An Epic Journey of MCU to Endgame (2008-2019)

Whatever it Takes..

It’s been over a decade that Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around entertaining the fans worldwide through its superhero adventure stories based on the Marvel comics and the characters created by Stan Lee.

Over a period of ten years, MCU has established many superhero origin stories in the same universe. And now, MCU has reached the point where all these stories are going for an epic crossover, where Earth’s mightiest superheroes are going to assemble to fight the battle against greatest villain universe has ever seen.

The MCU had kickstarted with Iron Man (2008), which came out on May 2nd, 2008. The script was not completely finished when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, even the makers were not sure about what they were doing, despite all these difficulties Jon Favreau, the director of the film has pulled off everything so brilliantly, that eventually had laid the foundation of what MCU today is. The casting of Robert Downey Jr. as TonyStark/Iron Man was considered very risky for the project because of his past but Jon Favreau commented: “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl.”, and today we see Robert Downey Jr. as the biggest star of MCU who has ignited the never-ending flame of incredible filmography.

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From the very start, MCU hinted upcoming crossovers in the post-credit scenes, and from that point, it became a trend. So even after the film ends, fans still wait on their seats for these little scenes until the screen gets completely black. It started with the post-credit scene in the very first Iron Man film. In that, the fans were teased with the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who approached Tony Stark for an Avengers initiative, and that’s where seeds for this greater universe were sowed. In the same year of 2008, along with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (2008) was also released, and in this film also Tony Stark has made an appearance in the post-credit scene, which again hinted the crossover of superhero films in the near future.

Iron Man was Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie but then in 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for USD $4 billion. After this acquisition, the studio has not stopped yet and has delivered 21 in the saga out of planned 22 films. Avengers: Endgame is going to be the 22nd and final film in this chronology on three phases. Later, they’ve also added the 23rd film Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), which will get released in July 2019. MCU has defined the solid style of interconnected filmmaking where different stories are running in the shared universe and concluding together in the end. The MCU has maintained their timeline of events happening in different films pretty well apart from the Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) which had some incorrect timeline as confirmed by Joe Russo in one of his interviews.

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Iron Man serves as the perfect start to the MCU and is surely the best origin story ever put to screen for a comic book character. After the success of Iron Man, the next milestone was The Avengers (2012) and before that MCU introduced the new superheroes through films like Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Thor (2011), which assembled the core Avengers team. Making the team of Avengers alive on the silver screen was one of the most ambitious projects MCU had ever done in the past. If we call Iron Man as the foundation, then The Avengers surely can be called as the backbone of this shared universe. The Avengers grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and became the third-highest-grossing film during its theatrical run—as well as the highest-grossing film of Marvel production till the present day. And all the credit for its success goes to Joss Whedon who has co-written and directed the film, which ultimately fetched him a chance to direct Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

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MCU’s all the planned 22 films are divided across three different phases. The chronological order of these films is as follows :
Phase One: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012).
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015).
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019).

In the first phase, MCU introduced the core characters through their standalone films and kickstarted the Avengers saga. Going forward, in the second phase, they not only introduced some more new characters and films having their roots connected but also discovered some deeper aspects of the existing members of the Avengers. Now, in the third phase, all the separate threads from previous films are coming together and are forming a big picture. Apart from the characters in the core Avengers team of phase one, the studio has also introduced some new superheroes like Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy, with similarly intriguing storylines.

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All these superheroes have already joined the fight against the Mad Titan in last year’s Avengers: Infinity War (2018). In that film, the major and difficult task was to bring together all these different storylines and characters, and that too without tampering with their appearances in previous films. But the very talented director duo Anthony and Joe Russo made it possible altogether, who has previously directed Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016). Russo brothers have found the perfect balance between comic and intense moments in their superhero films. They have brought the needed realism, gravity, and intensity to MCUs superhero films. Infinity War has a comparatively darker tone than any other Marvel films. Avengers: Endgame is the 4th film by Russo brothers as a director. And that is why it is going to be Epic, for sure.

