Review: Wonder Woman

I’ve had a good reason to be hard on the efforts of the DC Extended Universe over the past few years; especially last year considering my thoughts on their previous two pictures: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. This year, the producers of the DC Extended Universe look to turn the page on last year and seek to do so with their first superhero adventure starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

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Image by Warner Bros. and DC Comics

The film opens with Gadot as Diana Prince who receives a parcel from a new friend that compels her to reminisce on her earlier years. From her upbringing on the island of Themiscyra, home to the Amazons, where she was raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta, trained by her aunt Antiope, and encountered a man named Steve Trevor, who would guide her to the world of man on a journey that would change her life and the world at large forever.

To reiterate: I’ve been hard on the DC Extended Universe and I had good reason to be so. Their previous films have compelled me to set the bar low on their films going forward and I had to go into Wonder Woman with a low set of expectations. That being said, I must be blunt: THIS. MOVIE. IS. GOOD!

I must give credit where credit is due. Producers Geoff Johns, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Charles Roven, director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg crafted a solid origin story with coming-of-age themes that culminated in a very engaging, charming and the most entertaining DC movie to come out in years! I was satisfied with how they handled this movie; it wasn’t perfect but this was a great effort that really paid off!

I thought that the strength of this movie lied solely with Gadot’s performance meshed with Heinberg’s script and Jenkins’ execution. Wonder Woman is basically looking at the outside world with the perspective of childlike innocence, guided by a man who exposes her to the good and bad that a world at war has to offer someone who doesn’t exactly need to help.

If Gadot’s introduction in Batman v. Superman didn’t sell you on her ability to embody this iconic character, than this movie will most assuredly convince you! It was a treat watching her carry this movie and her on-screen chemistry with Chris Pine is splendid! Whether Diana is trying ice cream for the first time or feels concern or sympathy for the wounded soldiers on No Man’s Land, she just embodies the strength, compassion and innocence in this iconic character and she is relatable to audiences.

While I enjoyed watching this film, I only wish that the film could have done more with the supporting characters such as Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremmer, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya, Danny Huston and David Thewlis. I also hoped that the film would take more time to explore and examine Themiscyra, the Amazons and their cultures.

The cinematography of Matthew Jensen was solid, Rupert Gregson-Williams’ music was satisfactory, Martin Walsh’s editing was solid, the production design of Aline Bonetto was good, Lindy Hemming’s costumes were very good, the visual effects were to my liking and technically Wonder Woman was very well put-together to give this character the strength to stand on her own.

Wonder Woman clearly raised the bar for films coming from the DC Extended Universe because what separates this movie from the films that came before it: fun! This movie allowed itself to have its own natural fun and that allowed the audience to have fun watching it; this is leaps and bounds better than any DC film that came before it!

Movie of the Week: Wonder Woman

For too long, the fight against the forces of evil has been spearheaded by men. The greatest heroes who have fought for humanity against foes driven to bring hurt and pain to the innocent are great men, but still men. The time has come for a woman to rise against those who would do harm to those who cannot protect themselves. It is time. It is her time! The Princess of Themiscyra, with shield on one arm, a sword in her hand, and a mystic lasso at her hip will rise to bring an end to the war that will end all wars. Diana’s crusade for justice is only the beginning of a journey that will place her in a league of her own. This is the story of a new age of heroism. This is the tale of Wonder Woman.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Written by: Allan Heinberg

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Florence Kasumba, Ewen Bremmer, and Saïd Taghmaoui.

What am I expecting to see?: The last three films produced from the DCEU have underwhelmed to say the least, especially the films that flew under Warner Bros. and DC Comics from last year, so Wonder Woman is going in with an advantage of a low-bar already set. In the limited time we’ve seen her in the role already, Gal Gadot has done enough to sell audiences on her as Wonder Woman and now that she has this feature film to elevate herself, I’m hoping that she has clout to seize this initiative of being a powerhouse film hero in her own right.

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.

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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: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Where to start? How to describe? I’m wrestling with ideas and questions after last night’s early screening but I can’t find the ideal place to begin, so I suppose it is best to begin at the beginning.

The setting for this week’s feature film takes place nearly two years after the events of the high-grossing 2013 summer blockbuster. The film follows three principle characters.

The first is Bruce Wayne, who spends his nights ushering vigilante justice in Gotham City. Two years ago, Wayne witnessed firsthand the assault on Metropolis at the hands of the invaders from another world. Wayne harbors resentment towards the last alien standing at the end of the battle; he saw one of his buildings collapse, his employees displaced, maimed and traumatized.

The second principle character is Lex Luthor, the favored son of Metropolis with an major axe to grind and a hidden agenda to boot. While Wayne is resentful toward the third principle character to be named later, Luthor is certifiably off his rocker with hatred and fear over the last extraterrestrial and his paranoia leads him to believe that the alien threat is only in its infancy and he must take steps to ensure the survival of the human race.

The third and final principle character is the man himself, Superman and he has the whole world talking. He’s being hailed as a hero, a savior and in rare instances a god while simultaneously being labeled a menace, a threat, an interloper, a man “who answers to no one. Not even, I think, to God.”

