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.

10 movies you need to watch in Fall 2018

As the summer winds down, it’s time to look forward to the fall. The fall is a special time for movies: there are a few blockbusters here and there, but studios are also getting busy with Oscar-worthy releases. These movies range from standard tent poles and thrillers to horror flicks and biopics. And who can forget superhero movies?

These are our picks for the movies to watch in fall 2018. 2018 has been a great year so far for movies and judging by this slate, that’s not going to change either.

The Predator (September 14th)

Directed by Shane Black, this is the fourth installment in the Predator franchise. The film takes place between Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010), following a team of ex-soldiers and scientists who face off against a new breed of Predators, armed with genetic upgrades stolen from other deadly species. Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) leads the team as Quinn McKenna, an ex-Army Ranger who is already aware of the Predators but finds it difficult to convince anyone of their existence. Olivia Munn, Keegan Michael-Key and Yvonne Strahovski also co-star.

Venom (October 5th)

A spin-off of the new Spider-man movies, Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight Rises) stars as Eddie Brock, a journalist who becomes bonded to a dangerous symbiotic monster that gives him extraordinary powers. Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Woody Harrelson also star. The spin-off has minimal links to Tom Holland’s Spider-man and will be the first of a series of villain-centric movies, with others such as Morbius and Kraven the Hunter set to follow in the near future.

Bad Times at the El Royale (October 12th)

Grew Goddard (Daredevil Season One) takes the helm of this mystery drama set in 1960s California. The titular hotel, El Royale, lies across the state lines of both Nevada and California, in Lake Tahoe. Seven strangers come together in the hotel on a fateful night, struggling with redemption before things go horribly wrong. Chris Hemsworth leads a stellar cast that features Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman.

First Man (October 12th)

Directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land), First Man tells the story of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and the legendary Apollo 11 space mission. The cast also features Claire Foy (The Crown), Ciaran Hinds and Christopher Abbott. This film is the second collaboration between Chazelle and Gosling, after 2016’s La La Land, and is also the first Chazelle film not to be music based.

Serenity (October 19th)


Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey is a fishing boat captain leads a peaceful life, operating a touring business around the serene shores of Plymouth Island. His peace is disrupted, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) returns, asking him to save her and her son from her husband. Karen asks Baker to lure the man into a fishing expedition and killing him in the middle of the sea. Directed by Steven Knight, the film reunites McConaughey and Hathaway after Instellar (2014) and also features Diane Lane (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2nd)


Directed by Bryan Singer, this biopic chronicles the life and adventures of the legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). The movie covers the formation of Queen and moves up to the famous Live Aid performance in 1985, six years before Mercury’s death. The movie was in development for eight years and plagued by creative disputes, which included exits from notable figures such as previous lead Sacha Baron Cohen and director Dexter Fletcher. Fletcher was later brought back to complete the film after Singer’s dismissal in December 2017 for unprofessional conduct.

Outlaw King (November 9th)

A historical drama that features medieval era guerilla warfare, centered around Scottish King Robert the Bruce’s (Chris Pine) attempts to counter and repel a much larger English occupying force in Scotland. This film is also somewhat of a sequel to Braveheart, as Robert the Bruce starts his campaign after the execution of William Wallace. The film will be released in select theaters as well as Netflix. Aaron Taylor Johnson (Kick-Ass, Godzilla) and Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) also star.

Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16th)

Series veteran David Yates helms the second entry in the Fantastic Beast franchise. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to stop Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), after the latter escapes prison and threatens to unleash terrors upon an unsuspecting populace. The cast also features the likes of Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller, and Dan Fogler. J.K Rowling also returns to pen the screenplay.

Creed II (November 21st)

Trained by Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), boxing prodigy and light heavyweight champion Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) goes up against the son of Ivan Drago — the Russian fighter who killed his father in the ring years earlier. Steven Caple Jr. takes the helms of the franchise, following the illustrious footsteps of Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed, Black Panther). Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld) and Dolph Lungren (Rocky IV, The Expendables) also costar.

Aquaman (December 21st)

The next Worlds of DC, formerly DCEU feature is a make-or-break film for Warner Bros. Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) must battle Orm (Patrick Wilson) in order to claim the throne of Atlantis as its rightful heir. Meera (Amber Heard) assists him in this quest. James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring series, Insidious, Furious 7) is directing DCEU’s third solo film. The cast also features Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lungren, and Willem Dafoe.

Which movies are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Netflix’s Ghoul: guilt, tyranny and the monsters among men

Quietly released on 24th August, Ghoul is a sharply directed, enigmatically paced political allegory of a TV show, with a dash of supernatural spices thrown in for good measure.

The little ads and marketing you may have seen for the miniseries suggests the reverse is true, as does the director himself. “Dystopian future is something I’ve always enjoyed seeing in fiction,” Patrick Graham said, explaining how the idea of Ghoul came to be. “So we thought it would be a nice backdrop to this oppressive, claustrophobic story to have this fascist state behind it all. But really the main bulk of the story came first, and the atmosphere we wanted to create came after.”

