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.

Arrival

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Vampire Owl: We are all awaiting their grand arrival, sometimes without even closing our eyes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t understand. Who exactly are you talking about? There are no names on this guest book for quite some time. If this is an unofficial meeting coming up, you will still have to inform Uncle Dracula through the telepathic connection.

Vampire Owl: The ones who shall not be named, those whom nobody shall dare to name.

Vampire Bat: If you can’t name then, I won’t be able to wait for them. It makes no sense at all.

Vampire Owl: It is because you are a man without faith. It makes you spiritually poor.

Vampire Bat: I have more faith than you and your brainless zombie minions combined.

Vampire Owl: Well, the beautifully carved tombstones at my favourite cemetery has better faith.

Vampire Bat: This does make me wonder what you mean by the words “faith” and “arrival”.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, you can take some lessons from this movie.

Vampire Bat: Movies with messages and lessons are the best. Let us see how this one goes.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special samosas].

What is the movie about? :: A linguist, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is teaching at the university when she hears an alarm. Twelve alien spacecrafts have landed on Earth, at Maracay in Venezuela, Montana in the United States, Kujalleq in Greenland, Devon in the United Kingdom, Kenema in Sierra Leone, Khartoum in Sudan, Punjab in Pakistan, Siberia in Russia, Hokkaido in Japan, Shanghai in China, and also in the Black Sea and the Indian Ocean. The United States Army Colonel G.T. Weber (Forest Whitaker) contacts Louise to help the nation and the planet Earth as a whole by joining a team which includes people specialised in different fields including a theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). The idea is to understand the reason behind the arrival of the aliens.

So, what happens next? :: At a military camp in Montana near one of the spaceships, the military look forward to knowing if the aliens are really hostile, or are they just trying to make peace with the humans. This can only be done by entering the spaceship at a certain point of time, coming face to face with the creatures. The aliens are nicknamed by the group as “heptapods” due to having seven legs, and the team starts making contact with them. The language of the aliens is something which corresponds to nothing else, as they write some strange circular symbols on the glass which separated them and the humans. Louise puts in a big effort to understand what these symbols mean by connecting them to the basic vocabulary.

What follows the arrival :: Louise also seems to have visions of her daughter at the same time, and it seems to connect with her process of knowing the new language. The nations and their leaders become restless as time passes, and all the spacecrafts remain at the same place without moving an inch. With the curiosity at its peak, the answer from the aliens on what they want seems to be “offer weapon” which alerts all countries. There is the fear of an upcoming threat from the aliens with some new advanced weapons, and some nations even mobilise their military as if to defend against a potential attack. China takes it one step further, as it gets ready to attack the aliens from its territory, and asks other world leaders to do the same. But Louise is convinced that there is something more to this alien arrival – what can it be? Can she stop a war?

The defence of Arrival :: We might have seen many alien invasion movies, but Arrival is the flick that successfully thinks differently with the basic idea. It is science fiction, and it has creatures from other planet, but it so close to life; it is something that not many movies of the same genre will find difficult to achieve. There is also a lot of beauty on screen, and the performances that support the whole thing. The feeling of a possible disaster runs throughout the movie, but there seems to be not more than one explosion in the whole movie. Amy Adams remains the big strong point of the movie, and along with Nocturnal Animals, this is another movie in which she scores amazingly high. Between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming Justice League, she has got two perfect movies in there. Jeremy Renner and the visuals nicely compliment the same.

The claws of flaw :: A lot of people are certain to find Arrival to be kind of slow for their liking. There are too many things happening in this movie, and a lot of them are emotional, plus there is almost no big action sequence or destruction which people expect from these type of movies. Don’t judge this movie by the positive or negative opinions though, as Arrival is a kind of personal experience which needs the movie to be watched. It is also a little bit too philosophical – even though it is not that bad, that feeling is not there throughout the flick. A quicker pace, and a more twisted revealing of the surprise would have helped better too, but as this is based on a short story, it is up-to those who have read the tale to make a better analysis inside. The movie could have also been darker in its theme along with speeding up things. I am also sure that people would have expected more considering how the first half was going.

