Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

The Best Spider-Man Movie?

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

There’s probably a lot less at stake in Spider-Man: Far From Home than the last few MCU movies, but Spidey’s second solo MCU outing understands what most Marvel superhero movies don’t: that it takes a lot to beat a super-villain, physically, mentally, and emotionally. While the movie didn’t offer any concrete explanation, nor visual wizardry to illustrate just how Peter managed to look beyond Mysterio’s deception (he uses his Spider Sense, cheekily referred to in the movie as “Peter’s tingle”) at least the set-pieces are among the most exciting superheroic live-action-cum-CGI (maybe 100% CGI) Disney money can buy. Continue reading “Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)”

How long till we finally get Deadpool 3?

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After Avengers: Endgame, there’s only one (comic book) movie that gets me excited like first date, one movie that I’m really really looking forward to: Deadpool 3. And I check the news almost every day. And every time I search for news, all I get are click-baits, misleading headlines, and dead-ends.

So, while waiting for news about the new Deadpool movie to finally arrive (the Disney-Fox merger kind of messed up the continuum in the same way Thanos did messed up the universe when he snapped—therefore Disney is actually Thanos), I tried to be a useful human. Continue reading “How long till we finally get Deadpool 3?”

Ranking All MCU Movies from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame

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Endgame is over now. Thank you, Tony Stark, you’re the one who started it all. In a cave. In Afghanistan. Back in 2008. It was that long ago. If you could still remember, there were two big comic book movies in 2008. and if I have to pick between the two, for me, Iron Man is 2008’s comic book movie of the year.

2008 is the year when two billionaire-playboy get to don the suit. One’s a smarmy genius, who almost got himself killed but was crafty enough to escape, then had changed of heart—his shrapnel-threatened heart—changed his ways and made himself a gold and red armor. The other “playboy” wears a decidedly darker suit, humor imbalanced, probably a sociopath, and a bit slow-footed to make convincing Ninja Continue reading “Ranking All MCU Movies from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame”

Captain America goes back to the ’70s to save Nick Fury

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Everyone’s into time travel now, thanks to Avengers: Endgame. It’s an interesting concept—time travel. In the MCU, it was first hinted at in Doctor Strange. Then, in Infinity War. Below’s an old post of mine, which I came up with after binge-watching Tarantino movies, Scorsese’s gangster films, and exploitation movies from the ’70s.

Yep, I made this up even before the movie Captain Marvel.  And I’m re-posting it because everyone’s into time travel now, thanks to Avengers: Endgame. It’s an interesting concept—time travel. In the MCU, it was first hinted at in Doctor Strange. Then, in Infinity War. Below’s an old post of mine, which I came up with after binge-watching Tarantino movies, Scorsese’s gangster films, and exploitation movies Continue reading “Captain America goes back to the ’70s to save Nick Fury”

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame Is The Super Duper $@%!#& Season Finale of the Year

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The End Is The Beginning Is The End

Avengers: Endgame isn’t “the best MCU movie or the best superhero movie since (insert your preference here),” but it does what it has to do, “whatever it takes.” Even if that means Endgame makes for an unwieldy, ponderous, pandering, uneven, thrilling ride. It’s a crowd-pleaser and super duper entertaining.

Just like the fanboys/girls are saying, it gloriously caps the 22-movie Infinity Stones Saga and its a fitting swan song, encore, last dance, last hurrah for the OG Avengers, who, more or less, are saying goodbye to the fans after this movie. It’s a massive ending. If the whole of Infinity War is one big climax, Endgame is a false ending, another big climax then denouement. Continue reading “Avengers: Endgame (2019)”

The Avengers (2012)

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The Avengers (2012). The cataclysmic results of Loki’s entrance in a S.H.I.E.L.D. base was somewhat off-putting, sort of Michael Bay-like, but the movie regains my trust the moment Black Widow and Bruce Banner show up. At the start, Steve Rogers has nothing for Tony Stark but contempt, for Nick Fury and SHIELD, distrust. Bruce Banner isn’t comfortable within a military organizations like SHIELD but tries to help them anyway. Despite that, he’s in full control of his rage—except with Loki’s scepter in close proximity. The scepter is neatly situated at the center and surrounded by the would-be Avengers, pitting the superheroes against each other, amplifying their egos, fears, dividing them Continue reading “The Avengers (2012)”

Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011)

