Terminator: Dark Fate follows the old recipe to deliver a fun action flick

November 1 marked the US and global release of Terminator: Dark Fate. Tim Miller is the director while James Cameron and David Ellison are the producers. Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprise their roles as Sarah Connor and T800 a.k.a Carl. We get to see Mackenzie Davis as Grace, Natalia Reyes as Daniella “Dani” Ramos and Gabriel Luna as the Terminator Rev-9.

Beyond this point lies spoilers and minor rant. Read on at your own risk.

The Plot

Terminator: Dark Fate follows the old recipe to deliver a fun action flick

The events of this movie take place directly after Terminator: Judgment Day. Starting, we get to see Sarah Connor and John Connor relaxing in Livingston, Guatemala in 1998. After the events of Judgment day, they are now sure they saved the future. No more Skynet. John Connor can now be a car mechanic instead of the leader of the resistance. While they are busy relaxing a T800 shows up kills John Connor and poof, he vanishes. Little did Sarah Connor know that Skynet had already sent various terminators to kill John Connor. Throughout the timeline.  

Moving on, now that Skynet and John Connor are no more the Spotlight shifts to Daniella Ramos.

Daniella or Dani is now the future leader of the Resistance.

They now fight against a new AI called Legion, who sends a new terminator Rev-9 to kill Dani. Dani from the future sends a cyborg subordinate Grace to protect the younger Dani.

In the end, Sarah and “Carl”, join forces with Dani and Grace. They eventually stop Rev-9. Sacrificing Grace in the process and “Carl”.

Cons

Is it all Retconned?

The answer to that is YES. The sixth instalment being the legitimate third instalment the others are officially retconned. They now exist in another dimension. While the series Chronicles of Sarah Connor is completely redundant.

Have we seen this before somewhere?

Again Yes! We have. In T2 we get to see Sarah Connor saving the future leader of the resistance. With the help of a subordinate from the future sent by the leader to stop the bad robot. The bad robot also being sent from the future to kill the younger future leader. 

Terminator: Dark Fate follows the old recipe to deliver a fun action flick

Apart from the obvious retelling of the T2 plot; they managed to pull a Halloween. Where the Halloween 2018 is the direct sequel to Halloween I and II. Retconning the rest.

“CARL”

To clear up some facts first, the T800 models all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one is not to be confused with the one that died in T2. The T800 that killed John Connor is stuck in the past, gains feeling. The feeling of emptiness. Lost without a purpose. Gets married! Regrets he killed John.

Pros

It is refreshing to see the old faces reprising their roles. James Cameron being back. Terminator: Force Awakens hits us all with an ample amount of nostalgia.

Verdict

Terminator: Dark Fate follows the old recipe to deliver a fun action flick

All in all, it is a fun action movie. Regardless of the confusion and retelling of the old plot. We get to see a good amount of badassery. Sarah Connor being armed to the teeth and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Who doesn’t love Arnold Schwarzenegger?

What the future of Marvel looks like with Kevin Feige in control

Marvel has gone through several changes throughout its history; with the film rights of many characters sold back and forth between different companies. The Marvel that once was has since evolved into a giant decade-defining cultural phenomenon, not least of which is due to Iron Man which came out in 2008, setting the tone for an unprecedented number of commercially successful movies with favourable critic reviews. A large part of this success is attributed to the late legend Stan Lee. The other part is said to be due to Kevin Feige, then President of Marvel Studios.

On October 15 it was announced that Kevin Feige has been newly assigned as the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel.

This means not only will he continue to be the creative head of Marvel Studios but he is also at the top of the chain of Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Comics. It can be seen as Marvel highlighting Feige’s importance in the company following his near-flawless run with the MCU movies since 2008. Now, Feige will directly answer to the co-chairmen of Disney, Marvel’s parent company.

Avengers: Endgame which went on to be the highest-grossing film worldwide, ever, surpassing Avatar, was a conclusion to many die-hard fans’ journey in the MCU through the lives of its different superheroes, all almost equally lovable, inspiring and somehow believable. Yet as announced in the comic con a few months ago, there remains a lot to look forward to in Marvel’s future.

