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TAC Reviews...DC Extended Universe

 

DC have finally decided to take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and have started their own extended universe. Man of Steel was the first of these films and whilst the only real link to any other DC Characters was when Zod and Superman crash into a Wayne Enterprises satellite but with Superman V Batman Dawn of Justice the links to the upcoming Justice League film are blatant and don’t even happen in a post-credits scene.

 

 

Similarly to the X-Men films and the Spiderman movies, if they are not part of the official canon then they will be viewed separately, hence, Green Lantern and Green Hornet are not going to be a part of this section because they were stand alone films that are not connected to this new shared universe.

 

Is DC finally going to raise its game and produce films of the calibre of the Marvel Cinematic Universe??

 

In this section I shall cast my impartial eye over them and see…the reviews I have done below are as follows:

 

Man of Steel

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Suicide Squad

Wonder Woman

Justice League

 

TAC Reviews...Man of Steel

Date Posted: 13/09/15

 

Man of Steel is the first instalment in the DC Extended Universe. The film was released in 2013, it was directed by Zack Snyder and written by David S. Goyer with Christopher Nolan producing. The film stars Henry Cavill in the titular role as Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General Zod with Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent and Russell Crowe portraying Jor-El

 

Man of Steel Poster

 

Okay, now let me make something clear right of the bat, in my opinion there is and always will be only one Superman, and that was the version portrayed by Christopher Reeve in the 1978 film. Superman himself is a relatively bland character, I mean what can you really do when someone is good and righteous all the time, who can save the world but also stops off to get a stray cat out of a tree. The conversation that I have had with various friends of my skin sack is that what Christopher Reeve has done better than anyone else to date is truly portray the duel characters of Clark Kent and Superman. You did not look at Reeve as Clark Kent and see Superman wearing glasses, you saw an obviously very shy, awkward and fragile man who did not have anything resembling a backbone. In the scene in which a mugger pulls Clark and Lois into an alleyway Clark seems genuinely afraid and even as he catches the bullet the mugger fires at Lois he still manages to make himself look like a spineless wimp in order to safeguard his secret identity.

 

I could honestly spend pages and pages talking (and prising) Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Clark Kent and Superman, and whilst the films themselves did decline Reeve was always a highlight in them, and it is such a tragedy that he was paralysed in a horse riding accident then taken before his time.

 

This is not the first time that the Superman films have once again tried to get off the ground following the very poor Superman IV The Quest for Peace. In 2006 we had Superman Returns, now whilst I thought that film was alright it was not the reimagining or the revival that the films needed to kick start a new franchise.

 

Skip ahead to post The Dark Knight trilogy in which Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale returned Batman to our screens in such a spectacular way that the woeful Batman & Robin was pushed back into the darkest recesses of human consciousness where it rightly belongs. As I have said in various reviews of DC films, they really need to start taking things seriously or they are not going to be able to match Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, and perhaps the 2013 film Man of Steel may have be taking this a little too seriously.

 

Let me clue you in…

 

Man of Steel is a reboot that boasts Zack Snyder, the man behind 300, sitting in the director’s chair and the man who resurrected Batman, namely Christopher Nolan attached as a producer who also contributed to the story. Similarly with Batman Begins here we are shown the back story of the Man of Steel and how he came to be on Earth.

 

We kick off with Jor-El (Crowe) on Krypton informing the High Council that because they have tried to mine their planet’s core the entire world is unstable and is in imminent danger of destruction. At the same time General Zod (Shannon) attempts a coup d’état and asks Jor-El to join him, an offer that Jor-El refuses. In the resulting fire fight Zod is defeated but not before he learns that Jor-El and his wife have had a “naturally” born son and the child has been placed into a spacecraft that is on its way to Earth. The child has also been infused with the codex of all life on Krypton. Zod and his followers are trapped in the Phantom Zone as Jor-El’s prediction regarding the fate of Krypton comes true and the entire planet is destroyed.

 

Cut to a fishing boat off the coast of…somewhere or other that comes across an oil rig on fire, one of the men (Cavill) onboard the fishing boat saves the people on the rig before abruptly disappearing without a trace.

 

Through a series of flashbacks we are given glimpses of the man’s past as it turns out (…warning…Major Spoiler ahead…) that he is the child of Jor-El and is in fact an alien who absorbs radiation from the sun granting him superhuman abilities (…I know shocking isn’t it…). Anyway the man named Clark Kent tracks a signal to the frozen wasteland of the Arctic and discovers a ship that seems to have come from his home planet complete with an AI of his father who is able to give him some guidance regarding who he is…including his Kryptonian name Kal-El and what he is. Clark takes the ship and flies off taking it from the military, and is given an outfit to wear (which includes a cape) by his father that has on it his family crest.

 

Reporter Lois Lane (Adams) backtracks through rumours and stories of a mysterious man who helped out various strangers until she finds the man himself…Clark Kent.

 

As Clark struggles to understand what he is and what he is supposed to do, a ship appears in orbit over Earth and sends a message informing the son of Jor-El to surrender or the human race will suffer the consequences. Donning the cape Clark gives himself over to the ship, it is here he learns that General Zod and his followers are onboard and they have not got peaceful intentions in mind.

 

I can understand returning Batman to his gritty roots, after all Batman is a character that thrives in darkness and shadow, everything about him is dark, mysterious, and whilst he fights for good he does so using the night itself as his ally. Superman is about as polar opposite to The Dark Knight as possible, his costume is brightly coloured, his face is exposed, and naturally he would be the one who would stop to help and old lady cross the road…so how exactly do you take this guy and make a film about him gritty and seeping in realism??

 

The answer is you get Christopher Nolan to produce and Jack Snyder to direct.

 

In Superman The Movie the young Clark Kent travelled to the frozen North after his adopted father died and created the Fortress of Solitude. Here he spent several years learning all about himself, where he has come from and what his purpose on Earth is. In Man of Steel it is only when he is much older that Clark begins to learn about himself and has spent a lot of his young life fighting to remain hidden. His father is afraid that if the world learn what he is then they will reject him, as a result Clark is seen as something of an outcast, he doesn’t connect with anyone really around him. Jonathan Kent portrayed by Kevin Costner seems to have been giving Clark mixed messages throughout his life, in some of the flashbacks we see Jonathan Kent telling Clark that he is going to do great things and yet in another is telling him to hide who he is. This version of Jonathan Kent also allows himself to die when he knows Clark could quite easily save him just so people don’t catch on to what Clark is capable of doing. It is not really surprising that Clark doesn’t know who he is because his adoptive father hasn’t been exactly consistent in his upbringing.

