Tag Archives: marvel

Reel Review: Iron Man 3

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In a summer filled with so many explosive blockbusters, there are several movies that everyone has penciled in to watch…one of which has got to be Iron Man 3. I guess it was very highly anticipated not only because the Iron Man movie franchise was perhaps the most successful superhero franchise of Marvel movies, it is also a sort of first follow-up movie in the aftermath from The Avengers.

The third installment starts off rather philosophically with Tony Stark bemoaning how we sometimes create our own demons. We are taken on a flashback to 1999 where we are introduced to a bio scientist Maya Hansen, who is doing some research on Extremis, which is some formula with regenerative properties. They also have a brief encounter with Aldrich Killian, who offers both Stark and Hansen to join his company – Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Stark dismisses the offer and inadvertently embarrasses Killian as well.

In the present, a very restless Stark is seen performing more research and tinkering on his Iron Man suits – latest being Mark 42 (!!!…if my memory is correct, we only saw Mark 7 in The Avengers!!!). Obviously still shaken from his near-death experience as seen in The Avengers, it is clear that all is not well with his relationship with Pepper too. We are quickly introduced to a series of frightening Al-Qaeda-ish threats and boastings on TV from a sinister terrorist known only as The Mandarin. This villain and his organisation called The Ten Rings has been responsible for a series of unexplainable bombings, which may be related to the Extremis, all over the country.

When one of such bombings leaves Stark’s security chief, Happy (seriously!) very badly injured, Stark takes it rather personally by issuing a live threat on TV to The Mandarin, as well as giving him an open invitation by giving out his home address. The Mandarin responds very quickly when Stark’s home becomes a direct target of the Mandarin’s attack helicopters. This incident drives Stark to relentlessly pursue The Mandarin and bring him down.

It may sound like a rather simple storyline of a superhero bringing down a terrorist to justice but along the journey, we are offered a glimpse of Stark’s inner battles and discovering more about the man inside the Iron Man Suit.

Personally, I didn’t quite enjoy IM3 as much as I did with the very first IM1 although it was probably better than the thoroughly disappointing IM2….which brings a lesson that sometimes we do not need VVIP villains like Whiplash or The Mandarin to make a good movie. I still remember Iron Man’s adversary in IM1 was only the Iron Monger, yet other elements within that movie connected well to make it fantastic.

In summary, these are some of the key points which I liked and didn’t like about IM3:

What I Liked:

1. Trauma caused by events in The Avengers gave it  some satisfactory link and continuity with the on-going Marvel cinemaverse.

2. More action from Pepper! 😀

3. The very villainous twists throughout the movie. Always enjoy movies that surprises me! :-)

What I Disliked:

1. Personally I felt every single scene with Stark and some kid in a small town didn’t work. The dialogue felt really awkward and very artificial. The tried and tested superhero-kid chemistry usually works but in IM3, it was probably one of the weaker sub-plots.

2. Entire movie was pretty humourless. Read: dull. Perhaps the director was trying to create and maintain that tension throughout the movie but to me, a comic book movie should at the end of the day also have some erm, comic elements too!

3. Movie tries to be too philosophical and dark, focusing on Stark’s human self and lesser on the armor….very similar to what Christopher Nolan did with The Dark Knight Rises masterpiece. Unfortunately, whilst Nolan successfully built the momentum of his Batman version over a trilogy, IM3 failed to stir that gripping aspect and idea in this film.

4. Iron Patriot. Almost pointless and role-less in this movie. I could actually feel the pain everytime he appears. Almost like watching a cheap side-kick prancing around. Sigh.

5. Casting. Apart from Ben Kingsley (superbly casted as The Mandarin), everyone else didn’t really look comfortable on set at all. Hmmmm.

 

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10 Things I Hate About The Avengers

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With The Avengers well and fast on its way to become the BIGGEST MOVIE EVER, it’s only natural that every review page you turn to has been heaping praises and praises on this epic comic book caper…including my own blogful of positives for the movie.