The evil that men do

Ghoul unfolds in a dystopian India, suffering from sectarian conflicts and fascist state policies. Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) chooses the state over her own minority roots and hands over her dissenting father to the state for reconditioning camps. Sometime later, she is assigned to Meghdoot 31, a remote interrogation facility to draw a confession out of Ali Saeed, a feared terrorist. Amidst tensions within and between the military staff and the prisoners, it soon becomes clear that there are other, far more sinister forces in play.

The allegory, while daring and thought provoking, is anything but subtle. The persecuted minority, which includes intellectuals and priests, all bear Muslim names. Graham, however, does a great job in creating an oppressive, paranoid atmosphere. The limited number of locations also helped heighten the intensity. Originally intended to be a film, the three-part acts were shot on location over one month, for fourteen hours a day, in a smelly, ‘damp setting with no sunlight’.

Produced through a unique collaboration between Ivanhoe, Blumhouse and Phantom Productions, it also features some serendipity in the form of the lead actress, Radhika Apte. This is her third Netflix feature in 2018, following Lust Stories and Sacred Games. “I’m very excited,” Apte commented on the coincidence. “I’m loving the attention, but it wasn’t by design.”

What turns good men cruel

Sacred Games and Ghoul are different affairs, and rightfully so. While the former is a big budget blockbuster production, this is a more intimate story that succeeds more due to the competent cast and tight storytelling. Apte does a fine job as the morally conflicted daughter who comes to see both herself and the state in a new light as the story progresses.

Manav Kaul plays Colonel Sunil Dacunha, the decorated war hero in charge of Meghdoot 31. It’s a more introspective role compared to Apte’s Rahim. Dacunha has long surrendered his conscience to the orders of the state. His guilt, however, remains submerged and potent. It’s this guilt, as well as the guilt of the rest of Meghdoot’s staff, that becomes fertile ground for the forces of chaos and terror to play with in the series’ third act, along with ideas of sedition and mutiny being played out both within the prisoners and the facility staff.

Demons in disguise

The supernatural aspects of the series, while novel, are a little underdeveloped and easy to counteract. Graham uses elements from Arabic folklore to great effect, but the horror of the story draws more from the Orwellian aspects of the setting. Graham was also conscious about limiting the use of jump scares. “Anybody can have a cat jump in through the window or have a bird hit a window pane. Jump scares are not the most challenging aspect of making horror.”

The main antagonist turns the table on the military staff, preying on insecurities and flaws such as collateral damage and broken marriages before eating their flesh to steal their identities. “I am nothing like them, Ahmed, and nor do I want to be,” is a key line that says volumes about Ghoul’s views on who the true monsters are. This is underscored to great dramatic effect in the film’s climax, with a line that reminded me, oddly enough, of Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.

As a limited series, Ghoul also reminds me of The Thing, Alien and Pitch Black, as well as survival horror games such as Dead Space and F.E.A.R. The political elements borrow liberally from classics such as Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and A Clockwork Orange.

The Verdict

While it’s a good horror production, one can’t help but feel it could have benefited from a longer narrative that allowed more room for both the political and supernatural elements to breathe. Thankfully, the ending leaves room for a Season Two. “Yeah, anybody who watches it can very much realize that isn’t the end of the story,” Graham acquiesced when pressed on the series’ future.

Whatever lies in the future for Ghoul, Radhika Apte is optimistic about the future of Indian content on Netflix. “Sacred Games’ success has really made everybody believe that this is one of the biggest and best things that could happen right now.”

Originally published on Medium and UpThrust on August 26, 2018.

E3 2018 preview: predictions and rumors

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), the biggest show on the gaming calendar, is right around the corner. This month, as they now do every June, the best and brightest talents in the industry will descend on a heat-baked Los Angeles to showcase their digital wares to the world. While the numerous leaks and plausible rumors have dimmed the element of surprise to an extent, the E3 hype train continues like a juggernaut nonetheless.

Conference schedule:

While the official E3 show will run from June 12 to June 14, the conferences start from June 9.

EA                        Sunday, 10 June 12:00 AM
Microsoft            Monday, 11 June 02:00 AM
Bethesda             Monday, 11 June 07:30 AM
Square Enix        Monday, 11 June 11:00 PM
Ubisoft                 Tuesday, 12 June 02:00 AM
PC Show              Tuesday, 12 June 04:00 AM
Sony                     Tuesday, 12 June 07:00 AM
Nintendo             Tuesday, 12 June 10:00 PM


While Sony is surely hard at work on the next generation Playstaion console, it is a safe bet we won’t be hearing anything major on the hardware front this year. Sony head Shawn Layden has also confirmed that the presentation will focus on four main Sony exclusives: Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man and The Last of Us Part 2. Fans can expect deep dives, development updates and new trailer for all of these titles as well as announcements from third-party publishers and indie developers.

