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WandaVision Episode 9 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode nine of WandaVision series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it move the story forward, here’s our review.

And so, we’re finally here. After nine weeks of watching, re-watching, theorising, discussing and anticipating the next episode, it’s The Season Finale of WandaVision. Literally, that was the name of the episode.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

Chaos magic

In previous episodes we’ve flipped back and forth through the timeline to fill in backstories. But This episode picked up where we left off at the end of episode eight with a showdown between Agatha and Wanda.

We see Wanda struggle to understand the power that she has. She almost loses the power completely, but ultimately uses what Agatha has taught her to overpower her and trap her permanently in The Hex as Agnes.

We’ve seen Wanda grow exponentially in this series, literally transforming her character into The Scarlet Witch in front of our eyes.

The battle between Wanda’s Vision and White Vision was fascinating. I‘m hopeful its conclusion allows Paul Bettany to stay in the MCU and ‘humanise’ Vision further. The character of Vision has always seemed to set the moral compass for the rest of The Avengers and been an anchor point for the group. It would have been a great shame if that had been lost. The scenes between Wanda and her incarnation of Vision at the end of the show were beautiful and tender. I’m sure there were many watching who shed a tear as she said goodbye to him.

Nick Fury?

We also got our first proper glimpse into Monica Rambeau’s future. She used her powers to save Billy and Tommy from Tyler Hayward and freed Ralph Bohner (Evan Peters) from the spell put on him by Agnes. She was then invited to meet Nick Fury by a Skrull masquerading as an FBI agent, clearly setting her up to be Photon in Captain Marvel 2.

Post-credits

In the post-credit scene we find her in the mountains learning about Chaos Magic as an astral projection. This is now a character almost unrecognisable to the Wanda we first encountered in Age of Ultron. That scene was more reminiscent of something you’d see in a Bond or Bourne movie. The scene where the hero hides away and regroups before returning to seek vengeance on someone. It’s pretty clear that’s what will happen to Wanda in Doctor Strange 2, possibly with some involvement from her children?

Sadly, there was no big cameo to get excited about. We had all been anticipating an appearance by Dr Strange, Spider-Man or Captain Marvel, but our hopes were dashed. I’m hopeful that in Captain Marvel 2 and Spider-Man 3 there is a bigger part for Jimmy Woo, and a new head of S.W.O.R.D. to replace the incredibly dull Tyler Hayward.

The fact that Marvel have managed to produce WandaVision at all given the restrictions caused by COVID is, pardon the pun, a Marvel in itself. But to have produced it to such a high standard, indistinguishable from a big-screen MCU movie. That is a remarkable achievement under the circumstances. The performances from the lead actors – Olsen, Bettany, Hahn, Parris and Dennings – have been outstanding. Especially Kathryn Hahn, who stole every scene she was in, and played Agatha Harkness as a comic book villain wonderfully well.

Wrapping up

Overall, I found WandaVision a bit of a mixed bag, unsure as to whether it wanted to be a standalone series or a bridge into the next phase of the MCU. There were some fantastic moments and the Halloween episode in particular was superb. The series was good and undeniably entertaining but I’m not sure it quite hit the heights Marvel superfans might have wanted. Maybe we’ve been spoilt by the epic finales of Marvel films and were expecting too much from this. I felt that it lacked real tension and threat.

It ultimately suffered from us already knowing how the paths of a number of the characters are mapped out in upcoming films. It’s great we know that new characters are being introduced and favourites are staying. But it does take away from fully investing in this finale as an entertainment experience. It’s like watching the highlights of a football match – you enjoy watching the goals and talking points, but you know the final score already. Whereas watching it live gives you a completely different experience as you have no idea what will happen or how many twists and turns there may be. The good thing about Marvel is that there is no end to the twists they can throw our way. They will always have the ability to surprise us in another show or movie when we’re least expecting it.

So, PLEASE STAND BY…


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 8/10


Thank you for reading our review of WandaVision episode nine. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our WandaVision episode eight review HERE.

Read IMDB information about WandaVision HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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