Movie Review – Suicide Squad


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What happens when you hire a director known for his colourful cinematography and ask him to make a movie set in a dark sadistic world? A world where colours don’t exist and daytime is on an average of 8 hours, where everyone goes to work after the sun goes down and the only time people saw the light of day was when a man in blue and (a little bit of) red suit demolished a city to the ground.

What happens when a director with so much creative control is later decided to tone down because a competitor movie studio is successful and well know even with the lighter tone? So what do they do? They decide to reshoot some key scenes and add jokes to the movie.

I think you guessed it; the movie is Suicide Squad (I mean that is the title of the blog.)

Ok so what is suicide squad? Suicide squad is a movie that Warner Bros decided to make because an animated movie called Assault on Arkham got such rave reviews that fans actually demanded for a suicide squad live action movie. Suicide Squad is 40 minutes of flashbacks and 30 minutes of gunfight against monsters (because it makes so much sense). Also Suicide Squad is a movie where Batman and Joker show up in the most abrupt ways without any sense or context.

Suicide Squad suffers the same problem of Batman v Superman, unnecessary cuts and one of the most poorly written villains makes the movie simply intolerable. The soundtrack is really good but at times it doesn’t go with the sequence of the events.

The movie went through unnecessary cuts and the audience was left to understand the chain of events happening one after another by themselves. The film could have been way better if David Ayer was given some creative liberty.

I personally didn’t like Harley Quinn’s costume, while Deadshot, Boomerang and Katana were totally awesome. I was expecting to see Deathstroke in the mix but I am happy that he didn’t show up in the middle of everything that unfolded. I hated how Killer Croc was turned into a comic relief material. Amanda Waller is probably the best part of this movie, she is a dark brooding character and the way she is portrayed really gives a reason for her motivations and mission.

One of the standout characters in the movie for me and for everyone else was Diablo’s character. Jay Hernandez handles his role of a pyromaniac who is seeking redemption very well. I don’t understand why filmmakers go through so many attempts to make a character fan favorite only to kill him in the end.? This is like a growing trend only to get boring in the coming future.

I hope this is the dawn of the age of darkness in DC movies and I hope they have understood the fact that their films need hope and colours rather than silly jokes. If this issue is not resolved quickly then they are going to fail their universe disappointing a lot of fans in the process.

 

5 Good and 5 Bad Things about X-Men: Apocalypse


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The latest entry to the never ending Saga of X-Men Franchise failed to make the same impact like its predecessors. There was hardly any buzz during the release or any impact after. I got to catch up the movie a lot later. It might be one of those underrated movies that you end up watching after renting home video and realize it could have been a lot better in the theaters.

Here is what I liked and disliked about the movies

The Good

  1. Apocalypse’s story – This movie seems to have done judgment with Apocalypse’s backstory. His arc is fairly dealt with and he comes out at a formidable villain with his own agenda to cleanse the Earth and give a fresh start. He is not presented as one of those sympathetic villains with a tragic backstory that a lot of movies are going with. He is evil, pure evil.
  2. Introducing Xavier’s institute – Xavier’s institute is introduced as if it has come straight out of the comic books. Cyclops is recruited and as he enters the compounds of the institute he goes through the same experience that Wolverine went through in the first X-Men movie.
  3. Meeting Weapon X – When Wolverine comes on the screen, for the first time he seems to have come out of the pages of the comics. He is feral, vicious and in the most animalistic way you can imagine him. The way he cuts and slashes through the armed guards and goes on this rage mode is something that I was dying to see for a long time now.https://i2.wp.com/www.cosmicbooknews.com/sites/default/files/x-men-apocalypse-hugh-jackman.jpg
  4. Justice to Phoenix – If Wolverine was well dealt with then we also got glimpses of phoenix when Jean Gray gets in the battle with Apocalypse. We see her in Phoenix mode of which I can hope that is done justice to in some future installment.https://i1.wp.com/static.srcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/X-Men-Apocalypse-Jean-Grey-as-Phoenix.jpg
  5. Quicksilver – The X-Men universe Quicksilver is seriously OP. He saves an entire school in a few seconds. What other franchise can think about doing the same with their speedsters?

