Movie Review – Justice League Dark


DC animated movies have evolved themselves to a level where they keep setting benchmarks for live action movies. Previously, Batman: Attack on Arkham, created this benchmark that raised hopes for a live action Suicide Squad movie. Sadly, when the same was adapted in live action, it failed miserably.

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Setting a new benchmark in filmmaking, DC animated universe has come up with Justice League Dark.

DC has been trying to come up with a Justice League Dark’s live action adaptation since 2014. Earlier, Guillermo Del Toro was attached to the project. It didn’t get past writing room because executives at Warner Bros were unsure about how the film will perform. YES, THE SAME WARNER BROS WHO GREEN SIGNALED BATMAN v SUPERMAN.

Justice League Dark is the first outing for DC’s supernatural heroes and antiheroes. Consisting of John Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, Swamp Thing, and Etrigan, alongside Batman as the ‘outsider’, the team faces an ancient evil threatening to destroy both life and afterlife alike.

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Matt Ryan absolutely steals the show in his return as John Constantine. John is every bit the loveable bastard we’ve grown to love from the show, and his lines are sharp as ever. Jason O’Mara provides the straight man to the rest of the craziness as Batman, Camilla Luddington brings a balance to the team as backwards-talking magician Zatanna, Nicholas Turturro is annoyingly yet endearingly chipper Deadman, Ray Chase plays both man and rhyming demon Jason Blood and Etrigan, and Roger Cross rounds up the main cast as the protector of the Green, Swamp Thing. Jeremy Davies also makes a return as John’s friend Ritchie Simpson, and Alfred Molina is Destiny, the main villain of the piece.

Justice League Dark brings out its characters in a very strong way. While, most of the main cast connects extremely well off of each other, somehow it becomes evident that Batman is shoved in the movie just for marketing purposes. In my opinion, the movie could have worked without his presence. John Constantine is easily the best part about this movie, which is exactly what most of us came here for. If this is the direction for John we’re going for in the CW Seed series, then this is going to be fun.

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This movie was directed by Jay Oliva, a DC animation regular. And since this is an animated movie… how is the animation? It’s actually really good, I mean… for a DC animated direct-to-video budget. But while the animation isn’t the most detailed, it flows very well and looks really good, especially in the action scenes.

Justice League Dark serves as a solid introduction for DC’s supernatural team. If made properly in live action, it can be DC’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The animation team and the voice cast have done a great job, while the length of the movie at 1hr 15mins was just perfect.

Final Rating – 4 out of 5

TV Review – Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage


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Luke Cage broke the norms of television drama and all I could say was ‘SWEET CHRISTMAS!!’

Marvel has been killing it with his Netflix’s deal. The characters and the larger than life setting that they have created with their shows have been simply incredible. Marvel has stopped making just superhero shows; these are some great television shows.

While Luke Cage continues the trend of superb characterization, storytelling, villains, and developing a setting as part of the cast that breathes and lives like rest of the characters. It does an important job and introduces one of Marvel’s foremost Black heroes to the limelight. The idea is followed by a series of fascinating characters and a compelling story.

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Luke Cage delivers an incredibly strong season (no pun intended). Though we’ve met him earlier in Jessica Jones, this time, we get to know more of him and his backstory. Mike Colter as Luke Cage is perfect as he delivers a performance which has the perfect combination of strength, smarts and charisma.

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Wilson Fisk in Daredevil was a loveable bad guy. Luke Cage takes this to a new level with introducing just not one villain but a series of bad guys trying to make his life hell. All these characters are interconnected to each other and trying to make Luke Cage’s life hell. The first half of the show is ruled by Cottonmouth and his nefarious agenda that makes him believe is for a greater good for Harlem’s betterment. Played by Mahershala Ali, he fills the role with his energy and style making it look like he was born to play him. His posture, his voice, and everything about the character was so utterly villainous. There are times when you’ll find yourself sometimes cheering for Cottonmouth.

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Alfre Woodard is also great as Mariah Dillard as she portrays a councilwoman who wants to make the city a better place, however with ties to the city’s underbelly, struggles to do so legally.

