The Avengers (2012) – Movie Review

The Avengers also known as "Avengers Assemble" in the United Kingdom is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. For the uninitiated, The Avengers is the ultimate film that Marvel has been begun with Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). In each of those films, we have seen Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. appeared in the all the films’ post-credit scenes to recruit Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to save the world from destruction as part of the "Avenger Initiative".

The Avengers consists of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), demigod Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) where the latter two are part of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Nick Fury brings them together in order to save Earth from Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his army.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The Avengers
The Avengers

The film starts with Loki’s invasion of Earth through a portal constructed by the Tesseract, a powerful blue cube and causes major havoc to S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. Hawkeye, agent and master archer, Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury all fail to stop Loki as he possesses Gungnir, a powerful spear originally owned by Odin. Instead of killing Hawkeye and Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), Loki uses mind control on them as they can be proved useful for his plan.

Loki’s main plan is more than just a vengeance mission after his brother Thor has sent him to oblivion. Loki is brutal and has a mind of a tyrant and he’s determine to see all human worship him as a form of world peace. As part of his world domination scheme, Loki has been given the Chitauri army in a promise that he will obtain the Tesseract for them.

From this moment onwards, the film begins its exhilarating ride of thrilling and non-stop action, witty humors and non-stop entertainment. Despite having an ensemble cast, Whedon manages to pull this off by giving every characters equal screen time as he brings out the very best in them without overdoing any of them. Even Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Maria Hill get some screen time — Coulson reveals that he’s a big fan of Captain America with his collection of Captain America trading cards.

As the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury has to quickly assemble his team of "The Avengers" to stop Loki to prevent any further destruction of Earth and to retrieve the stolen Tesseract. Agent Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow is summoned from Russia who later helps to find Dr. Bruce Banner from a hideout in India. Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man is being called upon as well.

Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America who is in the care of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sent to stop Loki in Germany, but is easily overwhelmed until Iron Man appears and the duo manage to stop Loki and escort him to the Helicarrier until Thor intervenes with his unfinished business with his brother.

Thor, Iron Man and Captain America dealing with each other in "The Avengers"
Thor, Iron Man and Captain America dealing with each other in "The Avengers"

As expected, the superheroes don’t get along well with one another as they frequently trade blow just to show who’s mightier. As Thor is having a heated argument with Loki, Iron Man disrupts and the fight between Iron Man and Thor ensues until Captain America puts a stop to the fight.

Consequently, Loki is imprisoned in a high-tech lock-up (which is built for something a lot stronger than Loki) within the Helicarrier. Loki manages to cause a major disagreement between the members of The Avengers to distract them while he plans an escape. Using his abilities, Loki has his "men" led by Hawkeye (who is under mind control) to hijack the ship in a breakout attempt.

Thereafter, plenty of action sequence follows and a bit of disarray as The Avengers is totally unprepared and does not gel well as a team in the beginning. Thor is tricked by Loki, the God of Lies and Mischief into the cell and is then sent away by Loki. The Hulk is also out of control as he wrecks the ship and attacks almost anyone who crosses paths with him until he’s tricked off the plane. Black Widow faces off with Hawkeye while Iron Man manually powers the failed engine.

Eventually, Hawkeye is knocked off from Loki’s mind control by Black Widow; Iron Man and Captain America work with each other to help to fix the ship. However, Agent Coulson is killed by Loki and Loki has managed to escape despite being blasted off by a S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secret weapon still in its prototype.

At this point though, Nick Fury learns that the team needs to work together in order to fend off what’s about to come and dishes out a desperate manoeuvre. Fury splashes blood on Coulson’s Captain American trading cards and uses them as an excuse to motivate The Avengers team.

Professor Selvig manages to harvest the power of the Tesseract in order to open up a portal for the Chitauri army.

Thor and Captain America in "The Avengers"
Thor and Captain America in "The Avengers"

In the final action sequence, the battles of Loki and his Chitauri army with The Avengers prove to be among the best action sequences for a superhero genre. Together with witty humors which are perfectly fitted, Whedon has literally transformed the comic book into a nearly perfect superhero live-action film. Whedon’s writing role has certainly helped the film in many areas.

Nearly every characters in the film has a funny line and this includes Black Widow and even The Hulk. Puny God.

The Avengers manages to pull off this time around as they keep the enemies at bay and protect the Earth, but not without team work. In the end, Loki is taken prisoner to Asgard by Thor as the rest of The Avengers goes on separate ways with Banner and Stark leaving together in Stark’s Acura.

