Spider-Man: Homecoming

Vampire Owl: Do they mean to say that Spider-Man will finally come home?

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. Home should be where the heart is, and we know how much that it makes everything changing.

Vampire Owl: Well, it doesn’t matter if he come home or not, as there are so many superheroes who have overtaken him in the recent past.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I remember him having ruled the superhero world around here. Superman, Batman and Spider-Man were three big heroes.

Vampire Owl: You see how well Thor: Ragnarok managed to do better than this one at the theatres.

Vampire Bat: It is not really that strange. The Spider-Man that everyone loved, was not this teenager who is more irritating than an undead zombie filling a bucket with a hole.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I remember how irritating he was in Captain America: Civil War.

Vampire Bat: Then, he is also at a low level of heroism compared to almost everyone in the Avengers list.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I am sure that he is too much dependent on Iron Man. And he is like our first known superhero. It is such a shame.

Vampire Bat: At least, he is named after the spider and not the bat.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Nice Time biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton)and his salvage company take the contract to clean up the city after the events of The Avengers, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (DODC), a combined venture of Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and the United States government, much to their dismay as they had set everything for these operations. Now out of business, and left with not many options to come back to track, Adrian and his team keep the Chitauri alien technology they had already managed to take from the site, and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. At the same time, the incidents of Avengers: Age of Ultron also happen, and there is Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who gets invited to all the action during Captain America: Civil War – he is very much excited about the same, but has to get back to Midtown School of Science and Technology to continue his studies.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Peter used to be part of United States Academic Decathlon, but now, he spends more time looking for action, keeping on checking with Stark’s employee Happy (Jon Favreau) to see if there is chance for any more of the Avengers missions, but he doesn’t reply to the same. His best friend is Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) who supports him in all things, and is the only one in college, and the only person among his friends and family to know his secret identity. His classmate and opponent Eugene Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) wastes no time in making fun of the two, and also his talks about doing internship at Stark Enterprises. Peter doesn’t care though, as he has fallen for a senior girl named Liz Allan (Laura Harrier), and has a few friendly neighbourhood Spidey jobs to do almost every day. He helps people in need using the costume which Tony Stark had provided for him during the battle against Team Captain America.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: After stopping criminals from robbing an ATM using the advanced alien weapons, he comes across a deal, and is taken away by Adrian in his Vulture form and dropped in a lake, only to be saved an Iron Man armour programmed to keep track of the Spider-Man suit. But it is not just Vulture that stands in Spider-Man’s way, as the Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine) has also been unleashed. Peter realizes that something huge is going on, and that it is in Maryland as shown by the tracker he set on one of the villains – this leads to Parker rejoining the decathlon team and traveling with them to Washington DC for their national tournament, but with villains with alien technology, one has to wonder if this is too much for a friendly neighbourhood spider-boy to handle – but you can never predict that well as far as our superheroes are concerned; for Ant-Man is the smallest big one!

The defence of Spider-Man: Homecoming :: There are those usual Spider-Man action here again, and it works most of the time. Tom Holland as Spider-Man seems to get into things very well. Earlier, in Captain America: Civil War, Spidey was one irritating creature, and now things have managed to be better. The beginning with his own shots of the adventure with Avengers is pretty bad too, but the villain and his superior ideology to Peter and Tony is a boost, as we have a better antagonist than those in those usual superhero movies. It is nice to have Spider-Man there though, as what could Marvel Cinematic Universe be, without its greatest superhero of all-time? There is a certain funny side that works at times, but not throughout the flick – also, the movie does keep us guessing about what is to happen next, with a clueless superhero gets into his job. The one heroine whom we might be looking for in a sequel, should be Zendaya as Michelle Jones. Before we get things to be better, lets go through the Spidey stuff for its third series of movies.

The claws of flaw :: Everything in this movie seems to happen for one reason or the other, and Spider-Man has to prove himself to the one rich egoistic superhero just because he has money to spend on everything. This does make one wonder if Vulture is the real hero who takes these away from the millionaires and gives it to the people. Even Marisa Tomei seems to have been chosen for Iron Man, as you notice how quickly the age of the aunties of Spider-Man are falling – the first franchise of the century had the actress playing this role in her eighties, then the next one close to her seventies, and in this third group of movies, we will have fifty-year old aunty! Even the leading actress is pretty much not interesting, with her character being there for what seems to be ready to bring that twist about falling in love with the villain’s daughter – it is such an old thing, even for Bollywood; there is the need to change it. Well, the two are poles apart in everything on screen. The action and the tale are not much smarter either.

