Justice League vs Teen Titans Review


By William Shelton

Director: Sam Liu

Screenplay By: Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett

Release Date: March 29, 2016 (digitally)

Run Time: 79 minuets

Rating: PG-13

Score: 3.5/5

The first review I ever did on this blog was the DC Animated film “Justice League: War”, an animated retelling of the New 52 origin story for DC’s flagship title. I didn’t care for it. So much so that I haven’t watched any other DC animated films after that. However, with this coming out at almost the exact time I’m planing on starting a new blog and wanting my last review here to be a special one some how, I thought I’d return to where this all started and take a look at the new DC Animated film: Justice League vs Teen Titans.

The film opens with the Justice League engaged in a fight with a few supervillains. Everyone goes down rather easily but one villain, Weather Wizard, tried to run for it. While running he steps in what looks to be a shadow that ends up possessing him. When the Flash catches him, the now possessed Wizard announces “Azarath calls, the child must answer”. Superman goes to attack, but even he is no match for the demon. The Justice League figure they are going to have a much harder fight on their hands than the one they Just got done with, so Batman calls Robin (this being his son, Damian) and tells him to keep the civilians safe.

This doesn’t go over well with Damian, who’s trained all his life to be an assassin and now feels he’s being forced to the side lines. So instead of doing what he was told, Damian hijacks the…batplane…batjet….not sure what that should be called…..and fly’s it directly into Wizards chest, forcing the demon out of him. This has the side effect of forcing the last of Batman’s patience out of him. Batman sends Damian over to the Teen Titans to learn how to be a better team member. And as always, this doesn’t please Damian.

The young Robin is instantly stand-offish towards his fellow titans Beast Boy, Raven and Blue Beetle. This climaxes in a fight between Robin and Blue Beetle, where Beetle loses control of the alien tech connected to him and he nearly kills Damian. Raven uses her magic to heal him, but in doing so the two of them get a look into each others minds. Raven is terrorized of Damian and asks for him to leave her alone while Damian finds himself more intrigued than scared.

Starfire, now the groups leader and mentor rather than an acting member, takes the group to the fair hoping that some some, non-training related activities would help the group bond a little, and as it turns out she was right. Everyone has a great time…until a group of demos come for Raven, saying that her father, Azarath is coming for her. The team fight off the demons and return to the tower to come up with their next move, but when they get there they learn that the Justice League has also learned that Raven is who Azarath is looking for and try to take her. The titans resist, saying that this is their team mate thus their problem to deal with. But as the two groups are arguing Azarath possesses the Justice League and use their powers to take down the teen age super heroes. In order to save her friends Raven agrees to go to her father. Now it’s up to a weakened group of teens to save their friend, the Justice League and the world.

One of the complaints i’ve heard about the movie was that Damian came off as “whiny”. I understand this complaint, but I don’t agree with it. I personal see Damian as being incredibly depressed and just not knowing how to deal with it. He was raised as an assassin and is very good at killing, but upon becoming Robin feels he’s constantly being held back by Batman’s rules and ideals. I saw a lot of my younger self in Damian, so seeing that character learn to get over these same kind of feels I had at his age endeared me to the character more than it might have otherwise. But also like me at that age, Damian was a little prick and I totally understand why some would be put off by him.

My main issue with the film is that it felt rushed. At under 80 minuets it would have been hard not to have been, but I feel like a lot of the scenes could have used some expanding, rather than constantly moving from one plot point to the next. The creative team did pretty well with what they had, but if a 90 minuet “directors cut” ever came out I think it would help the over all film immensely. I would have liked to see more bonding and more fighting as a team rather than separately. Another thing I didn’t like: the stupid T tower. Yeah, I remember this from what little of the show I watched, and I didn’t like it then either. Sorry, it just looks dumb. But that’s nit picky.

However, in a year when we’re getting two big budget movies from both the major comic book companies where their hero’s are fighting each other, I’m kind of surprised how well this handled that same topic. I went into this thinking it would be another edgelord made grimdark film about hero’s fighting, but what I got was actually a pretty sweet film about a group of teens learning to get along andd trying to help their friends. Even when the team has to take on Superman it’s never even considered to try and hurt him too much, just do whats needed to push the demon out of him. There is once scene where superman hurts someone a little more than necessary to force out the demon in them, but it’s a minor slip up in my opinion.

And unlike in “Justice League: War”, I didn’t end up hating the characters this time. I’ve never been a fan of the Superman/Wonder Woman paring, and I still wasn’t here, but the relation ship felt real, like two people who actually care about each other. And the characterizations in War that I hated so much are no where to be seen. Wonder Woman isn’t a war hungery idiot; she even gives a feminist critique of a film she a Clark watch together, which is just so much more fitting for her character than “i’m bored waiting to meet with a world leader, lets go kill some stuff”. And Superman isn’t this snobbish ass whole who knows he can win any fight and desperate to prove that fact. While the Justice League weren’t the main focus of the film, it was nice to see the characters behaving like themselves instead of the abominations they were turned into. And as for the Teen Titans themselves go, they were all portrayed rather well. While most of the screen time was reserved for Robin and Raven, the other Titans all had their moments and came off as a likable group of teenage hero’s. They got on each others nerves, they weren’t always sure hat too do, they were quike to lose their temper and act rashly: they were kids with powers they weren’t quite ready for and the film sold me on that idea.

