Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse puts a refreshing spin on a familiar hero

In a world inundated with superhero films, it’s difficult for a new contender to make its mark. Especially so if it’s a Spider-Man film following six predecessors. There’s something different about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, however, that makes it stand out from the pack. Part of it is the unique animation style, but it’s also the fact that it’s a fresh take on a familiar hero.

An enjoyable storyline

The story focuses on Miles Morales, a biracial kid who receives powers similar to Peter Parker’s and struggles to follow his legacy. On the way, he is assisted by an older Peter Parker who has fallen down on his luck, along with a cast of other Spider People.

The interplay between the different heroes is a joy to watch, and Miles is fleshed out well enough with an appropriate focus on his family and life. The heroes are opposed by Kingpin, who is a menacing and hulking brute trying to reunite with his family. The themes of a family are resonant in this film, as are loss and responsibility.

Visual treat

The true star, however, is perhaps the outstanding visual style, which has plenty of comic book elements such as dialogue boxes and sound effects. It’s a refreshingly unique style that stands out in today’s crop of animated movies, and here’s to hoping it pops up more in future films of this calibre. The city is gorgeously realized, and the action is vibrant and fun.

Favourite Characters

On the character side of things, the mentor-student relationship between Peter and Miles is nicely handled. Peter’s laid-back nature contrasts nicely with Miles’ more earnest personality. Spider Gwen and Spider-Ham also stand out from the cast, as does Spider-Man Noir, thanks to a delightful turn by Nicolas Cage.


The movie is not without its problems. For instance, it could have fleshed out its antagonist more, although it does feature a new twist on Doctor Octopus. Nevertheless, writers Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman have crafted a fine addition to the Spider-Man mythos. There is news of a follow-up to Into the Spider-Verse, and if it’s as good as this one, then that’s certainly something to look forward to in the future.

Originally published on Upthrust.

Watch Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse in STAR Cineplex. Get your tickets from here.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Marvelites are having a pretty great week. A great Captain Marvel trailer dropped on Monday. Let me tell you, she looked mighty fine. Nintendo announced the return of the long-dormant Ultimate Alliance game franchise at The Game Awards on Thursday. A new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer is supposed to arrive very soon. And as if to slap a whole cake on top of a cherry, the Russo brothers practically shadow dropped the new Avengers: Endgame trailer on Friday. The trailer reveals very little. But when has that stopped us from going through these a dozen times and look for clues? Let’s jump in.

Here’s the trailer, just in case you do indeed live under a rock.

Tony Stark is stranded in space

Marvel MVP Tony Stark isn’t off to a good start here. He is marooned aboard the Benatar, the Guardians ship. With food and Oxygen rapidly running out, earth’s greatest defender is desolate and helpless. We see him turning his helmet on to record a farewell message to Pepper Potts. The lighting is somber because who can bid a sad goodbye in harsh fluorescence? Him mentioning the end being part of the journey is sure to tug some heartstrings. He is also wearing a similar shirt from the first Iron Man when he was imprisoned by the Ten Rings. A great visual callback to his initial plight in a no-win scenario.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Tony’s rescue is a hotly contested topic. We can only but speculate. Does Pepper Potts don the Rescue armor from the comics herself and go after her man? Will Captain Marvel pick him up during her return journey to earth following Fury’s SOS? Does Thor open a Bifrost with his Stormbreaker weapon and save him? Alas, we might have to wait till April for the answer. Or at least until the next trailer.

But what is Nebula’s story?

We also see Nebula hanging about the ship reminiscing and being all sad. There’s another very curious frame in the trailer where she gently caresses someone’s shoulder sitting in the ship. That is very out of character for her. Is she saying goodbye to Tony before leaving the Benatar? Or that is a completely different character at another point in the movie? Marvel has been really deceptive about these in the past. So rule nothing out.

Point Break is pissed

Thor Odinson proved last April that he is the mightiest of the Avengers. Maybe that is why it pains him the most that he could not stop the Decimation. Yes, that is what the head honchos at MCU decided to call the Thanos Snap. This revelation arrives thanks to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath by Brandon T. Snider. Man, the name of this book needed a Snap as well to cut it down to half.

Anyways, back to Thor. Just look at him. This man right here is ready to get out on that stage and shred Thanos in a rap battle.

