Speed and Superheroes

I haven’t been much aware of a good number of superheroes during my childhood, most of these people being popular ones these days – it was mostly the game of four at that time, with the four people with names ending with “man”; Spider-Man, He-Man, Batman and Superman along with some regular dose from The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. Due to Defenders of the Earth cartoon, the one Flash whom I came to know later was Flash Gordon and I never really liked him.

The Flash became known to me more with those animated movies having Justice League of America as the centre of attraction. But the first version of him which was not animated, came to me with the television series called Arrow about which I have mentioned before on this blog. The episode featuring him as the superhero was not that interesting, but he surely caught some attention with that one. Then there was this television series with him as the central character, more like a spin-off from Arrow.

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The television series has been a pretty interesting one; The Flash is without doubt another nice superhero stuff for us to watch. I have felt that a movie would do just fine with this superhero and the stories of lightning speed. As you would guess, I had my doubts about this superhero, but they were erased in a flash. Grant Gustin rightly makes the character enjoyable here. My favourite one here would be Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow whom I surely remember from a number of horror movies – Friday the 13th, The Crazies, The Ward and Piranha 3DD; that is a nice list even though not exactly the ones to be rated very highly as individual movies.

Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells and Jesse L. Martin as Joe West are two others whom I have felt to be deserving the mention – I have felt something special about these characters too. Carlos Valdes provides the humour here as Cisco Ramon. Well, the characters work really well with this television series, and there are some episodes which really make us want to watch the next – I have only watched the first season, and all my thoughts about the series came from there. With how that season ended and from what I have heard about the next season, I am surely looking forward to watching season two soon.

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Even though I like both Arrow and The Flash, I have been more attached to Arrow than the latter as it is darker, and has the super-powers kept to minimum – there is just the presence of some vaccines rather than the meta-human, super-villain, superhero collection in The Flash. I have also felt that all the characters in Arrow have something more – the love angle of The Flash remains a let-down too, with the two main characters. Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak is the best possible factor in both the series combined, and the hardworking hero also makes Arrow closer to the heart.

You know that the action sequences are better with Arrow too; but The Flash uses the special effects to its advantage, and this difference between the two has been more like the same between Batman and Superman – I used to like that latter more when I was a kid, and now I prefer the former. There is one is the grand hero with those special powers and the other, a millionaire who has changed to become the vigilante who fights in the darkness. The world itself has changed, and so the change of preference was to come at some point.

The suspense factor also has Arrow edging ahead, and the tension in both series remains pretty much high, even though The Flash has the terrible romance between the two main characters making things go wrong. The love triangle of The Flash is the one thing that stretches the series and brings it down. Romantic melodrama should be the least of one’s concern in a superhero flick or series, if you ask me. But in the end, you will love this television series too. Well, The Flash has some very nice villains, and that is a strong point there – the series also remains steady, unlike Arrow which has its ups and downs.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television series, The Flash.

TeNy

What About an Arrow?

I have never thought that I would watch so many television series in English. But it has been proven otherwise though, as I have watched so many of them; I couldn’t stand some of them, which I decided to skip immediately, and the others including Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Constantine, Gotham, Sherlock and Spartacus. They have kept me interested for such long time that the only thing I wanted was the next episode; to that long list, there is one more and it is Arrow.

Having one billionaire vigilante as the protagonist again, Arrow reminded me of Batman right in the beginning. We know that Arrow or rather the Green Arrow and even the Flash were not the popular names around here, and I am pretty confident that the names were not even known around here. The popular ones had their titles ending with “man” except for The Phantom and Mandrake. Spider-Man, Batman, Super-Man and the He-Man – these were the superheroes of those times.

During my childhood, I remember believing that the most powerful of the heroes always required their superhero name to end with “man”. For some reasons, a few superheroes were always more popular than others around here. One surely wouldn’t doubt the case of Superman though, as everyone wanted such powers. Batman and Spider-Man successfully represented two creatures, and He-Man provided a certain not-that-super alien side to it, and it was the most watched cartoon series of my childhood. The one memorable team of superheroes was X-Men which followed.

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The Avengers is one of those movies which expanded that horizon further after Marvel had come up with a few earlier and also with the Age of Ultron later. We have quite a lot of superheroes right now, and those like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk has reached the next level with their popularity. As of now, it seems that if you watch the television series Arrow, there will be another one added to the list of the big superheroes; there will the Green Arrow, and the Black Canary, and something more.

So, in Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), the well-known billionaire playboy from Starling City returns there after being shipwrecked and lost on an island. With his father dead in the shipwreck, his remaining family of his mother Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) and sister Thea Queen (Willa Holland) welcomes him. But he is no longer the man that he used to be, and intends to correct the mistakes of his father and that of himself while getting back to his world after five years of absence.

