Tag Archives: Zack Synder

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman_v_Superman_poster

Since Zack Snyder’s latest foray into the DC universe was released the real battle has been the critics vs the audience, with critics slamming the movie but audiences rushing in their droves to see DC’s biggest heroes clash. With record breaking box office numbers in its first week Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been a hit so far but will it be a misfire for me?

Two years after Superman (Henry Cavill) saved the world from Zod and the world is still trying to decide how to view Superman. Is he like a benevolent hero like his girfriend Lois Lane (Amy Adams) believes or someone who could destroy us all in an instance if he so pleases? Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) believes it’s the latter leading to an almighty smackdown between the two. But who will end up victorious?

I hate to be jumping on to the negative bandwagon but for the majority of the movie I was completely bored. It doesn’t help that the movie is so long at 151 minutes and takes forever to get to the part audiences really want to see which is the fight between Batman and Superman. Before this we’re exposed to numerous sub plots and characters that dragged the story down.

One of my main complaints about this movie is that its so dour and serious. Granted Man of Steel was hardly a laugh a minute but up until the last third I was really engaged in that movie and the plot. In reverse Dawn of Justice only really starts to soar in its last third when our heroes finally battle it out. The film is so concerned with being grounded and gritty it forgets to also inject some warmth and humor. Ok it doesn’t need to be a comedy but the movie feels so joyless at times it becomes an effort to watch. The film’s muted colours also fails to make the film visually engaging.

Despite his casting causing much controversy I didn’t have a problem with Ben Affleck’s Batman although he is perhaps more convincing as the Playboy Bruce Wayne than Batsman himself. The writing for Batman also makes him come across as a jerk rather than someone with a genuine concern for the safety of the world. Cavill is still great as Superman although it’s strange that the character seems so reluctant to publicly defend himself against the  naysayers. Dawn of Justice also marks the big screen début of Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot makes an impressive introduction in her small role. The scene of the three heroes fighting together against their for is a highlight and maybe holds some hope for Justice League movie, as does the small glimpses of future DC superheroes.

Unfortunately Jesse Elsenberg’s Led Luthor is a misfire. I could see what the filmmakers were trying to do updating Luthor into a Mark Zuckerberg type figure. However Elsenberg’s manic, melodramatic performance sticks out amongst everything else and not in a good way. He just becomes an irritating villain and the reveal that his hatred against Superman stems from his daddy issues is a disappointing motive for such an iconic baddie.

A disappointing entry into DC’s Extended Universe but there is some hope that they can turn it around in time for the Justice League movie.

Rating 2.5/5 – for a while it’s longand boring  but with a ray of hope in the climatic final stretch

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300 (2007)

With the sequel to 300 having just come to the big screen I decided to catch the original when it was on tv recently. But can I handle all the manliness and shouting for 117 minutes?

The King of Sparta Leonidas (Gerard Butler) refuses to submit to God-King Xerxes causing problems between the Persians and the Spartans. Denied by the Ephors to take his army to war Leonidas takes 300 of his men to fight against Xerxes army of thousands.

The opening part of the film describes how Spartans take new-born baby boys and throw away the ones who are weak, disabled or just not worthy. Then the ones who are deemed strong are made to fend for themselves in the wild when they are ten and if they come back they are good enough to be Spartans. Baby killing in your opening minutes? I must admit that didn’t really make me warm to our heroes.

But the thing with 300 is that everything is very, very silly and over the top. And overly macho in a homo-erotic way. It’s also very enjoyable. You can enjoy the story even while you question the plausibility of everything on-screen. Take their battle suits for example. I know the Spartans are probably so bad-ass they don’t need things like clothes but  is a jock-strap and a cape really the best amour for battle (just look at The Incredibles to show why capes are not a good idea to fight in).

The green screen did bothered me, becuase it was so obvious that the backgrounds looked so fake, although I guess the overall look did create a comic book feel to it. And while sometimes director Zack Synder sways towards style over substance, the style can be pretty impressive at times.

I’m not sure why Gerard Butler made the acting choice TO SHOUT. EVERY. OTHER. LINE. But I have to say he brings a strong presence to the role, you could see why these men would follow him into a hopeless situation. The rest of his men fade into one another, although it was amusing to spot a pre-fame Michael Fassbender among the soldiers.

Female characters are scarce in this film but at least they are well presented by Lena Headey as Leondias’ wife Queen Gorgo who shows that Spartan women are every bit as strong as their men-and you really don’t want want to see her angry.

I don’t know if the sequel can possibly live up to this gory, unintentionally hilarious fantasy/action movie but it’s easy to see why people are such fans of the original.

Rating – 3/5 a fun mindless way to spend a couple of hours, so go ahead and submit to Sparta

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Man of Steel

So here is the latest Superman film since 2006’s Superman Returns. I found the  last film was disappointing. Although I liked Brandon Routh in the title role the story felt flat to me, Kate Bosworth was miscast as Lois Lane and the less said about her son the better. Now Zack Synder is taking the reigns-can he do better?

This time we get a reboot of the Superman Origins. Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is trying to figure out what to do with his life. Should he continue to keep his powers a secret or announce himself to the world? It might be taken out of his hands if journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams) tracks him down. Then  an old enemy from Krypton General Zod (Michael Shannon) appears and Clark has some tough choices to make.

I’ve always found films by Zack Synder to be more visually impacting than the story or characters, but at last he seems to have got all the elements right.  The film has a fine balance keeping us mostly in the present but with a good amount of flashbacks, meaning we’re not too bogged down by Superman-the early years. We get a sense of why Superman has been hiding for so long and  explores his reasons for deciding to stand up and fight now despite the risks.

As Superman Henry Cavill looks and acts the part well. He has a strong screen presence and treats the material seriously. Amy Adams is great as Lois Lane and has great chemistry with Cavill which makes you believe in their willingness to protect each other despite not knowing each other for very long. Although she could have done with some more character development, as most of the time she’s either vulnerable girl in peril or feisty reporter, would be good to know more about her. Luckily Adams is a great actress so she makes Lois a more 3d character. The rest of the supporting case is great, especially Russell Crowe who does a lot with what he’s given as Superman’s dad Jor-el.

There are also some fantastic fight scenes in this film, with Superman’s fight against two of General Zod’s soldiers being the best fight scene I’ve seen so far this year.

However the film is not without its flaws-mostly being that it’s too long. This isn’t always a problems with blockbusters but if a film is going to be 143 minutes long you don’t want the audience to feel it. I thought it could have ended half an hour earlier.

Rating 4/5

Unlike Bryan Singer’s effort, this Man of Steel looks set to soar

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