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Mr. H and Alex Discuss: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

What started as Mr H and Alex talking about their Batman #49 mini reviews quickly evolved into a full blown discussion about Scott Snyder‘s entire run on Batman from the outset of the New 52 all the way through to the fiftieth issue.

This last week saw the release of the critically panned Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and before the weekend was done the Batmaniacs had seen the movie three times in three days between them. Do they have something to say about the movie?

Of course they do!

As always with these features, there will be spoilers from here on out, but they’ve tried to limit them a little bit just in case you haven’t seen the movie yet.


batman.jpgAlex: Well we’ve both seen the movie now, and in a nutshell, what did you think?

M. H: Well it’s so hard to put into one answer what I thought of a movie that I have waited in some form or fashion since my childhood for. I would sum it up using an overly used words these days: epic. How could it be anything but? It had two of my favorite comic book/ literary characters of all time, and definitely one of those is my absolute unequivocal favorite.

Batman.

Let’s start with the large Kandorian sized elephant in the room. The casting of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/ Batman. I know you had very strong feelings on this so I will let you start off. What say you on the subject sir?

Alex: Heh, well it’s absolutely no secret that I was vehemently against the idea of Affleck playing Batman. I was quite vocal about how he’d ruin the entire DC Cinematic Universe and at one point (I think) I even said I’d refuse to see the movie because of his casting. Cutting a long (and already posted) story short, I eventually came around to the idea he may not be a horrible Batman before the trailers dropped. After watching the movie, well, let’s just say I think I prefer maple syrup on my hat.

Affleck was amazing. He captured everything I love about Batman. I’ve always felt that Bruce Wayne is the mask, and Batman is the real man, and there were times when a maskless Affleck shifted between the two on screen. It was jaw dropping. I suspected that my mental list of Greatest On Screen Bat Actors would be revised after this movie, but I expected the middle of the list to shift around a bit. I never thought that Ben Affleck would be far and away the top of the list. He just gets Batman in a way that nobody has before.

I can’t wait till he gets his hands on a solo movie.

Mr. H: He was stellar in the role. Already quite the star. Now he’s one of the Super variety. I was so happy we got a grizzled, war tempered Dark Knight. He’s been at this for over twenty years when this takes place. His suit has all the battle scars and I love the gritty and unpristine approach he took to the character. His Bruce Wayne was decisive and unapologetic. To see Batman come alive that well on the screen was breathtaking.

That being said Affleck‘s performance was only strengthened by the choice of the man who was chosen to play Bruce‘s closest (and mainly only) ally: Alfred. Jeremy Irons was fantastic. I could watch him chew the scenery with Affleck all day. They had a very antagonistic relationship and you felt like they knew each other like the back of their hands. Now in the comics Alfred is a father to Bruce. Here he was much like an older brother. Alfred‘s sardonic wit was the highlight of the film. I also liked how they made him very mechanically and strategically inclined. It was a very military chain of command approach to the classic relationship between Alfred and Bruce. So very happy we will be getting more of this in the follow up films.bvs batman alfred.jpg

Alex: I completely agree with you, there. I’m going to move on to the other major draw for fans before we turn this into a Ben Affleck as Batman lovefest (which would be easy to do). I’m sure the folks reading this will have seen reviews complaining that Henry Cavill‘s Superman wasn’t great, I’ve read that some critics felt he was too depressed and not as happy as Superman should be in this movie, and while that’s true, it actually makes more sense in this movie than a happy Superman. Batman v Superman spends pretty much the entire movie calling Superman a god. And maybe if we lived in that world we’d do the cavill supermansame thing, but you’ve got to think about the pressure that he must feel. He has the power to do almost anything, and you can see the weight of that responsibility getting heavier upon his shoulders. Of course he’s not going to smile a much; despite having godlike power, this is just a man from Kansas with a heart the size of the state he was raised in.

I think that Cavill captures that brilliantly in his performance. Is he the best onscreen Superman? That’s tough, because he’s always going to be compared to Christopher Reeve, but they both played totally different versions of the character. Reeve‘s Superman was an ideal representation of his time, and so is Cavill‘s. The scene with him and Luthor, and I know you agree with me here from our chat earlier, is one of the best scenes in the movie that doesn’t include a certain character. When Superman does lose control, you can almost understand why Batman was so determined to try and preemptively stop him, and without Cavill I don’t think we’d have that. When he and Affleck were on screen together I never felt that one performance drastically over powered the other.

