Tag Archives: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming


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Title – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director – Jon Watts

Cast – Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Bokeem Woodbine, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei

The last time we saw the friendly, neighborhood Spider-man on screen, he was helping Iron Man fight Captain America in Captain America: Civil War. Apparently Tony Stark thought that it would be a great idea to bring an inexperienced high schooler in to fight a bunch of Avengers.  Before that though, he was being played by Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-man 2, where he was fighting Electro.  While I really like Garfield as Spider-man and his portrayal of the web swinger but the movie failed for impress from a storyline point of view.

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Tom Holland does a brilliant job in portraying Spider-Man. He plays the role of Peter Parker and stays true to the idea that he’s a goofball and a sarcastic villain irritant. In exchange, this seems to be the first Spider-Man rendition where they never focus on his “Spidey Sense.” They make it a part of him being the wall crawler but never focus too much upon it. I think it was a good decision on their part.

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Marvel usually has a list of villains who just play an adversary to the hero and are easily forgettable. Michael Keaton’s Vulture doesn’t fall in this category. He’s more characterized than most of their bad guys, and though he’s more understandable, the script and the story make Vulture’s part really outstanding.

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The rest of the cast was fine for the token roles that they were playing.  You had the goofy sidekick that wanted to be “the man in the chair.” You had the love interest.  You had the  jerk.  You had the loner that’s not really a loner.  All cliche characters who proved to be useless plot wheels and kind of ruined the movie for me. If it was not for Peter and Vulture the movie would have been intolerable for most of the parts.

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So with a great amount of successful humor, an exceptional performance by Tom Holland and Michael Keaton, Spider-Man: Homecoming is definitely a movie worth seeing. Despite all the mediocrity that feels like some fan fiction writer from tmblr wrote it, Homecoming found a way to make that standard formula feel a little different.

Rating – 6 out of 10

 

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Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 takes you on a Roller Coaster Ride


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If you’ve seen the first Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d know the kind of experience you will be getting. The old gang is back. They are more dysfunctional than ever and settling into their new titular positions. The film weaves a number of different subplots, with a number of familiar faces from the original film making a return – Yondu (Rooker), the scavenger who kidnapped and raised Peter; Nebula (Karen Gillian), Gamora’s sister, who is intent on continuing the violent sibling rivalry. But these subplots are skillfully weaved together, and never interfere in the main story.

There are a lot of obvious references for MCU’s future, from Gamora and Nebula’s conversations about Thanos to the closing text “The Guardians Will Return.” You know that there is a lot coming your way but GoTG vol 2 still stands as an independent film as much as it can. It builds its own universe without becoming another Iron Man 2. The producers must have had their chances to drop obvious clues but they didn’t and it proved to be a well thought decision.

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Every character has an arc of self enlightenment.  From Rocket learning to not push people away, to Gamora and Nebula learning to love each other as sisters, Guardians plays on the trope that these characters are together because they share a very deep bond and their care for each other goes beyond that of a normal team.  All of these stories play out with fun filled action sequences that always leave you wanting more. Rounding out the cast is Mantis, a character who is used mostly for comedic effect but is so quirky and charming I couldn’t help but fall for her.  In her first appearance I worried that she was a bit too much of an Asian stereotype, but as the film progressed, she fell into her own and her relationship with Drax who tells her just how ugly she is, became one of my favorites in the film.

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Chris Pratt once again proves that why is is one of the Hollywood’s best leading men working today. He takes the opportunity to bounce off of the legend that is Kurt Russell; the two charismatic actors share a memorable performance. From Peter’s daddy issues to Ego playing with his emotions, everything is written so carefully. You’ve also got the likes of Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista (with his dry sense of humor), Sean Gunn and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon who are all perfect in their individual roles.

One doesn’t need to talk about how Baby Groot takes away the spotlight. He is one of the most charming creations to have graced the cinema screens. This adorable little tree steals the show and your heart the moment he’s introduced. His big brown eyes and childlike qualities place him right at the top of the cuteness level. Audiences are going to love him, and he’s easily the most memorable thing about the whole film.