How it finishes :: Based on a science fiction short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang which had won the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella and the 1999 Sturgeon Award, Arrival might be the alien movie and the science fiction flick which you might have been waiting for, with a desire to concentrate less on action. It has won eight OScar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards as we look at them – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. Well, if these are not reasons enough to make you watch this movie, one has to wonder what else would have. I would wish for a nomination for Amy Adams for the Best Actress too, with this one and Nocturnal Animals too, but we can’t get them all, can we?

Release date: 11th November 2016
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma, Mark O’Brien

arrival

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain America: Civil War

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Vampire Owl :: We have missed too many big Hollywood movies this year. It is a case of heavy disappointment.

Vampire Bat :: You are talking about missing The Jungle Book more than any other.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we missed the nostalgia. There was the same thing in Malayalam too.

Vampire Bat :: But we won’t miss this one at all. The Captain is here at the local theatres this time. Captain America movies have always been among the best superhero flicks, and you know how Avengers come up with the big action all the time!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1398-captain-america-civil-war

The two movies which constituted The Avengers series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had managed to be special treat for the fans. There is no chance for questioning Marvel this time either, with another action-packed movie here which features most of the superheroes excluding the Incredible Hulk and the hammer-wielding Thor. With the Avengers supposed to be grouped into two teams under Captain America and Iron Man, the expectations were set high, and this movie delivers too, following the path of the two earlier Avengers movies as well as the two Captain America flicks, as the story continues from where it had left things, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As the Avengers are going through one of their routine missions, things don’t really go on as planned and an explosion occurs, killing a number of Wakandans. Later, the U.S. Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) tells them about the United Nations plan to come up with the Sokovia Accords signed by 117 nations, which will bring a certain amount of control in the functioning of Avengers to avoid loss of human life and property. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who is saddened by his own creation of Ultron, destruction of Sokovia and isolation from Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) comes up with the decision that they have to sign the Accords, and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) supports him on this, along with Vision (Paul Bettany).

But Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has no faith in the government or an international organization, as Captain America turns from being the patriot to the insurgent while trying to protect his old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) who is once again termed as “the Winter Soldier” and is blamed for an explosion which follows. A revenge-seeking T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) also joins Tony Stark’s team which also has James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and he recruits a young Peter Parker (Tom Holland). But the truth about Bucky is more than what meets the eye, and to defend the same, Captain America will need the support of his other allies which will include Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner).

Among all the superheroes that Marvel has created, Captain America has remained the most interesting one; the two movies of the Captain has been among the best movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with Captain America: Civil War, the three movies make a fine trilogy of action thrillers. As it has been in the previous titles, Chris Evans makes an amazing Captain America. Just as the title suggests, this one easily becomes his movie. Elizabeth Olsen once again has a special charm as the Scarlet Witch while Paul Rudd brings more entertainment even though he arrives late. Robert Downey remains solid as Iron Man. The next two characters we notice the most are nicely played by Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman.

Even though The Hulk and Thor are not present here, this movie brings more superheroes, some whom the fans might already know and the others being mostly unfamiliar to most of the audience outside North America and Europe. The new additions include the Black Panther and Spider-Man, while Ant-Man, Falcon and Vision get to be part of some full Avenger action. Ant-Man adds some nice fun as the movie nears the end while the young Spider-Man and all the jokes related to this version of the superhero remains just irritating. There have been many versions of Spider-Man before, and this one here remains the least impressive of them all. The Black Panther remains special though, and the character is a smart addition.

The story doesn’t have the strength here, but the action sequences and the visuals make up for it. Still, the previous Captain America and Avengers movies had better thrills, story-line and there were even bigger action sequences. But this one here has the biggest group of superheroes, and with so many of those interesting characters present, the movie becomes a treat to watch. Unlike the previous movies, the focus too shifts to the relationships between the main characters, from between Captain America and Iron Man to Vision and the Scarlet Witch, there is a powerful emotional side to this flick, and there is also the testing of loyalties as well as old friendships. The battle is not against the villain this time, but between themselves and their own people.

The movie is also thought-provoking to an extent, even though that side never really gets the spotlight. It has all the entertainment that one needs for the weekend, but adds a little bit too much that is not really needed, from Spider-Man who was just there for the sake of being present, to some of those emotional sequences which often seem a little bit too much. The movie never really needed to go childish with Spider-Man. It surely has an advantage over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as expected, but could have still been an even better movie. The potential for this movie was so much, and just enough of the entertainment is delivered here. With two parts of Avengers: Infinity War to come, one has to wonder what all these events will mean for the team of superheroes. You need to be ready 😀

Release date: 6th May 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

MI: Rogue Nation

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Vampire Owl :: We have been missing the impossible.

