Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

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The first big superhero fight movie of the year has arrived, but is it the movie powerhouse that we all expected it to be, or does it crumble beneath the weight of its own hype? Guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice begins eighteen months after the events of Man of Steel. An aging Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) has been practicing his Batman style vigilantism in Gotham City for about twenty years. He also happened to be in Metropolis on the day that Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod had their catastrophic fight that leveled many city blocks. Bruce is fully aware of the destruction that these super-powered aliens can cause. Their immense power is also noticed by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who views it as a tremendous threat to humanity, and actively searches for a way to keep such power in check.

Ok. Where to start. I guess the story itself. The plot and pacing for this movie are all over the place. Within the first ten minutes, we’ve already been whisked to at least four different settings and time periods. Scenes are obviously short, so there’s no real way to get a grasp of the characters. We only get vague notions of their motivations, mostly because we already know who these characters are from decades of other stories in other media. The movie tries to be a form of Batman origin story, but the attempt comes off half-hearted, mainly because it feels so rushed. The inspiration for Batman’s origin very clearly comes from Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight Returns mini-series, as do many other elements in the movie. I feel, if the storyline had been more focused on that work, rather than trying to merge it with another famous DC Comics storyline, and establishing the existence of other heroes in the universe, it may have been served a little better. Which brings me to yet another point, this movie is incredibly overstuffed. We already have the titanic figures that are Batman and Superman, but then Wonder Woman (played by Gal Godot) gets thrown into the mix, plus the introduction of other heroes, plus the plot of the antagonist. It’s just too much. It suffers from the same fate that ultimately doomed Amazing Spider-Man 2, too much going on, not enough substance and characterization. So many elements could have been trimmed down to make a tighter, more personal movie.

On to the acting. This was actually one of the brighter spots in the movie. Ben Affleck is definitely NOT the worst Batman ever, that honor still belongs to George Clooney. Affleck does a pretty good job in the role, to be honest. I just wish there were more of him AS Batman. Cavill reprises his role as the big blue boy scout, and plays the part about as well as he did the first time around, so no real complaints there. Godot as Wonder Woman holds her own, but again, the character felt kind of tacked on. Now to the one blemish, Eisenberg’s Luthor. I’m not really sure what he was going for with this portrayal, it kind of felt like a mash up of Heath Ledger’s psychotic Joker and Kevin Spacey’s own version of Luthor from Superman Returns. There are moments where Eisenberg is trying to play up sinister sarcasm or wit, and it just come off laughable.

There are two things at which director Zack Snyder excels; action and making a movie look good. It definitely has his signature style with its slick visuals and massive action set pieces. And to that end, the movie looks amazing. The fight scenes are spectacular and on a similar scale to the ones seen in 2013’s Man of Steel. Larger than life characters throwing haymakers across a cityscape and hurtling into one another makes for an interesting fifteen to twenty minutes, but over the course of a two and a half hour movie, it can’t really support the whole production on its own.

Overall, it’s not as bad as the other reviews are making it out to be, but it’s certainly not a movie that I would consider good either. For the most part, it’s all style with very little substance, kind of like firing blanks from a gun; you get the flash, you get the bang, but there’s no payoff at the other end.

The Verdict for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice:
3 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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J. J. Abrams, the movie marketing master, is back with his newest production, 10 Cloverfield Lane. I’m going to have to be pretty vague with this one, as there are many details that could count as spoilers and I really don’t want to ruin any surprises.

The movie starts off with our main character, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) walking out of her home and driving. Shortly thereafter, she is involved in a nasty car accident, which causes her to black out. When she wakes up, she finds herself chained to a bed in a small cinder block room. Frantically, she tries to get out, and is unsuccessful. At that point her apparent captor, Howard (John Goodman), unlocks the door and enters the room, explaining to her that he saved her life and that there has been some kind of attack on the outside world. He tells her the only reason she’s alive is because they’re in an underground bunker. The movie only gets darker and scarier from there with the revelation that there is a third resident of the bunker, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.), who subscribes to Howard’s apocalyptic theory.

Campbell and Stuecken’s script is trim, not allowing any frivolity, much like the environment the characters find themselves in. Tension builds as Michelle tries to figure out if Howard is as benevolent as he makes himself out to be, or if he’s a deeply disturbed individual holding her against her will for some sinister purpose. There are a few jump scares throughout the movie, but I genuinely felt a sense of psychological dread and terror for most of it, which trumps the average jump scare any day, in my opinion.

The real bright spot of this movie is the acting. Winstead and Goodman are phenomenal. Goodman’s presence itself is incredibly imposing, and he speaks with an air of unquestioning authority that makes you wonder if his character does have the best interests of the others in mind. Winstead provides the perfect foil to that in that her character never once falls into the damsel in distress role. She’s constantly searching for a way out and thinking about how she’s going to escape.

In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect going into this one. And if I had to give one complaint about the movie, I would say it is the placement of the musical score into some scenes. I feel like in certain scenes silence, or just background noise would have been better than music. It was almost a little distracting. But seriously, that’s the only nitpicky thing I can say about it. I really enjoyed this movie. If I can give you one piece of advice it would be not to go into the theater with any preconceived notions. Go in fresh, allow yourself to enjoy it, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Verdict for 10 Cloverfield Lane:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.