 

Where previous incarnations of Superman have always fallen down is in the main actor’s portrayal of Superman and Clark Kent. Now honestly I have no problem with Cavill’s performance as Superman, this version of him even exhibits traits of being rather petty. A scene I particularly like is when a asshole trucker in a bar pours a pitcher over Clark’s head, something Clark has to just take because he would take the guy apart if he fought him, so Clark calmly folds up his apron, quits his job, and then proceeds to impale numerous wooden beams through the guy’s truck. During the film we don’t really ever see Clark as the bumbling guy seen in previous version so it will be up to the sequel to show whether Clark is just Superman in glasses or does make you believe the two men are different people.

 

Michael Shannon is over the top as General Zod, but in this version of the film it works, the General Zod in Superman II was quietly spoken and obviously ran the battle from the back rather than leading from the front. This version of Zod is clearly a man who leads his troops into battle and has no problem with getting his hands dirty. He was bred to defend Krypton so he will do whatever is necessary to protect his people, the fact that Kal-El was naturally born means that unlike Zod and the others he can choose his own path and is not bound by what he was bred to do.

 

I have to admit that I was enjoying the proceedings, the special effects are impressive and all of the cast are suited to their respectful roles. Henry Cavill is very buff and can easily be assigned the name Man of Steel, he is struggling with who he is, and unlike previous versions of Superman, Cavill’s version does not have all the answers. He does not have the luxury of spinning the world backwards to reverse time to fix a mistake, he is only just getting to grips with what he can do and suddenly has the fate of the world dropped on his shoulders before he is ready for that kind of responsibility. Admittedly it is a bit odd that he goes to a church whilst pondering whether to give himself up to Zod rather than having a chat with his Dad’s AI who knows exactly who Zod is and if Clark can trust him or not…still no one ever said Clark was that smart.

 

The film has a lot going for it, however, there is one rather major flaw.

 

You see Zod has been tracking Kal-El to Earth because he needs to the codex that is within Kal’s body in order to rebuild Krypton…okay…Man of Steel with you so far. After escaping from the Phantom Zone, Zod sought out the lost colonies of Krypton but found only death and a terraforming machine. The machine has the capability of transforming an entire world to make it habitable, so after finding Clark/Kal-El has the codex within his genetic code, Zod decides to inform him that the codex can be used to rebuild Krypton. At this point I would have thought that Kal would have had no problem letting the codex be extracted from himself, the ship he found earlier was a sleeper vessel so is capable of creating hundreds more Kryptonians, so his true people can survive. Only Zod decides that Earth is the perfect world to transform into the new Krypton and in order to do that the entire human race must die…er…Zod he’s been on Earth his whole life and now you want to wipe it out??? Honestly did you really expect him to go along with this plan, especially when you could just fly over to Mars and terraform that instead??

 

Seriously, why the hell did they not terraform Mars??

 

Zod has been bred to protect his people but there was absolutely no reason why they couldn’t have established Mars as the New Krypton, and with Earth so close surely they could borrow a few supplies here and there to get them on their feet. That might have made a far more interesting, if admittedly duller, story that would not have forced Kal-El or “Superman” as the military started to call him, to throw everything he had at Zod to defend the only home he has ever known.

 

The final battle is suitably epic with super powered men and women hurling themselves at one another, and the military teaming up with Superman to battle the forces of Zod. Sadly Metropolis is largely reduced to rubble in the fight. Er…”Superman”…couldn’t you have lead Zod into the countryside or maybe space before engaging him in the bone crunching battle that did not take out half of downtown Metropolis??

 

I am curious to see where they are going to go in the sequel because this is an interesting canon that has the potential to do great things…so I guess my summarising statement is: watch this space because with Superman Vs Batman Dawn of Justice on the horizon I want to know where the film makers are going to go with these characters.

 

By the way there is also a tribute to Christopher Reeve in this film, look carefully at Cavill’s face when Superman is standing under the gravity terraforming machine because there is a fleeting moment when Reeve’s face is superimposed over Cavill’s. People have tried to convince me that it is merely Cavill’s face being distorted by the gravity beam but those people are wrong…seriously pause the film and see for yourself.

 

I thought this was a great film, it took the Man of Steel in a more gritty direction and like I said I am looking forward to seeing where things go in the following film and where the DC Universe  is going to go from here. I am giving Man of Steel a Thumbs Up for all it does well, and whilst the niggling question of why Zod didn’t terraform Mars is going to be playing on your mind, this film doesn’t make the mistake that Superman Returns did and try to replace Christopher Reeve with a lookalike and instead creates a separate canon that has a lot of potential.

 

 

8/10 – I really enjoyed this film and it is only since I came out on DVD that I have had the time to pick a few rather large plot holes in it, but on the whole it is a great first instalment in what should be a more grown up DC Universe series of films that has made Superman fresh and original again.

 

TAC Reviews...Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice

Date Posted: 10/04/16

 

Released in 2016 Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice is arguably not a direct sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel because it is not a standalone story that focuses just on Superman. This is the first step towards DC taking on the mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe and creating their own shared universe. Henry Cavill reprises the role of Superman from Man of Steel with Amy Adams coming back as Lois Lane. Joining them we have Ben Affleck as Batman with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

 

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Poster

 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe started off slowing giving each of the Avengers their own movie before throwing them together in Avengers Assemble, DC seem to be more interested in getting things moving and so instead of giving us the Ben Affleck Batman origin story it is slotted into a film in which the Dark Knight decides to take on the Man of Steel, can a mere man, even Batman, take on Superman??

 

Set eighteen months after General Zod’s devastating attack on Metropolis Superman has become something of a controversial character. His actions go unjustified, and he answers to no one but himself. Clark Kent has moved in with Lois Lane who needed to be rescued by Superman in the desert after she got too close to a dictator which resulted in Superman apparently killing a number of people including woman and children

 

Meanwhile in Gotham City Bruce Wayne, a witness of the attack in Metropolis, is convinced that Superman will not remain good forever and when it seems that he killed a number of people in the desert during his rescue of Lois, Wayne decides that it is time to take up arms against an alien that has the potential to destroy everyone on Earth.

 

Meanwhile, meanwhile, Lex Luthor has discovered a piece of Kryptonite and is seeking permission from Congress to bring it into the country in order to turn into onto a weapon as a deterrent encase there are other dangerous aliens out there that may come after Earth

 

In Metropolis, Clark Kent views the Batman as a threat due to his brutal methods and urges Perry White (Lawrence Fishburne reprising his role) to write articles condemning the Bat’s activities, but White points out that no one wants to see Kent take on the Bat, so Superman himself tracks the Batman down and warns him to give up the vigilante lifestyle or he will be stopped.

