Review: Justice League

All that was going through my mind as I entered the theater to watch this week’s feature film was one simple sentence on repeat until the trailers ended and the show began: “In the name of Sweet Jesus, please don’t suck!”

Justice League opened to show us a world without Superman. Hopeless, fearful, chaotic, dark and vulnerable and in this moment of vulnerability, Earth is wide open to those who wish to do it harm both on world and off.

The death of Superman also triggered an awakening of three vessels of power called Motherboxes and signaled the coming of a being named Steppenwolf who, with his vast army of Parademons, lays siege to various corners of Earth to retrieve the Motherboxes and enact his ambition to alter the Earth into the image suitable for him and his master.

All that stands in this conqueror’s way are five remarkable individuals: Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, Victor Stone, Barry Allen and Arthur Curry. These individuals must learn to become a team capable of protecting the world and living up to the legacy of the Man of Steel.

Image by Warner Bros. and DC

I went into Justice League hoping for the best but ultimately preparing for the worst because I was ready to find any reason to hate it. I came out of Justice League ready to give my official and resolute perspective: I believe Justice League did enough to not fail. In fact, it is my most forthcoming opinion that I actually enjoyed watching it!

By no means is the film perfect but I do believe that Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio with the assistance of Joss Whedon did in fact learn from the mistakes of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and they did make a fun, coherent, simple picture about the world’s finest heroes: Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg and Superman.

What really held this film back was the fact that it was a short movie and I get the sense that there were a lot of scenes and details that were left on the cutting room floor. The editing team of David Brenner, Richard Pearson and Michael Walsh didn’t do justice (no pun intended) to allow the film to truly highlight the impact of these characters and I believe equal blame should fall upon Terrio, Snyder and Whedon because audiences didn’t get enough depth and scope on these amazing characters and especially what drives and motivates the villain of the film: Steppenwolf.

On the other hand, I think the plot of the film, despite how it was self-restrained, did enough to truly showcase these characters and focused on bringing these heroes together and that was in fact satisfying. It’s what the audiences came to see and it did enough to win them over.

The cast did a good job. We’ve already seen what Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent) and Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) brought to the table as their respective characters from previous features but we see for the first time what Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman), Ezra Miller (Barry Allen/The Flash), Ray Fisher (Victor Stone/Cyborg) can bring to the table and they are in fact fun.

I was hoping to see more from the supporting cast including J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Ciarán Hinds, Connie Nielsen, Joe Morton and Billy Cudrup but I guess that’s what the future films are for.

Fabian Wagner’s cinematography was on-point, Danny Elfman did a good job with the score though I would have liked to hear what Junkie XL could have brought to the table instead, Patrick Tatopoulos’ production design was very nice, the art direction was good, the visual effects were solid, Michael Wilkinson’s costumes were awesome and Dominic Capon’s set decoration was good as well.

Do I count this as a major win for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment? It does enough to not lose, I will say that. It’s not as good as Wonder Woman, but it is better than the films that came before Wonder Woman and that is victory enough.

Going forward, I still want Geoff Johns and the creative team to really consider handing the keys to another director for a potential sequel. Zack Snyder did an okay enough job to keep the future of the DCEU alive but these movies need to reach their full potential.

From this critic’s perspective, Justice League is good enough to go see.

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Movie of the Week: Justice League

Superman was regarded as a savior to some, a god to a few and a threat to many but his sacrifice in defeating Lex Luthor’s abomination known as Doomsday cemented his legacy as a hero. With the Man of Steel out of the picture, the world grows darker by the day as feats of injustice occur on a daily basis, but Bruce Wayne works to honor Superman legacy in the shadows for he knows that a mysterious and massive force is coming to Earth. Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince scour the Earth to recruit special individuals in Arthur Curry, Barry Allen and Victor Stone to stand against this global threat. A new age of heroes is about to begin and it begins with a team. Justice League is upon us.