Arrow has a little bit too much of drama at times if you ask me. There is something repetitive about it when coming to the real lives of the superheroes and the rest of the mysterious people especially when related to their flashbacks which keep going on and on, but otherwise Arrow is a very interesting watch. I initially liked the flashbacks, but when there were too many of the same, that made me feel strange, and later even stopped looking at the screen when the flashbacks arrived.

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Still, Arrow is the kind of television series which you can just keep watching because it is thrilling and entertaining, and you keep wondering what is to happen next. Green Arrow will remind you of Batman as the Dark Knight a lot. Starling/Star City’s problems are not so different from that of Gotham City. There are no superpowers to our protagonist once again, and the darkness stays throughout its run. After you watch this one, among the three better known superheroes with names starting in the form of “Green” this one surely will be your favourite.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television series, Arrow.

TeNy

Of Ants and Heroes

I watched Marvel’s latest Ant-Man on the first day first show of its release in India. Despite the highly¬†positive¬†opinions that it managed from the critics in North America as well as the United States audience, it seems to create a lesser impact here. There were only seven people to watch that movie when I watched it here and most of them actually arrived late. It is quite unusual for a superhero movie, and I would say that it never really came close to be accepted as a superhero movie here. Only those posters featuring Iron Man Armour, Thor’s Hammer and Captain America’s Shield seems to have created any interest among the common people.

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Ant-Man will have a big struggle here. It seems that the movie is going to be changed right after the weekend or reduced to just a show as far as the common theatres are concerned. It will run better at the multiplexes, but even there, Minions, Inside Out and Baahubali have managed to score over this one. Here, I am going with the general audience, and I would say that it is not even close to being one of the top movies from Marvel, and it is a superhero who is not really there being the right part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am going to share my favourites from Marvel on this occasion.

5. Thor (2011)
The man or rather the immortal with the hammer always had immense possibilities. With Thor: Ragnarok coming up in 2017, one has to remember that the franchise has been using the possibilities very well. The combination of myths and futuristic technology has worked really well for this one, and the speciality of the first movie is that it is more emotionally effective, and has a strong message. Along with talking about the worth attained by sacrifice, and with the assertion that where one is born is not the final decision maker, Thor makes an interesting point which is very much valid in a place where too many things are hereditary and reservations are based on caste and religion. Then there is Natalie Portman, and her presence makes it work even better, and you know what Loki can do.

4. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Developing further from its predecessor, Thor: The Dark World is just a little ahead of the first movie featuring another version of the Norse God. Malekith the Accursed and his Dark Elves are a fantastic group of villains who mix dark magic and technology in such a way that they create a huge impact. Loki remains a favourite character, and the final battle is a treat to watch, just like the darker parts of the world. Visually more stunning than its predecessor, what this world comes with is a good mixture of things. Thor movies always have a special feeling, as it is so close to the myths. This one has already made sure that there will be something bigger in store for the third movie of the series, especially if you think about the meaning of the title there – it is something to watch out for.

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3. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Successfully establishing its ideological power, Captain America: The First Avenger thrives on its messages of sacrifice and duty. This movie made Captain America my favourite Avenger and also the most interesting character from Marvel. The characterization of Captain America takes the hero model to another level and makes all other superheroes just too selfish and not ready to make the right stand. From the extremities of weaknesses, Captain America is established and this selection is based on goodness and morality rather than anything else. It also makes sure that he remains more humane than any other superhero. Well, he might be the most impossible character. Red Skull is an interesting villain here too.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The fans of the original Avengers couldn’t really take this one as this was smarter. It is the only reason why this had less collection at box-office, but still there this one did collect huge. Even the critics have the first movie more, but that is more because they were too addicted to the predecessor that they couldn’t come out of it and also failed to understand Age of Ultron which had a much better idea, message and action sequences. The addition of two new superheroes was actually a very nice boost here, and Scarlet Witch is always a joy to watch. This movie actually has more than what instantly meets the eye, and it deserved to be the top grossing movie of the year, but strange nostalgia got Jurassic World to a higher level and emotions made Fast and Furious 7 bigger than what it really is.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Among the movies from Marvel, I consider this to be the most brilliant one. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not just a superhero movie, but a thriller with some fine ideological support. The plot is smart and intelligent, and the presence of a brain never really hurts even though visuals are those most cared about in the superhero movies. Well, Captain America has always been more of a supersoldier than a superhero, and so this nicely develops into an interesting plot. There is also that seriousness maintained, which Ant-Man could never manage, and unlike the way Iron Man series has been going, this one doesn’t go the predictable or repetitive way either. An intelligent superhero will only do good to the franchise.

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***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies.

TeNy