The Bad

  1. No impact on status quo – X-Men: Apocalypse makes no impact on the status quo of the X-Universe. The school is destroyed and repaired again. Magneto becomes good and then leaves, the world is almost destroyed and then the movie pretends that nothing happened. Think about other cinematic universes, Superman is dead, The Avengers are disbanded, we know the impact these events are going to make. Fox faces a problem of no actual paradigm shift in their universe.
  2. Underused Jubilee, Psylocke and Angel – Why was Jubilee present on the promo material when they used her just for a shot? We didn’t even get to know if she was alive or dead after the mansion exploded. Same with Angel, he is criminally underused. His arc is written just to serve as a member of the Four Horsemen otherwise he serves no other purpose. I hope Psylocke gets a better role in X-Force movie.

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  1. So much Mystique – Mystique holds the same status in the X-Universe that was once held by Wolverine. Without any character development she clings as the center plot point of most of the story. Her presence is simply irritating and feels forced upon the audience.
  2. Cringy Second Half – While the first half is the strongest point of the movie , it becomes dull and forced in the second half. Evil villain and his evil plan, mass destruction and good guys win. As predictable as it can be.
  3. Timeline still confusing – The X-Timeline still leaves us with many loopholes. If Wolverine was captured by Mystique masquerading has Trask then how did the actual Trask got hold of him? What happened to Sabertooth and rest of Wolverine’s crew? What timeline do Deadpool, Colossus and Negasonic exist? Can’t they simply hit the reboot button and start afresh?

The only reason Apocalypse failed to make an impact despite being a good movie was that people have stopped caring about the franchise at all. It needs a shift in the status quo or some collaboration like Sony did with Spider-Man. The world is changing, we all know that the mutants exist in ‘everything gets right by the end of the movie’ and no one is interested in knowing that.

Justice League Trailer Breakdown


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Let me tell you a story. After failure of Batman v Superman DC exes sat down with Zack Snyder. They asked Snyder to analyze why their movies get so much bashing while Marvel keeps winning. The same MARVEL THAT ONCE HAD A PLATHORA OF MEDIOCRE CHARACTERS AND THEIR ONLY TOP PERFORMING CHARACTER WAS SPIDER-MAN.

Snyder thinks, he tells the execs – ‘I think it’s the jokes,’

‘Marvel has a lot of jokes in the movies,’ Snyder continues, ‘I think we should add more jokes and shoot a major chunk of the movie during the daytime.’

And hence we got Justice League.

DC is desperate. The early trailer at SDCC proves that the company is trying to gain the trust of the fans one more time. Only this time they have added the element of humor and jokes in their trailer. Finally they have joined Marvel in the line of making funny trailers, on which the fans used to take pride in one calling ‘our movies are dark and serious’ and ‘we don’t make funny movies like Marvel does.’ They can proudly join the bandwagon of DC loves fun and humor.

My only problem is that these jokes are on the level of Green Lantern.

Despite all the hate, I have learned to hold my horses. There are parts of the trailer that made me feel intrigued and like every DC movie that has disappointed me in the past, I am going to watch this movie as well.

Here is my analysis for the trailer

Meet Aquakhal

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Probably the worst addition to the team, Jason Mamoa’s casting was happened in a time when DC was ruled only and only by Zack Snyder. He thought Mamoa will be as dark and brooding character like every character in DC universe. Only then time changed, now he has to be a fun character and it simply doesn’t come out. He looks out of place Old Spice model. Everytime he shows up in the trailer is a cringeworthy moment, but I’ll talk about the cringiest moment later.

