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.)
As I’ve recently started my vacation, I’ve also binged more and more TV shows and movies. I thought it was about time I’d get you all caught up, before this post gets out of hand. I did find so many things I liked!
The Witcher (Season 2)
It’s been two whole years since the last season and I, once again, binged it all in one sitting. I don’t know what it is exactly, but this season didn’t work as well for me as the previous one. That’s not to say it was bad, because it wasn’t, but it also didn’t excite me as much. This time around, there were no timeline shenanigans and I felt the final twist was somewhat predictable (at least the thing I imagined happened to be exactly the thing that was the final frame?).
To me, we got to spend more time with characters last season, getting to know them and their fears and dreams in detail, while it felt more rushed this time around. I’m glad we got a focus on Ciri, because I couldn’t quite grasp her before and she feels much more well-rounded as a character now. Still, there was a kind of emotional disconnect from me to the characters in general, despite several bonding moments that were clearly meant to evoke some sort of feeling. You’d think Daddy Geralt would work more for me, but it just felt a little bland.
There was a clear story-thread throughout the entire season, less “monster of the episode”-type stuff, but I’m still confused about some revelations or developments. I’d very much like to continue with the story as a whole, but I hope the break won’t be too long. (I very much understand why it took that long and I do not blame them for keeping their production, crew and cast safe! I want to make it very clear that I am pro Covid-safety and stopping work during a pandemic.)
Little hint: If you stay past the credits of the finale episode, you’ll get a first glimpse at the spin-off The Witcher: Blood Origin!
The Big Leap (Season 1)
I loved this show with my whole heart. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me want to dance and sing. While it works (kind of) as a self-contained mini-series, I’d very much appreciate another season. This show totally works for you, if you like a show about reality shows, but make it fictional and dramatized. The characters were absolutely brilliant and lovable and so very easy to let into your heart. I have so many favorite moments and dynamics. At the end of the day, I can only say that it was beautiful and human and I hope people watch it online now that it’s on hulu (or Disney+ if you’re in Europe. Sorry, not sure about other territories).
The Sex Lives of College Girls (Season 1)
I 100% didn’t expect to enjoy this show as much as I did. I thought it was just going to be some comedy about sex, but it really wasn’t. It had a lot of depth, while still providing quite a bit of humor. I’m rooting for these girls and I’m happy to announce that Season 2 was already confirmed, so I don’t actually have to worry about whether I have to prematurely say goodbye to characters I adore again. There’s just so many themes that get picked up that I don’t even know where to start. I especially liked Bela’s ambitions to become a comedy writer, but was heartbroken about some developments. Kimberley is a favorite. She tries so hard, but definitely says the wrong thing a lot. Her story focuses quite a bit on being inexperienced and poor surrounded by much worldlier people with money and influence. Leighton has this whole sexual identity crisis, which was done very realistically in my eyes and lastly, there’s Whitney. I liked her, but I felt her story arc was the least developed.
Lost in Space (Season 3)
This was the final season of the show and it was a good one. Not AS good as previous ones, but it gave us a satisfying ending.
I think most of my issues with the season were the fact that the Robinsons kept getting separated and that it all just felt a little bit rushed. Maybe that’s because they had more planned and needed to cram it all into one season or maybe it just happened, because sometimes that’s how it goes. Either way, it was lovely to see them all grow up and go through it one last time. Especially my baby Will is now a really tall and lanky teen – when did this happen!? I might have cried during an episode …
The Hating Game
Disclaimer: I have not read the book!
I had so much fun watching this movie? I know there were changes and people weren’t happy. I also know that the male lead casting was questionable? I didn’t really feel a spark watching the trailer either, but they worked really well off of each other once you watch the entire movie. I think romances are often predictable and this didn’t exactly feel like an exception, but I was entertained throughout. Solid movie!
There’s currently not too many weekly shows that I’m following aside from The Wheel of Time and Hawkeye, which are both ending next week. Hence, I spared you my list of weekly shows. What did you think of my mini-reviews? What are you watching? Let’s chat!
As I’ve been home a lot these past two weeks, I’ve really leaned into watching all the stuff I could get my hands on. I really wanted tot talk about those things, before they start to get to be too much. So, without further ado, here are the shows and movie I watched.