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Along with the mighty superheroes, every MCU film has portrayed equally or more powerful villains – the villains which would act as the most important arcs in defining who the superhero really is. In the 1st phase of the Avengers, Loki played the villain character and threatened the Earth’s very freedom, which eventually united the Avengers. In the 2nd phase, Avengers faced the catastrophe in the form of Ultron, the AI program, which made the Avengers think about the meaning of their own existence. And Now, in the finale of the 3rd phase, the Avengers have come face to face with Thanos, the mad titan, who has an obsession with balancing the universe by wiping out half of its population.

Infinity War was the culmination of 10 years of MCU’s fascinating stories and characters. The film was titled as Avengers but the film was actually about the villainous character Thanos. The film’s storyline keeps him in the center and follows him through his quest for trying to acquire all the Six Infinity Stones, which are appeared in the previous Marvel films and are located at different places. The film discusses Thanos’ ideology in a really great way. One of his many great quotes, “The hardest choices require the strongest will.” says everything about him. And about his genocidal ways, he calls it mercy. He is so determined that he even sacrifices his own daughter for this cause. He’s not just a psychopathic mass-murderer, he also has an emotional drive, his love for his daughter, which we can see throughout the film’s runtime. He’s a villain with a good cause, the greater good, but with really evil and ruthless ways.

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All powerful Thanos was first spotted in the post-credit scene of The Avengers(2012), and later, in the post-credit scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), since then he was pulling all the strings from background, but in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), he has got the things done by himself. It is the first time in cinematic history when 22 superheroes assembled against one powerful supervillain, which was truly spectacular to watch. At the end of Infinity War, Thanos accomplishes his plan of wiping out half of the world’s population by defeating the Avengers. And now, in Avengers: Endgame, the finale of this epic saga, the fallen heroes are going to get back and fight Thanos one more time. So mark the date, 26th April 2019, and be a part of this never seen before cinematic experience.

Every single character from MCU has earned a special place in fans heart. And as Avengers: Endgame is the end of this saga, the film is gonna be an emotional ride for everyone. This may be the last film in which our favorite characters will reprise their roles (characters may die/end of their contact with MCU). Seeing all our beloved characters once again and maybe for the last time on screen really touches our hearts. And witnessing the fate of all these characters is another best thing about this film.

In every phase, MCU has evolved spectacularly, in terms of storytelling, technological advancements, mesmerizing visual effects. MCU films not only talk about superheroes and villains but also emphasize on emotional drifts of its characters, which enables the audience to root for them. It also talks about family, friends, and relationships which eventually makes it more human. Like any other films, even some MCU films are flawed, either in storytelling, or weaker script, or underdeveloped characters, despite all these factors, and as MCU is seen as a whole, every MCU film has its own fan base and has earned a place in the popular culture. Today, MCU has become the most successful and highest grossing movie franchise of all time and its gonna remain there for a long time.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Movie Review

What makes you different is what makes you Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated action-adventure film based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man. The film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.

It is the first feature film in the Spider-Man franchise to be animated rather than live-action. The animation of the film has its own unique style, combining Sony Pictures Imageworks’ computer animation pipeline with traditional hand-drawn comic book techniques including the stop-animation effect.

The film sets in a shared multiverse called the “Spider-Verse”, which has alternate universes having alternative versions of Spider-Man. The film follows a teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and develops superhuman spider-like abilities. Not so long into the film, Miles witnesses the deadly experiment to access parallel universes being carried out by Wilson Fisk a.k.a Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). The experiment starts to malfunction which causes different versions of Spider-Man from different dimensions to collide in the present one. Now, Miles Morales must team up with other Spider-People to save New York City from Kingpin.

The animation of the film is one of its kind and it works really well. The plot of the film is very much intriguing with compelling characters and nicely woven humor. The film tells the really good origin story of Miles Morales/Spider-Man as we can clearly see the apt transformation of a teenager becoming Spider-Man. The other best parts of this film are brilliant voice actors and their comic timings. The background score and the soundtracks of the film just elevate the overall experience in the best way. With all these positive points this film will definitely get nominated for the Academy Awards in different categories, and can also possibly win some.

Verdict : The film is undoubtedly one of the best-animated films of the year, and one should not miss this.

Rating : 4.4/5


Redmi Y2 (Rose Gold, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage)

K.G.F: Chapter 1 (2018) – Movie Review

Powerful People Comes From Powerful Places

K.G.F: Chapter 1 is a period action drama film written and directed by Prashanth Neel. The film is the first installment in the two-part series.