Director: Zack Snyder (and Joss Whedon)

Written by: Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Diane Lane, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Billy Cudrup, Kiersey Clemmons, Jesse Eisenberg and Henry Cavill.

What am I expecting to see?: This is the movie that cannot afford to fail! Warner Bros. and the DC Extended Universe already have their first win with Wonder Woman and for this franchise to get back on track, they need Justice League to be a success! I’ve gone on record expressing my lack of confidence in Zack Snyder as the guy in charge of these films but I’m going into Justice League expecting nothing but excellence, in light of the fact that Joss Whedon stepping in to finish what Snyder started. I DO NOT WANT THIS TO FAIL!!!

A New Age of Justice Is About To Begin!

The death of the last son of Krypton, shown in the final few moments of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, sent shockwaves throughout the world and beyond. The actions of Lex Luthor invited someone from beyond the stars to Earth and this being is not of peace, apparently. Bruce Wayne with the assistance of Diana Prince must scour the world to recruit warriors powerful enough to repel this invasive menace and assure the world that the sacrifice of Superman was not in vain. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg are the Justice League.

Justice League stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds , Jesse Eisenberg, Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, Kiersey Clemmons, Connie Nielsen and Henry Cavill. Written by Chris Terrio and directed by Zack Snyder, Justice League bows into theaters on November 17, 2017.

God Bless Comic Con! Why? TRAILERS!!!

I just knew that I would be blogging something today. Didn’t know how, but I knew. At first I thought I would throw up a surprise review on Star Trek Beyond, which IMO wasn’t all that; I’m not a Trekkie, I fail to see the appeal in Star Trek but I’m being honest, fans of the franchise will get a kick out of Justin Lin’s addition to the franchise and its attempt to appease its audience with classic nostalgic tones but for those non-Trekkies like myself: meh.

In case it hasn’t dawned on you: San Diego Comic Con is underway. It is in this time where fellow nerds, pop-culture enthusiasts, comic-lovers, practically people I can get along with confluence together to ooh and ahh all of the new grounds being broken in the worlds of comics, video games, television, films in the coming weeks, months or years even. You can always count on Comic Con to deliver something to wet your pop-culture appetite. While I was distracted by Star Trek Beyond, I returned home to catch up on what I’ve missed and I have missed much!

Kong: Skull Island

When Godzilla roared his mighty roar, someone at Warner Bros. and Legendary must have realized that this could be the beginning of something truly extraordinary but the creatures Godzilla faced did not pose enough of a challenge for the giant! Who could possibly stand against such a foe? The answer: KONG! An expedition led by Captain James Conrad, takes a team of explorers onto an island laden with danger and reigning over this treacherous-loaded-paradise is a creature who has existed long before the time of man but formidable and fearsome enough to hold dominion over his world and he won’t bow before anyone who dares stand in his way! Behold the trailer for Kong: Skull Island!

Kong: Skull Island is written by Max Borenstein, Derek Connelly, John Gatins and Dan Gilroy and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell. Kong becomes King on March , 2017.

Doctor Strange

Just when I FINALLY calmed from seeing that ridiculously trippy trailer from Doctor Strange, they set this on us! I’m not complaining it looks spellbinding all the same! BY THE EYE OF AGAMOTTO ENCHANT US!

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg and Scott Adkins, Doctor Strange is written by Jon Spaiths, directed by Scott Derrickson and will land in theaters by November 4, 2016. WOW!

The LEGO Batman Movie

I confess, I regret not giving The LEGO Movie a chance while it was in theaters. It did prove to be quite the delightful adventure. The film went on to enjoy a LOT of success in 2014, and in typical Hollywood fashion success usually equals sequels or spinoffs and in The LEGO Movie’s case, both. While the sequel is a ways off, a spinoff starring one of the films most popular characters is completely put together and fans are eagerly awaiting for the unveiling of The LEGO Batman Movie.

