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.

Wonder Woman

Vampire Owl: I see that humans have come up with another one with superpowers. They are never short of heroes who don’t exist.

Vampire Bat: The superheroes have also grown up with their civilizations along with the myths.

Vampire Owl: I do wonder how they manage to remember the names of this many superheroes. Maybe they have a list.

Vampire Bat: Well, there are the very famous ones, and then there are those which come in the next level of popularity. They remember only those whom they want to.

Vampire Owl: I had once known only Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and He-Man.

Vampire Bat: And there was also The Phantom and Mandrake, plus we knew some X-Men beginning with the Wolverine.

Vampire Owl: The rest certainly came late except for those who had regular access to DC and Marvel Comics.

Vampire Bat: And we are having a lot extra of the same now; remember there was even Doctor Strange who seemed like Mandrake to us.

Vampire Owl: DC and Marvel should be in a battle for more.

Vampire Bat: I am actually tired counting these superheroes, but there are some who needs more attention due to the variety.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Diana Prince a.k.a. the Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) receives an old photograph from Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (Ben Affleck) after the events in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which seemingly lead to the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) in the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. This image open a flashback to when Diana was a child and was training with the Amazons in the island of Themyscira, a place hidden from the outside world. Looked after carefully by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), she has a fascination to fighting, which they reluctantly agrees to have her go through. With a fear of war always in their heads, the Amazons are always ready for battle, with their combat training, in which Diana excels. But they know, and keep telling her that there is more to her than what meets the eye, and they understand that she is not really one of them by birth.

So, what happens next? :: Diana rescues a pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) after his plane manages to get through the fog and enter the coast of Themyscira. The Amazons kill the German soldiers chasing him with their arrows, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. It is revealed that Steve has been working as a spy for the Allies during World War I and has stolen valuable information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire. With the help of the Turks, the German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is having his sadistic scientist Doctor Maru a.k.a. Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) produce a new kind of gas which could deviate the war in their direction. Learning that millions could die if the German general has his way, Diana decides to leave the island with Steve and her weapons. She intends to find the God of War, Ares, and stop this war to end all wars. Despite their doubts, the Amazons decide not to stop her.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Their arrival at the city of London has Diana in doubts, but she goes along with his plans hoping to find the God of War and finish him off to save humanity. Despite providing the officials with his information, Steve is told to hold off any act against the Germans as an armstice is being discussed. But knowing that General Erich Ludendorff will not hold off his plan to release the gas, Steve decides to the frontlines, arranging a small team including a spy and language expert, Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), expert sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and a smuggler Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) who helps them to get to the front. With no hope of getting through the lines, Diana decides that she has to take this to the next level. But how far can she go in search of the God of War, and how far will it lead her team of five through the First World War?

The defence of Wonder Woman :: There are many names which have come in favour of being the Wonder Woman, but Gal Gadot surely steals the show this one. Known the most for her work in the Fast and Furious series, that is surely going to change now, if it hadn’t with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you don’t watch this movie or ban it because she is in there, it is your loss – we have heard about people boycotting movies over the beliefs of one person, as they cruelly did with Ender’s Game, and also the nationality or other work is no reflection of the movie that he or she acts in – the irritating fans could be a better reason. She is brilliant in this one, with so many shades of a superhero being present here. Chris Pine also brings a fine, controlled performance here, even though he will always be remembered for Star Trek and its sequels more than any other. There is also that wonderful world in 3D, especially that of the Amazons, and we also have the explosions with all the shooting and all the rest that goes on in a superhero movie.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has some of the most memorable battle scenes, first one with the Amazon warriors battling the Germans on the beach and the second one with Wonder Woman making her way through the No Man’s Land. The final battle is not that much, with too much darkness on the screen at times, and at other times having too many explosions – the idea of the God of War could have also been left as it was expected to be, as we know humans and the evil that they bring to their world. I wouldn’t depend that much on the villains either, and even that twist feels rather unwanted – humans could have been left their right to be the villains in their own tale. The first half is also superior to the second, with the nice humour and the Amazon world becoming the highlights. There is also some balance here, without the overdose of heroism, except for what comes in the end. It is still a case of surprise seeing not many multiplexes showing this movie, and not many people wishing to watch it even on a holiday – there were like ten to fifteen people when I watched the same.

How it finishes :: Wonder Woman makes sure that the battle between Marvel and DC is on, and with Justice League coming up, we are sure to have them bringing the battle to Avengers. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice not being an assurance, and Suicide squad despite being an excellent one not working for those who decided not to embrace its poetic beauty on the screen, DC was to be left with those Dark Knight movies and up-to an extent, Man of Steel. But that won’t be the case from now on, and Wonder Woman begins that programme of resurrection. Well, with the shield and their ideas about the world, Wonder Woman can be DC’s own Captain America, but what one has to remember is that Avengers did it first, and Justice League is only following – with Marvel having the advantage, the question remains if DC can come up as strong as its competitor, without Christopher Nolan? The answer is to come late, but until then, we can enjoy Wonder Woman.

Release date: 2nd June 2017
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Saïd Taghmaoui, Madeleine Vall Beijner, Ann Wolfe, Mayling Ng, Florence Kasumba

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

RED 2

red2 (1)

There are a few movies which reduce the chance of White House Down doing a good job, and among them the one which is the most similar in what happens on the screen, is RED 2, which can take out the take-over movie with its big cast. The closeness in the Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings might also help in creating that big doubt in the minds of the viewers which is affected by Bruce Willis to attract them to this one, and I would say that even without that drag, this holds a clear edge over its only “same genre competitor” around here. You might already know that Red means “Retired Extremely Dangerous”, as a group of retired secret agents try to make an impact when forced out of retirement by several reasons, the most prominent one being them or their best friends being hunted to be shot at sight. While having such a title thrown towards the protagonists, they do the same designation of being extremely dangerous, a favour – they do what they do the best and what they were always expected to do throughout their lives. They react in such a way that the tables are turned on their enemies, and in the process, saves the day. This one will not have Karl Urban as William Cooper and that is a shame. But the entry of Anthony Hopkins, Lee Byung-hun and Catherine Zeta-Jones would add something else.