Overall, The Avengers is simply mind-blowing from the start to the finish — with non-stop actions, funny moments, thrilling scenes and entertainment at its best. Almost every actors shines and brings out the best of themselves, just like how every superheroes strive to save the Earth. Most of all, director Whedon has done a brilliant job in making a near perfect superhero film.

  • 10 out of 10
  • Best-ever live-action superhero film, watch it whether you’re a fanboy or not; watch it whether you’ve watched the previous films by Marvel Studios; watch it if you’re the type who goes to the cinema once a year, watch it no matter what!
  • During the mid-credits scene, the alien who provided the fleet of Chitauri army to Loki happens to be an associate of Thanos. The associate utters to Thanos that any attempt to conquer Earth would be to court death. But Thanos smiles back and says that it works according to plan — implying a possible sequel with Thanos as the main villain.
  • Not in the special screening, but rumored to be one when the film opens to the general public.

The Avengers (2012) – Non Review

This is a non-review of the film "The Avengers" as the movie reviews for are embargoed until April 21st for Malaysia (April 20th for the United Kingdom and May 2nd for the United States).

I was one of the lucky fans who get the chance to fly to Singapore and watch "The Avengers" before anyone else. But as the distributor of the film has mentioned the embargo of movie review or any spoilers until a later date, I can only blog about how good the film is.

The Avengers
The Avengers

The Avengers as expected is a mind-blowing film with plenty of actions as well as humor from the start to the end. The last time I experienced such an amazing time in the superhero genre was during the screening of "The Dark Knight". Even so, The Avengers is like twice as mind-blowing as "The Dark Knight" without the gloomy elements and sick jokes.

Unlike some of the X-Men films where too many characters didn’t work exactly well, The Avengers has made it to work out pretty well with each characters having sufficient screen time and even some character development. One thing which I felt excited about was the fighting scenes with one another within "The Avengers" as no superheroes would always agree with each other, right?

The special effects were amazing and as real as it could get. Even the music and sound editing were so seamless.

While some other superhero films may have plenty of actions, most of them lack either one or two other elements. The Avengers has them all — full of actions, plenty of humors, solid storyline.

Stay tune for the full movie review!

In the meantime, check out the fans reaction to "Marvel’s The Avengers".

Wrath of the Titans (2012) – Movie Review

Wrath of the Titans is the sequel to Clash of the Titans starring Sam Worthington as Perseus.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Sam Worthington and Rosamund Pike in "Wrath of the Titans"
Sam Worthington and Rosamund Pike in "Wrath of the Titans"

The film begins moderately with Perseus (Sam Worthington) goes fishing with his 10-year-old son Helius (John Bell) as he chooses to live his life as a fisherman. There is nothing mentioned about Io (Gemma Arterton) who mysteriously disappeared from the film. When Zeus (Liam Neeson) tells Perseus the world is in danger as the walls of Tartarus are breaking, Perseus refuses to help his father.

Meanwhile, Zeus has gone down to Tartarus to meet with Hades (Ralph Fiennes), Poseidon (Danny Huston), and his son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) with a hope to unite to rebuild Tartarus but instead is betrayed by Ares and Ares and Hades join forces to destroy Zeus and Poseidon as they plan to drain Zeus’ power to revive their father Kronos in exchange for immortality.

The film then moves in a fast pace skipping the unnecessary details. A Chimera attacks Perseus’ village and thus, as predicted, no one other than Perseus dares to challenge and defeat the creature, which immediately prompts him to the Mount of Idols to speak to Zeus. Poseidon arrives instead as he tells Perseus of Ares and Hades’ attempt to save Kronos and they have imprisoned Zeus before Poseidon succumbs to his death.

Perseus then flies on the Pegasus to find Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) who has imprisoned Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) who in return knows the whereabouts of the fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy). Hephaestus also happens to know how to get into Tartarus as he’s the one responsible in creating it as well as the weapons of Zeus, Hades and Ares which can be combined to form the Spear of Triam, the only weapon that can stop Kronos.

Fast-forward, the trio of Perseus, Queen Andromeda and Agenor manage to reach the center of Tartarus where Zeus is chained but they realize they are too late as Kronos already gains the power he needs. Ares manages to get hold of them as he throws Hades’ pitchfork into Zeus’ back, almost killing him. As Hades has a change of heart, he gives his power to Zeus restoring him back to normal.

As Zeus and Hades join forces to stop Kronos, Andromeda has her armies prepare to withhold Kronos in order to buy time for Perseus who plots to get Zeus’ thunderbolt from Ares in an attempt to forge the Spear of Triam.

Kronos as one of the Titans appears to be completely CGI made of lava, and a hundred times bigger than any of the Gods or humans but is easily defeated by Perseus using the Spear of Triam.

