TV Review: Loki

In Avengers: Endgame, when a few of the Avengers went to New York (2012) to retrieve one of the much needed Infinity Stones, Loki grabbed the Tesseract and escaped his captors, who were the 2012 versions of the Avengers. This show answers the question of where Loki ended up after using the Space stone. 

Loki, by using the stone, created alternate realities, or a branch in the timeline. So, the TVA (Time Variance Authority) reset that branch, and there is only one remaining timeline left. It is later revealed that the TVA’s job is to make sure there are no alternate timelines, and they were given this job by the Timekeepers. When someone travels off of their timeline or changes something that shouldn’t be changed (according to the TVA) that person becomes a Variant, meaning they are an alternate version of themselves. The mysterious Timekeepers are in control of the TVA, and they are the ones who look into the future and give instructions on the way events should be taking place. 

This show is really entertaining. I think that it shows us a different part of Loki’s personality and character. Since he has been portrayed as a villain most of his time in the MCU, this is an extremely important part of Loki’s developing personality. Another part about this show that I liked was how there were constantly plot twists and new things being revealed to both Loki and the viewer. I would recommend you to watch this show if you are a Marvel fan or enjoy exciting and adventurous TV shows.

-Peri A.

TV Review: Marvel’s WandaVision

WandaVision | Watch Full Show Online

My parents are always raving about old sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Facts of Life or Friends.  Sitcoms, in their day, were the perfect half hour to hour where family and friends could gather for a show and a laugh with little worry.  They were children of the 70’s and 80’s, so I get it, but as a child of the 2020’s I prefer more action.  Disney Plus’ WandaVision is a perfect marriage of our mutual loves.  To add to its appeal, it comes from Marvel.  The creators of Marvel have expertly woven pop cultural references from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000 television with Marvel action packed story telling.  Not only that, but the writers take a deep dive into Marvel lore, providing excitement for everyone from the basic fan to the aficionado.  This ended up being a show that our family watched together, something my folks would call “must see TV,” though I am so glad I live in an era when I can watch what I want when I want.  Beware this review may contain spoilers

WandaVision begins as an idyllic 1950’s sitcom in the vein of The Donna Reed Show or Leave it to Beaver.  We are the audience watching an hourly scheduled program, of which Wanda is the main character.  How audiences found entertainment in these vanilla black and white comedies, I’ll never understand but, as pop culture goes, they reflect American values of the time.   The first episodes keep in step with the idea of a 1950’s happy home where the husband goes to work and the wife stays at home in the kitchen.  Weird, right?  We see that Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) is blissfully married to Vision, a sentient robot created by Ultron to destroy the world but who is later reprogrammed to help the Avengers.  Right away, the set up is a surprise because when audiences last saw this pair, Wanda is grieving the tragic destruction of Vision by Thanos at the conclusion of Avengers, End Game.  Here, Vision is very much alive and functional.  The couple is in love, recently married, and have moved to the perfect American small town, Westview, where they appear to be happily trying to fit in as “normal.”   At first it appears their ruse is working but there is a very peculiar and eerie undertone that something is not right.  As the sitcom transforms in rapid time from the 1950’s to the 1960’s we realize that not everything is as it seems in this little town, and by the time we reach the big hair and fluorescence of the 1980s, we learn that our protagonist has a dark secret and danger is lurking in a neighbor right next door.   We also are clued into a concurrent present day storyline, in the outskirts of Westview, that threatens to collide with WandaVision’s tranquil and out of time-sync town.

What is particularly attention-grabbing is that past Marvel characters, who were seemingly peripheral to the ultimate Marvel storyline, make appearances in WandaVision and are integral to the movement of this story.  You can’t help but almost cheer when they arrive on scene like an old friend you haven’t seen a while and remember how cool they are to hang with. I don’t want to give too much away except to say that Agent Woo has some amazing and quotable lines from this series.  If you don’t know Agent Woo, do yourself a favor and revisit Antman.  Oh and check yourself, you may not be a true Marvel fan.

