Wonder Woman 1984

Vampire Owl: It has been too long since we wanted to watch Wonder Woman.

Vampire Bat: I thought that we wanted to watch Black Widow more.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that too, but this is a sequel, and we will end up forgetting the first film.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is like we have almost completely forgotten Avengers too.

Vampire Owl: Nobody forgets the Avengers.

Vampire Bat: Everybody forgets everyone, not just Avengers. It is only a matter of time.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have their memories towards eternity.

Vampire Bat: Not at all vampires. There are levels.

Vampire Owl: Levels like in Super Mario?

Vampire Bat: Not exactly. But existence for a long period of time matters.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Group in Washington DC, and in a flashback, we see that when she was little, she had taken a shortcut to win a tournament among the Amazons. There, Antiope (Robin Wright), the general of the Amazon Army had told her there are no shortcuts, and everything has to achieved with honesty, and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of Themyscira had agreed on the same. Even though Diana is doing the usual kind of job in the 1980s, she is also going through the superhero stuff. In the same city, Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig) lives, and as a new recruit to The Smithsonian, meets Diana. Barbara is not popular at all, and she feels that nobody likes her. People usually walk around her as if she doesn’t exist, and she is highly disappointed about that kind of treatment with even her name being forgotten.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Barbara becomes friends with Diana very soon, and they notice one item, a stone that contains a Latin inscription which claimed to grant the holder one wish. Barbara wishes that she becomes as good as Diana in all ways, while Diana wishes that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back to her. They see both wishes being fulfilled very soon, as Barbara finds herself stronger and sharper, as well as liked by everyone around her – she finds out that even her body structure has undergone some change, and she is no longer the clumsy person she used to be, along with finding herself able to lift heavy objects. At the same time, Steve has returned as his soul has possessed another man (Kristoffer Polaha) whose original form can be seen in the mirror reflections. The confusion of entering a new world is with Steve, but with Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) trying to get that stone, it will be the least of their problems.

The defence of Wonder Woman 1984 :: We do feel that the original essence of Wonder Woman is maintained up to an extent, even though it is indeed faded when do a comparison with the previous film. There are some fine action sequences, even though we should have had more grandeur. The best fight is the one in the White House, and showing the helplessness of superheroes making connection with the audience works most of the time. It manages to keep its level high enough among the other DC movies if we make more comparisons with more. The characters in the film are nicely linked with the tale’s progress, and how it finally sets things well for a possible sequel later. There is the message that goes against selfish motive, and going for your desire without thinking about others – against those people who are completely into their ambitions as if people around them do not matter. The setting of 1980s also work really well, and there is a lot of background here that works nicely.

The claws of flaw :: A movie on Wonder Woman can always be better, and there is no doubt about it, for we know what happened in the first film. There could have been more fight scenes around here, and the action could have been bigger. The last fight with the two characters in strange costumes makes things rather weird instead of making everything better in quality. Cheetah should have been a case of terror much earlier as the only character worthy of giving a fight, and should have really had a costume to go with the villainy. The fun that superhero movies usually have, and the dark side that the DC films have had, are not here to make the impact on both sides. The film only gets more and more predictable in its run, and its more and more so by the end. There are moments when CGI doesn’t look that good, especially when the protagonist in the air. There are moments when the movie also feels stretched, and this time even the cameo between credits feel unnecessary.

Performers of the soul :: Gal Gadot, as we always know does remain the strength of the movie, even though there is the feeling of tiredness here in comparison to original Wonder Woman and Justice League. She manages this role very well, as we would expect her too, and the feeling that Wonder Woman brings is different from Marvel’s Captain Marvel – a feeling which is not always easy to manage, but is done really well here. Among these lady superheroes, the gap between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is rather too high, with latter as a character is not the person we love. Kristen Wiig does make a pretty good villain character as she handles the spirit, but not much of a Cheetah that we had expected, despite the first half of the movie had her nicely set, even though in a predictable manner. Pedro Pascal does well as the villain who causes the big trouble. Chris Pine returns, but despite everyone having needed the same, this is short-lived.

How it finishes :: This version of Wonder Woman doesn’t match up to the original, and that point is made clear very early into the movie itself. Well, we are sure that it is not possible to match the skill of Marvel here, but we did expect an exception in this case, which didn’t happen though. There was the chance of making some great action sequences here, but they are limited, and Cheetah itself could have been further grand. When we consider the grand scheme about the last movie, this one surely trails behind. But with the entertainment that the movie provides, it is always nice to have another superhero during these times of trouble. The film also has its moments, and we get this on Amazon Prime Video at a time when we are in lockdown. During these times of COVID-19, stay at home, and thus stay safe. After all, entertainment keeps more people at home than anything else. At the same time, let us hope for a better tomorrow.

Release date: 16th December 2020 (United Kingdom), 25th December 2020 (United States), 15th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shazam!

What is the movie about? :: In an ancient magical temple in another dimension, a powerful wizard named Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) has spent centuries searching for someone pure of heart to grant him his powers and make him his champion. The previous champion was corrupted as he had released the Seven Deadly Sins for personal gains which killed the rest of the Council of Wizards who shared space with him. The sins, pride, wrath, greed, envy, sloth, gluttony and lust are also looking to escape and find their own champion. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who had spent many years searching for the magical temple, manages to find the clues, and reach the place before the champion could be discovered by the wizard. He was someone who was forced to live in hope for finding the power, after being rejected at a younger age by the wizard due to his attraction to the temptations of the deadly sins.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Making his way to the magical temple, he steals the Eye of Sin, and the sins become part of him as they defeat the wizard. An angry Thaddeus uses his newfound power to kill his father, brother, and his own company Sivana Industries’ board of directors, as nobody believed what he described as a child, about the wizard and the deadly sins. At the same time, a fourteen year old foster child Billy Batson (Asher Angel) keeps running away from foster homes to search for his mother, from whom he became separated when they were at a grand carnival. Finally, he is put in a group home with five other foster children including Frederick Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) who becomes his best friend, the beautiful and academically driven Mary Bromfield (Grace Fulton), extremely loving and good natured Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), gamer and technology expert Eugene Choi (Ian Chen) shy and sensitive Pedro Pena (Jovan Armand)

And what else follows with the happenings? :: The group home is run by Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa Vasquez (Marta Milans) who tries to keep the family together with great effort. But they are not really a family with differences showing up at all times, especially with Billy, who desperately wants to meet his biological mother again. One day, when Billy finally decides to stand up for Frederick as a brother as he sees himself in his position, he is chased by bullies to end up in a metro from where he is transported to the magical temple, which is known as the Rock of Eternity. There, the wizard chooses him to be his champion of the good against evil, and to save the world from the deadly sins which were unleashed, and the vessel which Thaddeus had become. A confused Billy reluctantly agrees, and on saying the magic word, is transformed into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) – but he is clueless about what happens next with the wizard gone. What can he do now?

