Maya faces Kate and Clint for the first time, she actually believes Clint to be able to communicate with ASL as well, but scolds him for relying so much on technology and has to use Kazi as an interpreter instead. Barton eventually gets free and Maya crushes his hearing aid during a fight. While I see her point in how it makes his life harder not knowing how to communicate with others, which also leads to some fun scenes throughout the episode, losing one of his senses doesn’t seem to impact his fighting or bow and arrow skills at all. At least I wasn’t aware of any difficulties there.
We get a super cool car chase scene with loads of trick arrows. While I thought that some of the CGI was really noticeable, I generally enjoyed how the scene was shot. They seem to have put someone in the backseat of the car and it really puts you right in the middle of the action with all its shakiness.
Kate and Clint eventually escape and while they regroup at her aunt’s place, we witness Kate helping Barton with a phone call with his son. These small scenes can be so emotional an impacting, I love them. Because despite Clint being a good man, he has so much doubt in himself. He doesn’t believe to be a particularly great father or role model, no matter if he is one of the greatest archers. This self doubt and regret for his past make him so very human and I love that we get to explore that in this show. And then to have Kate be the balance, this absolute fangirl of his to *show* how much he has done for people – great contrast.
Ultimately, the episode ends at Kate’s mother’s apartment. After breaking into the work computer, the duo learns that Kazi works for “Sloan Limited”, which sounds familiar to Clint, but I can’t say it really rings a bell for me. Clint, hearing a noise, investigates and is met with his Ronin blade held by Jack. I don’t think this will be a huge reveal of him as the villain. They did break into the house, so he has an “excuse” to be hostile.
I can only repeat myself, but I think the show shines the most in its quieter moments. As fun as the action is, learning about these characters is what intrigues me. Their emotional turmoil, fears, doubt and what connects them is the driving force. This is, unfortunately, already the halfway point of the series, but I don’t feel we have gotten enough time with them as of yet. I’m very much looking forward to the next episodes though.
Aren’t you all happy that I’m back with weekly reviews? Hawkeye just released and I’m here to talk about the first two episodes. As per usual, these breakdowns are meant to be read after watching the show – beware of spoilers!
What was it about?
Clint Barton just wants to live a quiet life with his family, but the chaotic mess that is Kate Bishop has other plans.
Those were some really solid opening episodes for Hawkeye! While I can’t claim that this was my most anticipated Marvel show, I was definitely excited to see what this would add to a character that most people don’t really appreciate. I’ve always enjoyed the humanity of Clint Barton, because, like his wife Laura said, these heroes and gods needed him in their own way, despite his apparent vulnerabilities. I also, please don’t hate me for this, understood why Nat sacrificed herself for him and his family. Getting to continue this journey was definitely intriguing to me.
What I felt mixed about was the fact that this show takes place during Christmas. I don’t really enjoy things that are holiday-themed too much, because it sort of ruins the rewatch-ability for me a little bit. I’m also just not that much of a Christmas person … but anyway, it was handled well here and didn’t throw it too much into your face.
But before I get into anything too much, let’s just break down the episodes!
“Never Meet Your Heroes” – Episode 1
Like with TFATWS, this episode started off with our main characters/heroes not yet in the same frame. It was a good establishing episode, setting the tone for what’s to come.
The year is 2012 – a young Kate Bishop just eavesdropped on her parents’ fighting when suddenly, the battle of New York commences. She loses a lot, namely her dad, as a result, but a saving arrow from Hawkeye also inspires her to become a fighter and protector herself. She goes on to become excellent in martial arts and fencing as well as the use of a bow and arrow.
Kate isn’t just magnificent at everything she does, she’s also a bit of a troublemaker. While her skills are amazing, she’s responsible for the destruction of a bell/clock tower at her university and consequently has to go home for Christmas with quite the bad news.
Speaking of Christmas, the Bartons (minus Laura) spend it in New York. They are watching “Rogers – The Musical“, which I’m very conflicted about. Is it a super fun idea? Is it super ridiculous? Did they really have to add Ant-Man to the storyline about saving NYC, because he tests well with audiences? I’m not sure, however, I loved that re-introduction to Clint.