Sony is currently at the top of their game in churning out top-tier exclusives. Therefore, all eyes are on the next batch of their offerings as they gear up for this year’s E3. It seems Capcom may reveal a new Devil May Cry as well and what better place to do that other than Sony’s stage. Last year at PSX, From Software turned heads with their Shadows Die Twice teaser. Fans are eagerly expecting the game to be the sequel to the developers’ revered Bloodborne, or their long dormant Tenchu franchise. Whatever the case may be, it is expected to make an appearance in this E3.


Microsoft has a lot to prove this year. While they are adept at offering consumer-friendly services like Backwards Compatibility and Game Pass, their first party stable is failing to effectively compete with Sony’s diverse offerings. It seems Microsoft knows this too as they have boosted their efforts to strengthen their first party catalogue. The amazingly talented Playground Games are set to reveal the next game in the Forza Horizon series, but that is not the full picture. Rumor has it that Microsoft has assigned Playground to make the next Fable game as well. While it is still in early stages, a teaser this year on E3 might serve Microsoft well to get their message of commitment to diversify.

Announcements of new entries in the Gears of War and Halo franchises are also expected. This might be the year Microsoft bites the Battle Royale bullet and introduce a Halo Battle Royale game, but it is all up for speculation. Some third party surprise announcements are surely on the way too. Rocksteady’s rumored Superman game, Gearbox’s Borderlands 3 might turn up on the Microsoft stage pushing the extra horsepower of the Xbox One X.


Nintendo has had a killer 2017, due to two of the most critically acclaimed games in the Mario and Zelda franchises. To keep the momentum going, they are releasing a new Smash Bros. game this year. Built from the ground up for Switch, this one will embrace the eSports scene that’s formed about Brawl and Melee over the years. Kirby and Yoshi are also set to get new adventures in 2018, so I am fully expecting Nintendo to showcase gameplay from both. Last year’s Metroid Prime 4 reveal was a pleasant surprise for many fans, but more surprising would be the fact that Retro Studios is not making it. So while a Metroid gameplay trailer is expected, many including me are also eagerly anticipating Retro’s new game reeveal as well. Exciting times, indeed. I also imagine there’s a chance Nintendo will announce some new kits for its upcoming Nintendo Labo accessory which is now available worldwide.


The last year has been tumultuous for EA, to say the least. From Mass Effect Andromeda’s disastrous launch to the Battlefront 2 micro-transaction fiasco, EA is in desperate need of some goodwill. For sports games this year, it is the usual. Fans will get the chance to see and play the latest EA Sports titles such as Madden 19, FIFA 19, NHL 19 and NBA Live 19. The recently revealed Battlefield V will have a large presence as well, especially the multiplayer. Titanfall Developer Respawn is currently working on a Star Wars game which could see a reveal on the EA stage. But the star of show will definitely be Anthem, Bioware’s latest project. A seeming mashup of Lost Planet, Dark Void and Destiny- I am really intrigued to see more gameplay and a deeper dive of the game.


Outside of more details on the now-confirmed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and The Division 2, I am fully expecting Ubisoft to roll out the only other remaining Tom Clancy franchise worth its salt: Splinter Cell. The fact that Michael Ironside came back to voice Sam Fisher as a cameo in Ghost Recon: Wildlands might be a sign of a full-fledged post-MGSV Splinter Cell.

Ubisoft blew everyone’s mind last year with an amazing Beyond Good & Evil 2 trailer. A gameplay trailer this year is not farfetched. Whatever the conference ends up being, you can be comfortably sure there will be a dance number during the Just Dance 2019 reveal.


With the recent announcement of Fallout 76, and not much information beyond reported leaks that the game won’t be a traditional Fallout game, I think we can definitely expect to hear more about it at E3. Last month Bethesda released a Rage 2 announcement trailer. Being jointly developed by id Software and Avalanche Studios, a gameplay trailer was released the day after the announcement. So far we have a release window of 2019, which we can hope Bethesda will narrow down during their conference. A Prey DLC is probably going to make an appearance as well. There are also a number of Elder Scrolls games Bethesda could make announcements about on stage this Sunday, namely The Elder Scrolls: Legends, The Elder Scrolls Online and hell, maybe even an Elder Scrolls VI teaser. I am of course most excited about a possible Doom 2 reveal. The original one from 2016 was a blasting success, and I hope the sequel is bigger, better and just a plain old hellish ride.

Square Enix

I’ll kick things off with the most sure thing of the bunch: Kingdom Hearts III. We should finally get a chance to see when we can get our hands on the hotly-anticipated title during this conference, which until recently had a vague window of 2018. Another guaranteed showing, Shadow of the Tomb Raider also had a recent announcement event. A gameplay trailer is definitely on the cards as the game releases this September. Final Fantasy DLC is expected to make an appearance too along with more Dragon Quest XI information. Square Enix may also give us a look of Final Fantasy VII remake gameplay. Revealed in 2015 with thunderous fanfare, it might be time for us again to salivate in anticipation for this one. The most interesting prospect for Square’s presentation may be a gameplay trailer for the already announced Avengers game. Right off the hype train of Infinity War, I am ready to dive in the Avengers hole once more. I mean, who isn’t?

