Ant-Man II

What is the movie about? :: A flashback tells the story of Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile which was launched during the Cold War, successfully disabling it, but was trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm with no hope of returning. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) went on believing that Janet is dead until Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) became the new Ant-Man and discovered a way to enter and return from the quantum realm. Hoping that Janet might still be alive, they try to repeat the process of entering and contacting the quantum realm. But things get messed up when Scott joins the team of Captain America and fights against the other Avengers. For violating the Sokovia Accords, he is put under house arrest, while Hank and Hope moves away to avoid arrest.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Later, when Hank and Hope manages to open a tunnel to the quantum realm, Scott receives a message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. After Scott makes a call to Hank, Hope takes him to their new hideout, where a new laboratory was set up. FBI officer Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is in charge of checking him, but Hope sets a decoy at this home. As they consider the message as a confirmation that Janet might be alive, there is the plan to create a tunnel through which one of them can enter and bring her back. For the same reason, they are collecting the needed materials from the black market dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) who brings up a new deal to buy their laboratory, which Hope refuses. But he is not the kind of person who takes no for an answer.

And what is follow with the tale? :: But an attack from a masked figure follows, and both Scott and Hope are forced to be in a fight against an unknown force. This figure takes their laboratory which was in a shrunken state, and they are left with no other option to find Janet and bring her back. Hank’s former partner at SHIELD, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) helps them locate the laboratory, but there is a surprise waiting for them there with the masked figure and a past that he had long forgotten. Their target also seems to be Janet, and now the question remains if they can get to her and bring her back before any harm is done to her. What is this incident of the past that has come back to haunt Hank? Is there an escape from this masked figure which seems to be able to walk through walls? With Thanos searching for infinity stones at another part of the universe and Avengers spread apart, is there hope for mankind at all?

The defence of Ant-Man and the Wasp :: Among all the superheroes, Ant-Man is indeed the hero with a difference. This one might also be the most family friendly superhero above the rest of the team. He has evolved into a big superhero from the shadows of those names which had become part of people, as this one is more or less the everyman character. We all missed him in Avengers: Infinity War, one of the biggest superhero movies of all-time. The quantum realm looks really great in 3D, and the action sequences with shifting size are too good. The battle on road is something special with everything happening so quickly and precisely. The movie is also a lot of fun. The use of humour in this movie is something to be appreciated. The new characters introduced here are also interesting, and this one nicely blends into the Marvel Cinematic Universe according to where Avengers: Infinity War has left us – you will need to wait for a few minutes after the movie finishes to know that.

The claws of flaw :: The superhero stuff has managed to be so big that Ant-Man with its nice little moments might not be that enough. These days, the superheroes are going for something so huge that this movie might feel rather small. It can also feel like a long introduction to the quantum realm, and a reason to introduce more characters. It is more or less about our expectations about superhero movies that define this, but such expectations have been working beyond one cinematic universe, and are those which cannot be avoided. The movie also lacks a strong single villain, as the danger here is related to survival, and therefore the lack of existence of pure evil or just evil can be seen. Maybe this movie could have released before Avengers: Infinity War – placing it after Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther would have been perfect, but with avoiding that scene in between the credits.

The performers of the soul :: Paul Rudd is as good as he has been in the form of Ant-Man and Scott Lang, being the likable character for everyone including the families. Evangeline Lilly who is most known in this part of the world for playing Tauriel, a Woodland Elf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, makes a great team with him, and the two easily holds things together in this movie as a fantastic pair. She is surely proving to be the right choice for action and adventure movies. Michael Pena is a lot of fun in the movie, as he brings the humour with ease. Hannah John-Kamen as a character looking for survival, is a perfect cast, as she seems to reflect the emotions of the same incredibly well. Laurence Fishburne is solid as always, and we are always glad to have him around. Michael Douglas carries on the role without any difficulty. Michelle Pfeiffer also joins in here.

How it finishes :: We are never really tired of having more and more superhero movies. Avengers: Infinity War was such a big hit with records being set all around the world, and coming a long way up the list of highest grossing movies of all-time, following the box-office and critical success of Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok. Justice League might not have managed to be that big as Avengers, but DC Universe will also catch up very fast with Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman being all-time favourites in many lists. It is during these times of the big superheroes that the smallest of them all, Ant-Man and Wasp getting all the attention. Well, we wish for more superheroes, and having more of them on the list will only help the cause. This one is another entertaining entry in that list of memorable superhero movies, and if Ant-Man becomes a family favourite fun superhero above the rest, I wouldn’t be surprised either – it is anti-Deadpool and all that Deadpool will never be!

