Sunday 27 April 2014

SPOILER Discussion - Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Part 2

Reminder: This post will include stories & characters established in the comics...
So if you do not follow them, or do not want to know about them...its better to skip reading this...



There are many pieces in the movie that seem to tease or lead the story of these characters the way it is in the comics, among them is the Winter Soldier himself, and the members of HYDRA...

The Winter Soldier

          If you follow the story of the Winter Soldier, then you may know about him and Captain America working together again, and working for SHIELD too. This is something I expect to happen in upcoming films, and I will cherish the moment if it does...I mean, come on, Cap & Winter side-by-side, what could be better? This may happen, I believe, as we have seen that Bucky in the post-credits scene may eventually realize the truth about him, and after having an emotional encounter with Steve in the final minutes of the battle, and rescuing him too, I figure Bucky's path in the films will be in the heroes favour soon.
          Yet, more importantly, fans may know about the eventual "death" of Captain America (they never really die in the comics, do they?). With this, Bucky takes over the mantle as Cap, while soon after, Steve's resurrection resulted in him leading SHIELD instead. Of course, this is probably still quite far away for the films, and may not even happen. But its no secret that Chris Evans only has contract for six films (done 4, including Ultron) while Sebastian Stan has nine (only done 2). Now, if it remains this way, it would make total sense for Bucky to be taking over. But we can never rule out Evans extending his contract and I'm sure we will always want to see him on screen, be it as Cap, or leading the new generation of SHIELD. Well, we'll just have to see where Kevin Feige & Marvel Studios intend to take the story towards.


          Now, HYDRA played a big part in the film, and more so for comic book fans who knew about them. Arnim Zola in the comics turn out to be similar to what is shown in the film, having his consciousness in the body of a computer/machine (that is just a nice touch). Though not in line, his involvement in the creation of the Winter Soldiers kept things smooth and tight for the cinematic universe.
          But, more importantly, is the character of Brock Rumlow. Fans will know him as the villain Crossbones, an agent of HYDRA. So, when we find him initially working for SHIELD, it was not expected, and I thought they just took the name for it. But when it is revealed that he works for HYDRA, it all comes together. And now, we know he has burns all over, and probably won't be dead, so it will only make sense for him to come back in future installments as Crossbones. How cool is that? And then, in the comics, he is in fact also involved in the assassination of Captain America. The studio might or might not go for it, but still, how much cooler can this idea be?
           Further, in the mid-credits scene, we have Baron von Strucker of HYDRA, who will play a big part in Ultron. But he seem to be on something bigger than HYDRA & SHIELD, so we will have to wait and see if he will act in the name of HYDRA, or be a threat of his own when Ultron hits theatres next year.

Oh, oh, did anyone here the name Stephen Strange being mentioned? Yeah, you know him right...really a potential character for the universe...

Sunday 20 April 2014


"Your friends...they don't know the danger"

          This film is more drama than thriller, and is limited in the action, all the while confusing in the details and lacking the proper pacing. Though the initial set up is great, and the core message well delivered, the movie never really thrills or excites along the way.

          What dragged me to this in the first place is the idea/premise which feels great and has a lot of potential to be an exciting blockbuster, (heck, even the trailer seems great), however it never really lived up to expectations, and takes the movie in a different direction instead. As a TV series, it might work, but as a movie, I believe it should have been more explosive and daring with the plot. 

          Rarely does the film thrill or is presented with dangers and suspense, instead it felt slow and focuses more on drama (kind of reminds me of Oblivion). The impact is that there are never really any action sequences that is exciting, which could have been so with a more daring plot. The idea has potential, and could even be expanded into a trilogy, if it dares to challenge and expand the story and issue into a more threatening danger.

           The plot is designed to be thought-provoking, and it is, but most of the time the answers were not given, and it feels as if most are just left to the imagination. It was never clear in the details, hence I could never really understood the motive, what the AI wants, and what danger it possesses. Perhaps this is why the film lacks in thrill and suspense.

           On a side note, the film did display some cool visual style, and it employs a strong cast to strike the emotions through. But it has poor characterization and narrative that never really sets the characters going. It has quite the emotional and touching ending, and the message was well delivered to audiences. The start was great, and the end was meaningful, but in between, there was never any fun and action (and thrill and suspense) to be had. The movie has potential, and it could be so much more, it just wasn't.