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The jukebox soundtrack is again a wonderful addition to the whole storyline. The movie is filled with an eclectic mix of hits, the vibrant visuals that pop off the screen, truly bringing the comic book art form to life in a way others have failed to do.  The story creates a real sense of consequence in the film’s final third act, taking viewers completely off guard. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is hilarious and has a surprising amount of heart at its core.

Being set in space, we, of course, the visual effects become an important addition of the movie. For the most part the VFX is amazing. Weta Digital and Animal Logic make the movie gorgeous to look at. Some of those wide shots of alien worlds are so stunning, the new space ships have interesting designs, the explosions have weight to them, and the effect even helps sell some of the more humorous scenes in the movie.

My one big issues with Vol. 2 is something that’s plagued Marvel since the beginning.  We get an underwhelming villain like the usual.  Although Kurt Russel plays his part in the a very effective way and his plan seems very convincing. But for a powerful player like Ego who is a celestial, his powers and ending doesn’t make sense.  I’m hopeful that Thanos in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War will live up to its billing.

Despite a few flaws, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proves to be another great chapter in the saga of these outer space misfits.  I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters again in Vol. 3.  Although Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t quite come together in the way the original did, it nevertheless delivers humor, action, and familial themes in spades.

Final movie score – 4 out of 5

Eddie Brock is Back This May In The Oversized VENOM #150!


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Reunited, and it feels so good! Or, is it bad? Either way you swing it, Eddie Brock is back, and he’s bonding with the symbiote once more ahead of the can’t-miss VENOM #150 – the oversized anniversary spectacular coming this May! Series writer Mike Costa is joined by superstar guest artist Tradd Moore for an oversized main story featuring Eddie’s return to the pages of Venom. Bonded together again, Eddie and the symbiote are web-slinging their way across New York City. But, is their relationship as harmonious as it once was? Or is their bond more sinister than ever?

But that’s not all! In addition to a brutal main feature from Costa & Moore, VENOM #150 features the return of iconic past Venom creators! First up, secrets will be revealed! How did Flash Thompson come to lose the symbiote before it found its way to former Army Ranger Lee Price? The Venom: Space Knight creative team of Robbie Thompson and Gerardo Sandoval have the answers! Then, it’s back to the mean streets of San Francisco as fan-favorite creators David Michelinie and Ron Lim present a tale set between the pages of their iconic Venom: Lethal Protector series!

It’s all happening this May as a parade of Venom creators past and present bring you the must-read VENOM #150 – on sale digitally and wherever comics are sold!

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VENOM #150
Written by MIKE COSTA, ROBBIE THOMPSON & DAVID MICHELINIE
Art by TRADD MOORE, GERARDO SANDOVAL & RON LIM
Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL
On Sale May 2017!

Blu-Ray Review – Doctor Strange (2016)


Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.

Doctor Strange arrives on Blu-ray in a release that also includes the movie on DVD and a code for a digital copy. While the movie is a mixed bag, the Blu-ray offers some cool additional features.

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I was first introduced to Doctor Strange when I was in my teenage years. A copy of Avengers introduced me to Doctor Strange. My fascination with magic and sorcery prompted me to read more of his adventures. Sadly, I was not able to follow more of his titles because there was no material available.

Doctor Steven Strange is a gifted and conceited neurosurgeon with the world at his fingertips. Shortly after his introduction in the film, his physical talent is taken from him. After traditional and experimental medicine fails him, he takes a step into the final option and enters a metaphysical and magical realm.

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As part of his journey to regain his hands, he has to relearn everything he knows about nature, the world and science. It’s amazing to see the changes that he goes through and one must really appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting chops.

Doctor Strange is an amazing movie, one of the most visually appealing Marvel films ever made. The magic in the film looks and feels grounded in the natural universe, which sounds strange, even though it works very well. The filmmakers take full advantage of digital art to create a seamless and completely believable world through magic.

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Doctor Strange Blu-Ray Extra Features

  • A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
  • Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambitious, imaginative films ever.
  • The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
  • Across Time and Space – Explore the countless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
  • The Score-cerer Supreme – Join Composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
  • Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.

