DC Cinematic Universe

My buddy Stefan and I went to see Justice League last Tuesday (21st November), and I left feeling a touch unsatisfied. It’s got some great moments in it, particularly Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash. I’m not overly familiar with The Flash so can’t say how accurate a portrayal it was but I enjoyed it a lot. He was funny, a little unsure of himself but still had conviction and stood up when he was needed to. I like Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Gal Gadot is just awesome as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. I liked Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone, although I was put off a little by the CGI on his body here and there. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman was pretty cool as well. Like The Flash I’m not that familiar with Aquaman or Cyborg, so I can’t say how these versions of the characters compared but I liked them.

I like Henry Cavill as Superman, but I don’t really feel like we’ve seen him as Superman yet. I liked Man Of Steel, but that was an origin film and he didn’t really get the chance to be Superman or the Clark Kent we know. With Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice I don’t feel like we really got much of the character in that either. To be honest we barely saw him in that movie, and in Justice League he’s in it about the same amount of time as he was in Batman Vs. Superman.

I’ve been trying to put my thoughts straight on the DCCU for a while. I will admit to being an unabashed Marvel movie fan, but I’m also a big fan of Batman, well the whole of the Gotham setting and characters, to be honest. I grew up watching the animated series in the 90s along with the Spider-Man and X-Men animated series (He-Man, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before that). I love the Tim Burton/ Michael Keaton Batman movies as well. I liked the Nolan films okay, but they always felt to much like they were in the real world too much, and I’m not the biggest fan of Christian Bale. The other DC based movie in that sort of time bracket was Green Lantern, which I thought was pretty decent. I didn’t find it as bad as everyone seemed to make it out to be.

***Potential Spoilers From Here***

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, there are parts of the Justice League that I liked. I’ve mentioned the actors, but one scene that I found extremely pleasing and fun was when Steppenwolf is taking on the Amazonians, Atlantians, and Man, with a little help from the Lanterns. That scene was amazing. It heaved with energy and purpose. I got a mega kick out of seeing the Lanterns in the fight (I’m kinda disappointed Green Lantern didn’t show up to help them defeat Steppenwolf at the end of the movie).

There are two cut-scenes after the film ends. One light hearted one just at the start of the credits, and a bit more of a serious one right at the end. I won’t spoil either of these, but the final one got me more excited for future DCCU films than most of Justice League.

With this new DCCU Warner Bros. seem to be trying to build, I’m not really sure what they’re aiming for. As I said, I liked Man Of Steel. I thought it was a very good origin story, especially the opening sequence on Krypton which gave some great context for Zod’s motivation and how Superman then dealt with him and his plans. The only real issue I had with it was the score was too loud, and the dialogue was too soft. When I watch it I have to turn the volume up when characters are talking, but then turn it down when there’s a big action sequence and the score kicks up. Which is a shame because that score is amazing, but that’s a technical problem. The film itself was good. I got a kick out of the couple of easter eggs I noticed during the movie and was looking forward to what came next.

Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This movie felt overloaded and could have been resolved by Superman saying to Batman what was happening. I can understand why Superman might be going after Batman, a masked vigilante who is spreading fear. Before their big fight if Superman had just said; “Dude, they’ve got my mum, and will kill her if I don’t kill you.” that would have solved a tonne of problems. I can also understand why Batman would be going for Superman; anyone with a lot of power isn’t normally someone you want in that position. So Batman assuming the worst of Superman has roots, despite Superman’s clearly good intentions. People do change though, and with the history that Batman is hinted at having then he has good reason to be assume that Superman is a threat. In Batman Vs. Superman there is only Batman and Superman. The other heroes in this universe don’t exist yet, or haven’t made themselves known. So all of the people with any kind of superhuman power he’s come up against have been villains. We also can’t forget that he could still be dealing with the death of Robin (I’m assuming its Jason Todd). We don’t know how that’s affected him. That raises another question, if it is Jason Todd, then can we assume Dick Grayson has become Nightwing? if yes why didn’t Batman call him up for the fight with Steppenwolf? But I think I’m nitpicking there.

Another issue I have with the DCCU is does everybody know the secret identities of Batman and Superman? Lex Luther knows who Superman is, in Suicide Squad Amanda Waller knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and Lois Lane is just calling out ‘Clark’ willy nilly when addressing Superman in Justice League. There’s also no explanation on why Clark Kent has suddenly reappeared after being thought dead. Surely there should be a line there somewhere to address this.

