Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wolverine REVIEW

"The Wolverine" attempts to give you a more tough, a more ruthless Wolverine. An improved version that is more similar to the source comic material so that we can forget that the "X Men Origins Wolverine" ever happened. And is the movie successful in this attempt? To an extend, yes. The movie is about a wandering Logan, constantly tortured by visions about his lost love Jean Grey, loathing the healing factor which has proved to be more of a curse than a boon. In comes an old acquaintance with a very tempting offer. The premise of the movie is interesting, but the movie does suffer from some flaws. 

The first half of the movie starts off at a fast pace, reaches a certain point and then seems to be stuck there till the intermission. The train scene is probably one of the best action sequences I've seen in superhero movies, fun and innovative. But just as the movie starts to get a little boring the second half begins and kicks up the pace. What I loved about this movie is that it has the best version of Wolverine that we have ever seen on the big screen. Hugh Jackman has a lot of moments where he successfully portrays the true badass nature of the character. What I didn't like was that except for the main character, none of the others seemed to have any character development at all. Also I disliked how Logan has a romantic moment with Mariko(a girl he ends up protecting) especially when he was so frequently having hallucinations about Jean Grey. It seemed a bit too cheesy for my taste. Also I felt the ending could've been made better. The main villain of the movie gets no development at all, until the very end when its a bit too late.

The action sequences go from immerse to awesome and the whole Tokyo background keeps the movie fresh and unique when compared to the other X Men movies. But the scene that really took my breath away was the after-credits scene. Its a pity that from the whole movie, the scene that was most memorable was the one after the credits. Even with all its faults, The Wolverine is a pretty decent portrayal of the character's journey and definitely deserves to be appreciated.  And now I feel more excited than ever for "Days of future past". High hopes, people. High hopes.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man Of Steel REVIEW

Ever had one of those moments when something you'd been fantasizing about for a very long time is crippled and broken to pieces right in front of your eyes? Well, yesterday I had one of those moments watching the much awaited Man Of Steel. First, let me finish the shorter task of mentioning the things I liked about this movie. Krypton. The way they portrayed Kal-El's home planet was awesome. Russel Crowe was easily the most impressive of the cast, portraying Jor-El. His acting made up for the poor scripting of the character. The graphics, the action, Hans Zimmer's BGM...a few of the other things I liked about the movie.

Now moving on to the more laborious task. The movie starts off slow. And when I say slow, I mean so slow you'll ask yourself if you're actually watching a Superman movie. But you know, thats ok. Because a superhero origin story needs to start off slow. Especially when its the potential starter of a trilogy.  But slow doesn't mean it has to be uninteresting. Man of steel after the first twenty minutes, starts to get really boring. After the first half of the movie, I was heartbroken. Hoping, praying that the second half would be better. It was. But not by far. The story of Superman is simple. And yet, Zack Snyder somehow manages to tell the tale in such a way that after the end of the movie the viewer is left with more questions than answers. There are many unnecessary plotholes in the script which could have been easily avoided. 

Henry Cavill is perfect in appearance to play Superman. Not so bad with the acting either. But I noticed many crucial moments in the movie where he was rather emotionless.(eg. When he meets his father Jor-El for the first time). Amy Adams as Lois Lane was a huge disappointment for me. The character is boring and cliched. There is absolutely no chemistry between the two actors and the scenes between them feels way too cheesy. Lois Lane's character has been given way too much importance in the movie. Maybe that would've been okay if the actress was someone who could actually act! Michael Shannon as General Zod looks menacing and powerful. I expected better dialogues from the villain but he was still entertaining to watch. All in all, the movie was a letdown. Or maybe that's the disappointed fanboy inside me talking. Maybe if I had expected less, it would've been satisfactory. But even the mindblowing action scenes in the end and the very climax itself(which had a slight Nolan touch to it) couldn't save this reboot. Man Of Steel is watchable and gets really immersive towards the end, but overall its a poor origin story for what could have been a very epic trilogy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nolan's villains

As the title suggests, this article will be about Nolan's version of Batman villains. Some of you may not know this but apart from making the Batman world more realistic, Nolan also brought many changes to many of its characters, especially the villains. Some of these changes were good, some not so much. So I've created a list of my favorite Nolan villains. What I liked about them and what I didn't like about them. A countdown of Nolan's villains. So without further ado...

6. Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson)

"Don't, don't come down here with your anger, trying to prove somethin' to yourself. This is a world you'll never understand. And you always fear what you don't understand."

Changes made : Nothing significant. The first time I came across this character was in the comic Batman : Year One, where he appears as a mafia boss who controls the underworld. Nolan must've figured that there was nothing much to change about this character.

Didn't see that one coming did ya?! Most people wouldn't consider Carmine Falcone as a villain, just a minor threat in Bruce's path towards becoming The Bat. But in my opinion, he's a villain, and a very important one too! After the first time I watched Batman Begins, one of the things that stayed in my mind was the quote, "You always fear what you don't understand". According to me, the scene where Bruce meets Falcone is very critical, because that's when Bruce realizes what he has to do. In a way Falcone was a catalyst in Batman's creation. If it wasn't for him there would be no Batman. And I also thought the actor did a great job of playing the role. Calm, confident and powerful. Even with no superpowers, this character is very intimidating. Hence he's in the list.

5. Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy)

"Would you like to see my mask? I use it in my experiments. Probably not very frightening to a guy like you, but these crazies, they can't stand it. "

Changes made : Again, nothing worth mentioning. Nolan sticks to the main story of a guy who uses a fear toxin to ignite someone's phobias. There is one thing though. In the comics Scarecrow is a character who works alone, occasionally with an alliance but never under anyone. In Nolan's version, Scarecrow is working for Ra's Al Ghul.

Scarecrow is one of the most interesting Batman villains and Nolan did a pretty good job of bringing him alive onscreen. Cillian Murphy was also impressive playing this twisted, obsessive villain. But somewhere along the line I lost some respect for the character. Maybe it was when I realized that he's just being used by Ra's Al Ghul...or maybe the scene where Batman uses the fear toxin on him. Either way, he's still a pretty good villain. Just, not as good as the ones that are coming next.

4. Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart)

"You thought we could be decent men in an indecent time. But you were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased, unprejudiced, fair."

Changes made : Although the basic story is the same (guy with a half-burnt face who uses a coin to make all his decisions), Nolan did bring many changes in this character. For one thing, the comic version is much more intimidating, more badass. The comic version always has a pack of goons accompanying him and he's more ruthless, more saddistic. Also, the origin is slightly different. In the comics, Harvey is a man who always had a dark side to him. The accident just gives him the final push to bring it out. Nobody else has anything to do with it. In Nolan's version, Harvey is convinced by The Joker.

Putting aside the fact that I found the comic version much more interesting AND the fact that Two Face was kind of dwarfed by Heath Ledger's performance in the movie, I think the actor did an incredible job of playing the character. I enjoyed watching both the Harvey Dent scenes as well as the Two-Face scenes. Nolan's version of Two-Face's origin is realistic and touching. There's a sense of pity for Harvey Dent that develops in you throughout. And a lot of things he says about chance do make sense! This Two-Face is cool in his own way. He's portrayed more like a fallen angel, somewhere between an anti-hero and a villain.

3. Bane (Tom Hardy)

"It doesn't matter who we are, what matters is our plan. No one cared who I was till I put on the mask"

Changes made : In the comics, Bane is born and raised in a prison, where he trains his mind and body to develop extraordinary intellect as well as a powerful physique. Later he allows himself to be a test subject for a drug known as Venom, which gives him superhuman strength. Bane is shown wearing a luchador mask and with gas tank which continuously injects his body with Venom. In Nolan's version, Bane is comparatively less strong, does not have anything to do with any drug and wears a different kind of mask. Also his origin is different as Nolan's Bane works for Talia Al Ghul.

I like the fact that this Bane wasn't constantly having Venom injected to him. He was less of a freakish monster as shown in the comics and we got to see more of the character's intellectual side. I also liked Tom Hardy's performance, his body language, although I do think they could've made Bane more masculine. Hardy didn't seem to give too much importance to how strong he looked. Also, I dislike the ending that Nolan gave Bane. As soon as Talia is revealed as the villain, Bane kind of fades away out of the spotlight. He doesn't even get an onscreen death! But the main reason I liked this version of Bane is because Nolan remembered to add in the single thing that differentiates Bane from the other Batman villains. He actually gives Batman a decent beating! Bane is actually the only villain who is physically stronger than The Dark Knight. Because of that scene and because of Bane's eerie dialogues, hes in no.3.