Vampire Bat :: Well, we haven’t tried anything impossible for some time.

Vampire Owl :: Actually, we take no risks except when watching those terrible movies.

Vampire Bat :: Well, everyone can’t be Tom Cruise!

Vampire Owl :: Somehow, he never really gets old.

Vampire Bat :: May be he is immortal too, in another way.

Vampire Owl :: There is that special feeling when we hear that Mission Impossible music; I don’t know what it is.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/947-mission-impossible-5-review.html

We return to the super-hit franchise again. Tom Cruise, the Mission: Impossible franchise and the action movie fans have had a very good relationship in the last few years. Even as the third movie of the series was the least impressive of them all, they successfully made things a lot better with the fourth, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Inspired by a much older television series, Mission Impossible franchise has been making a very heavy impact on the fans since the first movie in 1996. It is no different in the case of this fifth movie which has everyone’s attention ever since the trailer began to show up in the theatres.

As his adventures continue, Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) comes face to face against a dangerous criminal organization called the Syndicate. But despite his best efforts, CIA and other organizations completely deny its existence. Meanwhile, the director of the CIA Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) gets IMF disbanded and taken into the CIA itself, with a mission to catch Ethan as early as possible. At the same time, Ethan is captured by the Syndicate, and is saved by a former MI6 agent working for the criminal organization, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). As IMF is disbanded and CIA is refusing to believe them, Ethan decides to take things into his own hands.

As Ethan remains on the run with CIA on his tail, he almost gets hold of a Syndicate member while attending an opera, but the Chancellor of Austria is killed at the same venue despite his best efforts. At the same time, Ilsa leaves him with clues which will help him to get to her at Casablanca. With the help of his friends Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Ethan has to figure this out and confront the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). It turns out that the Syndicate is not a regular criminal organization as they thought it was, but something more with origin in secret government organizations.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is exactly the movie of the series that the fans might have wanted for a long time. It is surely intelligent and has a very interesting story despite having no spectacular sequences to finish it – the ending could have had bigger action and the villain also could have been a more menacing one face to face. The highlight of the movie, the sequence with Tom Cruise hanging outside the airplane comes very early. It is just one of those stylish action highlights of the movie which has others like an interesting sequence at an opera, a high voltage motor-bike chase and an underwater heist. These are also done at some of the best locations possible.

We know how well Mad Max: Fury Road managed to be a wonderful full action movie, and this one follows that path using its strength. The rest of the things are just means to this strength, and you can also admire the fact that the smartness of the plot supports it. You should notice how well things come together as the locations shift between different nations – you will love Morocco shown in this movie more than the rest. The sequences are also more believable. I was still a little disappointed that Jeremy Renner doesn’t take part in much of the big action here. But there is enough here to make up for that, and our cast surely does the job very well.

In a movie which has some nice twists and change of sides, Tom Cruise manages to emerge as the awesome action star once again. There is no difficulty there is making us believe in the impossible with this man around. It was great to see Rebecca Ferguson get a role which is very much on par with him, with just lesser in screen presence only to Tom Cruise. She is the best heroine ever in a Mission: Impossible movie and she has a part in almost every action sequence with our protagonist, and at the same time having no romantic side with the hero. She is perfectly suited for this role. She does those stunts in style and also brings the suspense as the person who is the most difficult to figure out in the whole movie. She is the one complicated person on whom the whole mission depends on. She becomes the big advantage that none of the other movies of the franchise had. Along with Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames also has a little too less to do in this flick.

The franchise achieves new heights with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, as the latest flick becomes a superior entertainer in the list of movies which have served us for almost twenty years. There is a certain improvement with this movie, which was thought to be a hard task, but it has been done. It won’t be easy to forget this one soon, as the thrilling experience will stay on the mind of viewers for quite a long time. Even though there have been so many movies with big action sequences, you can still take the level of action to an even higher level – it is not impossible, and this movie proves the same with ease. Look out for this movie this weekend, and it can make you forget Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

[After the movie]

Vampire Owl :: Well, Rebecca Ferguson does save the day more times than Tom Cruise, and that should be a first.

