All posts by TLG

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice movie review **MAJOR SPOILERS**

Batman V Superman is the movie I have been waiting for my entire life. The first comic book I ever picked was a World’s Finest comic when I was 5 years old and since I lived in India at the time, we would get these issues all out of order.


The movie starts with a focus on Batman & rightly so since in this universe Superman has already had his own movie. We see Affleck right in the middle of the Metropolis destruction and you get to see the horrors of the alien invasion caused in the finale when Superman saved mankind through a set of human eyes. The whole sequence is breathtaking, specifically the shot of him running towards a crumbling Wayne building. As soon as you see that moment when he embraces the little girl in the middle of the Zod – Superman fight,  you instantly know that there is no way this guy thinks of Superman as a hero. Another great scene comes in the form of the film’s opening montage. Now, since every incarnation of Batman gets his own origin scene. I know going in that I wouldn’t be too keen on this & well, I was very wrong. Snyder keeps this short, dark & symbolic to the point that it will have it’s own artistic value in the Batman mythos.

Every great superhero has always had great supporting characters surrounding the protagonist I was very worried about that here since we have two. Alfred played by the great Jeremy Irons is the most sarcastic, ill-humored & badass Alfred we have gotten yet.


This is not only a butler but Bruce’s partner in his war on crime and you can see why he is the way he is given he has been fighting crime 20 years with Wayne now. Their constant banter is the highlight of the movie.


Affleck gets some great scenes. One particular one is when the trinity are at Luthor’s party but with agendas of their own. They couldn’t have made this scene better and I just loved how Clark could instantly hear Alfred talking into Wayne’s headpiece. The following Bond’esque sequence between Bruce & Diana was great. Since this is our first look at the WW character who is considered by many the greatest female superhero ever I was very wary of  Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the icon. Thankfully in the limited time she has on film Gadot pulls it off. Every scene she is in, she is good. I can now confidently say this – Zack Snyder is an expert in directing powerful women. Faora was the biggest badass in Man of Steel & now Wonder Woman in this one.


My favorite sequence though besides the actual Batman V Superman battle is the nightmare sequence where Batman sees a possible  dystopian future. You get to see how glum things can actually get if Superman ever goes rogue and you get to see a glimpse of a cinematic Flash – which was spectacular. Besides being an amazing sequence this reinforces Wayne’s belief to take down Superman.


Talking about characters, lets jump into the next new one we are introduced here – Lex Luthor. Portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg here, this was something I was very doubtful about. There has been so many renditions of the character in the books that I was not sure which Lex we are going to see here. Eisenberg plays the crazy one. There are multiple allegorical references here as how he perceives Superman and why he has this pathological hatred towards god which actually stems his hatred for Superman. He plays this ADHD clumsy Lex well, but fans of the animated series will be disappointed since we don’t see the calm calculated villain we were expecting. I do see however why that choice was made. This movie needed an animated character between the world-weary Batman & the almighty ideal Superman.


Cavill plays Superman with a lot more conviction here. He is still struggling to find his place in society and fazed by the age old comic book question – “Does the world need a Superman?”, strikes the perfect balance between the christ-like empathy needed for Superman & the day-to-day human struggles that Clark Kent faces as a reporter. The more scenes we see of him, Perry & Lois, the more you realize how desperately we need a standalone sequel to Man of Steel.


The best part of the film is the fight when these titans collide in full glory. Like Man of Steel, Snyder gets rid of a very crucial plot device from the books – How can a genius like Lex not know who Superman is? Well, guess what? He does and not only does he know who Superman is, he also knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. I have seen a lot of comic book movies but none show a fight even remotely closer to what you see here. It just shows how invulnerable & how relentless both Superman and Batman respectively are and yes, there is a winner.


The final battle with Doomsday although very engaging came as a huge surprise to me. Like many others I was thinking we would see a proto-Doomsday fight the trinity. Surprisingly the movie went into Death of Superman and closed on one of the biggest cliffhangers.  This makes a lot more sense and I applaud Warner Brothers for making such a bold choice.

My biggest gripe in the film was Doomsday. The CG used was not the greatest and they could have definitely made it better given the time they had on their hands since this film was completed a year and a half ago. I had the same gripe with the Force Awakens which came out later last year where the CG was pretty bad for the Snoke character. In terms of completely CG characters I think everyone should take a page out of Marvel’s book as how they finally got the Hulk right after so many failed attempts.

Overall, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a spectacle film, not without it’s faults but a spectacle nevertheless. Watch it in surround sound in IMAX for the full experience. I saw it in AMC prime (a bit of a unsponsored plug here) and it was totally worth it.

