Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

TL:DR – Gorgeous production values, superb set pieces, throbbing thumping background score and isolated moments of goosebumpy brilliance cannot make up for a muddled script that ultimately makes up for a inconsistent and frustrating movie. Oh and Batfleck is actually pretty decent in the role

 

BvS Dawn of Justice

 

Full Review

 

“It begins as a whisper… a promise… the lightest of breezes dances above the death cries of 300 men. That breeze became a wind. A wind of freedom… a wind of justice… a wind of vengeance”… This is how the sequel to 300 begins and words that particularly pertinent to BvS. 300 was the movie that made Zack Snyder his name so as to speak and quite literally landed him the keys to the DC Kingdom

 

The whisper, the promise was the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the set of interconnected yet standalone movies that would prove to be a perpetual money spinner. The wind being the others, Sony attempted to do a Spiderman Connected Universe, Fox wanted to do one with the X-men and Fantastic Four, both Sony and Fox with their Marvel properties and then not to be left behind, Warner Brothers with their whole library of DC characters

 

Man of Steel (MoS) was the Superman re-launch vehicle and it was never considered to be set up the DC Universe but things did fall propitiously into place. MoS was in tone a different beast from the MCU. Grim, somber, you could call it realistic and the ensuring carnage when Superman and Zod, 2 beings possessing superhuman strength reducing downtown Metropolis to rubble earned a lot of critical disdain but definitely helped set up BvS (Yes, I am aware of the irony of talking about realistic given the context of super humans dueling in midair and leveling cities)

 

BvS starts off with the obligatory death of Bruce Wayne’s parents and then moves to the climax of the Superman vs Zod slugfest with Bruce Wayne catching the fag end of it as the 2 duelling superhuman reduce a Wayne office building to rubble fueling Bruce Wayne’s (and hence, Batman’s) hate for Superman. Superman does not approve of the increasingly violent Batman who brands and marks criminals and Lex Luthor plays the neurotic puppeteer orchestrating the gladiatorial death match advertised in the title.

 

I admit I did love MoS. Snyder has a reputation of being a style over substance director and MoS was a nice break from that reputation. The movie did go over what it meant to be Superman in this age of cynicism and selfishness and until the obligatory requirements of action set pieces befitting a summer superhero blockbuster movie intervened, an examination into the choices a conflicted super-being had

 

BvS falls into the same category. It is grim and dark. But where it really suffers from is a lack of identity. The movie has to serve as a sequel to MoS, introduce Batman to this universe and act as a set up for the Justice League movie. Even with these spinning parts, the movie tries to touch on Superman’s identity in a world that maybe does not need him, the broader political ramifications of the actions Superman takes, who is he answerable to, why is Batman so bitter, what is Wonder Woman searching for, who are the other meta humans, coupled with (k)nightmare/ dream sequences that our heroes faces. A whole lot of balls up in the air and predictably the movie crumbling under the weight of all the moving parts, fails

 

But what a failure. What a glorious failure. This is a failure that reeks of ambition. A simple competent script that really doesn’t do much plot wise, moves it along using Maguffins, snappy repartees, a bit of nostalgia and longing (ala Avenger/ The Force Awakens) would have definitely worked better but would not have distinguished it from the increasingly saturated and almost uniformly sanitized superhero releases in the market

 

Coming to the performances itself, Ben Affleck is a surprise. The outcry when he was announced to be Batman was shrilly negative to put it mildly and his turn as the brooding, dark, gritty, grizzled and violent Batman is great. He also gets a great combat sequence that beats any from previous Batman movies. Cavill as Superman continues his good work and his confusion and internal conflict on the role Superman has in society is well etched. However, he does kind of get second billing, not just in title or credits but also in terms of his impact in the movie (except for the climax). For someone who barely has 16 lines in the movie, Gal Gadot steals the show whenever she appears on screen. While the trailers definitely spoiled the moment of the movie before hand, it still is a massive moment when Wonder Woman enters the fray accompanied by a frantic tribal background score.

 

Trinity.png

 

On the flip side, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor just did not work out. While I understand the direction DC wants to take, there are certain canonical things you don’t mess around with. You don’t make Lex Luthor a combination of Lex, Joker and the Riddler. With this usual tics and nervous energy hammed upto 11, this was a rather painful Lex Luthor. Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons and Holly Hunter get to play significant cameos in the movie with Irons proving to be a total delight as Alfred

 

The titular Batman vs Superman fight is bloody awesome and worth the hype. It would have definitely helped if the Doomsday reveal hadn’t happened in the trailer but that conflict is also quite awesome and things really perk up once Wonder Woman gets into the action. The Justice League set up/ introduction takes a leaf from the Marvel movie and definitely as clumsily shoehorned into the plot

 

Critics have shredded the movie and I don’t blame them, but it definitely is not as bad as it is made out to be. Yes, there is a sense of disappointment and frustration given the hype, the expectation and the almost unbelievable sense of buildup for the last 30 odd months (ever since the announcement at San Diego Comic Con) but given this is the dawn of Justice League, one cant help but still be excited and hopefully, now that this bogeyman is off the back. Bring on the Suicide Squad, up next!!!