The Thanos-crow

The only character who is happily content in the trailer is Thanos. And why wouldn’t he be? He brought balance to the universe, in his own twisted way. Moreiver, as a great comic throwback, we see his armor strung like a scarecrow. He doesn’t need that anymore, because his job is done. In the comics though, Thanos is retreating in disgrace more than gloating over a hard-won victory. But a nice touch nonetheless.

Is Shuri alive?

This is a very important question. The fate of another character hangs in the balance because of her. Last time we saw Shuri, she managed to salvage most of Vision’s data before getting knocked unconscious. If she survived the Decimation, she could be paramount to bring at least one of the Avengers back. Interestingly though, the trailer reveals a scene where she is put under the “missing” tag along with some of the dusted heroes.

That could mean she was slain along with her brother. Or she might be alive but not working with the remaining Avengers yet. I mean, it was them who brought war and death to her home. Does she have her own agenda now? Time will tell.

Hawkeye…or Ronin?

We finally get a glimpse of Clint Barton after his absence in Infinity War in this trailer. Only…he isn’t Hawkeye anymore. He is in the shoes of another comic book character called Ronin. There are some other characters like Echo who operated under this cover identity. But Clint’s stint was more prominent in the comics.

The reason he wasn’t active during Infinity War because of his plea deal with the government. He had a family to protect and care for. Something tells me in his thousand yards long stare here that they might not have survived. Hence, his blatant disregard to government contract.

For reference, here’s the comic book version of Ronin.

Ant-Man is out of the Quantum Realm

This might be the biggest revelation of the trailer. Last time we saw Scott Lang, he was journeying into the Quantum Realm with the help of the Pym family. In a tragic sequence of events, Scott got stuck there after the Pym collective turned to ash. How he got out may end up being the single saving grace for the Avengers family, and the world.

Now Scott was using his trusted friend Luis’ van for the Quantum Realm incident. It might be possible that Luis survived the Snap and came back to rescue Scott through the radio. Or Scott could have gained powers due to excess exposure to the Quantum Realm ala Janet Van Dyne. But that’s unlikely because it didn’t help Janet herself.

Time travel is a safe money bet. Right as he’s venturing into the Quantum Realm, Scott is told by Janet van Dyne: “Don’t get sucked into a time vortex.” That seems to be a pretty on-the-nose warning but also one clear enough for a dope like Scott to eventually realize might be the key to him escaping his predicament. We’ll see.

Speaking of time travel

As the leaked set photos suggested earlier, time travel is definitely playing a big role in Avengers: Endgame. We see a hint of that in the trailer as well when we see Captain America in his winter soldier suit.

Avengers endgame trailer breakdown

We don’t know what’s cooking, but Cap certainly isn’t donning this particular old suit for no reason.

So, that’s it, folks. There is a long five-month wait before we close out on the first decade of MCU. It’s actually a good thing the trailer left out crucial plot points. This lets us converse and speculate about our heroes’ struggle to save a universe torn apart. After all, as the name reveal tells us, it’s about undoing the tragedy that has left them…disassembled.

Stan Lee, Marvel’s real superhero, dies at 95

Stan Lee, the legendary writer and publisher who created numerous iconic comic characters for Marvel had died in a Los Angeles hospital on early Monday morning. He was 95 at the time of his death.

In his lifetime, Lee co-created popular comic characters like the X-men, Spiderman, Hulk and many more. He, with his co-artists and writers, notably Jack Kirby, catapulted Marvel into a media giant from a small comic venture.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, he grew up poor in Washington Heights. In 1939, Lee got a job as a gofer for $8 a week at Timely Comics. Two years later, for Kirby and Joe Simon’s “Captain America #3,” he wrote a two-page story titled “The Traitor’s Revenge! He used his pen name, Stan Lee.

Stan lee dies

In 1961, Lee and Kirby launched their own superhero series, The Fantastic Four, for the newly renamed Marvel Comics. Hulk, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil and X-Men soon followed. The Avengers launched as its own title in September 1963.

When his Marvel characters were made into movies, he almost regularly had cameos in them. And it had become a norm in recent times to wait eagerly for a witty Lee cameo in an MCU movie.

Loved by fans worldwide, Stan Lee’s legacy will be left in the timeless characters that he created.

