In anticipation for the Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I rewatched the entire MCU thus far (minus The Incredible Hulk, which is not cannon). Of course, now you have to watch the Disney+ series in order to fully understand what’s going on: WandaVision, The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, &, most recently, Moon Knight. I’ve already seen Multiverse of Madness, so I thought I’d do a superlative/ranking post for the films (too much to unpack in the shows). I’ll do this in timeline order, which is how I did my rewatch this year. For the most part, this works, aside from some of the mid- and post-credit scenes.
I began 2022 with a bang, and enjoyed catching up with [much of] the cast and creators of one of my favorite franchises of all time, Harry Potter, with the reunion that was released on January 1st. Instead of writing lengthy reviews for the movies I’m watching, this year I’m going to stick to [mainly] brief reviews, and if I deign to write longer reviews, they’ll be on Letterboxd. In January, I watched 37 films — includes some short films — most of which were first-time watches.
Overall, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a solid solo film that manages to be entertaining, funny, and heartfelt. The emotional core of the movie was the most surprising element for me, and I’m excited to include it in my yearly MCU rewatch, and for Shang-Chi (and Awkwafina’s Kate) to appear in future installments.
Shawn Levy’s Free Guy is yet another film whose release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — well over a year, in fact. Its star, Ryan Reynolds, has been [seemingly] ceaselessly been promoting the movie on social media since the first trailer was released.
Old certainly isn’t a perfect film — for one, I was confounded as to choices behind some of the cinematography and random close-ups — but I found it to be rather entertaining and unique, and a solid entry in M. Night Shymalan film catalogue.
Bo Burnham’s Inside — the comedy special he shot during quarantine, over about a year — is a difficult film to review, as it’s not so much a “film” as it is a reflection of the artist and a deeply personal piece. I’m reluctant to even classify it as a “comedy,” although it does have it share of laugh-out-loud moments.
It’s fair to say that Black Widow has been one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, and not just because of the pandemic, which delayed its release for over a year (going two years without a Marvel film is very difficult for a MCU nerd like myself, but thankfully there are several being released this year alone). This is the first [and only] time Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff gets a solo film, despite having been around since 2010’s Iron Man 2.
Is In the Heights perfect? Probably not, but it’s the perfect summer movie. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s actually very well-made and well-acted, featuring a diverse cast and characters. Sure, it’s probably a little long, but what else do you need for a summer movie?
A Quiet Place Part II is among the many theatrical releases that got postponed due to the pandemic, and is one that almost requires this kind of viewing, as opposed to the option of viewing through any number of streaming services — not that there’s anything really wrong with streaming, but this film is one with such excellent sound design and thrilling scenes that would make it difficult to appreciate its technical qualities on a smaller screen.
It’s the kind of entertaining action/adventure flick that’s not quite good enough to stand out from others in the genre, aside from outstanding work from the cast, including Angelina Jolie in her return to acting (after a several-year hiatus).