Friday 31 October 2014

SPECIAL: MARVEL Phase 3 Line-Up - Part 3

The remaining two movies, which you might already know of if you've been following the news, but anyway, here it is...

A quick update before we start:
I've just found out that Ant-Man will no longer be part of Phase 3, and will act as the last film in Phase 2 instead.


Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 (May 4, 2018)
Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 (May 3, 2019)

          This is the big thing, the massive event where everything in the MCU will culminate in. Beginning in Phase 1, where we see The Tesseract & Loki's Scepter, moving on to Phase 2 where we are further introduced to The Aether & another yet unnamed Infinity Stone (purple orb) in Guardians, and into Phase 3, expect more stones to be revealed, where everything will culminate in a battle against the mad titan Thanos, who in the anouncement teaser, is seen wearing the Infinity Gauntlet with all the gems attached. Again, the title seems no less conspicuous, clearly hinting to the fact that this will the biggest of battles, with the involvement of the Infinity Stones.
          The battle is probably going to be so big, that the whole arc is to be split into two parts, with a one year gap in between, which will not feel too long once the epic battle takes place. And a film of this epic scale allows the possibility of more new characters to be part of the fight, and more importantly, even the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not only is the movie scale & scope big enough to fit all the characters, but even the story would probably allow the settings to take place in the cosmos, other dimensions, realms, etc. It feels massive, but I hope (and I do have the sheer confidence) that there will be a strong emotional plot holding all the action & settings together. 
          Releasing in May 2018 & May 2019, the journey is still quite a long one. (But the excitement & anticipation is surely high...and will be even more so...)

Phase 3 - Overall Thoughts

          In a quick glance, there seems to be more new character standalone films than the sequels. Equal in numbers, though, if we take into account the two Avengers films. However, the way I see it, Phase 3 may well be the end of the line for our original Avengers: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America. Because they seem to have no plan to go beyond a trilogy for their respective standalones, and by the end of Phase 3, would have done three (or four) Avengers films as well. Add to that the fact that the actors' contracts would have been exhausted by then. So, unless Marvel has another big plan for these characters going forward (crossing fingers), it does seem like these characters won't go beyond Phase 3.
          So, in the end, it will feel like Phases 1-3, will be like the big trilogy that encompasses the story arcs for our original Avengers. Afterwards, stories told may be of the newer characters introduced, and the Avengers roster might have changed completely by then. It's not all bad, and yes, by then, I would still have complete faith in Marvel, but it's just sad to feel that the stories of the original Avengers may end by 2019.
         Of course, this is just my speculative vision, and there's still hope for them to appear in Phase 4 and beyond. Chris Hemsworth won't be too old to continue by then, and Sebastian Stan should have 9 movie contract, so it's too early to cross them off just yet. And in this industry, anything can happen. From recasts to recontracts, anything can happen, and it's in their (Marvel) hands that we can simply place our trust that they will bring what's best for the fans and for audiences around the world. In the meantime, let us simply enjoy what is up ahead for us: The 9 movies in Phase 3 is sure to be one hell of a journey in a three year span...and we're not even done with Phase in line, Avengers: Age of Ultron!!!


Thursday 30 October 2014

SPECIAL: MARVEL Phase 3 Line-Up - Part 2

Continuing yesterday's post of my thoughts on the Phase 3 Line-Up from Marvel...

Thor: Ragnarok (July 28, 2017)

          This is probably my most anticipated sequel in Phase 3, simply to see Loki back in the mix again. Now Ragnarok is a very significant event in the comics: it is the apocalyptic battle which ends up with the destruction of Asgard, and one of the trigger is due to Loki's actions. While fans would be familiar with the word, general audiences may not be, hence Kevin Feige's word that Marvel will educate the world on the meaning of "Ragnarok" (presumably through future films) until when the film arrives.
          Kevin Feige also explained that the word Ragnarok essentially means "the end of all things", so it really does feel as if the future is grim for Asgard and all the Nine Realms. More excitingly, is that he further claimed that this story arc will change the Phase 3 the way that The Winter Soldier did for Phase 2, so expect it to be something big. 
          And seriously, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) should be reason enough to go see this movie.