 

Wayne ignores the warning and devotes himself to finding a way of killing the so called “Superman” unaware that Lex Luthor’s request to bring in the Kryptonite has been refused so he goes to greater lengths to prove his point and unleashes a far more dangerous threat upon the world than Zod ever was…

 

Okay, now I want anyone who saw the trailers for this film to raise your hands…come on don’t be shy…

 

Right so for all those who have raised your hands (why are you doing that if you are sitting alone reading your computer screen?? Seriously guys)…anyway…you already knew key points about this film…

 

  1. Batman is in this film
  2. Superman is in this film
  3. Wonder Woman is in this film
  4. Doomsday is in this film
  5. All of them are in the final battle

 

Now from that information what can we all immediately assume is the plot??

 

If you are a bit slow on the uptake or have a Licherian Brain-slug sucking out your human “intelligence” then allow me to summarise it for you…ahem…“Batman is convinced that Superman is a bad guy so discovers a way of fighting him, but the two must put their differences aside when an even greater threat emerges…” Now guess what happens in the film?? Yep, Batman spends the whole time convinced that Superman is going to turn on the human race and during their battle is poised to end him when Doomsday emerges and the two must join forces with Wonder Woman to fight him.

 

So the plot is lame and naturally in the politically correct world that you humans supposedly live in, Superman flying around the world doing what he wants without answering to any authority has turned some humans against him. Who he saves is up to him. His political allegiances are his own and most importantly he battled General Zod in the middle of a city that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Clark claims to Lois that he doesn’t care what people think of him and he will do what he can regardless of whether people actually want him to or not. It is kind of refreshing to see a world that hasn’t immediately embraced Superman which feeds back to the idea touched upon in The Dark Knight in which heroes either die as heroes or live long enough to become the villain. This idea was also explored in Zack Snyder’s film Watchmen that asked what happens to superheroes when the world doesn’t want them anymore. Superman is not everyone’s golden boy and he wonders if he should just stop trying to use his powers to help a world that seems to want him to just go away.

 

In this film adaptation Bruce Wayne has been active as Batman for around two decades and is a much more world-weary Bat than we have seen before. His motivations for believing that Superman will eventually turn bad is rooted in his personal battle against the criminals of Gotham, as he believes that no one stays good forever. This idea is supported by the fact that this version of Batman kills people, if a criminal gets in the way then he will kill them, this is seen in a car chase in which numerous thugs die whilst Batman is in pursuit of a piece of Kryptonite that has been smuggled into the country by Luthor. It makes an interesting character because the versions of Batman that we have seen thus far are generally early in their crime fighting careers and still have their principals, but this version, he is older and is more withdrawn. Bruce Wayne is basically a shell as it is the Batman identity that has consumed his life, Alfred (played by Jeremy Irons) is also much more world weary. It is this brutal attitude that leads Clark to question the Bat’s methods and why he takes it upon himself to put a stop to Batman’s activities.

 

I have discussed Eisenberg’s Luthor with several others and they generally disliked his portrayal of the character, personally I found him hilarious, and not hilarious in a bad way. His portrayal of Superman’s nemesis is hugely entertaining and it seems that Eisenberg is just having some fun with the role. It is obvious that he cannot step into the shoes of the mighty Gene Hackman who portrayed Luthor in Superman The Movie or even Kevin Spacey from Superman Returns so he takes the role and turns Luthor into a manic, fast talking, and surprisingly sinister younger man. He knows he physically cannot take on Superman so uses his massive intellect to bring the Man of Steel to his knees, and orchestrates events in the hopes of bringing Superman and Batman to blows.

 

I don’t read the comics as you know and whilst I don’t know if this is true, in this film Metropolis and Gotham City are literally across the bay from one another. The Bat Signal is switched on and it is clearly seen from the buildings in Metropolis, I assumed that these cities were at least a few miles apart, not a stone’s throw away, and not a stone thrown by Superman and stone thrown by a mere mortal. It begs the question if Superman is operating in Metropolis then why does Gotham even need Batman?? My understanding of these two cities was that Metropolis is one of the jewels in the crown of America and therefore has the hero in the red cape, and Gotham is darker, dirtier, and needs a hero that remains in shadow…perhaps that assumption was mistaken and the two cities were always really close to one another.

 

The biggest issue with this film was that fact that I already knew so much about what was going to happen through glimpses of footage in the trailer, if Doomsday hadn’t been revealed then that would have been an awesome turn of events, if I hadn’t seen Wonder Woman then her appearance in the final battle would have been so cool. But like I said above, going into this film, I knew that this film featured three superheroes and a major villain, as Superman can’t exactly have fisticuffs with Luthor, he needed a more powerful enemy to battle.

 

Some of the criticisms of the first film have been addressed here so the final battle with Doomsday takes place in a dockland area after dark so it is pretty much deserted, so unlike Man of Steel in which thousands died in the final battle with the forces of Krypton, there is hardly any collateral damage in the finale

 

Honestly there were a lot of criticisms I had with the film, and easily the worst was the transition from Batman wanting to kill Superman to becoming his ally…right let me drop this…

 

(...Spoiler Ahead...)

 

Bruce Wayne had a building in Metropolis which gets caught in the cross-fire during the battle Superman had with Zod, and is desperately trying to rescue his employees when the building is destroyed resulting in a security guard being maimed. Seeing a man called “Super” destroying so much as he tries to stop one of his own people sets Wayne against him immediately, so for eighteen months all he has wanted to do is find a means of potentially destroying a man that some are worshipping as a God. When the confrontation between the two kicks off, to be fair Superman does try just talking to him, but Wayne is obsessed and is not interested in talking…I did smile when Superman obviously just lost patience and kicked Batman to the floor. Naturally it is Batman’s technology that enables him to get the upper hand, he uses various Kryptonite-based weapons to get the beat down on the Man of Steel. This fits in with both characters as Superman tends to rely on his strength to win a battle Batman uses his fighting skills and technology.