A Motherbox

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We move to another scene where we see an ancient king buying a secret. Somehow I hope that he is King Arthur and this leads to a Justice League Dark movie. He and his army men bury something deep underground that looks like a mother box. Either this is the same mother box that gave Cyborg his exoskeleton or it is one of the hidden one that Steppenwolf is seeking on the Earth.

Wonder Woman in action

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If Aquaman is the worst part of the trailer than Wonder Woman is the best. Gal Gadot is the Wonder Woman personified, whether she is in her costumer or not. In the trailer she looks fierce and battle ready. She stares at a foe out of focus from the scene as Diana emerges from behind the shield.

An Alcoholic Aquaman

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If he was not forcibly trying to be dark and brooding, he is also a drinker. We will get to see some tragic backstory may be in a very Snyder style.

Meet Cyborg

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I have never seen Ray Fisher act. We get to see his character before he met with that horrific accident. Here Victor Stone is the high school football player studying at Gotham University. His collage’s name can be seen on both his jacket and in the background. This scene may be a flashback as we have already met a fully transformed Cybog in Batman v Superman.

Meet Barry Allen

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We get to see the best part of the trailer. We meet Barry Allen, Erza Miller is Barry Allen defined on the screen. A confused, one liner cracking superhero who has his own issues. He needs friends.

Now this is the part that worries me. While the scene looks a lot similar to Tony Stark recruiting Peter Parker in Civil War, the jokes are simply out of place. A dialogue sounds forced and the ‘I need friends’ part creates a very Green Lantern’esque nostalgia in my mind. I hope his dialogues are better than this.

Otherwise Erza Miller is the Barry Allen personified, with a sequence he wins the whole trailer.

Justice Four in Action

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Finally we meet the first four of Justice League. Cyborg’s suit looks unfinished while I am still wondering why Barry has an armor suit. They head into an underground tunnel to fight something unknown. Aquaman is not here, he’ll be saved for the final battle to emerge has the king and tell everyone, ‘hey look I am here to help you peasants.’

I am more excited to see Superman with a ponytail. I hope they don’t spoil that in the trailers.

Aquaman talks to fish

Just what I feared, there are a lot of worries regarding Aquaman already. I hope they don’t make him a joke in the team. Right now he sounds like a character who his forcibly trying to be serious but his teammates don’t take him seriously.

I can just hope that Aquaman’s baddassery is shown to the audience and we get to see Jason Mamoa wearing his golden armor and in blonde hair.

 

Villain of Choice for The Flash Movie


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Flash, hits to the theaters in 2018. With an impressive rogue gallery, there are a lot of interesting villains to choose from.

While most of us want this to be a time travel movie with Reverse Flash/Zoom as the main villain, I personally want the movie to be centered around Barry and Central City.

I for one don’t want Reverse Flash in the first movie. I want him to be working behind the shadows and coming out in a future installment as a full fledged villain.

As per my understanding, Flash has been a superhero for a while in DCEU and when we see him in the movies he’ll already have a few enemies.

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My suggestion is to keep Rogues as the secondary villains with Captain Cold, Heatwave, Weather Wizard and Mirror Master teaming up to defeat Flash. These are the villains who Barry defeated in the past and sent them to jail. They meet and decide to take him down for once and for all.

But then The Rogues have a code of honour and are big fans of flash. They have helped him save Central City on a few occasions and this is where the primary villain comes into play.

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Gorilla Grodd is a hyper-intelligent telepathic gorilla with the power to control the minds of others. At one time, he was nothing more than an average ape, but after an alien spacecraft crashes in his African home, Grodd and his troupe are imbued with super intelligence by the ship’s pilot.

We can have a formidable villain who mind controls most of Central City. The final battle takes place as Barry teams up with the Rogues, beats Gorilla Grodd and saves central city.

Reverse-Flash

I’d suggest the filmmakers to show Thawne during the after credit scenes or show up in the final battle. That will make the ending more impactful and keep the interest in the future films going.