However, since its showtimes are starting to wind down in theatres globally, I can’t help but start to reflect on some of the things I didn’t like about the movie, which I hope can be improved on to make its next few sequels even BETTER. 😛

Don’t worry….if you are one of the 100 people left in the world who have yet to watch movie, my list of 10 things I hate about The Avengers doesn’t contain any earth-shaking spoilers…enjoy!

10 Things I Hate About The Avengers

1. It’s WAY too short!

2. Chitauri? C’mon….Earth’s Mightiest Heroes battling the poor man’s Skrulls? Meh..

3. Whole movie feels like an extended version of Thor

4. Even the Frost Giants look more menacing that Loki’s army…

5. The Leviathan looks so much more scarier in the trailer…

6. All world invasions have to begin in USA. So predictable…

7. The ‘hordes of people in city running in chaos as invasion begins’ scene is SO overdone. Boring.

8. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes inspired by the death of ONE person and NOT the hundreds who died a day earlier?!!

9. No Joss Whedon cameo appearance? Sigh. Even Stan Lee appeared YET AGAIN! 😛

10. Plot was too simplistic. Was actually anticipating some freaky twist at the end…:-P

Reel Review: The Avengers

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Some people say that you can judge the quality of a movie by counting the number of times you check your watch when the movie is still screening. When I exited the cinema after a whopping 142 minutes, I never even got close to touching my watch. In fact, I seriously thought the movie felt too short! Yup, folks…The Avengers is really THAT good!

I have to admit that I went into the cinema with many high expectations of this movie. All the buzz and hype leading to its release certainly didn’t help. 😛 So, were my high expectations met? Oh YEAH…not only did The Avengers met it, it surpassed it beyond ‘infinity’ (hint! hint!)

The story starts off explosively enough with Loki attacking a SHIELD facility and steals the Tesseract, a cosmic cube with mucho mucho powers of universal proportions (what else?!). It is also capable of opening up a portal to allow an alien army from another dimension known as the Chitauri to invade Earth with Loki at helm. This immediately triggers Nick Fury to become ‘very desperate’ enough to begin gathering Earth’s mightiest heroes..Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk (Bruce Banner), Black Widow and Hawkeye.

The initial ‘assembly’ didn’t exactly go as planned as the customary mistrust, teamwork issues, bickering, arguments, etc. sets up some mouth-watering superhero vs superhero battles. The heroes seem to be like a hopelessly divided lot after falling for Loki’s schemes during the stellar battle scene onboard the Helicarrier.

Eventually, they would regroup and stand ‘assembled’ in Manhattan (where else?!) where Loki’s army of Chitauris would begin its invasion of Earth. Would the Avengers prevail?

Under the directorship of Joss Whedon ( he of Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse fame), the Avengers benefited from a very impressive script – witty and charming dialogue with just the right amount of action sequences. With a movie of this magnitude and so many heroes clamoring for silver screen space, Whedon successfully and cleverly distributes the stage spotlight for all the characters to shine without allowing some characters to be given the teacher’s pet treatment (read: Wolverine from X-Men movies). I also began to appreciate that Whedon chose to use the Chitauris as the alien army in the movie compared to more regular and obvious alien races like the Skrull or the Kree. With already so many superhero characters to develop into the storyline, putting in the Skrull or Kree would surely mean additional time to be clocked in to explain their origins, powers, etc. The Chitauris were less prominent and better choice for the audience to keep focused on the main antagonist, Loki.

All the action sequences’ choreography and movements were excellently filmed. I certainly liked that not too many slo-mo shots or shaky camera realistic shots were used. Compared to the action scenes in Transformers where the battle scenes ranged from being too messy, choppy or confusing to follow at times, The Avengers has clearly set the standard of how action sequences should be filmed as it allows the audience to be totally immersed in the action lines! Another gem of the movie has to be the technological evolution of the CGI Hulk. When compared with the earlier screen versions, the Hulk here is definitely the most realistic and impressive!