The defence of Shazam! :: This is the movie when DC decides to go away from its darker and serious tone, towards a world which has common men and women with children having all the fun in the world, and at the same time, brings some fine jokes. Shazam! never really makes one feel that there is terror beyond words, and that the world is in peril – it is thus something which is best suited for children. The movies like Justice League, Man of Steel, Aquaman and Wonder Woman gave that feeling which made an apocalypse come closer, but in this case, with a continuing funny side and added kids, it never feels that the Seven Deadly Sins and its vessel will bring that terror. The movie’s superhero elements are usual, but well explored. We also have some kind of message about family, which feels too common and repetitive, but is there to be taken.

The claws of flaw :: Compared to the usual superhero stuff, Shazam! takes a deviation, and this sometimes works, and at times, it just doesn’t. Without the feeling of enough terror faced by the world, it struggles to keep up the momentum, even though it is never that foolish as Deadpool and Deadpool 2 even with that funny side which stays throughout the movie. It is still not that effective as Ant-Man and Ant-Man 2 managed to come up with. Starting from an idea which wouldn’t make sense even in the superhero world, the movie is more or less childish in nature, and for the same reason, it doesn’t work that well with the adult audience. Shazam! is best suited to be an animated movie, and the fact that they have managed this far is worth the applause, but it will not be something that will stay in our minds for long as it goes too childish at times.

The performers of the soul :: This movie comes from the director of Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation – doesn’t really carry that feeling of horror and terror into this movie, as he makes another one to work. David F Sandberg will also be directing the second film in the series too. Concerning the performances, the movie’s strongest point is its villain, Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana is a joy to watch as he becomes a controlled, evil villain whom we can admire. The kids led by Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer are pretty good, but nothing much for us to remember. Zachary Levi makes a pretty good impact as the adult version superhero. Grace Fulton is the next one whom we remember. She could have a bigger superhero appearance sooner or later as she seems to be very much suited for such a character. The Seven Deadly Sins could have had human forms too, as they would provide more to explore within them.

How it finishes :: Shazam! is the first movie which I watch during the Corona Lockdown, during its early stages. India went into a complete lockdown on 24th of March midnight, and it was supposed to go on until 14th of April midnight, a time period of 21 days. But our lockdown at home had started rather early, on 22nd of March, one day before the Janata Curfew and the lockdown of Corona infected districts and states. The situation has definitely changed now, and so have our worries. With the vaccine almost here, lets hope that we all survive this pandemic. We can only hope that there are no more big variations of the virus which would bring further trouble. This will also be the final movie of the year to be reviewed on Movies of the Soul, as we hope for a new beginning in 2021, with the expectation that it won’t be that bad as 2020, but you can never be so sure about it.

Release date: 5th April 2019
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: David F Sandberg
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Glass

Vampire Owl: So, have you watched the Unbreakable film series?

Vampire Bat: I have heard that it is better known as the Eastrail 177 Trilogy.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that nobody has really heard about this fanchise having such a strange and complex name.

Vampire Bat: I have watched Split, which was a very good movie, and I don’t remember much about Unbreakable.

Vampire Owl: I do feel that some memory of that movie might be needed to follow this one.

Vampire Bat: Well, I can remember something, but as far as Split is concerned, memory works better.

Vampire Owl: It is quite natural though, considering the fact that the first movie released in 2000 and the second in 2016.

Vampire Bat: I watch so many movies that my memories are very quickly replaced – I often forget a movie which I watched only a few months ago.

Vampire Owl: You are suffering from a case of movie overdose.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and there is no treatment for that. Even lock-down couldn’t do much.

[Gets a British cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Nineteen years have passed since the Eastrail 177 train wreck, and David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a superhuman who survived the wreck is not working as a vigilante who is often called by the media as the Overseer while continuing his business with his son, Joseph Dunn (Spencer Treat Clark). Elijah price who called himself Mr Glass remains confined to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane, after David had reported him to the police, as the one who was responsible for that train wreck which killed everyone except David. Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) who has twenty three plus one distinct personalities formed in him after he was abused as a child by his mother during his childhood remains in action, as he kidnaps four cheerleaders (Diana Silvers, Nina Wisner, Kyli Zion and Shannon Ryan) and keep them chained inside a warehouse, just like he did earlier with Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her friends who were to be sacrificed to the greatest entity inside him.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Kevin keeps the girls chained at all times, even though he does have the manifestations of different personalities at all times, none of them ready to rescue the girls from their bondage. It is then that David comes across Kevin, and understands that he is holding a secret, which is none other than the missing young girls. He gets into the warehouse and unchains the girls, only to come face to face with the personality of the Beast. While the girls escape, the two superhumans fight, only to fall in front of the police force, and has to surrender. Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), an experienced psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur visits them at the mental hospital where the two are admitted along with Mr. Glass. She tries to make them believe that they have no superhuman abilities, and they are just a little stronger than the rest, and might not be stronger than the strongest and the most muscular men in the world. But Mr Glass will have other plans. Who will succeed in achieving their mission?

The defence of Glass :: As one would expect, the performances of the three actors playing the three main characters, the protagonists, the superhumans – this keeps the movie at a higher level even when the flick slows down and makes one wonder if it is not going to reach anywhere. The action sequences here are kept simple. The idea keeps growing within the movie, and if you watched the previous two movies, you are going to be more interested in the proceedings here. The ending is the highest point of the movie, and there is one twist there which you should have guessed, but most probably you might not have – these final scenes show the mastery of M Night Shyamalan over the material, on what concerns the comics and the superheroes, very much unlike your usual superheroes. There are a few moments in this movie, which later turns out to be smart and masterful acts, but in the middle, you won’t know them to be that good. Then, in the end, you ask for a sequel.

The claws of flaw :: As the third movie of the story, and with the three main characters already established, you would probably expect this to be a tale which ends a good v/s evil story, but this one more or less continues that origins story rather than doing anything else. There is also the absence of action for most of this movie, and when you are having a superhero movie here which is not Brightburn, you will be expecting full action or thrills, but such an option is not here. The movie has a lot of dialogues, and most of them are in a place without colours – inside the mental asylum, but some of it are totally unnecessary. After the initial fight, there is a lot of time spent at the talks rather than anything else, and it often makes the movie slow, unlike any superhero movie which you have ever watched. This is a movie which you cannot watch as your regular superhero movie, because it looks for meanings rather than any kind of heroism. This is not the superhero world you dreamed about.

Performers of the soul :: Glass depends heavily on its performances just like its predecessor Split did. James McAvoy once again leads the way, continuing the form with twenty three plus one distinct personalities. He shines in different ways as personalities alter. Most people from this part of the world might have known him from the X-Men movies, the last one being X:Men: Dark Pheonix, a film which didn’t make that much of an impact as one had expected it to. But related to movies like X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Days of Future Past, you know that he has been there raising the level of the movie. But none of them matches this character that he plays here. Bruce Willis is back in action, with some action sequences, and you do want the Die Hard star to do that – here he also has an emotional touch to his character. Samuel L Jackson begins ordinary, but as the movie goes to its end, we see the change, and he is glorious in those moments. Anya Taylor-Joy, the girl from The Witch is the Beast’s girl with a beautiful serenity running through her, while Sarah Paulson is good.