Do suggest your ideas in the comments section.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition Review


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Batman v Superman’s extended edition came out last week and I got a chance to watch the much hated and criticized version of Zack Snyder’s epic failure on the box office. I long time back I told you that why a Justice League movie in bound to fail. I was then called a bully by many. But I guess my predictions were almost true after all.

Batman v Superman is as heartbreaking as my last breakup. You wait for something for two years, as the time goes by, you cannot stop talking about it. Then comes the day when it turns out to be a lousy move and you leave for your home, alone and heartbroken.

So who is to be blamed, for the movie (not for my breakup). After extended edition, it turns out that it was totally Warner bros fault who decided to cut down the movie at important parts. No wonder it turned out to be so badly edited. While a lot of things make sense, most of the things don’t. Lex’s plan and how he obtains the files is still unknown, Batman and Superman’s rivalry and that cringe worthy Martha scene are things leave you baffled in the end.

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The best part of Ultimate Edition is that it makes Clark Kent an actual character. The greatest improvement to the film comes from Clark’s expanded story. The biggest problem with theatrical cut was that it shorted Clark Kent/Superman’s real story. The theatrical version didn’t give Clark a whole lot to do while the Ultimate version gives him so much more. Clark has to consider the consequences of his actions throughout the movie and Batman becomes his dark mirror.

There’s a scene prior to the car chase sequence where Clark meets with the wife and son of one of the criminals branded by Batman. All of a sudden the entire sequence and why Superman needed to confront Batman starts making sense. Because of lack of these sequence, the Batman Superman fight scene feels like a random moment in the theatrical cut.

We also get some Superman moments that make him seem a lot less like a cranky and mopey persona and more like a responsible hero. There is a huge sequence after the Capital bombing where we see Superman helping survivors as the carnage of the aftermath unfolds.

The expanded opening gives us flamethrowers scorching bodies which implicates that Superman killed the African warlords. We also get a lot more insight into Lex’s overall scheme and get actual confirmation of every implication about Lex’s responsibility for the bombing of the Capitol. The extra scenes make this plot point feel a little more fleshed out. It’s not perfect, but then things start making sense.

Han Zimmer’s Man of Steel theme does more for the character than the actual performance does. The piano melody is solemn, lonely, but hints at an abundance of hope. Although not the bombastic and powerful ballad given to us by John Williams, it does tease the old theme throughout the soundtrack, and the newer theme is a strong piece that makes up for some of the character’s flaws to create a feeling of greater depth.

Actually, Han Zimmer and Junkie XL did a great job with the soundtrack. With Batman’s Suite we hear hints of Danny Elfman’s take on the character. Some of the music is drowned out in the mix early on in the film, but some songs come through quite powerfully. Namely ‘Is She with You?’ the Wonder Woman Theme, which is an onslaught of heavy war drums and gritty guitar riffs. Well done.

Other tracks are more operatic, perhaps more in line with the great opera Zack Snyder attempted presenting us with. The Lex Luthor theme is whimsical and maniacal all at once, much like the character portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg.

The Ultimate version doesn’t fix everything. If you’re looking for any clarification about the strange dream sequences (aka the ‘Knightmare’), then it still doesn’t make sense. Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is still badly written character. The bit where Superman says ‘Martha’ and they become best friends: still there. Nothing here helps lighten the overall dark and philosophical tone of the film. The editing becomes better, the direction is still bad so you’ll still have to sit through the three hours of bad filmmaking.

In any case, the “Batman v Superman” Ultimate Edition will be a nice thing to have going forward into the DC Extended Universe. It’s not the best possible version of the movie, but it’s better than being saddled with the theatrical cut forever.

 

Movie Review – Deadpool


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I went to watch this movie with expecting a slapstick comedy with superheroes. The promotion was impressive but given Ryan Reynold’s two previous ventures into comic-book movies I was a little less hopeful.