Barton is clearly still haunted by the loss of Nat. On top of that, we are reminded that he truly is just human, as his hearing has finally given up after the many explosions etc. he had to endure. Clint is now using a hearing aid and we later also see his youngest son, Nathaniel (named after Nat), using ASL to communicate with him. I love that Marvel is making more room for deaf or hard of hearing characters! (more on that later!)
Kate’s Christmas is quite different though. Where Clint and his family feel grounded and warm, Kate and her mother, albeit having a loving relationship, feel more distanced. Once Kate arrives in the city, she gets dragged to a charity event with her mother, Eleanor, and her fiancé, Jack, which Kate does not find out about in a great way.
Jack, is a nephew of Armand Duquesne III. Although it wasn’t stated in so many words, Armand Duquesne is a Marvel comic character and so is his son, Jacques Duquesne, who is also known as Swordsman. I think it’s fair to say that they’re hinting at that being this version’s Jack alter ego, because the man does love to collect swords.
At the charity event, a secret black market auction is also held. Armand and Jacques are present, while Kate spies on them. The items of the auction include dinosaur skulls, but also The Ronin’s sword and suit. However, the auction is interrupted by an explosion, caused by the Tracksuit Mafia, which is in search of a certain watch from the Avengers compound. I’m blanking on what that particular watch could potentially be for, but I’m sure it’s going to come back later in the season.
In order to help, Kate dons the suit of the Ronin and takes on some of the robbers. However, she didn’t expect them to still have beef with the Ronin from the time during the blip and a wild chase is started for her. Clint and his kids see the news about “the return of the Ronin” and he immediately knows that someone is in trouble and he needs to get his suit back.
Kate eventually finds a dog (which miraculously gets super clean from episode 1 to 2), which we might better know as Lucky the Pizza Dog, however, he is not yet named. She brings him to her apartment and then goes to spy on Armand III, just to find him dead in his apartment. The episode ends with Clint rescuing Kate from the Tracksuit Mafia, that have followed her.
“Hide and Seek” – Episode 2
I’m glad they aired the second episode right away, because it picks up exactly where the first one ended. It’s a really neat pacing for the show.
Clint evidently being shocked that a “kid” (Kate is 22 years old) donned the suit of his alter ego, tries to get her to safety. She’s obviously very stubborn and doesn’t listen too well and some fun banter ensues.
I don’t think we need the play by play of how the Tracksuit Mafia keeps finding Kate and Clint and they have to move houses (with the dog) to stay safe. It showed us how capable and always prepared Clint is, while also showcasing that Kate has real talent and skill.
Seen as both characters have very different objectives (Clint just wants to go home to his family, Kate wants to solve a murder and deal with her mother’s shady fiancé), they are barely on the same page.
Clint, in an attempt to get the suit back for good, goes to a Larper event, which is just hilarious to watch. There he meets Grills – in the comics, Grills is one of his neighbors, although I doubt he will show up more than once here. It was a nice cameo though.
In general, I enjoyed but was also surprised about how supportive Laura was of Clint. I’m glad to now know that he told her about everything he did during the Blip and she seems to understand his struggles. They really don’t have secrets – maybe that’s the recipe of why their marriage works so well.
Kate, on the other hand, antagonizes Jack further during dinner, while her mother doesn’t seem to see eye to eye with her daughter. Frankly, I get annoyed at adults who always feel like they need to protect their children and won’t listen to a word they say. However, I would like to point out that I also think Eleanor Bishop is quite shady.
In the comics, Eleanor Bishop was believed to be dead and Kate’s father was actually involved in the happenings of that. I could very much see them doing a role reversal here, because of the struggle between Kate’s parents in the pilot episode and Eleanor’s mysterious absence while her daughter was looking through the apartment for help during the 2012 alien attack. This is obviously just a guess. Another option is that Eleanor is involved with vampires (as she was turned into one in the comics) as they are becoming more and more of a thing in the MCU. Either way, I wouldn’t be sure she’s entirely on the “good” side of things, despite believing that she does everything to protect her daughter.