I’d be willing to watch more Teen Titans movies from these creators and am really considering tracking down the old cartoon. This was so much better that I thought it would be, and I am so happy to be able to say that. I’m glad that I can actually say I liked a DC project again, because it’s been a lot time since I’ve been able too.

Deadpool Red Band Trailer and Impressions


Ryan Reynolds has been trying and failing (miserably) to be in a good superhero movie for a while now. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern, R.I.P.D., all awful movies the would would have been better off without. However, it seems like Reynolds may have just caught his break.

To be fair, i had little issues with Reynolds last turn as Deadpool. That unholy abomination i blame the screenwriter and director for. But now that the character is in the hands of someone who at lest knows how to pretend they’re interesting in making a good movie, i think Reynolds maybe able to actually show us what he can do with the role. And so far, i’ve liked what i’ve been seeing. I liked this trailer, i liked the test footage, i’ve liked everything so far.

I can’t lie, i’m excited for this one. But things could still go wrong. I’m not blind to that fact. This is director Tim Miller’s first big job, and having a new director brings it’s own challanges, but the screenplay team were they guys that wrote Zombieland, so unless Miller is just incompetent, i think things’ll be fine.

And, Reynolds, this is your chance to prove you’re not a screw up. Don’t let us down.

Batman v Superman Comic Con Trailer and Impressions


My Thoughts:

I was not pleased with the first trailer for this movie. If nothing else, i can say that this trailer is a vast improvement. Even if i don’t like what the movie is aiming for, this trailer at lest makes it seem that it’s going to be the best possible version of what it’s trying to be. The action scenes here all look well shot and this trailer does a much better job establishing the conflict between Batman and Superman. And thank you who ever it was that told Zack Snyder that he’s not allowed to drain all the color out this time around, you’re the true hero here.

I’m still not sold, but i am not as livid as i was. I still hate the fact that our first cinematic gathering of these two is taking so much inspiration for a Frank Miller book (real talk here: screw Frank Miller), but if that’s what it has to be, at least it’s being handled with something approaching competence.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Tearer Trailer and Impressions


My Thoughts:

Other than the fact that this looks more like a Zack Snyder film than “Man of Steel” did, this is exactly what i was expecting from this trailer. Dark, joyless, and completely missing the point of Superman as a character. Where Marvel has constantly made its decisions based on what’s fun or exciting, Warner Bros./DC has been looking at comic archs that sold well, meaning way too much inspiration has been coming from mid-90’s comics and the comics that lead up to that creative dead-zone in comic book history. But as much as i can (and most likely, will) complain about this trailer, there are bits and pieces i like. Most notably the opening voice over leading too the statue of Superman with “False God” painted on its chest.

If you have to go the “dark and gritty” rout for Superman, that is an interesting enough set up. While Superman himself is always supposed to be idealization of what mankind can be, the idea of centering his main conflict on people saying to themselves “are we really okay with this being of nearly god-like power just hanging around unsupervised”? It also doesn’t hurt the film that Awesomeness Personified, Neil Degrasse Tyson himself added to the voice over.

So where does the trailer go wrong? Well, mostly it all goes back to Warner Bros/DC saying that these are all going to be super-serious films, and too me, darkness doesn’t work without light and levity. To me, dark characters (especially superheros) when that are effectively taking on sin to save innocence from doing so.

For example: in Garth Ennis’s run on “The Punisher” (one of the darkest and most violent comics i’ve read) there is a scene where Frank Castle kills the Pimp of an informant of his because the Pimp had a 14 year old as one of his girls. In an other scene Nick Furry beats a military general senseless for ordering a hit on a little girl. No Matter how bad these two men are, we are reminded that they are trying to do right for those who can’t. They become monsters so others don’t have too. That is what this trailer lacks, that is what “Man of Steel” lacked and, form all given context, that is what all of DC’s movies are going to lack: any indication that our heroes think there is something worth saving.

It also doesn’t help that Batman’s “bat-armor” helmet…thing…looked like Batman’s mask from “The Lego Movie”, but that’s a compliant for another day…

Batman vs Superman: The Dark Knight Rises


Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay By:Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Release Date:July 20, 2012
Run Time: 165 minuets
Rating: PG-13
Score: 2/5