Daredevil season 3 review: Devil’s Due

Netflix’s attempt at giving Marvel’s more grounded, street-level heroes their platform has been hit-or-miss for the most part since its inception in 2015. But one series has always been more or less consistent in delivering quality content- Daredevil, the man without fear. Be it Charlie Cox’s outstanding performance as both Matt Murdock and the titular vigilante, engaging and investable supporting characters or the best rogues’ gallery (Wilson Fisk in particular) in Netflix’s roster- Daredevil has always been a great lens for this amazing comic book character and his world. And I am glad to report, the third season of Daredevil actually cements this notion even more by taking us on a cerebral redemption journey full of twists, action and a whole lot of self-reflection.

Daredevil season 3 review-HiFi Public

The premise

Right out of the bat (billy club?), things look grim. Matt Murdock just had a building fall upon him, but not before he lost the love of his life, Elektra, for the second time, during the events of Defenders. Soon he winds up at the orphanage where he grew up after his father died, where the nuns in residence nurse him back to health best they can. But the crisis of faith he goes through at the start of the season takes a bigger toll on him than his broken physique.

This emotional exodus of our hero is expertly crafted through Matt’s scenes with the resident nun Sister Maggie, played by Joanne Whalley. The interplay between Whalley and Cox is one of the highlights of this season, as Maggie apparently comes from the school of hard knocks and tough love. She wants to help Matt and to coax him back to the faith he has seemingly lost after his recent experiences, but the nun is not exactly gentle about it, and some dark laughs result at times.

Fisk is back

Matt’s continued descent into spitefulness comes to a screeching halt though for the untimely release of Wilson Fisk from prison. Yes, the Kingpin himself, played by the great Vincent D’Onofrio, is back with a vengeance. The Season 1 villain is one of the best characters in the entire Marvel pantheon. So it’s great to have him back again as a major player this season. D’Onofrio has lost none of the intense, deep-voiced and well-articulated seriousness that made his Fisk so indelible. You are always wondering what’s really going on inside his Machiavellian mind throughout the bulk of this season.

Most of the time when a single villain dominates the adversarial element for an entire run, things tend to get sluggish. But Daredevil NEEDS Kingpin. He needs this type of cerebral foil. Fisk’s tendrils stretch so far and wide, and started way before anyone knew to look for them, that he comes across here like one of the most masterfully meticulous criminals ever. But his greatest masterstroke in this season has to be the intricate foundation he laid in the origin story of Bullseye, one of the greatest Daredevil antagonists.

Daredevil season 3 review-HiFi Public

Dex hits the Bullseye

FBI special agent Benjamin ‘Dex’ Poindexter (Wilson Bethel), a high-functioning and lethally skilled sociopath, is introduced this season. He was shown absolutely primed early this season for getting trapped in Fisk’s long game of subterfuge. Bethel gives a standout performance as the tortured antagonists spiraling down to the rabbit hole from where he will finally come out as Daredevil’s greatest comic book rival ever. And his bouts with Daredevil are a pure cinematic joy to watch. The first fight, where Matt wins the close-up fisticuffs rounds but Dex wins overall because of his unexpected long-range precision strikes, feels like a comic book fan’s dream come to life. And even if you didn’t grow up watching these two characters duke it over the panels of a printed page, it’s still an incredibly savage showing. It’s not the only one as well but I will stop talking about the rest right now.

Rest assured, Daredevil’s action still towers over the rest of Netflix’s Marvel offerings. The fight choreographers have clear ideas about the strengths and weaknesses of the participants of a fight. They executed the scenes with surgical precision. And if you are wondering, this season keeps up with the tradition of a “one-shot corridor fight” in episode four. Needless to say, it absolutely knocks it out of the park.

The usual brilliant supporting cast

When things quiet down from the busier action scenes, the supporting cast do a great job to hold the rest in cohesion. I already talked about how great Whalley’s Sister Maggie has been throughout Matt’s internal struggle. But it’s up to Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) to truly get him back on track from self-destruction. Because Fisk wasn’t just hell-bent on destroying Daredevil’s persona as the savior of Hell’s Kitchen this season. He was after Matt Murdock’s good name too. And when the man without fear was very much full of fear and behaving at his most arrogant and abrasive, it was up to them to show him a brighter way.

Woll was always light-years better than her last show, True Blood. It pleases me greatly that she has a part now that showcases her ability to present viewers with complexities and hypocrisies and subtitles like only she can. No spoilers but there is a scene with her and Fisk that really bolsters Karen. It turns her into a roguish superpower of wicked righteousness. It’s a thrilling game of mental chicken. Foggy, on the other hand, remains the sole foundation of legal righteousness in Matt’s life. His faith in his best friend is unrelenting and absolute despite Matt’s own constant moral jeopardy.

