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…

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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: 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.

Batman Vs Superman: Batman Forever


Director: Joel Schumacher
Screenplay By: Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Akiva Goldsman
Release Date: June 9, 1995
Run Time: 121 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Score: 2/5

Unlike those who saw this when it was first released, I knew to expect a wholly different animal as compared to last time. I knew to expect more camp, more jokes, more silliness and yes, even the Bat Nipples. So the real question is: does knowing about this shift in tone beforehand make the movie any better? Could the decade plus of fan bitching and moaning be over something that really didn’t make the film that bad? Well, yes and no. Like with “Superman 3” there is a new found emphasis on comedy that doesn’t always hold up too well. But, knowing where Schumacher’s visual sensibility were coming from did make certain changes more tolerable. Is the movie good overall, no not really, but it’s not that much worse than either of Burton’s films and is a much stronger third entry than “Superman 3” was. So, what was good? What was bad? What was overblown by nearly two decades of fanboy bitching? Let’s find out.
The film opens with one of its worst jokes. After Batman suits up, Alfred (Michael Gough) asks if his could persuade him to take a sandwich. Batman’s response? “I get drive though”. Yeah, the bad guys will just hold their evil plans while you’re waiting in line at McDonald. But hell, maybe he should. The Batmobile this time looks like something from a McDonald’s happy mean, so maybe it’s fitting.

The new and ugly Batmobile

The new and ugly Batmobile

We then cut to batman in Gotham. The first thing I noticed s that apparently the citizens of Gotham hated the look of their city as much as I did and went for a completely rehauled the city. I can only imagine how much that cost the tax payers. And yes, I hate this look as much as the Tim Burton version. Where Tim Burton’s Gotham looked too cartoonish, but this may as well be animated. I understand that they entire idea of this film was to be as statistically and tonally different from the last one as possible, but DAMN did they over do it.
We find out that Batman was called because Harvey “Two Face” Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) is trying to rob a bank. Why? Because it’s the second national bank of Gotham on the second anniversary of Batman arresting him. Because the man who is obsessed with duality and chance would care about something as arbitrary as that. We meet Two Face as he’s deciding whether or not to kill one of the banks guards. He flips his coin and it lands heads so, always being true to the coin…He throws the guards into a vault that we soon learn is filled with acid. Congratulations movie: you have no understanding of your characters.
Two Face’s plan works and Batman inters the vault to save the guard. Ones he’s inside however, two face lifts the vault out using a helicopter and the vault starts filling up with acid. It’s about here that I understood what the movie was aiming for. While a Tim Burton is only the producer on the film, this film feels very much like his take on the 1960’s Adam West Batman. If you took that show and put Tim Burton in charge, and you’d have something pretty close to this.
As you could probably have guessed with us being only five minutes or so into the movie, Batman escapes the vault but Two Face gets away as well. From the outside of the vault Batman manages to use his grappling gun to sling the vault back to its proper place inside the bank. Now, I don’t know everything about physics, but i’m pretty sure that was bullshit.
We then cut to Wayne Enterprises, where Bruce Wayne (this time played by Val Kilmer) is inspecting his R&D department. An overly excited Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) trying to get Bruce Wayne’s approval for a project that is being shut down. What is this project that just has to be show to the boss? It’s a device that altars your brainwaves to make T.V. Images look 3D. And here we get another stupid moment. Bruce says to schedule a meeting with his secretary with a full list of technical specks. The head of the company basic said: “Yes, i’d like to see this”. Nygma’s boss couldn’t really tuch him after that, not until Bruce had his chance to see the project. However, out of fear for his job, Nygma says he needs an answer right then. Why? Because we need a piss poor reason for him to become a villain later.
Bruce tells him no as messing with peoples brainwaves raises too many ethic questions. Latter that night, after everyone has gone home, Nygma keeps working on the project, vowing that he’ll show Bruce. He’s caught by his manager however, and he ends up killing him. Nygma also learns that his machine can make him smarter. I’m sure that that will have no baring on the rest of the plot whatsoever.
Bruce Wayne ends up taking Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), a woman he met earlier as Batman, to a circus he was invited to after giving a large donation. Why is he donating money to a for profit circus? Because the movie has to show us he’s rich somehow, right? The two of the watch as The Flying Graysons do a higher act. All seems to be going well until Two Face and his goons raid the circus trying to get bat man to show up. They set a bomb and start raising it up to the top of the circus tent. The Graysons then decide to try and help get hid of the bomb. The Youngest, Dick(Chris O’Donnell) , goes to the top where he waits to push it into the river. The rest of his family hang on to the suspenders as they try to push the bomb up. Unfortunately Two Face sees them and shoots them down. After Dick gets rid of the bomb he goes back to see his family was dead.
Gosh! A young man who’s family was killed by a madman. This couldn’t be setting up some kind of parallel between him and Bruce Wayne, could it? Next thing you know, Bruce will have to adopt the kid and end up with a sidekick with a silly name like “Robin”. How silly would that be right?
If you know your comics you know that that is exactly what happens. But I like that Dick is angry. Even after he finds out who Batman is his first thought and goal is only to kill Two Face.

Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones as our Villains

Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones as our Villains

Going back to our Villains, Nygman, now having taken on the persona of “The Riddler” has been leaving Bruce riddles and has managed to find Two Face’s hide out. The two men then make a plot: Two Face will help Riddler steel money to produce his invention, while Riddler will use it to help Two Face kill Batman. Their plan actually works, and soon Edward Nygma is Gothams new Bruce Wayne. While at a party Nygman even manages to find out who Batman is. He and Two face then brake into Bruce’s house and destroy the Batcave. Bruce is down to one Batsuit as well as Robin, who he now has no choice but to except help from.

Chris O'Donnell as Robin

Chris O’Donnell as Robin

Bruce puts together all the riddles given to him and learns of the whereabouts of our villains. With Robin taking the sea and He himself taking to the air, out heroes go to kick some ass. How do they do? Well, Robin is almost instantly caught and Batman takes way too long to get out of a death trap. But this does leads to one of my favorite Batman moments ever. The Riddler has Robin and Dr. Chase tyed up and sends them both to their death, telling Batman that he can save only one: Batman’s Partner or Bruce Wayne’s Lover. After saving them both Batman tells the Riddler that he did because he is both Batman and Bruce Wayne. He chooses to be both. This is literally more character development Batman has ever gotten since he was invented back in 1939.
Anyways, Batman ends up destroying The Riddler’s machine with in turns destroys The Riddlers mind. Two Face gets them in a spot where he could very easily kill all three of them, but Batman reminds him about his coin. Once Two Face flips it, Batman throws a bunch of others into the air. This confuses and I guess scares Two Face and he ends up falling to his death. And with that, the Day is saved.
The question I asked earlier was “doesn’t understanding Schumacher directing decisions before watching the movie make it any better”? And, to some extent, yeah, it did. While I don;t like the new look of Gotham, I understand why it looks the way it does. And when all the goons and gangs looks like something out of a silver age comic book, I can’t say it was too off putting. But that doesn’t excuse the bad jokes and poor writing. If this was meant to be more along the lines of Tim Burton’s take of the Adam West show that would have been okay, but everything here is like the worst parts of that show Burton-ed up. Honestly, i’d really like to see them retry this idea, but spending way more time on the script. But there were something’s I liked as well. A fight with Dick Grayson against a mod of gang members is the best the series has to offer so far as everyone is free from the restraints of the big rubber costumes. And when The Riddler was destroying the Batcave it was kind of hart breaking. And if they ever did do a remake of the Adam West show Jim Carrey would have been a great Riddler. But as a fallow up to the Tim Burton film it falls flat. However, it falls flat in the same way the Burton films did, just worse. Unfortunately, the next film is infinitely and infamously worse. Join me on Monday as I take a look “Superman 4: The Quest for Peace” before we end out look at the original quartet for each character.