This movie forever changed me! There’s just no other way to put it, because I keep thinking about it all the time. I can see how many people won’t necessarily like the ending, but it made sense in its own way.
Once I got over the fact that half the main cast was also in Marvel movies, I was just surprised by how emotionally involved I was. It’s beautiful and sad and heartbreaking and magnificent. The continued use of the violin, which you can also hear in the trailer, is way more important than you might think and will tear at your heartstrings. I really can’t rave about it enough and remember just sobbing through large parts of it. I suppose, this is one of those movies you have to be in the right mood for, but it’s now among my top movies of the year!
Only Murders in the Building (Season 1)
I just recently mentioned this show in the last TMP post, but I’m just going to repeat myself. I was surprised how much I liked this show and am now really excited for another season! Of course, the cast always looked fun, but I didn’t expect how funny it would actually be and how many twists and turns they’d manage to add to the story. I found it to be way more unpredictable than I would have initially suspected.
Gentefied (Season 2)
The first season had some real tearjerker episodes, especially some that weren’t even pertaining to the main cast. I was fully prepared for this to hit the same way, but it just didn’t. I don’t know if it was because I already knew what to expect or because I used it more as a background show while painting, but I wasn’t as invested this time around. Sounds like a me problem either way. The season focused a lot on “illegal immigrants” on top of the family ties, which was well done. I enjoyed that they didn’t neglect to mention that cases with a lot of media attention sometimes have it easier and that there are so many more cases that get overlooked.
Saved by the Bell (Season 2)
This show is so ridiculous, but I keep enjoying it every single time I put it on. I’ve never watched Saved by the Bell while growing up (it just wasn’t a thing here and maybe I’m too young?), so it’s definitely not a nostalgia thing, but I sure keep having fun. That’s what matters most, right? I don’t know what more to say. The most random line will just have me laughing out loud, but they do have really personal moments too.
Selling Sunset (Season 4)
Okay, I usually don’t talk about reality shows much, but I binged the entire season in one go. I just couldn’t stop.
I don’t know if you know this, but Chrishell and Jason are dating now, but they didn’t yet in this season. However, the editing team sure loved to hint at it. There were so many cuts to Jason when Chrishell was talking and just showing him paying attention or wanting to help her or being downright jealous. When Simu Liu showed up, my worlds kind of collided, but the jealousy was so odd. I still can’t.
Shows I Watch Weekly
This is the part where I talk about the shows that I watch each week and that are still ongoing. It’s my way of not forgetting them, because I can’t binge them in one go and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.
The Wheel of Time (Season 1) – I am OBSESSED with this show! I haven’t read the books and I kind of doubt I will (it’s 14 really massive volumes, not counting the prequels and novellas), but I’m so curious. One episode per week is just not enough to satisfy my need for more. I’m already sad to have learned that Barney Harris, who is playing Mat, got recast for S2. The entire Wheel of Time internet is wondering what happened.
The Sex Lives of College Girls (Season 1) – I may or may not have started this show because of Gavin Leatherwood, but I’m not mad at it at all. I weirdly find it less salacious than the title might suggest, but then again, I’d still not watch it with my parents.
Hawkeye (Season 1) – I’m reviewing this show episode by episode, so you can check out my thoughts on ep 1& 2 here.
Yellowjackets (Season 1) – It’s such a disturbing show, but I’m intrigued.
The Big Leap (Season 1) – Love this show. Nothing new.
Gossip Girl (Part 2/Season 1) – I think it says a lot about me that I’m most invested in the throuple storyline.
Dickinson (Season 3) – I can’t believe this is the final season. I’m kind of over the entire Sue thing and the war seems an odd focus for a finale, but alright.
Nancy Drew (Season 3) – My ship is about to sail! They both know they have feelings now, they just need to let each other know.
All American (Season 4) – This hasn’t been my season so far. I’m feeling really ambivalent.
Station 19 (Season 5) – I AM FUMING! I’m so mad at the show, I don’t even know how to express it. A certain character perished and I adored them and they literally got a job opportunity in another city, so I don’t understand why they had to die. This is one of the cruelest story arcs and trauma to add to that character that was just not necessary. They literally don’t know how to write out characters in a healthy way.
9-1-1 (Season 5) – This season hasn’t really grasped me as much as previous ones. I still love the relationships, but I haven’t felt as invested for some reason.
