Tuesday 30 August 2016

SPECIAL: Ranking the Movies of the MCU - Part 3

3. Captain America: Civil War

             As you may have found out from the previous post, I actually have a hard time placing the remaining movies. If there is a reason why I might put this below the other two, I can only think of the fact that I had hoped the ending would be more tragic or at least, it should be more broken than what it is.
           However, it didn't take away the fact that this film pits all of the MCU heroes against each other in not only a spectacular battle sequence...but also in a way that makes sense for all the characters. Even Ant-Man and new boy Spidey has their moments...and we are introduced to a great character in Black Panther. The banter between Falcon and Bucky, and scenes of Zemo are just a few standout scenes of a brilliantly crafted piece of entertainment. Great story, great action, great characters. A spectacular film that shows why the MCU is king of the superhero films.

2. The Avengers

            There should never be any doubt that this film would be right near to the top. It is a very fun film in every way. This is where Loki makes his mark to be the best villain the MCU has ever seen (even until now). The movie is fun in every way, and has humour in excellently crafted dialogue - for which I really have to salute the great Joss Whedon. He knows how to bring the best out of every character - and he can bring out humour from the most unlikeliest of places. Also, the banding together of these superheroes feel very natural, and I, like many other fans, feel like being in a dream when we see these Avengers together in the same screen for the first time.
           The reason why this film is not at the top....hmmm, I don't know...Cap's outfit, maybe??

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

            Or rather, it is the fact that The Winter Soldier blew me away after watching it the first time around. It is not as bombastic in scale as The Avengers or Civil War, but it hits all the right notes. The way it plays out to be an action thriller is one thing. How it delivers gritty but excellent action sequences is another.
            Even while I already know who the Winter Soldier is before the film, I find the introduction & presence of the Winter Soldier in the film to be both chilling & awesome at the same time. And the fight between Cap & Winter Soldier in the causeway is easily one of the best action sequences in the MCU. And finally, the ending is just the best. I really find myself in awe of the film from start to end, and very simply, it is the MCU film I love the most.

Rock on, MCU!
Up next, Doctor Strange coming November 2016....

Monday 29 August 2016

SPECIAL: Ranking the Movies of the MCU - Part 2

Films 7 to 4 as below...

7. The Incredible Hulk

           Somehow, some people doesn't really like this film. And I do agree that Mark Ruffalo makes for a better Bruce Banner, and personally, I find Betty Ross very uninteresting in this film. However, this film has spectacular action sequences. The final batte between Hulk and Abomination is an epic fight in and of its own, and the visual effects were brilliant. Also, the favela chase scene stands out for me. And finally, one of the main reasons that pushed this film to seventh place - is the score. The music by Craig Armstrong is super spectacular, and I would easily re-watch this film if only for the score.

6. Ant-Man

             Some would argue that while Ant-Man is a very fun film, the plot is rather simple. Well, I may be able to agree - but some aspects of it makes it feel different. Firstly, there is the fact that is a heist film and not like other generic (world domination or mass destruction) plot. And secondly, it is also because of the father-daughter dynamics of the film...it gives the protagonists a simpler and more heartfelt motivation. And also, the music is brilliant and I find Paul Rudd's Scott Lang as an excellent protagonist to root for. And don't forget Michael Pena's standout character Luis.  

5. Thor

             I had a bit of trouble between placing Ant-Man or Thor in fifth, but I think Thor just edges it out simply because of the story and character development that our hero went through. Not to mention this where we get introduced to the MCU's greatest villain yet. And finally, I have watched this film again not too long ago, and I am totally surprised as to how much humour there is - and it brilliantly plays to the idea of Asgard vs Earth differences. The only thing that this film can improve is in fact, the action, but everything else was brilliant!

4. Captain America: The First Avenger

            Now, the top four films are really the best of the best of the MCU - and I had a hard time placing out the top four. These are the practically flawless films, and I would give these films at least a 9.0 out of 10.0.
            As for fourth place, I have a hard time justifying, but the main reason I can think of putting The First Avenger in fourth is because of what the other three managed to achieve.
           Otherwise, this film is really a brilliant film in every way. The story has a lot of heart, a great villain, and surprisingly a lot of humour. And I especially love that "star spangled man" sequence. Tommy Lee Jones' character is an absolute standout, and this film remains one of the most emotional and heartfelt story of all the MCU films.

The top three films should be a bit obvious...but wait to find out the order in tomorrow's post...

