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Justice League – A Review

justice-league-posterIt’s fine. The movie is fine. It’s not great or as grand as a Justice League movie should be. It feels small, but not in an intimate way. It’s scale and tone reminded me of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. For a movie that cost as much as it did, I sure doesn’t look great. There’s a lot to dislike about the movie, but, for the first time in this non-solo Wonder Woman series, there’s some stuff to generally like.

After the face-slap that was Man of Steel and the so-dumb-I-feel-bad-for-it Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I pretty much retired any hope of ever enjoying these films. Some people like the darker tones, the hopeless characterization, the over-complicated plotting and maybe that’s a good thing. We don’t want every superhero movie to look and feel the same. I simply had to resign that, like Deadpool, these movies weren’t being made for me.

After Wonder Woman gave Warner Bros. their first great DC movie since The Dark Knight, I felt a bit better but could tell from the lead up and trailers that Justice League was going to be messy. Zach Snyder leaving for personal reasons and bringing in Joss Whedon to rewrite and reshoot seemed like a good way to mess up the joint. And messy it was! But, somehow, the worst feeling I had while watching it was boredom. The anger I used to feel has burnt out and maybe that’s due to the small amount of sunlight that’s allowed through all the sepia tone and CGI-smoke.

justice-equipo-960x480First, I suppose, the good. Ray Fisher came out of nowhere and impressed me as Cyborg. In fact, while watching his story, I kept wishing I was seeing the Cyborg movie already, because it would have to be more compelling than what I watching at the moment. I didn’t hate this version of Aquaman, despite being the bro-est bro of bro-dom. I look forward to being surprised by him in his own, solo movie. And Gal Gadot is still a Wonder Woman I would follow into battle. Oh! That reminds me! The fight in Themyscira was fun! And, when there was action on screen, it was entertaining, for the most part.

Now, for the rest. During any scene that there was no fighting, I was bored. And, hey, I’m not some action junky who needs people to shut up and punch! The conversations between these characters, Justice League members or not, felt like time killers or placeholders for the real script. There was always the element of humor laced in the lines, but nothing was able to be truly funny, except for Batman’s, “I don’t not” line.

1024x1024Ben Affleck’s Batman was less interesting this time around, lacking the fire of his previous performance. The Flash doesn’t really impress and I’m sure that’s due to the fact I’ve been watching a successful representation of the character weekly on the CW for three years now. And Superman, well, that character has been a wash since day one. They try to clean him up a bit, make him a beacon of hope and all, but it’s not enough. He’s still not a Superman I want to watch, even when using all his cool powers. These movies love showing off how strong he is, but the heart is never there.

I’ll say this, and I don’t want anyone thinking I like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice or think it’s even close to a good movie, but Justice League feels small in comparison. BvS felt like an event, albeit a dumb one. It’s tone, cinematography and over-dramatic dialog made it feel like an important, stupid moment in history. Justice League just sort of happens. A big, gray monster-man shows up and is going to make more CGI fire and smoke and some people get together. This doesn’t feel mythic or memorable. If anything, it feels like a preview for a real Justice League movie, with a full roster and characters who aren’t learning their powers or motivations.

warner-bros-2-1So, to summarize, Justice League is fine. It’s watchable and has some moments that make it worth the time. It’s not epic and it’s not a trendsetter, which is a shame. The Justice League deserve better, they deserve to have the best superhero movie, to put the Avengers to shame. This is a team with the biggest names in super-lore and I had hoped for a feeling of awe and insperation. But, that feeling never comes. Sometimes, during the movie, Batman and Superman’s classic musical scores of the past will play and I was reminded of the good feelings and pleasant memories I had for these characters. Unfortunately, I realized, nothing on screen was causing that to happen this time around.. If anything, those themes emphasize the lack of direction and identity this movie has, requiring past visions to guide the way.

I hope a Justice League sequel will be better and I hope the characters can rebuild from here. Whereas the continuity in the Marvel films feels like a boon, these DC movies suffer from it. Every time a movie comes out, I can’t shake the past these heroes are burdened with. You can lighten Superman up, but he still snapped a man’s neck. You can make Batman a team player, but he still loves his guns and shooting people. But, with Justice League, they’re now another step in a more enjoyable direction. I hope they can keep that momentum and get past this version I’ve had not interest in before. I hope I can enjoy future DC films. But, for the first time in a long time with these movies, at least I can hope.