So what are you guys hoping for this year on E3? Share this article and get the conversation going!

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.

5 pop-culture fan theories that actually came true

When it comes to entertainment, movies and TV shows take the forefront in our minds. An epic two hour long journey or a 24 minute one that tells a convincing and engaging story, or a long running episodic saga that goes from one narrative to a completely different one over the span of its years of runtime – these stories often leave a lasting impression in our minds long after they’re over. They nudge our thought process for interpreting the meaning of the main narrative presented to us on screen, and the subtler hints left at the inconspicuous corners of the picture. To some people, the more thought provoking a story, the better it is. The thoughts that creep into our minds as we think about what just unfolded in front of our eyes, give birth to deeper convictions which we like to term “Fan Theories”. Interpretations of small but significant pieces of storytelling left for the imagination of the beholder. These theories lie somewhere between extensively hopeful and absolutely nuts and are rarely accepted as the truth. But sometimes, the makers of the story in question come forward and confirm some of the theories which leaves us all screaming “I told you so!” These are a few of the fan theories that actually came true.

  1. R+L = J

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first. If at some point over the past 7 years you have dwelled anywhere other than under a giant rock, you have heard of Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novels come to life on our television screens has become one of the most endearingly brilliant TV shows today. With its habit of killing off pivotal characters and completely unsuspected twists, Game of Thrones has given birth to many a fan theory over its long runtime. Perhaps none among them were as prominent as this one. This theory claims series protagonist Jon Snow, the apparent bastard child of another series favorite Eddard Stark, is actually the son of the Last Dragon of the Targaryen dynasty, Rhaegar Targaryen and Eddard’s own sister, Lyanna Stark who was told to be kidnapped by the former and held against her will. This was hinted at on the last episode of season 6 titled “The Winds of Winter”, and then confirmed in a big way on season 7. It was revealed that Rhaegar and Lyanna were in fact married which would make Jon their legitimate child, who was named Aegon Targaryen. This makes Jon not only both a Targaryen and Stark, but the most legitimate claimant to the Iron Throne.

  1. Rick Deckard is a Replicant

Now this is an old one, but a good one. For the record, in Philip K. Dick’s original novel “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” protagonist Robot hunter Rick Deckard is most definitely human. He passes the Voigt-Kampff test and has a wife. However, the same is not true for the film version. The original theatrical release was ambiguous about Deckard being human. But director Ridley Scott has stated several times that he pictures Deckard as being a replicant, which was reinforced by the director’s cut and the 2007 final cut of the movie, where a sequence involving an origami unicorn strongly implies that Deckard is indeed a replicant. The New Movie in the series, Blade Runner 2049 has some parts which suggest that Deckard is a replicant and some parts which suggest the contrary. For one, Deckard has aged, but that doesn’t mean he’s human as the Replicant Leader Freysa had aged as well, which implies replicants do age.  Also, why would a random human be a part of a replicant reproduction plan, a random human Blade Runner who could go rogue at any time? It has been made quite clear by former director Ridley Scott and later enforced by the sequel that replicants are very much like humans in that they age and reproduce, and that Deckard is most definitely a replicant.

  1. Dumbledore is a representation of Death from the Deathly Hallows

Now we all know about Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. Like come on everyone at least at some point of their lives must have seen the Harry Potter films maybe not have read the books. Regardless let me state the story of Deathly Hallows once more. So, it goes something like this “Once there were three brothers who cheated death by making a bridge to cross a treacherous river, halfway across the river they were greeted by death and death gave them three gifts of their own choosing which were the Elder wand, the Sorcerer’s stone, and the Invisibility Cloak. Later  Death takes the three brothers gradually”. Now imagine Dumbledore as Death who gave Potter the invisibility cloak, Snape getting the wand by killing Dumbledore and he also gave potter the sorcerer’s stone too. It can also be considered Snape, Voldemort and Potter being three brothers from the tale who in turn had the deathly hallows at some point. After Potters death he greets Dumbledore who is shown to have possessions of all the hallows. But the main reason why this theory is brought up is because according to one tweet by J.K. Rowling this is one theory that she likes the most and this fits.

  1. The term “Doctor” originally came from Doctor Who himself

In the early 90’s during the larval stage of the internet, fans suggested that the term “Doctor” could originally come from a version of the time travelling protagonist himself. Meaning, that perhaps humanity had met a Doctor in the past and being impressed by his abilities, subsequently named the healers of human society “Doctor”, after the titular character himself. This was later confirmed in 2011 , the 7th episode of the 6th season, “A good man goes to war”, where it is revealed that the term “Doctor” was indeed inspired by Doctor Who himself.

