July 8, 2018

Movie: Avengers – Infinity War (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:50 am

imageWe have reviewed some Avengers movies earlier – Avengers : The Age of Ultron and The Avengers – but this one is different from them all.


For one thing, this seems to include practically every superhero in the comic character universe owned by Disney. In addition to almost all of the Marvel Avenger stable including the recent additions like Spiderman, Black Panther and Dr Strange, it brings in also Antman and the entire cast of the other series The Guardians of the Galaxy as well. Before even seeing the movie, I wondered how on earth they are even going to give screen space to each one and still weave a credible story. After seeing the movie and with some inputs from my friends which helped me understand, I realize now that the real story in this movie is not at all about the superheroes. The movie is all about the villain Thanos, superbly portrayed by Josh Brolin.


This is supposed to be the first part of a two part series and it shows. More of it later.


Second, the villain is not really a villain in the usual superhero comic sense of the word (I know, I know. The original comics portray Thanos the same way but when I mean ‘the usual’ sense, I mean generic comic villains).  He is not conspiring to take over the world. He is simply interested in protecting the earth, ridding it of the overpopulation. Also he wants to be completely fair, just taking half the population of the world in a completely random, and therefore the most justified, fashion.


The entire galaxy of superheroes want to stop him since destruction of humankind is still destruction, however justified it maybe. In that sense, you don’t know which side is ‘good’ and which side is ‘evil’ if you stop to ponder about it. Interesting.


The other thing that would surprise and even shock you is the ending, which blew my mind away until (again thanks to friends who reminded me) I stopped to ponder those old comic books where this kind of thing happens all too often. As to the question ‘How are they going to get out of it?’ the answers could be twofold : ‘Think of the next comic books in the series’ or ‘Do you remember how damaged the Gauntlet was in the last scene? Therein may lie the clue’. Take your pick.


The movie has some surprises a la ‘The Game of Thrones’. When Loki gets killed (yes, actually killed) at near the start of the movie, you gasp. But more surprises abound, especially near the end.


The story is very simple. Thanos wants to save the world by, as we already said, killing half the population of humans at random – but needs to fill his Infinity Gauntlet with the five super stones that are in various places in the world. He collects them one by one, overcoming superhero resistance, and collecting the stones. At the start of the movie, he already has acquired Power Stone from the planet Xandar. He acquires the Space Stone from Asgaard. His lieutenants go for the Time Stone in New York, drawing Dr Stange, Iron Man and Spider Man into opposition.


The Mind Stone is buried on the forehead of Vision, and Thanos and crew even go after that, no matter that Wanda Maximoff is protecting him. He goes after the Reality Stone, drawing the Guardians of the Galaxy into his formidable group of enemies. (Thor keeps calling Rocket ‘rabbit’). Thanos gets Soul Stone sacrificing his own daughter to get at it.


Strange surrenders Time Stone to protect Iron Man, who is seriously wounded by Thanos, even after Iron Man begs him not to do so and let him die.


The final vision stone requires overpowering the Wakandans and the superheroes. Thanos is wounded but still manages to get the Vision Stone.


The ending is spectacular, including the small bit at the end of the subtitles. The second part should definitely be interesting, whenever it comes.


Another nice work by Disney. They really know how to make great films (yes, commercial, purely entertaining and rarely informative; I know all that, but for pure entertainment, they get full marks. Rarely do they fall flat, like for instance the latest Star Wars episode Solo.)


Good work.   8/10

–  – Krishna


December 28, 2017

Movie: Spiderman – Homecoming (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:53 pm

imageThis is another reboot on Spiderman. This takes a completely different tack. If you have read the comics, you will know that the Spiderman comics always has a different feel to it than Superman, Batman, or almost any other comic.


Spiderman comics always has some humour flowing right through it, with the self-deprecating Peter Parker kind of humble and even gauche in his own way unlike the supremely confident Iron Man or Batman or any other superhero really. This movie brings out the humour in loads. It also overdoes it, a little bit.


There is a deadly twist in this movie too, like Hollywood does in almost all of the fantasy movies (Be it fairy-tale told differently a la Maleficent, or even the famous Frozen, which is a great movie but so twisted from the original that someone had to tell me that it is basically the story of the Snow Queen!) And I think it is a good development because it makes the story that much more interesting; otherwise, however well done, it will be all gadgetry and special effects and not much more.


The story is about the boy Peter Parker (done well by Tom Holland  – I don’t mean to be unkind but so much better than Toby McGuire indeed). And here is the other thing; they skip over the part where Peter Parker (in the original comic book) got his powers by being bitten by a rare (genetically engineered? I don’t remember) spider. He simply is an apprentice of the Iron Man. Was this the case in the comics? With so much improvisation, I can hardly tell anymore.


