Batman V. Superman – Movie Review

29 03 2016

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.
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?
And then Bruce Wayne started floating out of that freakin’ cave and my optimism got a kick in the crotch.
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.

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.
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.

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.
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.
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.

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)

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.
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.

3 Reasons I Miss Midnight Movie Releases

28 04 2015

Well, as any movie fan knows, Marvel is about to take another swim in the ol’ money pool this week with the new The Avengers: Age of Ultron. And, just as I’ve done with other giant movies like The Dark Knight or Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Lucas, I’ll be right there with the rest of the fans on opening night. And, just like any other fan, I’ll find something to complain about. In this case, it’s nothing more than the now commonplace practice of releasing movies an evening early instead of only midnight. Why is this a big deal? Well, if you read the title, you’ll know I’ve got three reasons to rain on the early release’s parade.

Joker and Two-Face

Judge me not, or I’ll ask why you’re being so serious.

1. The Diehard Fans

To some people, people lining up outside a movie theater at 10:30 PM (and who may or may not be in costume) looks weird. I get that. But, imagine you’re so excited for something that you want to watch it as soon as possible, and not only that, but you’ll be surrounded by other fans as crazy as you who think starting a movie at midnight is worth it. You line up, maybe talk to other people dressed as a Slytherin student or Batman villain about their expectations. And then, when the theater’s packed and the movie finally starts, everyone cheers loudly- for a film. But then, once opening scene rolls? Dead silence. Respectful quiet from people who just want to experience the movie the way it’s meant to be. That’s not to say it’s like a morgue the whole time- expect laughter at comedic moments and even applause at the best parts. It’s almost as if you’re at a live play with all the interaction, including (unless you’re Spider-Man 3) applause at the ending credits. Never experienced that before in a theater? Well, you’ve probably never been to the late showing then. Your movie-going world consists of the casual fans.

2. The Casual Fans

If midnight premieres bring out the hardcore fans, 6 o’clock releases bring out the people who wonder when Batman will show up in The Avengers. This is the stereotypical crowd that people love to hate. Screaming babies? Sure, why not bring two! People lighting up the world with their cell phone screens? Check. Throw in that one stain of a human being who successfully stays being loud and obnoxious during the entire show, and you have what I call “the casual crowd.” Instead of a shared experience with your fellow fans, it’s a prime reminder that yes, you do dislike the majority of the human race. The best way to avoid these people is by attending a later showing that only the dedicated will attend.

3. Event Vs. Activity

However, at the end of the night, haven’t you watched the same movie? Yes, but you sure haven’t had the same experience. When movies open at 5:30 on a Thursday night, you’ve watched a movie. When you used to only have a midnight showing, you’ve gone to a premiere. There may be costumes and giveaways, but mostly it’s just a shared celebrational event. And I’m pretty sure those times are gone forever. Are we really going to wait till midnight when everyone else is watching at 5:30? What’s the point? Studios certainly aren’t going to go back to a more honest opening “weekend” at the cost of early profits. I’ll definitely be more ready for work the next morning. At the end of the day, I just hope Hulk’s smashing is loud enough to drown out the crying infants this Thursday evening.

The Lego Movie Review

14 02 2014
The Lego Movie Banner promo

I just wish they had spelled out the premise a little more.

Full disclosure- years ago I was the biggest Lego maniac around. I built for hours, learning valuable life skills like how to build a space base or a giant robot to storm the gates of the medieval castle. Lego was the junk! So, of course I drove my mature self into that theater, and I watched an animated movie about Lego people. Is it worth your time, or is this a shameless cash-in?

Lego Movie poster

Above: my childhood. (Minus Unikitty, of course.)

This is a shorter review, so here’s a shorter answer: this movie took me by surprise. It’s quirky, funny, and wonderfully random at times, bringing the all-around good feelings that Pixar films used to give. Basically, normal, everyman Emmet (Chris Pratt) is “chosen” by hippie-wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to save the Lego universe from the clutches of the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett ) also help Emmet realize his role as the MasterBuilder. But first they have to escape the ever-looming henchman Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) and his army of robots. Typical Shakespearean drama, am I right? By the way, Shakespeare also makes an appearance with Lincoln, because of course he does.

