Justice League Review

The Justice League film finally makes its debut into theaters, featuring plenty of hollow performances, bad camera work, and one rushed incredibly story.

With signs of a great evil upon them, Batman (Ben Affleck) decides to assemble a team of individuals with superhuman powers. This includes the likes of The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). They together must learn to work together to stop the evil Steppenwolf (no, not the band, but I wish it was) from taking over the world.

Our extensive cast of superheroes are given very little time to build chemistry and learn to work together, which was oddly the whole message of the movie. One second they will genuinely dislike one another, then suddenly for no reason at all (other than for the convenience of the screenwriter) they were working as a team and cracking jokes. It was almost as if there were scenes missing from the movie that involved the bonding of the Justice League. But what we were left with was the sloppy edit version.

This aspect was sadly compounded by the hollow characterization, as the audience really has little point in caring for characters like Cyborg and Aquaman. Both had hastily rushed introductions that didn’t really fit the story. Even the introductions of Wonder Woman and The Flash were disappointing and drab.

One of the most abysmally embarrassing topics surrounding this flick was the comic relief, mostly provided to us by The Flash (a character I found to be revolting). The entire theater remained dead silent for the whole film. Occasionally there’d be a light chuckle or a halfhearted laugh, but the majority of the crowd was unamused.

And at the conclusion of the film, about five or so individuals stood up and applauded enthusiastically, with a few others who reluctantly joined in on the celebration. The rest of us sat there, quietly mourning what could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve been.

While some moviegoers may prefer this over perhaps Man of Steel or Batman V. Superman, I believe Justice League to be the worst out of the bunch. The story is a messy, rushed, paint-by-numbers version of the Avengers. Many of the action sequences were as incompetently filmed as Batman V. Superman, only the characters were twice as bored while doing it. Even Batman, my favorite in the series thus far, looked about as tired and disinterested as the audience I saw Justice League with.

The Verdict: D

-Zachary Flint

The Lego Batman Movie Review

Coming into the 2017 year, everyone has those movies that they’re really anticipating. Many people I know are excited for films like Spider-man Homecoming, Star Wars VIII, and Justice League. I, however, was pumped for the release of The Lego Batman Movie. As a huge fan of The Lego Movie, I had a strong feeling that this film starring Batman would turn out to be as good as its predecessor. And, as usual, I was right.

The film stars Will Arnett as Batman, the vigilante superhero who loves to be showered with praise by the citizens of Gotham City for defeating villains like the Joker (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). However we quickly learn that deep down Batman feels very lonely and isolated from others. And after accidentally adopting Dick Grayson (who ends up becoming Batman’s sidekick Robin), Batman must now learn to hone his parenting skills and become a dad. With the help of his friends and family, Batman must work to stop the newest scheme cooked up by the Joker and gang.

I would like to start by mentioning how great the characters are. these little Lego figures were given full fledged personalities through the wonderful voice talents of people like Will Arnett and Michael Cera (among many others). Batman has this serious brooding aura that he gives off the whole film, and Robin is constantly being flamboyant and ditzy. After watching the film you can really connect to a lot of the characters personalities, more so than in many live action movies.

I could sit around talking all day about how fantastic the animation was in the film, but I feel even those who were not excited to see this aren’t debating how good it was. The mix of dark overcast sky and bright, colorful action really made the film visually astounding.

The animation for The Lego Batman Movie is not only good, but it’s fast-paced and flashy. The film is like a kid with ADHD who can’t sit down, or stop moving. Movements of the characters and camera angles are all very quick, but they still manage to flow in a comprehensive manner. I wasn’t at any point struggling to understand what was happening. I was able to follow along intently with the amazing action sequences and delightful story.

The humor in this film is pretty clever and hits on a lot of styles of comedy. One of my favorite scenes involves a great throwback joke towards all the previous Batman movies. Alfred Pennyworth mentions to Batman all the times he gets very moody, cuing a Lego montage of every Batman film since 1989. Another great scene is where Batman visits Superman’s home in the Fortress of Solitude, where the 57th Annual Justice League Anniversary Party is happening (without Batman of course). These are just two of the many, many funny as hell scenes in the little Lego world of Batman.