Batman Vs Superman: Superman 3


At some point, one of the two screen writers had a stroke of genius when it came to the plot of this next movie. At some point during the writing stage of this movie found the perfect way to up the stakes from the last movie while giving us a much more personal look at Superman. One of those writers had the perfect idea on how to end what could have been a damn near perfect Superman Trilogy. But either that writer didn’t have the talent to write their opus, or the other botched it.
There is so much here I want to like, and there is even a good bit I do like. But from the opening credits till the end of the film it is clear that this is a vastly different film than what we got before, and not in a good way. While the previous movies did have a very joky tone to them that I really liked, once this movie begins it’s clear that this is a strait up comedy. “What’s the problem with that” I hear someone asking in the back ground. Well, it’s not very funny. There is one joke that I liked. One. So what did I like, what did I hate? Lets find out.
We open with a man named Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) in the unemployment line being rejected after spending 36 week without a job. He ends up seeing a help wanted add and leaves to apply. Okay, this isn’t too bad so far…if you can over look the possible racism with the first African American lead in the franchise being a thief who can’t hold a job to save his life. Yeah, he learns his lesson at the end even saving Superman at one point but…come on…some one had to have thought this might look kind of bad at some point. I don’t think that was the intention behind his character or casting echoic so i’m not going to dwell…but come on guy…use your heads.
Anyways, he leaves and we cut to the credits. Instead of doing the credits the same way as they did in the last two movies, here we get the credits playing over three or four minutes of Slapstick. Awful, cliched and painfully bad Slapstick. And it just goes and goes and goes. The entire scene can’t be more five minutes, but it felt like it was at least 10. And how does this scene end? With some one getting pied in the face. That’s right, the big finish for the crap fest is the single most over used bit in the realm of slapstick comedy. While the rest of the humor in the movie is more witty or pun-related, it’s almost all just as bad as this.
We then cut to the Daily Planet. Clark wants to go to his High School Reunion and his telling his boss that it could make a good story. “How Has Small Town America Changed in the Last Fifteen Years?” Yeah, real riveting stuff there. But at least there’s Lois, right? That kick ass reporter who always takes the initiative to get out of bad situations instead of being completely helpless. At least she’ll be there too right? Nope. One of my favorite parts of the last two films is going on her own adventure…that we don’t get to see. We’ll see her at the end of the movie though. And let me tell you, I almost punched a whole in my computer when saw what was done with her.
We then do back to Gus, who got the job as a computer…something. I think they call him a programer, but nothing he does seems like programming, but I could be wrong. After getting his first check, he and a coworker talk about how their checks really have an extra ½ cent in them that the system can’t be bothered to deal with. Gus, being show to be something of a computer wiz, finds a way to extort all those extra ½ cents. His next check is for around $83,000 This attacks the attention of his boss, Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn). Webster owns most of the coffee beans that the USA uses, and tells Gus to use his computer know-how to hack a government weather satellite and destroy Colombia’s coffee reserves because they wouldn’t sell to him or something.
Back with Clark, as he drives too Smallvill he sees a chemical plant on fire and decides to help. While he is there he learns that the chemical plaint has an acid that once heated to a certain temperature will become an acid cloud that will eat through anything. Why did none of the scientist working with these dangerous chemicals think too keep them in a fireproof room? Because we wouldn’t have our stupid Deus Ex Machina too end the film, that’s why.
Continuing with the plot: Gus and Clark reach Smallvill at the same time. Gus had to be there because Webster has a shell company there that has a computer powerful enough to hack the wither machine. Clark meets up with an old flame from high school and they start to make a connection. But when Gus succeeds in his mission, Superman takes off and saves the coffee. At lest he did some good in the movie, right?

If this is what turns Superman Evil, shouldn't it be red?

If this is what turns Superman Evil, shouldn’t it be red?

Well, Gus a Webster decide to try killing superman by finding some Kryptonite. They end up finding some, but once Superman gets his hands on it, it doesn’t do anything. For now. We find out that this Kryptonite doesn’t kill Superman, but turn him evil. However, I thought the Kryptonite that did that was supposed to be red, while this is still green? Miss information on my side or poor film making, I’ll let you choose.
And this, I dunno, I think half hour of the film, I really like. This should have been the main focus of the movie in my opinion. While Superman is really more of a dick here than truly evil, I just loved seeing this. The villains use his to do a job for them (basically their same plan as last time, but here there are messing with the worlds oil reserves). And we watch him just be a dick for a little. Just he sees the kid of his old high school sweety and he hears the child tell him he’s “just having a slump” or something to that effect.

This section of the film was honestly pretty good.

This section of the film was honestly pretty good.

i mean, look at that expression!

i mean, look at that expression!

Superman then lands in a junkyard and has a fight with himself over control of his own body. They show this with Evil Superman astral projecting Clark into the real world and the two of them fight. I don’t know if the film makers were saying “yes, Superman and Clark and two different people here and they are beating the shit out of each other” or if it was a more compacted version of “The Narrator” from “Fight Club” beating the crap out of himself in his bosses office.
Everything about this ark I just love. Superman’s suit gets darker or dirty as he becomes more evil, and I really like that. But what really sells the scene is Christopher Reeve as the darker Superman. Up until now we’ve only seen him be either the big blue boyscout or the bumbling idiot, and it was great getting to see him change it up a bit. This should have been the climax, not the crap we got.
Once Superman regains control of himself he goes and fixes the big things he messed up while in his darker state then goes to deal with the real enemies.
We then cut to Gus, Webster and Websters two sister (who have been around but useless) as they set up hot air balloons to float down to the bottom of the Grand Cannon to their secret base. When they ask why Gus wont just ballloon down with them, he delivers the only kind of funny line in the film “I don’t believe a man can fly” (an obvious joke about the first films tag line). Yeah, that was the comedic highlight of this film that was trying way too hard to be funny.
The secret base is equipped with a super computer that can find anyone’s weakness and use it against them. When Superman gets there is blast him with Kryptonite rays. When Gus learns that he’ll be the man who killed Superman (the computer was his design), he goes to shut off the power. And the movies over, right? No. It turns out, the computer is sentient and wants to live, sucking power from the USA. It then uses one if Websters sisters to become a living computer that I think was meant to be Brainiac, but I can’t say for sure.

Brainiac or piss poor Original character? You decide!

Brainiac or piss poor Original character? You decide!

Well, Superman then flies off and grabs the acid we saw earlier and uses it to eat the computer. With the Websters in prison and Gus learning his lession, all his right with the world and Clark goes back to Metropolis.
And what about Lois angered me so much? Well, it turns out that Clark starts dating his old flame and in the last scene of the movie Lois becomes jealous of a rival woman. Even though she showed little little interest in Clark in the other films and we had no time to see her develop an affection for him here, she just can’t believe he starts seeing another woman. Because women, ammirigh?
With so much done right here I can’t say I hated this movie, but it is baffling just how much is wrong. I was going to give this a two, but I just can’t. The good to bad ratio is overwhelmingly on the bad side. Like I said, the main issue was the new found comedic focus and all the jokes just fail and fail hard. Even the Poster is bad in how funny it wants to be and yet isn’t.

Someone honestly thought this was a good idea.

Someone honestly thought this was a good idea.

Then there is just how dumb most of this is. Clark is shown to be able to put out fires with his superbreath, but in the fire at the chemical plant he decides to freeze a layer of a lake then melt it on top of the fire. He doesn’t even put out any of the small isolated fires. And that level of stupidity is throughout the film. In fact, go check out how Gus gets the Kryptonite to Superman. It will blow your mind with how stupid it is.
And the end if the day, id say skip this, but there are a few good parts if you are devoted to seeing every Superman film ever made. Join me tomorrow as I take a look at Batman Forever.

Batman Vs Superman: Batman Returns


Director: Tim Burton
Screenplay By: Daniel Waters
Release Date: June 19, 2014
Run Time: 126 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Score: 3/5

This is a vastly superior film compared to it’s predecessor, but looking at this from the perspective of a comic book fan I can also say this isn’t exactly great Batman movie. The changes made to The Penguin made for an interesting film but is something of a bitch slap to comic fans. I think the biggest issue here is Tim Burton. When this was being made Burton had very little restrictions placed on him. Because of this, every Burton-ism you know is amplified to an almost annoying degree. While watching the film I felt like this was more of a vanity project for Burton than a film about Batman. So, what went wrong? What went right? Lets find out.
The film opens up with a child birth. The father waits out in the waiting room when we hear a woman scream. He goes to see what happened when the nurse runs out of the room, fallowed shortly by the Doctor, who simply looks at the father and shakes his head. The next scene is the father and the mother looking at there son…WHO THEY LOCKED IN A CAGE. Gee Tim Burton, it’s almost like you have father issues. Who Knew? Then the next scene is them pulling a Moses with there son and sending him down into the sewers. Again, it’s almost as if Tim Burton’s home life wasn’t great as a child. We then cut to 33 years latter.
We’re back into the way to cartoonish looking Gotham city. It’s late December and Gotham is gathering around for the annual lighting of the city Christmas tree. However, the party is soon crashed by a group of Circus themed villains, and the Batsignal goes up to the air. This leads to kind of a nick-pick issue for me, but this still bothers me. At Wayne manner there are reflector panels that end up shining the Batsignal right into his living room. There is no way he could have this and have no one know that he is Batman. I mean, yeah this Bruce Wayne is more of a recluse instead of having his alter-ego be this flamboyant playboy but still, how would no one ever notice this?