WandaVision: What Big Marvel Cameos Could Happen? | Den of Geek

Without a doubt there is a blurring of lines between good and evil in WandVision which the audience comes to understand as we learn how and why Wanda escaped to Westview.  What is clear, however, is that actress, Kathryn Hahn, brilliantly sneaks up on you as the evil villain.  She is suspicious from the start but the true nature of her back-story unfolds in a wonderfully diabolical manner, drawing from historical fiction dating back to the Salem witch trials of the 1690’s.   She drives Wanda in the direction of her destiny as the Scarlet Witch.  Hopefully, this is not the last we will see of Kathryn Hayn and her mischievous character in the Marvel Universe.

Lastly there is a deeper message about running from problems and pain in WandaVision and that message is delivered via the ridiculousness and lightheartedness of the sitcom.  The sitcom is the perfect escape from the real world.  Typically, it is funny, sometimes even cheesy.  The basic sitcom plot involves the introduction of a problem that is most often resolved, with hijinks to boot,  by the end of the half hour. Who wouldn’t want to hideout in that kind of easy-natured fun, at least for a while.  Unfortunately, life is not a sitcom and even Wanda, with all of her powers, can only suspend reality for a brief time before her spell begins to bend and become vulnerable.  The pain of her losing Vision, along with the pain of her other life struggles, can’t be resolved in a half hour sitcom and trying to bury it there hurts everyone around her.  She has to embrace Vision’s lesson “But what is grief, if not love persevering?” In the end, Wanda emerges stronger, and more powerful and the audience is left to ponder her next move and also to ponder the ultimate question, “where will the Marvel Universe take us next?”

Johnson D.

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider

In the second movie in the Captain America series, Steve Rogers finds himself fighting his long-time best friend, Bucky Barnes. Bucky has been brainwashed by HYDRA and now goes by the name The Winter Solider.

As one of the strongest members in HYRDA, The Winter Solider puts up a strong fight. Although Captain America had no intention of killing The Winter Solider he has hopes of bringing the old Bucky back. Yet The Winter Soldiers’ sole purpose is to kill Captain America. 

The movie introduces us to a new character, Sam Wilson. Who also goes by the name The Falcon. Personally, I did not support the casting of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon because I felt as though he lacked in some areas. 

The CGI and visual effects in the movie are phenomenal. The casting of the movie was well executed. Although one thing I disliked was the lack of depth in some scenes. Yet for the time limit, it was acceptable. Overall the movie was well executed and had a nice plot. They did not drag the movie and kept it intriguing. The movie was almost flawless and I would deeply recommend it to anyone interested in action, superheroes, and marvel.

-Sanjana S.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Film Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

In this action-packed sequel, Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker aka Spider-Man. This movie was as amazing and mind-blowing as the first movie and was a beautiful masterpiece created.

The story starts off in Ixtenco, Mexico, where an unnatural “elemental storm” is investigated by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), where they meet Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). Back in New York, Peter Parker reunites with his classmates five years after the “Blip”/Snap. Peter’s school arranges a field trip to Europe where Peter plans to confess his feelings towards MJ (Zendaya). While in Venice for his class field trip, the Water Elemental wreaks havoc in the city. Quentin Beck jumps in and destroys the monster and claims that he’s from completely different earth (multiverse) and that the Elementals destroyed his family.

Peter, still distraught over Tony Stark’s death (we still are), begins to see Beck as a mentor and someone that he trusts and ultimately hands over E.D.I.T.H., an artificial intelligence glasses gifted by Tony, to Beck. Beck is revealed to be a former ex-Stark employee and uses projectors in order to portray the Elementals. Peter ultimately battles Beck and ends up killing him and takes back E.D.I.T.H. One of Beck’s assistants escapes and ends up revealing Spiderman’s true identity after portraying him as the one behind all the attacks.