Now, there were many children in the theater during my viewing of The Lego Batman Movie. I’ve always been able to accurately judge how engaging a film is overall by how quiet the majority of kids are in the theater. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the film came on, there was dead silence. I take this to be a very good sign. If the film wasn’t engaging or entertaining, the kids would have been running up and down the isles flinging popcorn into the air.

If you have seen The Lego Movie and enjoy watching it, chances are you’ll enjoy this. The Lego Batman Movie has plenty going for it to entertain both small children and adults. The animation is fantastic, the story simple and humorous, and the characters are beyond memorable. I enjoyed myself so much watching the film that I might have to go see it a second time.

The verdict: A

-Zachary Flint

Batman V. Superman Review

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In some aspects, Batman v Superman suffered the same problems of The Amazing Spiderman 2, in that it bit off far more than it could have or should have chewed. There is way too much being pushed into the film that audiences will become overwhelmed. Yet within the two and a half hour run time it seems the most minimal amount of character development is put into our heroes and even less into side characters.

Batman v Superman takes place shortly after the events of Man of Steel in the cities of Metropolis and Gotham. After multiple incidents resulting in civilian deaths, the world begins to question Superman`s (Henry Cavill) involvement in world affairs. Including billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), who by night is of course the vigilante Batman. Throughout the film Superman looks for his place in the world while Batman plans a way to destroy him. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenburg) comes into play by harnessing the power of Kryptonite as a weapon against Superman.

Throughout the film I found myself caring less about old characters like Clark, Lois, and Perry White and more for the new. Maybe because the filmmakers attempted to develop these characters more. Ben Affleck as Batman was a surprising treat and with better character development and support could have been among my favorite Batmans. Even though Jesse Eisenberg didn`t feel like a Lex Luthor, it still didn`t stop me from loving every moment of him. His movements and mannerisms reminded me of Heath Ledger`s Joker portrayal.

Batman v Superman works to set the scene for the future Justice League films. By doing this filmmakers give insight into future Justice League characters to be introduced, as well as intertwining the story arch of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) with that of Batman and Superman. Again here is a film that already has plenty going on, yet feels the need to jam as much in as possible. They couldn`t give just little hints and tidbits of the Justice League, they had to flat out show them, as well as foreshadow the next villain in a ridiculous vision that Bruce Wayne has.

Director Zack Snyder seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself breaking up the action sequences with scenes involving Lois Lane and various other characters I could care less about at the moment. Perhaps if I was more emotionally invested in the characters I wouldn`t mind the jumping, however I was not.

Jumping from shot to shot seems to be a common theme throughout Batman v Superman. A symptom of trying to fit in too much story. As soon as I start getting invested in what Batman is doing we switch over to Lois Lane. After we see Lois for a few seconds we must switch over to Superman doing something. Then back to Batman. Rinse and repeat.

I very much enjoyed Ben Affleck`s performance of Batman and thought he was one of the highlights of the film. Towards the beginning of the film we get a glimpse into a scene from Man of Steel where General Zod and Superman are fighting, but from the perspective of Bruce Wayne. Bruce is on his way to Wayne Enterprises to make sure everyone evacuates the building okay when he witnesses the destruction that Superman creates. Including the injury and death of many Wayne Enterprises employees when the building is destroyed amidst the fight. I thought this scene was very well done and properly conveyed the emotions of pain and anger that Bruce Wayne felt. Setting him up for a hatred of Superman and his unlimited power. This hatred of Superman from Bruce even, dare I say it, gets DEVELOPED along the plot.

The scene that everyone wanted to see, being the fight sequence between Batman and Superman, of course is saved until the final act of the film. The fight is decently shot, intensely paced, and well worth the wait. I loved seeing Batman able to hold his weight against the immense power of Superman. However I was thoroughly disappointed in the end of the fight, especially the reason for them stopping. I won`t give it away but it is incredibly random, forced, and lame. I could easily come up with a better reason for them to stop fighting then the one used in the film.

Alas, this was not a terrible film, as there are plenty worse superhero abominations that come to mind. Like the films Fantastic 4 or Catwoman. There was always enough going on to keep me entertained and the acting from Eisenberg and Affleck was interesting. The camera work was decent when it wasn`t jumping from shot to shot every six point three seconds.

Hopefully when it comes time for the Justice League films these mistakes can be corrected. I for one, remain doubtful.

Zachary Flint