Deadpool is a satire on comic book movies. As a comic book character that breaks 4th walls, he is the parody of everything superhero. Deadpool is the brilliance of Marvel comics and shows their balls to take jabs on their work. The movie might have been directed by Tim Miller but the truth is that Deadpool belongs to only and only Ryan Reynolds. As the movie is concerned, Deadpool breaks all the rules of Superhero and adopts only those jokes and gags that draw out the most amount of ‘WTF’s from the crowd, and in doing so, gives us one of the most faithful comic-book adaptations to date.

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Deliciously meta and embracing the irresponsible, and goofy persona of its superhero (as well as the actor who portrays him), Deadpool is the kind of superhero that no matter who tries to make it with another character, you are not going to get as faithful as this one. It was a unique creation when it came to Marvel Comics in 1991, and succeeds in gleefully shocking cinema audiences in 2016.

Created by Rob Liefield and Fabian Nicieza as a parody of DC Comics’ Deathstroke, Deadpool is Wade Wilson, expert swordsman and mercenary who came out the other end of cancer with a regenerative mutation. He is armed with the Wikipedia of pop culture references and is the one who never plays by the rules. In Tim Miller’s cinematic take, Wade (Ryan Reynolds) falls in twisted love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) – a match made in heaven. Wade hangs out at an assassin’s bar run by Weasel (T J Miller), the closest thing he has to a friend. Then one fine day, when cancer comes a-knocking at his door, so does a mysterious man with the promise of curing his ailment in exchange for being part of a superhuman experiment. We all know what happens next.

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As a movie it follows  a plot which is pretty straight-forward, but what makes Deadpool  magical is how it gets the beat of that narrative. A large part of this is owed to Ryan Reynolds, himself born to play the Regenerating Degenerate, who has almost single-handedly resurrected the character from Origins: Wolverine hell, marking it as his own to play with. The movie has everything to offend you. The dick jokes, the fourth-wall-breaking, and the delightful references – he’s got it all down to the dot, and we’re along for the ride, which is as entertaining as it can be. This is an incredibly self-aware film, perhaps even the most self-aware one there is, landing meta punches right from the opening credits and not letting up till the protagonist shoos you out of your seats in the post-credits scene. Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds could not have asked for better timing with this film, as 2016 cements the superhero genre in the future of cinema for years to come. Deadpool manages to pick on the obvious trends that plague the genre today, from clichéd hero landings to franchises that birth confusing timelines. Are the villains pretty generic? Yes. Does the plot hit all the usual beats of a superhero film? Yes. But it doesn’t matter, since it’s how Deadpool reacts to each of these things that make this film a masterpiece.

The R Rating of the movie was a risk but it turned out to be the biggest blessing. Being a character notorious for his unmatched ability to creep out the likes of Wolverine and Spider-Man, the red-clad prankster cannot be done justice without crossing the lines. However, the R-rating isn’t here to simply service the crass humour, but to stay true to Deadpool’s other character essence – his gleeful bloodlust, showcased to the maximum in the highway sequence toward the beginning of the film. Above and beyond his regenerative mutation, what makes this wise-cracking antihero a force to be reckoned with is his way with guns and swords, coupled with a conscience that is the polar opposite of Batman. Deadpool makes full use of the faculties of its protagonist and delivers to us meaty, excellently directed action scenes that blend gore and comedy so well that it’s impossible to take your eyes off the screen.
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You’ll also no doubt have heard that Deadpool has become the biggest grossing R-rated film (that’s the US equivalent of our ’18’ certificate, though curiously Deadpool only has a ’15’ rating here) ever released, and was shot on a budget of approximately $58million, about a quarter of the budget for the last X-Men film, Days of Future Past, opening up some interesting possibilities on a series of lower-budget comic-book movies – something which must be tempting for studios.

Ryan Reynolds’ acting persona can be a bit marmite, but he embraces that here with enthusiasm and sufficient self-depreciation that ought to win over even his most harshest of critics. Reynolds’ turn makes the film, his personality barely concealed by the leather suit and deeply infectious. His campy stylings throw his enemies and warm viewers; they also hint at a sexual ambiguity present in the character. Deadpool is on record as having a fluid sexuality, something that sets the character out further as part of the alternative counter-culture, though this film does tend towards heteronormative relationships.