The idea behind this movie, with the projectors and holograms manipulating the eye, was incredible and extremely well thought out and completely unexpected. It caught me completely off guard.

I absolutely 100% recommend this movie and strongly believe that everyone can enjoy this movie!

-Phoebe L.

Even Recap: San Diego Comic Con International 2019

On July 18-21st, the San Diego Convention Center hosted its biggest and arguably most fun event of the year: Comic Con. And this year, for the first time, I was fortunate enough to attend. SDCC is acclaimed for is fantastic Hall H panes, its fabulous stands of fan-made art and official merchandise, its booths of magical colorful posters and pins. Over 150,000 people attend this legendary event this year, and, as one of those lucky people, I’m going to tell you how it went down.

Now, while SDCC actually occurs in July, tickets are bought in early November and December, and are extremely difficult to get your hands on. The actual Convention takes place at the San Diego Convention Center and the Marriott next door to it. It consists of hundreds of rooms and halls in which the legendary panels and game shows are hosted, including the magnificent Hall H. On the ground floor, the huge event hall takes up the majority of the space, and this is where you will find various stands, official and fan-run, selling anything and everything fan-related.

I myself didn’t attend many panels, only 2, but both of them were fantastic. I spent most of my time doing two things: loitering around the official Marvel booth, and wandering around the event hall. Even so, it was an amazing experience. Although tickets can be expensive, I honestly think the experience is worth it if you’re a fan of anything present at the Con. And there is no shortage of options, either. The booths and panels range from superhero to anime to video games. It’s truly a place for all kinds of people to come together and celebrate the one thing they all share: obsession.

Overall, I couldn’t have had more fun at SDCC 2019. It’s truly one of the most entertaining events of the year, and I’m super excited to attend next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that… But in all seriousness, if you’re a superfan of almost anything at all, I recommend going to SDCC.

-Arushi S.

Film Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

All right–first things first. THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME AND SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THESE FILMS.

Second things second. Avengers: Endgame has surpassed Avatar and is now the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide! So, cheers to that! But all that aside, Marvel recently released its final movie for 2019, a beautiful sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and that’s going to be my main focus.

Firstly, allow me to express my insurmountable appreciation for the titles for the last two Spider-Man movies, and explain the symbolism behind them. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker has been recognized as Spider-Man by Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, and he’s being given the resources to become the hero he was always meant to be. He’s harnessing his powers, bonding with the beloved Mr. Stark, and his superhero alter ego is giving him an excuse to get even closer to his best friend, Ned. His powers and alternate persona are allowing him to become more comfortable with himself and his surroundings. The movie, at its core, depicts his homecoming, his arrival at where he was always meant to be. I just find that beautiful. Cut to Spider-Man: Far From Home. Not only is Peter literally far away from Queens (as he’s touring Europe), but everything he thought he knew is being refuted. Tony Stark, his mentor and father figure, the man who metaphorically brought him home in the previous film, is dead. The original Avengers are all either dead or retired. The world is in the midst of a rebirth, dealing with the aftermath of the Snap and the tentative formation of a new team of superheroes. Peter Parker isn’t just an Avenger-in-training anymore. He’s a legitimate hero, and he is beginning to realize that he has a brand new set of obstacles to maneuver. He has, at no fault of his own, strayed far away from the home he built for himself in Homecoming.

Enter Mysterio (played by the marvelous Jake Gyllenhaal). He seems like the perfect new leader of the Avengers, the perfect new hero for this broken Earth. His story is barely plausible, but nothing is unbelievable to the citizens of a planet whose population was just cut in half, then restored. He claims to be from another universe when his true intentions are to steal away Tony’s legacy from Peter. Spider-Man himself is gullible enough, after the falling-apart of his world, to willingly hand over Tony’s tech to Mysterio.

