An outsider’s take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel One-Shots (2011-14) (Reviews)

During the early part of the MCU, the producers gave us five mini-movies, which were included on home-video releases. Known as “Marvel One-Shots,” as per the comic-book terminology, these stories fleshed out elements of the overall saga – or were simply made for the sake of fun. They range from 3 to 15 minutes, and from pointless to one entry that very much has a point. Here’s a closer look:

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The Force is weak with lackluster ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ (Movie review)

First, some background on some apprehensions I carried with me into the theater when I saw “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last night.

My excitement for “Solo” dropped to near zero when Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, two of the weirdest and most inventive filmmakers working today, and brought on Ron Howard, a talented guy without a shred of Lord and Miller’s oddball charm. All of the trailers make it look like Opie gave them just what they wanted, something workmanlike and safe and ordinary, utterly lacking the spark of insanity a Lord and Miller version would have promised.

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An outsider’s take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014) (Movie review)

This blog series chronicles my first viewing of the complete MCU movie saga. I’ll examine each film under various categories that reflect popular discussion points. Next up is the ninth film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014):

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‘Angel’ flashback: ‘Redemption’ (2000) (Book review)

Thus far in my re-read, I haven’t encountered another author who makes such an improvement between his first and second Buffyverse novel as Mel Odom. After the weak “Buffy” entry “Unnatural Selection,” he bounces back with the “Angel” novel “Redemption” (June 2000). Also considering the unevenness of his next “Buffy” book, “Revenant,” he’s clearly much more at home in the Angel Investigations offices than in Sunnydale.

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All 15 ‘Star Wars’ Legends Han Solo and Lando Calrissian novels, ranked (Book commentary)

With Disney’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” about to hit theaters, fans might be interested in digging into the Legends source material. It dates back quite a ways: Six of the first seven “Star Wars” spinoff novels chronicled these rogues during their early days with the Millennium Falcon, in “The Han Solo Adventures” (1979-80) and “The Lando Calrissian Adventures” (1983).

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‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 47-55 (2002-03) (Comic book reviews)

“X-Men” veteran Scott Lobdell and “Deadpool” co-creator Fabian Nicieza become the third and final regular helmer(s) on “Buffy Classic,” following Andi Watson, who did uneven work while being handcuffed by continuity, and Tom Fassbender and Jim Pascoe, who found ways to tell creative stories on the comic pages. Out of the gates, Lobdell and Nicieza (who had previously written “The Death of Buffy: Lost and Found”) impressively raise Fassbender/Pascoe’s already high bar.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Smuggler’s Revenge’ (2017) (Audio drama review)

With the hype machine in force for Disney’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Legends fans might be looking for a Han Solo fix, too. Kyle Newman delivered the latest non-canon Solo yarn, “Smuggler’s Revenge,” in April 2017 at Star Wars Celebration. This audio drama fits well with Legends canon, and it completes the trilogy that started with “Smuggler’s Gambit” (2012) and “Smuggler’s Bounty” (2015).

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