Overall, the film lacks a good and complete storyline and is filled with special effects which doesn’t look too impressive either. Battle Los Angeles director, Jonathan Liebesman seems to rush the film cutting it as short as 99 minutes, even shorter than the first film.

  • 6 out of 10
  • Entertaining and action-packed but not engaging enough despite the big names casting
  • No

The Hunger Games (2012) – Movie Review

The Hunger Games is a science-fiction action drama film based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games"
Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games"

In a not-too-distant future, North America has fallen apart, crippled by drought, fire, famine and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district, one boy, one girl, aged 12-18 are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. The 24 participants are forced to kill each others as there can be only one survivor. The Hunger Games are broadcast throughout Panem with all citizens required to watch.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrenece) volunteers to represent District 12 when her twelve-year-old sister, Primrose “Prim” (Willow Shields) is selected. Together with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the male tribute from District 12, they will be pitted against stronger opponents who have been training for their whole lives.

Before the games begin, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a drunk and the only survivor from District 12 mentors both Katniss and Peeta. Stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) is assigned to prepare Katniss to help her make a good impression with the sponsors before the games begin. Peeta confesses his crush on Katniss since childhood during the introduction and hence, make both Peeta and Katniss popularity goes up.

Once in the arena, Katniss must rely on her wits and her hunting skills in order to survive. As tributes from Districts 1 and 2, led by Cato (Alexander Ludwig) gang up in an attempt to get rid of Katniss, Rue (Amandla Stenberg) from District 11, a tribute with the least odd to win The Hunger Games rescues her and becomes her ally. When Rue is killed by a member from Team Cato when she falls into their booby trap, Katniss becomes depressed and angry at the Capitol, her sadness is shared among the people of District 11 and causes a riot in District 11.

In order to keep things back in order, the organizer decides to change the rule of the games by allowing two survivors as long as they are from the same district. That prompts Katniss to find Peeta only to discover that he’s critically injured. When Katniss tries to retrieve medicines for Peeta, she is almost killed by Cato’s follower until Thresh saves her. Thresh spares Katniss life this time around because of Rue’s friendship with her.

During the finale, Katniss and Peeta have the run of their lives in order to escape a carnivorous monster created by The Capitol’s programmers (which is later spawned into five). When they reach the apex of a steel tent at the starting base, they realize that Cato is there too. The brawl ends with Cato threatens to kill Peeta by twisting his neck. Katniss shoots an arrow onto the hand of Cato instead of his head and Cato falls off the tent and is eaten alive by the monsters.

When Katniss and Peeta think they have already won, the organizer decides to change the rule and makes them kill each other. As both Katniss and Peeta are in love with each other, they decide to kill themselves by consuming poisonous berries only to have the organizer to let both of them live.

Overall, The Hunger Games is well-played with a balance mix of romance, emotions, violence and action. The film is no doubt heart-pumping and enthralling from start to finish with solid performance from Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Good news is that the second film is already in the making and is scheduled to be released in November 2013.

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

  • 8 out of 10
  • Entertaining and enthralling film to watch even if you don’t read the book
  • No

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012) – Movie Review

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, also known as The Lorax is an animated film based on Dr. Seuss’ children book.

SPOILER WARNING: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

The film revolves around Ted (voiced by Zac Efron), a 12-year-old who lives in “Thneed-Ville”, where everything is artificial except the human. In order to win the heart of Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift), Ted sets out the city wall to fulfil Audrey’s wish of seeing a real tree. For that, Ted’s super cool grandmother (voiced by Betty White), who can snow-skate faster than Ted on a scooter, suggests Ted to talk to Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms).

However, like any cities in the world, Thneed-Ville is controlled by rich and greedy mayor Mr. O’Hare (Rob Riggle) who happens to own a bottled oxygen company. Since the city has no trees, Mr. O’Hare profits from his citizens by providing them bottled oxygen for a price.

Ted learns about how Once-ler’s personal greed led to the destruction of the entire Truffula’s forest and his encounter with The Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito), the guardian of the trees. In the process, Once-ler has made Ted to come back for the story for at least a few days. In the end, Once-ler gives Ted the last Truffula seed to plant and to impress Audrey only to be stopped by O’Hare as he does not want the trees to undercut his business. When the citizens learn about the wasteland outside the wall, they defy O’Hare and has the seed planted.

It is known later that Once-ler has planted many Truffula trees which have started to grow back and The Lorax returns and thank him for his conservation of the world by planting the trees.

Overall, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a simple, fun but engaging film which highlights the importance of conservation of the trees and the consequences of what greed can do onto one person.

  • 6 out of 10
  • Fun, simple animation for the whole family
  • No