 

The reason I dropped the spoiler alert is because yet another person learns Superman’s identity in this film, Lois worked it out in the previous film, but here none other than Lex Luthor learns that Clark Kent is Superman. Lex Luthor. Yep, in this film he not only learns who Superman really is but also kidnaps his mother and tells Superman that if he doesn’t kill Batman then his own mother will die…this is why when Superman goes to find Batman he does initially try to explain the situation. But later on when Batman is poised to stab Superman through the heart with a Kryptonite Spear, Superman mutters “…save Martha…”, this gives Batman a moment’s pause because his mother was named Martha. It is at this point that Lois rushes in to defend the man she loves and explains to a stunned Batman that Martha is also the name of Superman’s mother. Batman realises that he was wrong and if Superman has a mother then he can’t be all bad, because yeah, no one who has a mother can be completely evil…er…Batman, you do know Hitler had a mother, right?? So did Vlad the Impaler and I’m willing to bet so did Genghis Khan, so just because he has a mother doesn’t mean you weren’t correct about him. The transition from Batman being Superman’s enemy to his ally (even referring to himself as a “friend” of Superman’s a short time later) is so fast that it is meaningless. Personally that was the biggest issue of the movie for me as it doesn’t seem likely that someone who has spent eighteen months focussing on nothing more than stopping a man he views as being bad to switch so suddenly to being on their side was far too rushed. I was thinking that Batman would be poised to kill Superman when Doomsday would emerge (as we all knew he would thanks to the trailer that ruined that) and Batman would recognise that only Superman was tough enough to defeat him to let him go…but no…Batman thinks “Holy shit he’s got a mother he can’t be so bad after all” then just lets go of an eighteen month obsession…just like that…

 

Thankfully there is very little back story for Batman, we all know his origin so it is not gone over in too much detail here, which is good. The thing is that this film is not a sequel to Man of Steel, it is a Justice League film that doesn’t really have the rest of the Justice League in it, however, all of them cameo as “meta-humans” that Batman decides to recruit following the finale of this film.

 

I have picked a lot of holes in this film and I could pick a lot more, but fundamentally I enjoyed it, the battles were pretty impressive, Cavill is a good Superman and Affleck is a good Batman. The two work well on screen together and the film manages to keep Batman from seeming pointless in the battle with Doomsday which he could quite easily have looked as Wonder Woman and Superman went toe-to-toe with the enemy that regenerates every time he dies coming back stronger. I really liked Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor so whilst I know others found him annoying at no point did I, because he was a clearly insane, super intelligent, and dangerous enemy that can square off against the strength of Superman.

 

As I personally base my opinion of a film on whether I enjoyed it, I have to say that whilst Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice is a very slow boil it does build up to a pretty satisfying pay off which will hopefully lead on to a decent Justice League film but will also allow there to be future films in which the Man of Steel holds centre stage alone. So my final verdict is a Thumbs Up, go into it expecting it to be slow at the beginning, but it is still worth watching to see a more world-weary Batman squaring off against Superman.

 

 

6.5/10 - Considering that by the end of this film Bruce Wayne, Winder Woman, and Lex Luthor  all know that Superman is Clark Kent it makes you wonder why the Man of Steel bothers with having a secret identity at all, yes there are issues with the film, but I enjoyed it and you can take that opinion for whatever the hell it’s worth.

 

TAC Reviews...Suicide Squad

Date Posted: 20/08/16

 

The third instalment in the DC Extended Universe which follows a group of convicts who are recruited by a shady government official because they are basically expendable. The film was released in 2016 and stars (amongst others) Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and Jared Leto as the Joker. Ben Affleck also cameos as Batman in a few scenes, reprising his role from Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice, in order to cement this as part of the Extended Universe that started with Man of Steel.

 

Suicide Squad Poster

 

Prior to watching this film my only experience of the Suicide Squad was in an anime called Assault on Arkham, in which the assembled criminals were recruited by Amanda Waller (who I’d seen previously in another animation, namely Batman/Superman Public Enemies) to infiltrate Arkham Asylum, find and kill the Riddler. I might as well tell you now there are probably going to be a lot of comparisons between this film and that one because Assault on Arkham was awesome. As I thought about writing this review and the comparisons between Suicide Squad and Assault on Arkham became more frequent I realised that sooner or later I will have to do a full review of Assault on Arkham, however, for the moment let’s take a look at Suicide Squad.

 

In the aftermath of Superman’s death at the end of Batman V Superman Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is trying to gain approval to assemble Task Force X, a group made up of villains, who can undertake dangerous missions in exchange for time off their sentences. The team is made up of Deadshot, an assassin that never misses his target, Harley Quinn, former psychiatrist and lover of the Joker, El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) a former gangster who can summon flames, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) a victim of a bizarre medical condition and a cannibal. The group are under the command of Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). Flag’s girlfriend is June Moone (Cara Delevingne), an archaeologist that has been possessed by an evil spirit named Enchantress that was contained in an idol that Moone accidently picked up after discovering her tomb, the spirit is kept in check by Waller who has her heart and can force Enchantress back inside Moone.

 

In short order, tired of being under the control of Waller, Enchantress finds her brother, Incubus, who was also imprisoned in an idol like her, and finds him a body to inhabit. Together they attack a train station in Midway City. Working together Enchantress and Incubus decide to take revenge against humanity for turning on them and imprisoning them in the idols. The Suicide Squad is assembled and briefed. They are informed that what is happening in the city is a terrorist attack and they need to go in and extract a high-priority target. All of them have bombs placed inside their necks that can be triggered by either Flag or Waller if any of them attempt to escape or disobey orders.

 

The group are sent in with a squad of marines, once inside the city they quickly realise that what is happening is not the result of a terrorist attack, to make things worse the Joker is planning on finding and reuniting with Harley Quinn…

 

I might as well get on with what I liked first before I start tearing this film a new one, and there were two things that I really liked in this film.

 

The first was Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, of all the characters he is the only one who is more than a 2-dimensional stereotype, he is a reformed ex-gangster who accidently killed his family when he lost his temper and his power of fire consumed them. Unlike the others he wants to remain in prison to pay for his sins, he initially refuses to even use his powers, and whilst the rest of the group are happy to get out there and start killing he doesn’t want to hurt people. Eventually in Midway City, he realises that there is something bigger at stake than a terrorist attack and when he finally unleashes his full power to take on Incubus it is a great moment. Honestly he was the only one in the film that I liked, his character had some depth to him and unlike the transition of the other characters from villains to reluctant heroes (I’ll take about that later) he knows that he is a monster. He realises that although he can never put right what he has done wrong, Incubus and Enchantress are greater evils then he ever was, and they need to be stopped before they can complete their plans and destroy humanity.

 

Right, so El Diablo was the first thing I like and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was the other, and not just because she looks good in hot pants. I am familiar with Quinn from Batman The Animated Series, the Arkham games and Assault on Arkham now whilst Robbie doesn’t necessarily capture the insanity of the character or her psychotic personality, it seems clear that Robbie is the only one having any fun. Everyone around her is so deadpan all the time (it works with El Diablo because he genuinely feels guilt over his various crimes) but the others barely crack a smile during the film. She lights up the screen whenever she is on, and brings some much needed comic relief to a film that should be taking itself far less seriously than it actually does.

