Tag Archives: Marvel Universe

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

Review: Marvel’s Daredevil


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When Daredevil was announced on Netflix it was said that it will take Marvel Cinematic Universe in a new direction. Slowly it became one of the most anticipated shows of 2015. The series is part of a deal between Marvel and Netflix that will proceed with 3 such shows like these and finally lead to Defenders series.

Daredevil takes place in a universe where an alien attack destroys New York and a group of superheroes team up to protect the world. New York is burning in chaos while Avengers are busy saving the world. In middle of chaos and destruction a man takes burden to clean his neighborhood.

Marvel’s Daredevil is unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. Also it’s nothing like any of the comic-book series that we usually watch on TV. While comparisons with Arrow are inevitable still Daredevil stands tell with more creative freedom enjoyed by the Marvel team. The violent story of a vigilante and his grim oppressive world is brilliantly explained.

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Daredevil is a character made for TV and the credit goes to Steven S. DeKnight who took over the series from Drew Goddard. The show leaves nothing behind when it comes to make it grounded in the source material. Gone is the red leather suit, unrealistic fight scenes on seesaws, and campy villains. In short: This is nothing like the Daredevil movie – which is a good thing.

The characters of the show are brilliant. The casting is wisely done. Charlie Cox as both Matt Murdock and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is an amazing find. He handles his role brilliantly. Applying his enhanced sense to sense a beautiful girl as Matt Murdock and fight crime as Daredevil adds a distinct style to his character.

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Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk, the head Mafioso who runs the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen crime scene, is worthy of the highest praise. He stands tall as a sympathetic villain for whom audience will root for at times and even want him to win. He is exact opposite to Matt Murdock in terms of their versions of wanting to make Hell’s kitchen a better place. Where Daredevil sticks to idealist moralities in the pursuit of justice, its Fisk’s extreme ideas make his story all the more tragic. While he is never mentioned by character’s villain alias “Kingpin,” still his name drops as an Easter Egg for fans. When a reporter is putting together his pyramid of Mafioso’s and crime bosses by putting up playing cards on a tack board, there’s the guy at the top: the King (of Diamonds) pinned to the board.

While Daredevil is a result of greater actions taken in Marvel Cinematic universe yet the connections made on the show are far in between. Most of the cameos and Easter eggs in the series are taken from Daredevil comics, or other upcoming shows on Netflix.

I was surprised at the language that was no-where close to what one can imagine on a R Rated show. Still it stands large on the use of violence. Compared to MCU, Daredevil’s world is way grittier. Bones break and blood is spilt. Either way, Daredevil is Marvel’s greatest superhero show and if you haven’t watched it yet then a marathon awaits you.

Movie review: Guardians of the Galaxy


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Before you start reading this review and the way I have gloriously described this movie and start calling me a Marvel fanboy (that I am) let me tell you this. I was really not happy when Marvel announced Guardians of the Galaxy movie was on its way. I among many of the fans wanted to see a Black Panther or a Hulk movie in the first place that was taken by Guardians of the Galaxy.

I mean who cares about bunch of misfits formed together to protect the universe, their stories looked good in comic books and they were needed to Avengers 3 to take place but I wondered why Marvel was putting money on this totally unknown franchise so soon when they have so many better options.

And then James Gunn was announced as the director and the skeptic in me kinda became hopeful.

Long story short I waited for one and a half year for this movie to come out that was obviously being ruined by pathetic run of Guardians of the Galaxy comics series that is left in the cruel hands of Brain M. Bendis and totally destroyed the series (I’ll continue this rant somewhere else in other space time). Finally the day came when I was going to watch Guardians of the Galaxy on 8th August 2014.

After the first trailer and the entire ooga chaka sequence I didn’t watch a single trailer related to this movie so I had no idea what was going to show up, not even a glimpse. I had to pay 300 bucks for this movie in my city because cinepolis is run by bunch of money hungry mongrels (another rant another time.)

What followed after were the best 120 minutes of my life.

