Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review

Zack Snyder’s attempt at the movie we’ve wanted to see for decades fell short of expectations.

In anticipation to Wonder Woman, I watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice again, so here’s the review. PLEASE BE WARNED! While I will try not to go into specifics, there could be some spoiled plot points. While this is a review, it will include some analysis and ‘ways I would do it better’.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice never had the excitement around it that the idea of a Superman/Batman film had. That came from the divisiveness of 2013’s Man of Steel, which I enjoyed for the most part.

The main problem Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is the Dawn of Justice part. This is two movies. The first involves Batman and Superman both being manipulated in to hating each other, they both had their reasons but they were played upon and had their perspective skewed. The story would involve the main characters investigating what seem to be separate leads that all end up being part of the one plan. That plan, was to have Superman kill Batman and that this scenario would have one of two outcomes:

1. To show the world either that Superman would kill someone – God can’t be all good. Or,

2. To show the world that Batman killed Superman – God can’t be all powerful.

Now to me, that sounds like a good story. A little bit of action sprinkled in at certain points, some mystery and intrigue, all culminating in a finale that pits the two DC Comics greats in a battle of Brains (and money) vs. Brawn. Naturally, of course before killing one another they realise they are actually on the same side and they go after the real threat that has been influencing them from the start. We put that threat in jail, while he is in there he plots something bigger, upon his eventual escape, which will be the story of the next film. 2 hours and 10 minutes, simple story, easy to follow, everybody forgets their so-so reaction to Man of Steel, bring on the next film, ‘Dawn of Justice’.

Except that didn’t happen. Instead, that story more or less ends around the 2 hour mark and the remaining 30 minutes of its run time resulted in a ridiculous mess that features an overpowered enemy that came out of nowhere, with very little set up or reason for being there, a character that while awesome (spoilers: it’s Wonder Woman), probably shouldn’t have been in a movie called ‘Batman v Superman’ and particular plot point that probably shouldn’t have seen the light of a projector til ‘Man of Steel 3’. Some shots from the last 30 minutes looked good, but a lot of them were just so cluttered by lighting bolts and laser beams that it lost all meaning. Some of the shots were harder to determine what was going on than being able to determine who’s fighting who in a Transformers movie.

There are more issues with the film, including pacing, writing and editing etc. But I don’t want to be so negative on this film, because there is something there. There’s a movie in here, I have ever since I saw this film believed that. All I need to do it sit down in front of my computer one day and maybe make a cut of my own to prove it. (I don’t want to alarm you but the writers and editor from BvS:DoJ are doing the same jobs on Justice League.)

I very much enjoyed Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman. He gave the older, gruffer character that the story asked for and we were looking for. That said, I like most of the acting in this film. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams have a shallow dynamic, dialogue-wise but their body language and the look in their eyes said more than the script could. Gal Gadot did a pretty decent job as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and delivered in my favourite shot of the entire film – a small smile during the big fight at the end, a little thing that said so much about the character, it said: “This is fun.”, “I’ve missed this” and “So you want a fight, huh?” all at the same time.

Jeremy Irons brought a new side to Alfred Pennyworth that we hadn’t seen before and I didn’t mind Holly Hunter’s role as a senator leading an enquiry in to Superman. Lawrence Fishburne brought nothing to the role as Perry White and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor left a lot to be desired… there were moments of proper evil to his character but sadly it was overshadowed by his ‘no one comprehends my genius’ shtick mixed with a fair amount of overacting.

The first 2 hours of the movie weren’t bad, it probably could have been done with being an hour and 40, but the story was enjoyable and could be followed somewhat. That being said, this is a comic book movie, and yes, the characters are from comic books, I know. I mean this movie paces like a comic book, it could even do with the odd “Meanwhile” tags in the top left corner in a few scenes, if this film was adapted in to a comic book – it would work. I think that is what sets the current DC films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart, Marvel makes movies based on its characters, they have adapted story lines, DC, or at least Zack Snyder seems to adapt the panels. Which is why 300 and Watchmen worked for the fans of those movies, its what they were expecting. It’s not what fans were expecting after Marvel had completed its ‘Phase One’. I think the culture had changed.

