Warning: Spoilers for the just-ended season of Loki at the end of this. I have a spoiler-free review of that if you’d like.
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Bond film no. 19 and Brosnan’s third. Pretty sure I saw this in the theaters when it came out, but for the life of me could not recall any of the plot details at all. Turns out it was because the plot was a bit unnecessarily convoluted. It’s easy to tell straight away that Sophie Marceau is on the bad guy side, given her henchmen, so that was no surprise. Renard was a bit boring, revenge yada yada, bullet in my head, etc. The master plan here, originally misdirected as terrorism, turns out to just be financial all along. What assured me that I wasn’t insane and that I did see it in theaters was that as soon as I saw Denise Richards name in the opening credits I remember she played a nuclear physicist in this one. Probably the weakest of the Brosnan ones so far.
I still have a scene of Brosnan in some kind of ice building (?) in my random access memory, and it wasn’t here so I think that’s a sign that I may have actually seen his next and last Bond film Die Another Day before and just blocked out any memory of it for some reason. We’ll find out next week I suppose!
Barry (season 1)
I started this late last week, and the season is only eight episodes but I only finished last night because each episode is a bit stressful to watch. Stressful in the sense that you pretty much expect that bad things are going to keep happening and that things are just going to get tougher for the protagonist. It’s a bit like Breaking Bad, where the protag just keeps getting into deeper and deeper trouble, but where Walter White started to revel in his notoriety, Barry just wants out, but he can’t get a break, and keeps on finding himself forced to do bad things. It’s very good, but also very dark. The season ends in a surprisingly satisfactory manner while still setting up possible follow-up storylines. I’m a bit tempted to just stop there and be happy with the show as it is and not continue to the second season as the show might actually get worse, we’ll see how long I hold it off.
Loki (season 1)
Season finale ended earlier today. As noted above, there is a spoiler-free review:
On <a href="/2021/07/1415238174377340930/"><time datetime="2021-07-14 09:14:09">14 Jul 2021 9:14am</time></a> I wrote: <blockquote> <p>#Loki spoiler-free review:</p>
overall plot was fine, if not predictable, given what we knew about mcu phase 4 going in
weak pacing and writing in most episodes; could have easily been a two hour movie instead of six one hour episodes
good watch for mcu fans because of the larger phase 4 implications, but much weaker as a standalone series
I think overall, the plot of Loki delving into the truth behind the TVA and eventually causing the return of the multiverse was entirely predictable given the series’ premise and what we knew of the larger MCU even before the series aired. The whole thing is even telegraphed completely in the first episode: removing the TVA means multiversal war; we are told the stakes from the very beginning and nothing really changes in that regard even up to the final episode and the reveal of who was actually behind the TVA.
Speaking of which, I’m not a fan of the whole “reveal a new character and info dump his background in the last episode” treatment that character got. I get that the reveal was necessary for the larger MCU set up, but there’s no reason it could have been done or hinted from earlier episodes so that he didn’t have to monologue his back story for like 60% of this episode.
The pacing of the entire six-episode runs just seemed so off to me; basically nothing interesting happening during the first three episodes (other than the reveal of a female Loki variant, which should surprise us why?), then some interesting stuff in episodes 4 and 5 and finally this disappointing finale was like 90% dialogue.
The ramifications for the entire MCU at large are huge of course, and as a setup vehicle for the greater cinematic multiverse the series does the job well. But on the smaller scale, as a series standing by itself we got an anticlimactic finale, Renslayer and Mobius don’t get any kind of resolution or advancement to their character arcs, and our protagonist ends up right back where he was from the start - lost and alone. So unsatisfying.
I will of course still watch the eventual season 2, and I’m looking forward to What If in August, but this finale just left a sour taste in my mouth.