Tag Archives: superman

Movie Review – Justice League (2017)

Well, it only took two years and four films, but Warner Brothers has finally figured out a winning formula.

BQB here with a review of “Justice League.”

Character development.  It’s what the Marvel Cinematic Universe excelled at and what Warner Brothers failed at, even though the winning formula was clear – make a bunch of films starring the individual heroes, then make films starring the heroes working together…repeat.

Warner Brothers went a different way in March of 2016 with the pathetic flop that was “Batman vs. Superman.”  Technically, they started with “Man of Steel” years back, though at the time it didn’t appear as though there was an intention for that particular version of Superman to stick around…as far as I know anyway.

In B v S, we were flashed quick versions of Batman and Wonder Woman.  The plot was hacky, like Man of Steel, it was riddled with product placement, and Lex Luthor, greatest villain of all time, was turned into a nerdy wiener played by Jesse Eisenberg.

While critics despised “Suicide Squad,” I enjoyed it, though looking back on it, I’m not sure it really capitalized on its main asset – Harley Quinn.  A Joker and Harley movie is long overdue.

Bottomline – Marvel’s characters weren’t as well known to general audiences.  Thus, Marvel/Disney was able to make an Iron Man flick, a Hulk flick, a Captain America flick, a Thor flick, an Avengers flick, then press repeat, minus the Hulk flick because the green guy just can’t carry a film on his own, sadly.

But the character development in the individual flicks always paid off in the Avengers flicks.  We would see the individual characters suffer and face their demons and  then come together as a team.

DC’s cross to bear was that prior to this attempt to copy Marvel, Batman and Superman had been done umpteen million times.  However, while I still maintain that audiences didn’t need another origin  story for Batman or Superman, there could have been a film to introduce us to this grittier, older, depressed version of Batman starring Ben Affleck.  We didn’t need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents get capped after a night at the theater for the 1000th time, but it would have been nice to have seen a film where we jump into the new Batman’s world and see what he’s all about.  For example, a Batman vs. Joker and Harley film could have done just that.

Meanwhile, “Man of Steel” was yet another Superman origin film and as Supes and Zod punched their way through 7-11 signs and IHOP restaurants, the whole thing felt very forgettable.

June of this year’s “Wonder Woman” was Warner’s first critically acclaimed hit.  Wonder Woman has appeared in TV form before in the 1970s, but generally, she wasn’t as well known as Bats and Supes, so Warner had a chance to introduce her and tell us what she’s about.

Thus, in “Justice League,” the main continuity payoffs come from references to the earlier “Wonder Woman” film whereas references to B v S made me want to hurl, as I’m still doing all I can to forget that epic fail of a film.

Honestly, I feared that character development was not Warner’s forte.  It felt like they were rushing these films out, not taking their time, that we were a bunch of chimps who would put our butts into the seats no matter what so they just cared about money and not plot or telling us what made the characters tick.

Thus, it felt to me like “Justice League” was destined to fail.  We were introduced to new Batman and new Superman, albeit poorly, and we were introduced to Wonder Woman well, but introducing us to the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg all in the same film and somehow making us care about them seemed like a tall order and yet…they pulled it off.

Ray Fisher plays Cyborg/Victor Stone with just the right amounts of anger and sadness.  Cyborg, a young man rebuilt as part-man but mostly machine by his scientist father, views himself as an abomination, subject to the will of the technology that controls him, tech that he has little control over himself.  He must overcome self-hatred to serve a higher purpose.

Ezra Miller provides much needed comic relief as The Flash/Barry Allen.  The Flash has appeared on TV in the 1990s to not so great results, though a more recent return to TV faired better.  There were a variety of ways the film could have gone with Flash but here, they decided to go with an accidental bumbler.  Hit by lightning, the kid can now run really fast.  At the time of this film, he’s foiled a few petty crooks with his feet of fury, but he’s never gone toe to toe with a big bad and that leaves him scared shitless.  He devours entire pizzas in one sitting without gaining weight because his top speeds leave his body depleted and a scene where he thinks he’s about to shine only to realize Superman can run as fast as he can is the highlight of the film.

I was on the fence with Jason Mamoa’s “Aquaman.”  Aquaman, long panned as the lamest Justice League member due to his power of talking to fish, has always been a long haul to bring home.  After all, the cartoon version featured Aquaman riding two dolphins under his feet as if they were water skis.  Here, Aquaman is portrayed as a gritty merman, unsure of why he was cast out of Atlantis and left to protect a seaside community.  This Aquaman is very “Point Break-ish,” an extreme adventurer type, enjoying badassery, boastful of his manliness and so on.  I had mixed feelings about him throughout the film until a humorous scene with Wonder Woman won me over.

As in any film, there are flaws.  Bruce Wayne doesn’t seem to give a shit about revealing himself as Batman to every new team member he meets, though I suppose if he’s going to work with these people, he has to.  Also, the plot revolves around finding three boxes that hold the power to global destruction before the villain Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) can.  Something about those boxes made me think about Marvel’s tesseract, though I suppose similarities between comic worlds are inevitable.  There’s only so much of this shit that can be done before it all seems to mold together.