How it finishes :: Most of us who have grown up reading and watching Spider-Man more than any other superhero will find it strange to have this kind of an irresponsible hero in the Spider-Man suit. The Spider-Man we knew as the supreme one from Marvel, the other two big names Batman and Superman being part of DC, has been brought to be part of a second grade list here, under Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Black Panther, all of whom we who are here at this part of the world never really knew during our childhood. He-Man had a position far above these people, and even our own inspired creation in the form of Shaktimaan. Now, when we see Spider-Man in this form, it makes us wonder more than anything else, and the box-office of this superhero here which is just under Thor: Ragnarok is more because of the left-overs of the Spider-Man of early 2000s, and The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, more than the result of Marvel’s new cinematic universe.

Release date: 7th July 2017
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jacob Batalon, Isabella Amara, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori, Garcelle Beauvais, Kerry Condon, Michael Mando, Hemky Madera, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green, Kenneth Choi, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Abraham Attah, Tiffany Espensen, Selenis Leyva, Tunde Adebimpe, Michael Barbieri, Ethan Dizon, Martha Kelly

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Need for Speed

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* “Too much gaming details warning” for the first three paragraphs 😛

Games of the soul :: How much value does a movie based on video game have in this world? If we look at movies like Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, that should be zero both for the critics and the box-office, a fate which it never deserved – unlike DOA: Dead or Alive which was expected to have such fate. Then there are the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series which grosses a lot more than the critics see in them. Well, they don’t like my personal video game favourite Hitman, neither do they come close to being interested in Max Payne or Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which were actually much better than what we are made to believe about them. If a movie based on a video game is somewhat like that game, can we blame the makers? Isn’t it how the movie is supposed to be? I am looking forward to the upcoming movies based on Mass Effect, Deus Ex, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. There is going to be a lot more to explore in them, especially the first one I mentioned. I have a feeling that it is that movie which will change the opinion about video game based movies.

NFS reloaded :: My first love for NFS series began with Need for Speed II SE which I came across at a time when I was actually playing more Road Rash than ever. I loved the game and decided not to retreat to the earlier version. I didn’t like Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit any better even as I spent quite a long time in it. Then came Need for Speed: High Stakes which I chose to hate, which made me take a small leap into Midtown Madness but that stayed only for a short time. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed brought me back though. Then Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 made me realize that I was trailing in graphics card, and I had trouble with the speed of the game. After upgrading my system, I went directly into Need for Speed: Underground which remained my favourite until Need for Speed: Underground 2 made the whole thing awesome, with Brooke Burke around. From that moment, NFS remained my favourite racing game genre, and the stage was set for the greatest racing game I have ever played; Need for Speed: Most Wanted. I loved almost everything about it, and loved being chased by cops towards the beautiful sunset, except the fact that Josie Maran was no Brooke Burke.

The desire for speed :: Need for Speed: Most Wanted had set such a high level of racing game experience which was nearly impossible to overtake. It was one of the most interesting racing challenges ever, and it was that kind of a mission that you always wished to go for, or even more than was in our minds. The next game, Need for Speed: Carbon couldn’t match its predecessor in anything, and I decided to uninstall it soon enough. Need for Speed: ProStreet also came up with nothing special for me. Need for Speed: Undercover was last NFS game I ever played, and that was the end of my NFS life. Due to its alleged similarities with ProStreet, I decided against checking Need for Speed: Shift, and Need for Speed: Nitro was not made for PC which kept it completely out of the equation. Then there was the 2010 version of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed, Need for Speed: The Run, Need for Speed: World and Need for Speed: Rivals, not to forget the 2012 version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. But I had got rid of my graphics card by then, and the only games left with me now are the older non-racing ones.

