Movie Review – Wonder Woman (2017)

TL;DR – While not revolutionary per se, DC finally found a formula that works, and realised that there is no point moving a universe ahead if the individual movies don’t work.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. – There is NO mid/post credit sequence

Wonder Woman (2017)

Review

So if you have read my reviews for Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman you would probably know that unfortunately, I have not had the best time with the DC Expanded Universe so far. Now when it comes to DC v Marvel I have no skin in the game, I want both to succeed, and I only care about if the movie is good or not, and so far DC just has not made a compelling entry into this expanded universe of theirs. Well, that is until now. Is Wonder Woman a perfect film, no of course not, but it is logically structured, emotionally resonant, and filled with fascinating characters, which is a huge step in the right direction. Now as we go one we will keep this as spoiler free as possible, however, we do need to discuss the ending, but we will clearly mark them so that you can avoid them it if you want.

So let’s set the scene, all her life Diana (Gal Gadot) knew the story of her birth, that her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) moulded her out of clay and prayed to Zeus (the last of the Greek Gods after Aires went on a rampage) and he gave her life. Diana was the only child in Themyscira the home of the Amazons a race of immortal protectors who were hidden on Themyscira by Zeus. As Diana grew she was trained in the martial arts by her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright) for the day she would have to save her people and the world from the vengeful Aries. All of this seclusion is changed when Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes through the barrier separating Themyscira from the rest of the world unwittingly leading the Imperial German Navy right to them, and what was hidden cannot remain hidden anymore. Now putting aside that at the start of the film we get a flashback inside a flashback, flash-ception if you will, you have everything you need to tell a great story from this opening. You have young Diana knowing that she is destined to protect the world but incredibly naïve as to what it is like, you have family trying to protect her, but in different ways, and you have Steve who both shatters her world, but also justifies it.

Wonder Woman (2017) 1

The whole cast is giving their all here

Now Wonder Woman is set during the ending days of World War One when it was clear that Germany and its Allies were going to lose the war and were desperately trying to find something to stave off defeat. General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) in that moment of desperation turned to Doctor Maru (Elena Anaya) a chemical expert to find a gas that would kill even if you were wearing a gas mask. This is an interesting setting, one that we don’t actually see all that often in movies, unless it was a historical piece, most people usually set their work during World War Two, as it has a much clearer motivation. However here WW1 does work quite well because, for one, it creates the kind of moral ambiguity, or at least tries to, which helps with the story, and because a lot of work has gone into getting the setting to look right. Indeed one of the absolute standouts in Wonder Woman is the locations and the sets. Themyscira blends an ancient world with lush surrounds, London has that dark industrial grittiness to it that makes it feel lived in, and the fields of Belgium give the full look at the war in all its awfulness, or at least in all its PG-13 awfulness. Today’s set can have that slight oddness to them that show when you are just walking around a green screen, and while yes there is some of that here, it is also good to see sets that feel tangible, lived in, and it is a credit to the locations manager, and the set/props/costume people that made them real.

Now one of the big issues with the past films is that all the exposition and emotional development of the characters felt either forced, or was not in keeping with the character, or sometimes both … “Martha”. Thankfully this is one area where they have learned from their mistakes because every character has a clear motivation, and every emotional beat in the film is earned. Now part of this is the script of course, but also it is also in part due to the many strong performances throughout the film. Gal Gadot as the titular Wonder Woman has to do a lot of the heavy emotional lifting and she shows that she is more than up to the task. Part of why the character works as well as it does is that we have a clear arc that is understandable and this range is shown in Gal’s performance. I was really glad to see Chris Pine really having fun with the role, I’ve not really been a fan of his acting, it has always felt a bit stiff, but he really came into his own in Star Trek Beyond and he continues it here. Chris plays a really conflicted character really well, once again we understand his motivations, because he behaves as a rational person would in the situation. While the core of this film is the relationship between Diana and Steve, and there are some amazing exchanges here, the world is also made up of some fascinating supporting characters. We didn’t get to see a lot of her but I loved Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), when it comes to the Amazons I would have liked to have seen a bit more of them but I loved the interplay between Antiope and Hippolyta on what it means to be a good parent. Also the little group they form all have clear back stories that set up their characters with very little dialogue which was great to see. Though I would have liked to see a bit more from the villains who hinted a bit more depth to their characters but never quite got there.

