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The Flash is a Go!

Director Andy Muschietti posted the logo to The Flash as he said “THE FLASH Day 1” kicking off production.

Not only do we get some music but also an official title in The Flash. The film stars Ezra Miller who debuted in the role in 2017’s Justice League.

The Flash will be released in 2022 and stars Miller, Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, Ron Livingston as Henry Allen, Maribel Verdú as Nora Allen, plus Sasha Calle making her debut as Supergirl and both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton as Batman. The screenplay is by Christina Hodson who also scripted Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

While we don’t know a ton about the film, we do know the multiverse will play heavily into it and the DC Multiverse will spin out of it. We already have a tease of this as Miller appeared as The Flash in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event that happened on the DC television shows.

Movie Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League Shows Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Zack Snyder's Justice League

In 2017, I was excited to see Justice League on the big screen. The film brought together classic DC characters in a new formula that skipped the individual origin films and started with a spectacle. The film was middling, not good and not bad. There were things to like and things not to. Four years later, we get to see a new take on the film on HBO Max with Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

The film is director Zack Snyder‘s take using some of his original material and some new scenes and reshoots filmed just for this. Snyder was unable to deliver his vision originally due to a family tragedy. And all these years later, we get a sense of what he wanted to do and while it’s very different, it too is rather middling. Like the original take, some things work and some things don’t. It’s not a disaster of a film but also delivers nothing new, in fact, it feels like steps back in the gains comic films have made in the four years since.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League basks in its creator’s vision. That’s drilled into viewers before the first scene rolls, stating that’s the reason the film is in 4:3 ratio. The movie is full with visuals that only work on a big screen (thankfully my tv is large with a solid sound system) and has a glee about it, like a child playing with toys in an ever-escalating adventure. It’s also very basic in its concepts. At no point does it really show that it “gets” its characters beyond their powers in a very surface-level way.

Despite a reported additional $70 million spent, the special fx far too often looks dated. This becomes apparent early on in the opening slow-motion of various Mother Boxes where some look very “off” in a glitchy sort of way. Wonder Woman’s opening scene is another example of this. Her speed was handled in a less jerky/choppy way in her own film. Here, here movements look like a nightmare from 1999’s House on Haunted Hill. Her solo film handled this in a much-improved manner and one that’s more visually appealing. Cyborg, Steppenwolf, far too much looks slightly off in its delivery where lines don’t match up at times or even “collisions” of objects. There’s far too much of a reliance on CGI that hurts the film and distracts.

Slow motion is to Snyder’s vision as lens flair is to J.J. Abrams. It’s overused and a distraction. In Snyder’s case, it also drags out the film, slowing the pace to the point of near boredom at times. The dour mood of the film is enhanced by the overuse and obsession with the technique. It’s so overused that by the time The Flash is introduced (in the third segment) that his powers, which benefits from the technique, no longer feels interesting visually.

At a little over 4 hours, the film delivers more of everything. Each of the characters are given more to do as the movie attempts to deliver the epic fight with evil while acting as an origin story for six characters. It does what it can with that with a jumble of side-quests and tangents as we meet the various pieces of the puzzle. The Flash and Cyborg, play by Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher gain the most out of this and each plays a more pivotal role than just members of the team. Miller especially comes out a star with his different and very likable take on Barry Allen.

There are things that make absolutely no sense in the film beyond style. The battle between the Amazons and Steppenwolf left me with so many questions. Queen Hippolyta pausing to do battle while escaping. The fact they thought sealing a rock building would do anything. And again, the fx that look like they belong in video games like Dragon’s Lair and Revolution X as opposed to a big-budget film in 2021. The movie is filled with WTF moments that feel so stilted and not fleshed out and dialogue that’s childish in creativity at best.

About the only way Snyder’s version improves upon the original release is in the film’s ending. Though there are some issues with it still, the film delivers a more satisfying ending in its key action, again giving The Flash and Cyborg a much bigger role in stopping things. The epilogue too feels like it’s a much better way to send things off.

This is a film though that’s Snyder’s to own. And it’s a depressing one. From the action sequences, to the look, to the color, the film has a dour sense about it. It’s drap, depressing, and lacks joy. The actors (as wonderful as Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, and Henry Cavill are in their roles) feel like it’s all a bit too serious. Beyond Miller’s Flash, everyone feels like a stick is up their asses with a stiffness that sucks the fun from it all. It’s a bit too serious and at four hours, it all drags.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League isn’t bad. There’s a lot to enjoy about it. It’s an improvement upon the original in some ways. It’s a step back in others. The enjoyment of it all will be in the eyes of the viewer and whether you enjoy Snyder’s style. It can work, and work well, in a lot of his other films, but here it results in a downer of a film. This is one that should have been an exciting coming together of titans but the end result is a film that takes itself too seriously.