 

So that is the limited praise out of the way…

 

Let me ask you a very simple question:…ahem…who the hell are any of these people??

 

One of the biggest problems that I have with the DC Extended Universe is that unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe we haven’t been given any time to get to know any of these characters before throwing them together. We didn’t have time to care for this version of Superman before he was “killed” at the end of Batman V Superman and the same applies here. We get a brief introduction to each of the characters but if you aren’t familiar with the comics (which I’m not) and haven’t seen them in expanded media (which I have) then you’ll be left to wonder who they are. We get a brief introduction to each one basically showing how some of them were captured, Batman captured Deadshot, and the Flash (Ezra Miller reprising his cameo from Batman V Superman) captured Captain Boomerang and that’s it. Why couldn’t these characters have been the main enemies or side antagonists in their own films, thus giving us a better idea of who they were, before turning them into main characters in this outing?? I’ll tell you why, it’s because DC is playing catch-up to Marvel, and are desperately trying to get their Expanded Universe to challenge the mighty Cinematic Universe.

 

The way the characters themselves are handled also really bugs me, in Assault on Arkham the members of the suicide squad were recruited to go into Arkham Asylum and kill the Riddler, the world wasn’t at stake and the characters remained stone cold badasses all the way through. Killer Frost hated Captain Boomerang, there was conflict between the characters, making them much more interesting. When the shit hit the fan towards the end of that film all of them had the mentality of “every man for himself”. In Suicide Squad the criminals are turned into reluctant heroes, when they learn that what is happening is not a terrorist attack and Flag’s girlfriend is possessed and trying to eradicate the world they decide to stop her. In the case of Deadshot we’re given some bullshit about him wanting to make himself a hero in the eyes of his daughter, and the rest of them just decide to go with him because they’ve become a “family” of sorts.

 

Why didn’t the film makes have the balls to keep them as stone cold badasses that don’t give a fuck about a world that labels them as criminals??

 

By this point in the film Flag has realised that he was being manipulate by Waller as much as everyone else, and he smashes the device that can set off the explosives in their necks telling them they are free to go. He is going to go and face Enchantress but it is not their fight. I actually smiled when Captain Boomerang left because that at least fits into the character of a criminal who is looking out for himself (like we saw in the opening sequence when he was captured) but then out of nowhere he reappears as the others decide to go after Enchantress to help them in the final battle.

 

Do filmmakers not realise that if we are watching a film in which bad guys are taking centre stage then we want to see a film about bad guys??? Why do we have this whole, they are reluctant heroes bullshit jammed down our throats time and time again. I would have respected the character of Captain Boomerang a lot more if he had left and not come back, especially considering that all of them end up right back in jail at the end of the film.

 

Plus some of the characters themselves shouldn’t really be there, okay, I can understand master criminals, hit men, and so on, but why recruit Harley Quinn?? Again in Assault on Arkham it made sense because she has an in-depth knowledge of Arkham Asylum, but she has no powers, no special skills, so why was she recruited in the first place?? I just don’t understand what she really brings to the group aside from a great ass and a baseball bat.

 

There is no way to lead into this other than to say: The Joker

 

I have seen several versions of the Joker, both in live-action and in animation, and personally in live action Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight was the better than Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman, and Mark Hamill gives the best voice to the Joker in animated form. In the trailers for this film the Joker was glimpsed and was much younger than the other versions that I had seen of him before. I was curious to see what this new Joker would be like compared to his animated and other live action counterparts. In this universe the Joker is already established and he is clearly feared but during the film he doesn’t really do anything that indicates why people are so frightened of him. He tracks down an associate who might have information about where Harley has been taken but said associate is in trouble due to gambling debts, the Joker pays his debt, then talks to the guy. What happened to the Joker who would walk in, kill everyone in the room, then talk to the guy?? In Batman Under the Red Hood, Black Mask tries to recruit the Joker and the clown-prince of crime almost burns him alive. The Joker is insane, but here he seems a bit too, well “normal”. Nothing about him really screams why people should be terrified of him, again CONTEXT, as we haven’t seen this Joker before we have no idea why he is supposed to be so frightening. Yeah, he dresses a bit funny but he has no weird scars, no strange twitches, so he doesn’t seem as unhinged as the Joker is supposed to be. His motivation in this film is finding Harley Quinn, but he left her to drown when Batman forced their car off the road, and it was the Dark Knight saved her life. So he doesn’t care enough about her to rescue her from drowning but after learning that she survives everything becomes about finding her again

 

Let me drop this…

 

(...Spoiler Ahead...)

 

The Joker’s presence in the film is fleeting at best, he is barely part of the proceedings, and he is seemingly killed at one point…

 

Then in a bizarre moment we see Quinn sitting on a car, in the rain, in tears. Okay, the Joker is dead so she is upset, fair enough, but they are playing sad music and actually seem to be trying to make the audience feel sad that the Joker is dead. We’re supposed to be sorry that the Joker, the Joker, the clown-prince of crime, a man that (in other media at least) has shown complete disregard for innocent lives, threatened the entire city, crippled Batgirl, and murdered Jason Todd (one of the people who took up the mantle of Robin). Yet Suicide Squad wants us to feel sorry that this monster is finally dead and buried??? What sense does that make?? In addition Enchantress tries to disorient the Squad when she shows them an image of what they wanted, and Quinn sees herself as a mother of two children with the Joker looking normal, wearing a suit and a tie, so if the Joker has driven her insane then why does she fanaticise about having a normal life with him?? It just seems to be a bit all over the place, why is the Joker here if his presence is going to be so brief, and there is no indication why he is Batman’s nemesis as the two never share any on screen time.

 

All in all Suicide Squad is a disappointment, and like Batman V Superman, could have been so much better. There is a wealth of comic books that the film makers could draw on to make these DC films better but for comic book adaptations why follow the source material so lazily. This could have been a great movie, there is talent on screen, and there is certainly money behind it. I was willing the Joker to appear in the final battle with Enchantress just because he didn’t want someone causing more mayhem than him, but he doesn’t. Instead we get this bullshit story in which the bad guys aren’t all bad, some villain or other wants to destroy the world (again), the members of the Suicide Squad have bonded with one another and the film fails to live up to its own potential.