2.  Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson)

"Tomorrow the world will watch in horror as its greatest city destroys itself.The movement back to harmony will be unstoppable this time."

Changes made : In the comics, Ra's Al Ghul is an eco-terrorist whose ultimate goal is to bring perfect balance in the world and restore "The Garden of Eden". He has a unique love for animals, and towards nature in general. In Nolan's verse, Ra's Al Ghul has nothing to do with eco terrorism  He's the leader of The League of Shadows, a group which aims at destroying places which are overrun with crime. Also, in the comics Ra's Al Ghul is immortal.

Liam Neeson's performance as Ra's Al Ghul was just awesome. Ra's Al Ghul has always been one of Batman's most elegant foes, both in looks and his actions. Liam Neeson, with his menacing, calm voice and his looks, fits the role perfectly. Also, if you think about it, Ra's Al Ghul is the actual villain in Batman Begins. Carmine Falcone and Scarecrow are just used by him. In The Dark Knight Rises, Talia Al Ghul seeks vengeance for her father and Bane is working for her, hence has the same mission. So eventhough he wasn't physically there, Ra's Al Ghul's presence is felt in that movie as well. And that just leaves us with The Dark Knight...

1. The Joker (Heath Ledger)

"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh and you know the thing about chaos, it’s fair."

Changes made : The original version of Joker does not have scars. He's also much more funnier, or at least he attempts to be funny more often. Nolan's Joker is more crazy than funny. Also Nolan's Joker just seems to be much more...chaotic!

No surprises here is there? The second you realized that this article is a countdown of Nolan's best Batman villains, you knew that it would end with Heath Ledger as The Joker. Nolan took one of the best villains of all time, added a few more layers of insanity and somehow made it realistic, yet more frightening! And Heath Ledger did a hell of a job playing the role. Everything from his dialogues, to his expressions and his body language, the character just captures your attention. Before this movie, The Joker was regarded as one of the best comic book villains. But after, people all over the world consider him as one of the best villains of all time. This character stays in your mind long after you've watched the movie and you'll find yourself pondering over the many theories put forth by this deranged lunatic.

So, there's the list. And if any of you are wondering Why Talia and Catwoman didn't make the list:

Talia was revealed as the villain in the last second, as a twist in the story. So, there really aren't many scenes where she shows her true evil. If I had to put her on the list, she'd be no. 7. And for those of you who don't know, in the comics Talia actually does fall in love with Bruce, and they end up having a child named Damian Wayne, who turns out to be the next Robin.

Catwoman, is an anti-hero, not a villain. Big difference!

Friday, May 10, 2013

How NOT to screw up Man Of Steel

The much hyped Man of Steel, a movie which would hopefully be a decent reboot to the broken Superman franchise, has been teasing us audiences with it's posters and trailers for quite some time. And now as we approach the release of this movie, a few discussions need to be made. What if Man of Steel doesn't turn out to be everything we're hoping for? What if it goes horribly wrong?!

But that can never be! Zack Snyder is an experienced director who has already proven that he's not a stranger to the superhero world(with movies like 'The Watchmen'). The trailers and posters look very promising, to say the least. And what is more, Christopher Nolan, the almighty  savior of DC movies, is producing this film! And anyone who's seen The Dark Knight trilogy would know that Christopher Nolan is a man who knows what he's doing. Nothing, nothing could go wrong. This movie will surely be nothing less than EPIC. Right? Wrong!

Now, how exactly can the movie fall short of our expectations? 'Man of Steel' like any other comic book reboot, has enough chances of turning into an embarrassment  Here are some of my points(things that need to be taken into consideration if the makers don't want to screw this up), in decreasing order of importance.

1. Superman is not Batman

Batman is a creature of the night; of darkness, Superman is the exact opposite, because he literally needs the light, the Sun, to fuel his powers. It's interesting to note the DC's two biggest heroes are like 2 sides of the same coin.

