Stoked to Infinity?

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Just watched the final trailer for Infinity War and I’m stoked to infinity.

Like this:   stoked ^ ∞

Oh, I mean Deadpool 2. Sorry, wrong poster. My bad. Anyway, looking back I could say now how I actually felt about the official trailer. It was disappointing. This final trailer feels more like it. It’s perfect in every way that a trailer for a Deadpool sequel should be.

I mean, references to both the best and the worst Wolverine movies? Check. Reference to Thanos and Infinity War? Check. Reference to DCEU? Very fat fuckin’ check. Plus, plus, the plot seems to be a cross between the first two Terminator movies with a bit of Looper thrown in. Well, they might as well make fun of them if this would be the case. Cable as the villain? Is that a Terminator or an Avengers reference? The kid as the ultimate bad guy in the future? Yeah, that’s kind of Looper right there, right? But what if Cable isn’t really Cable, and the X-Force are actually fighting his clone?

That would be interesting.

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That part where Deadpool cuts and deflects bullets with his katanas and finish it off with “your bullets, they’re really fast!” may be the best punchline we’ve seen yet from the movie. Of course, Peter W., who has no power and mustache-diving with the team was so frickin bad-ass funny.

Did DP2 just revealed its best jokes in this trailer? Maybe, but let’s hope there’s more.

Also, it’s finally confirmed Terry Crews is Bedlam, and Domino and Shatterstar are also formally introduced in the trailer. Except for that Japanese chick with purplish hair. Of course, the plot could be as simple as this: Cable is out to get the kid, DP forms the X-Force to foil Cable’s plan. Turns out Cable is right, then the kid turns the table on all of them. That would also be cool. Because based on the final trailer, it already looks like it’s gonna be hell lots of fun. No matter what. And hell lots of fourth wall breaking as well. And profanity. And Deadpool.

And Deadpool ist rad.

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Haven’t seen the final trailer yet? Do yourself. A favor.

Are You Team ‘Infinity War’ Or Are You Team ‘Deadpool’?

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Couldn’t we just like them both? Be excited for both? Eggsactly. But where’s the fun in that? Also, these are two very different superhero movies. Two movies that operate on very different levels. So let’s contrast and compare.

One is about a Titan’s intergalactic quest for a set of colorful McGuffins, and the resulting powerful one-against-all scenario that would lead to gigantic fights that’s most probably 80% punching. While the other’s just the first sequel in a franchise (as opposed to the former being the 19th movie in the series) that seemingly care less about anything else outside of its titular hero. And Cable. And X-Force. Who’s the villain? We don’t know. That, we have found out come opening day. Maybe “the real heroes” aka the screenwriters have a few more tricks up their sleeves and subvert our expectations about the movie’s plot. But I don’t want to expect. That’s the golden rule: Don’t expect. And based on the trailer, it is probably more of a spandex-and-sword action movie, with a lot of talking and talking to the camera, and fewer punching scenes.

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Looks like Deadpool 2 would be more fun to watch than Avengers: Infinity War. But I’m not discounting Avengers so easily, given that we saw Star-Lord with Iron Man and Spidey, and Thor together with Groot and Rocket in the trailer. There’s also Spider-Man’s “made-up names” joke. Unfortunately, Team Wakanda seems to be less fun and less jokey compared with Team New York, with Tony Stark, Strange and Star-Lord expected to make witty back and forth. I hope that with Hulk/Banner in Wakanda, he could somehow balance that out. So it won’t be super serious. But maybe the part of the movie that’s set in Wakanda is supposed to be weighty and serious.

As confirmed by Marvel, the part where our heroes (Cap, Hulk, Bucky, Black Panther, and Black Widow), line up facing against a huge army of aliens, is actually part of the movie’s final act. While Iron Man’s team with Star-Lord, Spidey, and Doctor Strange, are going to fight Thanos in Titan, in the film’s second act.

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Yes, Marvel and the internet has been giving us minor spoilers since the trailers came out. And it’s fun to speculate, geek over every little detail. Though I’d probably try not to think about all those plot details come movie time. I want to be surprised, I want to get fooled. On the other hand, Deadpool 2 didn’t get any “real” trailer until two or three weeks ago. But we got that brilliant Bob Ross parody that was so in-character. Still, we don’t get much of a plot other than Cable’s coming and Pool’s assembling the X-Force. Will “the kid” be the villain? Maybe. Maybe Deadpool’s wrong. But the lesser we know about that, I think, the better.

Will the movie’s plot be like that of Looper? Or Terminator 2 perhaps?

How about Infinity War? Are we in for some shocking revelation? Awesome surprises? Some twist? Maybe, some characters will die. Because Thanos will do anything just to get his hands on the Stones and the heroes, even though divided and apart, will unite once again to stop him. As simple as that. No complicated scheme like Zemo’s plan in Civil War. This would be more like the first Avengers, only Loki’s not the bad guy, and with twice (or thrice) as many heroes fighting the villain. This won’t be some grounded, gritty, realistic movie like The Winter Soldier and Civil War, which were written and directed by the same people behind Infinity War. The Russos are now going into cosmic territory, which was Joss Whedon’s and currently James Gunn’s domain. So I hope that they get rid of their dull concrete and grey color palette, and their favorite aggressive editing and shaky cam (AND HERE IS WHY) and be more like James Gunn in terms of visual and action filmmaking.

