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Archive for November, 2017

Movie Review: Justice To The League.

 

There’s a reason I don’t read reviews before seeing the movie.

At the end of the day, a critic is still human. And even though he/she is a human supposedly tempered by years of experience, personal bias still comes to play sometimes. However, someone with contrary views should still be able to agree with the critic – because criticism is not art. It is – or should be science – to a certain extent.

For example, we all agree that Beyonce is a beautiful woman. I don’t have to be Jay – Z to know that. What we may disagree on, is how beautiful she is. But to call Beyonce ugly is to talk out of your ass.

I said all of that to say this; Justice League is a solid film.

 

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After four mostly tepid films (Wonder Woman was/is seriously overrated), DCU had to pull out all the stops – including hiring Avengers/MCU alumni Joss Whedon to finish the film and direct some reshoots after Snyder had to step away due to a family tragedy. Though, I honestly cannot say they actually ‘pulled out all the stops’, this movie is a huge leap forward for the franchise.

We know the story. ‘Inspired by Superman’s selfless sacrifice (yada yada yada) Batman decides to recruit a team to protect a humanity he suddenly has restored hope in’.

Very boring premise if you ask me – but it was somewhat justified.

The opening sequences were taken adapted from the animated movie Justice League War which in turn was inspired by Jim Lee’s New 52 Justice League comic. Batman stops a criminal and is interrupted by a parademon, one of Steppenwolf’s (or Darkseid, depending on who you ask) minions who can smell fear. Batman stops said minion who then self-destructs. The criminal then asks Batman, ‘The world is going crazy. It’s because of him, right? Because he’s gone? Where does that leave us?’ or words to that effect. It’s a sentence that hits Batman enough to make him leave the criminal he stopped and swing off.

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From then, we see Wonder Woman stop a terrorist attack – and here is my first, personal issue with the movie; Wonder Woman is suddenly super-fast. Speed has never been one of Wonder Woman’s strengths – though it only makes sense since she’s fast enough to catch/deflect bullets. But her doing things that are best left for Flash – well.

Speaking of, Ezra Miller couldn’t have been better cast. His awkwardness and eagerness rounds off the team perfectly, though he came across as overdoing it sometimes. But he owns several high points of the movie.

Cyborg was mostly a tepid character; he looked good until he stepped out of the hoodie and into his metal shell. For a movie that cost so much to make, you would expect them to get his armor right. I mean, they could have built him rubber suits kinda like Iron Man, no? But no. They had to go full CGI.

It sucked.

That is the same thing that ruined the villain, Uncle Steppenwolf. He would have totally rocked as a bad guy but for the complete CGI thing that ruined him visually. He looked like a prop and talked like a dummy. Ugh.

 

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Superman was brought in as the deux ex machina – but somehow it works. I hated the fact that they killed Supes in his second movie, something we had to wait for 50 years to actually happen in the comics, and then, they brought him back before we had a chance to catch our breaths. But somehow, it works.

The best part however, is the Superman who came back. The character has gone through some growth since we met him in Man of Steel nine years ago (time flies don’t it?), and is starting to look and sound more like the Superman we know and love (or not; depending on who you ask). Though with Henry Cavill’s wooden face, I don’t have a lot of hope there. Still. Also, if you notice there’s something wrong with Cavill’s mouth, it’s because there’s something wrong with Cavill’s mouth. He’s on Mission Impossible 6, and apparently his character has a beard there and he could not shave. Guess what they did?

They CGI’d a mouth and nose on him. GROSS.

Gal Gadot rocked. And despite the intentional toning down of Batman’s awesomeness to accommodate the other guys, there was still enough of him to make me want to see the stand alone Batman film – and to see Affleck play him some more. There was just enough to show why Bats is still the greatest hero ever – simply because he is always ten steps ahead.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch the damn movie.

Jason Mamoa is a pretty sweet Aquaman. Amber Heard is a formidable Mera – and I honestly look forward to the solo fish-man film. I’m not so sure Ezra Miller’s strong enough to hold down a solo Flash movie – but I’ve been wrong before.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

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By all means, watch Justice League in the cinemas – and see to it that you sit through the credits. There are two post credit scenes just like Marvel – and one of them involves my second-favorite DC character; a certain mercenary. DOPE.

Also, watch for the Green Lantern cameos.