Ultimately, it’s a good ride.  Would independent Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman films helped?  Maybe…maybe not.  Honestly, I worried about that going into the film but somehow the movie manages to give us just the right amount of back story for these three heroes – not too much, not too little – perhaps independent films would have been overkill.  Now that we’ve given small doses of them to see what makes them tick, we might root for them more independently.

Amazingly, the movie finally even gets Superman right.  Superman has always been a tough one.  He’s the ultimate boy scout who does no wrong and basically has no flaws, so its hard to relate to him.  Further, even though he can fight like anything and survive, Hollywood rarely pits him against foes worth his time.  Superman shines here, though I think long term, the franchise will suffer because of the earlier decision to let Eisenberg play a geeky version of Lex Luthor rather than go with the traditional comic book version were Lex is the ultimate cunning badass.

Good story.  Good plot.  Good characters.  It had heart and humor.  I finally care about these characters.  It took awhile, but WB finally got it right.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Batman vs. Superman vs. My Bookshelf

Holy Crap 3.5 Readers.

I walk away from my magic bookshelf for 3.5 seconds and this happens:

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Enough you two!  Settle your differences and get down to the important business of punching Lex Luthor in the face.

Is there a battle on your bookshelf?  Tweet the photographic evidence to @bookshelfbattle #bookshelfbattle and I might just share it with my 3.5 readers.

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Batman vs. Superman!

Hey 3.5 readers.

It’s here.  It’s finally here.  The fight we’ve all been waiting for.  The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Steel.

Who will win?  No really, who do you think will win?

(As you can see, there is a “bookshelf battle” in the header of this fine blog in honor of this film.  Batman can take a punch like a champ.)

You have to root for Batman, right?  He’s the undercard in this bout.  Superman is an immortal quasi-God figure whereas Batman is a guy with good training and a lot of money. (An endless supply of money being the closest thing to a super power in reality).

I can’t wait to see it this weekend.  It will mark the beginning of DC’s attempt to recreate Marvel’s success with its Avengers movies.

Here’s a thought.  This is a big, summer blockbuster style movie and here it is, out so early…in March.

What does that mean for the future of movies?

Here’s what I think as a movie nerd.  Movie theaters are facing increasing competition from the Internet.  With the economy being down and ticket/popcorn prices high, a lot of people just decide to stay home and watch Netflix.

I can see that movie theaters are constantly coming up with new ways to get butts in seats. 3-D is one.  I’m seeing more theaters build stadium seating and put in extra comfy reclining chairs.  Beer and alcohol (watch Batman drunk!) and so on.

These big movies coming out earlier and earlier is just another way for movie theaters to stay competitive.  After all, if you love Batman and Superman, you’ll make the trip to see them on the big screen, right?

So this seems like a good thing.  Big movies earlier in the year because there just isn’t enough time to fit them all in during the summer.

Have you ever gone to the movies in January and wondered, “Holy Shit.  January movies are godawful.  This must be the time of year they release all the films that got the green light because someone had incriminating photos of a movie producer in a compromising position.”

I always wonder that.  Further, I always wonder, why can’t every movie be awesome?  Of course, I realize awesome is in the eye of the beholder.  What I find awesome and another finds awesome are two different things.  There’s enough room in the entertainment world for everyone.

Long story short, I think it will mean that eventually…bad ass movies will be shown in January.

Batman or Superman – who do you pick? Leave your pick in the comments.

SPOILERS – Batman is Bruce Wayne and he became a vigilante to cope with seeing his parents gunned down outside a theater as a child.  Also, Superman is really Clark Kent of the Metropolis Daily Planet.  His space pod crashed on a farm when he was a kid and a nice farm couple took him in and raised him.

That was a joke.

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Comic Con 2015 – Batman vs. Superman – Dawn of Justice (Featuring Wonder Woman)

This trailer shows more of what we can expect.  Batman fears Superman’s power and vows to destroy him.  Plus, our first peak at Wonder Woman.

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Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer

Happy Tuesday 3.5 readers!

BQB here, sharing the clip of the 2016 blockbuster – Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Movieclips Trailers

There’s been so much speculation that this movie will stink.  Me?  I always had a feeling that the people behind this flick knew they were taking a big bite with this one and assumed they wouldn’t be doing so if they didn’t think they’d be able to chew it.

In my opinion, the trailer looks great.

The apparent premise?  Superman has God-like powers that make people afraid.  Those in fear include Batman who, presuming the Man of Steel poses a threat to the world, decides to take the notorious tights wearer on.

We can only hope the film ends with them patching up their differences and singing a hearty round of kum-bai-yah.  After all, they’re both good guys.

But if someone has to be the victor, my money’s on Batman.

Well, at least I’m rooting for the Dark Knight.

Good Old Superman – the superhero who started it all.  People love to root for him and over the years, he’s become a symbol for “Truth, Justice, and the American way.”