How it finishes :: Glass thrives on James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson, who plays the three superhumans with augmented abilities, but the viewer has to note that it is not a regular superhero movie, and if one falls into that kind of a trap, this is not going to be that interesting. The common view pertaining to all those superheroes we have known not just through movies, but also through comics and cartoons, reaching their zenith in the recent years with those Avengers and Justice League movies collecting all of them and presenting them to the audience as spectacle on the big screen in 3D. Changing this viewpoint is essential when watching this movie, or the film might just end up changing it by adding a certain amount of realism to the whole thing. Glass is surely a movie with a difference and as we look at M Night Shyamalan’s movies which we have watched and liked, he has been a master in that, whether it was this movie’s predecessor Split, or the surprise fun which was The Visit.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Luke Kirby, Adam David Thompson, Diana Silvers, Nina Wisner, Kyli Zion, Shannon Ryan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Gundala

What is the movie about? :: In a world of corruption, poverty, exploitation and income inequality, people struggle to keep their lives going forward despite working so hard throughout the day. None of the hardworking people earns enough to provide to their family members. A number of factories in the city make their workers continue their jobs under terrible conditions without paying them much. A boy watches as his father leads his co-workers in protests against the low wages of the factory where they are working, leading to violence beginning between the people and the security guards employed by the corporates. But the workers bribed by their bosses kill the leader, much to the dismay of the son who witnesses the sequence of events. The worst is that the boy is also struck by lightning and develops a fear for the dark clouds and rain – along with the same, his mother who had left for the city also doesn’t come back, leaving him to live in the streets with no hope to pay the rent for the house. There, he is regularly attacked by other street children.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The boy who is consistently beaten up for trying to help others, finds a helper who teaches him how to defend against others, an advices him to stay out of others’ business, and in a world like this, not minding one’s own business can get the person into big trouble. Even though they decide to catch a train and leave the place, the boy is not able to get to his teacher who boarded the train as he can’t run fast enough to reach the train’s door. Many years later, Sancaka (Abimana Aryasatya) works as a security guard as well as a part-time mechanic in a printing factory, while trying to keep away from trouble as much as possible, due to his experiences during the childhood. But when the girl living next door, Sedhah Esti Wulan (Tara Basro) and her little brother are threatened by a group of thugs, he interferes and throws them away from the apartment. Later, the thugs retaliate as a group, and after beating him up, throws him down from the top of a tall building.

And what more is to follow in this superhero world? :: But Sancaka is hit by lightning on that rainy day, and he awakens, even healing himself completely with the power of the lightning which had struck him. As he saves the helpless Wulan and her friends in a market from the same thugs, she asks him to join her as well as the many poor people who are under threat from the thugs. But things are not that direct as it would seem there. A legislator and crime lord named Pengkor (Bront Palarae) has everything under his control in the lower level of the city, with a gang of orphans under his command. He knows each and every crime which has happened in the city, and is planning to come up with something huge to create chaos and destruction in the city. With a scar and a limp which he had from his childhood, he would stop at nothing to hurt anyone who stand against him. Sooner or later, Sancaka will have to become Gundala, while his friends including Wulan who is falling in love with him are also under threat. Can he live up to the expectation and be the symbol of hope for everyone?

The defence of Gundala :: We have always been in need of superheroes, especially those who are not from Hollywood, especially not from Marvel or DC. We have always loved Shaktimaan from our childhood, and so the need has always been there. With Avengers finishing the job, and the biggest superheroes Iron Man and Captain America out of he equation, we are always looking for possible alternatives. We can gladly say that this is indeed one, and this time, we have a realistic one in a believable world, with less use of powers and more of martial arts. The action is all done in very well, and there is enough of it, especially when we consider this as an origin story. The dystopian setting is also really well done, and we get to be with the people who undergo the struggle against those people who forces them to stay at the lowest level. In one way or the other, these people are having their own Batman, but with some superpowers – maybe he is a little bit of Captain America with the ideology he later develops, but these are all nicely evolved, and developed to fit our interests here.

Positives and negatives :: This is not to be checked out like you do for those big CGI filled movies like Avengers and the others, because of its existence closer to realism. It has to be noted that Gundala Putra Petir was also the first comic book adaptation in the nation, and it dealt with the same superhero in 1981. Indonesia is supposed to have a superhero movie franchise like Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) called the BumiLangit Cinematic Universe (BCU), from what we read about them, and with one more superhero introduced with our main hero, we can be sure that there will be more to come in the next few years, even though the Corona Virus delay could still be there. We haven’t really been aware of the same, but there are some fine superheroes who could come to be big screen, and it would be nice to watch them all, just like we had supported the heroes of Marvel and DC. If they are to be like our hero here, we can be sure that all of them can feel close to our lives than the extra dose of metahuman-alien stuff that Hollywood has been providing with the CGI. Here, the nicely created world works with minimum CGI, and connects so well.

Performers of the soul :: Tara Basro played the protagonist in Impetigore, and she is here too, as the actress who has just turned thirty and also got married this year, brings another fine performance to her credit. As we look at it, we know that she is also supposed to play a superhero which she is to become in another movie in the franchise. She has already done enough to prove here as the Hollywood style scream queen, and here, her existence in the action movies seems to be able to provide the same wonderful effect – we would need to see her as the superhero soon enough, along with other popular names who are to be part of the upcoming projects of this franchise’s universe. Abimana Aryasatya is a solid superhero here, and he makes the Indonesian Batman in Jakarta City instead of Gotham City, taking on crime and saving innocent citizens. He makes us go through his emotions and ideology as we wealk his path. We also have some strong villain with Bront Palarae being very much menacing, along with assassins including Kelly Tandiono, Asmara Abigail, Hannah Al Rashid and others. Ario Bayu whom we had seen in Impetigore is also here, making an impact.

How it finishes :: This movie comes from Joko Anwar, who is the same director that brought us, the high quality horror thriller named Impetigore. Even though this movie belongs to a completely different genre, we can see the director’s skills at work yet again. We have known many superheroes already, and this one is based on the Indonesian comics character Gundala created by Harya Suraminata in 1969 – it is nice to know that we do have more of superheroes with variety in store. It is always great to have some home-grown superheroes, but not like that ridiculous thing called Krrish which doesn’t feel Indian, original or really heroic in any way, but Shaktimaan type are always welcome. Indonesia has achieved that so well, and this movie is also fine work, not just as an entertainer, but also in many other ways, as this is more than your usual superhero movie. After my last visit to Bali, this is the closest that I have managed to get to loving Indonesia, and we are to fall in love with Indonesian movies if there are more films like this one. After all, this one stays closer to the values of the common man that even the Dark Knight could ever do.