The story takes off from the Captain America : Civil War where Tom Holland plays Spiderman too. Sidelined after the action, Peter Parker decides to go solo solving crimes, against the advice of his mentor Iron Man (reprised by Robert Downey Jr who has a sense of comic timing that keeps him famous in that role). After a few unintentional disasters when he was trying to do ‘the right thing’ he wants to stop. In the meanwhile his close friend Nat discovers his secret.


He tries to put it away but when he realizes that Liz, a girl in his school whom he has a great crush on (and refreshingly from a different race in conformance with the times), has a crush on Spiderman, he is conned into wearing the suit again, as Nat blabs that Peter ‘knows Spiderman well’. A lot of scenes are hilarious like the one where he finds that the web making fluid has run out and he has to literally run to catch up with a moving van instead of jauntily swinging from conveniently placed objects as he is wont to do usually.


The supervillain in this movie is Vulture, who hates Iron Man for costing him his job and also halting his research. He goes rogue with the superhuman technology that he has managed to smuggle out (Yes, this is a supehero movie; many people routinely invent/ come across/ inherit technology that can ‘wipe out the world’ or at least a small part of it.)


After some extremely spectacular stunts where Peter is saved by the timely arrival of Iron Man in some cases and making very mature choices to stand on the side of justice in spite of the fact that it hurts, Peter is finally acknowledged as a super hero inside as well as outside by Tony Stark, the Iron Man.


Nice story and nice twists and great visuals and action. (Not the jerking motion of camera in some of the older action movies that leave you confused and with some headache). But with all the hype, if your expectations are raised to the level that mine were, also mildly disappointing.



–  –  Krishna

August 6, 2016

Movie : Captain America – Civil War (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:27 pm

imageAs you would expect in a superhero movie, this features a serum that turns people into super-soldiers. The evil man, the Winter Soldier, has possession of it and the world is, again, in serious danger of destruction and needs Captain America desperately – as in every episode of this series.

The difference about this movie is that even though it is titled Captain America, this is really an Avengers movie. Almost every Avenger shows up. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, you name them, they are here. Even Ant Man and Spider Man show up (Thank God, the Spider Man is not played by Tobey McGuire!). Should it not be then called Avengers: Civil War? Especially when the Civil War is amongst them mainly?

The true villain is now Crossbones, an evil Hydra agent who managed to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D earlier but was exposed by Captain America and expelled.

When Crossbones goes to get a deadly virus he is attacked by the Avenger team and each one does his or her thing. There are very tightly choreographed, fascinating stunt scenes which have almost become de rigor in these action movies these days. For instance, Captain America being saved by Wanda (Scarlet Witch) by containing the explosion triggered almost in front of Captain America’s  face by Crossbones is one such action scene.


There is also some humour, which is also a usual feature – Spider Man being treated as the baby of the group, for instance. Cute. If anything, Iron Man is less dominating in this movie than he normally is. The General who arrives says that they should not fight anymore because they cause destruction wherever they go. They are now under government control. Half the Avengers (including, chiefly, Iron Man) agree and the other half (including Captain America) are disgusted. Typical of the bumbling government, in the Marvel view.


Then there is the King of the fictional African country Wakanda who gets assassinated by the evil men and his son becomes a kind of superhero himself! It is so easy to do so in this fictional world. The chase scenes of the superheroes and the brainwashed Winter Soldier who sides with the evil side are amazing. The chases, the jumps, the man commandeering a motorcycle, Black Panther (the prince mentioned above as a superhero with a superhero name to match) jumping on fast moving cars one from the other to catch him – nicely done. Difficult to describe but let me tell you that this is good action if you are into action movies.


Lots of typical Avenger moments that are so popular today. Nothing drastically new but still enjoyable as a movie.


Nice. 6 / 10

–  – Krishna

May 28, 2015

Movie : Avengers – The Age of Ultron (2015)

imageThe first Avengers that came out in 2012 was very good. As a sequel, this thing is confusing and, frankly, a letdown. They have tried too hard and it kind of leaves you over saturated with the plot, dialogs, and even special effects.

The trailers are phenomenal and Ultron in the trailers comes out awesome. I could not wait to see the movie, especially when rating websites gave it really high rating. Well, I do not seem to see what they see, but I came away very disappointed.

The Ultron story is based on the comic book story that came out as a series long ago, They have made changes in this movie because in the comic book for example, Ultron takes over Iron Man’s suit with him still inside it and the movie is different.

The story is simple. Ultron is an experiment by a Central European scientist (a fictitious country called Sokovia) named Strucker. He also has other mutant creations like the brother and sister duo of Quicksilver (who can move faster than the eye can see) and Scarlet Witch who can manipulate minds, even those of superheroes.