Vampire Bat :: She is too good! Most of the time, her character surely is the smartest one around!

Release date: 6th August 2015 (India); 31st July 2015 (US)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Simon McBurney, Jens Hultén, Tom Hollander

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Age of Ultron

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What is it about? :: The movie begins with the team of Avengers including Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) attacking a Hydra fort which is concentrated around a town in Eastern Europe. They manage to recover Loki’s Scepter and get out of there, even though they meet two enhanced humans, the Maximoff twins (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who offer tough resistance with their special superpowers. But an attempt by the two part-time superhero scientists of the group to use the artificial intelligence within the artifact goes the wrong way as it unleashes what they called the Ultron and it takes over almost all the available information in the internet including the protected information. The new creation attempts to get stronger with one aim in mind – the extinction of mankind.

The defence of Avengers: Age of Ultron :: This second movie is a big improvement from the first movie, even though there will be big fan boys of the predecessor who will find it very difficult to accept the same. Here, we see more brains than any usual Marvel movie. There is improvement in almost every department, with the characters, special effects as well as the action sequences. The addition of the two new characters, Quick Sliver and the Scarlet Witch in the form of the Maximoff has powered the movie big time. Even the dialogues get better with this one as the funny as well as the thought-provoking moments work wonders, and there is more strength in each department added separately. The action and the dialogues are given so much attention that we feel that just the minimum plot is needed. This looks so good and works so good, and the defence says that you money will be well spent as sparks fly with maximum strength.

Positives and Negatives :: Some of these can give the feeling of being repetitive, and even with a small presence of this repetition, if you feel more than a small amount of the same, it is because you don’t see the big complete picture here. The plot about having the artificial intelligence seeking the destruction of mankind and the loading of consciousness happen to be too common these days, but this has managed to handle the same very well so that the feeling of having gone through this is minimal. It takes a big effort to improve from a movie which was so loved, and the success of Avengers: Age of Ultron comes as a lesson to many superhero movies which are waiting to be released. You can say that there was too much action and so many superheroes, but count them as positives. The only one thing which we miss from the previous movie is the presence of Tom Hiddleston as Loki – but considering how the Marvel Universe is progressing, he should come back only in another story.

Performers of the soul :: What you have to love here is that Jeremy Renner finally gets his due, as Hawkeye becomes that identity of the group who is more human that anybody else, and helps his team to come back together. To be frank, all the characters get some extra in this one, and the only person who might have got slightly lesser in significance might be the Iron Man itself, but then, he comes up with moments of his own – for he is Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans’ Captain America still remains the most likable character in movie and he is so much the man to admire. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulky side continues being the better one and the romantic elements are rather unnecessary, as it also makes Scarlett Johansson less Black Widow and more Natasha Romanoff when not needed. You also have to love how Cobie Smulders makes an impression in what seems to be a smaller role, and Samuel L. Jackson continues to make the big impact – well, he is the fury with all the fury!

Further Performers of the soul :: Anthony Mackie as Falcon has a small presence while Don Cheadle as War Machine gets more even though not anywhere close to the Avengers and the big newer additions to this movie. The two artificial intelligence creatures are well-portrayed, but if you ask me about the best addition to this sequel, I would go for the enhanced twins. I remember last seeing Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen together as husband and wife in Godzilla, and now we have them as the twins. Even though the former has some very nice moments of action, it is the latter who steals the show as the character we know in the comics as the Scarlet Witch. When the former depends on the slow motions sequences which are created to indicate his speed as the Quicksilver that he is in the comics, the latter has her much weirder skills as she goes on and makes the character a joy to watch – she is so perfect in this avatar; check her expressions and movements while in action, and you have to love this casting.

Soul exploration :: While it will be interesting to see what Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will have to offer for the Avengers in the next movies, let’s get into this movie’s soul. The first movie was too simple, and it was like there is an alien invasion coming up and a superhero team has to save the world just like that – but here we have a movie which is more than just mindless superhero action – this one has space for thoughts, and an expansion of the movie’s ideas in our own way. The movie asks one major question about chaos and order, and where the truth and a perfect righteous situation lies – in the acceptance of order or in the chaos that comes with a revolution? Another question is if the human extinction is the only right way to peace. We all want a better world, are we prepared to change? There are times when you have to feel the mankind itself is too less worthy. Do we find peace these days? We haven’t even evolved out of religious, caste-based and ethnic hatred, and we always have new ones coming up.

