Tag Archives: Thanos

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


guardians-review-thumb

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.

guardians_of_the_galaxy_vol_two_ver4_xlg

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.

Mantis_Profile(1)

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.

baby-groot-dance

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

Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War


Captain-America-Civil-War-concept-art-1-1200x641

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.

captain-america-civil-war

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.

3211F90800000578-3486205-image-m-68_1457637459314

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.

Captain-America-Civil-War-2-Trailer-Vision-vs-Scarlet-Witch

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.

civil-war-spider-man-salute

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

Death Of A Hero


Robert J. Sodaro writes;

Back in 1983, I penned an article lamenting the death of Marvel Comic character Captain Marvel, who was killed in Marvel’s first graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin. At the time, Marvel (and Starlin) were savaged by fanboy critics who not only completely misunderstood what was being done, but railed against the way it was being done.

At that time I penned the article (for Comic Collector) I was profoundly moved by the book, and felt then (as I still do today, 30 years later) that the book had weight, and deserved a second look, which I gave it in the following article, which is presented essentially as it was originally printed (albeit with some minor editing).

**********

220px-DeathofCaptainMarvel

It’s all over now…even the shouting. Captain Marvel is dead, and there is no changing that. No 11th hour reprieve. No writer to revise him in a later issue. He’s gone, and that is that. All we have now is the leftover wine, and its bittersweet taste. There are those among the fan-elite who have reduced this tome to so much Pop Psychology and trite nonsense. Yet to do so just to maintain an aura of feigned intellectualism in hopes of impressing the masses of fandom is not only unfair; it is outright criminal.

As a writer and a person, I have two illusions in life; one is grand and terrifying, and the other is dark and fascinating. Together they form the basis of my beliefs and philosophies of life and truth. Still, Jim Starlin, with his finely-crafted work cuts through all of this and exposes the core of my being with his own mysteries that are more fascinating and awesome than I could ever hope to imagine.

To Starlin, death is a reality. It is not something that only happens to the other guy, it is a part of life, it is a measure of the truth, and everybody is touched by it, one to a customer, with no exceptions. Rich, poor, old, young, coward, hero, it does not matter, we all die, and not always in the manner or fashion that we would expect or prefer.

The Vikings of old believed that the only way for a warrior to enter Valhalla — the place of the noble dead — was to die with one’s sword in one’s hand. Cavalrymen of the American West wished to die, “with their boots on,” that is to say in battle. The Indians of America refused to fight at night for fear that the Great Spirit Wakanta would miss their souls in the dark. Warriors the world over, throughout history have sought to die “With Honor” (as witnessed by the death of General Sam Sawyer in Captain America #274). After reading The Death of Captain Marvel, I cannot help but to feel that this attitude is so much horse manure. When I die, I would wish to go out as did Mar-Vell, surrounded by my family and friends.

Noted psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote extensively about the death experience, and she broke it down into five stages: denial, depression, anger, bargaining, and finally acceptance. Starlin has Mar-Vell move through each of these stages as he approaches his end. This is not Pop Psychology, but a man, who has spent his entire adult life as a warrior fighting near-impossible odds, now he has come to find out that a disease will strike him down. Even more than that, there is nothing that he can do to stop it. Mar-Vel is a man who loves life even more than honor (that which he as a warrior has been taught to love). Now he must face death as it slowly creeps up on him.

Starlin stalls this moment throughout the book by always tempting the reader with the possibility that Mar-Vel will live, in spite of what we all knew would happen. Therein, he manages to sustain the suspense of the book for the reader is always teased by the thought that no company would really kill off a major character, yet even though another company (DC) actually did kill off a major character that “would not be killed off” The Batman of Earth 2.

When he died, fandom was enraged. Many fans felt that he should have been killed in an annual or something (needless to say Marvel was criticized for doing just that…making a big deal over Mar-Vell’s death…sometimes you can’t win for losing). The death of Earth 2 Batman was proclaimed as both stupid and wasteful, well, it was, but not for the reason that many claimed.

When you think about it, is it not stupid and wasteful to die? Batman spent his entire adult life fighting crime, and then he died doing the same. He spent most of his tenure as a crime fighter putting away nameless criminals and finally one of them put him away. Elysius, Mar-Vell’s lover, confessed to him that she always feared that he would someday die in some lonely place, surrounded by his enemies (what Batman of Earth 2 in fact did). Dying in this way (at home in bed), at least she could be with him. It is this that is stupid and wasteful about death; to die in some meaningless gesture at the hands of some cheap thug. Batman’s death was cheap and pointless, but it was meant to be. Writer, Paul Levitz was making a statement about superheroes and their lives, only no one understood the message…pity.

Still again, had Mar-Vell been given the choice, he too would have gone out as had the Batman. The desire among warriors to go out in a blaze of glory is great indeed. Yet more than that, Mar-Vell would have rejected death, he would have fought to the very end, denying that it was even possible for him to die. When Thanos asked if Mar-Vell would he, “…Challenge the abstract…deny the infinite?” Mar-Vell replied, “Yes!” but why?

Why indeed? In the award-winning television show M*A*S*H, Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) was consoling Hawkeye (Alan Alda) over the death of one of Hawkeye’s friends. “They taught me two rules in command school,” Blake said. “Rule Number One is that young men die. Rule Number Two is that doctors can’t change Rule Number One.” Personally, I can’t help but to believe that the man who attempts to deny the infinite is both a fool and tilting at windmills greater than those against which Don Quixote fought.

It is only human nature to deny death, especially one’s own. Yet we understand that when a study was made, it was discovered that we “need” death. According to what we heard, a number of years back several people were hypnotized into thinking that they would not die. They all promptly lost the will to live. That is to say that they no longer had a real reason to do anything…today. It was subsequently determined that death adds immediacy to life. For if one has forever to live, then one also has forever to do whatever one wants…so why do it today?

Death is as much a part of life as is living; to ignore one is to reject the other. Perhaps those who panned The Death of Captain Marvel were more upset about Jim Starlin’s message than the way he packaged it. Unable (or unwilling) to deal with the former they ripped apart the ladder…mores the pity.

The Death of Captain Marvel is a powerful and important piece of literature, well worth both the purchase price and the time spent reading it. All that is now left to say of the Kree Captain, by way of a eulogy is to paraphrase George Harrison, “Mar-Vell is a dead man…miss him…miss him.”

**********

We wanted to reprint this article now, especially given that we recently learned that two other comicbook superheroes are stricken with cancer; Joe Martino’s The Mighty Titan, and Michael Jan Friedman’s hero, The Salamander from his upcoming prose superhero novel, I amThe Salamander. Unlike the megalomaniac, costumed, characters in most superhero comicbooks, cancer is a real thing, just ask Joe Martino, a comicbook writer and artist and the father of three who has survived kidney cancer twice.

Personally, we live in the real world and (in spite of what some believe of us) only play in the world of spandex-clad superheroes. We understand that cancer is a real thing and understand its real-world implications. What Martino is doing with The Mighty Titan is attempting to use what he knows and experienced via his own (and others’) cancer experiences, and (possibly) entertain and teach them what that was all about.

Needless to say, Martino is (like many of the rest of us), a Heroist — someone who believes in the cult of heroes — and has determined to wrap his tale in the fictional world in which he grew up, one that is filled with men and women wearing masks and capes, and truthfully, there is nothing wrong with that.

 

Via – Bleeding Cool