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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes | The Marvels

Additions to two popular fictional universes, but mixed results abound.

Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird meet in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
 

MOVIES

- Let's start with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which I enjoyed although it did have some pretty serious flaws for me.


- For starters, it did feel too long, which wasn't helped by the film being broken up to three parts with the end of the second part feeling like a perfectly good stopping point.


- I haven't read the book Ballad was based on (yet), so I don't know if there was enough material to make this two movies, but the third part really did feel like a chunk of an entirely separate film bolted on to the arse of this one.


- What also didn't really help is that the cast is made up of people I found it hard to like (referring to the characters here, not the actors!) and didn't really have anyone to connect with or root for as a result.


- While I do respect the choice to tell this story and fill in some of the background for the original set of Hunger Games movies, Ballad feels a little hollow in comparison and very much a companion piece to those movies rather than something that can stand on its own.


- Saying all that, I really enjoyed the performances of the cast, the setting of a past version of Panem, and the premise of seeing how Coriolanus Snow began his descent into tyranny, but I'm not sure I'd recommend this film to anyone who isn't already a fan of the original films. [6/10]


- And then there's The Marvels, where I am really confused at the reaction it got from critics and some of the audience, because it's actually pretty good?


- Don't get me wrong, it's nowhere near Marvel Studios' best releases and I wouldn't even consider it for film of the year, but it's... fine otherwise?


- If anything, it reminds me of Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves for being just a really entertaining movie that also flopped on the big screen for no reason I can tell.


- The three leads are all perfectly enjoyable in their roles, with Iman Vellani stealing the show, and the claims you need to watch WandaVision and Ms Marvel first to fully understand who these characters are is complete BS.


- Going all the way back to the first Avengers movie, there's a greater requirement to watch the other Phase One films to fully get everything that's going on in that film than watching two Disney+ shows is needed for this one.


- There's also some fantastic action here, coupling with the fantastic 'oner' from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to show that Marvel Studios might finally be getting their shit together when it comes to their characters in combat.


- Again, there's nothing deep to The Marvels, but it's still a really fun way of spending under a couple of hours of your time and I'm actually going to see it again later this week! [7/10]


GAMES

- Episode 3 of Life is Strange Remastered is done and dusted, and we're finally getting to the good shit with alternate realities caused by Max's messing around with time.


- I'm definitely enjoying my time with the game more than I did going through the original version, but I'm wondering how much of that is down to knowing what to do and how much is down to me hunting down the optional photo opportunities giving me other things to look out for...


- My Dark Urge is still pushing through the Shadow-Cursed Lands in Baldur's Gate 3 and resisted the temptation to murder Isobel, although finding out that a character who only appears in a Dark Urge playthrough is supposed to turn up and demand you do so didn't happen to me makes me wonder if that bit is bugged for me.


- Marvel Snap is edging further away from fun and into frustrating territory now, pushing me towards making silly gimmick decks to make myself laugh far faster than Hearthstone did, so I really think my time with that game may be coming to an end fairly soon.


TV

- No new shows finished since Hijack, but I have started Silo and enjoyed the first episode, even if a lot about the show makes me think it should've been called Vault and set in the Fallout universe.

 

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