Overall Rating: 6.0


You can view Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max

The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League is Here

In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, determined to ensure Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad, and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League debuts March 18 on HBO Max.

This Flash Concept Art Shows Off a New Costume and Keaton’s Batman

Released during DC Fandome, we get a look at some artwork that’s inspiring the upcoming Flash film.

During panels, it was revealed that Bruce Wayne will be developing a new costume for the character which we can see in this art. Also, Ezra Miller‘s Flash will take his name from Grant Gustin‘s CW version of the character after meeting each other during “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” It was also revealed there are more chances of crossovers between films and television series in the future.

Finally, if you look closely at the art, you can see the Batman pictured isn’t Ben Affleck’s take on the character but is Michael Keaton‘s Batman from the 1989 film.

Ben Affleck Returns as Batman in The Flash

Ezra Miller and Ben Affleck in Justice League

What’s better than one Batman? Two Batman! Ben Affleck will return as Batman in The Flash. The Ezra Miller starring film is set to be released in summer 2022 and it’ll involve him traveling to parallel dimensions, firmly establishing the DC multiverse in film and not just on television. It’s loosely based on the Flashpoint comic event. Affleck and Miller appeared together in those roles in Justice League.

Revealed earlier this year, Michael Keaton will be appearing as Batman as well. Keaton starred in the role in the 1989 Batman and the follow-up Batman Returns. Keaton will have a “substantial” part. Affleck was needed in the film as he helps re-establish that the Flash knows the hero and he acts as a starting point for the adventure.

The film is part of DC’s ongoing strategy to play into their “multiverse.” The concept allows the same character to star in different franchises, even with different actors, as they take place on different Earths.

The first step of the multiverse appeared in DC’s television lineup where originally some of the shows took place on different Earths. In the recent “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” the multiverse was further established into DC’s films and other shows as Batman ’66, Batman 1989, and Ezra Miller’s The Flash all appeared. The DC television universe has its own Flash played by Grant Gustin. It allows DC to say “everything is valid and its all happened.” They can also explore films like Joker and still have them be part of the DC film universe. There’s another Batman franchise in production from director Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattison.

The move by DC and Warner Bros. is the right one as it makes it stand apart from Marvel’s cinematic universe. Where that’s a cohesive world that might have a multiverse, it forces a tighter narrative where films rely on each other. DC and Warner Bros. create a decentralized take where they can release standalone films and take risks.

(via Vanity Fair)

Michael Keaton is in Talks to Return to Batman. It “May Not Happen.”

Batman 1989

Deadline is reporting that Michael Keaton is in talks to return to the role of Batman which he appeared in two films, Batman in 1989 and Batman Returns. This is talks and often talks go nowhere, it’s not a done deal like so many clickbait sites are reporting. Even Deadline says “this deal may not happen.”

Keaton’s Batman would be a “Nick Fury-like role” starting in The Flash starring Ezra Miller. It would have him take on the role in other films like Batgirl. It also doesn’t impact Matt Reeve’s reboot The Batman which stars Robert Pattinson which may pick up the storyline from Batman Returns according to Deadline.

Andrés Muschietti is directing The Flash from a script by Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson. Barbara Muschietti and Michael Disco are producing.

DC’s cinematic universe is taking a different approach than the Marvel one. Instead of one narrative, DC is taking an all approach. Every film, tv show, animated film, are all part of a multiverse. Each story can take place on another version of Earth and crossover when needed. Keaton’s Batman connected with the DC television world as it was shown in the recent event “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Then, Miller’s Flash also appeared on the show making all of the entities connected. This approach allows DC more freedom to create standalone films, “hey they take place on a different Earth,” reboot franchises, or a larger vision as was originally attempted with Batman v Superman, Justice League, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman.

Around the Tubes

The Flash

Convention season has kicked off! Who got to go to one this past weekend? Sound off as to your favorite convention below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Comichron – February sales dip on lean new comics slate, but per-title sales improve; Marvel sees growth – For those interested in the horse race.

CNET – Captain Marvel’s early suit concepts are way different to the comic – This is cool to see.

Newsarama – Ezra Miller & Grant Morrison Writing New Flash Movie Script – Report – Well ok then.

Newsarama – David & Keown Called Back for One More Incredible Hulk Run – We’re intrigued.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: The Illustrated Short Horror Stories of Alexa Sharpe – Free comics!