The action sequences are wonderfully constructed

The action sequences are wonderfully constructed

Now while the story and characters were good, another area where the film excelled was in the action sequences. Now I’m not saying they were revolutionary, but they were competently put together and flowed in a clear and concise manner. There is such a range of action in this film from bows and arrows through to the peak of military technology in WW1, this means you get some really interesting matchups that you would not normally see. From a technical side, I did like the use of slow-mo added in to highlight key moments of the action. It helps give those key moment impact, especial when paired with Diana’s faster than normal speed, so you get these moments of high frenetic activity followed by the moment to take it all in before the person gets smacked on the head by a shield. The action is supported by an amazing musical score by Rupert Gregson-Williams, now you might be a bit sick of that guitar riff they have been using in all the trailers but when you hear it in the film it just hits right at the best moment. Look the combination of the action and the music leads to a number of ‘oh damn that’s cool’ moments throughout the film. However, while I did enjoy the action there were two small issues that did draw me out of the film a little bit. There were a couple of times when it was clear that it was not Gal Gadot or a stunt double but rather a CGI model fighting on screen. Now, this is not really a big deal on the wide shots, but the CGI model was also used on more medium shots and it was quite clear that it was not real, suspension of disbelief will only get you so far. As well as this, the movie did feel more than a little sanitised, especially given its war setting. Now I know that this was a PG-13 film and as such there are certain restrictions at play and what you can show that the film was obliged to follow because there is no way they would want to risk a higher rating, which is understandable, but don’t draw attention to it. [Spoilers] For example, at one point Diana impales someone with a sword and the sword goes right through their chest and through the floor and is left protruding out of the roof of the room below.I the next scene we see Diana walk underneath and look up at this sword lodged in the roof and it is spotless, not a drop of blood [End of Spoilers]. Look I know not every film can or should be Logan, but in a post-Logan world don’t draw attention to the fact that you can’t show blood when we know it should be there.

Now while I did really like the film there were some issues that I did find held it back a little bit and since part of that is the ending there will be [Spoilers] for the rest of the paragraph. The first issue I had was with the WW1 setting, not because I don’t think that is a good time to set your film, but that it kind of feels like the film was originally meant to be set in WW2 and someone decided to change it to WW1 to stop any comparisons with the first Captain America film which follow a similar trajectory. This lead to Imperial Germans standing in for the Nazi’s, which is fine, but there are issues with the story that would have been fixed or elevated if they kept the original setting. For example, the way General Erich Ludendorff/ Doctor Poison is presented fits much better with the Nazi army than it does with the Imperial German Army used in this film. Also, General Erich Ludendorff is a real person that lived, and while a very complicated and problematic man, his depiction here does not seem to line up. Now while this is just a small factor it is felt much more clearly in the final moments of the film which give a very kumbaya feeling, however it is all immediately undercut by the fact that the much, much, much worse WW2 is only a couple of years away, and if that was set at the end of WW2 it would have felt a bit more appropriate. As well as this, a number of the key plot points were a bit predictable, though I will take predictable over nonsensical any day.[End of Spoilers]

The locations are beautiful

The locations are beautiful

In the end, I really did like Wonder Woman, to the point that I am almost a little cautiously optimistic that the Justice League film might actually work. Going forward I hope DC takes the lessons learned here about what makes a good film, you need good casting (which DC has always done), you need passionate people both in and behind the camera (which is already there), but you need to realise that films need to hold up on their own merits before you force them to push the franchise along, and most importantly it is all about the story. So do I recommend Wonder Women, you bet I do, it is the best non-Lego film DC has done since The Dark Knight and I really hope this is the start of better films for DC/WB going forward.

