Posts Tagged ‘batman’

A warning that this review will contain spoilers to both this and to Batman vs Superman!

So…Justice League! A film many have waited so many years do. A film with such a legacy in terms of the comics and characters that many wondered if it could ever get made. Well it did get made and it split critics in two. One side said it was terrible, while the other actually quite liked it. Where do I sit? Well read on to find out.

Following on shortly after the climax of BVS (batman vs superman) Justice League starts with Bruce Wayne tracking down the people he saw in the ‘secret’ computer file in the hopes of recruiting them to his super team. For those who havnt seen BvS he is looking for Arthur Curry aka. Aquaman, Barry Allen aka. Flash and Victor Stone aka. Cyborg. He kinda already has Diana on his team and superman,well we all know what happened to superman… He died.

If the death of superman wasn’t enough, the big threat Bruce was warned of in BvS is on his way to destroy everything in the villain called Steppenwolf (not to be confused with the rock band of the same name). Everyone must unite to defeat this threat and save the Earth.

Before the film was made many people, myself included, thought the main villain was going to be Darkseid (a god of extreme power) instead of his uncle Steppenwolf, but I guess this way if they made a sequel Darksid would have reason to hate the League. Although an odd choice it does work and he is a cool bad guy that has enough power for the League to have issues. He has the problem a lot of villains have in superhero films in that we are meant to understand everything about him and his power in the space of one film. Most of this is summed up in a single montage sequence that explains the last time all races came together to stop him. It’s done in an ok fashion but I would say it was hsdled as well as it could be been.

The same issue flows through to some of our hero’s. If the viewer had never heard of Cyborg, you get very little backstory to him or really his motivations. He is used more here as a plot device not a strong superhero. To a lesser extent we get the same with Aquaman and Flash. Flash in the film is reduced to an immature joke making fool (Thank you Mr Whedon) while Aquaman is essentially a heavy metal surfer. The latter works pretty well, the former does not.

The big problem is the terrible comedic relief courtesy of the once great director Joss Whedon. He feels the need to lighten the brilliant dark tone of BvS with some awful direction and writing (to be fair it’s what he was hired for but he could be done a better job) He also felt these to put in pointless yet film damaging scenes such as the awful phone footage of superman at the start which plays no purpose other then showing the audience superman was a good guy (as next time we see him he’s trying to kill stuff.) If only the studios would have gone with Snyder’s original much darker vision. We could have had something truly special. But instead we have half a dark DC movie and half a Joss Whedon mess. For those who believe it the other way round fair enough, but I genuinely believe whedon last great thing was Serenity (which was a massive step up from Firefly). It’s just sad. I guess if it was an entirely Joss Whedon film we would at least have a consistent film. As it stands it’s a mess. Albeit a mess I for the most part did enjoy.

The film also feels far too short to everything that’s crammed in. I would have preferred a 3 hour long film that fully fledged everything out. The pacing again comes from the 2 different directors and it’s easy to see who filmed what. Any piece that flows with a piece of music seamlessly is the work of Snyder. Any piece that’s layered heavily with Danny Elfman’s (albeit great) score is Whedon. It doesn’t really gel at any point and it really hurts the film because if it.

Acting-wise everyone does their part pretty well. You can see some are hindered by script issues but they try their best. Lots have faulted Affleck’s performance but I quite like his take on an older more tired batman. It’s definitely a step up from the 2nd two Christian Bale performances. I love Jason Momoa’s heavy metal inspired, surfer dude Aquaman. Gone are the days if the Aquaman who merely talks to fish like a Dr Dolittle of the sea.

As a film it is really fun and does move from set piece to set piece at a rapid rate. It’s a shame it’s not more like BvS as that truly nailed being a mature grown up comic book movie, whereas this is more akin to the lighter fluff marvel pumps out regularly each year. There is a rather silly bit (sillier then the rest) featuring a robot spider vehicle. That part wasn’t so good. For the most part the other set pieces are pretty great if a little staged at times. When the league are all battling together it gives hints of a much grander and better film.

One day We may see the ‘proper’ cut of the film Zack Snyder set out to make. Until then we have to make do with the flawed yet highly enjoyable mess. It may not be the film fans wanted but it’s the film we got.

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After the brilliant Batman Begins and the very ‘meh’ ‘The Dark knight’, Nolan hits a new low with the final part of his trilogy with ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

You could argue that Batman’s lowest moment was with the wonderous ‘Batman & Robin’, but in my view ‘Dark knight Rises’ marks the lowest moment in Batman’s 74 year span, closely followed by ‘The Dark Knight’.  Now I know both films have a great deal of fans (well at least ‘TDK’ does) but for me both mark significant low points not only in Batman films but as far as ‘TDKR’ is concerned, low points in cinema in general.

I’ll just point out that this review is only really coming about because I have just finished re-watching the film for the first time since seeing it at the cinema and just want to vocalise my opinions. I will also say that the review will contain major spoilers throughout.

So where do we start? We may as well start with the opening set piece that takes place on a private jet. After some bad editing of them getting on the plane to a piece of music that feels less written for the film and more just pasted on top to try and divert from the films visual flaws, we get to hear the villain ‘Bane’s’  iconic voice for the first time. Not iconic in the sense it is amazingly powerful and emotive, but more in the sense of it sounding jovial, idiotic and frankly sounds like someone doing a really bad impression of Sean Connery (who I honestly believed was about to appear as a cameo after hearing Bane off-screen for the first time.) We then get a really boring hijack of the plane (well kind of) which has been done better in films like ‘Cliffhanger’ and ‘Executive Decision’.

