Avengers: Endgame

What is the movie about? :: After the events that lead to the defeat of Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) keep drifting in space with no power and many light years away from Earth until being rescued by Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). They re-unite with the remaining Avengers on Earth – Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner a.k.a. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). While Tony Stark has lost all hope that any difference could be made, and retires to a cabin in the woods with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the others confront an injured Thanos (Josh Brolin) living in a hut in a far away planet. There is nothing that they can do though, as Thanos destroyed the infinity stones after use, so that the situation would remain as it was intended to be. An angry Thor beheads Thanos.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Five years later, Scott Lang a.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) escapes the quantum realm and finds out that something strange has happened in his world – as he figures things out, feels that there is a way that what Thanos did could be undone. He feels that quantum realm can be used for time travel, and one could travel to the time when Thanos didn’t have the infinity stones. Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff accompany him to where Tony Stark settled down, but Tony is not sure about doing it because he is afraid of something worse happening to his family, with everyone he love dying. So, the Avengers decide to go on with the experiments related to time travel with Bruce Banner who repeatedly says that it is not his field of expertise, and never had even a slight clue about the same. The experiment remains a failure with no traveling through time happening.

And what else is to follow? :: But Tony decides to change his stance as the idea seems to have a better chance of working, with the feeling of a need to bring Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) back. After talking to Pepper, he decides to go on with it, and the remaining Avengers once again assemble. They decide to go back in time to those exact moments when the Avengers came across the infinity stones. What they have will be just one chance to set things right, because if they miss the exact opportunity, there are not enough particles to return to the present time. So, they are divided into teams, with Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk and Ant-Man in one time-line divided into three, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow, Nebula and War Machine (Don Cheadle) in another divided into two and Thor with Rocket in the last one as a team. But the question remains about how they can achieve all these stones without being in conflict with the past, and without Thanos knowing.

The defence of Avengers: Endgame :: Another spectacle has come from Marvel, and it is also nothing less than an adventure that is to be kept close to the hearts – there is the grandeur on the big screen, and there are emotions along with a certain funny side that we can’t live without as far as a Marvel movie is considered. The final battle raises the level of the movie like never before, and it is Captain America with the hammer that steals the show, and Iron Man with the final punch that ends it. Thor is once again joy to watch. The visuals continue to be stunning, and the action sequences only keep getting better. There are adventures in the past too, and we see the beauty of different worlds in different planets. The ability to make the audience feel the pain, but also to quickly bring some humour, this one never really holds back.

Positives and negatives :: The battle that was going on in Avengers: Infinity War continues, with almost the same people on either sides – but here, it becomes bigger because everyone comes together at the same place, and the intensity is more, as both sides know what would happen in case of a loss. There is no lack of style, and the ending is just too good. It is certain that we would continue to remember and stay in love with these characters. Still, the movie is three hours long, and it could have beem shortened in the first thirty to forty five minutes with less wandering around with Avenger guilt. Captain Marvel continues to be the misfit in this franchise, as she is always given an entrance as the end approaches, and with that new hair cut, looks even more weird. Well, this is the kind of movie that you would watch more than once, and so come up with more.

The performers of the soul :: Avengers: Endgame is also supported by some fantastic acting. The scene is lead by the big three in their own emotional moments, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. The funny side is also maintained by Chris Hemsworth, as Thor gets another side to work on. Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner have their emotional moments too, while Brie Larson is wasted as that superhero who keeps making grand entrances, and is of no prolonged value. Mark Ruffalo’s brain and strength mix is interesting to watch. Paul Rudd is fun to watch, and the lighter moments of the movie are handled well by him. Josh Brolin’s villain character has changed here, as we can see the need to change that balance-seeking anti-hero to someone seeking mass destruction and complete annihilation – but there is no change in the ultimate requirement, which is rebirth.