After watching the trailers for Man of Steel, I can't help but think that Zack Snyder is trying to utilize Nolan's winning formula of "realism", a formula that worked so well with Batman. Batman is one of the most realistic characters in DC mainly because of the fact that he has no superpowers. So adding realism to a Batman movie will only help with the story. With Superman it's the opposite. In the words of one of my good friends,  "Its fucking superman.... as in 'SUPER'!". Superman is not meant to be realistic, hes supposed to be a little over the top, unbelievably powerful, iconic...never realistic. If you try to make him too real, you're ruining the character! So all you fans, pray that the makers don't just blindly follow the TDK formula for this movie.

2.  Metropolis is not Gotham

This point cannot be stressed enough. From the trailers I get the feeling that in order to recreate the TDK magic, the makers have given the whole movie a dark theme. I've noticed from '300' and 'Watchmen' that Snyder also tends to stick the this dark theme effect. And yes, I know Metropolis isn't exactly a paradise devoid of crimes, but compared to Gotham, it is. Gotham is a hellhole. Metropolis on the other hand is more advanced, more pleasant and much more of a 'global city'. If Superman's hometown differs drastically from its comic/cartoon version, fanboys are not going to be very happy about it.

3. Kal-El's origin

You can change his costume, his characteristics and his powers but you CANNOT change his origin! This is an unwritten law for any superhero movie. Superman is the last survivor of planet krypton, sent to earth and then raised by a loving couple. From Kal-El to Clark Kent to Superman. Changing this basic story would not be a wise decision. Sure, you can add on to it, make slight changes but you can't just remake the story that millions of fanboys all over the world have read and seen for years. You just can't!

4. Justice League

After the huge success of 'The Avengers', DC needs a Justice League movie to make their presence felt. Desperately. Recent news have confirmed that Warner Bros. are currently searching for a good director to take on the job. And with all the hype building up, fans have already assumed that 'Man Of Steel' would be the movie that starts off the Justice League project. Maybe an after credits scene...Martian Manhunter dragging himself out of a destroyed spaceship, Clark finding a batarang at his front door...anything, goddammit!  The fans are that desperate for this movie, so if this film doesn't have even a slight hint for an upcoming Justice League movie, it would be disappointing for many fans(myself included).

If this movie is able to pull through, if it's able to recreate the Superman era while adding new themes, and at the same time tackle all the issues mentioned above, it will be a huge success. And like any other fanboy, I have my fingers crossed. The most iconic hero of all time has already been screwed over too many times, let's just hope that this movie helps the man of steel regain some respect and DC, to get back in the game.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reasons why Spiderman is the most UNIQUE superhero

From the two biggest comic book franchises - DC and MARVEL - we've been introduced to a number of awesome superheros with breathtaking powers and gripping story lines.  In this article I'd like to bring to your attention a few points which makes Spidey-the undisputed mascot of the MARVEL universe- the most UNIQUE superhero ever! He's not the strongest, or the most powerful. He doesn't have super intelligence nor is he the most experienced superhero. In fact he's not half as intimidating as many of the other superheroes in his league(Superman and Batman for eg.). And yet we all love him unconditionally. He is, even today considered as Stan Lee's masterpiece. Ever since his first appearance he has been idolized by millions of comic book fans all over the world. His movies were sensational hits. And now as the sequel to "The Amazing Spiderman" is in the works, let me remind you of why Peter Parker's alter ego is so irresistibly likable.

1.His powers

Around the time Spiderman was created  the main powers that the fans were familiar with were flight, super-strength, super-intelligence, invisibility, elasticity, telepathy, super-speed etc. Stan Lee decided to ignore this cliched array of superpowers when he gifted Spiderman with the ability to climb walls, shoot webs and gave him the proportionate strength & speed of a spider. This along with his spider sense gave Spidey a range of really cool and moreover, a really unique set of skills. Even today, years after his inception one cant think of many superheroes who share similar abilities.

2.He's a teenager

Spiderman was probably the first teenage superhero. All the other characters of the time were aged around their 20s and 30s. This again helped create a bigger fanbase for Spidey as more people found it a lot more easier and  interesting to relate to thoughts and problems of a teenage boy. 