Sunday 28 August 2016

SPECIAL: Ranking the Movies of the MCU - Part 1

I have seen others do their version of ranking the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), so I thought I'd do mine...especially as I haven't been watching new movies of late...

Honorable Mentions

            There are 13 MCU movies up to date. And believe me, there are no bad films out of the 13, in my opinion. Probably the lowest score I'd give is a 6.0 out of 10.0 - which still means that it is still a positive piece of entertainment - just didn't stuck out as a great one. That being said, my bottom three of the list (not in order) are:

-Avengers: Age of Ultron
-Iron Man 2
-Iron Man 3

          Again, none of these are bad films at all...they're still fun to watch and I wouldn't hesitate to re-watch any of these. However, Age of Ultron is a bit too messy and the romance scenes takes me out of the film. Iron Man 2 didn't bring anything new to the table, and seems just like another day in the life of Tony Stark as Iron Man. Meanwhile, Iron Man 3 is a lot of fun, but is problematic in some aspects - especially with the villain.

10. Thor: The Dark World

             This is also very, very much a fun film. I really enjoyed every second of it, and have a lot of laughs along the way. But, similar to Iron Man 2, it looks just like another day in the life of Thor - with a very weak and one-dimensional villain. The only thing that puts it in the Top 10 is Loki. In fact, if there's any character in the film with a proper character development - it's Loki. He's easily the best part of the film and its not hard to see why fans have been clamouring for his return in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.

9. Iron Man

             I would probably get a lot of hate for this. But the reason this film is down here is very simply because of the lack of action sequences - and as a lot of people know, I do like myself a good taste of action. Don't get me wrong, it is a bloody good film that kicked off the MCU and sells casual audiences into the very idea of superhero films. And I really do enjoy this film a lot the first time I see it...but the lack of action puts it below many more interesting MCU films. I suppose this is also a testament as to how the films of MCU have grown since then.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy

           Like the above film, I may get a lot of hate for putting Guardians down below here. But first and foremost, this film has a poor villain. And then, as much as I like how James Gunn develops the character and puts in great dialogue, too...the film's plot didn't really have much to offer. In all, I always enjoyed everytime I watch this film, and it has a lot of heart and (obviously) humour, too - its just that I enjoy watching 7 other MCU films a bit more than this.

I do really feel like playing with fire (in dealing with the MCU films), because they really are all so good...very good, indeed...its just that there are some films which I enjoy more than others...and I just want to try to rank them basis my own personal preference...

So feel free to disagree with my list, and I can really understand why people would put Guardians of the first Iron Man way up top...its just my personal preference is most likely different than others...

Anyway, films 7 to 4 are up in the next post...

Saturday 20 August 2016

Looking Forward: SEPTEMBER 2016

While there aren't any big budget action-packed blockbuster films in September, there are still a few films that intrigues me...

Sully (Sept 9-USA, Dec 2-UK, Sept 8-Singapore)

          Normally this won't be the kind of film I would be craving for. But in a rather quiet September, this film looks interesting enough. The trailer was pretty good, and while I'm not completely sold...I suppose I wouldn't mind checking it out. I know its a full-on drama, but at least, it doesn't look like those ones that are depressing and have a tragic ending. And plus, it has Tom Hanks...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kDjUSnYDsw (Trailer #1)

Snowden (Sept 16-USA)

           Another biographical film with the surname of the individual as the movie title. This time - it is about the hacker Edward Snowden who leaked classified NSA information. And being a thriller, this one interests me much more than the film above. The trailers sold me, and I am really interested to see this film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KyltHXrxVk (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OVHjPCOb3c (Comic-Con Trailer)

The Magnificent Seven (Sept 23-USA, Sept 23-UK, Sept 22-Singapore)

           A western action film starring some awesome actors in Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio and more. But the one thing I can't help noticing is how similar it is, in some respects, to a recent western film by the great Quentin Tarantino - The Hateful Eight. Firsly, its a western. Secondly, having a descriptive word and a number as the title. And finally, if you look at the most recent trailer, you can see the introduction of the characters with their "titles/nicknames".
            I am not trying to claim that this film plagiarizes the style, but I just can't help noticing said similarity. But what's not going to be similar is in fact the tone & plot of the film. This one looks much more straightforward but more action-oriented. And with such excellent cast, this film will provide a much needed dose of action...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9A1WKABIbk (Teaser Trailer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkUaFKaY2Po (Trailer #1)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Sept 30-USA, Sept 30-UK, Sept 29-Singapore)