 

Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Directed by
– Patty Jenkins
Screenplay by – Allan Heinberg
Story By – Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs
Based onWonder Woman by William Moulton Marston, & Characters by DC
Music by – Rupert Gregson-Williams
Cinematography by – Matthew Jensen
Edited by – Martin Walsh
Starring
– Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock & Ewen Bremner
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13

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Movie Review – The Lego Batman Movie

TL;DR – It takes the very best of Batman, adds in some great animation and adds an interesting villain, I highly recommend it

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Lego Batman Banner

Review

“I’m Batman”, it is a phrase so common I bet you just said it in your head Christian Bale style or indeed Will Arnett style. Batman is one of those unambiguous pop-culture references and touchstones that everyone knows about even if they have never read a comic or seen a movie. So if you are a marketing executive you are loving this exposure, however, the Batman from the Lego films is a parody and an almost one-note parody at that. This is a problem because we have seen over and over again when you take the zany side character and give them their own film it often doesn’t work, see the last Pirates of the Caribbean. So with today’s review, we are going to take a moment to look at what lead to the creation of this film, then look at the animation, story and characters, and see if it holds up.

The Lego Batman film is a love letter to the character of Batman

The Lego Batman film is a love letter to the character of Batman

So before we start we have to look at the twin worlds that birthed this film, as it is like two colliding trains that somehow pulled off the impossible. So on the first hand, we have the gem that was the first Lego Movie, a movie that should not have worked but did. Seriously, could you imagine a few years ago that a film whose main purpose is to try and make Lego relevant again, this is of course after a slew of half-assed, mediocre straight to video Lego films that piled into barging bins during the 2000s? However, even with this history and the nature of the film, The Lego Film was not only good it was amazing. Not only was it well acted, written, and animated, it also criticised the very brand it was meant to be promoting which is a baller move when you think about it. However, on the other hand, we have the DC universe which while it has been profitable, it has not been a critical success yet and while making money the movies have underperformed. Now I could go into detail as to why that is, and I did in my reviews of Batman v Superman (See Review) and Suicide Squad (See Review), but generally, the DC films have been lacking narratively on every front. So we have a movie about selling Lego sets smashing into a blockbuster franchise that is underperforming, this is a recipe for disaster, yet it just works.

The first thing we have to look at is the animation and here once again Animal Logic shines. It is a difficult task to make the world that looks like it could come out of a Lego set, but also animates well, however, like the first Lego Movie they make it work. This universe looks like it is built out of Legos, the buildings are built from blocks, all the characters have those classical Lego designs, the fires and exhaust from the assorted batmobiles have that tell tail plastic flame, the lobsters are well lobsters, the hair, all the details are right. As well as this, they make the most of the Lego setting, like Gotham being built over a chasm and so everything is been held together by support bricks, now there are more example but then we start to head into spoiler territory. All the animations flow really well, and the film is not afraid to break the Lego premise if they think it will get a bigger laugh or enable the animations to look better, which is a bold but effect move.

