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

Superman (1978) Review

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Superman (1978) is a well deserving film for one of America’s greatest icons. I not only loved the film for the nostalgic feel it brings, but for how well made Superman is.

Superman tells the story of Kal-El (Christopher Reeve), the only living being from the distant planet of Krypton. He is sent as a child by his father Jor-El (Marlon Brando) to Earth from Krypton and found by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter) who take him in as their son, naming him Clark Kent. Clark grows up learning of his powers and where he comes from.

As an adult Clark takes a job at the Daily Planet as a journalist and meets the young Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) an independent and determined journalist whom he falls for. Clark juggles from being an everyday journalist to being Superman, flying around and saving the day. The latest plot he must foil is that of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), a cunning, evil business man who puts millions of people’s lives in danger.

The casting in the film, especially Christopher Reeve as Superman and Margot Kidder as Lois, is superb and couldn’t have been better any other way. The actors fit the characters like a glove and make it feel so real. Christopher Reeves is Superman, not just a guy who is playing the part of Superman. Reeve also plays off the nerdy, bumbling Clark Kent perfectly. Seeing him act that way just about convinced me Clark Kent was a completely different person.

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor was also a perfect fit, every minute with him on screen was a pleasure. He is twisted, dastardly, and determined to see his evil plans through. His whole performance reminded me of an over the top Bond villain. Throwing out great one liners and being a little over the top sometimes.

I also particularly like Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Superman`s biological father. Brando is always fun to watch in any film and Superman is of no exception. Just hearing speak exposition can be satisfying to any viewer.

The relationships between Clark, Superman, and Lois Lane are one of the best aspects about the movie. Seeing Clark interact with other people in his environment is fun as he contrasts greatly from his character of Superman. He is always stuttering, not very confident, and apologizes for everything. Watching Lois and Clark together on screen is great as well, as she often brushes him to the side.

The special effects compared to today`s standards may come off as cheesy, particularly the flying sequences. The viewer will still enjoy all the effects even though lots of the flying is green screened and a little dated. Perhaps because they still feel real in the sense that everything is really there and not computer imagery.

The soundtrack for Superman was done by John Williams and it definitely shows. There is just as much emotion and creativity in the Superman soundtrack as there was in Star Wars or any other John Williams work. The music properly reflects the scenes taking place in the film and emphasizes the film in all the right ways. Superman may have felt like a completely different film without the John Williams soundtrack.

Superman has made its way as a classic American film. It will continue to charm audiences with its clever writing and interesting characters. Superman is a legendary film worth seeing time and time again.

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