What is it about? :: Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a street racer and a mechanic who struggles for money. He is interested in Anita Coleman (Dakota Johnson), but due to his financial condition, that is rather impossible for him as she becomes more and more of a former lover. Still, he is having a pretty good time with his friends, enjoying the little things of happiness. But as one of his friends and Anita’s brother Pete Coleman (Harrison Gilbertson) get killed in an illegal race event involving the three, and the third person disappears without evidence, he is sent to the prison. With the help of Julia Maddon (Imogen Poots) and a number of his friends who worked with him in the garage, he decides to take on Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), the man responsible for the death of his friend. But as Dino has announced a bounty on stopping him, and also with so many cops on his tail, the question remains if he can make it to the big race where he intends to defeat, humiliate and expose the lies of his enemy. Even as this one is indeed a big race, it doesn’t remain just another race, as it is personal.

The defence of Need for Speed :: It is nice that they decided against using computer-generated imagery. Aaron Paul is good as the protagonist and he remains solid in his character, but the more impressive one is the charming lady who accompanies him, Imogen Poots who has the best moments of the movie with her, as she seems to bring such beauty and energy into the sequences which is rarely seen, and not to forget the fun – the best lines are there when she is there, and the same is the case of the incidents. One has wonder if she actually stole them with an irresistible charm! I haven’t seen a more lovable performance from any female character in any racing movie before. The cars remains awesome, especially the Ford Mustang which we have all driven in the game. Each actor who plays any of the hero’s friends make sure that none of them lags behind. The villain is without surprises, but manages to be a typical villain of a movie like this. The nostalgia that this movie brings is priceless. As we know which kind of audience will go for this movie, what more can they ask for?

The Claws of flaw :: The one big problem with the movie is that this could have been anything else – a random racing movie rather than being that NFS movie which the fans have been waiting for. There is no real speed in the progress of the movie, especially in the first fourty five minutes or so. It is so slow that one comes to the early conclusion that this is neither fast or furious, and nothing can match Fast & Furious franchise. We can’t deny that after watching this movie. There is almost nothing about it that can make it different from the usual racing movies of the past, and there is no imagination as the game franchise had. The plot is ordinary, concerning the revenge of a former street driver who is sent to jail for the wrong reasons against the man who is responsible for the same. There is not enough car races either. Nobody is going to enjoy this one more than the wonderful games in the super-hit franchise. One might often wonder if this was made due to the need for a movie based on this video game rather than based on the need for some speed. Yes, this movie needs more speed and a better imagination in story.

How it finishes :: Now I only play three games, Age of Empires II: The Conquerers, Age of Wonders III: Shadow Magic and Unreal Tournament, that too once in a blue moon. But Need for Speed is that game which refuses to go out of memory, especially the flare of awesomeness which was Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It was never really just a game for most of us, as it was a wonderful racing life supported by another world which was inside the game. Yes, there were many others which were to become my favourites later, including the big three action-graphics extravaganza; Mass Effect, Oblivion and Prototype, but NFS always belong to a different world, and its strength has been its supporters, as there have been almost no gamer that I have known that have failed to play at least one NFS game with some interest. There is always the Prince of Persia, Hitman, Age of Empires, Unreal Tournamet, Tomb Raider, Max Payne, Resident Evil and such franchises which become the all-time favourites of some people, and then there is Need for Speed which is liked by all who likes the others too. Lets hope the same about this movie.

Release date: 21st March 2014 (India); 14th March 2014 (US)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Scott Waugh
Starring: Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, Dominic Cooper, Dakota Johnson, Ramón Rodríguez, Michael Keaton, Rami Malek, Michael Keaton, Harrison Gilbertson, Stevie Ray Dallimore

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

RoboCop

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A hybrid in black :: A long time after the release of the 1987 version, here is a reboot which was much talked about. There are times when remakes and reboots do work, like in the case of Dredd, Batman Begins, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel, but there are times when they don’t. RoboCop might have also wondered about the same, and no wonder they wanted to make this hero black too, and remains so through most of the movie. It has released here two days after the original release in the United States and seems to have attracted less audience even as the title character is rather famous among the masses and the posters are pretty much impressive. The original movie re-telecasted on television might have brought better audience, even as this one might have just managed to keep itself together, but not throughout the whole movie, that is for sure. As the original movie was rather ahead of its times, one would wonder where this one will stand as bigger robots have come and gone in the form of Transformers and Pacific Rim.