Release date: 28th August 2019
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Joko Anwar
Starring: Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Ario Bayu, Rio Dewanto, Lukman Sardi, Fariz Fadjar, Aqi Singgih, Marissa Anita, Hannah Al Rashid, Asmara Abigail, Daniel Adnan, Cornelio Sunny, Kelly Tandiono

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brightburn

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Superman is originally an evil entity from space?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I know that aliens are mostly bad, and this one also had to be evil.

Vampire Owl: Well, this movie seems to establish him as pure evil.

Vampire Bat: The movie of the usual alien invasion is to conquer or destroy Earth, and so we cannot be surprised about it.

Vampire Owl: I used to wonder how evil an alien can be. Can they be more evil than humans?

Vampire Bat: Why not? It is exactly why there are no vampire aliens. They are incapable of bringing the balance like the Earthlings.

Vampire Owl: I think that some aliens are immortal, like those myths.

Vampire Bat: They exhibit fake immortality, and will die soon enough.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the portal which Doctor Frankenstein opened, so that we could cross over to the other planets and galaxies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, silly humans are still using those outdated spaceships. They will never learn, even after the lock-down. Let them walk through some tall grass to have sense.

[Gets a masala dosa and three glasses of mango juice].

What is the movie about? :: Tori Breyer (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) do not have a child, and they are hoping for one, or at least adopt someone. It is then that the house shakes and they see a spaceship crashlanding in their yard. They find a child in the spaceship, and adopts him as their own son, without letting anyone else know. They hide the spaceship, locking it down in the barn so that nobody including the child finds it, letting this to be their own secret to keep for life. The couple just tells others that they had adopted a child, and everyone including the family and people of the small town of Brightburn accept him as their own. Everything goes smoothly for years, but it changes for a twelve year old Brandon Breyer (Jackson A Dunn) who are no longer the same, innocent child as he used to be – he is no longer the beloved son who loves his parents and obeys them, as he is called by the spaceship.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The spaceship which is locked inside a door within the barn keeps calling for him, and sends signals to him. Soon, he ends up finding his superhuman strength as he ends up throwing the lawnmower a long time away, while trying to start it, and finds his superhuman endurance as the motorized blades of the machine destroyed are by his hands which are not affected at all. His classmate Caitlyn Connor (Emmie Hunter) is the only who remains somewhat friendly to him, as everyone in the class and the whole school despised him due to his show of over-intelligence. But when he tries to enter her house at night, it causes a rift which leads to him breaking her hand, and also leading to Tori telling him the truth. This causes him to develop his next superpower, heat vision, and understands the message of the spaceship loud and clear while understanding the fact that he is special unlike the weaklings around him. Now, what will he do?

The defence of Brightburn:: There are some good scenes of horror in this movie, and the idea that Superman can be evil, always gets to scare us – especially when there is no Kryptonite to exploit his weakness. It uses some jump scares and there is that feeling of fear which is always there, as we are having an alien entity which cannot be stopped by anything that humans have. The idea of an evil child always works well enough, and we have inherent evil here, which is not of this world, but from another planet, from a far away galaxy. The child here becomes pure evil after the call of the spaceship, and there is not stopping this danger which is horrifyingly real. The superhero genre has its other dimensions here, and sets up for a sequel with what would have happened if Superman was really a threat in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, or how he was after he woke up from death as a different person.

The claws of flaw :: There is too much of blood and gore associated with Brightburn, and one often thinks if it was what required the focus around here. The focus should have been on the main character, the alien child’s character development, but the same is not there, as we see him change to become the slave of the spaceship, listening to all which is murmured to him. Even though the development of his superpowers can be seen, there is not much of a development in him as a person. There is that predictability which runs through the movie all the time. We know what is to happen next with this so called alien child from outer space, and in showing the same, the flick uses brutality the most, and depends on it rather than anything else, as if it is a certain kind of weakness it possesses. Within its short run-time, it shows very less of everything else.

Performers of the soul :: Jackson A Dunn plays the alien child, and he seems to be pretty good at it – the evil look comes to him well, and it will be interesting to see how he can work in a possible sequel, as this movie doesn’t explore his character that much expect for the being that evil alien child. Elizabeth Banks stays at the core of this movie, and she plays the lady with an extra dose of motherly love, which prevents her from understanding what kind of an evil demon her son was becoming. Even after so many years, she is someone whom we can always trust as long as horror movies are concerned – well, she was also there in The Hunger Games and its sequels and most of you do know her. David Denman is also pretty good as the husband and father. Emmie Hunter who plays the girl at school is also to be noted, as she has that Eva Mendez look, and does a good job.

How it finishes :: The idea of the alien who became the savior of Earth ending up bringing another idea that he became the exact opposite, is something worth thinking about. It is an interesting concept with the ant-superman super-villain finding his superpowers and using them against humanity, which has no defence against him at all. There are no superheroes, and only one terrifying villain who has not even grown up yet. The ending of this movie has enough to set up a sequel, and as of now, the movie works pretty well with its idea to set things for whatever is to come next. There is enough in this movie to keep the audience interested, as violent horror gets a thumbs up. Just like Corona virus these days, you know that evil always finds a way, and this alien creature does find the evil within, and maybe it is an advanced form of inherent evil in the child.

Release date: 24th May 2019
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: David Yarovesky
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A Dunn, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Emmie Hunter, Jennifer Holland, Christian Finlayson, Abraham Clinkscales, Becky Wahlstrom, Anne Humphrey, Steve Agee, Gregory Alan Williams, Stephen Blackehart

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Venom

Vampire Owl: This creature is known to me from a long time ago.

Vampire Bat: Which one exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The one with the twisted tongue and bad teeth, coloured black or really dark grey.

Vampire Bat: That was a creature summoned by the Northern Witches. This is an alien we have here.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that the creatures among these are less alien.

Vampire Bat: The portal to other dimensions is closed now, and so I don’t think that there is the need to discuss this matter.

Vampire Owl: Well, I had this vision. The portal is no more in ruins.

Vampire Bat: You have no gift of dream vision!

Vampire Owl: Well, there is one that goes with the nightmare visions.

Vampire Bat: You will need to prove it after watching this movie.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Tiger Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A bio-engineering corporation known as Life Foundation has been sending probes into space, as it would stop at nothing to find the unknown. There is something sinister about the organization and its CEO Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), who is known to be a man of mysteries with many allegations related to human rights violation made about him. He is still one of the richest and the most powerful men in the nation though, who tries to keep a clean image in more than one way. It is during those times that one of the corporation’s probe finds something which it cannot control. With four symbiotic life forms, it crashes in the remote area of Malaysia, and one of the symbiotes known as Riot escapes to the wilderness, possessing different people at different times, as it made its way towards the Head Quarters of the Life Foundation, leaving a trail of dead bodies.

