The Movies of Q3 2016

Time really flies! The last time we talked about movies, we were in the first half of 2016. But today as we speak, we are already in the second half of the year! In fact, we find ourselves in its third quarter. So in continuation with my quarterly habit of looking at upcoming movies, I bring you now the list of films I am looking forward to seeing in Q3 of 2016. Here are a few exciting ones that I want to catch between now and the end of September.

1. The BFG

Chances are if you have ever read children’s books before when you were younger, you would have heard or seen the name of Roald Dahl. I mean when I was in primary school, all the bookworms in class would be reading at least one of his books. Then when I went to the school library, I would see “Roald Dahl” all over the shelves. If Charlie and the Chocolate Factory rings a bell to you, then you would definitely know this successful author. The BFG which stands for “Big Friendly Giant”, is also a book written by Dahl. And now, it is has been adapted and brought to life on the big screen.

2. Star Trek Beyond

The last time we saw Chris Pine, he was leading a rescue mission with the U.S Coast Guard in The Finest Hours. Now, watch as he captains a starship in the third film of the science-fiction franchise – Star Trek. I got to be honest; I am totally new to Star Trek and have yet to see any of the films or television series nor read any of the books. But I am so stoked to catch up on what I’ve missed so far just to be able to watch Star Trek Beyond better. Science-fiction films like these are the bomb, guys.

3. The Secret Life of Pets

The creators of Despicable Me and its popular minions are back with a brand new animated film – The Secret Life of Pets. As I watched the trailers for the movie, I can’t help but find the visuals so stunning, the concept so fresh and the characters so humorous. Compared to the other animation studios or companies like Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, Illumination is relatively new and young so I can’t wait to see what else they have to bring to the world of animated films.

4. Skiptrace

Jackie Chan is back! What more is there to say? No one blends action and comedy as well as our childhood hero even at his current age of 62. Personally, I grew up watching a lot of Jackie Chan and I can still remember up to this day that apart from all his films, one of my favorite cartoons as a boy was Jackie Chan Adventures! So obviously from that, you would know why I am so excited to see Jackie again; he just offers this unique flavor to the more than 100 films that he has starred in. And besides, it’s been more than 2 years since we last saw him in a live-action movie! Can’t wait.

5. Jason Bourne

You know, James Bond isn’t the only “J.B” that is cool and dangerous okay? And no, I am not talking about Johor Bahru or Justin Bieber even though they are cool in their own ways. I am talking about Jason Bourne. After 9 long years, Matt Damon finally returns as the titular character in the well-received spy action thriller series. So as you can see, anticipation is at an all-time high for this movie.

6. Suicide Squad

2016 is a strange year when superheroes clash and villains unite. We can see the former in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War, while the latter will be exhibited in the upcoming Suicide Squad. As the third installment in the DC Extended Universe, the film uses a concept that is rarely seen – having the villains as the main characters of a movie. Personally, I just want to see Batman against the Joker again, and also how this film fits into the whole DCEU. So just imagine the Avengers.. but with weird and psychotic people.

7. Pete’s Dragon

So how do you train your dragon? In the real world? The answer is you can’t – well, at least not in peace. A remake of the 1977 film of the same name, Pete’s Dragon seems to have a fresh and interesting tale to tell. Man, Disney is really on a roll this year with their name on film after film and with many more coming up! Just in this post alone, there are three of them! Continue reading to find out about the third one (and that isn’t even the last one in 2016!).

8. Queen of Katwe

Being on a constant “quest” to widen the range of movies that I watch, I find myself in the cinemas this year catching romance films, thrillers and comedies (which I didn’t used to watch as much). In the next three months however, I am going to challenge myself to watch a biographical drama film in the form of Queen of Katwe. And anyways, it is going to be a breath of fresh air with the movies I’m watching and also looks inspiring. So why not?

9. The Magnificent Seven

This last movie in this list could possibly be the last movie I am going to watch before I go into the army. For all you non-Singaporeans reading this, just Google “National Service in Singapore”. And honestly if it is, if Magnificent Seven really happens to be that movie, I don’t think I’ll mind. Because so far, it looks good! With the cast, the setting and the plot that we currently know of, we have a potentially awesome Western film! And for me, it has been a long time since I’ve watched a Western film like that, so I’m looking forward to it. Plus, it looks really cool and has Chris Pratt in it. Can’t wait to see one of my favorite actors in recent years back in action again.