I’ve got a quick few words I want to share on Suicide Squad. It’s not a great movie, but its one I do enjoy. I think they made a huge misstep when they didn’t focus on the Joker as the main villain of the piece. I like Jared Leto’s Joker, I thought he worked incredibly well in this era and was genuinely creepy. The first Suicide Squad trailer is amazing, for me it’s up there with the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. What really sold me on it was when we first see and hear the Joker, that cackle and his voice made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Throughout the film he felt creepy to watch. Kind of how I’d expect the Joker to be. What I enjoy the most about Suicide Squad is the characters. Aside from Slipknot, you get a decent feel for them all and each of the actors seem to hold their own very well in the film. The plot didn’t really excite me too much, especially after having seen the animated Suicide Squad movie Assault on Arkham. That I would have loved to have seen live-action on the big screen.

Movie fans will know that Kevin Feige is the man at Marvel Studios. He’s got a vision that has been in place since the start. With DCCU it doesn’t feel like that’s the case. You can see how they’re trying to keep everything in the same universe, but it doesn’t feel like they’ve quite got a handle on it yet. I’ve heard that Geoff Johns and Jon Berg are overseeing the DCCU, but I believe thats a recent appointment. So I’ll be interested to see if they can pull all the different teams working on different movies together.

I am going to compare the DCCU to the MCU, simply because I think it’s a good comparison. Both universes deal with people who have abilities that don’t exist in the real world.

I do think DCCU have made a misstep with putting Justice League so early in their line up of movies. With the MCU we had five movies (Iron man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger) that built up to The Avengers. We knew each character, we were invested in them. So when they all came together we not only knew them, but we’re rooting for them. After The Avengers was done I was satisfied, okay I wanted more but I was still fulfilled. I didn’t feel that with Batman Vs. Superman, nor with Justice League. I’ve seen The Avengers countless times, the same with Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America:The Winter Soldier, Deadpool, Mad Max:Fury Road, Dredd, Terminator 2. All those films leave me feeling satisfied. The only DCCU movie to give me that level of satisfaction and desire for more has been Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is the shining light of the DCCU. I can’t think of anything in that film that I didn’t like. It’s a film that is exciting. It is engaging. It left me feeling satisfied and wanting more. This is a movie done right, I don’t just mean a superhero movie, but a movie done right. Gal Gadot really is Wonder Woman. I remember when she first got cast, all I knew her from was the Fast and Furious movies. I remember her being good in those, but not much else. When she appeared in Batman Vs. Superman I was taken with her straight away, but in Wonder Woman she really gets to show her acting chops. Naive but confident at the start of the film and at the end she knows what its like to loose someone and to have seen the brutality of what the first world war was.

DC should be looking at the elements that made Wonder Woman work. The feeling I get hearing rumours about DC is there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Hopefully Johns and Berg will be able to right that, because otherwise we won’t have the rich DCCU that we could have. If you just look at Gotham City and the rich tapestry of characters that live in that city, then DC and Warner Bros. have a tonne of material to play with and build from. I think they just need to get the right people in place.

Wonder Woman was a huge step forward, I think Justice League might be a step back but hopefully a small one.

Advertisements

Movie Monday: Reboots

20130224-210316.jpg

I’d like to use this weeks Movie Monday post to talk about the current trend of Rebooting movies and franchises. In the last few years we have seen An A-Team reboot, a Spider-Man one, Total Recall. We saw Judge Dredd come back to our screens in Dredd. We also have Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. I’ve also heard a rumour that there will be a Starship Troopers  and RoboCop reboot too.

Most of the time these movies are very uninspiring. I found the Spider-Man reboot just that, although Andrew Garfield was very good as Peter Parker and the rest of the cast was mostly very good. The storyline and the fact that the original Spider-Man films are still quite fresh in our memories.

The A-Team movie was okay at best Liam Neeson was as always very solid. Quinton Jackson as B.A. was good and so was Sharlto Copley as Murdock. I felt Bradley Cooper did not do justice to the character of Face. I remember Face to be very Suave when he was played by Dick Benedict in the TV series and Cooper made him to much of a loud mouth. I like Bradly Cooper but he didn’t pull this one-off.

Total Recall I’m still on the fence with. When I watched it I was half asleep so I’d like to give it another watch before deciding once and for all.

Out of the movies that I have mentioned the only remakes that has impressed me was Dredd and the Batman trilogy. Dredd was a lot more raw then the original version and Christophe Nolan gave Batman a whole new edge which worked really well.

