Batman V. Superman – Movie Review

29 03 2016
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The Darker Knight vs. The Almost As Dark Superman

Batman V Superman tells the story of what happens when people have too much control, too much power, and how they can selfishly harm others with their toxic viewpoints. Of course I’m talking about director Zach Snyder, but I suppose that could also apply to his broody version of super people.
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Let me start by saying as a fan, I was disappointed by the critics’ reviews before the movie released, and went in with lowered expectations, but still holding on to some optimism. Hey, remember when I actually enjoyed Man of Steel? Maybe they were just comparing the tone to Marvel. DC is darker. The Dark Knight was dark, but a near-perfect movie. Maybe the trailers hadn’t really spoiled everything (what an innocent child I was!). Maybe Zach Snyder actually would be less…Zach Snyder-ly. If anything, at least this would be a fun ride. I mean, the start of the Justice League can’t be a drag, can it?
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And then Bruce Wayne started floating out of that freakin’ cave and my optimism got a kick in the crotch.
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If you’re a fan of anything Zach Snyder touches, feel free to ignore this review and roll around in bliss. Heck, I didn’t hate everything about this movie, but there’s a lot of stuff that made me sigh, check my watch, and wonder how many exec’s family members Snyder had to hold hostage to get some of this mess onscreen. Don’t worry, I’ll anger word vomit at the end of the review- first up, the things that worked.
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For example, these guys. These guys worked.

The soundtrack was OK overall, with some bright spots (particularly the opening). However, at times you could almost sense Hans Zimmer going on autopilot, sighing to himself, and remembering the good old days when he worked for coherent movies.
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Ben Affleck as Batman was one of the highlights. Ben, I’m sorry I doubted your capacity and made cheap Daredevil movie jokes. You’re buff, brooding, and communicated a world of your character’s tortured backstory that explained your bleak outlook, though it’s still weird to see Batman killing whoever he dang feels like killing.Jeremy Irons as Alfred was great as well, offering most of the little humor found in the movie. He won’t be dethroning my personal favorite, Michael Caine, anytime soon, but he casually stole every scene he appeared in for me.
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Yes this was cool. Yes it was already spoiled in the trailers.

One of the biggest surprises I had during the viewing (and there weren’t many, thanks to the trailers) was Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The script actually handled her well, and she sold me on the role (again, sorry for questioning your selection beforehand). She didn’t have a whole lot of screen time, but commanded attention when she did appear, and now I’m excited for her upcoming standalone movie.
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Henry Cavill as Superman was, uh, there. I’m not sure which was worse- the lines they gave him, the direction he was given, or the boring acting he brought.
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Jesse Eisenberg‘s Lex Luthor gave me sadness cancer. If you’re familiar with the real character from the comics, imagine if they had cast Seth Rogen (with ridiculous hair) as Kingpin in the Daredevil series, and you’ll arrive at roughly the same amount of frustrated confusion. I noticed that they threw in something about his dad being Lex Luthor, or maybe that was just backstory since he was also Lex Luthor, or good gosh why did he get so much screen time. All that time, and he still didn’t have a real reason for hating Superman, besides vague childhood issues and anger at God or Superman or he thought he was God or that there was no god and mostly his motivation was stupid. Eisenberg had the miscast and annoying super combo.
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Lex Luthor, wondering who stole his cocaine, probably.

Ultimately, there’s a lot wrong about this movie (Angry Spoilers follow). Why did we need so much boring and inconsequential side plot with Lois Lane? Why did we have to see her get rescued by Superman 3 times in one movie?  Why did they blame Superman for people killed by guns in the desert? What the crap was the deal with those stupid bullets? Why did Jimmy Olsen and Mercy Graves get included, only to be quickly killed off? How come Superman was so ridiculously oblivious with the bomb, despite the senator stammering for what seemed like 3 years? How does Lex know about the other meta-humans, and why did he feel the need to create little logos for each one on his secret folder? Why does the Cyborg segment feel like a Youtube fan video? How did the “Martha” story twist not get everyone in screenwriting fired? Would you stop pummeling what you think is humanity’s greatest threat, just because your mothers share the same name? Why doesn’t every criminal in Gotham say their mother’s name is Martha?  Why did they spoil 90% of the movie in the trailers? Why did they put a lifetime of dreams in the movie, and why are all of them tripping on acid? Is this Batman’s new super power?  Why does Doomsday’s CGI look like shiny poop? Why not hand the Kryptonite spear to Wonder Woman? (Angry Spoilers End)
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The only thing the trailer didn’t spoil about Doomsday was how bad his CGI would be.