 

Once again we have a DC film that could have been SO much better but yet again it misses the point, a low key story would have worked far better (like it did in Assault on Arkham), and giving us context of these villains before shoving them into the foreground would have made us give a little bit of a shit about them. Would Terminator 2 Judgement Day have worked making the Terminator the good guy if we hadn’t seen one remorselessly hunting Sarah Connor down in The Terminator?? No of course it wouldn’t, so why are we expected to be attached to characters that we haven’t had time to form an attachment to?? Why are we expected to believe that just because some weirdo has dyed his hair green and wears make-up that everyone shits themselves whenever he is around??

 

The more I think about what his film could have been the more annoyed I get, I’ll stop the review here, and say that Suicide Squad gets a Thumbs Down because although I liked El Diablo and Margot Robbie, they are simply not enough to save the proceedings and make this anything other than another weak addition to the DC Expanded Universe.

 

 

4/10 – El Diablo is the only decent character and Margot Robbie’s lovely ass is on display in hot pants…a lot…but this film could have followed the plot of Assault on Arkham and it would have been amazing. The Suicide Squad could have remained stone-cold bad-asses and it would have be so much better, but we get the usual bullshit, bad guys are not all bad, some villain or other threatening to destroy the world, and overall a film that is a bit of a shambles.

 

TAC Reviews...Wonder Woman

Date Posted: 06/01/19

 

Released in 2017 Wonder Woman sees Gal Gadot reprising her role as Diana aka Wonder Woman in a kind-of origin story which sees her leaving her island home to try and stop the Great War (or World War 1 which wasn’t its name until there was a second world war). In this prequel adventure Chris Pine joins the cast as Captain Steve Trevor with David Thewlis and Connie Nielsen.

Wonder Woman Poster

 

Well humans it is now 2019 and Aquaman is currently in cinemas. Whilst I know people that wanted to go and see it, I haven’t seen Wonder Woman or Justice League so didn’t want to see the latest instalment until I was up-to-date on the films thus far. After the appalling Suicide Squad I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the DC Expanded Universe could never produce anything other than bad but entertaining like Batman V Superman or utter garbage like the aforementioned Suicide Squad. However by all accounts Wonder Woman was actually quite a decent film but whether it was only good by comparison to the previous DC films was the question.

 

The film opens with present day Paris, and Diana receiving the original copy of a photograph we saw in Batman V Superman from Bruce Wayne. With it is a note asking to one day be told her story, which leads us into a flashback of Diana as a young girl wanting to train to be a warrior. However, her mother Hippolyta (Nielson), Amazon Queen of Themyscaria, is not keen on her daughter becoming a warrior. She tells her daughter the bedtime story of how the Amazons and Themyscaria came into being. Basically Zeus created mankind who were corrupted by Zeus’ son Ares, the God of War, becoming cruel and intent on war and killing one another. Ares killed the other Gods when they refused to help him destroy mankind but Zeus was more powerful and defeated his son. With what remained of his power Zeus created the hidden paradise island of Themyscaria and left the task of killing Ares should he ever return to the Amazon warriors.

 

Determined to become a warrior Diana is eventually trained to become the best of the Amazon’s soldiers. After unleashing an unknown power in a training session Diana runs to the cliffs and witnesses a plane crashing into the ocean off the island. Jumping into the sea she rescues the pilot (Pine) who was being pursued by Germans in a warship. The Germans attack the island trying to kill the pilot and engage the Amazons in a fight that leads to many Amazonians being killed as they are using bows and arrows whilst the Germans are using guns.

 

The pilot is interrogated using a whip that makes him tell the truth (yeah just go with that one) and he informs his captors that he is a spy named Steve Trevor. He has also stolen a notebook from German scientist Isabel Maru aka Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) which contains information on how to create a new type of mustard gas that would be able to penetrate a gas mask. This gas would be used on the Western Front to kill any opposition and turn the war in the German’s favour. Steve tells them that they have to let him go so he can return the notebook to his superiors before the gas can be redeveloped and used to kill hundreds of thousands.

 

Diana believes that Ares has returned and is the reason for the war. If she can track down the leader of the German forces, General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Houston) whom Diana believes is Ares in disguise then the war will come to an end and thousands of lives will be saved.

 

Despite being forbidden to go by her mother Diana is allowed to leave with Steve in the hopes of bringing an end to the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, Diana will discover that who is responsible for the war is not quite as black and white as she thought...

 

So let’s cut straight to the meat of the argument, is Wonder Woman a welcomed breath of fresh air to the floundering DC Expanded Universe?? Yes, it is. Is it one of the greatest films ever made?? No. Feminists have been singing the film’s praises for its portrayal of a strong female role model for young woman, and in that respect it is a great example of giving audiences a beautiful, smart and strong character so in that respect I can see why it was so praised.

 

But this is also a superhero movie so how does it stack up against other superhero films??

 

The reviews of this film have been praising the fact that Diana is a strong woman; she is the badass that is capable of deflecting bullets with her wrist gauntlets, and is definitely not the damsel in distress that needs a man to save her. I would agree with that assessment. Gadot does an excellent job as the titular Wonder Woman who also carries a certain naivety about how the world truly works. She has never left her island home so cannot comprehend the evils that humans are capable of inflicting on one another. Her desire to find Ares and kill him is because she believes that destroying him will remove the poison from the hearts of all mankind thus allowing them to live without hatred...a noble goal indeed...but naturally she doesn’t understand the politics that are happening on the eve of signing an armistice that will end the war.

 

Acting and having a strong female character...all good.

 

But the film is a very slow boil, running at 2 hours and 20 minutes long and it is concerned with telling a story. It was an hour and five minutes into the proceedings before we see anything Superhero-y happening. There were times when I felt like I was watching a war film rather than a superhero movie and some of the superhero stuff felt almost out of place. There is a scene when Diana goes over the top into No Man’s Land ultimately taking over a German trench allowing the liberation of a Belgium village. The sequence is very well choreographed with Diana brought to her knees at one point by the onslaught of a machine gun nest but she is able to storm the trench virtually single handed. Her shield is naturally weapon-proof with bullets bouncing harmlessly off it, but it can only cover her torso, not one of the German soldiers think to shoot her in the legs. Seriously her legs are fully exposed and not one person shoots at them instead choosing to continue firing on her shield. Admittedly seeing a fairly scantily clad woman striding across No Man’s Land might be a tad distracting so maybe that was the reason why none of them shot her in the leg.