And so that is all for my personal list of movies that I would love to see in this third quarter of 2016! In fact, some of them has just been released in Singapore so I am probably going to go catch one or two of them in the coming week. But how about you? Do you have any movies that you would love to watch too but are not in this list? Let me know in the comments below! See you all again for our next list in October. 😉

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Subscribed: Action Movie Kid

Hi readers! Today, I’m going to try something new. I’m starting a new series – Subscribed, which will be a series of short posts that I will be using to share with all of you some interesting YouTube channels that I am personally subscribed to. Some of these channels make me laugh, some of them keep me up-to-date to things I care about, and a few others inspire me as a video maker. So I thought maybe they could do the same for you too. And besides, we should always share the good stuff with one another, right? 😎

For the first Subscribed post ever, I went to take a look at my subscriptions on YouTube (which would probably become a norm for me soon). And thanks to the default alphabetical order in which my subscriptions are sorted, the first channel to appear is none other than Action Movie Kid.

A quick background about the channel: Action Movie Kid (AMK) stars adorable little James who has been given the titular nickname by his dad – the manager of the channel. James, much like any of our young selves has a vivid imagination. The only difference though, is that James has a father who is a Dreamworks animator.

Combine the wit and creativity of both father and son and you get a collection of popular “parenting” videos, sweet family moments, lots of fun (and destruction) and even a children’s bedtime storybook.

So if you’re ready, let’s watch as the Action Movie Kid brightens up our Friday a little more with his latest adventures.

Why I Enjoyed: Civil War

Don’t worry reader; this is a spoiler-free article.

Hi everyone! Captain America: Civil War may only be opening today in the United States, but for some of us lucky ones living outside the U.S, we’ve already been given the chance to watch it since a week ago. And personally for myself, I’ve already seen it and am so satisfied by the outcome of the hard work of everyone that was involved in the making of this film. In fact, as of now, Civil War is my favorite movie of 2016! Here’s why.

1. Action

action

Right when the first sequence begins, you would know immediately that the “action” factor in this movie is covered. And you will not be wrong, because Captain America: Civil War is packed with some of the most epic and coolest action scenes you will see in the superhero genre for years to come. But of course, action isn’t enough to make a movie great. Let’s see what else makes this film such a memorable experience.

2. Comedy

comedy

Even though Captain America: Civil War has a more serious tone and deals with more mature themes, you would be pleasantly surprised by the amount of hilarious moments present in this film. But actually, if you’ve been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe for awhile now, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to you. It’s just that the jokes here are really, REALLY good.

3. Character Interactions

mcu-for-beginners

This movie is full of what I call “geek fantasy” moments – interactions between characters that we’ve been hoping to see on the big screen since the beginning of time. And if you are one of those people who are going to see this film because of “that one character”, no matter who it is, you will not be disappointed. Because literally every character was portrayed and used in the story so, so well. ESPECIALLY, but not limited to Spider-Man!

4. Emotion

emotions

Okay, some people might look at the trailer of Captain America: Civil War and be afraid that it would turn out to be just some senseless superhero beat-down with no emotional depth. If that is what you’re concerned with, don’t worry. I can confidently say that this is one of the most emotional films in the MCU, and you will feel it too when you watch how our favorite team gets torn apart.

5. Plot

plot

Last but not least, an emotional film full of action, comedy and fun would still be mediocre unless it has a great plot that carries those elements well. I don’t want to say much about the plot of Civil War because I don’t want to spoil it to you; but you got to see it for yourself. All I can say is that from start to finish, you will be fully engaged and kept in suspense; and at the end, you will get a satisfying conclusion to the Captain America trilogy and a strong start to Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And that’s about all I have to say about this film. It is a must-watch! If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for? 😎

p.s. In case you’re wondering, there is one mid-credits scene and one post-credits scene at the end of the movie.

Marvel Cinematic Universe for Beginners

Happy 1st of May everyone! It’s that time of the year again. That particular time of the year when adrenaline rushes through me as I walk pass the cinema in excitement BUT ALSO as I attempt to once again put together a comprehensive guide for a series of movies. That’s right. If you’ve been on Fool’s Bench for awhile now, you would probably remember Star Wars for Beginners, the result of my first shot at meeting the need of an average moviegoer.

Well today, I give you my second shot – this time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because even though the MCU has only existed for 8 years in contrast to the almost 40 years lifetime of Star Wars, it has birthed forth twice the number of films in one-fifth the time. And unless you are an expert in “MCU Studies” like me, you would find it hard naturally to catch up on all 12 films and digest everything before Captain America: Civil War, which may I add, is already showing in my country. So don’t even get me started on the TV series & shorts!