Ed Skrein makes for an engaging foil, even if he is the latest in a long line of British bad guys in American movies. There’s a sparkle to his playoffs with Reynolds which reminds us of the childlike quality of many cinematic squabbles.

The female members of the cast remain somewhat underused – Morena Baccarin makes for a feisty love interest, but Brianna Hildebrand (Teenage Negasonic Warhead) and Gina Carano (villainous Angel Dust) are powerhouses, but effectively mute making them little more than tools. Considering recent conversations about female characters in sci-fi and fantasy (eg. the Star Wars: The Force Awakens debacle) one would have expected better – particularly as there’s a clever moment of concealment during a fight with Angel. The writers clearly know what’s going on, but while they call it out, they’ve yet to redress it.

Ultimately though, Deadpool is a rich text, and the most interesting comic adaptation in years, rewarding multiple viewings, which has buoyed the coffers of the studio. Deadpool 2 is eagerly awaited, but has much to live up to.

 

 

Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War


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Like the previous Captain America movies, “Captain America: Civil War” continues the tradition of a great superhero movie. It is a great action/thriller with a nice blend of humour. Before The Avengers came to the theatres, many wondered that how would one manage bring so many different superheroes together in one film and have it feel both cohesive and coherent. Then the movie ended up delivering in a big way and in the wake of its success it almost seemed foolish to have doubted the proposition in the first place.

The Russo Brothers and their amazing under-appreciated Screenwriters have done an amazing job with the film. It is not just Superhero movie, but pure entertainment film. They prove that they are true fans of the source material, making changes that needed to be made for the transition to the big screen.

The story is changed from the comic but in a way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe needed so badly. This film changes every relationship for the worse. We travel around the world and new characters enter the fray. Black Panther/T’Challa is the most prominent of these and Chadwick Boseman nails the character, leaving you wanting more for the future and longing for his standalone movie.

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There are many big ideas in the film and it attempts to turn expectations on the head in some ways. Tony Stark as the Steve’s counterpoint is presented in a beautiful way, and the film explains how and why this is the case by exploring his background. The script, by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, touches on something that comic book films have been accused of–showing mass destruction without the consequences. Civil War deals with a long time issue with comic book movies. The issue of collateral damage. When heroes fight villains, a number of innocents are hurt and die. Secretary of State (William Hurt, reprising his role as Thunderbolt Ross) presents the Avengers with a choice; sign an accord that makes them agents of the U.N., or retire. While Iron Man supports the accords,  Captain America opposes it calling it a means to turn Avengers into a weapon of war.

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There are more characters–the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), who in the comics got married and I think they’re going in that direction in the films, even though he ends up imprisoning and cooking for her. The major action piece is full-blown battle at the airport. We even get Ant-Man turning into a full fledged Giant Man, and meet the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland, who makes Tobey Maguire seem like an ancient history.

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Captain America: Civil War shows that how a great balance between gravitas and humor can be achieved. Something that the D.C. films struggle with. When Downey Jr. is approached by a mother (Alfre Woodard) whose son died as collateral damage in an Avengers fight, you can feel the pain and emotions as you know the backstory. Evans plays a much less nuanced character, but he is terrific, and the film is full of cameos, such as Martin Freeman and, amazingly, Marisa Tomei as Parker’s Aunt May.

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From here how Marvel takes their films over the next couple of years is going to be intruiging. If anything, we probably won’t be learning the fallout from the events of Civil War right away. The next couple of films in the franchise either introduce a new character and new corners of the cinematic universe (November’s Doctor Strange) or appear to take place off-Earth (next year’s Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2). It probably won’t be until 2018’s Black Panther that we get to see what comes next in the studio’s grand plans for these heroes.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

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