Comics, Gaming and Meeting New People

All_Star_Superman_CoverI have a new article up over at Hubpages. You can check it out at Comic Books to Read Instead of Watching Man of Steel. It’s my final rant of the movie in a more constructive format and will hopefully allow the healing to begin.

Still looking for another female guinea pig. Apparently, all the pet stores in Jacksonville specialize in male only business.

I’ve been cruising through comic books like there’s no tomorrow. My goal is to binge on all the ones that are in my local library so I can go back to a healthier, less frequent diet. Then, I’ll be able to get back to read novels at a regular pace. Considering my to-read list on Goodreads grows faster than I can cut it down, that’s a good plan.

I’ve uninstalled League of Legends. Not because I want to quit, by any means, it’s just taking up a lot of my time and I don’t know anyone who plays on a regular basis. I’ve I meet a group of people who do play, I’ll re-install it and get back in. Until the, I’ll be taking a break.

Why is it meeting people is so hard? I’m sure the big reason is that I’m an introvert and don’t like meeting new people. Even making friends at church takes a while. But it’s hard to meet other geeks and gamers in real life. Put us online and we chat up a storm. Meet in a store or library and we’re lucky to make eye contact. Even if it’s a gaming store, it’s hard to strike up a conversation. I have new plan for bookstores, though. Next time I’m in Barnes and Noble and I’m in the sci-fi, gaming and comics section, and other people are in the same isle, I’m going to try to small talk with them. If we’re looking at the same books, we must have something in common. I’m going to give it try. I gotta believe people need other people as much as I do.

I just want to meet a group of guys, it doesn’t have to be a lot, who like doing nerdy things. Who like to roleplay, who like to have fun. It would be awesome if I could find them at church, but who knows, maybe they’re hanging out at the gym. That would learn me real good.

 

Summer Movies 2013-Recap

world-war-z-poster031

Summer is over and the big budget movie season is done. Back in April, I wrote a summary of the movies I was looking forward to (or at least, interested) in seeing.  Now that September is two days away, it’s time to look back and see how everything panned out.

Iron Man 3 was a great way to open the summer. It was fun, clever and took care of any worries that Marvel wouldn’t be able to keep interested post-Avengers. As a Marvel fan, I was very happy.

Star Trek Into Darkness was okay. It wasn’t as fun as the first one, but anytime the cast was interacting with each other, it was a good time. It loses major points for simply retelling Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and I was disappointed with Benedict CumberKhan as a lesser version of a great villain. I hope the next one does a better.

After Earth was a pass.

Man of Steel. I’m not sure where to start. Let’s just say I wrote a review and now I’m not allowed to talk about it anymore. And honestly, I’m ready to move as far away from it as possible.

World War Z was probably the surprise of the season for me. Knowing it would be nothing like the book helped. Once I got past that fact, I was able to sit back and enjoy the movie. It was fun, exciting and scary at times. It’s the kind of zombie movie I wanted when I was a teenager.
the-wolverine-teaser-posterPacific Rim was a mixed bag. I enjoyed it but it definitely took too long to get going. The dialog was a bit rough but it means well. Plus, it had giant robots fighting monsters.

R.I.P.D was a pass.

The Wolverine was great. It was well thought-out, action packed and felt like a Wolverine movie. I was surprised by how intriguing it all was. The last act felt out of place but I can handle generic superhero action. The bullet train fight well made up for it. Also, the teaser at the end? Why can’t it be next summer already!

Elysium was good. It wasn’t as mind bending as District 9 and packed fewer surprises, but was still above average scifi fare. I put the pieces of the plot together fairly early, but was still involved the whole time. It was a good way to end the summer.

So there it is. Even though I enjoyed most of the movies, I still felt a little bored with the whole summer season. It might be that it was too crowded with movies I had no intention of seeing, like The Lone Ranger and Fast and the Furious 6. But as a whole, I enjoyed my time in the theater.

Until next summer!