Chris McKay is the director guy in charge of assembly, who co-wrote the film with Seth Grahame-Smith and Eric Sommers, with the assistance of Jared Stern and John Whittington. Will Arnett will lend his voice to Batman, and rounding out the cast is Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Zack Galifianakis and Mariah Carey. The LEGO Batman Movie will hit theaters with excellent reflexes on February 10, 2017.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Harry Potter’s magical age has come and gone but renowned literary genius J.K. Rowling has started a new story about a new magical hero. Famous magizoologist Newt Scamander’s arrival in 1950s New York City has coincided with strange happenings within the American wizarding community and these bizarre events have involved some form of magical beast or two. Scamander must put his expertise to the test to remedy the problem before the fallout falls onto the non-magical population. This is the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by J.K. Rowling, directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton. A new age of magic begins on November 18, 2016.

Wonder Woman

One can say she made her long-awaited debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, many can argue that she stole the show in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either way, whether you liked Batman v. Superman or not-I didn’t-Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was a revelation and a statement; badass heroes don’t have to be men. Before she stepped back into the light in that intense battle, she had a story and this trailer is a preview of said story about how Princess Diana of Thymiscara set foot onto the world of men, guided by Steve Trevor.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and written for the screen by Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg, Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui and Florence Kasumba. Wonder Woman rides into battle June 2, 2017.

 Justice League

Perhaps no movie will be under no greater scrutiny than the follow-up to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Judging by this trailer, Justice League is saying and doing all of the right things but trailers have been deceiving before. Essentially, Batman is recruiting a team of meta-humans including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. This team of extraordinary individuals with great power will combat a coming threat. Justice League is coming together.

Zack Snyder directs, Chris Terrio contributes the screenplay for this superhero ensemble piece starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, Jeremy Irons and Henry Cavill. Justice League bows into theaters on November 17, 2017.

I have never attended Comic Con before but one day I hope to go and be a part of so much nerdgasmic excitement! Any more trailers come out, I’ll bring them here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and GOD BLESS COMIC CON!

Major Announcement Regarding Justice League

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was my most looked forward to film of 2016. It bombed. Badly. The aftermath of the highly anticipated follow-up to Man of Steel sent shockwaves reverberating throughout Warner Bros; some new additions were made, some losses were suffered, things had to be shuffled around and yet, it is all leading up to Justice League, the film that will bring together the major heroes of the DC Universe to combat a never-before-seen threat to Earth and humanity. Today, a major announcement has been issued regarding the production of Justice League, including a new logo and a new synopsis.

justice-league-justice-league-fotos-justice

Image by Warner Bros. & DC Entertainment

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-via Collider

Here is what is known about Justice League at this point in its production:

  • Batman will assemble the team with the assistance of Wonder Woman
  • The film is essentially a recruiting story; how the team is brought together
  • The League will consist of Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher)
  • Superman (Henry Cavill) will return in the film, perhaps after the climax or prior to the 3rd act
  • Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) will play an unspecified role in the feature
  • J.K. Simmons (Commissioner Gordon), Amber Heard (Mera) and Willem Dafoe (Vulko) are confirmed for Justice League
  • Steppenwolf has been confirmed to be the antagonist of the film. He has yet to be cast

  • The three Mother Boxes are of interest to Steppenwolf and have a connection to both Wonder Woman and Aquaman
  • The tone of Justice League will be lighter than that of Batman v. Superman
  • Justice League will NOT be a two-part feature. Instead the story will be condensed into one film with the possibility of a sequel or two to introduce Darkseid
  • The film will occur several months after the events of Batman v. Superman
  • Junkie XL will score the film; Hans Zimmer has elected to retire from scoring superhero genre films but his themes from the previous films will be utilized
  • Fabian Wagner is in charge of cinematography; he will take over for Larry Fong
  • Geoff Johns will step in and act as a producer/godfather for not only Justice League but for all upcoming DC-based feature films in the future.
  • Ben Affleck has been promoted to be an executive producer on the film while shaping his upcoming Batman feature

Zack Snyder will return to direct and the screenplay will once again by crafted by Chris Terrio. Also Amy Adams and Jeremy Irons are also on board the cast. Justice League will bow into theaters on November 17, 2017.

