Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

There are two types of beings in the universe: those who dance, and those who do not.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is the sequel of the hugely successful Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s directed by James Gunn, and it starts Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell with Bradley Cooper returning as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot and Dave Bautista as Drax.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 continues the adventure of the Guardians and along the way they meet a man who claims he’s Peter’s dad.


The Good

One of the highlights of the first movie was how funny it was, and good to say they haven’t missed a beat. Vol 2 is hilarious with everyone seems to have their own comedic moments. The jokes were a hit most of the time and it helps with the movie’s progression.

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Surprisingly there’s plenty of dramatic moments, especially around Peter’s backstory but overall almost everyone in the Guardians have a sad story to tell. One of the stand out characters is Yondu, Michael Rooker, which was just a side character in the first movie, but he’s got a bigger role in Vol 2 and he’s great.


The Bad

Unfortunately the movie is not as great as the first movie in which the first movie had more of a cohesive plot, it didn’t feel the same way with Guardians Vol 2. The plot is almost split into two, with the movie telling two separate stories and sad to say this didn’t work out quite well. There’s a feeling of disconnect between the two plots and though they connect at the end, the progression felt rushed.

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With the plot going more into detail about everyone’s backstory this took a toll on the action side of things, we do get the Star Wars-esque spaceship battles, unfortunately we don’t get a lot of action from the Guardians themselves and it’s disappointing.

Another issue is how overbearing the music is, a lot of people loved the music from the first movie and though they used the same 80s feel here, the movie gets out of it’s way to play a song every five minutes and sad to say it becomes distracting.


Rating

Overall Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the better sequels in the MCU, it’s better than Thor 2 and Iron Man 2, that being said, it’s not better than the first movie. It’s still very humorous and it still highlights the camaraderie between the Guardians and the chemistry between them is infectious. Kurt Russell is decent, but without a doubt Yondu stole the show.

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The lack of real plot however hindered this movie and with a poor execution the movie felt rushed. That said, it’s still very entertaining and and still a lot of fun.

Good Bad 3.8/5
  • Amazing Visuals
  • Yondu
  • Hilarious
  • Overbearing Music
  • Lack of Plot
  • Not Enough Action

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Stephen Strange, might I offer you some advice? Forget everything that you think you know.

Doctor Strange is the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.

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Doctor Stephen Strange a brilliant yet arrogant neurosurgeon has everything a man could ever dream of. However after one horrific car accident he loses stability in his hands and desperate to work again he searched everywhere for a cure. His search led him to Kathmandu where he learned the ways of the Mystic Arts.


The Good

One of the major aspect that this movie promised are the visuals and boy did it deliver. This is one of the most visually impressive film this year and it’s safe to say the visuals are spellbinding (no pun intended… of course it was pun intended). Though we’ve seen similar effects in Inception. Doctor Strange did it in a grander scale and it’s fascinating, you never get tired of it and it keeps getting better as it went along. It’s a MC Esher painting brought to life.

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Another great aspect of the film is Benedict Cumberbatch himself. Marvel has found their Doctor Strange and Benedict is Doctor Strange as much as Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man. It was perfect casting in Marvel’s part and Benedict delivered. The movie is surprisingly humorous, it knows that it’s a comic-book movie and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.


The Bad

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Unfortunately like most Marvel villains, the villain in this movie is as dull as the others. Mads Mikkelsen, as terrific as he is felt wasted in his role, having very little presence in the film. Another wasted actor is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo. His one dimensional take on the character dragged this movie down a bit. He played the role a bit too serious with very little relatability, unfortunately didn’t work too well on the screen.


Rating

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Overall Doctor Strange is a solid addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It truly is one of their unique properties the mind-bending visuals and a strong lead complimented the movie really well. The action-sequences were incredibly fun to watch but in the end it’s still an origin story and it follows the same beats of previous origin stories in the MCU. Nonetheless Doctor Strange is definitely worth checking out especially in 3D IMAX.

Good Bad 4.5/5
  • Incredible Visuals
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange
  • Unique Action Sequences
  • Uninteresting Villain
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo

Graphic Novel Review: Civil War II #1

I respect the future. I believe in the future. I worship at its feet.

With the blockbuster success of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. It’s only fitting that Marvel also release,  not long after the sequel to the 2007 series with the same name. Does Civil War II have what it takes to grab it’s audience as powerful as the first Civil War?

When the terrigen mist passed through Ohio State, Ulysses a college student, transformed into an inhuman with the ability to possibly foresee the future. In return, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) offered Ulysses to work for The Ultimates. However Tony Stark (Iron Man) have a different idea as he believes it is too soon to rely on Ulysses ability. This in return created a conflict of interest between Carol Danvers and Tony Stark. On one side Carol feels that judgement should be passed before action while Tony feels judgement should come after it.

