Tag Archives: marvel comics

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

 

 

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

Darksied Mother Box

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.

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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.

 

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

Is Captain America really an Agent of Hydra?


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In last 10 years, Steve Rogers has been dead, time displaced, given up his mantle to Bucky and lost his super soldier abilities. For the last few months, Falcon has served the mantle of Captain America while Steve Rogers spent his time monitoring Avengers as a wrinkly old man. After the events of Avengers Standoff, we hoped that Captain America will return again, but like always there was a twist. Marvel turned Captain America an agent of Hydra.

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In an unexpected turn of events, we found out that Steve Rogers has been a sleeper agent of Hydra all this time. His mother used to attend secret Hydra meetings. Rogers was prepred to become an agent of Hydra all his life and something triggered (?) it.

Now, while the internet is outraging, it made me wonder why Marvel would do so. The Peter Parker of this universe is driving a Spider mobile and is founder of a startup called Parker industries. In the past, the internet outraged when he was mind swapped with Doc Ock in Dan Slott’s Superior Spiderman’s run. I always have hopes from twists like these, Iron Man has always been some sort of anti-hero and Bruce Banner is too cool to not give a fuck about it.

 

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The post Secret wars Marvel universe is filled with some interesting twists. We have met the sentient version of Tesarract or cosmic cube. We have met Kobic, the living cosmic cube with the power of altering reality. While all this time it was hinted that she belongs to the good side, but who knows that someone like Baron Zemo or Red Skull who have been after the secret of cube for so long have learned how to control it.

What if they finally realized that it is not Captain America they need to defeat but the idea of being Captain America?

What if they made Kobic alter the reality and time?

It will be interesting how his allies will bring the Steve Rogers back to his senses.