Tuesday, May 22, 2018

supersized superhero mayhem

It is inevitable. Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War is basically a culmination, among many future culminations, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that started long ago with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man in 2008. Seems like ancient times, right? Thanks to this universe, the comic book superhero knowledge of the general populace is no longer limited to Batman, Superman, Spider-man, Darna, and the X-Men.

Aside from then relatively unknown Iron Man, we are now familiar with the likes of Captain America, Bucky, War Machine, Thor, Loki, Hulk, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Mantis. All this is no longer a geek’s secret source of delights.

These characters are but a microcosm of heroic desire, duty, and dedication in this massive if not overblown entry. The film’s story picks up right after the events in last year’s Thor: Ragnarok, and for the first time we finally get to witness the full menacing splendor of Josh Brolin’s Thanos, the latest big bad villain of the MCU. He is a stocky purplish giant in search of the Infinity Stones, six gems that grant anyone the supremacy of a god when gathered together in a gauntlet (some sort of glorified golden glove that Thanos had fashioned for himself). His ultimate mission? To eradicate half of the living entities in the universe in order to achieve cosmic balance.

Because some of the stones are held by a couple of our heroes (and antiheroes)—namely Loki with the Space Stone, Vision with the Mind Stone, Doctor Strange with the Time Stone—Thanos goes after them, and mayhem ensues. A lot of familiar and unfamiliar faces show up here and there, and although it requires a certain amount of investment in the MCU to enjoy Infinity War, anyone can still relish the whole shenanigan the same way one can appreciate watching a dog chase after its own tail on YouTube—it is sheer unadulterated entertainment. The stakes are higher here than previous MCU installments, the body count darkly indulgent, but being a Marvel film, there is the requisite humor and witty banter scattered all over the place.

Thanos is unquestionably an antagonist that necessitates a congregation of super-powered beings. But what makes him even more terrifying is that he falls under the classic category of the guy with the noble intention but with the problematic methods—a category that sticks too closely to our truth. His scheme to commit mass murder to attain peace and order resembles the many motivations of our outspoken, charismatic leaders from all over the world who couldn’t care less. If there is one wish that we, as viewers, can take from Infinity War, it is that we hope our very own mighty heroes could come and save our world real, real soon.

[ photo borrowed from this site ]

Sunday, May 13, 2018

happy ma's day

I grew up knowing a mother can do everything, anything. And up to this day, that thought never changes. At least when it comes to you, Ma. You are prone to tears with the teleseryes you follow, you can be hurt with the words, you are very human. But you are also that someone who’s closest to the manifestation of a miracle—how you can be strong when everything around you seems to crumble, how you can be kind in the face of cruelty and confusion, how you can whip up something out of nothing.

Sometimes, in the most difficult of times, I’d think I do not deserve such grace, but in every moment of each day with you, you always make me feel otherwise. So thank you, thank you, thank you… There is not enough “thank you’s” or “I love you’s” to wrap in one embrace all of the effort and sacrifices you’ve made for me and this family, but I will try. That is a promise. Happy Mother’s Day, Ma. I love you, always, clear as sunlight.