Good: Cool visual style, Strong cast, Touching ending/message, Great idea/premise

Bad: Lacks thrill & suspense, Limited action, Confusing details

SCORE: 5.5

Monday 14 April 2014

SPOILER Discussion - Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Part 1

For the first time, there will be a two-part Spoiler Discussion here, simply because there are lots to talk about, at least in my mind...
Some warning though, Part 2 will be different as that one will require knowledge of the comics, and will be intended for comic book fans...

Don't worry, this one will only be based of what we see in the film...



"Finish the mission...cause I'll be with you til the end of the line"

(The most touching line in the film. How much more emotional can it be??)

Little Twist: The Winter Soldier is Bucky!

          Well, there we go. This is the twist that is exactly as it is in the comics, so fans would have known. For movie-goers though, it may be different (unless you read the cast list). Now, I can't say how surprised film-goers will be when they saw his face...I even wondered if they would even recognize him. Yet, even for fans like me, I find it entertaining enough. Cap's reaction and Bucky's struggle afterwards is what sells it. Plus, every time they fight each other, there is that special feeling when you know these two are best friends and are equalling each other out. The fanboy inside me nearly exploded on the fight scenes between the two.

Big Twist: Hail HYDRA!

           And this is the one where even fans may not have guessed. The idea of the return of HYDRA is a welcome one. While it is a bit radical to be taking it upon SHIELD, but for Captain America's world, it just fits. Arnim Zola being the computer like that is just as the comics intended. Though Winter Soldier never really worked for HYDRA in the comics, it probably is just a nice touch to do so here. And so is the fact that Zola is highly involved in the creation of the Winter Soldier himself. The only thing to look forward to from here, is that how does SHIELD and HYDRA go from here onwards. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's not the last we see of HYDRA, and with SHIELD in ruins, how is the future of the franchise and the TV series (Agents of SHIELD) going to be? Questions, questions, questions.

Oh, yes, and that Tony Stark's parents' death is somehow the work of HYDRA (as explained by Zola), well, kind of tied things up a bit more there...

Un-Twist-ed: Nick Fury's (Not) Death...

          Well, I had my doubts throughout, but for some time there I really thought, yeah, maybe that was the end of the line for him. I tried to resist believing, but they took time before the reveal, so...well...I know...anyway, surprising or not, it is indeed a good plot line for the movie. His (not) death provided some push for the characters, while giving us the added suspense of not knowing who to trust. While his re-appearance gave us the relieve and gives Cap the team to finish the job, the people he can trust, or at least, rely on. Oh, and Nick's other eye is't see that coming (I don't suppose it is like that in the comics), so, from now patch required.

Credits' Scene

          The mid-credits scene was a great tease, showing new characters Baron von Strucker, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch. All these characters will appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, so teasing them here is just sweet. Baron von Strucker as mentioned is apparently a part of HYDRA as well, but remains hidden, and he seem to plan something bigger than SHIELD & HYDRA. With Loki's sceptre in his hands, and the twins in captivity, we shall soon see his plan in motion when Ultron hits theatres next summer. And probably the future of HYDRA too??
          The post-credits scene here is very short indeed, but is perhaps the most meaningful as of yet. Compared to previous ones in the franchise which only shows some funny random things, this one looked like it meant something deep and is based on what had happened in the film, and from this one, we may have Bucky learn the truth about himself and maybe turn good after this. Of course, it remains to be seen how the Winter Soldier will be featured in upcoming films, but this certainly is a good sign, isn't it?

And yes, there will still be a part 2 after this...but quick reminder again, that will require knowledge of the comics and will be aimed for comic book fans...
So, if you don't want to know about the stories in the comics (and hence potential storylines) then it is best to avoid it....

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Looking Forward: MAY 2014

Summer starts officially with some of the biggest blockbusters of the year...literally!!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2-USA, Apr 18-UK, May 1-Singapore)

          The hot early May superhero spot (which usually gets big bucks, after The Avengers and Iron Man 3) this time around is capitalized by The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Spider-Man is one of my favourite heroes in films, simply because he is fast, strong, agile, can swing (aerial), and can even shoot webs (range), giving him the versatility in the making of a great combination of action sequences with the capacity to take on many different kind of villains. Yet he is also interesting because he has very human issues in his personal life, and has the talent for making jokes and having fun along the way.
          Furthermore, Marc Webb have proven himself worthy with the first film, and now this one seems to take another step further with more villains, exciting action, and uncovering more secrets of Peter Parker's life. And to top it all off, the first trailer for this film is simply one of the best ever (probably the best of the year so far, and awesome soundtrack too!).