How it finishes :: For all the fans of this wonderful franchise, this is one grand end that we have all waited for – Avengers will no longer be the same after this with the big three, Captain American, Iron Man and Thor no longer being available to be part of the team. But this is the grand ending that we have all wanted for a long time. There is a lot of everything in this movie, and is a fitting end to something Marvel has been building for a long time – you remember the time when you watched the first Avengers, and you see how much things have changed with the movie’s world as well as the characters. It has been a great run, and even though I loved Avengers: Infinity War more than this one, there is not much separating the two. We love this final movie, no matter who we are, and what our preferences are – Avengers: Endgame has assured everyone about that, and it is clearly reflected in the collections, a record-breaking one, even in India.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Danai Gurira

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Black Panther

What is the movie about? :: A long time ago, as a part of on-going tribal wars in a divided continent, five African tribes fought over a the control of a meteorite which was the source of an alien metal called vibranium, most commonly known to the Marvel fans as one of the materials used to construct Captain America’s shield. Vibranium which was first deposited on Earth by a meteorite about ten thousand years ago, had its variation in Wakanda, which absorbed sound waves, vibrations, and kinetic energy making the metal stronger. It was something that could do more than what the modern science could explain. This variety of vibranium is often referred to as a powerful mutagen, something that could change the genetic material, usually the DNA of an organism and thus would increase the frequency of mutations more than the usual background level. Vibranium exposure did the same to a number of Wakandan natives.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: A warrior who ate a heart shaped herb which was affected by the metal gained special abilities and became the first Black Panther. He united the tribes to form the nation of Wakanda, but that had only four of them as the Jabari tribe chose not to follow this new rule, moving to the mountains. The result was that the Wakandans used the vibranium’s abilities to become highly advanced with their science and technology. But they also chose to isolate themselves from the rest of the world with their modernity hidden within forests. Even after so many years, the outside world thinks about Wakanda as a third world country which is very much short of resources, but doesn’t trade with the outsiders or ask for help because of their pride and inability to combine their older and darker world with the new one.

And what else is to come? :: Following the events of Captain America: Civil War and the death of his father, the king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to Wakanda to claim the throne as the eldest son. The commander-in-chief of the Wakandan army Okoye (Danai Gurira), T’Challa’s ex-lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) are the happiest ones to see him as the new king. At the ceremony, the Jabari tribe’s leader M’Baku (Winston Duke), a mighty warrior challenges T’Challa for the throne of Wakanda, but is defeated in ritual combat – a battle in which he finally accepts defeat after T’Challa requests him to surrender lest the fight would only end with his death. But that would only begin trouble for T’Challa, for Wakanda needs more than just another king who kept continuing the tradition of the tribe for such a long time.

And then there is the case of trouble :: The first thing that he felt the need to accomplish after becoming the king was to find and bring to justice, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), a black-market arms dealer and smuggler who had access to vibranium and knows the secrets of Wakanda. But on their path stands CIA agent Everett K Ross (Martin Freeman), who takes Klaue into custody, much to the dismay of the new king and his team who need to fulfil their promise by bringing the man to Wakanda’s justice or death. Meanwhile, an American black-ops soldier named Erik Stevens (Michael B Jordan) is after the throne, and he has a twisted past with Wakanda. He would try to make T’Challa pay for what his father had done, and also to make sure that his race could become the rulers of the world. What can the new Black Panther to do stop the man who has had only one mission in his life since childhood?

The defence of Black Panther :: As one would have expected after watching Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, the big strength of this flick remains the action sequences. There are some nice visuals of the new world in here, and we get transported nicely there. The final one hour of the movie is where this one picks up to become something interesting, as in the beginning stages, there was a certain amount of struggle. The movie has a pretty good cast which gives enough for it to keep going, but the pick of them all are Michael B Jordan who plays the villain with a purpose, the nice moments from Martin Freeman and all that Winston Duke brings as M’Baku, even though he is not present throughout the flick. Then there is the idea about the oppressed becoming the oppressor, and trying to have revenge on the next generation of those who had oppressed them years ago – it is certainly not the way, as it is nicely shown in the movie.