What an awful beginning to what should be the darkest and the most epic of Batman films.

It just goes downhill from here with some of the worst direction and pacing I have ever seen in a film. The movie has none of the greatness that Nolan displayed with his earlier films like ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Insomnia’.  If anything it feels like a student film with a lot of money thrown into it. We have such great actors in the film, all of whom are wasted due to the inept script.

A great example of this can be seen in the handling of Bruce Wayne. I never felt anything towards him and never once wanted him to succeed. The way that his character is written makes him seem very arrogant which is ok in small doses but when applied to this extent, makes the character highly unlikeable and unredeeming. The same fault can be said about ‘TDK’ but here we have it to a whole new level. I guess you could say that the film isn’t about ‘Batman’ as you only see him for around 40 minutes of the 2 hour 40 run time of the film. But when he does appear he just brings the film down lower then ever.

It also doesn’t help that the characters are all thrown into stupid situations that are just beyond believable (or at least the solutions they come up with to escape them). The two biggest of these are ‘The Pit’ and ‘The trapped police force. We’ll start with the former:

‘The Pit’; A broken Wayne is thrown into a deep pit in the middle of a desert which was once home to Bane. Throughout his time in the hole Wayne builds back his muscle, fixes his back, watches some television, then eventually manages to climb out. If we get past the whole fixing himself back up, how do we explain the television reception in the pit. The picture quality they get isn’t too bad considering they are in the middle of nowhere, but when you consider they  are at the bottom of a deep hole its remarkable. It’s also really nice of Bane to allow Wayne to watch his villainous rampage through the city. It’s just so stupid and badly handled.  I’m not sure if we are quite getting to the ‘nuking the fridge’ idiocy but it’s getting there. There is also the actual climbing out of the pit which seems to be an annual event. I do not understand why they, after reaching the platform have to make a jump. If you look there are handholds all the way round. Why not just keep climbing? Would that not be the sensible idea as it seems to be the jump everyone fails on. If anything it feels like the pit is just a device used to get Wayne/Batman out of Gotham so Bane can have his merry little way with the city. Also, how does he get back to the city? Especially considering he looks quite healthy by the time he gets back after having his back broken and probably other broken parts to himself.  I am pretty certain that his injuries would have taken a lot longer to heal to a manageable state where he isn’t in constant agonising pain.

Many will say that your meant to suspend your disbelief. Which I think is true of film but it doesn’t help when the director has gone down the rout of what he calls ‘Ultra-realism’. It just doesn’t work. The second of the situations that I thought just didn’t work was when 99% of the police force are stuck under the city after Bane’s big bombing. What sort of police force would send almost everyone underground all at the same time. If they were smart would they not have set up lots of officers at the end of the tunnels in case Bane tried to escape. It again feels like a situation that just prolongs the film by an unnecessary amount.  It just feels badly written and handled really badly.

The timespan of the film is yet another thing that is handled pretty badly. Firstly we have the time difference between ‘TDK’ and ‘TDKR’ but we quickly find ourselves in a film that jumps forward in time at random and never really says how much time’s past. A good example of this is when Wayne escapes the pit (see two paragraphs ago). He manages to get back to Gotham city pretty easily with no money or transport, but we never know 100% how much time has passed (or if they do explain I missed it). There are numerous moments throughout the film like this and it just makes the film feel very loose and not particularly well constructed.

There are numerous other things that I thought were handled really badly. These include the really bad fight scenes that are just plain boring and what could have been one of the films redeeming features ‘the Robin reveal’. It could have been really clever and could have been a great way to finish a trilogy. But alas no, it feels like it was just something they decided to tack onto the end to both prolong and to try and keep fans happy after destroying the iconic villain Bane (I’d argue more so than Batman and Robin). The way that I would have handled it would have been simply having Levitt  enter the bat cave and for the Batman costume to rise up from the ground. But this time instead of being just one costume, next to it we have the Robin costume or even the Knightwing costume.

And finally before my final wrap up. What were they thinking with Bane’s voice. I’ve mentioned it before but it is just so stupid. It is arguably one of the most film-breaking fragments. They could have given him a dark chilling voice that evoked both the pain he was meant to be suffering while also delivering the hatred and the power he bestows. But no instead we get a reasonably high pitched badly monitored British accent that sounds like someone is talking through a computer. It is beyond believable that they went with this option (even though apparently this is the redone soundtrack as it used to be worse). I think it is also the fact it is an overly posh British accent that sometimes creeps into Scottish. It almost feels like Nolan is giving all fans of Bane from the comics the idle finger.

So….

As you’ve probably gathered I don’t really like this film. I will stand by my opinion that this is the worst thing to happen to Batman and marks a new low for comic book films. It has no redeeming features and for me at least is an overlong travesty that should just highlight why Nolan shouldn’t be allowed to touch big franchises again (I think he should go back to smaller projects as that is where his talent lies). Nolan has also helped destroy Superman for me as well which for me was an even bigger part of my childhood. But we’ll review that film at a later date.

I would never recommend this film to anyone and would say it is one of my least favourite films of all time. 2/10