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Diabolik – Ginko all’Attacco! – Manetti (2022)

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In this second part of the Diabolik trilogy we mostly follow Diabolik’s enemy, inspector Ginko. Early in the film Ginko manages to find Diabolik’s hide-out, but that does not mean that Diabolik has been beaten.

In the first part, Diabolik found himself a partner. Eva Kant is now his lover and ally. Or is she?

In another James Bond type neo-noir, we follow the hunt for Diabolik and Diabolik’s attempts to recover his earlier spoils.

The Manetti brothers had to find another actor to play Diabolik. Kant and Ginko are played by the same actors as in the first part.

Diabolik – Manetti (2021)

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According to the website of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the creators of the graphic novel never more gave the rights to make films based on the comic since the classic Bava movie from 1968 because Brava betrayed the spirit of the novel.

Over half a century later the Manetti brothers got an agreement to make movies again as long as they stuck the original atmosphere.

Where Bava used bright colors, the Manetti brothers have created more of a “noir” atmosphere or perhaps even “giallo”. Slightly flat colors, 1950’ies looking. The only element that reminds of the graphic novel original is that the knives that Diabolik throws fly pictured in the middle of the screen.

Diabolik is a bit of a James Bond type guy with gadgets and cars, but he is more of an anti-hero. He is a master thief continuously hunted by inspector Ginko.

The first out of three parts is amusing, more Bond-like than Bava’s version.

Avengers: Endgame – Russo (2019)

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This three hour ‘episode’ seems to come right after “Infinity War”. Thanos has wiped out a large part of the inhabitants of the universe, including earth. The Avengers are depressed, the movie is rather gloomy. Then the idea emerges to use Ant-Man’s “subatomic” state for time-travelling, go back in time, gather all infinity stones and prevent Thanos from obtaining them.

First we have the usual Avengers. Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk and Thor. Ant-Man joins the team and different parties go to different places and times to get the stones. During that proces the Guardians of the Galaxy join the club, Captain Marvel, Spider Man, Dr. Strange and when the war with Thanos becomes serious even the Wakandians.

A lot of drama, a massive battle halfway. “Endgame” has less of the feel good atmosphere of earlier Avenger films. There are a few jokes and funny dialogues. Beer belly Thor is amusing.

The story is not too interesting. An alright twist is that some characters from different times end up in the same time, such as Nebula giving the story a new twist.

An alright Marvel.

Ant-Man And The Wasp – Peyton Reed (2018)

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Apparently I saw the first “Ant-Man” well before I started watching the Marvel franchise. At the time (2015) I was not impressed, still expecting a film with comic book elements. Yet the Ant-Man ‘concept’ is very familiar. Did I see the old film again or did Ant-Man appear in another Marvel production?

The scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) created a suit that can shrink a person. Initially using it together with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer), something went wrong and Pym put the project in the closet. Later the random Scott Lang becomes the new Ant-Man.

The thing that went wrong was that Pym’s wife went “sub atomic” and got lost, but Scott proves that coming back is possible, so in this second movie, the quest is to retrieve Janet van Dyke.

The only reference to the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” is that Ant-Man is under house arrest for having wreaked havoc together with the Avengers. During that period Hank Pym and his daughter (Hope van Dyke) have recreated the project and even expanded it. Now they can not only shrink a person in a suit, but they can shrink anything, whether a car or a complete building. This makes some amusing finds and brings an extra element to the ‘shrink-hit-grow’ type action scenes.

I find Ant-Man not the best Marvel character, he is a bit too goofy for me, but the shrinking-while-fighting concept does bring more of the amusing Marvel action.

Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom – James Wan (2023)

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I am starting to loose track of all the different ‘cinematic universes’. I thought “Aquaman” was the character who appears in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever“. That ‘aquaman’ is called “Namor” though and does not really look like “Aquaman”. So my confusion about how a DC Comics character that ended up in a Marvel film is cleared up: it did not.

So why does this Aquaman look so familiar? The character proves to appear in other DC based movies. There is even an “Aquaman” movie from 2018. I do not think I saw that one though. It does seem that Aquaman also apears in “Batman vs Superman” (2016) and I did see that one. So also DC characters appear in different productions.

Anyway, Aquaman is the king of the underwater kingdom Atlantis, but he also has a life on the land. Probably in the earlier film, he killed the father of “Black Manta” who decides to take revenge by not only destroying Atlantis, but the world as a whole. For that he accelerates global warming.

You get your usual humor, fighting spectacles (below and above the water), monsters, villains and everything that you can expect from a comic-based spectacle. The story is rather thin though.