The claws of flaw :: There is no denying the fact that the expectations were so high with this movie that it is quite difficult to satisfy almost anyone who is watching this movie. You also have to wonder which kind of superhero movie gets this many good reviews – you will notice that this one is certainly not better than the last Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok. Sometimes, you feel that the reasons why this movie is often praised are not really what should be used as the positives regarding the flick. It could have dealt with the theme better, without doubt – the scope was more with this one compared to any other superhero flick. The story also has nothing new as it goes through the expected path, and even though there was the chance, there is absolutely no surprise here. Some of the costumes are rather strange, and the world itself could have used better attention. The funny side as well as the thrills are not able to get hold here either. The romantic side is certainly bad.

How it finishes :: The 3D didn’t have much to offer in this movie. But the movie becomes another interesting superhero movie with one more hero having the background origins story set. It doesn’t have its elements matching the previous Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok which was ahead in almost every department, from action and visuals to the funny side. Despite the critics being rather prejudiced in supporting this movie, it hasn’t created that much of an interest among the common audience like those Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, DeadpoolDoctor Strange & even Ant-Man movies would do for Marvel. But with that nice work in Captain America: Civil War, and with this tale of Wakanda already set and begun, we can expect to have more from Black Panther. With that nice finish in the end, there is surely more needed for us, and lets hope that the character would deliver more in the upcoming movies.

Release date: 16th February 2018
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thor: Ragnarok

What is the movie about? :: Two years have passed after the Battle of Sokovia which happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has allowed himself to be imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) in his dark lair. The demon warns him about what is to happen to Asgard in the absence of its ruler, Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after he will be able to combine his crown of fire with the eternal flame that burns beneath the city. The prophecy about Ragnarok which was to be the terrible fate of Asgard in the twilight of the gods, seems to be getting close to becoming true, and Thor fights him to prevent the same. After defeating him and taking his crown, Thor believes that he has prevented Ragnarok only to find his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the throne, taking the form of Odin, after feigning his own demise. Getting his statues built, and having theatre performances about his own heroic sacrifice, Loki’s fun ends with Thor’s demand to find their father.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: With the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they find Odin in Norway, only to be notified about what is to happen next, with his first-born, the Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett) returning from exile following his weakening and death. The powerful warrior goddess who had conquered the nine realms with Odin, was imprisoned and her tales of battle erased after her ambition grew rather too high. As they come across each other, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer, and leaves the two brothers outside the bridge between the two realms to die as if in a void, but they end up on a planet called Sakaar. Meanwhile, Hela who has arrived in Asgard destroys everyone who stands against her, including the military. After appointing the demoted Asgardian Skurge (Karl Urban) as her executioner, and with her army revived from the tombs, her plan is to begin again from where Odin decided to stop the bloodshed, and conquer more realms.

And what else is to come? :: Hela and her newly recruited undead army are temporarily stopped though, by Heimdall (Idris Elba) who takes away the sword that controls the passage to the other realms. Meanwhile, Thor is captured by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), who takes him to Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who rules the planet, and conducts a competition of gladiators in a grand arena where he has his own champion who he expects to win every time. After agreeing to participating in the competition, Thor is surprised to find that it is his old friend, the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) whom he has to fight. So, the question remains if he can find his freedom by winning the battle against his Avengers team-mate, or get the same done in some other way. With Hela continuing her hunt for the missing Asgardians who might have blocked her way to conquest of all realms, it seems that time is running out.

The defence of Thor: Ragnarok :: There is no shortage of fun in this third movie about the god of lightning – the action is too good, with those stylish sequences which are supported by some wonderful music; then there are the jokes, which are many, and most of them are certain to work without any trouble. We have been missing both Thor and the Hulk, and their absence in Captain America: Civil War was noticed a lot more than one would have thought. The arena battle between Thor and Hulk is among the best of battles, and so is the final battle which is powered by lightning and all things of wonder. The use of Norse mythology can never get any better, and this is surely one of those movies in which gets the eminence back to Marvel, rising over the challenge which Wonder Woman had created, and continuing the humour-action entertainment that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had brought earlier this year with ease.

