Showing posts with label Superheroes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Superheroes. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Joker (2019) Teaser Trailer - Review

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For a long time, there has been a lot of online chatter about the different Jokers in the DC comics based movie universe (DC Films or DC Extended Movie Universe as it is referred to). We have seen Jared Leto's interpretation of the Prince Clown of Crime. Now we have our first look at Joaquin Phoenix's take on the super-villain.

In addition to Joaquin, the movie also features Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen and Frances Conroy. Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy, Old School) directs the origin movie for inarguably one of the most famous baddies to have inhabited a comic book.

Check out the trailer:

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a struggling comedian. Like Travis Bickle, he is at odds with the world and is being slowly driven to losing his sanity. Joaquin's Arthur is also seen flexing his  lean and mean physique. If that reminds you a bit of Scorsese's Travis Bickle, you are right on the money.

Martin Scorsese was once attached as a producer and there were rumors that one of his frequent collaborators (Leo DiCaprio) would don the grease paint. But as a small consolation, we have his other favorite collaborator, Robert De Niro (the Taxi Driver himself) starring in the movie.

Joaquin Phoenix seems to have delivered a knockout performance as the titular character. While it is too early to judge, based on a 2.5 minute teaser trailer, that smirk in the closing scene is quite telling.

Set to the song Smile” by Charlie Chaplin, the trailer sells itself as an urban crime drama with the lead character who is out of control and spiraling into the abyss of insanity.

In addition to Martin Scorsese's movies, the movie is also inspired by Batman: The Killing Joke, the graphical novel by Alan Moore. 

This trailer has raised my expectations and hopes for the movie and Joaquin's performance. Fingers crossed, that the final product will live up to the hype.

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Image Sources: BRON Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Joint Effort, Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Bros.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Shazam! (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

shazam dc movie poster wallpaper screensaver image picture

Warner Bros. has released the (supposedly) final trailer for the next superhero movie: Shazam!

To readers who are unfamiliar with the titular character, here is a quick intro: Billy Batson is a kid who assumes the adult alter ego of Captain Marvel/Shazam by saying the word - “Shazam”.

Check out the trailer:

Shazam was created in 1939 (a year after Superman) and gave the Man of Steel a run for his money in terms of popularity and sales figures. Powers wise too, he rivals Superman in terms of super strengh, speed and flight. Plus, he can manipulate electricity.

The casting seems to be perfect here. Kind of like Aquaman. Zachary Levi looks to be a great choice for the role. The same goes for Asher Angel as Billy Batson and Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman.

All three of them show excellent comedic timing in their respective scenes. Looks like David F. Sandberg has repeated the James Wan magic of casting actors who may or may not be great thespians, but can bring these comic book characters to life in the best way possible. And the movie looks to be having a stronger sense of humor than Wan's excellent take on the King of the Seven Seas. 

Speaking of Aquaman, a common link between these two movies is Djimon Hounsou who plays The Wizard who grants the superhuman powers to Billy and played King Ricou in James Wan's picture. More trivia: Djimon also portrayed Korath in Captain Marvel (yes the other one).

David seems to be a huge fan of DC Comics. In addition to the obvious Batman reference in the store, there were a couple of shout outs to Superman.

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  • Shazam catching the bus and placing it back on land safely is a reference to the famous Supes poster.
  • The final scene in the trailer has the line - Leap tall buildings in a single bound”, which is a famous Supes catch phrase. David smartly utilizes this to provide arguably the funniest scene in the trailer.

Of further interest is the fact that the movie includes two cast members from the cancelled Justice League Mortal movie (that would have been directed by George Miller): D.J. Cotrona and Adam Brody. These two actors were supposed to play Supes/Clark Kent and The Flash/Barry Allen respectively. I am curious to see what roles they play in this movie.

Shazam has an extended family known as Marvel Family” and they are making their live action debut as well. Mary Marvel is being played by Grace Fulton.

Finally, we come to Dr Thaddeus Sivana, the antagonist. This is the second time Mark Strong has played a DC comics baddie. He also portrayed Sinistro in the ill fated Green Lantern. To the best of my knowledge, Dr Sivana is pure brains. I suspect that he is playing (temporary) host to Black Adam and is hence able to go toe to toe with the powerhouse known as Shazam. We will see if my theory holds true when the movie hits the screens in April 2019. But come what may, Mark looks better cast here and I believe he will deliver a fantastic performance and leave a much stronger impression compared to his previous DC outing.

After the billion dollar success of Aquaman, DC Films seems all set to continue the winning streak.