Surprisingly after all that, this film did pique my interest in more installments in DC’s universe, just not any soiled by Zach Snyder’s style over substance model. I want to see a standalone Batman film, and a Wonder Woman feature as well. Maybe we could even have some fun along the way. These are people in tights with super powers after all.
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To sum up, the real tragedy of this movie is it had so much potential with the cast and premise, but ultimately got smothered by a deadly serious, meandering, boring film that thought it was way more profound than it actually was. Motivations didn’t make sense, and the more interesting elements/relationships were left out to dry. And geez, Superman, you can fly and shoot lasers out of your eyes. Stop being such a brooding bore.




Wonder Woman- Movie Review

14 06 2017

Wonder Woman poster

Wonder Woman tells the story of how when all seemed lost, a group of desperate people turned to a superhero to save them, where others had failed. I’m referencing, of course, to how this film just redeemed the flaming trash heap of current DC movies for all those Warner Bros executives. It’s not a perfect movie, and it doesn’t come close to dethroning Dark Knight as my favorite comic book movie (and one of my top movies in general). However, it is unquestionably a few levels higher from the rest of the DC Justice League Movie Universe Extravaganza, or whatever they’re calling it these days.

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Chris Pine the Lucky Guy

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine worked well together, and were basically the meatiest characters of the film. And yes, part of that is because they’re in loooove, but also Steve Trevor was there to show Diana that mankind was not complety corrupt and evil, and could even show selfless heroism, which ultimately catapulted her into her full powers in the finale. It was also important that he act as the audience’s connection in the movies, grounding all the crazy Amazon shenanigans with appropriate reactions. That said, people were just a little too chill when that woman blew up a church steeple by flying into it. Is everyone just overly jaded from the Great War?

Everyone else served their purpose as a character, including the rest of her surprisingly diverse crew. Ares was a little under-cooked as a villain (partly because of him staying in the shadows for the twist), but was still worlds better than this movie universe’s awful versions of Joker and Lex Luthor. I know that’s not a high bar, but it was refreshing not to cringe through a ridiculous performance (remember Enchantress?!). Creating his own armor from burning metal wreckage on the fly was pretty BA, as well.

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Wonder Woman saves Wolverine from Stryker?

Speaking of visual effects, the CGI was OK through the movie. Boss Mode Ares looked better than Poop Troll Doomsday from Batman V Superman (again, pretty low bar to hurdle). But honestly, Gal Gadot jumping several stories while throwing a tank is going to look a little wonky no matter how much money is spent. The best bit of CGI was a detail I didn’t find out about until later- apparently during some of the re-shoots, Gal Gadot’s 6-months-pregnant belly was given its own hole in the Wonder Woman costume, and painted green for removal later. How crazy is that?!

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It’s weird that Amazons fighting in WW1 is a more coherent storyline than Batman fighting Superman, but here we are.

I realize most of my grading so far is in comparison with the earlier DC movies, but it’s kind of what happens when a studio decides to make these movies all connected. In case you didn’t notice, I’m not really a fan of those films. That said, let’s run through what I liked about just this movie. I enjoyed Gal Gadot’s portrayal of a powerful yet innocently naive Diana, someone who likes ice cream and babies (not at the same time), but who is still a warrior trained for fighting. She’s possibly the best woman superhero we’ve seen in movies yet- who’s not there just to look sexy while fighting impassively in slow motion(though she is gorgeous). She also did not play some impersonal, arrogant figure who seems more machine than woman. I already said I thought her moments with Steve and his merry crew were great. As a history nerd, the World War 1 backdrop was fantastic, and also made sense since it was “the war to end all worlds.” Also, this film focused on being a story about a superhero, not a commercial for five upcoming superhero movies.

Diana’s unveiling scene in No Man’s Land (little on the nose) also may go down as one of the more iconic comic books scenes. The only other moment I could compare its vivid imagery and striking score to in DC’s current lineup would be Superman’s first flight in Man of Steel, or Enchantress belly-dancing in Suicide Squad (haha!). While this movie has certainly elevated DC back to a fighting position, it’ll be interesting to see if Justice League continues to even higher heights, or drags us back down to the brooding, overly-inflated ground.

NIGHTINGALE

I still needed more Fashion Time With Etta.





100% Accurate Predictions for 2013 Blockbuster Movies

24 01 2013

So what’s going to happen with this year’s top movies? Read on, if you dare, for an unbiased and gritty look into the future.

February

A Good Day to Die Hard

Poetry.

Poetry.

Prediction: Bruce Willis will wow audience in the newest Die Hard installment, leading them down a “philosophical masterpiece,” effortlessly blending  deep themes with an original story line.

March

Oz the Great and Powerful

James Franco. Now he's Oz.

James Franco. Now he’s Oz.

Prediction: James Franco, vowing vengeance against Spider Man, travels to Oz, a magical place anyone on a drug trip can visit.

April

Oblivion

Morgan Freeman Oblivion

Morgan Freeman goes Book of Eli

Prediction: Tom Cruise journeys to the late Planet Earth, which has long stopped supporting human life. This is not to be confused with M. Night Shyamalan’s (red flag!) new movie After Earth, which also features a recognizable movie star journeying to the late Planet Earth, which has long stopped supporting human life.