We’ve all see movies with flaws we could overlook. We’ve all seen those movies with a bunch of small issues that didn’t affect the overall quality of the film. With movies like that we tend to say they are greater than the sum of it’s parts. This is the opposite of that in every possible way. Nearly every idea in the movie is really good and could have made for a great movie and a proud end to “The Dark Knight” trilogies. Instead, this is just an underwhelming disappointment. It’s an underwhelming fallow up to “The Dark Knight”, it’s an underwhelming action movie, and it’s an underwhelming superhero/Batman movie.
The movie starts a three years after the events of “The Dark Knight”. Bruce Wayne hasn’t been batman after the death of Harvey Dent, and his body has been degenerating. At this same time Bane has come to Gotham. And so we begin the first good plot line of the movie: Bruce learning to become Batman again. So for the first hour of the film we partake in a less than stellar but still worth watching “hero become a hero again story”. Then, about half way through the film Bane brakes Bruce’s back, forcing us to go though another hour of the exact same story.
And that is the biggest stumbling block of this movie. With nearly three hours of run time the best idea the creative team had was “lets tell the same story twice to pad out the film. I can deal with the fact that I disagree with the political stand Nolan took with the film. I can tolerate Bane being a lovesick pup. I can stand the boring and poorly choreographed fights. But when you wast an hour of my life redundantly repeating yourself over and over again (see what I did there), then I have no reason to watch your film.
The only thing that saves this from being a 1/5 is that each part isn’t bad as a standalone story. It all works, it just doesn’t work when you put it all together. And that is really all there is to say about the movie.

 

Batman vs Superman: The Dark Knight


Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay By: Jonathan Nolan,Christopher Nolan
Release Date: July 18, 2008
Run Time: 152 minuets
Rating: PG-13
Score: 4.5/5

This is widely considered to be not just the best Batman movie, but the best superhero movie of all time. After rewatching the movie I have to say, that is hard to argument against. While the film isn’t perfect it comes pretty close. Even when the cast is forced through Nolan’s “realism” filter he still demonstrates that he has a clear understanding of the characters and what makes them interesting and memorable. Hell, even though this is what started DC and Warner Bros. obsession with dark and grim movies this still has scenes of pure hope. So why is this movie so highly regarded? Does it deserve to be? Lets find out.
The film starts with a robbery committed by a group of men in clown masks. We soon learn that these men are working for The Joker and the bank they are robbing is a drop off point for the mafia. As each of the five men complete their part of the job another of the group kills them. The group whittles itself down until it’s just one man who turns out to be the Joker the whole time. After the Joker makes his escape we cut to Batman and Jim Gordon investigating the robbery.
They find some lightly irradiated bills Batman gave to the police to make drug buys with. Batman and Gordon chose to ignore the Joker and focus on the mob, as the banks that was robed made the fifth their drug money has turned up in. As Batman says, what is one man compared to the entire mob?
We move then to a courtroom where Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is prosecuting a member of the Falcony crime family. And this scene is trying just a little too hard to show us how noble Dent is in my opinion. The man he is questioning manages to sneak in a gun. Dent effortlessly manages to disarm the witness, is in no way shaken by the event and still want to keep questioning him. By now we all know that Dent’s fall into villainy is one of the more important parts of Batman lore and it has a lot of thematic relevance, but here the man is basically a Marry Sue in the worst possible way. Make him incorruptible, sure. But having him seem to not care that he was almost shot, that’s just makes this all seem silly.

Heath Ledger's Joker is truly terrifying

Heath Ledger’s Joker is truly terrifying

I’m going to skip over a lot here, not because any of it is bad or not worth talking about, but like with the last film this is just a very dense movie. The Joker offers the Mob to kill Batman for them for ½ of their money. After one of the head men is caught they agree to hire The Joker and from this point on all hell brakes lose. Now, when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker a lot of people didn’t think it was going to work out. But there are two scenes that sell me personally every time I see them. The first is when he kills one of “the sons of batman”. It’s a recording the Joker sends in to the news, calling for Batman to turn himself in, and for every day batman doesn’t someone will die. Ledger performance here is terrifying. When he delivers his last line “I’m a man of my word” and starts laughing while he kills the Batman imitator, even though it’s all off screen, Ledger makes me shudder from the intensity every time I watch the scene. The second scene is the second story he tells about how got his scares. Now, each story is good and well told and could have been great looks into the Jokers mind, but I like the way this plays to the Jokers Origin the same way that Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” did. In that comic the Joker says that he remembers his origin one way one some days and another way on other day. And that’s kind of what’s going one here. But what I like about this so much is how into Heath Ledger clearly is. He just sells the hell out both these scenes.
After a few people have died Batman tells Dent that he will turn himself in, but in a twist Dent says that it was him. This spawns a huge car chase and probably my favorite part of the movie. As the Joker tried to kill Dent,

The section of the film is a lot of fun to watch

The section of the film is a lot of fun to watch

Bruce obviously suits up and saves him. Once this is over and the joker gets caught, he uses his Mob connections to kidnap Dent and his lover, Rachel Dawes (who yes, was also Bruce’s lover as well, but I haven’t mentioned here before now because she adds nothing to wither this or Batman Begins). The Joker has the two set up in abandoned buildings on opposite sides of the city and each is rigged with explosives. And if you don’t know what’s coming you’ve obviously never read a comic or watched a movie before. Rachel dies for having committed the sin of being a woman in a superhero movie while Batman saves Dent, but only after half his face is burned.
Dent then goes on a rampage trying to find and bring to justice the people, both in the mob and the police force that were responsible for Rachel’s death. But this experience has taught him that the law is not the key to justice. The only real justice is completely random chance.

