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Featured Marvel

Infinity War: What is there in stock for us in the next movie. [Spoiler alert]

After watching Avengers: Infinity War, I was left in tears; especially after the death of our friendly neighborhood Spiderman. I still can’t get over that. As these are the Avengers and thus we can’t let them die even in our wildest dreams, and here I am with all the plausible theories circling around my head for the next movie.

1. Introduction of Vormir

Vormir was the place where Thanos found the soul stone in the MCU. Basically, Vormir is the planet in the Kree Solar system and maybe this is just the introduction of Kree into the Cinematic Universe. Although, Kree’s are already introduced in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but there is a good possibility that the next villain will be Kree.

2. Soul Stone

Just after snapping, we see Thanos entering a orange coloured place where he met Gamora and had a quick conversation with her. According to me, that was inside Soul Stone. In comics, it was repeatedly shown that Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer get trapped inside. Maybe during this snap, Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer get trapped and then in the next movie, we see them coming out and taking the fight to Thanos in order to prove to him that he isn’t a GOD.

3. Doctor Strange’s 14 million possibilities

As we see that Peter Quill a.k.a the Star Lord blows up the entire plan in retrieving the Gauntlet, but maybe just maybe it was all the part of a plan that Strange predicted. He gave up the Time Stone in order to protect the Tony Stark. If one might remember as he said he’d prefer the stone above Tony or Peter Parker. Maybe Strange saw that Tony is the key to everything as in the animated version Tony created a machine a.k.a The Arsenal which his father Howard Stark started building to absorb all the powers of infinity stones (Howard and Tony both were futurists). However later ,that Machine became Ultron which is a possibility that he maybe returning as well. Maybe Stephen saw all this and decided to act on it.

The possibility of Ultron reviving is there. We see Banner saying that Vision’s mind is a combination of Jarvis, Stark, Ultron and the Mind stone. Maybe when Shuri started to remove the mind stone, Ultron got revived but for now he is hiding within the internet and is waiting for the perfect opportunity.

 

4. Nebula still lives

In the Infinity Gauntlet issue, we see that when Thanos gave up his body after fighting with the cosmics, eternals; Nebula quickly grabs the gauntlet from Thanos’s dead body and restores the universe back to where it initially was. Maybe just for the same reason they thought to keep Nebula alive and hence bringing neighborhood Spidey and others back to us.

 

5. Red Skull as the Guardian

When Thanos and Gamora got into Vormir they were inaugurated by an entity which had a hood and was dark which I thought initially resembled Witches of Infinity or The Coven Sisters who are the oldest of all Gods. But however later on it was shown that it was red skull. Also the place where Red skull says, “A soul for a Soul” and shows him the valley it was similar to when Thanos went to the Coven sisters in order to gain his powers back to fight Thane( with Phoenix force) who was in quest to rule universe with Death. The valley was similar and as Marvel confirmed that “Eternals” is already into production. The scene pretty much sets the tone.

 

Image Credits: Marvel

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Hot Topics Marvel

Infinity War: What held it back-Discussing the cons of the movie

Although Infinity War was by far the best MCU movie and not just MCU, but it also is the best movie in its genre. Every moment of the movie kept us on the edge of our seat and we prayed, like literally that our favorites don’t die. However my favorites died, both of them- Dr Strange and our very own neighborhood spidey. Though this film did include all the elements that are required in any movie, whether its action or adventure or horror or Relationship but it did lack (compared to the comics) very few things which i did expect but wasn’t there.

Spoiler Alert: Read at your own discretion.

1.Thanos’s motivation to wipe out half of the life

In the comics, mistress of death raises Thanos from the death and asks him to do the work and Thanos falling in love with her began his quest to wipe out half the life across the uni/multiverse. In the movie, there was no mention of such entity and the only motivation we could find was that he(Thanos) was a futurist like Tony Stark. As he saw his own planet Titan getting destroyed due to overpopulation he sought to wipe out half the population. And by collecting infinity stones, he could just snap and half the life force would cease to exist which according to him was mercy. Although some could find this intresting but particularly i am not pleased. They literally made him a anti-hero which he clearly isn’t (in comics).

2.Depiction of the Outriders

The Battle of Wakanda was really good but as Proxima raised her spear and unleashed the outriders on Wakanda, where they were portrayed as savages who would do anything, as evident where they sacrifice themselves as they are not able to enter the premises. In the comics however, Outriders are a genetically engineered parasite-assassin solely devoted to the whims of its maker. These creatures have no names, just a binary existence defined by whether they complete the task given to them, or whether they fail. They have powers like Telepathy, Controlling their body density, Invisibility. In the comics, Corvus sends an Outrider to collect information about the Illuminati, and the outrider easily passed the security system of Attilan- The Inhuman City, one of the toughest security and did get the what he was looking for from BlackBolt(Strongest Inhuman) using its Telepathy. In the movie however they were just depicted as savages just like the Chitauri kin the first Avengers.