Deadpool movie review

Deadpool is the first superhero movie of 2016 – which is being deemed as potentially the biggest year for comic book movies yet with 8 big movies of the genre coming out( Batman V Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X Men: Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, Suicide Squad & finally Doctor Strange). Considering the impressive line-up here in my head I just thought that Deadpool to be good and let my expectations not sky-rocket after the more-than-awesome marketing campaign for the movie. Regardless, even if Deadpool was alright, it would be considered an achievement considering the character is a total unknown in pop-culture.

deadpool 1

Deadpool is a fast-paced hilarious revenge drama starring Ryan Reynolds(Wade Wilson) as our titular superhero, Morena Baccarin(Vanessa) as the not-so-much-of-a-damsel-in-distress girlfriend, T.J. Miller(Weasel) as the not-much-of-a-friend friend and Ed Skrein (Ajax)as the main antagonist. Reynolds is used perfectly here as the fast talking mercenary and you get a flavor of the entire movie right from the opening credits. Deadpool is very unique in a lot of aspects, the biggest one being just how meta it is. Wilson talks repeatedly to the audience in snarky monologues which constitute the best elements in the film.

DEADPOOL Wade Wilson (Ryan Reyonlds) and new squeeze Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) trade some pointed barbs, in DEADPOOL. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reyonlds) and new squeeze Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) trade some pointed barbs, in DEADPOOL.
Photo Credit: Joe Lederer
TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

Another big change here is how the love interest is treated: Vanessa is not your typical damsel in distress but a very fitting partner to Wade and the screenplay makes it just fit perfectly. Miller’s Weasel is equal parts unlikeable & funny and his bar is equally a character a la the Continental in John Wick. The plot is eerily simple but the execution is terrific considering how often Deadpool continuously breaks the fourth wall and how Miller has used that to move the film forward is ingenious.

DEADPOOL Angel Dust (Gina Carano) roughs up barkeep Weasel (T.J. Miller), in DEADPOOL. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.
Angel Dust (Gina Carano) roughs up barkeep Weasel (T.J. Miller), in DEADPOOL.
Photo Credit: Joe Lederer
TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

Additionally, a special shout-out to Karan Soni who plays the innocuous Dopinder, Deadpool’s ride for his missions. I can bet good money that he is coming back for sequel. Also, Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead is as badass as it sounds.

DEADPOOL Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) pounces on an adversary. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.
Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) pounces on an adversary.
Photo Credit: Joe Lederer
TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

Finally, without delving into any spoilers I’d like to succinctly say: Deadpool is no masterpiece. Please don’t go in expecting the next Dark Knight but that definitely doesn’t limit the film in any way from being the meta phenomena it is touted as.

Airlift movie review

Airlift is a semi-fictionalized story about an evacuation that took place when Saddam Hussain’s forces invaded Kuwait and overnight 170,000 Indians in Kuwait were trapped in a war zone and had to be evacuated. The film focuses on Ranjit Katiyal(Kumar), who is a well established, well connected , shrewd and self-absorbed businessman who  lives in Kuwait with his wife and daughter. It is implied that Ranjit comes from humble beginnings and like every stereotypical NRI portrayed in Bollywood hates being called Indian. He enjoys partying and lives a very luxurious life with his wife and daughter until things change. Kumar is great at portraying swagger and he puts that to good use here.


Things soon take a turn for the worse when Kuwait is attacked by Iraq. What follows is total anarchy and our protagonist and his family stuck right in the middle of it. Kuwaiti citizens are executed in broad daylight and it is in this plight that Ranjit realizes that he is a refugee. The special effects in these shots is phenomenal and you truly believe you’re stuck in a war-zone.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.50.33 PM

Menon paints every character with many shades. Initially Ranjit, his family and friends are seen enjoying their luxurious and well connected lives in Kuwait to the point of dissociating themselves from India but as the narrative progresses you see how each of these characters evolve. Akshay portrays this evolution with ease and his maturity as an actor is visible here. What stands out here is the vulnerability and mundaneness with which he pulls it off. This is not the high kicking, jumping off a helicopter “Khiladi Kumar” we’re used to seeing, instead, we get a very driven, subdued character which develops at the perfect pace.


Other notable performances in the movie include those of  Prakash Belawadi & Purab Kohli. Nimrat Kaur plays the stereotypical wife to the T and disappoints. The most cringeworthy monologue in the second act of the film comes in the form of a cringeworthy monologue delivered by her which doesn’t come across as patriotic, as was originally intended.

