Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Justice league 2017

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

You can say a lot about the lackluster of appeal the majority of movies DC has eked out has, but I do admire how devoutly DC sticks to Zack Snyder. Whether it is detrimental or genius or blindly devout, they are sticking with this guy and we must all just deal with it. Patty Jenkins did a fantastic job with Wonder Woman, and she’d be a strong contender for any DC material out there, but I guess these guys are just not ready to let a woman do the job she’s certainly qualified for and choose a lesser able man to do it.

BUT, despite what the internet is telling you (Seriously people, you don’t have to hate everything just because it’s fun to smack down films), Justice League qualifies as one of the better DC movies. Certainly second to Wonder Woman, but compared to the joke that was Suicide Squad (which I didn’t hate completely) and the absolute disaster that was Batman vs. Superman (I’d like to forget that one completely), the Justice League is nearly Oscar material in comparison.

Snyder, who I’d like to say at this stage it can’t all be his fault, has a distinct modus operandi. The excessively dreary dialogue and repressive atmosphere that makes you question why you ever liked movies, the irritatingly long fight scenes (remember Zod vs. Superman? FML), the monumental and recurring and completely unnecessary GCI. It’s exhausting, but up until this point DC has not suffered at cinema. They have likely noticed how much more popular their competitor was, and it was a really good decision to attempt some lightheartedness while also keeping the signature dark style.

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However, only one of these irritations became a reality. The fight sequences were handled ridiculously quick compared to Batman vs. Superman as well as the drawn out Superman film in 2013. There were attempts at humor, which worked for the most part. The story was less cluttered and the dialogue had a clear direction. The CGI was the main culprit and was horribly abused. Since Henry Cavill is on the poster, it can be safely deduced that he’s in the film, so that is not a major plot spoiler I’m giving you now (or if it is you lack deductive skills). Followers of Cavill on Instagram will know that he’s sporting a moustache for an upcoming Mission Impossible film. (He, and maybe Tom Selleck, remains the only men to successfully WERK the moustache) He was contractually obliged to keep said moustache throughout shooting, and when Justice League reshoots clashed with the ‘stache, the powers that be decided to CGI the shit out of Cavill’s face. The results are startling, leading many people to wonder if he is, in fact, Human Shrek. The scene where his face is altered is clearly visible and terrible work – I can’t imagine how that got approval. His resurrection is fake and devoid of feeling because of CGI-Superman. I was confused in cinema – his face was distorted and it looked terrible. I sat in the second row of the cinema (was fully packed), so got a very close up and disturbing view of CGI-Superman. Even knowing now why he looked like that does not make it better in any way.  He had a whole lot more teeth than what is usually visible on his beautiful and talented face. That said, Cavill is a superb Superman – he has the gravity required for the success of the role and certainly looks the part. It also takes a whole lot to convince me that Jason Momoa is the second prettiest thing on screen.

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Justice League is miles, and I mean MILES, better than Batman vs. Superman. Ben Affleck has become more comfortable as Batman, he has some believability in the role now, and manages to inject some humor and sarcasm into his portrayal that was desperately needed. He has injected a humanity into his portrayal that was absent in BvsS, something that made him that much more a success of a character. There are also multiple mentions to the fact that the reason he’s a superhero is because he’s rich, which got some chuckles from the crowd. Ezra Miller is a great Barry Allen – he’s so hilariously young and awkward and he is responsible for making the movie more lighthearted. I’ve been pained by Miller in the past – his usual roles are so weird and whiney, but he was an excellent choice for this role. I could have done with some more backstory on Allen, as well as with Cyborg (also an excellent casting choice in Ray Fisher), and the delicious Arthur Curry (Momoa). They showed enough of him to make me excited to watch Momoa as Aquaman for that origin story. It struck me that it was the first time I heard Momoa actually speak English (his other native tongue being Dothraki), and for his major return to the spotlight this seems to be a great role for him.

Wonder Woman returns to Gotham, and her work is questioned by Batman, who displays into the White Man syndrome fantastically. He queries why she hasn’t been a beacon to people, never considering that she gets to make that choice herself. All her actions are basically only to show how strong her male colleagues are, and when Aquaman (Jason Momoa) sits on the Lasso of Truth, her beauty is complimented whereas Superman, Cyborg and The Flash have their abilities complemented, a sure sign that a male director called the shots. I love Gadot as Wonder Woman, and it is an unquestionably the better film. I’ve seen some unhappiness by the Amazonian’s decidedly smaller costumes, and it’s true – Themyscira underwent a troubling fashion change at the hands of Snyder.

I cannot stress enough how good the casting is in this film. Ezra Miller impressed me to no end, and he has a quirky banter with his team mates. He even manages to be endearing. Momoa is well, Momoa, big and manly and tough. The glimpse into the underwater world we will get to visit in Aquaman was beautiful, and I can’t wait.

