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“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Spoiler Review

“Hey! Let’s hear it for Captain America!”

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” 

The second mini series of Marvel’s phase four has finished, and boy was it an explosive ride from frolicking in the meadows to tackling race in America.

Just like with “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” did an excellent job at character development, but the story surrounding that development wasn’t at the same level.

What I’ve loved about these limited series, so far, is that they’ve covered deeply painful aspects of life through the heroes. “WandaVision” took us through Wanda’s grief and ultimate acceptance. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” took us through Bucky’s PTSD and guilt as well as Sam struggling with fighting for a country that has long oppressed his people.

These are some heavy themes, and they’re handled beautifully.

Bringing in Isaiah Bradley was a brilliant way to illustrate why Sam taking up the mantle of Captain America was not an easy decision.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The story of Isiah Bradley is devastating, but not surprising. Isaiah Bradley was a super soldier just like Steve Rogers, but he was tortured and forgotten so the government could uplift and honor his white counterpart.

80 years later, they tried to do it again with Sam Wilson. In the first episode we see a government official tell Sam he’s doing the right thing by giving up the shield. Not because they want to preserve Steve’s legacy, but because they don’t want to hand it off to a Black man. They completely ignored Steve’s last wish because they wanted a white man to represent America.

This is why Sam taking up the mantle was so difficult for him, but also why it was so powerful when he did. Sam is going to be the next Captain America, not despite what his country has done to Black people, but because of what they’ve done. He’s going to fight for his country so his family, Isaiah and Black Americans have someone to look up to after hundreds of years of oppression. 

This was a very poignant theme in the series, and the same goes for Bucky’s arc.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Sam tells Bucky that he’s not making amends for his past, he’s avenging, and that he needs to do the work.

Healing is not convincing yourself that you’re doing better, it’s putting in the effort no matter how hard it is. Once you do that, you’ll be happier and at peace.

We see Bucky have that dreaded conversation telling a friend of his that he killed his son, it was painful to watch. But then later, we see Bucky smiling and having dinner at the Wilson’s cookout. He’s happier because he finally did the work.

After all this character development, I’m excited to see Sam and Bucky return for future MCU projects.

The overall story was okay. A group of activists, Flag Smashers, fighting against the government for displacing millions of people and acting as though they don’t matter. It’s not the most revolutionary plot, and it probably would’ve been better if the Flag Smashers weren’t so one-dimensional.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

After a while, it felt like their leader, Karli, was saying the same thing over and over again. We heard more about their struggles since The Blip was reversed, but we didn’t see any of it so there isn’t any substance to their cause.

In the end, Karli dies and it feels meaningless because we could never really latch onto her cause or her as a person.

I thought John Walker, a.k.a US Agent, would be the main antagonist. Although I don’t like him, he was better than the Flag Smashers. They did a good job of showing what happens when you rush to put the weight of the world on someone’s shoulders when they’re not ready. Eventually it crushes them, and they become the person you’re trying to stop. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Not only did Walker not understand what it meant to be Captain America, but the government also didn’t either. All they wanted was a new Captain America; someone they could better control and who aligns more with their beliefs and it completely backfired.

Walker started out as Captain America and now he’s working for Madame Hydra. I am intrigued to see where this plot will go.

The finale was more for superhero moments rather than keeping me on the edge of my seats. But I did appreciate those superhero moments. If the Flag Smashers were a better antagonist, it definitely would’ve been better. The speech at the end with Sam and everyone recording him was very staged, but at least we got Bucky and a federal agent calling Sam, “Cap.” 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Sharon Carter turns out to be the infamous Power Brooker, leader of the criminal underground in Madripoor, but she’s back as a government agent. She’s on her way to tear down the government from the inside, most likely as revenge for criminalizing her after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” I do love a good girl boss, so I can’t say I’m mad about this.

I loved Zemo when he was present, but now that the show is over, it seems like he was mainly a plot device and a great source of memes.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

I have to give it to Marvel, they once again produced a well-written show with great cinematography and even better action. The dynamic between Sam and Bucky was my favorite thing about the series, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan gave wonderful performances. With these limited series, Marvel really puts all their eggs in the main characters’ baskets and they pull it off. I’m excited for the next adventure, “Loki,” that’s for sure to be a wild ride.

Featured image courtesy of Marvel Studios

Disney+ a Year Later — Is It Worth It?

We all waited in anticipation on Nov 11, 2019. As the next day would be the launch of the highly anticipated new streaming service from Hollywood’s biggest studio — Disney+.