So, what happens next? :: The three remaining symbiotes are transported to San Francisco, where the Head Quarters and the main research facility of the corporation are located. There, Carlton goes on to remake the human body with a combination of the two, as the creatures can’t live without human support and he believes that it could make humanity better. But he finds out that it resists and kills the human host on most occasion, and this process known as symbiosis is really difficult to achieve. Meanwhile, investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) reads about these human trials in a classified document which is with his lover and fiancee, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) who is a lawyer. He confronts Carlton regarding the same, and he is fired from his job. At the same time, Anne is also terminated from her job for leaking classified information, and there, the relationship between the two ends.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Wandering in the streets without doing anything substantial, Eddie is approached by a Life Foundation scientist Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) who reveals the the horrors that have been happening in the research facility of the corporation, and asks him to do something about it. He is initialliy reluctant as he is no longer a journalist, and feels that he doesn’t have enough resources to expose him. He asks her to contact the police or someone with high influence, but she is not someone who would give up that easily. Finally, he decides to break into the facility with her help, and find clues to how the illegal activities are going on there. There he tries to help Maria (Melora Walters), a homeless woman who is one of the subjects, and has a symbiote inside her. The result is that the symbiote which identifies as Venom gets into him, and everything begins to change.

The defence of Venom :: Venom is the anti-hero that rises to the occasion yet again – without the silliness of Deadpool, this one opposite to Spider-Man is certainly the better anti-hero compared to Wolverine’s opponent in his origins story. Our hero of Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy is no stranger to the chaos which can be seen on the big screen. The Dark Knight Rises had him bringing chaos as Bane, and here we have the internal chaos at work. Michelle Williams is a fine addition too, and she even gets to become the Lady Venom herself – that was one of the best moments in the movie. There is also the big symbiotic fight by the end of the movie, and by that time, we already had some big fights in between with Venom taking over and fighting through the mortals of Planet Earth with ease. Riz Ahmed makes a fine villain, a controlled one at the same time too.

The claws of flaw :: It is to be noted that Venom doesn’t maintain the same pace throughout the movie, even though it could have easily done that with Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams around. The symbiotes are worth more than this, as more experiments could have made the whole setup darker even while keeping the lighter side there. The beginning of the movie could have been better too. You see how well the other Marvel characters have turned out to be with their solo movies – Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Thor – all have had their appreciation, and Venom had to stand out to reach that level, considering the fact that it came later. We would have always wanted more of Lady Venom, which is special in its own way. Maybe, a sequel could do the trick by adding more of this creature, and could focus further in a world unknown too.

How it finishes :: Venom doesn’t just manage to be better than the other anti-hero Deadpool, but it also proves to be better than its own nemesis Spider-Man in Spider-Man Homecoming. Compared to a matured Venom, those two are not of much significance. The team of the host and the parasite makes a lot of fun in store, as this one should defeat the new Spider-Man at some point, and bring another reboot with our older Spider-Man movies. It is the next level of hope that we all have. Until then, enjoy Venom as the two personalities in one, half-alien, half-earthling, and with Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams who power the same. Marvel continues its winning run, and whatever they make, seems to be of more significance than those made by anyone else. At the same time, one can keep wondering about the possibility of having Venom with the Avengers – can’t they let this alien save the world in a big way too?

Release date: 5th October 2018
Running time: 112 minutes
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Melora Walters, Chris O’Hara, Sam Medina, Sope Aluko, Scott Deckert, Marcella Bragio, Michelle Lee, Mac Brandt, Christian Convery, Ron Cephas Jones

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

What is the movie about? :: In the Mexican city of San Juan Ixtenco, there was unnatural storm which devastated most of the place – people are known to have said that there was a face in the storm, and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) investigate the case while coming across a creature, an Earth Elemental, which derives its powers from Earth. At the same time, a super-powered man Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), arrives to fight the creature. In New York City, the Midtown School of Science and Technology restarts its academic year to take in those students who were affected by the events of Avengers: Infinity War. There is a two-week summer field trip to Europe, starting at Venice, Italy. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) plans to confess his love for classmate MJ (Zendaya) there. Meanwhile, Harold Hogan (Jon Favreau) contacts him to provide the news that Nick Fury is looking for him, and will give a call soon, regarding a mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Peter is forced to carry the Spider-Man costume by his aunt May Parker (Marisa Tomei) despite trying to keep away from superhero deeds post the death of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). He even ignores the calls of Nick Fury, who finds him at the hotel in Venice, after escaping the attacks of the Water Elemental which almost destroys the major tourist areas of the city. The students including Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) along with the teachers, Roger Harrington (Martin Starr) and Julius Dell (JB Smoove) are terrorized by the unexpected attacks. After tranquilizing Ned, Fury gives him Stark’s glasses equipped with the artificial intelligence EDITH, providing access to all databases of Stark Industries and with command over large weapon supply. He also introduces him to Quentin Beck, a man with magic powers.

And what more is to happen? :: Even though mistaken by many as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), this new hero is known to people as Mysterio, a man who is supposed to be from another Earth, which was consumed by the Elementals. He hopes to avenge his family, and destroy the Elementals, and Fury hopes that Peter would be part of the mission at Prague, but he declines saying that his school team is going to Paris and he can’t be seen in the Spider-Man costume when he is in Europe, as it would lead to doubts that he is Spider-Man, revealing his identity. But as their trip itself is re-routed to Prague, Peter is left with no option, but to fight the most powerful of the Elementals, the Fire Elemental. To add to it, he has to fight it in the middle of an on-going carnival, and his friends are also around. Can the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man live up to the legacy that the Avengers lead by Iron Man, Captain America and Thor has left?

The defence of Spider-Man: Far From Home :: It is a difficult task for another Spider-Man movie to stand strong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering the fact that the greatest film of the franchise, Avengers: Endgame has finished strong, and is looking forward to become the highest grossing flick of all-time. Spider-Man: Far From Home has managed to do that well enough, and has also improved its status from Spider-Man Homecoming – this one is bigger in scope and impact, and we also have the superheroes doing better, in the presence of better villainy. The action sequences continue to impress, and the perfect settings are used, which makes things even better – the visuals and the special effects with illusions play a major role in making the fights more interesting. The movie also maintains a certain amount of humour, and it remains light-hearted, as a friendly neighbourhood movie. There is also something in the end to make sure that we have something to look forward to, after the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional strength of the earlier Spider-Man movies continues to be absent in this version, and this comes too late after all the superhero overdose. We have had only one Spider-Man movie before Avengers: Endgame, and that is too little – now, this one requires a lot more sequels, but they will be too late. Also, the movie’s twist is rather predictable for those who are familiar with the tales of Spider-Man, and something more could have been added to get it deeper. Some of the jokes in the movie also go some other way, and fail to create any impact – there is the case of things getting repetitive here. The superhero himself hasn’t learned much after going through all the fading away, and losing his mentor – there is no realization that is added here. Being a better hero doesn’t seem to be an option here. Spider-Man won’t get to that level of The Amazing Spider-Man or The Amazing Spider-Man 2 here either, and we have to wait for the sequels to hope for that.