 

The film is also no shy about its use of slow motion, there is a ton of bullet-time effects and slowed down acrobatics which invariably give the audience crotch-shots of Gadot and the other Amazons. The fight sequences are pretty entertaining but they are nothing audiences won’t have seen before, how many times has Batman, or Captain America, or Iron-Man taken down a room full of people singlehanded?? Superheroes taking down a room full of bad guys without breaking a sweat and getting no injuries whatsoever as it is kind-of their whole deal.

 

But what is a hero without a good villain to go up against and for the majority of the film Ludendorff is pretty uninteresting. He is the typical fanatic that wants to slaughter the enemy and continue the war regardless of his own superiors wanting to sign the armistice. He and Doctor Poison are determined to use the gas but he also uses this weird gas that makes him stronger...?

 

Yeah, he sniffs this stuff in a blue vial and is able to crush guns in his bare hands, although the effects are only temporary. There is no context behind where this gas came from or why the entire German army isn’t using it. It is there only to give Ludendorff half a chance when he comes face to face with Diana but it is pretty obvious that he is not going to be much of a match for her.

 

 

Okay so Diana finally confronts Ludendorff and is able to overpower him pretty quickly plunging her sword into his chest. But doing so doesn’t end the war. People continue fighting, and she cannot understand why the war isn’t over if Ares was killed. I was really hoping that whilst Diana would help to destroy a plane loaded with the gas mask melting mustard gas Ares himself wouldn’t appear. Perhaps setting Ares up as being the enemy that the Justice League would take on in their film and unfortunately this isn’t what happens. Ares does reveal himself and the two battle. Naturally as this is a flashback we know that she is going to survive and whilst Ares tries to convince her to join him, Diana has been boned by Steve so she now knows that humans have the capacity for good and evil, so killing them is not the thing to do. Steve tells her he loves her and she chooses to believe in humanity and love itself which gives her the strength to beat Ares.

 

The film could almost be said to end on a bitter sweet note as Diana knows that she needs to protect the world and the people within it from themselves. She leaps off the rooftops of Paris back in the present day vowing to defend the city...not sure if she has only decided to do that recently because obviously in Batman V Superman no one knew that she was a superhero. She doesn’t wear a mask when in her Wonder Woman outfit nor anything to disguise her human face so not sure how it is that no one knows her true identity.

 

If we look at this as a superhero movie then it falls woefully short of the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor Ragnarok, or Avengers or...you get the idea. The Marvel Cinematic Universe knows how to do superhero films with the necessary tongue-in-cheek tone. DC does not. They wanted their Universe to be more real and grittier. With the likes of Man of Steel this was shaky territory but in Wonder Woman the more serious tone fits with Diana’s transition from believing things are black and white, good and bad, to seeing that the best people are capable of doing terrible things with the worst people being capable of acts of kindness.

 

The film could almost be Saving Private Ryan featuring Wonder Woman because a lot of the time what is what it felt like. It was one of the more enjoyable DC Extended Universe films, I liked Man of Steel and only liked Batman V Superman because it was cool to see Batman fight Superman and I liked Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor (who I think is now canonically Lex Luthor Jr. rather than Lex Luthor himself) because he seemed to be the only one enjoying himself. Wonder Woman was a strong edition to the series, and would have worked far better as the original film instead of Man of Steel. I will give it a Thumbs Up because it does a lot of things right but it is a slow boil and you may spend most of it wondering if someone leaned on the remote and put on a war film whilst you weren’t looking.

 

 

7/10 – Well acted, well directed with a strong but naive leading character. I would say that this film has demonstrated that a DC Expanded Universe film can be pretty good and I am hoping that the Justice League will continue from the stronger position this film has left the Expended Universe in. 

 

TAC Reviews...Justice League 

Date Posted: 20/01/19

 

The DC universe seeks to follow in the footsteps of Marvel and sees the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash join forces to battle a greater evil that threatens the world. Henry Cavil reprises the role of Clark Kent/Superman, Ben Affleck also steps back into the shoes of Bruce Wayne/Batman with Gal Gadot returning as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Joining them we have Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg both of whom cameoed in Batman V Superman. Ezra Miller also returns as Barry Allen/the Flash who previously cameoed in Suicide Squad

 

Justice League Boxart

 

In my Wonder Woman review I talked about the origin story of the character and that her appearance in Batman V Superman would have had more impact if we knew her back story prior to seeing her for the first time. The same is true for Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash. I don't really care about these characters because this is the first time that I've seen them and because they are sharing screen time with others they don't have an opportunity to flesh out their characters.

 

But as tends to be the norm I am getting ahead of myself, so let me give you the gist on what is happening...

 

Thousands of years ago Steppenwolf and his legions of Parademons attempted to conquer the world using the power of Three Mother boxes. His efforts were thwarted by an alliance of Olympian Gods, Amazon warriors, Atlanteans, mankind, and a Green Lantern. Following his defeat and withdrawal from Earth the three boxes were left to be guarded over by the Amazons, the Atlanteans, and Mankind. Mankind choosing to bury their box where it would never be found by anyone again (in a hold a couple of feet deep, but anyway). 

 

In the present the world is still mourning the death of Superman who perished stopping Doomsday in Batman V Superman. His death has also activated the Mother Boxes and sees Steppenwolf return to Earth to once again try and conquer the planet. His intention is to use the boxes to create "The Unity" and terraform the planet into an image of Steppenwolf's home world.

 

Meanwhile Bruce Wayne is attempting to recruit other metahumans to battle a threat he feels is on the horizon. He located Barry Allen aka The Flash who is happy to join him, but Arthur Curry aka Aquaman is less than enthusiastic. Steppenwolf attacks the Amazons, killing many and stealing the box they had in their possession. In short order he also travels to Atlantis and takes their box, this forces Aquaman into action, and he joins Bruce Wayne's new team. 

 

It turns out that the box left to mankind is being examined at S.T.A.R. labs and was used by a researcher named Silas to resurrect his son, a former athlete, who was almost killed in an accident. Silas reconstructed his body using cybernetic components than used the Mother Box to give life to his creation. 

 

With two easy victories over the Amazons and Atlanteans under Steppenwolf’s belt and with Batman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman and Wonder Woman lacking the muscle to take him down, Batman pushes the rest of them to use the box to resurrect Earth greatest protector...

 

Now before I go any further I need to address the fact that this film did have some background troubles mainly involving Zack Snyder. Filming originally finished in October 2016, but in May 2017 Snyder stepped down from directorial duties in post-production to properly deal with the death of his daughter. From what I heard he originally tried to cope by just throwing himself into his work but eventually realised that he needed to process the loss. Joss Whedon (director of Marvel's Avengers Assemble as well as Age of Ultron) was brought in to finish the project. In July 2017 it was announced that film was to undergo two months of reshoots which involved re shooting 15-20% of the original film. The film is therefore a bit of a mishmash of two very different styles of direction but considering the tragic death of Snyder’s daughter was the reason he stepped down I will not hold that against the film.

 

Although, that being said, the reshoots led to one of the most infamous uses of CGI in any film. Henry Cavil was called back for the reshoots but he was currently filming Mission Impossible Fallout and had grown a moustache for the role. He was allowed to return to film additional schemes for Justice League; however, the makers of Fallout wanted $3 million in compensation because if Cavil shaved off his moustache to reprise the role of Superman then the makers of Fallout would have to digitally recreate the facial hair in their film. This offer was rejected so instead the moustache was digitally removed using CGI when Cavil reprised the role of Superman. As a result we have one of the most infamously bad uses of CGI in which Superman's upper lip looks distinctly odd because the moustache has been removed using CGI. 

 

Okay, so there were some problems with the film behind the scenes, but how does the rest of the film stand up?

 

First and foremost there is a lot of action; Wonder Woman was a war film that had superhero elements in it, whereas Justice League starts as it means to go on. There is a big CGI battle at the beginning with the action not really letting up. Batman manages to hold his own alongside the others but is still human so suffers when super-powered characters successfully land a punch on him.

 

One of my favourite scenes is after Superman is resurrected (that isn't a spoiler because he is on the poster so of course he's in the film) he doesn't remember much about what happened and a fight breaks out between him and the others. The Flash races towards him to attack and Superman's eyes turn towards him and the Man of Steel engages him in a fight. It was actually kind of creepy when his eyes turned to look at the Flash and Barry realises that Superman can move at the same super human speeds as himself. 

 

I am a fan of Jason Momoa from his Stargate Atlantis days and enjoyed seeing him bring Aquaman to the big screen. Admittedly I know almost nothing about the character of Arthur Curry or Aquaman so have no real idea about his back story but such things can wait for his stand-alone movie. The cast have a reasonably chemistry with one another and Miller is allowed to give the Flash a quirky, and geeky personality. Again I know very little to nothing about these characters so have no idea if the Flash was always like that or this version is simply an interpretation of the character. 

 

Bruce Wayne's guilt over the death of Superman is prominent in the film's plot, but similarly to his transformation to enemy to ally of the Man of Steel in Batman V Superman Wayne's guilt rings a bit insincere. As I have said before in the DC Universe we haven't had time to get to know these characters, however, that is not necessarily the issue. In Batman Superman Public Enemies the friendship between Batman and Superman is established very easily and quickly simply by having Superman in the Batcave discussing whether an offer by Lex Luthor to put their differences aside is genuine. Batman tells Superman that if he goes to the meeting he [Batman] won't be there to save him. Of course Superman gets in trouble and Batman does arrive to help, there is a moment when it appears that Batman may have been killed and Superman says "that was my best friend and you killed him!". Even a rivalry between the two was easily established by dialogue between the two in The Dark Knight Returns another animated two-part film. The chemistry or rivalry between the two is established easily in either film.  Unfortunately, here with no solid foundation to their relationship Wayne's determination to bring Superman back doesn't hold much emotional impact. From what I understand in the comics the two don't exactly like each other very much with Superman being the driving force behind the Justice League whilst Batman prefers to work alone, with their methods also differing massively. However, they respect one another and have a deep trust with Superman giving Batman the only known remaining piece of Kryptonite to use against him if it is every needed. We haven't seen the two develop a bond or mutual trust in either Batman V Superman or here, although, by the end it does seem that the two have put their differences aside and formed a friendship. 

 

After Superman's resurrection and whilst everyone is distracting trying to subdue the confused Son of Krypton, Steppenwolf is easily able to recover the last box...so yeah nice job on that one guys, leaving the Earth destroying weapon unguarded. Here's a thought why not have the Flash hold it and every time Steppenwolf gets close have him race it to the far side of the world?? Or have Aquaman drop it into the Mariana Trench, or just destroy the damn thing by sticking it in a rocket and firing it into the sun?? Admittedly the Marvel films didn't establish why the Infinity Stone weren't destroyed either but why does no one think to destroy these things instead of sticking them in places where the all-powerful bad guy can easily get hold of them??

 

Another issue was that the Mother Boxes only activated after Superman's death, and as there is no all-powerful Kryptonian on Earth anymore Steppenwolf can resume his plans for coquest. But there have been thousands of years between his defeat and Superman's death. Why is he coming back now?? Why didn't he attack in the 1940s before Superman even came to Earth?? I didn't see any explanation as to why he didn't attack Earth long before the Man of Steel was even born. 

 

Plus do any of them know what a secret identity is??

 

After Superman's return and in front of a group of police officers Lois refers to him as Clark, and when the Kent family farm is returned to his mother at the end, again numerous delivery guys are present and whilst he isn't in his costume, Clark is happily hanging around the house not wearing his specs. Wonder Woman doesn't wear a mask so not sure why no one realises that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are one and the same. Wayne seems to tell everyone he meets that he is also Gotham's Batman. Isn't the purpose of a secret identity to not only protect loved ones but also enables the superhero to blend in with regular people and go unnoticed?? I think someone really needs to explain this concept to the Justice Leaguers. 

 

Thing is that despite its flaws. Despite the excessive use of CGI effects for Cyborg and Steppenwolf, despite the shifting tones with transition between Snyder's style or direction and that of Joss Whedon...I liked it. The action came thick and fast. The fight scenes were generally pretty entertaining and satisfying. I did finish watching it after seeing the Justice League battle Steppenwolf with the distinct impression that if it had been them rather than the Avengers in Infinity War Thanos would have gotten his ass kicked.

 

Whilst Justice League is a film that could have been better if the DC universe had been allowed to grow slowly like the MCU giving the audience the opportunity to become familiar with these characters individually before putting them all together, the end result was decent enough. Similarly to Batman V Superman which had many issues it was still fun to watch. Justice League is the same, it is basically mindless action and it is fun to see a live action version of the Justice League. I will give the film a Thumbs Up but in all honesty with Henry Cavil apparently having hung his cape up and Affleck leaving after his stand alone film The Batman I'm not sure if we'd be better off with a reboot of the entire universe starting off slower but ultimately getting better movies.

 

 

7/10 - A lot of CGI and a wafer thin plot that ripped off the Tesseract from Avengers and decide to go bigger by having three of them, it is still enjoyable to watch. If you want mindless action then watch this, if you want a decent plot with a character driven story that happens to feature a superhero too, then watch Wonder Woman

 

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