Release date: 6th July 2018 (USA); 13th July 2018 (India)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip Harris, David Dastmalchian, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas

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The Hobbit III

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What is it about? :: The journey of one Hobbit and a team of Dwarves continues where the earlier movie had finished with Smaug the Dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) flying away to bring the chaos to the town. After the dragon being unleashed, and as it goes on destroying the town, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) manages to slay the creature after continuous attempts, and he himself emerges as the new leader. The Dwarves lock themselves inside the Lonely Mountain as Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) keeps searching for the Arkenstone with no result as it is already with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who hides it seeing Thorin’s change of attitude. Meanwhile, Thranduil (Lee Pace) arrives with an army of elves in hope to retrieve a stolen Elf treasure.

And what follows? :: While providing aid to the people of the town, he forms an alliance with the humans who wish to have that share of the gold which was promised by the Dwarves. Even though Bard tries to reason with Thorin, he doesn’t agree with the terms as he claims the whole treasure for himself and stays adamant. He would go for war instead of peace, and the arrival of Thorin’s cousin Dáin (Billy Connolly) with an army of Dwarves only make the situation worse. With Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) already imprisoned by the forces of darkness, and the huge army of Orcs lead by Azog the Defiler (Manu Bennett) and their secondary army along with Goblins coming closer, can anything positive come out of this for Elves, Humans or Dwarves?

The defence of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies :: We all know what The Hobbit is all about, and it is extremely difficult to mess things up here. One big advantage that this movie has compared to its predecessors is that it is the shortest among them all. The visuals are once again of the highest quality, and the battle sequences are really good. There is the grand battle which involves Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and Humans, and there is a lot of detail right there and what follows. An epic battle was needed, and this one surely delivers that. There is also focus in the minds of the characters and their attitudes here. The attention on the creature detail is also impressive, as we see many creatures around which are worth having further look at.

Claws of flaw :: Among the three movies, this one has the least happenings outside action. There should have been more focus on the plot which seems to go in a predictable way. There is a little bit of emptiness here and there which is masked only by the visual beauty. The dragon gets slain quite early, and things just continue in a predictable way, with armies coming on to clash, as the story goes right where it was expected to go. The romantic angle remains its biggest flaw, as it is forced and it seems so – as we know that the elf lady herself is an extra character added here. Unlike what is shown, it is more like an irritating case of love rather than what has been intended. It is a case of terror for the entire realm, and one has to wonder if it is a priority when these two are around.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Martin Freeman plays the main character, but the focus is more on Richard Armitage nicely making Thorin Oakenshield impressive. Together, they make the whole thing better. Orlando Bloom has some of the most stylish action sequences in the movie, and his one-on-one battle with the orc is a joy to watch. Ian McKellen’s Gandalf the Grey continues to do what he has been doing all the time. Luke Evans has some interesting moments of glory in this one too. Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel is good, but the character’s romantic side completely devastates the situation. Meanwhile, the rest of the dwarf team remains good and effective. The rest of the humans make much lesser impact. The best performer in the movie might still be the CGI.

Soul Exploration :: The major idea remains the same as the stage is set for the battle between good and evil. This is once again about the good overcoming the evil, and the stress is once again on the need for courage and sacrifice, as well as the value of comradeship and mutual help. The hope to go beyond the differences is also there, and it gives that message to get rid of the hatred between races and work together for a better future – it actually works here, and what seems to be only a chance earlier, does come to the light in this case. Unity in diversity is the point here too. Even though the force is mostly on Thorin Oakenshield to do the right thing, the rest also got to make their own decisions here that would affect the outcome.

How it finishes :: The franchise had started with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and continued through The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and has now finished at The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in an interesting way – may be people expected better, but this is still a very good finish. The one thing which you have to keep in mind is that this is more action movie than the rest of the franchise, and you should have watched the previous movies before this one, because the action starts directly and very quickly in this one. It has finished second after Transformers: Age of Extinction with the box-office collections of the year, but The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is surely the better flick by some distance.

Release date: 17th December 2014
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Graham McTavish, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Sylvester McCoy, Manu Bennett, John Tui, Billy Connolly, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Mitchinson, John Bell, Peggy Nesbit, Mary Nesbitt, Simon London

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ant-Man

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Vampire Owl :: Are you sure that there is no Vampire Ant?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it says in all vampire books, that due to the complete absence of alienation, an ant cannot be a vampire. Neither can the bees, wasps and termites. Alienation is the first step to becoming a vampire. The idea of eusociality doesn’t work with vampires at all.