The performers of the soul :: Jake Gyllenhaal is the one who stands apart in this movie, and we know what he has been capable of with the psychological thriller movies like Enemy and Nocturnal Animals. The role of Mysterio stays safe with him, and we see how well he can handle the two sides of a character. Tom Holland continues to play Spider-Man as he used to, and it gets better than the previous movies in totality. Zendaya playing his love interest makes one interesting character from the beginning itself – she is indeed the most interesting character in the whole team of school children, and lets hope that the character is not replaced by other love interests of Spider-Man in any later movies. Cobie Smulders is there doing what she has been doing well. The others in high school team do a pretty good job including both the teachers and students.

How it finishes :: We have finished most of the main part of the Marvel superheroes, and Spider-Man: Far From Home seems to come as a bonus or an add-on post that biggest battle that happened in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Spider-Man is the hero whom we have always loved, he has been there with Superman and Batman at this part of the world even before the rest of the superheroes like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Arrow – all of them came later. Therefore, it is only fair that we hope for an even better movie. But this one also keeps us interested and entertained, and Marvel once again has everything working in its favour, even after its best movie done.

Release date: 5th July 2019 (India); 2nd July 2019 (USA)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Starr

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avengers: Endgame

What is the movie about? :: After the events that lead to the defeat of Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) keep drifting in space with no power and many light years away from Earth until being rescued by Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). They re-unite with the remaining Avengers on Earth – Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner a.k.a. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). While Tony Stark has lost all hope that any difference could be made, and retires to a cabin in the woods with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the others confront an injured Thanos (Josh Brolin) living in a hut in a far away planet. There is nothing that they can do though, as Thanos destroyed the infinity stones after use, so that the situation would remain as it was intended to be. An angry Thor beheads Thanos.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Five years later, Scott Lang a.k.a. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) escapes the quantum realm and finds out that something strange has happened in his world – as he figures things out, feels that there is a way that what Thanos did could be undone. He feels that quantum realm can be used for time travel, and one could travel to the time when Thanos didn’t have the infinity stones. Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff accompany him to where Tony Stark settled down, but Tony is not sure about doing it because he is afraid of something worse happening to his family, with everyone he love dying. So, the Avengers decide to go on with the experiments related to time travel with Bruce Banner who repeatedly says that it is not his field of expertise, and never had even a slight clue about the same. The experiment remains a failure with no traveling through time happening.

And what else is to follow? :: But Tony decides to change his stance as the idea seems to have a better chance of working, with the feeling of a need to bring Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) back. After talking to Pepper, he decides to go on with it, and the remaining Avengers once again assemble. They decide to go back in time to those exact moments when the Avengers came across the infinity stones. What they have will be just one chance to set things right, because if they miss the exact opportunity, there are not enough particles to return to the present time. So, they are divided into teams, with Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk and Ant-Man in one time-line divided into three, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow, Nebula and War Machine (Don Cheadle) in another divided into two and Thor with Rocket in the last one as a team. But the question remains about how they can achieve all these stones without being in conflict with the past, and without Thanos knowing.

The defence of Avengers: Endgame :: Another spectacle has come from Marvel, and it is also nothing less than an adventure that is to be kept close to the hearts – there is the grandeur on the big screen, and there are emotions along with a certain funny side that we can’t live without as far as a Marvel movie is considered. The final battle raises the level of the movie like never before, and it is Captain America with the hammer that steals the show, and Iron Man with the final punch that ends it. Thor is once again joy to watch. The visuals continue to be stunning, and the action sequences only keep getting better. There are adventures in the past too, and we see the beauty of different worlds in different planets. The ability to make the audience feel the pain, but also to quickly bring some humour, this one never really holds back.

Positives and negatives :: The battle that was going on in Avengers: Infinity War continues, with almost the same people on either sides – but here, it becomes bigger because everyone comes together at the same place, and the intensity is more, as both sides know what would happen in case of a loss. There is no lack of style, and the ending is just too good. It is certain that we would continue to remember and stay in love with these characters. Still, the movie is three hours long, and it could have beem shortened in the first thirty to forty five minutes with less wandering around with Avenger guilt. Captain Marvel continues to be the misfit in this franchise, as she is always given an entrance as the end approaches, and with that new hair cut, looks even more weird. Well, this is the kind of movie that you would watch more than once, and so come up with more.

The performers of the soul :: Avengers: Endgame is also supported by some fantastic acting. The scene is lead by the big three in their own emotional moments, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. The funny side is also maintained by Chris Hemsworth, as Thor gets another side to work on. Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner have their emotional moments too, while Brie Larson is wasted as that superhero who keeps making grand entrances, and is of no prolonged value. Mark Ruffalo’s brain and strength mix is interesting to watch. Paul Rudd is fun to watch, and the lighter moments of the movie are handled well by him. Josh Brolin’s villain character has changed here, as we can see the need to change that balance-seeking anti-hero to someone seeking mass destruction and complete annihilation – but there is no change in the ultimate requirement, which is rebirth.

How it finishes :: For all the fans of this wonderful franchise, this is one grand end that we have all waited for – Avengers will no longer be the same after this with the big three, Captain American, Iron Man and Thor no longer being available to be part of the team. But this is the grand ending that we have all wanted for a long time. There is a lot of everything in this movie, and is a fitting end to something Marvel has been building for a long time – you remember the time when you watched the first Avengers, and you see how much things have changed with the movie’s world as well as the characters. It has been a great run, and even though I loved Avengers: Infinity War more than this one, there is not much separating the two. We love this final movie, no matter who we are, and what our preferences are – Avengers: Endgame has assured everyone about that, and it is clearly reflected in the collections, a record-breaking one, even in India.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Danai Gurira

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain Marvel

What is the movie about? :: A few galaxies, away, on the Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala, Vers (Brie Larson), a member of Starforce has a regular dose of nightmares every night, and it seems to be related to her memories, most of which she doesn’t have any more except in the form of quick shots. She is trained by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) who hopes that she can keep her emotions under control, and use her special powers only when needed. The same is asserted by Supreme Intelligence, an Artificial Intelligence which had command over the empire. At the same time, a war is going on, between the technologically advanced Kree and the shapeshifting Skrulls, happening on different planets. This war which has been going on for centuries, had Kree at the advantage, calling the Skrulls terrorists who are trying to take over different planets by force and leaving a trail of mass destruction and brutal murders.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During one of those missions assigned to the Starforce, Vers ends up being captured by them. A memory probe is conducted on her, and the Skrulls find many of the lost memories, but don’t exactly find what they were looking. As Vers manages to escape, she lands on the planet called Sector 53, Earth. Her presence in Los Angeles attracts the attention of SHIELD agents Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). The Skrulls lead by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) continues to chase her, and she discovers that she was an airforce pilot, and was working on developing an experimental engine with the famous scientist, Dr Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening) before she was presumed dead in the failure of the effort and resulting explosion. But it is not the only secret that she would be bringing to light.

