Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Justice League

What is the movie about? :: After the events of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice during which, Doomsday (Robin Atkin Downes), a genetically engineered monstrous creature created using Kryptonian technology killed Superman (Henry Cavill), there is chaos around, and the world is not as safe as it used to be. There is an increase in crime not only in Metropolis, the home of Superman, but also in Gotham City. A certain amount of fear spreads through cities and nations, and a terrible evil from the other dimension, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and his parademons plan to return to Earth. The last time he had made a similar attempt, he was sent back by the combined forces of the Amazons, Atlanteans, Humans and Green Lantern Corps, along with the gods who also joined with them. An angry Steppenwolf had promised to come back and conquer the whole universe, changing them to the image of his own world.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: To conquer and remake Earth for them, they would require the combined energies of three Mother Boxes though, which are locked away by Atlanteans, Amazons and humans. It is during one of his usual nights in Gotham City, that Batman (Ben Affleck) finds one of the parademons sensing fear – it has him immediately getting back to being Bruce Wayne and assembling a team to fight the possible terror which might follow. At the same time, Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also gets aware of the coming of the demons, with Steppenwolf’s troops attacking and capturing the first Mother Box from Themyscira, about which she is alerted by a signal from Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). She contacts Bruce Wayne, and both of them go on a search for the metahumans who could be part of their superhero team.

And what else is to come? :: Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash (Ezra Miller) happens to be easy to recruit though, as he is lonely, looking for some company, and hoping to do something with his life, after being struck by lightning. But there is not much of success with the rest of the possible team mates. After his father Doctor Silas Stone (Joe Morton) is kidnapped by the parademons, Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) decides to change his decision to keep away, and accept his existence as half-human, half-machine. It takes the parademon attack on the underwater city of Atlantis which ends up in the capture of the second Mother Box, and a meeting with Mera (Amber Heard) in the waterworld, to get back to saving the world, for Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa). He becomes the last one to join the newly formed team of superheroes, but they find their team no match Steppenwolf’s might – is there another way?

The defence of Justice League :: There are some nice action sequences in this movie, and you will see a nice, dark, hell-like atmosphere in here with the battles – the presence of parademons gives a little scary touch for this one, which continues the DC universe as the darker one compared to that of Marvel, and with more drama; an emotional side which is stronger. Such a world is a treat, and will do even better if they can get Constantine into this at some point. There are also some jokes, even though not as effective as Marvel’s presence at the theatres right now, Thor: Ragnarok. To be honest, this has been the superhero team I really wanted to see, more than Avengers, and I am glad that this one is here, and it is enjoyable. There are some nice dialogues, and we have our favourite superheroes going on a big fight. It also makes sure that there can be an even bigger Justice League movie to follow – the stage is set with the team assembled, and now we will wait for something heavier.

The claws of flaw :: There is no matching The Avengers, Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War‘s team of superheroes with Justice League, as this one only manages to follow from a distance. The superheroes are all not the best utilized, and when you look at Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok at the same time, you see that even in a Thor movie, Hulk, Loki and Valkyrie are so well used to create the needed advantage. There is a certain amount of missing balance that we see here with the superheroes of the league, and getting back Superman seemed to be the easy way, and the movie just chooses the same – there are no surprises in the store there, and unlike what Marvel would do, there are no huge moments to remember. Things are just as expected in this one, and even the villain makes lesser impact than the similar looking part-villain demonic creature in Thor: Ragnarok which was not just a better movie with fun, but also in 3D.

Performers of the soul :: One can easily agree that this movie rests on the shoulders of two people, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot; while the former’s character is pulled back unlike the Batman of The Dark Knight, Wonder Woman gets all the opportunities to shine in here. Henry Cavill has lesser time to be spent on the big screen, but surely gets the applause from the audience. Ezra Miller’s speedy hero has to go a long way from here, as we have a good one in the television series already, but this one is surely not that much irritating as the new age teenage Spider-Man even though we see similarities. Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher plays the superheroes who seem to get almost nothing from the audience – maybe, they deserved better action or smarter dialogues to match the rest who are already established superheroes in this part of the world. You remember that Hawkeye and Black Widow really had some interesting moments, and so did Scarlet Witch later, as far as Marvel is concerned.

How it finishes :: As Thor: Ragnarok is running in the theatres right now, there will be comparisons, and it is with this idea of comparing two movies from different comic worlds, that Justice League might end up losing the battle early – maybe, a little waiting could have done this movie a favour. Let the reviews pass, and be assured that Justice League is not a bad superhero movie as some of them have made you believe. Well, they are the kind of people who despised the poetic beauty of Suicide Squad, and never even tried to understand the same. Justice League is indeed a good work with a team of superheroes who are there to entertain without second thoughts. Visually good, and filled with action, this one is a fine package for the weekend, which deserves some love, as the universe is sure to get better. May justice be served for this movie as it deserves.

Release date: 17th November 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, JK Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, David Thewlis, Julian Lewis Jones, Michael McElhatton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.