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GEEK OUT! Ultron’s Massive $188M Debut Falls Short of Avengers Record – Box Office Mojo

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May 042015
 

According to Box Office Mojo, “Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend with a huge $187.7 million, which is the second-biggest debut ever. Unfortunately, the top opening ever belongs to its predecessor, Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million)” which is a great start, of course, and continues to augur well for the future of the MCU.

The site also noted that “the Avengers sequel also continues to do strong business overseas, where it’s earned $439 million before even debuting in China or Japan”. Which hopefully means that the movie will go on to outgross Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Source: Weekend Report: ‘Ultron’s Massive $188M Debut Falls Short of ‘Avengers’ Record – Box Office Mojo

May 012015
 

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If you have read my spoiler-free review, you would be aware that I loved Avengers: Age of Ultron and consider it by far the best superhero movie ever so far. However, based on numerous online comments, it has become de rigueur to label the movie as a disappointing sequel to the first movie, with the common criticism being that the movie has too much going on. My first reaction to this is — have these people ever read an actual superhero comic book before? Probably not. In that regard, I believe that director Joss Whedon made Avengers: Age of Ultron for us geeks and for that I am certainly grateful!

— SPOILERS ALERT —

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GEEK OUT! Superman vs. Batman? DC’s Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe – Hollywood Reporter

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Apr 302015
 

Warner Bros. is employing a different strategy than Marvel as it hires five writers for ‘Wonder Woman,’ has no clear leader and deals with new frustrations in its struggles to craft a compelling 10-movie world.

Source: Superman vs. Batman? DC’s Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe – Hollywood Reporter

What the hell is Warners up to? They need to back off and let the editors at DC Comics determine the creative path of the DC Universe. If not, Warners and DC are headed for financial disaster.

Apr 282015
 

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Let’s get real, shall we?

When it comes to stories presented in words and visuals, the visual aspect will always trump the word aspect. That is why movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Furious 7 are able to do well at the box office despite not having very good stories. This also applies in comic books, which is – like film – a graphic medium and very much dependent on the visual quality for its appeal and success.

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Of course, I am not saying that the writing does not matter in comic books but even the best work of my favourite comic book writer Alan Moore, was enhanced by the sterling work of his collaborators viz. Steve Bissette (Swamp Thing), John Totleben (Swamp Thing, Miracleman), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Kevin O’Neill (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) etc etc. Which made Moore’s Supreme much less than expectations due to the artwork of Rob Liefeld!

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Which is why ultimately I believe that Jack Kirby deserves more credit for the success of the Marvel Universe than Stan Lee. Moreover, Kirby had significant input in many of the classic Marvel Universe issues as plotter! It’s impossible to imagine a single modern-day Marvel film without the contribution of Jack Kirby and yet, only with Avengers: Age of Ultron, was Kirby credited as a co-creator, alongside Stan Lee. This was, of course, due to a recent settlement between Marvel and Kirby’s estate.

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However, to the layman movie goer and naive self-professed fan of the Marvel films, Stan Lee will always be thought of as the creator of the Marvel Universe, with each succeeding annoying cameo being shoved down everybody’s throat. But whilst Lee’s hokey self-aggrandisement continues to reveal the huckster that he has always been, the Kirby legacy can be seen by all – unwittingly – in every costume design and most importantly, every powerful fight scene!

Long live the King!

Apr 252015
 

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Why so serious?

The Joker in Suicide Squad makes no sense to me at all. Can you imagine the Joker as a team player? So for me, that whole concept is already somewhat of a non starter.

But of course, Warners wanted a character that would conceivably sell tickets (nobody else in the Suicide Squad has that profile – Captain Boomerang?) and thus the rationale becomes crystal clear.

Remember the last time, geeks kicked up a fuss (pre-movie) about the Joker? The late Heath Ledger gave the performance of his life, which earned him a posthumous Academy Award (f0r a superhero film, no less). Therefore, as much as the tattoos seem very un-Joker-like (“Damaged”? Really?), seeing is believing and let’s watch the Suicide Squad before going ballistic.

I mean, it’s only a superhero comic book movie…

Apr 232015
 

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So much hyped up expectation for this sequel to the billion dollar making Avengers movie but guess what? It makes good on every single expectation and more! Director Joss Whedon fills up its 2-hour plus duration with so much comic book goodness that this geek was gushing throughout.