How it finishes :: Avengers: Age of Ultron is a spectacle of a very high quality, may be matching that of the immortals of Asgard, and you need to watch this one at the theatre itself. I was not surprised by the houseful shows of this movie at the local theatre too, as this is that good, even in the non-3D version which was there. Yes, it is quite understandable that Fast and Furious 7 managed to be pretty much okay and for the love for the series and Paul Walker, we just can’t stop thinking about that movie. But after two weeks, the big one has released, and this might the highest grossing movie of 2015 if surprises won’t jump in. Well, it will be more of a shock to me if this one won’t end up as the movie which brought the most money for its makers. Avengers: Age of Ultron deserves your presence, and there is absolutely no need to wait for anything else right now. Mark my words, and don’t listen to the lesser mortals, for the Vampire Bat finds this one better than its predecessor, and this is like the heaviest action ever.

Release date: 24th April 2015 (India); 1st May 2015 (US)
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Cobie Smulders, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hayley Atwell, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Avengers

theavengers (8)

This is a flashback into what was pure entertainment. In the movie, Nick Fury, the director of the fictional intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to form a group of talented superheroes to stop Thor’s adoptive brother Loki and his army from capturing Earth. Well, even one of these heroes usually proved enough in most of their movies, and having them together was nothing less than classic entertainment at its best. It did beat the other two superhero movies of the year by the box-office collection, an achievement which one have to doubt if it deserved in the case of The Dark Knight Rises, even as it is debatable in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man. Staying at the top of the highest of grossing movies of 2013 list and being the third highest grossing movie of all-time with no intention to be overtaken any time soon, this movie makes regular visits to Star Movies as if it is a home. As Marvel’s Iron Man 3 makes it to the all-time top five grossers list, one has to wonder how good a universe has been created by Marvel using these few lesser known superheroes who were always considered inferior to Spider-Man, Superman, He-Man and The Phantom in this part of the world, Batman being a more recent phenomenon of awesomeness.

Loki has made a pact with the alien race known as the Chitauri as they promise Loki a huge army to capture Earth in exchange for Tesseract, an incredible energy source of unlimited power. In what would seem an ambush, Loki takes the Tesseract from where it is safely secured, and also gain control over several of the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D before escaping. Feeling that the only way of getting it back and saving the world is the Avengers initiative, he brings together the superheroes, and even manages to capture Loki before he escapes later when the group becomes divided somewhat due to Loki’s own manipulative powers and also due to their own lack of admiration towards each other, when Loki’s minions attack the place. It even suggests that Loki’s capture was rather a surrender which was meant to manipulate the Avengers initiative and also weaken S.H.I.E.L.D. Loki’s plane is to use the Tesseract, to open a wormhole above Stark Tower, thus creating the portal for his army to come in and conquer the planet. The Avengers stay divided and fallen, but it is upto Nick Fury to make them that one superhero team again without the pride and prejudice which they seemed to show earlier which had lead to the first victory of Loki.

So, the question remains – who is Loki (Tom Hiddleston)? He is Thor’s adoptive brother and still always the enemy who wishes to rule Asgard as well as most of the worlds which are out there, a character based on the deity of the same name in Norse mythology; the same person we encountered in the game Age of Mythology where he was not this bad, manipulative or close to evil. He continues to be more than what he was in the mythology, and the old Norse poems as he is the super-villain around here on Earth for a change, rather than being Asgard’s trouble during the early times. That should be Marvel’s Loki without whom this movie would not have been possible, thus making him the true unsung hero and the true protagonist. Found by Odin and the biological son of a fallen frost giant king, this god is torn between his double identity between two kingdoms of Asgard and the Frost Giants, still trying to conquer more and more world as possible, and denying his existence of frost for living a god’s life in Asgard. Loki has always lacked the pure strength and bravery of Thor as he went on to become the manipulator and the master of illusion nothing less than a sorcerer who lived on lies, cheating and mischief, this aligning himself to evil from just being a trickster.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man; that arrogant superhero who always gets more attention that he really deserves, and has become a crowd favourite these due to the one-liners. But due to the repetitions and the lack of innovation other than coming up with new suits and facing everything with that inherent arrogance which is the result of being a billionaire and a superhero at the same time, this is not the kind of role-model of a superhero that one should have. If it wasn’t for Robert Downey, this hero should have been dead and buried even before it came into existence in the Marvel movie world; still, this one is no match for his own Sherlock Holmes which will remain his best role for me. The Stark Industries would remain an evil entity run by the arrogance of Tony Stark. Well, without that suit, we know what Tony Stark is; a selfish, arrogant not-so-young character who lacks in goodness comapred to the other superheroes of the team, a quality of evil which he has surely attained with too much spent immersed in science and technology – a lesson for most of those people who are plugged into the internet posting stupid things and spreading hatred of the next level; also applicable to mindless fans, especially those of fixed games like cricket. Well, this guy still saves the world even as he is might be having a torture session with Satan at hell – what good have you done?