Bad Cop and Lord Business. Subtle.

Bad Cop and Lord Business. (Subtle naming going on here .)

Obviously, The Lego Movie never takes itself seriously, yet still manages to stay on target and somehow pull the emotional strings towards the end. The animation is half of the charm. They filled the movie with tons of slick action sequences, yet the style is intentionally meant to resemble all those stop-motion Lego videos on Youtube. The humor ranges from clever to goofy and usually hits the mark, coming from the same directors who worked on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs  and (surprisingly) 21 Jump Street. All the actors seem to be having a blast, most notably Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell, who milk their villainous dialogue for all it’s worth. Alison Brie as Unikitty also had some laugh-out-loud psychotic moments. And, let’s just say Will Arnett as Jerk Batman is awesome.

All in all, this movie knows what it is and sticks with it. The screenwriters nailed what draws so many kids to Lego- imagination. Throw in a little nostalgia, a little emotion, and endless gags, and the end result is a movie that will entertain more than just kids.

7 Tips for Surviving Y2K this New Year’s Eve (2014 edition)

31 12 2013

Happy New Year’s Eve! For those of you old enough to remember, Y2K nearly destroyed all civilization back in 1999. Everything from the Internet to medical equipment and traffic lights to our whole framework as a society was going to be fried by the date change. Until it didn’t. Why? Was it the combined effort of the IT people, casting their technological spells? Of course not. What happened was everybody had the wrong year- forget the 1999 to 2000 switch, what REALLY causes all computers to fry their circuits is the 2013 to 2014 transition. The Mayans were off by a mere two years. Don’t believe me? Well, check this out:

“2014 will blow every computer’s mind.”

– Famous Expert Scientist

I even found a credible article.

I even found a credible article.

That’s right kids, SCIENCE. But don’t fret, I’ve researched the researchers, who have provided this handy survival guide.

1. Destroy all electronics– they are no longer your friend once the mega-virus begins. iPhones, PC’s- even microwaves will become the SkyNet of monsters at the stroke of midnight. Have you ever been hunted for days by a murderous Smart TV? Well, be glad you haven’t- yet. Since toys have become so high-tech and networked, they should not escape the purging either. Cast those Furbys into the fire!

2. Withdraw all your savings in cash, since the bank is just as vulnerable. Bring the cash (or gold, that’s fine too) to me and I’ll make sure it stays safe until the initial chaos is over. Speaking of which, number 3.

3. Crawl into your bunker. If you’ve irresponsibly spending your money on less practical things, like 401k’s, hopefully you have a more future-minded friend who will let you share their bunker (but bring your own supply of canned green beans).

4. Don’t forget to pack your pets. They can provide comfort during the long candle-lit hours, and in extreme cases are a great source of protein.

5. Mourn the fact that you can no longer watch Teen Mom 2 ever again, and then move on with your life.

6. Start writing the History of Everything. If all recorded knowledge in hard drives gets deleted, and books get burned for warmth, YOU may be the only thing left to tell everyone what went on before Y2K. So go crazy! Remember that time our nation was founded by Sean Connery and Walker, Texas Ranger? Everyone does now!

7. Rejoice that there’s a load of crappy movies that will never be released, like Vampire Academy (shudder) and I, Frankenstein. Also there’s a good chance that Miley Cyrus will never creep you out again. And Ben Affleck will never play Batman. Shoot, maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Watching the world burn.

Maybe we can all stop joking about this in 2014.

Olympus Has Fallen 5-Point Review

25 03 2013
Morgan Freeman Aaron Eckhart Gerard Butler

Three reasons to watch this movie.


1. Olympus Has Fallen has been called “the best Die Hard movie of the year” (they didn’t mean it, Bruce Willis), and it’s basically what would happen if Die Hard and  Air Force One had a baby. Is that a bad thing? No, no it’s not.


2. Gerard Butler,  Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart all play their parts perfectly, giving us not only tough-as-nails characters, but genuinely likable ones at that, with Butler and Eckhart selling their bro friendship effortlessly. Even if the trauma doesn’t push President Asher into becoming President Two-Face (though the White House at the end looked like his hideout).


President Two-Face

Bet more people would watch The State of the Union Address.