Review: The Danish Girl

It goes without saying that there is always a period in a person’s life where they try to discover who they are. In today’s climate the idea of identity is paramount to what makes up a person’s interest and how they wish to live their lives and in the case of a prominent painter in Copenhagen in the early 1920s, the idea of identity will not only shape his life but the lives of those around him-turned-her.

Image by By -nickon- ,via Wikimedia Commons

Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne is Einar Wegener. One day, Wegener’s wife Gerda, played by Alicia Vikander, starts a game that will yield unimaginable results. Gerda pitches the idea of Einar dressing as a woman for her to sketch, but this idea takes hold of Einar and forces him to ask hard questions about his masculinity and ultimately, his sexual identity.

The Danish Girl is the third film I’ve seen from the Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech, Tom Hooper. The film follows Einar Wegener’s journey from a Copenhagen painter, to transgender pioneer Lili Elbe with Gerda at Lili’s side every step of the way.

Did I have high hopes and expectations for The Danish Girl? Yes, because I’m familiar with Hooper’s previous works, I was a fan of Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar winning performance in The Theory of Everything and I’ve heard glowing praise about the rising star that is Alicia Vikander. Were those hopes and expectations met? I can’t say that they were; in fact, I think somewhere along the way The Danish Girl flew right over my head.

The film is essentially very cut and dry in its approach and its delivery but I found the film overall quite tame and honestly tedious. Visually, it’s pretty and I definitely appreciated the two stars but I just didn’t get it and that’s a shame.

First, I just want to say that watching Eddie Redmayne work is completely amazing. This film marks the second time he and Tom Hooper have worked together, the first was Les Miserables, and he is completely in control of a fine performance; I believe he brought the right amount of vulnerability and tenderness to the role of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and I was completely riveted by his presence.

Image by Frankie Fouganthin (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

When it came to Alicia Vikander’s performance as Gerda, I was at times reminded of Helena Bonham Carter’s performance in The King’s Speech, and I thought it was eerily similar in terms of character structure, the doting wife at her troubled husband’s side, but I thought Vikander played this role quite well. I liked her in this role and I can understand why she is being hailed as an actress to watch out for.

The Danish Girl is a particularly tasteful film, but it comes off as too tasteful in my opinion. I think that Tom Hooper is a fine director, but I think he is starting to fall into the habit of reaching for elegance while pushing a product that is relatively mundane on audiences and that worries me.

Lucinda Coxon’s screenplay is based on David Ebershoff’s novel and the screenplay is quite tame, rigid, straightforward, whatever you wish to describe it. Again, cut-and-dry.

The supporting cast takes a backseat to the main story of Einar’s journey to Lili, I’m afraid. Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts, Adrian Schiller, they all get the short end of the stick; talent sacrificed for the sake of the picture.

On a technical level, The Danish Girl is quite easy on the eyes and the rest of the senses. Alexandre Desplat’s score doesn’t disappoint, Eve Stewart’s production design is rich, the art direction of Grant Armstrong and Tom Weaving is impeccable, Paco Delgado’s costumes are quite nicely designed.

Danny Cohen’s cinematography is very playful. The scene where Einar watches a woman erotically touching herself while he mirrors her movements was fascinating and technically sound.

The editing by Melanie Oliver is steady. Every sequence flows in a pace that does not lose its audience and I found nothing flawing the scope of the story in terms of post-production.

Image by Focus Features

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that The Danish Girl is a film to appreciate because it features two rock-solid leading roles, but it comes off as too sophisticated, too safe, too bland, and there are times where you just feel uncomfortable watching it because of the subject matter.

This movie will certainly draw a crowd and to those who can relate to or identify with the central subject of sexual or gender identity there may be some value in viewing The Danish Girl, but I walked away unimpressed.