Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Prior to seeing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a mainstream popcorn blockbuster-type comic book movie from a production company that has gotten quite a lot of mileage out of casting wonderful actors in roles that are much too small for them, I’ve been a bit snarky in talking about it like the […]

Black Widow is, on balance, a largely blank experience: devoid of anything particularly obnoxious other than a 133-minute running time that it seems to view as an obligation rather than an opportunity for expansive storytelling, pretty formulaic in every single element of its storytelling, packed with hollow action scenes that don’t hurt to watch, nor […]

Part of me wonders if Kevin Feige is really just sticking it to Amy Pascal for the sake of it. The whole thing about Spider-Man in movies since 2016 is a bit tedious and wrapped up with corporate nonsense, but the basic thing to keep in mind is that Columbia Pictures, a subsidiary of a […]

As far as I was concerned, Avengers: Endgame only needed to overcome two bars, both of them fairly low: it had to be less of an atonal episodic hodgepodge than Avengers: Infinity War, and it had to be less unbearably fucking dreary than Captain Marvel. Missions both accomplished, and honestly by a pretty handy margin […]

One need not enjoy watching the films produced by Marvel Studios over the past eleven years (as I do not) to acknowledge that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, if nothing else, unfailingly consistent. Producer Kevin Feige rules with a heavy hand, and if that means that it’s almost impossibly rare for one of his movies […]

Over the course of 19 features, the interconnected productions of Marvel Studios have perfected the art of quality control: there is an extremely narrow band of not-too-good and not-too-bad that the films consistently hit. But there’s never been a point when the quality was quite as controlled as with Film #20 in the Marvel Cinematic […]

It may very well be the case that Avengers: Infinity War is both the most review-proof movie ever made, and the most review-proof movie that is capable of existing. I don’t mean “review-proof” in the sense that it typically means, that it would still make pots and pots of money even if the reviews were […]

Barring some major and wholly unexpected change, I suspect that Black Panther is the best film Marvel Studios is capable of making right now, and will never be topped in the future. That’s not really much of a compliment, though it’s enough to make me (with some vague resentment and suspicion that I’ll regret it […]

So, with Thor: Ragnarok, we finally have a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe directed by a no-two-ways-about-it Great Director. And that’s a subjective enough claim, of course; we do after all live in a world where people will earnestly defend Kenneth Branagh, who helmed the first Thor an unfathomably long six and a half […]

It’s all right there in the title: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Not “homecoming”, the early-fall tradition in U.S. and Canadian high schools, which puts in only a very mild and plot-inessential cameo in the film. But “homecoming” as in “coming home” as in “welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man, this is where you belong”. I don’t […]

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is actually, maybe not good. That is, anyway, the definite opinion of my colleagues and collaborators at this here website, and far be it from me to call them fools. Actually, it’s kind of my opinion as well, sort of.  Looking at the thing with an eye towards actually […]

Historically, Marvel Studios films have suffered from subpar visual effects. Not bad visual effects; it’s just that their CGI has a tendency to stumble at inopportune moments. So here is the first nice thing to say about Doctor Strange: the effects are absolutely stunning. Certainly the best in Marvel’s history, maybe the best in any […]