You know, I’ve hogged the mic for a bit here, mate, what are your thoughts?

Mr. H: You chimed that perfectly. Cavill as Superman was definitely darker than the last film but you’re right he has so much weight in his performance but not everyone can flash that heartwarming smile as good as Christopher Reeve did. Cavill‘s Clark was much more brazen and steadfast in his ideals. I like that he had the intrepid reporter streak in him. Besides that scene on the helipad, any scene that had the lovely Amy Adams as Lois Lane made the Superman scenes better.

On the talk of it. Lois Lane really was the only light in this movie. This was a dark, dark, dark movie (don’t bring the kiddos) and she manages to brightly break through the cracks. Lois was fearless and tenacious to help exonerate the man she loves from public hate. She spared no lengths and it was good to not have her resorted to a damsel in distress.

gadot wonder womanLois wasn’t the only tough as nails female performance though. Introducing Gal Gadot as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. All I can say about her performance is, enchanting. She sucks you right in. She plays the mystery card at first with Bruce and then you see there is much more to her. As a Israeli actress she had the perfect look for Wonder Woman. I especially enjoyed the nod to the past with Lynda Carter when she was in the white jumpsuit. It’s nice when franchises pay homage to previous incarnations.

The great thing about Gadot though is that she felt right at home between the Super Powered boys club. In fact the huge fight scenes at the end is where she shines. She plays Diana‘s warrior side to a tee. Especially that wry smirk and gleeful smile she makes after she gets her butt kicked and jumps in the fray for more. I thought to myself yes THAT is Wonder Woman. Someone finally got it. Her outfit was a warriors garb and practical for battle without being over sexualized. Plus they had her use the lasso of truth! When did you ever think you’d see that on the big screen??

Alex: Honestly? Never. I figured that it would be one of those things that just didn’t make the jump from page to screen. You mentioned already that Lois Lane was the light in the darkness here, but so too was Gal Gadot. Despite being cast against two strong actors, she more than held her own and I felt she truly did justice to Wonder Woman‘s character (and that smile? Amazing!). She wasn’t in the movie as much as the two title characters, but she was brilliant when she did appear.

But somebody who, perhaps, is a bit more divisive is Jesse Eisenberg. When I heard of his casting, I was actually pretty confident he’d be great… but that wasn’t exactly the case.

luthor eisenbergMr. H: Yes as a big fan of his work I was thrilled [at the news of his casting]. Then I saw the first released footage and I was not as excited. He had some cringe worthy dialogue in the trailers. “The red capes are coming, the red capes are coming.” He played Lex Luthor a little too manic at times for my taste. His normal fast talking jargon was distracting here. I won’t lay it all on him however. The script never delves into why he hates Superman so much. We are just to assume it’s a mix of jealousy and contempt. It was off putting.

He wasn’t all bad however. His wardrobe was provided for some good moments and I loved the heavy musical score when he was on screen. One thing is for sure, without getting into heavy spoiler territory here, he implemented the most devious plan against Superman we’ve ever seen on screen. That was fantastic. His scene on the Helipad with Superman even after seeing the movie twice, gave me chills.

Alex: Yeah, I agree with you there. Despite some scripting issues – which may well be solved in the inevitable Directors Cut – his performance was very energetic. He felt, at times, like a little less violently crazy than Heath Ledger‘s phenomenal Joker, but with much more devious intellect. His character was an interesting opposition to the grim leads, and I think that given another chance, Eisenberg may give us a far better performance because he certainly gave us glimpses of one here.

Mr. H: This is a world where it’s brutally honest and people don’t just swoon because of some handsome being in a red capes flashes his pearly whites at them. Also its a world where a man who is so tormented and damaged enough to dress up like a giant bat isn’t the most stable individual traipsing across the rooftops.


Alex:
I think that, honestly, the characterizations that we’ve gotten in this movie are generally fantastic. There are a couple of moments that aren’t great, but by and large the performances are spectacular.

There are certainly flaws to the movie, I’m sure we both know that, but unlike the legion of critics who panned the movie I can look past that and enjoy the movie we’ve received. The critical panning, honestly, was incredibly harsh – and I think now it’s cool to hate on the movie.