The film sets from the year 1951 to the present time. In the present time, the senior journalist Anand Ingalagiis (Anant Nag) is narrating the story of Kolar Gold Fields (El Dorado – the lost city of gold). In 1951, the story of the film starts and proceeds parallelly with two incidents; the birth of the protagonist Raja/Rocky (Yash) and other in the K.G.F people locate the gold. On one side, the film tells the journey of Rocky, born in poverty, from his village to Mumbai to Bangalore, to fulfill his dying mother’s wish to become the richest and powerful man. And on the other hand, the film revolves around the world of money, power, politics, and secret empire of gold named K.G.F built by the ruthless land and gold mafia Suryavardhan (Ramesh Indira) and his allies.

The plot of the film is really interesting and it is filled with so many compelling characters. The lead character Rocky played by Yash commands his screen presence. Along with the leads, the performances by all the other characters are also convincing. Each and every scene of the film is beautifully shot, and it feels aesthetically pleasing. All the credit goes to the actors and the director who made it real.

The background score is another best thing about this film, which makes it even more enjoyable along with its stylistic nature. The only disagreeable thing about this film is its editing, it is different but very fast paced. The shots cut so many times in a single moment which makes it difficult to keep track of the story.

Verdict : The film is a full package of entertainment with action and drama, and definitely worth a watch. I watched this film twice, and believe me, the second time it was even more enjoyable than the first.

Rating : 4.2/5

Sacred Games (Season 1 – 2018) – Review

The Game has just begun.

Sacred Games is an Indian crime-drama web tv series by Netflix directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. The series is based on Vikram Chandra’s thriller novel of the same name. The novel was adapted by Smita Singh, Vasant Nath, and Varun Grover. The series consists of eight episodes which were made available on Netflix for streaming on 6 July 2018.

The series tells the story of Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), a righteous and jaded police officer, whose paths intersect with Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the self-obsessed notorious gangster boss. Sartaj, who is at conflict with the questionable moralities of the police force, when receives a cryptic message from Gaitonde and learns about the lurking attack on Mumbai, starts his own investigation to prevent the attack.

The series chronicles a diabolical plot, one depicts the efforts of an honest police officer caught between corruption, dirty politics, and deadly conspiracies, and still has all the will to do the right thing, another one sets in the flashbacks of past exploring the rise of all-powerful Ganesh Gaitonde, a mob boss with delusions of grandeur, operating out of a Mumbai ghetto called Gopalmath, and how they both become part of these sacred games.

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Overall the plot is intimidating, and as the trailers had suggested, which were released a couple of months before, it is truly intense, darker, grittier than ever, and maintains that thriller vibe throughout. According to one interview, the Gaitonde’s gangster life portion has been directed by Anurag Kashyap, and it’ll definitely make the audience remember his previous directorial film Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). And the other part following the present day story of Sartaj’s character showing the underbelly of the society has been directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. Structurally, it is a well-put story, and well-shot as well. The lightings, costume design, camera angles, background score, and instrumental music are remarkable.

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Undoubtedly, the casting of characters is top notch, and this can be seen in their grounded and compelling performances. The role of a brash and brutal gangster is not new for Nawazuddin, but here it feels totally different from his previous portrayals, he steals every scene he’s in, and unknowingly audience loses the moment when they start feeling for an unquestionable baddie. For Saif Ali Khan and his character Sartaj, this series has become a point of redemption. It’s a stellar performance by Saif, he has literally embodied the broken persona of a mistreated cop who can go to any limit to set things right. Along with leads, the supporting cast is also impressive. In particular, Radhika Apte as the investigating RAW agent, Neeraj Kabi as Sartaj’s commanding officer Parulkar, Jitendra Joshi as constable Katekar, Jatin Sarna as Gaitonde’s henchman Bunty, Girish Kulkarni as Minister Bipin Bhosale, and Kubra Sait as Kukoo. Every single character in the series has their own character arc which creates the emotional gravity, and it’s just moving.