What have you been watching? Do you watch any of the same stuff as me? Let’s talk!
I’ve watched so much in a short amount of time that I decided to better do this sooner rather than later. It will likely be a lengthier post, so I won’t talk about the weekly shows I am currently watching, just because they aren’t that many and haven’t really changed anyway (The Big Leap and Nancy Drew are my bright spots of the week!). So, let’s get this started!
An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts (Season 1)
This was a really quick watch that I enjoyed far more than I initially thought I would. Basically this little hidden Italian gem of a show is based on a book, about 6 episodes for now and will hopefully (seriously, fingers crossed!) get renewed, because I need to know what happens next.
I’m not huge on astrology, but I like to have fun with it at times. I know my signs, but I honestly don’t take it very seriously. However, if you are very attached or protective of your star sign, beware that there is going to be some intense roasting of most signs (I think leos, which I am coincidentally one of, were the only ones getting off easy here). But the characters are really charming and will have you in a chokehold by the end of it. I’d sure like to have a Davide and a Tio in my life.
Locke & Key (Season 2)
I was semi-excited for the new season, but it was actually really good. Please do not read on if you haven’t watched the first season, because this is a spoiler, but Gabe was a great villain. The way he really seemed to have feelings for Kinsey made this so much more interesting to me. Generally, my takeaway from the show so far is that Dodge just wants to be a hot teen boy.
Anyway, the teens were still fools, the whole show is pretty far removed from the gory comics and targeted towards a younger audience, but it worked for me. This time around, they had to deal with the fact that they were growing older and that would mean they’d forget magic. It also dug deeper into the lore of the keys and set up an intriguing future season. I’d be here for more.
Another Life (Season 2)
I’m going to be real honest with you and tell you that I forgot pretty much everything that happened in season 1. It was a real struggle to get back into it, even though I remembered really being in love with the AI, William, so I wanted that feeling back.
In general, Another Life is quite brutal. Barely any crew members are safe and you really can’t get attached to anyone. Every season is “torture the AI” season, which I’m not a big fan of. Overall, it continued the story nicely though. I suppose I won’t be the only one struggling to remember everything that happened previously, but this felt like a good end. It could continue, but this season felt like an end to the show. At least it would be a neat one.
Stargirl (Season 2)
Last summer, I was so very invested in Stargirl and I had really hoped to feel the same way this time around, but the feeling never quite came back. Somehow, I felt a distance while watching the season and it could very well be because of them filming during the pandemic, but it also might have been, because they missed so many chances.
They set up super interesting characters (Green Lantern’s daughter, the Shade) and then barely used them or featured then at all for several episodes, all in favor of a villain that got super repetitive fast. I like the themes they dealt with this season and still adore the characters, but there was potential for some better plots. Still, they had some standout episodes and a really great finale. I’m excited for next season, which is titled “Frenemies”. It’s going to be so much fun!
Army of Thieves
To begin with, despite it being a prequel to Army of the Dead, this has nothing to do with zombies. They are barely even a B-plot, because this is squarely a heist movie. Having said that, I feel like the charm of the movie and the many references only work if you watched Army of the Dead first. In a way, I think it might even confirm some theories about the zombie movie in the final scene … but maybe I was projecting here.
Army of Thieves was very fun with a quirky cast of characters. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but Matthias Schweighöfer did a great job not only bringing a charming and fun backstory to his character, but also directing it.
The Harder They Fall
I was really excited for this movie, because it looked stunning, had an amazing cast and soundtrack and I had a whole plan about watching movies with black cowboys, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how violent this movie was. I think my brain blocked out a lot of those gory scenes, because that’s not really what I’m about.
Aside from that, it has a lot of wit, humor and, again, amazing visuals. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but as someone who is not usually huge on westerns, I enjoyed this. (You can really thank the outstanding cast for that!)
Did this movie have cute moments? Yes, it totally did. Does that excuse the fact that we are in the year 2021 and they are still trying to make catfishing cute in dating movies? No, not one bit. I’m just so tired of the trope. We’ve established that it’s not okay, so don’t make a million more redemption movies, where we need to fall in love with the person by the end anyway.
There will be a separate post where I talk about Eternals, which I have watched a couple days ago. I want to make it a post with spoilers, so I’m targeting next Wednesday, hoping I’ll have sorted my thoughts by then. But what about this post? Did you watch any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!
