Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

When they released the first epic teaser for Batman v Superman, every geek dna fiber in my body exploded with excitement. Actually, when the news broke out as Ben Affleck being casted as the Bat, the internet exploded, mostly with discontent. I’ll admit, at first i was a little concerned. It’s not that I doubted Affleck’s acting, cause he proved his chops in the past few years with films like Argo and Gone Girl. So, I knew he could show us Bruce Wayne, but Batman? I wasn’t so sure. Then the first picture came and blew up the internet, followed by the teaser trailer. And while each tease got more revealing, I gave Batfleck a benefit of a doubt and believed he could do it. Now, Batman v. Superman has come and I’m blown away. I thought Affleck was phenomenal. And not only did he play the part, he sure as hell looked it too. But i can’t give too much credit to Affleck as I should give them to Zack Snyder, the man behind the entire DC film slate. He is the mastermind at crafting Batman borrowing heavy from Frank Miller’s work The Dark Knight. Henry Cavill definitely looked more comfortable as Superman in his second turnout after Man of Steel. It’s impressive to see a change in tone as we see actors get settled into their roles and make it believable. Cavill has officially become the face of Superman, just like Christopher Reeves was over 30 years ago. Another fantastic and surprisingly very impressive cast is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I can’t iterate how much I loved seeing her smirk after getting knocked down in the climatic fight scene. I understand what Snyder was doing in bringing a somewhat different Lex Luthor than the one we are used to. In the past, we have seen portrayals of Luthor as an older character, like in 40s and on. Someone with years of experience that made him into the billionaire business mogul that is hell-bent on tearing down the image of Superman. Now, in reflection of our society, the mogul can be a young adult like Mark Zuckerberg, a multi billionaire. Having that perspective, it seemed appropriate to cast known fast quirky talker, Jesse Eisenberg, who, incidentally played Zuckerberg in oscar nominated best picture, The Social Network. Though, I’m not sure it works for here. I thought his quirky antics reminded me more of Joker than a business mogul mastermind, I digress. The main issue with BvS is that it has a very sluggish first half. Narratively speaking, the process of getting to the third act was horrendous. It just was. There were moments as to where I had absolutely no idea what was going on. And do we really need to explore Bruce Wayne’s origin again? A few clunky dialogues from time to time from the other characters. Also, some scenes just felt unnecessarily long, like the apocalyptic vision. I get what Snyder was going for, but for sake of fluidity, cut some parts out. I really did enjoy this film, I thought the trinity were spot on, and cant wait to see the additional team members in the future Justice League. Zack Snyder’s DC cinematic version is the best version of Batman to date. We got to see his “world’s greatest detective”, his uses of his bat-gadgets and bat-vehicles with all of its gadget, and more that I can’t think to write. Batman vs Superman is not a perfect film, but it’s definitely worth seeing it on the big screen. I think real fans of the actual comics and not just what they know from the Nolan trilogy will love the new Batman. #cosigned

Batman V Superman Review

As spoiler free as possible I’m going to write my first film review for Batman V Superman.

If I can ever see a Batman project (film, show, or video game) without seeing the death of his parents I will give it an automatic co-sign. There is only so many times you can see Batman’s parents get shot and him fall into a hole. This time the movie starts with a slow-motion version of the murder that sparked the Knight. I did like how Mrs. Wayne’s pearls broke off her necklace, not sure if I have seen it depicted that way but it was an artistic spin. I didn’t like how Bruce escaped the cave that he fell into where he faces his biggest fear. This scene is no longer needed nor does it provide a sense of sadness or evoke the same emotion from audience as it used too. I’m sure not one person doesn’t know Batman’s origins and if they don’t the film can talk about in conversation and not show it over and over. Bruce can tell someone, or they can find a new article or something but not waste so much time retelling the same origin.

The new actors this time were hit and miss. Gal Gadot who plays Wonder Woman is such a beautiful actress and was amazing in the Fast and Furious franchise. She got an amazing amount if flack for her size, “she lacks the muscle, the tone, etc.” That may be a little true, she looked rather skinny but I saw Wonder Women watching her play the role. Ben Affleck as Batman is another one that received hate not only for his look but due to past role as Daredevil. I think he did great, I look forward to seeing an old Batman get progressively older with all these connected films coming out in the future. The big miscast was Lex Luther. Everyone is saying that Jesse Eisenberg is super annoying in this role. It’s not that, he usually plays that type of awkward, fast talking role. That’s the point, he isn’t doing anything new! I really thought at the end of the movie they would say his name was Lex Luther Jr and his dad was the real mastermind. He didn’t look like him with or without hair, he didn’t sound like Lex should sound. He didn’t act like Lex is known to be. Lex Luther is an ego maniac and this Lex wasn’t. Alfred seems cool, younger than usual, but he at least sounds and acts like Alfred should. Doomsday, was all CGI, but I really didn’t see anything too bad with it. What else could they do? Have an actor wear a costume? Change the look of the character completely? He is a huge adversary for Superman and for them to use him so early in the franchise and for such a pivotal plot point makes me excited for what bigger, badder, bad guys they have in the future.

The fighting with the two title characters was good. We have seen super heroes fight multiple times in Avengers, and X-Men, etc. It was good, no one ever really wins or loses those fights. The last fight was about the full last hour of the film. That was decent. I’m glad they took inspiration from Dark Knight Rises but they didn’t end the film the way that comic, and animated film, ended.

The movie was long, had scenes full of action but had a lot of slow, wordy moments setting up situations. It was really two films in one. In the first scene you see what Batman is doing, second scene you see what Superman is doing, etc. It wasn’t 3 hours of action, the last hour overshadowed the previous fight scenes. The crowd laughed maybe once the whole film, at the end. Many foreshadowing jokes and nods but don’t expect this film to be a laugh fest. The heroes spent most of time as alter ego, almost like it was Bruce v Clark not Batman v Superman.

You get cameos from a few of the league but not enough for some of the advertisements to be focused on them.

I, Christopher Yambo, co-sign this film as it is the start of a new book of DC live action films. It made its share of mistakes, but it isn’t unwatchable. It is long but it really was an attempt to lay the ground work for the franchise. You saw scenes from your favorite comics but it isn’t a full Dark Knight Returns film, no mutant gang, etc. The ending was extended from the comic but wasn’t how the comic ended which leaves it open for a few possibilities in the future to branch out. I didn’t agree with some of the casting but it was a decent film. Not one I recommend to re-watch 100 times as a feel good film but I’m looking at it as more to come and not as one and done. If it was to be a standalone, it left a little to be desired but that’s when we get into spoiler territory. The main team up could’ve been longer, but we will get that in Justice League. That’s why you have to think of this film as a stepping stone and not the whole flight of stairs.

Do not, I repeat do not wait for an end of movie clip, you won’t get any and the credits were as long as last fight scene!

 

[You will be getting a Timothy Noble review but I just wanted to write one as well in my style of writing, since i got to watch the Thursday screening, so expect his review some time this weekend]

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

I didn’t come into Allegiant expecting much since I didn’t care much for the other films. The first was interesting but still had a Hunger Games feel to it and the second felt a little repetitive but there was enough pomp that gave it some edge to be a fairly entertaining film. Allegiant feels redundant and it’s running out of steam. There were many technical problems that, though most film goers would be oblivious to, it was a bit of a mess to me. A couple obvious green screen backdrop, a few glaring continuity errors, plot holes and more. It wasn’t a bad film by any means. Divergent fans will still get their Tris and Four love kicks. But for me, the issue is that the movie feels like it’s just there to generate revenue and be a placeholder to the real action for the final film. It’s too bad because there is good message that is very relatable in this politically charged season that we are currently in. #nocosign

Are our comic book heroes really all that righteous?

Four episodes into the new season of Daredevil and I asked myself a question I should’ve asked myself since the beginning of the series. A question that works for all super hero media in all mediums from games to comics, film to television. We all know that Batman, Superman, Flash, Daredevil, Arrow and all the main super heroes have a code of law that they don’t kill. That is what makes them a hero and people like Punisher and Deadpool anti-heroes. Even Batman and others have the issues and the films that depict them as anti-heroes and vigilantes but the audience always sees them as the good guys. They will never shoot a gun, they will never go for the head-shot.

My epiphany came in the third episode of Daredevil. (I won’t say specifics to limit spoilers but of course there was a superbly choreographed fight sequence. Daredevil was asked what makes him different then the antagonist of the season and his response is that he doesn’t kill the bad guy, he lets the law handle it. But during this sequence and countless others in this series you see the bad guys falling from multiple stories onto hard staircases. You see Daredevil bluntly knocking out the bad guys with a steel rod, or whatever other tool he has at hand. Even fist to fist and foot to head causes unrecoverable trauma.

Daredevil has been pushed to the edge of death multiple times but happened to get to the right place to recover always in the nick of time. I doubt that the hundreds of foes he faced had the same string of luck. Internal bleeding, brain damage, contusions, and concussions have been results of much less impact in real life. A rod to the temple, and front flip kick to the nose, a point-blank punch to the head and Daredevil still sees himself as better than his opponents?

Heroes have had story arcs where they deal with the moral question of is their brand of justice actually worthwhile. They contemplate all of the main foes that they had to put in jail or in the case of Man of Steel end their reign of terror. None of them ever consider the henchmen and the thousands of employees that they run through and leave knocked out cold on the floor before they slowly walk out of the hall just in time to not be seen by the authorities. Dozens on the ground, each brutally battered and restrained, do they think each of them were arrested or made it out without any permanent damage?

Giving a bad guy a back story gives the audience feel and relate to them but they still are the
“bad guy” who shoot guns, and will twist the neck of any crew member who gives them bad news. But seeing your neighborhood hero slinging a chain around an expendable neck and sending them tumbling down flights of stairs to what would easily kill others in this “grounded world” that was created, and we still consider them a hero, a good guy.

A quote from a meme, taken from a batman comic shows batman saying that killing a killer will still leave the same amount of killers in the world. Batman has been knocking people out cold for years, he already is a killer. Boxers fight in the ring and knock other fighter out, gloved and trained and padded and yet still boxers have passed away from injuries. Batman with his gloves punching a minion of the Jokers, who is just a regular guy with no fighting skills, in the face onto the cement floor and we all expect that he survived?

I seem like the radio and TV broadcasters at the start of every superheroes “year one” who asked the question, hero or vigilante? But truth is they might be a hero and trying to do the right thing but they are unintentionally committing manslaughter to a percentage of the people who get in the way of the main foe who is intentionally causing mayhem. Does that make one better than the other?

10 Cloverfield Lane

This “sequel” to the J.J. Abrams produced Cloverfield was a cinematic experience. The suspense increases with ferocious intensity as we unfold the mystery of a girl involved in a car accident awakens in an underground bunker with two men, locked in and unable to leave. It’s a slow burn type film built around dialogues so don’t expect much intense action, at least not at first. I’ll also mention that John Goodman is incredible. He delivers each scene with such captivation, I wouldn’t be surprised if he garnered an Oscar nomination. Sure that may be way early to call but why not. This is the kind of movie to see in the theater. The sound effects is incredible and draws you in each second. Go see this if you can. It’s pg13 but thematic materials may be a bit much for younger ones. #cosigned

Daddy's Home

Daddy’s Home pits comedic actor Will Ferrell against Mark Wahlberg in this battle of the dads. Will and Mark both have a strong chemistry as seen in the funny The Other Guys. But while they may have good chemistry as Dad and Step-dad, the flick falls flat until the 3rd act. There’s not much real comedy here and I’m not even sure who the target audience is. It’s pg13 sure, but it feels like wanting to be warm for the family and yet be crude for the adults. Not a good combination. While this movie may have ended it’s run in the theaters, give it a pass when it comes out on redbox. #nocosign 

Zootopia

One thing you can almost always trust Disney to deliver on, is their animated features and Zootopia is proof once again. Perfectly fun for all ages with silly gags to entertain the kids and references for the mature audiences to laugh at. You are my friend if you caught the Breaking Bad reference. There’s also a strong message of tolerance and understanding that is strongly needed today. Leave it to Disney’s storytellers to weave an intricate human story into a simple, fun imaginative story with anthropomorphic animals.