3.Portrayal of Black Order

Black order in the MCU was really weak as compared to the ones in comics. For instance, Proxima’s Spear, the spear’s capable of drastic harm based on how it is thrown and who it is used against, becoming a multi-pronged lance of poisonous energy that follows their target, never missing. Said force was fatal to whomever it pierced, killing the victim in minutes. It could revert to star form, gaining infinite mass which weighed down prey in an energy entanglement. This effect could even bind and revert an enraged Hulk back to Bruce Banner upon removal. None of which was shown. In the comics Ebony was able to use his telepathic powers to get Dr Strange do his work, while in the film as we see only Telekinesis as one of his power and not Telepathy. About Corvus Glaive, In comics Corvus possessed the typical attributes of a super powered individual including super strength, super speed, super endurance and some invulnerability. Corvus’ immortality stems from his weapon, a glaive that when remaining in one piece allows him to survive anything, including being obliterated. The glaive itself can slice through any known thing and person in the universe yet it couldn’t slice up Vibranium (Cap’s shield) during his face off with Captain, Romanoff and Falcon.

These are some which I felt, they should have been incorporated, as adding these would have made the movie just perfect. Although the movie is at its best but since we are human beings and we always demand more.

Image Credits: Marvel

 

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Featured Marvel

Infinity War: A Cinematic Marvel

“Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives.”

When the booking for Avengers: Infinity War opened a week back, I couldn’t control my excitement and bothered everyone around to accompany me to the theatres. And the wait was well deserved. With fantastic cinematography and excellent directing, this movie stands as the best MCU movie till date and one of the best movies of all time.

It will not be exaggeration to say that Marvel is creating a cinematic wonder. I really liked how they setup these 10 long years for this movie. And this movie was also just a piece in the puzzle and not the puzzle itself. The guys at the Marvel studios are really something extraordinary.

“Marvel Cinematic Universe is now 10 years old and 18 movies long.”

Spoiler Alert: Please read at your own risk.

The movie begins with the attack of Thanos on the Asgardian refugee ship Statesman, exactly where Thor: Ragnarok had ended. We see that he has decimated everything and even manages to defeat Hulk very easily. And that is when, MCU begins their Game of Thrones stint of killing all the characters the fans love and enjoy watching on the silver screen. With the death of Heimdall and Loki, Thanos establishes his supremacy and leaves Thor to die.

Thanos sends out his Black Order to retrieve the other Infinity Stones and the movie follows their adventures. While they almost succeed with the Time Stone, they have a very bad luck with the Mind Stone. On the other hand, Thanos goes to Collector and gets the Reality Stone. Then, he uses it to alter the reality to trick Gamora into coming with him. We get to know here that Gamora knew the location of the Soul Stone but hid it from Thanos.

Thanos gets the information out of her by torturing Nebula and it is revealed that the ever evading Soul Stone is in a place called Vormir. The biggest surprise was the presence of Red Skull in there, who acted as the guide to the stone. Red Skull, as one might remember was last seen in the movie Captain America: First Avenger. Red Skull tells that the Soul Stone requires a sacrifice.

“A Soul for a Soul.”

It is here that Thanos sacrifices Gamora and manages to get the Stone he came looking for.

We all knew Peter Dinklage had been cast in the movie but didn’t know what role was he in. Dinklage plays Eitri, king of the Dwarves of Nidavellir and a master weaponsmith. It is he who had cast Mjolnir before and casts Stormbreaker for Thor in the movie.

This movie being from Thanos’ perspective, hits the bullseye with the fans. The flashback which shows Thanos adopting Gamora as a child really talks about how ruthless he actually is.

“He can destroy half of the Universe with a snap of his finger.”

Indeed! Thanos did destroy half of humanity. With so many superheroes dying, fans in the theatres were left in tears. The death of Peter Parker was indeed quite emotional. The way he said, “I don’t wanna die, Mr. Stark.” riled up a lot of sobs. Furthermore, Rhodey searching for Falcon when he has already disintegrated and T’Challa trying to lend a hand to Okoye and disintegrating were equally painful to watch.

With everyone expecting a tad bit of happiness in the post-credit scene got even more shocks with the disintegration of Maria Hill. Even Nick Fury dies, but not before he sends a distress signal. The symbol looks like that of Captain Marvel.

 

Image Credits: Marvel Studios

 

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Featured Marvel TV Show

Jessica Jones (Season 2) Review: The Return of the Damaged Goddess

If you say with great power, comes great responsibility, I swear I will throw up on you. 

Marvel’s Jessica Jones is one of Netflix’s finest shows. After a very intense first season, Netflix returned with the season 2 on this Women’s Day. This Jessica has been reoriented and reinterpreted for the modern times and mainly highlights the problems our society faces today. Jessica Jones is not a typical superhero but she is definitely a new-age feminist. She has her problems and drinks heavily to dumb down her demons. This is where it gets so relatable. No sexist suit, no saving-the-world ideology, it is just Jessica Jones and her haunting past.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW:

After killing off Kilgrave, season two starts off with Malcolm and Jessica facing some competition from a rival P.I. agency. Trish Walker’s obsession with Jessica’s past becomes increasingly dangerous and she goes to unimaginable lengths to get powers of her own. While she really tries to show people that she cares for the world, she really comes off as self-centred and fanatical.

There are a few drawbacks to this season, though. The plot remains exhilarating and unpredictable until episode 8. Marvel uses the back-from-the-dead-family-member formula again, and frankly, it is just worn-out at this point. I do not sympathise with the villain, I cannot understand why the director(s) try so hard to show this person as an unfortunate victim of circumstances. Lack of a proper compelling villain makes the season inferior to its predecessor.