  1. Logan: Wolverine’s Death

The ending of “Logan”, the third film in the Wolverine film trilogy starring Hugh Jackman as the titular character, left many a fan in tears, as we said goodbye to Wolverine in an emotional scene. However, the exact circumstances of this death had been foreshadowed in the previous movie of the trilogy, according to this fan theory. In 2013’s the Wolverine, the Mutant Ninja Assassin Yukio, who has a precognitive death sense, which means she can see the exact circumstances of a person’s death in advance, tells Logan how she believes he will die. “I see you on your back, there’s blood everywhere…and you’re holding your heart in your hand.” This is confirmed on screen as in the ending to “Logan”, Logan is on his back covered in blood, but he doesn’t have his heart in his hand. What he does is the hand of his genetically engineered clone daughter Laura Kinney, which is actually as touching and emotional as a homage can get.

20 years of Cowboy Bebop (and four classic anime you HAVE to watch)

The real folk blues
Honto no kanashimi ga shiritaidake
Doro no kawa ni sukatta jinsei mo warukuwanai
Ichido kiri de owarunara

No, I’m not crazy. Not yet anyway. Why this song all of a sudden?  4th April marks the 20th anniversary of the all-time classic anime Cowboy Bebop being aired. If you like anime even the slightest then you have most definitely heard of Cowboy Bebop.

Written by Yutaka Nanten and Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop tells the story of Spike Spiegel, a 27 year old bounty hunter from Mars, Jet Black, the father figure of the whole crew who used to be a cop for the ISSP (Intra Solar System Police), Jet, who lost his arm after being betrayed by his partner, ED aka Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivursky, a 13 year old hacker, and  Feye Valentine, a 23 year old that in reality is a 77 year old. They all go around in a spaceship called Bebop and call themselves Cowboy, hence the name Cowboy Bebop.

Now who wouldn’t like a bunch of space bounty hunters going on adventures risking their lives for money, with twisted background and jazz? Lots and lots of jazz. Being an anime from 90s, this was surely way ahead of its time. Within 26 episodes you’ll laugh, cry, get angry, cry a lot maybe fall into depression for a week or so. I mean I did. No simple anime can make a person go through all of these emotions in this short an amount of time.

In appreciation of this cult classic, let’s take a look at some more masterpieces of Japanese anime from the 90s.

GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka)

GTO to me is the epitome of comedy. This 43 episode long anime will make your jaws hurt for weeks from laughing. GTO tells us the story of Ekichi Onizuka, a bosozoku (biker gang) leader who wants to become the world’s greatest teacher and meet sexy high school girls *insert awkward emoji*. During this high school escapade of his, he ends up giving some serious life advice to the audience. This anime sends a strong message of how difficult life can be yet those difficulties can be overcome. That too in the most comedic way possible.


Neon Genesis Evangelion

Seriously, what the heck is this anime? Sex, alcohol, teenage depression, depravity, giant robots, twisted concepts, biblical events. This anime mostly revolves around a depressed, low self esteem teenage boy named Shinji Ikari who is forced to pilot a giant robot by his ignorant father to fight angels. The referencing element of this anime is beyond words, each and every episode is dark and twisted. There is nothing light about it. Neon Genesis Evangelion also has 3 movies that gives us more in-depth knowledge of the anime and these are not to be skipped.

Ghost in the Shell

GITS is that anime every kid has at least heard of. GITS is a story set in a post-cyberpunk timeline where Major Makoto Kusanagi is a cyborg, and the first of her kind. She leads a police task force which fights cyber criminals, political unrest and corruption. The anime portrays the philosophical connotations behind cyborgs and hackers, as well as deep questions about the role technology plays in the daily lives of the characters. The philosophical undercurrents run so deep it inspired the Wachowski brothers to make the Matrix. GITS is a bit long, with 5 films and 3 animated series. This is yet another anime way ahead of its time.

Initial D

If you love Japan and JDM cars racing each other on the mountain sides then you’ll love this one. The story is about a teenage driver named Takumi Fujiwara, who learns how to drive like a professional racer while driving up and down Mount Akagi every night, delivering tofu for his father in a Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno. The car became so iconic it drove up prices of the heaps of junk in real life and inspired an entire generation of car enthusiasts to try doing handbrake turns. It also got a lot of kids into watching other anime that were not about cars or racing.


What did we miss? Think a particular anime should have been included in this list? Let us know!

TV shows to look forward to in 2018

2017 gifted us a wonderful year of movie and TV, but trust me when I say things are only going to get better. As TV series like Taboo and Making a Murderer make a return in 2018 with brand-new seasons, some interesting new TV shows are debuting in 2018 as well.