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Must See!!) (Extended Trailer) (Final Trailer)

Godzilla (May 16-USA, May 16-UK, May 15-Singapore)

          Literally one of the biggest films of the year, with people all around getting excited at witnessing the return of the giant lizard known as Godzilla. There have been good and bad films showcasing this entity (admittedly I have watched none of them), but as can be seen from the trailers, this one seem to take an angle of conveying the fears, destructions, and consequences of having this monster around. It really presses on how small & puny humans are compared to the power of nature, and whether we are in control of it, or the other way around. With some great casts in Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, as well as trailers displaying some ferocious destructions, this may well be the biggest movie to look out for.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Main Trailer) 

X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23-USA, May 22-UK, May 22-Singapore)

          One of my most anticipated film of the year, for 2 main reasons. One is that with the scale and depth of the project, with the old & new cast combining, as well as pioneer Bryan Singer's return, we can only expect high quality entertainment from this film. The other reason is the plot, which once again takes the X-Men requiring to join forces (even in the past) to stop a terrible force driving them towards extinction.  
          The X-Men films have never been like any other superhero films, not only because of the large number of super-powered characters, but also because they reflect social issues & minority discrimination that became the centre of conflict for many times in human history. Unlike Spider-Man or Iron Man that gets the celebrity status for being a superhero, the X-Men have always been outcasts, and more so than ever, they are on the verge of extinction with some powerful forces on their doorstep. With a very dark tone, and a very emotional plot, all before some promising quality entertainment and action, this will be my most anticipated superhero film of the year.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2) (Final Trailer)

Note: In the end, the final trailer did show lots of light & humourous moments, which is always good for a blockbuster film.

Maleficent (May 30-USA, May 30-UK, May 29-Singapore)

          A film based on the Disney villain Maleficent of the Sleeping Beauty story. The unique thing about this one, is that rarely does a film, especially coming from Disney, to take on the viewpoint and focus on the villain's storyline. It will be interesting to marvel again on the world of Princess Aurora, this time from an opposing angle. Furthermore, the cast is brilliant, with the amazing Angelina Jolie taking on the titular role. From the trailers, there has been some very promising visual treats for us. And given that this is one of the most famous villains ever, this surely will be something interesting to look forward to.

Trailers: (Teaser) ("Dream" Trailer) ("Wings" Trailer)

Other Movies:

Chef (May 9)
-An intriguing comedy film reuniting Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, and Scarlett Johannson...

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (May 9)
-An animation film, this time back on the world of Oz...

A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30)
-An interesting comedy film with a unique setting, and a bunch of great actors too...

Friday 4 April 2014


"We build a vessel to survive the storm...we build an ark"

          Benefiting from a strong cast and deep emotional ride with the characters, Noah is a surprisingly delightful epic despite the limited source material & the beliefs it had to keep. Initially it felt like a simple, straightforward film with excellent visuals, but even after the ultimate flood, conflicts are still stirring in the life of Noah himself.

          In the midst of watching the film, I was admittedly surprised with the direction they took and the powerful conflict they presented. Based on the trailers, and even after watching it for nearly an hour, I thought this is a very simple story of Noah building an ark to save the innocents from the flood. I was wrong when the story took a dark and emotional turn, and the villain Tubal-Cain become the least of his problems, with conflicting ideals & beliefs continually being tested in the life of Noah and his family.

          Along with the dark turn of events, the film highly benefited from strong performances by the cast, especially Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connelly, but even Emma Watson and Logan Lerman took me by surprise with astounding performances, as does Ray Winstone. All this, and equipped with strong visuals and Darren Aronofsky's brilliant take, makes it quite the wonder and a decent movie worth the price of admission.

          However, it is not without fault. In fact, I was pretty much bored in almost the first half of the film, seeing things work out too quickly and implausible events happening (though perhaps I have to accept that this is a biblical story anyway). And the film does not have lots of action, with only one entertaining battle sequence with the six-armed stone angels. Nearly no humour at all, only to be filled with strong & dark twist in the drama. But it is in general a good movie with a very powerful message.


Good: Great visuals, Strong performances by the cast, Dark & emotional plot

Bad: Boring first half, Limited action, Little humour

SCORE: 6.5