Aquaman Review: Worth Diving into this Underwater Adventure

December 23, 2018 at 6:32 PM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

SPOILER WARNING: This movie review contains spoilers of the Aquaman live action film adaptation. Read at your own risk!


Okay, full disclosure: I used to read DC and Marvel comics as a child but I don’t exactly recall if I ever read any Aquaman comics. My exposure to Aquaman was a few glimpses of its cartoon version on TV, nothing more. So I went into the cinema this weekend to watch its live action adaptation as a movie goer more than a comics reader. Thus, I really didn’t know how much of the film’s story borrowed from the original material.

The movie Aquaman was first and foremost a visually stunning spectacle. Its underwater scenes alone made up for the fact that the movie was silly and corny at times in terms of plot and dialogue. The movie tells the story of Aquaman’s origins – how he was born from a human father and a mother who happened to be Atlanna, the queen of an underwater world called Atlantis.

Arthur Curry, as what Aquaman was called by humans, was just trying to mind his own business – helping people in trouble – when he got caught in an emerging war between Atlanteans and surface dwellers, i.e. humans. His Atlantean half-brother Orm wanted to declare war against humans for causing so much pollution in the ocean and militarizing the ocean. But in order to do so, Orm must convince at least four of the seven kingdoms under the sea to side with him and gather forces against the humans.

Mera, an Atlantean princess who first appeared in Justice League, prodded a reluctant Arthur to reclaim his birthright as the king of the seven seas. It’s worth noting the callback to Justice League in one of the scenes in the movie. This could only mean that the events that took place in Justice League happened before Arthur officially became Aquaman.

The movie’s plot was rather cliché – a typical trope I’ve seen in other movies and TV shows where a hero’s quest takes him to other parts of the world in search of clues. But like I’ve said, I don’t know how much of its plot was taken directly from the comics. Another problem I had with the movie was the dialogue. There was too much exposition in them that it sounded like the writers cramped every detail of the backstory they could in the dialogue.

Although I liked Arthur’s humor in Justice League, in Aquaman, most of the humor between Arthur and Mera fell flat. The two didn’t even have chemistry to make the romantic side of the story convincing. The sub-plot about Black Manta was unnecessary and looked more as a distraction from the main plot, which was the Atlantean war. Black Manta’s story was better off in a separate movie than this one.

While Jason Momoa’s performance as Aquaman was remarkable, Amber Heard as Mera was lacking in depth. And while I enjoyed the first half of the movie, the second half was much better. In the second half, we saw Arthur successfully take the much sought-after trident and finally became Aquaman. Aquaman’s costume in the movie looked way better than the original campy one from the comics. The sea creatures also got a modern upgrade. No longer we saw Aquaman riding on a pink seahorse. Instead, the sea creatures – from seahorses to sharks, turtles and giant crabs – were fierce and formidable.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable and still worth watching. I could only hope that the sequel (should there be one) would be better than this first installment.


Thought Bubbles

  • What exactly does Arthur do for a living when he’s on land and living among humans?
  • How did Orm know about Vulko’s “betrayal”? How long did he know that Vulko trained Arthur as a young boy?
  • Considering the Atlantis scenes in Justice League, did Orm and Vulko know about the mother box as well? Why were they not involved in the fight against Steppenwolf?
  • Given that there was melting lava in one of the underwater scenes in the movie, shouldn’t the water be hot and boiling then? How come Arthur and Mera didn’t seem to feel any heat from it?

Wonder Woman Successfully Sets the Tone for Female Superheroes

June 5, 2017 at 9:25 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | 3 Comments
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SPOILER ALERT: This movie review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk!

After years of drought in not having any worthy female superhero in films, we are finally gifted with something that is at par with the other superhero blockbusters out there. Wonder Woman is a magnificent film that truly puts women at the center of the action.

I never read any of the Wonder Woman or Justice League comics when I was a child. And I never watched a single episode of its classic TV adaptation which starred Lynda Carter. So I’m basically a newbie in the Wonder Woman universe. And naturally I’m curious to see the movie when it was first unveiled at the San Diego Comic Con. And I got more excited when I saw the first trailer of the movie.