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Rica March Explores the Fallacy of Good Capitalism – More free comics!

Review

The Beat – Urusei Yatsuri

Movie Review: Justice League

Justice League posterIt’s hard to think of a time recently when a film has had so many expectations riding on it. 

And Justice League will undoubtedly fulfill many of those for a lot of fans of the source material. If you’ve been a fan of what Zack Snyder has done with the DC universe so far, you will continue to enjoy this. If you enjoyed Joss Whedon‘s work on The Avengers but have been “meh” so far on Man of Steel or Batman v. Superman, then you may enjoy yourself here, as the best explanation of Justice League is “Joss Whedon meets Zack Snyder.”

Unfortunately, that also means the film also embodies many of their respective weaknesses, too.

It’s no wonder this feels like a mishmash. Zack Snyder finished principle photography on the film and then had to step away from the project due to family issues. He entrusted finishing the film, including some reshoots and a script polish, to Whedon. Both of their fingerprints are evident in this film. Snyder’s stylized action is key and brings a bombasticity to the fights Whedon has never been capable of. Whedon brings some humor and teases out character elements in little asides that are key to enjoyment of the movie. In a lot of ways, this is a marriage that makes sense. In others. . . well, let’s say it’s easy to tell which parts of the film who was responsible for. It’s sort of like listening to The Beatles’ White Album — Lennon and McCartney were credited for all of their songs together, but it was very clear who took the lead on which track as the two partners styles started to diverge more wildly.

THE SETUP

Superman is dead. (Spoiler alert!) Sensing a moment of weakness and hopelessness, intergalactic conqueror Steppenwolf has returned to Earth to try to conquer it. Yes returned, because apparently he tried this schtick before and was repelled by the combined armies of Amazons, Atlanteans, and men. So he’s going back after them and artifacts he left behind that he needs to conquer the planet.

Batman (Ben Affleck), wracked with guilt over the death of Superman, is trying to put together a team to fight what he sees as this oncoming storm even before he’s aware of Steppenwolf’s presence. When Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) informs him the threat is already here, they redouble their efforts to find new teammates.

This includes Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen aka The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher). While Bats and Diana get top billing, make no mistake that the other teammates are not sidekicks. Indeed, each gets their due and gets their own fun moments and character arcs.

Yes, Aquaman is really f*#king cool. You would’ve told me 20 years ago I’d be saying my favorite part of a Justice League movie might be Aquaman, I’d have laughed in your face. You’ll believe a man can swim. . . and kick all sorts of ass. Momoa’s comedic skills are put on full display here as well, delivering some of the best lines in the movie.

Speaking of comic relief, The Flash has always been the Justice League’s jokey conscience. In this version, we get a much younger, greener version of the character who is only barely discovering his powers. This is a double edged sword, as it gives the character room to grow and a great story arc, as well as giving Batman a chance to play superhero mentor. Ezra Miller does a great job and tries to steal every scene he’s in, which can sometimes be a little overbearing, but is overall really fun.

Unfortunately, we also get a wildly uneven powerset and skillset. At one moment Flash is literally tripping over himself, and not ten minutes later must perform a demanding run to deliver a static electricity bolt at a precise moment. Characters can be layered and be able to grow and have varying degrees of competence, but we can’t expect someone to be so bad at something one minute and five minutes later perfect at it (without even the use of a sports training montage!) That’s not showing growth and nuance, it’s just sloppy storytelling and characterization.

Speaking of, this brings us to Cyborg. It’s a good thing most audiences aren’t familiar with the character, or else they may have expectations about his powers. Apparently, Cyborg’s main superpower is exposition. He also has the ability to pull a Deus Ex Superhero at any given time. Need your jet to take you from Gotham to Russia in under 2 hours? Cyborg can “hack” your plane and make it happen!  Need to prevent Steppenwolf from assembling his doomsday terraforming machine to conquer earth? Cyborg can “hack” it!!

To be fair, [Minor Spoiler] Cyborg’s origin in the film is tied in to one of the artifacts Steppenwolf is using, but it’s still incredibly convenient. You know what else is incredibly convenient? The Kryptonian spaceship containing all sorts of technology (for the THIRD. MOVIE. IN A ROW.) whose main purpose, again, is to move the plot forward. Equally convenient? Another alien would-be conqueror who wants to terraform the earth.

It’s almost hard for Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash to shine under the weight of all of this– but they do. It’s just unfortunate that they have to.