Aaron Eckhart as Two Face

Aaron Eckhart as Two Face

Now, this is one of the things that makes this film as good as it is. Even though Two Face is responsible for a lot of the plot momentum in the second half of the film, he isn’t in much of the movie. He’s presence is known, his threat is felt, but he doesn’t take up much of the run time, allowing the film to focus on the more interesting parts of the plot.
As the Joker’s plot is creating more and more panic throughout the city, two boats are leaving the city, one filled with convicts and one with civilians. Each boat is rigged with explosives and each as the detonator to the other boat. The Joker lets out a call saying that by midnight either one boat blows up the other or he will destroy both. The part of the movie I love so, so much. While both groups do question wither or not to do it, but in the end neither group can go through with it. And that is part of what makes this movie so special. It doesn’t pull it’s punches, sure, but by trying to be “realist” it remembers that real life can be uplifting at times too. And even when the Joker does go to blow up both the boats, Batman does manage to stop him.
The film concludes with Dent threatening Gordon’s family. In order to save one of Gordon’s sons Batman ends up pushing Dent over a ledge, killing him. Gordon and Batman decide that Batman will take the fall for Dent’s killings so that his reputation isn’t tarnished and the criminals he put away don;t get a chance to get out. Yeah, the movie ends on a bit of a downer. But so does a lot of great movies (“Empire Strikes Back” anyone?).
This is a really good movie. There are a few things holding it back from being truly perfect but they are all incredibly small things. They are the kind of things that may go unnoticed by others or may even not bother other people. In the end, I will agree that this is the best Batman movie and maybe even the best DC movie, but I can’t quite say the best superhero movie. But this is good. Damn good. Join me tomorrow as I take a look at “The Dark Knight Rise” as “Batman vs Superman Month” comes to a close.

Batman vs Superman: Man of Steel


Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay By: David S Goyer
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Run Time: 143 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Score: 3/5

I saw this movie midnight on opening day with some friends of mine. When we got out of the theater and for the next few days all I could talk about was how cool the movie was. But as the weeks began to pass and the more I thought about the movie, the angrier I began to get. So much didn’t add up when you thought about it, and the character is so bastardized it’s almost comical to call this a Superman movie.
But after rematching it I have to say, I still found the act of watching the film enjoyable. It has flaws, big ones, some inexcusable, but it wasn’t the chore to rewatch that I was expecting. However, one of the things I noticed is that some of the issues I had in the theater weren’t in the dvd version at all. For example: I remember when I was in the theater thinking that the Han Zimmer single bass note “soundtrack” that was popular at the time was way to loud and that it was giving me a headache. Now, maybe the remixed the music for home viewing or maybe they took out his score all together, but I didn’t notice it here at all. It’s small things like that that made me have to up the score from the 2.5 I was expecting to give the film. So, after all my previous bitching about the film, let me make one thing clear: This is a much better movie at home than it was in the theater. It still isn’t perfect, bit i’ll give credit where credit is due. So, what did I like, what do I still hate? Let’s find out!
The film starts on Krypton and by now you know exactly what happens. The planet blows up, a young boy is sent to earth as his planet dies, so on and so forth. But with that said, this is still a rather interesting take on Superman’s origins. Here, General Zod isn’t just trying to take over Krypton, but instead is coup has a legitimate reason behind it: the incompetence of Kryptons leaders is what leaded to the destruction of their home world. This almost sets Zod up as some kind of antihero witch is interesting. This is kind of reinforced throughout the film as well, with his motivations literally being “i want to bring my people back”. But this also leads to one of the films issues. Zod needs to terraform Earth to bring Krypton back, but no reason is ever give as to why it has to be Earth. Why not go to Mars? If someone had managed to say this to the guy we probably could have avoided much of this.
Once this section of the movie is out of the way we go to…Clark as a grown man. Interesting choice. We watch as he works on a fishing boat when a distress call comes in. An oil taker is on fire and Clark, being the big blue boyscout, goes to help the people taped. He manages to help, but an explosion knocks him into the ocean. And here we get one of the movies many, many flashbacks. And we come to another one of my many, many issues with the film.
From this point till Clark meets with Lois at his fathers grave we get flashback after flashback and it really messes with the pacing of the film. All of this info could have been condensed and given too us all at once. But this also brings up another issue: Clark has no character in the film. See, he’s been movie from town to town, so it makes since that we don’t really meet the “real” Clark, but that doesn’t make him as a character any less boring.
Moving on with the plot, Clark and Lois meet for the first time when the government finds something is the arctic that is too old and to big to be a submarine. Clark goes to see what it is and find out that it is pone of his peoples colonization ships, and this functions as this franchises “Fortress of Solitude. Lois also makes her way to the ship, but ends up getting injured. Clark fixes her up, but this leads to her looking to find out who he is. Once she does however, she drops the story at his request.
At around the same time Clark movies the ship and uses it’s A.I. (modeled after his father, Jor-El) to learn about his people and gains his suit.

Henry Cavill as Superman


Unbeknown to our hero however, activating the ship also activated it’s distress signal. So, when Zod and his crew find a way out of the Phantom Zone, they know exactly where to fins him. The come to earth and send out a message saying they want their man or the earth will pay. Clark decides that he’ll turn himself into the human race, so that they know that he isn’t a treat to them. And again, we have another issue. The editing and pacing here movies way to fast. We movie from plot point to plot point with literally nothing connecting them together. For example, there is a scene were Superman is talking to a General about their plan, and the general says he is under orders to turn Superman over. Then there is a jump cut to Superman and Lois talking in the desert. There is nothing connecting this two moments. For contrast, lets look at the “Harry Potter” books and movies. When you really looks at those, you’ll notice that there really isn;t much plot in the early books and movies. But people love them because we spend so much time getting to know the world and characters. A truly great story should do both: give us plot and time to know the characters. But throughout the film we don;t really get to know our hero because the movie is more interested in moving thought the plot as fast as possible. This was also an issue in “Thor: The Dark World”, but even there we got a few scenes to further the relationships with the characters. Here we really don’t get that.
Michael Shannon as Zod

Michael Shannon as Zod


Anyways, Zod tells Clark about his plan and the last 40 minuets of the movie is basically one long fight scene. And yeah, all the destruction did bother me, but it all looks really good and I do have to say, with the exception of one part the fight is fun to watch. It’s almost like watching a live action “Dragon Ball Z” fight with the way the super-speed is used. So if nothing else, this film has the best action out of every movie i’ve reviewed this month.
That one scene is were Superman has to fly around the world to stop the second transforming devise. You see, there isn’t really a reason for this to be a fight scene. Twice now they’ve set up that Clark doesn’t react well to Kryptons environment anymore. So, having him have to face it head on could have made for an interesting conflict while also give us a break from the action. But no, this movie s all about the action, so that’s all we get.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Zod’s death scene. After Superman and the military manage to send Zod’s men back to Phantom Zone, Zod has nothing left to lose and he and Superman, both having a good handle on their superpowers go at it. Superman manages to beat Zod, but Zod uses his heat vision to threaten the life of a nearby family. In order to save them Superman snaps Zods neck.
Now, Superman killing Zob in and of itself doesn’t bother me too much. But, like with the “why not go to mars” thing earlier, there are so many other options that this just feels out of place. Superman could have just flown up with Zod or covered his eyes. This was very much a lame “we need to end the movie now” ending.
This movie has issues. A lot of them. The pacing movies the story too slowly in the beginning and then too fact from the mid point on. Then each part of the film, Krypton-Clark Pre Superman-Superman Vs Zod, each feel like radically different films. But the main issue is that no one knows who or what this Superman is. They know what they don’t want him to be, but they don’t know what they want to replace that with. Because of this out main character is just boring. But again, I didn’t hate rewatching the movie. I may never choosier to watch it again like I may with “Superman 2”, but if this is on i’ll sit through it. I think the real question is: does it bother me that this is the version of Superman that is being used to spring bored the fist live action meeting of Superman and Batman? My answer: yeah, it’s less that ideal, but it doesn’t bother me the same way it does thinking that the first live action Transformers movie was the Michael Bay abomination. So join me tomorrow as I look at “The Dark Knight”.

Batman vs Superman: Batman Begins


Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay By: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer
Release Date: June 15, 2005
Run Time: 140 minuets
Rating: PG-13
Score: 4/5

After five movies (and around 10 hours) of pure, unfiltered crap it is nice to watch a movie that was actually pretty good again. It’s so nice to be watching a good movie again that I really had to stop and think about this review. Did I like this movie so much because it’s simply better than the last five I watched? If I hadn’t forced myself to watch “Superman Returns” and “Batman and Robin”, would I still think so highly of “Batman Begins”? Well…yeah. This really is just as good as I remember it being and it is a kick ass film. It’s not perfect, but this is probably my favorite take on Batman’s origins.
The film starts with our new Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) locked up in a prison somewhere is South Asia. We learn that Bruce has been travailing the world on a vigilante quest of sorts. That is, until he had to commit some crimes of his own in order to survive and ended up getting caught. But this Brice Wayne doesn’t care, no sir. This Bruce Wayne is angry and bitter, looking to beat the crap out of whoever he can get his hands on, so being in prison is almost like being a kid in a candy shop. Or a Bull in a China shop.

Is Liam Neeson ever not cool?

Is Liam Neeson ever not cool?

But then one day, a man named Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) comes to him and offers him a better way. Once Wayne is freed from prison he goes and meets with Ducard, who helps him train as a ninja, to become a member of The League of Shadows. The League is an ancient order who have been fighting crime and injustice of ages and who want Bruce to be their man in Gotham City. Everything goes well for Bruce until the time comes for him to prove himself by killing a helpless man convicted of murder. As we all know, Killing is the one thing Bruce Wayne isn’t willing to do (Something some OTHER directors seemed to have forgotten). Bruce manages to burn down the training compound and fight his way to freedom, and also manages to save Ducards life in the proses.
Once free from The League Bruce makes his way back home and we meet our Alfred for the franchise, this time played by Michael Caine. And this man is my definitive Alfred. To me Caine’s Alfred is the perfect blend of all the previous incarnations. He has the Military background like he did in…Year One…i think it was….but is still compassionate and a father-figure for Bruce. I’ve yet to see another Alfred I like more. Continuing with the story: Bruce tells Alfred about his plan, to become an incorruptible symbol in order to bring justice to Gotham. But he has to keep Batman and Brice Wayne separate. Where Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne was a recluse who went unseen by most people, this Bruce Wayne is playboy. This Bruce Wayne goes out with two girls at once and acts like an idiot and…is so over the top you have to wonder how no one sees through the ruse to be honest.

I really like this batsuit, but the mask looks a little off IMO.

I really like this batsuit, but the mask looks a little off IMO.

Bruce then goes to Wayne Enterprise, looking for a job in the applied sciences department. The new C.E.O. agrees and Bruce meets Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). Fox tells Bruce that applied sciences is basically career dead end where the new C.E.O. Put him and all his projects that would never be manufactured. Fox shows Bruce some of these projects and Bruce asks if he can “barrow” some of the equipment. Fox, seeing through Bruce’s playboy persona instantly agrees, but doesn’t want to know any details.
And with that, Batman is born…nearly an hour into the film. That is one my my issues with the film. While this time is used wisely I do remember asking my self a few times (especially the first time I watched the film) “when is batman going to get here?” Adult audiences shouldn’t have much of an issue with this but I can’t argue to much with those who say they find the first half or so of the movie boring.
After getting his alternate persona established Bruce goes out for his first night as Batman and does pretty well. He manages to stop a drug shipment for coming into the city and also catches not only the small guys helping unload it, but Mod Boss Carmine Falcone as well. The police show up and find everyone tied up with enough evidence to go to court with. That’s one of the things I like the most about this movie and the franchise as a whole: they do bring up the fact that without being able to posses the criminals everything Batman does is pretty much useless.
Unfortunately for Batman, he learns that only half the drugs where heading towards the streets. So the next night Batman goes and catches up to one of the dirtier cops and interrogates him to learn where the other half of the drug shipment was going. And here we come to another part of the film that i’m…still questioning. Like I said in my review for Tim Burtons “Batman”, that incarnation of the character knew he was frightening, and thus didn’t need tom poster so much. In this film this is literally his second night out or so he does kind of need to prove he’s not to be screwed with. But shouldn’t tying up and dropping the cop do that? Did Nolan and Bale really feel the voice was necessary? I don;t hate it as much as others do, but it does feel a little too over the top in my opinion.

I really wish Scare Crow got more screen time, he was pretty awesome.

I really wish Scare Crow got more screen time, he was pretty awesome.

It turns out the the other drugs were going to a man named Dr Jonathan Crane, who has been experimenting with the drugs to create weaponized fear gas for his Boss, Ra’s Al Ghul. Crane has been experimenting his drugs on the inmates of Arkham Asylum, even forging his own secret identity, Scare Crow. His mask helps shield him from his own toxins while also helping to scare his subjects even more. Once he had it perfected Craine started dumping the toxin in Gotham’s water supply. This confuses most of the police as the toxin has to be inhaled in order to take effect. We soon learn that Ra’s Al Ghul’s men had stolen a new weapon that superheats an enemy’s water turning it into steam.
Ra’s Al Ghul and his men load the weapon on a train and head towards Gotham’s water plant. As they start moving the water mains begin to burst and the poorer neighborhoods being to get gassed and people start going crazy. Luckily Batman manages to get onto the train and disable the weapon while Gordon blows up the rail way. The train crashes and the day is saved.
There is a lot i’ve left out, because there is a lot going on in this film. I mean a lot. This is one of the most densely packed movies (superhero or otherwise) that i’ve seen in a long long time. And honestly (even though the film and series is rather good), I think that complexity is why Marvel Studio’s has done so well. None of their films have been this heavy or complex. Unlike Marvel thought, this has had the opposite effect of DC’s other films. While “Green Lantern” was never going to be very good, I think the tonal whiplash is part of what turned people off of the film. So much so that when the next Superman movie was announced the heads at Warner Bro’s felt they needed to make it more like these films.
But cultural impact aside, this was still a very good movie. The darker tone fits perfectly with the character and it’s nice to have an actor in the lead who can do a good Bruce Wayne and Batman. However, Nolan’s desire to make the film “realistic” does suck out some of the magic of the comics. For example, in the comics Ra’s Al Ghul is immortal, living forever through the Lazarus Pit. Here, the name Ra’s Al Ghul lives forever, passed down to give the impression of immortality. That is no where near as interesting, but it is more realistic. In the end, the film make not be ashamed of it’s comic book heritage like tomorrows movie is, but it is doing everything in it’s power to not be seen as a “comic book” movie; while it does work, it is kind of a shame to see that idea still being so prevalent in pop culture.

Batman vs Superman: Superman Returns


Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay By: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Release Date: June 21, 2006
Run Time: 154 minuets
Rating: PG-13
Score: 1/5

This movie is a mess. It is way too long (clocking in at nearly 3 hours) with way too little plot and is boring as hell. Even though I finished the movie just now (like, 2 minuets ago as of my writing this) I cannot remember much of what happened. I know people make jokes about how you can skip parts of a movie and not miss much, but honestly, all you need to watch in this in the first five or ten minuets and then the last half hour and you would get the full effect. That means that there is 110 minuets of movie simply wasted here. I will try to tell you all the major plot points but don;t be surprises if I forget a few: this movie really doesn’t leave an impression.
The film opens, as most movies do, with credits. Five long, long minuets of credits. Maybe the filmmakers just didn’t think the film was long enough so they did this to pad out the run time. Once that is out of the way we find that Lex Luthor (here played by Kevin Spacey) has found Supermans “Fortress of Solitude”. And right of the damn bat we come across a major issue with the film. You see, the Fortress of Solitude is clearly the same prop as it was in the earlier films, and the film makers literally reuse the footage of Superman’s father talking to him from the first Superman movie, but then nothing else fits into the canon time line. Ma Kent is still alive (she dies between Superman 2 and 3), so if this is in that same universe it has to be right after movie 2, but it can;t be because Lois has a son in this film that she doesn’t have in Superman 3. So if this is just fan service…why reuse so much? Through out the entire film the place of this film in the last continuity is in question. Anyways, Luthor finds out how to use the kryptonian crystals to create another continent. You know, kind of like Clark did in the first movie when making his Fortress.
We then cut to Clark, who is just returning home after “spending five years soul searching”. As it turns out, some scientist thought they might have found Krypton, and Superman went to find it, only to learn it wasn’t there after all. We spend some time with Clark and we see how he deals with Lois being married and having had a child and we see how Lois deals with Superman being back after she has won an award for writing an article about how the world doesn’t need superman.
Cuying all the way to the last minuets of the film or so, Luthor finally uses the Crystal (encased in kryptonite) to make his new continent. Superman trys to stop him, but is weakened from the radioactive bits from his home world. How does he deal with this new threat then? A large mass of his only weakness? He just picks it up and throws it into space. And that’s it, that is the entire plot of this film. Every thing else, each and every other second of this movie is pure filler.
I could deal with that of t was good filler, but it’s not. Most of the effects looked like they came from “The Adventures of TinTin” and all the side stories were boring. I remember when I was 6 or 7, and how I hated all the “talky” bits in movies and would skip them till I got to what I wanted. That’s how I felt here. I just wanted to skip most of this until the plot came back, but once it did it was still underwhelming.
I would give this a 0/5, but it’s not quite offensive enough for that. It’s boring and there is literally no reason to watch this however, so do yourself a favor and skip it.

Batman Vs Superman: Batman and Robin


Director: Joel Schumacher
Screenplay By: Akiva Goldsman
Release Date: June 20, 1997
Run Time: 125 minuets
Rating: PG-13
Score: 1/5

