The Cloverfield Paradox might be the first film in what could become a large flood of studio projects that get sold off to streaming services instead of hitting the theater but it isn't lighting the world on fire in any other way.
Originally called "The God Particle" TCP was promised to be (at least in its Super Bowl trailer) to be a sort of prequel to the first Cloverfield film and in a VERY roundabout way it is but it's done in a "blink and you'll miss it" sort of way.
The CP isn't a bad film by any means but it fails to deliver to the level of suspense of the original film or the great performances of 10 Cloverfield Lane.
It's gets a little too nerdy in the plot to the point of confusion if you aren't into things like theoretically physics and multiverse theories and at times the film fails to lay things out in a more digestible way.
Daniel Brühl and Chris O'Dowd are the stand out performers for me and they do a good job of bringing up a fairly well done if not generic scary suspense film in space.....
Justice League marks the DC Cinematic Universe's second attempt ( third if you count Suicide Squad) in five movies at a team up film.
It certainly fares better than Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice in that the plot is fairly straight forward and the characters motivations tend to make more sense. Next to Wonder Woman, Justice League is the most fun I've had watching a DC...CU movie but it isn't without its flaws.
The biggest flaw is doing a team up film filled mostly with characters we don't know. The satisfaction of the first Avengers movie largely comes from seeing these characters introduced, established, and somewhat developed before they ever team up. Even minor characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye weren't just sprung upon us out of the blue.
In Justice League the reverse is true. Even characters we have met before are now presented differently. Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne/Batman is tonally different from his portrayal in BvS and is now more like Tony Stark (comparatively). Superman is basically rebooted in this movie and of course we are meeting The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg for the first time. Attempting to introduce, establish, and develop a character outside of a solo film is pretty hard and while they tried it still fell flat.
Wonder Woman was the only character I had a sense of going into the film and sadly not too many leaps were made in regards to her character. Most of the time was dedicated to introducing the newer characters and perhaps in this movies original incarnation (as part one of a two parter) they may have managed to pull it off.
Despite its shortcomings Justice League still manages to deliver a fun movie with some truly great moments and it exists as a fine movie but for a film on the scale and expectationial weight of Justice League its far below what it should or could have been.
While Thor: Ragnarok is a turn around in style and fun for the Thor section of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it tends to lean a little too heavy on comedy and doesn't really give what should be serious moments any real time to sink in or have a real effect on its characters.
While it is okay to have plenty of levity in a comic book movie (especially one as other worldly as this) its almost as if at time absolutely nothing really mattered at all.
Outside of that Ragnarok is colorful and fun featuring good performances from Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo. Thor and Hulk both has undergone character arcs that feel well earned over the course of their many movie appearances. Jeff Goldblum gets to do his thing (albeit somewhat limited) and Tessa Thompson emerges as someone I'd like to see more of in future Thor films (assuming more are to come).
Unfortunately Cate Blanchett isn't given much to do and the same goes for Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba but otherwise Thor: Ragnarok is another solid addition to the MCU even if it is mostly flash.
Black Panther is yet another solid addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Director Ryan Coogler manages to create a whole new world on Earth that both feels like it fits within the MCU but also feels fresh at the same time.
Performances throughout were fantastic with Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, and Michael B. Jordan being the standouts for me. Chadwick Boseman was once again very strong as T'Challa/Black Panther but his more stoic performance gets drowned out by far more charismatic characters at times. It was also a thrill to see Andy Serkis get to chew up scenery without have mo-cap dots on his body. I hope he gets to more live action performances.
Black Panthers visual and audio style are award worthy and they elevate the weakest part of the film which is its story.
Don't get me wrong the story of Black Panther is told well and it is well acted and while it certainly asks some interesting questions it revolves around standard comic book story telling that we've seen quite a bit of in the 10 history of the MCU already and most of it surrounds Killmonger who is the villain with a noble cause and is a Frankenstein's Monster who acts as a mirror of the hero.
The film also ends in a darkly lit CGI fight but to BP's credit half of this fight does take place in broad daylight featuring two Wakandan armies clashing evoking scenes from the Infinity War trailer.
Coogler and company created a brand new mini universe and executed it nearly to perfection and I can't wait to return to it again soon!