There is no way Bruce Wayne could get away with this crap.

There is no way Bruce Wayne could get away with this crap.

Getting on with the review: Batman shows up, kicks ass and saves the day. And here we come across both an upgrade from the last movie, yet one of the same issues is still present. The fight scenes here are better shot and more fun to watch. That’s the upgrade. The issue? It’s kind of odd, but it’s part of what made the fights in the first movie so dull: the Batsuit is clearly too hard too move in. Because of that it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief in order to make the fight scenes tolerable. Watching the fights between Batman and multiple goons is jarring because you know with how hard it is too move in he should be getting his ass handed too him. It’s all obvious staged, but it’s all staged well.

Danny DeVito give a nice, creepy performance, but he is NOT The Penguin

Danny DeVito give a nice, creepy performance, but he is NOT The Penguin

It turns out that the attack was plotted by The Penguin (Danny DeVito), who’s goal was to kidnap Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). The Penguin’s big plan is too have Steel help him resurface on the topside world from the sewers. Once he does, Shreck decides he could use the Penguin to replace the major of Gotham city, who has denied him his request to create a new power plant.
All seems to be going well until Bruce learns that the Penguin is the head of the circus gang we saw earlier. For a while then the main plot becomes about stopping the Penguin from gaining political power. After that there is this odd story change. The Penguin, after being outed and losing the ability to gain a place of power, decides that he is going to kill the first born sons of Gotham the way his parents tried to kill him. What makes this so odd? Apparently he was planing this the whole time. But it was something he couldn’t have accounted for that sent him into the rage that made him act out the plot.
The entire arch feels like padding. So why have it? Stopping the Penguin from becoming the most powerful man in Gotham could have been it’s own story and a damn good one. So why add this last plot point? Why set this up from the beginning if it was going to be shoehorned into the movie at the end? While all of this does make the movie drag a bit, it doesn’t make it bad, it just doesn’t help the move much either,

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Thank god for this casting choice.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Thank god for this casting choice.

And then there is Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She does so, so good in the role that you never really notice that she does nothing in the film. Her entire role could have been written out of the film and nothing would have been any different. , But god, does she kill in the role. When Pfeiffer needed to be the introverted, overworked dork she was in the beginning of the film, she pulls it off. And when she needed to be sexy…well, lets say there are parts of this movie that will rocket your kids into puberty. And she kicks ass when she needed too as well. She is, hands down, one of the best parts of the film. But she had no reason to be in the movie. Maybe that was the point. Put here in so people (or should I say, peoples labeto’s) would get too distracted to notice the other flaws in the film.
All in all, yes, I liked this a hell of a lot more than I did the first one. It kept my attention all the way through the film, but it’s still far way from perfect. I can totally understand people who don’t like it but I found it enjoyable.
Join me tomorrow as I take a look at Superman 3.

Batman Vs Superman: Superman 2


Director: Richard Lester
Screenplay By: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman
Release Date: June 19, 1981
Run Time: 127 minutes
Rating: PG
Score: 4/5