In fact, all three of Daredevil’s lead characters are inherently polarizing. So kudos to our three main players for giving us severely flawed people who we’re still drawn to and root for. It’s because of them that the middle chapters were increasingly great. Instead of falling down the Netflix trope of bloat and bad filler.

Daredevil season 3 review-HiFi Public

Jay Ali’s Nadeem needed more

But some caveats remain. Jay Ali’s FBI agent Ray Nadeem gets a lot of screen time as a newcomer. He has intricate ties to the main narrative. Yet up until the last third of the season, his character doesn’t become engaging enough to be emotionally invested in. His struggle to do the right thing gets vehemently crushed between all the dangling story threads. It becomes a clichéd hodgepodge right before picking up a notch. And while this season has really improved upon maintaining a steady pace in the middle episodes where usually it all goes slow and bloaty, it should be mentioned that there are still signs of unnecessarily drawn out scenes and conversations. Netflix should seriously start to consider producing 10 episode seasons from all their Marvel characters for more tightly paced storylines.

Daredevil season three is just bloody good television.

Charlie Cox, as usual, thoroughly delivers as Matt. He convinces us here of the character’s pain, distressed state, and his eventual redemption. Vincent D’Onofrio’s restrained, grimacing, and mostly internal performance is just a behemoth achievement. The rest of the cast craftily delivers the goods as well. The action is robust, intimate and brutal. Overall, it’s just a great love letter to Daredevil. You don’t have to have Matt’s heightened senses to appreciate it. The devil’s got his due alright.

Venom: not as bad as critics say

HiFi Public recently checked out a screening of Venom, thanks to Star Cineplex. We, just like everyone else on the internet, thought it would not turn out to be a good one. Critics on the internet, such as renowned reviewers on IGN, did not praise the movie. Coming out after watching a screening of it, however, we feel it has been a better movie than most said it was. SPOILER WARNING as we’ll be talking about a few details of the movie not shown in the trailer.


Venom movie review-HiFi Public

The plot takes a back seat in the first ever Venom movie. It’s not quite as engaging as many of the better MCU films such as Winter Soldier. There are no plot twists, nothing groundbreaking harlot-wisest wise, it’s a pretty run of the mill affair. It’s worth noting that the Venom movie, even though associated with Marvel, does not tie into any of the MCU movies. At least, not in any way that was explicitly mentioned. The story of the movie revolves around the Life Foundation. They sent a spaceship out for recon, which found millions of alien life. These aliens are called symbiotes, just like in the comics.

As the spaceship returned with samples of said life, something goes wrong. One of the symbiotes, later revealed to be Riot, is a leader of the species. This Riot manages to break out of it’s container and infect the Captain of the shuttle, Jameson. If that name sounds familiar, that is because he’s the son of Spider-Man’s biggest critic, J. Jonah Jameson. The plot revolves around the Life Foundation killing homeless people in the name of science. Eddie Brock, disgraced reporter thanks to a run in with the Life Foundation’s CEO, finds this and goes to investigate. This is when he bonds with Venom, and the movie becomes a completely different genre.

Up until this point, the movie was not a comedy. Sure, there were jokes here and there, but the movie seemed serious. Venom, however, is not. He is a funny symbiote who in his words is a loser on his home planet. This is when the movie truly picks up. This also marks the point when we stopped caring for the plot.


Venom movie review-HiFi Public

Eddie Brock is played exceptionally well by Tom Hardy. Hardy really shines in this movie and makes the role his own. He also voices the Venom symbiote. Venom is the most interesting character in the movie. Even though the trailers make him out to be a badass, he really is not. He’s a real softy on the inside. Even though his original mission is to go back to his own planet and bring an invasion force, he changes his mind because of growing fond of Eddie and his world.

The rest of the cast is just kind of there to support these two protagonists. Michelle Williams plays Anne Weying, Eddie’s ex and his love interest in the film. Riz Ahmed plays a competent antagonist in Carlton Drake. The role could have been better if he was given a better script. Overall, this movie is a story of Eddie and Venom trying to work together, and in a buddy cop way that really works.


