Black Panther

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Non-Stop

non-stop (2)

That prayer for release :: People have many reasons to pray for, but one thing that I have prayed for is the release of Non-Stop. We have known that it did release in India on a much later date than its United States release, and thanks to the PVR Cinemas website which thinks that I am from Bangalore and shows me the timings there (when not showing the Chennai timings), I know that it did release there and still not here, just like a number of other movies including I Frankenstein, Ender’s Game, Oldboy and Prisoners making one wonder what is wrong with these people. For a movie like Non-Stop which has someone like Liam Neeson doing what he does the best, one has to be surprised that it took so much time to grace the theatres here, and now it has come with Bangalore Days, and one is left to wonder how stupid is that. Well, it is there in not many theatres and so I guess it is not really another official release. It just proves that multiplex owners are lacking in common sense, and this absence hurts them in collections as well as the movie fans. Well, everyone has a reason to pray, and the prayers are answered now.

What is it about? :: William Marks (Liam Neeson) is an air marshal who is more of an alcoholic after the depression over the death of his daughter. As he travels from New York to London and with the flight travelling away from coast and over the Atlantic Ocean, he gets text messages from an unknown source stating that one person will die every twenty minutes unless a sum of one hundred and fifty dollars is transferred into a specified account. He attempts to find the truth with Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), the other air marshal on the plane, but that doesn’t go on well as Jack is killed. Now, with the help of the person sitting next to him, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) and an air hostess Nancy Hoffman (Michelle Dockery), he goes on trying to find the person who is behind the threat. But the people in the flight gets suspicious as he doesn’t reveal anything, and those on the ground are pretty sure that he is hijacking the plane and not investigating anything. Between all these, and also with a bomb discovered in the middle, can the air marshall come up with enough to save one hundred and fifty passengers on the plane?

The defence of Non-Stop :: The best defence of the movie is Liam Neeson; while Arnold Schwarzenegger might have lost his touch because he is old, this man is getting better as he is getting old, which is why he doesn’t need to be in any of The Expendables. We are given one of the last action heroes that we will have, without martial arts flurry or special effects overdose, and he himself is a living defence. He takes us into the middle of the thrills just a few minutes after the flight takes off, with the stranger striking, and that too with a dual nature of being the investigator as well as the suspect. The thrills stay from then to the end, and even as it leaves us to make some guesses, it certain that the best guesses are not the result. There are so many suspects for us that we can start from one end and continue to the other, just like our protagonist is doing in the movie. It remains intense as well as entertaining, never ceasing to be the thriller that it is supposed to be. It has nicely used its setting to have an advantage over what would have happened if it wouldn’t have occurred anywhere else. The movie has managed that all that was expected of it, and with no denial of the same, comes its defence.

The claws of flaw :: Some people ask for logic, and it is a surprise that they would ask for it in this movie which has remained as close to the same as it could, under the circumstances and the environment. They are mostly the fanboys and fangirls who are actually more interested in seeing motor-bikes turning into bikes and huge super-bikes running on a small thread as in Dhoom 3 or complete nonsense as in Krrish 3. They make dumb Bollywood movies grand success by lending their eyes to stuff that could go straight into the garbage can, and when there are Hollywood movies which keeps its logic working according to the setup of the movie, they say that the movie is stupid, but it is not for the common viewer to pay any attention to such stuff. The climax and the ending are of lower quality, compared to the movie as a whole, especially the first half and the first part of the second. This one does remind the viewer of Die Hard and its sequel, with a man against all odds and a flight with hijackers involved. Flaw finders can run around this one, but can’t take away the quality that it has maintained throughout the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The man whom we loved in Schindler’s List is now one of those super action stars whose movies we can watch without bothering much about the entertainment factor. There were always Taken, Unknown, The Grey and The A-Team which defined the same. He was one star that we could trust with no doubts, and even the more complicated Chloe turned out to be pretty good. He has been Zeus, he fought the Nazis, secret organizations, terrorists, wolves in different movies and even manage to hold one Victor Hugo classic on his shoulder, now how can one doubt him? We never did, which is why we chose this one over Maleficent. Julianne Moore comes up with a character who helps our protagonist, but not without creating that needed shadow of doubt which follows her, and she has carried it with her not lacking in what is needed. Michelle Dockery has smaller, but quite important role as the air hostess, and happens to be the most beautiful person on that dangerous flight. These are actually the three people who we mostly notice, and talking about the villains who come out as a surprise would be a crime.

Soul exploration :: When we were there to watch the movie, it was going to be cancelled, with not enough audience for a show to run, which is eight according to them. But thankfully, some people who couldn’t get the tickets for another movie (Bangalore Days) did save the day, and it is thus evident that one movie helps the other, like the Malayalam movie Drishyam helped three movies in our local theatre during its run, Our Indian Pranayakatha, 1983 and London Bridge. Supported by the hopes of scoring at the expense of another movie, Non-Stop could have done much better with an earlier release, as it asks the viewers questions about how safe they are, and how true can the assurances of the government be. We already know how media goes after breaking news twisting the facts, and how the appearances can be deceiving no matter how close a view we can manage to get, and a further display of the same also comes with this movie. The questions that the movie asks may feel to be without answers, but I guess that is how it is supposed to be. No matter what changes, there are a few questions that we can never manage to answer, and there something that will never get better.

How it finishes :: Non-Stop won’t do that good here with its horribly late release and in the presence of Bangalore Days which is expected to be good and if it is not, will be hailed so by the fans and the youth; we know how fan-boys and fan-girls work. The challenge from its Hollywood opponent will also be high, especially as it has the power of being new. But it is certain that there will be a lot of people who really want to see Non-Stop and with the face of Liam Neeson on the poster, this should bring a few people in, that’s all. This weekend’s winner in Kerala will surely be Bangalore Days though, and questioning the same would be just madness. There are positive reviews out already, the lowest ones being around average or just above average. Non-Stop is that movie which I had missed, and was sure not to get an opportunity to watch again on the big screen, but I guess I can just be glad that I had this chance out of nowhere. Liam Neeson is made for the big screen, he is that good and I made sure its on th big screen.

Release date: 14th March 2014 (India); 28th February 2014 (US)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally, Jason Butler Harner, Corey Hawkins, Frank Deal, Shea Whigham, Bar Paly, Jon Abrahams, Quinn McColgan

non-stop copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.