Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Armageddon Review


It’s time for another Michael Bay film. This one is a disaster film so you can bet that there are a lot of opportunities for explosions. Like most action blockbusters that are over 2 hours, the film starts to fade by the end despite a reasonable start. Still, that’s not the area to blame in this case. It’s the characters and the writing that really keep the film down. It’s not like you’d expect too much ever since the Transformers series went public and people found out about the writing quality but you still always hope for the best when starting the film. Ah well, at least the explosions will keep you guessing.

The film starts off in NYC as a guy is trying to walk his dog while insulting everybody. The Dog attacks a guy’s Godzilla collection and starts to rough the Kaiju up. This leads to a confrontation between the man and the owner of the dog, but the man is blown up by a meteor. Not gonna lie, that scene was pretty hype since it’s just not something you’d expect in a film that isn’t about aliens and super powers. We learn that these shards are hitting various places on the planet because a big meteor is coming that will destroy the world. The government is forced to call in a team of drillers so they can teach them how to be astronauts and send them to the meteor where they will drill inside of it, drop the nuclear bombs, and get out of there. This can’t go wrong!

I remember reading way back in the day about how one of the main actors asked Michael Bay if it would be simpler to just teach the Astronauts how to drill than the other way around. The response he got was a very direct No. Still, I have to agree with the sentiment since it doesn’t seem like the drilling is all that hard. I mean…it’s just drilling right? Not to trivialize it or anything, but they had 2 weeks to prep anyway. Instead the drillers use that 2 weeks to mess around and go to clubs. Not the most productive way to go about things and I can see why the army lost their patience with them. The fate of the world is at stake and they still can’t get serious.

We actually get a Suicide Squad esque montage where we meet all of the characters. Naturally the very first member we see is trying to evade the cops and does a pretty good job of it. They have 2 copters after him and a dozen cars, but he’s still escaping. Another one is on his horse…riding away from th cops. Another one’s in a shady bar and you get the idea. These are the best of the best, but they’re all criminals so can they really be trusted with matters of National Security? They’re not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts either as they want to stop paying taxes and be able to visit the White House as part of their terms. I’m assuming they won’t get these rewards or at least hopefully not. Honestly, I’d at least want a big chunk of money as payment for saving the world though. That seems pretty fair if you ask me.

The first bit of the movie is actually really solid. We get to see inside of the government base as they all talk a good game and posture quite a bit. The dialogue is witty but not over the top and exaggerated. The characters are tough and rough without being annoying. These guys are professionals and act the part. We also get some nice destruction scenes in New York as we see people falling to their doom when buildings break and it may have even looked more impressive here than in Batman V Superman which is saying something. The film really only breaks down the instant we meet the main characters. That’s when you know that trouble is on the horizon.

We go to a drilling boat where Harry, the lead driller is playing golf. His team has been polluting the ocean for years under the cover of corporate business and he is casually hitting protesters on the head with his golf balls. Then he realizes that his subordinate AJ isn’t around and unfortunately he has been fooling around with Harry’s daughter. This is a very sad way to introduce these two characters, but it’s unfortunately not unexpected. AJ quickly runs out of there while Harry grabs his shotgun and tries to shoot him. It’s a very surreal scene as Harry runs around the ship shooting holes everywhere and sabotaging millions of dollars in the process. All that and he only gets a grazing shot on AJ’s leg. Naturally there are quite a bit of tensions between them now but they’ll have to team up if they want to save the world. AJ is clearly not going to stop going after Harry’s daughter so now Harry will have to either accept it or cut AJ’s air supply once they hit space. He’ll have some pondering to do.

Michael Bay films always suffer from 3 major problems. A nonsensical plot filled with many holes and characters making bad choices, terrible writing where every character has a potty mouth, and going for a lot of fanservice scenes that do nothing to add to the plot and are just there to doom the movie. While we mostly avoid the second option the others are still around for the duration of the movie. We didn’t need to have another scene that takes place in a shady strip bar where the characters prove that they are using their money in the worst way possible. One guy borrows millions of dollars just so that he can stay there for a full day before likely going off to die and that way he won’t have to repay the money. He also goes crazy in space and tries to murder everyone, but the characters wave that to the side and don’t mention it to the people on Earth. Now this crazy attempted murdered will be on the loose until he cracks again. That’s not cool.

The plot between Harry and his daughter Grace also isn’t handled well at all. You can definitely see why he’s upset since she’s been hiding her relationship with AJ for 5 months. I don’t know how though since they have so many public displays of affection that Harry must be really dense. Even when it’s mission time and AJ has to go we have to waste 5 minutes as he goes through an entire song in slow motion with large breaks between the lyrics. If you want a good example of a bad romance, this is it. It’s absolutely terrible and considering that the whole team has no sense of morality I’d want Grace off the ship if I was Harry as well. Every time one of the team comments about Grace’s looks you want Harry to grab the shotgun again.

Naturally this doesn’t make me like AJ any better as well. He’s willing to sacrifice the mission just to show off and never gets me to change my opinion of him. At least Harry was usually a good character and he’s the only member of the team that was actually decent. He makes the tough calls when necessary and is also the only one who seems to want to save the world. He has no demands upon doing it, he’ll just save the world to save his family. It’s a shame that the whole crew couldn’t be like Harry.

As for the plot getting a little iffy, why on Earth would the government try to blow up the bombs early when the characters still had time? They know that blowing up the bombs at that point would do nothing to stop the meteor from heading their way so it’s a waste of time. It would also blow up the only people who even gave them a chance at saving the world. It was only added into the movie to be used as pure drama and that’s why you should never do something purely for the rule of cool. You have to keep the plot in mind at all times. The film also seemed to want to stretch itself out for no reason like when the heroes stop at a convenient Russian rest station in space. Okay…then the place starts to blow up so they head back to the ship. This entire scene was completely filler and adds nothing to the movie. It’s just there for more explosions I guess, but it’s a rather long detour from the main plot.

The scenes in space also just aren’t as fun as the ones on Earth. Everyone starts to blend together since they’re wearing the costumes and all of the scenes start to look the same. It’s just more and more space with nothing really happening. They finally get the drill going and leave, but the final act is a little on the slow side. The first act wasn’t good since the main characters were so bad, but at least it was fun. You can’t really say that about the end. The humor is pretty hit and miss as you’d expect. Some jokes are really good and others are quite forced. Attempts were made though so I’ll at least give it credit there.

Overall, Armageddon is one of those films with a great concept and a poor execution. The film shows glimpses of greatness such as all of the scenes without the main character. The film is solid up until the first scene where AJ appears, gets good again from the point where Harry leaves for the base and gets debriefed. It sinks again when we get the montage of the other characters and just doesn’t rise up from there. It’s a fun film and the pacing is good for half of it, but there are simply too many negatives to recommend this film. I’ll give it some kudos for keeping the dog alive in the first scene though. I was ready to hit the panic button but the film kept its class there. If you want a lot of explosions and really annoying characters then this is the perfect film fr you. If you want a hype action film with better characters then I would recommend Batman V Superman instead. That one will be right up your alley.

Overall 5/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Justice League Review


After all these years of hype the Justice League movie is finally upon us. The series has been amazing so far despite getting critically pounded. Not every film was great, but for the most part they were all solid. This film also ended up being an excellent addition to the cinematic universe. It can be a bit of a slow burner at times but one that does build up to a great climax.

After a quick scene that I actually forgot until after the film, Justice League opens up with an action scene where Batman takes down a Parademon and realizes that the invasion is closer than ever before. This was a perfect scene to kick off the film since it immediately has the aliens show up so the heroes can form the team. While I will have a bunch of critiques coming up, there is nothing I can say about this scene. It was basically perfect from the set design to the Parademon’s special effects. After this Batman decides to track down Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman so that these super powered individuals can stop the invasion. Wonder Woman has been alerted to what was happening as well and shows up to help. Can this alliance really stop the armies of Apokolips?

Let’s start with the basics. The soundtrack is really good. It’s not as memorable as Man of Steel but it does a good job of sounding epic. The Wonder Woman theme returns which is always fun. I was expecting the cool Man of Steel tune but maybe next time. The graphics are also really good for the movie and that’s one area where DC really excels. I have yet to see a CBM top BVS, or this film with the backgrounds. Man of Steel and Avengers are also pretty high up in the rankings. Essentially the whole climax of Justice League is in a fiery, apocalyptic future backdrop which makes every scene even more epic.

You also have to give the film credit for most of the outfits. Batman’s is definitely one of the best he has ever had and maybe it is the best. It reminds me a lot of his look from Justice League Heroes. Superman and Wonder Woman’s costumes also look pretty sharp. I’m still not sold on Aquaman and Flash so those didn’t hit it off for me. Cyborg’s was pretty good and I actually liked the mysterious cloak/hoodie costume.

Now let’s get on to the characters. Batman is essentially the lead here. I’d say that he looks pretty good. He is still the brains of the group although his plan is typically just to get whoever he is talking to upset. It took him quite a bit to realize that the guy was Aquaman as well unless that was part of the plan. He gets beat up and saved quite a bit but his reckless self sacrifice plans are still on point. He did have a nice contingency plan for Superman again as well. When it comes to personality he’s still my 2nd favorite character as expected but he is really going to need more power ups as the films go by or he is going to have an even tougher time dealing with the villains. That is give him some prep time once again.

Superman is my favorite character as always even if they decided to go with the edgy route for this film. I don’t mind an edgy Superman if done right after all. He was comically out of character for the entirety of his first scene when he attacks the League. Sure he isn’t too thrilled about why he is around but the Superman you’d expect would just endure this quietly or at least ask some questions. Trying to seriously injure and destroy the other heroes just doesn’t seem to be in character at all. The film played it off like he was actually going to destroy Batman even using one of Batman’s edgy lines from the last film to show how the tables have turned. Later Superman is rather reluctant to help out and must be told to do so. He then does a complete 180 ad starts cracking some jokes and laughing with everyone. It’s almost like they had two different writers and the 2nd one took over just for the climax act of the film so the scenes didn’t gel well.

What both acts really got right was Superman’s power and speed though. If you’re familiar with the characters, you’ll know that Superman is way stronger than the other League members. He could beat them teaming up without using all of his power. The film demonstrates that quite nicely. Even when he’s not been able to be in the sun for a while and was likely not at full power, the heroes just couldn’t hurt him. Wonder Woman is very strong but not strong enough to actually deal damage to him. Flash is fast, but not fast enough to actually land a hit on Superman. This is essentially how every fight with Superman and the League should go and I was incredibly impressed with how Superman looked here. I get the feeling we won’t get to see him look quite as impressive ever again so remember these scenes well.

Going back to Superman’s personality for a second, it is also weird that he holds such a grudge against Batman. It’s true that only Batman called them friends and Superman was rather cold to him throughout the climax but I thought he got over that by now. Wouldn’t Superman give him a second chance or let bygones be bygones? At the very least I’d expect him to try and arrest Batman instead. I still say that Batman should have called in Martha right away. She would have ended the whole situation right away. Despite this, Superman naturally does make the hero calls in the end and he’s still the best. In a way it probably is annoying to have to save the world every other day since nobody else can do it, but Superman will get over it and be inspired again before long.

Wonder Woman naturally gets a big role as well to close out the trinity. It’s likely only second to Batman’s. Until Superman shows up she is the only power hitter of the team so she basically has to fight Steppenwolf on her own. Wonder Woman does a pretty good job of lasting and while he is a little too strong for her just having one more ally who could fight would have been very useful and could have tipped the scales. She’s certainly a solid character as well and I wouldn’t have minded if the main 3 had been the focus of the film since the rest of the League members weren’t all that good compared to them. The only scene where Wonder Woman looks bad is when she decides to go against Batman in his master plan. I’m cool with her disagreeing with him since not messing with death can be sound advice. That being said, she immediately goes for the personal attacks and brings Superman into the discussion yet when Batman responds in kind she snaps and breaks his shoulder. She can dish it out, but evidently she can’t take it. Batman’s response was also pretty on point since she did randomly vanish for a century. We can blame DC for not thinking that plotline through since it was out of character for her, but it happened so she doesn’t have a whole lot of room to counter here.

On a side note, I would have liked to have had more scenes of Batman insulting the League. He had to play ball with them since Superman wasn’t around and he was a bit of a leader for them, but it feels like a missed opportunity. If Superman had been around the whole time, Batman could have acted like the stone cold detective he usually is with subtle burns and verbal shots throughout the film. Maybe next time though and he still got his share of memorable lines. Next up is Aquaman. He’s the worst member on the team so I won’t dwell on him too much. He’s basically just a drunk guy with slight super strength who is supposed to be funny, but never quite makes it. He contributes absolutely nothing to the film. If you take him away then the events don’t change. He feels like filler throughout and the guy seems to just be around to annoy everyone. The film also tries to use him for humor which doesn’t work too well. This guy should not have been in the film and I had a feeling this would be the case ever since the first trailer.

On the humor side, I was impressed with the film. From the trailers/ the last two DC films I got the vibe that the film was going to be over the top with humor. Adding a ton of jokes here and there to liven things up. Surprisingly, the film is still pretty serious the whole time. This does feel like it’s in the same universe as Batman V Superman and the whole opening is very grim. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the whole film was like the Batman vs Parademons scene as it’s dark out the whole time, but that brings along its own set of risks I suppose. While some of the humor can be forced, it never becomes too distracting from the film. The characters are all pretty serious during the fights as well so it’s not as if they’re distracting themselves. The film handled the balance quite well.

Our next League member is Flash and naturally the TV show comparisons will start the instant he appears. I’m not sure how they could have gotten his design and costume so wrong with the big budget. The TV show’s version looks superior in every way. I can’t speak for the personality since I never saw the Flash, but from the clips I’ve seen he also seems like a much better character. This one looks too young and the fact that he is a novice with his powers can be pretty grating at times. He doesn’t even feel all that fast compared to Quicksilver from the recent X-Men films. Flash would get decimated in a fight if we base it on the movies and while the nerf is okay if the writers felt like they would be getting into plot hax moments like Quicksilver vs Apocalypse, it sort of defeats the purpose of the Flash to an extent. He needed to be more confident and self assured. We got glimpses of Flash being quite intelligent, but they were very subtle and he never even got to fight in the film. He barely threw a single punch until near the very end and those may have just been tackles since it seems like he vibrated through his opponents. He’s essentially a Peter Parker ripoff right now so I’m hoping he improves for next time.

Cyborg is the final main member and he’s all right. He comes across as annoying and whiny for a while though as he’s inflated with self importance. Maybe it’s because he starts off as a Cyborg, but you don’t feel any sympathy for him. He would have died if the parts weren’t merged with him so I don’t think he has a whole lot of room to complain. Now, the process did look painful so if he talked about that then maybe I could buy into it, but he spends the whole time complaining and feeling bad for himself. It’s one big pity party with this guy and his plan at the end was really flawed as well. Without going into detail, he said he could stop the boxes by doing a cool magnetic pulse and all. The thing is, apparently he needs someone to actually push them apart as well and the only way to even have a chance is if you have a guy with Superman-like abilities…and Superman wasn’t around. The plan was for him to do it himself..but how? There’s no way he could have done it so he effectively led the team on a suicide mission. I still think of Cyborg as a Teen Titan and this film didn’t change that, but now that he’s accepted his powers he should improve quite a lot.

Unfortunately Lois Lane was a big miss in this film. Her depression over Superman’s passing is used as the excuse for why she’s not a daring reporter anymore, but this also doesn’t really work well with her character. While she’s never been all that great in this series, at least she took a lot of risks like in BVS where she went to get the spear or in Man of Steel where she broke into an alien ship. In this film she has completely given up on everything and has been reduced to a weak character. Her role is very small anyway, but it’s definitely not the Lois that I expected. Martha Kent is all right I guess, but none of her dialogue is particularly funny or heart warming despite that being the intent. The scenes of Martha and Lois chatting was easily the worst part of the film since it just felt like filler and didn’t add anything to the movie. You would basically just wait for the scenes to be over so we can get back to the plot. Fortunately this film was good at constantly shifting from scene to scene so you were usually not in one place for too long.

A human subplot that was actually decent was the family hiding in a cabin. Granted, this was also complete filler but at least it showed that some people were ready to defend themselves. The plot didn’t end exactly how I pictured with Superman showing up to save them and all, but it was still okay and didn’t last too long. Steppenwolf is basically the only villain in the film. He’s a miss as far as personality is concerned, but he’s a strong fighter which makes for an engaging antagonist. Not too many fighters use an axe so that was cool. He was really creaming the League and just about everyone else he fought aside from a certain hero. He definitely lived up to his hype and I’m eager to see how the films portray Darkseid. So far they’ve been very good at making the villains both strong and fast. I don’t think he will be an exception so Superman vs Darkseid could very well be the greatest fight in live action if handled right.

I do have to question the Amazonian tactics near the beginning though. So, they know that the box is vibrating and they also know more or less that it’s a bad sign since they fought the owners a thousand years ago. Naturally the Queen posts a few guards by it…and then sends the rest of the army to the other side of the island. Why would you do that? I think even a kid could have told you that you leave most of your army by the box that spells imminent danger. As a result, Steppenwolf tears through the few warriors that guards it. Showing her bravery, the Queen deserts her fellow sisters to get the box away and locks the cave behind her to seal their fate. Steppenwolf still destroys just about everyone as he grabs the box and leaves, but would he have fared as well against a whole army? I think he probably would have shredded them all pretty easily, but since the film played it off like the army was a threat, I think it was a tactical blunder.

The Atlanteans were just as bad and only left a few scrubs to block the box. Steppenwolf wrecked them pretty easily and ran off. Honestly the humans were the ones putting up the best effort when you think about it. At first I was also skeptical of how they beat Steppenwolf in the past as well, but since they had a lot of guest stars helping then I was fine with it. I was convinced once the flying warrior showed up and even more when the gods of old turned up. Lets face it, they did all of the work. The Atlanteans, Humans, and Amazonians were just there for moral support.

I can’t say that I cared for the action scenes where Steppenwolf was wrecking those two armies either. It’s just never very fun to have a big character crushing a ton of powerless ones unless it’s a character you really like or something. As I’m not a Steppenwolf fan, you’re just waiting for a hero to show up so it’ll be a fair fight. Then you just keep on waiting until the fight is eventually over.

So, how high does this film rank in the all time list? Well, it’s definitely below Batman V Superman and I’d put it under Man of Steel as well. After that, it’s close between this one and Avengers for third. I think this one will edge out so Avengers grabs the 4th spot and Civil War grabs number 5 which rounds out my Top 5 Live Action CBMs of all time. What gives this one the edge for 3rd are essentially the action scenes since the one thing Avengers lacked was any big fights. Again, it’s an underrated edge for DC as their fight scenes cannot be beaten.

There are two after credit scenes. Surprisingly the first one is the happy comedy one instead of vice versa. Probably a way for DC to be different from Marvel. It’s a decent scene even if it goes nowhere and the film was playing it too safe. We all know that the guy on the right who scrunched up his face during the scene won because he was taking it very seriously. The 2nd scene gets some setup going for future DC films. It should make for a pretty good plot although I definitely want Darkseid for film 2. The problem with having other villains is that I’m going to be asking the real questions the whole time…how can they handle Superman? Black Adam would solve that equation, but everyone else would get lolstomped inside 2 seconds. Especially since Superman has been heavily amped from his already impressive Man of Steel portrayal.

This is a pretty long review as it is. The thoughts keep on piling up but this review would be way too long if I jotted it all down. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to discuss something in more detail. As for miscellaneous thoughts, one area where Avengers does have the edge is in the fact that the characters were already established. As a result, it felt like a huge crossover since all of the characters were crossing over. It merged at 4 films, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. This one in comparison only merged two, Batman/Superman and Wonder Woman. The other League members debuted in this film so it wasn’t as big and since they were newbies who hadn’t yet had their own film to save the world, they weren’t as impressive as they should be. Marvel’s formula is certainly the right one to building up a team film, but I am ultimately glad DC skipped a few steps because I don’t want to wait 5 more years for the first Justice League. Now that this one has finally been made, we can start expanding the universe more. I wouldn’t even mind if DC forgot about the spinoffs and decided to just focus on churning out Justice League film after film. It would be a pretty unique way to go about it and I’d be on board.

While a few horses certainly seemed to get hit during the battle with Steppenwolf, the film at least had the dignity to not have them be bleeding or crying out in pain. The film was actually surprisingly tame throughout and that’s something I have to give it credit for. There is some language but it’s all very mild for the film. We get one or two mild fanservice shots for Wonder Woman but the film also managed to restrain itself in this area and at least we didn’t have random bath scenes like in BVS. On the whole you can see that this film didn’t really have any major negatives which is essential to being known as an amazing film. Most of the minor stuff I listed above barely even register on the scale. Even the boring scenes or jokes that may not have been funny weren’t bad enough either. The film was very close to being perfect and while I can think of alternate plots that would have been more fun (Like Superman being around during the whole film) the movie did a great job with what it had. Perhaps the gaps of no action will be more noticeable in a re-watch, but maybe not. As a huge DC fan I was pretty invested from start to finish and I imagine this would be the case on a re-watch as well. What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m a big fan of the Justice League so naturally I’ll get an extra kick out of this film. It’s also why I’m a little more critical on it at times, but I think I did a good job of still keeping a very positive tone on it throughout this review. At the end of the day, all films can be a little bit better, but if it’s a 7 or higher, it means that I am satisfied with the result. (Even more so with a 9)

Overall, This was a great film. Once Superman showed up, it became an amazing one. Honestly, Superman’s depiction in terms of strength was enough for me to know that this would be one of the all time greats. He’s my favorite comic book character and I’ve always considered him to quite easily be the strongest character of all as well. DC has continued to surpass my expectations when it comes to fights and power levels. They are simply unmatched and when you have a character like Superman that just makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend checking this film out. It may not be quite as intense as Batman vs Superman or Man of Steel, but it did get the end of the world vibe just right. Something is always happening and the atmosphere is always tense. I will eagerly await the next Justice League or Superman film. It’ll also be nice to see if DC can save Aquaman and Flash in future films, but I feel like sticking to films where Superman can show his stuff is the safest option.

Overall 9/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Suicide Squad Review


Suicide Squad got a lot of hype early on since it was going to be a “superhero” film about super villains. If the concept behind this wasn’t terrible enough then the actual product makes sure to finish the job. I would actually go as far as to say that this is the worst superhero film of all time. This is only counting titles that I have seen of course as Batman The Killing Joke and other extreme titles like Deadpool could possibly still lose to this one. As it stands, Suicide Squad did an admirable job of lowering the bar considering that titles like Catwoman, Flashpoint Paradox, (While not on the same level of terrible, Flashpoint destroyed an entire dvd line so there’s that) and Justice League Gods and Monsters. There’s really not much to like about this film, but a whole lot to despise. In all fairness, I had a hunch that I was not going to like this film from the start and my hunches are rarely wrong. The tagline of them being the worst heroes was already a sign of things to come. It had some of the worst posters that I have ever seen for an action film and the trailer was pretty bad. I really didn’t think that the film could turn things around.

Like Batman V Superman, this film may also be getting an R rated extended cut as some point. As with the former, I’m sure that it’ll be even worse. It hasn’t been confirmed, but good ole Reddit scooped up a rumor of the scenes that were cut and if even half of those are true, this film really could have gotten a 0. Whoever did the editing for this film definitely deserves some props. That being said, he should have cut out another good chunk of the film to really make it watchable.

The plot involves a corrupt business woman named Amanda Waller. As she is a murderer who is protected by the government, she decides that it would be a good idea to get more murderers into the streets. They can go on suicide missions and possibly get some other people along the way. She manages to capture Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and some other guys with a little help from Batman. After putting a bomb in their necks, she sends them off on their first mission to stop a supernatural threat which has been murdering people for 3 days. (A little late eh?) Can these humans hope to win?

Let’s back up one more time. The Suicide Squad idea was presented after someone asked a hypothetical question about what the government could have done if Superman had burst into the White House and attacked. Amanda brings up the Suicide Squad, but there should have been a lot of laughter in the room with several members running out the door. These guys would have trouble with Batman…they wouldn’t last a second against Superman. This has to be the worst idea ever presented when you think about the fact that there is 0% chance of success. Ah well, I guess it’s good that the government is humoring Waller before she stabs them all in the back.

The main problem with the film is the general gritty vibe that it goes for. This translates into every other aspect of the film. First and foremost is the terrible writing. The characters use the s word more than some abridged episode on Youtube and those titles don’t shy away from language. There’s a curse word in just about every sentence and it just never, ever ends. Every single joke has to use a curse word as well and you’ll wish that there was a censor. The amount of beeps would drive everyone crazy, but it would be worth it to save the writing. Harley Quinn’s very first scene is her pulling a “New 52 Starfire” as she lets the guards know that she is a free woman, but on her terms to put it nicely. Harley Quinn’s a terrible character like the others, but more on that later. Unlike Batman V Superman, which had some of the greatest dialogue in a CBM, this one had no good lines and all of the moments that could have been cool were destroyed by the language.

Next up is the terrible soundtrack. It is easily the worst soundtrack of all time. The songs naturally have a lot of cursing in them as well with the quick f-word drop to remind us that every PG-13 film has to use it at least once now. Hopefully the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps it out of their movies. Even if the beats were occasionally cool, the lyrics threw you out of every moment and the film would have been better off without any songs. Silent films did work fairly well back in the day after all. If a film’s got nothing nice to say, then it should keep everything to itself.

For a film with this intense name, there isn’t actually a lot of cool action in Suicide Squad. There’s only one real fight scene at the very end of the film as the team takes on a mystical god. The problem is the fact that the writers should have never put a team of humans to take on such a powerful fighter. The villain could have destroyed all of them in an instant, but plot hax took control at this point and steered the villains to safety. The way that the Squad deals with the threat by the end is terrible and makes no actual sense. The writers had put themselves in a hole and couldn’t get out. For the rest of the film, you only get to see the Squad beating up police guards, army men, of CGI rock creatures that can’t fight back. Not the most thrilling fight scene if you ask me.

Also, once again….I just can’t root for these villains as the main characters. They don’t care for justice and they work for a mass murderer who always takes out innocent civilians. You really want the CGI rock creatures to defeat them and put an end to the whole debacle. It’s quite telling that the film jumps into the climax very quickly, but then spends an extremely long time getting out. This is complete with beer breaks and the like. The pacing was admirable, but the film clearly didn’t know what it wanted to do from there. It also couldn’t handle the suspense as well as a film like Resident Evil because the characters in the Evil series were much more likable even if they were throwaways. At the very least, you could root for Alice. Here…even the GI Joe character was fairly bad the whole time. It’s also a comic book film where the Squad have equipment/actual powers so it’s hard to get up to the same intensity. Maybe if the rock creatures had actually been Xenomorphs or if there was a good soundtrack, but there wasn’t. The film tried to play itself out as a zombie outbreak kind of title, but never went all the way because of its identity crisis.

All right, let’s take a quick break from bashing the film. The special effects were fairly good even if they were out of place. The two supernatural villains had fairly good designs. One of them went for the classic “Gods of Egypt” look which was cool. He actually looked like a cooler version of Apocalypse than what we got in the new X-Men film. His abilities were great as well and he was a great antagonist. It’s a shame that he had to be put in a film consisting of D listers. The other villain looked like something out of the Grudge and she tried to throw the horror aspect into the story. Once again though, this element disappears as swiftly as it arrives and she turned out to be too powerful. She could have eliminated the Squad many times and her plan really should have succeeded, but we do need those sequels….

The visuals look like what I’m expecting from the Ghost Busters film or even Dr. Strange to an extent. The film really goes all out trying to make the villain very eccentric and ritual-esque. She does a lot of odd dances even has basic hypnosis. It felt like something from the 90’s. It worked fairly well, but again..you should never pair a god against random humans. So, at least the visuals were a positive and the villains worked pretty well. Too bad we couldn’t save them for the Justice League film as that title is desperately looking for a villain. Even the Wonder Woman film would have been glad to have them.

Back to the negatives. Lets look at it from a character by character basis. Captain Boomerang is terrible as he’s just another drunk murderer who tricks other people into dying and has a nice laugh about it. There’s nothing to like with this guy. Deadshot is the most “heroic” of the bunch, but he’s not a hero by any definition and only helps people according to his own sense of twisted morals. It is quite telling that his number one wish for happiness is to murder Batman. He may try to be sympathetic, but he’s as ruthless as they come and no amount of jokes can help gloss over the fact that he is a mass murderer.

Harley Quinn may be the character who is supposed to stand out in the film, but she is portrayed in a very negative light. For starters, she is mainly used as fanservice with her costume basically just being a pair of undergarments for the entire film. A great deal of her lines are suggestive and her relationship with the Joker is very twisted. He tortures her when they first meet and there’s nothing shown to suggest that things have changed in the slightest. She’s basically his possession and that’s certainly not a proper relationship. As long as she stays with him, her life certainly isn’t going to get any better and I’ll be rooting against them since this is not the kind of relationship that should be portrayed in a positive light for any span of time. Her actual character needs a lot of work too though as made obvious during the really random CPR scene as part of her flashback. That scene was just brutal.

This is the worst portrayal of the Joker as well. He’s portrayed as your average mobster who isn’t very confident and is very obsessed with Harley Quinn. There is no moment where you feel like he is an evil genius and he doesn’t seem to care about Batman at all. There is no hero/villain dynamic there as the Joker is just a nobody who runs away from Batman and keep crashing his car. It’s also a huge plot hole to have the Joker around at all. Let’s face it, since Batman is a mass murderer in this series, there is no way that the Joker would still be alive. If Batman couldn’t find him, then it just further proves that the Batman of this film universe isn’t very smart. Even once Joker resurfaces and starts attacking installations all around, Batman never shows up. I’m still banking on the theory that the Joker is Robin, but it doesn’t really help this plot hole as Batman would likely still finish him off anyway. This Joker tries to be over the top crazy and slightly effeminate, but it just ends up leaving a broken character who makes the Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman look good.

Killer Croc was all right. He didn’t really have any character and was just around to bite people. He barely even qualifies as a character, but automatically that does mean that he beats most of the cast. Katana is around as well and she’s another character who really enjoys murdering others. She basically lives off hype though as she doesn’t really get a chance to do anything on screen. When she finally does fight, Katana looks incredibly weak and anticlimactic. She lost in a sword fight to add insult to injury. It’s going to be very hard to take her seriously after this.

Rick Flag is the “good guy” of the group. He was in the army and knows how to end a fight. He has crossed the line in the service, but still has a moral compass. Unfortunately, he is a complete yes man and starts to get black mailed very quickly. He has to resort to asking the people that he taunted for help and the whole thing is a very sad experience for him. After opening up to the other villains the film tried to make him a likable character, but it didn’t really work. The fact that Waller predicted that he would fall in love for a hostage that she sent him to find shows what a shallow/superficial guy he was from the start. I think I’ll probably prefer Steve Trevor from the Wonder Woman film.

Almost forgot about Diablo. He’s portrayed as the nice character who doesn’t want to be a villain anymore. The film gives us a very dark, gritty, and tragic past to forcefully push this message at us. Of course, he finally embraces his powers at the end along with a quick curse word as he runs at the villain. Another possibly good moment wrecked. At least the team has someone who can fight thanks to his true form, but the past was too tragic for me and I’ll find it very hard for this character to be even remotely likable.

Waller is another fan favorite character, but I don’t really care for her. I like the tough sounding government guys and I don’t even mind when they’re evil sometimes like in the latest Bourne film. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind her if she had been portrayed as totally evil because she is. Waller is a mass murderer who should be locked up like the others. My problem is that nobody seems to care as even Batman gives her a pass. I mean…are you kidding me? Batman giving her a pass is ludicrous and makes him look terrible as a hero. I know he crosses a lot of lines and probably doesn’t mind villains as much in this version, but locking her up has to be a top priority. The problem is that she can black mail him as well so there probably won’t be anything happening on that corner. Waller was great in the Justice League show because she actually cared a little more about her country. She still used underhanded methods to succeed and committed many villainous acts, but killing a group of men just because they knew too much? I believe that would be out of character for her and it was just too much when that happened here. The film went too far trying to make her appear as a hype character.

I remember there being a lot of articles about how significant Batman’s role was going to be here and how he was going to be super scary and the main antagonist. That never happened so either the scenes were removed or it was more fake hype to build up the film. It’s too bad as that could have helped the film a lot since Batman’s scenes were the best in the film. “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter” was a great fake line from Batman as he very clearly chose this time to attack since it would put Deadshot in a bad position. He knew that the villain couldn’t go out and risk hitting his daughter. Luckily, this Batman has very few scruples about using underhanded tactics and that’s how he was able to conclude the fight. The line just adds more salt to the wound since there’s nothing Deadshot can do about the situation. Batman is ruthless and since he is also eager to cross the line, he makes for a compelling villain. I wish that the films played Batman straight, but as it is, the other characters make him look like a perfect individual by comparison. I don’t know where the film would be without him.

It goes without saying that you should stick around past the credits. The scene is the best one in the film after all even if it makes someone not look too smart yet again since another individual has found out about his identity. I’m always up for some classic tough talk from both sides. It can be annoying when it’s one sided so the trade here is good. The film could have done a little more with this, but as it was, I was pretty satisfied. The tributes to the rest of the DCCU were fun and one character looked a lot better than how he was in Batman V Superman so that’s a good start. I think the cinematic universe from DC should go strongly from here. I am a little worried for Wonder Woman since there doesn’t seem to be much of a villain yet and her fighting ordinary soldiers is going to get old even quicker than this film’s fights, but I have hope that there will be big fight scenes. Surely DC wouldn’t let such an easy opportunity for more Man of Steel esque (Slower I suppose, but still hype) battles slip by would they? I have similar concerns for Justice League, but mainly because Superman isn’t there yet and the idea of having a Justice League film without its leader/main member would be an incredibly terrible idea.

Another negative is the fact that this film makes no real sense when placed into the DC expanded universe. This doesn’t affect the score, but it’s a problem that starts to appear a lot in expanded universes. If this supernatural monster has been destroying a city and its inhabitants for 3 days…where are Batman and Wonder Woman? They definitely should have been on the scene. Even Marvel’s gotten rather dicey with that as the President gets captured and nobody arrives to help. This is almost as bad since it’s an entire city and its been attacked for 3 whole days. At least you can make the argument that Batman and Wonder Woman are not heroes so maybe they didn’t care. It’s possible that they just saw it on the news and chuckled. Of course, that would go against Batman’s character development as he wants to help the world thanks to Superman. It’s feasible that Wonder Woman would not care though. She did stay out of the Man of Steel fight after all so maybe she would rather leave the humans to their own devices at this point. Hopefully the writers plan for this a little better in their upcoming films.

Now, how could this film have been saved? First of all, the excessive language has to go and the soundtrack’s got to disappear. Next, some of the grit has to go. Do we need to have shots of Harley Quinn being zapped and shocked by the Joker as well as the jail? No. We can also get rid of Diablo’s origin story which is gritty to be gritty. After we get rid of all this and give Harley Quinn an actual costume, we have to tone Waller down so she’s not completely insane and evil. Make her an antagonist, but a reasonable one. Batman needs to appear a lot more and there should be more DC cameos. Preferably with very loud and obvious rock music as we see the hero logos and the Squad learns about the Justice League. Throw in some more action scenes and give the main villain a better debut than to be cradled in a very awkward scene that was quite sad. Mix all of that together and we’ve got ourselves a decent film.

I could go on, but let’s start to wrap up with one last improvement. The film should have chosen a genre and stuck to it. It tried to throw in elements from Ghostbusters, (CGI supernatural threats) The Avengers, (All of the one liners and puns…just the terribly written versions) and Resident Evil. (A few lone survivors up against zombies) It just did not work at all though. You can’t be dark and gritty and expect to pull off something like the Avengers. Likewise, you can’t have a super down to Earth Resident Evil adventure when there are super powerful beings trying to destroy the whole world. The film needed to pick one angle and stick with it.

Overall, I’m glad that Rotten Tomatoes is taking so many shots at the film. I tend to disagree with the site quite often, but for once I’m on their side. This film was just hard to watch at times. If the film wanted all of the Suicide Squad members to be unlikable then they succeeded, but at a large price. It’s a shame since the Batman scenes were nice. I do like how the cinematography is so different from Marvel’s. The scenes look like they’re out of a TV show episode instead of a movie. It’d hard to describe, but the Batman vs Deadshot scene totally encapsulates this as opposed to the average Marvel fight scene. It’s less glamorous and stylized, but works quite well. Oddly enough, the hand to hand scenes are far better here than in the latest Bourne film, where you would expect it to be better. The fight scenes were the one part of this film that were not gritty. Unfortunately, the terrible soundtrack, characters, and writing keep this film way down on the totem pole. I don’t expect that I’ll ever see it again and I highly advise you to stay away. You’re better off watching Man of Steel again.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Review

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All right, here we go! This is a film that I’ve been hyped for ever since it was announced. Man of Steel is still one of the greatest comic book films of all time and I teeter between it and Avengers quite a lot. One day I may say that Avengers is better and the next I’ll go back to Man of Steel. It’s a tough choice since Man of Steel obliterates Avengers when it comes to action while Avengers has the better dialogue. At the time of this writing it’s safe to say that I’m going with Man of Steel, but who knows in the future I suppose. You may have heard, but this film has been critically panned and everyone is complaining about the film. I’m not surprised though. Ever since the very beginning of the film’s announcement, I knew that it would be too much for the general audience. This isn’t Deadpool, where the dirty jokes and over the top violence will keep the audience smiling. This isn’t even the Avengers where you have a joke every 30 seconds to make you smile. Batman V Superman is simply an action movie that pits the two most popular superheroes of all time against each other and it succeeds! It doesn’t need any fluff to keep you entertained. Technically my review has no real spoilers in my opinion…but I recommend watching the film first just in case.

Although, it was fun to see the coincidences as I walked into the theater. For starters, there were a few people who left the earlier showing about 30 minutes early. How do I know? Well, I got there around 2 and a half hours early to wait in the line with many other die hard DC fans. There was even some Street Fighter music blasting in the background. Then, when I walked into the film, there was a little kid kicking my seat the entire time. I’m guessing that a critic must have hired her to stop me from having the ultimate theater experience that I was expecting. All right, with the premise out of the way, let’s launch into the film.

Superman’s infamous battle with General Zod destroyed a large part of Metropolis and also crushed one of the big Wayne Enterprises buildings. There were thousands of fatalities as critics of the first film were quick to point out. I certainly don’t buy the reasoning that Superman could have lured Zod away. Both combatants were at around equal strength so good luck stopping fatalities in that situation. The neck snap is another issue altogether and Pokemon actually did a homage to the final fight, but with the correct ending in Mewtwo vs Genesect. An excellent movie in its own right as well. Either way, Batman blames Superman for what happened and has decided that the Man of Steel must die.

Superman is struggling with regaining his confidence because a lot of people are doubting him. He goes into a terrorist area to save Lois Lane, but then he’s framed for destroying a bunch of terrorists because they were shot while he was in the area. First, I have to point out how unrealistic this is. Superman doesn’t use guns so how was this really a set up? The only way it can possibly work is if the bodies were completely ground to dust so there was no evidence, but there was nothing said to even hint at this so it seems like people just ignored the evidence lying inside of the victims. The whole thing was just a little laughable.

A bomb also goes off just when Superman is about to make a speech to try and defend himself so that’s essentially the last straw for Batman. Once he gets his hands on some Kryptonite, then it’s time for the fight to begin. The third plot is about Lex Luthor as he continues to make a mockery of the original comic book character. This was one of the biggest miscasts that I’ve ever seen. This guy just can’t play Lex and he probably shouldn’t play any comic book character again after this. He’s always shaking and trying to have an epic moment, but they all fall flat.

Then from the trailer you know that the film ultimately ends with the three heroes taking on Doomsday. There was a lot of controversy about the trailer showing too much, but I always chuckle at the notion. A trailer can’t show too much. Ultimately, you want to know as much of the film as possible or at least the hype moments. Without Doomsday, the trailer would not have been quite as good. This way you get to be hyped up for a few months rather than a few minutes while watching the film. Throw in your spoilers, twists, after credit scenes, and everything else into the trailers. If it makes them more epic, then you’ve succeeded. Dialogue is a different matter. You want to have the big lines, but I feel like using the comedy lines in a trailer can be tricky since you know that they’re coming so you won’t laugh or even break a smile when you hear them again. I’d say that Marvel’s typically the guiltiest of this as DC doesn’t believe in jokes anyway.

Let’s take a look at some of the critical lines in the film and how they hold up. “Be their hero Clark, be their Angel, be their monument, be anything they need you to be…….or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.” The first part of the line is fairly good. Sometimes you have to sacrifice what you want to do in order to do what you should do. Of course, it also sounds a little extreme and part of Superman’s problem in this film is that he’s essentially letting himself become a bit of an angel figure for the people. As a Christian throughout his comic history, Superman definitely wouldn’t let himself be presented in that way. Still, the overall message of being a hero and a symbol to people is something that Superman’s always done and you would expect Martha to give him some sound advice here. Instead…she tells him that he can just not do that? To abandon Earth because he doesn’t owe them anything. Gee..I wouldn’t want her to be pep talking my Super Smash Bros crew! It’s similar to how Pa Kent told Superman to let everyone die in the first film. It just comes off as a terrible thing to say and maybe the intention is to show that the world has corrupted them too since that’s a bit of a moral here, but it’s a shame that it comes at the expense of these two characters. Corrupted Ma Kent was really terrible in this film.

Next line is Bruce Wayne’s iconic line about Clark Kent and the Daily Planet being hypocritical. *quote grabbed from IMDB* “The Daily Planet criticizing those who think they’re above the law is a little hypocritical, wouldn’t you say? Considering every time your hero saves a cat out of a tree, you write a puff piece editorial about an alien that could burn the whole place down.” Bruce Wayne is trying to sound really tough and menacing here, but the actual line doesn’t really make any sense if you ask me. Since when has Superman been above the law? I highly doubt that Bruce would have simply allowed a friend to have been killed in a terrorist war camp if he had been around. If he’s referring to Superman attacking General Zod, then he’s no better than the masses as there wasn’t another choice. All Superman has been doing is helping people and mitigating global disasters so Bruce just comes off as desperate here. He’s the one killing all of the random minions, not Superman. I never agreed with the line from the start, but then again…I tend to disagree with just about everything that Batman does in this film.

Finally, let’s get into Lex Luthor’s philosophical question. He states that if God is All Powerful, then he cannot be All Good. If he is All Good, then he is not All Powerful. After all, then why do bad things happen to people? Well, that’s a question you will likely get asked a lot as a Christian. It can get followed up by other gems like why give humans free will if they will just use it to commit atrocious crimes and if he knows all, then do our decisions even matter? Well, humanity without free will is not really much of anything. If we didn’t have free will, we’d basically be robots so we essentially wouldn’t exist. Free will is a necessity and it is the right thing to do, even if it means that life’s going to be hard for most of us. Your decisions naturally do matter. God knows what you will do, but you do not, nor does anyone else. You still have to live your life in the best way possible and you should strive to be the best Christian possible. Finally, God can be All Good and All Powerful without contradicting either statement. It’s well within his power to stop all wrong doings, but doing so would certainly violate free will and that would not be the right thing to do. It would be the easy move to make, but we have to learn from our mistakes and willingly choose to follow him. Otherwise the whole endeavor is pointless anyway.

Those were the big lines so now let’s tackle the more specific positives and negatives of the film. There are a bunch of them to get through here so lets start! An easy positive is certainly the fight scenes in the movie. I loved the battles in Man of Steel even if they were ahead of their time. Movie goers and critics aren’t quite ready for these high levels of CGI. As a huge video game fan, I’ve had time to get used to them and I feel like they more accurately show off the true powers of a titan like Superman than if they went for a more realistic hand to hand battle. In fact, I’d say that this style has severely made characters like Thor and Hulk look weaker than they should. At this point in time, I don’t even consider DC vs Marvel in terms of live action fighting capabilities to even be a debate. Superman would effortlessly crush the Avengers. Look at how Thor had to retreat from an array of bullets or how the Hulk took a lot of damage against the Abomination. Superman’s already fought opponents far stronger and faster than any Marvel counterparts. That’s why it’s important to have a good action scene.

The battles in Man of Steel and Batman V Superman are the best comic book fight scenes of all time. There is nothing even comparable or remotely close to it. The best Marvel fight scene to date is Kurse vs Thor and even that fight was still very quick and was over before you knew it. We don’t have a chance to have battles quite as insanely awesome as in Man of Steel for the most part since Batman can’t move at those speeds anyway, but the final fight with Doomsday is pretty close and it was a blast to see. Whenever there is an action scene in this film, it delivers.

I also greatly enjoyed the soundtrack. Wonder Woman’s theme is naturally the standout one. When she appears it really compliments her big scene of saving Batman. It’s an action scene with a sort of nostalgic undertone that’s hard to place, but gives the theme some depth. Batman’s theme is also fairly good although it’s a little less obvious that it’s his theme. There’s also what I call the “Justice League” theme that shows up for all of the big cameos and hype moments leading into Justice League. It was hard not to laugh when it first played as someone was looking at a photograph since it’s intense rock and felt a little out of place, but I’m always up for a good tune. It can play during a very emotional moment and I’d still be okay with it. There should never be silence when there could be a good theme playing instead. The whole film feels very epic and thematic as a result of these themes and since Man of Steel also delivered with a lot of incredible tunes (Or one good one that kept on repeating over and over again) in Man of Steel, I hope to see this trend continue in Justice League.

Let’s dip into the negatives for a second. We do get a random bath scene with Lois as she and Superman try to talk about the bad situation that he’s in, but it feels really unnecessary. Superman can’t even give her a decent response and just pulls a cop out by jumping in. Avengers didn’t have to use any phony gimmicks like this to try and grab ticket sales and you don’t need this scene. It’s just a waste of time and they could have used the extra time for more fight scenes or something. The romance also doesn’t work because Superman and Lois hardly talk to each other and don’t even seem all that close. It’s not the romance that we needed, but I suppose that it’s the one we deserved considering the Rotten Tomatoes score. (I admit that I’ll never grow out of that Dark Knight reference)

Let’s talk about our first main character, Lex Luthor. I knew that he’d be a disgrace to the great villain right when I saw the trailer and I was not wrong. My hunches are usually right on the money with this kind of thing. Why is it so hard to adapt a villain properly nowadays? Mandarin, Ultron, Joker, etc. Lately we just don’t know how to bring the big villains onto the big screen without embarrassing ourselves either a lot or a little. In Luthor’s case, he’s the worst villain yet and only Joker may give him a run for his money in Suicide Squad. Luthor is essentially a comic relief Luthor who may be a little smart, but he’s so over the top that it just doesn’t matter. One of the most face palm worthy moments was when he forced a senator type guy to eat a candy. Seriously…whyyyyyyyyy. There’s not much to say about how bad this guy is except for the fact that it looks like he’ll unfortunately return for some other titles in the future. I’m just glad that he didn’t end up getting any supernatural powers at the end. I was worried that the film was going to go there for a minute or two and that would have been truly devastating! We need an actor/personality switch for this guy pronto. It was the biggest failing of the movie and Lex is the worst character by far.

Time to talk about the big controversial character in the film..Batman! We grew up with a Batman who didn’t use guns and who didn’t kill people under any circumstances. This Batman doesn’t believe in that since he’s based on the Miller version who is jaded with the world and is willing to murder anyone in his way. Now, he’s not quite as extreme as I was worried he’d be, but Batman does murder/torture people. He uses guns openly to take out many soldiers in the future where morals have been pushed to the wayside and in the present he uses his Bat Car armaments as well as his plane to kill a lot of minions. Even in the hand to hand fight scene it’s heavily implied that he broke some people based on how they landed. This Batman is pretty petty at times as well. In one scene a minion managed to stab him so Batman quickly picked the guy up and grabbed the spear so he could stab him through a wall. That ought to teach him eh! Alfred even lets us know that Batman was not always like this, but things have changed. It seems that Robin was the last straw.
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What’s supposed to make you feel better about this is the fact that Batman only murders criminals. Think of it this way. Batman has finally become the vigilante that the cops always feared he would be and they actually support him this time. Yes, the cops are finally on Batman’s side for once now that he is willing to cross the line and deal out lethal punishment. We even see the aftermath of when he breaks into a lab and let’s just say that the fight seemed to have gotten pretty deadly. Again, the film tried to show us that we can sympathize with him because the people that he tortures by branding a logo on their body are the worst of the worst from the criminals. In the end, that’s not how Batman should operate and slowly but surely, the films are trying to make our superheroes cross the line more and more by placing them in tough moral situations. What happened to Superheroes making the right decisions no matter the cost?

Still……Batman was pretty likable. He just feels more like a villain or a hero who is willing to become a villain in order to seek vengeance. See, let’s not take Batman at his word about how he needs to protect the future by murdering Superman. He just wants to kill the guy because Superman destroyed a lot of his employees and friends during the fight in Man of Steel. He feels like he owes something to the fallen and he has to avenge them no matter the cost. No matter how you look at it, revenge is really the only thing that he’s after and that can still be a compelling reason to follow. I’ve always thought that the concept of doing something evil and beforehand knowing that it was so in order to potentially save others even if they don’t know it to be an interesting plot point. It’s been used several times like Homura’s final actions in Madoka Magica Rebellion or the Question’s attempt to kill Lex Luthor over in Justice League. Still, when you really cut to the chase, willingly committing such an act makes you just as guilty as any other criminal. A sin by any other name is still a sin. It’s fun to follow Batman’s story arc from his perspective and that’s what makes the first half so interesting, but I was certainly never in doubt that I had chosen the right side with Superman.

Batman’s Bruce Wayne persona was handled pretty well. He attends events as part of his strategy and never goes overboard with trying to prove that he’s not Batman. It’s pretty futile anyway as just about everyone seems to know who he is. The last straw was the fact that a certain villain knows his identity and tricks him consistently throughout the film. I mean really? Isn’t Batman supposed to be some kind of detective? He certainly gets suckered a lot here and even Wonder Woman is able to steal his encryption device with ease. She does have super speed which gives her a bit of an advantage, but you feel bad for Batman. Things really don’t go his way at first. He does believe that he’s fighting for the human race in his justifications though so at least he gets the cool Rocky type montage as he works out to prepare for his fist fight with Superman.

Superman is another interesting figure. He’s still not sure what he should be doing. He’s used by multiple characters and he refuses to ever come to his own defense when people accuse him. Superman’s extremely out of character and the fact that he so openly talks about killing Batman when, let’s face it, the villain’s not going to keep his end of the deal is just sad. I mean come on guys. I could write a better Superman when I was three. He also really plays up the savior aspect although part of it is the fact that the director loved to use slow-mo cam whenever possible. Superman’s always striking a pose of looking up at the sky or slowly floating down from it. When he arrives at the court hearings, he stays in the air for a few good minutes so everyone could see him before he landed. I mean, the facial expressions can crack you up a lot during the movie, but it’s unintentional. It’s definitely hilarious to see Batman and Superman constantly glaring at each other like in the future segment. I remember people making fun of that a lot when it first came out in the trailer.

The film still got Superman’s power levels right for the most part. The whole taking a hostage at gun point should have absolutely no effect on someone with Superman’s level of speed and it doesn’t. Superman is able to take Doomsday into space and honestly that probably would have been the end of it if the government hadn’t intervened, but that did a good job of showing off Superman’s high level of regeneration when next to the sun. Superman’s a hard guy to keep down after all and he’s still the strongest comic book character of all time. He’s also the most morally sound one, which is something that I wish the film had showed a little more. His line about how nobody stays good on this planet is a terrible one. Superman’s whole character arc is that he always does the right thing no matter how tough it is. Don’t start having him admit that he may not be able to succeed or that he’ll eventually be forced into making the wrong call. That’s just not Superman.

Wonder Woman got the biggest role from the superheroes after Batman and Superman. She had the best theme in the film and she gets a good role in the final battle with Doomsday. She seems fairly strong physically so I hope to see more of that in Justice League. I’m still not crazy about her using a sword since I feel like it undermines her strength a bit like with Thor, but she is evidently still powerful enough to restrain Doomsday even if just for a little bit so that’s a good start and she has a lot of speed. She was definitely portrayed well here and she doesn’t have to have as much drama as the other two. She was actually having fun during the whole film until she finally decided to step in and fight. What were the other two doing? Well, Batman was brooding a lot and getting ready to possibly die while Superman was doubting himself and feeling sad the entire time. It’s easy to see who is handling the situation best here. Although, I do wish that Wonder Woman had been told about the dream of the future instead of Batman just saying that the League would be needed soon.

Let’s not forget the side characters like Lois Lane and Perry. Lois was pretty good as she did her best to exonerate Superman and put herself in the line of fire a lot. It did ultimately make things dicey for Superman, but a reporter’s got to do what she’s got to do I suppose. She came through in the clutch for the team near the end when she revealed the truth about Superman’s cryptic words. She still may not seem a whole lot like the Lois from the comics, but she’s a good character. I actually liked Perry as well even if he’s comically bad. He doesn’t stand for the right things anymore and doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Neither does the government so maybe everyone just doesn’t mind letting themselves get stopped by the powers of a profitable company. Perry was always giving Clark Kent the wrong advice so we’ll see if he changes his tune after the heroes helped save the world or if he’ll hey even more extreme. Either way, he was pretty entertaining though.

This film gives us a lot of glimpses into the future of what DC is planning. We get cameos for three other Justice League members. One of them is horribly miscast though. Unfortunately he has black hair. Not blond and not red, but black. Seriously? You can’t even properly get a character’s appearance right anymore? Let’s just say that a certain TV show did really well with this guy so I would expect better from a big budget film although I had already called the fact a long time ago that the show wouldn’t be surpassed here. The suit and actor look much better in the show and people are already very used to that version so it’s going to be a little dicey. Another character’s only cameo was a lot of yelling so no comment there. As for the third, he’s not miscast per say, but he looked terrible since he seemed to be confused in his own element and he was very slow. The scene was horribly filmed for some reason. Well…I’m sure they’ll look better in their own films….probably. I just want Green Lantern at this point so he can keep everyone in check.

Batman also gets a vision of the future or a possible future. There are many theories about this and I can think of at least 6 myself, but that’s practically a cop out so let’s go with the most likely one. Darkseid is going to wage a war on Earth and without the Justice League in existence, what will happen is that they will take over and they will convince/trick Superman into joining them by framing Batman for murdering Lois Lane based on the whole “You took her from me!” line. That’s why Batman is told that he needs to form the League. If the League is available from the get go, then this will never happen so I don’t expect the scene to directly ever come into being. Since the League will be there to prevent this from happening in the first place, I’m confident that Darkseid’s war won’t be as successful. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if the films want to use the really old and beaten Superman is evil trope, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and will say that they avoid it this time.

This film is about two hours and a half do it decides to use the first 100 or so minutes on build up before the actual fight starts. I’m fine with this because the set up is where you start to get the hype going. Naturally, both characters don’t get along and they do meet before the actual fight. Batman’s plot is very interesting to follow and the whole movie went by incredibly fast. I would have easily watched the film even if it was another hour or two longer. If anything, that would have been nice to have explored more options, set up Justice League a bit more, or just to give us another Batman vs Superman fight.

Their fight happens near the end of the film and it’s pretty hype. Naturally, there is a ton of plot hax here, but as I mentioned before the film, I didn’t really care who won. Batman has his prep time meme that I love so much and if he won it would give his fans more ammo to use against Superman in all future debates. I’m fine with Superman winning as well since he’s physically got the massive edge and he could beat Batman in a heartbeat. Either way I would probably call plot hax. Suffice it to say, Batman does get prep time for this fight and there is a clear winner. There is no tie or a similar cop out like that, which I was thrilled about. Nothing’s worse than seeing the film just take the easy way out so that they don’t anger the fans. *coughIron Man vs Thor. Vision vs Thor. Thor vs Hulk.cough* Either way, I think you’ll be satisfied with the fight, even considering that one of the fighters wasn’t doing all that much fighting which made the fight a little more lopsided.

Afterwards, the plan to save someone was a little sketchy though. Considering that there were only about 5 minutes and how close the whole thing was, it was a super risky plan. In fact, it’s a plan that should not have worked. The instant that everyone started to get attacked outside, I’m pretty sure that the hostage would have been destroyed. It certainly made more sense for Superman to have done the whole thing on his own, but superheroes are typically lucky I suppose. They only aren’t when it’s relevant to the plot. Whenever a villain tells the hero to freeze and they basically say “lol no” as they run towards the villain and punch him out, it seems like plot hax. The villain could have easily just have shot and the whole thing would not have boded well for the heroes. Still, it’s just something that happens I suppose. On a slightly smaller level of plot hax, I have to say that it was iffy how easily Lex infiltrated the alien ship. Kryptonian tech is a lot better than that so it was a bit of a disappointing scene.

Doomsday certainly did not disappoint as the big villain. It would have been awesome if he had talked like in the Justice League show, but maybe next time. He adapts so you never know if he’ll appear again someday. He made for a great villain even if the fight had some plot hax with how Superman suddenly stopped using his speed and focused on power. It was a credit to his endurance though since Superman was pretty exhausted when the fight first started. Doomsday’s great energy blasts were certainly thrilling to see on the big screen and I look forward to seeing how Darkseid is handled. I definitely trust these guys to accurately show off his design. Picture Thanos and Apocalypse, but even cooler.

Finally, I’ll also give DC credit for not making this film overly violent and gritty like their animated films. I actually didn’t find the film all that violent at all since it was basically bloodless like The Dark Knight. In fact, I’d say that the Dark Knight was more violent thanks to the pencil scene. There was nothing like that here which would make you wince or look away. Most of it is very stylized and that’s why I would actually say that they handled the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents a lot better than any other film or show. They died in basically the least violent way possible. The climax is all hype as well with terrific action and no unnecessary elements.

DC vs Marvel has always been a big debate through the years. DC has always won on the animated front even if Marvel has the current edge while Marvel had the edge in live action. Man of Steel is the greatest comic book film live action-wise, but Marvel would win through sheer numbers. Well, that’s no longer the case. With Batman V Superman in the books now, the tides have turned and DC now wins in this area as well. I don’t see Marvel mounting a comeback..ever really. Unless DC goes on a huge downwards slide, these two films should be able to keep them afloat and the rivalry has finally ended. With this, DC beats Marvel in every area under which they compete. Good games Marvel. You can keep your high RT scores and big universe, but I’ll take DC’s cheat codes of throwing in their 3 biggest characters without all of the individual movies and set up. If it works, why not right?

That’s not to say that all of DC’s films are going to be fantastic after this though. I still think that Suicide Squad is going to be quite bad and the trailer still looks really sad. That is a film that I have absolutely no hopes for, but at least the bar is set really low so there’s always the slim shot that it could surprise me. There’s the possibility right? Marvel’s films are consistently good so I’ll give them credit there. DC’s are all over the place with hit or miss titles, but when they hit, they hit quite effectively!
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Overall, Batman V Superman was a blast. Honestly, I doubt I even came close to touching on everything here, but the film review really would go on forever otherwise so if you have any specific questions about something that was not addressed, feel free to leave a comment. I still think that the film should have been called Batman Vs Superman, but I guess the S got lost in the budget cuts. I really look forward to Justice League and seeing Superman get to team up with some of the other heroes. He needs to prove that he’s faster than the Flash and stronger than any other character. That’s part of what makes him the ultimate hero, but they also need to make him nicer and more talkative like the Superman that we know. Rather than brooding and striking poses as if he was Batman, Superman needs to show his leadership qualities as well. As for Batman, he needs to start murdering less. It’s possible that I’m over analyzing the ending, but I feel like he is starting to show some development there so that would be awesome if true. Don’t listen to the bad reviews. Critics/General Audience viewers just weren’t ready for this one yet. You have to realize that the action scenes and plot move at a very quick pace and a lot of things happen so if it’s overwhelming for you, then you may want to take a few more months to prepare yourself first. Play some memory games and Chess battles first to warm yourself before walking in. Then prepare yourself for epicness and a next gen experience! Oh and I almost forgot, no worries if you were sad about the property damage and loss of life last time because the character makes sure to constantly remind us that the areas where they fight are uninhabited so there are basically no fatalities this time around. See, the heroes still care about the little guys even when the world is at stake. That’s what being a hero truly is!

Overall 9/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Changing Lanes Review

Keep in mind that this review pertains to the edited TV 14 version of this film. All thoughts written below should be treated as such as a review of the unedited version would be significantly harsher.

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Let’s look at a retro film from about 10 years ago. The two main actors are fairly popular in the form of Ben Affleck (Maybe not popular, but at least well known) and Samuel L. Jackson. Despite this, I definitely can’t say that I had heard of this film before. It’s a pretty good adventure and it’s certainly a lot more fun than I had anticipated. (Although, I did find the premise to have potential right from the start) It’s basically the light hearted version of the cop film that I saw a while back where Samuel L. Jackson was also a main character. The main difference is that this film is just better in every single way.

The film starts off with two main characters. One of them is Doyle who is preparing to buy a house. He must head over to the court house after that to try and convince his wife to keep the house and then hopefully they can get back on friendly terms. He has managed to quit drinking and things are looking up for Doyle. Meanwhile, we have a bright and upcoming lawyer in Gavin. Gavin is about to bring some critical evidence to his case and victory is just about assured. His firm will win 3 million dollars and he’ll probably get a raise or a promotion. Both main characters must alter their plans when they crash on the highway. Doyle is unable to make it to the courthouse in time and Gavin left his evidence with Doyle by mistake. Doyle is furious with Gavin while Gavin is panicking with this new development. So starts the battle between these two men as they take turns making each other’s life miserable. Who will win…or is it a matter of “Will anyone win?”

If you’ve been following this site for a few years then you may know that I love it when films add that court plot to the mix. I love a good trial and both plots revolve around the court house, which was pretty cool. Things definitely don’t go Gavin’s way in the trial and it’s cool to see how quickly the tides can turn. Even without the court scenes, the film is a lot of fun and that’s the main reason as to why it succeeds. It’s not without its weaknesses of course, but the positives in Changing Lanes far outweigh the negatives.

There aren’t many negatives here at all so I’m going to quickly get them over with right here. One plot that I could definitely have done without is the one where we find out that Gavin is cheating on his wife. She knows it and tolerates the act, but I would have preferred her to have just split up with him. Gavin also shouldn’t be messing around like that as it takes away any chance that he had of being a likable character. That being said, the film makes sure to show that the wife is pretty corrupt while the secretary seemed to care a little more about the injured party. By engaging in the act with Gavin, she’s still not a moral individual, but the film makes sure that both choices are unlikable.

And….that’s it. That’s basically the only thing that I could find wrong with this film as it’s basically up hill from there. There’s no animal violence here, no scenes to cringe at, etc. The film expertly maneuvered around the usual obstacles that a film faces while holding true to its positives. The writing is consistently good throughout the film as well. There’s no real soundtrack, but I’ll let it slide this time.

As we’ve already seen, Gavin is not a very likable main character. If not for his little affair, he would be a lot more sympathetic. That being said, he is a little unreasonable at the beginning of the film and he should have definitely given Doyle a lift. As it happened, they were both going to the same place anyway. If only he had known right? Still, Gavin makes a lot of good decisions by the end of the film and I like to think that he will manage to get his life back on track soon. I just wish that could have happened on screen instead of me just having to take a guess at that.

Doyle is definitely better than Gavin although he is also the first guy to escalate the tensions between the two main characters. His circumstances are more sympathetic than Gavin’s and he was really trying to do the right thing as the film began. Unfortunately, missing the court date was pretty major and he couldn’t get back from that very easily. He gets to have some nice closure as the film ends so he managed to stay on the side of the heroes.

Changing Lanes can get annoying as one character tries to do the right thing when something happens, which causes him to rethink that. This happens to both of the leads several times so that their battle can continue. One of them even brings in a hacker who is able to manipulate bank statements. That being said, the film manages to keep things light without ever getting too dreary and dramatic. The premise is one that can easily get silly if handled poorly, but the film does a good job of still keeping it fairly realistic as this happens.

One area that could have been tricky for the film was the ending, but it’s handled really well. I would have felt bad for the old man’s heir otherwise as the main character’s firm nearly got away with stealing 3 million dollars. Doyle’s plot also had the potential to have a pretty sad ending, but it’s wrapped up nicely by the end. It’s the kind of film that could get a sequel someday, but there really wouldn’t be a point. The two heroes were able to set aside their differences and Gavin will strive to be a better person in the future. I would be open to a sequel where the hacker decides to blackmail Gavin so the hero has to team up with Doyle. That could definitely be intriguing.

Overall, Changing Lanes is a fun film. The movie never gets too out there with the steps that the main characters take to defeat each other so it’s still pretty realistic by the end. It manages to have a happy ending that feels satisfying without being too perfect and the two main characters made the right calls by the end. It’s simply a complete film and it’s one where you will walk away feeling good about the time that you just invested in this film. This is also good news for Batman V(s) Superman since I have now seen an Affleck film where he looks pretty good. Perhaps a little different than I remembered him from Daredevil, but it was a solid performance. I definitely recommend this film if you want to see two grown ups go at it with all that they’ve got!

Overall 7/10