Marvel and Netflix’s last venture was a hit getting rave reviews. The Punisher was brilliant only because his struggle was believable and the villain was menacing enough.

 

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Jessica and Kilgrave

David Tenant does a wonderful, wonderful job with the few scenes he has and the banter between Kilgrave and Jessica Jones is probably my favourite part of this season.

Much like in season 1, Kilgrave tries to trick Jessica into guilt and shame. I think these scenes represent how our world is obsessed with shaming people for no fault of their own, especially women. Women are expected to be docile and if they dare to go their way, they are made to believe that either they are wrong or something is wrong with them. History is proof of the fact that the world never saw women and power to be an easy combination.

The word ‘power’ holds a very important significance in the Jessica Jones series.

Kilgrave is Purple-Man in the comics. Throughout the first season, Jessica associates Kilgrave with purple. Whenever she thinks of him or Kilgrave himself enters the scene, the colours fade into the shades of the purple. Now, purple is mostly linked with power. In season 1, there is a scene where the manipulative Kilgrave gifts Jessica a purple dress to wear. Instead of obliging, she tears it apart. This scene speaks volumes for me, it symbolises her freedom when she finally breaks off from his authority.

 

jessica

 

In the second season, however, the colour purple has a broader spectrum of application. It symbolises Jessica’s fears, it symbolises patriarchy and its bounds. 

Another interesting approach to the colour may be linked to how shadowy and controlling Kilgrave could get. Purple is a colour made from the combination of red and blue. While red signifies evil, blue signifies calm. Kilgrave is, therefore, this living personification of calm evil who creeps up on Jones and leaves her in a state of agony.

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Kilgrave, Malcolm and Jessica

The character I really loved this season was Malcolm. Much like Jessica, he has taken wrong decisions in his life. At one point, we are made to wonder about Malcolm’s true intentions. He still questions and blames himself for spying on Jessica and puts up with her temper, repenting for his deeds. However, at the end of the show, Malcolm has had enough of people taking advantage of him and he moves on. I like where his story is headed and definitely would like to see more of his complex life in the third season.
Jeri Hogarth’s barbarous attitude is something that made this season so much better for me. She is unapologetically herself and I absolutely loved Carrie-Anne Moss’ portrayal. The season would be dull without her and Krysten Ritter’s refined acting.

 

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Jeri Hogarth With Trish Walker

The season finale heavily disappoints sans a thrilling climax and I really wanted more after having finished the binge-watching.

In conclusion, I would not say the second season was as brilliant as the first one but it still manages to involve you. I hope Jessica’s past stops haunting her and her story moves forward, preferably dealing with the aftermath of Infinity War. It does require a little bit of persistence to watch the new season, but I would strongly recommend it just so you can witness how far Marvel has moved away from its trail of highly objectified superheroines with weak story arcs.

Image Courtesy: Netflix

Are you done with your binge-watching? How did you feel about this season? Let us know in the comments below.

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Featured Marvel

Infinity War: A Marvel of a movie to come

“The entire time I knew him, he only had one goal – to wipe out half of the universe and if he gets all the infinity stones, he can do it with a snap of its fingers, Snapp”

~Gamora

According to the Infinity Gauntlet issue #1, Mistress of Death raised Thanos from the dead to wipe out half the population. Although in the movies there is no such reference, Gamora in the new trailer gives us the very basis of Thanos collecting the Infinity Stones.

The Snap reference is actually from the Gauntlet issue where Thanos actually did a snap and half of the universe goes missing. However, later on Nebula restores it by taking the Gauntlet from Thanos.

The Black order appeared first in the New Avengers when Thanos with Black order invaded earth in search of his Inhuman son – Thane. The creators of the movie have seemingly merged the two plots and we have Thanos collecting the stones in order to wipe out half of the universe. His motivation for doing so here in still unknown. Let us hope that the Mistress of Death will get her reference here.

“Half of humanity will still exist”

~ Thanos

In the new trailer, we also see Ebony hushing Dr Stephen Strange while he messes with his mind. In the New Avengers issue, Ebony manipulated Doctor to find Thane but in the movie, there is no mention of Thane. As far as the eye of Agamotto a.k.a Time stone is concerned we see that in the trailer. Strange is still wearing it so it can be snatched physically but messing with the Sorcerer Supreme’s mind, well that’s a whole other thing. It might also so happen that Ebony tries to use Strange to find the Soul stone. In the Infinity Gauntlet issue, it was seen that Adam Warlock did have a connection with Dr Strange (when he was trapped inside the soul stone). So maybe, to get hold of Soul stone or Adam warlock (more or less the same thing), Ebony is seen to mess with Dr strange.

There is a strong possibility that Adam makes a cameo as without Adam, Infinity war doesn’t feel good. Also, I am eager to see the attack on Wakanda as Proxima and Black dwarf attack to get the Mind stone as we see Vision being transported to Wakanda. As in the comics, Shuri becomes the queen and wears some badass suit and has a faceoff with Proxima. Let us hope that it happens.

 

But I have some complains as to why Supergiant is missing from the Black order because with her missing, the entire plot of X-Men goes out. We see that Supergiant was sent as undercover to Jean Grey school of Mutants where she controls Bobby(Iceman) and creates havoc. So with her missing, it’s sure that X-Men are nowhere to be seen in this movie.