The usual assortment of Avengers goes to stop him and discovers Ultron’s code and Iron Man (Stark) wants to see how to control it and use it for good. But Ultron, being sentient, defeats Stark’s  Artificial Intelligence program JARVIS and takes over Iron Man’s whole lab. And makes copies of itself using machine parts. Very cool visual.

They fight to conquer it but it seems to be out of control, spreading to the Internet and being able to replicate at will all over the place.

Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and others are there, as are the additions Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch for instance. Samuel L Jackson also makes an appearance in his usual role of Nick Fury. But the magic is missing. Read on.

And then it gets weirder. First of all, even this story is weird. The gadgetry goes overboard first. All over the place they have halographic screens that they move across thin air like the previous movies. Second, to show that JARVIS is defeated, they show Ultron as a blue network in air, JARVIS as the orange network and the blue “eats” orange. I know the director has to do something so that the audience knows what is going on, but this comes across as kind of tacky.

The dialogs are insipid. Their fighting, running, and then, incredibly having a quarrel among themselves and figuring out how idyllic life in a small town (Hawkeye’s private life) can be.

The human angle, right? But does not come across as natural. Is it me or does even Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow) comes across as tired or jaded?

Also you know how the Iron Man in the original movie kicked ass and just dominated the superhero club? How he had the best lines to himself? Here he comes and goes, as listlessly as the others have become.

And when Ultron, with all that invincible power decides that he “want to get into a human body” you wonder ‘Why? What is in it for you?’. No proper explanation. How can you conquer him? Give a human body to JARVIS of course!

Oh brother! All in all a confusing jumble and you come out of it with your head spinning, slightly bored at times, and with a great feeling of let down.

The visuals are good, as always. The humour is there in places, and they all try to wisecrack in the midst of disaster, but the spark that we found in the first movie seems to be surely missing in this one.

I will say a  4/10

– – Krishna

June 12, 2013

Movie : Iron Man 3 (2013)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:16 pm

imagesThis is the third installment of the franchise. It appears as if, like M Night Shyamalan’s movies, this series is also on a downward trajectory, each succeeding movie worse than its predecessor. The first iron man was brilliant, the second was very watchable but paled in comparison to the first, and this one has a lot of clichés that bring it down another level.

Now, first, there is this disappointed disciple turned super villain. How many times has it been done? (From Incredibles onwards, where it was brilliantly portrayed) to (do I remember right?) one of the Spiderman movies in the series right? So when you see the avid fan Aldrich Killian bitterly disappointed after Tony Stark (the industrialist who is Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr) stands him up, you know something is going to happen out of this. When it does, you are underwhelmed. The villain is played by Guy Pearce, known for his role as the King in King’s Speech.

You need to take it to the next level, right? In a franchise, every new movie has to have a new gimmick that was not there in previous movies. This time, it is the new model 42 of the iron suit. Its unique feature is that it can fly over to wrap around him from a remote location. The initial failed trial of this is a very funny scene in the movie.

The other interesting scene is when Iron Man crash lands after escaping the complete destruction of his home (unseen where everyone believes him dead – another cliché of superhero movies) he hooks up with a boy who is eager to learn and is patient with him, throwing off his usual arrogance and also as a penance for his being arrogant to Aldrich before, I guess. These are touching and funny scenes in the movie, even though, with another hat on, you can see tons of clichés riding on these ones too.

The other interesting thing is the Super Super villain, above even Aldrich, called Mandarin – the international terrorist. (Played in a very unusual role by Ben Kingsley; if I tell you more, it will be giving away one of the twists in the movie). The twist about Mandarin is a cute one, and definitely catches you unawares.

Purists may crib – and I do too, with them – that in this movie Iron Man really doesn’t do anything except call his techie prowess to his help whenever needed. In the climax scenes, it is his technological wizardry that conquers the day – not him personally. Is it really Superhero stuff?

And, Oh, there is Don Cheadle too, as an able assistant to Iron Man. Robin to his Batman, so to speak.

Well due to the so many repeats, clichés and let downs, I will give it a 6/10.

— Krishna

May 16, 2012

Movie: The Avengers (2012)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:47 pm

The comic book genre comes alive in Hollywood and has proved a safe bet for success for Hollywood. With the improvement in digital technology, the world of superheroes can be brought alive like never before. This has caused renewed interest in the superhero stories all over again, this time in life like animations.

In the meanwhile the retelling has gotten significantly cleverer too. After recasting Batman with a number of actors a number of times, Christopher Nolan set out to retell the story from a different and unique angle in his recent series. Batman begins and the incredible Dark Knight.