A not so good thing about Justice League is the utterly forgettable Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). He’s poorly introduced, and for all the hard work in keeping the “boxes” safe, he just smashes through all lines of defense. He is also yet another CGI villain from DC. His vampirish followers are slightly scary. His end is ridiculous and leaves room for so much open ended questions. Where did he even go? That end is also preposterous – as my friend pointed out we have all these super-humans battling Steppenwolf and the second Superman pitches everything is saved? What is the point of the Justice League then? How about the incredible Cyborg? The warrior Wonder Woman? The Flash that is seemingly only as fast as Superman, eliminating the need for him almost entirely? Aquaman that saves the team from certain death by water?

I’d love seeing a more realistic villain – this guy was so vague about his purpose and half the time he was a secondary focus point. Can we maybe have less CGI villainy and more real-human villainy? I hope with Lex Luthor in the credit shots we are going to have that the next round.

I enjoyed JL – it is not without flaws but it is the first real attempt DC made to correct their ensemble films. It’s been a good year for these guys and I’d love to see what they conjure up next year.

Have you seen Justice League? Leave your thoughts below

Rating: 7/10

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March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

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I was all over the place with this post , claiming that I would do some monthly rundowns. I was planning to, I really was, but as you know life is a busy little bastard and all you can do sometimes is hold on for dear life and hope not to fall off the wagon.

In Cinema:

I’ve been to cinema quite a lot the last couple of months. There were a few films I wanted to watch before the internet spoiled everything, and for the most part I walked out relatively pleased.

  1. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The biggest problem with Batman vs. Superman? It lacked heart. Not all films should be lighthearted, but BvS had no comic relief and no passion – you need either of the two. I didn’t hate it though, but I do think that DC should have worked a little harder if they really plan to have a fighting chance in an environment so dominated by their biggest rivals.

  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

I will definitely watch this again – it is easy, comfortable watching, not necessarily great but it was quite fun. It also contains my husband, and that can’t be ignored!

  1. The Jungle Book

Beautiful and charming, it impressed me with its gorgeous CGI and traditional storyline. Not my favorite Disney live action film, but it was good nonetheless. I am still the most excited for Beauty and the Beast next year. I CAN’T WAIT.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Woohoo!! This was so great! It probably deserves a higher score from me, because on reflection I had a blast with it.

At Home:

Blindspot:

March: Love Actually – it was OKAY. Not really my favourite romantic comedy and I won’t be watching it again.

April: Home Alone – not gonna lie, I hated this. I am way too old for this shit

May: Warrior Sooo good, but not something I’d recommend as a pick me up.

Other films:

Begin Again (2013) – I really enjoyed it! It is surprising and not really as close to a romcom as it might sound, and I especially enjoyed the track.

The Fast and The Furious (2001) – This way Throw Back was the best and entertaining. I had the best time even though it is as ridiculous, gawdy, a murky story line and terrible acting. It’s all about investing in the future films, you see.

Wild Child (2008) – Wild Child is a favorite movie of 2008 for me. It has everything – the teenage drama, the love story, the gorgeous hero, friendship, everything! I had to force myself not watching it again right after!

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Series:

I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries at the moment and having a complete and utter blast.  I stopped half way into Season two to focus on exams, but I am so onboard getting my ass to season 7 eventually! Can we just say #teamDamon all the way?!

Reading:

Last Chance Salloon (Marian Keyes) – hmmm, not my favorite Marian Keyes. It was good in some places but it took me ages to get through it – long, laborious reading.

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Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) – surprising and good, well thought out, not overly sloppy.

The Welcoming (Nora Roberts) – for the life of me I can’t write a review on this for some reason. It is very bland, definitely some of Nora’s most basic work. It isn’t bad or offensive, just pretty tame and nearly put me to sleep in some places.

I finally finished Big Magic after months of searching for it! I’d love to read it again, with a highlighter and a note pad.

Currently also reading:

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. – this book is a real drag, to be honest. I don’t get why the author is compared to the likes of Marian Keyes – Binchy writes books that make me fall fast asleep. I thought perhaps this book was different from the other one I read by her, but it is shockingly the same – the exact same format and story if you take away all the frills.

Collaboration:

I reviewed over on T9M’s site The Help (2011) – such an awesome flick!

I also reviewed for Kim and Drew‘s 80’s blogathon – When Harry Met Sally – what a great film, definitely worthy of a classic status.

What have you been up to?

Movie Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E

The man from uncle poster

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons

Rating: 8/10

Things I liked:

The Score

Let’s start out with the score – it was absurdly fantastic. It was a compelling mix of weird Russian/USSR songs and 1960’s style songs perfectly supplemented the action.

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The Fashion

So much love. The Twiggy style fashion worked to perfection and Vikander’s beehive made me want to do it myself (I fortunately restrained myself). I love that time period fashion!

I really wish men could wear suits all the time. I really appreciate a good man in a good suit, and especially these old fashioned suits just work. Such class.

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Directing& Storyline

Guy Richie is a master. I love the split screens and the way action was choreographed, as well as the rich tone that the film had. The story itself was fun. It is well thought out, clearly developed and mixes humor and action very well. The little plot twist had me fuming –that bitch! – then forgiving her and going back to admiration. It gets so preposterous at times – two highly trained secret agents bitching about which outfits their female counterpart should wear, Solo having a little drink and snack while the whole world is crashing down around him and the constant competition between the Allies.