It is reasonable and perhaps rightly ambitious for the decision-makers at Disney and Marvel to try and convert their success from blockbuster films to other avenues of entertainment and media.

Read more: The DCEU: Does it exist? How the Joker’s success influences it.

Marvel Television

Previously, Marvel television reported to Marvel Entertainment while Marvel Studios reported directly to Disney. For these corporate divides, there has been a lack of continuity among the storylines and the universe in the television shows and the films. For example, Agents of SHIELD Season 6 was released after Avengers: Infinity War, in which half the population of Earth was reduced to dust. However, none of this was referenced in season 6 of the TV show.

Given that now, Feige will be overseeing all aspects of Marvel creative output, there is likely to be overlaps between the characters from films and TV shows along with more streamlining of content.

It has not been long since streaming services have become a cultural need globally. With the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, television content has seen a revolutionary change in its development, quality and structure. Even five years ago, it would be difficult to imagine 21 time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep to be acting on television.

It makes sense for Marvel to shift resources and invest in web series and television shows.

Shows such as Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil though have received love from fans and critical praise, none of it amounted to the level as can be expected and hoped for the studios responsible for MCU. Now that Kevin Feige will be in control of Marvel Entertainment instead of making any accommodations for external studios such as ABC, it can be assumed that a better future lies ahead for Marvel TV.

Wanda Vision, The Falcon and Winter Soldier and Hawkeye (pending confirmation) are some of the shows that have been announced to be in production. It will be interesting to see how these characters who seem larger than life on the big screen will translate their performances for shorter runtime episodes, but longer narratives and character arcs. Undoubtedly most fans will be excited to be treated with the increased screen-time to watch their favourite heroes act. At the same time, others will be cautious to see how some of these bold moves will actually follow up to the staggering stories and acting left by the MCU alums. For example, will McKee be able to win over everyone’s hearts as Chris Evans was able to? A large role behind setting Marvel apart from other superhero films has been the absorption of the characters’ essences by the actors into their off-screen lives. In whatever moments we did get to see the likes of RDJ, Evans, Holland, Cumberbatch, Ruffalo, Hiddleston and Hemsworth in their own skin, they seemed every bit as we imagined them as their superhero characters.

Upcoming Marvel films

In case you missed it, here’s the list of upcoming movies for phase 4 in MCU:

  • Black Widow (2020)
  • Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2021)
  • The Eternals (2020)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
  • Blade

Blade reboot

For fans who have been following MCU since the early days, the announcement of the rebooting of the film “Blade” is an iconic one.  This time it will be played by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali. This has given rise to some speculation and surprise as he has already played a different character in the MCU. In Luke Cage, he appears as Cornell Smith or otherwise known as Cottonmouth, a rival to the show’s protagonist. While there have been other instances of actors playing different roles in MCU, they have been minor roles such as Alfre Woodard who played a sorrowful mother Captain America: Civil War, and also a gangster in Luke Cage.

Fans will also wonder whether this creates an opportunity for other actors who have played different characters in the past to come back in new roles. But if Marvel has made one thing clear in the past, it is that it takes the job of casting very seriously.

While some have expressed concerns over the lack of continuity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since this is the first time an actor who has played the role of a major antagonist will star as the superhero in a film, it has already been decided that the current shows in production for Marvel will not be continued for long in the future. They have either been cancelled or are set to wrap up in the upcoming months. Instead, these changes and announcements made at San Diego Comic-Con all point to the fact that the upcoming phase of Marvel films and TV shows signify a new beginning for MCU with more streamlined content and continuity extending between the different storylines.

The launch of Disney+, Disney’s own streaming service is being combined with the release of these new shows which are bound to see greater reach and impact than previous Marvel shows. One of the astounding aspects of Marvel has been its sheer bravery in tackling the character developments and stories of a wide range of superheroes. It is indeed something to look forward to if it means we will catch a glimpse of the same ambitions in the TV shows.

