As an action movie- V for Vendetta is a fun time with some thrilling sequences and memorable performances from both Portman & Weaving. It isn't the brilliant social/political critique that some people seem to think it is. While clearly borrowing heavily from some of the great political fictions- this is not even close to 1984, Animal Farm, or Brave New World by any stretch of the imagination. The message is vague & general enough for people of various political inclinations to conclude this is a film that preaches their own beliefs. Obviously totalitarianism is bad, but this movie is a pretty simplistic depiction of totalitarianism & its effects on a society. The bad guys (in this story only being the top authorities) are cartoonishly evil, while the citizenry is depicted as innocent, apathetic, zombies who only can be shaken from their stupor by explosions. The complex reality of a totalitarian society, and the fact that citizens often carry as much of the blame as the immoral leaders they follow, is completely breezed over. A major issue I have **SPOILER** is the middle act where V fools Evey into thinking she has been captured by the government and then imprisons and brutally tortures her for days, (if not weeks or months? the timeline isn't made clear) before finally convincing her that death is imminent . They breeze over the fallout of this evil, insane act by V as him simply trying to "cure Evey of her fear". After a quick scene of dialogue where Evey is understandably enraged at the psychotic, violent behavior of V- things quickly move along. Shortly after she is seen mourning his death and justifying his actions as necessary- with the writers clearly assuming the audience will feel similarly. Sorry, but I don't think it's possible to have a character act as an evil psychopath, and then remain as the protagonist who we are meant to root for. The attempt to justify it by saying Evey needed to be freed from fear is laughably bad, and is terrible writing. V's action here also invalidate any moral superiority he wants to claim over the government. He is essentially the exact same monster they are, committing atrocities in the name of the means justifying the ends.
The Wicker Man is a slow moving, hypnotic, mesmerizing type of horror that barely shows you anything usually thought of as "scary", and yet it effectively unsettles you as the story unfolds. The reason the end is so shocking and memorable is because of how well they set it up with tension and sharp dialogue. The themes on display here are profound, Christianity vs Celtic paganism (or "The Old Gods" as Lord Summerisle puts it), science vs superstition, conservative sexual morality vs libertine. The music fits perfectly and helps create the off putting atmosphere of the islanders. As a protagonist- Howie is sympathetic, but also frustrating. His own ideological commitments and self righteous shock at the way the islanders live blinds him to the unfolding path of horror that he is unwittingly following. Sometimes he is annoyingly thick in his approach to the investigation- getting bogged down in his own anger and arguing endlessly with the villagers over who the real god is. At the same time you do feel for his frustration, as the islanders gaslight and slow down his investigation at every turn. Whenever he seems to have a new lead, or information that might resolve the case- things take another turn into more confusing terrain. In the end I think it is his own self righteous overconfidence that causes him to underestimate Summerisle and ultimately be its victim. He is so certain he is right in his religious views, and so confident in his legal authority, that he doesn't seem to realize that regardless what he believes- the islanders don't really care and will follow through with their practices. He wields his legal authority with confidence, seemingly never considering that he is vastly outnumbered, totally isolated, and in a very vulnerable position. All that said his righteousness has a genuine foundation, as his real goal is to find Rowan Morrison (or rescue her if she is still alive). But his shock and awe, and offended religious sensibilities get in the way of his real mission. It isn't until the very last moment, as he gazes on the Wicker Man with horror- that he realizes just how committed these people are to their beliefs, and how lacking his understanding was of what they are really capable of.
Shang Chi is a perfectly watchable, although somewhat formulaic and forgettable MCU origin. I liked the main characters, and am open to seeing them in future adventures- but this origin didn't really hook me in any meaningful way