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Casting:

This brings the movies I’ve seen with Alicia Vikander in up to two and I am impressed here as I was in Ex Machina. She’s a very good and talented woman, as well as incredibly beautiful, and she held up very well against Hammer and Cavil.

I’ll do a whole other post about how delicious the men were in this movie, but let’s just say here that if Armie Hammer walks up to me and speaks in that Russian accent I will jump his bones after the fainting that was a direct result of his sexiness. OMFG.

I really did enjoy him also on a non-pervy level, he is talented and I found the character layered and hilarious. The way his temper was just waiting to boil out and take people down with it was something I found very amusing.

Henry Cavil. Sigh. This cast was purely chosen on the genetic lottery, because this man – how can he be so perfect? Did they copy and paste his genetic sequence specifically for “Chiselled Chin”, “Dreamy Eyes”, “Perfect Mouth”, “Perfect Build” and “General Breath Taking Beauty”? I’m sure they did, I’m sure they did.

Solo was also a really fun character, so full of debauchery and completely fine with it. No doubt about it, Solo is an extremely talented criminal that is using his talents currently to keep him out of jail – so respectable.

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Hugh Grant comes in, classes things up because he is British, adds another amount of hilarity and plot twists, heads out again, just to return later. I haven’t seen him in anything for a while, and it was nice to spot him.

Elizabeth Debicki was a fantastic villain. I am happy that they chose a woman to be the villain, and how cold she was. So cool.

Conclusion:

The Man from U.N.C.L.E is very enjoyable to watch. It has great laughs, some surprising touching moments and good performances by the entire cast, but especial note to Cavil, Vikander and Hammel. Cavil’s performance is especially important – the man needs to show he can be more than Superman if he wants a career after his run as the Kryptonite-intolerant superhero. Definitely recommended and a really good addition to the 2015 repertoire of movies.

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Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)

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The planet Kryton faces extinction when its core becomes unstable, after years of abuse of natural sources. General Zod (Michael Shannon) disposes of its council, and scientist Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife Lara send their son, Kal-El, the only natural born in centuries, to earth, infusing his cells with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race, making him their hope for future generations. Zod and his followers are sent to the Phantom Zone after he murders Jor-El, but after Krypton explodes, they are freed and can start hunting for Kal-El.

Meanwhile, Kal-El has been raised in Kansas as Clark Kent, by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Clark has developed superhuman abilities, because of his Kryptonian physiology compared to Earth’s. He gradually learns to harness his abilities, but never fully reveals himself as his father taught him the danger of exposure.

Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane systematically searches for Clark after he saves her life. She goes on the distinctive trail he has left during his lifetime, and eventually finds him even though he went through a lot of trouble to protect his identity. When she demands the truth, he shares it with her, eventually making her see the truth in his father’s plea for secrecy.

When Zod finds that Kal-El is on Earth, he demands that Clark is handed over to him, or he will attack Earth. The FBI arrests Lois when they learn that she knows exactly who Clark is and where he hides, but Clark hands himself over to them to ensure her safety. Now the questions are: Is Zod as evil as we think he is, and will Clark manage to save planet Earth?

Cast members:

Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/ Kal-El

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I cannot describe how well this man fits into his role. It was simply outstanding. He portrays Clark Kent, from his Kansas roots to his alien parentage to perfection. He is such a sad, sad character. He manages to show how alone Superman really is, even though his earthly parents always loved him. Not only is he ridiculously good looking (it had to be mentioned and appreciated); his looks are so typically Superman that during a few scenes I thought he looked quite like Tom Welling. It is a rare occurrence that a character can be this well cast.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane

To me, Lois had always embodied a feministic, outgoing and slightly aggressive spirit. In Man of Steel, Amy Adams portrayed a more vulnerable persona. For Ms. Adams it was quite a good acting stint, as she usually is rather good in every role she does, but to me she wasn’t what I thought Lois should be. Any opinions on her portrayal? Please share in the comment section!

Michael Shannon as General Zod

Fantastic portrayal! He is such a formidable enemy. I was incredibly impressed by him. He really became a pain in Superman’s ass, as a good villain should. I felt sorry for him at the end, since his genetic programming limited him to think of the human race’s survival.

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Russel Crowe as Jor-El

Russel Crowe is always awesome, and his portrayal as Jor-El was no exception. His love for his son is so obvious, yet he offers up Cal-El to save their race. He managed to be both father and warrior and scientist, and really impressed me (again).

Rating: 8/10

I really enjoyed this movie, and found it one of the best cinematic experiences for the year. I have previously expressed how much I enjoy Superhero movies, but let’s face it: not all Superheroes were created equal. I expected Man of Steel to be as funny as Avengers, but it was not. That is not a bad thing – in the end I enjoyed it because it was slightly more depressing. It steers more to the Dark Knight oeuvre, which makes logical sense (DC-sense that is) and also, it would be completely unrealistic for a man to be incredibly happy if he was the last of his race to survive. I would really recommend this movie to everyone. It is worth every penny spent.