            In simpler terms, this is perhaps a creepier, weirder, and a non comic-booky version of the X-Men. Its about this Miss Peregrine who owns a mansion and teaches these "peculiar" children (children with unique powers) in a place far away from society. See the parallel?
           But while the X-Men has cool mutant powers and focuses on the action, this film seems to focus on the lives of these children away from the real world - how they deal with their powers, etc. And the powers here are not as fancy and battle-ready as the X-Men have.
           And I suppose even from the trailers, you probably can already tell the focus and the tone of this film. But I sure hope that its more than just about seeing the lives of these peculiar children.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAdpJw-MM-M (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzCC4QZmptk (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

           Morgan (Sept 2) is very much an interesting science-fiction thriller film, but it seemingly has horror elements in it, and I actively avoid horror. But it does look very much to be an intriguing sci-fi horror thriller. Now, for those of you wanting more of a disaster flick, Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlberg is out on September 30th. Also on September 30th is the comedy Masterminds if you need a good laugh.

Saturday 13 August 2016


Be warned that most of what is below is my rants about the plot...and be warned of spoilers, too...



Justice League Cameos

             Anyone who's seen the trailers will not be surprised with Batman's appearance. What surprised me, though, is how soon we get to see him. And that scene of Batman apprehending Deadshot is pretty cool, too. Meanwhile, the other surprise cameo is the Flash, who enters the scene to apprehend Captain Boomerang. This is a nice little surprise that shows the connectivity of the DC Extended Universe.

             Meanwhile, the mid-credits scene was an even better scene. To see Amanda Waller have that conversation with Bruce Wayne. And with Bruce Wayne telling Waller to stop this as he obtains some classified information about his "friends" - it becomes a nice little tease of the Justice League.

Character Deaths

            To be honest with you, these character deaths are as predictable as they can get. Everyone already expects Slipknot to die early, anyway, given his lack of appearance in the trailers. Meanwhile, El Diablo is a very cool character, and I like him, but given that he's more of a side character in the team (he's no Deadshot or Harley Quinn), it is no surprise to see him get killed off in that final act.

Now, the next set of points are actually more of my complaints about the plot which I wasn't able to spoil in my non-spoiler review...

The Joker Subplot

             Firstly, to set things straight, I don't mind this version of the Joker, and rather, I was actually beginning to like him. That being said, his appearance in this film is totally irrelevant. His objective in this film is simply to rescue Harley Quinn. Firstly, a small problem is that while I know that Harley has an obsession that is the Joker...I never see it the same way the other way around. 

             But even if it is the case, the bigger problem is that this subplot of the Joker trying to rescue Harley is totally irrelevant and in no way helps the main plot. If anything, it detracts from the main plot. I thought that when he arrived in that helicopter and takes Harley away, it would change the plot. But, no! Waller's men just shot it down, and Harley returns to the team and everything follows as normal - which means that all the scenes we've seen the Joker in has no impact at all, and is in fact, a complete waste of time!

              Even the flashback scenes made little impact. Unlike El Diablo's flashbacks which shows why he does what he does, and gives his actions a little more meaning at the end...the same cannot be said with Harley Quinn's flashbacks of the Joker. If we weren't shown those flashbacks, I would still be seeing Harley Quinn the same way in the film.

              Is there anymore? Yes! That ending scene of the Joker rescuing Harley from the facility is again irrelevant and didn't add any value. And if he could break in to that place, why didn't he do it sooner? I hate to say this, but all...literally, EVERY second of the Joker's appearance in this film is totally irrelevant and unnecessary. The film would be better off without them.

Weak Resolutions

             I have also mentioned this in my review but some conflict resolutions in this film are very weak and uncharacteristic. And even some minor scenes have this issues & plotholes, too.

             These are the notable ones: 
1) Why does Katana immediately follow the others to the bar? She was the one who distrusts them and is a friend to Rick Flag, but then without saying anything decided to follow the rest of the team, instead?? 
2) The bar scene itself didn't even have a proper pep talk that really pulls the team together - in fact, all it takes is Harley saying "Come on...got something better to do?" - and the rest of the team follows. Very uncharacteristic.
3) After the Joker's helicopter is shot down and Harley is seemingly killed, the rest of the team then meets her on the ground, but none of them even feel surprised...are you kidding me??
4) Deadshot heats up El Diablo with only a few lines - and for a person with such a tragic backstory, it makes no sense for Diablo to explode simply because Deadshot challenges him to - despite how much Deadshot knows about Phil Jackson.
5) When the team is shown some visions by Enchantress, all it takes is El Diablo telling the team that this is not real - without some sense of struggle or anything - and then the team went back to normal, immediately - no harm! A very weak resolution indeed...