We shall not speak about the dire state of my reading this month, but I’ve actually managed to watch quite a lot. I’m so happy to get to do these posts more again, even if it’s just a clear sign that I struggle to balance my reading and watching schedules with work. So what? Let’s talk shows and movies!
Midnight Mass (Limited Series)
I finally made it! Not going to lie, this is the Mike Flanagan show that took me by far the longest to get through. It’s not that it was bad – not at all – but it felt heavier and slower than the others, possibly because of the heavy religious focus. Over all, Flanagan did it again and managed to bring impeccable characters to our screens. He really is my exception when it comes to horror content, at least his shows are. I love that he tends to stick to cast members from previous projects and hope that trend will continue with the upcoming shows.
Overall, I was able to predict a lot of the underlying plot, but it had great emotional moments again. (Still like Bly Manor and Hill House more though.)
Pretty Smart (Season 1)
This is the kind of show, you want on a slow day in the background. It doesn’t require a lot of attention, it’s super over the top, so you’ll always get what it’s about and it’s a nice way to pass the time. I binged it in a day, because I didn’t feel like doing much and liked it a lot. It’s silly for sure, but I laughed so much during the pottery episode, I couldn’t remember the last time a show cracked me up like that. So, if you don’t mind ridiculousness, clichés and over the top acting, this is for you. Again, I’d recommend it as a bit of a background show?
YOU (Season 3)
I was so ready for this season and I watched it as quickly as work allowed me to. It’s strange how this story just goes on and on and they don’t get discovered, despite being really bad serial killers. I don’t want to give away too much of the season, but I think we all know the formula by now. There were a couple nice new characters, few surprises, but somehow this series just works. I do not, however, get how people still lust after Joe. I do not trust a man who hasn’t picked up a single book written after the 1950s. Sorry.
On Our Block (Season 4)
I’m glad they got a final season to wrap things up, but I wasn’t super impressed by the finale. I think there’s one character who would have just deserved better and I didn’t feel as emotionally impacted by their fate as I would have suspected, so that felt a bit like a let down. Either way, it tied up the loose ends, especially the confusion that reigned at the end of Season 3. I know they already have a spin-off planned, but I’m undecided on whether I will check it out.
Do you like aesthetically pleasing, but campy vampire movies? This might just be for you! I think it definitely has some flaws. I will never understand why it was promoted with Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney, who could not be more inconsequential for the movie if they tried, but lets not riff on it too much. There was some interesting lore there, which I wish they’d have dug deeper into, but they focused a lot on the more cutesy parts. Again, I think there was potential for it to be just a lot MORE, but I can also see them do a sequel … maybe. I’d watch it. It was really pretty and the characters I cared about were cute.
Shows I Watch Weekly
This is the part where I talk about the shows that I watch each week and that are still ongoing. It’s my way of not forgetting them, because I can’t binge them in one go and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.
The Big Leap – This is the show I look forward to the most every single week! I can’t tell you how much I adore the characters and all the various dynamics. There’s so many ships, but not even just romantic stuff. I’m so here for it, while the back of my mind screams to not trust FOX.
Stargirl (Season 2) – I have my issues with this season, because the characters feel different. I’m so here for Beth’s emancipation, but they did not utilize this version of Green Lantern well. They just introduced her and then didn’t use her for episodes. There’s great moments in between (that Yolanda episode was everything), but I’m very tired of the big bad of the season. The Shade was an awesome addition though, while it lasted.
Nancy Drew (Season 3) – Still beyond happy to have the crew back, even if I’m always a couple days late to watch the episode.
9-1-1 (Season 5) – There were a couple emotional hooks in there already, but nothing too out there yet. At least for me. I miss Chimney.
Station 19 (Season 5) – Crisis One is such a great topic, not just because it gives my bae Dean Miller more screen time, but also because it is based on a real initiative in Seattle. I wish they’d communicate and promote that more in the credits or something.
What are you watching? Anything on here you’d like to or have watched too? I’m currently in the midst of the new season of Locke & Key, as well as some German RomCom movie marathons.
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.
Once again, I’m a little late, but I have written a review for the latest episode of What If …? titled What If … Thor Were an Only Child? From here on forward, there will be spoilers for the episode!