The world proceeds to fall apart yet again, this time at the hand of a false hero who the world mistakenly trusts. Peter has to come to the rescue, all by himself this time, only for Mysterio to throw one final punch. Even though he’s dead, the villain manages to get a video of himself onto the screens in Times Square, stating that Spider-Man is the real villain, and revealing the masked hero’s identity.

The movie is an emotional roller coaster. The audience feels everything Peter does, and that’s where the true beauty of the film lies. This movie is an artfully crafted masterpiece, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I ardently recommend it.

-Arushi S. 

Film Review: Avengers: Endgame

As all of you probably know, Marvel Studios just released the record-shattering finale to the ‘Avengers’ movie series. It is the only film in history to make over $1 billion in its debut, breaking the record previously held by its prequel, Avengers: Infinity War. Furthermore, it broke the record, which was also previously held by ‘Infinity War,’ for most money made opening weekend in the United States. It managed to score a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an A+ on CinemaScore. Needless to say, this movie was groundbreaking and has definitely scored a place in the cinematic hall of fame.

I don’t even know where to start with this movie, but I can warn you that there will be spoilers in this review. I think I’ll begin with the groundbreaking female empowerment exhibited in the film. It’s been well known that women will play a strong role in the next movement of Marvel’s plotlines after the release of movies like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Captain Marvel.’ But ‘Endgame’ really went above and beyond in this area- there was a moment during the final battle which I loved. Spider-Man questions Captain Marvel, and all of our favorite female superheroes, such as Shuri, Okoye, Gamora, Nebula, Pepper Potts, The Wasp, Scarlet Witch, and Valykrie, rally behind her. The movie also touches on core female character from the past, such as Frigga and Peggy Carter. Additionally, Marvel gives Natasha Romanov a beautiful heroic send-off, with Clint Barton and Wanda Maximoff paying respects to her sacrifice.

To add to the wonder of the movie, the story-line was perfect. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and cried at the same time. One of my favorite pieces of the movie was Tony Stark’s new family. He married Pepper and had a beautiful daughter. I have wanted to see Tony flourish as the perfect father he never had for what seems like forever. Even though Tony ends up dying after using the infinity stones to defeat Thanos’ army, I cherished the scenes featuring the Stark family. Additionally, I loved the character development for Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor. Steve finally opened up and let loose, starting a post-snap therapy group and letting loose a little bad language here and there. Bruce Banner finally came to terms with his other half, introducing Professor Hulk to the MCU and becoming an instant sensation with the Avenger fanbase in New York. Thor’s development, on the other hand, was not exactly positive. The viewer sees him spiral after the immense losses he has suffered- the deaths of his brother, mother, father, and half his people. He has become a drunkard, pot-bellied and lazy. The viewer finally sees the hidden side of Thor, the one he always covers up with his relentless positive attitude.

Overall, I thought this movie was perfect and served its purpose (to transition from Phase 3 to Phase 4) excellently. I would really recommend seeing this movie to Marvel fans, since you do need some background to understand what is happening. However, if you have not seen the movies, I would suggest that you do, just so that you can understand this one. This movie was absolutely amazing, it satisfied me and made me feel all sorts of wonderful feelings.

-Arushi S.

Avengers: Infinity War

I went into the theatre to watch Infinity War super excited because I honestly just wanted to see how Marvel would finally kill some of its superheroes. And well, overall ways the movie kind of disappointed me. I still enjoyed the movie but after all of the hype, I was just expecting something different.

The entire movie was basically just action. It started with minimal setup and the rest of the movie seemed like action and violence with a small amount of storyline woven in. I just thought that with everything that Marvel had to work with, they could have written a better storyline. It wasn’t a bad storyline it just seemed to be very similar to all the other superhero movies that had been made, just blown up to a larger scale and the special effects were great. But, the amount of action was so overkill that after a while it almost got boring.