Castle Rock

Stephen King is an incredible writer, and recent years have seen quite a lot of adaptions of his famous works, such as IT and The Dark Tower. Castle Rock is another one of Stephen King’s work which is getting adapted into a TV series in 2018, and will star the actor behind the role of Pennywise the Clown from IT, Bill Skarsgård.

The Dark Tower

Another one of Stephen King’s brilliant work got adapted into a movie, which is The Dark Tower. Although it opened with lukewarm reception from critics, Sony Pictures Television is still moving forward with the TV series which will follow his novel, “Wizard and Glass”.


The awesome Jonah Hill and the mesmerizing Emma Stone are set to star in Maniac, which itself is a remake of a 2014 Norwegian TV series. Revolving around the fantasy world of two psychiatric hospital patients, it is certainly set to being one of the unique TV series to look forward to in 2018.


Judge Dredd : Mega City One

Fans of the 2000 A.D. comic series will be pleased as the stylistic world of Judge Dredd makes another return in Netflix, starring the protagonist from the Dredd 3D movie, Karl Urban.


Based on the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige” which saw a movie adaption in 2013, Snowpiercer stars Jennifer Connelly and is set to release in 2018.

On My Block

On My Block is a coming of age comedy about four teenagers in high school, living their life in the city of South Los Angeles. The show features the perils of high school and also the hardships kids face while growing up in a gritty neighborhood. The show features a diverse cast and talented actors from Teen Wolf and The Get Down.


Granted, works in DC Extended Universe aren’t quite critically acclaimed, Krypton is a fresh new work set on the Universe, seeing the struggle of Superman’s grandfather on his native planet, Krypton. Set to debut in Syfy, this one is sure to be an interesting watch.

The Alienist

Starring the brilliant Daniel Brühl from Rush (2013) and Luke Evans from the Fast and the Furious film series, The Alienist debuts in 2018 as Evans plays crime reporter John Moore,  who is meeting with Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, to investigate a serial killer in the 19th century.

The Runaways

If one ever wondered how a Marvel TV series catered to teenagers would look like, it would look like The Runaways. Runaways follows a group of six high schoolers who discover their parents are members of an evil mastermind group known as “The Pride”.


The latest streaming service in Bangladesh – iFlix

Bangladesh is a land of pirates – with little or no regulation of pirated content online, a huge majority of the nation get their daily dose of entertainment through shoddy streaming sites and sketchy torrent downloads. It may not cost anything but faced with the prospect of contracting a nasty virus or being burdened with a Bitcoin miner, any logical purveyor of TV shows and movies would choose a streaming service for their entertainment needs, especially if it costs as little as 300 Taka a month. But who would bear the torch and save us from the dastardly pirates of the internet? Why not turn to the latest streaming service in Bangladesh – iFlix?

We caught up with Imrul Karim, Country Manager at iFix Bangladesh and asked him how the digital pirates could be stopped.

Imrul Karim, Shunno - Hifi Public
Country Manager of iFlix Bangladesh by day, rockstar by night – Imrul Karim is the lead vocalist of Shunno, one of the most popular alt-rock bands in Bangladesh.

iFlix – when and how did it start?

Established in 2014, iFlix was founded by Patrick Grove, CEO of Catcha Group, Mark Britt and Evolution Media Capital. We first started in Philippines on April 2015 and expanded our operations in various regions from there. Bangladesh was the latest country for us to have expanded in. Currently iFlix operates in three major regions. We’re in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. We plan to expand further into emerging third world countries.

iFlix Bangladesh launch - Hifi Public
iFlix Bangladesh team and guests at the official launch event. Photo courtesy – iFlix Bangladesh.

How do you think this international service is performing in Bangladesh?

Within the first two months, Bangladesh has shown great potential.

We decided to expand into Bangladesh because of the median age of the massive population being quite young. Having a lot of people adopting to technology with a developing industry for entertainment, Bangladesh is quite an exciting market.

What are the exclusive services that separates iFlix from other local content streamers?

Apart from the excellent user interface, our software adapts according to the device type and connection speed between the user and the server, providing a smoother experience for streaming content, with qualities ranging from HD to SD. Secondly, our partnerships with many studios worldwide give us the chance to provide content from different segments, which are constantly getting updated as well.And since we operate in different regions, we also have content from those regions. We grab the big hits from those countries and bring them to an international platform. For example, in Bangladesh, Doob: A Bed of Roses premiered in 15 countries. The movie might not have been an international release, but thanks to iFlix, people from different regions can stream Bangladeshi content. They can watch the film with the subtitles of their own languages. Similarly, there are a lot of content from other regions as well, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea.

Currently iFlix operates in three major regions. We’re in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. We plan to expand further into emerging third world countries.

Which brings us to our next strength in this market, we are subtitling all of our content in Bengali. We took this step in order to remove the language barrier that people here usually face when streaming foreign content. Similarly, other regions also have corresponding subtitles according to their region. Our dedicated team and agencies are continuously subtitling our contents as it releases. And the response to this is great as well. From customer service points, we get requests of subtitles for a specific movie or a TV series.

