Review : Justice League

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“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.”

So, this movie, and its production has gone through a lot. Family tragedy that caused director Zack Snyder to have to take a leave from the production, the entry of Joss Whedon to finish the film, a cgi top lip fiasco, studio interference in many ways and much more. I say all that because going into this movie, I had the mindset of, if this movie is good I’d be genuinely impressed that they were able to pull all of this together. And there is a lot that they were able to pull off, and some they weren’t. To start, this movie doesn’t feel like its directed by two directors, but it does feel like it was edited by committee, and thats a bit of an issue. Joss Whedon has a writing credit on this movie, so he definitely had to have re-written at least a third of the movie, and it shows in the dialogue that sticks out, and more things at the end of the movie, where I think most of the re-shoot changes really occur. Man of Steel, BvS, Suicide Squad, you can say what you want about these movies, one thing you can’t say, is that they’re not bold, because they are, and this movie loses that boldness in favour of a more “tame” version of what we’ve gotten before. Now thats definitely going to add a lot of mass appeal to the movie, but it might lose it much of its deeper credibility. All of that is not to say that this movie isn’t entertaining, it certainly is, and there are so many surprise and stand out moments that leap straight off the page and give you that incredible I never thought I’d see that in a movie feeling, but I still would have liked to have seen those moments through the bold lens of the movies before it. They are some plot holes for sure, and there is another villain who’s motivations are sort of lost on us, there’s the lip, but despite all of that, there is so much here that we know and love from these characters, and that’s where the movie shines brightest. You can say what you want about Zack Snyder, but the man has style, and he definitely has an eye for casting, and this team is casted very well. The surprise stand out of these is actually Cyborg, his portrayal of the character and his exploration into being part man and part machine was fantastic. The movie does run at a bit of a break neck pace, but it was literally mandated to be under two hours (its like one minute less), and the solution they went with was clearly to cut some of the more subtle character building moments, especially some of which were teased in trailers. Also I must say, the score for this movie is done by Danny Elfman, and he’s certainly a great composer, but his work seems so Saturday morning cartoonish when compared to what we got before from the likes of Junkie XL, that it really fell flat for me. They also made some kind of different version of the Wonder Woman theme (Is she with you? from BvS), and that was a real bummer for me as I was just waiting for it to come blasting on in her opening action scene. His score does definitely bring up some good ole nostalgia, but do we really need to keep going back to certain wells? All in all it might seem like I’m being really down on this movie, and I’m really not. Just like I had said in review for Thor Ragnorok, the movie sacrifices some substance for style (in this case that boldness and real grit of the previous movies), but I can’t for one second say that I wasn’t entertained, or that the things that were done right, weren’t really exciting to see. Justice League feels like a step in a different direction than maybe I personally wished they had gone with the franchise as a whole, but the movie does deliver a lot of the things I wanted from a movie like this. And maybe one day I’ll get to see all those cut scenes. (Also just as a side note, I’m not a huge fan of the new super suit, liked the darker one more).

Review Score : 8 out of 10

Also I feel like I have to address it, this movie does make some less than progressive choices with female characters. They don’t come off so egregious as you might think, but they are definitely there, and they are definitely distinct choices. I know many people are trying to blame Snyder for this, and he probably has to take the blame for the more glammed up look of the Amazons, when compared to the Wonder Woman movie, but the impactful moments of this I thought were in moments of dialogue and character decisions, all of which I’m willing to bet were down the re-writes and re-shoots from Whedon. I wish Zack was able to give us his unblemished version of this movie, and we might never know what and who changed what, but I think its at least comforting to know that a lot of those issues that arose, were fought against by the cast and crew, and maybe going forward these kinds of issues can become less and less, as we can not have to talk about them at all one day.

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Review : Wonder Woman

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“Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

So just for full disclosure, I’ve had Wonder Woman’s theme as my phone ring tone, for like a year now, needless to say I have been nothing but super hyped waiting for this movie, and my expectations were super high. All that being said, this movie is pretty awesome. Gal Gadot, is honestly the greatest incarnation of the character we have ever gotten, and she brings everything to the role. She’s absolutely stunning, she brings the physicality, and she does excellent at playing both the strong, soft, and funny moments. However, she does have some help in here in a fantastically played secondary character in Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. The two had a great chemistry and they played extremely well off of each other, especially in the softer more quiet moments in here. And even for all the great action in here, a lot of the best scene are honestly these soft, quiet, and subtle scenes between Chris and Gal (and some others with the other supporting cast). Like I said before though, the action in this movie is here, and its very well done. The film itself is also absolutely stunning when it needs and wants to be, doing a great job at juxtaposing the colour and vibrance of places like Themyscira, against the drab and dull world of man and of war. Wonder Woman is truly a film firing on all cylinders here, from acting, to action, and everything in-between. All in all, I think this movie will be a bit of a game changer, and come Monday, will likely be the most successful female directed and lead film we’ve ever seen. Go see it right now!