Eventually, Clint gets himself kidnapped by the Tracksuit Mafia to end things for good, but Kate, who wanted to tell him about her clues in the murder case of Armand, intervenes and actually makes the situation worse.
The episode ends on a shot of Maya Lopez aka Echo (portrayed by Native American actress Alaqua Cox). We know that Echo is a deaf martial arts athelete, who can copy people’s movements perfectly, who still has a bone to pick with Clint/the Ronin and therefore worked with the Tracksuit Mafia. She’s also getting her very own show! With Makkari and Echo, I’m really glad to see Marvel stepping up their game in terms of representation. It was direly needed!
Ultimately, I think this show could work well as a reminder of how inspiring Clint was as part of the Avengers. They did heroic stuff all the time, but we’ve never before seen their impact in such detail, truly focusing on one individual, like we do with Kate Bishop. I can see the humor being hit or miss with a lot of people, but I didn’t mind it. I’m looking forward to more, especially if they keep up the 45-minute-run-time for the episodes. Although, I’m sad to see there are only 6 episodes in total. It’s going to go by so fast.
Fellow Marvel fans, I’m finally back with a Wednesday review – Eternals! I’ve watched the movie a week ago, but decided to hold off on posting about it, because I wanted to talk about certain things that would definitely be SPOILERS. Let me be very clear, I think this movie works a lot better when you don’t know what is about to happen, but I can’t exactly stop you from reading any further. Proceed at your own risk!
What was it about?
The Eternals are immortal aliens sent to Earth by the Celestial Arishem to protect mankind from Deviants. After centuries on the planet, the previously thought to be extinguished Deviants return and a much darker purpose is revealed to the team.
I said Wednesdays are Marvel days, but I doubt I can keep this up until the release of Eternals/Hawkeye in November. Still, I did say I was going to do a ranking of all the “What If…?” episodes, so, here we are! You can get my full review/recap of each episode, by clicking on the titles. This ranking is completely subjective, but I hope you still enjoy it!
I always liked Killmonger as a character. He has purpose, an interesting history, is just generally charismatic, but … this episode didn’t add anything new for me? His path was still very similar to the one in “our” reality, just a tinge more ruthless. Also, it probably didn’t help a lot that I was quite tired of seeing Tony Stark perish at that point in the series …
I’m going to raise a similar point as the one above, but I just really don’t need to see the Avengers die in various ways over and over. I don’t find it particularly interesting nor creative and I even guessed the big reveal. I can’t say I found much that stayed with me after this one.
The purpose of this episode was to be fun and it did that. We got Darcy marrying Howard the Duck, Jane and Thor getting matching magic/science tattoos, the Ice Bros … all entertaining for sure. The story felt silly and had some logical faults (especially when it came to traveling via the Bifrost), but it wasn’t terrible.
When I watched the episode, I wasn’t very impressed. In a lot of ways, it was a shot for shot recreation of Captain America: The First Avenger, but with Peggy getting the serum. While that was a nice callback visually, there were few surprises, since we all know the story. However, the longer I watched the series, the more I liked it. It was a really good introduction to what the show would be like and included unexpected moments, like Steve wearing the first Iron Man suit or Bucky and Howard being besties.
I was always a huge Age of Ultron fan, so this was an interesting take. I liked the recreation of Nat sacrificing herself for the Soul Stone, but with the role reversal of Clint being the one to let go. Most of all, though, I liked that the Watcher was really involved in the episode and started an epic fight through the multiverse with an unhinged Ultron. It was a really good action sequence.
As far as season finales go, this wasn’t bad. It felt cohesive, put most of the puzzle pieces together and made the season a whole instead of an anthology. There could have been more interaction with the Watcher, but the team constellation was fun. If I had to criticize something, it’s the wasted chance of bringing Black Widow back into the live-action MCU, which would have been an easy choice. And, secondly, I think it’s a shame that they robbed Shuri and Pepper of the chance to dethrone Killmonger in their world.