“We are subtitling all of our content in Bengali. We took this step in order to remove the language barrier that people here usually face when streaming foreign content.”

We also plan to make original content under the banner of iFlix, something we’re calling iFlix Originals. We’re aiming to invest in the local film and TV industry for sure.

iFlix Bangladesh launch - Hifi Public

Piracy is a major problem in Bangladesh’s context. How does iFlix aim to resolve this issue?

Apart from working together with parties to resolve issues according to our policy guidelines and the intellectual rights, we noticed that in different markets, people spend around 2-3$ on pirated content, for a movie.

For this cost, we give our subscribers an enormous library of content. This strategy works in emerging markets where piracy is a big problem, at least in our experience. Since it’s a much easier, accessible and legal option, we are seeing great response to this. On top of this, we’ve launched partnerships with Robi and Airtel in Bangladesh. Users from these mobile networks can use iFlix for three months without any expense.

Other users have the chance to subscribe to iFlix as well, with a monthly subscription fee of 300 Taka, after the finishing the first month’s trial subscription.

After two months in Bangladesh, what sort of content is the Bangladeshi population more interested in, in your opinion?

It’s a mixed bag. There are people who really liked Doob, then we received a lot of response from the sports department when we launched T10 live. We are also getting great response from US TV shows and have people watching Anime and Korean drama as well. We think that Bangladesh is filled with audiences who are eager to stream a wide spectrum of contents.

Do you have any sort of target demographic whom you’re targeting for pushing iFlix?

There isn’t any sort of specific targeting, but we have some campaigns at certain events. When we launch new contents, we create a dedicated section and push that genre for maximum exposure. But the overall product is for everyone as it supplies a wide variety of content at the palm of your hand.

Where do you see iFlix in the next five years?

“The vision for iFlix is to become the top player in the emerging markets. As it has already launched in 25 countries, it has grown to a great extent.”

With Bangladesh being the latest country to have expanded our operations in, we are looking forward to excel in this market. But we don’t mind competitions. The more the merrier. As more services pop up, the market will be acknowledge and more people will come to know about the convenience of our services. We believe that if we do things right and understand our subscribers’ demands, we think we can get the results we target.

Rian Johnson was perfect for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The following article was written before the global premier of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and we decided to keep it up because it proves a significant point – that our predictive powers are other-worldly. Forget what the “fans” say, it was a thoroughly entertaining affair and that was the whole point of the movie. – Editor in Chief.

Let me begin by being completely honest here: Lucasfilm is spoiling us. We went from having no Star Wars movies for fifteen years, then a trilogy of overstuffed, misappropriated, and darn near irredeemable prequels, then another decade of zilch, to there being at least one Star Wars movie released every year starting with 2015’s The Force Awakens and seemingly no end in sight.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this franchise. I think George Lucas achieved something truly special with the original trilogy. Which is why I am so troubled by this new status quo knowing that every year will bring with it either a new entry into the main episodic saga (i.e. Episodes I to ?), or an anthology film (i.e. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story), it’s an unfamiliar and quite frankly an unsettling sensation.

Star Wars Force Awakens - HIFI Public
A poster that spawned a thousand fan theories. Oh no, Rey is holding her stick thing at the same angle as Kylo Ren?! And she’s bathed in a red glow. She MUST be evil. Also, fighting stance – exactly like Darth Sidious. HAS to be Palpatine’s daughter! Image: The Walt Disney Pictures

When J.J. Abrams was announced as the director of The Force Awakens, I was equally ambivalent. On one hand, Abrams is an excellent character writer with an unparalleled eye for casting, and has experience tooling pilots for new franchises than most in Hollywood (just take one look at his IMDb credits). It made sense, Disney hiring Abrams to helm a movie meant to resurrect a beloved space opera franchise that had failed its fans in the past. He had done it before with 2009’s Star Trek reboot. They required his expertise in crafting new characters that equally be as lovable as the originals’. And judging by the overwhelmingly positive response Force Awakens received from the world  on Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, BB-8, and even Kylo Ren and his cross-guarded lightsaber, we can conclude that J.J. has done the job he was hired to do (not to mention the $2 billion the movie raked in at the box office).