What was it about?
Thor, who never had to compete with or set an example for his brother, turned out quite differently – he became the Party Prince of Asgard!
We’ve established by now that I’m not the biggest fan of the show, so I don’t think we need to harp on it much more. I was, however, actually looking forward to Party-Thor, just because I knew it would be a more light-hearted episode and it didn’t disappoint in that regard. Then again, much like last week, this episode didn’t feel too imaginative to me. Did not having a brother really change Thor all that much, or were his parents just more lenient? I almost believe it’s the latter, but let’s just break down the episode bit by bit.
In this universe, Odin never adopted/kidnapped Loki and instead returned him to his birth father. This must have also quelled the war/animosity between Asgard and the Frost Giants, as it doesn’t seem to be an issue henceforth. This led to Thor and Loki growing up as friends, however, never as real brothers.
More than battles won or lost, it’s relationships that truly define a hero. The people who shape them, their stories.
Back on Earth Dr. Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis notice a pattern from outer space, guessing an alien invasion is about to happen. While they are right about the visitors being from somewhere else in the galaxy, it’s actually just Thor and his friend group deciding to go on a bender while Odin is asleep and Frigga is off to visit her sisters.
I’m not going to go into detail, but Thor turns the entire planet into an intergalactic party central and apparently once partied so hard on Alpha Star, it destroyed the whole thing. Jane, who met and fell in love with Thor in this version too (they even got matching tattoos), worries that he will accidentally be the end of Earth. Death by party?
The cameos in this episode are almost boundless. You have several characters from the Thor movies (Korg, the Grandmaster, Skurge, …), The Guardians of the Galaxy (Drax, Mantis, Nebula, …) as well as Howard the Duck again. Howard even gets married to Darcy. I’m not joking. That happened!
Maria Hill, who is acting director of SHIELD after Fury had a run in with an overexcited Korg, is ready to bring in the big guns to fight Thor and calls in Captain Marval aka Carol Danvers. They have a fight around the globe, but ultimately it is Jane who stops Thor by ratting him out to his mother.
All the alien visitors help Thor clean up his mess on Earth, but he still gets caught. It nevertheless serves as a lesson to the God of Thunder to become more mature and he eventually asks out Jane on a real date. The end? Happily ever after? Not quite!
The final scene, because why would we ever just end on a happy note, showed an evil Ultron appearing with all infinity stones. What does it mean? Who even knows at this point …
I’m a little tired of the cliffhangers, BUT I am intrigued by this one in particular. The thing is, The Watcher seemed surprised by the end himself. So far, no matter how bleak the outcome, he always knew that it had to be the fate of that particular universe or character. However, at the end of the episode, he appeared to be flustered by the appearance of Ultron, possibly not expecting it. So, what could it mean?
I can’t help but wonder if this Ultron breached from a different universe, which would slowly fold into the Loki series storyline of the multiversal chaos we are about to witness. The only reason I’m hesitant to fully buy into this theory is that his infinity stones would effectively be useless if he were from another universe. At least in the comics, it is impossible for more than one set of infinity stones to exist in the same realm and remain powerful. It’s like they cancel each other out. Another theory is that he might be from the future, which would still work, but not really explain the Watcher’s surprise. We might never get an answer, so this could potentially just remain another frustrating loose end, but there is a chance that this might be the first multi-chapter story within the What If …? stories. We shall see!
Wednesday remains Marvel review day, even if I might post a little later in the day. As a warning, this will likely happen for several weeks to come, as my schedule has changed a bit. BUT reviews are still happening. Today we talk about What If … Zombies!? and spoilers are ahead from here on out!
What was it about?
When Bruce Banner falls to Earth to warn everyone about Thanos’ arrival, he finds a planet entirely changed and now inhabited by … zombies.
I genuinely thought last week’s episode was dark, but this one was equally (if not partially more) sinister. In general, I was never a huge fan of the zombie genre, but I was curious to see what they would do with it paired with the Avengers and it was a lot of fun. I don’t have a comparison to the comic book storyline (because yes, there were zombies in the comics too), but it worked alright for me. That is … until the once again, super open and ambiguous end. I vowed not to complain so much about the episodes feeling rushed (which they still do), but I also haven’t made peace with the fact that it’s never really a closed story. Sometimes an open end is great, but sometimes … I just don’t know what to do with it. But let’s start at the beginning!
