And so we find ourselves at the final episode of the first season. It’s definitely been a wild ride with some dizzying heights early on, but it’s had trouble regaining that momentum after the battle in episode five. Frankly, the most satisfying storyline we’ve gotten since then was the conclusion to Kwan Ha’s journey and the USNC side of things has just kind of muddled along trying to make sure all the pieces are in place for whatever was to come in this episode. Does it untimely come together in a spectacular finale that sets us up for an even better second season, or will we have to wait until then to get something that’s worth watching? Let’s find out!
After Makee (Charlie Murphey) activated the artifact, it left a lot of things in disarray. Makee managed to escape with it, The Spartans are having a crisis of identity, and good ol’ Doctor Halsey (Natascha McElhone) is gonna try and skip town while everyone is still wondering what the heck just happened. It’s one giant mess to clean up and there are those who are more responsible than others, but the Spartans don’t quit when there’s a mission and they’re needed now more than ever. With the artifact fast on its way to the Covenant Prophets, there’s not much time for the UNSC to get itself together and figure out where they’re going and how to stop them. Can Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and Silver Team (Natasha Culzac, Bentley Kalu, and Kate Kennedy) finish the fight despite the weight of Halsey’s deceit hanging over their shoulders? What will the Covenant plan to do once they get the location of Halo, and how does Makee still fit into those plans? Is there any particular reason that this had to be done on top of a sand mountain? I mean the dirt canyon from episode five wasn’t the most exciting location but it looked a lot better than this!
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Sam Raimi
Before this latest phase of Marvel movies, you would have sounded like a broken record listing off all the great things about it before giving it an above-average score, but the last few movies have wavered a bit in quality with the only real standout being the latest Spider-Man; the one that leans heavily on nostalgia for movies that weren’t even made by Marvel Studios. Still, even prior to the Post-Endgame MCU there was an easily identifiable formula for these things and even the best of the Marvel movies didn’t deviate much from it; including the first Doctor Strange movie which definitely benefited from its mind-bending vision but still fell into a lot of the same pitfalls of other Marvel films at the time. Now it’s sequel time with a veteran director behind it, so perhaps this will be the one to successfully break the Marvel mold and do something unique with it instead of just another really enjoyable entry in the catalog. Can this bridge the gap between the great simplicity of the pre-Endgame MCU and the more experimental phase it finds itself in now, or will it tear itself apart trying to fix what isn’t broken? Let’s find out!!
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) may not be the Sorcerer Supreme since taking that five-year vacation, but he’s still hanging out at the Sanctum Sanctorum and just kinda working on himself. You know, get to know the REAL Doctor Strange, especially since his ex-girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams) is getting married and so he no longer has someone to pine after. Geez, this is starting to sound a bit sad. Maybe an interdimensional threat that could rip apart the universe would give him a bit of structure and a clearly defined goal to go after! Well as luck would have it, a young woman named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) is being pursued by the kind of monsters you’d find in a D&D handbook, and it turns out that she has the unique gift of being able to travel through dimensions. Well… sort of. She can’t exactly activate it at will but it always seems to get her out of trouble at the last second, though her luck seems to be running out as the malevolent force that’s pursuing her seems to be getting very close and she’s even gone to a few different Doctor Strange counterparts in those other universes without much luck in stopping this threat. Now it falls on our Doctor Strange to put an end to this sinister chase and stop them from taking her powers for their own nefarious end. For this task, he enlists the help of the current Sorcerer Supreme, Wong (Benedict Wong), as well as Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) who’s been off on her own since that whole Wanda Vision thing happened. Can Strange uncover the identity of this malevolent force that’s out to hurt America, and will he like the answers that he finds? What does Wanda hope to gain from all this, and will it be enough to make her whole after losing so much? I bet they wish they could escape to a dimension where Everything Everywhere All At Once came out the month after this instead of the month before.
It’s the penultimate episode for the season, and while things have started to waver a bit in the second half, Paramount has done an admirable job of bringing Halo to the big screen! Well maybe not the big screen, but with the way streaming is these days, is there really that much of a distinction anymore? In any case, we can pretty much assume that there’s gonna be a big blow-out in the finale, but is the journey to get there just as enjoyable as the inevitable alien punch-up? Let’s find out!!
