• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

New Escapist Column! On the MCU’s CGI Problems…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of the trailer for She-Hulk last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the raging debate over the very questionable use of computer-generated imagery.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest multimedia franchise in the world, and its projects enjoy some of the biggest budgets. So why do so many of their special effects look so terrible? There are a number of reasons for this, tied to both larger cultural trends, the visual effects sector as a whole, and the peculiarities of Marvel Studios’ production methodology. The result of all this comes together to explain why some of the most expensive movies on the planet look so cheap.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “Strange New Worlds” Takes Small Steps Towards Improvement…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The third episode released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

Like both Strange New Worlds and Children of the Comet, Ghosts of Illyria is drawing on a familiar stock Star Trek plot. This is the traditional early-season viral infection plot, recalling The Naked Time, The Naked Now, Babel or Dramatis Personae. It’s a tried and tested formula. That said, there’s a good reason for a young show to try an episode like this, primarily as it invites the cast to push themselves outside of their character templates, so the production team can recognise and develop interesting new facets of these characters. It’s not the worst idea for a first season episode.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On the “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” as a Critique of the Marvel Power Fantasy…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at what the film says about the larger thematic preoccupations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is built around the superhero power fantasy, with much of the franchise focusing on the idea that its central characters should be allowed to do whatever they want, to bend the world to their tremendous wills. Multiverse of Madness is an interesting and deliberate deconstruction of this power fantasy, focusing on a superhero who has internalised that idea to a dangerous degree, while teaching another character that perhaps the ends don’t always justify the means.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “Strange New Worlds” Feels Like a Photocopy of a Photocopy of a Photocopy…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The second episode released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

The problem with Strange New Worlds, and it is a problem that runs through each of the five episodes released to the press, is that it is essentially writing Star Trek as if nothing had changed since 1989. This is the approach that ultimately ran the franchise into the ground, as Star Trek: Voyager and the first two seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise exhausted a formula that had been run through every possible permutation after more than a decade in use. Strange New Worlds returns to that format, but it is a faded copy of a faded copy, a pale imitation of episodes that were just about functional two decades earlier.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” and Old Trek Tropes…

I published a new piece at The Escapist yesterday. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The premiere released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

Strange New Worlds is very much a blast from the franchise’s past, essentially serving as a spin-off series from the original and unaired pilot The Cage. That feels somewhat appropriate, given that Strange New Worlds has little interest beyond nostalgically chasing the feeling of old Star Trek, trying to recapture the vague memory of the older franchise. The result is an episode that offers a shallow but efficient riff on classic stories like Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, and which ends with the suggestion that the key to world peace is that we should all become Star Trek fans.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is Good Old-Fashioned Superhero Fun”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute film review of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is in theatres around the world now.

New Escapist Column! On “Moon Knight” and the Lack of Surprises…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Moon Knight, which is streaming weekly on Disney+. The final episode of the show released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

As Moon Knight wraps up, the most surprising thing about the latest Disney+ streaming series is how completely lacking in surprise it was. The show didn’t pull any sharp last-minute twists or surprise cameos from the extended universe. Instead, it delivered exactly what it promised viewers. The result is interesting, a show that is more consistent than most of its streaming compatriots, but which ends up feeling particularly anonymous.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On the “Doctor Strange” as a Film About Time and Death…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the upcoming release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at Scott Derrickson’s somewhat underrated contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Doctor Strange felt like an oddity when it was released, sandwiched between Captain America: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. It was a very conventional origin story, stripped of the legacy character attributes of Ant Man, the crossover baggage of Black Panther or the period piece nostalgia and narrative trickery of Captain Marvel. It was perhaps the most straightforward superhero origin story since the earliest days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically recalling both Iron Man and Thor.

However, underneath the surface, there was something more interesting happening. Doctor Strange is a rare superhero movie that is about both the passage of time and inevitability of death, where the ultimate act of villainy is to pervert either flow. It’s a movie about accepting that change happens, and that sometimes a moment doesn’t last forever. It’s a theme that felt particularly relevant to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given that it was going to lose two of its three lead characters in the very near future.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Moon Knight” and the Limits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Moon Knight, which is streaming weekly on Disney+. The penultimate episode of the show released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

As Moon Knight enters its end game, the show demonstrates the limits of the ambition and experimentation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, boiling an interesting and compelling premise down to a fairly simplistic and straightforward illustration of cause and effect. There’s something rather depressing in the show’s commitment to easy answers to its central character, and it is all the more frustrating because this is a major release from a company that holds such an important and influential place in the popular consciousness. There’s no excuse for this lack of ambition.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “The Northman is a Breathtaking Blockbuster”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute film review of The Northman, which is in theatres in the U.K. and Ireland now and in the United States next week.