Venom movie review-HiFi Public

The Venom symbiote really shines in the action scenes. The CGI is done well, but it’s nothing special in this day and age. The main gripe I have about this movie is it being rated PG. Without an R rating, it’s exceptionally difficult to portray Venom’s violence. Tom Hardy has mentioned that 40 minutes of the movie has been cut, scenes that he said were his favourite. This makes me think that an R rated directors cut could be on the way, which would be a way better movie than the family friendly Venom. The movie does a good job of making Eddie look clueless as Venom takes over. Venom also looks like an idiot at times, but never when he’s fighting.


Venom movie review-HiFi Public

Venom is a deeply flawed movie. It has many problems that many superhero movies suffer from. The Venom symbiote is introduced almost halfway into the movie. The characters, aside from Eddie and Venom, are woefully underdeveloped. The ending is also a glorified CGI battle that many have loathed in recent years. The trailers of this movie also did a bad job in portraying that it would be closer to Deadpool than The Dark Knight. Yet, it is a stunningly entertaining movie. We enjoyed watching one of our favourite anti-heroes finally get the right treatment on the big screen. It was a movie that never took itself seriously, yet handled the symbiosis of Venom and Eddie with a surprising degree of maturity.

All in all, it’s a better movie than the critics give it credit for. A solid action-dark comedy, we would give this movie a 7 out of 10.

Watch it on Star Cineplex. It’ll be running this entire month.

Iron Fist gets better in second season, but is still not as great as it could be

Danny Rand is the Iron Fist. If you don’t know it yet, he would have gladly told you so in his previous appearances in Iron Fist Season One and The Defenders.

But now Danny Rand is a changed man: more humble, driven and ready to accept help from his friends. The change makes for a season two that is markedly better than the first outing but still leaves much to be desired in the wake of a powerful second season from Luke Cage.

More Competent Storytelling

The second season benefits hugely by dispensing with the Hand, whose presence has infected and dragged down many previous seasons of Netflix’s Marvel content. It also does away with the boardroom drama and corporate intrigue, so if you are one of the few people who liked that, then tough luck.

The majority of the season takes place in Chinatown, as Danny steps into the role of protector to honour Matt Murdock’s memory. Instead of literally following in Daredevil’s footsteps and beating the holy hell out criminals, Danny tries to keep the peace between rival gangs with the support of Colleen Wing, while Davos, his old frenemy from K’un Lun, returns to settle old scores.

Iron Fist

Danny Rand’s character is better, but he is still outshined by this supporting cast. Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) is calm and mature as ever, and as the season progresses, she slowly steps into the limelight as she explores her own past. She is joined, sometimes, by Misty Knight (Simone Missick) who instantly lights up the screen with her commanding aura and charm. Finn Jones, however, remains unconvincing in his role as the Immortal Iron Fist.

The Meachum siblings also return, dealing with the fallout of their father’s betrayal in different ways. Joy (Jessica Stroup) teams up with Davos and the cast’s newest addition, Mary Walker (Alice Eve). Eve delivers a terrific performance, though her character’s mental illness isn’t always portrayed in realistic terms. Ward is dealing with his lifelong abuse by his father by trying to open up to his loved ones and trusting them more.

New showrunner M. Raven Metzner (Falling Skies, Heroes Reborn) focuses on a streamlined story backed up by a core, robust cast. He also does a good job with fight scenes, which are a big step up from the shaky fights and obvious doubles of last year.

A Down-to-Earth Focus

The focus, this time around, is the idea that one needs to be worthy of the Iron Fist, and that Danny isn’t living up to the mantle. Davos taps into some real-life criticism when he accuses Danny of being a white tourist who co-opted K’un Lun’s culture and power by denying Davos from battling the dragon, Shou-Lao. Joy is lashing out against both Ward and Danny, but she still loves Ward too much to hurt him directly. She assists Davos in stealing the Iron Fist away from Danny.

The series both benefits and suffers from this simpler focus. In a show where the main character has a glowing fist that he gained from punching a dragon in the chest, there’s still a disappointing lack of dragons. The season is shorter, too, at ten episodes instead of the usual thirteen. It prevents the show from growing stale, but at the same time, there was no episode where it truly gained steam.

The series also suffers from the lack of a powerful and magnetic antagonist. Davos (Sacha Dewan) is a good secondary antagonist, but he lacks the screen presence to be a proper foil for Danny. Last season’s Harold Meachum and Bakuto were marginally better, but they are still far off from the likes of Wilson Fisk, Kilgrave and Cottonmouth.