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Soon after Peter Quill’s introduction and the music that followed after I knew that the movie is going to own. The way it introduced each character, gave them their space and character was simple incredible. The soundtrack, the references and the jokes felt like distinct characters and part of the film instead of being forced in the movie for no reason.

Words fail me when I start to describe how amazing the Marvel’s first cosmic outing was. The movie passed beyond the expectations and the benchmarks both Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier created. I feel kinda bad for Joss Whedon that he is constantly facing new challenges on a regular basis to make Avengers: Age of Ultron set a new benchmark when it comes out.

The movie is about a group of misfits caught in between of an interplanetary battle and are forced to take desperate measures to take a side and save the universe from brink of destruction.

They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy – What a bunch of A-holes.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an origin story of the team, they are not called by their team name until by the end of the movie. This is the story of how a bunch of A-holes come together and ultimately form a team and learn to fight besides each other.

I’ll start talking about this movie with Peter Quill played by Chris Pratt. When his casting was announced I only knew him from Parks and Recreation and the amount of cheeseburger he stored inside him made me hard to believe that this guy is going to be Star Lord. In 6 months he bulked up for the movie from family pack to 6 packs. The way he walked and talked in the film reminded so much of Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones or Star Wars that right now it seems he’ll be the perfect person for the role if they decide to reboot Indiana Jones. He is someone who now seems on the levels of Robert Downey Jr. on the level of awesomeness.

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The best part of the movie were two CGI characters Rocket and Groot voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Rocket owned the movie, as said earlier he is the heart of the film, he is rude has a terrible past and loves guns. On the other hand Groot is a cute monster, who is as dangerous as he can be. I just loved the role they played in the movie. Thanks to censor board I missed a foul mouthed raccoon abuse on screen so a huge middle finger to them.

Drax guardiansDrax was a surprise package, I never knew that Batista can act so well. His role kind of grew up on me as the movie proceeded. Driven by revenge he almost drives the team on the brink of death only to revive himself later. I personally feel that Drax was underused and was not upto his full potential but I have hopes high for the sequel and Avengers 3 where we may see him pulling the heart out of Thanos’ chest with his bare hands.

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Zoë Saldana plays Gamora, she comes out as another of the strong female characters in the marvel movies and has her own role and backstory developed in the film. She had the best hand to hand fight scenes in the film especially with Star Lord in the introduction of the film and later with Nebulla.

Now talking about the villains,

We finally get to meet the big bad playing behind the scenes till now come out of shadows. Yes I am talking about Thanos the Mad Titan himself. He looked simply Menacing played by Josh Brolin. For a 5 minute scene he turned out to be one of the most amazing parts of the movie because this time there was more of him rather than just a smile. BTW the way events of this film proceeded I strongly feel that Loki on Asgard throne is what Thanos planned as his actual mission to retrieve the Infinity gauntlet from Odin’s vault (discussion left for some time later :P).

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I liked how Ronan and Nebula’s role were developed in the film, Karen Gillian went from pretty Amy to menacing daughter of Mad Titan assisting Ronan with his mission. Lee Pace has changed his race from Elf to Kree and kind of looked scary. Unlike many other Marvel villains he looked like a villain but a well justified mission and came out as a threat not for the heroes but for the entire galaxy and the main major baddie himself, although I am disappointed that he had to die in the end of the film but the part where he had the holographic conversation with Thanos reminded me of Star Wars conversation between Darth Vader and the Emperor. It was amazing.

 

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One of the best part was checking out Collector’s vault that supposedly is filled with all kind of Easter eggs from Marvel universe. I saw a Chituari soldier, a Dark Elf, possibly a Karbonite horse like creature that looked like Beta Ray Bill along with Cosmo and Howard the Duck. I mean so much awesomeness in one movie that I cannot stop describing. The references, the cameos and everything that followed was simply incredible.