Positives and negatives :: One can find it easy to claim that Thor: Ragnarok is never really serious, as even with those problems which can cause extinction and end of worlds, there is humour coming in so often. There is no serious feeling about terror coming all the way here, and the possible death and destruction won’t make anyone too scared or disappointed – it can’t be related with the lack of moral side though. The dark humour is more suitable for Iron Man considering his bourgeoisie scientist attitude which makes him the millionaire which Batman would never want to be – The Dark Knight would surely choose “Iron Man sucks” as his password, like in The Lego Batman Movie if they were part of the same universe. The action could have focused a lot more on the villain, as she has the power to do a lot more every time. Unlike what one would have thought, Thor no longer provides that many morality messages like Captain America would have done if he was a God of Thunder, Lightning or Strength, not necessarily the Lord of Moral Science.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Hemsworth has come a long way from being Thor in that first movie, and it is evident in each moment, as we keep identifying him with this role, and vice versa more often. He has a fine combination with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, as the green monster as well as the scientist has been successful in making things better for this movie which is clearly the Thor movie, with Hulk having rather too less in that category. Tom Hiddleston is at his usual best as Loki, while Tessa Thompson gets to have some of the glory too, being a very welcome addition to this franchise – one can’t help noticing a little bit of Michelle Rodriguez in the Resident Evil, Fast and Furious model. Cate Blanchett shines as the unusual female villain that Marvel needed, but one can be sure that Charlize Theron would have been a great option to be the Goddess of Death too. Karl Urban plays a different role in this one, and it is definitely stylish. Idris Elba nicely suits in his character again, and Jeff Goldblum brings more fun.

How it finishes :: This third movie of Thor has so much of what you might have only dreamed about. Following more of the model of Guardians of the Galaxy with the Avengers touch rather than what would have been the usual Thor style, Thor: Ragnarok becomes a treat to watch in more than one level, rising above many other superhero movies, easily establishing its domination over DC as it did with so many movies, as we see them waiting to retaliate with Justice League. As the Norse gods of Asgard can’t skip the Ragnarok, it is also not appropriate for you to decide to miss Thor: Ragnarok – after all, there is more than one prophecy to be fulfilled, and there is also Avengers: Infinity War coming up in 2018, and its untitled sequel in 2019, which are going to be two of the biggest among them all. If you have read about these two movies, you will know how many of our heroes, we are expecting there. It might be the biggest comics based superhero thing of all-time. But for now, this movie is something that all of you would love a lot, no matter whom you choose as your favourite superhero – it is just pure gratification.

Release date: 3rd November 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Benedict Cumberbatch (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain America II

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Our own superheroes :: Its been some time since the 2012 superhero movie The Avengers got so much more attention than it deserved and ended up being the highest grossing movie of the year and the third highest grossing film ever. Surprisingly, it even impressed the critics, and even as it was a well made fun ride, I wondered how it managed to do this much just by having some superheroes fighting aliens in the middle of the city. Unlike what some of the fan-boys might say, I have felt that Captain America: The First Avenger was the best superhero movie from Marvel, a title which it takes over from X2: X-Men United and to which Ghost Rider had a distant claim only to be devastated by the sequel. As Thor came so close and yet spoiled the opportunity to be the best, and so did X-Men: First Class and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I have to admit that Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier is my new favourite Marvel superhero movie, and that title should be safe unless The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes up with something too good which is rather unlikely. So this sequel is better than the original and all the other movies in the franchise – that should inspire you to read this further!