Vampire Owl :: It is good. In the presence of a Vampire Ant, we would have had to sponsor his ticket according to the new Vampire Brotherhood rules and regulations.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, a Vampire Ant seems like an impossible thing, as of now.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/917-ant-man-movie-review.html

When we consider the superhero movies, Marvel is a name which has proved to be the most trustworthy one in the last few years. All the movies from Marvel Studios have kept a certain standard. Even though Ant-Man is a name which is rather unheard among the common audience outside the English-speaking world, the superhero character has been there for very long. With the reception that this movie has received, we can be certain that it can have a good position among the other movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though the same can’t be said about how it has managed in this part of the world.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has just been released from prison and is hoping to lead a life away from crime for the sake of his daughter. As he is a post-graduate in electrical engineering, he hopes that he can find a job easily, but things are not easy as his criminal record keeps him away from settling down. A police officer named Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) is engaged to his former wife, which just makes things worse. So, he decides to go on a heist with his former cellmate Luis (Michael Peña) and his friends. They choose the house of a rich old man who is known to have a vault and as Scott has done this before with perfection, they depend on him.

Meanwhile, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) was part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. and had been responsible for the technology of shrinking sub-atomic particles and making Ant-Man possible. But he had quit because he understood that people were trying to copy and recreate the technology. He knew that such an invention will be incredibly dangerous if gone into the wrong hands. As his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and his former assistant and student, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) did come so close to duplicating the same technology, he is alarmed again, and hopes to make sure that it never happens. For the same, Hope helps him, and he needs a volunteer to wear the Ant-Man suit.

At a point, the lives of these two people come together, and the story of another superhero officially begins. Actually, the movie takes too much time to get to that new tale. The real Ant-Man is not even there until the second half of the movie – there are just people and two suits. There is too much of a delay here, and it can happen with origin movies, but this one has too much of time without interesting things happening. But things get a lot better in the second half, which is full of action, and there are some very nice sequences in the smaller world involving the ants and the hero himself. Things do get to have a better direction after that.

The final action sequences are very interesting, and the ending is nice. If the theatre won’t stop with the credits, you will surely want to see the scenes which come with the final credits. Even though Marvel has indeed brought us a smaller superhero and destruction is also lesser, the scope of this one is reduced for the same reason. The superhero power itself is weird, and the action makes too much way for drama, as the dialogues are rather a lot. The movie is rather too goofy, and celebrates its inability to provide more to ponder about or even to leave a message. The seriousness never really coming to the front and the absence of a menacing villain may be some of the major reasons for the same.

You can choose to enjoy the humour though, even as it is only partially working. This movie surely needed to be more serious. The ants should not have been portrayed as random cute creatures even when made bigger. This universe of Marvel works better with its chaos and destruction, as it is where the strength should have been derived from. Yes, there are talks about the chaos happening in the world, but that goes on with the light tone of the movie, and we are not really bothered if it happens or not, as there is nothing to make us feel it the same way. Paul Rudd is perfectly suited for the role though, and Evangeline Lilly plays the second biggest character on the good side well.

Ant-Man still continues to keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe going. It just can’t go on without the regular problems of an origin story, and is not without repetitions. The basic formula remains the same, and the differences are made only according to the character of the new superhero. But still, it should interest the regular viewer of superhero movies. It does seem a little overrated right now, as it is nowhere close to being the best from Marvel. Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains the most seriously awesome movie of the universe, and Ant-Man is just some good entertainment without many thrills and no twists. I watched this movie as one of the seven people in the theatre, out of which four came only later. The multiplexes do have been attendance though – still not that much as a usual Marvel movie.

Release date: 24th July 2015 (India); 17th July 2015 (USA)
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Michael Douglas, John Slattery, Hayley Atwell, Abby Ryder Fortson, Gregg Turkington, Martin Donovan

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Hobbit II

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On The Hobbit :: In the first installment of a three-part film prequel series based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien called An Unexpected Journey, we saw thirteen dwarves accompanied by one wizard and a hobbit, going on a mission to reclaim the dwarf lands which was earlier claimed by a fire-breathing dragon, Smaug. It was then that our hobbit had attained possession of a ring from Gollum which will make a difference in many ways later. The film had ended with a vision of the Lonely mountain with the dragon, and the creature opening its eyes. This movie has released almost exactly an year after the first movie released, and the third movie There and Back Again will be there on December 17th, 2014. It would have been even better if Guillermo del Toro was more involved with the movie, and it was his vision that was there, but even now, this movie is incredibly strong, and one would wonder if how different this would have been if he was in charge – may be something which was so different that one has to wonder so much? Who knows?

What is it about? :: After taking refuge from the orcs at the home of a skin-changer, the team of fifteen splits up as Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) who separates from them with a promise to meet them before they reach their destination. After fighting giant spiders, they are caught by the wood-elves from where the escape hidden in empty wine barrels. Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) invisibility ring helps in both cases. Meanwhile, Gandalf fights a legion of orcs as well as an entity known as the Necromancer. They are later helped by a human bowman Bard (Luke Evans) and later receives a great send-off when the talk about the riches come into play. But the orcs are after them, and so are two elves, Legolas and Tauriel who have more obvious reasons. With Gandalf missing, the fourteen are on their own in their battle against the dragon, and the questions remain about how they would get inside the mountain, how will they get the Arkenstone which is needed to rule, and how they will slay, defeat or at least survive from the dragon if they could. Another interesting question might be about who all will survive, with a dragon, an evil necromancer and lots of orcs involved.