Superman 2, compared to Tim Burton’s “Batman”, is a pretty interesting look at just how much better writing and a sincere passion for a project always makes for a better movie. Yesterday I had said that In “Batman” there was way too little Batman. Well, in this film there is even less Superman. But as you can clearly see by the score I gave the movie, I clearly think this is a superior film. How does that happen? Well, the film makers here clearly cared more. So lets take a look at “Superman 2” and discus what exactly made this film so good.
The film starts with a recap of the last film. It re-shows us General Zod and his minions being taped in the phantom zone, Krypton being destroyed and Clark landing on earth. Then it cuts to Superman’s meeting with Lex Luthor and how Superman managed to stop one of the bombs Luthor sent by throwing it into space. That’s were the recap stops. We fallow the bomb Superman sent into space as it travels endlessly and aimlessly throughout space. As Newton’s First Law of Motion states, all objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. And what outside force stops the bomb? Zod’s prison. Yes, with in a few minuets of the film starting out Villains have escaped and headed straight for earth.
At this same time Lex Luthor, still in prison after the events of the last film, has found a way of tracking Superman’s movements and is plotting his own prison break. Like in the last film Luthor and him minions are mostly here for comedic relief, but I think the managed to find a nice balance this time around. He’s still a threat, but still rather funny as well. For example: when he brakes out of prison. His old girlfriend brakes them out with a hot air balloon. Luthor sends Otis to look for the ladder, but it keeps swinging behind him. It was a nice bit of physical, not quite slapstick, comedy. However even with all the scenes like this, with out Luthor’s discovery, the climax really couldn’t have happened. And what was that big discovery? He manages to find Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
And what about our hero’s? What have they been up to? Well, at the end of the last movie Lois begins to suspect Clark is Superman, and goes out of her way to prove it. Even going so far as to throw herself out of a window 30 stories up knowing he wont let her die. Witch he doesn’t, but he uses his speed, super breath and heat vision to make her safe(ish) landing seem more like a coincidence. They are then told to do a human interest story, posing as a married couple at Niagara Falls. While there a young boy (being the worlds biggest dumb-ass) falls over the railing and strait into the the lake below. This forces Clark to become Superman and save the boy. This reignites Lois’ belief that Clark is Superman. So, when they get back to their Hotel she shoots him at point blank range. Clark tells here that if she had been wrong, Clark Kent would have been dead. To witch Lois can only retort “From a blank”?
Now free from the constraints of his hidden identity Clark takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude and the two of them spend some real quality time together. As this is happening, Zod and his crew begin taking over a small town in the USA. Clark and Lois become so happy together, that Clark ends up forfeiting his powers so he can be with her, instead of having to be a hero as well. And what is Zod doing? He takes over the U.S. By taking over the white house. Unfortunately only finds out about this after getting his ass kicked in a bar fight and has to make his way back to the north pole by foot.
Luckily, Jor-El knew to expect this, and did create a fail safe, but it would cut off there ability to communicate forever after that. So, with his powers back Superman Heads back to the City in order to deal with Zod. The fight scene is actually pretty cool. It reminded me a lot of the fight between Superman and Zod in “Man of Steel”. In fact, I kind of prefer this version of the fight. Sure, the effects aren’t as good, but it’s shoot and edited much better so I could keep up with the action much easier. And even through Superman and Zod do go through a few buildings here like the due in “Man of Steel”, it ever feels like Superman doesn’t care about the people he’s trying to protect. That could be the result of this being a more family orientated movie that “Man of Steel” was, but in the end, I think Superman should always be shown to be compassionate, even when pushed to his braking point.
The Film ends with every one in the Fortress of Solitude, were Superman does a reverse version of what took away his powers. This Strips Zod and his crew of theirs, while Superman keeps his own. He then kills Zod, Lois kills his female counter part, and the bid dumb brute…tries to fly and falls to his death. So why don’t people complain about this like they do with “Man of Steel”? Well, because Superman does that dumb ass “world spin time travel” thing from the first movie and Zod and his crew go back to being taped in the phantom Zone. I guess the film crew though that that would get less stupid if they did it again. So the film ends with everything back to normal. Lois has no idea who Superman is, Zod is no longer a threat and there is peace once again. But Clark is back to having to be the bumbling idiot that can;t get any attention from the woman he loves after getting a taste of real happiness, so the film doesn’t end completely on a high note.
What makes this movie so good in my opinion are the stakes and the relatability of Clark’s dilemma. I think every one understand the yearning to be happy and how our responsibilities can often get in the way of that. And at the same time, Zod and his underlings are showed early on to be a real threat. So when we learn that Clark made the wrong choice, we have a real understand of just how much there is to lose. Zod wont just sell land at a ridiculous price if he beats Superman, he’ll kill nearly everyone alive. If it wasn’t for that cop-out ending being done again and the poorly aged effects, this would have been a perfect movie. As is though, this is my favorite Superman movie to date. Maybe not my favorite Superhero movie, but defiantly my favorite Superman incarnation.
Join me tomorrow when I take a look a “Batman Returns” as I continue “Batman Vs Superman Month”.

 

***Note: Sorry for the Lack of pictures this time, but nearly all the cast is the same as they were in the last film. Plus, with how old the effects look there really isn’t much that is worth looking at outside of the film itself. With those two things combines, i can’t really justify spending the time to look for pics when i have so many more films to watch and review and well as games to play and review.