I first got to see Diana Prince, a.k.a Wonder Woman in the Batman v. Superman movie and I was already impressed by the character. It was a delight to see her in action fighting alongside Superman and Batman. Now I’m glad that she has her own solo movie.

Wonder Woman is an empowering film for women and young girls. In the movie, we get to see the origins of Wonder Woman herself, back when Diana is still a child and under the watchful eye of her mother, Queen Hippolyta and aunt, Antiope. We watch her grow up to become a fierce Amazon warrior just like the other Amazons living in Themyscira. We also get to see a glimpse of her in the future, where she maintains communication with Bruce Wayne – a direct reference to the scenes in Batman v. Superman.

I greatly enjoyed the scenes in Themyscira with its sweeping, picturesque setting. It’s refreshing to see those scenes where an island is populated by female warriors. Robin Wright is fantastic as Antiope. So is Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta. They are just as fierce as Wonder Woman herself. Seeing the Amazons fight the invading Germans is a sight to behold.

However, when the film’s setting moves to London, it becomes a bit of a drag. Chris Pine as Steve Trevor is uninteresting and rather bland. The love story between him and Diana feels forced. It would have been better if the writers did not factor in a love story in the film. The movie could hold on its own without a love story.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is both fierce and endearing. Her character, Diana, has that naïve quality about her, especially when she first sets foot in London. She doesn’t know the ways of the modern world, especially when it comes to war. She is plucked out of her secluded, primitive world and thrown into a new world she couldn’t understand. But as she comes to know more and more of mankind and herself, we see her mature slowly and become what she is in the future. And despite the horrors of war she witnessed, she still has an earnest belief that there is goodness in every man. She is both soft and strong and very brave in facing off with the bad guys, especially Ares.

I think David Thewlis as the god of war Ares was miscast. He looks out of place in that costume. I just wish that there were more scenes in Themyscira, though. I’m interested in knowing more of Hippolyta and Antiope and their back story as Amazons. I hope the movie sequel will get to explore that.

X-Men: Not As Apocalyptic As I Had Hoped

May 23, 2016 at 9:15 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
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I had so much expectations for the latest installment of the X-Men movie franchise. Ever since I learned in 2014 that Apocalypse would be the main villain in the next X-Men movie, I got really excited. Apocalypse was the one X-Men villain that I really loved to hate. While I didn’t read much of its comics version when I was a kid, I did love the cartoons. And I always loved every episode where Apocalypse was involved. He was a formidable villain that the X-Men could not beat easily.

X-Men_Apocalypse poster

It is rather unfortunate, though, that X-Men: Apocalypse did not live up to my expectations. Sure I liked the movie enough, but it did not leave me in awe when I left the cinema. While the CGI was stunning as expected from a blockbuster superhero movie, the action sequences were a bit muddled. There was too much going on that it was hard to keep up with the story and the characters.

I was expecting more depth from Apocalypse but there was really no solid merit in his arguments to wipe out the world and the entire population. It was a typical trope that I’ve seen so many times in other movies and TV shows. And I was left confused on why Storm, Psylocke and Angel would want to team up with Apocalypse.

Speaking of these three characters, they were underutilized in this movie. All they did most of the time was to stand around Apocalypse. There was no character development. I’ve seen in interviews on TV that Olivia Munn supposedly had an intense martial arts training in preparation for her role as Psylocke. But I did not see much of that in the movie. Her action sequences were very limited, and so were Angel’s.

Magneto, Apocalypse and Psylocke

Quicksilver’s slow-mo scene – while amusing – was a less impressive repeat of his widely-loved slow-mo scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past. It’s mainly a fan service, nothing more. His revelation that he was the son of Magneto was an anti-climax and wasn’t explored much in the movie.

I also have a gripe about Jean Grey meeting Wolverine for the first time in 1983. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I remember from the movie franchise, Wolverine did not meet Jean Grey until that very first X-Men film. And am I supposed to believe that their age gap was really that wide?

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey was likable enough. I liked the fact that the movie hinted on her alter ego – the Dark Phoenix, and that her powers were strong enough to defeat Apocalypse. Hopefully the next X-Men movie will focus on Dark Phoenix and do justice to that storyline. I hated X-Men: The Last Stand for the way the writers treated that story on Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix.

