Movie Review: Justice League (7.2 / 10)

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It’s not terrible; at no point does it reach the lows of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”.  It’s not great, either; the film never reaches the highs on par with Marvel’s best films.  It was… pretty good!

Despite the success of DCEU’s “Wonder Woman”, “Justice League” wasn’t quite able to follow it up with another film that connects with the audience.  The main issue of the film is that it feels disjointed, with some sudden shifts in town, and underdeveloped characters.

The shifts in tone can be attributed to a substantial portion of the film having been shot by Joss Whedon, who filled in for director Zack Snyder, who had to drop out six months before the film’s completion due to a family tragedy.  There were distinct moments where anyone who is familiar with the two directors’ work would go “oh, that’s got to be a Snyder shot”, or “oh that’s a signature Whedon” moment.  And while that would be fun to do for the audience, it doesn’t really help with the film’s storytelling.

The film also suffers from a short (yes, short!) run time, as the studio demanded that the film be no longer than two hours, mostly for financial reasons.  For the “Avengers” equivalent of the DCEU, and not having introduced a few of the main characters in previous films as Marvel did, two hours was definitely not enough to introduce new characters AND tell a coherent and entertaining story.  I don’t mind a film being long as long as it’s good;  “BvS” was long but it was not good.  If Justice League had to be 2.5 hours but we got a better film, I’d be totally down for it.

As a result of its relatively* short run time, newcomers The Flash (played masterfully by Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (played by the fierce Jason Mamoa) come off as thin characters, and the developments of Batman and Wonder Woman come off as incomplete.

Yet, although the film suffered from the aforementioned flaws, it’s still a fun ride at the theater.   I had a decent time watching it; there were certainly a few standout moments that made the experience worth it.

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Movie Review: Wonder Woman (9 / 10)

 

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One of the best comic book movies in recent years, as well as one of the best film of 2017 so far, “Wonder Woman” is a much-needed home run for the DC cinematic universe, after the critically-polarizing “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman.”

The plot is nothing ground-breaking; it’s an origin story of a superhero who overcomes adversity, adapts to the new world she encounters, and overcomes her first adversaries.  But the execution of the story was near perfection, and, most note-worthy of all, was the female-driven elements throughout the film.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman” elevates the female superhero, and female roles in films, to new heights..  Gadot portrays Princess Diana as an enigmatic and confused heroine as she struggled to comprehend the complexities of modern warfare during World War I.  Some of the best scenes of the film were those of when Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) explains the Great War to Diana.

The action sequences, many of which utilize the ultra-slo-mo methods made famous by “300”, takes the technique and improves upon it, making some of the most entertaining comic book fight scenes I’ve seen.  Note to “Man of Steel”: do you know make “having superheroes and villains throw and punch each other, and throwing large objects around while things explode” interesting? Watch “Wonder Woman.”

The film isn’t perfect: there are some plot elements that could have been explored further, as well as a villain that was fairly undeveloped.  But overall, “Wonder Woman” is an excellent film, and a must-watch for all comic book movie fans, as well as fans of entertaining films.

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (6.5/10)

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Talking about disappointments.

I walked into “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” hoping to see one of the best comic book movies of all time, a cinematic masterpiece by director Zack Snyder.  What I got instead was a film that was mediocre at best, and a director who clearly was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of setting up the DC cinematic universe.

The film clocked in at around two and a half hours, half an hour of which could easily have been cut out without diminishing the movie.  It’s almost as if they have no idea how to utilise two of the biggest comic book superheroes of all time, and that they have no comic book movies from which to draw inspiration (yes we know Warner Bros. wants to make the DC cinematic universe darker and grittier than Marvel’s but that doesn’t mean they can’t look to Marvel movies to learn how to make good comic book movies.)

This review would seem endless if I delved into spoilers and picked apart all the film’s flaws.  To summarise, the writing is sloppy and tedious.  Lots of pointless dialogue that does not further the plot.  The film even uses the same device twice to reveal things to the audience.  At certain points, scenes would seemingly build up to something exciting to amp up the audience, only to cut to something completely off tempo, leaving the audience frustrated.

Worst of all, for the most part, the film is just plain dull.  Not just the signature Snyder-saturated palette, but the tone of which the acting took place.  Speaking of the acting, there was a range of good (Ben Affleck was great as the new Batman, Gal Gadot was perfect as Wonder Woman, apparently also a woman of few words) and bad (my god that overacting from Jesse Eisenberg, did not work at all.)

Even the Snyder-isms were off.  This guy is known for using extreme slow motion to good effects (like in “300”, “Watchmen”, even “Sucker Punch”).  But here, he puts the slo-mo in all the wrong places, missing out on creating iconic cinematic moments in the process

There were moments of brilliance in the film, such as when Batman finally faced off against Superman, and the first DC Universe team fight against Doomsday.  But these were overshadowed by the salient flaws of the film.

I’d almost say it’s not worth seeing in the theatres, but there are a few redeeming points to the film.  It all depends on whether you want to spend that money and sit for two and a half hours for brief moments of coolness.