Principle character B (Luthor) harbors deep fear and resentment towards Principle character C (Superman) and he also happens to despise Principle character A (Wayne’s vigilante alter-ego, Batman) so he hatches this elaborate and sinister plot to augment the rising tensions between Principle characters A & C with an insurance policy of world destroying proportions in case his goals don’t see the light of day. His ambition:

The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. Black and Blue. God versus Man. Day versus Knight. Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!

Image by Warner Bros.

This is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the highly anticipated follow-up to Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer. I’ve been waiting, rehashing all of the important tidbits of news and information related to this feature ever since I first caught wind of it’s production and after all of that time, all of my anticipation, all of my excitement and hype, I can proclaim with deep reverence that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is an epic…letdown!

I want to get this out of the way though: the film sets out what it wants to accomplish. This is the film that will be the bedrock, the cornerstone of the DC Entertainment Universe culminating in the assembly of DC Comics most celebrated heroes down the road into the future; in this Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is successful.

The cast does a respectable job. This is quite a collection of actors including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, who does a passable rendition of Bruce Wayne/Batman (I just want to throw that out there), Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Tao Okamoto, Scoot McNairy, Holly Hunter and Callen Mulvey; I’d say the standouts of this cast would be Gadot and Eisenberg and everyone else simply ties for 3rd place.

Let’s get back to the main point shall we? I’m not exaggerating when I say this, I’m legitimately serious, when I left the theater after attending an early screening of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I HAD A HEADACHE!!! This was an unmitigated and completely unnecessary fiasco that did not need to occur!!! Oh my Lord the elements that this movie needed to succeed were there and it just failed to take advantage of all of it!

For starters, the screenplay read as though it were inspired by a massive car wreck, just endless brutal collisions and cutoffs that made the film feel so disjointed and jagged, it was difficult to find a moment and allow myself to settle in and feel comfortable. Chris Terrio won the Oscar for his screenplay on Argo and while I felt that there were strong points in the writing, which were few and far between, this is the best he and David S. Goyer could up with?! Looking back, someone needed to shout “Is there a (script) doctor in the (production) house?!” Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was handling so many subplots it felt as though it was doing an amateur’s effort at juggling bowling pins!

The run-time for this movie was little over two and a half hours long and I vehemently believe that if a few superfluous scenes were left on the cutting room floor, I would not have to be so, let’s say, “passionate” in my review. I don’t want to spoil this movie but there was no need for the film to begin with the Wayne family getting killed; Zack Snyder, you already made it clear that Batman is already established in this universe and the whole world already knows how he became the Dark Knight, you did not need to go over an already obvious detail to start this film! This is just an example of an unnecessary scene that did not need to be in this movie.

The editing, courtesy of David Brenner, was at the intersection of choppy and sloppy. Every time I tried to settle into the action, the movie haphazardly jumps to another character arc. I think the reason why I left the theater with a headache is because my brain suffered from whiplash from the times this movie zoomed from one action to another!

Image by Eva Rinaldi, via Wikimedia Commons

The directing? I personally don’t have an opinion on Zack Snyder; most of his movies have been average in my eyes and I think he’s brought this franchise and the mythology of Superman as far as he could take it but I think the folks at Warner Bros. need to take a moment, sit down and inquire whether or not he is the right filmmaker to helm the Justice League because this is something they cannot afford to get wrong! Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was sloppy and anticlimactic and he engineered it.

I understand that there was a lot he wanted to cover in this movie but the film suffers because he wanted to do so much.

The film wasn’t an entire mess though! I thought Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL collaborated on an stellar score, Michael Wilkenson did a great job with the costumes, the visual effects were glowing, the art direction team did a superb job, the production design of Patrick Tatopoulos was solid, Larry Fong’s cinematography was decent, just allow me to reiterate that this did not need to be a bad film! The elements for this to be good were there and it accomplished what it set out to do, but the execution was an epic washout and it is so disappointing because this was a historic event for superhero genre films and my most anticipated movie of the year!

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice had the celestial makeup of a star and instead it just became Jupiter.

Movie of the Week: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

At last! After months years of covering and waiting, my most anticipated film of 2015 is ready to be unleashed upon the world! Metropolis and Gotham City couldn’t be more opposite and the same could said for their defenders. After the cataclysmic battle with General Zod left Metropolis in ruin, the world is left with a multitude of questions all related to one particular individual: Superman. Half the world sees him as a hero, savior, God even, but the rest of the world, sees him as a menace, a threat, a destroyer including Batman. The two have ample reason to hate each other and the differences between the two is coming to a head. Enter what Lex Luthor calls “the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world.” This is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

What am I expecting to see?: I’ve been touting this movie as a historic event because for a fan of superhero mythology such as myself, the concept of this film has never been attempted before; Batman and Superman have never shared the big screen before and this film has been hyped as an epic brawl between two iconic figures. Joining Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane in Zack Snyder’s massive superhero adventure is Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Tao Okamoto, Scoot McNairy and Jason Momoa. This is my most looked forward to film of 2016 and I don’t want to go home disappointed.