Diversity in the MCU

Thor

Natalie Portman as Thor alongside Tessa Thompson as King of Asgard will be a force to reckoned with. Additionally, Thompson will be the first Marvel LGBTQ superhero. As of March 2019, Captain Marvel is the one and only female superhero centric film made by Marvel which followed the massively successful DC’s Wonder Woman in 2017. It can now be hoped that more Marvel films will be made focusing on the strengths, eccentricities and uniqueness of women. Given the fact that there is no scarcity of superhero men for children to look up to and emulate, it is high time that young girls are offered the same possibility.

Black Widow

Black Widow who is already a character that has won and broken millions of hearts is finally, deservedly getting her own origins film. Set to release in 2020, fans who remember the fleeting moments of her past we were shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron, will look forward to discovering more about her real life, back story and how she came about to get the name “Black Widow”.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be the first Asian American superhero film played by Simu Liu, known for playing in the Canadian sitcom, Kim’s Convenience. Shang-Chi is said to be produced with a similar motive behind that which made Black Panther a cultural phenomenon in terms of representation for minorities. Shang-Chi is a superhero originally created in 1972 when kung-fu films were made immensely popular in America by actors such as Bruce Lee.

Eternals

The ensemble cast of The Eternals, yet another Marvel movie in production, includes Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American actor which may be the first time we a see a Brown actor as a major superhero character. Aside from that, Marvel has been pushing them hard as the big supergroup next to the Avengers. While most of that was due in part to make up for the absence of X-men from their film universe; the purchase of Fox has landed X-Men back at Marvel. So it will be interesting to see where that takes the Eternals project.

Directors of the Upcoming Films

It is said that diversity will be promoted behind the screen as well for Marvel films as the directors of the upcoming announced movies feature women and people of colour. We hope the dedication to diversity is a dedication to quality as well.

Disney now has Fox and X men

While Fox has managed to produce some gems that will forever remain in fans’ minds, most people will be itching to see the complex X-men characters’ immense potential to be tapped into by Marvel studios. Though there have been no conclusive announcements as such for X-men movies in Marvel Studios yet, this will definitely be an arena to look into for Marvel’s future.

Marvel Comics

Things are looking up for Marvel comics since Feige is clearly a comic book fan. Ike Perlmutter who previously had more control does not share the same reputation. However, avid comic book readers share some concerns.

Some fear that in a bid to make comic book sales increase, Marvel might consider rebooting and reviving the comic book universe entirely. While this has happened before for certain storylines, most readers feel that it is worth continuing the previously written stories.

It is also feared that due to the massive success of MCU, certain changes are being reflected upon in the comics.

The style has been said to aesthetically resemble the MCU throughout the more recent issues. It is sad if the comics start imitating the films since the films in the first place owe their roots, stories and characters to the comic books.

It would be interesting to see how Marvel can attract the potential comic book readers among the MCU fans with the changes it could make, keeping in mind that the original, hard-core fans of Marvel comics are a completely different kind of audience.

Aside from being heartbroken by the ending of Avengers: Endgame, many fans were also fearing whether this was some sort of a goodbye to Marvel as a whole. But with all their new announcements in San Diego Comic-Con followed by the promotion of Kevin Feige, Marvel has made clear that not only will they continue their run of great storytelling, but they are about to diversify and branch out which is sure to bring forward a much-anticipated phase 4.

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.

Live From Dhaka: A man’s journey through the bleak underbelly of Dhaka

As a young adult who’s been born and brought up in Dhaka, much of our generation view the city in rose-tinted glasses online or in media. In the age of social media, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t familiar with aesthetic photos of Dhaka from numerous Instagram posts or through popular song lyrics. #JadhurShohor. But the stark reality is that living in this city is much grimmer than it might seem. The dog eat dog nature of Dhaka has been beautifully portrayed in the recently released film “Live from Dhaka.