Following the artifact boom at the end of episode six, Chief and Makee (Pablo Schreiber and Charlie Murphy) have grown closer which is not escaping the notice of everyone else on Reach. Most think that it’s a bad idea, especially when Chief starts pushing for Makee to grab a hold of the artifact as well to see if it will tell her where this Halo weapon is, but the recently ousted Doctor Halsey (Natascha McElhone) sees this as an opportunity to weasel herself back into John’s good graces. With all of humanity hanging in the balance, is this budding romance between Chief and Makee exactly what the humans need to turn the tide of the war, or will Makee lead them all to their doom? Just how far will Halsey go to keep control of what she believes is hers, and will her allies fall in line behind her? Seriously, these two are perhaps the most emotionally stunted people in the universe. Is anyone else dreading to find out what they think foreplay is?
Sonic: Imposter Syndrome, as well as Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap, are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
I’m probably sounding like a broken record, but IDW’s Sonic series is always better the further away it is from Sonic himself. The mainline series has had its ups and downs, but the mini-series have always been some of the best writing we’ve seen from IDW’s run with the characters, and that is still the case with Imposter Syndrome; especially after Issue 49 which just felt like a bridge to whatever Issue 50 is gonna be. Does the final issue put the cherry on top of an already great mini-series, or will this be an even direr warning that Issue 50 might be an overhyped disappointment? Let’s find out!!
We begin the issue with Starline, Surge, and Kitsunami standing on the literal precipice of their greatest victory. For Starline that is to invade the Egg-base below and take over his mentor’s empire and for the other two, it’s to stab Starline in the back as soon as he thinks he’s won. Things go quite well right out of the gate, though that’s not much of a surprise given Eggman’s penchant for aesthetics over functionality, and the trio dispatches a number of goofy-looking and overly complicated robot minions. A few gun turrets or some land mines might have been a better use of resources, but Eggman will be Eggman and it’s not like he has anything better to do with his time. Speaking of whom, Eggman is swiftly made aware of the attack on his home and is baffled that it’s not being perpetrated by someone on his already extensive enemies list.
We’re back with another week of Halo, although I wouldn’t exactly fault you if you thought otherwise. Someone must have heard me complain about the lack of closure for the Kwan Ha/Soren storyline in my recap of the last episode, so now that dynamic duo gets a full hour just to themselves! Now I’ve found the character to be an interesting and welcome addition to the Halo lore, but there’s little doubt that the Kwan Ha storyline has been a mixed bag so far. On the one hand, she was fantastic in the first episode and she gives us an excuse to keep Soren around, but on the other, her story feels rather inconsequential to everything else and she herself hasn’t done much to guide her own narrative; mostly being escorted from place to place to give us updates on the goings-on on Madrigal. Still, the heat she’s been getting from some corners of the fan base has been inordinate and I’m more than happy to see them spend a good chunk of time on it if it means we’ll get to a resolution. Is this just the episode we need to make Kwan Ha and Soren feel like important people in this sprawling narrative, or will they have burned through whatever goodwill they had left by the end of it? Let’s find out!!
The story picks up some time after Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) escaped from Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) and is still intent on finding the desert mystics who will hopefully help her reignite the rebellion; the same way they helped her father many years ago. The journey is difficult but she eventually makes her way to them while Soren managed to find a way off -planet and back to The Rubble where he’s trying to continue his life as the coolest pirate ever like nothing had happened. For both of them though, they seem to be getting more pushback than they expected as the desert mystics are skeptical of Kwan Ha’s intent of overthrowing the government of Madrigal while Soren has to deal with people whispering about how he returned empty-handed and if it means he’s no longer fit to be their leader. Time is running short for both of them as they need to step up and prove that they shouldn’t be underestimated, but with Vinsher Grath (Burn Gorman) on the hunt for Kwan Ha and a few knives looking to find their way in Soren’s back, is there a way to get through all of this alive even if they do prove themselves as worthwhile leaders? What will Kwan Ha have to do in order for the desert mystics to take her seriously, and what fears from her past will she have to confront in the process? It’s pretty amazing that sci-fi drugs are so good at revealing deep emotional truths about someone; otherwise, it’d seem irresponsible to give this Spice knockoff to a teenager!