The visual gags are on point

The visual gags are on point

The setting is where Lego Batman shines because more than any DC film in recent years it gets Batman, it gets the universe, and it understands how to tell an effective story inside that universe. The first thing I have to say is thank you for not forcing us to watch another origin story again, it is at this point the Death of Bruce’s parents is one of the most filmed sequences in cinema. But more than that Lego Batman shows a respect for the character in a way recent movies have forgotten, as well as this, they also show an immense understanding of the wider canon. Seriously, Lego Batman is a love letter to the character of Batman (Will Arnett) giving him the personality of a more current dark brooding Batman but setting it in a world more reminiscent of the wonderfully camp Adam West Batman. This juxtaposition leads to some of the Lego Batman’s funniest moments, because the writers get Batman and Batman’s universe, and also know how to tell a joke both verbally and physically. Now a lot of this is down to both the script and Will Arnett’s fantastic delivery that gives a surprising amount of range to a character that is intentionally one-dimensional. Also, we actually get a Joker (Zach Galifianakis) that was an interesting character for a change, with a clear motivation other than just ‘he’s freaky’ so you actually understand why he is doing what he is doing. Also on the scale of getting trapped on purpose which is kind of a villain mainstay, see Bond and the Avengers, Jokers plan actually makes sense. You also have an interesting take on both Dick Grayson / Robin (Michael Cera) and Barbara Gordon / Batgirl (Rosario Dawson), with Robin being the voice of innocence and Batgirl being the voice of reason, oh and Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) being the voice of don’t mess with my family or I’ll end you.

In this section, there may be some mild spoilers so be careful. It was also interesting to see that it was just not the DC villains that got a run with some old time favourites like Agent Smith, Sauron, King Kong, and British Robots (someone couldn’t get the right to the name Dalek it seems). Indeed like The Lego Movie, it is not afraid to take a few passing shots at the very companies it is meant to be a shameless add for. It not only makes a farce out of how ridiculous a setup Batman v Superman was, but makes sure there are more than a few barbs sent in Suicide Squads direction, Killer Kroc announcing that he actually did something was a wonderfully absurd moment. That being said, the story is a bit predictable, and they foreshadow a bit too heavily in the first act, so there are no real surprises going forward. When it comes to the casting it’s almost a who’s who of talent, and they all give amazing vocal performances. Though there are some oddities like Siri the apple computer program that plays the part of the Batcomputer which is an interesting and possibly groundbreaking choice going forward, also you have Ralph Fiennes who plays Alfred Pennyworth in the movie but he does not voice Voldemort who he played in the Harry Potter films, it is voiced by Eddie Izzard for some reason.

Finally a Joker who is memorable

Finally a Joker who is memorable

In the end, did I like it as much as The Lego Movie, no, but I did have an amazing time in Gotham City and it has been a long time since I have been able to say that. The animations are excellent, the voice work is top notch, the story is solid and the movie gets the characters it is portraying. I highly recommend Lego Batman, and oh DC this is how you do a Batman film.
 

Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Directed by
– Chris McKay
Screenplay by – Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern & John Whittington
Story by – Seth Grahame-Smith
Based onCharacters by DC Comics & Lego Construction Toys
Music by – Lorne Balfe
Edited by – David Burrows, Matt Villa & John Venzon
Starring
– Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate, Héctor Elizondo, Lauren White & Siri, with Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Billy Dee Williams, Riki Lindhome, Conan O’Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Doug Benson, Channing Tatum, Ellie Kemper, Jonah Hill & Adam DeVine
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; NZ: PG; UK: U; USA: PG

Movie Review – Suicide Squad

TL;DR – Sigh, oh DC, it really looked like you tried on this movie, but boy the best that you can do is an aggressively mediocre outing that adds nothing to the franchise, and as a self-contained film – well you can do a lot worse, but you can also do a lot better.

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

P.S. There is a mid-credits scene

Review

When it comes to that whole DC v Marvel comics rivalry which seems to permeate the internet these days, for me this was one of those arguments that was never really a factor in my life growing up. This is because we didn’t really get the comics where I lived, but what we did get was the animated series, like X-Men and Batman, and they were not aired in competition with each other, and indeed sometimes aired on the same TV channel. So growing up you were not a DC or Marvel person, it was more “did you see that episode yesterday”, I feel I really need to start with this up front because I really want this Justice League series to work, I really do. However I don’t think Suicide Squad is the film that will do it, and in fact all it does is show that DC/WB just don’t seem to know how to get this movie series off the ground. At best it is average, and at worse it is quite problematic, but in the end it is not really all that engaging and you’ll probably forget most of it within a day of watching it.