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Marvel films pace at a very powerful level. None of the scene look force fed or dragging a scene way too much. Not only is it my favourite superhero origin story so far, it’s also the most visually stunning film I’ve seen in recent years, many I’m sure will agree. Kudos to Derrickson who has conjured up this ambitious project. Doctor Stand is like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on LSD, a visual trip that’ll melt your eyeballs from your skull and leave your jaw firmly planted to floor, it’s also worth noting another huge achievement, so many stories get lost in the visuals, this does not. The colors, and urgency that the VFX department have masterfully conjured up with Doctor Strange not only serve the story being told.

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I am waiting for the sequel and see what great experiments the team can come up with to establish Doctor Strange as a full fledged Sorcerer Supreme.

Rating 4 out of 5

 

 

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

Review – Marvel & Netflix’s Jessica Jones: Season 1


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After massive success of Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones was their second collaboration with Netflix. Based on Brian Michael Bendis’ much acclaimed run Alias, Jessica Jones follows a story of an ex crime fighting vigilante running from her dark past.

The show had a very impressive starcast with Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, ex Doctor Who alumnus, David Tennant as villainous Killgrave and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

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Jessica Jones arrived in times when TV was already cluttered with 8 TV shows based on comic books and superheroes. Most of these TV shows were made to target a specific genre of audience. Jessica Jones, although was not. The show aimed to showcase a more mature side of Marvel Universe did the same with brilliance and style and brought something unique to the table

Jessica Jones is very different than any superhero shows that have ever existed on TV. If Daredevil set a mythology for Hell’s Kitchen, then Jessica Jones was aimed more on a personal story. The strong noir flavour and an adult-orientated take on the comicbook genre was something that made it way mature than expected. There are raw sex scenes, brutal violence and lots of swearing. It also deals with adult themes such as murder, rape and child abuse. These issues are handled in a very compelling way and the storyline is powered by intelligent dark humour.

After a failed stint at superheroics led her to suffer from PTSD, she retired and became a private investigator, using her powers (super-strength, super-stamina and super-leaping) to solve mysteries.  She comes across liars, cheaters, addicts and murders on a daily basis and is now using her powers to enhance her detective skills.

Krysten Ritter has looks of an anime character, her brooding eyes, jet black hair makes her a look like a character who was born to play this role. Her compelling performance as an ex superhero suffering with PTSD and trauma and her being a whiskey-swilling, foul-mouthed and hot-tempered “mess of a woman” and Ritter plays the role in a very brilliant way. Like most of the Marvel characters Jessica Jones is an epitome of imperfection, she is a mess. Her life told in flashbacks. She’s one of those people saying that everybody that she cares about ends up hurt or dead. She is so broken that she doesn’t even care about fixing things for a long time, like the windows of her office.

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Every good comic book film/show is good because of that memorable villain who overshadows everything and gives the titular hero a run for their money. David Tennant plays the show’s big bad Kilgrave, who has the power to control the minds of other people. His persona is based in a way that before he appears on the screen you are already feeling his presence. As Kilgrave he brings a creepy charisma that compels you to hate him. His sick sense of humor makes you laugh. Tennant gives a truly sinister performance but adds enough subtle layers of humanity for you to have a shred of sympathy for him.

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As well as an outstanding heroine and villain combo, the show boasts great supporting characters. Carrie-Ann Moss’ (The Matrix) ruthless lawyer Jeri, Eka Darville’s (Empire) drug addict Malcom and Erin Moriarty’s(True Detective)  Kilgrave-victim Hope are all fascinating characters. So too is radio host Trish (Rachael Taylor), who shares a brilliant best-friend relationship with Jessica.

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And Mike Colter’s effortless portrayal of Luke Cage, who has red-hot chemistry with Jessica, will have you eagerly anticipating his own show in 2016. His presence adds a soul to what otherwise could have been a dark brooding war between hero and the antagonist. Luke’s presence humanizes Jessica and tells her that she is not alone in as a super powered in this world. There are moments between Luke and Jessica will take your breath away. Small doses of romance between them makes this show worth watching

Another brilliant addition to Marvel universe is Wil Traval’s cop Will Simpson, who has a very interesting arc. He plays officer Will Simpson who is actually Nuke in the comics. Jessica Jones goes through his origin story and how he changes from a charming ladykiller cop to a twisted supersoldier.