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Right from the get-go Civil War II doesn’t waste anytime explaining the conflicting ideologies between the two parties. From what started as a lively party turned into a tense debate about Ulysses’ ability. For the most part the debate itself was interesting however the motivation behind it was lacking.

Though it’s understandable that story teller Brian Michael Bendis is setting up these conflicting environments, it did occur unnaturally. Which can be considered the only flaw in this issue. The following events however offered a whole lot more as not only was it emotionally felt but it added enough fuel to the conflict to make you care about how these characters will progress with their situation.

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Artist, David Marquez and color artist, Justin Ponsor did a great job with their illustrations as the action scenes looked incredible but they’re ability to humanize the characters through their facial expressions are superb. Though some of them are unfamiliar characters, you still feel for them and you feel the gravity of the situation.

Overall this is a very strong first issue for the story-line. Other than the unnatural start of the debate, this issue sets up the events as carefully as possible in order to feel like it’s not just a sequel but a worthy follow up to the previous Civil War.

Rating: 4.5/5

Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War

This job… we try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody, but you don’t give up.

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When Marvel’s Civil War came out in 2007 it easily became one of the most unforgettable story arcs involving almost all of the Marvel superheroes. On one side we have Captain America, Steve Rogers leading the anti-registration on the other we have Iron Man, Tony Stark leading the pro-registration. 9 years later Marvel, Kevin Feige and The Russo Brothers (Joe and Anthony) have adapted the story-line as a follow up to Captain America: Winter Soldier as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron. Did The Russo Brothers did a great job adapting the crossover event?

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Following the events of Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, The Avengers faces a different dilemma as they are being asked by the United Nation to sign The Sokovia Accords, which would remove their status as a private organization but rather work under The United Nations. This of course brought conflict to the Avengers as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes that the safest hands are still their own though Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) believes that they need to be controlled.


The Good

This is possibly Marvel’s best Movie yet, it has everything from drama, action and comedy. For a superhero movie it is near perfect. The characters are great and for a huge ensemble cast The Russos did a great job juggling these characters and giving them enough screen time to standout but not too much to lose focus on the movie.

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From Chadwick Boseman as The Black Panther to Tom Holland as Spider-Man both new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe were not only introduced well but they were also given enough time to stand out from the other superheroes and both actors were incredible. Though the movie was already packed with actors and actresses the addition of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang or Ant-Man also compliments the current cast and he was used extremely well delivering very funny lines and creative action sequences.

All characters were nothing short of amazing, everyone had great moments, great dialogues and as colorful and super as they are, the directors did a great job humanizing these characters and they did it in a way that it adds a great amount of realism to their story.

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Apart from the great characters, the action sequences are also spectacular. The fight choreography is clean as it is hard hitting. The Russo brother’s did not miss a beat directing their action sequences. One scene that’s been getting quite the buzz is their so-called splash page event, which is a battle that happens in an empty airport. And this is where the movie kicks into full comic book territory as all the heroes go into full WWE battle royal mode as everyone fights everyone.

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And kudos to the Russo Brothers as they shot this as clearly as possible, despite the chaos in the screen you can still see what is going on, you can see who’s fighting who and it is enjoyable as it is exciting. The airport battle scene is possibly the best action sequence in the history of superhero or comic book movies.


The Bad

There’s very little to complain about the film, one of them is the villain. Though he’s motivation is compelling he was used mainly as a plot device in order to further the conflict and most of the time you forget that he’s in the movie.

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Another issue is the movie is not fully independent as in order to completely understand the scope of events in the film, you might have to watch the previous Captain America movie as well as Avengers: Age Of Ultron. It’s not necessary but it does help clarify the events that the movie talks about.


Rating

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As said before, this is possibly the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, easily one of the best movies to come out this year. The Russos did an exceptional job adapting the 2007 Marvel Comics story-line and though they didn’t follow through the source material, they did their best with what they have and they may have made a better version of said story-line.

The stakes are high and the consequences are severe, Captain America: Civil War pulls no punches as it delivers an emotionally stressful yet incredibly enjoyable film. In the end this is made by fans for the fans. As a movie on it’s own it’s still great but as a superhero movie it’s damn near perfect.

Good Bad 4.9/5
  • Black Panther & Spider Man
  • Airport Battle Scene
  • Strong Character Motivations
  • Villain’s Plans

Graphic Novel Review: The Superior Foes of Spider Man Vol 1 by Nick Spencer

It’s not like I’d had some big change of heart and wanted to do right suddenly. I was just looking to save my own ass that makes it totally okay! anybody would get that, right?