At the core of Suicide Squad is an interesting question – How would the US government deal with a world where Superman could just rip the entire armed forces apart by himself if he wanted to? I really like the realm of politics, so these types of questions really interest me, so this should have been a clear no brainer to hook me and bring me on board, but once you are hooked there is not much there. So what was America’s response to this changing world, well, and this is not really a spoiler because it is the name of the film, for Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) it was to find a bunch of ‘bad people’ that she could manipulate through leverage to become a squad that could take out ‘meta-human’ threats. So far so good, you have a good idea, you have a good cast (mostly), and you have a good IP with a rich history to draw from, so what could go wrong?

Margot Robbie is one of the better things of this movie playing Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie is one of the better things of this movie playing Harley Quinn

Well before we go there, let’s look at the things that actually do work well, firstly the casting, and generally speaking I think they got this right. Will Smith as Deadshot brings an air of class to the role and a world of experience, though it does feel that he is playing Will Smith super assassin and less Deadshot, but given it is Will Smith he pulls it off. I also quite enjoyed Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, she gives a manic energy to her role and as she showed in Tarzan, Margot has the ability to shine even if the rest of the film is quite average. Also Cara Delevingne is really good at bring out the duel nature of the Enchantress, she may have the most expressive face in Hollywood at the moment and she uses it to full effect. There is also some interesting stylistic choices, I do like the use of fluro, and the montage at the start of the film was really well put together. Also the use of music throughout the film was quite good for the most part.

This scene does not make it to the final cut of the movie

This scene does not make it to the final cut of the movie

Now the problems, and I will touch a little bit on the story in this section, so if you want to go into this blind then you may want to skip to the last paragraph. So the story, well it is a bit better than Batman v Superman, in that they don’t have as many “Your mum is named Martha too” moments, but it still has some really lazy plot progression. For example [spoiler] the team is outfitted with explosive implants that go off if they misbehave, and moments before they go on their big adventure a new character is introduced that you have not seen before and one minute later they are dead via explosive implant, it was so trivial to be almost laughable. Another issue I had with this film is how ridiculously inept all the people who are meant to be in positions of authority are. Like [spoiler] the warden (Ike Barinholtz) of the most secure prison in America, also has massive gambling debts to the mafia, I mean come on, or how they think having the military head of the squad Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) be in a romantic relationship with one of the members is actually a good idea, you don’t have to be a fortune teller to know that it would be a bad idea. Finally the big boss Waller, starts off with a standard pragmatic, tough as nails persona, but as the movie goes on she engages in actions that makes you wonder how it is possible that she would ever be given top secret information. Also can we take a moment to talk about the Joker (Jared Leto), now the Joker is a role that would be very difficult to cast, and nearly everyone has their favourite Joker from Cesar Romero to Jack Nicholson to Mark Hamill to Heath Ledger, but I don’t think Leto will be anyone’s favourite well at least not from this movie. Part of this just might be the very short amount of time we see him on screen, so we don’t get a really good sense of him, but for me the role fell a bit flat.

Much the same as it is hard not to compare Batman v Superman and Captain America given there remarkable similarities (see here), it is also hard not to compare Suicide Squad with Guardians of the Galaxy. When watching the film you can’t help but see the similarities – [spoiler] a group of bad guys thrust together not of their own making who end up becoming a team and … well comparisons continue but then we would be getting into too spoilery territory. They even use one of the main songs from Guardians, which only has the effect of reminding the audience of a better film they could be watching. Now part of this is not really Suicide Squad’s fault because Marvel just simply got out of the gates first so you can’t help but compare, however, if the phrase “like Guardians of the Galaxy but…” was no used in the pitch meeting I will be very surprised. We also see this in the conflicted tone, Suicide Squad does not know if it wants to be light and comical, or dark and brooding, and that leads to a bit of a disconnect throughout the film.