Diamondback as a villain, disappoints at times. His role feels like a forcefully injected one in the show. Although his dialogues are brilliantly handled, Diamondback’s misguided understanding of the Bible and his twisted mindset made him especially volatile. I particularly loved Hernan “Shades” Cortes (played by Theo Rossi). He was such a smooth talker and his smile so disarming. He actually looks and feels like a menace and someone who’ll always be a step ahead of you, hero or villain.

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Another excellent aspect of the show is the music, Luke Cage is magnificently scored as it’s able to pull you back to the old 70s while being able to mix with new age reggae music. This balance is maintained very well and it actually compliments the show’s overall theme.

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The show is set deep in the streets of Harlem, a city with a rich music and artistic history, and a strong Black history. The show plays into that and brings out Black culture in beautiful ways. Harlem itself is portrayed as a character on the show. You can feel the locale’s aura, the vibe and how it breathes and feels as the show proceeds. Luke’s relationship with the people of Harlem is a big part of the series; one moment they blame him for Stokes’ men robbing them, the next, they praise his speech at the church during Pops’ funeral.

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Pop’s Barbershop plays a pivotal role on the show. Pop himself becomes a walking history of Harlem and a respectable figure among the youth while paving a path for Luke’s journey. I wonder if his barbershop will be used for the heroes for hire office in defenders or if it will be reshaped by Luke Cage and will be made operational again.

Misty Knight (played by Simone Missick) adds value to the show in terms of residents of Harlem. She represents the long list of Marvel’s strong female characters. Her character development is handled very well and her connection to Luke Cage fleshes out as the show proceeds.

While Luke Cage doesn’t come up close to the level that Daredevil season 1 set but it is somewhere close. I am totally excited for Defenders and the Netflix show paves path in a very subtle way.

Overall rating – 8 out of 10.

Wonder Woman Second Trailer Analysis


 

The second trailer for Wonder Woman arrived shattering bullets and waving lasso of truth. This is probably one of the best trailers by DC Entertainment. It is a perfect blend of action and fun without revealing a lot about the movie. Wonder Woman does an amazing job of increasing the hype for the movie. Set during the First World War era, the trailer does an excellent job of introducing us to the supporting characters and antagonists without throwing their roles in our face *cough cough, Doomsday*.

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The trailer opens with Diana walking into Louvre, the scenes possibly takes place during the present era. The scene fades to a Diana staring at a picture which is more than 100 years old. It looks identical to the photo we saw in Batman v Superman, where Ben Affleck analyzed Lex Luthor’s metahuman records.

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The scene fades to Diana’s home world as she watches a plane crash into the ocean. She jumps and saves the man, her love interest Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine.

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We see The Amazonians getting in battle with a group of men who invade Themiyscira, engaging in a battle with The Amazonians.

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Steve is brought in front of the council, he tells him about the great war and his mission. The scene fades to a gas mask getting destroyed, we hear a voiceover telling weapons “far deadlier than you can ever imagine.”

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We meet Elena Anaya, she is rumored to play Doctor Poison. She is playing the secondary antagonist of the film. This scene is followed by Danny Huston’s character stepping out of the shadows and speaking ‘the world could be ours.’ His role is yet to be revealed.

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Diana sets upon a journey. She takes the sword and the shield of Athena, she leaves saying, “I cannot standby while innocent lives are lost.”

 

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She steps into the battlefield, we see her in action, straight from the pages of comic books. She deflects bullets with her gauntlets.

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The scene cuts to Diana wearing a party gown with a sword slid making it look as if it is part of her dress.

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We see Diana and Danny Huston’s character engaged in a fight. They fight toe-on-toe, making it look like Danny character is an equal match for Diana.

The last scene of the trailer shows Diana trying on a dress and complaining, how women fight in the dress. Etta Candy replies that they use their principals. We get a hint that DC is finally open to use of humor in the films.

I have a huge hope in this film and just hope that it lives upto the expectations that everyone has with this film.

Sovereign Seven: “12th Night”


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Chris Claremont is most popularly known for his extensive association with the X-Men franchise of comic books published by Marvel.  However, his works vary from genre to genre throughout the decades.  In the 90s, after his 17 year run on Uncanny X-Men unfortunately came to an end, Claremont was involved in a project called Sovereign Seven, a title published by DC Comics that ran for 36 issues between 1995 and 1998.