What is it about? :: Captain America a.k.a Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is called to rescue the hostages from a SHIELD ship under the control of Algerian pirates in the Indian Ocean. There he notices that the mission of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is different from that of him, and she is collecting data from the ship’s computers. After telling Steve about the secret weapon of SHIELD to destroy its enemies and a failed attempt to decrypt the data, Fury is attacked, and dies after telling Steve not to trust anyone and giving him the USB data. Hunted by the SHIELD, Captain America and Black Widow got to join forces to find information about the data and stumbles upon a supercomputer which tells them that HYDRA still exists not as itself, but within SHIELD, like a parasite, and Captain had never put an end to it during the Second World War. As they say “if a head is cut off, two more will take its place”, and this time they are choosing a different path of war. With the help of Falcon (Anthony Mackie), they have to stop HYDRA from deploying their secret weapon through SHIELD, but the question remains if they can take on the Winter Soldier, a metal armed expert fighter who is more of a ghost entity coming out of nowhere.

The defence of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier :: One of the best fights of the movie is in an elevator, and there are so many more to follow. There is Captain America taking on the advanced machines of SHIELD, and when the Winter Soldier comes up, it goes to a new level, and Black Widow joins the party at regular intervals to boost things up, and so does the new addition – Falcon. The action sequences continue to be strong, and the final battle is incredibly stylish for a movie which was turning into more of a thriller. But the movie doesn’t go on to become that action movie which is expected from any random superhero who possesses the skills that the normal human being lacks, and instead it becomes an espionage action thriller which keeps the viewers guessing, and you can see that the twists are delivered with great punch. The whole conspiracy thing is wonderfully managed, and there is a certain amount of skill involved in doing the same. The dialogues are also cleverly done, and the witty lines are sure to stay in our minds for a very long time. Well, Captain America often becomes self-defending, and you will know about it when you watch.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has turned so much into the thriller genre that the usual superhero fans might find it a little strange. Captain America has turned himself into more of a super soldier rather than a superhero, and it will please a lot as well as disappoint a few, such is this genre. But, yes he is super and there is no denying that. It has successfully become better than its predecessor too, something which only X2: X-Men United could achieve as far as Marvel is concerned. Its intelligence should upset a lot of people who are looking for mindless action too, but those who were looking for stupidity like Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3 are going to be too disappointed. Yes, bring your brains with you – don’t leave them at home like you did while watching some superstar Bollywood movies. Except for the Dark Knight series, I wonder if the viewers are ever expected to use their intellect much in a superhero movie, but now we know that superheroes have moved out of the world of children almost completely. Now they make us thinkers along with entertaining the crowd.

Performers of the Soul :: Chris Evans once again excels in the role of that superhero who is ideologically superior to any superhero of Hollywood. He has become part of the same character and most of us would tend to forget that he was once the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel – this would always be the role that he would be known for, and this movie gives him more possibilities, and he holds on and improves his performance as the super soldier. When surrounded, he asks “Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?”. Scarlett Johansson remains awesome as Black Widow, and she has a great role to play in this one – she even has some nicer lines like “I only pretend that I know everything” or “Was that your first kiss since 1945?”, and its time her character gets a movie of her own, may be with Hawkeye by her side. Sebastian Stan proves to a fantastic choice for the Winter Soldier too. Samuel L. Jackson is awesome as usual, and the one thing you will know about his car after taking a lot of hits is that the only thing that is left working is the air conditioning, so says the computer. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon comes as another boost to the movie. Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter comes up in small, yet significant roles which we can hope to be developed later.

Soul exploration :: Unlike the other superheroes, Captain America is not just a superman or any similar person. He is an idea, something which is more intellectual and not physical, standing for truth, justice and honour. His battles are not against the usual villains who come to take over the world or commit crimes with superpowers or manpower, as his enemies are ideologies, of hatred, fear and slavery; it used to be HYDRA earlier and it continues to be same opponent, but with an outer layer of coating. He is also different that he has to fight war in another age along with belong to that era. Thor and Superman belonged to other worlds, but one can always go back and the other has been here since childhood. But Captain America is a man from the past, frozen both physically and mentally to awaken in another age, nothing less than an alien world. But he adapts and maintains all that he had in the 1940s. The world he comes across as an alien is the same which we have now, as we are fed with lies as truth remains hidden. Forget the wars and the media response; forget the lies concerning politicians and elections; we are told that someone lands on moon or there is water on Mars – and we are forced to believe the same or we are labelled as inferior people – nobody needs proof of that.

