Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman V Superman stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Jason Momoa. After Superman’s (Cavill) fight with Zod in Man of Steel, Batman (Affleck) makes it his mission to take him down and make him pay for the death and destruction he caused. As these two icons of comics prepare for their battle the world has it’s own battle over their statuses as heroes or villains.

I have made a video on the subject of Batman V Superman. In it I described my thoughts and opinions on the movie before my own viewing. To summarize my points I’d say I wasn’t interested at first, but managed to turn myself around after seeing the final trailer and knowing more about the director, Zack Snyder. I admitted in the video that the plot could turn out to be thin, but in reality the movie has just enough plot to keep me interested.

BVS does a great job of establishing the characters of it’s own universe, separate from the previous ones, while still following the familiar beats that make these characters who they are. Superman does what we expect of him: he saves those in need, he doesn’t want to be seen as a god, despite his power he is still a human being, and that he loves Lois Lane(Adams). Batman is a more angry, vengeful Batman who brands criminals and actually kills some of them. I wasn’t annoyed by his killing, just surprised at the number of bodies he wracked up. I can understand why they changed him, they needed more tension in the fight. The stakes are high in their fight, as someone will die no matter who wins.

Speaking of the fight, it’s one of the highlights of the film. Batman has an interesting assortment of weapons and Superman’s pure strength make a great fight. The hits are brutal and the visuals and sound design escalate it to new heights for a superhero fight. While the fight does end in a little anti-climatic way, it did have a powerful impact once I put it all together. Every fight in the movie is amazing, from the Arkham style fight to the final fight which has great cinematography and editing. There’s a great Batmobile chase scene that looks directly from Arkham Knight.

The villain, Lex Luthor, was one of my favorite parts of the movie. His actions are some of the most evil things I’ve seen a villain do in a superhero movie. He has almost complete control over both main characters and I can feel that everything from the beginning to the end of the movie were all part of his plan. While he’s on screen Jesse Eisenberg is just unpredictable and with his twitching and stuttering it feels like he can explode at any moment. My one con for him is that he does go on too much with his religious metaphors.

The side characters that are here were pretty good to me. Jeremy Irons is a good Alfred and keeps his trademark snarkiness. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is great, especially in the later portions of the movie. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White keeps up his good performance from Man of Steel. Diane Lane as Martha Kent while only in for a short time, gives more life to her character. Amy Adams as Lois Lane is still one of the lesser points of the movie but she has good chemistry with Cavill and Swanwick (Lennix).

Now for a couple cons I had. The movie is a little slow in the beginning as it sets up the world currently. The terrorist and Senate meetings were a little boring, but Holly Hunter as Senator Finch is a good character and the pay off to both plot lines is worth the build up. Henry Cavill was still a little wooden in certain scenes, but he’s good in most scenes and his actions are more indicative to his character than his words.

Now, here’s what must be said of the movie. It certainly does meet the intentions that the movie set out to do. It introduces our characters, creates a reasonable enough reason for them to fight each other, has an exciting fight between them, and it sets up the future of the universe. The movie feels like it’s a grand scale and makes the events feel like big and important. Overall it’s a great movie that could be tightened up in a few places and I hope that the director’s cut can make this an even better movie.

Rating: 91% – 10 piece chicken bucket

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Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

After Punisher interferes with a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission he is taken into custody by Black Widow and Nick Fury. Fury teams the two up to infiltrate Leviathan, a terrorist group with access to S.H.I.E.L.D technology. They must stop them from selling this tech to other villains while dealing with someone from Widow’s past.

This is the first animated Marvel movie I have seen and from what I’ve heard this is somehow the best one. If that’s true I never went to see anymore Marvel animated films. This was a terrible movie and except for the animation there is nothing good here. None of the characters have anything unique about them and you’re just expected to know who they are. Even if I did know anything about these two I’d be annoyed with how inconsistent they are. Widow tells Punisher not to kill some super soldiers as they used to be innocent civilians so he starts shooting their legs instead. A couple minutes later he is blowing them away with a grenade launcher and shooting them in the chest.

The man who stole the S.H.I.E.L.D technology was a former agent called Elihas who was in a relationship with Widow. He thought he wasn’t good enough for Widow and left to join Leviathan and gets injected with some power serum. He talks about how much he loves her in the same conversation as he’s punching her across the room. Once he’s told how dumb his plans are he joins the heroes in taking down Leviathan. Just then we’re introduced to the actual villain behind the whole thing, Orion. Orion, the main villain of the movie, appears for only the last 15 minutes. His design is so ridiculous and he’s taken out so quick he’s not threatening at all. Speaking of villains the last part of the movie is a giant cameo fest. The titular Avengers finally arrive and the villains buying the tech brawl with them. They’re all taken from the comics but only one is named, Graviton. They all just come out at random for an action scene at the end.