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Jeff Fowler
The first Sonic movie didn’t really do it for me, but I could at least appreciate the parts of it that were well put together as well as the few flashes of fun Sonic nonsense peppered throughout; especially the song from the credits! I still listen to that pretty regularly and frankly it was all I really needed from Sonic on the big screen. I’ll just keep reading the comics and playing the games over her while Paramount and SEGA keep the brand relevant with run-of-the-mill family movies. Then they started showing trailers for this one that had Knuckles in it and a more game-accurate Eggman, so perhaps they plan to lean harder and harder into the fan service with each subsequent film. It seems to be working since this has already made more money than the original film, but does the deluge of recognizable characters and iconography lead to a better movie, or is this just a cynical attempt to fleece the fans on promises they can’t deliver? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first movie, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is living with Tom and Maddie (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter) and everyone just seems to be cool with the space hedgehog doing his thing throughout the state of Washington. Sure, maybe he’s a little overzealous with his Blue Batman shtick, but who can blame him now that he has full(ish) control of his speed powers? Well, he may just get a bit more than he wished for when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) manages to escape the mushroom planet with the help of a red Echidna named Knuckles (Idris Elba) and they have a few words for the quip spouting rodent. Fortunately, he’s rescued by another mysterious creature, Tails the fox (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) who fills him in on what’s going on and why Knuckles is after him. Something from Sonic’s past leads directly to an ultimate power known as the Master Emerald and Knuckles is heck bent on finding it while Robotnik is just kind of along for the ride and will probably do something nefarious to everyone by the end of this. With such an unstoppable power at stake, Sonic and Tails must sift through his past to find the pieces necessary for finding the Master Emerald and protecting the world as we know it. Oh, and Tom and Maddie are at a wedding or something; probably not important. Can Sonic and Tails find the Master Emerald before Knuckles and Robotnik release its power upon the world? Why is Knuckles so intent on finding this thing, and how does his past tie in with Sonic’s? Seriously, this seems like a pretty big leap from the last movie! Are we sure that Sonic is ready for something that doesn’t involve slo-mo bar fights and fart jokes?
The Northman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Robert Eggers
So not only did The Daniels make one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, we got a movie from Robert Eggers just a few weeks after! Either someone out there likes me or I’m being set up for a huge downfall, which admittedly is thematically consistent with Eggers’ other work. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse were two of the best movies in their respective years and it looks like Hollywood is taking notice as they’ve given him a blank check to make his unique form of creeping dread and otherworldly terror as big and bombastic as any summer blockbuster! Do the bigger budget and expansive production give Eggers the room he needs to make the best movie of his career, or is he better suited for something on a much smaller scale? Let’s find out!!
Back in the time of The Vikings, there was a king named Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) who was unjustly slain by his own brother (Claes Bang) in front of the young prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) in a power grab for his kingdom and his queen (Nicole Kidman). The prince manages to escape and swears vengeance on his uncle which he nurtures into a finely distilled ball of pure rage and spends the next twenty years bulking up and kicking butt until he is ready to take back his kingdom. Now a grown man (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth pillages the countryside with a group of like-minded and similarly buff Viking dudes until he gets word that his uncle has been deposed and is living with the queen and their two sons on some farm in Iceland. He heads over there on a slave ship to try and get close to him while meeting the fair maiden Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who may or may not be a witch, and is similarly interesting in killing the man who will be enslaving them both. Amleth manages to stay unrecognized as he becomes one of his uncle’s slaves and plots his revenge which includes sewing chaos during the night and stabbing dudes with a magic sword he finds. Still, this proves to not be as simple a task as Amleth believed it to be for all those years, and now he’s faced with the true consequences of his actions which forces him to weigh the cost of his vengeance against the balance he hopes to restore with that blood. Will Amleth be able to avenge his father, save his mother, and be the hero that would make Odin proud? Will his uncle catch wise to this hulking blonde brute being the instrument of his torment, and even if he does realize his identity, is there anything he can do to stop his nephew from carrying out his quest? Is it just me or does a blood feud really do wonders for your physique? I mean jeez, they didn’t even have EMS back!
[THENORTHMANCD1 – I guess when you can’t get whey protein in a jar you just have to get it the old-fashioned way by drinking the blood of your enemies!]
We’re back with another episode of the two best live-action shows based on a video game, and honestly, I don’t even think those who dislike this series can genuinely disagree with that statement. It’s basically this, The Witcher, and a huge drop off to… I don’t know the Super Mario Bros Super Show or one of those Mortal Kombat things? In any case, we’ve just had a big action set piece at the end of the last episode and there’s a lot of fallout to go through for Chief, the UNSC, and everyone else that’s caught in the middle. Is this an engaging and emotionally charged follow-up to the exciting battle we just saw, or do they pump the breaks too hard after giving us everything we wanted? Let’s find out!!