The defence of Captain Marvel :: There is some nice world detail in Captain Marvel, and the action immediately catches our attention. The journey through different planets, as well as the trip through the United States in the 1990s remain a joy to watch. There is also the presence of a lot of humour in this one, and that involves more of the unexpected. There is also a lot to expect with the new movie in the Avengers series, Endgame, with this new character being introduced into the scene. With this type of a strong superhero added to the roster like a Superman without Kryptonite, there are wonders waiting to happen. There are also some interesting questions being asked in the movie, about war and the need to end it. This movie could also go a long way with its main idea, and the journeys through different planets with more species to be there.

The claws of flaw :: Captain Marvel is no match for Wonder Woman, and that is indeed strange, considering the fact that even Black Widow and Scarlet Witch showed signs of doing that early – the female characters of Marvel had a certain amount of charm, but this new superhero who gets the first Marvel movie with a female hero lead, trails. She is also very late to arrive here, as a movie set in the 1990s. Captain Marvel should have been there before Avengers: Infinity War, and along with Ant-Man and the Wasp, these movies are not helping the upcoming big one that much as one would have expected. Regarding the introduction of such a powerful superhero late is not helping, and too much strength is also not bringing any advantage. This one needed a Kryptonite to keep the titular hero in control, as we no longer live in the age of invincible heroes, as we need the flawed ones more; it is not Superman that can do the job these days, but Batman and Aquaman.

The performers of the soul :: Brie Larson is indeed the person to look out for, and she handles this too strong a superhero with such skill that we feel closer to the character – the distance becomes less. You remember her playing a kidnapping victim in Room, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The 2017 movie Kong: Skull Island was the one movie for which she has been known the most among the common audience around here. She doesn’t have the more close to life superhero like Gal Gadot had with Wonder Woman – that one had her closer to us with the role, and it is the presence of too much superpower that keeps this one away. Also having a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe, this one comes as no challenge to her, and it is her who makes sure that the superhero gets to the masses, and we can only be glad about the same creating a huge effect in the next Avengers movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Jude Law as Yon-Rogg here reminds one of Patrick Wilson’s character in Aquaman, as he goes on doing more and more in the name of the empire. He makes one strong villain here, even though the villainy is let down by having too strong a superhero at one end. From what he has displayed, we can be sure that there was more to be done if the villain was given some powers to match the glowing superhero. Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury is too good once again, and we have him handling the humour with a great amount of skill. Ben Mendelsohn as Talos on the other side of the war also has some fine moments to go with. Gemma Chan and Djimon Hounsou are notable as other members of the Starforce who tries to make things happen for Kree, but doesn’t have the power – once again the problem of too powerful a superhero and the absence of good enough supervillains comes up.

How it finishes :: It can be seen that Captain Marvel remains an entertainer throughout its run, with great visuals all around, and it even has a cat to steal the show along with those common humans. But with the overpowered superhero, there is a limit to how entertaining this one can be, and we all know how this will end, right from the beginning itself. A super powerful hero to use against Thanos is not that great an idea because that leaves whatever in Earthly, and whatever is human, out – we don’t want something like what happened with the final moments of Justice League, which had everyone other than Superman to be a waste. But we hope that Marvel can fix that well enough making this less repetitive next time, and until then, this one is a very entertaining movie set on different planets and between different species. The good 3D also helps the same, even though the world is no match for that of Aquaman and Thor: Ragnarok.

Release date: 8th March 2019
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ghost in the Shell

Vampire Owl: Now my vision is clear. It was those ghosts. They did it!

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The ghosts stole the seashells which I had collected and stored near the warehouse on the beach.

Vampire Bat: No, you can’t blame the ghosts or Lich Queen’s zombies on this one.

Vampire Owl: Does that mean I can blame the werewolves? Or the witches?

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to blame someone because you lost a few seashells which are not at all valuable to the realm?

Vampire Owl: Because it is quite natural for them to steal from us. I wouldn’t tolerate being made a fool.

Vampire Bat: I got the feeling that Vampire Raven threw it back into the sea which he was cleaning the area. He was assigned to the beach.

Vampire Owl: What? That evil black bird! I told you that he was evil! Not that much as Vampire Crocodile, but still…

Vampire Bat: Just watch this movie and see what the ghost here is all about.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A long way into the future, humanity has depended on science a lot, and has developed very much. There are a lot of enhancements available for the human body which involves the improvement of vision, hearing, strength, accuracy and intelligence, which are all available on the market for a price. In a godless world, it is science that decides every action of man, with more and more inventions coming up, and technology proving it to be endless in scope. It is that point of time when death by disease seems to be a difficult thing to happen as most parts of the body are replaced with ease. Hanka Robotics, which is world’s leading developer of human augmentative technology decides to take it one step further. In a world which has robots and Artificial Intelligence to do a lot of things, they come up with the idea to develop of a mechanical body termed as shell, that could integrate human brain and use it.

So, what happens next? :: Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), a champion at what she does, is chosen to do this job. She is someone who is known to have done wonders with her research, and is the easy choice here. Now, there is the question of a volunteer, and it comes as a result of terror. Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), a young lady who somehow survives a terrorist attack in which everyone in her family other than her is killed, is chosen to be the brain of the shell, with her body damaged in the attack beyond repair. It seems to work well, as the test subject awakens, and is able to talk and move without any problem. The CEO of the organization, Cutter (Peter Ferdinando) observes the progress which has been made with the shell and the resultant cyborg organism, and decides that this new creation should be used against terrorism as soon as possible. He considers her as their future, and their best hope against terrorists.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After an year passes, Killian has become a Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section Nine. Working along with the counter-terrorism operatives Batou (Pilou Asbaek) and Togusa (Chin Han) and under the command of Chief Daisuke Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano) she continues the hunt for terrorists, making amends for the death of her parents due to such an attack. Among those attacks which she and her partners have witnessed, there is one which looks rather strange, with robots going rogue for no reason and hacking into the mind of a Hanka employee. Even for the best of hackers, this seem unnatural, and she feels that there is something deeper regarding this. Despite the hallucinations that she keeps having, she decides to dive deep into the Artificial Intelligence of the robot, and there she finds an unknown entity, known only as Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt). But this entity is not human, or robot, or a hybrid – it is something that exists within. She needs to find more before time runs out.