Once again, I must say that the highest motivating factor for me as I write these guides are my friends. I love them too much to see them walking into the cinema this weekend unprepared for Civil War like how a kid walks into the exam hall unprepared for the Mathematics paper. Okay, it’s not that bad. 😄😛

But how do you know whether this guide is for you? How do you know if you even need it? Well here are some indicators. One, you think that Captain America: Civil War is some sort of propaganda film filled with historical drama. Two, whenever you go watch an MCU film, you leave the theater as soon as the credits roll. Lastly, which is the worst of them all, you think that Iron Man and Batman are best buddies. Can relate to those examples or anything along those lines? This post is for you.

Okay! I am about to begin. But before that, I must warn you that beyond this paragraph lie potential spoilers for every single MCU film, short film and TV series before Captain America: Civil War. Of course, this article does not include every single detail there is. As much as I want to talk about every interesting fact, I also want to avoid giving you an information overload. So that is why, I have written this article in a way that relates the most to Captain America: Civil War, keeping it relevant to you now. If you find that there are missing information (which I have left out on purpose), you probably don’t need this post anyway. But for the rest of you, consider this your cheat sheet to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s first talk about the universe itself, shall we?


1. Film Rights, Studios and Universes

The first thing that we got to address is what films are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and what films are not. Because as much as we’d like it to be, not every film that has a “Marvel” label slapped on its opening credits belong in the same shared universe. And this is due to different film studios owning the film rights to different Marvel Comics characters. So this means for example, if you and I own two different film studios, and I bought the rights to use Iron Man in my movies, you can’t. Because you don’t have the right to. Let me explain further with a few well-known examples – namely 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios.

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox owns the rights to all the X-Men characters, which is why every film in the X-Men film series are produced and distributed by them. Fox also owns the rights to the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, these two groups of superheroes as of now do not belong in the same fictional universe. Here are all the films under 20th Century Fox:

fox-movies

Now I must make a special mention about one X-Men, and that is Quicksilver. This guy is a special case. He is the only character so far that exists (or existed) simultaneously in two universes – the X-Men film series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The reason why this is possible could be because of the nature and history of the character itself. You see, in the comic books, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch hang out regularly with both the X-Men and the Avengers. So I guess you can’t completely own the twin characters even if your studio has the film rights to one of the super teams.

That’s not to say that there are no limitations to their usage in film though. For example, Marvel Studios cannot mention the word “mutants” or even talk about “Magneto” when handling the two characters, while Fox can’t link Quicksilver to the Avengers. You think that’s complicated? Wait till you hear about Spider-Man!

Sony Pictures Entertainment

This is where things get a little interesting. Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man and produces & distributes all of the character’s films through Columbia Pictures (one of their studios). The movies in the original Spider-Man trilogy, as well as those in the recent The Amazing Spider-Man film series belong to them. That is why you never see Peter Parker hanging around Tony Stark. Well that is, until now. Because just last year, Sony Pictures managed to strike a deal with Marvel Studios in a way that allows Spider-Man to be reintroduced again (but hey, I’m not complaining) within the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Based on what I know, Sony still owns the character. But because of this collaboration with Marvel Studios, Spider-Man can now exist in the MCU with a brand new cast & story, which could be the best thing that has ever happened to Spidey! And that is all that matters now, right? So enjoy these following films if you will, but when Civil War comes out, just know that the new Spider-Man and his future movie(s) are unrelated to any of these past tales:

sony-movies

Marvel Studios

This film studio, now owned by Disney, is the one we want to focus on today. Because these are the guys that have brought us and will continue to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe, our main topic of the day! “Which characters do Marvel Studios own?” Every character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Which characters or films are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?” I am glad you asked.

Marvel-Cinematic-Universe

Now you see why you need this guide. Thankfully, unlike Star Wars, most if not all of the MCU stories are released and told chronologically. So there’s no confusion about that. Still, there’s just way too much content to digest in a short amount of time.  Of course, the best way to enjoy the entire MCU is to watch every single one of those movies and TV series above; or at least, all the movies. In fact, just watching all the movies would prepare you for Phase Three, which kicks off with Civil War. So if that’s your style, go ahead. You’ll understand every cross-reference, see every link, and be awed by every connection across the films. But once again, time is the problem.