I remember vibrating with excitement as I typed in my information to create my account. It reminded me of the excitement of buying tickets to see “Avengers: Endgame,” without the anxiety of seats selling out. To commemorate the event, I made Iron Man my profile picture. But now, it’s been over a year. The excitement has worn off, the hype has gone down, so it’s time to reflect and ask ourselves. Was it worth it?

In short, yes. However, it did take a while for audiences to reap the benefits.

Disney’s pride and joy is their catalog, and it’s the main force driving audiences to their app. All the Pixar classics, throwbacks to Disney Channel favorites and Earth’s mightiest heroes. It’s safe to say you can never run out of things to watch.

That is, if you’re not looking for a new original series. In that department, it’s safe to say that Disney is lacking.

Now we all know about their crown jewel, “The Mandalorian,” the western inspired Star Wars series has been the top dog of Disney+ since it’s premiere last year. There’s also “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” That’s about it in terms of their major new original series.

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” barely counts considering it was originally made by Cartoon Network, but was canceled when Disney bought Lucasfilms. Unreleased episodes were put onto Netflix as a new season. Then Disney finally decided to revive the show for its final season to draw fans to the app.

Two new series and a new season isn’t too bad. When Netflix first started they only had a few original series, “House of Cards” being the most notable. Amazon Prime Video has a few gems too, “Fleabag,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “The Boys.”

Is Disney only having three new series really that bad? No, but only one of them has expanded to general audiences – “The Mandalorian.” The other two are for more niche audiences or teenagers and young adults. 

In this day and age, new original series are they key to getting audiences to subscribe to a streaming service. One would think Disney would have plans to roll out more original series to compete with  Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

But, Disney could afford to not launch without a vast collection of new content.

They say nostalgia sells, and Disney has nostalgia on lock. 

Many signed up so they could rewatch shows like “Kim Possible,” “That’s So Raven,” and “Hannah Montana.” (Enormous joy ran through me when I heard the “Wizards of Waverly Place” theme song after all these years.)

This was a chance to return to the shows that made our childhood, to be a kid again. For so long we’ve searched for websites that had the entire series or begged Netflix to add the show, but now we have it all in one place. Although I’m still waiting for “American Dragon: Jake Long” to be added.

Millennials aren’t the only ones who benefit. Parents now have a plethora of Disney & Pixar classics to distract the little ones for a few hours.

With the acquisition of 20th Century, audiences can watch icons such as “The Simpsons,” and holiday favorites like “Home Alone.”

The list goes on and on, and not to mention the celebrity collaborations with Beyoncé and Taylor Swift on their projects “Black is King,” and “Folklore: the Long Pond Studio Sessions,” respectively.

Clearly, Disney should not worry that they don’t have enough for audiences to watch. 

If audiences are craving for new content, they do not have to wait much longer.

When President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, announced the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s phase four lineup, there were several limited series planned for Disney+.

After delays due to COVID-19, the first one up is “WandaVision” premiering on January 15 2021. Coming afterwards will be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “She-Hulk”, and “Ms. Marvel,” all of which are scheduled to complete or begin filming in 2021. 

Image courtesy of Marvel

The MCU shows will be a game changer for Disney+, attracting general audiences who love the films and Marvel fans who don’t want to miss a thing.

Signing up for Disney+ on Nov 12 2019 meant waiting a while before we got to the good stuff, but now it’s all about to pay off.

Featured image courtesy of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Two Witches Are Always Better Than One – “Twitches” Review

Going back to childhood favorites is always risky, yet comforting. But once you get past the basic early 2000s storyline and mediocre special effects, you’ll find “Twitches” is actually not that bad.

It’s spooky season, so a return to those early 2000s Halloween gems from Disney Channel is a must. I begin with personal favorites, “Twitches,” and “Twitches Too.” The series stars Tia and Tamera Mowry as twins separated at birth, chronicling their lives as they learn about each other and their magical origins. It’s a solid premise; one of them delivers on the perfect Halloween. The other is reminiscent of going through your Halloween bag and seeing your neighbor gave you your least favorite candy.

“Twitches”

The second I pressed play and saw Coventry covered in “the darkness,” I felt a rush of happiness and nostalgia, and that stayed with me throughout the film.

Right off the bat, the film is funny and light-hearted. The intro sets up all the backstory we need to know and leaves us with just enough curiosity to want to know more. 

Now it’s time to meet our favorite Twitches (get it? Twin witches), Camryn (Tamera Mowry-Housely) and Alex (Tia Mowry-Hardrict). The film takes place on Halloween, which is “coincidentally” their 21st birthday. 

Twitches | Disney+

It’s the classic, twins separated at birth and going off to live very different lives. One struggling in a low-income household and the other clearly among the upper class. Although, seeing Black wealth is always a refreshing sight.

