Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

The wall-crawling Avenger is back to close the phase 3 of MCU. This time the stakes are higher and some unanswered questions are addressed. This is a spoiler-free review, so keep reading.

Read more: A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Spider-man: Far from home takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame where the Avengers re-snapped the universe. So fan expectations were unusually high. Does Peter Parker deservedly carry on the legacy of his mentor Tony Stark?

Far From Home, the sequel to Homecoming, easily bests its predecessor.

Homecoming ignored repetitive things like the death of uncle Ben, the hardship of Aunt May and the origin story of Peter Parker becoming a superhero.

However, Spider-man: Far From Home ups the ante and tries something that has never been done with this character. Peter is on the verge of becoming a responsible individual, only to be hindered by teenage angst and identity crisis. For the first time, a Spider-Man film did not take place entirely in New York.

Destination Europe

Spider-man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

The world mourns the death of the fallen Avengers, but life goes on and Peter is prepping for a Euro trip with his school buddies. He wants to leave behind his spandex life and spend some quality time with MJ. Unbeknownst to him, aunt May packed his luggage with a suit (which will come in handy later in the film).

Peter plans to ask out MJ in Europe. The high schoolers visit Venice, Paris and other landmarks but the Euro trip goes haywire when a supervillain named the Elementals start destruction in Venice. Peter and his friends were just off a boat. He left his suit in the hotel room. with a pair of web shooters his utmost effort to stop the antagonist was not enough.

Spider-man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

That’s when the fan-favourite Mysterio aka Quentin Beck arrives in the scene. He teams up with Peter but almost single-handedly stops the destruction. We see a glimpse of Mysterio in the opening scene of the film, where Nick Fury and Maria Hill acts as a witness.

Fury coerces a reluctant Peter to suit up and go to his secret lair. Peter finds out Quentin Beck is working with Fury to take down the Elementals. Quentin hints of a multiverse, claiming he came from Earth, just not the one Peter lives in. Throughout the movie, other versions of the Elementals make an appearance. These villains were loosely based on old Marvel characters like Hydro-Man and Molten Man, giving fans a scope to replenish some comic book memories.

To be honest, it is hard to write a no spoiler review of Far From Home, without telling enough about the plot. There’s deception, old enemies and loads of surprise to keep you on the edge of your seat. Peter inherits a pair of high tech glasses named Edith (courtesy of Tony Stark), capable of worldwide surveillance and destruction. Edith plays a central role in the movie, putting Peter on the forefront of enemies he must stop.

An entertaining thrill ride

John Watts returns in the director’s chair, and he does a good enough job to give Spider-Man the opportunity to shine as an Avenger when the world is at stake. The brilliant cast is the heart of the show, you will be occupied with laughter, emotional turmoil and gasping for more throughout the movie.

Spider-man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

Tom Holland is impressive, but Jake Gyllenhaal’s first outing as Mysterio is something to die for. Samuel L Jackson is as charismatic as he was in the other MCU entries and seems like he’s not leaving the Marvel world anytime soon. Zendaya plays an unconventional MJ, putting a refreshing vibe on the character. Jacob Batalon’ Ned Leeds is the quintessential friend Peter needs by his side. He is super funny and provides some essential jokes to make the audience smile.

There are two post-credit scenes that might just be the best part of the movie.

Far From Home is the last MCU movie of 2019 and albeit an unmissable one.

Get your tickets from Star Cineplex to watch Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Toy Story 4 is a heart melter that makes us crave for more sequels

The last Toy Story movie came out 9 years ago which seemingly gave the franchise a decisive ending. But never say never in sequel hungry Hollywood. Pixar just gave us another round of “Talking toys with identity crisis” and surprisingly, it’s a gem.

We rarely see sequels that fulfil our expectations. Thankfully, Toy Story 4 proved to be an exception. With a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it is an unmissable movie.

Toy Story 4 is a refreshing and witty addition to the series.

The animation is stunning, the jokes are laugh out loud material and like other Pixar titles, this one aligns well with a subtle melancholy.

Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) bonds with their colourful crew of toy buddies. The existing characters were fun to watch, but the newer ones are equally charming. After Toy Story 3, what could possibly happen to Sheriff Woody and friends?

You’ve got a friend in me!