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers a.k.a Captain America; probably the best of the team, as a man with values, a modern day knight who knows honour and chivalry. This Chris Evans character is just the opposite of the Johnny Storm or Human Torch which he did in Fantastic Four and its sequel, for this one knows how to align to goodness. Human Torch might have been interesting as a character, but he was still more of the league of Iron Man in his extremity of arrogance and lack of respect for his fellow human beings. While we hope that that series would have a better Human Torch in its possible reboot releasing in 2015, it can be seen that Captain America is the undisputed leader, a deserving one. Captain America: The First Avenger was surely among the best superhero movies ever released, or the only true superhero movie in which the protagonist could be admired for being extremely righteous right from the beginning. We can hope that the 2014 release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier would also make one say the same. He didn’t begin with billions or physical supremacy, and knows what it means to be at the bottom of the pyramid, and this knowledge would help him to keep him from being carried away in the glory, as he is still that weak kid who committed the act of self-sacrificing bravery inside.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor (better known to many as Loki’s “adopted” brother); The next prince of Asgard for as many centuries as possible, as the king will always be Odin; he is based on the deity from the Norse mythology of the same name. He has that great advantage of having good practice at home, as it is his brother who creates all the mischief. He might have been acquainted with Loki from his childhood itself, but as he has tranformed into the god of muscle with special emphasis on the hammer carrying biceps from the controller of thunder and lightning, he might have had the lack of brain not only in this movie, but also in Thor. We can only hope that this character would have his lost brain back on November 8, 2013, when Thor: The Dark World releases. But in the movie, he is shown as the only person who can stand of his own against the Incredible Hulk even when he is on his mentally retarded rampage. That should be a good thing, as Hulk smashes even gods even while belonging to the same green alien race of the Lizardman of The Amazing Spider-Man. Thor’s presence is still the most wonderful thing to be seen, as he is an imposing figure with that hammer, and also brings variety from another world, as the outsider who fights for another world which doesn’t belong to him.

Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner a.k.a Hulk; this character is considered a genius scientist who can’t even control himself – such a waste, but still funny in stupidity adding lots of fun to the movie by being a mentally retarded green monster. Still, it is the original form of the doctor who makes the right impact on the movie. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow steals the show even without any super powers, and same is the case of Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), both having their moments in the movie. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is just there for the job. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury co-ordinates the whole thing. As this one has turned into more of a plot summary and character analysis, the fact remains that it is what the whole movie is about. These superheroes joined by a story of alien invasion and all the powerful 3D, special effects and CGI that supports it superbly. It is a visual treat like no superhero movie has ever given before. It is something which raised the bar, as it was taken to the extreme low with Transformers: Dark of the Moon when the robots turned stupid enough to ruin the movie with a similar alien invasion.

Release date: 4th May 2012
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgård

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Hansel and Gretel

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We have had the darker versions of fairy tales, one each in the last two years – Red Riding Hood in 2011 and Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012. The latter getting better reviews than the former was a strange a thing just like this one getting negative reviews – this is astrange world for sure. The one thing which might be agreeable to the fans of all three movies might be that none of them really made an impact on the critics like they did on the box-office. While Amanda Seyfried lead the way in the former, it was the antagonist Charlize Theron who made the impact in the latter. But, here comes Hansel and Gretel, which surely is a much better watch; and a clear winner as a creation of dark fantasy.