If you just want to be ready for Captain America: Civil War however, I can recommend you to watch the following films. Just these 4 SHOULD be sufficient for you to fully enjoy Civil War:

prepare-for-war

Yet again if you’re reading this, why worry? 😉 Let’s get on with the real stuff today.


2. The World

The world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big one. And though so far, most of its stories take place on Earth, some of them like Guardians of the Galaxy has increased the scale of this fictional universe. And sometimes, you might forget that these stories are actually interconnected even though sometimes they happen so far apart. So today before we focus on and talk about some of the more prominent characters & events in the MCU, let me first give you a general idea of the world in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“The Nine Realms”

9-realms-thor
Thor explaining the concept of the Nine Realms to Jane Foster

This interesting concept was first introduced by Thor when he was banished to Earth five years ago. It basically describes how nine different planets from separate distant star systems are aligned in a figurative tree known as Yggdrasil. And yes, Earth – just like Thor’s home world Asgard, is one of these planets. How far exactly these planets are apart from one another is unclear, but what we do know is that they are far enough to exist on different planes of space with their own laws of “science” that even the greatest scientists on Earth cannot explain/understand. But of course, these are not the only planets in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These are just nine of them that happened to be positioned in a certain way and in this case – in a tree-like alignment we call Yggdrasil. So definitely, there are many other planets and galaxies existing outside this alignment, which is what I am going to talk about next.

Neighboring Galaxies & Planets

Morag_1

Okay this is pretty simple. Our Earth is part of the Solar System. Our Solar System is part of a galaxy. Our galaxy is known as the Milky Way. The Milky Way is only one out of many many galaxies in the universe. All of that is real. What I’m about to say next is fictional. The Guardians of the Galaxy and all of their shenanigans, conflicts and battles are found in a neighboring galaxy to ours. In fact, we can safely say they are in the galaxy closest to our galaxy. But still, that is pretty far away! So now you understand, right? The Guardians of the Galaxy roam a galaxy with its own stars & planets that are all outside the Nine Realms. But despite all that, you must know that they together with the Nine Realms and Earth, all exist within the same universe. Now that all the dust is cleared up, let’s talk about our planet Earth and some of its important characters & events, the usual subjects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


3. Important Characters

There are a lot of characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it will be almost insane to introduce every one of them to you here. So today, I will be focusing on some of them who are more important in the MCU or more relevant to Civil War now. And I will try to keep the descriptions short! But come to think of it, who doesn’t know these guys?

Tony Stark / Iron Man

tony-stark-iron-man

A self-proclaimed genius, billionaire and philanthropist, Tony Stark’s life took a different turn when he was captured by terrorists 8 years ago. Forced to build a weapon of destruction, he witnessed first-hand the horrible possibilities & consequences that have resulted from weapons manufactured by his company. So instead, he built himself a mechanical suit of armor and escaped, leaving the man that he was behind; well for the most part, except his egoistic self. Eventually, he became the armored Avenger – Iron Man and continued to develop his suits & technology to fight the terrors of this world. When we last saw him in 2015, he accidentally unleashed an evil artificial intelligence named Ultron upon the world. Fortunately with the aid of all the Avengers, Ultron was stopped. Tony Stark will once again appear in Captain America: Civil War as the main man siding against the Captain.

Bruce Banner / The Hulk

bruce-banner

When an attempt to experiment and recreate a super soldier program from World War II goes terribly wrong, Dr. Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk – “an enormous green rage monster” whenever he gets angry, extremely stressed, or put directly into harm’s way. Originally choosing to live a life of isolation for the safety of others, Bruce Banner has since become a part of the Avengers, a team of remarkable people commonly known as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, who uses their unique abilities for the protection of the world. Banner has even recently learned to control and channel his inner monster and is able to use the Hulk to his advantage… most of the time. After the Battle of Sokovia against Ultron, the Hulk left the Avengers, leaving his current whereabouts and status unknown.

Thor

avengers-age-of-ultron-chris-hemsworth-image

Thor was once childish, arrogant and unwise. But after his father Odin banished him to Earth for provoking a war between Asgard and the Frost Giants, he realized his mistakes and has changed ever since. After regaining his powers and ability to wield the legendary hammer Mjölnir, he went on to fight numerous battles for the Nine Realms. Some of these battles even helped to protect Earth against its enemies. And that was also how Thor became part of the Avengers, when he joined the fight against the alien forces that invaded Earth during The Battle of New York. Last year, he teamed up once more with the heroes and defeated Ultron’s army. Afterwards, he returned to Asgard to investigate mysterious forces that seemed to have orchestrated recent events.

Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow

black-widow

Having been brought up in cruel ways to become a trained killer, Natasha Romanoff is an ex-assassin turned agent who worked for S.H.I.E.L.D as a highly-skilled spy until its fall in 2014. But more than that, she is an Avenger and was one of them who stood against both the aliens in 2012, and the robotic army of Ultron in 2015. Today, together with Captain Steve Rogers, she has trained up a new group of Avengers that we will see more of in Captain America: Civil War. Of course, she will be making an appearance as well; but from what we know, she is on Tony’s side.

Clint Barton / Hawkeye

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Most commonly recognized with his trademark bow and arrow, Clint Barton was a S.H.I.E.L.D agent like Romanoff, but with skills in archery that have been trained to the peak of human ability. He has since joined the Avengers and have fought dangers no mere mortal should have ever encountered. During the period of their fight against Ultron, Clint reveals to the bewilderment of the team that he is both a husband and a father and has a family residing in a remote area. After the battle in which he nearly lost his life, Clint “retired” from the Avengers and committed himself to his family. In Captain America: Civil War however, we shall see him again fighting alongside Cap.

Steve Rogers / Captain America

steve-rogers

Alright, before we move on to talk about some newer characters, let’s first talk about the Captain, our titular character of Captain America: Civil War. Originally living in the time of World War II, Steve Rogers was just an ordinary man who wanted to serve in the military and help fight alongside his countrymen against the enemies. However, due to his extremely poor physical & health condition, it was impossible for him to do so. And it remained that way until he was chosen to be a subject for Project Rebirth – a secret super soldier program created for the Americans and their allies.

Steve Rogers then became the world’s first superhero and fought many battles during the war. He was also usually seen with his signature shield that was made out of vibranium – the strongest metal in the world. Eventually in one battle however, he sacrificed himself by crashing an explosive-rigged aircraft in the Arctic. Fortunately, he survived frozen in the ice and was kept in suspended animation until 70 years later when he was found and brought home by S.H.I.E.L.D. Soon after, the events of The Avengers unfolded and he became part of the team ever since.

Now, with all the original Avengers covered, it’s time to take a quick look at some of the more new/unfamiliar faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sam Wilson / Falcon

sam-wilson

Being one of the new Avengers who are on Team Cap, Sam was first introduced during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. By now, he has grown to become one of the most trusted & treasured comrades of Captain America. He wears a highly advanced wing pack and is most proficient in aerial combat.

James Rhodes / War Machine

war-machine

Alongside Tony Stark, James Rhodes is a character that has been with us since the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also known as War Machine, he has been on countless adventures with Iron Man so obviously, you know whose team he is on. Most recently, he was seen undergoing training in the new Avengers facility.

James “Bucky” Barnes / The Winter Soldier

winter-soldier

Bucky was the closest friend that Steve Rogers ever had. After Captain Rogers witnessed his demise in World War II, he was thought to be dead until he showed up again in 2014 in Washington, D.C. It turns out that he survived his fall but was brainwashed, physically enhanced and used throughout history by the rogue organization HYDRA to sow chaos whenever & wherever needed. When he’s not needed however, HYDRA would put him back to sleep in suspended animation, similar to the state that Steve Rogers was in. The last time we saw him, Bucky almost killed Captain America, but instead saved his life, seemingly to have recovered his memories.

Scott Lang / Ant-Man

ant-man

Scott Lang was once a thief, but has now become the latest superhero to be introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His unique suit allows him to command armies of ants and also to shrink in size. When he is tiny & unnoticeable, his strength is retained & even multiplied to the point in which his tiny punch can feel “like a bullet”. He has had a previous encounter with Falcon and will be appearing in Civil War on the side of Steve Rogers.

Vision

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The result of the combined efforts of Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Thor, Vision is like the perfect version of Ultron without his twisted side. Bestowed with powers from the Mind Stone (the gem on his forehead) and created with a body laced with vibranium, Vision is also currently known as the only being other than Thor worthy of lifting Mjölnir. He is now a new Avenger siding with Tony Stark in Civil War.

Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch

wanda

Wanda Maximoff was a subject of HYDRA’s human experiments. This successfully granted her telekinetic & telepathic abilities, as well as powers of energy manipulation. After losing her twin brother in the Battle of Sokovia, she has since become an Avenger under the training of Captain Rogers and Agent Romanoff. She is also on Team Cap.