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Image Sources: Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, DC Comics, New Line Cinema

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dark Phoenix Trailer - Review and Reaction

sophie turner dark phoenix movie poster image picture wallpaper screensaver

We got the second trailer for the long awaited and supposedly the closing chapter to the Fox's long-running X-Men franchise. As readers know, Disney bought Fox and the merry mutants are now part of the Marvel group under the supervision of Kevin Feige.

Dark Phoenix is directed by Simon Kinberg, the producer and writer of some of the X-Men movies. Joining the established cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee) is Jessica Chastain as Smith.

Check out the trailer below:

The trailer is better than the teaser trailer that debuted a few months ago. The movie still looks a bit underwhelming, but I still enjoyed at least two scenes in the trailer: The first in which Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix is trying to crush Magneto's head using his helmet and the second in which Eric uses his mutant powers on the machine guns for an all out assault on the titular character.

Yes, I am a big fan of Michael Fassbender's Magneto and his performance continues to be the highlight of the series. Despite the fact that he does not look as invested in the role as in the previous movies (especially X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of the Future Past), still he manages to own the screen as the Master of Magnetism.

As for the rest of the trailer, the movie seems to suffer in production values. Looks like Fox was not sure about the movie and made severe budget cuts. The results are obvious and the movie often gives off the vibes of being staged and executed like a TV show. Further, Simon Kinberg is making his directorial debut and may not have the experience to pull off a comic book based  movie which is not only epic but whose main character literally wields cosmic powers.

jessica chastain dark phoenix sophie turner jean grey poster wallpaper screensaver image picture

Among the actors, only Jessica Chastain looks to be having fun. Most of the other cast members either look too serious or seem to be phoning it in. Even the always reliable James McAvoy seems to be on autopilot mode.

Here is what I made of the plot: Jean Grey is manifesting her Dark Phoenix personality and Smith is mentoring/manipulating her. When the X-Men try to reason with her, she (mistakenly) kills Mystique. This would explain the cemetery scene with Beast (who goes on to join Magneto's team), Quicksilver having a go at the Dark Phoenix and most importantly, Magneto forming his new Brotherhood of Mutants to take down the woman, who is responsible for Mystique's death. As can be expected, Prof X tries to stop the baddies from harming his beloved student and has Cyclops and other fellow minded folks to help him on his mission.

Speaking of Mystique, I am glad that the movie (hopefully) does away with her. I have nothing against the character per se, but am not a big fan of the way in which Fox made her the lead character just because of the actress who played the role. Mystique is a great character and I genuinely loved Rebecca Romijn as the blue skinned shape shifting mutant in the original trilogy. I especially loved how they portrayed Mystique: as an integral part of Magneto's team and her animosity towards Prof X and his X-Men.

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Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique neither has the necessary physique to pull off the character nor does her character arc is loyal to the comics. Since the last movie, Jennifer Lawrence has been in full Katniss Everdeen mode spouting motivational speeches like: Let's go to war”, “You are not students any more. You are X-Men!”. It is just pure nonsense on the part of the studios to have her train the X-Men (Scott Summers/Cyclops is always the leader of the X-Men in my humble opinion) and she should definitely not be the moral compass/role model that Storm (yes the great weather controlling Ororo Munroe herself) should look up to for inspiration. I mean what would Black Panther say to that?

So hopefully this movie would get rid of this monstrosity and cleanse our palate. Simon Kinberg may not be Bryan Singer, but if he kills off this version of Mystique, he earns brownie points.

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Plus give me a few great action sequences of Magneto vs Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix and I am sold on this movie. Fingers crossed that Simon Kinberg and his crew/actors can pull of a miracle and give a proper send off to what has been (for the most part) a great and enjoyable movie franchise. Kind of what Logan did for Wolverine.

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Image Sources: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Donners' Company, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Flash Season 5 Episode 10 "The Flash & The Furious" - Recap and Review

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Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Iris West (Candice Patton) and Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) are in court involving the case against Joss Mardon/Weather Witch (Reina Hardesty). The DA Cecille Horton (Danielle Nicolet) feels that Joss is feeling repentant for her crimes.

In the meantime, cops are having a hard time catching a stolen Lambhorgini. Barry decides to intervene and Nora volunteers to testify on his behalf. Nora refuses to share Cecille's belief about Joss and asks that she be put away. 

The Flash is about to stop the car and get the driver out. But when he touches the car, he realizes that he cannot stop phasing through. With the help of XS and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Barry is safely placed in a holding cell.

The person responsible for Flash's present condition is Raya Van Zandt (Gabrielle Walsh), better known as Silver Ghost. Raya with the help of the Dark Matter can control cars.