Apocalypse and Mystique

Towards the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, audiences were shown Mystique training the young Jean Grey, Storm, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler and preparing them to be the X-Men that they would become. Here’s the thing. I did not buy this at all. It didn’t sit well with me. I mean, Mystique was supposed to be a villain in the first place. If there was someone who’d train the future X-Men, it would be some other older mutant, not Mystique. But I guess the writers wanted to focus on Jennifer Lawrence’s character and make her a potential leader of the X-Men because, hey, she’s an Academy Award winner.

I miss Rebecca Romijn and Famke Janssen. To me, they are still the better versions of Mystique and Jean Grey, respectively. And Rogue is clearly missing in this movie. Maybe she’ll make an appearance in the Gambit movie – if that is still happening.

All in all, X-Men: Apocalypse lacked the substance and cohesiveness of its predecessor X-Men: Days of Future Past.

BvS Packs a Lot of Punch

March 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Geekdom, Movies | Leave a comment



Photo Credit:

When I first heard the news years ago that there was going to be a movie about Batman versus Superman, I was sceptical. My initial reaction was, “Why would they want to make a movie about Batman and Superman fighting each other? That’s not a good idea.” Even though it happened in the comics (which I didn’t know and never read), I still thought it’s not a good idea. I love Superman and Batman but I didn’t want to see them battling against each other. Then the news that Ben Affleck was going to play Batman came. I was indignant. I thought he wasn’t the perfect actor to replace Christian Bale as Batman. I couldn’t imagine him as the Caped Crusader. For quite some time I was adamant about my initial perception of the movie being made and the fact that Ben Affleck was playing Batman. But then I saw the first trailer and got curious and excited. It was always my plan to watch the movie despite my misgivings about it because I’m a big fan of Superman. And I enjoyed Man of Steel a lot. Even though I wasn’t that partial to Henry Cavill playing Superman at first, he eventually grew on me after watching Man of Steel for the second time. That in itself was reason enough for me.

So I braved the large crowd and long lines at the cinema and watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even the largely negative reviews by the critics didn’t stop me from watching it. When I emerged from the cinema I was stunned. The movie blew me away. I loved it. I didn’t even notice that the movie was more than two hours long. It was action-packed right from the start.

Batman v Superman picked up where Man of Steel came off. Actually, the movie mainly starts during the later part of the scene in Man of Steel where Superman was in the middle of an epic battle with General Zod in the heart of the Metropolis. Amidst the destruction caused by that battle, Bruce Wayne watched helplessly as the skyscraper bearing his company name got destroyed. The building and its occupants were just one of the many casualties of the battle. It was for this reason and the overall destruction of the Metropolis that Bruce Wayne’s anger and suspicion towards Superman started. It set the tone for the rest of the movie leading up to the inevitable fight between Batman and Superman.

Fear and hate towards the unknown and what we don’t understand was one of the running themes of the movie. Bruce Wayne and the people of Metropolis and Gotham city became wary of Superman because of what he could do with his powers. They certainly saw the impact of that power when innocent people got killed or injured during Superman’s fight with General Zod. While some people saw Superman as a hero, others saw him as dangerous. They couldn’t fully fathom Superman’s agenda or where he actually stands in the justice system. Was he a friend of the people or a foe? Superman, on the other hand, felt guilty about the destruction he unintentionally caused.

The movie also poses several questions. It tells us that when there’s war, sacrifices are to be made. We are forced to make a choice. Do we sacrifice a few people for the good of the many? Do we really need to let some people die so we can win the battle? Must we take the law into our own hands and become vigilantes? These arguments were reflected in Superman’s emotional struggle and actions. He sought the advice of his mother. He confronted Bruce Wayne. He came to the hearing. In the end, he sacrificed himself.

Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman

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Henry Cavill delivered a powerful performance (no pun intended) as Superman, a.k.a Clark Kent. I actually got a bit teary-eyed when Superman begged Batman to save his mother even though Batman got him on a chokehold. Ben Affleck wasn’t bad as Batman after all. I mean, he wasn’t as worse as George Clooney was. Although there were a few scenes where his performance, especially his facial expressions were lacking in depth. But even so, I’d still prefer a different actor to play Batman for the Justice League movie. I think Sam Worthington would play a better Batman.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was awesome. It’s a shame that she only had a few scenes in the movie. But then again, since this movie was all about Batman and Superman, I get why Wonder Woman had limited screen time. I particularly enjoyed her scenes when she was fighting Doomsday alongside Superman while Batman just stood and watched. That was a bit funny. That scene was really a fight between Kryptonians and meta-humans not with rich billionaires with expensive gadgets (But I still love you Batman!).

Wonder Woman

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Jesse Eisenberg was miscast in the movie. He looked too young to play Lex Luthor. I still couldn’t wrap my head around that. Whenever I see him on the screen I kept thinking he’s better off playing Jimmy Olsen than Lex Luthor (Interestingly, Zack Snyder initially wanted him to play Jimmy Olsen.). I think Eisenberg channeled a lot of Heath Ledger’s The Joker because I certainly got that Joker vibe in his performance.

While I generally loved the movie, there are still things in it I didn’t like and that bugged me. First of all, why did they make Lois Lane looked like a damsel in distress? I know she’s not supposed to be a weak character but the movie kept showing her as being always in need of Superman’s rescue. I was annoyed that Superman had to momentarily stop his fight against Doomsday so he could rescue Lois from drowning. Lois should’ve been smart enough not to retrieve the Kryptonite spear without some solid plan. Secondly, how could Lex Luthor have known about Superman and Batman’s real identities? How did he find out?


Photo Credit:

Also, I really didn’t like the fight scenes between Batman and Superman. It’s not because they’re not well-executed. It’s because that part was just a ploy to get the fanboys all excited. It’s all testosterone-driven. Had Superman insisted and told Batman sooner about Lex’s plan of wanting them to fight each other, they could have avoided that confrontation and saved a lot of time to help Martha. Honestly I would rather see an extended fight scene with them and Wonder Woman against Doomsday.

Admittedly, Batman v Superman isn’t perfect. I know some of the story’s loopholes can be attributed to the fact that the writers are saving them for the Justice League movie and the rest of the DC cinematic universe. While it has its flaws, for me it didn’t fail to entertain. I used to read Batman and Superman comics when I was a child but I didn’t follow the stories when I grew up. I stopped reading comics in high school and moved on to books. So I really don’t care if the movie wasn’t truthful to the comics or whatever it is that die-hard fanboys are complaining about. In the end, it’s my movie experience that matters anyway.

Letting My Geek Flag Fly

August 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Posted in Geekdom, Lifestyle, TV | Leave a comment
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Growing up I never considered myself as a geek. Even though I loved Star Wars the first time I saw them as a kid and spent hours watching Dungeons and Dragons, Japanese cartoons and other sci-fi shows on TV (Captain Power, anyone?), the concept of geekiness eluded me until much later.

It was during college that my love for sci-fi became fully developed. I also became interested in the esoteric. I got hooked on watching Sliders, The Outer Limits, and most especially The X-Files. Strange and weird stories fascinated me. There’s something about them that left me with a sense of wonder.

As a child I was also fond of reading comics – from horror, comedy to action, I devoured every page and enjoyed every minute of it. It was actually my two cousins who introduced me to the world of Marvel and DC comics. I’ve read tons of superhero comics from Batman, Spider-man, Superman to Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and the Green Lantern because of them.

X-Files comics season 10

Eventually I’ve outgrown comics in general and turned to books. In fact, I haven’t picked up a comic book for years until now, when The X-Files season 10 comics rolled out this year. Of course being an X-phile myself I couldn’t let this opportunity passed by. I got the first three issues of the comics already and am still waiting for the succeeding issues to come out.

But my level of geekiness is nothing compared to my other geek friends who are almost comparable to Sheldon Cooper and the gang from The Big Bang Theory. I’m just a regular fangirl and my knowledge of geek pop culture is limited. I’m not very good in science and mathematics. However scientific discoveries always fascinate me.

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