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Iron-Man (2008). This is where it all begun, the Mark I of all Marvel movies. This is the movie where Marvel–after deciding to make their own movies based on characters they haven’t sold yet–finally hammers it home. In a cave. In Afghanistan. Tony Stark’s billionaire-genuis-playboy suits Robert Downey Jr. perfectly in the same the way the red and gold weaponized armor suit fits Tony Stark. The CGI’s top notch. So is Iron Man’s origin story: Stark’s transformation from an egotistical weapons manufacturer to an egotistical armor-suited do-gooder. For better or worse, this movie has forged Continue reading “Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011)”

Captain Marvel (2019)

‘Captain Marvel’ Is A ’90s Remix Of Superhero Origin Movie

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Skimmed a few reviews: some says it’s good, some says mediocre. Checked its Rotten Tomatoes score (“relatively high”) before I went in and kept in mind that Marvel movies tends to get overpraised (i.e., Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Civil War) most of the time. How did it go? It’s middling. Just another Marvel movie: bland-looking, snarky and banter-heavy, therefore entertaining, a little short on character drama, and lots of incoherent and poorly done action scenes.

Carol “Vers” Danvers is a Kree, a race of “noble warrior heroes” who are at war with the shape-shifting Skrulls. She’s a member of the Starforce and during one of their missions, she’s captured by the Skrulls, who “messes with her head, her memories,” it seems. She eventually escapes her captors and crash-lands into planet C-53 Continue reading “Captain Marvel (2019)”

Ant-Man & the Wasp (2018)

Bigger But Not Better Than ‘Ant-Man’

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The first Ant-Man, though admittedly a “small” movie, box-office-wise, is actually one of the less problematic movies in MCU’s Phase Two. Ant-Man benefited from the groundwork laid down by Edgar Wright and what dramatic and comedic bits were added later on by its eventual director Peyton Reed and the other writers. Of course there’s the strong performances by Paul Rudd and the rest of the cast.

Ant-Man & the Wasp, with Evangiline Lilly’s character finally wearing the suit for the first time, is supposed to build on Ant-Man and the aftermath of Civil War. In short, it’s expected to tell a more compelling story than the first. And with Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne and Lawrence Fishbourne’s Bill Foster Continue reading “Ant-Man & the Wasp (2018)”

Aquaman (2018)

‘Aquaman’ Pulls Off Something Beautiful Out of DCEU’s Grim Dark Ass

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There’s a fair amount of cheese and a fair amount of fun to be had in Aquaman. Whether it’s characters shouting their silly names (Call me Ocean Master! I’m Black Manta!), or Jason Momoa seemingly just having fun almost the entire time, or director James Wan letting slip a few scenes where Amber Heard couldn’t even clearly say her lines, Aquaman is a movie that reminds the audience so often that “this is just a movie.” It doesn’t take itself too seriously. And if you’re thinking, since there are few pop songs that pop up in the movie—no, it’s not exactly like those Guardians of the Galaxy Continue reading “Aquaman (2018)”

Captain America Trilogy

How To Solve A Problem Like ‘Bucky’

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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Wonder why I couldn’t like this movie more. It’s well made, has a unique look, the right amount of heart, and nice-looking set pieces and action scenes. Found it boring at first, gave it a second look and found Joe Johnston’s efforts, quite admirable, though still not a knock down punch. Maybe because it’s just so predictable. I already knew Cap’s only gonna end up frozen, he’s not gonna die. Could he even get hurt? I’m not really sure. Looks like he’s nearly invulnerable. And that’s a major superhero storytelling problem. Thus, he’s journey from the skinny undersized soldier with an oversized heart to the beefcake super soldier with undersized shirt Continue reading “Captain America Trilogy”

Deadpool 2 Is The Super Duper $@%!#& Superhero Movie of the Year

13 Reasons Why Deadpool 2 Is The Super Duper $@%!#& Superhero Movie of the Year

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Not really a big comic book guy, but if you’d ask me who my favorite comic book characters are, top five would be, in no particular order: Spider-Man, Hulk, Punisher, Cable and Deadpool. That’s right, one from MCU’s Avengers team but not Iron Man, Thor or Cap and none from Fox’s X-Men. Wolverine? I like Wolverine, but not Hugh Jackman’s Polverine.