3.His costume

Something that nobody ever gives Spiderman enough credit for. The other heroes in his league, you will find, are wearing capes and/or a mask that covers half their face. Spiderman's skin tight costume which covers his entire body and face is perfect for him because shooting webs while swinging along buildings just wouldn't be as fun to watch if he was wearing a cape! Again, during the time a mask that covers the whole face wasn't exactly thought of as a winning idea, but it worked perfectly for Spidey. His red and blue costume with web designs and the spider logo in his chest may not be the most iconic symbol in the comic world, but then again Stan Lee proved that not all superheroes have to be.

4.Rogues gallery

Spiderman has arguably the best set of villains in the Marvel universe. And a close second to Batman's rogue gallery in the comic world. And yes, I know that the uniqueness of his villains doesn't exactly add to his uniqueness, but I thought it was a point worth mentioning. From the psychopathic Green Goblin to the sinister Lizard, Spiderman has a very interesting set of opponents, each with his/her unique abilities and background stories.


Another point that nobody ever seems to give Spidey any credit for. Whenever the words "realistic" and "superhero" are used together in a sentence, it usually ends with the word "Batman". Now I'm not saying I have anything against Batman (on the contrary, he's my all time favorite) , but sometimes I feel like his realism is a bit...overrated? Something about a guy who is determined enough to let the death of his parents turn him into the ultimate crime-fighter is hard to digest. Spiderman's origin story, although a bit similar, has always felt more realistic to me.


Yes you can watch superheroes flying, chasing airplanes and missiles, running at lightning speed, lifting things that are ten times their weight. But when it comes to watching them on the big screen, very few scenes are as satisfying as watching Spiderman shooting webs and swinging through New York city. He can pass through the most narrow spaces, ha can glide under vehicles...yep, these are just little things. But sometimes, it's the little things that are the most visually stimulating.


"You've found my's small knives. Anything but knives!"

Peter Parker has a sense of humor.  Stan Lee proved that not all superheroes have to be grim and serious all the time. And since he's a teenager, the fact that he takes very few things seriously only adds to the realism of his character. Even in the comics, it was always fun to watch a superhero getting on the nerves of his villains.

8."With great power comes great responsibility"

Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are millionaires. Clark Kent is an alien. Thor is a semi-God. Steve Rogers is a soldier. Peter a nerd. Apart from the fact that he has spider powers, there is nothing extraordinary about this kid! Peter reacts to situations in the same way as any clueless teenage boy would react. And for this reason I feel that if I were to have super powers, Spidey would be the character I would most resemble. Confused, irresponsible, clumsy, imperfect...REAL.

I hope these points help you realize why Spidey even with his lack of experience and aggression is in the top 3(along with Supes and Bats, obviously) list of superheroes. Agree with my points? Feel free to leave a comment!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Iron Man 3 REVIEW

Iron Man 3 is arguably the most anticipated superhero movie of the year(with Man of Steal as a close competitor), so when I went to the theater my expectations, like any other superhero movie fan, were pretty high.  And I have to say, the movie gives you everything that you'd expect from an Iron Man movie! Numerous witty one-liners from Robert Downey Jr., 3D action sequences that will keep you at the edge of your seat, many humorous incidents(which at some points were just annoying) and a whole new array of Mark suits!
The movie starts off as a narration from Tony Stark where he recollects a few incidents that took place before he was kidnapped(in Iron Man). It goes on from there to present day to introduce us to The Mandarin. The movie also comes with a strong cast with Gwyneth Paltrow reprising her role as Tony's girlfriend/assistant Pepper Potts.  Guy Pierce plays the enigmatic Aldrech Killian. Also watch out for Ben Kingsley's performance as the terrorist Mandarin. One of the few things that sets Iron Man 3 apart from its predecessors is its elements of suspense which will keep you entertained throughout. Trust me, there are a lot of thing which you will not see coming!  And although the movie might at some points move tangential to the story line  it only makes it more realistic.

Another thing to note is the transformation that Tony Stark goes through in the movie. This Stark changes from the cocky smartass into a...well you'll just have to found out for yourself. The only downside which I can think of is the climax. As epic as it was, its kind of disturbing to think that maybe Marvel was trying to borrow a leaf from The Dark Knight's book and whats more, it makes you wonder how Avengers 2 is going to turn out. Leaving that aside, this movie is my favorite from the trilogy and one of the best Marvel movies yet!