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At times and atleast in 3 episodes you feel like being forced to watch things that are just for the sake of adding extra episodes. But once it gains pace there is no stop. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both been awesome, and hopefully Marvel’s other Netflix shows, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are equally just as good, before the team up Avengers-style in The Defenders.

Rating 9/10

 

Review – Ant Man 2015


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Ant-Man is more than a comic book movie. It takes viewers on a thrill ride through the world of science fiction physics. The smaller the size of the movie is, compared to that the characters are complex, charismatic people, whose relationships go through ups and downs every now and then. These characters are so well written that they appear as convincing players in an otherworldly premise suspending our concept of reality, once we buy in, well-placed humorous references poke fun at the day-to-day environment we take for granted.

Created in 1962 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, Ant Man has been a B-List Marvel character even after being one of the founding members of The Avengers. In a failed attempt by Edgar Wright to bring the shrinking superhero to the big screen when he wrote a script for the project and further went on to develop the film for 8 years. Finally in 2014, he was set to direct Ant-Man for the now successful Marvel Studios. He left the project with a mutual agreement with Marvel Studios due to creative differences. Yes Man director Peyton Reed then took over. As Wright was adored by critics, many have wondered whether Ant-Man would turn out to be Marvel’s first failure due to his absence.

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Even with Peyton Reed calling the shots this movie feels like an Edgar Wright film. He and Joe Cornish are still credited with story and part of the screenplay (the latter shared with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd). And if you are a fan of Wright’s work, you’ll be able to pick his parts of the film out almost immediately.

The film is filled with Edgar Write trademark style. The movie has prominently used jump-cut scenes in a very humorous way. Something that is Edgar Write is known for, where he presents a part of the story in a series of staccato images that say what they need to say in a concise and exciting way. In my opinion, it’s a trait that proves his genius and a big part of what I love about his films.

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The film opens as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) leaves prison after a three year sentence for a Robin Hood-like bit of computer theft. He wants to start a clean life so he can provide a good role model for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), but he’s not even able to keep a job at Baskin-Robbins due to his criminal record. He gets on a heist job with an old prison pal Luis (Michael Peña) and agrees for a job at home of an ex-military guy.

Paul Rudd is comes out as an awkwardly charming good guy with a witty sense of humor. He’s just weirdly adorable like a cross-over between Tony Stark and Peter Quill with more humility. Hank Pym though, is an ass. Which is not surprising considering he mostly is exasperating in comic books.

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Rudd’s co-stars are all equally on fine form as Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly both deliver solid performances as Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne. Oscar award winner Douglas fully commits to  the role as the secretive ex scientist Pym while Lilly’s ice queen van Dyne is as serious as her bob haircut. The film’s most dramatic scenes arise from the strained father-daughter relationship between the two which plays out very well.

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But it is Michael Pena who steals the movie with his crazy fast narratives. He plays Lang’s motor mouthed best bud Luis and steals almost every scene he’s in. The flashback scenes where he narrates the lines of others in his own wild words produce some of the films biggest laughs.

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And as expected from a Marvel movie, Ant-Man is a blend of action and comedy. When Ant-Man shrinks for the first time, he has to avoid death by bathwater, clubbers, a hoover and a rat in a visually stunning sequence.

After the huge city smashing destruction earlier in the year from Avengers: Age of Ultron (which is snarkily referenced by Hank Pym) there was a need for Marvel to scale back the stakes in order to keep things fresh. Ant-Man certainly brings something new to the table as, on the whole, it feels very different to anything else in the crowded comic-book movie market.

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Ant Man comes with its flaws but Marvel has tries its best to keep it grounded and more personal on every level. Next time when we see Ant Man in Captain America: Civil War it is going to be a whole new level of awesome.

8/10