The third act of the movie feels very Argo-like and I doubt how much of the dramatization is actually true. Nevertheless it does give you some nail-biting moments and a very satisfying finale.

Overall, Airlift is a riveting movie and proves that Bollywood can deliver style and substance in equal doses. This is a must watch!


Badlapur movie review[March 15th, 2015]

The film starts with the following African proverb:

” The Axe forgets but the tree remembers …”

Let me begin by pointing out that I don’t enjoy Bollywood movies much, not because they’re not usually entertaining but because most movies each year pander to the lowest denominator of society. Indian film industry, in my opinion was at it’s prime in the 50s since India just got independent and there was a drive to succeed. The 60s & 70s had most stars ripping off Hollywood (thus getting the infamous Bollywood tag, which I still prefer not to use) and I prefer not to talk about the 90s as a whole. I must also point out here that a renaissance parallel cinema was thriving in tandem with the mainstream which gave us amazing actors like Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah & Om Puri. This balance is what makes the film industry what it is today where you’ll mostly get a lot of masala Salman Khan/Shahrukh Khan blockbusters every year, mostly being sheer dumb entertainment and a Badlapur/Johny Gaddar/Gangs of Wasseypur.


[Spoilers follow] The movie begins with Misha(Yami Gautam) & her son Robin shopping and returning home when they’re abducted in a high octane car chase that involves a bank robbery. The bank robbers: Liak(Siddiqui) & Harman(Pathak) intimidate the mother-son and during the chase sequence kill them. What follows is a character study that was unexpected.

The palette is old but the structure is deliciously unique such that no screen time is wasted on playing the traditional revenge drama of will he or will he not be caught? That question gets answered in the first 30 minutes and the movie takes a 15 year time jump showing us how these characters have evolved. ‘Badlapur’ uniquely showcases how no one is truly good or bad but rather shaped by the circumstances he/she is thrown in. Raghav who is the supposed hero of the movie makes some really questionable moves while Liak who starts out as the absolute villain displays an uncanny humanity.


I would also like to give an honorable mention to Radhika Apte who plays Kanchan, the wife of Harman. Her ability to emote through her eyes and hands is truly gut-wrenching and I expect her to go places.

Overall, I would give Badlapur a solid 8/10. Here is a movie that shows you that a newcomer actor in the hands of a deft writer and a solid all rounded cast can deliver. Watch it for the spectacularly muted performances of Siddiqui & Dhawan and to see that there is more to Bollywood(read the Indian film industry) than the usual song ‘n’ dance routine.


I wrote this article originally on here in March last year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

A month before the new Star Wars movie was supposed to come out I was pretty indifferent about the whole affair. Before I am called crazy by the masses I want to put a disclaimer here, my first experience to the Star Wars universe was The Phantom Menace. I remember being bored beyond my mind and having no idea what I was watching, so it took me a lot of guts to revisit the Star Wars universe. Now in retrospect, I can definitely say that I was missing out since I can only imagine what it would have been watching the original trilogy as a kid. The concept, the perfect 3 act storytelling, the underdog protagonist versus the ultimate antagonist: this would have been my favorite trilogy as a kid had I seen it then.

The Force Awakens 3

Once the original trilogy was out of the way I decided to revisit the prequels. Conclusively there is not much I missed out there and nothing is really special except the last 15 minutes of The Revenge of the Sith. I cannot believe how much noise was present in those three movies and it can easily be made into one(You can check out The Phantom Edit on Youtube if you haven’t already).

The movie begins with the very familiar screen crawl and right off the bat it feels right. There is a kinetic energy in the movie that is just inexplicable and this is something very similar to the new Mad-Max movie. Star Wars is one of the those franchises which never lacked in concept but execution and Abrams definitely changes that with his midas touch. The Force Awakens has some great homages to the original trilogy and all of those work in a perfect mix and hit you in just the right nostalgia spots. Abrams takes on the herculean task of balancing pleasing fans of the original trilogy, the extended universe spanned by the Star Wars novels & comic books and the prequels, which I personally know has some fans.

StarWars 10

One of the finest additions that is back is the humor: Star Wars had a very distinct humor going on till the prequels came along. Han Solo’s swagger is not the only thing missing from the prequels.