At its heart, it’s the raw and scary story told in a brilliant way, the story of Mumbai city where all this drama plays around religion, politics, corruption, and Bollywood. There are multiple themes run at a time in a story, one of which is a theme of corruption in the system, it gives a closer look at how it is crumbled from inside, and even if one tries to rebel will eventually have to compromise at some point. Another theme is the theme of religion, “The biggest business in the world is religion. Under the garb of faith, they make fools out of all of us.” when Gaitonde delivers this line, it firmly hints that what is going to come ahead, the catastrophic consequences of religious polarisation. For an international audience, India’s communal divide appears akin to the US’s institutionalized racism. Most of the parts of the story play in parallel with real-life past events which makes it relatable and interesting. The use of symbolism throughout the series can be seen, either in visuals or in monologues.

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There are intriguing endings to every episode, and in no time, the viewer goes for the next one, just like that. From the starting point, there are many characters been introduced one by one, episode by episode, and we actually need to keep track of them, as their paths are definitely going to cross somewhere ahead in the story. It is the mix of likable and unlikable characters, the good and the bad ones, which are going to intertwine in the interesting, upsetting and uncomfortable series of events.

At last, “streaming is liberating”, as it is the web tv series, there are no constraints of the censor board. Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane waste no time in exploiting the opportunity offered by a platform free of censorship to make a powerful and hard-hitting statement. The series doesn’t hold back while portraying an unapologetic content like a real gangster life, scenes of gore and bloodshed, sexually explicit scenes etc. Plus the brilliance and thoughtfulness of makers keep it understated and yet impacting.

Finally, with no doubt, on the global platform, Sacred Games has successfully made its mark and has earned the prestigious position among top international web tv series. Even the Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3 out of 10. On IMDb, it is on the 25th rank as a top rated tv series, with an astonishing average rating of 9.4 out of 10.

Verdict : Without any second thought, just watch it, and get lost in Sacred Games.

Rating : 4.6/5

Secret Superstar (2017)

To Mothers & Motherhood…

Secret Superstar is the debut directorial musical family-drama film written and directed by Advait Chandan in collaboration with Amir Khan Productions. He has also worked on many projects in past with Amir Khan like Taare Zameen Par (2007) & Dhobi Ghat (2010), and this one proves his caliber and brilliance in filmmaking.

The film starts with the 14-year old girl Insia (Zaira Wasim) from Vadodara having passion and talent in music who dreams of being a successful singer one day. In pursuing her dreams, Insia is strengthened by the love of her pure-hearted mother Najma (Meher Vij), but always drawn back by her unreasonable and abusive father (Raj Arjun). Her vicious father is the very reason Insiya is living in the world with very limited opportunities same as that of her mother who is been living life like hell. To cherish this talent of singing and to get all the fame the series of events led her to upload her own singing videos wearing burkha on YouTube, the strongest multimedia platform today, as an anonymous singer. It is the coming of age story of Insiya from zero to becoming a secret singing sensation overnight. But as this simplistic story progresses it gives totally different and beautiful arc to it and makes the audience realize that the film is all about mother’s selfless love and her sacrifices for her daughter in fulfilling her dreams.

The film is the emotional roller coaster ride with some very intense moments which can make the audience uncomfortable. There are also many heartwarming moments which will definitely make your eyes watery. The appearance of Amir Khan in the film as quirky, crazy, and downfalling Music Director Shakti Kumar is just fun to watch and justifies in all angles. Amir Khan is very choosy in the films he acts in, and yes, this one also has a lot of things to give to its audience. This film has very strong and effective messages like “There’s no meaning to life without dreams.”, “No victory is greater than mother’s love.” and so on. Along with making some hard-hitting statements, this film also talks about feminism, women empowerment, women treated as the second class citizens in the male-dominated society.

The performances of each and every individual who acted are believable and top notch. Every screen appearance of Raj Arjun as Insia’s stubborn father is so scary. Kabir Shaikh as Guddu, Insia’s cute younger brother, is so adorable and really convincing. Tirth Sharma as Chintan, Insia’s classmate cum friend, is the real treat and serves the purpose right as per the story’s need. It is the moving and compelling story with a really lot to give, with finest performances, and the best film of 2017 so far.

Verdict : Family entertainer, the best film of 2017 so far. One should not miss this at any cost.

Rating : 4.5/5

Kaasav : Turtle (2017)

A story of Patience and Acceptance.