The defence of The Hobbit II :: Talking about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, this is exactly what I had expected from this movie, and the movie has provided me with exactly what I was expecting. The fans of the book might disagree, but I haven’t read it and the whole movie remains a spectacle for me. The movie is an improvement from the previous one of the series, and it is a huge improvement as the action sequences and special effects are considered – may be I am a little prejudiced with this point as I watched the first movie on television in Sony Pix and this one in a multiplex in 3D, first day third show. But you can’t deny the strength of action sequences here, especially with the team’s barrel run chased by the orcs who are chased by the elves, and then when Legolas is involved. The dragon is also well-designed and it is an interesting character with its fire breath adding to the special effects more burning beauty. The spiders, the web and the forest remains another area which makes the whole thing interesting. One can actually take time to talk about almost every character out there, but I would rather not do the same.

Positives and Negatives :: We know the dragon is an impressive creature here, and so are all the creatures of different races, but there is one thing that doesn’t stand that good, it is the female elf Tauriel who seems to do nothing interesting other than create a bad love triangle. But we can still think that she never existed as the dwarf whom she healed was treated by other dwarves or humans. But the character is awesome in the action sequences, so may be she can be of interest in the next movie as long as the significance of that unnecessary love triangle will become less. As a character who is not in the book, I would think that she won’t be liked by the book fans. The movie is very long, but there is no dull moment in it, so just take that length negativity out of the equation. May be some people don’t like journeys like this, but obviously this was what one was supposed to expect, and the ending is quick, but better executed than The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and gives people more interest in going for the third movie which is surely going to be heavily packed with action. The 3D is fine and even excellent at times, nothing spectacular considering the overall quality of the movie, but I wasn’t looking for that in this movie.

Performers of the soul :: As the movie gets into action very early unlike The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which takes an eternity, our people are also prepared. Martin Freeman steals the show, and Ian McKellen comes as the big tree which holds things together. Richard Armitage’s dwarf king gets better, and Luke Evans’ presence is something which will be strong only by fulfilling his character’s destiny in the next movie if it is indeed the fate. Orlando Bloom is the ultimate action hero of the movie, and the number of claps he received in the theatre can’t be counted. The movie needed the character from Lord of the Rings, even as I hear people say that he is not The Hobbit character. He is more an archer magician right there making most of his screen presence. Despite Evangeline Lilly’s nice portrayal of her character, it is an avoidable she-elf – otherwise she is good and excellent in the action sequences. Well, elves are crowd favourites! Aidan Turner is equally detestable for that love triangle even as one has to like the way he has performed. Lee Pace makes a fine elf king, while the other dwarves work as good as they did in the first movie. Above all, love Benedict Cumberbatch’s fire-breathing red dragon, for that one rules.

Soul exploration :: The movie deals with the courage of a hobbit yet again, as despite his weaknesses and the lack of abilities, he joins the dwarf warriors, and continues his journey here. He is more heroic than he was in the first movie and even saves the dwarves from being eaten by giant spiders as well as being eternally imprisoned in the elf prisons – he even talks to the dragon face to face, and there is the courage that he has found, along with the ring. Meanwhile, Bard has to accomplish his destiny or rather fail in it, leaving a question mark for the final movie of the series. Elves, hobbits, dwarves, goblins, orcs, trolls and humans – they have all been in the series, and except for goblins and trolls, the rest make an impact in this movie too. The human neutrality is evident, and so is the orc alignment towards pure evil. The dwarves and hobbits remain more on the good side a little more than neutral, and the elves are good in their own way. But when we look at the ideals of the three – dwarves, elves and hobbits, they are different with variable views on each other, and if given a choice, I would think that most would chose the elves, and so would I. This racial difference is an incredible thing, and I have loved this variety in creatures since playing Age of Wonders.

How it finishes :: I would sincerly hope that all who are praising the special effects and CGI of some of the worst movies of the year, to watch this one (Krrish 3 fans can look at Dhoom 3 when it releases if waiting for an opponent of equal platform). The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is one of the best movies of the year and also a visual treat which entertains with its witty dialogues, incredible action sequences and a flurry of special effects. It indeed makes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey feel that it could have been a better movie. Peter Jackson has indeed created the right hobbit movie which will surely make me choose Halflings as the race the next time I play Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic – something which I had given up in favour of the Draconians and the Undead. Meanwhile, I hope you all had a great Friday the 13th. It is the favourite day (and night) of the Vampire Bat, and on this occasion, he has decided to go lenient on his ratings, but The Hobbit II actually deserves it. Still, the one year wait for the third movie is going to be so depressing!

Release date: 13th December 2013
Running time: 161 minutes
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.