In the end today I watched Suicide Squad, and I watched a play through of the new Telltale Batman game, and if I had the choice I would have only have watched the Batman game, which is not a ringing endorsement, indeed save yourself the time and money and watch the same play-through, you’ll probably enjoy it more.

Directed by – David Ayer
Written by – David Ayer
Based on – Characters from DC Comics
Starring – Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Scott Eastwood, David Harbour, and Ben Affleck
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; NZ: M; UK: 15; USA: PG-13

Analysis – Captain America Shows the Flaws of Batman v Superman

So within the space of a month, we have two films from two competing companies based on the same premise and one was amazing and the other was a bit crap. So the question is what Captain America Civil War do better than Batman v Superman, and why did this make such a big difference?

My Review of Captain America: Civil War
My Review of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

The first thing is Captain America is the 13 film, and only now are they starting to get their main characters to fight each other. With BvS it is literally the second film in the series, Batman and Superman might be classic characters of cinema but you have never really had them interacting with each other before. Because of this, there is no history that gives the battle between Superman and Batman any weight, meanwhile, we have gotten to know Captain America, Iron Man and the whole cast so when they fight it means something.

The second thing is the reason for why they fight, because Civil War has not been released in the US as time of writing I won’t get into specifics but it is a reason that could drive friends apart, because it is one without any clear cut and dry good/bad side, and you understand why Cap is on one side and Stark on the other. In Batman V Superman why are they fighting? because Lex manipulated the circumstances? eh, it is a terrible motivation because Superman should have been able to solve the problem of where his mother is because it was already established that he can hear Lois for half way across the world.

If you title your film Batman v Superman, the audience will expect more than just a 5minute jump around some buildings and then bro out because both your mothers are named Martha. in Civil War, you get what the title promises. And because we should be wrapping this up some built points.

Story – Let’s be really honest here, Batman v Superman’s story is a bit pants, Civil War has a clear three arc structure that actually flows across the movie

Easter Eggs – You can’t build buzz if you just show people what all those symbols are, instead of getting them to discuss it online.

Competent Directors – The Russo Brothers just leave Zach Snyder in the dust, with their framing, and composition

Humour – Civil War among all the darkness know to take a moment for levity, not everything has to be serious DC

Repercussions – There were real repercussions from Civil War, while there was only one real repercussion from BvS, and even there they could not commit to that for the whole film.

I honestly want DC and the Justice League to do well, but DC and Warner Brothers show a consistent inability to stick the landing, and if you want to build a multi-film franchise you must be able to stick the landing or you will end up like Sony and Spiderman or Fox with Fantastic Four.

Movie Review – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

TL;DR – An utter mess of a film, disjointed, nonsensical, and a very poor foundation for DC to build their Justice League series on

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Review

You know I wanted to be surprised by Batman v Superman, it looked rushed, it looked like they had not given enough thought before rushing ahead with their Avengers competition, it looked like they were making all the same mistakes Sony made with Spiderman, but still, I wanted to like it, but alas this is an incoherent mess of a film with only momentary glimpses of being any good. To get us started, Batman v Superman starts with us experiencing the climax of the last film from Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) perspective, we then jump forward to two years later where a bat vigilante is attacking criminals in Gotham across the bay from Metropolis, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is in Africa being the damsel in distress (a role she will be stuck in for this film) and everyone else is politely pretending that Clark Kent and Superman (Henry Cavill) are not the same person.

Now before we go on I should state that there was an annoying child sitting right behind me talking very loudly and which his parents were not telling to shush, so maybe that might have affected my engagement with this film, I mean I don’t think so, but it would be remiss of me not to let it be known. So what went wrong, well a lot of things, and I’m going to go through them now, but I will be more than likely ripping this film to shreds, so if you are a fan of DC then I am sorry, but it’s coming and kind of not my fault.