Raya helps the Weather Witch maker her escape as she is being transported by the cops.

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Joss is done with her life as a criminal and parts ways with Silver Ghost. She tries to work out things with XS, but the latter is so deadset in her refusal to accept that people can turn over a new leaf, that she immediately hands over Joss to the authorities.

Once again, Silver Ghost comes to the rescue and this time Joss gladly reclaims her Weather Witch persona. XS takes the help of Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) to counter the combined might of her opponents.

A secondary plot involves Cisco and Caitlin Snow debating the ethical implications of developing a cure for the meta-human gene. Cisco wants to enjoy the life of a normal human being but Caitlin wants to keep her superpowers. This kind of reminded me of the plot of X-Men: The Last Stand in which mutants were offered the choice of repressing their X-gene. Rogue (Anna Paquin) wanted to give up her powers by taking the so-called cure, while other mutants like Storm (Halle Berry) argued that there is nothing wrong with having such powers.

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Another interesting aspect of the episode was the character of Sherloque Wells, played by the excellent Tom Cavanagh. I have not watched the show since the end of Season 2 and this episode was my introduction to the character.

Right from the first scene, I could make out that the character was a tribute to Sherlock Holmes. Sherloque is physically modeled after RDJ Holmes (the hat and the hairdo), while sharing the snarky and irritable behavior of Dr Gregory House (Hugh Laurie). Plus, he is French - the Canonical Holmes' grandmother was the sister of Vernet, the French artist.

I also enjoyed the “Wayne Tech” reference.

This was a great episode, primarily because the titular superhero himself was absent for the most part. The way he spends his time was another source of humor (thanks to Sherloque).

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The acting was consistently good across the board. Especially from Carlos and Danielle as they discussed back and forth about the pros and cons of finding a cure.

The rest of the cast delivers as well. Jessica Parker Kennedy and Reina Hardesty are good as Nora and the Weather Witch respectively. Gabrielle Walsh is a bit one-dimensional as the Silver Ghost.

But overall, a recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Network

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

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Marvel Entertainment has released the teaser trailer for the second standalone MCU movie starring Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker.

The newcomer to the ensemble cast including Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Samuel L. Jackson and Jon Favreau is Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio.

Check out the trailer:

Peter Parker is going on a vacation to Europe in the hopes of finally getting some downtime from the the responsibilities of the wall crawling titular superhero.

Trouble follows him in the form of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Reluctantly, Peter joins the fight against an as yet unnamed adversary who can seemingly grow in size by absorbing the matter around him.

Initially I thought it would be Sandman (played by Thomas Haden Church in the much maligned Spider-Man 3). But then he also took the help of water and knowing Sandman's vulnerabilities against water, Absorbing Man came to mind.

Given that Quentin Beck is in the movie and he is a master at creating illusions and special effects, it is quite possible that this villain himself could be his handiwork.

Speaking of Quentin, Jake Gyllenhaal joins Michael Keaton as the second Batman actor to play the villain in a MCU Spidey movie. Granted that Jake has not been officially cast as the The Dark Knight, he has been long been an favorite to star as the caped crusader in the movie to be directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes).

The other highlights of the trailer are Happy Hogan spying on Aunt May, and the growing romance between Peter and Michelle Jones.

The only minor gripe I have is that Marvel Studios is trying too hard to link these Spider-Man movies with the bigger MCU Universe. Characters compare Quentin to being a cross between Iron Man and Thor and Nick fury takes over the mentoring responsibilities from Tony Stark this time around. Perhaps the latter is because of the rumored departure of Tony from the MCU in Avengers: Endgame or may be RDJ demanded too big a paycheck.

I wish that Marvel Studios would make a stand-alone Spider-man Movie as just being a friendly neighborhood wallcrawler. Sure, there would be the inevitable cameos from one or two fellow MCU superheroes. But I would like to Peter Parker grow into his role as Spider-Man without the involvement of the Avengers/S.H.I.E.L.D. folks.

Something along the lines of Iron Man 3 or Thor: Ragnarok. Well, we can always dream...

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Hellboy (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

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The long awaited trailer for the Neil Marshall directed Hellboy movie was released recently. This is a reboot with David Harbour taking over the mantle of the titular superhero from Ron Perlman.

Joining David Harbour are Ian Shane (replacing John Hurt) as Professor Broom, Sasha Lane, Milla Jovovich and Daniel Dae Kim.

Check out the trailer:

This trailer proved to be underwhelming. The movie tries to ape the MCU movie style of humor that so many recent movies have tried desperately and failed.