As to know who doesn’t make it out to the end of Infinity War, I’d put my money on Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. In the trailer, Tony was in a pretty bad shape with his armour broken and looking all helpless. On the other hand, Steve gets into an intense brawl with Thanos and as we see one of his shield goes missing (the new shield). In the comics, Thanos crushes Captain’s shield and kills him.

The trailer was exciting and I feel that we’ll get the Avengers: Infinity War we deserve!

Image Credits: Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios

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Featured Marvel

Black Panther (2018) Spoiler-Free Review: Rise of a new kind of Marvel hero

The newest addition to the ever-growing Marvel roster is the brilliant Black Panther. With drop-dead gorgeous locations and powerful character-driven plot, this origin story may arguably be one of the best Marvel movies.

Black Panther had a lot on its shoulders. The stellar ensemble cast comprising of people of color and the historical significance of the character meant that the movie was more than the sum of its parts. It had to do justice to the rich African heritage and also stay true to the demands of the comic book fans while speaking for Black representation in Hollywood and also fitting in the larger MCU. Ryan Coogler’s movie may just have found the perfect balance required.

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Wakanda. Credits: Black Panther/Marvel Studios

The movie revolves around the secretive African nation of Wakanda. Began with a pact forged by five tribes, which eventually gave into infighting and power struggles, and in one tribe’s case, exile in the mountains. But after witnessing the history of man’s violence against man, repeated time and again, Wakanda resolved to hide its technological innovations and ideal society from the world, to protect its own people by shielding them from humankind’s folly. This withdrawal of international trade and diplomacy has its own folly – Wakanda chooses to be a silent observer in the war waged by humans when their technological marvel could have easily ended the war. The new generation of Wakandans and how they challenge the way of their ancestors is the central theme of this superhero movie. After the death of his father King T’Chaka, T’Challa must prove himself worthy of the throne of Wakanda. He also has to face some difficult secrets which were kept hidden from the nation.

After his much-praised appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman carried the role with confidence. But one cannot help but focus on the stellar supporting cast. Sometimes, one will feel that they are more interested in what others are doing rather than focusing on the titular character himself. The royal bodyguard force, the Dora Milaje, are beautiful and fearsome, with Danai Gurira excellent as General Okoye. Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker are perfect as Queen Mother Ramonda and T’Challa’s mentor Zuri respectively. Lupita Nyong’o plays Black Panther’s ex-girlfriend and voice of reason, Nakia with a strong presence on screen. Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman feel right at home with their portrayal of the baddie Ulysses Klaue and CIA agent Ross respectively. Short but impactful performance from John Kani, Atandwa Kani, and Sterling K. Brown too.

The breakout performer in this brilliant ensemble is Letitia Wright’s Princess Shuri. Her interactions with her brother provide the perfect light moments to balance the emotionally heavy serious tone. Watch out for Shuri to take the MCU by storm with her gadgets.

One had high hopes from Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger to be an equal foe for T’Challa. But he exceeded that expectations and how! Marvel movies have had the problem of run-of-the-mill villains with boring backstories and weak motivation. Killmonger handles that problem all too well as the audience rooted for his point of view.

This is the new age of the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. After 10 years and 17 movies, a new beginning was needed for the franchise. What perfect way to do that than bring a character which debuted in the Silver Age of Marvel Comics and had a similar impact in the quest for diversity. The movie is unapologetic – it never shies away from referring racism and colonialization. There is one scene where Shuri calls Everett Ross as a “colonizer” and another where Ross is drowned by M’Baku and his tribes’ deafening noise. The movie screams – “Its payback time”. The women are the real champions in this movie as the story is shaped and molded by their actions.

The most positive part of the movie was its soundtrack. A frequent collaborator with director Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson has created a wonderful thread of African drum music and tribal chants for the movie’s score. Talking drums and royal trumpets are in full glory as Kendrick Lamar’s songs adorn the action. This feels like Lion King with its tones. The movie celebrates its rich African culture and colors. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is T’Challa’s coronation sequence by the waterfall, as members of all the tribes sing and dance during this joyous occasion. The costume design is incredible in this movie.

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T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Zuri (Forest Whitaker). Credits: Black Panther/Marvel Studios

While the movie overall is a humongous and historical success, it has its share of flaws. Being an origin story, it has quite a few predictable turns and clichés akin to other superhero movies. But still, Black Panther’s introduction is the most arresting origins of them all. The most disappointing part of the movie was the final battle – which ran out of steam (and the necessary time) after the demanding development of this Utopian Wakanda. This problem is similar to last year’s Wonder Woman. Winston Duke’s M’Baku (and not his racially disturbing name in the comics – Man-Ape) is the weak link here as I never really understood his motivations and actions. Something similar can be said about W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) and his Border Tribesmen. Without spoiling much, I can mention that I wasn’t sold on W’Kabi’s actions. It is a shame that Andy Serkis’ Klaue was cut short in the movie when clearly he was having a great time playing the character.

The new Panther suit, designed by Princess Shuri, looks sleek but seems CGI heavy in full action mode. The suit worn by the Panther in Civil War seemed more practical and tight.

M’Baku (Winston Duke). Credits: Black Panther/Marvel Studios

But these are minor nitpicking in a world of overwhelming success. Go watch Black Panther and be a part of this wonderful revolution for equal representation for women and black people. Go watch the movie if you are bored of hilarious superhero flicks, and need more depth in your stories. Go watch this movie if you love music and I guarantee that you will be absolutely delighted.