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Review : Suicide Squad

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“A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.”

To address the Elephant in the room, no this movie isn’t as bad as all those early reviews said, but it isn’t amazing either. So this movie really is a mixed bag. On one hand, this is genuinely the first time we get to see these kind of adaptations of some fan favourite characters, and seeing that in itself is a great thing. They also don’t hold back on the weirdness and strangeness that make a lot of these characters so compelling. Most everyone here really does a good job with their individual characters, and through one way or another we get deeper looks into most of the cast, and why they may be the way they are. This movie however isn’t without problems or faults. The biggest of those being the storytelling, not the plot, but the way David Ayer seeks to tell the story itself. That narrative execution can get pretty messy at times, giving the movie a very cut and jump feeling at times, where some scenes seem to just come out of no where and just as quickly, are gone again. When the movie is set on its path its fine, it when it takes some of it detours that it can get sloppy, which is really a shame because it keeps this movie from truly living up to its full potential. All in all, its still worth a look, especially if you’re a fan of these characters and are interested in seeing them come to life on the biggest screen.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Captain America vs Batman

Now that the much anticipated Captain America: Civil War is out, it got me thinking about what will eventually go down as the best comic book movie trilogy of all time. For the longest time, the Nolan Batman trilogy has pretty much been the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world when it comes to this idea, but now, we truly have a contender to the belt (and a soon to be third possible contender when we get to see X-Men Apocalypse later this month). Now that we have finally seen the full realisation of the Captain America trilogy we can really get into a full comparison of the two. Lets look at the numbers first:

Batman Begins: 48 Million opening weekend (US) and a 374 Million worldwide total earning.

The Dark Knight: 158 Million opening weekend (US) and 1 Billion worldwide total earning.

The Dark Knight Rises: 160 Million opening weekend (US) and 1.1 Billion worldwide total earning.

That gives the Batman trilogy a total of 2.4 Billion earned, with an average opening weekend total of 122 Million.

Captain America The first Avenger: 65 Million opening weekend (US) and 370 Million worldwide total earning.

Captain America The Winter Soldier: 95 Million opening weekend (US) and 714 Million worldwide total earning.

Captain America Civil War: 179 Million opening weekend (US) and currently 767 Million worldwide at current date.

That gives the Captain America trilogy a total of 1.8 Billion currently, with Civil War still having a substantial run in cinemas to complete, and an average opening weekend total of 113 Million.

The movies are pretty close when it comes to dollars, and I fully expect that by the time Civil War is done its cinematic run, the total numbers I referenced above will be much, much closer. Another way we can look at these movies is to compare their relative ratings, and I’ve decided to use what I think most people use and respect as an good rating standard, in there Rottentomatoes scores.

 

Batman                                                                    Captain America

Batman Begins: 85%                                             The First Avenger: 80%

The Dark Knight: 94%                                          The Winter Soldier: 89%

The Dark Knight Rises: 87%                               Civil War: 90%currently

That gives the Batman trilogy an average rating of 89% and the Captain America movies at 86% (baring a big jump in the current rating for Civil War).

So now that you’ve seen all the numbers and stats, do you think the Batman Trilogy still reigns supreme, or has the usurper Captain America taken over?

 

Film Slating, helping or hurting?

So recently, more and more companies have gotten into the habit of announcing their film slates for the next basically 20 years, giving us movies to salivate over for years and years to come. However, after some recent film viewing ( looking at you Avengers ), I’ve began to wonder if these slates are really helping or hurting these films. So what do I mean by this? Well hear me out.

1) What do these slates actually accomplish?

The point of these slates is so we know and are excited about where these film universes are going, however does that now handcuff some of your creativity? Most of the more negative reactions I have heard in regard to the mot recent Avengers movie, was that it didn’t seem to well enough set up the audience for the films coming after. This is something that could only be a problem if we KNOW what is coming next.

2) Do these slates actually raise interest?

For most people, knowing when Dr. Strange is coming out is of no significance, but to fan boys and girls its a huge deal. The problem here is that fan boys and girl don’t make up the majority of the viewing audience these movies need to make a profit. So is it worth fatiguing these properties for the sake of a few?

3) What happens when changes have to be made?

After the recently finding that Spider-Man can now be in Marvel proper movies again, we instantly saw a change in the Marvel movie slate pushing back some films to feature a new Spider-Man film. What does this cause? It causes the people who were really excited about one of those pushed back movies, to be annoyed now that they are being to wait even longer than before.

All of these could be avoided by simply only announcing the next years films or something of the like. What do you think? Do you like knowing so much? Or would you rather just wait and see where the rabbit hole goes.

Cheers