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Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout

IMI Fallout postert’s rare for a franchise to almost completely reinvent itself in almost every outing. It’s even more rare for it to deliver, arguably, its best film twenty years in. Writer and director Christoher McQuarrie delivers his best film ever, as though he’s taken everything he’s learned from his past two and a half decades of experience, writing such classics as The Usual Suspects and being frequent Tom Cruise collaborator, to craft a great movie about the stakes of failure.

Failure is one of the great recurring themes in the film, as Cruise’s Ethan Hunt just wins by sheer luck. Several times in the film you think the good guys lose — because they do, repeatedly — and wonder if maybe this film will end with them losing, or with a noble self-sacrifice.

Our story begins with some stolen plutonium, and a failed recovery plan where Ethan chooses to save the lives of his longtime teammates Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) rather than recover the nuclear materials. So the CIA Director (Angela Bassett) does her best Amanda Waller impersonation and assigns one of their most deadly agents, August Walker (Henry Cavill), to provide “oversight” on the IMF team. Translation: he will kill anyone who gets in their way, including Hunt and his team if they go rogue.

Their clashing styles and the chemistry between Cruise and Cavill provide some of the best material of the film. Cavill is an imposing presence and director McQuarrie somehow makes it look like he hits harder here than as Superman. Cavill is also just really good as a spy and an action movie star, but somehow in a completely opposite way from his turn in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

But the emotional core here is with Pegg and returning actors Rebecca Ferguson and Michelle Monaghan. First, all three of them give great performances. Pegg has perhaps the most interesting character arc of any person in the franchise, going from computer geek in MI:III to hero-in-his-own-right in this outing. But it’s each of the characters’ connections to Hunt and his need to protect them that make the stakes of this so much higher and more personal than in previous outings. PS- If you need more reason to love Simon Pegg, you should see his recent apology for mocking Jar Jar Binks here. Really insightful stuff.

The last Mission Impossible film was full of bombastic stunts and plot, but two years later I couldn’t tell you a thing about it or what happened. Its villain, Solomon Lane, was supposedly so much smarter and always a step ahead of Hunt, but you never really felt that. In Fallout, you feel very much like the good guys are constantly being outsmarted and the stakes for failure — nuclear annihilation for a huge portion of the world’s population — are possible.

McQuarrie writes this in the same way as his tour de force The Usual Suspects, with layers upon layers of misdirection and snappy dialogue. He builds tension and releases it, hiding important exposition n moments of humor to help the explaining go down. Like Usual Suspects, there’s real humor in here. And if you’re familiar with the principle of Chekov’s Gun, he loads and cocks so many guns and leaves you waiting for the payoff. Even when you see something coming — especially when you see it coming — you just are left waiting in anticipation for sweet release of the payoff.

He’s also willing to take some risks. There is a point about two hours into the movie when I was convinced it was over, and this would be The Empire Strikes Back of a trilogy about Ethan Hunt and Solomon Lane. Indeed, in a world where Hobbits, Hunger Games, and Harry Potters are split into multiple movies for financial reasons, you can imagine wanting to extend this franchise in that way. But it doesn’t, and gives you this brilliant denouement of a final thirty minutes that gives specific payoff to everything not only from the previous two hours but the last twenty years. Yes, this is two and half hours long. It doesn’t feel like it. Bravo, Chris McQuarrie, bravo.

And then there’s his visual style. Wow, just wow. The cinematography here is brilliant. The pacing is unbelievable. There’s an extended chase scene through Paris that goes on for what seems like twenty minutes, and there’s never a dull moment. Eat your heart out, French Connection. 

This may be the best Mission: Impossible movie. And it is certainly the best spy thriller we’ve had in a long time. This is a cure for what ails the late summertime blues and the rare summer blockbuster that doesn’t require you to turn off your brain to have fun with it.

4.25 out of 5 stars

Unboxing: One:12 Collective Dawn of Justice: Superman

From Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice comes Superman. The portrait sculpt has been expertly modeled to craft an exceptional screen-accurate likeness of acclaimed actor Henry Cavill. Built on a newly designed One:12 Collective body featuring over 38 points of articulation Superman is outfitted in an amazingly detailed and accurate costume. To match the on-screen creation of award winning designer Michael Wilkinson, the One:12 Collective Superman’s outfit has been specially created using state of the art techniques. The result is a stunning recreation of the films costume.

We open up the box and show off the figure! You can pick yours up:
Amazon or ToyWiz

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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

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

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Teams Up With NASCAR

As the world braces for the most iconic Super Heroes of all time to square off in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (in theaters March 25), legendary NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. have chosen sides and are preparing to go toe-to-toe in an epic race for the record books! Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevy are now branded with logos representing their favorite hero, Superman and Batman, respectively, and will face off at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on March 20.

On the Warner Bros. lot, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill visited with NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to get an in-depth look at the vehicles.

The One:12 Collective Presents Dawn Of Justice- Superman

From the highly anticipated upcoming motion picture Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice comes Superman. The last son of Krypton is ready for battle with Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante. Can Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior resolve his differences with the caped crusader while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs?

The portrait sculpt has been expertly modeled to craft an exceptional screen-accurate likeness of acclaimed actor Henry Cavill. Built on a  newly designed One:12 Collective body featuring over 38 points of articulation Superman is outfitted in an amazingly detailed and accurate costume. To match the on-screen creation of award winning designer Michael Wilkinson, the One:12 Collective Superman’s outfit has been specially created using state of the art techniques. The result is a stunning recreation of the films costume.

The One:12 Collective Dawn Of Justice Superman features:

  • 1:12 scaled, accurate real fabric uniform and cape as seen in the movie
  • Incredibly detailed sculpted costume accents
  • Hyper-realistic portraits

Included with this figure:

  • Regular head
  • Alternate angry head
  • Fists (L & R)
  • Flying hands (L & R)
  • Grabbing hands (L & R)
  • Holding hands (L & R)
  • Metal break away Gotham City manhole cover
  • Display base with posing post

Each figure is packaged in a deluxe, fifth panel window box with translucent acetate slipcover. Designed for collector convenience, the packaging allows for both maximum protection as well as ease of removal for display.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Superman, into stores in July / August and is available for pre-order.

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Our First Look at Clark Kent… From 2013

Numerous websites are all over a picture of actor Henry Cavill dressed in Clark Kent mode in a photo to help support The Royal Marines Charitable Trust. Many are claiming this is the first reveal of Henry Cavill in Clark Kent mode, the alter-ego to Superman with such catchy headlines as  “First Look at Henry Cavill as Clark Kent” and “Clark Kent Revealed.” Sadly, we already saw this at the end of Man of Steel. and unlike today’s photo, that had Kent wearing his iconic glasses. In other words, we have a photo of an actor, holding a t-shirt in front of a chair that says Clark. Nothing new unless you want to follow Cavill’s fashion choices for the film.

Carry on people, nothing new here.

clark_kent_man_of_steelAnd the photo that has everyone worked up… over nothing.

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Man of Steel Sequel has a title, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

We’ve been referring to it as Batman vs. Superman for almost a year now, but the sequel to Man of Steel, officially has a title, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film will not only feature Batman and Superman, but also Wonder Woman, and many more rumored individuals.

Filming is underway on the film which is being directed by Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, and Ben Affleck as BruceWayne/Batman. Also appearing are Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, with Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane returning from Man of Steel, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter in a role newly created for the film.

The movie will open worldwide on May 6, 2016.

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