Black Panther (Nov 3, 2017)

          Black Panther is a character long overdue in the cinematic universe. It's among the fans' favourite, and has significant presence in the comics universe. The character brings diversity to the world of MCU, but is a very welcome one. And if pulled off right, I think the people would love this character, as he's easily relatable and not overly superpowered. And in fact, we already have an actor in the awesome Chadwick Boseman (while we're still waiting for confirmation for Doctor Strange), and he's set to be introduced in Captain America: Civil War, before gracing his own film the following year.

Note: There was a film scheduled for May 4, 2018. But as Kevin Feige skipped it temporarily during the announcement, so will I. I will discuss about it in the final part.

Captain Marvel (July 6, 2018)

          Similarly, this could almost be said as a character that is long overdue in the MCU, and again is similarly bringing diversity to the roster, being the first female Marvel superhero to have her own standalone film. Lots of alter-ego have taken the mantle of Captain Marvel in the comics, but for this film, Marvel is taking the character Carol Danvers, also known as Ms. Marvel. An interesting character, as Kevin Feige said, is of Earth origins but have adventures as far as the cosmos, so it will bring a new kind of movie for the MCU. Not one of my most anticipated films to come as of now, but I have been proven wrong before, and I have complete faith in Marvel that they will pull off another amazing movie with this superheroine.

Inhumans (Nov 2, 2018)

          The 20th film in the MCU, and much like the 10th (Guardians), looks to be yet another wildcard. Guardians of the Galaxy was a gamble that paid off unbelievably well, and that gives the confidence for Marvel to not only bring a sequel, but bring another group of cosmic-based characters with different personalities & settings. General audiences will have little to no clue as to who these characters are, and so it's again up to Marvel to introduce them, and make them awesome in the eyes of the world. I felt that way with Guardians, but apparently, not with Inhumans, as I've had the privilege of knowing them once before. Still, here's hoping it can be great & appealing to not just the fans, but to everyone.

One last post for the remaining two films, and a general thought on Phase 3...

Wednesday 29 October 2014

SPECIAL: MARVEL Phase 3 Line-Up - Part 1

Marvel said they were holding a big event with some big announcements...and they really mean fact, it's beyond's...the whole Phase 3 Line-Up!!
As a Marvel fan by heart & soul, this is an excitement overload...and below are my thoughts on them...

Here are the announced line-up:

Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)

          This was speculated recently but it's nice to know it's been confirmed. (Hey, Marvel even joked with the subtitle Serpent Society, before revealing the truth towards the end of the event). The subtitle Civil War is a bit direct in hinting us of what the story is about, and Civil War is a story arc in the comics which, in essence, splits the superheroes of Earth into two sides, a pro registration and an anti registration, under Iron Man and Captain America, respectively. So, expect a big & emotional battle between our two notable Avengers above.
          Some of my friends have pointed out concerns that since Marvel have only introduced a rather small number of heroes in the universe, there may not be enough characters to call this a war, maybe not even a sense of it. Though it may be true that the scale & impact of the event may not be as powerful as it is in the comics, I personally have faith in Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios) and the team to pull off something amazing. 
          But, hey, Black Panther is confirmed to be in this film, so that's another exciting character in the mix, right?

Doctor Strange (Nov 4, 2016)

           This is my favourite of all the new characters to be introduced in Phase 3. In fact, Doctor Strange may well be my favourite superhero in the MCU so far (Note: superhero, not supervillain - Loki, Winter Soldier, Ultron - I just love villains), because there is a certain personality with the character Stephen Strange, and there's another thing about his style and his tone which makes him even more interesting. He is really rather different than other heroes that came before, and as Kevin Feige stated, this film will introduce the supernatural side of the universe, with parallel dimensions, etc. 
          One thing to note is that the release date is pushed to November, instead of the originally flagged July date. Nevertheless, a few months is nothing if it means getting yet another awesome Marvel film. Hey, especially if Benedict Cumberbatch is involved (Still...still...not officially confirmed...).