Colleen Wing is perhaps the true star of this show. It remains to be seen how the show will handle her new role going forward, but Jessica Henwick has done a good job so far with what she has been given. Her chemistry with Simone Missick is noteworthy and points towards the possibility of a Daughters of the Dragon spinoff down the line. As it stands, Iron Fist earns the title of the most-improved show of Netflix’s Marvel line-up. The second season moves the story towards more interesting directions and hints towards exciting things to come.

A Somber Second Phase for Netflix

Netflix’s post-Defenders line-up, so far, has taken a muted approach to storytelling. That worked well enough in establishing Punisher’s own series, but Jessica Jones’ second season got too tangled in exploring thorny family issues and experimental superpowers that make people go insane. As it stands, Luke Cage’s stellar second outing is the true standout of this second phase, with Iron Fist being a distant second.

If you saw Iron Fist’s second season and found it wanting, don’t worry: Daredevil Season Three and Punisher Season Two aren’t that far off. Daredevil, in fact, lands at Netflix in October.

Marvel just released a trailer for “Captain Marvel” and it is epic

Marvel has just released the new Captain Marvel trailer. It first debuted on Good Morning America and eventually made it to YouTube.

Spoilers: If you haven’t watched Infinity war yet

The next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe follows up from the last MCU movie. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, watch this.

Nick Fury, before disintegrating into dust like many others, sends out a page. The device shows Captain Marvel’s logo from the comics and then the movie ends. The new Captain Marvel movie picks up right after that. The trailer shows Brie Larson in Carol Danvers’ costume. Carol is the alter ego of the titular heroine Captain Marvel.

Not an origin story

The trailer clearly shows that Captain Marvel already has her comic-book powers. At least, most of them. She has already left earth to join the Starforce. The team is led by a character played by Judd Law. Ronan the Accuser, played by Lee Pace, can also be seen.

Set in the 90’s

The film is clearly set in the 90’s. We see a much younger and much less bitter Nick Fury, still without an eyepatch. A very young Agent Coulson can also be spotted. The film trailer shows shots of Carol being in the military. The trailer also shows a few shots of Carol’s family.

Carol comes back to earth

It’s alluded in the trailer that Carol has recently come back to her home planet. According to her, some of her memories of her time there is still there. Yet she seems to have lost a few during her time as a member of the Starforce.

Big player

If the Infinity War end credit scene was anything to go by, Carol will have a big role to play. She seems to be the person contacted by Nick Fury shortly before turning to ashes. If that’s the case, then she is sure to be one of the big players in the next Avengers movie.

We’re all excited for the first ever Captain Marvel movie. Tell us in the comments how you feel about a superhero film with a female lead. Not made by DC, of course.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: small heroes, big laughs

While the Marvelites are still recovering from their post-traumatic misery disorder after the monumental finale of Avengers Infinity War, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and The Wasp works as a potent antidote to all the doom-and-gloom. Be sure to be effortlessly entertained by a breezy “heist” sequel that never takes itself too seriously. While missing James Gunn’s heart wrenching depth or the Russos’ action sensibilities, this movie stands on its own with a strong cast, great size-shifting action elements and some endearing hilarity.

Thanks to his previous “heroism,” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) finds himself under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are on the run from similar prosecution. Neither parties have spoken in some time, but that’s until Scott dreams he’s inside Janet Van Dyne’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) body – aka Hank’s long-lost-to-the-Quantum Realm wife. Cue a rescue mission.

Ant-Man and The Wasp juggles a couple of story threads with moderate success. First off is using Hank’s quantum gateway to rescue Janet while thwarting black market dealer Sonny (Walton Goggins) from stealing their tech. A house-arrested Scott Lang also must ensure federal agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) doesn’t catch him outside his permitted area. But the movie’s tragic antagonist Ava (Hannah John-Kamen) aka Ghost gets the best story thread of glitching her way to stealing Janet’s essence for her own healing purpose. Marvel has created some truly memorable villains over the last couple of years and while Ghost doesn’t share the highest mantle with Thanos or Killmonger, she definitely gets close with John-Kamen’s tortured portrayal of the character.

Paul Rudd is also stellar as expected in portraying Ant-Man’s average Joe super heroism and fatherhood. His affable personality just works in all of the comedic sequences. But it is Michael Peña’s Luis who steals the funny train. He takes full advantage of the tighter comedy in the script and hyper-babbles to victory under “truth serum” influence. Peña’s that one-line jukebox which keeps cranking out the hits. May every movie feature his mini-voice shrieking with excitement. Evangeline Lilly just crushes it as well this time around fully kitted by the Wasp suit and makes up for her superheroine persona’s absence in the first movie. Wasp’s fight scenes revel in the graceful femininity and the sexy lethality of her comic book counterpart.