Just like in Infinity War, Bruce Banner crashes into the Sanctum Sanctorum to warn everyone of Thanos’ arrival. However, in this reality, Bruce finds Earth changed and seemingly deserted. That is until Bruce’s henchmen arrive to start a fight, just to be surprised by superpowered zombies in the shape of Tony Stark, Wong and Doctor Strange. It’s not often that I see zombies retain the abilities they had before they were changed.
Bruce eventually gets saved by Hope van Dyne, Strange’s cape and Peter Parker as we find out what happened on Earth.
In this version of events, Hank Pym also went to find his missing wife in the quantum realm, but the reunion went quite differently. Janet van Dyne contracted a quantum virus that corrupted her brain (aka turned her into a zombie) and because of her daughter’s unrelenting search for her, she managed to bring the virus back to our realm and infect large groups in no time. Once the Avengers joined the fight and got turned as well, the fate of humanity was more or less sealed.
If only it weren’t for a small group of survivors that still carried that torch of hope. In a very curious constellation, Hope van Dyne, Peter Parker, Happy, Bucky Barnes, Kurt (one of Scott’s friends, if you struggled to remember him as well), Sharon Carter and Okoye as well as Bruce Banner now, all found themselves in New York, willing to give their all to save the planet.
The group gets a beacon that tells them that a potential cure has been found and in an attempt to get there, they lose a couple members. I have to say that, despite the scenes being fairly brief, the violence was definitely upped quite a bit. I never thought that I’d have to watch Sam get cut in half from top to bottom and Bucky react entirely nonchalantly, but here we are. I mean, he literally said “I should be sad, but I’m not”. To me, there were several quite gruesome moments.
Only Peter, Bruce, Bucky, Okoye and Kurt make it to the base that is supposed to hold the cure, just to find Vision there. He found out that his mind stone creates an aversion within the zombies, which ultimately led him to test his theory. He was able to save Scott, but only his head. A head that keeps floating around and just telling dad jokes. Typical Scott!
This is where Marvel really twists in the knife though! When everyone gets excited about potentially saving humanity, Vision turns dark. In reality, he has been luring people to his hideout in order to feed his zombie bride – Wanda. She is too strong and her zombie-condition can’t be cured, so he instead contained her and fed her, even holding T’Challa hostage.
I did not expect to get another appearance of Chadwick as T’Challa, but my heart sang again. This wasn’t nearly as happy as the last episode he was in, but yeah, I’ll take what I can get.
Ultimately, Vision can’t betray everyone he knows, while he also can’t let go of Wanda. He opts to destroy himself and give up the mind stone to the others, rather than leave her or kill her himself.
A Hulk vs. zombie Scarlet Witch fight ensues, while Peter, Scott’s head and T’Challa are the only ones making it off the base with the mind stone. Thankfully, Wakanda’s shields were strong enough to not have them fall pray to the zombie apocalypse. So, technically, there is still hope that they can fabricate a cure, if only it wasn’t for the small little detail everyone forgot – Thanos arrival.
The episode ends with an image of a zombie Thanos, who is wearing an infinity gauntlet with a full set of stones. To me, that means he defeated the remaining people in Wakanda and got the mind stone. I’m assuming his plans for the use of the gauntlet changed with his turn to a zombie, but I don’t know. I could speculate and form a dozen theories, but that’s the frustrating thing with these episodes sometimes. The end could mean basically anything and everything.
What did I learn from this episode? I still remember this thing going around TikTok or Twitter, where someone said that heroes would always sacrifice their love in order to save the world, whereas villains would burn down everything rather than let you go. Well, I think the What If … multiverse proves that our heroes are definitely willing to let it all go to hell for their loved ones. Just some more food for thought, because as the watcher said, all these stories (most of which often turn to a form of horror) started with love and hope/Hope.
Something I appreciate a lot with these episodes is how they replicate certain shots from the bigger MCU in animation. It was especially notable with Captain Carter’s episode, but continued to be utilized throughout the season thus far. This time around, for example, we saw a corrupted Steve Rogers still use his shield and it looked marred by blood, just like it did when John Walker misused it in TFATWS. It’s very smart cinematography, because it easily creates a connection and possible emotional memory to something familiar, but in a very subtle way.