After watching this and “Superman 3” there is one question on my mind: how many truly great ideas have been foiled by poor writing and directing? How many bad book and movies could have been saved if the creator(s) had simply been better at their jobs. How many “Ginger Snaps” and “Battle Royal”s have been made into “Jennifer’s Body” and “The Hunger Games” instead?
Yes, this is another movie with so many good ideas I wish I could like it more. In fact, some of these good ideas did in fact make it into better versions of the Batman canon. For example: Freeze’s wife. Yeah, that came from this movie. So, that awesome Mr. Freeze from the animated show and the “Arkham” video games? You owe Schumacher for that, Does that make this Freeze any good? God no. Even as someone who loves pun (especially bad puns) I was still hoping he would just stop talking withing a few minuets. So, let’s take a look one of the movies that nearly killed the Superhero genre.
Like the last film, this opens up on it’s weakest leg by giving us jokes so bland they almost become funny in a meta scene when you think to yourself “someone thought this was a good line”. As Batman and Robin are driving, Commissioner Gordon appears on a T.V. in the Batmobile to tell Batman what’s happening. Until now i’ve never had an issue with Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon in these films, even if he was underused (a sin against any Batman interpretation as he was around since the beginning, with his first appearance being in Detective Comics #27). But right here I have to wonder who gave less of a crap about making a good movie: Hingle or Schumacher. Hingle’s lines are so rushed here that either he couldn’t be bothered to…you know…act or Schumacher was to damn lazy to call for another take. Either way, this is a poor way to open the movie. I’d like to say it gets better from here, but you already know that it wont.
Batman and Robin get to the museum that Mr. Freeze is robbing at again the movie shows how littler it cares by just how much clutter in in this place. Most museums have themes (at least the one’s I’ve been too: art, history, military ect.) but in this one we have a big as dinosaur sculpture in the same area as the diamond Freeze is after. Why? So Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) can make one of his millions of dumb ass puns. After Robin acts too rashly and manages too lose both Freeze and the diamond we actually get our first glimpse at one of those rare “good idea’s” we get so little of in this movie. Bruce and Dick start to argue over the nature of their relationship. Are they partners or is Robin a sidekick? This could have been a good dilemma, but like everything else is let down by the poor writing.
We then cut to a castle that is obviously an evil where Dr. Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) is using a compound called “Venom” to give plants animal like defense in the wild. I would point out how this would radically change the balance of plant and wildlife in a natural environment, but If I stopped to point out every bit of stupidity in this film we’d be here all day. Anyways, it turns out that Isley’s boss has been stealing her Venom samples to sell a race of super soldiers to the Anti-United Nations (or something to that effect). Isley finds out (because this would have been so easy to hide, right?) after her boss turns a death row inmate into the muscular brute, Bane. Isley’s boss then tries to kill her by pushing her into her chemicals, but instead this transforms her into “Poison Ivy”.
Skipping over a lot (and I do mean a lot) of stupid “plot”, Poison Ivy has learned that she can use plant pheromones to make Batman and Robin fight over her, so they aren’t paying her any attention, Ivy, Bane and Freeze have teemed up after Ivy convinces Freeze that Batman has killed his wife and Alfred’s niece Barbara , has come by after learning that her uncle is dying. Yeah, i’m skipped over all of that and more because it is all just so, so, so boring.
Ivy continually uses her poisons to make Batman and Robin fight over her, witch almost makes Robin quite…until Bruce figures out what’s going on and then Ivy’s toxins seem to have no effect on him. Because that’s how that works. “I know how my peanut allergy works, so now it doesn’t effect me”. “I know meth is addictive so I can totally do it and use it and suffer no consensuses by my shear power of will!”. Yeah, no. Bull. Shit. That is not how that works.
So, how is Ivy dealt with? Well, Batman convinces Robin to wear rubber lips that saves him from Ivy’s poison kiss, but it’s Barbara that saves the day here. Why? Well, Alfred just knew she’s find the Batcave and made her a batsuit. The only thing I could think of that is dumber than that explanation is choosing to watch this in the first place. Getting on with things, Batgirl (not batwoman, batgirl) kicks Ivy into one of her man eating plants.
Now, I’ve been ignoring this through each of the Batman films, but now I have to say something: Batman has been strait up murdering people throughout this franchise. Unless you have a narrative or thematic reason for a character to have a certain trait, i’m okay with it being modified. For example: there is no real reason Batman has to be white. Nothing about his character hinges on his race, so it could be changed at any time. But, Batman’s “No Killing” Rule? Yes, that you need to keep. That IS Batman’s character. Outside of “I beat up poor people because My Mommy and Daddy died”, Batman’s unwillingness to take a life is central to his character. And both Burton and Schumacher completely ignore this.
Moving on. Freeze goes to an observatory to use the telescope to supercharge his freeze gun. His original plan was stupid, but by the end it dissolves into “I’m going to freeze the earth”. Batman, Robin and Batgirl show up on completely new costumes and the last half hour is basically just a toy commercial. Robin and Batgirl take on Bane and beat him in the most anti-climatic fight you will ever see. I mean, we all know Bane is going to be beaten by getting his Venom tub ripped out, but just…i don’t think the film makers could have found a less interesting way to get it done her.
Batman takes on Freeze, beating him by placing a heating pad his cooling suit. Batman and his amazing friends manage to reroutes a system of mirrors in space to undo the damage Freeze did to Gotham.
So, what other bullshit convenience can the movie pull out of it’s ass? Well, it turns out that Freeze had already found a cure for his wife’s disease in it’s earlier stages. And what is it that is killing Alfred? The same damn thing, it’s just not as advanced! So Alfred lives and Barbara stays with the team.
As I said n the beginning of the review, there are a lot of good ideas here, but this film manages to botch each and every one of them. Mr.. Freeze’s puns are just awful, but they are literally in every single line of his dialogue. Bane in the comics is actually quite intelligent as well as strong, but here he is just a dumb-ass brute. And Poison Ivy is just…there. Then the props are all crappy looking as well. By now i’m sure you’ve seen how the ice cycles wiggling around. The writing is as bad as it could get, the acting is bland and the plot is stupid. The only thing that stops this from getting a 0 is the fact that there s some vague mirage that resembles human logic through out the film. And there are some scenes I liked. Well, there’s one. The scene between Bruce and Alfred while Alfred is dying in bed is actually rather nice and sweet and did make me kind of sad to see the old man go. That is, until the movie reaches deep, deep into it’s colon and pulls out it’s moronic out of the situation.
I hated this movie. It may not be as bad as “Superman 4”, but that’s only by the virtue that I don;t think anything else will ever be either.