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Sovereign Seven was primarily written for the ones who were still fans of classic comic books, books with 80s vibes. Although it was set within the DC universe, and featured guest appearances by numerous established characters, but the main cast was copyrighted to Claremont.  This series had its own sub-continuity, and the characters had guest appearances in other DC comic books like such as Mister Miracle and Genesis.

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One of the best aspects of Claremont’s work on the X-Men titles was that his characters were so diverse and colourful that they almost felt real and part of the world we are living in.  He took that to this aspect to the next level in Sovereign Seven, as his cast members each came from different worlds, different dimensions.

United to fight the insidious threat of “The Rapture,” these seven rulers & aristocrats found refuge on Earth.  Their new home was the Crossroads Coffee Bar, an inn & restaurant located in rural New England run by the enigmatic sisters Violet and Pansy.  The seven exiles had to learn about one another, as well as their new home world.  They also had to adjust from being heads of state & monarchs to assisting the two sisters with the much more mundane tasks of the day-to-day running of the inn. Religion is one of the important aspects of his writing. The book takes time to observe the faith of every world and its culture. Religion and faith adds more colours to a character, just imagine Daredevil without his Catholicism.

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Sovereign Seven was an enjoyable title.  Claremont told some interesting stories working with several very talented artistic collaborators.  He did excellent work developing a unique cast of characters. For anyone who is looking forward to read a more rugged and classic title, this is a must read.

 

Logan Trailer Breakdown: A Peek into Wolverine’s Last Days


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Logan has been talk of the movegoers for a while. Confirmed as Hugh Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine, Logan is said to be inspired from Old Man Logan storyline and the trailer certainly has vibes of the classic tale.

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The basic description of movie suggests that it is set in a dystopic future where mutants are extinct. In this future Professor X’s powers are malfunctioning and Logan is on a run from a new group of villains. We meet a much older Wolverine, who is under guilt of going something that is eating him from the inside.

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The movie opens as Johnny Cash’s hurt plays in the background; the track perfectly sets the tone of the film.

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Professor X asks, ‘what did you do?’

We meet Logan. Is he under guilt of not being able to save to X-Men or is he the one who killed them?

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This is the world from where Wolverine time traveled in Days of the Future Past. While X-Franchise has made it clear that they don’t believe in the concept of timelines, it is more confusing to understand that if Wolverine saved mutants in Days of the Future Past then why did they die again.

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The scene fades into more glimpses of the post-apocalyptic world. Something happened, something bad.

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Logan sports a beard, he looks broken, drinking in a cemetery, may be this is where his x-friends are buried. This Wolverine has scars, he is aging and it is clear that healing factor is not working anymore.

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Here’s our first look at Professor X himself, and it’s noteworthy for two reasons. First of all, it’s genuinely painful to see a character known for his great power, a man who has led and mentored some of our favorite superheroes, dying in a filthy hideout in the middle of the desert after his life’s mission has seemingly failed. Second, it’s kind of astonishing that Patrick Stewart looks so good at 76 that they’ve literally had to cover him in makeup to sell his old age.

We meet a girl standing in a building overlooking a desert. Wolverine asks, ‘what is she,’ Professor X replies, ‘she looks a lot like you.’

X-23 was born through experimentation on Wolverine’s DNA. X-23 was successful after 22 clones died. We saw in the after credits of X-Men Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister of Essex Corporation might be responsible for her creation in this timeline.

We meet convoy of armed mercenaries on a hunt. It seems they are after Laura who is seeking refuge with Wolverine.

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We then meet a man in a shawl and faced covered with a mask and shades who may be Stephen Merchant’s Caliban. I am again not sure how he lived this long because he was last seen in X-Men Apocalypse.

‘She needs our help’

‘Someone will come along’

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It is clear that Professor X wants Logan to help her but he is reluctant to get into the fight. He thinks someone will come help her. He looks at his old dog tags, he wonders if he should help or not.

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The scene is cut by arrival by arrival of armed guards lead by the Donald Price. It might be possible that Logan cut off his arm and this is the reason why he has a hatred for mutants.