And as good as the original Avengers was, Age of Ultron somehow trumps it in so many ways. For one thing, the group dynamic is handled so well. We can see little smaller groups forming up that suggest camaraderie, shared mistrust and even romance. This push and pull amongst the Avengers gives the story much depth and superhero realism.

The plot line of course, as has been revealed in all the trailers involves villainous robot Ultron cutting his puppet strings and threatening to destroy the world. But really folks, it is much more. This feels like a stronger movie than the original – and how often can we say that about sequels?

For the comic book fan, the movie is chock full of so many nods, winks and references that this geek was smiling like an idiot throughout its duration. For the casual movie goer, the action, the humour and the epic drama will have you coming back again and again. I sincerely hope that this movie will also break the billion dollar barrier so that more movies like this will be made!

A moment of satisfaction arrived during the main credits when Jack “The King” Kirby FINALLY gets his due as a co-creator of The Avengers. About fucking time. But those in the know would have felt the spirit of the late great Kirby running through the MCU from day one i.e. Iron Man. This time around, the battle sequence in the church was shot like the finest Kirbyesque fight scene – the power and the glory!!

Suffice to say, this movie is essential viewing and at least THREE times, at that!

Avengers: Age of Ultron is showing at the cinemas now. 

 

 

GEEK OUT! FANTASTIC FOUR OFFICIAL TRAILER

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Apr 212015
 

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Well well well. The most maligned superhero project of recent times has just delivered a very promising trailer. This Fantastic Four reboot generated quite a bit of hate for its casting, story ideas, quotes from director and cast etc but when one looks at this official trailer, one cannot deny that this has the potential to be a good superhero movie.

In fact, the trailer has a very MCU feel – from the humour to the realistic tone of the characterisation. It actually looks better than X-Men: Days of Future Past to me. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding ultimately and my main concern is how Dr. Doom will be portrayed but at this point, Fantastic Four is looking pretty good.

Fantastic Four will open in Singapore on 6th August. 

GEEK OUT! BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL TRAILER #1

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Apr 182015
 

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Warners have their work cut out to get ahead of Disney in the geek movie stakes. Man of Steel was the first salvo in its war effort. And it is certain that the reinvention of the DC universe in the movies is going to take quite a battering from Marvel fans, whilst it gets its act together.

The first proper look at what promises to be the beginning of a slew of Warners/DC movies – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer – demonstrates the uncompromising approach of director Zack Snyder and crew to a darker, grittier presentation of the DC characters.

Like in the Daredevil Netflix series, we are seeing the strong influence of Frank Miller’s 80s work (Dark Knight Returns) coming to bear on the DC universe. I am excited by the setup – that Superman is not accepted by the people of Earth (and after the events in Man of Steel, can you blame them?) and Batman has to confront Superman.

Of course, one cannot tell too much from a trailer but from what I have seen, this introduction to the Justice League looks very very promising.

In Snyder we trust!

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS TEASER TRAILER #2

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Apr 172015
 

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Yes the first teaser trailer was bewildering BUT this is the real deal right here.

With a Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil) VO, thrilling shots of the new Star Wars universe (30 years from Return of the Jedi) and the appearance of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca, it feels like …. coming home indeed.

Beginning to feel that this will be the film of the year!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in Singapore on 17th December. 

GEEK OUT! ANT-MAN TRAILER

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Apr 132015
 

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With the heightened anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man almost seems like an after-thought. After all, it does seem poorer in comparison and by all accounts appears to be a retread of the first Iron Man movie. But the first trailer does look very promising I must say, even if those accusations still hold true.

Also, Evangeline Lilly in her new short, pointy bob haircut looks appropriately like the Wasp, although I am pretty sure Hope Van Dyne never takes on that mantle in the movie. Effects look good and that entire sequence of Scott Lang running with the ants is awesome!

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Not quite sure what to make of the high level of zany humour evident in the trailer (see above) but Marvel Studio’s track record demands that a level of trust be given to Ant-Man. The trailer does fill one with a bit more confidence that Ant-Man will not turn out to be Marvel Studio’s first dud.

Ant-Man opens in Singapore on 16th July.

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! NEW PICTURES FROM UPCOMING SUPERHERO MOVIES

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Apr 102015
 

Vision

The Vision gets the spotlight in this Avengers: Age of Ultron poster.

Thing

Entertainment drops a cool shot of the Thing from the Fantastic Four reboot.

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First look at Yellowjacket from the Ant-Man movie.