Toy Story 4 is a heart melter that makes us crave for more sequels 4

Andy is all grown up and his toys are transferred to another kid named Bonnie. Bonnie is very fond of playtimes but for some strange reason, Woody is not among her favourite toys. When Bonnie goes to her orientation day at kindergarten, she struggles to fit in and make new friends. Unbeknownst to her, Woody sneaked into her backpack and decided to give her a morale boost. Bonnie ended up DIY-ing a new toy and named it Forky (Forky is a plastic fork so the name makes sense). Bonnie loves Forky and wants to take him on a road trip with her, but Forky disagrees and tries to escape.

The thing is, Forky is made up of trash bin throwaways. He doesn’t think of himself as a real toy, hence always referring to himself as “trash”. Forky believes he belongs to a wastebasket where he can live a cosy and safe life. But Woody’s samaritan persona incessantly lectures Forky how important it is for him to keep Bonnie happy. Forky opens up existential questions that trouble Woody likewise- What is a toy without the love of a child? Can a lost toy find meaningful life? Is it okay to leave a kid once s/he grows up and move on for further adventures?

Toy Story 4 is a heart melter that makes us crave for more sequels

A theme that echoes throughout the movie is finding your true self.

In this case, it’s Woody who needs a little push to recalibrate his purpose as a toy. “Nothing lasts forever and you can always find new avenues to start over”. Woody learns this at the end of the movie.

We see flashback scenes, snippets of kid Andy playing with his toys, rescue missions, reunions…what not! One of the paramount reasons we loved this movie is because of its antagonist characters (read: toys). We sort of liked the Huggin’ bear fromToy Story 3, he’s an okay-ish villain. But the one you’ll see in Toy Story 4 is too cute and has sentimental agendas. We don’t want to spoil anything about this movie but you’ll love her for sure.

Greatest animated fanservice (probably)

People who have grown up watching Toy Story will especially like this sequel. It’s emotionally charged, has got fantastic dialogues and the narrative pays off.

The surge of female empowerment in Hollywood movies is evident in recent times, Toy Story 4 also leverages it to put girl toys on the forefront. Little Bo Peep, Gabby Gabby and Jessie get their ‘Power girl’ moments and leaves an inspiring momentum for young girls.

Toy Story 4 is a heart melter that makes us crave for more sequels

One would be happy to see all the fan favourite characters return after a 9-year hiatus. But when comedian Don Rickles (the voice of Mr Potatohead) passed away in 2017, we were half expecting to see some form of tribute to the moustached Potato we loved. Thanks to Pixar, they rummaged through old recordings of Rickles when he lent his voice for the trilogy and used it as a tribute to the actor. Director Josh Cooley deserves a pat on his back for such an amazing job.

This is one film you don’t wanna miss out. Do yourself a favour and watch it in Cineplex. Stick around till the end credits for bonus surprises.

John Wick 3: A better sequel with a bigger kill count

Baba Yaga is back. Keanu Reeve’s third time playing John Wick pays off with ultimate fan service to the lovers of action movies. ‘John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum’ dazzles with fewer dialogues and a bazillion of action setpieces. It seems like the franchise is more interested in worldbuilding rather than a decent script and honestly, we don’t complain.

People don’t go to theatres expecting a John Wick movie to be a storytelling spectacle. If you can ignore some necessary aspects, this film will get your approval as the ‘Edge of the seat’ action mayhem we have not seen since the likes of Mission Impossible: Fallout. Rest assured that you will walk out of the theatre with a vertiginous head. The film is unquestionably violent and mostly, all caps LARGER THAN LIFE.

Run Wick, run!

Director Chad Stahelski’s third entry in the R-rated franchise has got lots of guns, knives and even books as weapons. Parabellum picks up from where the second movie ended. Out soft-spoken antihero, John Wick is declared ‘excommunicado’ by the ruling assassin council ‘The High Table’. With a $14 million bounty on his head, Wick races throughout New York City and eventually, to Casablanca to mitigate his enmity with the high table.

Meanwhile, a mysterious woman called ‘The adjudicator’ pays a visit to the Continental hotel. She warns Winston (Ian McShane)- the manager of Continental to step down from his position. The adjudicator stated it is only because of Winston that John Wick could spill blood in Continental grounds and the high table can’t spare this. The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) also gets a visit from her. Just like Winston, he is guilty of helping John Wick (he gave Wick a gun). He laughs it off when The adjudicator tells him to leave town.

Wick meets Sophia (Halle Berry) who happens to be an old colleague. Sophia is in no mood to assist him but ends up joining his quest for old times sake. To make amends, Wick tries to find a man called ‘The Elder’, who sits above the high table. But he’s untraceable, can John find him for redemption?