Of course, I like comic book movies. And Deadpool 2, Deadpool 2 is a double whammy—because it has both Deadpool and Cable in it. Obviously, that’s like the coolest thing ever! But that’s not the only reason I prefer Deadpool 2 over Infinity War or any other superhero or comic-book movie released in 2018. There are a whole lot of other reasons—a plethora of reasons—13 to be exact. Continue reading “Deadpool 2 Is The Super Duper $@%!#& Superhero Movie of the Year”

Revisiting Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’

The Old, Cheesy, Amazing, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

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Marvel’s continuity shtick, one where various comic book characters and stories exist in one universe, used to be confined within comic book realms. In the early 2000s, there was no such universe and comic book movies were one-shot deals. Sequels were never planned and if a movie isn’t successful enough, then it joins the ranks of those one-off comic book movies: Hulk, Daredevil, The Punisher, Elektra, LXG and Fantastic—fuck wait—that movie actually had a sequel. Rise of the Silver Surfer, anyone?

Lucky for us, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man “hit the jackpot” on its first swing and eventually put Marvel on the movie map the same way Superman did for DC three decades earlier. X-Men, though really the first Marvel movie of this era, always felt like a half-hearted attempt, never fully embracing the silliness of weirdos in colorful outfits. Imagine Batman without the bat on his chest—that’s what Bryan Singer’s X-Men Continue reading “Revisiting Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Is A Perfectly Executed Action-RPG

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Right after the opening salvo of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which we find Captain America and Agent Romanoff displaying their super-awesome fighting skills against a group of mercenaries in a SHIELD vessel, I wasn’t sure if I was in a movie house or if I just watched a perfectly executed tactical/brawler/action-RPG.

Was it the works of an invincibility cheat or was the player just really good? One thing is clear though, Captain America is someone Samuel L. Jackson would call a real bad-ass motherfucker! He was called super-soldier; only now do I understand. He’s better than Scott Adkins’ Ninja, James Bond, Col. Guile, Rambo, Ethan Hunt or all of them combined. He’s super-tough, and also, super-fast—cameramen could hardly follow his punches.

Captain America used to be a bore. Unless he’s got the wise-crackin’ Tony Stark or the brash god of thunder Thor on his side. But pair him with the Winter Soldier, and you’ll get a sophisticated “political thriller” featuring a shield-throwing Jack Ryan on steroids and a bad-hair day Jason Bourne with a cybernetic arm, in a movie that’s less Three Days of Condor and more like The Bored Ultimatum.

Continue reading “Captain America: The Winter Soldier Is A Perfectly Executed Action-RPG”

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Is One Big Superhero Movie Climax

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Avengers: Infinity War opens with a distress call—actually a massacre, off-screen. And it’s only fitting that after Marvel’s most outrageously hilarious movie comes tragedy. I’m referring to Thor: Ragnarok, of course, which ended with Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Hulk and the rest of the Asgardians aboard The Mastermind’s fancy ship. They all survived Ragnarok—saw Asgard burn to the ground—only to have their refuge cut short by Thanos and his henchmen, the Black Order.

Yes, Avengers: Infinity War takes off right after that Ragnarok stinger. By the way, I remember someone complained that Ragnarok shouldn’t be a comedy, that everyone should have died in the end just like in the comics. My dear friend, you had Thanos’ mercy, your wish has been fulfilled. Are you happy now?

Of course, Infinity War is also, more or less, a direct sequel to Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—none of which required viewing prior (in case you missed them) except for the last one. Civil War‘s great divide was summed up by Tony Starks with “we’re not in speaking terms”; Spider-Man, who tried so hard to impress Tony only to reject his offer to become an Avenger in the end, now becomes an Avenger; and Killmonger, the most important character in Black Panther, you don’t really need to know to understand this movie.

Continue reading “‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Is One Big Superhero Movie Climax”

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 will find 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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Continue reading “Are You Team ‘Infinity War’ Or Are You Team ‘Deadpool’?”

Black Panther (2018)

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Hail to the king

Wasn’t really planning to watch Black Panther. Afraid that this steady diet of tentpole superhero movies has nothing but replaced my enthusiasm for “something different” with disappointments and lowered expectations. But the hype and raves came overflowing that my Spider-sense started tingling.