3. Is the action good? Well, YES. Let’s just say Gerard Butler takes out a guy using the most American way possible in the Oval Office (Abe Lincoln is involved).

Abraham Lincoln

Bringing justice from beyond!


4. My one point of frustration during the movie (besides seeing all this happen to the U.S. of A.) was (SPOILERS) how easily the President gave away freakin’ nuclear codes away, just so someone in his Cabinet wouldn’t die. I mean, yeah, of course you wouldn’t want that to happen, but literally (cue Jack Bauer voice) MILLIONS OF LIVES WERE IN DANGER. I dunno, it’s not like they would really have killed the people who knew the code anyway, unless it was after they told the code (which they did). (END SPOILERS)


5. Speaking of Jack Bauer, this seemed very 24-ish, didn’t it? Maybe because of that one season? Again, not a bad thing, but what made me cringe was when I read this article about the copycat movie coming out in three months. Would I rather see Jamie Foxx be the President, this next movie asks? I’d rather watch President Two-Face.

Or Acting President Freeman.

Or Acting President Freeman.


Dark Knight Rises Review in Five Sentences

25 07 2012


1. Dark Knight Rises is not supposed to be The Dark Knight, so swat that idea off your plate from the get-go; Nolan shifts from the style of film noir to revolutionary epic.


Bane In Dark Knight Rises

What. Now.


2. Cillian Murphy’s cameo was a welcome surprise, proving once again that if Nolan likes you as an actor, he’ll use you in his movies as much as he can (hello, Michael Caine and everyone else from Inception).


Dicaprio in Dark Knight

Nolan had Dicaprio in The Dark Knight, but later edited him out.


3. I had to eat my dismal predictions of Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman (although she was never called  that name in the movie) and Bane as a villain choice (during the final fight, I seriously thought he was going to break Bats again).



And I did.


4. I can’t say for sure if Dark Knight Rises is my favorite Batman movie, since Batman (and Michael Caine) were surprisingly short on screen time, and Joker is the only villain from the previous movies who doesn’t get screen time or even a mention.


Joker and Two-Face

Ironically, these two were used the least in the movie.


5. However, Nolan crafted a fantastic ending  to his trilogy, blending the signature dark tones, emotional tug, and storytelling to complete what will become the definitive story of Batman as far as the mainstream culture is concerned; it’s more than a great superhero movie, it’s a great movie, period.


Bonus Sentence: Would it have killed Nolan to pull a Harry Potter and make eight movies instead of three?

If Christopher Nolan Directed “The Avengers”

7 05 2012

So, like one or two dozen other people around the world, I saw The Avengers last weekend. Like most of you, I watched this movie and thought, “I could’ve done better.” However, since I’m a little short in the Hollywood influence area, I’d choose the next best person: Christopher Freakin’ Nolan.

Chris Nolan

The Director we deserve, but not the one we need.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if the man behind Dark Knight decided to add a cold, hard dose of reality to fun-loving, superhero-fueled The Avengers? Well, you’d have a gritty, realistic, mind-bender of a movie, of course without all the aliens and, er, superpowers.

The Unrealistic Comic People

I present Nolan’s likely character presentations.

The Hulk– Dr. Bruce Banner is a very large physicist of a man.  He struggles with anger issues caused by a childhood filled with bullying from all the skinny kids. Despite his weight, he spends half the movie without his shirt on, designed to “shock” the audience.

Iron Man– Replaced by Batman, because Chris Nolan does what Chris Nolan wants.

Thor– Stan Carter claims to be the god of thunder, carrying around his giant sledgehammer and rocking medieval-style locks. Early on, it is revealed he took one too many trips down Trippy Lane during his college years.

Hawkeye– Best shot in the world, former Navy SEAL. His importance in the story is greatly enhanced by the loss of the other’s super powers.

Black Widow– Thor’s deceased wife who only appears in his drug-induced dreams.

Nick Fury– Played by Morgan Freeman, and that’s all you need to know.

Loki– Thor’s adopted brother with delusions of grandeur. His plan is to use an army of illegal aliens to storm New York City, because he’s an agent of chaos who just wants to watch the world burn.

Plot- Switch Loki’s army to disgruntled, exploited illegal aliens. Switch super hero face-offs to gritty hand combat. Besides that, same thing.