How it finishes :: There have been two types of superhero movies, one from The Dark Knight side and the other from The Avengers side. This movie seems to be placed right between them, and at the same time, having a life of its own. This movie has brain, and a lot of it, as it keeps itself out of both the mindless action with the light side as well as the fear generation of the dark side, keeping a bit of both, but not enough to be labelled. The result here is that the latest movie from Marvel can take on both sides, even as I doubt if it can be as successful as any of the two. Captain America is not your typical superhero, and the only thing that should work in favour of him in coming up with a great box-office should be the fact that this is vacation time, both for schools and colleges – most of them to be exact. We watched the movie with a huge crowd and that world was almost full, something which was not visible in the case of the first outing of the same hero or the random wanderings of the rusty vain man in iron. You might want to watch the first movie too so that you can enjoy this without doubts, or may be keep someone who watched it on the next seat. And you may want to choose 2D if there is that option to skip 3D!

Release date: 4th April 2014
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Hayley Atwell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Now You See Me

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There has always been something special about magic, going as far as the wizards and sorcery, often even into necromancy summoning the apparitions or even the living corpses from the grave. That should be black magic or witchcraft, and Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus had the hero ending up giving his soul for it in not that romantic a way as in the movie Bedazzled. One can’t really abandon Goethe’s Faust in that case. But this movie has none of these deals with Mephistopheles, Lucifer, or Belzebub, and neither does it have walking dead, nor does it lead you to Hogwarts or to Narnia as the lord of a particular, incredibly powerful ring which will change your life in that fairy tale style. This is magic purely of this world, and connected to a crime as an engaging, powerful thriller. Magic has always been a thing arousing curiosity among the common cats of the world, but none of them stays killed or dead as part of it. Magic shows still have some of its essence which still affects the minds of the common man over his mundane existence, for being able to manipulate and create illusions still have that mysterious charm for the unexplained, no matter how much science and technology and the reason has improved. One needs to see how this movie has managed to do nothing special and still manages to be special!

But it is not yet a magic movie, or something which takes you to a magical environment like Harry Potter, Narnia or Lord of the Rings, and there are no goblins, hobbits, dwarves or elves, and this one is the story of tricks, illusions and deception, which doesn’t really make it of lesser quality. This is more of that magic which is closer to reality and the real world, and it is a caper movie – a crime fiction supported by magic; and it is Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen all of them explored with the support of magic provided in the right manner. If you loved Tower Heist and Entrapment, there is no option not to like this one, as there are the additions which you can’t reject. The focus of the story is still magic, and the four magicians who performs it not for money or for entertainment, but for a greater cause. There are thefts, and there are police, FBI and even Interpol involved in this heist movie, but what forms the base of all this is still magic, not as the fantasy and the mythological wonder that attracts the generations starting from kids, this one is more of that thriller which keeps you at the edge of your seats. The world of these magicians are more than what meets the eye, and therefore you see me at one moment and then you don’t, and for now you watch what is justified by the title Now You See Me!

We have to start by introducing our wonderful protagonists of deception; the four magicians—Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) the illusionist, Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) the escape artist and former assistant of Daniel, Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) the street magician and master thief along with Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) the mentalist specialized in mind-reading abilities —are brought together by a mysterious benefactor who is shown only as a man in a hood and, one year later, they have a performance in Las Vegas identifying themselves as “The Four Horsemen” and is sponsored by a billionaire Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine). During their first grand performance, the magicians invite a random member of the audience to help them in their next trick which is the first of its kind to be ever performed on stage, that is robbing a bank. The man is teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an airduct which vacuums up the money which brough down from the top onto their audience in the venue at Las Vegas. It is a bank in Paris that they are supposed to have robbed, and how they have done that to an institution in France from a location in the United States would remain a mystery to many.