Mr. H: I completely concur. Again I have almost no problems with the performances (Eisenberg inconsistencies aside) as it was a daunting task to do this story ahem.. justice. No way everyone was going to be happy but the visceral hate it’s received by critics is staggering. It’s a super hero film people. Not Schindlers List. It’s not going to be a 10. To take these fantastic character icons and put them on the big screen in a way that is both true and new is a gargantuan task. I thought Snyder did very well. People complaining that the film was dark, well you knew it was going to be dark!

trinity 2.jpg

Look at Man of Steel. That was the blueprint for this. That’s like saying oh, water is wet (Thank you Perry White). If any issues arise it’s with the pacing at the beginning and maybe the overly CGI ending. However I give mega props to that ending which I never thought I’d ever see on the big screen. Bryan Singer attempted it in Superman Returns but Zack Snyder had the guts to do it here. Now I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Alex:You know what astounds me more than anything? Is that the ending not only happened but that nobody is talking about it! I think that’s awesome. It’s an ending that
I never expected to see that on the big screen, and especially not at this stage [in the DCCU], but it’s such a fantastic catalyst to pull the Justice League together and turn Batman back into the hero he used to be.

And yeah, I may not have been overly happy with the cgi ending, but I didn’t hate it (and I have heard the “the port is abandoned” line is flimsy justification for the destruction at the end), but I actually liked the pace at the beginning [of the movie]. It wasn’t as bad as you’d think.

To hear some people talk about this movie, you’d think it was another Fantastic 4, but that’s just not the case.

Mr. H: For better or worse it looks like we will be getting this rendition of these characters for a long time. One of the biggest gripes I heard was the tone of the film. I had no issue with it. The first time I saw it, I was in a bit of shock but upon the second view I quite liked it. I think it’s refreshing we finally got this type of movie rather than a retread of the same ol’ same ol’. Director Zack Snyder shows us that it’s certainly a brave new world and we better have the courage to take the ride.

Alex: If you were to give the movie a score, what’d it be?

Mr. H: Without Affleck, a 6. With? I’d give it an 8. You?

Alex: About the same, actually.


Next time on Discuss, Mr. H and Alex are going to be talking about a classic Batman story. You may be able to guess which one, if they offer a hint or Two. So join them on the same Bat-channel, at the same Bat-time and find out just how much they have to say about a graphic novel that may (or may not) have inspired part of the movie they just finished talking about!

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman Dawn of JusticeFearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the over 2 hours 30 minute Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice feels like a patchwork of ideas mashed together into a film that works on some levels and fails on others. Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer share writing credits and the film feels like moments geared towards comic fans in a sequel of a movie for a film trilogy that hasn’t happened yet. The film feels like we missed something, an interesting twist to comic films that both works and fails here.

The plot is in some ways good and bad. Integrating the events of Man of Steel perfectly, the film sets up why Batman would distrust Superman and why the world would be mixed in their trust of a god like being without a check in place. In comes Lex Luthor, a tech giant channeling a mix of the Joker and X-Men villain Arcade in a new take on the character. Luthor wants to create a deterrence, and if the film left it at these three it’d be a much stronger narrative, but it also mixes in Senate hearings, plots to setup Superman by Luthor, some kidnappings and eventually Wonder Woman and Doomsday. The film could have easily been two films, a criticism of The Dark Knight, another film Goyer had a hand in the story. You can feel Terrio’s hand in the political and moral aspects of the film. He worked with Affleck in the solid film Argo.

The film attempts to do too much, but with Snyder’s name attached, subtlety isn’t something we should expect. The film is not just a battle between Batman and Superman, but also an assault on the sense, both visual and audio. While many crap on Snyder’s style, I enjoy the look of his films, he can set up over the top action and deliver in empty battle. Where Snyder fails here is creating a greater visual contrast between Batman and Superman, the light and the dark. While that theme is discussed over and over in dialogue, we don’t see it visually, a missed opportunity and the director’s biggest fail in the film.

When it comes to the actors, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot steal the show. Due to the screen time and focus of the film, the movie feels more like a sequel to an Affleck Batman film instead of the follow up to Man of Steel. Affleck’s Batman is excellent as a mix of scary boogeyman and an actual detective who is weary, tired, and grizzled after 20 years of fighting crime. Irons Alfred is a voice of reason and mechanic who sees the weight on Bruce’s shoulders. As I stated Eisenberg is a different take on Lex Luthor, a crazy genius. And finally Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman is mysterious until the end of the film where Wonder Woman really makes her presence known and in many ways saves the day. I’ll admit seeing Wonder Woman on the big screen kicking ass put a massive smile on my face and gave me warm fuzzies inside. She’s the most surprising part of the film. But is not all great. Her introduction to Bruce is rather flimsy, it’s not until she dons her costume does Gadot work, and it’s hard to not cheer as she throws out her lasso.