When it comes to the fight scenes and memorable set pieces, I’d definitely go with Deadpool 2 simply because it’s directed by David Leitch. That opening carnage in the first Deadpool movie, which was directed by Tim Miller by the way, just literally shits on every fight scenes the Russo’s ever conceived in both Civil War and Winter Soldier. With David Leitch, DP2 could surely improve on that. While both Deadpool and Winter Soldier feature awesome fight choreography, Deadpool’s fight scenes has rhythm, is more coherent, and with just the right amount of slow-mos and quick-cutting. Watch the video below and see what I mean. The Russo’s on the other hand uses aggressive editing and shaky cam to give their fight scenes fake speed and intensity, at the expense of dramatic emphasis, tension, and clarity. In these inexpert eyes the scene in the GIF above is actually split into two or three quick cuts in the finished movie, making it almost incomprehensible. Their style actually undercuts the movie’s awesome fight choreography, which is a shame. I only hope the Russos could borrow a few slow-mo tricks from the Master. I’m referring to none other than Zack Snyder, of course.

Nothing’s quite like having two event movies spaced just few weeks apart. Kind of feels like 2016 all over again. In case you don’t remember, that year gave us Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, Kung Fury and Deadpool. Of course, this year would be bigger. And better. After WB’s Justice League, I’m glad they couldn’t screw up any further. And that leaves 2018 with a much better crop of superhero movies.

Obviously, we have much better lineup of movies this year than in 2016. But for the sake of geekery, let’s use those 2016 movies as reference to see how the 2018 movies will stack up. Batman v Superman was the definitely the worst, while the bloated Civil War just slightly better. Both has nothing on Kung Fury, which I’d rather re-watch than either of the two. That line “yeah, that’s my bicep” is just comic-gold! Doctor Strange was not bad, just average. And Deadpool? Deadpool was that year’s best superhero movie.

Not sure if there will be another DC movie this year, but we have three from Marvel and Deadpool 2 is their only sure competition from outside the fence. Will Deadpool 2 be this year’s Deadpool? Will the third Avengers movie be able to match The Avengers? Will it have a truly satisfying downbeat ending that we’re supposed to but didn’t get in Civil War? Or maybe Ant-Man and Wasp will this year’s Kung Fury, which means that I will like it more than Infinity War. I hope not. I have already lowered my expectations for Infinity War but I really want it to deliver on its promise. And this year’s Doctor Strange? The movie that’s not BvS-awful but not Deadpool-very good either? That would be Black Panther. Its 97%/79% score on RT should be telling. Critics loved it, the audience, not so much. It’s more overrated than Doctor Strange (89%/86% on RT), but in terms of being “just OK/kind of meh”, they are in the same ballpark.

Which would be Kung Fury then? That would be the two Deadpool trailers: the one with the hilarious Wet On Wet segment, and the other with Cable’s unfinished CGI arm. Which brings me to my biggest fear. That I would end up liking these hilarious trailers more than the actual Deadpool movie. If that happens, I’d probably be like: WHAT in the actual ASS?

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13 Reasons Why I’m (Not) So Excited About Avengers: Infinity War

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Can’t say I’m not the least bit excited about Avengers: Infinity War. It is after all an Avengers movie. Something I have always looked forward to more than any other series or sub-franchise in the ongoing Marvel universe. Outside of the Guardians of the Galaxy, of course.

One reason I’m not too excited about Infinity War is that the Russos are directing it. And the writers of Captain America trilogy are the guys behind the script (Edit: They also wrote The Dark World, which I actually liked, but y’know Joss Whedon also had a hand on it). Sure, Civil War had some funny, sometimes witty back and forths, but it’s not the same as when Joss Whedon was still Marvel’s go to guy. Of course, Age of Ultron was a massive let down but so was Civil War.

At their best, the script for the last two Captain America movies, were just a little more than serviceable. Except for The Winter Soldier‘s bone-busting, fast-cut ADHD-style and a little shaky fight sequences (not really that good, if you ask me, since they tend to get repetitive in the long run), and Civil War‘s airport scuffle, those movies didn’t really stand out from the rest of the MCU. They didn’t have a distinct look or tone. Neither the triumphantly comedic/dramatic as the Guardians, nor as outrageously “out-there” as Thor: Ragnarok, and never as heartfelt as Ant-Man. Nothing really inventive or out-of-the-box.

Speaking of out-of-the-box ideas, that scene in where Loki was falling thru nothingness for thirty minutes is one of the most inventive sequence I’ve seen among recent MCU films. Sure that sequence is simple on the surface, not much CGI required to pull off, but it definitely required more than a bit of imagination to come up with. Yes, it was played for laughs and didn’t really forward the plot but it’s actually great in that, it demonstrated Strange’s power, his magic, it fleshed out the contrast between characters Loki and Doctor Strange, and also, it was very funny. My complaint with Doctor Strange is that it wasn’t magical enough, it wasn’t really strange. (Should Waititi take on next Doctor Strange movie, I would be excited for that.)