             I could go on about these weak & uncharacteristic scenes and plotholes, but these should give you a general idea why the plot & narrative in this film is just weak & messy. And a film without a decent plot bores me... 

Friday 5 August 2016


"We're bad guys...this is what we do"

          This film starts out pretty excitingly...delivering out the promise that we've seen in the trailers...until it starts plummeting down into some utter nonsense of a mess. The first act of the film was excellent, but it plummets down throughout the second act until it culminates in a sheer nonsense of a final act.

          The opening sequences, to me, was brilliant. I like the style they tried to inject into this film. And the opening sequences also show that we have some very interesting characters as they introduce us to the squad members. And it had some exciting cameos, too, which became the icing on the cake that is the first act of this film. But that's about all the cake we get with this film; some very interesting characters and a great first act.

           The second act started out fine, with a nice little action sequence, too. Deadshot had a nice moment in that action sequence, but I feel like that is where exactly the film stopped becoming interesting. From then on, the action sequences felt like a repeat of earlier ones and didn't bring anything new to the table. There is also no further character developments with any of the characters.

            Worse still...is the plot. Firstly, there is no progression in the main plot as our heroes (or villains, rather) simply travel from one area to the next like in a video game. Secondly, the subplot involving the Joker is totally unnecessary and redundant to the film. I was actually beginning to like this version of the Joker, but his appearance in this film is totally redundant and irrelevant and adds nothing to the story at all - and for that I am totally disappointed.

              And all of that culminates in a finale that is just nonsensical and has no interesting moments whatsoever. To add to that, some of the resolution of the conflicts (which I shan't spoil here) feels so cheesy and uncharacteristic. Oh, and yes, the villain is pretty much underwhelming.

              And so is the whole film itself, apprently. The trailers seem to promise a lot of great things, but the film didn't deliver at all. If anything, the DC Extended Universe has taken a step back and will really need a hit of a film to bring them back on the right track. Suicide Squad isn't terrible. There are some nice moments and cool characters, but the plot utterly disappoints - and that is disappointing.


               For me, it is at the tipping point of 5.0, because I know I can watch this film and enjoy it, but I know for sure that it disappointed me the first time around. I honestly wouldn't recommend this film to any casual moviegoers. Comic book fans probably would see it anyway, but I cannot recommend this film to anyone else.

Thursday 4 August 2016


"They tracked you...we got to move"

           I think the title says it all - this film is as Bourne as a Jason Bourne film can get. This means - awesome thrilling sequences, great hand-to-hand combat, some improvisation moments and amazing music/score. But this also means using the same formula that made previous Bourne films a success.

          The one thing that made Jason Bourne, to me, stand out as compared to James Bond or Ethan Hunt, is the fact that it is not all about the combat skills with Bourne. The best sequences in any Bourne film is when he assesses the situation and makes his countermoves - like the tram sequence in Supremacy or the Waterloo sequence in Ultimatum, which remains my favourite. And yes, you will find these sort of sequences too in Jason Bourne - which is always a pleasure to watch.

            And yes, the rest of the film is exactly what you'd expect from a Bourne film. It does tread on all familiar elements and brings nothing new to the table - but fortunately each of these elements on their own are excellent. The hand-to-hand combats are brilliant, the car chase is cool, and I just have to say - the music/score is awesome. Like in previous Bourne films, the score really adds to the excitement and tension of the scenes - and I have to credit John Powell for such an excellent score.

             The overall plot isn't anything spectacular, but it works. And there's a few nice twists and shocks - although the revelation in the flashback is a little too convenient. Meanwhile, the characters feels like characters we've seen in previous films, but like the plot, they work for the film itself. One thing noticable - but didn't really bother me - is the lack of humour. I can't remember any laughs in this film.

             But its not like the film needed any. While it sticks to the same formula and brings nothing new to the table, it remains a great action film that really brings out the best of Bourne and makes us remember why we love Jason Bourne in the first place...


            I really recommend everyone to watch this film - regardless of whether you're a Bourne fan, or even whether you've seen the previous films. While it treads on the familiar elements of previous Bourne films, it remains a solidly entertaining action flick. And it is also perhaps a testament as to how good previous Bourne films were...