This is an important point as Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) himself gave his stamp of approval for the reboot and claimed that is much closer to his vision for the character.

It is possible that Mignola and Marshall tried to bring the superhero back to his horror roots and stay away from the particular sense of humor that del Toro and Ron Perlman brought so successfully to the movies. Guillermo's sense of humor was enjoyable and meshed well with the flow of movie.

But here it is a different situation. Perhaps the studio forced the director to include the comedic tone to the movie. The trailer itself starts with a scene that is intended to showcase the comedic nature of the movie, but then the trailer switches gears and becomes a save-the-world movie with our hero being the only guy capable of stopping the apocalypse.

The humor looks forced and either comes off as childish or falls flat most of the time. One of the lines (“Hey, I am on your side”) is directly lifted from the first Guillermo del Toro movie:

Similarly, Hellboy's fight against a bigger opponent reminds one of the encounter between Hellboy and Wink in the fantastic Troll Market sequence of Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Considering that Mike Mignola clearly wanted this movie not to take the del Toro route, the trailer is just surprising to say the least.

Not only the CGI but even the production values look below average. There is a generic blockbuster feel to the whole movie that clearly misses the unique horror/comic book roots of the character that Mike Mignola repeatedly claimed that this movie would have.

The actors appear uninterested with Ian Shane looking positively bored as Professor Broom. Ditto for Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim. Milla Jovovich seems to be in just for the paycheck.

David Harbour's take on the character might be lost in the obvious (but failed) attempts at humor. Fingers crossed on this.

I was looking forward to this movie primarily for two reasons: the director and for featuring one of my favorite superheroes.

Neil Marshall has directed one of my favorite werewolf movies: Dog Soldiers. That movie was made on a much lower budget than this one and had a great screenplay, acting and action sequences. I also liked Centurion starring Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko.

I can only assume that studio interference has played a significant factor in the dumbing down of his latest effort.

This trailer confirms that it would have been a better idea for Universal Pictures and Mignola to have let Guillermo del Toro make the series finale. He clearly had great ideas for the third chapter that would have completed the story arc for Anung Un Rama and Liz Sherman.

Well, Ron Perlman looks set to be the definitive version of Hellboy and the del Toro movies would remain classics - a recognition very well deserved.

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Image Sources: Nu Boyana FX, Campbell Grobman Films, Dark Horse Entertainment, Lawrence Gordon Productions, Millennium Films 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok Trailer - Review and Reaction

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We have our latest trailer of the next Marvel Cinematic Universe offering - Thor: Ragnarok.

Taika Waititi (Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) takes the directorial duties for the first time in MCU and looks to have done a great job. In addition to the  regulars (Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jaimie Alexander, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson), we have a few newcomers: Cate Blanchett as Hela, Karl Urban  as Skurge and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.

Check out the trailer below:

The trailer succeeded in selling the movie as a colorful and fun joyride with characters we are familiar with. The color palette looks very similar to Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a movie I would spend money to watch in the theaters.

There is no grim mood or overly serious faced actors populating the screen. Plus the movie is shot in glorious colors that prevents the movie from being an eyesore. In short, this is NOT a DC Films movie.

Speaking of colors, the movie sports a strong hue of green. Hulk is not getting his standalone movie - Mark Ruffalo confirmed this recently. So Marvel Studios decided to make what should have been a solo Thor adventure into a Thor/Hulk buddy movie. Marvel Comics fan would be able to identify the “Planet Hulk” storyline. 

An animated movie of the same name was also released in 2010. That movie was fantastic and if this movie is even half as entertaining as the animated version, then Marvel has a huge winner on their hands.

Chris Hemsworth is his usual self as the never-too-serious but noble God of Thunder. Towards the end of the trailer, Thor looks like Raiden (with his white eyes) from the Mortal Kombat game. Raiden himself is based on Raijin, the Japanese God of Thunder.

Cate Blanchett seems to be having fun as the villain. And she has the reliable Karl Urban in sidekick mode. If this is not enough, Loki is back and this time Loki has not only applied his usual hair gel but also some kind of facial lotion that make his face look weird.

The movie introduces another character: Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. Tessa shot to prominence after her performance in Creed. No doubt, Valkyrie will play an important part as the events unfold in the movie.

Yet another character of note is Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Though not featured in the trailer, I am sure he will make an appearance since his magical powers will fit in nicely within this universe of Gods and Monsters.

The special effects are done well. In a nutshell, this is the typical Marvel movie that respects the source material and gets the much deserved love from fans and critic alike.

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Image Sources: Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures