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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice…a review.

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I cannot believe I have not yet reviewed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The first pairing in live action of the two most iconic Superheroes in the world. There was a ton of expectation riding on this movie. The movie was heavily criticized by the professional pundits and under performed at the box office although it still made the studio money. One of the reasons for this is that the studio did not put out the three hour extended cut of the films into the theater. What was released to the theater was a truncated version of the film that was not very coherent in places. Note to film studio. Leave Zack Snyder alone and let him do his job, he knows what he is doing!

Therefore this review will be of the theatrical cut.

All movies do have their flaws…which is simply another way of saying “I would have done it differently” and although this movie is no exception the Pros greatly out weight any Cons it may have. I really enjoyed this movie so without further delay, the Pros and Cons of this film. Cons won the coin toss so they will go first. 🙂

Cons:

The story, even in the Extended Cut, still has some issues. The scene in the desert where Lois is interviewing a terrorist and then all hell breaks loose, it really isn’t too clear what is happening. One example, Batman brands his criminals and they end up getting killed in jail/prison…but the movie never tells you why they are being killed in jail or the motives for killing them.

Alfred. I think over all Jeremy Irons did a good job but his cynicism got old after a while. Plus, if he thinks Batman was going down the wrong road and becoming something corrupt, then you would think that he would have confronted Bruce long before he did in this movie. It seems Alfred was just as jaded as Batman was in this movie.

Death of Superman. I do understand that his sacrifice was to show the world that he truly is a force for good in the world and that he will use his powers to help and not hurt. However, maybe my objection is more about the elaborate funeral they gave Superman, because it all seems too soon because it really doesn’t feel Superman truly earned the accolades and the grief. In the movie Superman has been around less than two years and there is much controversy surrounding him, he certainly isn’t universally loved.

Death of Clark Kent. This is unprecedented. Sure, they have shown Superman die in the comics and animated movies, but they always have found a way to excuse Clark’s disappearance until Superman returns. This movie paints quite a dilemma where they are acknowledging both Clark and Superman are dead! How can they bring both back without the world knowing Clark Kent is Superman!?

Pros:

Good Story. Despite the story being muddled at times the story is very interesting and engaging. It really is not a story about Batman and Superman fighting, it is a story of redemption for both iconic characters.

Superman’s character arc. I like the idea in this universe where Superman isn’t a Mary Sue Boy-scout where everyone except the villains despise him and don’t trust him. In the real world we would have people truly fear and distrust Superman so I like that realistic approach and  how Superman has to cope with that reality especially in the face of life taking disasters committed to tarnish his name.

Batman’s Character arc. I love how this is an older and cynical and jaded Batman who has gone through many tragedies himself. We see that Robin is dead, Wayne Manor has been burned to the ground and Batman is an outlaw. I loved the scene where we fist see Batman in the room where he just branded the criminal and he is lurking in the shadows. Classic Batman! I also like how Batman comes to once again have faith in humanity restored. The scene where he rescues Martha Kent in the warehouse is the best live action scene of Batman ever put to film.

Special effects. Excellent. I love any time Superman takes flight!! Doomsday is created with such life-likeness! Great eye candy!

Good pacing. Even though the Extended Cut is three hours long the movie flows well without any slow spots at all.

Lex Luthor. I think Jesse Eisenberg was great as Luthor…yes he is Lex Luthor and not the son of Lex as many claim, he was bitter, psychotic and unpredictable.

Wonder Woman. What can I say? She was awesome! Gal Gadot was simply amazing as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince and she stole the show! I also loved the cameo glimpses of Aquaman and The Flash and Cyborg!!

I want to close by speaking of the controversial Martha scene. Sure, it is a bit cheesy but I do understand what they were doing and I think it was a great idea and worked although all it needed maybe was one line of dialogue. That was the moment Batman realized how far he had fallen and that he had become the very thing he had dedicated his life to fighting against. If Batman would have said that to Lois and Superman in some verbal way, I think it would have helped.

I really enjoyed this movie despite some of its flaws. All-in-all a good introduction of Batman in the DCEU and I look forward to more movies with these characters!

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Marvel vs DC/Warner Brothers at the Movies.

I read a thread on the Trek BBS looking at why movies based on Marvel characters seems to be doing much better in theatrical films than DC characters (Movies based on DC characters are produced by Warner Brothers) and many good points were raised. First of since 1978 when the first Superman movie came out, Superman and Batman have been the majority of the movies based on DC characters that have been released to the theaters. The only other DC characters to get his own movies were Green Lantern and Catwoman. None of the last two sat well with fans or critics, although I did like Green Lantern.

Where are the other movies based on DC Characters? Aquaman, The Fash, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Martian Hunter? Meanwhile Marvel has released movies of,  The Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, The Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Daredevil and X-Men. I may have left off a few but the evidence is undeniable, Marvel is doing much better at the box office. Many of these characters I listed have had more than one movie released about them.

What is the reason for this? Some have stated that the Marvel superheroes are more human, more relatable. Not that they do not have superpowers, it’s just that they are flawed people who also have struggles with themselves and their lives. While I think that is true for Marvel characters is that not also true for DC superheroes? Is the thought that Marvel characters are flawed and are more relatable an over generalization? I do think the Marvel characters are depicted as more human with their struggles, but I do not think that is absent from the DC superheros. In the Nolan Batman trilogy we saw a human flawed Batman and in the up coming Man of Steel movie I think we will see a superhero struggle with his place in the world.

I think another factor is that Marvel has a film studio for its characters. DC just has WB and to WB the superheros are just one of their pool of characters to draw from. Marvel Studios also had  a plan for their characters which culminated in the billion dollar juggernaut The Avengers last summer. As WB struggles to get their ensemble superhero movie, Justice League, into theaters it shows them not as a studio with a plan and foresight but as a studio that doesn’t have a plan and is struggling to find its footing amidst the competition. Another problem was that WB let poor quality movies slip by. Even though I may be in the minority and liked Superman Returns and the Schumacher Batman films the majority of the public did not. WB let its property become a laughing-stock and the Nolan Batman trilogy and hopefully the Man of Steel will restore WB & DC characters to a higher reputation.

In conclusion I do not see this as an issue of one company having better characters. They both have interesting and likable and relatable characters. I think the problem has been in the quality of movies and the fact that one studio had a grand vision while the other did not.

What’s in the Hopper this week?

A few of interesting movies are in various stages of development.

1. Justice League. With the Avengers movie bringing in bucket loads of cash the executives at Warner Brothers, the studio that holds the movie rights to the DC characters, are scampering to put together a Justice League movie. This movie has been stuck in development hell for a while. In 2008 the movie was in production but due to an overblown budget and script rewrites that could not be done due to a writer’s strike the production was halted.

It seems that Warner Brothers is once again going ahead with a Justice League movie and has hired Will Beall to write the script. Warner Brothers is also taking an opposite approach to the movie than Marvel Studios did with their Avenger Movies. Marvel launched most of these characters in solo movies prior to bringing them together in the Avengers film. There was a thread running through each of these movies that culminated in the Avengers movie.

With the DC characters we have already had a Green Lantern movie that did not perform as well as expected (although I liked it) and with the Nolan Batman series coming to an end and the Man of Steel around the corner Warner Brothers is looking for a Justice League movie to launch these characters into their own solo movies such as the Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Although I doubt very much that Christian Bale would don the Bat Cowl for a Justice League movie and it remains to be seen if Henry Cavill will reprise Superman for this movie once the Man of Steel is out, I am happy to hear that this movie is moving forward once again.

2. Hollywood is preparing to go all Old Testament on you. Aronofsky’s Noah has been in production Purgatory since 2008 but in March Russell Crowe (who will be playing Jor-El in the Man of Steel) has been cast as Noah and Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth have been cast to play two of Noah’s sons. It would be interesting to see the Ark and the Flood depicted on the big screen.

There is possibly two movies on the life of Moses that will be coming to your local theaters. Steven Spielberg is already engulfed in pre-production work on Gods and Kings, and hopefully will bring us a sweeping and epic tale of the law giver. It was reported this week that Ridley Scott (his movie Prometheus a prequel to his Alien movie is in theaters tomorrow) is saying that his idea for a movie about the life of Moses is definitely going to come to pass. However, from what I understand is Scott will often take up a project on a whim and then just as quickly place it back upon the shelf. So it remains to be seen if his Moses picture will ever be made. I am very interested in Spielberg’s take on the story. He is a master story teller.