It did remind me of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but our good re-telling of the old fairy tale happens to do better by a long way. Then once again, the critical reception might favour the wrong movie even as it is marginal. But trusting someone else who doesn’t know your taste is the worst mistake you can do. I almost made the same mistake, but I could see beyond it, as Ghost Rider 2, the worst Hollywood movie to reach the theatres of India in the last two or three years had more approval than some of those above average movies. This might have been a little long introduction, but it was strange to see that the shows of Hansel and Gretel were cancelled and I had to wait for days to watch it. Therefore, forget the critical ratings; and may be ask your friends who share your interests, and go for the movie.

The Grimm Brothers had given the world the story of two kids who outsmarted a witch; a story which was one of my favourites during childhood. After saving themselves from an abusive step-mother and the evil witch, these children do live happily ever after, as I can recollect. It is absolutely correct until the death of the witch in the movie too. But then comes the “living happily” part, which is a little existential in character. They are witch-hunters – professional ones; one of them is diabetic and the other one is later found to be a ” ” (it is a twist and there will be no spoiler here). But still, they might have found fun in doing their job – it is athletic and they get good payment for it. There is the possibility of ending in a witch’s cauldron or simply as a corpse, but considering what people do these days for attention, I would say that witch-hunting is not that horrible unless that witch got too many fans on facebook. Vampire bats do that often in the dreams.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are the grown-up versions of the awesome little ones, who have dedicated their lives to fight the evil: to save the world from the broomstick-riders who fly better than some of the airlines. Hansel and Gretel start the latest adventure by preventing the town’s Sheriff Berringer from executing a young woman who is accused to be a witch (has the same name Mina – reminding of Mina Harker) after the siblings were hired by the mayor to find and bring back a number of children believed to be abducted by witches. Berringer hires his own men who are killed by a powerful witch, Muriel in the dark woods. The one who is left alive doesn’t last long with a curse for the hunger of crawling things.

Hansel and Gretel discover that the witches are preparing for the notorious ritual of Blood Moon, which requires sacrificing six boys and six girls with certain peculiarities.  The town is attacked by Muriel and her minions, which include a troll Edward (never away from that name from Twilight, but the fans can forgive the appearance of this troll). Now the witches have enough children to sacrifice for Blood Moon, but they need something else (which shall not be revealed to break the suspense) and the remaining question is whether the witches succeed in the ritual which would make them almost invincible. The twists include the truth about their step-mother who was not really evil, the mystery about Mina and the last ingredient of the Blood Moon ritual which would change the siblings’ idea about witches and witch hunting.

This story might sound too familiar and not that awesome to follow, but it is made better with the movie’s great CGI which is one of the best. The 3D effects make it one of the best horror-action experiences through the glasses with bullets, explosions, arrows – all coming towards you in frequent intervals, as well as the dark beauty of the atmosphere which catches you out of the screen. Right from the opening title scenes to the ending credits, it promises and delivers the same. Famke Janssen does remind one of her role as Jean Grey / Phoenix in X-Men III: The Last Stand, but she is surely better as Muriel. The witches look much better than in any movie released in the last few years, and the variety in them brings the culture element into the play – they are not the same. They are incredibly detailed to be just side-kick witches. Their screams create that fear element even when they are not on screen.

The most conservative, horror-hating, gore-fighting people of the pseudo-realistic world needn’t watch this movie though. Let the wonderful action sequences and breath-taking fights be missed by you. The 3D and the CGI can treat the deserving eyes. There are times when one has to cease being intellectual, and what is science but full of contradictions and uncertainty? Therefore, why be against a movie of magic and fantasy saying that it is not real? There is thousand times more chance of this happening than anything of the Twilight series. But the fact is that you don’t even realize why you are in this world; none of us do. Our life is in the hands of the greater power that guides us. So don’t be judgmental on this one, for this is not there to be judged by some superior intellect which goes to Moon or Mars and search for water – this is there to be enjoyed, supported by imagination. This is not a product of perfect reasoning power supported by some random theory; this is not simple every day life – this is dark fantasy. I love action-horror movies and I feel this has only strengthened the genre.

Release date: 25th January 2013 (USA); 1st February 2013 (India)
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Thomas Mann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.