It’s Zombies – need I say more? I’m not even that huge of a zombie fan, but I think they worked that particular sub-genre well into the world of Marvel. It was one of the more gruesome episodes, but I enjoyed myself, except for the last scene. It kind of ruined the vibe.
Even though I never watch all episodes of Black Mirror, I like the concept and quite a handful of stories from it. This episode felt like it was made with Black Mirror in mind and I loved that. It was twisted, had a dark ending, but also taught you a lesson of sorts. It was *so* close to being my favorite, and I’m not just saying that because I have a soft spot for Doctor Strange, the egomaniac.
This episode just made me happy! It works well on its own, without leaving you bumbed or too questioning about what comes next. It gave me an entirely unexpected pairing, which has now become one of my favorite ships – Nebula and Cha Cha – like, I’m seriously so grateful they were introduced to us. But most of all, it was a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who I’m sure, many of us consider to have been just as much of a bright light and force of good as T’Challa was in this universe.
We’re back on this fine Wednesday (I say like it’s not raining where I live, then again, I do like rain) with another Marvel review – What If … The Watcher Broke His Oath? Spoilers for the episode ahead!
What was it about?
The Watcher assembles a team from across the mulitverse to fight Ultron.
This was … a good episode? Still a little packed, because of the minimal run time, but overall one of the better ones. It definitely felt like a season finale more than anything else, but then again, it seems like Marvel still has something up their sleeve for the upcoming season. Either way, this was an action-packed episode. Let’s break it down!
The Watcher finally decides to intervene and plucks the candidates for a team of his own from across the multiverse. Eventually he assembles the “Guardians of the Multiverse“, which consist of characters from previous episodes such as Captain Carter, Star Lord T’Challa, Killmonger, Party Thor and evil Doctor Strange. However, he also recruits a version of Gamora, who managed to kill her Thanos and save her universe with an infinity crusher (a device, designed to destroy infinity stones). I wonder why we haven’t gotten to see her story.
This odd mix of characters was quite fun to watch, but they don’t get a lot of bonding time before getting thrown into a fight with Ultron. It’s here that the zombies make a cameo again, but easily get defeated by the AI.
As T’Challa manages to steal the Soul Stone, the gang flees to another world, where they meet Natasha, the only survivor on her planet and the version we met the previous week. Ultron quickly catches up, but they manage to hold him down long enough to use the infinity crusher. Unfortunately, this course of action fails, as each infinity stone is unique to its world and the crusher was designed for only those of Gamora’s universe. I guess this is their way of talking themselves out of the power of the stones cancelling each other out once there are multiple versions in one world?
Ultimately, it all comes down to the Zola virus Nat managed to save because of Clint’s sacrifice last week. With Peggy’s help, she manages to drive the arrow home and Ultron is destroyed, but nothing is ever that easy.
Killmonger betrays the group and takes the stones for himself. He suggests to make everyone’s world the way they want it, to give everyone what they need/desire, but the other’s are having none of it. Before anyone can intervene, Zola wants to reclaim the stones though, starting a power struggle with Killmonger.
It’s at that moment, that Stephen realizes what he has to do. Now that the stones aren’t attached to a body, he freezes the fighting Zola, Killmonger and the infinity stones in a pocket dimension, becoming their watcher in the process. Let’s face it, he didn’t have anything else going on.
Everyone returns to the moment they were taken from their universe, their sacrifice unknown to everyone. Except for Nat, who gets taken to a world that had lost their widow. For a moment, I carried the slight hope that it would be our universe and that the Black Widow movie wouldn’t have been for nothing and way too late, but it wasn’t “ours”.
In the end, this was a decent episode. Very action-packed and not so much character focused, but it really tied what we had seen so far together. I appreciate that it wasn’t all for nothing.