The real killer for this movie is the voice acting. Brian Bloom is an alright Punisher, but he never emotes and just growls his way through the movie. Jennifer Carpenter is awful as Black Widow. Her tone almost never matches the animation. John Eric Bentley’s Nick Fury is the most boring character in the movie. He talks in this one inflection in every scene and doesn’t do anything to make him likable like Samuel L. Jackson. While everyone else is just boring and bland, Grant George’s Elihas is actually terrible. In his climactic fight with Natasha he sounds like he’s on the verge of tears, but not in a good way, more like he stubbed his toe. Every other character, which there aren’t many, is passable on the voice acting.

The animation is pretty good, particularly in the fight scenes, but it’s in those fight scenes that this movie again loses me. They talk about the main heroes being normal people but they must have super speed for all the wind they whip up when they fight each other and all the bullets and explosions they dodge. The animation can’t make up for every other problem and the numerous plot holes that I can’t go into without spoiling it make this a terrible experience. I think if you can get a friend to watch it with you you can have some fun riffing on it, but the boring scenes and trite dialogue might stifle your fun.

Rating: 43% = Burnt Chicken

Watchmen (Film)

imageWatchmen is a 2009 thriller/drama starring Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Malin Åkerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode, and Carla Gugino. Watchmen is set in an alternate history 1985 where history is changed based on the existence of superheroes. The Watchmen, Nite Owl II (Wilson), Rorschach (Haley), Dr. Manhattan (Crudup), Silk Spectre II (Åkerman), Ozymandias (Goode), and the Comedian (Morgan) are the second attempt at a crime fighting team, after the disbanding of the Minutemen. Even so, the Keene Act is passed, banning all costumed heroes. Every hero goes their separate ways, some retiring and others working for the government. The only one to not quit is Rorschach and after the murder of Eddie Blake, the Comedian, he begins to warn his former colleagues of a “mask killer.” But it’s a race against the clock as the threat of nuclear destruction from the Russians is a realistic one.

There’s a lot of plot I left out of that short little synopsis and that’s because this is a long movie. I have the director’s cut which clocks in at 186 minutes. A lot happens in this movie, and they just throw you into it. The movie begins by setting up the Cold War and the Doomsday Clock and goes right into the Comedian’s death. You learn a bit more about this world’s history in the opening credits montage. When Rorschach is talking to the former Watchmen, you get to see where everyone else is and get to know them better. They’re highly fleshed out characters, and all these scenes heavily foreshadow future events. I could say things are foreshadowed in almost every scene of this movie really.

The visual style of this movie is like no other. It’s noir without being heavily so. There’s a lot of attention to detail and great set design. The fights, while not many, are brutal. The costume designer deserved that award he got for this movie.

All the actors play their parts perfectly. Jeffery Dean Morgan is the face of the Comedian for me now. Haley’s role as Rorschach is probably the best though. Dr. Manhattan’s character is a lot different to me because of Crudup’s soft spoken voice. If I have any cons with this movie it would be the length. Filming every single from Watchmen would be impossible to do on film, but Zac Synder got enough done to tell the story right. All in all this movie is amazing, being a unique look into alternate history and the lives of heroes.

Final Thoughts: I still don’t think I talked enough about the movie.

Rating: 96% 12 piece chicken bucket

 

 

V for Vendetta (Film)

imageV for Vendetta is a 2005 action/thriller starring Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, and Stephen Fry. In the future year of 2020 the UK is ruled by the fascist group, the Norsefire Party. Non-whites and other “undesirables” are put into concentration camps. On November 4th, Evey (Portman) is attacked by fingermen, the fascist’s secret police. She is rescued by V, (Weaving) a freedom fighter fighting the government. After destroying Old Bailey, a criminal court building, he tells Evey to meet him again on November 5th in one year. As V battles the government, Scotland Yard’s chief, Finch, (Rea) begins investigating and tries to stop V.

This film is…alright. I don’t know something about it I couldn’t really get behind. It starts off really strong, with Weaving and his amazing performance as V. He was eccentric and his “V” monologue was impressive. Near the end, however, I lost interest in him. His scenes started becoming repetitive where he scared and then killed someone. Evey is alright, but there’s a scene where she asks if V killed some people that are seen on TV, and gets annoyed at him even though she saw him kill a bunch of people before. Besides V, Finch is my favorite character. He’s the only “villain” who isn’t a caricature and actually is competent.

Speaking of caricatures, Sutler (Hurt) is this amalgamation of all evil government characters. In most of his appearances he is on a giant monitor in a boardroom of shadowy people. He makes the original story’s moral conflict a lot more one sided against the government. He doesn’t even really affect the plot and disappears quick.