Sharon / Agent 13

sharon

In 2014, Sharon was a S.H.I.E.L.D agent tasked to live as a neighbor to Steve Rogers to watch over and protect him from any threats. But today, she works for the CIA and will also be appearing in Captain America: Civil War. As to which side she is on in the conflict, it is still currently unclear.

Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross

ross

Back in 2008, General Ross was the man who led the pursuit on Dr. Bruce Banner. But of course as we all know, his plans on capturing Banner did not come into fruition. 8 years later today, he makes an appearance once again in Civil War.

HYDRA

Hydra_logo

I’ve mentioned HYDRA a few times before, but let me explain now who they really are. Originally started as a cult, this rogue terrorist/criminal organization have turned into one of the greatest enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D and the world due to their extreme beliefs in world domination. Basically, these are the bad guys. After World War II, HYDRA was thought to have been extinguished until their re-emergence in 2014.

S.H.I.E.L.D

S.H.I.E.L.D._logo

Another organization that I’ve been talking about over and over is S.H.I.E.L.D. The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division is an intelligence agency tasked with global security. Their job scope in recent years include protecting the world from the threats of super powered individuals. Even the knowledge of these people and their not-so-subtle activities have been successfully kept under wraps by S.H.I.E.L.D. But all these changed after some large-scale events in recent years, which I’ll be talking about now.


4. Important Events

Since Tony Stark first revealed to the world his superhero identity 8 years ago, many things have happened. But some of them I am about to list are probably considered the historical ones that have changed the world.

The Battle of New York

battle of new york

As I’ve said before, S.H.I.E.L.D has done a pretty good job over the years in keeping watch over the people who could be potential threats to the world. This includes individuals like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, even though they might not have any ill intentions or whatsoever. More than that, they have also kept a lot of information about these people and their activities from the world – “classified” as they liked to say it. But all these efforts of keeping secrets went down the drain in 2012, when a hostile alien army invaded New York City.

Avengers_vs_Chitauri

This was the event that first united the Avengers against a common enemy, and introduced Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to the world. The battle that ensued also revealed to people across the globe that their world is even bigger and weirder than they have ever known. In the end, the Avengers successfully defeated the alien forces, though unfortunately, a trail of destruction was left behind and many still lost their lives.

The Fall of S.H.I.E.L.D

Battle_of_Triskelion_1

In 2014 – two years after the Battle of New York, Captain Steve Rogers & Agent Romanoff discovered to their horror that HYDRA never ceased to exist. In fact, it has been secretly operating and expanding within the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. Together with Sam Wilson, they later helped prevent a global genocide in Washington, D.C and also exposed HYDRA to not just all legitimate S.H.I.E.L.D operatives, but to the general public and to the world. Once again, the battle in Washington, D.C resulted in much death and devastation. After this event, S.H.I.E.L.D was no more; at least to the world.

The Battle of Sokovia

sokovia

After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Avengers began operating independently on resources provided by Tony Stark. Specifically, they went on a hunt against HYDRA, in search of a dangerous alien scepter recovered from New York, but were now in the hands of these criminals. After a chain of events, Tony Stark created Ultron – an artificial intelligence that went sentient and turned against the Avengers. This eventually led to a catastrophic battle in Sokovia, the latest event involving our heroes a year ago. Although many lives were saved after that because of the Avengers’ victory, the Battle of Sokovia probably became one of the main triggers to the conflicts in Captain America: Civil War.


5. The Story

mcu-infinity-stones

Before I end my discussion today about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would like to just bring us to an overview of the entire series so far. Because beyond what we’ve seen happening so far, there is a hidden, deeper overarching story.  If you have watched all the films in Phase One & Phase Two, you would realize that a lot of them are loosely connected by similar objects filled with incredible power. And from recent events, we can identify that the source of power within these objects are actually hidden gems called Infinity Stones. Let me take one of them – the Mind Stone as an example, just to talk about why these stones are labelled the most powerful objects in existence.

Chitauri_Scepter_HYDRA

The Mind Stone was found within the scepter that the Avengers recovered last year. And you know the things it can achieve. It allowed whoever that wielded the scepter to control the minds of people; it gave Wanda Maximoff her enhanced abilities and powers; it created the mind of Ultron but it also gave life and power to Vision. And all these are probably only some of the many feats that an Infinity Stone is capable of.