Where the film fails is many of the holdovers from Man of Steel. Henry Cavill as Clark Kent only looks pensive, never once smiling. That lack of emotion, he’s almost a walking Blue Steel, creates a lack of chemistry with Amy Adams‘ Lois Lane. Adams, along with Diane Lane as Martha Kent, are woefully underused and play the damsels in distress too much.

But the film is really about what’s to come, an ambitious slate of films that’ll introduce us to the massive DC Universe on the big screen. It’s no spoiler to say we are introduced to many including the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, and much is teased as to what’s to come. Comic fans will be explaining all of this to their non-comic reading friends for weeks. And while some of those introductions are cool, the flashes to the future to come is a massive fail in many ways.

Then there’s also…. well that’s a spoiler… but my 90s comic reading teen self had flashbacks.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a missed opportunity in many ways, but it also has a lot on its shoulders and sets up what looks to be a possibly exciting future when it comes to DC Comics’ movie universe.

Overall Rating: 6.65

New Wonder Woman Image Released

Warner Bros. has released a first look to Entertainment Weekly of Wonder Woman along with some of the other characters we’ll see in her upcoming film.

Front and almost center is Gal Gadot who plays DC Comics’ famous Amazonian warrior. Also present is Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and her aunts, General Antiope (Robin Wright) and Antiope’s adjutant Menalippe (Lisa Loven Kongsli).

The film is being directed by Petty Jenkins and has a release date in the US of June 23, 2017.

I do have to say, they’re looking rather white.wonder woman teaser image

 

A First Look at Wonder Woman

wonderwomanfirstlookFolks have been waiting, but the filming for Wonder Woman is under way. Warner Bros. has announced that production is underway in the UK, France, and Italy, and the film will be out in 2017.

Actress Gal Gadot has posted a photo of herself in her superhero outfit on Twitter and Facebook.

The film will be directed by Patty Jenkins and the cast includes Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor. Other casting without specific roles include Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, and Lucy Davis.

As Gadot says, this is something almost 75 years in the making…

DC Collectibles Reveals the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman Statue

With 2016 getting closer and closer, we’re starting to see official announcements and reveals for products spinning of of next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

DC Collectibles revealed this week the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman Statue: DC Collectibles recently revealed a Gal Gadot Wonder Woman statue based on Warner Bros. upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film. The 12 inch statue is sculpted by James Marsano and goes on sale in March 2016. The MSRP is $150.00.

BMvSM_DoJ_WonderWoman_Statue[3][1]

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! What’s everyone got on tap? It’s cold here in DC, so that means spending time inside.

Around the Tubes

The Mary Sue – Gal Gadot Signs 3-Picture Deal With Warner Bros., Including Wonder Woman Feature? – About what I expected.

The Mary Sue – Here’s Your Update On Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man And Runaways Film Projects – I hope this happens.

CBR – Marvel’s “Ant-Man” Steps In For “Man of Steel” Sequel in July 2015 – This should be interesting by the time it totally plays out.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – All-New Invaders #1

Talking Comics – All-New Invaders #1

CBR – Avengers World #2

Comic Vine – Bad Ass #1

Talking Comics – Batman #27

Comic Vine – Batman and Robin #27

Talking Comics – Deadly Class #1

Comic Vine – Eternal Warrior #5

Comic Vine – FF #16

Talking Comics – George Romero’s Empire of the Dead: Act One #1

CBR – George Romero’s Empire of the Dead: Act One #1

Comic Vine – Green Lantern: New Guardians #27

Comic Vine – Krampus! #2

Comic Vine – X-Men #9

Batman vs. Superman Casts Its Wonder Woman

DC Comics has announced their Wonder Woman has been cast! After months of rumors, it has been confirmed (including casting) that Wonder Woman/Diana Prince will make her big screen debut in Zack Snyder’s upcoming and as yet untitled Superman and Batman film.  She had been mentioned on some short lists, but Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been confirmed for the role. You might know her from the Fast & Furious movies. She’ll be joining Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent and Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Zack Snyder said in a release:

Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.

The film also reunites Man of Steel’s Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, and Diane Lane as Martha Kent.

The film begins principal photography early next year and opens in theaters on July 17, 2015.

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