The defence of Ghost in the Shell :: The action sequences are really good, and the visuals are a joy to watch; the movie is rich on the screen, and you can’t deny it at any moment – the world of the future is so nicely created that we keep looking at every detail carefully. Scarlett Johansson leads the way as the perfect choice for this protagonist. She seems to be doing what Mila Jovovich has been doing for Resident Evil and Kate Beckinsale has been working for Underworld. Looking so good, and removing all doubts about why she was cast in this role, she goes on to become the true ghost inside the shell – more than Black Widow in The Avengers and it’s sequel or those Captain America flicks. Along with her, the movie also has a tale which will have our attention very early. When the idea is also so good, we keep staring, and when every detail of the visual is that good, we just can’t stop admiring the awesomeness on the screen. Along with the same, the movie has its own twists; some people will come close to guessing the same, but it still counts as pretty good ones which adds to totality.

Positives and negatives :: Ghost in the Shell should feel a little short with how much it really has – there is the hundred percent need for a sequel as we wish to see Scarlett Johansson going through all the action again in a sequel which would take this away from its origin story mode where it is now. There will be shades of other movies, but everything in here is enhanced, and nothing dares to go a step down, which is the beauty of what we see here. I haven’t gone through the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow on which this is based, and that should be left for the fans – I would just watch this movie and enjoy how good it happens to be. A movie which entertains as well as brings something to think about is a glorious watch. It is also for us to think about who is right and who is wrong, and how correct is all that we are thought to believe in – maybe there is hope outside the thought process or maybe there is none at all.

How it finishes :: Ghost in the Shell can be considered as one of the best movies of the year, easily rising above big flicks of huge franchises like Alien Covenant and Wonder Woman, and the same is done in style. It also successfully provides a message against the human desire to look better and have an easier life – science has made all these easier, but is humanity good enough to negate the harmful effects of technology? Well, we are already slaves to technology, and so the answer might be no already. In future, it is clearly stated that wars will be fought on science and technology, and there will be terror. While hoping that such a day will never come, we also get a look at how mind finally takes over in the battle against all odds. Well, let the mind power win, and go on to watch this wonderful action thriller which has no moment which will want you turn back and exit.

Release date: 31st March 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Juliette Binoche, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Peter Ferdinando, Danusia Samal, Kaori Momoi, Lasarus Ratuere, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Wincott, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo, Daniel Henshall, Rila Fukushima, Pete Teo, Yuta Kazama, Chris Obi, Adwoa Aboah, Tricky

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ant-Man II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deadpool 2

What is the movie about? :: Years after murdering the man who gave him the mutant superpowers the hard way in the first movie, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is working as a mercenary, but on his own terms, while mocking Wolverine. He hopes to start a family with his girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). But it is then that one of his targets whom he missed, manages to strike back, killing Vanessa in the process. Wade is quick to kill the man who is responsible for her death, and even tries to kill himself in an explosion; but he grows back as Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) takes him to join the X-Men, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) not being fond of the not-so-superhero joining the team. But Colossus has him as a trainee and lets him join them on their very next mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After a vision of Vanessa, and trying to put his heart at the right place, he decides to help the X-Men to deal with a teenage mutant Russell Collins a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison) who has gone violent at an orphanage for mutants. X-Men join with human soldiers to gain control over the mutant who is looking highly unstable. As Deadpool realizes that Russell was abused and tortured by the orphanage staff, he decides to help him, and ends up killing one of the staff members too, before being stopped by Colossus. Russell and Wade are taken to an isolated prison for mutants, known as Icebox. Collars are used to negate their powers, and without them, Wade slowly and steadily begins to go back to his previous state, with tumout growing inside him – he gets weaker than ever.

And what is follow with the events? :: It is then that a cybernetic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) whose family is murdered by Russell in the future, travels back in time to kill him before he becomes that brutal murderer. Wade tries to defend Russell against Cable, but denies any attachment to him so that the boy could be safe inside the prison without him. Wade ends up outside the prison, and after having a vision of Vanessa again, decides to help Russell, no matter what happens. For the same, he assembles a team which he calls X-Force – Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Peter (Rob Delaney) and Vanisher (Brad Pitt) are hired to be part of the group, as they hope to stop the mutant warrior from future. But Russell has his own ideas to stop Cable, and it will not prove to be nice for the newly formed X-Force.

The defence of Deadpool 2 :: This one’s capability to bring some entertainment can never be questioned, especially with the comic side, and some action to go with it. You can see that it refers to movies in both Marvel and DC Universe, with references including the latter being so dark. The movie does have some nice main characters, other than its superhero and a kid who is conveniently placed in the middle of everything – it has one lady whose superpower is luck, and one of the most powerful mutants, along with a time traveler mutant warrior from the future – these two are of more strength than anyone else, and you can do nothing but to love them so much. Deadpool 2 is that kind of a movie which won’t apologize for its nonsense which is surely there, and is it is that kind of fun nonsense that we need to be prepared for, unlike our usual Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Captain America: Civil War or Black Panther from Marvel.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Deadpool 2, just like Deadpool, is not the superhero movie for the kids and families – it just not the right kind of film. The violence and gore remains rather not that good, that too with the whole thing being censored to arrive at this level. Unlike the other superheroes, Deadpool is surely that kind of a person whom we can’t admire – he is that selfish hero in one way or the other, that we need to see dead; but he just doesn’t. This movie surely has no real respect for anyone either, and that is reflected on the character as well as the dialogues of the main character. Some of the dialogues which seem to be close to being funny never really gets there, and there are those jokes which go wandering away, leaving no effect at all. The action sequences could have been better too, and the emotional side struggles, thanks to some stupid dialogues in between.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is about the two people more than anyone ele – these two have played two big characters on the big screen in two different movies. Ryan Reynolds has been Green Lantern before, and it is that DC Universe that he makes fun of in this movie as Deadpool. Then there is Josh Brolin whom we last saw as Thanos, and here he is, as Cable, in the same Marvel Universe. Both of them are really good, making this movie better than what it really is, with its low level plot that doesn’t raise the bar. Zazie Beetz is great fun in this movie, and you also love Brianna Hildebrand who has less time on the screen, but has that special effect when there. Morena Baccarin is another actress whom we wanted to see more here, and as lovely as she is here, there is only less time for her to show here skills. The rest of the cast is just mostly okay.

How it finishes :: Deadpool was never known to be the superhero that someone would wish to admire for anything other than saving the day. Being a rather selfish hero, this one was never supposed to appeal to the usual superhero admirers – even with that selfless act added in the end. There seems to be no real attempt to make this one feel better than the first movie, and there is certainly no special ingredient added to it. But we can safely say that it will provide some entertainment with the funny side and the action that comes with it. The family audience will surely have to choose Avengers: Infinity War over this one or one of those Malayalam movies in the theatres. Well, the ‘A’ certificate is sure to make that happen easily.

Release date: 18th May 2018
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Stefan Kapicic, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Brad Pitt (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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.

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)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.