One of the many talents I love about Whedon is his ability to create great team chemistry as seen in his earlier works. In the Avengers, he brings this up to another level with many great teamwork spots – where a superhero tag-team fights side-by-side – Cap/Iron Man, Thor/Hulk, Cap/Widow, Widow/Hawkeye, Cap/Thor, Iron Man/Cap, etc. In addition, the superhero vs superhero scenes didn’t disappoint as well. We were treated to superb battles like Iron Man vs Thor, Widow vs Hawkeye, Thor vs Hulk, etc.

I have to admit the casting was another special touch. For example, it isn’t easy finding the right actor to portray Bruce Banner/Hulk but I think they have hit the jackpot with Mark Ruffalo, who carries Banner’s shy, geeky persona to its very best. Jeremy Renner was certainly ‘spot on’ to play Hawkeye. I did notice Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow having difficulties maintaining her Russian accent but overall, I think she managed to stay tough with the guys. Robert Downey Jr. as usual has the best lines as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Evans did well enough to play the soldier out of time/captain of the team when needed role. Whilst Chris Hemsworth played Thor well, I personally thought Thor looked best in all battle scenes. 😛

If there was any flaw to The Avengers, it would have to be its overly simple storyline. I kinda expected a little more sub-plot twists to the story, but at the end of the day, it turned out to be plain old enemy aliens invading earth (via USA, of course) and superheroes standing united to defend it. I guess when I start to analyse deeper, Whedon was probably doing his best movie cover of a comic-book, where plots are kept simple and actions fast and furious!

In summary, The Avengers is one engaging and exhilarating ride of a lifetime that shouldn’t be missed. Although framed with a rather simplistic and childish plot, the movie is brilliantly paced with its sharp dialogue, fantastic action sequences and wonderful team chemistry. it certainly delivers in all departments and has undoubtedly thrown down the ‘gauntlet’ to future superhero movies to follow.

Oh yeah…don’t forget to stay on after the movie to catch an exclusive teaser after half of the credits roll. It’s gonna make you breathlessly wait for the sequel! 😀

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5 Questions Requiring Assembly

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Ain’t it cool that The Avengers is opening a couple of days EARLIER than in the big ol’ US of A? Yeah!

Anyway, methinks the Marvel Factory have really done it this time – with regard to publicity (read: viral trailers, TV spots, online buzz, forums, etc.). With all previous Marvel movies over the past two years containing some from of teaser at the end of its credits that is indirectly promoting this movie, fans from all over have been  salivating in anticipation of this possibly THE biggest movie EVER! I kid you not.

Wait, what? You have not heard of The Avengers?!

OK, lemme try to bring you up to speed with this trailer that has garnered gazillions of views since its released. Just imagine if everyone who watched the trailer were to buy ONE movie ticket, The Avengers could easily become the BIGGEST movie of all time!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPoHPNeU9fc

Now, I’ve always been a big fan of Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers. I totally loved what he did with the Sci-Fi western flick series, Firefly and also his incredible work in the Astonishing X-Men graphic novel. Although I wasn’t quite a follower of Buffy or Dollhouse, I am quite excited about the stuff he would bring in his directorship of The Avengers – great team chemistry, quick wit, charming characters, women empowerment and unpredictable twists.

With The Avengers opening in theatres later this week, these are my Top 5 things I am looking forward to be revealed from this blockbuster:

1. What is the Metal Dragon?

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At the end of the trailer, the movie teased us with a glimpse of a gigantic metal looking dragon that seems to be ripped off the pages of Transformers. Since the release of the trailer, fans have been trying to guess the identity of the metal beast, narrowing it down to the possibilities of either the Midgard Serpent, the alien mother ship or even another character from marvel’s comic-lore – Fin Fang Foom!

Although I would personally love for it to be FFF, I think it is simply the alien ship that carries with the evil army that invades Earth..sigh. Anyway, we shall soon find out!