Kick-Ass – Matthew Vaughn (2010)

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A rather ‘teeny’ ‘superhero’ movie. Actually Dave is not a superhero. He is just a comic-loving-nerd who gets the idea of buying himself a suit and try to be a superhero. Since he has no ‘superpowers’ he gets his ass kicked himself.

People do pick up his effort to do something about the downfall of society, so in spite of everything he becomes a hero. Yet there are better equipped crime fighters out there in the form the a great Nicholas Cage (as Damon Macready) and his daughter.

There were not the cartoon effects that I expected and overall “Kick-Ass” is but a teen action movie.

Godzilla Minus One – Takashi Yamazaki (2023)

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Celebrating 70 years of Godzilla, Yamazaki decided not to make a Hollywood blockbuster, but a Japanese film just like the Japanese monster deserves. This has pluses and minuses.

The acting is not always very convincing. Especially when a character cries this is very overdone. There are some more of such minor details that would probably have looked different in a Hollywood production. On the up side, Yamazaki felt no need to make the monster anything than just that: a monster that needs to be destroyed. No need for shallow moralism there. Also ‘very Japanese’ are references to Japanese culture and government, pretty critical at times.

The basic story is about Koichi who failed his duty as Kamikaze pilot during World War II. He survives an attack of Godzilla, but again fails in saving others. Trying to make a living in the rubble that WWII left, he becomes a mine-hunter and in that capacity again encounters Godzilla, which has grown to a gigantic size. People set out to kill the monster before it destroys Tokyo.

Godzilla does not look too great, but I think Yamazaki wanted to stay close to the original design. The movie does have some good looking CGI when Godzilla spreads destruction, so that can -indeed- not have been it.

“Godzilla Minus One” is a classic style monster movie with no surprises. Amusing, and mostly interesting because it seems to be targeted to a Japanese, rather than an international audience.

Total Recall – Len Wiseman (2012)

A movie with the same title as the 1990 classic of Paul Verhoeven with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Would it be a remake, a sequel? Neither I guess.

Colin Farrell plays Douglas Quaid who lives in a dystopian future world in which only the area around London and a part of Australia are still habitable. Australia has become a ghetto, London the area of rich people. Both areas are connected with “the fall”, an elevator straight through the earth core.

Quaid lives the simple life of a working bee, but when he visits a company where you can buy memories, he turns into a superman-type character, perhaps a spy, perhaps not.

This “Total Recall” has elements of the Verhoeven movie, but basically it is a new movie. An alright sci-fi action.

Daredevil – Mark Johnson (2003)

So not all Marvel characters make it to the league of Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil is one such.

As a boy Matthew Murdock lost both his father and his sight. His blindness gives him new abilities and he trains himself from a shy boy into a fighting machine. He buys himself a fancy suit and sets out both to fight crime and to avenge his father.

“Daredevil” is a typical comic book action with a villain, drama and romance. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The character is used more often. A series has been made about him. He is one of four smaller Marvel characters in the series “The Defenders” and “Daredevil: The First Defender” seems to be a second movie, while “Daredevil: Born Again” has been announced.

Yep, the super hero factory runs at full speed.

Avengers: Infinity War – Russo (2018)

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The titles say less and less about whom the Marvel films are about. In “Infinity War” the Avengers are no longer complete (Hawkeye died somewhere) and also here we have Spider Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Thor, there is even a part set in Wakanda, the bad guy is Thanos again. You get it, the Marvel movies are beginning to be like someone asking the entire cast who feels like playing in another movie and all characters of the actors who say ‘yes’ are written in. Think of a name, an there is another addition to the franchise.

“Infinity War” is another extraterrestrial spectacle. Thanos is after all the infinity stones and he is well on his way. Should he be able to get them all in his specially crafted glove, he would have infinite power and hence: destroy the universe. He is the bad guy after all, is he not?

Thor had some of the stones, but Thanos gets it in the opening scenes of the film. Also Dr. Strange appears to get his powers from one of the stones, so he is sought after as well. Vision, who grew out of the AI of Tony Stark (Iron Man) has one in his head as well. Different troupes who either or not met before get together. The Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man meets Dr. Strange, etc. There are amusing references to earlier films such as Captain America asking about Thor’s new haircut (shorter) and Thor about his new beard or the Black Panther who shouts that Captain America needs a new shield.

Story wise there are not a whole lot of surprises. Thanos has the upper hand all the way to the end, but I will not give a big spoiler when I tell you he does not make it.