The climactic movie – stunningly named Infinity War – is coming up in few months’ time. Going by the post-credit scenes which tie directly to the next movie, Wakanda will now be open to serious scrutiny in the world of Marvel. A serious brawl is being predicted on the lands of this paradise. Expect King T’Challa to marshal his troops and guide the Avengers. Expect Wakanda to blow your minds once again.

 

Wakanda Forever!

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Featured Marvel TV Show

The Punisher – Nothing but a masterpiece

The Punisher. Credits: Netflix

 

 

Let me start off with how I felt when Frank Castle was first introduced back in Marvel’s Daredevil season 2. He seemed like a moron with a gun, a complete daft. I was quite sceptical about the violence. It felt unnecessarily over the top. Well as of today, I stand corrected. I have never been so glad to have been proved so utterly and absolutely wrong. Jon Bernthal is the man, carrying the whole season away on his shoulders. What a masterpiece! The series gets engaging from the very first scene which is unlike the other Marvel and Netflix series where they normally take 3-4 episodes to build up the momentum. The titular soundtrack is just as badass as The Punisher and I’m already addicted to it.

 

A stockpile of guns forming up the skull logo of Punisher. Credits: Netflix

 

There is this scene where one of the antagonists, Lewis Walcott,  sets free a pair of caged birds but they don’t move an inch. They don’t take a step away from that cage. The scene is beautiful and deeply metaphorical. They chose their hell, they’ve been there so long that flying seems abnormal to them. Freedom seems unnatural! This is what makes the show so special. The Punisher serves justice in his own way, almost divine vengeance you can say.

 

Lewis Walcott trying to free some caged birds. Credits: Netflix

 

In the end, we see the antagonists punished in a way they deserved, like one of the antagonists dying because of one of his own bombs or betrayer Billy Russo’s pretty face (his only weakness) being disfigured once and for all. Billy Russo is introduced to us as a retired Marine making it big back in American soil as a private security contractor. He is handsome, well dressed, rich, and famous among women. He has everything he had ever dreamed of and goes to extreme extents to protect what he’s achieved, till date. What I take from the show is that Frank Castle is not a cold-blooded murder but a human with a conscience who has suffered a lot.

 

Curtis Hoyle and Billy Russo. Credits: Netflix

 

Frank Castle in Kandahar, Afghanistan in a secret op. Credits: Netflix

 

So the show deals with the aftermath of wars, very gently with care. Wars are real, the troubles, the mess, the deaths are real. The apparent ‘lucky’ soldiers returning home are damaged and scarred for life. For these people, the line between right and wrong is blurred. So, The Punisher puts forward very important questions. How far would you go for your country? Would you sacrifice your conscience and sanity? Are you ready to blurred out all the lines?

At one point Frank starts to hallucinate while being tortured. He sees his wife and they’re having a happy life but the background (which signifies his hallucination) is all black unlike in his nightmares in the past which took place in his house. All of this happens inside his head but it makes me wish badly that it were true, all of it. I feel terrible for Frank, I sympathize with his pain when I realize that memories are all that he is left with.

 

Frank Castle with his wife, in his hallucinatory dreams. Credits: Netflix

 

Of course, the story has its flaws and it does start to get a little haywire at times, like when Castle taking the shittiest of beatings but still bounces back, slaying like a Bollywood hero. I enjoyed the most when Frank had some light, happy moments with his friend and partner in crime, David Lieberman. I remember being so glad when I saw this man smile.

 

David Lieberman (Micro) and Frank Castle. Credits: Netflix

At times, when he needed to get stitched up, I prayed and prayed for the whiny Claire Temple not to show up and thankfully she never did. Karen Page was, however, the real shit magnet this time. I was hoping Matt Murdock would appear at least in one of the scenes but he never did and I must say I’m disappointed. I had heard a lot of criticism about the Punisher’s physique and height before the show but in my opinion, the casting is perfect. The leaner, the better in a fight and mostly, his weapon is a gun. What’s height got to do with it, anyway? The budding romance between Karen Page and Frank Castle seems to be interesting because I want to see how they’ll make it work. Alas! They couldn’t use a brilliant character like Dinah Madani to her full potential which I hope they improve on, next time.

 

Karen Page and Frank. Credits: Netflix

 

Dinah Madani and Sam Stein. Credits: Netflix

The director’s done a good job and The Punisher is my favourite Marvel show right after Daredevil. Hopefully, it gets renewed for a second season soon.

 

Did you like Marvel Netflix’s The Punisher? Tell us in the comments.

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Featured Marvel

Thor : Ragnarok [NO SPOILERS] Review – Zapping back to its rightful throne in the MCU

Note: This is a non-spoiler review. Some plot points and characters may be discussed but no major spoilers will be referenced.
Exclusive First Look Photos of Thor: Ragnarok (Courtesy : Entertainment Weekly)

Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise — and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

– Critics Consensus, Rotten Tomatoes

The third installment of the Thor trilogy in Marvel Cinematic Universe, released on 3rd November, worldwide, received a staggering 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2/10 on IMDb and reached a rumbling $164 million on opening weekend, worldwide. Directed by Taika Waititi, starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Cate Blanchett (Hela), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Karl Urban (Skurge) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie #142); “Thor : Ragnarok” is a Norse-mythology infused galactic roller-coaster ride inside a discothèque – which inspite of mixing odd comedy and perfectly timed background score with gripping action sequences – surprisingly managed pretty well to deliver the much promised finality.

