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

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avengers: Infinity War

What is the movie about? :: Following the events of Thor: Ragnarok which ended with the destruction of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) faces Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his Black Order, a group of ruthless aliens that work for him, referring to themselves as his children in space. With the support of Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon) and Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw), Thanos has no problem in overpowering his opponents, even the Hulk with his bare hands. Along with the brutal murder of Asgardians, Loki and Heimdall are also killed, while Hulk is transported to Earth at the last moment. Thor is left to die, while Thanos sends his minions to Earth seeking the two infinity stones, the Time Stone in the hands of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Mind Stone possessed by Vision (Paul Bettany) – the possession of them all would make him a god.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There is no delay in Thanos’ minions reaching Earth, as Doctor Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong) team up with Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jr) to defend the artifact, later joined by Spider-Man. But Strange is captured and taken into the spaceship, with both Iron-Man and Spider-Man on the trail. Their plan is to take the battle to the world of Thanos, which is located on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. Meanwhile, Vision who is spending some free time with the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in Scotland is attacked by the two other minions of Thanos, who almost kills the two before Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) interferes. They decide to retreat to Black Panther‘s (Chadwick Boseman) territory with War Machine (Don Cheadle) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), where they hope to safely separate the Mind Stone from Vision and destroy it.

And what is follow with the events? :: As Shuri (Letitia Wright) looks forward to remove the stone safely from Vision, Thor is discovered by the Guardians of the Galaxy, as they respond to a distress call from the Asgardian spaceship. As the god of thunder and lightning awakes, he enlists Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) to accompany him to Nidavellir to retrieve a powerful weapon strong enough to kill Thanos. Meanwhile, Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) travels to Knowhere to find the titan of chaos himself and try to stop him while looking for the Reality Stone. Even with two infinity stones, his own brutal strength, and deadly minions, Thanos is a force that seems unstoppable, and being close to gaining the Reality Stone and Soul Stone from other planets and Mind Stone and Time Stone from Earth, can anyone stop the juggernaut of Thanos?

The defence of Avengers: Infinity War :: The movie is very quick to get into action, and there is no shortage of the same in this one, as each character gets a lot to fight for. The battle sequences are as grand as they can get, in different locations, different continents and different planets. Unlike the usual superhero stuff from Marvel, this one can also boast of a strong emotional side, but we can also see that it never really losses its funny side in between all these involving dead superheroes and a possible end of the world. The balance that this movie has managed is marvelous, and we will have to applaud the same many times with what is reflected on the big screen. Even the villain here has such an idea which resembles that of Ra’s al Ghul, a plan which can seem noble to more than one person – having a strong villain is one thing that we all wished for, with superhero movies.

Positives and negatives :: Well, Avengers: Infinity War had a task like never before, to bring all those superheroes as well as heroes together for one battle in which even all of them won’t be enough against one mighty supervillain – we remember what the small team of Avengers did in the first two movies, and what an even smaller team of Justice League did earlier. But this has so many heroes, and we have so much to notice, that some people who are not aware of the franchise’s stars might have trouble keeping up, but they will also enjoy this tale of infinite heroes, as much as it is a story of infinity stones. The movie can be considered quite long for a superhero movies, but considering its grand scale and the number of memorable characters and moments, it is well justified. There is also something which is not to be missed after all of the long credits go off in the end, and you might want to keep your eyes on the big screen for longer.

The performers of the soul :: The heroes are all here, strong and determined, as Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr never really meets up after Captain America: Civil War – they never even calls each other, but the characters remain the same, providing the same for us – the former’s entry is grand. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange remains one divergent superhero here, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor remains a strong point as usual. While we talk about how good the superheroes are, the movie is dependent on the supervillain to do the trick better, as we enjoy the moments with him on the big screen like never before for any Marvel villain. Josh Brolin’s Thanos is not just a villain for the heroes to fight, as he is a death-bringer and a man of chaos, but with order written all over his ideology, thus making him a strange as well as difficult character to show on the screen, but there never really is a problem here – another rare case of the villain getting the claps when between superheroes desperately trying to save the world.

How it finishes :: We have loved our heroes, and we have wished for more and more of them, and this movie might be something which makes that wish come true, and also has us waiting for more with a second part. The one year wait is quite long though, but we will have movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel in between. As they arrive, Avengers: Infinity War is indeed the biggest superhero movie until now, and its scope is as infinite as its title suggests. It will be difficult for Justice League to go over the bar left by this Avengers movie, as they have only begun, and with Marvel having reached this far, there will be struggle to meet the expectations – we can only try to imagine how grand the second part of Avengers: Infinity War can be, as this one already calls for a second watch with its magnificent world that goes far beyond expectations. These heroes have been part of us for so long, and we will keep watching them on the big screen in grand fashion, as we need them and their world for the best of entertainment.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Peter Dinklage, Terry Notary, Michael James Shaw, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Carrie Coon, Benedict Wong, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thor: Ragnarok

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Now You See Me 2

nowyouseeme2

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first movie? I loved it.

Vampire Bat: Yes, remember that I recommended it to you when you were practising black magic.