Nothing but the truth

Written and Directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad, “Live from Dhaka”, chronicles the days of Sazzad, the protagonist played by Mostafa Monwar, and his miserable state of life in the city of Dhaka. Sazzad being unemployed and partially handicapped is seen as a guy down on his luck after losing most of his money when the Dhaka Stock Exchange crashes.  In addition to his own physical and economic woes, he is being hounded by loan sharks and has to deal with his younger brother who’s plagued by addiction. Although receiving some support and solace within his girlfriend Rehana, played by Tasnova Tamanna, Sazzad decides to cut all his losses and permanently move to Russia.

A grim depiction of Dhaka

But as events transpire, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to escape the gritty reality of Dhaka. The harsh bleakness of his situations was beautifully portrayed in black and white throughout the movie before some very beautiful backdrops of Dhaka.

The film also didn’t shy away from showing the darker underbelly of Dhaka.

By the end of the film, you really start feeling for the protagonist but also reminded of how he is isn’t that different from everyone else.

The verdict

The acclaimed independent film has been gaining much hype among Bangladeshi film enthusiast back since 2016. It had premiered in a number of International Film festivals around the world and winning Best Actor and Best Director awards at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) in 2016. The Film was finally released in Dhaka, Bangladesh in Bashundhara City Star Cineplex, on March 29. With stunning visuals, gripping story and comfortable runtime of 1hr and 31mins, you should definitely catch this tale about our beloved Dhaka.

Get your tickets from here

Shazam is the new magic word for DCEU!

First, they tried too hard to not be Marvel. Then they tried too hard to be Marvel. Turns out all they had to do was say the magic word. The DC Extended Universe finally gets it all right with “Shazam!”.

A refreshing break from the bleakness

For a long time the consensus was that the DC movies are to be significantly more dark and bleak than contemporary superhero films. The darkness was supposed to inspire a more realistic outlook. If done right, that could have turned out well. But it wasn’t executed right. So the DCEU tried to move on to a more cheerful theme, evident in the Justice League movie. Unfortunately that also didn’t turn out great, as perhaps the most awaited film ever had measly returns from the box office.

With Aquaman, the DCEU showed signs of vitality. And they have finally perfected the formula with Shazam. The most family friendly movie from the DCEU so far, Shazam attempts to inspire every adult to embrace the child in them. And every child to unfold the hero in them. The DCEU displays it’s knack for consistency, comedy and timing in this exhilarating Boy-of-Steel film.

A well told origin story

The most difficult part of a Superhero story told on the big screen is often the origin. Origin stories are a dime a dozen, and many of them are as good as one would imagine can get. While Shazam isn’t innovative, it is near perfect in execution. The film tells the story of 14-year old Billy Batson gaining the powers of the “Seven Elders” and his subsequent adventures in a simple and carefree fashion.

While it is easy to assume from the trailers or this review that the film is specifically kid-friendly, such is not the case. It explores dark aspects of the regular lives of people with straightforward realism. But unlike many contemporaries, the film attempts to teach the audience to deal with life’s many problems with a smile.

A genuinely good time

At its core, Shazam is a cheerful superhero tale, told with remarkable simplicity and style. It doesn’t try too hard to be something it is not. And that sets it apart from many of its contemporaries. Instead of pushing an overreaching theme or straining to set up some elaborate tale (it does that quite naturally), Shazam just offers its audience a good time at the theater. All the actors involved perform perfectly on their roles, especially the younger actors and Zachary Levi. Mark Strong’s acting is as strong as ever. Most importantly, everyone seems in touch with their characters.

So go watch Shazam in the STAR Cineplex. And let the magic entangle you for a good time.

Get your tickets here.

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Days up to Alita’s release has been surprisingly underhyped considering that it’s an adaptation from a manga classic. Mangas such as Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, that has previously received live-action adaptations were huge disappointments. So, when media moguls James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez announced that they’re going to be giving it a book to film adaptation, maybe not everyone was budged. However, Alita did not really disappoint and watching it on the big screen at Star Cineplex was a worthwhile experience.