Going back to Cap’s movies, on pure technical aspects, they’re as exciting as Ant-Man. Outside of things mentioned above, they look so run-of-the-mill. Too bad for them, Ant-Man had a smaller but more relatable, not to mention more convincing, story to tell.

So yeah, the trailer is out. And it was different from the one shown in D23, which already leaked thru the internet. Trailer breakdowns are everywhere. This guy found 13 reasons to be so excited about this movie coming out next year. So I decided that I’d rip him off and give my own—kind of contrarian—take on the list. Here we go:

Vision Goes Through Changes
Not a big fan of Vision. Though I like Age Of Ultron more than the next guy, Vision’s origin is one of those sub-plot in that movie that left me… I don’t know. It’s was kind of magical and dumb and also very contrived. I like Scarlet Witch. There’s a part in Ultron where Hawkeye told her that none of these (the things happening in the movie) makes sense, and it was followed by her character transformation. I also like her being paired with Vision in Civil War. But that brings me to one of my biggest gripes about the movie: Where the hell is Vision during that Lagos mission?

Continue reading “13 Reasons Why I’m (Not) So Excited About Avengers: Infinity War”

Captain America: Civil War (The Russo Brothers, 2016)

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Captain America: Civil War finds the Earth’s mightiest heroes split in two. One led by Captain America and the other headed by Iron Man—two evenly matched teams going head-to-head in a mid-movie battle seemingly inspired by the opening sequence of the X-Men cartoons from the ‘90s. While Iron Man got Spider-Man, Captain America’s team is the more exciting one, with Wanda, Hawkeye and Ant-Man on his side. Still, this doesn’t make it significantly more interesting than the other similarly themed summer flick from DC, especially when most of the superheroes left to team up with either Cap or Tony, are the predictably dull side characters in the Marvel Universe—War Machine, Falcon, Winter Soldier, Vision and a likewise banal newcomer in Black Panther.

I thought we should at least have Nick Fury in the middle, make him give long Tarantino-esque monologues that would illuminate why Cap and Tony were on different sides. (Looks like Tony is just jealous because Cap’s got a new boyfriend and he’s got no one else since Pepper left him.) Also, they could have given Agent 13 more screen presence this time, because honestly, they couldn’t make Black Widow any more alluring and her signature takedown gets tiring already. Another thing, the camera tends to get too shaky during her fight scenes—actually, most of the fight scenes, not just those with Black Widow.

Captain America: Civil War starts with The Avengers foiling a terrorist attack somewhere in Africa. They were able to retrieve the biological weapon from the terrorists, but not without collateral damage—something they might have avoided, if only Vision wasn’t so busy in the headquarters kitchen. So Tony Stark has to do a Bruce Wayne this time; taking fall for the death of innocent people when they tried to save the world from Ultron. Captain America, on the other hand, just can’t afford to lose Bucky for the third time, even if his disagreement with Stark could lead to Civil War.

Of course, it didn’t. No Civil War, just a smaller version of Mark Millar’s serial, which has twelve superheroes fighting each other in Leipzig/Halle Airport. With Hawkeye just being funny, delivering one-liners in between punches; Ant-Man getting inside Iron Man’s suit, then later turning into Giant-Man; and Spider-Man throwing banters while webbing up Falcon, sparring with Cap, and swinging around Giant-Man. Then, there’s Elizabeth Olsen, who gives Wanda Maximoff the vulnerability—both emotional and physical—that’s kind of rare in this type of movie. Olsen’s Wanda is both fragile and fierce, like a kitten with special powers, caught in the middle of a slugfest.

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Said airport scuffle is easily the best part of this movie. But since it happens somewhere in the middle, right before the “more” important events are about to unfold, it makes the last third of the movie drag, not just a bit. And I couldn’t even care less, especially after Wanda, Ant-Man and Spidey left off the screen. And I think, it asks too much of its audience when they killed Rhodes. Almost. It’s not like he (almost) died trying to save people. And both teams seem to be having a fun pick-up match just right before that, with Spider-Man referencing Star Wars and Ant-Man asking for orange slices (probably to nurse a massive headache) after he gets knocked down. Unlike the death scene in Joss Whedon’s Age of Ultron, the tone here is just, off.

At long last, the final fight between Cap and Iron Man boils down to Tony doing another Bruce Wayne—as he turns vengeful for the death of his parents. The fight gets a bit clearer near the end—lesser camera movements, lesser cutting but in the same gloomy blue-grayish tone (would have been nice to see Cap’s bright costume contrasting nicely with Iron Man’s metallic gold and red). And in case you forgot, in the pure Marvel tradition of having boring half-villains, this movie also got one: Baron Zemo, who gets to carry out his very complicated plan, just because the plot needs him to.

Again, that airport scene is probably the coolest thing ever…or maybe, just until the next Marvel movie comes.

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