Black Panther‘s box office success, just like Wonder Woman‘s last year, within the context of the superhero/comic book blockbusters, is sort of groundbreaking. It’s actually amazing—I won’t deny that. Nor am I going to elaborate on the said achievement here, because with so many rave reviews (initially 100% on RT, then came the few negative reviews, which eventually were met with backlash—it’s the internet, y’know) I’m pretty sure it has already been covered. A lot. So loud were the raves that some black dude has been wondering if majority of white geek dudes are being too lenient in their reviews Continue reading “Black Panther (2018)”

2017: Movies & Music Year-end List

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I missed some pretty big movies this year. Just like the previous year. And the year before that. And the year before the year before that. And the year before the year before… Oh, this could go on forever. By “pretty big”, I mean movies like Blade Runner 2049 and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Or the last Star Wars movie. I also haven’t seen Okja and Get Out yet, smaller movies that definitely deserve no less. But I’ve seen a few films, both big and small.

Among the best reviewed films, I thought Baby Driver and Logan were overrated. So was Wonder Woman. I liked Baby Driver but there’s something lacking. I’m not really sure Logan was better than X-2 or Days of Future Past and I liked Deadpool better for sure. Wonder Woman, I liked for having the right balance between humor and pathos, which most Marvel movies lack, but the last part was just disappointing. Continue reading “2017: Movies & Music Year-end List”

Looking Back at Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man

amzingspdr.pngSuck it up Raimi fanboys!

Finally got around to watching The Amazing Spider-Man. Oh boy is it great! Not only is it a reboot, it’s also an update, an upgrade, both, of the Spider-Man mythos we’re mostly familiar with. The guys behind this movie definitely went the extra mile (or extra swing) to give the fans more than what was promised.

This version took no time in expanding the Spidey universe, introducing Peter Parker’s parents right in the opening scene and how Peter ended up with Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Then, it also corrected the main deviations in the first trilogy: Gwen Stacy, a much more convincing and sophisticated girl next door, as played by Emma Stone and, the mechanical web-shooters—which is part OSCORP’s product, part Peter’s invention. Continue reading “Looking Back at Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man”

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

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok — Some Loud Thunder

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Warning: Some Lou Ferrigno-sized spoilers ahead

“What are you, god of hammers?” Odin asks Thor at one point in the movie. Then Thor does his thunderbolt thing and we’re treated to what might be the coolest battle sequence in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe since Scott Lang turned into Giant-Man, or since Peter Quill made a giant Pac-Man to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”. It’s so frickin’ awesome and thanks to director Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok is now officially, the wackiest Marvel ensemble comedy to date this side of Joss Whedon. Continue reading “Thor: Ragnarok (2017)”

Ranking All MCU Movies from Iron Man to Ragnarok

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With the release of Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel has now churned out seventeen movies. Yep, that’s right. Seventeen fuckin’ Marvel movies and almost all of them widely popular with both critics and fans, almost all of them hit big at the box office. But not all of them are great or good. There are few stinkers and there are a few gold. The list below starts with the stinkers with the movies listed in descending order. Continue reading “Ranking All MCU Movies from Iron Man to Ragnarok”

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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How d’you like my Batman voice?

Deadpool reminded me of Spider-Man. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, that is. Deadpool was half the movie that Spider-Man was, but with enough adult things—humor, language, sex, violence—to make up for the lacking half.

Spider-Man: Homecoming reminds me a lot of Deadpool, but in terms of the adult things—humor, language, sex, violence—the latter was (in)famous for, Homecoming‘s only half the fun that Deadpool was. It’s Deadpool-lite, with the latter’s hard-R rating cut to whiny PG-13. Continue reading “Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)”

Is ‘Logan’ The Best X-Men Movie?

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The Last of Wolverine

No, I don’t think Logan is the greatest comic-book movie since The Dark Knight (which isn’t even great to begin with). But it’s probably the best X-Men movie yet. I used to agree with the general consensus that X2 was the best of the lot, but Logan is also a remarkable movie and it gets Wolverine right. And that for me, says a lot.

While the first two X-Men movies by were generally well-loved by both critics and fans, I’ve always find them lacking. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X and Magneto respectively, brought gravitas to these surprisingly earnest comic book movies (the much maligned third movie had actually more fun to offer, especially with Juggernaut, Mystique and Multiple Man). Continue reading “Is ‘Logan’ The Best X-Men Movie?”

What if Marvel gets Tarantino to do a Captain America spin-off?