Staying true to the source content

Most commonly the complaint from loyal fanbases after a book to film (or manga to film) adaptations starts from the story not being true to the real canon. In this case, the film’s producer and co-writer James Cameron is actually and fan of the original manga created by Yukito Kishiro. Cameron has planned to create an adaptation of Alita for over a decade so it only makes sense that he stayed true to the original content.

Outstanding visuals

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Since the protagonist of this film is a female cyborg, it called for extremely polished and high-tech CGI. This meant that they had to spend a staggering 200 million dollars just to make the movie. This did not leave much to spend behind actually promoting it. The visual representation of the character Alita is extremely realistic, sans her eyes. Those were left exceptionally large to stay true to the manga.

The manga actually provides an explanation for why her eyes are so huge in proportion to the rest of her face but since the movie takes on so much story and condenses it into a two-hour show, it is understandable that it didn’t explore much of her origins.

The action

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The action sequences of sci-fi films can be turned legendary if put in the right hands. James Cameron has explored such aspects in his previous works such as The Terminator. Much of the action in Alita: Battle Angel is surrounding a sport they play called Motorball. It’s kind of an amalgam of roller derby and rugby that is mainly played by the cyborg inhabitants of their fictional world.

The fluid action sequences and incredible motion capture could’ve only been possible with a significant budget.

Alita moves through the air with ease, and many of the cyborgs fell organic to the proceedings.

Motorball becomes one of the more thrilling elements of the film. Among many action-packed scenes, the one in which Alita encounters Nyssiana stands out.

Nyssiana is a cyborg assassin who ruthlessly pursues Alita in the film. She is a film-original character and resembles a minor antagonist who appeared in the first volume of the manga.

The Plot

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The whole movie is essentially a buildup to a much bigger battle of sorts. The movie begins with cybernetics physician Dyson Ido(Christoph Waltz) finding the remnants of a cyborg under a fabled floating city called Zalem. Ido rebuilds the cyborg and gives her the name Alita. Alita is amnesiac at first but like all movies that feature characters with memory loss, certain situations trigger flashbacks.

Since, Alita: Battle Angel movie is only based on the first four volumes of the manga, so several plot lines and characters were not adapted for the film. Dr. Ido’s story differs a bit in the movie because he is not the main character in every arc of the manga. The name of his manga counterpart is Daisuke Ido. Rosa Salazar characterizes Alita as someone who is just discovering a magical world, but who also has a lot of command over her life. She’s innocent but not afraid. And when the time comes to protect those that she loves, she is ready. The only element in the plot that didn’t play out that well, was the romantic element. Character dialogues and moments of climax had scopes of improvement too.

Complexity in character building

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Once Alita begins to unlock her potential as a Battle Angel, the movie has an awful lot to juggle. Not only the origin of her advance-tech heart (so powerful it could power the whole city for a year!) but the people who seek to steal it for nefarious purposes, including Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), another cybernetics doctor who works with Vector (Mahershala Ali) to create superpowered cyberathletes to compete in Motorball.

Alita and her romantic counterpart Hugo have an instant connection with one another and that plays a vital role in the story up to the very end. The revelation of Desty Nova in Alita: Battle Angel was one of the biggest surprises in the film. Desty Nova is a mysterious figure who is central to the final arc of the Alita: Battle Angel film. He possesses several bodies during the film and appears to Alita in flashbacks.  Nova is also a major figure in the manga, and he becomes the main antagonist of the story.

The verdict

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Whether you think the storyline of Alita: Battle Angel is special or not, the movie in its entirety keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Despite its long duration of run time, It doesn’t drag and leaves you wanting more.

Since the movie ends on kind of a cliffhanger, we can only hope that the directors and producers will come up with a sequel. In the meantime, you should watch this one while it’s still running in the theatres because it’s a sensational experience whether you love futuristic sci-fi or not. Get your tickets from here.