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We see the room shaking, Laura crawling, Logan carrying Professor X in his arms. It seems that either that they are in the middle of a big fight or just running away from it.

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While the trailer proceeds and we see some happy moments, Laura Watches Wolverine as he sleeps.

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A few cuts to Pierce and The Reavers, we see Wolverine with his claws pointed at Pierce faces. There are shots of him chasing armed guards, killing them one by one. This scene is followed by Laura doing the same thing.

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We see Logan trying to control Laura, he is blocking her claws, in the comics she was created with a trigger scent that will activate her to kill anything in her path. May be this is why Logan is trying to control her.

Professor X tells him that he still has time. If he killed X-Men then saving Laura is probably the only way to his redemption.

Logan opens in theaters on March 3, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Times Deadpool Ripped Apart The Fourth Wall


 

Deadpool has a thing for the fourth wall. He doesn’t only rip them apart, but blows it into threads. As Ryan Reynold’s said in Deadpool movie, sometimes it is 16 walls.

Since his inception, different writers have tried using their own style when it comes to breaking the fourth wall. Some take potshots at the popular culture while others just make him take jibes at competitor brands.

Here are 5 instances where Deadpool took on the fourth wall and destroyed it.

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Deadpool has been taking potshots at Batman v Superman. In the ongoing Spiderman/Deadpool series, he made fun of the movie using Marvel’s in-house Superman & Batman counterparts Hyperion and Nighthawk. What follows after are some of the funniest panels, where Spidey and Deadpool made fun of ongoing X-Men franchise, Deadpool’s own movie and a lot more.

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Deadpool meets Dawn of Justice

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Deadpool, again took on Dawn of Justice where he interacted with a character named Dawn from Justice department. He finds the name amusing and cannot stop laughing.

 

Do I look like Ryan Reynolds?

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Deadpool writers always had a thing for Ryan Reynolds. Even before he joined the cast of horrendous X-Men Origins, Deadpool had announced that he looks like an abominable version of the actor who’ll play him on screen in the future.

Deadpool has all the details

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Who else will tell you the exact details of the last time when they met?

 

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Deadpool assaults his opponent with their own health and hyper combo bars.  Then he makes fun of Capcom and mocks the player’s skill level.

What is your favorite moment when Deadpool broke the fourth wall?

Review – Batman: The Killing Joke


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The Killing Joke is one of the most popular Batman graphic novel that is even playing a huge role in shaping DC’s mythology till date. When it was announced that this classic tale will be adapted in a animated movie there are no reason for comic book fans to get excited. This 28 year old graphic novel has been one of the finest works of Alan Moore.

Batman: The Killing Joke, centers around Joker and his dark psyche that makes him one of the most popular villains in comic book history, The movie dwells deep into The Joker’s life (Played by Mark Hamill). We meet him as a struggling comedian, to his encounter with Batman (Kevin Conroy) that changes their lives forever. The Joker escapes from The Arkham and now wants to prove that one bad day can make anyone as crazy as him.

Bruce Timm uses killing joke as a foundation of the DC Animated Universe created by him in the 90s. He explores the mythology of Batman Beyond and how Nightwing finds out that Bruce slept with Barbara Gordon. Honestly, I felt that the 30 minutes of backstory does no justice to Batgirl. She could have come out as a strong character, but instead we meet a reckless teenager.

Apart from this backstory, this movie gives you no reason to complain. The moment Joker comes on screen you know that this is where shit is going to get serious. The movie does justice to the Joker’s character and Mark Hamill proves why he is and will always be the voice of The Joker. So many segments of this film had made me feel Goosebumps: Barbara being paralysed, the emotional and sympathetic flashback segments, and the final, immortal panels of the comic brought alive by director Sam Liu,. Also full credits to the voices Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, no one could have done a better job. Trust me when I say that these moments make Batman: The Killing Joke worth watching. Mark Hamill simply outshines Heath Leadger’s joker, because he is so brilliant.

There are a couple of moments that could have been a lot better. Barbara waking up in hospital could have been a lot emotional but she sounded like as if someone reading a book.

Batman: The Killing Joke is awesome if you forget the first half of the film. If not then I hope that it doesn’t repeat again with any other character in future.

Rating 3.5 out of 5