Kaasav (Turtle in English) is the new Marathi film, the Golden Lotus winner at the National Awards. It is directed by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar, the duo has directed many films together but it is the third film after Devrai (2004) and Astu (2015) which focuses on the physical/mental health issues. This film subtly potrays the crux of the films Taare Zameen Par (2017) and Dear Zindagi (2016).

The story of Kaasav starts with the guy named Manav/Niche (Aalok Rajwade) who is in the state of despondency and depression; ran from the hospital after attempting a suicide. The reason behind his mental illness is never shown clearly in the film, but the shot of him traversing through his contact list depicts that it might be a heartbreak in a relationship. Then the story introduces us to another character Janki (Iravati Harshe), a divorcee, separated from her family which is in the US, facing her own demons of depression and recovering from them. She, vulnerable to panic attacks, to recover from her state of mind and to find the redemption starts contributing to a turtle conservation project with the social worker Dattabhau (Dr. Mohan Agashe). Janki while traveling to Konkan with her driver Yadu (Kishore Kadam) finds him collapsed on the roadside, and take him to her house. Rest of the film is the heartwarming story of Patience of Janki in helping Manav selflessly in recovering from his depression & Acceptance of Manav about life and how beautiful it is if we wish to see which eventually let us find the meaning of life.

The story also talks about the turtle conservation project and educate the audience about many aspects of it. Although, that every aspect can be connected really well with the story of two lead characters metaphorically. There are one or many meanings for every act of the story. The very much highlighted metaphor is that the thickness of depression of the person can be as thick as that of turtle’s shell, but selfless acts, proper care, and love, with behavioral and environmental changes can bring out best from them. Rather drowning in the melodrama the film cleverly gives what is expected. The spine of the movie is the journey and transformation of Manav (the name itself depicts human/man) from his one state of mind to other, which is portrayed very beautifully and convincing at the same time.

The breathtaking visuals of the beauty of Konkan and the reactions of the characters are the soul of this film. The performance of Iravati is flawless and to the point. The role of Aalok as a depressed person is totally justifying, he doesn’t talk much most of the times, but his eyes and expressions are very well situated. Dr. Mohan Agashe, a psychiatrist himself, having a guest appearance role, justifies every frame he is in. Parshu (Omkar Gadhi), a local kid working at a tea shop really needs appreciation.

Verdict : Worth a watch for every type of movie genre lovers and deep thinkers. Go and find the meaning of life.

Rating : 4/5

Newton (2017)

To Improve is to Change…

Newton is the latest satire comedy-drama co-written and directed by Amit Masurkar, starring Rajkumar Rao in the lead role. The tone of this satirical drama is so well-focused that it brilliantly and clearly pinpoints the things.

The film starts in the times of Loksabha elections in India in the small village of the state of Chhattisgarh, the part of eastern/central India. The honest government clerk, the man driven by rules, Nutan Kumar/Newton Kumar (Rajkumar Rao), has been sent to the conflict-driven remote jungle of Chhattisgarh for conducting elections for two Naxal affected villages, having altogether 76 voters. Now being an honest and noble in his election duty, he must stay firm with the apathy of armed forces which are commanded by Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) and the totally out of the world and illiterate voters/villagers. Participating with Newton in this job, his colleagues, Lokanath (Raghuvir Yadav) and Shambhoo (Mukesh Prajapati), and a local teacher Malko (Anjali Patil). These officials come together and set up the election booth in the school of the burnt remote village. Rest of the movie shows the struggle, Newton has to go through in order to drive the fair and transparent election.

The film, Newton doesn’t get too heavy on the doses of social messages or boring and instead of overdramatizing the script, the director very brilliantly uses comedy to hit the bullseye. Performances of all the actors and the people we see on screen are unmatchable and at their best. Sanjay Mishra in the guest appearance steals the show. Rajkumar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi with their versatile acting skills just rule the every screen they are in. The screenplay of the film is so beautiful that there’s hardly a dull moment. The harsh reality of the tribes/people living in the remote villages has been portrayed in much presentable and entertaining way which unknowingly touches viewers’ heart.

Verdict : Not everyday such brilliant and beautiful films are made. Without any second thought just book your tickets.

Rating : 4/5