Review: The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three [2016 – present]

a review by the Team.

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The Crow: And finally, we find ourselves here, coming up on the finish line that is Avengers: Infinity War.

To preface this post: most of the movies listed herein have already been covered on The Corvid Review, and therefore, this will be a much shorter list than the other two instalments. However, you may hear me, and rejoice. For in the death of this post, you will have become a Child of Thanos.

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Phase Three

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS CONSIDERABLE SPOILERS

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR [2016]

Follow this link to read the Crow’s review

Final Scores: 

  • THE CROW: 7.5/10
  • THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 8/10

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DOCTOR STRANGE [2016]

Follow this ink to read the Crow’s review

Follow this link to read the Raven’s review

Final Scores: 

  • THE CROW: 6/10
  • THE RAVEN: 8/10
  • THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 6/10

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2 [2017]

Follow the link to read the Azure-Winged Magpie’s spoiler-free review

Final Scores: 

  • THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 6/10
  • THE CROW: 7.5/10

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SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING [2017]

a review by the Swan(!), played in by the Azure-Winged Magpie.

Spider-man, Spider-man
Does whatever a Spider-man does!hangonamo…
Spins a web any size, catches thieves just like flies
Look out, here comes the Spiderman

(◔◡◔love that tune!

Time to pack yo’ bags and head on over to school, kids! It’s friendly-neighbourhood-Spider-man-time!

And because only one of us has seen this film, I’m going to hand over this section to our cadet the Swan(!). Take it away, kiddo!

The Crow was asking some of his fellow companions if anyone had seen the movie and to give a review about it. So, I decided to help him out. It’s been a year since I saw it in cinemas, so here’s my ramblings on what I do remember about this light-hearted Marvel reboot. Again…

Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton – na, na, na, na, na, na BATMAN) and his chums are hired to clean up New York, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (led by Iron Man a.k.a. Tony Stark). Toomes is understandably pissed about this, so turns to a life of crime by persuading his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons.

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Meanwhile, Peter Parker a.k.a. Spiderman (Tom Holland) is drafted into the Avengers by Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), but continues to stay in school, as he’s not ready to become a full Avenger. At least Stark gives Peter this cool new Spider suit that he uses to help him fight minions throughout the movie. Ultimately, Spidey’s crime fighting escapades lead him to discovering Toomes and his minions. You can kind guess where it goes from there.

Holland doesn’t do a bad job as Peter Parker. But, he just reminds me of the previous incarnations before him (Toby Mcguire, Andrew Garfield), as they tend to crack wise and be overly-amiable with all of their enemies. But, I suppose that’s just Peter Parker. He is just a kid at the end of the day. The film also gives us a chance to delve into Peter Parker’s home life and school life. Thus, we’re introduced to characters such as Parker’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), love interest Liz (Laura Harrier) and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). It’s also nice to see Donald Glover make an appearance in this one too.

Final Scores: 

  • THE SWAN(!): 7/10

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THOR: RAGNAROK [2017]

Please follow the link to read the Azure-Winged Magpie’s spoiler-free review

Final Scores: 

  • THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 9/10
  • THE CROW: 7.5/10

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BLACK PANTHER [2018]

a review by the Azure-Winged Magpie (with an assist by the Crow)

In the penultimate movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before Thanos finally arrives, we delve into the world of the Black Panther. And that world is Wakanda (well, mostly).

We are introduced to the mythical history of Wakanda: a fictional country located somewhere in Africa; where, thousands of years ago, five tribes were locked in conflict centred around a meteorite rich in vibranium (a fictional metal that is held in high regard by the Marvel Cinematic Universe). The conflict came to an end when one of the warring soldiers consumed a “heart-shaped herb” and gained superhuman abilities (don’t ask, just run with it), uniting all but one of the tribes and claiming the title of Black Panther.

In the centuries since, Wakanda has isolated itself from the rest of the world, and has continued to make leaps in technology thanks to their access to vibranium. I must ask: how does this work, exactly? This sounds like a good way to achieve the opposite effect. But anyway, I’ll run with it.

Following this short history lesson, we skip to 80s Oakland, CA (I had to look that up), a few decades before the events of the movie. Here, the Black PantherKing T’Chaka (played by Atandwa Kani in his youth, and by Atandwa’s father John Kani as an older man) confronts his brother N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown, who really needs more exposure) over his possible connections to black market weapons dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). The confrontation ends in tragedy, with T’Chaka being pushed into killing his brother following a short scuffle, leaving N’Jobu’s young son N’Jadaka (otherwise known as Eric Stevens) an orphan.

And finally — at long last — we are back in the present day, following the new Black Panther, King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he extracts Wakandan spy — and love interest — Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) from a mission to… attend his… coronation.