Credit is due to the effects teams behind Ant-Man and The Wasp too. As technology increases, so does Hollywood’s ability to superimpose the faces of Douglas, Pfeiffer and Fishburne in flashback ages – which Marvel fashions nicely. Then you’ve got Scott and Hope’s constant ballooning or deflating, which never feels out of place in a visual sense. Cinematography doesn’t exactly break the mold, but it keeps us anchored in worlds of varying magnitudes even in Quantum Realm psychedelics. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids would be proud. Gigantic tomatoes, refrigerator-sized salt shakers, miniaturization scales of otherwise regular sized products and all.

Ant-Man and The Wasp is endearingly earnest, positively punderful and ant-tastic from start-to-finish. While there are weak links weakening the foundation, the final build is a solid romp. This flick may not be essential in the grand Marvel-ous scheme of things, but you’ll be glad it exists. Ant-Man has always been a tremendous supporting character, and that’s exactly what this origin sequel lets Scott Lang do best.

Also, DO NOT miss out on the post-credits scene.

5 Bangladeshi superheroes you should know about

The age of superheroes is upon us. The last decade or so has seen almost as many comic book adaptations as the last century. Bangladeshi artists and storytellers may not be creating as much content as their western counterparts, but we can boast a couple of superheroes with roots in Bangladesh:


Shabash, a parodycreated by Samir Rahman and Fahim Anzoom Rumman, satirizes superhero culture but uses its tropes against it. The atomic mango powered hero is often lazy and unmotivated. Shabash is more likely to take selfies, go on rickshaw rides than fight supervillains. Its sister title is more well known and deals with fighting social stigma.

Ms Shabash

The Magnum Opus of the duo, Ms Shabash is a world apart from the lazy Shabash. Shabnam, the investigative journalist, moonlights as the atomic mango powered superheroine who faces societal issues head on. Her alter ego rejects marriage proposals sternly, yet respectfully.

She battles villains like Whitewash, who gives herself superpowers through a lab accident. This is a nod to the struggle and stigma of being dark skinned in many Asian cultures such as Bangladesh.  Her fight with a battalion of robo-aunties via a dance-off was among the many memorable story lines and characteristic of the quirky but socially aware tone of the series.


Created by HiFI Public’s very own Navid Hossain, and pencilled by Mehedi Haque, a legend of the Bangladeshi art scene. Rishad, 21, tries to leave home and make it on his own, but is stopped by destiny as he wakes up with a metal arm and a robotic eye. An epic tale of heroic-ism and deception follows. Hopefully a sequel is in the works, so we can see more of the gorgeous panels  


Enigma is a character created by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham, first appearing in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) issue #48.

Yes, THAT Spider-Man.

The young Tara Virango lived in the Bangladeshi village of Malpura when AGK inc. massacres the village by exposing it to a nano-virus that they were commissioned to make by the CIA. Tara survives the nano-virus, but lives with superhuman abilities. She moves to New York and adopts the alias Enigma, emulating a Buddhist goddess. Long story short, she and Spider-Man teams up and fights the evil AGK inc.

Even though she does not have her own comic, we hope that she is part of the wave of Marvel giving lesser known superheroes screen time (we can forsee a Netflix one-off appearance soon).

Read more: How to destroy your cinematic universe


Set in Dhaka, Kali is portrayed as a common woman with a vigilante alter-ego, roaming the streets fighting bad guys. Model-actress Azra Mahmood plays the titular role in the web series, which is directed by Amit Ashraf and released on the web platform Bioscope Live. By day, Amaya is a niqab wearing NGO worker, by night, an unmasked vigilante going by the name of Kali. Her commitment to fighting social injustice is motivated by her experience as a victim of an acid attack.

Special mention: Bizli

Bizli is a superhero that debuted in a movie of the same name this year in April. This was marketed as the first original superhero film written and produced in the country. Bizli, played by producer Bobby, is born with super powers like flight, super speed and lightning. Illiyas Kanchan plays her protective father, Dr. Alam. An evil scientist named Dr. Jerina, played by Shatabdi Roy, wants her powers for her own gains. While clichéd, the film is still the first big budget superhero movie made by a Bangladeshi, and so the efforts are applauded.