So we know that “the best never rest”, and once again Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is hunted and prevented from leading a normal life. Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) is still by him as the old best friend who saves Frank after faking his own death. Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) is with them, and after falling for Frank’s adventures, she is now eagerly looking forward to more dangers which could make her feel special. The gorgeous Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones) getting back to his life, and being mentioned as “Frank’s Kryptonite” makes Sarah jealous and possessive and she herself tries to get into the middle of the action. He is supposed to be hunted, but actually supported by Victoria Winters (Helen Mirren), and is followed by Han Jo-Bae (Lee Byung-hun) who has taken the contract to murder Frank. In their mission, they come across the information about Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) who would be needed in for their objective to be a success, but is currently in a lunatic asylum. Frank would need to bring them all together, and know who is on his side, how can be with him, and who might end up trying to kill him in order to survive the battle, thus creating a complicated situation, nothing that a retired, extremely dangerous man can’t solve again.

Bruce Willis continues with what he has been doing in the best way, and the triangle featuring him, Mary-Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones makes the funnier scenes of the movie. Jason Statham’s Frank Martin might be proud of this Frank, the older and the funnier one who has got no car to race. This Frank is there beating up people quite a lot, shooting them and bombing a lot of the world around him. Do they get stronger when they get older? Some might wish to ask so, and Die Hard fans would have to wonder if this is the series which might take Bruce Willis away from them in a crisis of retirement. There is no need to be doubtful though, as this is one man who might be retirement-proof in his real life too. Mary-Louise Parker’s character has only gotten funnier in this sequel, and comes up with some of the funniest moments, sometimes with the dialogues, but mostly just with the expressions. Her character makes so many attempts to prove her better than the possible weakness of her man, and by doing the same, she does the stranger things which adds to the fun element.

Catherine Zeta-Jones would have been not that easy to recognize for her earlier fans, of The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment, and seems to have qualified for being still extremely dangerous, doesn’t matter if retirement is knocking at the door. A few memories do keep coming back from those days of early movie watching experience in the absence of the big screen. Those were the days, and she was there on the small screen. Despite of the loss of her older self, she still competes with Helen Mirren with the screen presence, but not with the action sequences. Marvin Boggs’ character continues the job John Malkovich did in the first part, but unfortunately there is no pig this time and we miss him saying “Frank, I never thought I’d say this again. I’m getting the pig!” But, the man still carries the movie forward with his funny one-liners and those comic scenes which never look out of place. There might be no occasion that won’t suit him, and if there is any character who can use a spin-off movie, here is one.

Lee Byung-hun remains the Storm Shadow in essence here too, and may be even as the better ninja than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel which was released earlier this year. He remains the character that he has been in that movie and as the assassin, he continues the same. Anthony Hopkins, our own Hannibal Lecter makes a personal impact on this one, not that big as The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal or Red Dragon, but still something that comes as a pleasant, evil surprise of good quality. Being in the lunatic asylum is one of those common things, and here there are more characteristics for him, of qualities strange enough to be another man of surprising variations. In many ways, these two were needed, as the movie is too much inclined to the funny side otherwise, not that they are completely against contributions to the comic side, but there is the need for the twists, thrills and awesome action. This is Expendables with such a huge cast, but in many ways funnier and the comic side being very effective, if not too effective. May be that movie could have been called with something similar to being retired, and extremely dangerous again.

Even as the movie keeps scoring with its action sequences and the funny dialogues, there is that feeling of the imitation of the first movie, and the predictability keeps on getting higher and higher. Even the climax is too predictable for the usual movie watcher’s liking. As our characters are played by those celebrities who are basically more royal than the others, they keep the viewers interested, but this kind of movie needs its own dose of little shocks, and RED 2 does have it, but not that powerful a thing of the royalty’s standard. There is no situation where the audience is supposed to be terrified or feel for the heroes. There are frequent one-liners which clear any doubt in the minds of the viewers, and with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins guiding the gang, and Lee Byung-hun following the path in a majestic manner, there is the reconquest of whatever is lost, and whenever the movie is about to drop down in its level, something new comes up, once in the form of Catherine Zeta-Jones and at another occasion in the form of Anthony Hopkins; the rest is well managed by the one-liners which drops a comic bomb which handles and stabilizes the situation.

RED 2 is stretching its arms towards that weekend box office victory here, but surely on a limited level. The movie edges over White House Down, and can pretend to be competent against Pacific Rim, Despicable Me 2 and Man of Steel as this is the new entrant in the game and the reviews are not completely out yet, and Turbo belongs to an entirely different genre and attracts another type of viewers. There was still hope for more, that is for sure; RED had come up with the right platform of origins which could have been exploited further. At the same time, it had also used up a lot of resources, and the need of this sequel was for creativity, which has successfully arrived partially. But when one is looking for fun, there is hardly any opportunity to care and think more, and RED 2 gives that unlimited fun which is not without the flaws list. If this movie belongs to that genre which is pure entertainment, you are welcome to forgive its flaws. I would say that I have forgiven and forgotten the same and got into that roller coaster ride of entertainment which this movie hides behind its pillars of old age. May be it is time for most of you to give it a try, and the rest can wait for the year has a lot more in store.

Release date: 19th July 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough

red2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.