We learn the girls have two specific talents, art, and writing, but these talents aren’t random. They are subconsciously drawing and writing about Coventry because their abilities tie into their magic. An excellent touch to add depth to their personalities. 

Karsh and Ileana, the protectors, are our comic relief characters, and it’s done well. They constantly bicker, but you can tell it’s from the heart and not hate.

The conflict is very basic, to the point of if this were the conflict in any other film, we’d have a big problem. But this is a 2005 made-for-TV Disney movie, so I’ll allow it. 

The Darkness is the story’s villain and, with the power of light and love, the Twitches must save Coventry. 

The film does have a few complex ideas. 

Alex struggles to accept that finding her birth mother does not mean she has to replace her late adopted mother. Camryn struggles with change and not wanting her adopted parents to feel like she doesn’t love them.

My biggest issue with this film is that the girls are 21. I am 21, and I cannot see myself, or any other 21-year-old, acting the way they do. This does not feel like a film that should center around young adults, it should be about teenagers.

Disney’s “Twitches,” photo via IMDb

The choice was probably made because the producers wanted the Mowry twins to star as they were the only well-established female twins in Hollywood. But the film would’ve worked better with 15 or 16 year-olds.

“Twitches” is a perfect addition to the Disney Channel Halloween era, and the soundtrack with Aly and AJ – chef’s kiss.

“Twitches Too”

If there’s anything Hollywood has trouble making, it’s decent anime adaptations and sequels. Unfortunately, “Twitches Too” is not the exception.

The film rehashes a lot of beats from the original, and it comes off as stale and redundant.

TWITCHES TOO – After discovering they are both twin sisters and princesses, Alex Fielding (Tia Mowry) and Camryn Barnes (Tamera Mowry) try to live as normally as possible in their new surroundings, but a familiar evil darkness continues to threaten their existence and the sisters uncover evidence that suggest their missing father, Aron, may still be alive. “Twitches Too” airs on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 (8:00 p.m., ET) on Disney Channel. (DISNEY CHANNEL/JOHN MEDLAND) (RIGHT) TAMERA MOWRY

Karsh and Ileana’s bickering was cute at first, and now I’m wondering if getting married is the best choice.

Once again, the girls are running away at the hour of need, and there’s a speech about sticking together because they’re twins.

Even the villain comes back, which would’ve been fine if the time jump between the two films wasn’t a day.

The new plot point is the girls’ biological father, Aaron. It turns out he’s alive and trapped in another realm. For the most part, this storyline was good, and it ties into some internal conflicts with Alex. 

Disney’s “Twitches Too,” photo via Pinterest.

But, (spoiler) when he does come back, there is no payoff. He’s just there, and he has no more than 3 lines in all his screen time. More time needed to be spent on his return since he was the whole point of the film.

They brought back one character and introduced a new one from the girls’ mortal lives in New York. This was completely unnecessary because they added nothing to the story. Their screen time could’ve been given to the dad.

The special effects got worse. In “Twitches” it was good; in “Twitches Too” it was distractingly bad. I know it was 2007, but “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” came out in the same year, and it had great effects.

Now you might say, but that was a big-budget franchise film, and that is true. But do we not expect Disney to put more money into their sequel films to make them look better?

“Twitches Too” had potential, but it ended up being the trick, while “Twitches” was the treat.

Featured image via FlixList

Is it “Wanda and Vision”, “Wanda’s Vision”, just “WandaVision”?

A spoof on a 50s sitcom, an undead robot and babies made from magic. “WandaVision” sounds like a great show.

Now that Disney has delayed “Black Widow” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” to 2021. “WandaVision” has become the new opener to phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For a while, we had been in the dark on what the series is about until Marvel released the first trailer during the Emmys. If you watched it and still had no clue what the show is about, congratulations because none of us do. We barely understand the title. But that’s where the fun starts.

When you don’t know what to expect, then it’s time to theorize. Here’s what we know about “WandaVision,” and what we think we know.

What we know

WandaVision” will be a limited series and takes place after “Avengers: Endgame.” 

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff) stated that the series will be a deep dive into how Wanda becomes the Scarlet Witch.

Elizabeth Olsen in “WandaVision,” photo via Looper.

Syfy Wire reports the series will feature a few minor characters from previous MCU films. Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris)  from “Captain Marvel”; Randall Park (Jimmy Woo)  from “Ant-Man,” and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) from “Thor.” 

We don’t yet know what their role in the series will be.

We know from the trailer that Rambeau will spend some in Wanda’s new reality, but gets kicked out.