WHEDON v. SNYDER: DAWN OF “JUST US” LEAVE

Getting back to the description of the film as “Joss Whedon meets Zack Snyder”– Note that in this description of the film, nowhere is a mention of Patty Jenkins. And that’s with good reason. Jenkins’ Wonder Woman still stands head and shoulders above all other DC movies, including this, as Princess Diana herself does among her teammates. Nowhere here do we match the spirit and fun of Wonder Woman, but we get occasional glimpses of it.

And Wonder Woman is the best part of Justice League. Her mere introduction on screen elicited cheers and applause from the audience, and her opening intro is masterful and fun. No small amount of credit should be given to Whedon, whose trademark handling of “strong female characters” is basically a cliche at this point, but it’s still missing some of what Jenkins brought.

Indeed, the film’s best analogue is Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. That film nearly collapsed under its own weight of trying to move Marvel’s franchises forward, but forgot to really ever be or say anything in and of itself. Justice League sometimes feels that way– an obligatory team up sequel because that’s the next step in the movie franchise plan.

Another apt comparison might be to Superman II, which famously had Richard Donner fired from it and the rest of the film was completed by Richard Lester. The seams are clearly visible on that Frankenmovie where Donner ends and where Lester begins. So too is it clear how much of Whedon’s sardonic essence was brought into this film both in its script and reshoots which he oversaw.  While Snyder stepped away due to family issues (and I’m not going to give him any hard time about that) and entrusted Whedon to finish his movie, the end result is more Donner-Lester than Lennon-McCartney.

But perhaps this is best seen in the film’s most glaring flaw: Steppenwolf is a boring villain. The only thing remarkable about him is he’s big and powerful and he wants to conquer the earth, so we need an equally awesome team to work together to defeat him. In this, he’s a lot like Ultron. . . and, come to think of it, Zod. Unfortunately you don’t have as interesting an actor portraying Steppenwolf as Terrance Stamp, Michael Shannon, or James Spader. He’s not bad, he’s just lackluster. He can join Malekith from Thor: The Dark World as the least interesting superhero movie villains of recent memory.

And yet, both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Superman II are incredibly good, enjoyable films. You might invoke an aphorism about how great power brings great responsibility, and so maybe we should expect even better than this, but that’s a completely different guy– and he has his own track record of mediocre movies he’s trying to fix (and largely succeeding).

A STORY ABOUT SUPERHERO MOVIES

My son is 9. He is a frequent companion of mine to press screenings, especially when superhero movies are concerned. His first movie in the theater was The Avengers in 2012. He liked Batman v. Superman ok, but mostly just the final battle. Fast forward to 2017: He liked Guardians 2, but not as much as the first one. He was not a fan of Spider-Man: Homecoming — let’s be clear, that was a teeanagery John Hughes movie with superheroes in it, so give him a few years. He was not a huge fan of Wonder Woman —ugh. Girls. (His father is hugely disappointed in him for this)

He gave Thor: Ragnarok a “13 out of 10” and begged to go see it again as soon as possible.

He gave Justice League a 9 out of 10. Because if you can just enjoy this movie for its jokes, its iconography, its action, and its broad characters, you can have a great time with it. Truth? It made my inner 9 year old pretty happy, too– the same 9 year old who taped Superman II off of tv and watched it over and over not at all aware of the film’s flaws. It was simply “Kneel before Zod!” time, and everything else was just fine.

There are also moments of sheer brilliance in this movie, some of which we can’t get into without spoilers. DC fans will be happy, though, as other characters are referenced or implied.

And there are some sweet moments. In a flashback that opens the movie, little kids interview Superman for a podcast they’re doing. A sign of the type of hopelessness Steppenwolf and his parademons feed off of are a white skinhead hassling a Muslim shopkeeper and kicking over his fruit stands. Wonder Woman signs autographs for some little girls and I triple dog dare you not to tear up a little at how much it matters to them.

And then there are the after credits scenes. Yes, two of them. So make sure you stay. The one at the very end of the credits made me want a direct sequel as soon as meta-humanly possible.

It’s unfortunate these moments only checker the film rather than deeply permeating it like a piece of finely marbled kobe beef. Instead it adds extra sizzle to the steak, but doesn’t leave the whole thing as tender and juicy as it might otherwise be. But when you’re dining at Snyder & Whedon steakhouse, this is the meal that we expect. And at the end of the day, it’s still a pretty good steak.

3.5 out of 5

A New Look at the Big Screen Justice League

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

This new photo features Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ezra Miller as The Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman.

Justice League is out November 17, 2017.

justice-league-batman-wonder-woman-flash-cyborg-aquaman

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