I did enjoy the fight scenes in the movie and the explosions are top notch. The music is also really good. There’s a scene near the end with a ton of dominoes that must have taken a long time and props to the people that made it happen. I do like the ending to this movie a lot more than the comic’s ending.

Rating: 74% – 6 piece chicken meal

 

Constantine

*All dates got pushed back a day because of important work*

Constantine is a 2005 fantasy/action film starring Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, and Peter Stormare. Constantine is about an exorcist, John Constantine (Keanu),using his innate power to see angels and demons, he exorcises a demon from a woman, but realizes that demons are forbidden from possessing people directly. As he investigates this, he unravels a plot to take over the world using The Spear of Destiny and the son of Lucifer (Stormare.)

I know almost nothing about the comics character Constantine, so I hold nothing against this movie as an adaptation. I enjoyed Keanu’s version of the character nonetheless. He plays him as a calm, cool guy who doesn’t really care about anything. The movie itself drops you into his world, where everything about his past is revealed later instead of regular character development. I like how the major character traits and events of his life actually play a role at the end of the movie.

The visual effects in this movie are amazing. The opening with the demon exorcism did some interesting things with a mirror. Constantine’s holy shotgun is one of the coolest weapons I’ve seen in a movie. The scenes in Hell have some good visuals and the demons themselves are varied. When Constantine does his magic there’s always some nice effects to represent it.

The problems I have with this movie would be in the side characters. The characters are mostly bland who are just there to move the plot along. Special mention to Chas (LaBeouf), who started off annoying but endeared himself by the end. The one scene with Lucifer is also my favorite scene, I just wish there was more of him. All in all it’s a really good movie that’s quite underrated.

Final Thought: While typing this I imagined if Nic Cage was Constantine and got a chuckle out of it.

Rating: 84% – 8 Piece Chicken Bucket

The Alan Moore Marathon

I’m back with another marathon, this time it being a mix of movies and comics. I’ll be looking at the works and adaptations of acclaimed comic writer and artist, Alan Moore. Moore’s works, beyond the ones in this marathon, include Swamp Thing, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Batman: The Killing Joke. The Marathon will run from February 7th 2016 to February 11th 2016.

Day 1: Constantine (Film)

Day 2: V for Vendetta (Film)

Day 3: V For Vendetta (Comic)

Day 4: Watchmen (Film)

Day 5: Watchmen (Comic)

Office Space

“Office Space” is a 1999 comedy film, directed by Mike Judge, (Beavis and Butthead, King of the HIll) starring Ron Livingston, (The Conjuring, Dinner for Schmucks) Jennifer Aniston, (The Iron Giant, Horrible Bosses) Stephen Root (Ice Age, Finding Nemo) Gary Cole, (Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, Supernatural) David Herman, ( Bob’s Burgers, Triptank) and Diedrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite, Batman:The Brave and the Bold.)

Mike Judge is one of my favorite comedians, I’m a huge fan of King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead. His style of comedy is very divisive, as can be seen by this same movie’s review on Juicy Reviewz. Now Office Space is considered a classic cult movie, it has had a big effect on popular culture. Fans of Family Guy have probably seen multiple references to this movie, such as a cameo by Gary Cole.

The plot of the movie is about Peter Gibbons (Livingston) an office worker. His life is pretty sad: his girlfriend is cheating on him, he works every day in a cubicle, and his boss, Lumbergh(Cole) constantly checks up on him and makes him perform menial labor like filling out TPS reports. There’s also Samir (Ajay Naidu) who’s last name is difficult to pronounce, Michael Bolton (David Herman) who hates the singer Michael Bolton, and Milton (Stephen Root) who is constantly pushed around by Lumbergh, but can only mumble to himself.

Let’s start with the pros of this movie. The ensemble cast are all hilarious, they all have these running jokes throughout and their characters are defined by them. I’m also a fan of the soundtrack, it’s all “Gangsta Rap” which somehow fits in with the montages. I think the pacing of the film is really great, with a good three act structure. Of special note in the cast would have to be Lawrence(Bader) who’s few scenes in the movie are some of the best.

The few cons I have with the movie would have to be with “The Bobs” the performance inspectors. Now I know it’s a satire on how slimy these people are, but they don’t really make it funny like Lumbergh does. I also think that the romance, while Jennifer Aniston and Livingston do have great chemistry, it feels a bit rushed. The scene where Peter yells at Joanna(Aniston) just seems like something his character wouldn’t do.
Other than those two things this is a very funny, well paced comedy with some almost perfect satire on the life of office workers.
Final Score: 90%