After all this though, I like parts of this movie, so it doesn’t fail completely in my opinion. I see this movie for it’s merits and what it tried to do. Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas about how you can fix this and effectively write this movie off – which in the DC Universe at least can be done very easily.

2 Stars

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Green Lantern – Review

In brightest day, In blackest night, no evil… blah blah blah.

Before I go much more into this I would like to say that I was sort of hoping the trailer wasn’t a full indicator of this film… sadly it pretty much is. Green Lantern is a comic book adaptation film of a character I rather like. The Green Lantern gets his abilities from a power ring that uses the green energy of Will Power to create anything he/she/it imagines. There is a Green Lantern for every ‘sector’ of the universe and they all make up the Green Lantern Corps. Hal Jordan becomes a Green Lantern and in a very rushed storyline must save the earth from an entity who uses the yellow power of Fear.

Ryan Reynolds plays the not-a-care-in-the-world, Hal Jordan who is chosen by the Green Lantern Ring assigned to the sector that Earth resides in. His character style comes from his background in situation comedy, rather than the way Hal Jordan acted in the comic books. Because of this his character and therefore the film is more for comic relief and comedy, juxtaposed with the CGI action of the film.

His co-star and in my opinion probably the best performance in the film was Blake Lively, of Gossip Girl fame, who plays Hal’s long time friend and romantic interest, Carol Ferris. The bad guy, Hector Hammond, played by Peter Sarsgaard, was a typical pathetic and weak man taken over by evil and had very little character development.

The Green Lantern Corps were overall very well cast with the exception of Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) who in my opinion didn’t meet my expectations. Thaal Sinestro (Mark Strong), Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) and Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) were all very well played out and I would like to see more from them especially Sinestro who in the comics had a very long and developed story as a Green Lantern who “went to the dark side”.

I feel bad for Ryan Reynolds as he never got the chance to wear the outfit, a privilege that I believe all superhero actors should have, instead he wore a grey full body suit. Which brings me to my point that the CGI was overdone and it would have been nicer to see less and more real-world SFX. It was a little disappointing because I prefer more real experience.

Overall, I believe that while the movie was pretty good, it lacked in many areas and thats one of the reasons why it failed. Another reason is that the producers obviously didn’t think it through because majority of the population haven’t heard of the Green Lantern and in a year where the movie The Green Hornet was released they may have not analysed their audience as well as they should have. However despite the poor box office effort, they are in scripting for a second and I am looking forward to what could and should be a sequel better than the original.

2 Stars

For those who want to know… the oath is as follows,

In brightest day, in blackest night,

No evil shall escape my sight

Let those who worship evil’s might,

Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!

Green Lantern is in cinemas now.

Sucker Punch on DVD

With the release of Sucker Punch on DVD this week how about we re-live the review of quite possibly the most hyped-up movie of the year…

It’s incredibly hard to describe this film. I saw it on Thursday and I’ve had to give it this long too sink in. This movie improves with age. It starts out with a five minute dialogue-less scene where where the story is set, A woman dies and has left everything she owns to her two young daughters, the girl’s jealous step father decides to take what he wants and he attacks the girls. In the process the younger sister is killed and in an act of self defence the older sister, “Baby Doll” (Emily Browning) points a gun at her evil step father. Baby Doll is framed for the murder of her sister and is sent to an asylum for the insane.

There, Baby Doll meets Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie and Amber and thats where things start getting interesting. Baby Doll’s imagination turns the asylum into a club where the inmates are the dancers. Baby Doll’s dancing mesmerises people and allows her and the other girls to experience awesome new worlds and crazy scenarios.

This film provides a look inside the mind of a crazy person. But is the crazy person Baby Doll or Zack Snyder? Let your imagination run wild and you might get this movie straight away. The soundtrack and visual effects are amazing and Zack’s use of his favourite special effect, slow motion shots make this movie a dream come true… Literally, this movie is more dream like than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Despite what others say Zack Snyder is a talented director and he has made a good movie here. Although it’s a bit of a mess, Sucker Punch gets my vote!