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)

           Guardians 2 is another that gets a change in the release date, albeit a move forward instead of a delay. One reason may be due to the unexpectedly huge success of Guardians of the Galaxy, but another may be simply because James Gunn have already started working on it, compared to other projects that may need to wait before getting started. Either way, Guardians was an excitingly fun surprise, and I certainly expect more of the same from the sequel, and I can't wait to see what James Gunn has in store for in the next space adventure.

More films to be discussed in the next post...

Saturday 25 October 2014


"Yeah...I'm thinking I'm back"

          I scanned the reviews, most of which gave highly positive, of this film before seeing it. After which, though, I have to almost completely disagree with the critics & reviewers. There are some fun to be had with this, but it lacked in almost every aspect a great action film should have.

          To start with, it lacked tension. In fact, it feels less and less exciting as the minute goes. And still along the lines of the action sequences, it lacked variety. The first fight scene was still cool and fresh and exciting. As it goes, it just repeats the style, the tone, over and over again, just on different settings. And if you have a main protagonist that was once feared by the criminal underworld, and didn't give him an equally powerful antagonist to face him off: no tension will arise. Somehow you always feel that this hero you're rooting for, will always pull through. Seriously...not exciting!!

          And then there is the plot, which just takes on the theme of revenge...again...and again. It's repetitive, and when it should make us feel for the characters, we don't. The protagonist, John Wick, takes on this mission simply out of revenge, and then the primary antagonist, takes on his as a revenge to the revenge mission that John did. Worsened by the fact that we never really get to relate to these characters.

          Action, tension & plot; all the things a good action film requires. And John Wick lacks in all. Yet it's not all bad, as the cast did prove great, and wow, did Keanu Reeves just pull off another wonderful performance. And the style of the action did start well, cool & fresh, until it starts getting repetitive. More importantly, they played a lot with the humour and the jokes and the dialogues, which is where all the fun is to be found. So, yeah, there are some fun to be had from this, but nothing makes this movie even close to a good action flick.


Good: Stylish action sequences, Awesome cast & performances, Nice humour

Bad: Repetitive action, Low tension & suspense, Boring plot, Lack of drama 

SCORE: 4.5

Tuesday 21 October 2014


"The best job I ever had!"

          Fury is a film about a tank and her crew in the final moments of war. It focuses on the drama and the action, and tries to achieve as much authenticity. They seem to try and imitate the tone of Saving Private Ryan, but not to that level. The movie lacks in plot, but their authenticity combined with some dramatic tensions and tank battles makes this feel like a fresh change, after a string of science-fiction, fantasy blockbusters in recent time.

          I would really have to say that this movie really did take a more serious & authentic tone, making it, in a way, kind of darker & tragic. So, for people who can't enjoy films like this, they probably won't. But those who can appreciate the nature of this film, will most likely enjoy it, the way I did. It was not as bloody & tragic as Saving Private Ryan, which could be considered good, because SPR is a bit too much. This one still plays the action sequences to their strengths, which leads me to my next point:

          The action feels bloody brilliant. There are moments of tension like in the wait for the tank's cannon to be reloaded, and whether it will miss or hit. It's a different kind of action than what we usually see (gunfight, sword fight, hand-to-hand), yet it's very suspenseful, and I really appreciate the magnitude of the sound effects. It felt real, and gave it a more devastating and powerful feel, the sound of every cannon, every bullet, every mortar.

          Unfortunately, the plot is so predictable and cliched, and is very straightforward. But the characters are great, and the bond built within the tank crew is the core of the relationship. At first, it's a bit hard to like the crew (though understandable, given their experience with the war), but then slowly, we begin to like the characters one by one, and after midway, we feel like we are already part of the crew, part of the tank, and we just want to root for them. And everything that happens to them just keeps adding on to the drama. And little humour is to be expected from a movie of this nature.

          It does feel like a fresh film, because it's been a while since we see one like this. It still plays to their strengths with some explosive action sequences, strong suspense & drama. But those who go to the films for just some fun, probably won't find it here. Those who can't appreciate, will enjoy the film. Others probably won't.


Good: Explosive action sequences, Strong suspense & drama, Great characters

Bad: Predictable plot, Little humour

SCORE: 7.0


Tuesday 14 October 2014

Looking Forward: NOVEMBER 2014

Bless you, November, you are awesome! Not only is this the month of my birthday, but it really has a...and I can't believe I'm finally using this word...SURPLUS of blockbuster movies...yes, indeed...