On the other hand, Abrams lacks a basic story sense that  holds back  most of his directorial credits from  creating a lasting impact on the audience. The Force Awakens was no exception to this. Sequences in the movie were slapped together with a great sense of momentum masked in familiarity, simply shuffling characters along to the next scene, a trick Abrams  uses in order to hide the fact that there is no actual through line to his film’s story. One sequence stands out to me as particularly jarring:

As Rey and Finn are fleeing from First Order forces on Jakku, and the Millennium Falcon just happens to be sitting among a pile of garbage. Okay, fine. The most iconic vehicle in the entire franchise dropped in their laps as part of a run-on joke with no story significance whatsoever? I’ll accept it. So then, Rey and Finn commandeer the Falcon and escape Jakku, only to be captured immediately by none other than Han Solo and Chewbacca…

Star Wars Force Awakens - HIFI Public
“I know we’re running away and all, but look! 20% off on Disney merchandise. Can’t we stop for a bit?” Image: The Walt Disney Pictures

What? There has been no precedent set in the story thus far for such a monumental return. Is the galaxy really that small? Have Han and Chewie done nothing but search for the Falcon for 30 years? How did they find it so soon after Rey and Finn (vanguards of the new films) steal it? Such questions are played off with throwaway lines (and growls) from Han (and Chewie).  The scene felt exploitative of the fans waiting for a meaningful return of these ironic elements of the original film. Abrams capitalized on the yearning we all knew the audience had for the return of the original characters in order to expedite his story and deliver a film that is quickly but surely realized to be a beat for beat reread of the original Star Wars from 1977 (as A New Hope was first called upon theatrical release). Things just happen inexplicably in his films with little to no application of cause and effect, a basic tenet of storytelling in any medium. But it’s all good for Disney and Abrams, because the new characters are now beloved and perfectly capable of carrying the franchise forward and making some more billions. Star Wars is now a safe bet for Hollywood once more.

Star Wars original poster - HIFI Public
Mark Hamill wishes he had abs like that. Image: The Walt Disney Pictures

But is that all the Star Wars legacy is supposed to be? A box office footnote? In 1977, the original Star Wars was a groundbreaking sci-fi fantasy masterpiece precisely because George Lucas chose to approach making the film from entirely outside Hollywood’s conventions. It was unlike anything that came before it, innovative enough to change what was possible in theaters forever. It came with a galaxy that felt  familiar, and was rich with  lore. Most of all, the original trilogy contained well written and remarkably directed stories that felt relatable and mature while being about space samurais that can move things with their mind if they focus real hard. And I think this is all part of what makes this franchise so captivating and fruitful. It is the reason why we are still talking about it and Disney is spending billions after it in the age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Disney continues to make safe bets without giving innovative filmmaking a second thought, there is no way they can remain relevant.

George Lucas, Star Wars set - HIFI Public
“I’m an old man, George. Couldn’t we have gotten set chairs with better padding?” “Shh Alec…you’re supposed to be a Jedi master. They don’t complain about backaches.” Image: The Walt Disney Pictures

Well, lucky for us next up is The Last Jedi, written and directed by indie darling Rian Johnson. Johnson is the mind behind great films such as Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper. And every single one of his movies are cinematic wonders. If you haven’t seen it yet, Brick is a highly stylized neo-noir that takes place in and around a high school. It’s played vehemently straight as the characters fire off rapid, tongue-biting dialogue at each other with reckless abandon. They take turns evoking cool, sultry, menace, all the hallmarks of real noir without ever touching a shred of irony. And it actually works. Brick is a genius idea that sees itself prime into one of the best debut feature films ever made because of Rian Johnson’s thirst for taking the familiar in cinema and flipping it on its head to amplify those same ideas. And  by doing so he creates something truly new.

So, now that we’ve established that Johnson is more than willing and capable of going the extra mile for his stories, let us consider what he might do in the genre sandbox of sci-fi fantasy. Oh hey! It seems his last feature effort, Looper, is an original sci-fi story set in the future  involving time traveling hitmen who are all forced to kill their future selves as their final victim in an attempt to protect the syndicate that employs them. Oh, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young Bruce Willis.  Might sound like the most cliché action film ever, but the film’s high concept themes are all grounded in just about the most human story imaginable: that of a mother protecting her son ,a powerful telekinetic prodigy. I’d rather not spoil any further but it is needless to say the movie is powerful and vulnerable at the same time, amplifying each side of the story using the other. Looper sees its sci-fi concepts all the way through in every aspect of its cinematic execution, from its electric cinematography to its grandiose projection of a desolate but fantastical future world, to give us another enthralling Rian Johnson original.

Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Last Jedi - HIFI Public
“I want you to stop missing your targets. Stop missing your targets. Seriously. How did the Empire ever conquer anything at all with hundreds of thousands of you if you’re this bad at shooting things?” Image: The Walt Disney Pictures

All of which makes him precisely the storyteller Star Wars needs right now. Even from what we have seen of the film from the unyielding teasers so far, The Last Jedi looks immediately more visually striking than Force , the story feels fresh and more urgent, and Luke Skywalker’s disavowal of the Jedi Order is an angle that looks increasingly like the upending of our very comprehension of the Star Wars universe that it didn’t even know was missing. After J.J. Abrams’ cursory attempt at filling out the storied sci-fi world of Star Wars, Rian Johnson’s eye for detail and world-building, mastery over cinematic storytelling, and undeniable alacrity to create something new from something old is the trifecta that might just make The Last Jedi one of the most fulfilling Star Wars films ever made.