Teyonah Parris in Disney’s “WandaVision,” photo via Inverse.

We also know they will bring in some elements from the comics, like the OG costumes and the twin babies.

No, Vision did not somehow get Wanda pregnant. Wanda conceived the children with her magic. (As if that is any less weird.)

Matt Shakman, who directed for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” will direct the series. Jac Schaeffer, writer for “Black Widow,” will write the series, according to Syfy Wire.

“WandaVision” | Marvel Entertainment

What we think we know

Is Wanda going to lose her sanity? We think so.

It’s speculated that “WandaVision” will follow the story of the popular comic, “House of M.” 

In this iconic story, Wanda becomes mentally unstable and creates a new reality. In this new reality, Wanda makes mutants the dominant species, and after some backlash, she gets rid of all mutants.

Now the MCU has never adapted the comics beat for beat, but they have adapted key ideas from them. For example, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

It’s unlikely they will completely adapt the “House of M” story. But it is likely they will use the psychotic break to explore Wanda’s emotional state after “Endgame.”

There was even a nod to the “House of M” story in the trailer. A wine bottle with the logo, “Maison du Mepris”, translated from French it reads: “House of Contempt.” Could this also be the House of M?

Disney’s “WandaVision,” photo via Forbes.

As far as we know, there are no mutants in the MCU. That was because Disney didn’t own the rights to the X-Men franchise. But $70 billion later they do, and they need a way to introduce them.

Why look further than the character who is originally a mutant and famous for getting rid of them.

IGN thinks “WandaVision” might reveal that mutants have always existed. They speculate Wanda could’ve been hiding the mutants all this time. Could they be right?

We’ll find out when “WandaVision” drops on Disney+, hopefully before the end of the year. I need something to watch.

Featured Image, Elizabeth Olsen in Disney’s “WandaVision,” via Digital Spy.

The Wasted Potential of Percy Jackson

There is nothing more disheartening than seeing your favorite book series get turned into a disappointing movie franchise that wasted all of its potential. 

Everyone remembers that week in 6th grade when they learned about the Greek gods, making a poster of their favorite god with fun facts and popular myths. It was a fun time, Greek mythology is adventurous, heroic and heavenly. The “Percy Jackson” series is “Harry Potter” but with Greek mythology, and the film franchise should’ve been just as big — it wasn’t. Instead it felt like a cheap knock off, missing everything that made the books special.

What is it about “Percy Jackson?”

To put it simply it’s about a group of young kids going on mythological quests to save their camp, friends and the world. The main hero is a normal kid who finds out he’s actually a demigod; he quickly gets thrown into this mythical world where he grows to be a selfless hero. 

Alongside him is a fierce and smart young girl and an aspiring protector willing to lay his life down to do his duty. 

All the characters are different, because they are children of gods they have powers and characteristics that align with their parents. This makes them stand out in their own way. The series was heartfelt, bold and dangerous, perfect for the big screen and somehow it didn’t work.

What went wrong?

The movies were not what they should’ve been. What was supposed to be this grand mythical quest full of self-discovery and danger turned out to be a typical Hollywood quest movie lacking the unique qualities of “Percy Jackson”. 

Ares was never involved in the first film despite having a big role in the first book’s third act. Percy never receives the quest that sets the whole first book in motion. Annabeth Chase became less of the strong and wise daughter of Athena and more of Percy’s love interest who happens to be the daughter of Athena.

In more simpler terms, the film series was a flop.

Rick Riordan, author of the “Percy Jackson” series, wrote a blog post where he stated he was given no creative control of the movies. 

The choice to age up the characters ruined any chance of a franchise because the story revolves around Percy growing older and, as the prophecy says, making a life or death decision when he turns 16, Riordan wrote to producers. 

“The script as a whole is terrible,” Riordan said. “I don’t simply mean that it deviates from the book, though certainly it does that to the point of being almost unrecognizable as the same story.”

They wanted to make a franchise out of “Percy Jackson”, but left out everything from the books that built up a larger story that would’ve made it the franchise they wanted. It would’ve made it a better movie.

Riordan went on to write more spin-off series that connected to the original series. Had “Percy Jackson” been done right not only would they have an amazing franchise, but a great spin off material to make into another film series. It’s sad to see a great story get ruined by people who didn’t care to put the effort in to do it justice.

Fortunately on May 14 , Riordan announced that a new “Percy Jackson” TV series is in development for Disney+. Fans quickly took to Twitter to express their excitement and gratitude that the series will be getting another chance.

Riordan says he will be more involved in this project, so hopefully “Percy Jackson” will finally get the adaptation it deserves.