-Nick Spencer, Superior Foes of Spider Man Vol 1

The new Sinister Six is as sinister as ever in The Superior Foes of Spider Man. Led by Fred Myers as the Boomerang, the Sinister Six is comprises of 5 lesser Spider Man villains. Counting in Boomerang you also get The Beetle, Shocker, Overdrive and Speed Demon. Together this 5 forms the new and improved Sinister Six (But there’s only 5 of them) Yeah, I know.

Reading the title of the series, who would want to read a comic book about Spider Man’s lesser villains? But here comes the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes in. Don’t be fooled, The Superior Foes of Spider Man has a lot of good things to offer.

The story starts of slow, with the Narration takes it time to introduce who are we rooting for and who are the current Sinister Five, I mean Six. However upon reading on Issue 3 you can clearly see the charm and wit the Volume has in store. The narration itself is very reminiscent of older Guy Ritchie films such as Snatch and Lock Stock. This works extremely well as what we have is a plot involving a heist and basically the mob.

The dialogue is humorous using a combination of witty humor and pop culture references. The characters themselves are likable in a way that no matter how pathetic they might be you still root for them. The art and illustrations works just as well as it complements the overall parts of the book, from the characters the environments and the action.

The strongest aspect of the book itself is the dialogue and trust me there are a lot. That being said it works as it’s incredibly funny at times and the character of Fred Myers is charming and is someone you can root for. Aside from the slow start the lack of action might bother some readers however the latter sequences provides an exciting heist in action with plenty of twists and turns. Highly recommended to more mature readers and for readers looking for something unique to try.

Rating: 4.2/5

Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool vs Carnage by Cullen Bunn

Everything I do from here on out is random. I can’t be stopped! can’t be caged! can’t be tracked my every action is a tribute an offering to the almighty CHAOS

– Cullen Bunn, Deadpool vs Carnage

Now this was a fun read, two murderous psychopaths butting heads in the most bloodiest, craziest but also hilarious battle I’ve seen in a graphic novel fight. Cletus Kasady aka Carnage just escape prison and his first action is go on a killing spree, though his killings are random, his main objective is to feed chaos. While Deadpool watches the TV about Carnage’s killings he believed the Universe gave him a sign to hunt down Carnage and stop him on his murderous spree.

There is really nothing here other than, Deadpool and Carnage fighting each other. There’s no deep story, no lessons to be learned just a straight brawl and it works really well. One of the main reason it works is because the story knows it. It knows what it’s doing and it knows what’s it supposed to be.

The fight themselves are entertaining as both of them don’t really get hurt, thanks to their regenerative powers. This results in creative ways to out each other off and each fight only gets better and better. The humor is there delivered mostly by Deadpool and he’s always charming and funny however Carnage does deliver some funny moments as well though most of it is unintentional.

Overall this was an entertaining read, possibly not for everyone as the fights themselves are violent and there are a lot of collateral damage whenever they face off but the comic book is quite unsympathetic on that area and it focuses mostly on their battles. Highly recommended for Deadpool and Carnage fans and maybe most of Marvel readers.

Rating: 4.7/5

 

Graphic Novel Review: Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller, Art by David Mazzucchelli

Born Again by Frank Miller is without a doubt one of the most maturely written Daredevil story. It starts off with the tragic case of Karen Page’s drug addiction. Unfortunately for her it got severely bad that she traded The Daredevil’s identity just to get a fix.

As The Daredevil’s identity travels from person to person. It eventually got into the hands of The Kingpin. This information in hand, The Kingpin devised a plan to destroy everything around Matthew Murdock and ensure’s he suffers before delivering the Coup de Grace.

Whenever you search a top ten list of comics, without a doubt Daredevil is mentioned. It might be the fact that the character is incredibly grounded that readers might actually see, no pun intended themselves be that person. He’s not a millionaire, doesn’t have superpowers but rather heightened senses, though that barely counts as a superpower. However most of the times he’s vulnerable. And in Born Again we see his vulnerability affect him to an incredible extent. We see him beaten down, broken, barely alive and we empathize. We want him to make it, to get revenge on the Kingpin. However this is not a revenge story but more of a fall and rise story.

It reminds us that some heroes are also human, that heroes also have emotions likewise a breaking point. As we see Matthew Murdock in his, some of us may know how it feels to be at the very bottom to the point of having absolutely nothing to lose. That itself is the driving point of the story and it wonderfully written.

The art is off 80-90s comics and it is beautiful to look at. Characters like Ben Urich, The Kingpin and also Karen Page are fleshed out and adds substance to the story. The only real complain that I would point out is how underwhelming the ending is. That said, it is still an amazing story and one which is worth reading.

Rating: 4/5