To really understand this movie, you really had to watch all the other Marvel movies that had recently came out because there was small pieces of the storyline that were explained in the other movies that the movie makers had expected the audience to know. Which, I think was kind of a good and bad thing. I found it cool that they could tie everything together but, the parts explained in the other movie where so minimal that I feel like it was more of a money grab. It was also kind of hard to remember all these parts because I hadn’t watched some of the other movies in a while which, made some of the storyline kind of confusing. So, I would definitely suggest going back and watching the other Marvel movies before seeing Infinity War.

Now I really liked just seeing all the characters together. I liked seeing how Marvel portrayed having all these different characters together and how they interacted with each other. It was nice seeing some of the more minor characters back in a movie again.

The best part of the movie, for me, was the fact that some of the superheroes finally died. I know that they aren’t probably going to stay dead, but it was about time that Marvel killed some of their superheroes. Though, the way they killed them was kind of disappointing.

Marvel did make us wait a long time for the end credit scene though.

I would still totally recommend this movie especially if you’re into superhero movies.  It was still a good movie and I had a lot of fun watching it.

– Ava G.

Film Review: Avengers Infinity War

Avengers Infinity War was a marvelous work of action, suspense, and many plot twists along the way. The movie would most likely to get an award in at least not just one category. It is about the critically acclaimed Avengers that was first introduced by Marvel Studios in 2012 and was a very good movie fueled by Disney’s purchase of Marvel in 2009, making the Marvel Cinematic Universe an even bigger money maker.

They started with the Iron Man trilogy which was at the time the best Marvel movie until a year later, with Captain America: Civil War. Like Civil War, Infinity War movie was not a happy family gathering. It speaks what the all the trailers where speaking. Something very bad is going to happen in this movie.

As the movie started there was silence when we saw the well done Marvel Studios sign. Usually there is music that introduces us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You could already tell from there that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. It also introduced us to the title of Avenger Infinity War first instead of at the end of the movie. Which is not something Marvel does often. That also right there is a key that this movie is going to be something very different about this film.

Now on the bright side, we finally see the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers fighting Thanos’ army which was something that most fans including me have waited for a long time. We have waited for Thanos’s big reveal ever since the end credits of the original Avengers movie. Then again we saw him in Guardians of the Galaxy sitting high and mighty on his chair. Then again we saw him at the end credit scene in Avengers Age of Ultron. As much Marvel teased Thanos I was not disappointing about him. He had a clear motive about what he was doing and I thought to myself maybe is he right.

-Max U.

Film Review: Black Panther

Black Panther had a lot of ups and downs but it was still a good film. I wouldn’t praise it as the best Marvel movie but it is still a good movie. To me this movie was like a lot of Marvel movies. We have the hero who was defeated by the villain then gets saved and comes back to save the day. It seems like Marvel is trying to keep following that pattern.

This kind of had to do with some history. To me T’challa and Kilmonger represented Malcolm X and Martian Luther King Jr. One had extremist beliefs while the other had peaceful beliefs. It seems fitting that they use these comparisons because of the film’s release during Black History Month.

I thought that Eric Kilmonger played by Michael B Jordan had a very empowering role as the villain. I think he really improved as a actor since Fantastic Four which was his last marvel film. This movie also had a Lion King feel to it. Like when T’challa fought Kilmonger he was struck down and then came back to defeat him.

Now I’m going back to Kilmonger because he had such a deep part in the movie. One of the deepest things he said in the movie was “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from the ships, because they knew that death was better than bondage.” Those few words could probably be the most deepest thing in the whole movie. That is what is so cool about his character.

Since he lived in America and has Wakanda blood, he goes back to the secret country where nobody has ever heard of The Civil Rights Movement. Which makes no sense what so ever to the people but we as a audience get it.

I also thought that the costumes in this movie really understood the type of look that Wakanda would have. The technology in the movie was really cool in every aspect.

I thought that it was funny that the whole world thought that Wakanda was a very poor country but, it was the most advance in the world.

-Max U.