I never… respect priorities

We meet Okoye (Danai Gurira), the leader of the Dora Milaje: an all-female security service who are charged with protecting the Royal family, and right off the bat, she’s one of my favourite characters. She’s stern, she comes into conflict with herself for a good portion of the movie, the scenes involving her in action are some of the best the movie has on display, and just overall is a better character when compared to the blandness of T’Challa (what a missed opportunity).

And to add to the “bland–“

(X‾X)  … *POW!*  ᕕ( _ ) WAKANDA FOREVAH!

The Azure-Winged Magpie: I’m BAAACK! Okay. So. Why did I just interrupt the Crow? Well… it’s because he had a VERY long post planned out, but never got around to finishing it due to other commitments (a four letter word beginning with a W). So… I’M here to tell you all about Black Panther! I’ll leave some of his closing thoughts at the end of my review, but let’s make this chop-chop. Daddy Thanos is coming. We need to hurry.

Where was he…? Oh. Yeah!

So we get around to this coronation that everyone (and their mums!) had to drop ALL their business for, and… WE GOT A FIGHT! M’Baku (Winston Duke) the leader of the split-away Jabari tribe challenges T’Challa to a “King by Punchy-Punchy” for the throne (I think I’m going to hate the apostrophe button after writing all this out…).

Zuri (Forrest Whitaker) does ANOTHER Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and tells T’Challa that “NOw dE poWEh oF dE BlICK PENThE iS STRipp-Aweh” (you were so much better in The Last King of Scotland) and the boys go at it.

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And T’Challs wins. Okay. Pretty great. But are we saying that this is the same family as the guy who first became Black Panther? I mean… you’d imagine that at SOME point the title’s changed hands (I’m keeping that in my headcanon okay?).

So… at this point, guess who comes back to the story? That’s RIGHT! ERIK STEVENS (Michael B. Jordan)! He’s a soldier, he’s turned to stealing things and has a thing for “taking back” Wakandan stuff from wherever it’s kept. And guess who he’s teamed up with?! Guess! C’mon… you can do it! Iiit’s… KLAUE! Remember him?! Everyone ends up in Busan, where Klaue’s meeting with CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman… butwhy?). Anyway. We get a BIGHUGE fight, a car chase, a questioning scene, more fighting, aaand… EVERYONE ends up back in Wakanda. (Well, not Klaue. He ded.)

Erik (now also using the name Killmonger to scratch off that hat-trick) shows up with Klaue’s corpse and says he wants to be king. He beats something like seven flavours of the rainbow out of T’Challa after his “poWEh iS STRipp-AweH!” and chucks him off the waterfall you see up there. Oh. Also “STRipp-AweH” bites the dust, too.

With T’Challa out of the way, he does the whole thing with the HSH and becomes new Black Panther (we got three for the price of one, folks! THREE!). He says he wants to change things around here and tells everyone to open the floodgates and start sending weapons and tech to black folk around the world for some kind of… y’know what? I’m not so sure EXACTLY what he wanted apart from gifting people a gun or two. He didn’t really seem to have a big ol’ clear plan that came with like bullet points, or… something. I mean, yeah, yeah: he talks about liberating black people and expanding Wakanda, but all he really did was go and say: Oh yeah, those guns? Send those out. I don’t even think he LITERALLY thought about going on a colonisation romp or anything.

I mean, that’s bad enough. I think. He doesn’t need to do any more. Humans are idiots with those things, anyway. That’s a good way to go Dodo.

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And that’s all folks!

Oh, and before he sits on the throne, he has ALL the HSH plants turned into bubble-n’-squeak, making sure there won’t be any new Black Panthers, and… yeah. Did a really good job so far. 10/10. Proud of him.

LONG LIVE YOUR NEW BLACK PANTHER!

ERIK “KILLMONGER”, “BLACK PANTHER”, “N’JADAKA” STEVENS

Walked in with one name. Walked out with four. (FOUR!)

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“Um…”

lol. JK. T’Challa’s still alive. He comes back (with some help from M’Baku), gets his powers back because his girlfriend nicked one of the flowers earlier, and gets his throne back in like two days or something. And Killmonger snuffs it at the end.

(◕︿◕) …I liked that guy!

So yeah. It’s pretty simple. Martin Freeman gets some fun stuff to do. The Rhinos make no sense but they’re cool. Oh, and Black Mirror alums Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright are in this, too. Just kinda crammed in there.

WHAT WE LIKED: 

Well, it’s a pretty decent flick. I mean… yeah. It’s nothing special, but it’s pretty fun to watch and has some pretty good action. A lot of people weren’t sure about how setting the film in Africa would work out, but I liked Wakanda. I’m still not completely sure about where everything goes in Wakanda, but there are going to be more films that’ll give me a head-map for the place (like the NEXT ONE).