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) investigates the theft and is unwillingly partnered with Interpol Agent Alma Vargas (Melanie Laurent). They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but are forced to release them when no explanation for the theft can be found other than magic. The magicianis even taunt them and says that if they charge them as criminals, it means that their magic is real and that adds to their popularity. Dylan then meets a man who was present during the show and had video-taped the whole thing, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). He is known to be an former magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks and have his fun with it. He tells them that the magicians had stolen the money long ago, and manipulated the audience as well as the police with their tricks and illusions into believing it happened at the moment of their show. He even shows a sample to Dylan after they have a look at the “site of the crime and the magic show”. He adds that the whole thing might have planned for months or even years and the group is up to something big and what was seen in Las Vegas was just the first of the samples.

The three of them attend the magicians’ next performance which is in New Orleans during the festival of Mardi Gras. The group’s manages a number of magic tricks including disappearing acts, floating in a bubble and even predicting the bank accounts of random people among the audience. Their last item involved them emptying their own sponsor’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, which had a good number of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s insurance company in the name of a variety of reasons. The agents make an attempt to arrest the magicians, but they fails and even humiliates themselves, and becomes the breaking news in most of the television channels. Arthur hires Thaddeus to expose the fake tricks of the magicians and humiliate them before the public as revenge. Later, while researching on magic and the history of the world of illusions, Alma comes across the information about a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, which exists unknown to the contemporary society of common man, and remains a myth. But if such a thing existed, the robberies were more of a test or initiation. She even suggests that the case might be connected to a magician whom Thaddeus had earlier exposed; the man was so embarrassed and depressed that he attempted a dangerous underwater stunt to prove his worth and drowned. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen plan a final performance at New York City, which would decide many things.

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco steal the show as the four horsemen who entertains not only the audience inside the movie, but also those outside with not only the thrills, but also the funny lines. They don’t really connect to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation directly with Conquest, War, Famine and Death, even as they do bring a disclosure, an uncovering which might come up more clearly in a possible sequel, as there is the concept of “The Eye” to add to it. I would suspect not only an upcoming apocalypse, but also a final judgement. It is stylish and also sure fun, and its use of CGI has been real appropriate as well as inspiring. Melanie Laurent has come a long way since Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and successfully portrays her suspicious character and so does Morgan Freeman whose character remains in doubt of being the fifth horseman. Isla Fisher’s character has that charm which is matched only by Jesse Eisenberg’s illusionist. Forget Bruce Banner a.k.a The Hulk of The Avengers, for this should be his better or may be among the best performances, as he seems to have that balance in his character about which only the Hulk can have doubts. There might be the need for a little more explanation in case of the logic freaks, but the movie had a well-deserved clap from the audience in the multiplex after it finished, something which was this loud only with The Dark Knight Rises.

As the options at the theatre are considered, this would seem to be a clear winner at least at this part of the world. After Earth has been bulldozed by the critics as well as the viewers as far as the rottentomatoes and imdb ratings are concerned, and there are only a few shows of the movie around here, which opens that door for Now You See Me which might have been seemed locked before its release here. I would still like to watch the critically panned movie as I won’t trust them on my individual taste, even as there might be nobody to accompany me. Now You See Me has had its share of appreciation in the theatre itself, and I would expect it to bring more audience by the word of mouth, that passing of this magic, and more seats would be full even with a less known cast for the common man of the Indian subcontinent despite of the Will Smith – Jaden Smith power and the power-packed Bollywood releases which take hold of most of the shows along with its wonderful Malayalam counterparts; not to forget Hangover III, Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man III, all three of those crowd-puller which have refused to go away from the big screens of the malls around here. I would vote for this movie as of now, as I consider this the best of the year 2013 so far, edging ahead of Star Trek: Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6.

Release date: 7th June 2013 (India); 13th May 2013 (USA)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Mélanie Laurent, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.