For a big budget film the CGI feels really stands out at times

For a big budget film the CGI feels really stands out at times

Let’s start with the action, while there are a couple of good action sequences (in fact they save the film from being a complete write off) the action is mostly forgettable. For one, it follows the school of movie making that if you cut a sequence together where the shot changes every half a second, then you will have a fast paced action sequence, no you really don’t, you get an incomprehensible mess. As well as this, the staging of the action feels amateur, you can see the mechanics working, there are no wow moments or moments or any real surprise. Also given the title, I think many people are going to find action severely lacking.

When it comes to the effects, sure some are ok but for a film of this stature, some of the effects look like they deserve to be on TV rather than a big budget film. The Capitol Building looks laughably fake, and you will see things that are meant to be bodies but are clearly dummies. In many respects the film just looks a bit, well, underdeveloped, there are some quite iconic shots, but those that do look good only do so because the director is being influenced or in some cases outright stealing iconic imagery from history and film. For example, in the opening moments of the film, they make a clear reference to some of the footage from September 11. For those of us old enough to remember that day it is quite chilling until you realise what is happening. As well as this, Gal Gadot’s characters big reveal felt blow for blow like Black Widow’s introduction in Iron Man 2

They don't give him much to do, but Ben Affleck is a good Batman

They don’t give him much to do, but Ben Affleck is a good Batman

Ok in this next part I am going to talk about the story, and simply there is no way to do that spoiler free, so jump to the next paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers. This film fails in part because it is trying to do too much, and on the other, because it does not do enough. There are some many things crammed into this movie that even if they had a good story (which they don’t) it would be a very disjointed film. Since there is not a good story, I mean they took the worse Superman story from the comics and through it up on screen, it ends up being a bunch of unconnected scenes that somehow all joins together at the end but not really. There is no care to provide adequate motivations for any of the characters in this film, why is Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg) doing this, maybe daddy issues but really why? The characters feel forced into situations rather than there being a natural flow to the story, “and now Superman and Batman fight” “why” “because it is that point in the film and we need them to”. Ok now we are going to get into super heavy duty spoilers, so seriously, if you ignored the last warning, this is really now your last warning incoming spoilers. The ending of the film is just plain stupid, firstly, as I said it uses the most stupid plotline from the comics and makes it the climax of the film. Seriously if you want to see how stupid it is Watch This but super spoilers here, also language warning. Secondly, they could not even commit to it, by the end of the film they were already walking back from it, undercutting the little bit of weight the film might of actually had and any kind of intrigue going further. In the end, the big problem is that DC/Warner Bros, wanted so much to be Marvel/Disney, but they forgot the key thing that Marvel did that led to them being so successful time and patience. Between the first Marvel Film and their first big crossover there were four years and six films and given this is the DC version of the upcoming Civil War they are trying to cram eight years and 13 films worth of substance into two. Why should we care that Superman is fighting Batman? We have had no build up to this point, with Civil War, I care about the outcome, here, honestly after this film, I could not care less, well maybe a little, but not much.

Is there any good, well yes, I would not have given it that high a rating if it was all bad. Jesse Eisenberg is quite captivating as Lex, given how little he is given, what he does with it is quite good (though there is no way they would let anyone that clearly unstable within a kilometre of anything classified). Gal Gadot is really quite captivating as Diane Prince, and her upcoming film is the only one that I am interested in given her performance here. Also while Ben Affleck is no Captain America, he is a serviceable Batman.

bvs-3

Don’t know quite what they were doing with Lex

In the end, can I recommend this film, no, and that is really disappointing for me. I really hope DC takes a step back and really works on making this franchise shine. Will people go and see a film just because it has Batman or Superman in the title? maybe, but not enough to continue a franchise like this in the long run.

Directed by –  Zack Snyder
Written by Chris Terrio & David S. Goyer
Based on – DC Comics
Starring – Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane & Laurence Fishburne
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A, USA: PG