 

PS: Lex’s warning/ premonition on the big bad coming and the (k)nightmare with the Omega symbol and parademon could pretty much only mean Darkseid na.. Dang, that is awesome…

 

PPS: Flash coming back in time to warn Batman again is as much a DC lore as it can get

 

PPPS: Cool callout to the Wonder Woman movie. Given Gadot’s limited screen time and yet great impact, we are properly primed for that movie. Oh and Chris Pine 🙂

 

PPPPS (last one I promise): First thing I did coming home was to grab Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns to go through the epic Batman vs Superman fight and Batman’s majestically epic takedown dialog to Superman

 

 

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No direct spoilers but yes, if you read between the lines, you should get it. So beware J (especially those of you who have been hiding under the rock and have not seen the movie)

This is not going to be a review. Its far too late for that & quite a few of them have already surfaced & been devoured the way any prime real estate has been devoured by our politicians (see what I did there). These are things that I jotted down during the repeated viewings of the movie & finally got a chance to document it

1. First things first, TDKR is not TDK or Batman Begins. Given the collective expectations around Nolan & the movie, it was going to be a massive triumph just to get a movie out. In that regards, TDKR is a damn fine comic book movie but not a great movie that way TDK or Batman Begins was.

2. <<SPOILER ALERT>> That being said, you cannot help having a huge (I mean it, literally huge) smile at the end of the movie. Nolan may not have satisfied the critic in you but he definitely makes the fan boy in you take a major inner whoop & celebrate. All you can do is to restrain from yourselves from hugging the person sitting next to you & generally beam outwards in barely concealed joy <<SPOILER END>>

3. TDKR is pretty much the conclusion of a great journey that began in Batman Begins. While TDK is a movie of a lifetime, Batman Begins is pretty much the movie for me. Why TDKR is all the more special for me, is the way it ties in to Batman Begins. Liam Neeson in Batman Begins in his process of educating Bale mentions that the Batman needs to be something more, he needs to be “A Legend, Mr. Wayne” & that to me, is the theme of TDKR (even if telegraphed quite openly right from the beginning)

4. Too many things to gush about which have all been captured elsewhere. Nolan’s story, direction, ideas & action set-ups; Bale’s acting; A phenomenally awesome score by Hans Zimmer; The IMAX experience (This movie has to be seen in Imax); No 3D (yaay); Brutal combat sequences; The tie-ins to the 1st 2 movies

5. There are too many things that do not work as well in the movie as well. Bane’s motives; Bruce Wayne’s apparent recovery from all injuries (no cartilage eh?); The Put options trade (deserves a post on its own); Too many convenient appearances; the rushed relationship between Bruce & Miranda among others

6. I was among those who really did not want a Catwoman in the movie when the casting was announced (memories of that therapy-requiring horrible Halle Berry movie still surface despite being repressed deeply). But Anne Hathaway blows one away in a powerhouse performance. Slinky, seductive, capricious, & wickedly selfish, she steals every scene that she is in.

7. Tom Hardy’s terrific body of work continues as Bane. An extension of his roles in Bronson & Warrior, his representation as a physical opponent of Batman is perfect. He is brutal & reflects this in fighting technique as well. Despite the mask hiding most of his face, he packs enough emotions & expressions through his eyes than what Katie Holmes manages in the entire 1st movie

8. I was not really surprised at Joseph Gordon-Levitt knowing who Batman was. I had kind of rationalized it by imagining Joseph Gordon to be the kid who was with Katie Holmes when they are saved in the Narrows by Batman in Batman Begins. I had expected that of Nolan. But we all knew that kid grew up to become Joffrey Baratheon (& got bitch slapped by Peter Dinklage)

9. Michael Caine’s confrontation with Bale is one of the most powerful moment of the movie & brilliantly acted. Its also a moment in the movie where silence is used effectively. There is no background music in the movie. A brilliantly shot scene

10. That moment, the 1st sighting of Batman in the movie was really something. As the cop says to his junior, “Oh boy, you are in for a show tonight, son” perfectly sums it up. It reminded me of that scene in Superman Returns movie (Hey, I love that movie, ok?), when Superman reappears to save the out-of-control aircraft(An interesting comparison, Superman arrives to save the day when something really big goes down whereas Batman is more of an on-the-ground kind of guy, the stakes do not seem that high but yes, they are. Discussion material for another post, I guess)