May

Iron Man 3

He's like Batman, only not sad that he's a superhero.

He’s like Batman, only not sad that he’s a superhero.

Prediction: Robert Downey Jr. continues being a filthy rich guy who is likable but also annoyingly self-absorbed. He also plays Iron Man.

Star Trek into Darkness

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Prediction: KHAAAAAAN!

June

Man of Steel

Superman can be a jerk.

Superman can be a jerk.

Prediction: Man of Steel becomes the year’s most anticipated movie, answering the question if Christopher Nolan can make a Superman movie that is actually watchable.

July

The Wolverine

The Wolverine Poster

Shirt Not Included, Unnecessary Sword Is

Prediction: Hugh Jackman sings his way through this bold musical retelling of the X-Men’s origins. Can Wolverine find redemption and appear in the next twelve X-Men movies?

August

Red 2

Red 2

This time they’re wearing ridiculous costumes!

Prediction: Laugh your way through yet another action comedy about aging action stars. This one’s even a sequel, so it’s twice as fresh!

September

Star Wars Episode 2- Attack of the Clones

Mace Windu is not impressed

Nor are we with this movie.

Prediction: Re-watch George Lucas teabag your childhood, but this time it’s in glorious 3-D! Watch two generally unlikable lovers frolic in meadows and ponder to yourself how much better Darth Maul could have made this disappointment of a movie.

October

Paranormal Activity 27

Actually, this would be better.

Actually, this would be better.

 

Prediction: Gasp in horror as doors creak and toilets become possessed. However, most of the movie will feature such standbys as dumb people sleeping and dumber people making home videos. They’ll still charge 10 bucks to see this.

November

Thor: The Dark World

Thor Funny

Ladies…

Prediction: Thor returns  to pretend his movie franchise isn’t around just to advertise Avengers 2. However, Chris Hemsworth guarantees this is at least one comic book movie your girlfriend will want to see.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Peeta Meme

Awkward teen romance included!

Prediction: Will Katniss and friends leave us hungry for me, or will the movie’s appeal go up in flames? Wow, that was even painful to type. Either way, the third book’s a disaster, so it goes downhill after this.

December

The Hobbit- The Desolation of Smaug

Smaug the Draghen

Sweet Concept Art of Smaug.

Prediction: Peter Jackson continues his drawn-out film tradition, with a forty-minute segment devoted to the proper way to braid a dwarf’s beard. Rumors abound that we’ll actually get to see the dragon this time, unless Jackson decides to split it into two more movies.





Bury the Lede- Person of Interest Review (Episode 5)

2 11 2012

CBS Person of Interest Banner

 

 

“Bury the Lede” was definitely one of those episodes where crap doesn’t quite hit the fan, but you sit there watching it get thrown. Not only does a crooked organization resurface, we also get introduced to a new master (?) villain, AND Fusco (Kevin Chapman) takes a few steps backwards to his shifty roots. And the weird thing is, it was also one of the funniest episodes of this season so far. Most of the hijinks stemmed from this week’s POI, a feisty reporter (Gloria Votsis) who not only is gunning for HR’s head boss but also The Man in the Suit. Along the way, Reese (Jim Caviezel) delivers some zingers, we get a few good Fusco moments, and Bear the Dog continues to grow on Finch (Michael Emerson). By the time the episode winds down, we get a few bad turns and remember that Person of Interest really knows how to mix the light humor and the darker themes. Let’s move to random thoughts!

 

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Reese goes Clark Kent.

 

1. Apparently HR wasn’t really taken care of in season one’s finale after all, and to be honest I have no idea why Simmons didn’t waste Fusco after he saw him working with Reese-not to mention the fact that they were both shooting at Simmons. Special Agent Donnelly (Brennan Brown) also shows up, so it seems like there’s a lot of old adversaries returning.

2. I like how Reese thinks glasses are a perfect disguise (Superman, anyone?), but really, if everyone’s looking for The Man in the Suit, why not change his clothing up a bit, and become, say, The Man in the Overalls? At LEAST wear a different suit.

3. Every part that involved Finch and  Reese’s arsenal were great character moments.

4. Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco) reappears! And from the looks of the preview, we’ll see a bit of her next episode too. I still think she’s like a Catwoman to Reese’s Batman, but I also hope they don’t overuse her. She’s great in small doses.

5. Another super-villain has potentially been introduced; does anyone think they should deal with some of the original ones first (there’s like five of them running around now)? Or maybe the show is going for a true comic book feel, where villains become iconic and stick around in jail or in the shadows until they eventually strike again.

6. All in all, a strong, engaging episode, with my only (small) quibble being too many cans of worms opened up at the same time, with no immediate resolution in sight.

Conclusion: 8.0/10