From Left to Right : Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett (Courtesy : Marvel Studios)

For noobs, “Thor : Ragnarok” is set two years after the events of “Avengers : Age of Ultron“. Hela, the Goddess of Death, an ancient enemy of Asgard, has returned. And upon engagement, broke Thor’s mighty hammer Mjölnir and are sent to the wasteland planet, Sakaar, where Thor gets captured. Imprisoned, he finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest, run by the Grandmaster, against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival, unlock his inner strength, gather up forces, make appeasements with his adopted brother and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization and bring upon the prophesized Ragnarok – the end of all worlds.

Thor possibly unlocking Odinforce after he lets go of Mjölnir and unleashes his inner power of the Thunder God (Courtesy : Thor : Ragnarok Final International trailer, YouTube)

Chris Hemsworth portrays his best Thor so far and has redefined the mythical, alien, comic superhero format that we know of, even without his goldilocks and hammer. The actor pushed his own boundaries to deliver biting humour and charming Aussie-baritone. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in this movie has been the nicest Loki so far out and he yet again proves that whether its a senile, mischievous baddie or a deprived, predictive prince and brother, he always hits the right spot in performance. Complaints are with Cate Blanchett’s Hela, inspite of her being stellar and captivating, the lack of enough screen time for her character development left a mark in every fan’s heart, as she had been one of the best MCU villains so far, thus almost doing justice to female MCU villains. Mark Ruffalo’s Banner was a fish out of the water but his Hulk motion captures were “smashing”. Finally, a talking Hulk! And he’s really adorable too.

Team Revengers [Hulk, Thor, Valkyrie #142 and Loki prep up to fight the vicious Hela on the Rainbow Bridge] (Courtesy : Thor – Ragnarok International trailer #3/YouTube/Marvel Studios)
The rest of the cast was pretty neat too – Jeff Goldblum’s zany Grandmaster; Karl Urban’s blunt but brave Skurge, Tessa Thompson’s badass Valkyrie #142 with a redemption arc of a forgotten, alcoholic noble warrior; Idris Elba’s Heimdall “the saviour” and Anthony Hopkin’s best Odin performance, till date, as he enacts the most touching scene of the movie. Also, Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Doctor Stephen Strange, for a short span on-screen, yet manages to maintain that aura and supremacy around Thor, as he aids him on Earth.

Cate Blanchett as Hela against the legion of Valkyrie. The scene looks almost like a highly-detailed Greek mural. (Courtesy : Thor – Ragnarok teaser trailer/YouTube/Marvel Studios)

Kiwi director Taika Waititi, whose credits include the flat-out brilliant vampire spoof “What We Do in the Shadows”, is responsible for the film’s wacked out comedic tone and especially for giving it a distinct voice and personality, literally, as he himself voiced the character of Korg. He just didn’t add a ton of characters into a CGI-doped blender, instead, delivered an enthusiastic, hilarious reboot of the idea of how diverse yet fun a Marvel movie can be.
Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe did a fantastic job with the overall appeal of each scene. There are shots in this movie that would make for some high quality Greek murals. From Jack Kirby’s comic pages and previous magnificent renditions of Asgard in Thor films to the retro-futuristic Sakaar, the film made sure that each location made a prominent impact to the eyes.
The action scenes are so massively extravagant and captivating that it had to be paired with the iconic Led Zeppelin‘s – The Immigrant Song, in order to boost up our adrenaline to pointbreak. From the Marvel logo transitioning into the fires of Muspelheim to the slow-mo captures of defeated Asgardian warriors, the film makes up in editing what it lacks in strong character development of its main characters.

“I was really excited when Kevin [Feige] and the rest of Marvel jumped on board with the idea to use Kirby as a big influence in the design of the film. What’s really hard is staying authentic” : Taika Waititi on an interview (Courtesy : MCU Exchange)
The 3D aspect of this movie is almost as captivating as “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2“. And the high budget Marvel CGI really pays off. Especially the ‘talking’ and childishly arrogant Hulk, in a bath-towel. Other creatures like Surtur, Korg, Meek and Fenris – the wolf, are beautifully designed too. And who’d forget the “sparkles” on Thor as the God of Thunder redeems himself and unlocks his hidden power, as he goes to strike down Hela! Man, that was a brilliant spectacle even in the trailers! Overall, the CGI doesn’t look bland but pairs well with the heavily toned performances of the actors on-screen and the laugh-out-loud humour.

“Yeah…same. Hulk like fire, Thor like water…” Mark Ruffalo’s computer-generated Hulk is a win-win (Courtesy : Marvel Studios)

After “Captain America : Civil War“, “Thor : Ragnarok” is next in line to have the best original score for its entire movie. The background score, at times, is so involving that it inspires you to pay attention even in the most narrative and explanatory scenes. It excels in hyping up the anticipation as well as provides comedic humour by going dead silent at times. It mixes previous MCU scores of the two Thor movies, with some 80’s retro-disco themes and some Led Zeppelin thrown in there for good measure.