What is it about? :: The world has gone on to 2028. OmniCorp is the organization that supplies mechanized soldiers to the United States Army which are used abroad. They wish to use the same inside the United States, but the same doesn’t happen due to Dreyfus Act which prevents it. The CEO of the organization asks a leading scientist to create a soldier who is a combination of man and machine, so that the public will like him and support more machines. As they look for a human who can be merged with the machine, one of the cops Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb blast. As his wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish) approves the same to see him live, he is chosen as the RoboCop. The control of the human side is kept to the minimum so that his decisions are more accurate and without being shadowed by human emotions which could weaken his reliability. The question remains if the man or the machine wins in the end, and whether he can have revenge on the people who tried to kill him as well as those who wishes to control him.

The defence of RoboCop :: So RoboCop rides on the fame of a movie which was more popular than even those movies which had big stars in 1987. Being Alexander James Murphy and newest model from OCP Crime Prevention Unit of Detroit Police Department, this guy has been a popular hero for quite a long time. The idea of a cyborg, half-man and half-machine was a crowd favourite. This movie works on that solid grounds, and therefore this movie does starts with certain good score. There are lots of action sequences in store for such a character, and this movie also has the same, but mostly about shooting people. Along with the cyborg, the other robots are also nicely done. The robot versus drones training fight remains the best shooting sequence in the movie. The movie tries again and again to bring more and more thoughts into the process, including humanity, machines and souls, and it makes more and more efforts to keep the emotional side powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie can’t really use this emotional side to its advantage, as it is so much caught between it’s confusion about the major character being a man or robot, and in the process, often forgets that the viewers are human, or mostly belonging to that particular species which is supposed to be intellectually superior. RoboCop tries to live on the hype of the original, and in the process, ends up being too less of an entity which can be something which belongs to this age. To add to it, some fight sequences are horribly uninteresting. Then Iran seems to be occupied by the United States and RoboCop is made in China. There is also a television programme which is rather boring for the common viewer. Whenever there is too much deviation from the core of a movie like this, which should have been action, there was to be struggle, and RoboCop is caught in that problem which it has brought upon itself with repetition of the “emotion” stuff, as it gets overdone.

How it works :: Joel Kinnaman does well as the protagonist of the movie. One has to appreciate his presence as the cyborg right from that moment he wakes up inside that suit which is himself. Abbie Cornish is also nice; and I have seen her only in Sucker Punch before. There are lots of good moments provided by the cast, and the movie certainly has its own style. RoboCop seems to be doing better than the 2012 remake of Dredd for now, but I would say that the latter is one of the best reboots ever, even as RoboCop will surely collect more money than the same. Both works on almost the same platform, in a futuristic world full of crime, but RoboCop has the advantage of its hybrid character, and it is what sells, no matter how better Dredd really is. Unlike the original movie, this one isn’t really clear, as it seems to wonder what it is going to convey to the audience. It could have used a lot of updates which any robot should have with that advancement in technology.

Soul exploration :: As RoboCop is the latest victim to Hollywood’s desire to remake movies, there is surely a lot more than what meets the eye. There is a certain amount of satire in it, about the millionaire corporate greed and the prejudice of media, even as they rarely strike hard enough. There is lot of weakness in the idea. The audience expectation of an action movie is fulfilled only on occasions, as the robot police doesn’t get into the field until the second half. There is a lot of slowness related to the first half due to this, but one can spend that time thinking about what is to come and which part of this new breed of police will take over. The movie repeats what one would have always thought about the original law enforcer cyborg, and somewhat adds to the questions which were already there. But the answers are rather not clear in this case. May be it is because the movie wonders about its genre, but it fails to make its point clear as it has another television show in the end which continues what it had been saying.

How it finishes :: RoboCop doesn’t finish that strong as expected from the trailer. There was almost no scene which evoked any good response from the audience in the theatre. It was as if everyone in there was dead; there is always something to cheer for in almost every Hollywood action movie, but not in this one. When it tries too much in order to touch the foreign policy of the United States, capitalism, imperialism, media lies, human tendency towards corruption, terrorism, violence, modern tenchnology with side-effects and all things possible, with no particular care for one, there is rather too much of mess in an action movie which people are expecting. May be it had stuck to one or two things and used more interesting action sequences, with a better link between the audience and the human side of the robot, this would have been better. For now, it is just another okay movie which manages to hold on.

Release date: 14th February 2014 (India); 12th February 2014 (USA)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: José Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.