Interstellar (Nov 7-USA, Nov 7-UK, Nov 6-Singapore)

          Christopher Nolan is a true genius in this industry, and his works have dazzled me and many others, time and time again. This one, yet again, looks to be another of his iconic masterpiece. The kind that incorporates science-fiction in ways we never imagined, while having a very human drama in its core. So far, details have been pretty much in the blur, but if the trailers are any indication, there will be lots of twists and revelations, and certainly no shortage of human drama that will storm our hearts and minds. And the array of talent in the cast is also amazing. I'm expecting a jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, heart-crushing (maybe I'm slightly exaggerating...slightly) kind of film that is another masterpiece by the great Chris Nolan. 
          The final trailer is simply stunning, and a must watch!!

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #2) (Trailer #3) (Final Trailer) (Must See!!!)

Big Hero 6 (Nov 7-USA, Jan 30-UK, Nov 13-Singapore)

          I was initially excited by the idea of having (now Disney-owned) Marvel comics characters in a Disney animation film. What I did not realize, is the characters their taking are...well...not what I expect. The only thing sustaining my hope for this film is that it is a Disney animations project, the kind that produced the amazing Tangled & Frozen in the past years. Now it will really have to work hard and prove me wrong, because the trailers kind of looked unbelievably childish so far, and without proper theme & story. The action sequences looked promising, but the characters don't. As of now, I'm just kind of half-interested with this one.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2) (NYCC Trailer)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (Nov 21-USA, Nov 21-UK, Nov 20-Singapore)

          It's been quite the journey with our heroine Katniss, and now the story takes a swift turn as we leave the games and turn towards the big thing behind all this, the revolution. As we left Catching Fire, audiences are still left in the shadows with questions unanswered, and plots left hanging. So, now, we will get to see what the events in the first two films transpire into, and hope it can replicate the brilliance of its predecessors. Trailers have come and teased us, but still left a lot of plot in the dark. But it's enough to get us back in the ride with the Mockingkjay. 

Trailers: (Teaser) (Main Trailer)

The Imitation Game (Nov 21-USA, Nov 14-UK, Jan 22-Singapore)

          The smallest budget of the bunch, yet promises quite the story & drama, and even comedy too. A dramatic take on the historical events of Alan Turing and the cracking of the enigma code, yet that particular event may be of less interests, with a powerful story revolving the character. The film boasts an all-round talented cast in Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong and Charles Dance, and quite the comedy and drama surrounding the historical discovery. And then comes the trailer that more than convinced me that this is one awesome movie I just can't miss.


Penguins of Madagascar (Nov 26-USA, Dec 5-UK, Nov 27-Singapore)

          The Madagascar films have always been funny while also keeping strong with the emotional ride with the characters. What sets them apart is that they have uniquely distinctive characters. And now we follow upon the bunch that is most intriguing yet is rarely focused upon in the films, instead having to run in their own TV series instead. Here we are now, with the first feature film focusing on the Penguins of Madagascar.
          These penguins are adorable yet they live the lives of espionage, which makes them both cool and cute at the same time. Each of these penguins, one with the other, have distinctive characters which makes them quite the unique team to solve all kinds of problems. Teaming up with an elite undercover task force to stop a villainous force from taking over the world, this may be the definitive crossover genre of animation & spy thriller. What a combination! Not convinced? Check out the trailers. Still not? Let me tell you that among the voice cast is Benedict Cumberbatch ( seems familiar...) and John Malkovich. If you are still not convinced, then go jump off a bridge, because, man, this is going to be one awesome animation film!!

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

Other Movies:

Dumb and Dumber To (November 14)
-A sequel to the successful 1994 comedy Dumb and Dumber...

Horrible Bosses 2 (November 26)
-Another sequel to another successful comedy...

Saturday 11 October 2014

SPECIAL: More TV Series

Just over a week in October now, and more TV Series have followed, and here are my first impressions I have on these TV series below...