This isn’t something really big about the episode, but I feel like, if you shipped Steve with Nat in the live-action movies, then you should 100% be able to ship Nat with Peggy because of what we’ve seen. Their chemistry was off the charts and I don’t care if they call each other BFFs or not. Usually, I’m not someone who needs to find characters to ship and advocate for loving platonic relationships, but some comments on the internet pissed me off. Consider this my rant, because I can’t tolerate intolerant people.
For some reason, I thought this was the penultimate episode, but alas, I was wrong. This felt like it tied up things neatly for the season, so it makes sense to end the story here for now. Maybe we will get to find out about Gamora after all some other time? I don’t really think so, but I also don’t know what’s about to happen. I would, however, love it if the episodes would have tied together with the finale of Loki and would explain what happened there. But again, this did not happen.
I’m pretty sure most of you know it by now, but it’s Wednesday and that means it’s Marvel review day! Today we’re talking about What If … Ultron Won? – spoilers ahead from here on out!
What was it about?
What if Ultron got himself a body, some infinity stones and the realization that there are several worlds he can bring his version of “peace” to? A heap of chaos, that’s what.
It’s odd – this was the first episode that actively connected to previous ones we’ve watched, but simultaneously it didn’t make sense if you considered last week. What am I referring to? Well, we clearly saw the Watcher distressed at Ultron’s appearance during the end scenes of What If … Thor Were an Only Child?, but now the course of Ultron’s story seemed to surprise him all over again. Simultaneously, we know that the episodes are connected now due to the final moments. It doesn’t fully make sense. I’m getting ahead of myself though, let’s break it down!
From the beginning, the Watcher seemed more invested in this universe. He said that it breaks his heart and it’s the one where Ultron managed to get hold of the body that would become Vision in the “regular world” and made it his own instead.
After deploying all the world’s nuclear weapons and extinguishing most of humanity in the process, Nat and Clint (who has a metal arm) seem to be the only ones left, the only hope alive.
All of a sudden, Thanos shows up, but Ultron doesn’t hesitate – he cuts him in half and takes the infinity stones for himself. This Thanos must have come for the mind stone, as that was seemingly the only one he was missing, giving Ultron a full set and therefore his own infinity armor (instead of the gauntlet).
With all that power, Ultron continues to bring his version of “peace” aka complete and utter destruction to all planets and life in the galaxy. Even an encounter with Captain Marvel didn’t stop him and he ultimately extinguished everything and everyone (except for Nat and Clint, but he doesn’t know that).
As he becomes a program without a purpose, he suddenly reaches a previously unattainable level of consciousness and becomes aware of the Watcher, who is terrified by his hunger. The realization that there are multiple universes gives him a new mission.
Through all of this, the Watcher could still not intervene, but only hope that Nat and Clint would find the answer in the Russian KGB archive they needed. Apparently Zola, the AI made from uploading a Hydra scientist’s brain, is the only one that could counteract Ultron’s code from within. In an attempt to upload Zola to the hive mind, Clint sacrifices his life – it perfectly mirrored Nat’s sacrifical scene from Endgame and I liked that in an odd way.
Meanwhile the Watcher and Vision are carrying out an epic battle throughout the multiverse. They crash from one reality into the next and you could barely keep up with what was happening (Steve Rogers seemed to be president of the US in one though …). Ultron is not invincible, but the Watcher eventually has to retreat and seek help.
Ultimately, the Watcher finds himself out of options and seeks lonely Doctor Strange from a couple episodes ago. He had been all by himself, in his single bubble, since the destruction of his universe and is only willing to help. We shall see if this team up will be effective.
So, we get another open end, but, at the same time, we are entering a phase of the show where everything starts to connect. As much as I still think What If …? has plenty of storytelling weaknesses in general and banks way too much on the viewers previous knowledge and emotional attachment to the characters, I’m intrigued by this development. I enjoy that it seems like there is an overall purpose and possibly something that will be really relevant to the MCU as a whole.
I bet a lot of people who mocked Age of Ultron (which was honestly always one of my favorites) are surprised just how much the characters from that movie came back in the shows this year.