2 Stars

Ultimately, the film only raked in $89 Million world-wide, in Australia, it pulled about $4.5 Million. The film never quite broke as good as the production company was hoping for. The budget of $82 Million was only just met in it’s theatrical life and unfortunately, Sucker Punch, missed the mark. Zack Snyder will return to the screen as director in 2013 with Man of Steel.

Sucker Punch is available on DVD and BluRay in all good video stores.

                   

Batman Forever – Review

PART THREE: Batman Forever

Directed By: Joel Schumacher

Written By: Bob Kane, Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler and Akiva Goldsman

Starring: Val Kilmer, Jim Carey, Tommy-Lee Jones, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough and Nicole Kidman

Gross: $336,531,112 (Worldwide)

Production Co: Warner Bros. Pictures

Release Date: 29 June 1995(Australia)

Runtime: 121 min

The critic on the back of the DVD of Batman Forever is quoted in saying “The Best ‘Batman’ Yet”… Maybe they put it on the back of the wrong movie? Batman Forever picks up a few years after Batman Returns, the city is now over run with criminals of all shapes and sizes. Now, Batman must battle Two-Face and The Riddler with help of an amourous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin.

Although this film is good in it’s own way and enjoyable, it sadly lacks the qualities that the original films had and I’d say that one of the main qualities was Tim Burton at the helm as director. Schumacher transforms Burton’s Noir-Expressionistic world into a rave-meets-gothic-architecture-type Gotham City. However that’s not the only down point… Although the acting was good from Jim Carey and Tommy-Lee Jones (Riddler and Two-Face respectively)(You maybe thinking ‘but Harvey Dent was in Batman and he was played by Billy Dee Williams’, and you’d be right, you have one man to blame for this… Joel Schmacher (I blame him a lot) Billy Dee Williams was very ready and excited to play Two-Face however Schmacher decided after working with Jones on The Client, replaced the one and only Lando Calrissian… Shame Schumacher, Shame) the characters they played were below par. The dialogue was to stilted and fake and lets not get into the one-liners that start cropping up and end up being (pretty much) the entire script in the next film.

Warner Bros. wanted to make this film more main stream because Batman Returns was not the box-office success they hoped for and because of this decision and a few others i.e. removing Burton almost completely and telling Schumacher what to film, the movie despite a decent box-office taking (making it the second highest of 1995, Toy Story taking the top spot) received mixed reviews and in my opinion while had some good points was not overly fantastic.

2 Stars

Batman Forever is available on DVD and BluRay and can also be bought in a Batman Anthology with the other three “80′s & 90′s” Batman Films (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman & Robin).

Sucker Punch – Review

It’s incredibly hard to describe this film. I saw it on Thursday and I’ve had to give it this long too sink in. This movie improves with age. It starts out with a five minute dialogue-less scene where where the story is set, A woman dies and has left everything she owns to her two young daughters, the girl’s jealous step father decides to take what he wants and he attacks the girls. In the process the younger sister is killed and in an act of self defence the older sister, “Baby Doll” (Emily Browning) points a gun at her evil step father. Baby Doll is framed for the murder of her sister and is sent to an asylum for the insane.

There, Baby Doll meets Rocket, Sweet Pea, Blondie and Amber and thats where things start getting interesting. Baby Doll’s imagination turns the asylum into a club where the inmates are the dancers. Baby Doll’s dancing mesmerises people and allows her and the other girls to experience awesome new worlds and crazy scenarios.

This film provides a look inside the mind of a crazy person. But is the crazy person Baby Doll or Zack Snyder? Let your imagination run wild and you might get this movie straight away. The soundtrack and visual effects are amazing and Zack’s use of his favourite special effect, slow motion shots make this movie a dream come true… Literally, this movie is more dream like than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Zack Snyder is a talented director and here, he has made a good music video.

2 Stars

Sucker Punch is in cinema’s now.