Vision_AoU
Notice the Mind Stone on Vision’s forehead

You must be wondering why we are talking about these Infinity Stones. The reason is because there a total of six Infinity Stones and so far, we’ve already found four of them. Why does that matter? Because I know that someone is looking for them – someone we still know almost nothing about. He is none other than Thanos, a cosmic figure apparently regarded as the most powerful being in the entire universe.

thanosthrone

If you’ve ever seen the mid-credits scene from The Avengers (that’s why you should always stay till the end), you would know that since the Battle of New York, Thanos has been the mysterious force pulling the strings in the background, directly and indirectly causing many of the events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, it was his army that invaded Earth in 2012 even though on the surface, it looked like it was Thor’s evil brother Loki leading the charge. His goal in doing things like that is to obtain all six Infinity Stones for his own desires. And when (not if) that happens, the entire universe will be in trouble because he will be unstoppable. Do you now see how the entire MCU has been leading us towards its climax in Phase 3 – Infinity War? And just saying, Thanos has become impatient and has planned to retrieve the Stones personally. Great danger awaits.

So as you can see, in a sense, Thanos was the one who has inadvertently caused the formation of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. And though we have yet to see much of him, he is a looming threat that have caused and will continue to cause much opposition for our heroes. But for now, we got to first deal with what’s currently happening on Earth.

Captain America: Civil War kicks off Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will show us some repercussions of things that have happened previously in Phase One & Two. And though our heroes were involved previously in disastrous events and will be blamed, I place all the fault on Thanos. It’s only because of his lust for power that all these bad things could happen. Unfortunately, no one in the MCU knows that yet.

And that is all I have for you now. Hopefully I have helped you have a better idea of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, prepared you for Phase Three and also excited you for Captain America: Civil War! Personally, I can’t wait to find out what Black Panther is all about and how Spider-Man is now going to fit into the entire universe. Last tip; and I can’t stress this enough guys – always stay till the end of any MCU film, after EVERY single credit has rolled. Have a great time in the cinema. 😉

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Finally after a long wait, a trailer has been revealed yesterday for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you have not yet seen it, here it is:

So what are your thoughts about the movie? Are you a Star Wars fan? Do you know where this film stands in the entire Star Wars universe? Either way, look forward to another helpful guide to the world of Star Wars this December. 😉

The Movies of Q2 2016

Happy April Fools’ Day everyone! Hope you liked my little “gift” for all of you this morning. Haha! 😆 Time passes real quickly, doesn’t it? This week marks the end of an awesome first quarter for the year, but it also kicks off its second quarter. And by the looks of it, we have even more movies to look forward to from April to June. Here are the movies on my watch list for Q2 2016.

1. The Jungle Book

A live-action adaptation of the classic Disney animated film that simply looks beautiful. Honestly, I have never really read The Jungle Book story or watched any of its previous films, but I just feel good about this one. With Iron Man director Jon Favreau at its helm, a familiar cast and stunning visuals, this is one film I am sure will positively kick start the second quarter of the year in cinema.

2. Captain America: Civil War

One of, if not my most anticipated films of the year. In fact, I think this might become my favorite film of 2016. I mean if you know me, you would know that I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So it is no surprise that I’m going to be found at my local IMAX theater on opening night for this movie. Seriously, we’re talking about Phase 3 of the MCU, a conflict within the Avengers and Spider-Man reintroduced. Aren’t you excited?

3. The Angry Birds Movie

When you think about the iPhone, you’ll think about the iPhone games. When you think about the iPhone games, you’ll think about the popular classic ones. When you think about the popular classic ones, you’ll think about Fruit Ninja, Temple Run and of course Angry Birds. With a simple core mechanic and a variety of content, Angry Birds has become the iconic iOS game. But now, it’s also becoming a movie. Time to find out why these birds are always angry.

4. X-Men: Apocalypse

One of the most memorable superhero films I’ve watched in recent years is X-Men: Days of Future Past. It exceeded my expectations and blew my mind at some points. So it is no wonder why its follow-up – Apocalypse would be in my watch list now. With all the alterations to the X-Men timeline, new characters and a very threatening villain, I am extremely curious what kind of future this film will define for the X-Men film series.

5. Me Before You

Hey, I’m not all about superheroes, science fiction and adventure. I have a heart for romance too alright. Not all the time, but yeah! Hahaha anyway, this film has caught my attention ever since I saw its trailer. Firstly, it apparently opens on my birthday. Secondly, it looks to be the kind of film that you’ll (gladly) shed tears for. Why? I don’t know, let’s go watch it together.

