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Wakanda Forever’ Was Nearly Ruined by Marvel

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There are roughly 47,000—oh, wait, a new Netflix Original just dropped; make that 47,001—TV shows and movies coming out each week. At Obsessed, we consider it our social duty to help you see the best and skip the rest.

We’ve already got a variety of in-depth, exclusive coverage on all of your streaming favorites and new releases, but sometimes what you’re looking for is a simple Do or Don’t. That’s why we created See/Skip, to tell you exactly what our writers think you should See and what you can Skip from the past week’s crowded entertainment landscape.

See: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a thoughtful exploration of the complicated ways that we deal with grief in the face of larger, communal strife. It just has to spend time dodging and weaving through Marvel’s absurdist crash-go-boom bylaws first.

Here’s Nick Schager’s take:

“No one really dies in comic books; resurrection is the medium’s stock and trade. Nonetheless, faced with the untimely passing of star Chadwick Boseman in August 2020 (of colon cancer at age 43), Marvel embraces finality—and evolution— in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a sequel to its 2018 blockbuster that integrates its leading man’s death into its narrative. That makes Ryan Coogler’s follow-up a rather unique entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), although there’s still plenty of rebirth to be found in the franchise’s latest go-round. It’s a gargantuan and generally successful super-endeavor whose highs outweigh—if don’t wholly overshadow—its lows.

To wit: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only delivers enormous skirmishes; grants each of its many protagonists an opportunity to rage, weep, fume and reconcile; and pays tribute to the late Boseman, but it also introduces new characters that set up future MCU installments. Like so many Phase IV Marvel efforts, those demands are somewhat burdensome, and the fact that not every new face is equally captivating—Huerta is magnetically menacing; Williams is an unconvincing afterthought—doesn’t help.”

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Chefs Antwon Brinson, Nadege Fleurimond and Danielle Sepsy.

Jeremy Kohm/HBO

Skip: The Big Brunch

The Big Brunch is, ironically, a big crunch—of time, that is. With barely any time to let contestants cook, this high-stakes show that already arrives a half-decade too late is getting thrown out like the first pancake.

Here’s Fletcher Peters’ take:

“As The Great British Baking Show continues to flounder at an increasingly nightmarish pace, after a controversial “Mexican Week,”, viewers might be growing peckish for a new comfort food competition show to warm their bellies. The Big Brunch, Dan Levy’s new morning meal-inspired tournament, seems like the perfect fix. Scones, croissants, and the sweetest batch of contestants—could this be the replacement for GBBS we need?

The heart of The Big Brunch beats strong, with three food-loving hosts and a bevy of brunch-pilled darlings, and hopefully, after a rough start, the HBO Max series can sharpen its knives and return for an even better Season 2. Brunch is a special, special meal, a great starting point for a food competition show—the New York Times recently put the importance of the meal in full, brilliant perspective, in honor of the show—but we need to actually see the food prep. Get us hungry, make us thirst for the mimosas, and serve up brunch!”

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See: Falling for Christmas

Falling for Christmas has everything you could ever want from a Netflix holiday film: a gay awakening, nefarious Santa magic, an outlaw ice fisherman, 500 baubles, and Lindsay Lohan’s epic (legitimate!) comeback.

Chord Overstreet and Lindsay Lohan in Falling For Christmas.

Scott Everett White/Netflix

Here’s Coleman Spilde’s take:

“The movie is essentially your run-of-the-mill, made-for-streaming holiday film, with the festivity jacked up to an 11. It’s predictable, dopey, and oh-so saccharine. In normal circumstances, it’d be completely forgettable holiday fare—the ultra-rich cookies at the party that go untouched. But with Lindsay Lohan driving the sleigh, Falling for Christmas transcends its formulaic nature to become an effervescent romp and the ideal comeback vehicle for its star.

Besides tacking on every trope in the genre, the film is edited at the near-manic pace I’ve come to expect from these movies. At times, I wondered if I had accidentally turned on Netflix’s 1.5-speed feature. Every inch of every frame looks like a Michael’s craft store exploded on set. If that’s not enough, there’s even a magical Santa-type character secretly playing God while the rest of these peasants run around a ski lodge thinking they have any semblance of free will. And it’s all wrapped in one giant red bow that is the end credits blooper reel. Even if you’re just a holiday movie fanatic with no interest in formerly embattled starlets, there’s something here for you, too.”

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See: Down to Earth with Zac Efron

Down to Earth with Zac Efron Season 2 sees our kindhearted hunk heading Down Unda for more strangely soothing travel adventures. And me, left brokenhearted with a bouquet of flowers at the departure gate.

Zac Efron in Down to Earth with Zac Efron.

Netflix

Here’s Laura Bradley’s take

Two years ago, Zac Efron grew a great beard and began traveling the world in search of sustainable solutions to the man-made problems that plague our environment. Part-travel series, part-nature documentary, and part-brand extension, Down to Earth Season 1 felt like a gentle balm for a terrified public when it debuted on Netflix months into the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an earnest, grounded, occasionally goofy globe-trotting expedition into conservation, wellness, ayahuasca, and eco-friendly chocolate—but it was Efron’s light-hearted narration that proved to be the real treat.

This season feels more focused than the last. That might be due, in part, to the fixed location Down Under, but the series also appears to have found its thematic footing—it’s more grounded in sustainability than Season 1, which seemed to dig further into wellness. And while there are still plenty of farm-to-table restaurants and organic food enterprises on display here, they’re usually accessory to the broader idea of reducing harm to the planet.

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