In addition to being included in the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is used in the film itself (Courtesy : Atlantic Records)

Besides the tons of easter eggs, references and MCU callbacks, Marvel doesn’t yet fail again to provide with a obligatory Stan Lee cameo (probably the best one ever) as well as two credit scenes. One of which sets up the tone and menacing threat of the upcoming “Avengers : Infinity War“. There are also surprising cameos from Matt Damon, Luke Hemsworth and Sam Neill. Trivia – Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum reunited after 13 years in this movie, since Jurassic Park and two Hemsworths portrays the role of Thor. That’s one of the many short candies there for movie-watchers to find.

Taika Waititi had to do little to no convincing in order to bring these stars on-board for short cameos in Thor : Ragnarok (Courtesy : Quora)

To summarise, “Thor : Ragnarok”, unlike its last two instalments, feels more like a action comedy superhero flick punched with tons of meta-commentary than a chapter on Norse mythology. In spite of Marvel’s big-budget, PG 13, low stakes monotonicity; superhero saturation, lack of enough screen time for character development, hard to miss scriptural loopholes and logical flaws, Waititi succeeds to deliver a fun-to-watch, colour capped, superhero movie with 3 distinct protagonists, each with a personality and struggle of its own. That’s no small feat, given that many directors left midway as they were not given enough freedom for their vision to unfold. But with filmmakers like Waititi, Gunn and Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”), Marvel is entering a phase where it learns to embrace its directors individualistic voices instead of aiming for the sky. And we can only hope for the best yet to arrive.

My verdict – 4.6/5

 

Categories
Featured Marvel TV Show

Marvel’s Defenders: Review

After months and months of hype and excitement, Netflix finally released the episodes of The Defenders and I couldn’t wait anymore and started streaming the episodes as early as I could.

 

The Defenders. Credits: Netflix and Entertainment magazine

 

It starts off with an action scene in Cambodia where Danny Rand has to fight a mysterious woman. This series takes place months after the happening of the first season of Iron Fist where Colleen alongside Danny hunt down clues which can lead them to the ancient organisation, The Hand. Back in New York, Luke Cage is freed from prison as his former inmates cheer. Matthew Murdock moves on with his life after Elektra’s unfortunate demise, or at least tries to. And Jessica..well, Jessica drinks. Episode 1 is spent on reintroduction of some of our favourite characters, the sidekicks, the weaknesses and the personal ties.

Now, let’s talk about the antagonists. Sigourney Weaver disappoints severely from her very first frame. The director/writer evidently try to fill up the void created by kingpin’s absence and she’s meant to be the badass of the show, but it just doesn’t come naturally to Sigourney as was the case when it was about D’Onofrio. Where is that vulnerable yet so menacing look? It made me miss Kingpin a lot more than I should’ve. It still isn’t clear to me what Alexandra (played by Sigourney) does for a living or how is she so resourceful in the first place. She is extremely rich and listens to live music and always has a handful of servants and bodyguards at her disposal. The individual scene for each defender in the making is characterized by their respective coloured background. Like for example, Matthews scenes are given a reddish touch, Jessica’s blue, Luke’s yellow..welp, you get the gist.

 

Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra. Credits: Netflix

 

Moving on, I hated how they used Madam Gao in the show. So wise, cunning and shrewd, she was once one of my favourite characters until Iron Fist happened. While that show ensured her doom and reduced her to some kind of fortune teller, this one makes her a mere secretary of Alexandra. Sure she can summon her own chi now, but where’s the wit? The intelligence? The manipulation?

Madame Gao Credits: Netflix

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!

 

 

So, the story goes this way, once upon a time, centuries ago, there were five disciples in the mystical place, K’un-Lun who were cast out by the elder monks for being over ambitious, as they wanted to win over death. These five ‘fingers’, Gao, Alexandra, Bakuto, Sowande and Murakami are the founders of The Hand. Now with the help of the Iron Fist, they plan their return to K’un-Lun. Stick and his army, The Chaste have been trying to stop them but all of them are now dead except our old man.

For me, Daredevil will always be the best in screenplay, action and easter eggs. Speaking of action, here the routines are pretty cool. So much better choreographed than Iron Fist, but less coordinated than Daredevil. Elektra’s action scenes are top notch.

As her comrades start to lose their faith on her, Alexandra finds herself gradually losing grip over her leadership. She is unable to manage the human weapon, The Black Sky.

Much of the main plot revolves around the Iron Fist, but Finn Jones just doesn’t vibe. I feel bad, because he tries so hard but lacks the charm to convince us just enough. The banter between our defenders serve as the much needed comic relief. When their paths finally cross, and they bond over dinner, I couldn’t be more thrilled of what was coming next. Gotta hand it to the director for not making it feel way too crowded..but the story’s way too simple and predictable and lacks the severity.