Here’s what—should Marvel hire Quentin Tarantino and give him 100% free rein:

It would be set in the near future where the world is enslaved by Loki and the formation of Avengers never happened. Why? Because a deadly assassin killed Nick Fury in the ’70s. Doctor Strange would send Captain America back in time to stop the assassination.

Fury would be portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in Jheri curl. He still has two good eyes, but he’ll lost one by the end of the movie. Cap would have few but important lines; Samuel L. Jackson would do most of the talking.

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To get to Fury, Cap would need to hook up with hookers, nuns with guns, and sexy spies. Expect lots of T&A and few glimpses of untrimmed hair because this is the ’70s! Cap’s magic shield wouldn’t work in this movie; he has to do a lot of heavy action scenes and sweaty bed scenes without CGI, green-screen, shaky cam and frantic editing.

There would be a scene where SHIELD’s Agent Skye shows Cap her voluptuous… vinyl collection. And Cap would unsheathe and play her delicate… Delfonics LP. Off-screen, she’d be heard whispering OMG’s ever so softly.

The assassin’s identity would be revealed as Cap, Fury, and Skye find themselves on the wrong end of a brutal fight. Cap would do the ultimate sacrifice to save Fury. (Cap dies during climax.) The assassin would escape through a time portal created by Doctor Strange.
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Epilogue: Present day. Bucky opens the door and enters his apartment, groceries on both hands. He finds Fury waiting inside with gun aimed at him.

Bang! Bucky’s hit between the eyes and falls on the floor.

A rodent crawls across the window.

Roy Buchanan’s “Sweet Dreams” fades in. Black screen. Credits.

Logan (2017)

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I don’t get this bias towards serious comic book movies. A movie has some convincingly Oscar-worthy drama, then all of a sudden it’s the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight. People heap praises on these two movies yet no one bothers to mention Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan’s subdued superhero drama and follow-up to his more popular debut The Sixth Sense. Why cream your pants over Logan and not Deadpool? When Deadpool had more success at being irreverently funny than Logan did with its sob story. Don’t get me wrong, Logan is a fine movie. It probably has the most memorable portrayal of both Logan and Charles Xavier in all of X-Men movies. Logan’s old, resigned, half the beast he used to be while Xavier’s annoying, old, and sick, which makes him more dangerous. And I liked the dynamics between these two characters (the plot concerning the young mutants, not so much); like in the scene where Xavier needs to take a leak. And with a little detour, it is able to give what should have been the true essence of every X-Men movie—humans and mutants—which made the movie for me. But the movie’s really about X-23, old man Logan, and their kind of forced father-daughter drama, and those other young mutants—it is more than OK, but nothing to get too crazy about.

Doctor Strange (2016)

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I’ve Seen Stranger Things

Like Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, Stephen Strange went to Asia looking for the cure (unbeknownst to the former doctor, the band resides in England—y’know, Three Imaginary Boys, 1979). Unlike Christian Bale’s Wayne, Benedict Cumberbach’s Dr. Strange has a slick sense of humor (“Just Wong?… Like Adele… Or Aristotle? Drake? Bono? Eminem…”) He didn’t find the cure (but later encountered their black-eyed goth followers). Instead, he got into the world of sorcery, or in his ex-girlfriend’s words, he joined a cult. Just like this movie joining the cult of fairly entertaining but underwhelmingly average MCU movies.

At the outset, the movie looks impressive (i.e., architectural wonders folding and unfolding like clockworks). Marvel definitely put their money where their mouth is—that is, on SFX, bold and capital. Still, Doctor Strange isn’t the Ditko/Kubrick/Miyazaki/The Matrix mind-trip Kevin Feige said it needed to be.  Ditko, sure, a li’l bit from The Matrix and a lot from Inception, minus the well established logic of the latter and the Wachowskis’ stylish kung fu mix. In short, it looks different from all other MCU movies. Yet, for some reasons, it also feels and looks the same—it’s lightweight, jokey, and heavy on CGI.

Doctor Strange isn’t as mind-bending as Kevin Feige thought it should be. Why? Because it takes more than fancy 3D eye candy to be truly mind-bending. It never quite absorbs you into its world in the same way The Matrix and Inception do. In comparison, Thor’s rough sketch of the Tree of Nine Realms was more interesting—yes, it sounds BS—but at least that movie understands no one’s supposed to take it seriously.