11. The sequence when Selina Kyle disappears when Batman turns away was an awesome moment. Plus his dialogue J

12.Logically speaking, Bane is the child of 2 legacies; Ra’s al Ghul & Joker. Ra’s’ through the destruction of Gotham & the Joker’s through pushing people to act like a mob & make them lose the sense of all propriety. I guess that was the point that Nolan did not push the envelope on. Joker’s play on the 2 boats in TDK is probably one of the strongest parts in the movie. Through Bane, this could have been played along further. There are early indications of that when Selina Kyle whispers to Bruce Wayne during the ball to the discussion between the cops & the trader at the stock exchange. Nolan subverts that debate to a great extent by having the prisoners freed from Blackgate do the dirty work of dragging the rich from their homes onto the street, rather than the 99%. I guess a more powerful ambitious movie would be how Batman (or Bruce Wayne) restores the status quo of when the poor, the homeless, the 99% (metaphorically speaking) are with Bane for addressing the imbalance. Would he take on the people of Gotham to save Gotham? (But I am sure such a movie might not be run that well in the theatres)

13. I guess, this is the biggest problem I have with TDKR. Batman actually KILLS someone in the climax of the movie. That sequence when he shoots down the driver sitting next to Talia from The Bat. It again ties into the problem I had in Batman Begins when he does not save Ra’s from the speeding train crash. The acknowledged Batman lore in comics as well as the animated series is that the Batman does not kill anyone and goes out of his way to save people (even if they are the bad guys) (remember, the scene is TDK where he saves the Joker)

14. Overall though, this has to be one of the finest trilogies of all time or as the Guardian puts it, The Godfather of our times. If I were stuck in an island with a choice of 5 movies (or movie series) to take, this would be my 1st choice.

15. I really really really want The Bat & The Bat Pod!!!!!!

Who is Batman???

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Comics
Tags:

If there’s any motherf@#$er out there that can overcome being set upon by a villain pretending to be your dad leading a club of villains in a prolonged assault on your sanity forcing you into going insane under the cover of a separate identity based on a Silver Age story in order to overcome your enemy and escape a chopper crash in order to join the other heroes for a final crisis wherein you shoot the God of Evil whom also manages to blast you and kill you only you lived and actually got sent back in time where you skip forward through various lives until you defeat said Evil God’s ultimate weapon that has come to resemble the bat demon and is also the guy pretending to be your dad . . . it’s BATMAN….

One Kryptonite powered punch coming up

Wattay description from Newsarama

Source: Newsarama.com

I have always found it surprising that the creative heads of DC and Marvel have not adapted some of the works for Jeph Loeb into these direct-to-DVD animation movies as one thing that Jeph Loeb has demonstrated is that he writes a comic like it was meant to be adapted into movies (I meant that in both a positive and a negative way). Thankfully, DC has bucked the trend and adapted the Jeph Loeb written “Public Enemies “as a full feature animation movie.

Public Enemies

Public Enemies

Plot-wise there are no major changes with the comic. A chunk from the planet Krypton is heading towards earth and would destroy earth if there is an impact. President Lex Luthor (yes him) believes he can do it on his own while getting rid of Superman in the same process and issues a bounty on Superman’s head. How Superman along with Batman team up to defeat Lex and stop the asteroid forms the rest of the story.

SBPE1It is non-stop riveting action with tons of guest appearances thrown in from the DC Universe. There have been some changes made from the comic and this actually is good for the movie and helps to reduce a lot of unwanted distractions that would have better suited a comic but not the movie. It is in fact heartening that the creators have adapted an existing storyline and that gives hopes for comic book fans that other brilliant works would also get a life in the movie format.

Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman is his usual self which is spectacular. It seems like he was born to voice Batman. Tim Daly as Superman reprises his previous Superman voice overs. But the true star of the show is Clancy Brown voicing Lex Luthor. Considering that he gets a lion’s share of the dialogues, he does a phenomenal job of being the arrogant, snobbish, confident Lex.

While there are a lot of things going for the movie, there are a few drawbacks too. The whole point of this comic was exploring the dichotomy of Superman and Batman and how despite the dichotomy, they remain the truest of friends and trust in each other more than anyone. None of this was captured. It seemed like Batman was merely helping Superman. Another grouse is the ending. It had too much of a Dues Ex Machina feel to it. It seemed that the directors wanted a happy feeling ending and so contrived to get it. The animation quality and the CGI were so-so. I have seen better. The movie borrows directly from Ed McGuinness’s art work and reflect that in their musculature. Superman is heavily muscled with a 12 pack abs (if possible) and so is Batman.

Despite all this, I feel this is a strong effort in the right direction. One hopes to see more such works in the near future from not just DC but from Marvel as well.

Rating – 7/10