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Ok so not a movie but this is how Daredevil‘s traditional red costume is presented in the Netflix series.

 

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! SUPERHERO TV WRAP

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Mar 192015
 

Time to consolidate reviews on the weekly superhero TV fare out there. 

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FLASH Season 1 Episode 15 (CW)

By all accounts, a pretty dark instalment in the Flash’s story so far. Things go wrong for quite a few of the supporting characters : for Cisco as he discovers Dr. Well’s secret and for Joe as the new Weather Wizard seeks revenge, though the Barry-Iris relationship takes a new twist and in attempting to save Central City from destruction, the Flash goes literally faster than time. A critical point in the narrative.

Continue reading »

GEEK OUT! AGENTS OF SHIELD – INHUMAN, A MUTANT BY ANY NAME

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Mar 052015
 

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After the shocking (literally!) events of the mid-season finale, the Agents of SHIELD have to re-group and figure out how to move forward in light of Tripp’s death. Even as Skye is stuck in quarantine, Raina has been transformed into a spiky Inhuman (although she seems more like a typical Marvel Comic Mutant – Damn you, Fox) and is struggling to adapt to her new body and abilities. We are also given more information about Gordon, the teleporting Inhuman who will probably end up as Raina’s mentor.

As for Coulson, he takes lethal action against HYDRA as revenge for Tripp’s demise and it is ruthlessly effective, to say the least. Mac and Bobbi seem to have a shared secret (Are they HYDRA agents? That would be boring!) whilst Fitz helps Skye to keep her own transformation a secret from their SHIELD team mates. Interesting set ups for the conflicts to come. I do hope that more tie-ups with the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be seen in the coming episodes.

GEEK OUT! REMEMBERING LEONARD NIMOY (1931 – 2015)

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Feb 282015
 

Nimoy

I grew up in the 60s and thus Star Trek was a massive influence on my love for science fiction and space opera. Leonard Nimoy in his role as Mr. Spock was instrumental in making Star Trek the iconic series it has become almost 50 years later. Nimoy passed away on 27th February at the age of 83. One of his final memorable roles was as Dr William Bell in Fringe, where even in his latter years, he was an imposing presence. He will never be forgotten.

Found this moving tribute at Youtube from The New York Times.

Live long and prosper, Mr Nimoy…

GEEK OUT! FANTASTIC FOUR REBOOT – EMPIRE PRESENTS FIRST PICTURES!

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Feb 262015
 

Well, it’s been slim pickings regarding the Fantastic Four reboot even after the release of the teaser trailer. But Empire has first pictures and here they are!

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It’s Reed Richards (Miles Teller) in some kind of astronaut suit with Tim Blake Nelson (who is playing the Mole Man) in the background.

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Susan Storm (Kate Mara) in a black outfit with bodies on the floor.

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GEEK OUT! THE WALKING DEAD – IN RICK WE TRUST

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Feb 252015
 

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Possibly one of the best Walking Dead episodes in recent memory and it was achieved without having to kill a major character! All it did was examine the question of trust in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. After having suffered at the hands of the Governor and the cannibals of Terminus, it’s easy to understand Rick’s reluctance to trust anybody. But what if someone comes along and tells Rick and group that there is a relative paradise waiting for them? Too good to be true? When does playing safe become dangerous? For Michonne, that time to trust a stranger like Aaron is now, and finally Rick has to decide whether he can do so and put his children potentially at risk.

It’s as simple as that but of course, it isn’t simple at all and the tension and drama flows from the audience asking the same question that Rick does – can we trust these people? Well, can we?

GEEK OUT! HELIX – SLOW DOWN WORLD I WANNA GET OFF!

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Feb 232015
 

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Definitely the most intense season 2 episode thus far as Amy ramps up her plans to get away from Brother Michael and the island. One cannot blame her considering the outrageous revelations made concerning the relationship between Brother Michael and herself. The most unlikely villainess but kudos to the writers for making it so. The CDC team is not in good shape either as the mistrust bred amongst them threatens to destroy them, even as Alan Farragate plays his role as agent provocateur to perfection.

On Julia’s side, the writers chose to tell her story not from the ’30 years later’ perspective but a background tale on what happened after Julia joined the Ilaria Corporation. Disorientating to say the least. Not sure why the writers decided to make that jump as it does not seem to add anything to the ‘present day’ narrative whatsoever. Am just wondering how long it will take for Brother Michael and/or the CDC team to figure out that Amy is behind everything.