Forever (New)

          Forever is already 4 episodes in now, given that they presented two in their first week of release, and they have so far given me some deep lasting impressions. Most of the time it may feel episodic, with case after case for respective episodes, and though the main character's observational skill & intelligence may seem familiar in presentation (recall: Sherlock), beneath all that, there are deeper meanings within the plot, especially concerning the case of the main character (which, in case you haven't heard, cannot die). He's been living for 2 centuries now, and that character brings out the meanings of life, death, and hope by the contrast of his life to the mortals around him, and that in turn gives viewers a sense of drama & meaning as well. It can be very touching indeed with this series.

Conclusion: If you can enjoy episodic investigations, this is a good one to watch, because it always bring deeper meanings with every episode, and intrigue is always in the play.

The Flash (New) & Arrow (S3)

          It should easily make sense that I put them together because they exist in the same universe, but I'll give separate impressions on each.

          The Flash surprises me (and a lot of others) with just how brilliant their pilot episode is. Great action & visuals, check. Excellent and intriguing plot, check. Mix of humour & drama, check! And furthermore, the main character Barry Allen is not your ordinary hero, he is flawed yet funny at the same time. He's just the character you want to invest your time in. And seriously, for a superhero show that usually focuses more on action (which they did well), they put a great mix of humour & drama that really works surprisingly well. And to exist together with Arrow, gives it a more interesting dynamic.

            Meanwhile, Arrow had already been strong & consistent, and they may have actually been improving episode after episode, for two full seasons now. So, it's up to the show runners to raise the bar & the stakes even more now, and one episode in, and they didn't disappoint. There was a slightly calmer overall tone (aptly titled episode, 'The Calm'), but it didn't stop finding trouble & action, as well as more plot to unravel which sets the ground and the game afoot for the upcoming season. It's a good and decent start, but what gives it it's heart, is how the episode ends in such the surprise and the cliffhanger, that this show really tells us, we're up for something epic this season, and personally, I can see that happening.

Conclusion: The Flash is a must watch for everyone (unless you are turned off by science-fiction...but who is?), and similarly for Arrow, is more than just a complement to it's sister series, but is a definite must watch! Even if you have not seen the first two seasons, go see them now!!

Agents of SHIELD may have found new life in season 2, and Gotham started strong with their characters, but this cross-universe world of The Flash & Arrow is the superhero show to beat, and I certainly believe this will be the most epic cross-universe series ever, and my, are we for one hell of a year...

Saturday 4 October 2014


"Sometimes the world doesn't need another hero...sometimes what it a monster!"

          It's always intriguing with an origin story, because it allows viewers to experience the change, in this case the man who will then become the monster we know as Dracula. This film did just enough on that part, while being sufficiently entertaining as an action flick. But it came with many minor flaws, one that culminates in a less overall dramatic experience.

          On the good part, the action sequences were great, supported by some well worked visual effects. The cast is also brilliant, most notably Luke Evans and Charles Dance. Dominic Cooper portrayed a bad guy for the second time this year, and though he can perform, he never really looked the menacing villain. He never felt like a threat and neither was his men, so there was little suspense throughout the film. There was more suspense towards the very end, but it did not culminate in a fight, promptly ending the movie in it's rather short running time. Although, there was a nice final scene (which I will talk about after the verdict, SPOILER ALERT, guys! Scroll down with caution...)

          As an untold story, it's good to see the reasons and the set up as to how this man had to become the monster, yet it was not properly explored. The case was that Vlad was supposed to resist the temptation of human blood, but it was never explored in depth except for one initial moment. It could have been more dramatic if more scenes show of his struggle, and then maybe along with the repercussions that he may be hurting his own family because of this, which will ultimately be way more dramatic. Several other details like this were not properly explored, which made it a rather straightforward story, enough to make the plot move, but not to make it a dramatic experience.


Good: Great action sequences, Decent visual effects, Excellent cast

Bad: Many minor flaws in the plot, Little suspense

SCORE: 6.5


The final scene...the really final scene, in the present time, was a very nice touch. To see Vlad as Dracula blending himself in with the modern crowd and people of the present. And even Charles Dance's character is there too, so it pleasingly entertains the notion that these creatures are really immortal, and are living amongst the people even in the present age. And to see Charles Dance in his full glory (without make up)...