Here, they bring all the superheroes of the Hollywood movies together to form the group called Avengers,  to take on the villain together. The villain, to get them to come together, had to be a super super villain and who else can fit the bill than the son of Odin  himself, the mischievous Loki?

The movie is very entertaining and the story is intelligently told. It is interesting that the actors who played the superheroes in the hit series before also play the same superheroes in this movie as well, with one exception.

We have Robert Downey Jr.  playing Iron Man again. Chris Evans reprises his role as Captain America (“with a small change to the suit” as the movie explains it). We have Scarlet Johansen playing the Black Widow (yes, as in the spider). Chris Hemsworth comes again as Thor. And the super villain Loki is also played by the same actor, Tom Hiddleston, as in Thor.

The only exception seems to be the Incredible Hulk, as Ed Norton has been replaced by Mark Ruffalo. (The rumor mill is abuzz with insinuations that Ed wanted more money than they were prepared to give).

The movie has its lovely moments. Loki outwits people with his multiple images and mischief. He is outwitted by a dying Agent Phil Coulson  who lures him into an argument and in mid sentence, blows him off – does not kill him.  Think particularly of the scene where Loki imperiously tells the Hulk that he will not be manhandled by a monster, only to be whacked around like a rag doll before he can finish the sentence.  Another interesting piece is the ego of superheroes, where they fight another first before banding together to fight with the “real” enemy. It appears that the Hulk with Black Widow seem to do more damage to the ship than Loki’s evil band can.

The Iron Man is given all the great lines and steals the whole show almost, right to the end.

The story is not much, and Loki has to open a portal and gets a whole alien race into the world so that all of the Avengers have to band together to fight them.

One problem is the mixing of the multiple genres. For God’s sake, Thor is a demi god not a superhero. And what kind of superhero is the Black Widow? And how does Hawkeye a superhero?

And in mythology, Loki is mischievous and maybe a bit irresponsible but never blatantly evil. He is after world domination? That is a bit unbelievable.

As a pure entertainer, this movie is definitely good. But don’t look for any great logic or form.

I would say a 5/10


== Krishna

February 15, 2012

Movie: The Wonder Boys

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:43 pm

The movie has a purpose somewhere, but it would take a lot of work to find out what it is. It has some  talented actors : You have Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr and others too : Toby McGuire and Katie Holmes, for instance. Yet, the story has no sense or purpose.

Michael Douglas plays Grady Tripp, a professor of Creative Writing  in one university in US (Pittsburg) and who is very much admired for his last novel published, which is a masterpiece, but who has not written in many years and faces writer’s block whenever he attempts to add / edit the thick manuscript he already has produced. He tries to inspire his students to become good authors. Robert Downy Jr plays Terry Crabtree, his agent who is impatient for Tripp to finish his second book and hand it to him because his own (Crabtree’s) career is on a downward spiral and he needs this book under his belt to get it going again.

Katie Holmes is Hannah Green, who is in love not only with the subject of the class but also the professor, and throws herself at him constantly. Grady, on the other hand, is having an affair with the wife of his boss, who is the Head Of the English Department in the same university.

Toby McGuire is the weirdest of them all, I mean in the movie, where he plays James Leer, a troubled genius, weird, violent (no, I am not kidding, Toby McGuire really tries to play a violent man! Brings to mind his evil transformation in Spider Man 3) but a creative genius, who is mocked by the class but understood only by Grady, the professor, and Hannah.

The story goes all over the place from there, with Grady prowling around the professor’s house with a key given by his wife, trying to show a coat worn by Marilyn Monroe and he takes James with him. James manages to shoot dead the professor’s dog with his gun and also steals the coat since “it should not be hanging there”. What?

Is that not enough of a confusion for you? How about this? The car loaned to Grady for transport is claimed to be stolen by a thug, who harasses him constantly.  Terry is gay, brings a transvestite with him but falls for James and drives him away… (What?)

James reciprocates, even though there is no hint that he is gay anywhere before – he is the mild, geeky (violent!) man. What?

Don’t even get me started on their plot to hide the dog, retrace the car when it is stolen with the half finished manuscript in it, or even the fact that James has a manuscript and what happens to it.

Is it a comedy? Does not feel so. Is it a serious drama? Definitely has no such feel. The story just goes from one subplot to another, with no aim or purpose and at the end, you have a jumbled set of impressions, with no clear idea of what it is that you just finished seeing.

The casting, as I said, is all wrong, not just because of my repeated rants of Toby as a violent killer; even Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr look uncomfortable in their roles.  Katie Holmes just goes in and out of scenes, accomplishing nothing much.

I would say, a 2/10

— Krishna

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