2. Who is Loki’s army?

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I have to applause Joss for keeping the identity of Loki’s army under wraps for months – during its pre-production, shooting, and even after the trailers were released!

The very fact that the identity remained unknown for so long initiated lengthy debates amongst the fans – from Kree to Skrulls to Frost Giants to Atlanteans, etc. heck, I was surprised The Smurfs wasn’t added to that list. 😛

However, as the movie looms closer to it opening, the identity had actually been revealed to be (spoiler: highlight to see): The Chitauri

Although their ‘reveal’ technically takes them out from my list, I would still want to retain it here because it was so cleverly hidden from us fans. *applause here*

3. A Sub-Heli Carrier?!

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Comic fans would easily recognise SHIELD’s HeliCarrier as the signature flagship vehicle that is used by SHIELD for its operations, transport, etc. Although there were notably many versions or designs used in the comic books, the version that I saw in the trailer prompted me to ask this question:

Is the Helicarrier in the movie capable of going UNDER the sea as well? Cool! Can’t wait to find out!

4. Who Wins when Avengers Disassembles?!

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All trailers and TV spots have suggested that throughout the movie, there will be some form of adjustment struggles, disunity and discontent amongst Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before they are finally erm, assembled for the climatic final battle.

Personally, I am really looking forward to these heroes vs heroes battles – Thor’s hammer coming upon Cap’s shield, Thor head butting Iron Man, etc. Cool stuff, indeed!

5. Who Will Die?

Yup, it is no secret that Joss Whedon has the bravado and guts to kill off characters in his movies. Regardless if they were fictional characters or a cult Marvel superhero, Joss can and will do it. I am already preparing my heart in anticipation of this in the movie.

Only question is….which character or characters will bite the dust?

Are we all ready for the Avengers Already?!!

Marvel 1602

Image from pixiepalace.com

Pre-review note: Although this is quite an out-dated review, I felt I needed to write my piece about it cos I believe all good things should be shared right?

Many people might be familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work. Yup, he that brought us classics like Stardust, Smoke and Mirrors and Mirrormask have never failed to breathe fresh, unique life into his words, strange at times yet, enchanting nevertheless. Comic fans would also know Mr. Gaiman as the one who introduced us to the dark disturbing world of DC’s Sandman.

So when Gaiman took up the project to write Marvel 1602 way back in 2003/4, many fans and critics alike waited in anticipation of what he would bring. And boy oh boy did he deliever…

The graphic novel paperback that I read collected all eight issues of the mini-series Marvel 1602 #1-8. Gaiman brought along Andy Kubert on pencils and Richard Isanove, who provided the digital paintings and also all 8 variant scratchboard-like covers.

The synopsis of 1602 goes something like this:

The story takes place in the year 1602 in the Marvel Universe, where, for an unknown reason, superheroes have appeared about 400 years early, though they were born and bred in this era and some hold important positions in high places. When the characters come to realize that something is wrong with the universe, the heroes must solve the mystery behind their own existence, while dealing with intrigue at the courts of Elizabeth and James. Some of the heroes included in Gaiman’s masterpiece includes well-loved characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, and the Fantastic Four!

It is truly an engaging read (for a piece of only about 250 pages) and a real masterpiece where Gaiman beautifully weaves together a mystery in the era of Queen Elizabeth. Readers will be constantly smile and appreciate the super-heroes reflected from today in 1602. He also manages to throw in a few surprises and twists before the tale is concluded, in true Gaiman-style.

The artwork by Andy Kubert is fanastick as well, not too exaggerated but just simplistic enough to showcase the era of 1602 nicely. I especially love the variant covers, which tries not to reveal too much, yet has the readers scratching their heads wondering if there were any clues left in there..

This is one graphic novel paperback not to be missed…not only for all comic fans, but for everyone as well, especially those who wants to appreciate how a good novel is written and delivered. it’s no surprise Marvel 1602 also won the Quill Award in 2005.

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