Monday, May 9, 2016

War of the Super Heroes, Kung Fu Panda and the love of comics in general

Okay. Here is the head to head of the head to head of superheroes.

Superman versus Batman
Capt America versus Iron Man (Civil War)
The title says it all, and that’s what the movie is about
The title doesn’t say it all, and I was hoping for something more involving the general public.
Alpha male, testosterone driven  bashing and blasting over civilian sentiments.
Of course, whoever said the pen was mightier than the sword, was not a male superhero.
Alpha male, testosterone driven  bashing and blasting over civilian sentiments.
Of course, whoever said the pen was mightier than the sword, was not a male superhero.
Introduces a huge main character in a major battle sequence who will star in her own movie soon: Wonder Woman. But what a sorry little introduction that was. Enigmatic, and even in the war, no introduction to her powers for the newbies
Introduces a huge main character in a major battle sequence who will be star in his own movie soon: Spiderman. And yes, we get a neat, compact introduction to Peter and Spidey both! The geeky little genius kid, who tries his best to impress Mr. Stark, and the web-swinging, wise-cracking rookie super hero, who talks more than he fights. An impressive little shot, where he holds back The Winter Soldier arm displaying a show of strength that is very likely to be missed, but is not. Well-played marvel
Batman goes *He killed my parents*… But I will save Martha this time.
Bash. Bash. Bash.
Iron Man goes *He killed my parents*
Bash. Bash. Bash. Bash.
The perfunctory romance angle: Clark Kent gets into the bath tub with Lois Lane, while dropping his glasses on the floor. Made me wonder if this was someone’s idea of the feminist equivalent of  the clichéd dropping of the bra on the floor. Nice. women do like looking into the eyes of the person they make love to. 
Iron Man and Pepper Potts are ‘taking a break’, Captain America shares a kiss with Sharon Carter (nooooo… I am finding this ethically perverted and amoral. Call me old-fashioned. But not Sharon! Come on, there are so many other women). The Vision and the Scarlet Witch are developing feelings for each other. And Hulk gets a fleeting mention in reference to the Black Widow.
There is a common enemy, rather invincible looking enemy that brings them together
The very human enemy uses mind games and breaks them from within. And of course, they
Primary fight sequence between Superman and Batman, Batty (the essentially human) actually manages to overpower Supey.
Primary fight sequence between Iron Man and Captain America, both are essentially human, and rather nicely matched. Both are assisted by a bit of technology and ‘intelligent’ allies: Friday for Ironman and Bucky for Cap. Love it how Friday analyses Cap’s fight patterns and plans counter moves. Love it also, how nicely Bucky and Cap toss the shield in tandem between each other. The bromance is still alive.
Plenty of additional superheroes get little teaser cameos, but nothing concrete showcasing their abilities.
The additional superheroes engage in battle, and go all out to display their prowess. Ant-man becomes ‘Giant-man’ as Vi declared and Spidey is oscillating across the screen to glory.


My fascination with super heroes began with the weekly Vetal (Phantom) comic panels in the weekly, Lokaprabha Marathi magazine.
Of course, back then, super hero comic books were hard to find. Fortunately for me, my older cousin Gautam, had a huge stash, and I would borrow from him. He is an artistically talented guy, this cousin of mine. He tended to make up his own little doodles which were extensions to the super-heroes on the sides of his pages engaged in mini-battles that he imagined. I still regret he didn't take up his hobby seriously.

He-man and spiderman on DD Metro only added fuel to fire, and AH Wheeler on the railway platforms found a regular comics buyer in my during the college days. It was impossiible to obtain any of the comics in sequence back then. And I was often left puzzled with the alternate timelines and if, or how  they were interlinked. 

The new set of movies, now appears to be bringing together and cleaning up a lot of the plotlines, making it more coherent for people like me.

After Batty-versus-Supey, we watched Kung Fu Panda-3. Sadly, the KFP franchise refuses to evolve. I wasn't particularly impressed with KFP-1 to begin with, but it had potential. 2 sequels later, Po is still 'fiding himself' and I am now sorely disappointed. Compare this, with the Ice Age movies. Every single one is brilliant. Okay, so maybe The Continental Drift was *slighty* on the mushier side, but overall, they've managed to utilise the geological phases very cleverly to create just the right amount of adventure and the assorted personalities of their quirky characters do not allow the story to become boring and predictable. And another thing that people rarely notice, is that spectacular attention to detail in the background and landscape detailing of the Ice Age. Someone has put in a lot of love and research into it. Slightly more love than research! :)

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