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But they got Doctor Strange’s character right. Tilda Swinton, who anchors the movie’s more serious moments, disappears into her character as expected. Rachel McAdams, who plays Strange’s ex-lover, is just lovely and fun to watch—too bad she’s underused in the movie. Continue reading “Doctor Strange (2016)”

Kick-Ass (2010)

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With great firepower comes great kick-ass finale

Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage) was a good cop out to get NY kingpin Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong)—who in turn framed him for drugs and got him incarcerated. Macready lost everything while in prison, save for his little girl—thanks to his buddy Sgt. Marcus Williams (who showed up in the movie for a few minutes just to read Macready’s first graphic novel and reveal what this movie is all about: Macready’s revenge). Of course, Macready has since returned. This time as the masked vigilante known as Big Daddy. Big Daddy together with Hit-Girl a.k.a. his now 11-year old daughter Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz), are on to destroying D’Amico once again. They’re no super-heroes; they’re only out for blood. Continue reading “Kick-Ass (2010)”

Ant-Man (2015)

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The Top Secret World of Ant-Man

I kept thinking. That this could have been funnier like Shaun of the Dead. That this could have been geekier like Scott Pilgrim. That there could have been more inventive fight scenes—had Edgar Wright stayed to finish what he started. Just take Luis’ (Michael Peña) crafty way of telling his stories, for example, or the many times where Ant-Man fights, shrinks and puffs up—all of which could have been much much more engaging with Wright at the helm. I was thinking of things Marvel could have done to address this issue—this lack of panache on the director’s end. Perhaps, they should have made poor Scottie steal some sugar cubes like Arrietty and her Dad in that Ghibli movie. And made this a heartwarming children’s movie. Or better, made him watch Ms. Marvel (Brie Larson) while she . . . she . . . wait, she isn’t even introduced yet in this universe, so that would not be possible.

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What we got is a movie that follows the basic premise of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man (a version of the movie that, sadly, we’ll not be able to see). Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man and a scientist who distrusts Howard Stark (and by extension Iron Man and his cohorts), wants to pass the torch to a protege. And that protege is Scott Lang, a well-meaning thief, an ex-con who needs to secure a job for his young daughter Cassie. And it’s also a heist film that has Lang and lots and lots of ants break and enter a highly secured facility to “steal some shit”. And of course he has to fight the villain Darren Cross, who’s easily the most convincing bad guy in the Marvel universe (he turned one co-worker into a sushi earlier in the movie, in a scene probably inspired from the original RoboCop).

But that’s only half the movie, more or less. The other half is what Peyton Reed, Adam Mckay and Paul Rudd, contributed to the script: the music, Luis’ tip montage, Falcon, Quantum Realm, adding more of Hope Van Dyne in the story, and streamlining the whole movie to make it more fit to the pre-existing bigger story. Allegedly, all this in lieu of the crazier stuff, the more far out ideas Wright and Joe Cornish had originally. Still, the movie ends up like a B-side—disconnected but not totally unrelated—to all the towering destruction from all the other Phase Two movies. Which only adds to the disappointment—that we didn’t get to see the crazier stuff—given this wouldn’t have much impact on either the crossover or the other standalone series. Continue reading “Ant-Man (2015)”

Wonder Woman (2017)

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Ms. Marvel

Near the end of Wonder Woman, I couldn’t help but think of that hapless lady, who found Diana Prince hiding behind the shrubbery, and subsequently gave her dress to her. I wonder what happened to her. Or in case she’s well and alive, how would she explain to her friends, what happened there in the woods.

Of course, the whole thing happened off screen. After that, we see Diana enter the party in a long blue dress, the god-killer sword concealed behind her back. And this was after Diana was told that she “can’t do this, can’t do that”, for the nth time—with Steve Trevor and the rest of team leaving her alone in the woods. Some found this empowering, that throughout the movie, she does what she needs to do and not what she’s told, and the fact that this was helmed by a female director. While some noted the total absence of male gaze, totally refreshing. Me, I was ready to revamp my top ten superhero movie list. Was already thinking which among a number of movies—Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, and Deadpool—should go down a notch or two.

Did I just make it sound like Wonder Woman is really an awesome movie? In parts, yes, it is awe-inspiring—more than some of the more popular superhero movies (i.e., The Avengers, Civil War, The Dark Knight). The other time Diana was told she can’t do something—that she can’t save those people caught in the crossfire—I literally had to pick both my heart and jaw up from the floor. Continue reading “Wonder Woman (2017)”