Killmonger’s pretty cool. And I really like the guy, like in a “marry me!” kinda way sorry, Crow!.  If it juuust wasn’t for that whole “SEND GUNS ALL AROUND THE WORLD AND BE EVIL!” thing that they stuck onto him with like a thumbtack or… something. I mean, I get the guy and how he could turn out like that, but I would’ve just gotten rid of that and not just made him EVIL just BECAUSE. Also, he’s fucking hot, so that got me nice and happy. I like purty men. Don’t judge me.

M’Baku was pretty cool, actually. I really like the actor. He was pretty good in Person of Interest, and he’s pretty good here, too. Gollum’s always fun to watch in action and I was really, really sad when he got kilt.

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Other points, real quick-like:

  • Okoye kicks some real ass. Love her.
  • Nakia gets fuck-all to do. It would’ve been SO much better if they made her a villain like in the comics. But I REALLY like the actress, so that’s a good thing.
  • Shuri is anoying, but I like her, kinda.
  • It’s nice to see a film just completely set in a different country (even though in a made up place) with a cast of people FROM that place. It doesn’t happen very often. I think that this is like only the third film I’ve seen set 90% of the time in a country in Africa. South America’s the continent who I’ve seen the least after Africa.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: 

Saddle up, folks. We’re going in HARD.

I didn’t like T’Challa. He was bland. He was beaten fair-n’-square. And he kinda CHEATED on the second round of fisticuffs (I mean, it was either cheat or erase all the Black Panthers from the world), before cheating AGAIN to get “the W“. Me no likey. Me marry Killmonger, some day. Me beat up T’Challa for that.

The CGI was REALLY bad in places. Like so bad that videogame Cap from Avengers looked better. The whole Busan sequence was weird because of it, and it really wrecks the one-on-one fightfight between the Panthers at the end. They really shoulda started on this film a lot earlier than they did. Also: I liked the suit from Captain America: Civil War a lot more. This new one looks a bit weird, specially Killmonger’s version. That gold just don’t look good. And what’s with the disappearing helmet? I hate that gimmick! It looks so weird.

Naika got fuck-all to do. Give her MORE! And can we get more on those Rhinos?

Aaand that’s all, folks!

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I like THIS suit.

So yeah: it’s fun. Watch it. It’s a blast. It’s pretty well done, and it’s just fun to watch. We’re going to be a bit hard on it because of all the missed opportunities but there’s a good, simple, ol’-fashioned superhero film in here. It doesn’t make you think too much, and is a true “film for all ages”. The part after Busan is a little slow, but the film picks up pretty quick after that.

Just get tipsy first so you don’t notice the bad CGI. The Crow’s going to dock it mad points because he’s pissed off about how they fucked the film by rushing it, or starting on it late. And I think I’m gonna do the same. I’m going to toss in his closing lines, but I think we both agree on most of the points. We’ll see you in Wakanda again soon for… INFINITY WAR!

Love you lot loads! Byeeee! Oh, oh, and by the way! Black Panther is out on Netflix today!

The Crow: It’s a shame that the production seems so rushed and slipshod. But it’s watchable. I wasn’t affected much by the hype around the “first black superhero” movie that surrounded Black Panther, because he’s — quite simply — not. It’s alright, but nothing special, in the end. I liked the direction for the most part, but it was let down by the need to turn it into a CGI festival and mar the work behind the scenes. I liked Michael B. Jordan’s performance, and was a little less enthusiastic about Boseman’s (although the man had little to actually do). Black Panther’s a character I quite liked growing up, and it’s nice to see him get the big screen treatment. Hopefully, he returns stronger.

— Crow out.

Final Scores: 

  • THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 6.5/10
  • THE CROW: 4.5/10

And finally…

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

The Crow: And so, here we are. At long last, we arrive at the main event: the culmination of 10 years of hard work and taking considerable risks — the one event they have been building up to ever since the post credits of The Avengers / Avengers Assemble — the arrival of Thanos (Josh Brolin).

And just like no one kills Dio-Thanos but Thanos (from the excellent recent comic series, which I might review at some point), no post reviews Infinity War but a post reviewing Infinity War.

And in that vein, our next post is scheduled to be our very-late review of Infinity War. Since it was finished long-before we finished even our round-up review of Phase One, we shall be releasing it within the next 48 hours before we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

We shall see you soon, even though you might dread it, and try to run from it. But the review shall arrive all the same.

– Crow out.


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See Also:

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  • Logan, reviewed by the Crow.

15 thoughts on “Review: The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three [2016 – present]”

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