Review: Recapturing the magic of the original/first film is often an arduous quest, even by Marvel standards. Let’s forget not about how Joss Whedon’s misery, in crafting Age of Ultron to follow up the groundbreaking Avengers assemble, could not live up to the expectation. Given that record, it’s not a big surprise that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 falls flat in its attempt to live up the virtuoso of Marvel’s biggest gamble; what’s surprising: it still makes an awesome fun-tertaining space bravura centering on galaxy’s most favorite dysfunctional ‘family.’
Element of surprise is what’s missed in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The Guardians – along with their closest relatives – aren’t unfamiliar faces anymore; same goes to Awesome Mix, the intergalactic vistas, and the typical jokes and banters they’re throwing. During their tenure in Guardians of the Galaxy, they’ve shared spotlight to finally form this band of misfits into a sort of universe protectors. Now, some must relegate into supporting roles and some must go upfront in not so typical disbanding-after-assembling sequel trope. Continue reading Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Review
Review: Danur, a book by singer, Risa Sarasvati (former Homogenic), about her psychic experience, is actually a sympathetic friendship tale about a girl and her ghost friends. I’ve listened to her album since 2010 and watched Sarasvati’s live performance where she told ghost stories about her songs; therefore, I knew how sympathetic the story is, despite being cliché-laden and light. It is never a horror story, yet, a story about companionship through and through, with some ghosts inside.
However, Awi Suryadi’s Danur, despite adapting Sarasvati’s book, takes a completely different route in presenting the story. Under Awi’s direction, Danur becomes a straight Insidious-esque horror story with major elements from the book stay intact. In fact, it’s a PG-friendly horror, which estranges it from the essence of Risa’s story. Continue reading Danur (2017): Different route from Sarasvati’s Danur
Review: In a world where superhero TV series comes in either one of these three styles: Netflix-Marvel street-vigilante style, Marvel movie tie-in style, or DC’s over-the-top Arrowverse style, FX’s Legion is an oddball. It doesn’t follow those patterns of style; even, it feels like a non-superhero superhero story. Sure thing is, the whole first season of Legion is a kind of thing you’ve never seen before in television (or even cinemas).
Do yourself a little favor by googling about Legion’s origin and you’ll understand why Fargo series’ creator, Noah Hawley is eager to adopt this X-Men bravura under his wings. First introduced in New Mutants comic book, Legion a.k.a. David Haller (portrayed by Dan Stevens) immediately cements his position as one of the most interesting mutant – not only because his connection to someone important in X-Men ranks, but also because his ability which makes him dubbed as ‘the strongest mutant alive.’ With such a fascinating biography, this psycho-frenzy mutant definitely needs a proper introduction; yet, that is the least you can expect from a superhero’s origin story. Continue reading A Season with: Legion (2017) – Season 1
Review: In a futuristic Blade Runner-esque city – cramped with neon-blaring buildings and hologramscapes – multi-national/multi-racial humans and humanoid androids mingle and blend in together. A cybernetic counter-terrorist operative, The Major (Scarlett Johansson) – naked in prosthetic and occasionally stealth-camouflaged – along with her Section 9 comrades, hunt down a silhouetted cyber villain, Kuze (Michael Pitt with Carmen middle name). During her mission, truth about her identity begins to unravel and distract her from her operation.
There’s no real ghost or seashells in Ghost in the Shell. The title refers to Johansson’s Major – a consciousness or ‘ghost’ (like in Holy Ghost) from a woman she used to be which is implanted to a cybernetic ‘shell.’ Physically, she’s more of a machine than human; but, her ‘ghost’ is what makes her ‘human.’ In a world where the line between human and machine is independently blurred, people start losing their identity. And, that alone should’ve been a big theme to probe in; and yet, this film consciously takes that for granted. Continue reading Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review
Review: Dear Nathan is a clear-cut boy-meet-a-girl story. A bon-chic-bon-genre girl, Salma (Amanda Rawles) unexpectedly meets a violent, rich yet troubled greaser, Nathan (Jefri Nichol), after both come late for school with opposite reasons. Salma’s simple act of compassion, to which Nathan returns with a completely different act of valor, leads these two youngsters into the offspring of coming-of-age romance fraught with cute moments and teen angst at once.
People are aware that coming-of-age romance is prone to uninviting clichés and hormone-induced exaggeration. With all those traits, there’s this thought that this genre is designed solely to its target audiences – adolescences, mostly adolescent girls; and, audiences outside that circle (adolescent boys and grown-ups) will find it tedious and delusional. On the surface, Dear Nathan – adapted from a sensation-laden Wattpad phenomenon – is exactly ‘that kind of coming-of-age romance.’ It’s cliché-ridden, saccharine-laced and unfocused; but it’s grounded to reality and, more importantly, accurate. Continue reading Dear Nathan (2017): A grey-and-white meet-cute
Review: Welcome the final-yet-weakest member of The Defenders – Marvel’s street level vigilantes who fight criminals around New York City – Iron Fist! What I am saying in this opening isn’t exaggerating, although Iron Fist is often associated with martial arts master who owns iron fists that, if done properly, can break everything. However, in Netflix’ latest outing, what he breaks is his own potentials.
Prior to Iron Fist, we’ve fought with other Defenders meaningfully – Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil deals with laws and disability; Jessica Jones over empowerment; and Luke Cage over black people issues around Harlem. Danny Rand (Finn Jones, Ser Loras Tyrell from Game of Thrones) found his way back to New York from his alleged death (which isn’t real; since he’s been residing and training in a mythical town K’un-Lun) in a similar fashion to Oliver Queen a.k.a. Green Arrow (DC Comics represents). Danny also fights, but what he fights isn’t as influential as his other comrades. At first, he fights for his fortune that has been usurped following his ‘death’; later, he fights against a familiar, evil organisation that has leeched upon his father’s legacy, Rand Enterprises. He fights for himself. Continue reading A Season with: Iron Fist – Season 1 (2017)