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 Review


By William Shelton

Director: Tim Miller
Screenplay By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Run Time: 108 minuets
Rating: R
Score: 3.5/5

There is a lot to like about Deadpool: it’s funny, action packed and a rather nice change of pace from the more family oriented superhero films we’ve been getting the last few years. The biggest issue is that most of what there is too like has been in the trailers. Most of the best jokes and action stunts were featured in at lest one of the trailers, which made watching the actual film not as entertaining as it could have or should have been. It also doesn’t help that the movie just isn’t as funny as I was expecting. Yeah, I said it.
There were chuckles throughout the film, don’t get me wrong, but the films best joke comes right at the beginning with the opening title crawl, and nothing afterwards hits that same high mark. This could be due to overexposure from watching the trailers as much as I did, but even then it’s hard to excuse the movie as the film makers should have known better. Even Deadpool’s trade mark 4th-wall breaking was done in such a traditional manner that I have to ask how uninspired the creative team had to have been to not do more with it. Sure, lines about Fox’s X-men time line being a mess and a jab about the low budget of the film were funny enough, but more could have been done. A lot more.
At it’s core Deadpool is really only two extended action scenes with bits of back story to break up the action and to make sure Deadpool’s comedy shtick doesn’t begin to grate, and I found this format to be rather effective. At the heart of the whole thing is a rather touching love story. While the film tries to toe the “Guardians of the Galaxy” line where they undermine any scene that comes close to “sweet” or “sentimental”, I found the chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin’s to be so good that this sincerity undermined the films attempt at undermining itself. It’s even pretty progressive in the area as (mild spoiler warning) Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa enters the film as a sex worker. It could have been easy for the film to make jokes about the relationship between her and Wade (the tired kind that assumes that strippers and prostitutes don’t feel any kind of real emotions ever), the film never goes there. It does make 3 or 4 rape jokes that I could have done without tho.
While the central romance is all well and good, it’s the action that keeps this movie firmly in the realm of entertaining to me. Again most of the big stunts were shown in the trailers but unlike with the jokes, what wasn’t already shown was just as good. Even just a few little things that got cut from scenes in the trailer made those bits better than I was expecting.
Everyone in the cast does a great job with Reynolds obviously being the best thing in the movie. As far as I’m concerned this more that makes up for “X-Men Origins” and “Green Lantern” (both of which the film lampoons). However, special mention must be given too Brianna Hildebrand as “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”. Not only does she do a phenomenal job in the role, but having the character there in the first place was a pretty bold move. Her entire presents is just about having a teen age character (what I’m sure will end up being the core audiences of the film) who “gets” Deadpool and just does not give a shit about him. Her entire job is to lampoon the film itself when it starts getting too pleased with itself. My favorite example of this is when Deadpool refers to her as “Ripley from Aliens 3” and her respond is simply “f**k you’re old”. Her presence forces Deadpool, both as a character and as a movie, to up his game and not rely on overly worn call-backs and pop-culture references. While I still stand by what I said about the movie just not being as funny as I wanted it to be, I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had the creative team not thought in advance to have this character.
I can’t lie, I wanted more out of Deadpool than what I got, but I still enjoyed myself. I don’t think anyone other than the underage kids sneaking into the theater will think of this as a classic superhero movie in time, but it’s well worth seeing. It’s an enjoyable film, just not a great one. And for a movie coming out in February, i’ll take “just enjoyable” over what we normally get this time of year.

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.

Suicide Squad Team Pic and Impressions


11188282_10155424924350161_7710584181868043637_nMy Thoughts:

Is it just me, or does this look more like a group of cos-players instead of an official picture? I mean honestly, this looks like a really good pic from comic con doesn’t it? All look…ok…..compered to the the outfits for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman (though the look a hell of a lot better than that pic of the Joker that was recently released), but the quality of this picture has me even more worried about the film. If Warner Bros/DC didn’t find it worth the time and money to make this first group shot look like it was actually meant to promote a movie, then why should i want then why should i go see it?

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…

Fantastic Four Trailer: Fantastic might be too Strong a Word


My Thoughts:

This simply doesn’t look good. Sure it looks 1 million times better than i was expecting it too, but let that stand as a testament of just how low my expectations for this film were to begin with. So why do i hate this trailer so much? Well, lets take a look.

First off is the age of the main cast. This casting choice would imply that most of the inspiration for the movie is coming from Marvel’s Ultimate universe. This was mean to be an updated version of their main characters to bring in new readers, and it i almost all universally crap. So to see the film makers going with the Ultimate universe high school age Reed and friends just makes me angry from the start. Then there is the issue with the god awful new costumes. Why does Johnny Storm have vents on his suit? I mean, i get the idea behind it, but who thought that this was a good idea? It doesn’t help matters any that the overall love of the film isn’t that great either. I can’t quite put my finger on why i dislike it so much, but i’m sure it has something to do with the color pallet. And now we’ve come to the big issue, the tone. This just reminds me way to much of DC’s recent out put of superhero movies that seem to have a big “no fun allowed” sign hanging just below the tittle.

I had been wondering why no one at Fox thought to advertise this yet, especially after hearing that the film finished shooting around five mouths ago. After seeing this trailer, i’m wondering why they didn’t just bury it altogether.

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: 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.