At one point, Murakami tells Alexandra that her weakness is that she never is willing to get her hands dirty. I share the same complaint, for I’d love to see Sigourney in some good old action packed scenes. How she became the leader of the pact, is beyond my understanding. She’s the least influential ‘Finger’ amongst the group or maybe it’s just my bad habit of over expecting again. Stick’s the same old, charming, necessary evil he has always been and gets a well deserved ending. It is unbelievable how a small, frail woman like Elektra is able to take over the Hand who are supposedly operating for ages. After episode 5, things seem to be a little dragged because of a baseless excuse of a story. Clair Temple is unbearable as always and Colleen is just as wasted inspite of having so much of potential. In the last episode, our beloved New York is on the edge of destruction (yes, once again!) and the defenders/heroes/martyrs make a last ditch to save the city. Finally the show picks up pace and is exhilarating! All I’m saying is, I couldn’t be happier when the defenders teamed up but the whole thing could one or two episodes fewer, and I’d not seriously mind. The last face off between Elektra and the Daredevil was much needed as it provided closure. It makes me empathize with Matt, more than ever and I close to tears when Foggy and Karen await his return..but he doesn’t. Much like in the comics, we see Misty Knight and Colleen Wing bond and hopefully, they make something out of it in the near future. Last but not the least, the chemistry between Jessica and Luke just gets hotter and hotter every second and..man, I love it.

 

 

The mystery man Credits: Netflix

 

Credits: Netflix

 

 

One thing still remains unclear to me as who was the mystery man Stick had once visited in the first season of Daredevil, consulting about The War. Who is Maggie? Is she Matthew’s mother?

 

Credits: Netflix

In the end, it isn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but it doesn’t suck either. The next time, Marvel and Netflix rush to unite the Defenders, I’d advice them to have a good screenplay and a better director.

 

 

Did you like Marvel’s The Defenders ? Tell us in the comments.

Categories
Featured Marvel Movies

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Swingin’ Back To Place

Review with minor spoilers. 

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first great Spider-Man movie in the last 13 years, and a worthy opponent for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 as the best feature film about the character.

There you go, that’s the verdict. Now we get to the parts I am more interested in talking about: what makes the movie so special, what works and what does not.

From the production side of things, Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t really unique, being a movie produced by Marvel Studios, Columbia/Sony and Pascal Pictures. Marvel has, on numerous occasions, co-produced movies featuring characters owned by other studios, although partially and not something completely owned by a different company. (Almost the entirety of Marvel’s Phase 1 was co-produced with Paramount Pictures, with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, which was co-produced by Universal Studios).
What is indeed unique about this movie is how fantastical and grounded it is, at the same time and how director Jon Watts has excelled in recreating a John Hughes vibe.

Tom Holland as Spiderman. Image Credits – Marvel/ Sony.

Spider-Man: Homecoming features Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and Holland is undoubtedly the best rendition of the character put on film, and also one of the best parts about the movie. This entire movie revolves around him trying to impress Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., to become a full-time Avenger while juggling his life as a student. His character is a good kid trying to do some good, while also slowed down by the burden of approval from his mentor, and not having his priorities straight sometimes.
Downey appears for a very limited time, so it doesn’t really become anything more than an extended cameo, so the movie never becomes Iron Man 4, as many fans feared.

A part of the cast.

The movie stars Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture, Zendaya as Michelle, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Jacob Batalon as Parker’s best friend Ned, Laura Harrier portrays Liz, a senior, Parker’s love interest,  Tony Revolori as Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Parker’s rival and classmate, and Jennifer Connelly provides the voice of Karen, the A.I. in Parker’s suit.  Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green both play different incarnations of Shocker, portraying Herman Schultz and Jackson Brice respectively; and are accomplices of Toomes, and Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington. Michael Chernus plays Phineas Mason / Tinkerer, and Michael Mando appears as Mac Gargan, and more, but let’s just stick to the almost major ones.

A standout among these is Jacob Batalon’s Ned, based on Ganke from Ultimate Spider-Man’s Ganke, with the name from a classic Peter Parker roster character, who is the “guy in the chair” for Miles Morales in the comics. His dynamics with Holland’s Parker is excellent and you buy the bit where they are close friends. The entire high school vibe of this movie is on point, and not a forced aspect as it happens way too often with movies.  Tony Revolori’s Flash embodied the modern day intellectual bully, and not the stereotypical jock not really a part of the system much nowadays. Another thing that makes the movie so different is that it’s not very showy. While it is jam packed, it doesn’t have many moments that make you cheer in the theatre. However, there are moments that get to you, emotionally, such as a recreation of a classic Ditko era page. Oh, and there are also some references to Raimi’s trilogy.

Image Credits – Marvel

Keaton’s Vulture, while not a great villain, is a good one, and he certainly shines among all movie MCU villains. You get his motivation, you get his loyalties, priorities and understand why he does what he does. Coming back to Peter, he embodies every good quality of a hero, few have. The movie doesn’t dumb down neither the hero, nor the villain, for plot conveniences, which is an excellent move.

Michael Keaton as Vulture. Image Credits – Marvel/ Sony.

My only problems with the movie are the use of Liz Allen as a device instead of a character, or not using her much and Zendaya. I could get behind the treatment of Liz, as she really was a one movie deal to begin with, and the movie had things going on without having to worry about her. Zendaya, on the other hand, has to work a lot to become the character she is supposed to become, because frankly, right now, I am not impressed at all with the direction of her character. There are some minor continuity issues with the movie, but it is so good, you will look past it.

Overall, this was an honest, feel good, coming of age movie that Spider-Man fans deserved. It reminded us why Spider-Man is Marvel’s crown jewel and I loved this movie, and personally, I place it up there with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man, and as a Spider-Man fan, I couldn’t be happier.

 

What was your opinion of the movie? Let us know in the comments!