Honorable mention to the DC superhero Montpellier, appearing in three issues of The Shade, who was born in Bangladesh and later moved to Spain to become a superhero.

5 Bangladeshi superheroes you should know about 9

We hope to see so many more in the coming years!

Deadpool 2 review: sun’s out, puns out

Deadpool’s tenure as the Merc with a Mouth in comic books isn’t as long as the most iconic and revered characters from both DC and Marvel. But it is safe to say that he has cemented his legacy in his own wisecracking way in the hearts of comic readers all over the globe. And while Ryan Reynold’s first live-action attempt in playing the character didn’t bear great results in X-Men Origins, he basically redeemed both himself and the character in 2016’s Deadpool. Just like the creation of the character injected a timely flavor of edginess and attitude to the 90’s era Marvel Comics, the movie performed a similar feat by being a palate cleanser for comic book movies. It was a fresh take of R-rated superhero fun in a genre that is believed to be reaching its saturation point. It also became the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time ensuring its emergence as a franchise.

And now we have gotten a sequel. Having reunited with fiancée Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) in the first movie, Wade Wilson/Deadpool continues with his own brand of superhero crime-fighting in this one. But when fellow mutant Cable (Josh Brolin) travels from the future to kill a super-powered child, Deadpool forms team X-Force to take him on. The live-action debut of both Cable and X-Force has been a matter of much yearning for the comic book fans. So does it live up to the hype the amazing marketing team for this movie has generated over the last couple of months?

In short, yes. Deadpool 2 is funnier, crasser and gorier than the first movie. A bigger budget allows for some amazing action scenes that have been scaled up considerably, helped by the apt direction of John Wick’s David Leitch. It also reintroduces one of my favorite Marvel villains and has some amazing cameos. Wade Wilson’s usual Fourth Wall breaking has been taken up a notch, to a fantastic degree. All in all, if you liked what the first Deadpool had to offer, you’re going to love this one. Its takes everything great about the first one and dials it up to eleven.

One of the most understated moments in the first Deadpool was Reynold and Bacaarin’s capable handling of the poignant emotional scenes. The sequel has this as well in spades. The journey this weirdly sweet couple treads on is emotionally engaging and warrants your attention and care. That doesn’t mean there’s any lack of Deadpool’s trademark filthy humor either. The sequel flexes its muscles in that department quite vigorously as well. Somehow, Deadpool proficiently manages to mix up these somber moments with the ridiculous ones. And trust me; there are loads of them on both fronts. The ramped up action scenes are enjoyable on their own, but Deadpool’s own brand of humor injected in all of them just makes it even better.

If you liked what the first Deadpool had to offer, you’re going to love this one. Its takes everything great about the first one and dials it up to eleven.

The supporting cast is great as well. After hitting a home-run with Thanos in Avengers Infinity War, Josh Brolin proves his action chops again with his tortured portrayal of Cable. He is brash, brazenly unapologetic and is a perfect antithesis to Deadpool. Zazie Beets as Domino steals any scene she’s in. Her superpower “being lucky” leads to some hilarious moments and are a hoot to watch. Deadpool 2 also one-ups its predecessor in the villains department, fixing the first one’s mostly flat antagonist and giving us a more layered narrative in that area this time around.

The one big complain I have against this movie is a lack of cohesiveness. Deadpool 2 tries to tackle multiple story threads including a big status quo shift in Wade and Vanessa’s relationship, Cable’s time traveling tale and the creation of the X-Force. While all the segments are separately confident and capable of running their course, the overall pacing is hurt when they are all jumbled up together in trying to tell a single narrative. Deadpool 2 lacks the singular focus of its predecessor trying to put its mouth in too many plates. And Cable’s backstory might be the biggest victim of this. The future that Cable comes from and his motivations weren’t explored enough to keep me committed in his story, making it feel like an afterthought. It would have been great if his character was a bit more fleshed out. Maybe in the upcoming X-Force movie, eh?

Overall, this movie had some lofty expectations to live up to. I am glad to inform you that it comfortably satisfies them. There is an unexpected warmth to be found in the titular hero’s journey, along with more muscular action and a barrage of pop culture jabs that you’ll miss if you blink. This one deserves your time and money. Because it will throw everything it has towards you until you raise your arms in happy surrender.