Vampire Owl: It was something like grey magic. Don’t overdo it.

Vampire Bat: There is no grey magic. It was just neutral dwarf magic.

Vampire Owl: Still, I did better than these people. I had magical flexibility of the immortal kind.

Vampire Bat: I loved the first movie. It was too good.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it was something which had a lot to keep us interested in the journey through the world of magic.

Vampire Bat: There is also a third movie coming up.

Vampire Owl: Now you believe me when I say that magic never dies.

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that, but this franchise is certain to live long.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: About an year after outsmarting the FBI and all who were after them, the Four Horsemen or what remains of them – J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are hiding and preparing for a big event which is to come, but they don’t know what awaits them. Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) had left the Horsemen and they are left with three, which gets them the fourth member in the form of Lula (Lizzy Caplan), making the team complete again. Tired of waiting for their next big event, Daniel does try to contact the Eye by himself, and gets the reply that there is something huge coming. The FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) finally assigns them a new mission, which is about exposing the greedy businessman Owen Case (Ben Lamb) who is stealing private data from people with his new software.

So, what happens next? :: The team of four successfully infiltrate the grand programme organised by Owen, and are so close to getting to their objective, but are interrupted by an unknown person who reveals to the crowd that Jack who was thought to be dead is actually alive, and Dylan is actually a part of the Horsemen and has been fooling the FBI right from the beginning itself. This forces Dylan to escape, and the Horsemen who enters their escape tube resurfaces at Macau and are welcomed by Chase McKinney (once again played by Woody Harrelson), Merritt’s twin brother who has the reputation of making his brother’s life a living hell. There they meet Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who used to Owen’s business partner who who had been deprived of his company and had faked his death after Owen gained full control of everything he had worked for. For the same, he seeks revenge, and wishes to steal from Owen a chip which could decrypt anything in the world.

The defence of Now You See Me 2 :: Some movies will stay with you for long with the magic inside them, and the first movie was like that, with magic within magic, and this one kind of inherits that quality, but only upto an extent. There is entertainment guaranteed, and there are those twists as there is more to Walter who had made the Horsemen steal the chip with vengeance around the corner – there is also more than what meets the eye for the character Thaddeus Bradley too. They are the kind of twists you hadn’t expected that you would see in a second movie; well you never really expected a sequel and so that is another twist. When you feel that this is not going as you had expected, there is that one final twist that gets things together to end the movie well. In the end, one will wonder if it is the superior quality of the first movie that has made this one feel not that awesome – but this is still good in its own style anyway.

The claws of flaw :: A comparison with the first movie will make this one feel less significant as a movie with magic, as the original Now You See Me was the innovator, and it had more strength in the delightful surprises coming from within, instead of twisting things like this sequel does at times. This might also be a little too complicated for many, while not bringing enough of those magical effects. The magic used to be more beautiful, and without doubt, more interesting earlier – but this one often pretends that it doesn’t know the strengths of that first movie which was appreciated by so many people. There are times when we feel that this movie was made more to capitalize on the success of the first movie, and nothing else. Even then, this movie somehow manages to be too long. This one could have used better ideas and more inspiration which would have made Now You See Me 2 rise above its predecessor – but it doesn’t come close.

Performers of the soul :: We once again have the horsemen as entertaining performers here, and the movie depends a lot on them to bring the fun and style to the screen. Jesse Eisenberg leads the way as expected, but one is sure to feel that his character was better in the first movie. Mark Ruffalo remains solid, even when his character goes on to make some of the stranger decisions. Woody Harrelson’s second role was kind of unnecessary, but he is right there with the main role. Dave Franco does the same as he did in the first movie, while Lizzy Caplan becomes a good addition with her best scene being the introduction itself, but everyone is sure to miss Isla Fisher who was such an integral part of the first movie – her replacement here also has her moments, which you are sure to notice. Daniel Radcliffe brings some difference as the villain, but he is not that interesting an antagonist throughout the movie as you go through. Morgan Freeman’s extension of secrets made sure that he had our attention with the character doing much more than we thought.

How it finishes :: You are not going regret watching Now You See Me 2, and if you haven’t watched the first movie, you are only going to love this one a lot more. This one also leaves us asking for more from a sequel which seems all set to arrive. The universe of Now You See Me has been expanded further, and we are more certain to see that there is a lot more to come, especially regarding “The Eye”. There is never enough of magic in our lives, right? The need for an answer to this question is not really there, as we know how much these two movies grossed. So lets see if the third movie becomes a better one that rises to the occasion nicely enough to make this trilogy an unforgettable one, or if it fails to come anywhere close, and thus leaving us with nothing to finish this franchise which had all the potential in the world. We shall hope, and wait for the magic; until then, this one will prove good enough.

Release date: 10th June 2016
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Lizzy Caplan, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jay Chou, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, David Warshofsky, Richard Laing, Zach Gerard, Zoey Callandria Jones, Alberto Calvet Gonzalez

nowyouseeme2

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Age of Ultron

ageofultron (1)

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

ageofultron

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Now You See Me

Nowyouseeme (7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nowyouseeme copy

@ 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

theavengers copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.