He’s also hard to identify with.  Handsome, flawless, chiseled – shoot him and he spits out the bullet with his teeth.  Set him on fire and he doesn’t burn.  Blow him up and he comes back for more.  He can fly, run fast, lift enormous and heavy objects, turn back time, shoot lasers out of his eyes.  He has every power.

Unless you chuck a rare piece of Kryptonite at him, he’s going to eat you for breakfast and therefore, while fun to cheer him on, it’s hard to look at Superman and say, “there’s a fella like me!”

Batman?  Well, his powers are derived from money, intellect, and drive.  Money is obviously the big factor as it affords him the ability to spend a vast repository of wealth on his vigilante persona.

So, yeah, you might argue it’s also hard to relate to Batman except for the fact that Batman, though he probably wouldn’t budge at the sight of Kryptonite, could otherwise die in a multitude of ways!

Superman has always proven to be a difficult character to portray on the big screen.  Here you have a character with so much power and one would think the ultimate foil would be an equally powerful bad guy.

Yet, for some reason the 1970’s and 80’s movies pitted him up against Gene Hackman’s caricature of a criminal mastermind.  Though fun to watch, Lex Luthor was historically, at least in the comic book world, a more intelligent, cold, and calculating foe.  So many old Superman films and yet the hero to end all heroes rarely met a baddie his equal.

2013’s Man of Steel sought to remedy that with General Zod, a fellow citizen of Krypton who, like Superman, also becomes blessed with super powers when under Earth’s yellow sun.  In fact, I’d argue the old film starring Terrence Stamp was the best of that series because it was the only one where Superman fought a challenger with similar powers.

Man of Steel, to this blogger, wasn’t the dud that other critics labeled it.  However, I have to admit, when I saw Superman and Zod smashing their way through an IHOP, a 7-11 and other chain stores, my reaction was, “Wow, that is a lot of product placement.”

Since that was my only issue with Man of Steel, I assume I’ll have a fun time watching  Batman and Superman, as long as Bruce doesn’t drive the batmobile through an Outback Steakhouse or something.

Were you skeptical of Ben Affleck as Batman?  Admittedly, I was.  Actually, I was on the fence.  On the one hand, Affleck has given us Gigli.  On the other hand, he also gave us Argo.  He’s given us more pops than flops, so I assumed he wouldn’t have taken the role if he didn’t think he could deliver, and thus far this trailer proves me right.

Will DC finally catch up to Marvel’s box office prowess?  We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

What say you fellow nerds?

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Amazon – Superman or Lex Luthor?

DEBATE QUESTION OF THE DAY:  When it comes to self-publishing, is Amazon Superman or Lex Luthor?

AMAZON IS SUPERMAN:  Once upon a time, if you had a story in your heart and wanted to tell the world, your only choice was to roll the dice, write it, submit it, and there was like a 10% chance maybe you’d find a publisher and a 90% chance that your manuscript would collect dust in your sock drawer.  To increase your odds, you could abandon your home, family, and everyone you know from the place you grew up and move to New York City or LA and try to hobnob with the beautiful people but in reality, the closest you’d get is a form reply from the assistant to the assistant of the book agent’s assistant.

Amazon has changed all that.  You are in control.  You build your platform.  You draw in your readers.  An entire self-publishing industry has been created to help writers like you.  You can find editors to help you polish your work, beta readers to give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t, formatters to put your book together in digital form and artists to create your book cover.

Roll up your sleeves, work hard, upload your book to Amazon, and you now have a foot in the door of the world of publishing.  If your book is as good as you think it is, people will read it, tell others and God willing, you become the next Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking.

Does KDP Select lead to authors making their works exclusive to Amazon and push them to give their works away for free or on the cheap?  Yes.  But, come on.  We’re struggling no-names.  Readers only have so much expendable income.  If they have ten bucks to spend, will they buy my book or Steven King’s.  King has a proven track record.  You buy a Steven King book and you know you’ll be entertained.  Me?  I still have to earn that reputation.  So, take my work for pennies, world and if you like it, I hope you’ll come back for more and pay for the privilege because a steady flow of book sales income is what I need to justify writing as a full time career.

Thanks Amazon!  Like Superman, you’ve saved us all!

AMAZON IS LEX LUTHOR – Muah ha ha.  Yes.  Gather around my table at Legion of Doom Headquarters where I will now share my evil plans.  You had dreams of becoming a writer, did you?  We got you hooked on our service.  You uploaded your books, built your fan base, pushed them toward our site and thank you.  Your reward?  Pressure to give your books away for free and keep them only with us – we’ll get plenty of clicks on our site, you might get a little bit of pocket change for your trouble.  We’re driving down the cost of books all across the board, and even traditionally published writers are complaining about profit declines.  We don’t really care…we’re getting ours.  Muah ha ha.

DEBATE:  I lean toward the Superman argument but I can understand why some people might go with Lex Luthor.  What say you, self publishers?

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