Also how can I forget Yondu, the original Guardian although looked nothing like his comic book counterpart and maybe he’ll evolve into a future Guardian but in this movie his role was so well written. I love Michael Rooker and though he initially wanted to voice Rocket that I feel would have been perfect for the role he did a beautiful job with Yondu. His comic timing and posing a fear factor in Quill’s life upto revealing that he was hired by Quill’s father to abduct him but he changed the deal and how can one forget the way he killed all the Skaaran soldiers with one arrow.

There is a lot to talk about this movie that I feel will take one more part if I keep going on like this. Coming to the direction James Gunn has done a tremendous job with the film. His vision simply plays off and makes the movie worth watching. The comedy and the seriousness simply blends with his style. He knows what he is doing and he proves it by placing all the Easter eggs, cameos and references throughout the movie.

The graphic sequences used to this film are better than any of the movies that I have seen this year, the 3d really supports the storyline and will look amazing on IMAX screen. The concept art for every characters and landscapes looks like the one from its comic book counterparts. The best use of the design really comes up with introduction of Knowhere and the Milano chase sequence.

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Talking about the soundtrack, I for one really felt old after watching this movie. Once these songs used to be the instant hit numbers that used to come on radio, today has evolved into classic pop from the 80s. 26 years later just like the time since Peter left Earth, the cassette is the reminder how awesome our childhood was. The MP3 players and the digital tracks can never define the identity the way this Sony Walkman and the cassette of awesome mix volume 1 and 2 have done. I have been continuously listening to Cherry Bomb and Jackson 5 since Friday on loop. The movie is reminded of good old days and the era that is gone by. Like metal is synonymous with Iron Man franchise, the classic pop is now synonymous with Guardians.

Anyways coming to the last part of this movie, I am overwhelmed the way Marvel and James Gunn presented this movie. I am one for sure that the this franchise will develop into Annihilation conquest saga as the finale, all I hope is that Marvel gets rights for Fantastic Four back from Fox and we will get to see Galactus and Silver Surfer in the future installments.

Now I’ll just sit around and wait for Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. For now here is a dancing Groot looking cute and all that.

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PS: No Raccoon or Tree creatures were harmed during making of this film.

Marvel Cinematic Universe on two parallel storylines


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MCU’s Phase 1 introduced the major and key players from Marvel Universe on Screen set of events that brought them together by the time Avengers ended.
A common assumption is that phase 2 will follow events from ‘The Avengers’. But somehow from the set of releases it sounds like from here storyline is going to be split in two parts and that will build plot towards Avengers 3 as well.

First storyline continues the from first Avengers movie that we already know it and will consist of the following films;
The Avengers /
Iron Man 3 /
Captain America: The Winter Soldier /
The Avengers: Age of Ultron /
Ant-Man

This storyline is based on Earth, led by Science related events, will feature S.H.I.E.L.D and ultimately lead to the Ultron threat in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’

The main characters are Tony Stark, Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Although it is released after ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’, I think the Ant-Man film may be part of this storyline, especially if the 1960/70’s setting is retained;

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I will call Storyline 2 the Marvel Cosmic Universe, and it will consist of the following films;

The Avengers /
Thor: The Dark World /
Guardians of the Galaxy /
Dr Strange /
(Thor 3?)
(As yet unknown films; Ms Marvel, Nova etc?)
The Avengers 3

This storyline will be set in space and/or on different worlds, expanding the cosmic side of the Universe. It will introduce lots of new concepts, technologies and species and ultimately lead to ‘The Avengers 3’. I assume Avengers 3 will have Thanos as the main villain, and perhaps be a version of The Infinity Gauntlet comic.

The main characters will be Thor, Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, with spin off aliens likely to be introduced.

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So, in summary;

Phase 1 – introduce new characters, show shared universe, lead to Avengers
Phase 2 – Finish Iron Man’s story arc, continue Thor and Cap’s arc, introduce new characters, lead to Avengers 2 and 3.
Phase 3 – Finish Thor and Cap’s arc, introduce new characters, lead to Avengers 3.

Marvel Studios is doing a marvelous job with it characters and recent plots and this is a brilliant way not to make things monotonous for audience. Lets see what is in the store.