The movie begins with the First Order, an analogue to the old evil Empire, attacking the resistance on planet Jakku.  We’re introduced to the conflict in a very new way when Finn(John Boyega) , a stormtrooper actually sees the horrors of war. He realizes that the First Order might not be the best team to be in and decides to quit. During this attack we’re also introduced to, most probably my favorite character in the movie, Kylo Ren(Adam Driver). In a breathtaking sequence he faces Poe Dameron(Oscar Isaac) and the First Order captures Poe. Poe as it turns out hides a part of the map to find Luke Skywalker in a droid called BB8. BB8, in a very familiar chain of events ends up on the doorsteps of Rey(Daisy Ridley), our new protagonist. In a very interesting sequence, Finn meets Rey, escapes the First Order for the second time and ends up in the millennium falcon. Since I saw the trailers I was waiting for Harrison Ford utter: “Chewie we’re home” and it was magical all three times I saw the movie.  There are several moments like this when I believe a true Star Wars fan will be transported to his childhood. The movie crisply makes a point of establishing new characters while respecting the old ones and their legacy. Ford & Fisher have instant chemistry as soon as you see them together.


One more key thing to point here is the distinct world building that Abrams does. We are introduced to the scorching and barren Jakku, the green and luscious Takodana and the icy Starkiller Base which serves as an evolved DeathStar. All three of these planets serve as characters in the movie.

Without spoiling the rest of the movie, I’ll now delve on some aspects that I didn’t like about the movie. Subtlety is not one of Abram’s strong points and it is clearly evident here as the entire narrative is heavily supplemented by exposition. The CGI used to show Snoke is one of the worse CGI models I have seen recently and could definitely be worked on for future films. The heavily featured and advertised Captain Phasma serves entirely as a plot device and has no purpose in the entire movie.

Last but not the least, I want to delve more into our main antagonist Kylo Ren played brilliantly by Adam Driver.  Ren has many similarities to the great Darth Wader but is a much more layered character. There are many sequences in the movie where he has fits of rage and each one of those is better than the previous one.

Finally I would like to mention that although not without its flaws the Force Awakens delivers on the promise of making Star Wars relevant again and strikes exactly the right cords. If this is the New Hope of the new trilogy then I cannot wait for the new Empire Strikes Back.


The Man from Uncle review

Uncle characters

2015 should be coined “Year of the Spy” by whoever coins movie years.  Mission Impossible 5, Hitman: Agent 47, Bridge of Spies & Man from Uncle, all spy movies but each with a  different taste to the palette.

Uncle Cavill

Man from Uncle features Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, a reluctant CIA agent who made a deal to work for them instead of going to jail and Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin, a KGB agent who is as tough as they get. Solo is tasked with recruiting the gorgeous Gaby (Alicia Vikander), who is the daughter of an ex-US scientist gone rogue. Kuryakin who has a very different modus operandi than Solo is also tasked with the same. What follows is a global sprint to stop a global catastrophe, the kind seen in almost every other spy movie these days. The plot is banal but the execution is really where Guy Ritchie shines.


Ritchie was aiming at that very 60s vibe with all three protagonists dressed dapperly and the typical spy locations: UK & Italy gorgeously placed in the backdrop here.  The best part about the action set pieces is the comic interludes with Solo savoring a sandwich while a group on henchmen are chasing Kuryakin instead of defending him, being my favorite. A torture scene which featured the uncle/mad scientist  torturing Cavill while showing him a scrapbook of his victim’s pictures was chilling but again was followed by an equally funny sequence. Split screen montages are finally done right with the right amount of tension and energy between the frames. We also have the final “chase the bad guy in a dune-buggy  sequence” which reminded me of the early Sean Connery Bond movies.


Overall, what I liked about Man from Uncle is it’s simplicity.  Ritchie went with style over substance but that doesn’t degrade the final product in any way. Also worth mentioning is the Hugh Grant special appearance which might have taken the charisma quotient of the movie up 2 more points.

The Martian Review

The Martian - huge

“I’m going to have to science the shit out of this”
–  Mark Watney

I have always loved movies where the protagonist is placed in unfathomable conditions and does anything to survive. I also love movies which have an intriguing plot (Duhh!) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the perfect mix in Ridley Scott’s the Martian.


The movie starts with Captain Lewis (Chastain) and her crew Johannsen (Mara), Martinez (Pena), Beck (Stan) & Watney (Damon) on an exploratory mission on Mars. Things go wrong when a sudden change of weather results in a storm on foreign terrain and Watney in a series of unfortunate events gets left behind on Mars. From being impaled by an antenna to a lack of food he goes through an incredible journey to survive.


The Martian is the movie Gravity wanted to be. Alfonso Cuaron is one of the best directors out there but Gravity just lacked on so many levels, the biggest being an interesting enough protagonist. Damon’s Watney is the all american hero in every sense of the way. He realizes the mortal peril he is in but that doesn’t curb is sense of humor. He doesn’t delve into Avengers style humor but still keeps you smiling in what could have been the saddest movie of the year. Ridley Scott proves that he is the king when it comes to realistic sci-fi.