The good, the bad and the bullets

The first act is arguably the best part of the movie. John Wick movies are not known so much for stories as for brilliantly crafted action sequences. The franchise ups its ante with a uniquely presented fight and chase sequences. If there was an Oscar for stuntwork, this move would have won every one of them. Action is the heart of this movie and the only reason we’d recommend you to watch it in theatres.

They say, ‘Your heroes are only as good as your villains’.

What’s an action movie without a terrific villain? Apparently, it’s the area where Parabellum falls short. Zero (Mark Dacascos) the knife-wielding ninja is the baddie of this film. Despite his martial arts masterworks and unwarranted wit, we were not overly fond of him.

John Wick 3 is rightfully a neo-noir bloodbath which ends on a dramatic note but teases for more sequel.

We’ll probably see Halle Berry in a meaningful role next time. Her cameo sets up the backdrop of what she might be up to in the next film.

So go to Star Cineplex if you love the puppy loving hit-man John Wick. Get your tickets from here.

Bonus: This time, there’s a lot of horses as well, and they kick major ass!

Avengers: Endgame is the beautiful goodbye that we deserved

Marvel Cinematic Universe has many films still lined up in production, with Spiderman: Far Away from Home due to hit the screens in just six weeks. We know that Black Panther will get a sequel and another Guardians of the Galaxy film should also be underway. But in many ways, some would say in the most crucial and substantial ways, Avengers: Endgame is a conclusion to a broad and hefty storyline, birthed in small bursts throughout a decade.

Read more: A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

Where they stand now

The film opens to a morose aftermath of Thanos’ destruction. Every Avenger is reeling from the loss, the dismantling of their team and family which is what they have proven to become over the years. In some way, every one blames his or herself and nobody blames the other. It is a collective defeat which visibly and understandably has taken an incredible toll on each of them. Their beliefs and everything they stood for have been shattered. Only Hulk can be arguably said to be in a better place and perhaps has find the most harmonious spot in coexisting as both Hulk and Dr. Banner.

Read more: A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Black Widow is shown that it is all but what she can do to keep hold of herself by constantly communicating with each other, keeping track of their missions and hoping that Rhodes can find her best friend, Agent Barton (Hawk-Eye) who has taken a turn for the worse. Captain America is seen doing what would seem perfect for him if he was not usually busy saving the planet – leading a support group for those who have all lost somebody.

Did Thanos really do the world any good?

In Infinity War, Thanos made a valid point. The world might have been better off with half the population gone. We could assume that half of its problems would disappear too. But the movie shows that as long as people would remain who remember the lost ones, the world would be a living hell for those left behind. Some parts of Earth are also shown in how they have reacted to the change – some have become abandoned and haunted-like, some have erected rows upon rows of pillars with the names of the lost.

Damage-control

The remaining avengers don’t give up hope. (Spoiler Alert: only if you haven’t seen the trailer), the return of Ant-Man gives them all a direction to start working in. Thanos was able to do what he did because he had possession of the six infinity stones which he collected across a couple of movies. If you also remember, in Infinity War, Dr. Strange – the man who has seen 14 million possible future outcomes – willingly gives away the time stone to Thanos. Here is your biggest clue to the reversal of all the damage. Let’s just say that there were a lot of references to time travel movies and not one of them included Marvel’s (not so) very own X-Men Days of Future Past.

Captain Marvel

The pre-release film promotions had placed a lot of hyped on Marvel’s latest addition to its superheroes – Captain Marvel. One could fear that she would in some overpowering way steal the show. But you can rest assured that the people who were there from the beginning are the ones who undoubtedly see their missions to the end. There are a lot of twists and turns, beautiful scenes which serve as short homages to the stories being told for years, the underlying emotions, the character’s developments and the closures that they never got.

A deserving good-bye

What has always made Marvel films great isn’t just that they can tell superhero stories well, or that their action sequences are breathtaking or even that they almost unfailingly deliver the unthinkable each time. For a die-hard fan, the films are protracted distortions of our own realties. Fantastical and mythical, the fact that there are so many different characters ensure that there’s something everyone watching the film can connect to. Watching the film can be transformative in that it’s not just the characters playing out their roles on screen – the same energy can be felt coursing through the viewers themselves.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have both pretty much confirmed that the Endgame would be their last Marvel film. The same can be assumed for Mark Ruffalo and maybe even Chris Hemsworth. Endgame portrays each of these brilliant characters in their own essences, fitting into their perfectly carved shape in the Avengers team. We are far away from the Tony Stark we first saw – the dashing, narcissistic playboy.

