MANG KEPWENG RETURNS (G.B. Sampedro, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Mang Kepweng Returns:

1. My late grandmother was a big believer in quack medicine. Whenever I’d get sick as a kid, she would bring me to this seaside hut where an even older lady prayed over some wax paper (with Latin words written on them), licked them like stamps, and slapped them on my forehead to help exorcise the bad spirits causing my illness.

I never once believed in her sorcery (especially since my mom would ask me to take Aspilets after the session), but without her magical saliva, I would not have developed a stronger immune system.

2. I could barely remember the original Mang Kepweng movie, except that the late Chiquito (who was here in hologram form, but his mouth never moved while talking) played the title role with his trademark reverse bandana and Hitler mustache. I do remember its comics origins so I wasn’t surprised when this one started very much like a Marvel movie. Until it actually turned into a wannabe Marvel movie.

3. Much like any of its superhero origin stories, Kiefer (Vhong Navarro) found out the secrets to his past (he’s the bastard child of Mang Kepweng!), learned to harness his powers (polka dot bandana activate!), discovered how to be Doctor Strange (summoning those holograms and all!), and even staged a Civil War in the climactic battle sequence.

I even joked that I should stay until the end credits just in case there was a closing credits sequence. I wasn’t disappointed. Eat your heart out, Stan Lee!!

4. For a supposed update to a cult classic, most of the jokes here felt so dated. It reminded me so much of the humor in Home Along Da Riles (only that was hilarious and nobody could ever match the comic timing of the late Dolphy).

There were so many gags that were just not funny. One involved bungled haircuts (one man wanted his head shaved, the long-haired one wanted his dyed blonde, you know how this would end), another one had cha-cha music played during a funeral march, a latent gay character was always used as a punchline, and the worst had to be the renaissance of the yakapsule and kisspirin joke. Now watch me whip, now watch me anyenyeh!

5. Aerial shots galore. Congratulations on your new drone!

6. Is Jollicious Hotdog an actual product? That entire Zumba sequence where a large woman (named Petite, of course) fainted and was brought back to her senses by the smell of a jumbo Jollicious hotdog reeked of shameless product placement.

7. Two major characters kept questioning if the bandana had magical powers even if they grew a unibrow and a mustache after wearing it. Demanding much, mga bes?

8. Vhong used to be really funny, very much like a local Jim Carrey. In this movie, he was reduced to overacting like crazy while constantly cowering in fear (why was he working in a funeral parlor anyway if he was always close to having a stroke every time something eerie happened?).

9. The only joke that really landed was delivered by Bangky. When asked what he was smoking, he answered “Beep”. Vhong corrected him and said “Hindi po yan beep. Vape po yan” to which he replied “Beep ang plebor. Sa susunod chicken naman.” Mabuhay ang bangkay!

10. I would forever remember this movie as the one where a character actually said the line, “Ate kinagat ako ng tiyan mo!”. Horrors!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Captain America: Civil War:

1. I had no clue who Doctor Strange was but that awesome trailer made me wish it were November already. Did I just sound like a die-hard Cumberbitch? Probably. But what really sealed the deal was Tilda Swinton looking like a cooler version of the Last Airbender.

2. Was it just me or did this actually feel like a Bond thriller (or a Bourne thriller, or any thriller for that matter)? You could have replaced the Marvel superheroes with real common people and it would still have been completely enjoyable. Sure, the climactic battle scene wouldn’t have been as fun, but my entire point was that this was a good film.

3. Everyone knows that I’m not the biggest fan of action movies, but I really enjoyed all the fight and chase scenes here (the drone shots were really impressive). The movie delivered on its trailer’s promise of an epic battle between the superheroes. I guess I was so used to Fernando Poe, Jr. movies where the bida and (lead) kontrabida have a match-up of their own while the minor characters get their own one-on-ones (with the women relegated to their own eye-scratching and hair-pulling). I really expected a bitch fight between the (balimbing) Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, but I was actually happy it didn’t happen. Each superhero was able to demonstrate his/her strengths and weaknesses by battling every other superhero from the opposing team. Definitely worth the wait.

4. I actually thought that Robert Downey, Jr. discovered the Fountain of Youth when his younger self appeared onscreen until his real more scruffy-looking (and better-looking, right?) other walked out and started discussing the wonders of BARF (was this the same machine used by Clementine to erase the traumatic memories of ex-boyfriend Joel? If you got this reference, you have great taste in films).

Also, that scene with him and Alfre Woodard made me want to start singing “Walk Like A Man” (if you still got this reference, I love you already). And, RDJ was so good in that big reveal scene. *sob*

5. I wonder how King T’Chaka’s campaign would have been if he ran for President here. He would have needed a really good manager.

6. Chris Evans looked so pale, like he stepped out of a Twilight movie. With that said, he still decimated my remaining self-esteem when he started flexing his biceps and flaunting his ripped upper torso while holding on to the runaway helicopter. No wonder Captain America only needed a shield when he already had those big guns. (Emily Thorne, you lucky girl.)

7. The proposed UN agreement regarding the need for supervision of superheroes was reminiscent of the Mutant Registration Act in the X-Men movies. One of them said it best with “If we don’t put limitations, we’re no different from the bad guys” and of course, my recently quoted “You’re wrong. You think you’re right. It makes you dangerous.” Who knew that choosing if you’re #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan would actually reflect one’s political views?

8. I know that one character mentioned it but why were Thor and Hulk really missing in action? The Incredible Hulk going head-to-head with the giant Ant-Man (Hantik Man! Har har!) would have been a real showdown. Also, I wanted to see Pepper. Please tell me she’s really pregnant. Everyone has a gimmick now, right? I hope that would be hers.

9. The movie felt like it was really made for grown-ups. It took its time (read: felt overlong) to explain everything and some might find these parts a bit dragging. I’m still a kid so yes, my mind wandered a bit during all the pseudo-philosophical discussions. It was a giant (bold) step for Marvel movies, though. (Wait, why was this a Captain America movie when it felt very much like an Avengers movie?)

10. I was amused by Peter Parker and his onesie but he will forever be Andrew Garfield to me. Also, the fall of War Machine was eerily similar to the death of Gwen Stacy.

11. Daniel Bruhl will have more screen time in the next movie, yes? Yes?

12. If I were the Winter Soldier, the key words that would trigger my inner rage would be: SIR. WALA. PONG. BREAST. PART.

What would be yours?

Rating: ★★★★☆