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows

You know what this film is? Childhood coming back for you. AGAIN. And when childhood beckons, how can you not answer? Especially not when there is your favorite turtles, explosions and Oliver Queen in one film! Oops, I mean Casey Jones. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see a sequel to Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But here it is! If you enjoyed the previous one, then this is a must-watch for you.

7. Now You See Me 2

I actually have a very vague memory of the first Now You See Me film. But what I do remember is that it was pretty cool and I enjoyed it. This time, it seems that the characters are back with an even bigger setup that will surely blow the audience’s minds. What’s more, we have Harry Potter in the mix. I’m sure this film will be MAGICAL. *ding*

8. Warcraft: The Beginning

If you are a gamer or have been a gamer like me at any point of your life, you would definitely know Warcraft. I dare say it is one of the most successful & critically acclaimed video game franchises of all time. From their first real-time strategy game to their latest expansion to the popular World of Warcraft, a rich lore has been established for this fictional universe. And now, fans & general audiences alike can finally experience its story in the best way possible – on the big screen.

9. Finding Dory

Here’s another call from childhood. And an even harder one to ignore I must say. Everyone knows Finding Nemo. It is such an iconic film that is so deeply etched in many of our minds as one of the best animated films of our childhood. So that is why when a sequel is announced more than a decade later, the inner child on the inside of us just wakes up & freaks out. Here’s some perspective. If you were 8 years-old when Finding Nemo first came out, you’d be 21 now. Time to be childlike again!

10. Central Intelligence

I have not watched a true-blue comedy film for some time now, so when I saw the trailer for this film and laughed out loud, I got excited. It looks so ridiculously funny. And not to mention, we have one of the most interesting combinations here! Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is such a beloved pair and you can already see their chemistry and kind of humor that will potentially make this film a hit. Top it off with some action; why not?

11. Independence Day: Resurgence

Lastly, here comes another sequel to a film after a long time. But this time, it’s not just 13 years. It’s 20. Yes you heard me right, I am as old as the first Independence Day. The follow-up to the popular science fiction thriller brings Man of Steel scales of destruction and Star Wars-like space battles back to our modern world. Aliens invading my country Singapore? Just take my money!

And that’s it for my watch list from now till the end of June! See you around when Q3 hits. Thank you for reading.

Why I Enjoyed: Zootopia

Note: This article is spoiler-free.

Hi Moviegoers! I’ve been going to the cinemas recently and have watched some of the films that I’ve intended to watch since I knew about them. And so far, they’re pretty good! But there’s one interesting thing I realized about the films that I’ve enjoyed the most in the past month – they’re all produced by Disney. That’s right, I’m talking about 2 films in particular – The Finest Hours and Zootopia. Today however, I’ll be talking specifically about Zootopia, which has just been released in USA a week ago. Here’s why I enjoyed it.

1) It’s Beautiful

If you’re like me, and enjoy looking at amazing 3D animation, then this one’s for you. I’m not even kidding, every frame in the movie looks beautifully crafted and incredibly detailed. One can only imagine the amount of hard work that all the artists and animators had to put in before all the visuals in the film could become a reality.

2) It’s Cute

This is one thing I can’t deny. All the animals, from the bunnies to the… well especially the bunnies, are extremely cute. Oops, I forgot that only bunnies can call one another “cute”, but still! They are very adorable. Just watch the trailer; can you resist all the furriness?

3) It’s Funny

Besides just being visually stunning and cute, this movie is also hilarious. And I’m not talking about the lame kind of jokes that I like to churn out all the time. These is humor that is so fresh & unique to the world of Zootopia. Yes I am talking about the sloths. Catch the movie and you’ll love them too! Haha.

4) It’s Smart

Next, I must also say that this movie is very smart. With all its Easter Eggs to previous Walt Disney animated films like Frozen, references to our real world, subtle messages and timely themes about stereotypes and prejudice, as well as a thought-provoking plot, it just goes to show that animated films ain’t just for kids anymore.

5) It’s Inspiring

Last but not least, Zootopia is in its own way, inspiring. It talks about about making a stand, about acceptance, about redemption. It talks about true friendships, about never giving up and about dreaming big. So if you’re wondering what movie to catch right now, here’s one for you – other than Kung Fu Panda 3 of course!