I am not anti-reboots, but they have to be good. They have to do something more than just make money. Rebooting Spider-Man so soon after the first three movies were made was not needed really. People know the origin story, so why do it again?

I would love to see Hollywood taking a few chances and make some original movies like Moon by Duncan Jones. Or Christopher Nolan’s Inception. District 9 was an amazing movie as well. If you’re going to do a reboot it needs to be something different to what we have seen, not the same old story time and time again.

The Dark Knight Rises

I went into this film with a very high expectation of this not just being another summer blockbuster but one that is of an epic conclusion to a trilogy that director Christopher Nolan has created.  For me the first two films were two of the best films that I have seen in a long time.  They were nicely put together with a very strong cast, and so was this one.  Do not worry, I will not be putting in any spoilers here.

This really was a good film which did have that epic feel I was looking for.  The cast is brought back and with the additions of Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway.  Christian Bale is very good as both Batman and Bruce Wayne and we see a side of him that I personally havent seen before.  I am a big comic book movie fan but I have never read any of the actual comics.  A friend once said to me that I’m one of those comic book geeks that never read comic books! He has a point 😀  So I do not really know much of the histories of the characters.  For example all I knew of Bane was what I saw of him in the earlier Batman film and in that he seemed like a mindless, clumsy clown.  Not even very menacing in my opinion.  In The Dark Knight Rises Bane was not just muscle but a calculating muscle.  He knew his strengths and that there were few that could match his strength and speed, he was not as sinister as Heath Ledger’s Joker but I think any actor would struggle to match what Ledger did with the joker.  Tom Hardy plays Bane in this movie and he had his mouth and half his face covered for the majority of the movie and he still pulled off a very impressive performance shows his talent and the directors ability as well.  Anne Hathaway as Catwomen does not fail to disappoint either.

There are two things that bothered me about this movie, one of which is a fair bit of it felt rushed.  There are large periods of the movie where I NEEDED to know more about what was happening but so much was, I’m reluctant to say ignored but I think cut out because otherwise this would have been a five-hour movie (why not do it in two parts?) and the other thing that bothered me is something that came across all three movies and that is Gotham city looked different in each film.  In the first film it looked like it was loosely based on New York but it had its own, kind of gothic feel to it.  Wayne Tower especially looked amazing.  In the second film it is quite clearly set in Chicago and Wayne Tower just looks like another skyscraper and not the heart of Gotham.  In the third movie it looks like New York once more but a tidied up New York that no longer has a criminal element eating away at its underbelly.  It’s a continuity failure which does not ruin the film, but it’s noticeable.  Aside from that it is a cracking movie which gives the viewer the epic film that I mentioned.  There is the odd surprise in it and bearing in mind both director and lead actor have said this is their last Batman film, well see for yourself 😉

I just want to say quickly that for me Heath Ledger was the most sinister movie villain I have seen.  When I first heard that he had been cast I was sceptical, not because I disliked him.  I think he was a once in a generation talent and I thought that before he died.  I was sceptical because I only knew the Joker from the old TV series and the Tim Burton movie where Jack Nickleson played him, but Ledger was born to play the Joker.  He took a character who was a little slapstick and made him sinister.  He took the character and made it the nightmare that we needed to see.  Not once during The Dark Knight did I look at the Joker and see Heath Ledger, all I saw was Batman’s deadliest foe.

Today’s Summary

I have given myself a tough challenge to hit the big 10k by the end of the week and I’ve started off well.  I got about a 1000 words done yesterday and another 2000 today.  I am going to cheat a little and have this an eight-day week which gives me two Sundays but I should be close to hitting my target by friday if I keep at this pace at least.  I am glad that I did NaNoWriMo last year now, although I did not win it, it taught me to JUST WRITE and worry about editing etc. later on which is what i have pretty much done since NaNo.  I used to spell check each day and I will admit I’m not looking forward to spell checking an entire novella of words but that’s how it is.  Right now I’m not wasting ten minutes each day spell checking and I’m happier reading through a paper copy when I’m doing my tweaks here and there.

On another note I have finally decided which of my short stories that I will be submitting by the summer.  once I’ve finished this draft and passed it onto Owen I will read through the short story that I have chosen to make sure I am happy with it 🙂

My reward for hitting target tonight was an hour on the Xbox and battling bad guys in Arkham Asylum, but I am shattered so that can wait till this time tomorrow.