Captain America has always shown to have a heart of gold and despite the superhuman alterations to his biology, time and time again, he proves that it is his heart, his goodness and sheer willpower that amplify his strength. A nod to the scene in Infinity War where he singlehandedly is able to stall Thanos, in Endgame too he beseeches the audience with what he is able to accomplish through his worthiness.

Tony Stark and Dr. Banner put their brains together one more time and Avengers: Endgame ends as a story of emotional and physical battle, victory with which must come loss, families being torn apart and families being pieced together. It is a well rounded conclusion to the arc started by Thanos and his quench for what he deems to be peace. The movie’s strengths lie in the usuals – acting, plot, buildup. Additionally, the shooting locations are spectacular and more diverse than Infinity War and it definitely did not seem like a 3 hour long movie. Lastly, the action scenes and the energy with which they reverberate demand that you watch the film on the big screen. 

Verdict

A 4.5 out of 5 rating is fitting for Stan Lee’s last.

Avengers: Endgame pays respect to its origins and the expansive career of the stalwart and manages to avoid cliches in exploring a theme that is well-known in the sci-fi realm.

A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

With the hype of not only Marvel fans but also, DC fans, if you have decided to go for the cherry on top which is Avengers: Endgame then we understand your distress upon watching all the movies so far. However, we know how tricky it can get to decide to opt for something that ends the whole saga of Marvel Cinematic Universe series of different superheroes and their endless battles which leads up to the final movie.

If you cannot watch the 22 vastly articulated films which lead to Endgame itself, do not worry because we have a short road map which might help you catch up with the marathon!

Read more: “Thank you, Marvel” – a fan looks back on 10 years of the MCU

IRON MAN (2008)

The marathon essentially starts with 2008’s Ironman starring Robert Downey Jr. however, not all the details would help you catch with the drift, but it is the starting of something beautiful. We see Tony Stark embarking on a journey of protecting the civilization with this creation and invention of explosives and weapons for mass destruction. The presentation of the relationship of Tony Stark and Pepper Pots is just as important for us to notice, as it carries a significant importance to Ironman himself.

THOR (2011)

Get ready to be distracted by Chris Hemsworth’s luscious locks and hard abs because there is no actor better to play the role of thunder god, the mighty hero from Asgard. What is important for us to see is the role of Thor, his hammer and him ascending to Earth as it leads to multiple more parts as weel.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)

This movie is not only known for a step towards the marathon but it also is very well known for its representation of the World War II and role of women through the relationship of Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, one of the founding agents of SHIELD. In the movie we see a skinny soldier turned into a hero-like representation of America, thanks to the ‘super-serum solder’ administered by the U.S Government. Why this movie, gets more attention is because The First Avenger showed the very first Infinity Stone which is called “The Tesseract”.

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012)

If you skipped Thor and The Incredible Hulk, this movie will help you to catch up with the details before they team up to battle a “Tesseract wielding Loki”. The film also shows us the importance of various main heroes who were previously cameo characters such as the Black Widow and the Hawkeye himself. However, this movie shows the core team of Avengers and a glimpse of the famous ‘purple evil alien’ we all know as Thanos.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)

Captain America’s transition from a S.H.E.I.L.D vigilante to a well-known superhero is beautiful transformation. But what is worth noticing is Cap pledges allegiance to his friend to the government, ultimately tearing the Avengers apart.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

The MCU production now jumped from one planet to the other to bring us closer to Thanos himself. The movie represents Star Lord’s ability to hold an Infinity Stone as a part of his lineage. The Power Stone is kept for safekeeping in Xandar which is destroyed off-screen.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)

Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Ultron..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015

The movie which was hyped in Bangladesh not only for the Marvel fans, but also because it showed a scene of the Chittagong shipyard which quickly stirred more attention on social media. The movie might not be as entertaining as the first but it is important to see the creation of Vision by the power of the Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter. Here we also see one of the important characters known as Scarlet Witch.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)

Tony Stark and Steve Roger’s previous concerns come to a head because of Bucky and people’s unease with the group of superheroes destroying and creating chaos around the city to demolish problems they were responsible for. We also get to see introductions of Black Panther and Spiderman.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)

If you decide to skip the movie because of the bare minimum relation it has with Endgame, you could. However, one of the reasons why this movie is recommended is to see the relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker as both of them grow a beautiful bond which extends to one of the most emotional scenes in Avengers: Infinity War.

THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)

Now the story line of Thor might be repetitive leading to a cycle of losing and gaining power of thrones, but what this movie concentrates on, is how Loki gets his hands on Tesseract, the introduction of Doctor Strange and the destruction of Asgard which leads the refugees to run into Thanos.

BLACK PANTHER (2018)

One of the most anticipated movies last year was Black Panther itself as it was the leading movies in MCU to represent black empowerment so uniquely. The movie is the introduction of the superhero T’Challa and his community in Wakanda which we will also see in the movie Avengers: Infinity Stone.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)

If you haven’t watched all the movies, as a hardcore fan of MCU would, we assume that this movie might have stirred your interest with the yearlong memes and theories. Now, if you have not watched this movie, we strongly urge you to get a bowl of popcorn and sit through it all because both Infinity War and Endgame were shot and written simultaneously. We won’t spoil this much for you but it will spark a lot of questions in your mind, this we can guarantee.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

One of the many reasons why fans speculate this movie came after Infinity War was because he might play a major role in saving the world from Thanos. And the fans were not wrong. The post credit scenes of the movie take place after Thano’s snap and the consequences of Civil War. Do keep in mind that the Ant Man and its sequel plays an important role in the Endgame.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2018)

Captain Marvel is initially known as Vers, a Star Force Agent from Kree race. She carries some powerful abilities such as super strength, physical endurance and the power to shoot blasts of energy with her fingertips. The Kree previously portrayed as villains before in Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the strong 90s vibe and complex storyline Captain Marvel will not disappoint you.

The release of Avengers: Endgame is on the 26th of April and get ready to stand in the never-ending line and tackle the hyped fans for popcorn and drinks because this year will be the most awaited year, as the journey comes to an end. So, are you ready for it?

Hellboy reboot is a stinker, but David Harbour shines bright

Clearly, the world was not anticipating a R-rated Hellboy reboot weeks before the release of Avengers: Endgame. Based on Mike Mignola’s terrific comics, Hellboy (2019) is the third attempt of the series. Despite its Deadpoolesque (or lack thereof) wit and gore, the David Harbour starrer bombed at the box office upon its release last week. We haven’t seen a comic book movie fail in this proportion for a long time. Seriously, what went wrong?

The 2019 version of Hellboy is starkly different from the previous two instalments directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Neil Marshall steps into the shoes of Del Toro and crafts a shamelessly violent yet wisecracking version of Hellboy. Marshall is known for horror and action movies and he orchestrated two Game of Thrones battles. His GoT connections justify the gorefest in Hellboy.

A brief (and digestible) origin story

At the height of world war 2, the Nazi’s initiated project Ragnarok, which brought the demon Hellboy on earth from the depths of hell. Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), the chief of B.P.R.D adopts and raises him to fight against the dark forces.

A below average villain

Mila Jovovich plays the role of a 5th-century sorceress (Nimue-the blood queen). She was defeated and dismembered by King Arthur in the ancient time. In a wicked turn of events, her disjointed body parts are retrieved from different corners of Britain in order to resurrect her in current time. Nimue and her pig giant henchman bring wrath upon the earth and she also has a crush on our main man Hellboy.

Nimue miserably fails to impress as a villain. She might have a similar agenda that of Thanos’, but her character lacks any kind of persona a baddie should possess.

Forgettable cast

This movie has an ensemble of forgettable supporting characters. There’s M11 special agent Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) who can evolve into a wolf by injecting a super serum. Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a medium who can foresee the future teams up with Hellboy but for us she was a sidekick reject.

Only acting that warrants respect in this film is Ian McShane’s Bruttenholm. David Harbour is unquestionably the heart of this film. He delicately portrays a funny yet ruthless demon beneath the layers of his brilliant makeup.

The worst comic book movie of the decade (probably)

Ron Perlman and Del Toro’s Hellboy was not something we will root for in the future. Both Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy: The Golden Army (2008) were average flicks and earned passable box office money. But at least they were miles ahead in comparison with the reboot version. Lionsgate is going to lose a lot of money as the film fell flat at the theatres.

Another great comic book character wasted on the silver screen.


Watch Hellboy if you love the comics. There is an MCU style post credit scene which hints a sequel (which we don’t want for God’s sake). The soundtracks are cool. Check out the Smoke on the water cover by 2WEI.

Hellboy is now running in STAR Cineplex. Get your tickets from here.