Thepanch's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Superman

Back In Black…. And Yellow

leave a comment »

76 years. 76 years of Batman punching bad guys, brooding, having shitloads of cool gadgets and general bad-assery. It is hard to find a figure that had endured as long in popular culture as The Dark Knight. We’re all very familiar with the story by now. Young child, Bruce Wayne accompanies his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne to a screening of  The Mask of Zorro. They leave the theater and are gunned down by one of Gotham’s many criminals. The young Bruce vows to clean up his city and trains to become the ever present, ever vigilant silent guardian of Gotham CityBatman. And now he’s back in cinemas, in Lego form!

I’m going to put this out there. This is, in my humble opinion, the best Batman movie since The Dark Knight. The movie opens in hilarious fashion with Batman (a hilarious  Will Arnett) narrating what we can see, “Black. All good, serious films start with black. And music, ominous, scary music…..” “This movie is brought to you by DC. The house that Batman built. You heard me Superman, come at me bro!!” There’s your tone for the whole movie. An affectionate, self referential addition to the Batman franchise.

There is so much to love in this movie. As mentioned already, Will Arnett nails the role of our big eared, narcissistic hero. And this is the crux of the story, and essentially the heart at the core of the movie. Batman is a loner, a strong entity that feels he can get by on his own without anyone’s help. The movie joyously sends up the much used image of Batman being a brooding, quiet loner and a gruff hero, ultimately a man’s man who just does what he has to do. Preferably on his own.

The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) tries to take over Gotham. And as is his wont, Batman shows up and puts a stop to his plan. In a glorious showdown, our two leads meet after a huge battle (of which there are many, which all utilize the wonder of building Lego to achieve master builds) and Joker decries Batman for being his “number one enemy” and that “he needs him, because we need each other.” Batman responds in typical bravado, “I don’t have a number one enemy. I fight a lot of villians, I like to fight around.” Joker is morally offended and upset and does not get the validation he needs. So he surrenders freely and this leaves Batman at a loose end and needing to focus on more important things.

Mainly the orphan, Dick Grayson (a charming turn by Michael Cera) who Bruce Wayne unwittingly adopts and invites himself to become Robin. This is where the movie hits a small dip. Overall the story is quite heartening and ultimately it shows a character grow while all the time not changing dramatically. And ultimately sends out a message of the importance of family and indeed friendship. A strong 40 minutes, a weak twenty and then a lovely bright finish.

There are numerous references to the Batman franchise. Visually, aurally and there are lovely nods to the different actors who played The Dark Knight. This movie is aimed at kids but it is an adult’s movie. Very clever, bright and loud and as a love letter to the franchise, it is a valuable addition. And if you’ve forgotten, a character in the movie reminds us, well me specifically how much Batman means to people, when he roars lovingly, “Hey, Batman. I love you more than my kids!”

4.5 / 5

 

Written by thepanch

February 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Batman Vs Superman

leave a comment »

First of all, I need to get this out of the way. Upon my first viewing I wanted to call this review Batman Vs Superman: Yawn of Justice. I know right, I’m so whimsical. But I felt I needed to watch it again, so I did! And I rethought my initial knee jerk reaction and gave it another deserved chance. This film has been quite undeservedly derided universally. Now I can see why but it is a bit unfair. It’s going to be hard to convince you otherwise if you already hate it and to be honest, I’m not going to try. The best way to approach this is the simplest approach, what was good and what was bad. Right, the good.

Batman fights Superman. If like me you’ve been waiting for this since your teens it delivers and then some. But Zack Snyder makes you wait, oh he makes you wait. It is worth it to be fair. The fight borrows heavily aesthetically and in terms of action from The Dark Knight Returns. The heavily advertised metal suit Bats sports, the use of kryptonite and Superman’s inability to see through lead based products with a craftily deployed smoke bomb. The fight is everything I hoped for. Two titans kicking the living tar out of each other.

Ben Affleck. Holy fuck! His hulking frame, shown in a glorious training montage, is impressive enough but his performance behind the beef and indeed the cowl is spectacular. His Batman is world weary, greying, physically and mentally broken. And gone beyond vigilante, I mean he flat out kills loads of guys in this movie! And there has been a lot of huzzah about this. I don’t feel any moral outrage about it, I don’t condone it but I understand the reasoning. He sees it as the only way to solve Gotham’s problem. Well, it’s either this or burning the whole place down, the place is a hole.

Henry Cavill. Sadly, like in the woeful Man of Steel, treated rather shabbily by an underwritten part and a hammy script. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my dislike of Superman, but he can be made interesting (see Death of Superman (graphic novel), the first two original Superman movies with the impeccable Christopher Reeve). There are glimpses of hope in this movie. Supes is struggling with the weight of being himself. Cavill does a great job but is let down by an underdeveloped arc.

Jesse Eisenberg. I wanted to hate this version of Lex Luthor. The trailers made me physically wince and shift uncomfortably in my seat, but he grew on me over the course of this film. His maniacal, and as the film moves forward completely mental plans are made all the more delicious by his unnerving jumpy nature. This guy really hates Superman and he goes to great lengths to try and stop him.

Gal Gadot. It’s pretty easy to shoehorn in a hot chick to play a well-loved, renowned superhero but with the casting of Gadot, the film does Wonder Woman a great justice. She was powerful, sexy and could hold her own with the two guys. I will gladly watch her in her inevitable solo outing! Which, in a rather ham fisted way, brings us to the bad elements of this movie.

Wonder Woman. Not Gadot. Or indeed the character in general, no it was more the way she was shoehorned in to be one of the reasons for Bats and Supes to forget their hatred and unite to fight a common foe. The last half hour is rushed as fuck. And an email attachment Bruce Wayne sends her instantly sets up the Justice League with tiny trailers for Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash and indeed Wonder Woman. Now the whole rushed ending. Two things here.

Doomsday. I got it, I totally got it but come on that ridiculous CGI, the lasers and really bright flare. Completely ruined an otherwise great battle. And ultimately, he was only here so our heroes could team up. To be fair, Gadot can handle that Lasso of Truth like a boss and looks bad ass doing it. Could have done with less of this hulking CGI mess. Now another reason that the last half hour was ham fisted and lazy as. I got a hold of an exclusive deleted scene. Text only mind.

INT: ABANDONED WAREHOUSE. Batman stands triumphantly over Superman. He raises his arms up to bring down a kryptonite tipped spear into Superman’s chest. Just before he bring sit down, Superman wearily raises a hand.

Superman: “Wait.”

Batman looks at him, smirks and slowly brings his arms down to his side.

Batman: “Make it quick. This ends now!”

Superman: “Right on the count of three, say the first thing that comes into your head.” Batman: “What?”

Superman: “Say the first name that comes into your head.”

Both: “Martha!”

Batman: “What?”

Superman: “Did we just become super best friends?”

Batman: “I think we just did…. Shit.”

 This didn’t happen like this I admit but it was pretty close. I call bull shit, Zack Snyder!

Anyway, I enjoyed it more on the second viewing. Not a perfect film by any means but it is enjoyable. And serves as a nice taster for The Justice League and reportedly three solo Batman films starring Ben Affleck and hopefully in the guise of his ever present butler, Alfred Pennyworth the ever reliant Jeremy Irons. He was great in this film and did a great job as Pennyworth. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend going to see it as it is a lot of fun but don’t expect any jokes.

2.5 / 5

 

 

Written by thepanch

April 3, 2016 at 10:52 am