Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Captain Marvel (2019) - Review

The 21st entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) works like a cog in a well-oiled machine. It doesn't add much the lore, but it's a connective tissue and gives you your fix until Avengers Endgame comes out.

The movie starts with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as an elite warrior among the Kree - an alien race - with no recollection of her past. The first act (out of the traditional three-act structure) establishes the relationships and dynamics that the titular character has with the rest of the Kree (fellow soldiers and their leader: the Supreme Intelligence). A mission gone slightly wrong brings Carol Danvers to earth in the year 1995. In this second act, she meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and somewhat figures out her backstory. The movie concludes with Carol Danvers' transition into Captain Marvel and winning the climactic battle.

The whole movie is an easy-watch, and time flies by (i.e., excellent pacing, which was the third pillar in my taxonomy). The second act is the strongest as it has some heart and humour, and hits the nostalgia factor (Nick Fury in the mid 90's!). But the rest is a generic cookie-cutter comic book hero introduction (with all the doubts and hero's acceptance of their power and responsibilities).

The biggest flaw of the movie is within the main character. Carol Danvers or Captain Marvel is supposedly suffering from amnesia, and she doesn't remember who she was before joining the kree. In the beginning, she is this stoic, no-nonsense soldier that acts a lot like the Terminator (i.e., a robot). As the movie goes on, she pieces the puzzle together and figures out how she got there, but she still remains the robotic soldier. Frankly, the T800  (Arnold Schwarzenegger's character) in Terminator 2 had more character development (started as a robot, and almost became human by the end). But she is still likeable, and the rest of the cast (protagonists and antagonists) work well too.

If it was the first movie in a new cinematic universe, it probably would havee failed to attract much attention. But as the 21st entry, it certainly entertains fans of the MCU (myself included). I'd give it a 7/10.

After Life (2019) - Season One - Review

Ricky Gervais starred in, wrote, and directed a show about himself, but not the globally successful comedian, but as if he was a small town journalist who had picked love over career.

Fans of Gervais (a group that also includes yours truly) will enjoy After Life, since it is very much like an extended interview with Gervais himself. His character, Tony, has recently lost his beloved wife to cancer, and now has nothing else to live for. He works for the local newspaper and has to cover trivial affairs of a small town (e.g., water stain on a wall that resembles a celebrity). Tony is too smart for his own good and could have been a big shot journalist, but picked this life to have the freedom to enjoy more time with the love of his life. Now that his wife has passed on, he has lost the will to live.

Of course, the show is not this dark and nihilistic till the end. The journey that Tony (Gervais' character) goes on to find a new meaning of his life (manifested through his interactions with the social circle around him), is truly beautiful!

If you're a fan of Gervais' comedy and world-view, then After Life is a must watch and a 10/10.