The look of the movie left me dumbfounded. I would believe in a heartbeat that it was actually filmed on Mars if I didn’t know no man has been there. Scott, along with Nolan & Tarantino, is one of those directors who has never been afraid to throw intelligence at the audience and make us feel like intellectuals. After watching Mad Max, which is almost on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to movie making, I was pretty sure no movie was going to top that this year however this movie beats it by a mile.




The Martian paints the picture of a very recent future that is very real. Interstellar is one of my favorite sci-fi epics and the Martian comes really close. Both have Chastain & Damon giving brilliant performances but both are so dissimilar that it does not hit you for even a moment.


In the end, the Martian is about hope and survival and is a must watch.

The Flash Season 1 Review[Spoiler warning]

BarryAllen_The FlashThe Flash has been one of the coolest superheroes out there: the guy cracks jokes, zings around and always saves the day with a one liner that makes you smile. Here, of course I am talking about the Wally West version of the character. That has always been the version I have been exposed to, be it the comic books or the classic Justice League show. On a side note, Michael Rosenbaum, who played the live action Lex Luthor on Smallville voiced the Flash on that show and did an amazing job.  Being such a Wally West fan I was pretty skeptical when it was announced that Barry Allen would be the protagonist of the show. I haven’t been much of a Allen fan since my only exposure to him was the classic “Crisis on Infinite Earths“, which you have to check out if you haven’t already and Geoff Johns’s amazing The Flash Rebirth. Johns is one of those guys at DC who they call up whenever they want to revitalize a character and the guy is one of the best comic book writers out there. What made it a must see for me was that he is one of the creators on the show too. Finally comic book writers are getting the credit they deserve thanks to the golden age of cinematic superheroes.


The pilot introduces us to a Barry Allen who is struck by lightening while also giving us relevant flashbacks as how he was traumatized as a  kid when his mom was killed in a freak accident and his dad is sent to prison for it. As a result we see a Barry Allen that is very different from the one in the books: the childhood trauma made him very unsure of himself and he is not the self assured hero we’re used to seeing in the books. The CW template of surrounding the protagonist with a mixed supporting cast is aptly applied here by having a crew that is trying to revive Barry from his coma and we’re introduced to everyone’s favorite nerd Cisco, Caitlin & Harrison Wells dubbed as one of the visionaries of the century along with Joe, Barry’s adoptive father and Iris, his sister/crush (creepy, I know). The pilot had a very Smallville’ish feel to it and when I say Smallville I mean the good portions of that show and not the powderpuff girls show which it turned into. In the final moments of the pilot though you get to realize what the show can be capable of.


I was pretty doubtful even after watching the pilot though. CW has a very cruel bait and switch track record which is what kept me hooked but unsatisfied from Smallville. I had a feeling that the discovery of his own powers with a possible glimpse of Reverse Flash would be Season 1 and man was I wrong. If memory serves me right because i just binged the show, even the first four episodes which are primarily CW filler material keep you glued just because of Harrison Wells(Tom Cavanagh). Grant Gustin’s Allen is the moral anchor of the story while Cavanagh’s Wells is the propeller.


In typical CW fashion we’re always introduced to a rogue of the week but here that actually progresses the story pretty darn well. The prison break duo of Wentworth Miller & Dominic Purcell make a comeback playing Captain Cold & Heatwave. They ham it up way too much but that does play to the show’s strengths. Here is a show that shows that comic book pop-culture references when done right and with the right balance even on a network like CW can result in greatness. Cold’s one-liners do make you cringe but when followed by action set-pieces like when the Flash saves an entire train full of people in super speed more than makes up for it. I can definitely do without Heatwave though I think he is in there just for PrisonBreak nostalgia.




As the episodes progress we get to see how deep the rabbit hole actually goes when it comes to Harrison Wells. It’s not long when Barry starts to see through the facade.  Harrison Wells as it turns out is the Reverse-Flash or RF, one of Allen’s most formidable villains. The origin of RF is the most intriguing  plot point this season and something that might be quite lacking from the next one. Cavanagh brings such a dramatic flair to the character which would be missed guessing from the Finale, but then again this is DC Comics we’re talking about where their are infinite Earths with Infinite crisis. Another landmark for the series is how they handled the budget. They managed to portray Flash, The Reverse Flash & Grodd on a CW TV budget and gave us a show that is clearly the best superhero show on television(Daredevil fans calm your horses)



The Flash is a must see for anyone who is interested in watching a good sci-fi show. I’ll rate it a solid 8/10.