In general, this episode offered a lot of imagery hinting at the fate of characters in different realities. There was Peter with the cloak/cape and him being Spider Supreme in another universe. Then there was Bucky with the shield (“guess this is the end of the line”), stepping up as the new “Captain America” in this version. It’s the little things that often only last a couple seconds, but that can be meaningful to viewers (although Sam is my Captain. Sorry not sorry).
Ultimately, I liked the episode, but I’ve enjoyed others even more. Maybe I’m not the right audience for an anthology series like this, but we’ve made it to episode 5 (which I believe to be the halfway point of the season), so I’m going to keep going with these little reviews/recaps.
It’s Wednesday and we all know this means it’s time for another Marvel review! Today we’re talking about What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?, so continue at your own peril. Spoilers ahead!
What was it about?
Doctor Strange’s entire life changes when he loses Doctor Christine Palmer in an accident rather than his motor skills.
So, that was quite something! Maybe I will really like every other What If …? reality more than the previous one. This episode truly felt like the Marvel version of a Black Mirror story and I didn’t mind it. That obviously means that the ending was quite depressing, which probably won’t be to everyone’s liking, but if you think about it, it is also not very likely that every reality in the multiverse is a happy one. Let’s break down the events of What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?
Stephen Strange and Christine Palmer were on a date. They were goofing off, clearly having a great relationship, when the dreadful car accident happens. Instead of Stephen losing the precise motor skills in his surgeon hands, he loses Christine, the love of his life, instead.
I thought it was interesting that his grief for her sent him on the same journey as the despair about his hands did. He traveled the world, eventually trained in the mystic arts and became the Sorcerer Supreme. However, it’s after that, where the story really changes.
Unable to let go of the past, Stephen uses the Eye of Agamotto to travel back in time and redo his date with Christine. No matter what he tries, even if he stays away completely, she always dies though. Her death turning out to be an absolute point in time, unchangeable and irreversible.
The Ancient One tries to warn and explain to Stephen that he is endangering the entire universe with his obsession, but they fight and he escapes to the lost library of Cagliostro. There, in the midst of all the hidden mystic knowledge, he learns that he can reverse an absolute point in time, but will need more power. This power can be absorbed from other beings. While a regular person would probably stop at the thought of consuming creatures, Doctor Strange goes on to absorb every powerful being, small or big, he can find (yes, the tentacle monster from What If … Captain Carter Were the First Avenger? makes a reappearance) for centuries.
What this version of Doctor Strange wasn’t prepared for was the fact that his last interaction with the Ancient One led to a split timeline. All the while he got stronger, there was another half of him, who hadn’t chosen to change time, running around and still being good. This means we got a Doctor Strange vs. Doctor Strange face off.
Where a usual Disney or happy storyline would have the good Stephen, the hero, win, this story is not that. The evil and now monstrous looking Doctor Strange cannot convince his counterpart to help him save Christine. So, instead, he even consumes himself, ultimately resurrecting Christine into a crumbling universe.
Christine doesn’t recognize Stephen when she comes to. He looks like an amalgamation of all the monsters and creatures he consumed, having no resemblance of his former self anymore. But worst of all, his entire effort was for nothing as Christine starts to disintegrate with the rest of the universe. He had broken the fabric of his reality to the point of no return. Even begging the Watcher himself to help resulted in nothing. So, Stephen created a bubble to shield him and Christine from the destruction, but in the end, he was all alone in vast nothingness.
Something I enjoyed a lot during What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands? is the fact that The Watcher was involved, albeit he did not intervene. In one of the earlier scenes, The Watcher talked to us and told us that Stephen was on the wrong path. He could intervene, but the safety of one universe was not more important than the others, while he also didn’t think that Strange would actually listen. However, Stephen did hear him and later directly talked to him. As I said last week, he seems to get more present in the storylines each week. Be it in the imagery or by actually talking with the characters now. I wonder if this will amp up even more in the future.
While I still think that the episodes deserve to be longer to make full use of the storylines and the potential emotional impact, it worked better here than with some previous ones. Once again, there were some fun visual and dialogue references to movies we know. There was a whole montage of how Stephen learned his craft and jokes about his name and hilarious moments with the cloak. At the end of all of this, I might do a personal ranking of all the What If …? episodes. Would anyone be interested in that?