GEEK OUT! THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE FILMS – LEGIT OR HYPE?

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Feb 212015
 

Marvel_Studios

10 films that have changed the face of the movie industry. 10 films that exist within an unprecedented shared universe. 10 films that have collectively grossed over US$7 billion worldwide. Yes, there’s no doubt that commercially, the MCU films have done fantastically well but what about creatively? Can the films stand up to critical scrutiny or is their popularity a product of marketing hype and nothing more? Let’s investigate.

IRON MAN (2008)

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You know the story. Grossing over $500 million worldwide, Iron Man was an unexpected mega-hit for Marvel Studios’ first venture, marking the comeback of Robert Downey Jr and making the movie industry sit up and take notice. The post-credits scene was used for the first time, to introduce the concept of the MCU to movie audiences as Nick Fury said the words “Avengers Initiative” as a promise of things to come. Putting aside the milestones, it’s worthy to remember that this Jon Favreau-helmed film was very well made with strong performances from Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terence Howard (James Rhodes). The age of Marvel (films) had begun. (9/10)

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GEEK OUT! AGENT CARTER – IT’S HEAVY IN HERE

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Feb 212015
 

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Things are looking grim for Peggy and the SSR. She has been captured and accused of high treason whilst Dr Ivchenko is free to work his manipulative hypnotism and instruct fellow Leviathan agent Dottie in his evil schemes. Jarvis tries his best to assist but ends up making things worse. Thompson and Souza have mixed emotions about Peggy as the evidence conflicts with their experience of Peggy himself. Chief Dooley has no such qualms and falls prey easily to Ivchenko’s machinations.

Slowly but surely, Thompson and Souza come to their senses and realize that Peggy is telling the truth but it is too late for poor Chief Dooley and pays the ultimate price for trusting Ivchenko. This episode also reveals what Ivchenko’s plans are and it is surprisingly similar to that of Richmond Valentine’s in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Great minds think alike? Or is there a paucity of ideas in the ‘genre’?

Either way, it sets up brilliantly for the final episode. Considering how long it took Agents of SHIELD not to suck, I say give Agent Carter more episodes!

GEEK OUT! ARROW – UP A HILL BACKWARDS

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Feb 202015
 

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Like Thea, viewers of Arrow might be getting a little exasperated at the little twists and turns the CW series needs to take, in order to tell its stories. The last few episodes have been tough on Oliver’s little sister as she has had to deal with an almighty info dump and this latest episode was probably the worst, when she discovered that she was responsible for Sara Lance’s murder. The episode was a bit of a stopgap, serving as an incredulous training lesson meted out by Malcolm Merlyn (why do the Queen siblings continue to trust him when he has proven time and again to be untrustworthy?) but at least brought back Wilson Slade/Deathstroke for more unnecessary violent fun.

In the flashback narrative, Oliver finds himself back in Starling five years ago with Maseo (who is one of the brighter cast additions) which leads to Oliver acquiring his fathers guilty list notebook (remember?). Naturally, the show could not resist throwing in familiar faces into this mix – 2010’s version Tommy, Laurel, John, Felicity, Thea and a drunk Det. Lance all featured in mostly character-revealing moments with the introduction of Lt. Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer!) at the conclusion spicing things up once again.

But in the present day, things need to move forward with the Ra’s Al Ghul plot line and soon. C’mon!

GEEK OUT! THE WALKING DEAD – THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

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Feb 182015
 

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After the traumatic episodes on both sides of the mid-season break, this episode caught up with our merry band of survivors to find them struggling with a crisis of faith. Season 5 has seen more death, more disaster, more peril than ever before. Inevitably, the question must be broached – what’s the point of going on? Why not just give up? For Maggie, Sasha and Daryl, it seems as if their will to live has gone, even as Beth and Tyreese have gone. The pain is difficult to take and it does not help that the group is exhausted running out of food and water as they make the long trek to Washington D.C.

Quite like episode 9, there is a lyrical, poetic quality to “Them” as the group’s grapples with their biggest challenge – not walkers and not evildoers but themselves. After all, if you cannot convince yourself to keep living, then the battle is already over. This is encapsulated by Rick when he says – “… we are the walking dead” even as the group shelters from the storm. However, moments later when the will to survive is given the ultimate test, the group collectively brave the storm and live to fight another day. Kudos to the writers for giving us yet another deep episode without compromising on zombie kills.

One of the best series on TV now. But you knew that.