With the Battle of Eridanus II being, at best a “mixed bag” for the UNSC, everyone has low spirits and frazzled nerves as they make their way back to Reach; none more frazzled than Chief (Pablo Schreiber) who’s getting really tired of Halsey’s (Natascha McElhone) secrets and lies. Frankly, he’s not the only one as Admiral Parangosky (Shabana Azmi) is making moves against her and even her own daughter (Olive Gray) is starting to comprehend just how deep the well goes with her mother’s cruelty. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’ve got a Covenant prisoner (Charlie Murphy) on their hands that may hold the secret to winning the war, but since we know she’s a double agent, it’s unlikely they will get anything useful out of here and that she’s just here to stir the pot. With tensions high and spirits low, can our beloved cast of characters work through this funk and get back on track before the Covenant find them first? Just how far will Chief go to get the answers he’s looking for, and how much of this is still Halsey’s manipulations? Is it just me, or is something missing in this episode?
Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
We’re back with another issue of the ACTUAL Sonic comic and not a tie-in to a movie that I still haven’t seen yet. Hey, I’ll get around to it soon enough, but having moved the week it came out and with so many other movies out there, it’s kind of fallen down the priority list. This comic on the other hand, I made sure to pick up as soon as it came out to get my thoughts to you as soon as humanly possible. Admittedly not as fast as hedgehog-ly possible, but either way we are speeding towards the fiftieth issue and IDW wants to make it a big event. Does this penultimate story provide the perfect lead in to whatever Issue 50 is going to be, or will we once again be turning to the spin-offs for great comics? We’ve still got one more Imposter Syndrome is all I’m saying! Anyway, let’s find out!!
We begin the issue with Tails and Belle working on a way to turn Badniks into Good-niks (which is one step above a Beatnik), and while I could focus on the morally questionable aspect of rewriting the code of a seemingly sentient race of machines (*cough* Mass Effect 2 *cough*), I think the more immediate concern is Sonic. He’s there to serve as bait for the Badniks once the brain-worm signal is emitted, and he seems to be taking his job perhaps a bit too seriously…
Everything Everywhere All at Once and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
I heard a lot of good things about this movie going into it, but what really grabbed my attention was finding out that this was directed by The Daniels. Their previous film, Swiss Army Man, was a pretty fantastic little indie film (that I did a pretty poor job reviewing despite giving it a good score) and I’d always wondered what they had been up to since then. You probably don’t need me to tell you if this movie is good given how far-reaching the praise has been for it (and the fact that I’m reviewing it almost a month after its release), but maybe my little voice out there in the universe will ultimately make a difference for someone! Is this as great as everyone says it is, or will I be the bearer of bad news that’s about to rain on everyone’s parade? Let’s find out!!
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is not very happy with her life. She runs a laundromat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), her father (James Hong) has health issues and needs to be taken care of, and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is bugging her about something when all she wants to do is keep everything from falling into chaos. Throwing a wrench into her plan is the IRS who is auditing her business, and the agent assigned to her case (Jamie Lee Curtis) is not exactly the most amenable to her stressful situation. Sometimes you just have to wonder where things went wrong and if there’s a better version of you out there. Fortunately for Evelyn though, she gets an answer to that question when her husband starts acting very weird and tells her to wear these wireless earpieces that end up sending her to alternate dimensions. It turns out that Evelyn may just be the key to solving some sort of inter-dimensional timey-wimey nonsense and that her husband is being controlled by a parallel version of him from the Alpha-verse that is able to hop dimensions and is searching for a way to stop a terrible threat that is about to shatter all of existence. Sort of a lot to drop on someone already struggling to make it through the day, but when the alternative is talking to someone at the IRS, it’s pretty easy to figure out which is the better option! Evelyn has to find the strength within her and put everything she holds dear on the line in order to save the future (or something like that), but can she juggle the problems of multiple versions of her life when she’s struggling just to deal with the one she’s got? What is this all-powerful threat that Evelyn needs to face, and is Alpha Waymond keeping some very important secrets from her? Can you apply deductions from businesses in an alternate reality, or do you need separate filings for each parallel universe?