 

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Thor: Ragnarok Review – Third Time Is The Charm

 

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The first Thor movie was only monumental because of certain circumstances that surround(ed)  my seeing the movie – a personal story. Mostly I floated through it.

The second movie was worse. I went to the cinema twice to see it – and fell asleep midway through both viewings. What made the second time worse was; I was there on invitation from one of my closest friends. He wanted me to meet his fiancé.

However, I couldn’t help myself. That movie was a snorefest; and its dark themes and shadows didn’t allow it fit too convincingly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Permit me to say now; Thor Ragnarok is Thor’s Terminator II: Judgement Day.

If you don’t know what that is, Google is your friend.

While you’re at it, you might also want to check out Ragnarok – the actual Norse mythology version. In that tale, Loki is the one who brings about the ruination of Asgard by way of his alliance with the frost giants and Fenrir (Hela’s giant wolf in this movie) and Sutr the giant with a flaming sword.

However, the whole story was reworked by Stan Lee and others for the comics – and then reworked for the movie version. For example, Hela is Loki’s daughter in the comics; she was promoted to be Odin’s for this movie. She and him were conquerors who started out to rule the universe. After conquering nine realms, Odin grew uncomfortable with her ambition and bloodlust and sealed her off in a prison with his life force.

As long as he (Odin) lives…

 

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Thor: Ragnarok begins with Thor in chains and in a cage, soliloquizing about how he got there and what the next thing for him is (hold your breath for who his cellmate is) and then, he gets into a sharp quick battle with giant –

And then, he returns to Asgard where Odin has become a wine-drinking, grape swallowing, massage-enduring buffoon (watch for Matt Damon’s cameo). He plays a game of Catch-The-Hammer mostly with himself – and then exposes the fraud.

In a lot of ways, Thor has been reconstructed to better fit into the MCU; better and more regular jokes, colorful scenes and finally, a movie in which Thor gets to show his physicality. He is a better match for Hulk in this round, and the battle is exciting. There’s a scene in which Hulk grabs Thor and wipes the floor with him the exact same way he did with Loki in the first Avengers movie – and Loki, unable to help himself, jumps up in the bleachers and yells ‘THAT’S HOW THAT FELT!’ and effectively blowing his own cover.

A star-studded supporting cast do well in this turn also. Tessa Thompson shines well as Scrapper 142 or the last surviving Valkyrie, Marvel’s answer for DC’s Amazons. She holds her own well – which makes all the ‘feminist’ equality speech by Hemsworth at some point moot. Jeff Goldblum is the stellar Grandmaster, and with the co-opting and retconning of the War World storyline into Ragnarok and making the Grandmaster king instead of The Red King, and making the gladiatorial battles The Contest of Champions (another Marvel storyline) the arena is set for the ultimate smackdown: Hulk VS Thor.

Karl Urban plays Skurge, the original Executioner – who appears here without his usual boss The Enchantress. Instead, he’s a disgraced Asgardian who believes he is destined for greater things and mans the Bifrost Bridge in Heimdahl’s self-exile. Totting two AK-47s which he calls ‘Dis’ and ‘Troy’ he ends up in a way quite similar to his comic namesake’s end. Watch for spoilers. Mark Ruffalo is a great Hulk but an even greater Banner – or maybe vice versa – depending on who you ask, but his presence is felt every time he shows up on screen, either as the puny human who hasn’t ‘come out’ in two years – or his Hulking counterpart.

 

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A few plot holes slow this movie down – but none more than the following; when Thor lands on Sakar he is ‘injected’ with an ‘obedience disk’ which also doubles as a Taser of sorts. He enters the arena armed with double swords which makes sense because years of depending on Mijolnir, but after being pounded well by Hulk, he is able to summon his thunder in spite of being without his hammer. I mean, this man’s eyes were literally white, lightning was running up and down his arms – and yet, he was tazed into unconsciousness. AGAIN.

In a surprising turn of events Loki doesn’t outshine Thor much this outing – even though Hiddlestone remains sharp as ever. Instead, it would seem Thor has been built up and made more compelling – and his character growth is something interesting to watch.

All in all – Ragnarok is a fun watch. Go see this in the cinemas, and wait patiently; there are two post credit scenes. This is no Winter Soldier, neither is it Avengers 1 – but it is a worthy entry into the Marvel box-office successes.

I’d gladly watch it again.